The shape of things to come

Many think that DRM itself is the worst that it can happen between the media companies and consumers, but it’s not. IMO, this case right here is even worse. From one side the studios asked the Browncoats (in english: Firefly/Serenity fans) to promote the movie via the Internet in any way possible, and now that the movie is in a dead end with no follow-ups planned, they are suing these fans.

What’s next? Humming a song under your lips get you sued? Including the lyrics of a song on your homepage get you sued? Printing a t-shirt with an album cover get you sued? Recording from an FM radio get you sued? Snapshotting your own TV while CSI:Miami is broadcasting get you sued?

Believe it or not, all these ARE copyright infringements and they CAN get you sued. While DRM might become easier to swallow by having both RIAA/MPAA endorsing and requiring a single DRM standard for their licensees, the rest of the entertainment business is going to become worse and go after the consumers — worldwide. It will feel that we are under Policed Nations. Just like in some futuristic movies like “Equilibrium” or “1984″ but instead of having the governments enforcing all that, it would be the Entertainment Industry.

IMHO, you can’t stop the Entertainment Industry for trying to enforce their copyrights and the rest of their rights — it would be unlawful if they don’t. What needs to be done is a rework of the copyright law in general and a broader “fair use” law.

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Thom Holwerda wrote on October 28th, 2006 at 9:13 AM PST:

There’s no need for a complete rework. All that needs to be done is add in copyright law that within a household, people are free to do as they please (make .mp3’s, copy-to-MD, record TV) as long as they don’t distribute it to a broader audience.

Fairly simple to add, save for the industry’s resistance.


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