• SpeechRight

last modified June 5, 2017 by strypey

All people have an inalienable right to freedom of speech, and cultural expression.

There is no inalienable right to make money.

There is a legal tool called Copyright, in which the natural rights of people to copy any information they come across is temporarily suspended for a particular package of information, usually an original cultural work like a novel, a painting, a collection of songs, or a movie.

The original purpose of this legal tool was to encourage people to contribute to the Public Domain, by publishing information which would otherwise be kept private, and passed from person to person in an embodied from; a book, a canvas, a record, or a can of film. To that end, it granted the creator of the work a temporary monopoly on the commercial exploitation of the work.

Digital technology has made it possible to make copies of creative works. Indeed, the technology behind the World Wide Web was created precisely to facilitate the exchange of copies of documents and graphics, for research purposes.

For works which have already entered the Public Domain, or which the creators are happy to freely share, this was a tremendous benefit.

However, once compression technologies emerged which allowed the same networks to be used to exchange copies of songs, and then movies, this came to be seen as a threat to theĀ  traditional Copyright-based business models of entrenched oligopolies that had come to control the lion's share of the trade in recorded music, and movies.

The major labels of the recorded music business fired the opening salvo of the copywars by launching legal action to shut down Napster.

(This is the beginning of a larger piece of work)