Where is that "buy me now" button for Copyright?

Much of the copyright debate reads like fiction. People supposedly find content on the Internet which has a "buy me now" button and a "take without paying" button, and they choose the latter. The non-fiction version of this story is very different. For the vast majority of content which people can acquire illegally on the Internet, there is no way to purchase the same thing legally. It is very hard to share the "moral outrage" that some entertainment industry lobbiests have been exhibiting, especially since they made deliberate business choices which caused their problems to be far worse.

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Value for money

Great post, Russell. To me, the real question comes down to one of value. People will make choices that produce the highest value for their money. This is the foundation of our economy. If consumers have a choice, they will always go with the choice that they believe offers a superior product or service, or lower cost.

When it comes to copyrighted digital content, sometimes the consumer has no legal option available. The content they desire is not offered in their area, or it is no longer available. Their choice here is obvious.

When there is a legal version of the content available, the consumer has a real choice to make. Let's look at their options:
1. Legal version:
- usually has a price > free
- DRM restrictions mean they can't use the content as they wish and are entitled to (copy to their new computer or iPod, play on a Linux computer or device, rip & remix to create new content, etc.)
- DRM restrictions mean you are vulnerable to the vendor's actions (changing DRM systems means bye-bye to your content)
- consumer won't be sued
2. Illegal version:
- usually has a price = free
- no DRM restrictions whatsoever (free to use as they wish)
- consumer might be sued

So, the consumer has a choice to make. The illegal version has the advantage on price and is a superior product, while the legal version..doesn't. The only advantage to the legal version is that you won't be sued if you don't break their restrictions, while with the illegal version, you probably won't be sued.

The answer is not to change the laws to make it easier to sue people. Try giving people value for their money, and you'll find many will do the right thing and stay on the right side of the law.

The Not Available problem probaly drives a lot of copying.

On my Desk I have some old radio diagrams from the 1930-1940 era. I would love to put them up on the net. I THINK most of the firms that made them are defunct. I know there are folks like myself who like to tinker with old radios, and so would be delighted to find a scan of one of those diagrams if it happens to be of a Radio they are working on.

Under the current situation I really can't tell if they are still under copyright control! (author plus 50 years eh? - so when did "Detrola" die? or is it 70 years from publication? Might just be out of hock, Oh but one says "compiled by "Nat Feiner", hum I wonder who he (or she) was?)