Copyright Licensing Panic: Please don’t play ball with the dinosaurs!

I read this io9 article about Google’s progress securing third party copyright licenses, and all the pussy authors who are freaking out. I also read this guy’s comments and then his blog on the subject (he presents a view I don’t agree with. but find challenging).

This is my rant/reply:

copyright law protects publishers so they can maximize profit. It isn’t designed to protect authors.

I’m drinking the google-aid here, but it makes a lot of sense. Here is a dry but very smart explanation, which they put up years ago (about half hour long):

* The metaphor isn’t that google walks in and uses your lawnmower whenever they want (ed. an example from his blog). They have not interferred with your ability to use or tweak your lawnmower whenever you want. Rather, they have made the intimate details of your lawnmower available to everyone on earth. Anyone can now easily print out a copy of your lawnmower. I can see how it screws up the “scarcity” aspect of your Lawnmower business (but you can still sell Lawnmowers).

* If a swami memorized everyone’s books, would it be copyright infringement for him to recite any book at any time? nope.
The only real problem if someone else plagiarized the book he was reciting.

* On one hand, i think the core problem is that “requesting duplicated bits” just isn’t the same as “investing money in a printing press and raw materials.” Thus it really isn’t a copy rights issue in the classic sense. I’m kinda suprised Google is bothering to buy copyright licenses. I assume they just thought it cheaper to play ball with the dinosaurs.

I think most authors are confusing “their publisher’s rights to print copies” with plagiarism. yeah? Author’s don’t need help inking thier words onto dead trees anymore. They now need other kinds of marketing and business representation.

* On the other hand, the one argument against google’s POV that I cannot resolve is : what if artists don’t want anyone to see their art.

I see this happening a lot these days, when some sleazy gift card business plagiarizes artwork without asking.

Makes me uncertain. Maybe I’m not seeing this from the right angle. ?
But my gut says copyright law is irrelevant and there is probably some other legal framework people should be focusing on (Intellectual Property? Trademarks?)

a subsequent commenter self-published a reply to my comment – in which he noted that “copyrights protect unpublished works, thus they exist to protect the artist.”
I don’t see how this changes anything. But maybe that’s a sign it’s key to the whole shebang? hmm.
Isn’t this whole issue of Publishers selling their copyright licenses to google a big neon sign that copyrights do not exist to protect authors? I FEEL TANGLED IN THE LOGICS!!!! AHHH!!!!

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