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Time to Rile Up Old People About Copyright

I hadn’t heard of the movie Downfall before I saw the parodies on Youtube.  But after I saw a few choice ones, it peeked my interest and I bought it off Amazon.  I’d link you all to some but the production company has aggressively sent take down notices and they’ve been yanked.

Don't forget: Hitler owns all your content.

When pressed on why they are aggressively sending out take downs, the production company shot back with a couple of tired rationales.  First, they felt that they weren’t getting their propers:  “We haven’t seen any impact — positive or negative — on DVD sales for ‘Downfall,’. . .It has been very good business for Google and YouTube, but we haven’t seen any change.”

Second, Constantin Film takes the moral rights avenue:  “Enough is enough, really. It’s a matter of principle.  It’s Constantin’s film, and they have a right to say how the images get used.”

And there lies the problem with copyright owners.  Copyright grants owners an expansive yet limited set of rights.  Copyright doesn’t grant owners the right to exploit every market that could conceivably grow from their work.  And it certainly doesn’t grant owners immunity from their works being used for purposes of satire and social commentary.

As the Joker said: “This town needs an enema.”  And I’m not talking about copyright reform.  I’m talking about expectation reform.  Certainly copyright needs  to  be reformed.  But equally in need of reform are the expectations of owners, authors, and users of content.  And owners aren’t interested with adjusting their expectations, so I guess that just leaves us, the consumers.

Copyright legislation has been subject to capture for far too long.  When the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act was passed, the public didn’t make a peep.  I couldn’t vote then, so you bastards who didn’t hold legislators accountable after the Mickey Mouse Protection Bill passed have stolen from me.  What the rabble doesn’t realize is that when copyright expands, it necessarily takes from us, the public.

It’s time to remedy that.

I put out a challenge to all of you — educate everyone you know about copyright — but especially the freakin’ olds.  They need to be able to understand what copyright expansion means to them so they can hold their legislators accountable during elections.  Legislators probably don’t give a crap about the Electronic Frontier Foundation, but they care about the elderly swarming zombie horde.  They have all the time in the world to sit and write letters and ring legislator’s phones off the hook.  So it’s time to get the elderly riled up about copyright.

Did you just buy Aunt Millie a Kindle?  Tell her how she can’t scan a book and upload it to her new fancy Kindle because the book publishers would lose their shit.  Tell your mother that just bought a Zune that 1) she’s an idiot for buying a Zune and 2) that the recording industry’s position is that they can revoke her ability to transfer CDs to her Zune at any time. You get the point.  You have your mission, if you choose to accept it.  Go forth and do good.

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