Unless you've been living in a cave you'll have guessed there's a problem with copyright and the internet. And if you've read any of my blog before you'll have guessed this worries me. A great deal. So much so I co-founded a new policy organisation to deal with such issues now and in the future.
We can't stop digital copying without infringing on even more important rights and freedoms. Besides, even if we shut down the internet, entirely, lossless copying on an "industrial scale" can happen silently and remotely between handheld devices using point-to-point communications technologies such as Bluetooth, WiFi, etc.
We need to reassess not only what copyright means to society, but do this whilst bearing in mind what free and open information flows mean to society.
It's been 2 years in the making, here is my proposed "solution" (or, rather, a framework for creating a legislative solution):
1.) Redefine copyright as: the right to prevent a person from making financial gain from another person's creative works for a fixed period long enough to suitably reward the creator(s) and provide a competitive return on any commercial investment needed to bring that class of creative work to the market.
2.) Define "financial gain from another person's creative works" in clear unambiguous terms suitable for the digital era.
3.) Develop a legal framework of proportionate measures designed to tackle those who gain financially from another person's creative works.
We can't continue to build on a system designed for the analogue era. The time has come to start again, re-write the rule book. Redraft the laws and treaties and create a new intellectual property right fit for the new reality.