The end of copyright (At least as we know it)

Eoin Purcell

Its not quite my thing: Aerosmith
But they do put on a fantastic show. I saw them last night in Marlay Park in South Dublin. The weather held and the band seem to be moving into Rolling Stones territory in terms of ability to just keep on Rocking (as it were).

What struck me on the evening though was not the band, or event he venue. What hit me was that literally thousands of people were recording, photographing and bootlegging the concert on a diverse range of cameras, phones and video cameras. It surely will not be long before the material hits YouTube or some other online video service.

The other element to the problem though is that no one seems to think this kind of copying is unfair. After all you pay €70 just to see them play and why not take a few snaps, record your favourite song as a memory, so what if you share that with 100,000 or 1,000,000 people on YouTube, isn’t Aerosmith lucky to have such a great fan base?

Finger in the dam
And it hit me then that there was simply no way of stopping it. You can pursue the people responsible individually (hardly effective) and stop the material coming online (close down sites and ban certain videos) but those measures will prove either entirely negative or ineffectual. One because the individual cost will be greater than the reward and the other because videos will simply move to another site that does allow pirated or bootlegged material.

So what do you do and how will the reality that affects live performance hit other forms (I am thinking, naturally, of books). At first it seems a different game. Books can hardly be recorded live. But they can be photographed and passed about. You only need to look at Scribd to see copyright protected material I am FAIRLY sure isn’t posted with permission.

If the logic of the concert holds and I pay €20 for a book am I not entitled to share a few images with my friends and online buddies on Scribd?

Leaving us with a fairly clear shift away from respect for copyright convention as it now stands and is enshrined in law (I have to admit I feel like I am living the Nine Shift shifts now). If the majority do not respect the law, do not see the logic of the law and flagrantly breech the law without fearing retribution, is there any point of keeping the law?

I know my thoughts on this are rough and I need to think it through much more but it sure begs some questions!


3 thoughts on “The end of copyright (At least as we know it)

  1. This is so complicated isn’t it – although I, for one,wouldn’t substitute a dodgy Youtube video or a bootlegged mp3 for the real thing if I was a fan of a particular artist. It might give me some kind of insight into the atmosphere at a gig but I’d still go out and buy the stuff. The real issues are the ones you refer to when someone has purchased a legal and good copy of a published work or a cd or whatever…my head hurts thinking about this.

  2. Liam,

    That link is bizarre! And puts some of my thoughts so much better than I do!

    It really is head hurting. What strikes me is that most people don’t want to own a bootlegged copy or watch a concert on YouTube, they’d much rather own a nice proper full quality mp3 file, a dvd or just pay up and go to the concert.

    What they see no problem with is sharing and collaborating with others to share their stuff (and I think that is the key: they see it as their stuff, they recorded/filmed/photographed it after all having paid a lot to see the original).

    I think that means we need to be smarter about copyright and what it means, but how and in what way is the question!


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