Jack Valenti and me: copyfighters
8 June 2004
My explorations into various understandings of intellecutal property and copyright have convinced me that our current system of copyright law is headed in a very dark direction and needs to change course soon. According to Clancy Ratliff (via Copyfight: the politics of IP) that makes me a copyfighter: "a copyfighter is someone who engages in conversations on authorship and intellectual property. [...] Moreover, copyfighters look at our current copyright model -- automatic copyright, life + 70 years as soon as the content is put into a fixed medium -- and express some kind of qualm about it; they think it should change in some way."
But that definition doesn't specify which way the copyfighter thinks our copyright model should change. By this standard, even the infamous Jack Valenti -- the outgoing head of the MPAA who once referred to file swappers as terrorists -- is a copyfighter. Sounds like we'd need to add an adjective to make the label meaningful. But what are the acceptible options? Left-wing copyfighter? Right-wing copyfighter? Progressive copyfighter? Conservative copyfighter? Corporate copyfighter? Indie copyfighter? When one of the most compelling voices on what one might think should be called the progressive side of this fight advocates "free culture" as in "free markets", I'm not sure any of these traditional labels make much sense.
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