Rough Type: Nicholas Carr’s Blog: A very silly report on “fair use”:
“There’s a little problem, though. Even by the woeful standards of the bespoke research industry, this study is a crock. It’s not just bad; it’s absurd.
What the authors have done is to define the ‘fair-use economy’ so broadly that it encompasses any business with even the most tangential relationship to the free use of copyrighted materials. Here’s an example of the tortured logic by which they force-fit vast, multifaceted industries into the ‘fair use’ category: Because ‘recent advances in processing speed and software functionality are being used to take advantage of the richer multi-media experience now available from the web,’ then the entire ‘computer and peripheral equipment manufacturing industry’ qualifies as a ‘fair-use industry.’ As does the entire ‘audio & video equipment manufacturing’ business. And the entire software publishing industry. And the entire telecommunications industry. And – hey, why not? – the entire insurance industry. Stock markets and commodity exchanges? Sure, throw them in, too.”
What is it about debates that means that, so often, both sides think it’s OK just to talk shit and hope no one notices on the grounds that “he did it first”?
As I tend to oppose the more whacky fringe of anti-copyright partisans, I sometimes get mistaken for one of those rabid pro-MPAA loons. Nothing could be further from the truth, but I thought I’d state, once and for all, what I believe about copyright.
1. Copyright itself is a good for society. It gives artists a time-limited monopoly on their work, thus providing them with an income and an incentive to do more original work.
2. However, the present copyright terms have twisted that benefit largely away, to the point where it’s easy to make the mistake that copyright itself is a bane. Because copyright terms are now so long, for some artists it has removed the incentive to continue creating new work in favour of seeing work as a form of “pension plan”.
3. Hence, what we need to do is reduce copyright terms to a more reasonable level. My suggestion would be a straight 25 years, with copyright ending when you die. I see no reason why the children of content creators should make one penny from the work of their parents. It’s not like anyone else’s work carries on making money after their death.
So there you go. That’s my view on copyright in a nutshell. I have long essay that I’m working on at the moment, in which I think I’ll be able to demonstrate that the only people who would benefit from an end to copyright would be large corporations, but that’s for another day.
Link: BBC NEWS | UK | DNA hope offered to the McCanns.
The inventor of DNA fingerprinting has offered to act as an expert witness in the Madeleine McCann case.
Sir Alec Jeffreys said DNA matches alone did not establish guilt and all Madeleine’s genetic characters would be found in at least one family member.
I hope that Sir Alec will be making the same offer to the hundreds of people in the UK convicted every year because of "infallible" DNA evidence.
When looking at this case, I’m reminded constantly of one simple fact: according to the NSPCC, nearly 80% of child murders are committed by the parents. Given that fact alone, the police would be negligent if they weren’t investigating Mr and Mrs McCann very closely indeed, and regard them, in the absence of other evidence, as the main suspects in the case. No matter how painful that might be, it’s simply a fact.