On Monday president Bush signed the infamous PRO-IP act, instituting a Copyright Czar, on par with the current Drug Czar. The law creates new classes of felony criminal copyright infringement, adds civil forfeiture provisions that incorporate by reference parts of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, and directs the Copyright Czar to lobby foreign governments to adopt stronger IP laws.
Already approved by many institutions in the sector, such as (doh!) RIAA, no doubt this is a serious matter, aimed at, for example, all those who download music from the Internet. All over the web, negative comments have been flourishing about the Czar, and Wired is even running a survey asking readers who they would appoint in such a position.
At BeatPick.com we believe there are far more interesting ways of dealing with the matter. For example, TorrentFreak‘s: in participating in the 2008 Blog action day, this well known blog is proposing an innovative alternative: participants can calculate how much they have saved by not having to buy media supports, and by preferring to download content, and donate a symbolic part of those savings to charity organizations to fight global poverty. This is the scheme for calculating savings:
1 music track = $1
1 music album = $10
1 movie = $10
1 TV-show = $5
1 book = $10
A cool idea, for sure. One observation I have always believed in regarding piracy is that it seldom can spread to vast degrees, unless the public feels a strong gap between perceived value and actual market value of cultural works: in other words, it’s hard not to feel justified when downloading a film, knowing that the main actors earned enough money to save a third world country.
Speaking of which, I ran into this lovely XKCD comic strip explaining indeed how DRM (which no doubt increases the efforts a user has to go through, therefore contrasting with the concept of the object actually meeting its’ perceived value), is actually an instigation to piracy. I’m sharing it with you all. Enjoy.