U.S. copyright law is no longer fit for purpose. That’s the judgement of a sharp op-ed from the Los Angeles Times today, in which it finds both the technology sector and creative industries subject to rules that are “a better fit for a dial-up era dominated by AOL.”
Rather than making us pine for those days of free Internet CDs and screeching modems, reading this should make all parties work that bit harder to lobby Congress for real change. The notice-and-takedown system is exceedingly onerous for all involved, and increasingly ineffective at keeping illegal content off the Internet.
As a region heavily invested in the success of both the tech, movie and music industries, it’s fitting that this call to unite the two emanates from Los Angeles and, more broadly, California as a whole.
Neither profession wants to spend its limited time and resources chasing down relentless content piracy, which under the current system is exactly what must be done. The only way for creators to remove content is to identify infringing links and file takedown requests, which the host site is then bound by law to manage and remove. In reality, as the article highlights, these links are often back up within hours, tying up resources that everyone involved would prefer to channel into more creative pursuits.
Perhaps the ultimate frustration is that both the technology sector and content industries are rooted in that same drive to create. Hollywood wants to be shooting blockbuster movies. Musicians want to be recording hits. Silicon Valley wants to be creating the next technological advance. None of them want be applying dial-up era solutions to broadband era challenges.
We echo the L.A. Times and encourage innovative developers to come together with resourceful creators to draft copyright law that works for everyone except the pirates. As it stands we have just the reverse, and it’s only the pirates who are reaping the rewards of their own questionable creativity.