Copyright and Language

Doc Searls says Hollywood won the Eldred case, allowing for essentially unlimited copyright terms, in part because the entertainment companies have gotten the rest of us to frame the debate on their inaccurate and loaded terms — copyright equals property.

“So the work we have cut out for us isn’t just legal and political.” Doc says. “It’s conceptual. Until we find a way to win that one, we’ll keep losing in Congress as well as the courts.”

How do we prevent the entertainment cartel from torturing language and logic? We can’t. But the rest of us have to be more forceful in challenging the lies and misrepresentations. (I talked about these issues in this column last summer.)

It would be useful, for example, if people wrote letters to newspapers, commenting on slanted articles that take Hollywood’s word that any form of copying is piracy. It’s not, usually.

Turning this around will take years. Let’s get started.


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