Copyrights: „A Century of Deceit“

Das Kunstwerk im Zeitalter seiner technischen Reproduzierbarkeit. Artikel auf Torrentfreak (Full Article here).

The past 100 years have seen a vast array of technical advances in broadcasting, multiplication and transmissions of culture, but equally much misguided legislators who sought to preserve the old at expense of the new, just because the old was complaining. First, let’s take a look at what the copyright industry tried to ban and outlaw, or at least receive taxpayer money in compensation for its existence:

It started around 1905, when the self-playing piano was becoming popular. Sellers of note sheet music proclaimed that this would be the end of artistry if they couldn’t make a living off of middlemen between composers and the public, so they called for a ban on the player piano. A famous letter in 1906 claims that both the gramophone and the self-playing piano will be the end of artistry, and indeed, the end of a vivid, songful humanity. […]

The 1970s also saw another significant shift, where DJs and loudspeakers started taking the place of live dance music. Unions and the copyright industry went ballistic over this, and suggested a “disco fee” that would be charged at locations playing disco (recorded) music, to be collected by private organizations under governmental mandate and redistributed to live bands. This produces hearty laughter today, but that laughter stops sharp with the realization that the disco fee was actually introduced, and still exists.

The 1980s is a special chapter with the advent of video cassette recorders. The copyright industry’s famous quote when testifying before the US Congress – where the film lobby’s highest representative said that “The VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone” — is the stuff of legend today. Still, it bears reminding that the Sony vs so-called Betamax case went all the way to the Supreme Court, and that the VCR was as near as could be from being killed by the copyright industry: The Betamax team won the case by 5-4 in votes.

Also in the late 1980s, we saw the complete flop of the Digital Audio Tape (DAT). A lot of this can be ascribed to the fact that the copyright industry had been allowed to put its politics into the design: the cassette, although technically superior to the analog Compact Cassette, was so deliberately unusable for copying music that people rejected it flat outright. This is an example of a technology that the copyright industry succeeded in killing, even though I doubt it was intentional: they just got their wishes as to how it should work to not disrupt the status quo.

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