Environment, Wellbeing, Equity, Sustainability

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16 May 2014

Copyright law needs reform

Laws that only a handful of people obey and governments don’t enforce are bad laws. In the long term bad laws are unsustainable.

A large contingent of people routinely share copyright digital media over the Internet without the authorisation of the copyright holders. A recent survey conducted for the Australian Record Industry Association (ARIA) reported 91 percent of respondents admitted they had downloaded music illegally via file share or peer-to-peer.

Thirteen percent either exclusively or frequently downloaded their music this way, 15% did it moderately, 20% rarely, while 13% claimed to have done it previously but don’t anymore. Only 9% said they had never downloaded content this way. The Pew Internet survey from the US reported 75% of teen music downloaders ages 12-17 agree that “file-sharing is so easy to do, it’s unrealistic to expect people not to do it,”

Public defiance, or at best ignorance, of existing copyright laws, particularly in relation to content accessible via the Internet, suggests the existing approaches to regulation are no longer effective.

The Internet has amplified tensions between the rights of copyright owners and those who want the freedom and right to use these works. The digitisation of literary, artistic and musical works coinciding with advances in ‘Web 2.0′, increasing broadband speeds, growing numbers of connected devices and improvements in file compression technologies, all mean copyright works can be and are enthusiastically copied and distributed with greater speed and in vaster quantities than ever before.

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