[This week’s Communications column for the Vanuatu Independent. It’s a somewhat fleshed out and more rounded version of this essay.]
Since the arrival of the Internet, there’s been unceasing talk about the imminent demise of traditional publishing models (especially newspapers), the subversive effect of ‘free’ online content and the purported damage done by Peer to Peer ‘pirates’ sharing music, movies and other creative works. At the centre of all this debate over the imbalance that new technology has created between creator and consumer is the oft-ignored conclusion that copyright as a regime for encouraging creativity in modern society is simply unworkable on the Internet.
Pundits, lawyers and media distributors the world over continue fighting the tide, thinking they can shape the Internet to match their expectations concerning copyright. Instead, they should be shaping their expectations to match the Internet.