Wednesday, November 17, 2004

Wired News: Movie Studios Sue File Traders: What I really, really like about this story is the line, "The MPAA will also offer free software that people can use to rid themselves of copyright material on their computer." (1) Unless it wipes the computer, um, no it won't, because everything you write (draw, etc.) is copyrighted at the moment of fixation, not to mention the copyrighted works that are present either with the copyright owner's authorization or legitimately subject to an exception or fair use; (2) the use of "copyright" instead of "copyrighted" seems to me a subtly ideological move, along the lines of Republicans redefining the Democratic Party as the "Democrat Party." "Copyrighted works" are a subset of works, as opposed to uncopyrighted works; "copyright works" are all creative works, works like movies or books, as opposed to machines and the like. It's part of a move to convince people that copyright is the natural home of creative works and that uncopyrighted works are weird. Of course, internationally this move has already succeeded, so it is no surprise that the project is underway in the US; given that copyright now subsists at the moment of fixation, I admit that "copyrighted works" is something of a redundancy. But the new phrase still operates as code identifying where a person stands on the protectionist spectrum.

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