Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Is Big Brother the American Media Industry?

Let's say Shirky is right in his characterization of the media industry, excerpted below and linked to his full post.  What is Higher Ed doing about it?  Though there are some leading lights trying to push back, it seems to me that mostly there is capitulation - limit liability, take the path of least resistance. 

I think copyright law is itself bass-ackward, the DMCA a case in point.  The term structure of copyright is now completely wrong.  It should be under 10 years, instead of what it is - life of the creator plus 70 years.  (I made the argument in my post a while back, Kopy Wrong).  There is nobody to lobby for putting more stuff in the public domain, which is why we get the bad law. 

I also think it is somewhat wrong, within higher ed, to leave the issue to the lawyers and leave the rest of us out of it - the law is too complicated so the rest of us can venture an intelligent opinion.  What we need instead is a grass roots argument to the effect that if the law was reasonable then we'd have an obligation to obey it.  The ethical issue regarding our own obligation is not something the lawyers can say much about. 

In the meantime this has a 1960's feeling with the Media Industry cast as Nixonites, and folks like Shirky as hippies.  I believe in causality with long lags.  Our politics now is heavily influenced by what happened then.  We don't need a replay.  We need a better way.

No comments: