Wasn’t planning on doing this post, but I read this article from the Economist this morning. It’s a good succinct article about the copyright debate. Here’s a more in depth discussion in case you are interested. Whether you feel breaking copyright law is an ethical issue or not, I think we should all be able to agree that the current state of things isn’t working very well.
While more “Mickey Mouse Protection Acts” might be passed and technically legal, more companies are going to be forced into more liberal licensing through open source and Creative Commons licenses through market forces and competition. This trend is the market correcting for bad copyright law; the market is in a state of diminishing returns when it keeps extending copyright protection.
Of course, some Christians I know just pirate digital media no matter what the laws say without thinking anything about it. I’ve even seen lots of “bending of the rules” for church purposes. I’d be interested in your comments about the ethics and morality of breaking copyright law. For me, I try to comply with copyright law no matter how ridiculous it is. That, of course, leads me to use open source and Creative Commons works because I can’t afford to do everything I want to do and comply with proprietary software and copyrighted media law. Luckily for me, there’s lots of great open source software and Creative Commons works out there so it’s a win-win scenario.
So if you feel like piracy is wrong and haven’t checked out open source and/or Creative Commons projects, I encourage you to start now.