Copyright Should Be for the Little Guy

Lately, as schools of legal thought that aim to protect “property” at all costs and see nothing good about “public goods,” copyright has developed as a way to reward the haves: the successful composer, the widely read author, the multinational film company. Copyright should not be meant for Rupert Murdoch, Michael Eisner, and Bill Gates at the expense of the rest of us. Copyright should be for students, teachers, readers, library patrons, researchers, freelance writers, emerging musicians, and experimental artists. Because the body of law has grown so opaque and unpredictable in recent years, copyright policy discussion has resided in the domain of experts who have the time and money to devote to understanding and manipulating the law. Copyright myths have had as much power as copyright laws. The interests of the general public have been ignored by the movements to expand copyright in the 1990s.

– Siva Vaidhyanathan, Copyrights and Copywrongs, p. 5

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