I started the day reading this post from TorrentFreak, which lays bare some of the key problems with the current Copyright situation. In the early days of RedMonk we spent a great deal of time writing about the need for copyleft approaches, and more permissive content licensing, as a basis for both business innovation and better user experience. Our position hasn’t changed, but sadly the situation has probably worsened in the last eight years or so. The Digital Economy Act in the UK, and Stop Online Piracy Act (SOPA) in the US, are both pieces of legislation that skew the balance of proof in copyright cases, so media companies can shut down users and services they suspect of infringing their copyright. While I appreciate the need for protection of intellectual property, the problem with poorly written legislation is the potential for abuse, particularly when one side (namely large media conglomerates) has massive resources on its side. So back to TorrentFreak, which in the post about computer games industry sums up how abuses become institutionalised.
What we have here is a business model – a complaint filing machine that generates around $1000 a time, split between a law firm, the anti-piracy company and CD Projekt, and the more letters sent out, the better it is for everyone. There are no outward checks, there’s no accountability and absolutely no compassion or understanding for those wrongfully accused through hidden incompetence.
This is why I, a prolific games player and games buyer of more than three decades standing, say that you don’t have to support piracy to hate bullying, intimidation, and abuse of position.
This is a numbers game, which assumes the accused probably doesn’t have the resources to push back. Even a major company such as Google can’t police every piece of content on its network, indeed if it did it would open itself up to further abuse by copyright holders. As TorrentFreak says: “What we have here is a business model”.