Teens and copyright

Matthew at 2017-01-18T13:27:01Z

I just saw a social media post that seriously referred to [U.S. Librarian of Congress] Carla Hayden as an "anti-copyright activist" and the efforts of various copyleft communities as "astroturfing". It went on to claim that Ms. Hayden is trying to end automatic copyright for art (a retread of a popular urban legend in the arts community from maybe 10+ years ago) and demanded signatures for a petition against this.


<sarcasm>Because lobbying from various entertainment industries definitely has no impact on policy at all (that's why nothing expired into the public domain in the United States again in 2017 and pirating Michael Jackson's music has a more serious penalty than killing Michael Jackson); young people certainly align with copyright maximalism for good reasons and not mainly because they have been bombarded by aggressive, manipulative pro-copyright campaigns from those media conglomerates (what do you call fake grassroots activism again?); and current copyright law is in existential peril unless 15-year-olds sign an Internet petition. Of course.</sarcasm>


More seriously, I am concerned about the future of art when I see how deeply young artists are buying into copyright maximalism. Sometimes it seems like there are no equivalents of David Revoy or Nina Paley in the next generation (that's a scary thought); only "noncommercial reposting with attribution is ART THEFT" as far as the eye can see.


I guess environment/experience must play a part in it; when I was their age, I was installing GNU/Linux for the first time, getting into Jamendo, and reading Cory Doctorow. These teens grew up on iTunes, Netflix, Kindle, and superhero movies: DRM-encumbered, heavily trademarked media under life+70 years copyright is what they've always known, and that's reflected by what they create now. That does offer a way out: if we keep creating good libre works, maybe future kids won't accept the status quo so easily.