Wednesday, July 10, 2002

Clueless lawyers Lawyers, like most people, never studied economics and so don't understand how things happen in the world. But unlike most people, lawyers get to set policy through laws, and this ignorance leads to actual harm. Edward Samuels is just such a lawyer, and he claims that economic justice demands artists get more money for their work and suggests copyright should support that.

Unfortunately, economic justice guarantees that the lot of the artist will always be difficult, as many people want to do it and one unknown artist is interchangable with another. With the laws of supply and demand being what they are, what is offered by many and valued by few will clear at a low price. Any law that gives non-transferable claims to artists will merely lower the price they're paid for their work, as the owners of scarce promotion and distribution resources capture rents just as they always have. If lawyers want to help musicians, they should scrap CARP, dismantle mandatory contract clauses, and investigate the music industry for price fixing and collusion.


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