Friday, October 04, 2002

Regulating fair use

I think Lessig, at some recent conference, pointed out that most things people did with content was unregulated--that is neither protected under fair use or controlled by copyright. Such uses include lending a book to a friend, listening to a CD multiple times, or watching a DVD at a friends house. The RIAA and MPAA's fight against unauthorized copying often involves regulating previously unregulated activities--and assigning new rights to copyright owners. Now, economics does not care who owns something, just that people are free to trade stuff, so giving content owners perfect control is economically efficient, but makes consumers unhappy by raising prices on them. Assigning ownership to new (previously unregulated goods) is best done through a political process, which is essentially what the Boucher bill is about.


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