File spoon-archives/lyotard.archive/lyotard_2001/lyotard.0103, message 14

Date: Mon, 5 Mar 2001 22:30:44 EST
Subject: Re: The rearview mirror stage

     I completely disagree with your analysis. If Napster is required to 
compensate the recording industry for the unlicensed distribution of 
copyrighted material, is this such a bad thing? After all,  there are 
provisions in the Constitution to protect copyrights, as well as a body of 
statutes which are clearly intended to exclusively protect the creator of the 
copyrighted material. Directly on point, the 1976 Copyright Act has 
provisions for the exclusive commercial appropriation of the copyright for 
the life of the author plus 70 years, entailing the exclusive control of the 
distribution, public performance and reproduction of the material. In my 
view, as well as the court's view, Napster did not substantially comply with 
the spirit of the relevant statutes (especially the distribution component of 
the statute).
      Napster profited from copyright infringement. They profited from a 
parasitical relationship to the recorded music, from the ingenuity and 
creativity of the rightful copyright owners. Their ethical stance is no 
different than a distributor of stolen watches or stereos.  Napster simply 
facilitated the unlawful distribution of copyrighted materials, which is a 
prima facie violation of criminal statutes.
      Why should someone invest time and money in the production, 
manufacturing, marketing and distribution of music, if they are not going to 
be compensated for their efforts?  Why should a pharmaceutical company, for 
example, invest millions of dollars in R&D, marketing, manufacturing and 
distribution if the patent is not going to be enforced?
       Implicitly, you are questioning the wisdom of the intellectual 
property statutes. Their repeal would be unfair to creators of intellectual 
property, as well as injecting disorder into the market economy.


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