It is said that those who don’t study history are doomed to repeat it. In the case of the copyright industry, they have learned that they can get new monopoly benefits and rent-seeker’s benefits every time there is a new technology, if they just complain loudly enough to the legislators.
The past 100 years have seen a vast array of technical advances in broadcasting, multiplication and transmissions of culture, but equally much misguided legislators who sought to preserve the old at expense of the new, just because the old was complaining. First, let’s take a look at what the copyright industry tried to ban and outlaw, or at least receive taxpayer money in compensation for its existence:
It started around 1905, when the self-playing piano was becoming popular. Sellers of note sheet music proclaimed that this would be the end of artistry if they couldn’t make a living off of middlemen between composers and the public, so they called for a ban on the player piano. A famous letter in 1906 claims that both the gramophone and the self-playing piano will be the end of artistry, and indeed, the end of a vivid, songful humanity.
keyboard shortcuts: V vote up article J next comment K previous comment