20071002

Fear of Copyright Infringement Hinders Educational Advancement

I was sitting in one of my classes today and some poor student asked the professor a question:

Would it be possible for you to post your PowerPoint Presentations online so we can have more complete notes?


A simple request. However, the instructor replied that he is unable to do that because he uses text from books or images that have copyright restrictions.

Has our society become so entrenched in the idea of intellectual property that educational advancement is hindered? Yes. Obviously.

Could I infer from this situation that education is not to be shared, that it is to be payed for? Yes I will make that inference.

Radiohead seeks to change one aspect of intellectual property, music. Their new album is available via DRM-free download for whatever price the consumer is willing to pay. Yes, the fans get to name their own price. Since the download is DRM-free the music fan is also able to play the album in their MP3 player, burn it onto many thousand CD's, copy it onto an infinite number of computers, etc.

In case you don't know what DRM is, here is the quickest primer: DRM is a technology that gives content providers control over access and distribution of media. Apple DRM technology strictly forbids songs purchased on iTunes from playing on multiple computers or multiples iPods.

Radiohead is essentially cutting out the middle man. They no longer need the help of a record label to distribute their music. They are popular enough and will probably "sell" lots of copies of their album. What is great for them is that they will probably make a considerable amount of money touring and selling merchandise. After all it is ticket and merchandise sales that drive a band's profits, not their record sales. The label benefits from record sales.

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