THE PURPOSE OF copyright shouldn’t be to ensure that whoever got lucky with last year’s business model gets to stay on top forever. Live music is great, but what a rotten thing it would have been if the winners of the live-music lottery in 1908 had been allowed to strangle recorded music to protect their turf.
I think we can tell a good copyright system from a bad one by what kind of work gets made under its rules. A bad copyright system has fewer creators making fewer types of work, enjoyed by fewer people. A good copyright system is one that enables the largest diversity of creators making the largest diversity of works to please the largest diversity of audiences. It’s fine for copyright to try to secure some income for the tiny percentage of creators who’ll earn a living from their work. But while it’s at it, it shouldn’t get in the way of all the people who are making art because they want to express themselves.