A lot of our work at Question Copyright happens in small chunks, because the issues and myths surrounding copyright are so numerous and interconnected that it's usually best to disentangle them and try to deal with them one by one. (That's what the Minute Memes project is all about, for example.) Slowly, brick by brick, we're trying to strengthen the idea that sharing culture is a human right.
But sometimes it's nice to just come right out make the case all at once too, through straightforward, rigorous reasoning. The article below from Danny Colligan is a resource we've long needed: an "article of reference" that lays out the arguments against copyright restrictions in a thorough, well-organized and well-referenced way. Each section in this article is meant to be linked to (just hover over a section title to see its link name), the article as a whole is a great read from beginning to end, and the references section is a treasure trove. For any open-minded skeptics of copyright reform out there, this is the perfect place to start — if you've been wondering how people could possibly object to copyright, the answer is below.
What We Lose When We Embrace Copyright
by Danny Colligan
Table of contents
This article is intended for a general audience. No technical nor legal background is assumed. Also, I only examine American copyright law here.
With the advent of computers and computer network technology, copyright law has become increasingly relevant in the average American's life. One of the themes in the relationship between technology and law has been that law frequently lags behind technology. Copyright law, however, goes even further — it plainly contradicts the realities of modern technology. Specifically, computers and computer networks copy information, often without the explicit consent of any person, and copyright law criminalizes such copying. This mismatch of legality and reality poses devastating consequences.