Interview With Matthew Gertner at AllPeers Blog

Portait of Matthew Gertner Back in late 2006, Matthew Gertner (of AllPeers) and I did a mutual interview about copyright reform. It was a fascinating and wide-ranging conversation, and he’s posted it on PeerPressure, the AllPeers blog.

From Matthew’s introduction:

“…Rather than assuming that some copyright is necessary and trying to decide exactly how much is optimal, [Fogel] suggests that we imagine a world without copyright and take it from there.

He contends at the beginning of the podcast that, not only does he not know personally what the right level of copyright is, but that it isn’t possible to know this based on current evidence, a view that I find eminently reasonable. I also agree wholeheartedly with the way he concludes our discussion:

I think that there is some built-in exclusivity there but I also think… whatever change is going to happen is going to happen essentially through a market process. It’s not going to be that Congress suddenly wakes up and drastically reconsiders copyright law. Instead, some number of artists, just as some number of software developers did a couple of decades ago, will by choice release their stuff under these liberal copyrights, And they will create this little fertile safe space for sharing that will grow, and basically we’ll have two parallel streams: there’s the old stream and the free stream. And people will just start choosing stuff based on what they like, not based on ideological concerns about how it was produced. And we’ll just see what happens.

At the end of the day, we need to create an environment where individuals can test their own approaches to copyright and let the market decide what works best. I don’t necessarily see as strong a connection as Karl between liberal copyright terms and free content, however, and I hope that this makes our discussion more dynamic and thought-provoking.”

There are both download and streaming links available — listen to it here.