The Law
September 16th, 2007 by Sonja

Bill Kinnon (of the Ends Achievable) has a great post on digital rights management this afternoon. He’s talking about the general shift in attitude of the music and other industries to considering that their customers are stealing the products they are selling. It’s really sort of sad when you consider it.

It makes me angry when I purchase a song from iTunes and the only place I can play that song is on my iPod or the specific computer I purchased it on. I know that someone is going to come on my blog and stick up for the artist and their rights to be paid for the song. Trust me as I write this piece there is almost no one more empathetic to the rights of an artist to be paid for their work. If the musicians were actually getting a piece of that pie, I’d be sympathetic, but the reality is that the music companies are getting the large portion of that money, not the musicians. If I pay $.99 per song, how much is the musician getting? Really …

Here’s what the whole post got me thinking about though. Last month our guild had a speaker come in to talk to us about copyright law and quilters. I didn’t get to be there because … I’d just come home from the hospital (remember that fun?). In any case she spent the entire evening telling our group of kindly little old ladies about how they were breaking the law when they used a pattern more than one time. Or shared it with a friend. Or some other horrible offense. Again, don’t get me wrong. I design quilts and some day I hope to publish designs. But as an artist it would be my fondest hope that people would share those with each other. If I found out that people thought enough of my doodles to share them with each other, I’d be THRILLED. I certainly would not swear out a warrant after them. Now though, there is a current of fear in my little guild that never existed before. My wonderful ladies worry about whether or not they can make their quilts and give them away. They are fussing about things they don’t need to fuss about. All because someone had a little bit of knowledge and decided to pass along some fear.

It’s rampant these days. Have you noticed? Fear sells. It sells cars. It sells insurance. It sells politicians. It sells whatever someone wants you to buy. But it sells. It’s not how we used to sell things here … but it’s how we’re selling things now. Fear. Our greatest desire lately seems to be safety. So we’re listening to the people hawking fear.

3 Responses  
  • kievasfargo writes:
    September 16th, 20074:59 pmat

    Most of the music companies still refuse to acknowledge that there has been a shift in how music is sold. Universal just started selling DRM-free music on iTunes, but it took them a long while to get there. Hopefully more companies will follow.

    BTW, you can play a DRM-protected iTunes track on up to five computers. It’s still not like having a CD that you can play anywhere, but you can always burn one :)

  • Julie Clawson writes:
    September 17th, 200711:50 pmat

    This whole thing bugs me. I sell quilts at craft shows. These are raggy quilts and God help me if anyone has copyrighted that technique. The issue I run into is selling liscensed fabrics. most crafters have no issues selling fabrics with NFL logos, or Disney characters printed on them – but it’s against the law. And they look at me like I’m a freak when I tell them that I won’t to the copyrighted stuff (at least to sell). (which brings up the issue that all fabric is designed by soomeone, how can any handmade craft be sold?…).

    Anyway, my point is that there needs to be a balance somewhere between the disregard for law and fear.

  • Paul writes:
    September 18th, 20072:52 pmat

    plus i steal all my good blog post ideas from you sonja 😉

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