Tim Wu’s Series Gets To Copyright

The whole series is worth reading — I particularly enjoyed The Conjurer’s Dilemma (cited earlier) as well as this one: American lawbreaking: The copyright problem

What are the most violated laws in the United States?

Traffic laws take first place, perhaps, but your next bet should be on copyright. Every week, in various ways, you probably violate the copyright law. […]

But there’s a reason we do things this way: political failure. The failure in this case is one of the oldest stories in political economy. […]

Consequently, the political system spits out one kind of answer—an answer friendly to the “property interests” of powerful media companies but one that all but ignores the interests of the basement-dwellers. The formal result of that is what we have today: a copyright law that covers almost everything we do in the digital world.

But the paradox is that the current law is so expansive and extreme that the very firms that first sought it cannot even make use of it. Nor would they want to. In a well-functioning political system, the copyright law might be reformed in a grand negotiation between all interested parties, with the long-term goal of separating out the harmful infringement from the harmless. But in 21st-century America, that’s not a result our political system is capable of reaching. And that’s why, here as in the rest of the series, we leave it to tolerated lawbreaking to find some way out.

And Verizon Did So Well When The RIAA Came Calling

Kinda makes you sick, doesn’t it? After all, what position is Verizon in to establish it’s an “emergency,” and why should it be up to them to decide? Isn’t that what warrants are for? Verizon Says It Turned Over Data Without Court Orderspdf

Verizon Communications, the nations second-largest telecom company, told congressional investigators that it has provided customers telephone records to federal authorities in emergency cases without court orders hundreds of times since 2005.

The company said it does not determine the requests legality or necessity because to do so would slow efforts to save lives in criminal investigations.