are you nothing more than a consumer?
Dan Gilmour's column points out that all the complaining about copyright issues going on in Web sites, columns and blogs (including this one) won't do any good if the people who make the rules don't listen to it. The column makes so many good points that it's tempting to quote the whole darn thing, but I'll settle for some key excerpts:
If you can set the rules, you can win the contest. That's the major reason the entertainment cartel is winning the debate over copyright in the Digital Age.
Average people are not part of the conversation, not in any way that matters. To the cartel and its chattel in the halls of political power, we are nothing but ``consumers'' -- our sole function is to eat what the movie, music and publishing industries put in front of us, and then send money.
(Okay, that's the first two grafs verbatim, but it's strong stuff!)
Absolute control means demolishing the rights we users of copyrighted material have enjoyed for centuries, such as the fair-use right to make personal copies or quote from copyrighted works. It means carving away what's left of the public domain, shrinking the public commons from which so many creative works have emerged in the past.
The entertainment companies don't fear the end of creativity. They fear the end of the business model that has centralized control over much of our culture, a system that has produced extortionate profits for companies that have a remarkable tendency to cheat the artists in the process.
I'm convinced that we can preserve our rights, if we can only persuade Congress that they're worth preserving. There's little or no constituency for fair use and other rights, partly because lawmakers are only hearing one side. But if the community of readers, listeners, viewers, scholars, researchers and others who don't ``own'' copyrights doesn't at least challenge the terms of the debate, it will surely lose.
..and there's more. Go. Read.