Channel 4’s commissioning editor for education, Alice Taylor has gone on record to say that the global efforts to reduce copyright infringement are doomed to fail.
Writing for the Perspectives website, she stated that introduction of digital rights management stifles the free flow of information that is essential in gaining recognition for good ideas, business practices and products on the internet.
“Piracy is simply demand where appropriate supply does not exist,” wrote Taylor. “Digital Rights Management technologies – in other words, anti-copying, anti-fair use – are also anti-accessibility. They attempt to block and restrict, and they fail every time. Every single time. To be accessible, work needs to be available, always and to everyone. No delineations, no restrictions: it’s too messy. Too expensive. Too dull.”
Taylor argued that the current generation of web users are ‘internet natives,’ characterised by the sharing and spreading of information and ideas, and that to try and restrict these activities is not just futile but potentially harmful.
“Two thirds of teenagers admit (and how many don’t admit?) to sharing music, digitally, without paying for it,” Taylor continued. “Of course they do: music is all about identity, and teenagehood is about creating and playing with identity. Copyright maximalists like Feargal Sharkey want them to stop this sharing, to go back to buying music and hoarding it, to learn to ‘respect copyright’.
“It won’t work. We can t tell the majority of a population that they’re criminals now for doing something humans intrinsically want to do, like sharing songs.”