November 18, 2015

How colpyright laws hurt our culture

Tech Dirt - A few years ago, we first wrote about the supposed missing black hole of culture due to copyright, based on some excellent research by Paul Heald, looking at the availability of new books on Amazon based on the years they were published. It produced this chart:

As you can see, there are a bunch of recent books, then a huge drop off... until a sudden spike at 1922 -- also known as the year before which nearly all books are in the public domain. That giant gaping hole on the right side of the graph should be pretty distressing. It counters the totally false narrative by certain legacy copyright system supporters that copyright is necessary to get books published and also that without copyright, no one would bother to sell the works, because they could just be copied by others. But, more importantly, it shows how much important culture is totally locked up because of copyright law -- unable to be published by those who'd like to offer them, and not worth it for the copyright holders to actually publish.

Late last year, EU Parliament Julia Reda published a similar chart concerning the EU:

That one also looked at books, in the same manner as Heald's original research. On top of that, Heald himself has continued to explore this issue, including comparing new books to used books and also looking at the music space.

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