In this article the author argues that the current system of digital media artist compensation by means of copyright protection is in the process of a "creative destruction" instigated by the internet and its users. "Creative destruction" is described as the process by which economic structures evolve via the destruction of old systems and the simultaneous rise of new ones. He points to the current "digital dilemma," the availability of mass copying and distribution of copyright protected digital media through the internet, as the catalyst for the "creative destruction of copyright and proposes several solutions. Some scholars have suggested a "pay-per-use" scheme to compensate artists for works distributed over the internet. Critics, however, insist that this scheme is not optimal since it would inhibit some fair uses of copyrighted works. The argument, in the author's opinion, boils down to a conflict between artist compensation and social welfare. He therefore proposes that in the face of the "digital dilemma" it is best to abolish the current copyright regime since there are currently drastic differences in the sources of revenue for artists and distributors of digital works and, while it is in society's interest to provide artists incentives to produce, it is also in the public's interest to reduce costs associated with distribution of digital works.
This article also discusses proponents of the copyright system that support expanding its reach throughout the internet and opponents who fear it because of potential limitations to fair use. It also delves into two cases regarding the internet and digital media copyright: the Napster and MP3.com cases. With respect to the fair use doctrine, it is clear that sharing of music over these networks did not constitute fair uses because it encroached on the market for digital music and deprived artists of potential revenues. The author continues to argue, however, that in the face of the internet, copyright has become irrelevant. The internet eliminates the free rider dilemma of digital music reproduction and distribution because users internalizes distribution costs by purchasing the hardware and software required to access the internet and the recording industry should collect royalties from the sales of these products. Digital media distribution via the internet the recording industry can also eliminate nearly all costs associated with distribution. An even more radical opinion considered is that there is no longer any need for copyright to protect the reproduction and distribution of digital media since there are drastic asymmetries in the revenue structures of artists and distributors. The article shows that artists derive very little revenue from the actual distribution of their works and that even if distribution revenues were eliminated, there could still be sufficient financial incentives for them to produce works.
I would like to use this as background evidence in my paper to show some sources of uncertainty in digital media copyright and potential new avenues that lawmakers and the courts could take. I would like to take into account the recent ways in which the recording industry has dealt with unlicensed online file sharing, namely by filing lawsuits and shutting down services providing free downloads or imposing licensing fees. I would also like to use the opinions regarding the current revenue structure of the music industry with respect to artists as support for the need to a new copyright system in the future.
Klemesrud, Judy. "They wait hours--to be shocked." New York Times on the Web 27 Jan 1974.
University of Pennsylvania Library, Philadelphia 9 May 2008.
This is a NY Times article written about a month after The Exorcist was released in theatres. Klemesrud stood in a massively long line, interviewing ticketholders and employees at Manhattan’s Cinema I complex. She found out that previous moviegoers had not only vomited, but also hurriedly left, fainted, screamed, endured heart attacks—and one even reportedly had a miscarriage due to the horrific scenes.
Many people waited for up to twelve hours to be able to see how the impossible would be represented on screen. The crowds wanted to see flying objects, spinning heads, levitation, and not to mention the morbid scenes capturing blood, vomit, guts, and gore. Several fans wondered if parts of the book would actually be represented in the film—such as the taboo masturbation-with-the-cross incident and gratuitous language use, among other possibilities.
Some of the interviewees were seeing the movie for the third or fourth time. In fact, one reported feeling “contaminated” when they left the theatre, unable to get rid of the images and feelings aroused during previous views. Even though he had been having terrifying dreams ever since, he still wanted to see it again because of its extreme shock factor.
People leaving the theatre commented on how accurate the film was in comparison to the book, and remarked how “there’s nothing else like it”. Klemesrud goes on to quote a Chicago newspaper, which reported a psychiatric hospital admitting six people who had seen the film.
In considering this historical report, The Exorcist seems to have realistically transmitted a sense of fear and threat; so much so that it managed to provoke all of these reactions and predicaments among its viewers. It can be inferred that the cinematic techniques employed throughout the film played a large role in bringing about these truly terrifying sentiments. Had these special effects not been believable and successful in capturing people’s greatest fears, the film would not have been enjoying so much box office prosperity.
In his book Apocalypse Movies author Kim Newman examines the different genres and periods of apocalyptic films. Particularly notable is Newman’s focus on movies that emphasize the use of weapons to save the world and those that depict weapons destroying the world. Interestingly, in separate chapters the author points out that both types of movie debuted near the beginning of the 1950s, a time of anxiety and progress. The different uses of bombs in movies embody the conflicting perspectives of society. On one hand, one might identify nuclear weapons as a safeguard, an instrument to employ when threatened. Newman points out this attitude in Mant, when a man has to use a weapon to destroy a mutated giant ant man. On the other hand, movies on the other side of the spectrum portrayed weapon use in much different manner. The Damned, for example, “conjures up an age of senseless violence of which the bomb is merely the most fearsome part” (p. 168).
Kubrick’s satiric use of nuclear weapons in Dr. Strangelove is quite different from either of the two extreme modes mentioned. While the film does depict a world that ultimately is destroyed by weapons, the film is humorous and lighthearted enough that it allows the audience to absord a message rather than experience a thrill. Where most weapon films of the time portrayed dismal, alarming environments Dr. Strangelove is comical enough that the message becomes the focus. Other films risk heightening the viewer’s alarm, distracting from actual situations and possibly discouraging the spectator. Unlike many “bomb” films, because Kubrick takes a satirical approach Dr. Strangelove is able to address the issue of nuclear proliferation in a way that allows viewers to approach it critically.
Is there a way to effectively deter a Soviet attack without the threat of retribution? As we see in Dr. Strangelove and the circumstances of the Cold War, it appears that if either party discontinued its pursuit of arms or renounced forceful retaliation plans the opponent would immediately have an advantage and an incentive to attack. In the article “Nuclear Arms as a Philosophical and Moral Issue” author Robert Churchill addresses that issue, closely examining the ethical implications of retaliation and alternatives. Harming the innocent, including not protecting them if an attack is suspect, is central to the morality issue, according to Churchill. While considering whether to abandon retributive plans a country must also contemplate whether doing so would invite an attack upon its civilians by the other country. Here arise questions of human nature.
As evidenced by the Cold War, the common mentality is to assume that countries will not cooperate. Immediately individuals assume that the other nation is an opponent or adversary and means harm. In Dr. Strangelove the deranged general, certain the Russians plotted to fluoridate US drinking water, embodied the paranoid mindset. Such suspicious attitudes only strengthen the distrust between countries. The situation is essentially a catch 22. Once one country starts amassing weapons the other must do so to avoid attack, and if one stops producing weapons it risks being attacked. Both countries would benefit from abandoning their programs, but neither can.
The issue seems to rest on the perception of human nature. Through cooperation both countries could direct resources elsewhere and avoid the anxiety of nuclear competition. The success of disarmament lies in the balance of whether the two could successful exist without challenging each other.