Music is too dangerous

Today's copyright insanity comes from Bruce Schneier's blog:

A well-known company, running a massive multi-player virtual world, was considering adding a new space to their world. Due to the nature of the space, characters there would probably want to make music. So the programmers created a set of virtual musical instruments, and tools for players to create their own instruments. The plan was that players would get virtual instruments and make music, for all of the reasons people make music in the real world.

But management nixed the idea, on advice from lawyers, because of concerns about copyright infringement. The problem was that players might use their virtual instruments to play copyrighted songs, and the game company might be sued for contributory or vicarious copyright infringement, for failing to prevent this.

A pen (and a flute) is truly mightier (and scarier) than a sword... I have an idea (for free use, just remember to pay me): Why don't we just license musicians the same way we license driving? I mean, obviously the music arts are very dangerous, as one could inadvertently play music that someone else has already invented, so we should slap obligatory training and yearly license fee for anyone who practices or performs music. This money could be used to pay starving artists (the mythical creatures that inhabit the caves in Kansas). In addition, we could also license listening to the music: make everyone pay every time they hear a tune that has been copyrighted. (No wait, I think that's already being done.)

For the humour impaired, the above paragraph is sarcasm. S-A-R-C-A-S-M. Or irony. I always get them mixed up. But I reserve the right to have been right if someone seriously suggests in the future that music performances in private establishments (like homes or offices) should be stopped because someone might play copyrighted songs.

Is copyright still enabling innovation and creativity? Maybe a hundred years ago - but today... I don't know. It certainly doesn't look like it anymore.




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"Main_blogentry_270505_1" last changed on 27-May-2005 10:49:07 EEST by JanneJalkanen.

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