We need to get rid of the “copyright” idea and create a system that really provides the benefits copyright delivered gracefully until the dawn of the digital age – and then got literally murdered by modern computing.
Here’s the thought process:
A copyright is intended to aid the creation and dissemination of new works by providing the economic benefit derived from real and artificial scarcity
Scarcity is becoming harder to come by these days. We have abundance.
In the past/present pretty much everything you do is your property and copyright. The default is “protected”
I propose a system where you have to apply for a scarcity license. This isn’t like simply filing for a copyright for a piece of work – this is much more than that – it puts the burden on the creator to DEMONSTRATE that if they are granted an “Artificial Scarcity License”, then society will actually benefit. Society has to benefit here, not the creator of the work exclusively (I have a feeling the Generation Y and Millenial tree huggers would love this idea).
So you could prove that by protecting your motion picture that cost xx to make, next year you’ll be able to provide audiences with a better movie they will enjoy more. If the protection wasn’t there, we’d be limited to youtube clips. You could prove that protecting your blog post will give you a chance to make more good posts. Protecting your software will allow you to make better bug-free software. You might also be able to prove something similar for your music if you’re a music label. You probably won’t be able to prove this unless your business delivers something other than just scarcity and rapes the market. The key here is you have to prove you have been doing this broader improvement of the art, the economics or society, or can at least plausibly deliver on your promise, and will be accountable to do so with your Artificial Scarcity License on the line if you don’t.
In the age of abundance, the burden of proof needs to lie with those that desire scarcity. We will give you scarcity, only when you work in favor of our broader abundance.
PS: No, I’m not actually going to do anything substantial other than write about this. I’m a big-picture whiz-bang idea guy – Let the folks with OCD figure out the details.
PPS: Yes, this is similar to patents.