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like, whoa

July 2, 2009

today in mind-bogglingly stupid ways to halt the advance of technological progress, richard posner suggests the following (to protect newspapers):

Expanding copyright law to bar online access to copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, or to bar linking to or paraphrasing copyrighted materials without the copyright holder’s consent, might be necessary to keep free riding on content financed by online newspapers from so impairing the incentive to create costly news-gathering operations that news services like Reuters and the Associated Press would become the only professional, nongovernmental sources of news and opinion. (via gawker).

really? REALLY? let’s ignore for a moment the fact that this would represent an unprecedented* expansion of copyright law to fucking paraphrasing (as gawker’s hamilton nolan points out, you can’t fucking copyright the news, jackass, merely your specific presentation of it). how exactly would one enforce this law? do you know how incredibly difficult it is to stop online piracy of books, how easy it is for people to post material on a series of mirror sites that are ultimately located in some place like Tongva where they don’t have to respect DMCA takedown notices? not to mention the sheer volume of pirated materials means that you could have someone researching online copyright violations all day, every day, and still not get them all. and this dude is proposing to ban linking and paraphrasing? there is no way that newspapers could enforce that, no way at all. what are they going to do, check every single blog page in the world every single day and start infringement proceedings? i’m so sure. 

this is fucking ridiculous. 

*i’m guessing, based on my limited knowledge of copyright. any copyright or IP lawyers out there, feel free to correct me.

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