Wednesday, February 21, 2007

Technology Catching Cheats

William Patry has a cool story on copyright infringement detection. It seems that the CD upload device in iTunes caught a pianist who was passing off someone else's work as their own. Apparently, when you load a CD into iTunes it compares data on the music against a massive repository to identify the music. This database then sends information on the track back to the computer. When a music lover lover added a CD of the plagerist, iTunes sent back the track information for the original recording.

This confirms my thinking on copyright. It seems to me that one of the best ways to preserve the rights of content creators is to start by maintaining massive timestamped databases of content. When the work of a plagerist gets popular, computers that compare bits of data here and there will flush out the plagerists.

It seems to me that the way to protect content creators is to create repositories that record and archive date stamped information. I actually know of only one such entity. Unfortunately, the Copyright Office charges an outlandish $45 per submission. I've copyrighted certain piles of work, and it is a hassle.

Both cost of creating content has dropped dramatically. The price you get marketing orginal content has dropped with the cost of creating content. Unfortunately, the cost of filing copyrights is increasing.

The copyright office charges $45.00 for a service that the free market could provide for a nickel. Which I guess is good for a government agency.

The secret to protect copyright is to have easy to use mechanisms where people can date stamp content in a relatively secure manner. The fact that the copyright office is full of incompetent political drones who are incapable of providing services to match market needs means that the public goes unprotected. Meanwhile the free enterprise system simply stumbles on ways to protect the people.

Who'd a thunk such a thing would happen?

NOTE: I do not think any of the mindfarts on this blog are worth the $45 it costs to protect them. However, I think it would be great to have mechanisms that catch people or companies that harvest and sell writings from online. Since the copyright offices overcharges for their service, the government has effectively created a class of people that the thieves of the world can exploit.

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