I went to a forum on copyright last night, hosted in Auckland by Labour MP Clare Curran – their Communications & IT spokesperson. Given the range of people there (the APRA to longhair hackers) it was surprisingly cordial and no edged weapons were used even when the pizza ran low.
There were a few things that struck me. One was a representative of a video store chain that believed there were legal sites in NZ where people could watch current big movies legally. In the process of correcting him, it became apparent that there is a big hole in the NZ online market waiting to be filled. We have no mainstream music store online. Why not?
Another undercurrent was the realisation that you’re not going to stamp out copyright infringements with technology. Whatever you do, prosecuting someone for a single track isn’t going to be worth the effort. Action has to be targeted at bulk infringers, and the rest of us need fair use. If you can’t do it with technology, the business model and social attitudes are both going to have to change.
The “elephant in the room” is the USA. They control 50% of the world’s copyright, and behave like they control all of it (cf Google Books agreements). It’s going to be tricky to pacify them and come up with copyright legislation that benefits New Zealanders. But at least people are now talking without thumping on the table.