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Monday, October 17, 2005

Imagine a world without copyright

Not likely, but Joost Smiers (author of ''Arts Under Pressure: Promoting Cultural Diversity in the Age of Globalization") and Marieke van Schijndel imagines such a world and concludes:

The level playing field of cultural production - a market accessible for everyone - would once again be restored. A world without copyright would offer the guarantee of a good income to many artists, and would protect the public domain of knowledge and creativity. And members of the public would get what they are entitled to: a surprisingly rich and varied menu of artistic alternatives.

In response, Alec van Gelder, of the International Policy Network, says "No Thanks."

While they pay lip service to democratic rights, artistic entrepreneurs and markets, the writers' romantic communitarian utopia where copyright does not exist smacks to some of us of "1984": The key to the fantasy is "a generous range of subsidies" apportioned by government from taxes to support the self-proclaimed art of self-styled artists, or that of politically deserving artists. Markets, underpinned by their fundamental freedoms, are the only democratic way of rewarding creativity.


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