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Topic: Copyright and copying wrongs

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Subject:   More thoughts on same
Author: Gayla
Date: Sep 20 2003
Hi again,

I've been thinking more about the stringent rights inherent even without an
official copyright and trying to apply the "standard" standards to the web.  I
don't think it can be done, because there is too little of an ability to impose
forced accountability.  People have access to materials in public libraries, but
in libraries there are physical places with physical presences of authority, so,
for instance, you can't (easily) walk out with a book.  There exist incentives
to follow the rules independent of what someone might do without them, causing
more people to follow the rules whether they want to or not.  We don't have that
on the internet, and to keep the same expectations of use AS THOUGH it were an
analogous situation, seems like folly.  When it comes to what is on the
internet, people have to be willing to follow the rules largely internally, in
spite of no one being there to force them, so the incentives need to be
different.  They need to be tailored to appeal to the conscience of the typical
person, and they need to be functional.  From a practical standpoint, the rules
of use need to be slackened so people can follow them easier, or without
perceived undue and unfair hardship.  Otherwise more people are going to tend
toward breaking the rules (because the rules are stringent and no one is really
'there' to force compliance), and once rules of use are broken, then it is only
matters of how much, and degrees of noncompliance will become unimportant.  Then
it is an easy step, that has partially been taken, for it to become the accepted
norm to be uncompliant.  At that point the system breaks down, when even the
normally compliant people flow with the new norm.  Following such a path, at
some point, control will be lost completely, because compliance can't be forced
on everyone, even in a library, or in traffic on the streets, not anywhere.
Compliance must be embraced willingly by the majority, even when an  outside
authority is present, and especially when outside authority isn't present and/or
is invisible, as it is on the web.  

Sorry if this was long.  I think you asked the question seriously, and I've
seriously considered it.  As technology gets better and better, big companies
will be able to protect themselves better.  The little guy who puts something
out on the web is still going to be vulnerable and dependent upon people acting
ethically by choice.  

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