With all due respect to Gerry Faulhaber, copyright is not dead.
In fact, copyright is a part of the intellectual property revolution that is perhaps the most important aspect of the new economic model currently emerging (no, I’m not talking about investment bank bailouts).
Specifically, what we buy and consume has ever-increasing value-add in intellectual property and ever-decreasing value-add in raw materials and manufacturing despite the recent run-up in commodity pricing.
The glories of copyright
Copyright is a doctrine that says producers don’t lose their intellectual
property if they make it available in a way that it can be used; in other words, people can’t freely copy your stuff. Whether we’re talking new drugs, clever
turbines, productivity software, movies, or the novel, intellectual property
needs to be respected.
Like David, and many other commenters on this blog, I believe that current DRM
technology imposes too many restrictions on use of our books. I like to read on
multiple devices, not all of which support the same formats and don’t like being
forced to choose. I certainly don’t want to buy a library and then discover that
my vendor has gone out of business and I can no longer read my stuff. Copyright
is the basis for what David calls social DRM.
Needed for a working economy: Copyright
If we can’t have social DRM, that is, if users insist on freely copying without regard to authors’ rights, then we certainly will have DRM, no matter what the inconvenience. Because one way or another, the economy depends on our ability to protect the rights of copyright and patent holders.