Copyright Laws Should Be Abolished Essay

1276 words - 5 pages

Copyright laws are laws that restrict users of certain information, such as literature works and computer programs, from distributing that information. They are based on the belief that those who discover information should have some control over who can use that information. The control is mostly intended to allow the discoverers to make money through distributing the knowledge only to those who pay them. However, such control is inherently inefficient and infringes on the rights of the users to obtain the information they need. Copyright laws should be abolished because they are economically unsound.

If a person obtains information, his or her decision-making capability is likely to improve, thus benefiting both the person and other people. Using information does not hurt its original discoverers since the only direct impact is on the user and the decisions made. Thus, obtaining and using information is generally beneficial regardless of whether it violates copyright laws.

By infringing on peoples' rights to obtain, use, and give information, copyright laws prevent people from reaching correct decisions (or at least slow down decision making) and thus are inherently inefficient. For example, because copyright restrictions require payment of high license fees, many businesses skip the upgrade to Microsoft Office XP despite its important productivity enhancements. A study showed that tasks requiring 43minutes with Office 2000 are accomplished in mere 20minutes with Office XP--over 100% productivity improvement (Microsoft Office XP vs. Office 2000 Comparison Test Public Report). However, the proportion of businesses likely to upgrade from Office 2000 during the first year of Office XP is 8%, second year--12%, and after second year--15% (Smiley).

While works of art do not directly improve productivity, people learn important ideas from art. The ideas may profoundly affect their lives. Moreover, art can bring happiness, and the government should strive to make the people happy. Therefore, all unnecessary laws that reduce access to art by preventing people from communicating art should be abolished.

Copyright laws are ineffective since they are frequently violated. Worldwide, 40% of software is unauthorized (Business Software Alliance). File-sharing networks make copyright laws unenforceable; almost all popular songs can be obtained free of charge through these networks. The victory in courts against Napster file-sharing service is empty since in its place appeared file-sharing programs that do not require a centralized server and thus are almost impossible to stop. In September 2001, 1.51 billion of (primarily copyrighted) files were downloaded using distributed file-sharing networks. In October, that number rose to 1.81billion (Mariano).

The violations show a failure of copyright laws and cause special problems. Because of copyright laws, money and resources are spent on obtaining unauthorized copies of information, on enforcing...

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