Friday, March 18, 2011

Nose cut off, face effectively spited

It's true that legitimate copyright has become ever more challenging to defend these days, as almost anything can be digitized and instantly transmitted anywhere.* It's also the case that copyright is being used to exert more control over information than anyone is legally entitled to.

And then, sometimes the confusion and fear over copyright lead to just bizarre, self-defeating CYA types of actions. Such as Barnes and Noble preventing their customers from providing them with free advertising, when the customers tried to photograph and tweet a book display.

The blogger has a couple of things wrong here, actually. You don't have to register your creation to gain copyright protection; copyright is automatic at the time of creation and has been for many years. And I don't think B&N is claiming copyright over the arrangement of their book display. More likely they're worried that they could be sued as an accessory to reproducing the copyrightable artwork of the covers.

But while the latter might be technically true, it only shows how ridiculous the protectionist regime has become. It was an offer free advertising! Not just for the store and company, but for the authors and publishers! You spend a fortune to advertise your store and its wares, and then someone offers to do it for free! It's win-win -- except that it's not, because the bookseller has come down with copyphobia, which often leads to impaired judgment and self-destructive behavior. Very sad, and modern medicine has not yet discovered a cure.

* So far, not pizza yet. But someday.

No comments: