BTB #291: Not Sharing, Not Stealing – Infringement

Robert LevineAt the recent OnCopyright 2012 conference, Robert Levine explained for the audience in a keynote speech how the commonly used language of copyright shapes the debate and makes for confusion on the fundamentals

“I don’t think copyright infringement is stealing,” he told the Columbia Law School audience. “The idea that this is stealing, I think, introduces a moral tone that I don’t like. I don’t like to treat it as a moral issue. I’d like to treat it as a legal issue and an economic issue.

Free Ride“It’s also not sharing,” he continued. “ Sharing implies good. If you’re sharing my book, that implies that you’re doing something good. I think stealing and sharing are both not what’s going on. I think copyright infringement is a very good term for what’s going on. I would encourage more people to use it.”

Robert Levine covers the culture business from New York and Berlin. Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back is his first book. Fortune called it, a “smart, caustic tour of the modern culture industry,” and Bill Keller in his New York Times review praised Free Ride as, “a wonderfully clear-eyed account of this colossal struggle over the future of our cultural lives.” Levine previously was the executive editor of Billboard and has written for Vanity Fair, Rolling Stone, and the arts and business sections of the New York Times.

This week, CCC’s Beyond the Book podcast series presents Levine’s full address at OnCopryight 2012; for video and more on the full day’s programming, go to www.oncopyright2012.com.

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