Today’s copyright law is ridiculous and offensive, to say the least, and this week it’s Mr Roger’s Neighborhood” turn to prove it.
Andrea James writes on Boing Boing that
"Over the weekend, two episodes of Mister Roger's Neighborhood "Conflict" series unexpectedly appeared on YouTube after being unavailable for three decades. YouTube quickly removed them, but to many, the timing felt related to Trump's plans to defund PBS."
The full story is here, but I’m not mentioning it it because it may “be a message to Trump”. I couldn’t care less about that. The only reason I am writing about this story, it is because it is a perfect example of how deeply flawed the current copyright system is. Did you carefully read the quote above? The real news here is not some hypothetical “message to Trump”. Is the fact that:
- something that was lost for more than three decades was “finally found”, that is returned to society
- but after ONE DAY became lost again, “just because”.
That is, just because current copyright law allows somebody to deny everybody else something that they had published, on the sole basis of copyright.
This is indecent. In an era when digitizing information and distributing it, is very cheap, situations like “out of print”, or “not in stock” should not exist at all. Not for published creative works like these, at least.
The fact that it is legal to say “I published this, but since I don’t want to do it anymore, nobody else should do it period”, is NOT good. As a minimum, it’s a cultural loss. In some cases, it’s a wonderful legal mask for censorship.