President Bush has signed into law the Enforcement of Intellectual Property Rights Act which creates the position of a “Copyright Czar” (although the job probably won’t be filled until the new year).
Well I guess that makes me a Copyright Bolshevik. And we know how that ended.
This law is in the long term irrelevant. Copyright is dead (by which I mean that business models based on selling copies of a piece of information are becoming non-viable); the worst this bill will do in the short term is harm a few thousand individual file sharers. In the medium term the main effect of this might be to stimulate the creation of new P2P software that is more robust against attacks, and which makes it harder for the MAFIAA to snoop on what files people are sharing. In the long term, this law may slow down slightly the transition to the information-is-free-as-in-beer society, but it cannot halt it.
This is not to be read as a moral judgement: what I say is true regardless of whether I — or anyone else — approves of it. Bits are copiable, and the law cannot change that, any more than a law could make water not wet. The only way to stop filesharing would be to destroy the computing and Internet infrastructure, which no nation can do unless it wants to be as poor as North Korea. Bush might as well pass a law ordering the tide not come in, for the good it will do.