January 31, 2005 | By Donna Wentworth

Enough Already with the Crocodile Tears

Ed Felten today asks Hollywood to quit shedding crocodile tears over profits "lost" to Internet-enabled piracy -- at least while it continues to make more money than ever, while denying movie stars (the "artist") a more sizable cut:

[Surging profits] undercut the industry's rent-seeking in Washington, which relies on a narrative in which technology destroys the industry's revenue stream. If the technology problem is really as bad as the industry says, then it ought to show up in the sales numbers. [...]

It may turn out that the net effect of technology on the industry is neutral, or even positive. If so, then no expansion of copyright law is needed, and a mild contraction may even be in order. Remember, the goal of copyright is not to maximize the profits of any one industry, but to foster creativity by regulating just enough to ensure an adequate incentive to create.

For more on this very topic, check out the comments [PDF] EFF filed with the FCC earlier this month. It provides a number of instances to demonstrate that, despite the shrill rhetoric to the contrary, the entertainment industry's sky is far from falling.


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