Peer to peer and libraries are not that different

Josep M. Ganyet posted this on his blog

Peer to peer and libraries are not that different

by Josep M. Ganyet
Posted in Internet, Politics

I’m reading about the ongoing Pirate Bay trial, the recent appointment of González-Sinde as the new Spanish minister of culture (and her particular views about p2p) and the bill against p2p rejected by the French parliament.
What do they all have in common? P2p? Piracy? File sharing? Not really. At the heart of the debates lays the ignorance of governments about the digital medium and their stubbornness in dealing with it as if it were the physical world.
Is in the physical world, where everybody agrees that culture exchange is necessary for the common progress, that no one seems to have any problem at all with information sharing.
For that matter institutions have been providing us with information exchange networks called libraries.
In such a network anyone can borrow information, be books, DVDs or CDs, and no one is considered a thief for sharing them with members of his immediate network.
Are goverments who build libraries and create networks around them liable of piracy? Or, on the other hand, this is something necessary to give equal opportunities to everybody granting people access to culture?
Dear governments, copyright institutions, judges and other XIX century nostalgics, here’s a tip that should help you understand digital information: think of libraries. Bigger, larger and ultra-efficient libraries
When you deal with information exchange online think of the internet as the biggest library mankind has created, an analogy that has been around since the first days of the web and not too difficult to understand.
And if you’re happy with people borrowing from libraries I don’t see why shouldn’t you be even happier with people doing the same in a larger library and in a much more efficient way.

1 Comment Peer to peer and libraries are not that different

  1. AvatarSepp Hasslberger

    I commented on Ganyet’s blog and repeat the text here…

    Josep M. Ganyet is making a good point.

    Why are libraries ok and direct sharing of information from computer to computer isn’t?

    It’s the copyright industry associations that are pushing the point with governments, and that is their right. Governments however, should take a detached view. They aren’t working only for the copyright holders. As a matter of fact, the users (whom government is also supposed to work for) outnumber the copyright holders, mostly large corporations, by several orders of magnitude.

    I believe the point that needs to be stressed is that governments are employed by us – the citizens – and consequently their first duty is to care for our interests. Building libraries was yesterday’s response to making culture available to all. Building the internet and keeping it free of blocks is today’s method of ensuring culture is available to all.

    Simple, but the meme needs to pass into the halls of those who govern…

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