In Defense of Piracy

Intellectual Property and Copyright and Trademark

Article Snapshot


Lawrence Lessig


Wall Street Journal, October 11, 2008


This op-ed argues that copyright law has gone too far.

Policy Relevance

Copyright law should be reformed so that amateur creators of new works out of old works do not have to fear overzealous lawyers.

Main Points

  • Universal music studios asked YouTube to remove the poor quality video of a small child dancing to a popular song, claiming that it violated copyright law.

  • Overzealous lawyers are using copyright law to attack musicians and other creators of new works.

  • Copyright law should be reformed so that
    • Amateur remixes are not regulated.
    • Any and all digital copies are not really “copies” for copyright purposes, because new technology and networks make many copies.
    • The law should be simplified.
    • The way that young people commonly use new technologies to make copies is legal.

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