Speaking at the Book Industry Conference in London this morning (16th May), Pearson UK president Rod Bristow said as demand increases for digital content, piracy will increase. He said: “The rise of the internet has led to a view among some people and some technology companies that copyright is just an irritant; that the real value today is not in creating content but in finding it.”
Bristow is — inadvertently — exactly right. Copyright is “just an irritant”, whose main effects on the digital world are to cripple functionality with DRM and to prevent the innovation of new services.
In the internet age, all digital data can be easily and quickly copied to the other side of the world. This isn’t a side affect of the internet, it’s its primary function. As commenter iucounu says:
Does nobody realise how futile [the Digital Economy] Act is? It won’t work. There is no power on Earth short of switching the Internet off at the mains that will protect copyright in ebooks. They’re just too darn easy to copy and distribute.