Ever hear this post's title song from Annie Get Your Gun?
Here's the first verse:
Folks are dumb where I come from,
They ain't had any learning.
Still they're happy as can be
Doin' what comes naturally (doin' what comes naturally).
The song came to mind this morning reading Mike Arrington's brief observation on the need for changes in copyright law. Here's Arrington's thought:
My position is that it’s bad to criminalize natural behavior. And watching a clip of The Office, whether it’s legally on Hulu or illegally on YouTube is natural behavior. The only question is whether or not people are getting sued, or going to jail, for doing it.
Now, that kind of common sense approach hasn't always won the day in legal matters but it certainly would make plenty of sense to Annie Oakley.
The idea that I can be sued for using a 30-second snippet of a song as background for a video...a video from which I earn no revenue and credit the original source...still confounds me. Who's harmed?
Yes, yes, I know, artists have to protect their copyrights or risk losing all remedies from truly nefarious usage. But, criminalizing natural behavior is as sure a way of creating disrespect for the law as you'll ever find. And, as we've seen, many people will, predictably, ignore that law (some at their peril.
The only question about copyright law changes is when they'll happen, not if. 'Cause stoppin' us dumb folks from doin' what makes us happy - what comes natur'lly - is a losin' fight.