Does stricter copyright really equal digital dystopia?

In his essay “Strong Copyright + DRM + Weak Net Neutrality = Digital Dystopia?“, Bailey said outlined the change that copyright laws have undergone from 1790 to what they are today. In 1790 Bailey shows how copyright laws were extremely lax with less rules and little to no effects of copyrights on the average citizen. He then covers how copyrights have evolved to become stricter, with creative works staying for longer and longer periods out of the public domain, and how such protection of creative works can contribute to a stifling of culture.

A problem with this thinking though is that looking at the culture and accessibility of media now versus 1790, it is quite obvious that we are much more surrounded by creative works and culture than in 1790. Just sitting at home we can listen to practically any song, watch any movie, view a digital version of almost any painting, and read many articles and quite a few books.

So looking at all this, has the increasing strength of copyrights really stifled our creative works, or is it just as likely that with the introduction of copyright laws came an increase in the backlash of copyrights and easier distribution of creative works.

The reason napster started may stem from a dissatisfaction the purchase of cds and the copyrights restriction of widespread free media use. So ironically, the way things have played out, it looks like an increase in copyright is somehow related to an increase in its antithesis – easily-accessible media.

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