Philippe Aigrain is co-founder of La Quadrature du Net a citizen group defending freedoms and fundamental rights in the digital environment. He has just published “Sharing: Culture and the Economy in the Internet Age”, Amsterdam University Press, http://www.sharing-thebook.net

Hello dear Philippe—

Here are the questions:
1) The juncture of conflicting interests frequently leads to a clash between copyright and other basic institutions (fundamental user rights) in our society, particularly the freedom of speech, privacy and Internet access. Is copyright, as we have known it for three centuries, an appropriate tool for the needs of creators and society in a digital environment as SOPA, Pipa and Scotus suppose?

Copyright and the exclusive control on copies part of author rights are deeply inadapted to the digital environment. In the era of work on carriers, copyright was never meant to regulate the acts of the public (the reader for instance). In the digital environment, an exclusive control on copies could exist only by depriving two billion individuals (and soon more) from basic capabilities of copying and exchanging files. This impossibility of such a control has not yet been recognized by all, and thus we see an ever expanding series of increasingly harmful laws such as SOPA, PIPA or the ACTA treaty that the European Parliament will reject or ratify in the coming months. But other rights, such as the social rights of authors and other contributors to creation to be recognized and remunerated remain fully valid. It is just the way in which they can be implemented that is deeply modified. We must find ways of rewarding and financing creative activities that do not require controlling individual acts by the public.
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