The skills, time, and resources that go into making recorded music is scarce, but a digital file is not. However, some people want to make a business out of selling recorded music, and hence for that purpose copyright is a useful tool in creating a degree of scarcity for their product.
I know you don’t like it, but that doesn’t mean nobody should be allowed to do it, even if it’s effectiveness is reduced by the internet.
Everyone is free to create open license music, but they don’t do it. If copyright is pointless and giving music away for free is the best idea, why do very few artists do it?
Because if you can’t benefit from your own innovation, you’ll find it harder to justify investing in R&D. Try raising funding for an R&D project while stating to investors that you don’t believe in protecting your intellectual property rights and give free reign to copy cats.
With the patent system everyone is free to build on what others have done after 20 years, or before if they agree a deal to make sure it benefits the inventor.
If your example is as you say, the legal system in that case is wrong. It doesn’t follow that intellectual property rights are always bad or unjust because they have been abused in some (or many) instances.
The thing that I said was impossible was having a degree of monopoly power over a digital good without enforceable intellectual property rights, which I think holds true.
Of course there may be business models for musicians that are great and don’t involve the protection of intellectual property rights. That would be fantastic, but why then is almost nobody doing it (except perhaps in second life)?
Perhaps it’s because on a playing field with powerful middle men and gatekeepers who can enforce intellectual property rights, you can’t get any airtime if you don’t play their game.
Or maybe it’s just not viable to invest in high quality recorded music while giving everyone a free license to have / sell / modify it without permission or paying.
I absolutely think there are new business models that can be used to improve the music market for creators and consumers of music using this new connectedness.
I also think that copyright has a role to play in these models, but artists will be free to not use copyright if they don’t want to. If turns out the protection of copyright isn’t needed, then great.
You make a good point about copyright or any rights being pointless unless they are enforceable, and that with the Safe network enforcement will become very difficult.
Copyright would still be useful in stopping identifiable people from ripping off other people’s work, for example an artist stealing lyrics or samples, and offline activities like selling bootleg CDs. So yes enforcement may be reduced, but not to the extent of making copyright completely useless.
I don’t think it’s worth discussing this much more - if you make a music platform, tell your artists not to use copyright and not to charge for their music. If I make one, I’ll leave it up to the artists to decide.
For today’s artists I can’t see the first step they’ll take towards getting rid of middlemen being the choice to not charge for their music.
I’m looking forward to innovations that get rid of middlemen, and to be honest I don’t care whether copyright ends up being useful or useless - if it doesn’t help, I won’t promote it, but nor will I write it off if it’s useful and artists want to use it.