Fair use on steroids
So you loved this book so much that you decide to share it with your friend Bob (or Jan, or Cunégonde, mind you). Along with that CD of Domenico Scarlatti (because you love baroque music and want to convince your friends that clavicord music can sound much better than the robotic interpretations of Bach they're used to). And everybody's happy with that (don't forget to return the book and the CD please). It's legal, it's part of the fair use of an artwork you paid for. Actually it's so natural that you don't even think about the legal aspects or what fair use is about. And the artists who produced those works (may be to the exception of Scarlatti) aren't going to object that you're doing anything wrong. Now take a step forward into the future -- err, sorry, into today. Take iCommune, a Mac, iTunes and an internet connection. With this combination (or some equivalent on the wintel world), you can share your legally bought music with your friends anywhere you both happen to be connected (plus they don't forget to return the CD). Think you're not doing anything wrong? I bet you are, since what you're doing is no different than lending legally acquired artwork in fair use. Only the media changed. Of course you could be broadcasting the music to multiple listeners, but that's as wrong as photocopying a book or making copies of a CD. The media is not the problem, unfair use is. The pigopolists are scared to death about the present situation, and their only solution to preserve their current business model -- instead of evolving or simply demonstrating that they have an added value in the current system -- is to do whatever they can to prevent you to lend anything, in any form, any further. For some reasons Apple is also bothered about iCommune. According to Todd Dominey, it might just be because Apple is preparing a similar feature for iTunes 4. I prefer to wait and see. By the way, it reminds me of a startup that had a very simple and innovative business model: linking directly artists with their audience. This was Music Boulevard. Now, it's a 404 page on Amazon, they're not even able to route a domain name properly.