Why should copyright protect a company’s “right” to disappear a cultural work?

Videogames are cultural works. Talented artists, designers, programmers, and musicians all join together to craft unique, meaningful experiences for a contemporary audience. The resulting products have value for the community, which is why we grant their creators temporary monopolies (“copyright”) to enable them to afford to create more.

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But if copyright is supposed to be about protecting these works for the benefit of the public – then why does it so often work to destroy them? Why do we protect a company’s right to “disappear” (or, in Microsoft-speak, “delist”) a work? Why don’t we explicitly protect those who try, under constant threat of oppressive litigation, to preserve this cultural heritage?

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2 responses to “Why should copyright protect a company’s “right” to disappear a cultural work?

  1. We do it cos copyright is actually about serving the interests of market entities.

    “The resulting products have value for the community, which is why we grant their creators temporary monopolies (“copyright”) to enable them to afford to create more.”

    That might be good in theory, but thats not how things work in practice. Thats probably what market enthusiasts would say, but really its propaganda. The reality is copyright is all about control, and enabling profit from control.

    Intellectual copyright is institutionalised, and so it serves institutions. Institutions never voluntarily cede control of anything.

    Contrary to popular opinion the market does not equal culture, but so long as we as a society whorship the market then the actual needs of a culture will always come a poor second to that market.

    We’ve got it backwards, cos the market should serve the culture, not the other way around. What you are talking about in this post is a symptom of that. (imo obviously.)

  2. I don’t think the holders of copyrights really care much about the merits of video games, but merely how to make and protect their wealth.

    It’s like the certain individuals and organizations that go about purchasing patents on technologies for the sole purpose of later being able to sue gaming companies for using that or related technology.

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