We laugh at the Monty Python Spanish Inquisition. But it was no laughing matter to reformers or the innocent of the time. It was a tool of the establishment of the day to crush dissent.
Well it is here today. All the fuss about copyright is its battleground. In the guise of protecting rights, it crushes the new.
We have seen this in digital media. This has been but a skirmish. Wait until 3D Printing takes off and all who make things in factories feel the threat! Here is the Economist on this threat with a warning for the new Makers: (HT Michael Rose)
"Rallying under the banner of piracy and theft, established manufacturers could likewise seek to get the doctrine of "contributory infringement” included in some expanded object-copyright law as a way of crippling the personal-manufacturing movement before it eats their lunch. Being free to sue websites that host 3D design files as “havens of piracy” would save them the time and money of having to prosecute thousands of individuals with a 3D printer churning out copies at home.
Some also expect incumbent manufacturers to try to stigmatise CAD file-types, in the same way the record companies hounded the bit-torrent and MP3 formats as piracy tools. That could slow the mainstream adoption of 3D printing and imply that anyone uploading CAD files to a public site was somehow infringing on rights, notes Cory Doctorow, a Canadian science writer who blogs for Boing Boing.
Today’s 3D printing crowd—tucked away in garages, basements, small workshops and university labs—needs to keep a keen eye on such policy debates as they grow. “There will be a time when impacted legacy industries [will] demand some sort of DMCA for 3D printing,” says Mr Weinberg. If the tinkerers wait until that day, it will be too late."