Sunday, January 14, 2007

The Protection of Creativity

Recently, I had a unique opportunity; to start my own business, selling my products on the internet. There is no other time on earth people have had the opportunity to create new products as the internet age. Companies can be formed without much of startup costs and risks involved with starting a new company and distributing products in the old era. Unfortunately, stealing their products is also much easier. Recently, I found a website that specifically asks to steal my typefaces. Another typeface designer found entire CDs of his work being sold on Ebay. This designer created some sort of installer program, and caught a lot of flak for protecting his creations from fellow designers. Here is my response, supporting his efforts:

It amazes me that designers, people who sell their intellectual property to make a living, would jump all over a company that wants to protect its business by protecting its product. Maybe Letterhead’s method isn’t foolproof (from the designer standpoint, it sounds like it has some major issues), but I commend them for taking the first step. The real solution here is that Adobe/Microsoft/Apple need to get together and extend the OpenType scheme to have some sort of native DRM so that designers can protect their work from criminals that justify stealing with “I didn’t decrease their sales, so its ok.” and other pathetic excuses for their inherent lack of morals. It’s saddening to see this in the creative community.

I recently received a book from my sister, named“The World is Flat.” It confirms what I have believed for some time. America’s role in the world is to create new and innovative products. Our main exports are weapons and entertainment, essentially products born from creative problem solving. We don’t do cars all that well, but we make some ripping airplanes. Senator Feinstein, being from the state that is host to Hollywood and all, is supporting a bill called S.256, the PERFORM Act. It is a step in right direction for protecting digital music. Will it work? Probably not. There are too many ways to bypass DRM systems, but it is a step in the right direction. It sends a stronger message. Even through digital property is easy to steal, it is still not right. Some “evildoers” (I say that partially in jest) have created a site to urge senators to reject this bill. I have a different idea in mind. Using their website mechanisms, you can draft a letter urging your senators to confirm this bill. Here is a brief little letter I have composed. If you would like, please use it as a base for your own letter.

As a constituent and creator of digital content, I urge you to CONFIRM the perform act. Those that oppose this bill are essentially asking Congress to put a stamp of approval on their illegal activities. America needs its creatives and entrepreneurs now more than ever. Rejecting this bill would cripple the creation of digital content of all kinds and cause innovation to be stifled. I find it shameful that some persons have created a website to convince Congress not to confirm this bill. Please send a strong message that stealing for content creators of all kinds is illegal and immoral.

I would love to see DRM incorporated into typefaces by Microsoft/Adobe/Apple. I plan to push for this as much as I can. Lets see if the system works.
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