Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Portuguese Communist Party wants to legalize file sharing

All the attempts to fight file sharing have failed, and it has been shown, over and over again, that more is done by providing attractive legal ways to access those contents than by trying to repress it. In Portugal, PCP (Portuguese Communist Party) is proposing a new way to deal with this matter, by legalizing all file sharing on the internet.

It's not likely that the legalization of file sharing will be approved, but it does show an attempt to look at a problem from another angle; one that might better suit the digital world we live in.

First, there's the need to separate file sharing from "pirating", something that is often considered to be the same but isn't. Pirating can be compared to something like making a copy of a movie, music, game, and then go about trying to sell it to others and profiting from it; sharing is more akin to making a copy of a CD to give a friend, or lending him a movie/book/game, etc. In the first case, of course those people should still be pursued; but... should a regular Joe have to pay "millions" for simply downloading a music he could have heard over the radio or on YouTube?

But, artists and creators need to pay bills as well, and file sharing can rob them of some of their profits (and I say "some" because not everyone that might download a music, movie, or game for free would end up buying that content anyway - though some of them might be impressed enough to the point of actually buying that, and more, content from the same creators, and argument used by the pro-file sharing side.) To compensate for that, this proposal comes with the creating of a fund (0,75€ by internet access, to be paid by ISPs) that would be distributed by content creators.

Keep in mind that in Portugal we already pay a levy over all kinds of digital memory, be it hard drives or smartphones, on the account that it might be used to store copyrighted contents (even if you never use it for that) - a tax that would cease to be should this new method be approved.

Sadly, it's highly unlikely that it will - but it does have a point in showing us a possible alternative way to deal with file sharing in this digital world of ours.

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