Just because you have a right, it doesn’t automatically mean you also have a right to have it enforced. Our laws are a complicated weave of checks and balances intended to put society’s interests at large ahead of millimeter justice at every turn. The copyright industry is blatantly fighting this, claiming that since they have monopoly rights, those rights supersede everything else. That is beyond arrogant.
Let me give you a concrete example of how laws are designed to conflict with one another and establish a ladder of priority: Whistleblower protection. In Sweden, you can go to jail for not respecting the secrecy of secret governmental documents, as is the case in most countries. However, you can give them to a reporter under whistleblower protection. What happens then is that other laws kick in: the invoked whistleblower protection means that the reporter can go to jail for disclosing your identity, and supervisors at the place where you work can go to jail for trying to identify the leak.
No joke. People have been convicted for violating the whistleblower protection for asking casually over coffee if anybody knew who leaked those documents. This is serious stuff.
So while leaking the secret documents is still illegal, other laws deliberately make that law unenforceable in certain well-defined conditions. This is not sloppy lawmaking; it is entirely intentional.
You see what’s going on here? Just because something is illegal, that doesn’t automatically make it wrong in the lawbook. Quite to the contrary; other laws that make it illegal to discover and enforce the crime is a carefully selected set of checks and balances.
Now, let’s jump to the copyright industry and the copyright monopoly. They are complaining that they can’t enforce the copyright monopoly if they don’t get to invade our privacy; “what we do is illegal”; “catching criminals is always a priority”, etc. You’ve all heard it.
But this is a lie. A blatant, superficial lie.
The postal secret is constructed so the copyright monopoly and other crimes can’t be enforced if they take place in private communications, just like file sharing is. This is the lawmaker’s way of restricting harm to society by these monopolies.
The copyright monopoly was designed to be unenforceable as long as you didn’t make money on somebody else’s monopoly. This is not somebody being “rightless”, “unfair” or similar; this is intentional.
What is going on right now is that the copyright industry is playing “The guy with the loudest voice is always right” and trying to reverse the priorities of these carefully constructed rights; that the enforcement of the copyright monopoly should supersede the postal secret of the citizens. That is outrageous. Worse, they are using blatant lies about the current legislation to paint a false picture of how our checks and balances are constructed.
It is often useful to compare the online part of the world to the offline part. To make that comparison here: nobody is allowed to open every letter sent in the mail to check for copied poems, even if it happens ever so frequently that the copyright monopoly is violated in this way.
This is intentional.
It doesn’t matter in a bit if the copyright monopoly can’t be enforced when people share culture and knowledge on the net.
It was never meant to.