Confused Reason writer Cathy Young Anti-SOPA but still pro-copyright

I noted previously that Reason author Cathy Young had written in favor of a fifty-year copyright term. Now, in a recent Reason article,”The Trouble with the Copyright Debate” (subtitle: Does every illegal download represent a lost sale?), she joins the anti-SOPA bandwagon, but is still pro-copyright:

A few days ago, I committed an illegal act.

Instead of watching the latest episode of the British fantasy show Merlin on the SyFy channel and suffer through a hundred commercials and pop-up ads that sometimes deface the screen during the show itself, I got online and watched an illicitly streamed video. What’s more, I intend to continue my crime spree and download the three-episode second season of Sherlock, which aired on the BBC earlier this month, rather than wait until May when it finally gets to PBS.

The point of this true confession is that the current debate about copyright enforcement and piracy on the Web largely misses the boat. Yes, creators and copyright holders have important rights and legitimate interests. And yes, some Internet users display an obnoxious sense of entitlement to “free” intellectual content.

So: Young is anti-SOPA. But she is still pro-copyright: “creators and copyright holders have important rights and legitimate interests”. And yet she admits she herself engages in piracy (while bizarrely taking a superior tone in condemning others who pirate). Say what? If she thinks copyright should last 50 years, and that it is legitimate, then … when she pirates she is violating people’s rights, and should be penalized–perhaps even by imprisonment. Right?1

Young is confused and hypocritical. She favors copyright, and bashes other people who pirate, all the while engaging in piracy herself and then condemning efforts to enforce copyright. She’s trying to have her copyright and eat it, too.

As I argued earlier this week SOPA is the Symptom, Copyright is the Disease. The only solution is to abolish copyright. Wake up and smell the libertarian principles, Young.


  1. The Megaupload guys are facing untold years in prison; Falkvinge: Horrific: Two Years, Heavy Fine For 60-Year-Old Music File Sharer; one year federal prison sentence handed down to a man for uploading a copy of the Wolverine movie; British student faced with extradition to the US for having the wrong links on his website.