As a creator and a rights holder, I naturally enough take an interest in how copyright is developing in the digital technology era. The big issue that remains unresolved is the largest copier machine ever invented, the Internet, doesn't sit well with copyright. For instance, whenever you view content from a website, it is in fact copied over to your machine. Not just your machine either - the content is copied to other networked computers along the Internet path to your system. This mode of operation would seem to make copyright impossible, but there's much money vested in movies, music and other forms of material, so laws are being changed and Internet providers press-ganged into monitoring what you do on the web to enforce them. In the US, a notice scheme has kicked in called the Copyright Alert System or CAS. The organisation behind it, the Centre for Copyright Information (CCI) sent out a whopping 1.3 million alerts to Internet provider customers in the first ten months of its existence - a figure it says will double in the coming year. Interestingly, many users don't actually know what's copyrighted and what isn't. That's understandable because it's often not made clear if the material in question is copyrighted (or who owns the rights). Take Europe for instance. You'd think the EU would own the copyright to its buildings but it doesn't. This means you as a member of the public can't take pictures of the buildings without permission from the rights holder. The same goes for the Eiffel Tower in Paris: it's fine to photograph in day time, but not during the night when copyright starts. Increasingly, large rights holder organisations are pushing for more strict laws and measures against alleged infringers, to protect their businesses. So much so that chasing infringers has become a business by itself. Not a very lucrative one, if the example of Rightscorp which has won 130,000 cases against pirates is anything to go by. The filesharing smeller pursuivant company has lost US$6.5 million since it started out, and is on the verge of bankruptcy, and needs urgent funding to survive it would seem. It seems the changes to copyright and enforcing it have created a situation that doesn't really work for anyone, not the customers who would like to enjoy the creative stuff, nor for the companies and individuals making it. Actually, I lie: lawyers are most likely happy to building intellectual property castles in the sky and politicians seem to rejoice in being able to use copyright enforcement as a way to rein in the anarchic Internet. That the two latter groups are having a field day ignoring technology and common sense doesn't help the rest of us much. Furthermore, having an inefficient enforcement system in place that redistributes some money not to creators but whoever it is that asserts copyright while criminalising Internet users is a waste of everyone's time. Don't hold your breath for a solution any time soon though. It's been like this since the compact cassette came onto the scene, and music studios went ballistic as people recorded things off the radio. They were mollified with a levy on empty cassettes and a few other token gestures by the authorities which clearly didn't satisfy the large organisations who are now trying to control your Internet and penalise users on it. Expect more © weirdness in other words.