Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 24th Nov 2011 11:15 UTC
Legal While the US is still pondering SOPA, we just got some absolutely fantastic news out of Europe. The European Court of Justice, the highest court in the European Union, has just ruled that P2P filters installed by ISPs violate the European Directive on electronic commerce as well as fundamental rights [full ruling]. This is a hugely important ruling that effectively protects all member states of the European Union from ever being subjected to ISP filtering and spying.
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Thom, I am anti-patent, pro-P2P, and download my fair share of content. That said, I do not think that full-scale endorsement of the idea that all digital content should lose copyright protection makes much sense.

In terms of digital content losing its copyright protection, it is going to happen. I'm not here to make any moral judgements on this fact one way or the other, but just here to say that it WILL happen. Looking at it from a pragmatic sort of view, there's no way it cannot.

Now, the question is, what do you as a software developer do when this happens? Well, one thing that is true right now is that you can't make money selling open source software, other than the generous few that will throw some cash in your direction. And once copyright goes away, that will hold true for ALL software. In that case, you'll have to do what the open source crowd does to make money:

- Charge people to customize the software however they want
- Sell services (such as support)
- Sell t-shirts, coffee mugs, etc.

Also, you could keep your source code under lock and key, set up a web app, and make people pay for subscriptions.

If none of those options work for you, you'll probably have to find another career. That may not sound fair to you, but I'm sure the horse & buggy industry also cried foul when the automobile was invented. You'll just have to move on.

Edited 2011-11-25 02:39 UTC

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