No subject excites such debate on the web as copyright. The MP3-swapper feels Robin Hood-like about denying the industry a euro or two, while creators look for arguments to say why copyright should be the way it is. Whatever we might feel, the web has changed intellectual property forever. Anything digital is sendable, anything digital is copyable.

Enormous repositories of knowledge and art are in the public domain, because the people who created them died more than seventy years ago. In seventy years time, anything we want to listen to may be older than seventy years, making the debate redundant. It is when new music, literature or software are wanted now that the problem arises.

In an age where everything is pre-fabricated, less people understand how complex it is to make bread, let alone music. In an age where many make nothing, it is the object itself which expresses worth, not the work leading up to it. Things heavy and metallic cost much, things transitory (music, software) are somehow just there, streams of nothing and one on a shiny disc.

In music we do create something that is transitory, is in the air. Copyright though, is about the hundred hours that precede it, and the lifetime of learning that precedes them. Copyright is there to protect us all when we say something special about the world, in music, words or code. It protects us against the might of publishers, just as much as from MP3-swappers.

The few euros aAmplify asks for its recordings are a small sum to pay for that large idea. After all, there is a word for people forced to work for nothing. And composers have worked against that word since music has been sung.

Sehn Fruon