Desperation of copyright rentiers?
Recently there has been change of emphasis by copyright rentiers in their rearguard fight to convince people of rentiers' inalienable 'right' to own, almost in perpetuity, ideas and their digital representation.
Regarding popular entertainment (recorded music, TV shows, film, books, etc.) the argument has shifted away from the foolish mantra "copying is theft", from worry over artistes denied bread for their children, from issuing dire threats of legal action (easily avoided) against individuals illicitly accessing rentier 'content, and from claiming creative accountancy 'losses' indicate collapse of entire industries, to issuing 'public spirited' warnings of dangers arising from coming into contact with an international criminal underworld.
Attention is drawn to malware pre-installed on devices allegedly designed for streaming illicit 'content', to credit card fraud, and to involvement of organised crime in copyright infringement with implication that persons aiding criminals by using their services are participants in drug running, child prostitution, human trafficking, terrorism, money laundering, and all other things bad: scare tactics.
PIPCU, not exactly the most on the ball police force in the UK, has latched onto this in general sense and is now applying it to the academic malfeasance of not paying through the nose to access the 'high culture' end of human collective achievement. Unfortunately for PIPCU the message that accessing Sci-Hub, LibGen, and similar, poses risk of exposure to malware, to hacking university computer systems, and to Russians stealing industrial secrets, is risible to the target audience.
For some time I have maintained the concept of 'intellectual property', other perhaps than applied to trademarks and brands, has been revealed in this digital age as specious and inherently not enforceable. My belief is that copyright shall collapse first in its application to academia. There is simple reason for this based on two factors. First, the nature of the people being scammed by rentiers. Second, clear distinction between medium and message; that is the rentiers have control only over distribution (medium); they have no ownership of the ideas (message) they disseminate or control over 'derivation' from those ideas; indeed, derivation is the lifeblood of academic endeavour, the only sin being plagiarism (i.e. denying attribution to the rightful persons).
That medium and message are separable in general sense was established by introduction of digital encoding when it became obvious the message (indefinitely replicable) was not tied to particular instances of a physical medium. The medium might possess scarcity - an essential feature in market-economics for setting price - but the message does not.
This carries over to all digitally encodable culture. Importantly, it shows the dangerously restrictive nature of the comprehensive copyright (medium and message) applied beyond the realm of academic output. Ideas, whether represented in prose, musical composition, or film, mainly do not arise ab initio but rather as drawing upon one or more predecessors. Where would academia be if 'derivation' (with attribution) required permission and perhaps payment of a fee or continuing share of rental (royalties) arising?
Copyright stultifies culture and/or access to it across the board. Derivation is the stuff of creativity.
Digital representation and the Internet free the creative from dependence on a host of middlemen claiming 'rights' which can be traded. What is marketable is imagination and skills to realise it. Individuals and groups can compete for patronage. Reputation is the underlying commodity. Reputation rather than end-products - these if of digital nature not subject to market-economics and hence of zero monetary value - is what requires protection in law. False representation of being originator of an idea can lead to fraudulently gaining patronage. Attribution is all.
Cultural renaissance awaits after copyright and patents are binned.