Claim: Copyright is Censorship

Response: The word “censorship” is used to trigger an instinctive opposition to copyright, since people hate censorship. It also puts the pirate on the moral high-ground, since they are fighting “censorship”. But, censorship is when a creator wants to communicate with a audience, but a third-party wants to block that communication, usually for some selfish reason and against the interests of both the creator and the audience.

Since creators choose to put their works under copyright, this claim is essentially that “creators are censoring their own works”. In the real-world, copyright is used to help creators earn money for their works, enabling them to financially support themselves and produce subsequent works. Works under copyright are never “censored”, but are always available for a price, and this cost is used to help the creator produce more content. I don’t believe copyright is censorship anymore than “making people buy a ticket in order to enter a concert” is equivalent to “censorship”.

Related Claim:

China censors for political reasons.
The United States censors for commercial reasons.

This is an odd formulation because China is preventing person A from communicating a message to person B. But, in the US case, creators are choosing to put their works under copyright. If they wanted to, they could release them for free. The United States doesn’t get involved at all unless the creator calls them into the situation.

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