This a video of an excellent lecture from Professor James Boyle on the Public Domain: enclosing the commons of the mind. He points out how today's automatic copyright system ("death plus 70") is a "cultural disaster of incredible proportions".
It's not only highly relevant and insightful even for people slightly less geeky than me, it is also highly entertaining due to his references to Internet realities ("hundreds of thousands of bloggers -- several of them sane! -- could use it!"), and therefore all of you should watch it -- especially if it's been awhile since you last listened to an interesting lecture ;) .
The famous British comedy group Monty Python was sick of finding bad-quality uploads of their comedy sketches on YouTube, so they decided to do something against it.
It is unknown if they considered calling Metallica for advice on how to start a proper crusade against the Interwebs, but what is known is that they started their own YouTube channel, publishing their works in high quality for everybody to see. And the best part, it's free.
In their video about starting the channel, they explain some of their reasoning and ask for one thing in return: to buy their products.
And this plan may just work: Watching such classics as the "Always Look on the Bright Side of Life" scene (below) is making me want to pick up a copy of the Life of Brian right now, that's for sure!
On a more serious side note, it is good to see that there is an improvement how some authors work with the Internet. Monty Python went down this road, by offering older content for free, yet asking the viewers to consider their higher quality DVD box sets and similar products, and lately also HD BluRay discs. A similar approach was taken by Dr. Horrible's Sing-Along Blog which was shown for free online before going on sale on iTunes and similar channels -- many people bought it from there (and still are); the same goes for the soundtrack, which I bought on Amazon MP3 just recently.
Another example is hulu.com, a website (unfortunately yet again only available in the US) streaming recent TV series for free (with some ads) -- a system that will, I believe, encourage rather than discourage viewers to spend money on their favorite TV shows once they come out on DVD.
Compare that to the aforementioned Metallica, who were scared off their socks when they realized people were enjoying their music over a distribution channel they had failed to consider before--and instead of calling their record company and asking "what on earth are we paying you so much money for, why are we not using the internet right?", they decided to sue a file sharing company along with three major universities: A step that consequently (and rightly) brought them an honorable spot on the list of "the biggest wusses in Rock" as published by "Blender" magazine in 2006.
Now, as promised: Always Look on the Bright Side of Life.