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DDOSing Copyright

April 27, 2012

There are only 7 notes in a major scale. Most music is written in C major, at 4/4 time, leaving a relatively small number of total possible 16 note songs. While 16 notes might not seem like a lot, most pop songs are not much more, repeated over and over. If the courts want to rule that a collection of notes constitutes a song worthy of copyright, and not a particular performance of that song, the copyright system can be exploited by writing an algorithm to perform trillions of songs very quickly. Remember that you don’t need to file for copyright, simply put the work of art in a “fixed form“. Work would have to be done to make sure automatically generated songs did not match previously released music, which might actually be a lot of work.

The birthday paradox is a phenomenon where the probability of matches is much higher than people expect. The odds of two people sharing a birthday in a given group is 50% with a group of only 23 people, despite 366 possible birthdays! Even without copyrighting all possible songs, the odds of a songwriter accidentally copying a song from such a library is extremely high. For a 16 note song (33,232,930,569,601 possibilities), even if only 10,000,000 sounds are copyrighted, there is an over 77.87% chance of a match. If a major record label was caught copyright violating, the fines could be $75 billion for a gold album. By spanning the set of all possible copyrights, someone could effectively eliminate new musical works until the copyright system were reformed. At the very least it could cause a judge to throw out the idea of a collection of notes being a song and requiring copyright covering only one particular performance of a song.

Once a group has amassed enough copyrights to effectively shut down professional music, GPL the copyrights. Copyright system = destroyed. 😀

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