What Copyright Law and Plane Crashes Have in Common

By Kristopher A. Nelson in

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Concurring Opinions – What Copyright Law and Plane Crashes Have in Common:

As others have already noted, the Atlantic Monthly is now making its articles available online, including browseable issues going ten years back and select articles through most of the twentieth century. I immediately checked it out to see if one of my favorite Atlantic articles was up, and it is: William Langewiesche’s The Lessons of ValuJet 592. Langewiesche’s article is a captivating look at a classic “system accident,” the 1996 crash of a ValuJet (now AirTran) plane due to the improper loading of unspent oxygen generators in the hold. I highly recommend it.

This is a very interesting discussion of “system accidents,” and how the problems of design in airplanes and everyday physical objects (like doors with “pull” bars that in fact are supposed to be pushed), are analogous to problems in copyright law:

How does all of this relate to copyright? Copyright law is badly designed to relate to humans. It’s particularly maladapted to apply to the humans that, more and more, need to know what the rules of copyright are: non-lawyer individual consumers.