For those at all interested in the intersection of digital technology and traditional creativity, this video on Lawrence Lessig's website goes a long way toward explaining the current copyright dilemma.
Lawrence Lessig is, of course, the name in the copyright fight, but so many of his followers fail to hear how often he stresses the importance of professional creativity and the need to continue viable business models for it. For instance, at around 8:51 in the presentation, Lessig muses about why we teach writing. His answer, in part -- to teach (and learn) respect for how hard this kind of creativity is to do. At around the 13:30 mark, he discusses the "essentiality" of copyright. At around the 30:00 mark, he declares that he does not condone piracy, and near the 49:00 mark he makes it known he is not a copyright abolitionist.
Lessig can be a bit dismissive and flippant in this talk (not all strong copyright advocates are control freaks), and I don’t agree with everything he says (I wish, for instance, he would counsel "practicing respect" for all creators, not just the new digital remixers) but this is an excellent overview of the situation, with a fascinating discussion of the hybrid economies sprouting online. The idea of a controlled "deregulation" of certain practices under copyright should, I think, give us all pause considering the recent global economic effect of too much deregulation in the financial sector.
Side note: I think I may have coined the idea of "declaring peace" in the copyright wars in an op-ed I did for the Globe last May, but since there is no copyright on ideas I understand why Dr. Lessig did not call me to seek permission to use that phrase.