As If Big Copyright Didn't Already Have Enough Lobbying Clout...

from the lobbyists-doing-more-lobbying? dept

You would think, given their ability to pass ridiculous self-serving legislation solely to protect their dying business models, that the folks behind "Big Content" wouldn't need another lobbying group... but you'd apparently be wrong. The RIAA, the MPAA, the Association of American Publishers and companies including Disney, Viacom and Microsoft have teamed up to create "The Copyright Alliance." You would have thought that these groups already had enough lobbyists and misleading spokespeople, but I guess if you can't get real grassroots support, you just keep forming industry associations to make support look stronger than it really is. The group will be led by Patrick Ross, who recently left the Progress & Freedom Foundation, though not before making the case against fair use and bizarrely claiming that changing the DMCA would be inefficient regulatory tinkering without explaining why creating the DMCA wasn't inefficient regulatory tinkering in the first place. In other words, this is going to be more of the same tortured logic pretending that without stronger copyright law, the content creation business would be in trouble. The truth is this is a front group to protect the interests of big copyright holders allowing them to prop up obsolete business models against more innovative new business models. However, since those big copyright players tend to be big political contributors, politicians such as Howard Berman, who chairs the IP subcommittee and is known for being a big friend to big copyright (representing parts of LA explains that), welcomed the formation of this group without bothering to question why it's even needed in the first place. Update: In another article on this new Alliance, Ross makes the stunningly naive statement that this organization is needed "to counter the united front that exists to oppose copyright enforcement." United front? If he thinks it's a united front, then he has a very long uphill battle in front of him, as it shows he doesn't even have the slightest idea what's happening in the market.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    T.J., May 18th, 2007 @ 9:01am

    Sigh...

    Great, just when I thought there was a sliver of hope that maybe they would give up and fix their business models, the exact opposite happens.

     

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  2.  
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    mastmaker, May 18th, 2007 @ 9:01am

    I am all for extension of copyright act.

    I have recently traced 52 surviving descendents of homer and 139 surviving ones of Bible (both old and new testaments) and formed 'Grand Copyright Alliance'. We are going to lobby for retroactive extension of copyright to 4000 years. We have determined that the world owes us around 200 trillion dollars and change. Think of what a lobbying force WE will be!

    And the story about the 'Second Grand Copyright Alliance' of descendents of Authors of Apocrypha suing Catholic church for non-inclusion in the bible is.......well....apocryphal.

     

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  3.  
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    BillDivX, May 18th, 2007 @ 9:05am

    This could actually be a GOOD thing...

    Remember, a wounded animal will fight hardest when it senses it is about to die.

     

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  4.  
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    James, May 18th, 2007 @ 9:14am

    Whatever

    They can gang together, put content in as many chains and restrict it any way they want, pass laws blah ..blah ..blah, it won't do them any good if people simply stop buying their crap.

    Oooops and guess what? That is exactly what is happening. Music (CD) sales year over year drop. DOH!!

    Remember if you buy their cripple-wear infected crap you are supporting their position.

    Wait them out.

     

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  5.  
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    techsyn, May 18th, 2007 @ 9:35am

    Think ownership and taxes.

    I for one think that when I buy something and pay a tax for it I own it. However these companies wish to take away what fair rights I have, and restrict what I can do with the material I thought I owned.

    If these companies want to assert their ownership passed the point of sale, and restrict my fair use rights, then the only conclusion I can see is I would be only paying for the right to view or use the material which the companies still own.

    If they retain ownership of anything I purchase, then I don't see why I should have to pay a tax of any kind the material purchased, or a better way to say that would be rent. And if they retain ownership of any and material, then all that material should be considered assets to them and treated as such. Unless they show a depreciated value to the material they rent out, each item an individual rents is added to the overall value of the item as an asset and taxes should be figured and paid by the companies accordingly.

    Example: Lets take a look at a single song. The number of copies really doesn't matter, just the total of value of the rented song. Lets say the value of that one single song asset is one million dollars, so then that company that owns that song would have to figure taxes on that one million dollars. They would also need to figure out how long they wish that song has at a particular level of value on an individual basis, basically how much it is rented (paid) for by consumers. They would also need to figure out how to depreciate the overall value of the song as a total asset. Basically how to reduce the total value of the asset over time to reduce the amount of taxes they would have to pay.

    Basically what I'm saying is, if they want to retain complete ownership of any item rather than just let copyright laws work they way they were setup to begin with, then they need to pay the taxes on the assets they own, keeping in mind that the more sold means a growing asset value.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, May 18th, 2007 @ 10:02am

    Re: Think ownership and taxes.

    I sometimes believe that model should be applied to software as well. If I buy Microsoft Office, I should be allowed to install it on all of my computers. It is redundant to buy 2 copies for my laptop and desktop when I can only use one at a time.

     

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  7.  
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    glitch, May 18th, 2007 @ 10:33am

    that would be nice to see

    the major players paying taxes on ALL the copyrights they hold. there are a lot of older albums, yes vinyl, that i would like to get on cd....but the copyright owners [labels] have decided it wasnt going to let that happen. i say tax them based on what they own, not what they allow to be published.

    as far as software, i think it is different from music. i have been using open office for years. my computer useage has changed, and i am finding alternatives that will suit me just fine [tho maybe not for others]. At present i am still using XP and have no intention on going to Vista.

     

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  8.  
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    chris (profile), May 18th, 2007 @ 10:37am

    i love the term "big" to describe industries

    when you call an industry "big" it instantly becomes a cohesive and nefarius.

    in that vein, i posit that "big copyright" can lobby all it wants but it will always lack the time, talent, and sheer numbers that "big piracy" has.

     

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  9.  
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    Alex Kasperavicius, May 18th, 2007 @ 10:38am

    Re: Re: Think ownership and taxes.

    You *are* allowed to install MS Office on more than one machine (e.g. your home machine and latop) as long as you are the only one using the program. Read the license agreement carefully and you'll see that is so.

     

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  10.  
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    ehrichweiss, May 18th, 2007 @ 10:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Think ownership and taxes.

    well the license might *say* you have this "privilege" but the software itself will complain during the activation and/or update process and request reactivation on at least one of the machines. And I'm not using one of the "no activation" cracks like some people might though it does encourage me to use such a crack to be certain.

     

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  11.  
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    Steven, May 18th, 2007 @ 10:54am

    Re: Think ownership and taxes.

    There is a bit of a flaw in your logic (at least for the US). Taxes are not paid on assets. Taxes are paid (somewhat) on income. It doesn't matter if you sell something, or rent it, you pay based on revenue not based on the amount of stuff you own.

    So whether they claim to sell you a CD or rent to you the music on the CD has no effect on taxes.

     

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  12.  
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    techsyn, May 18th, 2007 @ 11:11am

    Re: Re: Think ownership and taxes.

    Your right, I worded that wrong.

    The point is still valid in that the income becomes an asset for the duration of the copyright. In other words the company can treat the income in two ways. 1) Pay the taxes on the income for the year it comes in or 2) Pay less tax on the income in an incremental way throughout the life of the copyright. With the second method when the copyright is at its end the material becomes public. Also with the second method, copyrights shouldn't be allowed to be extended.

     

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  13.  
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    techsyn, May 18th, 2007 @ 11:16am

    Re: Re: Think ownership and taxes.

    In my opinion, an license that infringes on fair use rights should be signed before any money is exchanged and then the tax is placed on who owns the material. If you purchase a license you are not purchasing the material, just the right to use the material. Thus the company should have to pay the taxes for the material it licensed.

     

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  14.  
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    Missing, May 18th, 2007 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: Think ownership and taxes.

    That depends on the state you are registered (reside) in.
    Many states have property taxes, and I think having intelectual property taxes fits too. After all, they are claiming thatpiracy is theft of property, so let the SOBs be taxed for EVERY COPY!! If it means a few new laws in every state about intelectual property, then so be it. Most IP holders will not be drasticly affected if they owed $.05 for every copy out there (think books), but music owners......

     

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  15.  
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    Steve, May 18th, 2007 @ 12:19pm

    Good point. Mind if I syndicate your article?

    With my own ads? Don't worry. I'll have a link back to your site.

     

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  16.  
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    Mike (profile), May 18th, 2007 @ 12:27pm

    Re: Good point. Mind if I syndicate your article?

    With my own ads? Don't worry. I'll have a link back to your site.

    Please do. It only helps us.

    We've covered this in detail before: http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20070412/183135#c612

     

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  17.  
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    Laura, May 18th, 2007 @ 12:48pm

    With these guys, fair use is definitely....

     

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  18.  
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    Fluffy McNutter, May 18th, 2007 @ 8:44pm

    Eee Gads!

    It's horrible to see businesses banning together to smack the customer around. In the past two centuries, we've lost too many rights and privelidges for the sake of greed and profit.

    After 180 years, and four generations, I think it's about time to pack up and head back home... To Europe!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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