It's Time To Wean Ourselves Off An Unhealthy Addiction To Copyright

from the distorting-the-market dept

Last week we wrote about the totally ridiculous situation where a photographer had a silly fun video taken down because she got upset that a photograph of hers was used briefly without credit or license. As we pointed out at the time, this was an abuse of the DMCA to take down a creative work. It was almost definitely fair use, as it's difficult to see how it would hurt the commercial value of the image. Others who have a lot more experience in copyright law seem to agree. The group behind the video, Richter Scales, has put up a new version of the video, without the offending photograph, and are now crediting all of the content used in the video. You can see the new video here.
The debate over whether or not Lane Hartwell is in the right or wrong took off over the weekend and reached ridiculous levels on both sides of the aisle. Hartwell is now demanding payment for the use of her photo, which is only going to make things worse. She was upset the photo was in the video, and now she's upset that it's not in the new video. She's in the wrong here for a variety of reasons. She misused the DMCA and now she's demanding payment over what was fair use of her work. On top of that, she's probably convinced an awful lot of folks never to hire her -- but that's a separate issue.

The real issue here, however, is that this is a perfect example of how our addiction to copyright does more harm than good. Hartwell and her supporters insist that she has to do this because this is "how she makes a living." That's the same claim the RIAA makes as well. And it's totally bogus. For example, if I opened up a restaurant selling pizzas for $10/pizza, that would be how I make my living. Now, let's assume that someone else sees how successful my pizza place is and decides to "copy" it and open his own pizza place down the street -- selling identical pizzas for $7. Suddenly, I go out of business because "how I make my living" is no longer sustainable. The problem is that people assume that because they've made their living one way -- they should always be able to do so. When it comes to copyright, they're relying on the crutch that copyright provides. It allows them to put in place a simple business model that provides a living -- even if it's not the best business model either for the content creator or consumers.

In the pizza example, if I were a smart business person, I would learn to adjust my business model. I'd look for more efficient suppliers, so I could lower the cost of my pizza to match the competitor. Or I'd look to differentiate myself from the new competitor. I'd make the restaurant a nicer place to visit. I'd add more options to the menu. Maybe I'd install a big screen TV, if that's what people wanted. Basically -- I'd continue to adapt my business model, making everyone benefit. My restaurant would get better or I'd go out of business. Consumers would have more choice and more options that were better than before. It's a total win-win.

Yet, when it comes to copyright -- the crutch that copyright provides in that easy business model means that people don't need to think about how to adapt and how to innovate. They just scream "piracy" and complain that they've been cheated and demand that the world change to meet their needs and their business model. And copyright law often allows this to happen. It slows down innovation and hurts the ability to create win-win situations. Instead, we get lose-lose. Lane Hartwell is pissed off and sending invoices that will never get paid. The world was unable to watch this amusing video for a period of time. That's the opposite of everyone becoming better off and it's all because of our addiction to copyright which blinds people to the idea that there are better business models out there.

Now, some will cry about fairness and getting credit for the work that you do -- but that's a red herring. It's a moral argument against an economic argument. That doesn't mean that morals don't matter... but the point is that if the economics shows that everyone can be better off, the moral argument fades away. Most of these moral arguments are for preserving a world where everyone is worse off -- and that hardly seems like a good moral argument.

Others will say that I have no right to speak on this subject, because it wasn't my content that was appropriated. Again, that's ridiculous. Techdirt's content gets appropriated all the time. Sometimes blatantly in the form of spam blogs -- but as we've explained, there's no reason to worry about such things -- as they can only benefit you long term if you pay attention. However, my work has also been "appropriated" by more legitimate sources as well. There are two specific examples of this happening recently -- one involving a well known site and another involving a well known person -- both using content from this site unattributed to further their own projects. In both cases, there is no question that the content came from here (both admit to it privately, though the circumstances behind each are quite different). In both cases, while it was personally disappointing that these individuals chose not to credit myself or Techdirt, they only drove me to figure out better ways to present the content myself. Even better, if more people become aware of the ideas we talk about here from other sources, the more likely they'll be to stop by and visit this site at a later date. It's not about who was "first," but about getting more folks to recognize how these things are important -- and then using that to my advantage as well. In the short term, it may have hurt my ability to "capitalize" on these ideas -- but in the long term, it will only open up new opportunities. Yes, I would have liked to received credit -- but why waste time on something like that, when I can put my efforts into doing more interesting things?

What's exciting is that these ideas are catching on and finding an audience. Now that it's happening, I can focus more on other topics and important things like growing the business side of Techdirt and taking those ideas even further. If someone else is doing a better job presenting ideas that I've been talking about, then it's time for me to focus on something else that I can do even better -- and that's what I've been working on. And, all along, Techdirt's popularity has continued to grow. So, even if people are first exposed to these ideas from other sources, eventually some of them will find their way here and join in the conversation as well. They'll add their own ideas, and something even better will come of it. Sure, not everyone who sees or reads an idea that was discussed here will find out about Techdirt, but who cares? Those who care and those who matter will eventually figure it out if they haven't already.

So, can we please stop using copyright as a crutch and demanding "credit" for everything? There's no big scorecard in the sky. My content is built on the backs of all those who have taught and educated me -- and I'm sure I don't give nearly enough credit to everyone who has provided the ideas that are the core of what I do. I "appropriate" their teachings every day of my life -- and if others appropriate mine (even if that's "how I earn my living"), it just gives me more reasons to continue to adapt and change and use that to my advantage. It forces me to work on business models where I can take advantage of a wider distribution of this content, rather than worry about locking it down and demanding credit. If you make your living by relying on that crutch, then start dealing with the reality that it's not a good way to make a living -- and there are many better ways that can help everyone be better off. Despite Hartwell's claims, she doesn't really make her living from copyright. She gets paid upfront to take pictures, and she does so because she's good at it. That's a straight business transaction that has nothing to do with copyright. She easily could have leveraged the use of the photo in the video as free advertising for her services -- and done so in a way that made everyone happy, not pissed off (in fact, most of the other's whose content was used in the video have responded in that manner). Sure, not everyone would have known it was her photo, but you can't worry about everyone. The important people figure this stuff out.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    sonofdot, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 2:41pm

    Now that we know who she is

    We can avoid her like the plague. Then she can go find some other way to "make a living."

     

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    Mudlock, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 2:44pm

    Today's the Day For Spelling/Grammar Corrections?

    7th paragraph, 1st sentence: "right", not "write".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 2:52pm

    Of all the stupidly myopic, economically ignorant posts I've seen here, this one takes the cake. I've just unsubscribed. This blog has become worthless.

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 2:57pm

      Re:

      Of all the stupidly myopic, economically ignorant posts I've seen here, this one takes the cake.

      Well, since it appears you've gone away, I doubt you'll answer... but would love to find out *why* you think that. I've pointed to plenty of detailed research in the past that supports it.

      So if you have economic proof that this is "economically ignorant," I'd love to see it. It could make for an interesting discussion.

      Instead, by just announcing that it's ignorant without pointing to a single thing you find wrong with it, I have a hard time responding to your claims.

       

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      angry dude, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 6:21pm

      Re:

      Dude
      What were you expecting in the first place from Mike ?
      He does a pretty nice shitty job of clueless reporting...
      At least you can vent out here...
      I tried to do it on Slashbot but the little bastards mod you down so you posts are not even visible there
      RElax, this is just internet - anything goes

       

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    Joe, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:22pm

    Well then...

    I guess it's alright if I copy this entire blog post onto my blog, uncredited, and sell ads onto it.

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:31pm

      Re: Well then...

      I guess it's alright if I copy this entire blog post onto my blog, uncredited, and sell ads onto it.

      Yes. It is alright. Did you even read my post? I said it was fine, and I even pointed to this that explained why:

      http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20070412/183135#c612

      I'll repost it again since you apparently were too rushed to actually click the link to read the details:

      And as we've said repeatedly, we have no problem with people taking our content and reposting it. It's funny how many people come here, like yourself, and assume you've found some "gotcha." You haven't. There already are about 10 sites that copy Techdirt, post for post. Some of them give us credit. Some of them don't. We don't go after any of them.

      Here's why:

      1. None of those sites get any traffic. By itself, they offer nothing special.

      2. If anything, it doesn't take people long to read those sites and figure out that the content is really from Techdirt. Then they just come here to the original source. So, it tends to help drive more traffic to us. That's cool.

      3. As soon as the people realize the other sites are simply copying us, it makes those sites look really, really bad. If you want to risk your reputation like that, go ahead, but it's a big risk.

      4. A big part of the value of Techdirt is the community here. You can't just replicate that.

      5. Another big part of the value of Techdirt is that we, the writers, engage in the comments. You absolutely cannot fake that on your own site.

      So, really, what's the purpose of copying our content, other than maybe driving a little traffic our way?

      So, if you really want to, I'd suggest it's pretty dumb, but go ahead.

       

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        joe, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 4:52pm

        Re: Re: Well then...

        I just wanted to get permission first. See how easy that was?

        Actually, I have to admit not reading every detail of your post, and to being snarky, but the fact is your posts have pretty much been making the same argument for the past six months (or longer). I just read until I see the words 'new business models' and then go onto the next thing on my reader.

        If you're going to complain about the government protecting an existing industry, then you should note that it's certainly American tradition to do so. It has pretty much happened for the entire history of the United States.

        Don't get me wrong, I'll admit you've turned me around on my general attitudes about patents and copyright. But I'd like to see you ponder what would happen to the US if the government didn't protect existing industry as a rule.

        People may not like that our government not only protects, but is really designed to protect special interests. But nothing will change unless some fundamental parts of our government change. Pointing out a sleazy politician now and then helps; but unless you can organize and present an idea that can both be politically popular as well as populist, your 'copyrights are protectionism' arguments will stand on their own but go no further.

         

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          Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 5:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: Well then...

          I just wanted to get permission first. See how easy that was?

          Heh. If you wanted to get permission, you would have asked. You made a statement, not a request.

          Actually, I have to admit not reading every detail of your post, and to being snarky, but the fact is your posts have pretty much been making the same argument for the past six months (or longer). I just read until I see the words 'new business models' and then go onto the next thing on my reader.

          So... if you don't read the details, then why would you assume you know what I'm talking about or that I'm always talking about the same thing?

          If you're going to complain about the government protecting an existing industry, then you should note that it's certainly American tradition to do so. It has pretty much happened for the entire history of the United States.

          Oh, I agree. I've definitely noted that in the past as well. That doesn't make it right.

          But I'd like to see you ponder what would happen to the US if the government didn't protect existing industry as a rule.

          Generally speaking (specific cases may have different factors playing into them), the economy would be a lot better off if the US didn't protect industries. The costs of doing so are incredibly damaging both to the larger economy and to the individual companies in protected industries.

          but unless you can organize and present an idea that can both be politically popular as well as populist, your 'copyrights are protectionism' arguments will stand on their own but go no further.

          Again, I'd suggest you go back and read the rest of the post. My point was that, in talking about these things, others have picked up on them (often without crediting us, even if that's where they got the ideas from) and so those ideas are spreading naturally -- and the idea is growing and gaining support on its own. And, wonderfully, that process has shown how well what I'm talking about works.

           

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      Raymond, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:33pm

      Re: Well then...

      Would it hurt you to actually read a little before you post? We've heard this argument quite a lot and it's boring.

      Are you also going to copy across all of the comments? Maybe change all the links to point to past articles and all the comments? You can also change all the techdirts to techenduserexperiencedirt, maybe? Don't let one slip though, though.

      If someone posts a comment to your site are you going to forward the comment here? Sounds like a lot of effort, really. Otherwise, as Mike keeps saying, you lose the community and a lot of the impact.

      Mike has already stated (in this article) that he has better things to do with his time than chase people for infringement. Especially when he gets extra readers out of the process.

      Why not do him a favour and present the material in a manner that's more pleasing to a lot of readers so he can follow your cues and take them from you?

       

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        Joe, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 5:04pm

        Re: Re: Well then...

        Yeah, I should have known better; when I realized it was techdirt, I knew this argument had been analyzed and rebutted (with plenty of back-linked 'citations').

        Still, I don't know if Mike is actually fuming mad when he writes this stuff or if he is emotionally detached, but the invective certainly came through and engendered and somewhat vitriollic response.

        So no, I have no interest in copying any of his material, or the comments, and I don't care to drive any traffic anywhere; I just wanted to snap back a little - that's the honest, transparent (non-intellectual) reaction I had.

         

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      Nick (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:54pm

      Re: Well then...

      Go ahead, Joe. If you take it far enough, the community will call you out, and soon your name will have the top Google slot for posts saying "This guy steals Techdirt posts" (and no, Mike will not initiate this). This is how things balance out. This will only bring more attention to the source of the posts, Techdirt.com where people can read original posts, subscribe, contribute comments, make Mike and the team more famous, and get new clients. So go ahead.

       

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    Shun, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:28pm

    Trainwreck

    I can almost sympathize with the photographer. There are lots of "old media" types who only see the web as an alternate source of income. Fortunately for everyone else, and less so for old media, the web is so much more. Please correct the timeline below:

    1. Photographer takes a photo of popular digerati figure.
    2. Photographer then places said photo on Flickr page (license?)
    3. Richter Scales finds photo (somehow) and uses it in their song. Posts song on YouTube. (and why isn't Billy Joel suing?)
    4. Photographer gets upset, demands that Google take down the video via the DMCA.
    5. Google takes down video.
    6. Richters protest, saying it's an abuse of DMCA.
    7. (I'm looking for a response from Google here)
    8. Richters put up a different video, with the offending content removed.
    9. Photographer sues Richter Scales.

    What I'm confused about is this: on what basis is she claiming she can sue, for action #3, or #8?

    I'm sure she does not have a claim against Google, because they did #5, so they are protected by safe harbor (and would be regardless).

    It appears that the Richters have a case against Google, but they're probably not going to pursue it.

    I know actual damages is so out-of-vogue at the moment, but please humor me. What are Ms. Hartwell's damages? If I flash a picture that you took for less than a second in a montage video lasting over a minute, how does that negatively affect your business?

    Please provide examples of actual economic harm caused by sampling and appropriation. Use footnotes, if necessary.

     

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    Garfield, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Joe

    You might manage to get a couple hits - but you're not going to get the long time subscribers who want to go back through the archives and have the newest articles.

    Eventually the readers of your fake blog would probably figure out where the article really came from and come back to techdirt.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:40pm

    Wired article

    She does work for Wired and they have an article up here:
    http://www.wired.com/entertainment/theweb/news/2007/12/photographers

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2007 @ 2:23pm

      Re: Wired article

      Note that in that article both Wired's writer, Lewis Wallace, and Hartwell repeat the old lie that copyright infringement is "stealing". Shame on Wired. I guess birds of a feather really do flock together.

       

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    bored now, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:42pm

    re: AC at post #4

    (s)he sadly seems to have had enough. I can understand that, but I won't be going, as I still find looking in on techdirt entertaining.

    It's like going to the circus, years ago, and watching the contortionists. You feel a bit guilty, but you have to watch anyway.

    That said, I really do find techdirt to be a useful resource in highlighting malfeasance & injustice. Only thing is, to make it useful, I have to strip out the desperate attempts to make everything a reason to destroy copyright.

     

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    Dug, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:43pm

    Hold on here

    I think you have used a bad analogy. Sticking with the pizza idea, what happened here is that the offending party took one of the pizzas she made, without payment or permission, and then sold it down the street. If they re-created the pizza, like in your example, no harm done, but they didn't. They took pizza they can't legally take. It is theft here. That is the issue. It isn't copying her work, it is taking it.

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:49pm

      Re: Hold on here

      I think you have used a bad analogy. Sticking with the pizza idea, what happened here is that the offending party took one of the pizzas she made, without payment or permission, and then sold it down the street.

      That's different. Then I'd be missing a pizza. It's a physical thing that's missing. In this case, that's not true. No physical thing is missing. No one has "lost" anything. It's the same as an idea.

      They took pizza they can't legally take.

      No, they didn't. They copied the photo. The photo remains exactly where it was before. It's not missing.

      It is theft here.

      No. It's not theft. It may be infringement, but it's not theft.

      It isn't copying her work, it is taking it.

      No, it is copying. If it was "taking" it, her work would no longer be there. But it was. They simply copied. Same thing as a pizza shop "copying" my idea.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 6:58pm

        Re: Re: Hold on here

        Ok, allow me as an artist to say this then. Just because something can be copied doesn't mean it gives anyone the right to use it how they see fit. How would you feel if someone started using a picture of you to advertise for something you don't believe in. Or by using that photo they are making money and getting all the credit and all you get is NOTHING. How would you react? Its perfectly legal, cause its just a copy. What next? copying signatures? No, cause its forgery. Forgery is copying and it is wrong. I think that people like the RIAA have taken things too far, granted. They should make the people serve time or pay a fine the same as shoplifting. Not be able to sue and control all the amounts etc. However, I think that it isn't doing any justice to try and swing all the way over the other way.

        For those who want a fair and free society to use other peoples things and the share and share a like have to be willing to give there stuff up too. All this talk about business fairness and communes makes no sense cause they don't work together. Forget the pizza analogy. She created it, they used it, didn't giver her any recognition and certainly didn't ask her permission, they wronged her knowing exactly what they were doing and didn't care. They are as ignorant as the government who think people are to stupid to notice or care. There was no sharing in the videos act so why should she be willing to share then?

         

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          Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:04pm

          Re: Re: Re: Hold on here

          Ok, allow me as an artist to say this then. Just because something can be copied doesn't mean it gives anyone the right to use it how they see fit.

          I never said it did. I simply said that from the *artist's* perspective, they will eventually need to realize that they can do better.

          Do not misunderstand me. I am not saying that any user has a "right" to use their content.

          How would you feel if someone started using a picture of you to advertise for something you don't believe in.

          That's a different issue that has to do with publicity rights -- not copyright.

          Or by using that photo they are making money and getting all the credit and all you get is NOTHING. How would you react?

          Actually, I think I made it clear in the post that that was fine. It happens to me often enough and I react exactly as I explained in the post.

          No, cause its forgery. Forgery is copying and it is wrong.

          That's very different. Forgery is wrong because it involves a scarce good: your identity.

          For those who want a fair and free society to use other peoples things and the share and share a like have to be willing to give there stuff up too.

          I'm not sure what you are suggesting here. I describe a situation where neither party has to give up anything... and you're describing a situation where both parties need to give up stuff. How is that better?

          All this talk about business fairness and communes makes no sense cause they don't work together.

          Huh? Who's talking about communes?

          She created it, they used it, didn't giver her any recognition and certainly didn't ask her permission, they wronged her knowing exactly what they were doing and didn't care.

          Did you even read the post? I'm guessing you did not. You are arguing the moral issue, which I discuss. If you understand the larger issue, then the moral issue goes away.

          There was no sharing in the videos act so why should she be willing to share then?

          It's not about "sharing."

          Please, before you write something like this, at least take the time to read what I wrote. You seem to be responding to a totally different argument.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 1:33am

        Re: Re: Hold on here

        Whilst you seem likely to be correct in this case (just being careful for the lawyers ;) ), copying a photograph is more than an infringement, you are misappropriating their skills, timing, and judgement. The same in music, copying a track is not the same as reproducing a track i.e. if you play the music and record it yourself then you have introduced the skills (or in my case the lack of them). In the pizza analogy that would be using a recipe.

         

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          Mike (profile), Dec 21st, 2007 @ 1:53am

          Re: Re: Re: Hold on here

          copying a photograph is more than an infringement, you are misappropriating their skills, timing, and judgement.

          Not at all. Their skills, timing and judgment are still there -- and still very much available for someone to pay them to use in future works. That's the point. Even if someone appropriates your content, it's still you who have the skills, timing, judgment, talent, ability, insight, etc. to improve on it for the next time. And the success of your earlier works just means there will be more demand (and higher prices) offered to you in the future.

           

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    Alex, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:48pm

    Choices

    This is insane. I think that if an artist exposes ANY single item of which they are the author in public, then it should become part of the public domain. Artists that want to create original works and get paid for their efforts should forget that idea completely and should keep their music and their photographs to themselves. We should then fight to enact FAIR USE laws that are vague and confusing to most normal human artists and begin to seriously consider fighting for a World Government based on Communistic ideals so we can stem the flow of all types of original innovation and bring all artistic work to the lowest common denominator -- that of the P2P-addicted, CS-playing, cubicle-bound, unispired vegetable-geek.

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 3:56pm

      Re: Choices

      based on Communistic ideals so we can stem the flow of all types of original innovation and bring all artistic work to the lowest common denominator

      Every once in a while, someone brings this up and somehow suggests what I'm pushing for is "communistic" or would "stem the flow of original innovation." The thing is, that's not even remotely true.

      As for the "communist" claim, let me ask you, which is more communist:

      * A system that trusts the free market to set the price without gov't regulations.
      * A system that relies on gov't protectionism to grant artificial monopolies to individuals for the good of those individuals.

      In most definitions, that second one is a lot more communist, and that first one is capitalist. I'm pushing for the first one. The second one is copyright. I fail to see how pushing for less regulation and more free market is a communist idea.

      As for "stemming the flow of innovation," that's historically wrong. I've pointed out countless times the research that shows it's simply not true at all, and how innovation tends to flourish without artificial monopolies. For starters, take a look at the research of David Levine, Michele Boldrin, Petra Moser and Eric Schiff if you want to start to learn how incorrect your statement is. There's a lot more economic history that supports my position rather than yours, but you might as well just start with those 4.

      The summary, though, is that the removal of strong IP protections has increased the pace of innovations in those places, while putting in place stronger IP laws has not. Economic development in the Netherlands and Switzerland took place *because* they consciously decided to not have patents. Italy's pharma industry shrunk considerably after it started recognizing pharma patents. By your reasoning, the opposite should have happened.

      So, please, don't make easily proven false statements about how a lack of IP would slow down innovation. It's simply not true, and it only makes you look ignorant to repeat it.

       

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    Chris Brand, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 4:01pm

    Re; Hold on here

    That doesn't make much sense to me, given that we're talking about the fact that a video was created. Of course, any analogy is going to fall down at some point, but :
    a) The video was a new work. They didn't just sell prints of the photo.
    b) She still has everything she had before.

    You could perhaps improve Mike's analogy by having the new pizza place use the same recipes as the old, but it's already better to the actual situation than your "theft of a pizza" version, IMO.

     

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    Alex, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 5:02pm

    Choices -- Mike

    Mike --

    I live in China. Whether you believe it or not -- it is now virtually impossible for me to find, in my neighbourhood next to the shiny new buildings of Motorola, Nortel, HP, SONY, etc., a legitimate copy of a music CD or DVD in any one of the major or mom/pop shops -- this is the absolute truth -- no exageration. I can buy a 'viagra copy' that will destroy my liver and buy OTC copy-steroids that will turn me into a Yao Ming clone with a life-span of three years. I can buy a 'Rolex' that works and works well for 10 dollars and my wife can buy a 10 thousand dollar 'Prada' handbag for 30 dollars. Without doubt, I live in the exact doppleganger of your supposed ideal IP-free world. Yes, the overall economy is booming. And what do you suppose the ultimate result of this will be -- 'realistically', not 'ideally'?

    You are touting an extremist view of a relatively sound idea, but you/Techdirt do it rabidly so. All you are presenting is that libertarian idealism that leans more toward chaos and anarchy to make it's rather immediate point than it does to any sort of civilised order.

    Perhaps the subject of your article is in as much a quandry (as most artists are) with regard to any sort of rights or choices they have over their products, as most people are on this planet.

    I do not subscribe to a lawless environment without protection of a creator's rights of choice over their creative efforts because I live right in the middle of that ideal world of yours -- where money will buy you anything -- wanna driver's license but can't pass the test? 500RMB. Wanna be a lawyer but don't feel like learning anything about law? 10,000RMB... and etc.

    Soon, it appears I won't even be able to protect my identity (now nearly impossible in California as well as China), since I won't own the rights to 'me' and can't afford the legal fees to defend and protect 'me'.

    Extrapolate from the rather laisefair western world you comfortably postulate in to the overall human globe you 'experimentally' live in -- it doesn't work.

    As it stands, it is now easy to see the demise of many small-time artists, while the well-financed major corporations mass-produce their bland, uninspired pap with little financial risk/loss. Who are the real winners in your world mate? Clear Channel Radio, GM, Pfizer, and The Mike People.

    Cheers,
    Alex

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 5:32pm

      Re: Choices -- Mike

      I live in China. Whether you believe it or not -- it is now virtually impossible for me to find, in my neighbourhood next to the shiny new buildings of Motorola, Nortel, HP, SONY, etc., a legitimate copy of a music CD or DVD in any one of the major or mom/pop shops -- this is the absolute truth -- no exageration.

      Alex, I believe it. I don't see why it would be an exaggeration. But that doesn't disprove my point -- it only strengthens it. The legitimate providers are stuck on the crutch of copyright as their model. So they have not adapted to offer you legitimate content in a way that people in China would buy. They *could*, but they haven't. So it's no surprise that the only options are the unauthorized ones.

      Without doubt, I live in the exact doppleganger of your supposed ideal IP-free world.

      Not at all. You are living in a world where only a part of what I'm talking about has come true. Yes, IP is not well respected -- but the companies that create haven't learned how to use it to their advantage. They will, however.

      Yes, the overall economy is booming

      Which is why they'll figure it out eventually. There's so much money to be made.

      And what do you suppose the ultimate result of this will be -- 'realistically', not 'ideally'?

      The ultimate result is that, while there will be fits and starts before enough embrace it, companies will start to figure out ways to embrace these things in a way that makes them money but doesn't involve needless protectionism.

      Then, others will pick up on the example of those success stories. It's very realistic, because it's the story of economic development for the past 200 years or so.

      You are touting an extremist view of a relatively sound idea, but you/Techdirt do it rabidly so

      I don't find it to be extremist at all... but obviously, I'm biased on it. I've always considered myself to be a realist. I have no time for idealism. The problem is that the more evidence that shows up, the more it shows that this is very real -- and people are only doing harm to themselves and others in failing to embrace it. I used to be more cautious in discussing things, but then people would ignore it or brush it off without considering the details. That doesn't help anyone. So now it makes sense to lay it out and support it with facts, and research and examples. And that's what I do.

      And I'm always willing to stand here and discuss it. These discussions are helpful to me. If I've gotten something wrong, then people will let me know. However, more often what I find is that I haven't explained myself clearly enough (such as above, where you seem to assume that China represents what I've spoken about, when it does not).

      I do not subscribe to a lawless environment without protection of a creator's rights of choice over their creative efforts because I live right in the middle of that ideal world of yours -- where money will buy you anything -- wanna driver's license but can't pass the test? 500RMB. Wanna be a lawyer but don't feel like learning anything about law? 10,000RMB... and etc.

      Again, you have misread what I have said -- and I apologize for not being clear. I do not subscribe to a lawless environment either. In the examples you give, real harm can occur to third parties. That's a case where it makes sense for regulation.

      As it stands, it is now easy to see the demise of many small-time artists, while the well-financed major corporations mass-produce their bland, uninspired pap with little financial risk/loss. Who are the real winners in your world mate? Clear Channel Radio, GM, Pfizer, and The Mike People.

      Are you serious? Not at all. What I'm talking about is a world where MORE people can make a BETTER living doing what they want, CREATING more content and MORE innovation. Just look at the world of music. More music than ever before is being produced. More music than ever before is available to hear. It's wonderful. Musicians who never would have been able to continue making music are now making a living, and they're doing it outside the big corporations who used to be necessary.

      In the meantime, I find it hilarious that some folks accuse me of wanting to destroy big companies, while others, like you, insist that I'm trying to help them. The truth is neither. I'm just explaining the economic realities that will offer the biggest pie for everyone. When you look at the details, what happens is that it means more competition and more companies that can make money without having to deal with the large dominating companies.

      So, I'm afraid that I have no done a very good job explaining my position if you believe that what I'm talking about only helps the largest companies. It's simply not true. It can help them, but it's much more likely to help everyone else.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2007 @ 3:05pm

      Re: Choices -- Mike

      Alex,
      Many of the examples you give are actually examples of fraud, not copyright infringement. You seriously need to learn the difference between the two. (Although I suspect you really know and are just trying to be duplicitous)

       

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    As a Side Note, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 6:25pm

    Pizza Business Model?

    I'm not sure comparing a photograph to a pizza is the same. The photograph is permanent, but the pizza lasts all of 5 minutes. If someone makes a cheaper pizza, then sure, you change something about your pizza to make it better. But, that picture can't be changed. It will stay, right there, forever.. Like that lava lamp on your desk.

    From the photographer's point of view, that tangible lava lamp has been stolen right from her desk. That lava lamp was a give from Aunt Bertha, and another lava lamp can't be made to replace it, it is 'gone forever'..

    I've generally agreed with your previous complaints about copyright and I hope that Ms. Hartwell filed her suit in East Texas, because she needs all the help she can get with her flimsy argument.. But, I didn't find the argument of 'outdated business model' matched the situation of a lonely cat lady trying to extort money from a comedy troupe laughing at lava lamps..

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 6:58pm

      Re: Pizza Business Model?

      I'm not sure comparing a photograph to a pizza is the same.

      It's true, every analogy has some flaws... but I'm not sure the flaws you point out here make a difference to the argument.

      The photograph is permanent, but the pizza lasts all of 5 minutes.

      So, forget the pizza. The same applies to any other business.

      But, that picture can't be changed. It will stay, right there, forever.. Like that lava lamp on your desk.

      Ok.

      From the photographer's point of view, that tangible lava lamp has been stolen right from her desk.

      But it hasn't. That lava lamp remains on the desk because nothing was stolen. Someone else just copied the lava lamp.

      That lava lamp was a give from Aunt Bertha, and another lava lamp can't be made to replace it, it is 'gone forever'.

      But that's not what happened at all. The lava lamp is in the same place it always was. It's like someone saw that lava lamp that aunt Bertha gave you, and made an identical one. Yours isn't missing.

       

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      jedi, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 12:39pm

      Re: Pizza Business Model?

      Actually, Pizza is the perfect analogy to a photograph.

      A recipe could be just as much intellectual property as anything else. Many recipes are just slight variations on something else that's already in the public domain (like Troy or Snow White). So it's fairly comparable.

      You have a recipe/design/photo/sourcecode and you make your money by selling copies.

      The big difference is that recipes have a well established culture of sharing vs. commerce.

       

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    Confused, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:05pm

    Photographs?

    One day a photographer is driving by my farm (I'm not really a farmer but stay with me), pulls off the road by my fence and takes a few pictures of my barn, windmill, cows and the rusty Ford in the front yard. A few months later I'm surpised to see a picture of my farm on the cover of a photography magazine.

    The image becomes very popular, gaining the photographer fame and wealth.

    I write the photographer (let's call her Ms. Hartwell) and demand 50% of her earnings from the photo. She responds that since she took the photo from a publicly accessible area she doesn't feel indebted to me even though it is a reproduction of my property.

    Couldn't photography be considered piracy?

     

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      atomatom, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:31pm

      Re: Photographs?

      "One day a photographer is driving by my farm (I'm not really a farmer but stay with me), pulls off the road by my fence and takes a few pictures of my barn, windmill, cows and the rusty Ford in the front yard."

      Do you own the copyright on your barn, windmill, cows, and the rusty Ford, the ground they're on, and the sky behind them? Do you own the copyright on the arrangement of these items? No, nor could you. In addition to that, the photographer is not diverting revenue from you, they are not stealing or infringing or profiting against your loss. You had nothing to gain from it before and nothing to gain from it now. Furthermore, it is entirely legal to sell a photograph of anything you capture from a public location, provided you have releases from any people prominently visible in the image (not required for journalism). On top of that, the photograph is protected by copyright because it is an original creation; you yourself have not contributed to that creation, although individual elements in the photo (perhaps a house you designed yourself) could be considered original.

       

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        chris (profile), Dec 23rd, 2007 @ 12:35am

        Re: Re: Photographs?

        In addition to that, the photographer is not diverting revenue from you, they are not stealing or infringing or profiting against your loss. You had nothing to gain from it before and nothing to gain from it now.

        yes, but that photographer made some money for taking a picture and i didn't. being a farmer sucks. it's not fair. i want money too!

        anytime anyone makes money i want some. i just want to yell "zomg copyright!!1!" and get your money. that's why copyright is so cool, because you can use it to get money.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2007 @ 3:35pm

        Re: Re: Photographs?

        Do you own the copyright on your barn, windmill, cows, and the rusty Ford, the ground they're on, and the sky behind them?
        If he created any of those objects himself and they contain creative elements (e.g. the architecture of the barn) , then yes, he automatically holds the the copyright to those creative elements.

        No, nor could you.
        Not true. You don't know much about US copyright law. (And ignorance is no excuse)

        In addition to that, the photographer is not diverting revenue from you, they are not stealing or infringing or profiting against your loss. You had nothing to gain from it before and nothing to gain from it now
        Again, not true. He has lost the ability to charge the photographer the fee he might otherwise have collected.

        Furthermore, it is entirely legal to sell a photograph of anything you capture from a public location, provided you have releases from any people prominently visible in the image (not required for journalism).
        Huh? Not true at all. Just because the copying occurred in a public place does not make it legal. If the photographer's photo is copied from the "public" internet, does that make it legal? Of course not. So why do you think it's OK to "steal" from farmers but not photographers?) That sounds rather hypocritical to me.

        On top of that, the photograph is protected by copyright because it is an original creation;
        No, it's a derivative work. So the copyright stays with the original creator (the farmer).

        you yourself have not contributed to that creation,
        Again, not true. The farmer created the original creative elements.

        although individual elements in the photo (perhaps a house you designed yourself) could be considered original.
        Exactly. So the photograph is a derivative work and is thus infringing the original creator's (the farmer's) copyright.

        That's the way copyright works. You sound like some hypocritical photographer who thinks copyright laws were written to protect just you and nobody else. What you need to realize is that if the principles of creative ownership are equally applied, you won't be left with much outside of nature scenes that you can legally photograph without "permission". How does that strike you?

         

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      ChurchHatesTucker, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:42pm

      Re: Photographs?

      "Couldn't photography be considered piracy?"

      4 out of 5 architects say YES!

       

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    SimonTek (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:22pm

    off topic

    I clicked the youtube video. Man thats catchy. Its out of character for me to do anything trendy. "here comes another bubble...."

     

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    atomatom, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:25pm

    All I want in this discussion is a bit of common sense. How hard is that? It's common sense that the photographer wasn't hurt by this small bit of copyright infringement. It's common sense that Billy Joel wasn't hurt by the video either. It's common sense that I'm not ruining anyone's career by downloading a song off the internet. It's common sense that people are going to get things the easiest way they can and people are going to do things that make them happy and it's common sense that things would be a lot healthier if filesharing could be a meaningful exchange of art for money between the consumer and the artist, if photographs and videos and music could be used casually and nonprofitably towards creating more original entertainment and culture without inciting lawsuits and threats. It's common sense that instead of relying on laws and legal notices to support your business you ought to spend more time creating and selling and creating some more.

     

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    Bitchtech, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 7:52pm

    Giving credit is part of fair use

    The fair use clause (which doesn't apply in most countries, anyway) requires that the originator of the material be given credit. So while I tend to agree that this woman is a bit of a dip, the rant about how nobody should have to give credit for using anyone else's original material is misplaced.

    In an academic paper, you have to cite your sources and credit the people you quote. There is no reason you shouldn't have to do that when you publish anything else, and yes, putting videos on the web is publishing.

    Basically, according to U.S. Law (and I'm not talking about the DMCA, either), if there's no credit, it's not fair use.

     

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      ChurchHatesTucker, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 8:12pm

      Re: Giving credit is part of fair use

      "Basically, according to U.S. Law (and I'm not talking about the DMCA, either), if there's no credit, it's not fair use."

      Um, no. Fair use is fair use. If you make a parody song, for example, you don't have to credit the original. I believe it's assumed that the intended audience, at least, gets the reference.

       

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    also fed up with (c), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 8:08pm

    AMEN!

    You sir deserve a metal; best put argument against (c) I've seen to date. Too bad the RIAA doesn't frequent this page. Nice work.

     

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    Nick (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 8:16pm

    Re: Confused

    That is exactly the analogy I was going to propose (although it might be confusing becuase it involves the concept of photography.

    The person that has taken a picture of your barn has not taken the barn itself. You still have it, and you are still able to produce your crops, meats, poultry, whatever. That means to produce has not been stolen. It has not been interfered with. It has not lost value.

    You might have lost a business opportunity to negotiate a license to have the picture of your barn taken. However, this business opportunity is not a right you have that enforceable by law. If that was the case, you could sue anyone and everyone for doing what you are not doing. You could sue Donald Trump becuase he took business opportunities that you did not take (investing at the right place at the right time, learning skills, partnering with the right people, buying and selling properties, etc). That is pure and unadulteratedly capitalism, my friends. It is not a government granted or even a human right.

     

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    Pizza Boy, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 9:55pm

    I need another pizza analogy.

    I open up a pizza joint called, say "My Little Pizza Joint". It does pretty well for a little place, but then lets say "Techdirt Pizza's" opens up across the road. Now "Techdirt Pizza's" is a huge chain, makes loads of money and can sell pizza's at half my price.

    However I'm really good at making up pizza recipes. I spend weeks coming up with a recipe called "My Damn Fine Pizza", and its a hit at my local pizza place.

    But then "Techdirt Pizza's" brings out my pizza recipe. Sure I've still got my recipe, but all my customers are over at Techdirt as it is half the price. Plus the nation is raving about how Techdirt's new pizza is so great.

    But the boss of Techdirt pizza says: "No worries, you can copy my pizza recipes if you like! Hey, its best for everybody!"

    Don't get me wrong, I agree that using a image in a second of video is fair use. I guess my point is that the littler the guy you are the more your hard created original work matters to you, because your originality is pretty much all you got over the big guys.

     

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      AnonJr, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 4:56am

      Re: Pizza Boy

      I need another pizza analogy.

      I open up a pizza joint called, say "My Little Pizza Joint". It does pretty well for a little place, but then lets say "Techdirt Pizza's" opens up across the road. Now "Techdirt Pizza's" is a huge chain, makes loads of money and can sell pizza's at half my price.

      However I'm really good at making up pizza recipes. I spend weeks coming up with a recipe called "My Damn Fine Pizza", and its a hit at my local pizza place.

      But then "Techdirt Pizza's" brings out my pizza recipe. Sure I've still got my recipe, but all my customers are over at Techdirt as it is half the price. Plus the nation is raving about how Techdirt's new pizza is so great.

      But the boss of Techdirt pizza says: "No worries, you can copy my pizza recipes if you like! Hey, its best for everybody!"

      Don't get me wrong, I agree that using a image in a second of video is fair use. I guess my point is that the littler the guy you are the more your hard created original work matters to you, because your originality is pretty much all you got over the big guys.


      And thus you get the fashion industry... which seems to be doing good last I checked. It forces you to come up with a better pizza, and/or a cheaper pizza, or go out of business - in other words you have to work for your money.

      If you do either of the first two you win your customers back and force the other guys back into the spot you were in which forces them to come up with a better pizza, and/or a cheaper pizza, or go out of business.

      Actually, now that I think about it, there is another option - make your shop a better place to be. Play up the "going out to get a pizza" experience. People will pay the higher price if they feel they are getting a better experience or some other intangible. I think I saw this working somewhere...

       

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    Alex, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:00pm


    ...What I'm talking about is a world where MORE people can make a BETTER living doing what they want, CREATING more content and MORE innovation. Just look at the world of music. More music than ever before is being produced. More music than ever before is available to hear. It's wonderful. Musicians who never would have been able to continue making music are now making a living, and they're doing it outside the big corporations who used to be necessary.


    Who are these people? I live, eat, breathe in the world of music creation and performance. I have a website. I offer my music free for download -- a shipped CD with artwork for 10 dollars. My music is good -- I have won awards. I cannot recoup my costs -- nowhere near it. In any event, I do it for the love of it. But I have no real choice in the matter anyway.

    There is a REASON why Radiohead pulled it's free download offer -- it wasn't working.

    NO ONE is going to pay for something that can be found for *free* so easily somewhere else. That is naivity.

    Notice who the real victims are -- those artists whose works are digitally reproducable (musicians and video/photographers) -- the easy targets and main protagonists of your 'new IP-free business model'. Sculptors are laughing (for now). Yet, if I can somehow sneak a plaster-casting of a great piece of sculpture, then reproduce and market it enmass, then, by your estimate, I'm ok -- right?

    ...and thus your 'digital consumer' is fat and happy off the backs of... ?

    The big corps may well change their strategies, but in the long-run they will still win large and, in the meantime, those who choose to use artistic media that are easily copied and distributed merely constitute easily employed strawmen in your 'new IP-free business model' -- probably to be considered 'collateral damage' in obtaining your ultimate goals -- however, without these easily copied works your entire model collapses; overall, any other media is safe; the big corps may be vulnerable to loss of income from digitised media but the world of consumer products will march on with all the other 'non-copiable' products.

    Underneath the boots of your Grand Marche are the authors of books, musicians and photo/digital/video artists, and thus the parade will riffle on with nothing left but a couple of ragged drummers who can't keep a beat...

    Alex

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:33pm

      Re:

      I live, eat, breathe in the world of music creation and performance. I have a website. I offer my music free for download -- a shipped CD with artwork for 10 dollars. My music is good -- I have won awards. I cannot recoup my costs -- nowhere near it.

      There are plenty of people who are more than recouping their costs, but making a living doing so. The fact that you are unable to does not mean the model doesn't work.

      There is a REASON why Radiohead pulled it's free download offer -- it wasn't working.

      Not so. The band even admitted it was working wonders. I think the reason they pulled it is because they still don't full understand the power of what they were doing.

      NO ONE is going to pay for something that can be found for *free* so easily somewhere else. That is naivity.

      I'm not sure how many times I have to say this... because I've said it again and again. I am NOT saying that people will pay for something they can get for free. I am saying that you STOP trying to sell what can be given away for free and focus on selling OTHER THINGS (scarce goods) that are made much more valuable by the wide distribution of your free infinite goods.

      So, yes, you are right. People will not pay for things that are available free. So, why is it that you want to insist people SHOULD pay for something they can get for free? That's what I don't get. You understand that people won't pay for something they can get for free, so why not focus on business models that involve paying for stuff you CAN'T get for free?

      Notice who the real victims are -- those artists whose works are digitally reproducable

      I said this above, so I'm not sure why I need to repeat myself. Those people can and DO make MORE money. Ask Jane Siberry. Ask Maria Schneider. Ask Bob Schneider. Ask Trent Reznor. Ask the Arctic Monkeys. All of these and many more learned how to make more money than they would have otherwise if they hadn't embraced free music.

      So I'm not sure why you keep talking about "victims." People who would never even have had a chance to have made a living off their music now can.

      The big corps may well change their strategies, but in the long-run they will still win large

      History has shown otherwise.

      probably to be considered 'collateral damage' in obtaining your ultimate goals

      My ultimate goals? This has nothing to do with my goals. This has to do with reality. Hell, if I could craft a world where there were easy business models for musicians and content creators, that would be grand. All I'm doing is explaining the economic forces at work. This isn't the world how I want it -- this is the actual forces at play. It's how the world is.

      however, without these easily copied works your entire model collapses; overall, any other media is safe; the big corps may be vulnerable to loss of income from digitised media but the world of consumer products will march on with all the other 'non-copiable' products.

      I honestly have no idea what you're trying to say here. Could you please clarify?

      Underneath the boots of your Grand Marche are the authors of books, musicians and photo/digital/video artists, and thus the parade will riffle on with nothing left but a couple of ragged drummers who can't keep a beat...

      You keep saying this, but reality doesn't support your statements. You have yet to refute the evidence I've pointed to in the past that your claims just aren't true. The less that copyright has been respected over the last few years, the MORE music is being produced. The MUSIC industry is on fire. Every part of it is making more money than ever before -- with the one exception of CD sales.

      What you continually ignore (despite my pointing it out to you) is that I'm not saying to get rid of the business models, I'm saying that there are many important NEW business models that will help MORE of these people be able to make a living doing what they love. MORE content gets produced and MORE content gets consumed.

      You keep claiming that the content creators lose out, but they do not. I don't know why you want to deny this.

       

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      PaulT (profile), Dec 21st, 2007 @ 1:05am

      Re:

      erm, Alex, you're completely missed the point here (and why do we have to go on the tired anti-Radiohead false attacks again?)

      1. The Radiohead free downloads were pulled because they were always meant to be a free advertisement for the CDs. Since the CDs are coming out soon, they've pulled the downloads. That seems a little counter-intuitive, but please explain to me how they haven't made a lot of money from it. None of the anti-free download crowd have ever come up with a convincing argument as to why this thing has failed for them. Even Thom Yorke has said that they've made more money from In Rainbows downloads than from digital downloads of their entire back catalogue combined! Please explain how this is a bad thing.

      2. Who are you? You say you've won awards, have a website where music can be downloaded and that you're really good. So, how do I find this music? What name do you record under? Which awards did you win? What's the URL of your website?

      Judging by the lack of this information in a post complaining about your lack of income from these commodities, I'd be willing to bet that your problem is that you haven't marketed yourself. If you don't bother telling people about the music, why should anyone want to buy it?

      I'll tell you what, if you respond to this post with the details I requested, I'll download the music and buy a CD if I like it. $10 in your pocket for a free post to a website, more if other people reading these comments also follow. If you're interested in marketing yourself.

      3. All of the above is beside the point of the article. The point is that a photograph was used as a small part of a video. This was within fair use rights, and lost nobody any money. It probably didn't make anyone money either - the point of the video was clear with or without the photo in question.

      Now, thanks to the copyright claims, this photographer is going to lose money. Nobody in their right mind is going to hire this photographer if they're aware of this news. She's not going to win as the photo was used under fair use provisions, so she's going to lose her legal fees. On the flipside, if the producers of the video had to pay copyright fees for everything they used, it's likely that the video would never have been made in the first place.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 6:40am

        Re: Re:

        I'll check out your music too and, if I like it, I'll let my friends know about your site. Step up to PaulT's challenge.

         

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      jedi, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 12:43pm

      Re:

      Yeah... it wasn't working.

      It was broken from a technological point of view. I tried to use their web page to purchase and download their work but to no avail. I am only slightly curious about them so I didn't put any effort into solving these technical difficulties.

      I could very well see fans thinking the same and just going to their favorite torrent site.

      That said. I don't recall Radiohead ever actually expressing such distress and you are certainly in no position to speak for them.

       

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      chris (profile), Dec 23rd, 2007 @ 12:39am

      Re:

      Underneath the boots of your Grand Marche are the authors of books, musicians and photo/digital/video artists, and thus the parade will riffle on with nothing left but a couple of ragged drummers who can't keep a beat...

      jesus, i hope your music isn't as melodramatic as your writing.

       

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    Robert, Dec 20th, 2007 @ 10:12pm

    Bottom Line

    Mike,

    First I would like to say that I think this is another excellent article in a long line of the same.

    Secondly, I think the bottom line here is that the creator of the video could have (and from a moral standpoint probably should have) given credit where it is due on any content that they used in the creation of the video.

    But at the same time, Lane Hartwell's reaction was extremely unreasonable and ended up costing her a lot of free publicity (which is never a bad thing for an artist). The most she should have done in my opinion is ask politely to be credited somewhere for the photo.

     

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    Nick (profile), Dec 20th, 2007 @ 11:04pm

    We are getting a little off topic here (music business consulting), but:

    NO ONE is going to pay for something that can be found for *free* so easily somewhere else. That is naivety.

    Water comes out of the faucet for almost free. But people buy bottled water? Why? Because bottled water marketers figured out how to make water more valuable. They put it in a bottle so that it is easier to carry around. It taste better than tap water. And list whatever other reasons you buy bottled water instead of drinking out of the tap.

    Others have figured out how to be remarkable. That means that you can too. Use your creative energy to come up with a better way to market yourself and add value to your music. And then you can charge more for it.

     

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    KD, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 12:54am

    Time for some radical change

    I think the most direct solution to these problems is simply to abolish all copyrights. Poof! All gone!

    And no issuing copyright on new works, either.

    Sometimes you just have to stop tinkering with something that isn't working and throw it out.

    Too many people and companies have perverted the concept of copyright, so drastic action is necessary. Unfortunately, I imagine the only way this solution would come about is if a large number of us picked up Uzis and revolted. I don't know about you, but I'm too old and settled to do that, so this solution of eliminating copyrights probably has zero chance of being implemented.

    We'd have to commit to watching what happens in the absence of copyrights for enough time for the short-term disruptions to settle out so we could see what the long-term effects are. Then we could decide whether the situation without copyrights is, on the whole, better or worse (or just different) than the situation with copyrights. Maybe we would see that some aspects of copyrights were valuable (to society as a whole) and could devise a new system that restores those benefits while avoiding the problems. Personally, I expect that if that were done, over time the copyright beneficiaries would slowly pervert the system again, but we would enjoy some considerable time of sanity before things again got so bad that drastic action was needed.

    Ah ... it's sometimes nice to dream, but this one will never come true.

     

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    Barrenwaste, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 6:16am

    The Pizza Analogy

    A photo copied and used is like the pizza recipe copied and used, but the analogy here is still flawed. In the video, which could be seen by millions, the photo aired for a second or so. That's the equivalent of offering a sampler pizza with a single piece of your "Damn Fine Pizza" as one small sice of a giant pizza pie. They still have to go to "My Little Pizza Joint" to get a full pizza. You didn't lose business or money over that. You gained. More people are going to eat "Damn Fine Pizza"'s and find that they enjoy them. You sell more pizza's and to a crowd you weren't reaching before. "Techdirt's Pizza" sell's a few more pizza's and may even leach a percentage of your crowd, but they won't gain nearly as much as you will unless the rest of your service starts to lack. Not only that, but with another pizza joint next door you can help your customers find a new pizza experience. Just send em across the street. People like that kind of service and aren't likely to abandon your place for it. Yes, they'll split thier business, but they are more likely to recomend your pizza over others if you have tasty pizza and better service. It all balances. That authors and musicians can't find the balance isn't my fault and I refuse to accept poor service simply because they can buy laws and I cannot.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Dec 21st, 2007 @ 6:20am

    Another Example

    Another example of an industry trying to make goods worthwile is the DVD industry. I know the MPAA is going about things with the whole online bit in a completely wrong direction. However, my point here is the DVDs themselves.
    They keep selling.
    And every so often they re-release something with more bonus features on the disc.
    The DVDs keep selling.
    Sure, you can download the movies from the internet.
    So?
    Some people prefer that physical copy (I myself prefer an actual disc, but thats slightly contorted because I copy my own discs and only use the backups to keep the originals in pristine order).
    Some people are obsessed with certain movies and buy the movie all over again so they can have all the features.
    My father is that way with Terminator 2.
    And gawd has that been released with more features WAY too many times.
    The DVD makers are adding value to those discs over what you can download for free.
    However, the MPAA is stupid and treats it as if everybody who downloads a movie will never ever buy a movie and it immediately equals a lost sale.

    My friends and I download some movies we are unsure of online. Without downloading, we would surely never purchase a single one. However, we do download them, and watch them together. And if we like them, at least one of us buys them. By the downloading, they now have an extra sale they never would have had before. They just don't get it.

     

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    Iron Chef, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 6:33am

    Can't mess with perfection...

    Kudos, Mike.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 6:46am

    Mike, you are a tool.

    Your use of the pizza joint with $10 pizzas is bogus. More correct is this.

    You open a pizza joint and sell pizzas for $10 and do quite well with it. Then someone else opens a pizza joint next to you, takes the pizzas that you make and then sells them for $5. They don't make their own pizza, they just take them out of the back of your store.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 7:59am

      Re:

      You're a tool, because no one "took" the photograph they copied it.

      But then tools, can't read can they, YOU TOOL!!!

       

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    Curt, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 8:24am

    She's Right

    Yeah, she's totally right in this one. Richter Scales should just give in and give her 50% of the profits they have made on this video....
    Oh wait...

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Dec 21st, 2007 @ 8:30am

    Re AC #52

    You are the tool.
    You don't understand the analogy.
    It has been explained more than once above, so I am not going to go into it again.
    But your accusation and trying to redo his analogy is wrong.
    It was fine as is. Please read the above comments for some enlightenment.

     

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    Barrenwaste, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 8:36am

    Re: Anonymous Coward #52

    It astounds me how often this comes up when even the authors, producers, and musicians don't agree with it. Copying a photo or any other copyrighted piece is not the same as taking a physical object under the law. That is why intellectual property rights were seperated from physical property rights. If you do want to make it the same as stealing physical property then all those people screaming piracy are going to start losing suits and getting far far smaller settlements. Personally I would love to see the copyright laws repealed and have all intellectual property treated as physical property.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 9:08am

      RE: Barrenwaste

      I totally agree. Make it a criminal offense. Give police the power to arrest people for voilating copyright. Throw those cheapskates in jail for multiple offenses.

      You kill off the RIAA, wouldn't that be a good thing?

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 8:43am

    Killer, I understand someone trying to shoehorn and example that doesn't really fit to try to further his agenda.

    I understand how people try to justify stealing material, they know they are stealing it, they just don't care.

    Admit it, its all about the money. Has nothing to do with who gets paid, rewarding artists, it all comes down to they don't want to pay for it.

    What a joke, all these altruistic people that want to "help" the artists.

    Well, you may well get what you want, and guess what? You won't like what you end up with. Kind of like voting for Hillary Clinton.

     

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    Ed, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 8:53am

    How much did the photographer pay the model in the

    Let us forget for a moment the question of the copyright system vs. fair use for a moment. The problem in the photographers viewpoint is that she did work (i.e. took a picture, for which I assume she was paid). She posted this picture on a web site, (presumably as an advertisement for her work). Now, someone sees this photo and uses it without permission or credit, and distributes it for free (presumably to advertise their work). They did not pay her royalties, nor advertise her work in the process. Hence, her assertion that they "stole" her work, (i.e. they stole the money she should have been paid as a royalty). Pardon me for asking, but how much did she pay the "model" she used to advertise her work? After all, the person posed for a photo for a specific purpose, for free I assume. Perhaps the model was the one that paid her, to take a photo for their own purposes. I am unfamiliar with the original reason the photo was created. Either way, it seems that the photographer assumes that they now are free to do what ever they want with that likeness of someone. Sell it over and over again, making money as they go. I am sure she has some legal justification behind her on this, but personally I have NEVER accepted such legal arguments as reasonable. For instance, once a person becomes a public figure, photographs of them are free for the taking. Many celebrities "earn their living" by being photographed. Why can any photographer, with a telephoto lens, photograph some actress entering a doctors office, going into rehab, sunbathing nude, and sell the photo for thousands? When they start getting releases from the subject for every use they put a photo to, and paying them for the modeling, I might be more willing to understand why they feel fair use is stealing from them.

     

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    Barrenwaste, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 9:51am

    RE: Anonymous Coward #59

     

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    Barrenwaste, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 9:56am

    RE: Anonymous Coward #59

    Methinks you know squat about property rights. If the intellectual property right laws are repealed less people are going to get in trouble. Not illegal to share my toaster, is illegal to share my copy of "Super Extreme Mega Alien Mashers Three". Not only that, but the fines will go down. Most cases brought before courts for piracy would fall under Misdemeanor theft $100 or less. You could download four entire cd's from the net and end up paying no more than $100 in fines. I want to see that happen as things stand.

     

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    E-Talian, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 4:20pm

    Pizza Anyone?

    Being the owner of a an Italian resturant I have seen more than few other Italian restaurants come and go. We are tweleve years running best Italian restaurant in reader polls of the local rags in our area.

    Why? When someone comes in and copies us or tries to out innovate us, we compete. The competetioin, be it real or percieved forces us to change our look, menu, wine list, prices, level of service, and in some cases our model (we now cater and it makes $).

    BTW there is no copyright on receipes so we stay ahead by constantly outperfroming copycats. And yes people have stolen our menu items and even some of the names of our most popular events (Cheap Date Night), but we compete not complain.

    Our product when copied provides us so much publicity as the original and other products on the menu are always better. And if someone wants to use our receipe in a magazine or online, in their restuarnt or otherwise, go for it. The more folks who know our Strawbeery Chicken Pasta is incredible, the more people that will show up to try it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 21st, 2007 @ 8:38pm

    One problem with that E Talian, with copyright theft, no matter how good you do what you do, someone else can quickly and easily steal what you do and sell it cheaper. Period, end of story. With digital, they can serve it faster and cheaper than you can create it.

    Oh, and they put absolutly no effort into doing so, so your hard work and innovation is quickly copied and reproduced as a perfect copy.

    Sure, you can cater, but they can do it easier and cheaper. Sooner or later, your doors shut because it is just easier to do something else.

    That is where this all leads, fewer content creaters because its just easier to do something else. Imagine John Lennon the accountant. Its easy if you try.

     

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      Mike (profile), Dec 22nd, 2007 @ 11:23am

      Re:

      One problem with that E Talian, with copyright theft, no matter how good you do what you do, someone else can quickly and easily steal what you do and sell it cheaper. Period, end of story.

      Actually, not true. Not end of story. It's not as easy as you think to just copy and sell it cheaper. First of all, if you're giving infinite stuff away free, and selling scarce stuff, it may not be quite so easy to copy the scarce stuff. For example, with music, you give away the music but sell the performance. How do you copy that?

      Also, you ignore the value of reputation. If E Talian's restaurant has a good reputation for its customer service and innovation, people will be willing to pay extra to go there knowing that it's got the better reputation and is more "authentic." Never underestimate the value of reputation. There are mp3 players out there that almost everyone agrees are better than the iPod, but the iPod outsells them all thanks to Apple's reputation.

      Oh, and they put absolutly no effort into doing so, so your hard work and innovation is quickly copied and reproduced as a perfect copy.

      Again, you are making the false assumption that the person is trying to sell those free things. In this case, we're saying they shouldn't. They should sell something else that isn't so easily copied... and then if someone copies the infinite goods you have that only HELPS you, because it increases the value of what you're really selling.

      That is where this all leads, fewer content creaters because its just easier to do something else.

      Again, that's only true if you make the false assumption that the person will continue trying to sell infinite goods instead of scarce ones.

      Sorry, try again.

       

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


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