Rep. Wexler And The Lies Of The Copyright Industry

from the time-to-do-some-education dept

Earlier this week, CISAC, a copyright collection society held its "World Copyright Summit," which was effectively a gathering of groups of collections societies and copyright holders who want to strengthen copyright at every turn, so that they can collect more cash -- without ever needing to actually give people a reason to buy. IP Watch has a good summary of the event, where you see it was basically a bunch of people trying to figure out how to have governments around the world force people to hand money over to them. As per usual, the only voice of reason appears to have been Gary Shapiro, who tried to tell the assembled folks that their strategy to date has been a disaster, and they need to understand the differences between "property" and "copyright." In response -- the audience groaned. It would appear his message did not get across.

That said, I wanted to respond to two of our elected officials who both spoke at the event and who said somethings that are quite questionable. Rep. Robert Wexler gave a troubling speech in which he claimed that those who look to protect consumer rights, and question the value of stronger copyright are "lying" and need to be dealt with. Senator Orrin Hatch -- who once suggested remotely destroying the computers of anyone suspected of copyright infringement -- gave another misguided and misinformed talk. Both deserve a response. Let's start with some excerpts from Wexler's talk -- and I'll cover Hatch's in a separate post:
In the public debate, outside Washington and Brussels -- and beyond trade journals and economic reports, most people, first, would not be able to describe what intellectual property is. Second, too many do not see digital piracy -- for example -- as the serious theft that we here in this room know it to be.

These regrettable opinions from the public at large are being harnessed by a ground swell of anti-intellectual property sentiment from the so called 'Napster generation,' which has come of age in a digital file-sharing era
Notice that he immediately goes with the demonization effort, rather than understanding the actual issues. He sets it up that people don't understand intellectual property, rather than that they may have a legitimate beef with what current intellectual property laws have created. He doesn't even consider the idea that many people do have tremendous understanding of intellectual property issues and have found them to be troublesome. Instead, he brushes it off as being the "Napster generation." Finally, he shows that he, himself, does not understand intellectual property (or the law!) in calling it "theft." Rep. Wexler should (as a lawyer and a Congressional Representative) be familiar with the difference between theft and infringement. That he is not is troubling.
Two years ago, as Chair of the Caucus, I sent a letter to my colleagues in the House of Representatives focusing on some of the major problems and challenges we face on intellectual property issues around the globe.

In a tongue and cheek manner, I used the genuine formation of the "Pirate Political Party" in Sweden as an abstract way to point out how silly and extreme those on the other side of this debate had become. Evidently, I was quite wrong about the extreme part.

As nearly everyone in this room knows, this week that same "Pirate Political Party" won a seat in the EU parliament. It won 7.1 % of the total vote in Sweden, and even more shockingly, it had the HIGHEST percentage of 18-25 year-old voters. That statistic should alarm all of us in this room who care about intellectual property law.
First of all, rather than mocking The Pirate Party, perhaps Rep. Wexler should have taken the time to actually understand its arguments. It is a party that is focused on important civil rights issues -- many of which Wexler appears to support.
The fact that younger people came out to vote in such large numbers is significant because we know that getting someone to the poll the FIRST time is the hardest part.

Those young voters are now much more likely to vote in the next election -- and the election after that. Soon, those 18-25 year olds will be home owners, and business owners and employees of major companies.
So doesn't it make sense to pay attention to their concerns and actually understand them before brushing them off?
First and foremost, those of us who understand the importance of intellectual property law have failed to do the job in educating others toward our point of view. Artists, creators, governments, and industry must join together to spread this message.

The truth is that we have a great story to tell and we must tell it better.

Our collective job is to raise awareness of the potential of intellectual property to contribute to the social, cultural and economic advancement of countries and individuals throughout the world.

We must send an unequivocal message that the theft of intellectual property -- whether the corporate piracy of software, organized crime manufacturing of optical disks, or personal Internet downloading -- will not be tolerated.
Does anyone else find it ironic that it's the so-called "creative class" which copyright supporters insist are enabled by copyright supposedly have not been able to tell this "great story?" Perhaps the problem is that there is no great story to tell. Perhaps the problem is that more and more people are recognizing that the "great story" is one that suppresses the rights of every day users, stifles innovation, holds back progress and stamps on our rights of free speech and communication? Has it occurred to Wexler that for the past decade, the industry has been telling this story over and over and over again -- and every time they do, more and more people realize that it doesn't add up?
We are facing two significant problems simultaneously. First, our voices are getting increasingly lost in a sea of misinformation from the anti-intellectual property community. And second, our opponents don't necessarily have to play by the rules.

The anti-intellectual property advocates are free to make simple arguments that often resonate with an audience because they are not based in "facts" or "legal rights."
First, it's rather demeaning to refer to those who believe in actually making sure that intellectual property laws live up to the values put forth by the Constitution ("promoting the progress...") are necessarily "anti-intellectual property rights." Folks like William Patry, James Boyle and Larry Lessig, I think, would all take significant exception to the idea that the ideas they put forth are "anti-intellectual property" and/or not based in "facts" or "legal rights." Rep. Wexler, have you read any of their writings?

And if we're talking about making simple arguments that resonate with an audience because they are not based on facts or legal rights, shouldn't we start with calling copyright infringement "theft"?

Perhaps the real problem is that the arguments put forth by these scholars actually is both based in facts and legal rights, and those facts and legal rights are compelling because they're true.
I found this out on a personal level, when I was in Congress during the original file-sharing debate about Napster. I remember unveiling a strongly worded statement against Napster and a defense of our intellectual property legal regime. I thought I sounded pretty good. I knew I wouldn't be popular with high school and college students in my district. But I was shocked when my father called me and said I sounded like I was on the wrong side of the issue. I knew if I couldn't even convince my own father -- that we had a big problem.
Or, if you couldn't convince your father, perhaps it suggested that you hadn't truly understood the issue and had made an argument that was poorly reasoned. Perhaps the problem wasn't with your father's views or the views of the students in your district -- but with your argument?
Julian Sanchez from CATO has discussed this exact problem, which he calls a "one-way hash" where "for every confused or muddled claim, it would take about a dozen paragraphs of explication to make clear to someone not intimately familiar with [the subject] what's wrong with it."

So, what a blogger in Sweden writes in a few minutes would take hours or days for the copyright community to answer in an appropriate factual response. It takes much longer to argue using facts and precedent than it does to say anything you want because it sounds plausible -- just like it takes far longer to make a movie than it does to steal it.
This is an odd statement for a variety of reasons. Amusingly, of course, it's Julian Sanchez (a sometimes contributor to this very site) who did an amazing job digging deep into research to discover that it's the copyright holders who have been flat out lying about the impact of "piracy" using entirely made up numbers. He, in fact, took the "confused or muddled claims" of Wexler and the entertainment industry, and used about a dozen paragraphs of explication to make it clear to Wexler and others, what's wrong with his very argument.

So what a politician in Washington says in a few minutes took hours or days from the consumers rights community to answer in an appropriate factual response. It takes much longer to argue using facts and precedent than it does to say anything you want because it sounds plausible.

Right, Rep. Wexler?

And, yet, Wexler is simply wrong here as well. Because Sanchez's well, researched, detailed analysis of the lies the copyright industry and politicians tell the public, did get the message out. Because those of us who believe in basing our opinions on factual information have no problem taking the time to read such arguments and understanding them. It's a shame you chose not to.
Even worse, the less someone knows about the subject, the more likely they are to be swayed by these empty arguments -- and the more likely they are to be convinced that they are right. And none of this is going away.
Perhaps we travel in different circles, but I have found the exact opposite to be true. Most people, having been taught from a young age, the "wonders" of intellectual property as a driving force to our economy, have an instinctual, inherent belief that more and stronger IP laws must be a good thing. I know I certainly felt that way for a long time. It was only as I was exposed to more facts, more details and more evidence that I began to realize just how troubling it is to create such intellectual monopolies, in an effort to create artificial scarcity, to lock up ideas and expression -- all to allow profit over freedom of expression. It's the people who spend more time trying to understand these issues that are so troubled by them. It's the people who read and think through these ideas on a daily basis who are so troubled by what you are suggesting. Rather than dismissing us all as know-nothings who haven't considered these ideas, why not try talking to some of us?
For example, a recent UN-sponsored internet governance forum in India brought together various international leaders to discuss the many global issues related to the Internet. This is an important topic, which should have rightfully generated a tangential interest in related intellectual property issues. However, at almost every single panel and discussion there was a significant intellectual property component. And the opinions expressed about intellectual property rights were largely unfavorable. So what we ended up with was a UN-sponsored event educating an international government audience about how strong intellectual property protection is a hindrance to the developing world.

This message is particularly frustrating for me, as I am sure to those in this room, because I believe so strongly that vibrant intellectual property law is a KEY to economic development in these same developing countries.
Perhaps the issue is that the folks talking about the problems of IP in the developing world had actually read the research that showed how damaging IP rights are in the developing world. Perhaps the issue was that they had bothered to understand the details and the facts, and didn't just go on the "strong belief" you seem to have, that is not backed up by facts.

Rep. Wexler, in the next few weeks, we are going to be running a detailed series on the question of IP in the developing world. I would recommend taking the time to read it.
The creativity and innovation that have transformed the United States and enhanced our standard of living should stand as MODELS for nations still in transition to healthy and resilient modern economies. Everyone here knows that intellectual property is the backbone of global economic competitiveness.
Actually, you should revisit what "everyone knows" because the actual research suggests something quite different. Especially in the copyright space, it was the lack of copyright protection that helped grow many of our creative industries when we were a developing country. It was our lack of copyright protection on foreign works that helped spread those books and ideas and helped us grow. It was the fact that Hollywood hid from Thomas Edison's intellectual property claims that allowed them to grow and thrive. It was Walt Disney's copying of the copyrighted film Steamboat Bill that kicked off the Disney empire.

It was only after these industries were built and established that they suddenly called out to the gov't for greater protection against new industries and new upstarts. The Copyright Act of 1909, which was a massive change in copyright law was driven, in large part, due to the supposed "threat" of the player piano. For the past hundred years, all we have seen is the growth and strengthening of copyright laws not as the backbone of our economy and global competitiveness, but because those industries did not want to compete against upstarts and innovations from around the globe.
Almost three quarters of real business value in the US is intangible. The most recent report found that the total copyright industry contributed $1.38 trillion to the US economy or 11.12 percent of the Gross Domestic Product. In 2005, the total copyright industry employed 11.3 million workers in the US or 8.5 percent of the total workforce. The licensing of U.S. patents contributed an additional $150 billion according to KPMG, and that number is growing.

There are millions of jobs created by the U.S. copyright industries -- and these jobs are more important than ever based on our economic crisis. With American, and international, businesses in such dire straights, the value of innovation of these businesses is even more important than ever. And while our overall economy has contracted, the innovation industries continue to grow both in American and internationally.

So why is this not a home run?
Because most people realize those stats are bogus. They realize that they are lies and not based on fact, but are spoken to an appreciative audience because they "sound plausible." The truth is much different, however. The jobs and the economic output are not due to copyright. They may be protected by copyright, but you and many others make the false assumption that those jobs and that content disappears in the absence of copyright. You make the false assumption that there aren't other business models that work much better and which help grow the economy even more, without relying on copyright.

My job for example is likely one of those many millions that are included as being within "the copyright industry." Yet, I reject that claim. I have built a company and a business model that, despite being in the falsely named "copyright industry" does not rely on copyright. The numbers you cite are bogus for the very reason that it assumes that those jobs don't exist absent copyright laws. That is simply not true. Did removing the sugar monopoly mean that no one made money in sugar any more?
The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative cited 50 countries, even key allies, such as Canada and India, for failure to adequately protect U.S. intellectual property rights. A study by the Business Software Alliance showed that software piracy alone amounted to $53 billion in losses in 2008. Intellectual property theft isn't just software and movies anymore either. It is everything from copies of machine tools and counterfeit car parts to knock offs of golf clubs, designer handbags, watches and jewelry.
The BSA's study has been debunked left and right for years. Its claims of "losses" are laughable to anyone who looked at the "facts" rather than at the lies that are written out quickly because they "sound plausible." For someone who insists on not being misled by such lies, you seem to repeat them quite often yourself. We've done a detailed explanation of the mistakes in the BSA's analysis. Perhaps the research and the facts that went into that were too troublesome for you to read over in those many paragraphs, when you could just accept their quick and laughable claims because they "seemed plausible" to you?
Those of us in this room know how intellectual property can bring us together as you create the very technologies that speed communications and make physical borders obsolete. Let us capture and utilize the spirit of international reconciliation that will be fostered over the next four (or eight) years as impetus for us as an international intellectual property community to come together and work collaboratively.
Which "technologies" exactly are you talking about? The MP3 player which the folks in that room sought to have outlawed? The VCR which they called "the Boston Strangler to the movie industry"? The internet, which they're now looking to hamper with new laws and limitations? The player piano? The radio? The television? These are all new technologies that the "copyright industry" freaked out about when they first came about.
However, we must recognize that punitive measures and enforcement-focused outreach alone are doomed to failure in this digital age. It is the battle of message that we must win first and foremost. We can and we will succeed in this effort, but our tactics and messages must improve.
Yes. I agree. Your tactics and message must improve. Because based on this, you are spouting lies and misleading statements without bothering to understand the facts or the evidence. That won't convince anyone.


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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 11:59am

    You gotta wonder about a logic of attempting to extend a set of laws the makes hundreds of millions of people (perhaps even billions) criminals. Here's an idea for Congress: Maybe representing your constituents interests rather than the interests of the lobbyists pumping money into campaign coffers would garner you some genuine respect.

     

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    Louis Jezsik (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:04pm

    Some people sure don't get it

    I can't help but imagining a parody of Wexler's comments set sometime around the early 1770's in colonial America. I picture him addressing a house of lords or some loyalist gathering and claiming that the colonists just don't appreciate how important it is that they pay tax and that everything must be taxed and that it's all for the colonists' own good and those extremists like Jefferson and Franklin are totally misguided. The assembled crowd all nod in agreement, unable to imagine themselves anywhere but in a position of authority.

     

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    Rob R. (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:06pm

    Here's an idea for Congress: Maybe representing your constituents interests rather than the interests of the lobbyists pumping money into campaign coffers would garner you some genuine respect.

    If they have not done so in 200 years, they are not going to do so. Grassroots, anyone? Show them who their real boss is?

     

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    Rob R. (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:07pm

    Re: Some people sure don't get it

    Disturbingly accurate...

     

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    Mechwarrior, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:29pm

    This has happened since time began. If the young people like or do something, its obviously a crime. Like comic books or video games.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:50pm

    Is it the only lesson of history that man is unteachable?

    -- Sir Winston Churchill

    The disturbing material in Grand Theft Auto and other games like it is stealing the innocence of our children and it's making the difficult job of being a parent even harder ... I believe that the ability of our children to access pornographic and outrageously violent material on video games rated for adults is spiraling out of control.

    - US senator Hillary Rodham Clinton, 2005

    The effect of rock and roll on young people, is to turn them into devil worshippers; to stimulate self-expression through sex; to provoke lawlessness; impair nervous stability and destroy the sanctity of marriage. It is an evil influence on the youth of our country.

    - Minister Albert Carter, 1956

    Many adults think that the crimes described in comic books are so far removed from the child's life that for children they are merely something imaginative or fantastic. But we have found this to be a great error. Comic books and life are connected. A bank robbery is easily translated into the rifling of a candy store. Delinquencies formerly restricted to adults are increasingly committed by young people and children ... All child drug addicts, and all children drawn into the narcotics traffic as messengers, with whom we have had contact, were inveterate comic-book readers This kind of thing is not good mental nourishment for children!

    - Fredric Wertham, Seduction of the Innocent, 1954

    The free access which many young people have to romances, novels, and plays has poisoned the mind and corrupted the morals of many a promising youth; and prevented others from improving their minds in useful knowledge. Parents take care to feed their children with wholesome diet; and yet how unconcerned about the provision for the mind, whether they are furnished with salutary food, or with trash, chaff, or poison?

    - Reverend Enos Hitchcock, Memoirs of the Bloomsgrove Family, 1790

    Does the telephone make men more active or more lazy? Does [it] break up home life and the old practice of visiting friends?

    - Survey conducted by the Knights of Columbus Adult Education Committee, San Francisco Bay Area, 1926

    This new form of entertainment has gone far to blast maidenhood ... Depraved adults with candies and pennies beguile children with the inevitable result. The Society has prosecuted many for leading girls astray through these picture shows, but GOD alone knows how many are leading dissolute lives begun at the 'moving pictures.'

    - The Annual Report of the New York Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, 1909

    The indecent foreign dance called the Waltz was introduced ... at the English Court on Friday last ... It is quite sufficient to cast one's eyes on the voluptuous intertwining of the limbs, and close compressure of the bodies ... to see that it is far indeed removed from the modest reserve which has hitherto been considered distinctive of English females. So long as this obscene display was confined to prostitutes and adulteresses, we did not think it deserving of notice; but now that it is ... forced on the respectable classes of society by the evil example of their superiors, we feel it a duty to warn every parent against exposing his daughter to so fatal a contagion.

    - The Times of London, 1816

     

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    Osno, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:54pm

    It's refreshing that they changed the speech, though. Now we are not only criminals, but also misinformed idiots.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    Stencils

    The best way to get this point across would be to spray paint on sidewalks: "A cement/brick layer built this sidewalk. Pay up at xyz.com"

     

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    Ryan, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:01pm

    Re:

    Sadly, populist movements that would probably best fall under the definition of "grassroots" are composed of individuals too ignorant and/or fickle to be swayed much by an information campaign (or it seems to me). When they want change, they elect a leader to do it for them from the top down--one who does so by acquiring new and greater powers for himself and by extension the government. More government, of course, is directly related with more special interest warping of laws and public wealth, and with regulatory capture(e.g. current IP laws). Generally, government interference is lessened only during periods of good leaders elected during the ebb and tide of public waves of opinion, or when things get so bad you have something of a revolution. In my opinion and research, at least.

     

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    Ryan, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:03pm

    Re:

    Very interesting. Is that an amalgamation of quotes you composed yourself, or did you get it from somewhere?

     

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    Fred, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:24pm

    You get to wonder if only 'failed' lawyers and businessmen becomes Representatives and Congressmen. I wish that, one day, this nation will prevent our elected and so called 'leaders' be both lobbyists and politicians at the same time.

    Our 'elders' are having a hard time understanding the disconnect with the younger generations. They seems to be making every effort possible to avoid understanding this rift.

    This seems similar to GM strategy of inadaptability, unscalability and unreliability. This as failure written in sky. They will fail, it's just a matter of time. So far they are pretty much inoffensive.

     

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    cybearDJM (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:31pm

    IP in the developing world

    "in the next few weeks, we are going to be running a detailed series on the question of IP in the developing world"

    Really waiting for it...
    Sincerely
    DJM

     

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    interval, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    Re:

    @Rob R.:
    > Show them who their real boss is?

    Who is that? Washington lobbyists?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    "These regrettable opinions from the public at large are being harnessed by a ground swell of anti-intellectual property sentiment from the so called 'Napster generation,' which has come of age in a digital file-sharing era

    First, our voices are getting increasingly lost in a sea of misinformation from the anti-intellectual property community."

    If it were up to these people no one would be allowed to express opposing views on the Internet. They have already successfully censored anything that opposes their views on the corrupt mainstream media. This is a good fingerprint of a bad model, a model that is so fragile that it can't take criticism so it must censor it (hence it censors criticism from our mainstream media).

    These people don't want their views to get "lost" because they are elitists, they think that their views are somehow superior to the views of others and deserve priority. They don't want to give opposing views a fair chance at exposure, they want only their views to be expressed and respected. Why should we respect and listen to their opinions if they won't respect the opinions of others? Why should we pay them attention if they won't pay us attention (other than to condescend and say that we are misinformed for disagreeing with them and that they are better than us and their views are somehow better than our views)?

    "And second, our opponents don't necessarily have to play by the rules."

    I thought freedom of speech are supposed to be part of the rules? Isn't that part of the constitution? Or by rules, do you mean that only those who agree with you are allowed to voice their opinion, those who disagree with you should be allowed to do no such thing. This would explain why our corrupt mainstream media only presents one side of the issue and fails to present other sides, because people like you have denied us the freedom of speech to express opposing views on mainstream media.

    "The anti-intellectual property advocates are free to make simple arguments that often resonate with an audience because they are not based in "facts" or "legal rights."

    First of all, Occam's razor suggests that the simplest explanation is often the best. Secondly, the pro intellectual property advocates are free to refute the anti intellectual property advocates on these forums. No one is stopping them. Come over here and introduce us to the facts. I'm sure if you're right you should have no problems convincing us.

    Thirdly, what's wrong with being free to express an opinion that disagrees with you. Isn't that part of the rules, part of the constitution? You don't want us to be free to express views that disagree with you? You are free to come over here and express your corrections of our views if you think we are wrong. You have already taken away our freedom to express opposing views from the mainstream media and if it were up to you no one would be free to express ideas that disagree with you on the Internet either (or anywhere). I say we vote this person out of office ASAP before he passes laws that take away our freedom of speech from the Internet. They're already trying to access information on Anonymous users ( http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090610/1638515191.shtml ). This person would only help advance that which will hinder freedom of speech on the Internet. Vote him out of office.

    "Julian Sanchez from CATO has discussed this exact problem, which he calls a "one-way hash" where "for every confused or muddled claim, it would take about a dozen paragraphs of explication to make clear to someone not intimately familiar with [the subject] what's wrong with it." "

    The pro IP people here have been free to refute our opinions. What I end up with from the pro IP people is very poor logic and a COMPLETE lack of common sense (ie: people expecting Mike to post millions of bad patents to show that patents are bad, people saying that the patent office would reject every patent if their goal was to maximize revenue, pro IP people presenting research that they themselves don't seem familiar with and when being questioned on one of them they even admit to being unfamiliar with the research they presented. No amount of paragraphs can substantiate this poor logic and these sloppy responses). Those pro IP people are free to put as many pages of info (even with links) explaining how their obviously bad logic is somehow true but this isn't an issue of them needing to spend more paragraphs defending their bad logic, it's an issue of the pro IP people using obviously bad logic that makes no sense no matter how many paragraphs of bad logic they use to try to support themselves. More paragraphs of poor logic isn't going to help you (one doesn't need to read more pages of information to see the obvious fallacies, misinformation, contradictions, and poor logic in the opinions of others).

    "First and foremost, those of us who understand the importance of intellectual property law have failed to do the job in educating others toward our point of view. Artists, creators, governments, and industry must join together to spread this message."

    Translation: we must spend more tax dollars brainwashing people into believing intellectual property is good (ie: indoctrinating them in school with one side of the issue and only one side), we must put more resources into fabricating studies supporting intellectual property, and we must do a better job at passing laws that make it more difficult for people to express opposing views (ie: over the Internet).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:32pm

    I made a comment re the Hatch article without realizing that it was preceeded by one of almost identical length. Add the two together into a single document, insert footnotes, and you would certainly have created a doctoral dissertation-length document.

    William Patry, James Boyle and Larry Lessig

    Associating these three with being anti-intellectual property advocates is patently incorrect. None of them in the least advocate abolition. Their arguments are in most instances directed towards "breadth", a view shared by many within the law profession. They most certainly are not what I would term "abolitionists" such as people like Boldrin and Levine.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:37pm

    Re:

    You have convinced me. I am preparing to draft proposed legislation entitled the "I want it for Free, and I want it Now Act of 2009".

    BTW, except in very unusual and limited circumstances, persons who copy, distribute, etc. copyrighted content without authorization from the rights holders are know as "infringers" in accordance with civil, and not criminal, laws.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Re: IP in the developing world

    I as well am looking forward to it. Reading fiction is one of my favorite pastimes.

     

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    d, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:40pm

    Copyright

    You apparently have no clue of what it takes to produce and protect intellectual property.

    Aritist, writers, musicians and tradespeople who have invested time, money and intellect in creating material are never been fairly compensated for it.

    When you decide to give up your day job, live on KD for 8 years and then invest your life savings to have a book published - then I think you might be in a position to comment.

    Unless of course you are from a communist regime where everything belongs to everything, regardless of contribution.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Copyright

    You apparently have no clue of what it takes to produce and protect intellectual property.

    I have a pretty good idea of both, actually. I've been creating content for many years, and I have chosen a business model such that I do not need to protect it. But I very much understand what goes into protecting it. Why would you assume otherwise?

    Aritist, writers, musicians and tradespeople who have invested time, money and intellect in creating material are never been fairly compensated for it.

    Perhaps you would be better compensated if you didn't use phrases like "are never been." However, that said, I'm not sure what this has to do with anything. "Fair compensation" is an issue for the marketplace. If artists feel they have not been "fairly compensated" that is an issue of business models. If they choose a bad business model, then they may not get compensation. I'm not sure what that has to do with copyright law.

    When you decide to give up your day job, live on KD for 8 years and then invest your life savings to have a book published - then I think you might be in a position to comment.

    Wait... you're saying I can only comment on why a business model is bad if I first made the decision to use that business model? I do not see how that make sense.

    Unless of course you are from a communist regime where everything belongs to everything, regardless of contribution.

    I am guessing you are new here. Making arguments that make no sense does not help your case very much. We are not saying that "everything belongs to everything" (or even "everyone" which is the more common though still incorrect formulation). We are saying that individual rights should prevail (the opposite of what you suggest). That means, we do not think the gov't should be getting involved in preventing the rights of individuals in this manner.

    We believe very strongly in the rights of personal property. That, however, is quite different than copyright law.

     

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    RD, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:04pm

    Wrong end of the problem

    "Artist, writers, musicians and tradespeople who have invested time, money and intellect in creating material are never been fairly compensated for it."

    This is a fault of the industry and onerous contracts though. Copyright law ENABLES this behavior, as it allows the Big Content businesses to lock up the copyright on everything and pay little (and often, no) royalties to the actual authors of these creative works. The answer to this is not MORE copyright protections. That would only make things worse.

    Also, "fair" compensation for creative works (outside of the Big Content situation) is more a function of market forces, what you can get someone to pay for your stuff, etc. Nothing with or without copyright prevents someone from creating something and trying to sell/profit off it. There is no "fair" there is only what someone is willing to pay for your stuff.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:18pm

    Mike, you must get dizzy from all the spinning you do. Seriously.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:23pm

    Re:

    Mike, you must get dizzy from all the spinning you do. Seriously.

    Heh. I love it. People who can't respond to a well reasoned argument insist it must be "spinning."

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Copyright

    > communist regime where everything belongs to everything

    As has been famously said, "'everything' can't belong to 'everyone', as there's too many of 'everyone' and too little of 'everything'."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re:

    To be fair, it is spin. To say that it isn't is either an extreme lie, or simply naive.

    Granted, your spin will stand up to a higher level of scrutiny than theirs, but I would never advise anyone to take what you say purely at face value.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Copyright

    You can protect copyright as strictly as you want, but it won't make any difference when you have no paying customers to capitalize on the monopoly you've been granted.

    "Fairly compensated" is mantra with no meaning. Ideology has no grounds in an industry that relies purely on consumer interest for compensation. If your product is not selling as much as you think it should, it's because the demand to buy your product is lower than you think it is.

     

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    RD, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:22pm

    now you are thinking

    "Fairly compensated" is mantra with no meaning. Ideology has no grounds in an industry that relies purely on consumer interest for compensation. If your product is not selling as much as you think it should, it's because the demand to buy your product is lower than you think it is."

    Or your price is too high. There are other reasons (poor marketing, perception, unknown quantity, etc), but price and demand are the 2 biggest reasons.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "To be fair, it is spin. To say that it isn't is either an extreme lie, or simply naive."

    You have made a compelling argument! I would like to subscribe to your newsletter, so I can have access to your no spin/naivete zone.

     

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  28.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    To be fair, it is spin. To say that it isn't is either an extreme lie, or simply naive.

    To be fair, it is not spin, and lying and saying it is spin does not make it so.

    Spin requires lying. The only spin I see is Wexler's. Unless you can show that I lied, I would suggest ending this ridiculous line of accusation. Lying about me doesn't make your argument stronger. It makes you look like a fool.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re:

    And if you disagree with what the pro IP folks are doing / saying then you must be a criminal.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:27pm

    Google is your friend

    Why is Wexler stomping for IP ?
    Does he get campaign contributions ?

     

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    rob, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:36pm

    principles?

    Can someone please explain what principles and values the current copyright laws upholding?

    Can someone please explain what emerging principles and values they clash with?

    Can someone please explain where sensible debate is happening that is based on forming a clear set of principles and values to move on with. This is how you resolve an argument like this, not sniping around the edges with emotive arguments, which I see a lot of on all sides

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:53pm

    Re: principles?

    Can someone please explain what principles and values the current copyright laws upholding?

    The purpose of copyright law was to create incentives for the creation of new works, for the purpose of promoting the progress. It was to provide a limited monopoly for a limited time in order to encourage such creation.

    That's all.

    Some have tried to twist that into saying that copyright was designed to "protect" the work of creators or to make that work into "property." That is not true and has never been true.

    Can someone please explain what emerging principles and values they clash with?

    It is this twisting of the meaning of copyright law that has been a major problem -- where those who hold such monopolies have pushed for them to not be as limited and not be for a limited time, granting ever more rights, against the intention of "promoting the progress."

    As such, copyright is used to hold back free expression, hold back individual rights and hold back progress in many cases.

    If you want to understand this better, I would suggest James Boyle's excellent book "The Public Domain" which lays out many of these issues in great detail.

     

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    rob, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 7:14pm

    Re: Re: principles?

    OK. Based on what you said. and I'd like to state that i'm most concerned with the complete lack of principled based debate going on. I do this sort of conflict resolution for a living, albeit with a smaller sample size, but the method for principled value based negotiation scales in almost all circumstances.

    your statements

    principle 1.
    The purpose of copyright law was to create incentives for the creation of new works, for the purpose of promoting the progress. It was to provide a limited monopoly for a limited time in order to encourage such creation.

    this seems to be a principle and meets the test of what a principle is.

    clashing principle 2.
    To "protect" the work of creators or to make that work into "property."

    The first part of this statement - "to protect" - meets the test of what a principle is. This is in direct clash with Principle 1. The second part of this statement - property - is the method by which the principle is implemented. it is not a Principle. it is a description of a detailed How or a What - discard it.

    The two principles mentioned here seem to relate back to two direct social values.

    1. Need for progress. apply principle 1 to the need for progress you provide commercial incentive for new works to be created but allow new work to be built on top of existing works where the limited monopoly has expired.

    2. More for less. apply principle two and the owner of the monopoly has to do less to get more.

    Oddly value two is the only thing that seems to be being argued about most of the time. Value 1 seems to hardly come into the equation. what I see mostly is an argument about who gets the most benefit of Value 2. The holder of the holder of the copyright of an mp3 or the person downloading an mp3. This is a very dangerous place to base an argument from as you will easily end up with a result that has been compromised in the wrong way to reach agreement.

    we actually have two clashing values. this should now represents a priority call. that should be now be based on need. where are the benefits of supporting one over the other or weighting the law in the direction of one value. Once you have agreement of what the principles are that are clashing, there are all sorts of really constructive ways to resolve the argument. As long as you can always tie them back to the principles. Hey you can even gets principle removed if they don't conform to a strong value.

    I would however caution against trying to remove value 2 from the equation completely as it is a basic human behavioural principle. it may seem wrong, but it's still a basic instinctive human thing.

     

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    Nick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: principles?

    I the concept of property really a human instinct? Why habe there been cultures that have no word for "property"? I can see there has been some writing on the subject.

    I don't see any mention of property in the Constitution, Article 1, Section 8. So I don't see how there is a clash. There is only principal 1. "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."
    Capitalist maximlasit have twisted"securing...writings and discoveries" into "protecting property." Real physical property is scares. When writings and discoveries are no longer being used to "promote the progress of science and useful arts," but only to enslave, suppress, and discourage, something must change.

     

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    Ryan L, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    This bastard Wexler is my representative (well not really, since he rarely represents my interests.) Let's just say I live in the district he is supposed to be representing.

    He is basically the epitome of a big government Democrat. I called him 5 or 6 times to vote no on the bailout in September and he still voted for it. Of course it still failed the first time...at least until they brought it back from the dead. I love how they can keep bringing bills back until they've bribed enough people to vote for it. Great system we have.

    I also tried my hardest to get him out of office in the November elections but all the "vote down the line" Democrat drones in my district voted him back in. To be honest I have no more respect for Republican drones but in this case I'd take their help to rid my district of this cancer in a three piece suit.

    Anyhow, if it is possible for me to hate this scumbag anymore, now I do. I'm tempted to pay his office a visit to try to talk some sense into him, but it would be pointless since clearly he is a bought-and-paid-for-copyright-cartel-drone.

    At least his speech shows they realize they are losing the war. There is no way to put this genie back in the bottle guys, give it up! Shouldn't you guys in Congress be worrying about other things, like auditing the stinking Federal Reserve that is the source of all our economic misery? No, it is probably better if you focus on the evil pirates who "steal" quadrillions of dollars every 5 seconds from the copyright cartel, if we are to believe the sob stories.

    To conclude I'll just say you gave a great analysis of his inane speech Mike, I'm glad you are on our side.

     

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    Anonymous Customer, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:30pm

    Re: Re: Copyright

    > As has been famously said, "'everything' can't belong to 'everyone', as there's too many of 'everyone' and too little of 'everything'."

    Brilliant. Except when we are talking about digital goods delivered on digital networks it *is* possible to give everyone a copy of everything. Which is why existing copyright is nonsensical for the Net and the real problem that needs to be solved is how to support each other (financially and otherwise) so we have the time and incentive to do what we do best.

    We've come up with a "magical" technology that allows us to give anyone with a net-enabled device access to digital tools, culture, science and art... arguing about anything other than how to get these devices into the hands of everyone who wants one is just insane. If we came up with a technology that solved global hunger by making making food as easily copied as digital information I would hope that officials like Wexler would be too embarrassed to speak in support of the angry food industry execs at their conferences.

    So we just solved the world's lack of access to art, science and culture... and your worried that people won't make any more... now that more people have more access... I suppose you also believe that art and innovation come from ignoring everything around you and inspiration is a fiction invented by communists.

     

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    rob, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 10:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: principles?

    I never said property is a human instinct
    I said the social value of 'more for less' is a human instinct.

    You can talk about there being only one principle here. which may have been the original intent. however the reality seems to be that the legislation is being used to serve two principles based on two different values. So you have to now deal with two values. One of which is something that appeals instinctively to human beings. This will make it fairly intractable from the argument in the short term.

    Here's a question, when someone infringes on copyright so they can listen to a song. what value are they fulfilling? no. 1? no. 2? or both? the vast majority of the time I suspect they would only be filling no. 2 (to get more for less) and they would not do anything to innovate or move forward, thereby breaking the principle that the legislation is intended to meet. This is the basis of the argument (even if not articulated) that allows value no. 2 to become dominant. and really this is what needs to be addressed if you want Value number 1 to be prioritized over value number 2. now I've put my own interpretation on this as an example but this is a common way for one ideological party to gain the upper hand over another ideological party in a public argument. This is to try and promote or insinuate an example of hypocrisy in the other's argument about the way they meet their values. it is a tactic to promote one value over another.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 11:40pm

    Re: Re: IP in the developing world

    Really? So you really liked Wexler's piece of work, then. Nice.

     

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    Dave Marney, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 5:10am

    A rather thin rebuttal

    I am definitely one of those who feel that the original intent of copyright law has been so distorted that it is now possible to have it serve its opposite purpose: to prevent, rather than promote, the useful arts.

    I am with the author in spirit, but not in the letter. This article does little to advance the cause. It is largely just than a collection of raw assertions, with little reliance on authority or logic that I can see.

    What does shouting "liar, liar, pants on fire" truly accomplish? Very little. Especially since the author has not established any examples of lying anywhere that I can see. Congressman Waxman clearly believes that copyright law is the key to funding innovation. That is a difference of opinion, not lying.

    So, please, let us move on. It is very easy to lay blame and to critique. Much more difficult is to propose a solution.

    We have a problem between two communities: the entrenched copyright-holding community, and the consumer. What can be done to bring these two groups to a better understanding of each other's needs?

    First, I think we can agree that copyright is a good thing. The right to control copying, after all, is the basis upon which open source licensing rests.

    Secondly, I think we can agree that getting something for nothing is unsustainable over the long term. People ought to pay for what they use. None of us would last very long if we never charged anyone for our time and effort.

    Thirdly, I think we can agree that the current business model for monetizing the right to copy doesn't work very well. Copyright holders try to control distribution and use, which is impossible. Consumer scofflaws use content they haven't paid for, which is unfair.

    Add these together, and I think it's pretty obvious that what we need is a consumer-friendly way to pay for the content we use. If content creators were compensated IN PROPORTION to how widely used their works are distributed, they would want people to use the internet to share.

    It sounds simple, but it hasn't been cracked yet. Can we propose such a consumer-friendly payment system that would be lucrative enough to draw the next generation of talent away from the old, out-moded system, and into the new?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright

    +1

     

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    CleverName, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 1:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright

    Oh, I see. If everyone has a particular item then they must be communists. Interesting

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    spin
    –verb (used with object)
    11. Slang. to cause to have a particular bias; influence in a certain direction: His assignment was to spin the reporters after the president's speech.

    You are certainly welcome to find your own definition, but this is appears to be adequate for the circumstances. Please note that there is a distinct absence of any manner of deceit required to spin. I'd personally say that a false statement would be under a different label entirely, but to each his own.

    I think we can all agree that the purpose of your articles is to sway the reader to the point of view you are proposing, and under this definition that act alone certainly constitutes "spinning".

    Now, if you would kindly retract the statement about me being a fool, we can move past this.

    As an aside, I have only made one comment on this thread, so I'm not sure what I would be trying to make "stronger".

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My mistake, I did actually make another comment to this article. It was not one disagreeing with Mike, though.

     

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    Anyfish, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 3:15pm

    Re: A rather thin rebuttal

    > First, I think we can agree that copyright is a good thing. The right to control copying, after all, is the basis upon which open source licensing rests.

    The GPL license only rests upon copyright to prevent corporations to just tweak the code a little and sell it as propertary software. The GPL only exists to do that.

    The BSD license is just "this code is in the public domain, dont blame me for any catastrophic errors it causes and dont remove this notice"

    Creative Commons licenses are as varied as those above.

    All have the same in common: promote the useful arts and enrich our International Culture.

    > Secondly, I think we can agree that getting something for nothing is unsustainable over the long term.

    Let me ask you this: is your long term much longer than 90 years after the authors death?

    I agree with you on that but copyright holders seem to think that they can get something for nothing long term. Who hasnt dreamt (or known someone who has) of becomming an rock/pop-star with few mega hits and then live opulently ever after on the royalties?

    In my personal not so humble opinion I think that is what is making mainstream music so stonedead and utterly without creativity or life.

     

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    Rekrul, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:02pm

    As I posted on the linked site, the gist of this conference was that everything will be just fine, once they pass enough new laws.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 8:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    My mistake, I actually just made another ... oh well

     

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    Maciej Grela, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 2:28am

    Steamboat Bill ?

    Hi,

    Regarding your claim, that Disney infringed the copyright on the Steamboat Bill movie, can you give me your source of this information ? From what I was able to find on Wikipedia about Steamboat Bill Jr (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Steamboat_Bill_Jr.) movie, there is no mention of this. In fact, the article doesn't state any connection of this movie and Disney. Perhaps you were talking about "Steamboat Wille", a Disney cartoon ? The wiki article about it mentions, that the cartoon was a parody of Steamboat Bill Jr. but again nothing about any claims of copyright infringement.
    It is also an overstatement, that the copying of this cartoon (movie ?) "kicked off" Disney's empire. From Wikipedia and also from L. Lessig's chapter on this subject (http://www.futrega.org/wk/06.html - in Polish unfortunately) it seems, that Disney's success was due to using synchronized sound for the first time in a cartoon.

    I think, that in this ongoing debate it is extremely important to get *our* facts straight so I am awaiting you answer.

    Br,
    Maciej Grela

     

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    CleverName, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:25am

    Re: Steamboat Bill ?

    Along that same topic, are any Disney products based upon the work of others ? Has Disney ever claimed copyright upon something that was derived from the work of others ?

     

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    Druid Man, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    Copyright violation

    Look all we have to do is collect $10,000 give it to these birds and they will hate copyrights. You would be surprised at how cheap a Senator is.
    They talk this way because they get money from someone to do this.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:54am

    Re: A rather thin rebuttal

    What does shouting "liar, liar, pants on fire" truly accomplish? Very little. Especially since the author has not established any examples of lying anywhere that I can see. Congressman Waxman clearly believes that copyright law is the key to funding innovation. That is a difference of opinion, not lying.

    Reliance on debunked and disproved numbers are a lie.

    Claiming that those against the extension of copyright law because they don't understand things is a lie.

    Claiming that those against copyright maximalism are easily lead by falsehoods and not based in any factual representation is a lie.

    Claiming that copyright maximalists have provided detailed factual explanations for why the other side is wrong is a lie.

    As for your assertions... I don't agree on most of them.


    First, I think we can agree that copyright is a good thing. The right to control copying, after all, is the basis upon which open source licensing rests.


    Wait, why? I am agnostic on the subject. I think that promoting the progress is a good thing, but I'm not convinced that copyright does that. The fact that open source licensing rests on copyright doesn't mean that copyright is a good thing. I'm not sure why you would claim that as an agreed upon assertion.

    Secondly, I think we can agree that getting something for nothing is unsustainable over the long term. People ought to pay for what they use. None of us would last very long if we never charged anyone for our time and effort.

    No, again, we disagree. There are plenty of businesses that have long relied on subsidies or having a third party pay. News and television are two examples -- both of which have been quite sustainable (perhaps until now when competition has developed for both).

    You seem to define markets in a very narrow, and not very accurate manner. There are more than two players in any market, and thus, having player A pay for player B's output doesn't always make sense.

    Thirdly, I think we can agree that the current business model for monetizing the right to copy doesn't work very well. Copyright holders try to control distribution and use, which is impossible. Consumer scofflaws use content they haven't paid for, which is unfair.

    Well, I agree with the first part, that it doesn't work very well, but I'm not sure I agree with the second part about it being somehow "unfair." This is not about "fairness." This is about the market. If you can serve the market, there are plenty of ways to make money. If you can't, you go out of business.

    Fairness is a meaningless term here.

    Add these together, and I think it's pretty obvious that what we need is a consumer-friendly way to pay for the content we use. If content creators were compensated IN PROPORTION to how widely used their works are distributed, they would want people to use the internet to share.

    I think your assertions are wrong, and thus your conclusion is also incorrect.

    We have shown, repeatedly, that there is a better way: which is having content creators adopt smarter business models.

    It sounds simple, but it hasn't been cracked yet. Can we propose such a consumer-friendly payment system that would be lucrative enough to draw the next generation of talent away from the old, out-moded system, and into the new?

    Oh, it's been cracked. Over and over again. It's called collective licensing and it's a disaster. Please don't suggest we go down that road again.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: A rather thin rebuttal

    "No, again, we disagree. There are plenty of businesses that have long relied on subsidies or having a third party pay. News and television are two examples -- both of which have been quite sustainable (perhaps until now when competition has developed for both)."

    Both of those examples include some sort of very direct payment. The programs (or the paper) isn't put out there without ad space sold, or the process closes. The only competition that has developed for both at this point are systems that aren't able to financially support themselves when they actually produce content. It's a mistake you make often, confusing the medium with the media, as it were. Online news dependant on AP, example, would have no content if the newspaper (the AP contributors) disappeared. Hulu would have no TV programs to run if there was no TV being made.

    "We have shown, repeatedly, that there is a better way: which is having content creators adopt smarter business models."

    Again, most of the business models you discuss here tend to forget about the costs in creation of content, and you focus only on the distribution of it. Without the content created, you are distributing nothing. The costs of content creation are not being covered by uncontrolled infinite distribution, which is a business model with no actual income. Ad based would be an example, but most of the "fans" tend to repackage the material without the ads, effectively removing the only potential direct revenue stream.

    In the end, if there is a lack of income to pay to create content, the content will not be made. That doesn't change the medium to move the message, it just removes the message.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:27pm

    "First and foremost, those of us who understand the importance of intellectual property law have failed to do the job in educating others toward our point of view."

    Oh yes, intellectual property is so important because it allows pharmaceutical corporations to reap the benefits of patents while having taxpayers fund research and development. This is so beneficial (to pharmaceutical corporations) that we should never eliminate patents.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:31pm

    Re: A rather thin rebuttal

    "Secondly, I think we can agree that getting something for nothing is unsustainable over the long term."

    If someone (or a group of people) wants to create a free operating system or program (ie: under the GPL) and give it out for free, what's wrong with that? Why shouldn't we allow him/them to?

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:40pm

    Re: A rather thin rebuttal

    "Secondly, I think we can agree that getting something for nothing is unsustainable over the long term."

    You mean when the unnecessary RIAA tries to get something for nothing when they tax person A for listening to person B's work. Person B did the work, why should the RIAA tax him? Or when the RIAA gets something for nothing when they impose royalty taxes on youtube every time someone listens to a music video. It's NONE OF THEIR BUSINESS, an artist should have the right to put his work on youtube, have other people listen to it, and not have unnecessary third parties tax youtube for it everytime someone listens if the artist chooses to. Or if an artist wants to make an online radio station with music that HE made (or music that other people made, people who CHOSE to have their music put on the online radio station and not have royalties paid to them, perhaps because they want the radio station owner to promote the music) and not have to pay the unnecessary RIAA or some unnecessary third party taxes every time he plays his own music on the online radio station. Why should the RIAA get something for nothing? WHY, EXPLAIN TO ME WHY THEY SHOULD GET SOMETHING FOR NOTHING!!!! Why should pharmaceutical corporations get patents and have the government fund research and development? Why should taxpayers take risks and these huge corporations reap the benefits? Why should they get something for nothing? You claim that you are against someone getting something for nothing, but you seem to mean that you are against poor and powerless entities getting something for nothing. But its' ok for rich and powerful entities to get something for nothing.

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:45pm

    Re: Re: A rather thin rebuttal

    sp/You mean when the unnecessary RIAA tries to get something for nothing when they tax person A for listening to person B's work./You mean when the unnecessary RIAA tries to get something for nothing when they tax person B every time person A listens to person B's work over youtube (or they tax youtube).

     

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  56.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 9:49pm

    Re: A rather thin rebuttal

    "Secondly, I think we can agree that getting something for nothing is unsustainable over the long term."

    I agree, we don't need the RIAA getting something for nothing. The artists did the work, not the RIAA, and as such the RIAA shouldn't be getting something for nothing.

     

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  57.  
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    fairuse (profile), Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:53pm

    Observation: flora (WishfulThinking) & fauna (JustTheFactsPlease) on issue

    Hi, the essay comments where the last straw. It was as if Borg command center sent the register and add something order. Resistance is not futile when our rights and wallet are at stake.

    The ".. CISAC, a copyright collection society held its "World Copyright Summit," .." is really laughing at everyone. All you need to read is one (1) short press note that has very little hard data -- it is slightly more than a Tweet and less than a proper report. OK, I am being too harsh; it is a good article. Talking compensation? The record labels and radio marketing "tit-for-tat" agreements have stolen more real money from artists than anyone and the following link is just the basics. Everyone should read Title 17 Cir 92 Chapter 1 (start at 106, 107, 114, 115 if lazy) and Chapter 5 (501 ) http://www.houstonpress.com/2009-06-04/music/fight-for-your-right/1

    Oh yeah, par-tay CISAC with our money because the customer always pays the tab.

    bye for now. dutch

     

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  58.  
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    Bettawrekonize, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:08am

    I am going to come up with a new (unpatentable) system that, if implemented, will go a long way in solving the potential voter fraud problems and strongly prevent voter fraud (though it's not foolproof).

    After someone votes on a computer he is given a unique voting number at the time he votes. Only the voter knows what the number is. He also types in some unique random comment in an input box in a computer. He is also given a page number, the page that his vote will appear on.

    Online is posted a large text/html file and it categorizes votes by state. Say you click on a state, California. You are given a page with a thousand (or whatever) voter numbers and what each voter number voted for. At the bottom of the page are some standard navigation buttons (like the ones at the bottom of a google search) that lets you navigate pages (and perhaps an option that lets you type in the page you want to jump to). Every voter can jump to the page of his voter number and see that it shows, next to his voter number, who he voted for. So the list may look something like this.

    voter number - date:time - vote - comment

    001 - date:time - Ron Paul - Hello!
    002 - date:time - Barack Obama - Hi!

    etc...

    (perhaps removing the date:time might be a good idea for privacy reasons, ie: someone might figure out when someone voted and based on that they could figure out who they voted for. Very unlikely though but it really depends on what we value more, transparency or privacy).

    That way voters can ensure that their votes count but no one can know who I voted for because only I know my voter number.

    Now, before I vote (and we already have a system in place to keep track of this where we have lists of registered voters and someone crosses off who voted) I go up to someone on a computer, show him my ID, and he types in my name on the computer. It shows that I'm registered to vote in that area and that I didn't already vote. He gives me permission to go to another computer, in a booth, and vote. From his computer he authorizes the computer in the booth to allow a vote. I go in the booth and vote (it asks me, are you sure you want to vote for this person, I click yes. I can also type in a vote if the person I want to vote for is not on the list of course, this should ALWAYS be true for ANY state). A sheet prints out of a printer that tells who I voted for. At the outside of the booth, next to the top, a red light flashes indicating that I voted. I look at the sheet to make sure it's correct and fold it up so no one else can see who I voted for. The vote registers in the computer system as well. A second sheet prints out with my voter number and my comment (though I can think of some reasons that this might be a bad idea). I keep that sheet. I go to another person on another computer (I like the idea of having different people working separately as much as possible to avoid one person coordinating everything because if one person coordinates everything this leaves a higher potential of voter fraud from that coordinator. Separating roles as much as possible is good at preventing corporate employees from cheating their employers and it's good here too). There is a box. I drop in my vote (the first sheet that printed out, I keep the second), give him my name, show him my ID, and he registers on his computer that I voted. He also verifies that someone just voted on the booth number that I just voted on (and that this is the booth I was assigned to vote on by the first computer. He then clears the booth allowing the first computer to assign another voter to it. We can have multiple booths and multiple computers assigning voters to booths and verifying who voted after the vote). He also has a list of all registered voters (a stack of papers). He finds my name and crosses it out (we already do this. In the case of multiple computers, I have to figure out which computer contains my list. It's alphabetical by last name, one computer from A - F, another from G - N or whatever). This way we also have a paper trail of who voted. He also has a printer and that printer prints my name. He drops that in another box. This way we can independently confirm that both boxes have the same amount of papers (ie: number of votes = number of people who voted). There are cameras everywhere and, depending on how much you value transparency over privacy, perhaps those cameras can be posted online so everyone can monitor everything to avoid voter fraud.

    The other computer(s) keeps another list of everyone who voted but it doesn't keep track of who voted for what. So each voting arena has two lists, one of everyone's voter number and who that voter number voted for and another with the first and last names (and drivers license number perhaps) of everyone who voted. Both computers feed this data into a third computer that independently makes sure that the number of people who voted = number of votes. All the software involved is open source and code is available to the public.

    Now there is the question, what about those who didn't vote at all? How do we know that someone who works for a voting booth or whatever won't vote on their behalf once the voting booth is closed? Say Joe Blow is registered to vote but he never votes. If I'm at the voting place and I conspire with others who work there, I might see that he didn't vote and vote on his behalf.

    The trick is when I register to vote I get an online account on some government website. The government associates this account with me and verifies who I am on a personal basis (ie: when I register to vote at some place, they look at my ID and then they hand me a keyboard to type in my password. I write down my password or, if I forget it, I can call a government official, give him enough info about me to validate who I am and he can reset my password. I can always change it online. Or maybe I have to go to some government building, like the DMV, to change it, who knows). I login to that account (type in my username and password) and a site shows up with my name and below it lists all the years that I was registered to vote and lists whether or not I voted and, if we value transparency over privacy, when I voted (having the time of vote can make it easier for government officials to track who voted for whom based on when people voted). For example it can say

    2000 - voted - time of vote
    2004 - did not vote

    This information comes from the list of registered voters who voted. This ensures that no one voted on my behalf if I didn't vote (of course my voter number is not associated with this account and each year that I vote I get a different voter number. No one but me can possibly associate my voter number with me since that's not in the system anywhere, so I still have my privacy). I can then go to the other, independent public site (the one above), look for my voter number and ensure that that voter number voted for who I voted for (and verify the comment and time). Authorities can ensure the identity of everyone who voted (because they have their full names and all their information including where they are supposed to vote) to avoid dubious votes from dubious names. They can also ensure that the number of votes = number of people voted both on paper and with the computers.

    The beauty here is that all voters can ensure that the system registered whether or not they voted and, if they voted, who they voted for (and when they voted) without anyone else being able to associate them with who they voted for.

    To make the system even more transparent, at the cost of privacy (if one values transparency over privacy), we can have another page that links to various states. You click on a state and it lists the full names of everyone who voted (but not when they voted since that can then be associated with the voter number since the voter numbers also list the time. Or maybe they should list both because that helps validate things more accurately, depending on what you value more, transparency or privacy). This way anyone can verify that, according to the system, they voted, they can verify that the system registers who they voted for, and they can validate that number of voters = number of votes. Also, if someone shows up on the list who is no longer alive, someone else may notice it. There can be search features built in to search for voter numbers or names as well.

    This system isn't foolproof. People/authorities still need to verify that dubious names don't show up with dubious voter numbers. That problem exists now, so it's not like my system creates this problem. But at least this system gives enough transparency to make the job easier (ie: by validating that independently produced numbers match and by allowing each voter to validate that the system properly registered whether or not they voted and who they voted for). Suspicious patters like

    001 - 9:30 - Ron Paul - some comment
    002 - 9:30 - Rron paul - some comment
    ....
    1000 - 9:31 - Ron paul - some comment

    would quickly raise public suspicions. So at least the public can scrutinize the data and look for suspicious patterns as well.

     

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  59.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:13am

    Re:

    "He also types in some unique random comment"

    The random comment is to prevent the system from giving two different people (who voted for the same person at about the same time) the same voter number. It helps ensure that each vote counts, makes it harder for the system to cheat the people.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:38am

    Re:

    "You click on a state and it lists the full names of everyone who voted"

    and perhaps you can also list the year they were born on the public site (again, depending on what we, as a society, value more and to what degree. Privacy or transparency).

    So it can look like this

    2000 - voted - year of birth - time of vote

    Say Joe Shmow is a common name and he appears on the Nevada list. Someone knew Joe Shmow and they know his age and when he died.

    2000 - voted - 1890 - time of vote

    Clearly Joe Shmow is probably not 100+ years old so that alone may raise a red flag with everyone (which is good). But this person may think, "oh, that could be another Joe" since this is a common name. However, when he sees the year of birth, he can more easily know that it's the same Joe (how many Joe Shmows lived in Nevada that were born on this exact year? Or perhaps it can have the exact birthdate, making it easier to identify). and he'll know that this person is no longer alive. It can spread through blogs and people can then investigate.

     

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  61.  
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    Almost Anonymous (profile), Jun 15th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Steamboat Bill ?

    Maciej,

    Mike didn't actually claim it was infringement, as you noted later in your comment, he said "copy". I agree that Disney's creation would fall under parody, but today even parody invites an almost automatic claim of infringement. Also, it seems that you deliberately misinterpreted Mike's notion that Steamboat Willie "kicked off" Disney's empire. Can we agree that this cartoon was the showcase for Disney's synchronized sound technology? If so, then his statement stands, copying or no.

     

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  62.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 15th, 2009 @ 4:09pm

    "Rather than dismissing us all as know-nothings who haven't considered these ideas, why not try talking to some of us?"

    Too much charity. This presumes Wexler's goal is to better understand the issues. It is not. It is to discredit, if possible, those opposed to those who pay him.

     

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


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