Senator Orrin Hatch... And The Lies The Copyright Industry Tells

from the and-for-my-next-trick,-this-is-how-we-destroy-pirate-computers dept

In my last post, I walked through the misleading or outright false arguments by Rep. Wexler in defense of stronger copyrights. At the same event, Senator Orrin Hatch also spoke, and it's worth responding to him as well.
You in this room are the artists, the innovators, and leaders of the world copyright industry. Not only do your artistic works continue to encourage the creation of new works that inspire and delight us, but also your industry is one of the few that consistently generates a positive balance of trade.
This assumes, incorrectly, that copyright is the sole reason for the creation of artistic works or that positive balance of trade. The evidence suggests otherwise. There are many reasons why people create. Some have nothing to do with monetary incentive -- but even those that do have found that "copyright" is not the only way to make money, and, in fact may not be the best way to make money. Yet, those who do creative things are often limited by copyright.
Conversely, copyright piracy is the very antithesis of creativity -- crippling growth and stifling innovation in its wake. Beyond the cost to the copyright industries, piracy negatively affects all aspects of our economy.
Yes, the "antithesis of creativity." Folks like Ray Charles -- who invented soul music, but did so by violating copyright law? Yes, stifling innovation. How about Kutiman, the amazing DJ who recently mashed up various YouTube clips to create something amazing and new. According to Hatch, this DJ is the antithesis of creativity? Crippling growth and stifling innovation? I'd argue exactly the opposite.
In fact, one study reports that each year, copyright piracy from motion pictures, sound recordings, business and entertainment software, and video games costs the U.S. economy $58 billion in total output, costs American workers 373,375 jobs and $16.3 billion in earnings, and costs federal, state, and local governments $2.6 billion in tax revenue.
Yet another study that has been debunked. The study, which Senator Hatch conveniently did not cite (wonder why...?) was actually written by the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA), a group of companies who have benefited greatly from the intellectual monopolies, and clearly wish to extract additional monopoly rents. Their study has been widely discredited and debunked, and was recently the source of controversy after the Conference Board of Canada mistakenly relied on its results -- which The Conference Board later withdrew and apologized for after realizing what a mistake it was to rely on those numbers. In the meantime, the only reason that research was used by The Conference Board was because the IIPA was upset with the actual numbers that showed copyright infringement really wasn't that big of an issue.

The problems with those numbers have been discussed elsewhere in great detail, but the two biggest problems are that (1) they greatly inflate the number of unauthorized copies that would have been sales otherwise and (2) they simply ignore the other side of the coin in terms of who benefits from infringement. That is, the industry loves to talk about lost jobs or lost tax revenue from infringement, but they ignore that an infringing piece of software may make another company more productive, allowing it to hire more employees, produce more and pay more in taxes. I do not know if the net benefit outweighs the loss to the "copyright industry" but totally ignoring the other side of the coin makes the study worthless. To rely on such a number is folly.
Just a few weeks ago, the Congressional International Anti-Piracy Caucus, on which I serve as co-chairman, unveiled its 2009 Country Watch List identifying several countries with ineffective intellectual property protections.

For years, countries like China and Russia have been viewed as providing the least hospitable environments for the protection of intellectual property. But this year, it was particularly disappointing to see that Canada, one of America's closest trading partners, was listed on the Watch List. This is another sobering reminder of how pervasive and how close to our borders copyright piracy has become in the global IP community.
The Country Watch List is based on the same bogus information in the IIPA report -- and has also been thoroughly debunked. The IIPA has been pushing for sanctions against Canada for years, despite no real evidence of any real problem in Canada, and plenty of evidence that unauthorized copying is a very minor issue in Canada. In fact, some of the stats on Canada seem to be based on little more than hunches.

I would think, that as a respected Senator, Hatch would want to rely on non-biased, factual information -- not information from an industry who stands to unfairly benefit from intellectual monopoly, and who has a long history of putting out false or deceptive numbers. Right?
Some of you have heard me say this before, but it bears repeating: There are many who do not understand that ideas, inventions, artistic works, and other commercially-viable products created out of one's own mental processes deserve the same protection under the law as any other tangible product or piece of real estate.
Being ignorant of the purpose of property is no excuse for lying, Senator Hatch. If Senator Hatch wishes to treat ideas as tangible property, why not pass a law to do so? Copyright and patent law does no such thing. Furthermore, as the pro-copyright and pro-patent supporters often insist on this site, neither copyright nor patent law protects "ideas." Copyright protects expression. Patent protects invention. We all know that those are somewhat arbitrary and misleading attempts to hide the fact that it really does put a limit on ideas, but it's nice of Senator Hatch to admit it outright.

Furthermore, and more importantly, if Senator Hatch believes that "commercially-viable products created out of one's own mental processes deserve the same protection under the law as any other tangible product or piece of real estate," then clearly the Senator believes in the right to resell such property once you bought it, at a reasonable price. So if I buy a copy of a song by Senator Hatch, clearly, by his own words, I should have the right to resell it to others or to make a copy of it -- just as I have the right to make a copy of a physical chair that I buy, or to resell the chair that I have bought.

Or did Senator Hatch not mean what he said? Did he really mean that only some property rights should be granted? That is, should we only grant property rights that favor big industries at the expense of both consumer and social welfare?
Appallingly, many believe that if they find it on the Internet then it must be free. I have heard some estimates cite no less than 80 percent of all Internet traffic comprises copyright-infringing files on peer-to-peer networks.
Ah, a misleading demonization. Senator Hatch has "heard some estimates." Why not cite them so that they can be responded to accurately? Perhaps because Senator Hatch knows they do not hold up under scrutiny.
That is why the Pirate Bay case is so important. While the decision does not solve the problem of piracy and unauthorized file sharing, it certainly is a legal victory and one that sends a strong message that such behavior will not be tolerated.
I'm sure the Senator is quite busy, so perhaps he missed the "strong message" that was actually sent: a biased judge sided against a search engine claiming it was responsible for the actions of its users. From that, thousands of people recognized that this was a patently ridiculous scenario, and signed up as members of a political party designed to protect consumer civil rights -- allowing them to win a surprise seat in the European Parliament. Quite a strong message. It seems to be the opposite of the one Senator Hatch thinks was given.
I strongly believe that if we're going to be successful in this fast-paced digital age, a solid partnership between the copyright community and the Internet Service Providers is crucial. I am confident that such a partnership can break up the current viral spread of copyrighted works on the Net.

Many countries have begun to take action by working closely with ISPs to curb online piracy. For example, France has adopted a three strikes law, which calls for ISPs to suspend a subscriber's service if they are accused three times of pirating copyrighted material. Across the globe, from Japan to the UK, from Australia to Brazil, there have been engaging discussions within the industry on how best to proceed on this front.

In the United States, I am encouraged with the developments that have transpired between content owners and some ISPs. Obviously, we still have a ways to go, but we are seeing a promising level of participation within the industry. I believe a flexible and free-market solution is essential if we are to be successful in this endeavor. As more of these discussions turn into actions, it is vital that these principles remain front and center.
To be fair, Hatch's speech was given the day before France tossed out the three strikes law as unconstitutional -- but that should still be instructive. The EU Parliament has made clear that cutting users off from the internet connections, especially based solely on industry accusations of infringement, represents a serious breach of civil rights. That a US Senator would support such a "guilty without proof" setup is quite troubling, and raises serious questions about his understanding of our constitutional rights.

As for being "encouraged" by the developments between content owners and ISPs at home, does he meant the fact that not a single ISP has agreed to sign up for the RIAA's three strikes program? That, at least, is encouraging to me.
On a side note, there is another benefit of stopping online piracy that is often overlooked. By reducing some of the infringing content online, the networks will be more efficient, thereby making more broadband capacity available for paying customers
On a side note, there is another benefit to forcing all automobiles to travel no faster than 5 mph with a man waving a red flag in front of them that is often overlooked. By reducing some of the speeding automobile traffic on roads, the roads will be more efficient, thereby making more road capacity available for drivers.

Do you see the logical fallacy? The broadband infrastructure can handle much greater traffic. Purposely limiting it doesn't increase efficiency. It does the opposite.
I am reminded of the time when Senator Leahy and I worked together on the Berne Convention Implementation Act of 1988, which made the United States a party to the Berne Convention for the Protection of Literary and Artistic Works. Passage of this law extended copyright protections beyond our borders to the worldwide coverage by the multilateral treaty.
And we are all worse off for it. Many scholars who have noticed the damaging effects of agreeing to the Berne Convention standards are quite concerned about what that has done to copyright. It has extended it well beyond reason. It has gutted the important public domain. It has hindered the ability of creative efforts. It was a horrible mistake by almost any measure.
When we passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, one of my goals was to address the problems caused when copyrighted works are disseminated through the Internet and other electronic transmissions without the authority of the copyright owner.

By establishing clear rules of the road, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act served as the catalyst that has allowed electronic commerce to flourish. I believe the DMCA, while not perfect, has nonetheless played a key role in moving our nation's copyright law into the digital age.
If by doing things like allowing security researchers to face lawsuits for finding problems in DRM and e-voting software, then yes, it's moved us into the digital age. If you mean by allowing all sorts of companies to use anti-circumvention provisions not to protect copyright, but to stop competition, then yes, you are right. If you mean by allowing people to issue takedowns on content they don't like, then yes, you are right.

But most of us don't consider those to be good things.
In 1998, Congress also passed the Sony Bono Copyright Term Extension Act to ensure adequate protection for American works abroad by extending the U.S. term of copyright protection for an additional 20 years. This bill made certain that America maintained its international trading advantage by keeping pace with emerging international standards.
The Constitution says that copyright should be for a limited time -- initially 28 years. You have made a mockery of that, by now extending it to life plus 70 years. That "additional 20 years" created massive harm, locking up tons of content that lies useless that should be in the public domain. And for what? To keep Mickey Mouse from being in the public domain (while still protected by trademark law)? And those "emerging international standards" are nothing more than an industry-driven sham, designed to create a game of leapfrog. They first push one country to extend copyright, and then insist that we too need to extend ours to "keep pace with international standards." It's happening once again in Europe, with the push to extend performance rights. This is not "keeping pace with international standards," it's a handout to the entertainment industry that harms emerging artists.
Let me say a few words about the Performance Rights legislation. It is time to amend copyright law to establish performance rights in sound recordings. Some people are under the wrong impression that everyone in the music industry is making a fortune, but they are not aware that all too often it is a struggle to survive.

I believe that artists should be compensated for their work. This is an issue of fairness and equity. I agree with the position of the Department of Commerce Working Group on Intellectual Property Rights, which reported that the lack of a performance right in sound recordings is "an historical anomaly that does not have a strong policy justification ... and certainly not a legal one."
No one is claiming that everyone in the music industry is making a fortune. Why even bring up that as a strawman? And no one has said artists should not be compensated for their work. What we're saying is they should earn via a business model, not a tax on radio stations. Why do you support taxing radio stations? Weren't you just talking about the importance of not harming creative industries in this economic time?
Last year, the Senate unanimously passed bipartisan legislation to encourage the use of orphan works -- works that may be protected by copyright but whose owners cannot be identified or located. Countless artistic creations -- books, photos, paintings and music -- around the country are effectively locked away and unavailable for the general public to enjoy because the owner of the copyright for the work is unknown.

Unfortunately, it often isn't easy to identify or find these owners of copyrighted work. To make matters worse, many are discouraged or reluctant to use these works out of fear of being sued should the owner eventually step forward.
Senator Hatch, do you not realize that the very problem of orphan works is due to your proud support of things like the Berne Convention standards and the Copyright Term Extension Act? Without those, orphan works are not much of a problem at all.

This is more of the same from Senator Hatch. Playing up the supposed benefits based on biased studies and information and ignoring all the harm caused. Any chance he'll reintroduce his plan to destroy the computers of people accused of infringing? That won him lots of fans last time.


Reader Comments (rss)

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    BullJustin (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 1:41pm

    My estimate of P2P traffic

    I estimate that less than 10% of all Internet traffic comprises copyright-infringing files on peer-to-peer networks.

    Now everyone can say they have heard some estimates that refute this.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:07pm

    Re: My estimate of P2P traffic

    I estimate that less than 10% of all Internet traffic comprises copyright-infringing files on peer-to-peer networks.

    Assuming, arguendo, that your 10% estimate is a reasonable, within the ball park figure, I would estimate that currently 90% or so of that 10% involve the downloading and uploading of infringing content.

    Yes, P2P can and should be used to exchange authorized content, but one sticks his/her head in the sand when it comes to the reality of how P2P is presently being used.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:16pm

    Why is it that such industry associations are repeatedly castigated for overstating numbers, and yet opponents to nothing but castigate/criticize without any attempt to proffer what they believe to be more accurate data? Mind you, it seems that a sizeable portion of these opponents are also the very same ones who overstate numbers when it comes to damages in copyright lawsuits. They bellow theoretical numbers, and not numbers that tend to reflect actual damages awarded in such lawsuits.

    It is disingenuous for one who engages in hyperbole to criticize another who does the same.

    BTW, is this the record for the longest article you have ever prepared for your site? Add some footnotes and it would likely approach the length of a post-graduate thesis.

     

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    fan of banksy, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:24pm

    I think the artist Banksy sums this up quite well:

    http://newsimg.bbc.co.uk/media/images/45909000/jpg/_45909582_badartists.jpg

    (He plays on a quote from Picasso.)

     

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    Simon (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:29pm

    Re:

    Really? That's all you've got to refute Mike with on this one?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    Re: Re:

    1. A proper critique of the aricle would require a large amount of time that I am not prepared to expend.

    2. Even when a comprehensive critique is given traversing points made in many of the articles presented on this site, the person making the critique is largely castigated as being uninformed, an apoligist incapable of seeing the big picture, a shill, etc. Hence, why even bother?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:03pm

    Re:

    Why is it that such industry associations are repeatedly castigated for overstating numbers, and yet opponents to nothing but castigate/criticize without any attempt to proffer what they believe to be more accurate data?

    Wait, so it's impossible to refute numbers unless you offer other numbers?

    Separately, we *have* pointed to studies on these numbers.

    Mind you, it seems that a sizeable portion of these opponents are also the very same ones who overstate numbers when it comes to damages in copyright lawsuits. They bellow theoretical numbers, and not numbers that tend to reflect actual damages awarded in such lawsuits.

    Would you care to offer proof?

    It is disingenuous for one who engages in hyperbole to criticize another who does the same.

    Please point out the hyperbole in my post.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    1. A proper critique of the aricle would require a large amount of time that I am not prepared to expend.

    i.e., "I don't have any real answers so I'll pretend I'm too busy."

    2. Even when a comprehensive critique is given traversing points made in many of the articles presented on this site, the person making the critique is largely castigated as being uninformed, an apoligist incapable of seeing the big picture, a shill, etc. Hence, why even bother?

    i.e., "Since my reasoning is backed up by nothing, and I am often called on it and called out for the weak basis of my arguments, I'm going to pretend it's not worth my time to repeat said arguments. On top of that, because I am unable to find any real supporting data, I will simply declare "good day" and pretend I won."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:35pm

    Mike, you head must hurt from all the spinning you do.

    Do you not remember the "internet is a series of tubes" comment? The internet didn't drop off and die as a result.

    You want all of patent, copyright, and trademark to be pretty much tossed out, and yet the issues you have revolve around probably 0.000001% of all of it. Why are you do worked up about it?

     

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    JonMontgo (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 3:56pm

    "Mike, you head must hurt from all the spinning you do.

    Do you not remember the "internet is a series of tubes" comment? The internet didn't drop off and die as a result.

    You want all of patent, copyright, and trademark to be pretty much tossed out, and yet the issues you have revolve around probably 0.000001% of all of it. Why are you do worked up about it?"

    In an attempt to beat Mike to the punch, what the hell? What does the internet is a series of tubes comment have to do with anything, other than pointing out that those with no knowledge of a subject have no business legislating on it?

    And Mike doesn't want these laws thrown out, he wants them reformed. And the issues that Mike's sites revolve around have almost everything to do with copyright, patent and trademark law.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:15pm

    Re:

    The "Series of tubes" is in part to explain why some of the comments made by elected officials are sometimes not exactly on point. These are people who deal with hundreds of pieces of legislation and issues on an ongoing basis, are they aren't all exactly experts in the field.

    Mike's version of reform is either burn it all to the ground or toss it all out, and he has said as much before. Reforming ashes isn't really possible.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:39pm

    Re: Re:

    "aren't all exactly experts in the field."

    and yet they make decisions that will impact those fields far into the future

    I know what they are experts at

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:49pm

    Re: Re:

    "Would you care to offer proof?"

    Sure. Merely by way of example, take a look at the many, many articles expressing disgust at the "theoretical" liability Ms. Thomas (she has recently married, but I do not recall her married name) and Mr. Tenenbaum are facing. Yes, statutues do contain large maximum numbers, but I am aware of no case similar to these cases (whether involving P2P or otherwise) where an award has been made that even comes close to these "theoretical" numbers.

    Thomas got smacked hard by a jury that did not believe she was being forthright. Some on the jury, it is reported by a member or the jury, wanted to assess maximum damages, while others were not inclined to do so. In the end a compromise amount was reached rendered as the jury's verdict. In the end the result was a number somewhere between the statutory minimum and maximum, which is a very sizeable spread.

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    "Do you not remember the "internet is a series of tubes" comment? The internet didn't drop off and die as a result."

    1.) That was Ted Stevens

    2.) WTF?

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Hatch is an artist you know ...

    When is Hatch going to do us all a favor and retire ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    They also aren't experts in health care, oil drilling, or thousands of other subjects. I would suspect if you asked them for comments on pending legislation on any of these subjects, they would also generate answers that would get howls from "people in the know".

    This is politics, not a Mensa meeting.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Mike's version of reform is either burn it all to the ground or toss it all out, and he has said as much before. Reforming ashes isn't really possible.

    I've said no such thing. Why do you lie?

    I have said, repeatedly, that my concern is getting any IP laws to the point that they do what the Constitution says, which is to promote the progress. Without evidence that they do that, the we have a problem.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sure. Merely by way of example, take a look at the many, many articles expressing disgust at the "theoretical" liability Ms. Thomas (she has recently married, but I do not recall her married name) and Mr. Tenenbaum are facing. Yes, statutues do contain large maximum numbers, but I am aware of no case similar to these cases (whether involving P2P or otherwise) where an award has been made that even comes close to these "theoretical" numbers.


    Please point me to an example where I have made that statement.

    Secondly, there is a major difference here. The industry HAS threatened her with such high potential fines. There's no "theory" there at all. That's in the law and the industry uses it to their advantage.

    Third, the reason that there has not been such an award to date is that the RIAA has yet to win a single case. But they are the ones abusing the numbers, not those on the other side.

    Please. Your attempt at moral equivalency simply shows how desperate copyright maximalists are. Sad.

     

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    JonMontgo (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:26pm

    Re: Re:

    An error in terms then. "Revolution" perhaps would be better.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I wish you would take a look at my comments. I used the word "opponents" generically. Had I intended to include you within the genus I would have said so.

    In commenting about historical awards, I used a paranthetical phrase that purposely included the word "otherwise". P2P awards are sparse, but this is hardly the case for copyright infringement cases in general. Only in the most egregious of circumstances (typically associated with countefeiters) have maximal awards been assessed.

    The simple fact of the matter is that maximal awards, the numerical spectre being raised by so many coming to the defense of Ms. Thomas and Mr. Tenenbaum, are exceedingly rare (likely bordering on a bell curve at somewhere about 10 sigma).

    True, not every download is a lost sale. At the same time, however, not every award of damages is at the theoretical maximum.

    BTW, what is this thing about moral equivalency? All I was commenting on was that on both sides of the aisle there are people stretching numbers.

     

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    ECA (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:41pm

    "You in this room are the artists, the innovators, and leaders of the world copyright industry. Not only do your artistic works "

    This is the funny part.
    THESE folks dont make the music.
    THEY COPYRIGHT IT, THEY DRM IT, they try to make it THEIRS, and not the creators..

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 5:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The simple fact of the matter is that maximal awards, the numerical spectre being raised by so many coming to the defense of Ms. Thomas and Mr. Tenenbaum, are exceedingly rare (likely bordering on a bell curve at somewhere about 10 sigma).

    But the threats from the industry HAVE included the maximal awards.


    True, not every download is a lost sale. At the same time, however, not every award of damages is at the theoretical maximum.


    Yes, but the industry has implied the first is true. No one has implied the second is true. What some people have noted is that such awards *can* be given -- AND it has actually been THE INDUSTRY ITSELF who has most trumpeted such claims as a way to force people to settle.

    This seems to be the opposite of your point. So now we see that the industry exaggerates consistently.

    Your point was what now?

    BTW, what is this thing about moral equivalency? All I was commenting on was that on both sides of the aisle there are people stretching numbers.

    No, you tried to make it sound like both sides were stretching numbers in an equal way. They were not.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Re:

    from: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Series_of_tubes

    Ten movies streaming across that, that Internet, and what happens to your own personal Internet? I just the other day got...an Internet was sent by my staff at 10 o'clock in the morning on Friday. I got it yesterday [Tuesday]. Why? Because it got tangled up with all these things going on the Internet commercially.

    [...] They want to deliver vast amounts of information over the Internet. And again, the Internet is not something that you just dump something on. It's not a big truck. It's a series of tubes. And if you don't understand, those tubes can be filled and if they are filled, when you put your message in, it gets in line and it's going to be delayed by anyone that puts into that tube enormous amounts of material, enormous amounts of material

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "have said, repeatedly, that my concern is getting any IP laws to the point that they do what the Constitution says, which is to promote the progress."

    That's it in a nutshell. You want to pretty much slash and burn everything added to the IP laws since, well, the first draft? That is pretty much slash and burn.

    Interesting that your friends at BusinessWeek ran a big article about the loss of innovation in the US, and none of it had to do with IP laws.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Oh - ok, that makes it ok then ...

    One would think that a person given such responsiblity would either take the time to learn it themselves or seek advise from those who are knowledable in the field about to be impacted.

    Is this asking too much ?

     

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    CleverName, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 7:05pm

    Re:

    Yeah, how many real artists were in attendance ?
    - Not counting Orin of course.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 7:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's it in a nutshell. You want to pretty much slash and burn everything added to the IP laws since, well, the first draft? That is pretty much slash and burn.

    I said no such thing. Perhaps you do not understand the difference between what's in the Constitution and what's in the law, but it might help to look up the difference.

    I have no problem with any copyright laws if they can be shown to promote the progress.

    Are you, on the other hand, claiming that copyright law is fine even if it is shown not to promote the progress?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 7:54pm

    Mike, you certainly have a career pending as a politician (or one of their slippery underlings), because you are so good at things like weasel wording and careful phrasing.

    "I have no problem with any copyright laws if they can be shown to promote the progress.

    Are you, on the other hand, claiming that copyright law is fine even if it is shown not to promote the progress?"

    Can you please site non-biased reports that show that IP laws very specifically have blocked progress? I don't mean blocking a single product going to market, but actual progress.

    Remember, duplicated something and slapping a new sticker or coat of paint on it isn't progress. Using someone else's music and singing "oh baby yeah baby" over the top of it isn't progress. The idea of progress is to build the proverbial better mousetrap (and there are more than 4000 patents on mousetraps, certainly showing some progress).

    The point is that IP laws encourage progress because they specifically discourage duplication and replication. You can pay someone to use their invention, or you can building something new and better. That is where the progress is made. Lowering the length of time of copyright or making patents last only a very short period of time doesn't create progress, is creates massive duplication. yes, for the end users in the short term, it might lead to lower prices for certain things, but it removes the money from the system, which in turn leads to less progress, less innovation.

    I really recommend you read the BusinessWeek article on the subject of Innovation (June 15th cover date). It is a pretty good indication of what has happened and continues to happen as the money is drawn out of design, out of research, and out of development of new products.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 8:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "This is politics, not a Mensa meeting."

    You know, I encountered some of the most ignorant and even stupid people I've ever known when I belonged to Mensa.

     

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  30.  
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    Clevername, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 8:53pm

    Re:

    The fact that you need a report in order to see what is in plain sight is telling.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Re:

    What you often thing is "in plain sight" is actually the magician's flash paper, distracting you from seeing reality.

    How many millions of patents? How many copyrights? How many have truly impeded progress? How often has that impediment actually been the spur to create something better and new, a different way to do something?

    It isn't hard to find exception in all systems, and some of the exceptions can seem so stunningly stupid as to be beyond true understanding. But in the overall scheme of things, there is little evidence out there to support widespread changes to the IP laws because progress is being stunted somehow. I just don't see it, and many others don't see it as well.

     

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  32.  
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    Ryan L, Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:20pm

    The original copyright term of 28 years is MORE than sufficient to reward someone for a creative work. Just because someone created something it does not follow that their great-great-grandchildren have the right to continue to milk it 100+ years later.

    A huge part of innovation is building on other people's work. I am a computer engineer who specializes in web application software, and if I had to start over at the level of transistors for every software product I created, I would not get too far.

    I also spend a lot of time contributing to open source software that I don't get a dime for. I'm not alone in that, which sure destroys the standard copyright cartel argument that artists would not create without monetary incentives (believe me, software developers are artists.)

    Also if copyrights need to be so long, what about patents? Shouldn't inventors get protection for 100 years? Has the limit on patents to 14 years hurt inventors? On the other hand it has helped them and our society in general, since it allows people to build on the work of others in a reasonable time frame. What a crazy concept!

    The unbelievable irony in all this is that Disney is the big lobbyist who continually pushes for extending copyright whenever "Steamboat Willy" is approaching the copyright term limit and might go public domain. Yet as Mike pointed out in his article on Robert "The Weasel" Wexler, that damn cartoon was based on Walt Disney copying plot details from Buster Keaton's movie "Steamboat Bill, Jr."! And let's not forget the 10 trillion other cartoons Disney has made from public domain material (Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Peter Pan and on and on and on.) Disney as we know and hate it would not exist if the copyright terms they lobbied for were in effect when Walt Disney was a young cartoonist! The irony is so thick a skilled screenwriter couldn't draft a better plot.

    To conclude: I am an artist who benefits from copyright. I still do not think it should be as long as it is. Let's go back to 28 years and be done with it.

     

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  33.  
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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:20pm

    Re:

    "Why is it that such industry associations are repeatedly castigated for overstating numbers, and yet opponents to nothing but castigate/criticize without any attempt to proffer what they believe to be more accurate data?"

    OK, here's a hunch:

    People who would fund fake "studies" indicating copyright infringement harms America:
    RIAA
    MPAA
    BSA
    etc, etc, etc. All big organizations funded by deep pocketed entertainment conglomerates, all having a dedicated role in lobbying and influencing policy in favor of the industry.


    People who would fund fake "studies" indicating copyright itself may harm America:
    - some college kids
    - some profs
    - EFF
    - Techdirt
    - me
    Great. Now we've got money for pizza at our first meeting. We're gonna have a huge impact in DC. Besides, the first priority no matter our funding would be to reveal the shoddy research and bias in their numbers.

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 12th, 2009 @ 9:40pm

    "I just don't see it, and many others don't see it as well."

    so true.


    These 4000 patents you cited on mousetraps offer a good exemplary discussion. Do we really need 4000 patents on mousetraps? Take a look at a few different mouse traps. Are there 4000 inventions there? No, we'd probably agree that most of those 4000 patents go completely unused, while a small minority are put into practice. They majority just sit there at the USPTO, filed, granted, but offering no value to anyone. Meanwhile, they lock up ideas that aren't quite good enough. But if I were to tweak one of those ideas a bit - or more likely independently come up with a slightly better version of one of those trapped ideas, I'd invent a better mousetrap. Now, if I also had the wherewithal to get it to market where it could help people and harm mice, what are the odds that I could do so without getting sued?

    So @#$@ building a better mousetrap. The patent thicket, 4000 weeds deep as you described, makes the notion of creating anything totally unappealing to me and to others. I get to work hard, and someone else gets to take my rewards, because they filed some paper 10 years ago.

    I am absolutely dissuaded from inventing because of patents. I am not the only one. The problem described in this example is systematic. Your side argues that patents stimulate innovation by guaranteeing rewards to the inventors. Our side sees some cases like that, but plenty of cases where patents chill invention, and especially implementation, because patents essentially guarantee someone, someday will sue the successful innovator.

    Techdirt would suggest those patents thickets have a negative effect on innovation. You would assert they are the goose that lays the golden eggs that keeps America rich. At least we are willing to understand the pros and the cons. The cons are real. We can argue the net effect, but it's not a foregone conclusion, as you have concluded forthwith.

     

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    Barry Murphy, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 12:02am

    Re:

    "Can you please site non-biased reports that show that IP laws very specifically have blocked progress? I don't mean blocking a single product going to market, but actual progress. "

    Okay, here you're asking for specific examples of blocked progress but insist that you do not want any specific examples cited. Not to mention, it's pretty difficult to do a study on stuff that doesn't exist because it was never allowed to happen. However, I can relate an example.

    For the last 30 years, or so, I have dreamed of someday having an integrated system for all of my television, movie and music collections. I want a computer with all my media stored on it and instantly available on any television or computer in my home. I've spent several tens of thousands of dollars toward reaching this goal. This has not been a technical hurdle for some time now but is still a cesspool of uncertainty within the confines of copyright law. A dozen years ago, I was ripping my CDs onto the computer and it was a legal grey area vis a vis copyright law but I did it anyway. I've purchased all of my media for this eventual system that will unify my media. Now, ripping CDs has become commonplace but the progress was certainly delayed. Currently, I've ripped all of my DVDs to my computer though, once again, it's illegal according to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act because they put an "encryption" on the disc which is explicitly illegal for me to break. From a Technical standpoint, it's not a difficult thing to do but this progress has been greatly delayed because of copyright legislation. Don't even get me started about the legal difficulties of ripping my Blu-Ray and HD-DVD discs (for which they no longer manufacture players) that I've purchased.

    I don't pirate anything and want to use my fair-use rights to media I have purchased but the copyright laws are consistently blocking my progress toward my dream of a unified media center.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 3:28am

    Re: Re: My estimate of P2P traffic

    And you failed in your reading comprehension, as I would say by the BillJustin's post that 100% of the >10% is infringing. By, you know, READING his post.

    'less than 10% of all Internet traffic comprises copyright-infringing files on peer-to-peer'

    Reread that and see if you understand.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 5:35am

    Re:

    After 4000 items in a very narrow field, making the next great mousetrap should be a challenge. Just tweaking someone else's design (I think of it as painting the box a different color) isn't exactly new, it isn't particularly innovative, and there likely isn't any real progress.

    Look at it this way: As the patents expire, people like you who enjoy tweaking things have a whole universe of blueprints to work from, as this information is all public and accessible. You could just work on whatever comes off patent each day, and away you go. In fact, all this public information is probably a great source of progress, no?

    Since patents don't last very long in the scheme of things, you could line up all your mousetrap tweaks, and as they fall out of patent, you would wow the world with your "progress". Remember, you can work on the problem, you just can't move forward commercially. You aren't locked out for life.

    Progress isn't stunted, it just happens in more orderly fashion. When things are patent we don't know which ones will rapidly move to commercialization and which ones will languish, but with such short times in patent, there isn't any real issues.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re:

    Barry, your dream has been possible any number of times, but the people that you might find commenting on a site like this tend to get in the way.

    Ask yourself "why is their encryption?" When you get the answer, the rest is clear.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Three Monkeys

    I am not being distracted as you claim. There are many non magical sources of data from which to chose. You could answer your own questions, but I do not think that is your intent.

     

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    Xanthir, FCD (profile), Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:43am

    Re: Re:

    Look at it this way: As the patents expire, people like you who enjoy tweaking things have a whole universe of blueprints to work from, as this information is all public and accessible. You could just work on whatever comes off patent each day, and away you go. In fact, all this public information is probably a great source of progress, no?

    No, it's not. If you limit yourself to patents that are expiring, you're dealing with 20-year old works. This length of time may have allowed you to do as you suggest when it was first created, but many things patentable now rely on modern technology, which moves *far* too fast for a 20-year old idea to be of any use.

    For example, Microsoft's breakout success, Windows 3, is *just* now coming out of patent protection. (I don't know the exact year, but it was released in 1990, so it's sometime around now.) Windows 3 is *way* too old to have anything but historical relevance. Any invention featuring microchips from 1989 that would just now be coming out of patent is similarly completely useless to today's inventor.

    Even if you *can* find a good idea out of expiring patents (mousetraps, frex, are lowtech enough that 1989 ideas may still be useful), the fact is that patents are intentionally written to be as broad as possible. It's very likely that your new idea, based on a now-unprotected idea, is *still* infringing on some other existing patent, or at least is close enough to prevent an expensive lawsuit from being thrown out immediately.

    Hopefully this answered your question well. No, the existing patent thicket does *not* help you innovate, and relying on 20-year old ideas is only useful in limited lowtech areas, and may still be close enough to extant patents to invite lawsuits.

    Since patents don't last very long in the scheme of things, you could line up all your mousetrap tweaks, and as they fall out of patent, you would wow the world with your "progress". Remember, you can work on the problem, you just can't move forward commercially. You aren't locked out for life.

    Yes, you can't move forward commercially for up to 20 years. If you buy a brand-new product, just created and patented, and think, "You know, this thing is great, but I can make it even better with a few tweaks!" you're SOL. Patent law means that your "few tweaks" are illegal to commercialize on, and in 20 years your ideas will be irrelevant.

    So, in effect, you are locked out for life, or at least for the useful life of your idea.

    (As a sidenote, I noticed that you put scarequotes around "progress". I'm curious as to why this is. I suspect, though, that it's because you assume that anything that isn't revolutionary isn't real progress. This is an inherently naive view of progress, untempered by reality and actual work. In the real world, progress is a continual tweaking of the existing, with constant slight improvements that, over time, add up to large differences. Actual revolutionary ideas are very rare and, while they are greatly appreciated when they occur, should *not* be protected to the detriment of the everyday incremental improvement that occurs constantly. To do so would be to essentially stifle *all* innovation, to say that merely being skilled and thoughtful is not enough, that you must be both a genius and hyper-creative to imagine anything worth protecting.

    Of course, the first paragraph of your post (which I didn't quote) reveals that you *do* believe in exactly this naive view of progress. You state quite plainly that you don't believe tweaking and incremental improvement is 'progress'.)

    Progress isn't stunted, it just happens in more orderly fashion. When things are patent we don't know which ones will rapidly move to commercialization and which ones will languish, but with such short times in patent, there isn't any real issues.

    I have to wonder how old you are, that 20 years is a "short time". For anyone on this side of 60, that's at *least* half your adult life. Perhaps they are short when compared to copyrights, which can last more than a century.

    In any case, what makes you think that progress should happen in a "more orderly fashion"? This is indeed roughly what patents do - those upstarts with their startups can't "steal" my idea and make it better, outselling my inferior product, unless they ask me permission first. I might give them permission, in return for a hefty licensing fee (likely pushing their production costs up too high to allow them to competitively price their product), but I don't have to do so if I don't want. I can just say no, and continue selling my inferior product, secure in the knowledge that the law has my back, and that consumers never even had a choice.

    Hey, that's *an* order. No one ever said that all order has to be good. By the time anyone can disrupt that order, the idea is irrelevant, because "20 years" really is quite a long time in anything remotely touching on technology.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:50am

    Re: Re:

    Yes, because we need progress to occur in a nice orderly fashion rather than some chaotic mess of uncontrolled creativity. That way, more money can be extruded.

    Brilliant

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 9:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, I am so sorry that you entirely and utterly missed my point. Nice post, but since you missed the point to start with, well, there ya go.

    "I have to wonder how old you are, that 20 years is a "short time". For anyone on this side of 60, that's at *least* half your adult life. Perhaps they are short when compared to copyrights, which can last more than a century."

    Let me start here, because this is where reading Techdirt can screw up your world view. My age? Well, old enough to have been part of what came BEFORE the internet (well before) and young enough that I don't have to think about AARP for quite a while.

    First and foremost, if you measure the universe (or even mankind) by your the length of your own lifetime, you are fairly short sighted. Many of the greatest accomplishments of mankind took hundreds of years. 20 years is barely a blink of the cosmic eyes.

    "(As a sidenote, I noticed that you put scarequotes around "progress". I'm curious as to why this is. I suspect, though, that it's because you assume that anything that isn't revolutionary isn't real progress."

    Actually, it's a two shot deal. First, it's because Mike's version of progress seems to often involve things like remix artists, samplers, and people making movies using other people's music. I don't consider any of those sorts of things as progress, just running through the same rut.

    Further, just for the sake of the discussion of patent, I think that much of what people are trying to push as "progress" is often nothing but a remix or a repainting of the same old same old. If you really want to progress, don't just repaint someone else's mousetrap, build your own. That is progress. Sort of the difference between building a house and painting a house.

    if you feel trapped by a patent, then you have fallen into the box. Progress occurs when you think outside of that box.

    Your windows 3 example is funny, mostly because it hasn't stopped Apple from thinking outside that box, it hasn't stopped the open desktop people from thinking outside the box, it hasn't stopped Palm from thinking outside of the box, etc. If they all just looked at Windows3 and said "well, that's it for 20 years on operating systems" we would be stopped, which appears to be your idea.

    Try thinking outside of the box, perhaps it's something you might think of when you get out of school.

     

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    Plasmacutter, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 2:03pm

    "piracy" has given rise to great creativity..

    "Conversely, copyright piracy is the very antithesis of creativity -- crippling growth and stifling innovation in its wake. Beyond the cost to the copyright industries, piracy negatively affects all aspects of our economy."

    I find it quite odd that hatch does not consider the evolution of P2P and secure/anonymous communication driven in part by **AA persecution of the general public to be "creativity".

    Apparently only "some" intellectual property is worthy of protection, and other creators should be criminally prosecuted for DMCA violations.

     

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    Barry Murphy, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm going to give you the benefit of the doubt and assume you aren't just trolling. The reason encryption exists is because the overreaching copyright laws do not offer the protections that the media giants want. They would like even more protections for their pseudo-property. They would like for your computer to contact them every time you play a song, like the illegal Sony root it did. They would like to disconnect a person from the internet for life with no judicial process if the industry watchdogs think they might be sharing something (even convicted murderers can end up back in society fully restored.) Do you know how easy it is to frame someone for filesharing? I can currently connect to six unprotected wi-fi routers in my neighborhood and it would be ridiculously easy for anyone to share files over their broadband connection. The three-strikes rules would keep them off the internet without legally proving they actually did anything. The media giants have requested the right to hack into your computer to search for anything they deem is a copyright violation. Remember, they still think we should not be allowed to rip our purchased CDs to our system. Media executives have called format shifting piracy insisting that 90% of all music on iPods is pirated because it wasn't purchased as a digital file (even when they were unwilling to sell us digital files.) I could literally go on for pages about the protections sought by the media giants that were not granted but for the sake of brevity, and the suspicion that my arguments fall on deaf ears (or blind eyes as the case may be) I will not.

    The media giants didn't need government intervention to collude together and form encryption schemes so they did it. It's amazing to me that the media companies have fought so hard against new media that they would have missed countless dollars of income if their lawyers actually won what they requested. Seriously, they tried to stop radio when it was invented because radio stations played their songs for free and later these same companies had to be stopped from paying payola to DJs because they sold more albums when the songs were given away on the radio. Later the media giants tried to stop the VCR from being sold and, of course, the video tape and DVD markets have made them huge sums of money. Apple had to drag these companies kicking and screaming to the profits available on iTunes. Apple also had to strong arm these same companies into selling the music without DRM so that the music could be placed onto other devices. Recently, the Blu-Ray and HD-DVD launches were delayed for over a year so that these companies could create a "foolproof" encryption scheme that was cracked within weeks of release.

    And, herein lies the problem with encryption. All of it has already been cracked. Any new scheme created will be cracked quickly. It's an ignorant concept to attempt to lock something against those who have purchased access to something in the first place. The same keys used to view or listen to media are the same keys that can be used to copy the same media. It's a losing battle that will never work. Pirates can easily break these encryption schemes and do so regularly. Every encrypted HD-DVD or Blu-Ray movie is currently available on BitTorrent free for the taking if one is inclined to do so. Encryption clearly has zero effect on piracy of the content so why do the media giants want it?

    The only thing that is truly stopped by encryption is the casual media shifting that is well within the customer's fair-use rights. You see, the media companies have made a fortune selling the same content to the same people on vinyl, then 8-tracks, then cassettes, and now on CDs or digital files. Likewise with original box-office, VHS, DVD, and now Blu-Ray and digital files. But if I can shift my media to another format I will never again have to repurchase media because the media giants have chosen yet another delivery device and they don't want that revenue stream to end. I don't blame the industry for not wanting to see the cash cow die but I also will not tolerate laws that exist only to prop up a dying business model.

    Throughout history, it has been a profitable model to stand between two people in a business transaction and charge a fee, to one or both parties, for facilitating the transaction. In the past, this made sense, too. It was expensive to maintain networks of buyers and sellers and difficult for them to communicate with each other. But now, the internet has changed the connections and networks in play. I don't need a media giant to connect me to an artist since we can connect directly over the internet. But the media giants do not like the internet because they have made tremendous profits from controlling the totality of media distribution. This total domination of the distribution channel has allowed them to make huge amounts of money while charging too much to the consumer and paying to little to the artists. Of course they don't want this to end. But it must end for there to be progress. The alternative is to set up an increasingly more fascist set of government controls just to keep a dead business model alive for the benefit of a few industry fat cats.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 4:01pm

    "Do you know how easy it is to frame someone for filesharing? I can currently connect to six unprotected wi-fi routers in my neighborhood and it would be ridiculously easy for anyone to share files over their broadband connection"

    I liken that to allowing drug dealers to openly operate in your living room. If you leave the door unlocked, you should be responsible. My ISP now provides routers with wireless built in, and they are all VERY secure, thanks much.

    "The media giants have requested the right to hack into your computer to search for anything they deem is a copyright violation."

    Where did you get that pile of nonsense from? Remember, when you run a torrent program and share files, you are openly announcing that fact. If you are allowing remote connections, "the media giants" have the same rights that fellow file sharers have.

    "Media executives have called format shifting piracy insisting that 90% of all music on iPods is pirated because it wasn't purchased as a digital file"

    Again, where do you get this nonsense from? 90% of all music on ipods is pirated because it wasn't purchased PERIOD. 90% of what is in the public's hands today was not paid for. If you have the original CD or made an original purchase, you didn't pirate anything (but if you broke encryption to do it, perhaps yes).

    "Encryption clearly has zero effect on piracy of the content so why do the media giants want it?"

    In part I think it is to make it much more easy to show piracy. If you have the movie on your hard drive (instead of a disk) and it isn't encoded, then either (a) you hacked the encryption, or (b) you downloaded a pirated copy. One of the big problems for the media companies is showing actual piracy (which is why they have to go after people sharing files, not people receiving them). Encryption plays directly into the laws as written.

    "The only thing that is truly stopped by encryption is the casual media shifting that is well within the customer's fair-use rights"

    Not really true. You can take your blu-ray disc and play it in any player. You can watch it on your blu-ray equipped PC, you can play it on your blu-ray player, you can even play it on your blu-ray portable. No, you can't move it to your Ipod, but that has more to do with how Apple looks at things more than anything else. It's the nature of the universe.

    It could be fixed, but too many people squeal loudly when the methods are discussed.

    "Throughout history, it has been a profitable model to stand between two people in a business transaction and charge a fee, to one or both parties, for facilitating the transaction."

    ... and it will happen again. Trust me when I say, for all the spew about the "Masnick effect" and how it makes things free, cheap, gets rid of the middle men, and all that other stuff, the end result is that we go from one set of middlemen to another set of middle men. In the same manner that Live Nation is trying to cover both the artist management and live show ends of the music business, others will appear and they will become the middle men of the new media. They will get fat off the backs of the artists.

    The reality is that artists just don't have the time or the ability to market themselves on a worldwide basis. They don't have the time to do it all. When they start hiring people to do it for them, they start to create middlemen. Record labels are just very, very, very refined and evolved (some say devolved) middlemen setups. The middlemen always cost money, and like it or not, you end up paying. Perhaps your music is free but your concert ticket is 50% higher. perhaps your movie is cheaper but parking at the theater was $40 and popcorn was $10. It is an incredibly naive view to think that you flip a switch and suddenly everything is okay. It just doesn't happen like that, you flip the switch, create a vacuum, and other middlemen flow in to fill the vacuum.

    "I don't need a media giant to connect me to an artist since we can connect directly over the internet."

    No, but an artist needs a media giant to get them known by enough people to connect with. That's the problem, think in scale. :)

     

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    Alan Shore, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 5:40pm

    I especially enjoyed the statement:

    You in this room are the artists, the innovators, and leaders of the world copyright industry. Not only do your artistic works continue to encourage the creation of new works that inspire and delight us, but also your industry is one of the few that consistently generates a positive balance of trade.

    This is an interesting statement from a Congressman from Utah, whose landlocked state isn't actively involved in any level of overseas trade.

    Oh he's Republican.

    Okay. Makes sense. Is he up for election this year?

     

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    Carebear, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know, I encountered some of the most ignorant and even stupid people I've ever known when I belonged to Mensa.

    True, they oft lack practical experience due to their superficial parental upbringing. I think you had a point you were trying to make. Care to share?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:24pm

    Re:

    Amongst other things, movies are sometimes filmed in Utah. There is an active music scene, writers, and all sorts of other artists who are from or who live in Utah.

    You don't have to have a deep water port to have overseas trade.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 13th, 2009 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re:

    I remain quite interested in the revenue numbers that can be attributed to your State's economy. Perhaps your State's Department of Revenue publishes these numbers. I would like to compare them to other states.

    Perhaps I'm a little Cynical, but it seems Utah has most of it's revenue coming from monies generated by it's State Patrol office, especially considering the long talk one of Utah's own gave me on how to determine speed when I mentioned I had 17" tires instead of the 15" tires that came with the vehicle.

     

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    CleverName, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 7:16am

    Re:

     

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    Plamus, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    "Can you please site non-biased reports that show that IP laws very specifically have blocked progress?"

    Anonymous Coward, good one - asking someone to prove a negative? Would you like a specific list of all things NOT invented or developed because of IP laws?

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Re:

    It gets back to the old "show harm" routine. If there are so many things getting blocked or shut down by patents, they should be easy enough to list.

    The reality is that tens of thousands of news products come to market each year, plenty of new patents are issued, and life goes on. Progress is only hampered for those who would choose to go over the same patch of ground again and again.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: No Harm No Foul

    And how do you explain the very large increase in patent litigation ? Is it because there are more infingers than before, is the patent system out of control or maybe its something else entirely

    Many new products come to market, and as soon as they start selling a lot of product the trolls come a knocking. Gimme a piece of the action and I wont take you to court in east texas.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: No Harm No Foul

    I personally think that the internet has caused this in two ways:

    1) It has made it easier for companies to be aware of "violation" of their patents, and

    2) it has created a collection of keyboard warrior "lawyers" who think they can give the finger to the man at every turn.

    Patent trolls are just looking at web developments and licking their chops, because most web people are too stupid to check to see if there is a patent on their concept before they push it out. Plus all the nice wide open generic cover all patents make it pretty easy to snag them.

     

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

  55.  
    identicon
    CleverName, Jun 14th, 2009 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: No Harm No Foul

    How does one verify before hand that they are not in violation of all patents when there are so many, they are so vague and some of which are submarine patents waiting to surface in a moments notice.

     

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

  56.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 7:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "
    First and foremost, if you measure the universe (or even mankind) by your the length of your own lifetime, you are fairly short sighted. Many of the greatest accomplishments of mankind took hundreds of years. 20 years is barely a blink of the cosmic eyes."

    My good man, we're not talking about geology here. We're talking about the incentive for a person to invent. If you tell me my "tweaks" will be appreciated hundreds of years hence, I think that would suppress incentive, and not progress the useful arts and sciences.

    How trite to spin an argument that tries to make fun of Xanthir's excellent comment by acting like he is a fool with a short-term view. Incentives ARE short-term agents. Patents are not about controlling the flow of glaciers! We're talking about fast-moving human progress. Most pro-patent apologists would agree that inventors would prefer a few shekels in the here-and-now over a bag of gold posthumously.

     

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

  57.  
    icon
    Derek Kerton (profile), Jun 23rd, 2009 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Actually, it's a two shot deal. First, it's because Mike's version of progress seems to often involve things like remix artists, samplers, and people making movies using other people's music. I don't consider any of those sorts of things as progress, just running through the same rut."

    I think you are referring to me, not Mike.

    Anyways, you have disdain for "tweaks" as something that barely promotes "progress".

    Get a grip, open your eyes. Tweaks are what separates Facebook from Classmates.com. There are thousands of examples of how tweaks made all the difference between a product that offers citizens value and one that doesn't. Tweaks are the difference between a fiddle and a Stradivarius, William Hung and Kelly Clarkson, a Yugo and a BMW. If Yugo patented *the car*, then we would have nothing but.

    NEXT, you wrote:

    "Your windows 3 example is funny, mostly because it hasn't stopped Apple from thinking outside that box, it hasn't stopped the open desktop people from thinking outside the box, it hasn't stopped Palm from thinking outside of the box, etc. If they all just looked at Windows3 and said "well, that's it for 20 years on operating systems" we would be stopped, which appears to be your idea."

    You argued like a jerk. You tried to ridicule Xanthir by accusing him of what YOU said. He didn't say that waiting for 20-year old Windows3 patents was a useful idea. Do you remember who did? Yep, that was YOU, and here's your quote:

    "As the patents expire, people like you who enjoy tweaking things have a whole universe of blueprints to work from... In fact, all this public information is probably a great source of progress, no?"

    Way to argue against yourself. To you, it would appear that "thinking outside the box" includes making fun of other people for things you wrote yourself.

     

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

  58.  
    identicon
    james moylan, Apr 20th, 2011 @ 11:22pm

    about copyright protections

    I have a web site where I give investment advise on penny stocks and stocks under five dollars. I would like to comment about copyright protection. it is almost impossible to even define what is considered copyright material and what is not. with trillians and trillians of pieces of information on the internet one has little time to worry about what is legal or illegal when it comes to content. and remember the purpose of these laws that protect intellectual property is to make everybody pay though the nose for everything’ oh all you guys like oran hatch that say the worlds going to come to an end if you don’t put an end to all the so called copyright violations. well the amount of content increases exponentially each and every day on the internet so the argument that copyright protection lowers the amount of something produced or created because its not protected this is total complete hogwash and nonsense’ guys like orrin hatch would pass laws that would enable armies of lawyers to pursue even the most trival violation’ this would cause a crash in the amount of content on the internet because everyone would be scared to death that they might be sued by some lawyer for violating somebodies copyright. are you listing orrin. one example is links to other web sites what if individuals or companies that have popular web sites could require anyone that has a link on their web site to the individuals or companies web site to pay them compensation.

     

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


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