Richard Marx, One Of The Artists Jammie Thomas Supposedly Shared, Blasts Verdict, Apologizes

from the want-no-part-of-this dept

And the backlash from the Jammie Thomas verdict continues... First there was Moby blasting the RIAA, but he's been a long term RIAA critic. Now, however, singer Richard Marx has come out against the ruling. This is interesting for a variety of reasons. Marx isn't exactly known as a "counter culture" type who would fight back against the RIAA (and, in fact, says he's against unauthorized file sharing). But, more importantly, one of his songs is included in the 24 songs that Thomas was on trial for sharing. For that, he now feels really bad:
As a longtime professional songwriter, I have always objected to the practice of illegal downloading of music. I have also always, however, been sympathetic to the average music fan, who has been consistently financially abused by the greedy actions of major labels. These labels, until recently, were responsible for the distribution of the majority of recorded music, and instead of nurturing the industry and doing their best to provide the highest quality of music to the fans, they predominantly chose to ream the consumer and fill their pockets.

So now we have a "judgment" in a case of illegal downloading, and it seems to me, especially in these extremely volatile economic times, that holding Ms. Thomas-Rasset accountable for the continuing daily actions of hundreds of thousands of people is, at best, misguided and at worst, farcical. Her accountability itself is not in question, but this show of force posing as judicial come-uppance is clearly abusive. Ms. Thomas-Rasset, I think you got a raw deal, and I'm ashamed to have my name associated with this issue.
Once again, even the artists that the RIAA is supposedly "supporting" are angry about the RIAA's own actions.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 1:58pm

    Wonderful

    Well, Richard, that's just dandy that you'd say that. You think you might wanna, I dunno, DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT? Or is this just simply a "Hey I know my name's on this thing, but look, I'm not a douchebag" publicity move?

     

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  2.  
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    some old guy, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:08pm

    Re: Wonderful

    HE did do something about it. He publicly denounced it. He's rallying support against the RIAA. He's spreading word that the labels are not acting in the interests of the artists.

    What else are you expecting? Want him to donate a kidney or something?

     

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  3.  
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    BullJustin (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Wonderful

    Why not get together with the other musicians the RIAA is "supporting" and creating a fund to pay for legal fees to defend against such abusive cases?

     

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  4.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Wonderful

    "What else are you expecting? Want him to donate a kidney or something?"

    Kidney? Nah. How about a "Benefit for victims of the RIAA" concert? He could even outline what he thinks would be abusive penalties and what would be applied, so to avoid giving handouts to people who download thinking he'll support them.

    Or how about a public promise to no longer do business with RIAA affiliated labels beyond any existing contracts?

    There are things he could do that would be proof of his regret at the ruling, rather than allow for the possibility that he's just trying to avoid backlash.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Wonderful

    Maybe he is just trying to avoid backlash.

    Does that really change anything? Fact still remains that artists are scrambling to distance themselves from the RIAA, and if it's out of self-interest rather than moral beliefs, all the better. Artists running away from labels out of self-preservation will be much more numerous than those who believe they have better marketing skills.

     

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  6.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wonderful

    "Does that really change anything? Fact still remains that artists are scrambling to distance themselves from the RIAA, and if it's out of self-interest rather than moral beliefs, all the better. Artists running away from labels out of self-preservation will be much more numerous than those who believe they have better marketing skills."

    ....you know what? You're right. I changed my mind. Richard Marx, welcome. I suggest we give a name to this movement of artists decrying abusive judgements initiated by the RIAA, and I suggest that we name it after you, in your honor.

    So, in Richard's name, I call upon all RIAA affiliated artists to join the Marxism movement. Declare yourself a Marxist.

    I'm seriously laughing as I write this...

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

    Sorry Richard, but you can't have it both ways.

    If you support copyright laws, then you have to accept that sometimes the courts will find in favor of the plantifs and award damages within the guidelines set by congress.

    If you don't support it, then say so. Half this and half that means wishy-washy, just like the rest of your stuff.

    What the artists keep on missing (or ignoring) is that the RIAA doesn't want 2 million dollars - they want a judgement. They would probably still settle with Jammie for the same amounts the offered to start with, or similar. Perhaps richard could dig deep into his pocket, find the few thousand dollars it would take, and get Jammie out of her, well, jam.

    I think the artists are really just trying to avoid looking mean (see the "Metallica Effect" for more - gee, can I get a listing on wikipedia for making up a stupid effect name?)

     

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  8.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:46pm

    Against the Award, not the RIAA

    For what it's worth, I read his statement as being more pointedly against the excessive jury award, not the RIAA actions. Probably a mix of both, but I seriously doubt any artist would be standing up if the jury had awarded $100 or $1000 per song. The media wouldn't have paid much attention either.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:48pm

    It's hard to get upset and indignant about a monetary verdict that not one person associated the case believes will be enforced by the plaintiffs against the defendant. What should happen is what should have happened a long time ago before the defendant decided to tilt at windmills...a settlement for a modest amount consistent with the defendant's financial condition, and a promise hereafter to use authorized pay sites if the defendant wants music delivered in copies over the internet.

     

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  10.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 2:58pm

    Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

    I'm going to go check out Richard Marx's work. Seriously.

    But one of the major axioms of art is something Bill Gates allegedly said in the made for TV film "Pirates of Silicon Valley". Allegedly, Bill said "Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal." This, of course, was a quote from Pablo Picasso.

    When you look at it, and apply Picasso alongside the ideology of The Book of Ecclesiastes, you can see that really, nothing is really new, and similar experiences people have over a lifetime can, and do, affect a certain feeling or emotion and ultimately create similar works.

    It's interesting that under the ideas of legalism, something can be new and allocated as property that spans past a lifetime, which can make an artist question the experience and creative process which ensues afterwords. I enjoy art and the usual accompanying story much more than the work itself. However, often, the work becomes over valued when there is no story attached to it. Thusly, creative processes can be devaluated on a wholesale level in favor for the output of the creative process.

    "Pirates of Silicon Valley" is a great video, I recommend seeing it.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Re:

    The fact that such a monetary verdict was even possible isn't slightly disturbing?

    The bare minimum of $750/song is already ridiculous, being 750x the value of the actual item being infringed.

    Criminal acts can get you community service. The average RIAA settlement amounts to more than the average monthly salary of a full-time worker in the US.

    In other words, at the very bare minimum, a criminal tried and proven guilty in court will have a softer punishment than someone who is accused but not found willfully infringing.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wonderful

    Dick Marx against the RIAA ... it's got a ring to it.

     

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  13.  
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    Zentelligent, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:09pm

    Did anyone expect her to actually buy a Richard Marx record?

     

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  14.  
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    The Infamous Joe (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:25pm

    Slightly off-topic, again

    I was wondering, until the verdict, when you said you sold something for a song, you meant that you sold it very cheaply. Do we now get to completely reverse the meaning of that phrase?

     

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  15.  
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    Raybone, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:28pm

    right here waiting

    Zentelligent ...that got me a chuckle

     

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  16.  
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    Bobthemusician, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:32pm

    Umm

    I think the jury should been like iTunes and charged .99 per song :-D

     

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  17.  
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    romeosidvicious (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 3:38pm

    Re:

    If you support copyright laws, then you have to accept that sometimes the courts will find in favor of the plantifs and award damages within the guidelines set by congress.

    False dilemma. One can support copyright in its original form: as a means to further innovation and believe that the current system is all sorts of broken. One can even support the current idea that IP is something to be protected like real property and also see that the damages awarded in this trial are completely bogus without any regard to limits set by congress. This is not a case where there are mutually exclusive views. I support copyright in its original form but not this tripe we are seeing today. I also support content creator's abilities to profit from their work. I don't support the strong-arm tactics of the RIAA or anything close to the amount awarded by the jury in this case. Nice attempt but the logical fallacy here in your first paragraph pretty much loses the whole debate for you.

    noring) is that the RIAA doesn't want 2 million dollars - they want a judgement. They would probably still settle with Jammie for the same amounts the offered to start with, or similar. Perhaps richard could dig deep into his pocket, find the few thousand dollars it would take, and get Jammie out of her, well, jam.

    If they didn't want it then why have they not come out and said "We wanted a judgment but this is shite. We'll settle for x"? They have said nothing near the sort and in fact have defended the judgment in the press. They could easily decry the judgment and say that while legal it's too harsh and offer a very public settlement. I think I'll hold my breath...

     

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  18.  
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    1812lsd, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 5:04pm

    Dick Marx!

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re:

    "False dilemma. One can support copyright in its original form: as a means to further innovation and believe that the current system is all sorts of broken."

    Is that like supporting the constitution before the various amendments that freed the slaves and didn't let women vote? Do you always think that the forefathers got it right? I don't. The judgement is almost right in the middle of the guidelines set in the current law - Ms Thomas has a much smaller judgement already done and decides to press her luck, and hit a whammy.

    "If they didn't want it then why have they not come out and said "We wanted a judgment but this is shite. We'll settle for x"?"

    Actually, they have, and it was mentioned somewhere on this site already. The RIAA wants a confirmation of a judgement, a solid piece of ground to stand on and work from, not the money. The amount of money is only important in that it creates some fear for others who may get caught.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 5:28pm

    The amount of money is only important in that it creates some fear for others who may get caught.

    Which can be unconstitutional in itself, way to walk yourself into that one.

     

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  21.  
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    bigpicture, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 5:40pm

    Copyright law

    I'm not a big fan of copyright, nor am I an artist. But if copyright is done away with then do you have a suggested alternative that would still assure that artists could make a reasonable living?

    It doesn't have to take recording companies into account at all because they no longer add value either for the musicians or the fans, and now with the internet technology they are no longer needed.

    But the music industry still belongs to the fans who need the artists, (not the recording companies) and the artists creativity needs to be somehow protected.

     

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  22.  
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    Fiercedeity (profile), Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:06pm

    Re: Copyright law

    No one is saying that copyright law needs to be done away with.

    It needs to be changed, but no one is arguing that it shouldn't exist.

     

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  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

    You seem to have a certain "jena se qua" to your writing.

    Nice.

     

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  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 8:42pm

    Play

    Mike,

    I'm quite disappointed with your immediate discounting of Moby.

    So Johnny Cash made a song called "God's Gonna Cut You Down" which Moby remade as "Run On". I've been listening to Moby's deep track "Run On" for the past few weeks, and wondering what was the inspiration for Johnny Cash and also Moby?

    What a good track.

     

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  25.  
    identicon
    Reed, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 8:45pm

    Re: Re: Copyright law

    Copyright shouldn't exist. I am arguing for the elimination of a very poor idea that goes against the very foundations of our culture exchange that defines us as human beings.

    The elimination of copyrights and all IP laws would start a revolution in technology and culture unlike the world has ever seen. Anyone would be free to create whatever they wanted from others works just like it USED TO BE.

    We are standing on the edge of our destiny with a sea of possbilities stretched out before us.

    Suddenly a man steps into the picture and holds out his hand asking for a toll in order to proceed. He uses that money to build a pathway which he decides is best for you.

    Your destiny is no longer yours. The man from the RIAA smiles and says, "it's ok, how about some Brittney Spears music to cheer you up."

    This is your future if you believe in IP law. You give up you freedoms that society has established for thousands of years so that some middle management ass can make money.

    If you don't believe that IP law RIGHT NOW is keeping technology and culture back you have some serious issues with reality.

    I want a world of possibilities, where we are free to invent and take others inventions and ideas to make better ones. A world were we can invent new cultural discourse without being told we are "infringers". Screw the money, it ain't about that. It is about our advancement as the human race.

     

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  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 8:49pm

    Re: Play

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The fact is the current law as it is written is totally absurd when applied to digital file copyrights. Whether this judgement is within the confines of the law or not, it is not a reasonable valuation of the ALLEGED damage suffered by the music industry due to her actions.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Play

    Wow AC you're way off the mark. The 'discounting of Moby'... was about Moby being a long-time RIAA critic and obviously had nothing to do with creative works or inspiration. I'm a huge fan of Moby myself, but that doesn't change the fact that his speaking out against the RIAA now has less effect than a new artist speaking out, simply because Moby has been for a long time (i.e. a dog barking all day gets lost in the hum of the city).

     

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  29.  
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    lordmorgul, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Re: Play

    ^^ was my comment and was not Mike responding, just so that is clear. ;)

     

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  30.  
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    Lou, Jun 24th, 2009 @ 11:58pm

    Re: Re: Good Artists Copy, Great Artists Steal

    If you are going to quote it, at least learn how to spell it. :) It's should be "Je ne sais quoi" which means "I don't know what".

     

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  31.  
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    Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 12:52am

    Re: Against the Award, not the RIAA

    That is how I read it as well.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 5:17am

    Thank you for talking about it, Its now time to DO something about it or risk getting placed on a list.

    were ...

    "right here waiting"

     

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  33.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 6:22am

    Why This Is A Good Thing ....

    Why this is a good thing....

    With every judgement against a file sharer.....

    More and more artists will speak out....

    The public will become more aware of what the record labels are like....

    Fewer and fewer artists will want to sign up with the major labels...

    More artists will go the independant touring and merchandising route....

    Someone will create a list RIAA vs non-RIAA songs....

    If Pay to Play happens, Radio stations will start using non-RIAA material...

    A open source/standards will eventually be set up to support the artists. Management, retirement, touring, merchandising, CD/Electronic Sales, promotion, accounting and real time sales figures, allowing mixing by fans, allowing fans to profit from remixing, real time demographics, Fan sites, official sites, all available through this open standard system.... (this is why I am here by the way .... what wonderful ideas this site has .... Kudo's to all)

    In the end the record labels will have 20 year old Libraries no one really wants to listen to. Then they go bankrupt and become a footnote in history.

    Big Ole GRIN ....

    Oh and please stop referring to Merchandising as Tee shirt sales, one name will explain why, George Lucas.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 25th, 2009 @ 6:40am

    So here's a question for those law wonks. The Supreme Court ruled that states can tax companies that don't have a presence since they are operating the inside the state even though they have no employees or physical presence. Wouldn't this invalidate the state supreme court ruling saying that Media Sentry wasn't operating within the state? It's a shame that I'll probably see nothing fro my childhood move into the public domain before I die.

     

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

  35.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 7:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright law

    Love the idealism, but I don't think it's grounded in human history or nature. I agree that reform is necessary and right. But the FACT is that since copyright and IP laws have been established,the pace of both technology innovation and artistic creation has exploded. We went from riding horses to a man on the moon in 70 years WITH copyright and IP protections. The average lifespan for humans has nearly DOUBLED during that same time! More movies and works of art and books are published every year than were published in whole decades at the beginning of the 20th century. I contend that a good part of the reason for that are the compensation and recognition motives. These protections allow individuals and companies to more easily make a living based upon their creativity. They are not ASSURED of a living, but the protections help them make one for works that gain some kind of currency in the marketplace. For the flamers, of course it's not the only way a content producer can make a living, there are many add-ons, ecosystem plays, etc, etc. But copyright and IP laws at their essence have allowed individuals and companies to FOCUS on creativity and invention as a primary effort, rather than a sideline.

    Just because some individuals, companies and organizations are trying to push the envelope far beyond what is reasonable and right does not mean, in my opinion, that we trash the entire system and concept, nor does it mean that all of humanity is forgoing some kind of revolutionary renaissance as a result. IP and copyright ain't just about music and movies...a goodly portion of the entire global economy (and billions of livelihoods) are tied up in it. What might work for publishing or gaming, might not work at all for pharma or manufacturing, so reform has to be done carefully.

     

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  36.  
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    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 8:00am

    Re: Why This Is A Good Thing ....

    On the services side I forgot to add, Copyright management, Re-Hab, Psych conselling, Legal Services (Criminal), Legal Services (Civil), Legal Services (Divorce), .... etc

     

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  37.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright law

    But the FACT is that since copyright and IP laws have been established,the pace of both technology innovation and artistic creation has exploded. We went from riding horses to a man on the moon in 70 years WITH copyright and IP protections. The average lifespan for humans has nearly DOUBLED during that same time! More movies and works of art and books are published every year than were published in whole decades at the beginning of the 20th century.

    Correlation, not causation. Look at comparative studies on similar places at the same time, or the same places over different time period as IP laws get strengthened or weakened. The evidence goes exactly against what you are claiming. It shows that stronger IP comes *after* great output, not before. It shows that IP laws are used to then stop newer works and newer competition.

    It's protectionism pure and simple. No, it doesn't stop all innovation or creation, but to credit IP laws... that's backwards and shows an ignorance of the research on the subject.

    I contend that a good part of the reason for that are the compensation and recognition motives

    Yes, we agree. Where we disagree is the need for gov't backed monopolies to get that compensation. Did you know back in the days when you had to register for copyright how many authors actually did? The %s are incredibly low. Most knew they didn't need (c). So why do you assume they do now?

    They are not ASSURED of a living, but the protections help them make one for works that gain some kind of currency in the marketplace.

    Right, but anyone who understands economics knows that such "protections" make the market more inefficient and tend to decrease production and harm everyone. It's just basic economics.

    But copyright and IP laws at their essence have allowed individuals and companies to FOCUS on creativity and invention as a primary effort, rather than a sideline.

    Wait, what?!? That makes no sense. We've shown, repeatedly, how content creators can make more money by ignoring copyright -- but the creativity and invention is still the primary effort.

    Why would you claim otherwise?!?

    IP and copyright ain't just about music and movies...a goodly portion of the entire global economy (and billions of livelihoods) are tied up in it. What might work for publishing or gaming, might not work at all for pharma or manufacturing, so reform has to be done carefully.

    Heh. I love this line. It's based on nothing, and credits all sorts of works with "relying on IP" even if it really doesn't. It's the biggest lie the copyright/patent industry loves to spew.

     

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  38.  
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    rkelley (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 11:33am

    RIAA

    I have seen and heard a lot about how fed up people are with the RIAA and the recording industry both music and film - It seems to me if enough people want to get the industry's attention, they would set a date, say July 26, and stop buying, downloading, going to the movies and any kind of attactivety that would put money in the industry's hand. Stop all activity for 1 week. If enough people really want to send the message - they would hear.

     

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  39.  
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    BobinBaltimore (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright law

    "Correlation, not causation." Yes, Mike, we agree. @Reed is saying that all IP law needs to be chucked. My point is that even with IP protections, creativity and inventiveness increased dramatically, so the rpesime that dramatic growth in creative output can't happen with IP protections in place is wrong. YOU are the one who introduced the nuance of stronger versus weaker protections. @Reed's argument was all or nothing. I agree with you that there are shades involved here that need to be factored in and have different causal and correlative results.

    "Did you know back in the days when you had to register for copyright how many authors actually did? The %s are incredibly low. Most knew they didn't need (c)." Really, is that the reason they didn't apply for copyright? Are you basing that assessment of their individual reasoning on interviews with these multi-generationally dead authors in statistically significant numbers? Or is it just your hopeful assumption, Mike? I'd bet that a material factor was that many authors didn't know HOW to apply for the protection or that such protection was even available to them. For the US, back in the day when government wasn't all-encompassing, people could go nearly their entire lives without interacting with anything other than their local township. That lasted quite a ways into the 20th century, with the Depression or WWII usually cited the watershed moments when that changed for many (but not nearly all or even a majority) of people. That the esoteric process for sending your materials to the LoC or USPTO wasn't known by most Americans for most of the existence of the country is ENTIRELY believable.

    "I love this line. It's based on nothing, and credits all sorts of works with "relying on IP" even if it really doesn't. It's the biggest lie the copyright/patent industry loves to spew." Educate me. And not by guessing at what COULD be, or citing endless industry-specific mico-examples all from within the last 6 months, but explain to me how this is a fallacy today, with business models actually in use from mom and pops to Fortune 500. And I didn't use the word "relying" I said "tied up" meaning involved with, affected by, acting for/against, benefiting from directly/indirectly. My mind is truly open, Mike.

     

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  40.  
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    Reedatschool (profile), Jun 25th, 2009 @ 8:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright law

    I think your confusing correlation with causation. IP law has nothing to do with creation. Plus the huge advances in technology were well before modern courts, modern copyright law and (shudder) copyright attorneys. One only has to look at the number of increasing IP litigations yearly to see the real trend

    Our fast paced advancement has also teetered off. We are no longer striving for great things. Instead companies, more concerned with profits, have used IP law as a way to stifle competition keeping a meter on advancement.

    Why don't I have a portable device that can also RECORD!? Waaaiit I though IP law wasn't holding things back? A quick look into portable devices coming from Korea show amazing advancement like the old Cowon A2.

    Devices like the Cowon A2 couldn't even be produced in the US even though there would be demand for the features due to IP related laws.

    Choice is truly an illusion in our modern world. Choices that are decided for you are not really choices at all.

    I do not agree with your money argument. People have many thousands times more money tied up in the drug trade than they have in Intellectual Property. Does this somehow legitimize selling crack? Just because it makes money and people are heavily invested in it doesn't mean it suddenly is validated in my eyes.

    IP laws are inherently anti-freedom. Your speak of reform, but it looks like a new form of technological and cultural slavery to me. You want to reform slavery? Too late, the money lenders alerady did :)

     

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