No, A Jury In A Trial Is Not A Representative Sample Of Views On Copyright

from the nice-try-though! dept

After the Jammie Thomas trial, the RIAA tried to claim that the juries in both her trials represented a representative sample of the nation's views on copyright law. Now, following the Joel Tenenbaum trial, entertainment industry lawyer Ben Sheffner is making the same claim again:
On the Internet, (almost) everyone hates copyright. In fact that's one of the reasons I started this blog. Every day, for years, I would read about how copyright is stupid, outmoded, destructive, and downright evil. But I knew that the "law" I would read about bore scant resemblance to the actual law, and the way that businesses that earn revenue from production and exploitation of copyrighted works actually function. And I knew that not everyone harbored such vitriol and venom for the copyright owners, who routinely win major victories in the courts and the political arena.

The Jammie Thomas-Rasset and Joel Tenenbaum verdicts have highlighted this chasm between the "Internet" view of copyright, and what average citizens think of the topic. Now three juries, made up of 34 ordinary people from the Minneapolis and Boston areas, none of whom had any connection to the entertainment industry, have passed judgment upon use of p2p networks to obtain music without paying for it -- an activity that is excused, or even celebrated, in many quarters of the web. And all three of those juries demonstrated through the very large damages awards they imposed that they view illegal downloading and "sharing" as wrong, and deserving of harsh sanction.
While I'm sure that sounds good and is comforting to folks who make their living by profiting off of government granted monopolies, it's not even close to accurate. First of all, a jury is hardly a representative sample. The lawyers on both sides work hard to weed out those who actually are knowledgeable on these topics. In the Tenenbaum case, for example, any juror who admitted to using any file sharing apps was ruled out from serving on the jury. I have no problem with this from a legal standpoint, and totally understand why it happens, but it highlights that these juries are not a representative sample by any means.

Second, trials have very, very specific rules (many of which Tenenbaum's team tried to break), which limit what sort of information you can share about various issues. So at no point could there be a real conversation on copyright or business models. The jury was not an informed audience.

Third, Sheffner tries to use the fact that all three juries did not assign the statutory minimums as a sign that they felt that file sharing deserved harsh punishment, but again, that's not necessarily true (though, certainly it could be). There's a tremendous amount of evidence out there on jury decision making, and the award amounts that juries give can be heavily influenced by numerous factors, including something as simple as the numbers tossed out by those involved in the case. A few separate studies have shown that when numbers are discussed, it gives the jurors an anchor and they just see those numbers as acceptable, rather than comparing the numbers to the actual crime. Given that, the fact that the jury chose a number towards the lower end of the statutory range suggests that the jury actually didn't think the punishment should really be that harsh.

Fourth, in both of these cases it was clear that the defendants broke the law. The jury's job is made clear to them, and it is to make a determination on the law (and in the Tenenbaum case, even that was taken out of their hands by Tenenbaum's admission). Saying that this is somehow representative of the actual views on the activities is again, quite misleading.

Fifth, it's no surprise that those who don't follow these issues closely believe the idealistic story about copyright being an undeniable good thing. It's what most of us were taught, and if you don't know the details or haven't been directly impacted by draconian copyright laws, you probably believe that myth that many of us were taught from a very young age. So you put a bunch of those folks together on a jury, limit their ability to be educated, and of course they're going to default to thinking "copyright = good."

Over the years, I've found that most people who don't pay much attention to these things believe that story of copyrights and patents being the "root cause" of American creativity and innovation. It's a fable that sounds so good as youngsters, and why not? Yet, when you talk to such folks one on one or in small groups, and start going through the real details... and when you explain to them how copyright is used to stifle speech and innovation, and when you show them the new and unique business models that don't rely on copyright, they recognize the issue. When you finally show them the evidence -- the studies upon studies about the harm done by such things, it's not hard for them to realize that there's a real problem with copyright laws, and that problem isn't the fact that some kids aren't paying for downloads.

The only people I've found who resist such things are those whose own income in some way depends on exploiting copyright for their own advantage. There may be others, certainly, but in my experience it's incredibly rare. Not only that, but I've actually found that even within much of the entertainment industry, there's an understanding of this as well. I can't even begin to tell you the number of industry insiders who pull me aside at entertainment industry events to say (quietly) that they agree with a lot of what I say, but there are too many legacy issues to deal with to move forward strategically.

So, claiming that these juries are somehow representative samples of the views of people on file sharing is not even close to being accurate, no matter how much a small group of entertainment industry lawyers hope it's so.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 8:51am

    The only people I've found who resist such things are those whose own income in some way depends on exploiting copyright for their own advantage.


    And even among that group, such blanket acceptance of the current copyright scheme isn't the majority, at least in my experience (and yes, I make money producing and selling IP in the form of software).

    Most producers that I know understand that copyright is not an embodiment of some kind of natural or philosophical right, but a legal fiction, a deal made between us as producers and society. This deal should benefit both parties, but as currently implemented it does not.

    I have actually found relatively few copyright maximalists amongst those who actually understand copyright.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Erik, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 8:55am

    In the Tenenbaum case, for example, any juror who admitted to using any file sharing apps was ruled out from serving on the jury.
    I'm surprised they didn't rule out any juror that has ever clicked an html link/anchor.

     

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

  3.  
    icon
    R. Miles (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:01am

    In addition...

    It's no coincidence that new businesses, trying to use the internet as a tool to generate revenue, begin to realize the true issues of copyright and have their "education" blown out of the water with real world lawsuits.

    In the past 10 years, I've watched some very interesting websites show up, do what they intend to do, then vaporize overnight because they were sued out of existence by either patent or copyright violations.

    To think RIAA wants me to buy music to line their pockets to push this propaganda shit further? Screw them.

    Ben Sheffner is an idiot if he thinks I'm going to believe one word he wrote in his blog. That's arrogant thinking on his part.

    And Ben, you just drove one more reason on why I don't buy music to support your paycheck. You're a damn liar.

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:04am

    Re:

    The funny part is that there are truly few copyright maximalists out there. They are to some extent a massive strawman created by the anti-copyright folks to kick when needed. They just go "mickey mouse" and everyone is suppose to nod.

    The thin edge of the wedge at both end of the discussion is repulsive to most people.


    "And even among that group, such blanket acceptance of the current copyright scheme isn't the majority"

    The problem is offered the choice between the current system and "no system at all", they will choose the system. Copyright haters forget that in order to move the masses, they have to offer the masses something that makes sense to everyone, not just satisfying their own narrow views on the subject.

    In this case the RIAA is right - 3 juries in a row have come up with the same answer. Considering that Mike is all about spotting trends, you would think that he would spot this trend and start to wonder if it isn't true.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Jason, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:05am

    False premise

    "And all three of those juries demonstrated through the very large damages awards they imposed that they view illegal downloading and "sharing" as wrong, and deserving of harsh sanction. "

    Baloney!!! Juries don't make findings of law, period. They receive explicit instructions as to findings of law, and they then try the facts against those instructions.

    The size of a settlement awarded has more to do with the ability of plaintiff's council to substantiate damages than a juries desire to punish the evil pirates.

    The entire notion that the jury is somehow weighing in their opinion on what is right and what is wrong here is grossly fallacious.

     

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

  6.  
    icon
    Marcus Carab (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:06am

    Also...

    "The only people I've found who resist such things are those whose own income in some way depends on exploiting copyright for their own advantage."

    Also those with some sort of ill-placed loyalty. I can't convince my friend (who usually sees my point on copyright) that Salinger is wrong about the whole Catcher thing, just because she loves the book so much and is horrified by the idea of anyone tampering with the ideas therein. Essentially as soon as copyright issues related to her favourite author, her whole stance on the question changed...

     

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

  7.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    What a line of crock

    The only people I've found who resist such things are those whose own income in some way depends on exploiting copyright for their own advantage.



    And the only people that feel copyright should be abolished are those with little or no tallent to create for themselves. Those who feel "entitled" to everything for free...

    Of course those that have nothing to loose by the abolishment of Copyright would be able to be convinced that it is a bad thing. They have nothing to loose and everything to gain for free.

     

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

  8.  
    icon
    Jeff T (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re:

    '3 Juries in a row have come up with the same answer'

    In the Tenenbaum case, under current law, it was very obvious that he was guilt as charged. For the jury to find differently would have been an incredible stretch. However, just because he and previous cases have been found guilty under those laws, does not mean that those laws are correct.

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Perhaps as other ongoing lawsuits in the pipeline proceed to trial and to a jury verdict you will be able to better ascertain if the JRT and JT verdicts are representative of societal attitudes towards copyright infringement by p2p file sharers.

    As for the remainder of the comments regarding the jury system, I do wish you would consider some of them from a broader perspective. A basic tenet of both criminal and civil jury trials is that the jury is to be impartial. Your arguments are in many regards to the contrary.

    Moreover, many of your arguments are directed to issues that are matters of policy, and not of law. It is axiomatic that considerations of policy and the promulgation of legislation reflecting policy are the province of state legislatures and Congress. There is good reason for the doctrine of separation of powers, and many of your arguments would, if adopted, serve to undermine the doctrine...a fundamental tenet of our system of republican government.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:13am

    Re: What a line of crock

    So you admit that copyright doesn't help society as a whole, it only helps those that use copyright to exploit society?

     

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

  11.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "does not mean that those laws are correct"

    In which case the proper venue for change is Congress, and not exasperated posts on website blogs.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:16am

    Re: Re:

    The problem is offered the choice between the current system and "no system at all", they will choose the system.


    Odd, that. The only people that I've ever heard setting the problem up in such an all-or-nothing way are the maximalistsand the "copyright haters" (who are at least as rare as the maximalists, even here in this forum.)

    Most of the criticisms I have heard of copyright are not that it shouldn't exist, but that the current law goes way too far. So I do have an alternative that should make sense to the vast middle: restrict copyright law to what it was at the beginning, a limited term of limited monopoly followed by the copyrighted works entering the public domain.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "In which case the proper venue for change is Congress, and not exasperated posts on website blogs"

    Yes, because in a democracy when we are faced with unjust laws, the proper way to react is to shut up and do nothing until Congress sees the light.

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:21am

    Re: Re: What a line of crock

    You could also turn that around and say society exploits the talented....

    I have no obligation to society other than to abide by it's established rules or move to a society where the rules are more to my liking...

    Society owes me nothing as long as I contribute nothing. If I contribute something that benefits I am owed compensation for that benefit.

    VERY SIMPLE

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Merely FYI, our is not a democratic form of government, but a democratic republic form of government.

    As for "shut up", of course not. I simply observe that posting on a blog does virtually nothing to advance the cause of those who would seek change.

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:30am

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

    And Massachusetts is a commonwealth, not a state. Like the "democratic republic" clarification, it's a distinction without a difference in most contexts.

    However, you're wrong about how posting on a blog does virtually nothing to advance the cause. It's not sufficient to attain the goal of change, but it is mandatory. It's called "rabble-rousing" and no justice has ever come about in our society without it.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:36am

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

    "As for "shut up", of course not. I simply observe that posting on a blog does virtually nothing to advance the cause of those who would seek change."

    Unfortunately you're right, our government pays no attention to what the masses want, only to what special interest groups want.

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:38am

    Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    "You could also turn that around and say society exploits the talented."

    Sounds like an elitist attitude to me, as if you're somehow more talented than society.

    "Society owes me nothing as long as I contribute nothing. If I contribute something that benefits I am owed compensation for that benefit."

    Society does not owe you a monopoly and if you don't want to contribute as a result no one is forcing you to. Someone else can.

     

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

  19.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    and someone else WILL, and they DO. Just like all those who were crying when google asked for someone to make them a free logo, but many people were more than glad to do so, the only people that cried are those that wanted to force google to use them and then force google to pay them.

     

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

  20.  
    icon
    tracker1 (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:52am

    Re: What a line of crock

    Personally, I feel that copyright should be much closer to the original length, and maybe 30 years maximum. Also, for electronic works (software) once production/support ceases, it should expire much more quickly. Beyond this, copyright should be limited by the original author (a person), not a non-living entity (company), and should only be granted to a handful of people (5 max) for a given work, specifically named.

    That's just my take on this. I am also opposed to the concept of software patents, as imho nothing in software for over 20 years now has been unique or original enough to be deserving of a patent. I make my living as a software developer, and this is my stance on things.

     

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

  21.  
    icon
    duane (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:55am

    Re:

    You are not paid by the word here.
    Also, you make no sense, even with the extra words. Speak to the point of the post not what you imagine the post is about.

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    Only a fool would think he is better than everyone, but I am in the top few percentage points of my field.

    As for someone else doing what I do, bring it on, I would welcome the competition. Competition tends to make everything better, and in my case there is little competition in my field.

    But NEVER expect me to give my work away for free, and expect me to exhaust every legal option at my disposal to protect what is rightfully mine.

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    "But NEVER expect me to give my work away for free, and expect me to exhaust every legal option at my disposal to protect what is rightfully mine."

    Fine, but your 'legal options' are exactly the point of this conversation.

    You don't want people repeating what you say? Shut the hell up, then.

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    "But NEVER expect me to give my work away for free"

    Then don't, but don't expect society to grant you a monopoly.

    "and expect me to exhaust every legal option at my disposal to protect what is rightfully mine."

    A monopoly is not rightfully yours, society owes you no such thing. You don't want to contribute as a result, then tough.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    no one is forcing you to contribute. Someone else will.

     

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

  26.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    sp/You don't want to contribute as a result, then tough/You don't want to contribute as a result, then don't, no one is forcing you to.

     

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

  27.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    First someone said,

    "You could also turn that around and say society exploits the talented."

    I responded to which you responded

    "Only a fool would think he is better than everyone,"

    But my response was to a comment that suggests that only a faction of the population is "talented" and the rest of society exploits them to which I disagree. Society in general is talented and and can exercise its own talent without exploiting the elite.

    "but I am in the top few percentage points of my field."

    more elitist attitude.

     

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

  28.  
    identicon
    dorp, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    Society owes me nothing as long as I contribute nothing. If I contribute something that benefits I am owed compensation for that benefit.

    Feel entitled much? Compensation is not "owed" to anyone for any action outside of contractual obligations. When was the last time you sent money to Newton's estate to thank him for advances in creating framework for calculus? Freaking free loader.

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:46am

    Re:

    "A basic tenet of both criminal and civil jury trials is that the jury is to be impartial. Your arguments are in many regards to the contrary."

    The problem is that, in technical cases, voir dire tends to eliminate anybody who could make an informed judgement. It's like you were doing a case that hinged on maritime law, but only accepted midwesterners.

    It's not exactly a 'jury of your peers' no matter how you slice that.

    (And yeah, it's not limited to technical cases, I know.)

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Michial Thompson, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    *IF* society is "generally talented" then society as a whole must be lazy then.

    If society was so talented then there would not need to be the talk of getting rid of Copyright at all. In fact with so much talent it would seem that Copyright wouldn't even be needed because everyone could do for themselves.

    BUT the reality is that each of us has our talent in our own area, and we NEED the talent of others to fill in those gaps.

    This blog seems to proove though that most of you feel you are entitled to what everone else does, and don't want compensate them for their hard work, most seem to feel that they don't need to do anything actually.

    Take the dribble that comes from Mike's Keyboard, rarely does it demonstrate talent, rarely does it contribute anything but pissing and moaning, and rarely does he do anything except rag on the music industry because *HE* thinks they need to change their business model.

    In the end he and most of you have lost grasp of the fact that just because you think the business models are outdated and inappropriate, does not mean crap to anyone. The Music industry has the right to run their business how they want.

    As long as Artists continue to sign with them and give them the rights to distribution it's their right to do as they please. If they choose outdated business models then they hurt themselves and the artists that sign, and eventually that side will take care of it's self.

    As long as idiots keep downloading their music illegally they have every right to continue to sue, and to go to congress and ask for stronger punishments etc....

     

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

  31.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:12am

    wow, good description

    Most producers that I know understand that copyright is not an embodiment of some kind of natural or philosophical right, but a legal fiction, a deal made between us as producers and society. This deal should benefit both parties, but as currently implemented it does not.

    ^This guy hit right to the heart of the matter

     

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

  32.  
    identicon
    Another AC, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How anti american, I hear in some countries if you publicly disagree with laws you are thrown in jail or worse, maybe you want to check out one of those places.

     

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

  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    "If society was so talented then there would not need to be the talk of getting rid of Copyright at all."

    Except for where copyright interferes with our freedoms.

    "If society was so talented then there would not need to be the talk of getting rid of Copyright at all. In fact with so much talent it would seem that Copyright wouldn't even be needed because everyone could do for themselves."

    Your two statements are in contradiction.

    Yes, such strict copyright laws are not needed, that's the point.

     

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

  34.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    But now you're just encouraging copyright laws on the false pretext that the masses are lazy and you're the only non - lazy one and as such you have the right to take away the rights of others.

     

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

  35.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    That is, under the false elitist pretext that you're the only non - lazy one and as such ....

     

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

  36.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:25am

    Re:

    As for the remainder of the comments regarding the jury system, I do wish you would consider some of them from a broader perspective. A basic tenet of both criminal and civil jury trials is that the jury is to be impartial. Your arguments are in many regards to the contrary.

    Are you saying that because the system is *supposed* to be impartial, the evidence that has shown it is not is to be ignored?

     

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

  37.  
    icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    " In the end he and most of you have lost grasp of the fact that just because you think the business models are outdated and inappropriate, does not mean crap to anyone. The Music industry has the right to run their business how they want."

    Um, that's exactly what we're discussing.

    Yes, you have a right to run you car over a cliff. Good luck to you, and to the execs who realize that it's just easier to get their payoff right before the care goes airborne.

    We're talking about how this is all going to work after the hollywood carsplosion happens.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Richard, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re:Few Copyright maximalists

    I would have thought that anyone who supported retrospective extensions to copyright terms could be described as a maximalist - and based on the number that have occurred on both sides of the Atlantic in recent years there must either be quite a few of them - or they must be wielding disproportionate influence

     

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

  39.  
    identicon
    Rekrul, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:46am

    If they wanted a jury that accurately reflected the average opinion of the public, then they should skip the questioning part of jury selection and simply pick the names out of a hat.

     

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

  40.  
    identicon
    Richard, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 11:54am

    Re: What a line of crock

    "The only people I've found who resist such things are those whose own income in some way depends on exploiting copyright for their own advantage.

    And the only people that feel copyright should be abolished are those with little or no tallent to create for themselves. Those who feel "entitled" to everything for free..."

    In fact the most vehement supporters of copyright are those "whose own income in some way depends on exploiting copyright for their own advantage" but who also have "little or no tallent to create for themselves" but rather use copyright to exploit the talent of others. Copyright was created in the first place to protect just such a group - the London Company of Stationers.

    Those with real talent will make a living under any copyright regime or none - and their priorities tend to be

    1. That their work should be seen/heard/used.

    2. That they should get the credit for it.

    3. That they should earn money from it.

    Mostly they are happy to sacrifice 3 and maybe even 2 to ensure that 1 happens.

    Those whose priorities are different are usually either the exploiters of others - or second rate.

     

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

  41.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 12:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    "In the end he and most of you have lost grasp of the fact that just because you think the business models are outdated and inappropriate, does not mean crap to anyone. The Music industry has the right to run their business how they want."

    Except when they start lobbying for laws that interfere with everyone elses rights.

     

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

  42.  
    icon
    kirillian (profile), Aug 7th, 2009 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re:Few Copyright maximalists

    The (seeming) consensus that I've seen here at Techdirt is the latter - those maximalists seem to wield quite a large disproportionate influence. Then again, this would make more sense as those who benefit the most from copyright maximalism are those who currently are benefiting from it - hence, they already have the wealth and power to continue growing that wealth and power...

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    > For the jury to find differently would have been an incredible stretch.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jury_nullification

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 1:49pm

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

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 1:55pm

    Re: Re:

    ...and that "evidence" is...?

    Since this is a civil suit, perhaps in other civil suits such as for "wrongful death" we should insist on at least one juror who has engaged in an act that resulted in someone's "wrongful death"? After all, who better to understand what could be inflicted on the defendant in the event of a judgement in favor of the plaitiff?

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 3:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    THere's the problem - you buy music by contract, and they get to pretty much set the rights. Here's a clue, sharing music on the internet with 1 million of your closest friends is in violation of copyright.

    Please remind me which one of your sacred rights has been trampled on again.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    zenasprime, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 8:01pm

    Re: What a line of crock

    There are plenty of folks out there who are talented and create for themselves AND don't like the abuses being perpetrated in the name of copyright. The motivation to create doesn't always include the motivation to generate revenue. What a silly thing to imply.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 7th, 2009 @ 10:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    They want to find ways to monitor our internet connections (or to have ISP's do so) in ways that potentially invade our privacy for starters.

     

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

  49.  
    icon
    Tim Musson (profile), Aug 8th, 2009 @ 5:30am

    Jury's perception of sanction

    "And all three of those juries demonstrated through the very large damages awards they imposed that they view illegal downloading and "sharing" as wrong, and deserving of harsh sanction."

    Given that JT's jury, logically, had to say infringement was willful, they probably felt obliged to award damages in the higher bracket. The only real precedent they had was $80,000 per song for JTR; $22,500 is way down on that. Suggests they did not think it was that serious.

     

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

  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 8th, 2009 @ 7:24am

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

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Aug 8th, 2009 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re:

    > The funny part is that there are truly few copyright maximalists out there.

    You've got to be joking. Between the RIAA and MPAA there are more than enough "copyright maximalists" to do considerable damage. We've had at least 2 copyright term increases as well as the passage of the DMCA as well as attempts at creating even harsher controls and laws. The RIAA even tried to completely hijack the rights of all of their artists en masse through statute.

    People just don't realize how bad it's already gotten. A restaurant can be sued for singing you "Happy Birthday" while bringing you out a cake. The King estate jealously guards "I have a dream". Countless works older than your grandma deteriorate in copyright enforced obscurity.

    Meanwhile the corporatists engage in nice misrepresentations like "anti-copyright".

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    JEDIDIAH, Aug 8th, 2009 @ 1:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    > THere's the problem - you buy music by contract

    No. You're the one that needs a clue.

    There is no "contract" involved in buying copies of
    music recordings. There's no contract or implied
    license. It's just a copy. No license is required
    for "use" and any "rights" are limited by just the
    normal usual 1890's copyright regime.

    The idea that purchase of a CD implies some sort of
    license is destructive mindless corporatist propaganda
    that really needs to stop.

     

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

  53.  
    icon
    herodotus (profile), Aug 8th, 2009 @ 6:29pm

    "And the only people that feel copyright should be abolished are those with little or no tallent to create for themselves. Those who feel "entitled" to everything for free..."

    Well I certainly don't think that copyright should be abolished, nor do I think that this is TechDirt's 'official' position.

    But I do think that copyright is out of control today, specifically (in the US) because of the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act and the DMCA. In it's current form it seems far less beneficial to artists than it is to lawyers.

    And I don't think this because I have 'little or no talent to create for' myself. To the contrary, I make my living selling my talent, both in the form of royalty free samples, and music licensing. I am very definitely what one would refer to as a 'content provider'. Nor am I one of 'those who feel "entitled" to everything for free...'

    No, I think that copyright law is out of control because that is my rational conclusion based on what I have read. The only content providers that it really benefits in today's world are the ones that have a staff of attorneys on retainer. A great example of the stupidity that can occur is Robert Fripp's struggles with EMI (Yes this is in the UK, not the US, but Fripp's ability to express himself, along with his long career, draw attention to what is clearly an international problem).

    What galls is the cavalier approach to copyright ownership of someone other than EMI. Itís a little too rich to punish punters for illegal downloads of EMI copyright material when EMI are themselves guilty of copyright violation. The response, many months ago, of the EMI lawyer (the one who also said shit happens! get over it) effectively told us Iíve done my best! weíve told them to take it down! This isnít quite good enough when making publicly available the copyright material of others. How bad do EMI management systems have to be that the company has no power of control over its licensing to download companies?


    This shit happens all of the time. It is why so many former signed artists are going off on their own despite the fact that it involves them in business matters that they would just as soon ignore. But the problem is that when they just let the businessmen take care of these things, they get screwed

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2009 @ 9:02am

    Re:

    "Well I certainly don't think that copyright should be abolished, nor do I think that this is TechDirt's 'official' position."

    Here's the rub, it's sort of a two step: Mike has said in the past he wants the copyright "rolled back to something reasonable" and "rolled back to what it was original was" - which would be 10 years. The fallout for everyone in the range from 10 years to the current levels would suddenly be left without protection, an ugly situation.

    Just as importantly, Mike and Techdirt have come down almost every time in favor of file sharers, torrent sites, and the like. Since the vast majority of what is traded on torrent sites is current music (within that 10 year window) it is effectively like saying "we don't support copyright at all".

    Since so many of the business models discussed here require music to be freely available to work, it isn't a surprise to see where Mike lands on the subject.

     

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

  55.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 2:46am

    Re: Re:


    Here's the rub, it's sort of a two step: Mike has said in the past he wants the copyright "rolled back to something reasonable" and "rolled back to what it was original was" - which would be 10 years.


    I have never said I wanted copyright rolled back to what it originally was (and, um, btw, you might want to check what it originally was, because you got it wrong).

    What I said is that I want to make sure that copyright lives up to its ONE purpose: to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. If it is not doing that, then it is unconstitutional. However, for anyone who can show that it is living up that, then there's no problem at all.

    The fallout for everyone in the range from 10 years to the current levels would suddenly be left without protection, an ugly situation.

    Actually, I've also, quite clearly said that I do not think any change should be retroactive. Any change should only be going forward. This is the same reason why I feel that copyright extension is bad. Because it changes the deal. In that same way I do not advocate taking copyright away from those who already have it.

    Please, stop lying.

     

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

  56.  
    icon
    LostSailor (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 8:04am

    Only One Side?

    Yet, when you talk to such folks one on one or in small groups, and start going through the real details... and when you explain to them how copyright is used to stifle speech and innovation...

    In other words, Mike, when you only provide one side of the issue, regardless of business models, you might convince some folks that your opinions are somehow fact. What these jury verdicts indicate is that average Americans most likely still believe that creators and inventors should have protection by which to profit, if they can, from their creations. At it's most basic level, most people think it's a fundamental issue of fairness.

    Apparently, the Founding Fathers thought so, too, since they included copyright as part of our fundamental law in our foundational document, the constitution.

    Also,

    Fourth, in both of these cases it was clear that the defendants broke the law. The jury's job is made clear to them, and it is to make a determination on the law....Saying that this is somehow representative of the actual views on the activities is again, quite misleading.

    As was pointed out above, juries do not make determinations of law, they make determinations of fact. It is also clear that anyone who engages in file-sharing of copyrighted material is breaking the law.

     

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

  57.  
    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Aug 10th, 2009 @ 10:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: What a line of crock

    If society was so talented then there would not need to be the talk of getting rid of Copyright at all.

    It takes no talent to make a copy of a digital file. So I have no desire to pay someone to do it for me, as any 4 year old with a computer can do it.

    Musicians can, and do, get paid to make music. Not copies of music.

    In the end he and most of you have lost grasp of the fact that just because you think the business models are outdated and inappropriate, does not mean crap to anyone.

    As a consumer, we all have an indirect influence on how a business is run, thus, any smart business owner would take heed.

     

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
A word from our sponsors...
Essential Reading
Techdirt Reading List
Techdirt Insider Chat
A word from our sponsors...
Recent Stories
A word from our sponsors...

Close

Email This