Pushing For More Stringent Copyright Laws Is The Opposite Of Allowing 'Market Forces' To Act

from the why-so-much-confusion dept

We've seen this mistake in the past, and it's a shame that politicians and defenders of stronger copyright still make this claim, but it's flat out wrong to say that copyright (or patents, for that matter) are about "allowing market forces" to act. By definition, copyright and patent laws are the opposite of allowing market forces. It's the government stepping up and providing monopoly rights because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that basic market forces don't work in those areas and, thus, the government needs to step in and "correct" some sort of imbalance. So it's really a shame to see Canadian politicians defending the proposed copyright reform bill there, C-32, by claiming that it's about enabling "market forces." That link (found via Michael Geist) highlights a Twitter debate that took place between well-known author/blogger/speaker Cory Doctorow and the leading voice behind C-32, Canadian Heritage Minister, James Moore.

Moore, famously, last week attacked any critics of the bill by calling them "radical extremists" and "babyish." While he later denied saying these things, unfortunately for Moore, the whole thing was caught on video tape. The episode has resulted in many concerned Canadians to speak out, and point out that having concerns over the bill does not make them "radical extremists." Doctorow took particular offense to the whole thing and started asking Moore a bunch of questions via twitter, which we'll try to embed at the bottom of this post (if it doesn't work, the link above to David Eaves' website has some screen shots).

Eaves points out just how many times in the conversation Moore resorts to claiming that this is all about "market forces" saying things like: "Have some faith in market forces - is working w/music & movies. Let creators create, and consumers consume what they want." Eaves counts that Moore resorts to the claim of "market forces" six times in a total of 22 Twitter messages. It's not only a dodge by Moore, it's blatantly false. As both Eaves and Doctorow point out, the whole point of this bill is to remove free market forces, and have the government tilt the scales to one side because it believes the market, without government monopoly protection, fails.

Doctorow tries to point this out to Moore, who doesn't appear to actually be paying attention -- or understanding the issue at all. Eaves points out the ridiculousness of the whole situation:
That a Heritage Minister doesn't understand this is troubling. That he would accuse those who seek to point out this fact and raise awareness to it as "radical extremists" is scandalous. Canadians have entrusted in this person the responsibility for creating a marketplace that rewards creativity, content creation and innovation while protecting the rights of consumers. At the moment, we have a minister who shuts out the very two groups he claims to protect while wrapping himself in a false cloak of the "free market." It is an ominous start for the debate over copyright reform and the minister has only himself to blame
It would be great if we could get past this myth, but it seems like many politicians like to hold up the myth that copyright is about "market forces" to get away from having to actually defend the harm that overly aggressive copyright law can create.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Ima Fish (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:38am

    Let me get this straight, we need stronger government granted monopolies in order for the free market to survive.

     

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    •  
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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:43am

      Re:

      Let me get this straight, we need stronger government granted monopolies in order for the free market to survive.


      Yup, that's pretty much it in a nutshell.

      And we were always at war with Eurasia.

       

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:55am

      Re:

      The term free market has been sold as anti-regulation to allow monopolies to develop via the free market. Except in one industry...

      Now that industry needs to solidify its monopoly holdings. The politicians who support a sort of corporate-aristocracy have used "free market" to mean "allow monopolies to develop" for so long that they may not be able to see the difference anymore. They may actually confuse any regulation that strengthens a corporate monopoly for a free market regulation.

      Not every politician thinks things through...

       

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        crade (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:26am

        Re: Re:

        Unfortunately I'm pretty sure this is a tactical strategy.

        Moore is calling on help to drown out logical (or what he calls "technical, non-sensical fear mongering) arguments pointing out problems with the digital lock provisions with overwhelming aggresive closed mindedness (which he calls "confrontation").

         

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          TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 10:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          The trick is to understand that Moore is doing exactly what the PMO (Prime Minister's Office) wants him to do and say. If you look carefully you'll see the puppet strings attached to various critical locations on his body. Original thought or critical thinking aren't allowed in Stephen Harper's cabinet and, in fact, can keep people on the back benches or, worse, get them appointed to the Senate.

           

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      Dark Helmet (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:48am

      Re:

      Correct. The frightening thing is how little the mass media has bothered to completely tear him a new asshole....

       

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        TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 10:28am

        Re: Re:

        The mass media, including the "people's network", aka "The Mother Corp" aka the CBC support this.

        So don't expect mass media debate on this soon or ever in either English or French.

         

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    Nina Paley (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:45am

    timely

    A video of me saying just that went up just the other day!

     

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      Jay (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:54am

      Re: timely

      Wow... very powerful series. Thank you for showing it!

       

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:36am

      Re: timely

      Nice. I think it's helpful to hear this come from artists, since they're often held up as the poster children for the monopolists.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 12:13am

        Re: Re: timely

        Yep, that's exactly right. The corporates like to paint it as us vs. them (or "evil pirates" vs. "poor starving artists"), which helps them paint opponents as "pirates" or "thieves".

        The more we hear from actual artists speaking out against these moves, the more difficult that becomes. Especially people like Cory and Nina who have made some excellent work without needing oppressive copyright laws to "encourage" them.

         

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          Nina Paley (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:29am

          Re: Re: Re: timely

          Er...Cory Doctorow does favor some copyright, and releases his books under -NC ("non-commercial") CC licenses, aka commercial monopolies. The whole point of -NC restrictions is to prevent commercial competition; the justification is that these monopolies provides incentives for works to be created that wouldn't be created otherwise.

          I strongly disagree with -NC licenses and commercial monopolies, which happen to be incompatible with a functional market. Others believe they are worth the social cost.

          So I am probably one of those "radical extremists," but Cory is not.

           

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            crade (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: timely

            According to Moore, anyone who claims to be for copyright, but doesn't agree with his bill as it stands is:
            - lying
            - really against copyright entirely
            - and therefore a radical extremist

             

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    Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 10:57am

    Where all the confusion has come from

    Of course what copyright and patent do is to create tradeable entities for which there can then be a market. Of course what this does is to obscure the market that exists for the real scarcities by putting a fictional market on top of it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:25am

      Re: Where all the confusion has come from

      Of course! A derivatives market!

      Everyone knows what we really need is more derivatives.

       

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    crade (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:13am

    If those digital locks provisions get passed, I hope Moore will share whatever he is snorting so we can all live in denial instead of just him.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:21am

    The market DOES speak!

    People rip movies before watching them so they don't have to sit through 20 minutes of ads every time they put it in. Others skip the step of paying for a piece of plastic and instead download what they want because the MARKET does not provide what they want.

    If the market actually specified what it wanted, then the DVD standard might allow for CSS encryption, but it wouldn't be on EVERY DISK.

    However, the market that politicos listen to is a different market, one based not on popular desires, but instead based on a group of parasites that can line the coffers for the next campaign.

     

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      Richard (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:46am

      Re: The market DOES speak!

      Others skip the step of paying for a piece of plastic and instead download what they want because the MARKET does not provide what they want.


      Wrong - the market does provide what they want - it is the official market that doesn't.

       

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        PaulT (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 12:15am

        Re: Re: The market DOES speak!

        Yes - the black market provides when the legitimate market doesn't. It's pathetic that the "free" aspect of file sharing is the only thing these people focus on, when there's so many lessons about what people actually want that can be learned if they'd just look at the real reasons why people do it.

         

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:33am

    "James Moore is fucking retarded!" - Stephen Colbert

     

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    NAMELESS.ONE, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    thats cause media is his left butt cheek

    title has it all

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 1:21pm

    That was a great exchange between Cory and James Moore, I laughed a lot seeing Moore squeaking and getting cornered and trying to run.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 3:08pm

    Wow twitter is a shit way to hold a conversation. Please evolve further internet, let's forget this experiment never happened.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 29th, 2010 @ 5:02pm

      Re:

      Wow twitter is a shit way to hold a conversation.

      Spoken like someone who has clearly never used the service. Must be nice to piss on something you don't actually understand.

       

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        RadialSkid, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 11:01pm

        Re: Re:

        I use Twitter, and I'll freely admit that he's right: It IS a shit way to hold a conversation.

         

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          PaulT (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 12:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Compared to what? IM? Email? Facebook? SMS? It's not intended as a replacement for phone or personal conversation, so don't hit that strawman if that's what you were thinking...

           

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            Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:58am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Well, in that "conversation" I mostly see Doctorow talk, and see only one response from Moore. And instead of Moore actually responding to Doctorow, he said something like "good on ya mate".
            That's not my definition of a conversation. Though that is just one example, there are many people who are and can indeed converse using Twitter.
            But it needs two parties willing to talk, Cory clearly was willing to, it was James who didn't dare to respond directly.

             

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 3:58pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              But it needs two parties willing to talk, Cory clearly was willing to, it was James who didn't dare to respond directly.

              If you read the whole conversation Moore does respond directly to Cory a few times...

               

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      Ben (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 10:19am

      Re:

      This is a great example of the power of Twitter. This kind of frank conversation with an elected representative is largely unprecedented.
      Twitter is evolving, but notice that Cory is able to speak to both Moore and the subjects of Moore's tweets, and that every word is public.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 29th, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    every time i see doctorow ranting about something, i am embarrassed to be canadian.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 5:07am

      Re:

      A Canadian would use capitals.

       

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      Marcel de Jong (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 7:59am

      Re:

      Every time I see this AC talk, I am embarrassed to be of the same species as him.

       

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      TtfnJohn (profile), Jun 30th, 2010 @ 10:38am

      Re:

      You must be one of us way up there on the upper floors of those Bay Street towers that, according to you, James Moore, the "national" media along with others, and the 20 square miles around them that define all of Canada there is to define.

      And the air up there must be awfully thin to make you so weak as to be unable to reach for key marked Shift when it's normally expected.

      Either that or you're about as Canadian as someone who is a citizen of Chile. (With apologies to anyone reading this who IS a citizen of Chile.)

       

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    identicon
    Tom Sydnor, Jun 30th, 2010 @ 3:39pm

    Masnick Gets It Backwards Again

    Mike, congratulations for continuing to mouth the same old nonsense long after its absurdity should have been apparent. Here is a link to my latest commentary on your Deep Thought:

    http://blog.pff.org/archives/2010/06/techdirt_errs_again_copyrights_are_the_definition.h tml

    Do feel free to reply if you think that "we" can offer some substantive defense this foolishness, or, for that matter, that of "Jonny."

     

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


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