MPAA Boss Defends Censorships With Blatantly False Claims

from the weak dept

A bunch of folks sent over MPAA interim CEO Bob Pisano's incredibly misleading defense of the COICA censorship bill written recently for TheHill.com. It's amazing how many misleading or outright false statements Pisano was able to fit into a single piece but it's a testament to the level to which the MPAA must go through to support its plan for internet censorship:
They're called rogue sites, and they exist for one purpose only: to make a profit using the Internet to distribute the stolen and counterfeited goods and ideas of others.
Lovely misleading way to open the piece. In fact, many of the sites the MPAA has declared as "rogue" are nothing more than online forums. Some of them, yes, do involve people pointing each other to where they might obtain unauthorized copies of movies, but it's overly dramatic (though, hardly Oscar-worthy) to claim that the only purpose they serve is to profit from "the stolen and counterfeited goods and ideas of others." First of all, you can't steal an idea and I'm not sure how one downloads a counterfeit good.
The economic impact of these activities -- millions of lost jobs and dollars -- is profound.
Actually, the economic impact of those activities appears to be profound... but in the other direction. Recent independent research on the impact of weaker copyright laws has shown that it has helped increase the dollars flowing in the industry, not decrease it. Meanwhile, the studies that the MPAA relies on (which it helped finance) have been debunked by the US government itself.
That's why dozens of labor organizations and business groups have come together to support legislation to provide the Justice Department with new enforcement tools to combat this growing menace to the American economy.
The reason why those groups have all come together is because they're looking for the government to protect an obsolete business model. The labor organizations and business groups mentioned all have a rather long history of relying on government protectionism rather than being willing to compete in the free market. So it comes as no surprise that they wish to continue to get greater protectionism rather than face the realities of the marketplace, where they would have to actually innovate to compete.
These sites take many forms, and their operators are located throughout the world. They have in common one characteristic: They materially contribute to, facilitate and/or induce the illegal distribution of both stolen lawful products, such as movies and television programs, as well unlawful ones, such as counterfeit goods, including prescription medications.
Note two neat little (and extremely misleading) tricks by Pisano here. First, he is blaming the sites themselves rather than the users of the sites. It's the entire key to getting COICA approved. Pretend that the users of the site and the site itself are the same thing. It's a lie.

Second, he tosses in the claim about prescription medicines. This is one of the older tricks in the entertainment industry's playbook. When they know their argument is weak when it comes to their content, conflate the issue with fake medicines to make it sound scary. Of course, the issue of fake medicines is entirely different than unauthorized file sharing. Lumping the two together is in ridiculously poor taste and incredibly misleading.
Bipartisan congressional efforts to crack down on these operations are opposed by groups who claim the First Amendment protects the rights of these sites to use the Internet for their illegal practices. But the First Amendment was not intended as a shield for those who steal, irrespective of the means. Theft is theft, whether it occurs in a dark alley or in the ether, and to attempt to distinguish the two is to undermine the most basic tenets of our criminal laws.
There are so many things wrong with this paragraph, and it is so incredibly misleading, that I'm not even sure where to start. Theft may be theft, but copyright infringement is not theft. Pisano could have said that the First Amendment was not intended as a shield for copyright infringement, and he would have been slightly more accurate, but still missing the point. That's because, once again, Pisano is falsely and misleadingly claiming that these sites themselves are infringing on the content. They are not. Users of those sites may be pointing others to places they can go, which could potentially infringe, but that is quite different.

What the First Amendment does protect is speech. The law does already allow takedowns of infringing content. But COICA goes beyond that. Rather than -- as the First Amendment requires -- narrowly tailoring any takedown or injunction to the actual infringing content, it orders the entire site taken down prior to any trial. That's a classic situation of prior restraint, where the specifically infringing content is not specified and narrowly taken down. Instead, it's using a shotgun to try to remove a bandaid.
According to a study by the International Intellectual Property Alliance, in 2007 more than 11.7 million people were employed by copyright industries in the U.S. This amounted to 8.51 percent of the U.S. workforce. In other words, in 2007 these industries added $1.52 trillion to the economy, or 11.05 percent of the GDP.
This is one of the more ridiculous and regularly debunked studies out there. First of all, the IIPA study lumped together all kinds of people, who are not actually creating "intellectual property," and put them all in this big bucket defined as "copyright industries." The false assertion here is that these jobs would not exist but for copyright. That is simply not true. In fact, many of the people and companies included in "the copyright industries" include those like open source software companies, who are (for the most part) not relying on copyright law.

To further debunk these statements, if you took the exact same methodology and looked at what it meant for those industries that rely on exceptions or a lack of copyright laws, you find that they represent a much larger percentage of the US workforce and GDP. In other words, if we are to take the MPAA's claim here that the IIPA's numbers are correct, then it means that we should be doing away with copyright, since the industries that rely on ignoring copyright law are much bigger and contribute more to the economy.
The American intellectual property community creates well-paying jobs, provides and funds pension and healthcare plans and increases tax revenues to cities and towns across the nation. In my industry alone, millions of carpenters, electricians, set designers, caterers, costume designers and others bring home paychecks because of their roles in making movies and television programs.
Again, note the misleading claim. The argument is that without protectionism such jobs would not exist. This is false. Industries that don't rely on copyright create all those same things -- in fact, more, according to the evidence Pisano himself cited. And, the silly appeal about carpenters, electricians, set designers, caterers and costume designers pre-supposes that without this law they are out of work. That's a false claim. Considering that we keep seeing more and more filmmakers thriving while embracing the very sites that the MPAA seeks to shut down, it suggests that those people are not, in fact, at risk from these sites.

Realistically, the only people "at risk" from such sites are those who choose not to adapt. And that's mainly made up of the members of the MPAA.
Rogue websites threaten the heart of our industry and the livelihoods of the people who give it life. These sites do not represent a problem that lies on the far horizon. They are here now, and they are here in volume.
And for those who have embraced them, they represent a huge opportunity.

What's scary is that there are still people, and people in power, who will believe Pisano's blatantly false and misleading claims here and will push forward in favor of government censorship of websites, contrary to the very clear rules of the First Amendment. In the end, it's hard to see how COICA would pass even a rudimentary First Amendment review -- as more and more First Amendment experts are noticing.

It's really quite distressing the level of blatant falsehoods that the MPAA will spew in favor of getting the US to become a regime of censorship.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:23pm

    "Rogue websites threaten the heart of our industry and the livelihoods of the people who give it life."

    In other words, we'll have to scale down from a 50-foot yacht to a 45-foot one?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:27pm

    i find it impossible to read that statement and not giggle..

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:28pm

    MPAA Boss really means: "Volume sales are not for us!"

    The problem with Bob Pisano's logic is that he completely overlooks the fact that billions of dollars have been made and exchanged using internet technologies.

    You have eBay, which regularly brings in 1-2bln a quarter.
    You have Google, which regularly brings in $5+ bln a quarter.
    You have Amazon, which regularly brings in $5+ bln a quarter.

    I don't understand MPAA's position at all. Other companies had to overcome things like logistics, shipping, and call centers.

    But MPAA... They by far have the easiest product to market, sell, and package for the internet. But are still whining?

     

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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:31pm

    Logic Shredding

    is always such a beautiful sound. Too bad the people on the hill are too deafened by the dollar-bills stuffed in their ears to hear it.

     

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    weneedhelp (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

    USA for sale. SOLD!!!

     

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  6.  
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    iamtheky (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:38pm

    Let me help him before he shows:

    The experts referenced above would be well advised to stop their "constitutional ranting", focus on what amendments they believe should be made, and then find a sponsor for such amendments.


    AC ridiculousness is ridiculous.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:48pm

    But it's a *new* sitch with COICA and ACTA.

    "Recent independent research on the impact of weaker copyright laws has shown that it has helped increase the dollars flowing in the industry, not decrease it."

    Yes, I *know* that some don't believe that draconian measures work. -- One *wonders* where "draconian" even came from? Some wag must've made it up in a drunken fit when kicked out of a bar at one a-m. -- Anyway, we're going into a *full scale* test of competing economic theories! Plutocrats in media cartels aligned with neo-feudalists in the political class, against the general populace. Won't that be exciting? Gosh, you must be all aflutter, Mike. Rarely do economists get *real* data such as the new decade will provide!

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:52pm

    Plus un peu l'esprit d'escalier:

    What the drunken wit said:

    "Gisher filly hans offa me! Yer not draconian ME outta thish bar! I gotta lotta drinkin' left to do!"

     

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    wallow-T, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:53pm

    Andrew Sullivan recently wrote, about other political issues, "This is the era of the Big Lie..."

     

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    crade (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 1:59pm

    Re: But it's a *new* sitch with COICA and ACTA.

    We are seeing a test of lobbying money vs. democracy anyway.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:02pm

    Techdirt states "Theft may be theft, but copyright infringement is not theft"

    From the FBI website
    "But its not about picking a pocket or holding up a bank. It's robbing people of their ideas, inventions, and creative expressions" and "And much of the theft takes place overseas, where laws are often lax and enforcement more difficult. All told, intellectual property theft costs U.S. businesses billions of dollars a year and robs the nation of jobs and lost tax revenues."


    Preventing intellectual property theft is a top priority of the FBIs cyber program.

    Soooo, the FBI calls it theft and even robbing, who are we to believe?

     

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  12.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:06pm

    Re:

    I'd start with a law dictionary and only THEN work your way back to the goons enforcing it....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:09pm

    DH, good point, I will bring that up and try and video tape it for YouTube "don't tase me bro, it isn't theft"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:13pm

    Bob was the name of a dog I knew, but the dog was funny and cuddly.

    Oh well, I guess he can say whatever he wants, just don't expect people to believe it :)

    Most people don't need the internet to pirate anything, I bet if people searched Mr. Pisano's house people would find he is a thief too according to his own standards.

     

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  15.  
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    Chris Rhodes (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    The FBI is now the place we go to for the definition of words?

    Damn, I guess I can toss out my dictionary.

     

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  16.  
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    crade (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re:

    Not to mention his business.

    However, I don't believe it is possible for Mr. Pisano to be a thief as per his own standards. His standards will most certainly include a failsafe to make sure of that.

     

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  17.  
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    crade (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re:

    Toss the law out too, just let em make it up as they go.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:20pm

    Is there any American that is not a thieve?

    Seriously, by those standards I find it very, very unlikely that there is one single person in the U.S.A. that is not a thief.

    Its just me that think about those things?

    Who are these people who keep putting the bar higher and higher and demanding things?

    Crazy people? Sick people? Pathological crazy people?

     

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    Gwiz, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:24pm

    Every time I read about the MPAA or RIAA (or whatever **AA) scrambling around to put the horses back into the barn with the barn door that has been broken for years I always hear a quote in my head from The Matrix:

    "You hear that Mr. Anderson?... That is the sound of inevitability... It is the sound of your death... Goodbye, Mr. Anderson..."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    Re:

    I think we should believe the dictionary, common sense, logic, and, you know...the actual law.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:30pm

    I would like to point out...

    Yesterday I didn't care about the new Harry Potter movie coming out. Today I have plans to go see it on Saturday. What changed? I downloaded that leaked copy of it. Convinced me to see it on the big screen.

    Without that, I probably wouldn't have cared, possibly even known. They gained a sale from piracy here, so go screw yourself Bob.

     

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    TPBer (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:37pm

    Re: I would like to point out...

    Was yours a full version or just the 36min rel.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:39pm

    Speaking of laws, ever hear of The No Electronic Theft act?

    Hmmm, mentions theft in its title, sends you to prison. Sounds like they don't have much doubt that its theft. Giving the benefit of the doubt, you say potatoe, I say potatoe, you still end up with a boyfriend in a small cell for a few years.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:48pm

    "using a shotgun to try to remove a bandaid"

    more like nuke than a shotgun

     

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  25.  
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    Dark Helmet (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:56pm

    Re:

    "Speaking of laws, ever hear of The No Electronic Theft act?

    Hmmm, mentions theft in its title, sends you to prison."

    Hmm, ever heard of the Patriot Act? Mentions Patriot right in its title, defiles the word "patriot"....

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 2:59pm

    Awesome...we're no longer pirates. We're rogues. I always considered myself more of a rogue or knave. Maybe even a cur or a cad. But never really a pirate. Good to see them getting some better terminology.

     

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  27.  
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    Eugene (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:05pm

    They're called rogue sites
    LOL who comes up with these labels?

    "Captain! We've got a rogue site on the view screen! Permission to fire?!"

     

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  28.  
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    Eugene (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re:

    But "po-tay-toe", "po-tah-toe" right?

     

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  29.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:25pm

    Re:

    Supreme Court?

    "Since the statutorily defined property rights of a copyright holder have a character distinct from the possessory interest of the owner of simple "goods, wares, [or] merchandise," interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The infringer of a copyright does not assume physical control over the copyright nor wholly deprive its owner of its use. Infringement implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud."

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:27pm

    Re:

    Hmmm, mentions theft in its title, sends you to prison. Sounds like they don't have much doubt that its theft. Giving the benefit of the doubt, you say potatoe, I say potatoe, you still end up with a boyfriend in a small cell for a few years.

    For copyright infringement? No, you do not. Possibly for extreme forms of infringement, but standard infringement does not lead you to a cell.

    And, as DH eloquently noted, what our politicians name bills often have nothing to do with what's in the bill. I tend to prefer to listen to people who actually interpret the law.

     

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  31.  
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    RD, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re:

    "For copyright infringement? No, you do not. Possibly for extreme forms of infringement, but standard infringement SHOULD NOT lead you to a cell."

    Fixed that for you.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    A simple workaround for this problem

    You know what I'd like to see? A cross-platform program that gets a list of COICA'd URLs and their original IP addresses via RSS, and updates the user's host file accordingly.
    Pow, problem solved. The main difficulty would be maintaining the RSS feed.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    A simple workaround for this problem

    You know what I'd like to see? A cross-platform program that gets a list of COICA'd URLs and their original IP addresses via RSS, and updates the user's host file accordingly.
    Pow, problem solved. The main difficulty would be maintaining the RSS feed.

     

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  34.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 4:03pm

    Re:

    Engage number 1!!

    By the way - how the hell did you get the weapons past the TSA?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 4:24pm

    Re:

    whixh is funny becuase under us law copyright is not a property right but one created by statue.

     

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  36.  
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    Adrian Lopez, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 5:38pm

    COICA

    I posted this under an earlier story about COICA, but I wish to repeat it here because I think it's a key issue with respect to COICA's validity:
    You'd think before taking down an entire website for copyright infringement the state would first have to prove that the website's owners are in fact guilty of copyright infringement, but not under COICA. Under COICA, if the US Attorney General thinks it's infringement and can find the support of a judge, the website is taken down exactly as if it were infringing. Even with the opportunity for an administrative appeal, whatever due process is granted doesn't make up for the lack of a trial.

    If a website is truly infringing the government should have no problem proving it in court so it can then have the website taken down.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Probably because the 'weapons' were encryption technology :P

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:22pm

    Re:

    Someone has figured out how to use proxies, I guess.

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:28pm

    Re:

    Mike posted a video, a roundhouse conference about new media industries, where the moderator (not Mike, not anyone who excuses "piracy") claimed that 75% of the American public downloads files illegally.

    I'd like to see the source for that quote, but on a gut level, it doesn't seem unreasonable.

    "Piracy" is the norm. It is half of what people do on the 'net, whether they know it or not (I'm guessing not). When more citizens break copyright laws than broke Prohibition laws, why do current copyright laws survive?

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:31pm

    Re: I would like to point out...

    I haven't seen any Harry Potter movie in the theater. Today, I saw that a local theater had an (authorized) "pre-release" screening. I was actually tempted to go, merely because I'd argued about it here.

     

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  41.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:46pm

    Re: Re:

    For copyright infringement? No, you do not.

    Unfortunately for everyone, you are wrong about this one.

    The "NET Act" was the act that made non-commercial infringement a criminal act. To be a "criminal," you only have to make available $1000 of "material" within a 30-day period.

    I know this because my brother went to MIT with Dave Lamacchia, the person who started the first "P2P network" in 1992. They tried to arrest him on federal charges, but the SCOTSUS ruled the government couldn't do that, because it didn't have a law to allow it. In response, Congress made a law that allowed it.

    Dave now lives in San Fransisco. He has worked for major media companies (including Industrial Light and Magic), and is still a free man. So, hide your children! There's a criminal prowling the streets!

     

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    John Paul Jones, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 6:47pm

    Re: COICA

    Are you dense?

    It's taken to judge. In a court.

    Not every instance of illegality results in a trial.

    Why are you continuing to pretend that flagrant illegal activity isn't taking place? Why are you so desperate to have it continue?

    All of you people are so far gone that you don't even know what you sound like anymore: people that will defend illegal activity no matter what.

    You're failing. Miserably.

     

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    becauseyoudgetcaught, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:21pm

    Re: I would like to point out...

    Yesterday I didn't care about the new Harry Potter movie coming out. Today I have plans to go see it on Saturday. What changed? I downloaded that leaked copy of it. Convinced me to see it on the big screen. Without that, I probably wouldn't have cared, possibly even known. They gained a sale from piracy here, so go screw yourself Tom.

    Yesterday I didn't care about Rihanna's new album. Today I have plans to go buy it on Saturday. What changed? I stole the new album from Target. Convinced me to pay for a copy.

    Without that, I probably wouldn't have cared, possibly even known. They gained a sale from theft here, so go screw yourself Bob.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:32pm

    Re: Re: COICA

    Speaking of desperation.

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 7:57pm

    Re: Re: COICA

    It's taken to judge. In a court.

    No, it's not. It's taken to a judge - not in a court.

    For example: in order to get a court order to search your apartment, a judge must issue a warrant to expose what they are searching for. If they find anything else, it's inadmissible in court.

    This law would simply allow a judge to take down an entire domain name, without a warrant, and without a trial. It's exactly like taking out all of Dover Hill if Shakespeare retroactively is judged to be not in the public domain.

     

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    artistrights, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re:

    Karl:

    Isn't the figure closer to 95% of songs downloaded online are illegal? I think the industry supports that figure too.

    Piracy may be the norm, but does that make it right, morally or otherwise? Piracy was the norm on the high seas during the West Indies trade in the 17th-18th centuries. No one country had control over the ocean... it was not "owned" or subject to regulation by any one nation. Did the prevalence of piracy, along with the lack of enforcement, make the piratical acts morally, economically, or otherwise acceptable?

    I suppose the merchant ship companies could have added more cannons to their ships. I suppose they could have used alternative methods of transport, or sold ancillary goods to counterbalance their losses (to "compete" with the pirates). Not surprisingly, however, European governments did get involved to protect the legitimate market participants, and piracy was quashed in roughly a decade... all on a vast channel in which no one nation could claim ownership or authority. I can't help but wonder if there weren't those who railed against such laws as fatal to the independence and freedom of ocean trade, or those who berated such laws as unnecessary and unwanted, or who condemned the shipping companies as "outdated" in their business prowess.

    But of course, this involved physical product, and thus none of these arguments will likely provide any insight to readers here (no matter how similar it might otherwise be). So, perhaps, the broadcast radio industry may be more akin. When radio frequencies were first developed and patented by RCA in the early 20th century, amateur broadcasters (known as "radioheads") quickly "pirated" the technology and began transmitting programs of their own. In their mind, how could anyone, be them a corporation or government, control non-physical airwaves? Indeed, the radioheads believed that "radio was technologically determined to break the bonds of existing authority . . . Radio . . . was destined to be free, open like space itself to all comers and unencumbered by traditional notions of property rights. The airwaves were a playground for pioneers, with over 700 amateur and professional stations fighting for the public's attention on limited frequency. And yet, in 1927 Congress passed the Radio Act, which strictly regulated the broadcast industry, quickly bringing order to the airwaves.

    And so, it seems, we see the latest vast expanse upon which the pirates/radioheads/copyleft feel will never be effectively regulated by government or the corporations whose property is being pirated -- the genie is out of the bottle, as they say. We shall see. If history provides any guidance, however, government intervention is not the cataclysmic event many suggest. It is, rather, the primary method by which channels of commerce are regulated in this country (and elsewhere). COICA is but a blip in this timeline. If it is unconstitutional, the courts will deem it as such (just as they did with the child porn statutes passed by Congress). New legislation will undoubtedly follow which will only confirm the idea that, as the emerging primary channel of commerce in the United States, the Internet is no more an unmanageable frontier as the ocean and radio frequencies were in the past.

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:04pm

    Re: Re: COICA

    Why are you continuing to pretend that flagrant illegal activity isn't taking place?

    Probably because it's not. Most of the sites that COICA would blacklist, don't actually engage in direct infringement, and probably not "contributory infringement" either.

    Also, tell me how this couldn't be an excuse to take down Wilileaks. I mean, most of their "whistleblower" documents are probably covered by copyright. And if not, certain governments can claim copyright - which means that all the documents will be taken down, until twenty years from now when Wikileaks wins all its lawsuits.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    Some facts for the economically challenged

    lets play pretend

    ok lets say i have 1000$ a month after food, rent , bills etc.

    SO if i buy 4 pc games at 80$ thats 320$
    3 dvds at 40$ each thats 120$
    goto the movies once each weekend for 40$ each thats 160$
    i have how much to save to buy a car or make a payment on a car or buy somehting else?
    total is :500$ so left over is 500$ to bank or spend as i see fit OUT there that has taxes on the purchase or on interest in a bank....

    so if i pirate all the above
    what do i have to spend on banking or buying other stuff?
    YUP 1000$
    net true loss to economy ZERO

    So the mpaa boss playing this angle is just not only BAD and FALSE he is in fact advocating that he get more of that money so other industries suffer more and push your economy further up its ass...

    Sorry my dear southern neighbors but i think you need ot have this happen so you can see how it utterly is no good ....i hope this passes and it gets even worse cause in the end , someone will snap and your gonna get batman happening alright...some business will go under and they might see why....and go postal

     

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  49.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Piracy was the norm on the high seas during the West Indies trade in the 17th-18th centuries.

    If you're comparing the MPAA and RIAA to the Dutch East India Trading Company, they're going to crucify you. As they should.

    When radio frequencies were first developed and patented by RCA in the early 20th century, amateur broadcasters (known as "radioheads") quickly "pirated" the technology and began transmitting programs of their own.

    And these "amateur broadcasters" are now ABC, CBS, and NBC. Much like the "pirates" of the 1920's were people like 20th Century Fox, who moved to California to "pirate" technology from the MPCC.

    So, maybe you're right. Maybe the government will step in, and grant laws that give the "new kids" a monopoly on public distribution.

    But I doubt it. The difference between RCA and Last.fm is that the latter don't have a "club good" to exploit. Any internet data - whatever that data is - is a "public good."

    That changes the game on a fundamental level.

     

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  50.  
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    artistrights, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: COICA

    Hi Karl:

    I can't tell you whether COICA could be used as an excuse to take down Wikileaks, just as much as I can't tell you whether the DMCA could be used as an excuse to take down "documents...probably covered by copyright."

    Indeed, the issue is more egregious under the DMCA where there is no judge making any sort of determination with respect to infringement.

    By the way, have you been to mp3fiesta.com lately? It is a rogue site on the RIAA's Notorious Illegal Sites list. It is neither an innocent forum nor a site leaking government secrets... it is a site that makes its money by selling record label music. I get your slippery slope argument -- but, honestly, should the RIAA be forced to spend millions of dollars and a decade in court bringing a copyright infringement suit against this foreign company? That is their current remedy.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    At $0.99 per song, that's, what? 1010.1 MP3s? If you're sharing that many files, that would probably qualify as commercial-level infringement, which would land you in jail, anyways.

     

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  52.  
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    John Paul Jones, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: COICA

    Most of the sites that COICA would blacklist, don't actually engage in direct infringement, and probably not "contributory infringement" either.

    Total lie.

    Everyone knew this was the low you people would eventually have to stoop to.

     

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  53.  
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    artistrights, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 8:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Karl,

    In context, your point is a good one. But let's apply it to online music/movie/book piracy...

    The early movie companies may have done many things, but answer me this: did they ever distribute, sell, and profit from the films funded and produced by other movie studios?

    Moreover, this isn't a "new" monopoly granted by government -- it is a constitutional one granted by the framers in our Constitution.

    Listen, we can argue about semantics all day long. But really, is it fair that mp3fiesta.com (or moviefiesta.com or bookfiesta.com) can distribute the works of an artist (and invested in by a record label/movie studio) that took YEARS to create, make money from advertising, and require the copyright owner to spend millions/years in a litigation suit? Is that how copyright on the Internet should run? Is that a fair balance?

    I'm all for a healthy discussion, but as a preliminary matter, can anyone on this site even acknowledge that there is an alternative interest at stake??

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 9:16pm

    Re: Re: I would like to point out...

    One of these things is not like the other. One of these things is trolling and twisting phrases using terms that do not equate.

    Bob downloaded a copy. Does not equate to a lost sale or lost profits. He then went and purchased a copy. Profit!

    Troll stole a physical copy from a store. Lost merchandise, physical property they paid for. Lost profits. Even if he then went and purchased a copy, this does not replace the lost profits.

     

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  55.  
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    John Paul Jones, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 9:56pm

    None of what Mike is trying to do is going to work. A book store in 1986 already tried Masnick's tact, and the Supreme Court laughed at them:

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=478&in vol=697

     

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  56.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 18th, 2010 @ 10:36pm

    Re:

    None of what Mike is trying to do is going to work. A book store in 1986 already tried Masnick's tact, and the Supreme Court laughed at them:

    http://caselaw.lp.findlaw.com/scripts/getcase.pl?navby=case&court=us&vol=478&in vol=697


    I'm glad you pointed out the Arcara v. Cloud Books case, because it actually demonstrates why you are wrong. In that case, the bookstore was shut down for prostitution -- which had nothing to do with expression at all. As is noted:

    The closure statute is directed at unlawful conduct having nothing to do with books or other expressive activity.

    Copyright law, on the other hand, *is* about expressive activity, which is why the First Amendment applies, and any effort to take down speech must be narrowly tailored to take down the infringing speech only.

    And, of course, we have cases that are much closer to the situation here. The CDT v. Pappert case involved a law that required ISPs to block URLs named by the state (sound familiar...) and was rejected as an unconstitutional restriction on free speech due to prior restraint.

    More importantly, the Supreme Court in Near v. Minnesota is again quite similar. It was about a law that tried to shut down "scandalous" or "malicious" newspapers (sort of like "dedicated to infringement," right?) But it was struck down as a violation of the First Amendment.

    Of course, I pointed these cases (and a few more) out to you in the past. Funny that you would ignore them.

     

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  57.  
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    MJD, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 11:05pm

    This aint so bad

    Honestly, piracy and thieves should not have a leg to stand on. Lots of people in creative fields have been hurt by these websites which are advertising based, paid subscription hosting of Pirated Content and even free content with no ads on servers.

    all of these are plainly illegal and laws need to reflect the illegality of this. Laws need to catchup to technology. This law needs to go into effect. Will it solve everything? no! but it will make it harder for people to steal music and movies.

     

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  58.  
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    John Paul Jones, Nov 18th, 2010 @ 11:08pm

    Re: Re:

    I did respond to them, Mike. They're still there (hopefully).

    Neither of your examples works with regard to COICA.

    And the Arcara case is exactly what will be used. Infringement isn't "expression".

    You're trying exactly what they did: cloak yourself with the 1st Amendment to excuse illegal behavior.

    And it won't work. Sorry. :)

     

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    John Paul Jones, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:19am

    Re: Re:

    Since I won't expect people to go look up previous responses, I'll address them again here.

    CDT v Pappert required ISPs to filter child porn websites. It failed for two reasons:

    1. It was a lawsuit brought on by the state of Pennsylvania; since the filter might have an effect on other states that the ISPs served, the lawsuit failed due to interstate commerce laws.

    2. Because of the random nature of the filtering used by the ISPs, they claimed that both legal and illegal sites might be affected. Legitimate websites were blocked.

    The PA AG's case was a clumsy one, and deserved to fail.

    COICA, with due process, looks to block the DNS names used by sites that are "dedicated to infringing" practices.

    The second case Masnick cites, Near v Minnesota is a classic example of prior restraint. I suspect that's why he uses it, but the problem is that there aren't any parallels with it and any of the current situations discussed here on Techdirt. Especially the 1st Amendment. The Supreme Court based their decision in Near v Minnesota on the 14th Amendment, and how freedom of the press was being impugned. Rightfully so. Besides, libel laws are already in place to take care of such matters should someone care to dispute something written in scenarios like the above.

    But there was no illegal activity already occurring in the above case, and obviously, there is no freedom of the press issue involved with intellectual property theft. Fear-mongers like to bring up wikileaks, however that site is protected by the above ruling, just as the Pentagon Papers were in 1971.

    As the internet has evolved, it has become quite clear that it is about more than the exchange of information and opinions. Goods, both tangible and intangible, are now bought and sold. Legally and illegally.

    The closest case to what you all are discussing is Arcara v. Cloud Books.

    The Supreme Court, with my adds:

    "The First Amendment does not bar enforcement of the closure statute against respondents' bookstore (website). United States v. O'Brien, supra, has no relevance to a statute directed at imposing sanctions on nonexpressive activity (infringement), and the sexual activities (infringement) carried on in this case manifest absolutely no element of protected expression. The closure statute is directed at unlawful conduct having nothing to do with books (non-infringing files) or other expressive activity. Bookselling (legal files) on premises used for prostitution (infringement) does not confer First Amendment coverage to defeat a statute aimed at penalizing and terminating illegal uses of premises."

    An entity can not engage in illegal activity and expect to excuse themselves for such behavior because they also engage in legal activity and free expression.

    I suggest you all get familiar with this case.

    http://supreme.justia.com/us/478/697/

     

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  60.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 2:00am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I don't know why I bother, but I'll just note that JPJ carefully misinterprets the Pappert case (gee... wonder why...).

    He points out that it was rejected for two reasons, but does not note that the second reason was due to First Amendment violations. He's right that it's for blocking legitimate content, but does not seem to recognize (even though we've already pointed it out) that this is exactly what we're concerned about here. The issue is not about blocking infringing content, for which laws already exist, but how COICA does not just target infringing content, but entire sites that have much more than just infringing content.

    That's why Pappert is absolutely relevant, despite JPJ's confusion about it.

    As for the Near case, there are actually quite a lot of parallels to COICA, despite JPJ's confusion. It involved a state law blocking newspapers deemed "malicious." Basically the same thing as being deemed "dedicated to infringing," rather than focusing on the actual infringing content.

    As for Acara, I've already pointed out why JPJ is (again) wrong. Note that he ignores what's actually in the quote there, in which the court specifically says Acara only applies to *NON-EXPRESSIVE ACTIVITY*. Yet, in the case of websites -- which are recognized as speech -- it is, quite clearly expressive activity. JPJs willful ignorance on this is pretty funny if it weren't so sad.

    An entity can not engage in illegal activity and expect to excuse themselves for such behavior because they also engage in legal activity and free expression.

    Again, no one has argued otherwise, which is what makes JPJ's complaining so funny. No one is saying that these sites are not liable for any infringement they actually do (the problem, of course, being that most of them don't actually do any infringing). The problem is how this law blocks the non-infringing stuff.

    In the meantime, funny (and amazingly TELLING) that you refuse to even respond to the offer I made. Apparently JPJ knows his side on this is weak. I'll ask again, though, just for kicks: will you reveal who you are and admit you were wrong (and, apologize for bogus attacks on me) if the court agrees with me?

     

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  61.  
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    darlingFromEast, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 2:12am

    What is really disturbing here - I don't really care what happens in North America; I don't live there. But what this COICA seems to do is (among other things) seizing domain names from websites that AREN'T situated in Stupid Land Of Opportunity and while exporting democracy does have a nice ring to it; enforcing censorship does not. Home taping is killing music, right?

    @John Paul Jones or @MJD: it's legal to share information. And it's also a human right (you know - like talking?). But if your "product" (a movie you invested in - not actually made) is representable in zeroes and ones - it's information.
    Kids these days are taking p2p for granted - like we did tape recorders and our parents did (former pirate) radios.
    Also - there are 13 root nameservers, 10 of them in USA. You don't really expect us to believe that piracy will stop when name of a domain (e.g. piratebay.org) is seized - IP is still there. You could just alter your own (windows) HOSTS file and have that little problem fixed locally - some simple lines of code would take care of that for you. Don't you get it? If you take the framework away from the masses - the people will become the framework(it's already happening - PEX, DHT), a better one at that!

    And without the people there is no internet.

     

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  62.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 3:31am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "But really, is it fair that mp3fiesta.com (or moviefiesta.com or bookfiesta.com) can distribute the works of an artist (and invested in by a record label/movie studio) that took YEARS to create, make money from advertising, and require the copyright owner to spend millions/years in a litigation suit? Is that how copyright on the Internet should run? Is that a fair balance? "

    OK, I'll bite - YES it absolutely is. Why? Those sites are filling a market need that the copyright owners are failing to address. While the RIAA is pissing around with regional restrictions, windowing, lawsuits, restricted file formats (DRM is dead on music, thank f**k, but they still won't service the FLAC market) and high pricing (99c/track was too high so they insisted iTunes charge $1.29?), those sites are offering what customers are actually asking for.

    Should it happen? No. But, if the RIAA was addressing its own market, those sites would not exist because nobody would pay them... Same goes with movies (digital files higher than DVD prices, regionally restricted to hell, etc.), books (check the new thread today about regional restrictions being enforced), etc.

     

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  63.  
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    John Paul Jones, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 3:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike, why do you want to play kill the messenger? Is it because the flaws in your agenda are now so apparent?

    Funny, you pretend to be such an advocate for individual rights, especially on the internet, yet all of the sudden you're obsessed with who I am...

    You know you're diving headfirst into the trap I've set for you, don't you? Exposing you for the hypocrite that you so genuinely are?

    Tsk, tsk, Mike.

    Anyway, while I'm sure anyone can see the holes in your lame rebuttal, I'll just go ahead and point them out for those that need some guidance. :)

    Regarding Pappert- indeed I purposely pointed out the blocking of sites; it's fait accompli that there would be a 1st amendment issue there. I respected the intelligence of your readers when I wrote that. Too bad you didn't.

    And with regard to sites "that have much more than just infringing content", did you not understand what I wrote about Arcara v. Cloud Books?

    a state law blocking newspapers deemed "malicious." Basically the same thing as being deemed "dedicated to infringing,"

    hmm, except it's not the same thing, Mike. First of all, once again, Near v MN was a freedom of the press decision. Music piracy isn't. : )

    Being deemed malicious is an opinion or accusation open to interpretation, for which there are libel laws. COICA addresses sites which are already clearly illegally infringing. It's right out there in the open at this very moment. Go look some up. The evidence is conveniently already displayed for us. You already know this. And so does everyone else. You're not fooling anyone with this approach.

    You keep referring to websites as being speech. As I noted, the internet has matured and websites are no longer just speech. Let me know what speech I am supposed to derive from the Bed, Bath and Beyond website.

    I'm not quite sure if you're being pedantic when you try to equate infringement with expression. At this point all I can do is reiterate that infringement isn't expression. You really should stop trying to link the two. For real. It's not working.

     

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  64.  
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    John Paul Jones, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 3:38am

    And that CD you shoplifted was just plastic...

    Sorry pal, still illegal.

    No matter where you live.

     

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  65.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 3:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Mike, why do you want to play kill the messenger? Is it because the flaws in your agenda are now so apparent?


    I have no "agenda" and I'm not killing the messenger. You are making legal claims that seem unlikely to succeed (and insulting a lot of people who understand the law a hell of a lot better than you do).

    Funny, you pretend to be such an advocate for individual rights, especially on the internet, yet all of the sudden you're obsessed with who I am...

    Not obsessed. Just asking if you'll agree to it.

    I'm guessing the answer is no then. Gee... I wonder why. :)

    You know you're diving headfirst into the trap I've set for you, don't you? Exposing you for the hypocrite that you so genuinely are?

    Heh. You're funny. I love it when people who don't understand what they're talking about pretend they're smarter than others. It's really really amusing. Keep going.

    hmm, except it's not the same thing, Mike. First of all, once again, Near v MN was a freedom of the press decision. Music piracy isn't. : )

    Again, you conflate two issues. Why must you do that?

    We're not talking about music piracy. We're talking about expressions that are NOT INFRINGING.

    How difficult is it for you to understand this basic concept?

    Being deemed malicious is an opinion or accusation open to interpretation, for which there are libel laws. COICA addresses sites which are already clearly illegally infringing.

    Wait, and being "dedicated to infringing" is NOT an opinion open to interpretation?

    That's where you display your cluelessness. Again: radio, photocopiers, cable TV, mp3 players, the VCR, the DVR, YouTube and much, much more were all declared infringing when they first came about. Calling something dedicated to infringing activities is VERY MUCH an opinion open to interpretation.

    That's the point.

    You keep referring to websites as being speech. As I noted, the internet has matured and websites are no longer just speech. Let me know what speech I am supposed to derive from the Bed, Bath and Beyond website.

    Uh... what? Are you really saying that an e-commerce website isn't speech? You're making me laugh. Seriously, go talk to a lawyer. You are so far out of your league it's not even funny.

    Yes, Bed, Bath and Beyond's website is considered speech.

    I'm not quite sure if you're being pedantic when you try to equate infringement with expression. At this point all I can do is reiterate that infringement isn't expression. You really should stop trying to link the two. For real. It's not working.

    Heh. Of course, once again, I wasn't talking about infringing content. Why do you keep insisting I was?

    But, infringement IS expression. You really ought to read some of the legal literature on that very point (there's a ton and all of it says you're wrong).

     

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  66.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 4:21am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Neither won't your attempts of shutting down websites as Wikileaks proofs. Sorry ;)

     

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  67.  
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    The eejit (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 4:21am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    Direct infringement is the equivalent of screeners. Contributory infringement implies that your site is directing them to infringing works. And what low is this? The Truth(R)? I heard Fox News had a monopoly on that.

    But then I'M apparently the one who's insane.

     

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  68.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 4:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You know you're diving headfirst into the trap I've set for you, don't you?
    As if a moron like you would be capable of outwitting someone like Mike. You know, that's the first time I marked a post by you as funny.

     

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  69.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 4:25am

    Re:

    Dude, he was suppoting your position by posting an ironic comment. Gosh, you're that dense?

     

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  70.  
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    The eejit (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 4:34am

    Re:

    The CD is a physical item. Taking it fromt he store without paying if THEFT. When someonme downloads something, they CLONE it. No-one is actually deprived of something, excepting the rights-holder, and I'm betting that if they actually bothered to connect, instead of "YUR A PYRET! RAR!", they'd actually get ground-level investment AND more profit.

    Look at Pioneer One, a canadian show that was distributed entirely by Bittorrent, and was uploaded to sites everywhere by the creators, INCLUDING TPB. They raised enough money to make the next 12 episodes in a week.

    So maybe you should stop your deflections and answer the goddamned questions other peopl provide. OR are you not paid enough to actually think?

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 4:41am

    "The closure statute is directed at unlawful conduct having nothing to do with books or other expressive activity."

    Prostitution isn't an expressive activity? You must go to the wrong prostitutes.

     

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  72.  
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    Oh THAT Brian!, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 4:44am

    I'm confused

    Does he mean that people are using these sites to download counterfeit prescription drugs?

     

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  73.  
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    John Paul Jones, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re:

    I have a great idea for "ground level investment and profit".

    Buy their music instead of ripping it off.

     

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  74.  
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    martyburns (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:09am

    Re: Re: I would like to point out...

    I'm not going at all. I Decided I didn't need to after I read that JK Rowling sued some Indian festival organisers for making a paper mache model of Hogwarts for a festival (http://www.totallawyers.com/legal-articles-hogwarts.asp) I have a real dislike for people that think having basically infinite money is not enough.

     

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  75.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    can anyone on this site even acknowledge that there is an alternative interest at stake?

    I agree with you on some level. I have friends who have given away their music, who saw their MP3's show up on some Russian MP3 website charging users for that same track. That pissed them off, and it would piss me off too.

    The question is what to do about it. And laws like COICA are not the answer. Solutions like that are far, far worse than the problem. If that operation is a success, then the patient will die.

    Besides, we're not just talking about some givemoneytoshadyrussiandudes.com website. We're talking about sites like the Pirate Bay, who do not host content, do not charge for content, and are used by legit copyright holders to distribute their own material.

     

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  76.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And another thing:

    The early movie companies may have done many things, but answer me this: did they ever distribute, sell, and profit from the films funded and produced by other movie studios?

    Mostly what they did was distribute, sell, and profit from the film stock funded and produced by other companies. Film stock that took YEARS to create, and required the patent owner to spend millions/years in litigation suits.

    Moreover, this isn't a "new" monopoly granted by government -- it is a constitutional one granted by the framers in our Constitution.

    No, the Constitution grants the right to Congress. If they did away with copyright laws tomorrow, it wouldn't be unconstitutional.

    And the monopoly itself may not be new, but the monopoly on non-commercial copies happened in our lifetimes.

     

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  77.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    At $0.99 per song, that's, what? 1010.1 MP3s?

    Or one MP3 distributed to 1011 people. Or one $20 CD distributed to 50 people.

    Don't forget, rights holders are experts at cooking the books.

     

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    John Paul Jones the second, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:48am

    trollin' trollin' trollin...

    "some lies about a bussiness I'm clearly a part of that's dying and I want it to stop it with your money"

    trollin' trollin'

    "insult Mike here"

    trollin'

    "make some random 'I am so smart' comment"

    trollin'

    "another (room temperature IQ) insult for Mike here"

    trollin' (you'd think I'd catch some fish by now...)

    "and that's why I'm right and you're left!"

     

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  79.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    I agree with you about the DMCA, but at least that has a "safe harbors" provision, which CIOCA does not. However:

    should the RIAA be forced to spend millions of dollars and a decade in court bringing a copyright infringement suit against this foreign company?

    Yes. That's exactly what they should be "forced" (actually, allowed) to do. It's far better than COICA's solution.

    Of course, the best solution would be for a record label to buy out mp3fiesta.com, and run it themselves. That's probably cheaper than a lawsuit, too.

    And the reason I bring up forums so much, is because the Department of Homeland Security (?!) already took down forum sites. When I heard that story, I checked the Google cache of the sites that were taken down, and most of them were forum sites. One was even starting up a "crowdfunding" project to fund indie filmmakers. So you can understand my concern.

     

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  80.  
    identicon
    Oh, and John..., Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:57am

    ...don't use that "You already know this. And so does everyone else. You're not fooling anyone with this approach." here - everybody are not as brainwashed as you are. It's insulting for EVERYONE to be included in your everybody - and not because I concur with Mike on most issues (it just happens I have similar views); it is because people like me read this nice piece of free expression (techdirt.com) in fear that we'll loose right of reading nice pieces of free expression like this.

     

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  81.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    "Of course, the best solution would be for a record label to buy out mp3fiesta.com, and run it themselves."

    Nah, that's far from the best solution, as the Russians would just bring out another site.

    The *real* solution is to find out what the site is offering customers that the official channels do not, and offer that kind of service themselves. Who would use a dodgy grey market Russian site if the same deal's available on iTunes and Amazon?

    That, of course, involves listening to the market and adjusting business models, so it's probably only going to happen as a last resort.

     

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  82.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    Total lie.

    As I said above, Homeland Security already arrested forum site owners who were guilty of neither.

     

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  83.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 6:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So, you're studying law now?

    Wait a minute... is this Joe?

     

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  84.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 6:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Buy their music instead of ripping it off.

    You make it sound like one negates the other. It doesn't. People who "rip off" music buy much, much more music than people who don't.

    I've already shown you tons of independent studies that prove this. You never refuted them. So, you're willfully ignorant. And probably a liar. You definitely don't want artists to make money, that's for sure.

     

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  85.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    I was in Walmart the other day and I stuffed a Tickle Me Elmo down my pants and walked through the checkout line to pay for my full cart. I just wanted to sample the Elmo doll (and have some fun along the way) but Walmart should be fine with it because I spent a lot of money there.

    I refuse to give anyone money that expects to be paid for their work. If Walmart doesn't like it, I will stop going there and shop at Target.

     

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  86.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:03am

    Re:

    Do you idiots still not understand the difference between infinite and finite goods, or are you paid to act this stupid?

     

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  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re:

    It's the FBI. Do you really need guidance in who to believe? /s

     

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  88.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    The *real* solution is to find out what the site is offering customers that the official channels do not, and offer that kind of service themselves.

    Yeah, hat's basically what I meant.

    However, if mp3fiesta.com really is a "threat," then a label would do well to buy them out in any case. Merely for the name recognition.

    It's why I don't take the criticisms against The Pirate Bay very seriously. They're making money, and you're not? Then buy them out and get that money yourself. Everyone wins.

     

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  89.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 7:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    (hat's = that's)

     

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  90.  
    icon
    PaulT (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    "if mp3fiesta.com really is a "threat," then a label would do well to buy them out in any case. Merely for the name recognition."

    I see where you're coming from, but I still disagree. There'd be nothing to stop other sites just copying the site's methods (remember, mp3fiesta.com was only founded because of the actions taken against allofmp3). You're very quickly back to square one, and you've established a willingness to give people lots of money for very little return.

    "They're making money, and you're not? Then buy them out and get that money yourself."

    2 problems with that. First, again, there's nothing to stop others setting up an identical site.

    However, the real problem is what they do with the site after buying it. If they leave it as is, they implicitly authorise the site's actions and make legal actions against other sites very difficult. If they change it to match their current business model, they drive customers to those new sites (see: Napster). Name recognition? Miniscule compared to iTunes, Amazon, etc., so it wouldn't matter if those sites were allowed to effectively service demand.

    No, the only solution is to change their business methods to service the customer's needs, then the "competing" sites will be irrelevant.

     

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  91.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 8:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    > Piracy may be the norm, but does that make it right, morally or otherwise?

    Yes, ultimately. What are laws based on? In the end they must reflect what people naturally do anyway. We are evolved to exchange information.

    Abstract goods are necessarily a commons. The morality of copying is grounded in the simple physical facts. Copying renders no harm to the creator. On the contrary, the more we copy, the more good we can do.

    It is the *restriction* of copying that needs justification. And that has not been done satisfactorily. General restriction is immoral, impractical, and inadequately supported by pragmatic evidence.

    The large numbers of people in conflict with the law is a clear signal and symptom of the wrongness of the law.

    Everyone should be free to copy.

     

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  92.  
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    duffmeister (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 9:10am

    Re: Re:

    This is so funny because it is true......

    Do you have the case this came from? I need to add it to a list. I'm starting a list of court cases that affect IP law from SCOTUS

     

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  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 9:30am

    Re: This aint so bad

    Suing Napster what, 10 years ago?, did nothing to stop filesharing, nor has suing individuals, nor has DRM, etc., etc.

    If these pirates sites are making money, why does the entertainment industry not co-opt the model? They've got the catalog, the muscle, the talent (?) to create a service of convenience, of choices, of access that pirate sites do not. But they didn't and don't and so iTunes, Amazon take their piece.

    Digital goods are infinite and actually disposable anymore. A click you have it, a click you don't. Only stellar service can make money from such a thing - ease of use, support, wealth of choice, complimenting physical goods. THOSE are what can be sold, not infinitely copiable blips.

    A question to ask yourself: what if copyright did not exist? How would I make money from my artistic endeavors? How did people do that before copyright came to be?

    Focus on what you can get paid for, not on chasing ghosts that waste your time, money, sanity. Accept what is irrevocably changed and adapt your strategy.

     

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  94.  
    identicon
    Gwiz, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re:

    And that CD you shoplifted was just plastic...

    Sorry pal, still illegal.

    No matter where you live.


    But it isn't illegal to download content for personal use in other countries (Spain come to mind) - but this law would allow the US to seize their domain names also wouldn't it?

     

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  95.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 9:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    This is an interesting topic to explore:

    Let's say the labels decide to "change their business methods to service the customer's needs" rendering the competing sites irrelevant. How would this work, exactly?

    Well, to effectively compete with free copies of their own music, I'd imagine they would have to give away their music for free. Not cheaper, but free. After all, as you've highlighted, what's to stop another Russian site from "competing" by copying the content and giving it away for free?

    So now, the labels/studios have to make money from... ads/ancillary goods/touring revenues via 360 models (as Mike has shown is possible in some contexts). And this is where problems in your analysis arise:

    Karl notes, "It's why I don't take the criticisms against The Pirate Bay very seriously. They're making money, and you're not?" Yes, and here's the issue: Pirate Bay, mp3fiesta, etc. invest nothing ($0) in the content they monetize. So, yes, it is very easy for them to *net* a ton of money via ad rev alone. There is nothing *innovative* about ad rev or this "business model." If a label/movie studio did the same, they would earn money, but not nearly enough to support their true business model, i.e., investing millions in movies and music in order to earn a profit great enough to support that project, the next project, and overhead. For example, Vevo generates ad rev, but not nearly enough to fund music production let alone the videos it displayed. Not surprisingly, a pirate site which displays all of the videos would make tidy profit. Is that innovation and competition at work?

    I'm no expert, but classifying infringement as "competition" seems completely unsustainable. It's not that the music and movies made by labels and studios are not desired by consumers -- that's why the content is all over the infringing sites. In light of this demand, it seems so short sited to say that the content holders aren't serving the needs of their customers by charging for their IP. What happens if you are wrong, and the ancillary products are not enough to cover the costs of those ancillary goods, the content itself, and maintain a vibrant music/movie/publishing marketplace? What will the pirate sites "compete" against then?

     

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  96.  
    icon
    Bruce Ediger (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 11:25am

    Independent Invention

    There's this little problem with "Intellectual Property": independent invention.

    For example, a long time ago, I noticed that certain plastic coffee mugs I'd purchased at various truck stops across the midwest made excellent windsheild scrapers. The lip of the mug was flexible, yet strong, and the circular shape allowed scraping during the backstroke as well as the forward stroke. I've used a Tupperware mug for years as a scraper. It's just right, as is a cheap "Koolaid" mug I obtained for several box tops.

    It turns out that someone else patented circular windsheild scrapers and therefore owns the "Intellectual Property". Yet I invented it too. Shouldn't that idea be mine as well? I know, according to The Law, that patent indicates the ownership. I know, you don't have to believe me, the plural of "anecdote" is not "data".

    But still, what about independent invention? doesn't the existence of this, which occurs quite often (Elisha Grey vs Alexander Bell, eh?) really, really mess up the philosophical underpinnings of "intellectual property"?

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    John Paul Jones, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 11:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You haven't showed me countless anything.

    And like I would believe a bogus survey given by a biased site taken by guys that rip off music.

     

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  98.  
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    Bruce Ediger (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 11:42am

    Re:

    While technically correct, in general you're wrong.

    "Illegal" doesn't mean "theft". Just like "infringement" doesn't mean "theft".

    Physically taking the CD: "theft".

    Copying the CD's contents: "infringement".

    Not the same thing.

     

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  99.  
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    Bruce Ediger (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 11:45am

    Re: Re:

    I think they're paid. But I'm waiting for someone to drunkenly spill the beans about the whole sleazy "web forum comment for hire" business.

    The Linux crowd fervently believes that Microsoft (and or Wag-Edd) pays large numbers of people to troll linux-related websites, but nobody's come forward with a confession on that one, either.

     

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  100.  
    identicon
    kev, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:17pm

    MPAA Boss Defends Censorships With Blatantly False Claims

    'It's really quite distressing the level of blatant falsehoods that the MPAA will spew in favor of getting the US to become a regime of censorship.'

    what is even worse is the number of people that actually believe this crap, are 'enticed' to believe it or encourage others to believe it. the frightening thing is that these particular people are the ones that are controlling the way ordinary citizens lives are affected when theirs wont be affected and dont care anyway! talk about using positions of power for personal advancement and profit! disgraceful!!

     

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  101.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:30pm

    Perfect example how the wealthy uses Pseudoscience to achieve their agenda (much like the Nazis use eugenics to achieve their agenda).

     

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  102.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 19th, 2010 @ 1:49pm

    Okay... so COICA seeks to block "infringing" websites by shutting off their DNS redirects. Which does what...? Do these fools even understand the very basics of this medium which they seek to pervert for their precious $$$? I suppose that would be too much to ask...

    Here's a hint: http://194.71.107.15 will still be accessible long after COICA has failed to do much of anything anyway. It's a speed bump but that is all. Also, WiFi-to-WiFi darknets... coming to a router near you soon.

     

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  103.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 19th, 2010 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    Well, to effectively compete with free copies of their own music, I'd imagine they would have to give away their music for free. Not cheaper, but free. After all, as you've highlighted, what's to stop another Russian site from "competing" by copying the content and giving it away for free?

    Nothing. But the official sites have plenty of things that the "pirate" sites do not: such as the artists themselves.

    Seriously, if you can't figure out a way to make your site better than some other site, then it's your own fault.

    I'm no expert, but classifying infringement as "competition" seems completely unsustainable.

    Heh. So the better answer is to pretend it's not competition? It is, and there are absolutely ways to compete and win and make a lot of money.

     

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  104.  
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    PaulT (profile), Nov 20th, 2010 @ 12:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    "Well, to effectively compete with free copies of their own music, I'd imagine they would have to give away their music for free"

    Incorrect. Note that I'm talking about sites like mp3fiesta, not "pirate" sites. Sites like that are *paid* services - take a look, $0.20-$0.40/track or monthly/yearly subscriptions from what I see. These sites operate under loopholes in Russian law that mean that sites do not have to make prior contract agreements before selling copyrighted material. Therefore, they're not beholden to the wishes of the labels, and can sell at whatever price and whatever terms they wish.

    So, why would a customer choose to pay for this service rather than iTunes or downloading illegally? Well, paying for the product gives the illusion that it's OK and overcomes the moral issues some people have about "piracy". But, check out the service they offer - a wide catalogue (Led Zep included, which doesn't happen with "legal" services), decent prices (many people believe iTunes is vastly overpriced, especially outside the US), high quality files (FLAC included on some sites like this, but not on any legal mainstream service), no regional restrictions or windowing etc.

    As with any illicit activity, if enough people do it, you can't shut it down at the supply end. You have to address the demand. Low prices, high quality, wide choice, no restrictions - there is no mainstream legal service that offers these qualities. Offer them, and the illegal services offering them no longer have a market - who is going to pay an illicit Russian site when they can get the same thing from iTunes?

    The issue of free music is another issue altogether,and a red herring for this discussion. But, since you insist:

    "If a label/movie studio did the same, they would earn money, but not nearly enough to support their true business model, i.e., investing millions in movies and music in order to earn a profit great enough to support that project, the next project, and overhead."

    This is why you, and people like you fail. You have no imagination. The way to compete with "free" is not to copy the business models they are using. It's to offer the customer more, so that they are willing to pay the price requested. Mike already talks about this extensively - basing your business on finite goods (physical merchandise, limited editions, concerts, etc.) that encourage people to pay, rather than infinite goods (the recording) that you can get for free. Some people will still pay for the recording, but there's less incentive to do so.

    By concentrating on ad revenue, you've already made your first mistake. There's literally thousands of ways to make money within the music industry that have nothing to do with advertising or trying to shift content. That's fine, because the potential profit margin on those goods and services are usually much higher than selling a copy of a CD. There's just no "one size fits all" model, and you can't depend on selling digital files because they have little intrinsic value. Give people goods or services worth paying for, and they will. Offer them a *lower* level of service than the "pirates" (which is what legal services currently do), and you incentivise people to use the "pirates".

    As for the "millions" it takes to produce some things, maybe that's part of the problem. Go to any breakdown of the making of a major blockbuster movie or album, and you'll find amazing examples of extravagance and waste. Most major labels and studios also have a way of inflating their reported budgets so that they don't have to pay royalties - most productions cost less than you'd think, and large chunks of the costs don't need to be there. It's a little dated, but Steve Albini's classic article is a good place to start: http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

    Instead of whining, the record industry needs to do what every other industry has needed to do when faced with game changing issues - cut costs and adapt. The same with the movie industry - does the latest movie really need to be 2 1/2 hours long and cost $200 million? Quite often the answer is no.

    "I'm no expert, but classifying infringement as "competition" seems completely unsustainable."

    Here's the thing that so many people in the industry have never seemed to understand - there has ALWAYS been infringement, ALWAYS will be. Nobody pays for radio, which gives you potentially infinite music to listen to. I remember as a kid recording the chart show on to tape from the radio and editing it to make mixtapes for me and friends to listen to. I copied albums from the library, from friends. I never paid for any of this.

    But, you know what? I still PAID for music. I bought merchandising, bought albums, bought concert tickets, etc. If you only look at one part of the market (the recording), then of course P2P appears to affect things, but you have to consider the whole thing. P2P makes it easier to infringe, but it's always been happening. "Stolen" music on things like mixtapes and borrowed/copied CDs formed the bedrock of the music industry I grew up with - and that was the early 90s before the modern internet even existed.

     

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  105.  
    identicon
    Cameron, Nov 20th, 2010 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As opposed to protecting corporate interests over free speech rights of citizens? I believe corporations should have a means to seek legal damages and pursue litigation against individuals who infringe on their copyrights. And they already do have such means. They can even make claims and demand removal of the infringing material, and they do so already. I don't think, however, that corporations should be given the authority to censor websites that do this, especially because it often occurs on many websites that aren't intended for those purposes, such as Youtube, which could then be subject to blacklist. Instituting censorship over the internet is a terrible idea, and as much as anyone thinks it would "protect" the American economy it would likely do far more damage to it in the process. What happens when a global economic hub for internet activity decides to start censoring the internet for their citizens (and, subsequently, anyone outside the U.S. that attempts to access domains hosted in the United States)? Bye Google, have fun in Canada or Europe or wherever you decide to move to.

     

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  106.  
    identicon
    Adrian Lopez, Nov 20th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Re: Re: COICA

    "Why are you continuing to pretend that flagrant illegal activity isn't taking place? Why are you so desperate to have it continue?"

    Why do you object to having a trial before shutting down a website for copyright infringement? Why are you so desperate to have a law that would shut down websites according to a much lower standard of evidence than you'd need in a trial?

     

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  107.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 22nd, 2010 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: COICA

    PaulT:

    I completely disagree.

    Your argument again erroneously assumes that it is acceptable to take the property of others without permission, and that it is therefore the duty of authors and their representatives to offer finite goods to support their livelihood. I believe this is erroneous in part for the reasons set forth below.

    As you frame the issue, your logic is correct: If you can't sell copies of your work, you have to make your money somehow. Indeed, authors and artists could throw up their hands, give away their works, and simply flip burgers to pay their bills.

    But there IS an alternative. It is to enforce the IP rights set forth in the Constitution, laws passed by Congress, and upheld by the Supreme Court. The problem with the sell-finite-goods argument is that it makes it more socially acceptable for consumers to choose illicit goods in the marketplace, and to reject IP protection altogether. If society is led to believe that there are thousands of other ways for ALL artists and authors to support themselves, they will feel increasingly entitled to the works of others and will therefore increasingly thumb their noses at our IP laws. To be clear, the arguments you espouse are not helpful to artists and authors in the LONG RUN, but actually fuel an anti-IP sentiment. Should your views become mainstream, ALL artists and authors will have NO CHOICE but to sell t-shirts/flip burgers to support themselves and their craft.

    What you fail to comprehend is that obtaining meaningful IP protection online is not a foregone conclusion. It can happen. Why can't one's "imagination" be used to conjure up ways to protect content and legitimate businesses online? That way, artists can focus on their artistic talents -- and not their business prowess in selling private lunch dates, fancy boxed plastic, or autographs? And perhaps if the amazing brain power of those on this site was used to find digital solutions to IP PROTECTION instead of IP alternatives, there would be laws better than COICA in Congress.

    You bring up mixtapes and other physical connections, so I'll make a final brief comment: Imagine if when printing duplication technologies (copiers) were becoming mainstream, society was led to believe that the age of selling books was effectively over, and that authors should find other ways to make money (i.e., selling lunch dates with fans, book signings, creating special editions of their book). Imagine if society was told that "basic economics" teaches that when a marginal copy of a book is $1 via the Xerox machine, the cost at which it is sold to the consumer must also be $1. If society believed those arguments back then, do you believe they would have valued IP protections for any content that emerged thereafter -- eBooks, tapes, CDs, VHS, etc.? Would any of those technologies have emerged had their been no incentive to sell copies (at a profit) in the first place?

     

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


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