Questions Asked About EU Appointing IFPI Lobbyist To Copyright Role

from the now,-what-will-the-answers-be dept

Following the news that the EU Commission was apparently appointing a top lobbyist from the IFPI to the position of being in charge of copyright policy, two European Parliament Members, Christian Engstrom and Marietje Schaake have asked the Commission to explain the apparent conflict of interest:
Does the Commission not see any problems in recruiting top civil servants from special interest organisations, especially when being put in charge of dossiers directly related to their former employers? If not, why not?

Does the Commission feel that such an appointment would help to build confidence with the European Parliament and the general public that the Commission can be trusted to handle copyright-related issues in a fair and balanced manner?
Elsewhere, KEI has done a good job highlighting some of Maria Martin-Plat's previously stated positions, including this lovely one: "private copying [has] no reason to exist and should be limited further than it is." Just the person to lead on 21st century copyright issues, huh?


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    Bt Garner (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 3:17am

    "private copying [has] no reason to exist and should be limited further than it is."

    Everything I read a quote like this, I can't help but think that this is a calculated ploy to desensitize the public toward "copying." It's like the person selling a $250,000 house, but asking $400,000 for it. Sure, you may be able to negotiate them down to $350,000, and in such case the seller will go to great lengths to claim how much they worked with you to save you $50,000, but the bottom line is that you still overpaid for the house.

    All these mafia-style copyright holders seem to think that by demanding the sun, that you will be happy to merely give them the moon, when all they deserve is any random piece of space junk that orbits the planet.

     

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    herbert, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 3:54am

    at least the questions are being asked. it is going to be interesting to see what B/S excuses are used to condone her getting this appointment and how much further the public interests are going to be trampled on, all because certain industries refuse to join everyone else in the 21st century and not outright compete with file sharing, as they should, to try to minimize it and the effects. it just seems too much to these industries to give their customers what they want, insisting that what is offered is the best course of action. stupidity of the first order!

     

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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 4:41am

    Translation?

    Elsewhere, KEI has done a good job highlighting some of Maria Martin-Plat's previously stated positions, including this lovely one: "private copying [has] no reason to exist and should be limited further than it is."

    Maybe I'm a cynic but that read to me as "Culture is great stuff as long as you pay for it each and every time you want it. Culture is expensive and precious and should not be left in the hands of mere people but kept by corporations who can best decide exactly what culture is and know exactly for to charge for.. uh, sorry, value it."

     

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      The eejit (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 5:22am

      Re: Translation?

      Which is an insane stance to take - pay for cultural norms? Sounds like extortion to me.

       

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        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 6:29am

        Re: Re: Translation?

        Which is an insane stance to take - pay for cultural norms?

        That's the problem - it only sounds insane when you write it all at once it like that. Though it seems to me that it is the ultimate aim of these businesses you just don't notice that's where it's going as little by little, pieces of culture are locked behind various kinds of paywall for longer and longer periods.

        To be slightly fair, corporations trying to do that doesn't especially surprise or worry me - it's an inevitable product of capitalism that they will (and perhaps even should) try an maximise their profits. The bit that troubles me is that it ought to be the duty of governments to bound and limit how far this is acceptable as a democratic government is supposed to consider the protection and enhancement of culture and society as (one of) its primary purpose(s).

        To me capitalism and democracy are essentially opposing forces and neither work properly though together they make the best solution anyone has come up with so far as long as they are balanced correctly. However, for whatever reason supposedly democratic governments increasingly side with and indeed encourage capitalist forces (corporations) over democracy (culture and society).

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 7:27am

          Re: Re: Re: Translation?

          Corporations are not capitalistic in nature.

          I see nothing capitalistic about entities that believe in central control, monopolies and blocks to control anything, they are more akin to a communist structure and the only parallel to them in nature is cancer and parasitic systems.

          That is not the goal of capitalism as I was taught, capitalism is an chaotic(anarchic) system that self organizes when certain rules are followed, given birth to symbiotic relations where companies take some and are forced to give some to survive in harmony with the host(society).

           

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            Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 8:05am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Translation?

            If I correctly understand what you are saying that was kind of my point, capitalism itself is as you say self-organizing and chaotic (but I'd maintain only within the bounds of the system rules - a neural network as an analogy if you will) but each individual element will naturally seek to "perfect" itself, i.e. maximise its own size (worth) as that is the measure within the system of efficiency. It will do this as far as possible within the bounds of the "system rules" and monopolies are inherently the best outcome for an individual element (though of course not for the "network" as a whole). Where you get problems is when you allow one (or more) of the individual elements of the system to start changing the rules on which the self-organising system is based. A bit like in a computer system individual processes must share CPU cycles with other processes and can request extra CPU for a task from the system, but you don't generally allow a process to set the rules by which those cycles are shared out. This is what seems to me to be happening a lot - the individual "processes" (read corporations or industries) being allowed to re-write the system rules to allocate them more "CPU cycles".

             

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              MrWilson, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Translation?

              Libertarianism is the naive belief that the players of the game with self-enforce the rules because that's the nature of the game.

              The reality is that the players actually are competing in a free market system, but not to lower prices and increase efficiency, but to corrupt the referees and change the rules in their favor.

              Libertarian free markets are just a power vacuum waiting for exploitation.

              The reality of the game is more like Calvinball.

               

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                Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 11:07am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Translation?

                Oooo extra points for the Calvinball reference.... I'll get the anti-lawyer pugil sticks that can only be used on Wednesdays with a z in them and you set up the Zone-of-Conformity where you have to turn thrice widdershins before watching each film or it's illegal. :-)

                 

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    abc gum, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 4:41am

    "private copying [has] no reason to exist and should be limited further than it is."

    I assume that she is referring to the copying of things for which one does not own the copyright and doing so in private, i.e. backup copy or place shifting as opposed to public copying which might refer to commercial purpose? This is not real clear. However, if her comment is directed at my copying of my private data, works, etc for which I do own the copyright, then she is definitely mental.

     

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      vivaelamor (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 4:58am

      Re:

      "I assume that she is referring to the copying of things for which one does not own the copyright and doing so in private"

      This article may provide the context you're looking for to understand her statement.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 9:31am

    I like this quote

    "The industry, she claimed, is not trying to expand copyright but to ensure that the existing rights are meaningful. . . ""

    http://keionline.org/node/1105

    The industry is always trying to expand copy'right', otherwise it wouldn't last inordinate amounts of time.

    and I don't see how expanding its enforcement isn't an expansion of copy'right', it's the same thing. If you're placing more restrictions on ISP's and their ability and liability to monitor traffic, if you're placing more punishments for infringement and for not stopping infringement, if you're spending more taxpayer money and resources on its enforcement and litigation, etc... then you're expanding copy'right'. Expanding enforcement is expanding copy'right' and these copy protection laws don't need to be expanded, they need to be retracted.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:35am

      Re:

      "The industry, she claimed, is not trying to expand copyright but to ensure that the existing rights are meaningful. . . ""

      Also, notice the tacit admission that copy'right' isn't about the public, it's not about the artist, it's about the industry.

       

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    Spaceman Spiff (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 10:34am

    At least...

    At least some of the EU Parliament members are asking this question. Here in the USofA, not so much. Our revolving door is much more "catholic".

     

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    drew (profile), Apr 4th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Seriously...

    ...expecting anything else from the EU would be naivety. I don't think there's a bigger gravy train in the world and they'll do nothing to knock this one off the rails.

     

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