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New Report: IP Laws Are Crippling The EU Economy

from the economic-freedom-and-personal-freedom-go-hand-in-hand dept

Glyn Moody points us to a new report from the group EDRI, claiming that intellectual property is harming the economy of Europe. The group lists out a few key points:
  • Harmonise exceptions to copyright to create legal certainty across the EU about the permitted uses of works covered by IP
  • Establish pan-European licensing arrangements as a matter of priority, and tie future enforcement policy to the successful development of such proposals
  • Abandon repressive enforcement measures that would materially damage people's fundamental rights
  • Establishes a moratorium on the exporting of repressive IP enforcement to third countries
  • Makes a firm commitment to robust, objective evidence and re-evaluation of policy on the basis of it.
Much of the report is about harmonizing both patent and copyright laws across Europe or creating pan-European infrastructure for patent and copyright laws. I'm of a mixed opinion on those proposals. While I can definitely see the problems of having so many different local patent and copyright laws, historically, attempts to "harmonize" such laws only lead to much more draconian laws with little flexibility. Having different laws in different places allows for countries to experiment with, perhaps, less protectionist efforts, and to show that you don't necessarily need greater protectionism for the economy to function. On top of that, in my discussions with people throughout Europe, one of the concerns with harmonization was that each market is so different, that a single set of laws would lead to very bad policies in certain countries.

However I do appreciate the concerns about repressive enforcement and the aggressive expansion of repressive enforcement to other countries. All in all, it does seem like another useful report on the problems of today's intellectual property laws.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:41pm

    Well, this certainly comes as no surprise. The EU strategy for accountability in general has been a crippling factor for quite a while now.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:44pm

    Not that we didn't know this already, but Sean Parker is infinitely smarter than Mike Masnick:

    http://blogs.ft.com/fttechhub/2011/05/sean-parker-eg8/

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 10:45pm

    The group who issued the "report" is a well known free speech and free everything group. It is on par with an RIAA report.

     

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

  4.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 11:32pm

    Re:

    Accountability? In the EU? Insanity, i say!

     

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

  5.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 26th, 2011 @ 11:33pm

    Re:

    Actually, he's saying the same thing Mike has been for years.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 11:35pm

    Justice System Being Damaged As Well

    Vast amounts of judicial time and effort are being wasted in fruitless lawsuits. The patent system acts as a threat against any innovator. If anybody does anything unusual and makes money off it, then some patent troll will emerge, claiming infringement of a patent which is broad, vague and incomprehensible to engineers. That kills lots of start-ups. Ask the venture capitalists. They are continually getting bitten by patent trolls. The answer is to get rid of patent infringement. Dump the concept. Patents should be used to "promote the Progress", not to enrich the lawyers.

    Copyright terms are way too long and it is just about impossible to determine what is covered by copyright. Anybody writing a piece of music these days, has no idea whether some sequence of notes is "owned" by somebody and will cause a lawsuit. Every single copyrighted work has a government-granted monopoly privilege attached to it. That privilege should be paid for. It is mad extravagance for the government to be giving away such commercially-valuable privileges for free. That is corporate welfare. Copyright owners should have to pay. The users of copyright works should have a website where they can easily look up whether some work is still covered by copyright or not.

    Courts worldwide have enormous backlogs. It is crazy to have monopoly privilege holders using up so much court time. The patent industry is composed entirely of lawyers, engaged in a conspiracy against the rest of us. One the one hand, the patent industry is tiny and produces nothing of value. On the other hand, the patent industry produces a vast chilling effect, striking new companies down at their most vulnerable time. The economic losses are vast. If something has a cost greater than its benefits, then stop doing it.

    Similarly with copyrights, vast amounts of court time are wasted in futile efforts to stop file sharing. No actual damage to the economy, caused by file sharing, has ever been demonstrated. Frenzied lobbying efforts go on night and day, to get ever more repressive laws passed. All this is coming from a tiny industry of no economic importance. When are the courts and the legislature going to get sick of the time-wasting and just say "no"?

    The courts urgently need to get back to providing justice and stop wasting their time.

     

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  7.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 11:50pm

    Re: Re:

    Not really, thought some of what he says is somewhat incoherent. But I don't expect IP maximists to have enough merit to be coherent communicators, that would require effort.

    First of all, he says

    "Many are still sceptical about Spotify’s business model, but Mr Parker believes it’s a “dramatic paradigm shift” in consumption that “implies the traditional music companies are undervalued”."

    He confuses value with price and industry revenue. He seems to think that any value that anyone gains should be monetized by the industry to the fullest extent possible. Of course none of this will benefit the actual artists.

    "“In the last 10 years we have presided over the greatest destruction in value in the history of the music industry,”"

    No, that occurred when copy protection lengths kept on getting extended. That's a destruction in value (remember, monopolies create dead weight losses). Don't confuse a destruction in wrongfully acquired revenues with a destruction in value.

    "if you believe the broken distribution systems are on the verge of being fixed, those recordings are dramatically undervalued.”"

    By broken distribution system being 'fixed' what he means is that a distribution system that allows anyone to freely make music available is 'broken'. It needs to be 'fixed' by implementing laws that force him to be the middlemen of all provided content. Then he benefits at everyone elses expense. He believes this will be 'fixed' through regulatory capture.

    "Speaking with perhaps surprising coherence"

    What coherence? This person is too lazy to make the effort required to learn how to communicate coherently.

    "“Here I am, the greatest beneficiary of this transformation and also one of its greatest victims."

    Did you hear that? He's the greatest beneficiary of this transformation. His efforts are about him and how they benefit him, not the public nor the artists.

     

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  8.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 26th, 2011 @ 11:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Just sign in, Masnick. You embarrass yourself with these types of posts...

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    First of all I'm not MM.

    Secondly, an AC telling MM to sign in? How Ironic.

     

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

  10.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re:

    Actually, he's saying the same thing Mike has been for years.

    LOL

    uh, no. Not even close.

    "legacy" industry, anyone?

    LOL

     

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  11.  
    identicon
    herbert, May 27th, 2011 @ 12:06am

    Re: Justice System Being Damaged As Well

    bloody well said!

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 12:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Can't sign in, no account.

    But you can Mike!

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 2:57am

    Joel D. Shapiro
    Mary W. Gautreaux
    Emily A. Katz
    Jerry E. Ward Jr.
    Isaiah B.R. Akin
    Thomas A. Towslee
    Mary A. Conley
    Michele Miranda
    John J. O'Neill III
    David M. Berick
    Jayme R. White
    Sallie Derr
    Joshua L. Sheinkman
    Jennifer Ian Hoelzer
    Lisa G. Rockower
    Jeffrey S. Michels

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 3:03am

    Re:

    Joel D. Shapiro
    Mary W. Gautreaux
    Emily A. Katz
    Jerry E. Ward Jr.
    Isaiah B.R. Akin
    Thomas A. Towslee
    John J. O'Neill III
    David M. Berick
    Joshua L. Sheinkman
    Jeffrey S. Michels

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 3:04am

    Re: Re:

    Joel D. Shapiro
    Jerry E. Ward Jr.
    Isaiah B.R. Akin
    Thomas A. Towslee
    John J. O'Neill III
    David M. Berick
    Joshua L. Sheinkman
    Jeffrey S. Michels

     

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

  16.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 3:05am

    Re: Re: Re:

    :)

     

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

  17.  
    icon
    Any Mouse (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 3:14am

    Re:

    Do you have a point, or do you like posting lists of people?

     

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

  18.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 3:22am

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

    I think you'll find that that identisign is a New York one. So, unless Mike is actually in New York, you're full of shit.

     

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

  19.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 3:24am

    Re:

    These are people who were paid by the EU to ensure the laws were beneficial to the economy. Y'know, that thing that lets us buy your shit.

    So, unless you want a global depression, you should shut the fuck up.

     

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

  20.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 3:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    :(

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 3:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Joel D. Shapiro
    John J. O'Neill III
    Joshua L. Sheinkman
    Jeffrey S. Michels

     

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

  22.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 3:36am

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

    Curious that you have free access to IP addys on TD...

    But privacy indeed...

     

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

  23.  
    icon
    martyburns (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 4:31am

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

    Why don't you create an account then you muppet?

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 5:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    First of all I'm not MM.

    nah, of course not!

    You just appear to be his cyber-doppelganger; a mysterious fellow that happens to be awake in the middle of the night at the same time Masnick is, writes in the exact same style as he does, and feels a desperate urge to defend him with an inane, long-winded, narcissistic missive that mirrors his delusional doctrine.

    yea. yup.

     

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

  25.  
    identicon
    Di Fiasco, May 27th, 2011 @ 5:34am

    Ironically - if the European Union actually DID adopt a pan-european licensing scheme, it would be the first example of an effective multi-state measure that actually benefits all E.U. citizens. (I won't hold my breath) If they keep this up, they might start talking about an elected E.U. President! (that's right, friends! We can't even elect our own President.)

     

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

  26.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 5:45am

    Re:

    Not that we didn't know this already, but Sean Parker is infinitely smarter than Mike Masnick:


    I agree. Never claimed otherwise. I think Parker is quite smart.

    But, let's look at what he has to say.

    “I think that there is a pretty dramatic change in the way music is monetised that is on the cusp of happening. Back catalogues of record labels are going to become extremely valuable,” he said, just as music publishers’ back catalogues have become more valuable.

    I agree. I think the back catalogues are extremely valuable. My problem is with how the labels are fucking that up and not monetizing it as well as they could.

    “If you believe this transformation is occurring, if you believe the broken distribution systems are on the verge of being fixed, those recordings are dramatically undervalued.”

    Again, no disagreement. Though, I'd point out that the reason they're being undervalued is current management's cluelessness. I think Parker agrees.

    The “old model” of iTunes sells a lot of singles and top-40 hits, he said, but on Spotify – in which Mr Parker is an investor – “it’s the back catalogue that is driving the consumption”.

    I've pointed out the same thing in the past. So, not sure where there's any disagreement. The labels' value has been in their back catalogue. I had a post on that exact thing a few months ago.

    As people build libraries and playlists, they start subscribing to take that music on the move. Many are still sceptical about Spotify’s business model, but Mr Parker believes it’s a “dramatic paradigm shift” in consumption that “implies the traditional music companies are undervalued”.

    Sure. But the reason is that the management doesn't know what they're doing or how to maximize that value.

    “In the last 10 years we have presided over the greatest destruction in value in the history of the music industry,” he said, with a formerly $45bn industry “brought to its knees” to today’s $12bn worth. “Assuming we can stabilise things and restore growth, it shouldn’t be that difficult to preside over the greatest increase in value in the history of the recorded music industry.”

    Here we disagree. The value hasn't gone away. It's still there. It's just that current management has screwed things up. Good management could seriously turn things around. I've said exactly that.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070201/004218.shtml

    So, sure, I think Sean Parker is a lot smarter than I am, but on this we basically agree. There's tremendous value that's been held back by the current management. Smarter management could unlock it. I just see no indication that any of the major labels are heading in that direction.

     

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

  27.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 5:46am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Just sign in, Masnick. You embarrass yourself with these types of posts...


    Huh? I always sign in and stick by my positions. I put my name to my posts. Unlike some people.

    And I can say with utmost certainty that I was deep in dreamland when that other comment was posted, but thanks for playing.

     

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

  28.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 5:47am

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

    Curious that you have free access to IP addys on TD...


    He doesn't. I don't know what that claim was based on, but he does not have access to IPs.

     

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

  29.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 5:48am

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

    I think you'll find that that identisign is a New York one. So, unless Mike is actually in New York, you're full of shit.

    Well, you're correct that it wasn't me, but not correct about anything else. The Gravatars do not reveal IP addresses at all, as they're hashed.

     

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

  30.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, May 27th, 2011 @ 6:52am

    Re:

    You think that the opinion of anyone who disagrees with you in any way shape or form is worthless. Their report is worthless only because it doesn't entirely agree with you.

     

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

  31.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re:

    "Here we disagree. The value hasn't gone away. It's still there. It's just that current management has screwed things up. Good management could seriously turn things around. I've said exactly that."

    Even with good-smarter-better mamangement there is no way to turn the trend around. Music in the end will become advertisement for other things, concerts, merchandise, etc. It will also be licensed to content providers, movies, radio-web stations, TV shows. The trends are all there and forecasting them out based on, the history from countries where content sales have tanked, the music aquisition trends of an aging 14-32 year old age group, the competion from new artists not going the label route, the number of music as advertising (free) artists making it on to the top 100 by year, and a couple other trends. It all points to one conclusion.

    The labels are going to become increasingly irrelevent over time, competition is going to drive the use of their catalogs way down, and their profits will tank.

    ie. They are boned, and there is nothing they can do about it.

     

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

  32.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 8:35am

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

    Worth a try. Was trying to counter-troll.

     

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

  33.  
    icon
    The eejit (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 8:37am

    Re:

    On the plus side, the EU woudl be terrifying if it ever got its shit together.

     

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

  34.  
    icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Even with good-smarter-better mamangement there is no way to turn the trend around. Music in the end will become advertisement for other things, concerts, merchandise, etc.

    Right, but that shows how value it is... You just have to recognize how to monetize that value.

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 8:54am

    Harmonizing IP laws

    Your points are good, and these are important considerations.

    However, in the long term, business and personal freedom depend on consistency and certainty. Business is much more efficient and robust with uniform laws and uniform enforcement.

    If individual countries are allowed to "experiment", they will nearly always, in the long run, fall under the influence of big business and repression. The little guys must band together to face big guys on an equal basis.

     

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

  36.  
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    DNY (profile), May 27th, 2011 @ 10:01am

    A proposal for harmonizing copyright and patent law

    I've decided that the phrase "intellectual property" is an example of Newspeak, and except in quoting others or casting scorn on the notion that state-granted monopolies constitute "property", will not use the phrase henceforth.

    As to harmonizing copyright and patent law, I have a simple proposal: let the whole world adopt as a uniform standard the Law of Queen Anne (14 years copyright, extendable at the request of the author, not the author's publisher, not a literary estate, the author, period, for another 14 years), and an update of the original modern patent law, the Statute on Monopolies of 1624.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    patent litigation, Jun 6th, 2011 @ 3:00pm

    harmonization

    I'm all for increased efficiency and cross-border collaboration and cooperation. One difficulty, however, is that some of the attempts at harmonization in the U.S. create provisions that potentially conflict with long-standing US law and/or tradition. The House version of the current patent reform bill presents just one example of this. Retention of national sovereignty is a big issue in harmonization, and it still hasn't been adequately addressed, in my opinion.

     

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


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