New Platform Launched To Crowdsource Better Internet-Related Regulation... With Expert Help

from the hybrid-approach dept

In the wake of the SOPA/PIPA fight, there have been more and more efforts to use the interest in keeping the internet free and open in a more proactive manner, rather than just reactive. We've already talked about the Reddit community crowdsourcing a law, as well as our own attempt at crowdsourcing an internet innovation agenda (which is generating some interesting discussions). Within Congress, there is also the Madison platform, which was used to crowdsource feedback on Darrell Issa and Ron Wyden's OPEN Act, and suggests an interesting way that bills should be presented for feedback.

However, as many people have noted, there have been some limitations to these efforts. With the Reddit example, what comes out of a totally open system for generating laws has been a little... messy so far. It's pretty clear that the drafts coming out have significant problems and so far seem pretty disconnected from any actual policy objectives, and thus seem unlikely to actually get anywhere. That could change over time, and I'm still eager to see what happens with it, but watching the process is at times cringe-worthy, as you think about how just a little help from people who actually know how this stuff works might help speed things along. At the opposite end of the spectrum, the Madison platform, while a nice idea, still relies on someone in Congress to have a bill ready to go -- and many of the complaints about the platform (such as those seen in the article linked above) are that it really discourages participation.

Is there a middle ground approach to all of this? The folks at Public Knowledge seem to think so, as they've launched a rather interesting project called the Internet Blueprint. Unfortunately, I think the design needs a lot of work, as it's not entirely clear how it works, but the idea behind the site is that users can submit ideas for legislation. From there, people can vote. Similar to the White House's "We The People" petition site, if a proposal reaches a specific threshold of votes, Public Knowledge will then get actual legislative language written up, either by themselves or by other experts (or may explain why a certain bill can't be written up, if that's the case).

Then, once a bill is ready, the site can list out Congressional (or organizational) supporters to champion the bill. Initially, they're starting out with five specific bills that I think many people around here will appreciate:
  1. Curb Abuses of Copyright Takedowns
  2. Ensure Openness in International IP Negotiations
  3. Permit Lawful Uses of Copyrighted Content
  4. Reduce Copyright Abuse and Overreach
  5. Shorten Copyright Terms
In other words, this is something of a hybrid approach. Rather than a full on crowdsourced version, like Reddit, this has an initial proposal and voting period, but then someone with experience in actually writing legislative language helps out. This is a beta launch, and I know Public Knowledge has a lot more planned, so while I think the platform is a bit limited right now, I'm excited to see what comes out of it. For example, I hope they work on cleaning up the design, but also it would be nice to allow more commentary and feedback on the bills already submitted (more like the Madison platform). If they could combine all of those features, the overall system could be really quite useful.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Yeah! The inmates are going to write the prison rules.

    Awesome!

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

    "as you think about how just a little help from people who actually know how this stuff works might help speed things along."

    And I think of all the chances for regulatory, congressional, and judicial capture to muck it up.

     

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  3.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:45pm

    Re:

    Glad to know how you really feel about the customers.

     

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  4.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:47pm

    Too bad the hurdles put in place by the Berne Convention, WIPO and WTO are preventing real reform in the length of copyright. While the 50 year term for corporate copyright is acceptable, the life+50 years proposed for individual copyright is still far too long.

     

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  5.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

    Re:

    Its a step in the right direction. For so long we've only moved one way. It'd be nice to show the world that IP creation will not experience negative outcomes if we went the other way for a change.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re:

    I don't look at people as "customers", why would I? I don't sell movies or music.

    The 5 points posted are totally silly. They are a wish list of the abolitionist types, paring away the rights of artist, creators, and those who buy those works, and tries to create a freetardian paradise.

    Let's redo the list:


    1 - Curb Abuses of Copyright Material
    2 - Ensure Openness in International IP Negotiations
    3 - more clearly define "fair use", without giving the shop away
    4 - Reduce Copyright Abuse and misuse of copyright content
    5 - Shorten the time required to bring a copyright case to court

    There. FTFY.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re:

    Glad to know how you really feel about the customers.

    Customers pay.

     

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  8.  
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    awbMaven (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:06pm

    Spider-man required

    I think it would be handy to have a something that can create a spider-matrix of laws which have certain terms in, ie "IPR", "patent", etc. In that way citizens could keep an eye out for any newly proposed laws or modifications to old ones.

    As more and more laws have within them not what it says on the tin, it's often very very difficult to know if a law has been passed that has something your trying to follow, hidden within it.

     

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  9.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sounds like you are ok with #2. Will it be getting your vote?

     

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  10.  
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    Jeremy, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:12pm

    No Law is needed, existing laws already are too much

    It's up to the content holders now to provide what the customers want, they've already got enough ways to go after pirates.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:15pm

    playing them at their own game. far too sensible an idea. it will never be allowed to get off the present 'drawing board' by the already bought and paid for politicians or the entertainment industries.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    No you just made the list already on the desk of every lawyer employees by the legacy industries. Except #2 isn't on there of course.

    Why shouldn't we have a group of people work for the public's interest? Why should that group have the same goals as billions of dollars worth of lawyers do?

    You fuckers are always saying "If you don't like the law, change it." Why get huffy if we try to do that? Millions of people disagree with the way the system operates, but it makes a handful of people rich so we should either leave it alone or reinforce it?

     

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  13.  
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    9999999, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:20pm

    Ideas rule

    The Internet represents the ultimate database for ideas for a free people. This is why the Government is going to be continuously relentless in their attacks and advances to regulate it. Senator Orrin Hatch says the Government should be blowing up computers without due process to combat online piracy. Could it lead to this? This was over a decade ago. http://www.dethronehatch.com/orrin-hatch-is-no-friend-of-the-internet/

     

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  14.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Sir, I download things over a FIOS connection, use gold plated cables, a computer housed in liquid steel with water cooling, a cisco business router (at home), onto a state of the art machine with the highest DPI mouse and best mechanical keyboard (using cherry red switches) available. I take great offense at you thinking I would Abuse, or Misuse the content I pirate. It's treated wonderfully and is completely free range with every 1GB of data being given an additional 3GB of storage space while also being allowed to wander wherever it would like across my RAID array. How many content creators do you think can claim that they allow the very same files such a high standard of living and storage?

    And you dare claim that I ABUSE or MISUSE this content? Good day to you sir!

     

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  15.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:26pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    So why do you treat them like criminals?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Ideas rule

    I can't wait for them to create something like that. Wait till anonymous gets a hold of the computer go kaboom code.

     

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  17.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You say that the list proposed here is silly, but your list is even more so.

    1 - Curb Abuses of Copyright Material

    What abuses? Please provide some examples of how copyrighted material is abused. What I see on a daily basis is copyright holders lashing out at fair use of their works. These fair uses do not harm the original market in anyway, but the copyright holders don't want any part of it. Educational use, personal use, research use, all of them are considered on the same level as flat out copyright infringement.

    2 - Ensure Openness in International IP Negotiations

    Funny you list that but lash out at Techdirt every time we point out an instance where such negotiations are done behind closed doors. SOPA/PIPA, done behind closed doors with no transparency. ACTA/TPP, done behind closed doors with no transparency.

    When we actually ask for transparency and an open dialog, we are called liars and thieves.

    3 - more clearly define "fair use", without giving the shop away

    Except that has never been asked for by your side. Every three years US citizens have to beg for fair use exemptions that they otherwise would have had if it weren't for the DMCA. Every three years the copyright holders rant and rave about how simple fair uses such as allowing educators to use copyrighted material in class presentations and lesson plans will somehow be the death of the industry. If you want an open dialog about fair use, it would help that you stop actively trying to kill such uses.

    4 - Reduce Copyright Abuse and misuse of copyright content

    This is just a rehash of point one.

    5 - Shorten the time required to bring a copyright case to court

    Court cases are already stacked in the favor of the copyright holder. Why do you need more power than you already have? Copyright holders are already immune to any recourse for falsely sending DMCA notices. SOPA would have expanded the protections for copyright holders to let them have their way with no consequences. There is no reason to expand that to the further detriment of the consumer.

    The goal of this Blueprint effort is to bring more balance back to copyright and bring it more inline with its stated purpose of enriching the public domain.

    Please provide some actual arguments on how these 5 listed blueprints will actually be harmful to the copyright industries.

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Derpsley, it's the ones who freeload themselves and redistribute to others that is the problem. Sometimes consuming the content lawfully does excuse the behavior.

     

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  19.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Customers pay.

    Speaking of which, you sure ran like a spooked child when you were caught making a stupid assumption the other day, huh? Lots of people recognize that customers don't always have to pay to be important -- but since you don't sell anything but your soul, I can understand why giving away things for *free* to customers (yes, customers) often makes a lot of sense. Perhaps you should buy Dubber's book. You might learn something.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120224/15462417873/andrew-dubbers-favorite-techdirt -posts-week.shtml#c278

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    I would love to see GitHub being used to craft the legislation with an interface to see how many people are working or download a draft and "like it" so people can get a sense of what people want and what they can agree on and move along those things that can muster wide support.

    You see with the "branch" thing people would decide which people they trust to write something and then get reviewed by the lawyers.

    Then mix that with the idea of having a list of who supports what and people can actually vote for the issues and have them resolved instead of voting for political parties.

    This is something very new, and the mistakes will be many, but people are learning fast that they can write their own laws and they got the power to put the people to enact those laws.

    Next step in ten years is the realization that people can also chose judges to be in the supreme court and keep an eye on other offices that are not occupied by elected officials but appointed by them, meaning the revolving door could actually be about people who the public trust that will be put in place, once the public start compiling annual lists of people who could fit in position.

     

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  21.  
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    Mike42 (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    Something to think about....

    I am 42. The bulk of the people in my generation have no idea that you no longer need to register a copyright. They had no idea that the Copyright Law of 1976 or the Sonny Bono Act were passed. They have no idea that the copyright term is now life of the author +75 years, or publish date + 95. The laws were passed quietly and stealthily.
    People older than I are completely clueless on the matter, for the most part.
    So, as you raise public awareness, you will certainly find more support. Repeal these mickey-mouse laws!

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:54pm

    Re:

    This is why the whole world should start writing their own laws, the public unanimously is against those copyright terms if just the big economies start rewriting their laws others would fallow.

    Those treaties then would not be a problem, the problem is how to make everyone act one after the other to enact the laws, if one country shows the way, others would soon fallow suit and we would be writing global laws, not just for one country but for the entire world.

    Too big of a dream?

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Silly for you that is a minority, not for the majority.

     

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  24.  
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    The eejit (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The "rights" are rarely in the actual creator's hands when it comes to negotiating international agreements. They're in the hands of a trade organization's members, who merely finance the production. Moreover, Hollywood came about because of excessively restrictive IP laws regarding patents, and one Thomas Edison was the ultimate IP conman (see, for example, the amount of damage he did to Tesla's reputation with his faked electrocution video when electrical standards were competing.)

     

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  25.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    *looks at your "corrections".*

    Hmm...

    As Dr. Cox would go...

    "Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! Wrong, wrong, wrong, wrong! You are wrong! Wrong! Wrooooong!"

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 5:28pm

    Re: Re: Ideas rule

    Well of course such a kill-switch wouldn't be on any government/business computers, there'd be no reason for it!

    Everyone already knows they would never do anything like break the very laws they push for, so it would just be a waste of time and money to booby-trap their computers.

    And if, IF mind you, some nefarious activity was detected on their computers, why it must be hackers, or dirty hacker pirates, because they'd never do anything wrong, so naturally there'd be no reason to punish them for it!

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 6:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Speaking of which, you sure ran like a spooked child when you were caught making a stupid assumption the other day, huh?

    Speaking of which, what? Ran like a spooked child? What are you babbling about Chubby?

     

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  28.  
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    TDR, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 6:50pm

    Curb Abuses of Copyright Takedowns
    Ensure Openness in International IP Negotiations
    Permit Lawful Uses of Copyrighted Content
    Reduce Copyright Abuse and Overreach
    Shorten Copyright Terms


    Well, that list is sure to send the maximalists and Hollywood bigwigs into collective apoplexy, isn't it? ^_^

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 7:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I don't sell movies or music."

    And from what I've read of your posts, you don't buy either. So what the fuck is your damage you fucking retard? You keep spamming the entire web like its your fucking job to ensure Hollywood's profits. Kill yourself you fucking retard, at least you won't our waste precious oxygen.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Once again you don't need Mike to look at IP addresses to reveal yourself. Aren't you supposed to have become magically unanonymous?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 7:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, #2 is just fine - provided that openess doesn't mean that the consumer side ends up dominating the discussion.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 7:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Ahh Mike, you know better. Even when customers don't pay money, they pay with something else, like their time, their attention, etc.

    Payment doesn't directly mean money. That free sample at the food store? It's not free. You have to at least feign interest to get it. You have to give up some of your scarce time to get it. It's not free.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 7:42pm

    Response to: Anonymous Coward on Feb 28th, 2012 @ 1:36pm

    Last I checked this was SUPPOSED to be a government OF THE PEOPLE, BY THE PEOPLE.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 8:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As opposed to the producer side dominating the discussion?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 28th, 2012 @ 9:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    1 - How is abused? Let's see - everything from Marcus quality remix artists to piracy and beyond. From the street corner guy selling knock off DVDs to Kim Dotcom and all in between, copyright is heavily abused.

    2 - Negotiations: I lash out when Mike (or others here) suggest that consumers are somehow the biggest stakeholders in the deal. They don't have any risk, they don't have any skin in the game. I never have a problem with a consumer rep on a panel, I greatly object to the idea that consumers should rule the world. They are part of the deal, but certainly not the leaders.

    3 - your side: I don't have a side, don't you get it? I don't work for anyone, I don't work for any RIAA or MPAA companies. I am just a guy with an opinion. Fair use should be more clearly defined - but certainly not to the extent that EFF / Google is pushing for. Sorry, but I think the limit of fair use has already been reached.

    4 - rehash: Honestly, it's worth addressing repeatedly.

    5 - "ourt cases are already stacked in the favor of the copyright holder." You are joking, right? Copyright cases (especially online ones) are a freaking joke. There are more thickets than almost any patent puzzle Mike tries to whip up, what with discovery against the ISP, and all that goes with that, and then the debate over jurisdiction, the fight to get the evidence, to get it into court, to seat a jury, and to go through the whole process, only to have a the judge decide that a jury of the defendants peers "made a mistake". Why do you think that Thomas, Tanenbaum, and cases of that ilk are dragging along for years, which widespread copyright violation goes on?

    There needs to be a move to bring the legal system up to internet speed.

    "Please provide some actual arguments on how these 5 listed blueprints will actually be harmful to the copyright industries."

    See above. Almost all of the proposals are there to greatly weaken copyright, to provide no new means to deal with the existing infringement issues, and to expand fair use to the point where nearly every copyright case could be defended as fair use - if you can figure out how to get it through court in less than a decade.

    So yeah... harmful.

     

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  36.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Feb 28th, 2012 @ 9:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Great use of sarcasm there!

    I almost thought you were serious.

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 29th, 2012 @ 3:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    So if payment doesn't mean money, can we say that pirates have to spend time and attention to get what they want, and this therefore invalidates the whole "You can't compete with free" argument?

     

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  38.  
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    Machin Shin (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "I greatly object to the idea that consumers should rule the world."

    I really hate to break it to you but consumers do kind of rule the world. Piracy is largely a result of the content industry treating people like trash. Sure some pirate because they can but a large number would pay if there were treated right.

    Of course your counter argument is that enforcement is just not strong enough. Well here is a news flash for you. Throwing someone in jail will NEVER make you another sale. In fact this drive for more insane enforcement makes me LESS likely to buy anything.

    You guys also love to throw around the thing saying that if the evil pirates steal everything then you will have no money to make anything new. Well if you make everyone hate you so only a very few people will buy anything you will not have any money.

    So go ahead, fight for all you are worth. In the end you will find that the consumer in the end will always have the final say. They will buy your product or they won't. No amount of enforcement or laws will change that. The simple fact of the matter is that people do not want the product how it is being offered to them.

     

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  39.  
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    Chargone (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 6:49am

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

    there was an entire article on the subject not long ago, even.

     

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  40.  
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    E. Zachary Knight (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How is abused? Let's see - everything from Marcus quality remix artists to piracy and beyond.

    I see you still have your unhealthy infatuation with Marcus. You might want to get that checked out.

    Now, how exactly are remix artists harming the market for the original work? Are you saying that a person will listen to a remix, catch a 10 second guitar riff and decide that is enough of the original to never need to hear it? If that is the case, then the problem is not with the remix.

    Knock off DVDs, I wil lgive you that because you are right. They are breaking the law. They don't have my support.

    Dotcom, however, was providing a valuable service to a vast number of artists. He was providing them a way to give their art away and make money from it. Was Dotcom's service used for infringemnet as well? Sure, but so is the VCR, the DVR, the Computer, the Cassette tape, the MP3 player, Youtube, Veoh etc. All those services were found to be legal because they had substantial non-infringing uses. To say that Megaupload does not is to be willfully blind.

    I greatly object to the idea that consumers should rule the world. They are part of the deal, but certainly not the leaders.

    Then you have no idea how economics and markets work. The consumers are the rulers of the market. Without them, the market fails. To say that copyright is different is again to be willfully ignorant and blind.

    Copyright was designed as a means to increase the public culture, not to enrich corporations and the great-great-great-grandchildren of an artist. It was designed to bring more cultural works to the public. Current copyright has moved far from that original purpose.

    Fair use should be more clearly defined - but certainly not to the extent that EFF / Google is pushing for. Sorry, but I think the limit of fair use has already been reached.

    Sure you think fair use has already been reached, but a large number of people in the world, the majority of consumers by the way, feel otherwise. When it is legal to rip your cd to your computer and your iPhone, but not your DVD people find that absurd. When it is legal to loan out a physical copy of a work but not a digital copy, people think that is absurd. There is a growing number of people who have been raised on digital technologies. These people are going to be the ones to influence public policy. You might want to get used to it.

    Regardless of what you want to believe, social mores and norms are brought about by what the rising generations find acceptable. By what the rising generations do. Sure the dying generations can try to fight it, but the will eventually die and the new generations will take over. Copyright will be the same.

    Honestly, it's worth addressing repeatedly.

    And you are wrong every time.

    Copyright cases (especially online ones) are a freaking joke. There are more thickets than almost any patent puzzle Mike tries to whip up, what with discovery against the ISP, and all that goes with that, and then the debate over jurisdiction, the fight to get the evidence, to get it into court, to seat a jury, and to go through the whole process, only to have a the judge decide that a jury of the defendants peers "made a mistake". Why do you think that Thomas, Tanenbaum, and cases of that ilk are dragging along for years, which widespread copyright violation goes on?

    The only reason those cases are dragging on for years is because the copyright holders are not satisfied with the judge's decisions. The judge rightfully thinks that $1.5million for 24 songs is insane, but the RIAA want to continue to push for it. Eventually the whole thing is going to collapse. But to say that the courts are not stacked in the favor of the copyright industry completely ignores what actually happens.

    Take Veoh for instance. The site was ruled to be legal many many times, however, Universal kept pushing until it completely broke Veoh. When a massive corporation can use the courts as a blunt instrument to kill a legal service, or to unfairly punish a person, the nyes it is stacked in the copyright industry's favor.

     

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  41.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Feb 29th, 2012 @ 10:02am

    Protect the internet and individual rights

    All these things miss the point. So long as donors are allowed to make unlimited contributions to politicians (the worst Supreme Court holding ever), big money will make all the important decisions.
    Campaign Finance Reform, anyone?

     

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  42.  
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    rasgarsa, Mar 1st, 2012 @ 9:51am

    Minimun Copyrightable

    Since i've been seeing many copyright clames for rather stupid things, i was thinking of something lika a minimum copyrightable lenght of sorts, wiht its proper excemptions like slogans and things

     

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