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How The RIAA & MPAA Are Like The Anti-Innovation German Weavers' Guild Of The 16th Century

from the protectionism,-not-innovation dept

Five years ago, we wrote a post comparing the RIAA (and the MPAA) to 17th century French buttonmakers, who used their guild to go absolutely crazy in blocking a horrifying new innovation: cloth buttons, which could be made by weavers, without making use of the members of the buttonmakers guilt. The story came from Robert L. Heilbroner's book The Worldly Philosophers (an all around excellent book if you want to learn some of the basics of the history of economics).
"The question has come up whether a guild master of the weaving industry should be allowed to try an innovation in his product. The verdict: 'If a cloth weaver intends to process a piece according to his own invention, he must not set it on the loom, but should obtain permission from the judges of the town to employ the number and length of threads that he desires, after the question has been considered by four of the oldest merchants and four of the oldest weavers of the guild.' One can imagine how many suggestions for change were tolerated.

Shortly after the matter of cloth weaving has been disposed of, the button makers guild raises a cry of outrage; the tailors are beginning to make buttons out of cloth, an unheard-of thing. The government, indignant that an innovation should threaten a settled industry, imposes a fine on the cloth-button makers. But the wardens of the button guild are not yet satisfied. They demand the right to search people's homes and wardrobes and fine and even arrest them on the streets if they are seen wearing these subversive goods."
I think the parallels to the RIAA and the MPAA are pretty self-evident. Freaking out about others entering the market? Check. Running to the government and demanding protections? Check. Expecting others to get permission to innovate? Check. Able to get government-sanctioned fines levied on those new players? Check. Feeling totally entitled to violate the property rights of others to "find" evidence of "subversive goods"? Check.

It seems this comparison between the RIAA/MPAA and protectionist, anti-innovation guilds of that era has occurred to others as well. In a recent episode of the Planet Money podcast, host Adam Davidson does a "deep dive" into the economics of a 16th century German weavers' guild and discovers the same patterns. Collusion in the guild to keep out innovation, to artificially limit the market, to keep wages of employees down and, most importantly, the first response to any competitive threat is to run to the government and lobby for greater protections.

The comparison to the RIAA and MPAA is so obvious that Adam Davidson calls it out pretty early on in the discussion, noting that these "guilds" don't seem all that different from those two groups today. Of course, given that they're both built on copyright law, which originally was designed as a protectionist tool for a similar publishers guild, perhaps the similarities aren't too surprising.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    DannyB (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 5:54am

    Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    Only accredited musicians can use the .music domain.

    If we have an official place for music, free from piracy, then it would seem to make good sense that any music on any other domain, or IP address not associated with a .music domain or .movie domain is prima facie evidence of infringement.

    Having the .music and .movie domains, and outlawing music or movies on other domains is not enough. We must diligently police people's homes, businesses and automobile conveyances to ensure that no infringement occurs.

     

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    mike conte (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:05am

    is there any upside to protectionism

    fascinating as always (and I liked your speech at Midem).

    innocent question: can you think of situations in the past where protectionism was a good thing? might inform the current debate.

     

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    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:10am

    Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    Seems like it would be easier to just outlaw all music. That way if someone is caught with music in their possession, or music paraphernalia, we won't need through the confusing process of deciding whether their music is legitimate or not.

    Of course to be equitable, we'd probably ban movies, art and emotions in general. Everyone would have to dose twice a day with 'equilibrium' to make sure none of us get the urge to be creative in an unsanctioned manner.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:15am

    the similarities are frightening! over 400 years later and basically nothing has changed. politicians are simply a corrupt bunch of arse holes, that make themselves available to the highest bidder!

     

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    blue tongue, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:21am

    History may not repeat, but it rhymes

    The buggy whip industry railed against the car industry in the US, which in turn laughed and made jokes about the Luddites who were not willing to change with the times. Then the US car industry got some competition from foreign automakers, and whined that it was somehow "unfair". After 50 years of this situation, a few US car makers are starting to change a little. No innovation, just copying the foreign car companies that they whined about copying them.

    The MPAA and the RIAA are no different. They put thousands of musicians out of work when recorded sound was introduced. They didn't care back then, but now that they have become the Luddites of sound and view, the RIAA and the MPAA fund guild laws to keep us mired in the buggywhip making past.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:28am

    " the similarities are frightening! over 400 years later and basically nothing has changed. politicians are simply a corrupt bunch of arse holes, that make themselves available to the highest bidder! "

    Human beings haven't changed. Politicians are just human beings with power over others. everyone honestly believes that if THEY had the power that the current group has they would do things better, do the 'right' things. In the 60's all those idealistic kids decried the power of 'The Man' and said that once they got to sit in the big chair the world would change. Well, a lot of those same kids are now sitting in those chairs and we all can see just how much different things are, they're actually worse, more greedy, more restrictive, more power hungry than those before them.

    No, it's not 'Politicians' that need to change. People need to change.

     

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  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:39am

    Re:

    "People need to change."

    Uh, given our track record of repeated screw-ups, I think humans changing their ways is out of the question. There is really only one way to really fix things: Nuke 'it'* from orbit, and start over. Incidentally, killing people is the one thing we are really good at, so that shouldn't be hard to pull off.


    *'It' being our planet, that is.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:44am

    Fitting quote...

    "Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it."

    -- George Santayana from The Life of Reason (1905-1906), Vol. I, Reason in Common Sense

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:46am

    The horror of the evil cloth buttons!

    If you wear clothes with cloth buttons you're saying "I don't care about paying good hard working button manufacturers for their product"!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:49am

    Re: History may not repeat, but it rhymes

    "They put thousands of musicians out of work when recorded sound was introduced. They didn't care back then,"

    Of course they didn't care, their ox wasn't being gored.

     

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    GMacGuffin (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:51am

    Re: Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    ... or you could force everyone to watch the movie "Equilibrium" and cure them of the desire to watch any others.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:52am

    Re: Re:

    " I think humans changing their ways is out of the question"

    This is so true especially so since the stupid greedy self-centered ones breed faster.

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:54am

    So what we've learned here is education about our history is hugely lacking. This proves that those who refuse to learn history are doomed to repeat it...

    Or...

    http://www.motifake.com/133007

     

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    Samuel Abram (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:04am

    One thing I quibble with...

    Of course, given that they're both built on copyright law, which originally was designed as a protectionist tool for a similar publishers guild, perhaps the similarities aren't too surprising.


    Keep in mind when Copyright was created by the Statute of Anne, it actually was supposed to expire. When the US Constitution copy&pasted it into the consitution, the "limited times" part was important.

    Copyright was indeed a protectionist tool, but a protectionist tool whose protections expired, which made it sort of a utilitarian tool.

    Not to mention that the MPAA would not be here were it not for Edison's patents expiring, so...

    However, we have lost all sight of the "expiration" part and why that was so important to letting commerce and culture thrive.

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:05am

    Re: Fitting quote...

    Progress is nothing but the victory of laughter over dogma.
    - Benjamin de Casseres (American journalist cc1900)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:12am

    Re: is there any upside to protectionism

    That's an unanswerable question. It all depends on how you look at it. Excessive protectionism is considered good by the industry that is being protected, but bad by anyone else wanting to compete in the same space. It's a question of balance--how much protection and for how long do we give a group (which is good for that group, but bad for others), to get the benefits that that group provides (which is good for everyone). Most of the arguments here are not that protectionism in itself is bad, just that it is becoming so excessive that the positives are far outweighed by the negatives, and the belief by many that if some protectionism is good more must be better.

     

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  17.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:17am

    Re:

    and yet we continue to put Government in charge of Education, where history/economics/math/science are downplayed and touchy-feely crap is rule 1....

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:24am

    "I think the parallels to the RIAA and the MPAA are pretty self-evident. Freaking out about others entering the market? Check."

    When you are competing against the illegal distribution of your own property, I don't think that is called "freaking out", its called demanding enforcement action.

    "Running to the government and demanding protections? Check. "

    You mean demanding the government ENFORCE EXISTING LAWS?

    "Expecting others to get permission to innovate? Check."

    Taking something that someone else owns the rights to and then distributing it without their permission is clearly a violation of existing copyright law even before Napster was created.

    "Able to get government-sanctioned fines levied on those new players? Check."

    These "new players" were BREAKING EXISTING LAWS.

    "Feeling totally entitled to violate the property rights of others to "find" evidence of "subversive goods"? Check."

    What?????

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:38am

    Re: Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    The MPAA/RIAA would probably support the ban, as long as everyone had a piracy fee automatically deducted from their paycheck, welfare checks, and food stamps and forwarded directly to the MPAA/RIAA.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:40am

    Re:

    "What?????"

    SOPA/PIPA/ACTA.

     

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  21.  
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    weneedhelp (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:43am

    Re:

    As always you missed the point, which was that they freak out about every new technology that came along that actually helped them. VCR, CD, DVD, etc.


    Way to miss the point.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:54am

    Re:

    These laws were illegally bought and paid for by special interest groups through bribery and corruption in the first place.

     

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  23.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 7:58am

    Re:

    You mean demanding the government ENFORCE EXISTING LAWS?

    Against other Jurisdictions that are sovereign in their own right and have no responsibility no legal obligation to protect US industry interests (ie: Russia, Spain, ACTA)


    Taking something that someone else owns the rights to and then distributing it without their permission is clearly a violation of existing copyright law even before Napster was created.
    Taking what? Taking the item? NOPE doesn't happen.. Removing the use of the item from the owners possession. Nope again. Distributing something without the copyright licenesees permission.. this is a ethcical problem especially when the ORIGINAL creator actually wants the item distributed and the licensee won't allow it. Or not in specific markets resulting in anti-trust and/or restraint issues.

    These "new players" were BREAKING EXISTING LAWS.
    Really? Iat the most they were infringing and were NOT breaking any "laws" (which are criminal) at all. And as any lawyer will tell you, bad laws happen because people do things that the statutes never envisioned/anticipated, and the laws are created for society as a whole, if society as a whole thinks those 'laws' are wrongful, then those laws should be breached and changed to reflect what society now thinks. Things change, sadly idiots don't!

    "Feeling totally entitled to violate the property rights of others to "find" evidence of "subversive goods"? Check."
    Violating property rights is what the RIAA & MPAA are great at, especially via their puppets in an American Agency called ICE. Or are you stating that domain names becasue they are intangible are not classified as property? Be very careful of how you answer that question.

     

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    Ed C., Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:02am

    Re: Re:

    I think humans changing their ways is out of the question.

    Personally, I think people are capable of great good as well. It's merely a matter of which philosophy drives their thinking. The modern "capitalist" philosophy drowns any natural inclination towards altruism with heavy doses of narcissism--distilling vices such as selfishness and greed, then bottling it as a 'virtue'.

     

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  25.  
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    Niall (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:10am

    Re: Re:

    So who else should be in charge? Local people? Look how well that worked in Dover, Kansas...

    Government-mandated education has the advantage of being able to work to a common standard (and no, *not8 the lowest common demoninator), which is useful when it comes to literacy, including and especially scientific and numerical literacy. Every other Western country has more government control over education than the US, and look how you compare ;)

     

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  26.  
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    BentFranklin (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:23am

    Re:

    "Well, a lot of those same kids are now sitting in those chairs and we all can see just how much different things are, they're actually worse, more greedy, more restrictive, more power hungry than those before them."

    A question I would like to ask Ron Kirk: "When you got into local politics in Dallas in the 70's, was it your goal even then to become a complete sell-out?"

     

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  27.  
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    MrWilson, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    Nobody who pirates music and movies is poor! Everyone knows that pirates are making millions of dollars off of piracy. They pirate with other pirates in pirate-y networks and laugh all the way to the bank. The pirates also don't spend money locally and fund international terrorism!

    And that is why we need a new SOPA law!

    /s

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:29am

    Re: Re:

    The point wasn't missed just utterly ignored. "BUT THE LAW!!!" is always the point.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:30am

    Re: One thing I quibble with...

    Indeed. The limitations imposed by copyright in its original form were not necessarily damaging and even a positive restriction if such a thing exists.

    The fact that they're now applied automatically with no realistic expiry date and are usually handed to corporations rather than creators? That's the problem...

     

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    They already have that in some places, and are working towards it in others. Taxes on hard drives, blank media, etc. Mind you it doesn't make it ok to "steal" from them, but because these items are used by infringers we might as well get paid upfront.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:35am

    Re:

    Intellectual property is not property dude.

     

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  32.  
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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:38am

    Re: Re:

    Because they want headlines, not progress.
    Many politicians dislike what the Patriot Act does, but they don't dare move against it because then they are shown to be "soft" on terrorism.
    Citizens need to learn to look past the claims of the talking heads and think for themselves.

    We need to stop demanding things to make us "feel" better and demand what actually makes us better.

     

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  33.  
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    Niall (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:43am

    Re:

    This will be the same movie industry that moved West to avoid dealing with patents/copyrights on the East Coast? Who made it big from pirating themselves? That cry 'wolf' everytime a new innovation comes along? That is still making money hand over fist?

    Riiiiight.

     

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  34.  
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    fogbugzd (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    >>Nobody who pirates music and movies is poor! Everyone knows that pirates are making millions of dollars off of piracy.

    Obviously you are wrong. The simple proof is that if pirates were rich they would own enough congressmen that SOPA have had a bunch of loopholes and tax incentives for piracy. That is the true test of wealth in America!

    I'll se your /s and raise you a /ds (double sarcasm)

     

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    Overcast (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 8:54am

    Simply put - the RIAA and MPAA are the "good ol' boys" club. They want no change, they don't care about customers or the artists, they don't care about advances in technology - only profits.

    It would suit them fine to forever live in the 70's, selling 8-Tracks and Records as long as the profits keep coming.

    If they could charge you per note you listen to - they would do it, if they could charge you not just when you buy the music, but each time you listen they would be in heaven.

    This article only proves as much.

     

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  36.  
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    Overcast (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 9:03am

    Oh and check this out....

    Korn came out with a new CD recently. Someone... gave me a physical copy, OMG!!!!

    I didn't need torrent!!!

    OMG!!!

    Stop that SOPA.

    On the flip side - I bought the CD, and... **I wouldn't have, if I didn't get that copy.** I listened to it a couple times, liked it and bought it - like I usually do when I find music I like.

    I don't typically buy music without hearing it first. Just makes sense, you know? To know what you are getting? What a novel idea.

    But he didn't have to give me that copy, I could have:

    Heard it free on the radio
    Heard it free on the Web
    Heard it free at a club
    Heard it free at the library
    Heard it free on Cable Music
    Heard it free at a demo at a store
    Heard it free in an online game like Second Life
    Heard it free when a friend was playing it
    Heard it free ... (insert something here)

    In all of these 'heard it free' scenarios - I wouldn't have bought the CD if I hadn't... heard it free, first.

    So you owe a sale to a 'pirate', lol.

    I mean seriously - you and I well know that 90% of music sales - I bet the person buying the music has already heard it free somewhere before.

    95%+ of my music I had heard for free before buying it. Now - I insist on 100% of my purchased to hear it free first, and why not?

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 9:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Acutally local governments have shown time and time again to be one of the best at laying out education. Reason is they are closest to those effected (take the US example, Education is mandated in Washington DC which is pretty far removed from say Denver) but removing the cost/consideration of Washington and (we have large cost associated with that national oversight) placing it in the State/City/County where the people will be educated and live changes it for the better. Because how ever you do it (local board, teach board, PTA) they also have to live in the area and if the people do not like what you are doing they get rather vocal and if its your neighbors you tend to listen.. or find a new job (or new city).

    Each year America spends more per student (Government schools, private schools are a different story) and the educational standard lowers ever time... Why? layers upon layers of Government removal from the affected/payers...

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Except if your educated you can see the logical fail in repeating history over and over, where the Politicians have a vested interest in keeping the common citizenry dumb (its easier to be re-elected, and keeps the gravy train of corruption going).

    The root of what is happening is easy to trace back to the origin: Educated men and women do not take the politians at face value, so the solution is to dumb down 51% plus an extra 10% for safety margin.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re:

    Dont worry they wont answer the question... the truth is as fearful as the sunlight to a vampire.. or honesty to a politian.

     

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  40.  
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    By Timmy, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 9:12am

    WE ARE THE MAFIAA. YOUR SOUNDS ARE BELONGING TO US PAY THE GOLD-PRESSED LATINUM NOW OR DIE!

    We must diligently police people's homes, businesses and automobile conveyances to ensure that no infringement occurs.

    Tsk, tsk - not enough. We must ALSO police people's minds and the future in general, and such policing must be extended throughout the universe.

    I'd hate to learn later that 3 humanoids on the 9th planet of the Wooba Dooba System in Galaxy 138427629844938625o7590750237057IUOIUU0[UYTYRXHKE-Delta were trading "Stairway to Heaven" and "I Think I Love You" without paying the shekels in royalties to the appropriate (by then) ugmafiaa (universal galactic mafiaa) and associated criminal conspiracies.

    Here's what I don't get: does even one of these mafiaa bastards believe that their anti-societal and anti-progress behavior will make them richer (their sole concern) in the future rather than piss off the entire world and lead the mafiaa members' demise? The masses seem (rightly) to hate these slimy sob's more every day. I do.

    For most of my considerable adult life, I was on their side. But over the last 10-15 years, due to THEIR behavior, I've grown to loathe them, their endless whining, manipulation and worse, and I now cannot wait for the old mafiaa fossils to drop dead.

    The future is here now and by refusing to adapt (despite many, many years of opportunity) and instead becoming miserable fucking terrorists the mafiaa has consigned themselves and the governments they own to the cut-out bin of history.

    Good riddance.

     

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    Michael Becker (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 9:16am

    Re: laws

    If 90% of the people are breaking specific laws on a daily basis, and feel no remorse about doing so, are the laws actually serving a purpose? Or are they simply there to enable specific people to maintain an artificial power base.

    Government and law are setup at the behest of the governed, and if they do not believe what they are doing is a crime, no amount of "punishment" and "enforcement" will stop people from doing it.

    To share is human, and to share our culture is something we have done for thousands of years, but the MPAA/RIAA want to a price on our culture, demanding payment at every look or sound.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re: Re:

    " I think people are capable of great good as well. It's merely a matter of which philosophy drives their thinking. The modern "capitalist" philosophy drowns any natural inclination towards altruism with heavy doses of narcissism--distilling vices such as selfishness and greed, then bottling it as a 'virtue'. "

    You're kidding .. right ?
    'Capitalist' Philosophy ?
    So, tell me, which philosophy has worked so far without corruption ? Communism ? We see how that worked .. it didn't. Why ? Same reason .. people. Human beings running the show got greedy, power mad, and repressive.
    Socialism ?
    That fails for the EXACT SAME REASON. The element of human greed and vice.

    Each and all theorized systems have the potential for great benefit but will always eventually fall for the same reasons. Humanity simply can't get past it's desire for personal power over others and the need to hoard vast wealth unto themselves without consideration or compassion.

    You tell me which philosophy YOU think should be adhered to. Which one is soooo much better than 'Capitalism'.

    Mind you, I am not defending any one system over another. I am only pointing out that none of them will ever be a positive force as long as people continue to act as they do.

    No, I don't expect you to offer an honest answer.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 10:11am

    Can we have just one post, just one, that's "How the RIAA & MPAA are like ___________" with a fill in so we can get some good jokes going?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 10:13am

    What I find funny is that you seem to roll this story out about every 6 - 8 months, as if it is something new.

    Mike, you can find all sorts of parallels out there if you want. You could compare the patent and copyright systems to the slave drivers in Egypt that made all those people work for the pyramids. I am sure you could find parallels there. You might find it in the era of kings as well, as the various fiefdoms controlled their serfs. You might want to try that.

    It doesn't make your point valid or the answer true, but at least it would give you some new material.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Ed C., Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Re:

    "I think the parallels to the RIAA and the MPAA are pretty self-evident. Freaking out about others entering the market? Check."

    When you are competing against the illegal distribution of your own property, I don't think that is called "freaking out", its called demanding enforcement action.


    You seem to be really confused. This has very little to do with the reproduction and distribution of works owned by the legacy publishers. The real issue is the reproduction and distribution of works NOT owned by the legacy publishers. These "guilded" publishers keep trying to subdue or destroy any competing means of publication that could be used by unsigned talent. They fear that if the talent were to wake up and realize that they are no longer the only means of publication, and that their own is incredibly inefficient and self-serving, no one would sell works to them anymore.


    "Running to the government and demanding protections? Check. "

    You mean demanding the government ENFORCE EXISTING LAWS?


    If it was really about "enforcing existing laws", than NO new laws would need to be passed to achieve that. It would merely be a matter of exercising their existing rights in court. But no, it's really about enforcing what they want the law to say, not what it actually says. They have continually expanded their rights through legislation which they primarily wrote for themselves, expanding "infringement" by making previously legal acts illegal. They then use this "expanding" infringement as an excuse to demand more laws that will give them even more rights to make even more actions illegal.


    "Expecting others to get permission to innovate? Check."

    Taking something that someone else owns the rights to and then distributing it without their permission is clearly a violation of existing copyright law even before Napster was created.


    This is wrong on many counts. First, there are many uses that do not require permission from the copyright owner. The publishers, however, keep pretending that the law says the rights of others do not exist, and then keep trying to pass legislation to abolish these rights. Of course, even a fool could see that there would be absolutely no need for the new laws if the law already says the publishers insist that it says.

    Second, the publishers keep insisting that everyone needs to get permission from them to even create a device or service that can be used with their copyrighted works. They demanded that DVD and BluRay fit their needs above all others and that no devices could be made to use these without going through them first. They constantly demanded that even devices and services for private use had to be crippled or abolished because it didn't get permission from them!


    "Able to get government-sanctioned fines levied on those new players? Check."

    These "new players" were BREAKING EXISTING LAWS.


    Aside from the fact that many of those "existing laws" were primarily written by the publishers solely for their own benefit, even services and businesses that have absolutely nothing to do with them STILL HAVE TO PAY THEM! For instance, restaurants and internet radio stations have to pay fees through industry collections agencies even when they can prove that not a single song by artist covered by them was played. In some countries, EVERYONE has to pay media fees without any proof that even a single bit from their works was used.

    None of this has to do with BREAKING EXISTING LAWS. It's about using the increasingly unbalanced nature of copyright law as a tool to extort money and control. The penalties for infringement are high, while the penalties for false accusations are low and rarely enforced--exactly the way publishers intended.


    "Feeling totally entitled to violate the property rights of others to "find" evidence of "subversive goods"? Check."

    What?????


    You haven't really been paying attention, have you. For instance, the MPAA on more than one occasion had police raid and confiscate DVDs from manufacturers that their members had paid to make those disk!

    It doesn't stop there, these guilded publishers want the ability to check every internet "tube", every connected server and private computer, to "find evidence of subversive goods" without the need of any prior evidence. Accusations based solely on their own paranoid suspicion is enough. You know, just in case... Yet again, they insist that new laws need to be passed to give them the rights to do so, because the existing laws under copyright already give them these rights.

    And you have nothing to fear if you do nothing wrong. It's not as if their haphazard means for enforcement could ever harm law bidding citizens, be used to extort innocents by mere accusations of infringement because they can't afford to fight back in court, or even be subverted by a third parties--such as hackers and governments--for their own nefarious means. Except, they have, and will continue to do so, simply because the publishers have no concern about the ramifications of their actions on others.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 10:30am

    Re: Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    Prozium. The drug in Equilibrium is calle Prozium.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re:

    Who made it big from pirating themselves? That cry 'wolf' everytime a new innovation comes along? That is still making money hand over fist?

    Bill Gates.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 10:51am

    Re: Re: Re:

    The law is a whore.

     

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

  49.  
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    Jeremy2020 (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 11:34am

    Re:

    "Feeling totally entitled to violate the property rights of others to "find" evidence of "subversive goods"? Check."

    What?????

    ------------

    You are aware they (RIAA/MPAA) want our internet traffic monitored and stored right? Just to be sure that no one is infringing

     

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  50.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 12:31pm

    It's all about the mercantilism

    See, what's funny about this isn't that the *AA's are using 17th century business models -- what's funny is that they're stuck using those business models because they're still using 17th century economic theory.

    The notion that we need guilds to protect the workers in an industry? Check. The notion that we need government-enforced protections for those guilds? Check. Attempts by those guilds to monopolize markets and enforce balance-of-trade restrictions? Check. A focus on a physical product rather than adding value through a process? Yup. It's official, folks...what we're looking at here is mercantilism.

    The fundamental assumption of this way of economic thinking is that the amount of wealth in the world is a constant. You can move it around, but you can't generate new wealth. If you take this assumption as a given, then a logical conclusion is that anyone who provides an alternative to your product is costing you a sale. Every time you purchase a cloth button, the button-makers lose a sale; every time somebody pirates a movie, that counts as a lost sale to the movie studio. Sound familiar?

    Anyway, mercantilism has been pretty thoroughly debunked over the last 300 years or so -- it's been long enough that a lot of the fundamental works are actually in the public domain. What's absurd is that the MPAA and RIAA still seem to be using this theory as a basis for their policies.

     

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  51.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    I know. My iPod is work $8 Billion just for the media.

     

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

  52.  
    identicon
    Digitari, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 3:31pm

    RE: think about it

    ..To share is Human.....

    ...To Deceive is by design.....

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Ed C., Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 4:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Nice how you said nothing that actually rebutted what I said, choosing instead to attack what you think I said. Furthermore, I find it rather ironic that you believe "all theorized systems...will always eventually fall for the same reasons," yet you assert that capitalism is better without any justification whatsoever.

    First, note that I said nothing of "economics". Just because I mentioned "capitalism" you assumed that's what I meant. But no, I said "philosophy". I do agree with your assessment that any "economic" system that that fails to take serious issues such as greed into consideration is ultimately doomed. The centralized systems such as the old USSR failed in part because they failed to take greed into consideration. Modern capitalism, however, doesn't treat greed as an issue at all--it upholds greed as such a central tenet that it becomes intertwined with all facets of life and thought. As I said, "philosophy". It's more than mere economics, it's how people live their lives and think about the world.

    Another fallacy of the common systems is they assume people, either as individuals or as a collective society, will always protect their own interest as a matter of self-preservation. However, self-interest can be subverted to serve the interest of a leader or authority instead, often to the detriment of the people. For instance, speculation in the housing market made a few people a lot of money, while the many they conned lost a great deal more.

    To answer your question though, if I had to choose between capitalism, communism or socialism, I would say "D: none of the above". I don't know all of the theorized systems of economics, and I'd contend that you don't either. Just because of all of the current ones in use have failed doesn't mean all options have been tried and that no better system exist. It just means we have to learn from our mistakes and actually do something to address them, rather than assume nothing can be done and doom ourselves to repeating the same mistakes that we already know don't work.

     

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

  54.  
    identicon
    Someone on the internet that is wrong, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 4:48pm

    What about the injustice they are doing to the artists?

    The record companies are charging very high amounts of moneys from us and they give very little to the artist. They own the copyright in most cases, and they practice artist slavery, more or less.
    They way the became rich is by breaking the law themselves. They want the copyright to go 100 years after the artist died, so they can make more maney. All this is about their greed nothing more, nothing less. They don't give anything back to the society.

     

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

  55.  
    icon
    Mockingbird (profile), Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 5:01pm

    suit-to-mill (secta ad molendinum)

    Another legal institution that may aptly be compared to copyright is the old feudal privilege of suit-to-mill. Something I wrote about this 10 years ago seems still to be on point:
    Human institutions tend to perpetuate themselves at others' expense, and even at the expense of the purposes for which they were originally set up. A possible asymptotic condition resulting from this process can be seen in the grievances of the Senechaussee of Rennes, who in 1789 petitioned the Estates General praying for
    Supression de la servitude plus meurtrière du droit de suite de mouline...usage libre des meules à bras; proscription absolue de la capitation seigneuriale à raison de ces tristes machines; et que la postérité ignore, s'il se peut, que la tyrannie féodale bretonne, armée du pouvoir judiciare, n'a pas rougi, dans ces derniers temps, de briser les meules à bras, et de vendre annuellement à des malheureaux la faculté de broyer entre deux pierres une mesure d'orge ou de sarrasin. (Translation: Suppression of the mankilling servitude of suit-to-mill, ... free use of querns; [and] absolute abolition of the royalty on these pathetic engines; that posterity may never know (if that is possible) that the tyrannical Breton lords, armed with the judicial power, did not blush in these modern times to smash querns, and to "sell" to the unfortunate folk annual "license" to grind a measure of barley or buckwheat between two stones.) M.J. Mavidal and M.E. Laurent, eds., Archives Parlementaires de 1787 a 1860, 1st Series, Vol. 5, Paul DuPont, Paris, 1879, p.547 (Article 171).
    What might originally have been a reasonable way of funding the construction of large mills had degenerated into a lords' right that reached even to one of the simplest of everyday activities. The peasants had to get a "license" even to crush grain. I little doubt the lords defended their "property right" in the milling monopoly with many fine words.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    " I find it rather ironic that you believe "all theorized systems...will always eventually fall for the same reasons," yet you assert that capitalism is better without any justification whatsoever. "

    Please quote me the line in my post that asserts capitalism is 'better'. Besides, I don't think 'irony' means what you think it means.

    You on the other hand ...

    "" I think people are capable of great good as well. It's merely a matter of which philosophy drives their thinking. The modern "capitalist" philosophy drowns any natural inclination towards altruism with heavy doses of narcissism--distilling vices such as selfishness and greed, then bottling it as a 'virtue'. "

    ........... began with the assertion that the 'Capitalist Philosophy' is the root of the problem. My assertion is that NO philosophy or system ( however way you wish to mince terms around ) has a chance at success while human greed continues to be the driving force for the majority of humanity as a whole, regardless of 'system' or 'philosophy. You seem to assert that 'Capitalist Philosophy' creates or encourages greed, where I assert that the greedy that already exist corrupt the system itself, and will do so no matter what system/philosophy is employed.

    "Just because of all of the current ones in use have failed doesn't mean all options have been tried and that no better system exist."

    And as long as people continue to behave as they do, no system will succeed. Which is my sole assertion.

    " Nice how you said nothing that actually rebutted what I said, choosing instead to attack what you think I said. "

    What I think you said is this ...

    " I think people are capable of great good as well. It's merely a matter of which philosophy drives their thinking. The modern "capitalist" philosophy drowns any natural inclination towards altruism with heavy doses of narcissism--distilling vices such as selfishness and greed, then bottling it as a 'virtue'. "

    Exactly as you said.
    It's not my fault that it sounds a lot like the old 'Capitalists are the root of all evil' shtick, which ignores the fact of humans as a whole being the underlying fault in ANY system or Philosophy.

    Looked like a duck, sounded like a duck. swam like a duck, it was most likely to be a duck.

     

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  57.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 2nd, 2012 @ 6:04pm

    Re:

    If it's not something new and more people are realising the validity of the argument it shows greater acceptance of the idea that the RIAA/MPAA are thoroughly stupid.

     

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

  58.  
    icon
    Jeremy Lyman (profile), Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 4:02am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Also, they've had a large hand in shaping the current state of that law as it is today. Creating laws that don't benefit or make sense to The People and then reacting in shock and horror when they're disobeyed is modus operandi for corrupt and useless companies.

     

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

  59.  
    identicon
    Man with Lantern, Apr 3rd, 2012 @ 6:22am

    Isn't there a parallel with energy?

    We've big oil and their trolls that are complaining that alternative energy won't work, costs too much, takes jobs from oil-riggers, whatever.

    They'd be better off changing their focus to the business of energy and maybe investing their ungodly profits into other forms of energy.

     

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

  60.  
    icon
    Bergman (profile), Apr 4th, 2012 @ 12:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Can't we just get the dot-Music top level domain already?

    Hey now, you're completely wrong and I can prove it!

    After all, everyone knows pirates don't use banks, they BURY their booty!

     

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

  61.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Apr 4th, 2012 @ 10:07pm

    Re:

    @18.
    Either you're the dumbest person alive or you're a shill for the industry. Perpetually extending copyright terms is not enforcing existing law. It's making new law. Since the Constitution specified that copyright was to be for a limited term, the constitutionality of these extensions is doubtful, at least as to existing works. And from an economic perspective, it's bonkers. Clearly the level of copyright protection that existed when Mickey Mouse was created was enough to convince Walt Disney to give the public the benefit of Mickey Mouse. There is 0 value to the public in adding to the price extracted for already existing work. It doesn't encourage innovation. The innovation is already out there. That's like the government saying that the agreed-upon price you paid for groceries this week was too low, and that you have to either return them to the grocery store, pony up an extra 30%, or be arrested for theft.

    And most economists are pretty skeptical of copyright's value to the public. Most would place the ideal copyright term around 15-25 years, in line with the 20-year term patents receive. A significant minority would argue that copyrights are a monopoly with no public value and the entire system should be abolished.

     

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

  62.  
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    Dionaea (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Re:

    Actually even then it's still perfectly understandable they want laws like that. I have to download the stuff I like to "test" it, simply because the radio stations are only playing the crap the legacy players swamp the market with. If I hadn't started listening on a couple of illegal music sites I wouldn't even know all these bands I now faithfully buy the albums of.

     

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


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