No, Copyright Is Not A Human Right

from the dig-a-little-deeper dept

We recently discussed the common fallacy that "copyright is in the Constitution", but that's only one example of copyright defenders misrepresenting a document to support their cause. Another favorite, often invoked by folks like Rob Levine and David Lowery, is the UN's Universal Declaration of Human Rights—a relatively toothless document in the US (compared to the Constitution) but one that feels good to have on your side.

But here's the thing: it doesn't say what copyright supporters think it does. Not even close. Not only are they focusing on only one half of the declaration's relevant article, and ignoring additional detail from another UN declaration that is meant to go hand-in-hand with the first... even the tiny part they focus doesn't match their position. Let's take a look.

The line in the declaration that establishes a right to some sort of intellectual property is Article 27, Section 2:

Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

Right off the bat, we see a problem: moral and material rights. The US, explicitly and intentionally (with some very minor exceptions) does not protect the moral rights of creators—the copyright system is based almost exclusively around economic rights. So when copyright supporters in America cite the Declaration of Human Rights, they are in fact pointing to a clause that the US directly violates.

Now, maybe that doesn't sound like much—after all, at least US copyright is in line with the "material rights" part. But is it? That's where we need to look at the bigger picture of international rights. That's something that copyright supporters never seem to do, and it's pretty obvious why. As mentioned, the line they cite is the second section of the relevant article—now lets have a look at Section 1:

Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

Now it's starting to look like the Human Rights Commission intended for there to be a little bit more balance in Article 27—and that they had their priorities straight. Sections 1 and 2, taken together, would seem to suggest (at the very least) that copyright should be focused primarily on commercial endeavours (and that patents are a pretty questionable concept all around).

Is that a subjective interpretation? By itself, yes—but don't take my word for it. See, there's something else that copyright supporters are leaving out of the picture: the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is just one of three documents that, together, form the International Bill of Human Rights (nobody ever accused the UN of efficiency). Another, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, provides considerable additional detail on the question of creators' rights. Let's take a look at Article 15 of that document:

1. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the right of everyone:

(a) To take part in cultural life;
(b) To enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications;
(c) To benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

2. The steps to be taken by the States Parties to the present Covenant to achieve the full realization of this right shall include those necessary for the conservation, the development and the diffusion of science and culture.

3. The States Parties to the present Covenant undertake to respect the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity.

4. The States Parties to the present Covenant recognize the benefits to be derived from the encouragement and development of international contacts and co-operation in the scientific and cultural fields.

That's an awful lot of caveats and addenda, all focused on ensuring that the copyright reins aren't too tight. In fact it seems like the text is specifically trying to distance itself from traditional intellectual property regimes. This time, you definitely don't have to take my word for it, because here's where we get to the really damning evidence: the general comment (pdf) on the document from the Economic and Social Council, which attempts to further explain the intention of all the rights. Here are some choice quotes:

Whereas the human right to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from one’s scientific, literary and artistic productions safeguards the personal link between authors and their creations and between peoples, communities, or other groups and their collective cultural heritage, as well as their basic material interests which are necessary to enable authors to enjoy an adequate standard of living, intellectual property regimes primarily protect business and corporate interests and investments. Moreover, the scope of protection of the moral and material interests of the author provided for by article 15, paragraph 1 (c), does not necessarily coincide with what is referred to as intellectual property rights under national legislation or international agreements.

It is therefore important not to equate intellectual property rights with the human right recognized in article 15, paragraph 1 (c).

...

The right to benefit from the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from one’s scientific, literary and artistic productions seeks to encourage the active contribution of creators to the arts and sciences and to the progress of society as a whole. As such, it is intrinsically linked to the other rights recognized in article 15 of the Covenant, i.e. the right to take part in cultural life (art. 15, para. 1 (a)), the right to enjoy the benefits of scientific progress and its applications (art. 15, para. 1 (b)), and the freedom indispensable for scientific research and creative activity (art. 15, para. 3).

...

Moreover, the realization of article 15, paragraph 1 (c), is dependent on the enjoyment of other human rights guaranteed in the International Bill of Human Rights and other international and regional instruments, such as the right to own property alone as well as in association with others, the freedom of expression including the freedom to seek, receive and impart information and ideas of all kinds, the right to the full development of the human personality, and rights of cultural participation, including cultural rights of specific groups.

Starting to paint a different picture, no? The comment goes on to offer some specifics, underlining how thoroughly different this human right is from intellectual property rights. For one thing, it's not transferable:

The Committee considers that only the “author”, namely the creator, whether man or woman, individual or group of individuals, of scientific, literary or artistic productions, such as, inter alia, writers and artists, can be the beneficiary of the protection of article 15, paragraph 1 (c). This follows from the words “everyone”, “he” and “author”, which indicate that the drafters of that article seemed to have believed authors of scientific, literary or artistic productions to be natural persons, without at that time realizing that they could also be groups of individuals. Under the existing international treaty protection regimes, legal entities are included among the holders of intellectual property rights. However, as noted above, their entitlements, because of their different nature, are not protected at the level of human rights.

For another, it calls for a bunch of specific moral rights that do not and have never existed in the US:

In line with the drafting history of article 27, paragraph 2, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 15, paragraph 1 (c), of the Covenant, the Committee considers that “moral interests” in article 15, paragraph 1 (c), include the right of authors to be recognized as the creators of their scientific, literary and artistic productions and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, such productions, which would be prejudicial to their honour and reputation

And even when it comes to material rights, special mention is given to the fact that this doesn't have to resemble traditional copyright, although it can:

The term of protection of material interests under article 15, paragraph 1 (c), need not extend over the entire lifespan of an author. Rather, the purpose of enabling authors to enjoy an adequate standard of living can also be achieved through one-time payments or by vesting an author, for a limited period of time, with the exclusive right to exploit his scientific, literary or artistic production

Now, in addition to all this, the general comment does include plenty of lines that make room for traditional intellectual property laws—it's not as though the whole thing reads as a total condemnation of copyright. However, this closer look at the contours of international human rights makes it abundantly clear that it was not intended as an endorsement of copyright either. Every time something that sounds like US copyright is mentioned, it's because it's being permitted but not required—and often written in such a way as to suggest that it's not recommended either. Moreover, it's impossible to avoid the fact that the US does not recognize the moral rights called for in the declaration—which I actually think is probably a good thing, but can't just be ignored by those who want to use the declaration as ammo for defending copyright.

I think the question of whether or not there is an innate human right to control one's creative output, in either the moral or material sense or both, is a fascinating and important topic with lots of room for debate. But that has very little to do with the current economic regime of copyright—least of all in the US, since many other countries do wrap moral rights into copyright law. Apologies to the IP crowd, but neither the Founding Fathers nor the United Nations support you the way you think they do—so you're going to have to stop falsely appealing to their authority and come up with some new arguments.



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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:09am

    In line with the drafting history of article 27, paragraph 2, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 15, paragraph 1 (c), of the Covenant, the Committee considers that “moral interests” in article 15, paragraph 1 (c), include the right of authors to be recognized as the creators of their scientific, literary and artistic productions and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, such productions, which would be prejudicial to their honour and reputation

    I particularly like that this bit gives authors the right to object to those uses which they find distasteful, without giving them the right to quash them. Of course, given the freedoms of expression that these documents also assign to all humans, I'm not sure such a thing was necessary.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2012 @ 11:31am

      Re: Idiots...

      never let the truth get in the way of your propaganda...

      "The human rights of artists is a different concept from
      intellectual property rights, such as copyright. Intellectual property rights are created by national laws, and the human rights of artists are recognized as the fundamental rights of all persons by all of the central human rights documents to which hundreds of countries have agreed."

      http://thetrichordist.wordpress.com/2012/05/13/the-human-rights-of-artists/

       

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        Karl (profile), Oct 28th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

        Re: Re: Idiots...

        never let the truth get in the way of your propaganda...

        The Trichordist is nothing but propaganda, and Chris Castle is one of their favorite propagandists.

        None of the actual quotes in that article disprove (or even contradict) what was said in this one. This article, in fact, includes just about every quote that Castle used to make his point - robbed of any of the other passages that put those quotes into any kind of context.

        But with Castle's version, you'll get lots of hate for Google, the EFF, and the Open Rights group, like "what bothers me the most about the massive, worldwide infringement of artist human rights is not just that major multinational corporations like Google are knee-deep in perpetuating this exploitation economy."

        This is not "the truth." This is pure propaganda, driven by an anti-technology zealot.

        Just like everything else on Trichordist.

         

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    Aaeru, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:11am

    “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

    “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

    What rights does copyright grant to the holder?

    “The right to produce copies or reproductions?“

    No, the holder already can do that. He does not need the government to tell him that he can.

    “The right to make adaptations and derivative works.”

    No, again the holder already can do that.

    “The right to perform or display the work publicly?”

    Again, this isn’t a right being granted to the holder, he is permitted to perform the work as he sees fit. None of these rights are granted to the holder by copyright law; they exist independently. What copyright law does is take away the rights of everyone else to do these things.
    http://wiki.fuwanovel.org/index.php/Copyright_is_Not_a_Natural_Inalienable_Human_Right

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:22am

      Re: “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

      Which is something that Not-Even-Average_Joe, bob and hasn't_got_a_clue willingly fail to see: copyright permits nothing at all. It instead massively restricts the rest of the population so as to theoretically achieve an economic benefit for one person or group: it ignores that these same persons, in the 21st century, don't need everyone else to be massively restricted to still have an income.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:35am

        Re: Re: “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

        Yep and these restrictions have gotten insane today. When they were created they weren't nearly as far reaching and as silly as they are today. The original intent was to provide a bit of assistance for the early parts of creation. Its purpose is not to last a long time and be used to sue everyone.

         

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:25am

      Re: “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

      A million times this. Copyright does not grant an author a new right, it simply takes away rights from everyone else. That can never be either a natural or an inalienable right. One could argue that it's granting "exclusivity" to the author, but the only way it can do that is by taking away the natural (and apparently alienable) rights to "produce copies or reproductions", "make adaptations and derivative works", and "perform or display the work publicly", among others.

       

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      ComicGuy89 (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:47am

      Re: “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

      That link is a great read! I have one question about this excerpt from that article you linked:

      "Copyright is a privilege that means the holder has been given the ability to suspend your right to copy IF THEY WANT TO (but in exchange they pay the hefty attorney fees). If the holder has no issue with an infringement of their privilege then they simply do nothing, (e.g. if they really like what someone has done with their work.) This is why copyright infringement is not wrong, not even illegal."

      Is it true that copyright infringement, when not suspended by holders, can be presumed to be acceptable? Not sure if I phrased that right, but I'm talking about situations when copyright infringement is silently ignored due to a mutual interest in promoting the product (such as anime subbing). The copyright holders can't officially condone it, but they don't say anything about it either.

       

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        Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

        Re: Re: “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

        Tell that to YouTube

         

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        John Fenderson (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:17pm

        Re: Re: “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

        Is it true that copyright infringement, when not suspended by holders, can be presumed to be acceptable?


        Technically, no. Copyright infringement is still infringement even when the copyright holder does not sue over it.

        Practically, yes. (In theory) nobody but the copyright holder has a standing to sue for copyright infringement. If they decline to do so, nothing bad will result from the infringement (in theory). However, the copyright holder can certainly, at any time in the future, change their mind and sue. Perhaps after the use has generated enough wealth to be worth suing for.

         

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        Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:40pm

        Re: Re: “Copyright grants its holder certain rights.”

        If a copyright holder finds an infringement acceptable then the infringement is acceptable. Hence infringement is perfectly legal - it is not an arrestable offence.

        If a copyright holder hasn't sued, then you might assume they found an infringement acceptable, but who knows for sure?

        Copyright is a cultural sword of Damocles.

        And don't forget, you can be sued by a copyright holder for infringement even if you haven't infringed their copyright - they can merely allege that you have. It is a matter of money really. Copyright is a means by which the wealthy & powerful keep the less wealthy & powerful at bay. It also funds lawyers' lavish lifestyles.

         

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:11am

    In line with the drafting history of article 27, paragraph 2, of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and article 15, paragraph 1 (c), of the Covenant, the Committee considers that “moral interests” in article 15, paragraph 1 (c), include the right of authors to be recognized as the creators of their scientific, literary and artistic productions and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, such productions, which would be prejudicial to their honour and reputation

    Are you then saying that this applies to mash-ups and transformative use?

     

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      Leigh Beadon (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:49am

      Re:

      Are you then saying that this applies to mash-ups and transformative use?

      Yes -- by the letter of the UN resolution, it absolutely would. Which is why I'm still not a fan of the rights as spelled out by the UN -- I think there are some significant problems in them. The purpose of this post is not to defend the UN interpretation as correct, but simply to underline the fact that it is hugely (and explicitly) different from economic copyright, especially in the US, and that those who cite it in support of copyright are demonstrating the fact that they are speaking from a position of ignorance and have never actually read anything about the "human right" they are using to defend their cause.

      But, no, I don't like the moral rights laid out by the UN at all. However, it's important to note that they are well-tempered: as noted in this general comment document, there is a huge focus on balancing them with the other (and primary) right to "participate in cultural life". The general comment document on *that* clause gets into greater detail, and defends the importance of derivative/transformative works. Also note that the declaration does not call for absolute power for authors, or the ability to control everything -- simply some recognition/protection of their moral rights.

       

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      James Burkhardt (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:15am

      Re:

      I would add that they have a right to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to, such productions, which would be prejudicial to their honour and reputation. Emphisis on object. Not necessarily stop, censor, or quash. But object.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:13am

    no wonder the US government and the US entertainment industries ignore the UDHR and all other similar bills. it would mean they had to start treating people as humans and not just a means of getting extortionate sums of money and filling up prisons!

     

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      btr1701 (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:31am

      Re:

      > no wonder the US government ignores
      > the UDHR and all other similar bills.

      It would also mean giving superiority to those documents over the U.S. Constitution, which the government cannot legally do.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 7:52am

        Re: Re:

        Like you don't do that all the time with trade treaties *cough* sorry, 'executive agreements' all the time...

         

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    Bengie, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Property

    We need a universal definition that "property" only applies to a specific instance. I can not build a house, then claim that other people who build houses are stealing my "property". It only applies to that one specific instance of a house.

     

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      Ed C., Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:30am

      Re: Property

      It's more like you build a house for someone, probably a copy of others that you previously made along that street, but then continue to claim ownership after you sold it and demand the right to crack down on any usage of the house you don't like. You'd basically be a landlord who demands the selling price for what is actually a "rental".

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 12:17pm

        Re: Re: Property

        @ #11

        which is exactly what is happening now with ebooks and games, for example. even though there is a 'buy' button, the 'sellers' are saying afterwards that you haven't 'bought' anything, you have just bought a license to use it or the right to use it until they say 'no'. the annoying thing is that if the 'sellers' decide to remove that item, even though you have 'bought' the right to use it, for as long as you want, you are then prevented from doing so.

         

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    ComicGuy89 (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:15am

    Good article, but just a little typo. What you initially referred to as Article 25 in the first part of the article is actually Article 27. It's no big mistake, just thought I'd point that out.

     

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    Ed C., Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:18am

    Author's rights

    Perhaps the fact that US copyright was, originally, non-transferable would have been considered a "moral right", that the copyrights over a work were not separable from the creator(s). But that, like other social protections which were set out by the founders, were stripped away by corporate interest during the 19th century.

     

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      cpt kangarooski, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 6:13pm

      Re: Author's rights

      No, the 1790 Copyright Act allows for the transfer of copyrights. Look for language early on about "assigns" to whom the author "hath purchased or legally acquired" the rights. I don't recall if the state copyright acts prior to this could be transferred or not, but no one pays them much mind anyway.

       

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    Nina Paley (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:30am

    Choose One

    A. Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.

    B. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.

    These are mutually exclusive, just as Freedom of Speech and Copyright are mutually exclusive. Choose one.

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:33am

      Re: Choose One

      "B. Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits."

      I suppose one way out of the mutually exclusive zone is the word freely - is it free as in beer, or is it free as in gratis?

       

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        MBraedley (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:33am

        Re: Re: Choose One

        Free as in beer and free as in gratis are the same thing. I think you meant free as in libre.

        So yes, if we were to reword subsection B as "Everyone has the right to participate at their liberty in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits", then there is no conflict with subsection A as long as there are no undue restrictions on a member of a community from participating in said acts.

         

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      Chosen Reject (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:33am

      Re: Choose One

      I'm reminded of this bit from the Smothers Brothers:

      Tommy: Because this is America!
      Dickie: That’s right.
      Tommy: America where —
      Dickie: You speak your mind!
      Tommy: We have freedom of speech here in America
      Dickie: You’re absolutely right.
      Tommy: And you better say what you’re supposed to say!

       

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      out_of_the_blue, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:34am

      Re: Choose One: -- NO, your rights get fuzzy where my begin.

      And vice the versa. Copyright attempts to illuminate that murky area. -- And I don't support ALL of it, but the basics are sound. -- No, I mean were originally fairly sound.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:27am

      Re: Choose One

      Agreed, as cultural life includes sharing, modifying and remixing; which are participatory actions
      The MAFIAA approach is to restrict people to being entertained, that is as non participatory consumers. The result is remakes of exiting entertainment with little invention, which requires remixing ideas from various sources.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:39am

      Re: Choose One

      There's no need to choose. You can have both but A implies that you must pay to get B.

       

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      Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

      Re: Choose One

      Well, if you read really carefully, without allowing copyright to pollute the reading, these two statements aren't mutually exclusive.

      It's like some people can't read the Constitution without interpreting it as granting (or empowering Congress to grant) copyright, even though it doesn't mention Queen Anne's statute.

      What you'll find is that it is copyright that is incompatible with that second clause of the UDHR.

      Ah, but, copyright is a 'material interest resulting' you may say. Well, perhaps, but that would only be because the state granted this privilege in 1709 (repeated 1790 in US). And as we know, privileges annul the corresponding right in the majority to leave it by exclusion in the hands of a few.

      It is copyright that is an abrogation of our cultural liberty, a suppression of our right to freely share and build upon our own culture.

      The protection of any NATURAL moral or material interests arising in an author's work has no such impact. It is no impact on my liberty if the state protects your moral right to be identified as the author of your works, nor does it impact upon your liberty if the state protects my natural right to exclude you from copying my private memoirs, thus protecting their resulting material interest.

      Copyright is not a human right, and if it was abolished tomorrow as it should be, there is nothing in the UDHR that requires it to be granted back again.

      Thus, if you read those two clauses again, but from a post-abolition perspective, they are not mutually exclusive. Therefore, if they should not be mutually exclusive today, copyright should not exist today (or ditch the UDHR and keep copyright!). The UDHR isn't wrong (nor is the US Constitution). It is copyright that is wrong.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:32am

    You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

    "The US, explicitly and intentionally (with some very minor exceptions) does not protect the moral rights of creators—the copyright system is based almost exclusively around economic rights." -- Stems from the moral basis rather well expressed above: "Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author."

    But COPIERS ARE NOWHERE GRANTED RIGHTS -- nor possess them inherently: how could YOU possibly have a right to copy MY work?

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:37am

      Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

      how could YOU possibly have a right to copy MY work?

      How could I not? I have the right to see, experience, and learn, and I have the right to freedom of expression. Those two things must necessarily form the right to copy work, barring draconian laws which remove that combination.

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:40am

      Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

      hasn't_got_a_clue strikes again!

      Here's an interesting thought for you (I know the word thought scares you, its something you're not too familiar with and prefer to have no contact with at all).
      How can one protect the interests of the author resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author? The author DOES NOT CREATE IN A VACUUM. To say that you deserve to have your work protected is to simultaneously say that the work of all those who came before you and whose work you built upon also deserves NOT to be protected. So we're now in a paradox. J.R.R. Tolkien, for example, has written the Hobbit, a story about a dragon resting on top of a pile of treasure who goes ape-shit when a single piece is stolen and copyright maximilists like you say his work has to be protected, but that ignores the fact he built upon the Beowulf legend. Now, along comes someone else who wants to build upon the Hobbit, as Tolkien did with Beowulf. Who gets the protection?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:10am

        Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

        "Beowulf" caught my eye: "he [Tolkien] built upon the Beowulf legend" -- !!! WHAT? You claim that a Germanic warrior is like a 3 foot hobbit? I guess because there's a RING in both stories. -- And you expect ME to take you seriously after such off-topic, irrelevant, distracting idiocy?

         

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          out_of_the_blue, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:11am

          Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

          Dang it. Laughing so much that I forgot to fill in the form.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:13am

          Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

          I... I'm getting Poe'd, here. I honestly can't tell whether this is sarcasm or not.

           

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            Baldaur Regis (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:41am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

            Nah, no sarc there. out_of_the_blue is one of those non-argumentative trolls known as a "steamer" back in the IRC days, for their habit of randomly dropping a turd into the middle of a conversation and running away. No parody, no agenda, no point.

             

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              Chris Kellen (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:46am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

              I was replying to his ridiculous Poe-skirting comment as he posted his reply, so I didn't know who it was at the time. If I'd known it was ootb, I'd have ignored it entirely!

               

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          Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:23am

          Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

          Did I say Beowulf = 3 foot Hobbit. No...what I mentioned was the DRAGON. The DRAGON RESTING ON TOP OF A PILE OF TREASURE. Ya know, more or less the focal point of BOTH stories? (Last I checked, Beowulf was killed by the dragon in his story )

          (Ignore the One Ring in The Hobbit, that only was meant as a lead in to another story written three decades later).

          So yeah...completely ignore what I said and then claim I said something completely different. You clearly have the debating skills of a master *eyeroll*

           

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            out_of_the_blue, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:34am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

            Ha! Knew you couldn't resist diverting to fantasies instead of anything related to 21st C copyright, where you lose.

            Let me be clear -- for the sake of actual readers to illustrate the quality of the regulars here -- that I'm only responding to BAIT YOU SOME MORE, FOOL.

             

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              Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:49am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

              So you're admitting your comments never have any quality to them, that you only ever write, not to support copyright, but merely to antagonize us?

              (By the way, Tolkien is still related to 21st Century copyright, as his works are still under copyright, despite being dead since the 1970s).
              Plus, why are works of fantasy automatically grounds for "not relevant to any discussion of copyright"? Disney, the most infamous copyright (ab)users ever...their ENTIRE library of movies is fantasy, in one way or another.

               

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                Chris Kellen (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:47am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

                Wow, you finally got ootb to admit to his trolling ways? Magnificently done!

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 1:02pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

                "Disney, the most infamous copyright (ab)users ever...their ENTIRE library of movies is fantasy, in one way or another."

                So is their bookkeeping!

                 

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

              Good to know the folks saying not to report every brainless post you make are not justified in their guilt-tripping.

               

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              MrWilson, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

              So you're saying we should, "report this comment as abusive, spam, trollish, or otherwise inappropriate." Got it.

               

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            Karl (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

            Ignore the One Ring in The Hobbit

            In fact, the One Ring seems to be modeled after the Ring of Gyges, the "ring of invisibility" that is used in Plato's Republic to discuss (and possibly satirize) morality.

            Others have said Tolkien got his inspiration from the Ring of the Nibelung, Wagner's epic opera, though Tolkien himself denied it.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:41am

      Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

      No, as I pointed out to you last week, MORALS are not at all what copyright is based on. It is PURELY a legal recognition, not a moral one.

      Also, again, you seem to have skimmed the article above. That basis expressed above is what the U.N. has said on the matter. It is NOT at all though what the U.S. says about the matter, in point of fact, as has been stated repeatedly, copyright itself isn't even mentioned in the Constitution.

      Also, regarding copiers, are you seriously thick? I only ask, because no one at any point has said that someone else has the right to copy YOUR work. What has been said, is that in granting you the exclusive right to copy, the rights of others have been infringed upon and restricted.

      Do I need to start telling you, much like bob, to visit a library sometime and learn a thing or two? Because I'm starting to think I do. Which is beyond scary. Seeing as how you apparently have complete access without adult supervision to a computer. You'd think you could look up a few facts before you start spewing your gibberish, so you don't look like a complete fool at least.

       

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      Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:42am

      Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

      I have the right inasmuch as you DON'T have the right to forcibly enter my life and dictate what I am and am not allowed to write/draw/whatever with the equipment I have bought and now own.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:52am

      Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

      "...how could YOU possibly have a right to copy MY work?"

      How could I not? My mind is always taking copies of my every experience, and I cannot turn this off.

      It is immoral of you to want to punish me for not being able to not experience reality.

       

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      ldne, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:17pm

      Re: You're just plain wrong: moral ownership IS the basis.

      Actually, that's the point. There is no restriction of my physical ability to copy something beyond my own capability to do so accurately and a moral imperative that I may or may not subscribe to. Which is why copyright does not grant "rights" to anyone. It is instead a legal restriction upon my ability to legally copy things and it exists in the legal system not due to a "moral ownership" but due to the fact that what constitutes "moral" is debatable and is not agreed upon by all. There's never been anything to prevent an author from printing and selling as many copies of their work as they wish, copyright exists to punish others for doing it to make money. There has never been a way to prevent anyone from copying something for their own personal use, in fact, it is generally impossible to even punish someone later for doing so if they're doing it properly. Only when they sell to others and the third party, the buyer, and the market required to find the buyer become involved does getting caught become an eventual certainty.

       

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    out_of_the_blue, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:52am

    You "capitalists" are claiming a socialist excuse to profit!

    You want to directly profit from the work that others have done. It's simply grifting Mike and his merry band of pirates want to "legalize": rip DVD movies and upload them to a "file locker" so that they can be monetized indirectly through advertisers on a site that has made NO products of its own, and the only draw is the pirated content. So for private and corporatized greed, you've made up a whole myth that "everyone" has a right to the creations of others. Claiming a social basis for private profits is just despicable. -- By the way, to forestall some: that doesn't directly argue anything about the sheerly personal bits of copying of legally obtained content, so don't muddy it up.

    And in any case, "copyright" was/is intended to delineate exactly that inextricably mixed area: "for a limited time", and it's only to guarantee a monopoly on the attempt to gain from creations, so don't blather that it's not meant to "guarantee" profits. You're all just so muddled and greedy and dishonest that I can't unscramble which motive is
    the stronger.

     

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      Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:37am

      Re: You "capitalists" are claiming a socialist excuse to profit!

      Reported for lack of thought, ad hominems, no proof, citations or evidence of any kind.
      In short, the definition of a Waste of Space.

       

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      George Zimmer (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:07am

      Re: You "capitalists" are claiming a socialist excuse to profit!

      Hi out_of_the_blue, I'm George Zimmer, Founder and CEO of Men's Wearhouse.

      I haven't heard this amount of throttled yelping since your sister beheld the Zeus-like glow of my veiny meat ferret.

      As the CEO of Men's Wearhouse, I find that an inviting conversation usually begins without assuming things for the other party. For example, during a board meeting, I typically assume everyone wants to see my humungor baby batter boilers. Unfortunately, many have shied away from this visage of perfection and it's lost me much credibility in the way of things.

      If you can take this advice to heart, I'm sure many here will listen to your opinion. I guarantee it.

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re: You "capitalists" are claiming a socialist excuse to profit!

        Thanks a lot! Your comment made me laugh out loud so much, my room-mate carted me off to the nut-house.

         

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      Another AC, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:10am

      Re: You "capitalists" are claiming a socialist excuse to profit!

      ...you've made up a whole myth that "everyone" has a right to the creations of others.

      lol I love how this 'made up right' is spelled out by the UN, and then you say that. Hilarious.

      Oh right, you don't read articles, you 'skim' them and then form odd opinions.

       

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      out_of_the_mind, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:30am

      Re: You "capitalists" are claiming a socialist excuse to profit!

      "Mike and his merry band of pirates"

      LOL'd.

      ""legalize": rip DVD movies and upload them to a "file locker"" We brought out all the crazy today, didn't we OOTB?

       

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      JMT (profile), Oct 27th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

      Re: You "capitalists" are claiming a socialist excuse to profit!

      ...rip DVD movies and upload them to a "file locker" so that they can be monetized indirectly through advertisers on a site that has made NO products of its own, and the only draw is the pirated content.

      They don't make products, they offer a service. The draw is how good that service is. It's not the content, because that's available in countless other places. I can't tell whether you just don't understand that very basic concept, or your religious pro-copyright zeal has blinded you to it.

       

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    identicon
    bob, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:01am

    Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

    We can fiddle with the words all we want. When the plantation owners denied the cotton pickers the right to control their work product, it was called slavery.

    It doesn't really matter what word you want to use. I'm not going to spend $100m on a new movie if everyone and their brother are going to "share" their copy with their 7 billion close friends. Nor will anyone except a few loons with $100m to waste.

    Copyright is essential for sharing development costs. If people can't reliably invest in a project with any hope of controlling how it's monetized, only rich spendthrifts will be artists. We'll be stuck with a bunch of cat videos on YouTube and some self-published screeds about who knows what.

    I'm more interested in the business angle than the human rights. You can dream and dream about destroying copyright, but that's only going to help the people who copy, not the people who create.

     

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      ComicGuy89 (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:24am

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      "It doesn't really matter what word you want to use. I'm not going to spend $100m on a new movie if everyone and their brother are going to "share" their copy with their 7 billion close friends. Nor will anyone except a few loons with $100m to waste.

      Copyright is essential for sharing development costs. If people can't reliably invest in a project with any hope of controlling how it's monetized, only rich spendthrifts will be artists. We'll be stuck with a bunch of cat videos on YouTube and some self-published screeds about who knows what."

      I admit I'm not an economics or accounting expert, but Kickstarter at least shows that multi-million dollar projects are possible purely through crowd-funding.

      Besides, isn't copyright infringement already rampant despite the existing (and increasingly draconian) laws? Yet, movies still recuperate their costs most of the time and are very profitable. I'd always argue that people who would put up with horrible camera-recorded movie files or poor quality leaked ones are really unlikely to pay for a ticket anyway, the cinema experience just isn't worth it to them.

       

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      MahaliaShere (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:25am

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      Why are you spending $100m on a movie?

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:31am

        Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

        He isn't spending anything. If he was, he wouldn't be sitting here complaining. He would be VERY BUSY trying to make that money back.

         

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        Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:38am

        Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

        THAT'S MY LINE! GIVE IT BACK!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

          In the first place, spending 100 million on a movie was originally out_of_the_ass' talking point.

          bob now owes out_of_the_ass 100 million for using a talking point owned by someone else.

           

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            Rikuo (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

            Yeah, but I was the guy who started it using as a reply to every comment he left. Eventually, he did disappear, for a while.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2012 @ 10:09am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

              Could you do us all a favour and start using it again, please?

               

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          MahaliaShere (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:30pm

          Re: Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

          I know, but I really couldn't help it.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:26am

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      $100m movies
      no one will ever buy if they can share
      cat videos on youtube

      Report and move on, people. This is clearly spam.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:36am

        Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

        "Report and move on"

        I am strongly against the former but fully support the latter.

        Look, I don't agree with him, but he has the right to be crazy. Just let him be crazy and move on.

        The report button should only be used on obvious cases of spam, not to try to bury opinions...no matter how bad/good they might be.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:47am

          Re: Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

          It is spam. We've been over and over these three talking points innumerable times. Anyone as frequent around here as bob will know that.

           

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          John Fenderson (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:31pm

          Re: Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

          The report button should only be used on obvious cases of spam


          No, it is also used for abusive or offtopic comments. I never click report on a comment just because I disagree with its point, but if that point is sprinkled with insults and lies, clicking "report" is absolutely justifiable.

           

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        Chris Kellen (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:49am

        Re: Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

        I was mostly impressed that he made it through an entire post without using the word "paywall" once. =)

         

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      Chris Brand (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:52am

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      I'm pretty sure slavery is about owning people, and being able to decide how they spend their time, and nothing at all to do with taking things away from them. Honestly, equating anything at related to copyright with slavery is pretty offensive to me, and no doubt even more so to people who's ancestors were actually subject to slavery.

      Even without copyright, you'd be free to create all you want, and nobody could take any of your creations *unless you decide to share (or sell) copies of them*. Of course, without copyright, once somebody had legitimately acquired that first copy from you, they could certainly try to compete with you in distributing (for free or for profit) more copies. You'd have to rely on things like your "first mover" advantage, branding, and the like to compete. Definitely harder than being able to prevent that competition.

      Your belief that without copyright there will be no artistic creations is provably false by the existence of artists who make a living without exercising the rights granted to them by their copyrights. Techdirt is a great guide to finding them. You wilful blindness does not stop them existing. No, none of them (yet) have spent $100m on making a movie, but so what ? I've seen plenty of $100m movies that were a complete waste of money, and plenty of movies that cost a fraction of that to make that were far better. I don't believe that the amount spent to make something has a good correlation with quality.

      Hmmm. Is it a coincidence that the Dilbert dinosaur character is also called "Bob" ?

       

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      James Burkhardt (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:33am

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      It doesn't really matter what word you want to use. I'm not going to spend $100m on a new movie if everyone and their brother are going to "share" their copy with their 7 billion close friends. Nor will anyone except a few loons with $100m to waste

      Let me give a great example where your logic failure comes in. A recent 'cult' film, The Devil's Carnival. WHile it does not have your budget, the micro example i posit here does not change. See, I live in a house with 2 couples. so there are really 3 'households' with 3 distinct 'owners' of property (due to the shared nature of property amongst couples as enshrined in law they count as one entity). The entire house I live in is obsessed with The Devils Carnival. So when the DVD was released to preorder, one of the couples purchased it immediately. I now have perpetual access to the film, as all movies are stored near the big screen TV the house shares. But this sharing did not prevent 2 more sales of The Devil's Carnival from occurring before release. 3 Copies now exist in my home alone. Similar multi-copy purchases have happened with AVENGERS, The Rocky Horror Picture Show, REPO: The Genetic Opera, and UHF, to name movies off the top of my head. Similar situations occur with Video Games and Books. The loss of control the Producers had over my access to their work did not prevent further sales. In fact, thanks to my roomates ownership of REPO is a reason I know have a copy, because they shared that film with me, and despite not needing another copy to continue to enjoy it, I chose to support those filmmakers by purchasing my own copy.

       

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      btr1701 (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 11:40am

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      > When the plantation owners denied
      > the cotton pickers the right to
      > control their work product, it
      > was called slavery

      No, it was the beatings, the whippings, the rapings, the forced labor, the imprisonment, and the trafficking of people as chattel that was called slavery.

      What you describe is nothing but having a job and working for someone else.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 1:39pm

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      Spending 100 million on a movie is held under out_of_the_blue's monopoly. How could you take his mention of potential output without permission? It's slavery, I tell you! Slavery!

       

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      cpt kangarooski, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:18pm

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      Bob,
      I absolutely agree. In fact, I am an sculptor, and my medium of choice is the Moon. I'd love to invest my time and money into sculpting the Moon into a more pleasing (and copyrightable) shape. But to do this will require a significant amount of copyright in order to sufficiently incentivize me and justify my investment. Specifically, I need everyone on Earth to owe me a sizable fee for looking at the moon, forever.

      And if you think that this is ridiculous, and that the price I want people to pay me is too big and not worthwhile, well, perhaps $100 million movies are too expensive as well, in terms of how much the level of copyright it takes to make the viable penalizes the public.

       

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      John Fenderson (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:29pm

      Re: Uh, taking someone's output without permission is slavery

      I'm more interested in the business angle than the human rights.


      We know, bob, we know.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:09am

    I, personally, think that the rules of Copyright should be more like the CC licenses, and be concerned only with establishing rules on how (not if) works can be copied.

    Copying (with attribution) should be permitted by default, but artists should be able to place rules on how those copies can be made and used. I think this is fair, as it gives authors power to decide how their works can be used and doesn't punish 99% of the population.

    I know some will claim that that will create an environment where it becomes impossible for a creator to make money. But to that, I reply: RedHat.

    It is possible to make money whilst giving others the ability to make copies of your work. You just need to be intelligent about it.

     

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    Adrian Lopez, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:17am

    Which is the real human right?

    Those who argue copyright is a human right have it exactly wrong. The only human right involving copyright is the right to a rich public domain and the right to build upon the sum of humanity's intellectual output in the creation of new works.

     

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    jameshogg (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 10:26am

    Morals

    The moral dimension of copyright has another name: defamation. And it should be covered under extensions of libel laws, not putting it under an umbrella called "copyright" (although, I hope nobody uses the current abomination of English libel laws as an example).

    If you don't want your works to be associated with ideas you don't like, for example Nazism, then have it a legal requirement for all derived works to have an "UNOFFICIAL" tag on them, and have them state where they are derived from, explicitly saying that the representations of the derived work have nothing to do with the original. People can naturally tell originals from knock-offs like this as we have learned from the fashion industry.

    And on this question of "yeah well the audience will still make the false connection unconsciously" let us really examine this for just one second. How could you have possibly known that a cartoon show about ponies that was made for a niche market of 6-year-olds... would turn into an international cult following, where fanbases full of grown-up males parade the ponies on T-Shirts in anime conventions all over the world claiming a 20% increase in coolness. This is not something you could have possibly foreseen, and neither could copyright.

    The lesson derived here, as well as the false images that people get associated with anyway (Richard Dawkins is not "strident" and Christopher Hitchens is not a "neocon"/"liberal hawk") that it doesn't matter what you do, copyright or not, people will always find a way to defame you even a little bit. And since this is the case, you are better off not bringing in a ridiculous copyright law full of double standards and inconsistencies in order to do something which comes naturally to humans anyway.

     

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    Robert Levine, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    It still looks like a right to me. . .

    If I may jump in . . .

    In the view of the UN, so far as I can tell, copyright is a human right that has many exceptions. The exceptions - fair use in the US and statutory exceptions in other countries - are important, especially those that balance creators rights with the right to free expression. I have always thought that, and I have never said otherwise. (I cannot speak for Lowery or anyone else, of course.)

    You have certainly shown that there are plenty of exceptions to this right - which I know. But it's important to remember that there are plenty of exceptions to _every_ right. Free speech is limited by defamation, libel, and, in Europe, laws that prevent hate speech (whether you like them or not). The right to privacy is limited by the right to free speech, and, in Europe, vice versa. To use a cliche, my right to swing my fist ends where your nose begins. In fact, I can't think of a single right that doesn't have exceptions, and I'd challenge anyone here to come up with one that does.

    There's more discussion of this in the book "Human Rights and Intellectual Property: Mapping the Global Interface," which you can find out more about here -

    http://www.amazon.com/Human-Rights-Intellectual-Property-Interface/dp/0521711258/ref=sr_1_1?ie=U TF8&qid=1351279650&sr=8-1&keywords=Human+Rights+and+Intellectual+Property%3A+Mapping+the +Global+Interface

    (Spoiler alert: It's very complicated.)

    Also, when you say that,
    >>>So when copyright supporters in America cite the Declaration of Human Rights, they are in fact pointing to a clause that the US directly violates.

    First, I am not "in America" - I live in Berlin. (I am from America but I moved here.) Second, the US addresses moral rights _to a limited extent_ with the Lanham Act, so I don't think it's quite as black and white as you'd like it to be. Third, what makes you think that I necessarily agree with the US approach to copyright? Although I think US law is superior in some respects to the Continental approach that emphasizes moral rights, I think the Continental approach is better in other ways. (I think that both approaches have advantages and disadvantages - my point is that it seems odd to assume that I completely favor the US approach simply because I'm American.) I also favor universal health care, so go figure.

    Just to be clear, I have _never_ said that exceptions to copyright aren't important. Ever. And I've never said that the copyright system we have in the US is ideal - it lasts too long, and it covers too much. What I do think is that copyright is a right, and that this has been recognized widely - and by the UN in an influential document.

    I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that many of you will disagree with me. That's fine, of course. But I thought I would clarify what I actually think.

     

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      Leigh Beadon (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

      Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

      It was not my intention to misrepresent your views on copyright (you are certainly more moderate than Mr. Lowery) and I know you do not defend the U.S. status quo of copyright in every aspect. I cited you and Lowery as examples of the many people who refer to copyright as a "human right" and, in the generalization, may have washed over some of the nuances of your opinion -- so thanks for stopping by to clarify.

      But, I also think you have dodged the central point here: as recently as last week (in the linked Cnet interview) you directly linked copyright to the artist's human right defined by the UN. Though you made a small distinction between the two, you clearly used the latter as a sort of inarguable justification of the former's principles. Meanwhile, the UN explicitly states multiple times that the two should not be equated. That seems worthy of note if you are going to discuss the topic, as does the fact that the UN places greater importance on moral rights than material ones, and primary importance on open cultural participation over both those things.

      As for the question of whether an artist has a "natural" right to their work, that is of course a separate discussion. Personally, I still do not understand how anyone reaches that conclusion. An artist has only one natural right to their work: keeping it private. The moment it is shared with another person, there is absolutely no "natural" way to undo that -- even if the other person wanted to "give it back". The only thing you can do is introduce an artificial structure whereby people agree to limit the natural non-scarcity of ideas and content. Copyrights and/or moral rights are in no way natural, and indeed they don't even involve granting or protecting natural rights for creators -- they only involve rescinding or limiting the natural rights of others. That can, arguably, be done for the greater good -- but it is in no way "natural".

       

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        Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

        Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

        Moral rights are natural rights (deriving from the right to truth).

        Copyright is a privilege (our right to copy annulled - held by copyright holders).

        This is not to say that some legislation protecting moral rights (in some jurisdictions) isn't polluted by copyright.

         

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        Robert Levine, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

        Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

        No worries. It's hard to capture the complexity of all of this in a book, let alone a relatively brief interview. And I think this aspect of the issue is important, so I'm glad it provoked a thoughtful response.

        As far as,
        >>>But, I also think you have dodged the central point here: as recently as last week (in the linked Cnet interview) you directly linked copyright to the artist's human right defined by the UN. Though you made a small distinction between the two, you clearly used the latter as a sort of inarguable justification of the former's principles.

        I certainly meant to link it, since I think that's fair. (They're not equivalent but I do think they're linked.) I didn't mean to use the latter as an inarguable justification of the former. My point - which you can disagree with, but I think it's reasonable - is there's a recognition that creators have a human right to their creations.

        I do think artists have a natural right to their work, and I'll explain why *I* reached that conclusion, although I doubt I'll convince you. To me, my natural right to my creative work is similar to my natural right to my labor. And since my creation comes from me, it's just that I maintain some control over its presentation - ie, the right to paternity (being identified as the author) and integrity. As a comparison, consider privacy; my right to keep some information about myself from the public - however limited you think that should be - depends on the idea that I have a (limited!) natural right to control it. These views have far more traction in Continental law.

        This obviously opens any number of cans of worms as far as the rights of others are concerned. But so do _all_ rights. That's why balance is so important.

        With all due respect, while there are plenty of valid reasons to disagree here, I think the idea that protecting natural rights requires an artificial structure says little about whether or not those rights are natural in the philosophical sense. All rights, from free speech to privacy, depend to some extent on artificial structures. By their very nature, laws impose artificial structures - on highway speed, uses of land, the nature of financial transactions, etc - in order to safeguard rights. Or perhaps I'm misinterpreting your argument here.

        In any case, I'm not expecting to convince you. But that's how I got to this conclusion.

        Anyway, all very interesting stuff, and it's nice to have a smart, friendly conversation about this. You should check out the book I linked to, as it offers a balanced look at all of this.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:58pm

          Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

          I think it's important to note that an author can have a natural right to his work without that right including restrictions on others. I agree that just as you have the right to swing your fist, you also have the right to your own creative output and nothing can take that from you. But at the same time, you don't have the right to hit others on the nose with that fist, just as you don't (or, rather, shouldn't, since copyright law has provided that you do) have the right to stop others from doing what they will with your writings. Your natural right to your work ends where my right to it begins, and to extend that further is to create the artificial structure Leigh is talking about.

           

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          Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:23pm

          Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

          Natural rights are so called, because they are evident in nature. They are not aspirational, e.g. "It's natural for authors to want to control what others do with their work, ipso facto they have a natural right to exert such control"

          It's an easy trick to play, to lead the gullible astray, but it doesn't make piracy (liberty) go away.

          I have a natural right to exclude others from copying the poem in my pocketbook, because I naturally, physically control my pocket and the pocketbook within it. However, if I start printing and distributing copies of my poem to all and sundry, it should be self-evident to all except the most corrupt copyright supporters that I have zero natural, physical control over what umpteen recipients are able to do with the poem they've received from me. Such an pretence of control must be granted by the powerful, e.g. Queen Anne in 1709, and Congress in 1790.

           

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          Karl (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 5:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

          I certainly meant to link it, since I think that's fair. (They're not equivalent but I do think they're linked.) I didn't mean to use the latter as an inarguable justification of the former. My point - which you can disagree with, but I think it's reasonable - is there's a recognition that creators have a human right to their creations.

          The "moral rights" that are talked about in the U.N. document, like the "droit d'auteur" aspects of copyright that are enshrined in law in many European countries, are not economic rights. They protect things like attribution, the right to integrity of the work, and the right of "refusal" (e.g. the right to be credited as Allan Smithee). They are there to protect against things like plagiarism, which is not copyright infringement; they are the equivalent of CC-BY (and the reason CC-BY is the loosest CC license that is legal in many countries). Those rights cannot be sold or transferred, even voluntarily, and most end with the author's death.

          They are not included in U.S. copyright, except for the very limited provisions in 17 USC 106A. They are, instead, covered by things like libel and slander laws. In countries where moral rights are recognized, they are considered distinct from the "economic exploitation" rights granted by copyright; in about half of those countries, they even have different term lengths. They don't belong in any discussion of statutory royalties, or performing rights organizations, or the business models of media or technology companies.

          So, and this is important, unlawful copying does not infringe on those rights. If I reproduce and distribute an album by the Rolling Stones, I am not suddenly claiming that it is authored by someone other than the Rolling Stones. I may or may not be infringing on their economic exploitation rights, that arise solely from a specific nation's laws. But I am not violating anyone's universal human rights. As a matter of fact, in some countries where moral rights are recognized (such as Spain's "Derecho moral"), non-commercial copying is entirely legal.

          In other words, the "human right to their creations" that authors enjoy, has absolutely nothing to do with piracy. Those rights cannot justify antipiracy measures; they cannot justify domain seizures; they were not being protected by SOPA or PIPA.

          The human rights of authors do not belong in any discussion about piracy. Trying to "link" the two is not "fair," it is wrong-headed.

          To me, my natural right to my creative work is similar to my natural right to my labor.

          I'm sure you know this, but the U.S. has explicitly rejected the "sweat of the brow" argument for copyright, just as it rejected the view that copyright is a natural property right. In the words of Justice McLean in Wheaton v. Peters:
          That an author at common law has a property in his manuscript, and may obtain redress against anyone who deprives him of it or by improperly obtaining a copy endeavors to realize a profit by its publication cannot be doubted, but this is a very different right from that which asserts a perpetual and exclusive property in the future publication of the work after the author shall have published it to the world.

          The argument that a literary man is as much entitled to the product of his labor as any other member of society cannot be controverted. And the answer is that he realizes this product by the transfer of his manuscripts or in the sale of his works when first published.

          Whatever "natural right" an author has to the products of his creative labor, it ends at publication.

          Anyway, all very interesting stuff, and it's nice to have a smart, friendly conversation about this. You should check out the book I linked to, as it offers a balanced look at all of this.

          It is; and I will, as soon as I can afford a copy.

           

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      Crosbie Fitch (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:14pm

      Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

      There are no natural exceptions to natural rights. 'Exception' describes privileges such as copyright that are 'exceptions; to liberty, or legislated limitations to privileges such as 'fair use'.

      Free speech means that the state does not interfere with its citizens' speech, i.e. censorship. If we have free speech, we are free to say ANYTHING TO ANYONE. If we don't have free speech, the state will monitor what we say and censor speech it considers undesirable (prevent it reaching those it otherwise would have).

      Free speech is distinct from liberty. That is, while we are free to say anything, some things we say may violate others' rights, e.g. violate another's privacy, commit fraud, or incite murder. Securing people's rights means prohibiting acts that violate them. It doesn't mean the state can censor speech to pre-empt potential violation.

      Copyright is a privilege, the suspension of a natural right for the benefit of a few (the crown/state, and the Stationers' Company and every publishing corporation since).

      The only ones who say copyright is a human right are those who don't know what human rights are, and those who don't want them to know.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

      Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

      Just to be clear, I have _never_ said that exceptions to copyright aren't important. Ever. And I've never said that the copyright system we have in the US is ideal - it lasts too long, and it covers too much. What I do think is that copyright is a right, and that this has been recognized widely - and by the UN in an influential document.

      I'm going to go out on a limb here and assume that many of you will disagree with me. That's fine, of course. But I thought I would clarify what I actually think.


      I'd just like to note how absolutely hilarious this is, since you have -- repeatedly and maliciously -- misrepresented my own position on copyright, and argued directly that I and others seek to destroy artists' rights. Yet when we show where an argument is faulty you complain that we don't understand the nuance of your argument (while doing absolutely nothing to respond to the central point of the article)?

      Just a suggestion: perhaps you should take the time to understand the position of others you regularly attack.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 4:24pm

        Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

        You really are a petty cocksucker aren't you. Name one aspect of current IP law you support. Until then STFU about being mischaracterized. Sounds like he is spot on.

         

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          Cory of PC (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 5:36pm

          Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

          Hi Anonymous Troll! I see you're taking this time to insult Mike once again, trying to get info for whatever you have planned and bring absolutely nothing to this conversation! I have to ask, why are you so concern about Mike's stand on certain parts of IP law? The whole world wants to know why...

          Until then, please take your own advice and leave in a calm fashion. If you want to talk to Mike, please be more mature. You're not going to get anywhere with that kind of mouth.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 4:43pm

        Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

        Mike,

        If you are referring to the article on Cnet, you may not have seen Robert's reaction in the comments:

        "I never said this. I never said _anything_ about Masnick here. And while I have disagreed with him publicly in other ways, I never said he doesn't want artists to get paid."

        Looks like the statement may have been attributable to Sandoval (you'll note that the article does not attribute the statement about you to Levine). I don't know if you're referring to another discussion in which Levine said you "seek to destroy artists' rights", but it wasn't in that Cnet interview. Mr. Levine seems very interested in engaging in thoughtful, respectful discussion. You do not, unfortunately.

         

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 27th, 2012 @ 1:32am

          Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

          If you are referring to the article on Cnet, you may not have seen Robert's reaction in the comments:

          I am not referring to the article on CNET. I am referring to the repeated efforts by Mr. Levine to publicly attack me, to harm the businesses of those associated with me, and even to seek to interfere with partnerships that I have made through public dissemination of lies.

          Mr. Levine seems very interested in engaging in thoughtful, respectful discussion.

          You clearly have no experience with Mr. Levine.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 27th, 2012 @ 11:21am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

            Wow, those are some very serious accusations. I assume you can post evidence to back up your claims? I know from experience that you would demand the same from someone who made similar claims against you on this site.

             

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              Karl (profile), Oct 27th, 2012 @ 3:09pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

              I assume you can post evidence to back up your claims?

              Within five minutes of Googling, I found this article on Future Of Copyright:
              http://www.futureofcopyright.com/home/blog-post/2011/10/14/interview-with-robert-levine- on-the-current-free-ride-culture-on-the-interne.html

              After you read the article, read Levine's comments there. You'll find plenty of attacks on Techdirt ("Nearly everything Techdirt says is wrong. They misstate facts, misuse statistics, and misunderstand laws").

              His comments also show that Techdirt did not misrepresent his position: "Just as you have a right to free speech and privacy (at least in Europe), I have a right to be paid for my work (worldwide and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27)".

              ...Or, how about these gems from Levine's Twitter feed?
              Mikey loves to trash creators and their representatives but he has a widdle tantrum when you criticize him. Typical of bullies.

              Mike Masnick at Techdirt just HATES it when creators hit back. Apparently he's allowed to advocate against your rights...
              ...but you're not allowed to hit back. Creators, look at the advertisers that support Techdirt and think whether they deserve support...

              Or, perhaps you should just do a search on Levine's website promoting his book:
              Techdirt, which specializes in sputtering outrage against creators who assert their rights, has decided that it wants a market for everything except creative work. [Here.]

              From this, some intelligent people conclude, Thingz shud be free on teh Interwebz. [From "Thingz" to "Interwebz" is a link to Techdirt. Here.]

              I'm sure there's more, but it's pretty clear that Levine has, repeatedly, misrepresented Techdirt's position, while Techdirt has not misrepresented his.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2012 @ 7:34am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

                Seems pretty accurate to me. It's consistent with what his former friends at Russia Today said about him. Mike is a bit of a baby and does play fast and loose with the truth. A guess that is all part of being a shill for Google.

                 

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                  Cory of PC (profile), Oct 28th, 2012 @ 10:18am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

                  Hello Mr. Levine! Nice to meet you. My name is Cory and I happen to be a creator. Now then, can I ask you something? When do I ever bash Techdirt for its views towards creators? Last time I checked, it was... never. In fact, I actually love some suggestions that are made on this site and I want to use them when I finally get ready to make some money.

                  The only time I was bashing was against people like you. I would say that the truth is blinding, but I guess you're already too blind to see it. ... And no, it's not towards Mike.

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2012 @ 11:38am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

                    Is that so. What percentage of your income comes from fan fiction?

                     

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

                Within five minutes of Googling, I found this article on Future Of Copyright:

                I see that Levine is challenging the substance and fairness of articles posted on this site. That seems like a perfectly reasonable *opinion* to me, and not a declaration that Mike seeks to "destroy artists' rights" or "harm the businesses of those associated with [Mike]." By that logic, Mike has attempted to harm the business of just about every entertainment group and copyright supporter in the world.

                His comments also show that Techdirt did not misrepresent his position: "Just as you have a right to free speech and privacy (at least in Europe), I have a right to be paid for my work (worldwide and in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27)".

                I don't see your point or how this is relevant to what we're discussing (i.e., evidence that Levine has argued that Mike seeks to "destroy artists' rights" or "harm the businesses of those associated with [Mike].").

                Or, how about these gems from Levine's Twitter feed?

                Really? These are examples of Levine arguing that Mike seeks to "destroy" artists' rights and harm his business? Good God, this is called having an opinion contrary to Mike's, and questioning Mike's ability to take what he dishes out. Anyone who follows Mike's comments on this blog knows that he is *extremely* flip and rude to anyone who dares take a position that differs from his own. He is increasingly hostile to those that challenge his positions. You, on the other hand Karl, *do not act like this* and will engage in respectful, substantive discussion in the comments. I hope that you have the intellectual honesty to admit that Mike is often abusive in the comments on his blog (even when unprovoked) to those who differ in opinion. Levine is merely pointing this out in his posts. Good for him. It certainly doesn't rise to the level of "harm[ing] the businesses of those associated with [Mike]." Come on.

                Techdirt, which specializes in sputtering outrage against creators who assert their rights, has decided that it wants a market for everything except creative work.

                So by this, you believe Levine is arguing that "Mike seeks to "destroy artists' rights" or is attempting to "harm the businesses of those associated with [Mike]." THESE ARE HIS OPINIONS. Show me the evidence of Levine nefariously conspiring against Mike with his advertisers or other business partners. Otherwise, admit that Levine is merely expressing an opinion that criticizes Mike's childish arguments and rude temperament on this blog. If that rises to the level of a "public attack" that affects Mike "partnerships" then that is one of the most hyperbolic and hypocritical statements I've ever heard from Mike. As an outspoken and aggressive copyright critic, Mike should expect people to *publicly* disagree with him. And when they do, it's not an attack on his business or "partnerships." I've seen nothing which contradicts this belief. And Mike should know better than to spout baseless claims. As readers know, he demands MUCH more from anyone who says the same of him.

                 

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                  Karl (profile), Oct 28th, 2012 @ 1:40pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

                  Really? These are examples of Levine arguing that Mike seeks to "destroy" artists' rights and harm his business?

                  I was referring to this quote by Mike:

                  I'd just like to note how absolutely hilarious this is, since you have -- repeatedly and maliciously -- misrepresented my own position on copyright, and argued directly that I and others seek to destroy artists' rights.

                  This quote, at least, is clearly true. Every one of Levine's quotes are misrepresentations of Mike's positions (with some personal attacks thrown in for good measure).

                  I have no idea about harming Mike's business, since I'm neither Mike, nor associated with his business. Still, if he's publicly asking people to boycott Techdirt's advertisers ("look at the advertisers that support Techdirt and think whether they deserve support"), then it would not surprise me to learn that he's been doing worse things outside of the public eye.

                   

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 3:24pm

      Re: It still looks like a right to me. . .

      the US addresses moral rights _to a limited extent_ with the Lanham Act

      Dastar v Twentienth Century Fox Film (2003).

       

      Btw & fwiw, I recommend Rebecca Tushnet's blog.

       

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    Vidiot (profile), Oct 26th, 2012 @ 2:05pm

    Wow... possibly a new record for flagged/hidden comments. No amount of hiding prevents a rise in blood pressure, I'm afraid.

    But agitation aside, there's a positive benefit, at least for me, of posts as seemingly fundamental as Leigh's. Not a bright lawyerly lad like so many of you, I need to be taught these fundamentals -- like what the US Constitution actually says -- repeatedly, so that when I passionately jump into IP conversations with others, I have some small amount of confidence that I can defend my position.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 4:44pm

    What is it then? A dog right? A fish right? A robot right?

     

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    Aggravated Headspace Manager, Oct 28th, 2012 @ 10:42am

    copyrights deserve zero respect

    The idea of a 'copyright' is inherently flawed. That's like farting and then charging everyone around you for the experience of smelling it. It's like saying you own an idea and no one else can ponder it without giving you a dollar first. It's absolutely absurd and all copyright laws should be violently ignored through 'piracy,' and graffiti. May sexually explicit images of Mickey Mouse cover our streets and corporate buildings. Fuck you Disney, fuck you.

     

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    Robert Levine, Oct 28th, 2012 @ 11:56am

    Two last comment

    First, if you look at what I said to CNet, it's entirely correct. I said,
    >>>I do think artists have a natural right to their work. That's a human right in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, not something that comes from the MPAA.

    Although this right comes with plenty of exceptions and limitations-as I think it should!-nothing here shows that to be false. It's certainly not true that the exact definition of copyright as enacted in US law is a human right - but I _never_ said that.

    Also, the definition of creators rights embraced by the UN does very much include material rights, however much the writer of this piece might wish it were not so. In the general comment linked above, it says that,
    >>>The protection of “material interests” of authors in article 15, paragraph 1 (c), reflects the close linkage of this provision with the right to own property, as recognized in article 17 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and in regional human rights instruments, as well as with the right of any worker to adequate remuneration (art. 7 (a)).

    That's vague for two reasons. First, it links copyright with property without saying it is property, which seems smart to me because it has some aspects of property and not others. (Whether it should or not is another issue - it does.) Second, the UN didn't establish a universal notion of intellectual property, since it left that up to individual countries. BUT, however inexact this is, it shows a recognition on the part of the UN that authors have a right to be compensated for their work. It acknowledges that this can be done in any number of ways, and it leaves that up to individual countries to determine. But it sets out the concept pretty clearly - and then goes into what remedies might look like.

    My point was that the UN clearly recognized both moral AND material rights as creators rights. And this is true.

     

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      Karl (profile), Oct 28th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

      Re: Two last comment

      however inexact this is, it shows a recognition on the part of the UN that authors have a right to be compensated for their work.

      And nobody - not Techdirt, not Lessig, not the ORG, not Google, nobody - has ever said otherwise.

       

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        Robert Levine, Oct 28th, 2012 @ 3:25pm

        OK, I lied - another comment

        >>> Still, if he's publicly asking people to boycott Techdirt's advertisers ("look at the advertisers that support Techdirt and think whether they deserve support"), then it would not surprise me to learn that he's been doing worse things outside of the public eye.

        Techdirt has repeatedly asked readers whether they want to support companies whose actions they find objectionable. Why don't I have the right to do the same - especially when Mike is doing work for tech lobbyists? I'm hardly waging a campaign - I think I tweeted something like this once or twice. And I have NOT done anything to Techdirt out of the public eye. I don't care that much, I don't have the time, and I don't even live in the same country.

        Last, while some of what I've said about Mike has been impolite - and I'm not proud of my tone - Mike himself can be pretty rude to those who disagree with him. To cite just two examples, he called my book "The Latest Entrant Into The Economically Clueless, Luddite 'Internet Is Evil' Book Category" and suggested that an interview I gave would "kill brain cells" (which I have to admit is pretty funny). So the idea that he's a sensitive soul who shouldn't be criticized strikes me as a bit silly. If Techdirt insults me, don't I have the right to fire back in kind? As I said, I'm not proud of my tone - I have a temper, like anyone else, and I probably need to count to ten before I Tweet. But it's not as if the rest of the conversation is so polite - which is why I find Mike's reactions so odd.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 28th, 2012 @ 5:16pm

          Re: OK, I lied - another comment

          Doing work for tech lobbyists? Care to make citations?

          Whenever copyright advocates throw tantrums they expect judges to give them leeway. Everyone else has never had this privilege.

           

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          Karl (profile), Oct 28th, 2012 @ 7:53pm

          Re: OK, I lied - another comment

          Techdirt has repeatedly asked readers whether they want to support companies whose actions they find objectionable.

          There are a few differences here.

          1. Mike has usually advocated for consumers not to buy products that are against the consumers' best interests, such as games with always-on DRM. He has not, to my knowledge, asked anyone to contact AdSense, and ask them to stop carrying Ubisoft ads.

          2. Mike has not misrepresented what people say in order to get them to boycott anything. Look at what you tweeted. Techdirt does not "trash creators" in general, nor "advocate against their rights," but you informally called for a boycott of Techdirt's advertisers based on those misrepresentations.

          Last, while some of what I've said about Mike has been impolite - and I'm not proud of my tone - Mike himself can be pretty rude to those who disagree with him.

          Being rude is one thing. Misrepresenting his positions is another. Mike certainly can take a caustic tone, but he takes a caustic tone based on what you actually say. You don't do that.

          Leaving aside Techdirt altogether, you've clearly and continuously misrepresented everyone in the "tech industry" and the free culture movement. Some choice quotes:
          Google really brought out the Astroturf for those bills [SOPA and PIPA]. They really just whipped people into a frenzy about stuff that’s not in the bill. I don’t think that people who hate bills favor piracy. There are a lot of very smart people who make smart points about why bills are flawed or bad. At the same time, they have a lot of people whipped into frenzy about how this is end of free speech online, and a lot of those people are funded by Google -- and that’s bullshit.

          - http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/12/18/idUS411011457520111218
          When I was researching my book, I was shocked to find out that the same people who argued music and video should be free were getting money from Google.

          The Internet community is always in a complete lather. They operate on one setting, hysterical. I've never seen them try to look at the issue from the other side.

          This debate isn't about the consumer. It's about big money versus big money. Look who is going to Washington to object; it's all venture capitalists. They are wigged out about these bills. They want to preserve their right to build a business on someone else's back.
          - http://www.adweek.com/news/technology/internet-community-always-complete-lather-136310

          It's just you have [Harvard Law Professor] Lawrence Lessig out there saying that you should be able to do all this stuff for free and it's an affront to free speech.

          There is this sense that so far all the books have been about giving it away for free and seeing what happens.

          When you sign a record company deal, it's a contractual relationship. With websites you don't get to choose. They didn't ask your permission. You don't vote. They're making money on what you're doing without compensating you.
          - http://www.spin.com/articles/qa-free-ride-author-rob-levine-why-free-downloading-actually-costly

          YouTube’s offer to the media business could be summarized, in geek terminology, as ‘all your video are belong to us’ – so you might as well take what we give you.

          The obvious problem is this: How much can you trust a company that deliberately attempts to profit from the work of others without providing any compensation?
          - http://freeridethebook.wordpress.com/2012/01/06/to-live-outside-the-law-you-must-be-honest/

          There 's more of this floating around the net. It's utterly bogus. Everything I've put in italics is simply not true, and misrepresents the opinions of everyone involved.

          Admittedly, that's not nearly as bad as outright liars like the people on Trichordist, but it's still pretty bad.

          The irony is that you and Mike agree with each other on many of the solutions to the problems of artists getting paid. So do you and Google, and you and Lessig. If you weren't so busy attacking them, and actually listened to what they say, you might actually realize that you have more in common with the "free riders" than you do with the media industry.

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:40am

          Re: OK, I lied - another comment

          Techdirt has repeatedly asked readers whether they want to support companies whose actions they find objectionable.

          Where? We tend to suggest that people not support products that go against their own best interests, but we've also talked about the silliness of boycotting companies as well as why we hope that labels and studios learn how to adapt and succeed. I don't believe in not supporting a company entirely just because they did something else I don't like.

          Why don't I have the right to do the same - especially when Mike is doing work for tech lobbyists?

          I don't know what work you think I'm "doing" for tech lobbyists, but you seem woefully misinformed, as per usual. And what your doing is, again, entirely different than what I have done.

          You misrepresented (many, many, many times) my position on a whole variety of things -- and then you have asked people not to support partners or friends of mine based on YOUR OWN lies. You know this because we had an email conversation about one instance (of many) in which you insisted that your outright fabrication was merely your opinion.

          You don't seem to understand the difference between an opinion and a factual statement -- which is kinda scary.

          More recently, you did something much more hilariously ignorant, in that you publicly sought to get a company to not host our 15th anniversary party, which is just downright childish, but also revealed much more of your ignorance. You directly reached out to the company who hosted the party, not knowing anything about them, and claimed (falsely) that I sought to destroy the rights of their clients (totally, laughably, incorrect and ignorant). And you asked them not to host our party.

          I will say it made for a good laugh all around (including from some of the "clients" you named who apparently I want to destroy), but it did show the ridiculous lengths you will go to to falsely attribute to me things I do not say, and then try to attack me with those lies. Trying to stop our 15th anniversary party? Really, Rob?

          Last, while some of what I've said about Mike has been impolite - and I'm not proud of my tone - Mike himself can be pretty rude to those who disagree with him.

          Can I be direct and pointed? Sure, absolutely. I'm a NYer at heart and I let that out. But I don't lie about you, or seek to attack anyone you work with.

          Rob: if you were merely critical of me, that's fine. What I've discussed with you previously is your repeated lies about me. Opinions are fine. Lying just makes you look desperate and stupid. Insult me all you want. Just try to do so honestly. There are lots of ways to insult me legitimately. That you seem unable to do so without also lying about me... well, that says something.

          which is why I find Mike's reactions so odd.

          Again, if you were just rude, it wouldn't matter. Be rude. Be an asshole. Fine. No problem. My complaint is in your lies, and then your attempts to drag others into those lies. You continue to make false statements about me, which I find amusing, because it shows how little you actually know about an awful lot of stuff.

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Robert Levine, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 1:18am

            Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

            >>> You directly reached out to the company who hosted the party, not knowing anything about them, and claimed (falsely) that I sought to destroy the rights of their clients (totally, laughably, incorrect and ignorant). And you asked them not to host our party.

            "Directly reached out" makes it sound like I called them. I didn't. I Tweeted a message that suggested they think about who they're working with. I didn't think they'd take me that seriously, which is fine. My point was that some creators might think less of them for supporting you. If, as you say, it "made for a good laugh all around," I'm surprised you're so upset.

            Also,
            >>>I don't know what work you think I'm "doing" for tech lobbyists

            You yourself said that your Sky is Rising study was "sponsored by CCIA and Engine Advocacy," and the former organization describes itself as "a vital link to Capitol Hill and the issues directly impacting high-tech business?" To me, that sounds like work for lobbyists. If I'm misunderstanding something here, please let me know.

            And, yes, many of the things we disagree on come down to interpretation. For example, I seem to recall you think the overall music business is growing partly because of increased iPod sales, while I view that as irrelevant because almost none of that revenue flows to musicians or the organizations that pay them or advance them money. I don't think you're lying, which seems like a strong word, but I do think you're using irrelevant facts to obscure a larger issue. I'm fairly sure you think the same of me, which doesn't surprise me. I can't imagine we'll resolve this, since we both have better things to do. But, yes, I do believe that reasonable people can have divergent interpretations of factual data.

             

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              Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 3:34am

              Re: Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

              I'm surprised you're so upset.


              Rob, nothing you could do would "upset" me. I'm just pointing out why I said it's "hilarious" to see how you respond to this, given your childish and petty behavior.

              Notice how when I point out your pettiness, I just point to the things that you've actually done.

              When you, in turn, try to say things about me, you have to first make up what you think I said and you always (*ALWAYS*) lie about what I've said.

              You yourself said that your Sky is Rising study was "sponsored by CCIA and Engine Advocacy," and the former organization describes itself as "a vital link to Capitol Hill and the issues directly impacting high-tech business?" To me, that sounds like work for lobbyists. If I'm misunderstanding something here, please let me know.

              We wrote a report that was sponsored by CCIA and Engine Advocacy. That was, we did some research and talked to these organizations about supporting us writing up a report -- yet we retained full editorial control. We delivered the report to both organizations hours before we released it to the public. We weren't "working for them" nor do they have any control over what we say.

              When you wrote for Billboard, did anyone ever claim that you "worked for" the RIAA labels who advertised in Billboard? Did you take them seriously?

              And, yes, many of the things we disagree on come down to interpretation.

              Funny that your "interpretation" of many things appears to be what most people call "lying."

              For example, I seem to recall you think the overall music business is growing partly because of increased iPod sales

              You should do better research. We quoted the IFPI's report that said that. It wasn't us. If you have an issue with the number, take it up with the IFPI. Also, we didn't just rely on that number (which was one of many we discuss in the report), nor did it say what you falsely seem to imply we said.

               

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              •  
                identicon
                Robert Levine, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 3:46am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

                >>>We wrote a report that was sponsored by CCIA and Engine Advocacy.

                Did they pay you to do a specific report on a specific subject? If so, I'd say you were working for them. Isn't that what those words usually mean?

                I don't think this is a such a terrible thing - you disclosed the relationship, and it sounds like they didn't exercise much control. My point is that it certainly sounds like you did work for them.

                 

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                •  
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                  Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 7:50am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

                  Did they pay you to do a specific report on a specific subject? If so, I'd say you were working for them. Isn't that what those words usually mean?

                  No. They sponsored us to write the report we wanted to write, just like RIAA labels sponsored your magazine when you worked at Billboard.

                  I don't think this is a such a terrible thing - you disclosed the relationship, and it sounds like they didn't exercise much control. My point is that it certainly sounds like you did work for them.

                  Okay. Then I'll now say that, according to your own logic, you used to "do work for the RIAA labels." Okay?

                   

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                    Robert Levine, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 8:14am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

                    Mike, you yourself said that "CCIA has commissioned a study by my company." Not sponsored - commissioned.

                    Major labels _never_ commissioned specific articles in the part of Billboard I oversaw. No one did (The magazine ran special advertising sections, but I was never involved in those - another department was.) Nor did they sponsor specific articles. There's a big difference there. If you don't believe me, remember that Google felt compelled to disclose its relationship with you - and it did not consider magazines it advertised to be equivalent.

                    Also, just incidentally, by the time I was at Billboard, the major labels barely advertised.

                     

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                    •  
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                      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 29th, 2012 @ 10:19am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

                      remember that Google felt compelled to disclose its relationship with you

                      Another lie. Google disclosed CCIA's relationship with me, not Google's.

                      You just can't help but lie about me.

                       

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                      •  
                        identicon
                        Robert Levine, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:26pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

                        Google certainly felt it had a relationship with you - that's why it added your work for the CCIA to its list of disclosures. That relationship involved an intermediary, but it's still a relationship - that's why it was disclosed.

                        Meanwhile, was that work commissioned or sponsored? Google's disclosure said "commissioned," which makes it sound like you were working for the CCIA, albeit temporarily. So how am I lying again?

                         

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                      •  
                        identicon
                        Robert Levine, Oct 29th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

                        Google certainly felt it had a relationship with you - that's why it added your work for the CCIA to its list of disclosures. That relationship involved an intermediary, but it's still a relationship - that's why it was disclosed.

                        Meanwhile, was that work commissioned or sponsored? Google's disclosure said "commissioned," which makes it sound like you were working for the CCIA, albeit temporarily. So how am I lying again?

                         

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                          Karl (profile), Oct 30th, 2012 @ 2:11am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: OK, I lied - another comment

                          Google certainly felt it had a relationship with you - that's why it added your work for the CCIA to its list of disclosures. That relationship involved an intermediary, but it's still a relationship - that's why it was disclosed.

                          Good Lord, this again?

                          For the curious, here's Mike's sarcastically-titled post about the subject: Apparently I'm A Google Shill And I Didn't Even Know It. Here's the passage you're referring to:
                          [From the Google filing:] The CCIA has commissioned studies by Mike Masnick, CEO of Floor64. See http://www.floor64.com/about.php. Mr. Masnick has commented on the case on the TechDirt website and on his personal friendfeed.com account. See Ex. X (available at http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120523/11050519050/boom-jury-says-no-patentinfringement- google-oracle-case.shtml and at http://friendfeed.com/mmasnick/a3a94012/jurygoogle- did-not-infringe-on-oracle-patents).

                          And, yes, CCIA has commissioned a study by my company (Floor64) which I co-authored. And that's, uh, public knowledge. Here's my post back in January announcing the Sky is Rising report, in which it says, upfront, that it was sponsored by CCIA.


                          Mike was clearly using "commissioned" only because the Google report used that word, and he used it as a synonym for "sponsored." Here's the language from Mike's announcement of the study, The Sky Is Rising: The Entertainment Industry Is Large & Growing... Not Shrinking:
                          Today, in Cannes, at the Midem conference, I did a presentation that was something of a follow up to the presentation I did here three years ago, about how Trent Reznor's experiments represented the future of music business models. This time, the presentation coincided with the release of a new research paper that we've spent the past few months working on, sponsored by CCIA and Engine Advocacy, in which we did a thorough look at the true state of the entertainment industry.

                          This does not even hint at the suggestion that Techdirt was "working for" the CCIA. Anyone who knows anything about sponsorship deals knows this.

                          But if it wasn't clear, here's Mike's take again:
                          I'm not sure how that has anything to do with Google. Google is a CCIA member, as are a bunch of other companies. And, honestly, if you'd asked me yesterday, I would have said that I thought Oracle was a CCIA member too, because it's an organization that represents a bunch of top tech companies, including Microsoft, eBay, Sprint, Facebook, AMD, Fujitsu, Dish Networks and more. However, it appears that Oracle is not a CCIA member, though I only learned this today from the filing, which also notes that Oracle and Sun used to be CCIA members. So, I'm not sure what any of that says about anything.

                          And, of course, if the point of this exercise is to uncover "shills" who are really speaking on behalf of companies without disclosing it, once again this argument falls down. My position on issues related to copyright and patents has been pretty damn consistent since before Google existed. And that continues up until today. I will regularly call out Google for patent and copyright behavior that I believe is bad. And that's because I say what I think. The editorial content of this site has never been for sale, nor will it ever be. Because the only way I survive in this business is with my reputation.

                          This is backed up by Google's filing:
                          In response to the Court's August 20, 2012 Order to Supplement (Dkt. 1238), Google again states that neither it nor its counsel has paid an author, journalist, commentator or blogger to report or comment on any issues in this case. Pursuant to the Court's clarifications in the Order to Supplement, the required disclosure does not include advertising revenue, disclosed experts, or gifts to universities. Id. at 1-2. It does, however, include (a) "all commenters known by Google to have received payments as consultants, contractors, vendors, or employees"; and (b) employee-commenters at organizations who receive money from Google. Id.

                          With that in mind, Google provides the following supplemental disclosure. [...]

                          II. EMPLOYEE-COMMENTERS AT ORGANIZATIONS WHO RECEIVE MONEY FROM GOOGLE
                          Besides the specific individuals listed below, Google is not aware of any other employee-commenters having commented on the litigation. Google did not pay for comments from any of these commenters.

                          A. Computer and Communications Industry Association
                          Oracle’s falsely suggests that Ed Black of the Computer and Communications Industry Association ("CCIA") was acting under the influence of Google money when he wrote a column stating the position that APIs are not copyrightable. Oracle and its counsel had to have known that CCIA’s position on APIs pre-dated Google’s membership in CCIA—and in fact predated Google’s incorporation in 1998. [...]

                          The CCIA has commissioned studies by Mike Masnick, CEO of Floor64. [...the rest is in the quote above]

                          The fact that Google uses "commissioned" rather than "sponsored," and "studies" rather than "study" (since the CCIA only sponsored the one study), shows that the connection to Google was so remote, that Google itself didn't know the nature of the relationship between the CCIA and Techdirt. It's also pretty clear that Google was erring on the side of caution, and listed everyone who had ever taken money from the CCIA for any reason and who had also blogged about the case. They did this because Oracle had falsely accused Google of paying for the opinion pieces from the CCIA specifically.

                          Also of note is that Techdirt had a closer "relationship" with Oracle than it did with Google. Mike again:
                          Separately, because all of this struck me as interesting, I remembered that we did some work with Oracle too! And, just as with what we did with CCIA, it was disclosed publicly at the time. Oracle (along with Intel) sponsored a section of our site, and a series of webinars that we did. And yet, Oracle did not disclose me in their original filing and I don't believe that they filed a new filing here either. Of course, as with CCIA, our relationship with Oracle did not include them having any say in editorial either.

                          The whole "Google shill" bullshit is brought up purely as a way to poison the well in any discussion about what Mike or Techdirt has to say. You're not the first one to do it, but you should know better, and you should be ashamed of yourself.

                           

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 19th, 2013 @ 9:05am

    It is, thanks for making me sound dumb.

     

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


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