by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 26th 2011 4:10pm
by Tim Cushing
Mon, May 23rd 2011 1:03pm
from the wronger-than-wrongy-mcwrongson-from-wrongville dept
There's a whole lot of suppositions in Accardo's 800-word piece, most of which range from "wrong" to "laughable." Accardo leads in to his point-by-point dismantling with this presumptuous sentence:
"While I agree that content owners need to be much more open to embracing technology and innovation, I can't help but point out some fundamental issues emanating from the tech community and 'copyleft' that obfuscate the real issues of copyright, digital monetization, and technology."
Well, now that one side of the argument has been marginalized as "obfuscation," we can go on to have a balanced discussion. Issue #1? Patents vs. copyright. And the techies are on the wrong side of this as well:
"A bias toward respecting the rights of patents over copyright exists in tech culture, and copyleft has sprung out of this."
Really? As a proud member of what I assume is the "copyleft" movement (i.e., anyone who isn't a member of Big Content?), I think I can safely say that we have as little respect for overzealous patent holders as we do for overzealous copyright holders.
Next, Accardo goes after our "bias":
"One feels a little like Jon Stewart watching Fox News when reading a public statement by Lawrence Lessig or a post on Torrentfreak.com. The villain, Big Content, is always trying to take away our freedom and privacy by preventing us from enjoying Lady Gaga's newest album."
I'm going to let that one ride (inlcuding the assumption that we equate freedom and privacy with Lady Gaga) because he tops it two sentences later:
"Big Content uses its limited power and influence to look out for the little guy's rights as well."
As an employee of the Disney corporation, I'm amazed he could type this with a straight face, much less allow it to be published unaltered. Even the most maximalist of copyright holders would have trouble with that sentence.
If being able to leverage the US government to alter other nations' copyright laws is "limited," I'd really hate to see what damage Big Content would do if they were bumped up to "adequate." Is having the power to shut down entire domain name servers too "limiting?" How about warrantless searches?
"Look out for the little guy?"
Since when? Since being shamed into coughing up a fractional percentage of the Limewire settlement? Did we get it all wrong and the midnight move from "artist" to "work for hire" actually make things better for your average musician, freeing them from the massive responsibility of owning their own recordings? Is opaque accounting a fringe benefit for artists under contract?
Honestly, Accardo should have ended it there. He can't possibly top that obtuse declaration. What he does instead is lay the blame for Big Content's failures at the feet of actual innovators:
"Imagine if the tech giants used their powers of innovation to better detect and control online copyright infringement rather than the bare minimum steps companies such as Google take - omitting an app from the Android market or omitting a few search terms? If they helped take the head out of the bell curve of piracy with some creative innovation, we'd be seeing licenses thrown around to the Googles and the Spotifys of the world."
Yeah! Imagine if! Imagine if the tech companies went ahead and did all your work for you! The only thing they've given you so far is every tool imaginable to create, promote and sell your digital product.
You use their innovations daily and yet you still have the audacity to blame them for not stopping piracy. Tech knows piracy can't be stopped and has moved on. It's only the holdouts from Big Content that are still thinking they can cut every head off with enough legislative pressure and the hell with the First and Fourth Amendments. Those are inefficiencies from a bygone age. Big Content has too many inefficiencies of its own to worry about.
And as for your precious "licenses"? Who wants 'em? Do you think these tech companies are dying for the chance to pay ever-increasing fees and get double or triple-dipped for every audio or video stream?
If you're finding tech leery of helping you, perhaps it's because you never stop taking. You want them to police the internet for you (along with the ISPs), push your products, crawl your news, find you new revenue streams and create new formats. And in exchange they'll get thrown under the legislative/judicial bus every chance you get. No wonder the techs have turned their back on you. They've already seen how you've treated your own content creators for decades and now have to attempt to innovate while warily watching you blunder around in search of a soft target.
The innovators of the world owe you nothing.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 18th 2011 6:38am
from the that-was-fast dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, May 16th 2011 7:46am
from the you-have-to-be-kidding-me dept
by Mike Masnick
Wed, May 4th 2011 7:46am
from the felony-interference-of-a-business-model dept
But, here's the thing: Dish Network is not a party to that contract. Dish should be free to offer whatever channels it wants in whatever tiers it wants, so long as it has the appropriate agreement with those channels. I can't see how Disney has a claim on Dish here, since it's a third party, which is simply making a reasonable business decision that it wanted to offer Starz as a part of a lower tier. Disney is claiming in the lawsuit that this "devalues" its movies. No, it does not. What "devalues" the movies is the silly windowing plans of the studios that make those movies less valuable to consumers.
Of course, Disney is claiming that this isn't a contractual issue, but a copyright one, but even that makes no sense. Dish's license with Starz clearly includes a license to display the content. And Dish is clearly paying to carry Starz, so everyone's getting paid. The only issue is that Dish decided, for promotional reasons, to include Starz in lower tiers for no additional cost for a year (Disney, falsely, repeatedly claims this is "free.") It seems that Dish should be free to offer whatever promotion it wants to its consumers, seeing as all the other terms of the license are the same and everyone's getting paid.
I could see how Disney might have a complaint against Starz for the way it licensed content to Dish, in which Dish was allowed to offer this kind of promotion to consumers, but going after Dish for copyright infringement, just seems silly. If anything, saying that downstream providers can't set their own pricing seems like Disney is opening itself up to a price fixing claim. It made its deal with Starz. Dish then did its deal with Starz. Dish should then be free to determine how much it charges consumers.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 14th 2011 3:00pm
from the but-of-course dept
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Feb 14th 2011 10:40am
from the keep-it-cool,-yo dept
A San Diego couple, Michael and Maria Harris claim that their 4-year-old son Isaiah had his face burned from "scalding hot" nacho cheese served to them at Disney World. They appear to be claiming that Disney was negligent in making "no effort" to keep the nacho cheese at a reasonable temperature, and are claiming "permanent scarring, pain and suffering" to Isaiah from the burns, while the parents have suffered "emotional distress." Perhaps there's more to the case than is in the article linked above, but shouldn't parents be at least somewhat responsible for keeping things that are scalding hot from their children's faces?
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 15th 2010 9:42am
from the copyright-as-censorship dept
Folks, I long to release my Pirates Of The Caribbean mix on YouTube. I think it's one of my best mixes yet, and it's agonizing to imagine it rotting away in some filing cabinet instead of taking its rightful place in my body of work. All I've been told is that the producers at Jerry Bruckheimer Films want nothing to do with it. Whether that means they're displeased or they're just waiting for the right time is impossible for me to say. The sad reality is, Swashbuckle was contracted work. I’d literally have to start saving the money that Disney would sue me before making the decision to upload it. But who knows? It might just come to that. My music is my mark in this world. If I have to pay to watch it entertain millions of people, then so be it.Of course, I find it quite intriguing that Disney appears to have hired a remix artist to create remix videos. I'd love to get more details on how that came about in the first place. What's really odd is that the blog post indicates that he had to take down his "classic" Disney movie remixes while he was working at Disney, but now that his contract is up, he's free to put them back up. You can see an absolutely brilliant song he made out of the classic Snow White film, using "vocal syllables, musical chords and sound effects" all from the 1937 Disney film:
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Nov 8th 2010 10:38am
from the settlements-are-not-precedential dept
Yet, last month, when we wrote about how Triton decided to settle up for $400k, this hardly meant, as The Hollywood Reporter claimed, that this was a "win." There were many reasons why Triton might settle (including that it's cheaper than fighting), and such a settlement isn't precedential on anyone else. But (of course), in typically misleading fashion, the MPAA put out a press release claiming that it had "obtained a judgment," against Triton.
Now, here's what's sneaky. There are various ways to "settle" a case, and one is a "consent judgment." That's just a settlement worked out by the two parties, rather than the judge issuing an actual decision on the case. As part of that, there is a consent judgment issued by the court, but it's what the parties agreed upon, rather than what you normally think of as a court ruling, where the judge is deciding the result. Yet, the MPAA spun it as the studios winning a ruling where the judge had to weigh the merits of each side and came up with this result. That is incredibly misleading... but it seemed to have the desired effect.
For example, music industry lawyer Chris Castle, who never misses a chance to attack Google, no matter how weak or laughable (or wrong) the argument might be, posted to his blog about the decision, comparing it to Google, and suggesting that Google might be next. I left a comment for Castle noting that, as a lawyer, surely he was aware of what a consent judgment was, but (surprise, surprise) Castle refuses to post any comments from me (the same thing happened earlier this year when I repeatedly sent him comments noting blatant factual errors in posts). And, with that in the bag, Andrew Orlowski over at The Register decided to write his standard misleading drivel, claiming that the "ruling" sent a "chill through Google." Except, again, it's not actually a ruling in the traditional sense, but a settlement between the parties. Somehow, that doesn't make it into the article at all. And then others, who aren't as directly biased, picked up on it as well. Kit Eaton, over at Fast Company, picked up on Orlowski's article, and wrote an article suggesting "Google could be next."
Well, sure, Google "could" be next, but the scenarios are entirely different, and what Google does is quite different than Triton. But, more importantly, this "ruling" has no bearing on Google because it's not a precedential ruling, but just a settlement between the parties. And, it's unlikely that Google would just settle such a lawsuit, but would fight it. Of course, the studios and the MPAA know all of this. I'm not sure if Castle, Orlowski and Eaton know (or care) about all of this, but at least with Castle and Orlowski, it appears that they played this up for maximum FUD, as is their standard operating procedures.
Update: Apparently there are two different companies named Triton Media, and the one that wasn't sued doesn't like to be associated with the one that was sued (understandable). So the one that was sued and settled is Triton Media, out of Scottsdale, Arizona. Not Triton Media Group, which is based in Sherman Oaks, California.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Oct 28th 2010 7:21am
Putting 'Game Pieces' Together Online To Win Something Patented; All The Big Social Gaming Companies Sued
from the this-got-a-patent? dept
So how do all these social gaming sites infringe?
... by, among other things, making, using, importing, offering for sale, and/or selling products and services that provide game pieces that are applied to a game board at a game site, make information available about the pieces needed to complete a winning combination, allow the player to share or trade the game pieces, and enable the players to easily and securely store game pieces....Of course, you would think that since pretty much every social gaming system does this, that it would be clear that this was an obvious thing to do if you're building a social gaming system. But, tragically (and ridiculously), that's not how our patent system works.