by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jan 29th 2013 8:00pm
by Glyn Moody
Fri, Mar 30th 2012 7:33am
from the still-waiting dept
One of the striking features of the ACTA debate is the deafening silence from those who are in favor of it. Maybe that's down to the SOPA effect: companies and organizations are frightened of being associated with such an unpopular idea. Of course, it could just be that even its most fervent supporters can't really come up with any plausible justifications for it. That's certainly the impression you get reading a rare attempt to raise the ACTA flag from the Institute for Policy Innovation, entitled "Acting Out on ACTA."
It begins by focussing on potentially lethal counterfeits -- fake drugs, fake brake linings and fake circuit breaker boxes. That conveniently ignores the fact that no one is against cracking down on such dangerous counterfeits, and that the main problems with ACTA concern its attempt to apply the same rules to digital infringement, where there are no safety issues to justify its harsh and disproportionate measures.
But leaving that aside, ACTA doesn't actually tackle the problem of physical counterfeits, for reasons I've discussed before -- the main one being that the nations where fakes tend to originate are not signatories to ACTA, and so won't be bound by it. As for the countries that have signed up, the principal ones like the 27 European Union nations, Japan and the US already have stringent laws that enable counterfeits to be tackled, so ACTA won't make any difference for them either. The only countries where ACTA might have some effect are places like Mexico, and sadly the issue there is not so much fake drugs coming into America as the problems caused by real ones.
Rather than offer any more reasons why ACTA is a good thing, the IPI article then changes direction, and begins a bizarre attack on widespread concerns about ACTA's lack of transparency:
[Anti-IP activists] complain that ACTA was "negotiated in secret," and protest that critics did not have access to negotiators. Rather than making substantive arguments against the actual text of the agreement, they attempt to kill it by condemning the process.
In fact, plenty of "substantive arguments" against ACTA have been provided, for example here, here and here, as well as these on Techdirt.
The IPI article goes on:
it’s disingenuous to argue that agreements between governments must be negotiated in public with opposition activists in the room, and it’s naïve for elected officials to fall for that argument. That’s not transparency—that’s paralysis. Treaties, defense compacts, and trade agreements have always been negotiated confidentially between governments.
But no one has argued that activists must be in the room. Instead, people simply want access to draft versions of the treaty as they are negotiated, plus the ability to make their views known to their representatives. That does not mean people are demanding the right to do that in the negotiating room itself -- that's plainly absurd -- just a mechanism for providing feedback, perhaps by means of the Internet.
As to the point that treaties have "always been negotiated confidentially between governments", that's also not the case, as this article explains:
Ars Technica recently talked to Michael Geist, a legal scholar at the University of Ottawa, about this effort [to export restrictive American copyright laws abroad]. He told us that rather than making their arguments at the World Intellectual Property Organization, where they would be subject to serious public scrutiny, the US and other supporters of more restrictive copyright law have increasingly focused on pushing their agenda in alternative venues, such as pending trade deals, where negotiations are secret and critics are excluded.
So, far from being the norm, ACTA's secrecy is a conscious attempt to avoid the scrutiny and consensual approach that characterizes WIPO, the traditional forum for multilateral agreements in this area.
The IPI article concludes:
ACTA should be judged on its merits, not on some false illegitimate-process charge created by opposition activists. And its merits are many.
It's strange that an article that claims there are "many" merits of ACTA fails to mention them, and concentrates instead on attacking straw-men. But there's something stranger still. According to the IPI's donations:
IPI is studiously non-partisan, but we have a definite philosophical opposition to Big Government solutions that are almost always worse than the problem. Today, the threat from Big Government is greater than ever, and our work is more important than ever.
ACTA is the ultimate in Big Government solutions -- in fact, it's even bigger than Big Government, because it's a supranational treaty that imposes an extra layer of obligations and bureacracy on governments, and hence their populations. So the key question is not: Why can't the IPI tell us what those "many" merits of ACTA are? but: Why is it supporting it at all?
by Tim Cushing
Wed, Jan 11th 2012 1:50pm
Firefighters For SOPA (Again): The Congressional Fire Services Institute Rehashes Cliches And Debunked Anecdotes
from the jobs-safety-foreigners-REPEAT dept
It opens with the usual "the internet is wonderful but mostly it's a den of thieves" rhetorical device before wading into the shallowest waters of the overused "appeal to patriotism" argument, stating that "Foreign-owned, rogue websites are increasingly selling counterfeit products to U.S. consumers," reminding us yet again that xenophobia and lousy legislation still go hand-in-hand far too frequently.
Then there's this touching display of concern (feel free to throw quotes around touching, display, concern or all three):
The economic impact of these counterfeit products is only one part of the problem. Many of these products are of poor design and quality and cannot perform basic safety functions. The U.S. Customs and Border Patrol and U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement estimate 15% of seized counterfeit goods pose a direct risk to public safety.Our pro-SOPA representatives are just worried about the consumers. By properly censoring the internet, we can ensure that Americans will only be harmed by faulty, genuine products, possibly made by Americans themselves. Jenaway then goes on to bring us a real life example of how counterfeit goods have harmed decent, hardworking Americans:
Counterfeit goods can pose a very real threat to the public and to the firefighters who protect our communities. Here in Atlanta, more than 18,000 counterfeit smoke detectors were recalled after they were distributed in high-risk, low-income communities earlier this year.This again?
If you'll recall, back in November, Mike published a post taking the International Association of Firefighters to task for sending a letter in support of PROTECT-IP and the (now renamed) E-PARASITE Act. This particular anecdote surfaced in the comment thread as Exhibit A in defense of these acts. After all, knockoff smoke detectors are dangerous and blocking rogue sites would ensure these fakes wouldn't end up in consumers' hands, while also "explaining" why firefighters were concerned with taking pirate sites offline.
But as Josh in Charlotte pointed out, this story has nothing to do with rogue sites, censorship or consumer protection. This was a government agency screwing things up on its own and distributing counterfeit goods to its citizens:
About 18,500 counterfeit photoelectric smoke alarms were distributed for free in the Atlanta area between 2006 through May 2011 as part of the Atlanta Smoke Alarm Program.Oh, so the same government who can't even source legitimate goods on its own is now going to be allowed to decide which sites are valid and which sites are "rogue?" And it's going to be assisted by a variety of self-interested corporations? Sounds almost like the fever dream of turn-of-the-century robber barons rather than a 21st-century piece of legislation. Jenaway's not done, though, making one last mention of "protecting" consumers.
And this has exactly what to do with censoring internet websites?
"More than 18,000 of the apparently uncertified units were purchased in 2005 and 2006 from a company in California."
"The problem dates back five years to when the Atlanta Fire Rescue Department bought the alarms from a vendor in Calabasas, California."
"While the Atlanta firemen work to replace the alarms, the Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking into the vendor, Silver Sails Corp. The City of Atlanta is "currently examining all available legal options" to recover the $100,000 spent on the counterfeit alarms, according to the fire department."
"We are an industrial supplier to local, state and federal agencies..."
Bids were submitted to AFRD, according to City of Atlanta Department of Procurement policies and procedures, with specifications for the detector purchase to include: new ionization type; Federal and State of Georgia Occupational Safety and Health Act compliancy; UL compliancy; continuous alarm duration; alarm sound level of 85 dB@ 10 feet; low battery indicator; hush button; test button; twist off mounting bracket; and long life 10 year lithium battery
Three bids were submitted from the following vendors: Englewood Electrical Supply (June 7, 2005), Silver Sails Inc. (June 7, 2005), and Cintas (July 8, 2005)
July 29, 2005- Silver Sails Inc. was awarded the procurement bid (8337-BA)"
You can't even play the "sold on a rogue site" card on this one. A government program got duped into buying them and distributed to people.
It is imperative that Congress address this growing danger with safeguards that support commerce and innovation, while protecting American consumers, our communities, and the first responders who keep us safe. These bills do just that.Whatever. This is lazy conflation designed to stoke the fires of protectionism under the guise of "public safety." If it's just "dangerous" fakes we're worried about, why spend the time and energy shutting down sites selling counterfeit jerseys and handbags? If it's the health and well-being of Americans we're so "concerned" with, why are we even bothering with blocking so-called "pirate" sites? Did someone pass out and lapse into a coma brought on by over-torrenting? Did someone get hospitalized for "DVD burns?"
Congressman Lamar Smith (TX-21) and Senator Patrick Leahy (VT) should be applauded for introducing these important bills. Congress should act quickly to pass comprehensive legislation protecting consumers from dangerous, counterfeit goods.
This rhetoric is repeated over and over by SOPA's supporters, taking on a mantra-like tone: JOBS SAFETY JOBS SAFETY, occasionally interrupted by promises to take it out on the "foreigners" who are "endangering" Americans when not "stealing their jobs." They certainly have the fattened wallets and corrupted power to shove this bill through, but they're severely short on justification.
by Glyn Moody
Fri, Dec 16th 2011 12:23am
from the we'd-be-crazy-not-to dept
The narrative around counterfeit goods usually ends with their seizure. We rarely get to hear or see what happens to them afterwards unless some token burning or breaking is laid on for the cameras' benefit. That makes the following story doubly noteworthy: we not only find out where fake designer clothes go after they have been seized in the UK, we discover that they are put to an excellent use:
Instead of handing counterfeit designer clothes to customs or trading standards to be destroyed, they are being donated to a charity for redistribution to the homeless and vulnerable.
That charity is called His Church, and in the last six years it has managed to convince 90% of British Trading Standards Authorities, which have the job of dealing with counterfeit goods, to pass on the clothes for patching can't leave those labels visible and then for redistribution. That's good for the homeless people that receive them, and it's good for the British government:
Every year customs and trading standards spend a fortune on storing fake clothes while waiting for a court decision, and then once the items have been proved to be fake the authorities have to fork out further for incineration or landfill costs.
This is such an obviously sensible thing to do you have to ask why the same approach isn't more widely adopted. Presumably it's from some residual fear that allowing fake clothes to circulate will "confuse" customers.
His Church has removed all such costs and pass on the high quality goods to some 250 homeless centres and women's shelters across the country.
But as Techdirt has noted before, it's likely that people know exactly what they are getting when they buy counterfeits, and that they are not confused in the slightest. Moreover, there's no evidence that the sales of genuine designer clothes in the UK have suffered over the last six years as a result of all these fakes being allowed on to the streets: were there any, the scheme would certainly have been halted by now. So is there any good reason why other homeless and vulnerable people around the world shouldn't benefit too?
by Glyn Moody
Fri, Dec 9th 2011 12:10am
from the harder-than-it-looks dept
One of the favorite techniques of those pushing for ever-more severe penalties for copyright infringement is to blur the distinction between analog counterfeits and digital copies. The argument then becomes: "counterfeit drugs can kill people, therefore we must come down hard on online filesharing." This trick can be seen most clearly in ACTA, which stands for "Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement", but where the most problematic sections concern digital piracy, not counterfeits.
That false equivalence between counterfeits and digital copies is also employed to give the impression that since cheap knock-offs are pretty obvious, it's easy to tell the difference between a legal digital file, and one that is unauthorised. However, unauthorised digital files are generally exact copies of authorised ones, making it impossible to tell them apart. What counts is whether the distribution is authorized, and there are all kinds of legal considerations like fair use or Creative Commons licensing that can make it very hard to tell without detailed legal scrutiny in a court.
Even the assumption that physical copies are relatively easy to spot is dubious, as this fascinating essay from Andrew 'bunnie' Huang about counterfeit chips in military hardware explains. Here's the background:
Amendment 1092 to the Defense Authorization Act of 2012 is a well-intentioned but misguided provision outlining measures designed to reduce the prevalance of counterfeit chips in the US military supply chain.
Huang then runs through the myriad ways in which counterfeits can be produced and why spotting them is hard.
Under the proposed anti-counterfeit amendment, first-time offenders can receive a $5 million fine and 20 years prison for individuals, or $15 million for corporations; a penalty comparable to that of trafficking cocaine.
Alongside "trivial external mimicry" authentic-looking but empty packages he mentions the following: refurbished parts (authentic parts recovered from e-waste); rebinned parts (authentic but with markings changed to a higher specification); ghost-shift parts (produced in the official factory by employees, but unofficially); factory scrap (rejects and pilot runs recovered from the scrap heap); and second-sourcing gone bad (pin-compatible replacements produced by competitors remarked as superior brands.)
As Huang points out:
Its one thing to inspect fruits and vegetables as they enter the country for pests and other problems; but it is misguided to require Customs officers to become experts in detecting fakes, and/or to burden vendors with the onus of determining whether parts are authentic, particularly with such high penalties involved and the relative ease that forgers can create high-quality counterfeit parts.
Indeed; and much the same could be said about asking local enforcement authorities or ISPs to detect whether digital copies are legal or not. It's yet another reason why ACTA is likely to have a chilling effect on the legitimate use of copyright materials online, and to throttle the next generation of digital innovation as a result.
Wed, Nov 2nd 2011 9:50am
from the don't-get-mad-get-glad dept
Vesterbacka said that the increase in counterfeit merchandise has influenced Rovio's retail strategy:
There are a lot of Angry Birds products out there, but most of them aren't officially licensed. Angry Birds is now the most copied brand in China, and we get a lot of inspiration from local producers.This line of thinking really flies in the face of most content producers. While other companies are ranting, raving and trying to legislate counterfeiting out of existence, Rovio is working to compete against counterfeiters on their home turf. It recognizes that those who buy counterfeits do so because of an unavailability of the real thing. By bringing authentic merchandise to China, Rovio is hoping to increase its revenue and capture a market that is based around its properties. Not only that, but he even admits that Rovio is learning from those counterfeits, and getting "inspiration." It's a form of free market research, so that Rovio can understand ahead of time what consumers want... for free.
Right now, we've proven that there's demand, and we're going for 100 million downloads this year for Angry Birds, and again the same demand for the physical products.
The way we look at it is, of course we want to sell the officially licensed, good quality products, but at the same time we have to be happy about the fact that the brand is so loved that it is the most copied brand in China.
It's great for us to see the demand, and that's why we're building our own stores here. And actually we're building our first stores here, and not in Helsinki... We hope to have quite a few over the next 12 months.
There's no reason why this will not work. The Chinese people want Angry Birds merchandise. Rovio is providing said merchandise. That is pure supply and demand at work. It's crazy that many other companies do not get that pure and simple lesson. Perhaps it's time for the CEOs and boards of directors of other companies to take a note from the Rovio playbook and put it into action. They might find a world that doesn't need poorly written legislation like PROTECT-IP/E-PARASITE or secret treaties like ACTA, but rather companies who listen to fans and provide them the goods and services they desire.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Sep 23rd 2011 9:28am
us chamber of commerce
Can The US Chamber Of Commerce Lobby For PROTECT IP Without Being So Blatantly Intellectually Dishonest?
from the or-is-that-not-possible dept
The group has put out two incredibly misleading videos. The first one focused on a woman in Canada who got bogus drugs that allegedly led to her death. Of course, Protect IP only applies to the US, so the woman in Canada still would have had a problem. And, a larger point is that there are tons of legitimate pharmacies, and it's pretty easy to tell what's legit and what's not. Why this woman was ordering from a questionable pharmacy is never explained. Furthermore, the scare stories about fake drugs killing people tend to be overblown as well. It doesn't do fake pharmacies much good either to kill customers. Finally, the fake drugs issue could be dealt with by legislation that focuses on fake drugs. Not ridiculously broad legislation that encourages censorship and puts the compliance burden and liability on tons of US companies.
The second video was even more ridiculous. Finally moving away from the "fake drugs kill people, and therefore we need to censor the internet to stop people from sharing music" line of argument, it presented some content creators whining about a changing world. Except... as our own research showed, none of the "victims" in the video had their stories fully check out. Two of them had relied on the works of others to build their own careers, while complaining that others might do the same to them. The actress had a bit role in one film nearly a decade ago that got unanimously dreadful reviews ("so bad that it makes you feel like tearing your eyebrows off one by one just to numb the pain") and was complaining that her royalty checks a decade later were too low. The author complained that her industry was suffering because of file sharing -- directly contradicted by other authors and the publishing industry's own statistics.
So... now, the CoC is back to screaming "fake drugs! dead people!" In a piece penned by the CoC's "executive VP" of its "Global Intellectual Property Center," Mark Elliot, the claim is made that if we don't censor the internet, the US won't be able to innovate any more. Complete and utter hogwash.
We need to create an environment that rewards that innovation.We have one. It's called the marketplace. And you know what doesn't reward innovation? When the legacy companies run to the government to have every new innovative platform -- the player piano, radio, cable TV, the photocopier, the VCR, the mp3 player, the DVR, online video, etc. -- declared infringing and locked up and shut down. But that's what PROTECT IP is designed to do.
For example, imagine spending hundreds of millions of dollars on research for a new lifesaving drug, only to have a counterfeiter make an unregulated, substandard version, with little or no medical value. Imagine that counterfeiter selling this product with your name on it online with impunity.Well, they can't sell it online with impunity. We already have trademark law, which doesn't allow that kind of thing. Why doesn't Elliot mention that? Ah, well, because it undermines his whole argument. Also, the idea that people are confused into buying the fake drugs has little support in reality. Legitimate pharmacies sell the real thing and most people know how to find a legitimate pharmacy. The people seeking alternatives are those priced out of the market -- due in large part to the ridiculously high prices set on drugs due to draconian and excessive IP laws... the same laws Elliot now seeks to make even more draconian.
Imagine, for another example, opening up your own small business, a photography studio. You work by yourself, maybe with one assistant, and take wonderful, high-quality photographs that you sell to advertising agencies or the hometown newspaper. Imagine that you are able to expand and hire two or three of your neighbors to meet the growing demand.Imagine being smart about that, and using it to your advantage. Imagine highlighting those who copied your image, and destroying their reputations while building your own. Furthermore, existing copyright law already handles the situation described above. PROTECT IP does nothing to deal with the situation described here.
Then imagine your customers downloading your photos from a website that stole your best images, posted them online and profited from either sales of your photos or advertising revenue from the attraction of your photos.
These rogue websites dedicated to counterfeiting and piracy put U.S. jobs, consumers and innovation at risk. Last year, these rogue sites stole an estimated $135 billion in sales from legitimate retailers around the globe. They clearly violate the intellectual property rights of U.S. citizens by ignoring our trademark and copyright laws.Funny. The "rogue sites" that have been described in the past were not posting photos. Furthermore, no rogue site "stole" sales from anyone. Why can't the USCoC use the proper language? And that $135 billion number has been debunked so many times -- even by the US government -- that it's sad that its still trotting that out.
The Senate is waiting to vote on the legislation, and the House is due to introduce its version of rogue site legislation in the coming days. We look forward to the enactment of rogue-site legislation this year to protect American jobs and consumers by cutting off the worst online intellectual property thieves from the U.S. marketplace.Translation: the old dying legacy business, who pay the US Chamber of Commerce to lie in public for them, want a new protectionist, anti-innovation law to shut down any technology that interferes with their business model -- and they believe the best way to do so is to put the entire compliance and legal burden on the upcoming startups who are building the platforms that will disrupt their existing business.
It's a really disgusting and cynical approach from an organization that has a history of such bogus efforts.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Aug 26th 2011 9:00am
from the who's-being-harmed-here dept
But, now let's take this to an even more extreme situation. Police in Manhattan recently arrested a shopworker in Chinatown for selling certain "counterfeit" items, "including Louis Vuitton and Burberry handbags." Except... this wasn't just a case of selling cheaper versions of the real things, this was a case where the items were supposed to be fakes. That's because they were being sold at Fook On Sing Funeral Supplies, and they were cardboard objects designed specifically for traditional Chinese funerals, where it's customary to burn certain items as "symbolic gifts to the deceased." Rather than burn real goods, it's become a tradition to burn cardboard versions of the real goods.
So here's a simple question: how are these luxury companies being "harmed" here. No one could possibly "confuse" these cardboard versions for the real thing. There's no likelihood of confusion at all. The whole reason they're being bought is because they're cardboard fakes. I'm guessing that Louis Vuitton and Burberry would claim that this could hurt their licensing business or reputation or something, but I can't see how that makes any sense at all either. The whole thing just seems to be yet another case of these companies and law enforcement completely overreacting... and appearing culturally insensitive on top of that.
by Mike Masnick
Fri, Jul 22nd 2011 11:42am
us chamber of commerce
US Chamber Of Commerce Continues Duplicitous Campaign To Conflate Counterfeit Drugs With Copyright Infringement
from the disgusting dept
I've said all along that I agree that counterfeit drugs are a real problem (though, it should also be noted that I'm only talking about actual counterfeit drugs, not grey market or parallel import situations -- even though many wrongly lump these together). And I would have no problem with actual efforts to go after real counterfeit drugs. But the fight against real counterfeit drugs is totally unrelated to the issue of copyright infringement, and it's not just cynical, but disgustingly exploitative of the US Chamber of Commerce to use victims of counterfeit drugs to helps pass a law that is really meant to deal with copyright infringement. It's like saying to the woman in the propaganda video, "hey, your friend died to protect Hollywood from having to deal with online innovation." Disgusting.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Apr 13th 2011 1:04pm
from the really-now? dept
"Look, piracy is outright theft," Biden said. "People are out there blatantly stealing from Americans -- stealing their ideas and robbing us of America's creative energies. There's no reason why we should treat intellectual property any different than tangible property."First, "piracy" is not "outright theft." Infringement and theft are two different things. You would think that someone in Biden's position would know the basics. Second, "ideas" are not protectable under US intellectual property law. Expression can be copyrighted and inventions can be patented. Ideas cannot be. That Biden thinks they can be... is immensely troubling. Third, how do you "rob" one of energy? I'm beginning to think that Biden doesn't know what the word "steal" means. Fourth, if this was "robbing us of America's creative energies," wouldn't we be seeing significantly less output and significantly less revenue? Instead, we're seeing both greater output and greater revenue. True, a few legacy companies within the wider industry are struggling to adapt, but that's not the same thing. Fifth, there are tons of reasons why copyrights and patents should and are treated differently than tangible property. Is Biden really suggesting that we should have infinite copyright and patents that do not expire and do not go into the public domain? Because that appears to be what he's saying, and that's blatantly unconstitutional. The Constitution says "for limited times" for a reason. Does Biden not know this?
He is quick to say that he considers it more than a problem of just the entertainment industry. "When our military is sold counterfeit equipment that is faulty, it affects our national security. And when cancer patients are sold fake cancer drugs that contain no medicine, it affects public health. These are serious issues for the American people."Biden may be even worse than John Morton at this conflation game. Yes, we agree that counterfeit military equipment and fake drugs are dangerous. No one denies that. The problem, which everyone keeps pointing out and which neither Biden nor Morton seem to want to respond to, is that they're using those small and specific problems to then justify massive legal changes that have nothing to do with those legitimate problems.
"Virtually every American company that manufactures something is getting killed by counterfeiters: clothing, software, jewelry, tires," Biden said. "If an American company has been successful at developing an idea, it's likely getting stolen."Getting killed? Really? Hyperbole much, Joe? First of all, counterfeiting is a separate issue than copyright or patents, and isn't really an "intellectual property" issue, but a fraud issue. Anyway, when you look at the actual statistics (not the made up ones by the industry) you learn that counterfeiting really isn't nearly as big a problem as people make it out to be, and it's certainly not "killing" most American businesses. Yes, it is impacting a few businesses at the margin, but multiple studies have shown that people who buy counterfeits are not taking business away from the original company, but are doing it aspirationally, with the intention of buying the real product when they can.
Besides, if we're really saying that copying ideas and passing them off as your own is "theft" and should be punished the same as "theft" of tangible goods, shouldn't Joe Biden be in jail? After all, he's a notorious plagiarist, who didn't just copy the words of another politician, but copied his life story, claiming things that happened to this other politician happened to him, when they had not. So, if anyone knows "stealing ideas" and "counterfeits," it should be Biden.
Biden then moves on to what he believes is part of the solution:
"I think the entertainment industry would agree that they have done a poor job in making their case and need to do better," Biden said. "I mean, they have some of the brightest and most creative people working for them."Or, perhaps, it's just that multiple studies have shown that this is not an education issue, and the more propaganda that the industry puts out, the less people respect copyright laws. I mean, we're talking about Hollywood. Does anyone really believe that they don't have the ability to create compelling content? The problem is not the content, it's the underlying idea which people just aren't buying. You can create propaganda all you want. You just can't make people believe it if they know, deeply, that it's false.
"They should be able to come up with an intelligent, original and effective public education campaign targeting this issue. To be honest, I am not certain they have dedicated the appropriate resources to this, and I hope they will."
"Kids are taught that it is not right to steal a lollipop from the corner store," he said. "They also need to understand that it is equally wrong to knowingly steal a movie or a song from the Internet."Yeah, the industry has been making that a part of the "education campaign" for decades. How's that been going? The problem is that children aren't stupid. And they can recognize that there's a pretty big difference in stealing a lollipop from the corner store (in which case the store no longer has a lollipop to sell) and in sharing a song or a movie with a friend, in which everyone gets greater enjoyment.
Biden doesn't buy the idea that Hollywood's effort to increase enforcement is merely to protect dying businesses.Oh come on! The media companies' "significant steps" all came kicking and screaming, often with lawsuits and attempts to use pliant politicians like Biden to pass laws to outlaw the innovations they eventually come to rely on. This is the same industry that tried to outlaw the VCR and the MP3 player. Significant steps? Yeah, only after being pushed by innovators and consumers. In fact, many of those significant steps were taken because of infringement, which showed what consumers really wanted.
"The fact is, media companies have already taken significant steps to adapt their business models to keep up with changes in how we watch movies and listen to music," Biden said. "Content is being offered to consumers in a variety of different ways that make it easy and cost-effective for people to access legal material. Anyone who does not understand this should simply talk with one of my grandkids."
Biden said he sees a shift in China, where piracy is rampant and where Hollywood has long struggled to gain cooperation from the government to address the problem. He said South Korea's strengthened intellectual property laws have led to the "Korean Wave" in entertainment across Asia, and "China's leaders understand this."And here, Biden is simply lying. The Korean Wave of entertainment across Asia started way before the US (at the entertainment industry's behest) pressured Korea into implementing draconian new copyright laws in 2009. Creative labels like JYP had sprung up years earlier, and the company's founder, JY Park, has stated in interviews that it was, in part, the widespread infringement online that drove him to push his artists into alternative business models that took them across Asia, where they make a ton of money. The idea that it was these laws is simply a lie, and is clear from the timing. Korean artists like Rain and Wonder Girls were known across Asia long before those changes were made. In fact, even the term "Korean Wave" which Biden refers to, was given to Korean cultural exports in 1999, a full ten years before Korea put in place new copyright laws. And, during those intervening 10 years, South Korea had the highest rate of broadband penetration, and some of the highest rates of copyright infringement online as well. And yet, the Korean Wave still happened.
Shouldn't the "reporters" at Variety point some of this stuff out in response? Or do they just parrot the Hollywood line and ignore facts? Either way, why is Biden allowed to blatantly lie or misrepresent all of these things?