"and then called for all parties to work cooperatively together,"
Over the weekend, I heard a lot of so-called pundits making the prostration above. There can be NO compromise with someone who rejects earlier negotiated agreements, dismisses them as being "inadequate", and then offers to come back to the negotiating table in the "spirit of compromise" to the demand further concessions and stronger laws to protect them.
Want to reduce piracy? Restore copyright to its original form. That should be the comprise that achieves the goal of reducing piracy.
@Bob: You are mistaken. The "strong" copyright crowd has been claiming ever greater copyright privileges. This expansion of copyright is a form of "theft" against the public. The public has property rights too.
There are at least three things that need to be articulated. And as an aside Ron Paul, at last nights Republican, finally presented a clear concise description of what it means to be Libertarian. That is that the (Federal)laws we pass must be within the context of the constitution, not based on whether we believe the proposed law is good or bad.
The Public Relations theme that needs to be present is to restore Copyright to its original intent. The basic problem is that copyright/patent law are complex, many people only have casual knowledge and are easily swayed by sound-bytes.
1. Piracy is one sound byte. It is easy to sway people that piracy is wrong because it is theft. A simple Motherhood statement. At last night's Republican debate the CNN moderator prefaced his remarks what the loaded language that piracy is theft. So one challenge is how to convince the public that the contents industry's definition of piracy is wrong.
2. Static concept of Copyright is another sound byte. Like piracy it is easy to casually assume that the copyright law has not been changed and is somehow deficient. Consequently it is easy to fall for the need for stronger copyright to protect the poor starving artists. What is seldom expressed, but seems to be vaguely recognized,is that copyright has been getting stronger and stronger and stronger with each iteration. The challenge is how to explain this massive "Land-Grap", so that the public realizes that the content industry is "stealing" from them.
3. The law is another misused sound byte. The content industry claims that it has the law on their side. Since they bought the law, I guess that they do. But this is an opportunity in the sense that the law is meant to serve society, not a special interest group. Furthermore, when a law is not reflective of social norms it is ignored. Civil disobedience in the form of piracy is one example. The challenge is how to make the public aware that these industry sponsored laws are an anathema to liberty.
Words are cheap, both Santorum and Romney need to be asked follow-up questions to fully disclose what they really mean on this issue.
Romney for example is absolutely livid on the issue of China stealing US so-called "intellectual property". Clearly, with Gingrich and Paul going first, Romney would not really disclose that he would pursue a pre-crime unit to arrest people on the mere belief that piracy may be committed in the future.
In terms of Santorum, he is quoted as saying: "The internet is not a free zone where anyone can do anything they want to do and trample the rights of other people." In discussing family values, Santorum clearly wants "big" government legislation to control behavior. It would not be much of a logic leap to assume that Santorum would also be for "big" government that would protect corporate interests to the exclusion of liberty.
The content industry in attempts to squeeze every last $$$ out of its DVD/CD products, cannibalizes itself; thereby driving down prices. Look in the bargain bin at your local discount store. The content industry is brazenly putting the pirates out of business by making DVD/CD content essentially worthless.
As Anonymous has already pointed out, those who make these unreasonable laws do not seem to think that the law applies to them. Pure hubris.
As these laws have been aggrandized, the ability to interpret and apply the law has become increasingly absurd.
Once a law becomes sufficiently convoluted it looses its meaning. Society as a whole then suffers because we no longer have the rule of law that applies equally to everyone. Instead we have a whimsical legal system based on "extenuating circumstance" and "novel" interpretations. Only those who can afford a loquacious lawyer who can spin some fantastic psychedelic explanation will have ersatz justice.
Seems that we could refer to our new legal system as being an outgrowth of the Twinky Defense.
Shin raises a very sad truth that seems to get overlooked. That is that the creators of products will move to the places of manufacture (not that they have to given today's networked computer systems). The point is that politicians, such as Romney are proposed solutions that are irrelevant.
Sure it sounds good and reasonable to say that you will prevent theft. But think about what happens when the creators leave to other countries. We will no longer be creating, we will have established onerous laws that the other countries, such as China, will use against us. We will end-up paying ridiculously high licensing fees. We are committing a form of economic suicide by proposing these laws.
In watching the Republican debates Romney has been absolutely livid concerning the need to stop the the theft of so-called "intellectual property". Based on his extreme posturing so far, I would suspect that he would be all for SOPA/PIPA. Civil liberties would become obsolete.
But then that assumes that he is even aware of these proposed laws.
He also does not seem to equate US deficit spending with National Security or the (false) protection so-called "intellectual property". Simplistically, all that China needs to do is buy our companies to acquire all the so-called "intellectual property" that they need.
I dropped E-bay a long long time ago. In one case, I won the bid for substantially less then the seller wanted. The seller made all sorts of ludicrous noises to the effect that he could simply cancel the transaction since it was far less than his perception of market value. In the end, the seller grudgingly shipped.
Exactly, the problem is that the concept of property is easily understood by lay circles which evokes sympathy for protection of that property. Abstract privileges of limited scope and duration do not illicit the same degree of moral outrage when violated. Thus it is relatively easy and imperative for the content industry to crank-up the propaganda machine showing pitiful starving artists having their property (works) "stolen" by evil pirates.
"Without copyrights and patents, corporations would lock much information away as trade secrets, never publishing patent applications or creative works and never contributing to the public good." That would be their prerogative.
But don't forget that people can independently discover and create what is locked away to have it enter the public domain. Also btrussel noted the concept of "open source". Since people can create without the existence of copyright, there is no mandate for the existence of the copyright privilege.
You miss the converse - technology is being used by the content industry to "steal" from the consumer. You also ignore the concept of due process. Protecting your so-called copyright privilege does not mean that the content industry has the unilateral and whimsical right to violate the consumers civil rights at their will. The consumer has property rights to the use of the content that they have bought. Furthermore, over time the breadth and scope of copyright has been aggrandized. What was an allowable use is now being criminalized.
Want to reduce infringement? How about restoring copyright to its original intent and time span (14 years). I suspect, that you would rather continue to making the improper assertion of "theft" with demands for evermore draconian laws to fight the so-called "theft" rather than return to a reasonable application of the copyright privilege.
What is the Basis for Creators Asserting Their Ownership of New Rights?
Falkvinge identifies five forms of the copyright monopoly. Within that context the pro-copy right crowd has been aggrandizing over time the scope and extent of so-called "intellectual property". Specifically, the pro-copyright crowd has made, what I believe, are outrageous assertions that new technologies automatically grant them increased property rights. I see NO reason as to why technology should work for the sole benefit of the content industry.
To explain. When you buy an old fashioned printed book, you can read it at anytime and anywhere. However, if you buy a DVD, it is region coded to restrict you from seeing it in a different region. Attempts have also been made to restrict people from recording programs that they seek to watch at a later time.
Of course, I have to mention the removal of Orwell books from the Amazon.com Kindle and Sony "disabling" the the PS3 post sale. In both these situations the content holder remotely reached out to trespass onto these devices to make changes that the device owner may not have approved of.
Beyond the obvious (simple) assertion of the copyright's holder right to control their content, there seems to be a lack of philosophical questioning concerning how the copyright holder can assert new property rights out of thin air just because a certain technology exists. There needs to be greater push-back saying that new technologies do NOT translate into automatic increased copyright privileges. If you can read a printed book anywhere and at anytime, you should be able to watch you DVD anywhere and at anytime.
"Open source" is a wonderful concept. This is especially true for Wikipedia since it allow people to create content. In fact, old mainline encyclopedias may have a lot disdain for certain content, so that it effectively "disappears" from the public consciousness. Wikipedia has the ability to keep obscure, politically incorrect, and fringe content alive. A good thing.
What is troubling with "open source", as this post alludes to, is that there can be a lot of friction in terms of focus and future direction. This can lead to a lot of wasted effort.
Back in 2010 Oracle bought Sun Microsystems, which had the rights to MySQL and OpenOffice. It appears, that as a result of this acquisition, that MySQL and OpenOffice have been "forked" into duplicate efforts (MariaDB and LibreOffice). Innovation is good, but progress can be stymied should egos and petty politics cause efforts to loose focus and even become paralyzed.
(PS: I have NO knowledge of why this "fork" occurred, so I am not implying that egos or petty politics were the cause.)
Copyright and Patents have been perverted. As you point out, the intent of these privileges is to make the content accessible to the public while allowing, for a limited time, the holder to make some money. Unfortunately, these privileges have been bastardized to constrain the public and to become a "toll-booth" for the collection of revenue. Now it is all about the rights holder not the public.
Instead of competing on price, product quality, and customer service we have phony capitalists and shyster lawyers who create bogus property rights to shutout the competition and to deprive the consumer of their property rights.
As most people know, who visit this site, copyright was meant to be for a limited time as a means of encouraging the creation of content. The content industry along with their lawyers have unfortunately corrupted copyright to be treated as property right.
Not only that, but the property rights of the consumer to the use of content continue to be extinguished and criminalized.