Entertainment Industry's New Spin: Fair Use Harms Innovation

from the day-is-night,-night-is-day dept

The supposedly “free market” think tank, the “Progress & Freedom Foundation” has always confused some people with their stance on copy protection. Despite saying the government should stay out of almost everything (they’re vehemently against muni-broadband, for instance), they’re huge supporters for any law that pushes copy protection. This seems to go against everything else they say, because it basically supports millions of government granted monopolies. The latest column written up by PFFI’s Patrick Ross isn’t just disingenuous, it tries to co-opt the language of those who support loosening draconian intellectual property laws by claiming that fair use stifles innovation. The reasoning is bizarre and somewhat circular, but can be summed up as the same old line that the entertainment industry has used for years: if there’s fair use, entertainment companies won’t put out any more content. Of course, that’s provably false. Fair use has existed for years, and there’s still plenty of content out there. However, it’s worse than that. Copy protection often lowers the value of the content by severely limiting it or making the content useless for many users. The claim that people trying to actually use the content they legally purchased harms innovation is corporate doublespeak at best — especially when it’s pretty clear that no copy protection can actually protect content. No copy protection has been able to keep content off file sharing networks, so it’s hard to see how it makes one bit of difference to those entertainment companies. The content is still out there for free whether or not there’s fair use. If the entertainment industry is afraid to release their content digitally, that’s not a problem for innovation, that’s a problem for those companies. There are other entertainment companies that have learned to embrace more open distribution means, and it would seem that the “free market” position would be to let those companies compete and see what happens — not force government regulations to protect one industry’s business model. In fact, it seems that those who have created new business models that embrace giving customers what they want without annoying copy protection are a lot more innovative than an entertainment industry that needs a bunch of laws to protect their business model.

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Comments on “Entertainment Industry's New Spin: Fair Use Harms Innovation”

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Pete Austin says:


Re: So why don’t we just stop buying any media from the industry? Or at least anything with DRM.
Nate correctly points out that this does not sound credible. If you’re serious, switch to buying used/second-hand books, music and dvds, preferably from charity shops. If there’s a “must see” new movie, borrow it from a public library, or club together with some friends and rent just one copy. This way, you’ll be protesting against the RIAA, helping charities, and not hurting yourself.
I have just started following this advice and it is working well for me.

Pete Austin says:

Loony thinks customers are mad

From the article: No sane business operator enters a contract in which one party has the right to disregard its terms at will

He must think customers are insane, as DRM gives publishers exactly this power. Just one example:
Apple has used DRM in this way, dropping the number of burns permitted for iTunes downloads from ten to seven.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Loony thinks customers are mad

Hmm..I’ve have a bank account,, and they are always changing that. Every couple of years, they are switching up the term of the chequing account, in order to screw me out of my money. You oay more in service charges then interest. I always thought that it was me who lent the bank money. Not the bank who owned my money and doled it out.

How about the fact that my bills keep going up. It was advertised at 29.99 a month. They keep raising it.

or the no extra feel for my cell phone at 35$. Then.. ‘voice mail not included.5$ a month.. oh need to cheque your messages out of town? Oh, thats long-distance? Sorry.’

There are tons of things out there that mess with you. Its there usually in the terms of service.

jeremiah (user link) says:

Circular Reasoning: 101 or Owellian Doublespeak in

I liked this little snippet:

“What does this infinite flexibility for digital TPM mean for media distributed online? It means consumers will have more choice.”

With infinite restrictions, infinite choice is possible. How very Mao of him.

Are journalists drug-tested, or can someone take me to this man’s dealer??

Bill (profile) says:

Stop buying DRM encoded tracks.

Vote with your money. Stop buying DRM encoded tracks. The idiot companies still using DRM will go out of business and the world will be a better place without them.

Personally, I have totally boycotted all of the RIAA member companies for the past 8 years. Until they embrace the digital era and stop treating all customers like criminals in order to catch a few percent who wouldn’t have bought anything from them anyway, I just won’t give them my money. I either listen to the 700+ CDs I bought before they started treating me like a criminal for putting my own CDs on my own computer, or I listen to XM and Internet radio.

What would it take to get me to start buying 2 releases a week like I did for so many years? First, the RIAA would have to abandon DRM wholeheartedly. Second, they would have to stop lobbying to pass laws making it illegal for me to use my own CDs on whatever equipment I own. Otherwise, they can collectively pucker up and french kiss my rosey crack.

To be honest, I would love to see all of the RIAA member companies go out of business and all of their artists get signed by modern digital era companies who use the full benefits of modern technology in order to treat the artists fairly and treat their cusomers fairly. Imagine, maybe someday artists big and small will sign with “Google Music Group” who pays them twice the money and utilizes instant viral distribution to customers for a fraction of the cost. When will some sharp entrepeneur create a full-on high-tech digital record label that does this? They stand to make a fortune.

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