Swedish Politicians Who Actually Understand The Issues Surrounding File Sharing

from the well,-there's-a-first dept

It’s pretty common for polticians to have an extremely superficial understanding of the real issues involved with copyright these days. For that reason, many are susceptible to the entertainment industry’s misleading and inaccurate talking points about how it’s about “theft” rather than obsolete business models and artificial scarcity vs. infinite goods. In the few cases where we see politicians getting beyond that, it’s usually still not about recognizing the business model issue, but continuing the myth that this is about finding a “balance” between consumers and content creators. However, for what may be the first time, it appears some politicians in Sweden really do seem to understand the issues. In response to an effort to implement more stringent copyright laws, some Swedish politicians are coming out against the proposal, while noting that it really is a business model issue. Karl Sigfrid, a Swedish MP, notes:

“The cause for file sharing is basically that it’s possible. People have always done it to the extent that they’ve been able to. With cassette tapes 20 years ago and electronically today. Copyright laws preventing individuals from sharing information have never been legitimate in the eyes of most people…. The change needed might be so radical that it’s no longer about selling copies of immaterial products at all.”

A politician understanding the deeper issues and talking sense? Didn’t see that coming.

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Comments on “Swedish Politicians Who Actually Understand The Issues Surrounding File Sharing”

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31 Comments
Shaun says:

I want to move to Sweden...

I mean seriously they keep sounding better and better, I mean politicians who actually have a clue – and still get voted in – do you know how rare that is? And previously those that didn’t getting in trouble for bowing down to big copyright industry.

I mean voting Howard out and Kevin Rudd in (as Australian Prime Minister) was supposed to be so much better with his seeming understanding on technology and progressive broadband plans but then he ends up being as censorship happy as the rest of them. Hmmm, maybe we can convince those Swedish politicians to emigrate to Australia….

ApartmentEstepona (user link) says:

Politicians

Usually politicians are advised what to do by big business. They usually have strong interests in very large companies and industries. We vote for them because they have the financial backing to run electorial campaigns funded by – you guessed it – big businesses.

The music and movie distribution business model isn’t the only one that needs fixing…

Apartments Estepona

4-80-sicks says:

Re: Re: #11

Hahaha, nice try, but I am busy today. Slow day for you?

So, you’re saying you’re too busy to look up the case? If that’s what you mean, here’s the relevant text:

Petitioner was convicted in Federal District Court of violating, inter alia, § 2314, arising from the interstate transportation of “bootleg” phonorecords that were manufactured and distributed without the consent of the copyright owners of the musical compositions performed on the records…The language of § 2314 does not “plainly and unmistakably” cover such conduct. The phonorecords in question were not “stolen, converted or taken by fraud” for purposes of § 2314. The section’s language clearly contemplates a physical identity between the items unlawfully obtained and those eventually transported, and hence some prior physical taking of the subject goods. Since the statutorily defined property rights of a copyright holder have a character distinct from the possessory interest of the owner of simple “goods, wares, [or] merchandise,” interference with copyright does not easily equate with theft, conversion, or fraud. The infringer of a copyright does not assume physical control over the copyright, nor wholly deprive its owner of its use. Infringement implicates a more complex set of property interests than does run-of-the-mill theft, conversion, or fraud.

http://supreme.justia.com/us/473/207/case.html

Jack Ward-Bolton (user link) says:

Yes, Swedes are smarter than us

The root cause of all this copyright and DRM nonsense is that people seem to think that entertainment is more valuable than creativity and we should therefore protect creators of *already created* entertainment, at the expense of harming future creativity.

It all comes down to time – hence my new approach (inspired and supported heavily by many posts on Techdirt) to economics called Seconomics. You can’t charge people for time you have already spent. If you have made something that others can use for free (barring DRM and copyright) then you should let them. You sell your future time, not your time in the past. As Mike says, you give away what you have already created to gain reputation and increase your value so you can charge more for your future time. It’s as simple as that. In a world where everyone has the same basic needs (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fundamental_human_needs), any way of helping people meet those needs with little resource impact (e.g. via internet) should be promoted, not blocked.

And before anyone says that the livelihood of musicians and artists and authors should be protected, then I say that if their work is meeting human needs then yes. If not, then no. They should spend their own time on something that meets someone else’s human need or do their work for free because it meets their need for creativity or whatever.

I summed up the core of my argument on my other website, Time Makes The World Go Round, only this morning:

http://timemakestheworldgoround.com/blog/?p=50

I’m keen to hear people’s thoughts on this, so please post them as comments here or on my website.

Mike: I apologise for hijacking your site. I hope we can be allies rather than adversaries!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Yes, Swedes are smarter than us

Your approach isn’t new. In fact, it is very, very old and it is how most creative types were compensated in the past.

Renaissance artists were commissioned to create many their works. Composers used benefactors to support them. Your past work created demand for new compositions. These artists weren’t paid royalties or given copyright protection. They were paid to do their work and the person/institution who commissioned it used the work however they pleased.

An artists reputation was built on their past work which, in turn, created demand for them to continue to create. People paid the artists for NEW work, not for what was already completed.

Jack Ward-Bolton says:

Re: Re: Yes, Swedes are smarter than us

Yes, that old system makes the most sense! As Mike might say, I am merely adding value to something else, which is a good thing 🙂

My approach is inventive/novel (or at least counter to what is happening so far today) because I have found no economics that recognises the significance of time. The closest I have found is Marx’s Labor Theory of Value. There is also no economics that has meeting human needs as its goal. Welfare economics is about happiness, which can’t be measured. You can measure the effectiveness of Seconomics by asking people to what extent their fundamental needs are being met. It is from having needs met that happiness arises.

Annoyed at royalties says:

Re: Re: Yes, Swedes are smarter than us

If I borrow a friend’s cassette for a year and never buy the album, when would the artist be paid their Royalties.

If I download a track from artist’s media pages or a record labels pages. That is mine. If I download from MySpace and “You Tube” and there is no DRM how am I supposed to know where the music came from? How could I be found liable for having that track?

Great on all these copyright comments and “can not resell” sold time. If I produce 100 items and sell each one, I am selling the time, raw materials and added a markup for my ability to “provide” all this. I do not charge 1hour for each of the 100 I made as it only took an hour to make the mould.

Jack Ward-Bolton (user link) says:

The consumers have the power because they have the

Oh, I forgot to add that with more content becoming free, the power is in the hands of the experiencers, who have a finite amount of time to spend. You should feel grateful and pleased they have chosen your band to listen to or your movie to watch, when there are so many alternatives out there.

This is why the future of online media is in helping people find the content that is worthy of their time – and no I don’t mean Google. LastFM and RateItAll come close, but not quite there. I have an idea that will do it, but no time to implement it. Who wants to collaborate?

Anonymous Coward says:

“Copyright laws preventing individuals from sharing information …”

————————————-

Copyright laws do not prevent individuals from sharing information.

I am beginning to think that some of you think that there should not be laws on the books that prevent banks from sharing its money with bank robbers. On the other hand, some of you might want to make a distinction between money and electronic funds. Perhaps electronic funds should be free for the asking but not money?

4-80-sicks says:

Re: money sharing vs. file sharing

Information ¬ money. And if one’s income comes only from taking money in exchange for recorded copies of music/information (the only way I can guess you come to your analogy), then one needs to figure out something else, because people don’t care about dumb plastic discs, jewel cases, and OEM packaging any more.

I know you’re just trolling, but it’s just so easy to take down. When you want to be accusatory, at least try to build an argument of some substance.

By the way, the best trolls give themselves an identity. How many Anonymous Cowards are the same person? Don’t you want to be known when you finally take down Techdirt, convince them to give it up, and stop all the fallacies disseminated here?

Scorpiaux says:

Re: Re: money sharing vs. file sharing

4-80-sicks says: “people don’t care about dumb plastic discs, jewel cases, and OEM packaging any more.”

That darling of the music-for-nothing whiners, Radiohead, is no longer making In Rainbows available for downloads. You can get it in a discbox, however. Don’t want to believe it? Go to http://www.inrainbows.com

They did make it available for a short time for free or whatever anyone decided to send in. Is it possible that they weren’t making a profit using the new business model and reverted to the old business model? Am I wrong in thinking that withdrawing it from downloads created an artificial scarcity? How blasphemous is that???

If giving away something of perceived value in order to attract future business is the new business model, then the food court at the nearby mall has been ahead of the curve for years. All of the restaurants serve up tasty morsels on toothpicks for free. Thus, every time I go to the movies in the mall, I can get a makeshift meal by getting all the free handouts by the various restaurants. If everyone did that, then according to the new business model, the restaurants would make tons of money, right? I think that the movie theater should give away popcorn and drinks for free and sign on to this new business model.

Jason Still (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: money sharing vs. file sharing

If giving away something of perceived value in order to attract future business is the new business model, then the food court at the nearby mall has been ahead of the curve for years. All of the restaurants serve up tasty morsels on toothpicks for free. Thus, every time I go to the movies in the mall, I can get a makeshift meal by getting all the free handouts by the various restaurants. If everyone did that, then according to the new business model, the restaurants would make tons of money, right? I think that the movie theater should give away popcorn and drinks for free and sign on to this new business model.

as soon as the chinese place in the mall can make 1 batch of sweet and sour chicken and give it away to an INFINITE number of people without incurring any other costs, then your analogy will work. Until then, food and digital music are nothing alike

4-80-sicks says:

Re: Re: Re: money sharing vs. file sharing

Don’t want to believe it?
I am well aware of that already, thanks.
Is it possible that they weren’t making a profit using the new business model and reverted to the old business model?

No: According to Yorke: “In terms of digital income, we’ve made more money out of this record than out of all the other Radiohead albums put together, forever.”
http://techdirt.com/articles/20071219/012553.shtml
Now I’m not saying they made more money than they have on all albums including CD sales. But what if they had made the download version available for more than a few weeks? Who knows, then. They pulled up short. Anyway, if the general public did care about packaging or portability of a CD (the only thing that makes any real difference between music on a CD vs. MP3 files), then…piracy wouldn’t be a problem. We wouldn’t even have a debate. That’s why I say they don’t care about all that.

stuff about food courts and food samples

When you buy an album, you listen to it as many times as you want. It is infinite. Food, not so much. And movie theaters use movies to sell popcorn, not the other way around. Food courts use samples to sell a full meal. Musicians should similarly be using music recordings to sell concert tickets, merchandise, access, etc. etc. (if they want to stop stressing about so-called “theft” and so forth, and have fun and make money and make fans happy instead.) Music is a temporal and experiential good, not a physical good. You download a song, the song is still there. Ditto for movies. Money is a limited resource. Food is a limited resource. You steal a CD from a store, the CD is no longer in the store. You download the information that can be delivered on a CD, the CD is still in the store. Joe doesn’t care about the packaging, so he downloads the album from a warez site, or rips it from his friend’s copy, whatever. He’s found a more convenient way to get what he wants. Does the store have a legitimate complaint? Can the manager go to Joe’s house and demand $18.99 plus tax because that’s what the CD costs? No.

A smart musician will take advantage of this desire for convenience. Don’t want to go to the store? Get it by visiting my website. I’m not out anything, so pay nothing if you want, but I sure appreciate any support you’re willing to give. Joe doesn’t like paying $19 for music, but he feels $5 is a reasonable price. The band gets $5 from him, instead of $1 from their label.

So the labels are troubled. They don’t like this because fewer people want to buy their shiny discs any more. There’s something faster and more convenient out there for the customers. That in no way gives them a right to complain. What if I apply for a job and I don’t get hired? Should I complain to the company, and demand a salary? Or maybe I should demand half the wages of the guy who got hired instead of me? No, the company liked the other guy better, tough cookies.

OK, I’ll stop writing my book here…

Mike (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I am beginning to think that some of you think that there should not be laws on the books that prevent banks from sharing its money with bank robbers. On the other hand, some of you might want to make a distinction between money and electronic funds. Perhaps electronic funds should be free for the asking but not money?

I’ve made this point directly to you more than a few times already. Your failure to understand the difference between scarce and infinite items is really rather worrisome.

If you can’t figure out the difference, I don’t see how you can possibly consider yourself fit to discuss a topic like this.

Scorpiaux says:

The real anonymous cowards

Those who choose not to post either their screen name, real name, or email address are not necessarily cowards. They may have legitimate privacy concerns.

The real cowards are those who rant about copyright holders who wish to protect their legal rights and actually do so all the while engaging in illegal ripoffs and downloads yet will not publish their names and addresses.

Who here has unauthorized copies of others’ copyrighted material? Acknowledge it if you have done so, all you brave posters.

Jason Still says:

Re: The real anonymous cowards

Who here has unauthorized copies of others’ copyrighted material? Acknowledge it if you have done so, all you brave posters.

Isn’t there a difference between having an “unauthorized” copy of something and having a copy that is infringing on their copyright? For instance, I think its been determined that ripping cds you own to your computer is technically “unauthorized” but isn’t infringing. And if that’s the case, I have no problem acknowledging that I have unauthorized copies of cds I own.

Mike (profile) says:

Re: The real anonymous cowards

Those who choose not to post either their screen name, real name, or email address are not necessarily cowards. They may have legitimate privacy concerns.

Indeed. Which is why we do not require them to identify themselves. That doesn’t mean they aren’t cowards though. The two are not necessarily mutually exclusive.

I will say that it makes your point more credible if you are willing to identify yourself.

The real cowards are those who rant about copyright holders who wish to protect their legal rights and actually do so all the while engaging in illegal ripoffs and downloads yet will not publish their names and addresses.

I wouldn’t call that cowardly. It might not be smart, but it’s certainly not cowardly.

Who here has unauthorized copies of others’ copyrighted material? Acknowledge it if you have done so, all you brave posters.

As I have made clear, I do not. I do not engage in unauthorized file sharing. I think it’s unfortunate that more musicians don’t embrace these new models, but many are coming around.

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