The International Whisper Campaign Against Fair Use

from the fairness-is-a-problem dept

The entertainment industry has a special talent for lobbying. Over the last decade of watching the industry maneuver, it’s hard not to respect the sheer efficiency in its lobbying efforts. It happens over and over again. First, a story pops up somewhere suggesting some bizarre idea (copyright extension, ISPs should kick file sharers off their networks, the federal gov’t should start prosecuting file sharing, etc.) and within months, suddenly there’s legislation being offered in countries around the globe on that very topic. Clearly, the industry’s lobbyists know how to create an effective world-wide campaign on a certain topic and get it done quickly without garnering much outside interest until it’s too late. It would appear that their latest target may be attacking the concept of fair use in copyright. The industry has always had trouble with fair use, sometimes saying that it harmed innovation, while at other times even going so far as to say fair use doesn’t exist (don’t you miss Jack Valenti?).

William Patry notes that the latest is a worldwide “whisper” campaign to convince countries that “fair use” would violate international treaties, and thus, new copyright laws should not include fair use. That’s why some of the recent copyright law proposals we’ve been hearing about have more or less ignored fair use. While some politicians know enough not to fall for this, many who are not familiar with the ins-and-outs of copyright are falling for the bogus claims that implementing fair use would somehow violate international treaties (a common tactic used to frighten politicians who know little about copyright). In the link above, William Patry, trashes the claims that fair use goes against treaties. While this may seem like a minor squabble, being prepared to respond to lobbyist fabrications is important. Otherwise, problems with copyright law will only get worse and worse.

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Comments on “The International Whisper Campaign Against Fair Use”

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15 Comments
Pudro says:

Re: Re: is it time yet?

The 2nd Amendment is indeed about having the tools to fight those who would limit liberty.

Anyhoo, it’s pretty pathetic whenever politicians in our Congress fall for this crap to the point of supporting it with legislation. There is almost always a Congressman knowledgeable enough to inform them otherwise, but they rarely pay attention. (And I know for a fact that at least one exists to inform them on the issue addressed in Mike’s post here.)

Tack Furlo (user link) says:

Viva la Revelucion!

Though I don’t agree with #1 per say, I do have to agree that sometimes, even in a democracy, you just have to have a coup. I mean, is this the time? Probably not. Yet. But once the TV news starts reporting that regular citizens were shot by national guard troops for playing copyrighted music, then yeah, perhaps we just need to seize the white house and congress and take everyone out back and pain the lawns red. After all, if 90% of the people agree to revolt, then it’s often better to meet their demands than to kill them and have to settle for ruling only the remaining 10%.

On the flip side, there’s always the option of doing things like rewriting the constitution every 20 years like the constitution itself says we should do, so that no matter how backasswards the law gets, every 20 years we get to totally correct those mistakes. Or at least try to again.

John (profile) says:

Go for it

I say that we should go for it: end “fair use” and see what happens.

Before long, there will be no movie reviews, no music reviews, or anything else that uses a “fair use” excerpt. With no reviews, I can bet that movie attendance and CD sales will fall. (Of course, the MPAA will still be blaming “pirates” for the loss in income.)

I can see movie review start to look like this:
The movie, which I can’t name due to “fair use”, had a great quote which people will be saying all summer long… but I can’t say due to “fair use”.
In summary, that’s why I liked the movie that I can’t name nor summarize due to “fair use”. Even though you don’t know what it is, I heartily recommend you go see it.

nitrogen says:

Movie/Music Reviews

#11 by John: Before long, there will be no movie reviews, no music reviews, or anything else that uses a “fair use” excerpt. With no reviews, I can bet that movie attendance and CD sales will fall. (Of course, the MPAA will still be blaming “pirates” for the loss in income.)

It seems far more likely that there will be a new abundance of reviews, produced exclusively by those that own the copyrights of the original works. Thus, the labels/studios will release several “reviews” of their latest “hit,” and grant licenses to the press to use those reviews and only those reviews. To some extent this already happens with PR/vanity news pieces.

Revolutionary1 says:

Until the American people largely agree to rise up against the those that are slowly taking away our rights nothing will change. There is a word for where we are headed, indiviuals subordinate to the state, corporations running the government: Fascism.

This quote is cliche and overused yes, but I think increasingly true:

“The tree of liberty must be refreshed from time to time with the blood of patriots and tyrants.”
— Thomas Jefferson

Corporations are setting themselves up to be the new tyrants. I just hope that eventually Americans will come to thier senses and have enough of copyright abuse, Exxon style mass profits at our expense and large bailouts that leave certain people walking away with millions in taxpayer money. Add to that the survellience society in the name of a war on consensual crime (drug lawas, sex laws etc.) and the boogie man of terrorism.

They aren’t going to be executing us over these things, but they are going to rape us economically.

When is enough enough?

Angry Ranter says:

It’s interesting to me to see people claim that they should have “rights” to other people’s creative work just because they paid 99 cents for it on Amazon. They see the “Entertainment Industry” as a big wicked money man sitting on gobs of gold and laughing all the way to the bank.

More and more, however, content producers are becoming individuals or very small companies. The same rights that protect media giants protect these smaller companies and it is safe to say that their livelihoods depend on them. These laws offer a way for them to get compensated for hours & hours of very hard work and expenses. They also protect them from the evil media giants out to consume everything they can (including small content producers).

I am all for “fair use” when used appropriately. The problem is that 99.9% of people don’t know what it means and wouldn’t care if they did. They steal and call it “fair use” with a nod and a wink, thinking they aren’t hurting anyone.

Quote Thomas Jefferson all you want, but I’m more in line with John Adams.

“Democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts and murders itself. There was never a democracy that did not commit suicide.”
– John Adams

If copyright were to disappear and the world left to the “democracy of the web”, there would no longer be any issues with stealing content because it wouldn’t be there to steal. Copyright is what gives all content creators the financial incentive to produce a creative work. Without copyright, you will be left to steal crappy Garageband songs from your next door neighbor and fart lighting videos from the kid down the block.

I do believe that copyright law is getting twisted to serve special interests and that something should be done to preserve the integrity of its intent, but to propose it be abolished all together is both reckless and counterproductive to the desired intent.

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