Pushing For More Stringent Copyright Laws Is The Opposite Of Allowing 'Market Forces' To Act

from the why-so-much-confusion dept

We’ve seen this mistake in the past, and it’s a shame that politicians and defenders of stronger copyright still make this claim, but it’s flat out wrong to say that copyright (or patents, for that matter) are about “allowing market forces” to act. By definition, copyright and patent laws are the opposite of allowing market forces. It’s the government stepping up and providing monopoly rights because they believe (rightly or wrongly) that basic market forces don’t work in those areas and, thus, the government needs to step in and “correct” some sort of imbalance. So it’s really a shame to see Canadian politicians defending the proposed copyright reform bill there, C-32, by claiming that it’s about enabling “market forces.” That link (found via Michael Geist) highlights a Twitter debate that took place between well-known author/blogger/speaker Cory Doctorow and the leading voice behind C-32, Canadian Heritage Minister, James Moore.

Moore, famously, last week attacked any critics of the bill by calling them “radical extremists” and “babyish.” While he later denied saying these things, unfortunately for Moore, the whole thing was caught on video tape. The episode has resulted in many concerned Canadians to speak out, and point out that having concerns over the bill does not make them “radical extremists.” Doctorow took particular offense to the whole thing and started asking Moore a bunch of questions via twitter, which we’ll try to embed at the bottom of this post (if it doesn’t work, the link above to David Eaves’ website has some screen shots).

Eaves points out just how many times in the conversation Moore resorts to claiming that this is all about “market forces” saying things like: “Have some faith in market forces – is working w/music & movies. Let creators create, and consumers consume what they want.” Eaves counts that Moore resorts to the claim of “market forces” six times in a total of 22 Twitter messages. It’s not only a dodge by Moore, it’s blatantly false. As both Eaves and Doctorow point out, the whole point of this bill is to remove free market forces, and have the government tilt the scales to one side because it believes the market, without government monopoly protection, fails.

Doctorow tries to point this out to Moore, who doesn’t appear to actually be paying attention — or understanding the issue at all. Eaves points out the ridiculousness of the whole situation:

That a Heritage Minister doesn’t understand this is troubling. That he would accuse those who seek to point out this fact and raise awareness to it as “radical extremists” is scandalous. Canadians have entrusted in this person the responsibility for creating a marketplace that rewards creativity, content creation and innovation while protecting the rights of consumers. At the moment, we have a minister who shuts out the very two groups he claims to protect while wrapping himself in a false cloak of the “free market.” It is an ominous start for the debate over copyright reform and the minister has only himself to blame

It would be great if we could get past this myth, but it seems like many politicians like to hold up the myth that copyright is about “market forces” to get away from having to actually defend the harm that overly aggressive copyright law can create.

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Comments on “Pushing For More Stringent Copyright Laws Is The Opposite Of Allowing 'Market Forces' To Act”

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

The term free market has been sold as anti-regulation to allow monopolies to develop via the free market. Except in one industry…

Now that industry needs to solidify its monopoly holdings. The politicians who support a sort of corporate-aristocracy have used “free market” to mean “allow monopolies to develop” for so long that they may not be able to see the difference anymore. They may actually confuse any regulation that strengthens a corporate monopoly for a free market regulation.

Not every politician thinks things through…

crade (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

Unfortunately I’m pretty sure this is a tactical strategy.

Moore is calling on help to drown out logical (or what he calls “technical, non-sensical fear mongering) arguments pointing out problems with the digital lock provisions with overwhelming aggresive closed mindedness (which he calls “confrontation”).

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

The trick is to understand that Moore is doing exactly what the PMO (Prime Minister’s Office) wants him to do and say. If you look carefully you’ll see the puppet strings attached to various critical locations on his body. Original thought or critical thinking aren’t allowed in Stephen Harper’s cabinet and, in fact, can keep people on the back benches or, worse, get them appointed to the Senate.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: timely

Yep, that’s exactly right. The corporates like to paint it as us vs. them (or “evil pirates” vs. “poor starving artists”), which helps them paint opponents as “pirates” or “thieves”.

The more we hear from actual artists speaking out against these moves, the more difficult that becomes. Especially people like Cory and Nina who have made some excellent work without needing oppressive copyright laws to “encourage” them.

Nina Paley (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: timely

Er…Cory Doctorow does favor some copyright, and releases his books under -NC (“non-commercial”) CC licenses, aka commercial monopolies. The whole point of -NC restrictions is to prevent commercial competition; the justification is that these monopolies provides incentives for works to be created that wouldn’t be created otherwise.

I strongly disagree with -NC licenses and commercial monopolies, which happen to be incompatible with a functional market. Others believe they are worth the social cost.

So I am probably one of those “radical extremists,” but Cory is not.

Anonymous Coward says:

The market DOES speak!

People rip movies before watching them so they don’t have to sit through 20 minutes of ads every time they put it in. Others skip the step of paying for a piece of plastic and instead download what they want because the MARKET does not provide what they want.

If the market actually specified what it wanted, then the DVD standard might allow for CSS encryption, but it wouldn’t be on EVERY DISK.

However, the market that politicos listen to is a different market, one based not on popular desires, but instead based on a group of parasites that can line the coffers for the next campaign.

Marcel de Jong (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Well, in that “conversation” I mostly see Doctorow talk, and see only one response from Moore. And instead of Moore actually responding to Doctorow, he said something like “good on ya mate”.
That’s not my definition of a conversation. Though that is just one example, there are many people who are and can indeed converse using Twitter.
But it needs two parties willing to talk, Cory clearly was willing to, it was James who didn’t dare to respond directly.

TtfnJohn (profile) says:

Re: Re:

You must be one of us way up there on the upper floors of those Bay Street towers that, according to you, James Moore, the “national” media along with others, and the 20 square miles around them that define all of Canada there is to define.

And the air up there must be awfully thin to make you so weak as to be unable to reach for key marked Shift when it’s normally expected.

Either that or you’re about as Canadian as someone who is a citizen of Chile. (With apologies to anyone reading this who IS a citizen of Chile.)

Tom Sydnor (user link) says:

Masnick Gets It Backwards Again

Mike, congratulations for continuing to mouth the same old nonsense long after its absurdity should have been apparent. Here is a link to my latest commentary on your Deep Thought:


Do feel free to reply if you think that “we” can offer some substantive defense this foolishness, or, for that matter, that of “Jonny.”

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