Copyright Holders Claim That They Should Get To Decide Any Copyright Exceptions

from the are-they-serious? dept

It’s really getting ridiculous that copyright holders continue to insist that copyright is designed solely to benefit them. That’s been the standard line for ages, but it’s simply not true. Copyright law is supposed to be about benefiting the public. Yes, a part of that is that it’s supposed to benefit copyright holders also, but the defining factor is benefiting content creators such that the public is most likely to benefit. That’s why it’s simply not accurate to claim that copyright holders are stakeholders in the debate. Unfortunately, however, many people seem to think that they’re the only stakeholders, and the public isn’t even involved in the discussion. In fact, a recent discussion put together by WIPO of copyright holders had them claiming that not only were they the sole stakeholders, but that they, alone, should be the ones to determine copyright exceptions:

Copyright is necessary to allow authors to live from their trade and to guarantee their independence, and exceptions should be decided by authors and publishers, according to panellists on a copyright dialogue held at the World Intellectual Property Organization this week.

That’s simply crazy. That’s like saying we should let alcoholics determine driving-while-drinking laws. It puts those who would abuse the laws the most in charge of laws that are designed to protect others and to limit the damage they can do. It doesn’t make any sense. If anything, it seems to show the massive arrogance of some copyright holders:

The very idea that “exceptions should be decided by authors and publishers” betrays the deep-seated arrogance and contempt that both of these now have for their readers. And that’s all part and parcel of the publishing industry’s problems: it sees readers as the enemy, something that must be fought and vanquished in order for it to be forced to buy books on the terms of authors and publishers – forced, if necessary, by ever-more Draconian laws that criminalise willy-nilly.

Certainly not all copyright holders feel this way, but can you imagine what copyright would look like if the “exceptions” like fair use and safe harbors were designed solely by the copyright holders? I don’t think many people would be happy under such a regime… including the copyright holders themselves, once they realized what parts of culture they had locked up.

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Comments on “Copyright Holders Claim That They Should Get To Decide Any Copyright Exceptions”

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Ima Fish (profile) says:

What you’re forgetting Mike is that the copyright industry has to be able to recoup their massive investments.

If Rebecca Black has taught us anything, it’s that to get a hit song you need to spend millions of dollars in production costs, in hiring the very best musicians, plus promotion and advertising, etc. It’s not like just anyone can write and perform a song and have it become an overnight hit. It costs money and the labels are performing a valuable public service in fronting those costs.

Bengie says:

Re: Re:

Kind of like Video games where they pay themselves off in 2 months and the rest is pure profit? We need to protect the ability to effectively “print” money?

What’s the last time you’ve seen a poor big name actor?

I would like to refer you to the South Park episode where we were shown how pirating movies have caused these people to have to wait a year or two before they could afford their private islands and personal learjets.

QQ some more.

Greevar (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

I agree with your position, but your argument is lacking. You’re using abstract examples instead of hard facts.

Fact: All content (a.k.a. cultural symbols) are produced through labor. Art can’t just happen on its own. Either humans or nature(all life included) make effort to produce new things.

Fact: All labor can be easily quantified and paid for.

Fact: Labor cannot be copied.

Fact: Labor must be performed each and every time something new is created.

Fact: Copyright ignores the labor part of the issue and focuses on a concept that cultural symbols are “products” when they are, in fact, services.

Fact: Copyright supporters attempt to ignore the reality that all new art appropriates property of the public domain and, in doing so, cannot claim ownership to works that incorporate components of the collective human experience.

By merit of these facts, we can conclude that copyright is unnecessary for the progress of the arts. Furthermore, it is actually harmful because it restricts the progress of the arts by placing unnatural limitations upon it that attempt to defy natural human behavior and social conditioning that teach us it is the proper course of action to share ideas and their expressions because they beget more ideas and expressions through the touching of other minds. Ideas need to reach others to live. They don’t exist if they don’t propagate.

Art is like a building. Without the foundation, the collective knowledge and experience of the public domain, you can’t build the remainder. It’s like trying to build the second floor in its expected location without building the first floor below it first. To claim ownership of art that was built on public domain is to attempt to claim ownership of the public domain itself.

Anonymous Coward says:

Let’s be real it’s pretty much already like this. When a small industry such as the music industry can dictate what the tech sector does (who is much, much larger) then they’ve basically already won.

They have VPs and Presidents of nations speaking out for them. Pretty amazing considering what’s going on in the world today that such high ranking officials would spend 2 seconds thinking about copyright, let alone lobbying for the music industry.

Rekrul says:

Re: Re:

They have VPs and Presidents of nations speaking out for them. Pretty amazing considering what’s going on in the world today that such high ranking officials would spend 2 seconds thinking about copyright, let alone lobbying for the music industry.

I keep saying, it’s like the Catholic church in the middle ages. Just replace “heresy” with “infringement”.

DogBreath says:

Re: Re: Re:

I keep saying, it’s like the Catholic church in the middle ages. Just replace “heresy” with “infringement”.

And Monty Python saying today: “No one expects the Copyright Inquisition!”

“Our chief weapon is surprise! Surprise and fear…fear and surprise – our TWO weapons are fear and surprise and ruthless efficiency…..Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency…and an almost fanatical devotion to lawsuits. — Our FOUR…no…Amongst our weapons…Amongst our weaponry…are such elements as fear, surprise….”

MrWilson says:

Everyone will get into the copyright business if only “stakeholders” can make the rules about copyright.

“Yes, I’m here to pick up a prescription.”
“What’s the name?”
“Smith. Joe Smith.”
“Okay. Here you go Mr. Smith. That’ll be $5 for the medication and $75 for the license to read the copyrighted safety warnings on the bottle. For another $75, you can get a personalized set of instructions from the pharmacist/author for how to take the medication properly.”
“No, that’s okay. I can probably find instructions online.”
“You mean from ‘rogue websites’ that are ‘dedicated to infringement?’ I’m reporting you to the copyright bureau for violating the Don’t Talk About Rogue Websites Act of 2015. I’m also asserting my private right to act and will be fining you personally for violating the act in my presence and thereby attempting to corrupt me with your copyright terrorism. Shall I just charge it to your Starbucks-Apple-Nike-AT&T Visa Debt Card?”

MrWilson says:

Beyond any other reason, it simply doesn’t make sense to allow copyright holders to make the rules because that would violate the basis for our (illusion of) self-government.

Letting copyright holders be the sole decision-makers about copyright is like reverting to land ownership as a requirement for suffrage.

Or like the direction we’re heading in (or are already at?) in which corporations become the oligarchs who run the country.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

> abolish copyright

Nooooo! You’re talking craziness!

Let me propose to propose a modest proposal that is more balanced.

If we abolish copyright, how will people make an infinite stream of money, even 90 years after they die, for work that they created once?

This creation of infinite wealth for work done once is the reason we need fashion copyright, for instance; so a fashion designer can design something once and get paid forever.

We need architecture copyright; so an architect can design a building once and get paid forever.

As proof that this is clearly a good idea, look no further than the fact everyone is wanting to jump on the intellectual property bandwagon! It’s the way to circumvent “the curse” from the garden of Eden. You don’t have to continue to work to eat, just sit back and stamp out copies. Or in this age, let Amazon sell digital copies that require zero effort to make. Let people in other countries (China, India, etc) do actual work to earn their living, while they purchase intellectual property from us.

Patents are similarly needed to protect the underlying ideas expressed in a creative work. Therefore, music, art, fashion, architecture, etc should be patentable to protect the ideas in the work. Eventually, just as with our blessed software patents (example: patenting a spinning hourglass) the barrier of what constitutes a patentable “idea” should continually be lowered until ideas are patentable such as a D minor chord followed by G; or a picture of a face with a smile, or a building with a staircase, or sleeveless shirts. Thank goodness we already have patents on Software (1-click patent) and Business Methods (buy low, sell high, manipulate markets).

This exposes a horrible imbalance that must be corrected. When someone creates, they are only doing it because they know that copyright lasts for 90 years after they die, and they are assured that sometime later, the 90 years will be extended. Without those assurances, they wouldn’t bother to create. The problem is, patents don’t last that long! This seems grossly unfair. If we’re going to allow patenting anything that is eligible for copyright, in order to protect the underlying ideas and not just the expression, then doesn’t it make sense to extend the length of patent protection to match that of copyright?

This all seems like a reasonable compromise between what we have now, and what you are suggesting.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

perhaps beneficial stakeholders is a more appropriate term. Once again your master shows his utter disregard for reality by claiming that rightsholders aren’t stakeholders in the copyright debate. Nice job shuffling up to the plate as an apologist, but note you couldn’t manage to come up with anything to defend his stupid assertion.

anonymous says:

‘can you imagine what copyright would look like if the “exceptions” like fair use and safe harbors were designed solely by the copyright holders?’
i thought it looked like that now! the industries want everything (and have almost got it!) whilst giving their own artists as little as possible and their customers even less! i still dont understand how this can become such a massive, world wide issue and really important things, like rape, murder, terrorism, corrupt bankers and governments are way down the list. boy, there must have been some serious payments made to influence things so much!

Rich Fiscus (profile) says:

This makes perfect sense in our current legislative and regulatory environment where the rules are all written by people being regulated.

In the same spirit I’d like to suggest similar reforms of consumer protection laws. If I buy a product and am not 100% satisfied with it, the manufacturer should be liable for damages up to the purchase price of the item, with a statutory minimum of $50,000.

LegitTroll (profile) says:

From their position if they were given the unilateral ability to rewrite the rules as they saw fit…….(redacted do to copyright). Sorry, about that apparently that was quoted from something I have never (redacted do to copyright). Its getting harder and harder to (redacted do to copyright). #$%^*&# Bull#$%^! I give (redacted do to copyright).

DogBreath says:

Re: Copyright = Dictatorial Powers

We are fast approaching the time when the phrase “Nothing is certain but Death and Taxes”, will be changed to “Nothing is certain but Death, Taxes and Copyright”, and “Kneel before [insert copyright/patent/trademark]! will be the law of the land.

One can only hope to have shuffled off this mortal coil before that day ever arrives.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Copyright = Dictatorial Powers

well, that’s what’s called a “copyrightard”, someone who thinks that copyrights are some un-removable law of the universe that proves they are someone more special than everybody else for having copyrights on something (doesn’t matter if they even actually MADE said copyrighted material, just the fact that they HAVE a copyright automatically makes them smarter, more original/creative and worthy than you, knave)

a god that can determine if a work lives or dies, a king that serfs are required to kneel to for permission to even glance upon their works, a -GENIUS- that -needs- to be compensated for even getting out of bed in the morning, i mean, gee, how you can even THINK that PEOPLE get out of BED without proper COMPENSATION? i don’t BREATHE without compensation, goddammit! you worthless peasants owe me for every breath i take!


if you don’t like this you are an unoriginal, brainless criminal who can’t do anything of their own who deserves to be sued for everything they have, jailed for life and beaten mercilessly, knave!

(as ridiculous as it sounds, i’ve met several copyrightards who think pretty much like this)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Copyright = Dictatorial Powers

Rights holders are only entitled to compensation for their work. Don’t listen to their music or watch their movies if you don’t want to pay. Your problem is that you are a cheap fuck looking to freeload. Perhaps you’re even a bitter, failed creator like many of the self-styled poets, writers, singers, musicians and wannabes that hang out here moaning about “the system”. I guarantee that if a publisher, record company or studio came dangling a contract each one of them would sell their soul for a shot to become part of “the system”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Copyright = Dictatorial Powers

Wrong. Rights holders are NOT entitled to compensation for their work. Otherwise, you would be paying taxes out of your ass to pay for every hack wanting to be a musician, or director, or artist. Or as you call them, “bitter, failed creators”. They’re rights holders too, if you didn’t know.

Please stop making things up.

DannyB (profile) says:

Re: Re:

There is a First Amendment right to freely engage in communication with others on the Internet.

There is a Fourth Amendment right to not be spied upon with no good cause.

The laws copyright maximalists want will infringe those and other rights. The DMCA has already been abused far more than it has been legitimately used. But obviously it was not draconian enough, so we need a new streaming law to make it illegal to embed a video you did not upload and possibly thought was legal. And a PROTECT-IP law to make linking to something illegal today when the link was legal yesterday.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:


“But obviously it was not draconian enough, so we need a new streaming law to make it illegal to embed a video you did not upload and possibly thought was legal.”

For the sake of accuracy, I’d like to remind you that what was illegal conduct after the streaming bill passes was illegal before it passed. It’s the penalties that have changed. There are no “new” crimes, only new penalties.


Re: What's really important here.

> There’s no First Amendment right to piracy. Just thought I’d toss that in while we’re at it . . .

Sure there is. Or more precisely, the First Amendment trumps copyright.

Concerns that “copyright” might interfere with Freedom of Speech is what it was originally conceived as limited and temporary.

Piracy is just a distraction. The problem with “ownership of culture” is that it interferes with future creativity by turning intellectual capital of the society from the old public domain into a never ending series of toll roads.

The inability of artists to “pirate” is the real problem here. The fact that consumers might “pirate” is just a side show.

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