Missing From The Table Again: Consumers Left Out Of Australian Meetings On Copyright

from the the-public?-who-cares dept

We’ve noticed a disturbing trend among the various negotiations going on around the globe about changing copyright law or policies to make ISPs act as copyright cops. Whether it’s “voluntary agreements” or imposed by law, the general public is left out of the conversation. Instead, it appears that there are three parties involved in most of the negotiations: the entertainment industry, the ISPs and the government. The government seems to automatically take the position of the entertainment industry, leaving the ISPs as the sole party looking out for “the consumer” — even if they have their own interests to look out for, not the public’s. That’s why the policies that come out of these discussions is almost always heavily in favor of the entertainment industry.

It looks like the same thing is happening down under, where the government, the entertainment industry and the telcos are meeting without any representative for the public benefit being involved… and, on top of that, the government seems to be bending over backwards not to say what’s being discussed in those meetings. This is pretty horrific, considering that the stated purpose of copyright law is to benefit the public by means of providing monopolies to the creators. Thus, the key party in these meetings should be representatives of the public interest, rather than the monopoly recipients.

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Comments on “Missing From The Table Again: Consumers Left Out Of Australian Meetings On Copyright”

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56 Comments
Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Chieftains? Removed from power by the people.
Pharaohs? Removed from power by the people.
Emperors? Removed from power by the people.
Kings? Removed from power by the people.
The Church? Removed from power by the people.
Dictators? Removed from power by the people.
Parliament and presidents? Take a guess what’s coming…

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

Heh, funny. :-p

Anyways, my point is that our country works because of one simple principle; the public agrees to follow a given set of rules. This doesn’t just mean law, it also includes things like the rules of our political and economic systems.

If history has shown us anything, it is that nothing lasts forever, regardless of how good one may think all those systems currently are. The public always has the final say, and no force on Earth can bend them to ones will, even if they’ve been enslaved at gunpoint or frequently killed for the most minor infraction of those rules.

The only constant in this universe is change, change which always happens whether we want it to or not. Order can only last so long when surrounded by a sea of chaos, and humans are certainly nothing if not chaotic. We’re seeing the beginnings of major change right now, as some of these systems that are in place begin to fail the public. More and more people are starting to notice, and are becoming very angry as a result. If you think that’s bad, just wait until oil becomes a major crisis lol.

People have a lot more power than they realize, and I’m not talking about the broken voting system that is also a major part of the problem right now, a system meant to give the plebs the illusion of control and power I might add. Governing bodies should be afraid of the people, not the other way around. If you hear the people, you won’t have to fear the people. Sadly, no one in a position of authority seems to be listening to us, exactly what this blog post is about.

Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to recheck my stock of fresh water, food, and survival gear. ๐Ÿ˜‰

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re:

The general public IS at the table. It’s called the Government.

Don’t like what you are seeing? Stop voting them into office.

By your logic the government ought to be the ONLY ones at the table – since members of the entertainment industry, ISPs etc also have votes and are represented by the government.

Try again!

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

but industry is not “people”.

What are they then? Klingons?
(Might explain why they drive such a hard bargain!)

Last time I looked all the industry representatives were all homo-sapiens with a vote. If the rest of us have to put up with the limited influence we can get by voting why don’t these “non-people” (if that is what they are) have the same restriction?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

but industry is not “people”.

What are they then? Klingons?
(Might explain why they drive such a hard bargain!)

Last time I looked all the industry representatives were all homo-sapiens with a vote. If the rest of us have to put up with the limited influence we can get by voting why don’t these “non-people” (if that is what they are) have the same restriction?

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

(Sorry about the double bounce on “submit”)

I think I understand your confusion here. If the government talks to a foriegn government then the people are indeed represented by the government. However when the government talks with a private entity from within the country there is a double counting of representation.

What you suggest is like one side of a civil case having lawyers to represent them and the other side being represented only by the judge!

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

The reps are human, but industry is not. “the people” are represented by the government, and industry is represented by their, well, reps.

Two sides of the discussion.

Mike attempts to paint it like the people aren’t at the table, but they are – they elected their “reps”.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:5 Re:

You do understand that most politicians are lifers and don’t you?

You do understand that they all are influenced by the culture inside the government walls don’t you?

You do understand that being lifers they do create connections don’t you?

So don’t give me that BS of elected by the people, people are stupid to think that voting for idiots will change anything when the inside is all rotten to the core, those politicians don’t get help on economics from the people they get from paid consultants from lobby groups, they are supposed to get education on the job about everything from the many other government departments responsible for collecting data and proposing changes to things, those people there are not elected and they can and do influence politicians too.

Now you want me to believe that every new government elected to office does exactly the same things as the past administrations because they are representing the people?

Sod off.

DH's Love Child (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

Mike attempts to paint it like the people aren’t at the table, but they are – they elected their “reps”.

No he addressed that:
“The government seems to automatically take the position of the entertainment industry, leaving the ISPs as the sole party looking out for “the consumer”…”

The problem with expecting government to be representing “the people” is that they only represent “the people” most likely to line their coffers with lobbying money, and that ain’t the general public.

Richard (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

The reps are human, but industry is not.

I agree that the industry is inhuman!

However they are composed of people each of whom had one vote – just like the rest of us. The same people then turn up at the meeting opposite an elected representative who had perhaps over 100,000 votes – so their say so gets to be equivalent to 100,000 of the rest of us.

The “industry” is an abstract concept that doesn’t have opinions – however the people who work for it do and it is their personal opinions and prejudices that get heard.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Don’t like what you are seeing? Stop voting them into office.

And vote for who? With precious few exceptions, all of the people running for offices relevant to these issues are corrupt, incompetent, or ineffective.

I agree with your sentiment in principle, but in practice it is bullshit. We have no true options. The system itself is hopelessly rigged, and there are no alternatives to vote for that will or can make effective positive change.

Chargone (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

this being the entire Point of representative democracy, btw.

entrenchment of the status quo. stability.

i mean, all up, it’s Probably better than succession wars and the like, but it’s a hell of a lot harder to get back on track when it goes off the rails… mostly because it doesn’t. the rails just get built straight into a disassembly device, while all the switches and signals all still say that everything’s working fine.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

“And who exactly would that be”

Voluntary organisations that have been set up to represent the public, such as consumer organisations etc.

Like who? The Pirate Party, Electronic Frontiers Australia? Do they actually represent the MAJORITY of Australian public opinion or are they simply another narrow special interest group?

“why are they “representative?”

Bear in mind that the so called “industry representatives” are self appointed and so don’t have any greater legitimacy.

They’re not self-appointed, they are the ones who provide internet access and those having their intellectual property stolen. I have no problem with interests being at the table, but at least in the case of content producers and ISP’s the opinion within the groups is fairly closely aligned. The Pirate Party and Electronic Frontiers Australia represent an extreme element that is probably not representative of general public opinion. So while they’re entitled to make their position known, a seat at the table as the representative of the general public is unwarranted.

Planespotter (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Same ol’ lines… Who’s having their property stolen? They may have had their rights infringed but they aren’t missing a DVD or Bluray disc, or a CD are they? Regarding the “closely aligned opinion” of the “Industry” and the “ISPs” can you explain then why AFACT LOST after they took iiNet to court? Hardly singing from the same hymn sheet when one of the ISPs sticks up it’s middle finger and tells AFACT to fuck off.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2 Re:

“….but at least in the case of content producers and ISP’s the opinion within the groups is fairly closely aligned.”

Regarding the “closely aligned opinion” of the “Industry” and the “ISPs” can you explain then why AFACT LOST after they took iiNet to court? Hardly singing from the same hymn sheet when one of the ISPs sticks up it’s middle finger and tells AFACT to fuck off.

Are you just slow or couldn’t you think of a meaningful argument? What don’t you understand about “within the group”? The ISP companies is closely aligned with one another as is that of the content companies. Ready, Fire, Aim much?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:3 Re:

so are you telling me that the person that pay for the service is not aligned and dont ahve a vote, are you telling me that is fine to tell the persons you have option a dont pay and be left out, b pay and put up with it, c fuck off, if so i would tell you that those people are the ones that gives the money to the industrie and isp if you think that making people not wanting to pay will work.
and i think i didnt explain in a way a kid would understand
let see industrie, isp, any bussiness depends on how they can atract the people, if you force them to do somthing they dont like they will switch(that is a choice if the have a better place to switch) or use other means but again is cool to just bother the ones that give you a living ๐Ÿ˜›

Prisoner 201 says:

But Mike, these talks and deals, while on the surface looking like slimey money-grabbing double-dealings, actually do benefit the public!

A small select, dare I say elite, part of the public, sure, but really who cares about the plebs?

Get with the times Mike, the wild west is coming to an end. The nobility ruled for hundreds of years and it worked just fine.

You freetard hippies with your extremist socialist yapperings like “freedom of speech”, “one person, one vote”, “right to privacy”, “theft is good”, “fuck a kid” and all the other morally corrupt statements that you stand for need to realise that the party is over.

You only need to know three things: How to obey, how to consume and how to procreate in an orderly fashion.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Your taxes are not considered as payment, payment for a politician is contribution to his campaign among other forms that directly benefit him/her.

If you want a truly democratic thing, you will need to make the system work in an open manner, outside of the government culture and then bring in the human resources needed to change things(aka voted politicians that you choose just for that, and that will have some sort of obligation to your group in a form of a pledge or something).

That can be accomplished by organizing yourself in communities(smaller groups or cells), debating the issues of the day, drafting bills and putting those to scrutiny to other groups to find out what is the things everybody can agree on and then selecting just about anybody to put in office to enact those laws.

So if you want to see change start plowing the field, make your own database of issues you like to see fixed, find out about how to track legislation being proposed and get the text of legislation already in place and start making changes to it.

A great tool for that is diff(that can be configured to search for differences in words or dwdiff that writers and lawyers discovered it is very useful to their professions).

Other tools for it are:

– Control versions that are used for software to keep an historical account of what happens to code but since code is text it can be used to any type of file.

XAMPP is a stack ready made for the purpose of web development it gives you the basic server configuration and you can start tinkering with how to build a web solution to let people in your cell work in group or you can use ready made tools and services available.
http://www.kolabora.com/news/2007/03/01/collaborative_writing_tools_and_technology.htm

http://wookicentral.com/

By norrowing down what you want, you give any person in power less space to “interpret” what the people want and how it should be accomplished.

It is just hard to do it, but not impossible.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Don’t hope, do something.

Get your friends and colleagues and start debating the issues use the tools to find the legislation and ask them how would they change things and put that to a public vote, in your small group, once agreement is reached seek out other groups and see how many of you are out there that can agree on the issues you like to see changed.

Then get people in congress that have pledged alliance to your group and will vote for what was decided.

That is true democracy not the sham we have today.

You can do it, now will you?

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Don’t hope, do something.

Get your friends and colleagues and start debating the issues use the tools to find the legislation and ask them how would they change things and put that to a public vote, in your small group, once agreement is reached seek out other groups and see how many of you are out there that can agree on the issues you like to see changed.

Then get people in congress that have pledged alliance to your group and will vote for what was decided.

That is true democracy not the sham we have today.

You can do it, now will you?

Cornell has an example you can fallow

http://regulationroom.org/

It is powered by Digress.it and there is another one that can be used that is called Commentpress that is the older brother of Digress.it.

Examples of Digress.it being used.
http://digress.it/examples/

Zotero can be used to keep track of material it is used by universities to keep track of the material they use.

http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/profhacker-101-getting-started-with-zotero/22829

Other resources:
http://chronicle.com/blogs/profhacker/collaborative-writing-tools/33009
http://www.kolabora.com/news/2007/03/01/collaborative_writing_tools_and_technology.htm
http://wookicentral.com/

Don’t let them write the law for you, don’t let them decide what is best for you.

DIY, do it now.

Lord Binky says:

Simple solution

When consumers are left out of these changes, consumers will just ignore it. If I wasn’t part of a deal, why should I go along with it? If the majority of consumers say no, what can they do besides get mad and throw a fit that crushes their soapbox. As much as they believe they have power, there is a limit to which it can be leveraged.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Simple solution

“When consumers are left out of these changes, consumers will just ignore it.”

They will do far more than that. A couple days ago Newzbin2 teamed up with thePirateBay to provide services and software to get around DNS blocking. Next will come IP blocking, which will also be circumvented. The end of this push to control and lock down all IP, will be a total loss of control over big media based IP. The tools will continue to evolve until something huge, distributed, untraceable, and encrypted evolves.

I saw a demo of a Chromium hack or offline app that does distributed encrypted web sites. The first site that was demo’d was TPB, the second was a Wiki, the third was a search engine, all in all very cool. The coolest part was the distributed file system. Drag and drop, encrypt, and publish …

It doesn’t bode well for big content.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Simple solution

You see that is exactly why the democratic process is important you can’t enact laws that the majority won’t fallow it doesn’t work that way, if the majority don’t want it, there is no way they will be able to enforce it, they don’t have the power to do so and worst they don’t even have the tools or ability to detect and enforce imaginary boundaries in this case.

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