Register Of Copyright Suggests That Personal Downloading Should Not Be Seen As 'Piracy'

from the good-to-see dept

We’ve been discussing Maria Pallante’s plans for copyright reform, which include a whole bunch of ideas — some good, some bad and many as yet undetermined. In hearings today before the House Judiciary Committee, Pallante discussed a lot of this, but one surprising point that she had not clearly stated before is that “piracy should not be about the teenager downloading music at home.” Instead, she talked about focusing on “the big pirates” who were doing it as a business. This is a fascinating statement as it may be the first time I’ve heard the Copyright Office suggest that personal use maybe shouldn’t be considered infringement. I’m sure we’ll have more on the (still ongoing) hearing later, but for now, this admission was a bit of a surprise worth noting.

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Comments on “Register Of Copyright Suggests That Personal Downloading Should Not Be Seen As 'Piracy'”

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anonymouse says:

Re: Re:

Sadly i think you are right, if anything this would resolve most problems with the majority of people not supporting copyright laws, copyright laws should really only be relevant when someone is using content to generate an income or allowing a large group of people to view /listen to it.

If they do allow own use laws to pass i suspect that most people will be satisfied, the problem is that this does not solve the problems with fair use and remixes and the like. And that is sad as these activities make people more interested in the content and generates more innovative content. I hope that if they do allow own use that people do not just sit back and think everything is fixed, there is too much control over content that should be available for everyone to use fairly and possibly generate income from hard work and ideas that use copyright material. this is why we need copyright to be lowered to 5 years or 10 at the most.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:

one small thing...

Just to note: this is just one of a HUGE list of things she’s suggesting, many of which many people here will find equally bad as this might be seen as good…

I doubt she’ll be “forced out of her job” over this one part… It’s also not central to her policy proposals. It’s just one thing she mentioned.

AB (profile) says:

Re: one small thing...

Granted, but it’s still a pretty major item. It’s the thing that I believe has caused the majority of bad relations between consumers and producers. It’s also the thing that has brought the most attention to the problems with existing copyright laws. Finally, it’s the first real sign I’ve heard of any sort of recognition that culture has changed. No matter how you look at it it’s an amazing – and shocking – statement.

anonymouse says:

Re: Re: one small thing...

Sadly i think this will be used to cover up some really bad changes to copyright laws, yes they may not affect the person downloading at home who would be very happy with this , but it could affect the likes of Youtube and the ability to upload videos that have even a seconds worth of copyright video or sound. I don’t like this being done in a way that could take away many other rights that we have and possibly being revoked in the near future but not revoking the other bad changes to copyright law that are made at the same time. I would advise everyone to keep our attention on what else is in the new changes as this could be a smokescreen and probably is, I don’t see the copyright office just giving away so much power for nothing in return, although it would be nice.

Anonymous Coward says:

Wait. but everyone in the government is an idiot who is in the pockets of the RIAA and the MPAA and big content. Pallante doesn’t even understand the basic purpose of copyright! If she doesn’t understand that, how can she possibly come to a reasonable conclusion?!?

Do you think her shill contracts ran out? She must be trying to strong-arm more money out of Irving Azoff or something.

I’m lost here…can you guys please get on this and tell us how we can accept these new facts without shattering our carefully-groomed groupthink?

Anonymous Coward says:

The trouble is writing a copyright law that does this.

One example is the Commercial Felony Streaming Act. The original Klobuchar version did not viewing of streams for personal use, and would have required that streaming be done for profit, before becoming a felony.

The House version of the streaming law, did not have these protections, becaause the “commercial advantage or private financial gain” requirement would have been deleted under SOPA. That was the straw that broke the camel’s back, as it were. Also, under PIPA, those who took good faith measures to block US ip addresses from view the streams would have also been shielded from any court action in the USA

Hopefully the next version of a Felony Streaming Act will take these things into consideration. The fact that she appears to want to make personal-use non-commercial downloading legal, gives some hope that the next version of the Commercial Felony Streaming Act will also take this into account.

This would put the US in line with many European nations, as far as downloading or streaming for non-profit, non-commercial, and/or personal use goes.

I think that is also probably being suggested to that TAFTA can be adopted easier. With the exception of the UK and France, downloading/streaming for personal use is legal in much of Europe. I have a feeling that Pallante wants to take the US in that direction, so that any copyright issues in TAFTA can quickly be resolved without any of the huge protests that ACTA had.

The question is how can write such a law to guarantee that proescutor can find some strange loophole to exploit. With Pallante apparnetly wanting to make downloading/streaming for personal use legal, Congress is going to have its work cut out for them crafting such a bill, and avoid the backlash from the copyright maximnalists

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

It does not matter. The copyright maximalists will never allow such an idea to go through without a fight.

What may start out as an OK bill can be quickly changed. The diffeent versions of the Commercial Felony Streaming Act showed that one. Klobuchar’s version of the bill was focused on commercial level piracy, while the House version, in SOPA, was not.

Sure, Klobuchar make take that is a inspiration to reintroduce her far less draconian version of her felony streaming law, but if and when it comes up to the Conference Committee, you can bet it will not stay that way.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

I haven’t heard anything about personal use being legal in europe. As far as I know, the relevant exceptions are temporary copies, private use backup and non-specified “small claims” which for CD’s is seen as 1 or 2 depending on source. Also there are exemptions to the exemptions for EDB-programs and anything digital where protection is cranked to 11…

On the other hand, most european rightholder organisations have realised that they get spanked in public for suing private people.

It is therefore not legal to download for personal use, but you are unlikely to face charges for it!

Streaming is very dependent: If the copyrighted work is not the primary attraction to the stream and the stream is non-commercial it should be legal. Background music on streams are likely legal unless the streamer gets ad-revenue in which case it is gray area.

The book on copyright I have these informations from is “for dummies” and about 250 pages: It is blatantly impossible to remember every cranny in the laws and several situations are gray area. The book is written by an extreme maximalist of course and he refers to copyright as logic…

out_of_the_blue says:

Don't count your movies before they're downloaded, kids.

This is whatcha call a “non-starter”. It’s SO unlikely that Mike rushed in to stop the celebration!

My bet is either a) it’s a throwaway to lull you pirates into thinking reform is just around the corner, or b) in the unlikely event she’s serious, she’ll soon “suicide”.

Take a loopy tour of! You always end up at same place!
Where “I’m a pirate! You can’t stop me!” is the only honest fanboy position.

jameshogg says:

“I have a suggestion, sir, erm… I reckon everybody involved in creativity would benefit if the Copyright laws were life plus 69 years, not 70.”

“How dare you. Don’t you know that it is within a corpse’s right to refuse his market and not come back to life to participate in it? If anything, he needs life plus afterlife. Evil copyright abolitionist terroromunist. You’re fired.”

As you can see I am not very confident about Maria Pallante’s future after her giving very gentle criticism. We all saw what happened to Derek Khanna.

I'm skeptical says:

Folks, expect her to walk this one back immediately.

It is not difficult to imagine her corporate masters are frantically calling her office as I type this, screaming and foaming at the mouth, demanding that she recant and append her statement with some brain-dead comment like “yeah, like I said, it shouldn’t be seen as piracy, but it should still be sued over, and the teenager should still be 100% liable for all statutory damages, paid immediately to the copyright holder, even though it’s not seen as piracy” or some such BS.

This statement won’t survive without being retracted.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

If you make any legislation complex enough you can get extremely close though.

You have a natural discrimination on who read the laws. (I realize they are made public available, but how many actually reads them?)

You can introduce criteria like “any copyright needs appropriate economic backing” (the basic claim for another field than copyright is used in EU laws to make it possible to get money from a lawsuit or contract!) or “all users have to register at xxx within 10 hours of the works completion to keep these rights” (several subsidies use this to avoid paying too many people) or “for entities with less than x copyrighted works…” (This is used in environmental protection bills). Just saying that there are many ways to actually screw people by law and by combining them you can come pretty close to keeping certain groups out or in.

Hugh Mann (profile) says:

A bit of a leap . . .

. . . to go from “piracy should not be about the teenager downloading music at home” to “personal use maybe shouldn’t be considered infringement.”

I think it’s not unreasonable to consider that infringement may exist on a spectrum, and that the term “piracy” may best apply to large-scale infringement and/or those purposely engaging in infringement with a profit-making intent. However, that doesn’t seem to me to necessarily lead directly at all to the idea that the teenager in his room at home should be completely off the hook for downloading content he didn’t pay for.


Anonymous Coward says:

it was obviously a bull shit statement made just to throw people off guard so the real ramping up of copyright laws, the screwing of innovation and invention could be restricted as much as possible, while giving more opportunities for people to be jailed and keep old business models and control under the hand of backward thinking entertainment industries

Milton Freewater says:

Re: Re:

“The problem is here that you don’t get one without the other. You don’t have file sharing without sites like TPB profiting from it.”

I disagree. A policy could state that mere P2P is permitted but all unauthorized third parties who profit from P2P exchange are in violation of the law. In this “rightsholders win” scenario, TPB is gone but people contact each other on message boards and trade torrents via emails.

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