Music Industry Paper With '50 Years' At The 'Forefront' Of The Business Details Sentencing Of 'Copyright Thief'
from the we've-made-it-50-years-without-an-editor-and-we're-doing-just-fine dept
I’m not in any hurry to call out the average person for the abuse of IP terminology. For many people, a copyright is a trademark is a patent. It all means a way of legally stating “I made this.” But they’re certainly not interchangeable terms, especially not when you’re in the business of reporting on developments in IP-related cases. AFP, the world’s third-largest newspaper, did exactly that while reporting on Kim Dotcom’s threatened patent lawsuit earlier this year, claiming the Mega man was suing Google and others for copyright infringement.
A regrettable mistake to be sure. Even if the article was farmed out to a low-level staffer, it still behooves the news agency to ensure its writers do a minimum of fact-checking when using unfamiliar terminology. Regrettable, almost forgivable, but still disappointing.
What we have in front of us today is inexcusable. MusicWeek, an industry paper with “50 years” experience at the “forefront of the music business” under its belt, recently delivered this dumbfounding headline.
For (what assuredly won’t be) the last time, you can’t steal copyright. You can infringe, but you can’t steal. And when people use the word “theft” in these situations, they’re usually referring to infringing copies of content, not copyright itself. (Also: infringement isn’t theft, no matter how much the MPAA’s lawyers wish it to be…) MusicNews has dumped out a headline that makes it appear as though the perp somehow hacked copyright registrations in order to list himself as the rights holder.
The article does go on to use the correct terminology (copyright infringement) but that’s only because it’s copying from a sentencing report — and only after it repeats its claim of “copyright theft.”
A man who was found to be in possession of one of the largest hauls of hi-tech equipment for use in copyright theft ever found in the UK has been sentenced to 18 months in prison.
The sentence was handed to 52-year-old Keith Tamkin from Bognor yesterday (December 3) after previously pleading guilty to six offences – one offence of distributing articles infringing copyright, two of money laundering a total of £140,000, one of transferring criminal property – a computer – and two of possessing prohibited weapons – a pepper spray and a stun gun.
So, as is cleared up later in the article, this was a counterfeiting operation. Tamkin burned games, movies and music to blank discs as one of (apparently) several criminal activities. The rest of the article is filled with statements from BPI (the UK’s RIAA) and the Sussex police, congratulating each other on their fine work in shutting down Tamkin.
Tamkin’s shuttered operation proves that people will still pay money for content, contrary to industry claims. (The laundering money charge suggests Tamkin wasn’t doing this for free.) It just appears pricing is still an issue.
But returning to the original thrust of this post — using terminology this poorly isn’t excusable for an AFP intern, much less an industry-focused publication. I realize entities like the RIAA and MPAA would prefer to use the term “theft” rather than “infringement,” but this desire shouldn’t be indulged by reporters covering these industries. Using the industries’ favored terminology to cobble together such a broken and nonsensical headline is inexcusable and it does no favors to the site publishing it or the industries it’s trying to serve.