It Is Time To Stop Pretending To Endorse The Copyright Monopoly

from the but-but-piracy dept

There is a saying in the political discussion in Sweden: "Anything you say before but in a political statement doesn't count." We've seen a lot of that practice in recent years with increasingly horrendous cultural monopoly laws.

People in corporate and political suits alike are climbing on top of one another to be the most statesmanlike in stating "We are fully committed to the copyright monopoly, but these proposed enforcement laws are just nuts," worded in all the synonyms you can find in a thesaurus.

Why? Why do people feel forced to phrase their views on policy like that?

If the enforcement laws are nuts, but still needed for the monopoly to be effective, why is the part before the "but" there -- where people say they support the copyright monopoly, but are firmly rejecting the laws needed keep it in effective existence for a few more years?

For I believe that the copyright industry is actually right that these ridiculous laws are needed to sustain the copyright monopoly. General-purpose networked computers, free and anonymous speech, and sustained civil liberties make it impossible to maintain this distribution monopoly of digitizable information. As technical progress can't be legislated against, basic civil liberties would have to go to maintain the crumbling monopoly. And these are the laws we're seeing on the table.

There comes a tipping point when somebody says that this entire system of cultural monopolies is absurd. A tipping point where the part before the "but" is unceremoniously and collectively dropped, the part that didn't count anyway. A tipping point where everybody just stops pretending to support it. I think it is time to create that point on the history line.

For what is the copyright monopoly, anyway? It is a set of monopolies from the era of guild-regulated commerce, when privately dictated monopolies were the norm and the expected. Specifically, the eldest tradesmen in every guild dictated what, where, and how trade happened within that craft. The copyright monopoly is a remnant from this era that should have been thrown out with the establishment of free enterprise laws in the 1850s.

Also, it is not really one single monopoly, but five quite different ones that are lumped together under a common umbrella term.

The first two types of copyright monopoly are commercial monopolies on duplication and public performance. These are the monopolies usually broken by today's free communication, the monopolies that can't coexist with today's technology and sustained civil liberties.

Then, there are two kinds of moral rights - droits morals. There is the right for the creator to prevent any performance, derivation, remix, satire, etc. of a piece that they do not approve of, and there is the right for a creator to be credited as such.

(I actually support this last right -- the right to credit. But does it really require legislation? The social, corporate and academic penalties for plagiarism are much higher than those of the law. Why is that particular law needed, then?)

The fifth monopoly isn't technically part of the copyright monopoly, but is frequently called "copyright" anyway. It is the so-called "neighboring rights" that were the result of the record industry's corporativization as IFPI in then-fascist Italy: the duplication monopoly over specific recordings. This, too, is broken by today's free communication.

I sometimes hear the old guard say that there would be no culture if there was no copyright monopoly. That is an outrageous insult to creators all over the world today. We create not because of a monopoly, but because of who we are; we have created and shared culture since we learned to put red paint on the inside of cave walls. Today, about eight years' worth of video are uploaded to YouTube every day.

People today create not because of the copyright monopoly, but despite it.

The second common question is how the artists shall get paid. That, too, is a red herring. First of all, it is not a policy problem, and second, it is not a problem at all.

This pretense from the old guard goes well in hand with the origins of the copyright monopoly. It was never for the artists at all. When the copyright monopoly was first created on May 4, 1557, it was a means of censorship of political dissent. It lapsed in 1695. When it was reinstated in 1709, it was at the request of printers and distributors who had gathered their families on the stairs of English Parliament to claim that no culture would be printed or distributed if they didn't get their monopoly reinstated.

Nobody at the time thought to claim something as preposterous as the copyright monopoly being a precondition for people wanting to create culture. It never was.

On the contrary, it is a guild-era instrument. To show a parallel, buttonmakers in France in the 1600s went berserk when tailors bypassed them and made buttons out of cloth instead. They demanded the right to invade people's homes and search their wardrobes for violations of the guild privileges. Sound familiar?

Another parallel also happened in France, where certain popular printed cloth fabrics were monopolized. People manufactured them anyway, and the nobility responded with increasingly harsh punishments for violations of their monopolies, up to and including death by torture. Even the death penalty didn't stop that copying. How far is the copyright industry prepared to go? They never answer that question.

Any law must be necessary, effective, and proportionate: it must identify a real problem that needs legislation, it must solve that problem, and it must not create worse problems in the process. No aspect of the copyright monopoly meets these three legislative quality criteria. Therefore, I reject the concept as a whole.

I reject and oppose this monopoly that was never for the creators, but always for the distributors: a guild whose time is up and obsolete, and which has no business trampling on our civil liberties.

Let's see more people drop that part before the "but". If the copyright industry is right in saying that these laws are required to maintain the copyright monopoly, and I think they are, then that just underscores how we should stop pretending to endorse this guild-era monopoly, and instead say it is time for it to go.

And nobody will think the worse of you for stating that opinion. Quite the opposite. Nobody expects an honest politician or corpsuit.

Rick Falkvinge is the founder of the Swedish and first Pirate Party. Follow him as @Falkvinge on Twitter, read his private blog, or get him for a keynote.



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    crade (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 9:07am

    I would like to know what makes you think these laws will actually be effective at fighting piracy?

    The ones they have put in place so far have done nothing but harm and haven't changed the effectiveness of the copyright monopoly one bit and I really don't see how the new ones they are proposing are supposed to do it.

    On the other hand, copying has been trivial for over a decade and the publishing industries that depend on copyright continue to release record sales numbers while constantly complaining that "it should be more"

     

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      Miles Barnett (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      He never said the the laws were effective, just that those laws are the monopoly's only hope. If you add his point of the collateral damage to your point of "It ain't going to work anyway," you come to the conclusion that these laws are really bad.

       

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        crade (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:29am

        Re: Re:

        "For I believe that the copyright industry is actually right that these ridiculous laws are needed to sustain the copyright monopoly."

        How could they possibly be needed to sustain the monopoly if they didn't do it?

        People being able to copy stuff is hardly new, anyway. The whole "piracy is destroying ous" cry has been going on forever and copyright seems to get by passably well on the honour system alone. I'd also like to know what makes him think the sky is fally cry is not a load of crap like it always has been every other time with cassettes, vhs, pencils, printing press, etc?

         

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          Anonymous 314159, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:14am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "For I believe that the copyright industry is actually right that these ridiculous laws are needed to sustain the copyright monopoly."
          Logically, necessary != sufficient. Necessary means "If we don't have these ridiculous laws, then the copyright monopoly cannot be sustained." Sufficient means "If we have these laws, then the monopoly will be sustained." The post never said anything about the laws being sufficient, just necessary (eg, "Even if wew do have these ridiculous laws, the monopoly cannot be sustained").

           

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            crade (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Sorry, you are right, I should have said "if they didn't at least help do it".

            I still don't even give them that much credit. I don't see anything in there that I can see having a notable impact at actually fighting piracy. If they block dns, people will just start passing IP addresses around instead of hostnames until someone fixes it.

             

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      Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:36am

      Re:

      I don't really think they will be effective against piracy, but rather, without them, the monopoly mindset will be over much sooner.

      In any case, the monopoly enforcement laws are grossly disproportionate.

       

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        crade (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:46am

        Re: Re:

        Thanks for your reply!
        I think it's more likely the more their attempted solutions cause everyone grief in their daily lives and work like these laws are bound to, the faster we move toward the end of copyright.

         

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        Jesse (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:06am

        Re: Re:

        I for one welcome attempts at draconian legislation. All it does is serve as free advertising for the "abolish monopolies" movement.

         

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      FuzzyDuck, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:45am

      Re:

      Restrictive laws can be effective if they go far enough. Permanent video surveillance in everyone's home. A policeman on every street corner. Etc...

      After all it is known that in a police state there is no crime... that is if you don't count the crimes committed by the state.

      It's like a state monopoly on crime.

       

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        crade (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:52am

        Re: Re:

        If there is no crime in a police state, then there has never been and will never be a police state :)

        I never meant to imply it's impossible to make restrictive laws to prevent piracy, just that that isn't what they are doing. I'm not even sure it's actually their goal.

         

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 9:45am

    Dear Big Content

    I recently heard that you said "that there would be no culture if there was no copyright monopoly." I guess the library of Alexandria is a myth, there are no Greek tragedies, the Bible doesn't exist, the Koran is a fairy tale, that fairy tales are recent fakes, philosophy from the times of Thales and Aristotle is one of my delusions, and we do not have extant literature from Sophocles and Euripides.

    Thanks for clearing that up for me.

    David

     

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      Chris Brand (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:04am

      Re:

      I thought Disney created most of the fairy tales

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:27am

        Re: Re:

        They do now, although they moved the really creative people from the screenwriter department to accounting.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:54am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I thought Disney created most of the fairy tales"

          "They do now, although they moved the really creative people from the screenwriter department to accounting."

          Just ask Rudyard Kipling's estate about how Disney waited until The Jungle Book entered public domain before beginning work on their animated version...

           

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        Hephaestus (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:01am

        Re: Re:

        That's what they want you to think.

         

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      Stephan Kinsella (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:24am

      Re: The time for abolition is nigh!

      Fantastic post. As long as people say that copyright is "necessary" and that piracy is "bad," "but" the SOPA etc. go "too far," they have lost the argument. Copyright is the problem itself.

      BTW regarding the comment about the Bible and Koran being fairy tales--well, yeah, they are, but not in the sense you mean. :)

       

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      MrWilson, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:29am

      Re:

      I must compliment you, sir, on the complexity of your delusions and the ability you apparently have in making your delusions an essential part of the curriculum of many college courses!

       

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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 9:59am

    Actually

    "As technical progress can't be legislated against..."
    What?
    Sure you can!

    It might be the political equivalent of saying "hey world, our country quits. Please invade/conquer/kill/displace us in about 50 years, thank you." but you totally CAN legislate against technical progress.

    I mean, really, isn't that what the MAFIAA's been trying for?
    Sad thing is, they just might get it, too.

     

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      crade (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:18am

      Re: Actually

      Trying for? Might get it? They have been succeeding and getting it, they are just trying for more of the same.

      It doesn't mean "our country quits". It's a matter of degrees, it's more like "our country isn't going to try as much". You can also strong arm other countries to similarly legistlate against technical progress and make everyone suffer more or less equally :)

       

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        Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:54am

        Re: Re: Actually

        Yeah. They totally quashed home taping.

         

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          crade (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:07am

          Re: Re: Re: Actually

          No, but they have levies on media, they have the DMCA, anti-circumvention, bans on reverse engineering or creating certain technologies, sharing certain information.

          Am I the only one who noticed my computer from 2000 still runs pretty much as well as the one I bought yesterday?

           

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      Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:38am

      Re: Actually

      Well, North Korea legislated against the VCR. Other than that, I don't know of any country that has successfully legislated against any technology.

      For a low-tech parallel, look at moonshine vodka. Outlawed pretty much everywhere, and yet...

       

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        :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:44am

        Re: Re: Actually

        Yes, exactly.

        One can legislate against it as much as one likes. Won't change reality a tiny little bit, but one can legislate...

         

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          Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:46am

          Re: Re: Re: Actually

          Fair point. Perhaps I should have written that technical progress can't be meaningfully or successfully legislated against.

           

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            Designerfx (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:06am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually

            it's been stated plenty from other sources RF. At best, you can slow it down, but you can never prevent it. It's the generational gap/fear of change that has plagued the planet for thousands of years. It goes far further back than the last few hundred.

            The first time we ever have a worldwide understanding of change and embracing it would be significant, but I don't see that happening in anyone's lifetime who's alive right now.

             

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        Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:51am

        Re: Re: Actually

        Wow...now I have to try and/or make moonshine vodka. Thanks a lot Rick, king of vices!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Actually

          I have tried moonshine vodka. It was made in the hull of an old petrol tanker truck. Tasted...gasoline-y.

           

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        Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:51am

        Re: Re: Actually

        Every nation's patent legislation effectively creates a registry of prohibited designs, medicines, and technologies.

        If the Vatican had wanted to hold back mankind's scientific and technological progress then patent law would have been an excellent way to do it... hmmm... maybe the Vatican IS behind patent law? Dan Brown?

         

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          6, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

          Re: Re: Re: Actually

          You're aware that you can actually license patented technology correct?

           

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            Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually

            Of course, but until/unless licensed, all patented technologies are effectively prohibited.

            The Vatican was canny in predicting that greed would make licensing fees prohibitive for all but the largest multinationals - who still end up in court for millions through having not paid license fees.

            To make censorship seem like a good idea you just say it's to protect the children. To make a literary monopoly seem like a good idea you just say it's to feed poor starving artists. To make a patent seem like a good idea you just say it's to persuade inventors to let the rest of the world have access to their amazing gadgets and discoveries.

            A big problem with monopolies and other state suppression of individual liberty is that it's far to easy to hoodwink the masses into believing that these things are in their own best interest.

             

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        crade (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:10am

        Re: Re: Actually

        The US legislated against circumvention technology.

         

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2012 @ 4:13am

        Re: Re: Actually

        India legislated against Fax machines till 90'es

         

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      btr1701 (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:42am

      Re: Actually

      > but you totally CAN legislate against technical
      > progress.

      I agree. North Korea is a great example of how technology can be legislated (if that's what you want to call the decrees of a dictator) out of existence. A good number of North Koreans have never even heard of the internet and cell phones are non-existent in the country.

       

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    Richard (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:01am

    That is why we don't get anywhere

    We are too timid. The argument for abolition never gets presented in the MSM. Let's stop pussyfooting around.

     

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    Nina Paley (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Amen

    Amen and Hallelujah, Brother Falkvinge.

     

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      Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:39am

      Re: Amen

      Thank you, sister Paley.

       

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        average_joe (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:16am

        Re: Re: Amen

        You two and Mike Masnick--peas from the same pod! Another cup of CTRL+C Kool-Aid for everyone! LMAO!

         

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          kirillian (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:25am

          Re: Re: Re: Amen

          I want whatever Kool-Aid this moron is drinking...to ignore reality every time I read/post!!!!

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:28pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Amen

            You don't thats what becoming a lawyer does. First you have to relinquish your brain in the antechamber, then they strip you of every shred of humanity, just to replace it by malice and the content of every lawbook ever written. That then completes the transformation into a drone of pure evil, a unbearable parasitic leech on society, one of the few beings(other beings include but are not limited to managers, bankers politicians, religious leaders) without which the world would be a better place.

            to cut it short, he wants to be a lawyer, to be a lawyer you have to be pure scum.

             

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          Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:43pm

          Re: Re: Re: Amen

          Joe, your well reasoned arguments have convinced me, but you're still a tool.

           

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          btrussell (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: Amen

          Ctrl+F "intelligence"

          Searching......................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... .................................................................................................... ...................

           

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    anonymous, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    well spoken, Rik. shame that no one of any importance that can change things will take the slightest bit of notice. they're too well paid by those that are doing their damnedest to extend copyright (and make it worse!) for that to happen!

     

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    Violated (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:12am

    RIAA

    There is no sense for the RIAA to have a monopoly these days and yet they are the major push behind SOPA. Musicians can both create and distribute their songs for close to nothing while raking in the profit. Promotion they can also do for various cost.

    Fame will always be exploited and tapped by others leading to concerts and TV appearances. Even song writers will seek out good musicians to partnership with.

    So there is no need for the RIAA at all except in the case of musicians wanting to go down the old route. Just keep in mind who owns the copyright when some record company wants to loan you a million dollars to make an album. A good position to be in to then have them screw you over as they please.

    If there is viable life outside the RIAA, and there is certainly that, then the RIAA should not be allowed monopoly status. So in the case of SOPA tell them to sod off and compete in an open market.

     

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    fogbugzd (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:21am

    The problem up until now is that there are organized industries (and therefore highly organized lobbying groups) who support stronger and stronger copyright, but the negative impacts of stronger copyright are scattered and diffuse. No one industry or lobby saw enough benefit to reasonable copyright law to the extent it was willing to commit political resources to fight for reasonable copyright reform.

    SOPA might have changed that. It has certainly brought together a lot of forces that favor reform and it has taught them to organize politically.

    If we are going to have copyright, then the following reforms would be a good starting point in my opinion. I am also assuming that we are not going to immediately withdraw from the Brene convention:

    1) False claim of copyright has statutory penalties equal to the current levels for copyright infringement. There should be treble penalties if the claim was used to suppress free speech, criticism, or competition in areas other than the copyright itself.

    2)Explicit recognition and definition of fair use as an affirmative defense. Failure to recognize fair use would constitute a false claim of copyright.

    3)Dismantling of the various federal "reports" that are nothing but industry propaganda used to bully other nations.

    4)Reduction of copyright terms to the minimum required by the Berne Convention.

    5)If we are going to have an IP Czar, then the position should be redefined according to the constitutional rational for IP laws. That means that the IP Czar's job should be to promote the movement of ideas and art into the public domain.

     

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      Jay (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:10pm

      Re:

      1 & 2) Agreed.

      3) It's very difficult to change when that's been the MO of certain trade industries for 2 decades...

      4) It's a shame that more hasn't been done to expose this problem. The ones promoting it are the ones that benefit the most from copyright extensions.

      5) We would have to change the laws of PROIP. Reason being, she has to report to the industry, not the public. This is the same with all czars though. They all respond to business interests over the people who are affected the most by bad laws.

       

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      Franklin G Ryzzo (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:06pm

      Re:

      I agree that copyright needs some serious reform and also hope that these recent events will motivate a combined political effort to push said reform. That being said, I'm not going to hold my breath. People no longer have a voice when it comes to policy making and legislation. Our elected "representatives" are bought and paid for by the lobbying industry. I truly believe that the first step to any meaningful political reform is to abolish lobbying and let it go back to good old fashioned "envelope-under-the-table" bribes. At least then when you got caught there was a scandal and penalties.

      To address your points:

      1. This is absolutely necessary. Copyfraud claims should be punished by the maximum penalty for infringement at a bare minimum. If anything it should be on an order of magnitude since those bringing the false claims are the only ones that truly have the ability to know if the claim is legit or not.

      2. 100% agreed! Anyone using a fair use argument should not have to prove the use is fair. Those registering the complaint should have to prove the use is not fair. PERIOD!

      3. I don['t know if I could agree with this one since the job loss to all of the report preparers would be astronomical and where else would we get relevant statistical information to base policy creation on? /s

      4. Agreed, although they still might be too long.

      5. This I couldn't agree more with! Any public official should be representing the public's interests. Copyright was implemented so that the creator could exclusively profit from the work for a limited time before it was turned over to the public. Making sure this bargain is honored and material is increasing the public domain should be priority one for anyone in this position!

       

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    candtalan, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:22am

    Summary (after Cory Doctorow)

     

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    PrometheeFeu (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Let's just look at this from an economic point of view. The purpose of copyright is to encourage the creation of music, movies, books etc... Every year, the amount of music, movies and books increases despite ever-growing piracy. As an economist, I can come to only one conclusion: we don't need copyrights. Content creators are finding some ways to get paid without copyright. How? We don't even need to know that. All we need to know is that with widespread infringement, we still get movies, music and books. The only problem is that companies are sued out of existence and people are sued into the poor house using copyright. The conclusion is obvious. Copyright is a net economic loss. Let's get rid of it once and for all.

     

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    BeachBumCowboy, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:25am

    Credit to where credit is due.

    Then, there are two kinds of moral rights - droits morals. There is the right for the creator to prevent any performance, derivation, remix, satire, etc. of a piece that they do not approve of, and there is the right for a creator to be credited as such.

    (I actually support this last right -- the right to credit. But does it really require legislation? The social, corporate and academic penalties for plagiarism are much higher than those of the law. Why is that particular law needed, then?)


    That last one, the credit, is the only actual scarcity that copyright does create artificially. Thus, it is the only thing that can actually be "stolen". Someone could take credit for other's work, and then claim it as their own.

    But Rick is correct that copyright, as conceived today, is very much unnecessary for this problem of protecting this scarcity. Shakespeare wrote Hamlet, Cervantes wrote Don Quixote, and Divinci painted the Mona Lisa. They got credit, and still have credit, for their works in a time long before the Statute of Anne.

     

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      BeachBumCowboy, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:26am

      Re: Credit to where credit is due.

      EDIT: doesn't create artificially.

       

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        Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:11pm

        Re: Re: Credit to where credit is due.

        But Rick is correct that copyright, as conceived today, is very much unnecessary for this problem of protecting this scarcity.

        I would go a little farther, and say that because of the today's copyright industry (created by past and present copyright laws), in some cases, credit is easier to obscure.

        Examples:

        Let's take the average Pixar movie. Outside of the copyright industry, who really knows who wrote the story behind Toy Story? Who can name even a single animator or modeler behind a character? Sure, the movie as a whole is a team effort, but publicly those individual writers and artists rarely get the credit they deserve. The credit goes to a faceless corporation.

        What about the individual songwriters or musicians behind a major RIAA artist such as Lady Gaga or Rihanna? We all know they don't write and compose everything themselves (and if they do, apologies, just insert another performer). All the public credit goes to the performer, and yes, she's an artist herself, but what about the songwriters, composers and musicians behind her?

         

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          chris, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 3:34pm

          Re: Re: Re: Credit to where credit is due.

          The supposed moral obligation to give credit is built on a false assumption that "where credit is due" is straightforward and easy to determine. The Pixar movie is a good example. More broadly, artistic ideas don't just appear out of thin air. Art is heavily influenced by society, including other artists. For example suppose a photographer takes a picture of a beautiful cityscape. Does he get the sole credit? What about the architect who designed the buildings? What about other substantially similar photographs of the same subject? All art is derivative. Let's keep these things in mind when deciding how much legal power to grant artists. Copyright is about incentive not credit. It would not even be a violation of copyright to claim credit for another's work. That is plagiarism, which is a moral framework, not a legal one. Copyright does not have a moral aspect.

           

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      Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:18am

      Re: Credit to where credit is due.

      Good point on pre-monopoly artists that still get credit. For the point of your argument, it's not required that they worked before the monopoly laws, though; it's enough that they died over 70 years ago.

       

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    Arjen, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:38am

    Ultimatum

    To the copyright industry of the world;

    Too long have we allowed you to suppress and destroy our cultural and technological progress. Your latest attempt to circumvent our most fundamental democratic processes by the secret ACTA negotiations and IIPA lobbying have made clear that you do not intend to respect any of our rights as a free and democratic peoples. Your actions threaten our liberties so we need to draw a line in the sand and make clear to you the consequences of continuing these efforts.

    We will no longer debate your views of perverted copyright laws on your terms. You must address our demands for a fair and just intellectual property framework based on cultural diversity, 21st century technologies and the interests of the people.

    We no longer accept your premises of the moral validity of endless copyright extensions. If you seek legal protection from our nation-states then the burden of proof of the societal usefulness of these protections is up to you. Prove the societal value of copyrights and we may have a basis for further discussions.

    Failing to do so will force us to unleash unto you an economic rain of ruin the likes of which has never been seen before on this Earth. Bittorrent and terabyte hard-disks are just the beginning. There are many more of us than there are of you and we are smarter, more technologically advanced and intrinsically motivated to take this fight to whatever end is required of us. Step back or be ruined.

     

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    Loki, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:39am

    There was a gentleman long ago by the name of Benjamin Franklin. A devoted/loyal British citizen, he devoted several decades of his life (even spending years in England in court) trying to fight the legal abuses of wealthy land-holding proprietors continually twisting the law for their own personal gain.

    He eventually realized these proprietors were unyielding in their continued effort to (successfully) abuse the legal system for the benefit of themselves and the detriment of society at large, and completely beyond any sort of reasoning or compromise. That his country and his principles had become divergent to the point of being irreconcilable and a choice had to be made.

    This country has not quite reached that level of divergence, but is headed that way at pretty good speed. If left unchecked the time for people to start making that choice will be here sooner than most realize.

     

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    Eo Nomine, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:50am

    RE Seriously?

    So, first Nina Paley, then Glyn Moody, now Rick Falkvinge? Sorry, but there is just no way anyone can credibly claim that TechDirt it is not anti-copyright & anti-IP.

     

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      Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 10:58am

      Re: RE Seriously?

      Nice hasty generalization. Troll much?

       

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      Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:01am

      Re: RE Seriously?

      Well, Mike has yet to come off the fence of copyright agnosticism.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:04am

      Re: RE Seriously?

      If it is so -- and it's open as to whether that's the case -- then it is entirely the fault of copyright maximalists, who've repeatedly proven that too much is never enough. The only way to deal with bullies and gluttons such as they is to cut them off entirely.

      Which is what's going to happen. Maximalists are old and feeble and will die soon enough. We will destroy their world and build a new, better one on its ashes. You can either come along, or you can join them in oblivion. Choose.

       

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        Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:14am

        Re: Re: RE Seriously?

        There was a wonderful quote today in BBC News from a "Music Analyst", presumaby somebody within the copyright industry, on the news of file-sharing being an approved religion:

        http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-16424659

        "It is quite divorced from reality and is reflective of Swedish social norms rather than the Swedish legislative system," said music analyst Mark Mulligan.

        This person claims that something that reflects social norms is divorced from reality, and contrasts it with what the legislations looks like.

        Normally, things would be entirely the other way around -- legislation would be completely reflective of social norms.

         

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          Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

          Re: Re: Re: RE Seriously?

          +1.

          If Swedish legislators are not reflecting the social norms of their citizens, they are very bad at their jobs.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 4:30pm

      Re: RE Seriously?

      Maybe someday trolls will realize that being 'anti-copyright' or 'anti-'IP'' isn't synonomous with 'anti-culture' or 'anti-artist.

       

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    average_joe (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:03am

    LMAO @ Pirate Mike's pirate buddy Falkvinge. Yarrrrrr!

    Yeah, this site isn't pro-piracy. LMFAO!

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:10am

      Re:

      LMAO at greedy, selfish, bloated pig average_joe who never learned to share as a child.

       

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      Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:11am

      Re:

      Thank you for the eloquent reply. Would you care to shed a little more light on your reflections on the actual ideas presented in the column, sir?

      Cheers,
      Rick

       

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        average_joe (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:19am

        Re: Re:

        Not really, Rick. Seems like a nonstarter, and I'm allergic to zealous hippie types. I'm just LOLing at the thought that Mike can't possibly understand why anyone thinks he's pro-piracy when he lets people like you post on his blog. That just cracks me up no end. Carry on with your pirate friends. I'm going to watch a DVD I just paid money for. You wouldn't understand.

         

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          kirillian (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:34am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Well, we still are waiting for well-reasoned retorts to the arguments here. Perhaps if you took the time to eloquently speak your mind rather than resorting to these rants that you spend so much time on.

           

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          Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There's nothing wrong with buying or selling DVDs. The problem with copyright is that it annuls the people's right to make copies of the DVDs they buy to give or sell to others.

          In the not too distant future, when copyright has been abolished, audiences will pay for movies to be produced, and the market for DVD copies will be a free one. Fine for actors and audiences, cameramen and cinemas, but not so good for the monopolists in the MPAA.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "I'm going to watch a DVD I just paid money for."

          Sounds like "pirate in denial" talk. Normal people don't go around saying "I'm going drive within the speed limit today" or "I'm not going to murder anyone today".

          Just saying...

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Also, the fact that you paid money for it doesn't mean that it isn't counterfeit, something which is actually more damaging than downloading it off the pirate bay.

             

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          Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:05pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I was paying subscriber number 110 (one hundred and ten) to Pandora out of the current twenty million, and I'm currently listening to a Grooveshark subscription. What's your point, again?

          You do understand that wanting to get rid of a monopoly, as I do above, is actually the same thing as endorsing a free market, right?

           

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            Gwiz (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:36pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You do understand that wanting to get rid of a monopoly, as I do above, is actually the same thing as endorsing a free market, right?

            I think AJ does understand this. The problem is that AJ is currently in school to get his law degree and has expressed some interest in being an IP lawyer. I believe he wants the monopolies to continue and the fights revolving around IP to escalate because that is what will make him money.

             

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              Stephan Kinsella (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

              I'm a patent lawyer too. But I despise the patent and copyright sytsem. They should be nuked. most IP attorneys are nothing but dishonest, self-interested shills, when they speak out in favor of IP.

              BTW, as I noted on my C4SIF post about this here http://c4sif.org/2012/01/it-is-time-to-stop-pretending-to-endorse-the-copyright-monopoly/, Falkvinge's piece is good, but "a couple of quibbles: I disagree that there is a "right" to attribution, though he doesn't think it should be a law, so it's not really a (legal) right he's talking about. And his comment here:
              'Any law must be necessary, effective, and proportionate: it must identify a real problem that needs legislation, it must solve that problem, and it must not create worse problems in the process,' presupposes that law is legislation, that legislation is the way law is or should be made. It is not. Legislation requires a (criminal) state, for one, so is for this reason alone is illegitimate. And even if you have a (minimal) state, a decentralized, court-based legal system such as the Roman law or English common law, is preferable to a legislature, for the formation and development of law. (See, on this, Another Problem with Legislation: James Carter v. the Field Codes.)

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 3:35pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                Mr. Kinsella,

                It is one thing to advocate a position on an issue, and quite another to cast aspersions on those who may reasonably disagree. Doing so materially diminishes the forcefulness of your arguments.

                 

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                  Stephan Kinsella (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:12pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                  I notice you do not provide any argument for IP. I have been practicing patent law for almost two decades. Iv'e had untold conversations with other patent and IP lawyers. I can tell you I have never, even once, heard a thoughtful, sincere argument for IP by any of them. Most do not even attempt it--which I respect. They just do their jobs and don't pretend to know it's justified; they really don't care. The ones who argue for it, I believe 100% are either just naive and ignorant, and have no argument at all (so it's not thoughtful), or they are simply trotting out self-serving "arguments" (thus not sincere).

                  There's a reason for this: there NO good arguments for IP.

                  http://blog.mises.org/9499/there-are-no-good-arguments-for-intellectual-property/

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:06pm

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                    Mr. Kinsella,

                    I made no argument for or against precisely because that was not the gravamen of my comment.

                    During my many years as an attorney I have had the good fortune to work with many as to whom your general description would be inapt. Then again, I have dealt with many as to whom your general description would be an understatement. Sadly, the latter exist in far larger numbers than the former, lending credence to my observation (cutting across all professions) that 10% actually know what they are doing and add value, and the remainder push paper quite nicely.

                    Perhaps some day you will have the opportunity to work much more closely with the 10% than with the remainder.

                     

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                      Stephan Kinsella (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:38pm

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                      What was the sincere argument given for the legitimacy of IP law by the patent attorneys you know?

                       

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                        Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 9:40pm

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                        Not inclined to be goaded into a debate on philosophy (but nice try). After all, still reeling over the notion some have expressed that the First Amendment trumps at least one of Congress' Article 1 powers because it came later in time. I venture a guess that even the most diehard libertarians would raise their eyebrows on that one, unless, of course, they are inclined to tilt at windmills.

                         

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                          Stephan Kinsella (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 5:24am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                          Can you explain what is so outlandish about the idea that a 1791 Amendment might override an earlier constitutioanl provision? This is standard legal and constitutional interpretation. That is how the Constitution gets amended. It's why the Twenty-first Amendment (1933) repealed the alcohol prohibition of the Eighteenth Amendment (1919). If later amendments didn't take precedence, I guess prohibition would still be in effect.

                          http://c4sif.org/2011/11/copyright-is-unconstitutional/

                           

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                            Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 8:43am

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                            Prohibition was expressly repealed by the later amendment to the constitution.

                            Capitation was expressly set aside by the provisions of the amendment authorizing the levying of a tax on income.

                            The election of senators by popular vote expressly set aside the prior prior provision for the election of senators by state legislatures, as well as the prior means for recalling senators by the legislatures.

                            The common thread through these and other amendments was that they expressly called out and changed the prior "rules".

                            The First Amendment does no such thing, and those who argue for a "but it came later in time" interpretation run suarely into the problem and fundamental doctrine that provisions of the constitution may not annuled by implication, and this has been a rule of constitutional interpretation by the Supreme Court since the constitution's inception.

                             

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                              Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 9:32am

                              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                              There is a resolution, though a heretical one, and that's to cease pretending that the Progress Clause* empowered Congress to grant the monopolies of copyright and patent.

                              The author's/inventor's exclusive right to their writings/designs is a natural right that Congress is empowered to SECURE. One right is not secured by the annulling of another. Privacy is NOT secured by abridging liberty, annulling the right to copy published works (qv abridging freedom of speech). The granting of monopolies by the state abridges liberty. To secure privacy, the exclusive right to one's writings/designs, you provide legal remedies against burglars - you don't throw kids in jail for iPhoning cinema screens (copying that which they have been made privy to), or bankrupt them because they shared music (making copies of that which they have purchased).

                              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_of_Man#Arguments
                              Human rights originate in Nature, thus, rights cannot be granted via political charter, because that implies that rights are legally revocable, hence, would be privileges:

                              It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect — that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few... They... consequently are instruments of injustice.

                              The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.


                              http://www.law.indiana.edu/uslawdocs/declaration.html
                              We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,


                              TO SECURE THESE CERTAIN UNALIENABLE RIGHTS

                              The author has an unalienable right to exclude others from their writings - a right that should be secured.

                              The author is NOT endowed by his creator with the power or right to prevent others making copies of his published works - those works which he has voluntarily ceased to exclude others from.

                              Copyright and patent are unconstitutional privileges, but of course this is heresy.

                              * It is amusing that even the Wikipedia entry is insistent that the clause be known as the 'Copyright clause' - despite the fact that 'copyright' isn't mentioned - perhaps as if by induction people will eventually believe the clause does grant copyright.

                               

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                                Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 12:24pm

                                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                                Your first sentence is directly contradicted by the records kept during the constitutional convention. This is precisely what was contemplated, and tracked along what states had been doing since the Articles of Confederation were adopted.

                                 

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                                  Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:07pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                                  ... the records kept during the constitutional convention


                                  Madison, James, The Debates in the Federal Convention of 1787:   WEDNESDAY SEPr 5. IN CONVENTION:

                                  Mr. BREARLEY from the Committee of Eleven made a farther report as follows, . . . .

                                  (5) "To promote progress of Science and useful arts by securing for limited times to authors & inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries"

                                  This report being taken up. . . .

                                  The (5) clause was agreed to nem: con:

                                  (Transcript restored from notes in copy; hyperlink to definition added.)
                                   

                                  As Ochoa and Rose (2002) put it, “The clause was unanimously approved by the delegates with no debate.” (Emphasis added.)

                                   

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                                    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:44pm

                                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                                    No debate, precisely because the securing of natural rights was not controversial.

                                    Grants of monopolies on the other hand, were controversial. This is why Madison couldn't insert a clause that explicitly empowered Congress to grant monopolies such as copyright.

                                     

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                                      Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 3:46pm

                                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                                      ... was not controversial.

                                      That's a curious move there, Mr Fitch.

                                      But if we're going recap forty-seven years of argument following ratification, then we ought to move the discussion back to the left side of the page.

                                       

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                                  Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:38pm

                                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:This is common in my "profession"

                                  Perhaps you could point this contradiction out to me?

                                   

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          Dark Helmet (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:33pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Wow, buddy, you've completely lost control, haven't you? Try being a tad more open-minded. You might learn a thing or two....

           

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          Stephan Kinsella (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:54pm

          Re: Re: Re: Copying is not theft

          Piracy means breaking things, hurting people's bodies or owned scarce goods--like real pirates boarding a ship and killing people. That's why the IP lobby dishonestly uses taht term, and other loaded ones like "stealing" and "theft," to engage in question-begging, in applying these things to peaceful, non-violent actions--copying, competition, emulation, learning. There is nothing at all wrong with learning from others, emulating or copying them, competing with them. In fact it is the basis of civilization and the free market. Patent and copyright are completely antithetical to freedom, property rights, the free market, civil liberties, etc. They should be abolished. I'd be happy if my profession--patent law--was completely eliminated. Then me and my colleagues would have to find honest jobs.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 2:16pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          So by your own logic it is fair to assume that you approve of authoritarism in China, North Korea, Syria, Saudi Arabia and other states?

           

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          Digitari, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 2:47pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          He lets you post too Joe, so maybe mike IS crazy

           

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          dcee (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 3:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ohh, so you bought a bootleg and illegal DVD on the street? Nice!

           

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            Rikuo (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 3:23pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Nah, more than likely he was too cheap to even do that and was given one by the guy from the infamous PSA ad, and then laughed to himself as the poor boom mike operator got fired for absolutely no fault of her own...

             

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 4:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I'm just LOLing at the clueless idiot that thinks eliminating copyright would preclude people from paying money for things. I wouldn't expect said idiot to grasp the subtle difference between endorsing copyright infringement and arguing it should be legal or that not grasping the difference is just a pointless ad hom.

           

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          JEDIDIAH, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 10:01am

          The proud victim

          If the content on that disc is more than 28 years old, then you were robbed as were the rest of us.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:22am

      Re:

      We can always count on you to raise the level of the discussion...

       

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      Richard (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:45am

      Re:

      Yeah, this site isn't pro-piracy. LMFAO!

      If copyright was abolished then there would be no piracy - therefore if you are anti-copyright then you are also anti-piracy! What is more this is the only way in which piracy can actually be stopped!

       

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        Rick Falkvinge (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:58am

        Re: Re:

        This is actually a fun piece of agreement when I'm in publicized debates with the copyright lobby.

        They go; "it's a huge problem! Millions and millions are downloading illegally!"

        I respond; "I agree that it's a huge problem that 250 million Europeans are doing something on a weekly basis that is actually illegal. The solution is to make it stop being illegal. For at the end of the day, these are not problematic teenagers we're talking about, but voters."

        Tends to get the politicians' ears.

         

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      chris, Jan 7th, 2012 @ 11:18am

      Re:

      How did piracy come to mean file sharing anyway? I doubt most people on this site endorse real piracy.

       

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    Hephaestus (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:10am

    "Any law must be necessary, effective, and proportionate: it must identify a real problem that needs legislation, it must solve that problem, and it must not create worse problems in the process."

    Great quote. To bad, that in pretty much every nation on earth, the majority of the laws being created, are being used to create or maintain monopolies.

     

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    ken (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:14am

    Copyrights take the creations away from the creators and but them in the hands of the non-creators. No laws are necessary to protect the creative because they will keep creating. It is the non-creative that require the protection to stay in business.

     

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    SlinkySlim (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:15am

    Amen

    Nice read.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 11:45am

    "Why? Why do people feel forced to phrase their views on policy like that?"

    but ... but ... but ... campaign contributions!!

     

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    Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:19pm

    Seriously, what sort of head injury did Joe sustain over the holidays? He used to be able to at least retain a thin veneer of maturity and intelligence... Now it's all LOLOMGZ u piratez are CRAZY!

     

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      Gwiz (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:44pm

      Re:

      End-of-semester drinking binge, maybe?

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

      Re:

      And CTRL+C this, and CTRL+X that..

      I don't think he had a childhood, and I bet he never ate CTRL+V

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

        Re: Re:

        He did eat the CRTL+V, but he didn't swallow.... or so he claims, you never can be to sure about "those" kind of people...

        Either that, or he did eat the CTRL+V, but the heavy metals and other toxic substances in the CRT monitor that he ate at the time(it's all they had back when he was a kid.. no digital flat panels) have gotten into his blood stream and had an impact on his thought processes....

        This could explain a lot

         

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      Atkray (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 1:17pm

      Re:

      I've wondered that as well. Either the stress of law school has him teetering on the brink of a nervous breakdown, or he passed the account off to a different shill. Either way it makes me sad to watch.

       

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      btrussell (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 2:07pm

      Re:

      Some people, although I have no idea why, welcomed him back and it has gone to his head.

      You didn't get a hint before about the state of his mentality?

      "I demand an apology"
      "I demand an apology"
      "I demand an apology"
      "I demand an apology"
      "I demand an apology"
      Fucking cry baby.

       

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        Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 7:27pm

        Re: Re:

        Some people, although I have no idea why, welcomed him back and it has gone to his head.

        There have been times when Joe seemed like a reasonable, intelligent dissenter with whom you could have a substantive debate - so the first few times he showed signs of idiocy, cognitive dissonance and, yes, a hard case of fucking crybaby syndrome, I think the community was ready to let it slide, and even to offer him encouragement. But, after a point, patience wore thin... And now he's gone and snapped.

        But I have to admit, part of me wonders (nay - knows) that this community and any community that is aligned on ideological grounds has a tendency to ostracize outsiders and dissenters. That's natural, and anyone showing up as a dissenter should be expecting it - but the reality is that we did play a role in driving Joe to this state of manic, incredulous childishness that he's suddenly entered.

        I don't think we deserve all the blame. But some, yes, maybe some... He'll snap out of it though - after all, he's really good at that cognitive dissonance thing I mentioned.

         

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          btrussell (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I was willing to let it slide, but wasn't willing to hand over the keys.


          I disagree with the rest. I don't think that as a group we are that biased and close-minded. Present a logical argument and most here will listen to it with reason. Even if they don't agree.

          Prove yourself to be a troll, you'll be banished to the dark side of the bridge.

           

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    Axl, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 2:27pm

    Explain

    What I do want to know though is how do you all propuse a creator can hold a career in creating, without copyrights?
    It might be my view as a capitalist, but I think creating is a fair and honest job that has potential to create great renevue, but not without an insurance of payment of some sorts.
    True, the laws as they are now are too restrictive and are going only farther with the restrictions. But not all restrictions are bad. It just needs to be a restricted one (restricted restriction :P). DRM in programs for example, that allow you to make full use of the program, without making any uncomfort to you, is to me a fair one. The best example of this is imo the steam program, meant to protect the copying of games. A requirement such as being online while using in this day and age isn't restrictive at all. Make all the home copies you want, just use it with your one account.

    I'm derailing here. Back to what I was writing about originally, how do you expect creators to make a career out of it? The author wrote that people have created since the dawn of men, but how many have really created content as a primary occupation? And out of those that did, how many made enough money to live a life without needing to seek another occupation? You give examples such as Divinci, but how much did he really make from his art?

    Or are you counting on people's good nature to pay for something they can easily get (and legally) for free?

    I'm honestly asking here, cause I would love to hear a solution for that.

     

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      Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 2:45pm

      Re: Explain

      Pretty straightforward really. The artist offers to work for money. The artist's fans offer their money in exchange for the artist's work. When they come to agree each other's offer they do the deal: art for money, money for art.

      Making copies comes afterwards, and with a free market those copies will be at market rates (in the case of digital copies that's roughly $0).

      A free market in copies is a problem for manufacturers of copies at monopoly protected prices. It's not a problem for artists or their audiences.

      Weep for the immortal publishing corporations. Do not weep for the poor starving artists they pretend to represent.

       

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      mischab1, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 2:48pm

      Re: Explain

      What I do want to know though is how do you all propose a creator can hold a career in creating, without copyrights?

      I can tell you haven't been reading Techdirt for very long. :-)

      Mike's main idea is that creators need to 'connect with fans' and give them a 'reason to buy'. Do a search on the first term and you will find on average 1~3 posts per month highlighting artists and other creators doing that in different ways and making a decent living.

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 3:30pm

        Re: Re: Explain

        Exactly. I follow a few artists on deviantart.com who post their work up there for all the world to see for free. However, what is NOT free, what is SCARCE, is the time and ability to create a new work. I've just commissioned a work, and have paid for it. There is no way for me or anyone else to pirate this work, as it doesn't exist yet. The artist, just like everyone else in every other job ever created, must continuously work in order to get paid. This is the world I want to live in. I don't want to pay through the nose just to look at some pictures, but I will gladly pay for the creation of a new work. The artist gets paid, work is created, and no-one can bitch about piracy, because how can the artist be damaged financially when the system is all about the creation of art, rather than the gatekeeping and exclusion of art?

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 4:57pm

      Re: Explain

      So your argument is that no one earned any money from creating art before the 1500's? Or is it that no one made a living off of art before the 1500's? If ending copyright truely means the end of art as a career i.e. the only productive thing a person ever has to do for the rest of their life I think I'd personally be ok with that. If we got art like we did before the 1500's without art being a viable primary occupation I don't think culture as a whole would suffer much either. Who cares if Divinci didn't really make money from his art, we still have his art! Obviously art was an occupation long before the 1500's though and the artist patron model honestly isn't all that different from the artist production company model anyway. Then there's public funding to consider. The NEA grants millions a year to artists and that money would exist without copyrights and they're not the only ones that do that kind of thing.

      There's no such thing as DRM that allows you to make full use of the program. It's literally impossible. Steam is a great example, it's restrictive in many ways just to tie into the steam client. Skyrim is a huge recent game and they literally had to rescrit the ability of third party programs to enable LAA through an executable in the page to keep the game with-in steam. That's a restriction on making full use of the program and that's just one example. Once you lock-down the executable of a program so it can't be altered by the user you've restricted it's use. DRM can't not do that. It's fundamental to what it is to do that.

      You're hopelessly out of touch with the reality in a significant portion of the US much less the rest of the world if you think always online isn't restrictive at all. Furthermore you're completely dismissing cases like the road warrior that just wants to unwind after a long day of meetings and conferances in his hotel room or the deployed soldier that just wants to play some games after working in a hostile environemnt all day.

       

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        Isaac, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 1:31am

        Re: Re: Explain

        The problem with the arguments about the art of the 1500s is they fail to take into account the entire crux of the issue in regard to distribution and duplication. In the 1500s if an author or musician spent time being thoughtful and came up with something original it wasn't possible for them to sell one copy, then have that copy freely and instantaneously distributed globally. What is being proposed leaves the door wide open for the artist to make one and only one sale for a work of art. All artists could become starving artists. Saying this won't happen because it didn't in antiquity is to somehow ignore the advent of the internet.

        Arguing an artist needs to connect with his or her fans presupposes a fan base. If there isn't one, how is one to be obtained? Is the artist supposed to expend all thier scarce resources attempting to reach out to people who may or may not enjoy what they have done? In addition to being an artist do they need to have expertise in marketing, promotion and search engine optimization? Think of your favorite singer/band/author and remove the existing commercial means of distribution and promotion. How would you have heard of them? Do they even live in your country? Thinking of the number of people who don't get their media from the internet but from print or television will show a web presence won't be enough to reach the general public, particularly if the demographic you are attempting to reach aren't the most tech savy. Think of the number of people who buy bootleg DVDs because they don't know how to download for themselves.

        In the 1500s an artist's audience was outside thier doorstep, today it's wherever there's bandwidth. The logistics are not the same, and refering back to a time when the circumstances were something other than what has created the situation being refered to does not make for a potent argument.

        So, the question remains, and those like myself who are unknown, love the internet, and also hope they can one day write the great novel or song conveying some universal message should be holding their breath waiting for the answer: How does the creator reap the benefit of creating? Credit isn't enough, the creator has to be rewarded with enough to both motivate future creation, and to sustain them enough to be able to keep concentrating on the act of creation. They have to be shown there is at least the potential to raise a family on their efforts in order for it to be viable. We don't expect someone will launch a website or start a grocery store with no expectation of profit, only credit, so we can't engage in mass exploitation of creators and just say "That's different, they're artists". If we do, we're no better than the industries we ridicule on a regular basis for taking advantage of artists.

        Having said all that I feel I should at least propose a solution for the next poster to do dance upon :). Here it is: Copyrights should have a similar lifespan as drug patents. For drugs the creating entity has exclusive rights for 12 years, then the generics can hit the shelves. I would favor something similar with regard to works of art entering the public domain. I think it is a sufficient amount of time for an artist to benefit from thier work, and for a company (publisher, distributor) to feel they can profit by promoting the artist work.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 6:14am

          Re: Re: Re: Explain

          If all artists can only sell art once and only once without copyright how do you explain sales of public domain works? How do you explain artists making money, even a living, off of creative commons licenses that only require attributions even for commercial works? The assumption that art is somehow impossible to make money off of without copyright is absurd on its face. Why do you think people pay for it right now? Given the studies that show how many members of the public are absolutely fine with non-commercial infringement it's laughable to suggest that only copyright is what makes them pay the artist.

          Furthermore I'm not saying the death of 'artists' as a profession wouldn't or couldn't happen I'm saying I don't care if it happens. I'm perfectly ok with 'artist' no longer being a viable career even if you are not. I'm confidant we would still get art and culture even if it did happen not because of what happened in antiquity but because of the bevy of culture we currently enjoy from artists that are not able to support themselves financially through their art yet still create (which you have to admit is the vast majority of current artists). It's irrelevant that one cannot support a family on art alone if there is still art. If artists don't currently earn the vast majority of the money that copyrights actually earn, and they don't which I think even you would have to agree, then what difference would eliminating copyrights really make to artists financially? Sure there would be fewer lottery winners (read: pop-stars) because there would be no copyright industry to shear the hundreds of millions from average artists to give just enough to the super successful ones to continue generating interest in their scheme but what big loss would that be? If the progress of the arts can be promoted without curtailing the rights of the public then that's what I would call a win-win.

          I can't believe you seriously attempted to argue that reaching an interested audience was easier in the 1500s than it is now. The logistics are indeed not the same, they're infinitely easier today. It's easier and cheaper than ever before to reach a target audience no matter where they are. The reality of the internet is that your audience is on your doorstep no matter where else they happen to be and the fans can and will do much of the marketing for you. Word of mouth is many times more powerful in the internet age than it was in antiquity because communication is so much easier. Servicing the long tail is something that's only been financially viable since the internet sprung up.

          Having said all that I feel I too should at least propose a compromise (which I will shamelessly copy from another poster downstream): Non-transferable copyrights which grant commercial monopolies on duplication and public performance (defined strictly as a live performance, not the playback of an existing recording). I'd agree to 12 years term under those conditions at least long enough to see what shakes out of such a set-up. I'm convinced that such a set-up would result in companies that profit from copyrights inventing contract terms that transfer copyrights to them despite them being non-transferable however so I'm not particularly hopeful.

           

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      Richard (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 5:54am

      Re: Explain

      What I do want to know though is how do you all propuse a creator can hold a career in creating, without copyrights?
      Adding to what's been said..
      If you want to create a major work that will require upfront funding then you set out your stall and invite people to "commsion" you. There are many platforms now available on the internet for this - the best known is kickstarter but there are others - eg unbound (a uk site for authors) and quidmusic (juswt to mention a couple at random.

       

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    Digitari, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 3:01pm

    RE New Copyrights

    what if copyrights cannot be sold, only the original creator can have them, NO ONE ELSE, wouldn't that stop the **AA's?

    So lets have this "law" passed alone with SOPA/PIPA, the ORIGINAL creator can have copyright, no one else can buy or sell it.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 4:40pm

      Re: RE New Copyrights

      Awesome side effect of this law: copyrights would stop being conflated with property rights in lay circles. After all the only reason they're refered to as property in a legal sense is to discribe the way in which they change ownership. On the side of artists the fact that the rights are granted only to the creator and are not transferable would actually make it much easier to sell the argument that they're a fundamental human right. How absurd is it now that people actual argue that the right to control duplication and public performances for a limited term is a fundamental human right when so many of these 'fundamental human rights' aren't even owned by people.

       

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        Steve R. (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 8:36am

        Re: Re: RE New Copyrights

        Exactly, the problem is that the concept of property is easily understood by lay circles which evokes sympathy for protection of that property. Abstract privileges of limited scope and duration do not illicit the same degree of moral outrage when violated. Thus it is relatively easy and imperative for the content industry to crank-up the propaganda machine showing pitiful starving artists having their property (works) "stolen" by evil pirates.

         

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    Al, Jan 5th, 2012 @ 5:41pm

    No, don't reveal the truths! Don't commit thoughtcrime!

    (/sarcasm)

    Excellent and insightful post. I'm bookmarking this.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 5th, 2012 @ 8:29pm

    What is the Basis for Creators Asserting Their Ownership of New Rights?

    Falkvinge identifies five forms of the copyright monopoly. Within that context the pro-copy right crowd has been aggrandizing over time the scope and extent of so-called "intellectual property". Specifically, the pro-copyright crowd has made, what I believe, are outrageous assertions that new technologies automatically grant them increased property rights. I see NO reason as to why technology should work for the sole benefit of the content industry.

    To explain. When you buy an old fashioned printed book, you can read it at anytime and anywhere. However, if you buy a DVD, it is region coded to restrict you from seeing it in a different region. Attempts have also been made to restrict people from recording programs that they seek to watch at a later time.

    Of course, I have to mention the removal of Orwell books from the Amazon.com Kindle and Sony "disabling" the the PS3 post sale. In both these situations the content holder remotely reached out to trespass onto these devices to make changes that the device owner may not have approved of.

    Beyond the obvious (simple) assertion of the copyright's holder right to control their content, there seems to be a lack of philosophical questioning concerning how the copyright holder can assert new property rights out of thin air just because a certain technology exists. There needs to be greater push-back saying that new technologies do NOT translate into automatic increased copyright privileges. If you can read a printed book anywhere and at anytime, you should be able to watch you DVD anywhere and at anytime.

     

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    Matthew Nelson, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 2:24am

    Public Domain

    Copyrights and patents exist for the public good! They're social contracts. We, the people, are willing to grant a temporary monopoly in exchange for the sharing of information. After a number of years, copyrighted works and patented ideas are freely available to everyone.

    Without copyrights and patents, corporations would lock much information away as trade secrets, never publishing patent applications or creative works and never contributing to the public good.

    The problem with U.S. copyrights are the endless expansion of terms. For a work published today, the term is 70 years after the author's death or, for corporate works, 95 years after publication. That's insane. That kills public domain and breaks the above social contract. We need to protect public domain, not kill copyrights.

     

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      Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 2:49am

      Re: Public Domain

      The notion of 'social contract' is a utilitarian invention that arrived long after Queen Anne's Statute. It's pure revisionism to suggest that the people voluntarily sacrificed their cultural liberty so that the press could be enriched and the crown could quell seditious propaganda.

      In any case, one is not supposed to be able to contract away one's inalienable liberty (however many virgins you are promised in heaven as a consequence).

      There's nothing wrong with locking information away. You may have heard of such a thing as privacy? In any case, corporations have to rely upon their human constituent for any kind of secrecy, and as we know, their employees' freedom of speech cannot be abridged (even if the corporation does fancy a competitive advantage).

      Consider at least the possibility that the monopolies of copyright and patent are fundamentally unethical derogations of individual liberty. I know it's difficult if you've been taught to believe they're as right as apple pie, but do try.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 4:18am

        Re: Re: Public Domain

        The notion of 'social contract' is a utilitarian invention that arrived long after Queen Anne's Statute.


        The Statute of 8 Anne, c.19 was enacted in 1709.

        Leviathan or The Matter, Forme and Power of a Common Wealth Ecclesiasticall and Civil, by Thomas Hobbes (1588–1679); was published in 1651.

        Two Treatises of Government, by John Locke (1632 - 1704); was published in 1689.

        The Statute of 8 Anne, c.19 was enacted in 1709.

         

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          Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 5:22am

          Re: Re: Re: Public Domain

          In the context of your assertion that Copyrights and patents exist for the public good! They're social contracts. I meant that the notion that 'social contract' (quoted to refer to your dubious use of the term) provided sanction to enact copyright was a utilitarian invention (revisionist in nature) that arrived long after the Statute of Anne, not that the philosophical concept of social contract per se was a recent invention.

          1) There is no social contract in which the people in forming the US government agreed to sacrifice their cultural liberty in exchange for allegedly greater cultural output (or technological liberty for progress). This is nowhere to be found in the US Constitution, but people still insist that the US Copyright act of 1790 is part of such a social contract.

          2) There is no social contract giving rise to the Statute of Anne. It was simply an expedient privilege to restore printing monopolies back to the Stationers' Company. That is has a pretext of encouraging her subjects' learning does not make it a social contract.

          In any case, even if the US Constitution had empowered Congress to grant monopolies, the idea that a social contract even could be about people surrendering some of their natural rights in order to receive consequential benefits (viz liberty in exchange for imagined greater prosperity from monopolies) is simply more sophisticated corruption. People can surrender a share of their alienable property, sure, but not their inalienable rights.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 5:32am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Public Domain

            In the context of your assertion...


            Not my assertion. I think you are confusing me with the original poster, Matthew Nelson. Different snowflakes, see? Or you just got the threading messed up.

            With regards to the substance of your assertions, it looks to me like you're attempting to make a learned and subtle argument in bad fashion: No personal slight intended. It may be the nature of the beast that learned and subtle arguments come through badly when written on a postcard—or a blog comment.

             

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              Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 5:56am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Public Domain

              Sorry, I'm so used to copyright supporters so often being Anonymous Cowards that I sometimes forget to check continuity of correspondent identity. Thanks for pointing out my oversight. Substitute Matthew Nelson's for 'your'.

              But yes, I can rattle off blog comments a little too hastily. You were right to pick me up on my poorly qualified statement. Thanks.

               

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      btrussell (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 3:29am

      Re: Public Domain

      "Without copyrights and patents, corporations would lock much information away as trade secrets, never publishing patent applications or creative works and never contributing to the public good."

      Ever hear of "Open Source?"

      Eventually, most Corp. would realize that sharing benefits them as much, or more, as the next guy.

       

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      Steve R. (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 5:57am

      Re: Public Domain

      "Without copyrights and patents, corporations would lock much information away as trade secrets, never publishing patent applications or creative works and never contributing to the public good." That would be their prerogative.

      But don't forget that people can independently discover and create what is locked away to have it enter the public domain. Also btrussel noted the concept of "open source". Since people can create without the existence of copyright, there is no mandate for the existence of the copyright privilege.

       

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      JEDIDIAH, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 10:09am

      Re: Public Domain

      > Without copyrights and patents, corporations would
      > lock much information away as trade secrets, never
      > publishing patent applications or creative works and
      > never contributing to the public good.

      Without patents, I don't have to worry about some large corporation claiming ownership on something that's trivial for me to reproduce.

      Lack of copyright never stopped a real artist.

       

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    JWS, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 2:27am

    Immorality has enough excuses

    That the technology makes it easy to steal... and that it is even now commonly done... does not make it moral. To claim ownership without having done the work is a reflection of the times... we think only of rights and not responsibilities... of ourselves and not the system. I have no trouble seeing corruption in the system - but that should not provoke our own corruption. Artists, inventors, creators, thinkers - these things are real work and every man deserves the fruit of his own efforts - simple. Turning protection for the individual into a scheme against human rights is self-serving hogwash. May those who think otherwise be afforded the necessary hardship and bad luck that leads them to proper understanding and the epiphany sorely missing here. Thank you, Isaac...

     

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      Steve R. (profile), Jan 6th, 2012 @ 5:41am

      Re: Immorality has enough excuses

      You miss the converse - technology is being used by the content industry to "steal" from the consumer. You also ignore the concept of due process. Protecting your so-called copyright privilege does not mean that the content industry has the unilateral and whimsical right to violate the consumers civil rights at their will. The consumer has property rights to the use of the content that they have bought. Furthermore, over time the breadth and scope of copyright has been aggrandized. What was an allowable use is now being criminalized.

      Want to reduce infringement? How about restoring copyright to its original intent and time span (14 years). I suspect, that you would rather continue to making the improper assertion of "theft" with demands for evermore draconian laws to fight the so-called "theft" rather than return to a reasonable application of the copyright privilege.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 6:30am

      Re: Immorality has enough excuses

      You open with the assertion that commonality of an activity does not determine it's morality to which I have to ask, what does then? If the vast majority of individuals see an activity as being moral and undertake that activity what supersedes this to make the activity immoral? Without a higher authority other than humanity nothing could and I'm not willing to stipulate that such a higher authority even exists in the absence of evidence much less that it exists and it has declared 'copyright infringement,' the legally circuitous mess of a concept that exists today due to decades of revisionism, 'immoral.'

      You then offer this gem: "Turning protection for the individual into a scheme against human rights is self-serving hogwash."

      This cuts both ways in case you hadn't noticed. You are stipulating that copyrights are a human right and that the attempt by others to protect their own rights is a scheme against your human right to copyright protection. It's disingenuous at best to wish ill on that line of thinking while attempting to obfuscate the fact that it is your own line of thinking. Unless, of course, you perversely recognize copyrights but not property rights.

       

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      JEDIDIAH, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 10:11am

      Re: Immorality has enough excuses

      There cannot be "theft" when you never really owned anything.

      That's the basic problem with "intellectual property". It is not.

      You have no right to a copyright or a patent.

      Copyright maximalists have distorted the laws and discours on these issues and turned it into something it was never intended to be.

       

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      Cory, Jan 9th, 2012 @ 6:48pm

      Re: Immorality has enough excuses

      I basically agree with you, JWS. If 60% of the population of the world were actual "pirates," as in people who went around stealing physical items from others through the use of force, stealing would still be wrong, despite its commonality. And saying that the copyright system needs reform is a far cry from saying copyrights don't need to exist. The former is a valid point, the latter is simply ridiculous.

       

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        btrussell (profile), Jan 10th, 2012 @ 2:26am

        Re: Re: Immorality has enough excuses

        How did you learn to walk and talk?

        Making laws stating people can't copy is the same as making laws saying we can't walk upright.

         

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    A. Nnoyed, Jan 6th, 2012 @ 6:19am

    Nothing for something just in case.

    PAYING SOMETHING FOR NOTHING JUST IN CASE:
    1) Composers and Performers must have a way of being compensated for their work product!

    2) Around 1984 there was a lawsuit brought by Composers and Performers for inadequate compensation. Why? When the CD was introduced there was such a demand for them that most retailers added a $4.00 premium to the MSRP. A CD with a $12.98 MSRP was sold for $16.98. As a result of the lawsuit record labels were forced to increase compensation to Composers and Performers based on the actual selling price of a CD.

    3) The RIAA attempted to place a ban on high fidelity cassette recorders but were unsuccessful. Through intense lobbying efforts the RIAA was able to have a law passed requiring manufactures of High Fidelity Cassettes pay a Surcharge of around of $0.50 for each High Fidelity Cassette sold. The fee was paid to the Copyright Control Agencies. More draconian laws were applied to home compact disc recorders. Including the Serial Copy Management System. The law also required that CD recorders only accept blank discs for which a surcharge had been paid to the Copyright Control Agencies. I still have a pile of High Fidelity Cassettes that I have already paid a surcharge to the Copyright Control Agencies for, that I never used to record anything.

    4) The Copyright Control Agencies wanted a law passed requiring Broadband Subscribers to pay them a $5.00 monthly fee, collected by their ISP, just in case the subscriber used their connection to download copyrighted material. Fortunately for Broadband Subscribers that law never was passed.

     

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    Cory, Jan 9th, 2012 @ 6:28pm

    Same argument for DUIs

    It's illegal to get drunk and then drive a car around. Yet there are thousands upon thousands of drunk drivers on the road every year. Obviously these laws are ineffective and should be repealed immediately.

     

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      btrussell (profile), Jan 10th, 2012 @ 2:19am

      Re: Same argument for DUIs

      Perfect analogy!

      Drunk drivers kill others using very heavy projectiles.

      Infringers kill...baby unicorns?

       

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      crade (profile), Jan 12th, 2012 @ 2:39pm

      Re: Same argument for DUIs

      There may be "thousands upon thousands" of drunk drivers, the important thing here since we are supposed to be a democracy is that those of them who believe drunk driving should be legal are still a negligable part of the electorate which is why you can use it as an example and have people agree with you.

       

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    Tom Hagan, Jan 22nd, 2012 @ 10:46pm

    End Copyright?

    I love the movies. When the film is over, I am one of the people who sits through the seemingly endless rolling of the credits. Many, many credits! It takes so many people to make a movie! I think my all time favorite credit was for "cockroach wrangler".

    All these people work only if they get paid. But they can get paid only if the work product they produce is sold, with proceeds returning to the producer.

    So if copyright is eliminated, as many think it should be, we will not have this kind of movie any more.

    But hey, no matter. We can all watch You Tube instead, and see free videos of cats peeing in toilets , right?

     

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      Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jan 23rd, 2012 @ 12:45am

      Re: End Copyright?

      That's a non-sequitur. Why, simply because a monopoly has ended, will movie lovers such as you refuse to pay good movie production companies good money to make good movies?

      You have been hypnotised by the cartel to believe that without those monopolists getting extremely wealthy on monopoly profits (Hollywood accounting that gives them the lion's share of revenue from movie goer to movie maker) movies will no longer be made. If you remove the monopoly you simply remove the monopolistic middlemen, you do not remove the demand or the supply. While there remains a demand for movies and a supply of people able to make them (at far better value for both vendors and customers given free market pricing) then there will be an exchange of movies for money.

      Try checking out http://vodo.net as one of many ventures exploring film production/distribution/financing without monopoly.

       

      reply to this | link to this | view in chronology ]


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