Dear Hollywood: The 'Stakeholders' For Copyright Policy Don't Fit In A Room

from the that's-one-big-room dept

Last week, we wrote about Hollywood super agent Ari Emanuel first demanding a magic stop piracy button from Google, followed by his request to sit down and meet with "the government" and representatives of "Silicon Valley" in a room. As we responded, that meeting is going on already, and it's happening online with the public -- the more important stakeholder, whom Emanuel has totally left out of the equation.

Ali Sternburg points us to a tweet from Nate Otto, in which he basically makes the same point, but much more concisely:
I'm tired of Hollywooders thinking IP policy "stakeholders" fit in a room & don't include the public.
It's such a simple and important point that I wanted to repost it here. It needs to be repeated over and over again.

Ever since Hollywood lost the SOPA/PIPA fight, they keep claiming, over and over again, that Silicon Valley needs to get in a room with them. Chris Dodd has done it a bunch of times -- and each time we've asked why he doesn't actually go online and talk to the public. Now Ari Emanuel has done it too, and we need to repeat a paraphrase on Nate's tweet above.
Copyright's stakeholders don't fit in a room and must include the public, by definition
Any time we hear a demand for a company to do some sort of backroom deal on copyright, we need to remember and remind people:
Copyright's stakeholders don't fit in a room and must include the public, by definition
I doubt it will sink it, but perhaps if we remind them enough, they'll finally start to realize it.

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  1. icon
    Prashanth (profile), 4 Jun 2012 @ 1:28pm

    Basic balance sheet

    Let's do this analysis like a balance sheet. Let us consider first for the sake of example a homeowner and a bank. The homeowner has, as his ("his" being a gender-neutral pronoun for the purpose of this comment) asset, the house. The liabilities are the mortgage, which is debt, and the homeowner's own payments directly to paying off the house, which is equity. The bank has, as its asset, the mortgage, and as its liabilities, other deposits as debt along with possibly some equity. If the homeowner can no longer pay off the debt, the bank is allowed to seize the house. If the homeowner has too little equity, the chance of this happening is higher, ceteris paribus.

    Now let's put this in terms of art and copyright. There are two entities: the public, and copyright-dependent artists (because more forward-thinking artists know what they're doing). The public has equity in the form of copyright, as it has given up its right for a limited time (please, no laughing) to works which should otherwise fall into the public domain. In return, the public consumes art, which is its asset. It does not have any debts in terms of arts. Artists have to have something to show (again, no laughing please) for greater copyright protection, so the copyright protection is its asset while the art itself is the liability. It must give said art to the public, so the art is debt rather than equity for the artist.

    The public has infinite leverage over the artist, because the artist has no equity to show for greater copyright protection. This means that anytime the artists use copyright to stifle rather than create new art, they have defaulted on their obligations and the art should be seized and put into the public domain.

    How does that sound to everyone?

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