Wait, I Thought The Next Congressional Copyright Hearing Was Supposed To Be About Hearing From Creators?

from the what-happened-to-that dept

We already pointed out that it appears that the IP Subcommittee in the House Judiciary Committee is taking the exact wrong approach with its next two hearings, in which they are trying to set up a bogus framework of "creators" vs. "technologists" when it comes to copyright reform. The idea was to have one hearing where "creators" talk about how wonderful copyright is and another for technologists to talk about how wonderful innovation is (though that one's not yet scheduled). As we explained, that's a ridiculous dichotomy, because it's not "one side vs the other" here. It's about what sort of copyright policy benefits the public the most. And content creators and technologists shouldn't be opposite each other on that front. Great new innovations in technology tend to help content creators, and an overbearing copyright policy can hurt content creators. The right way to do this isn't to set it up as one vs. the other, but to bring together actual stakeholders and figure out what's the best overall policy.

But, even given this false dichotomy, it seems like Congress is still doing it wrong. They've now released the names of those testifying at the first hearing, the one that's supposed to represent creators, and I'm baffled because there are almost no actual creators -- and there's no one who appears to have any significant experience with using modern technology to enhance creativity. Rather there are only representatives of legacy content industries.

Of the listed speakers, Eurgene Mopsik is an actual photographer. William Sherak, Tor Hansen and John Lapham all work for or own companies that help creators -- a movie production house, a record label/distributor and a stock image company -- but that's different from being a content creator themselves. In fact, you could just as easily include tech company representatives here. If you have movie studios, why not someone from YouTube? If you have a record label, why not someone from Kickstarter or TopSpin? And, finally, you have Sandra Aistars, who is a lobbyist for the Copyright Alliance (a front group for the RIAA and MPAA) which was set up by anti-union lobbyists (hardly the sort of organization that is actually interested in creators).

So, I'm confused. Why isn't the hearing including real creators? It could include folks like Zoe Keating, Jonathan Coulton, Alex Day or many, many other massively successful new artists who recognize that their ability to have a career in music today exists because of the internet. It could include content creators who have lived in both the old world and the new: filmmakers like Ed Burns, musicians like Hank Shocklee, authors like Barry Eisler. Hell, they could even have included a few more content creators who insist that copyright is the most important thing in their lives -- and it would still at least be about actual content creators.

But, as it's set up now, nearly all the people on the panel represent businesses that were set up solely to exploit existing copyright law, rather than to seek out the best ways to promote the progress and to create new content. Why not get actual content creators whose businesses were built up in the last few years under the reality of the internet, rather than these folks who built up businesses, not as content creators themselves, but in funding and managing other content creators under the older rules, and who are now seeking to keep those rules in place, rather than try to adapt to the modern market?

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  1. icon
    special-interesting (profile), 26 Jul 2013 @ 9:33am

    Two sides of the coin.

    There are only two sides to the culture. Creators and Audience. Creative people create various forms of culture through several modern choices of format. The public either loves it and emulates it by incorporating it into their lives or they don't. Music, Cable/TV shows, Radio, other are shared with the public over various media including Radio, Digital, Internet or even bit-torrent and its either popular or not.

    It is tempting to label the content creation chain as Creator → Copyright-monopoly → Audience but that is not culture its called oppression or better yet censorship. Their can be NO controls on any culture if that culture is to be open, free and uncensored. NONE. These are the same basic American cultural values of freedom that the Constitution, and various amendments, was based upon.

    Lets face the facts.

    If you purchase a song/CD/album/mp3/whatever and you cannot sing it in a public nonprofit affair or even a private party... What good is it? if you get fined/sued or thrown in jail for just singing a stupid song? In few ways does this show up better than with Karaoke. Copyright-monopoly is a crime upon Freedom of Expression.

    If you purchased a movie/video/TV-show/etc on DVD/BR and are not able to act our a skit for your school, private party or company Christmas party? What good is it when its a criminal offense? What rational does one use to purchase such a liability risk? Best just to throw them away and not watch them. People are spontaneous, especially when drunk, and to put laws on such makes only for bad experiences. Performance law is a crime upon Freedom of Association.

    If something is broadcast over unencrypted public airwaves such as radio or TV the why cant some bar or grocery store show/play that to customers or employees? Whatever news heard over the TV or even the Internet should be fair fodder for any public gathering be it for profit or not. Copyright-monopoly is a threat to Freedom of Speech.

    The new rights under attack are Fair Use Rights. What good are Fair Use Rights when you get a bogus take down notice or sued anyway? What threat to the basic rights to use news, ideas, hot current topics and whatever quotes and even melodies in our opinions? Why do we have to worry about blogging being different than paid for press when often bloggers are better reporters than a possibly (even if self) censored media? Copyright-monopoly is a threat to Freedom of Press.

    Copyright-monopoly imagines itself as an important part of the creation of culture but in its present form cannot be anything but a limiter and controller of culture. A roadblock to open and free culture based on American citizen's rational, logical, (or even illogical) whims and fancies. Current copyright-monopoly law is an obvious shame and most likely a business scam in itself.

    All monopolies are scams whether they are government sanctioned or not. A short temporary license was imagined by the originators of the Constitution but, possibly because it was wrongly labeled “copy-right” (-monopoly), it has grown to such out of control proportions that basic human rights as Freedom of Speech/Expression, Freedom of the Press and Freedom of Association have all but been erased.

    (Not to get off topic but lets not forget the damage current Drug law has done to property rights and how also victimless/harmless copyright accusations have been enacted with armed raids.) It seems one loss of personal rights compounds another. To be treated like that for basically (what are/should be civil offenses on both accounts) is not a good sign of respect for good and harmless citizens. (possibly written overly politely.)

    The copyright-monopoly based industries are drunk and addicted to the funds generated by laws that interfere with the normal cultural growth of American Society. In the same way that one cannot patent Ideas (although the TPP and ACTA are trying to do just that.) copyright-monopoly is trying to profit on the normal functions of healthy culture and society that vitally needs to share information, concepts and such in whatever/however way it feels like.

    -rant off-

    Congress already getting high off of money from copyright-monopoly industries. This money is somehow squeezed out of American culture and is it a surprising that the new copyright-monopoly biased hearings allows an agenda that perpetuates that? Not at all. Money and power are their own objectives. The spawn of the two are aways evil and twisted beyond imagination.

    The RIAA and MPAA have, beyond anything anyone can imagine, given so many signals that they are like criminal organizations that a list of such supporting politicians could serve as a blacklist for voters? (one wonders what the correlation to NSA budget approval and copyright-monopoly favoritism is?) Can the Copyright Alliance (created in the image of RIAA, MPAA, other) be anything less corrupt? Possibly more corrupt?

    In light of the obvious shenanigans (way to polite) of the RIAA and MPAA would not this new Copyright Alliance be some sort of circus sideshow shell game to keep their obvious taint obscured? These things usually are effective when dealing with the public and Congress.

    Forgotten mostly in these talks is are the Creators but the Audience not even mentioned. In not one talk, speech or article is the fact that culture is only a two sided coin. More importantly; Nowhere is the fact that copyright-monopoly is a roadblock and limiter to open, free culture and society! If this is not the MAIN topic then these talks have no cultural meaning (thus no meaning) to America society at all!

    Its more likely another disguise for a new tax, toll or monopolistic overcharging. What is at steak are laws that make it a crime to speak, listen or just snap a picture. Sound silly? Most have/are/don't pay attention to such details till they pay the fine, the scurrilous demands of lawyers or sit in jail. Since these are already current law things can only get worse under the current regime/legislators/policymakers/two-party-system/bureaucracy/monopolies/u-name-it.

    Since the only included speakers are media distribution and copyright-monopoly business based...

    Can we expect more laws that allow indiscriminate lawyers to effectively rape average citizens for their cultural choices and preferred media choices? Likely.

    Can we expect more censorship in the name of copyright-monopoly's ever greater need to fund their already huge political donations/bribes? Obviously.

    Can we expect respect for our cultural choices and the society that results? Not likely at all. Culture is how we live our lives and share with other what we learned or think is cool. Sharing culture with our acquaintances and friends must be considered as good as it is healthy.

    Can we expect more reductions in Fair Use Rights including crushing the faint hopes of the Deaf and Blind? Certainly. (One would thing at least one shred of kindness and decency exists but this does not seem to be the case.)

    Can we expect further copyright-monopoly industry theft from the already greatly diminished Public Domain Rights? Surely Perpetuatal copyright-monopoly terms longer than the lives of its Audience/Listeners has no cultural value at all. (to the Audience/Listeners)

    (Was the word “Rights” used to often? No way!)

    Interesting TorrentFreak article by Rick Falkvinge on choice of words: http://torrentfreak.com/language-matters-framing-the-copyright-monopoly-so-we-can-keep-our-liberties -130714/

    Is copyright-monopoly even worth having at all?
    What is culture and its worth anyway?

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