Uruguay Politicians Give Unanimous Preliminary Approval To Copyright Reform, Publishers Fight It Anyway

from the well,-of-course-they-do dept

All around the world, people are pushing to get copyright updated to reflect the digital world we live in. And all around the world, copyright industries are fighting tooth and nail to stop them. Here's an example from Uruguay, where something good could be about to happen on the copyright front, as a post on the Creative Commons blog explains:

Uruguay is in the process of updating its copyright law, and in April a bill was preliminarily approved in the Senate. The law introduces changes that would benefit students, librarians, researchers, and the general public by legalizing commonplace digital practices, adding orphan works exceptions, and removing criminal penalties for minor copyright infringements. University students were the original proponents of the limitations and exceptions bill.
Of course, all that was totally unacceptable to the local publishing industry, which got together and wrote a document outlining what it would like to see instead. By an amazing coincidence, its suggestions would neuter most of the changes that might benefit the public by:
Eliminating the exception that permits copying for personal use

Retaining the possibility for criminal penalties for minor infringements

Drastically limiting the scope of exceptions and limitations for education

Adding severe restrictions on libraries

Enacting restrictions on freedom of panorama
The Creative Commons post has the details, and summarizes:
Their document recommends scaling back most of the user-friendly provisions in the bill, cuts other items that were drafted by the Council of Copyright in the Ministry of Education and Culture -- and which already received unanimous political support by all parties in the Senate.
That last point about the unanimous cross-party political support shows that the copyright maximalists care as little about democracy as they do about the public. All they want is to retain the privileges they have enjoyed for hundreds of years, and to hell with anyone else.

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 3:24am

    "... and have we mentioned the luxurious 'retirement' offer we have open for former politicians?"

    Seems it's time for the local publishers to make a few 'donations', throw a few 'fundraisers' to change some minds, remind the Uruguay politicians who pays for their elections. Unless the politicians in Uruguay are significantly different than the ones in the US and elsewhere, I don't imagine it would take much to buy off enough to water down the changes to be useless(at best) if not downright worse than before, given how cheap politicians seem to go for.

    Mind, I'd love to be proven wrong and see some actual care for the public from them, but past experience elsewhere doesn't put the odds very high of them sticking to their guns here.

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

    • identicon
      David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 3:43am

      Seriously, what do you expect?

      That last point about the unanimous cross-party political support shows that the copyright maximalists care as little about democracy as they do about the public. All they want is to retain the privileges they have enjoyed for hundreds of years, and to hell with anyone else.
      [...]
      Unless the politicians in Uruguay are significantly different than the ones in the US and elsewhere, I don't imagine it would take much to buy off enough to water down the changes to be useless(at best) if not downright worse than before, given how cheap politicians seem to go for.

      Uh, what do you expect from publishers? Of course they speak for themselves. And of course they are running a business, and if it is cost-effective to pay off politicians, why shouldn't they be doing that?

      I have one correction for Glyn now that I look closer:
      All they want is to retain the privileges they have enjoyed for hundreds of years,

      No, copyright maximalism took off only last century. With the U.S. taking the lead with its "Sonny Bono" copyright extension act and then staying ahead of the game. Corporate copyright maximalism including massive systematic political bribery has not been around for hundreds of years. It's a "post-war" phenomenon (I am aware that "post-war" is not a state the U.S. is interested in achieving but you know what I mean).

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

      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 4:27am

        Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

        You misunderstand, I do expect it from the likes of them, what annoys me(beyond the fact that they're trying to screw the public over again) is that they try to pull such stunts while at the same time showing absolutely no regard for anyone else that their actions might impact, yet at the same time claim to be so very concerned about the well-being of the public and creators, the same groups that more often than not their actions are screwing over.

        Being self-centered is one thing, companies especially tend to focus first and foremost about making more money, but what really irks me is their practice of not only lying, but lying so terribly.

        A group or collection of companies does not get to claim that they are only concerned about the public and creators when they're pushing for laws that directly harm both. If they were at least honest about their complete indifference to the public and anyone that wasn't a large company I'd still not care for them, but I'd hold them in a lot less contempt because at least they'd be upfront about their actual motives, rather than constantly lying about them in a way that makes it clear that they see everyone else as morons willing to buy whatever lie they come up with.

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

        • identicon
          David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:09am

          Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

          rather than constantly lying about them in a way that makes it clear that they see everyone else as morons willing to buy whatever lie they come up with.

          Uh, no? They gift-wrap their lies in banknotes and hand them solemnly to politicians who equally solemnly take them. It's then the job of the politicians to unwrap the lies and pass them on to morons eating them up because "that is what they voted for", and it is hard to argue that they are reasonably successful with that.

          Nobody to despise here but the constituents.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:01am

        Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

        And of course they are running a business, and if it is cost-effective to pay off politicians, why shouldn't they be doing that?

        Exactly. And if they're a publicly traded company then the law (if it's the same as in the US) even requires them to do everything (legally) possible to maximize profits. Some people don't seem to understand capitalism at all.

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

        • icon
          art guerrilla (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:17am

          Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

          "Some people don't seem to understand capitalism at all."

          which is to say, a morally bankrupt, in-human, inhumane, anti-community, ultimately cruel system of stripping 99% of the people of their 'value', and transferring that to the obviously deserving 1% of psychopaths who don't care about the 99%...

          so, other than abandoning any pretense of aspiring to be a better people, a better community, a better state, a better civilization, a better planet; our HIGHEST aspiration, our GREATEST 'value', is to strip everything and everyone of the most 'worth' i can, grinding them all into a poverty of existence (NO MATTER your income) so i can amass a vast fortune to no good end...
          *THAT* is our 'goal' in life ? ? ?
          *THAT* is the sick, perverted game we play ? ? ?
          really ?
          well, you sick fucks keep chasing that 'dream'; but include me out, as yogi would say...

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

          • identicon
            AJ, 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:40am

            Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

            I agree with your assessment of capitalism, but what is the alternative? Historically speaking; Humans cannot seem to overcome their greedy, self centered, self involved, resource hoarding propensities. We use just about any excuse from religion to philosophical beliefs to kill each other. The only systems of Government that has seemed to withstood even the short term test of time are one's in which we transfer all the power, and in some cases the resources, to a select few... then control the masses by keeping them jumping for the carrot the select few have.

            Unless humans evolve, and learn to cast off selfishness and greed, we probably won't ever find a balance. Hasn't happened in 200,000 years, but I still hope.

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

            • identicon
              David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

              I agree with your assessment of capitalism, but what is the alternative? Historically speaking; Humans cannot seem to overcome their greedy, self centered, self involved, resource hoarding propensities.

              Sure, that's why one needs to evolve political systems where there is no disproportional payout to be expected from putting your interests above those of others.

              We have laws and a system of justice for similar reasons: controlling the consequences of selfish/antisocial desires and instincts.

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

              • identicon
                AJ, 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:34am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                "Sure, that's why one needs to evolve political systems where there is no disproportional payout to be expected from putting your interests above those of others."

                That would indeed be a game changer. Unfortunately, even if you manage to start off a political system this way, human nature will not allow it to stay that way.... not for long anyway. Again, with over 200,000 years in existence, we've not managed to figure it out. But again, I have hope.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 9:40am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                  Have you come back in time from the year 202,016 to tell all of us in this time that even in 200K years we haven't managed to work things out...

                  That's pretty sad and kind of makes you wonder why we should even try...

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

                  • identicon
                    Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Jun 2016 @ 6:30am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                    Have you chaps ever heard of Middle-Out economics? It's a non-partisan system designed to make capitalism work for the people, not the people for capitalism. I like it because it takes the market into account instead of trying to control it. While it's never been free you ignore market forces at your peril.

                    Middle-out is basically capitalism for self-aware grownups. We don't have to choose between Capitalism Or Socialism, see or saw any more; we can cherry-pick the best ideas of both and base policy on that.

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:20am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

              Unless humans evolve, and learn to cast off selfishness and greed,

              Most humans are not selfish and greedy, but the few that are are the ones that rise to positions of power. What humans have yet to develop is a system that keeps such people in check. Representative democracies are meant to be a solution to that problem, but the also attract the power seekers, which leads to their failure.

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

              • identicon
                AJ, 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:28am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                "Most humans are not selfish and greedy,"

                All evidence to the contrary.

                "Representative democracies are meant to be a solution to that problem, but the also attract the power seekers, which leads to their failure."

                Name a system of Government that doesn't attract the power seekers thats in use today.

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

                • identicon
                  Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 7:35am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                  "Most humans are not selfish and greedy,"

                  All evidence to the contrary.


                  Have a look around the Internet, including the social media sites, and you will find groups of people in the same or similar businesses helping each other to solve the problems that come up in the day to day running of a business. A few selfish self aggrandising people can easily dominate the news, but they are not representative of most people.

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

                  • identicon
                    AJ, 9 Jun 2016 @ 8:02am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                    "Have a look around the Internet, including the social media sites, and you will find groups of people in the same or similar businesses helping each other to solve the problems that come up in the day to day running of a business."

                    I don't deny it. You will find "groups" of people that are able to suppress the urge to be greedy or self serving or I guess it's even possible that some have even "transcended" greed... but you can't deny the fact that those groups do not represent the majority, and in the history of mankind, never have.

                    "A few selfish self aggrandising people can easily dominate the news, but they are not representative of most people."

                    Look at the Governments we form.

                    Capitalism is built on greed. It requires it to function correctly. Without it, this form fails immediately.

                    Socialism always starts out with the best of intentions, but always ends up in failure because of corruption, corruption caused almost always by greed.

                    Dictatorship is self defining. The word itself almost defines greed.

                    I could go on and on.

                    All humans have some level of greed. Our existence somewhat relies on it. We've formed entire civilizations based on it. Some are more "greedy" than others, and yes a few have made greed an obsession. In most cases, its very predictable. IMO that predictability is why capitalism works for now. If the time ever comes that basic resources are infinite, capitalism will fail immediately.

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

                    • identicon
                      David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 8:37am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                      If the time ever comes that basic resources are infinite, capitalism will fail immediately.

                      Culture, education, skills, knowledge are replicable at marginal cost.

                      Capitalism has no problem with that: it just renormalizes the infinite resources to finite and carries on.

                      That's what all the "intellectual property" constructs are about: reducing the infinite potential of civilization and cooperation and culture to finite measures that can be converted to cash and given a limited life span.

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

                      • identicon
                        AJ, 9 Jun 2016 @ 9:32am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                        "That's what all the "intellectual property" constructs are about: reducing the infinite potential of civilization and cooperation and culture to finite measures that can be converted to cash and given a limited life span."

                        Not always successfully. Look at the very construct you use as an example. Yes; they have created, or tried to create an artificial scarcity and they have been partially successful. But then you have a portion of the populace that doesn't recognize that artificial scarcity, and has rendered it obsolete with technology. So it is possible to defeat Capitalism through technology. It may come to pass one day where ALL resources can be replicated. And like intellectual property, the powers that be will try and stuff that cat back into the bag. I bet they get the same results.

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

                        • identicon
                          David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:23am

                          Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                          Look at the very construct you use as an example. Yes; they have created, or tried to create an artificial scarcity and they have been partially successful. But then you have a portion of the populace that doesn't recognize that artificial scarcity, and has rendered it obsolete with technology. So it is possible to defeat Capitalism through technology.

                          You don't declare hunger defeated because of people stealing food that "rightfully" should have been destroyed.

                          Nothing is rendered "obsolete" until the laws agree.

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

                          • identicon
                            AJ, 9 Jun 2016 @ 1:18pm

                            Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                            "Nothing is rendered "obsolete" until the laws agree."

                            Couldn't disagree more. You could pass a law saying the sun can't come up tomorrow, doesn't mean it wont.

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

              • identicon
                Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Jun 2016 @ 6:31am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

                Most humans are not selfish and greedy, but the few that are are the ones that rise to positions of power. What humans have yet to develop is a system that keeps such people in check. Representative democracies are meant to be a solution to that problem, but the also attract the power seekers, which leads to their failure.

                We've actually got the tools, we're just too lazy and complacent to do the job.

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

        • identicon
          David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:18am

          Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

          Yeah, it's mostly a failure in how the democracy is set up: too few neuralgic points.

          The whole point of democracy is that greed will always overpower the best intentions, so there is no point in having a "ruling class" specialized and trained for wielding power since it will always get corrupted.

          Democracy doesn't fare better in that respect but it has somewhat more exchange and everybody "is free" to become a politician as well.

          It makes revolutions more pointless since "this is what the people want" is harder to argue away.

          Now the U.S. political system has been designed in a manner to confine the harmful influence of uneducated backwater hicks on politics by channeling their influence through electives and representatives intended to be better educated than average, in order to avoid mob rule.

          It needs serious reform, and nobody profiting from it wants reform. Nominally it's still "this is what the people want". But if you are asking the people, few are particularly enthused with it.

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

        • icon
          MadAsASnake (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:03am

          Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

          Except that restricting the market hardly achieves that - and that is what copyright maximalism does.

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

        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 9:37am

          Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

          Actually, the requirement that a business m maximize profits is a myth that is perpetuated. A publicly traded company's mandate is to fulfil its charter. If the charter (as agreed upon at the AGM and managed by the board of directors) states that the corporation must maximize quarterly profits above all else, then that is what they are required to do. If it instead states that they are to provide affordable medicines to the market on a sustainable basis, then that's what they do.

          The companies I've been involved with who followed the "maximize profits above all" line all tended to get in trouble at their shareholder meetings, have the charter rewritten, and the board voted out. The ones I've been involved with that had a long term plan and actually stuck to it have had years go by where ROI was minimal, as the plan was already in place for those to be reinvestment years (profits go back into building the company).

          Look at most of the multi-billion dollar tech companies -- many are yet to turn a profit after years, but nobody is dragging them before the courts for it, as everyone understands that you spend more to make more (in the long term).

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 11:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

            "Actually, the requirement that a business m maximize profits is a myth that is perpetuated. A publicly traded company's mandate is to fulfil [sic] its charter."

            More that a few shareholders have disagreed with you and successfully sued over failure to meet fiduciary obligations. Egregious cases have resulted in criminal prosecutions. Check with the US SEC.

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

          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 12:01pm

            Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

            If the charter (as agreed upon at the AGM and managed by the board of directors) states that the corporation must maximize quarterly profits above all else, then that is what they are required to do. If it instead states that they are to provide affordable medicines to the market on a sustainable basis, then that's what they do.

            Charters are required for incorporation and it sounds like you're talking about non-profit corporations. However, corporations do not have to be publicly traded. Can you provide some examples of publicly traded non-profit corporations?

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

            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jun 2016 @ 8:21pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

              "Can you provide some examples of publicly traded non-profit corporations?"

              (sound of crickets)

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

      • identicon
        Shadow-Slider, 9 Jun 2016 @ 9:14pm

        Re: Seriously, what do you expect?

        No copyright maximalism took off with the Bern convention everything else is just a logical extension later followed by Uruguay round Agreements, then Copyright Duration Directive and the WIPO Copyright Treaty.

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

  • identicon
    Manok, 9 Jun 2016 @ 3:55am

    These indeed weren't 'privileges they have enjoyed for hundreds of years'. They managed to ratchet the restrictions and penalties tighter and tighter, and we're not even half there yet.

    Casual spoken words, interviews, buildings, hey, even stuff made by monkeys will be added to copyright.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 4:55am

    Uruguay .. leading the world in information sharing.
    Who-da-thunk

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

  • identicon
    Capt ICE Enforcer, 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:25am

    Fear

    I must admit I'm actually concerned about this article. Typically the copyright maximize on using videos and documentaries and celebrities to get their message across. But the simple fact that they only wrote one document to counter what's happening means that the copyright individuals are really low on money and they need our support to increase their funds to make videos.

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

    • identicon
      David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:39am

      Re: Fear

      It took one letter to get Derek Khanna sacked and the House Republican Study Committee back in line from unanimously supporting his copyright reform proposal.

      Now this is Uruguay. Politicians might not be up the big media corporations' intestines as deeply as in the U.S. but then they may be more affordable to pay off.

      They just need to get notified that there is money in it for them changing their mind.

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

  • icon
    DannyB (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:29am

    Isn't Uruguay doing it backwards?

    Since the world revolves around copyright, should they really be trying to change copyright to fit reality? Wouldn't it be better to continue trying to bend reality to fit copyright?
    /s

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 5:39am

    Railing against reform? I think we just found Whatever...

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

  • icon
    TheResidentSkeptic (profile), 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:39am

    It is the AUTHORS who need to revolt.

    Where do all the millions they give to politicians come from? Sales? Well, then seems to me that the authors are the ones getting screwed first here.

    All the "middlemen" are the same - giving all creators as little as possible (nothing is the preferred amount), giving themselves incredible salaries, and buying off politicians to screw the public with more draconian laws.

    "Collection" (s/b "shakedown") Societies are supposed to exist to ensure that creators are paid - so it should be illegal for them to spend anything on lobbying - they get an operational budget - and the rest must go to the artists.

    Until the Authors/Artists/Creators start demanding that the publishers start paying THEM instead of POLITICIANS nothing will change.

    Hmm... I seem to be dreaming. Time to wake up and go to work.

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

    • identicon
      David, 9 Jun 2016 @ 6:56am

      Re: It is the AUTHORS who need to revolt.

      "Collection" (s/b "shakedown") Societies are supposed to exist to ensure that creators are paid - so it should be illegal for them to spend anything on lobbying - they get an operational budget - and the rest must go to the artists.

      But it does. Where "the artists" are basically two groups: superstars who knows which side their bread is buttered on, and small fry. All of this is democratically controlled, however: the small fry participate in choosing which officials will be screwing them over.

      It's trickle-down economics: if you take money from the poor and hand it to the rich, in the end the poor will be richer than if you had left them alone since now they at least have a rich elite to be proud of.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jun 2016 @ 9:05am

    Wait, what?

    'Enacting restrictions on freedom of panorama'

    All your pretty views are belong to us?

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

  • identicon
    Annonymouse, 9 Jun 2016 @ 9:21am

    Capitalism

    As envisioned and practiced today is someone pissing in your cornflakes (tm) to make a buck for themselves.

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


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