Don't Believe Those Who Wish To Diminish Digital Rights By Falsely Implying It's All Big Tech Lobbying

from the people-know-how-digital-rights-work dept

As we have been covering in the last couple of weeks, a controversial EU Copyright Directive has been under discussion at the European Parliament, and in a surprising turn of events, it voted to reject fast-tracking the tabled proposal by the JURI Committee which contained controversial proposals, particularly in Art 11 and Art 13. The proposed Directive will now get a full discussion and debate in plenary in September.

I say surprising because for those of us who have been witnesses (and participants) to the Copyright Wars for the last 20 years, such a defeat of copyright maximalist proposals is practically unprecedented, perhaps with the exception of SOPA/PIPA. For years we've had a familiar pattern in the passing of copyright legislation: a proposal has been made to enhance protection and/or restrict liberties, a small group of ageing millionaire musicians would be paraded supporting the changes in the interest of creators. Only copyright nerds and a few NGOs and digital rights advocates would complain, their opinions would be ignored and the legislation would pass unopposed. Rinse and repeat.

But something has changed, and a wide coalition has managed to defeat powerful media lobbies for the first time in Europe, at least for now. How was this possible?

The main change is that the media landscape is very different thanks to the Internet. In the past, the creative industries were monolithic in their support for stronger protection, and they included creators, corporations, collecting societies, publishers, and distributors; in other words the gatekeepers and the owners were roughly on the same side. But the Internet brought a number of new players, the tech industry and their online platforms and tools became the new gatekeepers. Moreover, as people do not buy physical copies of their media and the entire industry has moved towards streaming, online distributors have become more powerful. This has created a perceived imbalance, where the formerly dominating industries need to negotiate with the new gatekeepers for access to users. This is why creators complain about a value gap between what they perceive they should be getting, and what they actually receive from the giants.

The main result of this change from a political standpoint is that now we have two lobbying sides in the debate, which makes all the difference when it comes to this type of legislation. In the past, policymakers could ignore experts and digital rights advocates because they never had the potential to reach them, letters and articles by academics were not taken into account, or given lip service during some obscure committee discussion just to be hidden away. Tech giants such as Google have provided lobbying access in Brussels, which has at least leveled the playing field when it comes to presenting evidence to legislators.

As a veteran of the Copyright Wars, I have to admit that it has been very entertaining reading the reaction from the copyright industry lobby groups and their individual representatives, some almost going apoplectic with rage at Google’s intervention. These tend to be the same people who spent decades lobbying legislators to get their way unopposed, representing large corporate interests unashamedly and passing laws that would benefit only a few, usually to the detriment of users. It seems like lobbying must be decried when you lose.

But to see this as a victory for Google and other tech giants completely ignores the large coalition that shares the view that the proposed Articles 11 and 13 are very badly thought-out, and could represent a real danger to existing rights. Some of us have been fighting this fight when Google did not even exist, or it was but a small competitor of AltaVista, Lycos, Excite and Yahoo!

At the same time that more restrictive copyright legislation came into place, we also saw the rise of free and open source software, open access, Creative Commons and open data. All of these are legal hacks that allow sharing, remixing and openness. These were created precisely to respond to restrictive copyright practices. I also remember how they were opposed as existential threats by the same copyright industries, and treated with disdain and animosity. But something wonderful happened, eventually open source software started winning (we used to buy operating systems), and Creative Commons became an important part of the Internet’s ecosystem by propping-up valuable common spaces such as Wikipedia.

Similarly, the Internet has allowed a great diversity of actors to emerge. Independent creators, small and medium enterprises, online publishers and startups love the Internet because it gives them access to a wider audience, and often they can bypass established gatekeepers. Lost in this idiotic “Google v musicians” rhetoric has been the threat that both Art 11 and 13 represent to small entities. Art 11 proposes a new publishing right that has been proven to affect smaller players in Germany and Spain; while Art 13 would impose potentially crippling economic restrictions to smaller companies as they would have to put in place automated filtering systems AND redress mechanisms against mistakes. In fact, it has been often remarked that Art 13 would benefit existing dominant forces, as they already have filtering in place (think ContentID).

Similarly, Internet advocates and luminaries see the proposals as a threat to the Internet, the people who know the Web best think that this is a bad idea. If you can stomach it, read this thread featuring a copyright lobbyist attacking Neil Gaiman, who has been one of the Internet celebrities that have voiced their concerns about the Directive.

Even copyright experts who almost never intervene in digital rights affairs the have been vocal in their opposition to the changes.

And finally we have political representatives from various parties and backgrounds who have been vocally opposed to the changes. While the leader of the political opposition has been the amazing Julia Reda, she has managed to bring together a variety of voices from other parties and countries. The vitriol launched at her has been unrelenting, but futile. It has been quite a sight to see her opponents both try to dismiss her as just another clueless young Pirate commanded by Google, while at the same time they try to portray her as a powerful enemy in charge of the mindless and uninformed online troll masses ready to do her bidding.

All of the above managed to do something wonderful, which was to convey the threat in easy-to-understand terms so that users could contact their representatives and make their voice heard. The level of popular opposition to the Directive has been a great sight to behold.

Tech giants did not create this alliance, they just gave various voices access to the table. To dismiss this as Google’s doing completely ignores the very real and rich tapestry of those defending digital rights, and it is quite clearly patronizing and insulting, and precisely the reason why they lost. It was very late until they finally realized that they were losing the debate with the public, and not even the last-minute deployment of musical dinosaurs could save the day.

But the fight continues, keep contacting your MEPs and keep applying pressure.

Reposted from the TechnoLlama blog.


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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 8:04pm

    You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

    Yet another piece in which the main "argument" is "I'm not a Google shill". This person blatantly HEADLINES the key fact, raises that exact charge about Reda and denies it.

    Not. Convincing.

    Nor are the points about "gatekeepers" convincing, when those number only about ten globalist corporations which control 90% of everything. They're TOO big, and solution is easy: break them up. That solution worked against IBM and ATT, was what allowed start-up computer companies, especially Microsoft, to even have a chance.

    Anti-trust is what's needed even more than copyright protections, though TOO, not instead of.

    Dull piece. But it is free for Masnick to grab! That's always the key point for any "copyright" topic here at Techdirt: all content should be free, and to hell with "sunk or fixed costs" of $100 million movies, they can sell T-shirts.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 6 Jul 2018 @ 8:46pm

      Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

      if this one is a troll... there are people that could use lessons from them...

      if not... this person is in bad need of mental help.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 12:21am

      You sound like a failed filmmaker.

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

    • icon
      Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Jul 2018 @ 4:38am

      Re:

      That's always the key point for any "copyright" topic here at Techdirt: all content should be free, and to hell with "sunk or fixed costs" of $100 million movies, they can sell T-shirts.

      Even if this were true—and it isn’t—I don’t see you making any better points other than “KILL GOOGLE [rabid growling]”.

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

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        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 8:58am

        Re: Re:

        Google spent 36 MILLION dollars so they wouldn’t have to pay as much of a pittance as Spotify does. Lol are you on drugs or what

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 5:24am

      Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

      That's always the key point for any "copyright" topic here at Techdirt: all content should be free, and to hell with "sunk or fixed costs" of $100 million movies, they can sell T-shirts.

      The approach to content creation on the Internet is to give away content to prove ability, and then obtain patronage, or project funding to create the next work. That also requires some social skills so as to be able to interact with the fans of your extant works, via the social media channels.

      What you sell is your ability to create new works, where copyright does not matter, because you are selling an ability, and not the easy to make copies of prior works. If you are Peter Jackson, with his back catalog, then there is a good chance of crowd funding a $100 million movie.

      If you are an unknown, you need to demonstrate ability, y producing some films funded by the day job. The will not be grand master pieces, but do need to show the develop of the necessary skills. The next step is to gain some patronage or crowd funding for some more ambitious works, and build up to the point where you can get the grand masterpiece funded.

      Yes, that is hard work, and will have to be done, whether you are looking for a studio to fund your efforts, or you are going the crowd funding route.

      If all you expenses for creating a new work, including all living expenses plus a bit for a rest, pension savings, and to plan the next work have been met, there are no sunk costs, as you have been paid for you endevours.

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        identicon
        John Smith, 7 Jul 2018 @ 8:07am

        Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

        How nice of this lobby to sacrifice my paycheck so they can get free content so I can "prove ability" and MAYBE get paid down the road. Musicians can tour and make money; too bad the songwriters don't tour.

        The only thing that is proven is that those with ability who aren't being paid will stop producing. Often the public won't notice or care. Music today stinks because people aren't getting paid to produce it.

        It's funny how those who say "feelings aren't facts" are arguing from FEELINGS here, because they FEEL good about the free advice they're getting not even realizing that it's propaganda ("you are the product"), or that they'd have had what they were seeking under the old model. They don't FEEL like that's the case so hey let's just pirate everything.

        Can people put a copy of this article up on their own websites and sell ads?

        Every anti-copyright troll acts as if producers are desperate to prove themselves to a bunch of freeloaders rather than just protect what is being stolen. Copyright law exists so that individual producers don't have to make individual contracts. If you think a patronage model isn't more restrictive than even the "dinosaur" publishing model, well...

        Even if someone "proves ability" those who weren't there for the proof can pretend it never existed. I'd like a free meal from any restaurant to "prove ability" before I eat somewhere. How about Google stop taking ads from companies who don't do this?

        ANy idea what happens to government when its financial guts are ripped out by theft and people who used to pay taxes are now unemployed?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 8:15am

          Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

          "Music today stinks because people aren't getting paid to produce it."

          lol.

          "Can people put a copy of this article up on their own websites and sell ads?"

          Oh boy, this is always hilarious too.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 8:31am

          Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

          How's that John Steele defense fund coming along, bro?

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 9:07am

          Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

          If you do not perform, then look for commissioned work. However how are you going to get any without those maybe interested in commissioning you being able to see samples of what you can do, or as you develop pointed to performances of your works

          In a world where copying is almost cost free, sell what is much more valuable, your ability to create new works, and cut out all the middlemen who would seize most of any profits for themselves.

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        • icon
          Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Jul 2018 @ 10:00am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Music today stinks because people aren't getting paid to produce it.

          u wot m8

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        • identicon
          JarHead, 7 Jul 2018 @ 10:39am

          Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

          Music today stinks because people aren't getting paid to produce it.

          Nope. As an amateur musician myself, I had an in depth talks about this with my musician friends, and even a label rep at one time.

          The reason is, wait for it, sunken cost.

          I've read somewhere that the cost to the label to introduce new musician to the market is up to $3 million. With this kind of money, the label want those investment to return. So how to ensure that? Make use the tried and true formulas and not deviate from it.

          That formula includes every aspect of of music, from songwriting, composition, to mixing/mastering techniques to maximize profit. Dunno about the newer generations, but for those of you in your 30s or above, ever felt that bass is becoming much more prominent in current day music, as opposed to, say, the 90's? There's a reason for that, and it is economic.

          So claims about how music degenerated because copyright infringement is bunk. It is because music nowadays are economically driven instead of creatively driven.

          The return of patronage system and the internet are actually the cure of of that disease. Sadly, copyright which originally intended to spur innovation and creativity, now is the bane.

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          • icon
            Hugo Connery (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 3:11am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

            Absolutely!!!

            I've been watching Rick Beato's youtube channel. He's a professional musician and music producer and recently had a 30 min chat with a colleague moaning about the lack of variety in today's "top 40" list. Check it out:

            https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=If2Bli0rZcA

            They come up with exactly this conclusion. It all started in the mid 90's with the IPO's of the big labels. Its all about money, not about creativity or fostering potentially big artists.

            One must assume that Big Content know what they are doing. Article 13 would have damaged the little players. One must therefore assume that that is the intended affect. Aaaaah, they want to kill the *alternate funding sources* for artists. E.g Patreon, bandcamp etc. etc.

            That is their **entire point**. To preserve their monopoly on controlling artists.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 6:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

              "They come up with exactly this conclusion. It all started in the mid 90's with the IPO's of the big labels"

              I'm not going to watch the video, but if they honestly think that, they missed a lot of what was happening prior to that point.

              "Its all about money, not about creativity or fostering potentially big artists."

              As it always has been. It had just been easier to do things a certain way for a while, when they managed to control most of the major radio & distribution channels. They no longer have that control.

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        • icon
          Mike Masnick (profile), 7 Jul 2018 @ 10:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

          The only thing that is proven is that those with ability who aren't being paid will stop producing.

          More content than ever before is being made today. More artists are making money from their content than ever before.

          So, I'm afraid I need to say [citation needed]

          Music today stinks

          I've made this point before, but this is yet another great example of it. Why is it that those who are the most stringent copyright system supporters are also the first to mock and complain about the quality of content?

          It's almost as if you don't really "support artists." You support artificial limits on artists to artificially inflate your take at the expense of all the many talented artists who would make absolutely nothing under the system you favor.

          Can people put a copy of this article up on their own websites and sell ads?

          Yes. You must be new here. We encourage people to do that. Go for it. Let us know where it is and how you do.

          Of course, as we've pointed out many times before, the real value here tends to be in the community we've built up. I'm not sure how you "copy" that. But, if you do figure it out and are able to build a better community and make more money than we do with our own content, well, damn, then you'll be someone I'll want to study to see how we can improve around here. So, please, use our content to get more people to read it. IN the end, that will only help me, as I want my ideas to be spread. Eventually that just gets back to people knowing about me and the work that I do and that'd be super helpful.

          So, yes, please go and copy our posts and make as much money as you can.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2018 @ 1:30am

          Ah so you’re a failed musician. So what was your band name?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 1:37am

          Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

          "How nice of this lobby to sacrifice my paycheck"

          Nobody's lobbying for that, only to show that yours isn't more important than anyone else's, and you don't get to remove the rights of others just because you feel you can make more money that way.

          "they can get free content so"

          They always have had free content. The majority of people have never paid for the majority of music they listen to.

          "Music today stinks"

          No, it doesn't. The crap shovelled by the major labels might, but that's always been the case for the majority of their output. That's why they're having problems - it's far easier to search out and listen to the good stuff than it was back when you could only be exposed to whatever your local radio stations and record stores were playing / stocked..

          "Can people put a copy of this article up on their own websites and sell ads?"

          Pro tip: read the actual website you're lying and whining on instead of repeating tired idiotic ideas that have been debunked lots of times (i.e. this is stated a lot, and Mike's answer is always "go ahead")

          "I'd like a free meal from any restaurant to "prove ability" before I eat somewhere"

          You say this as mockery, but you worship an industry that used to illegally pay radio stations to give their product away for free in order to increase sales. Also, many restaurants offer free food as a promotional offer.

          "ANy idea what happens to government when its financial guts are ripped out by theft and people who used to pay taxes are now unemployed?":

          Oh... you're the sort of idiot who thinks that society depends on you more than other people and that requiring you pay into the finds that provide the services you use is theft. I'd be amazed if you pay any more taxes than the people you're whining at, they probably already carry your sorry ass as it is.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2018 @ 8:14am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: You admitted it's MOSTLY Big Tech Lobbying, far and away.

            He seems to be the sort of person who thinks literally all facets of government, infrastructure and supermarkets are attached to the nipple of IP law. As in, nobody would buy food if copyright didn't exist.

            The fact that he believes that he brings in a threat of the government having "its financial guts ripped out by theft" suggests that he's of the frame of mind Chris Dodd had when he threatened lawmakers over the defeat of SOPA. So much for the "little guy".

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  • icon
    Drew_Wilson (profile), 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:29pm

    Not Unprecedented

    "such a defeat of copyright maximalist proposals is practically unprecedented, perhaps with the exception of SOPA/PIPA."

    Actually, no. There are other examples of victories. In Canada, we've had three successive wins against some brutal copyright laws. The first was the copyright laws proposed by the Liberal Paul Martin majority government. The second was the copyright proposal during the Paul Martin minority government. The third was the proposal by the Stephen Harper Conservative minority government. During Stephen Harper's majority government, there was a "compromise" that was passed that only permitted a few of the nasty proposals (anti-circumvention laws). I know, I helped fight all these and it's what brought me into tech journalism in the first place more than a decade ago.

    Definitely some interesting times back then, though!

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    • icon
      Hugo Connery (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 3:19am

      Re: Not Unprecedented

      Thanks for the input, Drew. And well done for your successes and continued efforts in Canada.

      I did my part for this effort. Signed onto the letter coordinated by the EFF, and then got interviewed by the BBC World Service tech program "Click". The lesson? Taking action can actually help. OMG!

      Hats off to everyone who did anything, however small, to help with this limited victory.

      And, a big h/t to TechDirt/MM who have covered the topic with brilliant detail.

      It is important to celebrate victories, however small.

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      • identicon
        Wendy Cockcroft, 9 Jul 2018 @ 7:10am

        Re: Re: Not Unprecedented

        Personally, I'd be celebrating our victory over ACTA in 2012 if the damn copyright cartel wasn't trying to sneak it back in piecemeal. The latest stunt over link taxing had me seething with resentment. One presumes the usual suspects voted in favour, meaning I look forward to Fjellner's tears of dismay when we clobber them yet again.

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  • icon
    discordian_eris (profile), 6 Jul 2018 @ 10:42pm

    Damn, bribes just aren't as effective as they used to be. Bummer.

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 3:18am

      Re: Lobbyists & legislators

      ... so who are we supposed vote for in November?


      Apparently this RealPolitik TD post puts no faith in voting/elections -- instead, the stated key is lobbying whoever currently holds political power/office to do things your way.

      Ain't Democracy great ?? Special interest groups should rule.

      Whadyya think this TD author's overall view of government is ?

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  • identicon
    cpt kangarooski, 6 Jul 2018 @ 11:30pm

    It's no great surprise to me that popular opinion is always against these copyright overreaches. Laypeople may be okay with the general idea of copyright (and why not? It's a good idea), but the devil is in the details, and when copyright interferes with what they consider normal and acceptable behavior, or when they're told that such unobjectionable actions are actually heinous felonies, they're always against the law.

    Here's a hint to anyone who would like to further expand copyright: Only do it if you can manage to do so where there would be no risk of preventing the masses from doing whatever they feel like with works, including outright piracy. In fact, look at second and third order effects, too; if any of those might impede people from putting videos they like on YouTube or using news aggregator websites, etc. by putting a burden on the site, they're a bad idea.

    And if this should mean that the copyright-based industries have trouble making money, well, too bad. They're not worth saving if it means crossing the vast majority of people, even a little.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 11:51am

      Re:

      >copyright interferes with what [most ordinary people] consider normal and acceptable behavior.

      This is well worth repeating. And that's the fundamental problem. Sharing is a fundamental human virtue, in any but the most sociopathic societies, and there are limits on how you can divide it up. The balancing act between "sharing is evil, regardless of your benevolent intent towards other people (favored by your own choice), and "not making your own copies is evil, because of your benevolent intent towards some specified people who don't deserve anyone's favor because they are sociopaths who steal the performers blind" is ... impossible.

      The only possible non-insane balance would be "sharing is to be encouraged, and supporting the real content creators is to be encouraged." But that path inexorably leads to destroying the pigopolists that charge such incredibly high fees for music promotion today.

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      • identicon
        tp, 7 Jul 2018 @ 7:07pm

        Re: Re:

        > >copyright interferes with what [most ordinary people] consider normal and acceptable behavior.

        > Sharing is a fundamental human virtue,

        There is something even more important than sharing. It's production of new kinds of products by new authors.

        If you steal the product via copying it, you can produce 3 million copies of the product in the same time it takes author to create 30 unique/different products.

        The difference of course is that those 3 million ones are all the same bits, with no original thought put into it.

        But how does the author who creates original products compete with the copycats who just duplicate stolen property?

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        • icon
          Killercool (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 1:26am

          Re: Re: Re:

          He's... not competing with them?

          He's competing with other artists for the commissioning of new works. Honestly, even under the current corrupt system, that's how it's done:

          An author creates a work, then self-publishes.

          He sends copies to as many publishers as possible.

          A publisher picks them up.

          They are given an "advance" for a new work - AKA, the only money they will likely ever see for their art.

          Publisher makes a fortune, all while refusing to give another cent to the author via "Hollywood Accounting".

          Obviously, the pirates did it.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2018 @ 2:12am

          Re: Re: Re:

          >But how does the author who creates original products compete with the copycats who just duplicate stolen property?

          By developing and using social skill and the social media sites to connect with and interact with their fans, and using a blogs or podcast to keep fans up to date with what they are doing. That is as important as developing writing skills.

          Also, do not expect to give up the day job, at least in the beginning, because that requires building a larger fan base, and having a high output of new works. As to becoming filthy rich, that is about as likely as winning the lotter.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 3:09am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Or, quite simply, doing business in a way that doesn't depend on every single person paying a ransom before they can sample the product. It's never worked like that, and never will.

            "As to becoming filthy rich, that is about as likely as winning the lottery."

            ...and always has been. What the pro-copyright maximalist crowd always tend to forget is that the people who made a living from their art were always a tiny minority. Some even ended up worse off via bad contracts than they would have done if they had never given up the day job. Keeping it going for a long length of time rather than burning out after initial success is even rarer.

            The only thing that has changed is visibility - we all not have equal access to the thousands of unknowns who used to toil for nothing for every person signed to a major corporation, but some people have been brainwashed into thinking they should all be millionaires. It's never worked that way, and never will.

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        • identicon
          cpt kangarooski, 8 Jul 2018 @ 7:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Ah, it’s the guy who thinks that fiction shouldn’t exist.

          There is something even more important than sharing. It's production of new kinds of products by new authors.

          Nope! The public has two desires, which then dictate the goals of the copyright system:

          First, the public wants there to be as many works created and published as possible. Second, the public wants as much freedom with regard to world as possible — freedom to obtain the most number of works (which therefore includes getting them for free), freedom to share them freely, freedom to change them, to copy them, etc.

          The two goals are nearly of equal weight, but actually the second is more important, since what good are more works if they don’t eventually enter the public domain and become freely usable?

          This then factors into the two appropriate goals for copyright: First, encourage the creation and publication of as many works as possible which, but for copyright would not exist. (Note that there is no need to add encouragement for works which would be created and published without copyright) Second, limit the scope and duration of copyright as much as possible. That is, make sure that we get the most bang for our buck, and do not limit the public greatly once the first goal has fallen into a realm of diminishing returns.

          The existence of limited copyright terms is indicative of the priority of the second goal even now.

          But how does the author who creates original products compete with the copycats who just duplicate stolen property?

          Setting aside the ‘stolen property’ but, which is wrong and won’t get you very far around here, the answer is that other business models must be used. If you can’t create and publish a work and sell copies of that work to people because they can and will pirate it, find a way around it. Right now piracy of copyrighted works is a felony, and huge civil penalties are attached, and yet no one cares about that, and no one has ever stopped as a result. Piracy is endemic at all levels of society all around the world, and no one thinks it’s wrong. You’re not going to change people’s minds on this one. Hell, piracy is small potatoes compared to recreational drug use and no one has been able to put a dent into that ever — and drugs requires more skill, real-world smuggling, and is basically harder in every conceivable way.

          The governments of the world lost the drug war, as far back as Prohibition in the US in the 1920s, and the answer is always to legalize and regulate what people will do anyway, if it absolutely must in some fashion be controlled.

          But not everything can be pirated, and the tolerance of society for piracy has limits; most would see no harm in people freely copying things, but most would agree that piracy should be strictly non-commercial (including not even having ads, or soliciting donations, or contributions in-kind). So legalize and regulate piracy and find other avenues that people will accept for making money. It’s got to be done; trying to order the tide to go out is clearly just not working.

          And if necessary, we may have fewer professional authors. That’s a valid trade-off to make. If society is unwilling to shape up so that it’s viable for more authors to make money just based on their copyrights, which would mean forgoing widespread piracy of everything that can easily be pirated, then so be it. That position has consequences and it may be that we have fewer original works to share but more derivative works and more ability and right to share them. It’s not for you to deny reality and insist that governments should favor authors and fight their own citizenry about it any more than it has been appropriate to put millions of people in prison over minor drug offenses.

          Authors are smart; I trust them to figure out new business models or to know when to get out and get a day job.

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

          • identicon
            Tero Pulkkinen, 9 Jul 2018 @ 2:57pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You mentioned two things that is required:
            1) public wants there to be as many works created and published as possible.
            2) the public wants as much freedom with regard to world

            There's some important information about the markets:
            3) Market needs to have gaps which allow new artists
            to succeed in the market

            This (3)rd item is important for the good functioning of the markets. The gaps cause temporary problems for the users, when they cannot find the exact product they're looking for, since the manufacture of that product has been stopped.

            But these gaps are opportunity for authors to figure out how to fullfill the needs of the users who are looking for solution to that particular gap.

            Piracy has unwanted property that it fills those gaps with illegal products. Instead of new authors getting their products to the market, the market is flooded with illegally obtained products, leaving authors with no compensation.

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

            • identicon
              tp, 9 Jul 2018 @ 3:15pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              In fact, I'll tell a story about these gaps.

              Some of the bigger companies _designed_ a gap to the market and refused to fix it, making many authors try to fix that problem. Unfortunately, the big company controlled the area and didn't let small players fill the gap, leaving tons of authors to create solutions to the same gap. This made many authors very sad, since their work was flooded with huge amount of competition from small players who all tried to fix a mistake designed by the bigger company.

              Basically the big company tried to create a market by designing problems for end users and trying to build up demand for products in that area. This has a sad ending, since eventually authors who worked on the problem noticed that the whole effort was patching illegal operations designed by a bigger company.

              But small players have problems like this - bigger entities can do end-run around it, by designing traps which are difficult to avoid. When authors see gaps in the market, they're _required_ to try to fix the problem. But bigger players can use that property to their own advantage and get many people invest their time to exactly the same problem.

              Whole communities have been built this way.

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 9 Jul 2018 @ 3:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              That's not how copyright infringement works. Sites generally do not have an upper limit on content, such that once a certain amount is posted no more can be uploaded, allowing infringing copies to 'crowd out' legitimate copies. That platform A may have infringing content does not mean that platform B cannot have non-infringing content, or even mean that platform A cannot also have non-infringing content.

              (There's also the little 'problem' that just because something is infringing doesn't necessarily mean it won't lead to a sale, even to the point of infringing works leading to a sale by someone who stumbles upon it, likes it, and decides to pay when they can.)

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

            • icon
              That One Guy (profile), 9 Jul 2018 @ 3:29pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              ... and of course I just realized I wasted my time responding to someone who habitually pulls stuff from their backside with views of copyright from an alternate dimension.

              Ah well.

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

              • identicon
                Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2018 @ 7:00pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                He just literally described an ideal scenario that could be summed up as "bigger groups fucked up smaller groups and this is good".

                What did you expect?

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

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 10 Jul 2018 @ 2:02am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  It's amazing how many people come in here and state that kind of thing, and not only expect people to accept that as good at face value, but also accept their claims that they are working in the best interests of smaller independent artists. Some of them, even seriously and not simple-minded performance "artists".

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

              • icon
                Toom1275 (profile), 9 Jul 2018 @ 8:24pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                ... and for some reason he went and posted under a different name!?

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

                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 10 Jul 2018 @ 2:00am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                  Assuming that it's his real name and the person listed on the (Finnish) Wikipedia page is the same person, it confirms all my suspicions about these kinds of posters. Enjoyed some minor success under the old regime, blames pirates instead of the system that screwed him, is bitter because he is addressing what he imagines the situation to be rather than what actually caused his problems, has to cling to fictions because to admit the truth is to admit that he had some hand in is failings.

                  Makes a little more sense than the original "amateur software developer makes a shitty page then complains because he can't magically make a living off it" vibe he has been giving off before now, since that at least explains why he's so wrong about the reality of how things work. But, who knows if I'm making the correct assumption here?

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

                  • identicon
                    tp, 10 Jul 2018 @ 5:20am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                    > the person listed on the (Finnish) Wikipedia page i

                    what wikipedia page? I don't have a wikipedia page.

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

                    • icon
                      PaulT (profile), 10 Jul 2018 @ 5:42am

                      Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                      Someone with the same name you used does. That's why I said "Assuming... the person listed... is the same person", meaning that it might not be the same person pretending to be an idiot on these threads. That's also why I said if it's not you, it actually makes you look worse since you don't have a logical explanation for you getting things so deliberately wrong.

                      Once again, you're failing at understanding the very basics of what other people say.

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

                      • identicon
                        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jul 2018 @ 9:53am

                        Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

                        So he's basically the Finnish analog of Shiva Ayyadurai, then. That explains a lot...

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

  • identicon
    David, 7 Jul 2018 @ 12:56am

    This is just the EU's manner of operation

    The EU lets its laws get written by the European Commission, a panel of experts. Basically the lobbyists are a branch of the government. The parliament, actually voted into office in a democratic manner, then gets to say "yes" or "no". That's all. The EC can send bad laws back in with cosmetic changes until the EP gets tired or enough of the wrong people are on vacation.

    The only way in which the EP can demonstrate some level of importance is by rejecting laws particularly unpopular a few times. The expertise they have funding for that is limited since most of the funding for experts flows into the EC as the designated but undemocratic expert panel. So yes, grassroots efforts, for a lack of other input, work as they indicate a correlation with the voting populace, something relevant for EP but not EC.

    The EP cannot draft any laws themselves. They only have veto power, and that gets tiring after a while. So in cases like copyright laws, there is a torrent of bad proposals coming from the EC and occasionally one gets rejected.

    It's like using buckets to empty a river, with a celebration for every bucket successfully retrieved.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 3:22am

      Re: This is just the EU's manner of operation

      ... so what would fix this problem ?

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

      • identicon
        David, 7 Jul 2018 @ 5:13am

        Re: Re: This is just the EU's manner of operation

        Modern world is too complex for non-specialists to make all the decisions, and giving power to a few corrupts.

        So the long fix is to distribute power but make everybody much more of an expert and much less corruptible than nowadays. A culture of learning, humility, and ethics. You can't hope to fix a meal by great cooking when you have mostly rotten ingredients to work with.

        So basically, let the U.S. build its wall around itself and make them a lid as a present. That country does not look like it's fixable by any political system: you have too much egocentrics, ignorance, selfishness and outright greed wired into its demographics: it's wired to let the ample scum rise to the top.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 2:40pm

      Re: This is just the EU's manner of operation

      The EU lets its laws get written by the European Commission, a panel of experts.

      What are they experts in, receiving brown envelopes and/or letting industry lobbyists tell them what the law should be?

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 2:56am

    When you business model is based on an artificial scarcity of the number of new works, and numbers of those works, and how long they remain in the market, the publication revolution of the Internet is an existential threat.

    When more new works are self published in a few minutes that the traditional gatekeepers would publish in a year, they must fear being washed away by that flood, unless they can erect the dam to stop those works being published at all.

    Those European regulations despite all the claims were not about dealing with privacy, but rather giving those gate keepers back their control over the works that are allowed to be published, and remain in circulation.

    One thing is certain, and that is self published works will become the core of how people entertain, educate, and even cooperate on projects, unless the flood can dammed up for good.

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

    • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
      identicon
      John Smith, 7 Jul 2018 @ 8:13am

      Re:

      Self-publishing just feeds Big Media with ideas to steal, as they marginalize those who don't have "deals with major companies." Those from whom they steal lack reputation or resources to fix the model.

      People WANT things to be a certain way, doesn't make it so. Copyright law exists for a reason; those who can't obey it are the ones who need to go, not the law.

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

      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 9:29am

        Re: Re:

        What is illegal about self publishing original content?

        Also, the biggest risk of self publishing works is that they languish in obscurity, but the works have a better chance of gaining and audience that they do of being accepted by one of the gate keepers.

        Big Media will steal your idea is just an excuse for not trying to see if your work will attract an audience.

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

      • icon
        Stephen T. Stone (profile), 7 Jul 2018 @ 10:02am

        Re: Re:

        How have you broken copyright today, sir? Because you likely have.

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

  • icon
    frank87 (profile), 7 Jul 2018 @ 3:24am

    game shakers...

    The Nickelodeon show "game shakers" shows the copyright utopia: "creative" people doing their their stuff and automagically becoming rich.
    Once I felt obliged to explain the children it's propaganda, but I start to like it because it shows how completely ridiculous the maximalist view is.

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

    • icon
      JoeCool (profile), 7 Jul 2018 @ 8:54am

      Re: game shakers...

      In a way, the media conglomerates are very akin to a lottery. A scant handful of "normal folk" get rich, then paraded around while trumpeting that you can too despite the odds against. It's a sucker's bet with hordes of idiots. But the people aren't (quite) as stupid anymore. The internet has done more to educate the masses than virtually all schools.

      And that's another danger the internet presents that these folks are trying desperately to shut down. If you've spent any real time here, you'll notice a large number of articles are on certain entities trying to lock up knowledge behind a wall so that only the rich and/or connected can access it.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 5:21am

    What about the rights of the people?

    The Fourth Amendment
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects,[a] against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The updated Fourth Amendment for the computer age
    The right of the people to be secure in their computer all files and information against any and all searches and seizures by non-government organizations, agents, or persons against all searches , shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, to a non-government under any circumstances and that the search and seizure of such information by a non-government organization is capital crime punishable by death.

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

  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    ohn Smith, 7 Jul 2018 @ 9:42am

    Years ago I complained about the internet to a cabdriver who said it was for losers. Now he protests Uber.

    Artificial scarcity? You mean like LAWYERS or DOCTORS who restrict practice with credentials in an era where people can educate themselves online? Why pay to go to a doctor's office?

    Wait until it's your paycheck the everything-wants-to-be-free crowd comes for next, and make no mistake, they will. Just asked the people who lectured about the evils of smoking while sipping a Mountain Dew as they smugly defended the cigarette taxes as in the public interest.

    "DID YOU ORDER THE CODE RED?"

    "You bet I did."

    "You owe another 52.3 cents in soda tax."

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 10:12am

      Re:

      I'm not sure you have any idea what scarcity is.

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

    • identicon
      tp, 7 Jul 2018 @ 10:14am

      Re:

      > "You owe another 52.3 cents in soda tax."

      Maybe they should include the tax to the price of the item so that their adverticement wouldnt lie to their customers.

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

    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 10:18am

      Re:

      >Artificial scarcity? You mean like LAWYERS or DOCTORS who restrict practice with credentials in an era where people can educate themselves online?

      Learn machining online, and you mistakes will only fill up the scrap bin. Learn Doctoring online, and your mistakes will fill coffins, so perhaps those credentials mean something.

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

      • identicon
        Will B., 7 Jul 2018 @ 2:57pm

        Re: Re:

        Critically, learning music, filmmaking, writing, et. al. has no or very little chance of harming people (stunt actors notwithstanding), so comparing them to the medical field is a very ridiculous and probably deliberate false comparison. Also, doctors don't copyright medical procedures (that I know of...).

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

        • identicon
          cpt kangarooski, 8 Jul 2018 @ 7:42am

          Re: Re: Re:

          There was some effort put into patenting specific medical procedures. In the 90s the obvious problem with this was noticed and infringement lawsuits on procedures were prohibited. (At least for humans; animals aren’t afforded such special protection) But the protection from suit isn’t as broad or as strong as it really should be, and there are workarounds that protect patent holders at the expense of patients.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 1:53am

      Re:

      "Years ago I complained about the internet to a cabdriver who said it was for losers. Now he protests Uber."

      So? Luddite doesn't have his opinion changed when the business model he depends on is threatened by a new one. What's notable about that?

      "Artificial scarcity? You mean like LAWYERS or DOCTORS"

      No, ARTIFICIAL scarcity, not natural scarcity. Perhaps you're so angry because you only read half of the words other people type.

      "Just asked the people who lectured about the evils of smoking while sipping a Mountain Dew as they smugly defended the cigarette taxes as in the public interest."

      I'm willing to bet hard cash that those people don't exist.

      "You owe another 52.3 cents in soda tax."

      I've never been entirely sure why the American system charges you an extra tax on top of the listed price instead of having it included, either. But, even in your idiotic, almost certainly made up scenario, the only person complaining about paying the taxes owed is you. The MD drinks is just paying his dues without complaint.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 7 Jul 2018 @ 4:12pm

    Old Lie and Old Projection

    Really it displays the media conglomerates so well. They are so used to doing things by their own bribery (not even lobbying - they outright admitted quid-pro-quo in the face of defeats!). So those who are against them because it interferes with them? They have to be doing it for their own selfish reasons. It is classic projection. Everyone bribes to prop up their business so I am justified in doing so!

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 8 Jul 2018 @ 2:43am

    "But something wonderful happened, eventually open source software started winning (we used to buy operating systems)"

    Still do. 98+% of the desktop industry is dominated by two proprietary software vendors. And why you may not pay directly upfront for your copy of Windows or MacOS, you're still paying for it as part of the cost of the hardware most people buy- as by far most people buy pre-made and pre-configured OEM computers.

    Android is no different, you're still purchasing your operating system with the hardware, and in that particular case you keep on paying for as long as you use any software provided through Google's Play store and Services. And no, the GDPR has not changed a single bit of that data collection. It was naive to think Google, Facebook, Microsoft, etc would change anything they did. All that's happened is they've gotten more blatant and the general public is STILL throwing their money at them.

    And while I applaud that copyright proposal being sent back to the drawing board, let's not lose perspective that the ONLY reason it was sent back was because the corporations with deep pockets that largely control the gateways set their foot down and spread some of that loving around in the right palms, and twisted several ears when grease wasn't appropriate.

    What the Average Joe wants was probably barely mentioned other than for good copy.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 8 Jul 2018 @ 3:08am

      Re:

      "Still do. 98+% of the desktop industry is dominated by two proprietary software vendors"

      ...but not the mobile industry, the server industry, or many others. It's sad that you have to cling on to the one industry where FOSS isn't a major player to try and stick to that tired, aged old trope.

      "Android is no different, you're still purchasing your operating system with the hardware"

      But, you're not tied to it in any way. Are you honestly saying that it doesn't count because people don't buy phones with no OS loaded? What an idiotic statement!

      "And no, the GDPR has not changed a single bit of that data collection"

      No, because they have ways to easily comply with the rules, which they are doing. It has made life difficult for a lot of smaller vendors, however.

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

  • identicon
    Richard Stallman, 9 Jul 2018 @ 1:40am

    I appreciate the points the article intentionally makes, but one point
    seems to be an own goal: the use of the term "creative industries".
    The creativity of those companies occurs in the fields of propaganda,
    lawsuits and unjust legislation -- all harmful.

    See https://gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html.

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

  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jul 2018 @ 2:25pm

    >98+% of the desktop industry is dominated by two proprietary software vendors.

    Yes, and Cobol is still widely used in big-business applications. It's called "legacy" software for a reason--it was handed down from our grandfathers; generations of MBAs and other cretins have been trained to believe that reality is enshrined in the format of those ancestral spreadsheets--so are uninterested in paying (huge amounts of) good money to replace them with something that looks (horrors!) different. But nobody smart enough to find the on-off button would freely choose Cobol for a new application.

    Operating systems are the same way. Everywhere that MS-Word and MS-Excel and TurboTax (or, perhaps, certain computer games) are the be-all and end-all of computing, Bill Gates' pirated version of CP-M is still used. And everywhere people have a choice, where performance or reliability or functionality or scalability or portability or any other conceptual virtue is relevant, everyone uses some open-software operating system conceptually based on Corbato's little experimental system--mostly, of course, with (legal) borrowing from the Thompson/Ritchie work.

    Microsoft has generated (or purchased) a half-dozen or so proprietary operating systems for phones. They've flown off the retail shelves like bricks (when, of course, they weren't operating like bricks.) The cell-phone manufacturers saw how personal-computer manufacturers were treated by monopolies--and will they set themselves up for the same treatment? Maybe ... a thousand years after pigs wing their way into orbit over the frozen sulfur floes of hell.

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


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