from the punchline:-she-wasn't dept
Phew! Another pirate stymied!
by Mike Masnick
Thu, May 1st 2014 8:13pm
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 31st 2014 9:56am
“It is necessary to consider additional steps to protect intellectual property rights,” Putin concluded.Of course, it should be noted that there is also an ulterior motive in Russia. Putin and others long ago realized that copyright laws are an incredibly effective tool for attacking government critics, stifling dissent and censoring political opponents. And, even better, Russia knows that it can do this with US approval, because the US stupidly keeps demanding Russia do more to fight copyright infringement. So, they keep ratcheting up those laws... and then use them to stifle dissent and censor critics. But... none of it actually drives people to buy legitimate content. But I doubt the Russian government really cares, as that will just give them another excuse to ratchet up those censorship laws for other purposes.
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Oct 7th 2013 8:44am
From October 1 2012, those downloading copyrighted material without permission faced a potential two year jail sentence. But while users of Japan’s favorite P2P networks plummeted, sales have not been positively affected. Total music sales this year so far are down 7% on the same period last year, but digital sales are even worse – down 24% since the law was introduced.From the numbers, it looks like there was a brief boost in sales right after the law went into place, and then they pretty much dropped off a cliff. This is similar to the effect we've seen elsewhere as well. There's a brief adjustment period where people may buy a little more briefly, but it fades very, very quickly.
by Mike Masnick
Thu, Jul 11th 2013 11:24am
Last year the U.S. Chamber of Commerce released a report highlighting how U.S. industries reliant on intellectual property supported more than 55 million jobs, contributed to $5.8 trillion in economic output and accounted for nearly 74 percent of total exports.Okay, we've discussed and debunked this one before. It's a silly report that doesn't actually come anywhere close to saying what Blackburn claims it says. First off, it's not "industries reliant on intellectual property." It's industries that are defined by the study's authors as being "intellectual property intensive." The language choices here are subtle, but there's an incredibly important distinction. Nothing in the study suggests that IP laws or enforcement are necessary or responsible for the economic output in question. They just lump every industry that has some connection to intellectual property into a giant stew, and then pretend it's all because of IP. That's why grocery stores are the biggest industry in terms of "jobs." Because the report is ridiculous. Stronger IP enforcement doesn't help grocery jobs, but Marsha Blackburn is about to pretend the report she misread says it will.
These figures prove what should be obvious: Strong intellectual property (IP) rights are essential to expanding economic growth and fostering innovation. Without strong IP protections, innovation will diminish and so will America’s economic greatness.Except, as noted, the figures don't actually say what Blackburn is claiming. They make no statement on whether or not stronger laws and enforcement foster innovation. In fact, studies that actually look at that question appear to show that stronger IP and enforcement often hold back innovation and can be incredibly costly to the US economy. The mistake that Blackburn is making -- either out of ignorance or to be intentionally misleading, is to assume that stronger laws and enforcement are the cause of the economic output, when that's not what the report she's quoting says.
America has always been a society that rewards good ideas and protects property rights in a free-market capitalist system...This actually isn't true, first of all, and as we were just discussing, intellectual property -- a system by which a central government authority hands out massive monopoly rights -- is the exact opposite of a free-market capitalist system. It's quite incredible to argue that the government should give out more centralized monopolies, and then pretend that's free-market capitalism.
... not one premised on permission-less innovation...It would appear that Blackburn is almost entirely unfamiliar with the history and nature of American innovation. If she'd like, however, I'm sure that Alexis Ohanian would be happy to send Blackburn a copy of his upcoming book on the subject, but innovation in general, and American innovation in particular has a very long and detailed history of exactly that: permission-less innovation.
It’s wrong to deny creators and innovators the fruits of their labor or to deprive them of their individual right to profit for the work they legitimately create.Of course, as the US Supreme Court has made clear (does Blackburn not know this?), US intellectual property laws are not based on a "fruits of their labor" concept, but rather act solely for the benefit of the public, as a supposed incentive for innovation. If it was merely a "fruits of their labor" concept, we wouldn't even have a public domain, and yet that was a key part of how the Founders designed copyright and patent law. More importantly, patent law, in particular, clearly deprives many innovators of the "fruits of their labor" by not recognizing an independent invention defense -- meaning that if someone else gets a patent first, every other innovator who came up with the same thing (or better!) separately, is now unable to continue to innovate in that arena, without paying up. That's completely antithetical to the idea of supporting someone getting the fruits of their labor. And that's really the main issue with patent law today: it allows others -- often patent lawyers who buy up crappy patents -- to hold "the fruits" of others' labor hostage.
That’s why the U.S. Constitution under Article I, Section 8 recognized these natural rights and empowered Congress to secure them in a way that advances honest and legitimate activity.This is simply not true. The Constitutional clause on IP did not "recognize natural rights." In fact, it's quite clear that the framers did not believe that IP was a "natural right" and the Supreme Court has repeatedly reinforced this point. Instead, it granted Congress the power -- if it so chose -- to provide these limited monopolies solely for the purpose of benefiting the progress of science and the useful arts.
That’s what John Locke advocated in his Second Treatise of Civil Government in the 17th century. The origins of this constitutional clause are found in English copyright law, and 12 of the 13 colonies provided these rights after the Continental Congress.Ah, the RIAA's new favorite bogus talking point. A few months ago, they tried to rewrite history by selectively quoting John Locke. When you put Locke's comments back into context, you realize that he actually spoke out against early versions of copyright, and a detailed analysis of how the US framers drafted that part of the Constitution, showed that they explicitly rejected Locke's commentary as the basis for the constitutional clause.
Who is going to take the U.S. seriously if we continue to deny a performance right for sound recordings as the rest of the developed world already does?The US has rejected performance rights for decades, as Congress recognized the promotional impact of music playing on radio. Does Blackburn really think that no one has taken the US seriously for all of that time?
Will other countries take advantage of U.S.-based innovation if we aren’t willing to take reasonable actions against foreign-based rogue websites that threaten U.S. health and safety?This is another bogus talking point from the SOPA talking points. What "rogue websites" threaten US health and safety? The US Chamber of Commerce and other SOPA supporters loved to pull the big switcheroo on this one. They would talk about fake drugs and military parts -- which are a tiny and almost non-existent issue, but which represent actual safety threats, and then lump them in with sites that some users access for the purpose of copyright infringement... and then claim they're all "rogue sites threatening health and safety." It's a cheap, hacky debater's trick that should have no place in any "honest" discussion.
We continue to allow 25 percent of all Internet traffic to go to illegal rogue websites.If they're illegal, take them to court. But, the problem is they're not actually illegal. Blackburn is making that up.
It helps criminal enterprises thrive but it kills American business and hurts consumers.How? Where? Where's the evidence of this?
Creators benefit from the certainty of consistent and strong enforcement.Actually, strong enforcement only seems to lead to more splintering and driving infringement underground, but has done nothing to help creators. At all. Instead, what has helped creators is innovation -- the same innovation that folks like the RIAA have been trying to stifle with strong IP laws, advanced by the likes of Blackburn.
America must do more than just offer reports that include the typical feel-good language: “transparency,” “fair use,” “coordination,” and “voluntary initiatives.” Instead of rehashing buzz terms and talking points, we need to institute a national strategy that puts Americans’ private property rights and the rule of law at the forefront.Wait. Fair use is a "buzz term"? I thought it was a clear part of the law. Hmm. Why, yes, it is. Oh, and remember that study that Blackburn quoted at the beginning, and which she insists shows the need for stronger enforcement and less fair use. Well, as we've noted, another study, which used the identical methodology found that fair use contributes even more to economic output. So, if we are to take Blackburn's initial comment seriously, shouldn't she actually support stronger fair use and greater public rights, rather than locking them down with stronger IP laws?
If we don’t, countries like China and India will have no problem taking advantage our failures to fight for what is rightfully ours.US IP laws do not apply to China and India as they are, last I checked, separate countries, which have their own laws. Of course, the US's idiotic push for getting those countries to more strongly enforce patents and copyrights has resulted in China, for example, using IP laws to block American companies from the Chinese market. Blackburn should be careful what she wishes for, because the Chinese, unlike Blackburn, recognize that copyright and patent laws are protectionist laws, which they can use to harm foreign companies.
In India’s case, they’ve adopted an industrial policy that exploits our intellectual property on a whole new level. India has found itself on the United States Trade Representative’s Special 301 “Priority Watch List” precisely because of the country’s lack of respect for U.S.-based innovation. Nearly every major U.S. industry — technology, bio, pharmaceutical, chemical, agriculture, communications, medical, and manufacturing — has strongly criticized India’s policies for clashing with internationally accepted IP standards.And yet all of those industries seem to hire a ton of folks in India. If this was really such a big problem, why would they be doing that?
Let’s begin an honest discussion that acknowledges that intellectual property is a catalyst for American innovationAn honest discussion doesn't start with something where the evidence says the exact opposite.
The genius of the American people and the promise of the free market will outlast and outperform all alternatives so long as property rights and the rule of law are respected in our new virtual economy.Again, how can she claim that a system of government-granted monopolies has anything to do with a free market?
by Mike Masnick
Mon, Mar 18th 2013 1:01pm
anti-circumvention, copyright, copyright reform, copyright term, distribution, dmca, enforcement, fair use, first sale, incidental copies, licensing, making available, maria pallante, orphan works, performance rights, safe harbors, small claims court, st
It has been fifteen years since Congress acted expansively in the copyright space. During that period, Congress was able to leave a very visible and far-reaching imprint on the development of both law and commerce. It enacted the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (“DMCA”), which created rules of the road for online intermediaries (e.g., Internet service providers) and a general prohibition on the circumvention of technological protection measures (so-called “TPMs”) employed by copyright owners to protect their content. The DMCA also created a rulemaking mechanism by which proponents could make the case for temporary exemptions to the TPM provisions in order to facilitate fair use or other noninfringing uses (the “section 1201 rulemaking”).For the most part, I absolutely agree -- especially that last line. I will note that, Pallante, who has been stung repeatedly in the past for displaying a very strong bias towards copyright maximalism, is clearly being much more careful in these remarks -- something that we should all appreciate. In her talk to Congress, a number of the things she suggests should be reviewed are things that many of us here would agree are in dire need of study and updating.
Nonetheless, a major portion of the current copyright statute was enacted in 1976. It took over two decades to negotiate, and was drafted to address analog issues and to bring the United States into better harmony with international standards, namely the Berne Convention. Moreover, although the Act is rightly hailed by many as an accomplishment in balance and compromise, its long trajectory defeated any hope that it could be effective into the 21st century In fact, former Register of Copyrights Barbara Ringer, who had worked closely with Congress for much of the 1976 revision process, later called it a “good 1950 copyright law.”
I think it is time for Congress to think about the next great copyright act, which will need to be more forward thinking and flexible than before. Because the dissemination of content is so pervasive to life in the 21st century, the law also should be less technical and more helpful to those who need to navigate it. Certainly some guidance could be given through regulations and education. But my point is, if one needs an army of lawyers to understand the basic precepts of the law, then it is time for a new law.
A central equation for Congress to consider is what does and does not belong under a copyright owner’s control in the digital age. I do not believe that the control of copyright owners should be absolute, but it needs to be meaningful. People around the world increasingly are accessing content on mobile devices and fewer and fewer of them will need or desire the physical copies that were so central to the 19th and 20th century copyright laws.In her speech, she also highlights that the public interest is the most important thing, but also notes that the interests of creators are intertwined with those of the public. Again, we agree, though I think that we agree in different ways. Her focus appears to be mainly on the full-time, professional content creator, whereas we believe that any law must recognize that nearly everyone "creates" content these days, and must take that into account.
Moreover, while philosophical discussions have a place in policy debates, amending the law eventually comes down to the negotiation of complex and sometimes arcane provisions of the statute, requiring leadership from Congress and assistance from expert agencies like mine. The list of issues is long: clarifying the scope of exclusive rights, revising exceptions and limitations for libraries and archives, addressing orphan works, accommodating persons who have print disabilities, providing guidance to educational institutions, exempting incidental copies in appropriate instances, updating enforcement provisions, providing guidance on statutory damages, reviewing the efficacy of the DMCA, assisting with small copyright claims, reforming the music marketplace, updating the framework for cable and satellite transmissions, encouraging new licensing regimes, and improving the systems of copyright registration and recordation.
If Congress considers copyright revision, a primary challenge will be keeping the public interest at the forefront, including how to define the public interest and who may speak for it. Any number of organizations may feel justified in this role, and on many issues there may in fact be many voices, but there is no singular party or proxy. In revising the law, Congress should look to the equities of the statute as a whole, and strive for balance in the overall framework. It is both possible and necessary to have a copyright law that combinessafeguards for free expression, guarantees of due process, mechanisms for access, and respect for intellectual property.Separately, the Copyright Office has released the full text of her speech at Columbia University from two weeks ago, in which she lays out her ideas in much greater detail. It's an interesting read, and I hope that most people here will take the time to read through the whole thing carefully before jumping into the discussion. There is a lot in there to process -- some of it good, some of it troubling, some of it that requires more thought and study. Assuming that Congress does move forward on this point, there is going to be an awful lot of back and forth over the next few years, and it wouldn't surprise me if it takes a decade or more before something is finally hammered out.
To this end, I would like to state something that I hope is uncontroversial. The issues of authors are intertwined with the interests of the public. As the first beneficiaries of the copyright law, they are not a counterweight to the public interest but instead are at the very center of the equation. In the words of the Supreme Court, “[t]he immediate effect of our copyright law is to secure a fair return for an ‘author’s’ creative labor. But the ultimate aim is, by this incentive, to stimulate artistic creativity for the general public good.” Congress has a duty to keep authors in its mind’s eye, including songwriters, book authors, filmmakers, photographers, and visual artists. A law that does not provide for authors would be illogical —hardly a copyright law at all.
The next great copyright act must be forward thinking but flexible. It should not attempt to answer the entire universe of possible questions, but, no matter what, it must serve the public interest. Thus, it must confirm and rationalize certain fundamental aspects of the law, including the ability of authors and their licensees to control and exploit their creative works, whether content is distributed on the street or streamed from the cloud.She then goes through the big list of "major issues." First up is the performance right. In the US, Congress decided long ago that since radio was a form of advertising for music, radio stations do not need to pay royalties to performers (they do need to pay songwriters/publishers). Most of the rest of the world does have to obtain a performance right however, and for years there's been a push from the labels (and the Copyright Office) to "harmonize" this and basically force radio stations to pay an RIAA tax for playing music. As I've argued in the past, this is somewhat silly, since the history of radio is littered with stories of payola, in which the labels funneled huge wads of cash to radio stations and their employees to get their music on the air. In other words, if left to the free market, the market has said that labels value airplay so much they'll pay for it -- yet they're looking for legislation that requires the reverse: where radio stations should be expected to pay labels. I still haven't seen how that makes much sense, but given the decreasing importance of radio (though, yes, it is still important today), and the importance of many of the other issues discussed, the performance right issue will almost certainly get rolled up into any big reform effort.
This control cannot be absolute, but it needs to be meaningful. After all, people around the world increasingly are accessing content on mobile devices and fewer and fewer of them will need or desire the physical copies that were so central to the 19th and 20th century copyright laws. Thus, Congress has a central equation to consider today: what does and does not belong under a copyright owner’s control. Congress also will want to consider the exceptions and limitations, enforcement tools, licensing schemes, and the registration system it wants for the 21st century.
The scope of the distribution right also is a central theme today, as courts work through whether and how it may be implicated and enforced in relation to use of works over the Internet.58 One key issue in the courts is the degree to which a claimed violation of the exclusive right to authorize distribution of a work requires a showing of actual dissemination of a work or whether the act of making the work available online is sufficient.Next up: incidental copies. As Pallante rightly notes, "new technologies have made it increasingly apparent that not all reproductions are equal in the digital age." Specifically, the nature of the way computers work is that they are giant copying machines, and you could argue that much of what they do is infringement, but there is growing concern that "incidental" copies made in the process of computing should not be considered infringing. Pallante points out that Congress has dealt with this in the past through duct-taping on bits and pieces to the Copyright Act to exempt certain types of copies, which (though she doesn't mention this) leads to convoluted rulings like the one in the Cablevision remote DVR case, in which the court knew it shouldn't be infringing, but had to twist itself into a series of complex knots to make that argument under existing law.
One critical issue is the ability of law enforcement to prosecute the rising tide of illegal streaming in the criminal context. Streaming implicates the copyright owner’s exclusive right of public performance: it is a major means by which copyright owners license their rights in sporting events, television programs, movies, and music to customers, who in turn access the content on their televisions, smart phones, tablets, or video consoles. Under current law there is a disparity that may have once been of little consequence but is today a major problem: prosecutors may pursue felony charges in the case of illegal reproductions or distributions, but are limited to misdemeanor charges when the work is streamed, even where such conduct is large scale, willful and undertaken for a profit motive. As a practical matter, prosecutors have little incentive to file charges at all, or to pursue only those cases where the rights of reproduction and distribution are also at issue. This lack of parity neither reflects nor serves the digital marketplace.Again, this was a part of SOPA (and while not a part of PIPA, there was a separate Senate bill that covered this concept, which resulted in the famed Free Bieber campaign. While Pallante presents this in a matter of fact manner, it is not nearly as clear cut as she states. After all, we've seen that the government is already going after "streaming" sites, like TVShack, ChannelSurfing and NinjaVideo. In those cases, we often see that the government has a very dangerous (i.e., extremely confused) understanding of how internet streaming works, often being willing to blame site operators for third party actions, and quick to blame a platform site for content streamed from third parties, without ever directly touching the streaming site. The war against streaming sites is incredibly misguided, and is the latest in a long series of attempts by the entertainment industry to lash out at enabling technology when it should be learning how to use it to their own advantage. It's disappointing, though not surprising, that Pallante is offering up clear support for further criminalizing this area, in a manner that will almost certainly be abused to create chilling effects on innovation.
This brings me to statutory damages. Some would eliminate the precondition in section 412 of the Copyright Act that limits the availability of statutory damages to those who register with the Copyright Office in a timely manner.74 They believe that it places an undue burden on the people who need statutory damages the most but are least likely to be aware of the condition, namely authors. Cost is also an issue, particularly for prolific creators like photographers, who may be unable to register each and every work under a separate application and have for years enjoyed a reduced rate through a group registration option. This gives photographers the ability to claim statutory damages, but often without providing effective public disclosure of what the group registration covers. Section 412 also acts as a filter, reducing the number of claims from copyright owners and the level of exposure for infringers. Unfortunately, it does this for bad faith actors and good faith actors alike.That, at least, is a tiny, tiny, tiny step towards a more reasonable look at statutory damages, but I'd argue it needs to go much, much further. As it stands today, statutory damage threats used against individuals, especially for use that is clearly for personal use, is a huge part of the problem.
Section 412 was designed as a precaution and an incentive in 1976 — a time when the law was moving to automatic protection and many were worried about the ramifications for authors, the public record and the Library of Congress’ collection. Section 412 thus creates a bargain: the copyright owner preserves his ability to elect statutory damages in exchange for registering, thereby ensuring a more complete public record of copyright information and a better collection for the Library of Congress.
[....] More globally, arguments abound on the subject of statutory damages, suggesting that they are either too high, too low, too easy, or too hard to pursue. Statutory damages have long been an important part of copyright law to ensure that copyright owners are compensated for infringement, at least where actual damages are unworkable. The Copyright Act of 1790 included a provision awarding the copyright owner fifty cents for every sheet of an unauthorized copy that was printed, published, or imported or exposed to sale.77 Statutory damages should remain squarely in the next great copyright act irrespective of section 412. However, there may be plenty to do on the edges, including providing guidance to the courts (e.g., in considering whether exponential awards against individuals for the infringement of large numbers of works should bear a relationship to the actual harm or profit involved), and finding new ways to improve the public record of copyright ownership.
The section 512 safe harbors in particular have generated more than their fair share of litigation on issues such as eligibility for the safe harbor, inducement, and monitoring. Some of these issues were imaginable at the time at the time of their enactment, and others were not. There are other concerns that go more generally to the question of whether the burdens of notice and takedown are fairly shared between copyright owners and intermediaries.This is the part that scares us most about any reform proposal -- and, we fear, the key point as to why this is being discussed. Copyright holders have been trying to change the safe harbors for years, putting the burden for "enforcing" copyright onto intermediaries and service providers, turning them into copyright cops. The idea, as Pallante suggests, that this burden should be "fairly shared," isn't just misleading, but rather it makes no sense. The reason you don't put the burden on service providers is they have no way of knowing if something is absolutely infringing. This was clearly demonstrated in the Viacom/YouTube case in which well over 100 files that Viacom sued YouTube over were uploaded by Viacom employees as part of their jobs in marketing. It is impossible for the intermediary to know, for certain, if works are infringing or not. This is about the "fairness" of the burden, but simple reality.
On the one hand, Congress may believe that in a digital marketplace, the copyright owner should control all copies of his work, particularly because digital copies are perfect copies (not dog-eared copies of lesser value) or because in online commerce the migration from the sale of copies to the proffering of licenses has negated the issue. On the other hand, Congress may find that the general principle of first sale has ongoing merit in the digital age and can be adequately policed through technology — for example, measures that would prevent or destroy duplicative copies. Or, more simply, Congress may not want a copyright law where everything is licensed and nothing is owned.Moving on, we have a section on "exceptions and limitations." As I've argued in the past, this is the wrong framing entirely. This should be known as the rights of the public, because that's what it accurately describes. Labeling it as "exceptions and limitations" minimizes the importance of these items, despite the fact that they should be a central component of any copyright law. The UN's "declaration on human rights" puts the rights of the public to share and participate in cultural life first, above the ability to "protect" content.
Perhaps the next great copyright act could take a new approach to term, not for the purpose of amending it downward, but for the purpose of injecting some balance into the equation. More specifically, perhaps the law could shift the burden of the last twenty years from the user to the copyright owner, so that at least in some instances, copyright owners would have to assert their continued interest in exploiting the work by registering with the Copyright Office in a timely manner. And if they did not, the works would enter the public domain.This both is and is not big news. It is big news in that this would be the first time that the US ever shortened copyright terms. From a symbolic standpoint, that is a big deal. It is also important in that it, at least, opens the door to returning to a system in which some portion of the copyright term requires proactive renewal. It's not big news in the fact that life+50 is already insanely long and any competent copyright system should require proactive renewals way, way, way earlier in the process. As we've pointed out in the past, prior to the 1976 Act, most creators did not even bother to renew their copyrights after the first 28 years.
Finally, as noted earlier, the copyright law has become progressively unreadable during the very time it has become increasingly pervasive.From there, she discusses "the policy process" itself, with a few head scratchers. In particular, I found it bizarre, and completely unsupportable, that she claimed that content from online business "can't compete with that from traditional media businesses." Really now? What is that possibly based on? And, even if you can make that statement today, will it be true next year? Five years from now? 20 years from now? Doubtful, at best. And, really, is the distinction even relevant any more? All businesses are online businesses today or they don't exist.
When the Copyright Act was enacted, it contained seventy-three sections and the entire statute was fifty-seven pages long. Today, it contains 137 sections and is 280 pages long, nearly five times the size of the original. As former Register Marybeth Peters observed in 2007, the current “copyright law reads like the tax code, and there are sections that are incomprehensible to most people and difficult to me.”
This is not merely a paradox; it is damaging to the rule of law. The next great copyright act should be as accessible as possible.
But in order to have a robust knowledge economy, we need content that is both professional and informal; we need content that consists of information, commentary, and entertainment, or sometimes all of these combined into one; and we need content that is licensed, content that is free, or in some cases, content that is licensed for free.Whether or not all of that is actually needed may be an open question, but even if we assume it's true, I find the implication that "professional content" needs be covered by copyright, fee-based and "licensed" to be highly questionable. I produce professional content for a living -- you're reading it right here, and yet we dedicate it to the public domain. While later on she does admit that perhaps some artists prefer "receiving credit to receiving payment" or to use Creative Commons and that "the law must be flexible enough to accommodate these decisions," it still feels like she is suggesting that such uses are "amateur" and "informal" rather than professional.
Conservative Party peer Lord Jenkin of Roding had tabled an amendment to establish a new post of Director General of Intellectual Property Rights. The holder would have responsibility for promoting the creation of new intellectual property; protecting and promoting the interests of UK IP owners; coordinating effective enforcement of UK IP rights; and educating consumers on the nature and value of intellectual property.Note those four responsibilities. Increase "new" intellectual property (it's unclear if they mean laws or content itself...), protect IP owners, increase and coordinate enforcement and "educate" consumers. Notice that nowhere in there is any recognition that the supposed purpose of those laws is to benefit the public. It would seem a lot more reasonable that any such role should be about increasing the spread of knowledge, watching out for over-enforcement, protecting the interests of the public and educating IP owners on not abusing the law. But, apparently, that sort of thing is what governments are interested in these days.
by Tim Cushing
Thu, Jul 26th 2012 2:22pm
As the world's focus turns to Britain, there is an opportunity to stimulate growth in sectors where Britain has a competitive edge. Our creative industries represent one such sector, which creates jobs at twice the speed of the rest of the economy.Considering the "creative sector" involves everyone from songwriters to bagboys, it can probably be safely stated that the "creative industries" create jobs faster than whatever few industries remain once the "creative sector" finally closes the tent door.
Britain's share of the global music market is higher than ever with British artists, led by Adele, breaking through to global stardom. As a digitally advanced nation whose language is spoken around the world, Britain is well-positioned to increase its exports in the digital age.No sooner are we assailed with the news of an impending if-only British Invasion than the authors begin conflating piracy with consumer confusion:
We can only realise this potential if we have a strong domestic copyright framework, so that British creative industries can earn a fair return on their huge investments creating original content. Illegal activity online must be pushed to the margins. This will benefit consumers, giving confidence they are buying safely online from legal websites."Fair return," eh? Well, one man's "fair" is another man's "month's worth of income." If you start with phrasing that makes your musical exports sound more like a colonizing force than a gift to the world, you need to be careful about what you assume is a "fair" return on your investments. Even domestically, people got a tad touchy when asked to shell out several pounds for a couple of decent tracks and 45 minutes of filler. Didn't seem all that "fair" back then, but we never heard Roger Daltry, Brian May, Elton John et al. complaining.
The simplest way to ensure this would be to implement the long-overdue measures in the Digital Economy Act 2010; and to ensure broadband providers, search engines and online advertisers play their part in protecting consumers and creators from illegal sites.By "protecting" consumers, they of course mean "cut off service," "serve with threatening letters," "allow certain industries to alter search results" and "punish fiscally without showing evidence of damage." Yes, nothing would send the masses back, money in hand, to the welcoming arms of the recording industry than giving each accused pirate (based on nothing stronger than an IP address, of course) the opportunity to spend their own time and money attempting to prove a negative. I imagine historians and economists will discuss the sudden spike in music sales resulting from the implementation of the Digital Economy Act for years to come, holding it up as a triumph of enforcement over reality. The recording industry will party like it's 1999 (except, like, if Napster had never happened).
We are proud of our cultural heritage and believe that we, and our sector, can play a much bigger role in supporting British growth. To continue to create world beating creative content, we need a little bit of help from our friends.Hmm. "Friends." Well, it can't be the consumers. And it certainly can't be the ISPs and search engines (which really just means Google). So, these "friends" must be politicians. And if you can't "get by" without a little help from those friends, should you really be in business anyway?
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 26th 2012 7:06am
I believe that essential to the development of an effective enforcement strategy, is ensuring that any approaches that are considered to be particularly effective as well as any concerns with the present approach to intellectual property enforcement are understood by policymakers.I will be submitting my own thoughts, which I will also publish here, but for those thinking about what to say, I would focus on this sentence above. Historically, many of the government's approaches have not been at all effective, and have created a number of significant problems -- most of which have been ignored by the government (either willfully or through ignorance). This really is a chance to provide examples of why the current policy is not effective (and will never be effective if it keeps on the current path) as well as the "concerns" with the current approach, such as the criminalization of expressive behavior and the outright censorship of media publications.
by Mike Masnick
Wed, Jun 6th 2012 8:30pm
by Mike Masnick
Tue, Jun 5th 2012 3:29pm
"Candidly, you have to realise that intellectual property only gets you so far," says Mr Post. "At the end of the day it's really about your relationship with the consumer."What the company realized was that focusing on lobbying and enforcement just wasn't effective. Instead, educating customers on the difference between real and fake Vibrams, and showing why they'd want to buy the real ones (i.e., giving them a "reason to buy") was much more effective. The company put up a page showing customers how to spot a fake, and saw that it worked.
Vibram offered vouchers to customers who had unwittingly bought fake Five Fingers, so that they could buy the real product at cost price.Amusingly, the article quotes Susan Scafidi, a professor who is well known for her support of ratcheting up intellectual property laws on fashion/clothing, suggesting that Vibram speaking out and connecting with its customers on this issue was a mistake: "It was a risky move, according to Ms Scafidi, who says that a company associating its name - however tangentially - with counterfeit goods could damage its brand." Beyond the fact that she was empirically wrong about this, that makes no sense. Being open and honest with fans, and explaining why they'd want to support the company whose product they like (and why counterfeit products are inferior quality) seems like a smart strategy. It's hard to see how that could "damage the brand" at all. In fact, it seems almost guaranteed to do the opposite, as it appears to have done here.
The company also put up a page on its website alerting customers, enlisted the help of bloggers and asked fans of its Facebook page to get the word out.
Within a year, the deluge of complaints from customers who had bought fake products slowed to a trickle.
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