"Could, eh? Let's take worst case: you'd have to get your sports fix only from authorized channels. You're harmed how?"
Reduced competition only helps the seller and hurts the consumer.
"That's entirely the NFL's choice. YOU'VE NO SAY in the matter. I'd abolish the NFL entirely as state-authorized monopoly, but you're /for/ that monopoly, so TOUGH, that's just what monopolies DO, dang it."
I find that a bit quixotical - I think as a customer I should always have a say in the matter. Granted, the seller can ignore my input, but isn't that bad for business to ignore what your customers want?
"So it's going to be "ineffectual" but "seriously harm" you..."
Yep. Let me give you an example: DRM. It is extremely ineffectual in preventing piracy, but it is incredibly damaging for all legitimate users. In other words, SOPA will drastically impact the people who want to be legitimate in their uses (consumers, businesses, etc.), but those who don't will absolutely be able to get around this.
Another way to think of it is this is a bad game of whack-a-mole. You know, there's the mole where you get points for hitting (piracy) and there's the other things that pop up that make you lose points (legitimate users). In this case, I'd say that copyright holders have a score of about -10000000000. But I think that's about as high as the game can go before it just maxes out the negative score.
"If you hang out with criminals who are stealing content, you can hardly complain when they try to cheat YOU too!"
Errrm... what? Stealing is for physical goods. This is copyright infringement. I know it's common to refer to it as "stealing" but it isn't.
And secondly, sharing my thoughts on a "criminal's" website means I don't get a vote? Goodbye 1st Amendment?
Re: The "slippery slope" argument isn't in your favor, even.
"Facts are that piracy is rampant, and there's no mechanism in sight other than the guarantees of exclusive distribution (copyright) that'll allow millions to be "invested" into making movies."
Two points here:
1. I shall rebuff your statement and note that the facts are that the content industry is doing better than ever, posting increasingly high profits. And, like yourself, I will refrain from posting any supporting links (note: there are plenty of links on Techdirt that show support for the ever increasing raise in profits). I believe I played by your rules with my statement.
2. ...why do we need to invest millions in movies? I've seen incredible, low budget films, that are much, much, much, much better than multi-million dollar films that have a highly paid actor, lots of CGI, and that's about it.
Re: DMCA /wasn't/ intended for symbiotic copyright infringement.
I think there are two points here that you're missing:
1. YouTube employs copyright filters and actively shuts down content based off of DMCA requests. They are very proactive and responsive to copyright issues. Given that, can you point out more how they are dodging copyright? Perhaps I am missing something?
2. Stealing is not the same thing as copyright violation. Remember, stealing is when the original good no longer exists for the original owner to profit from. Copyright violation is when they copy a file that they were not authorized to copy. There is no lost good.
Well, sure. Why not? If they have a strong opinion, then I'll just ask them to defend that opinion. I figure it will accomplish one of two things:
1. They'll explain their point of view and we all can have a good discussion
2. They respond with insults, and I ask them again, noting that they can either explain their point of view, or be discounted entirely
Still not a great analogy - in this case I could pay someone to get me the car and ship it to me, all quite legally.
However, with IP, they often try to restrict people from getting access to these goods period.
So no, I don't think the person is being a spoiled child as they have a legitimate method to retrieve the car that they wanted in the first point - they would just need to pay for it. And it would be exactly what they wanted.
In the situation we're discussing, the root problem is that there are no ways to get exactly what you want, even if you are willing to pay for it.
I think we'll need to define the term "host". As someone who works in the computer science field, a "host" to me is anything that stores data that I can access remotely. That can be via an API, a web interface, or a mobile device.
Further, wikipedia defines a service provider as "A service provider is an entity that provides services to other entities. Usually, this refers to a business that provides subscription or web service to other businesses or individuals. Examples of these services include Internet access, Mobile phone operators, and web application hosting. The term is more often applied to communication services than to other kinds of service industry."
I strongly, strongly agree with this definition. It seems that we are arguing that this definition itself is wrong because, if it is correct, YouTube is genuinely a Service Provider.
Would you define "host" for me and "Service Provider" for me? I think the clarity would help drive this discussion some more.
That's precisely the point - since there aren't any useful legal products, a market for counterfeit goods springs up.
However, if Lowes offered the hammers at a reasonable price and without restrictions, consumers would return to Lowes. Instead, by maintaining the same prices as before and adding restrictions to it, consumers see the overall value of the hammer drops.
Thus, they have to choose between a legal, albeit crippled, product, or a counterfeit product that is illegal, albeit fully functional. I'm guessing that after doing the cost benefit analysis, most consumers would elect to go with the counterfeit version.
I think Michael Brandvold summed it up nicely when he noted, "Consumers don’t understand or care about territories, regions, license agreements… the internet broke down those barriers, it is just the world now."
I'm curious - does anyone know if the concept of "regions" and "territories" is a contractual obligation that the record labels are under? The reason I ask is that if it is strictly contractual, they should be working to get out of those contracts.
However, if they are simply hoping to continue the enforcement of the status quo, then I see little choice other than they simply do not want to adapt to an ever changing marketplace.
Whether the reasons for those barriers are self imposed or contractual, at this point, is largely meaningless to the customers. If you want to serve your customers better, you need to find ways to meet their demands. Imposing limitations and constraints on them will only encourage them to look somewhere else.
I don't think this is a "moral failure" on the part of the consumer. If I need a hammer, and I go to Lowes and they "license" me a hammer that I can use exclusively in my house and nowhere else, or I can go to Home Depot and they sell me a hammer that I can use anywhere I want, whenever I want, however I want, which do you think I'll purchase? It's fine that Lowes wants to impose whatever restrictions they want on that hammer, but I'm definitely not going to buy it from them. I'll find an alternative place that will meet my expectation as a consumer.
This is a grossly inaccurate comparison. This is like saying "copyright violation is stealing".
A domain does not equal a person. Locking up a person also ensures they won't skip out on the trial, which is intended to show they are guilty, not that they are innocent. Note that this impacts just the one person, and they can post bond.
Locking down a domain prior to proving their guilt prevents all users from accessing the website, even if they are guilty. Note that this impacts all of their user base with no recourse, no way to "post bond".
Remember, physical things do not equate to virtual things. Or another way to spin it, "copying is not the same as stealing".
And as Mike often notes, I too am not advocating infringement or copyright violation. I just want to make sure we all understand that it's not the same thing.
So, to answer your question, yes. They are different. In fact, they are fundamentally different as virtual and physical are, definitionally and fundamentally, different.
The intention to create a profit should not matter. As has been demonstrated with a lot of companies relying on copyright, they pass a law that makes sense in the context it was passed, then quickly turn around to abuse it.
With this precedent now, if you're overseas, you purchase a book, bring it home, and later decide to sell for reasons other than profit seeking? Yup. You just broke the law.
How is that sane in any way shape or form? The only legal way to rid yourself of that book is to trash it, or give it away. And I don't think it's a huge stretch for them to start saying giving these books away would be a copyright infringement as well.
I think that this is missing the point. Calling the police on someone for breaking into your home is a violation of your personal rights. You have a right to protect your property as well as yourself.
The issue here is not a protection issue so much as the root problem with the way people think about Copyright today. As Mike is careful to note (multiple times), Copyright's intention is really to benefit the public (as discussed in this article). Given this, there are two stakeholders in any Copyright discussion - the Copyright holders and the public.
Saying that their going directly to these various Federal groups is no different than you calling the police is tantamount to saying that the sole purpose of Copyright is to benefit the Copyright holders, regardless of the best interest of the public.
While I don't have a fundamental disagreement with them directly contacting these organizations, I do have a strong opposition to the fact that these organizations are not investigating the other side of the coin. By simply spewing the "facts" that the Copyright holders provide as to the reasons why they seized the domains, these organizations are, as Mike notes, "propping up an outdated business model" instead of looking to fairly address the problem with facts from both sides.
I find this article particularly well timed. Recently, a friend of mine recommended Neil Gaiman to me and lent me a book. I enjoyed the book so much that I went and purchased several more books by Neil.
If I had never been lent that book, the odds of me ever discovering Neil's works would have been incredibly slim. In truth, while I did not spend any money on the first book (I "pirated" it by borrowing it from a friend), I so enjoyed his works that I went and purchased several more of his books (and I've lent them out to others / recommended him to others).
All of this to say, I am pleased to see that Neil discovered that "pirating" (people utilizing your artistic works without paying for them) is actually a platform for advertising yourself. In fact, not only is a method of advertising, but it is a method of crowd sourcing the advertising for you. Essentially, what Neil discovered was that by giving away his work for free, he was able to leverage an incredible platform for advertising that no other method of advertising could provide to him!
That's... a dangerous point to make. If you're arguing that the value of the material dictates if a person is really a copyright holder?
Can't this be argued the other way? If I deem that music just isn't all that valuable, then it really isn't worth copyrighting and I can go ahead and infringe on it?
You can't have it both ways. Either you have strong copyright laws that apply to everything (big, small, great or stupid), or you have none. Anything in between allows too much wiggle room from either side (and I'd wager that copyright holders would be the ones abusing this...)
I think you're making a fair point about giving them some ammo to use against evolving.
However, we do need to factor in some historical forces here. The industries freaked when the VCR came out. They freaked when the cassette came out.
This isn't entirely a reaction against "piracy" so much as a reaction against new technology (as Mike argues quite frequently).
I'm not condoning breaking the law, but on the flip side, I'm not condoning the law supporting outdated business models. Especially when these business models have already gone through this process a few iterations and done everything in their power to not change.
So yes, your point about the ammo is valid, and I do agree. The choice was a foolish one. But, I think the choice to pursue piracy was born less out of greed and more out of a reaction to how the Media Industry has demonstrated its lack of willingness to evolve and expand as new technologies evolve.
I'm definitely going to have to disagree here. The underlying implication is that if we, the consumers, played nicely, the Media Industry would have gladly come along with the advent of digital changes.
Instead, what I think we are experiencing is the consumers removing the yoke of limited use of the products that we purchase. Indeed, this is perhaps one of the core pillars of this issue:
The Media Industry does not want you to use the products that you've purchased in the way that you want to use it (you can only play this MP3 on this piece of hardware. You cannot make a backup, etc.). In other words, they want to treat the software / media that you've purchased as a licensed good.
On the flip side, they want to have rights much like property rights for themselves in it. They want to claim people are "stealing" (which is incredibly foolish to use this term). They want to have explicit "ownership" of a digital good. This simply is a non-sequitur.
At the end of the day, the Media Industry is not interested in consumer rights. They want to deny rights to consumers, while enhancing their own rights.
Where in this does the digital era fall? Where in this does if pirates suddenly stop the Media Industry will play nicely fall? Unfortunately, I believe the answer to be that it simply will not happen.
Perhaps to keep the topic slightly more in line with what Harold is arguing, let us examine it from the opposite side. If I were to post the entire lyrics for the same song on my own personal site, would it be something that you would consider a big deal?
I recognize that people are trying to take this and extrapolate it out to actually downloading copyrighted material (and I would argue that downloading copyrighted material isn't the same as stealing. There's a distinction to be made, but that's for another post). I do not think that your comment can be drawn out to that point.
However, I think they make a valid point in noting that simply saying "it wasn't for commercial use" opens you up for a series of problems with other things. Remember the issue with the group wanting to show the last episode of Battlestar Galactica on a big screen? It wasn't for commercial purpose, yet this was a big deal. You note:
"A total lack of understanding on all sides here. Where do I start?
I think it is clear that the guys trying to put this event on knew they were working in the grey. Getting someone to "agree to look the other way" is pretty much a worthless argument, you should get them to look the other way ON PAPER. The rights holder in Canada, Space (cable channel) might have been a better place to go, get them on board and then they will work harder with NBC / Universal to get things worked out.
It's just one of those things where they went about it the wrong way, and the results are what you see.
NBC / Universal comes off looking bad, but in the end, it's the guys who started at the wrong place that screwed it up."
I concede that you point out NBC does end up looking bad, but these guys were not interested in any commercial gain. I also recognize that it was for a commercial purpose.
My intention is not to trap you in your comments, but to note that the big players do consider it a serious offense when people infringe, even when it isn't for commercial purposes. However, we are waving our hands on this issue and saying if it isn't for commercial gain, why does it matter for them to infringe? I believe, and others can certainly correct me if I'm wrong, that is the crux of everyone "getting riled up".
The distinction about how copyright holders want to protect their content just like physical property (by forcing an artificial scarcity) yet they demand extra protection that physical property doesn't support (i.e. not being able to resell, or double-dipping) is an interesting point.
Copyright holders need to recognize that intellectual property is a different beast than physical property. And as such it must be treated differently. You don't get to pick and choose the parts that you like of different systems (claim it is stealing like physical property, yet expect the rights to the goods to persist past the point of sale). It must be one or the other, and by trying to take the best of both worlds, copyright holders are clearly showing their distaste for the rights of the consumer.
Is labeling something complex a sufficient argumen
I find it interesting that the argument presented by Cotton's side employs the technique of claiming that fair use is extremely complex. It would seem to me that if something is complicated and requires a case-by-case examination of each instance, that the law itself should require a modification.
His note that fair use remains the same now as it did prior to the information age seems to indicate either a distinct lack of understanding of the current environment, or a willful ignorance of the changes that will inevitably occur in hopes to cling to the current business model, stubbornly resisting change.
Wu's suggestion for an alternative definition to fair use seems very realistic and grounded in the emerging technology. While I am hesitant to let emerging trends dictate changes in laws, there does come a point where the existing policies need to change to allow for continued innovation and change, instead of stifling it.