Nero Wolfe was careful who he broke bread with....
This is perfectly understandable and also eminently reasonable.
Just because it is done legally, these so-called screening procedures constitute assault. Before or after having to be "pornscanned" or grope searched by TSA officers, I certainly wouldn't want to eat with them.
For much the same reason, executioners used to wear hoods.
Yes, it sounds funny when you understand that Twitter is a public forum. The thing to remember is that most of the people in the world are not aware that it is a public forum.
People sit in their private homes and type words on their computers for their friends to read. The same way people not so long ago typed letters that they put into envelopes, stamped and dropped in a mailbox. Just because many people use computers is no guarantee they understand them.
My problem goes the other way... in Canada we are stuck with Political Science Professor Tom Flanagan, a man who was a mentor/campaign manager/chief of staff to the current Prime Minister of Canada. In his role of regular "star commentator" on a news magazine show on the CBC television network, Flanagan called upon your President to assassinate WikiLeaks' founder Julian Assange.
Flanagan clearly broke the law in counseling a felony, and followed it up with a threatening email to a woman who complained about it. Although most Canadians are appalled neither the RCMP (our federal police) or local police forces will even bring charges against this man.
Even worse, although the school community is up in arms, the University of Calgary won't even discipline Flanagan, let alone fire him.
Lawrence Lessig is an unquestionably brilliant man. And a year ago I'd have agreed with everything he had to say here. Today I'm more inclined to agree with Nina Paley.
Because today I'm more of a radical extremist (being Canadian and all, it's becoming par for the course as we're currently on the brink of getting stuck with a Canadian DMCA that will makes the original look positively liberal by comparison...)
There's a lot in Mr. Lessig's keynote that is in fact brilliant. Like the insanity of criminalizing creators and children. And zooming in on the simple fact that digital = copies.
But Larry lost me when he equated authors and rights holders. If copyright ever had some kind of justification, it would have been in the idea it was a way to compensate the creators in order to promote creation. But in reality, it has never done that well at all. Propping up "the most inefficient property system known to man" isn't about to change that. Chief beneficiaries of copyright law have always been rights holders who don't actually create anything.
A disturbing trend these days seems to be the notion that copyright is somehow supposed to guarantee remuneration. Excuse me? There is a huge difference between holding a legal monopoly on creating copies and a guaranteed income for same. Ridiculous. Remuneration issues ought to fall under contract law if anywhere; the modern corporate idea of copyright entitlement is more a case of corporate welfare.
People in positions of power and authority don't get what is happening. To achieve those positions of power and authority you pretty much have to eat and breathe the system. Changing an entrenched mindset to deal with something truly different is a really big leap.
Now that facebook has given them such great publicity, all they need do is replace "face" with the common name for any other body part. Then they too can trademark it. Down the road they'll be able to sue (or if IP law continues getting more demented) arrest all those trademark infringers using their trademarked name in school playgrounds around the world.
By seriously, why should any company be given any kind of monopoly on a word? Words are part of our common language and a common culture.
I realize many people think this, but it is incorrect. You do not have to be the creator to own the copyright.
Authors have traditionally signed some or all of their rights over to the corporate distributor. When a musical act achieves the 'holy grail' of being signed by one of the big 4, the contract invariably transfers ownership of the copyright from the actual creators to the corporate entity. (Historically the only time this does not happen is when the musical act is very big and very famous. Today the Internet means any artist can hang out an Indie shingle.)
I'm not an IP lawyer so my language may be imprecise, but as I understand it, this legally deems the corporation to be the author.
How do commercial movies work? Or TV series? In many cases a corporation/distributor provides funding and distribution in exchange for all or total ownership of the copyright, but most importantly total control of the collaborative work.
The basic thinking is that the one making the payment owns the thing. Which means many of the actual collaborative creators cannot legally upload content they have creatively contributed to on their own websites without securing permission from the "rights owner".
It is bizarre that corporate entities can exert legal control over the tangible results of human creativity. The only kind of assignment of copyright that should be permitted under law should be licensing for specific terms.
If we were to look at the idea of copyright existing to benefiting the author, 14 years is far too long. Why don't we reduce it to 2 years, since the Internet makes near instantaneous distribution possible.
Paying the creator (or even paying the progeny) for life+70 or whatever is a red herring. It simply spreads the blame. Although creator/descendents are nominally the beneficiary of life+70 (or whatever), it quickly becomes apparent that they receive the least of what's on offer.
First at the trough of royalty is always the distributor. (When you get right down to it, distribution is really what the Movie and Music and Publishing companies brought to the table.)
Next in line are the other parties that have dealt themselves in, including governments, copyright collectives and rights organizations.
The leavings go to the creators/heirs. By this point there is precious little left in the copyright trough, with the lion's share going to creators on the very top of the heap. For most creators, royalties are as much of a myth as an afterlife, and about as difficult to prove.
I'd expect it is even easier to avoid paying progeny than the original artist. And what happens when there are no heirs?
The corporations who extort copyright from creators (in exchange for distribution) do everything in their power to remit as little of the payment due to the creators as possible.
Unlike frail humans who live for only a short while, corporations are immortal. It is in corporate best interests to have nothing ever go into the public domain because the public domain offers competition. Even better for corporate interests is to remove work from the public domain. And the best way to do that is by affixing their own brand to it.
ACTA was presented as a trade treaty negotiation. Being secret, and under its stringent non-disclosure terms it's hard to know for sure what it was.
Still, just because the American government came to the table as an "executive agreement" does not mean the other participating countries were doing the same or similar. Other sovereign nations have different legal and governmental structures.
Great article. At this point Canada's biggest problem is misinformation spread by people like this, who clearly are among the few to benefit from the existing travesty of a copyright system.
Canada already has ridiculously strong copyright lawm and more copyright collectives than you can shake a stick at. Our government's attempt at rushing through the Canadian DMCA (aka Bill C-32) to modernize us right into the last century will certainly not help.
Our politicians are dazzled by an abundance of special interest groups like Mr. Henderson's CRIA and the ACCESS Copyright collective, BOTH of whom have begun fake grassroots movements to make it appear as though their agendas have public support.
In Canada most Canadians believe that the Levy means we can copy copyright music onto our CDs. This is not actually stated in our existing law however. As I understand it, the levy money has been collected by copyright collectives, most likely the ones quoted on this GRAMMY article. It's pretty scary when people believe that copyright law is supposed to "to provide a new marketplace for creators."
I've heard that the Canadian Levy is supposed to be paid out under the radio play formula. I've never seen anything definitively saying that creators have gotten paid out of the money that's been collected. The result has been that CD's have become more expensive than DVDs. The justification is that it is supposed to help finance creators, but if it helps anyone outside of the copyright collectives, it's the Top 40 as suggested by Anonymous Coward.
The actual Independent musicians, the ones who it ought to be for, the ones who actually distribute their music online and don't appear on the radio, not only don't get a piece of the action, they have to pay the levy when they are burning CDs to sell (or even promos to give away!)
Many Canadians believe that the Levy means we can copy movies as well.
There was a suggestion by Charlie Angus, the one Canadian politician who seems to understand this stuff, that the CD Levy should be expanded to cover all storage devices. Our Minister of Heritage (who blocks citizens from following his Twitter feed) very emphatically said that this "ipod tax" was not going to happen.
Meanwhile our current government is attempting to put through Bill C-32, a new copyright law (which appears to have been written by the MPAA/RIAA/USTR/CRIA) that will be worse than the DMCA as suggested by NAMELESS.ONE. When they aren't doing that, they keep ACTAing along.