Going back to CC licenses, Creative Commons Portugal has issued a statement claiming they are not affected by this new law. CC licenses 3.0 specifically address collectively managed rights, waving them where possible, and reserving them to the author where they are non-renunciable. So, if this law passes, CC authors in Portugal will be forced to reserve/keep the right to go collect their share of the private copy levy from the collecting society. But that should be the only consequence.
I still have doubts whether authors of CC licensed works have the right to any compensation for private copies, but the lawyer from CC PT thinks they do. This could lead to a ridiculous situation where CC authors get no money from public or radio performance, but get money for private copies.
Re: Portugal is probably the worst violators of copyright laws.
Being Portuguese I can confirm the rampant xeroxing in colleges. And Portugal is also the country were judges and lawyers download movies from the internet... or so I have been told.
The authorities have actually been cracking down on photocopying entire books, although there are some doubts about whether it is illegal under current law (which allows copying for educational uses, without limiting the size of the copy). If this new law is approved every copied page will pay a levy of 2 eurocents, and 75% of that will go to authors and publishers of technical and educational books. Doesn't clear up whether its legal to copy entire books, though.
As I already commented on technollama, itís not the Ministry of Culture's intention or interpretation that this will make Creative Commons licenses illegal. That Article 5 concerns the distribution of the proceeds from the private copy levy collected on recordable CDs, DVDs, and, if this law is approved, external hard disk drives as well.
This levy is meant to compensate authors and artists for unauthorized copies made for private use. If something is published with a CC license, at the very least, non-commercial copying is already explicitly authorized. No compensation is needed, so this Article 5 doesnít apply.
This proposal is just a replacement to the current law regulating the private copy levy. It only makes one change to our copyright code (called Authorís Rights here) and itís unrelated to this. I think significant changes would have to be made there to stop open licenses.
It seems to me the intention of Article 5 is to make void any contracts that transfer an authorís private copy compensation to his label/publisher/whatever. Nothing else. Otherwise it could also make many record contracts void, and the labels would be up in arms for sure! Spain has a similar provision in it's law, and CC licenses are fine.
One good thing about this proposal: if you publish a work with DRM (which blocks private copies), you get no compensation. It would be VERY interesting to see if any publishers drop DRM in order to keep getting their piece of the levy.
One stupid thing about this law is a 60Ä levy on 1TB "multimedia external drives", while a standard 1TB external drive pays 20Ä and a multimedia player without storage pays nothing. So guess what people are gonna buy if this passes...
Moral rights are attribution and integrity of the work. They don't even apply to this situation! Check the language of the Berne Convention. From wikipedia:
"Article 6bis of the Berne Convention protects attribution and integrity, stating:
Independent of the author's economic rights, and even after the transfer of the said rights, the author shall have the right to claim authorship of the work and to object to any distortion, mutilation or other modification of, or other derogatory action in relation to the said work, which would be prejudicial to the author's honor or reputation."
Are they claiming that digitizing books somehow distorts or mutilates their works??? That would a be a stretch to say the least... And its troubling a judge would sign off on new (economic?) rights based on highly questionable "moral" claims!
The last UK government also rushed a controversial copyright bill when it was on the way out. Why does this make me wonder if these guys have cushy private sector jobs waiting for them on the companies that benefit from these laws?
I think these publishers are conflating the value of the compositions that they publish, with the value of their service (publishing them).
The classical musical compositions still have value. As long as people want to have them, the value remains. It's the publishing and distribution via traditional methods that has lost value because of new technologies.
Going door to door in cities selling water and ice where once very good business. It was a highly valued service. Water plumbing and refrigerators changed that. Doesn't mean people no longer value water and ice! It just means you're better off selling bottled water and refrigerators on the supermarket!
Many others in the content world make the same mistake. Movies and music are still heavily desired and therefore have a lot of value. But selling or renting them on plastic discs, is a service which is loosing value... fast! Which makes these distribution methods inadequate to capture the value of the content like in the 90s.
The trick is finding the ways of accessing content that consumers still value, and thus are willing to pay for, and exploring those. A few old ones still work quite well (movie theaters, concerts...), and new ones are enabled by technology. Focusing on "piracy" or the "devaluing" of content is the wrong thing to do. It just blinds these people to what otherwise would be straightforward business decisions.
I hadn't heard of the pirate box, but when I read about the freedom box yesterday, I wondered precisely how long it would take for it to be used for piracy (and porn, child porn, and for terrorists to communicate, etc). And therefore how long it would take for politicians to call for it to be forbidden or at least regulated. How long until some Sarkozy comes along saying "freedom box can't be a wild west anymore".
Freedom and "bad uses" go hand in hand. If we want to be free from censorship we must accept some people will use that freedom for purposes we might not approve of. That's the point of freedom of speech (and communication). I think the US's founding fathers saw that perfectly clear. Once the tools of censorship are in place, once it is accepted for some speech to be censored, those tools can be subverted for all kinds of different purposes - from protecting a corrupt government from dissension, to protecting economic interests (from things like copying and sharing content).
We must decide what's more important: protecting freedom or protecting certain jobs and business models.
We had a similar conviction here in Portugal in 2009. Some guy was fined 1160 euros for 146 shared songs (7.26Ä/song).
It all started when AFP (the local version of the RIAA) made 38 criminal complaints against "unknowns" (via IP addresses) in 2007. 2 years later all they had to show for it, where 2 settlements and that conviction. The guy was actually convicted to 90 days in prison, but that was converted to a fine because it was a first offence. Its no wonder AFP quit making these complaints. They are now busy lobbying for a "graduated response" (cut internet access or apply fines after 3 accusations).
The ones making these "criminal complaints" now are a rental shop association called ACAPOR. They target people sharing movies, of course. In January they delivered 1000 IP addresses to our attorney general's office. Yeah... they dont even own any copyrights and they are making complaints.
PS: 7 dollars or euros still seems a bit much considering the major labels agreed to pay just $150 per song for their own copyright infringements in Canada last month. It was actual commercial infringement, by people who REALLY should know better. Seems to me, the fines for non-commercial file-sharing on the internet should be at least 100 times smaller.
The Soyuz isn't just the lifeboat for the ISS. It's one of the ways astronauts and cosmonauts get up and down from the ISS. And after the shuttle retires it will be the only one!
It's been upgraded over the years, but it still is based on a Russian design from the 60s(check wikipedia). Old cheap Russian tech. It was the equivalent to the Apollo, designed to reach the moon. There where some fatal accidents at first, but since it has been in use for 40+ years, along with its rocket, it is considered the safest and most cost effective platform to transport humans to and from orbit.
Still, if was American I would feel a bit ashamed that NASA won't have an alternative for years and will have to buy tickets on the Soyuz. Why isn't this a matter of national pride? And what about if Hubble or some other telescope needs repairs again? Nothing but the shuttle can do it! USAF has a kind of shuttle, but it's small and unmanned as far as I know.
I remembered it was a few days after my birthday but not the exact date. I was 9 at the time and remember well seeing it on the news at dinner time on my grandparents house. I was very sad and shocked, and I'm not even American. But I always was a sci-fi fan and thought this was a big setback for humanity. And the shuttle program was indeed suspended for several years.
As you can imagine I'm also not happy that the shuttle is being retired without a replacement. I can't believe the US is going to depend on the Russians and their old Soyuz capsules for several years! If I was American I would be seriously ashamed by this!