How the hell did something so explicitly corrupt and so clearly a form of crony capitalism get directly into the Copyright Act?
Mike, the copyright act was already "explicitly corrupt and clearly a form of crony capitalism". It's just your indoctrination that persuades you that Queen Anne and her cronies were 'the white witch of the east and her beauties' who could do us no ill, and moreover, that kind old James Madison who repeated her good spell, also had mankind's well being at heart.
Do people think the 18th century was some kind of utopian period in which the powers were pure, benevolent & corruption free? That legislators always put the interests of the people before the state?
You should have noticed the stench the moment a law found it necessary to state up front that it was for the benefit of the people. Ever noticed such pretexts behind laws against murder, burglary, fraud, kidnapping, etc.?
"Yet another reason to bin ACTA completely and to start again from scratch."
Yet another reason to bin copyright, patent, and trademark, and revert to law that restricts itself to securing people's natural rights, instead of abridging them to grant monopolies to special interests.
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. --That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed
Isn't it about time we actually had a go at defining Masnick's law?
How about this?
Masnick's Law stipulates that no matter how many examples are provided of successful non-copyright based business models, copyright supporters will always marginalise each success as available only to a peculiar minority of artists, and thus not viable for the majority - for which the traditional copyright based business model will forever remain the only effective means of being paid for one's work.
That then means that links to links to illicit sources are infringements, and links to links to links... ...until eventually even Kevin Bacon is extradited for copyright infringement - to whatever country still has space left in its prisons.
He may as well have said "Slavery is an important institution, serving a beneficial moral and economic purpose, but directing escaping slaves to the underground railroad is not quite the same as actually stealing slaves from their master, and so Richard O'Dwyer does not deserve to be strung up like a common thief."
It seems we're still in the 'Must pay lip service to copyright' era. Even Mike often introduces his articles with "Copyright was created not for the enrichment of publishers, as many assume, but for the benefit of the public." or something like that - on the basis Queen Anne and James Madison wouldn't have granted this privilege for any motive other than it was good for 'we the people'.
You have to talk to people like Karl Fogel or Rick Falkvinge in order to get opinions unadorned by 'copyright is a priori noble' lip service. Perhaps even Nina Paley too?
One the one hand we have someone realising that despite the weapon of copyright being available to them, a less antisocial and more conciliatory approach to those who show no respect for authorship is more appropriate in these times (in which the 18th century privilege is dissolving).
On the other hand we have someone with contempt for culture and those who create it, showing no hesitation to exploit both it and the law as a weapon against anyone they feel impugns their patently mercenary and unscrupulous character.
This is not about copyright, but about mankind's cultural liberty, moral rights, neighbourliness, and the abuse of law (by lawyers as well as legislators).
I'm saying that while Madison wanted to enable the privileges of copyright and patent to be granted the clause he inserted was not sufficient to empower Congress to grant them.
His clause went unchallenged precisely because it simply empowered Congress to secure authors'/inventors' rights, and there was nothing controversial about securing rights since that was the whole point of the Constitution, viz "That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed"
It's just a matter of time. You'll be many years older by the time there are so many artists using non-label, non-copyright exchange mechanisms that you'll finally concede that ok, perhaps artists no longer need copyright, no longer need to sell copies at monopoly protected prices.
But, by that time there will be no labels and no copyright and we'll have forgotten why we ever needed to convince the copyright exploiters and supporters that they and their 18th century privilege are dispensable and disposable.
Undoubtedly, copyright was attractive to printers in many states prior to 1787. Madison himself was a fan.
However, that so many were aware of this monopoly should make you wonder why the Constitution didn't explicitly empower Congress to grant it, especially when Jefferson suggested later to Madison to write that "Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature, and their own inventions in the arts, for a term not exceeding --- years, but for no longer term and for no other purpose." http://www.monticello.org/site/research-and-collections/patents
All knew full well the difference between rights and monopolies. See the Declaration of Independence. And, therefore, all knew full well the difference between securing an individual's rights, and granting monopolies such as were 'enjoyed' in England. This is why Congress was empowered to GRANT Letters of Marque, but to SECURE the author's exclusive right.
Madison was ethically obliged to recognise only the rights people were born with, and to only empower Congress to secure them - not to abridge them. This is why the clause is worded as it is. It would not have been ratified had it explicitly empowered Congress to GRANT monopolies.
Human rights originate in Nature, thus, rights cannot be granted via political charter, because that implies that rights are legally revocable, hence, would be privileges:
It is a perversion of terms to say that a charter gives rights. It operates by a contrary effect — that of taking rights away. Rights are inherently in all the inhabitants; but charters, by annulling those rights, in the majority, leave the right, by exclusion, in the hands of a few... They... consequently are instruments of injustice.
The fact, therefore, must be that the individuals, themselves, each, in his own personal and sovereign right, entered into a compact with each other to produce a government: and this is the only mode in which governments have a right to arise, and the only principle on which they have a right to exist.
5) Section 8 makes no reference to the granting of copyright or patent. It is assumed that the granting of copyright and patent was in Madison's mind when he wrote it, but even if this is true (probably) this clause does not actually empower Congress to grant those privileges. In any case, one cannot go by Madison's intent, because the Constitution is an explicit piece of writing ratified on the basis of its words, not what Madison had in mind to assume the power to enact three years later.
Sure, copyright is ever more draconian, but don't confuse its minimal impact upon individuals of the 18th century (whose communications facilities were voice and, for the elite, writing) with what its impact would be upon individuals in the 21st (laser printers, etc.).
It would be just as wrong to bankrupt or imprison pirates for printing copies of Daniel Defoe's Robinson Crusoe today* as it would have been to do the same in 1719.
* No, copyright's term has not been extended to life + 300 years - yet.
The privilege of persecuting individuals for their liberties, sharing and building upon their own culture is an injustice - do not accept it. Abolish it.
Like all folk who think the biggest problem with copyright is its term, it's not. It's the fact that it exists and is a clear and present danger to society - that can intimidate, fine, bankrupt, imprison, and extradite fundamentally innocent people. That should stop today, not even next year.
Thus the only ethical reform to copyright that doesn't actually abolish it is to exempt human beings from infringement.
Even so, you'll just end up with wealthy individuals and corporations suing corporations - much like the complete farce that occurs with patents. Nevertheless, these privileges even when applicable only to corporations are still thermodynamically ridiculous (except to lawyers).