Soon, murder and terrorism will be lesser crimes than sharing music.
If decisions such as this continue, soon murder and terrorism will be lesser crimes than sharing music.
Sharing music has been a part of every culture since the beginning of time - or it was up until these cultural terrorists said we couldn't do so.
So entrenched and powerful are these jackbooted authoritarian copyright bullies that nothing less than a popular worldwide revolution will unseat them. With one hand they've a gun pointed at Government's head and with the other a noose around its short-and-curlies.
If anyone needs a quintessential example of why the powerful treat Democracy as a joke or something just to be manipulated at their beck and call, then this is it. Everyone knows instinctively - or ought to - that there is something fundamentally wrong with copyright as presently constituted, and that suing kids, mothers and ordinary people for vast fortunes over comparatively minor infringements is not only counterproductive, morally wrong and humiliating for those concerned but it's also corrupting the very heart of our democracies. Yet those representatives who supposedly run our democracies are totally powerless to do anything about it - except to continue to give ever-increasing 'rights' to those who should not have them.
Simply, modern democracies are no longer democratic; at every twist and turn the average citizen finds himself undermined and debased by the very politicians who purportedly seek to serve him. No matter how bad or weak Joel Tenenbaum's defence was, he does not deserve the draconian and tyrannical 'justice' that was inflicted upon him in this way. Clearly, the normal checks and balances of the democratic process are just not working anymore. It ought to be a stark reminder or wake up call to all citizens about how really dangerous the State can be.
Nothing less will fix the problem other than shredding to dust the Berne Convention together with its all-encompassing anti-democratic WIPO add-ons. Then we can start afresh: we can ensure artists, authors and performers get fair dues for their work but also we can ensure society gets back its culture - its music, its art, its written heritage and its science.
What's at stake is huge: it's whether we citizens independently own our culture or whether it's to remain locked up in the controlling hands of a few powerful elites to be dished out not only in ways that are immensely profitable for them but also in ways that keep the masses numb and compliant as did the Roman elites 'sedate' Roman civilization with colosseums and controlled mass entertainment - a complete hardware and software package deal to facilitate easier State control. One doesn’t have to be Einstein or Chomsky to figure out history has repeated itself.
To the greedy, mindless or ill informed, let me remind you that the greatest works of humankind were produced in environments that essentially had no copyright protection. The works of Bach, Beethoven, Mozart, Shakespeare, Goethe, Vermeer, Michelangelo and Rembrandt just to mention a few. When faced with people copying their works these great artists responded with new works. For example, when faced with people copying parts of his masterpiece, Don Giovanni, Mozart responded by writing a new derivative work - a work that never would have made it into the repertoire if copyright, as we know it today, had been in force in the 1780s.
Current copyright law and the immoral international copyright - so-called intellectual property treaties that our governments have entered into to our considerable disadvantage are not only a huge restrictive obstacle to cultural development and a severe hindrance to science and development, but also they allow the privileged few upon whom are conferred such 'rights' to actually 'steal' with impunity ideas from the existing cultural corpus without whatsoever any redress to us - we the collective owners of the culture.
The one-sidedness of Copyright Law is just outstanding; it is patently obvious to everyone who gives it a modicum of thought that the Law does not require 'rights' holders to contribute one single iota - not one penny, dime or idea - back to the community from which they came. 'Rights' owners have every conceivable form of control imaginable - it's total control. And now, since an almost worldwide enactment of the 'Mickey Mouse Protection Act' [DMCA], that to the average citizen, copyright protection is now so long as to be effectively perpetual. (In one sense it simply beggars belief that things have gotten this bad without citizens rioting in the streets, but as we know 'technical' law, brought about through the lobbying of vested and special interest groups, is usually foisted on the masses who don't realise the significance* until it's too late.)
We have educated 'rights' holders in our culture, we inculcated them with our cultural and social norms and way of life; early in life we encouraged them to absorb every aspect of our rich cultural heritage - our art, our literature, our science and every aspect of human behaviour - usually at our expense. Yet, Copyright Law grants them - with absolutely no strings attached - totally exclusive 'rights' to produce DERIVATIVE works based on OUR long lineage of wonderful cultural history, yet we ordinary citizens are totally excluded from the process and without any say whatsoever. To add insult to injury, Copyright Law automatically confers all 'rights' onto the copyright holder whether he wants them or not let alone whether he can justify his total ownership of them or not.
(To say or imply that a copyright owner produces content or works out of a cultural vacuum is an absolute absurdity. For example, as brilliant as he was, Beethoven could only produce The Ninth Symphony or his Late String Quartets because Hayden, Mozart, Bach, Buxtehude, Palestrina, et al, had all gone before him. He stood on the shoulders of this cultural legacy.)
As if exclusive rights alone aren't enough. Injustice is perpetuated when any poor unfortunate perpetrator intrudes into or disturbs this exclusive 'copyright' in any way, as he will be made bankrupt by the pernicious, unjust and unfair provisions of vindictive Copyright Law, as we've witnessed the injustice inflicted on Joel Tenenbaum.
As it is currently contrived, Copyright Law is not only anti-democratic but also morally wrong and ethically obscene in that it allows non-government and third-party entities, RIAA et al, to have carte blanche to do ruin the lives of ordinary citizens. That these entities can do so with total impunity and with a level of authority that a prosecutor has at a terrorist trial, is both Orwellian and truly frightening.
Even if you do absolutely nothing, at least spend a moment to think about your own vulnerability.
* At the Berne Convention(s) so ineffective was representation for copyright consumers that they essentially received nothing. Even 'fair use' provisions were so vague that just about everyone erred on the side of caution to avoid potential lawsuits.
Laws that contain simple notions such as 'good' or 'reasonable' but without adequately defining the terms or putting a measure on them are commonplace in Western democracies. Because these extents or boundaries are not adequately defined, most law-abiding people stay well within them thus their actual freedoms are effectively considerably less than the legislature actually defined. This ploy or ruse of playing off the 'defined' against the 'intended' and achieving effectively more law than actually written is clearly anti-democratic, and Copyright Law is but an excellent example--120 or so years on and we're still arguing about 'fair use' or what constitutes 'orphaned' works attests to this.