I mean, nobody is really surprised by this are they?
That massive amount of money that business groups such as the Business Software Alliance (BSA) and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) claim is being lost due to piracy and copyright infringement? Well, fuggedaboutit. Such is the conclusion of a 37-page report (pdf) by the US Government Accountability Office (GAO), …
I mean, nobody is really surprised by this are they?
Surprised that a branch of the U.S. government has displayed some common sense, and actually publicly admitted what we've known all along? Why yes, as it happens, I'm very surprised indeed.
Unfortunately, while the GAO is usually independent and sensible, and is supposed to serve as a sort of financial conscience for the Congress; members of Congress have developed excellent mechanisms for ignoring their personal consciences, and are nearly always successful at doing the same with the GAO. Given the vast amounts of money that the BSA, MPAA, and other "intellectual property" organisations have pumped into Congress, it's unlikely that this GAO report will have the slightest effect on proposed copyright legislation.
The problem with the MPAA and RIAA's findings are they have so many assumptions that are plainly wrong. I do hope that more people report on the findings and it becomes a highly known news item. Although I wish it came out before this "Digital Fail Bill" was forced upon us due to Mandleson having free luxury holidays with music industry cronies.
The findings in this place: http://hbswk.hbs.edu/item/4206.html is so much more useful and I have to agree with it.
"The GAO states up front that their review is mostly the result of interviews with a few 'experts,' the Copyright Alliance's response sniffed, "many of which were academics who have not been professional artists or creators or ever worked in a creative industry."
Unlike the Copyright Alliance output, which studiously avoids stating that it's based on the opinions of a few 'experts', many of which are not academics and have no understanding of statistics or cause and effect.
Section 4 allows redress if a book or books are deemed (by any of quite a list of people) to be priced too high.
If that bit had stayed in subsequent Acts, we might have avoided some of the issues we have now...
I proudly commit copyright infringement. Never commited an act of piracy though - always respecting my fellow seafarers - besides, they never did carry much treasure worth my time to steal and murder.
Back to copyright infringement. I don't infringe the copyrights of music. I am very specific about the music I like and most of the stuff out there is crap anyway. I do however infringe the copyrights of the movie industry, and I do that proudly for 3 reasons:
1. To sample a film. A lot of films out there are pure rubbish. You cannot believe the advertisements, magazine reviews, television reviews or even internet reviews (on commercial entities like Amazon etc) because I find that their reviews are unreliable. If I think the film is decent I will consider buying a copy, but ...
2. Price. The film is not worth £10+. I am not interested in the extras. I will wait until it comes down in price before I buy it. Plus I am starting to get things on Blu-Ray and hae to repurchase things once again at extortionate prices - well, I don't because I wait until the price is really low, and only keep them if the quality is exceptional (ie, not DVD ports!).
3. A lot of the stuff is UNAVAILABLE IN THE UK. And due to the MPAA's insistance on region locking it makes it difficult for me to get it. I have unlocked my DVD but so far cannot unlock my PS3. Plus, by buying from the USA I am helping their economy more than ours! Release all films in all countries at the same time and their sales will go up.
Simple really. 1 & 3 are the main reasons I commit acts of copyright infringement. But if they reduced the price and made a lot of the stuff available in the US available in the UK AT THE SAME TIME then I would buy more.
Take the spaghetti western 'The Big Gundown', for instance. The studio will not put out a new version so all versions out there for sale are pirated. I would very much like to buy a non-pirated version, re-mastered with perhaps some bonus material, but they just won't do it. So, am I supposed to just forget the film exists and buy something I don't want to buy?
If they want people to buy non-pirated versions of their products, then they should sell the products people want with the extras that people want at a price that people want. It's called a business model that works.
" If I think the film is decent I will consider buying a copy, but ..."
About the only thing you DO consider. How magnanimous. Perhaps you should 'consider' the fact that your selfish actions have brought about the Mandy bill!
Why is it that all freeloaders are A/C? You say you're 'proud'...proudly step up and identify yourself!
Advertising: The film industry, the same people who advertised Norbit as "Hysterically Funny"
Price: Some time ago I went looking for "The Cruel Sea" (1953) on DVD, high street price €22.00 for a 50 year old film with no extras. I eventually got a copy free with the daily mail for €0.50 (I only kept the paper so the dog could piss on it).
Can you imagine it, honest advertising and realistic pricing "Norbit, total shite, wait three months and but it from Tesco for 2.99"
After Battlestar Galactica finsihed its run, I really wanted to get the soundtrack to season 4. So I looked around for months after it finished airing to find it would come out on a specific date - January last year IIRC.
When the date came, I searched on Amazon and found it - I could pre-order it - it was $16.99. $16.99, i thought? That can't be right - I live in the UK. Oops, I'm on .com instead of .co.uk. Silly me!
So I went to amazon .co.uk and searched for it. Sure enough, it was there - albeit with a release date 1 month later and the price was £27.99.
Nearly 3 times the price (once currency conversion was taken in to consideration plus the conversion fee of course), and released a month late?
So I went to .com again and tried to order it from the US. But I wasn't allowed to because "this content is not available in your region" and gave me a helpful link back to the UK websites.
So I downloaded it for free v0v
I was quite willing and prepared to buy the damn music with real money - money that'd go to the studios - that's why I was on amazon to begin with.
But then I thought fuck you, when I thought about it.
If they hadn't tried to fuck me over with the pricing and the wait, they'd have got some money, but now they don't, and I have the music.
They do this to themselves.
To pirate a phrase from our dear leader (the moderatrix that is), ODFO.
No, I do not condone piracy outright, as I believe that creators deserve payment for entertaining me - if they can make a living out of it, they will create more, and I will get more entertainment.
However, the present system is so unbalanced that usually the buyer gets poor value, the creator gets little remuneration, and a whole bunch of middle-men cream most of the profit.
If you believe that everyone should pay for everything they have taken, then I want a system where the crap stuff not only refunds your money, but pays for the chunk of life stolen from you by false advertising. (What do you mean, asking if I am still bitter about "The Phantom Menace"?)
I had the same problem with Forbidden Plant. No kosher DVD to buy in the UK and no release date (at the time) so I bought a (very good) pirated copy for four quid.
I rarely download movies because I'm happy to just rent, or if the film is exceptional I'll buy. But Blu-Ray releases are just far too expensive so I stick to renting.
The studios/labels are as usual their own worst enemies. Music and films I will happily pay for if they don't piss me about on price and that region coding crap.
What? The entertainment industry lied and inflated claims of piracy to press home its point? I'm so shocked and bemused, I thought I could trust their integrity and honesty, the same as they trust mine not to steal their product....
What's more upsetting is that the politicians believed them and changed law to suit these lying fkin bastards. I stand by my idea of shooting every fifth politician if they're caught lying or failing to deliver on manifesto pledges, in fact, let's just shoot every fifth one anyway because we all know they're going to sell us down the river anyway.
Paris, she's used to getting screwed..
If the film industry is looosing sooo much money, why is it that the actors in the films are paid more than the total income of everybody in my town?
Thumbs up to GAO for identifying that these figures have *no* defensible basis.
What's quite astonishing is you would think that these bodies would have *some* loose idea of how to link the amount of illegal goods with the amount of legal goods produce.
It would seem not.
Once the idea got round that 'intellectual property' could be bought and sold and vastly overpriced just like physical property the trough had to be widened for the even bigger snouts to fit.
But the snouts keep saying that the trough should be bigger and (it seems) the less work they have to do to get to the trough the more they should be able to feed.
Ramp up the 'recommended' price that the product is never sold at and base all your calculations on a non-existant value then scream that you're being robbed. It's no different from bumping up an insurance claim - adding a bit more value here and there until it bears no resemblance to the real value.
For once someone seems to have said 'HOW MUCH? you must be joking'.
"undermines the incentive for authors and artists to create"
You don't sit down and say "I'm going to make money by writing songs" (or creating anything else artistic)
The majority of artists have natural talent and it is their own love of what they do and their powerful ego's that drive them to create. And we've certainly seen some extremely large ego's over the centuries.
Artists absolutely deserve to be paid, and handsomely where appropriate, but to say money is the incentive is just so wide of the mark. Let's not forget that the VAST MAJORITY of the cash involved goes to the record label, studio, publisher, gallery etc, so it is their greed that is related to a monetary incentive.
Piracy is wrong, but let's make sure we control it for the right reasons.
How much incentive do they need to get dead artists to create?
"You don't sit down and say "I'm going to make money by writing songs" (or creating anything else artistic)"
No, but you might say "I wish I could afford to quit my dead-end job and pursue my dream of being a full-time artist". The monetary incentive affects artists too.
That reminds me of the Dilbert cartoon - where they used the dead founder (spinning in his grave) of the company to make electricity.
The most creative aspects of human culture are generally free (or low cost). Look at the stuff people put on YouTube, Fdo for OSS etc. If it is good, and if the public feel they are getting value for money AND directly supporting the creator, they'll pay (yes, people do pay for FOSS - shock, horror!).
If the public feel they are getting taken for a ride/only supporting some exec's drug habit, then they'll rebel.
I will confess to committing certain "criminal" acts to be able to watch what I want. It's only criminal because some ass-hat came up with DVD region locking and I now have to play silly-bastards to view LEGALLY PURCHASED material that would not normally play on my player (and that is not available here). How does RESTRICTION OF FREE TRADE help the creators? Eh, ass-hats?
I don't torrent copyrighted material or anything, I buy the DVD/CD and then bang my head off the keyboard when the latest "anti-piracy" measure gets on my tits (actually, I have considered torrenting AFTER purchase just to get a non-DRM copy!)
Every anti-piracy measure will be broken. Unless people start heading down the route of personally encrypted copies delivery only of secure connections, it will be broken (and even then, one could just shove a recorder with hacked firmware on the end). Better (and less exhausting) to just play fair, give people the service they want at a price they can afford.
Sure, that won't stamp out piracy; but billions will be saved from stopping trying to kill the unkillable. I'm not defending piracy, but the current situation is untenable, pisses of customers and is actually detrimental to the creators it is trying to protect (it doesn't protect creators one bit, it protect the big labels and they have created jack-shit).
We make extensive use of Debian so every year i buy some random merchandise or send them a donation.
In fact you're just reminded me that I haven't yet this year. I will do so now.
...but that's because I am skint.
"Sometimes what's right isn't as important as what's profitable" - Trey Parker and Matt Stone
If there's a case for splitting copyright into corporate and personal?
I can understand why a corporation like Disney want copyright extended, but if they could be granted perpetual copyright for the Mouse, would they "care" so much about other stuff?
Separation could allow for gradual reduction in the case of unused works (e.g. If there are no products manufactured and made available for sale in say 15 years, it reverts to personal copyright under the original author for 10 years or life+10 years, then into the public domain).
Such a separation would allow us to deal properly with the different demands of artists and big businesses, although you'd probably want some safeguards to prevent things like recording companies writing perpetual copyright assignment clauses into artists' contracts.
The big media companies /tell/ us that money is being taken away from the artists, but artists are often getting single-digit percentages from sales, if copyright reverted to the artist after (say) 10 or 15 years, then the artist would be in a position to take their works elsewhere, which might mean a more equitable solution all round, (e.g. A personal work cannot be changed into a corporate work, it can at most only be granted a fixed-term exclusive license.)
Conversely, a salaried team creating the next Pixar movie might only produce corporate copyright works that belong to Pixar. Those works would then be business assets that can be sold on or traded against.
Workable solution or fatally flawed in some way that I haven't thought of?
It would be better to treat them the same way. Copyright should last for about 30 years from first publication in all cases. (And publications should have a copyright notice that includes a date, and perhaps there should be a requirement to adequately reference earlier editions of the same work.)
Your point about 'perpetual copyright' for Mickey Mouse is a little off the mark though. IMHO, things such as MM should be treated as a corporate trademark. Disney should own the right to profit from commercial ventures using that trademark, such as T-shirts and silly hats.
They shouldn't retain the perpetual right to prevent others from creating new works based upon MM, such as new cartoons. If they want to continue making money from creative works, they should create some new ones, I fail to see why they should continue to draw revenue from the works of someone who is long dead.
The distinction here is between copyright and trademarks. IANAL, but I believe these are treated in fundamentally different ways. Lobbyists deliberately conflate them, in order to extend the length of copyright (which is the area where they can draw the largest profits from what is essentially protectionism).
I have no problem with a corporate entity protecting its trademarks, in order to stop others passing themselves off. If for example, I were to make a cartoon and sell it as a Disney cartoon, in order to up my sales, Disney would be quite rightly able to sue the pants off me.
What I see as unreasonable is the situation where someone might make a short film about Mickey Mouse, and Disney sues them because they are using a copyrighted image. What they are then doing is essentially preventing others form producing creative works.
I'll admit, it was just something that popped into my head rather than a fully formed working solution :-)
Maybe MM was a bad example, how about something more specific like, say, Casablanca or Citizen Kane? They're likely to remain profitable in a small way to the studios for some time and I can't say I have a particular problem if they wish to continue producing DVDs or whatever for the next 200 years if people still want to buy them.
To coin a phrase, IANAL, so I have no idea if something else protects them, but if I understand things correctly (and I probably don't), once the original print it out of copyright someone else could master a DVD/Bluray/H.294/whatever from it and start selling it.
In fact, that already happens with books, you can buy a recently copyrighted version of 1984 at lots of book stores, even though the work itself is in the public domain (ok, not everywhere in the world).
Essentially we lack balance, I don't really see a problem with MGM or whoever being able to continue to make money from Casablanca and I've no real problem with them being able to control derivative works to prevent the dilution of that market, but they're not doing that then the work should be treated as abandoned to let someone else have a go.
All that happens at the moment is everything gets stupidly long protections *in case* they turn out to be lucrative, which feels wrong to me. If it's not making money, let it go and help enrich our cultural heritage. Damn, I think I've been watching too much Star Trek.
Copyright lasts 25 years, or until death, whichever occurs sooner, and is non-transferrable -- except that it can be used one time as collateral for a loan.
An impoverished but talented person can create some content, then borrow money to pay for its publication and distribution. The lender then gets to stipulate how the work can be used, and what royalty is payable for each use, until the loan is repaid in full (which normally would be when the first pressing sells out). At which point, the artist is then free to publish again via the same or other channels. There would need to be a law in place to ensure that the mortgage was not prolonged unnecessarily, so rights would revert to the creator as soon as possible.
No exclusivity: Merely making a copy is no infringement, as long as the appropriate royalty is paid (to the artist, or to the lender if copyright is mortgaged).
There are business opportunities at all levels here: full-package-management services where all the work -- recording, mastering, promotion, distributing, royalties collection -- is done for you; bare-bones services; and everything in between.
"Copyright lasts 25 years, or until death, whichever occurs sooner, and is non-transferrable -- except that it can be used one time as collateral for a loan."
I'd rather make it just 25 years and transferable in a will. Otherwise you've just created an incentive to kill the author. More seriously, since I can sit in a desk job and leave a pile of cash to my children, why shouldn't an author be able to leave the fruits of their labours to their children?
On a more general point, I have to say that if you can't recoup your creative investment within 25 years in the modern world, you've failed. 25 years *might* have been sufficient in the 18th century when there was no mass market to plug into, but not any more. The majority of "creative" works can be distributed/published over the internet at very low cost these days. There just aren't the economic barriers that existed 300 years ago, so the copyright period should be *shorter*, not longer.
"You don't sit down and say "I'm going to make money by writing songs" (or creating anything else artistic)"
not unless your artistic tallent is creating £20 notes
just checking my pockets !!!
Video Games killed the DVD..
Mobile phones killed the CD..
(With respect to where the 'youth pound' now goes!)
about time they stop blaming the pirates.
It's all very well the GAO pointing this out but it'll have little effect until newsmedia starts doing its job and does that critical appraisal of its sources thing that we all learn about in school.
While they continue to regurgitate press release figures based on the ludicrous assumption that one illegal download = one lost sale, the entire picture is skewed and the argument fatally flawed.
Unfortunately this critical assessment will never happen, because every significant source of news belongs to a conglomerate with a commercial media arm that has a vested interest in inflating these figures (yes, especially including Auntie Beeb).
So, really, we're screwed.
Oh, and don't get me going on that "piracy is stealing" crap. No it isn't - if you steal something then you deprive somebody else of rightful ownership.
Until they stop lying and ripping people off to support their flawed argument, I reserve the right to ignore them and rip them off in return.
"It also goes out of its way to recognize that piracy and copyright infringement do, indeed, have negative effects upon US companies and citizens. However..."
Oh look...your actions have consquences.
You can bandy excuses and figures back and forth, but it is YOU who have forced a draconian bill upon us in the UK. Your greed. Your lack of respect. Your overinflated sense of entitlement. Don't pretend it's anything else. So you're all up in arms that figures have been INFLATED...not that there is a genuine loss to people and to companies who are entitled to the fruits of their labour...but nevermind...you keep believing that there is nothign wrong with what you're doing...
So you are ranting that other people's piracy has enforced a bit of UK legislation which is draconian in how it restricts piracy?
What was your issue with this again?
"it is YOU who have forced a draconian bill upon us in the UK"
To coin an anlogy, that is akin to a kidnapper saying, "If you don't pay the ransom,. it;s your fault when I post bits of your daughter to you in a jiffy bag".
It is the lobbyists for the record companies, which represent corporate entities, not artists, who have forced this legislation upon us. Failure to change their outmoded business models has resulted in them no longer being able to draw a pension against past works.
You will always get people who do want stuff for free. However, there are a lot more people who do not wish to pay for dross, or over the odds for a couple of hours' entertainment. Home taping didn't kill music, and downloading isn't either.
Your ad-hominem attack against anyone who opposes your viewpoint is not only childish and ill-considered, but smacks of a comment coming from someone with a vested interest.
....tis you who fails
I bought Jaws on VHS in 1994. Buy purchasing said item I was granted a copyright license. This license lasts until the copyright holders term expires.
Jump to today, I can no longer purchase a suitable device in order to exercise my rights to make use of said copyright license. So I ask the copyright holder if they can, for a nominal fee to cover costs, send me a copy on modern media. I am quite happy to pay for the dvd, a cd sleeve and the postage costs. They say no, you must purchase another license. The license on the back of the media does state that the license in non-transferable, meaning I cannot pass those rights to another individual but does not list any restriction on my rights as the original license purchaser.
So therefore I have to use alternate methods in order to make use of a license I have already paid for. Remember a cd/dvd/BD is only a medium to initially transferring the license to you.
The mandybill was not caused by so called pirates, it was caused by an archaic business model desperate to keep control
@A/C - it has implications for law abiding citizens too!
@Others - I am in no way a corporate shill...I am just someone with a modicum of morality. I just resent the bullshit romanticization of grubby theft as some kind of moral or intellectual vanguard act. Speaking as someone who buys media after careful consideration (instead of ripping it off in the first instance) I resent those who bypass the market.
My brother pirates plenty...he has the decency to acknowledge (with no ranting or prompting by me) that what he is doing is wrong and he would be bang to rights if caught.
oh do calm down..
The uproar isnt just those with 24/7 50mb (note to Labour the 'b' is small!) who are downloading the collected 'works' of now thats what I call, well, pretty poor regurgitated trash 174.
If you want to make people liable for their actions you've got a hell of a lot better places to start than with people downloading tv episodes of shows that are not available here.
Am I defening these people, no, am I a serial downloader, nope but downloaders are a convenient and "most likely" excuse for the BPI et al to use.
There are NO confirmed, validated, impartial (that last one is important) reports or published works that confirm that downloading (for which read bittorrent which is the most public trading medium) is killing music, dvd, movies, executive drug habits or small fluffy bunny rabbits.
Totally self-interested pieces BY the BPI and their fox-screeching representitive Fergal "one hit wonder" sharkey on the other hand see a huge decrease in sales and a distribution model not locked to their every whim and king-making ideals and grabbed the nearest politician for hire (Mandelspanner / Geffen anyone?) and started whining into their bottles of Bolly.
I've studied this change in IP licensing for nigh on 11 years in my 20+ years in the IT and Coms industries and, if anyone bothers to look, they'll see that the KPI on purchased IP media (that's your CD,DVD,BluRay etc) is probably up 5-10% it's just not in the same place. There's been paradgm changes in allocation to games with huge production values (compare ZX81 Night Gunner with God of War 3 / your favourite game / platform of choice) ring tones, on line downloads. Sure an album doesnt sell 4 million copies anymore at £13 an album, that's for many social reasons including but not limited to different spending patterns, variety of choice, perception of value, yes - probably an aspect of people having free access, deciding track 1 only will do them and not buying the other 14 turgid remixes - and, the BPI will really hate this one, the fact that a lot of output is now "manufactured" x-factor tripe with a shelf-life of 21-42 days tops.
The DEB is a tragedy, its an abomination and it will only "work" if its used to its full draconian ability to cut off anyone even vaguely thinking about sharing a file - and not just by bittorrent - leading to a staggering number of false positives, unfair suits and disconnections and most likely a few referals to the human rights legislation which is, at present, incompatibile with it (are you listening France?)
In the event the DEB did "work" it may stop on line P2P trading. It wont stop file sharing with 2 TB (see the big B there, gee its not tricky at all) portable drives having LAN parties and will start mesh wifi networks springing up and thats without new developments springing up.
Even so, if the DEB was expanded and expanded and expanded and file sharing stopped, overnight do you know what would happen to music / movie sales?
No, neither do I and nor does the BPi, Fergal, the MPAA, RIAA, Geffen or Mandelspanner but if/when (take your pick) filesharing is proved to not be the culprit the BPI will just start campaigning for a levvy on computer games / music in movies / whistling in toilets to bolster their "flagging" model.
I'd like to see a real self-publishing an promotion portal (not the scam sites we know are another variant on the back-alley recording studios of old) get somewhere to break the stalemate but whilst we keep getting into an us and them, paytards vs freetards, everyone vs the government (guess who's more tech-savvy in that one) teeth gnashing war no one is going to win except, as always, the lawyers and the politicians bank accounts.
Thanks for that. A very enjoyable post.
I worry that people extrapolate their grievances with the music and film industries onto any industry that procues stuff that can be technically ripped off. Most important to me personally is the PC games industry. While PC gaming has adapted to some extent it is never going to be good enough for those who just need the hint of a shaky excuse (e.g. they disagree with anti piracy measures) for them to rip off the games producer...thus depriving me of high quality games for the PC (noticed in Game how the PC games section is ever decreasing in size). Maybe it's because PC gamers are more savy and get their games online. Maybe it's because fewer developers are developing for the PC. I would just prefer it if people supported the inustries they enjoy.
An interesting point.
However I've got to say that in the past 5 years I hardly ever buy a full price DVD, CD or Game from the high street. Sometimes the odd bargain disc from HMV, Game et al but mostly I've pre-ordered on line.
So why the reduction in the PC games area? Mmmm, well the purchasing figures (which I dont have in front of me so some of this is based on memory) would say that its not the industry going under. I think its a maturing market meaning merging companies who are grouping together to afford large production costs. Ah, but why are the consoles sections so much larger then? you ask.
I'd say its because there's 1 section for PC but one EACH for the WII/XBox/PS3/PS2 etc and that's before you get into the quagmire that is shops refusing to have second hand PC games but hapilyy accepting second hand PC games.
But thats a debate for another thread :)
shops refusing to have second hand PC games but hapily accepting second hand console games.
(stupid htc keyboard / big fingers!!!!)
Reg, can we have an edit button, pretty please?
"noticed in Game how the PC games section is ever decreasing in size"
Heard of Steam?
The PC section in Game has decreased because in part to DRM causing there to be zero chance of a trade in, partly due to the massive take off of digital distribution on the PC and in part the sheer profitability and wider market of the consoles.
Primarily, it's because the most profitable part of Game is the second hand market of which 100% of the sale goes to Game and not a single penny to the games studio. It also reduces the incidence of twunts taking home a copy of the PC game, ripping it and then handing it back. On this disgusting act you can blame the appearance of those little stickers saying "no quibble money back if sticker not tampered with".
Personally, I'd be very happy if people stopped buying second hand games and bought first hand - you're actually supporting the industry then.
"Now look what you made me do."
They probably judge their losses based on RRP and selling a copy to every citizen in the country.
How can you judge if someone will buy music or not, are you really telling me they can guestimate the popularity of a film or music artist?
It's all part of a deception to earn more money than they would make doing it the hard way by selling, marketing and distributing music.
Why bother making a CD/DVD, selling it and waiting for a few pounds profit to come back when you can sue a pirate for £100,000?
Hollywood itself was formed by people fleeing to get away from paying patents for film equipment to Edison.
"we haven't lost nearly so much money as we had feared" **
* Insert make-believe deity name
** Not a real quote, but I thought it funny...
And Disney should be free to take a Hans Christian Anderson story for free, turn it into a cartoon and own the copyright for ever?
Or should HCA's (or Shakespear's) publishers still have rights to the works?