back to article SOPA is dead. Are you happy now?

In response to internet technology companies leading a rousing protest against SOPA and PIPA, these bills appear to be doomed to ignominious defeat. Even the co-sponsors of these anti-piracy bills are deserting their legislation, leaving the tech world to cheer its success. But what kind of success did we achieve? As written, …

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Happy

Relax, it's just a Gutenberg moment

I think the whole concept of "intellectual property" needs a rework - I think there's a good argument to be made that the very concept of "intellectual property" protection is becoming irrelevant. The idea that you can take a "work" and distribute it electronically without leaks (Wikileaks) or duplication (MPAA) has been proven to fail every single time that someone tries it. We all need to step back and, with a nod to Quentin Crisp, embrace this "failure" and make it our style - we need to learn that information is just that, a collection of electrons with no allegiance or honor.

After all there's a lot of "intellectual property" that has little need of protection and yet thrives - Museums, Theaters, Art Galleries, Live Performances ... the formula for Coca Cola. IP is dead, long live IP.

Come back Marshall McLuhan, all is forgiven.

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... and before you jump all over me as a freetard, I should point out that I make my living from "Intellectual Property" selling both software and hardware that I design (with the help of others, I'm not some solitary genius in a can) - sure, the stuff I design and make could be copied but if I do my job properly then it's cheaper for someone to buy my products then reinvent or copy them.

There is no "Divine Right" of ownership of ideas ... all we can ever own is "things" - and the joke's on us because we can't take them with us when we die.

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Alert

IP not dead

Museums, Theaters, Art Galleries, Live Performances - you think these materials are not protected by IP rights?

Try staging Les Miserables or Cats, try photographing in art galleries or museums with anything more than a compact ( or anything at all in an increasing number) - I think you will find that IP is quite well protected.

The biggest problem in all this mess is that both sides are entirely reactionary and the politicians just go with where their interest is. In the US it is very difficult for a politician to adopt any stance which could be caricatured as anti-property rights so they usually end up on the side of the property owner and we end up with legislation which is basically a list of banned activities and sanctions - generally recognised as the worst sort of law-making.

The freetard opposition meanwhile presents itself as standing up for us ordinary folks and our right to HAVE STUFF NOW. Nothing of the sort - they are at least as self serving as the politicians and IP owners. Modern day hippy movements with a whole load of stoners being lead by people whose self-promoting agenda is all too plain to see and keeping their mug followers in line with a promise of free sex/movies/rock 'n' roll.

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Happy

"Try staging Les Miserables or Cats, try photographing in art galleries or museums with anything more than a compact ( or anything at all in an increasing number) - I think you will find that IP is quite well protected."

Good Point - but I would argue that these "protections" are a tip of the cap to "IP" and actually serve very little useful purpose - the actually "protect" a very marginal income stream and probably actually cost far more to enforce than the "income" that they are supposed to protect.

I'm not saying that if you own something in a gallery that you can't tell visitors that they can't take a picture of it - I'm just saying don't try and tell me that you're doing it because of "IP" - that's rubbish.

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FAIL

IP of Les Miserables??

Victor Hugo has been dead for over a century, and you can stage Les Miserables whenever you want. You can also copy paintings of Van Gogh, down to the last detail, signature included and sell them... As long as you do not claim they are originals.

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Anonymous Coward

@Colin Millar

Galleries that ban photography are not protecting their IP in the usual sense of preventing others using it without permission, because there is no IP in a 200-year-old painting.

So if you go into a gallery you can photograph a painting without breaking any law. The gallery can ask you to leave, but you've still got the photo and you can do what you like with it.

The gallery's IP actually resides in the photographs they have taken of the paintings, and they want to ensure they have no competition. Which is a bit rum for publically-funded institutions whose purpose is to disseminate information about their collections.

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@ratfox

>>"Victor Hugo has been dead for over a century, and you can stage Les Miserables whenever you want."

You could read out the original *book* on stage*, or an old translation of it, or perform the 1863 play (in French), but you can't stage the *musical* without permission, or some other recent stage adaptations.

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@AC

>>"The gallery's IP actually resides in the photographs they have taken of the paintings, and they want to ensure they have no competition. Which is a bit rum for publically-funded institutions whose purpose is to disseminate information about their collections."

Well, if they're non-profit, then getting money from postcards, catalogues, book reproduction rights, etc *is* income that either means they need less from elsewhere, or means they have more money to spend doing stuff.

In practice, I think photography bans are also often significantly to do with not having countless people firing off flashes or trying to get the 'best' position for a shot while other people are trying to look properly at something, and also to simplify the situation where many places might be displaying things that /are/ still in copyright, or things that have been loaned by someone who would rather keep the reproduction rights to themselves.

Having to try and manage photographers to avoid disturbing other visitors, and potentially enforce selective bans of certain items might well be much more work than having a blanket ban that most people comply with.

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Boffin

Gallery photos

I'm a retired museum curator, and have been involved with *this* one up to my ears. A good part of a museum/gallery's problem with photos rests upon ultraviolet damage from the flash. And it's hard to get a decent photo without controlling the lighting and surroundings. Besides, a lot of those objects and images cost real *money*.

If people wanted to stage and take their own photos, they had to rent me to come along with the objects, to make sure nothing bad happened. (I had to practically *scream* once to keep the photographer from using dulling spray on a 150-year-old artifact. And what they sometimes want to do with gaffer's tape can be horrifying.)

Alternatively, they could hire the museum's photographer to do the job.

The IP aspect was significant, but definitely not on top of the list.

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Photos

I've also read that one of the primary concerns with photography in museums etc is the effects of the flash degrading artefacts (colour fade I'd guess, and possibly materials degradation). However the complete banning of all photography seems to dovetail nicely with the book sales in the shop you always have to pass through in order to leave. For some places (Royal Palaces etc) I'll buy as some of the shots are outstanding and the books filled with historical information and prices are often reasonable.

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FAIL

Or do your own adaptation of it

Obviously if you use someone else's screenplay/script, you are infringing THEIR copyright - not the copyright of the original. If you create your own interpretation/adaptation of the original, you are then creating your own copyright of that new version.

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Big Brother

Simple Solution

Governments would be better informed if it were illegal for elected representatives to accept bribes in the form of campaign funds.

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Including from themselves?

There has to be somewhere that elected representatives get money from for their campaigns. If the only place is their own pocket, then you have just given rich people an advantage that no-one else can possibly overcome.

If you stop them putting money in themselves, and you stop them taking contributions from anyone else, then you have to have tax payer funding - or else there is nowhere they can raise money from, and so all campaigns have to be done for free, which means no on-line campaigning at all, as the campaign can't possibly use a computer that it doesn't own.

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Why?

Why not have it so you can only donate to the party, that way no influence over individuals.

Keep the cap on the amount each person can contribute and also limit the amount that parties can spend on an election campaign. That way every other commercial for the next 9 months won't be about the election and neither party would be able to buy the Presidency.

The sooner America can sever the connection between self serving corporations and cash guzzling politicians the better.

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Congrats, you killed the independent.

Independent candidates, by definition, have no party. So how would an independent candidate bankroll a campaign without a personal bankroll (the only one he's got). If someone else funds him, he's essentially part of a party and no longer independent.

What's REALLY needed is to understand that perhaps the Founding Fathers didn't quite get it all the way right. 200+ years of experience is teaching us that free speech only goes so far. Like capitalism, sooner or later you get a bully. The only way to control the bully is to set the rules so that everyone has their say. In other words, FREE speech isn't as important as FAIR speech (and to see that in action, look into the courts, where speech is under certain rules of honesty and fairness--Ads could use the same treatment).

But who moderates the campaign if you can't trust anyone (not even the government) to keep it fair?

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Anonymous Coward

Not really

In real life, the bully dies. Corporations may die, but they live a hell of a lot longer than real people do. It's our court system, stating that corporations are people, that has exacerbated this problem. Corporations are not held to the same standards and laws as a LIVING person. Hence, when a company's product kills people, they can't be put in prison. Hell, we don't even stop them from selling their products for the same amount of time as someone would have recieved as jail time. Now, I'm not saying that a company should be punished because a handful of people die from defective product each year. What I am saying, is that companies that sell something like tobacco products, knowing full well the high causal link to death are not punished. If you went around and killed a quarter of the people you hung out with (maybe not right away, but eventually), then you'd be in prison and possibly facing state sanctioned death. Now many banks that falsified their loans are in jail? None. No probation either.

And in the states, if you're an independent, the rules are vastly different for you than if you're one of the established parties. You don't se the Dems or Reps going around gathering signatures to get their candidate on the ballot every election cycle. Tax money goes into in-party elections that only members can vote in (this does vary because the Repubs in my state allow anyone) or you can only vote in one political parties selection process. Even the debates are controlled by the top two parties. Unless they consider you a 'viable' candidate, you're not going to be invited. Then there's the problem with the debate questions. They're all pre-approved.

Government has been in bed with corporations long before this 'incivility' to discuss things came into its present state.

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Funding is simple

It has to be centrally (i.e. Government/tax-payer) supplied and regulated. That puts everyone on an even footing. Candidates must then account for all that is spent on their campaign. It's about time some semblance of honesty was brought (not bought) back into politics. Remove the lobbying and the contributions/funding which essentially amount to a legal bribe. There has to be a better way.

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But how do you counter freedom of the press?

Especially "mudspray" ads that happen to smother one or more candidates without specifically endorsing anyone. That's still a form of bullhorning, it's also covered by the first amendment., and you have no way to conclusively determine under whose budget it falls. As we've learned, many forms of speech can be both political and subtle at the same time. If politicos are anything, they're sneaky. Any form of reform would have to put very tight rules as to how the campaign would be structured so that there's little if any weasel room.

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Nice article, thanks

Totally agree that there needs to be discussion, debate and compromise to solve this issue. The problem is neither side wish to do so/

The way I see it, the media industries shot themselves in the foot a long time ago and have been struggling to stop the hemorrhage since. They failed to keep up with technology, so people stepped into the gap and provided the services people wanted: the only problem was, without the media industries backing, it was piracy, and the media industry made no money from it.

There is now a generation where a large proportion have become used to getting any media they want almost instantly, and available to watch on any device they wish. The fact it is free is incidental. They are able to download a torrent of a file, for example, on the day of release (and sometimes earlier) and, a short while later, watch it. They can then play it on their phone, their PC, their TV... any device they want, for as long as they want, in as good quality as they would get if they had gone to the shop and bought the DVD/BluRay. There are no restrictions on operating systems or number of devices they can play it on. There are no trailers or adverts about "copyright theft". In short it is convenient and simple.

Having "forced" a big chunk of this generation into such distribution methods, the industry needs to come up with something which is at least as good in order to convert them, as they will not pay for a service of a lower standard than they are used to receiving for free. They also need to price it sensibly, so they are encouraged to use it. And they need to make ALL content available, as with only a limitted amount, why should they switch?

This is a better method than enforcement (at the moment). There will still be some die-hard "freetards" (hate the term, but it's the best term available) who will not switch, but with a reasonable, legal alternative most will. At this point, it will be easier (and less unpopular) to target enforcement action at those who have not switched (if there are enough of them to be worth it by then).

To sum it all up, the media industry (IMHO) need to "win the hearts and minds" of the public (mainly the tech public) with a GOOD QUALITY, GOOD VALUE service before they wage war on the illegitimate sources of media. Instead, they choose to offer services of a lower standard than those availble elsewhere and shut down the places offering what their customers want.

Then they are surprised when their customers fight back.

Instead of fighting the tech, they should be engaging them to find out what they want, and providing it.

Note: I am not saying the "pirates" are in the right, just that the media industry are, IMO, doing things in the wrong way. So are the tech industry.

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Sorry small correction:

3rd paragraph:

"They are able to download a torrent of a file, for example"

should have been

"They are able to download a torrent of a FILM, for example"

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But what if they can't meet?

What if there reaches a divide such that the film industry won't go lower because then they're not profitable while further down there's a point the viewers won't go higher because that's too much hoop-jumping? In terms of supply-demand economics, what if the supply curve and the demand curve don't intersect?

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Gimp

@Dr. Mouse.... nail has been hit on the proverbial head.

I couldn't agree with you more. The market for music, video (and anything else that can be digitized) was severely disrupted by the interwebs years and years ago. Much of the copyright legislation and litigation that followed are just knee-jerk reactions to what is essentially a fait accompli. And this means that the only way out is to start dealing with the problem "as it is" rather than trying to stick it into a time machine and send it back to the days when physical media was the only media (barring the airwaves, of course).

But I fear this type of debate will only begin when the majority of the electorate has forgotten (or never known) what a VCR, CD or LP was and if they remember, can't understand why anyone would ever use such primitive systems to store anything. That could take another generation or longer, on the outside.

The trouble with the "reasonable, legal alternatives" is that although they will be legal and reasonable for most people, the dinosaurs that reign over media empires will always see these alternatives as evil systems designed to drain away lifeblood from their ever-so profiitable (and enforceable) monopolies based on physical media thinking. The current copyright system(s) and laws that exist today reflect this mentality and are of course part of the problem.

Yes they should be embracing the tech, but they really can't because they are in a complete state of denial. These people need to be educated, probably the hard way. I am all for free and fair debate/discussion but until some home truths are accepted by "old media" (such as the internet is not for sale to the highest bidder) it will be very difficult to open any kind of reasoned discussion without it degenerating into a shouting match. That doesn't leave the technerati with too many alternatives. Lobbying congress is one, but that will take a lot of money and effort. A better idea would be to invite representatives and anyone else to join or sponsor more on-line discussions like this one. Cheaper too. Could consensus and good sense then become options? Maybe.

Regardless, I will not let loony-toon studio executives try to block my free and fair access to the internet, no matter how badly done by they feel, today or ever. And I'd like to believe the majority of internet users feel the same and will continue to do so. So the ball is in your court, guys.

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Anonymous Coward

If they can't meet then there is no market

If the film industry is unable to produce/market/sell a product at a price that anybody is willing to pay, then the market does not exist. At that point either the product changes, or the industry goes out of business. Lots of people seem to like watching movies, and the "magic" of a free market is that you get to vote with your wallet about how much you like it.

Maybe costs are too high and the industry need to rethink how they make movies. Maybe reduce spend on "talent", marketing or lobbying. Maybe cut back on special effects (including 3D). Or maybe they need to offer differentiated products, with cheaper "mainstream" movies and more expensive "premium" movies. Maybe the reality is that 80% of people simply can't afford to watch a modern blockbuster film.

To some extent they already differentiate with first release to theatres and second release on disk/rental. For most movies I'm happy to wait till it turns up at my local video shop. $1 for the whole family to see it (and able to pause for toilet/munchies breaks) is much better than $40+ for the family to see it in the theatre. But for some movies I'll fork out because *I* think it is worth it.

In fairness though I have to admit that my above pro free market stance (you do not have a *right* to watch films) gets shot in the foot when I admit:

For those occasional films that don't make it to my region, or that stop showing before I find out about them, then other channels become necessary.

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@Charles 9

If they can't meet, either the industry dies or things carry one as they are.

At the end of the day, they make enough money as things stand (forget this bull about them loosing so much, the films still make millions in profit) and the industry CAN continue with the status quo. This is likely why they are pushing for legislation like this: If it is true that many wouldn't go and buy their products even if they weren't available illegitimately, which I think they accept (if not publicly) then they loose nothing and protect their out dated business model.

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Anonymous Coward

Murdoch and friends

should get the antitrust treatment too.

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Go

I sort of agree

I agree that we need to find a better way to engage in discussion, but until that happens the only option left to us is to shout, unless we want that legislation to pass.

I fully support the need for IP protection but as I think everyone agrees, SOPA/PIPA were badly written and would never have worked, it would have been a disaster if they had passed.

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Far from Dead

SOPA and PIPA are very far from dead, PIPA is still being pushed for a 24-Jan vote. SOPA will be quietly rebuilt and relabeled and the House will hope they can sneak it by.

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Black Helicopters

...

Title should be

SOPA is having a lie down. Are you happy for now?

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Unhappy

hmmm

"but rather when there is a meeting of the minds over the essential facts around a problem, and real solutions are broached and agreed upon."

is a meeting of minds really possible with the MPAA et al? Time and again we see evidence that they put their profits ahead of liberty or even the law, would they really move far enough to a reasonable position?

Part of the problem is that just because you have 2 opposing views the answer is not always in the middle. Sometimes people are just plain wrong.

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PIRACY IS NOT THEFT. Lets get that out of the way RIGHT NOW. Furthermore, it isn't half the problem that you think it is.

Russia is known for being rife with pirates, and everybody knows you can't sell in Russia. Right? Wrong. Valve found out that by releasing proper localizations in Russian, and by releasing on the same release date, not only did the game sell well in Russia, but 3x what they expected!

PC game sales are down, and piracy is up, and lots of developers say the PC insn't worth developing for, everybody will steal your product. But again, Valve put games on huge sale, and are finding time and again that ALL TRADITIONAL BUSINESS MODELS ARE FLAWED. As soon as a game is put on sale for a more reasonable price, as soon as the PRICE MATCHES WHAT THE PUBLIC PERCEIVES AS ITS VALUE, sales EXPLODED. Literally Valve cannot believe how crazy successful the sales have been. Thats why ever since the big summer sale, there have been SALES after SALES after SALES.

Piracy is NOT a problem you solve by TREATING THE CUSTOMERS WHO SUPPORT YOU LIKE CRIMINALS. It is a problem where you are already treating your customers poorly. Consider DRM, one of the attempts to fight piracy: IT ONLY HURTS LEGITIMATE CUSTOMERS. Pirates get a BETTER, SUPERIOR product that works offline and doesn't require 3 activations that turn off if you change your video card. When Piracy offers a SUPERIOR product, even people who WOULD HAVE PAID MONEY instead pirate it. You are literally offering to them "by paying money, we will hold you back." That is a business model NOBODY would agree to.

Part of the problem is our abandonment of the concept of haggling in the west. Here, its YOU PAY OUR ONE PRICE OR YOU DONT GET IT. Well, that is naive. If somebody is offering you $50 for a $60 product, would you rather take $0? If you are selling a physical product that costs you to manufacture each one, then maybe the profit margin is too thin to accept that. But with IP, with digital media, the COST OF DISTRIBUTION IS NEXT TO 0. ALL the cost is R&D. So as long as somebody pays you $1, you're making profit. This is why Steam is selling games for $5, and why the Humble Indie Bundle let you PAY WHAT YOU WANT. Did they get pirated? Did people pay 0? Actually, given the choice, people paid MILLIONS OF DOLLARS.

People will happily pay for a product that they get value from.

Not to mention, time and AGAIN, studies have shown that pirates buy more movies and games than non-pirates, and many are likely to purchase the very thing they just pirated. Video games don't always release demos, so some try the game first through piracy rather than spend $60 on a really bad game they won't play after a few hours. We've all been burned by a really crappy game that got marketed to make it appear better. These deceptive practices are what have made customers wary.

THE ENTIRE problem of piracy results from CUSTOMERS BEING MISTREATED and businessmen acting like they rule the world. IT IS THE CONSUMER WHO DRIVES PROFITS.

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Anonymous Coward

Unfortunately the people who would do well to learn the lessons described in your message wouldn't get it even if the shouting had the effect you appear to desire. Instead, they'll keep on insisting on their Cliff Richard-style cumulative lifetime rewards, huge margins, price-fixing, and restrictive practices.

It is indeed a sorry commentary on the state of progress in the media business when the hot new things are stuff like Spotify - radio reinvented for the Internet - as the industry, after over a decade of dithering, decides that the only way forward is to turn the clock back.

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@Zaphod42

>>"THE ENTIRE problem of piracy results from CUSTOMERS BEING MISTREATED and businessmen acting like they rule the world."

So you're saying that if media companies had dived into online sales, that there would be *no-one* copying stuff for nothing?

Surely, there'd still have been some people who wanted whatever it was 'right now' but couldn't buy it because they didn't have the money just now, or who wouldn't pay for it on principle because 'the companies were still making too much money', or...

Especially with young people likely to be:

a) more than averagely impulsive

b) often of limited means

c) lacking adult payment methods

d) possibly feeling more 'entitled' than the average adult

there'd be a natural constituency for freeloading whatever the paid business model was, even if the overall scale might be rather less than it currently is.

I certainly couldn't stand up and say that I know if I'd been offered pretty much anything for nothing when I was a 14-year-old, I wouldn't have taken it and rationalised it away one way or another, whatever the actual price of legit copies was.

>>"Not to mention, time and AGAIN, studies have shown that pirates buy more movies and games than non-pirates,... "

Though obviously, people do have to be pretty careful about drawing cause-and-effect conclusions from data like that.

It would seem pretty predictable that the people who are interested enough in the product to be the heaviest-paying consumers would also be likely to be particularly interested in trying stuff out for free, just as people with minimal interest in games/video wouldn't be expected to do much downloading.

Simply having a correlation between downloading and being a heavy paying consumer doesn't prove the first *must* cause the second to any particular degree.

Having a 'natural' positive correlation from basically honest people who do (or don't) buy much content can help mask a fair amount of pure freeloading, even assuming that the pure freeloaders are giving honest information to the studies.

Before downloading was really feasible, there was a definite group of people who spent a serious chunk of their disposable income on games/videos/music.

I worked with a /lot/ of people who would fit into that category, some being pretty much pathological examples of it.

If you could transport someone like that from pre-download days to the modern day and give them the chance to sample stuff before buying, it'd be a very tricky call whether they'd be likely to spend more, the same, or less than they would have done without that chance, even though it'd be a fair bet that in the absence of any obvious sanctions, most of them would be downloading stuff to try it out, and still buying more stuff than the average consumer, and therefore contributing to a positive download:purchase correlation in statistics whether the influence of downloading on them as an individual was actually positive, negative, or neutral.

>>"ALL the cost is R&D. So as long as somebody pays you $1, you're making profit."

Well, assuming enough people pay you $1 to cover all your development costs and other overheads.

As for a company selling things cheaper, that's certainly one way to go, and it'll be really interesting to see how well it works in the long term.

I think it'd be great if it does work out, though it'd be understandable if other games companies were wary until it was more common and *still* seeming to be no less viable than the current system.

It's at least *possible* that the first company to do something like that benefits from some interest due to a 'novelty factor' which could dissipate over time, or from resultant free advertising.

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A well argued post

Even if I didn't agree with everything you said.

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People will happily pay for a product that they get value from.

I agree entirely. Take my case. I am a British ex-pat living in France and I have acquired a taste for certain French web series such as Noob and Flander's Company. I can watch these for free, or at least for the price I pay for getting broadband. The makers of both series not only put them on their sites for free, but I can also watch them on television for the price I pay for getting broadband, as the television service comes included for no extra charge.

Since I can watch them for free, you would think, therefore, that I would have no interest in paying for legitimate - put out by the producers of the series - DVDs. Far from it. Every time they put out a DVD, I buy it. Every year at the Japan Expo, I make certain to buy anything I might have missed. Why? Because I like them and I want to reward the makers. I also want the convenience of being able to play them if, say, my Internet connection went down.

And more, not only do I buy the DVDs, I buy their T-shirts, music CDs, novels, graphic novels, mugs, etc. I definitely want the makers of these series to feel appreciated.

The makers of these series are tiny, tiny groups of people making them on tattered shoestring budgets, so if they can afford this model, so can the big players. All they have to do is put out something that people want and the people will come and they bring their money.

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Anonymous Coward

SHAME ON THE REGISTER for speaking even remotely positively about censorship. THIS IS AMERICA. If we do not have the freedom of speech, we HAVE NOTHING. You can pry my constitutional rights from MY COLD DEAD HANDS.

SOPA is DEAD. Are we happy now? YES. YES, THANK YOU VERY MUCH. SOPA IS TERRRIBLE AND HOW DARE YOU MOCK US FOR FIGHTING IT.

We are fighting for the LAST VESTIGE OF FREEDOM and you insult us?

Patriotism is dead.

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Ok!

So you are pretty much anti-SOPA then?

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Anonymous Coward

"I'm using my First Amendment right today

so I won't have to use my Second Amendment right tomorrow."

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Anonymous Coward

Patriotism is alive and well here in Blighty, which, given that El 'Reg is British, is exactly how it should be.

Apologies* if we mock you 'Merkins from time to time.

*Note, not an actual apology.

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Anonymous Coward

Please... take a chill pill, dude, honestly

Or at least develop a sense of humor

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Facepalm

Um -- The Register is not American. Note the .uk in the URL. Such patriotism as they have is not for America, but the UK.

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After SOPA

Now we need to get copyright back to the style originally intended by the (US) founding fathers: for a limited time. It is supposed to be a temporary monopoly to encourage innovation, not a century long license to mine money from long ago work.

Copyright needs to expire and the works need to pass to the publiuc domain in a time substantially less than one working lifetime.

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+1. Also,

1) make copyright non-transferable (*) to decouple content creation from distribution to bring competition to the latter i.e. copyright holder willing to sell a work is obliged to publish a price schedule for licenses and sell them to anyone who pays the price.

2) in order for copyright for a digital version to apply, a copy must be submitted to a public repository from which anyone can have a copy after the copyright has expired (which would be, say, 20 years from submission). The repository would charge a fee for submissions to cover its operating costs.

(*) law = a contract with that effect is null and void. This should work directly for individuals (such as authors, composers and musicians), for movies and such found a special purpose limited liability company that takes the investments, handles the production and then distributes the profits until it is dissolved due to going bust or the copyright expiring.

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the point was...

..to kill a bad bill. This was not a movement to say piracy was OK, or even to say we do not recognize it as an issue...we do.

But the bill made it to easy to step on due-process and free speech.

As to whether we continue the discussion in a calm rational tone or through fits of rage is beside the point. It is more important to keep the discussion, open and honest, and in the best interest of commerce and civil rights.

Just my $0.02

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The "tech world" does not have much of a voice

> "The tech world needs to find better ways to educate government than replicating the covert lobbying used against it or the megaphone protests we've seen with SOPA and PIPA."

The tech world would love to a voice against the abusive MAFIAA. Unfortunately the power-that-be will allow no such thing.

It is not a matter of "educating" congress. Congress only cares about who coughs up the campaign contributions. Congress does not care about what's right, or wrong.

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Digital world?

Marc Fleury says "Increasingly the western world relies on IP to make a living. Since we produce less "real world" goods and more "digital world" goods we open ourselves to piracy."

This is a good point, except the whole SOPA thing is targeting media.

Does not the western world largely sell its western media to its western self?

50% of Hollywood's revenue is meant to be from overseas, but I doubt much of that comes from, say, China - but rather Canada, Australia, Europe, no?

So I think most of this is unproductive churn in the West (much like tax for public sector activity), but our principle issue these days is the trade imbalance with the East.

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Anonymous Coward

Fleury may think that the manufacturers of the world will gladly pay up for pixie dust if we put a price on it, but I don't think the idea will fly in the long term. He of all people should know that making the big bucks is all about timing unless you want to have profitability in the long term: something he probably can't comment on quite so much.

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MJI
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The Freeloaders

Who exactly are they?

If they had to pay would they? Or would they do without.

If it was easier to buy than obtain would they switch what they did?

Availability seems to be the main issue, the out of print album, the film in the wrong format, the TV programme not in your region.

It is less hassle to buy a CD than download one for free. DVDs still punish the purchaser for not downloading.

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Anonymous Coward

Good point. Whenever I buy a DVD the first thing I do is rip a copy. The main reason that I do this is to disable all the PUOs (Prohibited User Operations), strip the trailers and YOU ARE A PIRATE warnings, and enable autoplay of the main title. As an added bonus, when (not if) the disc gets scratched I can reimage from the master rather than have to pay a second license fee.

It used to be that I had to put it on a new disc because storing more than a handful of movies on a media server was impractical. Now I still put it on disc becuase my family (young kids) find handling physcial media "easier" than navigating the media server.

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What 'discussion'?

I'm not bothered by the way this post develops its arguments so much as its starting principle: what is this 'discussion' where SOPA and PIPA just got 'shouted down'? It seems like Reg hacks have access to some kind of private internet, because I haven't seen it. All the 'discussion' I saw - all the posts by people sane enough to have been given any kind of platform, all the protest notices on sites like Wikipedia - hardly fit the bill. They, in fact, said something very similar to what you and Andrew said: it may be both possible and desirable to update trademark / copyright legislation to better cover certain types of internet-based shady counterfeiting operations, but SOPA and PIPA were definitely not the improvement needed. I didn't see anything more radical than that, I didn't see anyone in any kind of prominent position denying the concept of copyright entirely. Yet The Reg always seems to see the ravening hordes with torches and pitchforks. From where I'm standing, I don't.

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