A clear winner is emerging from the Digital Economy Bill - and it's the UK Pirate Party. The penny only really dropped for me yesterday, after the Open Rights Group's big demonstration at Westminster. "What was all that about, Andrew?" someone asked me in the pub afterwards. He'd been at the Commons for a meeting, and walked …
"I have no real arguments, therefore your opinion is irrelevant"
Not sure why I bother at this point
Well, lets just go through these point by point shall we?
"This Sixth Form cut-and-paste stuff really isn't helping you. You've arrived late, and missed the discussion. I'll recap for your benefit:"
This is irrelevant and is pretty typical of the sort of sniping you tend to do. But regardless, no, I didn't arrive late, I in fact have a post on page one (possibly page two now with all the replies) of this discussion, and in fact the post you're responding to would have been much earlier in the conversation but got rejected by the mods the first time around.
"My way means nobody needs to lose out, lose rights or choices or access to markets."
No in fact it doesn't, and you just saying so doesn't make it so. You propose that they create some legal file sharing services, which, they in fact have. They do OK, but not terribly well for a variety of reasons, most notably that people don't want to have to pay to share, rather they would rather pay to own, such as in the wildly popular iTunes market. Essentially your argument is that if they make legal P2P services (they have), then piracy will go away (it hasn't), and everyone will be happy (no one is). There are a variety of ways that have been proposed to deal with this, none of them particularly good. There's the route the music and movie industries are currently pursuing which is to in essence make non-authorized file sharing services illegal, never mind the fact that there's lots of things such services are used for on a regular basis that have nothing at all to do with violating copyright. Another tactic such organizations are pursuing is attempting to pawn off enforcement on ISPs, but that doesn't really deal with the problem, it just shifts who has to pay the fees off on an innocent third party. There's also the option being toyed with by a variety of nations including I believe Canada, which is to levy some sort of music tax on everyone and then divide the proceeds among the artists, never mind how exactly an equitable arrangement on how to divide those assets is supposed to be arrived at, or the fact that such a tax by its vary nature is unfair to consumers who may or may not be interested in listening to said artists.
"Your [way] means a lot of people do lose out."
The copyright holders on the whole will not be affected by a reduction of copyright length. Very little profit is ever seen by works older than 10 years, let alone 30. Some companies would be suffer more than others, such as Disney who derives a not inconsiderable portion of their income from artificially restricting the availability of their older movies thereby creating artificially low supply (which of course drives up demand, and in turn leads to higher perceived value). The music industry might also suffer somewhat although probably not in the way you imagine. Assuming for now a 10 year copyright, what it would do is demonstrate the true value of a CD. That is, because anyone could distribute a CD containing works older than 10 years, it would be a race to the bottom, and therefor the company that could produce a good quality CD (and associated packaging) for the cheapest price would be the most successful. I'd guesstimate that you could probably accomplish such for a few dollars including distribution costs to get it to the stores. Such a situation would lead to shelves on which the latest CDs would be sitting around at the current $10 to $15 a piece, along side much older CDs at $2 to $5. Such a situation would probably lead many to wonder why exactly it is that they should pay $10 for a CD, when clearly it's only costing the CD producer something less than ~$3 to produce the CD. Even in such a situation however I think most people would still be willing to pay the $10 assuming it was a band they actually care about, particularly if they knew a significant portion of that ~$7 markup was going to the band and not the distributor.
"You need to justify both morally and economically."
I don't really, but I think I have anyway.
"The Ladybird Book of Lessig will not be of much use to you here. Nor will nostalgia for pre-industrial Feudalism. Off you go."
More irrelevant sniping. I find it particularly hilarious that you invoke feudalism in this case, as you're position is closer to feudalism. Feudalism was all about maintaining a monopoly on land ownership, and you're in favor of maintaining a monopoly on content distribution.
Re: Not sure why I bother at this point
Some posters here take the view that the consequences are a price worth paying. Your approach is slightly different - you say no (real) harm is done, and it's all for the best. You've become intellectually decoupled from the consequences of the policies you advocate.
The Pirate Party quite specifically restricts creators access to markets. It does so by removing the choices are creator has to sell their creations in the marketplace. It also removes the protections they currently enjoy.
* You propose that they create some legal file sharing services...
I do indeed.
* ... which, they in fact have.
Care to name some? Korea doesn't count ;-)
(Which means the next stage of your argument collapses. )
Even on the Island of Makestuffup, this is a very strange assertion. More than 80 per cent of people here said they'd consider paying for a P2P music service, but there wasn't one on offer. There still isn't one offer, let alone the market we should have. Pretending we have had lots of licensed P2P music services lets the producers off the hook.
* "Very little profit is ever seen by works older than 10 years, let alone 30"
Which shows how little you understand about the spectrum of copyright, and who benefits. Oldies stations, which didn't exist until the 1980s, by definition play old records. A five or ten year copyright would rob performers and composers of their performance rights. And (in almost every country in the world) the label of its performance right, too. It's a subject you you could usefully read up on.
(Obviously, if a record is still selling 30 years on, it's very profitable for the producer.)
* Assuming for now a 10 year copyright, what it would do is demonstrate the true value of a CD.
I think you mean "sound recording" - the CD is merely the container for the bag of rights that a recording encapsulates. That's a bit like saying Van Gogh's pictures realised their true value in his lifetime.
* I find it particularly hilarious that you invoke feudalism in this case, as you're position is closer to feudalism.
For sure, under a Pirate regime creators would be able to perform tricks for corporate sponsors, and perhaps even the State. Some will become adept at kissing the hand that feeds them. There's always a "behaviour change" campaign that needs a pliant minstrel. (Obesity is all the rage this month). But you've taken a lot of choice away from the creator and taken them several steps back from the economic opportunities they previously enjoyed.
You still need to justify these changes economically and morally. I don't see an upside to it, just costs and appropriation.
You don't sound daft at all, but your knowledge is incomplete, and you're letting your prejudices do your thinking for you.
"The copyright holders on the whole will not be affected by a reduction of copyright length. Very little profit is ever seen by works older than 10 years, let alone 30. "
I've seen this come up a couple of times, and it is now time for someone to prove it. Show me the numbers or shut the fuck up.
"Care to name some?"
"Spotify ... peer-to-peer music streaming service and application software..." (Wikipedia)
"The Pirate Party quite specifically restricts creators access to markets. It does so by removing the choices are creator has to sell their creations in the marketplace. It also removes the protections they currently enjoy."
..and in so doing gives more liberties (back) to the public, which is dissatisfied with the level of exploitation copyrights currently permit.
"A five or ten year copyright would rob performers and composers of their performance rights."
A 100 or 150 year copyright robs all of us of libre culture. Now, let me see: is it more important to compensate an artist (possibly dead) for music he wrote 50 years ago, or to have culture? (and the works of Shakespeare don't exactly count as modern culture)
Finally, some good points
[I had more to say in this post, but I'm already at the limit for post size]
"The Pirate Party quite specifically restricts creators access to markets. It does so by removing the choices are creator has to sell their creations in the marketplace. It also removes the protections they currently enjoy."
No, not really. They aren't calling for abolishment of copyright, although a 5 year copyright period is a bit on the short side with a minimum of 10 years being far more reasonable. So, during that 10 year period the creator still has full control over when and how his work is sold. As for the "protections", there is some change there, although not anything your average person is going to notice, as most of the new "protections" are just attempts to prop up the inherently flawed (and massively abused) concept of DRM. Strip away all the stupid DRM laws and restore fair use exemptions and we'll be back to the reasonable copyright protections we've had in the past without losing anything that actually makes any difference to the creators.
"Care to name some? Korea doesn't count ;-)"
Napster, BearShare, iMesh, MP3.com, Pandora, etc. For some more you can check out the list the RIAA publishes , or just google for legal mp3 download. Some of those mentioned use a P2P model, some don't. The exact fashion in which the music is distributed is less important than the fact that it can be. Several times now the record companies have also attempted to establish their own subscription based P2P music services, although I can't say off the top of my head if any of them ever got beyond the planning stage. As for legal P2P services for other kinds of content, that's much rarer. For instance, I'm not aware of any P2P ebook service, although there are of course quite a few legal sources you can purchase ebooks from, and particularly with the launch of Kindle, Nook, and now the iPad those services should be seeing pretty good profits.
"More than 80 per cent of people here said they'd consider paying for a P2P music service, but there wasn't one on offer."
Mostly there isn't a good one on offer. The record companies are really shooting themselves in the foot over this one because they're so scared of piracy that they handicap everyone's efforts to offer a good service, and end up killing the services. Then they use the failure of the services they killed as an excuse to say "see, legal services don't work", when in fact they only failed because of the choices the record companies forced them to make. Apple has been a boon to the industry because they had enough weight to force the record companies to accept some decisions they didn't want to make, but even then there's a lot that even Apple can't force them to do. There's also the danger that the record companies are starting to realize which is that Apple will essentially replace them as the maintainers of the distribution monopoly.
"Oldies stations, which didn't exist until the 1980s, by definition play old records."
True enough, and yes, the musicians that created the music they play would not receive proceeds under a 10 year copyright. Once again though, I'd really question how much proceeds those musicians are seeing as it is. What might also be enlightening is how much the record companies receive as opposed to the musicians. My original point still stands though, as even an oldies station only plays a small fraction of the music that was produced more than 10 years ago, and therefor represents a relatively small portion of profits from music sales.
"A five or ten year copyright would rob performers and composers of their performance rights."
Actually no, the performers would still have their performance rights after 10 years, it's just that everyone else would as well. Just because they lose the monopoly on being able to perform a piece doesn't mean that they couldn't anymore, just that it gives others the opportunity to perform it as well, although realistically I don't think that's as much of an issue. Bands often play other peoples music (so called cover songs), and may or may not pay for the right to do so. Officially not paying (or otherwise obtaining permission) to perform the piece is illegal, but it's not particularly well enforced, particularly in small clubs with local bands.
"I think you mean "sound recording" - the CD is merely the container for the bag of rights that a recording encapsulates."
No, a CD is a container for the recording, the physical medium. The rights are held by the creator, or in most cases the producer the creator sold the rights to. This is one of the points where things start to get a little tricky, particularly with the fair use rights. The reason for this, is that you have two different sets of rights in one physical item. That is, you have the physical rights of the CD, which means for instance you're allowed to re-sell it (right of first sale), but you also have the fair use rights that cover the copyrighted work, which covers things like format shifting. Now, this wouldn't be an issue if there was only ever one true copy of the work in question, but that's not how things work. For instance, you can take a CD you've purchased, and rip an MP3 from it. So far, everything's fine, no rules violated yet. Furthermore, you could take a CD you purchased and sell it to your friend (without paying anything to the record label, or the artist), and once again, everything's still kosher. The point you begin to run into problems however is when you exercise both sets of rights at the same time, that is for instance you rip a MP3 off the CD, and then sell the CD to your friend. Furthermore fair use means that you could duplicate the CD for backup purposes, as well as other purposes such as having a copy you keep in your car, as well as one at the house, and maybe a third at your office. All those copies are perfectly legal as their exempted from copyright because you paid for the right to have that CD already, and you're merely making it more convenient for you to do so. Once again however you run into problems when you start distributing any of those copies. In short, it's never the act of making a copy that's illegal, rather it's the act of distributing copies.
"That's a bit like saying Van Gogh's pictures realised their true value in his lifetime."
They certainly realized their physical value in his lifetime. Collectible value is a bit harder to define of course. If I make a duplicate of Van Gogh's painting, and manage to sell it as an original (ignoring for now fraud statutes), does that make the true value of my duplicate equal to the original? Value is subjective and will naturally vary over time. Perhaps what I should have said originally was the production cost of the CD as opposed to its true value, as really there's no such thing as "true value".
"For sure, under a Pirate regime creators would be able to perform tricks for corporate sponsors, and perhaps even the State."
So, nothing new there? What do you call signing your rights away to a record label? The only difference would be how long those rights you signed away would last.
"But you've taken a lot of choice away from the creator and taken them several steps back from the economic opportunities they previously enjoyed."
No choices have been taken from the creators, except perhaps limiting their ability to sue for bypassing DRM (sort of a separate but related issue, I actually care somewhat less about getting all the stupid DRM supporting legislation off the books than I do about reducing copyright length). As for economic opportunities, a shorter copyright period would reduce the length they could enjoy those opportunities, but once again for the vast majority of content producers there would be little noticeable change there. On the flip side, a reduced copyright period would allow more works to fall into public domain, thereby allowing society as a whole to benefit from and expand on those works. For music, this is less beneficial as music tends not to really build on older works all that much, at least not in any way that's protected by copyright, but for television, books, and programs (in particular) this would be a major boon to creativity.
Anyway, I'm glad to see you arguing your points now without resorting for the most part to Ad Hominem attacks and other poor tactics, and you actually made one or two good points. I'd say the biggest problem with this discussion now is that there's so many different arguments going on it's getting hard to cover all of them. For instance, there's the discussion about what the Pirate Party hopes to accomplish, and how their policy choices would affect things. There's the discussion about whether copyright even needs to be reformed. There's the discussion that most people have been ignoring about privacy rights. There's the discussion about other alternatives than the Pirate Party's on how to reform copyright. Then to further muddy the waters there's the confusion within copyright itself that doesn't distinguish between music, books, paintings, television, movies, or programs, even though each of these is vastly different from the others.
I'm definitely interested in seeing your responses, but I'm not sure if I'm going to continue to comment anymore, as we could probably keep at this for weeks without getting too much farther.
Late to the party AND you didn't bring any clue, how rude
"..and in so doing gives more liberties (back) to the public,
You still don't understand it, do you ? You can not draw that dividing line and put 'the public' on one side of it, and 'the rights holders' on the other.
If you go away now and write and write an Epic poem called "The Day The Other Steve Hit Me With A Cluebat Until The Fail Came Out", you would have the exact same rights over that poem as any other rights holder. Every essay you wrote at school ? You hold those rights. Every doodle you ever made in a margin ? You hold those rights.
Any argument that is based on their being any such distinction is logically fallacious, or more succinctly, bullshit.
The word "Freetard"
[This post fell afoul of moderators the first time, so I'm editing it a bit and trying again - apologies if it is now posted twice.]
"Freetard" is an interesting and slightly misleading term to use. I recently attended a (mainly academic) conference on counterfeiting and piracy (http://www.counter2010.org/ - a 30-month EU-funded project looking into every aspect of counterfeiting and piracy across the EU and beyond) and one of the more interesting and, to some, surprising results that came out in many of the studies was that price *wasn't* the main motivation (or justification) behind online copyright infringement. It wasn't usually even in the top three. It didn't even have that significant an effect. The main motivation was convenience. There is much more content available through unlicensed services, in a greater variety of formats, and it is much more accessible (one study noted that of the works in the US Library of Congress published before 1972, only 14% were commercially/legally available on a domestic level).
Now, you can criticise these results as much as you like (and I regret that I don't have references for them as the results haven't been published yet - although they should be appearing over the next 6 months) but at least it suggests that there is more to this issue than simply "pirates aren't willing to pay" (even the recent OiNK case demonstrated that to be fallacious) and dismissing several million people as "freetards" is similarly unproductive as labelling them "thieves" and not conducive to a healthy and rational debate.
When I first investigated music downloads a few years ago, realising what a hugely convenient way it was to obtain and play digital music, I literally could not find the music I wanted, at any cost! Except on P2P. I would have been perfectly happy to pay a reasonable sum to a legal supplier, and I am sure countless millions of others would too.
If Tesco told me I could only buy a bag of Tesco sugar from their store in the next town, to which there is no bus service, and a man outside on the pavement offers me one off his barrow at reasonable cost, what do Tesco expect me to do? Walk a hundred miles in the pissing rain?
This whole sorry mess was caused by the greed and stupidity of the media corporations, and now it is being screwed completely out of hand by their ability to purchase politicians on expensive yachts in the Med. I have no sympathy for them whatsoever. If they had provided the public right at the start of the digital revolution with an efficient download service at reasonable cost, every single person involved in this whole ludicrous fiasco would be a winner. If they are now allowed to dictate our basic freedoms to corrupt government ministers, we will all, public and artists alike, and our children, be losers.
You simply cannot create legalised, corrupt monopolies and expect ordinary folk to roll on their backs like puppydogs. Neither can you un-invent digital copying, however much DRM you throw at it. You must provide a service that tempts people to buy. It is inconceivable that supposed businessmen seem incapable of doing such an elementary thing. Their brains must be addled from spending too many years on a monopolistic gravy train. They are just bullies, and everyone knows it. It may buy politicians, but it does not buy friends, nor loyal customers.
I'm damn sure Tesco would not be stupid enough to force me to walk a hundred miles in the pissing rain to get what is on offer right next door on the pavement, nor set a gang of thugs onto me if I purchased from the pavement. They would woo me with what the pavement cannot - a warm place out of the rain, a free cup of tea, and a place to change the baby's nappy. And while I am in there, calm and at peace with Tesco, I will doubtless buy lots of other things. There are many other analogies which help to cut through the crud and the lies and show up the basic stupidities of this situation.
And the 'freetards' on P2P wrecking the economy? I do not recall publishers going out of business because people lend books to their friends, nor newspapers trying to make it illegal to leave a paper on the seat of a train. What an incompetent mess the media moguls have made of this wonderful digital opportunity.
Are you nuts?
pissing rain, gang of thugs...
Is it so hard to click on a "Buy" button?
You compare it to walking in the rain in the cold, then being beaten up. You are a very strange bloke, if you think that.
(The rest of your post is the same old freetard bleating as all the others, so far as I can tell.)
Did you read what I wrote?
I said I tried very hard to buy music on the internet but there was NO BUY NOW button. The music industry was too lazy, incompetent, slow, disinterested, inefficient or simply blindly mired in its greed to bother supplying me with one. It expected me to walk a hunded miles in the pissing rain to an over-priced record store. If I had bought cheap music from the metaphorical man with the barrow they would have sent a gang of thugs after me in the form of vicious RIAA lawyers hellbent on sueing me for hundreds of millions of dollars.
Or do they only do that to penniless old ladies who don't have computers? Or would I have to leave the CDs on the bus for them to sue me? What if I don't live in America? What if my cat jumps on the keyboard and downloads a free song while I am reading the local council's 5 year plan? Do I get the law changed to suit me if I give Mandy a free holiday on a yacht in the Med? How will I pay my taxes or book into hospital in whizz-bang Digital Britain if I am cut off from the internet (sorry, 'temporarily suspended')? If I lend someone a CD will I be banned from leaving my home for fear I might find someone else to lend one to? How can an unelected, universally hated, proven corrupt politician be given power to change the law without bothering to consult Parliament? It is all very confusing.
All I know for sure is that any business displaying such incompetence and arrogant disdain for its customers deserves to go bust. As do the grasping politicians that prop them up. Artists supplying them would be well advised to find a new retailer (and there are plenty of them now). Treating customers like shit stuck on the sole of your shoe is not the way to create brand loyalty; and you don't need five years at Harvard Business School to know that.
I'll vote for anyone who rails against lying, cheating politicians colluding with greedy big business to stamp on ordinary folk trying to live their ordinary lives as best they can. And I am sure I won't be alone.
Mind Games Rule and Provide Freely your Very Existence*
In the Really Big Picture Show presented to you by those/that which Presents to you the Really Big Picture Show, is Politics just as important and entertaining as Synchronised Swimming is in Olympic Competition and really nothing greater than just as a Stocking Filler at Xmas or as a sprinkling of icing sugar on a colossal wedding cake.
"Yep. But it's the bit that's new that's worth protecting." .... Andrew Orlowski Posted Friday 26th March 2010 23:48 GMT
The true artist will not worry about protecting the new bit, for their next work will flow easily to ensure that all rights which madness dictates are due, are paid for, and making money, even should it be obscene loadsamoney, is only a convenience to give away/spend while working and allows/provides the Banking Sector with their cut/pound of flesh. Copyrights and Patents are for those second and third parties who would seek to make capital as parasites off an original work and profit from the work/business model "created" in piggy backing on the artist.
And if the Truth be Told, without the Imaginative Artist to Present to you the Future with ITs Derivatives and Options, would you be as Nothing and still Cowering in Caves.
* And a Ruling Mind Game can just as Easily Freely Provide for your SWIFT and Swift Demises .
Well, isn't this fun? A debate? Exactly what the PP offer in their manifesto. Yet some people (obvious by their comments) feel that the PP is "bonkers"? Huh? Isn't that what "Democracy" is all about? Debate? Exactly what the PP want.
All this was started by the "Mandybill". It's obvious that the history of this bill is conveniently forgotton by some commentators here.
Mandy has no interest in P2P. Mandy goes on a holiday with (and paid for by) David Geffen (of Geffen Records). Mandy comes home and within 2 weeks has the "Mandybill" written and ready to be pushed through Parliment. Suspicious? Industry dictating law? Possibly.
The bill includes such gems as giving Mandy the power to change the law without recourse to Parlimentary scrutiny, and a LibDem amendment (Clause 43 - previously Clause 42) which effectively strips all copyright from a photographers photographs. Ooops, all those arguing the Music Industry's corner, accusing all opponents (including the PP) as being a bunch of "Freetards", are effectively supporting a bill that destroys the rights of people who make their living from taking pictures. This would mean that a number of industries (Newspapers, Magazines, and, indeed the Music industry) would be making money by NOT paying photographers for their work. Who's the Freetard now?
To cap it all, the wording of the bill (Clause 120a), is almost word for word a copy of a draft written by the BPI. Industry dictating law? Looking more likely now.
Yes, we need to look at reducing/tackling illegal P2P, but not at the cost of democratic freedoms - it's not worth it.
Yes, the music industry needs to compromise, and adopt new technologies - iTunes are a good example, proving the internet can provide a place to make money. In fact, iTunes now makes up 25% of ALL music sold in the US, yet the Music Industry (and it's supporters) seem to conveniently forget this fact.
Some may want a country without scrutiny of the law, where industry dictates law to the [elected] lawmakers for forced approval, but I don't.
As for the PP, a good point to note is it's not just about P2P. Excessive surveillance (the UK has 1% of the world's population, yet 20% of it's CCTV cameras), and freedom of speech are also in their manifesto. If [at the very least] they can be the cause of debate and scrutiny, then we can only be the better for it.
Childish isn't just for pirate parties.
Copyright, when working properly, is a fairly useful idea. But seeing how bigcorp lobbies have managed to extend it a couple times to well over a hundred years now, I can quite understand that the backlash aims to put the terms ridiculously short.
And from there it's easy to gloss over the ``small'' rights holder; copyright is on its way to become synonymous with ``bigcorp abuse of law and common man''.
Had ``we'' (bigcorps, rather) settled on, say, life plus a score years for natural persons and a score years period for the rest then they'd have reasonable time to gain from ``their work'' and ensured that anything like a pirate party had no moral soapbox to stand on whatsoever.
I really don't know who's more childish. But either way our cultural heritage stands to suffer. And of course it'll be yet another bigcorp who'll gain.
Where to start?
"The confusion was understandable: the ORG's clever wheeze of blank placards and a silent protest meant anyone walking past had no idea what it was about."
I think you'll find that everyone at the protest was handing out flyers, reading "I've been censored. Help!" on one said, and explaining the protest on the other. Many people were confused, it's true, but only if they refused to accept a flyer or were too far away to be offered one.
"The glorious exceptions were a beautiful banner and a large flag from the Pirate Party."
Were they? What about the large ORG banner reading "Disconnection Denies Our Rights"?
"As an exercise in communicating, the Pirates were the only success of the event. At least the logo will have got on TV, and made an impression with passers-by."
Again, were they? I remind you: we had flyers, we had an ORG banner, and we had a banner explaining the protest which also had the ORG logo on.
"P2P still isn't legal"
Tosh. Sharing copyrighted content is copyright infringement and so illegal; that does not make P2P in and of itself illegal.
"The Pirate Party also offers clear benefits over donating to the Open Rights Group"
What are they? As you keep pointing out, PPUK are single-issue, whereas ORG fight for several of our digital rights. I would rather donate to someone fighting for many of my digital rights over my "right" to infringe copyright any day (and indeed, I do).
"The ORG has run a lacklustre and at times spectacularly incompetent "campaign" against the Digital Economy Bill. Timing the protest to coincide with Budget Day is just one example; being blindsided by the BPI's alternative Section 17 - which we first revealed back here - is another.Whereas one merely "donates" to the ORG and receives a thank you, the Party offers real "membership", and with voting rights the opportunity to influence party policy."
* ORG attracted hundreds of people to campaign in a protest organised in the space of a month. It created postcards for people to send to their MPs and trained them to write and speak to their MPs about the DEB. Lacklustre? No, not really.
* The Budget was not announced when the date for the Bill was decided; ORG do not have a time machine or the ability to see into the future.
* ORG members (and even non-members) can join meetings, influence what we do, and members *do* get a vote.
Whilst I know all of these things as an ORG supporter, I also know them because I paid attention to the videos and photos following the protest, and I learnt of benefits to ORG members by reading the website.
Fact checking: it's good, you should try it.
Re: Where to start?
Happy to examine the facts Tajasel... I think you will find it illuminating.
The ORG actually helped draft Section 17... then after it was withdrawn, pretended it was still in the legislation.
(The literature issued at the protest falsely states website blocking is in the Bill. It isn't.)
"Disconnection Denies Our Rights"
You've been wallied again:
Have you asked yourself why the cause needs to generate so many falsehoods? Maybe reality is more subtle than it is portrayed.
"Tosh. Sharing copyrighted content is copyright infringement..."
Yes, my dear. You really didn't read the article or the Comments, did you?
"PPUK are single-issue, whereas ORG fight for several of our digital rights."
Actually, they both campaign for similar issues. The pirates are called "pirates" but their manifesto is also quite detailed about freedom of speech and privacy.
I support both, and seeing the two cooperate at this protest was pretty awesome! :D
First of all: don't "yes dear" me. I find it patronising and offensive.
In response to your other points:
* Provide me with proof that Section 17 was drafted by ORG.
* I'm not sure what your point is with the three strikes article; you mention nothing of our fundamental human rights to a free trial with potential for legal aid in which our accusers have to prove us guilty, as opposed to the appeals process that the accused would be offered if the DEB came into law.
* I skim read your article and most of the comments, looking at detail in those that grabbed my interest. Not that I had to read the comments in order to address the falsehoods in your article.
You slightly misquoted me; I did say "as [you] say they are single issue" (where you = Orlowski) - I was not stating that they were single-issue myself.
That said, I've never read PPUK's manifesto, so I wasn't aware of the issues they campaign on. I'm a member of a political party already and haven't read it thus far on the basis that a) I don't have any desire to change party or be a member of >1; b) I don't actually want to support piracy - and having had no other reason to read the manifesto, I haven't bothered to.
(A great pity the OP can't own up when he makes mistakes...)
[tajasel] * Provide me with proof that Section 17 was drafted by ORG.
The replacement for Section 17 was created by the BPI and drafted with ORG. It's in Hansard, http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/16/mandybill_net_blocking_dropped/
I can't do your reading for you - you have to do a little work yourself.
[tajasel] * I'm not sure what your point is with the three strikes article
Did you click on all the links - starting...
[tajasel] * I skim read your article
Yes. I can see that.
Accusation of falsity itself turns out to be false
"(The literature issued at the protest falsely states website blocking is in the Bill. It isn't.)"
How very odd, because the Parliamentary Business website, in its list of documents relating to the DEB, includes the version of the Bill passed to the House of Commons:
And within that current version of the Bill we find the web-blocking measure, formerly Clause 17 but now, following some renumbering, Clause 18:
Yes, the Clause inserting the new s.97A CDPA 1988, still there.
As for the assertion that ORG helped draft Clause 17/18 (a clue, Orlowski - Bills before Parliament have Clauses, they only become Sections when the Bill is passed and becomes an Act), it is simply risible. (Yes, I can just imagine Richard Mollet and Jim Killock sitting down together to hammer out some legislation!) The BPI drafted that Clause. ORG then put forward some further amendments seeking to blunt some of its worst provisions, as noted in Hansard:
but these were not accepted. They were not accepted and the Clause, albeit renumbered, is still there in its original form, no matter what Orlowski would try to have us believe.
With stupid all the way, thanks for that association.
The affliction of abiding in ignorance.
As for this particular Political platform all I can as is that hopefully the reactionary nature encourages at least some to see past its limitations and seek a better understanding of the subject at hand instead of re enforcing their detachment from it. It would seem the tools of today’s Political trade encourages apathy towards issues which effectively leads you to ask “what has it got to do with me?” instead of actively seeking out that information.
Whether the news media are the fuel or the catalyst I’m undecided, though one is for sure. They are not the voice of reason, if they even were at any stage.
I’m with stupid I guess. T-shirts all round.
Flakey Foundations (TM)
First out: I don't believe in Intellectual Property. I find the concept bizarre. Did someone place a flag in intellectual space telling me I can't go there? Cos I sure as shit can. However, I appreciate the effort it may have taken to get there: for instance, I wouldn't equate two days of synthesizer knob twiddling with three years and £800m worth (1990) of systematic trials to get a drug to market. Every human activity is derivative, but some things, like film and music, are a lot more derivative than others. Anybody who has farted around with Fruity Loops for a few hours will know how much skill it takes to produce techno/ambient music: none.
Secondly, if there's one thing most IP "owners" do not believe in it's a free market. Since the means of production are negligible, supply is near infinite and the price is near zero. So the powers that be create laws to restrict supply in the manner of OPEC, and I guess most complaints revolve around the fairness of these restrictions.
So, for me, the first step to a resolution would be to move away from concepts of ownership to concepts of discovery and exploitation rights. The emphasis then is that anybody could have got there by any of many routes, and that any "ownership" is universal. One implication is that copying is not criminal.
A fairer pricing scheme can be achieved by varying the length of exploitation licences on a bureaucratically friendly individual basis. Perhaps a good measure of difference is how often these licences are granted: at a guess, every two minutes for a trance tune; every three years for an anti-ulcer drug - this would also reflect the ease with which some things are achieved with new technology; most barriers to discovery decrease with time.
I guess that none of this has resolved issues to do with distribution, but I believe that restricting it is not the answer.
Copyright 2010 Colin Barfoot.
" any "ownership" is universal"
Would this also apply to your car, your house... or your wife?
Steady on, lad.
"So, for me, the first step to a resolution would be to move away from concepts of ownership to concepts of discovery and exploitation rights. The emphasis then is that anybody could have got there by any of many routes, and that any "ownership" is universal. One implication is that copying is not criminal."
It's called communism. You should get in touch with the CPGB, they'll be happy to agree with you. Sell you a newspaper as well, most likely, gawd bless 'em.
The Statute of Anne
The original text of the Statute of Anne is quite an interesting read (if you can work around the language used - and I thought modern laws were in confusing language...). The section about renewing for 14 years (which I am afraid I must have missed the first time through) is right at the end and reads "after the expiration of the said term of fourteen years, the sole right of printing or disposing of copies shall return to the authors thereof, if they are then living, for another term of fourteen years."
Anyway, the Statute itself is a lot more consumer-friendly than modern copyright laws. It makes it clear that it is targeted at unscrupulous publishers and booksellers (the former who seem to benefit most from the current and proposed laws), requires that a copy of all copyrighted books be sent to the various 'Copyright Libraries' - so, no matter what, the public would still have some access to the material - and even includes provisions for members of the public to complain to various senior figures if books were being priced too high, with those figures being able to make a judgment forcing a lower price.
Until about 20 years ago copyright had an implicit "commercial only" aspect to it - when created as a concept copyright was never designed for a world where information could be disconnected from its physical form.
Oh, as for the Bill not including disconnection, technically that is true as the word was replaced with "temporary account suspension", but as we've seen in France (with Hadopi), 'temporary' has no limits on it (in France it became a year) and even last week Stephen Timms MP was still talking about disconnection. Arguably, account suspension = disconnection anyway, you are still being disconnected from the Internet, even if only for a short time. Even then, there is nothing in the Bill that prevents it being used to permanently disconnect someone from the Internet (under Clause 10, 124G, (3)(d)).
"If you don't want the time..."
... then don't do the crime."
Re: The Statute of Anne
I think we need a new Pirate Party, Will. The 1710 argument always blows up the person making it: it's like watching cows wander over a minefield.
In 1710 performance rights didn't exist - they were only invented about 150 years later. At that point, copyright was no longer attached to a physical product. To argue, as you do, that the decoupling is a brand new Innerwebs invention shows a serious lack of education - on a subject where you seek to define unique identity for yourself.
Now let that idea sink in for a moment.
So you see that copyright is a social agreement developed in response to technology (specifically copying machines). Which makes it quite a remarkable thing - and why it will endure
people who want to abolish the technology, or break the agreement.
If you want to un-invent performance rights, you'll need to uninvent electricity (conceptually and metaphorically).
"I think we need a new Pirate Party"
Brilliant argument, fitting to a grown-up discussion.
"So you see that copyright is a social agreement developed in response to technology"
Plagiarism classes as a social agreement, however copyright is a LAW. It was originally created for censorship, later adapted to give some parties monopoly rights, and now it's slowly reverting back to its original purpose.
Jaw Jaw is better than War War @Winnie
When the entertainment and media industry finally realize that digital distribuion is something to be embraced rather than feared, we might finally get somewhere, unfortunately, they and their political lackeys continue to forget some simple facts:
NO ONE (or soon no one, in less than 14 years is my guess and I am being VERY generous) will want to buy, store and then retrieve music, film or TV programs from eco-unfriendly devices like CDs, VHS or vinyl (he he) anymore. Even books and newspapers could disappear one day. This physical distribution model just makes no sense. We want to ênter our homes, our cars, our public transport systems, our friends homes, etc. and quickly fetch that old Bogie film or that obscure or not so obscure new wave or acid-house tune (or the latest block buster) and quickly download it to the nearest wall/PC/Phone screen and watch or listen to it on our I-pod/media streamer, etc. I suspect most of us would pay a fair price for this ULTIMATE convenience, without a second thought. Look how much people will pay for an IPHONE already.
Unfortunately, media companies either do not understand or refuse to understand this new business model. If they weren't all paralyzed by greed and short-sighedness , they might even start calculating how much they could save in production and legal costs by letting go of the old model. But that would be too easy, so maybe a Pirate Party can help reduce the madness or at least start a debate.
There is probably only one practical way to sort out this mess, and here it is,
1) Charge every internet user a set fee for unlimited (or nearly unlimited) digiral media content. Lets say 10 USD a month. Lets multiply that by the number of internet users and see how big that number is,
2) Pool this money into an artists and creative producers fund.
3) Convince artists and CPs to upload their content to a centralized, regulated distribution network which will help manage Internet download and consumption (for a small cut of the profits, not 90 % of it, Hollywood style). Of course, they should be free to distribute their content by traditional channels if they wish.
4) Everytime a user watches or downloads a work of art from this distribution network, give the legal copyright owner a fairly-established royalty payment from this pool, it might only be 0.00001 cent each time, but if your product is good you will prosper. Likewise, if your product is not that good, you might have to keep your day job. This is a much better solution that cutting off people's internet access when they want to listen to your music.
5) Whether we like it or not, this is the model people are already embracing in their millions. They just aren't paying for it.
6) If I were a media mogul, I would be figuring out how to make the above model work for me, or be out looking for a new day job. I would not be lobbying politicians to help stave off the inevitable.
The problem isn't whether or not copyright should be extended or abolished, it is about creating a fair system that benefits producers and consumers. The current system isn't fair which is why people are voting with their keyboards and fast broadband connections. That isn't going to change, no matter how many idiotic laws are passed,
Where the f*K is my remote control?
Hard to disagree with something along these lines. Also hard to believe that the idiots instigating all the current despicable, despotic shambles are businessmen; I wouldn't hire them to run a piss-up in a brewery. See my reply to an earlier comment about research showing that convenience is what motivates most of the so-called 'freetards', not money. The world is changing, the tide of digital technology on the flood; have these media moguls never heard of King Canute? Can they really not see these simple things that the ordinary folk can, so clearly?
All I know about the Pirate Party is that it seems to be mobilising ordinary folk to question the arrogance of the ruling elite and their media boss pals, and I salute them for that.
Nice idea, but what if...
By the time you've done the math, covered costs etc, the monthly fee is $50?
Also, how do you divvy up the pool for creators? If my film costs $500m to make, won't I want more of that pie to cover my costs? If my book took me 10 years to write and several thousand dollars in research fees, do I get a bigger slice of the pie? Even if my (academically important) book gets only a few downloads?
It's a nice idea, but I'm not sure that you've got all the bases covered...
Clue Clue is better than blah blah
You see the problem with what you've done there is that you've taken away a market that has the ability to distinguish value based on demand and replaced with something entirely else which treats all content as flat valued and entirely fungible, which it clearly isn't.
You're also assuming that ALL content can (or will) be delivered by the internet in the form of bits, which is also clearly bunk.
How do they charge for rock concerts?
Clearly there will be a lot of complex details to iron out, but I think the basic idea is sound as it creates a simple gate through which anyone must pass if they want to partake. Do they send teams of bouncers round inside a rock concert checking on tickets? No, they check them at the gate or you don't get in. If the price of admission is reasonable people will pay. If it is not, they will rent a flat across the road and look through the windows.
Some people will watch every moment of the concert in return for their money, some will daydream, some might be too pissed to remember, but they all pay. Gross over-simplification I know, but I think simplification is desperately needed here. The UK TV licence may not be perfect, but it is simple and easy to administer, and everyone knows where they stand. You buy a TV, you pay for a licence, you watch whatever, whenever you want. The bureaucrats can work out how the money is distributed; administrative details are what they are paid to handle.
That is a fair question, Mr. Crook and here is a fair answer:
The pool would only pay the creator per inidividual access/download. Hence. we are assuming that the pool managers can successfully count how many times individual viewers have downloaded a film , listened to a track online etc. (not that difficult) and honestly tally the results..
Whatever that number is will be multiplied by the royalty fee per view/download ...and then kerching!!!. This sum is what the copyright owner would recieve. Sort of like a percentage of ticket sales at the cinema as it were, without the paperwork. And the more you sell, the more you earn (aka good old-fashioned market economics). So simple, so pure....
Please note that no author or filmmaker can ever guarantee they will get a return on their 500 M USD investment, regardless of the business model. Hollywood makes a lot of dud films and a few blockbusters (which help pay for the duds) . I don't actually see any problem here with the pooling system. Nor do I see why the pool should give anyone special privileges ON THE CONTRARY. this is one of the many things wrong with the current system (where artists and consumers both get screwed in a fair and equitable manner)
The pool system does not prevent producers from making DVDs etc, and selling them later (just as they do now, whining all the while that they are losing millions to piracy). It does not prevent them from distributing films via cinemas, TV, Blockbuster, etc,
But the pool system does offer a low priced buy-in for consumers (lets still say 10 USD a month, but we need someone to crunch numbers first, I agree). It offers all producers and content owners a way to be paid for their work. And if it were a universal (or at least very wide-spread) business distribution model, who would bother to download dodgy diigital copies for free anymore? I reckon this idea is a winner and it won't be long before this type of distribution model becomes the best way to stop piracy, because it would make piracy irrelevant.
People download for two reasons:
1) It is ridiculously easy to find whatever you want for free, and if it isn't a friend will find it for you
2) It doesn't cost you 49 quid/euro/bucks to "own" the film (sometime after it is released of course). It costs you nothing, which is why people do it.
Of course the idea has to be tested and invested but doesn't anyone see a glimmer of light here?
The KISS principle is conspicuously absent
"doesn't anyone see a glimmer of light here?"
Yes, I do. Even a skimming read of this post and all the comments makes it quite plain that the whole sorry mess is mired in completely unresolvable complexity. 'More laws, less justice' my old mother used to say, and it certainly applies here. Lawyers and politicians are the only ones who benefit from the obfuscation created by complexity. Most normal human beings simply want to turn on their computer and get what they want. If it costs a reasonable sum then fine, that's the price you pay. All content creators have to do is cater to this very simple desire, and some sort of pooling/licence system would seem to do that very straightforwardly.
If I want to drive my car down the road I buy a licence and I can then drive anywhere in the country at any time. I do not have to negotiate terms with every local authority, landowner, bridge builder, engineer, road sweeper and grass verge cutter, whose efforts have made this possible. Which is exactly the sort of nonsense that is going on here. The government collects the licence fee and distributes it to all who have enabled my travelling.
I am sure all except the politicians and media moguls' lawyers would prefer a simple, imperfect system that works to a complex, iniquitous one that doesn't.
Eventually, changes in copyright law seem inevitable--but Berne will have to change first!
The copyright issue was aired in El Reg a few weeks ago when Joel Tenenbaum was screwed into the ground by the RIAA for copying songs. I had my sixpence worth here: http://forums.theregister.co.uk/forum/1/2010/01/05/tenenbaum_files_for_retrial/#c_659154 - 'Soon, murder and terrorism will be lesser crimes than sharing music'. I'll repeat a shortened version.
I believe in copyright as authors and artists deserve dues for effort, but current copyright laws worldwide are a 'fraudulent' monopolistic scam ENFORCED* through an international treaty--the 'Berne Copyright Convention' of 1886.
In the late 19th Century, a few cleaver and articulate elites led by Frenchman and author Victor Hugo conned governments into establishing an international treaty to enforce this pernicious legalised swindle. There are many different types of copyright but in its Berne Convention form, it is by far the most exploitative of the general population.
Essentially, Berne says that when an artist or author creates a work that the state MUST issue him/her with an absolute and totally exclusive right to that work for the rest of his life plus at least another 50 years after he's dead--even if he does not want the rights.
An artist is inspired by the culture of his society; he absorbs an education, concepts and ideas from it and its long cultural lineage, thus new works he produces are not totally new but only derivative of that culture. No matter how great the artist, he cannot produce works of greatness or popular interest in a cultural vacuum yet the Berne Convention gives him TOTAL and exclusive rights to his derivative work.
The Berne Convention forces signatory governments to exclude all rights to works except those of the artist himself. Moreover, we've been conned to believe that existing copyright is actually fair law. As with Goebbels' axiom--tell a small lie and you'll be caught lying, tell a big one and you'll be believed---Berne has created an air of respectability about present-day copyright law. So entrenched the belief, that even those who own rights believe the entrenched propaganda that copyright law is fair when it is anything but so.
1. It is the absoluteness of this exclusion together with the outrageously long life of the copyright that is at the heart of the problem--copyright needs to be greatly reduced in duration.
2. Much fairer systems should be introduced, for example, during a period of strong copyright--say the first ten years or so--consumers of copyrighted material would be able to make multiple non-commercial copies for their own use. Thereafter, general non-commercial copying would be allowed except for the author who would still retain commercial rights for an additional period up until the work fully entered the public domain.
3. The Berne Convention should be altered to allow full access to orphaned works, say after 10 years. Orphaned works are ones that no longer have owners or where the owing corporations have gone bust, but nevertheless where copyright still exists for 50 or 70 plus years--depending on jurisdiction.
It is estimated that of all the works published in the 20th Century, about 80% are now orphaned works--that is they no longer have an author or publisher who can publish them, NOR can they be published by anyone else! Obviously, authors and publishing houses do not want orphaned works to be the public domain as they compete with newly published works. Nevertheless, from the perspective of the population who would have a much more widespread access to knowledge, then the concept of keeping orphaned works out of the public domain is just sheer madness.
I hope the pirate parties will act both cleverly and responsibly. If they do then the completely detestable edifice of the Berne Convention may crumble in only a few short years.
Let us hope so.
* Moreover, the Treaty severely restricts governments to legislate; in its current form a government would be in violation of the treaty if it reduced copyright to say only 10 years.
Saying it twice doesn't prevent it failing
"No matter how great the artist, he cannot produce works of greatness or popular interest in a cultural vacuum yet the Berne Convention gives him TOTAL and exclusive rights to his derivative work."
Which he is of course entitled to give away. Which is really where your argument falls down altogether, even if we buy into your entirely subjective opinion that all works must be entirely derivative, or we blinker ourselves and try to pretend that (C) only applies to works of art.
Everything is derivative
It is, whether you care to accept it or not.
Something a bit off topic maybe..
One question i have regarding the ever increasing extension of copyrights is what about all us wage slaves who have (or in my case had) contracts that assign all copyrights, patents and our first born children to the company paying our salaries. At the time i last signed this kind of contract the copy right term was life + 50 years, now its life +70 so the company i worked for gets an extra 20 years to profit from my creative works (or would if anyone wants to buy some really badly written and out of date CRM software).
For most of us this will be irrelevant but should a change in copyright term mean the copyright reverts to the original creators estate at the end of the life + 50 year term?
I don't want to get swept up in the debate, but...
Two unrelated points:
- people who download music illegally spend a significant amount more on legally-acquired music than those who do not. [http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/crime/illegal-downloaders-spend-the-most-on-music-says-poll-1812776.html]. So those who use the term "freetard" in the free-as-in-beer sense are probably applying the label incorrectly here.
- I'm mighty disappointed by the way Mr Orlowski seems to be conducting himself in this debate. I'd expect more from a journalist/author for any publication.
That is all.
Re: I don't want to get swept up in the debate, but...
Thanks for sharing.
"So those who use the term "freetard" in the free-as-in-beer sense are probably applying the label incorrectly here."
The survey doesn't support your conclusion. It tells us that people who are interested in music will acquire more than people who don't - in either licensed or unlicensed form. This is not surprising.
"The survey found that those who admit illegally downloading music spent an average of £77 a year on music – £33 more than those who claim that they never download music dishonestly."
They may otherwise be spending £770 or £7700 a year - I know some who people do. The challenge for the music business is to capture some of that, and it's failing to so - even with services it blesses.
We've covered the decline in "wallet share" many times.
So you're assuming that every person who is "interested in music" is downloading illegally?
A difference in current spend between those who download illegally and those who do not is still relevant, and is not to be confused with the separate issue of any overall reduction in spend on music vs this time last year, or 10 years ago, or whenever.
The former indicates that some people are more willing to pay for music than others. The latter indicates that taken as a whole the population considers recorded music to be less valuable now than it did in times gone by.
Two separate issues.
But given that those who illegally download are more willing to pay for music than those who don't, it would seem that the music industry really ought to try not to annoy/incarcerate them all.
Re: Separate issues
"But given that those who illegally download are more willing to pay for music than those who don't, it would seem that the music industry really ought to try not to annoy/incarcerate them all."
The primary duty of a copyright intermediary is to exploit the work, and by shunning sharing as a commercial opportunity, it has failed to do this as well as it could.
If we had a choice of licensed P2P services in 2004 or 2005, there would have been no Pirate Party. The failure to license rests solely with the record companies.
Pay to whom
Artists and authors only get about 1% of what is taxed by the oligarchic corporation mafias to buyers, hence pirating is good. When artists get 100% or even 50% of what they make, then we may discuss.
While almost all the money goes to corporations and managers, pirating is not just a moral right but a moral duty for anyone with a sense of justice.
Also the anti-piracy bills roaming over Europe are a clear violation of human rights: no trial, no right to internet access, right for the government to spy on your internet activities.
Why does El Reg publish this junk?
Pirate Party != Piracy
" b) I don't actually want to support piracy - and having had no other reason to read the manifesto, I haven't bothered to."
if you had read the manifesto, you would see that the Pirate Party UK isn't about supporting piracy, it's about copyright and patent reform, freedom of speech, and privacy.