back to article We need copyright reform so Belgians can watch cricket, says MEP

Battle lines are forming over the EU’s promised copyright reforms, with Brussels’ lobbying machine going into overdrive. On Thursday, the European Film Agency Directors (EFAD), a network of directors of 28 film agencies based inside the European Union, begged the EU Commission to drop its plans for a major copyright overhaul, …

  1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

    Finnish bread in any German supermarket or bakery.

    Suppose Finland decides that German cars sold in Finland had to only have Finnish written software (for IP reasons) - would the same "reasoned argument" apply ?

    1. Danny 14 Silver badge

      Re: Finnish bread in any German supermarket or bakery.

      depends on whether the german software company greased finnish palms.

  2. sorry, what?
    FAIL

    So the only thing that can be copyrighted is...

    Film?

    This article makes it seem like there is nothing else that is covered by EU copyright legislation.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So the only thing that can be copyrighted is...

      Well that is where the media action is what with Walt Disney lobbying every now and then for eternal copyright which is coming at least in the US. Enjoy the public domain Lovecraft because he might be one of the last authors to ever go by default into the public domain. Forget also any film besides the rocket hitting the moon in the face going public domain as well.

    2. petur

      Re: So the only thing that can be copyrighted is...

      Region codes?

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    > Sabine Verheyen, a Christian Democrat MEP from Germany, ridiculed Reda's analogy: “After all, I can’t buy Finnish bread in any German supermarket or bakery. Far too few people here would buy it, so the market doesn’t offer it to me. And you don’t see me demanding that the European Commission bloody-well make that product available to me!”

    It's really distressing that these people obviously doesn't understand the analogy and they're the ones discussing the future of a far reaching legal framework in the EU.

    The problem being talked about is the active and explicit attempts to prevent the movement of goods between territories with the weight of legal sanctions behind it, not a demand that companies deliver internationally.

    And if someone wanted Finnish bread in Germany and someone was willing to ship it, why wouldn't they be allowed? The fact that some people think that this should be reasonable and the norm for creative works in the age of the Internet and instant delivery is bizarre.

    1. The Crow From Below

      "And if someone wanted Finnish bread in Germany and someone was willing to ship it, why wouldn't they be allowed?"

      They can, the argument about bread is a bunch of crap, I can easily pick up some reikäleipä in Germany and that's pretty much the definition of buying Finnish bread in a German supermarket or bakery!!

  4. Snowman

    Their understanding of analogies is hardly the biggest obstical.

    At that level of governance, I just expect their arguments are comming from the business interests that have be consistent contributors to them and/or their party, with the major differences coming from who is likely to benifit or lose from the proposed changes. Sure it is possible that is just their opinion but generally the more experience a politician seems to have with a subject, the less likely they are impartial, though it can be even more problematic is if it is their party's position.

  5. Boris the Cockroach Silver badge

    Do not

    worry

    These proposals will be bogged down for years... while everyone tries to figure out what the buzzword bingo bullshit actually means.

    And I imagine all the MEPs are really trying to do is stopping some US megacorps (and an smelly australian) from buying up all the media outlets.

    1. petur
      Coat

      Re: Do not

      want

      Sorry, as a Belgian, I do not want to watch cricket.

      (don't be offended, I do not watch any sport on TV, sport is for doing, not watching)

      1. Tom Maddox Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Do not

        And cricket is, let's face it, barely a sport at all.

        1. Evil Auditor Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: Do not

          I have great sympathy for not watching any sport on TV. But Tom Maddox, you are totally wrong. Cricket is through and through sports. I'd even argue it's the very definition of sport. It's peaceful, it's relaxed, it's about drinking tea. What else do you need.

          Can't understand how any sweaty, straining, overexerting torture can possibly be regarded as sport.

      2. Jamie Jones Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: Do not

        " do not watch any sport on TV, sport is for doing, not watching)"

        "Sport is not a spectator Sport" - Jamie Landeg-Jones, 2007.

  6. Tom 35 Silver badge

    It is also a means for optimal distribution of works,

    Unless you live someplace where no one can be bothered to release what you want to buy.

    1. veti Silver badge

      Re: It is also a means for optimal distribution of works,

      "Optimal" is always a weasel word, and I will automatically distrust anyone who uses it. Of course, I'll use it myself on occasion...

      It's what you say if you want to make it sound as if you're advocating for something to be "the best it can be", but what you really want is to head off any discussion of what "best" means. In this context, I guess the question he's trying to avoid is "optimal for whom?"

  7. The Nazz Silver badge

    A simple solution?

    If the copyright holders don't agree to the EC rules, whereby goods and services are made available to all 28 member states on equal terms, then all that is required is a law which states that any disadvantaged citizens, in this case Belgian cricket fans, can freely and legally take whatever steps they require to obtain said goods and services, all free of charge.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: A simple solution?

      No, they can't. You freetards have got to stop thinking you can take whatever you want because you are "disadvantaged". The laws do not work that way ANYWHERE.

      A corresponding analogy would be "If you are a criminal, I get to shoot you where you stand, anytime I like, for any reason".

      Neither argument makes any sense

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: A simple solution?

        If I, as a Brit, want to buy German bread then I can send a German bakery money and they send me the bread.

        Shipping might be expensive and a bit stale once it arrives, but I can do it and the law does not affect my ability to do so.

        However, if I want to buy German television, I cannot. It is simply impossible to do without breaching copyright.

        If I want to watch it, I must breach the copyright.

        This is the *only* type of goods or services where this is the case within the EU, and it's obviously stupid.

        1. Youngone Silver badge

          Re: A simple solution?

          Thank you Richard 12, simply put and easy to understand.

          That is the point really isn't it? Somehow copyrighted material is able to be "stolen" like any other good, but can't be freely traded if that doesn't suit the copyright holder.

          They want it both ways, and always will.

        2. Dan 55 Silver badge
          Trollface

          Re: A simple solution?

          Be reasonable with your analogies, can you honestly tell the difference between fresh German bread and stale German bread?

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Trollface

            Re: A simple solution?

            Dwarf Bread - the weaponised version, is based on stale German bread I hear

          2. Trevor_Pott Gold badge
            Trollface

            Re: A simple solution?

            "Be reasonable with your analogies, can you honestly tell the difference between fresh German bread and stale German bread?"

            The gold connectors make all the difference!

      2. Doctor Syntax Silver badge
        FAIL

        Re: A simple solution?

        @A/C

        What part of the word "if" didn't you understand?

      3. c3o

        Re: A simple solution?

        As opposed to shooting someone, who exactly is harmed by digitally copying something that is not even offered to them commercially? Every copy is already not a lost sale – and when the things copied aren't even for sale, it gets really hard to argue someone is harmed by that action, and that repressive measures need to be taken to prevent it.

        1. Danny 14 Silver badge

          Re: A simple solution?

          "who exactly is harmed by digitally copying something that is not even offered to them commercially"

          The point is not that people can copy something and not bother paying, the point is people want to copy *and pay someone* for doing so. You cannot legally purchase digital products from certain countries which is odd.

          Another argument is price gouging. Companies want to sell products globally sometimes (not just within the EU), some countries wont pay £20 for an item but they will pay £5 so that is what is charged in over-there-land. However, the same digital item is sold for £20 in over-here-land. There is a trade selling digital keys from over-there-land that work in over-here-land with a smaller markup say £6 per sale. Globalcorp doesn't like this lost £15 so will clamp down heavily on it. That being said, they still got £5 and avoided a lost sale. I imagine a similar mindset is in the EU as there are wildly different prices for some products in some countries - tax cannot be an issue as most of the major euro denomination companies will pay tax in the lowest taxation country (probably lux), currency fluctuation is moot as it is all euro so the remaining factor is price gouging; they want to charge more in UK than say Greece.

  8. Howard Hanek Bronze badge

    Opportunity

    I see an excellent opportunity for the Exchequer to identify all those ex-pat Brits living in Belgium under an assumed name.

  9. James Anderson Silver badge

    While agree with the thrust of the article -- Current copyright laws are bollocks. Just one small not to pick -- All the BBC channels are freely and legally available on Belgian cable TV though not Channel 4 which in keeping with its long tradition of broadcasting programs nobody watches televises cricket matches.

    1. D@v3

      UK Channel 4

      Doesn't show cricket, hasn't done for a while. We get the highlights of some matches on 5, and some IPL stuff way down the freeview guide (ITV4 I think). You want full coverage, you have to go to sky.

      1. Tom 38 Silver badge

        Re: UK Channel 4

        If you want full coverage, tough, you cannot. You can pay Sky, this gets you most England games. You don't get warm up games, although they are televised and commentated on. You don't get CPL because that is on BT Sport (admittedly, not much of a loss, but still..). You constantly get the feeling you are subsidizing for all those fucking footballers too. You also only get foreign games involving Sky affiliated broadcasters, so you get all the NZ And Aus cricket you like, but no Saffers or asian teams though.

        1. Britt Johnston
          Trollface

          sport transmissionaries

          After this commentard flow, I finally realise why pool, billiards, darts and bass fishing are the great sports on European pay TV - they have no value anywhere in Europe. I used to watch Eurodummy sumo, the few seconds of action anyway, if not the pre-match throwing of salt and grimaces, but even that got shot down.

  10. big_D Silver badge

    The organisation also said that “licensing on a territory-by-territory basis is an essential element in the mix for raising finance for audiovisual productions. It is also a means for optimal distribution of works, adapted to local audiences”.

    And the territory should be the EU!

    Local audiences, fine. I accept that, but what about international audiences? I am English and live in Germany, that means that I don't get much in the way of English content on TV or streaming services (over 90% of what Amazon Prime Video is currently delivering is German language only, even for English language films and TV series).

    I'd love the option of getting films, TV series and books streamed in English. For the most part, English language books on Kindle tend to turn up months or even years after they appear in the UK store, so I mainly read German language these days.

    That said, I'm so used to the German voices for certain actors that watching films and series in English is often funny. For example, I was watching NCIS LA on Prime and noticed about half way through the first season, that it was also available in English, I switched and the actors' voices were so high pitched and squeaky, compared to their German voice overs, they suddenly didn't sound half so tough!

    Worf in Star Trek TNG is also much better in German, his voice passes much better to his character and his looks. No offence to Michael Dorn intended.

    1. Alister Silver badge

      That said, I'm so used to the German voices for certain actors that watching films and series in English is often funny. For example, I was watching NCIS LA on Prime and noticed about half way through the first season, that it was also available in English, I switched and the actors' voices were so high pitched and squeaky, compared to their German voice overs, they suddenly didn't sound half so tough!

      I wonder if this is the old time compression issue? Older American TV shows and movies were filmed at 24 frames per second, but to play them back over the European PAL TV system, they have to be speeded up by 4% - which makes the voices slightly higher pitched. The dubbed German voices will be at the correct pitch.

      1. big_D Silver badge

        I don't think so, their voices are higher pitched on DVD releases as well. I've just gotten used to the deeper voices they use in the lipsyncing.

    2. Britt Johnston
      Alien

      dubbing changes characters

      How 'bout John Wayne in French. He wouldn't sound out of place at Ascot.

  11. JWW

    Choice not control and enforcement

    The rights of independent creatives to have choice over which territories work can be distributed in, should be heard. If I have choice over where I publish & distribute a written book or CD, I should have the same choice if I sell the same material as a digital product. This must be made clear in any reform

    1. nijam

      Re: Choice not control and enforcement

      Absolutely not. Either it's for sale, or it isn't. Why should you know or care where your customer is?

      If you don't want to sell, that's OK. If you do, that's also OK.

      If you want to sell to "them" but not "us", that's not OK. If you want to sell to "them" at $1 and to "us" at £10, that's not OK.

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: Choice not control and enforcement

      And the places you sell it in should have the right to make you obey any laws they want.

      So if Germany requires you to reside in Germany, pay German income tax, learn German and have your works only feature Germany characters before you are allowed to sell your content in Germany - you might reasonably complain that it is against the free market.

      But demanding that you can sell anywhere in europe, base your HQ in whichever eu country offers the best tax deals, and live in another country - but then not allow customers in one country to buy your product in another - is a little unfair.

  12. Polemicista

    Of Finnish bread and Belgian cricket

    Interesting about Réunion having African IP addresses - it is constitutionally part of France, and there shouldn't be any issue with people there or other French overseas departments having access to French video content.

    The UK regards its overseas territories as separate countries, and even in Gibraltar you officially can't watch Sky, though you'd never know it if you watched TV on the Rock. Although people get the full Sky package for only £60 a year, nobody in the UK cares as Gibraltar's only got 30 000 people and the local station (GBC) gave up trying to compete years ago. If it were bigger, local broadcasters could buy the rights and kick up a fuss.

    In Singapore and New Zealand, fibre broadband companies offer geo-unblocking as standard instead of offering their own IPTV services. Slingshot in New Zealand used to pretend that its Global Mode was for people visiting from overseas but has now dropped the pretence - https://www.slingshot.co.nz/global-mode/overview Netflix has only just launched in Australia and New Zealand but about 250 000 people already subscribe to its US service using VPNs and pre-paid US credit cards.

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