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World Copyright Summit and the Lies of the Copyright Industry 423

Posted by ScuttleMonkey
from the of-course-they-aren't-biased dept.
Mike Masnick over at Techdirt has an incredibly in-depth look at two presentations in particular from the recent CISAC world copyright summit. Rep. Robert Wexler and Senator Orrin Hatch both gave deeply troubling presentations calling opponents of stronger copyright "liars" and suggesting that copyright is the only way to make money on creative works, respectively. "Does anyone else find it ironic that it's the so-called 'creative class' which copyright supporters insist are enabled by copyright supposedly have not been able to tell this 'great story?' Perhaps the problem is that there is no great story to tell. Perhaps the problem is that more and more people are recognizing that the 'great story' is one that suppresses the rights of everyday users, stifles innovation, holds back progress and stamps on our rights of free speech and communication? Has it occurred to Wexler that for the past decade, the industry has been telling this story over and over and over again — and every time they do, more and more people realize that it doesn't add up? "
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World Copyright Summit and the Lies of the Copyright Industry

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  • There is no debate (Score:3, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday June 12, 2009 @06:10PM (#28315383) Homepage Journal

    Debating how Copyright should work is like debating who should be king. If you accept to be ruled does it really matter how?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      Debating how Copyright should work is like debating who should be king. If you accept to be ruled does it really matter how?

      Yes. Yes, it does. There are good kings and bad kings. Now, generally in the modern world we've accepted that "no king" (or having a king who is no more than a figurehead) is the best option of all, but for most of human history that hasn't been a choice.

      Will we ever get rid of copyright? Hell, I don't know. Should we? I don't know the answer to that one either. What I do know i

    • by Quothz (683368)

      Debating how Copyright should work is like debating who should be king. If you accept to be ruled does it really matter how?

      So you won't mind if I download one of your programs, say TcpSafe, sell it, and keep all of the money. Right?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by QuantumG (50515) *

        You mean this? http://www.quantumg.net/tcpsafe/ [quantumg.net] No, I wouldn't have any problem with that.. being that I licensed it under the GPL v3 and all. And before you ask, yeah, go ahead and sell it without source code, I don't care.

  • hrmm (Score:5, Funny)

    by acehole (174372) on Friday June 12, 2009 @06:12PM (#28315407) Homepage

    Great-copyright-story.torrent

    Need more seeds!

  • dead simple (Score:2, Interesting)

    by markringen (1501853)
    allow people to choose if they pay, you will see that 50% of the people will pay something. eventually people feel guilty, but you can't force people to pay whatever you want for music/movies/games.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by PylonHead (61401)

      How about this. We let people choose if they pay. If they pay then they get to watch the movie. If they don't pay then they can do something else with their time.

      Seems simple enough.

      • by Itninja (937614)
        Sounds great. But with all that digital media out there, and all the copyright holders' rights to enforce, we would need some kind management system. Maybe some kind of software that will constantly monitor users' PCs and make sure that actually are allowed to use the media they have. We could call it something like "E-Rights Watcher". Great idea!
      • Sounds great, but (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Mathinker (909784)

        There is only one problem with your glib idea. The people who are supposed to choose not to watch the movie are being manipulated into wanting to watch it.

        I would totally agree with you if there were laws which required the media cartels to spend even 10% of their advertising budget on educating the Average Joe how he could actually enjoy spending his time not watching their product.

        Yes, it isn't going to happen. The same Average Joes are also manipulated into supporting (or at least not actively dissenting

      • Appearantly that's no option, because that's what's done and behold, studios claim everyone who refuses to watch their crap is copying it.

        The idea that the junk that's currently clogging our cinemas isn't even worth the bandwidth to download it is beyond them, it seems.

  • Copyright: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 12, 2009 @06:14PM (#28315427)

    Too big to fail.

  • by bughunter (10093) <bughunter&earthlink,net> on Friday June 12, 2009 @06:27PM (#28315555) Journal

    Just another data point correlated with the general trend of Congresscritters whoring for the **AA. Even Wexler, who is a member of the progressive congress, needs wealthy donors. And he gets them by fellating the copyright cosa nostra, in this example...

    Everyone in congress is owned by one or more corporate interests, and although it seems the recording and movie industries target those with a (D) after their names, Orrin Hatch proves that their corruption is bipartisan.

  • Wait a second... (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DesScorp (410532) <DesScorp&Gmail,com> on Friday June 12, 2009 @06:32PM (#28315591) Homepage Journal

    I thought we were for copyright reform here... i.e. a return to reasonable copyright periods. When did we decide that we wanted to completely abolish copyright? What about the GNU copyrights? Do we start ignoring them too?

    If you just want to completely trash the system and ignore all copyrights, then sorry, I didn't sign up for that revolution.

    • Re:Wait a second... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by conteXXt (249905) on Friday June 12, 2009 @06:37PM (#28315633)

      You have to realise that nobody shoots for the middle (workable) ground.

      You have to aim for NO copyright to get "reasonable" copyright.

      Tell me I am wrong please.

      • by DesScorp (410532)

        Conte, what's the story on that sig?

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        Tell me I am wrong please.

        You are most definitely wrong.

        The position of no copyright simply serves to alienate people. Sure there are reasons against copyright as it is now, but most people are somewhere between "coping with it"and "enjoying it" (or, at least, what it has provided us). No copyright, on the other hand, is an extreme viewpoint that is trivially easy to poke holes in. Copyright supporters, such as myself, barely have to lift a finger in order to generate scepticism and doubt over the "everyth

    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Friday June 12, 2009 @06:39PM (#28315663) Homepage Journal

      I thought we were for copyright reform here

      -1 Characterizes Slashdot as just a single opinion.

      I'm a copyright abolitionist. Other folks on here are copyright reformists. Other folks on here like copyright just the way it is thank you. Other folks on here think copyright should be strengthened. Other folks on here think copyright should be more like regular property laws.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by RobVB (1566105)
        How do you make copyright laws more like regular property laws? The way I see it, regular property laws says something like "it's illegal if you take my car without either paying or getting my permission to take it", which is roughly the equivalent of "it's illegal if you take my master tape without either paying or getting my permission to take it". We're talking about the equivalent of "it's illegal if you make a copy of my car with me not noticing it" - which as far as I know has not put many people be
        • by QuantumG (50515) *

          Well, it's not my opinion, so I can't really give a fair explanation.. but what Sonny Bono said was that copyright should never expire, it should have no fair use exceptions, it should attract criminal charges for violations, and be investigated by the police. I find this absurd, of course, but I guess he would have been in favour of the scenario where ripping a CD to create an mp3 is detected by some DRM mechanism in the OS, sends a message to the police, who then come knock on your door and charge you wi

    • by init100 (915886)

      I thought we were for copyright reform here... i.e. a return to reasonable copyright periods.

      In politics, you'll always have to negotiate, and when you do, you'll usually not end up with the solution you find optimal, but some middle ground between your solution and your opponent's solution. If you argue for reasonable protection terms, you'll get the middle ground between reasonable and unreasonably long term lengths. Only by aiming to abolish copyright, you can pull the middle ground to where you want it, and thus get a reasonable term length after the negotiations are concluded.

  • Orrin Hatch... (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Evil Shabazz (937088)
    ...is one of the better examples of why we need to impose term limits on Senators. Right up there with Mitch McConnell and John Boehner.
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Friday June 12, 2009 @06:57PM (#28315789)

    What's the reason behind copyright? To give authors and creative artists an incentive to produce, to give them the exclusive right to use their creation for a limited time (yeah, that's the idea, now the studios hold it in the stranglehold... bear with me, ok?), so they can regenerate their expense, so they can reap the rewards for their labour, so they can actually live off their creation.

    Tell me one thing: If you're unable to regenerate your cost, if you don't earn enough within 50 years to have an incentive to produce, why do you think 70, 90 or however many more years would be an incentive?

    My suggestion would be, let's limit it to, say, 20 years and see if people stop creating content. My money is on "they won't stop".

    So care to explain to me why you need the lengths you do? To give people an incentive to create? Don't make me laugh!

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      What's the reason behind copyright? To give authors and creative artists an incentive to produce

      You still didn't answer the question.

      let's limit it to, say, 20 years and see if people stop creating content. My money is on "they won't stop".

      Now you're getting closer.

      Assumption: There's creative works which we want people to create (books, songs, movies, whatever).
      Assumption: Without some economic incentive, they won't create them.
      The Problem: What is the minimum incentive that we can give them to encourage production?

      Thing is, both of those assumptions are simply wrong. The first assumption is wrong because it doesn't actually specify in quantity, quality or kind exactly what it is that we want. This mean

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Opportunist (166417)

        You're right, maybe "incentive" was the wrong term. Let's say, how do we enable an artist to focus on creating art instead of forcing him to have a "mundane" job so he can fund his artistry? If people are really good artists, I'd call it a waste if they were forced to work a 9-5 job just to do what they're really good at. Think how much art he could produce if he wasn't distracted by mundane tasks!

        If you are dealing with easily reproduced art where the reproduction itself does not represent any sensible amo

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by QuantumG (50515) *

          If people are really good artists, I'd call it a waste if they were forced to work a 9-5 job just to do what they're really good at.

          Surely if the market isn't offering artists a 9-5 job to create their art then there really isn't that much demand for it.

          Think how much art he could produce if he wasn't distracted by mundane tasks!

          Think of how much of that art we don't want. I can apply this argument for anything. Think of how many waves I could surf if I wasn't distracted by a 9-5 job.. Think of how many nasty letters to KD Lang I could write if I wasn't distracted by a 9-5 job. Before you decide to offer an economic incentive for an activity you really have to ask what the value of that activity is.

          Your other

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Requiem18th (742389)

          The problem is that the economic process of creating art is turned on its head. It should be possible for instance to make a 10 million dollar movie if only the buyers payed for it in advance.

          No, people want the content to be made before they pay for it, which is funny since in the current system people can't actually know if a movie is good without paying for it first.

  • TFA seems crappy (Score:2, Insightful)

    by dthx1138 (833363)
    You could classify me as a Slashdot reader who does not have a firm opinion on overall copyright law and needs to be convinced one way or another. That being said, this article has progressed 0% of the way towards that goal. It's basically several quoted paragraphs following by the writer ranting as if he's yelling at a television screen- "Oh no you didn't say that! Corporate whore!" etc.

    Aside from a few anecdotal cases of copyright-related stupidity such as the iTunes song activation limit, I could not
    • Length, for one. If you're not able to recover your production cost in 10 years, you won't recover them in 90. So why extension after extension?

      Or how about erosion of fair use? Why is a copyright holder allowed to practically undermine fair use exceptions by DRM?

      • by drinkypoo (153816)

        Length, for one. If you're not able to recover your production cost in 10 years, you won't recover them in 90. So why extension after extension?

        I see this sawed on quite a bit, and I disagree. Often, interest in a classic results in a resurgence of income for whoever is holding onto the rights, if they are clever and "agile" (/me ducks) enough to take advantage of it.

        On the other hand, what do I get by allowing corporations to exert copyright? If I eventually get the right to do anything I want with it, and by eventually I mean "reasonably within my lifespan if I became familiar with it as a teenager", then maybe I am willing to pay what the market

  • On my iPod (Score:5, Interesting)

    by MikeD83 (529104) on Friday June 12, 2009 @07:21PM (#28315955)
    I wish someone in Congress actually served their constituents and asked the simple question:
    When a consumer buys a CD/DVD is that customer allowed to put it on their mobile media player? If so, and how would they legally go about doing that?

    It seems that the **AA wants a one way street when it comes to this issue. They put anti-ripping software on both CDs and DVDs,,, which doesn't actually reduce copyright infringement; it only causes their customers to break laws in order to actually use the content they purchased.
  • Laid out bare (Score:5, Interesting)

    by RyoShin (610051) <tukaro.gmail@com> on Friday June 12, 2009 @07:39PM (#28316083) Homepage Journal

    that copyright is the only way to make money on creative works

    While I don't think anyone's been delusional about it, this is proof that government officials are in the pocket of corporations, or at least have some ulterior motive for acting in their interests. (While that line was said by Hatch, Wexler's part doesn't fare much better.)

    The US Constitution empowers Congress:

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    No where in there does it say anything about profit.

    I now view Wexler and Hatch as one of the many bought-and-paid-for politicians; it's unfortunate I have no opportunity to vote against either. On an interesting aside, Wexler is a Democrat (FL) and Hatch a Republican (UT). Why neither the summary nor the techdirt article states this is beyond me, as I consider it highly relevant.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      While I don't think anyone's been delusional about it, this is proof that government officials are in the pocket of corporations, or at least have some ulterior motive for acting in their interests.

      I'm always a little disturbed about what passes for proof of this proposition these days. The whole case against them is heaps upon heaps of here-say, conspiracy theories, and opinions borne of ignorance or a lack of perspective when viewing the facts.

      For example, your "proof" here could more easily and sensibly

      • by RyoShin (610051)

        I'm much more inclined to always think of a politician as a crook, and force him or her to prove otherwise.

  • Why this is bollocks (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Dr_Ish (639005) on Friday June 12, 2009 @10:53PM (#28317215) Homepage

    As a professor, I write programs, papers and am currently working on a book. All these activities involve creating copyrighted content. The people of my State pay me to do this, as I work for a State university. So, you are probably thinking that my situation is a bit like Bono and the other 'creative' sorts? Nothing could be further from the truth.

    Once I have written a paper, it needs to go through peer review, via the blind referee process. This is all good and stops me publishing silly stuff. The next step is where the copyright problem arises.

    Once I have a paper accepted, it is necessary for me to assign the copyright to the publishers of the journal. No copyright assignment, no publication. It is as simple as that. So, who gets the fruits of my labors? Big multi-national corporations. What did they do to get this intellectual content? Absolutely bugger all, other than rigging the system! What about the people of my State who paid for my hard work? They get nothing. If they want to read my papers, they have to buy them from the journal (at $15 per paper and up), or visit a library. Libraries have to pay for a journal subscription ($750 per annum and up).

    Thus, all this 'creativity' and copyright bleating is clearly bollocks. It is just a case of the powerful folks using rhetoric to fight for their monopoly 'rights'. I don't care to participate, but am forced to. Of course, I also run an e-journal where the authors retain copyright, but that is another story. My little act of subversion.

    Don't fall for all this 'starving artist' rubbish. My bet is that we professors in our professional bondage produce more per year than the people represented by the members of both the RIAA and the MIAA, put together. I wonder what those crooks, or their mouth pieces, would have to say in response to that claim? I bet we will never hear.

    "We are led by fools who waste our lives". Copyright is a good idea which has now been subverted into a scam and it sucks.

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