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Government Music Your Rights Online

Musician Lobby Terms Balanced Copyright "Disgusting" 319

Posted by Soulskill
from the less-than-impressed dept.
An anonymous reader writes "While most of the attention at Thursday's Canadian copyright town hall was on the recording industry's strategy to pack the room and exclude alternate voices, the most controversial activity took place outside the hall. It has now been revealed that security guards threatened students and a Member of Parliament for distributing leaflets, and the American Federation of Musicians termed the MP's leaflet, which called for balanced copyright, 'disgusting' and demanded a retraction and apology. At this point, such an admission seems unlikely."
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Musician Lobby Terms Balanced Copyright "Disgusting"

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  • haha (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday August 30, 2009 @09:45AM (#29251459)

    By describing "balanced copyright" as "disgusting, the musician's lobby has admitted publicly that current copyright law is unbalanced in their favor.

    • Re:haha (Score:5, Insightful)

      by unlametheweak (1102159) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:05AM (#29251567)

      By describing "balanced copyright" as "disgusting, the musician's lobby has admitted publicly that current copyright law is unbalanced in their favor.

      It just means that they shouldn't be taken seriously. Nothing they say is meaningful, helpful or relevant to anything but their own copyright fetish.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by MrMista_B (891430)

        It's sure meaningful when it becomes law enough to have police permanantly confiscating your computer for 'testing'.

    • Re:haha (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Rallion (711805) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:43AM (#29251805) Journal

      "Balanced" does not mean "fair" or "right".

      For example, one might term a new tax structure in which the government takes half of your income "balanced".

      • by tolan-b (230077)

        I think in this case it's clearly meant to mean fair. Balancing the needs of each party.

        Now whether you agree this particular proposal *is* balanced is another matter.

      • Re:haha (Score:5, Informative)

        by shutdown -p now (807394) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @02:01PM (#29253551) Journal

        "Balanced" does not mean "fair" or "right".

        Here [cfs-fcee.ca] is the PDF of the leaflet in question. Judge for yourself.

        I'm pro-copyright (though in favor of reducing copyright term length), and I find it perfectly reasonable.

      • Re:haha (Score:5, Insightful)

        by hedwards (940851) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @02:27PM (#29253769)
        That conclusion doesn't follow from your premise. The ability of a person to falsely label something as balanced is not the same thing as the thing being balanced. Furthermore, the government taking half of your income might actually be a very good deal if you're getting more of the services you need than you were previously getting.

        In this case it's pretty clear that they're talking about balancing the needs of the owners of copyrights, with the needs of those that use it and society in general.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      "Balanced copyright" are just words. What some might consider fair or balanced, others will inevitably not.

      It's not like the artists walked in and demanded that copyright be unfair.

  • it doesn't matter what laws they pay to get passed

    copyright has been treated as damage to the network and has been appropriately routed around

    thousands of

    industry lawyer goons

    versus

    millions of

    1. technically superior,
    2. media hungry and
    3. POOR teenagers

    the game is already over

    it doesn't matter in the least what the law says, in any country

    copyright has been rendered functionally defunct and unenforceable

    • 1. technically superior,
      2. media hungry and
      3. POOR teenagers

      It's not the wants and needs of teenagers that is bringing the end of copyright. It's the simple forces of reality.

      You know the song "Happy Birthday". It's copyrighted. The song itself is a mere 95 bytes in size. The data overheads involved in transmitting the file probably outweigh the file itself. Yet copyright law essentially tells us that Time Warner "owns" this song. That the act of copying it is a sacred right, reserved only for those whom the privilage is conferred upon by the rightful owner. The rightful owner of 95 bytes of data. An amount so small that no currency exists that can measure its worth.

      But Happy Birthday represents only the purest and most absurd form of copyrighted work. As Moore's law has progressed, and continues progressing, and as our networks get faster and faster and disc space cheaper and cheaper, even music files 5MB in size have become trivial amounts of data. Soon even 50GB Blu Ray movies will be considered too paltry to be worth protecting. For some, they already are. This isn't a simply a consequence of people being too cheap. It's a consequence of the data being too cheap to buy.

      People realise this. They're not stupid. They see how easy, accessible and trivial data is in our digital age. The internet is a deluge and trying to tell them that certain datas cannot be copied because they are under some sacred divination is like telling people in a thunderstorm that they cannot collect rain water(This is in fact done in certain places). You can pass such laws, but ultimately resonable people will not obey them. They will not obey the law, not because it is unjust, but because it is entirely irrational. In ten years time, claiming the latest 5MB pop song should be protected will be as ludicrous as claiming the same for "Happy Birthday".

      As the realities of the digital of make the concept of copyright more and more irrational, I find it increasingly difficult to even find arguments justifying its continued existence. With the de facto perpetual copyright that has evolved, its irrational claims and the draconian measures used to enforce it, more and more I find myself viewing copyright as a system that will be inherently gamed by its proponents and which will, inevitably evolved to the absurd position we now find ourselves in. Frankly, I think copyright is akin to the system of direct democracy and propositions run in California. A noble goal, and even a worthwhile one in the beginning, but which in the end became a destructive farce and totally unworkable.

      I'd like to hear some justifications for copyright that aren't 300 years old. While I see some benefit to the system, ultimately, I am like someone seeing the benefits of Prohibition while also seeing the great harm it has done to society, politics and the legal system. My current position is that copyright needs drastic reform and moreover, if that reform is impossible or unworkable then we need to scrap the system entirely.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Kjella (173770)

        By that bytes == seriousness logic, violating the license of the entire Linux kernel is about as bad as violating the license of a CDs worth of mp3s.

        However, I do agree you have a problem when the collected hits in history can fit on a USB stick.

    • I'd like to think they don't matter, but their deceit has poisoned a lot of minds. They may yet manage to convince everyone that their ways are unworkable. A few of their supporters hope for a piece of their rent seeking action. Most are deluded into supporting what they think is the status quo even as the current system is steadily warped into a monstrosity, and because alternatives are equated to socialism or communism and they eat that up. 20 years after the fall of the Berlin Wall, the Red scare sho

  • by DingerX (847589) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @09:50AM (#29251493) Journal
    From the "apology-demanding" letter by "Alan Willaert, the Canadian representative of the American Federation of Musicians":

    I am shocked that both Chow and Charlie Angus are allowed to openly depart from party policy and directive, obviously just to shamelessly buy votes among young people and academics.

    So if you support a policy in line with a large segment of the people you represent, that's "shamelessly buy"ing votes?

    Well, if so, than I wholeheartedly condemn the American Federation of Musician's shameless perversion of Democracy.

    • by shma (863063) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:08AM (#29251595)
      In their world, politicians acting on voters wishes is 'buying votes', while lobbyists using the promise of campaign contributions to get favourable legislation passed is 'Democracy in Action'.

      It's the same kind of logic that makes 30 copies of crappy pop songs worth over a million dollars.
      • It could have been worse. He could have pulled a Nancy Pelosi and called the protesters - "unCanadian"

      • by radtea (464814) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:32PM (#29252747)

        In their world, politicians acting on voters wishes is 'buying votes', while lobbyists using the promise of campaign contributions to get favourable legislation passed is 'Democracy in Action'.

        War is peace.
        Freedom is slavery.
        Ignorance is strength.

        The time has come to eschew abstractions in debate to the greatest extent possible, because they have been taken over by the liars and lobbyists.

        Using concrete terms is more wordy, but much harder to distort.

        Don't talk about "copyright" or "pirating", talk about "laws against making copies of songs or movies". It works in part because people think that "copyright|" means exactly one thing, and they know what that thing is. When you use more concrete language you actually INCREASE certain types of necessary ambiguity, and raise questions in people's heads like, "WHICH laws against making WHAT KIND of copies of songs or movies FOR WHAT PURPOSE?" To have an intelligent opinion on these matters you need to know the answers to those questions, and many people do not, but think they do because the comfortable abstraction "copyright" makes them feel they have a handle on the issue.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        The funny thing is Olivia Chow, who supports fair and balanced copyright is a practicing artist herself.

        Why is the opinion of a Canadian artist, and a politician who is actually representing the views of those she represents 'disgusting', while the opinion of a foreign lobby group is somehow acceptable?

    • by catman (1412) <bjornst AT skogk ... omelinux DOT org> on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:30AM (#29251733) Homepage Journal
      A commenter on Boing Boing notes:
      Just thought it was worth pointing out for the non Canadians here that Olivia Chow is married to Jack Layton, the leader of the federal NDP. The MP Mr. Willaert claims is openly departing from party policy is, in fact, married to the party's leader.

      In the spirit of disclosure, I am a member of the Ontario NDP.

    • by ae1294 (1547521)

      So if you support a policy in line with a large segment of the people you represent, that's "shamelessly buy"ing votes?

      Come on, everyone knows the only proper moral way to buy votes is with; hookers, blow, and bags of cash with a big $ on them...

  • by Dachannien (617929) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:11AM (#29251613)

    What's really disgusting is that the RIAA/CRIA, in this case through their lapdogs in the AFM, are still firmly convinced that they speak for all musicians everywhere.

    It ain't true. [exclaim.ca] Really. [canada.com]

  • Pirate Party (Score:5, Informative)

    by Nuitari The Wiz (1123889) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:30AM (#29251731)

    http://www.pirateparty.ca/ [pirateparty.ca] , and we now have a new website

  • Apology? The MP should use his post to fight back and shame his accusers, or failing that at least turn the public against them. He has so much more power to influence than an ordinary citizen; it's really stupid to attack him like this.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by tomhudson (43916)

      Apology? The MP should use his post to fight back and shame his accusers

      Shame them? These people have no shame. Otherwise, they wouldn't be doing what they are doing.

      Then again, the dinosaurs probably had no shame either.

      There's still a big market for copyrighted material that people are willing to pay for - but the writing is on the wall - games already exceed movies in terms of total sales. People only have a certain budget for entertainment, and they're allocating it - and that means less for "old

  • by west (39918) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:44AM (#29251819)

    The article's about *Canada*. Who the heck is reading it?

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by west (39918)

      Flame-bait? Flame-bait? Maybe a failed attempt at self-deprecating humour, but flame-bait?

      *sigh*.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      That was funny, not flame bait. I'm Canadian and found it very funny.

  • by Derekloffin (741455) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @10:55AM (#29251897)

    I mean seriously, when you pull stunts like this, barring even the other view from being fielded, how in the hell do you expect us to take you seriously? This kind of thing disgusts me. I'm actually for copyright and protections and the like, but every time they do this kind of thing I lose that much more of my support for their position as they are obviously not even trying to be reasonable.

    As to the MP and students distributing the flier, good job. The other side has to be heard. Don't let these guys get away with this BS. And don't even think about apologizing. They are the ones that should be apologizing to you. They obviously aren't interested in real discussion.

  • by sydb (176695)

    I had to read the title five times before I understood it. The use of "term" as a verb here is unusual, probably cruel and definitely punishment - for what, I do not know.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by smoker2 (750216)
      It's not unusual in English speaking countries. Google "termed" for insight. (Don't google terms as you'll get millions of "terms and conditions" references, which are useful but not explanatory for the term itself.)
  • by HangingChad (677530) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:14PM (#29252571) Homepage

    Thursday's Canadian copyright town hall was on the recording industry's strategy to pack the room and exclude alternate voices

    Hey, they're taking a page from the Republican play book. Packing town hall meetings with partisans to shout down opposing points of view. Then justify it by accusing the other side of doing the same thing, while steadfastly maintaining those are just "real" citizens voicing their opposition. Real citizens being bused in with box lunches from other districts, many of whom happen to work for companies with an interest in the debate, but who's really going to check?

    Next they'll have talking heads on sympathetic cable news networks suggesting that Canada is being taken over by Socialists and "real patriots" should start showing up at meetings with guns.

    And don't forget to mock the messenger if you're losing the debate. Anyone who doesn't see things your way is a traitor and a Nazi, call them ignorant, "moonbats" and "liberals". I'm not sure why that last one is a bad thing but it seems to play pretty well down here, so give it a shot. Maybe suggest anyone not adopting strict copyright interpretation is killing old people. If that doesn't work, accuse them of not supporting the military. Suggest that lax copyright will lead to "death panels" for musicians.

    Got all that? You're off to good start up there, just have to get with the rest of the program.

    • by radtea (464814) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:47PM (#29252909)

      Next they'll have talking heads on sympathetic cable news networks suggesting that Canada is being taken over by Socialists and "real patriots" should start showing up at meetings with guns

      This is where the strategy breaks down, as we've had numerous socialist governments at the provincial level that have been variously disastrous (Ontario), middling-competent (BC) and really quite good (Manitoba.)

      So "socialist" ain't the scare-word up here it is in the USA, although that's helped by Canadians being generally braver and more tolerant of diversity than Americans (see our gay marriage laws, for example.)

      The difference is due to two things, I think: we have a long history of robust alternative political experimentation, so we tend to go, "Ok, another bunch of wingnuts... let's see what they have to bring to the table..." because we have lots of examples, particularly at the provincial level, of wingnuts not turning out to be any more dangerous/stupid/insane than the mainstream parties.

      On the other hand, we have no imperial ambitions, and that means we aren't afraid to be seen to try and fail. This makes us more successful, in the long run, because it gives our political and economic system more freedom to experiment. Whereas the Americans know they'll be mocked around the world if they try anything and fail, which often leads them to simply not try, except in the area of military adventurism where even failure is so terrible and terrifying that there isn't a lot of mocking going on.

      In any case, attempts by Americans to influence Canadian policy have not been notably successful even with our most neo-conservative Federal government ever, and antics like these at the town hall meeting are only going to result in conditions that make it politically impossible for the Conservatives to table legislation that is seen to kowtow to American corporate interests.

      Americans typically see Canadians as stoic and think we're passive. You see we're self-deprecating and think we lack confidence. You see we're polite and think we're weak. Then you come up against our hard limits and wonder what you were thinking.

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by petrus4 (213815)

        Americans typically see Canadians as stoic and think we're passive. You see we're self-deprecating and think we lack confidence. You see we're polite and think we're weak. Then you come up against our hard limits and wonder what you were thinking.

        As an Australian, this is what I've never been able to understand. America on the one hand appears continually as sociologically/culturally speaking, representing the proverbial mouth of Hell, and yet Canada is consistently depicted as the very paragon of civic re

  • by yoshi_mon (172895) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @12:55PM (#29252989)

    There is a fair amount to be said about the idea of copyright and copyright law. I'd like to take a moment to think about the idea of copyright and something that I always think about when dealing with the idea.

    There are works in the public domain that nobody can claim copyright on. And some of them are still very popular today. I'll submit that they are popular not only because they are free as in beer but because they have stood the test of time and are just that good. And because of all of this that our society is a better place for it.

    However imagine for a moment if all works were under a perpetual copyright type setup. A system that the **AA's wish. Would our society be better because of such a system? I seriously doubt it.

    It's hard to quantify such ideas and as such the **AA's have had a pretty easy time in pushing their addenda. Being that it's easy to show that if Micky Mouse is released into the public domain that $X will be lost, or some such nonsense.

  • by mbone (558574) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @02:00PM (#29253539)

    About 8 years ago, I warned industry types that the end result of their activities would be the destruction of copyright - not because I wanted it destroyed, but because the more hysterical and unbalanced their attempts to protect their legacy business models become, the stronger the inevitable reaction would become.

    I was roundly jumped on for that opinion, but I have seen nothing the period since to make me change it. In fact, I think it's now like Communism during the 20 years after the suppression of the Prague Spring - it's already too late to reform it, and the only real question is how the end will come.

  • by symbolset (646467) on Sunday August 30, 2009 @03:05PM (#29254007) Journal

    I'm thinking, 10-20yrs of incarceration for flagrant violations for ripping a digital copy of a CD or DVD for personal use, 25-40 for sharing it, and financial damages in the millions of dollars per shared song or book. That should adequately provide a disincentive for the casual intellectual property thief. Obviously forfeiture of your entire estate and a lifetime of collections to prevent future economic misdeeds is the only adequate preventive measure.

    For thieves of software and commercial theft, adding chemical castration should nip the problem in the bud.

    And of course to claw back the rampant theft of content the content cooperatives like BSA, RIAA and MPAA should get a surcharge of 50% on all R/W media including hard drives - 75% for SD media that's more frequently infringing, and on all streaming communications like Internet, Cable TV, cellular phones and POTS. Clearly the passing of digital or analog data across international borders is likewise a circumvention of just management of artist's rights - a "jurisdiction hole" and must be prevented totally. An overriding "Supercopyright Body" should be instituted consisting of all of these constituencies.

    To ensure fair distribution of content licensing all equipment that contains an amplifier, recorder or speaker should enjoy the surcharge as well. After all if you play music in your car with the windows down that's a public performance. Naturally for all of this equipment adequate licensing protective measures of DRM should be mandatory as well.

    I'm sure we can count on the righteous defenders of artists' rights to distribute the take equitably after accounting overhead and costs.

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