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Why Google, Bing, Yahoo Should Fear ACTA 290

Posted by kdawson
from the reason-enough-to-keep-it-secret dept.
littlekorea writes "US intellectual property law expert Jonathan Band has warned that Silicon Valley's search engines, hosting companies, and e-commerce giants have much to fear from the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, negotiations for which continued in Switzerland today. The fear for search engines in particular is the erosion of 'fair use' protections and introduction of statutory damages, both of which could lead to more copyright claims from rights holders." The article links a marked-up ACTA draft (PDF) that Band and a coalition of library organizations and rights groups believe is more balanced. Quoting Band: "Our high-level concern is that ACTA does not reflect the balance in US IP law, [which] contains strong protections and strong exceptions. ACTA exports only the strong protections, but not the strong exceptions."
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Why Google, Bing, Yahoo Should Fear ACTA

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  • by elucido (870205) * on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:48PM (#32733742)

    The war on filesharing is untimely.(Bad economics)

    Because they'd rather you not listen to their music at all than let you download it.

    This is about information control, and controlling who can and cannot be happy. It's also about profit margins. But the truth is most college students and recent college grads aren't going to spend more than a specific amount of money every year on entertainment no matter what they do. They can pass any laws they want and it's not going to improve the job market. They should be finding a way to make money on ad revenue but instead they want to keep the old models even when the economy doesn't support it.

    Because they'd rather lock you up than hire you or give you a raise.

    If a college student budgets $200 to spend on movies and music for that year thats what he or she is going to spend. He or she can spend it all on one concert or buy albums and movies on itunes but the limit is not going to change no matter what laws they pass. As the economy is getting worse they keep upping the price of the music on itunes so that young people can afford less and less of it, while at the same time complaining that sales are down. They cannot have it both ways, and they have to compromise just like everyone else has been forced to do in this economy.

    If they think passing ACTA is a good idea it's not. It's not going to make someone friendly to your business if you sue them. This goes for corporations like Google or for individuals. And the 3 strikes policy is completely unacceptable, ruin a persons livelihood because they downloaded some music they couldn't afford or didn't want to risk paying for? Find another strategy, not wait until an economic depression to crack down hard on all the poor jobless undergrads and recent grads unless they really want to make the the situation worse and make people desperate.

    If sales figures are down it's because we have less disposable income. If people aren't buying music, movies or art it's because they are paying their bills. Find a way to expand the market, is that even up for debate? And before anyone comments, I own several copyrights and these people backing ACTA do not represent me.

  • different worlds (Score:4, Insightful)

    by chichilalescu (1647065) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:52PM (#32733832) Homepage Journal

    lawmakers and everyday people live in different worlds. what they refuse to understand is that if people can get something for free, they will get it for free. period.

    another important issue is that it's very dangerous to try to forbid something that you can't actually stop. that's when you lose all authority.

    offtopic: http://xkcd.com/137/ [xkcd.com] . we shouldn't be afraid to say the truth about what we want.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @01:59PM (#32733948)

    Anyone else wonder how long these companies can go before they ruin the 'wrong' life. You know, sue into oblivion that guy that is willing to take his collection of rifles and 'extract his payments' using his own judicial system?

    I mean, the tax code caused a guy to fly his plane into the IRS station, and as I understand it, that guy wasn't even financially ruined. The problem with a corrupt system is that once people see how corrupt it is, they realize that to get justice they need to do it their own way.

    This seems to be the cycle: system goes corrupt, people realize system is corrupt, people enact a revolution, people ensure system cannot go corrupt, system overrides protections, system goes corrupt.

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:02PM (#32734012)

    A brief 10-second ad before every time I try and play a song would be worse than paying $1.25 to never hear the ad. That shit would get old really, really quickly.

  • by eldavojohn (898314) * <eldavojohn.gmail@com> on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:04PM (#32734044) Journal
    I have some questions about your statements.

    As the economy is getting worse they keep upping the price of the music on itunes so that young people can afford less and less of it, while at the same time complaining that sales are down.

    Hey, I really really hate iTMS. I've posted on here about how crappy it is time and time again so I'll spare you that rant. But what on Earth are you talking about? Aren't songs still 99 cents? Several years later even? Are they even adjusting for inflation (I know we had little one year but ...)? Hell, in the past four months I've bought more $5 albums (that's albums) from Amazon's MP3 Service than compact discs. You were kind of right about the budget thing. I would not recommend telling them that they'll lose the poor college student market and use that as logic that their entire revenue will drop out from under them though. As a working professional I'd argue that if the prices dropped more, I'd undoubtedly end up spending more than that.

    If they think passing ACTA is a good idea it's not. It's not going to make someone friendly to your business if you sue them.

    I thought the whole idea of a global ACTA was so that the RIAA and MPAA would feel okay with distributing music and movies digitally on a global level? Because it would require local governments to allow/enforce their terms and conditions for licensing and copyright? And that's why China and India hate it -- it would burden them something fierce with enforcement.

    I mean, every single time there's an article on YouTube or BBC iPlayer or Hulu or <TV Station> making their shows free online the rest of the world cries out that it's only for the US or UK. I thought the purpose of ACTA was to try to satisfy the content owners who have been preventing technology from disseminating their product? Yeah from our angle it really sucks for the end consumer but on the other hand you might be able to watch Hulu in China. These two things are linked.

    Find another strategy ...

    There is no other strategy. Capitalism is great but a nasty side effect are these crazy contracts, men in the middle, managers, labels, exclusivity, distribution contracts, etc that result in this maelstrom of lawsuits when some people just want to listen to music. Bands love their fans. That's the source of their income. But tack on what the music industry has become and suddenly they look like the biggest danger to their fans.

    In my opinion, it's not a new strategy but rather they need a total restructuralization of how the industry functions. Distribution is cheap. The labels are leeches. Isn't this obvious?

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:05PM (#32734058)

    The other fundamental flaw in the argument is claiming that college students and recent grads are actually capable of making a budget and sticking to it. They're more likely to just start heaping up debt on credit cards, because that's what makes the economy go round and round until the bottom falls out like a kid sitting on a pool drain.

  • by butlerm (3112) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:15PM (#32734192)

    ACTA is an end run around the legislative process. Treaties like this should ratify what is already the the consensus of the legislative bodies of the participating countries, not try to legislate entirely new bodies of law by subterfuge, on a take it or be considered an international pariah basis. Unelected international bureaucrats have no business deciding what that consensus should be.

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:16PM (#32734216)

    There is nothing in copyright that says "You had to create this in order to own it".

    In order to copyright something you either have to be the creator or the creator has to cede the copyright to you. If all those scientists and engineers didn't want any of their works to be copyrighted by their bosses then maybe they should start their own business or not agree to the clause were you forfeit the copyrights to your work.

  • by vxice (1690200) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:23PM (#32734302)
    Are what secret negotiations over treaties that will obligate us to write laws in concert with the treaty. There was some fuss about something like that once somewhere.
  • by harl (84412) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:25PM (#32734320)

    You are completely wrong. It's always mattered. Only the creator can copyright something.

    Copyright is treated the same as property. You can buy, sell, transfer just the same as a physical object.

    There's also the work for hire concept. I'm paying you to make something for me. The copyright is mine. Otherwise if I payed you to do something I could never use it.

    If these people you mention don't want to get rich then they need hold onto their copyrights or negotiate much better terms when they agree to give up the copyright. They hold all the power. You can't steal a copyright.

  • by Kell Bengal (711123) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:25PM (#32734326)
    If it was that way, only rich engineers would produce anything. I'm in the middle of trying to bring a small electronics project to market and I can tell you that the start up costs alone are nudging $100k, and that's not including the research, design and development I've already done. If I want to take it to the next step, I need a loan, VC investment or I need a company to bring it to market. I wish it wasn't that way, but that's economics. As your projects get bigger, the amount of funding you need to take off increases dramatically.
  • The Ratchet Effect (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mpapet (761907) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:26PM (#32734340) Homepage

    ACTA highlights the fundamental problem with politics (in the U.S.) today.

    You've got intellectual property interests driving a legislative bonanza for Intellectual Property holders that, on its face is totally offensive to commerce. These vested interests are the lever driving their interests forward. In response, you get a compromise, (from the librarian group) which acts like a pawl, restraining the ACTA juggernaut, but still the ACTA juggernaut scores a a major win. This process is simply repeated. After ACTA will be another more restrictive set of legislation and the moderate political forces will restrain it, but there will be another big win. Wash. Rinse. Repeat.

    Every time you think, "It can't get worse than this." Think again. Because that's how the Ratchet Effect works. They have to drive the most extreme legislation forward so they get a compromise that resembles exactly what they wanted. If the issue dies, just try again.

    And few look around and ask, "how did we get here?" Instead, another economic bonanza is in the legislation queue like so many airplanes waiting for Congress' moderation and approval to further constrain economic activity. The proper response is, "ACTA is harmful to the economy. Here is legislation that eliminates restraints on intellectual property/copyright." The fundamental political failure is the lack of an Anti-ACTA, or Anti-DMCA. This is where the voter has gone wrong. Demand an Anti-Acta and Anti-DMCA is just one way to get the process more balanced.

    I didn't make up the term "The Ratchet Effect." This story is an excellent example.

  • by elucido (870205) * on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:27PM (#32734362)

    I would think a majority can use a spreadsheet and know about http://www.gnucash.org/ [gnucash.org] and I guess if they didn't they know now.

    Those kids who are in debt now are going to be in debt for a long long.. js.

  • by Lunix Nutcase (1092239) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:28PM (#32734380)

    So then actually do something rather than making empty threats on the Internet while using a pseudonym.

  • by elucido (870205) * on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:34PM (#32734458)

    It's not a matter of if they are capable of controlling happiness. Thats their way of expressing dominance. It's not entirely about profits, because if it were they would take profits even at a loss of control which they don't and wont ever do.

    IP rights holders want control of entertainment. They do not want free or cheap entertainment to exist. You have some of them trying to ban radio because people might record from it. Of course it doesn't work but if the world worked the way their model proposes it should, if you don't have the money then you wouldn't be able to listen to music, watch movies, or play electronic games.

    Fortunately there is the creative commons, the copyleft strategy. No I don't think economic control is the same thing as profitability. Microsoft wants economic control and information dominance. Google wants profits and will let you do whatever with information as long as they get to organize it and they make their money by eyeballs.

    It's not an easy point to understand because it's about power not profits.

  • by bsDaemon (87307) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:44PM (#32734594)

    I'm also pretty sure that the majority of people don't know about GNUCash. Just because people on Slashdot know about it, doesn't mean "normal people" do.

  • by 0123456 (636235) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:44PM (#32734602)

    If you look at marketshare you'd soon realize that you live in a fantasy land.

    What relevance does current market share have? Windows is just so 20th century, and Microsoft have shown no indication of being able to move on... it's not going to get substantially better, and people are going to increasingly move to the numerous alternatives now on offer.

    Microsoft were important when they were the 800 pound gorilla who controlled the PC market; they no longer control the market and PCs are now considered last century's news by an increasingly large fraction of the population.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @02:51PM (#32734720) Journal

    >>>I don't know many people who don't spend ANY money on entertainment.

    That's true. Why just yesterday I decided I would splurge and buy Baltimore Otakon tickets. So that brings my grand total of cash spent on entertainment this year to..... oh, about $60. - POINT: Even if I could not download movies, doesn't mean I would run out and buy the DVD. 1 download == 1 lost sale is a very poor assumption. A lot of us don't spend. And the record/movie companies know thier numbers on "lost sales" are bogus but they don't care so long as they can convince 51% of congressmen that it's true.

    ACTA will pass.

    It will be shoved through the same way NAFTA, DMCA, Pelosicare, and the EU Lisbon Treaty were shoved through even though 60-80% were against all of those bills/treaties. Alex Jones claims it's because governments are being run by a banking elite and megacorporations, but I don't think it's anything so complicated. I believe our leaders in the EU, US, and elsewhere have simply decided they are the new nobility, and they are blessed by god/time/fate/whatever to rule over the serfs (us). i.e. Democracy is dead; the People are ignored.

    ACTA will pass. It might change names (like the EU Constitution was renamed Lisbon Treaty) but eventually it will pass in direct opposition to our wishes.

    L8r.

  • by commodore64_love (1445365) on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @03:15PM (#32735038) Journal

    Here's my budget, which I followed not only as a student but also as an adult:

    - Don't Spend

    Simple as that and over the years I've watched my bank account grow to almost half-a-million. Pretty soon (age 45 or so) I'll be able to retire and just live off the interest, plus an occasional contract job. Personally I think all Americans should follow my budget, but I know most would rather carry ~$10,000 in credit card debt plus ~$120,000 in mortgage debt, rather than sacrifice and save.

    SIG (from other forum)

    - My internet cost == $15/month. My cellphone cost == $5/month. My television cost = Free!

  • by elucido (870205) * on Tuesday June 29, 2010 @03:28PM (#32735250)

    It's not an easy point to understand because it's about power not profits.

    It's about both. They want power so they can make profits.

    Thats their way of expressing dominance. It's not entirely about profits, because if it were they would take profits even at a loss of control which they don't and wont ever do.

    What's wrong with them expressing dominance over their property? Are you saying no one should own anything?

    They're allowed to take what profits they want and make what business deals they want. I think you're reading way too much into things.

    They want to make money anytime someone watches Transformers 2, for example. That's it. They want legislation and DRM to make it as hard as possible for people to not pay them. They don't care about you. They don't care about your happiness. The just want cash every time someone watches their movie, listens to their song. It's really just that simple.

    No ones saying they don't own the copyright. They have a right to profit from it. But thats not what they are trying to do. They are trying to control how we consume the product, how we listen to it, how we watch movies. They want to force us to watch movies on discs when we don't ask for or want discs. They want to force us to accept copying restrictions on music we purchased.

    I'm not happy that when I buy music from Itunes that I cannot listen to it in Linux or on another computer. I paid for it so I should be able to do anything I want with it except sell it. This is the issue.

    And copyright wasn't invented to make them a profit anytime someone listens to, watches or reads something. When people would buy books once you bought the book you owned it. If you copied the book and sold it then you are directly taking profits away from the copyright owner. Thats not what is at stake here. They want to profit whether or not you influence their profits or not. They want to intrude on your fair use. They want information control, not just profits.

It is better to give than to lend, and it costs about the same.

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