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EU Piracy

EU About To Vote On Copyright Extension 143

Posted by samzenpus
from the cutting-the-cord dept.
ConfusedVorlon writes "According to Christian Engström (Pirate MEP), 'Monday or Tuesday this upcoming week there will be another round in the fight against prolonging the copyright protection term for recorded music in the EU. Now is an opportunity to contact MEPs, Members of the European Parliament, and persuade them to vote against the term extension."
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EU About To Vote On Copyright Extension

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  • by Anonymous Coward

    Bend over. Yeah. You like it. Because we told you that you do.

  • by MBraynard (653724) on Monday April 11, 2011 @02:50AM (#35779010) Journal

    Making the copyright permanent would create a greater incentive to create and would lower the cost for consumers by extending the time to earn back the investment and shifting the intersection of the price-demand curve down.

    And do the same thing for drugs while you are at it.

    • by Winckle (870180)

      +1 would get trolled again

    • by Anonymous Coward on Monday April 11, 2011 @06:45AM (#35779892)

      I think they need to attach a yearly property tax on all items copyrighted if it's extended.

      You want a perpetual copyright? then you get a property tax attached to it. So if each song is worth millions as you claim in the courts, we TAX you at that value. Plus you pay taxes on it for every day it's not released to the public domain.

      If they want to screw the people, then at least give us tax money out of it.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward
        You've got it wrong. Privatize profit and socialize costs, not the other way around!

        (That's what the people with the money want, at least.)
    • by walshy007 (906710)

      Here is an experiment.

      Make copyright permanent, and make it retroactive like they have done for previous copyright law and this time bring back copyright that has already expired (goodbye public domain, not like they were going to add to you anyway) HOWEVER, hunt down the heir to the copyrights and sue all of the present media companies over it until everything destroys itself and they see what a farce forever minus a day copyright is.

      All work builds off prior work. Let them have their perpetual copyright,

  • Hummm... What? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Tei (520358) on Monday April 11, 2011 @02:55AM (#35779034) Journal

    95 years? thats negating the right to use music that you have heard your whole life. Do these people voting understand why theres a limit?
    If anything must be lowered, since music can start creating profit sooner and with computer networks can be instant and worldwide. Music don't need to move in slow trucks anymore.. has ben accelerated.

    I have the feeling this has ben caused by political corruption. Money from these music companies. I hope I am wrong.

    • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by mentil (1748130) on Monday April 11, 2011 @03:31AM (#35779166)

      I imagine it's less 'corruption' and more 'indoctrination'.
      Imagine a conversation going something like this: "When music goes into public domain, its potential for economic use is wasted. In order to maximize economic activity the copyright term on music needs to be lengthened."
      Throw in some statistics about the number of people employed in the music industry who remaster old music, and dollar amounts of how much is made from old music. Add some emotional pleas saying how poor old ladies like Yoko Ono etc. won't make any money from their relatives' legacy.
      Basically they argue that economic purposes always trump public good, because economy is more important than anything. They probably even believe it, too.

      • by Mashiki (184564)

        My brain must be broken. How does something generate economic value for 1.5x the life of the average person in Europe? (Not even touching the stuff in the US) Then again, considering most of the good music these days is in the public domain, I can see how they'd have a huge problem with this.

        • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by metacell (523607) on Monday April 11, 2011 @05:10AM (#35779528)

          A tiny fraction of all music lasts that long. Elvis Presley's music is owned by a German record company today, and it was largely to protect that record company's business and employees that copyright was extended the last time, a year or two ago. And as a result, the remaining 99,9% of music becomes locked in by copyright and rots away in libraries and private collections for yet another few decades.

        • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by stiggle (649614) on Monday April 11, 2011 @05:22AM (#35779578)

          If its good enough then people will continue to consume quality media products.

          Beethoven's music is still fairly popular.
          Charles Dickens books are still being printed.
          Michael Faraday's inventions are still in use (after further development and refinement).

          Of course, history would probably be different if those 3 examples were heavily restricted and limited in their use.

          Where would Disney get their stories from if copyright existed on all those fairy stories they corrupted?

          • by tepples (727027)

            Where would Disney get their stories from if copyright existed on all those fairy stories they corrupted?

            The stories of Bambi, Mary Poppins, Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and several others I can't think of were licensed from their respective copyright owners.

            • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

              by Anonymous Coward

              Psh! Not even that, anymore! The Lion King shows that they'd just gladly plagarize something. They only care about copyright so far as they can keep anybody else down.

            • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:4, Insightful)

              by MojoRilla (591502) on Monday April 11, 2011 @09:43AM (#35781440)
              And the stories of Snow White, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, Beauty and the Beast, and many others were taken (stolen?) by Disney from the public domain.

              Disney definitely wants things both ways...it liberally borrowed from the public domain, but doesn't want any of its stuff there.

              It is true that Disney licensed Mary Poppins. It is very interesting though that the author of Mary Poppins, PL Travers, was a giant pain in the butt for Disney. According to IMDB [imdb.com], she greatly interfered in the making of the movie. Among other things she wanted major changes to the final film, including removing the chalk drawing animated sequence and removing all the music and replacing with period songs like "Ta Ra Ra Boom De Ay" or "Greensleeves". I would argue that the music is the soul of the movie.

              If the argument is that art won't get created without copyright, an equally valid argument is that art isn't getting created due to copyright.
          • Copyright existed then, just not as it does today. At that time, derivative works were not covered by IP laws, that was something added years later.
        • Your brain works well. You only made the mistake of considering authors. These laws are made for the publishers, by the publishers possibly :)

      • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by metacell (523607) on Monday April 11, 2011 @05:05AM (#35779498)

        Real economists, on the other hand, realise that private use is also economic activity.If x people listen to a song, it produces the same amount of good regardless of whether they do it for free or have to pay for the pleasure. If all other things are equal, listening for free is preferable, since it cuts out the middle mean and reduces economic waste.

        This is where I believe the pragmatic politician and the economist start to differ. The pragmatic politician says, "What about all those people who are employed in the recording industry? Won't they be out of a job?"
        The economist answers, "Yes, but that's actually a good thing. That means labour is freed up to do something more useful. Selling and distributing music is not needed any more."
        And the politician answers, "Sorry, but I have to think of people's jobs. I won't get re-elected if I make a few thousand people unemployed - especially not if they're people with strong lobbying groups and good connections to journalists and intellectuals."

        The only time copyright is good for the economy, is when it provides a strong incentive to produce more artistic and literary works. Providing employment for artists and all the middle-men is not an end in itself.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          It's also called the broken window fallacy. It needs alot more attention.

          Many jobs have been completely superseded by technology. That's a good thing. The people get other jobs (often something less menial, since that's what tech usually replaces) and we get better products.

        • by Anonymous Coward

          A similar thing happened with the blue fin tuna. The catch quotas were set to a multiple of the amount required to stabilize the tuna population. For a recovery of the population an even more stringent cuts are required. Pragmatic politicians made a "pragmatic" decision in "favour" of the lobbying and corrupting fishing industry. European fishing industry can shoot itself to the foot as well as the music industry can.

          • by pstils (928424)
            And I think that's the reason we can't really trust big pharma - would they really want to release a "cure-all" anti-biotic to which bugs never developed resistance?
            • Patents would delay that drug's release, but once the patents expire, you can be your ass someone would make it. Curing tons of diseases at once would make one super rich.

              • by gstoddart (321705)

                Curing tons of diseases at once would make one super rich.

                Giving treatment to symptoms over an extended period of time will make you far more money.

                To quote Doctor Who [planetclaire.org]

                Why sell one cure when I can sell a thousand palliatives.

                I can see pharma companies sitting on cures in order to "maximize shareholder value" by selling stop-gap measures. The revenue stream lasts far longer that way.

        • The only time copyright is good for the economy, is when it provides a strong incentive to produce more artistic and literary works.

          Even that would only be true if there was actual demand for these new artistic and literary works (as opposed to, for example, demand for mere copies of existing works in the absence of copyright) which exceeded the demand for whatever else might have been produced instead. As you pointed out yourself, in the absence of copyright the current beneficiaries wouldn't simply stop working; they would work on something else. Copyright doesn't create value, it just shifts it around—inevitably away from the o

      • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by martin-boundary (547041) on Monday April 11, 2011 @05:22AM (#35779572)

        Imagine a conversation going something like this: "When music goes into public domain, its potential for economic use is wasted. In order to maximize economic activity the copyright term on music needs to be lengthened."

        That's interesting. Normally, companies don't want old products to compete economically with newer products, because the money that people spend on the old directly reduces the earnings from the new (market cannibalization). If the old songs go into the public domain, all of people's disposable income related to music will be spent on recent songs.

        However by your argument, new music must be so inferior that the market is shrinking, so keeping the old in the market is necessary to prop up the overall earnings.

        • by oever (233119)

          Exactly, musicians that make music today are harmed by an extension of the copyright period. Since people still have to pay for the old music, there is less money to pay for the new music.

          A copyright term beyond 30 years actually likely harms the creative output.

        • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:5, Insightful)

          by mentil (1748130) on Monday April 11, 2011 @06:28AM (#35779804)

          Cannibalizing sales from themselves is preferable to free downloads cannibalizing their sales. $10 cannibalizing $10 is better than $0 cannibalizing $10. Distributors don't care if their $10 comes from old or new songs.
          If you look at music sales, they ARE shrinking recently. The long tail of old music is apparently large enough to justify the lobbying dollars required to get these copyright extensions passed, as long as that is true they will keep lobbying for extensions.

          • by syockit (1480393)
            OP argues that if you buy old songs, you are deprived of the money for use to buy new songs. That is what ey meant by cannibalizing the sales. Distributors should care whether $10 comes from old/new songs, because they might own the new songs and not the old, or VV. OTOH, you argue that if people listen to old songs (by downloading for free), they will not listen to new songs (even if they still have the money to buy). A different matter altogether. But your argument on music sales still holds; free downlo
          • Distributors don't care if their $10 comes from old or new songs.

            Of course, and old songs are not new economic activity.

            Therefore, copyright extensions do not foster new economic activity.

        • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:4, Informative)

          by devent (1627873) on Monday April 11, 2011 @09:36AM (#35781358) Homepage

          That's not how digitalized works work. A real product can be put to an end by the company, because if the company stops to produce the product, the product is gone (except maybe for second hand/eBay). If the old music goes into public domain, now everyone can sell it.

          The big music industry is lobbying for extended copyright just to prevent old music become public domain so they can make music a scarce product. They want to be the only entity that have control over the distribution of music.

          What would happen if copyright would be 15 years or less? We would have a lot of small music distributors that profit from old music, and a lot of small music distributors that profit from new music. The music industry would come closer to a "free market" with lots of market members compete with each other.

          That is the worst nightmare for entities like the BMG and other groups. There are only 4 big record labels in the whole world, each have almost equal market share and they are dominating with 70% the music market.
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_music_market#Statistics [wikipedia.org]

          That is a lot of concentration of capital in the hands of a few. 3 are based in the USA and one in the UK. You can see how much money they can put in to legislation in countries were such buy-off of laws is the norm.

          • What would happen if copyright would be 15 years or less? We would have a lot of small music distributors that profit from old music, and a lot of small music distributors that profit from new music.

            You're just forgetting one point. Public domain belongs to all. So any company that sells public domain works competes with all the people who give those works away for free. In fact, any one of that company's customers can do so instantly anywhere.

            The digital world is different. The only thing that st

            • by devent (1627873)

              "In a world where copyright is 15 years or less, there would only be small music distributors who profit from new music."

              It's equally good. So they would have had the pressure to produce new music fast and to improve quality of the new music. But I tend to disagree with you.

              I think the only reason because public domain music is not selling well, is because public domain music is so old thanks to the freaky long copyright protection. For example in the USA it's 95 years, do you really want to listen to music

      • Basically they argue that economic purposes always trump public good, because economy is more important than anything. They probably even believe it, too.

        We live in a democratic society. And since at least 1982, a "democracy" has meant a free market consumer economy, operating on top of a nominally free and representative society. Democracy has hitched itself to marketism and the two are by now, probably inextricably linked.

        Every decision, every strategy, every policy and certainly every election in the modern democracy is focused around one thing: the economy. Nothing else matters; nothing. Not society, not progress, not religion, not justice, not equality, not fraternity, not libertyâ"nothing matters but the economy.

        So I don't know how people can really complain here. We live in a democracy and that means the economy comes first. If longer copyrights are better for the economy, meaning that they make profit for private companies, then they will be extended. Nothing else matters. The economy comes first, now and always, above all other things, Amen.

        • If longer copyrights are better for the economy, meaning that they make profit for private companies, then they will be extended. Nothing else matters. The economy comes first, now and always, above all other things, Amen.

          Fortunately, there are many, many good arguments for why extensions are bad for the economy, a number of them already mentioned in comments to this post. Unfortunately, what matters is not the economy, but who has enough money to convince politicians to buy their version of how the economy works, even if it's flat out lies.

          • I think he meant to say that nothing matters except corporate profits. That's the only basis for which I can see logical justification that further extending copyright is "good" for something.
        • by devent (1627873)

          I'm really glad I'm not living in the USA. I really like more and more that I live in Germany and in Germany we have a social democracy. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Social_democracy [wikipedia.org]

          At least the idea is that the government should take into concentrations not only the well of the economy but the well of the citizens. Because of that I can enjoy the luxury of a health insurance even if I can't afford it. And I can be sure not to be rubbed by a man who lost his job, because the state will give him enough money

    • Re:Hummm... What? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Intrepid imaginaut (1970940) on Monday April 11, 2011 @03:45AM (#35779202)

      95 years? thats negating the right to use music that you have heard your whole life. Do these people voting understand why theres a limit?

      Basically record companies and big media want to extend copyright because as the middleman between those who create and those who enjoy the creation, they get to scoop off 90% of the profits. Some of these profits they put into lobbying corrupt politicians, and don't think we haven't noticed who exactly they are.

      But look what's happening - there are three effects coming together here. First of all, older creative works are being locked down by these media groups, for longer periods. Second of all, they had power through distribution and marketing networks, if you weren't with them, you would never be seen/heard. Thirdly, they had the means to create these artistic works, printers for books, sound studios for music, movie studios for well movies. Right now, distribution is basically free, so that's one incentive to sign a contract gone. And the cost to create these works is dropping daily. I can write, publish and make a fortune off a book right now if I want, no contracts signed with anyone. Music likewise. Even movies, I can buy a thousand euros worth of equipment and make a pretty damn good movie out of it, with enough patience. The bar is lowering.

      So ultimately what might end up happening is the middlemen with their lock on older creative content will fade away, leaving behind only the shell of the laws they helped create, and from that will come an entirely fresh take on culture, a renaissance as it were. I still don't agree that copyrights should be more than say 24 years max, just pointing out that these copyright extensions will do no good whatsoever for the media giants, their time is done.

      • You lack imagination (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Mathinker (909784) on Monday April 11, 2011 @04:55AM (#35779470) Journal

        I can think of at least another whole round of warfare which you've forgotten. Once the media groups have a large computerized database of music which is effectively under permanent copyright, they can easily take any independent musician's music and run automated matching. Chances are that they will find a match good enough to take said musician to court, even if their chances of winning are small. Result? Said independent musician either folds and signs, or quits making music. I find it unlikely that, at least for the first 15-20 years of this strategy, that the courts would catch on to what was going on, and start to sanction the media groups for abusing the court system. Even with the strategy of spam-suing the consumer infringers (where there are orders of magnitude more of them than successful, creative, independent musicians), it's taking ages for the the US courts to figure out what is going on.

        • Even if that slightly far fetched scenario was to take place, and how bad things have gotten that it's only "slightly" far fetched, all it will do is hasten the inevitable. Unless they find a way to legally force anyone who wants to create something new to use their marketing channels, use their equipment, use their distribution networks, or use their IP, they are done. Other giants will arise of course, Apple has positioned itself well to take advantage of the fundamental groundshift for example, but the w

      • by tepples (727027)

        Thirdly, they had the means to create these artistic works, printers for books, sound studios for music, movie studios for well movies.

        And the console makers still have the means for video games.

    • by MrL0G1C (867445)
      All UK MEPs contact info [europarl.org.uk]

      Or search for 1 here [europarl.org.uk]
    • by Weezul (52464)

      Thomas Jefferson was initially opposed to copyrights entirely. Madison eventually convinced him, but he still felt that monopolies hsould be tolerated only during an author's lifetime :

      http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/webbin/bparchive?year=1999&post=1999-02-11$2

      He also felt that no man should suffer the copyright of works created before he was born.

  • by Manip (656104) on Monday April 11, 2011 @02:58AM (#35779046)
    While I support those that want to fight this, most EU countries already have the 70 year term in law already. Meaning local law already protects recordings for Life+70.

    List of EU countries with Life+70 or more: UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Portugal, Poland, Sweden, Finland, etc

    My point is this law actually does nothing at all...
    • by jeti (105266)

      It looks like the people fighting for civil and consumer rights are always in the defense. Can't we get a bill introduced to shorten the copyright protection terms?

      • I don't know how it works in the EU, but over here in the US, the answer to your question is, "Not with republicans in control of congress. Or democrats...."

      • by tepples (727027)

        Can't we get a bill introduced to shorten the copyright protection terms?

        Only if you figure out how to run for the House on the Pirate ticket.

    • by dabadab (126782) on Monday April 11, 2011 @03:29AM (#35779160)

      I guess you are mixing up things a little: while copyright protection in general is 70 years (or life + 70 years), sound recording and moviess are an exception so that they are protected "only" for 50 years.
      However, any sane discussion about copyright should focus on cutting back the protection time to something like 20 years and getting rid of the ridiculous "life of the creator plus" part.

      • by Eivind (15695) <eivindorama@gmail.com> on Monday April 11, 2011 @04:33AM (#35779366) Homepage

        Indeed, neither the public benefit, nor the value of stimulating creativity varies depending on how long the original author lives.

        Thus it's plain silly to award protection based on how long, or how short, the author might happen to live.

        Instead, make a flat-and-simple rule. 20 years from date of first publication, for example.

        The degree of reduced stimulation is tiny: there are very few works that pull in insufficient-to-be-worth-it money in the first 20 years, but enough-to-be-worth it in the first 100.

        This is so because *most* works are either economically worthless from the get-go, OR they're successful, for a limited time, OR in some rare cases, they're successful for a long time. In all 3 cases, length of copyright makes no real difference. (aslong as it's atleast long enough to cover the "limited time")

        This leaves the mythical beast: The work that never sells significantly in it's first 20 years, yet that goes on to become a hit later.

        These -exist-, but there are very few of them, and to add insult to injury, you'd have to know or guess that a work falls in this category, for that knowledge to influence your decision (are you gonna produce the work, or not)

        In todays economic climate I strongly suspect "this won't do well now, but could do better in 20 years" would map to "don't produce" anyway.

        • by JasterBobaMereel (1102861) on Monday April 11, 2011 @05:52AM (#35779686)

          How much new work will the Author make after they are dead ... none

          So why life+anything?

          How much music do you know from 20 years ago... 10 years... 5 years ... compared to how much is published?

          Most music careers are not this long, so why protect an artist who does not produce for this long?

          • How much new work will the Author make after they are dead ... none

            Should there be an incentive or no incentive for the heirs to clean up and publish a recently deceased author's unpublished work?

            • Which is why copyright starting from date of publication works.
            • by Eivind (15695)

              There should be, and also insentive for a terminally ill author to complete his final work.

              But with 20 year flat, regardless of how long (or how short) the original author lives - there would be.

          • The usual argument for life+years is to encourage older creators who don't expect to live out the copyright term to continue to create so as to leave something to their next of kin. I don't know that I really buy it, or see how a flat number of years doesn't accomplish the same thing, though.

          • by Ksevio (865461)
            It's to prevent people killing off artists in order to get their material free of copyright. Why wait 10 years when you can make a quick call to the neighborhood hit-man and get it now!
            • by Eivind (15695)

              That would apply if copyright was "life of author", but nobody (that I've seen) has recommended that.

              It'd -not- apply if copyright was "20 years" regardless of state of the author. Indeed that's the only rule where the death or survival of the author makes precisely zero difference at all to the copyright-status of the work.

        • by KenRH (265139)

          Anyone with some knowledge about economic theory will know that income you get in 20 to 50, not to mention 50 to 95, years from now should have almost no impact on your decision about whether or not to invest time ( = money ) on creating a copyrightable work today.

          Unless you calculate a extremely big income or a absurdly low interest the present value [wikipedia.org] of that income is negligible.

          • Unless you calculate a extremely big income or a absurdly low interest

            As I understand the model, the desire to keep the exclusive rights to adaptations in media developed after the work was first published does make the interest absurdly low. For example, even if a book was written before video games existed, an author('s estate) might still expect exclusive rights to video game adaptations. See Dr. Seuss Enterprises' pro-Bono amicus brief [kuro5hin.org].

            • by Eivind (15695)

              You misunderstand. The point is that if money delivered in the far future, shall motivate you, either your interest-rate must be very low, or the sum must be HUGE.

              For example, if your deprecation is 5% (i.e. you think $95 now is the same value as $100 in a year), then it follows that $1000 now has the same value to you as $80.000 delivered in 90 years.

              Or put differently, $1000 a year for 90 years, has 99% of the value of $1000 a year FOREVER.

        • by mpe (36238)
          Instead, make a flat-and-simple rule. 20 years from date of first publication, for example.
          The degree of reduced stimulation is tiny: there are very few works that pull in insufficient-to-be-worth-it money in the first 20 years, but enough-to-be-worth it in the first 100.
          This is so because *most* works are either economically worthless from the get-go, OR they're successful, for a limited time, OR in some rare cases, they're successful for a long time. In all 3 cases, length of copyright makes no real di
          • by Eivind (15695)

            I dunno. I -do- have plenty of examples of works that may not be huge sellers now, but that to me WOULD be viable competitors to current books *if* they where free, that are 20 years old.

            Put differently, would I buy less -current- books if every book over 20 years old, was free ? (which is the practical result of copyright expiring)

            I think yes, actually, I would. I have a finite time available for reading, and so reading more old free stuff, would tend to lead to reading less current stuff.

            It's not -nesseca

    • That's the wrong term. The life+70 is for most works, but in the EU there is a different term for sound recordings and similar things - the idea being that you can make a sound recording of something already out of copyright and it will still be protected, but it should have a lesser protection than the music itself.

      Across the EU this is currently "harmonised" at 50 years (not life+50, only 50 years), but the plan is to increase it to 70 or 95 years. Under current law, sound recordings from the 60s are begi

  • Email sent to all my MEPs, but as the FP states: probability of voter wishes taking priority over those of industry is probably less than 1, just a little.

    I blame Cliff Richard.
    • Email sent to all my MEPs, but as the FP states: probability of voter wishes taking priority over those of industry is probably less than 1, just a little.

      Funny thing, if it's just a little less than one, it has a pretty good chance of succeeding. Or did you mean 1%? :-)

  • by noims (23711) on Monday April 11, 2011 @03:40AM (#35779190) Homepage

    If copyright is supposed to encourage the arts by providing future financial security, then surely varying the rate for past works decreases that security by putting across the message that the timeframe may change in the future.

    If this is the case, then I can see an argument for increasing copyright term on new works (not that I agree with it), but surely older works should go into the public domain on schedule, as the artists have received what was promised.

    It's the equivalent of saying you'd pay an artist $1000 every year for the next 60 years. They can decide that yes, 60k is worth this amount of work. If you then start changing this around, the artist might be getting 95k or, in a possible future backlash, 40k. They then can't use this as a basis for viability. This, then, at least partially invalidates this incentive.

    Of course, this is all based on the assumption that this is the purpose of copyright, which I think is a pretty big assumption these days. I'd be interested in seeing a list of other justifications for it.

    Noims.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      You're making the invalid assumption that long-term copyright is for the benefit of artists. It most certainly is not.

      It is for corporations who own the rights to works from popular artists. These corporations want to continue to earn money off other people's works. It's a lucrative business, so they bribe politicians to have their way. Corporations don't die so they want to benefit indefinitely, which they de facto do by extending copyright every time it is about to run out.

    • by Eivind (15695)

      You're right. retro-actively changing copyright, logically CANNOT influence the chance that the incentives are sufficient for them to be created, because the chance of them being created already is 100%.

      Not that logic helps helps, ofcourse, with a supreme court who makes a mockery of the constitution by claiming that "for limited times" does not actually mean anything. (they argue that technically 99999999999 years is 'limited' and thus constitutional - that this "limit" in practical real world is entirely

    • by Kjella (173770)

      Single individuals might as well forget it anyway, nobody has a clue what people will like 20-50 years from now and what will largely be forgotten - hell, it's more than hard enough to tell what'll be an instant hit or flop today. Those who can profit are the corporations that vacuum up the market and can average it across all artists, there'll always be an Elvis or Beatles or whatever in every generation.

  • by Lord Bitman (95493) on Monday April 11, 2011 @03:57AM (#35779234) Homepage

    Copyright law at this point has become so absurd that you now have three options:
      - Do nothing. individuals completely ignore copyright law because it's insane
      - Make copyright law more absurd, thus weakening it further.
      - Weaken copyright law.

    No matter what you do at this point, copyright law has pretty much "jumped the shark", and can't be considered relevant or applicable to any situation.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      ...can't be considered relevant or applicable to any situation.

      Except in courts, which, one could argue, is the most important situation.

      • I would argue that courts are the only place where copyrights matter at all. Nobody thinks about copyright except in terms of, "Can I distribute copies of this without facing a lawsuit?"
    • by devent (1627873)

      That's why I don't really care anymore. Where is the difference if music is protected 50 years, 90 years or 200 years? In all cases I can't do anything with music that I know in my lifespan. It's already indefinitely protection. I just don't care. I just don't buy anything anymore and if I buy a CD or DVD I don't care about copyright. I rip it, I copy it to my friends, I give it to them when they ask for it. If I had kids I would teach them to be careful with Torrents but they can and should copy any music

    • by arkhan_jg (618674) on Monday April 11, 2011 @07:09AM (#35779990)

      You forgot option 4:

      - Make copyright law more absurd, thus making it easier for large corporations to completely bankrupt anyone that tries to exercise their rights AND implement technical measures (DRM etc) such that customers who are unable or unwilling to breach copyright via the internet get less and less rights and utility out of the works and hardware they purchase copies of.

      See: Loss of right of resale, i.e. first sale doctrine, via one-use registration codes or outright tying of purchase to a non-transferable account (steam, pretty much all retail pc games)
      See: blocking using MP3s as ringtones on mobile handsets, forcing repeat purchase of already owned music
      See: plays-for-sure
      See: Recording industry suing amazon cloud service for not buying additional licences to store music that users have already paid for - including MP3s from amazon itself
      See: do-not-record bit on broadcast media
      See: HDCP etc making it harder for people with otherwise compatible equipment watching, recording, or legitimately backing up their HD media.
      See: Apple lobbying (though thankfully failing) to make rooting the iphone illegal under the DMCA.
      See: Sony suing the bejesus out of geohot et al to try and put the jailbreak genie of the PS3 back in the bottle.

      etc, etc, etc.

      This is a war. And they are winning the battles while losing the war. While copyright as currently implemented is absurd, and getting more so, there's a lot of damage being caused to legitimate uses - and users - while the big content middle-men flail around trying to stay relevant and stop losing the money they think they're due.

  • Problem with all these politics are that population doesn't actually care about copyright law. Probability of getting hit by lawsuit (especially in Europe) is still very low, as it will cost much more than in US to sue Common Joe for copyright infringement (looser pays all lawyering fees and no one can promise victory for recording company in the court). So people seed, leech, download, install and give a shit about that. In fact, this is not only about copyright law, but that's discussion for another day.

    I

    • that population doesn't actually care about copyright law. Probability of getting hit by lawsuit (especially in Europe) is still very low

      That's not the issue at all. It's about the lack of cultural re-use of works in the public domain because there won't be any public domain. Cultural, scientific and technical progress are at stake, not whether or not you can download Scott Joplin's recordings for free. If a composer re-uses copyrighted music, you'll bet he/she will be sued, even in Europe.

      • by Pecisk (688001)

        I know. I just point out that population doesn't care about this angle because they have never thought about it. All they care - can this law - extension of postmortem copyright term - can land me in shit *right* now or can't? If can't, I don't care.

        More or less, they don't care about the future. It is reason of full blown survivalism going around in capitalism world. Everyone wants to *survive*. Copyright simply doesn't come into their picture. They don't grasp long term implications of this. And probably

      • by metacell (523607)

        True. You can't even use ten seconds of a copyrighted song on a TV turned on in the background in a scene in a film. Low-budget independent films have been sued for that.

  • by ahodgkinson (662233) on Monday April 11, 2011 @04:21AM (#35779318) Homepage Journal
    1. It is highly unlikely that consumers will make a big effort to lobby for the public's interest, and
    2. It is highly likely that the parties representing the copyright holders will expend enormous efforts and money to try and strengthen/extend/etc. copyrights.

    The public is large, poorly organized and difficult to motivate to make a stand on copyrights. Essentially the problem is that changing copyrights don't fundamentally change the lives of most people. For the general public this is a problem somewhat similar to the Tragedy of the Commons, in that the common man doesn't really benefit much from his own efforts, but rather from the collective efforts of all common men, which is only marginally reduced by him being lazy and not doing anything. Unfortunately, this is true of all common men and the result is a tendency to be apathetic.

    For the copyright holders, the situation is reversed. There is a relatively small set of major copyright holders, they are well organized and well funded. With the clock ticking on their valuable assets, they are highly motivated to attempt to squeeze more out of the system, and their own efforts are likely to change their own bottom line. They stand to gain (or better said, not lose) vast amounts of money when copyright terms are extended, and are therefore willing to spend lots on lobbying, public relations and other activities to influence politicians.

    In the middle we have the copyright extension opponents only hope: the various public and private organizations. They, unfortunately, tend to be underfunded compared to the copyright holders. Their task is to motivate the public, to donate money or lobby their politicians. Most of the public, as previously stated, are not really bothered by copyrights.

    The more likely scenario, in my opinion, is that industry lobbying will ultimately be successful (perhaps after numerous attempts) and copyright term will become, for practical purposes, unlimited. Draconian laws will probably be implemented for copyright infringers. However, most of the public won't really care and will continue to illegally share films, music and other copyright content. The legal system will not make (in fact, will not be able to make) a sufficient effort to combat the problem, as the politicians probably don't think they will have to keep their promises to the industry in the long-term. There may also be a backlash from the judicial system and the public about the appropriateness of the effort and money spent on copyright infringers vs. other priorities.

    The result will be, more or less, the mess we currently have.

    There is an extremely small chance that there will be a small number of content providers who get it and realize that a new business model is required that is not based on trying to to maintain a legal lock on content. If they get enough of a foothold in the market, which will require overpowering the powerful Hollywood cartels (e.g. TV, movie and music distribution), this could a massive shift in the way content is marketed. This is more likely to happen in the book industry, as there less of a lock on the distribution channels, and we are seeming a gradual increase in self-publishing.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Monday April 11, 2011 @05:02AM (#35779492) Homepage

      That was a long rant but I think the short answer is that consumers are a pretty big force to be reckoned with anyway. There's a reason Spotify is in the scandinavian countries where piracy is at its highest. There's a reason he is a MEP from the Pirate Party. I very much doubt you can *force* people to stop pirating, no matter how much you make a mockery of justice. And the courts here will never do a Thomas-Rasset and award 2 million dollars for sharing a few songs. That's what we give to people that have been innocently jailed for 15 years, smashed up real good in car accidents and that sort of thing. Even the four TPB leaders got less than 2 million dollars/person and that is still under appeal and TPB is still running. So they can own the whole playground but they still have to make terms that make the consumers want to play. We're not at the end of the bandwidth revolution, we've really just started. Take a look at this graph [www.ssb.no]. That's the average and mean broadband bandwidth from 2004 and until today here in Norway. It's only going one way - up, up and away. You haven't seen anything yet, when everyone is on 10-100Mbit connections then you'll know true P2P. Also unlike the US "up to" those are pretty much real speeds with no silly caps.

  • What about setting it to 1000 years, so there is no need to discuss this again for a while.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Fuck. No.

  • If you really want to make a difference, collect funds and lobby.

    Then, for once, you'll be on the initiating side of laws in your favour, rather than defending against laws which are aimed only for corporate interests. Because the people always lose when a system is designed, Wikipedia-style, such that the representatives of interests with the most influence and most time/money to waste get the lasting say.

    Either that or reform the system of democracy (or lack of democracy) in the EU so it is either more di

    • by dkleinsc (563838)

      That's not entirely true.

      If you've elected a Pirate or Pirate-friendly MEP, then your letter makes them more confident to act on your behalf. If you're MEP isn't particularly Pirate-friendly, but focused on something completely different, you may have a chance to convince him.

      You make less of a difference than you do getting Pirate and Pirate-friendly candidates elected, but writing your MEP is slightly better than doing nothing.

  • by kikito (971480) on Monday April 11, 2011 @05:12AM (#35779542) Homepage

    It's a "copy restriction", not a "copy protection".

    • While we're at it, let's rename "copy right" to "copy censorship". After all, the effect of copyright is actually to stop you expressing yourself in a substantially similar manner to someone else.

      And before anyone at all responds with "people won't create if you take away the incentive!" - bullshit. The world has enough people who will create out of love for their art. If you don't come under this category, step aside for those who do - we don't need you, thanks!

    • protection as in protecting a racket, racketeering, running a protection racket.

      Just let it go so way over the hill that, well when your that far up your own arse everything starts to look like it's revolting.

  • Since when was it legal to make retroactive changes to the law in the UK? Fine extend it for new works, but I have audio book recordings of works that are out of copyright (think classics like Dickens, Austen etc.), and in the not to distant future the recording would have been out of copyright as well. That is they would be totally free. When I spent considerable sums of money on these audiobooks down the years that was a consideration in my purchase.

    Now they are proposing to retroactively change this so t

  • With my colleagues from Irish Free Software Organisation:
    http://mail.fsfeurope.org/pipermail/fsfe-ie/2011-April/002981.html [fsfeurope.org]

    ===========
    Dear Mr. Crowley,

    Irish Free Software Organisation (IFSO) opposes the extension of copyright
    which may be put to a vote in JURI today or tomorrow, and we ask that you do
    the same. Further, we ask for your support in requesting a new first
    reading for this proposed directive.

    Software companies with dominant market positions are increasingly using the
    copyright of cultural works as

  • Every time I think, I want to pay 20$ to someone.

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