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Copyright Isn't Working, Says EU Technology Chief Neelie Kroes 314

Posted by timothy
from the pirate-party-taking-new-crewmembers dept.
superglaze writes "Against the backdrop of governments and courts around the world ordering ISPs to block file-sharing sites, European commissioner Neelie Kroes has said people have started to see copyright as 'a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognise and reward. ... Citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it,' the EU's digital chief said, adding that the copyright system also wasn't rewarding the vast majority of artists."
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Copyright Isn't Working, Says EU Technology Chief Neelie Kroes

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  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:29AM (#38114786)

    European commissioner Neelie Kroes has more brain cells that I had anticipated. That was indeed a Strong statement by European commissioner Kroes. A breath of fresh air.

    While it may be good to hear it, there are laws behind the current situation. And that is what we live with. Copyrights, patents, trademarks etc have their use a long as they are not abused from either party.

    It is good to hear a Commissioner express and put the facts on the table. But how do we move on? I have no quick answer to that.

  • by The Master Control P (655590) <`ejkeever' `at' `nerdshack.com'> on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:30AM (#38114794)
    You can tell you're wrong when attempts to follow a belief lead to obviously absurd/insane outcomes.

    For the belief that data can be handled/restricted like physical objects, that absurdity became fully apparent with that new "resale your used digital music" service, and the MAFIAA (of course) suing it. Reading such nonsense forces you to ask at what point does it become impossible to deny the obvious: The existence of computers and networks between computers renders duplication of data so easy that the ideas of supply-limited economics can no longer meaningfully be applied to data?

    Seriously... read that sentence again: "Resell your used digital music." And try to keep a straight face.
  • Re:US is the problem (Score:5, Interesting)

    by meist3r (1061628) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:33AM (#38114806)
    What I don't really understand about this is that apparently the US companies who make their money off these immaterial rights tend to oppose the new lucrative markets and obstruct availability in fear off losses whereas that is what causes the losses. I am a big fan of a few select American TV Shows. I have absolutely no legal means within reason to access these programs. I would happily pay a monthly subscription to my favorite shows (Community, Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson, Mythbusters, Justified, Breaking Bad, Grimm, Adventure Time, Justified, Game of Thrones and a few more) all platforms that I know of (Hulu, Netflix) are not available in my home country of Germany. iTunes is out of the question (probably geo-restrictions apply to this as well). So I would gladly pay a good deal of money to get quality access to these shows but the "copyright" prevents me from giving these people my money. I could spend money on the DVD box sets if they are eventually released but usually I will watch the episodes once and that's it so I'm not really in the market for plastic discs. I am the threat these people always refer to but I am precisely part of the solution only they refuse to cater to the markets available.
  • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:55AM (#38114884)

    She's the one who fined Microsoft billions to the point where Microsoft finally said "uncle" and gave the Samba team the specs they were looking for.

  • Re:US is the problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:08AM (#38114948)

    Mexican here, Netflix isn't available for Linux, Hulu is but it isn't available in Mexico. Happy times.

  • by Froggie (1154) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:13AM (#38114964)

    Stallman himself would make the case himself that the GPL is an attempt to turn copyright against itself. It's not an argument for copyright but a means to subvert it.

  • by 91degrees (207121) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:13AM (#38114966) Journal
    Copyright was always a practical mechanism.. The basic principle still makes some degree of sense. We share the income from copyrighted works with the creator. This encourages creators, and most* people accept it as reasonably fair.

    Here's where things go a bit wrong.
    • Most people online give stuff away. They've been doing so since public had access to photocopiers but now internet distribution offers genuine competition for the traditional model.
    • People see things as a zero sum game. If they're not making a profit, then nobody is making a loss. Whether this is right or not is beside the point. It's how humanity sees things. For this reason we use bittorrent without any moral qualms.
    • We keep trying to apply concepts of relatively expensive typesetting and printing to digital distribution. It was a model that worked well for records, CDs, videos, DVDs and other physical media because the basic principle is the same. Author; set-up; print; distribute. Digital distribution is different. It's a case of author; distribute. The main point being that minimal print runs of a single copy are viable and the perceived cost is essentially zero.
    • Those who approve of copyright make exactly the same mistake. They want the right to sell, lend and do anything they could with a physical copy. This doesn't make sense!. A digital copy is different. Trying to shoehorn rights that make sense for a physical copy becomes illogical. Why do I no longer have access to the copy that I clearly have? Because I "lent" it to someone. Except I didn't lend it. I still have my copy. It's just been blocked.

    So, we need a completely new system. We need a way to reward artists to encourage creativity. People will create without the reward, but nowhere near as much! Nobody is going to make Avatar unless they can get a good return. I liked Avatar! But the system also needs to take into account the inherent rights that digital distribution gives us.

    I have no solution. I simply want to point out that we need to understand the problem.

    * If you think this is unfair, I should point out you're not "most"

  • by Froggie (1154) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:20AM (#38114990)

    I think the 'supporting the established players' argument has merits.

    As a young country, the US was notorious for ignoring copyrights and patents held in older, countries during its early development. Japan had the same reputation; China is arguably just leaving this phase itself, as they've tightened their IP rules for WIPO purposes in order to more easily access other markets with their products.

    It would seem that, for countries and businesses both, there's a threshold they cross where they realise the value of their ideas, if copyrighted, is worth more to them than the cost of paying for the ideas of others.

  • Re:Rewards (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuricouRaven (1897204) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:32AM (#38115056)
    It would be logistically impossible to divide the money between all artists, even the millions who just put out a track on the internet or play the odd gig down the local pub. So the only solution is to declare some point at which an artist is popular enough to matter, and just ignore anyone less popular than that. The major labels, being big enough to matter, are more than happy with this solution.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:45AM (#38115090)

    Well, I want to support the artists and writers and producers and actors and all those people, and want them to know that their product is being viewed by a wide audience so they can at least get income from other means (merchandise, concerts, etc), even if they don't get a check from all the unkempt piracy. If I was to just stop watching the shows, I would be hurting the people I love more than the people I hate.

  • She is right (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @06:26AM (#38115202)

    We frequently buy DVDs and there is no chance to skip the copyright information. It's sometimes combined with the "would you steal a car?"-analogy, which suggests we are potential criminals. We frequently bought DVDs just out of curiosity but we lowered our expenses and only buy those we really, really want to have. No spontaneous visits to the DVD area anymore.

    Microsoft did a campaign a decade ago, where they asked on every boot-up, if one would properly register and pay for the install. I eventually skipped my investment of several hundred Deutsche Mark (back then I earned less than 600 Deutsche Mark per month) and migrated to Linux. Until today I have a strong rejection against their products.

    Yesterday I read an article on how to be successful in your job and to get ahead. By frequent contact others get familiar with you and their attitude against you stabilizes. So if you start with a good impression you win, otherwise you fail. It didn't say anything about changing attitude by repeated unfriendly behaviour, though.

    cb

  • by khipu (2511498) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @08:14AM (#38115524)

    Much of the US industry comes from immaterial things like copyrights, patents and artificial restrictions. This is true for both entertainment industry and things like drugs and medication.

    So does much of Europe's industry.

    But lets not forget that back in time, this is how US got its power - they blatantly ignored European copyrights. Now others are doing the same to US, and they're suffering. What goes around.. Comes around.

    What a brilliant stroke of anti-Americanism: you hold the US responsible first for fighting draconian European copyrights, then for learning its lesson, building businesses around them, and enforcing them.

    But in actual fact, the companies advocating copyright are international: companies like Bertelsmann and Sony are a big part of this. Europe just extended its copyright terms to "protect" the Beatles.

    http://www.engadget.com/2011/09/14/european-union-extends-beatles-copyright-still-gonna-have-to-b/ [engadget.com]

    Trying to change IP laws by blaming America for everything isn't just factually incorrect, it is ineffective because it misses the source of problem.

  • Re:US is the problem (Score:4, Interesting)

    by BiggerIsBetter (682164) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @08:22AM (#38115552)

    Physical stores in the USA used to be difficult to buy from too. An international transfer was scary, and filling out a shipping form too hard. That's changed in a big way over the last few years and lots of folks are making money selling things outside the country... you know, exporting... bringing new money into the economy... offsetting debt and stuff...

    Hopefully these guys will eventually realise their bean counters estimated wrong and opening their markets to billions of new customers is actually a good idea.

  • Re:She is right (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @08:57AM (#38115646)

    We frequently buy DVDs and there is no chance to skip the copyright information.

    Not much chance to read it either. I remember trying it with a DVD that shows the copyright information in several languages in such a quick succession that you don't have time to read any of it. What prevents you from skipping them also disables the pause function, on my player anyway (Sony). Assuming this is the standard behaviour of DVD players I wonder how DVD publishers can hold you accountable for violating their restrictions if they don't allow you to read them.

I'd rather just believe that it's done by little elves running around.

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