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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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  • US is the problem (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CmdrPony (2505686) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:05AM (#38114706)
    Every other country has noticed the same thing. What is now holding back is US. In fact, even the Russian Deputy Minister of Economic Development said it's impossible to police copyright [torrentfreak.com] and noted US's hypocrisy in the issue as US itself doesn't do anything about the blatant piracy of Russian films and music. However, I doubt US will change their views about it and if I were them, I would be worried too. 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.

    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.
    • 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 martin-boundary (547041) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:06AM (#38114926)

        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.

        You are not part of the solution. The beancounters estimate the profit of entering new markets before a decision to do so gets made. In many cases, it isn't worth it for those companies. Not because they could make a tiny amount of money from you, but because everything else, legal issues, tax issues, capital investments, required company resources, opportunity cost from not doing something else instead, even lower prices through increased competition, etc. Call that the inconvenience factor.

        That's the problem with capitalism. It isn't about trading with the most number of people, it is about maximizing profit. The fact that you have money to spend is irrelevant if the inconvenience factor is too high. There's a sweet spot at any moment in time, and you're not part of it.

        Get over it, and do what you have to do, just like they do what they have to do.

        • Rent-seeking (Score:5, Informative)

          by srussia (884021) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:18AM (#38114982)

          Not because they could make a tiny amount of money from you, but because everything else, legal issues, tax issues, capital investments, required company resources, opportunity cost from not doing something else instead, even lower prices through increased competition, etc.Call that the inconvenience factor. That's the problem with capitalism. It isn't about trading with the most number of people, it is about maximizing profit.

          Actually, it's not that they can make less money from certain markets, but rather they can make more in others thanks to rent-seeking [wikipedia.org]

        • 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.

        • by JAlexoi (1085785) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @10:23AM (#38116062) Homepage

          Not because they could make a tiny amount of money from you, but because everything else, legal issues, tax issues, capital investments, required company resources, opportunity cost from not doing something else instead, even lower prices through increased competition, etc.

          Increased competition? Copyright grants an effective monopoly, so please...
          Setting up the legal base for global distribution is really something that can easily be done by a simple contract modification. They end up going though those hoops in the end, when they distribute the content to regional broadcasters.

          In addition, this has nothing about the possible additional costs of entering a new market vs income, but the idiots at the helm still live with their brains wired to record distribution markets.
          PS: And then they cry "Bloody murder!" is I watch my House MD episode off the torrents.

        • by Alomex (148003) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @11:03AM (#38116290) Homepage

          The beancounters estimate the profit of entering new markets before a decision to do so gets made. In many cases, it isn't worth it for those companies.

          Right, because the beancounters have proven so adept at estimating the size of markets created by new technologies. They created Blue-Ray as streaming shows was becoming the norm. They raised the prices of Macintoshes until they were at the brink of extinction. They refused a simple licensing scheme until their CD sales were at the brink of collapse, only to agree to a manque solution of expensive quality-crippled iTunes. They responded to the digital camera threat with a format that was more expensive than the previous emulsion film.

          It isn't about trading with the most number of people, it is about maximizing profit.

          If only that were true. It is about not getting it.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @11:23AM (#38116414)

          I believe the Germans point was that the media companies need to stop thinking about each country as a market and start thinking about the world as a market.

          We should all be able to go to single site for a given content producer (I will use Fox media as an example here) and from there be able to open an account and pay to watch a single episode or an entire series. Perhaps run them 1-8 days after the show airs in the land of origin. Being a week behind won't matter since they have not other way to view(legally).

          There is only 300M people in the USA and 6.7B other people in the world. That is a 22 fold increase in market that they are pissing on. There is a LOT of money to be made there. There is enough money there for the most expensive Sci-Fi show ever produced to make a profit. Even if you only make the show in English, which a lot of people can understand.

          Say you make a show that 5% of a given population might enjoy. In the USA that would be 15M people. If they were willing to pay $1 per show that would be $15M per show. With no commercials, I would pay that for good sci-fi. Now take that show to the World via web only and you get 350M viewers (5% of 7B) or $350M per show. I think you can make a pretty good show for that much money. You could even cut it down to $0.10 a show and be pulling in $35M a show, a single FUCKING show.

      • 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 hairyfeet (841228) <bassbeast1968@@@gmail...com> on Sunday November 20, 2011 @07:05AM (#38115304) Journal

          Yet TPB works everywhere, isn't that nice? the problem i have is they will NOT sell you want you want. all I want is to buy an .avi file, that's all. my dad has a nice little Nbox to watch his movies on so he doesn't have to hunt for DVDs and if they would sell .avi I would be gifting them to dad, and dad would be buying every movie and TV show he'd ever liked. but instead you have to go get a DVD, rip the DVD, transcode the DVD, all just to get the .avi...or you can go to TPB and skip all the bullshit.

          As much as I hated his character on TNG I have to say Wil Wheaton was right, he said "make it simple, make it easy, give people what they want and they'll buy" and then gave as an example him buying a bunch of Dr Who episodes and then crossing the border into Canada and now he can't watch what he has already paid for and he said 'If I would have just downloaded it they would have worked". And that is the problem, their shit just don't cut it. I'm supposed to go buy a portable DVD burner just so i can legally watch movies that I have bought on my netbook? Fuck off media companies, Keep your damned DRMed shit or hoop jumping and just sell me a damned .avi already!

          • by TheLink (130905) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @09:44AM (#38115866) Journal
            Yeah someone I know had the same problem: he bought legit DVDs that he couldn't use on his laptop due to region control bullshit. There are many DVDs which are released for ONLY one region.

            And there was another guy who bought a Bluray player when he came round to visit just because they pulled the same sort of shit for Blurays and he can't watch his expensive legit import anime Blurays on the bluray players available in his country.

            He is the sort who has collections of DVDs, wine, whisky, CDs, fancy expensive Japanese dolls, anime cels (yes the sort they used to draw on to make the movies). And they make it hard for him to give them his money. I told him he should just "give them the finger" keep his money and wait till there are bluray region-free players. He also had similar probs with DVDs before.

            Yes Mr Collector downloads as well (coz the fansubs are faster and sometimes better), but he often buys the mucho expensive collector edition box sets when they _finally_ come out.

            Yes he's the sort who will still jump through hoops to buy and use the DRM'ed stuff, and buy extra bluray players. But how many legit customers have they lost due to such crap? I don't think that many people would do what he does, buy extra bluray players etc. Once you "force" them to use downloads they might not even buy a single DRM player or media again.

            As for me, yes I download, but I don't even have a pirate collection a hundredth as large as his legit collection. If they succeed in blocking those off completely they're not going to get $$$ from me, because I'd just play more _free_ computer games, read more free stuff, etc. I'm not really a customer, and hence not really a lost customer.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by houghi (78078)

        I have absolutely no legal means within reason to access these programs.

        So you don't see them. I am against copyright (as it exists now) but at least I am aware that it isn't a human right to see them.

        And you DO have the ability to see them. Move to the counties where they are broadcast. The fact that you are not willing to pay that price is very understandable. However you do not have any RIGHT to see them if they are not willing to show them.

        If you make a movie of your kid during a holiday sitting on a s

        • What kind of right? Legal? Irrelevant. Moral? Debatable.

        • by Bert64 (520050)

          It's not so easy to just move countries... The process is costly and not open to everyone, hence why you have so many illegal immigrants in various places.

          Also you could argue that offering something on the internet, and then adding arbitrary restrictions based on the country a user is based in amounts to racism.

          And yes, the more ridiculous and draconian copyright laws become the more people will feel justified in ignoring them.

        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @08:25AM (#38115562) Journal

          So you don't see them. I am against copyright (as it exists now) but at least I am aware that it isn't a human right to see them.

          Copyright grants the author the exclusive distribution right to their work in exchange for publication. If they are not publishing their work, then they should lose the exclusive distribution right.

        • by 1u3hr (530656) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @08:27AM (#38115568)

          I have absolutely no legal means within reason to access these programs.

          So you don't see them. I am against copyright (as it exists now) but at least I am aware that it isn't a human right to see them.

          Who said anything about a "human right to watch TV"? You're creating an absurd straw man.

          The OP, like myself, feels there has been no reasonable legal method ot access these shows provided. So I feel no compunction in using methods that are illegal, according to some American companies and their lackeys in government. I know I'm not harming the owners (who aren't the same as the creators) of these shows, despite their absurd claims of untold billions in losses.

          Legally, I'm wrong. Morally, I have not a twinge of guilt.

        • by Alwin Henseler (640539) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @08:42AM (#38115606) Homepage

          So you don't see them. I am against copyright (as it exists now) but at least I am aware that it isn't a human right to see them.

          Why wouldn't it be? The world is divided in countries. And within countries (or groups of those like EU), people have the right to decide for themselves, what are their rights, and what not.

          So suppose I come to the US, and record a TV show for personal use (allowed per US law I assume). Then go to country XYZ, bringing that recording with me (still okay I presume). And then copy that recording million-fold, selling it on streetcorners, IF that's allowed by country XYZ's laws (because people in country XYZ decided for themselves that should be okay). Would that be 'wrong'? Should I feel guilty there for 'ripping profits' from the TV show makers?

          The way I see it, the problem is not one country (like the US) having too extreme copyright laws, it's in the US trying to force the same upon the rest of the world (through trade agreements or whatever means available). Sure US people should be allowed to have laws in place that seem ridiculous to other countries, but what right does the US have to prevent people elsewhere from using content they get their hands on, once it lands within that country's borders? IMHO: none. And other countries are really stupid to let this crap get shoveled into their face, acting like sheep in a US-led flock. Note that I'm not trying to bash the US here, it's just that the US seems to be the prime driving force behind 'intellectual property' at the moment. The same would hold true for any country trying to force similar things on other countries.

          For example the Chinese seem to have a general lack of respect for 'intellectual property', does that make them 'bad'? I think not, they make their own decisions as a nation - and I'd say copying & reproducing things without 3rd country's permission seems to have worked well for them. Same argument goes for countries that are really poor, ignore patents & copy medicines to help a large swat of their population. Ignoring those patents isn't 'bad' - patent-holding medicine companies squeezing money for live-saving medicines out of those poor folks, is. Especially since that behavior doesn't affect their bottom line anyway - if the people are poor enough, they wouldn't be able to pay up. Even if priced friendly: any more than production-cost still causes people to not spend that money on other bare necessities. But since it might be a numbers game, every step to have that poor country respect the companies' patents, will cause (unnecessary) suffering / lost lives. I can't help to feel disgust towards those folks that have only profit in their mind...

          Yes it's good content creators get rewarded if society benefits a lot from their work. But IMHO current copyright regimes simply aren't the way to do that (at least if that would be the primary purpose, it's obviously failing to do as intended). And to lawmakers pushing ever harder punishments because 'that would be good for society' : f**k off, you idiot. Only thing you are supporting is the ??AA mafia.

        • by gomiam (587421) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @10:46AM (#38116170)
          You aren't right. I think you aren't even wrong.

          Just because it is called copy-right it doesn't become a right, as shown by the fact that it was originally a royal prerrogative to hold the monopoly on printed production. When the crown dropped that privilege, the organizations charged with managing that monopoly lobbied to keep copyright alive so they would still be able to exist.

          So no, copyright is a privilege given to a person or a group and it diminishes the human right of access to culture for "the free development of his personality" [un.org].

          And you DO have the ability to see them. Move to the counties where they are broadcast. The fact that you are not willing to pay that price is very understandable. However you do not have any RIGHT to see them if they are not willing to show them.

          If you make a movie of your kid during a holiday sitting on a swing, I also do not have the RIGHT to see that movie. Not even if you show it to all your friends and family.

          Two completely different points: "they" have already waived their right to privacy when they made copies and distributed them. If I make a movie of my kid _and_ give a copy of it to someone else I also have. I may not like it, I may shun the person that shared it, I may even sue them if they agreed to some privacy contract, but that's it.

          If you want to keep your works secret, that's fine and dandy. If you publish, you publish knowing it is now public. If you didn't want it to be public you should have thought about it first.

        • by canadian_right (410687) <alexander.russell@telus.net> on Sunday November 20, 2011 @12:36PM (#38116900) Homepage

          Copyright is NOT some sort of basic human right. Copyright is an entirely artificial, and temporary, right that limits our basic right to freely share ideas. The reason to limit copying was to give the artist a better chance at making money with his creation, and thus encourage the artist to create more. Commercial copying was rampant when copyright laws were first introduced.

          Copyright laws are now completely unreasonable. No artist is going to create anything after he is dead. The current laws only enrich large corporations. Copyright law is broken and needs an overhaul. 20 years limits, DRM that expires with the copyright, banning region coding as a limit on trade, and not allowing copyright to be assigned away from the artist would be a good start.

          • by dryeo (100693)

            The reason to limit copying was to give the artist a better chance at making money with his creation, and thus encourage the artist to create more.

            No it wasn't. Here's the title of the first copyright law, "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned".
            It did invest the authors with rights that previously were owned by the publishers so helping their chances of making money but originally, as

    • 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.

      • by Teancum (67324)

        Considering that many of the changes to American copyright laws have been to address "conformity" to European copyright laws (especially the concept of automatic copyright upon publication and the "Life+term" philosophy), I have a hard time shedding a tear when it comes to European copyright being pushed along as well.

        The problem isn't America, but the big corporate lobbyists and major media companies that are the problem. Many of the changes in copyright laws over the past 50 years or so really haven't be

  • 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 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.

      • by houghi (78078) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @07:40AM (#38115424)

        I remember when she got the job, I thought she would be allowing companies all that they wanted to be allowed. Luckily I was wrong.

        If all politicians had at least 10% of her common sense, the world would not be in the shit hole we are now.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      She's loved by all parties here(The Netherlands) so she always has the full support when its time to get new positions out for the countries(strange system yes).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      We move on by limiting or eliminating copyright itself. A term of 7 years (maximum) would be sufficient.

      • by Jesus_666 (702802)
        I'd even allow more. Movies do have a tendency to be hideously expensive and some companies might feel that seven years is a bit too little to invest a truckload of money into. (Yes, extremely expensive movies tend to be drivel but there's a legitimate market for them.)

        But I'd still say that fifteen years should be a hard upper limit, reserved for areas like movies where investments of dozens of millions of $CURRENCY are not unusual.
        • Movies make most of their money shortly after release, within 7 years chances are the movie has reached the point of being shown on tv and if it hasn't recouped its initial production cost chances are it never will.

          Copyright terms should be strictly limited, 7 years as an absolute maximum possibly 5... Noone has the right to continue making money from something they did years ago without doing any additional work.

          I would place other restrictions too, either outlaw any form of drm or require that a non encumbered version be available once the copyright expires.

          Also with software, have the copyright period extend for 7 years or as long as the software continues to be actively supported, whichever is shorter, and with a requirement to release source code once the term expires.

          • by Jesus_666 (702802)
            Good arguments. Perhaps one could use longer terms to get concessions out of the content industry. They can get five years of zealously-guarded copyright, ten years of "you're on your own" or fifteen years of self-policed limited copyright with complex EULAs and DRM being explicitly forbidden.
        • by TheRaven64 (641858) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @08:31AM (#38115576) Journal

          I'd even allow more. Movies do have a tendency to be hideously expensive and some companies might feel that seven years is a bit too little to invest a truckload of money into

          Really? Movies make the majority of their profits in the first week after release, with another small bump the week after the DVD release. When deciding whether to fund a film, people ask whether it will make back the investment in the opening weekend. Anything after that is expected to be pure profit. The dribble from DVD sales and rental is just a bonus.

          Seven years is long enough that most people who want to see it will pay, rather than say 'well, it will enter the public domain in seven years - I'll wait.'

        • by muuh-gnu (894733)

          > I'd even allow more. Movies do have a tendency to be hideously expensive and

          Hideously expensive movies dont have to be made. Just made them cheap enough to be able to turn a profit within 7 years.

          > But I'd still say that fifteen years should be a hard upper limit

          I'm all for letting everybody vote on it in a referendum. In theory, copyright is supposed to be for the benefit of the people. Let the people decide directly which copyright duration maximizes their benefit. Content producers should not hav

      • by Ashriel (1457949)

        The original U.S. copyright law, hard-coded into the Constitution, is for a 14 year period of exclusive distribution, with the option of a one-time renewal. This was originally intended for authors, and I think that it's entirely fair. Were this law still in effect, everything in the U.S. made prior to 1984 would be in the public domain.

        However, I'd like to point out that when the section on copyright was originally drafted, there was no such thing as free distribution. It cost money to duplicate anything,

    • by Zocalo (252965)
      "Breath of fresh air" is putting it mildly, I think. Neelie Kroes is one of the few people in the EU government that I actually trust to do what is right for the voters who put her there in the first place and not only asks them for their views (as required), but actually appear to pay attention to what people say as well. I think it's fair to say, that she really gets the underlying issues of IT and comms and so far has not simply pandered to the lobbyists like some of her colleagues have so blatently do
  • Rewards (Score:5, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:29AM (#38114788)

    One day a friend of mine went to the factory where CDs are made. He asked someone from the OSA (association for authors protection) what would he get, while beeing registered under OSA, if he composed song (music and lyrics) and someone else would play it e.g. at some concert. The guy from OSA replied that nothing because those money from artistic work usage are distributed according the frequency of appearance on radio or TV. This is clearly punishing those who pay, because they would like to give their money to the composer instead to some mainstream shitty composer. Think of this story when buying clean CD's.

    • 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 The Master Control P (655590) <ejkeever@nerdsha c k .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.
    • by tsa (15680) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:59AM (#38114896) Homepage

      I think it's best to not pay for music and films at all and watch that whole industry go belly-up. They deserve it. The only people who benefit from the MAFIAA are the ones in the top of those organisations.

      • by Froggie (1154) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:11AM (#38114954)

        Absolutely.

        Of course, you could do this in the current rules is simply to stop watching and listening to them, rather than getting copies off the net.

        • by airfoobar (1853132) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:24AM (#38115012)
          What difference does it make? Even if people boycott them and stop watching their films, they'll still blame piracy and lobby for a law that makes everyone pay them a tax!
        • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          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.

        • by houghi (78078)

          Luckily we do not need to stop to music or stop buying music. There are alternatives http://bandcamp.com/ [bandcamp.com] is one of them where you can easily see the percentage that goes to the band.

    • by Nursie (632944)

      I can keep a straight face, as I understand it to be a transfer of license, which is all reselling a cd was anyway.

      A license scenario makes some sense so long as it's transferrable.

      • by MachDelta (704883) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @06:44AM (#38115244)

        Too bad the "license" only applies when it suits the record company. Try snapping your favorite CD in half and asking the publisher for a replacement copy (plus S&H), since you've "purchased a license and not a physical object."

        • Way, way back in the day a music store used to do that. The Wall I think it was. They gave you a sticker to put on the CD when you bought it, and if it was ever damaged they would replace it for free.

  • by blahplusplus (757119) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:38AM (#38114822)

    ... are protectionism and corporate welfare of the 21st century. I think it's best to say that copyright/patents are anti-free market, anti-technology and anti-science IMHO. Not only that human beings just aren't smart enough to judge when something should be or should not be patented. It's a giant clusterfuck.

    I think those who argue for them just don't want to find new business models, using the law as a business model has made one hell of a legal mess and created a ethically bankrupt legal system clogged with up with suits. I think someone should really figure out how much inefficiency this is creating and how much all this costs us in terms of the legal system. I imagine that whatever supposed 'gains' we are allegedly getting from these systems are wiped out by lawyers and the lack of free exchange/modification of ideas between products and industries.

    • by khipu (2511498)

      are protectionism and corporate welfare of the 21st century. I think it's best to say that copyright/patents are anti-free market, anti-technology and anti-science IMHO

      You may think that, but such arguments are not very convincing. People will rightfully point out that all property could be viewed that way, physical or not. The fact that I own a piece of land, or a car, or a computer, and that I can keep you from using it, is ultimately just a construct and agreement protected by the state.

      If copyrights a

  • by marcello_dl (667940) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:49AM (#38114856) Homepage Journal

    Copyright doesn't protect the little guy, yes.
    Copyright doesn't restrict much the amount of pirated material people swap, yes.

    But that's not what the current laws on copyright are designed to prevent, they want to make it hard to compete with established media companies and rights holders in producing and distributing stuff.

    The battle is about controlling the distribution channels, to decide what people will like. It is about criminalizing as many people as possible to justify examining every single packet out your network card.

    Proof? proof is that you can't put a site which distribute links, while youtube and megaupload can distribute CONTENT.

    If there is a bunch of popular sites instead of a world wide web, propaganda operations can easily make some topics hot and popular.

    All the rest is smoke and mirrors. Art has always been at the service of power.

    • by Daniel Phillips (238627) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @04:59AM (#38114900)

      Copyright doesn't protect the little guy, yes.

      Copyright is a powerful tool in the hands of free software authors, and a force for the public good. Obviously is used for evil as well, and current copyright duration is just offensive.

      • 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.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by bky1701 (979071)
        Copyright is a force for the public good? Then why does every event since its inception seem to suggest that it only makes the original situation worse? Copyright has always been abused by those with money, and those without money are rarely able to make use of it. This goes back to my knowledge as far as Edison, but I'm sure if you looked at history you'd find many earlier and many worse cases alike.

        Free software will keep existing without copyright. In fact, if the pro-copyright rhetoric of software co
      • a tool needs somebody able to wield it, free software authors have that tool but not the means to enforce copyright by themselves.

    • 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.

      • China is just tightening their laws on paper, but it remains to be seen how willing they will be to enforce those laws.
  • 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 bky1701 (979071) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @05:45AM (#38115092) Homepage
      How about we leave the problem of making a business profitable to the businesses? It is not the duty nor place of the government to ensure the creation of Avatar. If there is a will, there is a way. The goal now is to end the system that has a stranglehold on every aspect of the internet. Copyright and freedom cannot coexist any longer, something SOPA proves.
      • by 91degrees (207121)
        That's not the only solution to the problem.

        Most people see it as a huge social benefit that they have such a wealth of media at such a small economic cost. You seem to be taking a much more Libertarian position, which is fair enough, but it's not a position that most of the world shares. For a proposal to gain traction, it needs to be at least palatable to the majority, who do see it as the government's job to make sure that Hollywood can make blockbusters.

        I should also point out, In the case of
    • by Sabriel (134364) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @06:53AM (#38115270)

      Copyright doesn't need to be rebuilt from scratch - we "merely" need to do a clean reinstall of one of the early 20th century versions, with pretty much a couple of tweaks and a single major addition:

      Copyright, fourteen years, twenty years if you register your work by filing a copy with the public trustee, the rights of resale and fair use respected, AND the use by a copyright holder of any system that interferes with the public's rights under copyright revokes the protection of copyright for all of their works so encumbered.

      I.e. pick one, Copyright or Strong DRM, because as ideals their goals are mutually incompatible.

      • by Sabriel (134364)

        And to reply to myself, there's the ideals of copyright - and then there's what we've ended up with instead. The sad fact is, it may well be that any copyright system we create will be corrupted by avarice.

    • by houghi (78078)

      Most people online give stuff away. They've been doing so since public had access to photocopiers

      It goes back further. It goes back to the songs people sing to their kids that they learned from their (grand)parents.
      It goes back to the tales we told at the fire in the caves and the images that we copied in those caves.

      Can you imagine? "Well Hrraahgh. I see you made an excellent image of a mammoth, but we must fine you 17.408 cows and 307 wifes for the following reason. The technique you used has a copyright

  • by G3ckoG33k (647276) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @06:01AM (#38115126)

    Kroes is member of VVD.

    Wikipedia: "The People's Party for Freedom and Democracy (VVD) (Dutch: Volkspartij voor Vrijheid en Democratie) is a conservative-liberal[1][2] political party located in the Netherlands. The VVD supports private enterprise in the Netherlands and is often perceived as an economic liberal party"

    Hmmm. That is why she didn't look like a long-haired smelly.

    • by mjwx (966435)

      The VVD supports private enterprise in the Netherlands and is often perceived as an economic liberal party"

      Hmmm. That is why she didn't look like a long-haired smelly.

      Liberal outside the US typically refers to social and economic freedom, as in traditional liberalism. Less restriction on the market in the case of Kroes, Yanks might call them Libertarian, but they aren't complete whack jobs like US libertarians.

      BTW, how does one "look" smelly?

  • 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

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Anonymous Coward

      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.

  • Democracy at work (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Hentes (2461350) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @06:47AM (#38115254)

    The recent successes of various pirate parties made it clear that people do not like the current IP system. Now politicians have no other choice than to listen to them.

    • Guess politicians wisen up. In the 80s, the green movement was ignored long enough to allow a green party to establish itself in most European countries. Most likely they want to avoid something like that to happen again.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday November 20, 2011 @09:02AM (#38115676) Homepage

    You know, lately, I have been having some issues with HDMI and conflicting implementations. It's really getting under my skin. Every time I see the copyright industry interfere with technology, they screw it up in some way. Macrovision in the old days of VHS and the things they wanted to do with digital TV and the crap they pull with HDMI -- it all pisses me off.

    The EU was right about water -- it doesn't prevent the causes of dehydration. And the way copyright is being handled does not support the artists and certainly harms the public interest.

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