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Piracy DRM Entertainment Your Rights Online

US Survey Shows Piracy Common and Accepted 528

Posted by Soulskill
from the socially-and-morally-irrelevent dept.
bs0d3 writes "A new U.S. survey sponsored by the American Assembly has revealed that piracy is both common and accepted. The surveys findings show that 46% of adults and 75% of young people have bought, copied, or downloaded some copyright infringing material. 70% of those surveyed said it's reasonable to share music files (PDF) with friends and family. Support for internet blocking schemes was at 16%."
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US Survey Shows Piracy Common and Accepted

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  • by symbolset (646467) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:12AM (#38581974) Homepage Journal

    If it's OK for the media lobbies to steal our public domain works from us in perpetuity, then by all means let's even the score.

    Once more into the breach for Baron Thomas Babington Macaulay, 1841 & 1842 [baen.com]:

    I will only say this, that if the measure before us should pass, and should produce one-tenth part of the evil which it is calculated to produce, and which I fully expect it to produce, there will soon be a remedy, though of a very objectionable kind. Just as the absurd acts which prohibited the sale of game were virtually repealed by the poacher, just as many absurd revenue acts have been virtually repealed by the smuggler, so will this law be virtually repealed by piratical booksellers. At present the holder of copyright has the public feeling on his side. Those who invade copyright are regarded as knaves who take the bread out of the mouths of deserving men. Everybody is well pleased to see them restrained by the law, and compelled to refund their ill-gotten gains. No tradesman of good repute will have anything to do with such disgraceful transactions. Pass this law: and that feeling is at an end. Men very different from the present race of piratical booksellers will soon infringe this intolerable monopoly. Great masses of capital will be constantly employed in the violation of the law. Every art will be employed to evade legal pursuit; and the whole nation will be in the plot.

    You'll find a commentary on the first speech with references on Kuro5hin [kuro5hin.org].

    And in a final bit of irony you can buy these 160 year old public-domain speeches printed in a paperback book for $21.24 from Amazon.com [amazon.com]. So there is even no need for long onerous copyright if there's profit to be made in public domain works.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:26AM (#38582022)

      If it's OK for the media lobbies to steal our public domain works from us in perpetuity, then by all means let's even the score.

      Hell, it's okay for them to steal current works from artists and then sell the music thousands of times over for cash. Big Media did that in Canada and got a slap on the wrist for their commercial bootlegging. It's not who's in the right morally, or even legally, it's who has more money to buy lawyers and politicians.

      • by Taco Cowboy (5327) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:49AM (#38582130) Journal

        The folks on Capital Hill don't listen to the common people.

        Their only master is the 1% who can pay them.

        From patent trolls to perpetual copyrights to SOPA to ..... those a_holes in Capital Hills are killing American ingenuity as we know it.

        • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:10AM (#38582224)

          And they just made it a law that they can come in the night and take you away for threatening to ever remove them from office

          • by flyneye (84093) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @08:39AM (#38583828) Homepage

            All the way up to the parent, you guys get it.
            I'll take it to it's natural conclusion
                        Music is sound, it's communication. Marketing it as a tangible doesn't really work or someone gets screwed badly. In our case it it the musician that gets the worst of it. An industry exists that gets to decide WHO gets to make the best living from music. Think about it. Hand picked musicians get money poured into promotion for as long as they cooperate and stay a fad.
            Now not only do the non industry musicians suffer from a non level playing field but the industry musicians get their songs taken, their ability to perform their songs for money taken, their ability to play with each other under their chosen name can even be forfeit.
                    It's just time to let the music industry die so musicians 'round the world can bring about competition amongst themselves on a level playing field. Music is free, forget selling it except for commercial use, the bother of trying to licence it for general use is like catching 5 lb. of mercury in a collander. Performance however is paid! Think of the fanbase that comes from freely distributed music! Taking the album purchase out of the equation greatly improves the chance your fan will have your song on his ipod. That leaves him money to come see your act, which is what you REALLY want as a musician anyway. It's the live shows that is the drug, not sales statistics.
                    Take the industry out of the equation and the field becomes level for any musician. You can then get out of your career what you put into it rather than the slot machine business process of dealing with the corrupt industry. The internet is truly a great playing field leveler. Now the industry can die and all those couch surfing musicians can finally get some raisin pie.
                      Bleating about lost jobs is kind of moot since ,A: musicians jobs far surpass industry numbers, B: filling jobs that culminate in an undesireable evil only taints the innocent who perform them. Let them stand in line for a job just like the rest of us who have to do actual work, actually do.

        • by Serpents (1831432) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @06:20AM (#38583214)
          The problem is they're killing not only American ingenuity. By proposing agreements like ACTA [wikipedia.org] they are trying to enforce similar solutions across the world. American ideas, be they good or bad, have a tendency to spread.
        • by Loosifur (954968) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @09:54AM (#38584232)

          Copyright isn't the issue. The issue is that technology limited the artist's ability to distribute work, and so the SOP became selling your own rights to your own work to a publisher in order to try and reach a larger audience, and, hopefully, make some money. In all art (music, film, lit), publishers became the gatekeepers because artists weren't able to compete on a logistic level.

          Now that the Internet has, to some extent, changed that, we just need to find a model that works for everyone involved. As it stands, it's still very difficult to self-publish, or to offer your own content in such a way that you can still make money from it. Just from a writer's perspective, you can run an ad-based website (almost a television model), you can run a subscription-based website, you can ask for donations (good luck with that), you can put samples of your work up for free and offer either full-length works or entirely different works for sale on a case-by-case basis, but most of those options are pretty difficult to get off of the ground.

          Contrast that with getting in bed with a publisher, who will give you money up front, royalties, and handle the marketing. You're still not going to make a mint (I know one writer who has been published frequently, can be found in most major bookstores, and has a book optioned, who is making about $35k a year), but it's not as risky.

          If you get rid of copyright entirely, artists won't be able to afford to be artists. Like it or not, everybody's gotta eat. But if you develop a distribution model whereby artists can produce and maintain control of their products without having to sell their souls to a third party, you'll see more reasonable types of copyright licensing, and you'll see much more reasonable pricing.

      • by nattt (568106) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @08:33AM (#38583802)

        Absolutely the "slap on the wrist" in Canada shows that it's cheaper to steal millions of songs and make vast amounts of profit from them, than to steal 22 songs or whatever and just listen to them. Of course, private copying is still legal in Canada, and that is done by stealing money from photographers and computer programmers and anyone who has backed up their files to a burned CD.

        • by datavirtue (1104259) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @10:24AM (#38584450)

          This has been the way of business in America for a long time. Company pollutes/kills people/etc, they bring in billions from the venture, get sued, get a fine levied for 100 million dollars by the court. Six billion minus 100 million, you do the math. General Electric and many other polluting companies have a well known history of operating like this. After this they are clear and the government/taxpayer cleans up the left over mess which costs additional billions or several hundred million to remedy (superfund).

    • by Nursie (632944) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:28AM (#38582028)

      You'll find a commentary on the first speech with references on Kuro5hin.

      My god! A link to K5 from when it was more than just ascii art penis pictures!

      • by EdIII (1114411) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:11AM (#38582742)

        I tried to post an ascii art penis picture here but Slashdot told me to user fewer junk characters.

        How's that for irony. Go figure.

        Anyways, you are rather insensitive. It's estimated that 8% of all people on their computers can't touch a keyboard without making ascii art penises for some reason. I dunno. Was making you a real big, veiny, triumphant bastard too.

        Fucking Slashdot filters.

  • double-edged sword (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:20AM (#38581994)

    It's too bad they're too busy downloading and sharing music to call their congressmen, threaten not to vote for them if they vote for SOPA/PIPA, and actually follow through on that threat on election day.

    • by daem0n1x (748565)

      In Portuguese, SOPA means "soup". PIPA means "barrel".

      So, it has been fun for a Portuguese to read Slashdot lately and find Americans want to feed the whole world soup and wine by the barrel.

      We're eagerly waiting you create more legislations like these:

      • Congressional Ostrich Nourishment Act
      • Currency of Unification
      • Fungal Output Detoxification Act
  • by youn (1516637) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:24AM (#38582012) Homepage

    I suspect many people won't come forward

    • by inviolet (797804) <slashdotNO@SPAMideasmatter.org> on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @10:30AM (#38584510) Journal

      I suspect many people won't come forward

      Since the beginning of this debate, twenty years ago when we were all still using 1.44MB floppy disks, I have been firmly in the "thou shalt not copy" camp. I never, ever pirated software or music. Occasionally I copied MP3s from a friend, then re-bought them if I ended up listening to them more than once or twice. And I still felt guilty.

      Last month was my change of heart.

      I was trying to Do The Right Thing, and download Terry Pratchett's Discworld audiobooks using iTunes. Each audiobook costs $20, but I was willing to pay it. I splurged and bought the first three. The download of the third one failed, and there is no way to resume it (in order to get the rest of the audiobook, I only received the first 42 minutes), because of Audible.com's license restrictions. I'm facing an hour on the phone with iTunes tech support.

      But even THAT was acceptable. Until I found out, the hard way, that my audiobooks can't be listened to on my other iOS devices. I can listen to them on the iPhone I purchased them on, but not on my iPad (same iTunes) account or my sons' iPads (same iTunes). WTF?

      So I decided that Audible.com and iTunes have colluded to defraud the consumer. And I got gypped $60 before I figured it out. I therefore conclude that I am free of my moral obligation to pay them for the content they control. And suddenly, the world, and this whole piracy conversation, looks very different to me.

  • by scottbomb (1290580) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:24AM (#38582014) Journal

    ...music, DVDs, a cup of milk, a tool, a lawnmower, a car. People have been sharing media ever since the first record was pressed. Farmers have been sharing equipment since... the beginning of time. But you don't hear John Deere crying about it. All laws do is make a good deal of the population guilty of federal crimes. Ask Uncle Sam how well that fight against pornography worked. Or the war on drugs.

    • by Totenglocke (1291680) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:29AM (#38582032)

      Ask Uncle Sam how well that fight against pornography worked. Or the war on drugs.

      Or the war on alcohol - which is the greatest example of why the government does far more harm than good when it tries to tell people what they should want. Not only do the majority ignore the laws and do it anyways, but they also create a large number of violent criminals to supply said product to the masses.

      • by tantaliz3 (1074234) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:57AM (#38582412)
        Unfortunately, that's the whole point... it's all about justifying the buildup of the police state. From drugs all the way through reactions to terrorism.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        It's not quite that simple. People rebel against a law of that nature when they can see no benefit from the law. Government initiatives to iodize salt have been tremendously successful at reducing the incidence of goiter. Seatbelt laws are not widely flouted.

        The problem with copyright is that the perceived social benefit is not there. Similarly, laws typically work better if they're fair. Since these laws obviously don't apply to the rich, don't expect anyone else to take them seriously either.

        -- Darktan

      • by fnj (64210)

        Or the war on poverty. Biggest failure of them all.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:37AM (#38582084)

      Lending and copying aren't the same thing. If I lend I do not make a copy of said thing. Digital files are digital copies of a creative work, and because the file is duplicated, ie, a copy, it is then violating _copy_rights.

      John Deere won't cry because you can't just _copy_ a tractor. It takes real work and real knowledge, time and skill to take one apart, figure all the pieces, all the compression, setup, etc., and build an exact copy.

      I don't support the excessive fines and draconian attitude, and copyright holders should be limited in to how much legal intimidation they're allowed to.

      • by scottbomb (1290580) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:03AM (#38582182) Journal

        You make a good point. In fact, people didn't have the equipment nor expertise needed to make copies of records back in the day either. But I do remember the controversy in the 1980s over the dual-cassette recorder (I was a teenager then). We went to the store, bought a pack of blank cassettes, and copied each other's music. The recording artists threw a fit and they were told to stick a sock in it. EVERYONE had copies. Everyone also had some originals. The same is true today. Somehow, the artists survived (and certainly didn't go hungry) during the 80s. The same is true today. Just ask iTunes and Amazon about all the (non-DRM) music they sell.

        • by Kjella (173770) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:08AM (#38582722) Homepage

          The recording artists threw a fit and they were told to stick a sock in it. EVERYONE had copies. Everyone also had some originals. The same is true today.

          True, but back then it was a practical necessity, somebody had to have an original to copy from - generational copies sounded worse and so they would sell one copy to every clique in the network, if not to every person. Today that is only a social barrier, people only have originals because they choose to buy originals. If people decided to stop buying originals, well perfect copies would still be available on the Internet. We've seen it when prerelease games or movies leak to the Internet, from that single copy it can boom into millions faster than the blink of an eye. The courts don't have any chance to process a "war on pirates" that's much, much larger than the war on drugs and with far less public support. A few hundred thousands copyright holders can't control hundreds of millions of consumers if those consumers refuse to cooperate. The whole thing reminds me of the scene from the Gandhi movie where he tells people to make their own salt and the British arrest everyone and their mother, the prisons fill up with tens and tens of thousands of prisoners yet once millions and millions of Indians take that right for themselves, there's nothing the government can do to stop them. Copyright ends when we the people say enough is enough, and I don't mean through Congress. It ends when people stop respecting it.

        • by EdIII (1114411) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:44AM (#38582876)

          You both make the real point, and why it leads to the perception that sharing is okay.

          Copyrighted content used to be delivered by physical medium. It had separate value from that content. Those blank tapes cost money, blank CDs cost money too.

          Digital came around and copies did not degrade, which meant that sharing was no longer limited to one or two "hops" before the quality was so low it was more preferable to buy a new copy.

          In a way, Big Content fucked itself. It had the the last 50-60 years (ever since vinyl records were sold) to educate the public and put forth the perception that you were not buying the record as much as you were buying the right to listen to the record. Important distinction, which would have lead to a real understanding of just what copyright is, and what intellectual property is.

          They did not want do to that, as that would have been logical, truthful, and fair. Anybody with a proof of purchase should have been able to walk into a store, or send a request, for a replacement copy and only paid for the cost of the medium, "printing", and shipping. Basically, a discount to get another copy back.

          Maybe it was not that simple, but either way, public understanding of copyright was never very sophisticated.

          Now that the content has been divested from the medium, in every sense, it's not a real surprise that the majority of people find sharing to be easy and "victim-less".

          It was never possible to steal content, but now that you don't even need the physical medium, how do you retrain society to understand why it is important to pay for the works regardless of how cheap and easy it is to obtain a copy from an increasingly connected society where distribution channels are popping up as fast as new content?

          At this point you don't even need blank CDs. An MP3 player and some external hard drives and all of the sudden your the fucking Library of Congress walking around with tens of thousands of dollars, sometimes nearly a million, in copyrighted content. Never mind that you could have only really afforded 1% of your library or less.

          It's a serious problem. Society determines morality, not the other way around. I believe it is also referred to as the Elastic Clause in the US. Society has changed, but that does not seem to even slow down the push to destroy all of our freedoms to erect an impenetrable bulkhead to stop the erosion of profits for Big Content.

          I support the idea to compensate artists, but quite frankly, it is becoming as hard to convince people of that as it is to educate them about copyrights in the first place.

          • by dabadab (126782) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @06:31AM (#38583268)

            It had the the last 50-60 years (ever since vinyl records were sold) to educate the public and put forth the perception that you were not buying the record as much as you were buying the right to listen to the record. Important distinction, which would have lead to a real understanding of just what copyright is, and what intellectual property is.

            Huh?... You ARE buying the record, a physical object. There's no such thing as a "right to listen". It simply does not exist just as there is no a "right to breathe". Copyright does not extend to this area because - as it was originally created - it is set to regulate publishers, not end-users.
            Yes, the big media would like to brainwash everyone into thinking that copyright extends to a much larger area than it actually does and that there are no exceptions for fair use (and - judging by highly rated comments here on Slashdot, where people should know better - they have not been without success) but it does not make it a fact - it just might make the way for it to become a fact, since who would complain when something is put into law that was thought to be situation all along?

            Of course, the current situation leaves one wondering that what are you actually buying from, say, iTMS. You are not buying a physical object and certainly no license to any rights - it seems, you pay for a service that you can download songs from their server.

        • We almost didn't get them. When the first dual-cassette recorder was made available in the UK, the BPI sued the manufacturer (Amstrad), claiming that by providing a technology so potentially useful for copyright infringement to the general public Amstrad were authorising their customers to use the technlogy for infringement. It was a vicious battle, which Amstrad eventually won. A very close parallel to the Betamax case in US law.
      • Since you can lend a DVD (but not copy it), how about a system that let's you lend a file:
        Basically, while somebody is watching the movie, you cannot access it, that is, there are a limited number of licenses available and somebody who wants to watch a movie requests a license, so someone who has it, sends it. The file itself can be downloaded by the usual means, but at any single time there are no more active licenses (movie copies being watched) as there was copies sold. However, since most people do not

      • by Bogtha (906264) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @04:04AM (#38582702)

        Lending and copying aren't the same thing.

        You are right. The infinite, perfect reproduction of digital tools and culture is far, far better than mere lending. It's damn near magical! It is truly a quantum leap in civilisation, which makes it all the more repugnant that such a wonderful ability is locked away so that the proles can't do it. Anybody who wants that kind of restriction is essentially advocating for a modern day dark ages.

  • by Hadlock (143607) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:24AM (#38582016) Homepage Journal

    Copyright infringement went mainstream in 1998-2002, and now a decade later those kids on the internet in high school spent four years in college learning about file sharing culure and now are having their own kids.
     
    Whatever social value(s) the media industry was trying to impress upon us over the last 10 years have failed, and it's too late to re-educate the next generation of parents. It's only going to get worse from here, and they've spent a decade building animosity in their customers. They'll pass that animosity along to their children in terms of pirated Disney films, Dora the Explorer and whatever the next incarnation of Teletubbies are. Instead of selecting a VHS from the family video library, they'll be directed to the pirate bay or similar to find whatever obscure children's video isn't already on netflix on-demand.
     
    The generational shift has already happened, and public favor is against the media industry. Something's gotta budge, and it isn't public opinion.

    • by Dwedit (232252) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:31AM (#38582048) Homepage

      One major exception: People don't mind paying their Netflix subscription fee to get better service than piracy. But selection is still a big problem.

      • by Rolan (20257) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:57AM (#38582676) Homepage Journal

        One major exception: People don't mind paying their Netflix subscription fee to get better service than piracy. But selection is still a big problem.

        This is really the key, and the media companies don't seem to get it. People are willing to pay for content, if it is provided at a reasonable price and reasonably easily obtained. If they want to "defeat piracy" they need to make it easier (and cheap) to get the content legally. As a business, "cheap" money coming in is far better than nothing. Add that doing this (providing content easily and cheaply) would improve public opinion of them...

      • I signed up for the LoveFilm fortnight trial around a year ago to see what streaming content I could get, fully expecting to completely give up downloading or streaming unlicensed content. Steam replaced piracy of games for the same reason; Easy to use, convenient, good quality. Yes, I understand the DRM restrictions, and accept them as part of the service. As such don't pay full release-day price for any games on Steam.

        The streaming selection on LoveFilm was so small that I'd browsed THE WHOLE THING in un
    • by Dunbal (464142) * on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:18AM (#38582278)

      Copyright infringement went mainstream in 1998-2002

      Eh? I guess you're too young to remember casette tapes and taping songs from the radio, or using dual tape machines to copy a buddy's tapes. It was pretty mainstream in the 1960's and 70's too. Not everything has happened in recent history, young man.

    • Copyright infringement went mainstream in 1998-2002, and now a decade later those kids on the internet in high school spent four years in college learning about file sharing culure and now are having their own kids.

      I think you're being a little optimistic about how recently piracy took off. The Internet has only accelerated what people were doing anyway.

      In other news, major record labels now sell little more than over-produced poppy crap; high-end PC gaming today is little more than the 7th edition of a safe, high-value franchise that is only an awkward port of a console game anyway; and Hollywood movie studios are more enthusiastic about special-effect-laden blockbusters that work with 3D in cinemas and spawn a whole

    • by discord5 (798235) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @06:19AM (#38583212)

      Copyright infringement went mainstream in 1998-2002,

      It's quite common to attribute the existing attitude about copyright enfringement to Napster, but in reality the attitude already existed way before Napster existed. Before Napster it was CD-burners, and before that it was copying floppies and tapes. The biggest shift was the fact that content could be copied easily and without a significant loss of quality. Napster (or rather peer 2 peer networks) were just the next logical step in an increasingly networked world.

      Whatever social value(s) the media industry was trying to impress upon us over the last 10 years have failed,

      The content industry has been preaching that message long before Napster, but the difference is that due to successful lobbying they've been far more successful with the legislative branch than in the era before that. The message in general has always fallen on deaf ears with the public, after all those mixtapes didn't make themselves.

      I would argue that copyright infringement in most cases hasn't changed over those years in essence: people still buy music, video games and movies, and people still share. What has changed is how visible it has become thanks to the Internet. Sure, you'll have a few people who won't buy anything and simply copy everything, but it's safe to say that those type people existed way before the internet existed and did the exact same thing.

      What has more significantly changed over the years is that consumption has taken on a new form. People are much more interested in digital downloads than owning a physical copy. Convenience has become more of a priority than it used to, and this is something where some parts of the content industry have learned their lesson (most notably video games). Take a look at the success of Steam, despite it being a form of DRM, Steam is wildly popular because it's extremely convenient. They rely on impulse shopping for the most part, and the customers they don't get with impulse shopping they'll get with bargain deals. Despite some people on slashdot being vehemently opposed to Steam, it's very popular and most people find this form of DRM very acceptable. (I myself am not arguing for or against DRM here, that is beside the issue of this post)

      The generational shift has already happened, and public favor is against the media industry. Something's gotta budge, and it isn't public opinion.

      I've noticed an exciting trend in the past year or so, and it has probably been growing for a while longer. More and more beginning artists are embracing the internet on their own, and skipping the traditional content industry all together. I've noticed that a lot of DJs have begun setting up streams to promote themselves, bands are using social media and networks to promote themselves, and a lot of people are actively making their own "TV shows". Examples of this are for instance eSports events like Starcraft 2 broadcasts (tournaments such as MLG, casters on youtube, or even in depth analysis such as Day[9]) and even fighting game tournaments (such as the teamsp00ky streams). The technological barrier of entry to do so has become so small that practically anyone with an average non-technical understanding of how internet works can setup their own platform for promoting themselves or others. Having an average of 5000 to 15000 live viewers for an amateur show in what's likely to be a very niche market is a lot.

      I've also noticed that so called "netlabels" are becoming more popular (especially in Japan), where artists release their works on the web partly for free for promotion and release a few commercial tracks on sites such as beatport, etc. It's all very amateurish compared to the big established content industry, but it's certainly a powerful tool for promotion as more and more people are becoming aware of these things.

      While I'm not going to argue that the traditional content industry is finished, or predict the dea

  • by blind biker (1066130) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:25AM (#38582020) Journal

    I wonder what percentage of people are directly hostile to the notion of copyrights? I know I am

    • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:06AM (#38582196)

      Copyrights themselves aren't the problem, copyrights that extend for decades without the creator having to extend them and without regard to the creator's interests that are the problem. The reality is that there's a bunch of content that's been abandoned by the owners that would have been public domain after 28 years previously, but now thanks to the super long automatic copyright terms isn't available to anybody.

      That's not a feature of copyright, that's a feature of what happens when politicians give corporations what they want without concern for the consequences.

      • by siddesu (698447) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:36AM (#38582320)

        Actually, this kind of abuse is exactly a feature of copyright. The economic reasoning is simple enough that it is covered in microeconomics introduction. The problem is similar with all regulations that create monopolistic profits.

        This is money you get in excess of what you'd be making in a fully efficient, competitive market. Since this is money in excess of the cost of all factors of production (and, btw, that includes the return on your investment in R&D), you don't get extra profit by spending it on your main business. Instead, you're better off if you spend that extra lobbying for activity that extends the regulations that give you the extra profit.

        The problem is made worse because this kind of behavior (called rent-seeking activity, if memory serves) is not self-correcting. Since distribution of cost and benefit is extremely uneven (small cost to many people vs. large benefits to very few large publishers in the case of copyright), there is very little in terms of political incentive for change.

  • by PTBarnum (233319) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:29AM (#38582034)

    How long until someone files a DMCA complaint against this report?

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:31AM (#38582050) Homepage Journal

    If this is right, then we IP Abolitionists just need to go up against impossibly wealthy entrenched interests to get the legal system fixed. Easy, right?

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      Or just ignore the stupid law, which is what we usually do when faced with an impossibly stupid law.
    • If this is right, then we IP Abolitionists just need to go up against impossibly wealthy entrenched interests to get the legal system fixed. Easy, right?

      damned right! the sooner we get back back to the DECnet stack, the better.

      (wait, you meant the other IP, didn't you?)

    • by hedwards (940851) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:08AM (#38582206)

      IP abolition isn't necessarily any better than what we have now, what we need is real meaningful reform to the system. Throwing it out completely is both more work and less likely to happen. Take the terms back to an automatic 28 years with extensions as long as the author cares to file them. And cap that at 56 years for corporations and that would solve a lot of the trouble with copyright right there.

  • by headkase (533448) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:34AM (#38582068)
    In Bill Gates' Open Letter to Hobbyists [wikipedia.org] it really shows how much things were different way back in 1974 - or one year after I was born. When I was growing up - in the heyday of the Commodore 64 [wikipedia.org] - piracy wasn't even questioned one iota. Everyone did it, you pooled together $5 each from your circle of friends, bought a game, and promptly pirated it for everyone and drew a lot to see who would get the original. Back then DRM-cracking-copy-programs [wikipedia.org] were legal and the hypocrisy of the times is that they would copy everything but themselves. You had to use a different copy program to copy a copy program for your circle of friends.

    Now, it's different. We're slowly being taught that information is analogous to physical property. I'm coming around to it. I no longer pirate any software at all. If it wasn't for gaming I'd be 100% free software. I have a ways to go yet before I'm fully compliant but it's coming. Free software at it's core also depends on copyright, the protections afforded to commercial software are what also enables FOSS. If you're FOSS evangelizing you automatically should be a supporter of copyright.

    Music, books, software: they are all different facets of the same thing. If someone wants to give their effort away - FOSS - then that is their right and it needs to be respected. If someone want's to charge for it it is the exact same right. You don't need it that bad if you don't want to comply with the license to acquire some information - go make it yourself and release it if you want under your own terms.
    • by Nursie (632944)

      I do support FOSS and I do support copyright. I'm not sure I agree that you *have* to be both though.

      I support limited terms on said copyright, much more limited than we have today, but I do support it.

      As someone in the business of creating and selling novel arrangements of bits (also called software engineering), copyright is very important to my ability to make money in the commercial software world. In my spare time I use and sometimes contribute to GPL'd FOSS.

      Copyright law makes the GPL work, however it

    • by steelfood (895457) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:07AM (#38582202)

      I don't think copyright inherently is a bad thing. And I don't think most people here save for the extremists and the uneducated would support its elimination altogether. But I think a lot of people would agree that it is, in its entirety, as it exists, ridiculous. From the length of the copyright term, to the punitive damages levied for infringement, to the wide-ranging destruction its enforcement causes, it cannot possibly be considered sanity, much less conducive to a functioning society. If anything, this ridiculousness around copyright has or soon will have a negative effect on creativity and productivity, where people are now too afraid to create new works because they're afraid somebody with deeper pockets is going to take them to court over it.

      Copyrights need to be brought down to levels of sanity in all aspects. For the terms, fifty years irrespective of the author's lifetime is very generous. Any more and it starts becoming ridiculous again. For infringement, the punitive damages should be equal to the retail price per copy made and provably distributed. As for enforcement, it should remain a civil matter, and be applied only to situations of direct infringement. Organized, for-profit criminal copyright infringement can be addressed by real criminal statutes, including tax evasion and racketeering.

      It is important to recognize that there is a role for the protection copyright allows. It is also important to recognize when the system of copyrights no longer serve that role.

  • Citation needed (Score:5, Interesting)

    by metrometro (1092237) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:38AM (#38582086)

    The last sentence in the summary -- "Support for internet blocking schemes was at 16%." -- is not accurate. Check page 8 of the PDF. There is a particularly harshly worded prompt which drew only 36% support, but in every other question there was higher support for internet filtering -- in some scenarios a majority support filters.

    Wishing don't make it so.

  • by mykos (1627575) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:39AM (#38582088)
    The whole country is criminals. Put everyone in prison to stop the piracy!
  • It's quite simple (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mbone (558574) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @01:44AM (#38582104)

    Copyright is a bargain between the people and the creators and owners of content, in which the people grant a temporary and limited monopoly in return for the ultimate ownership of the content.

    The people of the United States (and, for that matter, the rest of the world) have shifted the terms of that bargain some. It will take a while for their representatives to catch up, but they will.

    • by Sabriel (134364)

      More accurate to say that the middlemen shifted the terms and the people are reacting accordingly. The original terms of the bargain - roughly twenty years, give or take several more - were fine. What we have now is a broken contract: there is no meeting of minds, there is no equitable exchange of consideration (financial and ethical).

      If creators and owners of content want to contract with me, that's fine, but they should not be able to shackle my children and my children's children with that contract. I ev

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @02:00AM (#38582166)

    Maybe if the RIAA and similar organizations spent more money on making music available at more reasonable prices and more easily, people wouldn't pirate as much? I looked at specifically the RIAA's public records of their yearly sales years ago...and when did they stop making money? Not when Kazaa and Limewire were around...it was about the same. They made less money when DRM started getting rampant and restricting how people could use their own CDs...it was remarkable how much they lost. Then, you have to think, where's all this cash coming from to pay for the lawyers to sue college kids who downloaded some Britney Spears song off some torrent site (as if that weren't embarrassing enough in and of itself, now the kid's in debt millions and have their life ruined). Then there's the cash for them to pay some mindless sheeple to go lobby for them. Does anyone remember how much LESS CDs cost years ago before they started throwing cash in every direction to try to stop pirating that didn't actually lose them that much to begin with? They're very likely spending more money kicking and screaming against the times changing (which, p.s. you can't prevent) than they would've lost if they just sat back and did nothing other than occasionally made some noise with scary tv commercials over how you can go to jail for the music on your iPod.

    Frankly, SOPA doesn't deserve to pass if only because there probably isn't even one one old baggy senator in all of Capitol Hill that doesn't have some pirated song on his/her damn iPod. Honestly, I'm glad they did this survey. These industries should know: we don't care that you're losing money...because making millions but not millions as much as you used to when more than half this country is having trouble just finding work to feed their families doesn't make us feel a damn bit of pity for you. Settle for a damn Porche instead of a Ferrari, be happy, and shut the hell up while the rest of us just go on working our fingers to the bone just to give our kids the lives they deserve.

  • by Jane Q. Public (1010737) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @03:49AM (#38582648)
    "Piracy" (in the context of copyrights) is defined as the act of illegally copying (and generally selling) for commercial profit!!!

    PIRACY is a crime. Downloading is a civil infraction. They are NOT the same things, at all! And more than 99.9% of downloaders are NOT pirates.

    When you conflate the two different concepts of infringement and piracy, you play straight into the hands of the content industry, which has been deliberately trying to confuse this issue for years.

    STOP CALLING IT PIRACY, DAMNIT! It isn't. It's not the same act, it's not the same law.
  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @05:59AM (#38583160) Homepage
    A guy in Europe was looking to buy a book about Cooking on Amazon. Buying the Paperback version was not an option because he wanted to use his book right now before his Christmas brake was over.

    Amazon only sells the Kindle edition with DRM, the man searched long and hard over different bookstores and at last he found a bookstore that sold it without DRM.
    Unfortunately this bookstore only sold to the USA. Our man searched again and found a proxy service in the USA to use to buy the book, he created a account, pressed "buy" and entered his credit card number.

    Then the website said that his credit card was not from the right county and refused the sale.

    So, after many hours of trying to buy a legal copy, our guy ended up buying a, probably illegal copy from eBay for 1/6th of the Amazon prize.

    Does he feel bad about it? Yes, that the author did probably not get any money for this book, but the book, as he wanted, simply was not available.

  • by AftanGustur (7715) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @06:02AM (#38583168) Homepage
    A guy in Europe was looking to buy a book about Cooking on Amazon. Buying the Paperback version was not an option because he wanted to use his book right now before his Christmas brake was over.

    Amazon only sells the Kindle edition with DRM, the man searched long and hard over different bookstores and at last he found a bookstore that sold it without DRM. Unfortunately this bookstore only sold to the USA. Our man searched again and found a proxy service in the USA to use to buy the book, he created a account, pressed "buy" and entered his credit card number.

    Then the website said that his credit card was not from the right county and refused the sale.

    So, after many hours of trying to buy a legal copy, our guy ended up buying a, probably illegal copy from eBay for 1/6th of the Amazon prize.

    Does he feel bad about it? Yes he does feel for the author, that he probably not get any money for this sale, but the book, as he wanted, simply was not available.

  • by Arancaytar (966377) <arancaytar.ilyaran@gmail.com> on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @07:13AM (#38583434) Homepage

    You can't teach people that two wrongs don't make a right. If you can't even persuade a majority of people that it is not right to execute murderers, how do you hope to persuade them that it is not right to break a law they consider unjust?

    Look at Pirates of the Carribbean: At World's End for an analogy. Everyone knows that piracy - the real kind, with boats - is pretty bad. Robbery, violence, kidnapping, and murder. Nobody cheers for robbers and murderers. So why did people root for the pirates? Because the people opposing them were portrayed as Complete Monsters. They were hanging people left and right for alleged association with pirates, murdering, extorting and stealing to get their way, and usurping democracy. The pirates were the good guys because the East India Company was evil. It was all the more beautiful as an allegory because Hollywood could never have made it on purpose.

    From DMCA to SOPA, and from Andrew Tenenbaum to Jammie Thomas, the media industry has sabotaged its own image with deadly efficiency again and again. They have set themselves up as the villains of the piece. Nobody should be surprised that people consider it legitimate and morally right to illegally copy their product. They don't see it as stealing; they see it as fighting back.

  • by argStyopa (232550) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @08:24AM (#38583760) Journal

    MOST people will pay a reasonable price for something they want.

    Louis CK just made a standup comedy special himself. Paid for the production of a 1 hour commercial-quality standup video (about $250,000), and put it up on the internet asking $5 to download it. It did have that $5 paygate, to prevent the casual downloading freeloader, but it is totally drm-free, and available in HD.

    The response has been so overwhelming that once he paid for production, he capped his own income from the exercise at $220,000. He paid his production people a bonus of $250,000 and still has money left over, so is donating all excess to a number of charities. He's *already* given them $280,000.

    An extraordinary success powered by creativity and (significantly) a lack of greed on his part. Win win win.

    It's almost like we don't need the middlemen. Hm.

  • by Peter Simpson (112887) on Wednesday January 04, 2012 @10:43AM (#38584626)
    It's individual, non-commercial copying of copyrighted material for personal use, and, although it's technically illegal, it should be tolerated as long as there is no financial gain. If the movie studios want to control copyright infringement, they should be working to round up the people behind the massive number of counterfeit DVDs being sold at flea markets and on the street corners of major cities. That's where the real criminals are and that's where the money's being made. Extortion of money from individuals who download videos and music for personal use isn't helping their image and doesn't seem to stop the file sharing.

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