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Piracy Your Rights Online

Stop Being Poor: U.S. Piracy Watch List Hits a New Low With 2012 Report 310

Posted by Soulskill
from the expectations-met dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The U.S. Trade Representative released its annual Special 301 Report yesterday, unsurprisingly including Canada on the Priority Watch list. While inclusion on the list is designed to generate embarrassment on target countries, Michael Geist explains why this year's report should elicit outrage. Not only is the report lacking in objective analysis, it targets some of the world's poorest countries with no evidence of legal inadequacies and picks fights with any country that dare adopt a contrary view on intellectual property issues."
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Stop Being Poor: U.S. Piracy Watch List Hits a New Low With 2012 Report

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  • Disappointment (Score:5, Interesting)

    by danaris (525051) <danaris AT mac DOT com> on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @01:20PM (#39859829) Homepage

    From where I sit, this has been one of the greatest disappointments even staunch supporters like me have with Obama: his administration's continued support for the content industry at the expense of people in America and around the world.

    Dan Aris

  • When it comes to copyright, the parties do seem pretty close to even, which is to say paid for by the same organizations.

    I think the Democrats are better overall on other kinds of civil liberties (especially compared to the theocratic wing of the Republican Party), but I'd probably vote for a Pirate Party if we had one.

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @01:39PM (#39860073)

    The US did manage to get new copyright laws passed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This seems to be a high priority issue for some politicians.

  • by Sir_Sri (199544) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @01:53PM (#39860213)

    I don't think we (as canadians) should be outraged. That's the wrong approach to this. We should be celebrating the fact that we have better rules than the americans.

    Imagine some politicians came out with a report about how awful it is that blacks can vote in this long list of countries, or how abhorrent is is that women could vote in some places, or how some countries *still* haven't enacted prohibition, or how terrible it must be for people living in those countries that have government healthcare. If you on one of those lists you don't get outraged, you can use it as proof positive that your system is working, and those idiots that wrote the report are living in the wrong century. Which, as with this report, they are.

    There's no point in trying to complain that some of their metrics are wrong or unfairly target the wrong groups. The whole concept is basically inverted, squabbling about the details gives the false impression that it can somehow be corrected with some tweaking of specifics.

  • by gstoddart (321705) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @01:58PM (#39860265) Homepage

    The US did manage to get new copyright laws passed in Iraq and Afghanistan. This seems to be a high priority issue for some politicians.

    Amazing what happens when you're an occupying force. It used to be called Colonialism.

    I seriously doubt that this was a priority in either country -- more like "if you don't pass this law, we're going to stop financial support or have you replaced".

    Classy.

  • by Lumpy (12016) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @01:59PM (#39860295) Homepage

    " If you burned down Parliament with everyone inside, you'd get out on parole sooner than that."

    Sounds like you canadians have a plan in place then to fix the problems?

    Remember, burning down the White house here in the USA did not fix us, Look at the scumbags we have in ours.

  • Spain is caving (Score:4, Interesting)

    by langarto (718855) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:13PM (#39860479)
    Actually I'm pissed off because Spain got off the list :-(
  • by neurophil12 (1054552) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:14PM (#39860511)

    I'm pretty fed up with it and I want things to change but I really don't see what I can do, the FBI is busy trying to turn people into terrorists who are unhappy with the way the government is representing them. It doesn't matter if I vote for the right or left any politician I vote for is owned by someone, and most if not all the third party candidates are dubious or likely to be subverted the moment they become any more than 'third party' and or get seen as a threat to the status quo.

    My favored solution is for grassroots organizations to stop banging their heads against the wall on issues that aren't going anywhere under the current system and focus on electoral reforms. 1) End political redistricting. 2) Enact some sort of acceptability voting (e.g. instant run-off), starting with local and state elections and building support for federal elections. 3) Enact campaign finance reforms of some sort (the biggest and most challenging issue, though one in which there are many avenues along which to make advances).

    I could add more (like somehow modifying the primary system, rotating which states vote first in presidential primaries, media ownership reforms), but those 3 I think deal with the bulk of what's preventing progress in terms of true representation of the people and resistance to corporate special interests. (1) reduces individual power consolidation and polarization, (2) reduces party power consolidation, polarization, and provides an opportunity for the public to express their preferences in more dimensions (this might make it easier to push back against the advancing security state), and (3) reduces the power of wealthy donors and corporations (who aren't people), or in the case of greater transparency at least allows us to know who is spending how much on what/whom.

  • by filthpickle (1199927) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:16PM (#39860525)
    Yep...of course, depending on who it is performing it you may have a hard time finding anyone that cares. But here's how it works, and it will blow your mind if you don't already know. http://entertainment.howstuffworks.com/music-licensing.htm [howstuffworks.com]
  • Re:Disappointment (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Nixoloco (675549) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:50PM (#39860951)

    Really? Does his IP maximalism really come close to his support for the NDAA? His assassination of US citizens and flagrant violation of the War Powers Act? His crack down on government whistle blowers (more whistle blowers prosecuted than all previous presidents combined)? His crack down on legal medical marijuana dispensaries despite his promise to respect states rights on the issue? His failure to prosecute anyone for the 2008 financial crisis?

    IP maximalism is bad, but it's WAY down on the list of grievences against Barack Obama.

    While I agree with some of the things you are faulting him for (although not all are so clear), faulting him for "support for the NDAA" is over generalizing. An NDAA is passed every year. It is what specifies the budget and expenditures for the US DoD. You are probably upset with a single provision in this year's bill being referred to as the "Indefinite Detention" section. The president himself was not happy with this provision and pushed back. Unfortunately, a compromise on the wording didn't improve it much. Also (unfortunate) the law does nothing that the Federal courts have not already recognized as lawful.

  • by UnknownSoldier (67820) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:32PM (#39861445)

    All good points.

    > 3) Enact campaign finance reforms of some sort (the biggest and most challenging issue, though one in which there are many avenues along which to make advances).

    Spot on. Money needs to be *completely* removed from politics as a factor otherwise you end up with a death-spiral of who can outbid buying off the public.

    The sensible way would to pool ALL donations, and split the balance every month.

    I would add the other political reform would be is get rid of the parties, and focus on the *issues*, not this juvenile mudslinging crap that does nothing.

    The root problem is most Americans don't give a shit, to actually DO anything to change the existing system.

    --
    The best part apart of the US is Capitalism. The worst part about the US, ironically, is also Capitalism.

  • by Beardo the Bearded (321478) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:37PM (#39861507)

    Not there yet. They're all pretty much a waste of ammo and/or accelerant. We've been using the soap box, and that's been simply ignored. We used the ballot box, and it seems that they took that away from us. The oversight group, Elections Canada, had its budget cut by 7.5 million this year, when they're in the middle of investigating the biggest fraud case in Canadian history. So The Jury box has been stripped of its funding.

    I am concerned that someone's going to move to Box Four, and that's a terrible thing. We've never done that sort of thing up here.

  • by mcgrew (92797) * on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:45PM (#39861575) Homepage Journal

    The scenario, as put forth by the GP, is an issue for ASCAP and/or its international equivalents, not RIAA here.

    And ASCAP is every bit as evil as the RIAA, if not more so. Got a jukebox in your bar? You have to pay ASCAP. Live band? Pay ASCAP. Your band only plays original or public domain works? Pay ASCAP anyway.

    A bar owner here in Springfield, who hired bands that played only bluegrass and folk music (public domain) was taken to court by ASCAP for the fees they said he owed for the public domain music that was performed in his bar. He went bankrupt fighting the suit and his bar is now closed.

    ASCAP is pure evil.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @04:01PM (#39861761)

    Political organization prohibits any meaningful action. Activism of this kind only satisfies the desire to feel important and in control. To participate within a system for the purpose of changing it is like becoming the pope to change the church; if that change opposes the nature of the organization, it will be an uphill battle. You will only succeed to the degree you participate with the design of the system. It isn't that the individual has no effect on the rest of the organization, it is that the organization has much more effect on the individual. That underlying inclination of keeping the system going is in the interest of many who participate with the state. All those people depend on it for their entire income. This incentive is at odds with plenty of goals of todays activists(tea party, occupy, whatever). They can only make a difference to the degree that they abandon their goals and follow the crowd.

    You can see this by simply applying this idea to smaller organizations. If one thinks they can participate within a system to change it in ways opposed to its natural inclination, prove it. Start small; rather than taking on the largest organization that exists, why not try a corporation or a local mafia or state union instead? Get them to give up their state privilege, their local monopoly on violence against others as the means to make their living. See how that goes. I'll be waiting.

    Real change begins within our own personal lives. Rather than taking on such a large institution, we have to focus on what matters and what has most bang for the buck. Behave right, and expect right behaviors from those you associate with. Do not tolerate evil within your own relationships. This means parents, friends, coworkers and anyone you deal with. Demand voluntary, peaceful interactions from your companions and reject any other behaviors. If you cannot achieve even this, where you have most control, then it is a fantasy to look beyond out to the government.

  • by ravyne (858869) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @04:35PM (#39862079)
    I think you've come to the wrong conclusion about what I was saying.

    The first paragraph I'm merely acknowledging what I see as the inevitability that any developed nation must realize: That without raw resources or cheap labor to offer up to the world economy, all that's really left is innovation. And if that nation intends to support itself on the fruit of that innovation, then they must have themselves, and lobby for others to adopt, IP laws that benefit those who hold the most. This is not something I'm arguing for myself, I just think it happens to be on the natural course of things if we desire to maintain the economic status quo.

    The second paragraph does advocate for reasonable protections that grant individuals, and their governments through taxation, to benefit from their efforts. The problem with the current system is that there are essentially no limits to the amount of control that the IP holder can exercise, nor any real limit to the length of time one can reap the benefit from their innovation. Current IP law is essentially a land-grab: it says "This thought is mine." and also "If you have to pass through my thought on the way to yours, I can collect a toll. If the price I want is too high, sorry, you and the world are denied your thought." Combined with lengthy protection terms, this allows patent holders to exercise too much control over future innovation.

    Patents should exist in some form in order to spur investments as you say, but likewise they should expire in a reasonable term so that they cannot be lorded over future innovation essentially indefinitely. This is a distinctly anti-capitalist idea, but I believe that, at some point, society as a whole has indeed paid all that's due to the inventor, and their invention should at that point essentially become public domain.

    I don't take this stance as an outsider. The kind of work I do is digital, and therefore solely protected by IP laws, anyone can replicate the fruit of my labor bit-by-bit, with no real capital cost. I choose not to employ DRM, and to instead encourage people to support me by providing them with a great product, and in the future, supporting services. I *should* be able to seek recompense should someone illicitly distribute or clone my work, but I don't care to have a bludgeon that can be used to prevent those who might do a better job than I, or who might take my ideas in a distinct direction, from doing so.

    In college I knew a guy who belonged to the family who's ancestor had invented the modern ball-point pen. He's a really nice guy. I wouldn't begrudge him or anyone else the good fortune of being born into wealth. That such a simple but ubiquitous invention could bring wealth to a family is what should happen when the system works. On the other hand, it seems a little ludicrous that royalties and licenses still flow several generations on.

    Also keep in mind that all of IP is not some god-given right of inventive minds. It's a social contract in which society at large agrees to play by certain rules in order to spur innovation and investment. If one side abuses the other, they'll take their ball and go home--this is not the exclusive right of IP holders.
  • Re:Enemy #1 (Score:4, Interesting)

    by msobkow (48369) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @11:55PM (#39865003) Homepage Journal

    This has been bugging me all day. It really pisses me off when people try to tell me what I mean. I know what I mean. I say what I mean.

    The fact that "patriotic Americans" don't like it is their problem. But watch those of them with mod points mod this psot into oblivion, because they think it's a "disagree" to vote things down. Which only proves my point...

    When I say the US has a navel gazing, we're superior, our law should trump all others attitude, I MEAN IT.

    Your government.
    Your banks.
    Your MPAA/RIAA.
    Your businesses.
    Your pharmacorps.
    And the list goes on...

    Your whole nation's MENTALITY is that you're superior.

    You are the very DEFINITION of a fascist country which engenders and encourages blind, national fervour and faith in the waving flag of the nation above all else.

    There are many in the country who do not feel that way, and understand what it means to cooperate with the world instead of trying to dominate it.

    But apparently there aren't enough of them VOTING.

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