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Commerce Department Pushing For New "Copyright Czar" 294

TechDirt is reporting that those all-too-familiar "stats" surrounding the cost of piracy are being trotted out in an attempt to push through a new "Copyright Czar" position. "In urging President Bush to sign into law the ProIP bill, which would give him a copyright czar (something the Justice Department had said it doesn't want), the US Chamber of Commerce is claiming that 750,000 American jobs have been lost to piracy. Yet, it doesn't cite where that number comes from."
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Commerce Department Pushing For New "Copyright Czar"

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  • Re:The real costs (Score:1, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:05PM (#25275567)

    OP is a grotesque shut-in

  • by wcrowe ( 94389 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @02:06PM (#25275577)

    Not sure if you're being serious or not, but the Russian "Tsar" has historically been tranliterated into English as Czar or Tsar. For a long time one might have found it spelled either way, but since "Czar" started being used to describe a high government official, e.g., "Drug Czar" the CZ spelling has tended to be applied to that use, while the TS spelling has now nearly always come to be applied to the rulers of the Russian Empire. The OED comments thusly: The spelling with cz- is against the usage of all Slavonic languages; the word was so spelt by Herberstein, Rerum Moscovit. Commentarii 1549, the chief early source of knowledge as to Russia in Western Europe, whence it passed into the Western Languages generally; in some of these it is now old-fashioned; the usual Ger. form is now zar; French adopted tsar during the 19th c. This also became frequent in English towards the end of that century, having been adopted by the Times newspaper as the most suitable English spelling.

  • by JCWDenton ( 851047 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:25PM (#25276419) []

    McCain and Obama both voted for Senator Leahy's "PRO-IP" bill, which calls for seizing people's computers for sharing.
    Don't vote for them! []

    It still has new and extremely broad provisions for seizing property like computers and servers. Such powers are notoriously abused to go on fishing expeditions, and since servers are often shared, people who are not even the targets of investigation will be hurt in the process.

  • Re:Henry Paulson (Score:3, Informative)

    by CodeBuster ( 516420 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:44PM (#25276603)

    Irresponsible behavior on Wall Street has exacerbated the mess

    Wall Street took advantage of the way that the government altered the rules of the mortgage game in the only sensible way that they could in an attempt to protect their investments and savings from inflation. They invested in the best thing going (erroneously as it turns out) which was the super hot housing market. The whole thing began in the last decade of the twentieth century (1990s) with the Community Reinvestment Act [], which essentially required Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac to extend credit to borrowers who would NEVER have gotten loans according to any strict financial analysis of their credit worthiness (i.e. their ability and willingness to repay the debt) for POLITICAL reasons. This was exacerbated by community organizers such as ACORN [] who successfully agitated for even more expansion of loans to marginal borrowers (i.e. they threatened banks with discrimination litigation under the Community Reinvestment Act and other laws if they didn't start lending to these marginal people). The banks finally relented when Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac, when ordered to by the government, began buying these loans which the banks were then happy to make as long as they didn't have to hold them privately because they knew that these new borrowers were a terrible credit risk (i.e. the banks were happy to pass the buck). The investment banks on Wall Street were irresponsible for not seeing through this ruse (i.e. they assumed that Fannie and Freddie backed loans rated AAA by the rating agencies were gold and didn't dig any deeper before they invested their capital). The situation is complex and it will take time to work through the details, but the essential truth is this:

    The irrational expansion of credit, which is at the root of our current economic crisis, would NEVER have happened if the government hadn't FORCED the banks to loan to marginal borrowers which the banks KNEW were TERRIBLE credit risks and would probably default on their loans. How did the government force them you ask? They made it illegal to deny credit to marginal borrowers by making it easier to sue for loan discrimination and then the banks, fearing these government mandated bad borrowers, forced the government to buy up the loans (i.e. the banks said: Fine, we will loan to these people, but only if YOU the government agree to buy up the loans). There are additional layers and details in the process of course (which amplified the effects), but that is essentially what happened.

    The only way that this will eventually be resolved in a way that all parties can grudgingly accept will be policies that inflate the currency enough to make the bad debts go away in the long run (i.e. they will solve this through the back door tax of inflation). Then every side can claim a victory without making it obvious that everyone lost because of the resulting inflationary policies that were used to fix the problem.

  • by maxume ( 22995 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @03:58PM (#25276795)

    Sure. I'm all for low quality loans requiring a statement from the loan granter that they reviewed the payments (the whole schedule) on the loan with the customer, over various scenarios, with legal consequences (revoke their license, fines, etc.) if they mislead the customer.

    The lack of transparency and diligence certainly went well beyond the mortgage brokers, on to the ratings agencies, insurers, securities originators and securities purchasers. This goes to my point about Goldman Sachs; I'm not sure if they originated a bunch of garbage filled MBSs (this would make them bastards), but I'm pretty sure that they weren't holding a bunch of them (this makes them diligent).

  • 8%...? (Score:2, Informative)

    by maharvey ( 785540 ) on Monday October 06, 2008 @04:24PM (#25277083)

    By my estimate, 750,000 is 8% of the unemployment total. So one out in twelve people at the unemployment office lost their jobs to piracy?

    And which year are we talking about? Presumably this didn't just start this year. In 2007 750,000 would be 12.5%, or one person in 8.

  • Re:Easy (Score:3, Informative)

    by Endymion ( 12816 ) <> on Monday October 06, 2008 @07:12PM (#25278799) Homepage Journal

    As to other things like the animal issues and Civil Forfeiture, don't think limit what I said to just copyright/drugs. There are a lot of other grabs for power going on as well, such as the ones you mention. They won't all get traction, but some will, and those that profit from the situation will keep trying.

    Personally, I believe the "war on drugs" is encouraged and even partly funded by the drug lords, to keep prices artificially high.

    "Follow the money!"

    I have no doubt at all that those that are profiting the most from the war on drugs also have an interest in keeping the status quo.

    I'm all for legalize/regulate/tax. It's relatively easy with hard goods like drugs.

    No only is it easy, there are a lot of options available. If it was handed to the states, we could even have several different methods of legalization experimented with. Perhaps some states would try government ownership of the distribution process, like some already do with government-run liquor stores. Perhaps some could try a pure private-industry approach. All of these are far less expensive to society than the current situation.

    How could we do that with content -- to legalize, regulate, and tax, so everyone gets their cut yet no one (short of "smugglers") can be hauled in for a "crime"??

    That is a problem, as the entire premise of "content" is about controlling ideas. Before digital distribution, there was a significant overhead on the per-copy cost of distributing an idea. Digital distribution is has forced that cost to basically zero. This makes digital distribution inevitable. Note, I have not made a moral judgment on this distribution - just that it will happen. As an industry, the contend distributors and producers can adapt to this new situation or succumb to the basic forces of capitalism. This just means they have to get creative, and change their business to offer things that cannot be copied for zero cost. Creative packaging, or fancy (and expensive) pre-release concerts, to name a few examples.

    The idea of "everyone gets their cut" is based on there being a gradient of cost between the producers and consumers. If that gradient has slope zero, your business is doomed from the start. All businesses need some form of arbitrage [] to function, and that doesn't exist with digital ideas.

Did you hear that two rabbits escaped from the zoo and so far they have only recaptured 116 of them?