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RIAA President Says Copyright Law "Isn't Working" 473

Kilrah_il writes "Apperantly not satisfied with the current scope of the DMCA, RIAA President Cary Sherman wants to broaden the scope of the law to have content providers such as YouTube and Rapidshare liable for illegal content found on their sites. 'The RIAA would strongly prefer informal agreements inked with intermediaries ... We're working on [discussions with broadband providers], and we'd like to extend that kind of relationship — not just to ISPs, but [also to] search engines, payment processors, advertisers ... [But], if legislation is an appropriate way to facilitate that kind of cooperation, fine.' Notice the update at the end of the article pointing out that Sherman is seeking for voluntary agreements with said partners and not to enact broader laws without their cooperation."
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RIAA President Says Copyright Law "Isn't Working"

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  • Why stop there? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Locke2005 ( 849178 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:51PM (#33359282)
    If somebody spray paints the text to a copyrighted poem on the side of a building, shouldn't the building owner be held responsible for copyright infringement?
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:53PM (#33359312)

    Maybe we're getting to a point where big business will no longer make oodles of money distorting our culture. They've had a good run for 150 years, but hopefully technology has destroyed this model. Woohoo!

  • by amicusNYCL ( 1538833 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:54PM (#33359336)

    I've always been curious as to exactly how the copyright holders expect the content providers to determine if any given piece of content is copyrighted or authorized. Is there an algorithm that can distinguish between an original copyrighted work and a fair-use derivative for audio or video?

  • I agree with RIAA (Score:5, Interesting)

    by theaveng ( 1243528 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @02:54PM (#33359342)

    It isn't working. Amendment __: Strike the clause "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries;". Replace with "To enrich the sciences, arts, and culture of the People, by securing for fourteen years* to Authors and Inventors the temporary Privilege of monopoly to their respective Writings and Discoveries;"

    "If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself. But the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

    "Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine...

    "That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property." - Jefferson

  • by easterberry ( 1826250 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:00PM (#33359440)
    how do you separate infringement from fair use? What if it's a clip from a song they have the right to use?
  • Tough shit, Cary (Score:4, Interesting)

    by blair1q ( 305137 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:02PM (#33359468) Journal

    Youtube et al are not responsible for uploads.

    They can take down material you identify as infringing, identify infringing users to you under court order, and you can sue the users.

    That's how civil law works. You don't punish people who aren't doing anything wrong.

    And if it's too expensive for you to make money with your business model, you shut down your business and let life go on.

    Copyright will work fine in those instances where it matters, and in those instances where it doesn't, well, you can't squeeze blood from a stone.

    I'm sure they taught you that at B-school.

  • by Picass0 ( 147474 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:07PM (#33359554) Homepage Journal

    "..Since every CD I buy today says that downloading music has the same effect as stealing a disc..."

    I wonder if any attorney has tried using this in court? If there is actual RIAA literature out there saying the downloading of music is the same as theft of a CD, wouldn't that establish a monetary value of the content and hence limit the financial liability of the downloader/filesharer?

  • Re:Why stop there? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Talderas ( 1212466 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:14PM (#33359684)

    How does this affect the porn industry?

  • by hedwards ( 940851 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:18PM (#33359774)
    If you're willing to put forth the effort, there's a lot of really good indie music out there, it's just a bit of a challenge to find. Personally, it's been years since I bought anything from the RIAA since I find there behavior to be beyond disgusting. I'm sure they've chalked that small drop in sales up to pirates and are using it as justification to further erode my rights as we speak.

    I'm just waiting for them to demand the right to break into people's houses and force them to buy the latest album by whomever it is they say is good.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:26PM (#33359892)

    Oh, but you actually want to because you think they're good.

    Actually, I don't, because they aren't. Sadly, according to the *IAA, my lack of purchasing their crap is not due to it being crap, but rather because I'm a dirty pirate scum-bag, who should just hand over all of my money or get sued for it. In the last five years, I've bought exactly six music CDs, all of which were from non RIAA bands and musicians.

  • by mcgrew ( 92797 ) * on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:32PM (#33359972) Homepage Journal

    The problem with your position is the assumption that nobody would pay for music if they could get it for free. That ignores decades of legally recording off the radio. It ignores the fact that you can legally read books for free and legally get copyable CDs for free; they're at the public library. It ignores the fact that Cory Doctorow is on the New York Times best seller list despite the fact (he says "because of" in his book Little Brother) that his books are on his website for free download.

    Copyright is (or should be) for commercial publishing; my noncommercial use of media should not be against any law.

    Creating quality content takes money

    Hogwash, especially when it comes to music. It used to be true that it cost a fortune to record an album, but digital media has driven the price of creating most content down to almost zero. Any band that can afford instruments can affored to record these days.

    The more people pirate, the less there are quality products, because there is no money to make them.

    Again, you make the mistaken assumption that nobody will buy anything they can get for free. The fact is, "free" sells. The fact that you used to be able to get free matches at about any bar or restaraunt back when everybody smoked, yet they still sold tons of matches disproves your assumption. Bottled water disproves your assumption. Libraries disprove your assumption. You're parroting the RIAA line, which has no basis in fact whatever.

    In fact, every study not funded by an RIAA label has demonstrated that music pirates spend more on music than non-pirates.

  • by Sarten-X ( 1102295 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:32PM (#33359982) Homepage
    There are indeed some huge loopholes with copyright law, like allowing record labels to utterly screw over [] artists by stealing their music. Then there's the less-absolute screwing in the form of abusive contracts. Copyright law certainly sucks, but it's already in the industry's favor.
  • by MachDelta ( 704883 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @03:58PM (#33360402)

    I know your comment was tongue-in-cheek, but if you've ever watched the documentary The Corporation [], they do a very interesting comparison between incorporated business (as a legal "person") and the technical DSM-IV definition of psycopathy, with some disturbing results. I know it's not the most unbiased documentary ever, but it does at least raise some poignant questions about the mental health of these "people" we have created in the name of progress (and... ?? profit!!)

  • by tiksi ( 1527943 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @04:15PM (#33360622)

    In fact, every study not funded by an RIAA label has demonstrated that music pirates spend more on music than non-pirates.

    Could you cite these studies? I have heard this repeated time and time again, and while I agree with your argument as a whole, I'd like to actually read over one of these studies that people keep referring to.

  • Re:Why stop there? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by sconeu ( 64226 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @04:19PM (#33360670) Homepage Journal

    A law like this would make it impossible to allow any site where a user can upload content.

    And just what do you think the xxAA really wants? They want to be the only "authorized" source of "content".

  • by uniquename72 ( 1169497 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @04:46PM (#33361194)
    As someone with a degree in Music History, I can assure you you're wrong. "Works for hire" are actually fairly rare in the history of music. More often (at least for the past 300 years or so) musicians had a patron who supported them financially so that they could create their art. In this model, the composer isn't selling their work; they are driven to create, and a rich patron who appreciates that work has made it easier by supporting them. There is no modern equivalent in pop music.

    In Bach's case, he was just a craftsman who was hired to practice his craft by the church (among others). But he vastly surpassed what he was actually remunerated for. Chopin also often wrote music without expectation of remuneration.

    So it's a vast simplification to call music throughout history a "commercial endeavor". Historically, it's been an artistic endeavor that is occasionally profitable, or a craft no different than glass-blowing or shoe-fixing. A job, yes. But one with very little in common with today's "job." Certainly the idea of becoming wealthy for an hour's worth of music that's basically aping what everyone else is doing would never have occurred to any composer you can name.
  • by PunditGuy ( 1073446 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @05:29PM (#33361968)
    Didn't David Gray record White Ladder in his bathroom or something?
  • by Pojut ( 1027544 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @06:48PM (#33362940) Homepage

    I think that it is enough work that it is worth paying someone (like a record company) to do it for you. Other things involved include doing the accounts, keeping and maintaining industry contacts, all the way down to buying paper and other stationary. The record companies are perfectly capable of using these same internet resources too. (And often do without letting people know who is behind it!)

    I agree! The guy that lives on the first floor of our apartment complex is a very successful local musician...he makes a lot of his living off his music, even though he hasn't gone big-time yet (he will though...his stuff is too good [] to be ignored for much longer. Not my kind of music, but it's really well done, especially considering what he has to work with from an equipment perspective.) His room mate basically takes care of the business stuff, so he is free to do the music thing.

    I liked your music, even though ambient/electronic kind of stuff is not normally to my taste. There is movement and arrangement to it that stopped the more soundscapey stuff from becoming just wallpaper.

    Thank you :-) That really does mean a lot to me. I do it just as a hobby, but having people enjoy it is one hell of a bonus!

    Why do you want more people to discover it?

    Mainly because I want people to listen to music differently. There are always at least 6-8 layers in all of my songs, and I want people to begin listening to music as individual sounds melded together to create a single experience, rather than just a "song".

    If you had the time, money and inspiration, do you think you could create songs that would effectively communicate your joy and understanding about this kind of music?

    Inspiration is everywhere for me...from pictures taken by the Hubble to the way it feels when you are halfway between sleeping and awake, I try to take inspiration from anything that evokes a response in me. When I layer together different responses (emotional, physical, and spiritual) from different experiences in my day to day life, out pops my music.

    That being said, if more people would slow down and actually listen to music rather than just hear it, then they could pick any of my tracks and be able to feel what I feel. They're all an exploration of how multiple sounds (experiences) are completely different...yet, when put together, they create an entirely new sound (experience) that didn't exist before. ::pause:: I guess kinda like finding your soul mate, in a way. You're both still separate and unique, yet combined you create something that didn't previously exist.

  • by BeadyEl ( 1656149 ) on Tuesday August 24, 2010 @10:03PM (#33364662)
    Hear hear. This is precisely the issue. The business model on which the recording industry (not to mention the film and TV industries) is based is already obsolete. Their model relies upon being able to maintain almost perfect control over distribution of their product. That control used to be based on everyday consumers LACKING the means to distribute copies themselves. When virtually nobody had the means to press vinyl LPs, and cassette tapes sounded mostly crappy - their business model worked well. In retrospect, mere radio (wireless, packaging-free, nearly cost-free delivery of their product) ought to have alerted them nearly a century ago to just how tenuous this business model was... Now that their fundamental assumption has become invalid, they seek to legislate an artificial 'propping up' of their existing, massive-profit model. It's akin to requiring automobile owners to buy at least one buggy whip per car, per year, lest the whip-makers suffer a loss of profit...

All science is either physics or stamp collecting. -- Ernest Rutherford