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Piracy Your Rights Online

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

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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  • WTO redux (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:28PM (#39859937)

    It's not about protecting anything but corporate profits.

    For example, when copyright was 1st conceived, the concept was to protect that individual's right to contract for the legitimate use or the press and distribution in order to ensure that the publisher was paying the actual author. In America, Jefferson argued that copyright should be restricted to 1/2 the average lifespan of a human in order to preserve the incentive to create new works as well as protect future generations from undue power that would otherwise accumulate in the hands of 'owners' of creative works. (Which is exactly what has happened.)

    Since then, corporations have found it convenient to buy proprietary works, contractually strangle authors and coerce (I mean lobby) legislation to extend the term of copyright to ridiculous lengths (in the U.S. it's life plus 70 years or 120 for anonymous works owned by Inc.) in order to further the monopolistic tendencies of business interests. This places corporate interests above those of the individual or society in general. (Thank Sonny Bono & Mickey Mouse)

    This is but one example of the 'service' so-called anti-piracy laws provide.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:36PM (#39860035)

    I dunno, man, didn't they burn down the White House last time?

  • by cpu6502 ( 1960974 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:38PM (#39860059)

    >>>performing a cover of a pop song for free at a concert is not an issue here either.

    Yeah actually it is.
    Public performance of copyrighted works, even legal recordings, is forbidden in the U.S. and the RIAA expects other countries to have similar laws.

  • by Lumpy ( 12016 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:57PM (#39860259) Homepage

    Many are returning to that after the past few years of ASCAP/BMI sending out goons to fine bars and restaurants for daring to play the radio in their establishment. There are two bars I frequent that have evicted any jukebox or DJ and have live entertainment most of the time. It's a single guy with a guitar most of the time or a duo, but that is far better than recorded music.

  • Re:WTO redux (Score:5, Informative)

    by robot256 ( 1635039 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @02:58PM (#39860277)

    Nice sentiment, but you go too easy on the concept of copyright. Paraphrased from No Safe Harbor []:

    Copyright was first conceived by Bloody Mary of England in 1557 as a means of censorship to persecute non-Catholics and political dissenters. It was her idea to give the printing monopoly to the London printers' guild and have anyone else caught with a printing press hanged by the state. After the proletariat took over Parliament, copyright was abolished in 1695. The publishers managed to twist the notion of copyright and get it reinstated in 1701 by saying that authors will "own" their works, even though only guild printers would have the right to print them and so the authors were still at their mercy.

    The notion that copyright could exist for the sake of anything other than publishers' profits did not even exist until the drafting of the United States Constitution, where it was a compromise after a heated debate. Jefferson argued that copyright shouldn't exist at all, and only took that position when a compromise was necessary. As a result, the Constitution states that copyright is to be used for the good of society, conspicuously (but not conspicuously enough, apparently) omitting the interests of *both* authors and publishers. This is the moral equivalent of saying "You are allowed to hit people only if it makes them feel better." Apart from a few masochists out there, by the letter of the law the right may exist but should *never* be exercised. We all know how well that turned out.

    So the entire concept of copyright is a reheated censorship scheme inherited from one of the most infamous dictators in history. Why anyone still thinks it's a good idea is a testament to the power of money, propaganda and groupthink.

  • by Dyinobal ( 1427207 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:23PM (#39860635)
    Ya but getting senators, and representatives to put fourth such bills and then keeping them intact and getting them approved is impossible given how consolidated and powerful the corporations have become with regards to their control over elections.
  • by LingNoi ( 1066278 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:35PM (#39860765)

    Indeed, I'm normally the first in line to accuse Americans of doing this but this guy is just being an asshole.

    He's also wrong. I also live in Asia and plenty of people pirate, play video games, and do all the things that the west does. GP is talking complete nonsense.

  • by OnlineAlias ( 828288 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @03:56PM (#39861019)
    You haven't looked hard enough. []
  • by Beardo the Bearded ( 321478 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @04:32PM (#39861459)

    Again... please enlighten me as to how something illegal that nobody would or even *COULD* ever even know had occurred other than the person who did it, be enforced?

    How about their other bill (C-30) that allows for unlimited warrantless recording and logging of everything you ever do online?

    What if the media companies seed their own movies, log the IP addresses and report those to the police?

    What if they just take their chances if you're being a problem with them? 75% of the US population (and I would assume a slightly higher rate in Canada) says that media piracy is just fine. I take that to mean "they've done it". One movie that's out of region, one installation of Linux on a Win8 box, you play your Wii games off a hard drive so your kids don't fuck up the fucking disks AGAIN, and you're in jail for 5 years.

    Once you get out, you're a convicted criminal (in the US, a felon) so what's your word worth anyway?

    Additionally, there's now no risk to the media companies. Now that it's moving from civil to criminal, they can use the resources of the state (Canada) to threaten you. Canada's loser-pay system doesn't affect criminal cases.

  • Re:Best part ... (Score:4, Informative)

    by djmurdoch ( 306849 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @04:58PM (#39861725)

    Didn't some Canadian government representatives *ask* the US to put Canada on that list?

    Yes, that came out in the Wikileaks cables. See the story here [].

  • Re:WTO redux (Score:4, Informative)

    by the eric conspiracy ( 20178 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @05:11PM (#39861869)

    The concept of copyright is far older. Ancient Jewish Talmudic law and Roman law contain ideas about the rights of an author to control his works.

    The oldest legal case dates back to the 6th century in Ireland. []

    English common law has long precedent in recognizing rights of authors.

    And your treatment of the Statute of Anne is rather unfair; it was a big advance in establishing the idea of public domain and eventually put an end to common law claims of perpetual ownership by authors.

  • by thomst ( 1640045 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @06:00PM (#39862275) Homepage

    cpu6502 blathered:

    Public performance of copyrighted works, even legal recordings, is forbidden in the U.S. and the RIAA expects other countries to have similar laws.

    Absolutely, totally, completely, and utterly incorrect.

    Covering another songwriter's material is perfectly legal, whether you record it or perform it live - as long as the orginal recording has been in release for at least one calendar year. HOWEVER, if you cover a song, you MUST pay what's known as a "mechanical license fee" [] of 9.10 cents per copy for songs 5 minutes or less or 1.75 cents per minute or fraction thereof, per copy for songs over 5 minutes to the author or authors of the material (fee schedule courtesy Harry Fox Agency []). That royalty rate is set by Congress, per international treaties.

    I understand that talking out your ass is a favorite /. exercise, but ... really?

  • by msobkow ( 48369 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @06:42PM (#39862599) Homepage Journal

    The Canadian equivalent to ASCAP is so anal retentive about collecting their royalties that they PAY someone to attend every concert to make sure that only the songs on the play list are played, including encores. If anything other than the listed songs is played and the band itself didn't write the track, they get charged a fee.

    I forget the name of the organization off hand, but I've known a few people over the years who worked for them monitoring concerts. From their perspective, they got to see the concert for free -- all they had to do was write down the title of each track as it was played.

  • by Fned ( 43219 ) on Tuesday May 01, 2012 @08:19PM (#39863451) Journal

    odd that a [paid?] performance by a cover band (or worse, a tribute band) isn't a violation, yet if they sold a copy of that recording it certainly would be.

    Both are violations. []

    Most places pay ASCAP fees or whatever, so you can play covers there without having to ask permission first. But that's because the performance license is already paid for, not because not because a license isn't required.

    Some places don't pay ASCAP fees, and also don't allow covers. For Example. []

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