The tagline of this site is “understanding the copyright wars.” The reasons for so much debate surrounding this subject are many, but the why of the copyright wars might be boiled down like this:

The onslaught of the new technology, combined with the introduction into the international copyright system of countries with different needs and with conflicting economic and political concepts, leaves the future of copyright very much in question.

More interesting, though, is the level of rancor surrounding the debates about that future:

Like any other law, copyright is a pragmatic response to certain felt needs of society and, like any other law, must change in scope and direction as these needs change. But changing any law is never an easy matter, and the case of copyright is made much more difficult by the religious fervor and theological arguments thrown at each other by the contending parties. The personal anger, the emotion, the presentation of viewpoints in stark black-and-white terms, are quite different in degree and character from what one might find in disputes over, say, admiralty or insurance law.

It is easy to make fun of the kind of confrontation I am talking about, where the mere mention of a word like “monopoly” or “property” will cause chairs to be pushed back from tables, faces to redden, breathing to shorten and bitter words to be exchanged.

Most interesting? These words were written in 1974, by the late Barbara Ringer. A copy of her essay, The Demonology of Copyright, is available at the Copyright Office’s website, and it is highly recommended reading.

The Engine of Free Expression

One of the themes Ringer explores is how copyright emerged at a time when democracy was replacing more repressive forms of government in the western world. It’s true that copyright law has its genesis in early printing monopolies, and the privileges granted to publishers went hand in hand with government control over what could be published. But Ringer notes that by the 18th century, a fundamental shift had occurred in England:

As a result of the bloodless revolution taking place in the English constitutional system, basic individual freedoms, notably freedom of speech and freedom of the press, were becoming established under commonlaw principles. The Statute of Anne marked the end of autocracy in English copyright and established a set of democratic principles: recognition of the individual author as the ultimate beneficiary and fountainhead of protection and a guarantee of legal protection against unauthorized use for limited times, without any elements of prior restraint of censorship by government or its agents.

This wasn’t an isolated occurrence:

It is striking that the second and third copyright statutes in the world — those of the United States of America and of France — were adopted immediately following the revolutions in those countries that overthrew autocratic government and were based on ideals of personal liberty and individual freedom. The Rights of Man in both cases certainly included the Rights of the Author, and the French word for copyright, “le droit d’auteur,” reflects this philosophical approach literally.

With this theme in mind, Ringer turns to other topics, including the sharp debates over the words used in the copyright context, like “monopoly” and “property.” Next, she takes a look at the goals of copyright, and reminds readers that these goals don’t dissipate in the face of rapid technological changes:

I believe it is society’s duty to go as far as it can possibly go in nurturing the atmosphere in which authors and other creative artists can flourish. I agree that the copyright law should encourage widespread dissemination of works of the mind. But it seems to me that, in the long pull, it is more important for a particular generation to produce a handful of great creative works than to shower its schoolchildren with unauthorized photocopies or to hold the cost of a jukebox play down to a dime, if that is what it is these days.

If you change photocopies and jukeboxes to their modern day equivalents, then the arguments alluded to here are the same ones heard today. The challenges facing creators in the digital era, it seems to me, are much the same as the challenges they faced four decades ago when Ringer wrote those words (though the scope of the challenge is larger).

Ringer concludes with a strong endorsement of ensuring the continuing vitality of creator’s rights. Though the words are nearly forty years old, the sentiment remains true:

If the copyright law is to continue to function on the side of light against darkness, good against evil, truth against newspeak, it must broaden its base and its goals. Freedom of speech and freedom of the press are meaningless unless authors are able to create independently from control by anyone, and to find a way to put their works before the public. Economic advantage and the shibboleth of “convenience” distort the copyright law into a weapon against authors. Anyone who cares about freedom and authorship must insure that, in the process of improving the efficiency of our law, we do not throw it all the way back to its repressive origins in the Middle Ages.

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111 Comments

  1. What a non sequitur to imply that abolishing an unethical and anachronistic 18th century privilege would magically transport civilisation back to the middle ages.

    It is this privilege designed by Queen Anne for her Stationers’ Company that is holding back man’s cultural progress, not the tide of people choosing to ignore it to enjoy their natural liberty to share and build upon their own culture.

    There is no need to invoke the supernatural in order to recognise copyright as an instrument of injustice.

    There are no demons sentencing grandmothers like Anne Muir to 3 years’ jail for sharing her music collection, nor demons extraditing students such as Richard O’Dwyer to face 10 years’ jail for merely providing links to probable sources of illicit copies. These spiteful acts of injustice against a few to serve as lessons to the majority may be ordered by immortal, sociopathic corporations, but they are not acts of the demoniacally possessed.

    Even so, one must still wonder at the humanity of those who persist in supporting copyright in the face of such cruelty. The Milgram Experiment provides some explanation.

    • Liberty != piracy

      Most kids know that if you didn’t help make something and you didn’t help fund it, then it’s obviously not yours and you have no logical or moral claim to it.

      Kids know this but somehow Crosbie doesn’t. Crosbie thinks it’s perfectly reasonable to reap where he hasn’t sown…even to the detriment of those that actually DID sow. It’s an indefensibly disgusting worldview only a leech could love.

      I think it just gnaws on some people that they were never able to make something society valued. Instead of being honest with themselves and acknowledging their own deficiencies they make an irrational scapegoat out of copyright and channel their disappointment into a hatred of creative professionals that they know they will never be. Jealousy is a hell of a drug. Good luck with your little websites, Crosbie. Don’t let the cobwebs and chirping crickets get you down…

      • >>>Most kids know that if you didn’t help make something and you didn’t help fund it, then it’s obviously not yours and you have no logical or moral claim to it.

        Most kids, yes. Most Harvard professors, apparently not. Sad.

      • Dear Technotopia… Please believe me that in all my many years of catching articles and seeing reader responses, I have never entered. BUT… I have to tell you… You and I could be GREAT Friends! Bravo and Thank you!

      • All the philosophical, intellectual, historical, political and economic rants in the world do little more than obfuscate what is really the linchpin issue:

        Do the “right” thing, and do not try and rationalize why it is OK to do the “wrong” thing.

      • @Technotopia,

        Just beautifully put. Thank you! I think the strongest evidence of just how accurately you hit that nail is the silence of his response.

      • And opposition to overreaching copyright laws != piracy.

        Furthermore, “you’re just jealous” is the most pathetic straw man I can imagine anyone sinking low enough to use. You REALLY are outclassed by those you attack….

        • And opposition to overreaching copyright laws != piracy.

          LOL what were you saying about straw man arguments?

          Crosbie is not in opposition to “overreaching copyright laws” he is in opposition to copyright, period. Had you actually read his comments you would know that. Instead you choose to shoot off a trollish non-retort while falling victim to the same logical fallacy you accuse me of proffering. Bravo.

          I admit your rank hypocrisy does indeed lend you in an air of class, in that regard I concede that I am well and truly “outclassed” by present company…

          ;)

          • “LOL what were you saying about straw man arguments?”

            Nothing that I can recall.

            “Crosbie is not in opposition to “overreaching copyright laws” he is in opposition to copyright, period.”

            Having posted on at least three sites that Crosbie posts on, I am aware of this. My point is that not everyone who opposes overreaching copyright laws….whether they are against copyright outright or would simply like to see it minimized…..is arguing for “piracy.”

            I don’t give a DAMN about retail media, the people who create it, the people who sell it, or whether or not it’s being “stolen” and by whom. It does not concern me. An overly oppressive copyright system, however, does.

            Furthermore, I’d recommend cracking open an dictionary and looking up the word “hypocrisy,” because you obviously don’t know the true definition, and are simply throwing it out as a random insult.

    • Your post was such a tangled collection of babble that it’s hard to unwind even a single sentence for discussion. However, I’ll at least try this paragraph.

      “It is this privilege designed by Queen Anne for her Stationers’ Company that is holding back man’s cultural progress, not the tide of people choosing to ignore it to enjoy their natural liberty to share and build upon their own culture.”

      Copyright is not a privilege. It’s a right which extends to anyone and everyone who creates an original work. This has been proven through thousands of court cases in which regular people won Copyright claims against popular artists and their record labels.

      Second, how is a law which requires people to create original works instead of simply copying others “holding back man’s cultural progress?” That sentence makes absolutely no sense whatsoever. Are you suggesting that we would experience a surge of, “cultural progress” if plagiarism were legal? If so, please explain how.

      Last, Copyright does absolutely nothing to prevent creative people from enjoying, “… their natural liberty to share and build upon their own culture.” Copyright allows for derivative works. Ever hear of Weird Al Yankovich?

      You look to me like someone who’s trying his best to sound informed regarding a topic about which he knows nothing simply by tangling words and referencing a few historical figures. Perhaps you should go into politics?

      • I think you’ll find that copyright actually has nothing to do with plagiarism.

        • Try and tell that to an author in France…

        • @RadialSkid,

          Perhaps you need to look up the definition of plagiarism? Copyright is the law which makes it illegal. Go check Wikipedia and come back. I’ll wait.

          • Ok, I didn’t have the patience to wait. According to Webster’s Dictionary plagiarism is, “… the unauthorized use or close imitation of the language and thoughts of another author and the representation of them as one’s own original work.”

            It is rare to prosecute it as a criminal activity, but is typically treated as Copyright infringement. IE: Copyright is what prevents me from publishing, “A Time to Kill” word for word and changing the author’s name to my own.

          • Copyright law doesn’t make plagiarism illegal, because plagiarism is not actually illegal. It violates almost universal societal mores, but there’s no actual law against it, at least not in the United States.

            In your example (publishing “A Time To Kill” with your name on it), the actual unauthorized reproduction of the work would constitute copyright infringement. Putting your own name on the work would neither minimize nor exacerbate this.

            I reiterate: Copyright has nothing to do with plagiarism.

          • I think you’re trying to avoid the point by arguing semantics; but I’ll concede that plagiarism doesn’t always constitute Copyright infringement and rephrase that sentence to read, “Are you suggesting that we would experience a surge of, ‘cultural progress’ if stealing other creators works instead of making something new were legal?”

            I hope that can resolve any confusion over my original meaning.

        • Nothing that I can recall.

          Well then I guess we can add “selective memory” to your growing list of failings. Here is your original statement again:

          “you’re just jealous” is the most pathetic straw man…

          Having posted on at least three sites that Crosbie posts on, I am aware of this. My point is that not everyone who opposes overreaching copyright laws….whether they are against copyright outright or would simply like to see it minimized…..is arguing for “piracy

          I understood your “point”, just not its relevancy to my statement that you were replying to. This is because there was no relevancy. Your “point” was a straw man argument in reply to nothing. Seeing as how you had so recently accused me of making a straw man argument, naturally this makes you look a like a hypocrite.

          Furthermore, I’d recommend cracking open an dictionary and looking up the word “hypocrisy,” because you obviously don’t know the…

          And I would recommend taking a ginko supplement for that obviously gone-to-shit memory of yours…hypocrite.

      • This is way better than a brick & mortar establishnemt.

    • Find something else to pontificate about, there’s plenty out there. Pipe down and pay for the music.

  2. WoW dont they understand? its the current sopyeight laws keeping us in the stoneage,Art & knowledge should be built upon, not held to a selective few(those with money).

    • The absurdity that someone would claim we are currently being kept “in the stoneage” through a post on the internet approaches a completely baffling new level of irony. Is this some sort of brilliant abstract sketch comedy bit?

      Art & knowledge should be built upon, not held to a selective few(those with money).

      Alright, “built upon”. I work in sample-based music production, so I can dig that. But, you’re a guy running a pro-piracy website, so please to show me all the original (loosely defined) art & knowledge that you’ve produced through Fair Use appropriation. I mean, surely you’re not just consuming? You are building upon the works of others, right? That’s the whole premise of this “knowledge” being freely available, is it not?

      Because I really dislike the tact that piracy advocates pursue on my behalf as an artist who does try to legitimately build on the works of others, who takes the time to acquire permission. And when I can’t get permission for something that I feel must be released, I take that risk on my own terms and I knowingly accept that I may be compromising my own future. C’est la vie, that’s how important my music is to me.

      However, I don’t lobby for laws to be changed to favor my business model. In fact, I wouldn’t dream of it. If allowing me an opportunity to make money by eliminating IP laws means that the majority of other artists will be compromised in the pursuit of their craft, then I respectfully acquiesce to the laws that support the overwhelming majority rather than those that allow me to monetize my niche audience. I’ve thought a lot about this, and I honestly cannot conceive of a method of loosening of copyright to blanketly allow derivative works (“creative consumption”) that wouldn’t be taken advantage of, unremittingly, by the less-than-scrupulous pirate contingency.

      Besides, I see no real evidence that laws are holding back any significant artistic expressions. They only seem to restrict widespread commercial distribution, and even then, only among those rare tracks that actually make money. Sample-based music is plentiful. I’ve been at it for ten years, and only ever had two problems with rights holders. Those were trivial attribution issues that were quickly corrected. Even works that are “stifled” are generally freely available in practice. I have no problem finding Dangermouse’s Grey Album or DJ Steinski’s pioneering works in the field of sampling even though both are unauthorized and technically illegal. I mean Jesus Christ, for every ONE hip hop song that runs afoul of rights holders, literally thousands are released legally and allowed to make money.

      • a method of loosening of copyright to blanketly allow derivative works (“creative consumption”) that wouldn’t be taken advantage of

        Sorry, that parenthetical should have been “creative infringement”. The opposite of “consumptive infringement”. I smashed the two concepts together in my haste. “It’s a mash up!”

    • Please explain exactly how Copyright prevents anyone from building on the art and knowledge of others?

  3. Kai, I’m very impressed that your sarsen circle connects to the Internet. What’s your bandwidth?

  4. Arguments for and against copyright have been occurring since the privilege was granted. The issue is no longer whether the privilege is justifiable on a utilitarian basis, or unjustifiable on a natural rights basis, the issue today is whether the people are going to obediently submit to it.

    If copyright is not going to be obeyed then you need a means of exchanging intellectual work for money, because as anyone should know, today copies can be made for next to nothing by everyone and their dog.

    The market for copies has ended.

    The market for intellectual work continues.

    • Crosbie. you are lost dude. get a clue… The only thing that has changed is the delivery system. Copyright Law is the law of the land. It’s fair to both Creators and Consumers. What do you create? Anything? …the reason you think that copies are free and that everyone and their dog can do it …. is the DMCA not holding ISP’s liable for “enabling” Piracy… Congress did that to OPEN up a new MARKET. You might be disappointed by what the future holds if you think this is going to last.

  5. The great thing about a guy who speaks in absolutes and pronouncements is that it reminds you that it’s hard to have a Stalinistic regime without a Stalin. And now, back to poker.

  6. If Crosbie Fitch is going to make historical claims, he might at least take the trouble to learn the elements of copyright history. The Statute of Anne did not give the Stationers Company any special privileges. It gave *all* authors (and indirectly their publishers) the protection of copyright.

    • …though I should have added, that for the purpose of keeping a public record, copyright claims had to be registered with the Stationers Company. But this did not give the Stationers any kind of monopoly.

    • Obviously supporters of copyright will have their interpretations of history, and its detractors will have theirs, e.g. http://questioncopyright.org/promise

      Either way, even rewriting copyright’s history as Queen Anne stripped power from her autocratic Stationers’ Company to enfranchise poor starving authors cannot preserve this privilege’s effectiveness. Indoctrination may fool people into believing the privilege is good, but it still doesn’t actually remove people’s natural liberty to share and build upon their own culture.

      So, you’re still avoiding the need to address that fundamental problem. How the heck do you stop the masses ignoring a crown granted monopoly?

      All I’m suggesting is that you can’t, because you can’t actually remove a natural right from people, even if you annul its recognition from the legislature (right to copy annulled by copyright). And, if you can’t stop the masses, then the solution is to exchange work without a monopoly, i.e. in a free market.

      And in case it helps, the publishing corporations are wasting an opportunity by not selling the works in their out-of-print back-catalogues – direct to the public, without copyright, for huge sums.

      If you can’t sell copies. Sell the work.

      • Ah, Crosbie – after so many years of repeating yourself, you have become the Stanley Green of the interwebs. You’ll be marching up and down with your placard long after everyone has gone. As George Galloway said to Saddam Hussain, ” Sir, I salute your courage, your strength, and your indefatigability.”

        But your argument hasn’t developed in all these years beyond a simplistic determinism – and repeated assertions that creators must relinquish their rights because you demand it.

        Copyright is a human right. It is internationally recognised as one. I’m sorry that this fact inconveniences your argument, but that’s a weakness of your argument, not of copyright.

        • It’s good that you finally dare to engage with me even if under a nom de plume, but natural rights are not an argument that develops – that’s why my explanation of the ethics of copyright remains the same.

          Natural rights are inalienable, so the last thing I could possibly be doing is asking anyone to relinquish their rights. Indeed I encourage all to assert their rights, even those annulled by privilege.

          You can kid yourself and others via indoctrination that copyright is a good privilege, even a human right, but this doesn’t make it one – even with your unfounded allegations that it is internationally recognised as such. For that matter, perhaps Terry Hart could produce a nice article that determines whether copyright is internationally recognised as a human right?

          Do you want to understand why copyright is coming to an end, or are you just keen to prevent others understanding?

          • It’s good that you finally dare to engage with me…”

            Dear God, look at the size of that unearned (I’m sensing a pattern here) ego! As if “Crosbie Fitch” is some insurmountable bastion of wit and logic, “dare to engage” him at your own peril…LOL

            Someone has obviously mistaken their soapbox for Mount Everest.

            Copyright abolitionists are too ridiculous to be taken seriously. Your parasitic mindset will never catch-on with anyone outside of the consistently tiny online circle of like-minded lunatics.

          • Crosby,

            Copyright is one of the inalienable rights which the founding fathers felt was important enough to include in the Constitution of the United States (not Queen Ann as you seem to think). Considering the fact that every developed nation views it the same way, the arguments of one random dude on the Internet who can’t even get his historical references right don’t hold much water.

            Perhaps you’d like to step back, actually read some history for a change (instead of making it up) and come back when you’re more fully prepared to take part in this discussion?

      • It isn’t a question of ‘interpreting history’, but of interpreting the Statute of Anne, a document which you frequently refer to, but don’t seem to have actually read.

        You asserted in your comment above that the Statute gave a ‘privilege’ to the Stationers company. OK, tell us, what ‘privilege’ does it give them?

        The only provision concerning the Stationers Company is that before a copyright claim can be enforced, the claim must be registered with them. A small fee (sixpence) is payable to cover the costs. If the Stationers Company fails for any reason to register the claim, an alternative means of recording it is provided, and the Stationers Company itself may be required to pay a hefty fine (forty pounds, which is 1600 times the sixpenny registration fee) for failing in its responsibilities. Does this look like a ‘privilege’?

        • DavidB, try quoting this alleged assertion rather than referring to a comment you don’t seem to have actually read.

          Anyway, we’re getting a long way from Terry’s article.

          If you really want to debate the ethics of copyright with me why not attend The 1709 Blog Copyright debate?

          • You referred to a ‘privilege designed by Queen Anne for her Stationers Company’. Apart from the historical fatuity of implying that Queen Anne herself had any say in the matter, or that the Stationers Company was ‘hers’, you are just dodging the point, in your usual way. In the 16th and early 17th centuries the Stationers Company really did have a privilege – a monopoly over publishing – which was removed in the late 17th century and never restored, by the Statute of Anne or otherwise.

            Incidentally, I misremembered the penalty if the Stationers Company fails to register a copyright: it was £20 not £40, but still a hefty amount in those days.

          • … ya know Crosbie, you totally suck, what is your hidden agenda?… I can’t figure it out. The more I thought about all this today, and your writings, the more it just pissed me off! So, what, you have a history as a computer programmer, what else? What makes you qualified to be on this “1709 Blog Copyright Debate”?…. and to comment on History and the future of popular art and the economics of that culture? Huh? …. Mr Computer guy?…. I’ve seen this all my life, people who aren’t very good at Music, or Art, or Writing, try to tell others what is going to happen… or what should happen… How many different Trades or Indusrtries have you been involved in??? You are an Idiot taking on a whole industry that is not really broken… Just this Big Sleeping Giant waiting to wake up again… I think you should give it up and just be happy doing your Computer Programming or whatever else and leave the Music Business and the Publishing Business to the people that know how to do it and have invested their lives in it…. In other words …. Fuck You and the Dot Com Horse you rode in on!!!!

      • Crosbie Fitch wrote:
        “And, if you can’t stop the masses, then the solution is to exchange work without a monopoly, i.e. in a free market.”

        You do understand, don’t you… that “Free Market” doesn’t mean you can take everything for free?

        And no. Copyright isn’t coming to an end, the ‘free-for-all’ lawless internet is what’s coming to an end. That has you scared, i can tell.

        • ” “Free Market” doesn’t mean you can take everything for free?”

          There’s something rather disingenuous about an argument that says a free market means everything isn’t free…

          It’s like people don’t understand digital economics at play. Hmmm…

          So if I use Google, I should pay for it. Or Youtube…
          Or Kickstarter… Or any of the multitude of webcomics online for “free”, while selling other digital and tangible goods.

          Or a novel idea. Finding new ways to make the digital work for you such as how HBO Go gives subscribers access to episodes of programming a week ahead of schedule. No one has ever made the argument that people want everything for free. But it still keeps popping up. Sad.

          “Copyright isn’t coming to an end, the ‘free-for-all’ lawless internet is what’s coming to an end.”

          Great, have content, put it on Youtube, get automatic copyright extension for 70+ years. Meanwhile, 5 years from now, protect those copyrights as you fade into nonexistence and everyone ignores the author. Or sue for copyright infringement, pay the lawyer fees for an homage. Copyright really is working as the Forefathers expected it. No public domain, little actual protection of artists, less choice in the marketplace based on who can survive being sued by major labels, Exorbitant amounts for copyright infringement (which have yet to show a deterring effect in 10+ years), and more wasted time and effort trying to convince people to stop using services than competing against them. Copyright may not come to an end, but it sure isn’t working right now.

          I wonder what Thomas Jefferson would say if he saw all this?

          “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 everyone, 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; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. 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, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density at any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property.”

          Has copyright really improved anyone’s condition?
          All it seems to leave is an expanse of bad ideas and bad laws to support a select few.

          • Jay wrote:
            some totally irrelavant quote from Thomas Jefferson.

            You do understand, that copyright does NOT protect ideas.
            i think you’re confused…

          • Jay,

            “So if I use Google, I should pay for it. Or Youtube…”

            You do pay for it … by viewing the advertisements. I’ll be more than happy to insert an ad for Nike in the middle of my song as long as you don’t mind the fact that they are going to decide what you listen to from now on.

            However, if you would prefer to decide what you listen to I suggest that you help the musicians who make that music pay for their guitars, studio time, rent, food, etc.

          • Jay,

            Regarding your Thomas Jefferson quote …

            He also wrote Article 1, Section 8 of the United States Constitution which reads in part, “Congress shall have the power … 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”

            I think that clearly shows that Thomas Jefferson thought Copyright would, “… promote the progress of science and useful arts …” since those are the words he used.

      • … The Copies ARE “The Work”… Sheez!

  7. While I am on the Comments page, I will record a thought which occurred to me recently. Since the internet is at present in a Wild West state of anarchy, we should consider reviving the old concept of otlawry, which goes back to medieval England. A notorious malefactor could be declared an outlaw, in which case he was deprived of the protection of the law, and he could be hunted down and killed.

    The internet version of outlawry would be this: those who use the internet nefariously, e.g. for hacking, DDOS attacks, phishing, malware distribution, and of course copyright infringement, should be deprived of legal rights in relation to any countermeasures. So, for example, it would be legal to hack a hacker, or to DDOS a filesharing site. Sauce for goose = sauce for gander.

  8. …I meant of course ‘outlawry’, not ‘otlawry’.

  9. Dalton Priddy

    of the millions of songs, books, movies what have you, only a few make money for those involved. As an person I understand Mr. Fitch’s reasoning, monopolies have destroyed the true spirit of creative freedom. Those monopolies have done more damage to artistic compensation and freedom than any illegal downloader on the planet.
    As an artist, I believe that one day I may have a monetary benefit from my works, with full control of my rights in all forms now and in the future. Copyrights don’t last forever, there here for a brief time so that those who haven’t made money yet still have a chance to be heard or seen. It is this hope and a copyright protection on my works that protect me so I may realize that dream one day.

    • “Copyrights don’t last forever, there here for a brief time so that those who haven’t made money yet still have a chance to be heard or seen.”

      Copyrights may not last forever, but they last longer than a human lifetime. And there are other ways to promote yourself than by suing people for copyright infringement.

      • Yes, they last a long time, but if you are looking for a scapegoat you need look no further than France.

        • I’m not sure of your intended meaning?

          • Victor Hugo of the Association Littéraire et Artistique Internationale are generally credited as being the driving forces that led to theBerne Convention. It was their view that in large led to the acceptance of copyright applying at the instant of creation, and copyright terms far exceeding anything then known in the United States.

            As you know, the US steadfastly refused to sign Berne, primarily because federal law was based upon publication, and not creation, and because formalities in order to secure the benefit of US law had been a mainstay since the very first copyright law was enacted in 1790.

            When the US finally signed up to Berne by passage of the 1976 copyright act, the whole “ballgame” changed. Terms skyrocketed to comply with Berne, formalities where chucked out the window, and the rest is history.

            This is why I said that one need look no further than France for a scapegoat. It was its views that eventually prevailed, even in the UK where, despite Crown Copyright, there was substantial similarity between UK and US law.

  10. Crosbie, if you really believe copyright holds back cultural progress, can you cite examples of how culture thrives in countries without it? Perhaps show how the USSR had better popular culture than the US, or how creativity thrived in East Germany more than West Germany? Or show how culture in the US and Western Europe suffers in comparison to that in the developing world.

    Right – didn’t think so.

  11. Hey Cosbie? Here’s an absurd hypethetical for you- Man, what’s up with these hopelessly out of date laws? I mean girls like your sister and your girlfriend insisting that they have rights to decide who can have a super hot date with them. These Quaker era notions of modesty and morals are really out of touch. How many young men would literally have a life changing boost of confidence if they could just have one super hot date with your girl friend or sister regardless if your gf or sis wanted it or not. Sure, it’ll freak them out and maybe ruin their life- but hey its their fault for not seeing this coming and rolling with the punches and adapting to this new world we live in- I mean have you seen reality TV?- there are loose chics everywhere- so whats up with your luddite chics not showing whoever wants its a good time?
    It’s a new age and concepts like virginity and abstinence and true love are Queen Anne talk-
    In fact- why dont you take some your well crafted arguments about copyright law and just replace “copyright law” with “sex laws” and explain to them how out of touch they are having any expectations of maintaining their current ability to decide for themselves what happens to them……
    THIS IS ABSOLUTELY THE CRAZIEST SHIT EVER. CORRECT?
    Look- copyright law is property law- respecting other people’s rights to decide what happens to what they own. Its as american as america gets- no one ever can claim a right that denies or ignores the rights of others in order to exist- it is a wrong- stealing others work is wrong- stealing others property is worng-
    stealing others abilty to decide what happens to them and their work is simply wrong. No new economic model will ever out pace it- no tech will ever replace it- Men who ignore a woman’s rights to say no should rot in prison- they are breaking fundamental laws of society. so are illegal file sharers- plain and simple- its wrong and its illegal.

    • “Look- copyright law is property law- respecting other people’s rights to decide what happens to what they own.”

      Herein lies the crux of the argument.

      With all of the technology nowadays, the enforcement of copyright is like holding back the Pacific Ocean. You have hard drives, CD/DVD burners, and all sorts of codecs that are commodity items. You have websites dedicated to streaming old TV shows, new shows, original series and everything in between. You have Bittorrent being used for quick distribution of files along with cloud services of various forms.

      Trying to claim a property right and stopping infringement is going to be pretty difficult for any copyright holder (who is usually not the artist, but that’s another story). Sure, let’s try to stop all of the bittorrent trackers. Let’s take into consideration that we could stop infringement. What would it actually do to make people buy?

      Nowhere in your argument do you actually address this.

      Just one small thing:

      Simulated said:
      Copyright is a human right.

      C W says:
      Its as american as america gets- no one ever can claim a right that denies or ignores the rights of others in order to exist…

      Your argument argues copyright as an American invention. You might want to study up on the Statue of Anne as discussed.

      I still recognize copyright as the government granting favor on those in its circle. The current crop of people enforcing copyright basically justifies that biased favoritism.

      • Jay,

        Your arguments would hold up if artists created MP3 files, images or PDF’s. We don’t.

        Artists create an experience. Perhaps it’s cathartic, maybe it just makes you feel good or maybe it helps you remember someone you loved and lost. Perhaps a story simply keeps you entertained for a few hours. Whatever. The point is, they put a lot of hard work into creating something you can lose yourself in for a while.

        Copyright protects the artists right to determine how that work is distributed. Your argument that Copyright doesn’t exist anymore simply because it’s easy to copy files only shows that you don’t understand the subject.

        • “Copyright protects the artists right to determine how that work is distributed. Your argument that Copyright doesn’t exist anymore simply because it’s easy to copy files only shows that you don’t understand the subject.”

          Ok… The supposed protections of copyright has more holes in it than Sony’s network protection, because the technology has undermined it.

          With all of the ways to distribute a song without artist’s permission how can any artist control where their work goes? It’s a lesson in futility.

          That is the crux as I’ve been explaining. It’s the hangup that people seem not to notice. If someone puts up your concert on Youtube, do you want to take their account down? If someone downloads a pdf of the book Game of Thrones after watching it on HBO, should they be disallowed or have to pay extra for it? Or could you offer it and try to entice them to buy a hard cover of the book? Just a thought…
          If someone else outside of the HBO loop, watches the show on a streaming “rogue” site, will you personally care that they haven’t paid G.R.R. Martin for the show that is currently being shown? The same concept applies to all entertainment. Trying to control all distribution as if it’s physical property is quite frankly a difficult task. I’ll be all too impressed if someone can actually do it without breaking the internet.

          • Jay,

            You’re simply continuing to try and argue the same point without providing any new information. Technology never has and does not now determine law or human rights. Simply because it’s becomes easier to commit a given crime does not mean it isn’t a crime anymore.

            Did the existence of the gun make murder legal? Did the existence of lock picks make theft legal? If I own a knife, is it therefore legal for me to stab you? Obviously not. By exactly the same logic, your possession of a computer does not make it legal for you to take my work without permission.

            Also, the fact that an easy solution to the problem of Copyright infringement does not mean that a solution will not be found. Trust me, it will. There’s too much at stake.

      • Jay- I didnt say that copyrights are american….. I was speaking to this country being founded on a core and fundamental respect of it’s citizens rights.
        And in those founding principals of this society phrases like- “without infringing on the rights of others” are expressed many times, many ways. I am STUNNED that you can actually argue that copyright laws are essentially a waste of time because people break the laws- and therefore the laws should be either vastly modified if not removed altogether- Here you go- On the news tonight someone was shot in my fair city- 2nd shooting in as many days- man with all of the fire arm technology nowadays- trying to stop shootings is like holding back the Pacific ocean- heck with the Glocks and Lugers and S&W’s….. Man, we got wars going on all over the planet- shooting is going on in all respects…. and man guns are being distrubuted easier and faster than ever.
        Expecting to not get shot or killed is going to be pretty difficult for an innocent citizen ( like there are any of those) So, OK- So you enforce laws and get people to stop shooting each other so much…… You expect them to stop wanting to kill each other??????

        It all adds up to a LOT of people are shooting each other out there and we should just face that and let it happen and ease the process…..

        see you in the ER

        • CW, the problem with your entire argument is how you merge two very divergent concepts that have no business together. Near the bottom, you merge the concept of asking a woman for permission with asking for permission in copyright. Now you’re doing the same thing with gun laws and copyright, which have no business anywhere near each other.

          If you have a point, make it. But your analogies lose all meaning because they are quite poor.

  12. A point of clarification for Mr. Fitch: the 1948 General Assembly of the United Nations Universal Declaration of Human Rights is the basis for a commenter’s “unfounded allegations that [copyright] is internationally recognised as” a human right. Please see Article 27:
    (1) Everyone has the right freely to participate in the cultural life of the community, to enjoy the arts and to share in scientific advancement and its benefits.
    (2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author.
    Once need only look at the numerous copyright laws in the world that fail to provide copyright protection for works that are deemed “unacceptable” by the state to understand that copyright protection liberates rather than restricts the author.

  13. “You do understand, that copyright does NOT protect ideas.
    i think you’re confused…”

    You might want to look at the link posted. As I implied through Jefferson’s quote, he wouldn’t be proud of what copyright has come to, namely a limiting factor in growth and innovation.

    ” I’ll be more than happy to insert an ad for Nike in the middle of my song as long as you don’t mind the fact that they are going to decide what you listen to from now on.”

    You seem to have set up a strawman about artist’s choice vs consumer choice. That wasn’t the point. The point of naming all of those free services is to give examples where you don’t have to pay for a service provided, adding more value through your own direct actions (typing up a blog, making a song and posting it on TPB for free, etc) rather than going with the argument that “free = free everything”.

    However, if you would prefer to decide what you listen to I suggest that you help the musicians who make that music pay for their guitars, studio time, rent, food, etc.”

    • You might want to look at the link posted. As I implied through Jefferson’s quote, he wouldn’t be proud of what copyright has come to, namely a limiting factor in growth and innovation.

      Jefferson was talking about patents in the letter you quoted, not copyrights. Unlike copyright protection, which only extends to expression (not ideas), patent protection does extend to ideas.

    • Frankly, I do not know what Mr. Jefferson’s views would be since he passed away 185 years ago.

      Moreover, and as correctly noted by Mr. Hart, the quote from Jefferson’s letter to Issac McPherson was made in the context of patent law, a body of law that has, despite all the pontification to the contrary, remained relatively stable since its inception.

  14. “You might want to look at the link posted. As I implied through Jefferson’s quote, he wouldn’t be proud of what copyright has come to, namely a limiting factor in growth and innovation”

    Copyright actually encourages growth and innovation (especially innovation), by offering the creator a chance to gain their money back from time/money/energy spent in creating.

    Copyright also encourages NEW works. Without it, there’d be much more rehashing and regurgitating the same ol over and over. Copyright contributes greatly to growth and evolution.

    Without copyright, there’d be ZERO capitol investment as there’d be no reason to invest money into something that there’s no chance of return.

    ~Lemme ask: Do you live in a country that doesn’t adhere to copyright laws and the Bernes convention? That would help me(us) put some perspective as to where you’re coming from…

    • “Copyright actually encourages growth and innovation (especially innovation), by offering the creator a chance to gain their money back from time/money/energy spent in creating.”

      There is no economic data proving this. There is no economic data proving that an automatic copyright of extended length actually helps an artist recoup the cost of the time and “labor” to create something. I’ve been reading “Media Piracy” and read Felix Stumpf’s work along with watching the 1 hr Youtube version of how piracy affects the DVD sales market. All of the data points to one conclusion:

      The technology to distribute trumps copyright. If we use America, the sneakernet trumped copyright laws in the 70s and 80s with mixtapes. The 90s was the time of the CD, but when the mp3 became the defacto standard, people copied the singles that they wanted, or sampled a CD, then bought it. Nowadays, we continue to have downloads on TPB, but overall the music industry has increased while the recording industry has declined significantly. Even then, there are other factors that continue to compete with consumer’s time.

      Another point, all of the supposed “innovation” that copyright seems to go into enforcement of that copyright, though it may not be necessary. As I showed in my link above, Andy Baio had to pay $32,000 for an “unauthorized” use of a picture. The music had been cleared, the picture was a transformative use of Miles Davis and Jay Maisel decided to sue. The easiest option was to pay for the use, but how was that actually fair when the two pictures were made with different techniques? Paying $32,000 for a noncommercial use of a transformative picture just means copyright is truly out of whack.

      “Copyright also encourages NEW works. Without it, there’d be much more rehashing and regurgitating the same ol over and over. Copyright contributes greatly to growth and evolution.”

      That seems more a false positive. People find a need, and fill it as they see fit. Copyright doesn’t put a camera in a Youtuber’s hand. It doesn’t finance a Kickstarter project. It also doesn’t fill the gaps of a person’s knowledge of how to play a guitar or compose a song. There’s no correlation that copyright encourages new works. Let’s get to basics. As a musician, if you have a song, what are you going to do with it? You can choose to perform it on Youtube. You could put together an album of songs. You could release the guitar tabs for free. Or you could decide to teach someone else. Where does the copyright come in to encourage those choices?

      “Without copyright, there’d be ZERO capitol investment as there’d be no reason to invest money into something that there’s no chance of return.”

      Kickstarter disagrees with you. Along with the success of various bands on Escapist, Garageband, Live.fm, even Myspace (though, I would be laughing if people were still using it…)

      • Your words, “The technology to distribute trumps copyright.”

        Does the existence of the gun trump murder laws?

        You are wrong. Period.

  15. “You’re simply continuing to try and argue the same point without providing any new information. Technology never has and does not now determine law or human rights. Simply because it’s becomes easier to commit a given crime does not mean it isn’t a crime anymore.”

    What is the DMCA? The Net Act? What is the Statute of Anne but a way to try to control how new technology (in this case, computers) is controlled for a monetary gain?

    Copying a tape off the radio wasn’t a crime when tapes were prevalent. I find it questioning that you believe TPB or any efficient distribution of media is a crime now.

    ” By exactly the same logic, your possession of a computer does not make it legal for you to take my work without permission.”

    You’ve set up a strawman argument about murder and theft correlating with copyright infringement being a crime. You’ve lost nothing when someone copies a form of entertainment. You still have the original song in your possession. You still have all of the options I’ve explained in this thread of Kickstarter, Youtube, etc. You can perform the song for charity, you can put it onto a tangible medium and sell it. You can even “hussle” it, by cheaply pressing CDs together with your work, and giving it away on a street corner. You can have it spread on TPB or whatever else you feel. The one thing you can’t do is say that potential income is a given at a certain price.

    “There’s too much at stake.”

    At stake for who? The public? Yeah, there’s no more public domain, and plenty of orphan works because of the length of copyright laws. I’m particular to jazz music and yet it’s dying because the free flow style of oneupsmanship in jazz music can’t survive in the copyrighted world of today.

    • @Jay,

      “What is the DMCA? The Net Act?”

      Attempts to enforce Copyright. What’s your point?

      “What is the Statute of Anne”

      A completely irrelevant and inaccurately quoted historical reference from 1709.

      “Copying a tape off the radio wasn’t a crime when tapes were prevalent. I find it questioning that you believe TPB or any efficient distribution of media is a crime now.”

      Distributing the songs without permission was. Which is what TPB does. I hope I’ve helped you understand the concept.

      “You’ve set up a strawman argument about murder and theft correlating with copyright infringement being a crime.”

      No, I responded to your assertion that because technology changed the law must also. You have not disproved or even responded my point and the only person around here I see building straw men is you.

      “At stake for who? The public? Yeah, there’s no more public domain, and plenty of orphan works because of the length of copyright laws. I’m particular to jazz music and yet it’s dying because the free flow style of oneupsmanship in jazz music can’t survive in the copyrighted world of today.”

      At stake for all of society. I’m a jazz musician so you chose the wrong person to try and use that argument with. Jazz music isn’t dying and if it were it certainly wouldn’t be due to Copyright. The fact is, Copyright is what allows a creator to be rewarded for creating something new and great. Copyright is the only thing that allows me to make money through my composition. If not for Copyright, anyone could release their own recordings of my songs and sell or perform them as their own without reimbursing or crediting me at all. If you actually knew what Copyright is you might understand that fact.

      Considering that I’m actually a working musician who utilizes Copyright every single day of my life and considering that I write the style of music you claim to be a fan of, this is the last time I intend to respond to your ill informed attempts to justify stealing my work. Because, frankly, you’re just pissing me off at this point. If getting free music is more important to you than respecting my rights as a creator than there’s nothing left to say.

      • I will say one more thing before I go … because this really gets to me. The most talented Jazz keyboardist I have ever heard in my life is waiting tables at the local Sushi restaurant. He used to spend all of his time playing keyboards and writing Jazz – NOTHING ELSE. But then people stopped buying his albums. You may not understand this, but when a musician goes on tour they have to pay the club for the use of the space, the sound guy for running the board, the lighting guy (there’s always a “lighting guy”) to run the lights, etc. Usually the tour is a break even and the musician actually makes their living through album sales. Now that people are downloading albums instead of buying them, most of the guys I know are no longer touring.

        If you were actually a Jazz fan as you claim to be the first thing you would do is fight against those who are hurting us. The fact that you are attempting to defend them disgusts me beyond words.

        • You made this point here:

          “Technology never has and does not now determine law or human rights.”

          The point in bringing up those laws is to show that law is being used to try to litigate human rights, and failing miserably.

          “Distributing the songs without permission was. Which is what TPB does. I hope I’ve helped you understand the concept.”
          You’re obfuscating the issue. People could use a tape recorder, copy a song on the radio and play it as many times as they want. Still, people are doing the same thing and the music industry makes money. That is somehow escaping your notice to try to accuse millions of people of being criminals. Just as you can find a lot of songs on TPB and that doesn’t mean it’s a lost sale for those that enjoy other forms of entertainment.

          “I responded to your assertion that because technology changed the law must also.”

          And that was not my point. The point was, again, that copyright was undermined because the technology improved, making the law ineffective.

          “The fact is, Copyright is what allows a creator to be rewarded for creating something new and great.”

          A new riff that Miles Davis made? If copyright is enforced, it actually hurts you if you can’t sample and remix what came before. And did you know about the fact that jazz musicians can’t get a compulsory license? How about ASCAP, BMI, and SESAC, who enforce copyrights on businesses, “for the artists”, barely pay jazz musicians? How about advocating for a public domain (which doesn’t exist because of the long copyright)?

          ” If not for Copyright, anyone could release their own recordings of my songs and sell or perform them as their own without reimbursing or crediting me at all”

          I’ve given enough examples and you choose to ignore them. I’ve discussed jazz and the remixing it does, and you go on to talk about reimbursement and crediting. Copyright is not about accreditation. You’re confusing plagiarism with copyright.

          “The fact that you are attempting to defend them disgusts me beyond words.”
          I’m not defending anyone. If you don’t want to use the tools available to you because you can’t see the forest for the trees, that’s your choice. Personally, I put my money where my mouth is in trying something new such as Kickstarter. I’ve funded about three or four projects because I found them interesting and would love to see them put forth. One was a documentary on Korean Education. The other was an exercise program. Hell, I discovered De’Adre Aziza because of that site. Do you have a web presence? Do you have people looking at your work and listening to it?

          Better yet, if you do have a web presence, what’s the difference between watching a Youtube and not buying anything? You get .001 for each view (I believe…). You’re going on about how touring is weakening and yet you’ve still yet to give a strong reply to what you can do with the song, instead opting for an emotional plea for a return to the old ways.

          I’m physically not in an area where jazz musicians thrive. The only way I know of these artists is from what I’ve described above. I can’t tour and I have my own needs to meet. If all you’re going to do is plea for copyright to save you, be my guest. Meanwhile, I’ll put my money and time to other artists that are willing to try new ideas.

          • You keep insisting that because technology has changed, the laws must also. I’m sorry, but I just don’t know how to interpret your words any other way. I am firmly of the opinion that this is not so.

            I feel that I’ve made a number of extremely simple and easy to understand points which you choose to ignore, or attempted to twist into straw men. For example, making a bad sounding tape recording off the radio for your personal use is not the same as distributing millions of copies of someone’s work without their permission. If you can’t understand something that simple, I have to assume that you’re either 1) not informed enough for us to continue this discussion, or 2) trolling me. I don’t care which.

    • Jay, you’ve lost nothing, if I open your wallet and photocopy a few of your fifty dollar bills, but you might if I then go an a shopping spree in your store. CW’s post is not a straw man argument, it’s a Swiftian refutation of the idiotic notion that technology somehow changes or trumps moral principles; like saying, ‘now that I have Viagra, I should be allowed to rape more women, just because I can’, or that laws against murder have proven ineffective; people still do it-let’s get rid of this useless law. Taping a radio broadcast was never illegal, but editing out the advertisements and selling it as a mixtape certainly is. Since you seem to genuinely want to understand how copyright encourages new works, allow me to explain: the reason your song is worthless and Rihanna’s song isn’t is because the big ol’ mean nasty record company spent the sum of one million dollars http://n.pr/pha8gt to make her record a hit, in hopes of recouping their investment, plus a small profit for their shareholders and a little bling for the artist’s boyfriend.They have a right to exploit the artist and the songwriters because they paid them for those rights.You have the right to buy her crappy single, or not, as you see fit. You can hear it on advertiser-supported radio or listen to a friend’s copy and decide it sucks, but if you download it from a site that doesn’t recognize writer’s and artist’s rights, you suck. As I write this, I’m about to borrow $10k to invest in my music studio, something I wouldn’t do if I believed copyright law to be failing. Technology has created a mess, but technology will also get us out, just as soon as a few folks grow up and get over the idea that, “it’s not stealing, because you can’t get caught”-an actual quote from a college sophomore. If you believe the days of widespread copyright infringement aren’t numbered, you probably also believe you can’t be hacked. Copyrights and patents drive an enormous economic engine, and it’s much bigger than you. It also has a better argument. Thomas Jefferson, when speaking of the lit candle was speaking of the rights of man, and the basic principles of enlightenment, and copyright is indeed one of them, and has been internationally recognized as such, for centuries; your ones and zeroes change this not a whit.

  16. Pingback: Friday’s Endnotes – 07/01/11 | Copyhype

  17. @David
    That is not my argument. The technology has changed to make the laws ineffective. You keep insisting that I’m saying the laws have to be changed, but it’s quite evident that the laws lag behind the technology, preventing further growth and innovation. The DMCA came about to deal with filesharing such as Napster (centralized server sharing), yet it does nothing for torrent distribution that is further decentralized than Napster. That’s not the only example. All of the laws so far deal with what came before. Now that consumer demand is for streamed video, PIPA is here to try to prevent “rogue sites” from foreign nations from “stealing American IP”, which has been debunked.

    The high deterrence factor of statutory damages does very little to prevent filesharing on a commercial or noncommercial level. As Karaganis puts it, there’s three main ingredients for piracy; high prices for media goods, low incomes, and cheap digital technologies. The law trying to regulate that will be all the more impressive.

    “For example, making a bad sounding tape recording off the radio for your personal use is not the same as distributing millions of copies of someone’s work without their permission”

    A tape that you could give to a friend. A Usenet is another area you can share files. Grateful Dead shared videotapes of concerts. I posted a video of someone’s Youtube with live concerts all over the US. Bittorrent is used for songs, movies, and media of varying degrees of legality. Cyberlockers are used to secretly share files. There’s cloud services where people can post their mp3 collections for personal use. I get it. You want people to ask for your permission. Great, but it’s not happening for all of the other ways that people actually share the media among others. And as I said last time, I’m happier to move my money to artists and investments that appreciate that difference.

    • It is a truism that laws always lag technology. It is also a truism that laws are regularly amended to try and address the effects of such a lag. Thus, your point is not altogether clear.

      Are you saying lawmakers should just shrug their shoulders and ignore such matters?

      • If they would educate themselves so as not to make false conclusions (piracy = theft), then no.

        But making laws that are completely one sided, with only the inputs of those favored in government, that take no heed of consumer interests, endorse government censorship on the internet, and try to break domain naming conventions isn’t a part of the democratic process that we seem to enjoy on the internet today.

        • I’ve not the time nor the desire to go back point for point with you in a pointless excercise trying to let you see the light.

          Piracy does not equal theft… it EQUALS COPYRIGHT INFRINGMENT — WHICH is MUCH, MUCH WORSE!!!
          the fact that you don’t WANT to understand, is that it does MUCH more damage than You could possible comprehend. You don’t, by chance, work for the Chinese government.. spreading mis-information do you?

          • This must have been meant to be posted elsewere because none of my comments have dealt in the slightest with “theft”.

          • Look at the picture. It’s Joe Biden who has said that on various occasions. I would think a politician’s political stance was known.

        • Would that be the “democratic process on the internet today” that does not allow any creator a vote in the matter when they decide they do not want to have their work included in the wholesale copyright infringement you seem to think is some sort of democracy?

          Where’s my right to vote “no”?

          Oh, that’s right, pesky creators have no rights anymore.

        • But the laws do take into account consumer interests, though obviously to a lesser degree than many would wish was the case. The First Sale Doctrine, Fair Use,and the enumerated exclusions to the rights conferred by Section 106 are but a few examples.

          Could there be more? Sure. Should there me more? Maybe. These are, however, for the large part policy decisions that are inherent in the give and take of the legislative process.

          BTW, while every now and then we scratch our heads and ask “What were they thinking?!?!?”, the Congressional Record (and a host of other public resources) are quite illuminating and helpful in understanding what was before the members of Congress throught the history of a bill from its submittal to its enactment into law.

          The process is not as cut and dry as many seem prone to believe. For example, when I read the record asociated with the DMCA I was truly impressed that widely divergent views had been considered in great detail and incorporated into the final text.

          • Fair Use has mostly been legislated away. Not to mention most of the legislative process is large industries trying to plug up “analog holes” for fair use.

            The first sale doctrine doesn’t apply in the 9th Circuit (Vernor v. Autodesk). I find it odd how one interpretation effectively changed an ownership interest into a license agreement, but that’s another story.

            Finally, how is it the public has to ask the Copyright Office for exceptions? Essentially, the public has to ask what it is allowed to do through a very long and arduous process. How is that innovative in any regard? Of all of the exceptions to the DMCA proposed to the Copyright Office, how many actually get through? The most infamous is probably Sony’s rootkit fiasco. The other famous exception is jailbreaking a phone. But I would venture that it’s ~25% being generous.

            I’d be interested in seeing what happens with the PIPA and the Anti-Streaming bill when it goes on Record. As it stands, all of this law and litigation to support a select few seems less likely to change how people feel on copyright in a positive manner.

          • Fair Use has most certainly not been legislated away. Whoever may believe otherwise is subscribing to an urban myth. If one thinks of fair use in the context of “transformative” and “consumptive” uses, some of the myth begins to disappear.

            The First Sale Doctrine is alive and well throughout the US, including the 9th Circuit. Vernor did not change the doctrine in the slightest.

  18. Jay wrote:
    As it stands, all of this law and litigation to support a select few seems less likely to change how people feel on copyright in a positive manner.

    err, “select few”? You do realize that intellectual property constitues a VERY LARGE portion of the US economy alone… it’s NOT just musicians…

  19. Jay- Who’s copyrights do you think are some of the most valuable on planet earth lately? Google, Microsoft, countless ISP’s on and on and on- these big techs and big servers that are making BILLIONS protecting their copyrights and intellectual property and using tools like you help spread the word in hopelessly hollow arguments about Queen Anne and Laws are Gov conspiracies….. Before litigation exposes them for trafficking in stolen property- look at the bottom of some of those sites about copyright reforms- guess who financially supports- if not out and out began them???? The guys making billions of traffic- est. 25% of internet traffic is people searching for music ( 95%+ of music on internet is never paid for) You seem like a bright guy- but obviously not bright enough to see the hypocracy…… Why dont you use some of your ” brave new tech world” argument for not paying for anything on the net on your forward thinking buddies and ask them to stop making money on EVERY SINGLE CLICK THRU- ask them to stop interfering with the future by selling our data mined info for billions- ask them to sell their sites for the same amount of money they value their content?
    Dude- Billionaires have conned you into villifying millionaires as greedy. Not so bright.

    • CW, you’re all over the place and your argument is more rhetorical than logical. I cannot follow your argument.

      • Actually, CW has a good point about the ISPs. When people say the internet is ‘free’, they are wrong, because you have to pay your ISP roughly in proportion to the amount you download. Since infringing material is a large proportion of many people’s downloading, ISPs are directly profiting from illegal activity. They know this perfectly well, but they do nothing to stop it, and they kick and scream if anyone suggests legislation to control it.

        • “When people say the internet is ‘free’, they are wrong, because you have to pay your ISP roughly in proportion to the amount you download. Since infringing material is a large proportion of many people’s downloading, ISPs are directly profiting from illegal activity. ”

          That’s not a good point at all. If all that anyone is looking for is downloads, of course, that’s going to give a biased view of the internet. The ISPs profit from giving people access. They have nothing to do with what a person does online.

          • You really are as dumb as a rock. You have to PAY for your use of the internet, and that money goes to the ISP. If you do a lot of illegal downloading, then the ISPs are profiting from the extra bandwidth you are paying for. Unless you have found a way to tap into someone else’s internet connection, of course, which in view of your general mentality wouldn’t surprise me at all.

    • Dude- Billionaires have conned you into vilifying millionaires as greedy

      Brilliant line. Cuts right to the core of it.

  20. @MLS

    Granted, fair use has strengthened and weakened in some areas. But cases such as the Andy Baio situation show the inaccuracies of copyright law. The good thing about the Righthaven cases is that it does strengthen fair use considerably, so perhaps less of the mass lawsuits will gain judge attention. Still, it’s a crapshoot if a judge doesn’t understand most technology issues, making fair use a very difficult defense for average people. Perhaps if someone would put up laws allowing noncommercial trading, archival use, and get rid of statutory damages, the laws would be useful. As they stand now, how can anyone respect a law that is in support of more money than people make in a year?

    @ James
    “You do realize that intellectual property constitues a VERY LARGE portion of the US economy alone… it’s NOT just musicians…”
    Crowdsourcing is becoming more prevalent, along with alternatives to the normal financiers of those represented by the RIAA/MPAA. Amazon does ebook sales in a publishing role. In regards to patents, that’s basically a minefield. In terms of copyright, there’s a fairly large one for movies that crowdsourcing actually cuts right through. If IP = movies, music, and games, etc, then you’re correct that all make up a large amount of the US economy. However, that’s not copyright playing a role.

    Where copyright plays a role is in enforcement. And everytime the RIAA performs a raid on a DJ, there’s added costs of business. When Righthaven sues for a few paragraphs, that’s a cost. Street vendors hassled for selling CDs on a street corner, cost. Even in patent law, when you have Intellectual Ventures (that makes nothing) selling patents to others in order to sue, that increases costs. Or Apple’s lawsuits against Samsung, the cost is in litigation, not innovation of products. The cost to be raided, sued, etc is what makes copyright seem anathema to a free market. You’re punishing people in retrospect for using aspects of culture, having a similar product (think remixes or derivative works in general, streaming movies competing with Netflix is one extreme), or not having a large patent portfolio (patents).

    • And everytime the RIAA performs a raid on a DJ, there’s added costs of business. When Righthaven sues for a few paragraphs, that’s a cost. Street vendors hassled for selling CDs on a street corner, cost. Even in patent law, when you have Intellectual Ventures (that makes nothing) selling patents to others in order to sue, that increases costs. Or Apple’s lawsuits against Samsung, the cost is in litigation, not innovation of products. The cost to be raided, sued, etc is what makes copyright seem anathema to a free market. You’re punishing people in retrospect for using aspects of culture, having a similar product (think remixes or derivative works in general, streaming movies competing with Netflix is one extreme), or not having a large patent portfolio (patents).

      And every time the cops performs a raid on a car theft ring, there’s added costs of business. When anyone sues for anything, that’s a cost. Street hustlers hassled for selling crack on a street corner, cost. Even in property law, when you have real estate hoarders (that makes nothing) that increases costs. With property laws, the cost is in litigation, not innovation of products. The cost to be raided, sued, etc is what makes property laws seem anathema to a free market. You’re punishing people in retrospect for using aspects of physical culture, having a similar product, or an identical product, or not having a large asset portfolio (stocks, bonds, properties etc).

      • Is there a point or is this another round of you saying that IP = physical property?

        ” If you do a lot of illegal downloading, then the ISPs are profiting from the extra bandwidth you are paying for. ”

        That’s a huge if on your part. And not every person out there is doing just that. What about all of the secondary businesses that have sprung up because of the internet? All you’re doing right now is painting a huge brush to try to criminalize what people do online.

        And odds are, if someone isn’t doing it at home, they could go to a Starbucks, use their wifi and commit to the same acts. Should Starbucks stop supplying free wi-fi now? How about if someone at home decides to share internet with the community? Should they be liable for illegal downloads on their network?

        Let’s not get into all of the bandwidth used for movies or videogames, or streaming music on a cloud service. There’s a multitude of legal alternatives that you’re not even considering that require bandwidth and all you’re doing is saying “piracy is bad”.

        Feel free to explain this difference of legal alternatives also requiring bandwidth. Feel free to explain why a copy of Adobe costs $7300 in another country, leading to piracy. Feel free to also explain how Netflix is actually beating Bittorrent in popularity. Illegal downloads aren’t causing downfalls of income. It’s the lack of legal alternatives.

  21. Jay- I scanned back over these posts and pretty much see that it is a LOT of people making very clear and well founded points about copyright and the basic laws being ignored. And then there is you- You seem to place a lot of stock in the fact that there are a lot of illegal file sharers and that in itself creates a circumstance that should dictate laws and people’s expectations. You seem shocked at how us ignorants ( my words- my impression of your arrogant attitude) arent embracing this reality. Perhaps you can get some insight from these very posts. The OVERWHELMING voices seem to be calling BS on most of your logic, assertions, methods and observations. Yet there you go either getting foggy when someone makes a very good point- or talking to them like a preschool student as you dispense some other useless bit of philosophy that the vast majority then rip to pieces as well.

    Well, the majority as spoken, Jay. You keep ranting that a lot of us need to wake up and smell the coffee and seem mystified that we dont. Well dude- perhaps at least you can go find a mirror and take a look at what one of these clueless souls looks like. Come on Jay- in your world majority rules period. In my estimate- the majority of the people on these posts think you are full of it. You know- that majority rules thing you keep talking about is making more and more sense. :) have a good weekend everyone-

    • Nah, not clueless. I just don’t have to ramble about two things that make no sense and then put them together as if the anecdote makes sense. :)

      I look and see that Bittorrent is becoming a valid way to distribute movies while others are talking about downloads are killing the industry. Never mind that Bittorrent is being used for legal purposes, oh no… It’s automatically being used for 99% of illegal downloads (citation needed, btw) instead of the legal uses such as Vodo, Warcraft, DnD Online, and a plethora of distribution software such as Linux.

      One person was saying my words were intended for one thing. I corrected him. Another person mistakenly thought an accreditation to a post was to me, when it was to the politician in the post and his words regarding piracy and theft. I corrected the false accusation. That’s a debate. I don’t take it as somehow it’s an overwhelming majority. If something is wrong in an assumption, I correct it. If not, it’s better to see where the disagreement lies and learn something.

      There’s really not an arrogance anywhere in what I say. It’s mainly a reasoned debate based on the evidence presented. Anyone is free to read “Media Piracy” where 3 years of research have gone into investigating copyright infringement on a global scale. I’ve yet to hear any debunking of any of the information presented. Anyone can read about how enforcement of this type is really ineffective. In fact, I encourage it. The types of raids that I discuss here are basically from the book about how pirates of Brazil and the raids on the villas for CDs is basically ineffective. There’s a lot of detail paid into the patent system and how larger companies such as Microsoft or Adobe use high prices to keep out competition. It’s an interesting read and I’m not done with every country.

      I’ve read the GAO report on Piracy and came to a different conclusion than what Terry came to. The gist was about the methodology of the industry through either the USTR or individual reports that were essentially made up numbers. I believe the GAO said they couldn’t come up with a number for piracy, along with the industry’s numbers shouldn’t be trusted.

      There’s other studies I’ve looked into, but the belief that piracy is supposedly killing the industry is more a myth. When NBC pulled shows from iTunes a few years ago, it contributed more to piracy. The conclusion of that research when done (Michael D Smith – Channels & Conflict) was that piracy increased. The information is freely available to anyone that wants to look at it. There’s plenty that I’ve linked to in the past and people don’t want to see it, instead clinging to their beliefs that creators are somehow in their own class. That’s no longer an accurate belief, when most people that post content are creating in another capacity.

      That’s more evident in the gaming community, but it comes up in the music community through remixes of music, and IIRC, JK Rowling does read fanfiction of her characters.

      Do I demonize copyright as the article implies by being against copyright?
      It doesn’t stand up as adding any extra money in someone’s pocket by suing for $150,000 in statutory damages, or giving good will when it’s abused for quick settlements. There’s a lot that could be changed with it, so that it worked. As it stands now, there’s a lot of different people that are foregoing the traditional methods and using new ones. Just from looking at those examples, copyright seems to have become less and less important as time goes on.

      • “citation needed, btw”

        Off the top of my head, there’s:

        The Envisional Estimate of Infringing Use of the Internet (January 2011) (available at http://documents.envisional.com/docs/Envisional-Internet_Usage-Jan2011.pdf) concludes:

        “Of all 10,000 files [surveyed], only one was identified as non-copyrighted …. There is no evidence to support the idea that the transfer of non-copyrighted content such as Linux distributions makes up a significant amount of bittorrent traffic.” “[T]hat means at a minimum, 99.24% of the top 10,000 files … were copyrighted material ….”

        Then there’s the survey conducted by Ed Felton, who is well-known for his critiques of the entertainment industry and its views on copyright enforcement (available at http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/felten/census-files-available-bittorrent), identifying:

        “… approximately 1% [of the classified files] as likely non-infringing …”

        And it takes little time to do your own research. A rundown of the Top 100 torrents on a tracker like ThePirateBay shows that a full 100% of them are copyrighted.

        I have no doubt that there is a small, but insignificant non-infringing use. But if you’re somehow implying that virtually the entirety of bittorrent traffic is not comprised of the illicit transmission of copyrighted works, then you’re either willfully ignorant or just plain disingenuous.

        Perhaps you could post some studies to support the implication in your post that bittorrent is not, as the evidence shows, a festering cesspool of copyright infringement, but rather a vast, legal utopia?

        • Warcraft is already known for using the Bittorrent Protocol.
          Turbine (DnD Online) also uses the same protocol with the Pando Media Booster.
          This also goes for Nexon Gaming with their plethora of games that use the same thing.

          IIRC, WoW has 11.4 million people using the protocol. This doesn’t include the scores of private servers that they have to use BT to download the game, then run other hardware. There’s other MMO games that use the technology.

          Vodo.net for movies has just received a significant boost with the James Cromwell crowdsourcing deal. In an ironic twist of fate, even TPB is helping with licensing if you read the last article I put up.

          Further, looking at Envisional’s data, they’re actually undercounting the legal uses I just posted up above. They only use one tracker, the PublicBT tracker, which skews the files reported. Linux distributions won’t show up, nor will game usage. It’s the industry’s own fault.

          “Why would movies be such a popular illegitimate download? It doesn’t take much time comparing the ease of finding a new song on iTunes with your odds of locating a new movie on Amazon or Netflix to realize that the commercial online availability of movies lags woefully behind that of music. Between the wait for a new film to appear online–and the self-defeating “release window” system that requires it to be taken offline on an arbitrary schedule–getting an honest movie rental or purchase over the Internet remains frustrating.”

          There needs to be more research. The 99% is beyond inaccurate because there’s plenty of legal uses not being calculated.

          • Whatever. Yes, there’s a handful of legal uses of torrents. a Handful.
            it’s not the technology, it’s how it’s used, and what it’s used for.
            Legitimate purposes are legitimate… but the vast majority is being used for illegal purposes.

            What about all of the secondary businesses that have sprung up because of the internet?

            What… like the buisnesses selling MY product WITHOUT my permission, or commission? That are purposely located in countries that don’t respect the laws of the rest of the world?
            May i ask: what do you do for a living? (if you do indeed have a job…)

          • Jay –

            I asked you to provide studies to support your implication that use of the bittorrent protocol was not, for all intents and purposes, completely comprised of the illicit transmission of copyrighted works. Not surprisingly, you posted nothing in rebuttal except a mention of a small handful of legitimate uses of the protocol, the legitimacy of which nobody contests.

            You rest your laurels on World of Warcraft. So let’s use that as the example of unbounded sea of legal traffic.

            Using this site as a reference (http://www.strategyinformer.com/pc/patches/worldofwarcraft/patch.html) there have been 271 total updates to the game since its inception in 2004. The total size of these files amounts to 41,000Mb, averaging out to approximately to 151Mb per update. In other words, an average player will transfer approximately 5800Mb each year.

            Now, let’s contrast this with tonight’s sample from The Pirate Bay. On this Sunday night, also part of a holiday weekend when traffic normally lightens, 100% of the Top 100 torrents are still copyrighted works. Available for download are a total of 110,387Mb. Thus, even though today’s available downloads amount to less than half the downloads made by a WoW player, they alone amount to more than 3x the total lifetime transfer of a WoW player who has been playing for 7 years. The average file size is a little more than 1000Mb (10x the size of the average WoW patch). And there are currently 309,020 people leeching content (I didn’t bother to count the seeders, which easily exceeds that number). That means there are 3,100 leechers per torrent.

            The average United States broadband speed (according to http://www.time.com/time/specials/packages/article/0,28804,2026474_2026675_2078442,00.html) is 4 Megabits/s (500 kilobytes/s). Doing the calculation, that means that those 309,020 leechers are sucking down 150,888 megabytes/s — every second of every day. And those are just the downloaders. Roughly doubing that number should reasonably account for the seeders to get an accurate estimation of torrent flow from just one site, while recognizing that those are only the top files that I’m accounting for and that many more exist to augment that number.

            Now let’s compare the two. Let’s just assume that all 11 million WoW players re-downloaded their entire patch archives. That would constitute a transfer of 451000000000 megabytes. A large number, right? Surely that means that the majority of bittorrent traffic is legal. Well, if we carry out the simple math (omitted for the sake of clarity), then we find out that the leechers of the Top 100 Pirate Bay torrents alone transfer that much content in 34 days. That number is reduced to 17 days if you account for seeder bandwidth.

            Clearly, the bandwidth from one tracker crushes that of the online game juggernaut that is WoW. You can combine all the other lesser-known games and sites with videos and movies nobody wants to watch all you like, but the fact is those sites and their one or two downloads per person will always pale in comparison to the smorgasbord of copyright infringement that exists at the bittorrent trough. Indeed, to account for a year’s worth of Pirate Bay bandwidth, you would need more than 20x the WoW bandwidth. It just isn’t happening with services upon which you rely so heavily.

            Speaking of Linux, you mention a perceived flaw in the Envision report that “Linux distributions won’t show up.” Clearly, you didn’t read the report, which highlighted the Linux distribution fallacy:

            “Similar analysis conducted … in December 2009 found only a single Linux distribution as the only piece of non-copyrighted content in the top 10,000 torrents shared by … the then largest bittorrent tracker online.”

            And then there’s my favorite — “It’s the industry’s own fault.”

            Ahhh yes, damn the numbers. Blame the victim! This is why nobody can take you seriously.

  22. Pingback: IPR in the News: June 2011 « VRA Intellectual Property Rights News

  23. Is there a point or is this another round of you saying that IP = physical property?

    Nah, IP = physical property has always been your straw man argument…

    My point was that there are costs associated with the enforcement of every law, especially property laws, whether tangible or intangible.

    Never mind that Bittorrent is being used for legal purposes, oh no… It’s automatically being used for 99% of illegal downloads (citation needed, btw)

    Citation needed? Are you serious?

    http://arstechnica.com/media/news/2010/01/bittorrent-census-about-99-of-files-copyright-infringing.ars (99% infringing for a random trackerless torrent site)

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/07/only-03-of-files-on-bit-torrent-confirmed-to-be-legal.ars?comments=1#comments-bar (99.7% infringing for a number of torrent sites)

    http://www.scribd.com/doc/31272055/Arista-Records-Summary-Judgment-Opinion (98.8% infringing for Limewire)

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/03/usenet-curator-newzbin-hammered-by-uk-court-for-infringement.ars (99.7% infringing for usenet)

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2010/03/smoking-guns-dark-secrets-spilled-in-youtube-viacom-filings.ars/2 (80% infringing for Youtube prior to purchase)

    http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/news/2011/02/where-have-all-the-music-pirates-gone.ars (Only ONE out of TEN THOUSAND torrents in public tracker top list found to be non-infringing and the ONE exception was a tutorial on how to mitigate your risk of being sued for piracy)

    Some other findings from the same study:

    eDonkey and Gnutella
    - Analysis of known copyrighted and non-copyrighted material on the eDonkey network suggests that the vast majority of content held and transferred on the network is likely copyrighted (98.8%).
    - Similar analysis using search queries on Gnutella found that most users on the network appeared to be looking for copyrighted content: 94.2% of non-pornographic search queries which could be identified were apparently for copyrighted material.

    Cyberlockers
    - An examination of 2,000 random links pointing to content held on cyberlockers found that 91.5% of links pointing to non-pornographic material were linking to copyrighted material.

    Be careful what you ask for, Jay!

    • Link 1) From the article itself: Of course, Sahi’s results are only from Mainline and may not reflect the entire P2P system as a whole. His data also includes all files being shared, some of which may not be getting any downloads, while others are being downloaded en masse. Still, it’s reasonable to assume that most users share what’s in demand, and what’s in demand right now is heavily-DRMed movies, movies, TV, and movies. Side note, this coincides that DRM only hurts the movie industry since it makes a pirate’s wares better.

      Link 2) Article itself: There are a number of criticisms about the study that have popped up since Friday. Most notably, TorrentFreak raises questions about the categorization of files, the use of older data, and the numbers being used by the researchers. We have contacted those behind the study for comment.

      Link 3) Dr Wateman was used for an 1800 sample out of how many files used on the Gnutella network? The difficult part with the Limewire case was the fact that Limewire didn’t get to see how much damage those downloads did to the market. I would really like to see how he came about the 1800 samples (random search or…??? profit?) and how it could have been done better.

      Link 4) Isn’t that case still ongoing? http://torrentfreak.com/newzbin-speaks-out-on-mpa-high-court-blocking-action-110630/

      Link 5) Ugh… The Youtube/Viacom case. Both sides have a lot of issues in that case, such as Viacom wanting to buy Youtube and posting material on Youtube to get it in trouble later. It’s probably best not to use that example, since both sides are basically slap fighting each other.

      Link 6) I just commented on the Envisional study of this article above.

      Also, regarding Gnutella, it’s dead anyway. Frostwire just let go of it and it’s taken over by spam.

      Cyberlockers – Where’d you get that statistic?

      • Please feel free to correct me if I am mistaken, but I do not recall any lawsuits being brought against anyone associated with inventing and improving BitTorrent software under copyright law.

        To my knowledge copyright based lawsuits have been limited to users who upload and download works protected under copyright, and the principals and companies that use BitTorrent to facilitate, and in many cases encourage, third party users, copyright infringement.

        Sony applies to the former. I do not recall Sony having been applied to the latter.

  24. @James
    “I asked you to provide studies to support your implication that use of the bittorrent protocol was not, for all intents and purposes, completely comprised of the illicit transmission of copyrighted works. Not surprisingly, you posted nothing in rebuttal except a mention of a small handful of legitimate uses of the protocol, the legitimacy of which nobody contests.”

    I’m refuting the point that there is 99% infringement along with it killing the industry. You would need to do a very large study of all peer to peer networks, to get a better sampling, which also changes based on demand and length of download. If there’s a few legal distributions, then that’s enough to justify the technology (I believe someone here has once said that Bittorrent should be banned, but I could be wrong). It’s not semantics, it’s not rhetorical speaking. I’ve flat out said the 99% is not accurate unless you look for other information about this and it needs to be researched more. Even Technotopia’s articles don’t all say 99%. Not unless they’re hiding a bias in the data that is eventually exposed.

    The entire context of this citation needed was in someone’s concept that somehow these downloads are destroying the industry. It’s not moving the goal posts:
    I look and see that Bittorrent is becoming a valid way to distribute movies while others are talking about downloads are killing the industry. Never mind that Bittorrent is being used for legal purposes, oh no… It’s automatically being used for 99% of illegal downloads (citation needed, btw) instead of the legal uses such as Vodo, Warcraft, DnD Online, and a plethora of distribution software such as Linux.

    Finally, something I just saw:
    “What… like the buisnesses selling MY product WITHOUT my permission, or commission? That are purposely located in countries that don’t respect the laws of the rest of the world?”

    *sigh* Gaming – Selling T-shirts on Cafepress with Street Fighter characters on it. Archive video of video games on Youtube, the forums discussing favored tactics of battle for StarCraft (since we’re on Blizzard)
    Movies – T-shirts of famous quotes, movie products, showing old movies in theaters, car drive ins, and now with 3D printing – plastics and diagrams
    Music – All of the cover bands, remix DJs, live performances, game licensing, T-shirt sales, etc.

    Those are the secondary markets that thrive without asking express permission for entertainment.
    That would be quite a hassle if someone in Sweden had to ask someone in the UK for permission to do a Beatles cover. I’m kind of wondering why you want the world to do such a thing.

    “Blame the victim! This is why nobody can take you seriously.”

    Ah yes… The fact that the movie industry doesn’t want to try to put up their own Bittorrent tracker (save Cromwell), doesn’t want to try crowdsourcing movies (save Imogen Heap and those that I find on Kickstarter), noticing that around the world, they don’t have nearly as many legal options as the US for movies and music (save Spotify), seeing the movie industry still believing in the release window (for those that don’t know, it’s when they release first in one territory, wait 3 months, release in another), the music industry FINALLY get on board with P2P (through Spotify, only took 15+ years…) is me blaming the industry as a victim.

    You figured me out! Nothing gets by you! Oh my goodness! The industries could have made so much more money by just criminalizing the technology instead of using it. How has criminalizing technology and relying on the government with the DMCA, Net Act, and possibly S978 and PIPA worked out so far?

    • To paraphrase Emo Philips, you can lead an ass to water, but they’re very hard to drown.

      “Those are the secondary markets that thrive without asking express permission for entertainment.”

      Selling Streetfighter shirts on CafePress is infringement, (unless you’re Sega, or licensed thereby) game strategy videos are fair educational use. Live DJs, remixers and cover bands? Blanket licenses from performing rights organizations; (ASCAP, SESAC, BMI,etc.) the venues have to pay for such, with disbursements to the original artists/songwriters based on airplay, charts, and no doubt eventually, torrents. Lucky you, to be living in this digital interregnum; a wild-west free-for-all where anything goes. Enjoy it while it lasts. No amount of repeating the same specious arguments over and over will ever ease what you suffer from; cognitive dissonance, the same as that which allows a particular sort of southern ‘gentleman’ to sweepingly denigrate people of color while fantasizing about them, often in the same breath. In Indiana, we have a special word for folks like yourself, it was one of fellow hoosier Michael Jackson’s favorite words, “ignernt”; it differs from the more common usage of “ignorant”, thusly: as a Christian might characterize a native in some foreign land as “heathen”, existing in a natural state of ignorance of the gospel, meaning a missionary might come along any minute and hep said native to the Jesus, that he might be thereby saved; there is no shame in such a state, because the native knows no better. An ignernt person is one whom, having heard and recognized the truth, willfully and repeatedly denies it. That, my friend, is cognitive dissonance, and you should be ashamed. Good day, sir.

  25. First of all, congratulations to Terry for writing an interesting article demonstrating that there has always been pressure upon copyright by the non-creative abolitionists. The Crosbie’s of this world are not a new phenomenon.

    Secondly, on reading the comments I wonder why anyone bothered to respond to Crosbie Fitch’s statements. His views are an irrelevance and are obsessed with one single idea that only has support amongst mis-guided people.

    Of course copyright is needed to protect the labours of creative people. Of course people should pay for creative works should they wish to enjoy them.

    Likewise, free culture people are perfectly entitled to make creative works and give them away if they wish to do so, this also is their right. What is not their right is stealing copyrighted works nor is it in insisting that if we don’t believe in their idea we are in the wrong. If I make something it is my right to decide whether to give it away or to copyright it to make a living.

    Simply because it is easy to copy nowadays does not make unauthorised copying moral. Nor can you say that copyright law has failed just because people indulge in unauthorised copying. That’s a bit like saying that just because it is easy to break into people’s houses and steal their goods we should change the law to make such criminal behaviour permissable.

    So instead of wasting effort in attempting to engage with the Crosbie Fitch’s of this world, which is a pointless task anyway, we should instead expend our lobbying efforts on engaging with the legislators to ensure that copyright continues to protect creativity. Leave Crosbie in peace to get on with his ranting, it seems to give him a purpose in life, don’t spoil it for him.

    • Thanks Mojo and Gordon.
      I’m done losing hair over Fitchs’ oblivious misgivings.
      Apparently he doesn’t even know how the industry works… how the laws apply, ect.
      It’s a pointless excercise responding to his misguided fluff.

      Lobbying congress (or your equivalent- if not in U.S.) is a better use of time, like you said Gordon.
      Believe it or not folks… they [congress] do listen (when enough people call/write in the issue!)

  26. I have some thoughts about IP and I’d love to hear all your opinion on it.

    I’m thinking of the difference in protection that the law gives to the “inventor” of something. Intellectual property is a balance act between two interests. The inventor/creator’s interest and the public’s interest. The more important something is for the public the less protection the inventor will have. And the other way around.

    Say that I find a new star in the sky. There is no patent to claim. I cannot have protection over a new type of fish that no one else has ever seen before, that I discovered. There is just too much interest from the public to have access to those type of things. There are many things that you cannot protect, even if you’re the “inventor”.

    On the opposite side of the spectrum, a brand name will be yours for unlimited time if you make it up. If you start a company named IKEA, that name will be yours forever (or the owners of that company). Thats because there is simply no public interest in having 100 IKEAs.. The public wants to know what they get and letting everyone calling their shop IKEA will only bring confusion. You could say that for the public it is not important that any one can use it, but for the owner of the company it is essential that no one but you use that name. That’s why the protection is given for unlimited years.

    And then we have what’s in between. Where it’s not that easy.

    Medicine and technical innovations has a protection time of 10-30 years depending on the country. Medicine in hugely important to the public, but unless you give the developers the monopoly on their product for a while there will be no medicine to share. So this is a compromise between the inventor and the public. The amount of years have been carefully weight to make both sides happy. It’s a balance act.

    The patent system of innovations is hugely beneficial for both the public and the inventors. By giving the inventors protection, the public gains knowledge of everything that IS invented (not only what’s commercially available) and this speeds up the process of invention world wide enormously. Most patents are based on other patents. The patent system is basically the public saying: “Tell us what you know and we’ll promise you protection from copycats for a number of years, because we want more innovation in general”. If there were no financial incentive for innovators to share their innovations with the public before a commercial product is finished, then why should they tell anyone anything? So the patent is beneficial to both the public and the inventors. But the number of years is a balance act between two different interests.

    So lets talk about copyright. There is no public interest in NOT knowing who the author of a musical piece is. The is a huge private interest from the composer of a piece of music that he is recognized as the composer to that work. That’s why copyright is given for a long time. Copyright is in most places lifetime plus 70 years.

    A funny way to say this is that music in protected for such a long time because music is “non-important” to the public. I hear a lot of “Why is music more important then medicine?”. It’s actually the other way around. Medicine is so important that the public don’t grant protection for as many years.

    That’s one side of copyright, but there is also a financial side.

    There IS a public interest in having a lot of music to enjoy and as cheap as possible of course. So how do we do that? The solution we’ve chosen is giving the composer the privilege of distributing his work to the public and gaining financially from it. That gives the composer an intensive to write and make his work publicly available. Who is a better advocate for a peace of music than the composer? No one other than the composer will work as hard getting his work out there. And giving him/her the opportunity to do so is beneficial to the public because more work is distributed in the end. It’s a win/win situation. If you want a lot of music, this is the way to go! The public agrees that music is not “free”, and the composer agrees that he will create music for others to enjoy.

    There is of course an option of not giving the composer a financial incentive. But that would mean that most new music that is distributed will be composed by rich people that can hire people to work for them. Music don’t spread by itself, in contrast to what many people think. It’s true. I’m a living example. Without copyright I would not work as a writer.

    I have about 500 songs published. I make a living out of music. but I’m not rich. Not even close. I’m making less then most people, but I manage. But many of my songs are recorded by artists all over the world. The only reason that these songs are exposed to anyone other than my family is that I’m given a financial incentive to get my songs out there. My publisher (who I pay with the money I earn from copyright) has people on staff who works with getting my songs placed with artists. Without their help I would not be able to work with this. I don’t know all the artists in the world! But my publisher does. Or they know someone who does. That’s how it works. And without the financial incentive to spread my work, I can assure you that nothing I ever wrote would ever be recorded by anyone. And I know this is true for many, many writers.

    And please get me right. It’s not that I work only for the money, it’s rather that the money gives me the opportunity to work in the first place. Who of you works for no money?

    Please give your thoughts on my perspective here.

    Thanks,
    Emil