By , March 16, 2012.

A Question of Values — Barry Sookman compares traditional values enshrined in Canadian copyright law with the values pushed by Michael Geist, one of the leading opponents of copyright in the country. Sookman notes, “Geist’s ideological antagonism towards copyright is an extreme departure from traditional values about it… Mainstream thinking about copyright now recognizes that the law of copyright is concerned with finding an appropriate balance between promoting the public interest in the encouragement and dissemination of the works of the arts and intellect and obtaining a just reward for the creator or, more accurately, to prevent someone other than the creator from appropriating whatever benefits may be generated. Accordingly, owner rights and exceptions (sometimes called “user rights”) are given fair and balanced reading that befits remedial legislation.”

Internet con men ravage publishing — Harper’s Magazine publisher John R. MacArthur pens this must-read article:

as much as I object to free content, I am even more offended by the online sensibility and its anti-democratic, anti-emotional,  even anti-intellectual effect. Devotees of the Internet like to say that the Web is a bottom-up phenomenon that wondrously bypasses the traditional gatekeepers in publishing and politics who allegedly snuff out true debate.  But much of what I see is unedited, incoherent babble indicative of a herd mentality, not a true desire for self-government or fairness.

Can it be seriously argued that popular government in America – with our two-party oligarchy, 90 percent-plus re-election rates, and money-laundered politics – has progressed in the age of the Internet?  Have WikiLeak’s disclosures on Afghanistan moved us any closer to withdrawal from that country?  Would American be any less democratic without e-mail?

The Ruthless Overlords Of Silicon Valley — Another must read article; the Daily Beast’s Rob Cox notes how for all its “moralistic hubris”,  Silicon Valley more resembles the Robber Barons of the Gilded Age. He calls attention to some of the practices making this an apt comparison: exploitative manufacturing, indifference to copyright, disregard for privacy, and crony capitalism.

Hollywood’s Role In Innovation… And SOPA — Vivek Wadhwa looks at the sometimes strained but symbiotic relationship between Hollywood and Silicon Valley. Says Wadhwa, “Silicon Valley has yet to inspire great art, and Hollywood has yet to produce great technology. The two communities together, however, have powered the most important cultural movements of the past century.”

Rep. Adam Schiff Discusses the Importance of SOPA — Burbank N Beyond’s John Savageau talks with the Congressman from California on what comes after SOPA. Good discussion on what Schiff sees as “the three forms of opposition to the intellectual property legislation.”

Breaking the Internet, one absurd claim at a time — Dominic Young challenges the use of the phrase that has been “heard with increasing frequency. It is used as a dire threat, a prediction of doom, the ultimate and unimaginably awful unintended consequence of a terrible and naïve mistake.”

What kind of Internet freedom do we want?— Overreach? Helga Trüpel is MEP for the Greens in Europe and a staunch opponent of ACTA and legislation like SOPA, but even she has concerns over the rhetoric and goals of its opponents. She notes, “some elements within the Internet community seem to have a very one-sided concept of freedom. Theirs is the freedom of users who do not want to pay, who are unwilling to pay Web-based companies and Internet service providers a (fair) price for content they need. The campaign to dilute copyright law is not merely a politically motivated appeal for freedom:  it is also being driven by the strong commercial interests of major new Internet companies like Google and Facebook.”

Giving Credit (and Hat Tips) Where Credit is Due — The Copyright Alliance’s Sandra Aistars reports on several new initiatives for ensuring proper attribution of content online. Definitely worth checking out for creators.

1 Comment

  1. I concur that Mr. MacArthur’s article should be read and thoughtfully considered by all persons on all sides of issues associated with copyright law. While I have not the slightest doubt that many of the leading proponents of Anti-IP agendas will find a “ton” of reasons why he is not to be paid heed because he is nothing more than a legacy, gatekeeping, out of touch, technically illiterate executive who wants to go back to the “good old days”, those who do so will truly miss a message borne from many years on intimate involvement in all aspect of the publishing industry. His comments concerning advertising in general, and revenue in particular, I found to be very intriguing and informative. If nothing else they should mull over these comments. They are in my view particularly relevant to present-day internet commerce.

    Ms. Trupel’s comments are likewise very informative. While she identifies herself as allied with those opposed to SOPA and ACTA, she articulately expounds on what she believes “freedom” should entail. With freedom comes responsibility, a concept that appears to be largely lost on some of the most vociferous opponents of applying the rule of law to anything having to do with the internet. While her comments will almost surely be viewed as bordering on “treason” by many of those who consider themselves to be freedom fighters, they would do well to give each of her points fair consideration.