By , May 18, 2012.

“I’m totally against piracy. It’s makes it very difficult for micro-budget filmmakers to make a living.” — Eduardo Sánchez, drector Blair Witch Project and Lovely Molly.

IMAGiNE Member Pleads Guilty to Criminal Copyright Infringement — One of the four members of the BitTorrent group plead guilty as part of a plea bargain to one count of conspiracy to commit criminal copyright infringement. The four members are alleged to have reproduced and distributed “tens of thousands of illegal copies of copyrighted works.” Still awaiting statements in support of this case from the EFF and Public Knowledge. In 2002, EFF attorney Fred von Lohmann (now senior copyright counsel at Google), said “a few targeted lawsuits [against P2P pirates] would get the message across.” Also that year, Public Knowledge president Gigi Sohn testified to Congress that “An industry-initiated lawsuit against a large-scale infringer could also have the benefit of serving as a deterrent to other bad actors. As we have seen in other contexts, specifically targeted lawsuits and other legal action can have a deterrent effect, and also educate the public as to what is legal.”

A context for innovation — Faza says: “As it happens, we live in an age of fascination with the internet and computers in general. Almost anything to do with the internet is subject to ‘gosh, wow’ media coverage, governments worldwide are hell-bent on fostering ‘digital development’ and there’s a whole lot of money to be made from the unlikeliest of activities. It is therefore unsurprising that innovators are drawn to this sphere, given how it looks like anything with the words ‘social’ or ‘cloud’ guarantees instant funding, media-swooning and dinners at the White House (okay, maybe not that last bit, unless you’ve already made a shedload of money). That these innovations may not actually improve anybody’s life very much (with the exception of the founders and the VCs that back them) tends to escape notice.”

The Human Rights of Artists — Important article from Chris Castle over at The Trichordist. Castle examines the undermining of artists’ human rights by tech companies and their soft lobbyists and the failure of governments to protect these rights.

In Plain English: Cambridge University Press v. Brecker — Copyright Alliance legal intern Joan Blazich explains this week’s court opinion in the lawsuit between major academic publishers and Georgia State University over the college’s e-reverse system. A great introduction to the decision.

“Say It Ain’t So, Joe, Again, and Again, and Again …”: A Legacy of Continued Bad Behavior at Google — Eric Clemons lays out the case against Google’s current governance structure. “In fairness, no one could be trusted or should be trusted with so much power. We did not trust AT&T with this much power in 1913 when it controlled the vital telecommunications industry in the United States. And we cannot today trust Google to be the arbiter of its own behavior when it controls so much of our access to the Internet. “


  1. Still awaiting statements in support of this case from the EFF and Public Knowledge.

    LOL! Don’t hold your breath.

  2. Is anyone else amazed by how Masnick can spit out that “copyright is evil” trope week after week? I’d love to know how much Google etc. pay him.

    • Is anyone else amazed by how Masnick can spit out that “copyright is evil” trope week after week? I’d love to know how much Google etc. pay him.

      Sadly, I think he’s so prolific because he hates copyright (and loves piracy) at the cellular level. It’s like a religious calling or something. Clearly, he’s not a reasonable person. It’s a shame that he’s so zealous–I think he has a good point every now and then. But when someone is so biased and arrogant and belittling of anyone who dares disagree with him, it’s hard to separate the wheat from the chaff. Instead of leading reasoned debates, he’s leading a pirate crew armed with keyboards and mice. The whole Techdirt Nation is an amusing mess.

      • It’s real easy to turn out that trope on a daily basis when you simply ignore pesky nuisances like facts, law, business, history, and policy.

        • Rest assured, I don’t think anyone in the music industry takes Masnick seriously. Most people have never heard of him, making it all the more amusing when he throws tantrums about how US Senators and heads of massive international corporations won’t come to his parties. It’s reminiscent of a creationist being upset that they’re not allowed to speak at conferences dealing in hard science. (Y’know, because all opinions are valid in the internet age)

          If nothing else, Techdirt operates as an excellent example of the kind of people you’ll be lumped in with if you start flying the pirate flag. So far I’ve sent three musician friends who were on the free kick over to Techdirt and told them to read the comments just so they know exactly what kind of ideologues they’re aligning themselves with. Magically, all their bandcamp albums went from free to .99 cents a track.

          What I find disturbing though is that Masnick has people who ultimately want to be professional musicians or authors writing for him. If there’s one constant about the entertainment industry in my experience, it’s that people have very long memories. Eventually, even the most DIY musician must deal with the industry if they want to reach certain levels. At the least, the people they’ll need to work with independently will be people who are also working with the larger industry. If they think one negative impression from another client with a bigger checkbook can’t put a kibosh on a career, then brother, these ‘kids’ are in for a surprise.

          • Masnick has people who ultimately want to be professional musicians or authors writing for him.

            Don’t forget, they’re creating culture and culture wants to be free! So they’ll simply make a living giving away their works on torrent sites and then capitalizing on added values, like touring and selling t-shirts! Afterall, it’s free advertising, and some report from a study done in Botswana showed that it increases revenue. But it’s not about the money because nobody should expect to get paid for their work, so they’ll take solace knowing they are continuing a long history of artists making art for art’s sake. Oh yeah, and down with copyright.

            Did I get all the Masnick-isms in there?

  3. Perhaps the most comprehesive commentary I have read from one in the music industry trenches (linked in comment to Sanchez):