By , May 23, 2014.

Strong copyright law supports journalism and informed communities — Caroline Little writes about the fundamental importance of journalism to democracy and how aggregators undermine the ability to gather and analyze news. “Newspapers’ concern in this area is not the personal use of newspaper-generated content but rather its use by businesses that benefit financially through the unlicensed monetization of that content. By taking newspaper content without paying for it, these companies undercut the fundamental economic model that supports journalism that is so important to our communities.”

The film and television industry is a nationwide network of small businesses — An infographic of the involvement of small businesses in the film industry in honor of National Small Business Week (which was actually last week). According to the chart, 85% of the 108,000 businesses comprising the industry employ fewer than 10 people.

“A Personal Hit on Me” — A (short) video from PBS Frontline about a journalist who discovers that the NSA was piggybacking off one of Google’s tracking cookies, highlighting the dangers of commercial monitoring. Google’s response was to try to discredit the journalist.

A fair deal for authors — “Like us all, authors have to put food on the table and pay bills. However, in an increasingly digitized market and amid expectations, in some quarters, that all content should be free, it is a struggle for many authors to support themselves and to finance their creative endeavors. The official launch of the International Authors Forum (IAF), a new organization representing authors (writers and visual artists) globally, took place at WIPO in December 2013.”

YouTube Threat To Indies Over New Service — The Quietus reports, “Website allegedly moving to block labels’ videos unless they sign up to new streaming service”; or, Google wants to break the internet. More on this dispute and Google’s strong-arm tactics at Billboard.

There’s no such thing as used digital media — Great piece from David Newhoff, who writes, “This notion of ‘used’ digital media is just one way in which technological opportunists can be disingenuous when it comes offering up what sound like market-based theories. They want the luxury of cherry picking from both the past and the present as suits their purposes. In reality, though, these ideas don’t come from particularly innovative technologists, but rather from standard-issue middlemen looking to exploit a consumer-serving limitation on copyrights to siphon value from creators and line their own pockets.”


  1. “A (short) video from PBS Frontline about a journalist who discovers that the NSA was piggybacking off one of Google’s tracking cookies, highlighting the dangers of commercial monitoring. Google’s response was to try to discredit the journalist.”

    And of course the euphemism for malware known as Digital Rights Management will open such doors for Google to let the NSA in as well. You think Google won’t enforce copyright when it becomes convenient for them? You’re wrong*. As well as every other Silicon Valley corporation that has legions of cult worshipers: Valve being a big under-criticised one of them, even more under-criticised than Google, with it’s subtle and therefore more dangerous form of Digital Rights Management (it’s all too easy to laugh at EA’s Sim City, not so with Steam..). Gabe Newell’s and Steve Jobs’ cults are one in the same. There’s no such thing as a morally “cool” generation of capitalism. Each Silicon Valley will try to become as filthy tax-dodging rich as corporately possible. And each Silicon Valley corporation will, at the very end of the day, reap the monopolistic benefits of copyright on the one hand and benefit from the Al-Capone prohibitionist, tax-free piracy profits on the other. That is what copyright will give you. Even if you don’t accept the assurance contract alternative to copyright, a socialist funding of artists through strict taxation and corporate regulation must surely be your next best step – not this transparently futile farce. There is a REASON why so many comparisons are made between enforcing copyright and supporting the drug war: when even the COPS become so corrupt with drugs, there’s something seriously wrong.

    “You might be a terrorist” has the same presumption of guilt as “you might be a thief”. One of the biggest euphemisms given to Digital Rights Management’s hacking of a computer’s copying abilities is that it is merely what a “lock” does. It’s not a lock at all – it’s an electric fence. An electric fence that only zaps OUTSIDERS, not the animals inside, and zaps whenever they are within 300 feet. A fence that also knows not of the helicopter.

    It is rather sad how my generation has simultaneously bought into being comfortable with NSA spying and copyright-holder spying – all because we would rather spew our personal lives out in the forever-open on Facebook and pump tons of carbon into the air by playing copy-blocking Call Of Duty all day. All while virus-detectors and the writing of basic lines of C++ become criminalised as they try to defend themselves against both. When Digital Rights Management simultaneously destroys parts of my Operating Software in the name of a copyright utopia and then simultaneously says it is not legal for me to defend – no sorry, “circumvent” – its attacks, all the while criminal hackers with ransomware (even the Anonymous/Lulzsec group, if you like) or NSA spying software utilise it with ease, well, I am sorry I am not having any of it.

    If Digital Rights Management did live up to all of its promises, we wouldn’t NEED copyright law, as the Digital Rights Management would by definition stop unauthorised copies on its own two feet. This is the tripe in a nutshell. The persistence in having it both ways shows a great degree of intellectual dishonesty, and a refusal to admit that CTRL-C and CTRL-V are the main enemies. Because such an admitting would make the stupidity clear, and make the claim of “well SOME enforcement of copyright is better than none” show up for how disingenuous it really is.

    I will always refuse to short-hand Digital Rights Management to “DRM” and take the Orwellian sting out of the words. “Digital” changes fuck all about consumer rights, despite the protests from a movement that also insists technology doesn’t change the basic fundamentals of copyright. “Rights” does not involve the presumption of guilt before innocence with “you might be a thief/terrorist”. “Management” .. oh God, I hope by now I don’t need to tell you about that one.

    *And when Google does grab such a terrifying grip over artists with shitty YouTube contract deals, which I fear it will do, crushing all competition in sight, you can rest assured that Google will be FAR more ready to police its search results for all the copyrighted content it will eventually have the rights to, all the while having copyright believers PRAISING Google for do so and forming strong alliances with the corporation. Sorry, but I consider it my duty to hunt out ironies like this. This is why the real revolution lies with Kickstarter and IndieGoGo, and not Netflix, Spotify nor Google. The former works WITHOUT the assumption of copyright, and are the true intellectual radicals right now whether they realise it or not.

  2. jameshogg,

    Brilliant post. I loved all of it. Let’s go back to Analog/Physical Objects Rights Management, the law that Silicon Valley is claiming doesn’t apply to them under “Digital”. Well, every digital transfer via a conduit is a copy of the previous. I think Congress found out in March; rather, already knew but now Obama has lost his power to protect Eric Schmidt, Marc Andreesson, et al.

    I want my Panasonic DVD Recorder back——Best Buy buy better start carrying them again. Who needs digital on the Net. The Net is a place to buy and sell physical objects, not the material on the physical objects as a worthless reproduced “on-demand” style digital file that cannot be resold, and cannot be inventoried before the 1st sale. I actually think there is case-law requiring an inventory before sale…..let me see if I can find it.

    P.S.: KickStarter and IndieGoGo will eventually fail because 1) those companies cancel amounts that don’t reach the requested goal. 2) Have the audacity to take a cut of the investment as if it were a privilege 3) is regulated by the SEC 4) recipients are subject to an on-line digital “Lynch-Mob” if investors are screwed (i.e.: their money is stolen which will probably be the case more often than not). 5) Is a taxable income, not a loan unless investors meet the SEC requirement. 6) Become ad based because The Fed can’t print any more cash to fund these bogus/worthless Silicon Valley operations of digital garbage (oops, I meant a service provided digitally on the web) to begin with.



    • I’ve known for a long time that the debate over “reused” digital files has been laughable. All you need to look at is the blatantly obvious reused-file-swapping that occurs when people swap used DVDs over eBay. I hope you will have noticed: DVDs have digital files, and must make copies upon them being played by the original buyer (loading into buffers). Even if no backups were made – no, lets say you could actually STOP backups from being made, Jesus Christ… – you still can’t stop people selling the DVDs and then buying them again whenever they want to watch again, which is too easy. And no copyright law broken. Only a few quid in postage is lost each time. And eBay reaps the artists’ rewards without paying. And the “pirate-funding” advertisers of eBay win, too. While China knows yet again where to direct it’s ruthless trading wars. It’s borderline Monty Python.

      But of course, you could just add exception number 10,000 to the copyright laws of biblical-contradictions and ban that as well, just to stay consistent, and in NO way reactionary! Maybe THEN you’ll get the radio stations to pay musicians! Damn that titanic hurdle!

      To your points about Kickstarter (or let’s just say crowdfunding websites in general) let me just ask the following:
      1) Am I to take it that the mere act of rejecting under-funded projects, just like any business has ever done anytime ever, will cause sites like Kickstarter, who have received $1 billion in successful funds without yet being mainstream, to collapse?
      2) That crowdfunding websites should be expected to work for free?
      3) That regulation (however and whatever you’ve defined it) of any kind is bad for business even if it means competition against monopolies such as Google?
      4) That a company that decides not to release a movie under any economy should keep the money from the customers who paid for pre-orders?
      5) That even high-profit projects do not deserve to be taxed, in the name of strong libertarianism?
      6) That crowdfunding sites add no value to the market because in reality they are all being funded by a state conspiracy, and not the many website’s users?

      • Indeed. In the case of eBay, I’m more concerned with the fact that they own PayPal, force its use on its sellers, charge a fee, and then use that payment software (i.e.: PayPal) as a money laundering/financial facilitator of counterfeiting for the same material sold as physical objects on eBay to be distributed on MegaUpload, and others, behind the backs of the sellers. That is a bigger picture because what eBay did/does was/is raise the fees (to as high as 20%), charge an additional fee on the US Postage (what for, right?), and stash the cash laundered on the off-shore pirate sites (and through Mozilla) overseas until the physical objects crashed in value. After a known 10 years of theft, eBay then repatriates the “stolen money” in the billions by paying a 35% corporate tax. Not as if the FBI doesn’t know this since the evidence is presented by the DOJ against MegaUpload (see the United States v. MegaUpload case (forgive me for not writing the legal info after the case title))—–now that is laughable.

        To answer your questions about KickStarter (and other crowd-funding sites)
        1) The company, KickStarter, (in my opinion) is an 80% fraudulent digital service/20% hidden legit by coercion). A majority of the “ideas” don’t get funded because what is asked for isn’t reached. Those that do get funded, 95% fail or never get created. However, the [b]knowledge[/b] of what a user was willing to pledge is known by KickStarter. In the end, all investors that fund KickStarter itself (not the accounts requesting the funds) just want to know who is pledging—-they simply follow the money. That type of business model will collapse because someone has to keep feeding seed money into Kickstarter. Let’s say eBay was free, or even better didn’t exist. What’s to stop anyone from getting products and making millions of dollars selling them 1 by 1 , 10 by 10, etc. on a website with checks/MO’s, and an on-line payment system (also free)? Why would the USA unemployment rate be so horrid when all people have to do is 1) get a website 2) get products 3) sell them 4) mail them 5) reinvest and grow? Kickstarter has no products, only ideas requesting capital that can’t collateralize.
        2) See my website selling example. How did people raise capital in the past? Buy and sell + demand dictates price.
        3) The [b]advice[/b] for each level of investor is different than for all as equal. For example, if someone has $10K to their name and are not an accredited investor (of 200K/year that is above and beyond the value of their primary assets), the accredited investor—by law—cannot advise the person with only $10K to invest like accredited investors. This is to keep people from being burned. An accredited investor has enough cash to risk to lose. The person with $10K does not. That’s why the SEC is here, and a company like KickStarter exists only to burn others with higher risk.
        4) Who’s to say that the person will ever release anything—-from the idea—-that they say they will. They’ll take the money and run. I would trust the bar of gold in my hand more.
        5) KickStarter accounts are not corporations, but many individuals receiving funds as *income*, not loans. It is not a one time $14,000 gift that would be void of a gift tax. It is income subject to individual tax laws. No one pays tax on a cash advance on a credit card. But to receive non-loaned funds is the same as working for a check. It is income.
        6) The Fed printing money has no control where investors who have access to it then place it (mainly into Silicon Valley businesses that reap no profits at all; and instead innovate non-inventoried, cannibalizing digital files). In the end, that can’t last; hence, the tapering, a change of government by election, and a strengthening of copyright laws.


  3. RE the ‘short’ PBS video, FYI that’s just the ‘trailer’. there is a “Part 1” and “Part 2” each about an hour long. Good viewing. (look below the linked video to find the part one part two)