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MafiAA cronyism & harassment
October 21, 2011 8:12 AM   Subscribe

A FOIA request by Christopher Soghoian revealed that Obama administration officials, including Copyright Czar Victoria Espinel, Biden’s deputy chief of staff Alan Hoffman, and criminal prosecutor Lanny Breuer, negotiated the deal between ISPs and copyright holders to punish subscribers whose IP addresses participated in copyright infringement.

Another FOIA by Techdirt has exposed a New York City anti-piracy PSA contest for school kids as being directed by NBC Universal, entrants must parrot NBC's talking points and give up their copyright. Techdirt has now launched their own contest that lets entrants present their own opinion.

Gavin “Tex” Warren, an investigator previous employed by anti-piracy group AFACT, the Australian arm of the MPAA's FACT group, discusses tactics used to manipulate the police and lawmakers, including boosting statistics and linking piracy to drug trafficking.

The Sydney Morning Herald has outed AFACT's sibling the Movie Rights Group as being a pornography bigwigs Matthew and Richard Clapham.

Also, ACTA has been signed by 8 of 11 participants, with the remaining three, the E.U., Mexico, and Switzerland, have issued a joint statement affirming their intention to sign "as soon as practicable".
posted by jeffburdges (52 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 


Washington is just snakes all the way down anymore.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:21 AM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


The US stopped operating as a representative democracy decades ago. We are now simply witnessing the rush to strip the last bits of wire out of the walls. It's all over save for nailing the condemned sign on the door.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:33 AM on October 21, 2011 [15 favorites]


Arrrrrg vs GOML!
posted by victors at 8:33 AM on October 21, 2011


One top official even used her personal e-mail account at least once in the course of communicating during the negotiations with executives and lobbyists from companies ranging from AT&T to Universal Music.

I'd like to see some more of that follow-up evidence the OMB hasn't released, because this bit strongly suggests to my mind that some of this may have been unofficial back-channel dealing rather than stuff signed off on at the top.

Any political organization like the White House is bound to be full of fast-talking, opportunistic "mover and shaker" types these days, who pride themselves on how well connected they are and on their savvy and cunning as independent players and deal makers. So I'd like to see a little more evidence this was actually officially sanctioned at the highest levels (meaning, specifically at the level of the president) before I fully decide what to make of it.

Either way, a house cleaning is probably long overdue, but it's been tried by a Democratic president before and the public only took it as further evidence of his weakness.
posted by saulgoodman at 8:34 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


It is evidence of his weakness. Court intrigue is bad, but loosing control over court intrigue is worse.
posted by Grimgrin at 8:37 AM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Either way, a house cleaning is probably long overdue

Little sense in not starting at the top.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 8:54 AM on October 21, 2011


It is evidence of his weakness.

After Obama's running interference for BP, appointing securities deregulation architects (and profiteers) Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers to "fix" the financial crisis, and indulging in well-documented, widespread cronyism, I fail to see how anyone can interpret this as "weakness".
posted by ryanshepard at 9:03 AM on October 21, 2011 [13 favorites]


While I strongly disagree with the way that they're going about it, I think I can see the governments' point of view in this.

Increasingly, Western countries are becoming information-based economies. We can't rely on selling our natural resources any more, because we don't have a lot left that we can economically dig out of the ground. Manufacturing has moved offshore long ago, and as our wage expectations rise and advantage in education diminishes, service jobs are rapidly following. As nations, we're increasingly finding that the only things we're actually good at is creating knowledge and information: new technologies to license to other countries,* new products, new media.

There's at least an argument that, in order to survive over the next few decades, we need to create a world in which all forms of intellectual property -- copyright, trademark, patent -- are respected and strictly policed. Because a world in which "information wants to be free" is a world in which we have nothing to sell.

*and with the massive cuts to science education and research budgets across Europe and to a lesser extent the US while India and China are investing massively, let's see how long that advantage lasts...
posted by metaBugs at 9:03 AM on October 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Copyright is good. People should pay for music instead of illegally downloading it.

That's what this is all about.
posted by Ironmouth at 9:04 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


...of course, even if you buy that argument as being logical (I'm ignorant in these fields; I'd appreciate evidence pro/con), whether it's moral is a completely different .zip of eBooks.
posted by metaBugs at 9:05 AM on October 21, 2011


music is a lie. don't pay for lies.
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 9:11 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Copyright is good.

Not with 120 year terms.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 9:19 AM on October 21, 2011 [25 favorites]


It is evidence of his weakness. Court intrigue is bad, but loosing control over court intrigue is worse.

In the current US media landscape, anything a Democratic president does is evidence of weakness. Or will be used as an opportunity to associate him even more closely in the public perception with the language of Stalinist or Fascist dictatorship (9 out of 10 headlines would scream "Obama political purge," and there'd be "Night of the Long Knives" comparisons). We basically threw Obama to the sharks when we didn't start marching en mass to support the policy proposals we really liked on day one. The Republicans noticed our failure and inserted the Tea Party to push popular momentum back the other way again, pure and simple, because the understand power.

Really--consider the backlash against Carter when he realized his entire cabinet was full of Washington sleaze-balls that had probably only really been sold to him as the best people for the job due to the absence of any other plausibly qualified and experienced candidates and the relentless middle-brow wisdom of the beltway media establishment.

Before the RIAA attorneys were appointed, most of Obama's previous DOJ candidates were held up indefinitely by congress. His original candidates were much better candidates, but they couldn't get through the process. I would bet good money he got word from his own party leadership that the only way to get any appointments at all through would be to make that deal.

But this kind of thing is not at all surprising to me given the current state of the culture around politics. Disappointing, but not surprising. Nearly everything that happens, from what I can tell, is somehow related to business dealing in the current political landscape.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:22 AM on October 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Vancouver, BC is a pretty great town.
posted by LordSludge at 9:27 AM on October 21, 2011


Copyright is good. People should pay for music instead of illegally downloading it.

People should pay artists that they like to listen to to facilitate them creating more music. They shouldn't pay fees to middlemen who buy up the rights to songs in order to own a revenue stream in perpetuity.
posted by T.D. Strange at 9:28 AM on October 21, 2011 [24 favorites]


After Obama's running interference for BP, appointing securities deregulation architects (and profiteers) Timothy Geithner and Larry Summers to "fix" the financial crisis, and indulging in well-documented, widespread cronyism, I fail to see how anyone can interpret this as "weakness".

Well, he didn't just pick and appoint them out of nowhere, and we were in the middle of an ongoing financial crisis at the time that none of us yet understood the particulars of very well, and we had even most senior members of his own party calling for "an orderly transition" and "stability" at the Treasury at the time, remember?

The Federal Reserve isn't really subject to executive control (or much congressional oversight for that matter). It's basically a board of private banks that get to make their own decisions independently of any branch of government, so if you don't pick people that the Fed is willing to play nice with (like Geithner, Summers, etc.), you can very quickly end up with some serious working problems on your hands.

He's since axed Summers. That's a good step. I hate to say it, because Ron Paul's ideas about abolishing the Fed are crazy dangerous, but it might actually be a good idea to put some better checks on the power of the Fed. It basically operates like a wholly independent, additional branch of government unto itself right now.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:30 AM on October 21, 2011


And, in my view anyway, a lot of what might look like incomprehensible decisions to you and me start to make a little more sense when you consider the nature of the Fed's role.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:32 AM on October 21, 2011


Copyright is good. People should pay for music instead of illegally downloading it.

That's what the IP industry is portraying as their goal, for sure, but the real issue is Intellectual Property, in the general sense.

"What, you think just because you have an idea, it belongs to you?"

Repeat that quote to yourself until the difference between how you answer for yourself and the government and IP industry are answering it makes you mad.

Your thought crimes are coming, because you won't own them and having them will be infringing someone else's copyright/trademark/patent.
posted by Revvy at 9:51 AM on October 21, 2011


Well, he didn't just pick and appoint them out of nowhere, and we were in the middle of an ongoing financial crisis at the time that none of us yet understood the particulars of very well ..."

A crisis that they were instrumental in creating and, at least in the case of Geithner, exacerbated while in office and had a vested interest in prolonging.

... if you don't pick people that the Fed is willing to play nice with (like Geithner, Summers, etc.), you can very quickly end up with some serious working problems on your hands.

He's being well-rewarded for his pragmatism, then, I guess.
posted by ryanshepard at 9:54 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Music is not "thoughts," "ideas," or "intellectual property," thought.

It's literally stuff someone made with their own hands. It can take months to make even a relatively stripped down finished work of recording art, and cost easily thousands in personal time invested, musical and recording gear.

No one is stealing ideas out of your head by asking you to pay for copies of recordings that real people--in a lot of cases, real people making many personal sacrifices who are themselves in bad financial circumstances--made.

I agree it sucks that for so long the middlemen got most of the reward for exploiting creative workers, but I will never agree that the creative workers themselves don't deserve to expect a fair wage for their work if we expect to consume it.
posted by saulgoodman at 9:56 AM on October 21, 2011


Copyright is good. People should pay for music instead of illegally downloading it.

If large companies were profiting less, and artists were profiting more from copyright...I would be down with it.

But as it stands, no man can live and collect royalties for a 140 year copyright. This is just another reason why I have no problem professing that information wants to be free.

Also...if anyone wants to trade digital music collections with me, I'm down.
posted by hal_c_on at 9:58 AM on October 21, 2011 [5 favorites]


You're not talking to me; your talking at me ryanshepard. I'm not interested in that kind of conversation anymore, really, so I guess we're done. Cheers!
posted by saulgoodman at 9:59 AM on October 21, 2011


Yeah, hey, it's not like it's against the law or anything.

And when someone wrongs another, by taking from them what was their due, the person who was wronged should not be able to effectively seek redress ... That would be unreasonable!

Anyway, artists who are true need not receive remuneration for their art ... they should flip hamburgers during the day to make their angst more authentic.

And, you know, by undermining copyright we are doing the artists a favor ... we are stopping them from hurting themselves and their art by licensing it to music companies who will try to bring it to the widest possible audience and, in doing so, put that artist in a position to have their art pay for the fulltime process of its creation ... which is a BAD THING!

Yeah, awful that!
posted by jannw at 9:59 AM on October 21, 2011


You're not talking to me; your talking at me ryanshepard. I'm not interested in that kind of conversation anymore, really, so I guess we're done. Cheers!

I'm not sure how I could engage your "practical" defense of a glaringly rotten status quo in any other way, saulgoodman. I could be more conversational and eloquent, I guess, but I think the plain facts speak fairly well for themselves.
posted by ryanshepard at 10:07 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


we are stopping them from hurting themselves and their art by licensing it to music companies who will try to bring it to the widest possible audience and, in doing so, put that artist in a position to have their art pay for the fulltime process of its creation ... which is a BAD THING!

Steve Albini - "The Problem With Music" (scroll down for a sample record budget and example take-home pay)
posted by scrowdid at 10:17 AM on October 21, 2011 [3 favorites]


Copyright is good. People should pay for music instead of illegally downloading it.

Should people pay for hearing it on the radio, or seeing it on TV? Think carefully about your answer.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:22 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


loosing [sic] control over court intrigue

Wait a minute--"court intrigue"? I think I see the problem. You must think we're a monarchy.

Should people pay for hearing it on the radio, or seeing it on TV?

They do already in the form of performance royalties (well, they don't, but the TV and radio stations do).
posted by saulgoodman at 10:25 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


The current fight over intellectual property is really not about creators getting compensated. Only a few fringe people think that creators should not be compensated. Rather, it is about the system we put in place to encourage creative work, and how well that system is working in a world where corporate rights-holders can bring large amounts of money to bear both in lawsuits and to influence legislation.

The patent system is broken enough that having a great invention is now just about guaranteed to get you sued by someone with an overly broad patent, and the process of fighting is such that it is often cheaper to settle even you are sure you would have won in court. Many people think this is not how the system should work.

The copyright system is less broken in some ways. However, the terms are so long that many works languish in a limbo where no one can use them because the rights-holders can't be determined. In addition, many people (myself included) feel that terms longer than a generation (More than five, now!) are harmful to creators, as creation is an inherently iterative enterprise.

In addition, there are other working models out there. The fashion industry, for example, enjoys almost no intellectual property protection. This is not an argument that no one should have such protection, simply a note that perhaps we should look at the possibilities.

In this particular set of articles, what bothers me is not the idea that people violating copyright might get punished, but that each of the articles linked shows corporate influence being wielded to change both public policy and public perception in order to further intellectual property goals which may not in fact be for the best of everyone.

Intellectual property is a man-made concept. The term the extent of the rights granted are matters of policy, not fact. Right now we are letting large corporate rights-holders have a huge influence on those policies. I do not think that is a good thing. I do not think that leads to a system which rewards and encourages innovation and creation.
posted by Nothing at 10:37 AM on October 21, 2011 [18 favorites]


I agree with copyright laws in theory as originally stated, but not in the current extended implementation. Thus I am always careful to recommend you not try to illegally obtain media that is less than 20 years old.

Unless of course you already bought it in another medium... if you own a book, feel free to steal the Kindle version. If you bought the album on tape, sure, download the CD. You have the VHS? Download the Blu-Ray. We shouldn't have to pay again and again and again for the same content just because it changed form slightly.

It's kind of crazy but you know what company seems to get this the best lately? Disney, ironically. Look at the Pixar releases. You buy the Blu-Ray copy of your kid's favorite Pixar movie, and it comes with the Blu-Ray, the DVD, a digital download... newer titles even have the 3D version included. And they offer upgrade deals to trade up your older DVD copies to the Blu-Ray version. They are actually making it easy (and less expensive) for you to have your entertainment in multiple forms. Sure, they didn't use to do this, and of course the Empire of the Mouse is arguably the largest single abuser of copyright in the US today, but at least this is progress. From a certain point of view.
posted by caution live frogs at 10:47 AM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]



They do already in the form of performance royalties (well, they don't, but the TV and radio stations do).
posted by saulgoodman at 1:25 PM on October 21


I'm not talking about them. I'm talking about the audience (i.e. the people who are accused of the illegal downloading.) I turn on the TV, enter a channel number, and without paying a cent a torrent of copyrighted images, video and music floods into my home. I did not sign a contract, I am not party to any copyright deal deal. I pay nothing (assume I don't have cable). Yet my acquisition and consumption of that copyrighted material is legal.

I turn on my computer, I enter a web address, and a torrent of copyrighted images, music, and video floods into my home. This is copyright infringement, a federal crime punishable by up to 5 years in prison.

What is the difference?

(1) Control: When I do not have control over what material floods into my home, it is legal. When I have full control, it is illegal. But perversely, if I buy the industry's party line,the curation of content--deciding what to show people--is supposed to be a valuable service, so I am getting extra value by not having control and having a professional send me content that I might like.

(2) Advertising: When the material is interspersed with messages inducing me to spend money, it is legal. When these messages are absent, removed, or skipped in their entirety, it is illegal. I understand the advertiser pays to have their messages spliced into the copyrighted content, and the content owner needs to be compensated for breaking that up. But what do I lose?

In order to justify the delivery of this immensely valuable content to me for no money from me, I too must be sacrificing something. But what? What things of commensurable value am I losing or sacrificing in (1) and (2) in order to get free-as-in-no-money content?

Answer this question and you will begin to understand why people who have cable, and netflix, and hulu, and itunes, nonetheless pirate copyrighted content.

But you will also understand the history of television and broadcasting. You will understand that government and media have been intertwined from the very beginning. When you see news reports like the one in the original post, they are not about industry influencing government, they are also about government influencing industry.

Jack Valenti was President Johnson's chief of staff. Then he was the head of the MPAA for 38 years. That isn't an example of a political moving into media or the media industry trying to influence government. That's an example of media and government occupying the same cognitive and sociological point in space.

Answer the question: what are you exchanging in order to get this content for free? Answer that question, and you will understand piracy as it exists today.
posted by Pastabagel at 10:51 AM on October 21, 2011 [6 favorites]


Unless of course you already bought it in another medium... if you own a book, feel free to steal the Kindle version. If you bought the album on tape, sure, download the CD. You have the VHS? Download the Blu-Ray. We shouldn't have to pay again and again and again for the same content just because it changed form slightly.

See, this is precisely not the reason people pirate. The cassette version of an album was always about 20-30% cheaper than the CD, even when they were sold side-by-side.Your argument might have merit if you encouraged people to download the cassette version of an album if they already own the CD, but then, no one does that do they?

And your Blu-ray argument is worse. The VHS version of the movie is literally 1/4 of the image content of the Bluray.

It doesn't change form slightly, it changes form considerably. No one pirates VHS or audiocassette versions of albums that are available on CD or Blu-ray. And there is considerable competition among release groups to release the best re-encodes of blu-ray movies. Even among pirates, they consider the differences significant.
posted by Pastabagel at 11:02 AM on October 21, 2011


hey ... I bought a postcard of the mona lisa when I was in Paris ... do ya think anyone will get upset if I liberate the original from the Louvre ... cause, y'know, I shouldn't have to pay twice!
posted by jannw at 11:06 AM on October 21, 2011


I pay nothing (assume I don't have cable). Yet my acquisition and consumption of that copyrighted material is legal.

Well, point is, you do pay it, it's just a hidden cost. The cost gets passed on to advertisers because the stations pay performance rights organizations for affiliations in order to air performance rights organization protected content. The advertisers then, presumably, charge a little more at the checkout because it's part of their operating costs. It's part of the overhead for TV and radio stations that they have to cost into their advertising rates. But I get your point about the end-consumers expectations and why people pirate. And I realize it's a crappy system.

I thought artist-run cooperative record labels might be the solution, but apart from a few high profile exceptions (like Merge Records, for instance), consumers for the most part don't seem to care/notice about such fine distinctions and just continue to revile and un-repentantly rip off any and all record labels with equal gusto.

I just hate to think we're all supposed to be perfectly fine with exploiting creative workers as a class from now on, just due to the exigencies of how content is delivered, but that's probably just how it's going to be, so eat the rich I guess (and ironically, it's all at least partly due to the influence of the communist party's economically opportunistic views on US copyright law).
posted by saulgoodman at 11:10 AM on October 21, 2011


I'm afraid that argument is complete bullshit, metaBugs, since imaginary property simply isn't any sane basis for our trade deficit. We're outsourcing our engineering fairly quickly, making it wholly inapplicable to technology and patents. And the arts ain't exactly rocket science, as they say. In fact, all we'll achieve by restricting international dissemination of our artistic works is decreasing American/Western influence.

You know, our National Endowment for the Arts was among the first programs cut after the fall of communism because basically it's entire function was ultimately opposing the spread of communism. We should ideally refund the NEA, mandate that NEA funded work be freely redistributable by individuals, and chock up all international piracy to "promoting American interests".
posted by jeffburdges at 11:17 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


We shouldn't have to pay again and again and again for the same content just because it changed form slightly.

Ironically, this strikes me as much closer to the "buying a perpetual license to [read/view/hear] the content" model of DRM'd media than it does to the "This is MY [book/DVD/CD] to do what I want with and perhaps accidentally lose or destroy" model that the DRM/strong copyright people are trying to kill off.

When you bought the DVD you didn't enter into an agreement with the studio entitling you to every new edition or enhanced release in perpetuity. You bought that physical copy of that film, and then your relationship with the copyright owners ended.
posted by metaBugs at 11:17 AM on October 21, 2011


You know, all these reprehencible attempts at enforcing copyright would not exists if it actually were a good thing in it's present form. Artists lack the rent seeking ability of the media conglomerates.

We should obviously reduce copyright durations significantly, maybe six years with an optional additional 6 years for copyrights held solely by their original creators, i.e. no corporations beyond six years. In other words, your smaller artist cooperative publishers get twelve-ish year copyrights, while media conglomerates must either pay the artists better, by leaving them in control, or else sacrifice half a decade.

Also, all software copyrights should be restricted source code with compiled code receiving protection only when the source code is provided as well, i.e. restrict copyright to open source software. Our courts simply made a horrible mistake when they let copyright apply to utilitarian products like compiled code.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:24 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Well, point is, you do pay it, it's just a hidden cost. The cost gets passed on to advertisers ...

This is the common answer, and it is wrong. The fact that someone pirates a film does not change the fact that they probably also buy the advertised products, they just won't see the advertisement. So if your point were true, piracy wouldn't matter as long as we continue to buy Procter & Gamble's crap and Kellogg's cereal mixed with Wellbutrin, Celebrex and Viagra. In other words, the pirate is still a consumer, and he still pays for the advertising he never sees.

So why is pirating wrong, if the money still gets back to the content producer?
posted by Pastabagel at 11:30 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


I'm afraid that argument is complete bullshit, metaBugs, since imaginary property simply isn't any sane basis for our trade deficit.

Well, I didn't say that it was necessarily a good idea, only that I think it's what our governments are thinking. Honestly though, while I agree it's a bad idea I can't think of a better one. Cultural influence is all well and good, but what we really need is cash, and for that we need something naturally scarce (ores, manufacturing capacity, labour) or artificially scarce ("imaginary" property) that we can sell. We don't have the naturally scarce stuff, so the only way forward seems to be to enforce an artificial scarcity.

I agree that it sucks, but that's not enough. It can only be displaced by convincing the various leaders that some other option is better. I currently don't have any other ideas.

We should ideally refund the NEA, mandate that NEA funded work be freely redistributable by individuals, and chock up all international piracy to "promoting American interests".

...to what end? Perhaps everyone will love America, but you still need something that's scarce and in demand before they'll give you money.

To be clear: I'm not trying to argue a moral case here. My instinct is that copyright is useful for a society, but that the current crazily-long terms are a Bad Thing. Even if not economically (I have no idea), then at least morally. But like it or not, nations, like companies, are basically amoral when competing and planning for their own survival. It's the prisoner's dilemma: we can be nice (no ACTA) and hope that the younger nations are kind to us, or we can assume that they'll be the sharks that we once were and fight dirty in advance to protect ourselves.

I want to play nice. I just don't think there's a hope in hell that any politician, anywhere, will choose to do the same.
posted by metaBugs at 11:33 AM on October 21, 2011


There is a clear, material difference between laws that are established to protect the interests of creators and laws that are bought to secure the long-term profitability of middlemen, but I can't help but notice that some of you are happy to pretend there isn't.
posted by mhoye at 11:38 AM on October 21, 2011 [4 favorites]


Umm, our politicians have permitted our manufacturing to evaporate largely because they imagine we'll make money other ways, like that dumb ass imaginary property pipe dream. Ain't no solution but rebuilding our manufacturing, works for Germany.

"American interests" means "access to resources" across the world. Btw, educating foreigners here provides another major source for this "soft power". And the europeans are taking those foreign students from us as quickly as possible.
posted by jeffburdges at 11:48 AM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Researchers link Skype accounts to BitTorrent users

Ideally, they should send them installation instructions for peer block lists or whatever. heh
posted by jeffburdges at 12:02 PM on October 21, 2011


The alarming issue is that it's not even necessary for the government to be involved in this little cabal. A small handful of corporations can get together and essentially deliver extrajudicial punishment for any civil offenses they'd like.

What's to stop, for example, the large ISPs and Microsoft getting together and deciding to throttle or cut off your internet access because you're using a Mac? The fact that bootlegging music is illegal and using a Mac isn't? But sidestepping the courts is the whole point of this arrangement.
posted by Nahum Tate at 12:07 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


I'm glad you brought that up Nahum, as I was just at a lecture given by Adrian Johns (Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates), the thesis of which closely tracks yours: historically, intellectual property enforcement first takes extralegal channels, and resorts to legal maneouvres only when those fail or become too unpopular to sustain. This flows right through from 16th-century guilds (where membership included surrendering to regular searches by private police forces), through Edison's goons running around smashing patented cameras, all the way through to the modern internet era. Voluntary and private collusion is the norm, not the exception; the exception is law, which only forms when it is absolutely necessary for private interests to sustain their revenues, or when public resistance is sufficient to force the issue.
posted by mek at 12:22 PM on October 21, 2011 [2 favorites]


Related: The Case for Piracy: a lengthy (blog) post on ABC's site [no, not the American Broadcasting Company, but the Australian Broadcasting Corporation]
posted by filthy light thief at 12:34 PM on October 21, 2011 [1 favorite]


Peek a boo! I see you, jeffburdges.
posted by uncanny hengeman at 5:21 PM on October 21, 2011


ipredator.se
posted by stbalbach at 9:01 PM on October 21, 2011


See, this is precisely not the reason people pirate. The cassette version of an album was always about 20-30% cheaper than the CD, even when they were sold side-by-side.Your argument might have merit if you encouraged people to download the cassette version of an album if they already own the CD, but then, no one does that do they?

I know they used to download 128k MP3s. Which are hardly lossless compression. As long as the quality is good enough (which is a world away from perfect quality), most people go for cost and convenience in my experience.
posted by Francis at 5:44 AM on October 22, 2011


I'm not sure I can even follow arguments about copyright and IP any more. On the one hand, you have people who appear to believe that "Copyright is good. People should pay for music instead of illegally downloading it. That's what this is all about." An argument from ignorance, but nevertheless attractive in its simplicity.

On the other, you have BMG, Sony, UA and RIAA et al saying, "Our business model is predicated on a physical distribution system that is no longer relevant, but we depend on the rent that it provides, so we're going to move heaven and earth to make sure that any changes to the copyright system are the ones that preserve our business, no matter how stupid or anti-social." So now they're buying polititians and conspiring to get their way. (I know none of this is new.)

In the middle you have artists and consumers, both of whom would benefit from the elimination of the middle man and a move "free-er" markets. I think the current situation is just creating a new class of middlemen: service providers who facilitate piracy. Maybe that's a natural progression in the face of intransigence from the recording industry, but I don't think it's progress towards a fairer or more robust system, OR a better-functioning marketplace. Instead it's provoking an arms race between pirates and an ever more draconian set of legal strategies to fight "piracy", which will be defined by whoever has the ear of Government. Who benefits from this arrangement? Probably not the consumer or the artist.
posted by sneebler at 5:21 PM on October 22, 2011






First strikes issued under New Zealand's anti-piracy laws

How does a country the size of New Zeland even decide that cracking down on piracy benifits them? wtf?!?
posted by jeffburdges at 9:50 PM on November 1, 2011


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