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Stop lying to the public about their fair use rights
August 1, 2007 11:43 AM   Subscribe

Tech industry to FTC: stop studios from giving consumers scary, inaccurate copyright warnings.
posted by grobstein (26 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
Big talk from an industry that came up with "abort/retry/fail", AMIRITE?
posted by DU at 11:47 AM on August 1, 2007 [3 favorites]


So the end result of this would be changing a notice that no one pays attention to anyways.

Or the voiceover guy will make this minor change:

"This telecast is copyrighted by the NFL for the private use of our audience. Any other illegal use of this telecast or any pictures, descriptions, or accounts of the game without the NFL's consent is prohibited."
posted by smackfu at 11:58 AM on August 1, 2007


While they're at it, can they ask for permission to skip over the antitheft warnings, antitheft skits, flying logos, trailers for movies I don't want to see, and menu opening sequences?

On some DVDs, the only thing I'm allowed to skip is the bit advertised on the cover.
posted by ardgedee at 12:00 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Hmph. It's a shame nobody ever sued Nintendo for doing something similar; in their game booklets for many years, they explicitly stated that you had no right to make a backup of your software, even though the Supreme Court had decided that you most emphatically do.
posted by Malor at 12:01 PM on August 1, 2007


People's attitudes about what the law is can be shaped by what authority figures repeatedly tell them what it is. Forcing these authorities to be a little more accurate might shape people's attitudes over time, and build support for fair use (which many people wrongly view as illegal). /what I think is plausible

Yeah, maybe they'll reach a technically correct but meaningless fix, but I wouldn't write off the effort in advance.
posted by grobstein at 12:04 PM on August 1, 2007


I was just thinking about this problem when I read the copyright warning in the new Harry Potter book. [COPYRIGHT SPOILERS AHEAD]. I don't have it in front of me, but to paraphrase it said that any reproduction of the text had to be authorized by the publisher's written consent. That is a blatant mistatement of copyright law because it ignores fair use. The claim is false (in a way that goes beyond just failing to mention some unimportant or inapplicable exceptions). It is a lie.

I thought, having just noticed this for the first time, maybe this was a new development with Harry Potter. But then I checked other random books - cookbooks, other novels, etc. - and it was the same. And I thought, now clearly these warnings must be written and approved by the publishers' legal departments, full of lawyers expert in the field of copyright law. Are there no consequences when, as a lawyer, you approve a statement making a claim about the law that you must know is, as a matter of fact, false? Because it is in fact not the case that the only legally authorized reproductions of copyrighted content require the publisher's written consent.

In effect, the lawyers are giving legal advice to their clients that authorizes them to lie to the book-buying public, right? and I have to wonder whether the ethical codes applicable to lawyers, which forbid certain kinds of misrepresentation, have something to say about that.

Anyway, I'm glad to see that someone is pursuing a related complaint.
posted by chinston at 12:31 PM on August 1, 2007


The fact that corporations feel it is in their best interests to lie about it should be proof enough that telling the truth would be better for consumers.
posted by DU at 12:34 PM on August 1, 2007 [1 favorite]


Don't all of you know that copyright infringement is theft and must be punished by beheading? Why do you want to make it easier for theives to live, and harder for Derek Jeter to put food on his family?
posted by klangklangston at 12:43 PM on August 1, 2007


Those copyright notices have negligible effect, I think, but I don't think that this effort is quixotic.

The time has come for push-back against the big media producers, and part of that is to show that commercial and electoral muscle exists to oppose them. The reason that's important is that the big media companies have, over the last couple of decades, been engaging in a process which was once characterized as getting "eternal copyright on the installment plan". Every decade or so, the length of copyright has been extended by Congress, and that's got to stop.

I think this action by the CCIA is the first salvo in what will be a major commercial war, and part of the point of it is to show that it isn't just big media companies who have a dog in the fight.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:51 PM on August 1, 2007


This amused me greatly...
posted by popkinson at 1:02 PM on August 1, 2007


Sonner or later, they're going to claim in is illegal to even try and remember a melody in your own head.
posted by Astro Zombie at 1:08 PM on August 1, 2007


THOUGHTCRIME!!! THOUGHTCRIME!!!
posted by blue_beetle at 1:18 PM on August 1, 2007


This amused me greatly...
posted by popkinson at 2:02 PM on August 1 [+] [!]


You logged out? That is amusing.
posted by Terminal Verbosity at 1:49 PM on August 1, 2007


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posted by loquacious at 1:50 PM on August 1, 2007


BrokenTV's satirical print ad on unskippable DVD copyright warnings is apropos for the occasion.
posted by brownpau at 2:03 PM on August 1, 2007


In Europe, PlayStation games used to say "No Unauthorised Resale". As far as I can tell it had no meaning at all.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 at 3:05 PM on August 1, 2007


What's amazing is how many people actually believe what they are told in these warnings. I once had an argument over whether a book could be resold despite it saying something like "resale prohibited" on the copyright page.
posted by grouse at 3:35 PM on August 1, 2007


Why is Digg reposting MeFi stories?
posted by subaruwrx at 3:39 PM on August 1, 2007


Don't all of you know that copyright infringement is theft and must be punished by beheading?

I'm pretty sure you're supposed to cut of their hands.

And yeah, this is pretty hypocritical from the industry that came up with the EULA. It's really obnoxious that the only time you get reasonable public policy is when huge corporation battles another. Like Google and Microsoft and other tech companies fighting for Net Neutrality.
posted by delmoi at 4:43 PM on August 1, 2007


What's Digg?
posted by juiceCake at 4:45 PM on August 1, 2007


A collective organism prone to indigestion and apoplexy.
posted by ardgedee at 5:09 PM on August 1, 2007


It's about fucking time. Ever since I can remember (4-5 years old) I've thought that copyright notice was total BS. (Even though I certainly didn't know the law when I was young, it's always seemed to be vastly overreaching.)

This amused me greatly...

Wait a minute. People still actually load online advertisements on their computers?!?! Pshaw.
posted by mrgrimm at 6:10 PM on August 1, 2007


it said that any reproduction of the text had to be authorized by the publisher's written consent. That is a blatant mistatement of copyright law because it ignores fair use.

My understanding is that Fair Use is legally considered a defence, rather than a right, in which case the copyright statement seems both accurate and misleading - the perfect combination if you're a publisher :-)

"resale prohibited" on the other hand... BAD DOG! BAD!

I'm curious to see whether the FTC has the balls to do what is right, now that the bluff has been called.
posted by -harlequin- at 12:40 AM on August 2, 2007


The statute characterizes fair use not as a defense but as a "limitation of exclusive rights" of the copyright holder. I would argue therefore that there is a right to copy materials under fair use as much as there is a right to copy public domain materials.
posted by grouse at 12:46 AM on August 2, 2007


grouse: Nice. Thanks.
(I guess the defence notion comes from how the statute is so vague that you don't know whether what you are doing is fair use until after you've used it as your defence in court).
posted by -harlequin- at 12:53 AM on August 2, 2007


Wikipedia discusses the argument of whether fair use is a right or a defense.
posted by grouse at 2:12 AM on August 2, 2007


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