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Here we'll explore the nexus of legal rulings, Capitol Hill policy-making, technical standards development, and technological innovation that creates -- and will recreate -- the networked world as we know it. Among the topics we'll touch on: intellectual property conflicts, technical architecture and innovation, the evolution of copyright, private vs. public interests in Net policy-making, lobbying and the law, and more.

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Copyfight

« The Key to a Good (Fair Use) Defense | Main | Copyright Balance Gone With the Wind? »

October 27, 2004

I'm Mad As Hell, and I'm Not Going to Pay For It Anymore

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Posted by

Cory responds below to a Copyfight reader who suggests that the way to avoid being asked to pay for a particular product again and again simply to enjoy traditional "me2me" time- and space-shifting "privileges" (à la HBO ) is to refuse to purchase the product altogether. Needless to say, Cory disagrees:


That's a cool personal moral code, but it's not the one I adopt. Copyright is a limited monopoly given on our behalf to creators. What a creator can and can't demand of you is spelled out by lawmakers, who balance the cost to us of having monopolies in the market with the benefit of creating incentives to produce work we can enjoy.

When a creator conditions use or access of his work beyond the scope of copyright (you must stand on your head, you must not make a backup, you may not sell this on), it's not a fair market in creativity that can be corrected by directing a purchase in the right direction: it's an abuse of a regulatory monopoly that picks my pocket to line a right-holder's.

Monopolies aren't subject to market forces: that's why we have trust-busters. I think that buying from the ethical railway barons would not have caused the monopolistic railway barons to act better. We needed to go in with a fireaxe and bust their trust. I don't think that buying from ethical artists will get the big companies to act better either. Regulation -- the creation and maintenance of copyright -- created this mess, and only regulation -- changes to copyright -- will solve it, IMO.

Comments (6) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: IP Abuse


COMMENTS

1. Joseph Pietro Riolo on October 30, 2004 9:53 AM writes...

I don't agree with Cory Doctorow on this point.

Those who don't like restrictions as allowed by
copyright law or license or contract should be
strongly encouraged to boycott the products from
authors, artists, and entities that support the
restrictions or greatly reduce the amount of money
spent on these products. Rob is right on the money.

It is not just a personal moral code. It is an
effective way to convey your displeasure with the
authors, artists, and entities that support the
restrictions. It is far more effective than the
Congress that is heavily biased toward artists and
authors.


Joseph Pietro Riolo
<riolo@voicenet.com>

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
in this comment in the public domain.

Permalink to Comment

2. Joseph Pietro Riolo on October 30, 2004 9:54 AM writes...


I don't agree with Cory Doctorow on this point.

Those who don't like restrictions as allowed by
copyright law or license or contract should be
strongly encouraged to boycott the products from
authors, artists, and entities that support the
restrictions or greatly reduce the amount of money
spent on these products. Rob is right on the money.

It is not just a personal moral code. It is an
effective way to convey your displeasure with the
authors, artists, and entities that support the
restrictions. It is far more effective than the
Congress that is heavily biased toward artists and
authors.


Joseph Pietro Riolo
<riolo@voicenet.com>

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
in this comment in the public domain.

Permalink to Comment

3. Joseph Pietro Riolo on November 1, 2004 4:58 AM writes...

Oh man, three identical comments from me!

I am sorry for that. When I submitted my comment,
I got the error message saying "Rebuild failed:
Template '' does not have an Output File." I
assumed that my comment never got through and
I tried several times to submit my comment.
Hence, multiple identical comments.


Joseph Pietro Riolo
<riolo@voicenet.com>

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
in this comment in the public domain.

Permalink to Comment

4. Joseph Pietro Riolo on November 1, 2004 7:47 PM writes...

Oh man, three identical comments from me!

I am sorry for that. I got an error when I submitted
my comment leading me to believe that my comment
never got through. I was informed that the problem
is now fixed.


Joseph Pietro Riolo
<riolo@voicenet.com>

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
in this comment in the public domain.

Permalink to Comment

5. L. Mann on November 6, 2004 3:42 AM writes...

Isn't there an issue stemming from the fact that for music, especially, the artist may not be the rights-holder, or may have such a bad deal from their label that they make virtually nothing from royalties?

whom does boycotting hurt?

On the other hand, isn't a copyright only a monopoly to the point that there is nothing you are willing to substitute for the particular product?

So if you buy something else, isn't that a signal that consumers find something undesirable about the product? Then the question is: what behavior (on the part of labels or rights-owners) is encouraged by that signal?

These mutations of the original scope of a copyright may be unfair, or even against a moral belief about how we relate to music and other created materials, but is it monopolistic behavior in the economic sense of the term? Does it move the producer into dominating the market (the entire market of substitutable products)?

I think the equity issue is different from the market and/or incentive issue.

Permalink to Comment

6. Joseph Pietro Riolo on November 7, 2004 10:23 AM writes...

Commenting on L. Mann's comment:

I don't think that the artists are too stupid to sign
bad deal with their labels. I won't be surprised if
they have unrealistic expectations that they will become
rich in a short time. Moreover, they always can get
back their copyright from labels during 5-year period
after 35 years.

You asked whom the boycott will hurt. It will affect
all people and entities on the line up to author or
artist. Some will suffer. Some will be hit very
lightly.

The customers are very fortunate that copyright is
not a total monopoly because there are some foundational
pieces of knowledge that are not copyrightable. However,
in order to send a message to the authors and artists
that their products are not welcome or what they do are
not acceptable is through boycott. Writing letters to
them may help but usually does not have the same effect
as not buying or using their products.

A good business model requires the sellers to listen to
customers' opinions. If they choose to ignore their
opinions, they will lose money. This in turn will affect
the authors and artists because there is no more seller
to buy their products.

A lone producer who is a control freak that wants to
control how, where, when, and what you use the copyrighted
materials would not be considered as a monopolistic behavior.
But, when a group of many producers that think and do the
same, the collective starts to exhibit monopolistic
behavior. This is what is happening in various
industries.


Joseph Pietro Riolo
<riolo@voicenet.com>

Public domain notice: I put all of my expressions
in this comment in the public domain.

Permalink to Comment


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