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About this weblog
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.

Disclaimer: the opinions expressed in this weblog are those of the authors and not of their respective institutions.

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November 16, 2004

Copyright Mashup Remains a Threat

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The good people at Public Knowledge have one-stop shopping for learning about and taking steps to oppose the copyright mashup bill that may once again be on the verge of passing.

Michael Grebb @ Wired:


Several lobbying camps from different industries and ideologies are joining forces to fight an overhaul of copyright law, which they say would radically shift in favor of Hollywood and the record companies and which Congress might try to push through during a lame-duck session that begins this week.

The Senate might vote on HR2391, the Intellectual Property Protection Act, a comprehensive bill that opponents charge could make many users of peer-to-peer networks, digital-music players and other products criminally liable for copyright infringement. The bill would also undo centuries of "fair use" -- the principle that gives Americans the right to use small samples of the works of others without having to ask permission or pay.


Update (November 17): PK's updated action alert:

[It's] after the election, and the Senate is holding a lame duck session in an effort to pass what they could not before. This means, just like a Hollywood horror film, many bills are back from the dead. To get them passed, the content industry may try to put all their eggs in one basket and pass one big "omnibus" bill, or they could hitch the bills individually to other bills that have momentum. Regardless, you voiced your concerns before, and we need you to do it again.

Comments (1) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Laws and Regulations


COMMENTS

1. John X on November 22, 2004 2:05 PM writes...

Please read this:

The Copyright Funnel
By John X

WHY COPYRIGHT LAWS ARE WRONG

INPUT

Why we live with The Funnel Copyright System.
A homage to the many creators
who died poor while
their works made
the copyright
industry
very
rich

OUTPUT


Principles:

There will always be a funnel for all creations. Not all creations will reach all the public. The rule is and will always be "Some of the creations will reach some of the public some of the time".

For security reasons not all creations can or should be made available to the public. For example, the design of an atomic bomb.

The laws are wrong in being concerned about creating incentives to have more works created. The theoretical concern of the law, it is claimed, is about the input (wide) side of the funnel, to incentivate the producers of the works, the creators.

The copyright and contract laws act to reduce the output side of the funnel as small as possible. We can the say this is the The Funnel Copyright System that has destroyed the quality of the works. Nevertheless The Funnel Copyright System is good for the copyright industry because it reduces internal (old works competing with new works) and external competition (works from other publishers).

The actual result The Funnel Copyright System is to incentivate the copyright industry to become political and courtroom investors for the purpose of acquiring the works of the creators at the least cost and exploiting the public who consumes the works with the highest prices.

Another result of The Funnel Copyright System is the creation of many organizations to protect the interests of the copyright industry at the expense of the consumers, who are generally unprotected by legislators and the courts.

To further eliminate competition and have greater control of the output end of the funnel, the copyright industry will consolidate into fewer and bigger companies that will monopolize more creations and the access of the public.

Another result of the The Funnel Copyright System is to hide the works of individual creators, thereby suppressing the creation of more works. The vast majority of creations are not made available to the vast majority of people under The Funnel Copyright System and represents a terrible loss. The copyright industry couldn't care less about this situation.

When the works of creators are hidden and suppressed, non-talented creators fill the void by passing their work as creation. The copyright industry likes this because the non-talented creator creations are cheaper and more the creators are more easily controlled.

The correct thing is to have incentives so more creations are made available to the public. The concern should be for the output side of the funnel to be as wide as possible. Ideally the funnel is eliminated. But this is bad for publishers, so the Internet and P2P is an enemy for the copyright industry because this industry is pro The Funnel Copyright System.

The best incentive is freedom to create and freedom to use the created works.

Not everyone is a real creator. For example, anyone can write a "poem" or a "song" or a scientific treaty explaining why the earth is flat, but not everyone knows what he or she are writing about.

The real creators can be paid with public funds.

The public can pay for their enjoyment or use of the creations through taxes.

Taxes can also finance or subsidize big budget creations. For example, movies. These creations can then be given short period monopolies, to the creators.

What is fashionable or popular is determined by the copyright industry through intensive promotion, not by the creators or the public.

When the copyright industry talks about the welfare of creators and their employees, you are hearing wolves in sheep's clothing.

Whatever income is lost by the copyright industry if the output end if FCS is ended or reduced, it is money saved by the consumers, who will spend the savings in such a manner that more taxable wealth is created, so no jobs are lost and with the taxes the creators can be paid.

The copyright industry can still profit from the packaging and delivery of the creations, without having a monopoly over the creations, just like sellers of food.

If the copyright industry is to profit from the work of creators, the law and the state must insure that an equal or greater benefits reaches the creators, considering that creators cannot defend their natural rights against the copyright industry and their hired gun lawyers.

The current laws create an incentive for the copyright industry to take creations that are not fashionable or popular off the market, regardless of its values, to be put in dead creation vaults, where the creations cannot be used by anyone, even the creator who created it. In The Funnel Copyright System, most creations are lost forever within the funnel and never come out. The creations were thus destroyed by the copyright laws.

The laws have created little incentive for creators create more. A few creators who are artists survive but the vast majority does not.

The ideas of The Funnel Copyright System was developed when slavery was common and acceptable.

The maximum flow of creations at the reduced side of the funnel is achieved by making the reduced end of the funnel as wide as possible. That should have been the purpose of the copyright laws in the first place. The writers of the laws simply got off the wrong foot, not an uncommon thing and worked on the wrong side of the funnel and came up with The Funnel Copyright System.

The constitution instead of saying "To promote the Progress of Science and Useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries . . . ." should say "To promote the Progress of Science and Useful Arts, by securing for unlimited limited Time free access to Author's Writings and Discoveries . . . .".

When it cannot be determined what is and what is not in the public domain, everything is on the public domain in the people's perception.

The copyright industry's rights will not be respected until the copyright industry respects the rights of the creators.

Everything created will eventually be digitized and freely transferable electronically very quickly. No one can stop that if it is done in the privacy of the home, even if the states label the copier "criminal".

Label enough or the wrong citizens "criminals" and the people will revolt.

Legislators will not be respected until the output side of the funnel is made to be as wide as possible. That is their job. if they work for the voters and not the contributors.

This is WHY COPYRIGHT LAWS ARE WRONG.

Note: While this writing is based on American law, but the principles apply to all nations.

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