Corante

AUTHORS

Donna Wentworth
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile)

Ernest Miller
( Archive | Home )

Elizabeth Rader
( Archive | Home )

Jason Schultz
( Archive | Home )

Wendy Seltzer
( Archive | Home | Technorati Profile )

Aaron Swartz
( Archive | Home )

Alan Wexelblat
( Archive | Home )

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.

What Does "Copyfight" Mean?

Copyfight, the Solo Years: April 2002-March 2004

COPYFIGHTERS
a Typical Joe
Academic Copyright
Jack Balkin
John Perry Barlow
Benlog
beSpacific
bIPlog
Blogaritaville
Blogbook IP
BoingBoing
David Bollier
James Boyle
Robert Boynton
Brad Ideas
Ren Bucholz
Cabalamat: Digital Rights
Cinema Minima
CoCo
Commons-blog
Consensus @ Lawyerpoint
Copyfighter's Musings
Copyfutures
Copyright Readings
Copyrighteous
CopyrightWatch Canada
Susan Crawford
Walt Crawford
Creative Commons
Cruelty to Analog
Culture Cat
Deep Links
Derivative Work
Detritus
Julian Dibbell
DigitalConsumer
Digital Copyright Canada
Displacement of Concepts
Downhill Battle
DTM:<|
Electrolite
Exploded Library
Bret Fausett
Edward Felten - Freedom to Tinker
Edward Felten - Dashlog
Frank Field
Seth Finkelstein
Brian Flemming
Frankston, Reed
Free Culture
Free Range Librarian
Michael Froomkin
Michael Geist
Michael Geist's BNA News
Dan Gillmor
Mike Godwin
Joe Gratz
GrepLaw
James Grimmelmann
GrokLaw
Groklaw News
Matt Haughey
Erik J. Heels
ICANNWatch.org
Illegal-art.org
Induce Act blog
Inter Alia
IP & Social Justice
IPac blog
IPTAblog
Joi Ito
Jon Johansen
JD Lasica
LawMeme.org
Legal Theory Blog
Lenz Blog
Larry Lessig
Jessica Litman
James Love
Alex Macgillivray
Madisonian Theory
Maison Bisson
Kevin Marks
Tim Marman
Matt Rolls a Hoover
miniLinks
Mary Minow
Declan McCullagh
Eben Moglen
Dan Moniz
Napsterization
Nerdlaw
NQB
Danny O'Brien
Open Access
Open Codex
John Palfrey
Chris Palmer
Promote the Progress
PK News
PVR Blog
Eric Raymond
Joseph Reagle
Recording Industry vs. the People
Lisa Rein
Thomas Roessler
Seth Schoen
Doc Searls
Seb's Open Research
Shifted Librarian
Doug Simpson
Slapnose
Slashdot.org
Stay Free! Daily
Sarah Stirland
Swarthmore Coalition
Tech Law Advisor
Technology Liberation Front
Teleread
Siva Vaidhyanathan
Vertical Hold
Kim Weatherall
Weblogg-ed
David Weinberger
Matthew Yglesias

LINKABLE + THINKABLE
AKMA
Timothy Armstrong
Bag and Baggage
Charles Bailey
Beltway Blogroll
Between Lawyers
Blawg Channel
bk
Chief Blogging Officer
Drew Clark
Chris Cohen
Crawlspace
Crooked Timber
Daily Whirl
Dead Parrots Society
Delaware Law Office
J. Bradford DeLong
Betsy Devine
Dispositive
Ben Edelman
EEJD
Ernie the Attorney
FedLawyerGuy
Foreword
How Appealing
Industry Standard
IP Democracy
IPnewsblog
IP Watch
Dennis Kennedy
Rick Klau
Wendy Koslow
Kuro5hin.org
Elizabeth L. Lawley
Jerry Lawson
Legal Reader
Likelihood of Confusion
Chris Locke
Derek Lowe
Misbehaving
MIT Tech Review
NewsGrist
OtherMag
Paper Chase
Frank Paynter
PHOSITA
Scott Rosenberg
Scrivener's Error
Jeneane Sessum
Silent Lucidity
Smart Mobs
Trademark Blog
Eugene Volokh
Kevin Werbach

ORGANIZATIONS
ARL
Berkman @ Harvard
CDT
Chilling Effects
CIS @ Stanford
CPSR
Copyright Reform
Creative Commons
DigitalConsumer.org
DFC
EFF
EPIC
FIPR
FCC
FEPP
FSF
Global Internet Proj.
ICANN
IETF
ILPF
Info Commons
IP Justice
ISP @ Yale
NY for Fair Use
Open Content
PFF
Public Knowledge
Shidler Center @ UW
Tech Center @ GMU
U. Maine Tech Law Center
US Copyright Office
US Dept. of Justice
US Patent Office
W3C


In the Pipeline: Don't miss Derek Lowe's excellent commentary on drug discovery and the pharma industry in general at In the Pipeline

Copyfight

« Facebook Sues Yahoo! - Right Back Atyoo! | Main | 2nd Circuit Rules on Viacom v YouTube »

April 6, 2012

Copyright Official Fails, Techdirt Foams

Email This Entry

Posted by Alan Wexelblat

Let's start with a couple things we agree on: Maria Pallante, the Register of Copyrights, is a copyright maximalist. As you can see from her public background, she's worked for organizations like the National Writer's Union and the Guggenheim Museum that consistently hold a maximalist, and author-centric view of copyright. It's also clear that she believes the purpose of copyright is to help people make money, and that exceptions to copyright monopolies should be narrowly drawn.

Why this is surprising, or why it causes Techcrunch's Mike Masnick positively to foam at the mouth is beyond me. Masnick notes that in two recent talks she's taken a retrograde and maximalist position, and then goes on to rant that this means she "doesn't understand her job" and that holding such views should be "grounds for termination."

Beg pardon? Since when has the Copyright Office been any bastion of progressive viewpoints, or even vaguely friendly to "the copyleft agenda" - whatever that might be.
Masnick's major point seems to be that he thinks the purpose of copyright is to promote some nebulous social value. If the head of the Copyright Office seems to think the purpose of copyrights is to make money for the rights-holder that's kind of disappointing and unenlightened, but hardly a shock. Masnick seems to be referring to what I've been calling "The Breyer Test", but hasn't noticed that Breyer was writing a minority opinion.

It's an opinion I happen to agree with, but it's still the minority opinion. What Pallante is reflecting is the majority opinion, which is to say the settled law of the land. So we have a high government official saying she agrees with the law of the land, and this is cause for ranting... how? I dunno, Techdirt is a better (or at least more popular) blog than Copyfight, so maybe I should write more rants and less reasoned posts.

Comments (8) + TrackBacks (0) | Category: Counterpoint


COMMENTS

1. john e miller on April 6, 2012 4:52 PM writes...

Well, I am not going to comment one way or another on copyright law or Ms. Pallante's copyright agenda. I personally have been called a 'statist' for wanting to work with or maybe stretch the limits of copyright exception as it exists today. Changing the law itself I will leave to others.

I used to subscribe to the TechDirt email summary but cancelled after counting that a TechDirt daily brief may contain up to 6 mentions of the word 'insane' -- shorthand I guess for those who disagree with Mr. Masnick.

Permalink to Comment

2. Androgynous Cowherd on April 7, 2012 3:52 PM writes...

Masnick's major point seems to be that he thinks the purpose of copyright is to promote some nebulous social value.

Actually, Masnick's major point is that according to the Constitution of the United States of America, the purpose of copyright is to promote the progress of science and the useful arts. If "the progress of science and the useful arts" is "some nebulous social value", then I suppose you are correct, but Masnick is then in distinguished company -- the others being names like Washington and Jefferson. :)

Further, it is well known that US courts have rejected "sweat of the brow" arguments for copyrights and similar monopolies, e.g. in striking down attempts to copyright phonebooks and databases. This seems to mean the courts reject the notion that the purpose of copyright is to make money for authors. Making money for authors is just a means to the end of promoting the progress of science and the useful arts.

Permalink to Comment

3. john e miller on April 7, 2012 8:26 PM writes...

One of Mr. Masnick's recurring claims is that IP Rights holders do not lose revenue through unauthorized reproduction & distribution as those persons on the receiving end were not ever likely purchasers of the materials.

He may be right that many or most of the unauthorized downloaders are never potential customers; then again, it is unlikely that there are none who would fit that category.

Permalink to Comment

4. Alan Wexelblat on April 8, 2012 7:14 AM writes...

@Anonymous: I'm aware of the Constitutional language; as I said, it's the basis on which Breyer's opinion rests. That said, Breyer uses this language to promote what ought to be a functional value calculus. Masnick, by contrast, seems to think that the language automatically means that copyright isn't there to make money for creators. "Promote the useful progress..." doesn't say for whom. Thus, nebulous.

@John: the studies I've seen on freeloaders generally are too simplistic and don't analyze the full network of effects. He may be right in that those who get illegal copies would never be purchasers of that specific product, but the more interesting (and complicated) question is whether the taking for free leads to increased paid consumer behavior later on, or over time.

Permalink to Comment

5. john e miller on April 8, 2012 2:38 PM writes...

Dr. AW -- The discussion in which I am directly involved regards via WIPO giving copyright exemption to persons who are blind or with other reading disabilities. The argument there, also, is that such persons would not be likely purchasers of a book.

However, once you say that a large component of the world's population is eligible for free renditions of a copyrighted work, a 'balance' of rights is created whereby there may be far more free copies in circulation by virtue of exception to copyright than through the 'normal exploitation of the work' or paid distribution channels... And everyone says they are for a balance of rights.

Permalink to Comment

6. Androgynous Cowherd on April 15, 2012 7:11 AM writes...

http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120407/00171418416/yes-copyrights-sole-purpose-is-to-benefit-public.shtml

Permalink to Comment

7. Alan Wexelblat on April 16, 2012 1:02 PM writes...

@A.C. Thanks. I still think he's wrong. If I get a break in my supposed-to-be-busy week I'll write a response.

Permalink to Comment

8. Androgynous Cowherd on April 21, 2012 4:52 AM writes...

Its sole official purpose, as stated in the Constitution, indubitably is to benefit the public. Of course, others do have other purposes for it, and some of those peoples' other purposes for it are at odds with the official purpose, but those latter people are misusing it, more or less by definition.

Permalink to Comment

POST A COMMENT




Remember Me?



EMAIL THIS ENTRY TO A FRIEND

Email this entry to:

Your email address:

Message (optional):




RELATED ENTRIES
Is There an Independent "Right of Performance"?
Did the Director-General of WIPO Steal Employee DNA Samples?
More Evidence People Don't Learn from the Past
Phoenix (music) Supports Free Use
Robo-Papers "Flooding" Academic Conferences
Apple Appeals
Who's Taking All That Money?
Pointing the Troll Finger in the Correct Direction