Posts by izogi

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to Henry Barnard,

    Political journalists hijacked for a trip to Iraq?

    I’d never say the party strategists didn’t delight in the thought of a distraction, but I think that had plenty of political value all by itself. It looked more to be about getting glowing excited reports on government policy in exchange for privileged access to something not normally available, plus the right to tick off the boxes on the CV about wearing body armour and reporting in a war zone.

    I get that reportage of this type of thing mightn’t happen at all if it didn’t happen as part of a propaganda-style PR stunt, but media still really needs to clearly disclose how their experience is being managed when they report on things like this. It would have been far more helpful to be outside the compound, talking to real people and examining the genuine relevance and likely effectiveness of what’s happening there, but that was never going to happen on this trip for multiple reasons. We’re lucky, at least, to have someone like Jon Stephenson (any others?) who seems to be capable of visiting and reporting on those sorts of places with a smattering of independence, but look what he’s just had to go through from friendly fire as a consequence!

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to Gabor Toth,

    And we don’t? A quick check of a couple of Canadian supermarkets with on-line sales show their retail prices for milk and eggs being lower than in NZ.

    I’d be prepared to believe that NZ pays more than other places, but if Canadian and US farmers are being heavily subsidised by taxpayers then it’s not really a fair comparison to simply look at end retail prices.

    NZ still does subsidise its own industry in certain ways which aren’t well quantified for comparison, and which the current government has little interest in researching how to quantify. eg. The externalities we’re putting up with in polluted water, as dairy intensifies so that the industry can flourish and export even more. Sure, some of the benefit gets spread around but part of it is also subsidising private gain.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to Alfie,

    Such small gains as have been secured are so insignificant that Tim Groser, the Trade Minister, could not even remember what they were.

    To look at it the Helen Clark way, would New Zealand have lost anything over what it already had, or maybe future trade-building opportunities, through not signing and being shut out of the club?

    I’ve had the feeling that New Zealand really would have needed another ANZUS-breaking anti-nuclear style rebellion to not sign the TPPA, but in modern times there doesn’t seem to be the same type of collective thing going in society as there might have been then. Plus, unlike David Lange who seemed to thrive on debate (when in form), our current Prime Minister prefers to sidestep difficult debate, has a luxury second home in Hawaii and plays golf with the US President. He’s not exactly a stereotype for rallying New Zealand independence.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    Have I missed something, then? Apart from some random person asserting this on BoingBoing, where does the cited NZ government Q&A document actually say or even imply that copyright will be extended backwards over existing public domain works?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to Jason Kemp,


    and taking works out of the public domain and putting them back into copyright’s restrictions

    I’m confused how the BB write-up reached that conclusion. I’ve skimmed the linked NZ government PDF, but even when reading the direct passage they’ve quoted I can’t see which part states that existing public domain works will be pulled back under copyright protection. In fact, it’s stated that the extension will take place over time, which to me suggests that we’ll more likely go through a roughly 20 year period when nothing new comes out of copyright, as opposed to extending copyright backwards over current public domain works. Have I missed something?

    Anyway, I’m still concerned by the costing of $55 million being used to fully justify the extension. This might be strictly correct if only considering a monetary amount New Zealanders will need to pay for old material that would have otherwise been free, but it doesn’t seem to take any account of the costs from not being able to legally access and use other material which the owners aren’t selling, or which might never have been found until it left copyright (again the ease of using Papers Past is a great example of this).

    Owners mightn’t be selling because they’re more interested in control of information than in money, or because they can’t be bothered to go through the admin of giving permission, or because they choose to charge much more than those who want it might be able to pay, or simply because they can’t be tracked down so long after creation. The last one is increasingly likely with terms being lengthened, and even worse when there’s joint authorship and so potentially multiple authors or inheriting owners to track down.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to Simon Grigg,

    It varies from country to country

    Thanks for that, and I appreciate that copyright has a diverse history. Is anyone aware of a proper description of the reasoning behind NZ's copyright law? I've been trying to find some kind of official explanation since this discussion began, and while the Copyright Act, Consumer NZ and the Copyight Council all do an okay job in explaining the mechanics of what copyright is and how it works, none really get into why we have it in NZ.

    For me the only reasonable excuse is to create incentive, but I know not everyone thinks this, and maybe that's encouraged by such lengthy copyright terms giving an impression that it's more about letting creators retain control over distribution in perpetuity.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to Deborah,


    But if it creates a revenue stream for them, then removing copyright restrictions also removes a tangible benefit for them.

    Yes but that benefit only exists because the scarcity was artificially created by copyright law temporarily making it illegal for people to say stuff simply because someone else said it first. That compromise only exists so there’s an incentive, and once that incentive has resulted in the work being created, with the creator making what they can in the allowed time, there shouldn’t be any reason to continue the distribution monopoly for longer than what was originally agreed.

    With physical goods or services, the scarcity is automatic from there only being a fixed amount of physical goods or a maximum about of work you can provide as a service. Under normal circumstances you can’t make endless income from it without continuing to work to produce, or selling off what you or someone else has produced previously until there’s none left.

    That’s how I see it, anyway.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to SteveH,

    Honestly, I don’t see much reason why your family should continue to benefit from your creation 50 or 70 years after you die.

    One thing I find irritating is that copyright terms, and their extensions, all seem to be automatic and across the board, even when copyright owners have no interest or little incentive to bother going through the administration of making them available. Early in US law (possibly others?) granted an original copyright term of 14 years, with an option for an additional 14 years if the copyright holder bothered to assert that they wanted to retain their rights for that extra period. To me this seems like a more reasonable way to have done it than what happens now.

    When lobbyists for mega-corporations like Disney et al advocate that they want to keep earning on works which many decades ago they adapted from older out-of-copyright stuff, is it really necessary for their lobbyists to drag every other copyrighted work into the edges of obscurity as collateral damage?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?, in reply to Deborah,

    If it’s okay to remove copyright protection after a certain period of time, is it also okay to remove real (land, buildings etc) property that people have inherited after a certain period of time?

    I think a big difference between information and physical property is that the latter has an element of scarcity. If one person has physical property, nobody else can have it at the same time. With information (which is where copyright law comes in), any number of people can be copying and re-using and building on it in parallel without inhibiting each other from also having and using it. All that copyright law does is to temporarily inhibit everyone’s free speech as a compromise to try and make information act as if it’s physical property, in certain ways but not every way, so as to create an incentive for it to be created.

    Expiration of copyright doesn’t deprive the original copyright owner from having it and using it, it merely deprives them of placing conditions on its copying and distribution for any longer. Taking physical property off someone would generally deprive them of using it, so even if there are discussions that could be had on it I’m not sure if they’re very equivalent.

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

  • Speaker: TPP, eh?,

    Is copyright meant to be purely about incentive to create? If so, what's the argument for extending the term retrospectively for already-created works?

    Wellington • Since Jan 2007 • 631 posts Report Reply

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