Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Copywrong

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  • Gary Hutchings,

    Finally, Michael Bassett's latest "newspaper column" did not appear in an actual newspaper, only on his website. Has the Dom Post given him the boot?

    While offering no opinion on Bassett myself, The Column did run in The Press on Tuesday 5th December page A9.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 108 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    Thanks Russell. Your historical overview makes very interesting reading. I'd like to know who or what was involved in the slow but steady policy shift from "it's not our place to prevent circumvention" to the current heavy-handed anti-circumvention position. Could it perchance have anything to do with the emergent digital music market?

    A lot of people seem to think this only affects music. But it really scares me the way the DMCA has been applied in the USA. Basically any company can arbitrarily decide that its 'content' is worthy of 'protection', and woe betide anyone that believes they have a right to access that 'content'.

    The proposed amendments appear to make provision for circumvention to allow 'permitted' uses, but you better believe that the onus will be on the user to prove 'permission' against a cluster of corporate lawyers.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Actually, his rebuttal is even less substantive than Brash's, which gives at least a few examples of what he considers to be inaccuracies.

    What Basset says is pretty much what he accuses Hager of - a conspiracy theory. A vast media conspiracy to believe Hager's hundreds of pages of documentation over his and Brash's, um, assertions and good character?

    So much for yesterday's news.

    Re: copyright laws. Call me a crooked kook, but how many people really give a crap what the law is on ripped tunes? I can see that it can affect the way big companies deliver new music formats via new revenue channels, but when it comes to ripping off music, is anything going to change? Kids will still borrow a CD from a mate and rip it, download rips off P2P, directly swap hundreds of GB of files, and listen to them on MP3 players. All seems a bit like antispam laws - good talking point, utterly ineffective.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Baker,

    I've been going through the Copyright Amendment Bill and there seem to be concerning aspects relating to DRM. While the original intent may not have been to criminalise the breaking of DRM to view legitimately owned content, the current text of Section 226 seems to say otherwise.

    In its current form the only exclusions for breaking DRM are for library archivers and educational security researchers - and even then they have to ask the copyright owner for a non-DRMed version of the content first (and wait a reasonable amount of time for the inevitable rejection).

    Possible changes to set things right might be:
    - Allow DRM circumvention to view content that is legitimately owned (this would allow watching DVDs on Linux)
    - Allow DRM circumvention for the deaf or blind to access content
    - Remove the requirement for having to ask permission from the copyright holder to legitimately remove any DRM.

    wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    Additionally, how much does this (anti-circumvention) have to do with forays into free-trade with the USA? Or the WIPO Copyright Treaty of 1996 (which I can't see New Zealand joining because doesn't Article 12 effectively ban multi-region players)?

    Or am I getting too tinfoil-beanie for my own good?

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 167 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Young,

    I find it fascinating, though, that even as Tory media hacks try to paint Nicky as a conspiracy theorist, the volumes in question are still heading off shelves, and there has already been perceptible damage to National's opinion poll ratings. Bassett and hacks like Jane Clifton can whine and stamp their collective feet petulantly as much as they like. Nicky has made a sober, evidence-based evaluation of the facts at hand, and has contributed to the good health of democratic accountability and representation in this country.

    Incidentally, Russki, is there going to be a future column about political donor reform from your corner? I'm working on one right now.

    Craig Y.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 367 posts Report Reply

  • Herr Dummkopf von Kranken-Brainen,

    Okay, so while I'm good and angry who's the best MP(s) to start lobbying about this DCMA-wannabe? Or is it too late?

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 4 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Baker,

    My first guess would be Nandor - he seems to have a fairly good grasp on Open Source issues.

    wellington • Since Dec 2006 • 7 posts Report Reply

  • Tristan,

    'The forgotten man of the fish and chips photo"

    is the best way to describe Bassett. While everyone else in that photo is immediately recognizable and all have left their mark on NZ. Almost no one can pick him out. A isn't he just so damn bitter about it.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 193 posts Report Reply

  • Rob Stowell,

    Gotta love Basset's description of Rogernomics as an act of pure- and let's not forget mainstream!- altruism: "Businessmen wanting main stream economic policies to increase growth and employment opportunities for New Zealanders."

    Whakaraupo • Since Nov 2006 • 1437 posts Report Reply

  • Hamish,

    Call me a crooked kook, but how many people really give a crap what the law is on ripped tunes? I can see that it can affect the way big companies deliver new music formats via new revenue channels, but when it comes to ripping off music, is anything going to change?

    I supposed the important point is that people who make the 3rd party tools for 'fair use' (if not legal use) become possible targets. No doubt there will always be people willing to give their time and knowledge towards creating/breaking codecs to rip various formats, but it's getting riskier.

    BTW, totally agree with Russ about the various blogs/people/commentators who get very vitriolic on Hager but fail to address anything about the book itself. Probably couldn't be bothered reading it.

    The A.K. • Since Nov 2006 • 152 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Hamish, I'm really thinking of things like the landmark closure of Napster, which shut down mp3 downloading for all of about a week. Technology moves so much faster than the law. Every time they make an anti-circumvention law, an anti-circumvention-law-circumvention is invented and just makes a new set of nerds rich. People who want ripz will get them, people who don't will pay. Computer nerds and lawyers get rich and nothing changes.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    all me a crooked kook, but how many people really give a crap what the law is on ripped tunes?

    I do. I run a Linux (Ubuntu) distribution on all my computers. It is far more secure and user friendly than any Windows system. I like having a choice of what to put on *my* computers. I don't have a seperate DVD player or a very workable TV. I rent DVDs often. I have never copied a film.

    DRM legislation in the USA already makes being able to play DVDs on my PC an extra step as the Ubuntu distributers are not allowed to distribute the necessary decryption software bundled with Linux in the USA.

    This law will make playing those DVDs I rent on anything other than a Windows system illegal. It will criminalise my hitherto legitamate goal of wanting to watch what I have paid good money for.

    That stinks.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1615 posts Report Reply

  • Paul,

    Agree absolutely with you, Ben. Too many bullsh*t laws encourages non-compliance IMO.

    When making laws, why don't we only make those laws we really need and are understood and accepted (as far as possible) by those affected.

    Chances are that enforcement would be a doddle.

    Since Dec 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • BenWilson,

    Don, you don't have to say if you're going to continue using it anyway :-)

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 8305 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    It comes down to simplicity – a legislative / pricing regime needs to be as simple and reasonable as possible if it is to be effective. Sure there are many examples of complicated laws or pricing, but usually one can only get away with that when the subject matter is essential – like say taxes.

    Widespread consumer revolt is going to be the result of this stupid amendment bill – why bother even trying to preserve some legality when it is so dammed inconvenient? I confidently predict we will adopt a progressively stronger culture of IP piracy.

    The Copyright Amendment Bill sadly has only one good thing going for it – it has not succumbed to the trend of extending the life of copyright. I think the 50 year rule is at least twice as long as it needs to be, but it is far better than say 70 or 90 years like it is in some other jurisdictions.

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 869 posts Report Reply

  • Tim Darlington,

    Product lock-in is one reason I still buy CDs. I noticed 3 News running an extended promotion for the new Itunes store, which included cheerfully telling us it will sell albums for under $20 without once mentioning the restrictions that will apply to them. They can fuck off - I'd rather pay full price for something that won't tell me what I can and can't play it on.

    Since Nov 2006 • 41 posts Report Reply

  • Clarke,

    If you're wanting to lobby MPs, Judith Tizard is your best bet as she's Minister of Commerce and this is her balliwick (and her Ministry that's producing the advice.)

    The key issue with the legislation as proposed is that whatever bone we get thrown over format shifting will be completely trumped by the TPM provisions. In other words, the nastier bits of the music and movie cartels don't give a toss about what the new law will allow in Fair Use, because they can simply prevent us doing anything with the content via a TPM.

    If this legislation passes in its current form, the effect will be the recording industry and the movie studios suing Kiwis for allegedly "stealing" their content - just like in the US.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 78 posts Report Reply

  • matthewbuchanan,

    I noticed 3 News running an extended promotion for the new iTunes store, which included cheerfully telling us it will sell albums for under $20 without once mentioning the restrictions that will apply to them.

    Actually, with the exception of the Campbell Live interview with Chris Hocquard, 3's coverage neglected to even mention it was a "store" that had launched. They simply reported that iTunes was now available in New Zealand, as if we hadn't been able to use iPods until this week...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 161 posts Report Reply

  • Sebastian,

    Excuse if I don´t know what exactly is allowed under "fair use", as I am observing this discussion from the other side of the world. Over here there is the right to make a copy of legally purchased content for personal use, as long as you are not actively bypassing copy prevention systems, built in to some digital formats.
    So I wonder whether in NZ it would be still allowed to make a copy of a non DRM protected format for personal use.
    In geneal I would say the proposed new copyright legislation looks fairly restrictive and the shift from a reasonable weighting of public interest against corporate greed to absolute priority for coporate greed is very disappointing.

    Berlin, Germany • Since Nov 2006 • 11 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    So I wonder whether in NZ it would be still allowed to make a copy of a non DRM protected format for personal use.

    Not until the new bill passes. It also ushers in a much richer definition of "fair dealing", which hasn't been very good under NZ copyright law up till now. So there are good parts ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 18520 posts Report Reply

  • dave Clemens,

    I'm still slowly chugging through 'Hollow Men', as it's too damn depressing in parts to stomach, but the post-publication bile from Bassett makes what appears on him in the book seem almost pleasant

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 1 posts Report Reply

  • Ian Hickling,

    Related topic. I travel a bunch and buy DVDs in all sorts of countries. I've just bought a new iMac - spectacular machine - and find that it will only allow me to play DVDs from other regions if I change the region on the DVD player (yeh, PCs are the same too). And then you can only change it five times. There just doesn't seem any sense to limiting the number of times you can change regions on a computer DVD player. Why do they do this?

    Barbados • Since Nov 2006 • 25 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Ian, there is a nifty little program called something like DVD Region Free which is out there for the PC and, I think, the Mac..you load it when you want to play a DVD..no probs. Its not free but its cheapish

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3201 posts Report Reply

  • David Rush,

    To avoid getting the DVD player on your iMac locked to a particular region (which it'll do after you change it 5 times) use the VLC player instead...

    www.videolan.org/vlc/

    Works really well for OS X and Windows.

    Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

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