Hard News by Russell Brown

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Hard News: Copywrong

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  • rodgerd,

    Simon, that's repcisely the sort of thing that would arguably become illegal under copyright circumvention.

    I'd be interested to see opinion from more legally minded bods on whether there's scope for DMCA takedown abuse in this legislation.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 512 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    It's worth noting that both DVD Region Free and Videolan are likely to be outlawed by the new legislation.

    We really need to stop and think about what's actually happening here: the government is proposing to make certain actions by a large swathe of the population criminal offences.

    Who will enforce the new laws? Not the government, but those with vested interest, namely the movie and recording studios representatives.

    That's not something we should just go "oh well, let's see what happens" over and forget about next week.

    Oh, and here's the Ob. EFF anti-DRM animation.

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    DRM has been one of my pet peeves for quite a while now and it seems that it will only get worse. I have said before and I will say it again that the recording industry has, for many years, been exploiting both artists and public to a despicable degree. Back in the day when someone would writhe a song, take it to their publisher, who would then have a "Demo" made. the A&R man would find an "Artist" arrange recording, session musicians etc. have the "acetate" cut copied and pressed then distributed and marketed. The songwriter could expect next to nothing in return for their work and the public would spend half a weeks wages to purchase a single copy for their own use. This was an industry, today the situation is that that industry is all but redundant and is grasping at straws and gasping its last breath. These days it can be as simple as "Sing song press send"

    The notion that copyright infringement is theft is, in my opinion, totally inaccurate as theft, in English law, is defined thus,

    "Theft was codified into a statutory offence in the Theft Act 1968 which defines it as:
    "A person is guilty of theft, if he dishonestly appropriates property belonging to another with the intention of permanently depriving the other of it".

    It is ridiculous to say that by making a copy of a CD is tantamount to theft using this definition, the only thing you are depriving them of is their ill gotten gains.

    I don't know how we are to protect legitimate claims to copyright now that everyman and his dog can access virtually everything that has ever been written, sung, played or photographed. but maybe, just maybe we could rely on the honesty of most and the loyalty and respect of many people to artists in general to ensure the continuation of what is merely an entertainment and not go down the road of turning every Joe Bloggs who plays a tune to his Granny into a criminal.
    We do not want this to become a reality;
    http://www.bbspot.com/News/2006/11/home-theater-regulations.html

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    It's worth noting that both DVD Region Free and Videolan are likely to be outlawed by the new legislation.

    Well, they seem to be making an exception for DVD region-coding, but it's hard to tell. If it's a "permitted act" to make a copy of a musical recording to your device of choice, then will the proposed law really "facilitate" it like the wording says? We need to know a hell of a lot more about this.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Some people have noted, here and elsewhere, that the early discussion documents that preceded this bill did not raise the DRM issues we see here and hence there were no submissions opposing DRM legislation.

    Something very similar happened with the reviewed software patent laws. MEDs initial discussion documents held little to concern those of us interested in that topic. The submissions process was essentially hijacked by IP lawyers and not a single software company or developer submitted. This despite that fact that our industrty was the one most affected by the changes (well, IP lawyers revenues were sharply increased, so maybe we were the second most).

    The result was almost a 180 degree change around in the thrust of the legislation.

    I am not sure what the process should be if such fundamental changes take place in the legislative process. Those that oppose the new direction look like dopes because they have missed the submissions process, but equally, if there are such fundamental changes from the original recommendations I wonder if an extended submissions process shouldn't be allowed.

    I do not have an understanding of the mechanics of how legislation is passed so if anyone would care to educate me I would be grateful.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Who will enforce the new laws? Not the government, but those with vested interest, namely the movie and recording studios representatives.

    and its a particularly worrying situation in NZ where legislation seems to be being written by and primarily for the benefit of a commercial entity and of dubious value to the public as a whole. DRM essentially benefits the four major record companies and Apple, no one else (and certainly not the artists they represent), all owned offshore and, less and less representing the music produced by NZers (even the bulk of what they distribute is as licensees of NZ owned labels). We are writing legislation to satisfy offshore whims and demands, nothing more.

    Its a short step away from RIANZ being given the ok to invoice Dick Smith for a levy on MP3 players.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Steve Barnes,

    legislation seems to be being written by and primarily for the benefit of a commercial entity and of dubious value to the public as a whole. DRM essentially benefits the four major record companies and Apple, no one else (and certainly not the artists they represent)

    And then I found this;
    From
    http://gear.ign.com/articles/749/749883p1.html
    "In publicly defending its strong arm tactics and stated desire to scare consumers into absolute compliance, the RIAA has long cited the negative repercussions of piracy and lost revenue upon the recording artists that pour their talent into making the music that people like to hear. It's a sympathetic defense, yet in the past week the RIAA has made it quite clear whose profits the group is truly out to defend, and it's certainly not the artists who actually make the music."
    Let us not forget the fact that what the RIAA does will be followed by RIANZ

    I do not have an understanding of the mechanics of how legislation is passed so if anyone would care to educate me I would be grateful.

    Well, we vote for an MP, they get taken out to lunch, or given a free overseas (fact finding) trip by people that want things done, use up heaps of paper then have a quick vote while we're all asleep, hey pesto, new law.

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Let us not forget the fact that what the RIAA does will be followed by RIANZ

    These are the same people who in the seventies and before used to credit much of the mechanical publishing to "copyright control" , which meant it was unknown and went into an account to be split when unclaimed.

    One of the biggest Australian Indie publishers got their start by claiming such things and then approaching the overseas songwriter and saying that they had collected on their behalf and could continue to do so if they wanted.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    And for those that got a little carried away with Bono's carols by cellphone light (cough, Russell, cough), here are U2's true copywrong colours shining through...

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    and the best line:

    That this increasingly preposterous man should have spoken out on the business is hardly a surprise - the subject on which he cannot be persuaded to give his opinion has yet to be found. But why anyone indulges his pious preaching on this or Africa, when he recently lavished huge sums on pursuing a court case against a former stylist to his band to ensure the return of a hat, some trousers and a sweatshirt - "memorabilia", as he'd have it - is almost beyond comprehension.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Juha Saarinen,

    Hush! This is one of many chapels dedicated to the worship of St Bono. Blasphemers and irreligionists the lot of you!

    Since Nov 2006 • 529 posts Report Reply

  • David Rush,

    Since Nov 2006 • 10 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    Well hey, if we can have zombie musicians campaigning for copyright extension, perhaps this DMCA thing is not so bad after all?

    Anything for the zombies.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Don Christie,

    Seeing as this has turned into a Bono slagging fest (sorry chaps, my fault) I did enjoy this delicious irony...Bono said the stylist's behaviour was "eccentric".

    Because we all know pop stars like Bono are the epitome of sane rationalism. (Love the Jobs Blog, David.)

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1645 posts Report Reply

  • matthewbuchanan,

    It's worth noting that both DVD Region Free and Videolan are likely to be outlawed by the new legislation.

    Well, they seem to be making an exception for DVD region-coding, but it's hard to tell.

    It's further worth noting that, at least in the case of Apple's portable machines, they're now using DVD drives that cannot be circumvented using the software mentioned above (VLC, etc), and I suspect this will become the norm. The drives themselves are locked down to the point where, if the region codes don't match, it's not even possible to access the encrypted data stream on the DVD in question.

    I believe this is a move made to appease the film studios, but to me it seems retarded, especially for a portable machine which can reasonably be expected to be legitimately used in different regions on an ongoing basis.

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 163 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    I find the whole idea of life + 50/70/etc years to be rather repugnant, surely the exclusive economic control over an artistic work should have no relation to the length of time the creator lives. It seems totally irrelevant. What other property rights are based on a life + X formula?

    How does that rule in any way change the behaviour of authors or creators? Are more people writing books, authoring music now that they have such protection in foreign jurisdictions?

    NZ will have to be very careful when we enter into free trade agreements with other states, or we could very easily commit ourselves to such a copyright regime. For example, the US – [Insert Random Country] FTA deals of the last 5-10 years have almost all (possibly all, I forget) included a chapter that specifies adoption of rules or laws that closely mirror the US rules or laws. If I recall correctly that is chapter 17 of each FTA – which adds weight to the conclusion that this is a non-negotiable part of such an agreement with the US.

    So, the next question is – do we have an organised method of protest around which to mobilise? Aside from writing letters to the relevant Minister?

    Links
    The Gowers Report:
    http://www.hm-treasury.gov.uk/media/537/D3/gowers_cipilreport.pdf

    Chapter 17 of the US-Australian FTA:
    http://www.dfat.gov.au/trade/negotiations/us_fta/final-text/chapter_17.html

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1021 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Gracewood,

    Ben, you see that the RIAA wants artist royalties lowered, then you understand that the life + 50 has absolutely zero to do with the creator, his/her rights, or even probably the value of the content. It's all about guaranteed revenue streams for the RIAA and publishers.

    Orkland • Since Nov 2006 • 168 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    And just in case you were under the impression that Big Music is doing all for the artists, check this:

    On December 1 The Hollywood Reporter revealed that the RIAA is currently petitioning the panel of federal government Copyright Royalty Judges to lower the rates paid to publishers and songwriters for use of lyrics and melodies in applications like cell phone ring tones and other digital recordings. The last time the American government set the rate was in 1981, but since that time, the RIAA argues in its petition, a lot has changed.

    "While record companies and music publishers were able to agree on royalty rates during that 25-year period, the assumptions on which those decisions were based have changed beyond recognition," the RIAA brief reads.

    http://gear.ign.com/articles/749/749883p1.html

    Wow. They love their artists so much that they want to give them an even smaller cut of the action then they get now.

    Slashdot fury here:

    http://yro.slashdot.org/yro/06/12/10/0119210.shtml

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Russell Brown,

    Ben, you see that the RIAA wants artist royalties lowered,

    Heh. Beat me to it ...

    Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 22761 posts Report Reply

  • Ben Austin,

    Thanks for the links guys, I must admit to having laughed out loud when I saw the slashdot tags for that link...

    London • Since Nov 2006 • 1021 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Wow. They love their artists so much that they want to give them an even smaller cut of the action then they get now.

    it seems to be one of the raison d’êtres of record company legal departments, to reinterpret the provisions of their contracts to reduce payments as much as possible regardless of the intent of the two parties upon signing. I've had personal experience of this and I know of at least two others, recording acts, who have suffered such. They, the companies, know that what they present as their interpretation is usually accepted begrudgingly because a) they have the money and thus are the paying party, and b) its too expensive to do much about it if you disagree.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    The most surprising thing is how surprised people are when a corporation screws them.
    "Wow, the record company is more interested in keeping money than giving it to me!"
    "Hey, Telecom would rather give me the bare minimum service they can get away with while extracting maximum cash from my pocket!"
    "Woh, cigarette companies 'forgot' to mention that they knew their product causes cancer and is highly addictive!"
    "Dude, McDonalds doesn't seem to care that their food makes people fat as long as they keep buying it."
    There's even a doco about it (which I admit I haven't yet seen) which compares the psychology of the corporate entity to that of a person and finds them complete sociopathic.
    Companies exist to make money for the shareholders, and the bigger they are, the easier it is for the individual cogs in the machine to abdicate any responsibility for the actions of the whole.
    This lesson should really be taught in schools, but they'd never find a company to print the textbooks.

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    The most surprising thing is how surprised people are when a corporation screws them.

    No one expects companies not to actively pursue profits for their shareholders, but the record companies cannot really put their hands up and cry poor or expect sympathy for their current woes in the face of the way they have acted historically.

    To me there is quite a difference between the relationship between a recording artist and a record company, and McDonald's & their customers.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • Jeremy Andrew,

    Simon, you're right, the relationship is more like McDonald's and their staff. Minimum wage all the way, man!

    Hamiltron - City of the F… • Since Nov 2006 • 900 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Jeremy, But technically the relationship between, say EMI and Coldcut, should be a profit sharing one. Both have a role in trying to extract a profit from the product or, as record contracts say, exploit the works. Artists are neither employees (contacts are quite specific about that) or customers but partners in the enterprise under agreed terms. Unfortunately what we have see historically is one partner, the one with the power, attempt to adjust the terms under which the partnership began, unilaterally.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

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