Archive for category Copyright

Copyright History… nothing ever changes

I finally finished reading Adrian Johns’ Piracy: The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates last month.  It’s long — over 500 pages in length — but well worth the effort.  Rather than write a formal book review at this time, let me say that it can be briefly summed it up with the words “greed” and “monopolies.”  Mr. Johns coins the term “Intellectual Property Defense Industry,” which has emerged and developed over the past 40+ years to confront so-called piracy.  It is now a coherent, global, high-technology enterprise.  In addition, it now has the backing of the US Government (Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator, or “Copyright Czar”) and Dept of Homeland Security’s ICE (Immigration & Custom Enforcement).  Mr. Johns states that we appear to be entering a “crisis” stage of copyright and that we’re ripe for a transformation.  He states in the last chapter:

“We may therefore be about to experience a profound shift in the relation between creativity and commerce.  It will be the most radical revolution in intellectual property since the mid-eighteenth century.  It may even represent the end of intellectual property itself.”

I certainly hope he’s right!

If you’re not yet ready to tackle a 500+ page book on copyright, I strongly recommend you read Rick Falkvinge’s seven-part  series on “The History of Copyright.”  It’s short, entertaining, enlightening and has been declared as ‘reference material.’  Before reading the history, be sure to read the first link in which Rick defines what copyright is (and is not):

Copyright is not a property right. It is a limitation of property rights. Copyright is a government-sanctioned private monopoly that limits what people may do with things they have legitimately bought.

Here are the links:

7-Part History of Copyright series (by Rick Falkvinge):

And lastly, here’s a couple more excellent copyright articles by Rick Falkvinge:

Dat’s all for now…

Yesterday was “Public Domain Day 2011″…

Unfortunately for us in the USA, not much (if anything) will be entering our Public Domain until 2019 (thanks to the 1998 Copyright Extension Act).

From the “Center for the Study of the Public Domain:”

On the first day of each year, Public Domain Day celebrates the moment when copyrights expire.  The films, photos, books and symphonies whose copyright term has finished become “free as the air to common use.”  The end of the copyright on these works means that they enter the public domain, completing the copyright bargain. Copyright gives creators — authors, musicians, filmmakers, photographers — exclusive rights over their works for a limited time.  The copyright encourages the creators to create and the publishers to distribute — that’s a very good thing. But when the copyright ends, the work enters the public domain — to join the plays of Shakespeare, the music of Mozart, the books of Dickens — the material of our collective culture.  That’s a good thing too!  It’s the second part of the copyright bargain; the limited period of exclusive rights ends and the work enters the realm of free culture. Prices fall, new editions come out, songs can be sung, symphonies performed, movies displayed. Even better, people can legally build on what came before.

Yes… a day we used to look forward to, until the 1998 copyright term extension.  The Copyright Extension Act of 1998 increased the copyright term to life plus 70 years and 95 years for corporate authors — and was not only granted to future works.  It was retroactively applied to works that had already been created and enjoyed their full copyright term, and were set to enter the public domain.  None of these works will now enter the public domain until 2019.  The already diminished public domain has been frozen in time.

(If you’re at all curious as to what “could” have been entering the Public Domain this year prior to the copyright extensions, take a look at this.)

Thanks to the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act,” we get to wait another eight years before material once again begins entering our Public Domain.  Now… eight years may not seem too long, but wait!  Winnie the Pooh [1926] and The Mouse [1928] will be expiring in 2016 & 2018 respectively.  I imagine Disney is already preparing their assault on the US Congress for additional copyright extensions well before anything can happen to these two copyrights, most likely in 2015.

Why is the Public Domain so important?  Read about it here.  You can read about our shrinking Public Domain here.

I encourage you to visit “The Public Domain Manifesto” website to read and sign their manifesto, and also check out Mike Masnick’s post on Techdirt.

Don’t Get Too Used to Streaming Video on Netflix… it might go away

In case you haven’t noticed, there’s been quite a bit of press the past few weeks concerning just how successful Netflix has become, especially concerning their success with streaming video.  Netflix has apparently got both Hollywood & the content industry rather upset (even though Netflix was their “savior” a few years ago).

Why is Netflix so successful?  Because it offers a great service that consumers desire at an affordable price!  What does the content industry (TV, movie, cable, etc.) offer consumers?  Diddly squat!  And now they’re whining about just how badly they’re getting “ripped off” by the cheap prices paid to them by Netflix to stream their content.  Those contract prices are due to expire in 2012 and they’re talking about charging Netflix as much as a hundred times more to stream their content.

What does that mean for consumers?  Probably that Netflix won’t be able to afford to stream content anymore.  What does that say about the content industry?  If they can’t control it, then they kill it.

Here’s the articles in case you didn’t see them.  They’re all well worth reading!

European Commissioner in FAVOR of Copyright Reform

Unbelievably, someone in power recently gave a speech titled “A Digital World of Opportunities” that is in favor of copyright reform.  Who, you might ask?  Ms. Neelie Kroes, the European Commission Vice-President for the Digital Agenda.

I’d provide some details concerning the speech, but Thom Holwerda at OS News has already provided an outstanding review of her speech here.   It’s definitely a MUST READ!

The speech in its entirety can be found here, and I’ve posted a PDF copy here.

If only this speech could be the seed for an intelligent debate concerning the farce copyright law has become in the US (& elsewhere)… but I won’t set my hopes too high yet.

Open Letter Song on Piracy (Dan Bull)

Boy… I can’t believe this has been out there for over a year & I never saw it!  If you have any interest in copyright, you should watch & listen to this great video on YouTube.

Mike Masnick at Techdirt posted a great article with direct links to not only this video letter, but also to two other videos concerning copyright & piracy.

Here’s links to the original TorrentFreak articles concerning Dan Bull’s video letters to Lily Allen (concerning piracy) and Lord Mandelson (concerning Britain’s “Digital Economy Bill”).  Be sure to read the lyrics to both songs.  If you haven’t heard about the Digital Economy Bill, it passed and we better watch out — our administration will likely try to pass something similar (or even worse) here in the US in the not so distant future.

Copyright… are we doomed???

With the exception of one piece of good news, most all other copyright news over the past few months has been either BAD or HORRIBLE!!!

Take the rise of the “Copyright Trolls.

Is This the Birth of the Copyright Troll?

After the Patent Troll, Enter the Copyright Troll

We’ve got the US Copyright Group suing over 15,000 people for allegedly downloading Far CryThe Hurt Locker and other lesser known movies.  Not to be outdone, we’ve also got adult film producers suing people they accuse of downloading various XXX adult videos.  Now… how’d you like to get one of those infringement letters?  Wanna’ go public & fight for your innocence???  If that’s not extortion, then what is it?

The RIAA? Amateurs. Here’s how you sue 14,000+ P2P users

US Copyright Group Targets 20,000+ BitTorrent Users

The Hollywood Reporter (THR, Esq.)

Then we have the lovely firm Righthaven, who’s scouring the web not only for full articles but even excerpts of articles from the Las Vegas Review Journal.  When they find one, they purchase the copyright from the newspaper & then sue the individual(s) for $150,000 for copyright infringement.  They even demand that the entire domain name of the allegedly infringing site be turned over to them.  No takedown notice, no nothing!  Of course, they’re perfectly willing to “settle” for a few thousand dollars (which just happens to be a few thousand less than what it would cost you to defend yourself in court).  Again… extortion anyone???

Righthaven: saving the newspaper industry, one lawsuit at a time

Collection of Righthaven articles @ Techdirt

The Bottomfeeder Chronicles

Righthaven Lawsuits

Next we have Europe, whose been rather unsupportive of what ACTA (Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement) has been trying to force down their throats, but now they’ve formally adopted a report (the Gallo report) which calls for a Europe-wide legislative framework to deal with online piracy, including measures to enforce intellectual property rights.

“A stab in the back”: Europe tackles online piracy

EU Parliament calls for pan-EU copyright law

Euro Parliament Equates Non-Commercial P2P and Physical Counterfeiting

And finally, the US Senate (Patrick Leahy & Orin Hatch) is at it again, this time crafting yet another bill for the content industry titled “The Combating Online Infringement and Counterfeits Act” (COICA).  This RIDICULOUS bill would not only give the Justice Department the ability to shut down US sites accused of providing access to “unauthorized copyrighted works”, but to also block sites outside the US accused of hosting or offering access to “unauthorized copyrighted works” (i.e., The Pirate Bay).  Can you say “C E N S O R S H I P”?  Despite all the negative attention to this proposed bill in the press, it apparently has plenty of supporters in our “RIAA/MPAA–Friendly” administration.

Censorship of the Internet Takes Center Stage in “Online Infringement” Bill

Lawmakers want power to shut down ‘pirate sites’

New Bill Would Force ISPs to Block Piracy Websites

Copyright, Censorship, and Domain Name Blacklists at Home in the U.S.

Bill Would Allow US DoJ To Shut Down Piracy Sites Worldwide

And the good news?  A recent article in Ars Technica pointing out a federal judge in South Dakota that recently quashed a US Copyright Group subpoena targeting an ISP in his state.

All in all, I must say I find the copyright news over the past several months extremely depressing.  A famous quote (Thomas Fuller?) states “It is always darkest just before the day dawneth.”  Well… let’s hope — for copyright’s sake — that a new ‘day of copyright’ is about to ‘dawneth.

Latest leak of ACTA released…

Ars Technica has a nice write-up of concerning the latest “leak” of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) document.  In addition, they lay the blame on the United States for all the ACTA secrecy.  It’s all this “secrecy” by the US Govt that has me most concerned & convinced that with respect to copyright, DRM & DCMA-like principles — they are up to “NO GOOD!”

This latest version of ACTA apparently no longer requires online service providers (ISPs) to monitor their customers’ activity in order to escape liability for copyright infringement by their customers, but there’s still plenty of language remaining in ACTA that should cause concern.

PC World’s article on the leaked ACTA draft is here.

Project Gutenberg — Free eBooks!

The 40th Year of Project Gutenberg (PG) started on July 4, 2010.  That’s right – they’ve been producing eBooks of public domain works since 1971, almost exclusively by volunteers.  They surpassed 37,500 titles last month.

Here’s a list of Project Gutenberg’s top downloads.

If you haven’t visited their website, do so.  If you like what you see, write to your representatives and let them know you strongly disagree with current copyright law & the extensions that have been implemented over the past 89 years.  At the current copyright term (not to mention the rate at which Congress keeps extending it), the “Public Domain” as we know it will cease to exist — everything will be basically locked up forever by copyright law.

Our culture — in literature, art, music & yes, even movies — has developed & evolved by building upon previous works.  Congress is slowly & surely removing all ability to “build” upon previous works with their continuing extensions & modifications to copyright law.  Sooner than we realize, there will be nothing available to legally “build upon” due to copyright law.

Project Gutenberg website

US Commerce Secretary rips music piracy in recent speech

In a recent speech at Belmont University in Nashville, TN, the US Commerce Secretary Gary Locke (a.k.a. Uniform Foxtrot Delta Bravo) issued a blistering diatribe against music piracy.  He sided with the RIAA and urged internet service providers and content owners “to work collaboratively to combat intellectual property infringement online.”

Here’s what The Telegraph had to say (Digital piracy is ‘unadulterated theft’, says Obama administration)

For an EXCELLENT rebuttal on everything said by UFDB (Gary Locke), see Mike Masnick’s article over at Techdirt.

RE: TPB AFK Documentary (The Pirate Bay: Away From Keyboard)

Amazing!  In only 3 days the director, Simon Klose, has raised the necessary $25,000 for creating this documentary.  They’re now up to $36,000 with 24 days left to go (TPB AFK KickStarter Project Page).

I’m grateful to know that there are 1247 other “fans” out there that feel the same way as I do about TPB.

Looking forward to the documentary!!!

TPB AFK Documentary (The Pirate Bay: Away From Keyboard)

From the Kickstarter Project web page, “… this is a documentary about three computer addicts who revolutionized the world of media distribution with their hobby homepage. How did Tiamo, a beer crazy hardware fanatic, Brokep a tree hugging eco activist and Anakata, a paranoid cyber libertarian, get the White House to threaten the Swedish government with trade sanctions? TPB AFK explores what Hollywood’s most hated pirates go through on a personal level.”

The director, Simon Klose, needs financial assistance in making this documentary a reality.  The documentary home page is here.  The financial assistance pledge page is here.  Watch the video & see if you don’t think this is a WORTHY cause!  Despite many folks thinking that P2P & TPB are four letter words, I beg to differ.  I donated $100, as I want to see this documentary!

Great Copyright Essay!!! (The Purpose of Copyright Law)

If you haven’t read any of the items in my previously posted “Copyright/Intellectual Property (IP) Reading List” (and I assume you haven’t), then please read this excellent essay by Lydia Pallas Loren titled “The Purpose of Copyright Law.”  Ms. Loren, an Associate Professor of Law, Northwestern School of Law of Lewis & Clark College, does a superb job of providing a succinct overview of US copyright law — from a brief history to our current (& sad) situation today.  She  astutely explains “... the misunderstanding held by many who believe that the primary purpose of copyright law is to protect authors against those who would pilfer the author’s work.

Copyright is simply a government-granted monopoly to (from the Constitution) “…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.”

Well… when first enacted in the U.S., “limited times” meant 14 years, renewable only once for an additional 14 years.  As Ms. Loren notes, “…we must all realize that too broad a monopoly will impede rather than promote that progress on which this country was founded.

While Ms. Loren doesn’t advocate eliminating copyright protection, as far as I’m concerned — copyright is already dead & buried.  Congress, at the whim of the content owning industries, has so distorted the meaning of “limited times” and copyright law in general (not to mention the 1997 No Electronic Theft Act or 1998 Digital Millennium Copyright Act) that as far as I’m concerned, US copyright law as it exists today has been rendered completely invalid.

Copyright law?  What copyright law?  Congress has destroyed it!

PROs are Killing Live Music in Small Venues…

What’s a “PRO”?  Performance Rights Organization

What are they?  IMHO, they’re completely useless parasitic organizations that “supposedly” represent copyright holders, particularly royalty collection.  They travel around & visit restaurants, bars, coffee shops, offices, libraries and even church groups & 4-H conferences  — any venue that plays music – either via CDs, radios, or live performances – and they demand licensing payments (which aren’t cheap).  If a vendor or non-profit organization refuses to pay, then they sue them for their use of copyrighted music.  Penalties in court can range from $750 to $30,000 per song.

Who are they?

  • ASCAP (The American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers) formed in 1914
  • BMI (Broadcast Music, Inc.) formed in 1939
  • SESAC (Society of European Stage Authors & Composers) formed in 1930

How long has this been going on?  Only for decades.  They even tried to collect royalties from the Girl Scouts in 1996 for songs around the campfire.  Yet another example of how ridiculous copyright has become.

Why do we care?  These organizations are killing off many small, local venues where new musicians or local bands are allowed to play (i.e., open mic nights, etc.).  Even if the band/musician agrees ahead of time to not play any cover songs, the PROs still insist upon collecting license fees.  And it isn’t just live performances they go after – you cannot legally play a CD or even a radio in a restaurant, bar, coffee shop, etc.  Is this just plain nuts or what???

And remember — it’s not just businesses that are at risk.  These asinine copyright rules also apply to non-profit organizations such as libraries, churches, 4-H, etc.

The latest example is a small coffee shop in a Manchester, NH, strip mall, which after numerous threats from PROs had to end their music program.  See Techdirt’s take on this. For previous examples, see the following Techdirt posts:

Sickening, eh?  And the above posts are merely the pointy tip of a huge iceberg.  (oh… that’s right… no more icebergs due to global warming… rats!)

Techdirt TOTALLY refutes James Murdoch lecture on copyright

You probably didn’t hear about this, but James Murdoch was asked to address University College in London on the anniversary of the first copyright law 300 years ago.  James is the son of  Rupert Murdoch, who is chairman & CEO of News Corporation.  Like father like son, James has an even more twisted & distorted view of copyright as his dad, Rupert, who is implementing a paywall around many of his news publications (see “Rupert Murdoch’s Pathetic Paywall“) .

Mike Masnick @ Techdirt does an OUTSTANDING job of refuting nearly every statement concerning copyright made by James Murdoch in his post “James Murdoch Lectures On Copyright, But Still Seems Confused.”  James Murdoch is merely repeating the same story line that the content industry has been preaching for many, many moons (eons, maybe?).  I imagine they (including the RIAA & MPAA) must think that if they keep repeating — over and over — the same falsehoods concerning copyright & piracy, that people will eventually believe it and take it as fact.  I’d like to think (or at least hope) that most intelligent people would see it for the trash that it is.  Of course, it appears our Congress,  Senate & Courts (along with the entire administration) have fallen for it “hook, line & sinker.”  Oh… my mistake… I stated “most intelligent people”…. that certainly rules out these folks, eh?  (My bad)

Anywho’s… enjoy the read!  It’s a long post, but well worth the time.  It’s not only educational AND entertaining, it’s also a hoot!  BRAVO, MR. MASNICK!

Copyright news over the past month…

It’s been a busy month for copyright news.  Just last week we heard that the US Government Accounting Office (GAO) released a report concerning Piracy that pretty much “poo poos” nearly all claims by the media industries concerning what the cost of piracy is.  Of course, the RIAA has already lambasted the GAO’s report.

Here’s a list of articles that discuss the GAO report conclusions:


Next we have news from Ireland that “copyright is a fundamental right” and it’s perfectly OK (& legal) to kick copyright infringers off the Internet:


Then we have this amazing “Wish List for fighting piracy” from the RIAA & MPAA in their comments to the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC).  This includes items such as requiring anti-infringement software to be installed on home computers.  These folks must be the aliens that 1/5 of people in a recent poll believe exist.  Only someone from another world could come up with a list like this!

If you’d like to see a more reasonable & balanced  input, read what Mike Masnick over at TechDirt submitted last month here.


Great article in the The Economist a couple weeks ago discussing “Why the rules on copyright need to return to their roots.


And from a month ago, an article concerning the warnings of “Piracy” author Adrian Johns titled “Historian warns against copyright-fight heavy hitting” from “The Register.”


For some interesting background info concerning copyright law in the international arena, check out the “Copy/South Research Group.”  They’ve published the following PDF documents that are freely available:

Dat’s all for now…

April 10: Copyright is 300 Years Old…

For an interesting read about the 300th birthday of copyright, take a look at this excellent post by Thom Holwerda at OS News “Copyright Turns 300 Today.

If only we could turn the clock back to 1710, when works were protected for a term of 14 years, extendable only once.  That’s actually what our copyright terms were when incorporated within the U.S. Constitution — Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 — in 1787 & in the first U.S. copyright law in 1790.

So where are we now?  Copyright “has metamorphsed from a narrow, short-term exclusive right to print books to a broad bundle of rights lasting for upwards of a century” (Copyright’s Paradox by Neil Weinstock Netanel).  Take a look at this copyright term chart from Tom Bell at Wikipedia:

Expansion of U.S. Copyright Law

Economists have confirmed that copyrights now endure for a time that is essentially “functionally perpetual.”

Even Lawrence Lessig (author of numerous books on copyright) has apparently given up on the possibility that any meaningful changes and/or improvements can be made to current U.S. copyright law.  The deck is just too stacked against it (i.e., extensive lobbying by media conglomerates; an extremely receptive ear in Congress; copyright-friendly courts; and even the President & his administration).

I myself, as many, was mildly optimistic that with the election of a younger, more tech savvy president, that the new administration might see the ludicrousness of current U.S. copyright law.  NOT!!!  Do you realize that President Obama has appointed five RIAA lawyers so far to the Justice Department?  In addition, he has not only openly sided with the RIAA & MPAA, but backs the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA)!

Yes… this is indeed a sad time for copyright , certainly not worthy of any birthday celebration whatsoever.

I don’t like Apple (the company) anymore…

I’ve seldom been an Apple user, but I always held both the company & Steve Jobs with utmost respect… until this past week.  I now consider Apple with the likes of every other greedy company gone awry.

Why, you might ask?

First is their filing of patent infringement lawsuits against HTC & Android phones (article 1; article 2; article 3).  Aw… gee… is Apple afraid they won’t be able to survive with some competition?

Next is the pressure Apple is applying to the music labels concerning Amazon MP3’s “Daily Deal” promotions.  Aw… gee… isn’t Apple satisfied with their previous & still current monopoly of online music?  Screw ’em!!!

No, I’m not naive.  I know many, many (TOO MANY) companies are filing patent infringement lawsuits on a daily or weekly basis.  Foolish me — I just thought Apple was ‘above’ this idiotic behavior.  I guess not.

I feel the same way about patents as I do about copyright — they should both be scrapped!  If more people would read up on the history, including a couple of the latest books — “Against Intellectual Monopoly(by Michele Boldrin & David K. Levine) and “The Gridlock Economy” (by Michael Heller) — they’d realize that all patents & copyrights do (among other things) is eliminate competition and stifle both innovation & creativity.  With the exception of possibly a couple extreme cases, patents (& copyrights) are NOT needed.  (And, oh, BTW – expanding patent law to cover software & business processes was a BIG MISTAKE!  Yet another means to stifle innovation.)

Will they ever go away or be modified?  Not unless the public gets involved.  There’s already way too many lawyers making way too much money on way too many patent & copyright disputes.  And, uh, oh yeah… who runs our government?  Lawyers, anyone???  Patent & copyright law is big business, so any modifications to this mess are going to be difficult and ugly.

Just my two cents worth…   (actually.. it’s probably only worth half-a-cent, if that much)

Are you scared yet? (of Cyberwarfare)

I mentioned & referenced the history of copyright in my previous post.  One thing that nearly always prevailed in the copyright wars of past was that it was the publishers/distributors/media companies/RIAA/MPAA that were always pushing for more regulation & enforcement, longer copyrights & stricter control of the medium (i.e., the Internet).

Take a look at this article @ Wired, “Cyberwar Hype Intended to Destroy the Open Internet“.  If Michael McConnell succeeds in scaring the government (as he’s apparently done in the past), we’ll now have both industry AND the government trying to “secure” the Internet.  After all… it’s for our own good…  ya know what I mean?

Anywho’s… it’s an interesting read.

Copyright Reform… are we losing the battle???

I don’t know, but from the copyright-related press I’ve been reading over the past few weeks, it appears to me that the ‘stars may be aligning’ for media companies (and in particular, RIAA & MPAA).

First is the leaked portion of the Anti-Counterfeit Trade Agreement (ACTA), which, among other things, urges participating governments to ‘crack down’ on copyright infringers (a.k.a., file sharing).

Then there’s the Intellectual Property Enforcement Coordinator (IPEC), Victoria A. Espinel, who’s requesting comments from the public as to how best stop ‘the public’ from file sharing & much more.

And finally, the report that the top official at the Dept of Commerce stated that the US Government’s policy of leaving the Internet alone is over, and that they would now cover issues that include copyright protection.

Isn’t that just great!  It’s taken over 300 years, but the publishers/media companies/distributors may finally get, once again, what they’ve always desired — complete control of all content (books, music, media/movies, etc), with government law and mandates to back them up.

I stumbled across an article at titled “The Surprising History of Copyright and The Promise of a Post-Copyright World” published in Oct, 2005, and also available here.  Not believing everything I read, I followed up on his references, in particular his first reference “Copyright and ‘The Exclusive Right’ of Authors” by Professor Lyman Ray Patterson, Pope Brock Professor of Law at the University of Georgia.  This essay was written in 1993, but is completely applicable to our current ‘copyright’ mayhem today.  It’s not a light read, but it completely backs up the history article above and provides considerably more insight as to how we got to where we are today.

Still not satisfied with just one article and a 17 yr old reference, I started reading Adrian Johns’ new book, “Piracy — The Intellectual Property Wars from Gutenberg to Gates.”  Wow… talk about depressing.  (Not the book!  It’s fascinating!)  What’s depressing is just how long these ‘copyright wars’ have been going on.  Over 300 years ago, there were plenty of opponents that fought against granting ‘property rights’ and monopolies to publishers, not to mention, quite a few extremely intelligent folks on the judiciary & in government positions.  How many opponents exist to fight ACTA & IPEC today?  And most importantly, it’s not just the media companies & distributors of content we must worry about, but also what our own government is doing or trying to do to copyright infringers!

Adrian Johns explains that piracy has just as much, if not more, history than intellectual property.  It has ALWAYS stood at the center of our attempts to reconcile creativity and commerce, and piracy has been an engine of social, technological, and intellectual innovations as often as it has been their adversary.

The ‘copyright’ situation today is just ‘yet another’ battle being played, proceeded in most recent times by battles over sheet music, pirate radio, home taping (reel-to-real units), cassette recorders, VHS recorders and MP3 players.  In each of these, media companies claimed ‘the sky is falling’, that they were losing millions or billions of dollars, and that their very livelihood was threatened.  The RIAA was formed in the early 50’s (home taping era) with an avowed antipiracy mission, which included lobbying for copyright and intervening in its own right to deter, prevent, and detect piracy.  From Johns’ book, it’s apparent that the RIAA was just as sneaky and underhanded back in the 50’s as they are today.  Ditto for the MPAA, which was formed about 20 yrs later.

I used to think in terms of “Copyright Reform.”  Not any more… especially after reading in detail about it’s ugly history.  The only way we can make things right is to end copyright, once and for all.  But it’s not going to happen unless “we” — yeah… the 100’s of millions of alleged ‘infringers’ — get involved.  (or at least interested in what’s happening!)

BTW, Adrian Johns book on “Piracy” is fascinating!  Unfortunately, it’s over 500 pages in length and it’s going to take some time to finish.

And finally, another article worth reading at titled “What We Lose When We Embrace Copyright.”

Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement (ACTA) Internet Chapter Leaked…

Not sure if this is kosher, but I’m going to do it anyway.  You’ve got to check out the Techdirt Blog & read Mike Masnick’s review of the recently leaked ACTA Internet chapter.  You can find it here.