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Biden Promises 'Right Person' As Copyright Czar

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the film-appreciation dept.

Movies 492

Hugh Pickens writes "Vice President Joe Biden lauded Hollywood at a gala dinner in Washington, assailed movie piracy, and promised film executives that the Obama administration would pick 'the right person' as its copyright czar. Biden warned of the harms of piracy at the private event organized by the Motion Picture Association of America in the sumptuous, newly renovated Great Hall of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. 'It's pure theft, stolen from the artists and quite frankly from the American people as consequence of loss of jobs and as a consequence of loss of income,' Biden said, according to a White House pool report. Biden addressed President Obama's forthcoming decision about who will be named the intellectual-property enforcement coordinator, better known as the copyright czar. Under a law approved by the US Congress last October, Obama is required to appoint someone to coordinate the administration's IP enforcement efforts and prepare annual reports. Copyright industry lobbyists sent a letter to the president asking him to pick someone sympathetic to their concerns, while groups that would curb copyright law sent their own letter (PDF) urging the opposite approach. We 'will find the right person for intellectual property czar,' Biden said."

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I nominate... (5, Insightful)

flaming error (1041742) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682157)

Lawrence Lessig

Re:I nominate... (2, Interesting)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682243)

Lessig and Hollywood don't get along.

Re:I nominate... (4, Insightful)

shanen (462549) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682279)

I think they should hire a reformed pirate from Somalia. After all, it takes a pirate to stop a pirate.

Seriously, copyright is dead already. It no longer makes sense to pretend that the point of reproduction is a choke point for publication. Yes, we do need to reward creativity, but no, corporate-controlled copyright focused on profit-maximization (based on an ancient paradigm of killing more trees) is NOT the solution.

Re:I nominate... (3, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682381)

Yes, we do need to reward creativity, but no, corporate-controlled copyright focused on profit-maximization ... is NOT the solution.

So the solution is??????

Re:I nominate... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682417)

Copyright focused on what the law originally intended as stated in the Constitution: the advancement of science and the arts for the public good. That doesn't always mean "For the good of this corporation over here, because they put a fat check in my pocket"

We had a choice between assholes that shill for oil companies, or douches that shill for Hollywood. Guess which group we picked.

Re:I nominate... (5, Insightful)

ProKras (727865) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682583)

We had a choice between assholes that shill for oil companies, or douches that shill for Hollywood. Guess which group we picked.

Both.

Re:I nominate... (3, Insightful)

shentino (1139071) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682635)

I wish the framers allowed the president and congress critters to be recalled if they pissed off the public.

At the very least, a "disapproved by voters" should bar a reelection.

That way they won't get away with playing nice long enough to get reelected.

The only reason that people are putting up with this crap anyway is due to learned helplessness.

Re:I nominate... (1)

Rip Dick (1207150) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682539)

1. Ignore piracy

2. ???

3. PROFIT!!!

Re:I nominate... (2, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682563)

So the solution is to not criminalize personal filesharing for no commercial gain, decrease copyright to a sane 20 or less years, repeal things such as the DMCA and make a law with safe harbor provisions without the draconian things of the DMCA, make jailbreaking, breaking of DRM, etc. expressly legal so long as they do not make a profit. Make trackers and torrent sites expressly legal. Allow the remixing of such things for non-profit use. Then we will see progress.

Re:I nominate... (5, Insightful)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682607)

So the solution is to not criminalize personal filesharing for no commercial gain, ... Allow the remixing of such things for non-profit use. Then we will see progress.

I think that's a pipe dream which doesn't take human nature ("why pay when I can take it for free?") into account.

decrease copyright to a sane 20 or less years, repeal things such as the DMCA

That I agree with.

Re:I nominate... (2, Insightful)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682657)

I think that's a pipe dream which doesn't take human nature ("why pay when I can take it for free?") into account.

But a lot of money being made on copyright with the exception of games is for business use or things that can never be emulated. For example, most bands make their money through live shows, no matter how advanced of video technology we get, you can never really successfully recreate the atmosphere of a concert. Similarly, if movie theaters could provide a great experience many people would go there rather then at home, but sadly the ordinary movie theater experience has technical glitches, loud children, overpriced (crappy) food and drinks, and AV equipment that wasn't that great. Its no wonder people would rather torrent movies then watch them in the theaters. Books similarly cannot be faithfully replicated (e-readers are close, but I still find reading a book much more enjoyable) with current technology. Games also would be protected by use of specialty hardware, sure, you can't sue someone for cracking your console, but you can make your console hard to crack.

Re:I nominate... (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682609)

No one on Slashdot knows. But they have the answer every time.

Re:I nominate... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682665)

The solution: Remove government intervention and let things play out on their own.

Re:I nominate... (1)

Randall311 (866824) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682741)

1. Get rid of copyright
2. Pirate everything
3. Profit!

Yes that's right. You were expecting ???? weren't you? No need for question marks here. The answer is clear. Bootleg everything!

Re:I nominate... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682915)

It doesn't matter for the parents point to be valid. Consider:

"Violently raping children is NOT the answer to getting the children a better education."

"So the solution is?????"

The lack of a solution to improving education does NOT mean we should violently rape children.

Re:I nominate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682247)

I like that idea

Can we drop all this "Czar" crap? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682327)

We're already becoming more and more like the old USSR every day. We don't need to be calling our non-elected leaders "czars."

Re:Can we drop all this "Czar" crap? (4, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682451)

There were no "czars" in the Soviet Union, the last one was murdered at the start of the revolution.

Re:I nominate... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682345)

I quite agree. As the kids say, "Clintoned in the boobies."

Re:I nominate... (2)

bgray54 (1207256) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682423)

I nominate the guys from The Pirate Bay. Arrrr!

Re:I nominate... (4, Interesting)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682875)

Lessig supported Obama during his presidential candidacy. How ironic, then, that the very candidate he supported all along ended up appointing people who stand for the very opposite of what Lessig has stood for as the public face of Creative Commons. Judging by his record so far, I seriously doubt Obama would ever appoint somebody like Lessig to the position of Copyright Czar, and besides I'm not sure the job is all that compatible with the principles of the Creative Commons movement.

Not saying this is right but (5, Insightful)

captnbmoore (911895) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682161)

The way things have gone so far with this admin I figure that the only right person in there eyes will be someone like this Dan Glickman, head of the MPAA,

yeah right (4, Insightful)

phayes (202222) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682169)

An ex, cough, current RIAA attourney without any doubt...

Re:yeah right (2, Funny)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682753)

You're not thinking big enough...

Remember, the czars hail from Russia. I'd like to propose Vladimir Putin.

Hmm... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682171)

Let the excuse-making begin.

politics (-1, Troll)

jipn4 (1367823) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682177)

Neither party can afford to upset big, powerful industries, so don't expect any strong language from the president on copyright or media.

On balance, I suspect we're still better off with whoever Obama finds than with whatever a Republican president would have done and who he would have selected.

Re:politics (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682215)

How so? I didn't realize copyright law enforcement was a particularly partisan issue in the United States. Both parties, and most of the general populace, including (perhaps especially) Slashdot, are rather clueless about copyright law.

Re:politics (2, Insightful)

wasted (94866) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682293)

Hollywood, in general, tends to support the left more than the right. Consequently, my guess would be that the nominee would be someone who tends to favor Hollywood's interest, so Hollywood campaign contributions to the Democratic Party continue at current or higher levels.

I could be wrong about my guess, though.

Re:politics (2, Insightful)

Captain Splendid (673276) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682527)

Hollywood, in general, tends to support the left more than the right.

It does neither. "Hollywood", for lack of a better term, is a business. Pretty much everything they do is predicated on making money, like any other business.

Re:politics (2, Insightful)

WgT2 (591074) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682603)

Please, let me inflame: Are you so left that the rest of us look like center?

Hollywood is a business. It is also very liberal in its views.

Re:politics (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682695)

Hollywood, in general, tends to support the left more than the right. Consequently, my guess would be that the nominee would be someone who tends to favor Hollywood's interest, so Hollywood campaign contributions to the Democratic Party continue at current or higher levels.

I could be wrong about my guess, though.

Sounds like a good guess to me.

Re:politics (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682387)

I will remind you that it was a Democrat that signed the DMCA into law.

Re:politics (2, Informative)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682501)

I will remind you that it was a Republican congress that wrote and voted for the DMCA bill.

Re:politics (2, Informative)

Burkin (1534829) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682507)

And I will remind you that the DMCA was cosponsored in both houses by a Republican and very few of them voted against it.

Re:politics (5, Informative)

SignalFreq (580297) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682615)

I will remind you that it was a Democrat that signed the DMCA into law.

Yep. Under a Republican House and Senate.

And it was Introduced by:
Howard Coble, N.C.-R
Henry Hyde, Illinois-R
John Conyers, Michigan-D
Barney Frank, Mass.-D

Also sponsored by:

Sonny Bono, Cali-R
Bill McCollum, Fl-R
Howard Berman, Cali-D
Mary Bono, Cali-R
Bill Paxon, NY-R
Chip Pickering, Miss-R

The bill passed:
The House 297-112, Republicans: 205 Yes, 16 No, Democrats 92 Yes, 95 No
The Senate 99-0, Republicans 54 Yes, Democrats 45 Yes

http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/105/house/2/votes/69/ [washingtonpost.com]
http://projects.washingtonpost.com/congress/105/senate/2/votes/137/ [washingtonpost.com]

So yeah, looks like Hollywood spread the donations around to both parties. At least more than half of the House Democrats voted no.

Re:politics (2, Informative)

Steauengeglase (512315) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682523)

Copyright was a small subject for the Bush administration, they were into energy and military spending.

The congress on the other hand is littered with Democrats who have been propped up with entertainment dollars.

Context, please (2, Informative)

Dolda2000 (759023) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682187)

For us on the other side of the ocean, what is this copyright czar you keep mentioning?

Re:Context, please (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682249)

Re:Context, please (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682465)

Us nominative "democratic" folks like to appoint "czars" - autocratic, dictatorial leaders - for high visibility, typically social, issues that need "to be fixed". That way, we don't allow our democratic sensibilities to get in the way of entrenched corporate interests.

For example, read the article on the "Drug Czar" [wikipedia.org]

As with any bureaucratic functionary (like other protozoa), they tend to multiply [tressugar.com] and generally smell up the place.

Next up: Socialism as an experiment in capitalism.

Re:Context, please (1)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682469)

Its just something that the US administration (especially the current one) does when there is a problem: appoint a " czar". The issue is basically that the US government is now so enormous and complicated that issues cannot be efficiently handled through normal channels as the multitudes of departments don't communicate very well or at all with each other (or even know of others' existence), so the idea is that a single person focused on a specific issue and with authority across multiple departments will help untangle the mess. It works as well as any hack solution in that it temporarily helps on that specific problem but at the long term cost of making the overall mess even messier.

Re:Context, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682811)

The whole point of appointing a "czar" is to supposedly to create somone whose job it is to take charge of this one problem. The Drug Czar, the Education Czar, what have you.

The real reason for creating a Czar position is to have someone to blame when the problem isn't solved. This is a great way for the President to sidestep the blame. I mean the "Czar" was the one who failed, not the President.

Think of the Czar as that goat that was tied out for the T-Rex to eat in Jurassic Park.

Ugh, that's depressing... (5, Insightful)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682197)

It's kind of sad to see that despite all the progressive politics that Obama and Biden embody, that they're following Hollywood's line to the letter. I'd like to see some specific language from them on exactly what they think about the proper length of copyright terms -- the current terms lasting a century or more are absurd.

Lessig took the wrong approach in arguing Eldred v. Ashcroft before the Supreme Court. While the frequent extensions to copyright obviously violate the spirit of the Constitution, they don't violate the letter, since century-plus durations are still technically "limited." What does violate the letter of the Constitution is that these extensions do not "promote the Progress" of science and arts, but rather retard them. Past a certain length, copyright terms don't create any additional encouragement to create; they just make it easier for huge corporations to monopolize our common culture.

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (2, Insightful)

Poisonous Drool (526798) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682241)

Here's a quick course in Constitutional law: They can do whatever they want; the commerce clause says so.

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (2, Insightful)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682319)

Commerce clause applies to Congress, not the executive branch...

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (2, Informative)

beallj (594139) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682343)

And Congress extended the length of copyright terms, not the executive branch.

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (3, Informative)

DustyShadow (691635) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682367)

Your point? Commerce Clause is not what allows copyright btw. It's the, believe it or not, COPYRIGHT CLAUSE!!

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (5, Insightful)

N3Roaster (888781) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682493)

And this extension in the length of copyright terms quite frankly was pure theft, stolen from the American people as a consequence of loss of materials promised to the public domain and as a consequence of the loss of jobs advancing American culture based on such materials.

(sorry for hijacking your argument, but I wanted to post this and you had the best segue to it at the time)

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (1)

thethibs (882667) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682317)

progressive politics that Obama and Biden embody

I'm not American, but if I were, I'd remember that Biden wrote the first draft of the Patriot Act. So when he talks about criminals and enforcement I wouldn't guess that he's thinking about anything "progressive".

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (1)

slashqwerty (1099091) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682433)

I'd remember that Biden wrote the first draft of the Patriot Act.

Would you like to back that up with some references? My recollection is that the first draft came straight from the Department of Justice.

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (4, Informative)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682509)

In '95 Biden introduced a "Counterterrorism Bill" in the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing that was essentially the same thing as the Patriot Act [newsvine.com] . He even said, when the DOJ introduced the Patriot Act, "I drafted a terrorism bill after the Oklahoma City bombing. And the bill John Ashcroft sent up was my bill".

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (1)

ciroknight (601098) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682333)

It's kind of sad to see that despite all the progressive politics that Obama and Biden embody, that they're following Hollywood's line to the letter.

The fact is, there's just nobody in Washington who doesn't follow Hollywood's will, or they wouldn't be in Washington in the first place. To be a politician these days, you have to side with some companies in order to get money and votes, and it just so happens that Hollywood has deep pockets and sides with anyone who's Pro-IP.

We all know going into this presidency that whoever wound up in office would be a strong on IP. Let's not act like this is some kind of surprise. Sure, it'd be great if the Obama administration really could align with everyone, but that would be fantasy-land, not America.

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (5, Insightful)

Mr. Underbridge (666784) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682403)

It's kind of sad to see that despite all the progressive politics that Obama and Biden pretended to give a shit about during the election that they're following Hollywood's line to the letter

Fixed that. If you really didn't see this coming, then welcome to the realities of politics.

Re:Ugh, that's depressing... (4, Interesting)

shark72 (702619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682905)

"It's kind of sad to see that despite all the progressive politics that Obama and Biden embody, that they're following Hollywood's line to the letter."

Interesting choice of words. The administration isn't looking at the short term here -- they see the writing on the wall and want to cement the USA's position as an economic superpower as the manufacturing leaves us behind. The USA is the biggest exporter of IP on the planet, and the administration likely sees this as our economy's golden ticket as India and China usurp what have been traditionally some of our big money-makers.

The current administration probably looks at it a bit like global warming -- doing something about it should not be put off. They want to make progress here; hence the term "progressive." To do nothing would not be progressive.

Agreed with you, however, that the ever-extending copyright lengths violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the constitution. Very well put. The big media companies would, of course, like to make copyright perpetual, but that would be unconstitutional. So instead they're doing the next best thing, and getting it pushed out each time Mickey Mouse is in danger of entering ye olde publick domain.

 

Ecch... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682199)

"It's pure theft, stolen from the artists and quite frankly from the American people as consequence of loss of jobs and as a consequence of loss of income,"

The loss of income by some Americans due to copyright infringement is exactly made up for by the savings of the Americans who don't pay for the copyrighted works. It's a complete and total wash as far as the domain that can be affected by American legislation and law enforcement. I'm for copyrights of a limited term (say, 20 years) and this still sickens me.

One of the big things that bothers me is that the american entertainment industry is such a tiny part of the economy. IBM is worth much more than any of the entertainment companies -- five times all of Sony or Time-Warner, for example -- but you don't see congress and the president trying to fuck over every citizen in IBM's name. It's a completely corrupt effort, even though copyrights can serve a good purpose.

Re:Ecch... (2, Informative)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682277)

One of the big things that bothers me is that the american entertainment industry is such a tiny part of the economy.

Indeed. As I've said a few times before, the Self Storage industry is about twice as big as all the movie and music companies combined. Providing the middle class with a place to dumb their excess consumption is more profitable, how fucked is that.

Re:Ecch... (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682491)

One of the big things that bothers me is that the american entertainment industry is such a tiny part of the economy.

But as we've seen, the American entertainment industry can allow those in power to wag the dog. [imdb.com]
That sentence works on so many levels!

corporations are no artists, except con artists (4, Insightful)

jessemaurais (1479217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682211)

"It's pure theft..." but when Disney takes the creation of Steven Lisberger, that's ok, because they own that, so it's not really theft. Corporations have "intellectual property" because they have buying power. Apparently the artists they hire have no intelligence, because they sell their creativity rights for the access to the medium.

Re:corporations are no artists, except con artists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682289)

So Lisberger involuntarily came to work for Disney as some sort of an indentured servant? Wow, that shouldn't be happening in this country.

Re:corporations are no artists, except con artists (1)

jessemaurais (1479217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682315)

No he voluntarily signed away his creations so that he could create something worthwhile. I think this is neither necessary nor a proper way to do business. But the sarcasm was cute.

Re:corporations are no artists, except con artists (0, Troll)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682427)

I think this is neither necessary nor a proper way to do business.

What's your experience in running a large (or even medium or small) business?

Re:corporations are no artists, except con artists (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682559)

I think there are legitimate arguments against how things are run and why they need to change, but your stated argument leads to a nanny state - "Oh, the employees can't choose whether or not to work there." People who don't like smoking used that logic to push laws making bars non-smoking; they said the employees couldn't choose whether or not to work at a bar that allows smoking. Funny thing, though: with the law to protect the employees in place, the employees at the bars I go to now actively break the law and let people smoke in them. So we created a nanny law which hurts the people it's supposed to protect (via fines and possibly shutting down their employer).

Look at it from the other side: I've wanted to work as an artist for all of my adult life; instead I've spent my days working for some nameless corporation being a great software engineer, making stuff I only give a shit about in the sense that I take pride in any work I do. I would be fucking thrilled beyond belief if someone said "Here's a salary to make the art you want to make."

Another anecdote: I have a musician friend writing software for a music company; gets paid well, gets to work around 10 or 11AM, gets to work less than full time so she can work on her music, and can take off days when she needs to travel for the shows and cabarets she puts on. The job is a pretty sweet job, and it absolutely fucking kills her not to be working on music all day. Give her the same salary as she makes now to make her music, and she'd be thrilled beyond compare.

Re:corporations are no artists, except con artists (5, Interesting)

Dun Malg (230075) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682655)

How about this then? A friend of mine worked for Disney and created a background mural for a ride at Disneyworld. The work was licensed to Disney solely for use as part of the ride. A couple years later, this same friend attended a Disney on Ice show, and what do you know, there was his background artwork. In the ice show. In violation of the license. He complained and Disney basically stonewalled him for a year, claiming variously "it's not your artwork", "it's allowed under the contract we signed", and other such bullshit. Eventually, they renegotiated a new contract for a lot more money. His agent said Disney pulls this crap all the fucking time, and most of the time artists don't find out until after the fact and don't have a live show to hold hostage, so they get stonewalled forever. They're a bunch of prick theives, stealing from everyone else, and whining about piracy at the same time. Fuck 'em.

Re:corporations are no artists, except con artists (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682349)

Apparently the artists they hire have no intelligence, because they sell their creativity rights for the access to the medium.

Are you an idiot, or just willfully stupid?

Lots of creative people do not prefer to be free actors, having to be businessmen in addition to creating their art.

Re:corporations are no artists, except con artists (1)

jessemaurais (1479217) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682807)

It can be disagreed, that creators ought to retain creative control of their products. I also think art as an industry would be better off if this were the case -- again, rational people can disagree. A company can leverage their means of production & distribution over an artist if they want, and this is not only legal but common. The near ubiquity of the practice makes it a non-choice. This was the point of my first post. If anyone cares to talk about this, I'm all ears. But I haven't heard it yet.

To be expeted (1)

Blackhalo (572408) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682213)

It is not surprise that this administration would be pro-big media. The question to me would be, to what extent are they willing to compromise common carrier and constitution in that endeavor.

My suggestion... (1)

zach_the_lizard (1317619) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682239)

My personal suggestion is that they pick no one, abolish the office, and tell Hollywood to go to hell. But, that's not going to happen, so I nominate, let's see....Stephen Kinsella.

You software reds are going down! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682253)

And if you keep torrenting they are going to three strikes you with an Obama SWAT tank and some stimulus bullets and seize your gear. But on the other hand you'll get network neutrality .

Perhaps a reaction to extreme copyright? (4, Insightful)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682263)

Is it possible that we wouldn't be downloading everything there ever was, if we had grown up in a world where copyrights were limited in any meaningful sense?

Hmm. (1)

murderswitch101 (701516) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682267)

In before they dig up Jack Valenti's rotted corpse and put him in charge of this shit.

It also occurs to me... (4, Interesting)

Dirtside (91468) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682269)

...that we may already be able to see where, in general, the future will lead with regard to copyright enforcement. The music industry has more or less given up on DRM; there were enough places that started selling DRM-free music, and made a mint at it, that the big dogs finally gave up. Why?

Among the population of those who pirate (set P), the subset Q who pirate because it's easy, but would pay if they couldn't pirate, is very small. The big dogs were spending more on creating and implementing DRM schemes than they could ever hope to earn from Q, and they finally figured this out.

The movie industry hasn't quite got this yet, or at least not in the same way; because a piece of music is much smaller and easier to distribute than a piece of video, the RIAA's battle with Internet piracy really began around 1996. The MPAA didn't start having to deal with it to the same degree for five or six years later. Giant corporations are not quick learners, and it'll probably be another two or three years before they really get it (although to some degree they've learned from the RIAA's mistakes).

In practice, there will be a lot of lip service put toward stopping the Evil Pirates, and occasional high-profile incidents such as the Pirate Bay verdict, but in the main, 99% of pirates will never be affected. There's just way too many of them compared to the studios; giant though those corporations may be, they're nothing compared to the tens of thousands of people who are dedicated, for whatever reason, to defeating any conceivable DRM scheme.

There'll still be efforts made against commercial pirates, but as for noncommercial piracy, unless they make a big splash or get noticed for some reason, they're going to be ignored by the studios forever, because it will always cost the studios more to do something about them than they could ever hope to earn from doing so.

Biden and Obama and their successors will, as has been noted, probably sing the same tune forever -- the entertainment industry is a huge political donor. More to the point, the only politicians who get elected are going to be the ones who at least pay lip service to helping Hollywood against the Evil Pirates (tm). But there's really never going to be much they can do about it.

Re:It also occurs to me... (4, Insightful)

the_macman (874383) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682357)

I understand your reason for lack of concern. But hear MY concern. During the MPAA's pursuit against piracy the freedoms of the internet will be trampled on :( So sure they won't catch 99% of all pirates but that doesn't mean we won't see federal legislation requiring ISP's to log records, even more powerful DMCA, and other such bullshit along the way. I have hopes that we'll win though. There are more of us and we are smarter. But casualties along the way will occur and that saddens me.

I'm not entirely sure (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682897)

I'm not entirely sure that Obama's push on IP is driven entirely by Hollywood. Maybe in part it's solidarity with Biden and maybe not, but I've always felt Barack to be the sort to push his own agenda over anyone else's. His big drive is to fix the economy and fix health, which are personal. And a strong IP is the only way an economy that's moved from agrarian to industrial to informational can survive. That is, if you don't have resources, you don't have manufacturing, what are you as a country going to be able to peddle?? I think he sees that. RIAA is a very bad source to pull people from, though. I don't care how good they are, they'll never be able to wash the algae off.

Hope and Change, Fairydust and Rainbows.... (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682281)

Feeling suckered yet? Obama knows where to get his bread buttered, and Hollyweird is only happy enough to do it for him.

Re:Hope and Change, Fairydust and Rainbows.... (3, Insightful)

droopycom (470921) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682479)

If the choice is between having the president a puppet of
A) the Oil Industry and the Defense Industry
B) the RIAA and MPAA

Then I would definitely choose B.

Its relatively easy to fight the RIAA and MPAA on my own or just ignore them, compared to the Oil and Defense...

Re:Hope and Change, Fairydust and Rainbows.... (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682887)

That's a bit of a false dichotomy. Obama can easily dance to the tunes of both A & B -- he is black, after all.

Biden wants more money? (5, Interesting)

the_arrow (171557) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682287)

Maybe it's just as simple as Biden wanting more money? "Give me more money and I'll make sure the 'right person' gets approved."

The Right Person (4, Insightful)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682305)

The right person for the job will know which battles are winnable, and which battles aren't.

The right person for the job will recognize that intellectual property holders are going to be more effective at combating user vs. corporation-style IP infringements by expanding access. This person will attempt to foment an environment in which it is reasonable for powerful IP holders to aggressively pursue this objective.

The right person for the job will focus enforcement efforts on businesses (e.g., pirated software) rather than living-room pirates, since the former can likely be widely-enforced, whereas the latter can't.

The right person for the job will seek to reform the patent system, and adopt a relatively narrow view of what IP entails.

The right person for the job will see his or her role as more along the lines of facilitating and educating, than as a law enforcement agent, or, worse, a corporate shill.

The right person for the job will be able to come up with witty comebacks to the TPB staff's bizarre antics.

Also, the right person for the job will probably still be widely reviled here. But that's okay, too.

Re:The Right Person (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682757)

The right person for the job will be able to come up with witty comebacks to the TPB staff's bizarre antics.

I wouldn't call them "bizzare antics" so much as rants fit for a 13 year old. Hard to come up with a witty response to what's essentially a screed of vulgarity and arrogance.

Sigh. It'sa bit depressing. (5, Funny)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682313)

I'm just hoping something like this will happen in the future.

Biden returning from trip, eases himself down into a chair in the Oval Office.

Obama: Long trip there, Joe? *hands him drink*

Biden: Long trip, long visit, good to be back. Thanks. So, how are things back at the ranch?

Obama: Fine, fine. The girls showed me something fairly remarkable on the internet.

Biden: Kids today, whippersnappers et cetera. What was it, youbook or facespace?

Obama: No, no. Something called bittorrent. Did you know there's all sorts of music online? And you can just download it!

Biden: *looks wary* That's none of that file-sharing, is it?

Obama: No, it's called bittorrent. All the kids are doing it.

Biden: Sure it's not piracy?

Obama: I just ordered our boys to blow the heads off of three pirates off of Somalia. I think I know piracy when I see it.

Biden: Sure it's none of that p2b-er b2a um a2m or whatever it is?

Obama: Nope. Bittorrent.

Biden: Hmph. *takes a closer look* Hey, this is neat. Wonder why the Hollywood guys haven't built something like this.

Meanwhile, in the White House IT office

Tech 1: Hey, looks like someone's using bittorrent.

Tech 2: Damn, I thought we blocked the port. Better fix it now before anyone notices.

Tech 1: Better not. Did you see the IP on that one?

Tech 2: Shit, you're right. I'm not going to be the one to tell the POTUS he can't play. Remember how pissed Cheney got after he spent all that time assuring everyone those emails were safely lost and whoops, we found the backups?

Tech 1: *shudders* Tell me about it. I haven't seen anyone that mad since I "accidentally" deleted Rove's furry scat collection.

Re:Sigh. It'sa bit depressing. (1)

db32 (862117) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682391)

Rove does look like he would be into some sick shit doesn't he?

Re:Sigh. It'sa bit depressing. (2, Funny)

pete-classic (75983) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682405)

A2m. Classic.

-Peter

Why do we persist with the ridiculous term Czar? (2, Insightful)

TookyCat (43469) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682351)

What is this, Russia?

Re:Why do we persist with the ridiculous term Czar (1)

guyminuslife (1349809) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682383)

You're right. We should stop calling them czars, comrade.

Re:Why do we persist with the ridiculous term Czar (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682511)

In Soviet America...

Wait.

I think I'll just stop right here.

Re:Why do we persist with the ridiculous term Czar (1)

Nutria (679911) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682581)

Why?

Because most people don't mind being told what to do. (Republican democracy has only taken up 2% of the 10,000 years since humans invented agriculture, and still most of the people in the world are ruled by unelected or sham-elected governments. Heck, even the US is sliding into totalitarianism.)

Re:Why do we persist with the ridiculous term Czar (5, Funny)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682647)

They used Fuhrer at first but it proved unpopular

Pure Theft (1)

Reed Solomon (897367) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682375)

Is being elected by the people to bring change, and instead offering more of the same old hollywood criminals exactly what they want.

The RIGHT person? (1)

lamadude (1270542) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682377)

What a great idea! Much better than anything I could have come up with. Problem solved.

Copyright is fine ... (1)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682413)

Copyright is fine as long as it is not abused. The problem is that copyright holder are abusing the system and are doing anything in their power to prevent copyrighted work reach the public domain. If getting hold of copyrighted was easier legally, and affordably, then there would be less pirates, but there will always be pirates. One example I have of the difficulty of easily getting copyright affordably is the Farscape seasons. Whatever your opinion is of this series, you find yourself either not able to find season 1 because of distribution rights mess, or paying out of your nose for the seasons you can get hold of.

I do buy media, though I just wait until it is in the price range of us mere mortals.

So in many ways copyright is fine, but not the way it is now. As it is, it is just a license for big media to screw everyone with their extortionate practices. 70 year copyrights? So which creating artist is still alive to benefit from this?

Irony (1)

Ender77 (551980) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682443)

I like how they equate big business = "American People", while the people who are the REAL American people are considered criminals. Fuck the bribed government!

Toilet Paper? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682445)

So is the administration stealing from toilet paper companies when they use the constitution to wipe their asses?

In response, we promise ... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682489)

Vice President Joe Biden lauded Hollywood at a gala dinner in Washington, assailed movie piracy, and promised film executives that the Obama administration would pick "the right person" as its copyright czar.

In response, we promise to implement "the right protocol" to circumvent whatever the czar tries to do.

Before you freak (4, Insightful)

buss_error (142273) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682567)

...sit back, relax, and see who gets the post.

We, as a consumer group, do have the power to stop RIAA and MPAA cold. How? Stop listening to music on the radio, don't buy any new CDs (used is fine), turn off your TV (and cable/sat/uverse), and don't go to the movies. It will take only about six months to completely destroy RIAA and MPAA if as few as 20% of the people do this.

The real problem as I see it is that very few of you want to be rid of the RIAA and MPAA, you just don't like how they do business. That's fine, I don't like how they do business myself. That's why I don't have cable or sat, I don't listen to music on the radio, I don't go to movies, I don't buy movies or CDs....

Put up or shut up folks. It's fine to complain, but do something about it, why don't you? The copyright cartels are paying the politicians far more than we do, and they're doing it with money we pay them. Quit paying them money to abridge your rights and desires.

Re:Before you freak (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682777)

But it's so much easier to expect the government to solve our problems for us, and get completely hysterical when they don't.

Honestly, did anyone really expect the copyright czar to concerned with anything other than copyright enforcement? Is the President supposed to flagrantly break the law and abolish copyright by royal edict?

It's time to face the facts. The copyright game is set up a certain way and it's not going to change until the market dictates change. If we keep the demand up then we can be certain that nothing will ever change.

I nominate... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682571)

Richard Stallman! Seriously, he'd be the best man for the job.

Who has the gall to be surprised?! (1)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682589)

It will be an MPAA lawyer. Let's move on now? I hear Sweden is opening its borders to U.S. "defectors."

Czar??? (1, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682785)

Does anyone else find it disturbing we now have people in the US gov't we refer to as "czars"? WTF.

It belongs in a museum! (3, Funny)

IAD.Tatami (1095671) | more than 5 years ago | (#27682827)

Obviously, nothing should enter the public domain until it is dug from the ground by an archaeologist.

Hmmmm. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27682853)

Just yesterday I was thinking that we were in better position because of neo-cons being gone, and with Obama in charge. If Obama is turning this copyright crap over to biden, we may be in for a LOT of fighting. Kind of sux.
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