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How the Obama Copyright Policies Might Unfold

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the pragmatic-is-as-pragmatic-does dept.

Democrats 188

An anonymous reader points out a column by James Boyle, who knows a thing or two about copyright, analyzing the Obama Administration's policy choices about intellectual property and high tech. "Traditionally, Democratic administrations take their copyright policy direct from Hollywood and the recording industry. Unfortunately, so do Republican administrations. The capture of regulators by the industry they regulate is nothing new, of course, but in intellectual property there is the added benefit that incumbents can frequently squelch competing technologies and business methods before they ever come into existence. ... The Obama administration's warm embrace of Silicon Valley, and Silicon Valley's checkbook, had given some hope that this pattern would change — and I think it will. Now, instead of taking copyright policy direct from the media conglomerates (who, after all, have a very legitimate point of view — even if not the only point of view) it is quite likely that the administration will construct it as a contract between content companies and high-technology companies such as Google. In some places, citizens and consumers will probably benefit, simply because optimizing for the interests of two economic blocs rather than one is likely to give us a slightly more balanced, and less technology-phobic, set of rules. And perhaps the administration will go further. But recent actions make me doubt that this is the case."

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Don't bet on it (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415081)

Obama was elected thanks to the media. They're the ones who refused to cover anyone except Obama, they're the ones who forced the Democratic Party to skip the part of their convention where they count delegates' votes, they're the ones who completely ignored Ron Paul's existence and went out of their way to paint McCain as a senile old man and Palin as a crazy country bumpkin.

Obama owes the media, and you'll bet they'll collect.

Re:Don't bet on it (1)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415109)

RE:"Obama owes the media, and you'll bet they'll collect."

more like the media p0wns Obama.

Re:Don't bet on it (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415237)

No kidding.

And regarding the "very legitimate point of view -- even if not the only point of view" - I call bullshit. Fuck the consumer is never a legitimate point of view.

Re:Don't bet on it (4, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415443)

Don't they do that in the Netherlands? Or have they shut down their red light districts?

Re:Don't bet on it (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415731)

Fuck the consumer is only a legitimate point of view to corporatists and their fascist friends.

Re:Don't bet on it (2, Informative)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415641)

More like the both are wholly p0wned subsidiaries of the plutocrats.

Re:Don't bet on it (1)

ysth (1368415) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415121)

they're the ones who completely ignored Ron Paul's existence

Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, too.

Re:Don't bet on it (4, Interesting)

OECD (639690) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415727)

they're the ones who completely ignored Ron Paul's existence

Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, too.

True, but it was particularly obvious in Ron Paul's case, when he was getting vote tallies on par with Giulliani's in the early primaries and they refused to label Paul's wedge in their pie charts.

Re:Don't bet on it (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415741)

they're the ones who completely ignored Ron Paul's existence

Dennis Kucinich and Mike Gravel, too.

No no, that was everybody.

Re:Don't bet on it (0, Troll)

aeschenkarnos (517917) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415381)

they're the ones who completely ignored Ron Paul's existence and went out of their way to paint McCain as a senile old man and Palin as a crazy country bumpkin.

That would have taken about a teaspoon of paint.

Re:Don't bet on it (2, Funny)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415629)

Where did you get that impression from?

Re:Don't bet on it (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415811)

Duh. The media.

Re:Don't bet on it (1)

McGiraf (196030) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416007)

Duh.

Re:Don't bet on it (1)

mrclisdue (1321513) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416547)

I get all my impressions from /. .

btw, who's this Don Paul guy?

tia,

Re:Don't bet on it (5, Insightful)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415475)

That's strange a candidate who has precisely zero chance of every becoming relevant is ignored by the people that are supposed to be covering the news. If only there were some organization with the guts to cover things that nobody really cares about.

Seriously though, what exactly entitles Ron Paul to coverage. At some point you actually have to put up a decent showing if you wish to get time on the national news, it's strange how you have to be involved in the news to make it into the news. Just because the news media has a tendency to give the right wing a free pass doesn't mean that it should.

Re:Don't bet on it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415523)

Seriously though, what exactly entitles Ron Paul to coverage.

Well, clearly not getting second place in a state's presidential primary, as when that happened (Nevada) all of the news reports read "Romney first, McCain third", not mentioning the "Paul second" part anywhere. I agree Ron Paul had no chance of winning, but he got even less coverage than the others who had even less chance of winning.

Re:Don't bet on it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415569)

Just because the news media has a tendency to give the right wing a free pass doesn't mean that it should.

WTF are you talking about?

Re:Don't bet on it (4, Insightful)

cK-Gunslinger (443452) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416031)

.. went out of their way to paint McCain as a senile old man and Palin as a crazy country bumpkin.

If by "went out of thier way," you meant "turned the cameras on and stepped back," then I agree with you completely. You can't blame everything on the media, the dancing monkeys on TV performed their act as well.

Re:Don't bet on it (-1, Troll)

Cathbard (954906) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416755)

And it had nothing to do with the Republican Party being a bunch of greedy megalomanics and everybody was sick of them turning their country into a Fascist state?

Re:Don't bet on it (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28416957)

I don't doubt that the Republicans would have lost the last election regardless - but there's no way Obama would have won the Democratic nomination without massive media support.

Without the media fawning over Obama, we'd likely have President Clinton right now. Of course, the media also killed the candidacy of Edwards, who otherwise was in a dead heat with those two at the start of the 2008 primaries.

The media actively campaigned for Obama. There's no other way to explain how he managed to beat Hillary Clinton - especially when you realize that by the end of the primaries, they were statistically tied. (Obama was leading Hillary by an estimated 13 delegates - out of 2,071. So ahead by 0.6%.)

But they never bothered actually counting the delegate votes at the convention, so we'll never know who would have won had the Democratic Party decided to run themselves as a democracy.

ill believe it when i see it (5, Insightful)

FudRucker (866063) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415087)

meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

Re:ill believe it when i see it (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415111)

Come now. If you're going to be "same as the old boss"ing the Obama administration, you can do better:

The more things change, the more they stay the same!

Re:ill believe it when i see it (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415193)

I disagree with the premise, but agree with the implication. How am I supposed to moderate this comment?

Re:ill believe it when i see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415315)

+/- 1, I'm gonna have a stiff drink.

Re:ill believe it when i see it (1)

gringer (252588) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416737)

You are supposed to moderate on the insight, thought, or humor in the comment, rather than whether or not you agree with the comment.

Out come the assholes and karma whores (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415355)

This is insightful? It's the same old crap that gets intoned every time the subject of Obama comes up.

And anyone who points it out [slashdot.org] gets modded down.

I guess I'll wait until the next article, post "Meet the new boss, same as the old boss" and get modded up to +5, Original and Witty.

Re:Out come the assholes and karma whores (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415701)

Or, for old time's sake, just post "Bush Lied". I'm sure that will get you an automatic 5:Insightful.

On Slashdot? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415767)

"Bush Lied" will get you modded -1, Troll. But "OMG Teh Democrats Did It Too!" will get you +5, Insightful.

Re:ill believe it when i see it (5, Insightful)

fm6 (162816) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415477)

Cynical fatalism sure does make life easier. Not only does it justify your self-absorbed lifestyle, it allows you to have an opinion on every issue without the nasty bother of reading or thinking!

WHY DO YOU HATE AMERICA???!?!?! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415541)

Don't you know reading and thinking is for communist hippies??!?!?! Now be a good 'Mur'kin, and shut up and go back to watching Billy Graham!

Re:ill believe it when i see it (2, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415833)

..it allows you to have an opinion on every issue without the nasty bother of reading or thinking!

Excuse me... This is Slashdot. We barely read the summaries before hitting the comments. I doubt most of us read outside of that. Unless it has something to do with source code.

Re:ill believe it when i see it (1)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416101)

"Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" -- Barack Obama

Mod Parent Up (1)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416241)

Cynical fatalism also makes it easier to dismiss your viewpoint when making decisions, since you're completely resigned to the fate of being dismissed.

Re:ill believe it when i see it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415695)

meet the new boss, same as the old boss...

Thank you for using these lyrics. The bill for the copyright licensing bills are in the mail.

Criticism of Obama is Racist (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415827)

When commenting on this thread, please remember that any criticism of Obama is "straight up" racism.

Under Bush: "Dissent is the highest form of patriotism!"
Under Obama: "Dissent is the highest form of racism!"

Legitimate? (3, Insightful)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415107)

from the media conglomerates (who, after all, have a very legitimate point of view â" even if not the only point of view)

It the MPAA/RIAA have a legitimate point of view, then I can barely comprehend what illegitimate is.

They have paid for legislation and administration policy. To want your paid-for laws to be enforced is not a "legitimate point of view".

Re:Legitimate? (3, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415117)

It the MPAA/RIAA have a legitimate point of view, then I can barely comprehend what illegitimate is.

My thoughts exactly. I have no idea how this guy thinks that "we should be able to rape the Public Domain, but nothing we have can ever enter into it, and nobody has any fair use rights" could possibly be considered "legitimate".

Re:Legitimate? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415143)

It only makes sense when you view it from a point of the slashdot dickfaces posting intentionally inflammatory stories just to get some clicks.

Seriously: fuck you slashdot.

Re:Legitimate? (2, Interesting)

japhering (564929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415735)

It the MPAA/RIAA have a legitimate point of view, then I can barely comprehend what illegitimate is.

My thoughts exactly. I have no idea how this guy thinks that "we should be able to rape the Public Domain, but nothing we have can ever enter into it, and nobody has any fair use rights" could possibly be considered "legitimate".
--

As one of my graduate school professors was quite fond of saying... "If you are in the IP business, you are in the litigation business!"

What this means is that any Intellectual Property has no protected value until it has been tried in court. Yes, the RIAA/MPAA can claim any value they want ($15 for a music CD, $25 for a BlueRay disk) and people will pay for it. However, until they take someone to court or someone takes them to court the IP has NO value.

Any one remember a few years back when just about ever album was comming out with some form of DRM on it.... Anyone also remember that Phillips, the holder of the IP on Compact Disks.. took the record companies to court to force them to remove the compact disk label off all the albums that had DRM as DRM made the disks unplayable on large numbers of certified compatible compact disk players?

That's a case where Phillips the IP holder took the record companies to court because the record companies were infringing on Phillips IP.

Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415175)

During the election, about 95% of African-Americans voted for Barack Hussein Obama due solely to the color of his skin. See the exit-polling data [cnn.com] by CNN.

Note the voting pattern of Hispanics, Asian-Americans, etc. These non-Black minorities serve as a measurement of African-American racism against Whites (and other non-Black folks). Neither Barack Hussein Obama nor John McCain is Hispanic or Asian. So, Hispanics and Asian-Americans used only non-racial criteria in selecting a candidate and, hence, serve as the reference by which we detect a racist voting pattern. Only about 65% of Hispanics and Asian-Americans supported Obama. In other words, a maximum of 65% support by any ethnic or racial group for either McCain or Obama is not racist and, hence, is acceptable.

If African-Americans were not racist, then at most 65% of them would have supported Obama. At that level of support, McCain would have won the presidential race.

At this point, African-American supremacists (and apologists) claim that African-Americans voted for Obama because he (1) is a member of the Democratic party and (2) supports its ideals. That claim is an outright lie. Look at the exit-polling data [cnn.com] for the Democratic primaries. Consider the case of North Carolina. Again, about 95% of African-Americans voted for him and against Hillary Clinton. Both Clinton and Obama are Democrats, and their official political positions on the campaign trail were nearly identical. Yet, 95% of African-Americans voted for Obama and against Hillary Clinton. Why? African-Americans supported Obama due solely to the color of his skin.

Here is the bottom line. Barack Hussein Obama does not represent mainstream America. He won the election due to the racist voting pattern exhibited by African-Americans.

African-Americans have established that expressing "racial pride" by voting on the basis of skin color is 100% acceptable. Neither the "Wall Street Journal" nor the "New York Times" complained about this racist behavior. Therefore, in future elections, please feel free to express your racial pride by voting on the basis of skin color. Feel free to vote for the non-Black candidates and against the Black candidates if you are not African-American. You need not defend your actions in any way. Voting on the basis of skin is quite acceptable by the standards of today's moral values.

Re:Afro-American Racism Against Whites and Asians (1)

Gruff1002 (717818) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415279)

This about says it all in response to this persons rant.

"Lies, damned lies, and statistics" is part of a phrase attributed to Benjamin Disraeli and popularised in the United States by Mark Twain: "There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics." The statement refers to the persuasive power of numbers, the use of statistics to bolster weak arguments, and the tendency of people to disparage statistics that do not support their positions.

Republicans Racist Against Minorities (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415533)

So you think that Blacks should have voted for the racist Republican party?

All that dog whistle racist nonsense taught a generation of minorities what the Republican party really represents.

Keep your racist bullshit. We are never voting Republican.

Re:Republicans Racist Against Minorities (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415689)

You're an idiot and you'd probably be an idiot even if you weren't a nigger. But humor me: Is it racist to assume, as the democratic party does, that black people are incapable of doing anything without government help?

Re:Republicans Racist Against Minorities (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28416119)

Can't assume it if it's a fact.

Re:Republicans Racist Against Minorities (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415775)

Umm...which party still has a grand pooba, or klegle or some KKK bullshit leadership post, in the Senate?

Which party did that Senator who within the last decad, spoke frankly and openly about, in his own word, "Niggers?"

Which party created the Jim Crow laws?

Which party even now promises the black constituency everything and then delivers nothing once in power?

On the other hand, which party enabled the passage of the civil rights laws because the "other" party could not muster enough of it's majority to pass it?

Which party argues for a color blind society?

Which party had the President that wrote the Emancipation Proclamation?

It's not racist to insist that everyone is just as capable of succeeding as anyone else.

Re:Republicans Racist Against Minorities (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28416913)

The Republican Party today is racist.

It is the party of racism against minorities.

It's as plain as day to anyone willing to take a real hard look at what the Republican party says when they are running for office.

Just listen to what they say. TheRepublican party is incredibly racist. It's obvious.

Their actions once in office take a toll on the races who endured Jim Crow and slavery.

It's funny how when Republican talk about all races being equal, they forget to mention that some races in this country have been systematically kept down by other races.

In their "all races are equal" version of the world, slavery and Jim Crow never happened.

Re:Republicans Racist Against Minorities (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415835)

Lincoln was a Republican.

Re:Republicans Racist Against Minorities (3, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416419)

That was before the Southern Strategy.

Re:Legitimate? (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415281)

It is a legitimate point of view from a political science point of view: they have their desire, which is essentially to be able to make money from each copy of whatever they made, and have complete control over it. Others (especially around here) have the desire to be able to take their creations and use it any way they want, without paying them at all. Both are legitimate, real desires.

Politics isn't about deciding who is right and who is wrong, it is about finding a compromise, or workable solution between two conflicting parties. In this case, the compromise is likely to be reduced copyright durations, and expanded fair use. Downloading music for free, as a lot of people want, is not likely to ever be legalized. The RIAA will not disappear until artists stop using their services, which may happen one day.

Re:Legitimate? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415503)

Political science is illegimate "science", ergo...

Re:Legitimate? (2, Insightful)

bertoelcon (1557907) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415711)

Politics isn't about deciding who is right and who is wrong, it is about finding a compromise, or workable solution between two conflicting parties. In this case, the compromise is likely to be reduced copyright durations, and expanded fair use. Downloading music for free, as a lot of people want, is not likely to ever be legalized. The RIAA will not disappear until artists stop using their services, which may happen one day.

Compromises only work if both sides have equal say, and no one is allowed to bribe the mediator.

Re:Legitimate? (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415751)

As if money were the only form of power in a democracy.

Hint: we are the government, we are the mediator. If you let the RIAA bribe the mediator, it is your own stupid fault (along with that of 200 million other citizens).

Re:Legitimate? (4, Insightful)

lorenlal (164133) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415913)

As if money were the only form of power in a democracy.

Hint: we are the government, we are the mediator. If you let the RIAA bribe the mediator, it is your own stupid fault (along with that of 200 million other citizens).

Oh ho ho ho! Now THAT's something!

If we elect someone thinking that they're "good and honest" folks, and they turn around and act like the typical asshat that we're much more familiar with, I'll point the blame at that asshat first. Now, if that asshat gets re-elected, I'm totally with you. The idiots who vote and proclaim "Thank you! May I have another!" would certainly be at fault in that case.

Point is: When electing someone, we can only take our best guess and choose from those of us who decide to run for the public office. It's kinda like a lengthened interview. I've been tricked in interviews... But I learned from those mistakes (after cleaning them out the best I can), and I've done my best to get better. Likewise, I've been tricked by my elected officials. It happens. But, that's why we're supposed to pay attention and make sure we don't repeat those mistakes.

This also (not coincidentally) happens to be a major reason I hate the political party setup in the US. People tend to get used to voting for one side or another... and they tend not to hold those they vote for accountable for the BS they pull. It's also why I beg and plead with people to vote on more than just an affiliation... But that's a battle I'm going to lose for a long time.

Re:Legitimate? (1)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416057)

This also (not coincidentally) happens to be a major reason I hate the political party setup in the US. People tend to get used to voting for one side or another... and they tend not to hold those they vote for accountable for the BS they pull. It's also why I beg and plead with people to vote on more than just an affiliation... But that's a battle I'm going to lose for a long time.

Agreed, I am with you on this one. People are getting smarter though. If you compare the typical political savvyness of a citizen now to that 50 years ago, it is much higher.

And honestly, if it bothered me enough, I would do something to get out and educate people, but I am too lazy, so I take the blame partially on that one.

Re:Legitimate? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415759)

I don't think it should be the role of politics to find a compromise between two positions, one of them being completely abusive and unreasonable and the other one being, well, rather common sense.

So if you have a child abusing lobby and a parents association would it still make any sense to find a compromise between the two?

Politics damn well have the responsibility to also make decisions about right and wrong, otherwise how could laws be made if it wasn't so? Laws are the essential way of saying this or that is right "in our society" at least. The current copyright laws, have failed to say what's right for a long time now. They only say what an abusive industry wants.

Re:Legitimate? (2, Interesting)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415869)

You bring up an interesting point, but laws are the way of codifying the will of the people, not always in a fair way. Sometimes one portion of the people enforces its will on another part. It's unfortunately not fair.

Who is to say what is right and what is not right? God? Preachers? You? The presidents? Society? What happens if 95% of the people in a society decide that it's alright to abuse children? It's not nice to the children, but it would be accepted, regardless of the parents' association. In our case, in America, most of us agree it is not right to abuse children, and we have set up laws and institutions to protect them. This is not necessarily the case. What is common sense then, if not views that are held in common among most people?

Politics is all about what different people want, and balancing different powers, groups, and desires.

Re:Legitimate? (5, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415807)

Very good comment. One additional point to throw in about the RIAA's desires is that they want to be sure that all music has some cost (and therefore, value) associated with it. If all of a sudden, the best selling albums and singles become public domain, the record companies will have to work 10x as hard to compete against freely available music which is arguably of better quality than the tripe they're serving up.

It reminds me of the scene in the Grapes of Wrath where poor, starving farm workers tried to take some imperfect (i.e. not good enough for market, but totally edible) fruits from a farm's dump and they called in the national guard. If they can eat my garbage for free, the thought was, why would they ever pay for the "market quality" stuff?

So let's play this out a little bit. Let's say we drop the copyrights on everything over 17 years old. All of a sudden, everything older than Third Eye Blind is free. The majority of Metallica music. U2, Madonna, Pink Floyd, Paula Abdul... Jefferson Starship, Beatles, the list goes on. Anything recorded by Casals, most of Pavarotti's records... How many people would say, "I've got a lifetime of music to wade through that's free. Why would I buy this top-40 crap for even a dollar?"

Unless, of course, they actually turn out some product that's better than Britney. I'm not saying that there's no good music these days, but I'm saying that most of the pop stuff they put out now would have a hard time competing against a practically infinite supply of free music.

Re:Legitimate? (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415861)

There's still the tweens market that would keep them afloat.

Re:Legitimate? (2, Interesting)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415431)

It comes down to how you define legitimate. If laws are for sale, shouldn't the people buying them expect that they will be enforced?

Re:Legitimate? (3, Insightful)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415831)

Of course, the quote doesn't say that the laws are legitimate; only the perspective. It's perfectly fine for me to say, I want you to work for me for $0.02/hour, and it's legitimate for you to say, no, a fair wage is $30/hour for what your doing.

Of course--and I think this is what you are getting at--when one side has the power to buy laws to enforce their desires over less-well-enfranchised parties, then the making of those laws should not be considered legitimate.

Re:Legitimate? (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416127)

Right. People often complain that such and such a system is bankrupt and then propose as a solution a rule, within the system, that the system cannot be bankrupt. It is a hopeless pursuit.

Re:Legitimate? (1)

Nefarious Wheel (628136) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415575)

It the MPAA/RIAA have a legitimate point of view, then I can barely comprehend what illegitimate is.

One can hope that we'll continue to keep the pressure on until Federal policies begin to align with something approaching a workable consensus. Faint hope perhaps, but it keeps me going.

There has to be some plateau when a balance can be struck where we can abjure both the trading of works that aren't ours to trade, and the egregious, obscene litigation history of the RIAA with their $1.9M judgement against a poor, naiive mother who walked into an open candy store.

A new business model has to arise from the wreckage of this one, and a new set of lessons for the courts has to replace the rollover we've witnessed to date. It has to happen.

But until it does, the only hope we have for an ultimately equitable model is to keep the vociferous debate going. We have to keep the pressure up.

Can't resist: (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415157)

Obama's Copyright Policies? All Copyright belongs to the Federal Govt. Next up, Mr. Conway Twitty!

Obama and Copyright (3, Insightful)

Adrian Lopez (2615) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415189)

Barack Obama has decided that copyright issues are a matter of national security [slashdot.org] , and has appointed a number of former RIAA lawyers [wired.com] to various positions in his administration. I think it's pretty clear whose side Obama is on, and it does not bode well for the future of the Internet.

Obama: Change you can believe in. It won't happen, but you sure can believe in it.

Re:Obama and Copyright (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415471)

Yeah, lawyers are well known for not being in any way mercenary. Or something.

Re:Obama and Copyright (3, Insightful)

Mithyx (1532655) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416589)

Lawyers do the best job they can for who they work for, otherwise they're not good lawyers. Just because a lawyer defends a serial killer, that doesn't mean they believe that what the killer did was right. I'm not saying they won't side with the RIAA, just that their previous employers might not have as much to do with their position in the matter as some people think.

Re:Obama and Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415529)

Yeah, but the sheeple will never think he'd do some against his promises.

Re:Obama and Copyright (1, Funny)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415645)

Change you can believe in. It won't happen, but you sure can believe in it.

That's what I call Christian Values.

Re:Obama and Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415691)

Exactly! Now lets vote him and the Congress OUT!!!

Re:Obama and Copyright (4, Insightful)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416523)

Barack Obama has decided that copyright issues are a matter of national security [slashdot.org], and has appointed a number of former RIAA lawyers [wired.com] to various positions in his administration.

Yes... god forbid teh ev1l goverment should hire people familiar with copyright law to work in the justice department...

FYI: lawyers defend who they're paid to defend, and prosecute who they're paid to prosecute. That's their job. Just because they worked for the RIAA, doesn't mean they are, by default, shills for the media conglomerates.

Government moves slow (5, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415199)

Government moves slow, which is probably a good thing.

In the case of copyright, it has only been in the past few years that normal people have even cared about copyright. Up until now, it's mainly been an issue between creators, authors, musicians, performers, and publishers. And they've had some pretty riotous fights about it. For the average citizen, who feels it's pretty good for a musician or author to be compensated for his work, and it seemed reasonable to allow longer copyrights. Better the artist (or his chosen publisher) be compensated for their work, rather than some random publisher who had nothing to do with it. In general people favor giving an artist control of their creations.

In the last 20 years, it's become more of an issue because anyone can make copies of songs, and the average person can easily get the equipment to reuse the work and make something new and creative from it. For us who are on the edge of the technological wave, it is obvious that there are problems with copyright, and we have some ideas about what the solutions should be.

The average person, on the other hand, has no idea what the issues are, hasn't really thought about them, and the government tends to be even slower than the average person. So it isn't that Obama (or Bush) is in the pocket of the RIAA, in fact, if you look at his campaign contributions, they are probably just a small portion.

Ask your non-technical neighbors or family members what they think of copyright. They will probably think that it is a good thing, even if they pirate songs themselves. They just haven't thought of all the issues.

Re:Government moves slow (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415313)

I would go even further. Even as a CS undergrad at one of the top CS universities in the US, I still know very few people who even know what copyright is. Sure, they are vaguely aware that laws exist saying you shouldn't copy music/movies and they have seen the FBI warnings on movies, but they have no idea what is legal or not. That is why there are tons of videos on YouTube with unlicensed music in the background or unlicensed photos: the vast majority of those people would probably be very surprised to learn they broke a law by using that music or those photos.

Re:Government moves slow (2, Funny)

hedwards (940851) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415491)

Copyright? Isn't that the result of using the right shift operator?

Re:Government moves slow (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415505)

Imagine if your institution were merely average.

Re:Government moves slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415867)

(I'm the GP.) That terrifies me. I hear on /. about colleges where none of the CS majors (nor anyone else) have even heard of Linux or free software.

Re:Government moves slow (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415361)

In general people favor giving an artist control of their creations.

In general people are apathetic about a law that doesn't touch their lives.. until it does touch their lives.. and then they proclaim how completely unfair it is. In the case of copyright, they're right.

Re:Government moves slow (2, Insightful)

phantomfive (622387) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415447)

And that is ok with me. In general, laws should be decided in consideration of the people whose lives they DO touch; just as I have no particular say or interest in what laws are created in Ohio. If I ever move to Ohio, it will be a different story. Of course there are exceptions to this (for example, in the case of slavery it was probably a good idea to force the south to give up their slaves), but since for most of history copyright has mainly only affected artists and publishers, it is reasonable that for most of history they've had the greatest interest in how the laws are formed. But things are changing, and the laws will too; eventually.

Re:Government moves slow (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415453)

One thing I'd like to add here. The same way a person can get means to copy a piece of music, a person in the know-how can also record their own music (as in music they have composed/classical works which are in the public domain they have performed). The person in question then can go thru iTunes/Amazon MP3/Magnatue/Jamendo to post and have people get their content. Heck, they can even set up their own site as a channel of distribution, bypassing the need for a 3rd party. Notice here how a music studio is left out. Since distribution is digital, a record company is left out. No involvement on the money making = no profit. That is why I think the RIAA and the like are pushing too much to restrict digital distribution channels: so they can get a piece of the pie.

Re:Government moves slow (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415613)

The same way a person can get means to copy a piece of music, a person in the know-how can also record their own music (as in music they have composed

If I compose a piece of music, how can I determine whether this piece of music is original?

The person in question then can go thru iTunes/Amazon MP3/Magnatue/Jamendo to post and have people get their content.

And use what to promote it to listeners in vehicles? The major labels have FM radio.

Re:Government moves slow (1)

bennomatic (691188) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415847)

If I compose a piece of music, how can I determine whether this piece of music is original?

Don't use the same three chords the spin doctors did.

And use what to promote it to listeners in vehicles? The major labels have FM radio.

Ah! Now I understand why it took Apple so long to add an FM radio to the iPod. They wanted to maximize the promotional clout of iTMS.

Re:Government moves slow (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416603)

Don't use the same three chords the spin doctors did.

I don't follow what you're saying. "Two Princes" by Spin Doctors uses D, B minor, A, and G. I just want to know how to avoid losing a lawsuit [ucla.edu] .

Government only moves slow when governed (3, Informative)

SuperKendall (25149) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416975)

Government moves slow, which is probably a good thing.

We are used to government moving slow, because until now it's been regulated by two parties with different goals slowing each other down.

When the Democrats were elected to control essentially two branches of government and neutralize the third, we removed all governing forces keeping government moving slow. Government is now free to grow unchecked, at any rate desired. That's how you got an almost order of magnitude increase in the federal deficit in the first month of a new president. That was of course before any of the other multi-trillion dollar projects come up and get added to the grand total.

That was really the singular reason to vote for McCain to the exclusion of all others good and bad, but the independents who voted for Obama blew it when they could not grasp this fundamental concept (control of the house and senate was never really in question). Never let one party hold all the marbles, it's like crossing the streams...

first po57 (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415239)

Political thought (4, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415259)

"Gee, how can I piss off a bunch of rich and powerful people.. I know, I'll take away their special rights to a government granted monopoly, that sounds like a great idea!"

Re:Political thought (1)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415729)

Actually, that's the way European political systems seem, or at least that's the way they seem to work to a timid Yankee observer like myself.

it seems like the European and UK systems work where they try to placate the rich and the poor equally(and pissing off both equally too) knowing both are possible registered voters, rather than trying to suck up to the obscenely rich in cynical attempts to pull off political victories during election seasons using smarmy scummy advertising.

I'm sure hoping Obama's listening.

Re:Political thought (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415801)

Do the rich in Europe run tv spots to encourage voters to turn out and support candidates that back their pet cause? Does that mean the opposing candidate has to run a campaign to keep voters focused on the real issues, or just to explain the legitimate reasons why he/she may not be backing the pet cause? Because that's the kinda shit that happens in the US.. and is why politics is so monetized there.

OBAMA WILL STEAL ALL YOUR MONEY!!!! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28415363)

Thanks America for being so stupid!

It means nothing without Public Domain (3, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415489)

When was the last time anything fell into the public domain? That has to change before I will sit up and take notice of any positive changes. These days, if they didn't make their money in the first five years, any given work is nearly dead -- especially movies. Copyright terms need to be seriously shortened by default and let there be some sort of copyright appeals process if it can be shown that they didn't get adequate return on investment.

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (3, Interesting)

Darkness404 (1287218) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415611)

And games, and things with regional lockout. Today, there is no reason with the rise of digital distribution that there shouldn't be 20 year copyright along with a clause that states that if the item is no longer available new, in your region for 3 years you have a right to download it for non-profit, non-commercial use. You only need to look at all the old video games that have passed into obscurity to notice the need for such laws, without the illegal dumping of ROMs a vast majority of early gaming would be completely lost forever.

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415623)

Plenty of people are willing to repudiate copyright. Is that close enough?

If so, the answer is probably something like 5 minutes ago.

If not, go to weather.gov and look for some data that was generated by a government employee.

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (2, Insightful)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415671)

> These days, if they didn't make their money in the first five years, any given work is nearly dead -- especially movies.

No... not really. This was the feeling during the studio system of Hollywood. It's not really true today. There are many titles (and not all ones you'd think of like Star Wars) that are making money years and years down the road. As a matter of fact, if I remember by college film studies correctly... there are very few titles that done *eventually* make their money back. In the U.S. we tend to focus on domestic money made at the theaters, but movies are sold to Broadcast TV, Cable TV, International markets of all sorts, Airlines, Cruise Ships, DVD sales, online sales... the list goes on and on. Also.. don't forget all the movies that finally broke even when they ended up on TV shows like MST3k! All this goes on for years and years and years.

I think copyright has to accommodate this somewhat. However I agree with the parent's point... they are not falling into Public Domain at all these days and that should be corrected.

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (4, Interesting)

japhering (564929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415791)

I think copyright has to accommodate this somewhat. However I agree with the parent's point... they are not falling into Public Domain at all these days and that should be corrected.

I would say the system is definitely broken, when copyright for a work belonging to an individual is 75 years after death and belonging to a corporation is 100 years.

Next time you are in Europe look at how many Disney characters are used all over the place.. Disney messed up and didn't get copyright extended in Europe before Mickey and Minnie hit 50 years and if I recall correctly, a few other characters escaped into the public domain before the EU changed the copyright to match the US limits.

Personal opinion, NO copyright should extend past the death of the artist.

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (1)

Grimbleton (1034446) | more than 5 years ago | (#28415961)

Seconded. Do I hear a third?

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (3, Insightful)

GameboyRMH (1153867) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416337)

I'd third you, but to give a fair chance to any companies that suffer an unfortunate sudden artist death, I'd say that copyrights should have to be renewed every 5 years or so and can't be renewed if the original artist is dead. I think that's a very fair compromise - any works in progess can still benefit from the copyright (giving an incentive for the work to be released rather than cutting the loss and abandoning the work) and the work won't be held hostage for any really significant amount of time after the artist dies. A win-win IMO.

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (1)

Parallax48 (990689) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416197)

That could be financial ruin for a company built around one artist's output. Say I create art and sell it. If I have a gallery that sells my art, the day that I die the gallery is financially in jeopardy. Maybe a 6 month grace period would suffice.

Which artist counts when a creation is a collaborative effort (i.e the LOTR movie)? Death of every single participant?

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (1)

japhering (564929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416307)

Which artist counts when a creation is a collaborative effort (i.e the LOTR movie)? Death of every single participant?

Typically, the director is the one with the copyright which he in turn assigns to the movie studio. So since the actors are either paid scale or have a negotiated payment rate that doesn't involve a copyright, it seems logical to place a movie into the public domain upon the death of the director.

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (1)

japhering (564929) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416341)

That could be financial ruin for a company built around one artist's output. Say I create art and sell it. If I have a gallery that sells my art, the day that I die the gallery is financially in jeopardy. Maybe a 6 month grace period would suffice.

A small grace period, which would require a super majority of congress to change would be acceptable, but no more than 18 to 24 months.

Re:It means nothing without Public Domain (2, Insightful)

TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416375)

I agree with one exception. I think copyright should be a fixed term, not relative to a person's death. I think we should just promise them a fixed period of protection, and if it goes past their death, and ends up paying into their kids pockets, then that's their business.

Pawns in the political game (1)

Lost+Found (844289) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416373)

I know there are lots of left-leaning people here on slashdot, and understand the moral calling they feel. But it pains me every time I see an issue like net neutrality come up and people are demanding that the politicians intervene and regulate. We beg the politicians to enslave us and to take power they shouldn't (and don't) legally have. In the end, everything we give them is abused. It's expansive government regulation that helps cartels like the RIAA to remain in operation. Instead of fostering economic development, unleashing creativity and all the other arguments tossed around in favor of the IP regime, it seems to be doing exactly the opposite. And in the realm of IP legislation, it seems like all that is happening worldwide is either (a) ground is being lost; or (b) valiant efforts are barely keeping nasty legislation at bay. Unfortunately, until we stop clamoring for the government to further intervene in the markets, things are probably going to get a lot worse before they get better. Those of you who support net neutrality legislation... watch out. If we do end up getting such a law, it will probably be the "evil" telcos that end up writing the rules and having the last laugh, all on our tax dime.

Al Gore (1)

Presto Vivace (882157) | more than 5 years ago | (#28416637)

sits on the boards of both Apple and Google, it would be difficult to over estimate his influence within the Democratic party.
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