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UK Think Tank Calls For Fair Use Of Your Own CDs

CmdrTaco posted more than 6 years ago | from the fair-use-i-think-it's-called dept.

241

jweatherley writes "The BBC reports that a UK think tank, the Institute for Public Policy Research, has called for the legalization of format shifting. In a report commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, they state that copyright laws are out of date, and that people should have a 'private right to copy' which would allow them to legally copy their own CDs and DVDs on to home computers, laptops and phones. The report goes on to say that: 'it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government.' The report also argues that there is no evidence the current 50-year copyright term is insufficient. The UK music industry is campaigning to extend the copyright term in sound recordings to 95 years."

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241 comments

I see just one problem (5, Insightful)

growse (928427) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632088)

The only problem with think-tanks is that they're constantly coming up with common sense and good ideas like this, but no one in actual real grown-up government will give a rats ass. They commission a study to show that they care about the issue and then ignore the results. That's politics!

Re:I see just one problem (3, Insightful)

jb.hl.com (782137) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632106)

The IPPR is very very close to the governing Labour party, a fact which was in the submission of this exact same story which I made a few hours ago. :)

Re:I see just one problem (4, Funny)

eosp (885380) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632586)

We should see it in a couple hours.

Re:I see just one problem (2, Insightful)

multisync (218450) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632884)

Give it a couple of weeks. Some right wing, music industry friendly "think tank" will release a report concluding that copying CDs for private use is bad, and 95 years is nowhere near long enough for a copyright term.

Re:I see just one problem (3, Insightful)

From A Far Away Land (930780) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632314)

You may underestimate the power of an organization saying something. Granted them saying it doesn't do much, unless the politician reads or hears someone else pointing to the study/policy saying "why don't we do that?" The RIAA/Phonograph idiots have positioned themselves as the "experts" on copyright policy, and it's time for people to create consumer friendly organizations that talk about common sense, and the Commons.

Re:I see just one problem (1)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632410)

``The only problem with think-tanks is that they're constantly coming up with common sense and good ideas like this, but no one in actual real grown-up government will give a rats ass.''

Contrary to the think tanks that come up with evil and outrageous ideas; those the government always listens to. Or could it be that the accept and reject ideas from both, at their own judgment, but we just notice and remember more when things don't happen the way we want them to happen?

Re:I see just one problem (1)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632678)

I see a different problem - why didn't they seriously consider REDUCING the term of copyright to, say, 20 years. If its good enough for patents, it should be good enough for literature.

Re:I see just one problem (3, Informative)

squiggleslash (241428) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632834)

Why? The two things aren't remotely comparable.

Patents are relatively damaging, they're a net removal of a technology from the public domain in the hope that the existance of the patent system itself will encourage invention over-all. Copyright only rewards actual creation with monopolies. If someone chooses not to make use of a copyrighted item, they're not restricted in any way.

Lifetime or X years, whichever is longer, strikes me as a reasonable copyright term length. Patents, on the other hand... I'd like to see them even further restricted, or abolished altogether in favour of a system of grants and prizes.

Re:I see just one problem (2, Insightful)

Trillan (597339) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632986)

They're not that different. Just as there are a finite number of ways to do something, there are also a finite number of melodies that any human ear would consider music.

Re:I see just one problem (1)

EsbenMoseHansen (731150) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633070)

Lifetime or X years, whichever is longer, strikes me as a reasonable copyright term length

Good idea! Then, if someone made something we really want, we could always kill the creator and *bang*! public domain ;)

Personally, I feel 30 years is plenty long. Most don't earn any significant amounts by copyrights after the first 30 years. Nice and easy to administer, too, unlike lifelengths, especially when the copyrights are divided between a lot of individuals.

Re:I see just one problem (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633196)

That only works if they copyrighted it more than 50 years ago...

(it was "50 years or longer whichever is the greater")

Simon.

Re:I see just one problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16633204)

Lifetime or X years, whichever is longer, strikes me as a reasonable copyright term length.

Why? The original motivation for the lengthening of copyright terms was complaints from the artists: why should publishers continue to profit from our work while we get nothing? Although the extension didn't further the stated aim of copyright and helped only a tiny proportion of artists, it seemed fairly harmless; the only way the public could obtain (formerly) copyrighted works was through publishers anyway.

But the world has changed. The cost of making old works available is rapidly heading towards zero. Long copyright terms are positively hindering the spread of culture without encouraging its creation. It is absurd for the interests of the tiny proportion of artists who make long-term profits to be preferred to the interests of the public.

Re:I see just one problem (1)

swillden (191260) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633466)

Patents are relatively damaging, they're a net removal of a technology from the public domain in the hope that the existance of the patent system itself will encourage invention over-all.

That's incorrect. Patents (theoretically) exist to foster innovation by giving inventors an incentive to publish the details of their inventions, so that others can build upon their ideas. In the absence of patents, inventors would have to try to keep the inner workings of their inventions secret.

I've been pointing out for a long time that the true test of the effectiveness of the patent system is the number of inventors and engineers who regularly consult the patent database looking for ideas they can build upon or solutions they can license. The fact that, particularly in the software industry, engineers are cautioned *against* looking into the patent database is evidence that the system is broken, but not that the idea is bad.

We are not granted rights (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632138)

'it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government.'

I disagree. We, the people, have rights based on principles upon which we have founded democrazy. We agree to let the government to temporarily (for the term of one election) restrict some of those rights for the benefit of forming a society. We do not loose these rights and we are not granted rights by the government in the first place.

We are not cattle.

Re:We are not granted rights (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632234)

This is in the UK, not the USA. And it's 'lose,' you fuckwit!

Re:We are not granted rights (3, Interesting)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633214)

But IP isn't really a fundamental right, like property. It *is* different. The artifical legal creation of pseudo-property rights was done for a purpose, rather than based on any sort of inherent principle. IP is a form of social engineering. If we do away with that social engineering, we needs must do away with IP. The principles upon which property rights rest don't extend naturally to cover IP. Since the only IP rights that exist where created by government for the purpose of social engineering, then truely it is correct (in this instance) to say that it is the job of governemnt to determine what rights consumers vs producers vs middlemen have.

Great (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632150)

Fantastic, wonderful, hope it pushes the government to do something positive (for a change), and relax UK copyright law in the necessary way.

Oooh, so close! (4, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632158)

They almost got it right:

'it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government.'

There I was thinking it was the job of society (i.e. the people themselves) to decide what rights people should have, and the job of the government to put into place laws describing and safeguarding (and where appropriate, limiting) those rights.

Guess I'm just getting old.

Re:Oooh, so close! (3, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632240)

In a democracy society elects representative officials, so in theory you are both correct.

Re:Oooh, so close! (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632296)

I see the definition of Democracy has been stretched to fit the US. What you describe is actually a Republic.

In a democracy, the people ARE the government, and so they would both be correct. In a republic, the government is doing the law making, and the decisions for it. You may have elected them, but that's not the same as making the decisions.

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?gwp=13&s=democ racy [answers.com]

http://www.answers.com/main/ntquery?gwp=13&s=repub lic [answers.com]

Re:Oooh, so close! (4, Insightful)

Winckle (870180) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632336)

Well, I'm British, you probably guessed that from my URL. And the first definition of democracy: 1. Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

rjmars97 (946970) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632718)

Perhaps "democratic republic" is the term that we seem to be reaching for.

Re:Oooh, so close! (2, Insightful)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632762)

Both the UK and the US are certainly moving toward being the type of country which used to call itself a "democratic republic," but I don't think that's something we should look forward to.

Re:Oooh, so close! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632806)

Nope. The UK is a democratic (constitutional) monarchy - close to an oxymoron perhaps, but it's definitely not a republic.

(The US is a democratic republic. Examples of other variations: Saudi Arabia is an autocratic monarchy, China is an autocratic republic)

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633450)

Well, wikipedia quotes John Adams as disagreeing...but what would he know?
Often republics and monarchies are described as mutually exclusive.[1] Defining a republic as a non-monarchy, the most common short definition,[2] is based on this idea. Although largely covering what is usually understood by a republic such definition has some borderline issues, for example while the distinction between monarchy and republic was not always made as it is in modern times, while oligarchies are traditionally considered neither monarchy nor republic, and while such definition depends very much on the monarch concept, which has various definitions, not making clear which of these is used for defining republic. In his 1787 book, "Defence of the Constitutions," John Adams used the definition of "republic" in Samuel Johnson's 1755 "Dictionary" ("A government of more than one person"), but in the same book, and in several other writings, Adams made it clear that he thought of the British state as a republic because the executive, though single and called "king," had to obey laws made with the concurrence of the legislature ("the British constitution is nothing more or less than a republic, in which the king is first magistrate. This office being hereditary, and being possessed of such ample and splendid prerogatives, is no objection to the government's being a republic, as long as it is bound by fixed laws, which the people have a voice in making, and a right to defend." -March 6, 1775).

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

Daniel Dvorkin (106857) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632626)

Did you even read the links you posted to?

Republicanism and democracy are overlapping. The US is (theoretically) both a republic and a democracy; the UK is a democracy but not a republic, since the Queen is the head of state. Generally speaking, democracies are better places to live than non-democracies, but the same can't really be said of republics vs. non-republics -- would you rather live in the UK, or Denmark (another non-republican democracy) or in, say, Cuba, which is a republic but emphatically not a democracy?

Democracy is the end; republicanism is one of the more common means.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

Lemmy Caution (8378) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632950)

At this point, I think the UK is a de facto republic: British citizens are, in fact, citizens and not subjects now, contrary to popular belief. (Check your UK passport if you have one.) The non-republican elements are vestigial.

Re:Oooh, so close! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16633164)

British citizens are, in fact, citizens and not subjects now, contrary to popular belief
Contary to some bizarre propaganda, there is and never has been a contradiction between being a citizen and being a subject.

The non-republican elements are vestigial.
The only "element" of a republic is not being a monarchy. The UK is a monarchy thus it is not a republic. Of course, that isn't saying anything terribly important about it but it's still true.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

Space cowboy (13680) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633326)

Hmm. In practice I agree with you - for all intents and purposes, the UK is a republic.

In theory however, there is a difference - until the ruling monarch signs a law, it is not a law (ironically enough, by UK law :-). Now for the Queen *not* to sign a law would provoke a constitutional crisis that (unless there was a *very* good reason not to) would probably abolish the monarchy in favour of the PM. It is a last check-and-balance though.

For the monarch to take such a step, it would have to be a pretty heinous law - (s)he'd be gambling the future of the monarchy on public support for the decision not to sign the bill, and it's highly unlikely to ever happen (well, until Tony finally screws up the House of Lords, which against all odds seems to be the voice of reason^W the people these days... Even then it's very improbable).

Simon.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

civilizedINTENSITY (45686) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633342)

Yes, the USA is a Democratic Republic. Webster defines democracy thus:
1 a : government by the people; especially : rule of the majority b : a government in which the supreme power is vested in the people and exercised by them directly or indirectly through a system of representation usually involving periodically held free elections
This actually fits with the first definition at answers.com that you sited:
1 Government by the people, exercised either directly or through elected representatives. In a "pure" democracy, which might be possible someday using AIs and the internet, representatives wouldn't be necessary. However, also quoting your other link, "Historically republics have not always been democratic in character, however. For example, the ancient Republic of Venice was ruled by an aristocratic elite."

Bottom line, a democracy doesn't *have* to be a republic, and a republic doesn't have to be a democracy. But the USA is a democracy, it is in fact a Democratic Republic. The two are not mutually exclusive, although examples can be found that are outside the intersection.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632360)

There I was thinking it was the job of society (i.e. the people themselves) to decide what rights people should have, and the job of the government to put into place laws describing and safeguarding (and where appropriate, limiting) those rights.

Guess I'm just getting old.


    No... you're just beginning to understand why the Americans chose to seperate themselves from the British 230 years ago.

    The Americans have a completely different view of what constitues basic human liberty than the British do. The USA and the UK might seem to be mirror images of each other to the observers from far distant shores, but under the surface there are some fundamental differences.

    'Getting old' just means that you've seen more and more examples of these differences manifest themselves over the years, and have become more sensitive to them.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632428)

That's a wonderful theory, except for two things:

1) If anything, it's worse in the US - PATRIOT Act, the DMCA, the repeal of habeus corpus, Guantanamo, etc.

2) I'm a Brit.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

backwardMechanic (959818) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632506)

Isn't it interesting to see what happens, once one assumes that government and the people are not synonymous. As a casual observer, it appears that money counts for more than human rights and big industry runs the country. I'm not sure it's what those early Americans were hoping to build.

Re:Oooh, so close! (4, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632378)

In Europe, there is a sentiment that, since the government is chosen by the people, it represents the people, and government and people can effectively be identified. The sentiment, common in the USA, that the government and the people are in an adversary relationship, is much weaker in Europe. It's more like the government has been contracted to rule the country, so that the people don't have to. This explains many things, such as the fact that Europeans often want the government to set strict rules for things and to watch everyone to ensure safety and social security, whereas in the USA, there is a strong feeling that the government should be restrained and leave people to figure things out for themselves.

Of course, these are not absolutes. All generalizations are false.

Re:Oooh, so close! (3, Insightful)

Tim C (15259) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632486)

That's as may be, but the UK is much closer in attitude to the US than it is to continental Europe. Also, at any given time, at least half the population think the government is a bunch of idiots, as political support tends to be very polarised here - if you vote Labour, you generally can't stand the Tories, and vice versa (despite the differences now being next to insignificant).

Personally, I like (at least the idea of) the NHS and social security; it gives me a warm fuzzy feeling to think that at least part of my taxes are going to help those less fortunate than myself. A couple of friends have had serious illnesses that they probably would not have survived if not for the NHS (who, at 20, expects to develop cancer?). I see those who oppose such state-provided facilities funded through taxes as short-sighted and selfish. Opinions differ, of course.

Re:Oooh, so close! (2, Insightful)

Shemmie (909181) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632640)

I'd argue that the view is much less polarized over here in Britain, than say what I've seen of Americans. Example: Over here, we vote depending on what's put on the table by the parties. If Labour's got a better manifesto, go Labour. Next election, maybe Lib Dem, or whatever. There are die-cast Lab and Tory voters, but the floating voter is in the majority. From what I've seen on the net, Americans seem to live and die by their party. You're either die cast Dem, die cast Rep, and a very small number are what actually decide the election - the floating voter. I'd vote for whoever put the best policy down in front of me, and actually seemed willing to go through with it. Labour and the "We won't introduce Top-Up fees" manifesto, for example. (We won't introduce Top-Up fees... ... in this parliament)

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

siwelwerd (869956) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632406)

There I was thinking it was the job of society (i.e. the people themselves) to decide what rights people should have, and the job of the government to put into place laws describing and safeguarding (and where appropriate, limiting) those rights.

And here I was, thinking that people were endowed with certain inalienable rights nautrally. I guess I'm just getting old with this "natural rights" voodoo.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

badfish99 (826052) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632650)

That's all it is... voodoo.

If people had "inalienable natural rights" then they wouldn't be forever making a fuss about their rights. They wouldn't need to. The reason that we have to be so careful to preserve our rights is precisely because they are *not* inalienable.

All that happens "naturally" is that the person with the biggest gun wins.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632832)

And here I was, thinking that people were endowed with certain inalienable rights nautrally. I guess I'm just getting old with this "natural rights" voodoo.

"Natural rights" sounds nice in a speech, but out in the real world there ain't no such thing.

Re:Oooh, so close! (2, Insightful)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632442)

They're talking about consumer rights, not human rights...like getting a refund from the retailer on something that breaks after 2 days use. Not something Amnesty is going to be counting any time soon.

Oops, shouldn't have posted that, now maybe I won't get to hear any more Americans educating me on the safeguarding of human tort^H^H^H^Hrights.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

thelost (808451) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632560)

In my eyes the Government - for good or bad - represents the will of the people. So if we are talking about the amendment of certain laws then I do expect the Government to decide what is correct, but form the basis for what it does on what we, the people recommend.

I slightly disagree (0)

sedyn (880034) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632638)

I think that the government has virtually* no business in a contract between two parties over a luxury good or service. If an ignorant customer agrees to a stupid contract (the terms of the contract must be clear)* then they only have themselves to blame.

CDs that predate this issue should be placed under the contract made at the time (copyright law). The only issue the government should look at is copyrights which define what constitutes theft of a creation.

This doesn't mean that I am opposed to populism, but the power of democracy and government shouldn't be (ab)used over the use of luxury items. The difference in our opinions is that I see this issue as contract and copyright law, not just the later.

Then again, I'm kind of a hypocrite because I don't define computers as a luxury item and wish to see consumer protection against "trusted computing" occur*.

*The government has business if there are valid safety concerns surrounding the product/service, transaction, or if details of the transaction were not properly disclosed/met.

Re:I slightly disagree (1)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632892)

"I think that the government has virtually* no business in a contract between two parties over a luxury good or service." A multi-billion dollar industry forcibly shoving restrictive DRM down a consumer's throat is not a "contract between two parties" my good friend. I have yet to meet a consumer who actually "agrees" with DRM.

Re:I slightly disagree (1)

cortana (588495) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633148)

They don't seem to disagree with it enough to not buy it.

Re:I slightly disagree (1)

sedyn (880034) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633172)

How are they forcing you to buy anything? Are you going to die if you don't get the next Britney Spears album?

If you don't like or agree with DRMs, then don't buy the CD/mp3. I don't use iTunes for that very reason. I didn't buy (or download) an album I wanted because a PREVIOUS generation had a rootkit in it. I recently helped someone convert to Linux because of the WGA (they had been given their key and software directly by Microsoft). These are just a few examples of my experiences with DRM.

The interesting way to look at the situation is that DRM'd (or even closed source) material may make it impossible to legally place copyright-expired content into the public domain (such as source code).

Re:I slightly disagree (1)

bcat24 (914105) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633424)

Are you going to die if you don't get the next Britney Spears album?
No, but I might kill myself if somebody forces me to listen to it.

Re:Oooh, so close! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632658)

It is the job of the government. It, the government, is charged with protecting the rights of the few. The opinion of the majority oppresses the rights of the few. Democracies yield to the mob mentality while republics lend themselves to people who's job it is to think about what rights we have rather than what the mob would like to see happen.

Re:Oooh, so close! (1)

djmurdoch (306849) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632682)


it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government.'

There I was thinking it was the job of society (i.e. the people themselves) to decide what rights people should have,


You sound very American, equating "consumers" and "people". Please see this very clear posting [slashdot.org] discussing the difference.

Re:Oooh, so close! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16633042)

The people don't want DRM. Therefore it's the job of government to carry out the will of the people and restrict its use. If a democracy doesn't carry out the will of the people, but instead kowtows to special interests (the RIAA/MPAA/etc), it is not working properly.

Summary inaccurate? (1)

RonnyJ (651856) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632168)

In a report commissioned by the Chancellor of the Exchequer, Gordon Brown, they state ...

I'm not sure how accurate the above line from the summary is, since the article seems to contradict it:

Chancellor Gordon Brown has asked chairman Sir Andrew Gowers to report his findings back ahead of the pre-budget report in November. The IPPR is hoping to influence this with its report, entitled Public Innovation: Intellectual property in a digital age.
It sounds to me as if this report is independent of the Government-run study, but the IPPR are hoping that it will influence it (as the article states).

Re:Summary inaccurate? (1)

Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632770)

Yep, I think you're right. The Gowers Review is the official government review, which is due to report to various Secretaries of State shortly. (I was asked for permission to publish my submission on their web site around a month ago now, so they're obviously in the process of preparing the material they've produced for publication.)

The British Library tried a similar stunt a few weeks ago, basically publishing their own "manifesto" document to preempt Gowers. How much effect these things will have, given that they presumably submitted a formal response to the review's call for evidence anyway, is a moot point.

The job of government... (4, Insightful)

NevDull (170554) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632178)

It's not the job of government to decide what rights people have, but to determine what rights they don't have, as by default, if freedom is the natural state of man, it is limitation of the rights of man that must be negotiated and/or dictated.

Re:The job of government... (1)

mikelieman (35628) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632430)

Dude, they're subjects of the Crown, and not Free people, like us Americans... Well, until that thing with Habeas Corpus happened...

Re:The job of government... (3, Insightful)

RAMMS+EIN (578166) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632472)

These are just two ways of looking at the same coin. Do I have a right to my own property, or are you restricted from taking it away? Do you have the right to a fair trial, or am I restricted from executing you without one?

sniff (1)

Potatomasher (798018) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632186)

A single tear just rolled down my cheeks. I never thought i'd see the day...

Well, actually... (0, Flamebait)

Simonetta (207550) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632190)

The report goes on to say that: 'it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government...

    Well, actually, no... It's a basic human right to be able to access the cultural sphere. The statement above is simply a crypto-fascist bureaucrat's attempt to justify stealing control over cultural access from the music industry and hoarding it for himself.

    Now I don't want to all libertarian on ya, and all that, BUT... Being able to listen to music or watch video or interact with any cultural form on a machine that you own is a fundamental and basic right that comes with the purchase of the machine. It's really time to put that concept into the forefront of all discussions of the topic of so-called intellectual property (a contradiction of terms, actually).

    No entity, whether governmental, corporate, religious, or whatnot, has a authority (or the 'job') to control people's (that includes you and me and everyone else) access to the common human culture that we share. That we share with ourselves, our ancestors, and all future generations to come.

    This is the starting point of all discussions on the subject, not the distant final dream. This is what Thomas Paine must have felt when constructing his work on basic liberty, Common Sense, two hundred plus years ago. This deep inner belief that certain things are basically not negotiable, like the right of people to use computers to access cultural activities in any way that the computers are able to do.

Re:Well, actually... (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632258)

Well, actually, no... It's a basic human right to be able to access the cultural sphere. The statement above is simply a crypto-fascist bureaucrat's attempt to justify stealing control over cultural access from the music industry and hoarding it for himself.

The statement didn't come from anyone in government.

Re:Well, actually... (1)

The Amazing Fish Boy (863897) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632656)

Well, actually, no... It's a basic human right to be able to access the cultural sphere.
...

Now I don't want to all libertarian on ya, and all that, BUT... Being able to listen to music or watch video or interact with any cultural form on a machine that you own is a fundamental and basic right that comes with the purchase of the machine. It's really time to put that concept into the forefront of all discussions of the topic of so-called intellectual property (a contradiction of terms, actually).

OK, now please bear with me because I'm not familiar with libertarianism past the basic concepts. I'm don't know much about it when it comes down to intellectual property (or the environment, or generally "abstract" rights.)

So to you, cultural access is a "basic right", but only if you own the physical property to play.

First, isn't this a contradiction in terms? How can something be a "basic right" and be conditional? Whenever I hear about "basic rights" it's things like life, liberty, pursuit of happiness/property, (maybe) education, (maybe) medical care, etc. Maybe I do not understand what you mean by "basic right".

What you're saying, as I understand it, is poor people don't have the right to access the cultural sphere. I can't see how this is a "basic right".

Next, if "intellectual property" is a contradiction in terms, what is the creator's incentive to contribute to the "cultural sphere"? Or how should what we now call "intellectual property" work? We ask creators to create for free initially and then allow them to demand money for future works?

Finally, how do you resolve the (apparent) conflict of creator rights vs buyer rights? It seems to me the DRM system is what libertarians would want, but like I said I'm not familiar with the idea.

For example, let's say I write a song. It's my song. You don't have the right to force me to publish and distribute it in any way, including singing it, recording it, etc. Can I (the creator) not place restrictions on how the song is used? Can I not sell the rights to my song to another party, such as a record company? If not, why not? Can the record company not place restrictions on the reproduction or distribution of my (their) song? If not, why not?

Thanks in advance to anyone who answers my questions.

Re:Well, actually... (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633260)

"For example, let's say I write a song. It's my song. You don't have the right to force me to publish and distribute it in any way, including singing it, recording it, etc"

You are absolutely, totally, fundamentally correct.
The same people who argue massively for their personal freedom to do X,Y or Z, are the same people that would like to prevent people from creating something and offering it for sale on their own terms.

I just cannot understand this concept of it being someones "basic human right" to take a novel I write, a song I write, or some software I might write, and do what they want with it, unless between us, we can agree terms.
If those terms include (as they generally do) that they are purchasing the individual right to a copy, and not the right to distribute further copies, then as long as we both realise this at the point of sale, thats a fair deal.

Nobody has the right to take something I create away from me. My time belongs to nobody except me. I'm under no *obligation* to provide anyone with the fruits of my labour. If I wrote the greatest novel ever ma,e its my right to just burn the thing and never share it with anyone, so why do I not also have the right to sell it on *my* terms. Surely its a *basic right* for me to profit from the fruits of my own personal labour?

A communist would argue that I *do* have the obligation to provide the fruits of my labour to everyone, and that I should not profit from the means of production, distribution or exchange, but generally the people who argue against DRM go ballistic if you even mention the *c* word.

Re:Well, actually... (1)

Gregory Cox (997625) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632882)

'it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government...'
I don't think this quote means "the government gets the last word on defining basic human rights". I think it means "government's job is to consider the natural rights which consumers ought to have (their rights in theory), and then decide what people are actually allowed to do based on this theory (their rights in practice)".

This is called 'making laws', which is exactly what the government's job is. Of course, the government isn't guaranteed to make the right decision - but then, in a democracy, if they get it wrong, it's then the people's job to complain loudly about that, and if necessary kick those in charge out.

If you don't want someone making rules on what is and isn't allowed, the only solution is not to have a government at all.

Re:Well, actually... (1)

itsdapead (734413) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633320)

The report goes on to say that: 'it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government...

PS: in TFA that sentence had a "but" on the beginning of it and was referring to the fact that the UK music industry has, so far, graciously refrained from enforcing the law on personal copying.

Technically, in the UK, even copying the CD that you have just bought onto a cassette tape to play in the car was illegal - but your friendly local music megastore always had a rack of blank tapes by the checkout.

Re:Well, actually... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16633428)

I've been assured the reason for blank tapes is so you could record little notes for yourself. "Note to self: buy cassette version of the White Album for car".

95 year protection? (4, Informative)

CatWrangler (622292) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632202)

A drug company spends several hundred million to develop, test, and market a drug, and they get less than 20 years until generics can replace them. Milli Vanilli is supposed to get 95 years now? That's fair.

Re:95 year protection? (4, Insightful)

julesh (229690) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632246)

License-free drugs are substantially more important to the public good than license-free Milli Vanilli.

Re:95 year protection? (3, Insightful)

Penguinoflight (517245) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632272)

On the other side of the coin there's not as much reason to protect Milli Vanilli in the first place.

Re:95 year protection? (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632840)

Balancing the economic incentive to invest in research and development of new drugs with financially accessible pharmaceuticals, is more important license-free drugs or license-free Milli Vanilli.

Re:95 year protection? after death ? (1)

Respawner (607254) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632352)

In Belgium it's 70 after the auther has died, now you try and explain that to me

Re:95 year protection? after death ? (1)

romiz (757548) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632602)

In Belgium it's 70 after the auther has died, now you try and explain that to me

It is the same for all countries in the European Union, including the United Kingdom. And every country that ratified the Berne treaty grants at least 50 years after the death of the author. However, this only cover the author's copyright. It does not cover the actual performance, which is covered by separate rights, which are shorter.

This means that the performers that did not write their own songs, and whose performance has been recorded a long time ago, will not earn any revenue if anyone uses those recordings. The only ones earning money will be the authors, if their rights are still valid. For many classical music pieces, this means that there are now available recordings that are fully free of any copyright.

Re:95 year protection? after death ? (1)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632612)

In Belgium it's 70 after the auther has died, now you try and explain that to me

Is that the mechanical copyright or the authors copyright? The mechanical copyright is just the right to copy any particular recording. The author's copyright is the royalties that must be paid to the songwriter to record a new version of the song, or put out a public performance of the song. Generally, the life+70 is for authors, but I'm not sure what Belgian law says re: mechanical copyrights.

Also, most continental European states have a private right of copy which extends considerably further than copying your own CDs for your iPod, etc. Consumers there have the right to perform small scale distribution (ie, copy stuff for family and friends). Wish we in the UK had that level of common sense...

--Ng

Re:95 year protection? (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632600)

It does seem unfair to extend copyrights for so long, but I don't certainly want longer patent rights. Twenty years is fine, and for technology, I think it should be shorter.

Personally, 20 years would be great for copyrights. One compromise I might accept is that it can be extended at the end of the term by registering it with an appropriate filing fee, otherwise it goes public domain. At the very least, it would mean that copyright owners that go MIA aren't such a rights headache in trying to deal with older works.

Re:95 year protection? (1)

Dausha (546002) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632636)

"A drug company spends several hundred million to develop, test, and market a drug, and they get less than 20 years until generics can replace them. Milli Vanilli is supposed to get 95 years now? That's fair."

In the U.S., that's life of the author plus 70---which can commonly outstretch 95 years (which is limited to corporations).

I believe the British industry is pushing for a de facto compliance with the Berne Convention.

Lest we get all excited (0, Troll)

isaacklinger (966649) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632208)

The Institute for Public Policy [ippr.org.uk] is some sort of progressive leftist lobbying firm. Just calling a spade a spade.

Re:Lest we get all excited (1)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632502)

Just calling a spade a spade.

The name of the messenger is irrelevant for the validity of the message.

The political affiniation of the messenger may at best have some relevance for judging the exact wording and portrayed importance of the message, but still has zero to do with its validity.

What you are doing is suggesting that people should ignore the message because of the messenger. I really hope you do understand how ignorant that is...

Ignorant (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632804)

At last, someone using the word correctly.

After all, the root of ignorant is ignore!

Re:Lest we get all excited (1)

isaacklinger (966649) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633246)

I should make myself clear: Is it news, or does it matter, that a progressive lobby is lobbying for progressive agendas? Not trolling. It's the same as saying "Conservative Lobby Lobbying for Conservative Agenda". Would anyone be bothered if I was pointing out that some Slashdot article originates from a Microsoft shill? I guess I should never point out that Slashdot-compatible agenda is being disseminated by a lobbyist; that's asking for it... The message is just fine and valid with me, but the impact of the message has a lot to do with the messenger.

If you read around a little bit, the majority are talking about who's right it is to take away rights, and no one's talking about the message. That's because everybody (around here) already agrees that copyright laws should be updated. No one's getting excited about the prospect of the UK changing its copyright laws. That's because the messenger is a lobbyist, and no one's certain about the message's impact on the government. I think this point was made early in the discussion along the lines of "think tanks keep saying this, but it's not getting done". So I think, even if the modders thought I was trolling, that no one's getting excited about a progressive lobby lobbying for a progressive agenda. No need to be spiteful because you think you hear someone ignoring your holy truths. Maybe I'm just ignoring the messenger, and not the message?

Job for governments, society or a corporations? (3, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632224)

Rights aren't given to anyone by society, government or any corporations -- rights are inherent and they're only protected when we use them even in the face of those who wish to stop us.

Government can jail me, society can tell me to get lost, corporations can sue me -- but I will still use these hands and these ears and this voice as God gave them to me (yes, a religious slashdotter). No one can take them away, and no one can tell me what to do with them. I don't use them to hurt anyone. If I spend time making copies of something, it is my time I am wasting. I could use my hands to make a copy of a mechanical design that is patented -- it might take me thousands of hours, or I could just go and buy it. Some things are difficult to copy, so my time preference says it is better to buy it. I could make a copy of a CD -- it might take me 30 seconds, or I could just go buy it. Time preference works in my favor in this case.

I pay the plumber to fix the toilet -- his current action in front of me is worth my money. I pay the band to perform live for me -- their current action is worth my money. Recording their music on a CD is a great way for them to advertise their abilities to get me to come to their live show, but the CD is worthless. Supply and demand, people. The supply is near infinite (for the recorded music), so the price goes to zero. But the supply of the live band is limited, so the price goes up to meet demand.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632420)

I like your analogy, comparing the plumber to the band. Your point seems to make sense in those contexts.

What about the author of a book, especially a non-fiction work that is the result of a significant amount of research? Is the copy of the book worth nothing, and the research worth money? How should the researcher/author expect to get paid for the work that she did?

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (1)

Geoffreyerffoeg (729040) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632490)

What about the author of a book, especially a non-fiction work that is the result of a significant amount of research? Is the copy of the book worth nothing, and the research worth money? How should the researcher/author expect to get paid for the work that she did?

If you can pull off a completely free market and ignore copyrights, then yes, the book will approach zero price because the data is infinitely copiable. I suppose then the motivation for non-fiction writers is to write by commission: e.g., a consortium of colleges would commission a textbook company to produce a textbook (which becomes distributed freely, to their students and to anyone else) because it's cheaper than having the course staff write the text and homework poblems. Economic and political theory works would be commissioned by the government, much like this report was commissioned and the think tank is posting it freely. And so forth.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (2, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632894)

For me (I write on blogs and books), my value comes from my direct performance to an audience -- it's called consulting. For political writings, I have gotten paid to speak to an audience and field questions. Even a nobody like me can get $10-$20 per head for the live venue. 500 people paying to ask an author questions is an easy $10k. I've NEVER copywritten anything I've produced, including music. I let others freely copy my works and put THEIR OWN NAME on them -- this is because it increases the audience for the ideas I write, and eventually they find me or increase the demand for my work.

A toilet bowl maker spends hours designing a toilet bowl and then producing it. Do you pay him every time you flush it? Of course not. You pay once. That toilet bowl engineer may have spent years in college and in the field learning to make a better toilet bowl -- do you compensate him for this learning time? No.

A band also spends time making music -- some went to school, some spend years making an album. It doesn't matter -- everything you did in the past is USELESS in terms of value. I am an employer (in IT, in the print business, in business consulting, and in editing), and all my employees know from the past is IRRELEVANT -- it is what they produce TODAY that matters. Been on the job 50 years? Great, apply that knowledge to something profitable TODAY. Sometimes the people in a business the longest are worth the least because they refuse to change with the market. The same is true for music, engineering, laboring, whatever.

Your only profitable work is what you can do TODAY, not yesterday. Did you write something yesterday? Don't use the State to protect your profits -- go out and make yourself new ones by talking about what you wrote. Give your book away for free and command more money for your intimate knowledge that you share with a live audience. It can be done -- do it.

If you are afraid to take a risk as a band (in giving away your advertising on CD in music form) and try to make money live, then get a salaried job making music -- there's thousands of jobs in the music industry worldwide that pay a salary and offer little risk (and little reward). Want to try to make millions? That's all about LIVE PRODUCTION income -- your reward is high, but your risk is higher. Think about supply and demand and you'll get it.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632554)

It's not the physical disc you're paying for, though. That's just a cheap bit of plastic. You're paying for the work that went into creating the music recorded on the disc. If I spend a month recording music, then it's a month I haven't spent bolting antennas to buildings, and therefore it's a month I've worked that I haven't been paid for. Then I have to buy things like tape stock, and guitar strings, and I have to pay the electric bill for my studio. All these things cost money. That is where the cash value of the recorded media comes from.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632902)

If I spend a month recording music, then it's a month I haven't spent bolting antennas to buildings, and therefore it's a month I've worked that I haven't been paid for.

On the flipside, you (or your estate) can now charge anyone for the result of that one month of work until 95 years after your death. So, if it's popular, one month of work could quite conceivably mean you'll never have to work again. How is that fair to everyone else ?

I can understand why people riding the copyright gravy train don't want to get off, but to suggest the system isn't obscenely biased in favour of "content creators" is ridiculous on its face.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (1)

Gordonjcp (186804) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633268)

On the flipside, you (or your estate) can now charge anyone for the result of that one month of work until 95 years after your death

Do you know how much money artists make from recordings? It's in the order of a few pennies in the pound. The rest goes to the record companies.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633364)

Do you know how much money artists make from recordings? It's in the order of a few pennies in the pound. The rest goes to the record companies.

That's why I wrote "content creators". Note the ""s.

My argument (and point) does not change simply because of who happens to "own" the copyright.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (1)

It'sYerMam (762418) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632614)

The assertion that you have intrinsic rights by virtue of being a human, or a christian, or whatever, is groundless, so it cannot be used to build policy. I could say, with as much basis, that I have the basic irrevocable right to murder anyone I wish. Since accepting that people can decide their own rights would lead to criminals doing as they please, it makes more sense to have a collective decision based on, for example, society.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632710)

It's easy for Americans to apply the principle of natural rights, since they don't need the society to define what exactly are the commonly accepted rights: Those rights were already decided by the Wise Founding Fathers and thus there is no need for any further debate, except about the interpretation of their Holy Writings. But as we don't have any comparable founding fathers in Europe, we'll just have to let our democratically elected representatives decide where to draw the boundaries between the rights of different parties, such as content producers and content consumers in this case.

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (1)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633136)

Your analysis is simplistic. you dont pay the plumber to fix the toilet. You pay him to fix the toilet and you pay for him to have spent years studying as an apprentice for him to learn how to do this.

You may only wish to pay the musician to play for 2 hours on stage, but they may have had to practice music and songwriting for 20 years to get good enough to perform for you. The fact that you are only interested in their *current action* should not render valueless the fact that there are many years of work that go into it at a time when not only did *you* not pay them to practice and write songs, but nobody did, and during which they had absolutely zero guarantee of ever earning a penny from their efforts (unlike your plumber example, who can be pretty sure of getting paid work as a plumber).

The supply of copies of a particular song is high, thanks to technology, but the supply of people able to write songs that capture the feelings of millions of people is extremely limited. Unless every bar band you see are as talented as the beatles and led zeppelin, which frankly, they aren't.

"If I spend time making copies of something, it is my time I am wasting"
which represents a trivial amount of effort in comparison with the effort made by the person who wrote that song, or directed that movie. I can write E-MC squared very easily (i just did it) but you think thats the same as deriving it in the first place? To people who create original and entertaining / enlightening content, its insulting to compare their efforts with the effort required to make a copy. All that has changed recently is that technology hs allowed us a way to render the efforts of creative people worthless to them, by removing the method by which they are compensated for their work. Anyone who thinks this is somehow *good* for the encouragement of creative works is frankly delusional. Poeple like to pretend that creative people are *happy* to work for free, whereas of course they themselves always want to be paid for their job.

I really don't see the problem in paying $20 for an album of music I like. I will *easily* get $20 worth of entertainment from that album. I can spend $20 on food in a very short space of time, and not think twice about it. why should music be different?

Re:Job for governments, society or a corporations? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16633448)

You're not religious, you're a nut job, there's a slight difference.

(But I do agree that it should be legal to make a non commercial copy of a cd/dvd, at least for a friends. Artists can make a living on concerts and movies still have theaters.)

Good goals, but fundamentally wrong (4, Insightful)

Control Group (105494) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632226)

'it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government.'

I wholeheartedly support the things they're trying to achieve, but...I would be hard-pressed to find a statement that could be more fundamentally wrong than the above. It's that sort of thinking that's got us in the mess we're in.

The government, in no way whatsoever decides what rights people have. The function of legitimate government is no more or less than to recognize and to protect the rights people have*. The government doesn't grant rights, people have rights because they're people. The government, if anything, limits exercise of rights in the name of social order (don't read anything into this statement that isn't there - I'm not advocating anarchy, this is a legitimate function of government and necessary for society to function).

By ceding the power to government to decide what rights people have, we've opened the door for exactly the kind of abuse that now runs rampant. Government is controlled by money, and huge quantities of money are controlled by the pseudo-citizens we refer to as "corporations." Granting power to government is granting power to corporations.

It would be easy to say that the quote is just verbal shorthand, but I think there's a fundamental difference between the mindset "we have rights, and we delegate some authority to government" and the mindset "the government has authority, and delegates some rights to us" that is exhibited by such a statement.

*To demonstrate this to yourself, consider this: if government grants rights to people rather than people having rights and granting authority to government, then this means that there can be no such thing as a government abuse of rights. After all, if government can legitimately decide what your rights are, then you have no legitimate complaints about government trampling them. And I don't think you really need to look too far from home or too far in the past to find examples that, to me, pretty clearly indicate that the government can trample rights.

Re:Good goals, but fundamentally wrong (4, Insightful)

Ngwenya (147097) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632552)

'it is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government.'


I wholeheartedly support the things they're trying to achieve, but...I would be hard-pressed to find a statement that could be more fundamentally wrong than the above. It's that sort of thinking that's got us in the mess we're in.


Note: the speaker did not say which rights the people (ie, the citizens of the state) have, it was which rights consumers have. We're not talking about fundamental rights of the citizen, we're talking about the rights of the consumer within a marketplace scenario. Generally, consumer protection is delegated to government as a power to ensure that vendors are not allowed to market falsely, exercise unconscionable contracts, etc. It's usually accepted in most European states that those possessing capital (the vendors) are in a stronger position than those parting with it (the consumers). The people have a right to expect that government will act as a shield for the weaker party, in order to ensure a fair marketplace. In other words, whether we're talking about a European model of liberty, or an American one, the point remains: consumer protection is generally a power which government has been given popular authority to exercise.

Remember the context: copyright legislation. At the moment, we have copyright legislation that's almost exclusively to the advantage of rightsholders, ignoring the basic truth that the fruits of knowledge can be shared almost trivially today. The IPPR are saying that it is the government's right and duty to reassert that ideas and their expressions are not primarily commercial quantities. That the right for consumers to copy their own possessions is not one which should have been ceded in the 300 years of copyright legislation.

Your point was addressing the nature and rights of the citizen in the modern state: a far more general and differently rooted argument than the point at hand. Some here will consider that those rights are natural rights (ie, they stem from our being human), others will consider that rights are essentially civil (ie, they are reserved/ceded as part of a social contract); in either case, the power of government to act as a fair market arbiter tends to be accepted by either construction. (Yes, I'm aware that some libertarians do not accept that such a role of government is legitimate; however, the libertarian constructs of Nozick's Anarchy, State and Utopia would accept such a power as proper).

--Ng

Re:Good goals, but fundamentally wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632620)

Except that this story is about the UK, where we are all subjects of the Queen, and we only have the rights that she , through her Government, grants us. We don't have a written constitution in this country, only a series of agreements, such as the Magna Carta, that she won't (or her government won't) abuse her position. The European Convention on Human Rights was recently ratified into UK law but parts of that have already been suspended, and the right wing press are doing a pretty good job of convincing people that the rest of it should be thrown out as well.

So the article was correct, it is the job of government to decide what rights Her Majesty's subjects have, you may have had a revolution to stop such nonsense but ours failed.

Uh, Dude... (4, Funny)

creimer (824291) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632232)

What's a CD? Is that like a "record" that my great-great-grandma threw at my great-great-grandpa when she was drunk?

Progress (4, Interesting)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632484)

"It is not the music industry's job to decide what rights consumers have. That is the job of government."

It's not the government's job to decide our rights. We have rights, they are inalienable. It's the government's job to protect our rights. Protect our rights from corporations which would ignore or destroy them for a buck, or the power to make a buck. And we create our government to protect our rights. Our job is creating and perpetuating that government.

When the founders of the US specified the rights we have that the government would protect, they also made a compromise with the existing economy. The government would promote "the progress of science and useful arts" [usconstitution.net] by granting temporary monopolies - exclusive rights - to authors and inventors of their writings and discoveries. This limitation on freedom of others to copy and use writings and inventions was necessary in the late 1700s, and for many years after. But as the centuries have progressed, those writings and inventions have changed the economy so that "the progress of science and useful arts" is better promoted by more copying, not less. Even if temporary monopolies like copyrights and patents are still necessary, they are necessary for much less time than before. Instead, those monopolies are now extended for much more time, totally unjustified by any necessity to "promote progress".

The original time set in the 1790s was 17 years, a human generation. The next generation that grew up with the writings and inventions could, by the time they became adults and likely started having their own children, use those writings and inventions freely. Writings and inventions passed into the folk art, the folk consciousness, the folk wisdom, the folk heritage, for everyone to use. By which time, most of the value, especially of the writings, was delivered not by the author, but by the audience, the consumers, the people using it and perpetuating it. And any honest author will tell you that the process of adoption of their writings by their people is the most powerful promotion of their useful art.

Maybe the Internet has changed things, along with the rest of communications, manufacturing and distribution tech over the past 200 years. If anything, the lifecycle of content is much shorter before it's "old", either folklore or just obsolete. Likewise with most inventions. The length of copyright and patent exclusion should be, if anything, shorter - maybe 8-10 years, maybe 2-5. Maybe different for different kinds of "writing", whether a news article or an opera. But certainly promotion of progress is much more hurt now by these monopolies.

We still have control over our governments. Except when we ignore that control, and corporations and other greedy monopolists move into the power vacuum. If we don't create governments to protect our rights, we're creating ones to destroy them.

Re:Progress (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16633162)

The government would promote "the progress of science and useful arts" by granting temporary monopolies - exclusive rights - to authors and inventors of their writings and discoveries

To me, the fact that you create a piece of work (e.g. a book) should give you control over that work, and any copies of that work, if you so choose. Now, if someone can independently create an identical piece of work, then you, of course, should have no power over their work, even if it is identical to your work. But if they simply copy your work, and they even acknowledge they have done so, why should they be able to control it? Why should they get to reap the fruits of your mental labor for free?

According to your philosophy, the protection of your intellectual work is merely something the government grants you for a limited period of time. We would not say the government "grants" you the physical property that you own, so why is intellectual work different? That sounds like perverted morality to me. I think it makes complete sense that an author can fully specify what you may do with his work, because if he did not exist, you would not have his work at all! Unless you can create his work with your own mental labor (i.e. without copying), why should you have any right at all to dictate to him how you will use his work? You can choose to either buy his work or not, but it is arrognant to think you should be able to violate the terms of the sell. If the author says, "I will only sell my work on the condition that you agree to make no more than 1 personal copy," and you pretend to agree and then make as many personal copies as you damn well choose, shame on you. If you don't like his terms, don't buy his work.

Schoolyard ahoy! (3, Insightful)

garyok (218493) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632644)

Goddamnit, why does every discussion that involves the word 'rights' and a non-US country always have to devolve into an our-constitution-is-bigger-than-your- sucky-parliament-and-can-kick-its-head-in polarised slagging match? If this leads to UK government policy that bars corporations from imposing their DRM bullshit on the UK, then it's a good thing. Otherwise, it's a waste of time. Can we wait and see before jumping down each other throats over who's form of government has the biggest swinging dick?

Move in ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#16632676)

Stevie, time to move in with a couple of chairs and teach them a proper lesson on how you'll be going to f...... bury these guys, and that you've done it before, and you'll do it again.
Come on, man, you know what I mean. You're the best !

A suitable punishment for the content industry... (1)

dryriver (1010635) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632760)

"In Soviet Russia, we send man or woman who make shit content to Gulag in Siberia, one-way trip."

Gordon Brown (0, Troll)

Skiron (735617) | more than 6 years ago | (#16632772)

The only reasonable cause that the UK current dictatorship propose this will be due to them added another 'steath tax'. I beat my last penny there will be a tax introduced on media that is copied - and it will be sourced at purchase.

No, it is a copyright owners job (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633158)

Copyright owner's job (not RIAA) is to decide how a person can use a product. If one decides that the CDs of "New Brave World Records" are going to be listened only on CD-players, then let it be written explicitly on every CD they sell. If "New Brave World Records" is entering a monopolistic agreement with "Clueless Sound" and "Sheep Music" to enforce the same rules on all customers, then the government should interfere and break this monopolistic cartel.

To everyone harping on the UK Govt granting rights (4, Informative)

i)ave (716746) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633228)

The US system and UK system are entirely different. In the UK, there is parliamentary sovereignty and no written constitution. There are no courts with the power to overrule any law passed by parliament (no uk version of the supreme court). There are no REAL powers to curb the parliament's will. The House of Lords is mostly symbolic and if it ever stood in parliament's way by making a serious nuisance of itself, parliament could legally abolish it or curb its power further (as they have done throughout the twentieth century). Technically, the crown is supposed to sign off on any legislation passed by parliament (royal ascent), yet they never challenge parliament because if they did, this would probably spell the death-knell of the monarchy. Royal-Ascent is a rubber-stamp. Thus, parliament is entirely sovereign. Any law they pass automatically becomes part of their ever-evolving and expanding constitution. Think of every single law as a constitutional amendment without requiring anyone's review or permission -- except that of the current parliament. They do not require a super-majority, just a simple majority will do. There is no written Bill of Rights. Tony Blair's government recently removed the right-to-remain silent without so much as a public debate and did so in a single afternoon with the stroke of a pen. The right-to-remain silent is now not a right and parliament was entirely within their own rights to do this.

In the Lockean philosophy of the United States constitution, and Declaration of Independence, Parliamentary Sovereignty is a crime and I agree with that view. This is why we fought to free ourselves from the authority of Britain. However, it is naive for people to make such bold assertions as, "It is NOT the role of the government to grant rights", when in fact, it IS the role of government (in the UK) to grant rights and take them away. It is important to accept this reality to better understand such things as why Britain has such high voter-turnout (wouldn't we have high voter turnout if the Pres was chosen by the House, the Senate was only symbolic, There was no Supreme Court and anything a new House passed was part of the constitution?), and important for understanding why there is a movement in Britain to pass a Bill of Rights, Create a codified Constitution, and other issues that pose sticky questions: "Parliament has been ceding its authority to the EU, what happens when the EU asserts its authority over Parliament and Parliament tries to take it's authority back?" Who is sovereign in that situation?. By actually trying to understand the realities of systems of government in other countries, some people might have a better appreciation for what we have in the United States. Here, it is not the role of government to determine our rights, in Britain it is. -- Dave

Re:To everyone harping on the UK Govt granting rig (2, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 6 years ago | (#16633464)

Actually we do have a written Bill of Rights [wikipedia.org] . We also have courts which are capable of overruling Parliament, as happened recently with control orders [guardian.co.uk] . There was also a recent instance, although I can't recall details, in which a court construed an Act as meaning the opposite of its plain reading. However, it's rare for legislation to be struck down except on the grounds of incompatibility with the Human Rights Act.
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