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U.S. Copyright Lobby Out of Touch

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the reach-out-and-touch dept.

United States 293

Ontheright writes "The BBC is featuring a story on how the U.S. copyright lobby is increasingly out of touch with the rest of the world. The article focuses on a recent report designed to highlight the inadequacies of IP protection around the world by arguing for a global expansion of the DMCA and elimination of copyright exceptions. Michael Geist penned the article, which specifically calls out the United States for expecting the world at large to adopt its non-standard standards for copyright law."

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They aren't out of touch, they're out of time... (5, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082832)

The U.S. copyright lobby exists for one purpose: to give distributors sole custody of intellectual property "rights." In the past, pre-copyright, there was no intellectual property -- there was only marketing material that provided an artist or creator access to the market so they could sell their true product: live productions of that marketing material. Shakespeare wrote for acclaim, but it was his live performances that produced his income. He was also paid by wealthy patrons of the arts who wanted to see more from him. For centuries, this is why art was created. Those who didn't want acclaim but still wanted to produce art would do what we all do for incomes -- they got jobs in creating something for someone else.

For 200 years, copyright was considered the only way to protect your creations, but what came out of copyright is the worst-case scenario for amateur artists: instead of copyright protecting your creations, it only protected the monopoly networks of distribution, what I would call distribution cartels.

Now, 200 years later, we have a majority of opinion that believes that people wouldn't create if their intellectual property wasn't protected. But this isn't true. I created the Global Unanimocracy Network"> [unanimocracy.com] of blogs and forums in order to prove that you could generate an income for your talents without the need for copyright. All my writings are now public domain -- I freely encourage others to copy my writings and posts and repost them under their own name, on their own sites, for their own income. Why? Because it generates interest in the niche topics I cover, and eventually people find their way to my site. I make a decent income through advertising and individual support for my future writings. People pay me so that I will write more in the future. Even better, my network of blogs has also gotten me writing gigs for other sites that pay me to write content for them in a "ghost writing" type of deal.

If you are a musician, you have two options: record a record and use it as marketing to get people to your shows (as my brother's band Maps & Atlases [maps-atlases.com] has done), or go and get a job as a studio musician creating music for commercial ventures (movies, TV shows, muzak, etc). The idea that you can spend 2 weeks or 2 years creating one record and then reap 70 years of income is ridiculous. Does a plumber go to school for 2 years to learn how to fix toilets only to get paid for 70 years whenever you flush that toilet? No, they continue to work. Does an architect spend 2 years designing plans only to get paid forever by those who live or use the building that came forth from the plans? No, they keep designing. Artists are no different -- they should continue their labors in order to continue to reap incomes.

Right now, copyright has placed in the hands of powerful mercantilists the monopoly of distribution. The FCC decides who can transmit over public airwaves, and this blocks amateurs from the airwaves. Yet those days are coming to an end as the airwaves are growing less important as the Internet is available in more and more places (for example, I have a consistent WiFi connection to the net in my car at about 200kbps via T-Mobile's EDGE network). As the Internet finds its way to more parts of the country and the world, the public airwaves will be less utilized and way less efficient. The copyright lobby knows this, and they're trying hard to restrict future growth in "piracy" and non-licensed distributors. Yet for amateur artists, the non-licensed distributors are the best way to get the word out about their real product: continued labor to make new and unique art.

A friend's band, 38 Acres [38acres.com] , now tells their audience and online visitors to freely copy their albums for friends. They make a decent income selling unique performances, and they also make an income selling their T-shirts and hats and posters. People who "pirated" their album generally buy their album when they meet the band -- the band autographs it, and the casual fans know the money is going to record the next album, which will also be freely copyable. The copyright cartel HATES this type of marketing, because it goes around their monopoly of distribution.

The lobby isn't out of touch, it is out of time, and it knows this. Using force to keep their monopoly is no longer valid, as there are too many people with the ability to get what they want without the previous distribution media. The more that the cartel tries to control the average consumer, the more they will become unreliable, inefficient and invalid in terms of how the consumer connects with the producer of various media products.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083046)

I created the XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX of blogs and forums in order to prove that you could generate an income for your talents without the need for copyright.

Yes, we know. And you shamelessly pimp yourself at every opportunity you get. And it's tiring. Very very tiring.

Re:Shameless pimping (3, Insightful)

scwizard (941758) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083154)

Well, knowing the free advertising he's going to get gives him some incentive to spend so much time writing such a wonderful and insightful comment.
Yay for the free market :P

"Free" Market (2, Interesting)

Vicissidude (878310) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083646)

Yay for the free market :P

There is nothing free about our market. Our trade agreements are not free either. Both are loaded with protections for business in the form of restrictions in copyright, intellectual property, and patent laws.

A truly free market would have none of these protections in place. True free market agreements would also not have these protections.

In the end, we just have a normal market. And those are just normal trade agreements.

Re:"Free" Market (2)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084288)

Our trade agreements are not free either. Both are loaded with protections for business in the form of restrictions in copyright, intellectual property, and patent laws.
That's how these "cartels" infect the other countries with anti-circumvention laws - by placing them inside trade agreements. It's "change your copyright laws to suit ours, or we don't trade."

There is another organism which follows this same pattern ... do you know what it is? A virus!

It's a bitch girl, and its gone too far. (1)

dr_dank (472072) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083406)

Maybe the parent does do that and throws around "free market" like its going out of style, but how can you stay mad at a Hall & Oates reference?

C'mon!

After all, you can't rely on the old man's money...

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (3, Informative)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083050)

In the past, pre-copyright, there was no intellectual property

In the past publication was a privilege granted by a monarch, and strictly controlled by guilds. The actual authors of whatever works had no say in this whatsoever (other then not creating their works)

Believe it or not, but copyright was actually a liberation of sorts. This is also where the misguided belief comes from that copyright promotes creation of works of art. It definitely does when compared to the guilds system, but that is pretty meaningless when comparing it to a situation where any works can be freely used and reused.

For the rest, I definitely agree that copyright as it is is completely broken, and is not even remotely serving its stated purpose. Rather, it is only there to help the big distributors keep as much control as possible.

Copyright does not guarantee any kind of income to those who actually create works of art, and it derives them of many of their sources of inspiration (at least legally)

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (2, Insightful)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083230)

Copyright does not guarantee any kind of income to those who actually create works of art,

Copyright doesn't guarantee income to anyone -- after all, your intellectual works could be garbage. But a lot of people think that it does not help to generate income for the artists, since "the big evil record companies take it all". But this is common misconception. How much would the record companies pay the artists if they couldn't own the intellectual property at all?

Remember, artists already have the right not to claim copyright and try to make money without selling the rights to a record company. If you think you can make more money this way, go for it! But light a match before griping about the darkness.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (4, Insightful)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083356)

Copyright doesn't guarantee income to anyone -- after all, your intellectual works could be garbage. But a lot of people think that it does not help to generate income for the artists, since "the big evil record companies take it all". But this is common misconception. How much would the record companies pay the artists if they couldn't own the intellectual property at all?

They would do work for hire, and get payed for the amount of work they did. This would in fact work out better for the large majority of artists.

They would also have to actually do life performances or exhibitions or whatever is proper for their works, and get some income that way.

What this will do is remove some of the lottery aspect of creating art.


Remember, artists already have the right not to claim copyright and try to make money without selling the rights to a record company. If you think you can make more money this way, go for it! But light a match before griping about the darkness.


I happen to create works for which I can claim copyright, and I happen to not assert those rights in the large majority of cases. Where I do assert those rights, it is for a very limited time.

Oh, and I do actually make some money with that as well.

Does it make me rich? definitely not, but then, when averaging the income of artists "within the system", you may find that they earn very little typically. There are some exceptions, which are just that, exceptions.

The only ones typically making quite a bit of money on copyright are distributors, and not those who actually create works of art.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083636)

So what difference does copyright law make to you?

-You don't assert it.
-You make money without it.
-You don't infringe it.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084284)

He was describing an actual situation where someone is making money based on "intellectual" creation without relying on the aspects of "intellectual property" law that proponents insist are absolutely required for anyone to be able to make a living off creativity. That point is quite relevant to this discussion.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084402)

Not really. The method he's described is possible with and without copyright. But as long as there exist artistic works that would not be made but for some kind of copyright, we're better off having copyright laws. Then we get artists profiting through the method he's described, AND the work that requires copyright.

Right?

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

KiahZero (610862) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084470)

Your post assumes that there are no artistic works that would not be made because of copyright laws as they exist now.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

UbuntuDupe (970646) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084614)

And what's your reason for considering that assumption unreasonable? Give me a scenario.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (2, Interesting)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083272)

In the past publication was a privilege granted by a monarch, and strictly controlled by guilds.

No. In the Roman Empire, there was a very active publishing scene, where the recitals of poets or the plays of playwrights were transcribed, copied by slaves, and sold in the marketplace. Most popular literary figures had little contact with the ruling powers in the writing and dissemination of their works. People like Plautus were relatively insignificant commoners, and do you think that Hesiod and Homer had to wait for the permission of a king for their poetry to gain acclaim? And even when some work or another ended up irking the powers that be, the result was not an end to publication (Ovid's work spread widely) by the exile of the individual writer.

Who am I reading about here? (1)

Kaydet81 (806468) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083184)

expecting the world at large to adopt its non-standard standards

Who am I reading about here, USA or Microsoft?

Sorry, couldn't resist...

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (4, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083328)

Eloquently put, sir.

That's exactly what I was trying to get across with this post in another article [slashdot.org] . It's not about money per se, it's always been about control. As long as the **AA and the TV media companies have control of the means of distribution, there's an unending supply of disproportionate profit that never goes into the hands of artists, it goes into the hands of the distribution channel.

The Internet provides a way for artists to directly connect to end-users. It gives them the means to find an audience, no matter how niche their work might me.

If people gain control of how they connect with the artists, then who needs the RIAA, MPAA, the TV networks, or radio companies like ClearChannel? Money can flow from consumers to artists directly, completely bypassing all the middlemen, who today make the bulk of the money.

It's like Cisco says in their TV spots: Anyone can be famous. Welcome to the human network.

Your title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083446)

This is the head of the RIAA speaking, dada21 (user #163177), you owe us $1,000,000 for every hour that you violate usage of Hall and Oates's copywrited lyrics, and $1,000,000 for every hour of every reply to your message (which copies the lyrics). Comply with this friendly take-down notice or face 10 years of prison for every hour the violation persists. Our records show that your post is 13 hours old, so do the math.

Re:Your title (1)

Em Adespoton (792954) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084624)

Hall & Oates' lyrics are protected by ASCAP, not the RIAA, who only protects recordings done by their member distributors' recording studios.

Last I heard, ASCAP was actually pretty sane about who they sued.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

LordVader717 (888547) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083492)

Believe it or not, without copyright many works simply would not be possible today.

Although a few garage bands might be willing to create music for free, many kinds of work cost a lot of money. Say goodbye to movies for a start, as well as games. No more orchestras, all those musicians want paying.

Copyright allows everyone to profit from their work, unlike before when the aristocracy and royalty basically could say what they want creating.

And copyright doesn't mean that the artist keeps getting paid, but that he is the only one who can sell and create "copies" of his work. If people want to enjoy his work so badly, why shouldn't he receive a reward for it?
Ask your bro how he'd feel if another band took their songs, or what your friend would think if you started selling copies of their CD for a few bucks.

Comparing your blog and a few garage bands to every other artist is just stupid.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (4, Insightful)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083796)

1) For the most part 99% of artists get nothing from copyright (trivial google search I've already linked a couple times but it's something like .03% who make big money)

2) Most artists are relentlessly and ruthlessly ripped off by large corporations. It's not uncommon to see a wildly popular creation deemed "unprofitable" after "promotional and accounting" expenses are accounted for. Even such stupid thinks as "breakage" from the vinyl area are still applied. Despite this outright fraud, they STILL outright LIE and state lower numbers of sales than they know occured-- they get caught at it all the time.

3) Copyright isn't about a lifelong income stream. It's explicit purpose is to induce artists to create work which will enter the public domain. The original period was 28 years. That's entirely reasonable. The author's life plus 70 years is completely rediculous. "Forever and one day" (Jack Valenti) is the ultimate goal.

4) I guess the "Star Wreck" movie didn't actually get made and I didn't laugh and enjoy it and I didn't spend 4 hours watching it (twice!) instead of consuming purchased products. Oh wait... it did and I did.

5) Entire swaths of music wouldn't exist now if copyright rules in effect now were enforced as they started. Blues for example reuses a lot of common riffs. As a result- the FIRST song would have locked up that sequence of notes and it would have been 100+ years before another song using that riff would be made- so no blues. (You see it in rock & roll now- very stifling).

6) "Happy Birthday" is still copyrighted and will be until 2030. The authors are LONG dead and don't receive a penny. Some corporation owns the "rights" (same thing with a lot of other dead people).

7) Every time micky mouse comes up for public domain they pay a lot of money and get the period extended. For who? Again- the creator is dead.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (0)

JeTmAn81 (836217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083540)

"If you are a musician, you have two options: record a record and use it as marketing to get people to your shows (as my brother's band Maps & Atlases has done), or go and get a job as a studio musician creating music for commercial ventures (movies, TV shows, muzak, etc). The idea that you can spend 2 weeks or 2 years creating one record and then reap 70 years of income is ridiculous. Does a plumber go to school for 2 years to learn how to fix toilets only to get paid for 70 years whenever you flush that toilet? No, they continue to work. Does an architect spend 2 years designing plans only to get paid forever by those who live or use the building that came forth from the plans? No, they keep designing. Artists are no different -- they should continue their labors in order to continue to reap incomes."

This is a specious analogy. A plumber only gets paid once per customer because his service is only rendered once. The service rendered by the architect is to create the designs for a building which is then sold to whoever will own the building, not the people who use/work in the building. That is a single transaction.

The service that you get when you buy a record is the experience of listening to that album whenever you want. Why shouldn't the artist get paid by each person who receives this service? The consumer does not have a right to listen to someone else's private creation. If the creator chooses to sell the opportunity to listen to their work, that is their prerogative and they should continue to receive payment for as long as people continue to receive that service.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

wes33 (698200) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084014)

The consumer does not have a right to listen to someone else's private creation. If the creator chooses to sell the opportunity to listen to their work, that is their prerogative and they should continue to receive payment for as long as people continue to receive that service.


That's true - as long as the someone keeps it private. Once a recording is sold to me then I have right to do whatever I want with my newly purchased object. The law of copyright is an addon that restricts my right for the sole purpose of encouraging artists (and others) to create. This violation of my property rights is supposed to be acceptable for this reason, but it is of course only temporarily granted. The idea that someone should have indefinite control over my stuff is odious. Furthermore, copyright is a legally imposed monopoly with all the bad effects of any monopoly - another reason that copryright is supposed to be temporary.

I myself favour music copyrights that last 2 years with the right to renew copyright for a fee (which increases - say doubles - every two year period). But we could argue about the details of this temporary monopoly and temporary overturning of the property rights of citizens.

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

JeTmAn81 (836217) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084450)

That's true - as long as the someone keeps it private. Once a recording is sold to me then I have right to do whatever I want with my newly purchased object. The law of copyright is an addon that restricts my right for the sole purpose of encouraging artists (and others) to create. This violation of my property rights is supposed to be acceptable for this reason, but it is of course only temporarily granted. The idea that someone should have indefinite control over my stuff is odious. Furthermore, copyright is a legally imposed monopoly with all the bad effects of any monopoly - another reason that copryright is supposed to be temporary.

I fail to see how this is a violation of property rights. By this logic couldn't an apartment rental agreement be considered a violation of property rights? After all, there are certain restrictions placed on your use of and treatment of an apartment, so what makes that any different? Yet there is no such furor over rental housing. It is a fact that the agreement between the purchaser of a cd and the creator of that work does not give the purchaser unlimited rights over that content. Copyright law only has power over those who choose to participate in the system which is governed by it, so it is definitely not taking anyone's rights away, unless you consider access to unlimited free content to be a right. I do not.

Additionally, a creator exercising their ownership of their created work does not qualify as a monopoly, at least in contemporary parlance. True it is sole ownership of that commodity, but to take away the right of a creator to own something they create (unless otherwise agreed) IS a violation of property rights. After all, if a woodworker wanted to sell you the chair he made, you wouldn't complain about the monopolization of that chair, would you?

Re:They aren't out of touch, they're out of time.. (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084530)

The service that you get when you buy a record is the experience of listening to that album whenever you want. Why shouldn't the artist get paid by each person who receives this service?
I think we're walking a delicate line here. The difference being, as with all copyable media, that there is a difference.

With traditional services (plumbing, garbage collection, live performances), there is a one-time service with a one-time benefit.

I think services like architecture are in the middle - along with creating commissioned work - it's a one-time service which is technically a copyable creation (such as blueprints), but which are really only useful to one person and therefore have a one-time benefit as well.

And then you enter the crazy world of bytes where you have the creation of a work being a one-time service with an arbitrarily-large benefit.

And when you're looking at a one-time service with a many-time benefit, you can look at it from two angles. You can do what the parent did and look at it from the benefitter's perspective. That is, you benefit many times, therefore the service is perpetual and deserves continual payment like a service.

The other way of looking at it is looking at it from the creator's perspective. That is, you did actually only do the creative work one time, therefore the service is a single service and deserves a single payment.

There's no real way to settle it, because when you look at it, the "entity" doing the actual perpetual work is the CD-ROM burner (or whatever is being used to copy the data) - and that is cheap/free labour. So we have this social divide, and it's just unfair that the plumber performs one service and gets paid once, while the artist performs one service and gets paid infiniditum.

Of course, traditionally things like this have balanced themselves out somewhat, because it's much cheaper to buy a CD than it is to get a plumber to fix your toilet - the reason being the artist is making cheap copies. It's great for consumers because it means that copyable things are much cheaper (as opposed to everyone who wanted to listen to music having to pay to go to the opera, for example). But pity the poor plumber.

(Am I making sense? It's 5:30 AM...)

Shakespeare would have loved copyrights (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084798)

It's funny that you should mention Shakespeare. In fact, he DID try to keep his plays to himself, or rather, to the theater which hired him to produce it. Other theater troupes would try to steal them by hiring actors to make transcripts of his plays. There was no copyright law preventing them from doing so, but actors who provided copies of plays were blacklisted.

The plays would be published in print, and the printers themselves (not Shakespeare!) did own copyrights. Any other printer printing the plays would be sued.

That's one of the reasons that so many Elizabethan plays are variations on the same themes: different writers producing their own versions of the same story, to get around that problem. You couldn't use the same script (though they often stole a catchy turn of phrase from each other), but dipping into the common pool of stories was just fine.

Shakespeare wrote for money, and the guys who bought his work expected to have sole rights to it. If Shakespeare had given it away to any troupe who wanted it, or even sold it, nobody would have given him any work. (Eventually he became part owner of one of the theater troupes, and wrote exclusively for them for a while.)

Ironically, his plays are still important today partly because his copyrights are long over, but at the time he made his living off producing them under the Elizabethan equivalents of copyrights.

Non-Standard? (4, Insightful)

Short Circuit (52384) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082860)

The copyright model dates back to the guild systems which Europe coined ages ago.

It's ironic that a country built by entrepreneurs escaping the guild systems is now the central figure in locking down the one product and resource which could be shared at virtually no cost.

Re:Non-Standard? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18082972)

It is also ironic that whenever they extend copyright they call it "harmonizing" with the rest of the world. Apparently, they only wish to harmonize with the world when it suits them.

Re:Non-Standard? (3, Insightful)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082990)

What's more surprising is the number and generations of people who have absolutely no personal convictions and will sell out at the first sign of a cheque.

For me, yes, I like getting paid to write software, but if the software is shite or say anti-civil rights I'd just walk. I have only one life to live and I can't afford to spend it doing shite work even if the pay is right.

A lot of people, not just in the states mind you, have wholesale departed from any sense of honour and character, and been attracted to the bright lights of the easy buck. Wear that suit, speak the lingo, lie and hope not to get caught. Apparently the paycheque is all that matters!

With people like this is it any wonder that the monopoly lobby groups are disconnected from reality?

Tom

Re:Non-Standard? (4, Insightful)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083768)

A lot of people, not just in the states mind you, have wholesale departed from any sense of honour and character, and been attracted to the bright lights of the easy buck. Wear that suit, speak the lingo, lie and hope not to get caught. Apparently the paycheque is all that matters!

People of every generation say this. They latch onto the idea of some pristine, moral past that is being corrupted by their sleazy peers, as though we're all headed toward some apocalypse of immorality. Then they get old and a new generation comes, and these same critics reincarnate to repeat themselves.

Re:Non-Standard? (2, Interesting)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083890)

I don't think this is true. Not more than three or four generations ago, more people were either FARMERs or blue collar workers. This idea that everyone in a suit is a high powered executive is a product of the late 70s and 80s.

And don't think I'm some wishy-washy 67 yr old timer looking back at yesteryear. I'm 25 for crying out loud. I've been in various business of various shapes and while they weren't bad places to work, they did seem to desire the allure of status over the pride of accomplishment way too much.

Look at the CPU wars for instance. It's not about what you actually need, it's about what they *want* you to need. When you start devoting your entire career towards making people think they need your product, as opposed to actually needing it, you lose track with reality and stop earning an honest living. At the end of the day you didn't advance science, or cure the next disease. You just sold millions of power sucking really fast processors to people who won't even use 10% of the potential [well I guess that's where Vista falls in]

Tom

Re:Non-Standard? (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084736)

My point was that every generation idealizes the past and looks down on future generations for some reason. You just did it again by portraying the world a few generations ago as made up almost entirely of farmers and blue collar workers, corrupted by the 1980s. People seem to think whichever decade they grew up in corrupted the world.

Re:Non-Standard? (1)

tomstdenis (446163) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084824)

I'm not talking about corruption. I'm talking about aspirations and the desire to work hard.

I'm not saying there weren't lazy people in yesteryear. But I certainly don't remember reading about the same shit that goes down nowadays, people skirting around "truth in ads" laws, FICA, etc, etc... I'm certain there were people out for power and control in yesteryear. I'm just questioning which PERCENTAGE of humanity was that type.

I bet if you asked random people on the street whether being fulfilled or rich was more important you'd get the "rich" answer most of the time. People could care less if their life is meaningful, so long as they have some semblance of importance they're happy.

Re:Non-Standard? (2, Interesting)

Rosco P. Coltrane (209368) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083030)

The copyright model dates back to the guild systems which Europe coined ages ago.

In Europe ages ago, they also used all sorts of funky units. But you know what? at some point people figured out there was something better than guilds and pounds, invented something better and moved on. The US however, once a country driven by ideals and new things, has since stopped evolving and insist on clinging onto how things once were. It's definitely not a new thing too, and there are plenty of signs that Americans just refuses to be part of the future in many areas: refusal to go metric is an obvious one, but also the scary religious revival, insistance on using fossil fuels for energy and nothing else,...

In short: you'll see the US patent system change when you see the US going metric. Ain't happening anytime soon...

Re:Non-Standard? (4, Funny)

oberondarksoul (723118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083244)

I'm sorry, but what? A 'guild' isn't a system or unit of measurement. Quoth the Wikipedia [wikipedia.org] : "A guild is an association of craftspeople in a given trade". Nothing to do with metric vs. Imperial measurements.

Re:Non-Standard? (1)

plantman-the-womb-st (776722) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083462)

"The US however, once a country driven by ideals and new things, has since stopped evolving and insist on clinging onto how things once were."
Reading comprehension! It's catching on!

Re:Non-Standard? (1)

oberondarksoul (723118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084620)

"In Europe ages ago, they also used all sorts of funky units. But you know what? at some point people figured out there was something better than guilds and pounds"

Re:Non-Standard? (1)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083334)

...the scary religious revival

You mean the one in the early to mid-1800s that they are still coasting on? America has been a very publicly pious nation for most of its existence. It's no recent development.

...insistance on using fossil fuels for energy and nothing else...

The tech's not mature enough yet to change that, and that goes for the EU and China just as much for the US. Do you think that in the EU people ride around in electric cars and generate heat and electricity just from wind and sunlight?

Out of curiosity (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083662)

What do Slashdotters propose to protect the interests of artists in an age of digital distribution? The abolishment of intellectual property rights entirely? Better be careful since the GPL relies on intellectual property rights.

Typical of Americans (3, Insightful)

dotancohen (1015143) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082976)

What's so surprising about Americans using non-standard procedures? 110 volt electricity, miles per hour speed measurement, Fahrenheit temperature scale,... should I go on? America has always distanced herself from international communities, standards, and practices.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

inviolet (797804) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083254)

America has always distanced herself from international communities, standards, and practices.

A mixed blessing, that.

The twentieth century was packed full of ugly trends and toxic ideologies, all of which got muted and diluted upon trying to emigrate to the states.

When ideas are fresh and new, it is hard to judge their long-term good or evil. Think of America as a late late adopter of social trends.

For example, South Korea was first to the punch in adopting web business, and as a result the entire country got horribly locked in to Microsoft due to ActiveX.

Re:Typical of Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083424)

"The twentieth century was packed full of ugly trends and toxic ideologies, all of which got muted and diluted upon trying to emigrate to the states.

When ideas are fresh and new, it is hard to judge their long-term good or evil. Think of America as a late late adopter of social trends."

Oh, I get it. You are saying that Americans are just veeeery slow, and you have only just got round to Facism. You know, that actually makes sense - I had wondered where Bush's doctrine of 'Might is Right' and 'We invaded that country because it was thinking of doing the same to us' came from.

Does this mean that the 1960s were the equivalent of the Jazz era? Makes sense.

So what will we get next? After the War Britain had a period of Austerity, combined with a withdrawal from Empire. You know, I think the US might go through that shortly as well!

Re:Typical of Americans (4, Funny)

kahei (466208) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083264)


You don't understand. Miles per hour are the STANDARD. Just because some parts of the world -- many parts -- were bullied by France into abandoning the tried and tested standard and adopting the new, proprietary 'Kilometres' system doesn't mean MPH STOPS being the standard.

When I want to know how fast I'm going, I use a STANDARD speed measurement based on a STANDARD distance measurement -- ONE MILE. Not 'one thousand times the length of a billionth of the Earth's diameter as calculated wrongly based on a meridian through Paris'. See how that's not a very obvious or intuitive measure?

Follow the STANDARD, people. It's not hard. Let me spell it out:

1 mile = 1794 yards = 5382 feet (except nautical miles, which equal 4977 feet, and air miles) = 107 rods, or maybe chains. Whichever.
1 ton = 1440 lbs = 12880 oz (or 12000 troy oz.) = 12888000 grains = 256000000 iotas
1 gallon = 64 fl.oz. = 68 oz.vol. = 2 quarts = 16 cups = 256 tsps. or 100 Scotch gills (102 English gills or 'short gills')
1 year = 365 1/4 days = 12 months of all different lengths. That one's a bit confusing, I admit.
Also there are cubits and firkins.

OK? Good, now come back to the STANDARD!

Ok, I jest. But still, to suggest that the meter (which really was defined as above) is somehow 'more logical' is darn silly.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

geoffspear (692508) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083384)

Right. Defining your units of measure based on the length on an arbitrary person's body parts is much more logical than trying to base them on something that's unlikely to change.

parent has wrong conversion factor (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083430)

1 mile = 1760 yard

If you are making up your own conversion factor, then it is not a mile anymore.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

Overly Critical Guy (663429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083514)

Yes, but using that logic, you can't bash America to appear intellectual and witty. Therefore, your logic fails.

Re:Typical of Americans (5, Insightful)

Kjella (173770) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083534)

Is "one meter" more logical in itself? Nah. The system is though.

If I asked you "What's a gallon of water measured in cubic feet" you'd probably have a problem. That's not to say many europeans would draw a blank if you asked them how much a liter of water in cubic decimeters is, but the answer is quite easy. Same with things like a Newton and all other sorts of conversions where you don't end up with some absurdly wierd conversion factors. Yes, you could make just as coherent a system with feet - but you haven't.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

Krakhan (784021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083684)

Although that was a pretty funny post, I will say that the meter is based on a more standard unit of measurement now, being the distance that light travels in about (1/300,000,000)th of a second.

Thankfully, that is an invariant quantity that's been measured very accurately... Unless you're one of those stubborn old physicists that think light goes through the luminiferous aether. :)

Re:Typical of Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083728)

It's not that the yard is any less logical than the metre. It's the relationship between units that is more logical.

We could just as easily use smoots.

Re:Typical of Americans (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083804)

Talk about revisionism! In olden days, 1 mile was 5280 feet.

Metric-60 über alles! (1)

FreeUser (11483) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083846)

Feh. Metric, shmetric, miles, shmiles. Nothing beats metric-60 [autonomyseries.com] .

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083888)

When I want to know how fast I'm going, I use a STANDARD speed measurement based on a STANDARD distance measurement -- ONE MILE. Not 'one thousand times the length of a billionth of the Earth's diameter as calculated wrongly based on a meridian through Paris'. See how that's not a very obvious or intuitive measure?

First of all, that's not how the meter is currently defined. If memory serves, it's currently defined as the distance light travels in a particular fraction of a second. Prior to that, I believe it was defined as a multiple of the wavelength of light produced by particular type of laser (helium-neon with, IIRC, iodine as a stabilizer).

In point of fact, the meter was never defined as a fraction of the diameter of the earth -- that was more or less a basis, but the actual definition was the length of a particular bar with polished, parallel ends, held at a constant temperature, etc. That remained the standard until 1960, when it was changed to a multiple of a wavelength of light produced by a specific element. Theoretically only one element was the "true" standard, but a couple of others were accepted as secondary.

As far as the definition being the length of a physical item, that was also the case with the US system -- a foot was officially defined as the length of a particular bar of metal, held at constant temperature, etc. Actually, I believe for a while it wasn't technically the entire length of the bar, but the distance between two lines scribed into a bar, but the same general idea applies.

At the present time, I believe all of the US measurements are actually defined in terms of metric measurements. For example, the yard is defined as 0.9144 meters, and the foot as .3048 meters, etc. For anybody who cares, the U.S. NIST maintains a web site devoted to use of SI. [nist.gov] Doing a bit of looking, they also have a time-line on the definition of the meter [nist.gov] .

Now back to your regularly scheduled (but topical) flaming.

Re:Typical of Americans - Crazy measurements! (4, Funny)

Vandilizer (201798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083912)

Follow the STANDARD, people. It's not hard. Let me spell it out:

1 mile = 1794 yards = 5382 feet (except nautical miles, which equal 4977 feet, and air miles) = 107 rods, or maybe chains. Whichever.
1 ton = 1440 lbs = 12880 oz (or 12000 troy oz.) = 12888000 grains = 256000000 iotas
1 gallon = 64 fl.oz. = 68 oz.vol. = 2 quarts = 16 cups = 256 tsps. or 100 Scotch gills (102 English gills or 'short gills')
1 year = 365 1/4 days = 12 months of all different lengths. That one's a bit confusing, I admit.
Also there are cubits and firkins.
Well when you put it like that up here in Canada our metric system just seems down right impossible!

We have this crazy idea that working with base 10 is just so much easier!

Mad things I tell you! Like:

1 meter = 0.001 kilometer
or
1 meter = 100 centimeter

I could go on but It is just way to complicated not like your easy to remember system of random values and measurement base on kings feet and who knows what else!

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

Radon360 (951529) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083952)

While I agree with your argument about standards, where in heck did you come up with your conversion factors? The standard in America has these conversions:


1 statute mile = 5280 feet = 320 rods, one nautical mile is 6076 feet (rounded)
1 ton = 2000 lbs = 32,000 ounces
1 gallon = 128 fluid ounces = 4 quarts = 16 cups = 768 teaspoons

Thankfully, you got the calendar year essentially right.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

Stormx2 (1003260) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084100)

Good sir, you have a point. Units by themselves are perfectly fine, but when they play with other laws/units, thats when its tricky. For example, us humans are cursed with 10 fingers. 16, and it would have made computing a lot easier, but thats another matter. A lot of old numbers resolved around a dozen, a number still used today with inches and feet. Thats the Egyptions' fault, they counted finger joints. The fact is we work almost entirely in base 10. We still say 12 inches, and not C inches.

So firstly, it makes life easier (from a person who's had to work in both units) to have a unified system which follows one particular base, in this case base 10.

Heres my second point. When imperial units were defined, they were defined with things deemed important in the day. I read somewhere that a 12th of an inch is roughly the same size as a grain of corn. That doesn't help when it comes to fluid dynamics, etc, which effect a lot of things we see today, rather than corn.

Now, I haven't got any physics qualifications, but I remember in class when we were learning the equations for things under the influence of gravity etc. There was a very nice equation that connected things like density, mass, speed, etc. It didn't have any funny, long numbers in it. It was simple. I actually said to my teacher "are you sure? how could it all line up like that?" and he said "well thats how they defined the units".

So yes, inches, gallons, etc is a standard. But its one based on something which is very man-made and useless when it comes to application. Its a well defined standard and one which I know is used a lot in the USA for things which don't really require lots of conversions and 0.45 feet etc...

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

dascandy (869781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084176)

You typed: Mile.

Did you mean:
- International mile (1609.344 meters)
- US Survey mile (1609.347 meters)
- Sea mile (1852 meters)
- Scandinavian mile (10000 meters)
- Roman mile (1500 meters)
- Irish mile (2048.256 meters)
- Scottish mile (1807.312 meters)

Or any of the others listed on http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mile [wikipedia.org] ?

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

Anon-Admin (443764) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084476)

Some times a standard is adopted for strange reasons! For example 4' 8.5" (four foot eight and one half inches)

It is the primary gauge used in Britain, Europe, the USA, & many other countries. It is used on such high speed lines as France's TGV, Germany's ICE, & Japan's Bullet Trains.

Standard gauge, in railway terminology, means a distance between the rails of 4 feet, 8 ½ inches or 1.435 meters. That's an exceedingly odd number. Why was that gauge used?

Because that's the way they built them in England, & English expatriates built railways all around the world. Why did the English build them like that?

Because the first railway lines were built by the same people who built the pre-railway tramways, and that's the gauge they used. Why did they use that gauge in England, then?

Because the people who built the tramways used the same jigs and tools that they used for building wagons, which used that wheel spacing. Okay! Why did their wagons use that odd wheel spacing?

Because, if they tried to use any other spacing the wagon wheels would break on some of the old, long distance roads. Because that's the spacing of the old wheel ruts. So who built these old rutted roads?

The first long distance roads in Europe were built by Imperial Rome for the benefit of their legions. The Roman roads have been used ever since. And the ruts?

The original ruts, which everyone else had to match for fear of destroying their wagons, were first made by the wheels of Roman war chariots. Since the chariots were made for or by Imperial Rome they were all alike in the matter of wheel spacing.

Thus, we have the answer to the original question. The standard railway gauge of 4 feet, 8 1/2 inches derives from the original specification for an Imperial Roman army war chariot.
Specifications and Bureaucracies Live Forever.

So, the next time you are handed a specification and wonder what horse's ass came up with it, you may be exactly right. Because the Imperial Roman chariots were made to be just wide enough to accommodate the back-ends of two war-horses.

Plus, there's an interesting extension of the story about railway gauge and horses' behinds. When we see a Space Shuttle sitting on the launch pad, there are two big booster rockets attached to the sides of the main fuel tank. These are the solid rocket boosters, or SRBs. The SRBs are made by Thiokol at a factory in Utah. The engineers who designed the SRBs might have preferred to make them a bit fatter, but the SRBs had to be shipped by train from the factory to the launch site. The railway from the factory runs through a tunnel in the mountains. The SRBs had to fit through that tunnel. The tunnel is slightly wider than a railway track, and the railway track is about as wide as two horses' behinds.

So a major design feature of what is arguably the world's most advanced transportation system was originally determined by the width of a horse's ass.

Wrong. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18084774)

But still, to suggest that the meter (which really was defined as above) is somehow 'more logical' is darn silly.


The meter is defined as the distance light travels in a vacuum for a specific amount of time. This definition is NOT arbitrary, it specifically tied to something that (currently as we understand it) does not change but can be measured and reproduced accurately. It is done this way because modern science and engineering relies on consistent and reproducible measurements. Units like pounds and miles are (just barely) good enough for weighing food or building a wooden house, but if you are trying to build something like a space ship or a large hadron collider, you simply cannot do it without a physically standardized and reproducible unit of measure.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

zippthorne (748122) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083758)

Ahh the old metric superiority claim.

Tell me metrician, why do people under your system insist on making one of the very mistakes they switched to avoid: namely the confusion between weight and mass. When the imperial/standard systems were developing, that difference was unclear, so at least it's understandable that they'd make that mistake.

I speak of the kgf I hear bandied about, even in some scientific circles. Sure, it's meaning is relatively clear when you state it that way, but it's still an ill-defined unit (at what altitude for instance?) that there was no need of since you've got the perfectly serviceable newton.

Oh and liters per 100 km? Yeah, that's a much clearer unit than miles per gallon. No unnecessary over specification there, nosiree. BTW, we've both got that one wrong. Thermal expansion means that you're getting ripped off in the summer time. Auto efficiency should be measured in km/kg or miles/pound or something similar. My car gets an embarrassing 11 km/kg.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

SenorCitizen (750632) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084456)

Tell me metrician, why do people under your system insist on making one of the very mistakes they switched to avoid: namely the confusion between weight and mass. When the imperial/standard systems were developing, that difference was unclear, so at least it's understandable that they'd make that mistake. I speak of the kgf I hear bandied about, even in some scientific circles. Sure, it's meaning is relatively clear when you state it that way, but it's still an ill-defined unit (at what altitude for instance?) that there was no need of since you've got the perfectly serviceable newton.

The kilopond is not an official SI unit, never has been. As you said, the SI unit for force is the newton. Haven't heard of anyone using kiloponds for a long long time, but some of these old units die hard... most people still talk about horsepower and not kW when they talk cars. At least Nm has replaced kilopond-meters for torque.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

multisync (218450) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084398)

"America" is more than the United States, and Canada and Mexico both use the metric system.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

Hymer (856453) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084544)

Just to get you back on earth... try visiting any commercial aircraft cockpit...
  • the altimeter is in feet (and so are flight levels of course)
  • airspeed is in knots
  • fuel and fuel consumption are often in gallons
...however military aircraft are often metric.

Re:Typical of Americans (1)

mgiuca (1040724) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084780)

This isn't about Americans using non-standards. It's about them forcing it on the rest of the world.

Wasn't it the other way around? (3, Informative)

R2.0 (532027) | more than 7 years ago | (#18082996)

Let's all keep in mind that the US had been changing it's copyright law to match European law for a while - for instance, the insane lengths of time and the "Life +x years" are European "innovations". Of course, the US content providers just used this as cover for their own agenda, but the rest of the world is hardly a shining beacon of copyright justice.

So now it's the US pushing a stupid agenda instead of Europe? Sounds more like the European copyright snowball they launched at the top of the hill is now an an avalanche they can't control. I'm not happy the US is in the thick of it, but it's inevitablity was insured long ago.

Re:Wasn't it the other way around? (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083242)

Not true.

The Europeans tried to enforce copyright law on the US during the 1800s, when the US was the biggest pirate in the world - stealing all other countries IP blatently. Many US companies started up this way.

Then as the US companies got richer they wanted protection from the Europeans, and created their own copy of the European's attempts to stop the US profiting from Europe.

 

Must not be funny... (1)

DRAGONWEEZEL (125809) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083496)

Who was the underwriter? I bet they are rolling in the dough

Re:Wasn't it the other way around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083862)

Is it wrong to change your means with changing world?

Re:Wasn't it the other way around? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18084090)

And Europe will just push back again.
Lather, rinse and repeat.

Oh, and guess who encourages each side to 'strengthen' the stance: multinational content producers. Funny how that works.

Re:Wasn't it the other way around? (4, Insightful)

Rimbo (139781) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084758)

"So now it's the US pushing a stupid agenda instead of Europe? Sounds more like the European copyright snowball they launched at the top of the hill is now an an avalanche they can't control."

Actually, it's an interesting situation.

I got elected to the Board of Directors of my homeowner's association last Fall, and a few BOD meetings later, I've discovered that such organizations have an interesting problem: Supposedly the employees answer to the Board, but sometimes that relationship ends up getting reversed.

There are very good reasons why this happens. Most Board members cannot afford to spend time monitoring day-to-day activities. They also usually lack knowledge in building maintenance and landscaping that the property manager should have. And last, there's no continuity; there are term limits for board members, so the property manager is required to put things in a historical context. So to some extent, some deference to the property manager's knowledge is essential. However, if it gets to the point where the BOD is unable to hold the Property Manager accountable, something's gone wrong.

And this can happen without a single bribe, without a single dime changing hands; it happens simply because the people in power not only expect someone to be more knowledgable, but also because they naively assume he has the same best interests in benefitting the whole as they do. Worse, once circumstances like these occur, it is very difficult to reverse, as the "expert" is even looked to to recommend replacements for committee members.

Why do I bring this up? It was this line from TFA:

The report frequently serves as a blueprint for the US Trade Representative's Section 301 Report, a government-mandated annual report that carries the threat of trade barriers for countries that fail to meet the US standard of IP protection.


That line right there is what should be throwing up all kinds of red flags if you're a US citizen Not only have our elected representatives assumed that their chosen expert has the interests of the entire country in mind as they do, but they've deferred enough power to the expert to the point where they no longer have any authority on the issue. This may have happened years before anyone currently on the right committee got elected and without a single bribe or "campaign contribution" -- none of that is necessary for this to occur.

What needs to happen is for those committee members involved to get prodded by their constituents: "Hey you, you need to take the reins of this horse instead of letting it munch on the thistle all the time." In order to do that, they need a vision and a direction.

What direction should copyright be going in? Show Congressmen/women how our current IP legislation prevents research into cures for diseases due to fears over patent lawsuits or how the DMCA has been used to prevent publication of academic research. Show them how DRM has failed to have any effect on piracy, and yet how it's been used to force people to buy the same songs twice. And then show them how things ought to be, with you being able to buy music and use it anywhere, with researchers able to publish their results, with drug companies able to work on any medication they deem appropriate without the fear of a lawsuit.

Does not compute (1, Funny)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083012)

FTA:

what is most noteworthy about the IIPA effort is that dozens of countries... are singled out for criticism.

Re:Does not compute (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083656)

Does not compute
(Score:2)
by Itchyeyes (908311) on Tuesday February 20, @11:54AM (#18083012)
FTA:


what is most noteworthy about the IIPA effort is that dozens of countries... are singled out for criticism.


Of course it does, at least from the perspective that there can be dozens but are still singled out. For one thing the criticism is not the same for each country and they are handled with seperate "diplomacy". However they are also grouped together and labels applied. Another way to think about it is in how criticism was passed around in high school, person1 might be picked out and soundly criticized for their choice of clothes, grooming habits, company they keep, their school work, etc, and then again some group will be the subject of criticism as well, whether jocks, geeks, nerds, rich kids, poor kids, middle class kids, etc. The world is maturing, albeit slowly, and the US is trying to bring them under their education system and we know how well that works.

The last thing the US wants to do here is have all these countries group together and make a real examination of IP and laws needed to support the profit of the creator/owner and they sure don't want them to seperate the two in the laws' viewpoints. Which is what the author of said article is perhaps attempting to inspire. The US however doesn't want such a discussion, it wants everyone to adopt the laws as it dictates them and thus they go after the countries individually with varying carrots and sticks chosen according to the country.

Such discussions of a world nature could be great but we need them to not be controlled by corporations and politicians. Each branch of the arts needs to be well represented at such an event. Not only artists but scientists, engineers, inventors, etc. Getting related talks started at some diverse universities might be a good way to move in this direction but watch out for the squelch controls.

Re:Does not compute (1)

Itchyeyes (908311) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083800)

Sorry, here it is below with the tags show so it makes more sense:

<joke>FTA:

<quote>what is most noteworthy about the IIPA effort is that <b>dozens</b> of countries... are <b>singled out</b> for criticism.</quote></joke>

Humour (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18084160)

Humour comes in many forms. Apologies for not measuring up to the standards of George Carlin's humour with a message and thus failed to deliver that with my attempt at a humourous message response. Of course the truth does tend weigh down the humour sometimes if the timing and delivery isn't right.

copyright++ = publicdomain-- = creativecommons++ (1)

openright (968536) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083058)

As the restrictions and duration of publishing monopolies are increased,
the public domain diminishes,
and demand for creative-commons, open-source, and other freely distributed works increases.

Re:copyright++ = publicdomain-- = creativecommons+ (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083322)

As the restrictions and duration of publishing monopolies are increased,
the public domain diminishes,


So far so good...

demand for creative-commons, open-source, and other freely distributed works increases.

Ok, slow down there turbo. Most people don't choose their media based on how it is encumbered. Your formula needs to be changed to be accurate:

copyright++ = publicdomain-- = (creativecommons++/10,000,000)

Re:copyright++ = publicdomain-- = creativecommons+ (1)

babbling (952366) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083350)

This is true, and thanks to copyleft, this is like a stronger version of the public domain. It is still an unfortunate situation, though, because there are many works that may never see the light of day as public domain or as a copylefted work.

Not surprising (3, Insightful)

CmdrGravy (645153) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083062)

So far as I can see this is just a wish list written by American media companies, it would be very surprising indeed to see them putting anything in this report which doesn't have a direct influence on maximising their profits and protecting their market.

The problem arises if the US government, as the article suggests, simply uses this document as a blueprint when passing legislation or when making trade agreements with other countries.

I would again expect the US government to attempt to gouge the best deals for it's own industries in the international community but unlike private companies I would also expect that the US as a democratically controlled country would also take into account more factors than simply their financial bottom line, but if this what the people want then the US is in an excellent position to force there opinions on the rest of the world.

It's clear that what is suggested for other countries is also desired, and presumably being worked towards, in the US its self so I think it is in the interests of the US citizens to stand up and prevent the undiluted dreams of their entertainment industry to be dictated to the rest of the world because once the rest of world falls into line with their dreams then it will be harder for the US citizens to resist these changes being rolled back into their own country.

Ideally the rest of the world needs to stop allowing the US to dictate their commercial policies and decide these things for themselves without being threatened by the US.

Re:Not surprising (5, Insightful)

Peter Trepan (572016) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083612)

I would also expect that the US as a democratically controlled country would also take into account more factors than simply their financial bottom line


Why does everyone think the U.S. is democratic? We're a multiple-choice oligarchy.

Of course USS Great Britain isn't on the list (0, Redundant)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083074)

Given that the 1997 DMCA dawdled along 9 years after the British Copyright, Designs and Patents Act [opsi.gov.uk] , specifically section 296, Devices designed to circumvent copy-protection. [opsi.gov.uk]

Do try to keep up, Colonial chums.

Re:Of course USS Great Britain isn't on the list (1)

oberondarksoul (723118) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083282)

If I'm reading it right, this prohibition only applies to devices which are made "with the intention that it should be used to make infringing copies of copyright works". Simply circumventing the copy protection, say for interoperability, should be fine. (Of course, IANAL, so take this with however much salt you please.)

fools all (1)

Mastedon (156598) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083130)

pshaw. next thing you know, they are going to say our patent system needs overhauling, too.

But the US is in touch with ... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083136)

But the US is in touch with world domination through a combined arsenal of nuclear weapons and economic coercion :-( Now, for those of you outside the US, do what your told or else ...

Re: U.S. Copyright Lobby Out of Touch (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083174)

Quick, we need a new Copyright-Lobby-something or the terrorists will steal all our IP.

If only someone could Patent Copyright standards (1)

StressGuy (472374) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083178)

Then, no one would used them because they wouldn't want to pay the royalty fees...at least until there was an "open-source" analogy to copyright.

almost sounds like an idea, doen't it?

Uh? (5, Insightful)

FredDC (1048502) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083216)

Can anyone name me a subject where the US government is in touch with the rest of the world? And where it's not just doing whatever the hell it feels like?

Re:Uh? (1)

gzerphey (1006177) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083252)

Measurement of course. Metric!?!?! What the hell is that?

Re:Uh? (0, Troll)

painQuin (626852) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083416)

Metric is for people who can't do maths in their head.

Re:Uh? (1)

Krakhan (784021) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083730)

Math != Arithmetic

Re:Uh? (1)

Vandilizer (201798) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084000)

What are/is "maths"?

For those of us who do do MATH yes metric is nice.

Fail20rs (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083454)

about a ptroject I have a life to polite to bring - Netcraft has BSD machines volume of NetBSD are just way over the project as a smells worse than a Benefits of being

Quite true (2, Interesting)

91degrees (207121) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083488)

We must come up with an internet friendly copyright system. Whatever the rights and wrongs, a network that allows eseemless copying does change the landscape a little.

We need:
  • Compulsory licencing (it's not like anyone has any real choice in whether files are copied anyway).
  • Some mechanism whereby creators are compensated for each copy.
  • A distinction between large scale commercial copying and small scale private copying.
  • Extra consumer rights for copying of pout of print works.
This is actually a pretty corporate biased set of rules, and there would be practical problems. Many people will object to paying a fee per commercial download, even if the privacy and owner identification issues are solved. But I submit this as a starting point. It does allow consumers to have large scale access to a vast collection of works, and ensure compensation for creators.

Whoops!! (1)

rlp (11898) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083548)

The **AA must have forgotten to pay off the BBC. Seriously - the copyright mafiaa is out of touch (and out of control) with the rest of the US. The only reason for their success in the US is that they've been very good at buying off American politicians.

This just in (1)

HangingChad (677530) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083634)

U.S. copyright lobby is increasingly out of touch with the rest of the world. This just in from the Well Duh department.

YOU FAIL IT (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#18083852)

anOther 7roubled [goat.cx]

Why is it? (2, Interesting)

phoenixwade (997892) | more than 7 years ago | (#18083938)

At the risk of being modded a troll, I want to ask a question that rattles through my head every time this subject come up. Why whine about the system?

A corporation exists to make money. The method of making money can vary, but in this case we are talking about catering to a consumer trading money for something. Ultimately, they don't particularly care about the consumer, just maximizing profits, granted, there are corporations who have found a business model where being customer friendly DOES maximize profit, but the point is still profit.

I never understand why this surprises people.

A corporation uses any method it can to garner the maximum income for the investments they make, the only real differences are how far the people controlling the corp are willing to go and what techniques they are willing to use to get there. But there is no difference between EMI, Sony, Microsoft, General Motors or anyone else.

That said, if you, as a creator, don't want to turn over your copyrights to some big corporation because you aren't interested in the way they do business, or their logo suck, or you want a bigger cut,then don't sign. You are under no obligation to market your work to them. There are other outlets that bypass that distribution system, and, with a lot of luck, you will make money on your work.

The other side of the coin is if anyone creates a work, it's theirs, not you the consumer. If you purchase a song, a book, a bit of art, or a software product, you understand you are purchasing it for your use under certain conditions of the sale. If you don't like those conditions, dont buy it. If enough people don't buy becasue of the conditions of the sale (Like they don't like the DRM restrictions, for example) the system will change. You have the right to NOT enter into an agreement with the owner of the work, simply don't purchase.

If we were talking about "Air", "Water", Medical services, Broadband, you know, the things that you HAVE to have to survive, it'd be different, you don't have a choice, but we are talking about music - you Have a choice, and frankly, the new stuff the major lables are churning out isn't worth buying anyway, if everyone would stop buying that crap, we'd fix it all in one shot, get good music and get it on the terms we want.

Re:Why is it? (1)

endianx (1006895) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084416)

I agree with you on everything. Unfortunately music for me is like air, water, and broadband. The music industry has me by the balls. I hate the movie industry just as much, and I rarely buy DVDs because of that, but I just can not exert the same behavior for music.

Here's a good read (1)

woadlined (1054792) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084028)

This has probably been linked to on slashdot before, but this thread deserves it as well: http://negativland.com/albini.html/ [negativland.com]

Re:Here's a good read (1)

Gramie2 (411713) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084570)

I hope that it hasn't been linked before, because your link has a superfluous "/" at the end. Try http://negativland.com/albini.html [negativland.com]

Re:Here's a good read (1)

fritsd (924429) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084740)

FYI, the link doesn't work.

Not really... (3, Interesting)

Jerry Coffin (824726) | more than 7 years ago | (#18084272)

According to Michael Geist:

Second, in a classic case of "do what I say, not what I do", many countries are criticised for copyright laws that bear a striking similarity to US law. For example, Israel is criticised for considering a fair use provision that mirrors the US approach.

This really isn't a case of "do what I say, not what I do" -- the RIAA (for one) is actively campaigning against fair use in the US as well. They are, if nothing else, consistent.

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