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Private File Sharing To Remain/Become legal In EU 147

Posted by Zonk
from the nice-change-of-pace dept.
orzetto writes "Italian newspapers are reporting that the European parliament's Commitee for Legal Affairs approved an amendment presented by EMP Nicola Zingaretti (PSE, IT), that makes piracy a felony—but only if a monetary profit is made. As in the EU parliament's press release: 'Members of the Legal Affairs' committee [...] decided that criminal sanctions should only apply to those infringements deliberately carried out to obtain a commercial advantage. Piracy committed by private users for personal, non-profit purposes are therefore also excluded.' The complete proposal was passed with 23 votes in favour, 3 against and 3 abstained, and is intended to be applied to copyright, trademark, design and other IP fields, but not patent right which is explicitly excluded. The proposal has still to pass the vote of the parliament before becoming law in all EU countries, some of which (like Italy) do have criminal laws in place for non-profit file sharing. A note: Most EU countries use civil law, not common law. Translation of legal terms may be misleading."
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Private File Sharing To Remain/Become legal In EU

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  • by mjmalone (677326) * on Friday March 30, 2007 @02:16PM (#18547667) Homepage
    It's funny because this is how copyright law was generally interpreted in the United States prior to the Napster era. The first criteria (of four) that is used to determine whether something is "fair use" is related to whether the use is "of commercial nature or is for nonprofit educational purposes." Today fair use in the U.S. is interpreted so narrowly that might as well be non-existent. What's doubly weird is that the EU is typically more protective of IP than the United States is. It will be interesting to see what happens if this amendment is passed by parliament.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2007 @02:27PM (#18547817)
      Well, the situation is now fundamentally different. It used to be that one person copying a tape for a bunch of friends was no big deal. Even if it was a CD that reproduced almost perfectly with data verification it wouldn't likely get that far from the original buyer. Nowadays it's to the point where one person on earth could buy a CD and then that album could be downloaded by every person with a computer in a matter of hours or days given the right sharing service. (Torrents)
      • by mjmalone (677326) * on Friday March 30, 2007 @02:31PM (#18547901) Homepage
        Yes, and that's a problem, but the alternative doesn't have to be so severe either. Why, for example, do I have to pay Verizon $5 to download a ringtone for my cell phone when I already own the damned CD. The ringtone industry (which is a multi-BILLION dollar industry) is the perfect example of how content owners are trying to turn the U.S. into a pay-per-use economy. There has to be a middle ground here...
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 30, 2007 @03:05PM (#18548375)
          But you don't have to. You can just not have the ringtone. Trust me, my cellphone just does something like "gonk gonk gonk" when someone calls me, and I'm doing just fine.

          Blaming copyright because you bought a locked phone and a rip protected CD (which I assume to be the case, otherwise you'd just load the ringtone like a normal person) kind of misplaced blame a bit.
          • Regarding the article...

            Doesn't this mean that "In addition to whatever laws you might have existing regarding copyright etc, we are unified in adding to that a new law that says copyright infringement for profit is a felony.", not making anything any more legal for anyone, but rather ensuring that copyright infringement for profit is treated as a criminal case rather than as a civil one?

            Can't you just see a certain operating system vendor reminding local computer distributors that if they accidentally sold
            • Excuse me, you're under arrest for distributing data without permission. Come with us.

              This is sick.
          • by Danse (1026)

            Blaming copyright because you bought a locked phone and a rip protected CD (which I assume to be the case, otherwise you'd just load the ringtone like a normal person) kind of misplaced blame a bit.

            Actually, in the case of the rip-protected CD, copyright law is very much to blame. If it weren't for the DMCA, you'd have every right to rip that CD anyway and create your own ringtone. The DMCA makes the act of circumventing the protection a crime unto itself, even though there's no reason you shouldn't have

        • You don't. You pay Verizon $5 for the convenience of being able to download a ring tone without any complications on your part, using a subsidized phone that doesn't include some of the nicer features that'd make it easy too.

          If you bought an unsubsidized phone, the chances are you could move across the ring tone as an MP3 or, at worst, MIDI, file via Bluetooth or USB.

          And with most phones, subsidized or not, you have the option of doing what my wife did, and just using the phone's audio recorder to make

        • by EmperorKagato (689705) * <sakamura@gmail.com> on Friday March 30, 2007 @03:11PM (#18548489) Homepage Journal
          Actually you don't.

          Verizon charges you for the Service of providing you to download the ringtone. If you have the CD you can upload it http://www.mixxer.com/ [mixxer.com] and download it to your phone for free.

          I'm not sure about Verizon yet I'm able to do with Sprint
        • by flyingfsck (986395) on Friday March 30, 2007 @04:54PM (#18549877)
          In civilized parts of the world, cell phones have vibrators.
        • by packeteer (566398)
          The ringtone industry (which is a multi-BILLION dollar industry) is the perfect example of how content owners are trying to turn the U.S. into a pay-per-use economy.

          That is just it. DRM is not about locking down some pirates. People have been pirating music and movies for years now and the industry is doing fine.

          From a business perspective all the RIAA and MPAA want to do is maximize the money they take in. What is better for maximizing the money coming in; squashing the relativly small number of pirates
        • by cyclop (780354)

          Yes, and that's a problem

          It's not a problem. It's a wonderful opportunity.

      • by Dunbal (464142) on Friday March 30, 2007 @02:38PM (#18547989)
        Nowadays it's to the point where one person on earth could buy a CD and then that album could be downloaded by every person with a computer in a matter of hours or days given the right sharing service. (Torrents)


              Yes, we've been at that point for a while now. And yet I see there's no shortage of wealthy artists... even if their music sucks.
        • Yes, we've been at that point for a while now. And yet I see there's no shortage of wealthy artists... even if their music sucks.

          Really? Just out of interest:

          1. How do you define "wealthy"?
          2. How many artists in absolute terms do you think reach this threshold?
          3. What proportion of all artists who publish their work do you think this represents?

          The other point you're completely ignoring is that arguing that a system where a lot of people break the law is still economically viable because some people do o

          • by ratzmilk (137380)

            Why should those who obey the law and respect artists' rights subsidise freeloaders?
            If you don't want to subsidies freeloaders, don't buy the products.
            • So the way to support an artist whose work I value is not to pay them for it?!

              • by rtb61 (674572)
                Why support them, let them get a job and pay for themselves. People either love to create music or they are just a bunch of greedy liars, pretending to be something they are not, performers rather than bards.

                So the best way to support is to pay them nothing, starve them for their creativity, the best work has always been produced by starving artists who suffered for their work. So do the right thing to ensure the best possible works of art are produced, make the artists suffer and suffer a lot ;).

              • by ratzmilk (137380)
                There was a Drive-in theater we used to go to when we were teenagers that had a hill behind it where you could park your car and get a good view of the screen. This was about the same time that CB radios became very popular. The hill would fill with cars and there would be someone inside the Drive-in that would broadcast the sound.

                A friend of mine one night was complaining about all the freeloaders on the hill watching the movie for free. I pointed out that the cost of the CB Radio would have paid for en
                • Let he who has not sinned, cast the first stone.

                  OK, I will. I have never done any of the illegal things you describe in your post, not even when I was a kid. In any case, my personal behaviour is irrelevant to the debate.

                  Your argument ignores the simple ideas that it would not be ethical for no-one to pay the artists for works of value, thus damaging the artists, and neither is it ethical for some to pay the going rate while others do not, thus damaging those who pay properly.

                  And in this case, freel

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Tackhead (54550)
        > Well, the situation is now fundamentally different. It used to be that one person copying a tape for a bunch of friends was no big deal. Even if it was a CD that reproduced almost perfectly with data verification it wouldn't likely get that far from the original buyer. Nowadays it's to the point where one person on earth could buy a CD and then that album could be downloaded by every person with a computer in a matter of hours or days given the right sharing service.

        So? As you correctly point out:

        • Where are you everytime there is a story about some corporation trading in your* personal data? Thirty years ago your data was just as distributed and collected as it is now. The difference is exactly the difference that allows some hosehead to share a copy of his recently purchased CD with 500,000 of his best friends. Maybe data collection and sharing should be banned. But maybe the right thing is for the consumers to come up with a lifestyle that isn't based on anonymity and unaccountability.

          It used to be
    • by jfengel (409917)
      Napster made for an interesting little fillip in the interpretation of copyright law. People were taking CDs that they bought, ripping them, and then making them available for free, without any payment to themselves at all.

      The question is why. There may be a simple karmic sense; even though you don't make a direct profit, your willingness to share keeps the whole system moving, and you get to download stuff of your own (a profit to you).

      There may also be a kind of stick-it-to-the-man feeling; you just paid
      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pipatron (966506)

        The exact amount of lost sales is up for debate, and it's certainly less than 100% of the number of copies downloaded for free, but it's certainly greater than zero.

        Funny you should say that, because people spend more money on culture today than they did just 5 years ago. How is that? CD sales are dropping like a stone, yet people spend more money. See, the problem as that the money stream now bypass the record companies, and naturally they don't like that. Of course they want us to believe that the poor artists will starve now, but I find that a bit strange, for more than one reason.

        One is that even before everyone got internet and started to share their files, the

        • by jfengel (409917) on Friday March 30, 2007 @03:31PM (#18548799) Homepage Journal
          Thing is, the artists have always been willing to sell out. I can't speak to recording artists, but I know actors; I am a professional actor myself. (Stage, not screen, and regional rather than national; you've never heard of me.) Half the questions I get asked are "How do I get famous?" Few people have any interest in how to get better, and they'd sign any contract you put in front of them if it put their faces on the screen.

          So it doesn't bother me that the artists get squat out of the deal. They got famous and that's what they wanted from the labels. If all they wanted to do was make music, they're welcome to crank it out in their home studio and sell it out of the back of a van, just like my musician friends do.

          Those guys don't have any music industry to blame their lack of sales on. They sell to what customers they can reach, but without a music industry to promote them, their reach is limited. And I haven't seen the customers going too far out of their way to buy the music from CDBaby or eMusic for bands they've never heard of.

          I think that there's plenty of blame to go around.
      • by cyclop (780354)

        It made the entire movement look like they wanted to buy one CD and then "back it up" among the entire population of the planet.

        Well, that's what I'd want to do.

    • All this law does is make copyright infringement for commercial purposes a crime. Non-commercial copyright infringement isn't in it's scope.

      What that means is that, it is NOT saying that "if you pirate a CD for personal, non-profit use, you didn't commit a crime", what its saying is: "if you make a profit from it, you are DEFINITELY committing a crime, no matter what EU country you are in".

      If pirating something for personal use is a crime in your country, it probably will still be a crime after this law pas
    • It still is that way.

      Just because a company says something is illegal, that doesn't mean that it is. They use bullying and advertising to make you think something is interpreted differently because that's what they want you to believe.

      Look at the ads. They say:

      "Downloading is theft."
      "Theft is against the law."

      Nowhere do they say that "Downloading is against the law." They just want you to infer that it's against the law.

      You're not breaking the law because the RIAA sues you. Those are CIVIL suits. It doesn't
    • by sumdumass (711423)
      This is still how copyright law is interpreted in the US. The EU amendment did nothing to legalize file sharing copywriter works. It just says you have to profit or attempt to profit in order to be criminally prosecuted according to this law. You can still be prosecuted under civil law if the country in question has a provision for it. This is how the RIAA prosecutions work, civil and not criminal.
    • by jonbryce (703250)
      I wouldn't necessarily agree that the EU is typically more protective of IP than the US. Certainly, the EU were first to increase the copyright term to 70 years, but the US introduced the DMCA before the EU introduced the EUCD, and the US has software patents, something which the EU parliament has rejected.

      Incidentally, this proposed directive almost certainly doesn't mean that non-commercial file sharing becomes legal in all EU countries. The directive most likely will require all EU countries to make co
  • No harm, no foul. Adobe, MSFT, et al haven't really lost "a sale" because of me, because I wouldn't buy their software no matter what (i.e. even if I was unable to get it for free, like I do now). So it makes sense that there shouldn't be any penalty. Yet another reason to move to Europe :)
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by mjmalone (677326) *
      Oftentimes they gain a sale. Because you now know their software you're more likely to purchase it in the future (assuming it works...) That's the reason these companies give huge student discounts, and is also the reason why a "leaky" copyright system typically works the best for everybody.
      • by cdrguru (88047)
        Why would anyone with a pirated copy that is fully functional ever, ever buy a legitimate copy? Because of the greatly improved support and documentation that comes with such a copy? Or would it be because of the significant reduction in cost when purchasing upgrades later?

        Face it, free is free and money is better in my pocket than someone else's. If you have the ability to get something for free you are not going to give up that privilege and run out and pay for it no matter how much you like the folks
        • by mjmalone (677326) *
          How bout when you're not paying for it? Or when your station in life changes. I'll give you two examples: 1) st I start my own business and don't want to be found liable for copyright infringement (which is actually enforced for corporations), or 2) I'm working for Acme, Inc. in their IT department and they just asked me to help decide which graphics package they should be giving to their employees...

          Basically if you go from using it at an amateur level to a professional level you're likely to reassess you
        • by DerWulf (782458)
          While your point seems plausible it completely falls apart when one considers that billions and billions can be made by selling bottled water. In most wester countires tab water is completely safe to drink and yet people choose to buy Evian. Why is that? Maybe this could also work for IP?

          Consider this: if there was a site that would instantly stream any movie/music/game/show you'd ever want, legally, at the top of your bandwidth for maybe 20 bucks a month, wouldn't you subscribe?
      • Excellent point.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by drix (4602)
      That's a very specious line of reasoning. It's easy to say that you wouldn't have bought it anyways, but impossible to prove such a thing. The counterfactual world where you actually had to purchase all the software you're currently using unleashes an infinitude of alternative economic choices. What do you use Photoshop and Office for anyways? I doubt that's it's purely for kicks. Those are, by and large, business applications. So would the income you'd have to forgo by not using them outweigh the cost of t
      • by Dun Malg (230075)

        That's a very specious line of reasoning. It's easy to say that you wouldn't have bought it anyways, but impossible to prove such a thing.

        Nothing wrong with his reasoning. It's impossible to prove the converse, so we only have his word to go on anyway. I tend to believe him, as I have a university site license copy of Photoshop that I use for little more than resizing digital photos. If it wasn't free, you can bet your ass I wouldn't buy it just for resizing my crappy JPG snapshots. His argument stands to reason. The converse, that he would have bought it despite his probable limited need for it, does not.

        • by drix (4602)

          Nothing wrong with his reasoning. It's impossible to prove the converse, so we only have his word to go on anyway.

          And really, what could be more reliable when it comes to justifying one's own illicit behavior?

          There can be no question that it's not worth spending $500-$800 on Photoshop if your only purpose is to resize images. Thank you for pointing that out. For the rest of us, there are a great many areas where Photoshop far and away beats the competition and which would cause us to take a long, hard look at buying it if it wasn't readily available for free. Things like ACR, 32-bit (HDR) support, web conversion, laye

          • There can be no question that it's not worth spending $500-$800 on Photoshop if your only purpose is to resize images.
            Thank you for pointing that out. For the rest of us,


            You are suggesting here you are a professional photographer. Your needs are not at all representative, with a few exceptions, "the rest of us" are making pictures for fun.

            there are a great many areas where Photoshop far and away beats the competition and which would cause us to take a long, hard look at buying it if it wasn't readily availa
      • by igotmybfg (525391)
        Well, I do actually use them 'just for kicks' - Photoshop for my personal website, and Office for correspondence and other administrivia/minutiae of everyday life. I could easily switch to FOSS, which has most of the same capabilities and would work fine, although I use Photoshop and Office because imho they are better application software than the FOSS stuff. I mostly agree with you though, for people who really do need to use the real deal.
      • Depending on what software you need exactly, there may be good, and at times even better alternatives that are free. I can say for sure that I wouldn't buy Microsoft software and I haven't for over a decade. I did get free *but legitimate) copies of Windows 95,98 and 2000, but even those got barely used. Why? because for almost everything I need there are very good alternatives.

        Then, sure it is worth something to me to present my pictures in a nice way, but its not worth the price of photoshop to me, it is
    • That's an interesting moral justification you are using. Let's apply it to another situation:

      I will never pay for a cable TV service. Therefore, there is no harm in me splicing some coaxial able into my neighbor's cable and then sitting back in my living room to watch TV.

      In your world, that is morally OK. Right?
      • There were some jackasses on here who justified illegitimate satellite receivers on the grounds that the "damn stuff is broadcast over my property" as if somehow the satellite company could change the laws of physics.
        • There were some jackasses on here who justified illegitimate satellite receivers on the grounds that the "damn stuff is broadcast over my property" as if somehow the satellite company could change the laws of physics.

          This is called "choosing your distribution stream". They knew they were broadcasting the data when they sent up the satellite and began using it to dump data into the ether. The electromagnetic spectrum is a limited resource; for most parts of the bandwidth, people can do what they see fit w

          • It's not so much that I'm defending the satellite broadcasters - I don't have much time for them at all - it was the idea that they should either not be in business or give away their content for nothing because they didn't have the ability to control the laws of physics.
            • Personally, I believe they should give away their content, just like terrestrial broadcasters do -- by padding desired content with pre-paid content.
      • by karmatic (776420)
        In the example you cite, there would be degredation of the signal for those who did pay, so there is some harm involved there. On the other hand, what if you could make the splice without causing those problems?

        Let's see - scenario one (you don't use cable at all)
        Your neighbor pays $X, and gets his service.
        The cable company gets $X, and uses a portion of that to pay for their services and infrastructure.

        Scenario two (you splice into your neighbors cable)
        Your neighbor still pays $X. He still gets his servi
    • by clodney (778910)
      The harm and the foul is not just (or even primarily) to Adobe or Microsoft. By being willing to pirate (or infringe copyright if you must be pedantic) software, you are harming the market for alternatives to the Adobe and Microsoft products.

      So if you aren't willing to pay for Photoshop, why aren't you looking at the competing products that cost much less? If the market leading app costs X, you would assume that a natural market exists for an app that costs X/10 (or in the case of FOSS, 0). Saying there
  • Wow. Even up here in Canada, I can hear the RIAA's wails of terror over this news.

    Good.
    • by ArsonSmith (13997)
      this changes nothing for the RIAA and only makes it so that people that trade for cash get a civil and a criminal case against them.
  • 'that makes piracy a felony--but only if a monetary profit is made'

    This is the most common sense I've heard in a while concerning this issue.

    WOOOOOOOOOT!!!. Now if only Canada could do the same, I'de be even happier. But it has to start somewhere.

  • I think the headline should have read "Pirate File Sharing to Remain/Become legal in EU". I don't think even the EU would outlaw companies' internal fileservers.
    • by greginnj (891863)

      Ah, thanks, that clears it up. I'd imagine that very few shared files are actually about Pirates.




      To the person who modded Parent 'troll': you are a clueless git. Read it again, it's a slam on bad headline writing, it's not anti- or pro-piracy.
    • I think the headline should have read "Pirate File Sharing to Remain/Become legal in EU". I don't think even the EU would outlaw companies' internal fileservers.
      And I think that when armed thugs stop commandeering ships at sea we can start allowing ourselves to use the propagandist terminology prefered by the intellectual property oligopolies.

      In the meantime, I'll use "pirate" ironically when referring to file sharing.
      • Crime is contagious [nber.org]. Or, put another way, "he was doing it first". That's a great excuse.

        I'm a strong proponent of copyrights -- just the 1790 [wikipedia.org] version of 14+14 years.

        I'm sure a lot of people share your schoolyard mentality, though, and will use the lawlessness of our governments as an excuse to commit all sorts of crime. I look forward to observe the sociological impact of our governments' actions over the next few decades.

        • I'm sure a lot of people share your schoolyard mentality, though, and will use the lawlessness of our governments as an excuse to commit all sorts of crime.

          What in the hell are you blabering about???
          When did I say anything about the lawlessness of anyone's government???
          I said I oppose calling people bad names to make them look bad, like calling someone a pirate when they don't forcibly board ships to steal them or their cargo, but instead copied a song without paying for it. THAT is schoolyard mentality.

          • Oops. Didn't make the connection between "armed thugs" and "piracy". I thought you were talking about the story that's been the top of the news for the past week, which, depending on which side you want to take, is either about armed UK thugs boarding ("inspecting") merchant ships or about Iranian thugs taking UK hostages.
            • Oops. Didn't make the connection between "armed thugs" and "piracy". I thought you were talking about the story that's been the top of the news for the past week, which, depending on which side you want to take, is either about armed UK thugs boarding ("inspecting") merchant ships or about Iranian thugs taking UK hostages.
              Ah. That'll learn me to be subtle on the intertubes.
  • by pavon (30274) on Friday March 30, 2007 @02:29PM (#18547865)
    The summary and article aren't clear on this. Will people who distribute files still be liable for damages if found to be infringing upon copyrights in a civil lawsuit? If so, I don't think that it is accurate to call private file sharing legal, it just isn't criminal.
  • What happens if someone shares a file in Europe and someone gets it in America. (assuming the law passes).

    I can already see the RIAA being very unhappy. Tides not going well for them lately.
  • And us being "the people".
    • <sarcasm> Yes, because only tyrants benefit from copyright. Those citizens who draw, write, play, compose, program or otherwise create art semi-professionally aren't really people at all, and anyway, they are few in number compared to the huge, mega-rich pop stars and the big media corps who back them. </sarcasm>

  • by kripkenstein (913150) on Friday March 30, 2007 @02:34PM (#18547939) Homepage
    Not how I understood TFA, but of course IANAL.

    What I got from it was that a new directive, aimed at harsher Europe-wide criminal punishments for piracy, will be applied only to commercial piracy. Noncommercial piracy is not covered by the new directive. However, if it was illegal in a member state before, then it remains so.

    Please correct me if I am wrong.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by gstoddart (321705)

      Noncommercial piracy is not covered by the new directive.

      What you're describing has been known as "fair use" for a very long time.

      I don't know about European Copyright law, but here in Canada (and I believe the US), I've been explicitly allowed to make a copy of an album to give to a family member or a friend forever.

      It's only in the current climates that companies are trying to remove the fair use provisions in their entirety. Hence, "private, non-commercial piracy" is a misnomer -- it should remain "fair

      • What you're describing has been known as "fair use" for a very long time.

        That's not true either legally or ethically. Making private copies for personal use (e.g., back-ups or format shifting) falls under fair use or similar exemptions in many places. However, redistribution of entire works to third parties rarely does, and in most places where it is allowed, there's some sting elsewhere (e.g., a levy on all blank media, making the whole system crooked).

    • by h2g2bob (948006)
      Exactly, I was confused by this too. TFA:

      The plans would oblige all 27 EU countries to consider jail terms for the violation of intellectual property rights.
      This directive seeks to make it a criminal offence and will not legalise anything. The EU sets a minimum legal requirement, but the member states can go further if they wish.

      If you read on, even quite a few of the MEPs think this proposal is a steaming pile of poo.
  • No? (Score:2, Interesting)

    I read TFA, nowhere did I see that "private file sharing" would remain or become legal. What I did read is that the EU is attempting to harmonize the criminal code around commercial piracy. This harmonization could actually be _detrimental_ to private file sharing because it introduces an element of Napster to the member states (not that the article was hugely detailed but a site like Pirate Bay -- not in the EU, just an example -- could be considered profiting from copyright infringement and be prosecute
  • Not legal! (Score:5, Informative)

    by Bogtha (906264) on Friday March 30, 2007 @02:43PM (#18548065)

    They are criminalising commercial copyright infringement. Non-commercial copyright infringement is still illegal. This means that you get sued and pay damages instead of getting arrested and going to jail.

  • I glance through the article. It says there is going to be a heavier penalty for infringement. It does not say very clearly non commercial use will not be considered piracy.
  • But seriously. (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vakuona (788200)
    Any bets on the definition of "monetary profit".

    monetary profit. 1. Spending less money than you earn.
                                      2. To avoid spending money by conducting illegal activity.

    I don't trust politicians.
  • by ssuchter (451997)
    In case anyone else was interested but ignorant of the meaning of: Most EU countries use civil law, not common law. Translation of legal terms may be misleading., I read a few articles online. I think that this one was the most helpful:

    http://fountainoflaw.com/Vocab/commonlaw.html [fountainoflaw.com]

    What I took away (apart from the very interesting history) was that common law expects/requires judges to consider past judges decisions, so the law is a combination of legislated statute and precedent. Civil law on the other hand
    • Complex Issue (Score:3, Insightful)

      by andersh (229403)

      Civil law on the other hand focuses mostly/exclusively on legislated statue.

      The problem is that Civil Law only describes in very general terms the legal systems of not only every European country (except England/UK) but most of the world.

      The difference between France and Germany are indeed many and significant - but that's only two out of 49 European countries. And then there's the rest of the world that inherited the system from their European colonial masters.

      To quote the website you referred to:

      Thus, in

  • by Mjlner (609829) on Friday March 30, 2007 @03:45PM (#18548977) Journal
    First of all, this is a proposed EU directive, not "federal law", a concept that doesn't exist in the EU. A directive means that member countries should implement certain requirements in the directive or there may be sanctions. It also means that these requirements may be exceeded, at the discretion of the member countries' legislative bodies. Finland is one country which already implemented a much harsher copyright law than the EUCD required and it will be free to do so in the future. Private filesharing might be excluded from this directive, but that only means that the member countries are free to legislate as they are paid^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H as they like.
  • by CannonballHead (842625) on Friday March 30, 2007 @03:58PM (#18549135)

    The interesting thing is... it seems nobody really cares about the artists that AREN'T wealthy.

    I'm a classical musician. It's hard to make a living in music when you're purely musical, and not a celebrity figure like most "artists" these days tend to be.

    So, the interesting thing about this little feud, to me, is that none of it really deals with the artists themselves. It seems that the RIAA is now seen as Microsoft is often seen (whether or not that's a valid vision of it or not I leave up to your discretion)... we fight it purely out of principle.

    But does fighting the RIAA or opening up file sharing and making copyrights pretty much useless actually help the artists at all? I'm a composer... if there were no copyrights whatsoever, and if somebody malicious wanted to steal a work by me (presuming it was even good enough to be worth stolen, of course) and claim it as their own and make money off of it... well, it's rather nice to have laws in place to prevent that. OpenSource Composition doesn't work well. People don't often donate to composers. Copyrights are necessary in a world where people are perfectly happy with stealing other people's music and distributing it. Human nature is easily enticed to take something for free rather than pay for it.

    So, what is this whole war between "private" file sharing and the RIAA doing to help the artists, whom, presumably, we all want to protect?

    Because there ARE people that will steal [slashdot.org] other people's recordings and do all kinds of things with them; even among musicians, copying sheet music instead of buying it is pretty frequent (and illegal). Because, of course, we all know that all musicians and composers are as famous and rich as Spears or Shore.

    • You're probably right as far as you go.

      What's the next step? It really is a choice ultimatly between police state enforced copyrights or a gift economy where you can compose as much as you want and that (among other things perhaps) is the gift you give to the world, while other things you need to feed and clothe and house yourself and your family are otherwise free to you (being gifts from others). It helps if people diminish their desires somewhat too -- and pursue a life of voluntary simplicity. Neolithic
      • by cpghost (719344)

        Undoubtedly they'll find other projects to amuse themselves with.

        Like... making wars between themselves?

        While I generally agree (a LOT of people are working day-in, day-out without generating anything useful to survival), it's not as easy as that. According to Maslow's pyramid of needs [wikipedia.org], there's more to life than mere survival. And that's the point where this "indirect economy" starts.

    • by gillbates (106458)

      You know what really gets me about the whole thing?

      I'm not opposed to copyright. And I think artists and composers should be able to make a living by their craft.

      But the problem is that by having copyright as an ironclad right, we only reward the greediness of the media conglomerates, who, while not actually producing the art or music, make the most money from it.

      After the digital revolution, how are we supposed to get back to the former model of paying per performance? On one hand, it isn't fai

      • by Reziac (43301) *
        The answer is probably to eliminate the "star-making machinery" entirely, and go back to a medieval-like system of direct payments and wealthy patrons, both for artists and composers (who are not necessarily one and the same, hence ASCAP). The internet makes artists more available to a wider audience (thus to more potential payments and patrons), without having to pay anyone else for that privilege.

        Of course the RIAA cartel doesn't WANT to be eliminated, and doesn't WANT artists to get paid without the cart
    • by Asic Eng (193332)
      It seems to me, that in a democracy it should be important to come to a common understanding about what's fair for the artists and for listeners. Our laws should then reflect that understanding. Certainly it's not fair if artists get to money for their work. Likewise it's not fair that copyright terms get extended infinitely, that companies get to dictate the usage of things after they've already sold them, that companies use lobbying to keep outdated business models alive.

      I think allofmp3.com shows how a

  • The fact that this directive does not criminalise non-commercial copyright infringement (I'm sorry, but I refuse to call it "piracy" - let's reserve that term for seafaring murderers) does not mean that it'll actually be/become/stay legal. Things can be illegal without being a crime, too.
    • (I'm sorry, but I refuse to call it "piracy" - let's reserve that term for seafaring murderers)

      Why? It's been used in the present context for several centuries, since long before anyone here was born or the RIAA was a gleam in a media executive's eye.

      If you don't like the current copyright regime, by all means say so, but please argue based on some sort of ethical or legal basis, and not by playing word-games. There are enough good arguments to be made either way without those games that cluttering th

  • Has anyone anywhere in the world ever been sued in civil or criminal court for privately sharing music or video files via torrent? Didn't think so. Until that happens, it is safe to say that the worldwide legal system does not treat private torrent sharing as an illegal activity.

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