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New Copyright Alliance Formed In D.C. 213

Posted by Zonk
from the they-own-j00 dept.
jombeewoof alerted us to a story that went past unnoticed last weekend. A new industry-backed 'Copyright Alliance' was formed in the city of Washington, DC. Tasked with the nebulous goal of 'promoting the value of copyright as an agent for creativity, jobs, and growth', the ultimate goal of the organization is to strengthen copyright laws overall. "Backed by organizations like the MPAA, NBC, News Corp., Disney, Time Warner, the Business Software Alliance, Microsoft, ASCAP, the NBA, and others, the Copyright Alliance has already secured initial support from several members of Congress ... The group is headed by Patrick Ross, a former senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a strongly free-market think tank. Ross has written about IP issues for years, and in a 2005 opinion piece claimed that he was 'looking for anyone who wants to join me in seeking that elusive middle ground.' His new gig may be a strange place to fight for that 'middle ground' in any meaningful sense, as the Alliance is dedicated to 'strengthening copyright law' using 'bilateral, regional, and multilateral agreements to protect creators' and advancing educational programs 'that teach the value of strong copyright.'"
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New Copyright Alliance Formed In D.C.

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  • I for one (Score:3, Funny)

    by Luminus (34868) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:44AM (#19269019)
    welcome our copyright-law-promoting overlords!
  • Too much control (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Midnight Thunder (17205) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:46AM (#19269039) Homepage Journal
    The best way to create more pirates is by trying to provide to much control over copyrighted works. What I mean is that if copyright becomes to complicated for the average member of public, then they will just give up trying to play nice with copyright holders.
    • Obvious quote (Score:5, Insightful)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:54AM (#19269157)
      The tighter you grip, the more will slip through your fingers.

      The more laws they create, the less those laws will control. When law becomes esotheric and illogical, people stop heeding it. Partly because they don't even know that it's illegal, since it's anything but common sense that it should be. Partly because they don't care, since it does not match their personal morals. And finally partly because they think it does not matter what they do, they'll break some law anyway.
    • Pro free market. Wtf is up with that anyway? These people want a free market to reign, but also to up their bottom line. The best way to do just that is to coerce lawmakers to pass laws that are favourable to these corps. Usually, this means that other businesses can't get into the market as easily, how shall I put it, they're less enabled. Which makes it less of a free market. Paradox?
    • age old conflict (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward
      All governments become more aristocratic over time, and as such they tend to favor the interests of the few over the interests of the many.

      This is just an age-old battle between the classes. The masses benefit most from the free flow of information, and an elite few benefit from being able to prevent that free flow.

      Money vs many, once again.

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by PMuse (320639)
      The best way to create more pirates is . . . apparently a complex brew of Maya, Gentle Giant, CloneCam, Zeno, and ZBrush known only to the Wizards of Ilm.
  • The enemy may change its name or wear a different mask but the stench of stagnation reeks heavily from this one.
  • This is why (Score:4, Informative)

    by geekoid (135745) <dadinportland @ y a hoo.com> on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:50AM (#19269109) Homepage Journal
    you must eba ctive in government, all the time. People with opposite views do stuff like this, and if it is the only people the representitves hear from, then it is the only view they can vote on.

    The result of being apathetic in politics is to be run by evil men.

    • Re:This is why (Score:4, Interesting)

      by ToxikFetus (925966) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:21AM (#19269557)
      As a resident of D.C., I find this whole discussion incredibly ironic. A despicable lobbying organization forms in my backyard, but since I have no Congressional representation, I can't do a damn thing about it. I'd *love* to be active in government, but by Constitutional interpretation I can't. This is a case where the big evil corporations *literally* have more governmental influence than me.
      • by Dausha (546002)
        "...since I have no Congressional representation.... I'd *love* to be active in government, but by Constitutional interpretation I can't. This is a case where the big evil corporations *literally* have more governmental influence than me."

        Where's my clue-by-four when I need it. You have much more representation in government than a single rancher in Wyoming because you reside in the seat of government. There is a reason why the federal district was denied representation by those who had just earned the righ
        • Re:This is why (Score:4, Informative)

          by ToxikFetus (925966) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:37AM (#19270691)
          Let's take a look at "10 Myths About DC [dcvote.org]" from our friends at DCVote.org.

          Where's my clue-by-four when I need it. You have much more representation in government than a single rancher in Wyoming because you reside in the seat of government.

          Myth 5: DC residents have more influence because they're closer to the President and Congress. FALSE. In the age of global communications, proximity does not mean access. Most federal officials know more about their home districts or international affairs than in DC issues. Few DC residents have privileges based on their proximity to power.

          There is a reason why the federal district was denied representation by those who had just earned the right to representation via Revolutionary War. You already have enough influence.

          Myth 3: The Founding Fathers wanted to take away the rights of DC citizens. FALSE. The founders were concerned about the rights of District citizens, but because getting approval for the federal Constitution was their first priority, they left open the possibility that future generations could address the inequity. Alexander Hamilton proposed to let DC residents vote with Maryland or Virginia until their population grew, at which time Congress would give DC voting representation. James Madison argued that DC should be given a legislature "for local purposes, derived from their own suffrages."

          More importantly, you live in a roughly-square patch of land that's not terribly large.

          Myth 8: DC is too small to have representation. FALSE. DC is 63 square miles, and has a larger population than Wyoming. All states - regardless of size - have equal representation in the Senate, whereas in the House of Representatives, representation is determined by population size. For example, California and Wyoming have two Senators each, but California has 53 Representatives while Wyoming has only one.

          Perhaps you should move out of it to Maryland, where you'll have all the representation you need.

          Was this the answer for Southern blacks during the Jim Crow era?
          • That this is about individuals being able to vote for members of congress.

            If the only issue was individuals having the ability to vote in congressional elections, they would be pushing for the much easier and more reasonable goal of having most of DC rejoin Maryland [wikipedia.org]. But for some reason, the example of Arlington being retroceded back in 1847 seems to escape them.

            It's a blatent attempt to gain more power at the Federal level. It makes about as much sense as New York City asking for it's own Senators becau

  • Outside of executing copyright infringers, how can copyright law be made 'stronger'. Mandatory brain implants maybe? Both??
  • by Kjella (173770) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:55AM (#19269169) Homepage
    ...depends on where you set the edges. Given the overall mentality when it comes to copyright and DRM from copyright holders, I guess "liberal" just want copyright to extend to infinity minus one. "Conservative" means omnipresent invasive usage control, and somewhere between there they want to find the middle ground. "Totalitarian" would be when you get mandatory surgical implants that record what IP we're exposed to and get billed accordingly.
  • by mgpeter (132079) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:58AM (#19269199) Homepage

    advancing educational programs 'that teach the value of strong copyright.'

    What exactly are they going to teach. Most laws do not remotely cover what is needed with today's technology. For instance, if you start teaching about copyright "infingement" someone will ask if it is an infringement if you rip a CD or copy a movie for personal use. The current problem is that NO ONE KNOWS 100%. These issues have not been hammered out in a court of law and the current statues have no opinion either way.

    The first thing that really needs to be done (besides possibly shortening copyright) is to define what exactly can and cannot be done with an existing work. Until then, whatever anyone attempts to teach about copyright is 100% opinion and speculation.

    As a side note: The really pathetic thing about copyright is that it was initiated to promote the science and arts, but has since been hijacked by what I believe to be the lowest benefit to our society - the Entertainment Industry.

    • by Kjella (173770) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:13AM (#19269441) Homepage
      Fair use was made vague for a reason. That reason is that it's extremely difficult to pin down exactly what is fair use. You're not a copyright infringer if you tape a show and your wife watches it. But if you pull a "well, we're all 99,99% genetically related as humans so the world is my family..." it won't fly. What about your stepson? He's not a blood relative. Same goes with real friends and all your "friends" on the P2P network.

      Backups... how many backups should be allowed? One? Three? Ulimited? That remote backup site that, convieniently, all your friends know the password for? Is it fair use to lend a copy away while you still have it on your media server? Would it be fair use to lend a friend get a copy instead of your original disc? Again, if this is a hundred friends where the one original is making the rounds and everywhere it touches there's copies being made, it's probably not.

      In any case, the answer is really quite simple in the end: If it's protected by DRM you can't do shit, it's all a violation of the circumvention paragraph, and fair use is only a defense to infringement. Fair use might as well be stricken from the books as a legacy law only applicable to pre-DRM works. Don't like it? Tough.
      • by garcia (6573) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:49AM (#19269971) Homepage
        Fair use might as well be stricken from the books as a legacy law only applicable to pre-DRM works. Don't like it? Tough.

        Who the fuck are you to say something like that? This fucking battle is not over. Our rights trump their ability to make money.

        WE ARE NOT TO STAND BY WHILE THEY TAKE OUR RIGHTS AWAY! Just because lawmakers are easily influenced by money and are ever so helpful in ensuring that their pockets remain full does not mean that we should roll over, play dead, and take it in the ass while the copyright holders extend their life expectancies, revenue streams, and shit-eating grins.

        I guess you could be a shining example of exactly what they want to accomplish. Congratulations.
        • What rights? (Score:3, Interesting)

          by Garwulf (708651)
          "WE ARE NOT TO STAND BY WHILE THEY TAKE OUR RIGHTS AWAY!"

          Polemic aside, what rights exactly are you talking about?

          One of the biggest problems in this debate is that both sides have extremists who have little objection to stretching the truth, and just plain making stuff up when it suits them. Frankly, there are a lot of reformers who don't have the first inkling of what copyright actually is and does. I still remember getting into a debate with somebody who I challenged to tell me what was wrong with copy
      • Backups... how many backups should be allowed? One? Three? Ulimited?

        1. If the original is stolen, can you sell the backup?
        2. Can a lending library make backups of everything, then only let patrons check out the copies. If a copy isn't returned, or is damaged, can they let someone else check out another copy.
        3. If they can't lend out copies, what if the original is destroyed. Can the library now lend out the copy?

        In the old days, free lending libraries were only a minor threat to the publishers because they

      • Fair use was made vague for a reason. That reason is that it's extremely difficult to pin down exactly what is fair use.

        Bullshit.

        The legal definition of Fair Use was not made vague because "it's extremely difficult to pin down" - fair use is whatever the hell the guys writing the law wanted it to be. The reason it is open-ended, not vague, is so that it would be flexible enough to be applied to any situation, even ones that did not exist at the time. Fair Use is not about the medium, but about the intended use, which is a lot more useful a definition than some sort of specific ennumeration of exceptions. It's still a pa

    • I can tell you that in order to productively "teach" something, there needs to be room for discussion and dissent. More specifically, people don't tend to absorb material as well when it is preached as gospel, regardless of how much of an opinion they may have had on the subject previously. Taking everything at face value is never the mark of a good student.

      In this case however, any "teachings" undertaken with regard to copyright will be treated as gospel. If I had to spend time in front of a crowd di

    • It's sad to see so many Slashdotters that have absolutely no inkling as to how business/government works. This is a lobbyist group, or a PAC (political action group). They're paid by the large industries to, in turn, pay politicians to vote a particular way. Happens every day in the US. Nothing at all unusual about this development.
    • For instance, if you start teaching about copyright "infingement" someone will ask if it is an infringement if you rip a CD or copy a movie for personal use. The current problem is that NO ONE KNOWS 100%. These issues have not been hammered out in a court of law and the current statues have no opinion either way.

      Actually, the statutes are clear that making unauthorized copies of copyrighted works is illegal. There are exceptions to this in the statutes, but whether or not they'll apply depends on the circum
  • by harshmanrob (955287) on Friday May 25, 2007 @09:58AM (#19269203) Journal
    In a previous DRM discussion, I pointed out the wasteful costs of DRM and copy-protection technology and it will ultimately be defeated by those who choose to. What this "copyright alliance" is an another attempt to create laws to stop people from developing software except for companies like Microsoft.

    The software and record companies have invested millions into developing copy-prevention, lock-out chips, etc and it gets defeated by some person with 20 lines of code. That is why they want congress to write laws against it. How do you think the CEO of CBS felt when he gets music mp3s emailed to him from some guy who beat a copy-protected CD with a black marker the day it came out.

    I have always believed that DMCA was never designed to fight music and software pirates, but to stop the Open Source software developers. I would not be surprised if congress tried to "license" developers in the coming years. Something else that bothers me is if the try to merge the DMCA and the Patriot Act.

  • Seriously. Is this even a good idea for the companies themselves? Doubtful. Certainly isn't a good idea for me.
  • by ClayJar (126217) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:01AM (#19269255) Homepage
    As today is the 30th anniversary of the release of Star Wars, I cannot help but say...

    "I've got a bad feeling about this."
  • advancing educational programs 'that teach the value of strong copyright.'"

    Don't they already teach this at the business schools that produce these jackasses? And do they honestly expect anyone else - say, productive members of society - to buy this line of bullshit?

  • Look at this bowel-movement! It now has a new coat of paint!
  • by Red Flayer (890720) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:05AM (#19269311) Journal

    The group is headed by Patrick Ross, a former senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a strongly free-market think tank.
    ...

    the Alliance is dedicated to 'strengthening copyright law' using 'bilateral, regional, and multilateral agreements to protect creators' and advancing educational programs 'that teach the value of strong copyright.
    Does not compute philosophically. You'd think a free market idealogue would be against copyrights...

    This just goes to show that many of the free market idealogues out there aren't really about free markets; instead they are all about unrestricted corporate activity. The two are not the same, and shouldn't be conflated. It's been shown time and again that maintenance of a free market requires government intervention (see Sherman Anti-Trust Act in the US); even the Austrian school will admit that their economic model requires adjustment (and by implication, government action) to correct for monopolies.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      The whole idea of the "free market" is suspect in this day-and-age anyway. Even if the government does not regulate a market, some other organization will. Oil prices?!? That's not supply and demand causing those price spikes -- its the commodities markets. Every time Hugo Chavez says "boo" or Iran does something naughty, the price shoots up, and so does the price at the pump.

    • by NickFortune (613926) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:34AM (#19269743) Homepage Journal

      The group is headed by Patrick Ross, a former senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a strongly free-market think tank.
      Does not compute philosophically. You'd think a free market idealogue would be against copyrights...

      I assumed they were using the words in their most Orwellian sense. You know, in "1984" the Ministry of Peace was in charge of War, the Ministry of Plenty was in charge or rationing, and as for the Ministry of Love... well you get the idea.

      If you think of it like that, the Progress & Freedom Foundation makes perfect sense.

    • by remmelt (837671)
      "free market" vs. "unrestricted corporate activity"

      Hmmm, but that doesn't have that nice Freedom ring to it, does it? We all want a little freedom, don't we? Let's give it up for freedom!
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by owlnation (858981)

      Does not compute philosophically. You'd think a free market idealogue would be against copyrights...

      You're right. A free market would be opposed to copyright.

      There's no true free market. Here's what you have:

      1. an illegal cartel
      2. government(s) interference to maintain that cartel, despite it being illegal.
      3. government(s) interference to regulate freedom in restricting free access to ideas.

      Ironically, in Russia or China, which still have more of a Command and Control Economy than the West i

    • by zotz (3951)
      "Does not compute philosophically. You'd think a free market idealogue would be against copyrights..."

      Bingo! But somehow may who claim to be for Free markets somewhow can't see that letting people have these government granted monopolies messes with the Free Market. Cant' the Free Market find a solution to this problem?

      MOD PARENT UP.

      all the best,

      drew
    • Does not compute philosophically. You'd think a free market idealogue would be against copyrights...

      I wouldn't; so-called "free market" ideology has always been about defining strong property rights, even in things which have previously not been considered individual tradable property, so that they can be commercialized and traded on the market.

      "Free market" ideology has always abhorred the public domain, whether in land or otherwise, as unproductive, and sought to provide means for people to take what is t

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by JesseMcDonald (536341)

        I wouldn't; so-called "free market" ideology has always been about defining strong property rights, even in things which have previously not been considered individual tradable property, so that they can be commercialized and traded on the market.

        No, "free market" ideology is only "about" defining property rights in things that are inherently rivalrous. Physical property, and certain forms of intangibles, are rivalrous; ideas (and information in general) are not.

        Property rights are properly minimal, n

      • I wouldn't; so-called "free market" ideology has always been about defining strong property rights,

        WEll, first, there's a reason you use quotes around "free market" while I don't. I'm talking about a true free market, as defined in economic terms. I think what you're referring to is something completely different -- it's the notion of "free market" as co-opted by certain interests. "Free market" != unregulated, which is why I have a problem with a group that claims to support a free market but at the sam

        • WEll, first, there's a reason you use quotes around "free market" while I don't. I'm talking about a true free market, as defined in economic terms. I think what you're referring to is something completely different -- it's the notion of "free market" as co-opted by certain interests.


          Yes, I'm talking about "free market" has always been as a political ideology, since the reference was to what was or was not expected of a free market ideologue.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by g2devi (898503)
      Very true. In a perfectly free market, there would be no IP, not even weak copyright, since it's an artificial government enforced concept. So from the start this group is hypocritical.

      Copyright is a good thing: it's what gives the GPL its "must remain free" condition and allows the BSD license it to be more than public domain by retaining the names of the original contributors. If people put their hard work into making something, why shouldn't they at least get credit (and perhaps allow you to make a livin
  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by rlp (11898) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:06AM (#19269331)
    We're setting up a new group to funnel money to incumbents prior to the '08 election.
    • Re:Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

      by supersnail (106701) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:03AM (#19270123)
      Mod parent up hes got it exactly right.

      You should relly question how getting the copyright on "Winnie the Pooh" extended
      by 50 years benefits creativity.
      The original author is long dead, his family sold the rights to Disney for a pittance
      in the '60s. So all that is being protected is Disneys right to make money.

  • Free market (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:08AM (#19269357)
    "a strongly free-market think tank"

    I would have thought an organisation that was strongly free-market would be against stronger copyright laws.

    I expect they are really "pro-big-business" rather that "free-market".
    • Their definition of "free market" must be market which megacorporations control without any oversight and small companies have no chance to compete.
  • jombeewoof alerted us to a story that went past unnoticed last weekend. A new industry-backed 'League of Evil' was formed in the city of Washington, DC. Tasked with the nefarious goal of 'promoting the value of copyright as an agent for world domination and the creation of several doomsday weapons', the ultimate goal of the organization is to strengthen copyright laws and strike terror into the hearts of puny Earth humans worldwide. "Backed by organizations like the MPAA, NBC, News Corp., Disney, The Galact
  • by brouski (827510) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:11AM (#19269405)
    It's long copyright I have a problem with. Like copyright that exists long after the original creator is dead.
  • Death of Democracy (Score:5, Insightful)

    by palladiate (1018086) <palladiate AT gmail DOT com> on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:12AM (#19269423)

    The inability to share knowledge will collapse a democracy. A democracy can only survive with free access to information, and a population willing to be educated. Soon, we will have neither. How can we trust our neighbor to help run this country when they know nothing?

    In fact, we as a soceity cannot survive without free exchange of information. Culture, the shared information of a group, includes not only "book learning" but stories, music, patterns, and ideas. All of those are being taken from us and gifted to monied interests.

    Once, poems like Beowulf would be told, retold, and changed according to the zeitgeist. The characters would be familiar, the plot would be familiar, but the small changes over time would stand out to listeners, and the bards and shapers would emphasize or change different parts to better reflect their audience and the state of current culture. That is what held us together.

    Now, we no longer have the power to control our own culture, it will be permenant and immutable for all eternity. Star Wars is a new Beowulf, but we as a culture cannot own it and make it ours. It is now eternal and unchanging, as will be our culture. Another word for eternal and unchanging is dead.

    Add to the dead culture and uneducated citizenry a new type of tax- the culture and learning tax, paid to everyone who holds IP. Do you think that given the total control of information flow that IP-holders wouldn't leverage every dollar from their holdings? They'll go so far to protect their "property" that they will certainly cut off all fair uses, such as critical review. Expect even bad movie reviews to go the way of the dinosaur. "Sorry Mr. Ebert, you gave us one too many bad reviews, your license to view all Universal movies has been revoked."

    The only silver lining is that the same technology to lock down all ideas has given us a massive, nearly infinite virtual library. The internet, large hard drive arrays, and instant communications have given us the means to acquire and archive massive amounts of data. Do you remember your grade-school librarian? She was a scary old woman probably, and would scare the pants off of little kids. Librarians have always needed to be scary, as they have a hard job keeping information from the hands that would hide it. In the future, we are our own librarians. It's time to get scary.

    • by Aladrin (926209)
      You have complete control over your 'culture'. You just refuse to exercise it.

      Don't rely on others to control your culture. Write a story yourself, place it in the public domain, and encourage others to retell it. There, now all your arguments are moot.

      "Fair use" is a bandaid on the problem: People keep buying goods without liking the contract. If you buy a movie and don't like the permissions they allow you, that's your fault, not yours and not the governments.

      STOP BUYING THINGS THAT DON'T SATISFY YOU
      • None of that is what I addressed.

        Don't rely on others to control your culture. Write a story yourself, place it in the public domain...

        First, I cannot put my stories in the public domain (I used to write more, I now help my wife write). If I do, someone like Disney can take the idea, copyright it (or even patent the plot), and prevent me from addressing their additions to my work. In fact, Disney or another large media company could force me to no longer use my original material in any substantive way.

        • by DShard (159067)

          Even though Anderson's The Little Mermaid is in the public domain, if I made an animated movie, they would certainly fight me in court.

          UAV [amazon.com] Begs to differ.
        • by Aladrin (926209)
          "Even though Anderson's The Little Mermaid is in the public domain, if I made an animated movie, they would certainly fight me in court."

          While I take your point, you are wrong about this. See 1992. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Little_Mermaid [wikipedia.org]

          I don't think anyone was ever free to spread 'culture' the way you are talking about. Certainly they used to all tell the same stories. that was pretty much by agreement, though I admit lack of a way to restrict it played a large part.

          But 'culture' is not a singl
          • Time is an illusion, and lunchime doubly so. I'll keep this short.

            I dislike piracy. Bitwise copies of DVDs certainly do harm creators, and I don't dislike copyright. However, why shouldn't I be allowed to say, edit the script to Star Wars, and refilm it with better actors and special effects? Before we freak out, remember this doesn't diminish the fact there is still an original recording, and will still have value when I'm done. I add value to the economy, I create value that didn't exist before, an

            • by Aladrin (926209)
              Wait wait wait... There is a very large difference between taking the exact plot of Star Wars Ep 4 and filming it with new actors and taking the Star Wars universe and creating a new, intertwining story.

              As far as I know, the latter is actually legal as things stand right now.

              "In the late 1500s"... Yeah, but did any of those take the script of another and simply edit it? Or did they 'play off each others works'? Again, quite a huge difference there.

              Fanfics exist today, and don't get sued out of existence
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      It's a bit of a stretch to say that copyright is killing democracy. You seem to be assuming two things: that the restriction of information is detrimental to democracy, and that copyright is restricting information in a way that it is detrimental to democracy. While I agree with the first, I think you are overstating the effects. Restricted information makes it impossible to make a truly informed vote, but since it is almost impossible to be completely informed about political issues, it takes quite a bit o
      • Look, I don't pirate. I don't care about you young'uns music. I have Netflix for all my movies (Some Like it Hot is on for the weekend). Thanks for your amazing leap to conclusions.

        My argument is about the restrictions lobby groups like this one want to impose. Right now, if you want to legally review a DVD, you must get the pre-approved, licensed clips from the distributor to use in review. You can be denied these clips for any reason. Warner and Universal still claim non-digital reproduction like re-

    • What wonderful paranoia!

      You know, there is so much wrong with what you've said here that it ranges from conspiracy theories to a view of the creative artist that has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with reality, but I'm not going to shoot it down myself. I'm going to let somebody else, with far more knowledge and evidence do it for me: http://llr.lls.edu/volumes/v36-issue1/martin-origi nal1.pdf [lls.edu]

      And, as far as that wonderful, cliched paranoia goes, what are you on, and where can I get some?
  • why these guys should be kept alive? Not only are they not contributing to society, they are actively trying to take things away from society, apparently solely for their own benefit.
  • by MikeRT (947531) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:15AM (#19269485) Homepage
    They strongly favor a policy that effectively destroys common law protections of property rights, subordinates physical property rights to IP rights and the presumption that all property rights to IP belong to the creator. They are, in effect, rabidly pro-government on IP and are against even moderate supporters of strong copyright law like myself. Even my views, which I have stated in blog discussions with them, are unacceptable to them, and they include:

    1) Prosecuting file sharers under the No Electronic Theft Act for any serious sharing of data.
    2) Throwing the book at college students who use most of the bandwidth on the network for sharing, using college policy to suspend or expel them.
    3) Making IP conform to the same law and expectations that physical property is governed by. This means I fully support normalizing the relationship between the two, with the only caveat being maintaining the sole "right to copy" in the hands of the creator.
    • Additionally, they are also in favour of spam [dotcomeon.com] and software patents [zdnet.co.uk]. They're not pro-market, they're pro-big business.
      • by Thaelon (250687)
        Why does everybody thing that people's views and that the things they advocate are ever anything other than selfish motives?

        The human animal is really not so complicated.

        Every human being will, for the most part, do anything they can get away with if it means personal gain.

        This simple fact explains the actions of almost anyone in almost all circumstances. These people aren't "pro-big business" they're "pro-self", just like you and I. This alliance is made up of people, and those people are simply seeking
  • Hate (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Das Auge (597142)
    I reserve the word 'hate' for truly worthy people. I don't hate the people that cut me off, I don't hate the people who get my order wrong, and I don't even hate the people that give me the run-around.

    But I really do hate these people, and the people like them, that try to hold society back.
  • Oh good (Score:2, Funny)

    by Kierthos (225954)
    Because you know, I was just thinking, what we're really lacking is another copyright PAC.
  • Well, if the handling of the recent Suns-Spurs series is any indication of the organization's ethics, I'm sure it's going to be fair.
  • by JimDaGeek (983925) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:42AM (#19269867)

    the Copyright Alliance has already secured initial support from several members of Congress
    Is this the PC way of saying, "the Copyright Alliance has already paid for initial support from several members of Congress"?
    • by DShard (159067)
      along with the corollary:
      "Several members of congress have taken bribes and now support the Copyright Alliance"

      The criminals taking the bribes:
      Rep. John Conyers (D-MI)
      Howard Berman (D-CA)
      Rep. Howard Coble (R-NC)

      I am not about to say that these guys are the only criminals in congress. Every single congressman takes PAC money. That money is a bribe. Even the best intentioned, reform minded, person that goes to Washington eventually succumbs to careerism. The only people who can stop that in our Government
      • by JimDaGeek (983925)
        The whole "representative democracy" just doesn't work any more. It was good a few hundred years ago when generally the most educated in society became members of the government. However, that is not close to the case today. Our "representatives" don't come close to being the most educated in anything.

        We need a real democracy where we the people get to vote on everything. Some people would say that is "mob rule". However that is better than "those with the most money rule" IMO.

        There would be plen
  • by Hoplite3 (671379) on Friday May 25, 2007 @10:45AM (#19269911)

    If you haven't read Bounty Hunters [greglondon.com] by Greg London, you really should give it a go.

    He describes the struggle of society to reward creators in analogy to paying bounty hunters to track criminals. It's a good analogy, and the analysis in section three is good. He spends time talking about making copyright have the proper length so that artists create, but not so long that society pays too much. I must admit that before reading it, I was skeptical that copyright could ever work or had anything to offer. He convinced me that it can be a good system, but there must be fairness in the term of protection.

    The last flesh-and-blood discussion about copyright I had was very illuminating. I publish in science, and generally see copyright as getting in the way; I believe ideas that I come up with make me more valuable, rather than having external value (they could be useful for others to learn, then they've increased the value of their labor). But I spoke with a friend who writes fiction. Naturally, she had a different bend. She wanted to be compensated for her work and she didn't want any other writer writing substandard work with her characters, diluting her vision. There were just different issues between knowledge-based creative product and entertainment-based creative product. I would write more about how I disagreed with her, and thought her fears were unfounded, but it seems unfair to do that without a chance to respond

    Monopoly rights on thoughts are some of the most important things facing our society now. We've developed a system where the physical reproduction of these things (text, music, images) is dirt cheap, nearly free, and it is forcing us to reconsider exactly what copyright and patents mean. The "Intellectual Property" crowd has a lot of money, and I think they are dangerous. We need to forge a new compromise between creators and society that maximizes creative output. That will require negotiating the "price" of that work in terms of monopoly protections.

    • she didn't want any other writer writing substandard work with her characters, diluting her vision

      I'm pretty sure she doesn't have a leg to stand on with current US copyright law. That sort of right of control is more along the lines of the French definition of copyright which includes "moral rights" aka "droits moraux." US copyright law has almost zero recognition of moral rights on their own, sometimes they ride the coattails of property rights, but that's mostly just a side-effect.

      However, it is my understanding that she does have the ability to trademark her characters and other unique creations.

  • The People have a new enemy...
  • Copyright Tank (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:01AM (#19270109) Homepage Journal

    The group is headed by Patrick Ross, a former senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a strongly free-market think tank.


    Copyright is derived from the Constitution's instructions for Congress to "promote progress in science and the useful arts". But they now impede progress more than they promote it. A "free market" is unencumbered by government-created monopolies like copyright. Copyright is a misnamed privilege to restrict free expression.

    Does anyone think that Ross is busy protecting freedom, progress and markets? Or is he busy grabbing as much money as he can for people with licenses to print it?
  • Be very afraid.

    This is not good for our rights and freedoms. The money they will have at their disposal to attack us with will be mind boggling.
  • After what I just heard on the radio this week... I can only imagine the kind of crazy extensions they'll try to start tacking onto copyright.

    On my local radio station, every monday morning the morning show DJ's (Stuck 'n Gunner, if anyone's heard of 'em) will do "Microwave Monday". This involves either putting something in a microwave that one is not supposed to, or otherwise somehow mangling, tormenting, and/or destroying a microwave.

    A couple months back, they had a popular band on the show (who I guess
  • by sootman (158191) on Friday May 25, 2007 @11:37AM (#19270693) Homepage Journal
    I'll more or less re-post what I said the other day.* Disney built their empire largely on non-copyrighted works, especially their earliest and biggest hits. A very short list: Snow White, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, Beauty and the Beast, The Jungle Book, Robin Hood, The Little Mermaid, and most (if not all) of the music from the Fantasia movies. And now their position is "We created some things**, profited from them, continue to do so, and would like a governmet-sponsored monopoly to allow us to continue to do so until the end of time."

    Compare the lists at
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Public_domai n_characters [wikipedia.org]
    and
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Disney_animat ed_features [wikipedia.org]
    for more clues.

    * mod me funny if you don't want me to gain karma for saying the same thing twice. I just think this is an important point which should be brought up in every single discussion where Disney wants copyright enhanced.

    ** I'm not saying that they shouldn't be allowed to profit from their use of other people's work. I'm saying that their original creations should fall into public domain, same as all those other things did. But no. Their attitude is "I got mine, now no one else gets any." Fucking hypocritical bastards.
  • by Bob9113 (14996) on Friday May 25, 2007 @12:06PM (#19271181) Homepage
    a former senior fellow at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, a strongly free-market think tank

    All the micro-econ courses I took, every single one from micro-101 to price theory, stated pretty strenuously that fiat monopolies and the free market are antithetical. I'm not saying copyright is necessarily bad - maybe the free market is not efficient when it comes to creative works - but the intersection of the free market and copyright is the empty set.
  • I knew a guy that could look once at the words to a song (in a hymnal) and then he could sing that song perfectly. He had photographic memory for songs, and total recall. I knew another guy who had 1/2 the Berkeley kernel memorized. I imagine that by now he's got almost all of it available for recall.

    In the future, genetically enhanced kids will have complete recall of every movie they ever saw, and don't need to go back to the theater. They will just be able to sit by themselves and remember it.
  • Does anyone else here see the contradiction in an organization that identifies itself as a "market-oriented think tank" lobbying to pass laws that strengthen government-enforced monopolies on IP?

    We believe that the technological change embodied in the digital revolution has created tremendous opportunities for enhanced individual liberty, as well as wealth creation and higher living standards. Those opportunities can only be realized if governments resist the temptation to regulate, tax and control. Government has important roles to play in society, including protecting property rights and individual liberties, but its tendency is to reach beyond its legitimate functions in ways that harm consumers, burden citizens and slow progress.

    Why, that's just pure BS! Actions speak louder than words.

    Or maybe they don't, apparently...

  • Copyright is the opposite of the free market.
    -l
  • Speaking as a full-time writer and an author, and having taken a close look at the website for this new organization, I think it can be a very good thing.

    I am a moderate - I understand the need for fair use (indeed, I've used it myself), the public domain, and the need for copyright, and what it does (some of the most important uses of which are not obvious unless you're in the creative business yourself, as it affects the relationship between the creator and distributer). And, where possible, I try to get

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