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UK Copyright Extension in Exchange for Censorship? 238

Posted by Zonk
from the tit-for-reactionary-tat dept.
Awel writes "The UK opposition leader, David Cameron, says in a speech to the British Phonographic Industry that his party would work to extend the copyright term to 70 years and crack down on piracy. But in return, labels would have to agree to bear more 'social responsibility', which appears to translate into avoiding lyrics that glorify 'an anti-learning culture, truancy, knifes, violence, guns, misogyny'. He doesn't spell out how this would be achieved in practice. This follows the publication in December of a UK government report recommending that the standard copyright term in Europe remain at 50 years (and not be raised to 70 or 95 years)."
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UK Copyright Extension in Exchange for Censorship?

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  • Historic precedent (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Simon80 (874052) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:09AM (#19766165)
    Looks like copyright is returning to its roots..
    • by SatanicPuppy (611928) * <Satanicpuppy&gmail,com> on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:16AM (#19766243) Journal
      The industry isn't seeking this--it's the government. "We'll give you this thing you really really want (extended copyrights), and in return you can do us this little favor, and censor your artists." The music industry is evil, no doubt, but they'd rather be able to sell whatever the hell they want to and own the copyrights forever...Censorship is work for them, and it will alienate artists, and art isn't something that lends itself well to censorship, so they may see actual losses coming out of it, which is the last thing they want.

      So what you're really saying is, "Government is returning to its roots" and that is correct.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        The industry isn't seeking this--it's the government.

        Er, no, the government isn't seeking this. The Conservative Party is seeking this. The Conservatives aren't in power, Labour are.

      • by EvilMonkeySlayer (826044) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:28AM (#19766357) Journal
        It is not the government, it's the party that wants to be in government but isn't.
        The conservatives have always been big businesses bitches and this simply reiterates it.
        This is why any self respecting geek should avoid voting conservative (think of them as the republicans, only slightly less insane).. hell, it's pretty hard to tell the conservatives and labour apart nowadays. Lib Dems or the Greens are probably the best parties if you want a slightly (ever so slightly, lets face facts pretty much all parties suck) better government.
        • It's a significant group of legislators, as an American, I'd call that "the government", though I know that when you say "the government" in England, you mean the party in power rather than the whole machine.

          Labor has been kinda annoying lately, but I'd still trade them for the crap we've got. How bizarre to have a semi-moderate party in power...How do you know who you should hate? =P
        • by drsquare (530038)

          Lib Dems or the Greens are probably the best parties if you want a slightly (ever so slightly, lets face facts pretty much all parties suck) better government.
          Yeah, if you want taxes to exponentially increase, and driving to be all but banned.
          • by Colin Smith (2679)
            Actually the liberals are a party of small government... Or at least reduced government interference, which amounts to much the same.

            hth.
             
        • Now that New Labor ... er Labour has glommed itself right up against the Conservatives, where does that leave the LibDems -- wedged between Labour and the Greens?
          • You're assuming politics are 1 dimensional, left -> right. Not the case.

            Liberals believe in personal liberty, which includes doing what you want with your own money. It seems to confuse people that they believe in reduced government involvement in both business and personal lives. They confuse reduced involvement and taxation as conservatism and assume only reduced involvement in personal lives is the liberal philosophy.

            In fact, of the major parties in the UK, the Liberals are the only ones with a consis
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by LarsG (31008)
        So what you're really saying is, "Government is returning to its roots"

        No, it is copyright returning to its roots. Early copyright has its root in government control of the printing presses.
      • by teh_chrizzle (963897) <kill-9@nOSPAm.hobbiton.org> on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:54AM (#19766641) Homepage

        So what you're really saying is, "Government is returning to its roots" and that is correct.

        government censorship and copyright go hand in hand.

        copyright originally started as a government sponsored censorship program as the excerpt from this article [questioncopyright.org] states:

        The first copyright law was a 1556 censorship statute in England. It granted the Company of Stationers, a London guild, exclusive rights to own and run printing presses. Company members registered books under their own name, not the author's name, and these registrations could be transferred or sold only to other Company members. In exchange for their government-granted monopoly on the book trade, the Stationers aided the government's censors, by controlling what was printed, and by searching out illegal presses and books -- they even had the right to burn unauthorized books and destroy presses. They were, in effect, a private, for-profit information police force.

        so, in the UK, the government granting copyright terms in order to censor the works is a return to the roots of copyright.

        • by Artifakt (700173)
          And in the US, constitutional rules on copyright originally were intended to be a clean break with this very same old English law. Founding fathers as far apart politically as Jefferson and Madison agreed the old system gave unjustified power to censor to the government and created a private police, unaccountable to the people, and therefore sought to avoid it like the plague. So what does it say about US law today that we too have a large political faction trying to return to this system?
        • by toriver (11308)
          The power of the mercantile guilds in England was so strong that a certain Scot's treatsie on free market economics was banned there because it attacked mercantilism and guilds...
      • by jimicus (737525)
        Thing is, just like anywhere in the West, it takes ages for a law to be passed in the UK. And revisiting a law because it's not working out how you like it - that takes just as long.

        I'd be prepared to bet:

        1. That such a copyright extension would not include clauses that the music industry must be regulated for "unacceptable" output. The music industry would instead "pledge" to do so.
        2. The music industry will totally forget about the pledge just as soon as the law is passed.
        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by mr_mischief (456295)
          I doubt they'd forget. I can see them laughing about it at parties and talking about how stupid the politicians were for handing them such an all-around win for them. They'd talk about the pledge whenever it's convenient to their purposes, and they'd ask for government help in overcoming the financial burdens of it in some way, even if they're not doing what they promised. They'd also be sure to remember this attack on the public on two fronts come election time, when the gift givers need a little extra pus


    • Tis a glorious day indeed when the artists are told by the "record labels" that because of "nasty little law" they'll have to choose their lyrics from a small set of "acceptable words." Of course, the record labels get 70 years on the copy right so all is well. Oh yes! All of those "oldies" will (hopefully) be "grandfathered" in so that we can still get our violent antisocial pron music, but only because it already exists. Those new artists will have to conform to the new "standard of acceptable music"
  • by drekhan (1124595) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:10AM (#19766183)
    Does it say something about me that when I glanced at the article I thought it said Pornographic industry?
    • by Pofy (471469)
      >Does it say something about me that when I glanced
      >at the article I thought it said Pornographic industry?

      Yes, that you are person 3748982 that has made such a remark on slashdot and managed to be the first in this thread. I guess it is slightly more creative than posting a "first post" post, but just slightly.
    • by Jugalator (259273)
      Yes, and there's also always a comment like yours when the name is brought up. ;-)
    • I did too, though I'm saying that it's because of the article from earlier today on BDSM porn - though I hadn't quite figured out what value there would be to extending pron copyrights to 70 years, given that the industry seems not to be too concerned about their back catalog (so to speak).
  • What a deal. (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rob T Firefly (844560) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:12AM (#19766201) Homepage Journal
    So Cameron is basically promising to do his part to make speech less free, so long as the labels promise to do their part to make speech less free? Score.
    • Re:What a deal. (Score:5, Insightful)

      by niceone (992278) * on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:16AM (#19766245) Journal
      So Cameron is basically promising to do his part to make speech less free, so long as the labels promise to do their part to make speech less free? Score.

      Yeah, not free (as in speech) in exchange for not free (as in beer). Excellent.
      • by kalirion (728907) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:36AM (#19766431)
        Enjoy saying that while you can. Soon enough it will be illegal to talk about free beer.
      • by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:59AM (#19766727) Journal
        > work to extend the copyright term to 70 years and crack down on piracy

        Right... because the first thing to do in the fight against piracy is to broaden the definition of piracy to include twenty years worth of extra music. In other news, Cameron announced that as the first step in a crackdown on murder, the definition of "murder" will been expanded to include drunk-driving. He said that government claims that this would increase reported cases of murder by 12000% as "exagerated".

        > He argued that extending the term would give an "incentive to the music industry to digitise both older and niche repertoire which
        > more people can enjoy at no extra cost".

        Right... so, extending the copyright term to include works which are currently in the public domain, and thus free and legal to use for any purpose will help people enjoy these works at "no extra cost"? In other news, as part of a campaign to try and get kids to exercise more, Cameron announced plans to put all public playparks into the hands of private companies that will charge for their use.

        > Mr Cameron said: "Most people think these are all multimillionaires living in some penthouse flat. The reality is that many of
        > these are low-earning session musicians who will be losing a vital pension."...

        > ...Sir Cliff Richard, The Who and Sir Paul McCartney backed the campaign to extend the 50-year term

        ...enough said
        • by cliffski (65094)
          yes they did. although I suspect a lot of those session guys backed it too, yet the media only reports the names of the stars who are millionaires. So in fact, on the point of who supports copyright extension, David cameron is right, and you are falling for the medias shorthand.
          • by Eccles (932)
            yes they did. although I suspect a lot of those session guys backed it too

            Why? Are the session guys really collecting significant coin from performances they did fifty years ago? (Not to mention the question of whether they should.)

            • by cliffski (65094)
              Some of them will be yes. I used to know a few session guys, I even did some work myself once (not for royalties though). A lot of session guys do a LOT of work, most of which never amounts to anything at all, then suddenly, that guy who you did some bass playing for turns out to have a mega platinum album, in which case (if you are lucky and got a points deal), you can be collecting checks well into retirement. In a way, this is just like people who buy premium bonds or lottery tickets. 99% of sessions wil
        • I've already said that copyright is not a pension plan [slashdot.org]. If your music goes out of fashion the royalty cheques stop coming. Suggesting to musicians that they don't have to put part of todays royalties into a pension plan because copyright lasts a long time is a cruel deception. The musician faces not just the ignominy of falling from public regard when musical tastes change and his music is no longer played, his pretend pension gets cancelled.

    • Re:What a deal. (Score:4, Insightful)

      by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:47AM (#19766569) Journal
      David Cameron almost had me starting to consider the posibility that he had actually made some headway into changing the political direction of the Tories, but no: nothing has changed. Let's pay off big businesses in exchange for more social/cultural control and censorship.
      • by Ngwenya (147097)
        I wouldn't worry about it. Give it a fortnight, and he'll be making a speech showing how he's totally cool with the ho's and bitches; and that this copyright thing's gotten way outta hand, y'know? So it's time to set the music free, right? And the Conservatives have always wanted to diss copyright.

        That's the thing about Cameron. He's like NFS and Palestinians. Totally stateless.

        --Ng
    • Finally, a lose-lose deal for the average citizen. Good job plutocrats!
      • That was how I read it as well.. From the citizen's perspective, this reads: "In exchange for taking some of your public domain rights, we'll take some of your free speech rights, too!"

  • horrible situation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Potor (658520) <.farker1. .at. .gmail.com.> on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:13AM (#19766209) Journal
    so the government decides what may hear, and the recording industry what we may listen to. great.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      And this differs from the current situation in what way?
      • by Potor (658520)

        in a way you're right, of course. the majors do control the listening of the masses, and govt does enforce decency laws.

        but this new proposal would also effect indie labels (and perhaps their artists), who would reap whatever benefits extended copyrights offer. however, i can't see them willfully trading away their voices for these rights. but, if such a nebulous proposal ever became legislation, how could they not, legally speaking?

        thus, the extended copyright would go further: it's extension of a taci

  • Pointless deal. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by Devv (992734)
    Look at what music has become. A great way to express your opinion huh?

    Think about it! The whole thing is ridiculous. The labels decide what the artists sing so it's not really the artists opinion and the labels just make them sing what gives the most money.

    If they sing about anarchy then it's no ones opinion? It might just affect the listeners but what if the listeners know it's not the artists opinion?
  • Nanny state (Score:5, Insightful)

    by pubjames (468013) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:14AM (#19766223)
    Well, this puts me right off David Cameron.

    What's up with the UK recently? It's bizarre. People complain like hell about the EU imposing laws on the UK, but if it is the UK gov doing it, nobody bats an eyelid.

    For example, smoking. I hate smoking, it's horrid. But if people want to do it, they should be able to go to pubs where it's allowed. If people want to listen to music that glorifies "an anti-learning culture, truancy, knifes, violence, guns, misogyny" then they should be able to. And if people want to copy music or books or whatever of an artist that is well dead and buried then they should be able to do that too.
    • by rjshields (719665)

      For example, smoking. I hate smoking, it's horrid. But if people want to do it, they should be able to go to pubs where it's allowed.
      The problems is that there are other people besides smokers breathing air in pubs. If people want to smoke they can stand outside in the cold with the motons, chimneys and other polluters. No one is taking that right away :)
      • Re:Nanny state (Score:5, Insightful)

        by aztektum (170569) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:12AM (#19766903)
        I thought about that argument and then I realized "Well, they could always goto a pub that doesn't allow smoking."

        Just because you *feel* entitled to go out in the world and have it be a warm and fuzzy place that lives up to your every expectation and personal choice, doesn't mean you are.

        If a pub owner person wants to allow smoking and attracts those clients, then they shouldn't be legally prohibited. You're more than welcome to use the one across the street that has a no smoking sign in the window.
        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by mattkime (8466)
          You can banty around high minded ideas relating to personal freedom all you want but seeing the law in person will give you a much different impression.

          New York City passed the law several years ago and it has been AMAZINGLY successful. It has been popular with smokers and non-smokers alike.

          Non-smokers don't like sitting in smoke. Smokers don't like sitting in other people's smoke. People don't like coming home from pubs smelling like an ash tray.

          Bar owners feared that people would stay away because they co
          • Re:Nanny state (Score:4, Insightful)

            by drsquare (530038) on Friday July 06, 2007 @12:50PM (#19769373)

            New York City passed the law several years ago and it has been AMAZINGLY successful. It has been popular with smokers and non-smokers alike.
            If it was that successful, pubs would have banned smoking themselves, to make more money. The fact that it hasn't speaks volumes.

            They banned smoking in pubs in Ireland, and something like one in three pubs closed down. The same is happening in England, with many semi-rural pubs turning into restaurants. Eventually all there'll be left is trendy inner-city wine bars, and another great tradition will be lost to the politically-correct brigade.

            Unfortuanately in modern Britain, all the major parties are control freaks, and the minor parties are all nazis and communists, so there's no-one to vote for. And they wonder why voting turnouts are so low...
            • by mattkime (8466)
              >>If it was that successful, pubs would have banned smoking themselves, to make more money. The fact that it hasn't speaks volumes.

              I don't think any bar owner wants to define themselves by whether or not they allow smokers. Its not customer friendly to specifically exclude a legal activity even if its for the benefit for the overall group. The "free market" doesn't solve all problems.

              Pubs in England have been having trouble for a while. I've heard it blamed on tougher drunk driving laws and lower pric
        • by 1u3hr (530656)
          If a pub owner person wants to allow smoking and attracts those clients, then they shouldn't be legally prohibited. You're more than welcome to use the one across the street that has a no smoking sign in the window.

          Right. Except, in practice, there were hardly any pubs that were non-smoking, because none of the bar owners wanted to chance alienating any smokers. I would have drank a lot more beer if I could go out without a few hours later having aching eyeballs and stinking clothes from the clouds of sm

        • by julesh (229690)
          I thought about that argument and then I realized "Well, they could always goto a pub that doesn't allow smoking."

          Right. And you find one of those... where?

          Seriously. The commercial pressures are such that it is almost business suicide for a pub to go no smoking, unless there are no alternative smoking pubs in its local area. Saying the market should cater for the requirement is all nice & libertarian, but in practice it has been shown not to work.
      • Re:Nanny state (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Odiumjunkie (926074) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:16AM (#19766965) Journal
        I believe the OP was suggesting that there should be some pubs where it's allowed.

        If local councils were allowed to license, say, 5% of pubs in their area to allow smoking, on condition of having good air conditioning, not allowing children in even with families, and an extra license fee, for example, it's highly unlikely that anyone would go to that pub, or indeed work in that pub, who didn't want to be in a smoky environment.

        I think it would be a pretty fair solution. Most pubs remain smoke-free, but smokers willing to sit in a filthy haze of carcinogens are able to, surrounded by other smokers willing to sit in a filthy haze of carcinogens.

        It would also allow places like cigar clubs to still exist.
      • by CmdrGravy (645153)
        Thats true but pubs should be given the choice of whether to be smoking or non smoking pubs, if people don't wish to breathe in smoke then they can just avoid going to the smoking pubs.

        Pubs have already had this choice but most have chosen to remain smoking which reflects the wishes of the majority of their customers, I don't see why smokers should be forced to bow to the wishes of some vocal minority.

        • Smokers are the vocal minority here; around 80% of people in the UK (including me) support a smoking ban.

          Quit your whining and take your stinking, toxic, cancer sticks outside.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      Well, this puts me right off David Cameron.

      As more than one pundit has noted, Tony Blair's legacy is now obvious: it is David Cameron. True to form, he started out very promising, saying lots of things we all wanted to hear, but now the spin has started to slip a lot of his policies just sound like bad ideas. (See also "grammar schools".) I wonder how long Gordy will last before falling into the same pit; surely after a decade at the heart of the previous government, he hasn't really suddenly given up o

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by robably (1044462)

      Well, this puts me right off David Cameron.

      If it took this to put you off David Cameron, you haven't been paying attention to what a knee-jerk-politics empty-headed photo-op publicity-seeker he is.

      but if it is the UK gov doing it, nobody bats an eyelid.

      This isn't the UK government imposing a law, it's a proposal by the leader of the opposition. People in the UK do complain when the government does something they don't like, loudly. Downing Street even has a site where you can create and sign petitions [pm.gov.uk] so

      • The roads pricing petition had over a million signatures - how is that "nobody bats and eyelid"?
        Ask me again when they actually shelve the plans.

        why should I have to wash my clothes just because I went for a drink?
        I'm not sure, did you throw up on them?
  • by kebes (861706) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:16AM (#19766251) Journal
    To all the people who doubt the social relevance of the "copyright reformist" debate... here is a perfect example of why we should be concerned. Not only is there yet another push for copyright extension, but this extension is being used to bargain for government censorship too.

    The irony, of course, is that one of the main problems with effectively-perpetual copyright is the many restrictions it places on open commentary and free speech. Perpetual and rigidly-enforced copyrights essentially produce a chilling effect in the domain of free public discussion. Since copyright is a government-granted monopoly, it is hard to not label this as censorship.

    So we get a double-dose of censorship: copyright extensions limit our ability to freely discuss and produce derivative art of the culture we are a part of... and these same extensions are used as a lever to enforce a government-mandated version of decency. In my mind this seriously calls into question the notion that copyrights are there as a service to society, encouraging distribution of artwork to the people... or have we given up on that interpretation of copyright entirely?
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      The irony, of course, is that one of the main problems with effectively-perpetual copyright is the many restrictions it places on open commentary and free speech. Perpetual and rigidly-enforced copyrights essentially produce a chilling effect in the domain of free public discussion. Since copyright is a government-granted monopoly, it is hard to not label this as censorship.

      In many ways it's good to see Mr Cameron getting "Back to Basics" [wikipedia.org] here. After all the original purpose of copyright, from before

  • Knifes? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Pedrito (94783) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:20AM (#19766287) Homepage
    which appears to translate into avoiding lyrics that glorify 'an anti-learning culture, truancy, knifes, violence, guns, misogyny'.

    I have only one question: What are knifes and why is someone glorifying them?
  • by Grimwiz (28623) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:28AM (#19766359) Homepage
    Well, considering he was at the British Phonographic Industry trying to drum up votes any politician worth his salt would tell them what they want to hear and therefore why they should vote for his party.

    I hope he's lying to them as usual as per UK ministers' standard operating procedures. If this makes it into the manifesto then I cannot support the party, and if there are enough likeminded people that will cost them more votes than pandering to the racket.

    Apologies if I come over as a bit bitter and twisted, but a poll of my peers (8 of us, professional, 40 years old-ish) has indicated that none of us believe either of the two main parties represent our wishes.
    • by Ngwenya (147097)

      I hope he's lying to them as usual as per UK ministers' standard operating procedures.

      Of course he's lying to them. Look - it's an easy option for this tosser. Copyright term is harmonised across the EU. The UK government cannot arbitrarily alter copyright term. So Cameron sends his Europe flunkie to the halls of Brussels to wail for longer copyright terms. Germany (DG) and France (Vivendi) agree, but the other states can't be arsed, so say "no".

      So Dave trots back to the BPI and says "Sorry guys, we tried o

  • Holy crap. (Score:3, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:29AM (#19766371)
    His offer is that if the recording industry will give up some of their own free-speech rights, the government will reward them by curtailing citizens' free-speech rights?
  • huh? (Score:5, Insightful)

    music about "anti-learning culture, truancy, knifes, violence, guns, misogyny" is street music which, gasp, is sold on the street

    by the time it gets in the hands of the kids of these fine legislators, it has been picked up by a label and redistributed. stopping that part of the process won't lead to the death of street music, it will just mean that street music will get distributed by other means

    kids are stupid. they listen to stupid things. then they grow up. and become responsible. and become members of the house of commons. i wonder how many of this guys peers, if not himself, were getting stoned in the back of a car listening to "we don't need no education..." and other wonders of pink floyd's "the wall" 25 years ago

    you can't stop teenagers from being retarded. that's just what teenage years are all about

    hey david cameron: "How can you have any pudding if you don't eat your meat!"
    • i wonder how many of this guys peers, if not himself, were getting stoned in the back of a car listening to "we don't need no education..." and other wonders of pink floyd's "the wall" 25 years ago

      I guess they forgot the next line, too. How unfortunate.

  • Helmet (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Shuntros (1059306)
    Fortunately the majority of British voters see Cameron for what he is; someone who'll do and say anything to get back into power. It will be a sad election that sees his greasy mug in Downing St.

    That said, Brown doesn't exactly make me jump for joy either. Guess I'll carry on doing what I've done for the last 10 years, vote for apathy and stay at home.
  • by Simply Curious (1002051) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:36AM (#19766435)
    Can it go the other way too? Can they lower the copyright term in exchange for reducing censorship?
  • by kebes (861706) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:37AM (#19766445) Journal
    The entire text of this speech makes me sick. It is full of lies and unsubstantiated claims. Here's a random assortment:

    And at a time of technological revolution, you have adapted to changes in consumer behaviour with great ingenuity, launching online and mobile services.
    (Emphasis mine.) Ha! That's a laughable analysis of an industry desperately trying to maintain the status quo.

    First, how do we prevent the massive fraud that is carried out against your industry every day through copyright theft.
    I know it's been said a million times on Slashdot, but: calling copyright infringement "theft" is imprecise (and legally at least incorrect) and is an intentional attempt to bias the debate.

    And second, how do we protect your investments in the long-term by looking at the issue of copyright extension in the digital age.
    "Copyright extension in the digital age." The irony! Because we live in a world where information can be transmitted very quickly, and fads come and go much more quickly, and everything is being sped up... clearly the solution is to provide temporal extensions to all present laws! ~sarcasm~

    Very few people would go into a shop, lift a CD from the shelves and just walk out with it. But for some reason, many are happy to buy pirate CDs or illegally download music.
    This is a classic fallacy. Rather than dwell on the obvious differences between theft of physical property and unauthorized duplication of data, I ask a question: If the people of your country are obviously treating the two activities very differently (both in practical and moral terms), shouldn't you instead search out the root cause of those differences? Perhaps the people unconsciously realize that there is a fundamental difference!

    This alone has cost the music industry as much as £1.1 billion in lost retail sales since 2004.
    Prove it.

    We wouldn't tolerate fraud on such a massive scale in any other industry... so why is there such little will on the part of government, businesses and individuals to confront it in the music industry?
    Again, maybe you should use this as a clue to the fact that those figures of "lost sales" may not be realistic? Maybe you should search out the reasons why your citizens bear very little sympathy for this industry...

    Copyright matters because it is the way artists are rewarded and businesses makes its money and invests in the future. So copyright theft has to be treated like other theft.
    Correction: "Copyright matters because it is one way artists can be rewarded and business may make money." (The second sentence is a non sequitur.)

    If you cannot get protection from illegal activity, where is the incentive to continue innovating?
    That's a very good question... and since you evidently don't know the answer, you should spend time talking to the millions of artists worldwide who release their material under a creative commons license (or implicitly allow others to access their work by posting it online freely, e.g. YouTube), and the huge community of free software coders. (Note: I agree that free software coders benefit from the legal framework of the GPL, and others benefit from the legal framework of the CC licenses... but not in the way that he is implying.)

    This only covers the first 1/4 of the speech. Again, I'm disgusted by the skewed view of the entire debate that is being presented. This results from either paying little to no attention to what is going on, or an intentional misrepresentation in order to garner the favor of a particular industry. In either case, it's not a good place from which to start setting social policy.
    • Why do musicians deserve special treatment so they can live off something they made 70 yrs ago (or their estate)? Let them save for their senior years like the rest of us. People like The Who and Paul McCartny are especially repugnant in the way they keep grubbing for money they don't need. I don't see them passing the wealth along to their session musicians or others who made their work possible. And these promises by the companies to pass on the extra income to the musicians is pure bullshit. It is l
  • Translation: "We will limit the public's rights to creative works if you help us run our nanny state." Who does David Cameron work for again?
  • by Imsdal (930595) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:39AM (#19766461)
    Poor Mr Brown has been in power for what, little over a week now. So far it has been nothing but bad news and terrorists.

    And here comes this, a gift from heaven pointing out his opponent as a right fool. Coincidence? I think not. A PR firm worth the hefty fees and future House of Lords appointments they will get? That's more like it!

  • So, if an artist transgresses any of those rules, all his works forfeits copyright? Sounds good to me...
  • I may have passed of Copyright extensions in return for no DRM, but copyright extensions and more censorship, that's a great way for them to get my vote.

    BTW the conservatives are the opposition and aren't in government.
  • by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday July 06, 2007 @09:54AM (#19766643) Homepage
    Let's be honest. 99% of the time, for a software, books, music, and movies, 95% of the profit is in over the first 5 years. After that, if you get any sales at all, they are dribles in. A slight exception is for series books, where if someone reads book #5 and likes it, they might go out and buy #1-4.

    Still, that generally only pumps up your profit for an additional 5-10 years.

    After 20 years on sale, your profit is practically nothing ... UNLESS you wrote a masterpiece.

    But if you wrote a masterpiece then:

    1. You probably got rich by then anyway.

    2. The public wants you to WRITE ANOTHER ONE

    3. A sequel/new book would earn a ton more money and also can pump up sales of the first thing.

    Net Net, it is in the PUBLIC'S interest that after just 10 years, copyrights run out. AND it does not significantly affect any creator's income.

    The real reason why we have copyright laws over 10 years is not for the writer, but instead for the major corporations that can make money lots of tiny sales 15, 20 or 50 years after creation of the author. It is pretty much ONLY them that really benefit, at the expense of society by a LOT.

    Now, there is one other factor - derivative work. Movies based on books etc. That kind of thing it is reasonable to allow the original writer to retain. But honestly it should ALWAYS be the original writer, i.e. the right should not be saleable. That prevents them from selling it to a corp for a quick profit and then having the corp. massacre their work. By requirin the original actual author to give always give consent, we can increase the quality of the work.

    • Their music will start to come out of copyright in a few years time (1962 +50 = 2012) so I guess there is money to be made/lost. This is probably the only time when such a window of opportunity arises, 50 years after the '60s.

      Having said that, there's no reason why politicians should feel the need to ask industries if they please, wouldn't mind, curbing some of their more extreme behaviour. If the public voted for them, just pass a law.

  • Wait, what? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Azuma Hazuki (955769)
    I don't get it...how is this an exchange? It sounds like there are two things this type of person wants, longer copyright and censorship, so why is one being offered "in exchange" for the other? The two go hand-in-hand, making it harder to distribute material and harder to produce material about what you want. This looks like a sock puppet job. Now if it was "decrease copyright term for increased censorship" or vice versa, that would be an exchange.
    • by delinear (991444)
      Well, the recording industry likely doesn't want the censorship since it will affect the "street" image of their "edgy" artists, which might turn some people off. Likewise, Cameron doesn't really gain anything from extended copyright periods. So there is an exchange here, it's just that both of these things screw over we, the public. So (big) business as usual...
  • by jabuzz (182671) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:21AM (#19767031) Homepage

    So the music industry want to retroactively change the terms of the license. Thing is we already have already aggreed a contract. In particular I have a number of spoken word audiobooks, the original text of which is long out of copyright. I had a reasonably expectation when I purchased those audiobooks that the copyright on the recording of the books would lapse 50 years after it was made. I have made special note of the dates, and fully intend when the 50 years is up to release these professionally made recordings by leading performers on the internet (or equivalent) free for all.

    What gives them the right to change the terms of that implied contract, and can I demand my money back? Alternatively if they have broken the contract can I just ignore it as well?
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by kebes (861706)
      Hmmmm.... Your comment got me thinking. You describe an "implied contract" between a consumer and the corporation. I agree with that: the consumers were sold something ("here is a work... it will enter public domain in X years"), whose value is then afterwards altered ("sorry... it will now enter public domain in X+Y years!"). So the consumer is being ripped off.

      But authors are, too. When I publish something and assign the copyright to the publisher (in exchange for whatever terms), it is with the knowledge
  • Translation: (Score:3, Insightful)

    by superbus1929 (1069292) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:33AM (#19767179) Homepage
    "We'll allow you guys to soak up even more money that you don't deserve, as long as you contribute to our Big Brother-like atmosphere!" Should I take solace that this will almost certainly get laughed off by Labour?
  • Orwellian Politics (Score:4, Insightful)

    by unlametheweak (1102159) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:42AM (#19767303)
    This illustrates to me the symbiotic relationship governments and businesses have with each other in democracies. In their words it's protecting the consumer from themselves while making music more available. In the double-think tradition of Orwell this makes sense. Too bad it doesn't seem like there is a choice nowadays in democracies. You get to vote for different people, but it's all the same basic ideology; the corrupt supporting the corrupt. That is, businesses supporting politicians, and your average voter being fed the same old FUD, appeals to emotion, etc. without any De facto choice or say in the matter. The popular vote really doesn't seem to be supporting anything popular. Career politicians supporting career business people who support career politicians. It's the mobius strip of Western progress.
  • now it's being taken away, and the everyday sheeple dont see it coming.
  • by wlvdc (842653) on Friday July 06, 2007 @10:52AM (#19767445) Homepage Journal
    Economic benefits in return for social responsibility. Read: more profit if you apply (self-)censorship to ensure the restoration of Victorian values. The next step will be ofcourse to ban anything that is critical, obscene, rebellious or hurtful to the feelings of the majority. I can recall at least two other regimes from the last century that offered benefits to individuals, companies and organisations, when they would apply censorship and spy on family, friends, neighbours and employees. This is all very much in-line with recent developments in the UK. Oher examples are: many in the UK think, supported by populist politicians, press and media, that there are terrorists and child molestors on every street corner (ofcourse all non-British). Consequently, there are more and more calls to ditch human rights legislation and to cut freedom of speech, all in the name of fighting terrorism and anti-social behaviour. People get political positions through cash donations (cash for honours). Police kill innocent people and no one gets charged. Two-year old in a pram cannot enter a supermarket wearing a hoodie. Fourteen-year old girl gets arrested for chalking love signs and butterflies on a pavement. Father gets arrested for making pictures of his son playing football, not having a license. All social-economic problems here are caused by artists, scientists, immigrants, teenagers or the European Union, so they should and will be punished. The true culprits, politicians, laywers, the popular media and greedy business people walk free and get rewarded for their opportunism.
  • Exactly backwards (Score:4, Interesting)

    by wytcld (179112) on Friday July 06, 2007 @11:12AM (#19767711) Homepage
    To achieve the aim of maximizing the quality of the culture transmitted by copyrighted works, the term of copyright should be shortened, and the rights of citizens to make certain types of copies even within that term should be expanded. Why? Because the larger portion of the crassness in our culture is there in service of commercial interest - commerce whose shape and nature is in part determined by the ecological niche allowed it by our extravagant copyrights and other legal structures which are designed to amplify the profits of our largest corporate players.

    The proof of this? Compare the musical offerings of small, independent labels to that of the majors. There is proportionately far less lowest-denominator sexuality, gangsta worship, women-hatred - and there's far more actual aural art as compared to the cheap sonic wallpaper the big labels prefer to sell us. The same differences can be found between the offerings of the small presses and the big publishing houses. And when the small recording labels and presses do release something with sex or violence featured, it's usually of much greater artistic worth, and doesn't trivialize either the sex or the violence the way the big corporations prefer to.

    Unfettered capitalism by smaller players is the cure to our cultural failings. But they will not prosper as long as government regulation tilts the field towards the largest corporate interests. Long copyright terms are one brick in the wall preventing the free flourishing of the arts. And it's the lack of better-done art which leaves the public hungry enough to accept the empty calories the large, government-favored firms want to sell. Those empty calories will inevitably be dressed up in sex and violence, because the higher, more mindful forms of expression require levels of art largely incompatible with corporate packaging, and in any case tend to contribute to unwelcome challenges to the dumbed-down public mentality which proves so pliable to our political and corporate masters.

    You'd think a Conservative in Britain would realize that this current regime is playing mostly into the hands of New Labor, and that a return to the more conservative form of capitalism, where small players are encouraged to do their entrepreneurial best, and corporations towards the monopolistic end of the spectrum are restrained or even broken up by government, rather than treated as its special partners - which is the very neo-fascism that New Labor has led Britain into.
    • by JimDaGeek (983925)

      Unfettered capitalism by smaller players is the cure to our cultural failings

      Buy how do you keep it as small to medium players? Companies merge. A new industry starts, many small players. Some rise to the top others drop out. Capitalism at its best. However, those now at the top want to stay there and start buying small players. After a while, you are left with one or two huge corps that become abusive of their position and have tons of cash to bribe politicians. Lather, rinse repeat.

  • by octal666 (668007)
    avoiding lyrics that glorify 'an anti-learning culture, truancy, knifes, violence, guns, misogyny'.

    no brit punk?
  • So basically, I, the consumer, get screwed both by what he is barganing for and what he is barganing with. Wonderful.
  • The existence of copyright isn't only exists as a service to the public! If it works against the common people it needs to be changed! They can't say, "Oh well, we'll LET you guys have more socially acceptable material if you let us make copyright even worse than it is." What bullshit!

    How about "We the people will LET you keep any copyright so long as you quit peddling shit music!"

  • If indeed all of this censorship were to occur at the control of the labels, I think we'll find that artists will stop using the labels and use other means of publication and distribution.

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