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Biden Promises 'Right Person' As Copyright Czar 492

Hugh Pickens writes "Vice President Joe Biden lauded Hollywood at a gala dinner in Washington, assailed movie piracy, and promised film executives that the Obama administration would pick 'the right person' as its copyright czar. Biden warned of the harms of piracy at the private event organized by the Motion Picture Association of America in the sumptuous, newly renovated Great Hall of the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, D.C. 'It's pure theft, stolen from the artists and quite frankly from the American people as consequence of loss of jobs and as a consequence of loss of income,' Biden said, according to a White House pool report. Biden addressed President Obama's forthcoming decision about who will be named the intellectual-property enforcement coordinator, better known as the copyright czar. Under a law approved by the US Congress last October, Obama is required to appoint someone to coordinate the administration's IP enforcement efforts and prepare annual reports. Copyright industry lobbyists sent a letter to the president asking him to pick someone sympathetic to their concerns, while groups that would curb copyright law sent their own letter (PDF) urging the opposite approach. We 'will find the right person for intellectual property czar,' Biden said."
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Biden Promises 'Right Person' As Copyright Czar

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  • I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by flaming error ( 1041742 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @09:59PM (#27682157) Journal

    Lawrence Lessig

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by DustyShadow ( 691635 )
      Lessig and Hollywood don't get along.
      • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

        by shanen ( 462549 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:18PM (#27682279) Homepage Journal

        I think they should hire a reformed pirate from Somalia. After all, it takes a pirate to stop a pirate.

        Seriously, copyright is dead already. It no longer makes sense to pretend that the point of reproduction is a choke point for publication. Yes, we do need to reward creativity, but no, corporate-controlled copyright focused on profit-maximization (based on an ancient paradigm of killing more trees) is NOT the solution.

        • Re:I nominate... (Score:4, Insightful)

          by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:33PM (#27682381)

          Yes, we do need to reward creativity, but no, corporate-controlled copyright focused on profit-maximization ... is NOT the solution.

          So the solution is??????

          • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:37PM (#27682417)

            Copyright focused on what the law originally intended as stated in the Constitution: the advancement of science and the arts for the public good. That doesn't always mean "For the good of this corporation over here, because they put a fat check in my pocket"

            We had a choice between assholes that shill for oil companies, or douches that shill for Hollywood. Guess which group we picked.

            • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by ProKras ( 727865 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:58PM (#27682583)

              We had a choice between assholes that shill for oil companies, or douches that shill for Hollywood. Guess which group we picked.


            • Re:I nominate... (Score:4, Insightful)

              by shentino ( 1139071 ) <> on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:06PM (#27682635)

              I wish the framers allowed the president and congress critters to be recalled if they pissed off the public.

              At the very least, a "disapproved by voters" should bar a reelection.

              That way they won't get away with playing nice long enough to get reelected.

              The only reason that people are putting up with this crap anyway is due to learned helplessness.

              • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by sumdumass ( 711423 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @03:45AM (#27684051) Journal

                wish the framers allowed the president and congress critters to be recalled if they pissed off the public.

                Why would the framers want to do something like that? They set the government up specifically to avoid "Tyranny of the masses" [] and group stupidity.

                What your seeing is exactly what they wanted. It may be being abused but it was the intent. The abuses seem more damaging now that people want to think the federal government is supposed to be over the people and not just a governing body for the states to control common business associated with the state.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                by Just Some Guy ( 3352 )

                I wish the framers allowed the president and congress critters to be recalled if they pissed off the public.

                That was a large part of the motivation behind the second amendment.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            So the solution is to not criminalize personal filesharing for no commercial gain, decrease copyright to a sane 20 or less years, repeal things such as the DMCA and make a law with safe harbor provisions without the draconian things of the DMCA, make jailbreaking, breaking of DRM, etc. expressly legal so long as they do not make a profit. Make trackers and torrent sites expressly legal. Allow the remixing of such things for non-profit use. Then we will see progress.
            • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

              by Nutria ( 679911 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:02PM (#27682607)

              So the solution is to not criminalize personal filesharing for no commercial gain, ... Allow the remixing of such things for non-profit use. Then we will see progress.

              I think that's a pipe dream which doesn't take human nature ("why pay when I can take it for free?") into account.

              decrease copyright to a sane 20 or less years, repeal things such as the DMCA

              That I agree with.

              • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                I think that's a pipe dream which doesn't take human nature ("why pay when I can take it for free?") into account.

                But a lot of money being made on copyright with the exception of games is for business use or things that can never be emulated. For example, most bands make their money through live shows, no matter how advanced of video technology we get, you can never really successfully recreate the atmosphere of a concert. Similarly, if movie theaters could provide a great experience many people would go there rather then at home, but sadly the ordinary movie theater experience has technical glitches, loud children,

                • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Corbets ( 169101 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @12:24AM (#27683121) Homepage

                  That's a pretty ridiculous argument, actually.

                  You can't argue that copyright has anything to do with whether people prefer watching movies in the theater or at home.

                  And while I can see your argument (which is not to agree) regarding the music business, lives shows don't apply for movies, books or games, so there's still no way to generate revenue for the artist in those mediums.

                  You suggested specialty hardware (i.e. DRM? yes, I know you meant consoles, I'm just making the comparison) for games, but that adds to the cost of user for the consumer. Not everyone wants to drop 4-500 francs on a gaming console; especially if they already have a computer with sufficient power!

                  All in all, I don't think you'll see the end of copyright until someone can suggest a specific and implementable plan to reward everyone involved in the creative process. With books this include authors and editors, movies and games have huge staffs, music pretty much requires the band and maybe some songwriters. Good luck with that.

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by Anonymous Coward

                    The staff it takes to make a movie, of a given production quality, is falling. If copyright was abolished, and the film industry was reduced to hobbyists, then it wouldn't be irretrievably destroyed - it'd be set back to what it was in, say, the 1940s. (The production values of, say, Casablanca and Clerks are pretty similar. Major motion-picture backing in the first is matched by a hobbyist budget and much-improved technology in the latter.)

                    Setting the entertainment industry back 60 years in exchange for

                  • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                    by migla ( 1099771 )

                    Don't you think moviebuffs all over the world would get together and find financing for new movies if they awoke one morning to Hollywood being gone?

                    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

                      by bit01 ( 644603 )

                      I can't say the same for most of the independent films I have watched.

                      You're not looking very hard. I see wonderful old, foreign and independent movies every day. Hollywood alone is currently producing more than two feature movies a day. Worldwide there must be hundreds per day. That's thousands per year. With a world population of 6,700,000,000+ that's actually a small number. How many movies do you watch in a year?

                      We simply don't need draconian copyright to increase the number of good movies made. We ar

                • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @03:15AM (#27683919)

                  I was about to rant about the "cinema atmosphere" when you mentioned that you can't recreate the concert atmosphere, but you already took care of that. Still, allow me to stress it:

                  Why the heck should I got to a cinema? Pushing past crowds that want in or out, standing in line for a bag, box or whatever container of popcorn worth 20 cents (and costing 5-7 dollar), only to find out that the next bozo dumps his coke all over them, then enjoy the "slurp-slarp" of sticky floors while going to my seat which is usually an experience for a forensic biologist, but not for a movie enthusiast who'd rather want to see a movie than play "find out what this encrusted stuff you're gonna sit on is".

                  Then the movie starts, deafening you with that "THX the audience is listening" crap ("was listening while they could hear anything" would be more appropriate), possibly to deafen you to a few things that you certainly don't want to notice. Like the annoying kids that start fighting about halfway through the movie (whose parents are either not around or, like the ushers, not caring), the various chewing noises all around you (but they go really well with the accompanying smell of cheese, stale fat and other yummy things that wanna make you puke) and the fact that any dialog is done at about 10 dB, any explosion at about 120.

                  But that way you at least notice when something's going on on screen, because invariably the only person above 8' tall will sit in front of you. Alternatively you get someone with ants in his pants who can't sit still if his life depended on it. Bonus points if this creates a cloud of "didn't shower since July" aroma any time he does so.

                  All that and more for just 7-10 bucks (plus snacks, gas and parking).

                  Yeah, that's an experience you just can't copy with your home entertainment system.

              • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

                by FlyingBishop ( 1293238 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:53PM (#27682923)

                Your understanding of human nature is myopic to say the least.

                Humans want people they like to do well. They want people they don't like to do poorly.

                Thus, I refuse to pay $20 for an album I'm going to listen to a few times and then discard. On the other hand, I listen to an album several times, and still like it, I'm going to buy a copy, because I want more where that came from.

                That's not gonna happen if I don't buy this album. It's simple cause and effect, and anyone with two eyes and two ears knows that's how the music industry is currently functioning, despite the RIAA's protests.

                The same applys to movies. I don't want disposable, mass market crap. I want priceless art, and when I see it, I pay for it.

              • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Interesting)

                by grumbel ( 592662 ) <> on Thursday April 23, 2009 @01:21AM (#27683459) Homepage

                I think that's a pipe dream which doesn't take human nature ("why pay when I can take it for free?") into account.

                Its quite the opposite. Its the only solution that actually takes human nature into account. The problem simply isn't the copying, people have done that since forever, thats how culture spreads and they will continue to do that on the Internet. The real problem is that very large parts of the youth is getting criminalize and *that* has to be fixed if you don't want a large scale revolt a few years down the line. Might that mean that the entertainment industry collapses? That could very well happen, after all they are mostly obsolete since distribution can be handled via the Internet. Will it mean that artists get bankrupt? I kind of doubt it. Artists today already get only a very tiny fraction of sales of their stuff, if you remove the industry and distribution on the other side, you could channel all money directly to the artists. So even when many people stop buying stuff, there would still be enough money left once the industry is out of the picture.

                • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

                  by swillden ( 191260 ) <> on Thursday April 23, 2009 @09:31AM (#27686319) Homepage Journal

                  The real problem is that very large parts of the youth is getting criminalize and *that* has to be fixed if you don't want a large scale revolt a few years down the line.

                  A serious corollary of the criminalization of something that such a large portion of the population is doing is that it encourages the people to look down on the law. Our current approach is creating a generation of scofflaws, and that is a bad thing -- because other laws DO matter.

          • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Insightful)

            by Znork ( 31774 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @04:14AM (#27684183)

            Really, this has been rehashed so many times by now that if you truly haven't seen any of the many possible solutions you haven't been looking.

            Basically it's a fairly easy question to solve as long as you simply frame the question appropriately and realize it's just yet another benefit no different than any other such system. From a macro economic point of view copyright is roughly equivalent to an arbitrary sales tax on specific items, with an efficiency rate of about 5% of the collected funds going towards the stated (as opposed to actual, of course) purpose of copyright.

            To replace that with a better system would be trivial. The quickest and easiest way, most closely resembling a vastly more efficient version of the current system, would be to simply implement it as what it actually is; a sales tax on creative goods, but with the proceeds going directly to the intended recipients, ie, artists and creators.

            A quick calculation of the numbers would yield something like this; with free replication of creative materials the competitive cost of printing and delivering a high-quality CD to a store would fall somewhere around $1. Final sales point adds another $1, and to ensure the creators get what they get today we'd need a levy of about 50% on top of that, ie, $3 final sales price to customer. Add various other factors such as the vastly increased sales from a massive lowering of prices and you'd probably get double or triple the funds to the actual artists and creators. It's also a model that can easily be implemented on pretty much any profit generating scheme based on copyright, from web sales to automatic printing kiosks to cable tv.

            That's an exceedingly simplified version of course, a more complete analysis of issues would have to go into everything from derived and combined works to appropriate payment levels (whether implemented like copyright or as a sales tax system it's a benefit scheme. It's not supposed to make anyone rich or fund marketing and parties, it's supposed to maximize social utility and allow as many creators to maximize their creative output as possible).

            But in the end it's not a hard question to solve. It's just hard if your basic intention is to have a system intended to make publishers rich, while still screwing the creators as deeply as possible as it's hard to explain and defend a 95% fund leakage even in government unless you hide it outside any visible and publicly reviewed budget.

    • Re:I nominate... (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Adrian Lopez ( 2615 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:46PM (#27682875) Homepage

      Lessig supported Obama during his presidential candidacy. How ironic, then, that the very candidate he supported all along ended up appointing people who stand for the very opposite of what Lessig has stood for as the public face of Creative Commons. Judging by his record so far, I seriously doubt Obama would ever appoint somebody like Lessig to the position of Copyright Czar, and besides I'm not sure the job is all that compatible with the principles of the Creative Commons movement.

    • Re:I nominate... (Score:4, Interesting)

      by Nefarious Wheel ( 628136 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:52PM (#27682921) Journal
      You want credibility? I nominate PJ. Groklaw was the finest example of long term pursuit of legal justice I've ever seen. I'd give her the Nobel Peace Prize if I were on the committee.
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        I'd give her the Nobel Peace Prize if I were on the committee.

        The Peace Prize is (at least in theory) given "to the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations, for the abolition or reduction of standing armies and for the holding and promotion of peace congresses". If you seriously think that PJ's work qualifies in any way, you might want to check your reality distortion field meter...

  • by captnbmoore ( 911895 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @09:59PM (#27682161)
    The way things have gone so far with this admin I figure that the only right person in there eyes will be someone like this Dan Glickman, head of the MPAA,
  • yeah right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by phayes ( 202222 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:00PM (#27682169) Homepage
    An ex, cough, current RIAA attourney without any doubt...
  • Context, please (Score:3, Informative)

    by Dolda2000 ( 759023 ) <fredrik@dol d a 2 0 0 0 . c om> on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:02PM (#27682187) Homepage
    For us on the other side of the ocean, what is this copyright czar you keep mentioning?
  • by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:04PM (#27682197) Journal

    It's kind of sad to see that despite all the progressive politics that Obama and Biden embody, that they're following Hollywood's line to the letter. I'd like to see some specific language from them on exactly what they think about the proper length of copyright terms -- the current terms lasting a century or more are absurd.

    Lessig took the wrong approach in arguing Eldred v. Ashcroft before the Supreme Court. While the frequent extensions to copyright obviously violate the spirit of the Constitution, they don't violate the letter, since century-plus durations are still technically "limited." What does violate the letter of the Constitution is that these extensions do not "promote the Progress" of science and arts, but rather retard them. Past a certain length, copyright terms don't create any additional encouragement to create; they just make it easier for huge corporations to monopolize our common culture.

    • by Mr. Underbridge ( 666784 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:36PM (#27682403)

      It's kind of sad to see that despite all the progressive politics that Obama and Biden pretended to give a shit about during the election that they're following Hollywood's line to the letter

      Fixed that. If you really didn't see this coming, then welcome to the realities of politics.

    • by shark72 ( 702619 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:49PM (#27682905)

      "It's kind of sad to see that despite all the progressive politics that Obama and Biden embody, that they're following Hollywood's line to the letter."

      Interesting choice of words. The administration isn't looking at the short term here -- they see the writing on the wall and want to cement the USA's position as an economic superpower as the manufacturing leaves us behind. The USA is the biggest exporter of IP on the planet, and the administration likely sees this as our economy's golden ticket as India and China usurp what have been traditionally some of our big money-makers.

      The current administration probably looks at it a bit like global warming -- doing something about it should not be put off. They want to make progress here; hence the term "progressive." To do nothing would not be progressive.

      Agreed with you, however, that the ever-extending copyright lengths violate the spirit, if not the letter, of the constitution. Very well put. The big media companies would, of course, like to make copyright perpetual, but that would be unconstitutional. So instead they're doing the next best thing, and getting it pushed out each time Mickey Mouse is in danger of entering ye olde publick domain.


      • by Greg_D ( 138979 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @01:04AM (#27683369)

        If manufacturing leaves us behind, then we're fucking done for.

        A country that can't produce its own goods is a country with no future anyway. Adding draconian IP laws to the books and appointing a bunch of lawyers who are in the pockets of big entertainment are NOT in the best interests of this country. Societies do not advance by hoarding all their knowledge and locking it away where nobody else can get at it.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster ( 516420 )

      Someone has to be the one to burst your bubble about Obama, so I guess it will be me. Obama is a product of the Chicago machine politics of the type the brought you ACORN, Rod Blagojevich, Reverend Wright, and the sort of pay-to-play corruption that only lobbyists, rabble rousers, and crooked union bosses could love. Obama said it himself, he believes that he is "beholden" to the Unions (and probably to Hollywood too via Biden) and if there is one aspect that defines machine politics it is patronage (i.e.

  • by jessemaurais ( 1479217 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:07PM (#27682211)
    "It's pure theft..." but when Disney takes the creation of Steven Lisberger, that's ok, because they own that, so it's not really theft. Corporations have "intellectual property" because they have buying power. Apparently the artists they hire have no intelligence, because they sell their creativity rights for the access to the medium.
  • by b4dc0d3r ( 1268512 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:16PM (#27682263)

    Is it possible that we wouldn't be downloading everything there ever was, if we had grown up in a world where copyrights were limited in any meaningful sense?

    • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @07:03AM (#27685081)

      It's more a reaction to completely batshit insane copyright laws.

      First, laws will not be upheld if they cannot be understood and accepted. "Don't kill or go to prison" is a concept any common person can understand and accept. Killing someone is bad, I would harm someone if I killed him, so ... yeah, makes sense.

      A law telling you that you can't make a copy of something you paid for is neither understandable nor acceptable. I paid for it, so why shouldn't I make a copy of something that I bought? Why shouldn't I be able to use it the way I want? More, why should I be forced to do with what I own (yes, yes, you don't own it... another thing that makes no sense) only what its maker wants? Can Ford force me to drive my SUV only offroad? Can GE force me to keep my super stinky cheese out of the fridge? Can Heinz force me to eat their Ketchup only on Fries and Burgers but never with Hotdogs? Why can Disney force me to sit through unskippable ads? Makes no sense.

      And second, and more importantly, the abundance of copyright laws that do not make intrinsically sense creates an air of uncertainty. What can I do? What can't I do? Or, why the hell should I care what I do, even if I just use it it's prolly already illegal, so why bother trying avoiding breaking the law?

  • by Dirtside ( 91468 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:16PM (#27682269) Journal

    ...that we may already be able to see where, in general, the future will lead with regard to copyright enforcement. The music industry has more or less given up on DRM; there were enough places that started selling DRM-free music, and made a mint at it, that the big dogs finally gave up. Why?

    Among the population of those who pirate (set P), the subset Q who pirate because it's easy, but would pay if they couldn't pirate, is very small. The big dogs were spending more on creating and implementing DRM schemes than they could ever hope to earn from Q, and they finally figured this out.

    The movie industry hasn't quite got this yet, or at least not in the same way; because a piece of music is much smaller and easier to distribute than a piece of video, the RIAA's battle with Internet piracy really began around 1996. The MPAA didn't start having to deal with it to the same degree for five or six years later. Giant corporations are not quick learners, and it'll probably be another two or three years before they really get it (although to some degree they've learned from the RIAA's mistakes).

    In practice, there will be a lot of lip service put toward stopping the Evil Pirates, and occasional high-profile incidents such as the Pirate Bay verdict, but in the main, 99% of pirates will never be affected. There's just way too many of them compared to the studios; giant though those corporations may be, they're nothing compared to the tens of thousands of people who are dedicated, for whatever reason, to defeating any conceivable DRM scheme.

    There'll still be efforts made against commercial pirates, but as for noncommercial piracy, unless they make a big splash or get noticed for some reason, they're going to be ignored by the studios forever, because it will always cost the studios more to do something about them than they could ever hope to earn from doing so.

    Biden and Obama and their successors will, as has been noted, probably sing the same tune forever -- the entertainment industry is a huge political donor. More to the point, the only politicians who get elected are going to be the ones who at least pay lip service to helping Hollywood against the Evil Pirates (tm). But there's really never going to be much they can do about it.

    • by the_macman ( 874383 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:30PM (#27682357)

      I understand your reason for lack of concern. But hear MY concern. During the MPAA's pursuit against piracy the freedoms of the internet will be trampled on :( So sure they won't catch 99% of all pirates but that doesn't mean we won't see federal legislation requiring ISP's to log records, even more powerful DMCA, and other such bullshit along the way. I have hopes that we'll win though. There are more of us and we are smarter. But casualties along the way will occur and that saddens me.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:18PM (#27682281)

    Feeling suckered yet? Obama knows where to get his bread buttered, and Hollyweird is only happy enough to do it for him.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by droopycom ( 470921 )

      If the choice is between having the president a puppet of
      A) the Oil Industry and the Defense Industry
      B) the RIAA and MPAA

      Then I would definitely choose B.

      Its relatively easy to fight the RIAA and MPAA on my own or just ignore them, compared to the Oil and Defense...

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by DigiShaman ( 671371 )

        I would choose A

        We need the Oil and Defense Industry. The media industry however we can do without, especially due to draconian laws passed in their favor against us.

        Seriously, when has BIG Oil and Defense sued thousands of kids on the basis of intellectual property (non-tangible resource)?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by D-Cypell ( 446534 )

          "Seriously, when has BIG Oil and Defense sued thousands of kids on the basis of intellectual property (non-tangible resource)?"

          I bet there are thousands of kids who would have *wished* they would have been sued by the entertainment industry, rather than killed by the implements of the 'defense' industry to support the interests of the oil industry.

          Being sued probably sucks, being bombed probably sucks more.

    • by evanbd ( 210358 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:57PM (#27682949)

      Suckered? Not particularly. I knew Obama wasn't perfect when I voted for him. I knew Hollywood and copyright issues in general was one where I wouldn't like him much. I also believed (and still do) the the other options weren't particularly better on this front. This really isn't a partisan issue, despite people on both the D and R sides of the aisle pretending it is.

      Angry? Certainly. This is a bad policy (well, technically so far it only appears to foreshadow such). Copyright in our country is badly broken, and things that will make it worse make me angry, like many slashdotters.

      Disappointed? Yes, somewhat. I had hoped things would be better than this. I didn't expect them to, and there was no rational basis for that hope. But if you stop hoping for a better future, then very quickly you'll stop working for it. And once you stop working for a better future, you're in deep trouble indeed. So I had hope that things will improve, and I was disappointed. I still have hope that things will improve.

      Regretful? No. I don't want to be an Obama apologist: he's making a mistake here. Please, take him to task for it. Write angry letters, shout from the rooftops, and get us a decent copyright policy. I'm with you on that one. But please don't act like I was an idiot for voting for an imperfect candidate, or pretending that for some reason I have to either support or oppose everything he does as a single block. I'm capable of agreeing with him on some things and disagreeing on others, and I've basically gotten the candidate I thought I voted for, for better *and* for worse.

      I rather suspect I'm not the only one.

  • by the_arrow ( 171557 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:19PM (#27682287) Homepage

    Maybe it's just as simple as Biden wanting more money? "Give me more money and I'll make sure the 'right person' gets approved."

  • The Right Person (Score:5, Insightful)

    by guyminuslife ( 1349809 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:22PM (#27682305)

    The right person for the job will know which battles are winnable, and which battles aren't.

    The right person for the job will recognize that intellectual property holders are going to be more effective at combating user vs. corporation-style IP infringements by expanding access. This person will attempt to foment an environment in which it is reasonable for powerful IP holders to aggressively pursue this objective.

    The right person for the job will focus enforcement efforts on businesses (e.g., pirated software) rather than living-room pirates, since the former can likely be widely-enforced, whereas the latter can't.

    The right person for the job will seek to reform the patent system, and adopt a relatively narrow view of what IP entails.

    The right person for the job will see his or her role as more along the lines of facilitating and educating, than as a law enforcement agent, or, worse, a corporate shill.

    The right person for the job will be able to come up with witty comebacks to the TPB staff's bizarre antics.

    Also, the right person for the job will probably still be widely reviled here. But that's okay, too.

  • by jollyreaper ( 513215 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:23PM (#27682313)

    I'm just hoping something like this will happen in the future.

    Biden returning from trip, eases himself down into a chair in the Oval Office.

    Obama: Long trip there, Joe? *hands him drink*

    Biden: Long trip, long visit, good to be back. Thanks. So, how are things back at the ranch?

    Obama: Fine, fine. The girls showed me something fairly remarkable on the internet.

    Biden: Kids today, whippersnappers et cetera. What was it, youbook or facespace?

    Obama: No, no. Something called bittorrent. Did you know there's all sorts of music online? And you can just download it!

    Biden: *looks wary* That's none of that file-sharing, is it?

    Obama: No, it's called bittorrent. All the kids are doing it.

    Biden: Sure it's not piracy?

    Obama: I just ordered our boys to blow the heads off of three pirates off of Somalia. I think I know piracy when I see it.

    Biden: Sure it's none of that p2b-er b2a um a2m or whatever it is?

    Obama: Nope. Bittorrent.

    Biden: Hmph. *takes a closer look* Hey, this is neat. Wonder why the Hollywood guys haven't built something like this.

    Meanwhile, in the White House IT office

    Tech 1: Hey, looks like someone's using bittorrent.

    Tech 2: Damn, I thought we blocked the port. Better fix it now before anyone notices.

    Tech 1: Better not. Did you see the IP on that one?

    Tech 2: Shit, you're right. I'm not going to be the one to tell the POTUS he can't play. Remember how pissed Cheney got after he spent all that time assuring everyone those emails were safely lost and whoops, we found the backups?

    Tech 1: *shudders* Tell me about it. I haven't seen anyone that mad since I "accidentally" deleted Rove's furry scat collection.

  • Before you freak (Score:5, Insightful)

    by buss_error ( 142273 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @10:57PM (#27682567) Homepage Journal

    ...sit back, relax, and see who gets the post.

    We, as a consumer group, do have the power to stop RIAA and MPAA cold. How? Stop listening to music on the radio, don't buy any new CDs (used is fine), turn off your TV (and cable/sat/uverse), and don't go to the movies. It will take only about six months to completely destroy RIAA and MPAA if as few as 20% of the people do this.

    The real problem as I see it is that very few of you want to be rid of the RIAA and MPAA, you just don't like how they do business. That's fine, I don't like how they do business myself. That's why I don't have cable or sat, I don't listen to music on the radio, I don't go to movies, I don't buy movies or CDs....

    Put up or shut up folks. It's fine to complain, but do something about it, why don't you? The copyright cartels are paying the politicians far more than we do, and they're doing it with money we pay them. Quit paying them money to abridge your rights and desires.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CodeBuster ( 516420 )

      It will take only about six months to completely destroy RIAA and MPAA if as few as 20% of the people do this.

      I have already been doing this for at least the last two (2) years. I have not bought a new CD since 1997 and I quit going to the movies (at least MPAA studio movies) and buying DVDs two (2) years ago (the only film I saw recently was an IMAX movie "Fighter Pilot" at the National Air and Space Museum Steven F Udvar-Hazy Center []). I don't pirate the films or music either. I just turned them off; I don't listen anymore. I spend my free time on the Internet in study of various technical, political, economic, an

  • by IAD.Tatami ( 1095671 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:36PM (#27682827)

    Obviously, nothing should enter the public domain until it is dug from the ground by an archaeologist.

  • by circletimessquare ( 444983 ) <circletimessquare&gmail,com> on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:52PM (#27682919) Homepage Journal

    all we have are a bunch of old people who don't understand the implications of a new technology

    copyright is nothing more than damage to be routed around, and that's what the internet does

    let them pass any law, appoint any stooge they want. why does anyone here care?

    the whole of intellectual property is simply defunct and unenforceable

    now, if they actually could enforce the laws they pass, then this would be an issue

    but they can't. they simply can't. they can bankrupt the occasional grandmother or soccer mom, but to what end?

    the technology routes around whatever they do

    game over

    copyright has died. it does matter what anyone thinks, it matters what the technology allows. and the technology allows unfilterable file trading. no one can stop that. no law on earth, that does also destroy the technology as well, which no one wants to do

    all that is happening is a bunch of people live in denial about the truth of a new technological reality

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by quantaman ( 517394 )

      You seem to be operating under the assumption that a bad law can't cause a lot of damage.

      Kids are being extorted for thousands by the RIAA.

      Old movies and other pieces of our culture are rotting away because they're still under copyright and no one can recover them.

      Countries are considering laws to remove your internet privileges for file sharing.

      People are having to waste countless time and resources fighting them and working around the laws.

      And we don't even know what great technologies the law has stopped

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by CSMatt ( 1175471 )

      I'm sure the "occasional grandmother or soccer mom" that was bankrupted cares about this very much.

  • by Reality Master 201 ( 578873 ) on Wednesday April 22, 2009 @11:59PM (#27682957) Journal

    Yeah, so it turns out that absent any major concern on the part of the electorate, politicians listen to the people who talk to them the loudest - folks with money to lobby them. And while this site is chock full of people who like to write righteous screeds about the injustices of copyright law, most people in the US don't give a shit about copyright law.

    Let me repeat that: most people in the US don't give a shit about copyright law.

    They don't know, don't pay attention, haven't had it be a problem for them, and don't care. Go and ask your parents, or your non-tech savvy siblings, or whomever else. Most, if not all of them, won't know or care. And the reason for that is because nearly all the people that do care spend their time writing righteous screeds about it on Slashdot.

    If you want to make a difference, sure - complain about it, but not here. Complain about it to your congresscritters; but not just them - you've got to make other people give a shit, and that means talking to someone who's not here to listen to the preaching at choir practice.

    If normal people start giving a shit, politicians will change their tune, because that's how politics works. So get the fuck off Slashdot and go talk to regular people who don't know and don't care, and inform them and get them to give a shit. It does matter, and you can convince people that it matters. But you have to actually do some work.

    • by Dhalka226 ( 559740 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @02:11AM (#27683661)

      They don't know, don't pay attention, haven't had it be a problem for them, and don't care.

      On the contrary, most of them just disagree. We spend hours on slashdot yelling over the semantics of calling it "theft," and ultimately we're probably right. But the average person doesn't really give a shit. You've taken something that wasn't being offered for free and you didn't pay for it; that's close enough to theft that they really don't care what the semantic argument is. You have the artist's product and they don't have your money. Call it what you will. So far as the ridiculous size of the judgments, most people would likely agree it's excessive... and then proceed not to care.

      The US has become a society where we actively encourage harsh punishments for tiny crimes, in an effort to be "tough on crime." These same people will agree it's too much and then say "but it's their own damn fault." That's how we are as a society; you can see it refelcted in all sorts of laws, not just copyright infringement issues. Look at the penalties for pot, or just about any crime involving a child. Circumstances be damned, lock those fuckers up!

      Yeah, so it turns out that absent any major concern on the part of the electorate, politicians listen to the people who talk to them the loudest - folks with money to lobby them.

      On the other hand, we tend to oversimplify the issue here. Even if we're exactly right about all these ills of copyright terms and penalties, it's now the basis of our economy. Want to work in a factory here? You pretty well can't, and what few ones still exist are struggling bad. Those jobs have moved overseas. What we have left here in the US falls into two categories: 1) Service industries and 2) shit that involves copyright. Politicians are not going to write off half the economy on the hope that your ability to use Mickey Mouse in your films somehow makes more money than Disney using it. This is why we work so hard to force other countries around the world to adopt as similar a copyright scheme to us as possible; our own economy depends on strong copyright law, here and abroad.

      In a lot of ways, the politicians are being more practical than us. We're arguing semantics or debating whether or not something technically meets the merits of "promot[ing] the progress of science and useful arts." They're talking about what happens to our economy if we release or ignore copyright protections. And while I come down more on /.'s side than politicians on copyright issues (hard to tell from this post, I know!) I'm compelled to admit that I have no good answer to that question. At best I have some idealist hopes of some new, sweeping and all-powerful creative movement swallowing up all that content and spitting out item after item of great alternatives, such that nobody ever misses a beat. But I have no particular reason to believe it would be so.

      You're right: Money talks. It needn't be some ill-design of lobbying or bribes or corruption. In this case they're protecting economic value (and thus tax revenues). If anybody thought Obama would suddenly strike copyright down where it stood, they very seriously deluded themselves.

  • by IHC Navistar ( 967161 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @01:03AM (#27683357)

    "Vice President Joe Biden lauded Hollywood at a gala dinner in Washington, assailed movie piracy, and promised film executives that the Obama administration would pick "the right person" as its copyright czar."

    ----- The right person for *who*? THAT is the real question people should be asking.

    The 'right person' for the people, or the RIAA and MPAA?

  • by theyenk ( 783908 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @03:28AM (#27683973)

    How did having Czars become in vogue? It was a dirty word 20 years ago.
    If a "Czar" stepped foot into Washington DC, Rambo would have shot 'em while Chuck kicked 'em in the back.

    But back to the point... Wow, 2 articles in a row about big bad piracy (previous was the poor PSP). A few days after TPB gang gets $1mil + 1yr in jail.

    At least the next story is about a GIANT bot net, not that that is "good". It's just more interesting than this tired rag.
    The distributors screw'd the pooch when they squashed Napster. If they would have monetized our old-friend, they would have gotten bonuses bigger than ___________.

    Give me a break, produce/sell more at a lower price and make it up in volume.
    It's lemonade stand economics.

    I would go to more than ~1 movie/year if it didn't cost 15 - 20 bucks per person. I feel soo bad for families.

    I find this concept from the article ironic,
    "It's pure theft, stolen from the artists and quite frankly from the American people...."

    The distributor is the one that really looses with most piracy (software excluded). Artists are just slaves to the whole system as we are.

    It is pathetic how much favor is being given to the system(s) that make profit. I think this trend has really accelerated in the past 20 - 30 years. Where's Rambo and Chuck when you need them.

    I thought fascism would smell different.

  • by BronsCon ( 927697 ) <> on Thursday April 23, 2009 @06:48AM (#27684973) Journal a consequence of loss of income

    So, if I buy CDs this month instead of paying rent, I've put more money into circulation?

    No, I'm pretty sure I'm not buying $600 worth of CDs; if I pay rent this month, I'm pretty sure I'm not buying any. In my case, buying CDs would be stealing from the American people as a consequence of loss of income.

    Nice try, Biden; just let Obama do the talking from now on, ok? He might have been able to get that by me.

  • Of course he does (Score:3, Interesting)

    by The Master Control P ( 655590 ) <ejkeever@neDEBIA ... com minus distro> on Thursday April 23, 2009 @06:56AM (#27685035)
    Isn't there something illegal about using one's public office to favor special interest groups in exchange for future favors, monetary or otherwise?

    We are currently in the early years of what will later be recognized as the pivotal fight of the entire Information Age, and not 3 months into his administration Obama has completely sold us out. 5 lawyers from a single industry do not get appointed to the Department of Justice by chance, no matter what their qualifications. In a sane world, there would be an uproar over such obvious improprieties. But the corporate media knows when its obsequience is being bought and has seen to it that word of this crime gets zero airtime whatsoever. Any delusional netroots who still think Obama is on their side are in for more brain-exploding cognitive dissonance when he chooses yet another copyright maximalist for "Copyright Czar."

    Take solace in the fact that while we may have been sold down the river and the likely duration of the fight significantly extended, we will win eventually. The overwhelming majority of youth have no respect for copyright as currently practiced and this shows no sign of changing. No matter what technical or legal measures they take, the MAFIAA have already lost the social fight and their ultimate demise is gauranteed.
  • Who steals? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sj0 ( 472011 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @08:15AM (#27685575) Journal

    It's the big publishers who are stealing from the American people. The books, movies, music my grandmother experienced as a child is STILL locked away under copyright. The song I recently made an MP3 of from an original record recording, about the great depression, is still under copyright.

    Our very history has been stolen from us by big publishing. They've lobbied the public domain out of existence. As long as the laws are as unjust as they are, the big publishing industry is my enemy, for stealing 50-100 years of my culture for profit.

  • by starseeker ( 141897 ) on Thursday April 23, 2009 @08:17AM (#27685593) Homepage

    I had no expectation that either party would act to lessen the power of copyright. I rather expect, if the question comes up at all, they are rationalizing that strong copyright encourages more creativity by allowing people to live on enjoy the fruits of their labor. The fact that the "stronger copyright" stance enjoys such wide support is probably a reflection of this. Free access to and use of information appeals primarily to "intellectuals" and "academics" not acting directly in the commercial markets (although even academia seems to be getting into the IP business these days) and neither of those groups under most reasonable definitions is a major voting block or large percentage of the population.

    It might be argued that open source movements are a backlash against over-application or poor definition of copyright, but despite the movement's successes it still remains a niche in terms of overall impact and support. There are even people who consider the very existence of the movement a Bad Thing, and they get to vote too.

    It's not a rosy picture, and probably won't be for a loooong time. However, there is one ray of hope that someone up there has a clue - look at [] The presence of a Creative Commons license for content that has had copyright assigned to the government by 3rd parties must be taken as a hopeful sign.

"An open mind has but one disadvantage: it collects dirt." -- a saying at RPI