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Intellectual Property Appears to Figure Prominently In Wikileaks Cablegate

Intellectual property policy has long been closely linked to U.S. trade policy, so it should come as little surprise to find that it appears to figure prominently in the cables obtained by Wikileaks.  Although only a couple hundreds have been posted thus far, the Guardian has supplied a full list of all 251,287 cables.  The list includes tags for each cable, so that the subject matter can be decoded.  The Guardian has also posted a glossary of the tags, but omits KIPR, which appears to be the intellectual property tag (I base this conclusion on the correlation between the KIPR tag and the WIPO tag, to a specific reference to copyright in one of the cables, and the fact that IPR is a common acronym for intellectual property rights).

Assuming KIPR is indeed the tag for intellectual property, there are 65 cables originating in Canada (almost all from the U.S. embassy in Ottawa) that address the issue.  Overall, there are a large number of IP-related cables, with approximately 2500 including the KIPR tag.  Moreover, 84 of the cables include the WIPO tag. 

The cable release could provide new insight into the influence and pressures by the U.S. on Canada and other countries on intellectual property policy.  Several politicians have already described Bill C-32 as a bill designed with the U.S. in mind and as the cables become public, the behind-the-scenes pressures on the issues may come further to light.

45 Comments

  1. I refuse
    I refuse to let myself be labeled a criminal, risk losing the Internet, or fear where I go and what I see, so that rich hollywood lawyers can get richer still. From now on I will do everything I can to ensure that no one I know ever pays a dime to these dictators for anything. Not a CD, not movie ticket, nothing.


  2. @Michael: “The cable release could provide new insight into the influence and pressures by the U.S. on Canada and other countries on intellectual property policy.”

    My bet is on “we’re all for ‘free trade’ as long as it’s done on our terms; and if you don’t agree with them we’ll bully you until you’ll do”.

    Nap.

  3. Interesting times ahead according to James.
    http://fakejamesmoore.blogspot.com/

    Seriously, I’m somewhat on the fence on the publication of this information. In one respect it’s good to keep those in power in a little fear of public opinion, on the other these communications were made with a expectation of privacy. I’d think anyone would be upset having their dirty laundry aired out in public.

    I do expect some fallout from this, although I don’t think many of us will be surprised in the actual content.


  4. @Crockett: “In one respect it’s good to keep those in power in a little fear of public opinion, on the other these communications were made with a expectation of privacy. I’d think anyone would be upset having their dirty laundry aired out in public. ”

    Well. These are coming from diplomats, right? You would expect them to use terms like “excessively cautious” instead of “paranoid” when talking about someone (who happens to be a president/PM etc.)? Then it wouldn’t make headlines even when made public?

    What they definitely show is the cowboy bully “culture” in US diplomatic circles.

    Nap.


  5. Such secrecy should have been exposed long ago, not that it comes as any surprise. But, these guys are looking looking to become targets of government assassins. One web site takes on the entire US government: it sounds almost fantastical…unfortunately, it’s likely not going to end well for them. In the meantime, keep up the good work!!!

  6. This is off topic but I just had to post it anyways ;)
    Hmm … What could possibly go wrong?

    http://torrentfreak.com/anti-piracy-lawyers-sued-for-fraud-abuse-and-extortion-101129/

  7. Adding insult to injury ….
    http://www.osnews.com/story/24075/ US_Copyright_Group_Sues_Lawyer_for_Aiding_BitTorrent_Defendants

    Can it get any more tawdry? Unfortunately, I fear the answer is yes.

  8. Why the $5000 limit is NOT a license to steal .. God help us all.
    [See above link for context]

    As it turns out, the US Copyright Group is certainly not amused. And this is where it gets really funny (or sad) (or both): the US Copyright Group started putting pressure on Syfert soon after he started offering the self-help package, threatening they would double the settlements for anyone using the package. Syfert basically told them to, uh, intercourse off.

    This does highlight just how stuck Big Content really is in a pre-internet world; they are banking on people being entirely helpless, hoping to mafia them into paying up 2500 USD. However, with the advent of the internet, people no longer have to be helpless. Suddenly, people can get useful and effective legal assistance for a few bucks. It’s not entirely unlike governments the world over who are incapable of dealing with the people being empowered by the internet (see WikiLeaks).

  9. We must respect copyright in the secret cables! Or at least set up a secret international cable collective (“SICC”). That would be the Canadian way. Maybe Access Copyright can get a quickie interim tariff from the Copyright Board ;-)

  10. More rabbit trails ..
    @Ole – “When music is pirated, the artists don’t get paid, but the ISPs, search engines, advertisers, websites and device manufacturers do. They all profit from enabling this pirate activity, while denying any responsibility to pay the people who create the music in the first place. Not only will Bill C-32 fail to fix this, it will actually ensure that these companies never have to pay.”

    I have been contemplating this argument that ISPs, device manufactures etc. actually owe something to the content industry. In the case of You-tube where the underlying content is blatantly infringing (rather than just Prince crooning in the background), then yes I think there should be some profit sharing.

    In the case of device manufactures, not so much. Someone is going to buy a MP3, Blu-ray, DVD player whether there is infringing material available to them or not, some may not infringe at all. As an analogy, does Ford owe the fuel companies something because it enables their cars to move?

    On multi use devices I see no equitable way to place a tariff as there is no way to determine beforehand if such device is going to be used to shift or backup anything related to ‘media’. No intentional liability.

    I do feel for artists and creators as there are many mindless people out there who will take for nothing. Unfortunately, that is not going to change. Then there are the people who just want to be treated fairly and would be willing to do so in kind but are put off by the demands and aggression of the ‘professional’ content organizations. Start by getting rid of them, or better yet re-inventing them, to meet the needs and expectations of their audience.


  11. Crockett said:
    “I have been contemplating this argument that ISPs, device manufactures etc. actually owe something to the content industry. In the case of You-tube where the underlying content is blatantly infringing (rather than just Prince crooning in the background), then yes I think there should be some profit sharing.”

    Agreed and also that perhaps youtube should pay something. However, if youtube starts paying, does that make such activities legal…i.e. exempted from notice and takedown? Perhaps it should? Services, like ISPs and google, should not hold any responsibility as they cannot control, nor feasibly track the content users post or consume. The idea of, taxing multi-use-devices such as PDAs, phones, hard-drives, memory cards, etc. is obscene and unfair at best. Punish everyone for what the minority is doing. At some point, the industry is going to have to choose between keeping the cake and eating it. They’re going to have to face the fact that their business model will have to change, one way or another. They’re selling opression and few customers buy in to it anymore.


  12. @IanME: “Agreed and also that perhaps youtube should pay something.”

    Intelligent record labels are placing content on youtube themselves:

    http://www.youtube.com/user/deutschegrammophon1

    I bought a lot of CDs and Blu-Rays after watching their clips.

    Nap.


  13. BTW since these days they feature Alice Sara Ott, here is a delightful Campanella in her interpretation:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0-czNkyPQDA

    Will I buy a good quality record when available? Definitely.

    Nap.

  14. @Nap
    Actually the new media sector seems to be now using social media quite a bit. The Black Op’s ad that aired first on Youtube with the Stones playing in the background actually helped to bump up sales for the Stones song “Gimme Shelter” 5 fold.

    The youtube ad:

    Billboard’s article on the sales bump with this ad:

    http://bit.ly/9hW4Qi

    Hell even JEEP has taken a shot at new media advertising around Black Ops:

    Activision part of the ESA, Musicians that hold contracts with one of the “FAB 4″ labels. Money is obviously being made on the advertising part of this in new media. Something for everyone to pounder.


  15. @Nap: “I bought a lot of CDs and Blu-Rays after watching their clips.”

    Likewise. I’ve often sat in front of youtube checking out trailers, music videos and clips to plan the content I’m going to buy. OR, alternatively, if I’m in the mood for something different, I’ll put something I like in to youtube and check out clips for the “associated” material it brings up. I’ve discovered so many great bands like this, bands that I have subsequently bought material from.

    As an aside, for anyone in to horror/thriller/sci-fi, TerrorFeed is a great site for researching such material, and I believe it’s Canadian run. (http://www.terrorfeed.com/)

  16. @cables wiki release
    It is not so much as the material released is that the gov’s are still thinking that some stamp on an envelop will abide or force secrecy. It only takes one person to copy it (digitally in seconds) for a complete database. If you wanted to release something to the world it is no longer a hard thing to do. More and more people are doing it when they see injustice or corruption in the politicians, Sooner or later the politicians will have to speak what they mean and say what they will do…no more crap misdirection that politicians can do…once they realize that a secretary can release everything….people become honest.

  17. @Leaks
    About 20 years ago a professor said that the most powerful person in a digital company is the network admin. I have been a DOT PM, VP among others and I now have to agree…..No mater what CEO’s and board members think about their communications everything they type is available to the lowest level network admin. Trust me, secrets are not kept at your level when email is a burden to you. The network admins can help move the word around the world. If you have allowed your admin assistant to help with writing your emails then most like they are on GMAIL or in some database.

    Also companies that have developers routinely grab copies of databases to validate or troublshoot issues so they also might have a copy of the data….best thing…don’t

  18. Interesting comment
    I thought it was interesting that you have chosen to look at the cables about intellectual property rights rather than the issues of intellectual property and secrecy from the actual sending of the cables.

    The person who leaked the cables, if he is the same person who is currently detained for the leaks, would have had to sign some sort of agreement about disclosure of sensitive and secret information. The information is public now and maybe the originator of the leaks feels like his inevitable criminal charges were worth it, but what fallout will there be for people like your students when they apply for a government job? For highly classified information, you already have to pass an interview, a polygraph and a psychological examination. What new tests will they devise to ensure that they hire people who exercise the utmost discretion?

    How does Wikileaks figure into intellectual property? I don’t see the people as pirates so much. The disclosure of classified information to the world by a transnational group does not seem bound by any laws. Is there going to be a crackdown on this sort of thing? Will there be some global information policies proposed? Has wikileaks set in motion a process that will see the world become a more authoritarian place?

  19. @Ben
    “Has wikileaks set in motion a process that will see the world become a more authoritarian place?”

    Did Watergate? The public has a right to know what’s going on and how they are perceived or represented globally. Accountability is an essential part of democracy, and law has been built around that. Anyone seeking to change this has to be questioned with respect to political motives. I welcome “cablegate”. I think the public (especially after the 2008 market crash) has every right to know exactly what their Governments and representatives are up to. It was mostly US law makers and the US financial lobby that brought the globe to near economic collapse. This I think will also re-affirm the average Americans view on their political representatives, and quite possibly change things for the better one would hope.

    Americans are getting fed up with being known as rude, arrogant bullies. That’s why they elected Obama, or at least they thought they would get less of this from Obama. I guess they were wrong. Avg Americans are nice people, it’s their politicians that are twits. This isn’t that much of a secret in the first place in global politics. I think the door came crashing down on the US with respect to its reputation during the 2008 crash. This also re-affirms the need to change “Washington” which is what many Americans have been calling for since the election of Obama and sent a strong message of dissent a few weeks ago with the mid-term elections.

  20. One thing you realise if you watch politics long enough is that the people in power tend to do exactly what they complained about the other people in power doing. Some of this is partially because everything to do with government is a huge bureaucratic nightmare and getting things to change sucks. Theb other part is because when the person gets into power, they realise that what they were against they no longer want to be again.


  21. Likw Jason, I welcome Cablegate, I only wish it went further than February so that we could perhaps see some of the “hidden” pressure the US has been placing on other countries over ACTA, WIPO, C-32 and the like.

    When I was younger, I lived in Worchester, Mass for about 4 months. Yes, average Americans tend to be very nice people. They also tend to be extremely ego-centric. Most of those I knew, knew very little about Canada or anywhere else outside of the US for that matter. Watch “Talking to Americans” by Rick Mercer, it’s quite enlightening…banishing seniors to the ice flows, the national igloo, Prime Minister Tim Horton, Canadians mining behind the face(s) of Mt. Rushmore, and it goes on and on. My ex-girlfriend used to work at a tourist chalet and some of the stupid question she would get asked. I swear to God she was once asked if Canada had paved roads. That was in Gander, Newfoundland and they would have had to drive at least 3 hours to get there to ask that question…yes, on paved roads. I could go on and on with stories she told me or others I’ve heard from friends who work in the tourist industry, but I don’t want to come off as American bashing.

  22. A friendly analysis …
    As countries and cultures we all have our blind spots and weaknesses. Canada is no different in that regard, we do have a slight inferiority complex but is not Hockey the best sport in the world! I have lived on and off in the USA for a number of years and yes, a large number of Americans really do conceive that the world revolves around them and are quite perplexed when others question that. There is a famous magazine cover of the New Yorker [http://graphicsoptimization.com/blog/?p=28] that has 9th Ave New York up front taking up half the map, then the rest of the country diminutive in scale taking up the rest. Somewhere in the distance is the rest of the world.

    I only mention all this as I think it does have some impact on copyright issues. The Americans actually think that they are doing the world a favor just by being them and everyone should do what they say cause they know best. It befuddles them when people start to balk. ACTA, USTR and now the customs office shutting down DNS to some sites on the ICANN servers [which are mostly located in the USA] that not only affects US users but the whole world is all … ‘Cause it’s the right thing to do’.

    Now, a final caveat. I like most Americans, many are my best friends. It is just helpful to recognize the world views of ourselves and others so we can sort things out a little better.

  23. Back @Jason K
    While Watergate was a piece of investigative journalism that probably helped to clean up campaign politics, I don’t know if we are dealing with the same situation here.

    International agreements on Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing legislation, digressing from intellectual property rights, have not raised concerns in part because people feel that banks need better regulation because of the financial tsunami and terrorists need to be stamped out because of 9/11. However, people, at least in Hong Kong, are now being tried for reverse onus crimes. They have to prove that funds in their possession, or that they deal with, were received from a legitimate source of income. Because we think that everyone should be accountable, government has a freer rein with prosecuting its citizens. Sure, the people prosecuted in Hong Kong so far have been pretty much bad guys. But precedents have been set. Things that seem good like regulatory reform and fighting terrorism have allowed for the international community to sanction the curtailing of peoples’ rights.

    Now that governments are embarrassed by off the cuff comments made by high level figures, I can only imagine that they will clamp down on the flow of information, not allow it to flow more freely. In the National Post, Anne Applebaum writes,”It seems that in the name of “free speech,” another blow has been struck against frank speech. Yet more ammunition has been given to those who favour greater circumspection, greater political correctness and greater hypocrisy.”

    You can read the full editorial here:
    http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/11/29/anne-applebaum-wikileaks-seeks-to-embarrass-america-not-tell-the-truth/

  24. A mixed blessing
    Wikileaks is a mixed blessing. For instance, with the cables, it is necessary for a government to have as much information as possible prior to setting policy. Many of these cables form input into the policy making process and represent not government policy but rather the opinion of a person. So while it does form useful information for the masses, if the leaks become too prominent, it can backfire and provide a disservice to the people as the decisions of the governments actually get worse due to poor input information.

    Imagine the impact to policy decision making if the person sending the cable had to concern themselves not just with providing the best input to their government that they could, but rather had to couch the cable in terms which would not look unfavourable to the government in question if the cable became public. For instance, a cable discussing dealing with a specific company or individual who is corrupt may in fact end up leaving out this piece of information for fear of embarrassing the government or an ally.

    Cdn Citizen: It used to be said that the most powerful person in an organization was the boss’s secretary; they were the person to be targeted for spying as they generally knew everything that the boss did but tended to be far less visible. Now it is the database and network admins; in order for them to do their jobs they have to be able to see everything.


  25. IanME: “They also tend to be extremely ego-centric. Most of those I knew, knew very little about Canada or anywhere else outside of the US for that matter.”

    Interesting, my Canadian neighbors just returned from an European cruise. Madrid, Barcelona, Rome, Milan, etc.

    They looked both happy and humbled at same time. I’m sure Tim Horton’s will never be the same for them.

    Maybe there should be a rule for US politicians. Before being allowed to make any noise about how another nation should live, they should be mandated to live 1 year in that country.

    I’m sure it will change their perspective quite a bit.

    Nap.

  26. @Ben
    Just a reminder Ben that Hong Kong is now under Chinese rule. It has been for over a decade now. I don’t think any examples of Chinese politics and law can be precedent setting in a democracy. It’s a completely irrelevant, and I can’t see our leaders looking to China as examples of how to run our democracy and law unless an invasion occurs.

    As a journalist, I respect your views, but I do not agree with them. In order to clamp down on something like this, there would have to be changes to democratic constitutions, and that seems highly unlikely, and would be highly controversial for political representatives to engage in. Something I can’t see the citizens of democratized countries allowing either.

    Free speech and accountability is essential to democracy. Only those with extremist political views think otherwise.

  27. Do you really need wikileaks….
    …to find out what our neighbor is all about?

    Nope. Here:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20101129/17123112046/supreme-court-will-review-standard-patent-infringement-could-raise-bar.shtml

    This was one of the rare cases were a Canadian company (i4i) won a patent lawsuit over an US one (Microsoft).

    So now the US courts are changing the rules so i4i cannot win. Microsoft has recently appealed and I guess there will be a new trial on the new rules.

    Nap.


  28. Nap said: “So now the US courts are changing the rules so i4i cannot win. Microsoft has recently appealed and I guess there will be a new trial on the new rules.”

    But they’ve already won. Does double jeopary not apply here? One of the essential protections included in the double jeopardy principle is that one cannot be tried for the same crime after an acquittal.

  29. A conversation with Sandy …
    @Crockett said …
    I still wonder why we need levies at all, why not just include the extra few percentage that a levy would generate in the initial purchase price instead, then allow fair user rights such as backup and shifting. Then there is no need for TPM, litigation costs, PR campaigns at all.

    I would think the distributors might even be able to absorb this cost and not have to pass it onto the creator. I would think the return in greater sales/less infringement would offset the costs.

    The creator would get his correct share as it would be passed on directly from the initial sale. No need for collective overhead costs or complex share formulas.

    Still make infringement for non fair uses illegal and liable. TPM is not a real world impediment to pirates anyways so relying on them for that purpose is ineffective & unreasonable.

    @Sandy Crawley said…
    Nice idea if there were a way to distinguish between the works that succeed or fail in the marketplace. It seems as if you think that future markets in the digital realm should work exactly as the traditional one in physical objects. But creators are looking to IMPROVE compensation levels since they don’t have to underwrite production costs in the digital context. I’m sure you know that the traditional model favours manufacturing and distribution over creation.

    @Crockett said …
    Hi Sandy,

    I’m not sure what you mean when you say distinguishing between those who succeed and fail in the marketplace. If the extra percentage is added at the time of sale then that the amount the artist receives is linear to the sales, as it should be.

    As for artists improving their compensation levels, you are certainly preaching to the choir there! The main thrust of my blogging over the past years has been to try and convince artists that they are generally being taken to the cleaners by their distribution contracts and the ‘professional’ organizations who disenfranchise customers through draconian tactics designed to maintain their control.

    Artists would be much better to leverage new technology, say so long to the old guard & go their own way.

    Both creators and consumers would get along much better if they just both bury the hatchet and give a little. The ‘war’ manufactured by big media is mainly a distraction to keep the soldiers in line. Change in media use and expectations is already here. The sooner all parties adjust and work towards equitable solutions the better off we will all be.

  30. Correction
    In a previous post I blamed ICANN for shutting down web sites at the US DHS’s request. In actuality it appears it was Verisign that controls the .com domains that did the deed. As Verisign is an American company they are required to act on a USA court order. The simple solution of course if you don’t want your website target by the USA *cough*Media Industry*cough* … I mean government then use a non USA controlled domain. Regardless of the questionable legality of such sites that were targeted, I was opposed to the unilateral move by the USA to affect access not to just US citizens but the entire world, China would be happy to have such licence. But as it is not at the ICANN level as I first was led to believe then it is not as onerous. Still smells pretty awful though.

    Here is the relevant article – http://domainincite.com/icann-had-no-role-in-seizing-torrent-domains/

  31. A conversation with John …
    “@Degen – It’s really sadly naive to assume the worst about traditional distribution contracts and professional associations. When you talk about ditching the old guard you seem to have no concept of the complexity of such relationships, and the proven and unchallenged advantages to real, professional artists. I’d as soon discard a traditional publisher as ditch my traditional doctor for a faith healer.”

    @Crockett – “Yes John, AC is doing just a bang up job of alienating it’s customers. I wonder how many writers are pleased with that performance? And, before you say it’s all Geist’s fault consider AC’s initial overreach and then the attempt to disenfranchise objectors.

    And the RIAA is, of course, a much adored organization. I know scores of people who will not touch a product with their logo on it. How many people rip (or worse pirate) their MPAA DVDs just to get rid of all the forced advertising before the movie starts? It really is time for fresh thinking and possibly new players without the taint of the old. I do not say this just to be negative, but to be realistic. There really is not much love out there for the ‘old guard’.

    If they can really reinvent themselves and better serve their clients, then great! If not then step aside. Think of the Artists!”

  32. A longer chat with John …
    John, I must admit that I do not have your level of experience with professional artist organizations. But I do think I have a fairly good grasp on the consumer’s side. I understand that you too are a consumer of media but you must admit that probably you are not of the same world view as the average Canadian in that regard.

    It really is ugly out there. Yes, artists have a real beef with ‘pirates’, and rightly so, it’s unfair and hurtful how some people behave. The response from the industry though has been a shock and awe campaign that has turned many of the ‘civilians’ against you.

    Now I may not be a lawyer, or an executive director, but I think I have a pulse of the public. The best tactic IMO for the media industry is to build roads instead of dropping bombs.

    The insane continuing lawsuits (by lawyers now charged with fraud). The victim mentality pleas, when all most people see are the mansions and yachts (not realistic for the majority of artists, but that’s what the industry portrays as it’s stars). The unrealistic restrictions on activities that people already participate in and expect (I am not including file sharing in that).

    John the industry has a massive PR problem and they are handling it badly. Do artists have grievances with the public, yes they do. Do the public have grievances with artists (or at least their reps), yes they do.

    The thing is it’s the artists who are trying to sell a product to the public so it is in their best interest to build those bridges. That’s not happening, and needs to change, for their sake.

    I really do care about the well being of the artistic community John. I hope you can at least accept some of what I am saying as sincere and consider it.

    Take care.

  33. Re: A conversation with John …
    “@Degen – It’s really sadly naive to assume the worst about traditional distribution contracts and professional associations. When you talk about ditching the old guard you seem to have no concept of the complexity of such relationships, and the proven and unchallenged advantages to real, professional artists.”

    Some food for thought.. It is oriented towards the TV/Movie industry, but the same concepts apply to other “complex” environments and relationships.

    http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2010/04/the-collapse-of-complex-business-models

  34. @oldguy
    Interesting article, and it does seem to hit on the point. It’s not that media industry can’t change, it’s that they don’t want to. They don’t want to give up the things they know for the unknown, which makes sense. The problem is that society is going to keep moving into that unknown no matter how much they want to stop us.

    And levies are not the answer since they don’t actually solve the problem. And if they are implemented the way the current CD one is, they miss the target as well.

  35. WikiBS
    This one has raised my attention:

    http://www.thestar.com/news/world/article/899559–wikileaks-harper-got-special-d-day-invite-to-boost-image?bn=1

    We all enjoy King Stephen being attacked a little bit, but this one is weird.

    I mean, how exactly are you supposed to celebrate the D-Day without inviting the allies who actually landed that day?

    Nap.

  36. Great Article …
    That was a great article Oldguy. I’m not sure if people are ready to be satisfied with just a bunch of ‘less complex’ entertainment … Charlie! But it does point to the great difficulty complex systems have to meet changing circumstances. It will be intersting to see if the media industry can make this transition or will collapse upon itself. I hope for the former but suspect the latter.

    http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2010/04/the-collapse-of-complex-business-models/


  37. ’tis indeed a great article. It makes many valid point that apply directly to the entertainment industry.

  38. re: collapse of complex business models
    If you view the 4 branches of “Intellectual Property” through this lens of complexity, the only branch that doesn’t have a problem is trademark law. Trade secrets have always had a problem, simply because there is a lot of complexity in clearly defining a “trade secret”. Patent and copyright have developed their levels of complexity through a combination of technology driven society changes and business driven extension of these laws, both pulling in opposite directions.

    Although the example used in the article pointed at the popularity of a “less complex” form of entertainment, look at the tools and methods used to create it, not the material itself. The “business model”. Don’t lose sight of the fact that it is the business models built solely on patent and copyright law that are getting “too complex”, not the entertainment itself. The example “In the Motherhood” is more representative of the industry problems than baby Charlie. Both illustrate a changing society that is demanding a change of the business models. A change that may not, or perhaps can not, happen without a collapse of the existing models first.

    Complex systems evolve over time from simpler ones. When a system’s complexity becomes a detriment rather than an advantage is when it starts to fall apart. Sometimes it is inappropriate growth that causes it to collapse. Sometimes it is an outside influence that the existing form of complexity cannot handle. In the case of patent and copyright, it is a combination of both. Technology advances have enabled a society change which the existing complex models cannot handle. Both patent and copyright models have evolved very complex business and social models surrounding them. Perhaps it is better to let these existing models collapse, and evolve new models from simpler ones. Different forms and goals.

    All the discussion around copyright and digital locks and exemptions should keep this in mind. If the collapse to simpler business models (that can then evolve) is inevitable, it is better to build a framework that allows an orderly collapse rather than a anarchistic collapse. It has to be relevant to the changing society that our technology has enabled.

  39. re: collapse of complex business models
    I have a different view on it. My take is that a capitalist system will fail by itself anyway (without the influence external factors) when it reaches the point where the capital owners are extracting way too much money from the system. The key to stability is a sane redistribution of income.

    This is exactly what’s happening to “the industry” these days. They found the precise point where the customer won’t pay anything more ($29.99 for a CD or something like that) and where the artist will better sit on his a** than do any work ($20000/year or something like that). And they’re extracting the difference. They call this “being efficient”. Well, when you’re too efficient the whole shebang will explode in your face – the customers stop buying and the workers stop working and then you call it the Great Depression or Recession or whatever and it takes years until it can start working again.

    Nap.

  40. RE: oldguy
    Patents and trade secrets have nothing to do with copyright. This is another flaw of several industries, including entertainment. Now they can just put all these completely separate laws in a blender and just use the vague “violating our “intellectual ‘property’” nonsense.

  41. @Eric L.
    … “Patents and trade secrets have nothing to do with copyright.”

    Quite right, and I thought I was perfectly clear about that in my posting (4 branches of “IP”). But in the matter of complex business and social models based on these topics, there is a similarity that can’t be denied. Both patent and copyright have developed very complex rules and models over time, while society is now pulling in quite different directions. The forms of complexity might be quite different, but they both suffer from the same problem(s).

    I realize the primary focus on this blog is copyright, but it helps sometimes to step back and look at the bigger picture as well.


  42. I fail to understand what is so intellectual in a trademark.

    Let’s see. “General Mills”. “Elmira Paints”. “Ford”. “Apple”. “National Semiconductor”. Does that sound creative or arteestec?

    Nap.


  43. @oldguy Thanks for clearing your statement up. The problem is that although copyright and patents may be related in many ways, treating the same allows garbage like ACTA to be created. It also creates a mindset that all these things are the same. I’m not saying that the patent system isn’t horribly flawed; it definitely is, just look at software patents. I just don’t want to encourage “all-in-one” laws that attempt to merge completely different laws, because that just creates the stage for more abuse.

    @Napalm: The “Intellectual” part has nothing to do with intelligence. It’s basically an attempt to describe patents, copyright, and trademarks as “the owning of thoughts”, which in itself is a stupid idea because thoughts aren’t and will never be property unless we all become Borg. An intellectual wouldn’t have tried to coin the term in the first place.