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The No iPod Tax Press Conference: An Alternative Script

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Tuesday December 14, 2010

Clement & Moore on iPod Tax

Earlier today I walked a few blocks from my office to Ottawa's Rideau Centre to attend a press conference with Industry Minister Tony Clement and Canadian Heritage Minister James Moore, who promised an important announcement.  The two ministers stood in front of an HMV and a group of students wearing t-shirts with No iPod tax logos on the back to declare that they were firmly set against a massive new tax on technology for all the holiday shoppers in the mall.  The Ministers claimed that all three opposition parties supported a tax of up to $75, which (reminiscent of the Dion "tax on everything" campaign) would apply to all technology devices and even cars.

The press conference suggests that opposition to extending the private copying levy may be the key positioning point for the government in support of Bill C-32.  Rather than focusing on the bill's actual provisions, the government will argue that the bill deserves support from the public because of what isn't there - the levy extension.  However, an alternate press conference might have featured the following script (the actual script is here):

"We are here to confirm that the Harper Government will bring in legal protection for digital locks as part of its copyright legislation.  As government officials recently told MPs, these digital lock rules will trump all educational fair dealing rights.  The digital lock rules have been opposed by all opposition parties.

"We simply cannot support the opposition's opposition to the digital lock rules. The digital lock rules will allow the music, movie, book, and software industries to insert digital locks on their products and force consumers to pay multiple times for the same content.  To not include the provisions, would hurt the economy, punish U.S. companies, and send the wrong message during this fragile economic recovery.

"Our government is committed to ensuring that the U.S. is satisfied with our approach as we update Canada's copyright laws. The digital locks rules are fair to everyone. There are thousands of DVDs in this HMV store and consumers should not have the right to play them on their iPads or other devices.

"We would also like to emphasize that the Government has introduced the Copyright Modernization Act, Bill C-32, to modernize Canada's copyright legislation and bring it into the digital age. We drafted this Bill to best balance legalizing many of the everyday activities that Canadians are already engaging in online and ensuring that creators and rights holders have the protections they need to earn a living from their work in the digital age.  That obviously means new digital lock rules that trump all other consumer rights and limit the property rights of consumers. It also means making it more expensive for Canadian consumers to switch from devices such as the iPad to RIM's Playbook, the forthcoming alternative from Canada's leading technology company.


"Bill C-32 includes new rights and protections to help consumers record television shows, make backup copies, and format shift products they have purchased.  It is true that all of these new rights can be trumped by a digital lock, but to not include the digital lock provisions would send the wrong message to the U.S., who has demanded them.  It is also true that other countries such as New Zealand and Switzerland have adopted more balanced approaches on digital lock rules, but we would prefer to ignore those examples.  We'd also prefer to ignore the fact that even some creator groups have come out against the digital lock rules.

"The U.S. and the major entertainment companies can rest assured that the Harper Government will stand with them in introducing these digital lock rules.

"Our government's top priority remains the economy. During this fragile economic recovery, the last thing Canadian families and consumers need are modernized copyright rules that provide real consumer rights."

Comments (77)add comment

Chris A said:

...
I'm happy they don't want to extend the levy. That doesn't mean I'm happy with the rest of the bill, nor will I be as long as they keep the digital lock provision the way it is.

Plus, as I pointed out before, the argument for not extending the digital levy is exactly the same as the argument against the current digital locks provision. But then I expect hypocrisy from all forms of government these days.
December 14, 2010

Nich said:

So can I...
If this legislation stands, am I allowed to watch/listen/read the content I purchase, or do I need to purchase something else for that?
December 14, 2010

Crockett said:

Ummm ...?
I didn't think a levy was even discussed in Bill C-32 but now it's a rallying call to support it? You know, I really hate spin, it just makes everyone dizzy and slightly nauseous.

If the Cons are really going to stand firm on the digital lock issue, that all opposition and a the majority of the informed public oppose, then I can see this bill dying on the floor or in prorogue. Which may just be the intention, being able to say to the American's "We Tried!" and not having to face the music from the unassuming electorate once passed.

P.S. I imagine on the hidden front of those student's T-shirts it said, "Block the Locks" ;)
December 14, 2010

schultzter said:

Let's pay the levy
I say let's pay the levy and then have a judge declare that we now have the right do whatever we want with the content we purchased! Let the retailers fight the price battle - in the end it's the final price that consumers are concerned with, not the price before levies, taxes, duties, etc. The collective that collects/administers the levy will eat it all up in administration costs, the margins of MP3 players will go down, industry will tar & feather the Cons, we'll all live happily ever after!
December 14, 2010

Crockett said:

...
Dear Nich,

"do I need to purchase something else for that?"

Yes, for your CD player, MP3 player, Ipad, oh and all your content over again for your new Canadian RIM tablet. And don't back up that kids DVD you bought for Christmas either, just buy a new copy in a month or two.
December 14, 2010

crade said:

...
Darnit, I wish I knew, I could have went and stood next to them with a "NO DRM LOOPHOLE" shirt
December 14, 2010

David said:

The power to raise taxes
I would have liked to hear him say...

"I, and my 24 friends who are full Cabinet Ministers in Stepehn Harper's Cabinet, are the only Canadians who actually have the power to create a new tax or raise an existing one. Fear not however. The 25 of us will spend the next two months travelling across the country attending a series of anti-iPod tax protests in order to ensure that none of us uses our very exclusive power to impliment an iPod tax."
December 14, 2010

K-Bert said:

...
Nice smokescreen from Tony and James. They're
actually telling Canadians what they want. Yeah,
their tough laws to "combat piracy" will really
help internet service providers keep their customers
paying high prices for high speed internet. And yes,
I'm aware of the small minority of people who work
from home, via VPN. My mother is one of them.

Criminalizing people through draconian legislation
will not help Canadian citizens, only hurt them.
A lot of people seem to be against the Ipod tax, or
levy system. Why? The artists, music and film industry
get their money, then everyone should be satisfied.
If people can afford to go and purchase an Ipod, Ipad
or whatever, $75 shouldn't break them.

This Bill C-32 is one that was lobbied, and possibly
paid for, from the US music and movie industries, to
the Cons to give them the go ahead to let their lawyers
in to sue average Canadians. If we weren't joined
at the hip with the USA, nobody would have cared.

December 14, 2010

Adam said:

A law that simply won't be obeyed.
Since it seems fairly clear that the digital lock rules will be ignored by virtually everyone who wants to back up, time shift, device shift or otherwise exercise what they consider their reasonable rights with respect to content they have payed for, I'd rather have those rules than any kind of levy on devices.
December 14, 2010

crade said:

...
@K-Bert
Not sure if you noticed, but the last Levy they put in didn't do dick all to satisfy the industry last time. The levy is dishonest. It is a payment to allow people to do things no one thinks we have to pay for at all in disguise as a levy to allow people to download and use music without paying to gain support.
December 14, 2010

Moosebump said:

...
Digital locks and artist levies both seem like ridiculously round-about ways of attacking the problem. Digital locks risk intefering with fair use of purchased material. Levies are incredibly blunt instruments for paying artists for their work. I can easily see how I could buy an iPhone and fill up its 16GB of memory without ever violating a copyright (ie. fair use of my own CD collection and endless videos of my kids would be more than enough). How does that make me responsible for paying artists MORE for the music I already bought?

Haven't digital locks shown very little ability to stop pirating anyways? While my family might have trouble sharing content among our devices (as we already do - being less tech savvy), the real pirates will unlock and share. One of the few albums I bought that I was never able to rip from CD to play on my iPhone was Velvet Revolver's Contraband because it featured digital copy protection. I'm sure there was a way around it but I never really bothered to look. But a quick check on a torrent search finds it widely available.

I don't know why so little effort seems to be expended going after pirates. Its like we've given up trying and yet they are the problem. If there is money that is not going to artists, its due to illegal copying. The same people who complain about digital locks and iPod taxes are always up in arms about net neutrality, P2P throttling and bandwidth caps. 90%+ of P2P traffic is material that violates copyrights. This is the place to look to impose levies. These are the people ripping off artists.

So lets suppose we can't actually get to the pirates - that the police or other authorities would be invading your privacy if they looked closely at what you were trading via P2P. So then we are back to a more blunt instrument like say, bandwidth levies. The problem with digital locks and iPod levies is you hit otherwise innocent people. I would guess bandwidth levies would hit fewer innocent people. Ok I have no good stats to go off here but... why not put a tax on anyone uploading more than 500Mb or 1GB a month? I would guess 95% of consumers would not get hit and those who do are going to be heavy P2Pers. P2Pers would stop uploading as much and the system would cease to work as well as everyone would just become leechers.

I'm sure some innocent people would be caught in the crossfire but would there be as many as with the other solutions? And before you scream about net neutrality and universal broadband rights, lets admit we have a problem and realize we might be looking for the "least bad" solution.

(personally I'm ok with some authority monitoring my downloads for some kind of copyright violation flag. If we allowed this, pirating would plummet and we would all go back to actually paying for music and movies. Can't we divise a system like the alarms in the stores? You try to walk out with something in your pocket and the siren goes off. No one is monitoring what you're stealing, just that you are taking something you haven't paid for.)

December 14, 2010

K-Bert said:

...
I also considering it stealing when I go to the
show, or rent a DVD that was garbage, which most
Hollywood films now are. They rush the film, and
rip the customer off by giving us low entertainment
value. I'd gladly pay to watch a great film, if it's
reasonably priced mind you.

If I can remember the films I'd seen in the last number of years, I can list some big stinkers. RV sucked beyond belief! The Expendables was only good if you enjoy watching explosions and lousy written dialogue. Date
Night was lousy. The one with Robert Downey Jr, made up
like a black man, where they're supposed to be action
movie stars. That was horrendous! I could go on if I
could remember half the bombs I'd seen in the last five
years or so.

IMO, the MPAA is stealing from me when I pay decent cash at the show, or on video to see that trash. The only good film I'd seen lately, which I saw at the theater was Dinner For Schmucks. A diamond in a sack filled with
mini bombs.



December 14, 2010

djm said:

"Expand", not "extend"
Bill C-32 does nothing to the existing levy, so it will be left in place, becoming irrelevant as people move away from the media that it covers. I would call that "extending" it: it exists now, and its existence will be extended into the future. If the Ministers didn't want to extend the levy, they should abolish it.

What they are complaining about is the proposal from various groups to expand the levy to devices, not just recordable media. Personally I would support expanding it (I like my right to make private copies, but I think artists deserve compensation), but I can recognize that that's not going to happen.
December 14, 2010

Eric L. said:

...
FUD = a tactic of rhetoric and fallacy used in sales, marketing, public relations, politics and propaganda; generally a strategic attempt to influence public perception by disseminating negative and dubious/false information designed to undermine the credibility of their beliefs
December 14, 2010

crade said:

...
@djm:
"I like my right to make private copies, but I think artists deserve compensation"
Umm.. They got their compensation already. The levy only lets you make private copies of stuff you already paid for the right to use. Am I the only one being driven nuts by this deception? If they actually tell people honestly what the levy is, who among us actually thinks artists deserve extra payment because I want to convert my record collection to cassette tape or whatever? What a crock!
December 14, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@Moosebump: "Ok I have no good stats to go off here but... why not put a tax on anyone uploading more than 500Mb or 1GB a month? "

Because there are perfectly legitimate ways in which you could do 50 times more than that.

It's like asking for a tax on cars because drug smugglers use them.

Nap.
December 14, 2010

Anonymous - and damned proud of MG for it! said:

Here's where I'm opposed to this bill:
Moosebump said:
(personally I'm ok with some authority monitoring my downloads for some kind of copyright violation flag.

I am NOT OK with so-called "authority" monitoring MY downloads. And I think anyone who is OK with it lives in a bubble. C-32 help the police-state, not artists.

Also a flag doesn't work unless it's unique for each piece of content, and then every "bit" of traffic has to be checked against what would be billions of flags.

Alternatively, we could have a flag system that only protects a small number of products, say the major labels and studios. Unfortunately, this would let them monopolize culture, news and civil discourse. Just as they did before the Internet came about, promising us a real free press, and a real democracy for once.
I hope we don't let these laws blow it for our kids.
December 14, 2010

Chris A said:

...
I see no reason why I should pay a levy to buy anything that may or may not have Canadian copyrighted content on it. I see no reason why I should need to pay someone to make a private copy of a work for my own personal use in my household. I doubt that there are very many people who buy multiple copies of something, one for each member of their family. I see little reason why I should have to pay a levy just because it's a digital copy I'm not giving away.

If you want to compensate artists for sharing, that should be incorporated into the cost of the time you are buying and not into the devices that may or may not be used to play things like this. Appropriately charge for the work in the first place, not add a tax to every device in the world.

Digital locks, if artists want to use them, great! It should NOT be illegal for me to break the lock for my own personal use. A digital lock should never trump copyright itself, which is what the C-32 does. The only reason we need to include digital locks at all is because of short sited bureaucrats who decided it needed to be part of WIPO which we signed in to. And even then, C-32 goes much farther than it needs to. Add the provision to protect digital locks to meet WIPO, but it should never actually trump copyright itself.
December 14, 2010

oldguy said:

@Moosebump

You seem to properly state the "problem" from a non-technical perspective. You also seem to understand the fundamentals of the issues. But then you head off in the direction of technical solutions to "control" the problem, solutions that simply will not work.

Points:

- DRM (as implemented by most of the entertainment industry), simply will not work. Picture someone's toys locked up in a room, and you hand them a key with instructions that they are only allowed to use the key when you say so, and only allowed to play with the toys when inside that room. And then you walk away and leave them alone, forever. They "own" those toys, and they are left to their own devices in total privacy. Do you really expect those toys to stay locked in that room on your say so? This is the sad state of "digital locks" in the entertainment industry.

- DRM will not stop the pirates, or P2P sharing. It will only hinder valid audience/customer usage.

- Full encryption will defeat all ISP monitoring of content. They cannot tell the difference between a VPN, online banking, or P2P sharing of copyrighted content.

- There are many, many valid situations that use a lot of bandwidth, both upload and download. VoIP and video chat and online conferencing and gaming are just a few examples. And the usage is growing every day. How about online backups of your critical local data?

Your thinking is along the right lines, but you haven't thought through, or understand, the full picture (and you are far from alone). The right answer isn't to hinder people that simply want to format shift their legal content. Nor is the right answer to place a levy on the devices that contain that content. It's not technically possible for an ISP to separate the pirates and P2P infringers from the legitimate uses based on dynamic content analysis (sometimes called deep packet inspection). A bandwidth levy on straight bandwidth usage is no better than a levy on devices.
The problem cannot be "controlled" through technology or social (legal) measures. You need to get to the root of the issues and address that. Address the social changes surrounding copyright that technology has enabled.

There is an answer, but that answer requires sideways, and some might say radical, thinking. Embrace the changes and adapt to them. Sure, it will mean the displacement of large sections of the distribution and collective organizations that have arisen around copyright, but that is still much better than the mess we are dealing with right now. The mess that is only being made worse by catering to the wishes of these entrenched interests.

My next post will outline one idea. Comining it into this one makes it too large for this blog.

December 15, 2010

oldguy said:

@Moosebump
Continued:

Take your thinking on bandwidth management/caps, and combine it with legalized P2P sharing, inside the ISP. Instead of trying to "control" P2P distribution, get inside it, become a part of it. Join the social trends. Place legalized P2P systems within the ISP and let anything downloaded from it be speed unrestricted. Give it lots of bandwidth. Let all clients within the ISP network share freely without limitation. Only apply shaping to the outside ISP connections. This applies a bias to P2P clients to obtain the content from within the ISP network, and a further bias to obtain a portion of it from the ISP owned P2P systems. Now the ISP has lots of data to work with, it has your total data usage (modem stats), the specific content you were interested in (their P2P log data), the size of the content you were interested in. Combine all that together, and they have a pretty good idea of how much of your "bandwidth usage" was related to P2P sharing of content. Apply a fixed price "bandwidth levy" based on the P2P data used, to your bill.
Note: The issue of encrypted connections does not even enter into the picture here. Encryption is endpoint to endpoint, from computer to banking server, from laptop to corporate VPN server, from P2P system to P2P system. Since the ISP owned P2P system is a full participant in the P2P sharing, it simply tracks the connecting systems and content - after the encryption/decryption flows. It need not attempt to "crack" a foreign connection passing though it's routers, the ISP P2P system itself is already one of the endpoints of the encrypted connection(s).

It has built in checks and balances. If the pricing is too high, clients can lock out the ISP owned P2P systems and the ISP has no data to work with. This comes at a "cost" of slower speeds because of shaped traffic outside the ISP boundaries. Keep the price low enough and the shaping differential high enough and the social/psychological effects will cut "illegal" sharing of P2P traffic enormously. Content "sharing" is freely done, and the only thing tracked/priced is "downloaded" content.

Content owners can now "register" their content directly with an ISP database, and be paid out of the "bandwidth levy" when ISP customers download it. Paid purely by the content size and amount of customers (popularity) that downloaded it. Since ISPs can track content usage (through their P2P systems) only material that has a registered owner that wishes to be paid has a levy applied. Legal P2P has no levy.
This could quickly lead to a situation where content owners want their content shared on an ISP internal P2P system, and quickly. They might even upload it themselves. The higher the quality (bigger size), the more money they make. They might upload "freebies" as promotional material. ISPs start competing on their "internal network P2P capabilities" (amount of storage, speed, etc). The bigger the ISP, the more participating customers/clients, the faster the P2P speed becomes. Things get interesting.

It isn't perfect. It doesn't address the classical pirate, but nothing in our current direction does either. It does address the growing P2P sharing community needs, and does so in a way that is closer to fair than any levy or DRM measures can possibly do.

But note that it effectively eliminates the large distribution businesses that have arisen on copyright. The artist and creator can upload and register their works directly with the ISP, and receive payment directly from the ISP, based on size and popularity of their content. The creator wins and their audience wins. Not big wins, but they win. Collectives still exist, but their roles change completely. They are now simply a registration and "seed" center for member content. They register the content with all ISPs and quickly seed the ISP P2P systems with member content, and keep them seeded. The big losers are the traditional distribution channels.

So, if we are at the point of considering media levies and bandwidth levies, we are also at the point where we need to revamp the system from the ground up. You can use technology to change society back into a pre-technology world again. The social trends are already there, you can only play into them. Embrace them. Not just new structures and rules, a whole new game.

December 15, 2010

oldguy said:

@Moosebump
Important typo above:

"You can use technology to change society back into a pre-technology world again."

Should be:

"You can't use technology to change society back into a pre-technology world again."
December 15, 2010

Mark said:

...
The biggest problem with levies is that they create a pervasive perception that downloading content that might infringe on copyright is not only legal, but acceptable and even endorsed by the law. This cannot possibly be the intent of anyone who advocates the underlying notion of copyright. Is it the intent for the parties that propose extending this levy that this perception remain? I would seriously hope not. IMO, a far better solution would be to simply invalidate any personal use or fair dealing exemptions that might exist to copyright infringement on content that is already infringing. Such invalidation makes sense, IMO... why should something that applies to copyrighted works apply to copies of it that are infringing on copyright?
December 15, 2010

K-Bert said:

...
Having our internet usage monitored would be
a great travesty of justice. I only believe they
should monitor people who are real criminals, like
pedophiles, terrorists and murderers. I'd never be
against the cops or an ISP monitoring some sicko.

We're talking about ordinary people out there though.
There's no way any person, unless criminally linked,
should have to put up with a blatant breach of
privacy like that. Monitoring people's net usage
doesn't sound in any way democratic to me.

December 15, 2010

oldguy said:

@Mark

I'm not sure what you are getting at. Infringement is infringement. Fair dealing exceptions are a legal defense against certain kinds of potential infringement. Please correct me or clarify if I am wrong, but; Trying to wrap my head around where you might be coming from, sort of leads me to the impression that you are one of the people that equate copyright ownership to property ownership rights. That can get you into all kinds of inconsistencies and misunderstandings. They are not the same thing conceptually, never mind under law.

I agree that levies tend to lead people into the impression that downloading copyrighted content is always acceptable. If we implement levies, we must also turn all of copyright (or at least it's distribution) upside down. Find a way to keep the "underlying principles", while at the same time satisfying the social trends that technology has enabled.

No one will really argue that artists and creators don't deserve to be compensated. But the world has changed. The way creators used to be compensated must change as well. If this requires a complete rethinking of copyright law then we need to get on with it. The first step is to recognize that technology has enabled a very large change in society norms and behaviour. The second step is to recognize that copyright holders are not the first, or even the largest, segment of society to be affected by these changes. The third step is to realize that you cannot turn the clock backwards, those society changes are here to stay, and are continuing into the future. Now go back to the "fundamental principles" surrounding copyright and craft brand new laws that balance those principles with modern, and changing, society.

There have been 300 years of business models and legal structures built up. It might seem harsh, but those models and structures are no longer relevant and are getting more irrelevant every day. Society has already spoken, it started about 20 years ago and has proceeded at typical "internet speed". To speak of stopping or controlling it through technology or legal means is ridiculous, and fruitless.
There is a stark message in this for all artists and creators; Your audience has changed it's wants and needs, and is continuing to change. No matter how much you would like them to be different, you will not succeed in forcing them to behave the way you wish. They are your fans, not your enemies. They are not anti-social, by any measure of their changed society. If your current business models have been disrupted because your fans have the means to satisfy their new needs on their own, then it speaks more about your business adaptability than it does about them.
December 15, 2010

end user said:

eat me
@Moosebump why not put a tax on anyone uploading more than 500Mb or 1GB a month?

Please get into the real world! I easily do 20+ gigs of upload streaming all CC licensed music to my shoutcast server and running a 24/7 web cam which is 14 gigs alone for upload.

December 15, 2010

savant73 said:

A couple of lies exposed
A) Notice how the official press release said "UP TO $75". Yep, in actual fact the levy would be more like $10-$20 on devices.

B) The levy would only apply to devices specifically manufactured and MARKETED for playing music i.e ipods/mp3 players. When Moore and Clement claim it will apply to cell phones, portable hard drives, memory sticks and even cars(!) they are blatantly lying about what the artists are asking for.

I can see from some of the comments above though that their tactic of just repeating a simple, scary lie over and over and over again will work for casual observers of this debate. Certainly the media didn't ask any tough questions during their photo-op yesterday.
December 15, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@savant: "Notice how the official press release said "UP TO $75""

Yeah, it reminds me products like "High Speed Internet - up to 15 Mbps".

Nap. :-)
December 15, 2010

Chris A said:

@sevant73
I've been against levies since the CD one was introduced. It has nothing to do with how much extra devices cost.
December 15, 2010

Anarchist Philantharapist said:

Bring on the levies
I would rather pay more for my device than worry about a corrupt government being able the fine me for downloading a few songs.
December 15, 2010

Anarchist Philantharapist said:

...
Why is it people today can't see the propaganda that this is becoming?
December 15, 2010

Chris A said:

...
"I would rather pay more for my device than worry about a corrupt government being able the fine me for downloading a few songs."

I would rather the Canadian creative industry learn how to compete than to be artificially propped up. I see no reason why I should support an artists I care nothing about by proxy via levies. Or the levy is on the content I purchase and goes to the artist I purchase it from and not a general pool that gets distributed to everyone.

Or the government work better at promoting Canadian content.
December 15, 2010

Mark said:

...
@oldguy: Basically, I merely advocate the notion that copying absolutely any infringing content for any reason whatsoever should always be copyright infringement, and that it should be up to the individual to judge for him or herself how certain they are of the non-infringing nature of material they may intend to copy before copying it for private use or fair dealing purposes, knowing that they may open themselves up to legal consequences if the work they are copying from is infringing. In general, infringing content on the Internet is readily distinguishable from material that is being legally distributed, given only a modest amount of awareness of what copyright actually is, and as ignorance of a law should not, by rights, be justification to break it, I do not see this as a serious problem.

It's worth remembering that the impetus for the levy in the first place was rampant levels of so-called private copying on material whose copyright was already infringed when it was being publicly distributed. My aforementioned proposal would make it unnecessary by outlawing that activity. If one is to argue that enforcement issues make it impractical to accomplish, then it becomes irrefutable that one is saying that the levy exists not to merely compensate for legal private copying, but to actually compensate for the private copying of pirated copies, and since lawful levies cannot legally be applied to illegal activities, this, in turn, implicitly endorses (and legalizes) the creation and distribution of pirated copies. Again, this cannot reasonably be the intent of the supporters of the levy, if they also support the notion of copyright itself, and is the most significant reason why I would oppose the levy.

Truthfully, however, I'd rather pay a levy than not be allowed to legally privately copy something at all, based solely on a decision I was never party to - the presence of a digital lock on a commercially available work. I am convinced that supporters of the notion that digital locks should trump such privileges are failing to realize that they are significantly shifting the cost-benefit ratio of publishing in favor of a particular business model, the utilization of digital locks on media, drastically reducing the availability in the future of works that consumers can freely copy for their own purposes or simply to make backups. Consumers will simply not tolerate such restrictions indefinitely... it is completely unrealistic to believe otherwise, and the result of such restrictions being brought into law will be an absolutely epidemic level of disregard for Copyright law that will make Napster et al look like nothing more than little hiccups.
December 15, 2010

Crockett said:

...
@Mark "and the result of such restrictions being brought into law will be an absolutely epidemic level of disregard for Copyright law that will make Napster et al look like nothing more than little hiccups."

This is self evident to those of us in tune with the public perception but seems completely lost on many of those in the creative community. I have often wondered on the reason for this apparent disconnect between these two parties, and wonder if there is any way at all to bring the two world views into some form of sync. I certainly hope so ... for everyone's sake.
December 15, 2010

oldguy said:

@Mark
..."I merely advocate the notion that copying absolutely any infringing content for any reason whatsoever should always be copyright infringement"

So you seem to be saying that there should be no exceptions of any kind, for any purpose. Even a simple quote for reference or context, like I did of your words above, would be an infringement. Sorry, I don't agree. That would subvert copyright law as much as legalized copying through levies will do. This is a common perception from people that equate copyright with property law, which is why I felt you were leaning that direction.

The average person can have a very difficult time determining copyable content from non-copyable content on the internet. Not only is there growing amounts of all forms of content, it goes against the natural behaviour of society. You won't, and can't, change society norms.

..."worth remembering that the impetus for the levy in the first place was rampant levels of so-called private copying on material whose copyright was already infringed when it was being publicly distributed. My aforementioned proposal would make it unnecessary by outlawing that activity."

That activity was just as infringing back when the media levy was first introduced. It still is under current law. The levy was simply a frank admission that society had already changed, a poor attempt to "balance" the copyright holder interests with that changed society. Society has continued to change, and in the vein of "more isn't always better" we have reached the point where increasing the media levy isn't the right answer either.

We need to step back and rethink the whole structure. If a levy seems like an appropriate answer, craft a structure that places a levy at the right place and in the right amounts for that changed society. Legalize the downloading and create a "levy structure" that is as fair as we can make it. What we have now, and what is being proposed, are very unfair to everybody. Proposals for levies are a frank admission of the realities that society has already changed, there are new norms of behaviour. That is a step in the right direction, but the next step is harder. An admission that we need a major restructure of all of copyright law and business models to accommodate that changed society.

December 15, 2010

Mark said:

...
@oldguy: "So you seem to be saying that there should be no exceptions of any kind, for any purpose. Even a simple quote for reference or context, like I did of your words above, would be an infringement."

No, because what you quoted above was not infringing on copyright in the first place.

What I was proposing was that the exceptions to copyright infringement for copying copyrighted materials *NOT* legally apply to any works that are already infringing on copyright.

"The average person can have a very difficult time determining copyable content from non-copyable content on the internet"

Only if a person willfully keeps their head in the sand about the issue and ignores the way the world actually works. Nobody I have ever personally met seriously believes that most of the content on pirate websites is actually being distributed by people with the consent of the copyright holder. But as I said above, I do not believe that ignorance of a law should be an excuse to break it, anyways. Educational programs may help in this matter also.

"That activity was just as infringing back when the media levy was first introduced. It still is under current law. The levy was simply a frank admission that society had already changed, a poor attempt to "balance" the copyright holder interests with that changed society."
I agree wholeheartedly that it was poor attempt.... because it implicitly endorses the creation and distribution of the pirated content. And what's worse, is that a court actually ruled in favor of this interpretation, completely overturning the very fundamental basis of copyright. It is my position that the aforementioned court ruling should no longer be allowed to be precedent by changing the laws so that so-called "private use" claims cannot justify copying copyrighted content that happens to already be infringing on copyright.

"We need to step back and rethink the whole structure. If a levy seems like an appropriate answer, craft a structure that places a levy at the right place and in the right amounts for that changed society."
The levy, if any, should be placed on the purchase price of the copyrighted work.

"Legalize the downloading"
This I wholeheartedly disagree with... at least with respect to copyrighted content that is being distributed without permission from the copyright holder (or the agents that represent him). If the content being downloaded is infringing, I see absolutely no reason that the downloader should not be just as guilty of copyright infringement as the uploader, unless the uploader has somehow forced the transfer of the content without any consent on the part of the downloader. It can be argued that the *only* thing that supposedly might protect the downloader simply should not apply, because that protection should rightful only apply to lawfully created works, and a work being publicly distributed without the consent of the copyright holder is not a lawful copy.
December 15, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@Mark: "If the content being downloaded is infringing, I see absolutely no reason that the downloader should not be just as guilty of copyright infringement as the uploader, unless the uploader has somehow forced the transfer of the content without any consent on the part of the downloader."

And how can the downloader know if the content is legit or not. Should we have some global organization that examines the content of each and every web page in the world, then electronically signs it "approved"?

Let's say I click on the Why Copyright movie link on this page. How can I tell that I won't be subjected to some infringing content? like a couple of images or sounds that were not properly licensed?

Nap.
December 15, 2010

crade said:

...
@savant73
"A) Notice how the official press release said "UP TO $75". Yep, in actual fact ..."

Everyone known what "UP TO " means. We've been to the mall and we aren't retards. It means that was the highest amount ever under consideration. I don't think anyone cares what the exact amount is. We will just buy our stuff from the US if it's too expensive.

"B) The levy would only apply to devices specifically manufactured and MARKETED for playing music i.e ipods/mp3 players. When Moore and Clement claim it will apply to cell phones, portable hard drives, memory sticks and even cars(!) they are blatantly lying about what the artists are asking for. "

They don't discuss what the artists are asking for at all... They are talking about the proposed levies. Ipods are marketed to play videos these days anyway aren't they? It's implied that they can play music. Anyway, we all know the companies will just shift their strategies around so they don't have to pay the levy, we've seen the "Music CDs" and "Data CDs" crap before too. The problem isn't what the levies will cost, but how useless and pointless they are plus the principle that they want to charge us for private use of our own property.
December 15, 2010

Mark said:

...
@Napalm: "And how can the downloader know if the content is legit or not."
In practice, this is trivial... as I said above, there isn't a single person I know or have even heard of who downloads copyrighted content from the Internet that is being distributed without permission from the copyright holder and is not quite fully aware that is the case. The problem is not that they do not KNOW that the material is infringing on copyright, the problem, in such cases, generally amounts to their own personal view that because they are only downloading stuff for their own personal use, it is harmless. In and of itself, this view would be correct, if the content that they were downloading were being legally distributed in the first place. Although it's arguable that they are not causing any additional harm than what is already being done by public distribution by downloading it for themselves, the fact remains that people are generally quite fully cognisant of the legitimacy of the content they are obtaining. In some ways, it could be likened to knowingly purchasing stolen goods (although it's not my intent to compare copyright infringement to theft, I am merely making an analogy).

As for the theoretical possibility of people being so ignorant as to be unaware of even that much, I cannot see it being a significant problem in practice. Again, however, educational programs may help offset even this problem to the point that I would dare say that the only people who might continue to claim to be ignorant of it are liars. Again, ignorance of a law is not an excuse to break it. If some pirate website claims to be legit and a person gullibly believes it when they are not on the up-and-up... too bad for them, IMO. In practice, actually legit and questionable sources are readily distinguishable by anyone who has even slight familiarity with copyright law.

Further, the veracity of any remaining claim of ignorance is often quite testable, simply from a description of the actions that led up to an alleged inadvertent infringement. So, in practice, I sincerely do not see it as being likely to ever cause a problem for anyone who doesn't actually intend to infringe on copyright.
December 15, 2010

Chris A said:

...
The problem with levies on devices/bandwidth is that they make the assumption that you are going to do something illegal, so they need to charge you for it. Whether that's the point or not is really irrelevant since that is how it seems. Levies, if used, should be on the content, not the devices. That way people who are actually buying the content are paying, and then it can do strait to the artist who's work you bought.

Of course, leveis really seem like a poor excuse for the government not to have to support Canadian artists, which really is the best way to go around it. Keep it and digital locks out of copyright law since neither have anything to actually do with copyright.

Also, educational programs are not going to change anything really. If the education program tells something that what they thing they can do is illegal and they don't have a good reason (I have yet to see any good reason for a levy at all) is not going to change consumer habits or attitude. You then up with a law that is completely disrespected and unenforceable. Consumer habits have changed, trying to make that consumers think is perfectly reasonable illegal or explain to them that it is will not work no matter how much people try to claim that it can. Make a law and business models that actually fit and stop trying to live in the past. If you want the Canadian content industry to die, all you need to do is try to change what you can't rather than adapt to it and grow.
December 15, 2010

Moosebump said:

no, eat me
@oldguy
Thanks for the measured reply to my, admitedly, less than well thought out answer. I did say digital locks were unlikely to work whereas you seem to imply I thought it would. (this may be my lack of technical understanding)

@enduser
"I easily do 20+ gigs of upload streaming all CC licensed music to my shoutcast server and running a 24/7 web cam which is 14 gigs alone for upload. "

yeah, well I buy iPods, hard drives, memory cards, smartphones that would all be taxed despite containing only my own or fully paid-for material. My point was that neither was an ideal solution but mine might be less mis-targeted. I definitely don't think I have it figured out but just don't get why so little effort seems to be spent going after the root of the problem. It's theft - put some people in jail.


@Napalm
"It's like asking for a tax on cars because drug smugglers use them."

kind of like a tax on storage devices??



December 15, 2010

Crockett said:

Some brighter bulbs are needed down at the studios ..
@Chris "Consumer habits have changed, trying to make that consumers think is perfectly reasonable illegal or explain to them that it is will not work no matter how much people try to claim that it can."

Every time I'm at the movies the 'You wouldn't steal a car ...' commercial would be the target of cat calls and popcorn projectiles. Call people thieves and that's what you'll be creating. It seems basic human psychology is a discipline beyond the ken of the most 'talented' media executive 0_o

The media industry needs to court the consumer instead of pissing them off. Provide products and services they are asking for, it may seem scary but then so did the VCR.
December 15, 2010

oldguy said:

@Mark

From all your comments, there is one thing that stands out. You are tilting at windmills. You will not change general society, through education or otherwise. That is the reality all of us have to deal with. Although your approach sounds like it might work in a fictionalized world, it is built on the implied assumption that people would always obey the law, no matter how much it conflicts with the norms of their lifestyle. People are not as easily manipulated as this, and will always reject laws and "education" they feel are unfair or unjust. Go read up on the "society norms" that arose on the heels of Prohibition. It is recent, well documented, and there are even a few people around that remember it. Consider this when reviewing or advancing any suggestions or proposals.

So we are left with finding solutions that are acceptable by society. They must be perceived as fair and balanced.

Keep in mind that any proposals that involve changing what is already accepted as a society norm, will never work. Never has, never will. The original levy was a tacit acknowledgment of this.

December 15, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@Mark: "The problem is not that they do not KNOW that the material is infringing on copyright, the problem, in such cases, generally amounts to their own personal view that because they are only downloading stuff for their own personal use, it is harmless."

Mark, I genuinely don't know.

For the example I used, maybe Michael included a stock photo in that movie and the rights holder comes after him and all the people that accessed his page.

And also as I mentioned I'm a "starving programmer" and I frequently download code from sourceforge. It's supposed to be original code, but how can I tell that a particular file doesn't include some copyrighted, or worse, patented lines of code?

I'll just have to trust the "uploader" i.e. the guy who posted the code there, that it's not infringing anything.

Nap.
December 15, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@Mark:

...adding to my previous post...

Yes I know that you're thinking about connecting to P2P and finding Britney Spears tunes there. I can figure that much that it's probably not legit. But also I can go on youtube and find some classical music concert and guess what it's legit and it's posted there by Deutsche Grammophon. Or at least that's what the page says. What should I do? Call DG to check?

Also don't forget that if you make a rule it will apply to all materials through all distribution sources. If I intentionally post here some copied material, should you be guilty for viewing it? Or should I be the only one responsible?

Nap.
December 15, 2010

Napalm said:

...
Supposing that the law criminalizes the *downloader*, here's a very lucrative business model that our neighbors won't be shy to use:

I set up two companies, ABC News and CBA News. ABC publishes original material on their web site - news, product reviews, whatever. CBA immediately and without a license copies all of them on its web site. Of course, since I control both ABC and CBA, ABC will never sue CBA. However some poor suckers will fall onto CBA site through google, and read some materials, download stuff etc. Since I have the logs, I sue all of them through ABC for downloading infringing materials.

Sounds crazy? Google for "Righthaven" or something like that.

Nap.
December 15, 2010

Mark said:

...
@oldguy: actually, my proposed approach is built around the notion that the law will explicitly empower law enforcement to actually target copyright infringers where they are detected, and not have them hiding behind the alleged "private use" excuse when the work they were copying from was infringing in the first place. It is merely my stance that nothing that would normally permit a person to be exempt from infringing on copyright would apply to works that are already infringing. If the work they are copying from is not infringing in the first place, then the only thing they have to worry about is infringing on copyright themselves.

Anyways, copyright supposedly is an exclusive right held by the copyright holder to decide who has the right to copy his or her works. Explicitly or implicitly endorsing or legalizing the downloading copies of materials that have not been authorized by the copyright holder for such distribution wholly undermines that notion.
December 16, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@MArk: "Anyways, copyright supposedly is an exclusive right held by the copyright holder to decide who has the right to copy his or her works."

And this is why it stays in the way of modern technology, where materials are "copied" several times until they get on your notebook's screen. Our neighbours already had lawsuits on that.

It should be about the exclusive right held by the copyright holder to decide who has the right to DISTRIBUTE copies of his or her works.

Nap.
December 16, 2010

Chris A said:

@Napalm
"It should be about the exclusive right held by the copyright holder to decide who has the right to DISTRIBUTE copies of his or her works."

I agree. If you keep the view of copyright as it used to be, it's not going to work in a modern Internet society. Unfortunately, not enough people in the right places see that.
December 16, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@Chris:

I guess Mme. Carole Lavallee was onto something when having that intervention about the name of the law in English and French.

Because it's called "copyright" we became obsessed with the act of copying.

How about a fresher view that would lead to some real reform. Like adopting the French "Author's Rights" name and discussing property and distribution rights of the artists/creators.

Why do we have to obsess over the word "copy". Yes I know because that's what "the industry" sells. But then "the industry" is in a crisis so obviously this approach has serious issues.

Nap.
December 16, 2010

Mark said:

...
@Nap
"It should be about the exclusive right held by the copyright holder to decide who has the right to DISTRIBUTE copies of his or her works."

That alone would not suffice... if the copies were made with permission, it should not matter who distributes them. Original CD's for example, can and should be able to be bought and sold freely, without any form of permission on that distribution, explicit or otherwise.

However,even then, copyright is still being infringed upon when people download works that are being distributed without permission. And as I noted above, people are not ignorant of this issue, so I see no compelling reason why it should be legal. It might be easy enough to shut the services down when they are within Canada, but if the service is hosted overseas where there are different laws, that leaves the question of how should Canada address the issue of its citizens utilizing such services in blatant disregard for copyright law. Not doing anything, or doing very little, which is what the general reaction has been so far, weakens the reliability that copyright has in the view of publishers and is a significant motivation towards the current movement of trying to legislate other mechanisms to protect their interests, such as digital lock provisions.

If copyright is no longer sufficient to protect works, then publishers are truly left with little choice in the matter in how they must proceed, which is to shut down the consumer's freedoms by controlling and dictating the precise terms and conditions under which absolutely *ANY* copies may be made, even those made for personal use or backup reasons, and legislation which outlaws any tools which might be used to bypass such restrictions. Such terms might even be reasonable at the time of publication, but they cannot remain technologically neutral forever and are liable to be obsolete long before the copyright expires, resulting in people often being shut out entirely from legally even accessing works that they have legally acquired.

Given a choice, I'd far rather see copyright enforced more rigidly than have law-abiding citizens get metaphorically screwed over in this way.
December 16, 2010

Chris A said:

@Mark
That seems like an incredible short sighted viewpoint, and generally ignores what is actually happening in the real world, and how things are viewed. Consumer habits are changing due to technology, and already have. They will continue to do so. Expecting the law to treat everything consumers expect to be able to do with the things they buy as illegal means you have a law that doesn't work unless you are planning to sue everyone who breaks it (which, as shown, is a tactic that does not work no matter how much they try).

If content creators can't learn how to deal with a changing world and try to keep shoving a square peg into a round hole, no matter what the law says, they will not be sustainable.
December 16, 2010

Mark said:

...
@Chris:
No, they will not sue anyone who breaks it... they will, however, block anyone who makes the tools available to break it, to the extent that the law can actually accomplish it. They will go after the manufacturer of the tool if the manufacture is in Canada. If the manufacturer is not in Canada, they will attempt to block the importing of the tool into Canada. In the case of physical goods, this is relatively easy. In the case of virtual tools, it is trickier, but not necessarily impossible... particularly if the tool is not being made freely available. Finally, they will also resort to prosecuting anyone in Canada who does redistribute the tool.

Of course consumers are not going to sit idly by while this happens. Historically, people have never indefinitely continued to obey laws that they disagree with, and so will ignore such restrictions sufficiently below the radar that they will not get caught.

It's worth noting, however, that people who download works from pirate sites do not necessarily disagree with the notion of copyright law explicitly (some do, but most that I have met or am aware of do not), but rather, they are acting from the position that they simply believe they are not doing any additional harm to the copyright holder. This may be debatable, but is actually largely irrelevant, since the copyright holder's copyright is still being infringed when his material is being distributed without permission, and downloading infringing material, whether or not the downloading is causing any additional harm to the copyright holder than what is being caused by the unauthorized distribution in the first place is explicitly endorsing that activity.

As I said above, if publishers cannot depend on the social contract of copyright to prevent consumers from distributing unauthorized copies of their works, they are going to be left with little recourse but to utilize other methods, which prevent consumers from freely copying the materials as they might want to in the first place. And believe me, they have and most certainly will continue to take that road.

Am I saying that this is right, however? No. My preference would be for a copyright law that actually explicitly enables prosecution where copyright infringement in cases is actually happening.
December 16, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@MArk: "No, they will not sue anyone who breaks it... "

Says who?

The industry's antics in US are proving otherwise.

Nap.
December 16, 2010

Crockett said:

James has updated his blog ...
http://fakejamesmoore.blogspot.com/
December 16, 2010

Chris A said:

...
"they will, however, block anyone who makes the tools available to break it, to the extent that the law can actually accomplish it."

So...nothing? Because suing the people who make this software has worked out so well. I mean, Limewire was down for all of maybe 3 days.

"As I said above, if publishers cannot depend on the social contract of copyright to prevent consumers from distributing unauthorized copies of their works, they are going to be left with little recourse but to utilize other methods, which prevent consumers from freely copying the materials as they might want to in the first place. And believe me, they have and most certainly will continue to take that road. "

Or they can decide to go out of business rather than learn how to actually make a business model that may work with the new realities. I know, it may require thinking outside the box and all, and it might be scary, but trying to cling to business models of the past is not going to work.

Some people have thankfully realized this, but unfortunately most have not.
December 16, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@Mark & Chris:

Note that the website of one of those "DVD backup" software manufacturers is hosted in China.

Now wouldn't it be ironic that US would try to censor a Chinese web site....

Nap. :-)

December 16, 2010

Napalm said:

...
France has joined the party:

http://yro.slashdot.org/story/...e-Internet

"Liberté, égalité, fraternité" joins "Land of the free" in censorship antics.

Nap.

Bwahahaha.

Nap.
December 16, 2010

Mark said:

...
When a business model fails to maintain exclusive control over the supply knob on the supply-demand curve, the model falls apart. Utterly. The problem is the market saturates quickly, and there is no ongoing opportunity for revenue. The notion that this should provide additional incentive for artists to continue to create is flawed because, in fact, artists can only create work at a certain rate, but the rate at which a market could saturate if their work is freely distributable on the Internet is far greater than what artists could produce it at. Issues of market saturation are why most people who try to get into MLM's ultimately fail to succeed, and it is similarly why any legalization of downloading of copyrighted content that is being distributed without consent of the copyright holder is likewise catastrophic to the existence of copyright.

Without even protections on digital locks (which as I mentioned elsewhere, I am *wholly* morally opposed to), the result, as I've mentioned before, would leave publishers with little commercial incentive to publish any works at all by people with whom they were not confident they could make a significant revenue with in a brief window of time before the content is so freely copied by so many people that their own distribution capabilities cannot match it. The only thing legally stopping that thing from happening right now is copyright, and to some extent that's already starting to fail the publisher. It will be orders of magnitude worse if copyright is abolished and no longer prevents people from copying works for absolutely any reason whatsoever. It is a horribly flawed argument to assume that noncommercial copying and distribution does no harm to the copyright holder, because copyright is supposed to be an exclusive right to decide who gets to do that... and if other people are doing it then by definition, it's not exclusive, so the merits of copyright itself are compromised, not merely for the copyright holder whose copyright is being directly infringed, but *ALL* copyright holders, everywhere.

And without copyright, people unable to find a publisher will have to resort to self-publication. As theoretically ideal as this might sound, the sad reality is that self-publishers are simply not likely to be able to successfully compete with the larger and more well known artists, who will receive much wider distribution owing to the money that is invested in publicizing their works, unless they already have a lot of money. There would also be exceptions, to be sure... but I remain convinced that what I've described here would still be the general rule... and it's one I'd really seriously hope to never live to see.
December 16, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@Mark: "It will be orders of magnitude worse if copyright is abolished "

I've said that half serious, half tongue-in-cheek.

"Copyright" law as we know it (i.e. referring to the process of making copies) should be abolished. It should though be replaced by an "Author Rights" law establishing that the author has property and distribution rights on his work.

Remember that not all distribution is done through "copies" such as plastic discs. You can have e.g. live performance or broadcast.

"The industry" will want you to obsess over those plastic discs and copying them because that's what they do. Don't get fooled by them. They still haven't defined what their product is (i.e. a product or a license).

Nap.
December 16, 2010

Chris A said:

@Mark
Then people who don't want to create in a world like that should not do so. Copyright law should not be used to protect business models, only ensure that the creators of a work is fairly compensated. Trying to work in todays world using yesterday model is not going to work no matter how much people try to.

No where have I ever called for copyright to be abolished, nor do I think that it should be legal to copy and give a copyrighted work to a friend (for money or not). Where I draw the proverbial line is when they want to put money on devices and services I use that have no direct connection to anything that they are creating. I also draw the line at them caring whether or not I make personal copies for myself and my family (who, BTW, only buy one physical copy of a book despite it being read by more than one person). Will the first still happen? Sure, and if you want to make sure that the artist is paid then the ORIGINAL PRICE should include that expectation and should not be on my iPod just because I may or may not do so.
December 16, 2010

Legion said:

...
This problem goes beyond just company/artist revenues. The fact is that napster, torrents, etc, have allowed people to download media en masse for free for so long that it's impossible to value it the way we did before. I'm a musician, I love music, but how can anyone value an album the way we did in the past, when with the smallest effort you can have a band's entire discography for free. The supply becomes so high that it devalues the art/entertainment. Piracy is just a part of the problem, digitization has allowed for easy copying and distribution of all information. I'm no luddite, but I don't believe that if we stop piracy all of a sudden musicians, movie studios and content providers will make money like before. Information is cheap. Even if you could stop piracy, you can't argue that everything people downloaded for free, they'd now go out and buy. Digital locks are not the same as physical impediments. The fact is, piracy wasn't a problem before because nobody had a way to duplicate film reels in their home, or copy vinyl. I don't know what the answer is, but the fact is, digitization and the internet have broken a ton of what are now obsolete business models. Introducing some legislation is definitely not going to fix things.
December 16, 2010

Mark said:

...
@Chris: The problem is not creating... not by a long shot. People will always create, regardless of whatever business model people adapt to. The problem is publishing. Without publication, the creator cannot get the exposure that they might want to receive.

I'm also in full agreement with you on believing that consumers should have the privilege to make private copies of anything they wish for themselves, regardless of what the copyright holder may desire, because to rule otherwise is to make a law that is either unenforceable or else infringes on people's privacy within their own homes.


December 16, 2010

Mark said:

...
@Legion
The idea would be to shut down the services that people are utilizing to disregard copyright where it has received sufficient public exposure that it can readily be seen as a problem by the industry, and in cases where the services are not hosted in Canada, disconnect the internet service of people who utilize such services. This does not ever mean shutting down people who use bittorrent for any content, because there is plenty of legitimate uses for bittorrent, but it would mean shutting down people who utilize bittorrent search engines that have a significant enough pirated content ratio. The issue of finding legal torrents is one that does not generally require a peer-to-peer search engine, because legitimately distributable content is seeded very openly and trivially findable (censorship issues notwithstanding), even without a torrent-specific search.
December 16, 2010

Chris A said:

@Mark
"The problem is not creating... not by a long shot. People will always create, regardless of whatever business model people adapt to. The problem is publishing. Without publication, the creator cannot get the exposure that they might want to receive."

If the publishers go out of business, something will take it's place. If you look at something like the Amazon Kindle store, you can publish there and get your book out if you want to spend the effort to do so. What was the publisher in the past does not need to be the same as what the publisher is in the future.
December 16, 2010

Mark said:

...
@Chris: Incorrect... well, that's the short answer. The long answer is that you are only partially correct. Remember, we are talking about a hypothetical future society where people can wholly legally and openly distribute unauthorized copies. Under such a regime, places like Amazon, even through their kindle store, would immediately reject out of hand, anything that they could not project any sort of very immediate return on investment, since there would not exist any legal framework to limit the unauthorized file distribution. Anyone who wasn't famous enough to make an impression on big publishers like Amazon would have to resort to self-publishing, which has the problems I outlined above. Such problems aren't impossible to overcome, of course... there would always be a few gems that will succeed in spite of the odds against them, but the overall net result would be a drastic drop in the quantity (and probably quality) of publicly available creative works, and society as a whole would suffer for it.
December 16, 2010

oldguy said:

@Mark
..." block anyone who makes the tools available to break it, to the extent that the law can actually accomplish it."

There isn't just one "tool". There are thousands of versions. All accessible through the internet. New versions are available every day, from all over the internet. It is an impossible task to control the distribution of such tools. If you recognize that such a "blockage" is impossible, in fact wouldn't even be noticed, then the rest of the argument starts to show it's flaws.

Again, you need to look for a workable solution that applies to our modern society. You won't and can't change society, and you can't take a narrow approach to technology.

That is the problem with every "committee" solution I have seen so far. They all try to control or shape society through technical solutions that are bypassed as soon as they are released. Society has already "spoken", you cannot reshape the where it is now or the direction it is heading. Any technical "controls" will be bypassed as soon as they are released.

As long as we/you base a solution on tighter or better "technology" to control society behaviour, we/you are doomed to failure.
Digital technology is very useful as a tool to entice or work with society, but it is useless as a mechanism for society control. This isn't a failure of the technology, it is a failure to understand the bounds of that technology.

December 16, 2010

Mark said:

...
@oldguy:

To the extent that such tools can be blocked, they would be under C-32.... the point is that the tools would not be legally available, preventing people from being able to legally enjoy the privileges of format shifting, private use, or personal backups except under the express terms that the content provider dictates, and it is my position that those terms will not be adequate to cover every possible perfectly reasonable activity, because they will be rendered obsolete by any technological developments. This isn't going to work, people are just going to ignore it and privately break the law anyways... resulting in a overall consumer backlash *AGAINST* copyright, which is wholly the opposite of what supporters of C32 would be trying to accomplish.

The only solution that I can see that *remotely* begins to work is simply tougher enforcement on people who are actually infringing in the first place, or who are willfully endorsing infringement on copyright by disregarding the legitimacy of the source from which they may have obtained a work.

Of course, even that solution can only work to the extent that law enforcement actually can actively detect and pursue infringers... but it's a far cry better than the approach the conservatives seem to be pushing for, which is to criminalize the sale or distribution of any tools that are or can be used to infringe on copyright to the extent that this can be detected and then apparently just ignore the people who are still managing to get away with it in spite of that restriction.
December 16, 2010

Legion said:

...
@Mark
Not going to work, new distribution methods will be found. All it will do is make lawyers richer. It's not like piracy doesn't exist in the states. But even this is irrelevant, it still does not restore value. There's more content than consumers. And after 10 years of downloading for free, no one is going to start paying $15 for a CD. The fact is a lot of the huge profits obtained by content providers, specifically movies and music came from reselling people the same content in a new format (vinyl to casette, casette to CD, VHS to DVD, DVD to Bluray). Once something is digitized, formats become a formality, and without ridiculous digital lock provisions that are actually followed, that model falls apart.
December 16, 2010

Chris A said:

@Mark
Right now, you can self publish on Amazon since there are people who do it. So I'm not sure what the problem with self publishing is. Sure you may have to do extra legwork to get advertising, but I've never seen advertising for a book outside of a bookstore (unless it's something like Harry Potter that is). Amazon could provide, for a fee probably, a way to help you advertise your book. And a new model is born. Welcome to thinking outside the box, it will help you survive into the future.
December 16, 2010

Josh said:

We are also opposed to the iPod tax.
Our website has a lot of visitors (www.bestcanadiandeals.com), if there is anything we ca ndo to support and provide visibility please contact us.
December 16, 2010

oldguy said:

@Mark
..."The only solution that I can see that *remotely* begins to work is simply tougher enforcement on people who are actually infringing in the first place, or who are willfully endorsing infringement on copyright by disregarding the legitimacy of the source from which they may have obtained a work."

And the enormity of such an "enforcement" task is what led to the original media levy in the first place. There was a general political recognition that society had changed, and creating "mix tapes" or "mix cds" had become the default practice by a significant portion of society. That these levies were poorly implemented does not invalidate the concept, or the recognition of reality, by the policy makers of the time.

Society has had another 20 years of change since then. There is an even "newer" reality we have to deal with now. The trend has moved farther across the scale than it was then. The enormity of the task you advocate is even bigger than it was then. There was very little chance of success in controlling or changing behavioural "norms" back then, and there is zero chance today.

So we need to think outside the box completely. Reexamine the fundamental principles and map new rules and structures that will work in our modern society. I know we can't get there immediately, but we can "step" our laws and structures in the right direction. Stop trying to define preferred norms for modern society, they have already done so on their own. Accept that these norms already exist, and use that as a starting point in building new structures and laws.

Regardless of your personal outlook; private copying, format and time shifting, and backups are the "norm" of society today. P2P sharing and downloading look like they will be the "norms" of tomorrow. I can't stop that trend, you can't either. Laws won't do it, technology won't stop it. Nobody can. Attempting to buck these trends is a waste of time and effort.
The only thing we can do, is find things that work "within the trends". Find mechanisms that will support creators and copyright holders within those behavioral trends, and if we need to craft or change laws that allow new mechanisms then just get on with it.

If we need levies, then make them fair and appropriately applied. We already have the technical capability to do this right. Tithe it at an acceptable level. The scale of the internet and the low cost of distribution make this a no brainer. Done right, it can "walk and talk" like a proper business model, not a levy. But it is likely too radical to come into existence except under the guise of a levy.

If someone wants to put DRM onto their works, they are free to do so. But it becomes their responsibility to make sure that such DRM actually does the job as advertised, not the government or laws. The underlying content is still protected by copyright law, they shouldn't need a "law" to protect a poor (by design) implementation of technology.

If we need exceptions for fair dealing, then define the steps for justifying a fair dealing exception defense. Forget about "categories" completely, it shouldn't matter what the category is, if it meets fair dealing conditions then it should qualify. Otherwise we could end up with some odd technicalities, like a current (digital) magazine article that has excerpts that qualify under journalistic fair dealing exceptions, but not when that article is used in a teaching context.

December 16, 2010

Mark said:

...
@oldguy: When have I *ever* conveyed the notion that I did not support the notions of private copying, format and time shifting, and backups? I support the notion of copyright wholeheartedly, and it is my sincerest desire that it be respected by the public and there be serious legal consequences for failing to do so. But with equal fervor I also most strongly support the consumers rights to do all the things with their works that haven't been considered to infringe on copyright since at least as long as the notion of copying for personal use was explicitly legalized.

However, the fact remains that people who are not respecting the integrity of copyright are causing publishers to lose faith in the abilty for copyright to adequately protect their interests, and so they want to rely on other measures, such as TPM's, and are seeking legal assurance that nobody will be able to bypass them. Of course, all this will do is create an instantaneous black market for the tools required to circumvent them... and to the extent that the law is able, it will endeavor to shut down such markets, making it more difficult for average consumers to engage in perfectly legitimate acts such as private use, format shifting, and personal backups. I am wholly against such provisions, and although I realize that more rigid enforcement of copyright may be problematic, it's far from impossible, and it is *FAR* less problematic than what will happen to copyright if the digital lock provisions of bills like C32 are actually enforced.

Ultimately, I believe that our government is left with no choice but to honestly admit that it has absolutely no ability, nor even the intent to begin to rigidly enforce the provisions that C32 would dictate for TPM's and their circumvention to the point that it could make even the slightest difference to the actual amount of media piracy that is being caused by the unimpeded distribution of copyrighted materials through underground and black market channels, and it is for that reason, if absolutely no other, that the those provisions should be stricken from the bill.
December 17, 2010

Napalm said:

...
@Legion: "There's more content than consumers."

At least 90% of this "content" is junk.

The signal/noise ratio these days is very low. Every single piece of garbage gets published.

Nap.
December 17, 2010

Crockett said:

...
@Mark "However, the fact remains that people who are not respecting the integrity of copyright are causing publishers to lose faith in the abilty for copyright to adequately protect their interests, and so they want to rely on other measures, such as TPM's, and are seeking legal assurance that nobody will be able to bypass them."

This who to blame scenario is like a dog chasing his tail and gets no one anywhere. But since it's the onus on the developer/retailer to entice the customer then the ball is in their court to bring some products and services to market that people will find value in. If that is not possible then I suppose there will be other things people will find to do with their time and money. that could be good or could be bad ...
December 17, 2010

Napalm said:

Photo
Mhhh since that photo is displayed here... and the conservatives are so medieval about intellectual property.... did they clear up with HMV reproducing and distributing through photographic means their logo? Also whoever did the T-shirts, did they have an agreement with Apple to use their "iPod" trademark? etc.

nap.
December 21, 2010

Monopoly said:

Ipods and Internet UBB caps
Monopoly that what we are seeing here! Companies are using the government to impose taxes to protect them and their monopolies. The internet is going the same way! Like the banks and their ABM. Banks used to incentive people to use their bank machines and now they charge you to do that! They reel you in and shake you for your money. If you build, they will come and you have laws passed for them to keep paying for long time. You forgot that many people can`t afford to pay the new price for the net! 25GB is a joke with so many applications being developed the amount is not realistic.
January 06, 2011

John Casey said:

Gotta Love It
So basically, if you read between the lines, the US, through lack of bank regulation, screwed up the worlds economy, but what they are really worried about is their economic recovery. Further more, because the US demanded these tight copyright laws, Harper, go figure, decided to go with the US model. Haper, if you love the US so much, they do all us Canadians a favor and move there. But instead, he decided to have us all bend over and take it up the ass the way he likes it.
January 22, 2011

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