Posts tagged copyright

EU votes down #ACTA 478 to 39!

Having just posted about the Higgs boson, other matters suddenly seem inconsequential. Still, such a convincing defeat of ACTA in the EU gives me cautious hope we'll be rid of it worldwide. Well, until we replace it with another acronym; after SOPA and PIPA we've still got plenty of letter combinations left!

Image from RT.


Czech Republic suspends #ACTA

Since we took a detour through Bavaria over to the Czech Republic on our last Europe trip, I've been really interested in the country. Of the former Eastern Bloc states, it's arguably the most developed and integrated with Western Europe, yet it still retains the Koruna. Classical buildings stand beside Soviet style blocks, and brand new complexes. They make goulash and dumplings [dare I say!] better than the Germans! Politically, culturally and economically, it's a fascinating crossroads, and well worth keeping up to date with their news.

ACTA of course is the Orwellian Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement that was largely been drafted and legislated in secret. Now the Czech Republic and Poland are showing the West how to do democracy; at least better than what the likes of the United States and Australia have done of late. Twenty years ago, who would have thought.


Media cartels, Australian law, pointless images

This post on the Australian government's plan to "streamline" piracy controls" would seem far more authoritative if I picked appropriate images to accompany it.

(Unnecessarily pointless photo of a 1979 car phone by Ben Franske. Get it? Media cartel? Media Car… tel? Media car… telephone? I thought that was funny).

Govt proposes "streamlined" piracy controls

Always on top of such matters, Renai LeMay has reported something that should send chills down every Australian who access the interwebs. You'll want to be sitting down for this, or at least resting on one of those arse cushions they mount on the side of the refurbished Tangaras. Mmm, squishy.

The Federal Government has proposed to modify federal regulations to make it easier for anti-piracy organisations to request details of alleged Internet pirates from ISPs, in a modified process which would make it easier for organisations such as Movie Rights Group and AFACT to pursue individuals allegedly illegally downloading content online.

There are three key parts to this.

The three key parts

I already said that.

It's been said a million times already, but imagine for a second that these media cartels (calling a spade a spade) spent as much time and effort on making it easier for consumers to legally purchase their content. As it stands now, while some people are cheapskates and would never pay for content, I'd argue most people "pirate" content for convenience and due to a lack of access.

Secondly, I'm pretty sure most so-called pirates don't look like that. If they did, they'd be raking in far too much money from cosplay competitions to perform such things. Most likely, they'd be getting other people to do it for them on their behalf, once they realise the DVD they legally purchased can't be played in the media player they legally purchased because of some draconian digital restrictions management.

Thirdly, I'm not a lawyer so I can't comment specifically on whether such moves are unconstitutional, but I find it incredibly offensive that being accused ("allegedly") of a crime is enough to to involve judges and the law. The Stasi of East Germany and The Party of 1984 are calling, they want their methods back.

Icelandic web hosting looks pretty sweet now

Of course, this is only the tip of the iceberg. Mmm, ice kachang. That reminds me, I'm hungry.

With the the draconian ACTA being taken seriously in several countries including Australia and Singapore (so much for my backup living plan!), we can only expect more of this nonsense in the future. A sobering thought, huh?


I don’t watch the Emmy awards, but…

Icon from the Tango Desktop Project

Almost none of the Emmy-nominated shows are viewable on Internet-based TV services ~ Peter Cashmore, Mashable

BitTorrent. As I said in my recent DVD post, if you don't give people the choice to get your media online, people will find their own ways.


When legit isn’t better

Icon from the Tango Desktop project

Now, this is all for a product you as a consumer have taken the time and effort to pay and bring home to your house. In other words, you bought the [DVD] legally, but the studios still petulantly want you to hear them whining about piracy, and have no evident interest in giving you control to use it as you wish.

Bill Wyman commenting in Slate about DVDs. I think this argument can be made about most so-called legal distribution channels, whether it be optical media with unskippable FBI warnings (as I blogged in 2006), or downloaded media with DRM, or playing media with HDCP.

Cheapskates will always pirate content, but a growing number of consumers do so simply because the legitimate product is less convenient, or timely. It's their beloved free market at work; media companies aren't making products people want, and they only have their greed and short-sightedness to blame, not the internet.


My dream about Nicolas Sarkozy

Nicolas Sarkozy at the World Economic Forum

It seems even my subconscious is thinking about copyright law and digital rights! Is that a good thing or not?

(Photo from the World Economic Forum Flickr account)

Allow me to tell you a story…

We have family friends in Paris, and in the two times we've been lucky enough to go to Europe, we've stayed with them. They live alongside one of the Paris Métro lines and down the road from a really great bakery and cake shop. Granted, other than Munich and Vienna I don't think there's anywhere that has as many amazing bakeries and cake shops per square kilometre than Paris, so statistically we were bound to run into one eventually, but I digress. Imbécile!

In my dream, we had left our friends' apartment and were making out way down the street. My old man had taken the Métro into town, and my mother and I were strolling to get some sachertorte. Why we would be eating that in France I have no idea, but it made sense in my dream.

Anyway, I had left her at our table and proceeded inside to order some of the aforementioned gâteau. No wait, sachertorte. Who should be standing in the line in front of me… but a person I didn't recognise. Ahead of him though was Nicolas Sarkozy!

Cold Paris afternoon

I always spell Nicolas with a "ch"

Presumably nobody else in the shop recognised him, or perhaps he was a regular, but either way nobody took any real notice of him. I placed my order, and as I walked past his table I smiled and said "Bonjour Monsieur" in my fractured French accent. To my surprise, he looked up, smiled and said "Bonjour" back!

I glanced down at his table and noticed he had a laptop. I winked and said you'd better be careful someone doesn't hijack your personal WiFi hotspot or that the malware on your system isn't downloading stuff behind your back sir, three times and you'll be banned from having the net at all!"

His smile turned to one of cartoon horror, and he exclaimed "what do you mean, they can do that!?"

At some point I had sat down at his table, and in a way I'm sure was perfectly heterosexual, I had placed my hand on his and was patting it. "Don't worry sir" I said reassuringly, "I'm sure you'll be able to cope with the fact its almost completely unenforceable, will do nothing to curb piracy, will ensnare lots of innocent people".

Allegedly these words had done little to comfort him as he gazed back at his laptop, which from the look on his face could have very well been a crazed man brandishing a loaded gun.

"Your beloved French Republic was founded on the basis of liberty, equality and fraternity… I'm sure you took these all into account when those foreign media companies told you to do…"

Then, back in Sydney, our neighbour started one of his power tools and I was rudely awakened.


Neil Collins, Esquire

The Twitter bird

Wow, people really are shameless with the “borrowing” of blog content these days. ~ @NeilCollinsEsq

Does Twitter count as a blog? Whoops.

I'm also assuming Esq refers to Esquire, and not the Entomological Society of Queensland which possibly has the finest website I've ever seen.


On ANZAC Day, New Zealanders get this?

The Beehive building in Wellington, by __ on Wikimedia Commons

The draconian three strikes bill we were all hoping wouldn't pass… did. The full text of this bill can be found on the New Zealand Government's Legislation website. For the sake of brevity, I'll be commenting on Clarice Africa's FutureGov article. Pardon my rage!

Could the timing be any more blatant?

A bill that puts in place a three-notice regime to deter illegal file sharing has just been passed in Parliament.

And along with it a further erosion of New Zealand sovereignty to the United States and its media cartels.

The Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill repeals Section 92A of the Copyright Act and replaces it with a new process to deal with online copyright infringements, said Commerce Minister Simon Power in an official statement.

In other words, a New Zealand law has been replaced with a faulty international one that would make Nicolas Sarkozy proud.

The bill includes a power for a district court to suspend an internet account for up to six months, in appropriate circumstances. However, this element of the legislation will not be brought into force unless the notice process and the remedies by the Copyright Tribunal are ineffective.

Fortunately we can take a small measure of comfort from the fact it defines the suspension in terms of an "internet account", so the alleged offender could just use internet somewhere else. While representing a substantial threat to civil liberties in New Zealand, ultimately its unenforceable and worthess.

The three-notice regime involves ISPs sending warning notices to their customers informing them they may have infringed copyright. The legislation also extends the jurisdiction of the Copyright Tribunal so it provides an efficient, low-cost process to hear illegal file-sharing claims. The tribunal will be able to make awards of up to $15,000 based on damage sustained by the copyright owner.

They "may" have infringed copyright. I suppose the presumption of innocence until proven guilty and due process aren't "efficient" nor "low cost".

Sam Power-To-The-Media-Cartels

Clarice Africa now quotes communications minister Steven Power, or Stanley Power, or whatever his name his:

"Online copyright infringement has been damaging for the creative industry, which has experienced significant declines in revenue as file sharing has become more prevalent.

Evidence of damage and causation please.

"This legislation will discourage illegal file sharing and provide more effective measures to help our creative industries enforce their copyright" he said.

Evidence of potential alleged effectiveness please.

Power added that the regime will be effective starting on the 1st of September 2011.

As well as the threat to New Zealand's sovereignty and the appalling trampling of the rights of our friends across the Tasman with funny accents, frankly the timing is disgusting as well. Using a national tragedy to distract people and push through such a draconian law is despicable. In the context of where the bill was past this quote from my grandfather seems partifucularly apt: if you played a roll in passing this bill, may the bees of a thousand hives nest in your armpits.

Photo of Bowen House, the Beehive and Parliament in Wellington by Midnighttonight on Wikimedia Commons.


Limewire to be sued for $75 trillion?

You can read the Law.com article here for a morning laugh.

We can only hope such lawsuits continue to be filed. Rational copyright reform lawyers have clearly been unable to introduce common sense or logic into the fight, so perhaps letting the mafiaa [sic] unintentionally fight absurdity with absurdity may be our best hope yet of some copyright law sanity. Haha, ah, who are we kidding? ;)

The photo above by NotFromUtrecht on Wikimedia Commons is of two limes, which may or may not have later been drawn into filaments for use in Gnutella wires. Ruben so funny.


#Anime Piracy boosts sales?

Stop the presses! Next they'll be telling us DRM doesn't work, and that suing your customers doesn't good sentiment make.

From TorrentFreak, via Slashdot.

A prestigious economics think-tank of the Japanese Government has published a study which concludes that online piracy of anime shows actually increases sales of DVDs.

No, really!? But this this goes against the narrative we've been forced fed!

The conclusion stands in sharp contrast with the entertainment industry’s claims that ‘illicit’ downloading is leading to billions of dollars in losses worldwide. It also puts the increased anti-piracy efforts of the anime industry in doubt.

Theoretically speaking

Not to say I've ever pirated any anime, but if I did, I sure as heck have given them a lot of my time, money and business since. This is how promotion works, and in this case its even better because the producers don't even need to spend money on advertising.

From my perspective [theoretically speaking], had I not downloaded anything from fansubbers, I theoretically wouldn't have got into this incredibly rich world of unconventional storytelling and art anywhere near as much as I have. I [theoretically] would not have bought as many VCDs and DVDs and figures and posters and music and magazines and all the other stuff. Even if a select few do nothing but leech, there are plenty of other people to fill in the gap. Theoretically speaking.

Japan is an interesting case study in that the doujin and fanart communities are another testament to the nurturing rather than parasitic nature of people who take creative works, copy them and expand upon them. They don't leech off the success of creative works, they build an ecosystem around them.

Still, as that example has been in the past, media cartels will no doubt be trying their best to silence and/or discredit these findings. Watch out for it.

The ultimate question now becomes, how do we allow media creators to be compensated for their creativity with a sane, rational copyright framework in place that accepts (or at least tolerates) these activities? Unfortunately, as much as all this will continue despite what any lawmaker or DRM paddler says, and as much sense as all this makes, its still illegal.

Adorable Touhou pirate graphic ID 15309430 from Pixiv.


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