9 thoughts to “Commentary – The industry that cried wolf”

  1. I need to say something about all this copyright chatter so people don’t assume I agree with everything that’s been posted here.

    In a nutshell, I believe that copying copyrighted material without permission is not and should not be legal.

    In the context of the current discussion: I believe that New Zealand law is a horrifying law, if I understand it correctly. I’m not familiar with the DMCA here in the United States, but Jesse says I should familiarize myself with it, and will.

    On the Conan Properties issue – I think CPI is making a PR mistake by choosing the route they chose. Offering Broken Sea a license was a wonderful idea – that would have been good will all around. The Broken Sea productions are high quality, so how could they do anything but generate interest for Conan?

    Since the stories are Public Domain, Broken Sea should be able to do their thing with them. Having CPI own the Conan character is definitely a tough thing that requires more thought. On the surface it seems wrong, but I do believe that a company like Disney should be allowed to keep a character like Mickey Mouse in their control for as long as they want. A lot of their marketing is tied up in that mouse. But what about the cartoons that star Mickey? What will happen when they hit the Public Domain? The Conan situation seems similar to me, even though I don’t see CPI doing much with Conan. (I’m not a Conan fan, so I may just not cross paths with him.) It’s difficult, that’s for certain.

    In the long term, I am cognizant of the facts. People are going to copy copyable material. What to do about that? I’m not sure, but fines and other penalties for downloaders is not the answer because it doesn’t solve anything. Some kind of fundamental change in how money is passed to creators for their work seems to be what is needed in the future, as more and more people use “free” to get the material they want to get. DRM is not a viable option – if it’s digital, there will always be a way around DRM.

    What this system might look like I have no clue – is anyone writing about that kind of thing? I feel like we are currently in some kind of limbo – the old way is on the way out, but a new way hasn’t yet been established.

    The comic above implies that companies shouldn’t be worried about digital copying, but I think it’s a valid concern. The one thing that DRM is doing is keeping a lot of people from copying because they simply don’t know how to do it, so if/when DRM is removed, I can’t help but to think that the effect would be much larger. If it’s not, it will be because enough people are doing the right thing by purchasing the content. They will therefore be subsidizing the people who are not.

  2. “What will happen when [Mikey cartoons] hit the Public Domain?”

    http://articles.latimes.com/2008/aug/22/business/fi-mickey22

    “What this system might look like I have no clue – is anyone writing about that kind of thing? I feel like we are currently in some kind of limbo – the old way is on the way out, but a new way hasn’t yet been established.”

    I’m not sure about other countries, Cory Doctorow is writing and speaking about it – he’s in the US now – he doesn’t have all the answers of course but he is very, very good at pointing out the lies and myths being propagated as well as pointing out new trends (and old ones that people have forgotten about).

    In Canada the crew at…

    http://www.digital-copyright.ca/

    are doing a terrific job.

    MP Charlie Angus seems to be totally on the case…

    http://www.charlieangus.net/

    And of course their is Michael Geist…

    http://www.michaelgeist.ca/

    “The comic above implies that companies shouldn’t be worried about digital copying, but I think it’s a valid concern.”

    Their concern is valid – but it isn’t necessarily important to anyone except their shareholders.

    We always have to remember that companies have no moral imparative other than to make a profit for their shareholders…

    Radio drama was killed by television – we didn’t outlaw television. Television is being killed by the internet – we shouldn’t outlaw the internet.

    When an old business model dies legislation to make a new model illegal isn’t the solution.

    I don’t think the “War on Copyright Infringement” has been officially declared yet, and I sure hope it isn’t because we’ve already got enough wars going. First we have to finish off the war on drugs, the war on poverty, the war on terrorism, and the Korean war [there is still no peace treaty there].

  3. Success for people is not evil. Success for companies is neutral.

    There certainly can be a happy relationship between a successful company and a successful author, however, companies and authors concerns are not entirely equivalent – that’s why there are legal contracts between them.

  4. uh… companies ARE people. They were all started by a person, often in a manner in which that person’s personal success was risked by being completely wrapped up in the company. Further, if you work for a company, success for the company = success for you, and is therefore not neutral. If you doubt that, there are some folks out of work down here that I could hook you up with…

    Not sure why you brought up corporations in the first place – do you feel the way you do about copying copyrighted material because corporations are the ones doing the publishing?

  5. Setting aside corporation vs. company issue … If you mean that corporations are considered persons under the law – true.

    You are also right that in saying that if you work for a successful company, success for that company can equal success for you – but I wouldn’t say that makes it by definition a “good” company.

    I don’t tend to use the terms “good” and “evil” – but there are certainly some very successful corporations out there that are acting absolutely assholishly (deceptive, contract breaking, bullying, pushing for externalities). Their success does not ‘do good’ for people – it MAY (not always) benefit their shareholders.

    I brought up corporations because big media companies, through their industry associations, have the politicians they’ve hired pushing for legislation to criminalize what used to be in the civil code. One commenter on another blog pointed out that it was a way for corporations to ‘externalize the costs of suing’ to governments. I think that is very insightful.

    “do you feel the way you do about copying copyrighted material because corporations are the ones doing the publishing?”

    In a sense, maybe. I’m not sure. I do know that corporations don’t, and can’t care about people, that’s not what they do, it’s not what concerns them. They care about profit, revenue, marketshare, projected earnings – not people. People in corporations can care, certainly, but that isn’t even close to the same thing. If a corporation died I wouldn’t, and couldn’t feel grief, when the people in a corporation lose their jobs as a result of that I’d feel for them.

  6. Wow. Its a simple hypothetical question like this is the very hardest kind for me.

    I might think I was wrong to do it.

    I guess I’d need a little more background to say more. But, in part I think it would heavily depend on whether I enjoyed it and then didn’t try to remunerate the author in some way. That’d be very uncool. But, if I had copied it, tried to read it and then couldn’t (because it was so badly written say) I wouldn’t feel bad at all – no benefit, no loss to the author, no guilt for me.

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