Sunday, November 24, 2013

Copyright: Those who speak to Congress, speak for themselves.

This week, I respectfully present a round-up of a few discussions of copyright issues around the internet that interest this author.

Most Upsetting (to me)
" .... speakers emphasized education and voluntary cooperation over legislation, even as they acknowledged that voluntary efforts by search engines–a chief gateway to pirated works–had not been effective."

Who were the "speakers"? One was John McCoskey, executive VP and CTO of the Motion Picture Association of America.

Allegedly, he said that  "the bad actors were not the search engines but the pirate sites."
That may be the view of the MPAA, but it does not represent the views or experience of many musicians and authors whom I follow.

On the internet, the key to piracy is to follow the money, in this author's opinion. The search engines encourage the creation of pirate sites by making pirate sites profitable. If the search engines were barred by law from also placing paid advertisements on pirate sites and thereby profiting from piracy and making piracy profitable, the search engines might escape blame.

The High Cost of Free (Music)
In this article, journalist Kathleen Richards discusses a documentary "Unsound" about how piracy has affected a sampling of musicians.

When she writes, "It's a topic that threatens their livelihoods, yet few have talked about it publicly, because those who have have been criticized and ostracized by the fans they rely on to make a living...." she could equally well be writing about authors.

Cyber-bullying and intimidation are rife when people who don't mind paying for expensive equipment, and for softward to protect "their freedom", become abusive when anyone dares to suggest that the creator of the entertaining content ought to be paid.

However, the comments on this article are mostly by musicians, for musicians, and well worth reading. The coarse and abusive remarks by the pirates and bullies have been removed.

Not so, with the next interesting article on piracy!

Too Many Americans Think Piracy Is Okay.
Kudos to Congresswoman Judy Chu for speaking out. Brickbats to the lowlifes who make racist comments about Congresswoman Chu, and vulgar comments about the unfortunate perspective taken by the photographer.

An absolutely typical piratical argument follows these lines quoted in part from one commenter:
"consider the fact that most of us won't have a shred of pity for these billionaire corporations whose members have private islands for themselves while we have to struggle to pay rent. Everyone else in the industry will be completely fine despite piracy. Movies are making more money than ever right now so none of these set-technicians or caterers or whatever will be negatively effected.(sic) Ms. Chu can **** right off."
Note the assumptions:
1) All copyright owners are billionaire corporations.
2) Copyright owners own private islands.
3) Income inequality is not fair/People who are not billionaires are justified in pirating.
4) Piracy doesn't hurt anyone at all who works in the entertainment industry.
5) Caterers and set-technicians will not be hurt by piracy.

Finally, whoever JemJem is, one has to admire the succinctness and wit of his/her comment on a hostile Authors' Guild discussion about Judge Denny Chin's volte face on the Google Book Scanning saga.

" Our rights to what's yours supersedes your rights to what's yours."

Apparently, the end justifies the means in Denny Chin's courtroom, and it is not copyright infringement if one scans an entire copyrighted work without permission or compensation as long as one only displays (and makes money from) the parts of the work that people want to read.

Does this open the door to an unauthorized anthology of the world's greatest sex scenes? Would that be transformative?

Opting-in would have made so much more sense, and been so much fairer.

All the best,
Rowena Cherry

1 comment:

  1. Actually, someone did compile an anthology of the world's greatest sex scenes. It's called SHOW ME THE GOOD PARTS. I ran across it in a college library but didn't borrow it (barely having time, at that point in my life, to read ASSIGNED texts). It excerpted the racy scenes from famous works notorious for their supposed sexiness or "obscenity," on the tongue-in-cheek premise that readers would be saved the trouble of scouring through the individual books for those bits. I have to assume the editor got permission to reprint whatever material wasn't in public domain. Hmm -- must check on Amazon to see if that book is still around.