Sunday, September 20, 2015

Intellectual Property Rights, Hypocrisy, Transparency, Immorality (By Others)

I mean to write about government "consent degrees", which seems to me to be an Orwellian term for the situation where authors (whether of music or of literature) are forced to accept reduced royalties and loss of negotiating rights by the heavy hand of the government which favors Big Business political contributors, and enables these "disruptors" or exploit writers.

However, my thoughts aren't fully formed, so for now, I will post some thought-provoking links to other writers' blogs and articles in honor of Talk Like A Pirate Day, which was yesterday.


(Credit and kudos for this collection goes to The Trichordist although I am re-mixing their links and adding comments of my own here and there.)

For instance, I am surprised to find myself agreeing with Robert Reich (an advocate for the redistribution of property)... or at least with his headlines. IMHO, the "sharing economy" takes from the copyright owners the right and ability to be paid --or paid fairly-- for their work.

Robert Reich: The sharing economy will be our undoing | Salon
Robert Reich: Is Big Tech Too Powerful....

Amazon, Facebook and Google have the same secret  | Salon
* Our modern tech monopolies made billions and transformed the economy in different ways, but this was the base.
This Salon article points out that Microsoft has enjoyed a monopoly because its business model is based on intellectual property.
"Apple, Oracle, Google, Facebook, Amazon) have been accused of antitrust violations. But even when the antitrust cases have gone against them, the basis of these monopolies in intellectual property has limited the effectiveness of remedies." 

Randolph May and Seth Cooper explain why the Founding Fathers valued copyright protection for creators.
Why intellectual property rights matter | The Washington Times
* The Founders believed ownership of one’s labor is a natural right
"...a substantial amount of online piracy is attributable to the contemporary “downgrading” of IP rights by otherwise law-abiding people. With so much information so readily available on the Internet and so easily copied, distributed, recopied and redistributed, ad infinitum, many suppose online content is there for the taking."
IMHO Consent degrees suggest that a single, appointed judge in New York should decide who decides on what is a fair price for a song or for an ebook and whether or not the creator may negotiate. 
Film Producers Sue 16 Popcorn Time Users in Bid to Curb Piracy | PC Mag,2817,2490549,00.asp
IMHO, the suit against Popcorn Time USERS could be a turning point, because it is the viewers, rather than the piratical uploaders, who may be being pursued.
"Survivor Productions admitted that it had not personally identified the users, but had obtained IP addresses and their general location. The company also knows that they are Comcast customers and says it may be able to identify them with the provider's help."
Allegedly, Popcorn Time is "Netflix for pirated movies". Given the possibility that xfinity or u-verse service providers have the ability to help, this sort of piracy might not be worth the risk.
The MovieTube Litigation Part I: Who Needs SOPA? | Law Theories
IMHO, this doesn't sound like current, compelling reading.... but it is! Allegedly, MovieTube was a movie pirate site based in Singapore, and since the copyright owners had little chance of shutting the pirates down in Singapore, they parsed the existing DMCA (nothing to do with SOPA, which failed) and found arguments that an American court had the power to compel the American sites that made MovieTube possible (and perhaps profitable) to disable links to it.
"Nonetheless, a group of tech giants, comprised of Google, Facebook, Tumblr, Twitter, and Yahoo, filed an amicusbrief arguing that “the proposed injunction violates Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 65 and the safe-harbor provisions of the DMCA.” Specifically, the amici claim that an injunction against MovieTube couldn’t bind third parties such as themselves because Rule 65(d)(2) and Section 512(j) of the DMCA wouldn’t allow it."
IMHO, that is a weird. reading of Safe Harbor.  The tech giants weren't being fined, or anything like that. They were simply --as I understand it--being deprived of an illegal revenue source that they shouldn't have been exploiting in the first place.
This is a follow-on story:
Hollywood, Silicon Valley Sharpen Their Swords in Piracy War | Variety
Here's hypocrisy (exposed by Jonathan Lamy):
"Jonathan Lamy, spokesman for the Recording Industry Assn. of America, painted the anti-copyright forces as hypocrites. “During the SOPA debate, the common response was that existing law or agencies like the ITC were the appropriate ways to deal with overseas rogue websites,” he said. “Fast forward three years, and apparently those statements are ‘no longer operative.’ Our job is to hold them to their word.”
Of hairy legs and cross-hairs....
"of Carl Crowell, a one-man police force for Hollywood studios seeking to protect the value of their movies. He’s waging a battle against a widespread belief many Internet users hold: that content should be free, regardless of who produced it or under what conditions."
Go Carl!!!

Finally, if "finally" can refer to a steam of five more urls, here are a bunch of links to very much music related stories. I include them without further comment because, IMHO, authors--even alien romance authors--should watch what happens and has happened to the intellectual property rights of songwriters.  They are probably canaries in the coal mine.
The More Money Spotify Makes, The Less Artists Get Paid | Digital Music News
A Stream on Apple Music Pays Songwriters And Publishers 33% More Than A Stream On Spotify | Hypebot
WashingtonWatch: Pre-’72 Royalty Battle Adds Another New York Lawsuit | Grammy Pro
Radio Giants Facing Bicoastal Legal Demands to Stop Playing Pre-1972 Songs | Billboard
What EMI’s six-month sample amnesty means for the music industry | The Guardian
Have a profitable week,
Rowena Cherry

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