Sunday, June 19, 2016

Copyright And Sovreignity

Some people opine that the best writers and musicians and photographers and artists have always starved,  and are willing to starve (aka not be paid fairly) because they love what they do, and will do it regardless of whether or not they are paid.

Some businesses seem to feel that it is morally acceptable to exploit musicians and writers, and to monetize the works of creative people without permission, in effect forcing creative people to involuntarily subsidize their start-ups. And governments and courts support the exploiters!

There are international copyright treaties: Berne, and those who administer: WIPO (World Intellectual Property Organization). However, around the world there are also small groups of judges, who are making rulings and decisions that may undermine what has been agreed in international treaties.

A high-ranking advisor to the European Court of Justice has opined that ebooks are the same as print books as regards public lending, therefore libraries may lend ebooks without the permission of the author(s).
Advocate General Maciej Szpunar said e‑books should be covered by the Rental and Lending Rights Directive, which means libraries don't need an author's permission to provide them to the public.
Leading to the questions

Does someone need to physically appear at a library in order to take out an e‑book?
How does a library ensure to authors' and publishers' satisfaction that old copies of e‑books do not remain readable?

This may sound reasonable, but under the copyright law, authors should have the right to consent to the lending or renting of their works.

This discussion reminds me a little of the compulsory "consent decrees" imposed on songwriters by the US government (by unelected judges) which is partly why popular musicians are unable to prevent their songs being exploited by politicians with whom the particular musicians disagree vehemently.

It is conditional upon "fair remuneration" to the author(s). Ah, but who decides what is "fair remuneration"?  This could be the camel's nose under the tent, couldn't it?

Also, do the unelected European judges define what is a "library"? Could "Pirate Bay" or "Google Books" or "Amazon" call themselves "lending libraries" or "subscription libraries" and rent out ebooks without paying the authors for more than the first ebook?

Perhaps, like musicians receiving $0.00058 per spin from Spotify, a writer would be paid $0.00058 per borrow??? (I'm not suggesting that that is at all fair.)

Perhaps the EU has too much power, especially when authors, photographers, musicians and members of the public apparently can be stripped of their rights to privacy and intellectual property owing to an error in translation from one language to another!

This article suggests some alarming consequences if hyperlinks cannot be subject to a takedown.  Summarizing a summary of a case, apparently, a well-respected publication that specializes in tasteful photography of scantily clad models was hacked or else someone without authorization discovered where the magazine was storing the as-yet-unpublished images, and that someone created a hyperlink are made the images available over the internet to his audience.

When pondering articles on copyright, take time to read the comments. It gives the reader an insight into how a little encouragement will open a Pandora's box of piracy.  Give an inch, they'll take a mile.

All the best,

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