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Speaker: ACTA: Don't sell us down the river

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  • Steve Barnes,

    Agree with which one? The absolution of the Landlord or the "Wacky Waving Inflatable Arm Flailing Tube Man"
    Or the Monkey?
    ;-)

    Peria • Since Dec 2006 • 5521 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    It seems unwise to disagree with that monkey

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    I guess you're that guy that walks into the pub and eats all the free peanuts.

    I think, Steve, if anything, this illustrates an failure to grasp what wi-fi has become in many places. It's simply not just an add-on to a cafe, pub or whatever, to kill time, check your email or hit facebook, it's as essential as ice is to the business.

    Come up my way and see the kids using it for homework, the Japanese salarymen conferencing, salesmen processing orders, and just about any use you can imagine using the internet for in your home or office. It's become ubiquitous and integral to daily life.

    It staggers me in NZ how the country has missed this, rather important, evolution of recent years, most especially in our Asian neighbours.

    Now, I don't know this pub's circumstances, but opting out of that in many places by limiting ports and usage is just nuts, you'd likely be empty for large parts of the day.

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    Yeah, what Simon said.

    I would not have known that people used WiFi like this if I hadn't lived overseas (I am not intending to be patronising), hell I didn't even own a cellphone when I left the country.

    A lot of NZers will be using the tools in this way sooner than you think, and spending energy (read: time and money) trying to "block" bad behaviour does have a cost in the form of hindering the useful stuff people can do using the tools.

    Interesting debate. Nice that folks are mostly managing to keep their hair on this time around....

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Simon Grigg,

    Interesting debate. Nice that folks are mostly managing to keep their hair on this time around....

    I wish I had some to keep.

    But yes, ain't it just. I wonder why that is?

    Just another klong... • Since Nov 2006 • 3283 posts Report Reply

  • kmont,

    In the NZ context at the moment it would probably make sense to limit downloads (or some such) only because it doesn't seem to make business sense to give people unlimited high speed WiFi (especially if it is free in a cafe or pub). I am sure I will be corrected if I am wrong on that one, I remember Verona Cafe in Auckland used to have free WiFi and I know that the Malthouse in Wellington does too. What is the quality like I wonder....

    But in the future we will need to keep up with the rest of world and it just is not practical to penalise businesses for the actions of individuals in this way in the long term.

    wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 485 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    To inject a bit more life into this otherwise-dead thread, I found these interesting pieces online this morning (hat tip to Cameron):
    Firstly, Hollywood has had its highest-grossing year ever in 2009. Oh noes, the pirates, they will bring about the end of the world as we know it. Or maybe not.

    Secondly, a bit of indy film-maker loving for BitTorrent. Ink was made with a budget of USD250k, zero marketing other than viral/word-of-mouth and positioning on torrent popularity trackers and IMDB, and thanks to being downloaded like crazy it's one of the most popular movies on the planet. It's even making money for the creators, it seems.
    It can be done, obviously, but there's a big change in mentality required to see downloading as a marketing mechanism rather than a competitive threat.

    On a different, less-positive note, big copyright are fighting against a treaty that would allow cross-border trade in books that have been digitised for use with text-to-braille and text-to-speech devices used by the blind. Their reasoning is that it would be a reversal of the trend toward ever-more-restrictive copyright with every new treaty that's passed. Best quote from the article: The treaty also creates a bad precedent by loosening copyright restrictions, instead of tightening them as every previous copyright treaty has done, said Brad Huther, a [US Chamber of Commerce] director.
    Doesn't it just make you feel all warm and fuzzy that these are the people who're dictating the terms of ACTA?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Matthew Poole, that text-to-braille/text-to-speech copyright fight (in border trade terms) puzzles me. Every contract I have signed specifically *excludes* braille editions or talking -books -for-the-blindfrom my royalties (as a partially sighted person I am *all* in favour of such a clause.) Given that the contracts cover the gamut from Penguin Putnam to Finnish, I cant see why publishers are jibbing at it.

    It is, incidentally, not at all the same thing as the much-disputed - and abandoned - Kindle text to speech function.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Islander, that makes it even worse. You're (and this is going to be one of those royal "you" situations that covers all authors, I suspect) contractually excluded from royalties, but the publishers want to make the blind pay to get these versions. Getting the shaft much?

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Cameron Junge,

    Every contract I have signed specifically *excludes* braille editions or talking -books -for-the-blindfrom my royalties

    Wow, that's an interesting clause! I agree that it's a good clause, but it sure looks like the publishers are taking advantage of it somehow (assuming it's a common arrangement).

    Auckland • Since Jan 2009 • 45 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    It would cover a large number of *fiction* authors and poets. It's commonplace - and I must admit, I'd never thought of publishers getting a rake-off: the ones I've discussed it with (ANZ ones) think of it as I do - a social service for the small percentage of people who use the services of the RFOTB (in this country) and equivalent services overseas.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    the ones I've discussed it with (ANZ ones) think of it as I do - a social service for the small percentage of people who use the services of the RFOTB (in this country) and equivalent services overseas.

    Exactly. It is a social service, and a recognition that life is quite shitty enough when you have vision problems without tossing capitalist fuckery into the mix.
    As I understand the article, there's currently no money in publishing for the blind. The publishers appear to want to change that, though, and also don't want to set any kind of precedent of liberalising copyright no matter how minor the liberalisation may be.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    A couple of us posted in June about the WIPO treaty in the infamous copyyeahright thread. As a service to mental health, I'll duplicate mine here so no one needs to revisit the horror:

    Meanwhile, there are pressing copyright issues like our representatives joining an attempt to kill a proposed WIPO treaty about international access to books by people with impaired vision.

    Cory Doctorow drew world attention to this. Solid background from IP Watch, and an insider story from one of the people who got things moving in the first place, blind New Zealander Jonathan Mosen.

    The arguments against the treaty quoted in that latest Wired story are pure self-serving bollocks.

    It costs a lot to convert published books, and only one in twenty at most are currently available to people with impaired vision. The proposed changes are about removing extra barriers - particularly so that the same conversion does not have to be made in every country.

    This is like the familiar ACTA and s92 arguments so I'm glad to see it raised here. The industry's resistance centres around general principles that copyright and DRM ought to be sacredly preserved at any cost and that somehow publishers will be losing out on sales if rich countries can share converted versions with the third world. I could go on but dinner beckons.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    The industry's resistance centres around general principles that copyright and DRM ought to be sacredly preserved at any cost

    At least in the Wired article the author found sources that have big copyright saying, absolutely honestly, that their objection is to any lessening of copyright restrictions, with the obvious implication that the only acceptable movement is to further limit what is permissible.

    One disturbing thing I've found about copyright is that the EU used the passage of the Berne Convention to revive dead copyrights. That's just wrong, on so many levels.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Me again. I know, I know, I should just let it die.

    This fictional piece, though, is a very good explanation of why endlessly extending copyright terms is a very, very bad idea.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    This fictional piece, though, is a very good explanation of why endlessly extending copyright terms is a very, very bad idea.

    And remember, it all started with a mouse.

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Matthew, I don’t want to end up trapped in a copyright death spiral, but there are two problems with that fictional piece you linked to.

    Firstly, only the most rabid of copyright proponents (and I agree there are some) argue for perpetual copyright.

    Secondly, the argument that copyright stifles creativity is a difficult one to prove. If I write a song, only to find someone else wrote the same thing in the past, I won’t be infringing their copyright unless it can be shown that I copied that person’s song. If I come up with something independently it’s not copying. Sure, if the first person’s song was on the radio a lot that might make it harder to show I didn’t copy their work. But the vast majority of songs written remain unpublished or are simply difficult to access.

    Thirdly (I said two problems, but I lied...), the writer of the piece tries to argue people have been succeeding in getting courts to recognise that copyright exists in ideas. The author says: “That ended the legal principle that one does not copyright ideas but arrangements of words”. I’m sure a number of copyright lawyers I work with would be interested to learn that, because it flies in the face of accepted principles of copyright law. As would the idiots who tried to sue Dan Brown for copyright infringement a couple of years ago because he pinched their ideas and made a novel out of them (They lost - badly).

    Anyway, I didn’t mean this to sound like a rant. And I’m sure some or all of what I’ve just said may have already been argued in the previous 17 pages of this thread.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Firstly, only the most rabid of copyright proponents (and I agree there are some) argue for perpetual copyright.

    Scott, at this point in time life-plus-significant-percentages-of-the-average-lifespan is the ordinary copyright term. As I pointed out here, current limits ensure that the children of creators will be dead before their parents' works enter the public domain. That is, effectively, perpetual, and based on historic evidence it will be extended again in the near future to prevent Mickey Mouse entering the public domain.

    If I write a song, only to find someone else wrote the same thing in the past, I won’t be infringing their copyright unless it can be shown that I copied that person’s song. If I come up with something independently it’s not copying.

    In the internet age, that's a much harder argument to make. The assumption will be that any work that's been released onto the 'net has been encountered by a creator who's being sued for infringement, in the same way that residing in a market where an allegedly infringed song has received airtime will be considered to be prima facie proof against independent creation.

    You have a point about copyright still only existing in the expression, not the ideas, but if you look at when that story was written it's not exactly an unreasonable prediction to have made that that fundamental would change.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Well, I like a lot of Spider's work (and occaisionally correspond with him)
    BUT - I've never liked, appreciated or agreed with his stance in this s.s.
    Just as I've never agreed with his stance on global warming ("the new religion" etc bloody etc.)

    Copyright limitations as they currently are - lifetime plus 50 years - seem good to me. Any more than that, & you tip over into extreme territory.

    May I point out that, when I was a child, most of my olds were dying in their 60s? Now, it's 80s + and reasonable projections head into the early 100s for current generation of children. My grand nevvies & nieces.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    That is, effectively, perpetual

    Not meaning to nitpick, but life of the author plus 70/95 years is not perpetual. You can't assume the copyright term will be further extended. The last extension was controversial and caused the US some issues with the EU and other countries. I'm not saying it won't happen - but your argument assumes it is a certainty.

    In the internet age, that's a much harder argument to make.

    But the fact a song is somewhere on the interwebs doesn't amount to prima facie evidence the alleged infringer has copied. The more obscure the site the harder it will be for the plaintiff to show infringement.

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Not meaning to nitpick, but life of the author plus 70/95 years is not perpetual.

    It is for the purposes of nearly anyone alive at the time of creation. Hell, my parents hadn't even met when the Beatles were recording and I still very likely won't be alive when their work comes into the public domain.

    You can't assume the copyright term will be further extended. The last extension was controversial and caused the US some issues with the EU and other countries.

    The EU now has a life-plus-70 term, so it obviously wasn't that controversial. What was really controversial was the retroactive nature of the application, and there's already shit being caused in places in Europe that haven't kept Donald Duck under copyright by extending his protection beyond this year.

    But the fact a song is somewhere on the interwebs doesn't amount to prima facie evidence the alleged infringer has copied. The more obscure the site the harder it will be for the plaintiff to show

    So far it's never come up, to the best of my knowledge, but obscurity isn't much of a protection when you're talking about a global library with search tools like Google. Also, given the presumption of guilt, good luck proving that you weren't exposed to the song.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • Matthew Poole,

    Copyright limitations as they currently are - lifetime plus 50 years - seem good to me. Any more than that, & you tip over into extreme territory.

    May I point out that, when I was a child, most of my olds were dying in their 60s? Now, it's 80s + and reasonable projections head into the early 100s for current generation of children. My grand nevvies & nieces.

    None of whom will be allowed to derive from your works without risking being sued. Just, how? Useful, how? Are you really saying that you wouldn't be compelled to create unless your works were going to provide an income stream to several future generations of your family? You've been writing since before the last term extension! Obviously it didn't stop you back then.

    If ACTA passes, we'll be going to life-plus-70 for sure. There won't be any wriggle room on that point. Similarly if the EU/US decide to extend terms again, it's almost certain that signatory parties will be obliged to bring their domestic legislation into line promptly. Vallenti may be dead, but I have no doubt that his suggestion of copyright terms of "Forever minus one day" is the ultimate goal of the maximalists who work for big media. Never happen, because the courts need something firm with which to work, but adding a couple of decades here and a couple of decades there is working for them thus far.

    Auckland • Since Mar 2007 • 4097 posts Report Reply

  • ScottY,

    Also, given the presumption of guilt, good luck proving that you weren't exposed to the song

    Which would certainly be a problem if there was a presumption of guilt in copyright cases. But there isn't. A court may presume copying when it can be shown that the defendant had access. But access won't be presumed just because something was available somewhere on the internet.

    Access may be presumed if a tune is being played on the radio a lot, but even then it will be a question of when, for how long etc.

    And finally, I didn't mean to get sucked into this vortex. So I'll try to exit if I can. But it's ... so... hard... Help!

    West • Since Feb 2009 • 794 posts Report Reply

  • giovanni tiso,

    And finally, I didn't mean to get sucked into this vortex. So I'll try to exit if I can. But it's ... so... hard... Help!

    I had to take up hard drugs. A costly move, but in hindsight I think it was worth it.

    Wellington • Since Jun 2007 • 7473 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Matthew Poole, benefits from copyright are inheritable. Ask Agatha Christie's nephew.

    I'm not sure what you mean by "None of whom will be allowed to derive from your works without risking being sued." That doesnt make any sense to me.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

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