[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

[ih] [IP] EFF calls for signatures from Internet Engineers against censorship

Keith -

Actually, I agree with nearly every point you make...  The problem is that "we first need copyright reform that actually fairly reflects public interest (unlike the drivel you tend to pass)" won't make a useful argument to Congress in the least for stopping SOPA.


On Dec 21, 2011, at 11:20 AM, "Keith Moore" <moore at network-heretics.com<mailto:moore at network-heretics.com>> wrote:

On Dec 21, 2011, at 10:11 AM, John Curran wrote:

On Dec 21, 2011, at 9:06 AM, Paul Vixie wrote:

Robert Heinlein, writing as Dr. Pinero, wrote:

There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back.

Paul -

  The parties are not seeking to "guaranteeing their profit" by stopping the
  clock of history.  They are seeking effective enforcement of existing laws
  which make it illegal for US citizens to download copyrighted material from
  non-authorized sources.

Whether they realize it or not, they're seeking far more than effective enforcement of those laws.   (And of course they are seeking to guarantee their profit.)

  Vint said it correctly: "Copying and distribution of digital content is so easy
  (and not just on the net) that one has to figure out different ways to render
  the copying and distribution unfruitful."

  That implies that the laws be changed so that this behavior becomes legal,
  to better reflect reality of the new digital age,  Until then the "clocks of time"
  are actually stressing against enforcement of existing laws, and until we get
  those laws changed, the copyright industry is quite legitimate in asking for the
  government to adopt meaningful enforcement mechanisms.

I think it's interesting that you labeled them "the copyright industry" rather than say "the content creation industry".   Part of the problem is that the industry that has sprung up to manage copyrights now has interests of its own, separate from those of content creators.

  Do you think that there is support in Congress (the legislative body duly
  elected by the people) to decriminalize copying and distribution of digital
  content?  Unless that's the case, their requests are keeping with public
  interest that's historically been expressed in copyright law.

Members of Congress are effectively chosen by a small number of people who control access to significant campaign funds and/or political party resources.  By the time "the people" get a choice in the matter, their choice is generally meaningless.   There are some exceptions, but they are rare.

So laws passed by Congress do not, in general, reflect the public interest.  Though there are rare cases in which the issues become so clear to the general public that the public is able to pressure Congress to do so.  (This might turn out to be one of those cases.)

  As you are aware, I'm dead set against SOPA.  I just want to be very clear
  that there is an intellectually honest argument for why better mechanisms
  for copyright enforcement over the Internet are needed.

There's an intellectually honest argument for why it's necessary to protect the investment that content creators make in their works.   That doesn't inherently imply a need for better mechanism to enforce existing copyright laws.

Most of the mechanisms associated with "copyright" have the inherent assumption that copying mechanisms (e.g. printing presses) are expensive, and so copiers have an interest in protecting their investment in such mechanisms.   As copying has gradually become less expensive (photocopiers, home taping, computer media, networking) the mechanism of a "copy right" has become less effective.

Fortunately, alternative mechanisms have been developed and continue to be improved.   Most of the early mechanisms suffered from a failure to recognize the public's legitimate interests - e.g. to preserve a consumer's investment in purchasing a copy of a work, to allow copying for criticism and scholarly purposes, to have anonymous and unmonitored access to works, to preserve works for historical study, to be able to build on previous works when creating new works, etc.   The intent behind copyright (as opposed to recent reality) was to strike a balance between the public interest in having incentives for content creators to produce new works, and the public interest in having access to existing works.   As long as DRM mechanisms only protect the interests of the content-owners, the public will continue to have a strong incentive to circumvent them.   It does appear to be possible, if sometimes challenging, to design mechanisms that strike a good balance between those two competing interests.  But those mechanisms won't be designed by Congress.   If anything, Congress has been impeding development of those mechanisms.


-------------- next part --------------
An HTML attachment was scrubbed...
URL: <http://elists.isoc.org/pipermail/internet-history/attachments/20111221/28ca4e94/attachment.html>