Punters hate copyright, says Steelie Neelie
And whose fault might that be?
Since current attitudes to copyright enforcement are failing artists and alienating the public, “we need to stop obsessing” about it, according to European Commission VP for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes.
In a speech given to the Forum D’Avignon on Saturday November 19, Kroes looked underneath the high-profile rich artists trotted out by industry strong-arms, noting that “97.5 percent of one of the biggest collecting society’s members in Europe receive less than … 1,000 euros a month for their copyright works.”
In that context, Kroes said, copyright as it now stands is failing to deliver the economic rewards that are supposed to be its aim. At the same time, “citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it. Many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognize and reward.”
Even where models new legislative models are proposed, Kroes said, there’s no way to test them: “Too often, we can’t try them because of some old set of rules made for a different age”, which means that in the EU, proposals such as the extended collective licensing practiced in Scandinavia are “killed before they can show their merit”.
Kroes nods towards the computer business, saying that IT doesn’t just offer a cheap and direct connection between artists and audiences, but also offers the only hope for a global repertoire database, and transparent processes to identify how revenue should be distributed. Similarly, cloud computing “will certainly raise new questions about how licensing should function”.
In the context of the public’s increasing resistance to punitive measures such as America’s SOPA, New Zealand’s three-strikes disconnection notice regime, the acrimonious “iiTrial” in Australia (backed by the MPAA via its local sockpuppet AFACT), it’s also interesting to note that Kroes mentions the intermediary business just once in her speech – since, at least to The Register, it seems that most of the public’s hatred of copyright appears to stem from how the intermediaries approach it.
Perhaps a focus back on the artist wouldn’t be such a bad thing. ®
Thank you, Richard
I've noticed that Orlowski has been on yet another one of his ranting self-righteous comment-disabled copyright crusades lately so it's nice to read a more balanced viewpoint and a have a chance to contribute to the discussion.
The major problems I see with copyright is 1) the obscene length of copyright terms (thanks to Disney's efforts to preserve their control of the Rat) and 2) the greedy excesses of DRM and now cloud services to try to milk even more money out of the punters.
Copyright, at best, doesn't need to exceed the original 14 years provided by the Statute of Anne. If your work hasn't made anything within 14 years of publication it's never going to - give it up already. At the present rate, the extreme and ever-increasing length of copyright simply means a shrinking public domain. Not to mention the exponentially increasing chance that some poor artist will get financially raped because his song inadvertently contains the same sequence of 4 notes as something published 80 years ago, that's still in copyright, even though nobody alive today has heard of it.
Disney particularly need to be called to account for this. Their endless lobbying for ever-increasing copyright terms needs to be silenced, hard, and now. An education campaign needs to be mounted showing the public that the corporation behind all those cutesy-poo kids' cartoons is a rapacious and greedy monster hell-bent on curtailing freedom of expression in the name of copyright. Not to mention their virtual monopoly on children's entertainment - you try raising kids these days without them seeing anything owned by Disney. It's impossible. And governments seriously need to address this, because it gives this unelected and unaccountable corporation inordinate control over how the next generation thinks.
With DRM, while iTunes has dropped DRM from its repertoire, there is still much work to be done. The entire concept of DRM needs to be done away with, since all it does is destroy the quality of the legitimate product. You'd think that after 30 years of failed copy-protection attempts that they'd learned their lesson, but it seems not. The reality is, as long as DRM exists then pirated copies will always be better quality and more convenient for the paying customer. The following image perhaps illustrates this principle more clearly:
Not only DRM, but this whole business of making parts of DVD/BRs "unskippable" stinks of the whole "corporate remote-control" mentality that has been pervading IT generally of late. It's reaching into our homes and basically acting as a remote control of our appliances.
In the end, copyright has ceased to be about protecting artists and instead has become just another tool in the arsenal of those who seek to restrict our freedom and monitor and control every aspect of our lives. And it is this, what copyright has morphed into, not the idea of protecting artists' incomes, that has people hating copyright. It's no longer a tool of expression, it has become a tool of oppression.
I Hate Copyright
Because it is constantly being extended.
The original Statute of Anne was a compromise that was struck between creators and consumers that gave creators a 14 year (with an option for another 14 years) monopoly on their creations in exchange for those creations becoming public domain at the end of that period.
Since then, artistic works have become the properties of corporations who have successfully pushed extensions to copyright far in excess of the original agreement with nothing given back to consumers in return.
They continue to put pressure on creating further extensions to this very day.
I'm damned if I'm going to contribute to some greedy corporations bottom line just so that I can listen to music made 40 years ago, often by a dude that has died long ago.
Recently, one of the newspapers where I live ran an article on the highest earning "dead" people, with Whacko Jacko, Jimi Hendrix, Einstein and John Lennon all at the top of the list.
Why? Why should the children and grand children of these people continue to live the easy life based on works by their parents?
Their parents made a bundle while alive and if they failed to invest wisely instead of snorting their wealth up their nose then that is Not My Problem.
Why should I hand over my hard earned to these corporate rent collectors?
No, feck that, the copyright cartels have taken too much and no longer deserve my support.
Put in a fair system that allows a reasonable monopoly period with a transfer of rights to the public at the end and I will get on board.
Until that happens, they can all get stuffed.
Hey Reg, give this man a cigar!
I think Mr. Roper has hit the nail on the head with his comments. Forcing people to sit through an anti-piracy propaganda piece at the start of a DVD they have paid for is just one of the ways they control our lives. Then the ten minutes of previews. It really pisses me off! Mostly, I just torrent the DVD rip, then buy the DVD if it's any good, and I can find it at a reasonable price. Not that there's much worth watching these days.
Extended copyright is just plain wrong. 10 years is plenty.
Beer for Mr. Roper, ^_^
A nice glass of Chablis for the lady, Ms. Kroes.