Corporate Copyright Scofflaws 0003

The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scare copyright infringement.

In all cases I will be working with published information. It is possible that this information may not be up to date, or may not accurately reflect the current status of the copyright infringement. If I am supplied documentary evidence which shows a different status, I will publish an update. In cases where a lawsuit ensued, and the settlement was sealed, I will not update the published information, unless I am provided with:

1) A copy of the settlement
2) Permission to publish the settlement

While I realize this may cause problems for one or more of the parties involved, I believe in only publishing things I can reference.

Note that the above text will appear in every article, if you’ve read it once, feel free to skip down to the divider.

*****

This one is a beauty, because I’m not sure who the scofflaw is. Sound Exchange is ‘THE” royalty collection society in the United States. There is a decent article on Wikipedia about them, the most important part of which is this:

SoundExchange is designated by the Librarian of Congress as the sole organization authorized to collect royalties paid by services making ephemeral phonorecords or digital audio transmissions of sound recordings, or both, under the statutory licenses set forth in 17 U.S.C. § 112and 17 U.S.C. § 114.[6] As of January 1, 2003, SoundExchange is designated by the United States Copyright Office to also distribute the collected royalties to copyright owners and performers entitled under and pursuant to 17 U.S.C. § 114(g)(2).[6]

OK, so Sound Exchange is supposed to collect the royalties, and remit them to the artists. This is where things get really murky. Since Sound Exchange is a non-profit organization, it legally cannot keep the royalties collected, though it can and does charge a fee. This is all reasonable enough. But Sound Exchange has been accused for years of deliberately not finding artists, and also has been accused of working too closely with the Recording Industry Association of America members, instead of the artists that they are supposed to represent.

A classic example is the Sound Exchange unpaid artist list from 2006. The list was supposedly put together for an attempt to find artists who were owed money, however it raises a lot of questions. First, how did Sound Exchange get so far behind in paying out royalties, and second, why didn’t they go looking for artists?

I was curious, so I grabbed a copy of the list, and did some looking myself, pulling names at random from the list.

Al Berard – found

Alan Di Cenzo – found

Alfonso Nigro – found

Andrea Stocchetti – found

Anne Karin Kaasa – found

OK, I found five out of five. Now I’ll admit that this isn’t 100% fair, the list was put together in 2006, and, well, a lot more people are using the internet in 2010. And Google has improved their search algorithms. Still if these people were that hard to locate in 2006, I wouldn’t have expected to find all five, in less than a couple of minutes.

Sound Exchange is supposed to be working for the artists. Supposed to be. At least that’s what they claim. This is a list of current Board members from their site:

Board

SoundExchange’s Board of Directors is a balanced representation of all parts of the music industry. Major and independent labels, recording artists, artist representatives, and interested coalitions all have a seat at the SoundExchange table.

Our current board members:

Mitch Bainwol – RIAA

Richard Bengloff – American Association of Independent Music

Jay L. Cooper, Esq. – Recording Artists’ Coalition (RAC)*

Andrea Finkelstein – Sony BMG Music Entertainment

Michael Hausman – Michael Hausman Artist Management, Inc.

Jeff Harleston – Universal Music Group

Kim Roberts Hedgpeth – AFTRA

Dick Huey – Toolshed

Steve Marks – RIAA

Walter F. McDonough, Esq. – Future of Music Coalition (FMC)*

Tucker McCrady – Warner Music Group

Alasdair McMullan – EMI Music North America

Kendall Minter – Rhythm & Blues Foundation

Patricia Polach – AFM

Patrick Rains – PRA Management

Martha Reeves – Artist

Perry Resnick – Music Manager’s Forum-U.S.*

Tom Silverman – Tommy Boy Entertainment LLC*

I’ve marked some names in blue, and the reason I’ve marked them in blue is that Sound Exchange is supposed to be responsible to musicians, and the names in blue are remoras. For those who don’t know what a remora is, it’s a fish which attaches itself to larger marine animals, like sharks or whales to get a free ride. It offers nothing back to the animal is rides, nothing at all, and it couldn’t exist without it’s ride.

All of the names in blue, are getting a ride off of musicians. If musicians didn’t exist, they’d have to get a real job. Unlike remoras they do offer some services, for example the RIAA member companies are good at pressing compact discs and delivering them to stores. However there is good reason to question why they would be on the board of Sound Exchange. Sound Exchange is supposed to collect royalties for artists. That the board is partially staffed with representatives from corporations, rather than the artists themselves is troubling to me – there is an apparent conflict of interests when a company that is being sued by artists for non-payment is on the board of Sound Exchange. At the very least, one would expect them to recuse themselves until after the lawsuit is settled.

Yes, I’m being rough on the RIAA members in particular. They do have a valid interest though. Fifty percent of the royalties collected go to the copyright owner for the recording. So if EMI records me, they get fifty percent of the royalties when the song is played. This may be why the RIAA member companies are so down on independent artists, especially independent artists who use an independent studio, and own the copyright on their own recordings… I have a suspicion that they’d try to make the sale of recording equipment illegal if they thought they could get away with it. But that’s just a suspicion.

And of course there is the question of who is the actual scofflaw? Did the RIAA members not supply Sound Exchange with contact information for their artists? Or did Sound Exchange just not put out the effort to find the artists? I’m not the only person who is asking this, here are some words from Fred Wilhelm, a lawyer who has clients in the music industry

SoundExchange’s informational tax return showed that the total amount of royalties retained exceeded $100 million at the end of 2007, and I am told was north of $180 million at the end of 2008. I’m sorry, Laura, but you can’t blame that number, and that increase, on artists who don’t answer their mail or webcasters who misspell an artist name.

Even if it IS their fault, you folks, as the self-proclaimed artist advocates you are, should be moving heaven and earth to get that money to the right people. And if you’re the effective artist advocates you say you are, that number should be dropping, right? Is it going to drop this year?

But beyond that, saying you are committed to do the job is not the same as doing the job. Telling me you are advocates doesn’t ring as true as seeing actual evidence of your advocacy.

As Marcellus said in Hamlet:

Something is rotten in the state of Denmark.

Quite possible we’ll never know exactly what. I doubt that Sound Exchange is going to tell us.

Wayne Borean

Thursday January 28, 2010

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Corporate Copyright Scofflaws 0002

The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scare copyright infringement.

In all cases I will be working with published information. It is possible that this information may not be up to date, or may not accurately reflect the current status of the copyright infringement. If I am supplied documentary evidence which shows a different status, I will publish an update. In cases where a lawsuit ensued, and the settlement was sealed, I will not update the published information, unless I am provided with:

1) A copy of the settlement
2) Permission to publish the settlement

While I realize this may cause problems for one or more of the parties involved, I believe in only publishing things I can reference.

Note that the above text will appear in every article, if you’ve read it once, feel free to skip down to the divider.

*****

Mike Jittlov is a film maker. His movie, The Wizard of Speed and Time is considered a cult classic. Unfortunately Mike doesn’t own his own movie. Somehow during the making of it, Mike lost control of his movie. I first heard about this nearly 25 years ago, and at the time didn’t believe what I was hearing, even though the person who told me about was someone I knew fairly well. It just sounded so bizarre. I’m a lot more cynical now.

Since I’d heard about this so long ago, and I didn’t remember all the details, I went online to look things up, and what I found matched my memories.It appears that Mike was totally ripped off. He invested a lot of his own money in the project, and according to various sources worked a wide variety of jobs on the project, including acting in the starring role.

What he got in return, was the theft of his intellectual property.

The movie was originally available on VHS (we have a copy) it has never been released on DVD. It appears that Mike was never paid any money for the VHS sales. He got legal advice at one point about trying to take back his creation, but the costs were more than he could afford – and he might not have won. Of course at this point an ethical person would wonder why Mike would have to fight to retain control of his own creation.

And the worst thing is that Mike hasn’t done anything major since. Just think, the talent who could produce one of the greatest live action stop motion animation movies ever, and he hasn’t produced another major work. Now I didn’t talk to Mike, and I don’t know for certain that his experiences in having his work ripped off are the reason why, but I have my suspicions.

Wayne Borean

Wednesday January 27, 2010

Invent Help Sues IPWatchdog Alleging they are Not a Scam

I don’t often agree with Gene Quinn over at IPWatchdog. Gene thinks that if it moves, you can patent it (or at least it seems like that). Gene thinks that Climate Change is a myth. So we disagree on some issues.

That said, I’ve formed the impression from jousting with him at IPWatchDog that Gene is basically a nice guy. He cares about the little guy. Which is apparently why he’s on the wrong end of a lawsuit.

Gene has written several articles critical of Inventhelp.com. He is somewhat skeptical of their claims, and actually went so far as to classify them as a scam. They didn’t like this, and ‘Invention Submission Corporation”, doing business as Inventhelp is suing Gene, and his wife.

I am not a lawyer, so while I’ve read the court filing, I’m not going to claim to understand the fine details. But I recommend that everyone read it, remembering that it was written by a lawyer who is trying to put the best spin on her client’s position. Compare the ‘Facts’ section, with the posts on IPWatchdog and with the information available from Inventhelp.com. You will probably notice some points that don’t match the facts as stated. I did. I don’t know how significant the deviations are.

But… I’ve seen Inventhelp.com’s advertisements in the past. I’ve read them. And you know what? If it isn’t a scam, it sure as hell looks like one. It reminds me of those emails I keep getting from my friends in Nigeria.

Gene says he’s going to fight this. Based on what I’ve seen so far, I’m going to sit back and cheer for him.

Wayne Borean

Tuesday January 26, 2010

PS: I suggest doing a Google search on the term ‘Inventhelp scam,’ it returns some really interesting links.

Corporate Copyright Scofflaws 0001 – ITunes

The largest copyright pirates are the large corporations, particularly in the content distribution business. Yes, those companies who scream the loudest that their customers are ‘pirating’ movies, songs, books, etc. In this series, we are going to look at cases where these companies have engaged in large scare copyright infringement.

In all cases I will be working with published information. It is possible that this information may not be up to date, or may not accurately reflect the current status of the copyright infringement. If I am supplied documentary evidence which shows a different status, I will publish an update. In cases where a lawsuit ensued, and the settlement was sealed, I will not update the published information, unless I am provided with:

1) A copy of the settlement
2) Permission to publish the settlement

While I realize this may cause problems for one or more of the parties involved, I believe in only publishing things I can reference.

Note that the above text will appear in every article, if you’ve read it once, feel free to skip down to the divider.

*****

Benn Jordan, aka The Flashbulb had been told that people were downloading his music from ITunes. Unfortunately he had never signed an agreement with ITunes (a division of Apple Inc.) When he tried to find out what was going on, he got the brush off.

In the TorrentFreak article where I first head of this, Benn asks:

So, who’s the pirate I should go after? A kid who downloads my album because it isn’t available in non-DRM format and costs $30 on Amazon? Or a huge multi-billion dollar corporation that has been selling thousands of dollars worth of my music and not even acknowledging it?

I’m not disillusioned, I’m outraged, and anyone who ever spent a dime on buying music through these distribution methods should be outraged too. Here we are pleading with people to not steal music, and then we hand them dog shit when they go out of their way to buy it.

Of course the labels and ITunes would never do this, would they? Ask Benn. His label, Sublight Records was apparently no help, and may be the real problem, not ITunes, but we have no way of knowing.

Now I’d never heard of Benn Jordan before reading this article, but I can understand his frustration. The companies that claim to be protecting his interests, are the same companies that are ripping him off. My thanks to Torrent Freak for publishing the original article.

Wayne Borean

Monday January 25, 2010

No Proroge Demonstration – Pictures – Part 2

Most of the demonstrators marched down to Lois Brown’s constituency office for the second half of the demonstration (my leg was killing me, so I drove). Here’s pictures and comments. Note that even though (or maybe in spite of) being told that we’d be coming, Lois wasn’t in.

Here’s the crowd starting to form in front of Lois’s office:

Crowd forming in front of Lois Brown's office

And another picture, a bit closer. By this point I wasn’t moving very fast 🙂

In front of Lois's office

Even Elvis showed up. He was in worse shape than I was, being stuck in a wheelchair.

Elvis in a wheelchair.

The sign on Lois’s office

Lois Brown Office Sign.

Liz with the megaphone!

Liz with the Megaphone.

Nick, one of the other organizers, setting up the amplifier.

Nick setting up the amplifier.

Hardcore protestor carrying two signs.

Hardcore protestor carrying two signs.

People were having a good time, even if it was awfully cold.

People having a good time.

Lots of signs, lots of different messages, one thing in common. No one is happy with Stephen Harper.

No one is happy with Stephen Harper.

Another view of the Anti-Stephen Harper club.

Another view of the Anti-Stephen Harper Club
People paying close attention to Nick as be speaks.

More signs.

More signs.

Proof positive that Canadians are crazy, this young lady road here bike to the demonstration.

Young lady with a bike.

Why did the chicken cross the road…

Why did the chicken cross the road...

We had a pretty good crowd that stuck around till the end.

Good crowd.

I talked to this lady, she is a teacher, and heard about the demonstration from her students parents.

The teacher.

More signs.

More signs.

Another enthusiastic protester, carrying a Canadian flag.

Protestor with flag.

The media showed up – finally.

Media showed up - Rogers Cable.

Another photographer.

Another Photographer.

Rogers Cable videoing Nick – I wonder if this actually got shown on the news?

Rogers videoing Nick.

Elvis waiting for a chance to speak.

Elvis waiting to speak.

The cops – I get the impression that they really didn’t know what to make of us.

The cops - watching.

In closing – Liz says some final words.

Final words.

Again, thanks to Nick, Liz, and whoever else helped organize this.

Wayne Borean

Sunday January 24, 2010

No Prorogue Demonstration – Pictures

Ah, the pictures finally finished uploading! Here’s the demonstration as we arrived at 1:00 PM

Start of the Demonstration

We started of by singing Oh Canada – pardon my somewhat cracked voice!

http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/hnc6fxtd_Re7cTuhs3gqUg?feat=directlink

As you can see, everyone was wearing Canadian High Fashion for January.

Lots of coats and toques

I personally think that we had about 250-300 people attend. I did try to count, both at the time, and from the pictures, and I’m pretty sure that there were at least 250. The 300 for the top end is just a guess.

Another view

Here’s an image from the back of the demonstration, the building you can see behind everyone is the old Newmarket Town Hall.

Newmarket Town Hall in the Background

Here’s an image of a sign, this person is clearly not impressed by Stephen Harper, or his MPs.

Tory MPS - Harper's Puppets - No Guts - Liars

And a sign in French – yes, Non means no.

Pro-Democracy, not Pro-Rogation!

Pro-Democracy not ProRogation

For Sale – Acounntability

For Sale - Accountability - Call 1-800-HARPER for details!

There were a lot of Canadian flags of all sizes in evidence.

Canadian Flags

Recalibrate this – we want our democracy back now!

We want our Democracy back
Recalibrate this - We want our Democracy back now!

I think the implication of this one is clear enough for even a politician to understand!

Want my vote?

Accountability – a broken promise! For those who aren’t Canadian, one of Stephen Harper’s campaign promises was accountability, so he shouldn’t complain if we call him on it.

Accountability - a Broken Promise

Someone donated a pickup truck to the cause, and of course it got plastered with signs.

Pickup covered in signs

More Canadian flags, and the obligatory liquid hand warmer.

More Canadian Flags
More Canadian Flags - and a cup of coffee!

I never did catch this gentleman’s name, but he did most of the announcements, and did them very well. I was wishing I had his beard by the time the demo was over. It looked warm.

The Announcer

A rather pointed question directed at the Member of Parliament for Newmarket-Aurora, Lois Brown, Conservative.

Question for Lois Brown

And a very simple question – Where’s the Justice?

Where's the Justice?

You Prorogue, we Protest. Catchy slogan!

Your Prorogue, We Protest

Another speaker, the Regional Councillor

Regional Councillor

Overall it was a nice and sunny day, if a bit cool. As I said in my earlier post, protests in Canada can be pretty cool. In more ways than one 🙂

Sunny, but cold.

This protestor didn’t seem cold.

Warm Protestor

One of the speakers pointed out the Infrastructure plan sign in front of the town hall. It’s worded so that you’d think that the Harper government is solely responsible, and doesn’t mention that it was funded by our tax money, and only implemented when Canadians complained about a lack of action by the Government.

Infrastructure Program Sign

Another protestor who wasn’t having issues with the cold, and was carrying two signs 🙂

Golden Retriever Protesting

How About Some Respect? The rather pretty young lady carrying the sign hid her face behind it for the first picture, but finally agreed to lower the sign.

How About Some Respect?

There was a petition of course, asking the Governor General to reverse the Prorogation of parliament. The rules are that the Prime Minister can ask the Governor General to Prorogue parliament at any time. The Prime Minister has to provide good reasoning, and the Governor General is supposed to act in the best interests of Canada in making her decision.

But apparently the Governor General can reverse the decision, if giving reason too, and thus the petition.

Petition

And of course, the police. They provided an escort on the march to the office of Lois Brown, the local Conservative MP.

York Regional Police

The start of the march.

Start of the March

The lady in the maroon sweater with the coffee is Liz, who did a tremendous amount of work putting this all together. Thanks Liz!

Liz

Canadian efficiency – two people signing the petition at once. Wonder if it has anything to do with the cold?

Two Signing

Anyway, I’m splitting this post here, will continue in the next post with the events outside the constituency office of MP Lois Brown.

Wayne Borean

Sunday January 24, 2010

No Prorogue Demonstration in Newmarket Ontario

My wife Heather and I attended the No Prorogue demonstration in Newmarket today. It was a great event (thanks to Liz who did most of the organizing). About 250-300 people showed up, everyone was in a cheerful mood, even the cops.

There was singing, speeches, a fair bit of sarcasm towards politicians of all stripes, and I took a lot of pictures, which I am currently attempting to upload to Picasa. Unfortunately we have what Rogers Cable claims is ‘High Speed Internet,’ and which is like molasses in January when you are trying to upload anything, never mind 85 megabytes of images. And than I have a pile of video to upload to YouTube…

It was a typical Canadian demonstration – everyone froze 🙂 Even the dogs were wearing coats – and carrying signs. The media did show up – we had Rogers video taping our event.

After the first part of the meeting, most of us marched down to Lois Brown’s constituency office (Conservative MP for Newmarket-Aurora). I was in a lot of pain by that point, so I drove. The demonstration continued outside her office, and the microphone was opened up so anyone who wanted to talk could. We were told that Lois had been informed about the demonstration, but had elected not to attend, or even to be in her office to see us.

All in all it was a great event. Again, I would like to thank Liz, who did an absolutely wonderful job in getting things set up, and also the people who volunteered equipment (pick up truck, microphone, amplifier).

And of course all of the attendees! It was great to see everyone who cared enough to turn out, on a cold winter day!

Wayne Borean

Saturday January 23, 2010

Talking to Pirates

Cliff Harris of Positech Games has a blog post out about his conversations with Pirates. The results that he posted make very interesting reading. First off most answers were quite lengthy according to Cliff, with very few under a hundred words. This implies that people put a lot of thought into their answers. He mentions that some of the responses put Tolstoy to shame. You don’t write something that long, unless you have something to communicate. Something important (Note: for those of you who didn’t do the classics, Tolstoy is famous for absolutely enormous novels. Read him. It’s well worth it, but don’t expect to finish in one sitting).

Group 1 – The semi-political ones

I got a few people churning out long arguments about whether or not intellectual property is valid, and claiming that it was censorship, or fascism and other variations on this theme. I’m used to reading all this, and find it completely unconvincing, and to be honest, silly. The really interesting news was that this was a trivial proportion of the total replies.

Cliff says that only a small proportion made this argument – unfortunately he didn’t give numbers, I’ve sent him an email asking if he could share numbers with me.

Group 2 – Money

This *did* surprise me. A LOT of people cited the cost of games as a major reason for pirating. Many were kids with no cash and lots of time to play games, but many were not. I got a lot of peoples life stories, and a ton of them were my age. Even those who didn’t cite cost as their main reason almost always mentioned it at some stage. A lot of anger was directed at the retail $60 games, and console games. People in Australia were especially annoyed about higher prices there. My games were $19-23, but for a lot of people, it was claimed this was far too high. People talked a lot about impulse buying games if they were much cheaper.

Yeah. Gran Turismo Four. What a waste of money. I’d really enjoyed Gran Turismo Three, and still play it. But the money I spent on Four was a total waste. At least at $60.00 it was. If it had have been $20.00 I wouldn’t have complained so much.

Group 3 – Game Quality

This was a big complaint too. And this also surprised me. I have a very low opinion of most new games, especially triple A ones, but it seems I’m not alone. Although there were many and varied complaints about tech support, game stability, bugs and system requirements, it was interesting to hear so many complaints about actual game design and gameplay. Not a single person said they had felt ripped off by a game due to substandard visuals or lack of content. The consensus was that games got boring too quickly, were too derivative, and had gameplay issues. Demos were widely considered to be too short and unrepresentative of the final product. People suspected that the full game was no better than the demo. Almost everyone had a tale of a game that was bought based on hype which turned out to be disappointing.

Yeah. Right. Like Final Fantasy Eight, which was a total loss. You have to wonder what they were thinking off…

Group 4 – DRM

This was expected, but whereas many pirates who debate the issue online are often abusive and aggressive on the topic, most of the DRM complaints were reasonable and well put. People don’t like DRM, we knew that, but the extent to which DRM is turning away people who have no other complaints is possibly misunderstood. If you wanted to change ONE thing to get more pirates to buy games, scrapping DRM is it. These gamers are the low hanging fruit of this whole debate.

Major issue – just totally major. When you install a game, and the DRM makes your system unstable, and slows it down EVEN WHEN THE GAME ISN’T BEING PLAYED SO YOU CAN”T PLAY YOUR OTHER GAMES… Sorry, this is inexcusable. When I bought a game like this, that turned my system into molasses, well I had no compunction in downloading a cracked version that didn’t have the problem.

Group 5 – Digital Distribution

Lots of people claimed to pirate because it was easier than going to shops. Many of them said they pirate everything that’s not on Steam. Steam got a pretty universal thumbs up from everyone. I still don’t get how buying from steam is any different to buying from me, other than you may already have an account on steam. For the record, I’d love to get my games on steam. I wish it was that easy.

Ot used to be fun going game shopping. Some time around 1995-1997 it wasn’t fun any more, because at this point everyone was switching to Windows, and the games all slowed way down. I still have about 500-600 PC CD-Rom games in the house, that I haven’t gotten around to donating to Good Will or the Salvation Army.

But buying online and getting a digital download, that would be a real improvement. You pay, and you are playing as soon as the download completes. Democracy, here I come (and I hope it emulates the British/Canadian parliamentary system, I don’t understand the weird thing that they have down in the States).

Group 6 – Confessions

I got a few people, maybe 5% of the total, who basically said “I do it because I like free stuff and won’t get caught. I’d do the same with anything if I knew I’d get away with it.” This is depressing, but thankfully a small minority. I also got the occasional bit of abuse and sarcasm from hardcore pirates who have decided I am their enemy. Who would have thought that would happen? They give the other 99% of pirates a bad name, and are the reason people don’t listen to pirates.

There’s always going to be a few jerks anywhere. If they weren’t pirating your game, they’d be out siphoning your gas tank so they could have enough petrol to go clubbing.

The answers Cliff got are interesting. Personally I stopped playing because of game play – there wasn’t any. It’s like a lot of Hollywood movies, where they have all these car crashes and chase scenes, but no plot. Than I dumped Windows for being such an incompetent piece of garbage, and it’s a sad but true fact that game designers don’t do a good job of providing Mac OSX and GNU/Linux ports. So I haven’t been playing a lot of games over the past three years. However the time saved made me more productive!

Anyway, Cliff has drawn some interesting conclusions from all this, and is changing parts of his business model to address the issues that came up. I wish him the best of luck in this. I think he’s on the right track, and will see considerable success come his way.

Wayne Borean

January 23, 2010

Prorogue Polka Revisited

We have a government, that doesn’t want to govern. We have a population that is so upset that 208,228 people have joined a Facebook Group in protest.

Canada had a population of 33,739,900 in 2009 according to Statistics Canada, which means that just over 0.6% of the total population have joined the Facebook Group. But that includes children, who cannot vote. When you remove the population which is under the voting age, which is 7,863,700, the voting age population is 25,876,200. The Facebook Group as a percentage of the voting age population, is 0.8%. When nearly 1% of the voting age population of a country joins a Social Media site group, that is significant.

Politics in is undergoing a sea change. Facebook is one of the things that is allowing people to become more active, which is a good thing. The power of social media to change the political landscape has been demonstrated in several campaigns, including the Obama presidential campaign and the Massachusetts Senate Race. If the current batch of politicians ignore social media (note that I am including Twitter in my definition of social media), they will lose. Think of it as Evolution in Action.

Graduated Response and Copyright – a Practical Solution for Copyright Infringement

Oh dear. I find that I’m agreeing with Barry Sookman. Graduated Response does have a place in the battle against copyright infringement.

Copyright Infringement is a problem. And it’s one that is getting worse. I’ve been tracking a series of infringement cases over the last year, and the more I look at the situation, the more I am convinced that something needs to be done, and it needs to be done soon.

However none of the ‘Graduated Response’ legislation that I’ve read to date, including the French Hadopi regulation, has the teeth needed to make it effective. Hadopi is useless against the hard core infringers. To be effective, it needs to be far more rigorous. I would like to propose following:

First Strike – Disqualification for all Tax Credits for the current year

Second Strike – In addition to the action taken in one, triple the tax payable.

Third Strike – Force the shutdown of the offending company’s operations. All copyrights to be returned to original owners, with the remaining copyrights, and all patents, trademarks, etc. to be placed in the public domain.

Only actions this stringent will force the worst of the serial offenders to act in an ethical manner. In this matter Barry and I are in 100% agreement. Something must be done.

Wayne Borean

Wednesday January 20, 2010