Copyright News Update – Monday May 31st, 2010 – Links And Comments

While I was putting together the article on Electric Cars, a few interesting articles on Copyright came to my attention. Here they are, with some commentary.

The Record Business Blues – Interesting article, the author repeats most of the distribution industry (RIAA) talking points, but also questions them, and looks for answers. Some coverage of ACTA. My only real complaint is the section titled ‘Requim for Recordings’, because I know of more people than ever who are recording – they just aren’t distributing their stuff through the RIAA member companies. A good read.

A Newbies Guide to Publishing – Joe Konrath, a writer, covers why ‘unauthorized downloads’ aren’t hurting his bottom line, in fact they are probably enhancing it.

Corey Doctorow is going to be a Clarion Write-a-Thon Writer – This is a fund raising campaign for the Clarion Writer’s Workshop, a wonderfully worthy cause. If you can back Corey, please do. For those who don’t know Corey, in addition to being a successful Science Fiction Author, he writes non-fiction, and Content: Selected Essays on Technology, Creativity, Copyright and the Future of the Future is a must for anyone trying to understand copyright in the 21st century. You can download a free copy of Content at Corey’s website, and an audio book version can be downloaded from the Internet Archive. Corey is another author who believes that he’s making more money by having his works freely downloadable than he would otherwise.

The Fight for Fair Copyright – This little video by the Canadian Federation of Students is really well done, covering the basics quite nicely. They are asking everyone to write to their Member of Parliament about the proposed new copyright law.

Copying is not Theft – Nina Paley’s animated short movie explains how copying really works, is terribly funny, and quite frankly adorable. Nina is a real artist!

Why I Steal Movies… Even Ones I’m In -Neat article by Peter Serafinowicz, a celebrated British writer/producer/director/actor/musician/comedian/voice model, which ends with ‘In the meantime, I’ll be suing myself for pirating my own show. And I’m pretty scared, because I have an amazing lawyer.’ A must read.

Internet Archive launches new service for the print-disabled: free access to over 1 million books, including current titles – I think the title is self explanatory. One paragraph caught my eye in particular:

The new service demonstrates the principle behind the Chafee Amendment: that copyright is a conditional monopoly, not a property right, and that when we decide the monopoly is hampering an important public purpose, we can change it. The Chafee Amendment is an open acknowledgement that monopoly-based distribution was not serving the needs of the blind, the visually impaired, or dyslexic people very well, and that fixing that situation is simply a policy decision. It reminds us that copyright itself is a policy decision, and that if it is not serving the public well, we can change the policy.

Someone should tell Barry Sookman and Andrei Mincov about this, I’d love to see their reaction.

DRM: Publishers don’t want it. So why? – I added this one because of an exchange of tweets I had with James Moore, the Canadian Heritage Minister today about DRM, and the point that the WIPO Treaties state that the only person who can authorize DRM to be used is the author of a work. He said that an author could just go to a publisher that doesn’t use it, to which I pointed out that Amazon and Itunes (Apple) own over 90% of the ebook market (duopoly in other words), and they refuse to publish without it. He came back again with the suggestion that the author should go somewhere else – which shows a lack of understanding of the situation, and the limits it places on authors.

Cory Doctorow: Publish books free online – An interview with Corey Doctorow by the Guardian newspaper.

NetCoalition/CCIA Reinforces Recent Comments To IP Czar Over Bogus Industry Studies On Copyright – Good article from TechDirt about the articles by the ‘content distributors’ (MPAA/RIAA), and why TechDirt thinks that they are wrong.

Copyright and the Great Socialist Degradation – Interesting article by Andrei Mincov. Have you ever noticed that the most strident advocates of stronger copyright laws are lawyers, not creators? Curious isn’t it? Andrei made most of these points in the comments section of one of my earlier articles, and he was just as confused then as he was when he wrote this. I missed the article when he published it, and wouldn’t have known about it if Barry Sookman hadn’t have posted about it. Barry is another lawyer who is for stronger copyright protection. Hum…

Weapons Down, Please – This blog posting by Canadian Novelist John Degen covers his views about the copyright/DRM discussion. I don’t agree with John, however as you may have noticed in the past, I don’t agree with anyone :]

The Two Locks of DRM – Article by Russel Ormond from December 2007 – which I had not read until today. I’m posting it here because it’s a damned good article, and also John Degen references it.

A robust ­copyright regime would ­permit market ­forces to operate properly – A rather curious article by Barry Sookman. The point that he is making, is that if we had copyright protection as strong as he thinks we should have, all of the ‘content industries’ would be making huge profits. The point that he is missing, is that the United States has laws like these, and it hasn’t made any difference. At least not to the distributors, the artists are doing better than ever.


Wayne Borean

Monday May 31, 2010


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