Friday, September 14, 2007

Calling out the Copyright Alliance

I've linked to the Patry Copyright blog before, the blog of Google's chief copyright counsel. It's amazingly verbose and dense, but there is some fantastic insight to be found fairly regularly.

Anyhow, I *loved* this post entitled "Copyright is always government intervention", in which he cuts through the thick rhetoric of the Copyright Alliance, a lobbying organization funded by the RIAA, MPAA, and long list of others.

The whole post is a good read, but here's a couple choice pieces if you want the short version:

If one has been around long enough, one has seen a great many such groups as well as efforts to equate “respect” for copyright with a high level of rights. The copyright to which one asked to respect is of a special kind, though. It is limited to strong enforcement of content owners’ rights as well as agreement with content owners’ expansive interpretations of those provisions. And, it includes a promise to “prevent diminishment” of rights, as the Copyright Alliance put it. Respect for copyright is thus narrowly regarded and unidirectional: ever expanding rights and greater penalties.

and on a quote from the CA's head, Patrick Ross (in which Ross was lobbying AGAINST government intervention to allow consumer electronics devices to work well together, per a lobbying effort from the CEA):

Mr. Ross qualified his dislike of government intervention to “this case,” but it is hard to believe that even he believes what he said, namely that it is government intervention that is the source of the faults he sees. Content owners, after all have been the biggest advocates of government intervention against consumers: When the RIAA wanted government dictated standards for DAT tapes, it got them in the 1992 AHRA. When content owners en masse wanted them for the Internet, they got them big-time in the DMCA. When the RIAA wanted immunity for trashing your hard-drive in searching for P2P downloads, it didn’t hesitate to call in the feds. When MPAA wanted to give theater owners immunity from state law prosecution for hunting out and seizing camcorders from theater viewers, it got a federal law passed. The MPAA, as I recently noted, wants the federal government to pay for Customs Service dogs to sniff your luggage and car for DVD. If these are not acts of government intervention, I don’t know what is.

And finally:

Digital Freedom’s proposals, for example, are principally for amendment to the highly interventionist DMCA provisions: how can amendments to interventionist provisions be objected to as interventionist? Lets skip the flatulent rhetoric about government intervention and get down to the real issue: finding the policy that does the most good for the most people; and when we do we’ll be thankful to have the government intervene.


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