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MPAA/RIAA lose big as US backs copyright "limitations" (arstechnica.com)
276 points by mtgx on July 8, 2012 | hide | past | web | favorite | 40 comments

I find the notion that the SOPA protest woke up us previously apathetic Europeans somewhat insultingly US-centric.

Prior to SOPA, resistance against increasingly insane copyright legislation was considerably more widespread than it was in the US, partially triggered by events like the trial against the Pirate Bay, Sarkozy's three strikes sell-out etcetera.

There's a reason why we're the ones with the Pirate parties. We didn't need major corporations like Google campaigning to wake us up. Yeah, the defeat of SOPA was a major encouragement and inspiration, but the fight was already on.

I think the reason you have pirate parties is because of your governmental systems, not because it's more popular there. First-past-the-post elections essentially force a 2-party system, where the European style has a lot more support for smaller, side parties.

This isn't to say it isn't a US centric thought- honestly, I don't know enough about Europe to say definitively. But I do know that it's nigh impossible to meet someone under 30 in the US who doesn't think copyright law is a joke.

That's because everyone who is under 30 has grown up with the ability to download things for free. Of course entitled consumers are going to support free things for themselves. I don't expect many to actually know anything about copyright nor would I expect them to have any realistic concept of how to "fix" it.

Well ... so far we've let the "copyright experts" write our copyright laws, and they've shown total willingness to burn the internet to the ground to stop any and all infringement.

Historically, the content industry has been paranoid of any new technology, and it took legislation to drag them into the new age. Were the consumers of the late 70s and early 80s entitled because they wanted to own VHS players to record their TV show and rent VHS movies?

> But I do know that it's nigh impossible to meet someone under 30 in the US who doesn't think copyright law is a joke.

Are you serious? I'm genuinely interested. I'd claim this is simply not true. But dear lord I hope it is! That would be fantastic.

I'd argue it's nigh impossible to meet someone under 30 in the US who understands how copyright law actually works. But if you explained it to them, yeah, they'd probably find a lot of it a bit odd (there is just no way to portray limited terms of 120 years as being reasonable).

> I'd argue it's nigh impossible to meet someone under 30 in the US who understands how copyright law actually works. [...] But if you explained it to them, yeah, they'd probably find a lot of it a bit odd

I think this is true of most people under and over 30.

> there is just no way to portray limited terms of 120 years as being reasonable

Exactly. Most informed people conclude copyright law is a joke because it is a Mikey Mouse joke.

Hopefully the SOPA fiasco has led the general public to pay more attention to copyright, which hopefully will prevent the term from being extended again.

Unless they've studied a little economics. Like, not enough to be a real economist, but enough to have a shot at running for Congress.

Here in Canada most people don't know how copyright law works because they just don't care. Even the RCMP (federal police) has said that they'll only go after people who make a living selling bootleg DVDs/CDs.

Oh, I know someone. But they weren’t interested in debate. They basically were convinced that legality == morality and their pastor said piracy is theft, so that’s that.

Ouch. It's always sad to see someone forfeit their intellect and take someone else's thoughts as absolute truth. And I say this as a churh-attending Christian. Shame on my religion.

I think the reaction that SOPA was the tipping point of a long building frustration in both Europe and the US. Europe had a head start with governments and activists making more headway in the way of reform with Pirate Parties and a series of crippling strikes against harmful regulations.

What SOPA did was drag Google and Wikipedia, two of the most used sites in the world, into the battle. That put more eyeballs onto the problem than a decade of smaller skirmishes. This galvanized a previously uninvolved but large part of the population. The flood of calls and email to our congressmen was far above and beyond anything that happened before.

The other reason I believe SOPA was influential is because the US has a disproportional amount of control of the Internet in the form of ICANN, which could do more destruction even if the offending site wasn't in the US jurisdiction.

I would agree with this. I remember many fights in the EU parliament over this issue that got a lot of publicity and it looked like ACTA was losing even before SOPA was proposed.

Major corporations like Google? That's laughable.

Reddit users did about 100 times more than Google all by themselves.

Reddit's campaign may have produced more activists, but Google likely reached more eyeballs in a matter of hours than Reddit had in the preceding months. In the end, it was the widespread, mildly (somewhat blindly) anti-SOPA sentiment, not the loud minority, that turned the tide.

Are you kidding?

People I know who know nothing about copyright and don't know what Reddit is were coming up and asking me to explain what Google was talking about.

I think you're overestimating reddit's reach. It's big, but it's still very niche. Google and Wikipedia are sites that Grandma uses on a regular basis, whereas if you asked her about reddit, she'd say "read what?"

I want to thank the European Parliament and its constituents for giving me back some faith that the state of the government of the world isn't monotonically degenerating into a corporate oligarchy, and ArsTechnica for consistently raising the bar on technical and technical/political reporting in a sea of mostly superficial blog reporting. What's the best way to throw money at Ars?

Edit: RE Money Throwing, never mind, there's a big orange Subscribe Now in Ars' nav.

This isn't Ars reporting. This is a guest piece written by a think tank wonk. Ars put a disclaimer at the beginning of the article stating that it doesn't not necessarily represent their views.

Ars still gets props for running a piece many outlets wouldn't.

Ah shoot, I completely and unconsciously skipped that for some reason. Ah well, it got them a subscriber. Everything I've seen from them in recent memory has been very well reported.

As an EU citizen myself I think the EP is pretty much the only governing body that I vote for that I can actually trust, except maybe for my local municipality. I thanked the MEPs I voted for the last time they turned ACTA down, I should do it again.

As for Ars, probably subscribing: http://arstechnica.com/subscriptions/

It's sad though: the EP is also probably the most powerless body you/we vote for. It's trying to find and flex its muscles wherever it can, but the truth is that most of the time it's just a rubber-stamping body for policies pushed by the Commission and the Council.

And possibly they vote in this way because they are powerless and know it

Yeah, I'm pretty impressed, especially with the complete one-sidedness of the vote.

And yeah, in for a year on Ars, now. I'm hoping one of the ID's in the URL (in the 800's) isn't their number of paying subscribers...

> The views expressed here do not necessarily represent those of Ars Technica.

If you can read French, there is a news outlet called PCINpact.com that consistently reports on everything that happens on the IP 'scene'. They offer regular updates and thorough research when it is necessary, and are one of the major voices (here in France) of the anti IP-dictatorship movement, in addition to being a known source on tech news.

Anyways, in case you read french and wouldn't mind getting regular info on the IP side in Europe and the US.

Thanks! For some reason, the .fr wouldn't load, but .com seems to work fine. Actually in France at the moment, and have been regretting my letting it lapse since school, so this might serve a dual purpose :-)

Yeah my bad, it was .com :)

Wow, it's almost as though they're proposing limited Times for copyright, restricted to protections that actually promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.

If anybody deserves to lose big, it's the MPAA/RIAA.

This couldn't have happened to nicer people. Every time the MPPA/RIAA lose big a thousand kittens die and another lobbyist pushes for another draconian copyright law over a dinner table at a $10,000 per head benefit dinner. While it might feel like we've had a few wins lately with ACTA and whatnot, this is only the beginning the stupidity of the entertainment industry will never cease, more laws will be proposed and eventually I believe one of them will get through and once we get one law it opens up the floodgates for more bad laws, don't you just love the world?

With each law they fail to get through (And rile up a public policy shitstorm over.) the chances of them getting the next one through go down.

Rejecting the ACTA treaty with such an overwhelming majority definitely pushed their plans of passing the TPP (ACTA's successor) treaty at least 2 years back. And it may even have put doubts in their minds about that their strategy so far and if it's still the best one to go.

I think the most important part is the idea that it is creating opponents elsewhere.

E.g. manufacturers that badly wanted the relatively non-controversial anti-counterfeiting measures in ACTA must now be furious at all the lost effort and the years wasted because of issues largely unrelated to their own concerns.

If more and more of these companies see RIAA and MPAA's lobbying as increasingly a threat to their own interests, it is going to have very interesting effects.

We should not forget that ACTA was not just terrible concerning Films and Music. It was botched on a much larger level. Like "protecting" poor people in third world countries from fake medicines... that could be harmful to them... but actually are just generic version of over-protected medicines sold for a fortune by richer countries, and works just fine at a much lower cost.

So even without the article 27, it should have been stricken down (with small exceptions like brand protection etc). Let's not have a fight just to save what concerns us most directly, but for a new conception of copyright, patents and the entire intellectual property landscape.

So, what are the limitations exactly?

There are no "exact" limitations. Rather it has to do with the Bern convention allowing nations to restrict copyright protection in "special circumstances" that don't "unduly" interfere with "normal" exploitation of the work by the rights-holder.

In other words it allows nations to pass laws relating to what constitutes fair use. I would assume that absent this sort of thing the Bern convention would allow the WTO to impose sanctions on any nation that decided we were right regarding Oracle v. Google, Sony v. Connectix, etc.

Read the article. It's said that the main lasting problem is that no one actually said what the limitations are. So at the end of the day this could be all bullshit... but the author of the article hopes that the limitations will live to the expectations.

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