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I have been writing a series of articles for IT World Canada's BLOG http://blogs.itworldcanada.com/insights/?tag=copycon2009 as this consultation comes to an end.
My article from yesterday can be seen as an answer to this discussion question:
_New copyright bill obsolete before it is written?_
One of the goals set by the Ministers is that a new copyright act should stand the test of time given technology and business methods change fairly quickly, while changes to copyright law are necessarily much slower. It is my belief that any copyright bill that starts from the suggestion that we should be ratifying the 1996 WIPO treaties is obsolete before it is written given these treaties were backward facing when they were envisioned in 1995.
We should also learn from economics texts such as The Innovator's Dilemma (When New Technologies Cause Great Firms to Fail, by Clayton M. Christensen), and allow those historically great firms and industries to dictate policy which will harm Canada's competitive position in the global economy. We should not be looking to the members of the International Intellectual Property Alliance (IIPA) (BSA members such as Microsoft, Apple and Adobe, RIAA, MPAA, etc) for advise, but to their emerging competitors. These competitors are adopting alternative business methods, and thus seem far more likely to dominate future markets: assuming governments don't manipulate otherwise free markets to the benefit of yesterday's companies.
Information about my submission and other articles are at: http://www.flora.ca/copyright2009/
A: If changes are made they should be to protect citizens against media corporatism because we can wake up and smell the coffee and see the raping of individuals to bankruptcy happening south of the border.
There is a way that we can use the 'test of time' to our advantage wrt. copyright issues. We can examine the ramifications of legislation passed in other countries, most notably the US. Ten years ago, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act passed into law and since then, while copyright infringement has continued nearly unabated, the anti-circumvention provisions have had a series of unintended(?) consequences. The DMCA has been used to stifle competition, muzzle security researchers, silence whistleblowers and censor discussion.
If the copyright reform bill contains similar anti-circumvention provisions, the same things _will_ happen in Canada. We don't have to guess, suppose or speculate. They happened before and they will happen again, if we let them. The only question is: will our politicians learn from the US's mistakes or will they doom us to repeating them?
Firstly, copyright laws will not stand the test of time. Perhaps they have worked decently well since they have been created up until the past decade or two. With the advent of cassette tapes these laws needed to be changed, the same with CDRs and now the internet. No one can predict what future technologies will enable or how the laws will need to be changed. What we need to do is look at the current situation and make laws that protect the citizens of Canada as well as the content producers. What we CANNOT do is look at what business practices past laws have created and do anything possible to continue to support them.
Prior to recording music, musicians performed live for audiences to make money. With recorded music, they could sell music to the fans - this created the recording industry. Now there is a huge industry based on recording, marketing and distributing this music. These are middle men - and suddenly with the advent of the internet - their jobs are (mostly) no longer needed. Distribution is easy, and cheap. Recording can be done _much_ cheaper and even in home studios / apartments. New laws MUST NOT reinforce the aging business practices that are no longer viable. All new technologies destroy jobs and change business practices, this has happened in nearly every single business sector. This time however the copyright holders - which are not the creators themselves, but the middlemen - have decided to sue the customers and pressure the government to create laws which remove individual freedoms from the citizens.
That being said laws need to be created to protect the creators as well as the users, and NOT the middlemen. I am not a law major, or professor or lawyer, so my ideas for what to create in terms of laws aren't terribly well thought out. That being said, if I purchase a music CD - I am allowed to copy that cd onto my computer, my iPod, my xbox, make a backup copy. This I should be allowed to do. This music should not expire, should not prohibit me from copying it to non-Sony/Apple/Etc. devices. DRM is flawed and a terrible option and should not be supported by the government. Any law which makes breaking DRM for fair/home use illegal doesn't make sense. If I spend $1000 at the Apple store on music and movies, 5 years later Apple goes bankrupt [see Walmart DRM, many others for real examples] - I can no longer listen to or watch any of my music / movies.
Canada values personal freedoms, not large corporations dictating what we can and cannot do with our possessions. We need to realize that you cannot stop people on the internet from copyright infringement (note: not stealing, not 'pirating') - copyright infringement. What we can do is encourage companies to provide the content in a manner that the public _wants_, and make to make it accessible, easy and cheap. They may not make as much money (billions) as they used to, but times change, and business practices must adapt.
Eg. [a year ago with Apple DRM] One click at a webpage can get you every single album by a band for free. This music could be played on ANY device that one owns. Purchasing a CD from a store, you must first 'rip' the music off the cd, this breaks the non-copying clause on the CD and is illegal. Or you could purchase all of the albums from iTunes and ONLY play these tracks on iTunes or an iPod. What about my Zune ? Nope, xbox ? Nope, etc. If it is easier, cheaper, faster, and more accessible to infringe a copyright than to purchase something, people will infringe those copyrights. If something can be that free/easy/fast/accessible for 'piraters' then how come companies cannot provide the same thing ? They can. Changing copyright laws for these companies only means that they will not have to adapt. Apple adapted, and one can now play their music on any device, and it is in fact _easier_ to purchase from Apple than to download a torrent. This is progress.
Holding websites accountable for the links they provide is also useless. One can shut down The Pirate Bay, or Isohunt, or any number of other sites but this will NOT prevent people from downloading content. It will move it somewhere else, or force them to create an even _better_ method of distribution (see Napster shutdown -> Limewire lawsuites -> BitTorrent). As well one can find all of this content just as easily on Google. Try to shut down Google first, then move on to Isohunt. This doesn't address any problems, is unsustainable, and a waste of time. We need to focus on actual solutions and ways to change the current business models and view of copyright, not silly websites with pointers and links.
Finally - any law created that makes the simple act of ripping a CD or creating a backup copy of a work, or watching a DVD on a Linux machine illegal, will make all citizens criminals and is also unenforceable.
DenisT [2009-09-13 21:16] Nº du commentaire : 2517 Répondre à : 2364
I think what you are saying is that technology has bypassed the current business models.
Current technology created a new market need, and the prevailing industry ignored that need, which then lead to a "community response" to fill it. The legality or not of that response was irrelevant, the need got filled. And since it was the "community" that filled the need, for the most part remuneration wasn't part of the driving force.
This lead to a situation where "free" became an added incentive to the growth of the "new market". Not quite what the established industries had in mind, nor the direction they wanted their "consumers" to go.
So there is a lesson to be learned by anyone that depends on copyright law for remuneration. You MUST pay attention to your customer needs, and in you must be fast and nimble to respond to those needs. The moment you start thinking of your customers and audience simply as "consumers", you lose.
That's the way it is with every other industry out there.