21 June 2010

Copyright Ratchet, Copyright Racket

I can't believe this.

A few days ago I wrote about the extraordinary extra monopolies the German newspaper industry wanted - including an exemption from anti-cartel laws. I also noted:

And make no mistake: if Germany adopts this approach, there will be squeals from publishers around the world demanding "parity", just as there have been with the term of copyright. And so the ratchet will be turned once more.

And what do we find? Why, exactly the same proposals *already* in an FTC "Staff Discussion Draft" [.pdf], which is trying to come up with ways to solve the newspaper industry's "problem" without actually addressing the key issue, which is that people are accessing information online in new ways these days. The document looks at some of the proposed "solutions", which come from the industry, which wants - of course - more monopoly powers:

Internet search engines and online news aggregators often use content from news organizations without paying for that use. Some news organizations have argued that existing intellectual property (IP) law does not sufficiently protect their news stories from free riding by news aggregators. They have suggested that expanded IP rights for news stories would better enable news organizations to obtain revenue from aggregators and search engines.


Advocates argue “the copyright act allows parasitic aggregators to ‘free ride’ on others’ substantial journalistic investments,” by protecting only expression and not the underlying facts, which are often gathered at great expense.


They suggest that federal hot news legislation could help address revenue problems facing newspapers by preventing this free-riding.

Moreover, like the German publishers, they also want a Get Out of Jail Free card as far as anti-trust is concerned:

Some in the news industry have suggested that an antitrust exemption is necessary to the survival of news organizations and point to the NPA as precedent for Congress to enact additional protections from the antitrust laws for newspapers. For example, one public comment recommended “the passage of a temporary antitrust exemption to permit media companies to collaborate in the public interest”

Got that? An anti-trust exemption that would allow newspaper to operate as a cartel *in the public interest*. George Orwell would have loved it.

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Brian Barker said...

Esperanto is hardy "utopian"

After a short period of 122 years Esperanto is now in the top 100 languages, out of 6,800 worldwide. It is the 22nd most used language in Wikipedia, and a language choice of Google, Skype, Firefox, Wordpress and Facebook.

Further arguments can be seen at http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=_YHALnLV9XU Professor Piron was a translator with the United Nations in Geneva.

A glimpse of Esperanto can be seen at http://www.lernu.net or at http://ikso.net/broshuro/pdf/malkovru_esperanton_en.pdf

PV said...

Mr. Moody, you are PSYCHIC!(TM)
a Linux Mint user since 2009 May 1

Glyn Moody said...

@Brian: I think that should be on the Glanglish post, maybe...

Glyn Moody said...

@PV: alas, it says more about their predictability than my ability...

Valdis said...

Tired to read carefully ~ after page 20. And my general concern is, that FTC draft solves wrong problem.

Because problem is -- do we need "professional" journalism at all? If I list random printed material, take out advertisements, most of stories are crap and only few articles are worth reading. I suspect bad quality is because journalists are not field experts and don't have hands on experience. They and "press/publishers/media" are only unnecessary mediators.

Why not anybody do something more valuable (create, develop, maintain, teach, treat)? I read bloggers who are "professional journalists", but they also "practice" somewhere, and that gives more income for them than "journalism". They write/broadcast (other teach) because they need it, not because of profession.

Artificial support for dying business newer gave results. It would be ~ like subsidizing cabmans in auto era.

Glyn Moody said...

@valdis: yes, I agree: the fundamental problem is the belief that we must preserve things as they are, instead of allowing things to evolve...