15 February 2008

Charlie's Not My Darling (Again)

Charlie McCreevy is a one-man disaster area: first he tries to bring in software patents for the European Union, now he wants to extend copyright for performers. I could rant about this but Mike Masnick has already said everything that needs to be said:

It's important to be entirely clear here: this is a total and complete bastardization of copyright law. Copyright law was intended to grant the creator of content a deal: you create new content and we will give you a limited time monopoly on the rights to that content before passing it on to the public domain, from which everyone can benefit. It was designed as an incentive system, providing a gov't backed monopoly in exchange for the creation of content. By creating content and accepting that deal, musicians clearly said that it was a reasonable deal. To later go back and change the terms for content already created and extend copyright makes no sense and is violating the contract made with the public. You can't newly incent someone to create content that they already created 50 years ago. Thus, the only reason to extend copyright is if you believe that it's really a welfare system for musicians. If that's the case, then we should be explicit about it, and present it that way, rather than calling it copyright.

That's not all that McCreevy has up his sleeve either. He's also apparently a huge fan of copyright levies that add taxes to any blank media for the sake of reimbursing musicians just in case you happen to use that blank media to record unauthorized material. It's effectively a you must be a criminal tax. So, basically, McCreevy's plan is to treat all consumers as criminals, forcing them to cough up extra money for musicians, while also setting up a welfare system for musicians hidden in the copyright system. Musicians must love him, but it's a bit ridiculous for him to claim these proposals make sense because "copyright protection for Europe's performers represents a moral right to control the use of their work and earn a living from their performances". Does Mr. McCreevy earn a living from something he did 50 years ago? Does Mr. McCreevy get a cut every time a consumer buys something just in case they commit a crime?

Superb stuff, Mike.


Anonymous said...

We should really put together a list of foes to culture, programming, sanity.

Some people are motivated by good deeds. To some -- money outdoes deeds.

Glyn Moody said...

You really do have to wonder what goes through their minds....

Anonymous said...

On that basis,you may as well fine every motorist a few hundred pounds/Euros/dollars on the basis that they will probably break the speed limit at some point every year.

Will the CDs also have levy paid to Microsoft in case the CD is used to copy software?

Glyn Moody said...

The thing that gets my goat about such levies is that in countries where you have pay them you're still not allowed to copy CDs and suchlike: surely the logic would be that if you've paid compensation, you can then copy as much as you like...?