No surprise - Pirates want free stuff.
And kick and scream like spoiled brats when they can't get it.
Maybe they didn't get enough hugs when they were children?
The Pirate Party's sole MEP, Julia Reda, unsurprisingly says that copyright law in the European Union is not fit for purpose. Reda presented her report on the EU’s current copyright law (the InfoSoc Directive) on Monday. As might be expected from a Pirate Party politician, Reda was critical of the Directive’s failure to grant …
Not the case at all..
I want stuff to be available at a reasonable price in a format that is useful to me. That means movies available on Netflix within a couple of months of cinema release, not restricted to certain regions etc.
I am now being called a pirate for paying for a Netflix region unblocker despite the fact I pay Netflix for the content I watch! Calling paying customers pirates is not helping their (the **AAs) cause.
Take the recent Sony hack as another example.. They released The Interview as a download in the US - but I could not legally download and watch it here (neither could most of the world) - results, massive piracy of the movie when Sony would have had massive sales!
Not that its worth arguing over, but the point I am making is that I am happy to pay a fair / reasonable price for stuff and I'm pretty sure most 'Pirates' would agree. I don't just want stuff for "free"
Piracy can be dramatically reduced by getting rid of artificial scarcity and by charging sane amounts - this has been proven time and time again by Netflix, Spotify and Amazon to name but a few.
The more respectable pirates turned to smuggling - i.e. profiting from artificial scarcity. Strangely, the object of the EU was initially to form a customs union, thus getting rid of the scarcity and the smuggling. So this is actually in line with the reason for the EU.
"Piracy can be dramatically reduced by getting rid of artificial scarcity and by charging sane amounts"
As far back as the early days of personal computer software one of the larger suppliers made a decision to price their products so they'd sell for about the same price as a retail blank tape (about $3) instead of $20
Where retailers didn't pad the price out, sales went up 100-fold. Where retailers did keep prices high, sales levels fell slightly, even if the retail figure was now $10
I ran into the same thing selling books. Local shops would charge a 1500% markup over USA prices for ordering in "specialist" titles from "Overseas" and take 3-4 months to get them, when it turned out they were coming from a warehouse 40 miles away (next day delivery) and could be sold at double the US price whilst still taking a comfortable profit margin.
The same shops took legal action against a student collective from the local university who noticed that they were selling academic titles at 20-40 times the US cover price (often in collusion with lecturers from the same university) when they could be imported for about 3 times USA cover price - the collective made arrangements for students to bulk order the things so the bookshops managed to secure local copyrights in order to secure their profiteering, then got injunctions preventing the parallel imports.
"Justifying criminal hacking and theft because you couldn't wait for a shitty fratboy movie doesn't really help your cause. More hugs needed."
Criminal Hacking? We'll leave that to the CPS and a judge.
Theft? of copyright? Sorry, but the Law says differently, whatever you might like it to be.
The point wasn't specifically about "a shitty fratboy movie" but making the point that Sony, despite their professed "rebel act" to get it out to the masses only released it in one location despite the fact that people elsewhere would have paid for the download if it had been made available. This is what pisses people off. Artificial market restrictions at the retail level while they, Sony and the other "big boys" get touse their financial clout to work the global market in their favour, eg moving money to more tax friendly locations, filming in more tax/wage friendly locations etc. etc. etc.
How long do you think region tax coding/restriction would last if Sony was not allowed to manage it's tax affairs globally and had to do it all inside the USA or Japan? If they can buy in goods and services from around the world, why can't we?
>I want stuff to be available at a reasonable price in a format that is useful to me.
It gets better. I'm in Melbourne. I went to the Australian (Tennis) Open web site yesterday because the TV coverage was only showing the low-ranking Australian players, not the Federer or other high-ranking players' matches. The streaming site happily informed me that streaming for the Australian Open, held in Melbourne, is not available... in Australia.
So I played Frozen Synapse, which I bought on Steam a while ago for a fiver, now having clocked up hours in triple digits rather than watching TV. Is TV in trouble? Well, I'm not paying $120/month for a Foxtel subscription for the odd game of tennis - I can see the games live for much less than that. TV is in trouble, but the problem isn't the pirates. Someone lost out on a viewer of advertising yesterday. DRM doesn't get rid of your competition - those exclusivity agreements are worth far less than you think. Like an outage at an SME, people just work around a lack of content.
Nice cherry picking in your coverage. From TorrentFreak's article:
Reda has published a full list of meetings that took place. It includes companies such as Disney and Google, and ‘user’ groups such as the Free Software Foundation Europe.
However, Reda said she had been primarily lobbied by business interests, including big names who would generally be in favour of weakening or loosening authors' rights such as Google, Apple, Intel and Samsung, and others who would prefer strong copyrights, like Vivendi.
Full list of meetings by category. Additional meetings marked by number:
"cmos" category: Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA) , AEPO-ARTIS, SACEM, GESAC , International Federation of Reproduction Rights organizations (IFRRO), IFFRO - International Federation of Reproduction Rights Organisations, GEMA, GESAC , Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA) , European Visual Artists (EVA), Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society Ltd (ALCS), Authors’ Licensing & Collecting Society Ltd (ALCS), Society of Audiovisual Authors (SAA) 
"publishers-producers" category: ARD ZDF, International Confederation of Music Publishers (ICMP), IMPALA, International Association of STM publishers (STM), Cable Europe, Vivendi, International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI), Groupe CANAL+, Copyright Hub, Linked Content Coalition (LCC), Walt Disney Company, Reed Elsevier, Union Internationale des Cinémas (UNIC), European Coordination of Independent Producers (CEPI), European Broadcasting Union
"services-providers" category: Google , Apple, Bouygues, Intel , Intel , Google , Computer & Communications Industry Association (CCIA), International Association for Measurement and Evaluation of Communication (AMEC), DigitalEurope , DigitalEurope , EuroISPA - European Internet Services Providers Association, European Internet Services Providers Association (EuroISPA), European Digital Media (EDiMA), Application Developers Alliance, Google , Samsung , European Telecommunications Network Operators' Association (ETNO), Google , Samsung 
"authorities" category: Bundesarbeitskammer Österreich, Commission (Günther Oettinger), UK Intellectual Property Office (UK IPO), European Space Agency (ESA), French representation to the EU, Commission (Kerstin Jorna (head of IP at DG Markt)), Dutch representation to the EU, UK representation to the EU , German minister of Justice, Commission (Juhan Lepassaar (Ansip head of cabinet)), UK representation to the EU , Commission (Andrus Ansip (VP designate))
"users" category: Free Software Foundation Europe, European Disability Forum , Knowledge Ecology International, Centre for Democracy and Technology (CDT), European Blind Union (EBU), Trans-atlantic consumer dialogue (TACD), BEUC - European Consumer Organisation, Wikimedia, EDRi, Copyright for Creativity (C4C), La Quadrature du Net (LQDN), Digitale Gesellschaft, Wikimedia Deutschland
"authors" category: Initiative Urheberrecht, European Composer and Songwriter Alliance (ECSA)
"institutional" category: Europeana, EBLIDA , Fédération Internationale des Bureaux d’Extraits de Presse (FIBEP), EBLIDA , Communia/Kennisland
"cmos, authors": VG Wort, VG Bild-Kunst, GEMA/SACEM
"authors, cmos, institutional, publishers-producers": Deutsche Vereinigung für gewerblichen Rechtsschutz und Urheberrecht e.V. (GRUR)
"academia" category: CEIPI, Centrum für Europäische Politik (CEP)
"producers" category: Liberty Global
"users, authors": Modern Poland Foundation
New headline: El Reg and commentards desperate to portray Pirate Party MEP's report as copyright snuff p0rn.
Quote: No surprise - Pirates want free stuff.
Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.
I did not notice the report saying anything about free. Based on what I have read so far it is very clear that all it wants is an equality of rights between man and machine for reading and an equality of rights and obligations between physical and electronic content.
One of the reasons why modern civilization is where it is now is the Statute of Anne. If it was not for it, science and technology would be (probably) at least 100 year back from where it is today.
What the publishers want is to roll back the clock 400 years and return us to the days of Bloody Mary and the Licensing Act of 1662 which gave the publisher more or less unlimited rights _INCLUDING_ the right of ownership of content. No thanks - we tried it. It results in:
1. A guaranteed publisher monopoly
2. New content not being published because the publisher is perfectly happy reprinting old shite which it owns
3. Lack of reimbursement of content creators because all the money ends up with the publishers.
Sounds familiar, does not it?
Over the last 20 years digital publishers have managed to roll back half of the Statute of Anne (and whatever is copied from it to other country legislations) provisions to the days of Bloody Mary for digital content. I am not surprised that [insert your publisher trade body] is screaming murder here. They screamed murder in 1710 when the Statute of Anne was drafted and enacted too. After all who would give away voluntarily a jolly good combination of monopoly, entitlement to violate fair use and contract law with an icing of criminalization of what should be civil offences on top.
We know what is the endgame of this - no thanks. Time to redress it and apply what was already applied once to redress it 300 years ago. Nothing more, nothing less. RTFL (Read the Fine Law).
If the Pirate Party want to be taken seriously, they must present policies that stand a chance of being accepted, rather than just saying everything should be free.
While not perfect, this seems a reasonable attempt to achieve this.
Of course, not everyone will agree, but that's the nature of the whole copyright discussion anyway.
I was wondering if it was the author of the article. Or maybe the MEP. Who knows what goes through the mind of the El Reg image selector bloke/ess. It certainly appears at times that his/her mind may be chemically altered. Having a valid and descriptive alt tag which shows on mouse hover would help (or incriminate)
"Having a valid and descriptive alt tag which shows on mouse hover would help (or incriminate)"
Pfft like The Reg give a damn about trivial things like web design and disability legal requirements.
Reg, have a nose at this:
PS apparently it's Paris Hilton if you go to save the picture or look at the mark up.
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As both a creator and consumer, I'm personally against DRM even on my own works; and I'm all for open standard document formats.
I can understand people wanting to move things from one device to another. I've just moved from Kindle to Kobo myself.
For the most part, it is a market place. If you don't like the price of the apples, then don't buy them. If you don't like the price of my books, then don't buy them. That's what an open market is. The greengrocer prices to withstand a certain number of apples going missing, so piracy must also be accounted for in digital media. (If you condone piracy, then you've got a small part to play in the unit price going up.)
Digital can span the globe, but there are problems; pricing globally when there is so much market value difference locally is not easy. Some people are getting around piracy by only allowing physical copy; but there is someone, somewhere out there, who will buy a physical copy, break the spine and scan it in. Tax, VAT, production qualities (language differences, subtitling, etc. ... some actors have their "opposite number" in other countries who always dub the same actor) can stuff up releases in other territories. It isn't always as straightforward as some people think. Licensing and terms can be different between territories as well, which hampers official release. A heck of a lot of stuff goes on behind the scenes.
We're reliant on a certain degree of honesty, and I think that the majority of people do believe in a fair days pay for a fair days work. However, a chunk of this is relying on people to say, "I'm not paying that... I won't bother." against, "I'm not paying that ... I'll pirate it instead."
And I know this ... as a creator, if there is no value in writing, then why write? There's been more than adequate conversation on that already, from musicians mostly, who have run experiments.
But I'll tell you this ... I anticipate that my earnings from what I write will never break in to four figures in a year ... yet I've contacted the tax man, got my reference numbers and stand ready to pay the appropriate tax on the little that I will earn ... and if I play right by society, I would hope that society would play right by me.
I'm not asking for violins ... I'm just asking for fair treatment. Is that so evil?
"Digital can span the globe, but there are problems; pricing globally when there is so much market value difference locally is not easy."
One of the biggest issues right here: what you mean by "not easy" is that $megacorp$ are willing to sell a product to richer people for $10 because they can afford it, but they ALSO want to sell the exact same thing to poorer people for $1, just because that's an extra marginal sale with close-to-zero cost. Of course they also want to prohibit the poorer people from selling to the richer people to protect both markets, ie have their cake and eat it too, and then enforce it by abominations such as DVD regions and DRM.
It actually IS very easy, if you want to sell to a global market, set a global price.
Free market. Don't like the price locally? Don't buy it and wait for the price to come down. You can't win or lose this argument.
But yes, material sold outside the home market will require more work, dubbing, etc. For those of us who are in territories where English is the primary language, we don't even think twice about these aspects. But they are there.
There are DVD's that I'll wait a few months for them to get discounted before I buy them. My choice.
Actually, that's where I got it wrong. It isn't a global market ... it's lots of local ones with price differences even within the localities. Price of petrol from the same "branded" station is different even on or off the motorway.
One more edit to throw in here ... the advertisers who have paid for a presentation to be broadcast in the US, don't stand a chance of recouping their money from a UK person who has streamed the presentation. (substitute the countries as you wish.) Is that fair? ... I'm not asking for an answer on that one ... just thought I'd throw it out there for thought.
I don't think you understand what a free market is.
In a free market, if I don't like the price locally, I can go to where the price is cheaper and buy it, maybe even buy a lot of it and sell it in the more expensive market. This is an arbitrage transaction, and is part of every free market.
"I don't think you understand what a free market is."
Sorry but I'm not sure that you understand ....
You are free to buy my books in one market ... and then cross a border and sell them in another in the hope of making a profit ... that's what they call, "business." - whether it is legal or not depends on your paying the appropriate duties.
"You are free to buy my books in one market ... and then cross a border and sell them in another"
No. You are not. At least not in every case. The "big boys" won't allow that. They even coined a name for it. The "grey market", obviously an attempt to imply that it's illegal when, as you say if duty etc is paid on the imports, it's not.
IIRC there was some issue with a supermarket (Tesco?) buying in brand-name jeans via 3rd parties and being sued by the brand-owner under trademark laws.
Ah, Google to the rescue...
This makes one wonder who in the EU thought that was a good law and who lobbied to for it in the first place.
"You are free to buy my books in one market ... and then cross a border and sell them in another in the hope of making a profit ... that's what they call, "business." - whether it is legal or not depends on your paying the appropriate duties. "
Even _you_ (the author) are not free to do that.
Copyright is assigned to an exclusive distributor in the other country. As soon as you sell those parallel-import books in the other country you're infringing the distributors copyright (perhaps criminally in some countries) even if you're the author of the works in question.
Yes, copyright law really is that perverse and yes people have ended up in jail for selling legally purchased material which didn't go via "the right channels"
Where to begin? Your argument is full of errors.
You have compared unlike with like (e.g. DVD in English dubbed into French - yes, more expensive in French but not a commodity, an anglophone isn't going to buy a French-only version.)
Price of petrol - part of the price is the logistics cost which explains a lot of the variation. If it is cheap close to the terminal but expensive in your village, how much will it cost you to drive over where it is cheap and fill your car up? If you and your neighbours were to club together to buy a big tank and a tanker, would you be able to save money?
Motorway prices are driven by the high operating cost of the monopoly sites. If you want to drive out of your way to save 10p a litre you are free to do so, but the motorway prices are chosen to make it a little uneconomic for you.
As for UK/US advertising, that is exactly what Google has set out to solve. The adverts you see in the UK are different from the ones you see in the US. The US advertisers are not paying for UK page views - unless someone is using a proxy to get around restrictions.
"Price of petrol - part of the price is the logistics cost which explains a lot of the variation."
Speaking of poor analogies...if the above was true I'd be able to buy the cheapest diesel in the region since the storage tanks are less than a mile from the filling station I use and the most expensive part of the logistics is the "last mile(s)" in an HGV tanker. I wish :-)
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"It's not a free market where the state grants legal monopolies"
The original intent of modern copyright and patent law was to allow inventors and authors to make enough money from their work that they'd keep on working.
The copyright and Intellectual property cartels are trying to move back to the days where copyright and patents were granted forever. This model was dumped in the 16th/17th centuries in most countries.
"material sold outside the home market will require more work, dubbing, etc."
Those who want to pay for (generally vastly inferior) dubbed versions will still do so.
Those who can speak/read the languages in question can and should be able to buy them wherever they want.
So everyone should sell at the lowest possible price and then we can all live on $1.50 a day like the people in the rest of the world. Sounds fair enough of course it will put paid to the products that are developed in rich countries as they cannot to recruit people at $1.50 per day for some reason.
There will always be an imbalance between the cost of goods in under developed economies and those in developed economies, not least because of the exchange fluctuations that exist between economies, £1 in the UK is equal to Euro 1.3 today but maybe only Euro 1 tomorrow.
Economic control also drives up the price. The luxury good markets love China and other countries where the use of money is controlled by fixed exchange rates and limitations on peoples ability to travel. They are the countries where luxury goods sell for the full price whereas in the developed economies they sell below that price because people can go elsewhere to find it cheaper.
Nothing will ever be sold for the same price all around the world apart form U2 albums from Apple.
'So everyone should sell at the lowest possible price and then we can all live on $1.50 a day like the people in the rest of the world. Sounds fair enough of course it will put paid to the products that are developed in rich countries as they cannot to recruit people at $1.50 per day for some reason.'
That assumes perfectly efficient markets, which we don't have. In a perfectly efficient market (in theory, not even the stock markets where nothing physical changes hands is perfectly efficient), there would be no arbitrage. There would be no need, therefor no money to be made in it, and therefor no one doing it. There is a certain amount of inefficiency that the market will support, but in a free market it's counter-balanced by arbitrage. That's what keeps markets from getting TOO inefficient.
"There will always be an imbalance between the cost of goods in under developed economies and those in developed economies, not least because of the exchange fluctuations that exist between economies, £1 in the UK is equal to Euro 1.3 today but maybe only Euro 1 tomorrow."
If allowed to work, arbitrage would keep the cost of the goods fairly close (how close depends on market efficiency for the market in question)
"Economic control also drives up the price. The luxury good markets love China and other countries where the use of money is controlled by fixed exchange rates and limitations on peoples ability to travel. They are the countries where luxury goods sell for the full price whereas in the developed economies they sell below that price because people can go elsewhere to find it cheaper."
That's because controlled markets are artificially inefficient. Also, I wouldn't say "sell for the full price," as that implies the price is set in renminbi (CNY) and lowered to get euros, pounds, and dollars.
I must admit I found the statement from the report that getting access to individual authors and other creative types was difficult. The fact that the people who speak on behalf of these people are also businesses with a vested interest in maintaining the status quo is a concern to me. How do we truly know, both the members and the recipients, that the case being put forward by such bodies is unbiased and correctly reflects the views of those whose work should be protected? Does the PRS actually seek input from its members in order to respond to questions from people like this MEP or do they create their own version of the truth as they see it?
Personnaly I think the report as reported here appears to be reasonably well balanced and attacks a few issues that I think need attacking for example the fact that if I buy an e-book I get only a license to use not ownership of the book. This limits my rights, versus those in physical goods space, to sell on something I no longer need or to loan it to someone else. Perhaps I should stick to buying the physical and ignore the electronic world, not least because the actual savings achieved are minimal if I am not a big purchaser of music or books or even DVDs.
"Does the PRS actually seek input from its members in order to respond to questions from people like this"
Of course they do! That would be the right thing to do. They also know who will give the "right" answer for any particular question and so use the "correct" selection and sampling methods. Bono and Sir Cliff come to mind as good "representatives" for certain questions.
... a content producer. When we take away the magic words, that means I write stuff. And I'll confess again - I make enough to pay tax on, but not enough to take a vacation. Such is life. For now, at least (blush). But here's my five cents, worth a wooden nickel on the open market:
“The report recommends that any exceptions or limitations on copyright available in the offline world be extended to online activity”
Agreed. The manner of presentation is not the content – and it is the content that should, or should not, be protected.
“…in particular that the "fair use" right existing in some countries to quote from copyrighted material should expressly include audio-visual snippets.”
Within the limitations of establishing ‘one rule to, um, rule them all’ – see above. If the consumer has fair use rights over content type X, then it’s hard for me to see the logic of not extending it to all content types.
“Reda also said that automated data mining should be allowed on any legally acquired content. “If I ... have the right to read it, I should also be able to read it with the aid of a machine,” she said.”
I can’t fault her logic. My eyes and head data mine. If my senses are impaired, I may use devices to aid their function. To use devices to aid their ability to mine would appear only logical. The content is the same in all cases, it is only the tool that is being varied.
Reda's report also takes issue with so-called counter-piracy measures, aka DRM:
“Legal protection against the circumvention of any effective technological measures [should be] conditional upon the publication of the source code or the interface specification; in particular, when the circumvention of technological measures is allowed, technological means to achieve such authorised circumvention must be available.”
Reg: “In other words, if a user wants to move his eBook from Kindle to another device, he should be able to. According to Reda, anti-copying technology is in fact creating a market for pirated material which is more easily transferable.”
This one, for me, is a little harder. I agree entirely that people should have the right to move content between their own devices. I also have to admit there are more reasons than preventing such movement that lead to DRM. However, fundamentally, DRM doesn’t bloody work anyway. Neither, of course, does relying on people’s better nature and honesty – mostly because they often have neither. But avoiding DRM is both cheaper, and less irritating to those readers who _are_ honest – so I’d call it a win. As it happens, so do my Publishers :-).
Interesting how some people comment without reading the article, some even shooting themselves by pure ignorance. The Pirate Party are a serious force and this article shows that even on copyright they deserve to be heard. Reading the full report the Pirate Party seem to have the moral high ground in finding a good balance between rights and responsibility. At the very least this article shows they are no joke!
But really, it's always going to be difficult to keep everybody happy when it comes to copyright. In fact, when it comes to any "right". Since it can only be defined in the context of what you exclude others from having (ie access to the things you own), and in the digital domain that becomes a hazy thing, there will always be trouble about it.
Maybe we should just recognize that any digital creation will never be completely controlled and protected and just stop spending the effort and money trying to achieve that. Just realize that your work will be copied, sampled and mashed together and at most, try using some form of watermarking to mark it enough so that you can track its usage and ask for some attribution and hopefully some money too.
I believe that many, if not most, "pirates" are willing to pay fair price for the content they consume. I for one certainly am. The problem is, in many if not most cases, that the consumer is denied access altogether. Such as, in order to watch "Citizen Four" I would need to request visa to the US, buy a $1000 air ticket, and go to a movie theatre there for $10.
Copyright regulation that is fair to both creators and consumers should disallow creation of artificial barriers, such as geographic restrictions or lock-in on particular technological solution (implied by DRM). The only legal reason to deny the consumer access should be their refusal to pay the price.
I don't want "product of human creativity" to be "free as beer". But I do want it to be "free as speech".
(Yes, I know that it is hard.)
It all comes down to a really simple idea - and the current setup does not protect or enrich the content provider
1. Content author creates digital content that I want to view/read/listen to - I am willing to pay to do so
2. Content is released somewhere else in the world - I cannot legally purchase it, and won't be able to for some time
The publisher creates artificial scarcity, the consumer can't purchase the product legally, and their only options are to wait a long period for the product, forget about the product (and possibly never purchase it in the future), or obtain it illegally.
2 of those 3 options don't help the content author - the first option feels unfair, which means we are more likely to choose option 2 or 3.
Essentially, piracy is caused by the publisher, they have the ability to cut out a large amount of piracy simply by releasing all digital content globally, they choose not to, ergo they are responsible for piracy.
There is another option not listed, which is to petition the publisher. That has been used to effect in various cases. I've also found writing letters more effective than writing e-mails; presumably because the latter is ten-a-penny whereas a letter has greater chance of landing on a decision makers desk. However, that's only an assumption based on results.
I'm all for getting vocal about things, because until people challenge the machine, then there is no reason for the machine to ever change.
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