back to article Punters hate copyright, says Steelie Neelie

Since current attitudes to copyright enforcement are failing artists and alienating the public, “we need to stop obsessing” about it, according to European Commission VP for the Digital Agenda Neelie Kroes. In a speech given to the Forum D’Avignon on Saturday November 19, Kroes looked underneath the high-profile rich artists …


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  1. Rasmus Wikman
    Thumb Up


    This is the only viable solution as I see it:

    "a global repertoire database"

    ...that's managed and owned by the public, not Facebook, Apple, Microsoft, Spotify or any other corporate entity.

    Simply put; public service in the Internet age.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      There is nothing wrong with the database being managed by a private entity ... if they weren't able to disappear it behind some tasty copyright moat.

  2. Steven Roper
    Thumb Up

    Thank you, Richard

    I've noticed that Orlowski has been on yet another one of his ranting self-righteous comment-disabled copyright crusades lately so it's nice to read a more balanced viewpoint and a have a chance to contribute to the discussion.

    The major problems I see with copyright is 1) the obscene length of copyright terms (thanks to Disney's efforts to preserve their control of the Rat) and 2) the greedy excesses of DRM and now cloud services to try to milk even more money out of the punters.

    Copyright, at best, doesn't need to exceed the original 14 years provided by the Statute of Anne. If your work hasn't made anything within 14 years of publication it's never going to - give it up already. At the present rate, the extreme and ever-increasing length of copyright simply means a shrinking public domain. Not to mention the exponentially increasing chance that some poor artist will get financially raped because his song inadvertently contains the same sequence of 4 notes as something published 80 years ago, that's still in copyright, even though nobody alive today has heard of it.

    Disney particularly need to be called to account for this. Their endless lobbying for ever-increasing copyright terms needs to be silenced, hard, and now. An education campaign needs to be mounted showing the public that the corporation behind all those cutesy-poo kids' cartoons is a rapacious and greedy monster hell-bent on curtailing freedom of expression in the name of copyright. Not to mention their virtual monopoly on children's entertainment - you try raising kids these days without them seeing anything owned by Disney. It's impossible. And governments seriously need to address this, because it gives this unelected and unaccountable corporation inordinate control over how the next generation thinks.

    With DRM, while iTunes has dropped DRM from its repertoire, there is still much work to be done. The entire concept of DRM needs to be done away with, since all it does is destroy the quality of the legitimate product. You'd think that after 30 years of failed copy-protection attempts that they'd learned their lesson, but it seems not. The reality is, as long as DRM exists then pirated copies will always be better quality and more convenient for the paying customer. The following image perhaps illustrates this principle more clearly:

    Not only DRM, but this whole business of making parts of DVD/BRs "unskippable" stinks of the whole "corporate remote-control" mentality that has been pervading IT generally of late. It's reaching into our homes and basically acting as a remote control of our appliances.

    In the end, copyright has ceased to be about protecting artists and instead has become just another tool in the arsenal of those who seek to restrict our freedom and monitor and control every aspect of our lives. And it is this, what copyright has morphed into, not the idea of protecting artists' incomes, that has people hating copyright. It's no longer a tool of expression, it has become a tool of oppression.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge
      Thumb Up

      Couldn't agree more!

      Unfortunately, the "governments that seriously need to address this" are exactly the governments that deliver or incessantly push copyright legislation of the worst sort because they do what the lobbyists tell them to. You need to get into serious headbashing for believable change first. :

      "And then in the case of the three famous ones -- Shostakovich, Prokofiev and Stravinsky -- you know they have many heirs probably for each one. If the New York Philharmonic plays a Shostakovich symphony, let’s just estimate that all the heirs will get a 10 percent cut, and then that’s split among them. We’re talking about royalty checks of pennies, depending on how many times it’s split. Even if it’s only one person, oh it’s $20.00 – ah great! I got a royalty check. We’re talking about classical music here. We’re not talking about the Beatles or Michael Jackson. Nobody is going to make a living off royalties from a couple pieces they’re going to play."

    2. Anomalous Cowturd

      Hey Reg, give this man a cigar!

      I think Mr. Roper has hit the nail on the head with his comments. Forcing people to sit through an anti-piracy propaganda piece at the start of a DVD they have paid for is just one of the ways they control our lives. Then the ten minutes of previews. It really pisses me off! Mostly, I just torrent the DVD rip, then buy the DVD if it's any good, and I can find it at a reasonable price. Not that there's much worth watching these days.

      Extended copyright is just plain wrong. 10 years is plenty.

      Beer for Mr. Roper, ^_^

      A nice glass of Chablis for the lady, Ms. Kroes.

    3. The Cube
      Thumb Up

      Well said

      Shame that the media corps have already bought and paid for all the politicians (clearly Ms Kroes managed to stay off their shopping list somehow). I believe the dark lord Mandelson is the reference case of evil and in the pocket of evil here. We can no more expect any more reform on copyright than we can expect the Conservative Party to regulate the financial sector properly (turkeys don't vote for Christmas even once they are stuffed).

      Just to be clear though, that doesn't mean I think shouldn't work to educate enough of the voters that the politicians get frightened enough to do something.

      As for the unskippable parts of media I have implemented a simple solution, I stopped buying new DVDs years ago and have never wanted a PooRay disk. Anything that won't play in VLC doesn't get played and to be honest, if I want to see something like Breaking Bad then I just find a bittorrent leecher who has grabbed the files, no way I am going to wait 6 months for the release date in our "region" so the studios can stuff their pockets.

    4. LaeMing
      Thumb Up

      Very much so

      People don't hate copy-rights, they hate /copyright/.

      1. Thomas 4
        Thumb Up

        Fascinating read

        Neatly hits the nail on the head.

    5. Richard Wharram


      Was I the only kid who felt a great big "meh" to Disney throughout his childhood ?

      Disney cartoons were simply boring compared to Tom & Jerry or Daffy Duck etc... Even when I didn't have an appropriate vocabulary to express it I still had the feeling that Disney was saccarine-pap. I would probably have expressed it as being for sissies. he equivalent for modern kids would probably be the new meaning of "gay".

      As for Disney time at Easter and Christmas; what were the BBC thinking ??? Half an hour of free trailers and teasers for a large US corporation ?

      South Park always sends things up best and there take on Disney was here:

    6. ForthIsNotDead

      Don't agree

      @Steven Roper

      Re the length of copyright, I don't agree:

      "The major problems I see with copyright is 1) the obscene length of copyright terms (thanks to Disney's efforts to preserve their control of the Rat) and 2) the greedy excesses of DRM and now cloud services to try to milk even more money out of the punters. Copyright, at best, doesn't need to exceed the original 14 years provided by the Statute of Anne."

      Tell that to Paul Mcartney, or Paul Simon. I'm pretty sure PS would be pretty pissed if he no longer had copyright to Bridge Over Troubled Water.

      " If your work hasn't made anything within 14 years of publication it's never going to - give it up already."

      So what? By your argument, I could write a song which failed to gain any traction, and another artist could re-record a version of my song some years later, have a number one hit with it, and not owe me, the original creator of the work a single thing. How is that fair?

      Would it be fair if I recorded a Gangsta Rap version of Bridge Over Mother Fucking Water Biatch (club remix edition) and gave the Paul Simon the finger? I think not!

      Copyright is there to protect the owner of the work.

      1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

        Re: How is that fair?

        It is fair precisely because, given the exact scenario you have advanced, there obviously *is* some difference between the original version and the remix that the law can't see.

        One flopped. The other was wildly successful. The law considers them the same.

        Most people would reckon that *demonstrates* a problem in the relevant law.

      2. cs94njw
        Thumb Up


        You see all the time that artists are not initially recognized until later in life.

        Books are a good example. The initial book being seen as "meh", but the second book then bringing a world of support, popularity, etc, and everyone buying book one.

        Elvis songs for me? Meh. However, Elvis vs Jxl - cool!

        Copyright should and needs to exist, with a work being protected for perhaps forever. I can't see how that can be reasonably denied.

        The issue highlighted by this article and Neelie is copyright *ENFORCEMENT*. I want to pay for a book/game/music - I don't want to be hassle regarding how I view/store/move it.

    7. Sean Baggaley 1

      @Steven Roper:

      Like every anti-copyright freeloader—seriously, where the hell is it written that you have a *right* do you demand that the work of others be given to you for free?—you're very big on what's wrong with the present system, but not so good at offering *viable* alternatives that don't boil down to "screw the artists!"

      Yes, DRM sucks, but it only exists *at all* because there are so many people out there who appear to believe they have an inalienable right to the craftsmanship of others.

      ' this whole business of making parts of DVD/BRs "unstoppable"' — oh boo fucking hoo. Poor widdle you with your middle-class Western "problems" of having a minuscule amount of minor inconvenience while CHILDREN ARE FUCKING DYING OF HUNGER.

      I mean, seriously, sense of perspective, much?

      I DO agree that the endless extensions of copyright are a poor solution, but as the concept of copyright was invented in the days when the only medium was the printed word, it's hardly surprising that movies, radio and television haven't been handled well.

      Prior to the invention of moving pictures—and the industry that followed—there was no demand for *corporations* to be able to have copyrights assigned to them as copyrightable works tended to be the work of just one person (or a very small group) .

      The idea of publishers also owning copyright in a novel is also a relatively recent invention; Charles Dickens did his own advertising and PR: the publishers really were just publishers back then.

      I'd be more than happy for corporations to be allowed to own a copyright, thus the "life + X years" thing could be restored to something like this:

      1. For individuals: "life of owner + X years", where X is something like 10-20 years at most.

      2a. For corporations who bring copyrightable works into being, they have two options: "life of copyright-owning corporation only, with no transfer of rights possible, or 100 years, whichever is the sooner". This would be the default method.

      2b. If the corporation in question wants to have the right to transfer their IP rights, they should be allowed to do so ONLY on payment of a renewable annual license by the assigned IP owner. (Also: this should only be allowed to happen once.) Thus, Disney could transfer their older movies to, say, a "Disney Archive" company, but only if they continue to pay for this right for as long as they wish it. The moment they stop those payments, the default system returns and, if the rights have been transferred already, those rights lapse instantly. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200.

      Both 2a and 2b would have "availability" clauses requiring the copyright owners to ensure all their copyrighted works remain available to the public at a fair and reasonable price throughout the lifetime of that copyright.

      My reasoning behind (2b) above is that some media—e.g. many early silent movies—simply wouldn't survive if left solely to the Public Domain. Restoring the complete footage of, say, Lang's "Metropolis", is a massive—and massively expensive—undertaking. That annual license fee would effectively fund such restoration and archival projects, and would be mostly distributed to relevant institutes and other entities.

      My reasoning behind point (2a) above is simple: Animation, computer games, and many other media can be seriously expensive and labour-intensive to make. The idea that any single *individual* can own a copyright in a movie like Disney's "Snow White" is utterly insane, so assigning that copyright to the company that *enabled the creation of the work* by paying for it up-front (and taking all the risk!) seems perfectly fair to me.

      Note, too, that many other countries rely on collectives and cross-border collaborations to produce some of their copyrightable content. (E.g. many French animations for children were co-produced with Canadian producers. Even series like "UFO" and "Space:1999" were co-produced with German and Italian money. Even the return of the BBC's "Doctor Who" in 2005 gives a Canadian Broadcasting Company co-producer credit in seasons 2 and 3.)

      This sort of thing means allowing copyright assignation to a corporate entity is an important requirement of any rebooted IP system.

      Under (2a) If Disney goes completely bust, everything they did enters the public domain. (Chapter 11 in the US would be a way around that, so it's not as bad as it appears.) But as long as the company exists, they don't have to worry about their earlier works entering the public realm. This removes the pressure to extend copyright terms as Disney aren't planning to go bust any time soon.

      Without option (2b) above, if Disney decided to dump some of their older cartoons into the Public Domain—e.g. those old black and white musical ones that primarily of historic rather than entertainment interest today—who would be responsible for ensuring those animations are made available in suitable formats, and that the archived original material is maintained? By requiring an annual fee, the costs of both operations are covered.

      Copyright *can* be a tool for expression. The trick is realising that laws are complex systems too, and need regular maintenance and upgrades as and when circumstances require it.

      Finally: Don't blame the *concept* of Copyright for the failings of the US Government and its love of lobbyists' money. That's a problem with YOU, The People, not an inherent problem with Copyright itself.

      1. Bumpy Cat

        @Sean Baggaley 1

        You failed one of the basic tests of arguing on the internet: whataboutery. You had the gall to complain about someone talking about copyright while "CHILDREN ARE FUCKING DYING OF HUNGER" ... then you went on to write a 900 word rant about copyright.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @Sean Baggaley 1

          "You had the gall to complain about someone talking about copyright while "CHILDREN ARE FUCKING DYING OF HUNGER" ... then you went on to write a 900 word rant about copyright."

          Nail on the head time, right there.

          Whining about not being compensated for lifetime plus Cliff Richard's PIN code for "my wonderful gift to creativity (it's available for all the consoles, you know)" is so Spoilt Westerner, it hardly merits a response at all.

          Labelling everyone who doesn't want draconian copyright regimes and criminal enforcement as "anti-copyright freeloaders" (not "freetards" for a change?) is also puerile and counterproductive when a lot of people can see the need for copyright, but don't think it should be enforced in a way that has people potentially subject to substantial penalties for doing things that don't seem like unreasonable acts. That a member of the EU Commission of all organisations can see this problem and not the supposedly astute Baggaleys and Orlowskis of this world restores my faith in humanity for a brief moment (but obviously does little to bolster my opinion of the judgement of the latter).

          Arguing for yet more government-sanctioned bureaucracy to administer payments to, more often than not, the already rich, especially when the money propping up these bureaucracies (the patent bureaucracy being the big one in terms of economic damage) could be spent on FUCKING MAKING SURE THAT THE CHILDREN ARE NOT FUCKING DYING OF HUNGER (and also abolishing or curtailing the economic injustice that leads to such bigger issues) is also so Spoilt Westerner.

          But hey, Nathan Barley needs to be rewarded for his creativity - that's priority #1, right? Feeding the children - perhaps priority #2. Oh, and it's the "freetards" blocking item #2, of course.


    8. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      Sorry Stephen

      " If your work hasn't made anything within 14 years of publication it's never going to - give it up already."

      How about "Love is all around" Stephen, Troggs - October 1967, then a 27 year gap until Wet Wet Wet [1] covered it in May 1994. Reg Presley famously spent some of the proceeds, which he received for composing the song, on crop circle research and a new home!

      Apart from that, excellent comment and have an upvote for your effort.

      [1] must resist temptation to make 3 degrees/Paris joke

    9. Semaj
      Thumb Down

      Too Right

      And it's even worse for computer games.

      Want to release your game but can't be bothered to finish it? Fine just put out the finished version as DLC, which can't be resold and the punters have to pay again for. In fact while we are at it, lets lock the game itself down to Steam so that can't be resold either.

    10. KroSha

      That pic is great! But it missed out the advert that tells us that piracy is wrong, immoral and no different than stealing a car. Even though we paid for the damn movie already.

      1. deadlockvictim

        I would steal a car

        Well, I'd happily download it by torrent. It is the same, isn't it?

        Remember folks, stealing music hurts music execs' boni [1] and that is bad for all.

        [1] I don't like bonuses.

  3. Goat Jam

    I Hate Copyright

    Because it is constantly being extended.

    The original Statute of Anne was a compromise that was struck between creators and consumers that gave creators a 14 year (with an option for another 14 years) monopoly on their creations in exchange for those creations becoming public domain at the end of that period.

    Since then, artistic works have become the properties of corporations who have successfully pushed extensions to copyright far in excess of the original agreement with nothing given back to consumers in return.

    They continue to put pressure on creating further extensions to this very day.

    I'm damned if I'm going to contribute to some greedy corporations bottom line just so that I can listen to music made 40 years ago, often by a dude that has died long ago.

    Recently, one of the newspapers where I live ran an article on the highest earning "dead" people, with Whacko Jacko, Jimi Hendrix, Einstein and John Lennon all at the top of the list.

    Why? Why should the children and grand children of these people continue to live the easy life based on works by their parents?

    Their parents made a bundle while alive and if they failed to invest wisely instead of snorting their wealth up their nose then that is Not My Problem.

    Why should I hand over my hard earned to these corporate rent collectors?

    No, feck that, the copyright cartels have taken too much and no longer deserve my support.

    Put in a fair system that allows a reasonable monopoly period with a transfer of rights to the public at the end and I will get on board.

    Until that happens, they can all get stuffed.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      snorting their wealth up their nose...


      If they hadnt done that then the doors would have souinded like pat fecking boone and you would have been fucked either way.

    2. ForthIsNotDead

      What if... made your living from copyrighted material?

      What if you were a singer songwriter? Would you be happy that after 14 years, people could re-package your songs, or even the very same recording, sell it, and make money from it, and not give you a thing?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "What if you were a singer songwriter? Would you be happy that after 14 years, people could re-package your songs, or even the very same recording, sell it, and make money from it, and not give you a thing?"

        I have a problem with this. 15 years ago I was paid for my work. 14 years ago I was paid for the work I did 14 years ago, ditto 13, 12 etc, and this year I am being paid for the work I do now. It seems odd as a concept that I should expect to be paid this year for the work I did this year, and also this year for the work I did last year, and this year for the work I did the year before etc etc.

        In theory, I could work for a year and expect to be paid for life.

        However, against that, I understand the concept of not creating a "thing", but allowing someone to pay to see or hear my work on a per view basis over a long period of time. If someone were to copy my work and then give it away they are depriving me of income, and thus I should be protected.

        I find it very hard to reconcile the two points of view. Quite clearly protection should be provided, but an income for life is perhaps unreasonable. Don't know what the answer is but DRM is not it - that just allows marketing types to screw more out of the end user - the artist gets no more.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          "15 years ago I was paid for my work."

          Remember that Sir Cliff and pals didn't pay their musicians and technicians enough, and so being paid over and over for something that was already blasted into popular culture when such dinosaurs still roamed the Earth is their way of saying thank you. Of course, Sir Cliff and pals will gladly take the lion's share of each dip into the till, but don't pay any attention to that: it's for the people we exploited, got that?

      2. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

        What if...

        You have to specify what you mean by “copyrighted material”, regular readers of elReg should be familiar with the case of Morrissey and Sony releasing a “best of” compilation without giving him a cent.

        As this article comments “The record labels are copyright defenders only when they profit unfairly from it. When they can screw over others via ignoring copyright, they have no problem doing so”

        As usual, copyright is not about protecting artists, its about protecting the income of the copyright mafiaa, only the *BIG* stars can make a living from royalties, speaking from personal experience, most musicians are more dependant on live performances.

  4. Rob 21

    Freetards win (sort of)

    Ayn Rand had it right. There's no private property that a desperate poliitician won't sieze "for the public good". Couldn't happen to a nicer industry though.

    1. David Hicks
      Thumb Down

      The view of copyright data as "Property" is modern and misguided. It's also an artificial, governmental imposition - something I believe that Saint Ayn disapproved of IIRC.

      By the way, you may want to read about her life (particularly the way she treated those close to her) before putting too much faith in her simplistic and fallacious parables.

    2. PyLETS

      @Rob 21

      Copyright exists due to law enacted and enforced by the state and for no other reason. Apart from a few Pirate Party representatives in Sweden, no-one ever got elected by arguing against those who buy ink by the barrel, and who happen to be amongst the main beneficiaries.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    “Too often, we can’t try them because of some old set of rules made for a different age”, which means that in the EU, proposals such as the extended collective licensing practiced in Scandinavia are “killed before they can show their merit”.

    So, are you aware what is "extended collective licensing"? Here, let me look that up for you on Wikipedia:

    "Extended collective licensing (ECL) are collective copyright and related rights laws and licensing agreements. ECL agreements by law extend to rights owners who are not members of the collecting society agreeing the licence with a user. " from:

    Now, have look at this: .

    1. paulc

      URLs shorteners... stop it...

      Please do not use them... they give no clue as to where they go to...

      1. The BigYin


        I would have thought that "preview" in the URL for a *very* well known shortener would have been a bit of a clue. It goes to TechDirt.

        Happy now?

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: URL shorteners

        That's why I used one of the most well known ones, offering to show you the URL and let you choose whether you want to be redirected there.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Maybe it's a well known shortner with a preview, but it's not like posting here has a character limit like Twitter or SMS.

          We have the space, so use the full url. It's a quick cut and paste and everyone can see where it goes and decide whether to click or not. If it was somewhere dodgy, I may not even want to have the preview stored in my browser history.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      ""Extended collective licensing (ECL) "

      Otherwise known as compulsory acquisition of property.

      Are you sure you wouldn't be happier in North Korea? Try asserting your copying rights there, mate.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    The issue regarding intermediaries is key. There is an underlying lie that a good artist or film would be successful because they are good. This simply isn't true. They are successful because they had the right management who could line up (and pay for upfront) the billboard adverts, coordinate the Graham Norton show appearance and the tv ads.

    We all want to be the ones who liked the band before they were famous. No-one wants to think that they like the band because that's what we've been fed by the media. The industrial greed machine is highly tuned. The x-factor contestant has no chance of actually making money of their nationwide fame and massive christmas #1. It will all go to the intermediaries. Better yet, the constant stream of talent shows with the accompanying media blitz pretty much ensures that old contestants (or anyone else) have very little chance of being able to match the media coverage and compete for punters' disposable income.

    Of course, music doesn't just consist of x-factor but it does show why the industry pushes for longer copywrite. It runs off a constant stream of one-hit-wonders, not because the artists aren't any good, but because that is a more profitable business model for them to pursue. The intermediary industry (and it is an industry on its own) doesn't want "artists" to be successful, they just what their particular (and most profitable) artist to be successful.

    1. Naughtyhorse

      persnly i'd rather stick pins in my eyes that listen to even one wave from a x-fuctup battery hen, but isnt their output pretty much exclusively covers?

      Cant see cowell et al ever wanting to spend time in a room with a 'creative' - research shows that occasionally those types show signs of thinking for themselves - fuck that for a game of soldiers!

      as with politics and fast food - the people get pretty much what they deserve.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      fao: AC 02:37 GMT

      "music doesn't just consist of x-factor but it does show why the industry pushes for longer copywrite"

      Are we supposed to take your views on copyright seriously when you can't even spell it?

  7. silent_count

    @Steven Roper.

    There is no inherent problem with Disney (or anyone else for that matter) lobbying for changes to whichever law(s) they're interested in. The problem lies on the other side of the equation with politicians making laws which benefit corporations (just to pick a random example: Disney) instead of their constituents.

    The larger problem is not even with the politicians. It's with the voters who see the politicians making laws which benefit corporations (to pick another example at random: Disney) instead of themselves... and still continue to vote for said politicians.

    Nobody likes to hear it, but the problem is us.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Fully agree with you ... with one slight problem.

      Last time I went to vote I had a choice of:

      Party A who makes laws that benefit corp X

      Party B who makes laws that benefit corp Y (technically that may be Union Y, but meh)

      No matter how many times I turned the ballot paper over I could not find any other candidates.

      Any yes, technically there was an actual person's name next to the Party, but as none of them ever vote outside "party lines" I don't see how I'm not voting for the Party. I don't recall ever seeing election advertising about "Candidate J", always about "Party J".

    2. A Dawson

      The problem is Silent_count .. there are no politicians/partys left to vote for worth a damn.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I hate to tell you this, but we--the votors--don't get a whole lot of choice in the matter. We're usually given a choice between a corporate funded bastard who claims he won't screw us on a handful of minor issues and a corporate funded bastard who claims he won't screw us on a slightly different handful of minor issues. If Jesus, Mohammad or Moses were on the ballot, I'm sure they'd get lots of votes, but all we get is Satan, Beelzebub and Shaitan to choose from.

      Though you could ask, why don't decent people run for office? Alternatively, a more democratic form of government might actually give the people who haven't bought a representative some say in their governance.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      "Nobody likes to hear it, but the problem is us"

      So true with most aspects of govenment, we all moan, an yet like sheep we all do nothing

      The govenments are there to represent the people but most things that happen are actually more to do with political or financial gain. an example being, slashing VAT to 5%, great for us, crap for the country, which is why its not done thankfully, but equally they would be quite happy to spend bilions on vote winning projects which do little for us but gives them political ammo

      "There is no inherent problem with Disney (or anyone else for that matter) lobbying for changes to whichever law(s) they're interested in. The problem lies on the other side of the equation with politicians making laws which benefit corporations (just to pick a random example: Disney) instead of their constituents."

      The problem with equations is that they have to balance, and as you pointed out, whats done is for the corps, not the people, to balance the equation you need to make Govenment = People

    5. PyLETS

      @silent_count "Nobody likes to hear it, but the problem is us."

      Those who own the media have a vested interest in having as one sided a debate as possible on the copyright feeding frenzy. Politicians have a vested interest in obtaining media support - it wasn't Murdoch who had to fly half way around the world to get Tony Blair's support for the 2007 election.

      The copyright problem isn't so much us as to do with politicians believing they need big media to get their message across to us. For those of us unwilling to vote single issue for a Pirate candidate even if we agree with the Pirate platform, because more important issues than copyright are being decided in an election your criticism is fair enough. But that's as much a fault with our system as it is with us.

      Better for the Pirate Party to rate and endorse candidates for other parties in marginals based on responses to questionnaires on the copyright issue in places where Pirates can't afford to stand. This would start to modify views by mainstream parties on copyright once having more sane policies on copyright started improving chances of election.

  8. jake Silver badge

    As I've been saying for years ...

    The problem with modern copyright law is that once something can be digitized, there is absolutely nothing to stop it being copied & shared globally. The politicians & recording companies can blather on as much as they like, but thems the facts. The cat has left the unbolted stable door, and can't be swept back into the worm can.

    Note that I'm not discussing the moral/legal aspect here, just the reality.

  9. raving angry loony

    I'm a punter, and I have no problems with copyRIGHT.

    What I have a problem is when the laws try to recreate the pre-1710 era of not HAVING copyRIGHT.

    Through ever-increasing terms and criminalizing of DRM removal, we are almost to the point where we no longer actually have copyRIGHT anymore, but instead have a situation much like the London Company of Stationers in pre-1710 - where Big Media of the day owns everything, can take something and "own" it even if they didn't create it (such as republishing Plato - boom, they "own" it today just by putting it behind any kind of DRM).

    copyRIGHT included an ever-increasing public domain. That was the deal - government protects the work for a set time, then it goes into the public domain. THAT IS NO LONGER TRUE. Every few years, the copyright terms get increased. We're at 100 years now, up from the original 25. There's already noises of making it longer. Nothing has entered the public domain since 1923 unless it was deliberately put there by the author/artist. The Statute of Anne did away with perpetual ownership of works - and now we're back to where we were.

    I have no problems with copyRIGHT. I strongly object to the re-birth of the London Company of Stationers with perpetual ownership of works, authors not owning their works because everything is a work for hire, no public domain, no fair use (can't use it if it's behind some form of DRM), and so on.

  10. Anonymous Coward

    The problem isn't copyright....

    I'm not very impressed with this speech. Yes, it is refreshing to see that the issue itself finally gets some attention, but what bothers me is that the very cause of the problem is totally ignored and only hinted at.

    The main problem are the copyright enforcement agencies. These claim to protect the interest and rights of their clients while in fact all they're good for is grossing in money. Worst part is that in many cases these agencies are on the payroll by your friendly unknowing government.

    And because of their binds into the government they can basically do whatever they want. My (local) example is Buma/Stemra. An organization which claims to protect copyrights for musicians. Of course the reality is totally different; the public gets to pay dearly to "compensate for the loss of income" (for example when purchasing CDR's or other storage media), people who make music get to pay dearly to "compensate for the costs to protect your loss of income" and in the mean time they get their hands tied behind their back.

    It wouldn't be the first time where a Dutch musician decided to put his work online for free, only to be met with a heavy fine from Buma/Stemra for violating god knows what for stupid policy. All in the interest of copyright protection of course.

    The /real/ problem here is that Buma/Stemra is an organization, a company of some sorts. Also on the payroll of our government. But in the end a company will be interested in one thing: making a profit. All those people working at Buma/Stemra need to get paid too you know...

    Is it that hard to realize that "making a profit" and "protecting ones rights" is often cause for a conflict of interests ?

    Now, the reason I'm totally unimpressed here is because Neelie Kroes has been one of the founders of this very specific problem. She was one of the first ministers in our government who was very into dropping government assets and turning them into some private business. Our national post agency (which worked great at the time)? No, it had to become a private firm and making money on its own.

    Well, the end results were obvious: steadily rising prices, steadily dropping service and the populace could pay double (the new "company" still got a heavy financial boost from government money (taxes which we all pay for)) as well as income from "selling" their products. And the foundation to privatize even more government assets!

    And because of that legacy do I really get the idea that she has spotted a potential problem (people hating copyright "vendors") while having absolutely no clue what so ever where its all coming from.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    People like Goat Jam bug the hell out of me. When you distill his whining, it comes down to the fact that he does not want to pay for music. Well, tough. The laws of the land say you do have to pay for music. If you do not like the law, either get it changed or go and live somewhere different. The whole freetard ethos that everything that can be digitally delivered should be free is ridiculous.

    I, along with many other civilized humans, am more than happy to pay for music.

    If you do not like DRM then just buy the CD/DVD and THEN download from a torrent. That way the artist gets paid and you get your DRM/trailer free media. But I bet you will not – I bet you just carry on stealing stuff and using you pathetic moral arguments to justify your theft.

    As for Neelie, she is probably just trying to engineer some scam that will benefit the EU economically as opposed to actually giving a damn about recording artists and/or consumers.

    1. Paul 87

      The "freetard" idea has been around since the internet was young, a great example of this is shareware. You got the software, complete with DRM, but a lot of the time people went out of their way to bypass it.

      Take Winzip/Winrar as an example, both pieces of software are widely used, both commercially and privately, but only a fraction of those users have paid for the software, why? Because they didn't have to.

    2. Naughtyhorse

      I, along with many other civilized humans, am more than happy to pay for music.

      I, along with many other milked and bilked J. Randoms, am more than happy to pay for music.

      There fixed it for you.

    3. Field Marshal Von Krakenfart

      @AC 21st November 2011 06:10 GMT

      Just because Goat Jam is annoying, dosen't mean he/she is wrong or the point he/she is making

      Go placidly amid the noise and haste, and remember what peace there may be in silence.

      As far as possible, without surrender, be on good terms with all persons. Speak your truth quietly and clearly; and listen to others, even to the dull and the ignorant, they too have their story. Avoid loud and aggressive persons, they are vexations to the spirit.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward


      " If you do not like the law, either get it changed or go and live somewhere different."

      Could you please tell me where I can get the law changed, is there a telephone number I can ring up or something?

      As for "somewhere different", please point me in the direction of a large continuous land-mass that doesn't require a passport or registration documents and not controlled by some authoritarian regime I will happily leave you and your masters to get on with it and choose to live in freedom.

      Alternatively, if you could find someplace else for you and all the other people of your ilk to and live together and compete to enslave and make the most profit out of each other, then perhaps we can make alternative arragements for you to leave instead.

  12. Duppo Floopery

    Culture Thieves

    I have already disregarded copyright law for media that is over 15 years old. Call me a freetard, a thief, whatever... I don't care. The fact is that our culture is being locked away from us and held ransom. The contract has already been broken.

  13. Turtle

    Stupid woman is stupid.

    This woman is as stupid as she can be.

    She says: "In that context, 'copyright as it now stands is failing to deliver the economic rewards that are supposed to be its aim'". Well yeah, it *is* going to fail to deliver economic the economic rewards it is supposed to be its aim if copyright is not being enforced and Google and similar entities are raking in hundreds of millions by either encouraging or directly engaging in copyright infringement. Don't be so fucking thick, okay?

    At the same time, “citizens increasingly hear the word copyright and hate what is behind it..”

    How do YOU know what citizens think about *anything*? I haven't exactly heard about the general public clamoring for relaxed copyright laws - except perhaps on certain websites that offer their visitors the opportunity to leave comments. There is no reason to think that they are representative of the general public. If it was hot topic, why hasn't *any* major political party attempted to capitalize on it, eh?

    Since there have been studies done that show that most people do in fact feel that copyright should be enforced, we have to suspect that the truth might be exactly contrary to what Kroes says.

    "Many see the current system as a tool to punish and withhold, not a tool to recognize and reward." Maybe kind of like how the legal requirement to pay for merchandise before you leave the store is also a "tool to punish and withhold, and not a tool to recognize and reward"?

    One can hardly be more half-witted than this stupid woman.

    1. Will Godfrey Silver badge

      "One can hardly be more half-witted than this stupid woman."

      Oh I don't know... you seemed to manage it.

    2. melts


      It might not of been the most articulate clump of words to ever come out of a politicians mouth, but it seemed pretty reasonable.

      I'm not sure exactly what google and co are doing to earn your ire but if its to do with them trying to document and index everything then I don't see why it ties you in knots, indexing is fair use, without indexes how do you find things?

      I think the context she was referring to was artists getting paid, as opposed to middle men.

      You might not of heard anyone clamoring for anything, but why would you have? She's a minister dealing with these issues, and I'm sure 'the public' can make their voices heard by say emailing or posting her office. I'm sorry 'the public' aren't beating a path to your door with their copyright complaints or compliments, but you chose not to be a public representative, and that doesn't give you a strong position to talk about 'the public'.

      I don't know what studies you are referring to, but as you say, people do feel that copyright should be enforced, and quite possibly they are referring to the clause stating that after a period of 28 years works become public domain, shocking no? That or they support the consistent extension of copyright beyond its original purpose and believe no individual should be allowed to own their works based on the fact that the middle men need more money, again shocking, no?

      Without the study there isn't a chance I can agree or disagree with you. All I can say is I haven't read a single study that supports criminal punishments for individuals breaching copyright laws for personal use, something that your post gives me the impression you support.

      Your complete rework of the punish and withhold vs recognise and reward bit is daft. So there's a legal requirement to pay for merchandise before you leave the store. Punish and withhold in that sense would be increase punishment for non payment and restrict use of goods to scenarios approved by the merchant - ie you need milk? Buy it or shoplift it and face 30 years jail and/or $1,000 per mL fine, oh and to use the milk you need a merchant milk pouring system that meters milk out at 250ml per hour and requires the milk you purchase to come from an approved list of regions for the pouring system.

      A recognise and reward system may possibly work as a farmers market where the farmer is offered a far more reasonable return per liter and the punters get to buy the milk in any arrangement of quantities they can sort with the stall owner.

      Funnily enough I was going to say I was being hyperbolic with the punishment and restrictions side of it, but it turns out that was based on the system for dvd's, where you're forced through screens of bullshit in order to watch a movie, all region'ised for no good reason. The fines too are a leaf out of the music industries book.

      And hey the milk scenario is actual theft, where merchants are being physically deprived of goods without payment, vs a dvd, where even modifying your own equipment to skip their bullshit on a disc you supposedly own is illegal.

      While I believe copyright should exist as a mechanism to ensure an artist is rewarded, I believe the middlemen shouldn't be rewarded for the work of others. Compensated yes, but only based on the risk they took with the artist and not particularly further. In all instances copyright should only for a general release period, 14 years even seems rather long in this consumer culture but that would be fine. You can renew it if its still a valuable work. This should apply to patents too, for good measure. If you only have one idea in your life you'll get at best 28 years from it, sounds more than reasonable.

      Oh and lastly, thanks to this copyright idea, there exists a duty on all CD/DVD media I can buy in Australia. Essentially I'm being called a copyright non conformist every time I buy media, and this duty is supposed to reward the artists who are having their works unjustly copied. So why do I need to pay them via any other means? Of course its the middle men pocketing the loot and using that to pay their way to get more agreements to further protect their business.

    3. Naughtyhorse
      Thumb Down

      studies?? what studies??

      Quote your sources or be exposed as an astroturfer.

      While looking for the link you may like to consider the sentance....

      'I haven't exactly heard about the general public clamoring for relaxed copyright laws - except perhaps on certain websites that offer their visitors the opportunity to leave comments'

      Which as I read it says in effect - you havent heard people complain about copyright anywhere, except the places where they were able to complain about it.

      So with no opportunity to complain, people dont complain (you didnt work for the bush administration by any chance?) - brilliant.

      Sure compared to the wars, AIDS, poverty, the middle east, climate change and such like it's not a big deal, true, but it is a deal nonetheless

      Oh! and another thing;

      Neelie Kroes was an elected representative for 18 years - i know nothing about her beliefs, and very little about the political system used in the netherlands, but i very strongly suspect that she would have had to win a few elections at least to manage to serve for 18 years.

      how many elections have you won? what is your mandate?

      I thought so.

      1. Mme.Mynkoff

        Elected bureaucrats?


        Kroes is not elected to her post. The OP is correct and you're trying to change the subject.

        Get your facts straight mate.

        1. Naughtyhorse

          I did, now it's your turn

          She served as a Member of the House of Representatives from 3 August 1971 until 28 December 1977 when she became State Secretary for Transport, Public Works and Water Management from 28 December 1977 until 11 September 1981, in the Cabinet Van Agt I. And again a Member of the House of Representatives from 27 August 1981 until 4 November 1982, when she became Minister of Transport, Public Works and Water Management from 4 November 1982 until 7 November 1989, in the Cabinets Lubbers I and II.

          all elected

          since then not so much

          but for that 18 years, she was elected - as i correctly stated and you kinda failed to understand.


      2. Turtle

        Oh here's one!

        Oh here's one right here - and you don't even have to leave this site to read about it:

        And note particularly please that this survey was commissioned by Google, who make many many millions of dollars by copyright infringement.

        There are other similar surveys asking respondents whether, for example, loss of internet connectivity is a suitable penalty for copyright infringement, and you should be able to find them without too much effort.

  14. Henry Wertz 1 Gold badge

    @AC, you're wrong, Goat Jam is not "whining" because they want stuff for free. They are pointing out that the point of copyright is, as the US Constitution puts it "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts". Some corporation continuing to continue to pull in money decades after the artist has died, does not promote progress in any way whatsoever. A specific part of copyright is supposed to be a robust public domain, so people can build upon the work of those who came before them; this is essentially non-existant now.

    And these royalty collecting groups -- it's remarkable on how they can find every trick in the book to pull in money, but when it comes time to pay it out to the artists, they mysteriously "can't find" them.

    Finally, there's no "stealing" being discussed here, stealing takes something away from somebody and deprives them of the use of it. Making a copy is (perhaps) copyright infringement, or perhaps fair use.


    As for the actual article -- I found it rather interesting. The fact of the matter is, a workable system could certainly be come up that

    1) Acknowledge that quite a few people are going to copy this stuff. Increasingly draconian digital rights restrictions just piss off the legitimate customers, making them less likely to buy in the future.

    2) Does take advantage of modern technology. For instance, if the royalty collection agencies a) quit "not finding" their artists... if you really can't, make it easier for the artists to give you contact info. b) Attempted to implement an attractive micropayment option -- they would turn currently non-paying people into paying customers, and by sheer get more money to the artists than they do now. I for one would not mind at all tallying up how many music or video files I have from each artist, paying a few cents apiece, sending the tenner or whatever to the royalty agency in the knowledge it'll be properly distributed to those artists. Cory Doctorow makes considerably more money now, from people who don't pay a cent for his paper or electronic book, but download it for free then donate him money, than he ever did as a conventional publisher.

    1. Kevin Johnston

      Lost artists

      Well the obvious answer is that if they cant find the artist to pass on the royalties then they should stop collecting them for that artist. Call it part of the auditing process.

      If you are taking money to be passed on to another person despite knowing that you cannot complete that part then it is taking money under false pretenses ie Fraud.

      Would have one of two outcomes, either the artist is magically found or they get the law changed to specifically allow them to retain 'orphan' royalties, perhaps Google could advise them on that.

  15. Novex

    How to get the dogsbody artists and workers paid?

    Perhaps the biggest problem is how to get decent pay into the hands of the hard working lesser known majority of 'artist workers' - particulary in the case of movies, but also for the authors, composers, lyricists, etc, whose work is more easily digitized.

    I know that many people hate the large corporations who make money at those artists' expense, hell, I'm one of them, and we need to limit copyright protection periods so that back catalogue cannot be the only stuff on offer, if only to encourage the creation of new material.

    But I also realize that somewhere in the 'system' the artists need to be professionals, that is, making a living from their work. Without copyright, how do they protect their work? If it's given away for free, how do they make a living and so continue to produce their work? Advertising isn't cutting it, and I'm loathe to see a return to a time where the only money around is from rich people and corporations deigning to give grants to a chosen few. Also, what works in software such as a piece of software being 'free' for personal use but effectively subsidized by the corporate version, doesn't work in general media.

    So how do the artists get paid?

    1. Anomalous Cowturd

      Re: So how do the artists get paid?

      How about by performing their works LIVE to paying punters...

      Don't know why no-one else has thought of it.


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      So how do the artists get paid?

      By accepting that private copying comes under higher law (human rights - the right to privacy of communications) than copyright and accepting a sales commission from the commerce legitimised by acknowledging this fact.

      That would work a bit like the way musicians get a slice from commercial radio or when music is played in a public place like a clothes shop or restaurant. But these mechanisms don't give musicians any right to know when I listen to or record from the radio, or where I buy my clothes or eat out. If they can get a couple of pennies from the cost of a meal or garment, I don't see why they shouldn't get a commission from the sale of a high speed network connection already openly advertised as capable of downloading X songs and Y movies.

      Happy to respect their rights to a cut of what I pay for the service once they start respecting my right to privacy of communications.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    We don't need no steekin' copyright!

  17. DrXym

    People copy because

    The cost of the commercially sold product is too high and is encumbered with unreasonable restrictions on what a user may do with it. This is in part because of DRM and proprietary formats & encryption that restrict your ability to do what you like with your content. But also because it's not your content - you only own a licence to the content, not the content itself. So you can't sell content second hand to offset the cost of new purchases, or lend it, or simply give it away.

    I suggest if the EU wants to do something useful here, they should produce a legal definition of digital property and oblige vendors to conform to the definition. And crackdown on content providers / vendors colluding on price fixing which is why the price of digital content is virtually uniform (and uniformly expensive) from one store to the next right now. Once vendors find themselves having to compete with each other and a second hand market, sales would come down. And in turn, piracy would be too.

  18. Tralala

    The UKIP of tech sites publishes an article dissing copyright

    What the hell happened.

    After how many years, you are actually publicizing a criticism of copyright.

    My world is crumbling around me..

    Could you at least reassure me that Psion made the best handhelds ever.

  19. ForthIsNotDead

    People hate copyright?

    I don't agree. People may not *care* - but they don't hate it.

    Most amatuer software devs would soon get pissed off if their pet project that they were trying to sell online through their website got copied and TARd on a torrent site. The irony of the fact that they have a hard drive full of ripped off music would be lost on them, however.

    Let's face it - most of us are hypocrites.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Well, if you value anything that little...

    Always amazes me. Each time "copyright" is mentioned, a mass of hissing and boo-ing reverberates the hallowed walls of El Reg, et al.

    Responses from other AC's such as "Mostly, I just torrent the DVD rip, then buy the DVD if it's any good..." typify the general sense that "it exists, so it's MY RIGHT to hear/watch/possess it". Why is it your right? Nobody forces anybody to have to listen to or watch any particular music or film. Tempted by it? Heard snippets of it? Vying towards actually liking it? BUY IT.

    And if you don't feel that an album is worth £6.99 (or whatever is asked - NOT demanded), DON'T buy it. But DON'T rip it off either.

    It's a basic bit of logic that us techie people should understand.

    Yes - some laws are an ass, but they are generally there for good reasons. I would love to have an Aston Martin on the drive. But have strangely never felt the need to smash and grab one from the local show room.

    And you are probably wrong about the thought that just popped into your head - ripping digital goods does ultimately harm artists and businesses. I know from experience of having to look at the "till receipts" when another crack has been developed for our software.

    Sadly the mentality is now that the majority of humans act like spoilt brats where "WANT" and "ME" are words rehearsed with vulgar regularity.

    Aimed at the previously highlighted fellow AC: Until you've been in the situation of trying to make an honest living from digital goods having spent too many hours in the day creating, you'd probably never understand. Perhaps I'll help myself to the contents of your house one day. As a practising thief, you probably stole the silverware anyway ;-)

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I approach it from the 'It exists and I'm interested in it but I don't want to part with my hard earned cash buying something that it may be difficult to get a refund on' mentality. Especially with the amount of bullshit you get about refunds on sealed items from many places.

      You can test drive that aston martin and get a proper idea for how it handles on the road, fuel consumption, comfort etc before parting with your cash and buying one. However I can't remember finding anywhere online (apart from the rather wonderful Magnatune) that sells CD's or MP3 downloads that would allow me to listen to the entire album before buying it rather than mere 30 second clips which aren't enough to judge an entire song by.

      So I torrent albums, then I buy or delete them and also go to gigs and make sure that the bands I like actually get a decent payment for their music rather than the shafting and the 0.001 pence per CD deal that they've usually been locked into by the record company scum.

      1. Anomalous Cowturd

        @ AC 16:22

        Thanks for saving me from typing the same retort to AC 10:35, although mine was going to be longer. I was half way through composing it when the cat decided to walk across my keyboard and somehow managed to delete everything. Bless her!

        I am not anonymous, I am anomalous, and you can see all my posts by clicking my handle. You? Not so much...

  21. ForthIsNotDead


    "Why? Why should the children and grand children of these people continue to live the easy life based on works by their parents?"

    It's called inheritence!

    Tell you what, when your parents die*, we'll just give all their estate to the state, shall we? I mean, *why* should *you* get it?

    * God forbid, and no offence intended. Just illustrating a point.

    1. My Alter Ego

      "It's called inheritence!"

      No it's not, inheritance is receiving somebody's estate. Are you expecting to receive a payout from your parent's employer?

      Then again, if you're the type of person that expects inheritance, it's always possible. As far as I'm concerned, inheritance is a "bonus" and should never be relied upon. It's money your parents have earned, and it's up to them what they do with it - just don't plan your life around it.

  22. ForthIsNotDead


    I think we should just start using the proper English term for pirates: Thieves.

    If you 'pirate' copyrighted works, you're just a thief. Simple as that.

    The self-righteous attitude on this forum has really really shocked me. People on here genuinely think they can just help themselves to other people's works. Absoultely astonishing.

    You're a bunch of thieves. Simple as that.

    1. Oolons


      Sorry wrong - had an interested conversation with a respected barrister who said the legal definition of theft would not include copyright infringement. You have not deprived anyone of any property so its not theft - so enough with the daft hyperbole already. That does not make it right and I would not want to shock you with my self righteous attitude too much.

      An example - I used to download music and listen to it and if I liked it - buy the album. I found lots of new artists I really liked and undoubtedly bought a lot more music as I really hate it when I buy an album and it turns out to be rubbish. Absolutely wrong! I am an evil thief according to you... But now I don't need to do that, the music industry progressed and I can stream music from a number of places, listen to tracks legally and decide if I like the music and buy it with no 'thieving' download needed. Who was hurt by my immoral actions I wonder? Was it therefore immoral? Hard to answer without a philosophy degree.

      There are always going to be people who download stuff for free and never pay - but they are vanishingly small compared to those that download and buy. So why do the MPAA etc punish those that buy legitimately to supposedly stop a small majority that probably would not buy the item in the first place if there was no free version? And by punish I mean make it impossible to flick past FBI warning / adverts on your DVD/bluray and add crappy DRM? I always rip mine to HDD to get rid of the crap -- or I download a pirated copy where someone has kindly done that for me - when I actually own the disc so I'll be on the next set of stats for all the 'billions' lost to piracy when I did buy the disc!

      I'm not the only one - of all my friends those who buy the most digital media are also the most prolific downloaders. The industry will catch up eventually once they work out they are losing money on this daft witch hunt on their own customers.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        "There are always going to be people who download stuff for free and never pay - but they are vanishingly small compared to those that download and buy."

        Nearly coughed to death on that one! Are you referring to the residents of Milton Keynes (or some such middle class conurbation) or the wider world including, but not exclusively, China, India, Russia, etc.?

        But yep - illegally downloading makes you a thief. Sorry to prick your - and your lawyer friends - bubble on that one. Taking what isn't yours - about sums up the definition of being a thief.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward


          "Taking what isn't yours - about sums up the definition of being a thief."

          yeah - but it's copying, not taking.

          Talking bollocks on an internet web site - about sums up the definition of being an idiot.

        2. Oolons

          Oh Dear

          Google failure - how hard is it to look it up?

          "The actus reus of theft is usually defined as an unauthorized taking, keeping or using of another's property which must be accompanied by a mens rea of dishonesty and/or the intent to permanently deprive the owner or the person with rightful possession of that property or its use."

          What property has a pirate taken so depriving the owner of their rightful possession of that property or its use? So no while wrong copyright infringement is not theft... I don't really need to prove it as no copyright organisation has prosecuted anyone for anything other than copyright infringement - not theft - not genocide - just copyright infringement!

          How do you square your black and white world with my music download example? No one was hurt - no one lost money - but it was illegal and I'm forever branded a thief in your bizarre world. The law is there for our benefit, if it punishes where there is no harm then it will be made an ass of (Look how many millions in the UK alone download) then it will be repealed - that's to come and will take a while given the vested interests of powerful media companies.

          So there are lots of nasty un-middle class people in the world who should not be allowed access to the media you and I can afford and who would not be able to enjoy it if DRM actually worked. I already said those who download for free should be of no interest to these companies as (Apart from a vanishingly small minority - sorry that was not clear) they would not buy it in the first place - but why do the media companies therefore punish you and I with DRM and ads on our legally bought media? Cutting own nose off to spite face seems a good analogy.

    2. Mr Anonymous

      I don't buy recorded music/film/stuff. I suppose that makes me a thief?

      I don't care, _I don't assign any value to recorded time_.

      Sing me a song and I will pay to hear it, sing the same song to a recording device and sell me a copy of that, I _may_ pay the cost of reproduction of the digital bits or download them from the cheapest source, I certainly won't pay you what you spent to record it.

      I'm an artist or was an artist or maybe still am. (is an artist always an artist, like a doctor/general is always a doctor/general even when retired)

      If someone copies my work, is it my work or theirs? If some one registers a domain name that is the same as mine but with a hyphen, then copies my work for their site, is it mine or theirs, do I give a damn? (no is the answer to that, just check it and they've changed most but not all of it.)

      Do I make a fortune, no, but do I enjoy making things, yes.

      Do I enrich the world? I don't know, you'd have to ask others and maybe you could work part of that out by how much someone pays, if they don't pay maybe they don't assign it any value and that is why a 'pirate/thief' downloaded it, therefore I have lost nothing if the only value they assign to it is a moment of their time.

      If they assign _that_ type of value, maybe I should be paying them, I think it's normal in our society to pay for someone's employment.

      Maybe we should all send our employers a video of us doing work and then relax at home, why not get out your camera phone now.

  23. Fading


    I beleive ForthIsnotdead needs to read up on the definition of the word theft.

    1. ForthIsNotDead
      Thumb Down

      Thanks but...

      I'm aware of the legal definition of theft.

      For sure, you're not a bunch of thieves under the definition of the *law*. But you all know exactly what I mean, and you all know what I'm talking about.

      It would be different if you were struggling musicians, and instead of looking down from the stage at the smiles of a happy, engaged audience, all you can see is a field of mobile phones, their owners faces bathed in the light from the screens, only to find 1000 videos uploaded on YouTube the very next day. Everyone makes money (YouTube, the advertisers, sometimes even the uploaders) except the poor sap that struggled to make the music in the first place.

      Going back to the 14 years copyright expiriation: Imagine if you wrote a best-selling hit song. Perhaps a number one. 14 years elapse, and you no longer own the rights to the song. The latest Justin Beiber comes along with a cover version, and sells it via iTunes, Amazon, blah blah blah... Everyone in the chain makes money. Everyone that is, except the original author!

      How is that fair?

      I don't even know why I'm bothering to ask/post! Clearly, you're thieves and simply don't care.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward


        Re: ForthIsNotDead

        "I don't even know why I'm bothering to ask/post! Clearly, you're thieves and simply don't care."

        Sadly the same conclusion I came to.

        If they all got to this stage in their lives and can't tell the difference between right and wrong, then we're wasting our time. The only glimmer of hope is that their nonsense on here at least stops them for a few minutes from stealing even more stuff.

        Ironic, though. The same people that attempt to break down the foundations of copyright as being morally unlawful turn straight to legal definitions in the vain hope of relinquishing themselves from the burden of being titled "thieves". Which is still what they are in every sane sense of the word.

        Ho hum.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Pointless

          "If they all got to this stage in their lives and can't tell the difference between right and wrong, then we're wasting our time."

          I can think of two words appropriate for you and the overly moralising ForthIsNotDead. Not everyone who refuses to advocate expansive copyright and the "presumed guilty" attitude towards the customer as potential infringer wants copyright to go away or downloads everything whilst paying for nothing. Many people just want a fair price for the things they watch or listen to, and they don't want to be dicked around and made to pay over and over for those things, just because Disney's figures didn't impress Wall Street last quarter.

          But, no, you had to try and climb onto the moral high horse, even though it's a midget pony and you don't have the technique to pull it off.

      2. melts

        seriously? (again)

        cute example, but what intrinsic right do you have to be forever rewarded for one action you do?

        Seriously now, you write a song, a movie script, a goddamn 14 hour play, and then you want to say, well yep, if anyone wants any part of it (and that is factual, copyright is for all or part) i deserve to be compensated, and the government should enforce this.

        so the first problem, you want to work once, get compensated forever. So if I build a building, I should get compensated for as long as it stands? Elsewhere we haven't even entertained the idea of perpetual compensation, but with copyright we decided that works that could be relatively easily copied should be afforded some protection to give the creators a reason to publish and make money. Without protection a published work may quickly be copied by the unscrupulous for their profit, depriving the artisan. This isn't perpetual compensation, but to encourage the creative to publish in an otherwise hostile environment. Why is it that 14 years is not enough for this? It seems excessively long in this consumer culture, actually. You get a few years to make sales on your work, maybe copyright should exist for only as long as it took you to generate the work? Would be far more inline with say the builder who erected your house.

        Now secondly, ok you have this protection, the government are supplying it. What are you paying for it, eh? Oh yes, the agreement was to benefit the people, (far more relevant when then government worked for the people) as the government said they would protect your works and enforce this protection in exchange for your works being released into the public domain. You know, the Government offering to do something for you so you do something for them, sounds reasonable to expect something in return for some effort, no?

        So now you should see it. The oh-snap moment. I'll point it out anyway... complaining about people freeloading copyright material while bemoaning your own freeloading of the back of the copyright system 'coz you don't want to hold up your end of the deal... What, do you expect the government to enforce your perpetual right to a work for nothing? oh right of course you do, you're one of those government is my sock puppet types, only working for corporate interests because hey people are pathetic thieving scum that are holding you down, amirite?

        So yea, whining about the length of copyright while calling people freetards is ironic.

        And I don't care how you want to twist it, wanting longer and longer copyright is just 'I want my idea to be completely mine forever, all the while getting paid for it', which sounds familiar to 'I want to hear/see everything, and not pay for it ever'. Both are bullshit over-entitlements and can be neatly solved by; a) keeping your damn ideas to yourself, noone can take it and you can't get paid. And b) only hearing/seeing whatever you produce, then you don't have to pay yourself, obviously.

        If you don't like playing with yourself, then learn to share, and since we're in a capitalist society that involves a level of paying. The creator pays the system with giving their works away at some point, and consumers pay to enjoy anything relevant to the times.

        The problem, consumers are currently getting hit multiple times for their enjoyment payments, while artists are getting less in return. The middlemen have their business savvy and are now working hard to ensure everyone gets screwed to maintain their status quo. Seems like a recurring theme.

        1. jake Silver badge

          All y'all need to go read these two pages ...

          I think a recording artist with more tenure in the recording industry than I have in IT probably has better perspective on the subject than most.

          Sorry if I swamp your web site again, buddy ;-)

  24. ph0b0s

    Is the law any good if most are ignoring it?

    If the amount of copyright abuse is so high, is it a valid law any more? A law is only any good if there is decent amount of compliance with it. If a majority of society choose not to comply with the law, surely society have voted that that particular law is not valid.

    This comes down to corporate interests vs the interests of the people in general. As per usual corporate interest always seems to take precedence over the interests of the general public. The general public have voted, but of course corporations have more of a vote on things...

    1. ClassicalD

      Why are there laws?

      "If the amount of copyright abuse is so high, is it a valid law any more?" Seriously? Seriously?

      When the Royal Canadian Mounted Police were burning down the barns of Quebec separatists, the prime minister responded that, "if people were so bothered by illegal barn burning by the Mounties, perhaps he would make it legal". A contemporary writer (Jonas somebody) pointed out that "burning barns isn’t wrong because it’s illegal, it’s illegal because it’s wrong."

      Regardless of the amount of thefts (or burglaries, car jacking, muggings, or public urination)... it doesn't make it right.

      1. ph0b0s

        Yes, seriously.

        What determines right and wrong is governed by consent. If a majority of people think something is wrong, then a law making it illegal is valid as only a few don't comply with said law. A law that says something is wrong that most do not believe is wrong and has very low compliance to me is not a good and valid law. I admit I am not law scholar though. I would love one to weigh in on this.

        In the example you used, it was a minority (RCMP and governing elites) that were breaking the law that a majority believed was wrong. This is why making it legal would not have worked.

        This is the opposite to what I posted about where content companies and their brought and paid for politicians have push for laws that have, if you believe the stories they put out, very low compliance. As in a majority of society do not believe the action is wrong as they are doing it. This to me brings the laws invalidity into question.

        This would also work for any of the other crimes you quoted "thefts (or burglaries, car jacking, muggings, or public urination)" if the amount being committed was so high that nearly everyone was doing it. Laws only work and are valid if there is a general consent to comply with them. This seems to be less and less the case with copyright laws and maybe the people who are our representatives in government should be taking notice of that fact, rather than getting their ideas about morality and what is good law from corporations...

  25. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Copyright / DRM et al

    Way back in the dim distant past, there was a clause in the copyright laws that allowed for "fair use" copying, such as taking an LP you owned (sorry had purchased in a shop and had the legal right to listen to) and "copy" it to another medium such as a cassette to listen to in a car or a walkman. Much as many of todays music listeners have a large collection of CDs, many of them ripped to MP3 on a hard drive, and then copied to an MP3 player etc etc.

    As far as I undersand all the recent changes this is now not the case, and "format shifting" is now no longer acceptable. . . . Herein lies the problem, if I pay for a CD, and have the licenced right to listen to the content therein, where on the case, which I can read BEFORE I decide to purchase it are the terms of this licence, stating what I may or may not do with it ? If that is inside the case, then I have to open the plastic wrapper making the product unreturnable to read the terms of the agreement.

    To me it's simple. If I have paid to have the content in one form or another, why should I not have it in a more convenient format ? I've already paid for the right to listen to it. Do I download music etc from the web without paying, yeah sometimes, IF I have the CD on the shelf, it's sometimes simpler and quicker to download it than rip it myself.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      You'll be lectured in a future Register article that format-shifting is apparently legal. The deception as always is that the author in question will actually mean "tolerated".

  26. Archie Woodnuts

    I still remember the bad old days before the corporations owned everything and music didn't exist.

    We should be giving them more power to restrict and control, not less. It's the only way to ensure music doesn't die out altogether.

  27. b166er

    There maybe downsides to the European Union, but there are also some genuinely benevolent decisions made that would not have carried any weight without it.

    I'm also reminded of the arse-kicking Intel got for their abusive business practices against AMD and roaming mobile charges.

    It really is time that megacorps in the Union are shown that they have taken the piss a little too far and rational thinking by MEP's goes a long way towards that.

    Oh and yeah, ForthIsNotDead, usually I would be dead against Inheritance Tax, but in your case...

  28. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Anyone know how Ms Kroes' commission looking into whether wild Ursidae defecate in arboreal areas or not is going?

  29. Alien8n

    The problem with copyright is who holds the rights, not how long they hold them for. In the words of Noddy Holder, "for you it's a Xmas song. For me, it's my pension". I've seen many people on here mention 14 years as acceptable, well I guess Noddy would disagree as that would mean that annual Slade classic would no longer be generating any income for him. So that gets us back to copyright for life. But then what about those copyrighted works that get published after the author's death? Is it right that someone writes a best selling book and then his family get no benefit from it because it's published after he dies? You only have to look at the success of The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo to see that copyright must be transferable, or the publisher gains the right to appropraite orphaned works for themselves. So there has to be some transference of rights after the original creator's death. Also, many artists are more successful after they die than while they live, Michael Jackson, Buddy Holly, Elvis Presley to name just a few. Should every penny earned after their death go to the publisher? No, the rights must transfer to the estate of the artist. They wrote that music not just for themselves, but also as a source of income for their family. The real issue then is who holds the rights. In many cases the rights are not held by the artist, but by the publisher. Often the publisher will enforce draconian contracts on the artist, not to protect the artist, but to protect their income stream. It was Prince who famously wrote "slave" on his own face in protest of the contracts musicians were forced to sign in order to have their music produced. The singer songwriter Poe was restricted in what she could do for 7 years, not even allowed to perform her own music live, because she walked away from her record label when they refused to allow her music to be re-released. Aimee Allen wrote a hit album that was never released, because Electra Records kept putting off the release date, until it was too late, and Electra was bought by Atlantic and Aimee Allen was dropped by the record label. In the end the album was leaked onto the internet and became one of the most downloaded albums at the time, with Aimee's own blessing as the rights were now held by a company that would never release the album. We don't need changes to how long copyright is held for, we need changes to ensure that copyright belongs to the creator and not the publisher.

  30. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    @Sean Baggaley - Epic Fail!

    ' this whole business of making parts of DVD/BRs "unstoppable"' — oh boo fucking hoo. Poor widdle you with your middle-class Western "problems" of having a minuscule amount of minor inconvenience while CHILDREN ARE FUCKING DYING OF HUNGER.

    I mean, seriously, sense of perspective, much?'

    I chuckled a lot when I read that. To use your vernacular "I mean, seriously", you tell someone else to get perspective then launch into a detailed missive about your opinion on copyright and why it matters. DO YOU THINK THE STARVING CHILDREN CARE ABOUT COPYRIGHT?!!!!

    That is the best example of how to shoot down the rest of your arguments I have seen for a long time.

  31. Zornhau


    I'm amused by the chap up thread who listens to pirated music because "I don't assign any value to recorded time". Obviously he values it enough to spend his time listening to it.

    Artists aren't paid for the time taken to produce a particular product, but for the time invested in being able to produce that product, with a premium for the risk.

    How many hours must a wannabe invest in learning to play a guitar before they have a chance of selling anything?

    It typically takes ten years to get good at anything.

    1. Mr Anonymous

      I didn't say I only listen to downloaded music, Actually, I rarely listen apart from that shoved in my ears by every corporate speaker on the planet. I prefer to listen to silence, which is much harder to come by. Please read my post rather than read what you think I typed.

      There have been and will always be artists who make art because they are creative, where do you find your rules that say you have to make a living out of it. The vast majority didn't used to and don't presently don't, pure and simple. Does that diminish their art? The worship of vast amounts of (fake) money is so now...

      But from your point of view, I question whether the tracks that people download stop an artist making a living or just stop them being richer than their neighbour is hard to glean from guesses of the amount and types of track downloaded, but as the big Corporates seem to be making a lot of fuss and as it's never been easier to get your art in to the ears/eyes/hands of art lovers, I would guess the latter.

      The rest of your post is a regurgitation/excuse for business, not art. Why do I owe an artist a living any more than a nurse or educator? It takes many hours for a nurse to learn their craft, should we pay their heirs for the care they have given us?

  32. Frank Zuiderduin

    Learn your languages

    Steelie Neelie doesn't rhyme, morons. Her name is pronounced Naylee.

    1. Tom Maddox Silver badge


      This is a UK site. If they want to pronounce "Neelie" with a long "e" sound, they're welcome to do so, just like they pronounce "pasta" with a short "a," "pass" to rhyme with "arse," and "Hermione" to vaguely rhyme with "calliope," they're welcome to do so. The British have been butchering the interpretation of others' languages for years (see also: Rangoon, Peking, etc.).

      Don't worry, you'll get over it.

  33. Will Godfrey Silver badge

    Funny how nobody mentions the one group of people who get shafted the most. That being the recording engineers - the people who really do have the creative ability to polish a turd, and do so on a daily basis. Unless they are 'names' they are paid a not-very-good flat rate. No 70 year royalties for them. They are hurt by copyright infringement to some degree, but by far their worst enemy is the industry that writes contracts excluding them from any even tiny copyright, underpays them, and, by refusing to give the public what it wants, artificially limits their future prospects.

  34. Sean Houlihane

    I'm happy to pay

    So long as my paying for a movie isn't directly linked to some patronising adverts trying to tell me I should have paid. I'm not sure it makes commercial sense to provide me with an incentive to learn how to rip stuff to side-step the idiot trap (and teach everyone else the same too).

  35. jake Silver badge

    Out of curiosity ...

    Why does ElReg not get along with Janis Ian references?

    1. jake Silver badge


      That's a serious question ...

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