back to article Copyfighters jumpstart MPs' probe into Blighty's IP law

A Westminster investigation into the machinations of the UK's copyright bureaucracy and the government's intellectual property policy opened very gently this week. The All Parliamentary Group on Intellectual Property is headed by heavyweight backbench MP John Whittingdale, and while members are pro-IP, they have plenty of …


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  1. Melanie Winiger

    Post deleted

    I thought it was "Cockfighters jumpstart MPs"

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Post deleted

      Now there's a headline.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Andrew - we know what you're against

    What are you in favour of?

    Seriously, I'd be interested to read your views on how copyright/publishing etc can be made to work fairly and equitably for both consumers and creators. Please gather together the points interspersed in your collected Reg commentary and assemble them into a coherent thesis.

    1. Andrew Orlowski (Written by Reg staff)

      Re: Andrew - we know what you're against

      If you're paying, I'm writing.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Andrew - we know what you're against

        "If you're paying, I'm writing."

        This explains your bias perfectly.

        1. Shakje

          Re: Andrew - we know what you're against

          It's a live one! Quick, throw it back in so it can have a long and happy existence with some new experience of avoiding hooks.

      2. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Andrew - we know what you're against

        Yeah, I'm paying. In page impressions and ad-clicks.

  3. JimmyPage

    It was like Hegel, the audiobook.

    see icon

  4. Rob 5
    Thumb Up

    Thoroughly entertaining.

    Having given evidence at all party hearings, I know how dry they can be.

    Congratulations on turning that into a thoroughly entertaining account.

  5. Anonymous Coward

    you do realize

    that she said 'Ja', not 'yah'.

    1. Steve Renouf

      Re: you do realize

      Depends what language she said it in!

      1. Intractable Potsherd

        Re: you do realize

        I've been in a meeting today with the first English person I've met who actually says "Yah". Lovely chap, but it really grates. I had honestly thought it was a joke until now.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    House Rules

    'A Westminster investigation' , 'the enquiry's first evidence session', 'The committee members had reminded all those present that they weren't under oath and stressed the hearing was not confrontational', an 'inquiry'.

    Did someone get an All Party Parliamentary Group defined as 'informal cross-party groups that have no official status ' confused with a Select Committee?

    If this is accurate reporting of the language used - like the word 'committee' - someone should take a good look at para 114 of the guide to the rules on APPGs:

    'It is important that groups distinguish themselves from committees of the House in their activities, the language they use and the way in which their reports are presented, so that they do not appear in the public mind to be select committees. This is particularly relevant when it comes to the group’s publications, which should not give the impression that the group has been appointed by the House or is part of its official structure.'

    1. diodesign (Written by Reg staff) Silver badge

      Re: House Rules

      I salute your pedantry. The language used in the article was there to keep things lively. It has since been tweaked slightly.


  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    taken to the letter of the law

    All search engines by definitions need to break copyright simply to capture and index content. If taken to this extreme google, bing, etc could not function at all...

    1. Luther Blissett

      Re: taken to the letter of the law

      Fascinating way you have of reading stuff on the internet - first search google using every dictionary headword, extract every search result linked back to say next week's El Reg or whatever, and then sort the results into a readable order?

      I thought Hegel had been dead for a century and a half.

  8. A J Stiles

    Moving Beyond Copyright

    Nobody is an island. All the fruits of all human endeavour rightfully belong to all of humanity. Progress is worthless unless it is shared by everybody.

    The original purpose of copy"right" (one of the world's worst misnomers -- it is actually a privilege) law was to ensure that the Public Domain -- the body of work which may be freely used by anyone for any purpose, without let or hindrance -- would be continuously enriched by the creation of new works. This was done by granting authors a temporary monopoly over the use of their work, in exchange for the promise that the works created would eventually be added to the Public Domain. In those days, unscrupulous publishers were not above ripping off authors -- and most people lacked the wherewithal to copy books.

    Sometime in the meantime, things changed. The content industry began to view copyright as a right as opposed to the privilege that it is, and developed a sense of entitlement. And the means to make copies of creative works became more readily available.

    I don't think anyone could sanely argue against enrichment of the Public Domain as an end. What is questionable is the means by which that end is achieved.

    It's time that the question was seriously asked: Is the grant of a temporary monopoly over a creative work still the best way to encourage the eventual contribution of new works to the Public Domain, or might this noble goal be better achieved by other methods?

    1. Luther Blissett

      Re: Moving Beyond Copyright

      Better achieved by other methods? Like rent-seeking for example?

    2. Rampant Spaniel

      Re: Moving Beyond Copyright

      So tell me, as a photographer, why should people be able to use my work without paying me an amount I see fit? Also why should I cede my right to refuse certain people or groups access to my work? If you created something wouldn't you want to be able to feed your family and prevent disreputable groups like the Tories using your work?

      I'm genuinely interested in what you think the motivation to work would be? Why would I spent six figures a year on equipment, supplies etc?

      And if copyright goes, patents are next, good luck getting gskb to develop a new antibiotic at a cost of billions only to have it copied a week later with no recourse.

      Copyright was a method of the crown stuffing its purse, bestowing favours and increasing its influence. Yes, at its most basic is is a short term (although some of those short terms are quite long) monopoly that will eventually see works enter the public domain, but the bigger payoff is ensuring that needs are catered for. It's investment protection.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Moving Beyond Copyright


      If I create something then it is mine. It is the proponents of the public domain who have the mistaken sense of entitlement in demanding ever more control over other peoples creations.

      I have no problem with stuff going PD but as a creator I deserve a monopoly in my creation; the presumption of entitlement should absolutely rest with the creator rather than those who want for free what they couldn't or wouldn't create themselves.

      1. A J Stiles

        Re: Moving Beyond Copyright

        You seriously have the gall to say "if I create something then it is mine", and then go off on one about a sense of entitlement?

        Suppose you paint a picture. What makes it *your* picture, as opposed to belonging to the person (or the person responsible for the thing or event) depicted? Why doesn't it belong to the manufacturer of the paints you used? Or the original discoverer of the pigments in them? Or the manufacturer of the canvas, brushes or easel? How about the caveman who first discovered the concept of painting pictures? Because, after all, the picture you painted wouldn't exist without any of these people.

        That is what I meant by "Nobody is an island." Everything that anyone ever does, depends on things that others have done before.

        1. Chads

          Re: Moving Beyond Copyright

          What makes is 'his' picture is that he was the one to apply the paint (which he paid for) to the canvas (which he paid for) using the brushes (which..) using his creative talent.

          If you're a developer then your work depends on all of those people before you who have developed microelectronics and programming languages without whom you would have no job (or at least not one doing what you are doing)

          The work is the creative act. There is very little that we do now that is not built on the actions of previous people. That does not automatically mean that it is of zero value.

          1. A J Stiles

            Re: Moving Beyond Copyright

            None of which provides any good reason why "he" should be allowed to prevent anyone else from making another one just like it, provided that they use all their own materials.

    4. PyLETS

      Re: Moving Beyond Copyright

      Most electronics exist to copy information from one place to another, or from one format to another. The Net does the same with packets. Computer architecture is a hierarchy of copying data between large slow storage to small fast registers before data can be processed and is then copied back down again into large slow storage.

      None of these facts seem compatible with the 18th century concepts behind copyright law which presume that printing presses are few, expensive and easily regulated, and this certainly doesn't seem to suit the vested interests now hiding behind this law-created monopoly.

  9. Dan 55 Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    "There are no economists in Germany or Scandinavia."

    What, none at all?

    Those countries have just moved to the top of my relocation list.

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