[clug] 'Rip!' on SBS, last Tuesday night

steve jenkin sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au
Sun Jan 10 17:04:11 MST 2010

Paul Wayper wrote on 10/01/10 4:48 PM:

> There's a number of different points you raise there, and I'll try to
> get to most of them.  The hypocrisy I was angsting about when I wrote
> that sentence is that companies have taken over things that weren't
> copyrighted, or even sometimes things that were (viz the Rolling Stones
> vs the Verve), and then copyrighting the expression of those previously
> copyright-expired works. Disney taking Cinderella and copyrighting it is
> a classic example.  And the hypocrisy that struck me in writing my blog
> post was that we're told that copyright is necessary to protect all
> those little artists and writers (and patents are necessary to protect
> all those garage inventors) whereas the 'people' they need to be
> protecting them from are those self-same big media corporations (and big
> patent corporations) who seem so heedless in violating everyone else's
> copyright (Virgin advertising with CC-licensed photos, for example).
> Copyright is one of those difficult moral areas, because it covers so
> many areas of use and abuse. <snip>

>  What's a fair amount of
> time for a thing to remain copyrighted?  What about "evergreening"?
>  Etc. etc. etc.
> This is why it's all crazy.
>> So, why NC?  ;-)
> Because I'm still somewhat a victim of the copyright mindset, and the
> one thing I'd like to have a legal way of stopping is someone reposting
> my blog or the CLUG list on sites plastered with ads.  Not that I'm
> likely to do so or anyone's going to make any serious money out of it,
> but by-nc-sa has become a mantra that I obviously need to rethink.
> Have fun,
> Paul


Thanks for your words. A whole lot to think about.

I found myself "in violent agreement" with the film.
They painted a good picture of where we are and how we got here...
Though with a very US-centric view...

My reaction was to do with Government & Democracy.

The US Constitution talks of "the people" and their rights.

Lincoln, in his Gettysburg address, summaries thus:
"...that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom — and
that government: of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not
perish from the earth."

The world is different now, 200+ years on, but there is a certain
sameness in the battles - the Rights of The People vs. The Powerful Few.

For me, the whole point of the elected Parliament and Executive is to
represent the Rights and Will of "The People" - specifically not of
vested interests, Big Business or the rich and powerful.

Bill Gates, Rupert Murdock and Kerry Packer (when alive), all had just
*one* vote - like you and me... But somehow their views, opinions and
interests got preferentially considered.

Corporations are not "natural persons" and do not have a vote.
But somehow their interests are represented and now even (routinely?)
taken above the majority of the constituents.

If the legislature does not represent the rights and interests of 'the
little person', then who will?

In my view, the US Democratic system and the Westminster system both
arose to address exactly this inequity, roughly summarised in "No
Taxation without Representation". That the ordinary citizenry will
accept the power of Government over them, only if that government
(truly) represents their will and interests.

The preamble to the 1854 "Ballarat Reform League Charter", that came
with the Eureka Stockade, lists their 'principles and objects':

"That it is the inalienable right of every citizen to have a voice in
making the laws he is called upon to obey – that taxation without
representation is tyranny."

In this Age of the Internet, we've again come to a point where the
rights of Big Business are not only at odds with the individual, but
that those in government office support those rights over the rights and
will of their constituents.

As ever in history, our generation has to address the question of "How
do we hold Accountable those in Power?"

I find fundamentalist stances, like the FSF, unappealing.

Without Business, we don't have an economy or jobs.
But that doesn't put their rights and interests above the individuals'.

That Democratic Governments world-wide can consider making most of their
citizens into criminals for singing "Happy Birthday" or recording freely
broadcast material is a travesty to me.

But throwing out all "Intellectual Property" laws is, for me, "throwing
the baby out with the bathwater"...

Democracies are never, and can never be, perfectly equitable in
representing and respecting the rights of every entity. Removing all
rights from one set of protagonists does not produce sustainable or
equitable results.

How Democracies work best is through "tension" between competing
interests. At any one time, on any one issue, one side may be
advantaged, but the role of a well functioning system is to end up with
something everyone can live with.

The objective of "Intellectual Property" laws was, and is, to trade
limited monopoly rights on an invention or copyright work, for a Public
Good. This has now been stretched to effectively permanent monopoly
rights - directly subverting the intent.

I think this shows the nature of the problem and the direction of solutions.

Would "simple" solutions such as making copyright material "Free for
personal or non-commercial Use" work?

As the post on CC-NC points out, No.

Where next? I've no idea...


Steve Jenkin, Info Tech, Systems and Design Specialist.
0412 786 915 (+61 412 786 915)
PO Box 48, Kippax ACT 2615, AUSTRALIA

sjenkin at canb.auug.org.au http://members.tip.net.au/~sjenkin

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