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European Parliament Blocks Copyright Reform With 113% Voter Turnout 297

Posted by samzenpus
from the vote-often dept.
New submitter mcmadman writes "In a bizarre turn of events, the legal affairs committee of the European Parliament, voted to weaken a reform of the copyright monopoly for allowing re-publication and access to orphan works. What is surprising is that the voter turnout happened to be 113%. That there were three votes too many, and that these three votes determined the outcome, was pointed out to the committee. Unfortunately, when this was done, along with formally requesting a re-vote, the re-vote was denied."
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European Parliament Blocks Copyright Reform With 113% Voter Turnout

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  • Whoops (Score:5, Funny)

    by niftydude (1745144) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:10AM (#39374595)
    I guess someone accidentally bought too many votes this time.
    • Re:Whoops (Score:5, Funny)

      by RubberChainsaw (669667) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:46AM (#39374731)
      The reason is that Diebold was responsible for the count.
    • by Darinbob (1142669)

      Naw, just sometimes you get extra in the package if you buy in bulk.

    • by jamstar7 (694492)
      Sounds like they've revived an old Chicago tradition - vote early, vote often.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:13AM (#39374605)

    Putin's approval rating has plummeted to 112% in favor.

  • 113 percent? Where did they count the votes? Chicago?

    • by shiftless (410350)

      I know right

      Sad times we're living in..

    • by hairyfeet (841228)

      That cities slogan should be "Chicago: Where even the dead vote".

      As for TFA whether this is true or not frankly doesn't matter, what DOES matter is until the people actually get a voice and a say at the negotiating table then ALL copyrights and patterns should be ignored as the unjust laws that they are. When laws are created by bribery and backroom dealing that goes completely against the will of the people call it what it is, tyranny. Its the locking up of our entire culture behind paywalls for decades af

    • by mcgrew (92797) * on Friday March 16, 2012 @10:58AM (#39377611) Homepage Journal

      We in Illinois are so patriotic that even being dead doesn't keep us from voting!

  • Math (Score:5, Funny)

    by philip.paradis (2580427) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:17AM (#39374617)

    Hold on fellas, you've got it all wrong. Math is different in Europe (they've got their commas and periods all backward in many places), especially when it's attorneys doing the counting. Folks just have to understand this, and fortunately there's a great instructional video [youtube.com] available for those in need of further tutelage.

    • Re:Math (Score:4, Funny)

      by Don_dumb (927108) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:30AM (#39374679)

      Hold on fellas, you've got it all wrong. Math is different in Europe (they've got their commas and periods all backward in many places), especially when it's attorneys doing the counting. Folks just have to understand this, and fortunately there's a great instructional video [youtube.com] available for those in need of further tutelage.

      Very true. For a start - we call it Maths

      • Re:Math (Score:5, Funny)

        by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:39AM (#39374705)

        Hold on fellas, you've got it all wrong. Math is different in Europe (they've got their commas and periods all backward in many places), especially when it's attorneys doing the counting. Folks just have to understand this, and fortunately there's a great instructional video [youtube.com] available for those in need of further tutelage.

        Very true. For a start - we call it Maths

        So that's where the vote count went wrong! They were counting plurals where there should be singulars!

        • Hold on fellas, you've got it all wrong. Math is different in Europe (they've got their commas and periods all backward in many places), especially when it's attorneys doing the counting. Folks just have to understand this, and fortunately there's a great instructional video [youtube.com] available for those in need of further tutelage.

          Very true. For a start - we call it Maths

          So that's where the vote count went wrong! They were counting plurals where there should be singulars!

          No, that's the 'S' bend. They're going to need a plumber because someone has clogged it up with due process, and people are starting to notice the stench.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Eraesr (1629799)
      Yeah, it's us Europeans that got it backward. really? [xs4all.nl]
      • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

        by chrismcb (983081)
        I never understood why so many people care about the thermometer in relation to when water changes state. Sure a scientist cares, but the average lay person?
        • Re:Math (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Hentes (2461350) on Friday March 16, 2012 @05:42AM (#39375139)

          Because if the temparature is above that, it rains. If below, it snows.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by oneandoneis2 (777721)

          Seriously?

          Here's a simple one: It's winter. You have to drive somewhere. Is there likely to be ice on the roads you need to look out for? You check the thermometer.

          It's near zero centigrade = there's likely to be ice. Simple & intuitive. Whereas with fahrenheit, you actually need to remember the number which represents water freezing. More work for no gain.

    • Re:Math (Score:5, Funny)

      by 91degrees (207121) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:50AM (#39374751) Journal
      Plus , we use metric. 1 Metric vote = 1.13 US votes.
      • by Sneeka2 (782894)

        But that's going to be the other way around soon, what with the Euro going down and the US$1 per bought-European-vote rate increasing.

    • Re:Math (Score:4, Funny)

      by JWSmythe (446288) <jwsmythe@@@jwsmythe...com> on Friday March 16, 2012 @05:24AM (#39375097) Homepage Journal

          What the heck? I was expecting a Rick Roll, and you gave a link to a real explanation.

          $8 billion or 75,000 jobs? Damn. :)

  • by lorinc (2470890) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:17AM (#39374619) Homepage Journal

    Or at least, a visible proof of it. Perhaps it ended long ago, but now there is no possible denial.

    • This is end of democracy

      Parody or paranoia? I can never tell these days.

    • by IBitOBear (410965) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:52AM (#39374989) Homepage Journal

      It's a case of who watches the watchers. When you corrupt an organization it is best done in-depth and it is most successfully done from the top.

      We "Americans" (e.g. the United States of part, but we are working diligently on spreading our scheme to the rest of America) have a system of Checks and Balances. That is it doesn't have to Balance if you can make sure nobody Checks. We use this system for nearly every purpose. It's nice to see Europe following our lead. Or perhaps they deeded it to us as some point, which doesn't matter, we will take the credit.

      As to this being the end of democracy, well you are using the wrong definition: Democracy is the means by which we ensure we are governed -no- -better- that we deserve.

      Seems to be working out pretty much "as expected" here.

  • by cold fjord (826450) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:17AM (#39374621)

    Europeans often point out to Americans the higher turn-outs in their elections. They aren't quite to up Chicago standards, but it is a respectable showing none the less.

    Start the Day with Some Eurocrat Bashing [nationalreview.com]

  • by SecurityTheatre (2427858) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:21AM (#39374637)

    It's worth pointing out that it's only a preliminary committee. It being voted down in this committee won't necessarily prevent it from seeing the floor the full parliament, but it won't come along with the backing of the special committee.

    There was a member of the Swedish Pirate Party in the committee and he's been the one agitating for a re-vote. The frightening thing about this is that there are only 24 members on this committee and one was absent, so with 23 possible votes, the final vote was 12-14.

    BUT, if 12 people actually voted in favour of the bill, that would leave only 11 against.

    Keep in mind, this isn't highly corrosive stuff.

    The bill is talking about "orphaned works" which are those works that will never again see the light of day because no owner claims them. It is likely that when the copyright expires in 70 years, with nobody to preserve them, or assign their rights to a publisher who can, these works will be completely lost to humanity. This legislation would seek to prevent this and increase the overall value to humanity with NO money lost by putting them in public domain.

    Nobody is arguing that this is a bad idea, but the recording industry lobbies see it as the "sharp end of the sword" when it comes to copyright reform, so they will fight against it vehemently.

    If you live in Europe, write to your MEP. Vote fraud is no joke.

    • by Znork (31774) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:38AM (#39374703)

      This legislation would seek to prevent this and increase the overall value to humanity with NO money lost by putting them in public domain.

      As there is a vast overproduction of entertainment today the competition is for the consumers time. Thus, any material that is presented for free cuts into the revenue stream of the for-profit production companies, and even worse, entrenches the idea that entertainment might come for free.

      Remember, these companies consider basically any time spent not giving them money stealing.

      • The word "basically" is improper in your last sentence. It should be removed, or replaced with the word "provably".

        See..grammar natzi-ism -can- be used to advance the dialog... 8-)

    • The bill is talking about "orphaned works" which are those works that will never again see the light of day because no owner claims them. It is likely that when the copyright expires in 70 years, with nobody to preserve them, or assign their rights to a publisher who can, these works will be completely lost to humanity.

      Wait. Don't most of our historical documents and records meet this description? Yow!

      Nobody is arguing that this is a bad idea, but the recording industry lobbies see it as the "sharp end of the sword" when it comes to copyright reform, so they will fight against it vehemently.

      Oh. Well at least it's for a good cause.

    • This may be an error (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SecurityTheatre (2427858) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:19AM (#39374849)

      As someone pointed out below, the actual legislation passed by a vote of 22-0-1.

      There is perhaps some amendment that failed under unusual circumstances, but I can't find it anywhere in the documentation.

    • by jonwil (467024)

      How do you determine what is an orphan work? (and who gets to make that determination?)
      I bet Warner or Fox or MGM or Sony or EMI or Universal or Electronic Arts or Disney or any other major entity with a large body of work will have all kinds of things they own the copyright to but dont even know they own. (including all the stuff they may have picked up through acquisitions and mergers)

      • I'm guessing a lot of those works could be identified by someone skilled in searching historical records (And I mean pre-internet here, going through old microfilms) and paid to put in enough hours. So it's only if they become popular again that there will be any reason even for potential copyright holders to invest the time in figuring out if they own it.
        • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2012 @06:22AM (#39375299)

          The sad thing is, hundreds and perhaps thousands of films and sound recordings created before the mid 1960's are deteriorating at such a rapid rate that by the time any of this copyright mess ever gets sorted, they'll be gone forever.

          Huge numbers of them are rotting away in vaults, with even well-known films such as Gone With The Wind apparently having to be made from later copies now because the original film masters are basically rotted to nothing.

          Some Hollywood studios have however, invested the proper resources into caring for these historical cultural artifacts. Disney for one, keeps their film stock in better climate-controlled condition than the US Government keeps the Constitution.

          There's a reason movies like Peter Pan and Lady and the Tramp are in the vault for the next 50 years. It was determined that they would create new digital masters of the films and keep the originals stored safely while we wait for better and more permanent storage options to be invented for film transfer - in which case they will make new masters on that storage medium with the current digital masters used to work as a clean copy in case of further film deterioration of the original stock. Then the originals will more than likely finally be destroyed just due to rot and the process of transfer.

      • by dido (9125)

        One way to do it would be to pay a tax for everything that you want to keep under copyright. This could be a token tax even as low as â1 per work per year, but not paying the tax would place the work in the public domain. These folks are so keen to sue whenever they see someone violating their copyrights they ought to know what copyrights they own. This way the government has a tax record that can tell everyone who owns what.

        • by MysteriousPreacher (702266) on Friday March 16, 2012 @06:00AM (#39375221) Journal

          A tax or any other kind of payment would be complicated to administer. It'd require clever handling of works that are published and developed over time - such as a Wikipedia page or OpenSSH.

          With any copyright discussion, the elephant in the room has to be the length of copyright terms. Drop the terms down to far more reasonably limits and we see many such problems go away. Publishers can continue to benefit from older works, so long as they can find ways to enhance them, thus creating a derivative work that is subject to a fresh copyright term. They already do this for movies, either through adding fresh content or by remastering.

          Why we allow copyright beyond 15 years for anything at all is to me a travesty. A publisher that cannot make a reasonable return within 15 years really should think long and hard about their business model and the quality of their work.

      • by Hentes (2461350) on Friday March 16, 2012 @05:45AM (#39375149)

        Easy: it's impossible to purchase. You either sell the stuff, or lose the right to it.

    • by martin-boundary (547041) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:53AM (#39374993)

      The bill is talking about "orphaned works" which are those works that will never again see the light of day because no owner claims them. It is likely that when the copyright expires in 70 years, with nobody to preserve them, or assign their rights to a publisher who can, these works will be completely lost to humanity.

      If you live in Europe, write to your MEP. Vote fraud is no joke.

      Who cares? If you live in Europe, or anywhere else for that matter, start scanning those books and put them up on the web. There are places like formerly library.nu [wikipedia.org] (now defunct) which will accept the scans, and replicate them. Fuck the publishers, and fuck the politicians. They can't be trusted with our human heritage.

  • vote fraud (Score:4, Interesting)

    by From A Far Away Land (930780) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:23AM (#39374643) Homepage Journal

    I guess that's the next step for the Conservatives in Canada... instead of suppressing the vote by misdirecting people away from polls, they'll just send 110% of the electorate to ensure victory.

    Democracy is withering all over the world, as good people do... not quite enough.

  • 99%? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Zoolander (590897) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:25AM (#39374655)
    You americans with your puny 99%. This parliament goes to 113!
  • by artor3 (1344997) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:26AM (#39374661)

    This isn't some big election with millions of votes getting counted. This is 23 people in a room, 12 on one side, 11 on the other, and the eleven declaring themselves the victors while the twelve just shrug and accept it. Do the people on this committee care so little for democracy that they just blithely accept it when their opponents' imaginary friends cast ballots?

    • by wvmarle (1070040) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:41AM (#39374713)

      A re-vote was requested, immediately when this discrepancy came to light. Which I may assume is the moment the results are given - it's not that hard to add up.

      This re-vote was denied however, leaving two important questions open. How come the votes were counted so wrong, with so small numbers? And why was this re-vote denied?

      • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:47AM (#39374733)

        Better question: Why isn't a re-vote automatic in this kind of circumstance? Or, why is it even possible to deny a re-vote after such an obvious error? This is why politicians fail us...anyone with half a brain would implement more sensible procedures.

      • I was about to make a smug comment about how those zany citizens in Europe need to demand better accountability from their political representatives.

        Then I remember that I live in this U.S.. Where the politicians have purported to make this law, despite the Constitution rendering it void the moment it was penned. And then people salute it regardless, because it was signed and must therefore be official.

        • For those of you playing at home, the link that Slashdot invisibled from my post was: http://nothingchanged.org/ [nothingchanged.org]

        • by wvmarle (1070040)

          I've the feeling that US politicians have less accountability than European politicians. Well save the ones on EU parliament maybe...

          And in this committee case, I would expect the votes are not anonymous. So it should be known who voted how. That's at least the normal situation when votes are done - and how voters can know how certain politicians think. I hope the case will roll on a bit, not as much because it's about copyright but for the apparent vote discrepancy. I'd really like to know how that came to

      • by Rockoon (1252108)

        And why was this re-vote denied?

        Just theorizing here..

        It seems to me that re-votes could be frowned upon because the act of releasing the results of the first vote might effect the second votes outcome.

        The problem isnt this specific vote. The problem is obviously their voting method. Holding a re-vote doesn't address the problem.

    • by pegasustonans (589396) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:17AM (#39374839)

      This isn't some big election with millions of votes getting counted. This is 23 people in a room, 12 on one side, 11 on the other

      Yes, this is exactly the situation. Say I'm a big multi-national corporation...

      Show me the contact info for millions of people. Sorry, but I'll just pass that on to marketing for now.

      Now, give me the run-down on 23 people in a room making decisions on copyright reform. Wait, there's no need, I already know about them, and, what's more, their checks are in the mail.

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward

        This is Europe. They get cheques, not checks.

  • Just send them a few of the negative votes received by Al Gore in Florida, then the universe will be in equilibrium again.

  • Time to complain... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by solidraven (1633185) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:35AM (#39374691)
    I don't know about you guys. But I'm writing a complaint and asking for an investigation into this later today. These sort of things are simply unacceptable and should be stopped, no matter what the subject of the vote is.
  • by evanism (600676) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:44AM (#39374723) Journal

    We don't have one. The Yanks don't have one, nor do the poms.

    When was the last time THE PEOPLE had a REAL VOTE on how their country worked?

    What we have is an obscene extension of the patent system extended into a politically domineering overlord system. We vote for a bunch of self interested morons to make stupendously bad decisions, rewarded richly for doing nothing or worse, followed by being given the chance to revote on our next oppressors when the previous ones fail (but only when they let us).

    This isn't democracy. As article shows, it is corrupt.

    This one billion line program has been hacked together for too many years. Too many exceptions. Time for a rewrite.

  • by FairAndHateful (2522378) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:45AM (#39374725)
    It looks like they've managed to export the Diebold voting machines!
  • by Epimer (1337967) on Friday March 16, 2012 @03:55AM (#39374773)

    http://www.europarl.europa.eu/sides/getDoc.do?type=COMPARL&reference=PE-483.867&format=PDF&language=EN&secondRef=01 [europa.eu]

    "The Committee adopted the amended Commission proposal and the draft legislative resolution by 22 votes in favour and 1 abstention"

  • A lot of members must've brought their kids to work [euronews.net] that day.

  • Text of proposal (Score:5, Informative)

    by Carthag (643047) on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:26AM (#39374883) Homepage

    Can be found here: http://pippi.euwiki.org/doc/CELEX:52011PC0289:EN [euwiki.org]

    Interesting stuff, hopefully it'll eventually pass. In short, if you do a "diligent search" and are unable to locate a rightsholder, the work will be considered orphan. This is basically an area "between" copyright and public domain; you're allowed to reproduce the work "for the purposes of digitization, making available, indexing, cataloguing, preservation or restoration."

    • But how much is dilligent? Somehow I doubt a fre google queries will count. Large companies may be able to hire a historian to go and trawl through old newspapers of the period looking for advertisments or reading actor biographies in hope of finding a passing reference, but that effectively excludes amateurs who don't have the time or money for that level of checking.
      • by Carthag (643047)

        But how much is dilligent? Somehow I doubt a fre google queries will count. Large companies may be able to hire a historian to go and trawl through old newspapers of the period looking for advertisments or reading actor biographies in hope of finding a passing reference, but that effectively excludes amateurs who don't have the time or money for that level of checking.

        It's actually defined int he text too.

        #Article 3 Diligent search
        31. For the purposes of establishing whether a work is an orphan work, the organisations referred to in Article 1(1) shall ensure that a diligent search is carried out for each work, by consulting the appropriate sources for the category of works in question.

        32. The sources that are appropriate for each category of works shall be determined by each Member State, in consultation with rightholders and users, and include, the sources listed in the

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday March 16, 2012 @04:36AM (#39374925)

    It would be funny if the story was actually true. However, the official press release of the EU parliament states:

    "MEPs (Members of the european parliament) unanimously approved a mandate for Lidia Geringer de Oedenberg (S&D, PL), to start talks with the Council to agree reach an agreement on the legislation.

    Ms Geringer de Oedenberg said "This regulation would finally make it possible to get some hidden treasures out of the closet and make them available to the general public. Now it is time to start negotiating with national governments and stand up for our points"."

    So to sum it up, one wannabe journalist/blogger picks up something from an unreliable source, quotes an MEP who didn't even post anything about this "scandal" on his own blog, and suddenly this is big news?

  • Video of the voting (Score:5, Informative)

    by JPMH (100614) on Friday March 16, 2012 @06:14AM (#39375277)
    Video of the voting [europa.eu] is available on the EP website. The agenda item starts at 10:27, and the voting runs from 10:31 to 10:51. The amendment in question appears to be "Compromise 20", voted on at 10:39, which is indeed rejected by 12 votes to 14. This was an all-party amendment that the centre-right EPP party then withdrew support from, because they were not entirely happy with the wording, according to one of their MEPs at the start of the meeting. (10:29). As the video shows, the EP tends to machine-gun through amendment votes, which are held in one swoop after months of discussion. You really need the papers for the meeting and your preferred faction's voting guide to turn them into an acceptable spectator sport. One of the extra votes could perhaps have been the chairman's casting vote; but it's not clear how there could have been two.
  • Seems unverifiably (Score:3, Informative)

    by Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) on Friday March 16, 2012 @06:52AM (#39375383) Journal
    While actually everone jumps on the train and covers this story it still seems to be almost completely unverified. The linked article links to a single blog post that does not contain a single link to anything. No protocol. Not even any source that would mention that said vote has happened at all.
  • by Karmashock (2415832) on Friday March 16, 2012 @08:43AM (#39375869)

    This just seem to be a bunch of blogs linked to each other. Where can we verify that 113% percent voted? I have no idea what that means.

    The automatic assumption is that there was voter fraud but it's possible there is some procedural thing going on here. I have no way to verify anything because these links always use themselves or a sister site for authentication. That doesn't work.

    Anyone have a legitimate link?

  • by ukemike (956477) on Friday March 16, 2012 @10:07AM (#39376799) Homepage
    High voter turn out is a sign of a healthy democracy.

"Card readers? We don't need no stinking card readers." -- Peter da Silva (at the National Academy of Sciencies, 1965, in a particularly vivid fantasy)

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