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The Parallel Politics of Copyright and Environment 128

zumaya100k writes "In recent months, Slashdot has covered the rise of the Pirate Party and the battles in Europe over iPod interoperability. Canada's Hill Times has an insightful column from Michael Geist that links these developments as the growing importance of copyright as a political issue. He argues that copyright is now tracking the environment as a mainstream political issue." (Geist is talking about Canada here, but much the same can be said about the U.S. and other places.)
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The Parallel Politics of Copyright and Environment

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  • by Opportunist ( 166417 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @01:04PM (#16410445)
    Environmental issues went big in the late 70s and 80s, but I doubt we'll see a similar development today. You have to see that people were quite a bit different then. Many were looking for "alternatives", there was a general sentiment for less technology and more back-to-the-roots. The peace movement in the shadow of the atomic stalemate between the two superpowers was a huge driver as well, and people were generally more politically interested than they are today.

    To make matters worse, to be concerned over copyright, you first of all have to have access to copyrightable material. If you don't then, well, the stuff doesn't really matter to you. So you have to be one of those that actually either produce or consume content. Now, producers of copyrightable material will hardly argue that there is too little restriction for the user, and people who're the proverbial "lazy consumer" will hardly stand up and become political movers.

    Let's also not forget that the environment and peace movement was also driven by songwriters, poets and other "content creators", and only a handful of them were actually concerned with the issue, the rest saw a huge market to milk. Now, which artist out for money would sing against copyright?

    Generally, I'm a little pessimistic that copyright becomes the "green" movement of the 2010s. I'd love to see it, and I'll support it with everything I can, but my hopes are not too high.
  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday October 12, 2006 @01:15PM (#16410601)
    At least in the US, the correct answer to "As long as I don't do anything wrong why should I worry?" involves pointing out that the Constitution was written to protect you from the State's wrongdoing, not vice-versa.

    In the twentieth century alone, 100,000,000 people were murdered by their own governments. With a track record like that, the question should never be whether you're doing something wrong -- it should be whether they are.
  • by TubeSteak ( 669689 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @01:17PM (#16410617) Journal
    To me it seems people will only notice things are becoming a police state when its a bit to late.
    Not that this has anything to do with TFA, but most people misuse or do not understand the words "police state" [wikipedia.org]

    "Security state" or "militarized state" more accurately describes what people like to biatch about.


    I always take my wife as a normal type person who just wants technology to work. .... She doesn't really care about computers and seems to live in her own little bubble.
    Copyright isn't limited to computers, which is why your wife has a much better chance of comprehending the issues surrounding it.
  • by Dun Malg ( 230075 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @01:41PM (#16410961) Homepage
    Can somebody explain why so many people think copyrights were originally 14+14 years? I hear this erroneous assertion frequently. From the copyright office: "Under the law in effect before 1978 ... the copyright lasted for a first term of 28 years from the date it was secured. The copyright was eligible for renewal during the last (28th) year of the first term. If renewed, the copyright was extended for a second term of 28 years." In other words, 28+28.
    It's not an erroneous assertion. The Copyright Act of 1790 set copyright terms at 14 years, renewable for 14 more. The 28+28 terms were enacted by the Copyright Act of 1909. Current copyright law came into effect with the Copyright Act of 1976. See, when the copyright office says "the law in effect before 1978", they're talking about the Copyright Act of 1909. Note how they do not say that the "before 1978" law goes all the way back to the forming of the nation.
  • by s20451 ( 410424 ) on Thursday October 12, 2006 @02:41PM (#16411781) Journal
    Did you really just say the US is probably the most innovative society in the arts the world has ever produced? I think you are mistaking money with innovation.

    I notice that you do not dispute my claims about science and technology. Briefly, Americans invented jazz and rock routinely win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival (incl. 2 of the past 4 years); and produced or hosted some of the world's greatest visual artists and architects, such as Frank Lloyd Wright, Ludwig Mies van der Rohe, Sol Lewitt, Dan Flavin, Daniel Libeskind, Frank Gehry, Richard Serra, and so on.

    hint what do the oil/gas companies really think of pollution compared to the rest of us, they probably call it "untargetted by-products"

    That analogy undermines your point. For one thing, the original poster claimed that pollution = IP, not that IP was an unwanted byproduct. If you think oil and gas are evil too, feel free to go a month without using them. (Hint: you will starve to death, because how do your groceries get to market?)

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