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Comment Re:1984 is not a utopia (Score 1) 94

So just to be clear, you're not actually saying that Google are routinely listening in to everyone's surroundings, you're saying that an optional voice-activated feature on Android devices sometimes has false positives on the trigger word if it's enabled and in those cases it may record a short part of the audio around the phone and send it back to Google the same as it would if you were actually intending to use the voice-activated feature? I think it's fair to say that one of these is quite different to the other.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 1) 159

So it's not a personal law protecting your property because some other people have property too, but millions of people who work in creative industries are all getting special treatment?

If it's all so unfair, and the efforts of content creators are of such little value, the same laws do apply to you, and you're welcome to take advantage of them just like anyone else.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 1) 159

I was with you until you said copyright hasn't benefitted us. Given that most of the best quality and most widely distributed creative content we produce today is supported through copyright in one way or another, I don't think that argument stands up in the face of the evidence. Just compare a summer blockbuster with an amateur movie on YouTube, or fan fiction with a bestselling novel, or most community-developed FOSS with its commercial competition.

Art surely wouldn't go away completely without copyright, but unless some other model was developed for funding all the people whose effort goes into making creative works under copyright today, it seems reasonable to assume that both quantity and quality would drop sharply. There's very little stopping anyone from adopting a better model today if they wanted to, including old school approaches like the patronage model that paid for most demanding works before we had things like copyright. And yet almost no-one does, and those who've tried rarely reach even the same order of magnitude of funding, which I think is a pretty strong argument that we haven't actually found a better model yet.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 1) 159

That doesn't make sense. You're perfectly entitled not to pay for a copyrighted work that you don't find to be worth the asking price. What you're not entitled to do is have it anyway, even if you don't want to pay for it. If it truly has no value to you, then obviously the latter won't be a problem for you. But if you still want it even though you aren't willing to pay anything for it, it takes some serious mental gymnastics to argue that the work has value in one context yet not in another.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 1) 159

That's an argument that makes some sense in very limited circumstances, mainly those where works can be presented as live performances, which basically means music or live theatre.

Unfortunately, there is no equivalent for the work done by almost everyone who works in creative industries behind the scenes, or even as a direct creator of other types of work.

The problem we have is that, as you rightly say, the marginal cost for copying creative works is now close to zero, and people only look at that without considering the cost of creating the work in the first place. The copyright principle works pretty well as a way to amortize that initial cost over many people who will enjoy the finished product, but only if enough people play by the rules.

Comment Re:It disincentivises (Score 1) 159

Because you can get away with charging full monopoly rents for your "work", you don't have to produce a new one to keep eating.

Only if your work continues to provide enough value to other people that the market is willing to keep paying for it indefinitely. A tiny number of people ever reach that point, and arguably those people have generated so much value for society that maybe they do deserve to be set up for life.

Moreover, you have already broken the copyright laws by your land grab extensions of time and coverage

Erm... What? By definition, those extensions were changing the law, not breaking it. I agree with you that a lot of the terms have become unreasonably long and some of the laws should be changed. However, I also don't think that matters very much in the context of piracy, because most piracy is of works that are recent and won't be affected by the "land grab", as you call it, for several decades.

Be thankful that we still feel sorry enough for you to spend as much as we do on it. We have no debt to pay for you when you broke the rules decades ago.

Your attempt to tar millions of people working in creative industries with the same brush is crude and illogical. If you think you shouldn't have any debt to pay to those people when you enjoy the fruits of their labour, feel free to campaign to get the laws changed to something you consider fair. If you succeed, good for you. But if you don't, or if you don't even try and just choose to break any rules you happen not to like, maybe you should be thankful that your name hasn't come up with one of the big content creators that has the resources to take real action against you. At some point you might find out the hard way that you're not above the law.

Comment Re:TANSTAAFL (Score 1) 159

All what value?

The value in the works. If people are copying them then presumably they find then beneficial in some way. Maybe they're entertaining. Maybe they're informative. Maybe they're useful tools.

Whatever actual value the works have comes from the people who create them. It wouldn't exist otherwise. We can debate the economics around compensating those people (or not) but the fact that all of the value originates with the creators is objective and undeniable.

As I've commented elsewhere in this discussion, there are some legitimate concerns about scope creep and having copyright maximalists making the laws, but that doesn't mean everyone, or even most people, making copyrighted works or relying on copyright protection as a basis for creative industries has somehow broken the implicit bargain that copyright represents.

Likewise, someone posting the same few examples of people who have been successful in other ways every time this debate comes up doesn't change the fact that by far the majority of our commercially created works today are supported by copyright one way or another (as, for that matter, are most open source or community-licensed works). Show me the high school math textbook that experts spent two years writing that was funded by some other means, or the business admin software, or basically anything that is useful but not necessarily enjoyable to create. Or just look at the production values of fan fiction, amateur videos, hobbyists computer games, or band recordings made in their garage because they couldn't afford a studio.

Comment Re:Indeed only one side is playing. The customers. (Score 1) 159

Except that the vast, vast majority of works being pirated are recent, and would still have been covered by even the original copyright periods of centuries ago.

And plenty of those works aren't created by Big Media industries with vast budgets.

And any argument about copyright only applying to copies making money has to take into account that when these laws were first developed, that was basically the only kind of copying there was.

There are legitimate concerns about scope creep in copyright, Disney laws, and so on. But the idea that those somehow justify rampant piracy is not credible.

Comment Re:Blockbusters change the market negatively (Score 1) 159

Interesting theory. Is there any data to support it? Anecdotally, I feel like things are going the other way and the advent of services like YouTube and Spotify and of the Internet more generally means people are far less limited to mainstream entertainment these days.

Comment Re:Democracy? (Score 1) 159

Where individuals are merely consuming the product without spending there is no punishment for R&D, it is only less profitable (and of course A would not be happy).

The trouble with this argument is that beyond a certain point, the R&D ceases to be profitable at all, and so it stops, and then everyone (including those who would benefit from the work, whether they were going to pay for it or not) loses out.

Copyright as an economic tool actually serves two quite distinct purposes here. It does prevent one commercial party from piggy-backing on another's work as you described. But it also incentivizes doing that work in the first place. In particular, it makes it viable to do relatively expensive work and make it available at relatively cheap prices, as long as the market is big enough that the total from all those low payments still covers the costs.

Comment Re:Democracy? (Score 1) 159

But making easier to get the legal alternative generally works a LOT better.

Most people who say that have never tried to do it.

It is true, up to a point, for mass market products. For example, if you region-lock your content so it isn't legally available in some places, of course you're creating an incentive for people to find it through other means.

It is not nearly so true for small works in niche markets created by individuals or small groups. These are typically readily available for reasonable prices and with far less encumbrance direct from the original creators, yet still people will blatantly rip them off.

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