Thursday, November 05, 2009

A Star chamber

The DMCA, perhaps notably enacted when the last democrat was president, was bad enough. I don't remember the specifics of the progression of copyright law, but I seem to recall that in the 1790s copyright was for just 14 years. Under the DMCA it can be as much as 95 years for corporate-held copyrights, and the lifetime of the artist plus 70 for individuals and their estates, which is undoubtedly why so many dead people like Marilyn Monroe and Elvis are raking it in.

Now there's this:

via Avedon Carol:

In other news, you can kiss Flickr good-bye thanks to Mr. Internet-savvy Obama and his secret copyright treaty, which requires ISPs to go out of their way to police user-contributed material for copyright violations, to cut off internet access too anyone accused of such a violation (and anyone who shares the same net access), and make this insanity international. I just knew they were going to take this thing away from us....

Arthur Silber: "The Internet as You Know It Will Cease to Exist", who links to

Cory Doctorow:

The internet chapter of the Anti-Counterfeiting Trade Agreement, a secret copyright treaty whose text Obama's administration refused to disclose due to "national security" concerns, has leaked. It's bad. It says:

* That ISPs have to proactively police copyright on user-contributed material. This means that it will be impossible to run a service like Flickr or YouTube or Blogger, since hiring enough lawyers to ensure that the mountain of material uploaded every second isn't infringing will exceed any hope of profitability.

* That ISPs have to cut off the Internet access of accused copyright infringers or face liability. This means that your entire family could be denied to the internet -- and hence to civic participation, health information, education, communications, and their means of earning a living -- if one member is accused of copyright infringement, without access to a trial or counsel.

If you piss off a corporation-- or anybody substantially more powerful than you-- they can acuse you of copyright infringement and law enforcement takes your stuff away, maybe including your means to defend yourself. Sounds a little like the War On Drugs®, doesn't it?

She's a witch!

Incidentally, it's Guy Fawkes' night in the UK.

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At November 06, 2009 11:43 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

The internet strikes me as primarily being entertainment and a way for people to conduct business and make money. Even as the internet came into being the corporate grip on our government has been tightening. While the internet can be fun as well as informative it most certainly has not changed everything. In fact I would say things have gotten much worse despite the optimistic view that all you need do is to inform people via the internet. As far as I could tell all the internet did was help funnel people into the Obama Ozone camp and a lot of good that did. Like I said before if the internet was a real threat to the establishment it would have already been dismantled or put under rigid control. That this hasn’t occurred is proof on just how ineffective the internet is for bringing about the kinds of changes in government that you and I would like to see.

At November 06, 2009 8:07 PM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

Rob, while I'm sure you must be right, and I don't know if resistance is useful, but I do think things can get a lot worse, and part of the reason they haven't yet is

(1)that elites want to make money along the way, and sometimes a comparatively free situation can be effectively monetized(like a Youtube stock offering), and

(2) I also think that the progression of a lot of copyright legislation is about making people see the encroaching security state as perfectly normal. You know, "nothing to see here..."

i.e., if not our consent, at least our unfocused apathy.

At November 07, 2009 2:31 AM, Blogger Unknown said...

Damn you Jonathan. How dare you disagree with me when I wasn’t disagreeing with you! I think things will get worse. It’s almost guaranteed at this point.

I hate to tell you this but now that I have some power here I’ve been itching to use it! Ha-ha!!! I’m afraid I’m going to have to censor you Jonathan. Now that I have the power I’m going to use it! Today Dead Horse – tomorrow the world!!!!!!!


Wait, what am I saying? Whew, power is heady stuff but I’m back to normal now.

That’s a good point about the elites as the elites always want to make money. The Bush family had money invested in Nazi Germany back in WWII though it was a bad bet in the long run it illustrates how all that matters to elites is the money. It doesn’t matter where it comes from or how it is gotten. All that matters is that money is gotten. Ideology has nothing to do with elite makeup. Nazis, penguins, ostriches, hippopotamuses, flying nuns, taxi drivers, it matters not what they are as long as there is a buck to be made.

At November 07, 2009 4:39 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

I didn't think I was disagreeing with you Rob, so much as clarifying why it's important to me to write about this.

Earlier this week I was dismissed in an ATR thread in which I suggested that Kos criticizing leadership dems was just for show, and that he would likely go back to toeing the line when the next election cycle was near, and "almost infamous" said I was "rolling in the hoopy." (???)

I take it this was meant as some kind of insult, but sadly I'm not cool enough to know what that phrase means. I'm guessing he was suggesting that I was drunk or high, but who knows.

So maybe I'm feeling a mite defensive. (You'd think periodic visits from Charles F. O. would have cured me of this a long time ago, but maybe it's like the difference between blog family giving you a hard time at your virtual home as it were, versus getting laughed at in a more public space, ATR being like going to a virtual crowded mall.)

I want to persuade people, and I want to at least try to get better at offering arguments that somebody else will experience as relevant and meaningful. But all the while I also wonder if I'm kidding myself, that blogging is virtual masturbation, even if we use bigger words than those kind of sites. So maybe, God help me, I really am rolling in the hoopy, even though I'm still not sure what that means.

At November 07, 2009 9:21 PM, Blogger Unknown said...

Hey I was just kidding about the disagreement, was just trying to see what it was like to have power!

Jonathan you are one of the most reasonable and sane humans I know so I wouldn’t let what almost infamous said bother you too much though that’s easier for me to say. But still, that kind of thing is to be expected and I’m sure we have all experienced it.

Also I find that just because I feel something is an important point it doesn’t mean others will see it that way. Usually on the points that I expect to get some comment on in a post are totally ignored and something completely minor is brought up so what can you do?

I just write what I feel and people can read it or not or whatever. I don’t think it is too healthy to get too caught up in what we write or to have some kind of high expectations. I have always found your posts to be thoughtful and well considered if that means anything to you.

At November 08, 2009 5:37 AM, Blogger Jonathan Versen said...

"I don’t think it is too healthy to get too caught up in what we write or to have some kind of high expectations."

undoubtedly true!

"I have always found your posts to be thoughtful and well considered if that means anything to you."

it does.

At November 08, 2009 11:57 AM, Blogger Mimi said...

It's good to read your virtual conversations with each other, guys, whether you totally agree or not. You are always courteous to each other and it's evident that you are brothers.


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