Posts Tagged ‘Pirate Party’

According to an article published on Monday 27th July by Ars Technica:

Copyright is a deeply entrenched part of the legal system and any changes will have far-reaching implications. The challenges posed to copyleft by copyright reform efforts demonstrates the complexity of the issue and reflects the difficulty that reform advocates will face in devising a reasonable balance between the rights of content creators and consumers.

Well, Amen to that. I would not be surprised if after few years of debating issues concerning IP, advocates of the reform would invent a system somewhat similar to the current one.

Which brings to mind sensible and well-balanced opinion of Jeremy Phillips expressed in his editorial ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’, published in Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, where he stresses:

If we do not support the Pirate Party’s aims, we must engage it in debate and oust it from the moral high-ground which it currently seeks to occupy. We must explain why we need to restrict access to, and control the use of, digitally recorded works. We must prove that software patenting, within the existing limits or beyond them, are justified. If we cannot produce a better and more persuasive case, we deserve to lose the argument.

(Phillips, J., ‘It’s my party and I’ll cry if I want to’, Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, 2009, Vol. 4, No. 7, p. 451)

The editorial is available here, while Pirate Party’s Declaration of Principles could be obtained here.

Finally, let’s hope that Ars Technica reported nothing else but beginning of such a debate.

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First of all it is hard not to appreciate that the rights holders are the victims in current circumstances. Whether they are victims of a large-scale “digital shoplifting” (‘contentlifting’) or rather some evolutionary transformation, which seems to be leading to their demise, is an interesting, but only to a certain degree relevant matter.

To put it simply, the important point is that throughout the last century various individuals and legal entities invested their capital in order to acquire certain rights and subsequently built their business models [sic!] based on these rights within particular legal framework. Due to the technological change these rights do not seem to be enforceable anymore in any reasonable manner and infringement of these rights have become easy and extremely popular. What’s more, it is often claimed that the legal framework which gives legitimacy to these rights is largely incompatible with current situation due to the same technological progress and should be either significantly modified or revoked all together.

Would that mean that we should deprive right holders of their legitimately obtained assets? or should we legitimise conduct which limits their abilities to benefit from these assets? Isn’t there a difference between allowing some out-of-date business to go bust and allowing for seizure of assets belonging to such business.

The situation is further complicated by the size and power of these entities and effectively the pressure they can apply on policymakers around the world.

It is widely recognized that the rights holders must recognize their position in current digital environment and adjust (or rather replace) their business models, which are still tied to analog distribution of their content. However, having said that one might think that it is a little bit like telling a butcher that he should hang on to his trade but start giving away his meat for free. Obviously, in order to finance the necessary purchase of animals, the butcher would have to start growing vegetables and sell them together with the free meat. No one would probably be surprised that in such circumstances the butcher might prefer to abandon butchering and become a greengrocer.

Considering that we are, to large extent, a carnivorous society one might start to feel uneasy about letting the butcher to quit butchering. In this situation it is down to the policymakers to create such a legal environment, which could provide incentives for the butcher to keep his post, and educate the consumers as to the importance of vegetables in their predominantly meaty diet.

However, what we are currently observing in Europe and particularly in Britain, might seem as an attempt to connect the butcher with a producer of carrier bags. Merger of these two businesses could mean that customer would have to pay somehow inflated price for the carrier bag that comes together with the meat. Having in mind that carrier bags could be used in various ways and not only for carrying meat, it might seem that the consumers are likely to lose should these attempts prove to be successful.

To conclude, instead of making scary faces and dreadful noises, pirates (who, as we all know, tend to use plenty of carrier bags) might start to think seriously about how to convince the butcher that he might be better off by growing vegetables for which they would be happy to pay.