Social Question

ragingloli's avatar

The European Parliament has voted against ACTA 478 to 39. Do you think this is a tremendous victory for freedom?

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11 Answers

laureth's avatar

I wasn’t familiar with this until I read your link, and I’m still only a little familiar now. But what I do know, is that the cost of freedom is symmetrical. It is a tremendous victory for freedom – for those who appreciate the ability to violate copyright, derive value from others’ work, etc. However, it comes at the cost of loss of freedom to those who would like to make their own works more secure, profit from copyrights, etc.

In any decision, there is a “costs” and “benefits” column, and it is wise to pay attention to both.

gorillapaws's avatar

@laureth I think you’re presenting a bit of a false dilemma there. It’s possible to have protections for copyright holders without authorizing them to invade people’s privacy or to cut them off without due process.

laureth's avatar

That may well be. What are these ways? (I’m curious, not challenging you.)

Blackberry's avatar

It’s sad that we applaud our elected officials using logic.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

I think that current understanding of piracy and copyright protection have been horribly corrupted. Owners of content have somehow framed the debate in people’s minds that seems “truthy” but actually serves no social good.

“Copyright” is a protection granted by the society to an individual who has published something, in a lot of cases, the society finds somewhat valuable. It is a Freaking gift society gives to someone. The whole purpose is to provide that person some income and perhaps, if people find it valuable, to gain a little notriety. IT IS A GIFT TO THAT INDIVIDUAL BY SOCIETY.

At some point, speculators began to purchase and trade copyrights as if they were fungible properties. Prior to the current period, most artists gained income by performing live, or in fact, creating new content.

At some point normally right thinking people lost the notion that the public owns the public space and is doing an artist a favor by giving them protection. They were convinced that these things called “Copyrights” should be an item of value in themselves owned by the artist. That does nothing to further the public good and in most cases only serves those who have purchased the copyright third hand.

Yes it is a tremendous victory for freedom when the public reasserts their control over publicly available information.

ETpro's avatar

Yes! Hooray. I’ve been opposing ACTA here. I would rant on, but @Imadethisupwithnoforethought already said it for me. And hey, it ain’t like I have no dog in this fight. I am a copyright holder and content creator. But @Imadethisupwithnoforethought has got it exactly right.

laureth's avatar

I was given to understand that a copyright, like a patent, gives the creator or inventor of a thing a certain time period to profit from it, in a manner that is relatively competition-free. (This is especially important if there is a significant financial investment on R&D that one must recoup to make the invention process worthwhile for the inventor.) After that time period has passed, and especially if the inventor is dead, the thing (whether it’s Metformin or Mickey Mouse) becomes part of our cultural heritage, a gift to humanity. Copyrights used to have the same time window as patents, too, until The Mouse was threatened with going out of copyright, and Disney fights tooth and nail to keep the Mouse in its portfolio. Thus is the time for copyrights heartily ridiculous, and it keeps other works out of public use when, by rights, we’re missing out on a lot of our cultural heritage that ought to be in the public domain now, if it weren’t for The Mouse and Disney. So I can see where egregious copyright timelengths ought to be shortened and I can see bills like this as a way of doing so. But that said, I don’t think that everything in the public space becomes public just because people can access it.

elbanditoroso's avatar

Another skirmish (and a short term victory) in the long war behind the content providers (who want to control everything) and the free peoples of the world.

This is a good step, but the war is not over.

Imadethisupwithnoforethought's avatar

@laureth not arguing to be argumentative, but because I like thinking about this topic.

Consider artists for a second. They write, paint, and sing because they enjoy it. The earliest writers (the Bible, the people we know as Homer) made stuff with, presumably, little expectation that they would generate lasting income from their individual efforts.

If you wrote a song that was considered popular 200 years ago, there was a clear expectation that others would perform it. Singers and songwriters did not assume that they could control reproduction, they assumed they would be paid a pittance from a publishing company and that people would pay to see them in person having discovered they were talented.

Consider a theater performance. An actor performs as a character in a play several times a week, with no expectation that the audience will pay him more than once for that performance. It is a fee for service.

Consider a movie. The actor performs once. If you see the movie in the theater, then liking the movie so much, you buy the movie later, or rent it from netflix. Has he performed more work than a person in a theater?

mattbrowne's avatar

Absolutely. Great vote!

laureth's avatar

@Imadethisupwithnoforethought – I also like thinking about this subject.

I have considered artists. Heck, I know some personally, artists that release recordings and perform at a professional level. I think what people envision is an artist who just loves to sing (or act or whatever) so much, that they would do it all day for free if they could. But in reality, no one can do what they love all day for free, unless they are independently wealthy. The artist needs an income, and that generally comes from their performance, if they perform at a professional level (which is a lot of work). Otherwise, they work a “real job” and sing at an amateur level. Not paying artists, and forcing them to work at something they do not love (in order to pay the bills) not only hurts the artist, but it marks a decline in the quality of art that is available to us, because only people who are amateurs can really afford to perform anymore.

Consider also, the stuff that goes into a performance. It’s not just the hour they’re onstage. It’s the voice lessons, the performance outfits, the gas to and from the stage or studio, the studio or hall rental, all the stage hands, engineers, producers, people who work at the disc factory, people who type in the data in the liner notes, the makeup artists and the key grip, the guy with the camera, the microphone technician, and a thousand other people who earn their living by making the product for you to enjoy. It’s not just the artist.

If you wrote a song that was popular 200 years ago, you may well be concerned about controlling the reproduction. Mozart, for example, frequently rearranged his own works so that he could be the publisher of those arrangements (and get the financial benefit from that by being first to do so). Haydn had an issue where rivals at court stole some of his compositions and published them for very little money, depriving him of income from being able to publish them himself. So, I would say that old-time composers were very concerned about the revenue that came in from their works, even if it was scores and sheet music, not actual recordings.

While the writers of the Bible may not have written with the expectation of financial reward, I bet surely that the bards performing as Homer were in it for a few coins or a meal or a safe place to sleep for the night. The Bible writers were moved by faith. When I work at my job, I am moved not by faith, but by the prospect of paying for my mortgage and dinner, more like “Homer.” And my friend the mezzo-soprano loves singing, but she sings professionally and releases recordings because she would like to pay her mortgage and eat dinner, too. Do you do your job for fun?

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