Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

1:30 PM -- I think it's become pretty clear that when it comes to piracy actions, the content owners and ISPs aren't on the consumer's side.

Actually, I'll make that personal. They aren't on my side. And that just makes propaganda like Thursday's release -- about the copyright alert system -- condescending to the point of being offensive. (See ISPs Can Throttle Back Broadband Bandits.)

The gist of the release is that content owners and Internet service providers are settling on conventions for when to go nuclear on suspected copyright infringers. Your service provider will give you a couple of warnings first -- which I suppose is a step up from the music industry's habit of firing off bazookas first and asking questions later. Certainly, there could be cases when this would come in handy: kids who illegally download stuff and neighbors who leech off someone's Wi-Fi signal.

But come on. When it comes to piracy legislation, there is never any interest in helping consumers, only in finding more efficient ways to sue them. This is a defensive move so the movie industry won't repeat the Recording Industry of America (RIAA) blunder of suing grandmothers and dead people.

It will also let content owners be more aggressive when they do decide to sue someone, because they'll be able to say that the accused -- the ones that aren't so dead, that is -- ignored repeated warnings.

I suppose Thursday's release was no different from any of the oily syntax that comes out of Washington, D.C., but I really resent the idea of someone setting up a better way to sue me and calling it "education." It's just a reminder that even though I don't illegally download content, I'm guilty until proven innocent.

— Craig Matsumoto, West Coast Editor, Light Reading

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DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:59:51 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

You kids need to stop stealing 8-tracks, too, or the whole music industry will go away:


DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:59:50 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

I wonder how folks will take the the iTunes Match service. We'll pay "something" -- $30 a year to Apple for the privilege of making our digitized music available everywhere. Probably no questions asked about whether the digitized music came from a purchased CD or one borrowed from a friend of a friend of a friend.

Anyway, I like the premise because it starts out with the assumption that you aren't an international CD smuggler -- just a guy who enjoys music. The RIAA, TSA, etc. never seem to take that approach.

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:59:50 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

Can you identify a legal system that isn't "badly broken" in one way or another?

ibarrera 12/5/2012 | 4:59:50 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

What seems to be disturbing is how they have managed to link "copyright infringement" to "theft", being two different things. Stolen goods don't leave identical copies behind, yet the penitentiaries get full from downloaders, yet white collar thieves and even murderers (http://www.reuters.com/article... note the guy gets prison not for murder but for violating the parole) get away just by paying.

Why is the **IA allowed to sue and harshly punish downloaders, when you don't even get more than $200 for a parking fine (and you're actually stealing because you're not paying for that spot you're occupying). Downloaders get $75k fines and even jail time.

The US legal system is badly broken. I think the next move from the recording industries, if they are not stopped, would be to work together with the TSA to pat you down and check if you have any copyrighted material on your electronic devices. And they will do it so well, that people would support them and think it would be a fight against terrorists.

paolo.franzoi 12/5/2012 | 4:59:50 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

Last Time I played an 8-Track was when I was working at an amusement park in Lake George called Storytown (now called The Great Escape).  I worked on a ride called The Flying Bobs.  We played (horror of horrors) loud Rock and Roll music.  Now, given that this was 1979 I think our favorite was a Charlie Daniels Band Tape.  Nothing too nasty in any case.  Best part was that if we were running the ride a lot, we had to take it down every couple of hours to grease the undercarriage.  We kept some refreshments under the ride to consume (okay inhale) when we worked on it.  Then we test ran the ride to dissapate the results of the consumption.  I even worked the ride with a girl I dated and got to make out with her during downtimes under the ride.



PS - Yeah, again I think it just going to drive people further underground.  I really think the companies need to think about what happens when they upset folks (see Wikileak, Sony, etc.).


shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:59:50 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

I wonder what an acceptable tack would be regarding digital piracy -- I mean, one that wouldn't offend anyone's sensibilities. For the past nearly 10 years, we're all treated as potential criminals -- patdowns at the ballpark, purse checks at the opera, not to mention fingerprints for every visitor coming through customs. We should be desensitized to being treated like felons by now.

shygye75 12/5/2012 | 4:59:49 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

The crushing irony in all this is that while we can't seem to stop saying that "content is king," in fact digitized content is plummeting toward zero value because it can be replicated at almost zero cost. So the real value of content has been the delivery format all along -- books, 8-tracks, live performances, and so on.

Pete Baldwin 12/5/2012 | 4:59:49 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

You know what I'd honestly prefer? If they'd just come out and say: "Due to the effects of content theft, we're going to impose greater restrictions on all of you because we've found we can't trust anyone. And pay attention to what your kids do online."

What gets to me is this play-acting of trying to be my friend, this tactic of claiming that this is all being done for my good (oh, and the good of the economy, of course*). And it reinforces that I can't trust any of these people.

* Original draft of this blog included a rant about the press release listing the supposed economic/job losses suffered due to piracy. Never mind that not every pirated copy of something is equal to the loss of one full-U.S.-retail-price copy. Never mind the existence of, you know, ASIA. (The continent, not the band. The economic and emotional damages of the existence of the band Asia are incalculable.)

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:59:49 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

Thank you for saying that. Emerson, Lake and Palmer, too.

re: The economic and emotional damages of the existence of the band Asia are incalculable.

jepovic 12/5/2012 | 4:59:48 PM
re: Copyright Alert = Better Lawsuits

In a not at all distant future, you can fit the entire catalogue of all the majors onto your cell phone. Kids will be able to copy it by just swapping cards. Then what?

We don't need the music industry anymore. The artist will be fine. The time when artists made a living by selling copies of their music will be seen as a historic parenthesis, about half a century long. Beethoven did not live off CD sales.

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