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EU Parliament Group Opposes Long Copyrights and Oppressive DRM 172

Posted by Soulskill
from the it's-not-easy-being-green dept.
the_arrow writes "Apparently there are some politicians who 'get it.' At least it seems that way after reading an entry on the blog of Rick Falkvinge (founder of the Swedish Pirate Party). He says the Green party group, fifth largest in the European Parliament, has officially adopted several of the Pirate Party's stances in a new position paper (PDF). The Greens say, 'the copyright monopoly does not extend to what an ordinary person can do with ordinary equipment in their home and spare time,' adding that a 20-year protection term is more reasonable than 70 years. They go on to say, 'Net Neutrality must be guaranteed,' and also mention DRM: 'It must always be legal to circumvent DRM restrictions, and we should consider introducing a ban in the consumer rights legislation on DRM technologies that restrict legal uses of a work.'"
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EU Parliament Group Opposes Long Copyrights and Oppressive DRM

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  • by devent (1627873) on Friday October 07, 2011 @04:40PM (#37643404) Homepage

    and there were some people who thought a "pirate party" is crazy and nobody will vote for them. The old saying is always true "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Well, for the Green Party they skipped the 3rd step.

    • The old saying is always true "First they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win." Well, for the Green Party they skipped the 3rd step.

      Or they just fired a shot in that third step. Recall that this particular struggle is a very long way from the good guys winning. Sadly, the victories have so far been almost all on the side of darkness/evil/persecution, with extensions of terms to absurd extremes, proliferation of DRM, and legalized oppression requiring nothing more than a flimsy accusation.

      • True, but media conglomerates winning those battles may end up causing them to lose the war. The Pirate Party and its momentum are arguably due to backlash, and if Big Content hadn't been so oppressive, we likely wouldn't have had so much backlash.
      • If a party fights you by adopting your talking points in their position paper, then you've already won.

    • Green parties have been at the forefront of the fight against software patents and for digital rights in Europe since before the first Pirate Party was founded. It's just that they don't think it's the only important issue.
    • by Snaller (147050)

      Which is of course bullshit, because most of the time when they fight you they kill you or put you in jail.

      • by wvmarle (1070040)

        That's what happens to the unlucky individual, but often the idea lives on and survives this fight. Just look at your average revolution, there have been plenty of them in the past, and the saying definitely applies to most if not all of them.

        OTOH applying it to Al Qaeda and so... they're in the third stage now....

  • by wsxyz (543068) on Friday October 07, 2011 @04:40PM (#37643406)
    They're just trying to get Big Media to toss some cash their way.
  • "getting it" and doing something about it are 2 different things. Poloticians can talk the talk, hardly do they ever walk the walk.
  • Twenty? Try 10 (Score:4, Insightful)

    by gurps_npc (621217) on Friday October 07, 2011 @04:51PM (#37643518) Homepage
    Art falls into 3 categories.

    1. Masterpiece (Potter/Tolkien/Shakespeare/Jane Austen/Picasso etc.) These usually make a tone of money in the first 5 years - or don't make any till after the author is dead. In either case, there is no point in extending the length of the copyright. It won't affect the author significantly, either way.

    2. Profitable, but not masterpieces. These make their money in the first year, and then fade out quick. By the 5th year, it is practically nothing. But they might do a sequel, which can extend profits. Still, 10 years after the first original work, it won't matter. Either the series has made someone very rich, or their new profits come from the new books, not the old ones.

    3. Not profitable. Not in 1 year, not in 10, not in 20, not in 70. NEVER profitable.

    There is zero reason to extend copyrights past 10 years, let alone 20.

    • Re:Twenty? Try 10 (Score:5, Informative)

      by mmcuh (1088773) on Friday October 07, 2011 @04:57PM (#37643590)
      The proposal in the Swedish Pirate Party's program is 5 years from publication. I don't know why the Greens in the EP thought that they needed 20 years, but either way it's infinitely better than today's life + 70 years which is usually 3 or 4 generations from publication and is obviously insane.
      • by Yvanhoe (564877)
        Believe it or not, this is to follow a proposition originally made by Stallman. He said that one must be careful if you want to preserve free software while limiting copyright.

        The proposal is therefore that an author gets a minimum of 5 years of exclusive commercial exploitation of his work but can get 10 or 20 years if he authorizes (from the start) derivative works under a free license.

        In the absolute I think it is a good idea, and politically it gives room for negotiation, which is always a good th
        • Of course, a lot of Stallman's concerns and hypothetical were rooted in EULAs. While I often find myself in agreement with him, I think it's simpler to just make certain elements of EULAs unenforceable. Another alternative might be that copyright degrades over time. For example, you only get 5 years for the right to prevent derivative works, 10 years for outright copies.
        • by mmcuh (1088773)
          That's not the proposal in the Greens' position paper [greens-efa.eu] though. It says that you need to register after five years if you want an extension (to 20 years, I assume). It doesn't mention any requirement to allow derivative works.
      • by Patch86 (1465427)

        Not that I need to persuade you (Slashdot is the choir on this one), but we all know that 70 doesn't mean 70 in this context- it means forever. In a decade, they'll up it to 80. Another decade, it'll be 90. Frankly at this point I don't know why they don't just cut the crap and make it an eternal copyright period; who do they really think they're kidding?

        Maybe only themselves...

    • by maharvey (785540)
      Which one does Disney fall under?
      • Disney would generally fall under masterpieces. They are already highly profitable within 5 years, so we don't need to give them more than 5 years to convince them that it's a worthwhile investment.
    • With Hollywood accounting, all movies are failures on paper.
      http://www.google.ca/search?q=star+wars+david+prowse+profit [google.ca]

    • by hedwards (940851)

      Harry Potter is a masterpiece? When did that happen?

      • by fritsd (924429)
        I also think Harry Potter is a masterpiece, but sadly lack the words to explain properly why.

        <vague_handwaving>
        J.K. Rowling succeeded in conveying concepts about the interplay between interpersonal loyalty and obedience to society's yoke (which got a LOT heavier as the series progressed) which are difficult to describe in any shorter form.
        And if you can't write it in a shorter form then it's a masterpiece :-)
        <extra_hyperbole>
        This could well be the only vaccine to budding fascism
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Mathematically, 14 years it the optimal time.

      And you are pretty naive about the publishing industry. Sometimes as book won't find a market for years.

      You also ignore the new economy where the long tails is, effective, infinite.
      Which means books that didn't mkae money* and got buried will ba available for years.

      Potter, masterpiece? please. It's an enjoyable series, but the story is simple, and the dialog is often like listening to kids talk like what they think an an adult would talk like as a kid.

      Potter is a

    • by loufoque (1400831)

      Masterpiece (Potter/Tolkien/Shakespeare/Jane Austen/Picasso etc.)

      I lol'ed

    • by devent (1627873)

      Of course it make sense, since almost all works belong to some publisher. A company can "live" for 50 or 100 years or more. Then it's quite different:

      1. Masterpiece, ton of money in first 5 years, more money with the "long tail" in following years - or no money, then it's in some safe or storage room and after the dead of the author it's like described earlier. The more the copyright term the better, to get the "long tail" profits, and exclusion of competition (think of the Beatles, Mickey Mouse, etc).

      A lon

    • by dgatwood (11270)

      I'm going to suggest that everyone in here is forgetting about secondary rights. A masterpiece book makes a lot of money in the first few years. Ten years later, somebody gets around to making a movie version. The author of the original book deserves to get royalties from that. It isn't fair to allow freeloading by a major industry off the hard work of an individual, as would be the case if copyright durations were so absurdly short.

      Copyright durations should be 14 years, with the option to extend for a

      • by Fned (43219)

        The author of the original book deserves to get royalties from that.

        So should Disney track down the ancestors of the people who wrote Snow White and Cinderella and pay up?

        • by dgatwood (11270)

          You can legitimately argue that extending copyright beyond some point ceases to be a motivator for the creative process, but cutting off copyright at ten years is basically cutting the knees out from under book authors. Indeed, if you're even asking about people who have been dead for hundreds of years, you completely missed my point. I'm not talking about somebody digging up something written fifty or a hundred years ago and thinking, "I'd like to make a movie version of this." I'm talking about the fac

          • I'm not sure you're right.

            First, in most cases, authors just aren't paid all that much for the film rights to their books (or at all). It might seem like a lot to an author, but it's not very much by the standards of a movie studio. Usually they'll pay for an option to adapt the book, which is a small fraction of the full cost of the film rights; only if they decide to exercise the option is the full amount paid. And unless the book -- or at least the author -- is a huge success, the full price (which most

    • by niBee (1936934)
      I think 20 is still an acceptable. Take A Song of Ice and Fire for example. G R R Martin won't get anything from HBO from the first book if that is the case and god forbid he won't finish the series
  • The problem is that there are more in every government that can be (and are) bought by the media conglomerates.

  • DRM -or- LAW (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Spazmania (174582) on Friday October 07, 2011 @05:34PM (#37643900) Homepage

    IMO, the law on DRM should be this: you can protect your property with DRM or you can protect your property with copyright law but not both. If you elect to protect your property with DRM, you can still seek injunctions or collect real damages but you are no longer eligible for statutory damages under copyright law.

    • by robot256 (1635039)

      This is an interesting proposition. It basically means that if you're going to use DRM, it's you're own damn fault if it doesn't work and gets copied anyways. Then since it doesn't actually work, they'll stop using it so that they can collect statutory damages again. People still get screwed for torrenting etc, but now at least we can copy in peace for legal purposes.

      Until they try mass threats to random people trying to convince them that copying CDs to their iPod was illegal, and sue cloud music servi

    • by wvmarle (1070040)

      In the US, DRM (Digital Restrictions Management) circumvention is illegal under the DMCA, right?

      A while ago I started to wonder. I am regularly receiving some shipping documents in pdf format, and routinely copy/paste bits of text out of them, like document number or so, to add to my own administration. No problem on my Linux box. However once I tried the same while working on my iBook with Apple's pdf viewer, and then I got the message "not allowed to copy" or something in those lines. That was obviously

    • I know a student who suffers from dyslexia, because of his disability the educational support board (a government institution) have lent him laptop with expensive reading programs and stuff... They've also granted him some money (5000 USD) for getting books scanned at 3 USD per page, because none of his books are available in digital format without DRM that makes text-to-speech impossible.
      IMO, these publishers should be fined, obviously they have digital versions of their books, but because of DRM they mus
  • by mykos (1627575) on Friday October 07, 2011 @05:48PM (#37644022)
    Never forget that. Long copyright steals our public domain.

    Before digital distribution, 5-7 years was considered an adequate amount of time to monopolize an idea. You'd think that number would go down with faster distribution because the creator could get it out there faster.
    • You obviously just want free stuff...

      • I just want the right to create without the incumbent publishers breathing down my neck claiming that my work is a "non-literal copy" of a mainstream publisher's work. Do you remember what happened to George Harrison with his song "My Sweet Lord" (Bright Tunes Music v. Harrisongs Music)?
    • by brit74 (831798)
      Before digital distribution, 5-7 years was considered an adequate amount of time to monopolize an idea.

      Do you have a source? Because copyright lengths were getting longer a long time before digital distribution. And, as I recall, the very first time someone asked for copyright (he was an author in Venice asking the government for exclusive rights to print his book as that he could get adequately compensated for his hard work), he was granted a term of 10 years. I've *never* heard of 5-7 years as being
    • Longer terms of copyright is no solution but short copyright terms means FLOSS programmers end up contributing to proprietors as if they were public-minded charities while giving the public nothing in exchange. Considering a 5-year term of copyright, Richard Stallman correctly points out [gnu.org]:

      [W]hat would be the effect of terminating this program's copyright after 5 years? This would not require the developer to release source code, and presumably most will never do so. Users, still denied the source code, would still be unable to use the program in freedom. The program could even have a “time bomb” in it to make it stop working after 5 years, in which case the “public domain” copies would not run at all.

      Thus, the Pirate Party's proposal would give proprietary software developers the use of GPL-covered source code after 5 years, but it would not give free software developers the use of proprietary source code, not after 5 years or even 50 years. The Free World would get the bad, but not the good. The difference between source code and object code and the practice of using EULAs would give proprietary software an effective exception from the general rule of 5-year copyright — one that free software does not share.

      I think the Pirate Party should take Stallman's warnings more seriously than I've heard Falkvinge take them in the past (I believe it was a Google talk in which Falkvinge merely dismissed Stallman's concerns without ever r

      • I copyright was 5 years, we would all be running obscure hacked versions of Windows Xp :)
        Oh, what horrors - Things would crash all the time...
      • So what's the difference right now? Even with long terms, proprietary developers don't usually release their source code, and while they don't booby-trap their software, it effectively is not much use after a long span of time has passed. OSS software would have its source available, but also would not be of much use after such a long span of time.

        I remain in favor of short terms, particularly for software, but term length is far from the only reform to copyright law that we need. I don't even think it's th

  • and other old stuff that you can no longer buy other then used and or having to hunt the barging bins.

    Let say you want a older game or app and there is no store that has it that can be found easily. Now amazon marketplace and or ebay does not count as they used copys and there is the issues with e-bay scams as well.

    Now why should have to drive store to store and hunt for older games when it is alot easier to just download them off a torrent or a abandonware website?

    also what about lost games and software wh

    • by Zombie (8332)
      Mod parent up! Once the copyright owner stops commercially offering a product, it should be legal to copy it. I should be legal to circumvent restrictions that prevent copying, and possibly even legally required by the owner to provide support for this. This goes not only for software, but also for music. One of my favourite CD's was not produced for 15 years until the band finally managed to convince the record company owning the rights to sell them.
    • Thankfully http://www.gog.com/ [gog.com] is filling some of that gap (legally and with reasonable prices).
  • The EU just extended copyright terms to keep the Beatles songs from falling into the public domain. So these people obviously don't have much say.

    • by RogerWilco (99615)

      The Greens only hold about 7.5% of the seats. The largest parties are the Conservatives (36%), Socialists (25%) and Liberals (11.4%).

      In most countries in the EU the Greens are an opposition party on the national, and thus have relatively little influence in policy. They have been part of government in Germany for a while and are often on the local level. They also are often pro-free software and open standards. This is why you see a lot of city counsels pushing for the use of OSS on the local level.

      The Gree

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