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How do you measure success with a 'copyright' proposal?

From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_>
To: General Copyright Discussions <discuss (at)>
Date: Sun, 17 Nov 2002 20:45:41 -0500 (EST)

  I realize we are moving our conversation out of areas where we agree
(IE: that there is a problem with "legal protection for TPM"), into areas
where we may not share ideas.

  Just to know 'who is who', I'm wondering if people could think about and 
post their criteria for measuring a policy.

My most important areas for measuring a proposal are as follows:

 1) are tools under the control of citizens? (communications rights!)

    I have put the following onto my personal homepage:

    Any 'hardware assist' for communications, whether it be eye-glasses,
    VCR's, or personal computers, must be under the control of the citizen
    and not a third party.

    Corollary: The "content industries", such as the motion picture and
    recording industries, are not legitimate stakeholders in the
    discussion of what features should or should not exist in my personal
    computer or VCR, any more than they are a legitimate stakeholder in
    the production of my corrective eye-glasses. If a member of a content
    industry don't like the technology that exists in a given market
    sector, be it consumer electronics in the home or personal computers,
    they can simply not offer their products/services into that market.

 2) does it leave room for innovation both in production and distribution
    of works?

    Single business models shouldn't be legislated by government, as these
    markets have always moved faster than governments can.

    "The dinosaurs must never be given control over evolution.."

    Incumbent businesses should not have the ability to regulate-away
    competition or innovative/disruptive technologies or business models.

 3) does it obey separation of sectors? (competition policy)

    At a legislative level (as opposed to unregulated agreements to
    meet customer demand), producers of 'content' should have no say in
    the production of 'software'.  Producers of 'software' or 'content'
    should not have a say in the production of 'hardware', and so-on.

    Competition policy should be strongly enforced, and any legislative
    ties between sectors (IE: legal protection for TPM/RMI, or any other
    protection for 'interfaces') should simply be abolished.

 4) do I pay for what I get and not pay for what I don't want?

    This is my problem with the private copying regime (compulsory payment
    for licensing of content I don't want). It is still the case of an
    unfair subsidization of one industry, without any customer choice in
    the matter or ability innovate in alternative ways.

    In a country that has a hard time adequately managing critical
    services like education and health care, paying artists this way seems
    like a non-starter!

 5) does it separate commercial transactions from private communications?

    Many of the problems we see are when certain parts of the content 
    industry try to blur the huge differences between someone
    commercially exploiting a work without paying the creator, and someone
    non-commercially communicating/copyright a work and not paying.  
    These are two extremely different things, and must be thought of that

      When someone is making money on the commercialization of a work,
    the creator should get a fair cut.  When there is no money being made
    in a private act of a citizen (especially in their own home!), the
    creator should have minimal (or no) control.

  Most of the alternative proposals I have seen in this discussion so far
fall into the compulsory payment system such as an extension to the
private copying regime.  These are not systems that I can support any more
than the status quo since they badly fail criteria 2 and 4 from above.

 Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <>
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