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Re: [d@DCC] CPCC Levies

From: Russell McOrmond <russell _-at-_>
To: "General Copyright Discussions \(questions, organizing, etc\)" <discuss (at)>
Date: Mon, 12 Feb 2007 13:41:29 -0500
References: <> <> <>

Darryl Moore wrote:
> I would be interested to hear Russell's justification for keeping this levy.

   As a "convert" on this issue, I'll offer my ideas.  In the past I was 
strongly opposed to any levy system, but have since changed my mind in 
situations where there is a clear market failure (where I believe all 
multimedia entertainment are examples, but software, non-fiction 
educational material and science/health publications are not).
   - Extended/statutory (compulsory) licenses should only be used in 
extreme cases of market failure, and never in marketplaces where 
competition is growing. Royalty-free business models are rapidly growing 
worldwide in software as well as scientific and educational material.

   Compulsory licensing is known to be a system that with inaccuracies. 
  The question is always: if not a levy, then what?  Is the disease 
worse than the cure, or is the cure worse?

   Without some form of a compulsory licensing system, the recording 
industry, commercial radio and cable television would never have been 
allowed to exist. Saying that copyright holders should just "simply 
accept it" was never politically possible, and I think if we were 
talking about FLOSS developers being told to "simply accept it" about 
DRM and software patents we might think differently.

   The copyright holders of the day were saying *NO* to any new uses of 
their works, and the transactional costs of trying to negotiate pricing 
between individual copyright holders and  and users were too high (Do 
you pay a few thousand $ to your lawyer to decide if a D.J. needs to pay 
2c or 3c each time they try to play a song on the radio?)

   Which leads us to a table of options where we are forced to decide 
which is the lesser of the available evils?

   a) Copyright abolished for private activities (private copies, 
private communication)
   b) Copyright abolished for non-commercial activities
   c) Extended/compulsory licensing for private and/or non-commercial 
activities (AKA: Levies)
   d) Lawsuits against children and grandparents for activities many 
people think aren't harmful, but which require permission and/or payment 
on a per-transaction basis (AKA: the status-quo)
   e) Outlawing communications technology that is under the control of 
anyone not approved by the government as a "professional" (IE: the 
DRM/Broadcast Flag/Analog Hole debate  -- where the major cultural 
industry associations want to bring us -- note that CRIA isn't a fan of 
levy systems as they counter their lobbying for DRM)
   f) Outlaw the activities entirely (IE: recordable CDs, portable media 
players and personal computers outlawed).

   Can you think of other options that are possible.  I don't think just 
saying everyone should pay for what they use is possible, given the 
major copyright holders don't trust their own customers and are 
unwilling to tolerate any small amount of infringing/uncompensated 
activity.  This fear of their own customers isn't going to just 
magically go away.

   Darryl appears to be on the "abolish copyright for private 
activities" side of this debate.   If I believed that this was 
politically possible, I might support it.  After a bump in the market, 
the market would adjust to business models that weren't negatively 
impacted by this.

   Politically I believe it is more likely that we will achieve a 50% 
reduction in carbon emissions from 1990 levels by 2010 than to believe 
we will convince the Government of Canada to adopt a Fair Use regime 
that is expansive enough to exclude all private and/or non-commercial 
activities from the regulation of copyright.

    Of the available politically likely options, I see compulsory 
licensing (levies) as far better than DRM or the outlawing of personal 
communications technology.   We can want other options all we want, but 
we need to be politically realistic in what we ask for if we are to be 
paid attention to at all.

  Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <>
  Please help us tell the Canadian Parliament to protect our property
  rights as owners of Information Technology. Sign the petition!

  "The government, lobbied by legacy copyright holders and hardware
   manufacturers, can pry my camcorder, computer, home theatre, or
   portable media player from my cold dead hands!"
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