[pp.int.general] where is the manifesto?
r.bakels at pr.unimaas.nl
Mon Dec 29 01:09:23 CET 2008
> Slavery was abolished anyway, as it was considered a violation of human
> rights and not in society's best interest.
Let us try to get back on track. This rather unfruitful conversation started
from a debate on the role of human rights in this context.
My experience is that it is not very helpful at all to refer to human rights
considerations in a political context. Political arguments are different
from legal arguments anyway, and if you still want to address specific legal
issues or proposals, it is helpful to be careful not to give your opponents
(IFPI etc.) the arguments for saying: these people are irresponsible. That
risk is particularly high with human rights.
But to give still just one more legal argument: often the *exercise* of a
(property) right is violating other rights. That even applies to genuine
real property. If you own a piece of land, the government can only take it
from you with a complicated expropriation procedure, if you are unwilling to
sell it voluntarily. But you can abuse it. And that is not allowed, even if
you are the owner. Similarly, certain ways to exercise copyrights, patents,
trademark rights etc. are unlafful and eventually illegal.
And for copyright, there are the collective rights organisations. This is a
complete Sodom & Gomorra. Incidentally, authors who use the services of such
organisations loose the right to prohibit publications - which is a central
(also moral) aspect of the copyright as it was designed. And the levies.
They are the final step to make copyright to a kind of information tax.
Collective rights organisations are supposed (sometimes even by law) to
spend some of the money the collect for general cultural purposes. So they
are effectively supposed to make cultural policy p a preposterous idea given
thefact that their best customers are record companies and popular artists
(usually not very "cultural"). Ever heard of the rule "no taxations without
And isn't - in practice - the prime task of the PP to counter the dominance
of the distributors, who are no longer needed in the Internet era - and try
to prolong their life by ugly legal methods? This calls for better copyright
contract law, among other things.
But stay away from human rights. As you all know, I have extensively
cooperated in the campaign against software patents. But I always advised my
fellow activists not to use amateur human rights arguments. If only
because - at best - their efforts will duplicate the work of real lawyers,
while no one cares for the social substance of the problem, e.g. the
(alleged) stiffling effects of software patents. Then you get the kind of
conversation: "This is a disaster all over Europe". Answer: "Give me one
example" - and then there no example, but just hearsay from the US (where
the patent system is definitely different).
To some extent it is a blessing in disguise, that the disasters in the field
of copyright are more obvious. On the other hand, the PP arguments are
slightly counter intuitive vs. the "poor" artists.
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