[pp.int.general] cultural flatrate: PP position?
r.bakels at planet.nl
Tue Jun 9 13:16:58 CEST 2009
> "I respect the artists work, and if an artist does not want me, to share
> his work with my friends, I just look for another artist who does so"
> Well, I disagree again. If AC/DC doesn't want me to make a copy of their
> albums, I will anyway copy them for free. And I think I'm entitled to,
> because it's like copying an idea, it's free, zero costs. If artists want
> money, they have to find it in services or products that have more than
> zero costs, like a CD, DVD, or a concert.
The zero marginal cost argument does not help you. The marginal cost of
copyrighted works always was relatively low (or zero) - but that was
actually the reason to *introduce* copyright.
I think there are much stronger arguments.
- A basic principle of law is non-discrimination (equal treatment). Flatrate
compensation schemes only cater for commercial music and movies. There is
more under the sun than just movies and music, and more than just commerce.
Internet conveys zillions of bytes. The focus on commercial music and movies
has just one reason: traditional producers of such material suffer most from
Internet, and they want to live on as if technology had not progressed. Like
the fireman on electric locomotives in the UK. It may be helpful to suggest
full compensation of *all* authors of *all* types of work. This is an
administrative and enforcement nightmare, a "reductio ad absurdum".
- Not all information is copyrighted material, and not all copyrighted
material is subject to exclusive rights. Lawyers debate for ages what are
actually "works" in the sense of copyright. Originality seems a basic
requirement. Cultural value is rejected, because it requires a cultural
judgement wich is alien to law. While the originality threshhold is low,
factual data are clearly excluded. That is the reason why database law was
introduced in EU, but again, it is limited - and it does not only rely on
the type of data, but also on the type of use.
Even if material is unbdoubtly a "work" in the sense of copyright, it is
subject to exceptions, whether the closed European system or the open US
"fair use" system. Not the nature of the work, but the nature of the use is
decisive for these limitations. Flatrates ignore this, again.
Flatrate proponents may argue that the Law of Large Numbers allows rough
estimates to be made: like: 30% of traffic is actually due to pay copyright,
as a long term average. I guess it is not true even as a zero-order
approximation (but I have to admit that I do not have solid proof, e.g. an
obvious case that proves that the assumption is wrong).
- We already touched the enforcement problem. Imho the only viable solution
is to turn the "flatrate" into a tax = a fee disconnected from any
consumption of use. And the tax money should be redistributed with the
explicit purpose to remedy market failure and to foster cultural diversity.
The entertainment industry should serve a cultural purpose, not vice-versa.
Is it tricky that a government decides on cultural priorities? Well, with
public TV and radio network it happens all the time.
Perhapx the unique Dutch system of broacdcasting asociations shold be
followed: it brings its own kind of democracy. These (not for profit)
associations are dependent on members, not for the money, but for the
broadcasting rights. Otoh, people argue that the BBC as a public
broadcasting monopolist makes the best programmes in the world.
Think beyond. Think PP!
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