This is what they do with the money you give them

The copyright industry’s really in full-on assault mode at the moment, and the lazy commercial media is giving it an easy ride. You had the Fairfax and News Ltd papers and TV current affairs shows giving Nintendo some marvellous free “piracy is a $1.5 million crime, even the Federal Court agrees” publicity the week before last – misleading lie though it almost certainly was – and then there was this on the front page of News Ltd’s throwaway commuter tabloid, mx, today:

I strongly suspect that Rupert’s Fox media conglomerate has an arrangement with these AFACT liars (even their name is false – copyright infringement isn’t “theft”, as they were reminded by the court recently), but of course it’s not acknowledged in the puff piece above. There’s also no critical response to AFACT’s sinister claim that it’s monitoring what people have “on their hard drive”, no mention of privacy concerns, nothing. But that’s par for the course – the corporate copyright industry and the corporate media are very closely linked, and you can expect more of this sort of cynically manipulative guff as their campaign to further change copyright laws in their favour ramps up.

In related news, US lobbyists are very angry at those providing free legal software, and those using it, and WANT ENTIRE COUNTRIES PUNISHED:

The US-based International Intellectual Property Alliance has asked the US Trade Rep to add Indonesia to its list of rogue nations that don’t respect copyright. What did Indonesia do to warrant inclusion on this “301 list”? Its government had the temerity to advise its ministries to give preference to free/open source software because it will cost less and reduce the use of pirated proprietary software in government. According to the IPA, this movement to reduce copyright infringement is actually bad for copyright, because “it fails to build respect for intellectual property rights and also limits the ability of government or public-sector customers (e.g., State-owned enterprise) to choose the best solutions.”

Monopolists, protectionists, liars, crooks, bullies. That’s the copyright industry for you.

The tragedy is that every time you buy from them, you’re giving them the money they need to further entrench their power over our governments. Please, don’t.

12 responses to “This is what they do with the money you give them

  1. I think it’s worth extending this line of argument to other areas of IP, like the pharmaceutical industry. There’s a strong line of argument in favour of promoting civil disobedience and pirating patented products that could benefit humankind.

  2. Just a thought I had recently: DRM pretty much cripples what you can do with content, but eventually that content will become public domain. Does the DRM self destruct when this happens or is the file crippled forever?
    If someone has really (really!) deep pockets it would be interesting to follow this up in a court of law.

  3. the mx keeps forgetting to put the words “advertising feature” on the top of all their pages

  4. So with UBIsoft releasing new games under the worst DRM regime ever which requires the game to call back via the ‘net for every single second the game is being played, is it time to call one of their bluffs?

    “Games are expensive because of piracy” is one of their canards. So if they are releasing the latest version of the toughest DRM ever that cannot possibly be hacked then why aren’t they releasing the game at a discount?


  5. I don’t get why they think it can’t possibly be hacked – someone will just figure out the part of the code that calls home, and remove it.

    And then the pirates will have a better, functional copy of the game, and the legitimate consumers will have one that kicks them out whenever the internet drops out.


  6. Returned Man

    “Throwaway commuter tabloid” – I would have described the Herald Sun in the same terms, actually.

    And the Age, for that matter.

  7. Well, technically the Age is a throwaway commuter-hating broadsheet.

  8. maybe we could get the AFACT “detectives” to look into the copyright infringement of 3 australian passport holders?

  9. I’ve received a box of things from Amazon in the US, among them a Warner DVD.

    Here is what’s on the back – “NOT AUTHORIZED FOR SALE OR RENTAL OUTSIDE THE USA AND CANADA: This copyrighted product has been manufactured and distributed by Warner Home Video Inc. and is authorized for sale or rental for private home use in the USA and Canada ONLY. The sale or rental of this product outside of the USA and Canada has NOT been authorized by Warner and is in direct violation of its terms of trade. Federal law provides severe civil and criminal penalties for the unauthorized distribution, reproduction or exhibition of copyrighted motion pictures, videotapes or videodiscs.”

    But I’m in Brisbane. So why did they send it to me? I’m going to be hunted down by the FBI because I wanted the 2-disc edition of “Network” and not the bare bones Region 4? That’s a crime? Why did they sell it to me, then? Dickheads.

  10. arbitrary name

    @ Jeremy – fair idea, but they problem is that the game is not just ‘phoning home’, but rather using the remote server to store the game state (saves, etc.). Probably still crackable, but an order of magnitude more difficult.

    @ THR – well, the difference is that no one will die if the entertainment industry dries up, but if there becomes no market for drugs (due to cheap ripoffs), then research (medical research is *expensive*) will also cease. No new drugs.

    Of course, there is always the government run drug research programs. I mean, since the government have shown themselves to be such a beacon of competence and efficiency.

    Not saying that there isn’t room for improvement though, just that there are some subtle nuances to take into account.

  11. AN,

    Up until the mid-1990s, the overwhelming majority of pharmaceutical research in the US, for instance, was directly funded by government. Since then, patents have blown out to extravagant periods. It’s well-known that these firms spend more on marketing and lobbying than on R&D, so this idea that they’d crumble in the absence of ridiculous IP laws is false. Any firm that invents a useful new product will, as innovator, already derive some financial benefit from that, even before patents are in place.

  12. Moderated!

    Going back to this idea that IP laws save lives, there’s a strong argument that the converse is true. Take HIV, for instance, a disease carried by millions in Africa. To buy the ‘official’ drugs would cost more than the average wage of most African nations. People then have the choice of simply going untreated, or buying cheap knock-offs from India and China. Surely the latter is a more sane option.
    Then you have the ridiculous attempts by corporations to patent already existing items. For example, the use of turmeric for medicinal purposes, something that’s been used in India for millenia, was patented in the US a few years ago. Turmeric farmers then had to seek recourse through the courts to be allowed to grow their own products.

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