Monday, January 07, 2008

On to Plan B ...

Like Canada has to rush onto something like the U.S. DMCA, and what follows.

The European's are trying to come up with a solution on a consumer friendly, economic maximalist approach they call "Creative Content Online".

"Consumers will be given a strong voice in this platform." Hmmm.

Commission adopts strategy for "Creative Content Online"

Public consultations for the next 2 months. Hoped for EU policy by mid-2008 ... oddly the the stakeholder "discussion and cooperation" platform is called "Content Online Platform" or C.O.P. (constable on patrol?)

A serious look is warranted here for what the rest of the Western World is up to ... and not a breath for WIPO treaties here (the major European nations are not ratifying this treaty, at the moment). A very interesting approach is being suggested using "Codes of Conduct" - for squealers and informants - rather than formal legal provisions to deal with file sharing and P2P networks. How is a poor ISP to recognize that the sharing going on is of non authorized copies or authorized copies????

Evidently, non-authorized copies are sort of ok, as long as they are not shared. That is an 'almost given' according to Cary Sherman, head of the RIAA, per The Patry Blog. According to the legal brief, the allegation is that the poor guy, for him and his wife, burned CD's to their computer making unauthorized copies. They then did the big no no with the unauthorized copies: they put them on a shared folder. Would it have been different if they were authorized copies? Not evidently in the charitable lawyer to lawyer banter. So why the point of unauthorized copies? Legalspeak? The statements by the lawyer in the case itself should stand as the brief they make to the Court ("C. Defendant possessed unauthorized copies of Plaintiff’s copyrighted sound recordings on his computer and actually disseminated such unauthorized copies over the KaZaA peer-to-peer network." at Page 15 ) actually ties in with her answer in court, comments that Sherman says later were not correct as the lawyer apparently answered a question she did not hear correctly. William Patry is a most generous man.

Update: William Patry is still a most generous man but apparently something was bugging him enough for him to dig into his garage archives. A very interesting *must* read. FYI: The US Audio Home Recording Act ("AHRA") = Private Copy Levy legislation, at Section 80 in the Copyright Act of Canada. We have perhaps the genesis to the solution of the real burning question: can you 1) legally copy a CD you own, 2) to your MP3 Player or 3) Computer? Stay tuned as the solution, a personal exemption, not fair use provisions, evolves. He may be going to the back garage for more (amazing what you can find).

The bottom line to me: if people could cooperate here, creators, owners and users of copyrights, both commercial and non-commercial, and get access to universal digital watermarks, maybe there can be a middle ground solution in reasonable fees or advertising offsets to those fees for actual non-personal connected use. More laws are not the answer.

PS "Europe", its a supra national body only and not a country. The European Community does not mess with nation state level perogatives, particular in light of the failure of the European Constitution to be ratified (it was signed by all 27 states). The French and the Dutch rightfully put it to their electorates, and they rejected it. The UK did not even bother with its referendum. See ... signed but not ratified. Its easy. On to plan B ...

PSS I just learned that prior to Mark Russinovich's disclosure of the SONY Rootkit in October of 2005, that he was not the first independent finder of it. It was found by PhD student J. Alex Halderman at Princeton almost a month prior to Mark's discovery, but Mark was not aware or was immune to any legal consequences (do you drive at the speed limit?). Halderman and Edward Felton because of the DMCA and their experience with that law, they had to get legal council first prior to Mark's disclosure. Their sensible plea: "researchers should busy themselves with discovering and disclosing security threats and not with engaging in protracted discussions of the DMCA with their attorneys."

1 comment:

Julianna said...

Great post! The option of digital watermarks/metadata seems to be an under-explored option. That's going on my [very long] to-do list. Thanks!