Copyright Infringement Is Being Treated as Terrorism

Cross-Posted from Washington’s Blog


Counter-Terrorism Gone Crazy

Top American security experts say that using “anti-terror” powers to go after non-terrorism related activities hurts our national security.

A good example is copyright infringement.

The Patriot Act has been invoked in connection with copyright infringement … such as by a fan of the tv show Stargate SG-1.

CNET reported in 2005:

 Terrorist link to copyright piracy alleged ….

Counterfeit DVDs and cigarettes may be funding terrorists.

That’s what the Senate Homeland Security committee heard Wednesday from John Stedman, a lieutenant in the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department who’s responsible for an eight-person team of intellectual property (IPR) investigators.

“Some associates of terrorist groups may be involved in IPR crime,” Stedman said.


Even though Stedman’s evidence is circumstantial, his testimony comes as Congress is expected to consider new copyright legislation this year. An invocation of terrorism, the trump card of modern American politics, could ease the passage of the next major expansion of copyright powers.

Security expert Bruce Schneier noted in 2005:

The European music industry is lobbying the European Parliament, demanding things that the RIAA can only dream about:

The music and film industries are demanding that the European parliament extends the scope of proposed anti-terror laws to help them prosecute illegal downloaders. In an open letter to MEPs, companies including Sony BMG, Disney and EMI have asked to be given access to communications data – records of phone calls, emails and internet surfing – in order to take legal action against pirates and filesharers. Current proposals restrict use of such information to cases of terrorism and organised crime.

Wired wrote in 2008:

Attorney General Michael Mukasey talked tough on intellectual property crime, telling Silicon Valley executives here Friday that the theft of their inventions poses a threat to the nation’s “health and safety” and fosters terrorism.

The Rand Corporation – a think tank closely linked to the U.S. military – published a report in 2009 linking the proceeds of infringement (of films) with funding of terrorist groups.

The executive director of the Information Society Project at Yale Law School said last year:

This administration … publishes a newsletter about its efforts with language that compares copyright infringement to terrorism.

And we noted in February that the “cyber-security” laws have very little to do with security. (And see this,)

The Verge reported in February:

In the State of the Union address Tuesday, President Obama announced a sweeping executive order implementing new national cybersecurity measures, opening the door for intelligence agencies to share more information about suspected “cyber threats” with private companies that oversee the nation’s “critical infrastructure.” The order is voluntary, giving companies the choice of whether or not they want to receive the information, and takes effect in four months, by June 12.


Cyber threats cover a wide range of malicious activity that can occur through cyberspace,” wrote Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, in an email to The Verge. “Such threats include web site defacement, espionage, theft of intellectual property, denial of service attacks, and destructive malware.”

Swat teams have been deployed against copyright infringers. (And – ironically – the NSA sent a copyright take down notice to a small t-shirt maker using its “Prism” logo).

Helping “Friends”

But this really has nothing to do with terrorism.

As we’ve noted for years, the government is using anti-terror laws to help “too big to fail” companies.  U.S. intelligence agencies have also given information gained through spying to a handful of giant corporations for many years. This trend is accelerating.

Security expert Bruce Schneier pointed out in 2005:

Our society definitely needs a serious conversation about the fundamental freedoms we are sacrificing in a misguided attempt to keep us safe from terrorism. It feels both surreal and sickening to have to defend our fundamental freedoms against those who want to stop people from sharing music. How is it possible that we can contemplate so much damage to our society simply to protect the business model of a handful of companies?

Glynn Moody wrote in 2010:

I’ve noted several times an increasingly popular trope of the intellectual monopolists: since counterfeiting is often linked with organised crime, and because counterfeiting and copyright infringement are vaguely similar, it follows as surely as night follows day that copyright infringement is linked with organised crime.


Well, maybe between organised crime and counterfeiting, but I challenge anyone to provide evidence that it’s linked to infringements of copyright (“piracy”).

In other words, a company which counterfeits large volumes of fake products might have some link to organized crime (although terrorism is less likely).  But someone downloading content at home from the Internet – or posting something on their website – probably doesn’t.

Boing Boing reported in 2011:

Piracy doesn’t fund the mob or terrorists ….

A scholarly report funded by the Canadian government and the Ford Foundation investigates the alleged link between copyright infringement and terrorism and finds none.

America Mimics Russia, China and Iran

Treating copyright infringement like terrorism isn’t just an effort to help the giant content producers, like the big movie and music studios.

Unfortunately, the American government is also using copyright laws to crack down on political dissent just like China, Russia and Iran.



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About George Washington

George Washington is the head writer at Washington’s Blog. A busy professional and former adjunct professor, George’s insatiable curiousity causes him to write on a wide variety of topics, including economics, finance, the environment and politics. For further details, ask Keith Alexander…


  1. Aussie F

    Here’s the next headline, it won’t be long….

    “Intellectual independence is being treated as terrorism”

    A homleland security expert has claimed that some associate terrorist groups share ideas with domestic dissidents. “In both cases information and ideas are shared. Noam Chomsky is pretty popular on Jihadist websites, and he’s an influential figure with some here in the US,” said an unnamed source at the new Dept of National Vigilance.

    “It’s a very worrying situation. We have people picking up unsanctioned ideas without formal academic induction or approval from wealth creators. It’s time we clamped down on this kind of unauthorised, intellecutal exchange. It degrades public discourse, dinenfranchises real experts, and puts the nation at risk.”

    1. Josh of Concord

      “unsanctioned ideas” I laughed until I cried- I heard crap like that at school, from the rich brats wearing “Question Authority” buttons.

      Your prediction has come true in my miserable home town of Concord NH. I’m a photographer but I can’t take a photo of anything not considered pretty or artsy in a dull clothing catalog backdrop sort of way. People got in my face, “What’s the camera for?” “Who told you are to take a photo of that?” and called the cops when I just walked away. They never had anything to say, and they’re not getting a chance- I stopped taking photos in Concord.

      My sister said, “Who wins if you do that?” I say Concord does, it gets to be the dead, oppressive, mandated conformity small town it wants to be. I will be elsewhere, telling everyone what a hole the place is.

      I’d try to emigrate, but why bother? Sure, it’s the same everywhere.

      1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

        No, it’s really not “the same” everywhere. I moved to Australia, which is pretty darned 1st world and America-leaning. But the people here have a strong sense of social justice and what’s called a “fair go”. They still seem to know the difference between right and wrong. It’s wrong to allow people to go to the mall heavily armed with concealed weapons. It’s wrong to allow your banks to gamble wildly until they go bust and need to be bailed out. It’s wrong to pay a minimum wage so low that people can’t get by with the basic necessities. It’s wrong to allow your entire healthcare delivery system to be hacked by mega-billionaire pharma shareholders. Last time I visited the US a few months ago I was scared. Yes, it is a police state. Apologists may not want to admit it but then 99% of them haven’t travelled much.
        Ths scary part is the way the US is trying to make the rest of the world a part of it’s police surveillance state. We’re fighting hard to keep that from happening.

      2. Yves Smith

        You are crazy not to emigrate if you can.

        It’s much harder than you think if you don’t have a big corporate sponsor. Most desirable countries start from the assumption you are coming to leach off their social welfare system. So if you aren’t going there with a job lined up OR have a very impressive net worth, you need to be young and highly skilled. Middle aged people can generally fuggedaboudit. In theory you can get in with a spouse, but it has to be real or you need someone who will work really hard at faking it (as in they make the process take a long time and ask each partner separately all sorts of questions, like “What color are your sheets? “What do you usually do on a Friday night? What is your significant other’s favorite drink/food/sports team/actor/book….? How did you meet? How much is your rent? What did you do on your first date? How many people attended your wedding?”)

  2. jrs

    I’m thinking it’s coming down to we have a “Moral Duty to Pirate” ©. That may initially sound opportunistic (moral duty for free movies peeps!), but I’m serious.

    I’ve come to think that the anti-copyright people, who have been warning us for ages (they have!), are right or at least partly so, that ever increasing IP isn’t leading anywhere good. Intellectual property is becoming LINKED to the police state – it’s leading to expanding the police state. I know that wasn’t quite the angle of this article. This article was about anti-terrorism measures being used to protect IP profits (the coruption angle in other words), but it works both ways, think of SOPA and PIPA, IP profits and the existence of IP profits are also being increasingly used to argue for and bolster the police state.

    “Cyber threats cover a wide range of malicious activity that can occur through cyberspace,” wrote Caitlin Hayden, spokeswoman for the White House National Security Council, in an email to The Verge. “Such threats include web site defacement, espionage, theft of intellectual property, denial of service attacks, and destructive malware.”

    Ok website defacement – they mean Anonymous, they might also mean less political hackers as well, but make no mistake Anonymous is in their sights. Anonymous sometimes does DOS as well. By espionage, well in Obamaspeak whilstleblowing = espionage. Those are *their* terrorists. Those are MY freedom fighters (using a very basic uncontroversial definition of freedom here, the one used in the Bill of Rights). That they also throw in IP – hand in hand – IP and the police state. We need a Pirate Party in the U.S.!

    To show how opportunistic I’m actually not, I used to believe in IP, I used to believe “stealing” music and so on was wrong and I looked down on it. I changed my tune because of what IP is being used for. We’re backing the corporate police state here. IP hand in hand with the police state, IP for GMOS which are not limited to where they are planted, IP to patent our own DNA which kills biological research, IP to monopolize medicines, ever expanding IP terms, IP even as our culture rots because it can’t be preserved and books become unavailable. Very limited IP terms to encourage invention? Yea I could see that, talk to me if that ever actually happens, and we don’t get the desire for more and more rents locked in forever by a brutal corporate state. Until then: moral duty to pirate.

    1. Banger

      Confucius says somewhere that we are not duty-bound to follow the laws and dictates of an illegitimate regime and I’m sure that he would label this regime as precisely that. In a way we are duty bound to oppose it in whatever way we can as conscious dictates.

        1. Arc

          The Declaration of Independence says the same in the preamble.

          “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.

          That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new Government, laying its foundation on such principles and organizing its powers in such form, as to them shall seem most likely to effect their Safety and Happiness. Prudence, indeed, will dictate that Governments long established should not be changed for light and transient causes; and accordingly all experience hath shewn, that mankind are more disposed to suffer, while evils are sufferable, than to right themselves by abolishing the forms to which they are accustomed. ***But when a long train of abuses and usurpations, pursuing invariably the same Object evinces a design to reduce them under absolute Despotism, it is their right, it is their duty, to throw off such Government, and to provide new Guards for their future security.***”

          1. nohomehere

            that brought out my pain intensly causing my eyes to water , but it was all fortold in the good book !

    2. Jim Haygood

      Practically speaking, most IP enforcement (the kind that triggers a warning letter from your ISP) pertains to recently released Hollywood movies.

      If you stick to older movies, music and books, downloading rarely causes any problems.

      U.S. copyright (mentioned in the former ‘constitution’) started out with a 14-year term, renewable for another fourteen. This was reasonable in proportion to a human lifetime. Works that one enjoyed during youth became public domain in one’s adulthood.

      Not so no more, now that copyright for works of corporate authorship lasts 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever is earlier. This obscene theft of culture and abuse of the human right to free expression was passed at the behest of the Walt Disney Company, to extend their 1923 Mickey Mouse copyright for another 20 years.

      Not much from MickeyMouseCo interests me. But when it does, I steal it without remorse, and encourage others to do the same. Screw Mickey Mouse with a toilet plunger!

      1. Jess

        Answer a few questions for me?

        Why shouldn’t Disney be able to continue to profit from Mickey Mouse and the other characters that Walt (and the talented people he hired) created?

        Why should some ripoff artist in the Far East or Mexico be able to profit from making products with the Mickey Mouse look or emblem? Just because a certain number of years have passed? If that’s your answer, let’s take Disneyland itself. Been around for what, 60 years or so? Why not make Disney let everyone in free? Is it because running Disneyland involves costs for staff, maintenance, advertising, etc? So what? You go into the Disney store or shop on-line to buy a Mickey Mouse coffee mug, it still costs money to make, market, and ship that mug.

        Or is it that some people, like you, just like to get things for free. I mean, you’ve already admitted feeling that you have the right to guilt-free stealing. Would you steal a car or a flat screen TV just as quickly as you would steal a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt?

          1. Jess

            “unauthorized duplication of data”

            So, if that data is a song or a movie, a person has the unlimited right to duplicate it or watch/listen to it for free just because it is not a physical object? Stealing the DVD so you wouldn’t have to pay for it would be wrong, but watching or listening to it on a pirate website — also to avoid PAYING FOR IT — is just fine? Nice new age morality you’ve got there. (Everything that can be put on the web should be free.)

            1. Nathanael

              Of course it’s right and moral to copy.

              Always has been always will be. First amendment protects it, even.

              I don’t think you actually understand intellectual activity.

              It’s been proven empirically, by people TESTING it, that you (as a writer, filmmaker, etc.) get more money if you encourage people to copy your work, and simply request voluntary payment. More money than if you fanatically try to prevent people from copying your work.

              The worst part is, that it has become routine for “copyright” and “patent” claims to be used for purposes other than securing an income. They are now used for outright intellectual censorship purposes, very routinely. This is completely illegitmate.

        1. LifelongLib

          Under ordinary property law, when you give/sell something to someone, it’s theirs to use as they wish, including making copies of it (if they can). Most things are difficult to replicate so the original seller doesn’t have to worry too much about knockoffs.

          Texts (and later software) are easy to replicate, which creates a problem for the original seller. Copyright was invented to deal with this, but it’s not some new property right, just an exclusive right that’s granted for a period of time.

          “Intellectual property” is a relatively new idea that appears to be intended to let the originator of something have rights over and above what ordinary property law would allow.

          1. Jess

            “Under ordinary property law, when you give/sell something to someone, it’s theirs to use as they wish, including making copies of it (if they can). Most things are difficult to replicate so the original seller doesn’t have to worry too much about knockoffs.”

            Oh, really? Let’s unpack this.

            1. I sell someone a device. Say I’m Apple and it’s an iPad. Customer gets to make and sell as many copies as they want and I’m SOL?

            2 I’m Rolex and I sell someone a watch. They get to make and sell as many copies as they want, and put my name on it, and again I’m SOL?

            Or are these violations of patent and trademark laws? Ah, you say they are? So how come certain creations should get patent and trademark protection but my creation should be, as advocated by many here on this thread, free to the entire world?

            1. LifelongLib

              If unauthorized copying of a text or device was a crime under ordinary law, there would be no need for copyrights or patents. It would simply be theft and dealt with as such. But it isn’t, because for most things if you give/sell them to someone, they can do anything they like with them including making copies. It was eventually recognized that for certain things (new texts, inventions) this made it very difficult for the author/inventor to get any money for their works. Copyrights and patents were devised so that for limited periods of time the originator would have some chance of making money, encouraging them to continue writing/inventing. But these things were needed precisely because writings/inventions weren’t the property of the originator, once they had been given to someone else.

              Intellectual property is a different concept, in which the originator retains some sort of ownership even after copies of the writing/device have been given/sold to other people. Hence the arguments about it.

            2. Nathanael

              “1. I sell someone a device. Say I’m Apple and it’s an iPad. Customer gets to make and sell as many copies as they want and I’m SOL?”

              That’s been the law for roughly 500 years. Deal with it. The entire fashion industry deals with it.

              If you want more power than that, you have to get a patent, which (theoretically) requires proving that you actually invented something new *and* that you would keep it secret if you didn’t get a patent. And the patent expires after 20 years.

        2. digi_owl

          Mickey Mouse is a Disney trademark, a legal structure independent, but related to, copyright.

          That lawyers and politicians have in recent years bunched copyright, trademark and patents under the label “intellectual property”, or ip for short, do not mean that they are a single legal construct.

        3. hunkerdown

          Why should a legal ghost be entitled to change the original bargain repeatedly? What part of the Constitution says he’s entitled to collect monopoly rent on Mickey Mouse as perpetually extended for and by the benefit of the aristocracy? Who do you work for?

        4. Lune

          So Walt Disney is an extraordinary creator entitled to full protections and revenue streams in perpetuity but some guy in the Far East / Mexico who creates a funny t-shirt with Mickey Mouse that people like enough to fork over money for is a “ripoff artist”? They both created something that someone enjoys enough to spend money acquiring. And they both did so building off the creative works of people before them.

          Do you think Walt Disney was the first guy to figure out that people find talking animals funny? He’s just a ripoff artist of childrens stories stretching all the way to Aesop, not to mention direct ripoffs like Cinderella, Snow White, Little Mermaid, etc. etc. Did Disney acquire license rights to talking animals from the first Neanderthals and their descendents who drew animal figures on caves and narrated stories of their antics to their children? No? How dare he steal the works of these original artists and deprive their descendents from extracting monopoly rents off those works for thousands of generations? Disney should be served with a cease-and-desist letter and every talking animal work from them or anyone else should be immediately destroyed and appropriate restitution payments be paid (assuming those neanderthal descendents can be found).

          Do you see why having excessively long coyright terms can stifle creativity?

    3. Jess

      So, I have a book just out on Amazon. Took me six years working on it part time on the side between work. Spent $3K for the services of a professional editor/consultant. Now I’m just in the process of spending another $5K for ads, promotional copies, blog tour bookings, etc. I’ll need to sell thousands of copies just to break even.

      And you have the moral right to steal it.

      There’s a short phrase I’m looking for here. It’s starts with “F#&k” and ends with “You”.

      1. scraping_by

        One of the propaganda lies so common we barely register it is the lie that corporate control of assets is the same as the ownership of personal goods, the benefit of personal work, and the defense of personal integrity.

        For one thing, the scale is completely wrong. What a person or a family can look after and use has the limit of personal time and effort. corporate control is basically infinite, since it can be used for self-sustaining growth.

        For another, assets tend to fall apart or fall away in time. Families work well for asset conservation but only for a few generations. The wastrel heir might be a social balancing mechanism.

        Your ownership of your work is a different thing from corporate control of assets. It’s been given the same surface, but at base, it’s not the same thing. It looks like you’re getting pushed out in front to take the blowback.

      2. anon y'mouse

        best not let any libraries purchase copies for lending. all those thieving eyes are worming out of paying you.

        heck, just burn the libraries. no one needs ideas that were not given to them by commercials and PR statements and government official’s speeches anyway.

        1. Jess

          Libraries buy their copies. And they lend them, one or a few at a time, over years and years. The modern day computer pirates and their fans — evidently people like you — see no difference in:

          a) Often NOT buying, but rather stealing, the first copy.

          b) Then making it available to MILLIONS of people simultaneously.

          c) Then, based on the traffic volume on their sites, SELLING advertising and pocketing the money that they made by giving away my work.

          Man, that’s one helluva of a business model — for the consumer and the ripoff artist, but the creator? Not so much. In fact, not at all.

          1. Nathanael

            This is a disingenuous claim. The ability of the “resellers” to make money from advertising is driven entirely by the stupidity of the original artist.

            If you want to know what the REAL market ACTUALLY looks like, look at Baen Books or Cory Doctorow or Radiohead. Writers who authorize their fans to copy their work — they get lots of money and the “resllers” vanish.

      3. Yves Smith

        I have a book out and I disagree.

        1. 120 years of IP protection is completely insane. I think it used to be 17 and there were ways you could extend it if you were clever.

        2. The “all things IP” regime puts unreasonable (as in similarly insane) restrictions on sharing. If you took some of the rules seriously, it would be impermissible to lend a copy of a book to a buddy at work.

        3. Your real enemy is eBooks, not IP rules. EBooks have been a huge factor in the squeezing of margins to authors (I won’t go into the explanation, but trust me, for instance, advances have collapsed unless you are Michael Lewis). And the publishers and vendors have not taken adequate measures to prevent copying and posting on the friggin Web. If you are upset about being ripped off, what you should care about is someone posting your eBook on the Web, or Google Books, which puts so much up as to be tantamount to giving it away, and not libraries or routine lending.

        You really need to get your priorities straight. But no, you’ve aligned yourself with the publishing industrial complex, which is actually out to screw content producers to enrich the people who own the publishing infrastructure, retailers like Amazon, and device providers.

        1. Jess

          So ebooks are the enemy? Selling mine on Kindle makes me the enemy, or at least in bed with the enemy? Really? I’m not Yves Smith. I don’t have a couple of decades of credibility as a Wall Street financial adviser. I don’t live in NY and travel in the social circles that allow me to rub elbows with editors at big publishing houses. While I lament the collapse of advances except for big time established authors, I don’t even have a chance to GET PUBLISHED unless I can do it myself on ebooks. (A prominent book agent frankly counseled me that if I went the legacy publishing route it would take a year for the book to be reviewed, approved, and put in the pipeline. My advance against royalties would not have exceeded $1,000 and might have been as little as $10. And, oh, yes, I would have had to sign away all rights to ebook revenues. And Amazon is my enemy?)

          Then, of course, there is a friend who lost her gig writing for soap operas when they started to vanish from the airwaves. So to keep a roof over the head of her and her daughter she turned to self-publishing, specializing in the paranormal genre. Now she’s has over had 280,000 downloads of one book alone and some months outsells big name authors. So she’s in bed with the enemy, too?

          Just to be clear:

          1. I’m no more a fan of Amazon’s dominance in the ebook world than I am of Google’s dominance in the advertising world, or Amazon’s deplorable treatment of workers at its fulfillment operations. But alternatives like Nook and Smashwords have proven to be inept and mismanaged. Amazon didn’t have to muscle Nook into being irrelevant; B&N was more than happy to do its part.

          1. Yves Smith

            You just demonstrated you are not familiar with the economics of book publishing. If you think having a blog or a bit of a following makes a difference in book sales, you are sorely mistaken. This is a power law game, just like music or acting. A very few make a lot of money, and the payoff falls off rapidly once you get beyond that itty bitty but very famous group at the top.

            I made less writing my book per hour than I do blogging, and blogging is a brutally hard way to make money.

            As I said, unless you are Michael Lewis, or have a stroke of good fortune (David Graeber got a big advance even though he had only previously published academic books that all has small readerships) you don’t get meaningful advances. Before eBooks screwed everything up, there was a robust trade press that would pay unknown people with decent proposals $20,000 or so in the early 1990s, which would be equivalent to $30,000 now (this was for business books, and that’s an oversaturated market).

            Look, my brother, a blue collar worker in a paper mill who only completed two years in college, was the first to write a book in our family and HE got an advance. Now he does happen to be an expert, but he’s completely self taught, no recognized credentials of any sort:


            It’s a good book. He has more Amazon stars than I got.

            You would have been able to sell your proposal into the trade press. And most books DO NOT earn out their advances, BTW (as in the advance is all you make).

            I wish you luck but your odds of recouping your costs launching your book are low. If you are doing this for other reasons, as in marketing (to get your foot in the door for sales pitches or make you stand out from competitors) that’s a different issue. A book is a great legitimator.

            The average self-published book sells 250 copies.


            You seem not to recognize that the industry of people who provide services to self-published authors has every reason to encourage you to go ahead whether you have any odds of doing well. By contrast, a publisher knows what books have been sold recently, what books are in the pipeline, and whether you have a shot of standing out and finding readers. And they used to be more value added on other fronts until their margins got squeezed from small to microscopic.

            And I wouldn’t do a book tour unless you want an excuse to make a holiday tax deductible. My publisher would not do one for me, which meant they didn’t see any payoff in it.

            1. Zapster

              Yves, I bought your book on the strength of your blog. I’ve also been known to buy entire *series* of books that I first read for free–from libraries, pirate sites, wherever. I still do. If I like a book, and the authors have others, I tend to want to read them all *right now* and not waste time searching for pirate copies. Baen books’ free library has led to more sales for them as well. Pirate sites are free advertising–you get much wider exposure to people who are willing to pay, and the ones that don’t wouldn’t anyway. As was pointed out, libraries exist for those that can’t afford to pay. Now piracy does too. There’s really no fundamental difference. I use both in exactly the same way, to get exposure to artists I wouldn’t otherwise find out about. The big publishers are no longer covering that territory–it’s much harder to locate good authors than it used to be. What’s changed is computers. Artists no longer *need* the big publishers as much. Look at how many great artists are starting out publishing on youtube! Authors would be better served by *using* the p2p networks deliberately to advertise their work. With exposure to literally *billions* of potential customers, you need very few to actually buy your work, in reality.

            2. redleg

              I am a musician and songwriter. Major record labels have worked the same way – the advance is all you generally get for the performance due to recoupable expenses and the fine print that makes your song the property of the label (as “work for hire”). Then when you realize that you are geting screwed they won’t let you out of the contract even when they shelve your “project”. The priates are the labels and RIAA, not the fans who want to share. At least (for musicians) they tend to go to see you play, and maybe even buy some swag.
              Publishing (for songwriters) is more artist friendly, but if you didn’t write it you get zero.
              I have no experience with book deals, so I hope all y’all get a better chance than songwriters and musicians do with medium/large labels.

              The single best option for me as a songwriter is to assume I will never make a red cent from music and keep a day job. So I give away music for free hoping that a film picks it up or that people turn out for shows. Radio play would help, but contrary to US law payola is alive and well. And its recoupable (against the artist) if you are signed.

              1. Nathanael

                Most musicians have found that they get more money by not signing with a label, and simply requesting voluntary donations, than they do by signing.

                Really old business model, passing the hat, but it seems to be the best now.

          2. Nathanael

            Whine whine whine, Jess. You aren’t owed a living by readers… and you won’t get one by cracking down on copying.

            Release your book to the world and ask for donations. If people like it, they’ll send you money. If they don’t, well, your book sucked, deal with it, most people’s books do suck.

      4. jrs

        So you support in the broadest outlines a system that is used to crush scientific research, used to patent lifeforms, etc. etc.. because narrowly you stand to profit. That sucks. I won’t be buying your book, I don’t believe it’s ethical to support that.

        1. Jess

          That’s not what I’m talking about and you know it. Hell, I specifically condemned that sort of thing on this thread by pointing out that I’m against the stuff Monsanto and Big Pharma are attempting to.

      5. Lune


        You’re taking the time and expense to create a work of art / intellectual exercise that would benefit society. Good for you. You’re creating something of value for all the rest of us. And in exchange, the government is giving you a copyright grant of life + 70 years to exploit that work. That means you have your entire lifetime, the lifetime of your children, most of the lifetime of your grandchildren, and part of the lifetime of your great- and great-great-grandchildren to profit off that work.

        Now you might ask why you shouldn’t have an infinite copyright? Because each copyright granted represents a cost to society. That cost isn’t your loss of revenue from people copying your work when the copyright expires (macroeconomically-speaking, one person’s revenue is another person’s expense, so it’s a net zero). The cost of a copyright is that it freezes your work and prevents new works from being created based on your work. It stifles innovation and the creative process.

        Of course having no copyright protection also stifles innovation (very few people would invent if they couldn’t profit from it). And so as a society we try to strike a balance on copyright protections that maximizes the amount and quality of innovation that’s generated.

        Certainly we can have a debate on where that balance lies, but to disregard the social cost of innovation lost due to copyright laws is just as misleading as discounting the personal loss of motivation from potential innovators when copyright laws are broken.

  3. reader2012

    “As for freedom, it will soon cease to exist in any shape or form. Living will depend upon absolute obedience to a strict set of arrangements, which it will no longer be possible to transgress. The air traveler is not free. In the future, life’s passengers will be even less so: they will travel through their lives fastened to their (corporate) seats.”

    – Jean Baudrillard, 2002

  4. HS

    It’s just another part of the New Normal, where only the elite enjoy representation. Copyright infringement is a variation of the highest crime of all–the reduction of corporate revenues.

  5. Banger

    The arrow of history is pointing toward authoritarianism and neo-feudalism and there appears to be no opposition to this movement. Yes, we will have thought crimes and, I suspect our body chemistry will soon be monitored and God only knows what will follow. The strange thing is that I believe people actually want precisely that kind of world.

    Our job is to enjoy what we can in this world, cherish our loved ones and adapt to this brave new world. Spirituality and magic are the only open avenues for freedom.

    1. jrs

      On monitoring our body chemistry:

      They have patented a method(?) of inserting microchips into pharmaceuticals. Yes, I know, this sounds like Alex Jones and a natural health crazy and ranting about precious bodily fluids all rolled into one and is likely to be immediately dismissed. But instead do a minimal amount of research, this is verifiable by credible sources. Research Proteus Biomedical.

      “The patch records when a pill is ingested and also tracks other things like sleep patterns and physical activity levels.”

      Companies like Oracle are major partners in it (their own website says as much at least until they take it down). Silicon valley eh …

  6. Hugh

    The surveillance state is about controlling us. An important way of doing this is by controlling our access to information. The corporate state is also about control and ensuring that it can set up tollbooths between us and anything we do. You might ask what the big deal is about charging you to listen to a song. This is to look at it the wrong way. It is rather that the state exercises so much control over you that it can even charge you for listening to a song and prosecute you if you do not pay.

  7. anon y'mouse

    yikes, i’m a terrorist for listening to Lovedrive on youtube.

    ohwell, at least it was for a good cause.

  8. Jess

    Yes, let’s eliminate all copyright protections and patents. Let’s have all the movies in the world made for free. Not just the actors but the lighting and sound techs and editors will work for free. The caterers will provide craft service food for free. No need to pay them — NO WAY to pay them — because the movie will not get made. No one will finance it because they can’t charge to show it. First night in the theater it will get copied. Next time it will be free worldwide on the internet. In that way, all the great actors and actresses of the future will be confined to community theater.

    Music? Same deal. No more super groups and stars. Every guy or gal with half a voice and a guitar or piano will produce free stuff in their living room and put it on the net for free — in between going to their minimum wage burger flipping job or waitress/bartending gig.

    Software and hardware? There won’t be anymore iPhones or tablets or software advancements because nobody will fund the development. Sell it first day in your Apple store. Two days later buy the clone on eBay for 1/50th the price. How long do you think Apple will stay in business that way?

    Novels and non-fiction books, including those written by people like Glenn Greenwald or Naomi Klein? A thing of the past. Sold on Day One, scanned overnight, available in hard cover, paperback, and electronically by Day Two, world-wide, for a pittance of the official price. All perfectly legal. Meanwhile, writers who don’t have jobs with journalism entities like the Guardian will be working the same shift with those unemployed movie crew members.

    1. OpenThePodBayDoorsHAL

      Whoa, switch to decaf dude. The article asks whether copyright infringement should be treated as terrorism and whether downloaders are terrorists. Nobody’s planning to make theft legal. Just trying to make sure kiddies downloading songs aren’t shipped off to Guantanamo and held indefinitely without charges.

      1. jrs

        You seem to be aruging with is a perspective that argues: under no conditions should there be IP. Which was not the argument in the article (by a long shot) and really not an argument I’d make either.

        You might be starting from theoretical premises: is a world with fairly enforced copyright better than one without? Or what would a world with no copyright look like?

        I’m coming from an anlysis of power structures perspective, based on the news I know, although some things are almost more intuitively sensed than fully flushed out, a sense of where various institutions are leading us, trying to see how various parts of a system reinforce each other, how the various players interact. And IP is at the least always on the scene of the crime. IP can be a backdoor to extreme police state measures: to censorship (the fear with SOPA was that people would be forced to take down thier websites on mere *accusation* of IP violation no proof necessary, that’s a heck of an opening to censorship. This support for SOPA is proof the big IP players are not actually trying to create a world with fairly enforced IP). Yes, the infrastructure built to enforce IP could be used for censorship.

        If we had a decently functioning democracy/government/social system where IP was only held to be useful to the extent it produced SOCIAL BENEFIT (and corporations were only allowed to exist to that same extent!!!). And in such a world IP terms would not be continually increased IMO. If we had an intact bill of rights and I wasn’t afraid of them taking the 1st Amendment where they’ve taken the rest of them. Then yes in that world, have your IP. In what I interpret to be this world, we must take down all the planks that support the system of our oppression and degradation, we must not support that which will be used to oppress us.

        Anyway the scenarios you mention are not entirely realistic. IP criticism comes in many different flavors. Many people think musicians SHOULD be paid, they dislike music companies (quite literally the middle man). So their refusal to participate is refusal to pay the middle man.

        As for software, are you familiar with open source software? How long has Linux been around? Yes people produce software for free, but not all open source software is free software produced by unpaid people. Companies can actually make money producing open source software.

        1. Jess

          “Companies can actually make money producing open source software.”

          I’ve heard of that, but I’ve been able to understand how it works. Can you, or somebody, explain what that business model is? How can you give away something for free and make money? Is there an ad-based model, where ads for other products on your website generate the necessary revenue? Is is an “appeal to charity” model…”Hey, if you like this great stuff, send us a contribution” type model?

          I mean, in all seriousness, how do you sell a product that someone can have for free just by copying it, with not only no legal threat but with permission to do so? How does that work. Because I’d love to know how I could improve my own personal finances by giving away my work. Accomplishing that would certainly let me go to my grave knowing that for most of my life I was doing it all wrong.

            1. Jess

              So, they give you something, but if you want it to function, then you have to pay them for support?

              What about folks who don’t need support, who are computer nerds in their own right, or have friends who are?

              And what about when a half dozen nerds get together, buy one support contract, use it for everybody’s needs?

              Does that model really work?

              And how would that work with my book? If it needs “support” then I’m guessing that it will be the first book in history that does. So how do I profit by giving it away? (Remember, the argument I’m addressing here is the one made by those who claim that there should be no copyright protections and anything that can be put on the web should be free or it is perfectly alright to steal it if it’s not.)

              1. YankeeFrank

                I can’t say how it would work with your book, because we have no idea what your book is about or if its relevant or any good.

                But many companies have done quite well on the open source front. MySQL become huge giving away its database software for free. Corporations that wanted to use it also wanted support, and paid for it, making them rich for offering a great product.

                But apparently you think its more fair for a company (and rarely, an individual) to profit forever from an idea it once had without having to do any further work on that idea or to support that idea.

                Copyright and patent terms have been around long before you were. They exist for solid reasons. You are refusing to see them because you have some idea that you might somehow not make as much money down the road if you did. You are living in a fantasy world yet are attempting to diminish our very real world in your effort to make your fantasy world even better.

          1. Lambert Strether

            Services to support and/or extend the software. It doesn’t make you a billionaire on the scale of truly great looters like Bill Gates, but it’s a living doing really interesting work with good people.

            1. Jess

              I still confused about the business model. I need to know how it works from the genesis moment. You get the idea, work on it in your garage or bedroom (ala Jobs and Gates), then you give it away? And if it’s free to begin with, why does anybody need to extend it? Why not just get the newest free version?

              Also, correct me if I’m wrong, but in the beginning wasn’t the deal with Linux that it didn’t have support and you had to figure out any problems by yourself, with the help of friends, or through geek chat rooms? What did those Linux developers use to buy food, or pay the electric bill for their computing creation work? Hell, how did they afford the computers to begin with?

              I’m sorry but maybe I’m just hung up in the traditional paradigm: You work hard, make a good product (better mousetrap), offer a good service (quality dry cleaning or good Italian restaurant), charge a fair price and you get rewarded. You can afford a nice house, drive a decent car (well, not if you’re Yves), take a vacation, send the kids to college, retire without having to eat cat food. I just don’t understand how you can do that giving away your product if that product is intellectual property. Nor do I understand how the owners of Linux can support themselves nicely by giving away the thing. I must be stupid, because absent a definitive explanation of the full business model, I just don’t understand how the pieces come together to make the thing work.

              1. Zapster

                You know, the model where you work hard and get rewarded is long gone. These days you work hard and your CEO gets rewarded, not you.

                The linux “business model” is the one used by Red Hat to become one of the largest Enterprise server companies in the world. They serve by customizing, installing and supporting open source software, and periodically releasing their own proprietary versions back into “the wild” to seed more innovation. For books tho.. what is/was the main “function” of big publishers? It was advertising. Getting the word out, and they often did it by sending free copies to libraries and magazines all over the place. They fronted the money for those ad runs. Now, we don’t need their money. You can show your books to millions on the net/p2p networks, etc. Yes, lots will read it for ‘free’, and if it’s great they’ll talk it up, and some people will buy it because that’s the fastest way to get a permanent copy. With millions of eyes on it, you only need a tiny fraction of those to actually pay. The bigger problem for authors is simply the sheer scale of the competition on the net. Do I read a book or the 57 blogs in my RSS feeds? Hmm…

          2. hunkerdown

            Long story: There’s a certain line between the Linux kernel and the next “application” layer out (e.g. Android, the TiVo OS, the Wi-Fi router’s particular system software). Any changes or additions made to the Linux kernel may only be distributed if the source code to those changes/additions is made available to distributees, and only if those changes/additions carry the same obligation of disclosure as the rest of the kernel. Drivers connect to the kernel behind that line and are thus considered part of the kernel for license purposes, but applications meet the kernel at that line and are not obliged to disclosure by the kernel license.

            Short story: Linux and other open-source tools and libraries mean manufacturers don’t have to buy or build similar abstraction layers (Windows RT, VxWorks, MPEG codecs, etc.), and therefore can spend less development time and money on reinventing and reimplementing subtle, complex, sensitive systems and more on product differentiation and value.

            Who gets value: Product manufacturers see their development costs and risk slashed. Semiconductor companies sell more chips and more variations on themes to suit cost pressure vs. feature requirements (in fact, many foundries provide board support packages and/or kernel driver modules for select devices as a courtesy). The Linux community captures and shares knowledge about how to make these new chips go that would ordinarily be buried under NDAs, and which might yield insight to improve Linux’s ability to handle other chips. Engineers get saved from reinventing the wheel under time pressure. Product buyers get less expensive products. Entrepreneurs, experimenters, hobbyists and tinkerers receive the ability to make unexpected, unintended enhancements or adaptations to the product to suit their own interests, or to create something entirely new on a similar platform. And a little bit of gear so repurposed stays useful and out of landfills.

      2. Jess

        Those “kiddies downloading songs”? What do you think was the existential threat to the music industry posed by Napster. That was only, what, a few million “kiddies” downloading songs? Wasn’t the threat of Napster what inspired iTunes? If every “kiddie” who wanted — and could get — any song for free, why would they ever pay for them? Except for a small minority (and probably ever-shrinking) group of ethical people, everybody else would bootleg like a maniac.

        I’m “honorary uncle” to my best friend’s two teenagers. They’ve been brought up in what I consider a good home by parents who don’t condone law-breaking. For years I’ve sent them periodic iTunes gifts cards for their birthdays. About a year ago I had to take them to the woodshed because I found that when the cards ran out, they were bootlegging some songs from pirate sites. As if enough money, between the two of them, to download one song per week wasn’t enough.

        Worldwide the movie and television industry loses BILLIONS to pirated work. It puts people out of work. It results in fewer films being made. It puts a premium on blockbusters because profit margins on smaller films are just too narrow for a big company to take the risk.

        And speaking of big companies, I work on the creative side in the movie business. Actual creators — writers, directors, actors, etc., — have been screwed over by the big corporate copyright holders for decades. Hell, the term “creative accounting” came out of Hollywood. Thus I have no love lost for these companies. However, even with the rampant studio stealing that goes on, a significant amount of REAL MONEY filters down to the true creators. And without copyright protection, there would be NO MONEY — and NO business.

        And lest I be misunderstood, I’m an ardent opponent of SOPA and before that CISPA, and I am disturbed by the idea of using IP protections as a backdoor to crack down on domestic dissidents. However, there are commenters here on this post who are advocating elimination of copyright, which worries me just as much.

        1. AbyNormal

          your pendulum consistently wild swings to support the most outdated arguments, thereby grant arguments to the deadliest vipers striking…so YOU 1ST STRAWMAN

          Monsanto Wins Case Of Seed Patents; Planting Your Own Legally Purchased & Grown Seeds Can Be Infringing

          ‘Monsanto Protection Act’: 5 Terrifying Things To Know About The HR 933 Provision

          Will Fracking Become the Next Mass Tort?

          Land Use Laws and Fracking

          plenty examples here: International Water Law Project

          Water Rights

          “I don’t have a ‘side’—I’m responsible for what I say and nothing else.” Glenn Greenwald

          1. Jess

            I probably haven’t made myself clear: I’m trying to differentiate between copyright IP and patents. I detest Monsanto and what it (and some of the big pharma companies have been doing, or trying to do) in terms of patenting genes and dominating markets and so forth. I also recognize that patents need to expire so that there can be competition in the marketplace for identical or near-identical products, which is the way you prevent monopolies.

            But books and movies and songs are not identical to each other. Each one is a new and different product. All songs have verses and usually some form of musical accompaniment. But those verses and melodies are different. Yves’ ECONNED is a book, but it’s nothing at all like Tom Clancy’s THE HUNT FOR RED OCTOBER. Words on paper, yes. Theme, meaning, style, nowhere close. STAR WARS and THE HURT LOCKER are both movies, and they’re both about war, but otherwise they are nothing alike.

            Contrast, say, two automobiles. Chevy Malibu and Toyota Camry. Both internal combustion engines and automatic transmissions. Some components such as tires, oil, trans fluid, head and tail light bulbs, etc., are probably even interchangeable. There is no way that GM or Ford should have been able to patent “the car”. But patent a feature, an engineering advance on THEIR model? Absolutely. Only fair.

            And I stress again: Many commenters here have advocated that there should be NO copyright and/or that stealing ALL copyrighted material is okay with them.

            1. Lune

              That’s a false distinction. Creative / artistic work is built off of previous foundations just as much as scientific / industrial work.

              If you work in the movie business, you should know the phrase “there are only 7 stories ever told”. That means every movie created is rooted in 7 archetypes that date back thousands of years if not further. And genre-specific movies such as romantic comedies are scripted so tightly that certain plot points are expected to be hit at exact times in the movie (e.g. boy/girl finally commit to each other at the 50% mark, they split again at 75% mark, and finally reunite again for good at 90-100% mark; yes, try timing the next romantic comedy you see).

              Are romantic comedies any less derivative than near-identical pharmaceutical products? Why do you single out creative works as something special that arises completely uniquely whole from someone’s head while you dismiss the works of thousands of phd’s and billions of dollars in research that goes into those “nearly identical” medicines?

            2. Nathanael

              You don’t even know what the word “stealing” means, Jess. I suggest you look it up. Hint: it requires depriving someone else of something.

              How should authors and artists get compensated? Well, I strongly believe in *the right to get credit*, and in keeping with my background in science, I strongly oppose plagarism (copying stuff without giving credit).

              Once you have gotten *credit*, it is easy to make money if your stuff was popular You can give your stuff away and make lots of money, no problem, because people *know you made it* and they appreciate that.

              If you do not get *credit* then you have a problem.

              *Credit* has absolutely nothing to do with copyright as copyright law is currently organized. Nothing whatsoever.

    2. petridish

      That all sounds pretty bad, Jess.

      No Rolling Stones? No Justin Bieber? And O. M. G. no SOFTWARE????? I just can’t live like that.

      Break down some doors and let’s get to hangin’ ’em. Especially those piratin’, mob lovin’, terrorista collaboratin’, scum Al-Quaeda jihadi fake Americans who sing “Happy Birthday” to their one-year-olds without payin’ the freight.

      Hang ’em HIGH, I say.

      Why, it’s an EXISTENTIAL THREAT, I say.

      1. petridish

        I prolly shouldn’t have even written the words “Happy Birthday” without asking permission first. For that, I ‘pologize.

        Send me the bill and you bet I’ll pay it. The address is written right here on my middle finger.

        1. Jim Haygood

          It is probably okay to write that song title if you dignify it with quotes, or all caps, or the (c) symbol to show that it is IP protected.

          But just recklessly typing those words on a public forum without even a nod to their creator is really pretty damned disrespectful.

          1. petridish

            It’s not the creator I’m worried about. He/she just wanted me to have a happy birthday.

            It’s the owner of the copyright, who wants me waterboarded if I do.

    3. Banger

      Yes, but stories and storytelling will not go away. Movies as we know them are not essential to life but they will get made by people who want to tell a story. Perhaps this will revive the theater which, to me, would be great. Still, maybe communities could support artists–and movies would get made but not so many expensive car-crashes and exploding things–ya think?

      As for music good riddance to super-groups! Support your local musicians! Go see live music or, better, yet make your own music with your friends. I know of a singer/songwriter who is not a big deal, a local guy, who makes a decent living playing live music venues of which there are many here in the North Carolina.

      Having said that I think we need not throw out copyright but turn it back to what it once was with 14-year limitation and artists should have a bit more leeway to sample other artists.

      1. Jess

        Movies will still get made because people want to tell stories? That’s your argument?

        You have NO idea how movies (real movies, not Super 8 YouTube stuff) get made do you? Do you know what the difference between a script and a movie is?

        The money.

        Want to tell a movie story as I have for years? Write a script. I wrote what I thought were two pretty good ones, one for Dreamworks and another as a potential independent film with a noted European director hot to direct. You know what? Neither got the money to be made. They’re still (IMHO) good stories but they aren’t MOVIES.

        Here’s a short course in how non-studio films get made:

        Somebody writes a script, which is then circulated through the industry (formally by agents or informally through personal connections and back door channels) until a director and an actor (or several actors) with sufficient credibility and name value agree to participate in the film at specified compensation.

        That “package” of script plus “attachments” is then circulated to companies who specialize in distributing films in various geographic territories and mediums. If you’re successful, enough companies will contract (guarantee) to pay you “X” amount for the EXCLUSIVE right to distribute and exhibit your film in their territories and mediums. So you get a commitment of $500K from Towo Tawa in Japan, another $500K from Village Roadshow in Australia, $600K from Studio Canal + for France, $500K from HBO for domestic premium cable, etc.

        Then you go to a Completion Bond Company. They agree, for a fee — usually around 6% of the physical production budget — to guarantee the money committed by the distributors. With that guarantee in hand you go to a bank that does film financing. They give you a loan for the film, but that loan is discounted from the total amount of the budget, and they charge you interest on the money.

        Once the film is finished and accepted by the distributors as meeting their contractual requirements (running time, rating, etc.), then the bonding company releases payment to the bank. With all the fees and interest charges and so forth, if your film costs $3mil to make, in reality you need to cobble together about $4mil in distribution guarantees to get it off the ground. (This same method on a greater scale is used to make major non-studio movies with budgets sometimes up into the $50-60 mil range.)

        And, oh yes, about YOUR movie. Once the completion bond company comes on board, they put an Executive in Charge of Production on your staff. Every week there is a Production Report showing what you did — or didn’t — accomplish that week. Are you over or under budget? On schedule, ahead, or behind? And if you are a producer with any brains at all, if you’re over budget or behind schedule, in the comments section of the report you will outline a plan to solve those problems. And if can’t/won’t/don’t fix those problems, eventually the CBC Exec will take over the film. They’ll cut the schedule, drop scenes, even replace the director — IOW, do whatever they have to do to finish the film deliver it so they can get the money spigot flowing again and get out from under their liability. They’ll try to do it using what money is left from the bank production loan, but if necessary the CBC will have to dip into its own fees and accumulated corporate reserves to do the job. The CBC that bonded Spike Lee’s MALCOLM X actually went bankrupt from covering the cost overruns on that film. The original budget was always magical thinking and everybody knew it, but there was no other way to get the mighty production train on the tracks and out of the station. The banks and distributors didn’t care because their asses were covered by the CBC, and if the CBC ponied up the extra money it just meant that the distributors would be getting the best possible product.

        1. Banger

          Actually I do know something about it since my sister has been involved in several film projects so I’ve heard all the stories and I’ve met people in the industry and have heard their stories.

          Ok, films as currently created cannot be made in a capitalistic society without money and that’s obvious. But I can, today, make a “film” using a video camera millions of people are doing that. Just as I paint pictures or play my musical instruments. The point is that creativity and continuing the Western artistic tradition is not dependent on capitalism but can be done cheaply. I’ve seen highly effective videos done with a low budget. I’ve met storytellers who, in the vividness of their trance, create magic. Did Spalding Gray need a lot of money to create his works? What’s to stop me, other than ability, to doing something similar and putting it up on the internet and asking for donations?

          Things don’t always have to be done in the same way. Film is a wonderful medium but most movies are sheer crap so I wouldn’t miss them.

          1. Jess

            “Movies as we know them are not essential to life but they will get made by people who want to tell a story.”

            Then, you say:

            “Ok, films as currently created cannot be made in a capitalistic society without money and that’s obvious. But I can, today, make a “film” using a video camera millions of people are doing that. Just as I paint pictures or play my musical instruments. The point is that creativity and continuing the Western artistic tradition is not dependent on capitalism but can be done cheaply. I’ve seen highly effective videos done with a low budget. I’ve met storytellers who, in the vividness of their trance, create magic.”

            Okay, so let’s say your Mark Boal, and you served in Iraq, and “in the vividness of your trance” the story you want to tell is THE HURT LOCKER. (BTW, this is not one of my favorite films, it’s just a convenient example. Low budget, not much box office success, and IIRC, the lowest-grossing Best Picture of all time. Which means, of course, that SOME people thought it was a damn fine example of movie-making.)

            You can’t make THE HURT LOCKER without copyright protection, for all the reasons I outlined in my other post.

            But then here comes your kicker:

            “Film is a wonderful medium but most movies are sheer crap so I wouldn’t miss them.”

            So it’s not really that folks can create their visions without the financing that copyright protection offers, it’s just that they can’t make films that you consider crap. It’s your judgment that counts, not the storyteller’s. Great, got it. Glad we’re clear on that.

            Several comments:

            First, your claim that many movies will still be made by people

            1. Zapster

              You know guys, there are no copyrights or patents in the fashion industry, yet designers get very very rich creating clothes. Perhaps a lesson can be taken from there.. they’ve never been able to patent, and thrive regardless.

            2. Nathanael

              Yes, you can make “The Hurt Locker” without copyright protection. At the moment there is a requirement for a certain amount of upfront financing, but that requirement is getting smaller all the time.

              Would you care to make more wild-ass assertions which are false?

        2. Nathanael

          “wrote what I thought were two pretty good ones, one for Dreamworks”

          If it was supposed to be animated, you should have just made it yourself. That’s really quite cheap.

          It is true that there is still a significant monetary barrier to entry for making live-action films. There is no longer such a barrier with (1) writing, (2) music, (3) animated film, (4) still photography, and there never was one for fashion design. The monetary barrier on live action is probably going to go away fairly soon too.

    4. anon y'mouse

      wait, isn’t this the same poster who thought it was ok to shoot someone to death because they were stealing a car’s battery?

      same sh*t, different day.

      1. Jess

        Boy, I guess being anti-bankster, pro civil liberties and the Bill of Rights, a fan of Glenn Greenwald, Matt Taibbi, and Yves isn’t enough to pass the political correctness litmus test? Gotta check off all the boxes, right?

    5. Nathanael

      Jess, you don’t understand any of the markets you’re talking about.

      First of all, hardware costs money to manufacture. People will keep inventing new hardware and profiting from it, because of this alone. People will continue to buy the “brand name” because of reputation.

      Second, both books and music can now be made, quite easily, without publishers. Publishers don’t even provide editing any more. Publishers are VALUE SUBTRACTED in most cases. This means a change in the business model, and Cory Doctorow can tell you what the business model actually is now.

      How long until movies go the same way? Not long.

      Animated movies are already there! For live action, the main “difficult” upfront cost seems to actually be in sound recording. Actors, costumers, and set designers will work for minimal pay or residuals, and they do.

  9. Hayek's Heelbiter

    Heretic means “to think for one’s self.”

    And we all know what the established powers did to heretics!

    Are those days upon us again?

  10. TomDor

    If you are a corporation, particularly if you are a financial services organization…laws do not apply. Simply launder money for the ‘terrorist’ or the drug kingpins or crime bosses or ones self.
    Hey, it so great (snark) that functions of the government are being carried out by private companies – they have proven, so well, that their interests are aligned with the people.
    Ya know… the privatized prisons, security apparatus, war making, spying etc. – all of em’ are working in their best interest (shareholder value). Of course, in doing so, their interests are to: lock everyone up, spy on everyone, make war on everyone, exploit everything and privatize the commons — it is the free market making the best of things…………… could that be wrong?

  11. Vic

    The next step, of course, is to declare bloggers like Yves as economic terrorists who threaten the plutocracy by their critique of neo-liberal thought. Intellectuals have always been the first to go to the wall.

  12. Generalfeldmarschall von Hindenburg

    Theyve already equated environmental activism with terrorism. And animal rights activism. So where does it end?

    1. Downunderer

      “Theyve already equated environmental activism with terrorism.”

      Which is why, many years ago and for only the second time in my life, I actually, physically burned a book that was unfit to survive. In Crichton’s “State of Fear”, he used all of his significant skills to cast environmentalists and a group concerned about climate-change as murderously violent terrorists.

      His evil greenies were quite willing to slaughter masses of school kids, scouts, and their teachers and leaders to make a political point, by using a techno-trick on the weather. Not content with this truly baseless slander, Crichton also put weapons in the terrorist greenies’ hands and portrayed them as not just willing, but quite pleased to kill anyone who might get in their way.

      Contrast this with the real extent of environmental extremism advocacy in “The Monkey Wrench Gang”.

      Of course, Crichton’s book came out during the W administration, which raises interesting questions, but Crichton is beyond answering them now. As (sadly) is Edward Abbey.

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