This page collects recent items on Copyright. My goal is Free Culture. Get a copy of the book by Lawrence Lessig to learn more.

Copyright is killing music

2018-10-19 Permission Culture

I was looking at some old blog posts of mine regarding the Old School RPG Planet and found the following in a comment of mine. It’s still as relevant as ever:

I think that asking for permission just doesn’t scale. It’s OK to ask one person, but asking a hundred people is not how I want to spend my time. The long answer is in the pages of the Free Culture book. Just search for the word “permission” and learn about the differences of permission culture and free culture. Here’s a paragraph from page 192f:

The building of a permission culture, rather than a free culture, is the first important way in which the changes I have described will burden innovation. A permission culture means a lawyer’s culture—a culture in which the ability to create requires a call to your lawyer. Again, I am not antilawyer, at least when they’re kept in their proper place. I am certainly not antilaw. But our profession has lost the sense of its limits. And leaders in our profession have lost an appreciation of the high costs that our profession imposes upon others. The inefficiency of the law is an embarrassment to our tradition. And while I believe our profession should therefore do everything it can to make the law more efficient, it should at least do everything it can to limit the reach of the law where the law is not doing any good. The transaction costs buried within a permission culture are enough to bury a wide range of creativity. Someone needs to do a lot of justifying to justify that result.

I recommend the book. It’s a long read, but I liked it. It also made me unwilling to spend time asking people for permission to do anything. I’d rather spend my time elsewhere.


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2018-09-17 Free Software vs. Open Source

Recently, Rémi Rampin (@remram44) said we should probably merge the Free Software and FLOSS lists on Trunk. I remember we used to have only FLOSS and reintroduced a separate Free Software category because of user feedback and then @aminb wrote two separate introductions to the two lists. The description for the Free Software list said: “This list aims to cater to the free software philosophy and ethical concerns around proprietary software.” The description for the FLOSS list said: “This list is for people interested in development/discussion about Free/Libre and Open Source Software.”

Rémi Rampin was not convinced. He said he wrote free software for a living and that he didn’t understand what the difference was supposed to be.

I linked to Why Open Source misses the point of Free Software by Richard Stallman, but Rémi Rampin argued that the difference between the two terms was minimal and that both the people and the discussions happening would not differ significantly as one list would be strictly included in the other.

I suggested we test this by simply looking at the overlap between these two lists. Rémi Rampin found the following: 22 people are on both lists, 5 are only in the Free Software list, and 33 are only in the FLOSS list. I left it at that.

Today I stumbled on a post by @bjoern where links to an old copy of the Open Source Initiative FAQ from the Internet Archive:

The Open Source Initiative is a marketing program for free software. It’s a pitch for “free software” on solid pragmatic grounds rather than ideological tub-thumping. The winning substance has not changed, the losing attitude and symbolism have.

And he linked me to a message by Bruce Perens from 1999:

Most hackers know that Free Software and Open Source are just two words for the same thing. Unfortunately, though, Open Source has de-emphasized the importance of the freedoms involved in Free Software. It’s time for us to fix that.

I still feel that Free Software remains a separate and important topic to talk about. It’s why I keep using the term Free Software even when many people about me use Open Source. It helps spot the scam of source-available software. There, the problem is worse: you might not have the legal rights to use, share, modify or even to compile it, and if you look at the source code, you might not be able to write similar code in order to solve the same problem because you might get sued. The necessity of clean room design tells me everything I need to know about the state of copyright these days. 🤮


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2018-09-12 Copyright Fanatismus

Die Idioten haben wieder eine Schlacht gewonnen. Mehr hierzu auf Netzpolitik.

Wer war auf unserer Seite? Die Piratin Julia Reda und alle Sorte von engagierten Menschen, Parlamentarier aller Lager, Wissenschaftler. Redas Statement gibt’s auf ihrem Blog. Und trotzdem: Der bescheuerte Vorschlag von Axel Voss (CDU) wurde mit 438 zu 226 Stimmen angenommen. Ich fasse einfach nicht, wie so viele Leute dafür sein konnten.

Und was ist der nächste Schritt? Jean-Claude Juncker schlägt vor, bla bla bla Terrorbekämpfung bla bla Upload-Filterpflichten gegen „terroristische Inhalte“ bla bla bla. Kann man sich ja vorstellen.



Comments on 2018-09-12 Copyright Fanatismus

Naja, es gibt ja noch Rückzuggefechte: der genaue Text steht noch nicht fest. Die Mitglieder dürfen auch noch selber mitgestalten, und so weiter und so fort. Aber die Enttäuschung bleibt.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-09-12 12:59 UTC

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2018-06-16 Article 13

Continuing from my previous discussion of copyright madness...

Don’t force platforms to replace communities with algorithms (Wikimedia): «As policymakers increasingly suggest technological solutions to fight illegal and controversial content online, we ask them to consider the rights of internet users and to leave room for the human side of content moderation.» An Interesting Wiki perspective: «Once flagged by ORES, review and removal of content is handled entirely though community processes. This relationship acknowledges the limitations of machine learning while harnessing its strengths.»

So ein Quatschgesetz (Sascha Lobo) «Mit dem Leistungsschutzrecht wollen sich manche Verleger von der Politik eine digitale Gelddruckmaschine schenken lassen - bald auch auf EU-Ebene. Wie konnte es so weit kommen?»

Save Code Share (FSFE) «Current EU Copyright Review threatens Free and Open Source Software. Take action now to preserve the ability to collaboratively build software online!»

Megathread collected by David Ross: «I can not express enough how important this action is for the health of the Internet. The EU have a Directive going to the vote on June 20, and if you do any of the following it would impact YOU»

Europe's New Copyright Rules Are Like YouTube's Content ID System—for the Entire Internet (Cory Doctorow): «The European Union wants to take the upload filters that make no one happy and apply them to all content on the internet.»

What’s really behind the EU law that would “ban memes” – and how to stop it before June 20 (Julia Reda): «With two weeks to go until the crucial vote in the European Parliament, more and more people are becoming aware of the looming plans for “censorship machines” and a “link tax” in the EU. […] Article 13 of the Copyright Directive will force internet platforms (social networks, video sites, image hosts, etc.) to install upload filters to monitor all user uploads for copyrighted content, including in images […].»

And Julia Reda on the same blog post: «But it’s important to me to underscore that the solution to bad legal proposals and unbalanced lobbying is not to curse or even advocate leaving the EU. (In fact, it’s Anti-EU, Euro-skeptic and right-wing parties that are responsible for giving these proposals majority support in the Committee! Don’t let Eurosceptic politicians get away with voting in favour of breaking the Internet and then blaming the EU for it later!)»

☠️ ☠️ ☠️

With Article 11 and Article 13 passing today, I’m starting to get the feeling that I can’t cheer the copyright industry into their graves fast enough. Sink, all ye ships of publishing houses! Sink, ye newspapers, TV makers and whatever you call yourselves! I’m hoping your industry goes down, your money runs dry, your wealth is squandered at court, your patience is tried, your reputation ruined — may your intellectual property turn to dust into your hands, and may you choke on it.

☠️ ☠️ ☠️


Comments on 2018-06-16 Article 13

@Senficon posted:

Great success: Your protests have worked! The European Parliament has sent the copyright law back to the drawing board. All MEPs will get to vote on #uploadfilters and the #linktax September 10–13. Now let’s keep up the pressure to make sure we #SaveYourInternet!

@rysiek says publishers sent the following to all the MEPs:

In light of the vote on the mandate on the copyright file taking place tomorrow morning on 5 June, the four European associations representing press publishers across Europe, EMMA (European Magazine Media Association), ENPA (European Newspaper Publishers’ Association), EPC (European Publishers Council) and NME (News Media Europe) would like to express their concerns regarding the insidious means used by platforms to prevent this reform which would push them to obtain licenses with rightsholders for the use of the protected works they display. In particular, Wikipedia has been encouraging its users since yesterday to contact their MEPs to prevent to “disrupt the open internet” and even black outed access to its pages in some cases stating that “it may be impossible to share a newspaper article on social networks or find it on a search engine. Wikipedia itself would risk to close.” Furthermore, there is proof of the backhanded collaborative lobbying of the platforms, as Wikipedia UK shows a black banner on top of the its main page in which the reader is redirected towards Mozilla’s anti-copyright campaign page. The well-orchestrated campaign provides step by step instructions on how users can contact Members of the European Parliament to express their opposition with regards the copyright reform. The fact is: the report that will soon be voted upon establishes a right to press publishers (article 11.1a) which* specifically excludes uses by individuals and hyperlinks from the scope of the right. As for Wikipedia’s “risk to close”, the report (Art. 2.4.a) specifically states that online encyclopedia are not covered by the directive. This is therefore another purely bad-faith attempt to discredit a proposed directive aiming at re-balancing a digital ecosystem dominated by platforms.

@rysiek also tooted the following:

If anyone wonders what could be put in the Copyright Directive to make it better, read these:

And as far as broader fixes for copyright in the EU are concerned, read this:

This is the hash tag to look for: #SaveYourInternet.

– Alex Schroeder 2018-07-06 20:11 UTC

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2018-05-24 Copyright Directive

Are you angry about copyright? Angry about the USA? Angry about attempts at copyright extensions in the USA? If not, you can read US Congress mulls expanding copyright yet again – to 144 years. Or How The Recording Industry Hid Its Latest Attempt To Expand Copyright (And Why You Should Call Your Senator To Stop It), which is a continuation of Of Course The RIAA Would Find A Way To Screw Over The Public In 'Modernizing' Copyright.

Well, the Mourning Goose blog post is here to tell you that you can be angry about the European Union and copyright, too.

More about the Copyright Directive on Wikipedia. When I see the words “technological protection measures” my eyes glaze over and in my mind I see a burning pentagram of Mammon worshipping grey men waiting to suck me dry and smoke my life.

But remember, this is about the proposed changes to the Copyright Directive. Here’s another angry person: The EU's Proposed Copyright Directive Is Likely To Be A Wonderful Gift -- For US Internet Giants, Which is a continuation of EU Announces Absolutely Ridiculous Copyright Proposal That Will Chill Innovation, Harm Creativity. Or how about Forget The GDPR, The EU's New Copyright Proposal Will Be A Complete And Utter Disaster For The Internet.

I will need to drink a lot of green tea tonight after reading all that. 🍵

More links...

Forget The GDPR, The EU's New Copyright Proposal Will Be A Complete And Utter Disaster For The Internet

Julia Reda has an update: «Update from May 25th 2018, 13:37: Member State governments have today adopted their position on the copyright reform, with no significant changes to the upload filters and link tax provisions. It is now up to Parliament to stop them.»

Whenever I read about political decision making in parliaments where there are more than just two parties I want to know what parties acted against my best interest and who fought for it. Regarding the stupid new copyright proposal, check the section “Where the parties stand” in Julia Rede’s blog post.

Where the parties stand


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2018-04-25 Against Intellectual Monopoly

As recommended by Ed Morbius on Google+:

It is common to argue that intellectual property in the form of copyright and patent is necessary for the innovation and creation of ideas and inventions such as machines, drugs, computer software, books, music, literature and movies. In fact intellectual property is not like ordinary property at all, but constitutes a government grant of a costly and dangerous private monopoly over ideas. We show through theory and example that intellectual monopoly is not necessary for innovation and as a practical matter is damaging to growth, prosperity and liberty....

Downloadable PDF book


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2017-12-15 Make stuff

Mastodon is ablaze with net neutrality posts.

I really liked this blog post: DIY Media: “When we buy stuff from major corporations, we transfer money (and therefore power) out of our local communities, and in to the pockets of CEOs and shareholders. When we make stuff, or buy stuff from our communties, that wealth (and power) stays within our communities.” (via Mastodon)

And it fits right in with the ideas of DIY D&D.

And DIY also has a more important role to play: it is something positive and rewarding to aim for. It’s like singing in choir, playing an instrument in a band or with friends. The shared experience is important.

This is the feeling we need on the political stage, too. Nate Cull wrote about it on Mastodon and I said: “Similar problem in France, Austria and increasingly elsewhere: if decent parties are only united against the fascists, then people vote because of fear, not because they hope that things will improve. And then they don’t. We need positive visions of the things we can do. The things we will do. The positive things that are happening right now.”

DIY is political.


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2017-11-28 DRM

DRM's Dead Canary: How We Just Lost the Web, What We Learned from It, and What We Need to Do Next. How DRM is used to squash the competition, silence security researchers, make sure movie are only available in certain region, who gets to fix your car, who gets to supply the toner for your printer. And then the article pivots to the W3C, Encrypted Media Extensions (EME), and browsers.

And this is why I support the EFF: “EFF is suing the US government to overturn Section 1201 of the DMCA.”

There is a a report by εxodus listing of Android apps and the trackers found within and the permissions they require. Consider using a mobile website instead. Mastodon apps, for example: no trackers for Tusky, one tracker for Twidere, two trackers for Tootdon; but Amaroq isn’t listed because it’s iPhone only.

Why is that? Cory Doctorow links it back to DRM: “But iOS is DRM-locked and it’s a felony – punishable by a 5-year prison sentence and a $500,000 fine for a first offense in the USA under DMCA 1201, and similar provisions of Article 6 of the EUCD in France where Exodus is located – to distribute tools that bypass this DRM, even for the essential work of discovering whether billions of people are at risk due to covert spying from the platform.”


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2017-06-25 Against Intellectual Monopoly

Edward Morbius linked to Against Intellectual Monopoly by Michele Boldrin and David K. Levine (last blog posts from 2015)

I am reminded of me picking up Piracy by Adrian Johns back in 2014.

I want to read it all, but I don’t know when to do it. Something for this summer?

I just heard the Thinking Allowed episode Rentier capitalism - Protest camps and they talked about The Corruption of Capitalism: Why Rentiers Thrive and Work does not Pay by Guy Standing. He says that intellectual property is a form of rent and if 40% of your economy depends on it, no wonder that labor is not worth much. The review of the book in the Guardian provides some context.

We are terrible stewards of history. “Copyright plays a pretty large role in the destruction of our cultural history.” Truth!


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2016-06-01 Rules

Court rules in favor of cloned tabletop game – No protection under US copyright law: «The court points out that “Unlike a book or movie plot, the rules and procedures, including the winning conditions, that make up a card-game system of play do not themselves produce the artistic or literary content that is the hallmark of protectable expression.” They note that past game copyright victories were won by parties based on infringement of visual appearance or other protectable elements.»


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