Submit a link Features Reviews Podcasts Video Forums More ▾

Expert responds to Brit politico who swore to make more copyright despite admitted facts

Glyn sez, "Andrew Gowers has written a response in the Financial Times to Andy Burnham, Britain’s secretary of state for Culture, Media and Sport statement in favour of copyright extension. Mr Gowers was appointed by the UK goverment two years ago to do a year long review listening to all the evidence on copyright extension amongst other things, his final report said dont do it, it makes no sense. His comment on Burnham's speech: 'As political speeches go, this is pretty silly. A moral case? You might just as well say sportspeople have a moral case to a pension at 30.'"

Gowers is the expert who conducted the thoroughgoing analysis of the costs of extending copyright. Burnham is the politician who said that he didn't care if the facts said that longer copyright on sound recordings was bad for Britain -- he would extend copyright because of the "moral case."

All the respectable research shows that copyright extension has high costs to the public and negligible benefits for the creative community.

Consumers find themselves paying more for old works or unable to access “orphan works” where copyright ownership is unclear. Small businesses that play recorded music such as hairdressing salons and local radio stations face a hidden extra “tax” in the form of higher music-licence fees. Do they really need this at this time?

Mr Burnham will no doubt find such arguments uncool. But even on his terms, the case for extension does not work. Twenty years’ extra earning power in 50 years’ time does nothing to put more money in the pockets of struggling performers now: two thirds of lifetime income from an average compact disc comes in the first six years after release.

And it will not alter the incentives for creation one jot. As Dave Rowntree, Blur’s drummer, told my review: “I have never heard of a single band deciding not to record a song because it will fall out of copyright in only 50 years. The idea is laughable.”

There's lots more -- and every word of it dripping with learned, factual rebuttals of errant nonsense.

Copyright extension is out of tune with reality (Thanks, Glyn!)

WSJ invents fictional Net Neutrality scandal

Lessig's got a great piece up about the Wall Street Journal's non-story about a fictional shift in his position on Net Neutrality (and on Google trying to site local caching servers in some network operators' operations servers):
As I testified in 2006, in my view that minimal strategy right now marries the basic principles of “Internet Freedom” first outlined by Chairman Michael Powell, and modified more recently by the FCC, to one additional requirement – a ban on discriminatory access tiering. While broadband providers should be free, in my view, to price consumer access to the Internet differently – setting a higher price, for example, for faster or greater access – they should not be free to apply discriminatory surcharges to those who make content or applications available on the Internet. As I testified, in my view, such “access tiering” risks creating a strong incentive among Internet providers to favor some companies over others; that incentive in turn tends to support business models that exploit scarcity rather than abundance. If Google, for example, knew if could buy a kind of access for its video content that iFilm couldn’t, then it could exploit its advantage to create an even greater disadvantage for its competitors; network providers in turn could deliver on that disadvantage only if the non-privileged service was inferior to the privileged service.
The made-up dramas of the Wall Street Journal

Update: David Isenberg does a hell of a job explaining, in detail, how the WSJ majorly blew this one.