After the earlier hearings, the Commerce Select Committee have now reported back on the draft Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill [PDF]. They have recommended that Internet Termination be temporarily disabled until it’s deemed necessary which is a slight improvement on the previous bill that had termination as an available penalty. Internet Termination itself remains problematic: we don’t cut off people’s access to the postal system, or phonelines if they’re used to break the law. Most internet accounts are shared, and Internet Termination will affect many people for the actions of one. Because there are no government statistics about infringing inter net downloading in New Zealand any decision to enable termination would be based on lobbying, not independent government research, and Internet Termination could be enabled in cabinet without a vote in parliament. Commerce Committee member Clare Curran explains the reasoning behind this.

An alarming addition to the bill is a return to Guilt Upon Accusation, with a clearly defined presumption of guilt under section 122MA. While the report recommends the requirement of a high-quality of evidence, it is unclear what’s considered as appropriate evidence. Often the methods of copyright infringement detection are considered a trade secret and the software is, ironically, protected by copyright and not available even to the court. This is exacerbated by the continued lack of any sanction for false or malicious accusations, making the process ripe for abuse. Read More

:: Original blog post lives here: http://creativefreedom.org.nz/2010/11/select-committee-report-on-copyright-infringing-file-sharing-bill-just-released/

I’ve been listen to the audio version of this book over the last few days and it is mind-blowing. Totz food for thought. Check it out!!!
:: Dr H

FREE (full book) by Chris Anderson

We’re going to be rolling out the free digital forms of FREE over the next two weeks. First up: the Scribd form, right here on the blog (and anywhere else you want—it’s embeddable). This is the whole book!

(click “full screen” for a better reading experience).

Also released today: the free unabridged audiobook. You can either download the whole things as zipped MP3 files, or play them on the Wired.com microsite.

audioplayer

You can also get the audiobook from Audible.com in two forms

1) Unabridged (six hours; free)
2) Abridged (three hours; $7.49)

Why is the whole book free in audio form, but half the book is $7.49? Because, as the Audible.com listing explains,“Get the point in half the time! In this abridged edition, the author handpicked the most important and engaging chapters and points, cutting three hours from the length without losing key concepts. Time is money!”

Over the next week or so, we’ll be releasing other versions, including iTunes podcast and download, Kindle, Google Books and more. All free, for varying lengths of time (from a week to forever). I’ll be tracking the stats for everything and sharing the results of these experiments here over the next month.

For more info visit: http://www.longtail.com/the_long_tail/2009/07/free-for-free-first-ebook-and-audiobook-versions-released.html

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Written by Ernesto on June 07, 2009 – http://tiny.cc/piratepartyeu

The Pirate Party has won a huge victory in the Swedish elections and is marching on to Brussels. After months of campaigning against well established parties, the Pirate Party has gathered enough votes to be guaranteed a seat in the European Parliament.

When the Swedish Pirate Party was founded in early 2006, the majority of the mainstream press were skeptical, with some simply laughing it away. But they were wrong to dismiss this political movement out of hand. Today, the Pirate Party accomplished what some believed to be the impossible, by securing a seat in the European Parliament.

With 99.9% of the districts counted the Pirates have 7.1 percent of the votes, beating several established parties. This means that the Pirate Party will get at least one, but most likely two of the 18 (+2) available seats Sweden has at the European Parliament.

When we asked Pirate Party leader Rick Falkvinge about the outcome, he told TorrentFreak: “We’ve felt the wind blow in our sails. We’ve seen the polls prior to the election. But to stand here, today, and see the figures coming up on that screen… What do you want me to say? I’ll say anything”

“Together, we have today changed the landscape of European politics. No matter how this night ends, we have changed it,” Falkvinge said. “This feels wonderful. The citizens have understood it’s time to make a difference. The older politicians have taken apart young peoples’ lifestyle, bit by bit. We do not accept that the authorities’ mass-surveillance,” he added.

Rick Falkvinge celebrating tonight’s election win

pirate party vistory

The turnout at the elections is 43 percent, a little higher than the at the 2004 elections. This would mean that roughly 200,000 Swedes have voted for the Pirate Party. This is a huge increase compared to the national elections of 2006 where the party got 34,918 votes.

Both national and international press have gathered in Stockholm where the Pirate Party is celebrating its landmark victory.

Falkvinge answering questions

pirate party vistory

At least partially, The Pirate Party puts its increased popularity down to harsh copyright laws and the recent conviction of the people behind The Pirate Bay. After the Pirate Bay verdict, Pirate Party membership more than tripled and they now have over 48,000 registered members, more than the total number of votes they received in 2006.

With their presence in Brussels, the Pirate Party hopes to reduce the abuses of power and copyright at the hands of the entertainment industries, and make those activities illegal instead. On the other hand they hope to legalize file-sharing for personal use.

Arrrr

pirate party vistory

“It’s great fun to be a pirate right now”, Christian Engström, Vice Chairman of the Pirate Party told the press when he arrived.

Update: Sweden has 20 seats, but until the Lisbon treaty passes only 18 with voting rights. This means that the Pirate Party will have 2 seats.

Update: In Germany the Pirate Party got approximately 1 percent of the votes, not enough for a seat in the European Parliament. Andreas Popp, lead candidate for the German Pirate Party is pleased and told TorrentFreak: “This was the first time, we ran for the European elections. And although many voters have hardly known us, we got a great result. This shows, that many citizens identify themselves with our goals. I want to thank all people who supported us, we could not have done that without them. We have fulfilled our minimal goal of 0,5%. Now we can start up for real!”

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New Zealand’s law makers have come to their senses and canned the ‘Guilt Upon Accusation’ aspect of Section 92 [ http://www.scoop.co.nz/stories/PA0903/S00330.htm ]. Now that the non-sense that is Section 92A is behind us (for the meanwhile) let’s put our heads together and have a good hard think about what copyright is, what is the goal of copyright and is it still relevant to our current cultural enviroment. I am not saying that we should scrap copyright laws but I do think that we as rich and vibrant cultural community need to have a good hard look at the concept of copyright. I personally am a big fan of Creative Commons [http://creativecommons.org] as an alternative to Copyright. What do you think? What are your thoughts on the matter? Feel free to leave a comment below.

Here’s a recent article that Andrew Dubber, author of newmusicstrategies.com, wrote about copyright and the music industry {reposted with permission}.

 

Coalition for Culture

I love the music business. I think musicians are great. I believe they do amazing things that are richly deserving of great rewards, the lot of them. I think it’s appropriate that everyone gets whatever they deserve. It’s a hard world, a hard way to make a living and times are tricky.

As I’ve often said, most musicians spend more time training for their career than most brain surgeons – and most of them end up earning less than most supermarket checkout operators. And that’s both significant and important.

But the establishment and announcement of the Featured Artists Coalition over this past week or so has made me a bit cross.

It’s easy to have sympathy with their position – especially if you happen to like, as I do, many of the artists who belong. I have no problem with the fact that it exists. I have no issue with musicians forming collectives and arguing in what they see to be in their interests.

I don’t happen to agree that what they’re arguing for is something that will help them. I don’t think they’re deceptive or manipulative – I think they’re mistaken on this point.

And while it’s also easy enough to dismiss them as a bunch of rich and famous people complaining that they’re being unfairly treated because they’re not quite as powerful and greedy as the major record labels – there’s something noble and hopeful in the idea that they might be doing this for the little guy.

But while it’s cool that pop musicians have their lobby group, and just fine and dandy that major record labels have theirs – there’s a massive imbalance in values being represented here. Policy makers are being bombarded at all sides with persuasive arguments that, while they may differ in terms of whose commercial benefit is at stake, are predicated on the idea that music is, purely and simply, commerce.

To my knowledge, there exists no organisation whose purpose is to promote the interests of popular music as cultural good, rather than as commercial interest.

And as a result, politicians come away with the strong sense that every important stakeholder believes that the most important thing to do as a matter of priority is to extend the term, the scope and the power of copyright and intellectual property law.

But there are all sorts of reasons to contest that notion, and there are all sorts of important and intelligent sections of our society that do. Moreover, there are a bunch of other issues that become important and take on a different tone if popular music is considered from the cultural perspective as well as from just the commercial perspective.

Copyright is, of course, very important. Its purpose is to incentivise the creation of new cultural works, so that we can have a vibrant and rich cultural environment full of new inventions, helpful science, great music and interesting works. By setting it up so that the creators and subsequent owners of those works can have a monopoly over how those works can be used for a period of time means that businesses and sources of income can be found that will support the ongoing creation of those sorts of works.

It’s a great system. But it’s a system with a purpose. To argue that the function of copyright is to ensure that musicians and rightsholders can still earn off something they made 95 years ago is an interesting and often compelling argument – but it puts the cart before the horse.

Stopping people from hearing or otherwise using music unless they pay for it is not the way to ensure that new works are being created all the time in the interests of culture. It stops culture from being created and propagated. And culture is about people. It’s about having a good and interesting life full of wonderful things. Music has the potential to massively contribute to that. Sensible copyright encourages that. Absurd and draconian copyright prevents it.

It’s a bit like salt. Some salt on your food is good. Covering your food under a mountain of salt makes the food pretty unpalateable, even if it stops that food from going off.

A couple of examples. In the past year, I’ve done some work with the BBC and the British Library. Here are two cultural organisations whose good works are being hamstrung by rightsholders who (perhaps understandably) put their commercial interests before those of the citizenry of the country. The general public.

Despite being willing to negotiate and pay reasonable amounts of money in royalties, BBC Radio is forced into a position where they make podcasts containing no more than 30 seconds of music. So – speech radio is a viable public service media form – but there can be no music-centred public service online media, despite the clear value for public good that specialist music radio has.

The British Library have a sound archive that includes thousands of pieces of recorded music. Unfortunately, researchers and scholars are unable to use a great deal of that material in their research, as quoting or referencing that music infringes on the property rights of the record labels. There is no clear commercial reason for record labels to allow researchers to study their catalogue, and so the position is intractable.

And the public suffers. Culture suffers. Intellectual progress suffers. The people who vote for the politicians, and for whose benefit all policy – economic, cultural, legal and infrastructural – is set, suffer.

But culture has no seat at the table. There is no lobby group for popular music as culture. There are copyright reform advocacy groups, and their involvement would be very important. But that’s not all this is about. There are important decisions being made right now for arts, culture and heritage all around the world. These issues are more urgent than ever because of the opportunity afforded us by digital technologies.

Music IS commerce – and it’s important that voice is represented, and it’s important that every stakeholder with that interest is represented. But music is not JUST commerce – and it’s now a matter of extreme urgency that the voice of music as culture is expressed.

And aside from anything else – culture leads commerce. You make smart and profitable businesses by looking at what people want to do, and providing them with great ways of doing that. You don’t make smart and profitable businesses by standing in the way, insisting they behave differently or by trying to prevent culture from happening unless you continue to get a slice.

This is NOT a debate about copyright. We’ve rehearsed that argument over and over again on this site. Far be it from me to stop you continuing the debate in the comments section, but in my mind, it’s an argument that needs to be shifted to a different context – one in earshot of the actual policymakers.

Instead, this is a call for the creation of a collective group who can represent the interests of popular music culture stakeholders: academics, librarians, entrepreneurs, public broadcasters, community musicians, remixers, amateurs, curators, archivists, documentarians and citizens who wish to live in a society where music is part of the cultural fabric, and where artists and rightsholders are fairly rewarded – but never at the cost of a complete cultural lockdown.

We need a Coalition for Culture and we need it urgently.