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European Parliament to consider legal measures against P2P sites and users

Written by Rich Fiscus (Google+) @ 03 Feb 2009 0:37 User comments (8)

European Parliament to consider legal measures against P2P sites and users In October of 2008 the European Commission's Committee on Legal Affairs completed a study on copyright enforcement. So far nothing has been done about implementing the measures suggested in the so-called Medina Report (named for its author Manuel Medina Ortega) because it hasn't been officially presented to the European Parliament. But its stance on legal penalties for file sharing are already generating buzz across the internet.
The reason why can be summed up in one bolded statement found on the report's eighth page. Separate from the rest of the text, bolded and underlined it says "The nature of copyright must not be allowed to change as a result of technological progress."

Here's a news flash for lawmakers. The nature of copyright has already changed and there's nothing any law can do to prevent it.

Computers and the internet have driven the cost of reproducing and distributing audio and video works down to practically nothing. iTunes is now the number one music retailer in the United States. The BBC has been delivering programming via the internet since 2007. And most importantly people can and do use P2P file sharing networks to download music and movies.

To read the Medina Report you might think legal sanctions are capable of stopping copyright infringement via P2P. In fact it expressly mentions one website when it praises "the action of various national judicial systems against internet sites that illegally disseminate works on line (e.g. ‘The Pirate Bay’)."

What it doesn't bother to mention is how these legal measures have curbed illegal file sharing. Hardly surprising considering they actually haven't had any effect besides forcing people to find alternative websites to locate downloads.

The report's suggestions, such as getting sites like The Pirate Bay "suspended by the judicial authorities" would no more stop file sharing than shutting down Google would prevent web surfing. Just like the demise of Napster resulted in decentralizing the file sharing infrastructure, going after sites that index torrents will just force users to change how they search.

If anything the solutions outlined in the report would result in the opposite of its stated goal to "guarantee of the development of a legitimate digital market." If you leave decisions on copyright legislation in the hands of those who profit most from the current business model you'll get laws that favor the status quo and punish those who dare to compete using technology.

The market has spoken and the message is clear. The question is whether legislators will pay attention to consumers. If not they'll have no one but themselves to blame when savvy businessmen in countries like China or Russia end up meeting consumer demand after it becomes impossible for local companies to do so.

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8 user comments

13.2.2009 2:16

Quote:
If not they'll have no one but themselves to blame when savvy businessmen in countries like China or Russia end up meeting consumer demand after it becomes impossible for local companies to do so.
Um..what? China and Russia are COMMUNIST countries. You're comparing them to the West. Why? Business over on these shores is light years different than the mindset of your typical Chinese Red.

23.2.2009 5:50

Your confabulating political systems with the marketplace.
It matters not what the politics of the community are, as soon as politicians or state hirelings try to impose rationing or restriction, the alternate market immediately arrives on scene.
Whether it was the USSR, Nazi Germany or even the good old USA - they all called it the black market, we call it consumer choice - their politics were disparate, but the consumer always had the last word.

33.2.2009 13:55

Quote:
Quote:
If not they'll have no one but themselves to blame when savvy businessmen in countries like China or Russia end up meeting consumer demand after it becomes impossible for local companies to do so.
Um..what? China and Russia are COMMUNIST countries. You're comparing them to the West. Why? Business over on these shores is light years different than the mindset of your typical Chinese Red.

I'm not comparing the countries at all. And while both are totalitarian it's inaccurate to call either Communist, even if the Chinese government still makes that claim.

All you have to do is look at the large number of Russian MP3 sites to understand what I'm talking about. They sell music legally under Russian law. The labels don't like the pricing, but they're powerless to do anything about it. As a result those sites are popular and profitable. All the posturing in the world by the EU, US, or labels hasn't changed that. Western companies can't compete with this business model. The only exception to this currently is iTunes and they're trading off the Apple and iPod names rather than their business model.

In China it's a slightly different story. They're mostly concerned with patents because of their manufacturing sector. Even though they're technically required to pay the DVD patent royalties mandated by Western law and Western companies, guess what? They don't. When the massive influx of Chinese DVD players hit the West and drove prices down a few years ago it was in no small part because they weren't paying the patent royalties at all. Later the Chinese government negotiated a settlement on their behalf which requires them to pay some of those royalties for previous units sold and start paying royalties on new units. But they still don't pay as much as a Japanese, European, or US company would.

Its in those countries' best interest to ignore or at least dance around Western IP law because they get little or no benefit from it. China in particular can't be forced into 100% compliance because they control so much of the world's manufacturing capacity. The people who pay the biggest price aren't the companies holding the IP. It's the Western companies that can't compete because they're hamstrung by IP laws which are completely one-sided and written with only the IP holders' interests in mind.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 03 Feb 2009 @ 13:57

43.2.2009 14:46

^^^ +1

56.2.2009 7:52

vurbal, well stated.

I will further state it is those countries that hold the hope of a legitimate music business in the rest of the world. These sites can sell music at a fair price. The music industry would make so much more money by selling HiFi music at a fair price of about 10% of what they are selling LoFi for. The current prices are an insult to everyone’s intelligence. The music industry appears to use some kind of inverse proportion of the true cost for the selling price. The cheaper the actual cost the more expensive it needs to be. That worked back when they went from vinyl LPs to CDs. The public did not know how little it costs to produce a CD. There was a belief the CDs would not wear out. Of course they COULD make them 100 times more durable than they make them. They use the softest plastic they can and hope that it gets ruined so you have to buy a new one.
However, we know licensing and billing are the biggest expenses of digital music. I doubt very much that an artist sees a penny per tune so where is the 99 cents going? Why sell LoFi music?

66.2.2009 10:46

Quote:
Um..what? China and Russia are COMMUNIST countries...
Wha...? did you just come out of a 20 year coma or something? ROFL

76.2.2009 13:00

vurbal, well stated.

Bump +3

86.2.2009 17:28
hugolove
Inactive

pirates of europe, it's time to let the lawmakers know how we feel. write your mp, sign a petition, maybe even protest a bit. if all of us want it, it can't be a crime

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