Too Busy For Words - the PaulWay Blog

Wed 17th May, 2006

Dear Attorney-General,

You feel free to criticise Labor for coming 'too little, too late' to support your police-state Sedition laws. And yet your proposed changes to the Copyright act are 'too little, too late' and you want a pat on the back?

At least you've made it to the 20th century - finally allowing people to do the format shifting and time shifting they've been doing on music and TV for decades. This is not anything to be lauded, though - most other parts of the world have had these fair use provisions for that time. And you still have to make it to the 21st century, where watching a show once is not enough and where people have an iPod, a home media centre, a computer and a CD player and don't want to only have one copy of the music they paid for to move around all these locations.

No artist, musician or video producer wants to see their hard work restricted and confined like this. Only the copyright agencies and the big media corporations, who extort the actual rights to a song or a video off the creator with mafia stand-over tactics, want this. Notice how they're the ones telling you that artists 'want' these contracts that take away their rights, and how consumers 'want' to have Digital Restrictions Management placed on the songs and videos they've paid for? Notice how they're also the richest companies with the richest individuals? And how they're also featuring in movies like "Outfoxed" and "The Corporation" for being psychopathic, uncaring money-hungry machines?

And they're the ones who are talking about 'piracy' - ripping off artists from their hard won earnings. If you still believe this, try reading Courtney Love's Salon article on the music industry and you will realise that the 'pirates' 'ripping off' the artists are the media companies themselves. Perhaps for a more visceral understanding of the actual tactics of the record companies in dealing with musicians, you should read Steve Albini's article, which shows that far from 'protecting artists rights', record companies are ripping them off for everything they can get. Now that's piracy.

Most people do not want to share everything they buy with everyone. Most people don't expect to get music or video for free. But in contrast to the procrustean actions of the record companies, who want to screw every cent they can out of whoever can be forced to pay (for instance, the Copyright Agency lobbying for being paid for school's use of the internet, based on its own estimates of how much of that is copyrighted material that they lay claim to), people rebel. The labels are barely touching the professional pirates who are making realistic copies of CDs, DVDs and other media; they're picking on the easy targets - unsophisticated consumers.

So I would like to congratulate you on getting to 1990. When are you going to get to 2006 and give the people what they actually want?

Sent via on 17th May 2006

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