Gareth Hughes
Digital copyright and suspending suspension

I may be a geek, but not the type that can fix your computer. I love technology, and even though I haven’t had a huge history of looking into tech and copyright issues, I really enjoyed hearing submissions on the Copyright (Infringing File Sharing) Amendment Bill.

The Bill essentially sets out a three-strike “notice and notice” system for copyright infringers.

Internet account suspension as a remedy for infringing file sharing was the big issue that many submitted on. Was suspension of a person’s internet account for copyright infringement a needed deterrent tool that would unlikely ever be used by copyright holders or an ineffective, and, as David Farrar put it “…unproportional response and a bad precedent”?

In the end a compromise was reached whereby it was drafted into the law as a remedy but only available if the Minister enacts the termination clause.

I like compromise and the idea of parties working together towards a solution, so was initially keen on it, but in the end after really searching within myself I came to the conclusion that there was no way Parliament should be drafting into law something disproportionate to the problem it causes, that will not stop the pirating of copyrighted material, and could take away people’s access to the internet, which in today’s wired world I believe is akin to a human right.

In my Minority Report I pointed out:

The Green Party asserts that there is a danger in heavy-handed regulation for a problem that may only be a temporary result of new technologies upsetting traditional business models. The use of fines rather than Internet suspension is a more appropriate sanction for file sharing, and the punishments should be proportionate to the crime.

Citizens are not denied the right to use their telephones because they happened to be used in the commission of a crime, and this legislation should not set any precedent. Access to the Internet has become a necessity in an era when more and more public and private services are only provided online.

While supporting the bill in principle, the Green Party opposes the retention of termination in the legislation.

As the Creative Freedom Foundation have pointed out “This isn’t a solution, and in fact it’s a massive problem because there are no government statistics about infringing internet downloading in New Zealand so it would have to be based on lobbying, and Internet Termination could be enabled in cabinet, without a vote in parliament.”

48 thoughts on “Digital copyright and suspending suspension

  1. A major problem with the copyright law is when companies or individuals steal copyrighted material and get caught, if they stop using it immediately and say they didn’t know it was copyrighted, then there’s nothing much that can be done.

    That would be like people stealing your car, or stuff from your house etc, and IF they get caught, the VERY WORST that ever happens to them is they have to give the stuff back.

    Funny you say this is heavy handed, when the current copyright law is completely unbalanced in favour of those breaking it.

    We’ve had cases of companies much larger than us deliberately breaching our copyright by stealing our images, using them without permission, and refusing to stop using them when ordered to do so.

    This is a clear breach of the copyright act 1994, and is a criminal (not civil) offence, yet the police will do nothing.

    What is the point of even having a copyright law if there are never any prosecutions, let alone penalties, for breaching it?

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  2. Breaching copyright is not comparible to stealing a car, because when a car is stolen that stops the rightful owner from using it.

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  3. Photonz – Gareth wasn’t suggesting ignoring the offence, just suggesting a different punishment.

    Trevor.

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  4. Trevor20 says “Gareth wasn’t suggesting ignoring the offence, just suggesting a different punishment.”

    Current laws are very weak. A pretty mild punishment has been suggested. Which Gareth has changed his mind on.

    If we
    1/ don’t ever investigate blatant breaches of copyright.
    2/ don’t ever prosecute blatant breaches of copyright
    3/ don’t ever convict blatant breaches of copyright
    4/ don’t ever punish blatant breaches of copyright

    Then what is the point of having any protection of intellectual property at all?

    We may as well let everybody steal everything (which is effectively what we are endorsing now)

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  5. @photonz1, I’m not quite following. Are you suggesting companies should be able to have their internet connection suspended if they infringe copyright on your photos? Or are you just saying that current enforcement and penalties aren’t high enough?

    I’ve not been following Gareth’s opinion changes closely, but the way I read this post he’s specifically saying that suspending internet connections is irrelevant to copyright infringement and doesn’t fit the crime, so the amendment’s a bad one. I tend to agree.

    If enforcement of the law isn’t happening, responsibility for that lies somewhere else. What am I missing here?

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  6. mike m..photonz is a rightwing troll..’

    he/she is not here for clarification/explanation…

    ..or even to argue their own ideology…

    ..as this short thread demonstrates..

    …photonz deliberately ‘leaves things out’…’makes things up’…

    ..and generally uses dissembling as a modus operandi…

    ..(if not ‘deliberate’..he/she is just constantly demonstrating how thick as pigshit they are..

    ..so deliberate dissembling is the charitable/verdict..)

    ..and if you spend/waste yr time/energies trying to rationally argue against this calculated-bullshit..

    ..and succeed..

    …he/she just runs away…

    ..in general..it’s best to just ignore him/her..

    (he/she is probably a rightwing law student…)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  7. My thoughts exactly phil u. It would appear that the right wing really dislike any freedom of speech and a place to formulate Green minded ideas and photonz isn’t the only troll in these here parts. At least it’s not like kiwiblog.

    I’m going to be downloading the Hobbit movies because I’ve already paid enough taxpayer money to Warner Bros and Peter Jackson to warrant us all getting in for free. Like most, on the odd occasion that I do download, I use applications that aren’t easy to trace even for the Internet provider I use. This means that any infringement law targeted at people like me (the minor infringer) is pretty defunct.

    I think the main issue here is that I’m not making any money from it, whereas somebody infringing copyright to mass-produce an item is a completely different story. In that case the distribution of copied copyrighted material is where the focus should be. Switching peoples internet off will cause a lot of indiscriminate issues and could be used as a tool by fascists. Just thought I’d throw that word in there again :)

    In justifying my copyright infringement I like to think of all the waste I am saving from invariably ending up in the tip. Not going to the shop and buying the product that is well packaged in non-recyclable material is environmentally friendly. I know I shouldn’t justify a crime in this way but until production uses greener technologies I think downloading is the lesser crime.

    I also understand that the companies producing and distributing these items make enough money already. Music execs can complain all they want but the days when they can buy a pound of cocaine are over. Less than 5% of the net profit goes to any artist by the way, and this is usually after production expenses. This has meant that artists have had to undertake more live performance, which in my mind is a good thing. In New Zealand bands making a profit from their music CD’s is a very rare thing. Being that I am on a tight budget this form of entertainment is very appealing. However if I want to retain something forever, I will go and purchase it from a shop.

    Enforcement of the law isn’t happening. Please continue to happily download.

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  8. One major problem about copyright infringement in New Zealand is that many forms of Parody and Satire are considered infringement. Until New Zealand artists enjoy the same parody and satire protections that Australian artists do, lawmakers must be careful to ensure that fundamental existing public rights to access and remix our culture are not impinged.

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  9. This is all to do with supporting a failed business model.

    If the studios and music labels had offered legal downloads in NZ at a fair price, they would have been surprised at the level of income.

    Anyway I am not paying again for some songs that I have already paid for several times as formats have changed. The music labels have been ripping us off for years and bugger all goes back to the artists.

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  10. I’m going to be downloading the Hobbit movies because I’ve already paid enough taxpayer money to Warner Bros and Peter Jackson to warrant us all getting in for free.

    How so? All I can see is that the New Zealand Government gave WB a big discount so it wouldn’t spend all its money elsewhere. If you don’t like that, you should be telling the government to stop selling our stuff so cheap. WB almost certainly would have gone elsewhere rather than sign up to a deal for free legal downloads for everyone in NZ.

    Not that I like movie studios or the way that copyright law’s been going over the past few decades, but have you considered actually just reading the book and not watching The Hobbit at all, then telling people why?

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  11. MikeM says “@photonz1, I’m not quite following. Are you suggesting companies should be able to have their internet connection suspended if they infringe copyright on your photos? Or are you just saying that current enforcement and penalties aren’t high enough?”

    What I’m saying is
    1/ Any punishment is completely pointless is the law is not enforced. So FIRST, the law needs to be enforced.
    2/ THEN penalties need to fit the crime. and be strong enough to act as a deterent. I’m not against someone having their internet cut off, but that would probably be more appropriate for a habitual infringer.

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  12. Todd says “I’m going to be downloading the Hobbit movies because I’ve already paid enough taxpayer money to Warner Bros and Peter Jackson to warrant us all getting in for free.”

    1/ You haven’t put a cent into the Hobbit – it’s a rebate.
    2/ That will make you a thief.

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  13. phil – No intelligent thoughtful input about copyright?

    Just incoherant rambling anger and abuse.

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  14. “No intelligent thoughtful input about copyright?

    Just unthoughtful regurgitation of the National party propaganda.

    Satire?? Photo?

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  15. @photonz1, but if it’s going to be enforced, what’s so bad about fines? (Which is what Gareth was saying.) Do you have some reason to think they wouldn’t work?

    I don’t see how suspending internet (or trying to) fits the crime, firstly because the internet is so ubiquitous that an increasing number of important services are completely unavailable without it, secondly because the internet is so ubiquitous that cutting a connection in one place is unlikely to stop a person from accessing the internet anyway (home, work, phone, library, free anonymous downtown wireless, etc etc), and thirdly because intenet connections tend to be shared in such a way that it’s impractical to try to cut someone off without adversely and unfairly affecting others.

    I can justify something like cutting off a person’s right to drive when they’ve proved they can’t be trusted to drive safely, even if it means they’re stranded on a rural property with no public transport and their families are stranded and other people inconvenienced as a consequence, which is what often happens. But those factors are outweighed by the fact that a vehicle is a lethal weapon and others are put at immediate and serious risk if a known unsafe driver is allowed on the road. I can’t see any parallels with preventing download-based copyright infringement by a broadsword approach of chopping an internet connection.

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  16. ‘..phil – No intelligent thoughtful input about copyright?..”

    i actually came to this thread to point out yr dissembling-ways…

    “…Just incoherant rambling anger..”

    over you..?..get real..!..

    “.. and abuse..”

    a dissection of yr modus operandi is hardly ‘abuse’..

    (maybe you are referring to the question about whether you dissemble..

    ..or are just ‘as thick as pigshit’..?

    ..with yr level of seeming incomprehension..

    well..which is it..?

    ..btw..are you a law student..?

    (or is that an ‘abusive’-question to ask..?..)

    phil(whoar.co.nz)

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  17. Photonz

    Any punishment is completely pointless is the law is not enforced. So FIRST, the law needs to be enforced.

    After trying to decipher what you actually mean by that photonz, am I to understand that you think Copyright laws are pointless if not enforced. How dumb is that? The law must be seen to be in effect or the lemmings wouldn’t go “I can’t infringe copyright or they will fine me $100,000.00 each time I do it, Oh no! Don’t download or they will cut off your internet”… Yeah right!

    Like most New Zealanders, I pay my God damn taxes. The Government paid millions of dollars in tax money to Warner and Peter to “make the movies here”. Whether it’s a rebate or not it’s still tax money. They had already invested millions in sets and infrastructure so something isn’t quite right there. The gains they have made are probably comparable to the existing investment.

    I have read the book and want to see the movies. It’s immoral to support those that put the boot into NZ. I will be downloading the movies onto my hard drive watching them and then deleting them. Technically this is infringing copyright law and some may view me as a thief so to speak, but I don’t care what people like that think. Usually they are dick wads! Being that my activities are pretty much untraceable, the law is very seldom applied and there would be no point in prosecuting me, I’m going to continue to download and there isn’t a thing you can do. Rark!

    WB almost certainly would have gone elsewhere rather than sign up to a deal for free legal downloads for everyone in NZ.

    Ah no I’m not suggesting that. The copyright issue is world-wide. It would make no difference to WB because the movies are downloadable wherever they were made.

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  18. phil says “a dissection of yr modus operandi is hardly ‘abuse’..

    ..or are just ‘as thick as pigshit’..?”

    Which proves my earlier point “Just incoherant rambling anger and abuse.”

    Kerry says “Just unthoughtful regurgitation of the National party propaganda”

    Kerry – you are showing your predudices.

    Apart from what Gareth wrote above, I have no idea of what the National Party position is on copyright.

    If you automatically assume things you know nothing about, you’re often going to be completely wrong.

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  19. I also agree with Kerry and phil u on this photonz. The mud is definitely sticking to you :)

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  20. MikeM – I agree. Use fines, and just keep cutting internet connections for repeat infringers – idiots who believe it’s their “right” to steal someone elses work….

    ….like Todd

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  21. And how exactly do you intend to catch people who infringe photonz when the internet providers can’t even track the downloading?

    Unless I am able to download for free I wouldn’t get to see the material, I wouldn’t bother paying at a video or music store. There is no loss to manufacturers in my case and so no real damage to those industries.

    Personally I don’t think that I’m stupid. In fact it takes a certain amount of intelligence to be able to effectively download material. Is that the best you can do though… That I’m an idiot? Well hot dog! You win the debate then.

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  22. Hey @Todd, I don’t see you as a thief or as stealing anything. You’re a copyright infringer and infringing copyright, which is different for reasons that have been stated over and over and I’m sure you know what they are.

    Just to pick on this: “Ah no I’m not suggesting that. The copyright issue is world-wide. It would make no difference to WB because the movies are downloadable wherever they were made.”

    I was really just trying to get at your comment that you’d already paid for it. You hadn’t, because WB’s acceptence of tax incentives was never in exchange for free legal downloads. It was offered by the government because it was the going international rate for getting a movie made here. Without it WB probably would have gone elsewhere.

    For what it’s worth, I see copyright as a completely artificial restriction on distribution on information that should only be granted to creators by society to provide creators with enough incentive to create interesting things before the information’s given back to the public domain where other people can derive new things from it. Information’s not physical property and shouldn’t be treated as if it is, and copyright law shouldn’t be about giving anyone unreasonably long or infinite monopolies on making copies of or distributing stuff they’ve created.

    I just also happen to think that boasting about getting away with copyright infringement isn’t very helpful. If copyright’s going to work at all, it has to apply equally to everyone. Otherwise there’s much less incentive for the less powerful creators to support anything like shorter and less draconian copyright terms, because the people they’re likely to need to get to pay for their work to for an incentive are the exact people who you seem to be claiming it’s not hurting anyone when they infringe the copyright.

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  23. Sorry about the boasting there MikeM. We have had a rather large discussion about WB/PJ payoffs:

    http://blog.greens.org.nz/2010/10/28/the-hobbit-bill/

    Being that I produce copyrighted material myself, I actually like copyright law. I was just pointing out the futile implementation of the Governments unenforceable proposed laws.

    Copyright ends after fifty years by the way.

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  24. Todd – if everyone thought they could steal material in the way you think you have a right to, we wouldn’t have movies, and thousands of people wouldn’t have jobs.

    The “I have a right” and “I’m causing no damage” is patently wrong.

    A lot more movies would be made if not for illegal downloads.

    Right now there’s heaps of people in NZ racking up big student loads for all sorts of media studies that they will never get much work in.

    Photographers are going out of business like never before, and close to 100% of students graduating from photography courses will not get work as photographers.

    All they have is years wasted, a student loan, and having to start all over again learning something else.

    I find your mindset little different to someone who breaks into houses and steals peoples belongings, and thinks they cause no damage because of insurance.

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  25. Because this legislation actually effects me in my day job, I am going to have to read it in detail.

    But on a quick look the omens are bad: unless I am mistaken, if you are a “university, library or business” then you are an account holder and thus deprived of the process that IPAPs can use to hold themselves defended against charge, despite the fact that many “university, library or business” are functionally indistingusihable from a IPAP; these organisations could find themselves in front of the district court.

    That sucks.

    I’m sure I’ll be in full rant mode tomorrow…

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  26. Oh photonz! How wrong you are.

    Firstly I don’t break into anybodies house, steal cars or anything else for that matter. You’re hypothesising about what type of person I am, which is completely incorrect and unappreciated.

    If something can be copied at no cost and given to somebody who couldn’t normally afford it then is there any harm in this? Ah no! Environmentally it is the correct direction to go in. The movie industry continues to make record profits… If there is an issue it is with the implementation of technology that allows copyright infringement. We pay a great amount for that and acquiring information that we would normally have to pay for is a bonus to our considerable investment.

    I’m unsure what the failed student loan scheme has to do with copyright infringement. Are the Natz looking for something to blame? Do you have any actual studies that categorically show that copyright infringement takes jobs away from people who have paid extraordinary amounts to get an education, or is it just more hype? I know a lot of photographers here and in Aussie and they have not informed me that there is a drop in employment in this sector that cannot be accounted for by the “recession”.

    Maybe it is a good thing that a lot more crappy movies are not being made because of illegal downloads. However I think that it has only eaten into profits, not halted any production. This in my opinion is a good thing. I still have no qualms about downloading content that is overpriced and often not worth the entry fee. Your argument is simply irrelevant to me in that respect.

    Rant!

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  27. Todd says “If something can be copied at no cost and given to somebody who couldn’t normally afford it then is there any harm in this? Ah no! ”

    Like many people who make their living from creating material, I have to spend thousands of dollars every year trying to stop people stealing my images.

    I spend thousands more on lawyers taking action against those who steal my material.

    I lose sales when I can’t guarantee exclusivity if a work because someone else has stolen an image.

    I’ve had clients pull print runs worth ten of thousands of dollars, because the end client required complete exclusivity of material, and it was later found to be used illegally elsewhere. We can become liable for these huge costs if we have given an exclusive licence, and then we have to try to get the money back off the person / company who has stolen the images.

    So a$$holes with your mind-set cost thousands of dollars every year to people and their families who make their living from creating material.

    As far as I’m concerned, if you steal peoples copyrighted material, you are ecactly the same as those scum who steal stuff from houses.

    Except they are probably less delusional – not so many of them kid themselves that it’s all justifiable.

    And you say there is no harm. You have absolutely no idea of what harm you are doing.

    Your “me-me-me-me-me-stuff-everyone-else” attitude is just the same as a thief – you are no different.

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  28. I dunno, photonz1. I don’t support people who infringe copyright law, but to me it seems just as likely that professional photographers are going out of business because the environment’s changing so much with digital photography and it no longer matches old business models. When my wife and I went for a wedding photographer, we specifically found someone who would let us keep digital copies of all the full res photos on a couple of DVDs, and make copies for friends and family without paying extra (although he’d retain copyright so he could continue to use them to promote his business). We’re now combining them with what was given to us by a heap of friends and family. There was a clear written understanding that he was there to take official photographs, and not so much to sell us rights to his photographs. Before digital photography, this type of arrangement would not even have been a consideration. He also charged about half as much as the ones who wanted exclusive rights to producing every single print.

    If people want technically great photos, there should definitely be a market for people training to be good photographers and copyright should support that (if it’s enforced properly). But since the last few years, it’s just so much easier for people to get into amateur photography and be quite good at it, too, and share photos that keep them satisfied. I gave up on bothering with taking my own photos for ages, just because it was so hard to get ones I liked and cost so much every time I wanted something developed. These days when I go out for a weekend, I can get an instant idea of roughly how my photo looked, I’ll snap about 500 of them and weed out the 70% of bad ones later.

    Todd and Bronwyn, thanks I’m aware of the copyright terms in NZ and I think they’re longer than they need to be, but I guess it’s what’s there at present. I’m always a bit on edge given the web of international treaties and corporate interests in establishing infinite copyright terms globally.

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  29. MikeM says “Before digital photography, this type of arrangement would not even have been a consideration”

    Wrong – I know photographers in the film era who supplied negatives for weddings.

    One of the main reasons many top photographers don’t give out digital copies/negatives for weddings, portraits etc, is because the main reason people want the originals, is so they can get the cheapest prints done (usually the lowest quality at the local print shop, or horror of horrors, even on their home inkjet).

    So the photographer might do a great job, but the prints can come out flat and dull because they’ve been done cheaply, or start fading badly five years later, and inevitably the photographers reputation takes a dive – not the printmakers.

    Breaches of copyright costs us thousands every year (one case last year was into five figures). It also damages our clients who use images legitimately.

    In the past we’ve even had people who stole our images start passing them out free of charge to anyone who wanted them, including some of our top clients. That caused us huge loses. After spending thousdands on lawyers, we could have gone the whole way and spent another $30-$40,000 if we wanted to sue them – with not much chance of getting compensation or our legal fees back.

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  30. Again, this bill is about file sharing via peer-to-peer software in particular. It wouldn’t cover the distribution channels that are typical of photos.

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  31. Okay, some fair enough points and I’m not making excuses for people who infringe your copyright and reduce your business, reduce the money you can make from your IP and incur legal expenses as a result. As far as I’m concerned people who do that should be dealt with by the law appropriately.

    But with a flood of amateur and semi-professional photographers out there who, just since the last few years, can now get something to satisfy themselves with a relatively cheap digital camera and a photo-editing app, there’s surely a reduction on the demand for professionals, isn’t there? Doesn’t it explain at least part of photographers going out of business “like never before”?

    As long as you business is providing something that someone’s willing to buy, then great, but I certainly wouldn’t want to rack up a big student loan learning something for that industry without thinking very carefully.

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  32. The idea that any business deserves to maintain the same income is something that needs to be justified.

    Most wedding photographers that I know have moved from selling prints (slowly recouping costs per unit) to selling the original files (lump sum recouping costs). The technology has changed and the business models have to change. If you give someone a photo then you can’t reasonably expect to be able to control what they do with that photo in their own homes. It may well be an infringement of copyright and wrong, but it would also be foolish to expect to control what people do in the privacy of their own homes. The business model needs to be realistic.

    That said, this bill is not about controlling the primary conduits used by people exchanging photos, and there are important issues at stake here such as s122MA which reverses the presumption of innocence, the lack of protection for artistic remix under our Fair Dealing laws, and how hacked WiFi connections may be unwittingly liable.

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  33. Matthew – There have always been wedding photographers who hand over negatives / digital files, though it has become more common, (probably more due to hundreds of new photographers trying to start up each year, rather than technology changes).

    As I’ve said earlier, I think something like taking away an internet connection should be a punnishment for repeat offenders only, in the way a repeat drunk driver or boy racer may have a car taken etc.

    Todd – I’ve had images taken in all sorts of ways. Copies illegally made out of books, magazines, brochures, posters etc ; taken from our website, clients websites, agents werbsites; illegally copied from discs, scans taken illegally from transparencies etc.

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  34. With SEO techniques today such as article writing, and article rewriting, just to promote a website, I feel that the essence of copywriting or patent is lost. One article gets rewritten and spinned over and over again, submitted to websites. Articles nowadays are tools to promote websites, not to promote human thinking. I no longer appreciate articles as it is only being used for meta tags, keywords, and the like.

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  35. Might I suggest that you firstly secure your discs etc so that people who might copy them cannot. It appears that you are mainly complaining about people copying material that if you followed normal business practice, you would have been paid for already.

    Depending on what system you employ, the client usually pays for the copyright when he pays for the work, it is therefore their problem when it is infringed. Retaining copyright of images you sell invariably means they are worth less in a commercial sense. You also need to realise that anything on the internet cannot be controlled even with water marks and such.

    Secondly copying something is completely different than going into a house and stealing personal effects. Personal effects in a persons house are not put into the public sector to earn money. There is no sentimental value to commercial content. In my case there is no cost to the manufacturer because I would not normally pay for the item anyway. We are talking about copying not removing. Likewise it is not like a drunk driver because there is no lose of life involved. Do you also think the world is ending when you stub your toes?

    The public has had to pay for globalisation and the implementation of technologies and there various negative effects on society. Why shouldn’t businesses pay as well? Personally I view what I do as incidental copying, which is allowed by the current law.

    The best remedy is in retaining material until payment is made and not rely on future earnings from material that cannot be controlled once released. Even with the proposed implementations, the infrastructure in place allows sharing of information. To change that would mean going backwards. But then you wouldn’t stub your toes would you.

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  36. In my case there is no cost to the manufacturer because I would not normally pay for the item anyway. We are talking about copying not removing.

    Todd, with respect, are you against all forms of copyright, or only the instances that affect your making use of other people’s copyrighted materials for free? Is the only kind of copyright that matters to you the kind where it already takes extra effort to do the copying?

    Copyright is an artificial construct in law that was (once upon a time) designed to deal with an incentive problem. The fact that you can make a copy and the creator still has it should be no surprise, because that’s the root of why there have been incentive problems for creators in the past. That’s why it specifically says that for a period of time you do have to seek permission to make a copy, except for special circumstances, even if it’s easy to do the copying and even if you probably wouldn’t have used the work otherwise. If you don’t want to seek permission, then no problem—just don’t have it, or wait for the copyright to expire. If photonz1 doesn’t want you or others to duplicate their work for whatever reason, it shouldn’t have to be explained to you, the business process shouldn’t have to be redesigned (probably at a cost to them) to make it harder for people to illegally copy stuff, and it certainly shouldn’t be necessary for small publishers to spend thousands of dollars and time trawling through court processes to enforce what the law says they should have already.

    Of course the current issue is more about what measures content owners should be able to take when copyright is breached rather than what rights they should have in the first place. Personally I think that chopping of internet connections is ill-thought-out, kind of silly and likely to be ineffective in most cases except for big negative side-effects for unrelated people.

    I don’t know how to best deal with copyright infringement, and in some respects I think if the rights granted to content holders weren’t so strong (such as unreasonably lengthy copyright terms), perhaps there would be less incentive for people like yourself to breach them. But I definitely do appreciate the usefulness for everyone in granting a legal right for creators to control their work in nearly all circumstances for at least a reasonable time so they have a chance to get something in return for it. And except for the usual exceptions (fair dealing etc) it should apply equally to everyone and be clearly spelt out.

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  37. Todd says “The best remedy is in retaining material until payment is made ”

    That would never work. People want to see how check images first and see how they look in layouts of books, brochures, posters, etc, see if the quality is up to going on billboards etc.

    Paying first is like shops saying you can buy stuff – but you’re not allowed to see it first.

    As for securing disks – the whole point is that a client can copy onto their computer, send to the designer, printer etc.

    To make sales, people have to be able to copy images.

    The problems is with criminals who think they have the “right” to steal.

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  38. So are you being ripped off by your customers? Which is a somewhat different issue to being ripped off by people who would never be your customers; one normally thinks one has established a business relationship with customers.

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  39. The internet is just the world’s best copying machine, and with encryption it can provide secure communications. For offline data transfer there are also USB sticks and DVD writers. This is the nature of the modern world, but there has and will always be a certain amount of unauthorized copying.

    We can talk about business models, such as all-you-can-eat downloads with a monthly subscription, but within the context of law making there’s no way to establish an ‘APRA for movies’, or even to allow APRA themselves to sell an internet download license in the same way that they sell a music license to cafes. The record companies simply won’t let them.

    Other countries like Korea get legal options for downloadable movies before DVDs are sold, but New Zealand doesn’t. The United States have Hulu for TV and movies but there isn’t an equivalent here. New Zealanders are an honest bunch and we score very well on independent OECD measures for illegal copying. This year we’ve had the highest grossing NZ movie ever. There was unauthorised copying of it but it didn’t stop it being a massively profitable movie.

    Rather than just discussing business models (like those on newmusicstrategies.com, written by a NZer) and simply hoping those models get adopted I think that the important question is what law makers can do to encourage these models. E.g. If law makers decide that these companies have created some of the problem themselves then how can the law encourage them to change to fix the problem they’ve identified?

    I think that it would be sensible idea if punitive damages were scaled based on whether there was a legal online alternative to the illegal download. This would encourage legal alternatives online.

    Trying to modify the behaviour of the public without also trying to modify the behaviour of these companies won’t work, in my opinion.

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  40. dbuckley says “So are you being ripped off by your customers? ”

    No. That’s not what I was saying. I was pointing out that Todds idea of clients paying for images before they see them would never work in the real world.

    Images are often stolen FROM our clients – from their websites and publications, and from (and sometimes by) third parties they use for their design, printing, websites etc.

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  41. photonz1: Could I just clarify — presumably you’re the one who must be responsible chasing up on such copyright infringement (as opposed to the customer) because you’re retaining copyright on the images after the customer has them? Is this correct?

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  42. No. That’s not what I was saying. I was pointing out that Todds idea of clients paying for images before they see them would never work in the real world.

    Come now Photonz… Any properly run business in the graphic industry knows that the work is paid for before it leaves. Even with overseas clients there are methods and applications to ensure that the work is paid for before being utilized commercially.

    It would appear that Mathew Halloway has hit the nail on the head. If the movie industry adopted the music industries model in combating illegal downloads with a legal download model at a reasonable price, the movie industry would see a lot less loss to their income stream. There would be less waste in land fills. The only negative (to them) is less profit for some manufacturing and retail outlets etc. Consider though the ease of use for the customer, quality of product and value for money. Although this model does exist, it is currently overpriced.

    Any measures imposed are relatively ineffective. A positive solution is the only effective solution to the copyright infringement issue.

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  43. Just with what Matthew said, I think it makes sense to work on encouraging changes in business models under certain circumstances, but it still only addresses the one specific class of copyright holder who wants people to have their creations one way or another. (Music, movies, etc.)

    There’s still the other class of copyright holder where the incentive doesn’t come from distributing widely, it comes from being able to control and restrict the distribution, and photonz1 is probably in this class. Business models encouraging easy downloads probably don’t help someone like photonz1, and all it takes is for a random person in the chain to post something interesting onto the world’s greatest copying machine that shouldn’t be there, and what was supposed to be the legally enforcible incentive for a creator’s work could be ruined due to practical loss of control that copyright law is supposed to provide.

    And you could say that maybe copyright shouldn’t be about letting people monopolise control of their distribution, and only about moderating access to make sure the author gets paid, but to say this is also to throw out a bunch of licensing mechanisms that have become popular among the non-commercial masses of people who want to control distribution of their work when they make it available through the world’s greatest copying machine. Especially the GPL and Creative Commons, both of which rely heavily on copyright law to ensure authors keep control over how things are distributed, as opposed to just trying to be paid (or something similar) when it distribution occurs.

    I don’t know how to prevent unauthorised copying on the world’s greatest copying machine except to think that chopping internet connections seems pointless and impractical, but I think it’s reasonable to want to be able to make something available on the internet whilst still controlling it, and I think photonz1 has a point about legal methods available to chase down people who infringe on copyright still don’t work too well. Maybe copyright law does need to be changed to reflect that it’s simply too difficult to control distribution, and remove some of those rights from copyright holders so that it’s at least clear to everyone how things are going to work. Copyright’s a an artificial right granted by society, after all.

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