Those most likely to pirate music are between the ages of 13 and 17. That same age group shares something else in common. They can’t get a credit card on their own. Why is this important? You need a credit card to purchase music online. You can’t buy MP3s at the music store. Kids don’t want to buy CDs. I think if there were an easy way for kids to buy music online then they would do it, but only if it were easy to buy individual tracks. This won’t stop music piracy, but if they could get a song easier and faster by buying it and they already knew they liked it, then they would buy it. I think kids just want to try out music without getting burned. Everyone has bought at least one CD that you thought you would like and after trying it twice you just couldn’t stand it. Is there a solution to this problem?
That’s right. Pirates. The Pirate Party is beginning to form in the United States. Piratpartiet originated in Sweden. They are a political party that is pro-privacy, anti-copyright, and anti-patent. Some major issues are net neutrality, the limiting of copyright lengths, and advocacy of personal privacy laws that allow the use of technologies such as cryptography.
Copyright laws are not serving the public nor are they serving the greater good. Copyright currently serves large corporations while limiting the creative expression of artists around the world. Copyright terms are constantly being lengthened to the point that nothing that you enjoyed as a child will ever go into the public domain until you are no longer alive to enjoy it. Mickey Mouse must never become public domain, so the terms keep getting longer and longer until they are longer than the lifespan of any human.
Some of the other issues that they Pirate Party stands for are brought to light in a song by “Weird Al” Yankovic entitled Don’t Download This Song. (You can download it at dontdownloadthissong.com) Downloading copyrighted material should not be grounds to make one a criminal. The Pirate Party is there to fight for issues that matter to the rising generation of Internet savvy people that want to experience media on their terms.
You can’t join yet, but they will be allowing people to join in a few weeks. For more information visit The Pirate Party Website. You can sign up to post to the forums and receive announcements about when and how to join and upcoming events.
U.S. District Judge Richard Matsch says sanitizing movies to delete content that may offend some people is an “illegitimate business.” According to a CBC article, Matsch ordered CleanFlicks and three other similar companies, to immediately stop producing, creating, and renting out edited films. I had heard before that they got around the issue by legally framing it in such a way that individuals were really buying movies and then requesting CleanFlicks remove the content on their behalf. Apparently this method of circumventing current copyright laws doesn’t hold water anymore.
The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) should really step in here. It would be a great way to get politicians and religious groups on their side for once. Copyright holders have been granted far too much power recently. One of the goals of the EFF is to rollback the legislation that has made copyright in the United States a losing proposition for both consumers and the culture in general. These directors, including Steven Spielberg, Robert Redford, and Martin Scorsese, are arguing the same thing. According to a DGA press release about the ruling, Michael Apted, the president of the Directors Guild of America, had the following to say:
As creators of films, we oppose giving anyone the ability to alter in any way they choose, for any purpose, and for profit, the content of a film that we have made, often after many years of work. Directors put their skill, craft and often years of hard work into the creation of a film. These films carry our name and reflect on our reputations. No matter how many disclaimers are put on the film, it still carries the director’s name. So we have great passion about protecting our work, which is our signature and brand identification, against unauthorized editing.
Is this fair use? According to Judge Matsch it is not. I can’t see any reason why this is not covered by fair use. The discs are bought by the company, so the directors and everybody else involved in the film industry get their money and people who are willing to pay for this service get to watch movies they would never see otherwise. No one is hurt. Everybody wins. But that’s not good enough for the directors. They want everyone to watch the movie theirway. Next thing you know they will make it so you can’t watch the movie unless you have 5.1 stereo surround sound, since that’s the way they intended the film to be viewed. What about locking out black and white TVs, or TVs that aren’t big enough? Does this sound absurd to you?
Think back to the days when all rented and purchased movies were on VHS tapes. Imagine there had been advertisements for other movies placed before the actual movie you wanted to watch, which was often the case on rented tapes. Now imagine that the fast-forward button didn’t work while playing that portion of the tape. Sounds pretty absurd doesn’t it? Well, DVDs have been doing this for years.
The directors hail this as a boon for them and their creative talent. They claim that this editing is unauthorized and that the films will now be viewed the way the director intended. Well, what about those movies that are released later labeled as the director’s cut? Does this mean *gasp* that the original version of the film was not the director’s original vision? You mean sometimes the movie we watch has been edited in ways the director did not intend? This is often done after focus groups watch the movies and respond unfavorably to certain aspects of the film. So this means that the movie studios can edit the films in ways that don’t represent the director’s vision. So producers and executives can alter the films for commercial gain, but individuals can’t pay a third party to edit a movie to their specifications?
I think people should have the right to fair use. I think this use falls into that category. This use is especially “fair” because the movie industry gets more sales from this activity than they otherwise would. I know a number of people who own copies of “scrubbed” movies that they would never own uncut version of.
Where does all this leave CleanFlicks then? I don’t know. This ruling was only made on July 7th 2006 and no mention of it has yet been made on the CleanFlicks website. They are still taking new signups, so maybe this somehow doesn’t affect all of their business model. I just hope that they make it through this.