Copycense Clippings (Aug. 21 – Aug. 27)
A brief Clippings right before the U.S. Labor Day holiday.
Maura Corbett. Separating Fact from Fiction on Digital Copyrights. News.com. Aug. 27, 2007. We’re not quite sure what to make of this op-ed article. Sure, it says all the right things. But the writer is a partner at a heavy duty Washington, DC public relations firm. In other words, she spins for a living. Our skepticism is rooted in observing a spinner now getting on the fair use bandwagon — in other words, a spinner unspinning the spin.
Large public relations firms like Corbett’s Qorvis Communications have been central in creating and perpetuating the “piracy” spin, a frame now so ingrained in the American psyche that even news outlets we respect succumb to it. Why, then, should we fail to remain skeptical when a person whose professional life has been devoted to the spinning now wants to spin in a way that is more palatable to us (fair use) than a spin that is unpalatable (“piracy”)? Any way you cut the mustard, a spin is a spin: once you enter the cycle — even if it’s for your own benefit — clarity is lost and difficult to recoup. We like to do without spin, even if it’s beneficial to us. Categories: Framing & Rhetoric; Bundle of Rights; Fair Use & Other Exceptions.
Greg Sandoval. Hollywood’s Copyright Enforcer. News.com. Aug. 27, 2007. News.com interviews Dean Garfield, Big Film’s chief strategist for infringement reduction, both real and alleged. What we find revealing is that Garfield (a) cannot say conclusively whether or not electronically-based infringement is growing; and (b) concedes his clients (the six major U.S. film studios) did not actually seek to study and analyze the issue until 2005. Of course, the film industry has been screaming about the sky falling due to “piracy” at least since 1998. This disconnect between MPAA’s study of the issue and lack of factual evidence that a correlation exists between “file sharing” and “piracy” provides even more evidence that “piracy” is nothing more than public relations blather, upon which no legislator should base public policy. Categories: Film & Video; Framing & Rhetoric; Politics & Government.
Brad Stone. With Software and Soldering, a Non-AT&T iPhone. The New York Times. Aug. 25, 2007. Seriously, you had to know it was just a matter of time before someone cracked the iPhone encryption and reconfigured the device to work on networks other than AT&T’s. Unfortunately, the hackers made a critical mistake: by seeking the limelight, the have identified themselves, making it easier for AT&T or Apple to sue them. Categories: DMCA; DRM & Copy Protection; International; Mobile Devices.
Ellen Nakashima. Telecom Firms Helped With Government’s Warrantless Wiretaps. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 24, 2007. Call us cynical, but we would be surprised if any consumer was surprised that the private sector would roll over for the federal government. We’ve concluded one never should believe a private business’ pledges to uphold a consumer’s privacy, especially if that company does business in the capital markets. It’s too easy to surrender that pledge and claim it was necessary to protect shareholders’ interests. Categories: Politics & Government; Privacy & Security.
Open Access News. Publishers Launch an Anti-OA Lobbying Organization. Aug. 23, 2007. Peter Suber thoroughly analyzes the effect and implications of a press release that announced the formation of the Partnership for Research Integrity in Science & Medicine (PRISM), a front for the Association of American Publishers (AAP) that seeks to discredit open access under the guise of “protect[ing] the quality of scientific research.” This is the next step in AAP’s ongoing campaign to diminish (if not destroy) open access. (AAP took the first step in January, when it hired the spinster that worked with former Enron chief executive officer and convicted felon Jeffrey Skilling.) Categories: Open Access; Research; Science & Medical.
David McNary and Ben Fritz. Lawmaker Proposes Piracy Warning. Variety. Aug. 23, 2007. California Democrat representative Howard Berman plans to introduce legislation that would require Internet service providers to send subscribers a warning letter if they access so-called “pirated” content. While we would have to analyze the actual bill in order to provide a full response, our first reaction is that the idea is such bad policy on so many different levels that it’s asinine. More dangerously, though, such a bill would represent another attempt to codify “piracy” into federal law. That would indicate the “piracy” frame remains effective. Categories: Framing & Rhetoric; Legislation & Regulation.
Frank Ahrens and Mike Musgrove. Music-Selling Rivals Take Aim at iTunes. WashingtonPost.com. Aug. 22, 2007. WalMart moves the price of downloads from 99 cents to 94 cents, while Real Networks partners with MTV and Verizon. Meanwhile Prince is giving away 3 million albums for free in the United Kingdom. Do we catch a trend here? Categories: Music; Web & Online.
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