Posts Tagged ‘copyright’

ACTA: case study

The Anti Counterfeiting Trade Agreement is the last fashion in international commerce [es]. It’s about bi-lateral negotiation with those countries with cultural policies and legislation, on author rights, copy rights and access both to cultural content and the Internet, unfavourable to its promoters: US’ entertainment industry.

For example, the US could establish a secret process, avoiding any looks from any civil and/or control organism, subordinating the production of both physical and intellectual products of this country to hollywoodistic interests.
Meaning that if the country at matters does not give up to the majors’ demands, the United States will use all its commerce force to cripple all its industrial sectors.

If we move this formula into the African Continent, the obtained result is even much more bizarre. In a recent post, Emeka Okafor commented the african situation as was exposed by Thabo Mbeki.

The forgotten continent

is a primary producer of intellectual resources, and also a consumer of finished intellectual products, but makes little contribution to the value that is added in between. Much (perhaps most) African intellectual production occurs under northern (American and European) contracts. Consequently, Africa’s intellectual agenda is set outside the continent, with African scholars are co-opted as consultants and primary researchers, while the ablest of them are provided with careers in western universities, research institutes and policy institutions. The final product is then re-exported, its value having been multiplied many times over, to Africa for consumption by African people, governments and institutions.

And this is how ACTA works. If local interests are subordinated to big foreign megacorps, local production will decrease until becoming a mirror for the african situation, a big and rich whole continent forced to sell cheap its own resources, in order to buy extremely high its derived products.

If you want to protect the cultural production, its authors, creators and the citizens who buy and consume those products, first step is slam the door to ACTAs, Sustainable Economy Laws, Digital Economy Bills and any other clones.

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Piracy and death penalty

Anyone interested in the history of piracy, I mean real piracy, on the seas, knows that what those men and women were affronting when caught was death by hanging.
May be for this, they gave no quarter, because if they were captured, the only thing they could expect was a rope. Or may be that was the other way? Which was first, the egg or the chicken?

Anyway, there is some people whom nowadays, in the XXI century, remembers those ages in which pirates were hung to death. It is the case of Frank Nevrkla, CEO of Phonographic Performance Ltd., who in his addressing to the group’s AGM, he sent out some pearls:

Thank you, David, and thank you for putting some of those pirates behind bars. I know that regrettably capital punishment was abolished in this country some 50 years ago, sad it is, but a few years in jail is probably pretty OK…

To the industry I would say, we would be well advised to delete two or three words from our vocabulary entirely and they are ‘promotion’ and ‘promotional value’. There is no such thing in the 21st Century. There is usage, there are benefits, hopefully often, if not always to both sides but there is no favour in it and no indulgence and no promotion.

Without any doubt, a full declaration of his intentions, not to say a declaration of war…

By the way, I hope that Mr. Nevrkla, in fact, the equivalent of Teddy Bautista (CEO of SGAE, the only private enterprise in charge of collecting money from copyright) in Spain, old violinist whom does not play since 1976, pays diligently his royalties part for quoting and paraphrasing a couple of fragments from the movie “In the name of the father”, in which a judge regrets the detainees were not charged with treason to the crown (piracy was), which implies death by hanging.

And after paying his quota to Jim Sheridan, I hope that Mr. ex-violinist gets some of his own country’s history. Death penalty for piracy was abolished in 1998. After that, he should retire to a cave, to meditate until the end of his days.

Second letter of Arnau to the editors, publishers and authors

Finally, last friday I got the answer from Mr. Josep Ricou, published on the comments section in the original letter post.

Basically, he says that the note is a standard one, it is no matter how many permissions you ask to cite or reproduce any part of the content in their books as they are systematically denied, and in order to not letting any doubt or question uncovered, he grants me permission to read the book…

And so I wrote him again, copy to partners and authors too:

Good morning again Mr. Ricou,

I am pleased to receive your answer, and that it came so quick. However, I think you did not fully understood my request. My tolerance in abusive copyright notices is zero. As the note “Del xino al raval” is. I am aware that the notes are standardized, and this is precisely the problem. Most of them try to prevent indiscriminate ‘disclosure’ of the book, killing the rights acquired by the purchase of the book itself. And Mr. Ricou, when I buy anything, it is mine, and I do what I want: let it to whom and when I wish, and if applicable, destroy it how and when I like. This includes books.
As far as I know, when someone buys a book, it ‘buys a book’ not a ‘reading license’.

Regarding the second point of your reply, I am reaffirmed now in my convictions, because offering the opportunity to quote parts of the book in order to “deny them systematically” is really nasty by you, and personally I find it a bad joke, not to say a total lack of respect for “Hacer Editorial S.L.” customers’. Moreover, I feel that quite contradictory, to put it gently, that the interests and goals of “Hacer Editorial S.L.” is “the maximum dissemination of the texts published”, but these texts include a “standardized formula that attempts to prevent indiscriminate reproduction of texts published” and that “request for permission to reproduce them, implies systematically deny of the permission”.
There is something that either you have not understood well, or does not work properly.

Anyway, back to explain my request: I was not asking permission to read the book. I was asking the money I paid for a book that can not be read without:
a) committing a crime against intellectual property
and / or
b) request for permission of the publisher (not the author) in advance

Mr. Ricou, it is since long ago I do not ask permission to do things. Much less asking permission to use something for which I paid already.

Arnau Fuentes

Categories: The blog Tags: ,

Reader rights

June 9, 2010 2 comments

Some days ago, I was commenting on those typical copyright notes that we get when we buy a paper book. One of them showed a glimpse about simply reading the book, it could lead to commit a crime by copyright infraction.

As I do not want to become a criminal by the simple fact of reading a book, I’ve just sent this letter to the publisher in order to return the book and get my money back. Moreover, I sent copies to the publisher’s partners:
Publicacions de l’ Ajuntament de Barcelona (Barcelona’s city council publishing) , Associació per a la Promoció i la Inserció Professional (APIP) (Organization for Labour Insertion and Promotion), Centre de Cultura Contemporània de Barcelona (Center for Contemporary Culture of Barcelona) and Institut de Govern i Polítiques Públiques (Public Policy and Governing Institute).
I just have to contact the authors, Joan Subirats and Joaquim Rius. We will keep informing.

To the attention of Mr. Josep Ricou Barceló, CEO of “Amics i autors de les divulgacions culturals d’ Editorial Hacer S.L.” (Friends and Authors of culture disclosure of Hacer Editorial Ltd.)

Mister Ricou,

Some time ago I bought, at CCCB’s shop, one book published by Hacer Editorial. It is “Del xino al raval”, written by Joan Subirats and Joaquim Rius.
I got that book to make some research for a little historical essay on the city of Barcelona. Regrettably, and for reasons of no matter now, I had to abandon that project.

I am trying to recover it now, so when I started to read the book in the matter, I noticed the copyright notes which usually are carried by paper books. More than anything to be aware about what can I do and what can not be done.

The copyright note within “Del xino al raval” really astonished me, because it forbids explicitly any reproduction, recording nor transmission using any system which recovers information, in any way or method, being it mechanical, photo-chemical, electronic, magnetic, electro-optical, by photocopy or anyone else, without prior permission from the publisher.

I must confess that I am a respectful citizen, who abides to the law, conscious of my rights and duties, and with a list of values which I’ve been building with time.
Those values include zero tolerance to abusive copyright or “author rights” notes. Because of that, and after asking some medical experts whom confirmed me that human eye is a photo-chemical and electro-optical information recovery system, I’m obliged to return the book to Hacer Editorial Ltd., and it must be said that I expect getting my €8 back.

I deeply feel sorry for the authors, Mr. Subirats and Mr. Rius, whom now will have to return their part from the royalties earned with this copy, now returned. If you tell me some way to contact them, I will be glad to tell them personally about all this issue.
Truly, I’d rather remain as a law-respectful citizen and return a book, than become a criminal by the simple fact of reading it and thus breaking and infringe the note on intellectual property.

This letter does not exclude the possibility that, if in the future Hacer Editorial publishes some books able to be processed by a photo-chemical and electro-optical information recovery system, meaning able to be read by a human, I would buy one. Even more, I explicitly cede my contact information (email address) to Hacer Editorial Ltd. in order to contact me if this happens.
But, any other use different from what is being told now, or apart from the reception of an answer to this letter (which I really wait), will be considered as unsolicited email, fact which could incur in manifest infraction of Ley Orgánica 15/1999, de 13 de diciembre, de Protección de Datos de Carácter Personal (Personal Data Protection Law), Ley 34/2002, de 11 de julio, de Servicios de la Sociedad de la Información y de Comercio Electrónico (Information Society and Electronic Commerce Law) and/or any other law approved in the future. Such infraction will be reported to the proper authorities.

Get my regards and my best wishes for this summer,

Arnau Fuentes Esteller

Neuro-Linguistic Programming: why we say what we say

May 31, 2010 1 comment

Many times we say things without thinking, being it by being used to do it, or just by repetition. In example, that sharing is not a crime, or that copying a CD or lending a book is the same as steal it.

Thanks to a link from Dave Winer, I arrive to Stowe Boyd’s blog,in wich he comments about the social role of books, and how restrictions applied to digital books cripple that role.

It is not necessary to get maniac nor blame the new electronic formats, because new systems (Digital Restriction Management) ain’t nothing more than effective application of a little paragraph which is printed in almost every book. It says more or less this:

It is totally forbidden any reproduction (electronic, chemical, mechanical, optical, recording or photocopied), distribution, public communication and transformation of any part of this publication, included the cover design, without previous written authorizationfrom the Publisher.

In one of the traditional books (paper) which I have bought lately, the next must be added to the prohibitionist note:

El escaneado, tele-carga y distribución de este libro mediante Internet o mediante cualquier otro medio sin el permiso del editor es ilegal y punible por ley. Por favor, compra solamente ediciones electrónicas autorizadas, y no participes en ni apoyes la piratería electrónica de material sujeto a copyright. Apreciamos tu apoyo a los derechos del autor.

It is truly a jolly fun, not to say pitiful and hypocrite, reading “you are forbidden to do anything without previous authorization from the publisher” and “we appreciate your support to the rights from the authors” in the same paragraph. And I did not got it wrong: rights TO THE author.

Although there are more silly examples yet.

All rights reserved. This book can not be reproduced, nor totally neither partially, neither recorded in, neither transmitted by, a system of information recovery, in any way or in any media, beig that mechanical, photo-chemical, electronic, magnetic, electro-optical, by photocopy or any other, without prior written notice from the publisher.

Having in mind that, as far as I know, human eye is a photo-chemical and electro-optical system (any doctor in the room?) which recovers and interprets information, the simple fact of reading a book after having bought it, could constitute a crime against intellectual property. Some lawyer in the room?

To lend a book has a social and a marketing function. When we lend a book, apart from lending our impressions and written notes, we are making a reccomendation: I like this book more than this other one. And for that, either we lend it, or either we mark (or publish in our blog/website) some lines we specially like, and this could end with someone buying a new copy.
But according to those notes which, presumably, are about to protect the writer’s work, the fact of lending a book which we liked to somebody, constitutes a crime against intellectual property… the publisher’s!!!

We must know what we say. We must think what we say in order to be able to say what we think. Speaking of DRM is remembering this kind of notes which, with a fawlty language, deprive the rights both from the author, ultimate responsible for the work, and from the reader, who paid for it.

It is because of this that free licenses are so important, because they allow the authors, not the publishers, play by their own rules.
Converting your readers into criminals is not the solution. If you do that, they will behave as such.

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