Thursday, November 22, 2007

There They Go Again: Copyright Alliance and "Education"

I have posted before on the Copyright Alliance's cartoonish efforts to "educate," via propaganda, our nation's children in the ways of content owners. Patrick Ross indeed has a unique definition of education, as seen in his latest effort: sending all 17 presidential hopefuls a questionnaire. Here is a article on the effort from Variety:

An industry-backed organization has asked 17 hopefuls seeking either the Democratic or Republican presidential nomination to explain what they would do, if elected, to promote and protect intellectual property rights.
The Copyright Alliance, whose members include the Motion Picture Assn. of America and the Recording Industry Assn. of America, said it hopes to have replies from all the campaigns by early next year and will make all answers publicly available at a later date.

In a conference call Tuesday with reporters, alliance exec director Patrick Ross acknowledged that with the country facing issues such as the war in Iraq, the mortgage crisis and health care, candidate stands on intellectual property rights aren’t likely to determine voter decisions.

“We’re not pretending our issue is paramount or the only one of concern,” Ross said. But given the significance of intellectual property to the U.S. economy -- accounting for about 13% of it, Ross said -- the issue should merit attention.

Ross emphasized that the questionnaire mailed to the candidates isn’t ultimately intended to single out a particular candidate for endorsement. “We are an educational organization,” he said.

If candidates either don’t reply or give answers that the alliance feels are inadequate, Ross said he and member orgs will “do more to get the word out to candidates and the general public” about the importance of copyright industries.

Here are the questions:

How would you promote the progress of science and creativity, as enumerated in the U.S. Constitution, by upholding and strengthening copyright law and preventing its diminishment?

How do you feel the rights that have served our economy and spurred creativity in the physical world should apply in the digital world?

How would you protect the incentive to create by committing sufficient resources to support effective civil and criminal enforcement of copyright laws domestically and internationally?

How would you ensure inclusion of copyright protections in bilateral, regional and multilateral trade agreements to protect creators and foster global development?

How would you protect the rights of creators to express themselves freely under the principles established in the First Amendment?

One doesn't know whether to laugh or cry at such inanities. I have bolded only the most obvious of points: all of the questions are so loaded and one-sided as to be a buffoonish caricature of a high school student's efforts to craft an interview. If I were a Presidential hopeful, I would send the questionnaire back blank and say: "If this is your idea of creativity, I would go talk to one of the striking writers; you clearly lack any semblance of creativity yourselves." And I would also suggest Mr. Ross go back to school and get a proper education.


Anonymous said...

Well, at least it is refreshing to see someone actually begging the question, rather than just raising it (which is often misunderstood to be the former, these days)

Anonymous said...

Take a look at these:
rtsp:// (needs real player)

William Patry said...

Thanks, Anonymous, I couldn't link on to the first link, but the second one is indeed pathetic. Fortunately, I doubt many kids will be going to that site.

Unknown said...

I took a shot at answering Patrick's ridiculous questions here:

William Patry said...

Thanks, Mike I read it and should have linked to it.

Anonymous said...

From Kids Piracy Thinking Cap on the USPTO link above:

"You capture pictures from TV shows and post them on your website along with soundbytes that make you laugh.

Is that per se infringement resulting in liability or is there a fair use defense depending on the use and amount among other factors?

William Patry said...

Yes, I looked at that in response to another comment; what a pathetic program and quite inappropriate for the government to be advocating. I take solace in the likelihood that few if any kids will see it.

Neville said...

One of my siblings is in "education" (teaching teachers in the use of technology) and has stated to me that the teachers themselves are quite cavalier about technology enabled copyright infringement. So from whom are the impressionable young minds going to learn? As drivers education ought to include simulated impact from such charming behavior as tailgating (yikes, young drivers!) to make the math/physics of stopping distance and collision of two moving objects visceral, copyright education ought to include simulated rip-off of one's creative work. Until it is experienced, the concept of loss of some or all of one's copy-right doesn't have any "sensible" aspect for the average-average: cannot be "felt". And as far as the questionaire goes, yikes again!