October 26, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

UKNOF5: Richard Clayton - Content Filtering

Just popped in to the 5th UK Network Operators Forum to hear ORG advisory Council member Richard Clayton talk on content filtering. Here are my notes: Overview - content blocking system taxonomy - overblocking and other problems - avoiding the blocking altogether - attacking the blocking system - Cleanfeed and the 'oracle attack' - the IWF web site list - the political landscape Taxonomy Three ways of blocking content - DNS poisoning; you arrange for your DNS server to provide the wrong results, so when you look up, say, you are sent to the wrong site and will not find the content you're looking for. Low cost, highly scalable. Can blog an indefinite no. of domains - Blackhole routing; dropping the packets to the bad site. Also low cost, but limited, so will not scale. - Proxy filtering; arrange that all web traffic goes through a web proxy. High cost, but very accurate and allows you to pick out exactly what you want to block. Problems with DNS poisoning People think it's easy, but if you have sub-domains which you don't wish to block, or if you want to allow email but not web traffic, then it's not good enough. West German ISPs, where local government requires to block access to Nazi sites, and most ISPs managed make a mess of it, and managed to block some parts of the site but not the bits they were supposed to block, and all managed to mess up the email. Every ISP made at least one mistake. Blackhole routing Dropping packets will affect every web site hosted at the IP address. So you can't block a single site at one IP address. So useless for sites like Geocities. Useless for huge numbers of other sites. You do not have one IP address per web site. Ben Edelman did a study on 'overblocking', and 87.3% of the sites shared an IP address with at least one other. Some web servers have over 50 sites on them. So ends up blocking innocent sites as well. Proxy filtering No overblocking, but it is expensive. Has costs in kit, and customer satisfaction, because proxies are slower and customers don't like that, and can mess up ability to tell people apart. Not good news for users, but they are the best way of doing precise blocking. Avoidance for clients Some people don't like being blocked and there are tricks for getting round it - use a different DNS server, very easy - use IP addresses instead of the domain name - use a relay, which often encrypts and anonymises; lots of these services out there, marketed to people who want to browse from their office desk but work just as well from home to get around blocks from ISP - people encode requests, (e.g. 'request%73' = requests) to avoid recognition; just look at spam for this. far more complex than it seems to just block domains - send malformed HTTP requests, e.g. multiple HOST protocol elements Avoidance for servers - move your site to another IP address, which is easy - change the port number, which is a bit trickier because we don't have good systems for looking up port numbers - provide the same content on many different URLs, you can send out your spam and arrange that is constant but then put a random string (which also allows you to check which of your spam emails works best) as some blockers don't realise that what comes after the / is irrelevant and end up blocking the whole URL not the domain name. - accept unusually formatted requests BT CleanFeed - CleanFeed is their internal name, but externally it's not called that, but 'anti-child-abuse initiative'. Two stage system from 2004, but similar designs used by other ISPs. - first stage is IP address based, so it checks to see if there might be child pornography and if it is then traffic is redirected to a proxy which then matches URLs, - this is what's publicly known, not covered by NDA Users send their traffic to boundary to BT's network. BT's system decides which traffic is good, and sends it on its way. If it is going somewhere bad, it will go to their proxy and then decide if it's going to a bad site, or somewhere innocent. If it's supposed to be going somewhere bad, then it returns a 404, i.e. no accusations of wrongdoing. Fragile. - evading either stage evades the system, all previous attacks continue to be relevant - plus can attack the system in new ways, e.g. if include IP addresses for innocent sites, like Google or ITunes Music Store, in DNS results for bad sites then that will flood the second stage with legitimate traffic - if they give it local IP address then results in routing loops The oracle attack - can detect the first stage and so can tell which IP address is being blocked. If you sent lots of tcp/80 traffic you can see what comes back and tell whether your traffic is being redirected. Then you can find out which domain names are being hosted and these IP addresses. The Internet Watch Foundation (IWF) - set up in 1996 to deal with child porn on Usenet - operates consumer hot-line for reports - mainly concerned with web sites now - has a database of sites not yet removed - but sites move around very fast, and database needs to be regularly reviewed Politics - in Whitehall they thought it was impossible to censor or block the net until BT deployed CleanFeed, despite blocking systems in Norway, Saudi Arabia and Chine, for e.g. - ISPA claim 80% of consumers covered by systems that block illegal child images - Minster now wants all broadband to block by end 2007 - which is apparently voluntary but 'if it appear that we are not going to meet our target through co-operation, we will review the situation' Whitehall comprehension? - "recently it has become technically feasible for ISPs to block home users access to web sites irrespective of where in the world they are hosted" - they don't understand the cost of the system, how fragile they are, how easy they are to evade, or how they can be attacked or made less secure or less stable. Also don't understand that you can use the system to reverse engineer a list of sites to look at. After the events in August, Fratini (EU) wants the internet to be a 'hostile environment' for terrorists: "very important to explore further possibility of blocking web site that incite to commit terrorist action" - also blog drugs, gambling, holocaust denial. - don't overlook civil cases: defamation, copyright material, MI6 agent list, industrial secrets, lists of company directors, etc. People will want web sites blocked. But people used to think 'it's not possible' but now they are saying it is, and the more people think it's possible the more they want it. More on this in Richard's PhD thesis, Chapter 7, which is available on his site. Biggest problem country is actually the USA - they are not good at removing pedophile material from the internet. How big is the IWF database? 888 items? Can infer what the IWF publish, because they have said 38% of sites are still active after 2 months, so they are checking it. Problem with doing research into the blocking of child porn because, of course, looking at the sites is illegal, so you can't check the content. Only a small percentage of sites reported to the IWF check actually have child porn. IWF and BT refused to allow Richard to have his site added to their blacklist so that he could check to see how well the system works.

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October 26, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

Release The Music, 13 Nov 06

Should the term of copyright protection on sound recordings stay at 50 years or be extended?

This question has been hanging in the air for the last couple of years, with the music industry lobbying government for an extension on the grounds that the royalties they earn from old recordings are essential to bringing new acts to the stage and supporting ageing musicians. They believe that copyright term on sound recordings should be the same length as the copyright in the composition, which currently stands at life plus 70 years.

On the other hand, copyright reformers argue that term should remain the same in order to protect the public domain and to free the huge number of old recordings which are no longer commercially viable and therefore not being released by the record labels. They also argue that there is a greater economic benefit to allowing works to pass into the public domain after 50 years so that new works can be made from them and new businesses that specialise in niche markets can flourish.

This question of term extension, along with many others, is now being considered by Andrew Gowers in his Review of Intellectual Property which was commissioned by the Treasury and is due to report before the end of the year.

The Open Rights Group believes that term extension is such an important issue that it deserves focused and rigourous discussion, so we've invited people from number of backgrounds to give us their thoughts and opinions.

We would be delighted if you could join us - the event is free to all, but places are limited so book now!

Release The MusicSchedule: 6.00pm - Registration. 6.30pm - Keynote by Professor Jonathan Zittrain, Chair in Internet Governance and Regulation at Oxford University. 7.30pm - Panel Discussion, moderated by John Howkins, The Adelphi Charter; guests include Caroline Wilson, University of Southampton, Faculty of Law; others TBC. 8.30pm - DJ set by The Chaps, playing a pre-1955 public domain set. 10.00pm - Close.

Date: Monday 13 November 2006


Conway Hall
25 Red Lion Square London, WC1 United Kingdom

Nearest tube: Holborn

If you sign up, but find you are not able to come, please do let us know so we can release your seat to someone else.

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October 26, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

Future of Copyright: Roundtable 3 - Law, regulation and the future

Note: This was the last session on Friday, and again these notes are pretty much verbatim. How could we operate if there wasn't copyright? What's the bare minimum we might exist with? Ideas for topics for discussion in this session - What is the business model for artists when you don't have copyright? How would artists make money? Who are the risk bearers? - When you have conflicting rights, how should those be resolved? How do artists feel they should be resolved? - Restricted acts, broadness of the concept of reproduction and the limits on what is restricted. - Look at alternative remuneration methods. Paradigms that could be extended. - Can copyright protect art from becoming a business activity? - Rights are defined by power, so the only strategy is continuous disobedience. - Different aspects of copyright. Freedoms. - Motivation and incentives. What motivates arts activities, as opposed to economic activities. Actual motivations don't seem to fit with assumed motivations. - Not immediately inevitable that you must do away with copyright to understand ways to remunerate artists; parallel systems and how they are relevant, e.g. academic industry and patronage of the institution. Re-discuss authorship as itself a business model. - Does anyone thing that it matters if copyright law fails to give protection to artists. - Something more idealistic, what other protections could form a basis for an economy. - What is at steak in the tension between the artistic and the business. Want some future thinking. Look at integrity to start with. As humans it's natural to see what one has and prevent others taking it, but you always think that's wrong when others prevent you from doing things. Integrity is a right that in theory gives me control over how others utilise my work, but that prevents me doing things with other people's work. So having more control means having less freedom. Huge difference in France with the right of respect that's existed for a long time. But rather than looking at what the right to integrity is, look at what's produced along the way. In the UK it's not a right that's had a very big effect, there are very few cases and in those nothing very objective has come out of them and in France sometimes we do see a conflict of rights, for example, the one place prevents theatre productions because of the right of respect, and it's a way of using this right to control contemporary culture. Other cases where the right of integrity has done good, look beyond the individuals in the case or the people who might be dead, we find that the right of integrity has done something good for art, for instance that quality has been protected in some cases. If an author has been dissatisfied with the way that his book has been published he could use his right of integrity to make a quality publication to our benefit. Works of art have been protected for future generations through this right. How does this affect the reproduction of art? In performing arts, if the heirs don't want a certain company to perform a play, that effect is clear. How does it affect the way work is reproduced in France. It might mean that the heirs, it's always the heirs never the writer himself who objects, the heirs might simply stop production or interfere with it, and say we don't want... the Beckett Estate didn't want an interpretation with all-female actresses. Might interfere with cultural process. Edward Beckett is a fine flute player, but he treats his uncle's plays as a musical score, so if the tree in Waiting for Godot is in the wrong place, he shuts it down. So this replaces this discourse within society over to the courts. Civil society should have the discourse not the court. But litigation is the end resort when you can't reach agreement in civil society. Video standard metadata, so you can discover films by topic or by these people or whatever. Wanted to encode in this metadata a 'do no evil principle', so wanted to digitally encode the intended uses of the video. Video information gets used in unintended ways, often quite immediately. Phrase they kept talking about was pornographic use of crowd violence. People think that it needs to be a digitally managed because they don't think people are responsible but it's not a good idea. Irony that they don't like copyright but think that they can use legal ways to control thing. Discourse about law going on here, not just copyright. Displacing into court something that should be done in society. But law is a part of society, and to say that something should be done in court not in society is to misunderstand the relationship. Not to defend law, but this notion that it's something sitting on a plinth with no relation to society is wrong. But, the example of the SS Windrush and the fear that a photo of disembarking passengers might be used by the BNP. But there's a difference between your work being used in a context you don't like, and your work being used in a context you don't like with the implication you have authorised it. So if it looks like you authorised it, that's qualitatively different. What's the motivation for the production of a creative work. Motivation makes a big difference. if someone used my brand or name and did something in my name that I didn't like, I'd be cross but if they developed my work in a new direction that I liked that would be good. Before university job, designed web pages, but when client went on to use same design for posters etc. and was really cross because felt should be paid. But just because was broke. Jaime wrote an article for a magazine, which then put it up online. Someone then took the article he'd written, rewrote it, and made it look like it was his work. Felt 'People are going to think that I've written this crap and that I'm working for this magazine' and felt a sense that integrity relates to some primal ideas about the way we project into the environment and the way we relate to each other. Seems to be on the one hand a way of justifying schemes of property, think of issues of ownership, e.g. you think that you have a sense of ownership for a child as an extension of yourself, but that doesn't mean you have property rights over it. Relationship between integrity and censorship, it's a bulwark against certain types of censorship. Exploitation, that's what's been done. Different people who are involved in cultural production have different relationships with their cultural product, some people feel a close connection, some feel alienated, some feel responsibility, some don't care how it's used, some see it as an extension of their personality, some see it as associated with reputation. And some of these comments are around the association between cultural production and reputation. How can we build a legal system that is respectful of this variety of relationship between cultural production and what they produce. So we have to take into account even people with what we might think of as overblown relationships. But all those other people can renounce or ignore bits they don't like. But there is a trade-off, because the stronger the right the more you interfere with others rights. Emphasising respect for one group, how does that affect others? Clearly everyone agrees that taking your stuff, changing it, and putting your name on it is bad, and should be stopped. But what if we do stuff and don't put your name on it. Everything that's being said about integrity fits in with the model we discussed when we discussed authorship. Need to overcome the idea that when we read a text we need to understand what the author meant, so the death of the author is the birth of the reader. In the case of the reworked article, Jaime found himself being surprisingly upset. Cyber rape case which was reproduced online with names of other people. But this is about identity and identity is not always the same as authorship. So this relates to all sorts of other things about how we're related as social beings. But can the author of the work regulate how the work is used? Roland Bathes' essay comes out of a tradition of intention-based reading. Author as repository of meaning in a text. What we're talking about here, and the links to reputation and the industry is not the same thing. When we're talking about integrity, it's about authorial control over the reader? But the integrity of the work is different from the action of the reader. If you make something available it's going to be reproduced, so it's nothing to do with the Windrush/BNP example. Integrity protects it against abuse. But if I reproduce it with racist statements on it? Can we deal with the variety of relationships artists and their work within the law? We have different opinions and we can't contain everything within the law. Law is the result of a political process but do we need it to reflect all relationships. Law as a reference tool? That we bounce ideas against. But we are talking about a wider issues. There are huge cultural industries that contribute to society with stories, and they will use the right of integrity to say you are not entitled to change a movie, but there is other uses for this. But not allowed to do it, because large capitalists are defining what stories we can and can't tell. Tate had a felt suit, as a work of art, that was eaten by moths and the artist's estate had said the damage was so bad that it was no longer a work of art. So the remnants are no longer a work of art which is not by Joseph (??). It's like deconsecration. Preservation is crazy. New museum that has a lab to preserve works of art made in chocolate. French case from the 90s where there was a modernist retrospective in Paris, there was a urinal and the case was about an unknown artist who broke the urinal and then urinated on it, and he was claiming to be the author of a new work, and it was agreed that it wasn't just destruction, he'd actually created something new. He was made to pay 30% of reconstruction, but did get to say he'd made something new. Technological determinism about debate about integrity. Talking about artworks or software... within the GPL, within that model of innovation, the right of integrity would cut right underneath that process. You're not creating software as a cultural activity, but within arts you are creating with a cultural aim. Questions around that. Within the arguments of integrity there's a strand of American views that finds integrity problematic because of property, idea that property exists and needs to distribute it. Marxist analysis of property is that if it is poorly distributed is a problem. Well, known integrity right in software - e.g. with Perl, you can take the code and do with it what you will be you're not allowed to call it Perl if you change it. Difference between integrity and control. Postmodernism says there is no integrity. Built on transgression of integrity, moves away from both ideas of integrity, i.e. retention of original condition and who built it. Aesthetic challenge to the demands we might make of the law. Jamie King: Why am I frustrated by this discussion and why does it not interest me? I suspect it's because I'm saturated with an online informational overload. The idea of trying to stop people I disagree with doing stuff with stuff, I have a problem with. For every informational object there is I am almost immediately confronted with the tools to disrupt it. Can edit and change anything, everything offers itself to reconfiguration. People want to have all the benefits of distribution, but don't want it disrupted, and it's beyond the capacity of rules to control that. Want all the benefits but don't want to take the risks. Code and transmissibility and reproduction creates problems for rule of law, of legal code, because it becomes hard to enforce. Law can be used as a reference and a final defence. Challenge as artists, performers and creators, what is the future system? How do we operate beyond copyright? If you don't have copyright the advantage is that huge cultural industries don't invest so heavily in blockbusters, so have a more level playing field. Just a normal market in which you can all relate to the public, and not be pushed aside by giants that make it impossible for you to distribute. If there is no dominant market force, many artists will make money and recoup their costs, and curious to hear individual cases to see what would that look like? See it in news reporting. Journalists spend most of their time reading blogs and feel usurped. But that's an ecosystem not a one way street. Journalists used blogs but blogs need the mainstream media too, so the idea that journalists are going to be usurped by bloggers is a false argument. Some may feel that way, but that's generally because they don't understand what blogs are and what bloggers intentions and ambitions are. Films that use uncleared clips, get theatrical release even though they are candidates for a copyright crackdown but it has not happened. Group called Eclectic Method, a group of DJs, who remixed copyrighted material, mostly feature films, and their biggest clients are in the music industry because they don't care that the stuff's not cleared because it's not their stuff. So there's pragmatism - is it worth suing? But ask less about exceptions or tests, but how do you fund creation that's not based on reproduction. If you say 'I am a journalist, and these are the things I've written. I would like to write an article about X and my price for doing this is £15k, and this is how I break down this cost. When I receive at least £8000 in donations I will begin to do this, and when I am done I will release it into the public domain.' Because then people can say 'right, this is this person, he's good, he's reliable, and I want to see this thing that he's making, so I'll pay £5. The result is that everyone benefits, even if they didn't pay, but the journalist doesn't care because he gets his money, and doesn't have to worry about further reproduction, but benefits from reputation not from republishing rights. Because then he can come back and say 'ok, this time my proposition costs £60k'. If you do it this way, you don't need to limit reproduction. [I thought at this point that Jamie was talking about Jay Rosen's Net Assignment, but when I asked him at the break, it turns out this was an idea he had off the top of his head, not influenced by Rosen at all.] Alternative forms of remuneration already exist. To some extent, the government via benefits. But if you take the Tate, practically none of the copyright payments go to the artists. But the artists are supported through fees, etc. Art world is unusual. If one imagines Harry Potter without copyright, is it true there wouldn't be 20 pirates piling in? There are good examples of people giving away their books under a Creative Commons licence and still getting good sales, so the idea that lifting the copyright barrier will necessarily remove economic incentive to publish is not correct. Ambulance blogger Tom Reynold's book, Blood, Sweat and Tea is both available under a CC licence, and each blog post that's in the book is still freely available on his blog, yet he reached 15 in Amazon's best seller list, and has been consistently outselling many big names. This, despite the fact that his publisher is a small independent publishing house. Other examples include Cory Doctorow and Lawrence Lessig. Free rider problem - people will free ride. Upfront funding on a co-ordination basis, there is a huge incentive to say no. People will, however, contribute in kind because they benefit. Difference between remuneration for artists and looking after them, and a different question to the future of copyright. Don't think that it's helpful to mix them up. Equally, pernicious effect of copyright. Attempts to talk about remuneration are biting off such a big bite to chew because the vested interests are working against them. What's intriguing with the art world is the multiple sources of respect, and different creative strategies within the art world are because of those alternative structures. Stuck in a deterministic model to do with the way we use technology. Future Shock was the first book to say that there was a stage beyond industrialism, called the information society. Got used to this idea that history was fractured, and then got used to a three phase history, to do with feudalism, then industrialism, then information society. Then IP becomes key and we argue about how that relates to technology, so it's just another phrase in the dialectical struggle. But is it really this simple. Their assumptions that their information society come from this elephant in the room. We want it to be that simple in moments of crisis. People who are moaning about lack of protection from copyright are corporations. Not reading letters in your paper from individuals about lack of protection, individuals moan about being stopped of doing things. We are all breaking the law and getting a richer culture from that, so what are we here for? Who owns the most copyright? An incredibly relevant question, which is not who owns the most copyright, but who asserts it? Who brings cases? If you analysed the money, we'll see who 'owns' most copyright. Copyright only protects the people with the money. I many cases, IPR for individuals don't mean anything until it comes to enforcement, so they are not really 'there'. We can't see it all until it's enforced. Different relationship with patents where it is registered. That manifestation of rights through enforcement, is a worrying development with patent law, how it's relevant to production at the beginning. Examine by litigation, so it's up to the consumers of the patents to regulate the system. This might not happen but it happens, in a sense, with copyright. People who've made money in one area move into the media because it's about influence. People invest in it. What have we got with copyright? How can it best be used? What is superfluous? First issues are what do we decide to protect? What kinds of things? And in what circumstances? Copyright has been largely around objects? What about going beyond objects? Or one that confines it to a very narrow set of cultural objects? Copyright can include the works of a genius or someone's scribbles - copyright does not discriminate between the poet and the peasant. Do we want copyright to discriminate? Is there another threshold - the law's threshold is that there must have been some effort. What level of protection do we want? What sort of rights to we want to give copyright owners - rights over reproduction; over commercial reproduction; derivative works; communication. Has been granted on all those things right now. Length, life plus 70, can agree that that can come down. Life plus 7; or life; or a fixed term of years; 14 + 14. Limitations. Even if we give these rights, do we want to limit them? Particularly about derivative uses. American dogma of fair use. Moral rights? Protecting integrity and attribution. Want to make it more author-oriented, to build in restriction of what rights can be given away. Three kinds of needs we should think about. - Instrumental needs. What activities do we need to incentivise, if any. - What ethical values do we want to incorporate. What rights do we want to give users. Respecting various relationships of authors to their work. - What symbolic values matter? We do care about art and literature, and we will put these things in law just to tell you people that we care about it. To place a value on this work. Can copyright protect art from becoming a business activity. What I don't mean is can certain individual artists use copyright to protect their works against business, but can copyright be used to protect the commons? Lots of contemporary artists have the primary concern of their resistance to business. Is copyright forcing people to be small commodity producers, when this is not what they want to be. The answer is no. Introduced race relations act and sexual discrimination act in the late 60s, but things might not be worse but are not much better. Law is part of a social system and so reflect social values. What law tries to do is channel social and political conflict into what lawyers see as technical disputes. It's interpretations of rules. To the extent that copyright is associated with two or three major cultural or philosophical ways in which the world has arranged itself in the last 300 years, of property, rights, these things are a part of a coherent development that's lasted 100 years. You are asking copyright law to do something revolutionary. People thought in the 60s that you pass a race relation act and racism goes away, and we've seen it doesn't. If the property right is so over-valued and its transmission is like shares in a company instead of the rights of an individual creator then the kind of exploitation we've described becomes an easy shot. Can we minimise that? The question was can we use copyright law to have a revolution, and the answer is no. Some of the ideas are so part of the society we live in and we'd need a revolution to do away with them. But there are some ways that copyright can be used against the system. Moral rights have a disruptive capacity. If we made that paradigm extreme and injected a big does of copyright law to it, would it result in people being paid to read the book. Has happened with people being paid to go to the cinema. The Pirate Cinema, though, didn't pay, they gave people things. But the rights administrators are key. Is it about carefully describing the transfer of rights and whether they can be Rights returning to creators when the publishing company is no longer publishing it. The majority of music recordings currently under copyright, for example, is not commercially available, it's just languishing on the record company's ledgers. Should rights revert to the creator once the rights holder (or licensee) has stopped commercially exploiting it? In Soviet Russia, they did respect copyright, did pay rights, but there was also a parallel system of state-run authors. Not totally dissimilar to the Salon in Paris, which were state controlled. But state-controlled systems generally look worse than the copyright system. What would you prefer, the artists dealing with copyright or the Arts Council deciding who gets a salary. But there is a fundamental problem with copyright being seen as a property right. The obvious hope is that we can have up-front funding, but without the bureaucratic constructs deciding who gets the money. The alternatives are not state control vs. copyright. Difference between this type of property than other types of property we recognise. One is that it's intangible and it's not wasteable - it doesn't disappear when you use it. What people mean is the property relation, but the discourse is around a property relation, rather than that it's wasteable. If you think about which bits of copyright we don't like, can you roll back what we don't like about copyright in order to change the symbolic nature of the system? Or do we need more fundamental changes. A lot of the answer might lie in the concept of authorship. Multiple constant transgressions carried out by almost everybody almost all the time, changes things, and that is actually happening. Should we look at a model of copyright that provides more choice, between the extremes of 'all rights reserved' and 'no rights reserved' as Creative Commons does? The least bankable property is on CC, but the pernicious problems, which are the real problems, they are never going to be dealt with that by. Any licensing system is an assertion of authorial control. CC is not a bad thing but it's pernicious. Concern with the CC England and Wales licence is that it is a system about the creator making things available to users, because of revocability. You can't create irrevocable licence in the UK in the same way you can in the US. So it makes the user vulnerable. Been two cases, Netherlands and Spain, on CC, because it has a rosette social value, rather than a real benefit. What's pernicious is the promotion of the idea that the licences should be read before you decide to do anything with stuff - because we're not lawyers and shouldn't be asked to be. CC is providing a service, it's not doing much campaigning. It's just providing a bunch of licences that people can use if they want. These pre-drafted license are useful to some people. CC is not copyright, it's contract law. As simple as it is, it's still contract law. CC does put more difficult language between people. Suddenly there's a contract between us based on law, we shouldn't be conditioning people to think in these terms. But also thinking that civil disobedience, if we are remixers, we have access to more culture than we have ever done. As an artist there are more specialised weird films than ever before. So if I am stopped from downloading they limit my ability to transpire culture. Point about CC is that it works best as a series of basic signposts that have some recognition. Works very differently in different areas. What you choose depends on what sort of media you are working with - works better with open access journals. Objection to it is that the more that these issues are discussed, the more problems we create. Lots of things used to happen without any sort of awareness of copyright, and if you start thinking about property and ownership in the early phases it does change and hinder things. If you are collaborating and you start thinking about which bits you own, that causes a problem. Problem is that this is being buried into places where it never used to have a role ad that's one of. Renouncing copyright. There is a difference between choosing not to enforce copyright and renouncing copyright. [I have been told by a number of IP lawyers that it is not possibly in the UK to dedicate a work to the public domain, i.e. to renounce all rights in it. The lawyer here looked puzzled at that, and insisted that it is possible to renounce copyright and that if one wanted to create a register of renounced works it was doable.] Philip Glass is much mimicked, but when someone asks him to use some music on a film, and he doesn't like the film he asks for a huge amount because he doesn't want to be in the film. So they steal it instead, because they know that the legal settlement is less than the fee. Problem of Chanel No. 5. being too popular, and so using jazz in adverts to put people off buying it. What are the other options? Could view it as a right to remuneration. system was proposed by people in the late 19th century. Labour laws in a way are about a right to remuneration. Even with in IP there are two examples - performers have a right to remuneration, and the get that through the PPL. In patents, rights that are given are property then if they are not used then they are subjected to compulsory licensing, so you have to pay an amount set by patent office. Both also have a property relation in there somewhere. To make it effective, need an administration system. There was an analysis of surrealism which suggested that the poetry of surrealism could be mathematically mapped out. Intrigued with the way that the discussion follows dichotomies - IP vs public domain - individuals vs network - private vs public - copyleft vs copyright etc. there's an association with certain ideas that we have in relation to copyright, that we fall into these binary frame of mind. Can't sum up the last day and a half, there are things we didn't talk about. Huge attempt to construct ideologies in quite concerted ways, there was a way to construct CC in a certain way which is why it gets up people's noses. Whole other debate which we didn't have, which is the faith that policy makers have in knowledge economics makes them vulnerable to representation from the industry. Ideologies about the way artists think about their practice. Copyright protects the author, but from the point of view of other authors your access to work is restricted. It does take us back a bit to the discussion, that do we have to pay each time a reader reads the text. Copyright must interrupt the flow in order to capture the value, so we need to have a way to capture value without interrupting, that would be a way to rebalance the system. Look at what user liberties are there in the law, and revitalise those rights and see how they interact with rights of the authors. Music industry is talking about renting music rather than buying, because they realise that if you can put yourself between one person and another in a communications system you can make money from it. So in the old days you buy the record and play it until it's scratched, but the new model is you buy 50 or 100 plays and you keep renting it back. There's an intriguing relationship that what you make with the object is important and your interactions with the entity is where meaning is created, and the business strategy is to interpose yourself in that meaning-making process. END I have to say that although we didn't reach any solid conclusions, it was an interesting day and a half. Certainly it was good for me to hear about copyright in areas other than text and music. I'd love to see more work done on the future of copyright, though - what future copyright schemes could we imagine? If we threw away everything we had and did a radical overhaul, what should it look like? It might seem like an intractable problem, but it's one we really have to tackle.

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October 25, 2006 | Kevin Marks

EU 'Television Without Frontiers' Regulations Widely Rejected

The European Union's plan to regulate the net as if it were TV - Television Without Frontiers - picked up a lot of attention in blogs this week, after the Times covered it.

The basic idea is flawed - TV involves handing a monopoly over spectrum to organisations, so regulating how they use it makes some sense, but there is no spectrum scarcity online, as all you need is a webserver. So the EU limits on local content, advertising intervals and content labelling don't fit at all.

I spoke about this on the Technorati videoblog last week, and the BBC's Pods and Blogs show last night. You can hear me about 30 minutes into this show recording.

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October 24, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

Future of Copyright: Roundtable 2 - Business and economic drivers

Note: Again, these notes are verbatim and so things get a bit chaotic with so many people wanting to make different points, and revisiting issues brought up earlier in the conversation. We can no longer compete as northern companies on labour costs and materials, so IP is seen as a centre of innovation. Across the board in policy circles there's a focus on creativity which runs against some of the main narratives we've had on art in the last 30 years which questions the ideas of authorship, creativity, etc. This runs against the report of a report out of the DCMS where they looked at IP competition and did an analysis of VAPP (Value-Added Per Person), assumption that there's economic value per person, that some people are very important to the economy. But they found no excess value, as creative people may not be any more productive than any other industry. Rhetoric exists, 'creative industries', 'creative economy', but do we want to think in those terms? Also, a focus on trying to inculcate creativity and respect for copyright in school children. Attempt to get Key Stage 1 school children to use the (c) symbol in their essays and to get them to respect copyright, in an attempt to reduce file sharing. If we think about creativity and copyright it's important to differentiate it from originality and innovation. Different ranges of meaning, particularly when we talk about art or business. For many people with a vested interest the argument goes that 'strong copyright is good for the economy', so is creativity based on enhancing GDP? What's good for the economy? Does that mean 'what's good for the corporate sector'? Are we trying to juxtapose the moral and individual arguments against the utilitarian, macro-economic or corporate? Are we using art as the straw man argument where artists represent labour and are opposed to anything in business. If so, that's a very inadequate way of approaching questions of copyright and art. Copyright was originated by and on behalf of individuals who wanted to defend their rights, particularly in literature. But if it was invented for the individual, the argument from activists against copyright is that it's used now against the individual. Wasn't sure if we're clear between the differences between copyright, patent, trademarks and moral rights. Is the original question implying a focus which is not necessarily relevant to the issues that artists are concerned with. So many of the issues actually cut across the law, and focusing on one is not the best approach. Are we going in the direction we want to be going in? Is strong copyright law good for culture? One of the problems of the art community is that they are not good at thinking of the economy in the same way as economists do. We fall short of separating out the ticket income of an event vs. the greater good. When we think about he way the artists/art sector does it, compared to the movie industry, say in terms of the value lost by piracy, then we see artists are at a disadvantage because artists can't talk about it in the same terms. BBC has a problem with the 'public interest' test, justifying what they are doing in terms that are richer than measurable sales. What industry says is that we are defending the rights of artists, but economists show that 90% of the income goes to 10% of the artists, and 10% of the money goes to the other 90% of the artists. But it's hard, or impossible, to get figures from the industry, from the collecting societies. We need more data about what goes to artists. DACS, wanted to administer the Artist Resale Right, Droit de Suite, where artists get money for the sales of their works from collector to collector. But DACS spends 25% of their earnings on staff salaries, regardless of how much they collect so if their income doubles so does their spendings on their staff. Enormous need for more transparency. Money collected goes to very small % of the artists - sorts of a winner takes all scenario. One data set which was released by the music industry before digitisation, about 10-15 years old, shows poor distribution of money to artists. Not only do you have to prove that you've undertaken certain types of cultural and social benefits, but also economic benefits in order to get funding. Arts Council just fired their heads of the different art forms departments. So they are going down a route where you either are working towards 'social inclusion' or 'creative industries'. That's the rationale of public funding now. Used to be almost Dickensian idea that you strengthen culture by providing arms-length funding; but we're not in this much more neo-liberal moment where culture is seen as instrumental in what it can deliver to the GDP, which is partly based on the concepts of intellectual property. So was copyright originated on behalf of and for the benefit of individuals? It's difficult to say, as copyright has a complex history, but it only makes sense to think of it with the idea of capitalism, free capitalise modes of production. So it's pretty much always been a constellation of individuals and business interests who sought copyright. This can be said that this is really all just business, and the starving author in the garret is a rhetorical structure through which businesses acquire proprietary interests. That doesn't fit with the historical data, as there are many cases where individuals are strongly pursuing their own interests, and the legitimate interests of the businesses that support them. Usually people start off with 1710 an the Statute of Anne, which was the first time there was a statute giving proprietary rights for the printing of books. It was largely promoted by the business interests - book sellers. 1735 act to protect engravings, sought by Hogarth and seven of his friends. Using the analogy of the booksellers. 1798 protection of sculptures, sought by George Garrard. 19th C, act to protect drama. 1842, extended copyright, combination of printing and authorial interests, e.g. Wordsworth. There is a debate about relationship between copyright and romantic discourse, rhetoric about the romantic literary genius. 1862, copyright protects artists who paint or draw, petitioned for by artists and the Royal Society of Arts. Lots of artists were complaining of harms to their moral interest, e.g. works being cut up or disseminated in poor copies. Were some economic interests - photography was very expensive. Commercial publishing of engravings and these publishers paying huge amounts to the artists to do so. So it has always been mixed, always the individuals and the businesses. Whether copyright is now being used against individuals is another question. Historically, copyright was used against mass producers, e.g. other publishers. Now what's prompted copyright to be used against individuals is digitisation and copying can take place in private. There is much force in a criticism of copyright that starts with authors, and rather than abandoning authorship it seems that authors can be used as a mechanism for pointing out their internal relationship to copyright, they can be used to critique copyright. Would be a nice goal to end today to come to a general agreement about the least amount of copyright we really need. Would their be a minimum requirement that would allow most of the interests to succeed. One of the reasons that the collecting societies are not transparent is because there is a discrepancy between what's paid to classical to pop artists and when the pop artists find out they will either withdraw or demand higher royalties. Large interests, the EMIs of this world, will always talk about the individual, but we realise that the interests are focused on the most profitable people. History of copyright we have heard is horizontal expansion to different types of subject matter, but other types of expansion include control over distribution. The vast expansion from just controlling copying has been more recent, and would it be true to still say that that expansion was a mix of individual and corporate? Can't just look at what is covered, but must look at what's called vertical expansion too. Even thought these corporations are more interested in their most successful clients, the expectations that they will make money out of small number of people means they will. What do we do about the funding of artists? The music industry will always justify that they need extension because they need more money to invest in new acts. When you look back to 17th C, the size of the businesses are far far smaller than what we have now. We have huge corporate multinational entities. Ability of large corporations to grow is based on regulation, and we have regulations to limit the threat of businesses to governmental authority. Since WWII we've had businesses crossing international borders. Perception that copyright is used against individuals because there's greater restriction on what acts can be done. Constellation of forces have expanded copyright in terms of what acts are included, e.g. what reproduction is in a digital world. Other things at work are European harmonisation, which means we've all been given everybody else's rights, and so local regimes are irrelevant and Europe has forced a set of rights on all European countries and, through treaties, through the rest of the world. These interests work happily alongside business. Does law serve to assist the GDP. Law serves the interests of the polity, and so if the interests of the polity are also the interests of the GDP then law then serves it. But law should follow the polity. It may be the wrong thing to lobby against copyright law, because you should be looking beyond that. But it's too big of a burden so say that we have to change the law and the GDP. Free software is an interesting model to look at. 90% of servers run free software, and it's obviously based on copyright but there's a ninja move that uses copyright to ensure it's openness. How might this model be used in, say, pharmaceuticals. Research which has guaranteed free results, so that developing countries can then legally manufacture generic drugs. Begs the question, is protection the best way to promote innovation? Have to be careful about believing the business's claims about what, say, extension is going to allow businesses to do. Need to be careful of the language we use because we're using their language, the exploiters, the corporation. Need to more closely examine our own relationship to copyright. Copyright is about reproduction of objects, so tends to be best when applied to a finished product. Part of what digitisation has done is throw up the question of whether people are willing to pay for the object. Free software has to make some money for the people who make it, and it does so at the moment through repackaging and turning it into a physical entity (on a CD, say). Think about artworks not as finished products but more like a process to which that free software income generation model can be applied. Two arguments, there is a fallacious argument to use past income from existing works to find new people, but also prospective income. Copyright is so long you might say that's not the case. But the prospect of making money is how this work. So saying how long copyright is doesn't affect prospective investment is not the case, because obviously it does. It's how long you will be able to exploit the work. Authorship, creativity and originality, thought of within art as being mystifying, so within art history it's no longer common, or acceptable in some circles, to think of an artist as having an original idea. What's the range of sources for that idea? The myth that Picasso stealing forms of portraiture from African culture counts as an original act. Not just within art history, but also within art practice we're aware that we're drawing on other things, we're in communication with other people. There's a mystification, this idea that the artists is the author of the works they produce, but we're always looking at co-production. There is a history of artists working in resistance to those concepts. Appropriation i.e. selecting things, montage, quotation, dialogue. Co-operation, 'Acid Brass' project, getting brass bands to play acid house music, good model of how an artist can be important in the process, but not be involved in the process of making it work (i.e. not playing the instruments or doing the transcription). Creativity within art emerges out of a secularisation of art, so instead of being inspired, which really means that God is the creator of this work, so creativity comes in when the artist has usurped God, and the artist is the God-like figure, creating something out of nothing. Metaphysical approach to cultural production. This is objectionable. When we speak about the industry we also have to talk about piracy, and should focus on commercial piracy. Spend quite a bit of money investigating pirates, prosecute them and put them in prison. It's quite a burden on our system and a worse burden on poorer countries who are forced by TRIPs to do this. With globalisation comes illegal trades. So we should think about what's actually really harmful to society - trafficking people, arms, black money, etc. Is copyright really that harmful? Can we find other ways to recompense artists. Our society spends a lot of money on pursuing copyright infringement but need to be spending that money investigating the real harms, e.g. investigating black money. Copyright holders are like children demanding more and more and more. But if you give up the copyright system you won't have pirates any more. Pirates make considerable investments in their reproduction plants, but if you can reproduce it all yourself anyway, then the pirates won't have any market. Even if there is no copyright, publishers would still have a competitive advantage because they would still be first to market with their books. We need instead to be focusing on the real harm. Ruby on Rails, allows you to write code without actually writing any code yourself, so even though the application you write may be unique, much of the code you use to write is not, it's pre-written by the people who created the Rails framework. Concept of authorship getting very tenuous. Composition. Descriptions of creativity. Rhetorical idea came from ancient theories of rhetorical, that you take various aspects of other people's speeches, and you make an inventory of these ideas, and you create an 'invention'. That got transferred to art, notions from oratory and rhetoric, and artists were admired for their ability to compose. That's to do with the individualised labour. Cognitive process, get visual information stimulus, you compose it in your head, and you bring it out in your painting or whatever. Important in the concept of authorship. Since early part of 20th C, apply structuralism to study of images and have come to a different idea of what creativity is which is based on relational issues, to do with not what goes on inside the head but what goes on in between individuals, and this is everywhere, including within the theory of the firm. Derrider the meaning of the word does not occur within the word but in their relationship with each other. Process descriptions of art, copyright has a problem with that, so we have the idea that creativity is part of a relational process that is ongoing. This is a problem for copyright because that's in notions of fixity, of invention, of a fixed point in time. Point is that ideas of originality and authorship have their roots in rhetoric. Creativity as process has it's roots in relational theory. If you change the description of the composition you also change the author and the audience. So end up with different paradigms. So illustrators don't have this same training, so they still have the rhetorical notions of authorship so they want to be authors. Is economics the one and only totalising discourse? Has it taken over from aesthetics? Movement from the situation where the individual artist is working on an individual work of art is being replaced by the concept of the artist as part of a wider process. Curation. We are all becoming curators of culture, bringing together different pieces of art as we see fit. Concepts of montage and assemblage are also interesting. For some artists, copyright is not relevant, but the institutions of art retain traditional views. When you are not interested in producing tradable objects, copyright is not of interested, but what are the method of remuneration? The added value you might have in showing art in these institutions, need a system that has more security. What is copyright, what are the objects that are being produced? Artists selling limited editions of DVDs, in two editions, one for private use and one with the right to show in public for galleries etc. Applies to sculpture, with casts, you have editions, and with prints. Need to ensure we don't over-complicate it. Instead of copyright have a system of trust and informal work? Appearance fees. Value of artworks. Different types of value: social, cultural, commercial. Most of copyright is about commercial value. Different collaborators value work in different ways, and have different reasons for being involved. Artists have to package their work in such a way as it has both social and financial value. But most interest is in cultural value, which can get overlooked, but can use the social and financial value to manipulate the situation so that can create a discussion of cultural value. How does copyright come into cultural value? Copyright happens when you have someone else doing what you're doing and you're not acknowledged. Economists understanding that they can't extend their economics to the rest of the planet in this post-colonial situation. But of 6 billion people on the planet, 2 billion participate in the formal money economy. What's the political leverage being used to bring these people into the market, and TRIPs is a powerful tool to apply. What is the marginal figure in the western world, the artist, is becoming an important political tool. Important in 3rd world with farming, mobile phone licences, the same laws that govern the formal economy in London are being applied without any changes to these other contexts to establish the roots whereby the rest of the world can be brought into this major economy. Big political issue to be fought. Three economies: World Banks; traditional economy and invisible economy and it's in this latter economy that a lot of cultural works; and a natural economy of natural resources. In developing countries which have signed TRIPs end up with a bizarre mismatch between the local economy (can't get the open sewers fixed) and the IP economy where they have to have patent offices etc. Are some people in denial about the kind of environment artists inhabit, where it is really all about brand and name and reputation, and so highly individualist. There is an issue that there is an intersection of rights - so the rights holder's rights to prevent copying intersects with the users right to copy. So you have to make a trade-off. These statements remind us of the reality that we're in and a resistance of that is a fantasy. But maybe that copyright sign on the Acid Brass CD is also a denial, because it's a denial of the social production of that work. Because the reorganisation of authorship of group works until there is a single author is a denial of reality. But it's possibly to be in a system and against the system at the same time. You can't accuse workers within a capitalist system of being capitalists. But name is not just about ownership of your work, it can also attaches traits associated with you to your reputation. Does brand development of the name depend on copyright? Was a time when collaboration was highly problematic in academia, for example. So at one point people had to be assessed for their degree individually, but now it is possible to work collaboratively through your degree and be assessed collaboratively. Balances. Defences and attacks with copyright. Now, is copyright so oppressive, or can we foresee that it will be so extensive that it will prevent a dialogue? Many compositions are stylistic, not original. Notion of rhetoric as that there were things that were in the public domain that you could draw on and combine which can then be copyrighted. Before copyright there were examples of copying that were problematic, because a copy of a copy of a copy is a bad copy. The objection to copying, apart from copyright. We are talking about the idea of the author as a brand. The author is a part of the structure of discourse, that you create trust in the author rather than having to reassess every work by the same person individually. Difficulty of collaboration in art schools is as much about the examination system as problems with collaboration. We are individual animals within the species, but authorship is not a fact of the individual it's a property of some individuals, so all authors are only authors by the authority of the society. The enigma of Pollock of being this great genius, is that Pollock represents a lot of other people. He's singled out of a massive cultural shift as being the person who represents him, the New York School. Individuals is a western idea and in some cultures there's a collectivity instead. Particularly in the Pollock issue, that's part of the American Dream, it's cultural about the rise of the individual to success. Not the same in Paris. But if the artist isn't the author, how do we know what an artist is? Who is it that some of us around this table are artists and some of us are not. Artists are determined by themselves, they are defined by society. There's an economy of these terms and so we're not looking at a coherent set of qualities, like 'creativity' or 'originality' or 'sets projects up'. There isn't a given stable identifiable set of traits and we would have to interrogate the culture about that. Or is it more like 'who's a plumber?'. Working with images, and training, defines an artist. It's a profession. Also happens retrospectively, e.g. the graphic artist who becomes ratified as an artists later on. Artist is institution because the institution gives the authority, and artists are implicit in this by not being able to define who they are. They are getting better returns for their own mythification, and this keeps the status quo happy. Artists should be instrumentalised to end this. Modern artist as an individual as in the tradition of individuals of kings and popes and great artists of the past. 3D printing and the democratisation of creation. Even sculpture will not be exempt from the digital age - people are already creating 3D shapes, sculptures, in Second Life and having them printed using a 3D printer into a model of their character. Division between asserting copyright and asserting authorship, and authorisation of the artist. Is this a circular process? Is copyright itself a form of authorisation of the artist? Confusion around the right to authorise reproduction, and the right to assert control of your work. When you use CC licence you still require attribution, but you don't necessarily require remuneration. Any right you have in this world interests with someone else's rights. There was a discussion of the CC list, someone had a picture of their grandparents getting off the Windrush, and they said they wanted to use the CC licence, but was worried about the image being used by things like the BNP. These rights create real transaction costs that have real effects. Should we even have a right to integrity?

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October 24, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

Future of Copyright: Roundtable 1 - Artists and copyright

Last week I went to a series of sessions run by Birkbeck, the AHRC New Directions in Copyright Network, and the Public Programmes Department of the Tate Modern, entitled Roundtable Discussions on the Future of Copyright and the Regulation of Creative Practice. Here are my notes. The aim for these sessions is to have a deep discussion of copyright and to try to find new ways to think of creation and copyright. There's a variety of people here, from artists, NGOs, think tanks, to academics, and it's a very cross-disciplinary group so that we can hopefully find some interesting overlaps and contrasts. There are nearly 20 of us here, so my notes may not make a distinction between speakers, for which my apologies, as everyone is encouraged to speak at every session. There's one roundtable today, and two tomorrow. Roundtable 1: Creativity, how artists practice, and social creativity. Jaime was one of the co-organisers of an event for the Arts Council on ways of working, strategies within what artists do and the mismatch of that and what artists do. But a policy intervention by the Arts Council said they should create tool kits to help artists. So the event ended up with surgeries so artists to talk to lawyers, so instead of having a discussion about law and copyright and artistic practice, it turned into a big case study. Problem was that they saw regulation as the foreground and everything else slot into that, so don't want to look at artists as whether they are legal. Another time he tested Creative Commons licences against artists. Got 10 artists to talk about their work, and it became clear that the way they practised their art was far more complex than anyone had imagined, and the law has difficulty with this. Also, there's a different in motivation. Economists and lawyers think that artists create art because of the incentives (money), but in fact again it's more complex than that. IP is being forced into the forefront of economic thinking because of the idea of the 'knowledge economy', the way that developed countries compete on IP rather than access to labour and materials. Have a notion that something that was cultural has been overlain by copyright as a notion, defined by economic, export trade priorities. When you look at he relationship between creativity and innovation there are crucial differences. Adam Singer once said he didn't think he was in the business of protecting copyright or the business models of collecting societies but in the business of protecting his customer's interests. Increasing sense see businesses seeing instability in copyright as a good thing so that they can override user rights using technology. No longer simple division between pro- and anti- camps. What proportion of copyright is owned by multinational corporations? You couldn't find that figure because copyright is automatic so there's no registration system. So there may be copyright you think of in a commercial context like advertising billboard, and then there may be other circumstances where the individual keeps it. You don't have to state it, it automatically kicks in. Interested in the demographic. If there's going to be a policy consequence, there's no point looking at politicising this if at the end of the day there's no means of enforcing. iPod maths don't work out, because they have a larger capacity than people can afford to fill with legally purchased music, so have to think about how copyright actually works. Is creative practice incentivised by copyright? No, it's been restrictive. Most artists ignores the rules and so long it stays within civil society it doesn't really matter. Jamie King tells a story of how he had footage of activists doing things, and was putting it up on a server online, but Reuters wanted the footage and wanted them to sign away copyright. Reuters didn't care that it was going to be online elsewhere too, but they wanted protection from their peers, e.g. the BBC. More and more methods for making small inventories valuable, e.g. print on demand. Difference of being on the constituted side, than the pre- or unconstituted side where you can play fast and loose with copyright. So YouTube was not worth suing when they were two guys in a garage, but soon as Google bought them they became a target. Google make money from advertising on other people's copyrighted material and those people are going to want a share of the money. Deibold case, distributing information on e-voting, but copyright was used as a blunt instrument to stop people spreading the information. Scientology is another example. YouTube/MySpace is a form of collage, or curation, taking material from one place, doing something with it that's expressing their personalities, and that therefore they have a right. How creative is it? There is a human rights case to be fought about freedom of expression. Fair dealing is useless because it's always found in favour of the prosecution. Someone needs to make the argument that this is artistic expression. Christian ?? on show at Tate Modern, who's taken moments of film music in order to form a new piece, but none of it's cleared. He doesn't like using stuff that's legal. But that's the point now - normally the case that's made is that the visual arts don't sue because there's so little money at stake, but Hollywood or the music industry there is money at stake. But the counterargument is that people are suing when there's no money at stake, such as Disney suing nurseries for reproducing Whinnie the Pooh. But Disney, etc., are trying to make their material culturally ubiquitous yet still denying people access to fundamental parts of their own culture, stopping people interacting with them. Another example, Newcastle Utd. claiming that a recording of people singing at a game was their copyright. Cultural imagery as a form of ideological power. Increasing numbers of people are interfering with the cultural mass without action, because they can't be identified, or because it's not worth it. Billboard Liberation Front, catalogue of their lawsuits. How may people have paid for their copy of Photoshop? Adobe don't act on illegal copies for individuals because they see them as a way to get people hooked on their product, and when they are in a business setting they will buy the licences because they dare not. Same with Wordperfect and Microsoft. Contradiction between when copying is 'acceptable' and when it's not. Disney insisting on rights even in ludicrous cases, which leads to negative publicity, but to some extent the corporation needs to defend their rights on certain images if they don't want to disappear? If it was a trademark, yes. Creative Commons, for example, pursue their trademark very vigourously. So people who've been working for CC for years then end up with a cease-and-desist letter. But does copyright set up a line that people can transgress? Is that a positive thing? Do you need to have things to transgress? To have a multinational corporation decide what can be transgressed. It's framed like school uniform - so long as you wear your tie loose you can be a bit of a rebel, and schools do that as a way to stop you destroying your school. But to use copyright to encourage transgression trivialises it. In academia it's all about reputation and attribution, so it's moral rights rather than copyright. You're not selling it so you don't care so much about copyright (although the journals do). Universities go on about IP but academics don't earn their income that way, so they don't care. So someone, somewhere has decided that artists earn their money off copyright. So academics get salaries but artists don't. Moral rights - can someone interfere with your artistic works? Integrity. If you disagree with a sculpture, it should not be tampered with. There's an idea that the arbiter of ethical issues is going to be copyright. Unique artworks are generally not defended by copyright because it's not needed. But it's mass culture that gets defended. Complex nexus of funding and support structures in the visual arts. So visual arts has developed creative strategies that are not bound to copyright. Questions of the unique work of art and the reproducible works of art, that only exist in reproduction. That latter case is where copyright comes in. Repeat of idea isn't covered. But there is appropriation, so can sue for that instead. Myth of originality. This does not exist in jazz because you're constantly quoting other musicians and playing with them, and it's always been like that, more sophisticated. Networkedness of everyday life is illustrating our dependence on each other and those relational struts are becoming more obvious because of the connectedness, but any discourse that seeks to preserve the fortress mentality becomes bourgeois in actual fact because it is seeking to preserve old property relations. Artists are not concerned with maintaining that model, but maybe the market is? Art world is fundamentally individualists. Critique of originality, linked to genius, and genius is patriarchal, and copyright is a way of rarifying patriarchal constructs. How important is originality to copyright? What about imitation? In some places in the world imitation is seen as valuable, and imitation is the last thing we want to do in our western culture, but it used to be that you were really praised when you were imitated. History of western art is based on imitation and emulation, and lots of patents were based on taking things apart and improving them. Learning to draw from casts, then learning to draw from life, and then eventually come to learn how to hide your influences. Hasn't been a story of complete originality. What about copyright in a wiki in a highly collaborative environment where it can be impossible to identify editors only identified by an IP address? Would be possible to ask everyone to assign rights to an individual who can then decide what to do with them, but that's a voluntary solution. Film making, where some people get to assert copyright but others don't. Work for hire. Generation was by the photographer but the editor is merely modifying. Rights distributed according to some sort of social decision. Law has decided who gets rights, but it's up to you to decide how much you're going to sell them for. Copyright can make some important symbolic statements. Law creates rights, and those rights are transmissible and sometimes those transmissions are laid down in law, again e.g. work for hire. Spandau Ballet - Gary Kemp claimed to be sole author of the songs, but Hadley and the others were claiming co-authorship, which affects royalty income, from airplay etc. Issue was whether Hadley, the drummer etc, were creators. Lots of musicological evidence, yet the judge said that the person who wrote the sax solo was just a performer, as the sax is an instrument associated with jazz and improvisation. Judge drew on musicological evidence that emphasised relationship between composer and performer in classical music, and also found a fit within the copyright schema that has one position for authors and one for performers. It's often economic muscle that helps shape copyright, but the existing copyright schema defines who's got the economic muscle. How does the notion of the artist, particularly the notion of the starving artist in the garret, fit together with the cultural industries? Creativity that occurs between people and not in the mind the individual. Ideas of creativity around open source software. How capable is the individual of creating work in isolation? There's an idea that the individual creates because their work is protected and because they own rights. This is being disrupted by the internet. Two vectors, one that it's difficult to regulate ideas because they slip out of your grasp and replicate, and the more there is of something the cheaper it becomes so you have a problem selling things that keep multiplying, spells a massive problem for concept of ideas as property. Digitality in the network form, the connectedness of our ideas become more and more obvious. Whilst in the past, footnotes may link essays, but you'd have to go and chase it down time and again, but now all the links are already there and it's easy to follow them. So it's obvious that every work is connected to every other work temporally and asynchronously. Discussion indicates that copyright is assumed to be about creativity, and that's largely because of the way that the concept is appropriated. But copyright is much more commercial than that, and it's not necessarily about creating new knowledge, but new forms and those new forms are the value. Not compatible with networked creativity because that would be uncommercial it's about stopping that flow to you can create value. The subject somehow has to be the centre of copyright, but history doesn't support the idea of a consistent subject. Copyright creates an accountability. Are we coming to the end of a period, and are we arguing about how the lose ends tie up or are we starting something new? Two uses of copyright: to control usage; to identify people, maybe moral rights. But is money integral to copyright? It clearly is, you need to fund people some how, so where is that money coming from? Will people be funded to create? Will it be their job? When you discuss the relationship between creativity and copyright are you barking up the wrong tree? Lots of issues. Frustrating to try and think through them all at the same time. Doesn't help us to talk about creativity. Artists don't feel that what they do is creative, it's not about creativity. So no point asking 'will money help you be creative', because I don't want to be creative. Copyright imposes some sort of assumptions on you that you might not want; might not want a property relationship between art and the individual. So copyright isn't helping with anything that's done. Already, we don't think about subject in the way copyright wants us to think about subject. Tension between artists and institution. Artists aren't interested in having that relationship with their work, thinking of it as original copyrighted ideas. But the institutions are, and it's all for them about ownership. People making the work aren't interested but those who own it are. Remind us all how old this critique is. Long history of where our idea of the self comes from and how stupid it is. The idea of inwardness is so modern, but try being an individual now without inwardness, but the idea of the individual is ridiculous. Ideas were discussed already in the 50s. We're dealing with the end of an era but keep dealing with it over and over and over. Creative Rights Alliance, wanted stronger copyright, wanted stronger copyright and ownership, wanted the legal system to interfere so that they couldn't give away their rights in perpetuity. Copyright didn't protect blues singers. The point is well made. So some young artists trade works speculatively in case one of them is successful. As an artist you are part of production of society, so want to be paid for that, rather than think about selling the rights to something. Copyright doesn't touch a lot of artists in their daily practice. We are talking about accepting copyright as something worth accepting, and maybe we shouldn't. No shame in wanting to earn money. Illustrators desperate to become authors because they see themselves as exploited, so they see copyright as a protection. Copyright never had to be the reason why anyone did anything. People do all these things, and always have, not incentivised by copyright. Technological argument that copyright as it is cannot survive the innate reproducibility of digital files and the capacity to instantly distribute them across the network. At WIPO, there are people on the other side that think this is a problem too, but they think they can remedy these things. But the film and music industries may break a lot of other things in our society at the same time. Important point of ideology. "I want to be paid for the work I want to do..." but why? Understand why, but who will pay, and is it a good allocation of resources? Has to be brutal supply and demand. If artists didn't work for nothing, then people would have to pay. But a lot of artists know nothing about copyright. They don't really even know they have rights or what they are until they are faced with a contract to sign them away, and at that point it doesn't matter because they "weren't using them anyway". History shows that copyright does have a capacity to accommodate different notions of creativity. Much of copyright isn't to do with digital forms. There will be some regime outside of the digital environment. There are whole swathes of cultural production that will not be affected by digital technology - plays and theatre and nightclubs. But the question is not 'will copyright suffice' but is it good enough? Do we want it to suffice? If copyright is robbing the public domain, if it is a control mechanism of huge corporations then do we want it? So can we make a business model which will work outside the system? If you take away the copyright system, will the incentive to make huge blockbusters disappear? Need a level playing field where there is no control for anyone, because in that situation artists can relate to audiences and there is a good change audiences will pay for the work. The copyright industries are heading for a contract law system. Argument is not about technology, it's about control mechanism. Contract law and employment law are being used as blunt instrument to control creativity by forcing people to give up their rights. Designers, for example, being forced to sign contracts - not just work for hire but also freelance - that strip them of their rights so they can't even show their own work in their own portfolio. Too easy to focus on copiability when talking about contract law, but also have to think about labour markets. So can use network theory in different ways, e.g. to strip people of their rights. So work about patents and how to award patents, for example, can be used to ensure that employees have no rights over their creative works. Creating exploitative apparatus. Online you have reproducibility and distribution in one place. You only need one person with a bit torrent server or twenty, you can satisfy world demand for a movie. Barriers to entry much lower to be an infringer. Discontinuity between having to set up a factory to create pirate DVDs and what's needed to infringe digitally. END Debate was a bit fractured, and not sure we really reached any conclusions but it was interesting nonetheless.

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October 12, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

ORG seeks full-time Executive Director

The Open Rights Group has grown astonishingly quickly over the last year, thanks to the hard work of the Board, the Advisory Council, our volunteers and part-time staff. Indeed, things have grown so fast that it's now time to recruit a full-time Executive Director who will be able to get organised some of the things that I've not had time to do, such as find us a new office! I am unfortunately not able to take on this full-time role, but I am confident that we will be able to recruit someone who can pick up the torch and keep ORG moving. I will be staying with ORG as a Board member, however, so that I can help the new Executive Director to settle in and continue to help steer the organisation in the right direction. Over the last year, ORG has been a real labour of love for me, and I am very much looking forward to expanding the team and bringing on board some new blood. Applications are open to everyone. If you are interested, then please apply, and please do forward this ad to anyone you think might be suitable. We will be advertising in the press and in volunteer sector publications, but we'd like to spread the net far and wide so that we can get the best applicants. Job title: Executive Director Organisation: The Open Rights Group Location: London/Online (must have home office) Salary: Neg Type: Full-time Start date: ASAP Closing Date for Applications: 13 November 2006. The Open Rights Group is a new and fast-growing NGO focused on raising awareness of issues such as privacy, identity, data protection, access to knowledge and copyright reform. We aim to improve both understanding and policy in digital rights matters that affect both businesses and the public. We are funded by small grants and donations from supporters. Our activities include organising campaigns, lobbying government, and helping journalists find experts and alternative voices for stories. ORG now needs a full time Executive Director (ED) to build our supporter numbers and expand our activities. The ED reports to the ORG Board, and has the support of an Advisory Council of digital rights experts. The ED will be a passionate, professional and decisive self-starter who can prioritise a substantial work load, manage staff, lead volunteers and talk eloquently to the media. She/he will be responsible for: * Maintaining a sustainable organisation in terms of numbers of members and staff, participation, income, public profile and reputation. * Preparing and executing ORG's strategy based on a balance of media work and policy influence. * Increasing the public's understanding of, and engagement with, a range of digital rights issues. Desired skills and experiences include: * Management experience, preferably for a NGO/not-for-profit or start-up. * Expertise, or the willingness to acquire expertise across the full range of digital rights issues. * Media, public communications and campaigning work. * Knowledge of law or public affairs strongly valued. * Experience of internet-based communications and management tools (including Wordpress, MediaWiki and Socialtext) highly beneficial. We have a more detailed job spec if you require more information. Please send your CV in PDF format only to Michael Holloway by 13 November 2006.

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October 12, 2006 | Suw Charman Anderson

Parliament and the Internet: William Dutton

William Dutton, Director of the Oxford Internet Institute, Social dynamics of the internet This conference is focused on the future, and we wanted it to be evidence based, so thought to identify some patterns and themes in internet use, which are shaping the future of this emerging cyber-infrastructure. Who uses the internet? How to people use it? What level of trust do people place in the internet, and why? What at the key implications? Oxford Internet Surveys (OxIS) done in 2003 and 2005, going out again in 2007 cross-sectional surveys, i.e. new section of people each time. vs panels England, Scotland, Wales Face to face, interviews Response rate: 66% in 03 and 72% in 05. Part of World Internet Projects, data put in pot with 22 other nations. Who uses the internet? Who does not? Internet has become central in 2001, people thought the net was 'new'. Even in 01 people thought it was a fad. But 60% of britains are online. Was a new tech, but now has become an invisible infrastructure to many homes. It's being taken for granted now. New stage of development where it's central, and a cyber-infrastructure. UK is doing well, but not as well as many Scandinavian countries, but digital divide is an important issue, particularly in countries like China where only 7% are online. Important to realise that diffusion of the internet has plateau'd at 60%, and this has happened in other countries. Bumps up against limit, such as number of PCs in the home. Getting to the next level of diffusion is important. Broadband has diffused rapidly, so 70% of households with the internet are broadband, and soon that will be 100%. So this plateau is more significant because broadband allows increasing integration into every day life, but those without internet get no benefit of that. Education is related to having the internet. Note - 'internet use' means anywhere, home, country or school, but the prime place to use it is at home. Education, income related to use of internet. Access via mobile devices also linked to income. Thus reinforces existing social divides. Richer people have more access. Not just about digital divide, but also digital choice. People who gamble on line: younger men with full time jobs, i.e. risk-taking demographics. In a way, early internet use is a risk-taking activity, so in a way it's a choice. Higher income, job, educated are more likely to take the risk of going online. Even in households with broadband, some people choose not to use the internet when it's there. Non-users don't use because they're not interested. Building infrastructure is one thing, but building interest is another. Cannot explain age patterns via socio-economic divides. So all kids use the internet, but only 30% of retirees use the internet. Younger people think the internet is more interesting and important than older people. This is a worldwide pattern. Age is more important than gender divides. Factors: - cohort, what tech was there when you were growing up - life stage - ageing, e.g. eyesight, memory, stiffer fingers - design, computer industry not targeting older people Kids use computers in three or more locations: home, friends house, school, cafe, etc. Older people use it in one location. People who have 'always on' broadband capability, older people tend to actually turn it off, younger people leave it on all time. Again, a generational issue. Multitasking, as you get older it's harder to multitask, but almost all computer use is multitasking. How do people use the internet? Gambling was the lowest use of the internet, but checking email and product information online was the biggest. But lots of heterogeneity. Factors Entertainment, captures most of the greatest degree of variance Information Banking Learning, looking up words or facts Communication, email, IM etc. one of the most common things we do, but doesn't discriminate among people Planning, e.g. travel plans. Communication - 92% use email. Entertainment - more divided, e.g. 50% download music, but the rest don't. Those with higher income use the net more functionality to access information; the more expertise you have the more you use it for information. Oldest and youngest don't use it for getting information. Idea of a knowledge society or information society is wrong - just because kids use the net doesn't mean they are accessing information. Use of information to get health info is mainly people of a working age. Younger people use the internet for entertainment, but not for info. Slight uptick in oldest age group. Gender divides, males u se the internet more for entertainment than female, who use it more for information. Internet does not realise its potential for UGC. Very low proportion, 18% or less, use the net for blogging, pictures, discussion/meassage board, but this was 2005. Maybe more now. 5% keep a blog. Most people use the internet passively, not actively. Do people trust the internet? Is trust declining? Two issues of trust. - Net confidence: reliability f information on the net, confidence in people running the net, people you can communicate with on the net. - Net risks: perceived risks ot privacy, security of information, accurately judging quality of products. Non-users say they don't know if the net is reliable. But users have an opinion. Non-users are most sceptical, but users and past users are more positive about the reliability. Internet is an experience technology. People have to experience it to understand it. More experienced users have different attitudes. Not the case that people who have trust in the internet do not necessarily trust all over tech. Broadband users people trust internet about as much as TV, but more than newspapers. More experienced and more educated people are, more people trust the net. Bad experiences. Many people have had bad experiences, and the more bad experiences you have the less you trust the internet. So more experience = trust; back experience = loss of trust, so a bit of an arms race there to see which will win. People think the internet is more reliable in 2005 than in 2003. And have more confidence in the people they meet, and in ISPs. People trust people they meet online a bit less than other people from your country, but it's gone up since 03. People perceive it to be more powerful now, and people who've not used the internet now are less likely to be sceptical and more likely to say they don't know. Different patterns of use. More experienced people use the net differently to beginners with less than 1 year's experience. So what? Lots of opinions as to what all this means. Utopian vs dystopian, substitution, dual effects, reinforcement, reconfiguring access. Internet has a transformative impact that's not deterministic in the long run. Internet reconfigures access, e.g. where would you go first if looking for information on, an MP... people first go to the internet. Taxes, second place, planning a journey, first place, for books, visit a website is second, local schools, internet is major source of information Changing how we go about getting information. More dramatic if you pull out age groups. Younger people, 56% would go to the internet, 8% would not. Also changes what you read, what information you get. Asked what newspapers you read online that you don't read offline? 20% of users find info online they don't find in print. 20% met people or made friends online and this is a pre-social networking phenomenon. People meet these people offline too. Also make friends online that they never meet. As people get more skills, they meet more people online. People who use the net more meet more people. So as it becomes a more central infrastructure we'll see more people meting more people online. And this refiguring will change the way that people learn - more people having more access to more learning. Politics - how will politicians react to bloggers? Across every sector, it's changing not just the way we do things but also the outcome. Major challenges: - addressing socio-economic digital divides - countering digital choice - focus on patterns of consumption and production as well as adoption - creating and maintaining a learned level of trust in an experience technology - strategically reconfiguring access to you and the world

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  • ORG Glasgow: A discussion of the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)
  • ORG Aberdeen: March Cryptonoise event
  • ORG North East: Take control of your online life
  • ORG Cambridge: Monthly March Meetup