[A2k] Compartilhamento legal! – Brazil is putting an end to the ‘war on copying,’ at R$ 3,00 per month

Federico Heinz fheinz at vialibre.org.ar
Fri Sep 3 08:16:15 PDT 2010

Volker, thanks for your thoughtful answer.

On 02/09/2010, Volker Grassmuck wrote:
> I don't keep bringing this up because I expect to benefit
> massively.

I was talking about the collective agencies and the record labels,
not you, I'm sorry if what I wrote could be read like that.

> Another solution would be to start yet another ANTI campaign every
> time another of these strategies pops up. Not much fun in the long
> run. More promising to me is a PRO campaign for a solution that
> puts an end to these futile attempts to re-establish scarcity for
> good.

I once heard RMS saying "I'd rather attempt the right thing and fail
than attempt the wrong thing and succeed". I'm not sure he coined the
phrase, but it sure struck a chord in me.

Giving in to the pressure of ACTA, HADOPI, DPI & friends is a losing
strategy. The proposal you showed us amounts to an admission that
broadband users need to somehow "compensate" rightsholders for
sharing works.

After you admit that, you've lost the moral high ground, and it's
just a matter of discussing the price --- which will most likely be
high and increasing over time.

> What's your solution? You haven't said. Legalizing file-sharing
> without levy? 

Actually, I was thinking more of refusing to make file-sharing
illegal in places where this is possible (in Spain, for instance,
courts have consistently refused to regard file sharing as illegal).
In places which were misguided enough to make it illegal, yes, the
idea is to recognize that file sharing is not just fine, but a
socially useful and beneficial activity.

> You may want to add that the phenomenal Banda Larga plan will cost
> Brazilians R$ 49 billion until 2014. Another form of collective
> re-distribution for an investment the collective deems useful.

But similarities stop there.

Key differences: money for that program comes from normal taxes, and
is being used in a way that that society deems appropriate to make
life better for those worse off.

The proposal creates an entirely new kind of beast, one that takes
from the poor to give to the rich, and is managed by private entities
internationally known for corruption and nepotism.

> I would think that the same collective would also deem useful a
> collective investment that enables those who create much of the
> stuff that makes these pipes so great to continue to create.

I contest the tenet that we need to "enable" these people to continue
to produce.

The net itself demonstrates by construction that it is not needed: so
far, there has been no such mechanism, and copyright has been widely
disregarded on the net.

If either of these things were *needed* to "enable" people to
produce, the net would be a wasteland, completely devoid of works.
Yet, we see that the opposite is true: we have never seen so many
authors in the history of our species, we have never had so many
works being published.

We can thus see that people have enough incentive to produce for the
net without any such levy and without much respect for copyright.

Of course, this is not enough for publishers and record labels, but
if they can't figure out some product people *want* to buy, and thus
need the government to hold people's arms so they can pick their
pockets, they can go broke for all I care.

> This is a structural problem indeed. But I do see a real chance of
> rebooting collective management.

Maybe. But I'd like to point out that feeding them large amounts of
money is not a good strategy to make them weaker, and this plan
would do just that.

> I really don't see any meaningful alternative to the idea of
> collective management itself.

Freedom to choose to manage your copyright any way you like and
thorugh whichever agency you want to, or none at all, would be a good

> The idea that, because culture has (again) become environmental, it
> should be paid for by all, I still find plausible - like education,
> the preservation of our cultural heritage in libraries and museums,
> the BBC.

The problem is that the premise for those examples is that not
everybody is an educator, a curator or a public mass media outlet.
But culture *is* made by everyone, *even* those who just enjoy it and
never, or only rarely engage in producing works. It makes little
sense to take from everyone to give to everyone.

> Fede, if you think I've been mislead, please show me the light. 

I wouldn't presume to enlighten you, Volker. I know you have thought
long and hard about this, and I'm more than sure that you mean well
by supporting it. I just think that the people behind this proposal
are under the impression that it will somehow weaken the barricades
the industries are trying to build to keep the public at bay. In my
view, it will strengthen them, both by throwing money at them and by
lending credibility to their claim that they are being ripped off and
need to be compensated.


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