[A2k] Taking T.B.M. in vain

Manon Ress manon.ress at keionline.org
Tue Feb 18 07:59:42 PST 2014

Thank you for the excellent quote, Peter.  It is (almost) funny.  It
reminded me on how  often Victor Hugo is used.

Victor Hugo: Discours d'ouverture du Congrès littéraire international de

Le principe est double, ne l'oublions pas. Le livre, comme livre,
appartient à l'auteur, mais comme pensée, il appartient--le mot n'est pas
trop vaste--au genre humain. Toutes les intelligences y ont droit. Si l'un
des deux droits, le droit de l'écrivain et le droit de l'esprit humain,
devait être sacrifié, ce serait, certes, le droit de l'écrivain, car
l'intérêt public est notre préoccupation unique, et tous, je le déclare,
doivent passer avant nous.

On Tue, Feb 18, 2014 at 10:20 AM, Peter Jaszi <pjaszi at wcl.american.edu>wrote:

> The Macauly references are interesting.  The most famous passage from
> the scholar/author/statesman's 1841 House of Commons speech on term
> extension goes like this:
> "We have, then, only one resource left. We must betake ourselves to
> copyright, be the inconveniences of copyright what they may. Those
> inconveniences, in truth, are neither few nor small. Copyright is
> monopoly, and produces all the effects which the general voice of
> mankind attributes to monopoly. My honorable and learned friend talks
> very contemptuously of those who are led away by the theory that
> monopoly makes things dear. That monopoly makes things dear is certainly
> a theory, as all the great truths which have been established by the
> experience of all ages and nations, and which are taken for granted in
> all reasonings, may be said to be theories. It is a theory in the same
> sense in which it is a theory, that day and night follow each other,
> that lead is heavier than water, that bread nourishes, that arsenic
> poisons, that alcohol intoxicates. If, as my honorable and learned
> friend seems to think, the whole world is in the wrong on this point, if
> the real effect of monopoly is to make articles good and cheap, why does
> he stop short in his career of change? Why does he limit the operation
> of so salutary a principle to sixty years? Why does he consent to
> anything short of a perpetuity? He told us that in consenting to
> anything short of a perpetuity he was making a compromise between
> extreme right and expediency. But if his opinion about monopoly be
> correct, extreme right and expediency would coincide. Or rather why
> should we not restore the monopoly of the East India trade to the East
> India Company? Why should we no revive all those old monopolies which,
> in Elizabeth's reign, galled our fathers so severely that, maddened by
> intolerable wrong, they opposed to their sovereign a resistance before
> which her haughty spirit quailed for the first and for the last time?
> Was it the cheapness and excellence of commodities that then so
> violently stirred the indignation of the English people? I believe, Sir,
> that I may safely take it for granted that the effect of monopoly
> generally is to make articles scarce, to make them dear, and to make
> them bad. And I may with equal safety challenge my honorable friend to
> find out any distinction between copyright and other privileges of the
> same kind; any reason why a monopoly of books should produce an effect
> directly the reverse of that which was produced by the East India
> Companys monopoly of tea, or by Lord Essexs monopoly of sweet wines.
> Thus, then, stands the case. It is good that authors should be
> remunerated; and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by
> a monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must
> submit to the evil but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is
> necessary for the purpose of securing the good."
> The tone is rather difference from what the Attorney-General suggests.
> More striking still is the claim that Macauly (1800-1859) had something
> to do with the 1709 Statute of Anne.
> Hmmm.
> -----Original Message-----
> From: A2k [mailto:a2k-bounces at lists.keionline.org] On Behalf Of Manon
> Ress
> Sent: Tuesday, February 18, 2014 9:53 AM
> To: a2k discuss list
> Subject: [A2k] Et Tu Australia: Attorney-General commits to major
> overhaul of the Copyright Act
> http://digital.org.au/content/attorney-general-commits-major-overhaul-co
> pyright-act
> Attorney-General commits to major overhaul of the Copyright Act
> Submitted by Trish on 17 February 2014 Copyright Act needs reform: must
> balance benefits for creators against a range of public interests
> It has been a big week for Australian Copyright.  On Thursday the
> Attorney-General, the Hon George Brandis QC, tabled the long-anticipated
> final report from the Australian Law Reform Commission's (ALRC)
> Copyright and the Digital Economy inquiry.  This inquiry was charged
> with determining if copyright exceptions and limitations were working in
> the digital age.
>  The conclusion was that reform was needed.  The ALRC recommended:
> Replacing most specific copyright exceptions with a broad, flexible
> 'fair use' exception Retaining and simplifying some specific exceptions,
> such as preservation copying and document supply for libraries and
> archives, and exceptions for some government and judicial uses.
> Reforming the statutory licences for government and education Limiting
> remedies for use of orphan works where a reasonable diligent search has
> been carried out prior to use Preserving the library exceptions (and the
> fall-back recommendation of extended fair dealing) from contracting out.
> Recommendations about broadcasting for the government to consider when
> setting media and communications policy On Friday the Attorney-General
> delivered a crucial speech at the Australian Digital Alliance Forum,
> which sets out the Government's priorities and approaches to copyright.
> Reflecting on the history and development of copyright, the
> Attorney-General referred to Thomas Macaulay:
> His central insight is to remind us that copyright is a monopoly - a
> necessary monopoly - but a monopoly nonetheless.
> Moving to the present, the Attorney-General noted the world had changed
> much from the 1800s, we now expect much more than a good supply of
> books, and our cultural industries are a central part of our economic
> and societal wellbeing.  In this modern world, the Attorney-General
> firmly recommitted to preserving fundamental principles of copyright
> law.
> It is true that we now consume, create and distribute content in ways
> that would have been beyond imagining when Macaulay introduced the first
> copyright law.  It does not follow, I think, that the principles that
> underpin copyright are incapable of adapting.
> They have adapted to cinema, radio, television and personal computers,
> why not to technologies of which we are still to dream.
> However, the Copyright Act has not adapted well to new technologies.
>  Noting the many issues facing cultural institutions, consumers,
> education and industries the Attorney-General described the Act as:
> overly long, unnecessarily complex, often comically outdated and all too
> often, in its administration, pointlessly bureaucratic.
> The Attorney-General committed to a major overhaul of the Act being
> 'convinced that we can do much to improve how copyright works in this
> country.'  This is a point few would disagree with, many of the over 800
> submissions to the ALRC inquiry detailed the many instances where
> copyright law either inhibited public interest and innovative uses, or
> increased organisations' regulatory uncertainty.  From libraries unable
> to make cultural heritage available to the lack of support for cloud
> computing, the issues with the current Act and its narrow exceptions are
> well documented.
>  For the process of reform, the Attorney-General committed to the
> following:
> First, when this process is finished, and it will be a through and
> exhaustive exercise in law reform, the Copyright Act, will be shorter,
> simpler and easier to use and understand.
> Secondly, the Act will be technology neutral - no more amusing
> references to videotapes as we find in current section 110AA.
> Thirdly, we will pay careful regard to the broader international legal
> and economic context, we all know that Australia's laws cannot exist in
> a vacuum, they must operate efficiently within a global copyright
> system.
>  That is particularly important as the Abbott Government continues, to
> number among its signature achievements, the negotiation of free trade
> agreements with our major trading partners, which, as you all know,
> contain important provisions concerning copyright and other intellectual
> property issues.
> On the major ALRC recommendation of fair use, the Attorney-General
> remains 'to be persuaded that this is the best direction' but
> nevertheless he will 'bring an open and inquiring mind to the debate.'
> He also noted his concerns about online piracy, and suggested some of
> the actions he would consider in response, including ISPs issuing
> graduated warnings or taking down sites containing infringeing material.
> In closing, in the words of the Attorney-General:
> The challenge for us today is how to balance the benefits for creators
> against a range of other public interests including the interests of
> users, educators and other important public goods... I wish you well in
> your deliberations and look forward to constructive engagement with you
> as we develop our law reforms in this very important area.
> The full text of the Attorney-General's speech can be found here
> --
> Manon Ress, Ph.D.
> Knowledge Ecology International, KEI
> manon.ress at keionline.org, tel.: +1 202 332 2670 www.keionline.org
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Manon Ress, Ph.D.
Knowledge Ecology International, KEI
manon.ress at keionline.org, tel.: +1 202 332 2670

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