Law in the Internet Society
Please don't stack revisions on top of one another: just edit the page. Prior versions are maintained in the history, and it is easier to see the changes.

The Global License :Smoke and mirrors.

October 2011 : France has been trying to sue children for the past three years under the HADOPI legislation apparently it is not working the way the French government expected it to work. Not efficient, too burdensome. Fair enough, let’s come up with something else. Here is the way it would work. In order to compensate authors, each and everyone of us will pay an extra 5 and 6 euros a month on our Internet bills. This compensation will be included in the price we pay to Internet Service Providers. Internet users will pay a fixed price to Internet carriers. The money collected would go to collecting societies , somekind of SACEM (the equivalent of the ASCAP in the US). The money will then be dispatched among authors. This would depart from the current Hadopi legislation, under which unlicenced P2P? ? sharing is prohibited.

The dispatch would be done according to the traffic , meaning that the artists would be compensated according to how many people downloaded their work. That sounds fair, right ? That way we forget about HADOPI, we download and upload freely (well for a few euros at least) and artists get compensated. Why not? But the questions is how is the dispatch of the money going to be handled ? Pro GL say that it would be enough to calculate the traffic of each artist. So the more an artist is shared and downloaded the more money he or she will get. The calculation will be based on popularity. What we are told is that this system will enable small or unknown artists to get something, even a little bit. No more intermediaries (record company, the music industry in general). Authors would get proper compensation, and that is the most important thing, right ? The project is obviously designed to protect unknown or non famous artists. Who is going to calculate the traffic, how is it going to be calculated ? Does it mean that exchanges will be monitored and controlled somehow? Who will operate this control? Internet providers, independent societies?

Surprinsingly the debate around the GL has focused on authors and compensation. Compensating artists seems to be an obssession for the GL advocates. And they try to sell us this concept of GL, because it is fair, because it is right, and because that the way it should be. We cannot turn down a project that protects artists right?

But in the end this looks like just another tax. The only concern is: would artists be fairly compensated ? What I believe is that as long as they don’t want to understand that the structure of all this is wrong we are not going to do anything good. The music industry collapses: face it. The way we access culture is changing : deal with it ! Thinking within a structure of intellectual property does not help at all.

The thinking pattern behind GL is still the same as the one behind Hadopi, art is perceived as a marchandise. Same as Hadopi. But I guess the GL is just a way to sweeten the pill. The fact is that neither the Socialists nor the Conservatives understand that the music industry is slowly dying. The GL is just a honey trap. This being said, France won’t be able to implement the GL anyway. That would require too many resources. GL will fail just like HADOPI. And who cares about what I download or upload apart from collecting societies. So how come France is still wasting its time on such things? What I believe is that it does not matter if it works or not. France is just trying to monitor everything on the net. HADOPI, LOPPSI laws have paved the way for filtering and controling the net. GL is the frosting on the cake. The GL kills two birds with one stone: comforting the dying Music Industry and preparing control of the net.

In order to accomplish its goals, the GL requires that the downloading activity of users be monitored, so that the money be dispatch, in theory, in a fair manner. Whether this would be accomplishing by tracking computer traffic, or whether it would dealt with by the automatic pre-installation of spyware, this still implies that somewhere, government officials have a mean of controlling the activity of all users on French internet network, and, again, we have no guarantees as to the use they will make of this possibility. But this can be dodged.

This is not new though. So why is France persisting in creating this kind of absurd regulations? Non cost effective and non efficient regulations? Because, the system as we know it will soon die, power might change owners and that scares my Government. The French Government is desperate and worried. HADOPI, GL or whatever it can come up with is just a way to postpone the end of their World in which the music and the movie industry are ruling and where the concept of ownership is the keystone. Those regulations are only designed to gain time.

Meanwhile, they monitor us a little bit more, somehow feeling that they control things, it makes them feel better for a while, until they realize that the power is slipping away again.

Actually, of course (though you don't say so), also because the very owners it's supposed to conciliate won't go along. If Sarkozyville enacted a compulsory license and permitted sharing, The Pirate Bay would move to Paris. But the rest of the world wouldn't pay the stupid fee. So the owners would then have to continue militarizing the entire Net, but they would be even more defeated before they start than they are now.

And besides, the whole subject became less important once it became more important for Superman to suit up and save the French from the total collapse of civilization, which only he could achieve, by maintaining the AAA. Turned out perfectly, too, n'est-ce pas? Now, facing the only unemployment problem he really cares about, namely his own, it is most important for Superman to figure out how to avoid going to jail for corruption without having to fake senility at his young age. Which pretty much ensures that it will be left to some Francois Hollande or other to accept the bribes of the entertainment industry next time around. Given that by then, the almost-still-existing Fifth Republic will be trying to balance its first budget since Pompidou (the idiot, not the world Centre of ugliness), all the entertainment bribery in the world won't be able to offset the fiscal and political collapse of the "thousand little Greeces" inside France.

As you know, I don't think there's much intellectual merit in pointing out the same old same old objections to the same old same old tired bullshit nonsense of the global entertainment oligopolies in one or another piece of stupid pending legislation that can't work in places that don't care. This essay has now achieved, I think, all what little can be achieved in that form, even as the measures it is compelled to pretend to take seriously are now shown by the flow of events to be pretty much the same non-functional and irrelevant crap they always are. Revising won't help, because you can't make this aspect of the world less stupid and trivial. The real payoff is in learning how to select other topics to spend one's thought on.

You’re right Professor, this is bullshit not worth spending any time on. I see it now, and it took me a semester, your class, a couple of discussion with you and an essay to realize it. Neverthelss, if what I write is obvious to you, then what you rightly point out on Superman and the dying Fifth Republic is obvious to me. What is obvious to some may not be obvious to all. The topic I chose to write on wasn’t that obvious to me at the beginning of the semester, but you taught me, we discussed about it, and I have learned. And unfortunately, back in my country now, I see that for many people those things are not obvious at all.


Webs Webs

r8 - 04 Sep 2012 - 22:02:17 - IanSullivan
This site is powered by the TWiki collaboration platform.
All material on this collaboration platform is the property of the contributing authors.
All material marked as authored by Eben Moglen is available under the license terms CC-BY-SA version 4.
Syndicate this site RSSATOM