My response to the Library of Congress survey

By now, most of you will have heard that the new Librarian of Congress,  Carla Hayden, removed Maria Pallante from the post of the Register of Copyrights.

There have been a lot of stupid conspiracy theories running around about it (including the one originating from Chris Castle that Google was somehow behind it, despite the fact that Carla Hayden has no relation to Google at all). Of course, these turned out to be utter bullshit. Pallante was removed because she repeatedly and publicly advocated that the Copyright Office be removed from the auspices of the Library of Congress.

Whatever the case, the Library of Congress has been doing something previously unheard of, and actually asked the public to weigh in on how to decide who should take her place. They have set up a survey here:

Librarian of Congress Seeks Input on Register of Copyrights

The survey period ends on January 31st, so if it’s not already too late when you read this, I strongly encourage everyone to submit comments today.

Here is what I submitted.

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Maddox, Google, and Hollywood

I recently read an article on “The Best Page In The Universe,” the venerable website started by Maddox, a.k.a. George Ouzounian. I only check it sporadically, so I missed this when it was first posted.

The article is called It’s time Hollywood kissed Google’s ass. It is worth reading in its entirety, but here are what I think are the good parts:

For all the constant bitching we hear from production companies and studios about piracy, no other company is doing as much to protect copyrights as Google. Companies like Viacom constantly mine the Internet for viral videos they can use for cheap content, while simultaneously filing billion dollar lawsuits. When people post their [Viacom’s] content on YouTube, they file takedown requests and shut down YouTube channels. But when they do it for millions of dollars, it’s okay[…]

Without a site like YouTube: the video market would be fragmented and thousands of smaller sites would take its place. Or worse, a competitor in a nation that doesn’t give a shit about US copyright laws. YouTube is Hollywood’s biggest ally. It’s time for Hollywood to loosen the reins because content creators everywhere are starting to get pissed off with these excessive and superfluous takedown requests.

If you want to see a video where he expounds on this idea, with lots of metal music in the background, watch: YouTube is the reason Hollywood still exists.

Be forewarned: in case you didn’t already know, Maddox is famous (or notorious) for his salty language and over-the-top persona.

Rute Correia’s take on John Degen

So, apparently I am not the only one who realizes that John Degen is full of crap.

Rute Correia has written a reaction to Degan’s 5 Seriously Dumb Myths About Copyright the Media Should Stop Repeating, in which he attacks copyright”myths” that are anything but.

Correia’s article is called 5 Seriously Important Facts about Copyright the Media Should Keep on Repeating. It is worth reading.

And, for comparison, you can also re-read my article, John Degen Loses Argument Against Straw Man.

John Degen Loses Argument Against Straw Man

April 23rd was the anniversary of the deaths of Shakespeare, Cervantes, and Garcilaso de la Vega, and in celebration, UNESCO has declared that day World Book Day. It is also called “World Book and Copyright Day,” but I don’t think the term is appropriate, since none of those authors’ works were ever under any form of copyright.

Someone who does think the term is appropriate is John Degan. This should not be any surprise: Degen is an outspoken copyright maximalist. He is currently Executive Director of The Writers’ Union of Canada, and Chair of the International Authors Forum; he was formerly Executive Director of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, and Communications Manager for Magazines Canada.

So, Degen decided to write an article called 5 Seriously Dumb Myths About Copyright the Media Should Stop Repeating. Here’s the first problem with that article: nobody in the media is actually repeating the “myths” he’s supposedly debunking. Here’s the second problem: all of the “truths” that he uses to debunk these “myths” are misleading, one-sided, or flat-out wrong. Even when he’s arguing against his own straw man, he loses.

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What Type Of Right?

When people use the word “right,” they often mean drastically different things. For example, the right to free speech is very different from the right to make a right turn at a red light, and both are different from the right to receive a public education. Talking about rights often enters the intersection of jurisprudence and ethics, so people have been discussing this for a long time.

In this article, I’m going to explain the various types of rights, and then relate them to copyright law.

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