Saturday, 2 November 2013

Everyman learns respect for copyright

(In the interests of balance: Everyman meets a copyright radical)

Maximus Copyright: Hey, you!
Everyman: Me?
MaxC: What do you think you’re doing?
E:  I’m reading this interesting little blog about IT and internet law.
MaxC: You got permission to do that?
E: Who from?
MaxC: Me.  Or the Family.
E: They are?
MaxC: Relations and neighbours.
E: Nice to meet you all.
The Family: Thief! Thief! Thief!
E: What’s this about?
MaxC: This is my patch.  You’re on it.  Pay or get off.
E: I’m only looking.
MaxC: That’s using. Needs permission. Or should do1.
E: But there are paths.  They say Public Right of Way.
MaxC: You see the TPMs?
E: I'm guessing that's the barbed wire.
MaxC: Right. Illegal to cut it.
E: Is there anything I can do around here that isn't illegal?
MaxC: You've got to learn respect. People these days don't show the respect due to the Family. How did you find this place, anyway?
E: That link. It’s marked.
MaxC: This is serious.  An unlicensed link2. Take it down, boys.
The Family: Thief! Thief! Thief!
E: Who’s that over there? You haven’t introduced her.
MaxC: Minima.  She’s the other branch of the family.  We don’t speak.
E: No?
MaxC: They have crazy ideas. Balance, proportionality, reasonable expectations of users.  "The Family will get respect if it gives up some land".  Morons.  I tell you how we get respect, by strong enforcement.
E: Not by education, then?
MaxC: Education of course.  But it has to be the right sort of education.
E: The right sort?
MaxC: The sort that fosters respect. We like to keep it simple. ‘Don’t steal, don’t copy’.  That sort of thing.  If you don’t get the message, something more graduated.  If you still don’t get it, we chop your internet off.
E: Mine?
MaxC: You just keep your nose clean and there won’t be any trouble.
E: I had my nose in this blog until you showed up.
MaxC: Don’t get clever.
E: There’s something I don’t understand about all this.
MaxC: What?
E: If everything needs permission, won't everyone end up breaking the law? How does that foster respect for copyright?
MaxC: You’re starting to sound like cousin Mini and that Hargreaves character she hangs around with.  You need to be educated.
E: How, without any internet access?
MaxC: That's enough. Re-education camp for you.
E: Huh?
MaxC: You'll love it.  The tutors all love copyright. The guards all love copyright. It will be a better world when we all love copyright.
The Family: Take him away! 

Notes:

1.The question of whether merely browsing a copyright work online requires the permission of the copyright owner is currently the subject of a reference to the EU Court of Justice in Newspaper Licensing Agency v PRCA.  The view of the UK Supreme Court was that it should not require permission, in the same way that reading a physical book does not – even if the book is an infringing copy. However the browsing point was of sufficient importance that it should be considered by the CJEU.
2.  The question whether a web link to a copyright work on the internet requires the permission of the copyright owner is currently the subject of references to the EU Court of Justice in Svensson, CMore and Bestwater.

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