April 29, 2006

This Post is Old!

The post you are reading is years old and may not represent my current views. I started blogging around the time I first began to study philosophy, age 17. In my view, the point of philosophy is to expose our beliefs to rational scrutiny so we can revise them and get better beliefs that are more likely to be true. That's what I've been up to all these years, and this blog has been part of that process. For my latest thoughts, please see the front page.

Canadian Recording Artists Oppose Suing Fans, DRM

The founding of the Canadian Music Creators Coalition, a group representing several Canadian bands and recording artists, was announced last Wednesday in response to World Intellectual Property Day. The group, representing some of the most prominent Canadian recording artists, including the Barenaked Ladies, Avril Lavigne, and Sarah McLachlan, was formed in response to the fact that the intellectual property debate has thus far been controlled by recording industry mega-corps who do not have the artists' interests in mind. Contrary to the claims of said mega-corps, CMCC asserts the following:

  1. "Suing Our Fans is Destructive and Hypocritical"

  2. "Digital Locks [i.e. DRM] are Risky and Counterproductive"

  3. "Cultural Policy Should Support Actual Canadian Artists"

Now, you know I'm not in favor of governments having 'cultural policies' (whatever that means), but hurray for artists actual recognizing what is in their best interest and speaking up! The record labels' day has come: if artists realize what technology can do for them, they will realize that they don't even need record labels at all. Then the record labels will be forced to provide new and different services that are actually useful to artists, and stop pushing them around.

(HT: EFF Newsletter)

Posted by Kenny at April 29, 2006 1:32 PM
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Interesting post. As a Libertarian I'm kinda shocked at your post. The people at EFF and their supporters are not "libertarian" on this issue, but anarchist really. They want the technology to set the course on this issue irrespective of the rule of law or if a company may lose money. As a libertarian one seeks very limited government, but with a set of laws. It is one step up from an anarchist.

Now I agree that the Rec Labels do need to be more open about using this technology, but that doesn't mean they should do so by threats that are essentially illeagal (as shown by the Grokster case).

If an artist really doesn't like what the Rec Label is doing then yes speak up or break of your contract and do it independantly.

There is one thing I do agree with EFF on and the above statement is that the Rec. Companies may try to use its recent wins in court to infringe upon the "fair use" right of the copyright law. This allows the consumer a "fair use" of the product. The new technology to block coping of music I think infringes upon that right. There needs to be a nice balance, but it is difficult to do as the technology advances so rapidly and the law is always behind trying to play catchup.

p.s. I was hoping you would respond back to my last comment on your last post. :)

Posted by: vangelicmonk at April 29, 2006 7:00 PM

Vaneglicmonk, precisely what are you shocked at? As I said, I'm not in favor of governnments having a 'cultural policy.' What I am in favor of is precisely what you say: artists telling record labels to go away. Right now, both recording artists and fans are getting screwed over by record labels who are laughing all the way to the bank, and the sad part is that, for the most part, they are putting up with it. If the artists would realize that technology has made record labels mostly obsolete (a few bands have been very successful at self-recording and online distribution, since most revenue comes from concert tickets), then the free market would work everything out, and THAT is what I want to happen.

As to the EFF's policy, libertarians properly so-called (that is, those who subscribe to libertarian political philosophy, under its strict definition) cannot support any broad regulation of technology; government has as its purpose the protection of its citizens from force and fraud, and mustn't do anything else. Now, when a recording company sells you a CD without telling you it's DRM'd, that's fraud, and the government should step in. What the government must not do is, for instance, regulate the construction of video players so that they are required to all participate in some DRM scheme. That violates the private property rights of video equipment manufacturers and owners, all the more so since there are reasons to break DRM other than simply to break copyrights. Of course, the record labels have the right to make copy-protected CDs and sell them to me, provided that I know they are copy-protected and agree to buy them at the specified price, despite the copy-protection.

I don't entirely agree with the Canadian statement, because I think it asks for too much government intervention, but I think it's a step in the right direction.

Perhaps the difficulty you are having has to do with the libertarian position on 'intellectual property.' Many libertarians (notably Ayn Rand) have thought that intellectual property was a very important thing. I disagree. I don't think that there is any such thing as intellectual property on the strict libertarian definition of property. I made a couple of posts on this topic quite a while ago here and here.

PS: I was thinking about writing a new post adressing your suggestion that 'three-persons-one-substance' is a simple restatement of the paradox (suffice it to say I'm not entirely convinced), but I probably won't get around to it until Monday. I'm at school writing an archaeology term paper right now; the building closes in 30 minutes and I don't have internet at my apartment here in Athens.

Posted by: Kenny at April 29, 2006 7:27 PM

Hey Kenney,

Thanks for the response. Since I'm not a strict Libertarian, but you could say a Republitarian, then I will probably come down differently than you on this.

I read both of your articles and they are interesting like most of what you post on here. As one reads Article 8, Sec. 8 as a literialist then I could see how you would not grant any type of "property" to the rights authorized and granted by congress. However, if one looks at it in a historical (common law) and literialist view, then one can draw from instences where the common law pointed to rights being a type of property http://lysanderspooner.org/intellect/ch6s2.html
However, they were a different type of property and thus was limited by time.

I agree that we should be having a debate about this and artists/inventors should use all options to use those exclusive rights, but I don't think it is necessarily true that those rights cannot be sold and used by another in light of common law. Again I think legislation has infringed upon fair use and even the extension of rights cannot be granted in light of the Constitution.

I will look forward to your post on the Trinitarian paradox on Monday. The paradox itself is simple, but to to understand how it is that way is impossible.
Simply, scripture plainly states God is One. Nevertheless, scripture plainly attributes the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit with divine and personable attributes. So how do you reconcile these plain teachings in scripture? You don't. You restate what scritpure states even though it is a paradox. Whether you want to call it persons and substance or anything else it doesn't matter. That is just semantics.

Posted by: vangelicmonk at April 30, 2006 12:17 AM

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