Writer Explains How Copyright Has Prevented Her From Ever Seeing TV Shows She Wrote

from the promoting-the-progress dept

Glyn Moody points us to yet another story of copyright law gone mad. Laurel Russwurm explains how there are numerous creative projects that she’s worked on, including TV shows that she’s written, that she’s never seen and probably will never see, due to copyright.


In the years since writing the script, I?ve only ever found one commercial Neverending Story VHS tape from the series in Canada. And it didn?t include my episode. But the world has changed. The cost of the technology has dropped, and it is no longer prohibitively expensive to make copies. In recent years, the Neverending Story series has been made available online as Amazon downloads. Yay!

Except copyright prevents me from paying $1.99 and downloading a copy of ?The Dreaming Field? for myself, because:

“Video Playback Not Authorized?

?We have detected that you are not located within the U.S. Due to licensing restrictions, Amazon Instant Video Customers must be located in the United States when viewing videos online.?

?Amazon.com: Neverending Story: Season 2, episode 19, ?The Dreaming Field?: Amazon Instant Video

?Licensing restrictions? are part of copyright law. They call this ?copyright protection,? but I really don?t see how this protects me as a creator. Sure, I was paid for the work. Over the years I?ve received sporadic tiny incremental sums. ?Royalties.? A much greater percentage of the royalty is paid off the top to the copyright collective that administers these funds, supposedly ?on my behalf?.

The argument that is always made in support of increasingly restrictive copyright law is that copyright protects creators. I don?t believe that.

Laurel also points out that this particular work was done 15 years ago. If copyright were 14 years, as it was originally, the work would now be in the public domain, and she could see it. As it stands, she’ll probably never see it.

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Comments on “Writer Explains How Copyright Has Prevented Her From Ever Seeing TV Shows She Wrote”

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118 Comments
Ninjasays:

Re:

That’s not the point. Nobody said WITHOUT copyrights. It’s the abuses that are the problem. Because a 234659267627725389592 year life span seems to be quite fair. After all, I have to feed my grand grand grand (…) grand kids with chocolate mousse and pure gold powder on it.

Ah yes, before I forget to mention, you missed the point.

Big Wig Fat Catsays:

Re: What MrWilson said...

She shouldn’t worry too much about those “tiny incremental sums”. We, the copyright industry, are working hard on behalf of all artists to extend copyright ever further to help them make more money. The individual payments may indeed be small, but over a long enough span of time it all adds up! Artists like this one just need to be more patient. Before long, she’ll find herself buried under a mountain of green.

Zot-Sindisays:

Re:

“douchebags started obtaining them and uploading them to the internet”

oh, those bastards!! who woulda thought that people might actually want to SHARE the stuff they watch!?!!? you know, that shit a good chunk of them pay money to see, but that’s the thing, don’t these people know shows ain’t for entertainment but for lining my pockets? get with the friggin’ times, people!

Zot-Sindisays:

Re: Re:

“who woulda thought that people might actually want to SHARE the stuff they watch!?!!”

not to mention make available content that has been pretty much stamped out into non-existence by the original source (R.I.P. Disney’s Gargoyles, if it wasn’t for youtube that is, all that would be left is incomplete season volumes that doesn’t even have all of the episodes nor was ever finished before being cancelled and ignored)

also, WTB edit button

Chargonesays:

Re: Re: Re:

yea verily.

i would offer 1,0000,0000,0000 non-monies for an edit button.

that said, i can see good reason for not having one given how conversations here tend to go.

perhaps, instead, a ‘correction’ button?
let’s you attach correction notes and such to the comment in a way that would not be confused with an actual reply, but doesn’t change the original comment? (maybe a box within the comment’s coloured background, rather than indenting and changing colour?)

Richardsays:

Re:

Funny, the studios used to always be happy to send out screeners to the people that worked on a show.
But then douchebags started obtaining them and uploading them to the internet, so the practice had to stop.
Laura actually has you losers to blame for her dilemma.
Nice irony.

Actually 15 years ago is pretty much before the internet – certainly long before uploading TV shows became practical. So there is no reason why they should not have sent out screeners at that time.

Argument fails completely.

DogBreathsays:

Re: Re:

Actually 15 years ago is pretty much before the internet

but… but… what about time machines! If someone in the future invents them, they’ll be able to come back and invent the internet sooner and upload all those lost shows. Think of the future children and all their lost copyright inheritance profit!

The horror, the horror.

Jeff Rifesays:

Re:

So, what you’re saying is that the creators of the content saw nothing wrong with sharing the content before it was officially available?

And, you claim that “douchebags” who upload the content to the Internet are the problem?

So, what you’re saying is that content creators are “douchebags”, since at some point they had to share the content in such a way that it could be uploaded (like violating copyright by making a copy for a friend).

Now know for sure that you are one of the gatekeepers who can’t change business models, since that’s pretty much exactly what they think of the actual creators.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re:

…oh, and of course as already pointed out, this was well before video was shared on the internet on a regular basis so your argument doesn’t apply even if it were true. Yes, once again, piracy existed before the internet. Yet, despite the wailing and moaning and the “home taping is killing us” propaganda, the industry thrived. Why are you incapable of doing it now?

Plus, of course, “protecting” screeners does no good long term because the shows can be copied as soon as they were broadcast. So, even that’s irrelevant 15 years later.

Nice job of failing all round. Sometimes, I suspect you’re a paid shill by the industry. But, your arguments are so immediately idiotic, I do wonder if you’re running some kind of false flag scheme…

Anonymoussays:

Wow, their is so much wrong with this story that I have to hold my nose not to get overwhelmed by the stink of the BS.

First off, if you are a writer on a show, you can almost always get a copy of your work from the studio. In fact, many studio contracts have that exact clause in them, to allow screener copies to go to the key people involved.

Second, Amazon chooses only to buy the rights for the US, and chooses not to buy the rights for other countries because it isn’t economically viable. Netflix (you know, that old company) only just made it into Canada in the last year or so.

For that matter, Amazon doesn’t sell electronics and other stuff in Canada, because it isn’t economically viable.

It is incredibly unlikely that the writer didn’t get a copy of the show in question at the time, and while it is too bad that Amazon doesn’t sell outside of the US, it’s pretty much normal and par for the course. Why would they buy a bunch of extra rights that they don’t need? Pay a few thousand more to be able to take in $5 from a frustrated writer from Canada? It’s a sound business model.

Then again, I am sure that American users of the service wouldn’t mind paying an extra $1 an episode to subsidize the service, right?

Josh in CharlotteNCsays:

Re:

First off, if you are a writer on a show, you can almost always get a copy of your work from the studio. In fact, many studio contracts have that exact clause in them, to allow screener copies to go to the key people involved.

And yet, she’s a writer and doesn’t have one.

Second, Amazon chooses only to buy the rights for the US, and chooses not to buy the rights for other countries because it isn’t economically viable. Netflix (you know, that old company) only just made it into Canada in the last year or so.

All this shows is that purchasing the “rights” is absurdly expensive and ultimately detrimental to the creators of the works. Again its content companies drastically overvaluing some piece of paper that says they own a part of culture.

For that matter, Amazon doesn’t sell electronics and other stuff in Canada, because it isn’t economically viable.

Dealing with shipping and international customs for physical goods is entirely different than transmitting infinitely copyable bits across the internet. Again, all this shows is that national and regional restrictions on data/content/information are entirely arbitrary, counterproductive, and a relic from a world that no longer exists.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

Josh, even if the rights only cost them a couple of hundred dollars for this particular show, it isn’t worth it. The demand is null.

Amazon has chosen not the pay for rights for anywhere outside of the US. Maybe one day they will. But it isn’t any different from there not being any In-n-Out burger places in Canada. It’s just not a functional business for them at this point.

Amazon ships from Canada. Borders are not an issue (most electronics are actually cheaper in Canada these days because of exchange rates and lower entry duty on shipments from Asia). It’s because it’s a big business to get into, which is not warranted. It’s the same as streaming (or even DVD by mail), which took Netflix a long time to get into in Canada.

crawl – walk – run. The writer is upset because she came in at the crawl stage and can’t get the thing to “run”.

Re: Re: Re:

“Josh, even if the rights only cost them a couple of hundred dollars for this particular show, it isn’t worth it. The demand is null.”

I’m glad we get the informed statement from Amazon’s marketing department… or are you on the financial strategy team? Kinda hard to tell from here.

Oh, and just because… I think the word you want to use is nil, as in “non-existent”.

” It’s because it’s a big business to get into, which is not warranted. It’s the same as streaming (or even DVD by mail), which took Netflix a long time to get into in Canada.”

Again, we all appreciate the insider info from someone with firsthand knowledge of Amazon’s business plans.

Just in case it’s needed…. /sarc.

Josh in CharlotteNCsays:

Re: Re: Re:

Josh, even if the rights only cost them a couple of hundred dollars for this particular show, it isn’t worth it. The demand is null.

Economics fail. Please read and understand supply/demand pricing before commenting on it. Supply of this good is infinite. Demand is zero, or near to it. That’s two reasons price should be near zero. If it is hundreds of dollars, it is obviously over-valued.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re:

Wow, talk about missed analogies….

Perhaps the reason there are no In-n-Out burger places in Canada (or the Pacific North West, dang it) has more to do with their ‘content distribution system’ which involves shipping FRESH ingredients to their stores in a timely manner for producing their product.

I haven’t checked, but as far as I know there are no ‘spoilage’ issues or transportation issues with transporting digital content that would make it even remotely close.

Shill on…

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:

“even if the rights only cost them a couple of hundred dollars for this particular show, it isn’t worth it.”

The rights don’t have to cost anything upfront, only a cut of the profits once the show sells. You’re assuming demand and dictating supply based on that assumption, which is utterly unnecessary for a digital file. But, if 500 people want to buy it, you’ve made more than the couple of hundred you’re trying to extort upfront. More than that and people buy a formerly cult show because they remember it as a kid and the prices are cheap, you make more. You’ll never know, because your extortion kills the sales before they’ve had a chance to take place.

“The demand is null.”

English fail. Plus, “500 people want the show” != “nobody wants the show”.

“Amazon ships from Canada.”

Huh?

USA: Phoenix and Goodyear, AZ; New Castle, DE; Whitestown and Plainfield, IN; Coffeyville, KS; Campbellsville, Hebron (near Cincinnati), Lexington and Louisville, KY; Fernley and North Las Vegas, NV; Nashua, NH; Carlisle, Hazleton, Allentown, Lewisberry, PA; Lexington, SC[48][49]; Chattanooga, TN; and Irving, TX[50] (between Dallas and Fort Worth); Sterling, VA; Bellevue, WA.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amazon.com#Fulfillment_and_warehousing

“Borders are not an issue”

They certainly should not be online, but you make it that way with your licensing.

“It’s because it’s a big business to get into, which is not warranted.”

…and Amazon are already there. Your point?

“It’s the same as streaming (or even DVD by mail), which took Netflix a long time to get into in Canada.”

Again, due to the demands of license holders, not because of any natural demands of the business.

Then again, you’re still so utterly moronic you can’t tell the difference between the demands of a virtual business and a physical business, and can’t comprehend basic business tactics in the slurpee thread, so I doubt you’d understand. A shame idiots like you are in charge of the content, we’d all be happier and richer if you’d just give up and leave it to people who understand your business.

Richardsays:

Re:

First off, if you are a writer on a show, you can almost always get a copy of your work from the studio. In fact, many studio contracts have that exact clause in them, to allow screener copies to go to the key people involved.

All your comment does is to prove that you can’t be bothered to click through and actually read the link before you comment.

Fickelbrasays:

Re:

Well, you proved the point that it isn’t economically feasible for Amazon to provide the ability for her to stream her content overseas. However, the point that you thought you were making… still waiting on it.

“First off, if you are a writer on a show, you can almost always get a copy”

Almost always does not mean always. You already defeated yourself.

JMTsays:

Re:

“Second, Amazon chooses only to buy the rights for the US, and chooses not to buy the rights for other countries because it isn’t economically viable. Netflix (you know, that old company) only just made it into Canada in the last year or so. “

You write this as if it’s a viable reason she can’t get it, but apparently fail to realise how utterly stupid that situation is. It cost’s me no more than you to read Techdirt or look at Amazon from the other side of the planet, so why should it cost more (i.e. not be economically viable) for digital content to be available outside the US? It shouldn’t!

PaulTsays:

Re:

“First off, if you are a writer on a show, you can almost always get a copy of your work from the studio.”

Almost != always. Do you have a copy of her contract? I doubt it. Is the contract the same in Canada or for Canadians as it is for US workers? Who knows?

“Second, Amazon chooses only to buy the rights for the US”

Citation, please. I somehow doubt it’s Amazon’s choice, just as I doubt it’s Amazon’s choice not to sell to me because of the patch of earth I happen to be sitting on.

“Netflix (you know, that old company) only just made it into Canada in the last year or so. “

Was that Netflix’s choice or the content licence holders. If you believe it was the latter, again, citation please. You might also wish to explain why it’s licensing that’s been holding up European launches if that’s Netflix’s choice.

“For that matter, Amazon doesn’t sell electronics and other stuff in Canada, because it isn’t economically viable.”

You really don’t understand business do you? Have a think about why they don’t sell electronics (taxes, shipping costs, logistics). Then explain how this applies to digital files. I bet you can’t.

“Then again, I am sure that American users of the service wouldn’t mind paying an extra $1 an episode to subsidize the service, right?”

No, but Canadian, Asian, South American, European, Australian and African users probably would, if given the chance, you drooling moron.

Eo Nominesays:

“Copyright law gone mad”

Indeed. She was paid to write a script, which she did. In return for compensation, she assigned copyright in that script to a company. Now, even though she sold her copyright, she feels entitled to watch her episode and rages against the company and the evil legal system that denies her.

Let’s put it another way. She was paid to build a house, which she did. In return for compensation, she assigned ownership of that house to a buyer. Now, even though she sold the house, she feel entitled to go and benefit from her handiwork whenever she wants, and rages against the homeowners and evil legal system that denies her.

Funny, but in the later case, I have a feeling most would consider her crazy.

If a copyright owner wants to make something available or not, it’s their choice. If the author here wanted to have access to her work, then perhaps she should have kept the script and not taken money for it. Oh wait, if she’d done that then THE EPISODE WOULD NEVER HAVE BEEN MADE.

Fickelbrasays:

Re:

So your argument here is that if an artist wants to enjoy their own work, they need to keep it to themselves and never publish it? Wow, that sounds like a fantastic society.

Also, I wasn’t aware that when you built a house you were able to duplicate that house an infinite amount of times for free. Analogy fail.

Re:

Let’s put it another way. She was paid to build a house, which she did. In return for compensation, she assigned ownership of that house to a buyer. Now, even though she sold the house, she feel entitled to go and benefit from her handiwork whenever she wants, and rages against the homeowners and evil legal system that denies her.

Analogy fail. It would be more like she was paid to build a house, and after creating the blueprints, she was never allowed to see the house at all, even though millions of others can see it.

Then you might understand why this is a problem.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re:

It’s not a problem at all. It’s what she agreed to. She got paid for her work. She got exactly what she was supposed to get. She has absolutely no right to get anything else.

If she was paid to create blueprints for a house, and she was not guaranteed the right to see that house, then that’s what she agreed to.

This isn’t even a story. It’s just more copyright bashing from the Copyright FUD Factory Chief himself.

Marcus Carabsays:

Re: Re: Re:

just more copyright bashing

Yup. Maybe you missed it but: a lot of people around here don’t like copyright! So when we see it create a totally ridiculous situation like this, instead of working up a sweat trying to rationalize it, we point out how fucking stupid it is then move on. Bashing indeed – on something that sorely needs it.

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re:

Guess what? Copyright isn’t going away. Ever.

Never, Marcus. Do you understand the concept of never, Marcus?

I hope so. Because no matter how much childish entitlement mentality verbiage is spewed here, it’s never going away.

All this site does is encourage dumb puds to break the law and governments to make the laws stronger.

That’s right: if this site has had any effect on anything, it would be to make laws and enforcement more stringent.

How does that reality make you feel, Marcus?

Marcus Carabsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

Guess what? Copyright isn’t going away. Ever.

Never, Marcus. Do you understand the concept of never, Marcus?

Well, it’s kind of hilarious that you would say “never” because that’s just a dumb thing to say, but generally I agree. I don’t advocate copyright abolition – I advocate a massive reduction in scale, though.

Do you know the only thing that would ACTUALLY guarantee that copyright will “never” go away or be changed? For those of us who disagree with it to keep quiet about our objections.

The fact that you are so infuriated by us, and feel the need to come here and attempt to “debunk” every argument, shows you are completely lying in what you have just said. You don’t actually believe that Techdirt has no impact, because if you did, why would you even be here?

You’re scared and angry because more and more people are realizing how bad copyright is for society. Well guess what, you aren’t going to demoralize us into shutting up about it with pathetic little speeches.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re:

“It’s not a problem at all. It’s what she agreed to.”

The contract she signed almost certainly didn’t say anything about regional restrictions for digital content. She would definitely not have had anything blocking her from obtaining a VHS tape, the de feacto standard at the time the contract was signed.

Why do you people insist on making such transparent lies?

Jaysays:

Re: Re: Re:

To use the blueprint analogy, She has to go to a bank who “forgets” to put the blueprint back in the safe deposit box and allows her to sign as “Mr. Anderson” in order to have access to it. (think proxies)

The other options for her is to forget everyone, find a copy of the blueprint from that shady dealer down the street who just so happens to have a copy available for free. (think Bittorrent)

How does either of these scenarios really make sense for her situation in Canada? With an infinitely reproducible good?

TOGsays:

This story bubbles over with BS

She’ll NEVER be able to see the show? Really? Others have already posted re screeners and the fact the writer could have seen the episode she penned 15 years ago, had she wanted to.

Others have also made the point of Amazon not purchasing the rights to stream outside the US, which is entirely in its right. But what’s to stop the author from coming to the US and watching a streamed episode? Or asking a friend in the US to record the streamed content to some kind of physical media and mailing it? (Yes, I know it isn’t the easiest thing to do, but it’s still possible and not hard with a small amount of research.)

Also, she says that the cost of technology has dropped and it’s no longer prohibitively expensive to make copies. I may have forgotten a thing or two from what the world was like 15 years ago, but I seem to remember just about EVERYONE owning at least one VHS player/recorder and it was very easy to hook them up to make a copy. Now, the $3 (or whatever it cost back then) to buy a blank tape, that would have been prohibitive. Uh huh, sure.

Marcus Carabsays:

Re: This story bubbles over with BS

Or asking a friend in the US to record the streamed content to some kind of physical media and mailing it?

Hey, guess what that’s called… PIRACY!

You have made the core point nicely. Give people no legitimate options, and they are bound to turn to illegitimate ones.

Josh in CharlotteNCsays:

Re: Re: Re: This story bubbles over with BS

And why is coming to the US to watch the content not a legitimate choice?

Choices:
-Pay $2 to see content in comfort of own home. This method costs you $2, costs the provider (Amazon) a trivial amount of bandwidth.
-Pay hundreds of dollars to drive/fly hundreds of miles to a friend or to a hotel, passing through an international border, being subject to invasive searches, then pay $2 to see the content. Bandwidth costs for Amazon would be the same.
-Break the law, pay almost nothing for a proxy server or to have a friend break the law (distributing!) the content to you.

dwgsays:

Re: Re: Re: This story bubbles over with BS

at least double logic fail. i’ll say it again: no one provides this content in canada for a fee, so what’s the harm in her getting it by any free means she wants?

i’m surprised you didn’t suggest that she be kept from flying to the u.s. to view it in circumvention of the berne convention.

JMTsays:

Re: Re: Re: This story bubbles over with BS

“The headline says she’s prevented from EVER seeing the show she wrote. Whether by “legal” or “illegal” means, that simply isn’t true.”

It’s telling that you fixate on the article’s title, but can’t provide a logical reason why this ridiculous problem exists in the first place. Way to miss the point.

“And why is coming to the US to watch the content not a legitimate choice? Is she an invalid?”

I don’t know you at all, but from this comment my strong impression is that you’re a bit of an asshole. I may be wrong, but that’s impression you’re conveying by making such an asinine suggestion.

TOGsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: This story bubbles over with BS

I don’t provide a logical reason why this problem exists because there is no logical reason. But it exists. In any event, if you want to change the system you can’t do it with disingenous arguments. This article (like anything written) attracts readers with its headline. Being a regular reader of TD, I know and understand Mike’s point. I just don’t think he makes it effectively with this example. My opinion, you’re entitled to yours. BTW, does that make me an asshole too? All I’m saying is that there are many LEGAL ways for her to obtain the content (if she doesn’t want to use the even more abundant “illegal” means).

JMTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This story bubbles over with BS

“All I’m saying is that there are many LEGAL ways for her to obtain the content…”

You only made two suggestions. One was utterly ridiculous (travelling to another country!) and the other illegal!

What are these “many” legal methods? Lets ignore the ones that are completely impractical and/or very costly.

Bensays:

The longest shared border

Canada and the US have the longest shared border in the world. At any time I can cross that imaginary line with little problem physically. However, suddenly when it becomes trying to cross it digitally for content, roadblocks are thrown up everywhere.

As a Canadian, I have face similar problems attaining media in the past because of insanely stupid digital licensing restrictions. Amazon MP3 isn’t available here for instance. Hulu and most US websites like comedy central’s block Canadian IPs. I have quite a few friends who pay for American proxy connections just to watch stuff and there are many websites dedicated to getting around the problem.

There should be ZERO reason for this. These are all problems that shouldn’t exist and highlight the lack of insight these companies have for the Internet. No wonder people are driven to piracy to just find content.

Alien Bardsays:

Re: The longest shared border

Very true. I have often helped friends locate and download TV shows that were simply unavailable here in Canada. There is absolutely no valid (ie non-profiteering) reason for separating or restricting cross-border licensing. Especially on things like entertainment media.

I used to think laws where simply intended to encourage/force people to use ‘legal’ avenues/methods but I have since learned the error of my ideals.

Hugh Mannsays:

She got paid...

Yeah, from a sentimental perspective, it is unfortunate that the market hasn’t worked out in a way that will make a copy of the show she wrote available.

However, that’s beside the point.

The point is that her experience doesn’t debunk copyright usefulness at all. She was a creator. She chose to sell her creation (as part of her employment arrangement) to her employer, and now she’s effectively got buyer’s (seller’s?) remorse. She didn’t lose anything by operation of evil copyright laws. She voluntarily sold it. In fact, if anything, it was copyright law that enabled her to have that paying job 15 years ago.

It’s like giving a child up for adoption. You may regret it years later, but it seemed like the right thing to do at the time, and now it’s done.

HM

JMTsays:

Re: She got paid...

Why are so many missing the point on this one? She doesn’t want anything back, she doesn’t want any more money, she doesn’t appear to regret anything. She just wants a legitimate way to watch a damn TV show she helped create, and can’t because of ridiculous copyright restrictions. Can you or anyone else actually give a logical reason for this? Not so far.

TOGsays:

Re: Re: She got paid...

If all she wants is a legitimate way to watch the show, then why is it relevant that she helped create it? The only relevance of her being a writer for the show is if she is trying to take a stand against the current status (stasis) of US-Canadian cross-border IP laws.

JMT, you keep harping on the “logical reason” but I have yet to see any dedicated TD reader accept the logical reasons propounded but copyright defenders. Logic is in the eye of the beholder.

Marcus Carabsays:

Re: Re: Re: She got paid...

Honestly, I’m not sure why everyone is focusing on “logic” so much. In terms of pure logic you are right – there’s not much difference between this and any much more mundane case cross-border IP problems. Fair enough.

But the logic of the current laws is not the only thing worth talking about in the copyright debate. Indeed, one of the biggest problems with copyright is that its logic is so tortured that it creates ironic situations that border on ridiculousness.

This woman’s situation may not be that interesting logically, but it is a fantastic and pure example of the true definition of irony. The same law that is heralded as a friend of creators has made it prohibitively difficult (if not impossible) for this creator to even see her creation.

Not every objection to a law must stem from raw logic. Sometimes change comes from the population banding together to say: “Wait… wtf?”

Anonymoussays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: She got paid...

There is little ironic about it.

The internet easily slips over borders. The content does not. Licensing content is done on a country by country basis, always has, and unless there is a big change, probably always will. There is just so many differences in each market, different pressures, different local costs, local pricing, etc.

Further, and just as important, for legal reasons you would not want a single company selling all over the world. There are very good reasons to sell the rights in each country and allow a local to do the work than try to sell direct yourself.

Online streaming is pretty much the same. Sell it to a local distributor, and let them deal with getting it out there at the right price for that market place.

The only irony in this is that nobody around here seems to grasp a pretty basic business concept.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: She got paid...

“The internet easily slips over borders. The content does not.”

Wow, you believe this, I bet?

I can order anything I like. All content can easily slip over the border, whether I’m ordering a book from Amazon (US), a game from PlanetAxel (Canada/Germany), a DVD from Play (UK) or simply bringing things back in my suitcase when I visit the UK, US or other countries.

What makes no sense, except in the twisted world of protectionist fools, is to restrict this in the digital world when it’s so easy to move content between regions in the physical world. Why can I order a CD from Amazon but am not allowed to obtain the same content digitally?

Explain the logic here if you can, please.

“for legal reasons you would not want a single company selling all over the world.”

What legal reasons?

“There are very good reasons to sell the rights in each country and allow a local to do the work than try to sell direct yourself.”

There are also very good reasons not to.

“The only irony in this is that nobody around here seems to grasp a pretty basic business concept.”

Then, as ever, I request that you explain it. You say “you’re wrong” without ever explaining why. It just makes you look like an arrogant fool.

Marcus Carabsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: She got paid...

The internet easily slips over borders. The content does not. Licensing content is done on a country by country basis, always has, and unless there is a big change, probably always will.

Yes, that’s exactly the point. The situation is stupid – because there is no good reason for free and infinite digital content to stop at an arbitrary border – and a “big change” is precisely what’s needed.

Is your only position that change is impossible so there’s no point talking about it? Because if so, I fail to see why you even bother to come debate it.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: She got paid...

“and a “big change” is precisely what’s needed.”

In all honesty, the “big change” was moving to digital and being able to move away from physical borders and the difficulties and logistics of transporting physical goods across borders. The Big change was popular broadband connections.

Yet here we are, with retailers able to transport content on discs across borders but not bits and bytes.

JMTsays:

Re: Re: Re: She got paid...

“If all she wants is a legitimate way to watch the show, then why is it relevant that she helped create it?”

As Marcus explained above, it’s relevant because it highlights the fact that the system that’s supposedly for the support of creators is preventing a creator from accessing their work. It doesn’t make her any more entitled or special, it’s just a little extra emphasis. I too can’t legally access that content for the same reason, and I can’t see any logical, sorry, SENSIBLE reason why not.

“JMT, you keep harping on the “logical reason” but I have yet to see any dedicated TD reader accept the logical reasons propounded but copyright defenders. “

I’ve yet to see any logical reasons propounded by copyright defenders. Not in this case anyway.

PaulTsays:

Re: Re: Re: She got paid...

“If all she wants is a legitimate way to watch the show, then why is it relevant that she helped create it?”

Because if even the creator of a show can’t get a legal copy, what’s the hope for the rest of us? Why is this such a difficult point?

“The only relevance of her being a writer for the show is if she is trying to take a stand against the current status (stasis) of US-Canadian cross-border IP laws.”

Cross-border laws are not the issue. The issue is that the copyright holder has decided only to licence the content to Amazon US, meaning that nobody else outside the US (not just Canada, but the rest of the world) is able to purchase it legally.

AZ Libertariansays:

Two Words

Two words: Proxy server

I wanted to view something streaming on the BBC but they would not let me. Found a free proxy server in the UK so their software thought I was “legal.”

This may work to circumvent that “… not authorized” message. The question is – is that infringement?

Still, I get the point. Just offering a workaround to the group. (Not always easy finding a free proxy that actually works.)

PaulTsays:

Re: Two Words

I think that it’s understood by everyone here that there’s ways to circumvent the regional restriction. The criticism is that in the 21st century when people in any country can share information with any other (I see at least 3 continents represented just in this thread), that it’s even necessary.

“The question is – is that infringement?”

Technically, yes, although since you’d be paying money it’s unlikely to be prosecuted. Think of it like having a region free DVD player. Region coding is a stupid idea and specially investing in such a player shouldn’t be necessary, the industry should have gotten regional licensing sorted out 10 years ago. But, nobody’s going to sue you just for ordering your DVD from Europe if it’s not available in the US.

ClarkeyBalboasays:

Why is there a need for a cross-border license?

As a Canadian, I run into this all the time. Companies have thrown up roadblocks to anyone outside of the US from watching their content online.

Now as a Netflix subscriber, I can say that I am happy to pay a reasonable fee for content. What I don’t understand is what is the economical strategy for restrictions across the border? Is it actually costing companies more money to stream content to Canada vs the US? It seems like a simple solution to me: open up licenses to cover Canada and you have immediately increased your potential customer base by millions. As others have pointed out already, if you don’t offer the service/content here…are you actually losing money when it is pirated in that country?

Laurielsays:

Re: Why is there a need for a cross-border license?

As a Canadian, I run into this all the time. Companies have thrown up roadblocks to anyone outside of the US from watching their content online.

Now as a Netflix subscriber, I can say that I am happy to pay a reasonable fee for content. What I don’t understand is what is the economical strategy for restrictions across the border? Is it actually costing companies more money to stream content to Canada vs the US? It seems like a simple solution to me: open up licenses to cover Canada and you have immediately increased your potential customer base by millions. As others have pointed out already, if you don’t offer the service/content here…are you actually losing money when it is pirated in that country?

ITA. I’m an Aussie, and we very little online streaming (not even Netflix or Spotify, unless they’ve changed since I last checked).

As to why – the network execs and studios only see the money they are making NOW. They can’t get past that to see that the system is changing, and this income stream, while profitable now, isn’t going to stay stable. If they could do that, they may start looking towards future systems. Until then, we keep bashing our heads against a brick wall, or using a proxy to get around the wall.

Re: Pirate it!

Is piracy the answer?

I don’t think so. I shouldn’t have to pirate it.

If many people quietly pirate stuff, the law won’t ever change. Every now and again they’ll drop the jail on someone just to make an example … to try and frighten everyone else.

Current copyright law is unreasonable for creators and culture.

The Infamous Joesays:

Re: Re: Pirate it!

Piracy isn’t the answer, but it is an answer. The answer is to have all affected parties (including us lowly consumers) to sit down and re-evaluate the usefulness of copyright law. I’m not saying it should be abolished, but if it is no longer required for creators to create, then shouldn’t it be removed from the books? It may very well turn out that copyright– in a much different form (read: less insane) is actually useful.

What really makes me sad in knowing with complete certainty that my culture will not be available to me to do with as I please until long after I die. Maybe even long after my children die.

Would you have created your work without copyright? Was it what motivated you to write, over choosing a more secure source of revenue?

No Lie

Thanks for running this, Mike.

This series was made in Canada all those years ago. It’s a different country, and the way things work here are not the same as they work there. Other companies I wrote for gave me videos; this one didn’t, because it simply wasn’t their policy.

This is simply one of the reasons why I’ve concluded that existing copyright law doesn’t serve my interests.

Katsays:

Re: No Lie

That same company is still depriving writers of seeing their shows, even now.

Back in February this year, I had uploaded a show’s season on YouTube (not authorized uploads) although I had missed one episode. I actually got contacted (via YouTube’s PM service) by the episode’s writer asking I had had a copy of the episode he wrote and could I please send it to him if I did as the studio wouldn’t send him one. I replied explaining I had to wait for a repeat to record it. Repeat on local channel arrived, I recorded it, uploaded to file locker: One big infringement of copyright law, one Canadian writer made happier by an Australian infringer 🙂

thedigitarisays:

similar but not the same

15 years ago, TV broadcasts went Across the border, was that infringement? Did they have copyright agreements for the airwaves? Same with Radio.

Hm maybe I should not have brought this up the “AA”s may try and file for past lost revenue.

I never understood the “I get 100$ for content but you the content creator get 10$” concept. Image the amount of content that would be created if the content creators got the whole 100$ or even 90$.

Selling past work over and over and over again doesn’t make sense to me either. I create pictures, but I don’t get paid for the work I do for a living over and over and over. I worked last week and got paid, I don’t get paid again for work I did last year. the content is the same.

I don’t get paid more to change the contents format, If I drive down one street today, then take a different route the next day as a Taxi driver, if the distance is the same, I don’t get paid more for taking a different street (different formats).

i Just don’t see how this is a good model to make money in the current situation. Piracy is bad so we will just make you all pirates, cause we can and the law says we can.

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