There are tons of app developers out there who are quickly discovering that there’s a major risk they face today: if your app gets even remotely popular, you’re a likely target for a bunch of patent trolls who are feeding off of the greater app developer ecosystem with incredibly broad patents for obvious concepts (even things like charging for your app). There’s a relatively new group called the App Developers Alliance that is putting on a series of patent summits across the US to discuss issues related to patents and app developers. I’ve had a few conversations with the folks putting these events together, and they look like they should be fantastic resources for those who can attend.
Software patents present significant challenges to app developers. Vague claims, product life cycles shorter than the PTO review process, trolls and general uncertainty threaten to stifle app industry innovation and growth.
Beginning in April, the Application Developers Alliance will host events nationwide for developers to learn about patents and share stories of Lodsys letters, legal strategies and litigation costs, and their ideas about software patent reform.
Each event will feature an expert presentation/overview, followed by a panel discussion between policymakers, app developers, attorneys, and other stakeholders. Events will include an open Q&A and a networking reception.
You can check out the site to see when and where the various summits will be held.
Disclosure: Techdirt and the App Developers Alliance are discussing a sponsorship/advertising deal. That promotion is separate from these events and, as always, this post is editorially independent.
Apparently, Japanese is the most difficult foreign language for native English speakers to learn. Not only does it have different written and spoken codes, it also has three different writing systems. Furthermore, Japanese syntax is left branching, which is the complete opposite of English syntax, which is right branching. Learning a foreign language is never easy (although some people seem to have an easier time than others), but it’s not impossible with enough time and effort put into it. Here are a few more links about learning foreign languages.
You know the issue of the broken anti-circumvention rules in the DMCA are going mainstream when even USA Today is writing editorials condemning the whole thing as an archaic bit of copyright law that makes little sense today. It is, of course, focusing mainly on the question of unlocking mobile phones that has brought the issue forward lately, but USA Today’s editorial board doesn’t just focus on the unlocking question, but notes how ridiculous our copyright laws are that lead to this result:
Even more than criticism, the announcement prompted bewilderment. Just what is the Library of Congress doing regulating cellphone service, anyway?
Good question. There really isn’t a good answer, other than that wireless providers have managed to get the Library of Congress, which oversees the U.S. Copyright Office, to do their bidding.
A better answer is to take the Library of Congress out of the business of being the industry’s contract enforcer.
Indeed. They go further, though, in noting that the use of the anti-circumvention clause to lock up physical goods is a clear bastardization of copyright law, and should be fixed.
When Congress passed the Digital Millennium Copyright Act in 1998, the goal was to help digital content providers — such as musicians, filmmakers and software companies — prevent illegal pirating of their works.
To state the obvious, people don’t unlock phones to steal copyrighted material. They do it to allow their phones to work on other networks.
[….] When Congress’ librarian starts behaving like the new sheriff in town, consumers have good reason to suspect the law is stacked against them.
CTIA (representing the mobile industry), who has been pushing against exempting mobile phone unlocking, hit back with a weak retort that “people like discounted phones.” Well, fine, then offer discounted phones. You can still do it. That doesn’t give you an excuse to abuse copyright law to lock up phones.
One of the key complaints about CISPA is the fact that it does absolutely nothing to make sure any data of yours that is shared with the government by third parties is sent narrowly to folks working to protect us from cybersecurity threats. Instead, the information can be shared with any agency of the government, so long as they can claim, vaguely, that it’s being used for “cybersecurity purposes.” But, as the EFF points out, without any limitations on who in the government can see your data, every government agency can see your data. They’ve even put together a helpful “list.”
One question we sometimes get is: Under CISPA, which government agencies can receive this data? For example, could the FBI, NSA, or Immigration and Customs Enforcement receive data if CISPA were to pass?
The answer is yes. Any government agency could receive data from companies if this were to pass, meaning identifiable data could be flowing to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, the National Security Agency, or even the Food and Drug Administration.
We’ve reposted the list below as well, just so you can get an idea of which government agencies could get access to your data on CISPA (and which ones thought that, perhaps, that’s not such a good idea).
A few years ago, we wrote about a really ridiculous lawsuit filed by (then) regular Techdirt commenter Max Davis against all of the mobile operators: AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint and T-Mobile. Davis runs a company, called Luvdarts, that creates silly “content” for multimedia messaging (MMS) on phones, and also had big dreams of setting up some sort of collective licensing system by which the telcos would all pay him a fee for every MMS sent. When the telcos showed no interest in such a pointless plan, he sued, arguing that they were just like file sharing networks, because users were able to “forward” the MMS content his company created without any problem. Two years ago, that case was dismissed, with the court being pretty clear that it had no chance. Davis actually sent over a press release about his own loss, talking about how happy he was with this result and that he was going to appeal.
That appeal has happened and… second verse, same as the first. The appeals court made short work of this lawsuit, dismissing it in a quick and clean 10 page opinion. To say the court was not impressed would be an understatement. The court repeatedly points out that Luvdarts appears to be pushing completely novel legal interpretations of vicarious and contributory infringement with no basis whatsoever. Basically, the company insists, first, that individuals passing along MMS messages makes the operators liable. That was quickly tossed out because of protections against secondary liability.
Luvdarts’s principal argument is that the Carriers are liable for the infringement committed by third parties over their networks under either vicarious or contributory copyright liability. As the Supreme Court has observed, the Copyright Act does not explicitly render a third person liable for another person’s infringement.
Luvdarts argued that the operators failure to implement a system to block such forwards proves liability, and the court points out that this is ridiculous.
In this case, Luvdarts concedes that the Carriers presently have no way of supervising the use of their networks for copyright infringement. Instead, Luvdarts’s complaint alleges only that the Carriers could “establish. . .a system” that would give them the right and ability to supervise the infringing activity. Luvdarts argues that this allegation is sufficient to survive a motion to dismiss. Luvdarts fails to cite any authority to support this proposition, which runs contrary to our precedent. In Napster, this court held that “right and ability to supervise” should be evaluated in the context of a system’s “current architecture.” Napster Inc., 239 F.3d at 1024. Moreover, as we noted in Perfect 10, Inc. v. Amazon.com, Inc., resting vicarious liability on the Carriers’ failure to change their behavior would tend to blur the distinction between contributory liability and vicarious liability. 508 F.3d 1146, 1175 (9th Cir. 2007) (“[I]n general, contributory liability is based on the defendant’s failure to stop its own actions which facilitate third-party infringement, while vicarious liability is based on the defendant’s failure to cause a third party to stop its directly infringing activities.”). For example, under contributory liability the Carriers’ failure to implement a digital rights management system may be used as circumstantial evidence of “the object of promoting” infringement. See Grokster, 545 U.S. at 936–37. But under vicarious liability, it cannot substitute for an allegation of a capacity to supervise. Luvdarts’s failure to allege that the Carriers have at least something like a capacity to supervise is fatal to a claim of vicarious liability.
On top of that, Luvdarts tried to claim contributory (not vicarious) infringement, arguing that these MMS systems were similar to Napster, Grokster or Limewire. In part, this is because Luvdarts sent the telcos a list of every bit of “content” they offer, and demanded they be blocked from being forwarded. Again, the courts don’t see it (because there’s nothing to see):
Luvdarts fails to allege that the Carriers had the requisite specific knowledge of infringement. Luvdarts’s conclusory allegations that the Carriers had the required knowledge of infringement are plainly insufficient. See Ashcroft v. Iqbal, 556 U.S. 662, 678 (2009) (“Threadbare recitals of the elements of a cause of action, supported by mere conclusory statements, do not suffice.”).
In the alternative, Luvdarts argues that the “notices” it sent to the Carriers, referenced in the complaint, sufficed to establish actual knowledge of infringement. However, these notices failed to notify the Carriers of any meaningful fact. The notices were 150-page-long lists of titles, apparently just a transcription of every title copyrighted by Luvdarts, which indicated that they wanted “accountability” for the unauthorized distribution of those titles for the period from May 2008 to November 2009. These notices do not identify which of these titles were infringed, who infringed them, or when the infringement occurred. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act of 1998 (“DMCA”), by which the notices purport to be governed, clearly precludes notices as vague as the notices here. 17 U.S.C. § 512 (DCMA takedown notice requires the producer to provide “[i]dentification of the material that is claimed to be infringing or to be the subject of infringing activity and that is to be removed or access to which is to be disabled, and information reasonably sufficient
This is yet another useful ruling in that it highlights that service providers need to have specific knowledge of infringement, and that “general knowledge” is clearly not enough.
Of course, I believe this is only one of two such lawsuits filed by Luvdarts against the same basic companies. In the other one, they seem to be claiming that there’s some sort of antitrust violation in that these MMS providers haven’t implemented the filters that this lawsuit says they’re not required to implement. I can’t imagine that one going very far either.
The UK seems to have a rather interesting relationship with Twitter for some reason. For the purposes of this discussion, recall that UK police have demanded the deletion of photos from the microblogging site before, in some attempt to have the internet forget certain things happened. Also, keep handy the knowledge that, in the UK, you can apparently be jailed for acting like a jackass on Twitter.
With that in mind, it’s ironic that acting like a jackass in government gets you a job as an MP. Such is the case, at least, with George Galloway, who is calling for a ban on Twitter nation-wide until the site agrees to fully cooperate with UK police in all of their many deluded demands.
Filing the motion named “Twitter and the detection of crime”, the MP believes the social-networking site should defer to UK authorities or be sanctioned by the Government – those sanctions involving a ban on the service.
“Twitter is now a very widely used mode of social networking; is a US-based enterprise whose primary motivation is to maximise its profits; Twitter is now used for a variety of criminal activities including sending malicious communications,” reads the filing.
Non-Brits like myself will recognize this tactic of wanting to ban services that don’t bend over a barrel for local police, having seen it so many times with services like Craig’s List. In the case of Twitter, the company already complies with police requests that are matters of life or death and does so voluntarily. What they don’t allow is law enforcement to go on fishing expeditions in non-serious matters. Now, should you think that such petty action by UK LEOs is unlikely, please keep in your mind all the links provided above. Were I Twitter, I wouldn’t want to open up that can of worms either.
Luckily, that prevailing opinion is that Mr. Galloway is simply trying to draw media attention to himself. The Parliament’s own website concurs.
“Although there is very little prospect of EDMs being debated, many attract a great deal of public interest and frequently receive media coverage,” claims the website, whilst summarising, “The majority will attract only one or two signatures.”
Given Mr. Galloway’s rather, ahem, colorful history, I suppose we shouldn’t be surprised by such a move on his part. That said, fear not, my dear Brits, Twitter will remain for now.
Last summer, we wrote about UK musician Alex Day, creator of a number of very catchy tunes (seriously take a listen), and how he sold half a million songs by breaking all the “rules” that those from the old recording industry insist are true. You can read that article for the details, but the short version is that he has no label, relies pretty much entirely on YouTube, he encourages fans to use his his music as much as possible and he’s regularly releasing new songs. Recently, he released his latest album in the UK the same day that music industry superstar Justin Timberlake did, and (at least on iTunes), Day’s album charted better than Timberlake’s, despite Timberlake basically having the entire force of the legacy music industry behind him.
At that link above, James Altucher has another great interview with Day, in which he (once again) highlights the basics of how he built his success — hitting on a bunch of points that we’ve regularly talked about here, and which industry insiders insist could never really work for anyone. First up, connect with fans:
Right from my first 30 subscribers, I began talking to the audience that was there and making videos directly for them and replying to comments, but I never saw it as a ‘fan base’ – I mainly just figured we were all bored kids.
Another interesting point: he doesn’t perform shows. This is a very interesting one, because we regularly get attacked in the comments by people who insist that we’ve claimed that the answer for musicians today is just to tour. Of course, we’ve never actually said that. There’s a conflation there between where many artists are making money today and other ways in which artists can make money. In many ways, Day reminds me of Pomplamoose, who also used YouTube to build up a huge following and to make a living (both mixed cover songs with originals early on). You don’t need to perform to make money, and Day has proven that.
Performing wasn’t an avenue for me – the only gigs I’ve done are one-off launch events (to launch my album, for example) or gigs with friends (as I mentioned). I really don’t feel the need to gig when I can reach my audience online and hit everyone at once, all over the world, and not exclude anybody, which a tour doesn’t do.
And, yes, it sounds like he’s doing quite well. Between YouTube and people buying the music (even though it’s available for free on YouTube), he’s doing quite well.
Typically I make around £3500 a month from YouTube (I’m on a network so they can sell the ad space higher) and at least £10,000 a month from music and merch sales. I’ve also done other projects – I co-created a card game with my cousin which we sell online, I have a business called Lifescouts I launched this year – which add a bit of extra cash to the pot also.
Basically: connect with fans and give them a reason to buy, and they will, even if the music is available for free. So much for the idea that no one will ever buy if it’s free.
Also, while some insist that we hate record labels and think there’s no role for them at all any more, nothing could be further from the truth. We’ve noted, repeatedly, that there is still a huge role for record labels, helping and enabling artists to do more for the artists that want that. What’s different today is that artists have a choice. They can use a label, if they think that helps them, or they can do stuff themselves. And having that choice also gives the artist a lot more power and some more leverage. So it’s interesting to see Day talk about his thoughts on labels. He’s very open minded, pointing out that he’s not against signing with a label, but they’d have to actually be able to do something for him and they’ve yet to show that they can do that without wanting to control absolutely everything.
Labels have never known what the hell to do with me. I always went in with an open mind – I don’t like the idea that being proudly unsigned/independent instantly means I’m white and they’re black and we have to duel to the death or whatever. There are a lot of things I do on my own because I have to, so I’ve got good at them, but it would definitely be easier with outside help! So I was willing to hear what they could offer and how we could work together and I still would be, but I don’t think labels are ready to be that humble. They want to control everything. I like being able to decide my own songs and film my own music videos.
I’ve had several meetings with Island Records in the UK, the last of which ended with the guy saying he doesn’t think I’m ready to be on a label yet because “we only sign artists we can sell at least a million copies of in the next three months” – but if he’s waiting for me to get to that point without him, why do I need the label ever? I’ve also met with Warner, Sony, EMI – they were all the same, none of them expected to justify themselves and at best they were just trying to “figure out my secret” and at worst they were completely uninformed and lazy…
He talks about how a one-off deal with Universal solely for distribution of his CD helped get that CD into music shops, which was nice for sales, and those kinds of relationships are interesting to him. Ones where they control everything and don’t add any actual value… are not. He even points to this hilarious video about his experience meeting with a major label. Seriously, watch this video.
And, of course for those YouTube-haters out there, Day notes that YouTube has basically been everything for him:
It’s just YouTube. I have Twitter and Facebook only because I sort of feel I have to, because I need to reach people in those places…. For the personal connection, it’s all YouTube. I love it there. It’s such a creative outlet. I’ve been making videos seven years and never got bored of it — one or two videos a week regularly all that time.
It genuinely saddens me when YouTube isn’t lumped in as one of the essential social metrics with Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr (I do have a Tumblr too but like the others I don’t really know how to use it). I understand YouTube and it’s changed my whole life.
Wait, weren’t we just hearing some old school musician insisting that YouTube had put 12,000 musicians out of work? Maybe it’s just 11,999 then. Or, maybe it’s the opposite. Maybe it’s created an opportunity for lots and lots of musicians. But the key, as Day notes, is that you have to actually get YouTube. Miss that step and (shockingly), it might not work for you.
Either way, it’s great to see Alex continue doing what he does best: making great music, connecting with fans and building a career.
Since most politicians’ campaigns are largely funded by wealthy companies and individuals, it would give voters a better sense of who the candidate they are voting for is actually representing if the company’s logo, or individual’s name, was prominently displayed upon the candidate’s clothing at all public appearances and campaign events. Once elected, the candidate would be required to continue to wear those “sponsor’s” names during all official duties and visits to constituents. The size of a logo or name would vary with the size of a donation. For example, a $1 million dollar contribution would warrant a patch of about 4″ by 8″ on the chest, while a free meal from a lobbyist would be represented by a quarter-sized button. Individual donations under $1000 are exempt.
This may seem as frivolous as requesting the construction of a Death Star or the immediate expulsion of Brits who criticize the NRA, but the underlying frustration with today’s political world is evident. Many Americans are experiencing the sinking feeling that their future is in the hands of corporations and their purchased legislators, cutting them out of the loop. The periodic call to “throw the bums out” either goes unanswered or just results in a new set of bums
Holding legislators accountable often seems impossible, so if you can’t beat ’em, shame ’em. If members of Congress are willing to capitulate to the highest bidder(s), the least they can do is display their true loyalties for all to see. The application of corporate logos would make it obvious at a glance who might be influencing elected officials’ stances on various issues. As enjoyable as it would be to see this put into action, the idea itself comes wrapped in its own set of problems.
To begin with, this would place entirely too much importance on the visible logos (or lack thereof), replacing informed opinions with snap judgements. Mistaken conclusions would be drawn. A relatively logo-free Congressman would be perceived as a righteous lawmaker in a sea of purchased sinners, no matter the voting record or moral stature. The wrong conclusion could also be drawn in the opposite direction, turning a legislator’s eerie resemblance to a stock car into a maze of twisty corporate conspiracy theories, all alike. Or something in between, like this hypothetical: A Congressman covered in logos of corporations that employ hundreds in his district — sell-out or man of the people?
Another problem is that no matter what dollar amount is used as the cutoff line, donors will still find a way to get their money into the right hands while avoiding turning “their” legislator into a logoed farce. If the loophole isn’t big enough to allow the (relatively) easy flow of money, the law will be amended until it is. No representative wants to look like they’re corporate property and very few corporations are willing to roll on ungreased wheels.
Another issue is the distraction factor. If implemented, our already contentious partisan politics will devolve even further, resulting in pointless attacks based on who’s wearing what corporate logo, or how many they’re wearing. I firmly believe a legislative branch suffering from vapor lock is preferable to one that feels a day without an introduced bill is a wasted day, but sooner or later some important stuff needs to get done. It took our legislators four years to pass a “yearly” budget. Delays like this hurt actual taxpayers. I can only imagine how much longer that particular ordeal would have continued if logo-related arguments were added to the mix.
That brings us to the ultimate problem with this petition: a huge conflict of (self) interest. The very people petitioners want covered in logos are the same people who’d prefer their benefactors remain hidden. Not coincidentally, they’re also the people that introduce, vote on and pass laws. It’s damn near impossible to push a bill through Congress when a majority of legislators oppose it. And no matter how entertaining this would be, bypassing the legislative process to get this enacted (executive order?) screws with the underlying checks and balances, something no one should be encouraging.
All that being said, I’d still like to see the petition hit the “RESPONSE NEEDED” mark. If nothing else, it will send a message to the administration (and our lawmakers) that the American public views its representatives as little more than water carriers for big business and special interest groups. I’d also like to see the administration’s response to this message. Most likely, it will point out that this information is readily available at the government’s own Federal Election Commission site, not to mention informational powerhouses like OpenSecrets.org (whose site is much easier to search and navigate). It may also express concern over a loss of “decorum” should this be implemented, what with serviceable dark suits replaced with day-glo blazers covered in corporate logos.
If I had my way, I’d select a third option: have the petition be submitted as a bill and watch legislators go insane trying to take it seriously (“The public has spoken!”) while simultaneously finding some way to torpedo the legislation without looking completely irate (“Stupid public! Why won’t it shut up?!?”). A few days or weeks of logo-related panic would possibly bump C-SPAN ratings into the single digits and warm my cold, cynical heart ever so slightly.
Remember last December when Sega was priming itself for a PSP Shining Force game and thought the best way to advertise the upcoming release was to take down anything and everything Shining Force-related on Youtube? Good times those, what with the takedowns and strikes against accounts and the hundreds of videos (some of which didn’t even contain footage of the game) replaced with the well-known slash-mouthed emoticon and a quick “Sorry about that.”
Thank you to all of our fans for waiting while we worked hard to get this issue solved. While SEGA may need to remove videos in rare cases, we’re happy to confirm that there are no further plans to remove Shining Force videos uploaded to Youtube by users living in North American and European territories. Additionally, if you live in these territories and your video was removed, please get in touch with us at email@example.com so that we can look into it for you.
SEGA believes strongly in our fans and we apologize for any inconvenience. You all are what keep us going – thank you!
“Issue solved?” There was really no issue until the massive takedown effort began. Before that, everything seemed to be running fine. “Solved?” Once again, the issue was Sega’s own making. It hardly seems proper that it take credit for “solving” it.
And bully for “no further plans to remove Shining Force videos.” That’s rather specific, innit? “We have no further plans FOR THIS PARTICULAR TITLE, but we reserve the right to remove other videos of other games, but in rare cases only, mostly because our release schedule isn’t quite as packed as it was 15 years ago.”
This announcement was conveniently buried on the 28th page of the Sega forum post discussing the video takedowns. Not exactly shouting it from the rooftops, but I suppose whoever’s manning the Sega email inbox is probably not in any hurry to be bombarded with demands SoA un-strike their Youtube accounts.
All the damage done by Sega’s short-sighted IP March to the Sea isn’t going to be undone by a half-hearted non-apology that refers to Sega’s own destructive actions as an “issue” to be “solved.” Someone needs to inform those further up the chain of command that promoting a new game in an established series generally works better when you don’t antagonize fans of the previous games. Not only that, but Sega needs to start seeing these uploaders as useful allies, rather than the only thing standing between it and a successful video game release.
“To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” That is the purpose of Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8 of the Constitution, which is sometimes referred to as the “copyright clause” (or “the patent clause”), which enables both areas of law to be created via Congress. It’s also the part that is most often ignored. As we’ve discussed, the whole purpose of this clause is to make it clear that the public are the sole stakeholders when it comes to proper policy making decisions regarding these laws. However, with this new push for comprehensive copyright reform, it appears that the copyright lobby is already working on ways to make sure that the public is marginalized in the discussion.
We’ve got two recent examples from the “Copyright Alliance,” a DC-based lobbying shop put together by copyright maximalists (with the help of super right wing interests who normally don’t link up with Hollywood on much), who are seeking to spin the debate in their favor with a lot of bluster and propaganda, often trying to demonize and/or marginalize the public’s role in this debate. First up is an op-ed piece, in which the Copyright Alliance argues first that any new copyright reform must focus on maximalist principles, whether or not they make any sense. And then it digs in against the public, arguing that their voice shouldn’t count for much because, apparently, they’re so easily manipulated.
Those skeptical of copyright protection have expended a lot of energy to redefine its language and revise its history. Calls for lessening copyright protections are far too often accompanied by heated rhetoric. Appealing to emotions may be a great way to drum up signatures for online petitions, but has no place in policy discussions. Finally, it is not hard to find examples of those who propose dramatic changes without understanding the business realities of how creative individuals and industries operate.
Let’s unpack that a bit. Each sentence is ridiculous in its own special way. If we are to look at the history of the copyright debate, one side and one side alone, has focused on “redefining its language and revising its history” and that would be the maximalists. In fact, there’s an entire book that details exactly how the copyright maximalists have continually changed the language of copyright and revised its history. Copyright turned from a very narrowly focused concept, which was designed to encourage the spread of learning and knowledge, to something entirely different. A “limited monopoly” (as the framers called it) was turned into boundlessly vague “intellectual property.” The act of “infringement” was turned into “theft and stealing.” People who incidentally infringed on copyrights were describes as “pirates.” The law was expanded and expanded because of moral panic after moral panic.
As for “heated rhetoric,” we’ve been told over and over again that if we don’t expand protections and kill of technologies, “the creative industries will die,” despite no evidence to support that. Technologies which have helped to expand the industry, to create new ways to create, to promote, to distribute and to monetize were seen as the enemy because the powers-that-be did not control them. This is why the VCR was called “the Boston strangler of the movie industry” by the MPAA’s Jack Valenti. I’m sorry, but the idea that those of us skeptical of today’s copyright laws are the ones redefining the language or history is simply a laughably false claim.
But the really disturbing part is the next line. The claim that the public speaking out, such as via petitions or through various actions in which they contact politicians, should be ignored because it has “no place in policy discussions” is really just downright insulting. We know that, in the wake of SOPA, the copyright lobby has spent plenty of effort pretending that the public really didn’t speak out, or that, if they did, it was only because they were stupid and deluded. But that should be seen for what it rightfully is: an insulting way of dismissing the public’s interest in a law that is for the public’s benefit.
The copyright lobby is scared to death that the public might actually speak up on its own behalf, because that would ruin the scam it’s been running for quite some time.
Supporters of Kirtsaeng, including companies like eBay and groups such as Public Knowledge, have played an aggressive role in warping the public’s understanding of the anti-arbitrage provisions of the Copyright Act and the benefits of market differentiation. Behind the veil of the Owners Rights Initiative, they perpetuated a series of falsehoods; these sweeping generalizations mischaracterize the impact of Kirtsaeng, generally attempting to recast a case limited in scope as an issue that will concern all individual resellers of goods.
The entire article is full of “redefinition” and “revising of history” — to the ridiculous point of suggesting that the US hasn’t recognized first sale rights on foreign goods for decades (a laughably false claim). But in the paragraph quoted here, you see its true contempt for the public. Apparently the public is simply too stupid to understand copyright law and is easily led astray by groups like Public Knowledge.
Taken together, you see both the fear and outright contempt that the copyright lobby has for the public. To them, the public are interfering with “the industry’s rights” and are apparently stupid, gross and easily led astray and into mob behavior. I’m guessing that some of this is just PTSD following the lobbyists getting their clocks cleaned in the SOPA fight — through cognitive dissonance, they’ve determined the only plausible explanation is that the public was duped.
But some of us believe that copyright law is supposed to be used in the public interest, and if that’s the case, we should recognize that the public is the stakeholder who matters. To claim they should “have no place in policy discussions” isn’t just wrong, but it’s insulting. We should be welcoming the public into these discussions as much as possible — not just because they are the key stakeholders here, but (more importantly) because if the Copyright Alliance actually wants a law the public respects, it might want to try including them in the process this time around. That its kneejerk reaction is to insult, demean and exclude the public gives a pretty clear indication where they would like this debate to go.