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News Corp. flabbergasted anyone could oppose ̶
Posted: 12 Apr 2013 06:09
News Corp. flabbergasted anyone could oppose “three strikes” | Ars Technica
Rupert Murdoch's son James runs News Corp.'s sprawling operations in Europe and Asia, and he's had it with the search engines, consumer electronics companies, and users who want access to his company's content without paying a "fair contribution."
In a speech this week to University College London (home to Jeremy Bentham's bizarre "auto-icon"), where Murdoch oversaw the opening of a new Centre for Digital Humanities, he expressed his astonishment that anyone could object to such absolutely ripping ideas as Internet disconnections for copyright infringement.
"Governments should enforce basic property rights—,http://www.afsmilano.it;even in this digital environment," he said. "Some have started,
. In some quarters this has caused alarm. But what is really alarming is that it is controversial at all to shut down vast pirate sites or disconnect repeat offenders who have no regard for creators' rights." (The Lib Dems, the junior coalition partners in the new UK government, are among those who don't support this approach to piracy.)
Given the good of copyright, Murdoch can't help but wonder why the forces of copyright skepticism are having such success. Moving beyond the "utopian arguments" and the "rhetoric of freedom," he argues that the device makers and the search engines are the new parasites of the digital age.
"Take the search business," he said. "It depends on an ability to index and search other people’s material, and present the results of those searches to its users surrounded by advertising. Search is a highly profitable business, because the raw material presented to customers can be indexed at essentially zero incremental cost. Therefore,Fake Oakleys, information that might only be searched or indexed with a fair price paid to the producer undermines that model."
Thus, when Google makes its arguments in favor of copyright limits or fair use or tries to push through its Google Book Search proposal, content creators see only an attempt to enrich itself.
The same is true of device makers. Content owners, especially music labels, have long felt that device makers like Apple and Microsoft have reaped huge profits based on user infringement. Selling iPods at a couple hundred bucks apiece has been a great business for Apple; if those iPods are filled mainly with illicit copies, it's not such a great business for the labels. If the device makers cared, surely they would do more?
"We should also consider consumer electronics companies and device makers,
," said Murdoch. "Devices—however smart they look and however innovative they are—are lifeless without content. Manufacturers have a clear incentive to drive the cost of content toward zero—in order to drive customers to buy their products, without additional competition from rights holders for their customers' money."
Both are fair points, though the argument may be simplistic—one persuasive story about technology argues that "connectivity" is king, not "content." (Why were a bazillion cell phones and service contracts sold even before the devices could deal with music? And how important is instant messaging, Facebook,
, Twitter, and e-mail to current devices?)
Murdoch quotes with agreement Daniel Defoe, who once said, "To print another Man’s copy is much worse than robbing him on the Highway; for the Thief takes only what he finds about him, but the Pyrate Printer takes away his inheritance…[which] both is and ought to be the Due, not of the Author only, but of his Family and Children." (Incidentally, Defoe even proposed his own model statute that would hit "pyrate printers" with "treble Costs"—the forerunner of today's "triple damages" idea.)
So what does Murdoch want? Judging from the complaints in the speech, he appears to believe that governments have given up on defending intellectual property, though even a cursory glance at the recent legislative history of the UK, the EU, the US and others shows this to be an absolutely ridiculous assertion. And what is ACTA if not a new attempt to extend the power of copyright ever further?
But Murdoch wants more: Google needs to pay. "Is it, moreover, unreasonable to suggest that companies that make a living out of indexing and sharing the creativity of others might make a fair contribution to those who create the material they need for their businesses?"
The speech is well worth reading and,http://www.hollistersmilano.it, for the most part, a legitimate defense of the basic principles of copyright, which Ars has always supported. But in his "war on search engines" rhetoric and amazement that anyone could object to Internet disconnections, Murdoch shows himself to have the same basic preoccupations as his father.
But at least he's still young enough to be transfixed by the huge outpouring of creativity on the Web. "A lot of digital change is genuinely exciting and fun to be involved in. Anyone who has watched the two minute and 18 second retelling of the entire
trilogy—in Lego—will know what I mean," he said, before heading off to drinks beneath the benevolent gaze of Jeremy Bentham's head.
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