Minutes/Alternatives to Copyright Working Group/2015-12-17

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Meeting Minutes
This document is a record of a meeting. Do not edit this document without contacting the relevant group first.

Start: 20:30 17/12/2015 AEST

Finish: 22:27 17/12/2015 AEST

  • Digital rights management ('DRM'):
    • Cory Doctorow, Information Doesn't Want to be Free:
      • Distributors have conned investors into accepting DRM with the 'You don't want your stuff being pirated' line.
      • Meanwhile, distributors use it as a way to lock-in investors and copyright holders to their distribution channels.
      • They can then change financial conditions over time to be in their favour.
    • If all customers are using a single format to access content a copyright holder who wants to change formats will not be able to without requiring all their customers to also move to that new format.
      • Example: an author who wants to switch eBook formats will lose the market of consumers who are unable or unwilling to switch with them due to prohibitive cost or inconvenience.
    • Current examples: Amazon, iTunes, Steam, GooglePlay.
    • Right to format shift is hindered by the illegality of breaking copy protection.
  • First sale doctrine:
    • Strengthening the first sale doctrine to apply to digital goods would open up the second-hand market and take power away from controlled distribution channels.
    • Difficulty of enforcing the destruction of copies upon resale: how could it be guaranteed that a transferor of an audio file would destroy that file after it is copied to the transferee?
    • Court of Justice of the European Union held that enforcement issues should not prevent resale:
      • http://curia.europa.eu/juris/document/document.jsf?docid=124564&doclang=en
      • '... a restriction of the resale of copies of computer programs downloaded from the internet would go beyond what is necessary to safeguard the specific subject-matter of the intellectual property concerned.'
      • 'As Oracle rightly observes, ascertaining whether such a copy has been made unusable may prove difficult. However, a copyright holder who distributes copies of a computer program on a material medium such as a CD‑ROM or DVD is faced with the same problem, since it is only with great difficulty that he can make sure that the original acquirer has not made copies of the program which he will continue to use after selling his material medium. To solve that problem, it is permissible for the distributor — whether ‘classic’ or ‘digital’ — to make use of technical protective measures such as product keys.'
  • Distributors:
    • Difficult to define; can be compared or contrasted with common carriers.
    • A distributor has some degree of responsibility for and control over what they convey; common carriers have reduced responsibility and control.
    • Potential to explore brokers rather than distributors:
      • Brokers essentially work as indexes to link consumers and creators.