Revolution Lullabye

June 8, 2009

Logie, Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion

Logie, John. Peers, Pirates, and Persuasion: Rhetoric in the Peer-to-Peer Debates. West Lafayette: Parlor Press, 2006.

Logie addresses through rhetorical historicism five terms used to describe sharing in the peer-to-peer debates (hacking, theft, piracy, sharing, and war), arguing that in order to understand the basis of the arguments on both sides of the debate, we must throughly investigate the language through which those arguments are being made. He believes that current copyright restrictions, including DMCA and the TEACH Act, are limiting the potential of people to create new culture and ideas. Logie argues that the composition classroom, where students are taught about the social nature of composition, plagiarism, individual authorship, and intellectual property, is an important place to talk with students about the rhetoric, language, and arguments behind these debates and to teach them how they might argue for a copyright law that allows for the creative potential the Internet promises.

Quotable Quotes

“And while the stakes of intellectual property debates ultimately devolve to who gets paid how much and when, the mechanism for assuring fair compensation—a limited monopoly right—has profound consequences for the circulation and availability of cultural artifacts.”(8)

“Digital media offer opportunities to efficiently archive and access the bulk of artistic and intellectual work created since the dawn of humanity.

This is not an overstatement. The potential intellectual and social utility of these now-hypothetical archives is staggering. Our challenge is to engage in a principled argument about how best to achieve this goal. ” (21)

“[RIAA and other big media corporations] had persuaded most Americans that the act of downloading copyrighted material from the Internet—whatever the context and purpose—was illegal. This victory was achieved in large part because of the successful rhetorical strategies of the content industries. And once these industries had persuaded Americans that downloading was criminal, the logical next step was to ensure that it was perceived as

violent crime.” (66)

“The past decade’s major legislative amendments to copyright—in particular the Copyright Term Extension Act, the Digital Millennium Copyright Act, the No Electronic Theft Act, and the TEACH Act—collectively constitute a disastrous appropriation of rights, privileges, and opportunities formerly understood to belong to the public at large. At the very moment that the most powerful cultural tool in human history—the networked personal computer—has become both widely available and largely affordable, the U.S. is busily drafting laws that reinforce a copyright model optimized long ago for the circulation of print-based media.” (141)

Notable Notes

how ethos and pathos play into both sides of the debate, Burkean identification

no statistical significance on the economic effect of P2P sharing on record companies…Napster failed to show how most of its activity was not the theft of protected commercial property, but rather sharing of free culture for the public good

piracy = theft by force, kidnapping, murdering, violence

Napster, P2P file sharers aren’t targetted for downloading but for uploading – for distribution

sound quality of MP3 and CD – two different purposes

limits ability of cut and pasting with purchased Adobe e-books

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May 25, 2009

Kiebowitz and Margolis, Seventeen Famous Economists Weigh in on Copyright

Kiebowitz, Stan J. and Stephen Margolis. “Seventeen Famous Economists Weigh in on Copyright: The Role of Theory, Empirics, and Network Effects.” Harvard Journal of Law and Technology 18 (Spring 2005): 435.

Kiebowitz and Margolis point out the assumptions and weaknesses in the brief 17 notable economists wrote collaboratively to support the Supreme Court case Eldred v. Ashcroft, which challenged the Sonny Bono Copyright Extension Act of 1998. The Court overturned the challenge, and the authors argue that the economists’ argument did not have any hard data to back it up and it did not offer a complete understanding of the purposes of copyright. Copyright is not merely exclusion; it is ownership, and ownership (through copyright) helps regulate production and prevents some of the negative impact of network effects. It isn’t just the copyright owner vs. the public commons good; copyright is more about protection (for the public good) than about exclusions.

Quotable Quotes

“Open access is not a universally preferrable way to manage a resource” (448).

“The copyright owner’s role is similar to the private owner of a natural resource that can be subject to crowding. In both cases, the owner tries to prevent dissipation of value through misuse of an asset. A rational owner would approve derivative projects that maximize his or her profits. Copyright policy must balance beneficial restrictions that constitute stewardship over resources against standard monopoly losses” (449) – then argues for the benefit of allowing paradoies, critiques

“copyright protects expression, not ideas” (449)

“A more complete view requires consideration of the responsiveness of creative efforts to marginal incentives and the function of onwership of intellectual property beyond the incentive to create” (449).

Notable Notes

only a small % of books, movies made from 1920s-1930s have current market value – the law doesn’t affect that many of them

the brief argued two things: 1. copyright extension doesn’t make economic sense, since the authors weren’t not creating because they didn’t have a super-long copyright protection 2. extra incentive has little real effect on the authors (*focused on the economic effect with royalties, not other effects) but imposes new and more restrictions and costs on new authors

the law – 70 years after death, 75-95 years for institutional authors, applied retroactively

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