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Re: More on Germany's Copyright Levy  Seth Johnson
 Mar 31, 2003 09:45 PST 

Peter, Sam,

The essential problem goes beyond what kind of copies would be allowed, but
rather to what form of digital works would the fund be apportioned?

The levy for analog works appeared to work (the "appeared to" caveat here is
only that the fund didn't really go back to producers, not that it couldn't
have worked in theory), because you can enumerate corporeal, non-digital
works into specific forms relatively easily, certainly without too much
consequence on the usability of those forms, or on the "progress of the
useful arts and sciences."

But a levy ostensibly for digital works would necessarily valorize
particular static forms. Would it be at all equitable to levy a fee that
would be earmarked for particular kinds of works, say, MP3 files, text
files, DVD files?

If somehow we figure out how to enumerate the proper recipients of the
outlay in such a way as to cover all possible forms of bricolage, then all I
have to do to get back the full amount of the levy, is go online and jam,
then certify or whatever mechanism they propose. I don't even have to do it
in person -- I could write automatic electronica style music compositions.

You can go on in that vein, and elaborate a good number of pretty simple
ways to jam whatever system they set up for doing such a levy.

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FOS News - http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/fosblog.html

More on Germany's copyright levy on hardware....Sam
Vaknin, Analysis: Germany's copyright levy, United Press
International, March 12. While outlining the developments
that led to the German levy, Vaknin surveys the array of
similar laws throughout Europe. Unlike other reporters on
this story, Vaknin finally asks whether the levy on
hardware, designed to repay copyright holders for
unauthorized copying, will come with universal permission
to copy. (He asks the question by quoting my FOS News
entry on this issue from last Saturday.) Let's hope the
high profile of this UPI story elicits some helpful
answers. Vaknin closes with a rare reflection on the
copyright wars that applies as much to scholarly
publishing as it does to entertainment. "[T]he
disintermediation brought on by digital technologies
threatens to link author and public directly, cutting out
traditional content brokers such as record companies or
publishers. This is the crux of the battle royal.
Middlemen are attempting -- in vain -- to sustain their
dying and increasingly parasitic industries and refusing
to adapt and re-invent themselves. Everyone else watches
in amazement and dismay the consequences of this grand
folly: innovation is thwarted, consumers penalized, access
to works of art, literature and research constrained."
(3/12/2003 2:43:19 PM)


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