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The Copyright Cow Blog focuses on the untold stories of the second largest export of the United States – intellectual property and technology – through the lenses of law, economics (freaky-economics) and society. Intellectual property is comic books, cartoon characters, the “Book of Life” embodied in the Human Genome, medicine, technology, movies, websites, and, for example, the business of producing and distributing milk (a Copyright Cow favorite). The Copyright Cow BLOG is not only for your local dairy farmer / rancher in Washington state. It is also for the CEOs of Microsoft, Boeing and Getty Images. Although Copyright Cow is a great read for any business owner, it is also good for mothers and fathers, teachers and students and anyone who wants to know more about the legal and economic forces shaping 21st century America. The law can decide, who lives and who dies; who eats and who starves. Who gets the latest HIV medication and who does not? Who owns the critical intellectual property that, literally, holds the key to life and death for over 50 million people? What about the economic and social forces that help to shape the law and also result in both prosperity and misfortune? With the help of Copyright Cow, we will all be better prepared to answer these questions, shape a better future and hopefully be a little happier! With your help, the reader, Copyright Cow can continue to help defend the American Dream!
The “Occupy” and “Tea Party” Agree to Not Steal Copyrights in a “Post-Greed” or Pro-IP” Era The “occupy movement” and the “tea-party caucus” seem to agree on one thing: jobs matter. Although the two groups and their respective
Even domestically, we appear to be seeing less of the “Greed is Good,” and much less of the, “TAKE; STEAL; TAKE” like we did a few years back. Is this changing attitude a harbinger of the “post-greed” era or it is a sign of “pro-IP” or “pro-Intellectual Property” era?
However the question is characterized, both the “occupy pundits will bicker about each other like an old married movement” and the “tea-party caucus” appear to agree couple, the United States appears on the verge of a “post protection of our intellectual property assets is a good -greed” era, at least with regard to unauthorized use of copyrights and related intellectual property. Although there are some people that oddly believe the Internet is a lawless cauldron of theft and piracy, most reasonable people these days understand that if they steal a picture, for example, a photographer or artist goes without. Here, both the “occupy movement” and the “tea-party caucus” appear to agree. In fact, the development of intellectual property law protection seems to be ever progressing. Even in the unquestionably gridlocked Washington DC, where some parties have publically vowed not to allow any legislation from the Obama administration, we still make progress on the intellectual property protection front. In fact, the America Invents Act, signed by President Obama, is the most sweeping patent reform in 60 years. idea. Although these movements are diverse and varied, The America Invents Act, referenced above, is discussed the strong bipartisan consensus on the issue in Washingmore fully in earlier articles on the Copyright Cow col- ton DC appear to reflect the correspondingly “populous” take on the same issues. umn. Most of us recall (it was not that long ago) when music Also this article discuss the America Invents Act further; pirating was rampant. This seemed to be fueled by a conshowing the bi-partisan nature of this sweeping change. vergence of technology, like high speed Internet and software allowing the easier transfer and sharing of the Even the international developments in the area, seen in music. Then we got used to free music. We were still the form of multinational and b-lateral trade agreements mad at the fact that we had to pay $18 for a CD. Piracy do not raise an eyebrow. Here is another recent article was out of control – literally a “torrent” of theft and, I on international intellectual property developments daresay, greed. from this column. But today iTunes has facilitated well over 10 billion legitiIn the end, it appears at least that everyone agrees that mate downloads of music songs. This seems like a seaphotographers and artists need to put gas in their cars shift when compared to only a few years ago when just like we do. Even that our unified domestic interests “Napster” or “Bit-Torrent” were in their hay-day. Altin employing our people, selling our goods and helping to hough I do not have specific data, I think we can surmise make the future, outweigh foreign interests what to pilthat both “occupy movement” and the “tea-party caufer the most valuable assets of the United States – its cus” have iPods and even pay for music on iTunes. intellectual property.
Is that because we can now download a single song as opposed to buying a whole CD? Is it a new convergence of technology and marketing? Those questions are hard to answer but one thing appears certain, illegal downloading is down and legitimate purchasing is up. The same also appears true of the movie industry – where content is being streamed from every source yet all indications are that we are stealing fewer movies. Again, the “occupy movement” and the “tea-party caucus” both stream movies and neither seem set on stealing them. Given the political bickering between these two halves, it is nice to see some consensus. I think when it comes down to it, most people want to “do the right thing.” Is that because we can now download a single song as opposed to buying a whole CD? Is it a new convergence of technology and marketing? Those questions are hard to answer but one thing appears certain, illegal downloading is down and legitimate purchasing is up. The same also appears true of the movie industry – where content is being streamed from every source yet all indications are that we are stealing fewer movies. Again, the “occupy movement” and the “tea-party caucus” both stream movies and neither seem set on stealing them. Given the political bickering between these two halves, it is nice to see some consensus. I think when it comes down to it, most people want to “do the right thing.” Own and legitimate purchasing is up. The same also appears true of the movie industry – where content is being streamed from every source yet all indications are that we are stealing fewer movies. Again, the “occupy movement” and the “tea-party caucus” both stream movies and neither seem set on stealing them. Given the political bickering between these two halves, it is nice to see some consensus. I think when it comes down to it, most people want to “do the right thing.” We might disagree on the politics of that, but on an interpersonal level, we don’t covet thy neighbor and we certainly don’t steal from him or her. Perhaps this “agreement” if we can call it that, is why President Obama was able to pass some of the most sweeping patent reform in 60 years – who said Congress got nothing done? It just isn’t controversial to most people. Now, there is the group I mentioned – the lawless cauldron of theft and piracy folks. Well, they don’t like anything and I am not sure they are worth anything but an odd footnote because most reasonable people agree (on both side of our politic isle) that protecting and enforcing intellectual property is a good thing. Part of the work I do as an attorney is representing artists and photographers and the agencies that represent them, like Getty Images, the world’s largest provider of stock images and Gallery Stock, the world’s leader in representing commercial and museum photographers. I see this “post-greed” era shift in my work every day. When we approach another business and tell them that they appear to have used images from someone else without permission, the reaction is varied.
A summary of articles related to this issue Seattle Magazine , Getty Images and this column can be seen at McCormackLegal. Also individual articles can been seen at: 1. Getty Images Demand Letter: 9 Things You Should Know 2. Getty Images Copyright Demand Letter: I Didn’t Know 3. Getty Images Demand: Copyright 101 4. Getty Images Demand Letter: Economics of Copyright Infringement
The overarching idea, however, is that photographers need to put gas in their cars just like we do seems to resonate more and more. Most good people want to do the right thing. Again, this appears to blend the otherwise clear lines of a highly divided and polarized electorate. This is especially true when we consider the impact on helping artists and photographers – some of whom dedicate their lives, without much hope of great reward, to the art of finding beauty and sharing it with the world to inspire life and love and living. Tea party: rejoice! Likewise, other artists and photographers risk their lives to bring us images from warzones or to help document human rights atrocities that can, and often do, help to change the world! Occupy: celebrate! If we are not in a “post-greed” era, we at least appear to moving in the direction of mutual respect of copyrights and the like. We might disagree about whether the arts should be funded by the federal government, but we don’t seem to disagree that once the art is created, you should not steal it. That is a small thing, but it seems like progress. ■ ABOUT COPYRIGHT COW™ Copyright Cow™ is the Blog and alter-ego-Blogger name for Timothy B. McCormack, attorney at law, a well established and successful Seattle-based intellectual property, technology and business lawyer.
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Published on Oct 11, 2013
The “occupy movement” and the "tea-party caucus” seem to agree on one thing: jobs matter. Although the two groups and their respective pundi...