[LINK] Digital copyright: it's all wrong

Rick Welykochy rick at praxis.com.au
Tue Jun 10 12:31:39 AEST 2008

David Boxall wrote:

> I recently took delivery of a Beyonwiz PVR.  Not a device I'd recommend 
> to anyone without a bit of technical nous, but otherwise lots of fun on 
> a rainy weekend.  The thing has a 200GB hard disk, two high definition 
> digital tuners and an Ethernet port.  I can easily copy razor-sharp 
> digital recordings to any machine on my home network and (once I figure 
> out how to handle .ts files) potentially burn them to DVD or just retain 
> them indefinitely.  Total hard disk space on the network exceeds a 
> terabyte, so the latter is feasible though unlikely.  In this 
> environment; what price copyright?

What price indeed. When laws and treaties are enacted by lobby forces
for the benefit of the few, democracy is being corrupted. This style of
corruption is rife and a real threat to the democratic process. Witness
the actions and reasonings of Sartor in NSW or Woolongong city council,
let alone what has happened with IP legislation out of the USA in the
past twenty years.

Regarding .ts files. They are "transport streams" that contain digital
video in MPEG-2 format. My own Topfield PVR creates .rec files which
is a simple wrapper for the .ts file.

MPEG StreamClip <http://www.squared5.com/> is a wonderous free product
that runs on Winders and Mac OS X. It allows you to pick apart transport
streams, edit them and then package them up again. It also converts
some of the many and IMHO too many video codecs from one format to another.

> What changes would restore credibility to copyright?

The biggest change I've witnessed was the move from IP infringement being
a civil offense (law of torts) to being a criminal offense. One good
move would be back to tort. Decrimininalisation.

Some credibility would be restored by a well defined and widely publicised
fair use policy that applies internationally.

I have no qualms with the copyright owner of a work obtaining damages
from a "pirate" (stupid term, that) selling and profiting from copies
of the work. The tort court should suffice for this.

Consider this. I purchase a licence to use a work when I buy, say, a
record album. For example, I bought the Beatles' White Album on vinyl
years ago. That copy was stolen. So I bought another one to replace it.
So I owned two such licences. Then I purchased the double CD set of the
same album. Three licences! I see nothing wrong with giving away two
of those licences to other people via a copy of the original, or the
original itself.

I have real problems with zone control on DVDs and the use of
technology to throttle technology. Just because some companies cannot
keep up with technology and adapt their business models appropriately
should not give them licence to lobby for draconian legislation that
hobbles the rest of us who get with the plan.


Rick Welykochy || Praxis Services || Internet Driving Instructor

Filling the tank of an SUV with ethanol requires enough
corn to feed a person for a year.
      -- The Economist: "The end of cheap food"

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