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The RIAA and French Button-Makers 150

Posted by kdawson
from the before-buggy-whips dept.
Alien54 writes "Requiring permission to innovate? Feeling entitled to search others' property? Getting the power to act like law enforcement in order to fine or arrest those who are taking part in activities that challenge your business model? Don't these all sound quite familiar? Centuries from now (hopefully much, much sooner), the actions of the RIAA, MPAA and others that match these of the weavers and button-makers of 17th century France will seem just as ridiculous."
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The RIAA and French Button-Makers

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  • in the mid 1800s, it was customary for the usa to give the finger to european copyright laws and publish any book they wanted to, without any royalties sent to the old world

    now we have the usa whining to china/ thailand/ indonesia/ etc to enforce american IP laws, with beijing playing lipservice for political and economic reasons while on the streets of hong kong you can still buy $10,000 worth of software bundled on a CD/ DVD for $3

    and obviously, in 150 years, china will be issuing diplomatic myspace invectives to azerbaijan for stealing it's genetic code for it's zero G, no atmosphere moon crops... or whatever

    • to America and probably why Henry James lived in England to my mind. Things start to make sense.
    • by jahudabudy (714731) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:06AM (#17663592)
      in 150 years, china will be issuing diplomatic myspace invectives

      Myspace not only still around, but an official channel in 150 years? Wow, and I thought Phillip K. Dick had some psychotically frightening future visions...
    • by HugePedlar (900427) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:13AM (#17663708) Homepage
      Even more ironic: The film industry set itself up in California in the far West to avoid (by way of lots of geography) all those nasty patents on filming techniques that existed on the East Coast. Hollywood would never have existed had not the film studios decided to break IP law.
    • by argoff (142580) * on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:14AM (#17663718)
      ... obviously, in 150 years, china will be issuing diplomatic myspace invectives to azerbaijan ...

      It's more like in 30 years, and it's more like they will be RIAA-ing their own people to death. The copying of information and ideas are some of the few liberties and rights the Chinese people have, by pressuring them to kill that - the US is not only destabilizing the country and the region, but also pre-destining the death of a lot of people. In the US, the RIAA and the MPAA have certain legal restrictions that keep people from being shot in the head to set an example. Does anyone think for a moment that they wouldn't persue that if they could lawfully get away with it? Well, in China, the legal structure that holds back the powers that be is weak and non existent in many areas. When their content and invention industries start to make the transtition to a service based high tech model, it will likely be brutal and violent. It will also likely create the bitterest resentment of the US that one could imagine. For those who wish to impose copyright and patnet, I have no problem calling them what they are: murderers.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by smackt4rd (950154)
        Yes, because we all know people will die if they can't use Photoshop.
        • I read the GP as stating that the RIAA's tactic of pressuring the police to make arrests through providing evidence... if that transitions to a country where the police don't care so much about human rights you might very well see people being pulled out of their homes and shot dead for downloading Gigli.
          • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

            by GreenSwirl (710439)
            The irony is, we really should shoot the people who are stupid enough to pay to watch Gigli.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by CrashPoint (564165)
        For those who wish to impose copyright and patnet, I have no problem calling them what they are: murderers.

        Hyperbole, this is argoff. Argoff, hyperbole. Oh, I see you two already know each other!
    • by westlake (615356) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:17AM (#17663780)
      in the mid 1800s, it was customary for the usa to give the finger to european copyright laws and publish any book they wanted to, without any royalties sent to the old world

      which meant that american authors rarely made it into print.

      on the streets of hong kong you can still buy $10,000 worth of software bundled on a CD/ DVD for $3

      and so the domestic product withers on the vine while the West outsources research and development to China.

    • by sootman (158191) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:17PM (#17664668) Homepage Journal
      And, IIRC, the reason Hollywood exists in California is because many early movies were ripped-off plays and books and the filmmakers wanted to be as far away as physically possible from all the east-coast-based copyright holders. The WHOLE FUCKING INDUSTRY is built on copyright violation! (Assuming what I read on the Interwebs is true.)
      • And, IIRC, the reason Hollywood exists in California is because many early movies were ripped-off plays and books and the filmmakers wanted to be as far away as physically possible from all the east-coast-based copyright holders.

        A lot of truth to that. Art Buchwald, who passed away last night, filed a copyright infringement suit against the movies studios who released the Eddie Murphy movie Coming To America, claiming they had stolen his script. Buchwald won the case. Not only that, he was based on the

      • by StikyPad (445176)
        Close.. they were actually avoiding patents [cobbles.com] from Edison's Film Manufacturing Company. See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cinema_of_the_United_ States#Rise_of_Hollywood [wikipedia.org]
        • by sootman (158191)
          Thanks much for the link. I'm working on a little thing about how copyright law (etc) has been abused recently.
    • by xtracto (837672)
      In Mexico City central avenue (Eje 1) or Tepito market [wikipedia.org] you can buy Autodesk Maya Unlimited 8.5 for $3.0 the DVD. And games are usually $1 for each CD.

      That is why I laugh REALLY hard when I read that RIAA is going to start prosecuting P2P file downloaders in Mexico...

    • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

      by PDMongo (225918)
      Not trying to start a flame war, just sort of thinking out loud.

      Because a manufactirer sets the MSRP at a certain level, does that really set an intrinsic value of that object? It has been a while since economics classes, but I am thinking that if the market is only willing to pay $3 for something doesn't that make it worth $3 rather than $10,000 or any other arbitrary value set by the manufacturer?

      The whole question of piracy aside, software is only "worth" whatever someone is willing to pay for it, and t
  • Lacking... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by timtwobuck (833954) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:23AM (#17662916)
    Theres something lacking from the submitted article, namely what did French authorities do to remedy this situation...Or did they let the button-guild run rampant for centuries?

    If we're doomed to repeat our history, lets at least flesh out said history so we know what to expect. Maybe we can even escape the doom of repeating our history with a little more thought.
    • Re: (Score:1, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward
      Personally, I'm hoping for the guillotine.
      • Personally, I'm hoping for the guillotine. That all depends on whom it was applied. If the French Authorities sided with the button makers and guillotined the fabric makers, then that means everyone with a torrent running, or a burnt CD full of music is due to lose their head. If the French Authorities sided with the fabric makers, then the ??IA better start wearing cast iron collars.

        Of course, the third alternative is that you're suicidal. In which case you should seek some help.
        • Hmm... It strikes me that since France is known for its fashion, and the Amish for their strict regulations regarding buttons, we can pretty much guess what happened.
          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Reziac (43301) *
            Actually, I had the same thought -- I wonder if the fact that some Amish groups still don't consider buttons "plain" (thus allowed) might ultimately derive from their far ancestors attempting to distance themselves from a mundane dispute.

            • by StikyPad (445176)
              I think it has more to do with the fact that buttons are the epitome of lascivious immorality!
    • by fuse2k (1047490)
      We learn from history that we learn nothing from history. --George Bernard Shaw History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce. --Karl Marx The RIAA certainly seems farcical to me.
  • by kalpol (714519) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:23AM (#17662928) Homepage
    The Jacquard Loom users were sharing torrents of punch card patterns.
  • by tedgyz (515156) *
    Site is down
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward
      No it's not, but if you can't get at it, or if it does get slashdotted, here's the text:

      History Repeats Itself: How The RIAA Is Like 17th Century French Button-Makers

      As regular readers know, I've been working through a series of posts on how economics works when scarcity is removed [techdirt.com] from some areas. I took a bit of a break over the holidays to catch up on some reading, and to do some further thinking on the subject (along with some interesting discussions with people about the topic). One of the books

  • Wait.... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by PieSquared (867490) <<moc.liamg> <ta> <6002selecsosi>> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:26AM (#17662974)
    Centuries from now the actions of the RIAA will seem ridiculous? I was under the opinion that they seemed that way now!

    If a private company being given the same powers as the police doesn't seem ridiculous, there is something else wrong.
  • Bad analogy (Score:2, Insightful)

    Sorry, but this analogy does not hold up. The MPAA is not stopping anyone from making original movies. They are simply saying that you cannot copy someone else's work and call it your own. The French button makers wanted to ban button making completely for anyone outside their guild.
    • Re:Bad analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by spencerogden (49254) <spencer@spencerogden.com> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:34AM (#17663116) Homepage
      The analogy is not with what they are trying to prevent, but with the powers they are asking for. A private organization should not be given the powers of search and seizure, that's what the button makers wanted, and that's what the MPAA and RIAA want. They want to enforce laws to their own standards, and that's insane. At the level of an individual they would be called vigilantes.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by iminplaya (723125)
        At the level of an individual they would be called vigilantes.

        In their case, pirates would be more appropriate.
    • by Thansal (999464)
      Thank you.

      This has absoloutly no bearing on the **AA's actions.

      This is more akin to if unions had the govn't not letting ANYONE exept for union workers do a specific job.

      The Weaver one (If a weaver wants to try out a new pattern then need a large commity to ok it) is also not related to the **AA's tactics.

      These are all about stiffiling creativity or competition, and the **AA WANTS you to be creative, why? So that they can sign you up, steal your work, and then charge you for the privledge.
    • Re:Bad analogy (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hummassa (157160) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:50AM (#17663356) Homepage Journal

      Sorry, but this analogy does not hold up. The MPAA is not stopping anyone from making original movies.
      No, the analogy is perfect.

      The *AA wants, for instance, to stop everyone from develop software that could be used to backup dvds. They are, for instance, stopping TiVo from developing new features to their set-top box. Those two are examples of the first item, "Requiring permission to innovate", and was illustrated in the history told by the guild requiring that anyone that wants to weave their fabrics differently should have the guild's permission.

      They are requesting powers of police to watch what _I_ have in my HD, and what _I_ talk in my private net connections. This is a clear example of the second item, "Feeling entitled to search others' property".

      More, they want powers to emprision or fine whoever they _think_ have their bits in the HD. This is an example of the third item; in the case on the FTA, the button-makers guild wanted to search everyone's homes, to find if they had any clothes with fabric-made buttons (that were not made by guilded members) and they wanted to imprision and fine whoever had those.

      Every one of those items is telling the story of how the guilds wanted to protect their business model, regardless of the rights and protections that the citizens should have, including the right to the privacy of their own homes. The *AAs want to protect their business model, regardless of the rights and protections that the citizens should have, including the right to the privacy of their own homes and their private communications. So, as I told, the analogy is complete and perfect.

      Don't just read the FTA, but the two linked-by pages too...
      • by Have Blue (616)
        It's still a bad analogy. The MPAA has no problem with programs like iDVD that burn completely original movies, filmed with a camera, to DVD, so it's not "requiring permission to innovate". The only thing you can't do without pissing off the MPAA is mess with CSS.
    • by 91degrees (207121)
      It's more akin to the MPAA's insistance that video devices conform to their specifications, or the RIAA insisting on DRM.
      • You are free to invent your own video device based on your own invented video format. Then you'd be free from the MPAA specifications. Why don't you do this?
        • by 91degrees (207121)
          It wouldn't play standard formats.

          If it was capable of recording or copying, the MPAA would seek to regulate it.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Peter Mork (951443)
      Well, reasoning by analogy is always spotty. Disclaimer aside, consider an alternative verson of the analogy: The button makers owned the intellectual property for one particular class of fastening device (the button). Others were free to invent new fastening devices (e.g., the lace). The button makers enlisted the aid of the government to prevent the evil tailors from copying their intellectual property. Like I said, reasoning by analogy is more an exercise in creativity than logic.
    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by initialE (758110)
      http://yro.slashdot.org/article.pl?sid=07/01/15/20 1259 [slashdot.org]
      O'rly? They're already trying to tell you what you can do with the media you create and publish.
    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by iminplaya (723125)
      The MPAA is not stopping anyone from making original movies.

      In addition to what the other responders said, actually they are. They are attempting to ban the tools needed for widespread self publication simply beacuse thay CAN be used to vilate their regulations. P2P and the crippling of the mini-disc and attempting to restrict internet radio are just a few tiny examples.
    • by Qzukk (229616)
      The MPAA is not stopping anyone from making original movies

      Funny, that's exactly where DRM has been heading for a while now, and oh! Look! /. already ran a story this year about how the government is proposing that satellite music be DRM limited in order to prevent disseminating music in a way that might possibly be infringing on a copyright.

      Before long, you won't be able to make your own movie by yourself, because for all the computer knows, your video is actually a shaky-cam rip of the latest and greatest
  • by Opportunist (166417) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:28AM (#17663026)
    trying to protect their turfs, knowing that their time has passed.

    Do you know those ridiculous laws, where it's required that a man with a flag or lantern runs in front of a car? No, the legislative ain't always been stupid (and these century old laws being the proof), they exist for exactly the same reason why train stations are usually at the outskirts of towns (or, at least, were 'til the towns grew): The horse cabs were fearing for their business.

    And for a good reason. They weren't needed anymore as a means of transport if people could drive themselves, or if they could use the train instead. So the stations were outside of towns (to "protect the health" of the people, of course, as the official reason), so you had to take a cab to get there anyway.

    We're now facing the same with the mafiaa. They are pushing at the lawmakers to install laws to protect their outdated business model, not wanting to realize that their time is over and they're not needed anymore.

    Well, I guess in a century, people will shake their heads over our copyright laws, just like we're shaking them now over the requirement of men with flags in front of cars.
    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna (970587) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:39AM (#17663192) Journal
      All along the Erie canal in the NY State, you will find charming little towns, stuck in 18th century seemingly progress bypassed them. But way back when Erie canal was the main transporatation artery, the barge companies controlled the local govt and made sure none of the "new fangled" railroads touch their towns. Well, they kept the railroads out and they got bogged down in 17th century.
      • by nomadic (141991)
        All along the Erie canal in the NY State, you will find charming little towns, stuck in 18th century seemingly progress bypassed them. But way back when Erie canal was the main transporatation artery, the barge companies controlled the local govt and made sure none of the "new fangled" railroads touch their towns. Well, they kept the railroads out and they got bogged down in 17th century.

        And now they're still charming, while all the "progressive" towns in upstate New York became economically depressed ru
      • by operagost (62405)
        So... did they get bogged down in the 17th century (before the canal even existed) or the 18th century (when construction finally began)? Or maybe it was the 19th century, when the canal was completed? or maybe the 20th... never mind. Just read Wikipedia, or something.
    • by wwwillem (253720)
      they exist for exactly the same reason why train stations are usually at the outskirts of towns (or, at least, were 'til the towns grew): The horse cabs were fearing for their business

      L'histoire se repete .... why are there sooo many airports in the world, where there is no railway connection with downtown. From big Singapore, where the LRT "just missed it" to Denver, to here in Calgary, where there is even not a decent public bus going to the airport. It's all because of the taxi rackets. Not the cab driv

      • by rwyoder (759998)
        F

        rom big Singapore, where the LRT "just missed it" to Denver, to here in Calgary, where there is even not a decent public bus going to the airport. It's all because of the taxi rackets. Not the cab drivers themselves, but the owners of the cab licenses.

        Just a week ago I was sharing a ski chairlift with a guy who had been a consultant for Mayor Webb in Denver. He told me about the pressure that had been put on the administration to not run the LRT to DIA. Asinine that they caved into that.

      • Exactly the same thing happened in Miami. The cab companies threatened to go on strike and quit serving the airport if Metrorail ran there. The local government caved in (instead of opening the market to newcomers, delighted to inherit an incredibly profitable market vacated by the established companies), and Metrorail missed the airport by several miles. Fortunately, sanity eventually prevailed, and work is now underway to extend it to the airport. In theory, at least... I'll believe it when the first tang
      • by green1 (322787)
        I'm actually amazed to note that vancouver is finally extending the skytrain to their airport... considering the skytrain was one of the big developments for expo '86 you'd think it would have happened 20 years ago...
        and you're right... in Calgary you might as well take a cab, because transit to the airport is hopeless. (not to mention that the privately operated "airporter" bus has now shut down too...)
    • Wasn't actually Luddite. It was written in a day when powered vehicles on the road were heavy agricultural machines that caused road damage, gave off sparks and smoke and frightened horses badly. In the UK, with many narrow roads, this was far more of an issue than in France, which is a much emptier country.

      When gasoline powered road vehicles started to appear in larger numbers, and agricultural machinery became more portable, the Act was repealed.

  • by Orange Crush (934731) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:31AM (#17663068)

    I'm no fan of the RIAA and by no means condone their actions to defend "their" blessed IP, but there's a key difference between the RIAA and the French Button-Makers. Those who dared innovate with buttons made of cloth would be punished because it completely cut the button makers out of the loop. The RIAA has not yet gone after those who dare produce music (independant bands, labels, social networking, etc.) without being under their auspices.

    About the only similarity I see is that both the guilds and the RIAA are asshats and were going after end-users. Beyond that, the analogy breaks down.

    • by fireboy1919 (257783) <rustyp.freeshell@org> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:41AM (#17663224) Homepage Journal
      The RIAA has not yet gone after those who dare produce music (independent bands, labels, social networking, etc.) without being under their auspices.

      Except in the purchase of blank music CDs, of course, which cost more because you're going to presumably put music on them owned by the RIAA. And they have sent take-down notices to bands who've got their own MP3s up on the web.

      You might also say that the mandatory DRM in ipods hurts bands who want their music shared by keeping it from being shared by the uninitiated.

      That's not exactly nothing, is it?
      • Except in the purchase of blank music CDs, of course, which cost more because you're going to presumably put music on them owned by the RIAA.
        Can you post a link to a source on that? I was aware that was the case in Canada, but I though the similar law that had been proposed in the US had not made it through. I may be misremembering though.
      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by hummassa (157160)

        You might also say that the mandatory DRM in ipods hurts bands who want their music shared by keeping it from being shared by the uninitiated.
        s/mandatory DRM in ipods/mandatory DRM in iTMS/

        the DRM is not mandatory in iPods.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by foniksonik (573572)
        There's no mandatory DRM in iPods unless you buy the song through iTunes.... they play MP3s just fine... or WAV or FLAC and of course MP4u as well as the iTunes MP4p formats.
    • by Shaltenn (1031884)

      The RIAA has not yet gone after those who dare produce music (independant bands, labels, social networking, etc.) without being under their auspices.


      SHHH! Stop giving them ideas!
  • by AndroidCat (229562) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:38AM (#17663172) Homepage
    Needlepoint patterns are a frequent copyright hot zone [cnn.com] on the web, newsgroups, etc. Ah well, at least when the lawyertroopers of the NPAA haul some needlepointing granny into court, they've probably got the right copyright terrorist.
  • Not the same (Score:2, Interesting)

    The French buttonmakers were wary of being undersold and made redundant by cheaper methods/producers. The **AA are keen to protect the way their product is distributed and used. They may wish but cannot prosecute other artists/publishers from publishing content w/o DRM or anything else. What they want to do or keep is their own product from being distributed against their will. That is, to be against it being virtually freely duplicated and/or redistributed w/o compensation to them. One might not like

  • by iamdrscience (541136) <(michaelmtripp) (at) (gmail.com)> on Thursday January 18, 2007 @10:55AM (#17663414) Homepage
    You don't have to go outside the music industry to show that what they're doing today will be viewed as foolish by those in the future, they've been doing this for a long time now.
    • Player Pianos - When these were introduced, they were hated by musicians because they thought it threatened their livelihood, "who's going to pay us to play when you can just get one of these pianos?"
    • Phonograph Records - Many musicians hated these for the same reason when they first came out, "who's going to pay us to play when you can just buy a record for a couple of bucks?"
    • Radio broadcasts of records - When radio stations first began broadcasting records instead of live music performances, many musicians again felt this threatened them, "Who's going to buy our records when they can hear them on the radio for free?"
    In hindsight it's obvious that none of these technologies were threats to musicians and in fact, in many cases they helped them.
    • by gfxguy (98788)
      Well, you're right, of course, but it is true that musicians made less doing live performances for the very reasons they stated. The problem is they didn't account for making more money from the sales of these items. Some end up making more money, some end up making less, and the record companies and music roll publishers ended up taking the lion's share.

      Still, a popular musician could make a lot more. For an average performer it might be a wash financially, but ultimately it was a lot less work.

      But, lik
    • by fruey (563914)
      Live music died a little though. Less musicians make a living playing in front of the public. My father used to be able to go out 3 nights a week and get paid for live music, he can't now. Yes, the market was for less talented musicians, but today nowhere will pay as much for live music because people are less interested. So the distribution is no longer for "live" but for "recorded" music. Yes there's a following for those who like the charm of the true live sound, but less places have live music than bef
  • This is probably going to get moded down, but I feel the urge to play devils advocate here. The *AAs have pissed me off as much as the next guy, but there have always been guilds and trade unions that try to protect craftsman from being exploited. These are generally a good thing; without them people work 80 hours a week for pennies a day, and children lose their fingers to factory machines. Part of protecting the tradesmen means protecting the trade itself, and the system by which a person becomes a trades
    • by Ashtead (654610) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:20AM (#17663826) Journal

      The big difference between surgeons and electricians on one side, and entertainment and button-makers on the other side, is that even minute faults in the former's practices can lead directly to loss of life and property, while no such fatal consequences are possible for entertainers or button-makers. As for machinery cutting off peoples fingers, we have got some other ways of controlling safety in general, such as the OSHA.

      Consider other, non-critical, guild like watch-makers or painters, once also strictly controlled ... At worst, the control on their work would be along "fit for purpose"-regulations, but I don't think anyone has ever died from a stopped watch or a house painted in the wrong color.

      • Dr. Hackenbush (Groucho Marx) is using his watch to take a patient's pulse.

        "Either he's dead, or my watch has stopped."
      • by HTH NE1 (675604)
        The big difference between surgeons and electricians on one side, and entertainment and button-makers on the other side, is that even minute faults in the former's practices can lead directly to loss of life and property, while no such fatal consequences are possible for entertainers or button-makers.

        Maybe not fatal, but a single wardrobe malfunction could irrevocably damage the minds of the children! THINK OF THE CHILDREN!
        • by starX (306011)
          Rigging malfunctions have a highly lethal potential. When you have a half ton of lighting and sound gear suspended in the air above you on stage, you might like to know that the person who hung it there knows what they're doing. I know you're making a joke, and yes it is funny, but when stage hands screw up, people can die. That's why ETCP offers certification in both rigging and electrics.
      • by starX (306011)
        onsider other, non-critical, guild like watch-makers or painters, once also strictly controlled ... At worst, the control on their work would be along "fit for purpose"-regulations, but I don't think anyone has ever died from a stopped watch or a house painted in the wrong color.

        I would venture the guess that more than one person in history has died as a result of a faulty time piece, but the fact is that it doesn't matter. If it's not critical, why not make your own watch? I'll venture the answer that, if
      • by zotz (3951)
        "while no such fatal consequences are possible for entertainers or button-makers."

        You forget the tremendous negative career consequences of a wardrobe malfunction?

        (Soory, your comment was made for that. You are right though.)

        "but I don't think anyone has ever died from a stopped watch"

        Now here I think you might indeed be wrong. I can imagine some scuba diver or sailor getting into serious trouble due to a watch stopping.

        all the best,

        drew
    • by zotz (3951)
      "Nothing in the world is stopping you from quitting your job and trusting yourself to the free market, and in an era where anyone can burn a CD the costs of doing business are cheap."

      Ah, I beg to differ. Yes there is. What? The lack of a Free Market in the first place, that's what! Copyrights are government granted and protected monopolies in case you hadn't noticed. (Since you were playing DA, I am responding to the person you were playing and not to you!)

      Get rid of those government monopolies and we can t
      • by starX (306011)
        redirect, your honor.

        Isn't it true that you are free to write your own music?
        Isn't it true that we all share that freedom?
        Isn't it also true that you are free to perform, record, and sell this music for whatever you wish?

        Copyright is good. There, I said it. Copyright encourages innovation by ensuring that those who innovate have the ability to profit from their innovations. The reason it expires is to encourage innovation, not just among the rest of society, but among the original artist. I stand by my stat
        • by zotz (3951)
          "Isn't it true that you are free to write your own music?
          Isn't it true that we all share that freedom?
          Isn't it also true that you are free to perform, record, and sell this music for whatever you wish?"

          Indeed, all true, sort of. If I tried to sing some of my lyrics, I might actually suffer bodily harm, but that is another issue. ~;-)

          When it comes to a lot of my works, I try to make it a little more free by using copyleft licenses.

          "Copyright is good."

          While I think that it might very well be able to be good,
  • Ob Heinlein Quote (Score:5, Interesting)

    by rlp (11898) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:22AM (#17663840)
    "There has grown up in the minds of certain groups in this country the notion that because a man or corporation has made a profit out of the public for a number of years, the government and the courts are charged with the duty of guaranteeing such profit in the future, even in the face of changing circumstances and contrary to public interest. This strange doctrine is not supported by statute or common law. Neither individuals nor corporations have any right to come into court and ask that the clock of history be stopped, or turned back."

              - Robert Heinlein, "Life Line", 1939
    • by PTBarnum (233319)
      "... have any right to come into court ..."

      So true. An individual or corporation should know that guaranteeing their profits is the proper function of the legislative branch, so they should send lobbyists to congress, not lawyers to the courts.
  • by beadfulthings (975812) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @11:26AM (#17663900) Journal
    I don't see how this has much bearing on what's happening now. The guilds in Europe were a powerful force for centuries, from the dawn of the Middle Ages on. They covered just about every facet of life from fine arts (painters) to crafts and trades (weavers, plumbers, carpenters, silversmiths) to the food chain (butchers, fishmongers). They served any number of useful purposes including protecting their members (basically the middle class) from the abuses of the nobility and the church; setting up standards and best practices; and developing formalized methods for training (the system of apprentice/journeyman/master craftsman). As someone here has pointed out, that system survives today in the training and certification of certain trades such as plumbers and electricians.

    One good way to appreciate the power and function of the guilds is to read about the long history of the city of London; it has evolved to the present day on the basis of the actions of the guilds and their interactions with other parts of society.

    The article is shallow and superficial. When I read it, part of my mind sided with the French buttonmakers. They saw their tradecraft being walmartized, and they protested.
    • by geekoid (135745)
      Of course they prtested, good for them.
      Of course the moment they want to search peoples closets, and arrest people is where they cross the line.

      It's not so much innovation they were stifling, it was the market. I suspect that if they had created cloth buttons, it would have been seen as a great innovation.
      • Of course you are right, but my thoughts are in a different place at the moment. As you might infer from my username, I use a lot of beads. The glassmakers of Venice have been making beads since the time of Ancient Rome, and their guild was one of the most powerful during the Middle Ages. There were times when you could get onto the island of Murano, but you couldn't get off again--if you knew the beadmakers' trade secrets.

        Now, virtually all beads of any kind are manufactured in China. In the case of Veneti
        • Here's what all of the bead artisan's should have done...

          Upon noticing that China is not only mass producing the beads that you put so much effort into, but they are doing it very cheaply by cutting corners and using inferior materials, the bead makers band together and compete directly with the cheap bead manufacturers by mass producing high quality beads. This does a couple things. First, it ensures that high quality beads are available to all artists/designers/etc. They can still buy the cheap stuf
  • Guild ... (Score:3, Funny)

    by DMorritt (923396) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:39PM (#17665038) Homepage
    seeking active english speaking mage/warrior/lawyer, must be lvl 50+ for guild raids and quests.
  • Although I TFA interesting, I'm not sure I would assign RIAA or the MPAA the dignity of association (even by analogy) of craftsmens guilds or trade unions. This whole issue of DRM is not just about the trends and traditions within certain professions, but is really instead about the much larger problem of unchecked monopolies with seemingly unlimited government access. To that end, I think a quote by G.K. Chesterton might be even more appropriate than the excellent Heinlein quote posted elsewhere:

    From the s
  • exhibit the same power over users of the printing press? The very thing tthat started this whole IP mess to begin with.
    • exhibit the same power over users of the printing press? The very thing tthat started this whole IP mess to begin with.

      Actually, it was invented by publishers, to preserve an information ownership monopoly based on a government censorship policy. quote taken from the question copyright webiste [questioncopyright.org].

  • by openright (968536) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @12:54PM (#17665248) Homepage
    A more fitting example is that of the Stationers Company holding a publishing monopoly for much of 2 centuries.
    The U.S. was founded at a time where freedom from such long-lived monopolies was important.

    Unfortunately, Copyright monopolies have been extended from 13 years to 90-120 years.

    http://www.culturaleconomics.atfreeweb.com/cpu.htm [atfreeweb.com]
  • by Joe Snipe (224958) on Thursday January 18, 2007 @01:55PM (#17666420) Homepage Journal
    Since the disbandment of the button guild, there has been no innovation in buttons and button related tech in the last 300 years. Surely we must all send dollars to the RIAAs immediately, or music may die forever!

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