Sen. Wyden is Right About the CASE Act

And the photography associations are wrong.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2019/12/yet-another-year-fighting-bad-copyright-bill-2019-year-review

All due respect to the PPA and ASMP – two associations that I was a member of – they’re at best misguided, if they think copyright can be fixed in this way. At worst, they’ve lost their moral compass.

It’s sad to see “pro” photographers lower themselves to corporate rent seeker status, as if they are deserving of special privilege.

This turd of a bill was not debated, at all, in the House of Representatives and has received scant media attention. No wonder, because it’s hard to imagine any popular support for this.

Not to mention the usurpation of our judicial system with an administrative tribunal that is probably, oh, not so Constitutional.

I suspect this law, should Senator Wyden concede, will be contested in court. You know, a proper public court of law. Not an ad hoc unelected bureaucratic tribunal outside the judicial system, that denies due process.

I sympathize with photographers whose images were commercially used, without license. Its happened to me, too.

But there are myriad reasons why their old business model isn’t working like it used to. Testing the dark waters of digital dystopia and unconstitutional tribunals is no way to make an obsolete model work again.

A bipartisan bill – again, passed without debate – is not a rationale for legitimacy, in of itself.

Time and again we’ve seen how Congress taints its legacy with one bad law, after another. Poor judgment is something politicians are richly rewarded for.

By now most Americans should understand that bipartisan = everyone gets screwed.

This bad law will do nothing for photography itself, which is what should truly concern anyone who identifies as a Photographer.

Pinterest: The Pirate Bay IPO

If Instagram is the teen-age bedroom wall of the Internet, then Pinterest ($PINS) is the scrap book.

This would be fine, so long as most of the content was original. But it’s not. It’s a model that rewards image theft.

So, it’s not unfounded to say that $PINS’ IPO is akin to having The Pirate Bay IPO on the NYSE. At least TPB is honest about their intentions.

Let’s do a quick thought experiment. Suppose TPB did IPO, what would the reaction be? Hollywood lobby rage, for starters. And that would likely be enough to stop it, in its tracks.

But if it’s only photography, then who cares, right? Particularly if said images come from amateurs, students, or obscure local pros.

If the market is telling us that it’s all good to profit from unlicensed image copies, then end copyright. Drop intellectual monopoly. Open-source everything. Reform laws to fit the 21st Century, at least.

But that would need a bottom-up movement that top-down legislators responded to. Bottom-ups have advocates and practitioners, but not pocket-stuffing lobbyists. It would also need legislators who weren’t intellectual and moral bankrupts. Fat chance.

Unfortunately, we’re likely to get IP laws, that serve illiberal interests. None of them will help independent artists. This is the dilemma, when abstract universalism and fractal localism are in conflict. So what are people left with?

Creative Commons and the some rights reserved option is a place to start. But questions about its efficacy are reasonable.

There are no easy answers, other than to follow Warren Buffet’s suggestion to never buy an IPO… particularly if it’s a digital scrap book of stolen images, with a fluffed market cap of $13.7B on $-0.20 EPS.

Bubbles, we’re blowing bubbles.

Some Rights Reserved

I have switched the copyright license for most of my published work, on my blog and website. It will be a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International.

This means that you’re free to share, remix, or use. But it must be non-commercial, attributed to me, and shared with the same license. Some of my official digital copies are available to download and share.

Client work will remain All Rights Reserved, for the agreed to embargo on extra use.

My reason for this is simple. The world has changed. However, bad actors or patent trolls are, once again, being too aggressive with their IP rent-seeking. I’m looking at you Disney and more recently, Microsoft.

You can use centralized databases or emerging decentralized tech. But we all have the right to own our data and content, sharing or selling it however we choose. Copyright infringement – if we’re going to have IP laws at all – should at most be a civil matter, rather than criminal. Anything more, is barbaric.

Free PDF Copy: Against Intellectual Monopoly