I decided to do a transcription optimised for reading flow. I declare my transcription effort as free to use by anyone, but do note that you will need to proof read it as it is not to professional level. This was transcribed in only a single pass, so there will most likely be glaring errors. But enough to get a feel for the event.
This transcription aim is to be easier to index for web robots.
Previous thread about this: https://discuss.pirateparty.org.au/t/pax-pirata-2017/891
PAX Pirata: Creativity, Copyright, Conflict & Collaboration
Source: PAX Pirata: Creativity, Copyright, Conflict & Collaboration
Transcriber: Initial transcription base is via Youtube Automated Transcription, heavily formatted by Brian Khuu as a psudo essay less about accuracy and more optimised for reading flow.
Event Date: 2017-06-10
Welcome To PAX Pirata: Creativity, Copyright, Conflict & Collaboration
I am your humble moderator McGinnis… first things first I acknowledge the traditional owners of the land on which we are meeting.
I pay my respects to their elders past and present and the elders from other communities who may be here today
Today on this panel we have
- Simon Frew : a musician and president of Pirate Party Australia (Pirate Party Shirt)
- Jennifer Scheurle : game developer from flat earth games. (Object In Space Tee) (German)
- Morgan Jaffit : creative developer from divine development (Glasses, wavy hair)
- Paul Noonan : board member from music Australia and a copyright lawyer. (Looks like a classic band singer)
- Brigid Dixon : from Thomson Geer Law a copyright lawyer who works on the Dallas buyers club case which of course we may all be somewhat familiar with all right let’s get started. (Looks like a lawyer)
Why don’t we start with simon.
Simon Frew: Alright I basically became interested in intellectual property issues around because I’m an artist and I saw the potential Internet gave to cut out the middleman and just give stuff straight to consumers and I made music and had music taken down for stuff like mashup and things. DCMAed. So I’ve been on the receiving end of some overly aggressive copyright issues over the years and somehow found myself in the leadership of the pirate party. (Pirate Party Shirt)
Jennifer Scheurle: Hi i I’m Scheurle I am a game designer I think I’m on the panel because I am from Germany and we have very different perspective and cultural approach to copyright and pirating in general. When I came here when I had this goal as a creator in but also the consumer it was really foreign to me that people have kind of adapted pirating music content and movies to be part of the culture of Australia and Australians. I am also a creator the game project space so we’re indie, you know one of the struggling to make games of all of you. (Object In Space Tee)
Morgan Jaffrit: So my name is Morgan I run a games studio in Brisbane with about 25 people our bread and butter is IP we create so I had had one IP I used to run an open source software developing studio in the 19th so I had that perspective on on sharing economy and fundamentally I come down on the side that that most of the work we create if we are fortunate enough becomes part of the cultural landscape and I think people have entitlements the culture that they are part of. I don’t think you should just be sold your culture, you should have ownership of it and do thing on your side with it. Big fan of mashup and fan creations, remixes and new ways of looking at built. We have a very open policy to people building things without the our work and our rule is that if you are not making money off it you can do whatever you want, and if you want to make money off it then we are happy to talk about that too. Pretty Relaxed.
Paul Noonan: I’m from the board of Music Australia which is a sort of peak industry music industry body before I became a lawyer I was a professional musician enough in a few rock bands. I’m on this panel because I got into a Twitter spat with Ben about copyright and because of a recent inquiry by the productivity Commssion into copyright law that’s caused a lot of controversy in the creative community as some of you might know and I was engaging pretty heavily in a few tweets once every night. I believe I called ben a condescending prick and a couple of weeks later I got an email for me with DM on Twitter asking if I can come on this panel.
McGinnis: I’ve been sitting and I thought I’ve gotta run this panel and I asked now who do I know who can take the Pro copyright stance and once I asked for out loud the answer was obvious.
Paul Noonan: Fair use in USA vs Australia
- Paul Noonan: Okay yes, being on an organization that represents musicians or musical making bodies and personally former musician. I’ve got a what if a lot of you would probably regard as a very conservative position on copyright and I recognize the issues that have just been mentioned about mashups and digital technology in the way that affects creativity these days. But I think the fundamental point is consent, people giving their consent to others doing what they want to do with their material and being able to widthold their consent if they don’t want people to mashup their material or use it in particular ways.
The hot button issues that we might touch on tonight are about that because in Australian is a big push towards a much more expansive regime that allows people to use copyright material without being sued and the other issues. In Australia we’ve got a pretty restrictive fair dealing regime where there’s some very specific exceptions like criticism and review or reporting news that sort of thing where you can use copyright material up to a reasonable extent without being pinned.
Whereas in the states that appear use which is a much more comprehensive and really quite controversial concept that allows much more freedom of use of material without requirements of owner consent. So that’s where I sort of come from in the debate anyway if that makes sense
Brigid Dixon: Accessibility
- Brigid Dixon : So I’m also a lawyer so its no surprise that I’m a copyright champion as well, but having said that I’m in my late 20s now so any consumer choice I made was made in an age where if I wanted it I should be able to get it. Aka should probably always be able to get it on my phone which I think shapes how you feel up about these things that are first principles that people have been working with for so long. I’ve got copyright experience so I am a rights holder lawyer and the same time I see your grave concerns about the dallas buyer club case. During that time I was on the side of the telecommunications company in that one and fought for the perspectives that I really belived in as well so I think that that’s where that consumer choices comes in to that this idea that things should be accessible. That you should be able to get what you want when you want it.
But if you’re going to get it probably have a way to pay for it and not pay a premium for it. I guess with that where I come from.
Jennifer Scheurle: piracy in other countries
- Paul Noonan: Can I just suggest something that came out of a conversation I have with Jennifer just before we came in and she was talking about her perception coming from Germany and now working in Australia at the moment. That is a really a real cultural difference between attitudes to copyright consuming copyright material in Germany compared to Australia.
This is in particularly in relation to consent and piracy that sort of thing I thought that’s really interesting
- Jennifer Scheurle: Just elaborate a quick so you understand where I’m coming from. Where I come from obviously there are always people who pirate things like music and games and movies however overall it’s not really something that is that is being accepted in into the culture of young Germans. Even though we want to continue these things that they’re still like a cultural barrier between that wanting it and actually pirating it. When I came here one a half years ago that was very different when I tell my friends that I have never pirated anything anything they’re looking at me like I’m crazy. I don’t even know it’s so bad I don’t even know I wouldn’t even know how I have no idea if you would see me in front of a machine. So I I have no idea how it works and I work with computer my entire life. So that far how it goes, and so I found that quite interesting. I’m not quite sure where the difference lies.
We talked a little bit about that there are quite strict laws in Germany and they are being enforced very yes strictly as well. My uncle was part of one of those lawsuits where he was accused of downloading music and have to pay 5000 Euros at the time. Which is a lot in Australian Dollars. And he didn’t do it, he has no idea how to do it. But it was enough evidence just have a screenshot of all the downloaded data via your internet connection be a long case in court, so yes he was convicted and so that was a thing.
- Brigid Dixon : That would not be enough evidence in Australia and that was something we worked on. A well worked system is a system that works and I think that that’s where you’ve got to think of when you’re coming from both of these perspectives. We’re very fortunate in that we live in a society that put some sort of inherent worth and value on creatives outcomes and on creative work.
So everyone accepts that you know you should pay a bit of money for a movie everyone understands that you should pay money for music even bad music sometimes. You should pay money for games because people work very hard on them, we work in a system where you don’t get paid then you can’t do it.
So I think that that general acceptance here but in Australia it is so hard to get content sometimes and you’ve seen the way that things have changed with the introduction of streaming services and how long that took us to get those and without having to be VPNs. That’s why I think the rest of that general acceptance comes from is that service it is so hard yes it is so hard to get good things.
We do not have bad taste in Australia if you give us good movies we will buy them if you give us good shows you will buy them but at the moment would if your market looks the way that it does then there’s this general acceptance and ultimately the people who lose out on that is everyone because there are less people consuming good content there are less people being paid to consume good content there’s less good content being produced and funded in Australia.
I can imagine that that happens in all sorts of outlets so it was it’s interesting that when dallas came up. One of the things that got talked about is how acceptance it is how we are huge downloaders. We are the biggest piraters in the world right I don’t know where those numbers necessarily come from. You may need to check.
Morgan Jaffit: Evolving nature of media and services
- Morgan Jaffit: Can I just briefly touch as somebody whose games goes across the world. We make mobile games and we’ve also made game for steam and PC and we get great numbers and feedback from both of those and there’s no way we pirate more than China. Not a chance in hell.
I can releasea a games that sells 5,000 copies, and I can have 800 thousand users tonight and 99 percent of those are in China.
Interesting thing is that China is starting to pay. China is seeing the same sort of issue of difficulty in consumption, now I think culturally pirating still pretty accepted there too.
But I don’t think it’s quite true anymore to say that games believe that you should pay for games, because the price of games has descended to free and the enormous amount of profit in the game space is made by free to play I guess so in which there is no distinction between a pirated copy and a real copy.
But this leads to a very singular type of game so it means it’s a game that’s backed onto a server that stories and data that is relevant and then you have consumables. But thats not the game we make. We make coherent games that comes with a price tag affixed and very easily pirated and it’s totally okay but I think you’ve seen in the vast majority your profit moving to the free to play place now so the vast amount of money in terms of investment games goes to free to play. Basically games that rely on services not not purely content.
Simon Frew: Accessibility and Convenience
- Simon Frew: Lot of the driving force for piracy is done though the lack of accessibility. For example I got a Steam account and it just stopped me pirating games completely, since it’s just a better to pay now or wait for an email with half price offers.
So essentailly its better accessibility issues also likely to get better quality if you pay for again because of software updates instead of v1.0 which may be buggy or lopsided, thus more likely a flawless good experience.
I have been a lot slower to stop pirating TV shows and stuff like til I got a Netflix account. Now I download less because it’s just so cheap, easy to use and the so much content that I go TV! what to watch, scrolling though until I find something that appeals to me and put it on.
So I think a lot of the driving ways reputation really heavy prating comes from particular movies where there’s staggered release dates and so you’re getting like in social medias a global platform so you’ll be getting tweets telling you what’s happening in the movies months before we are allowed to see. So the movies ruined for me, I’ll just download the next movie straight away to avoid spoilers.
Movie industry are better at this and they bringing released dates closer to be like global release dates and probably in some cases they are I really think it’s sort of the thing where if it’s like a reasonable price and accessible then people a lot less likely to pirate it.
As opposed to if it was more difficult to legally obtain it via DRM locking or massive 2 minutes piracy ads at the start of the movie.
- Jennifer Scheurle: You brought up a really interesting point that you brought up with things being easy because out of all the new platforms that we have for gaming for movies before for anything really that are now successful in their fields.
They have one thing in common they’re easy, Netflix is easy you know you pay you pay a fixed amount it’s easy to use and same goes for STEAM and goes for Spotify and I think that is that is what newer generations also want. We are a very different and new generation of consumers that care about things being easy and accessible.
Paul Noonan: Copyright is property
- Paul Noonan : Can I just say something there I think there are two there are two things there one is it’s a there’s a lot of discussion about what consumers want and obviously that’s really important when you’re in a business of producing the thing you want people to buy.
But the fundamental there is a fundamental point that copyright material is property and the people that owned the property have got the right to decide what they want to do with it.
In my view and sometimes they might want to keep something off the market for a short period or a longer period.
- McGinnis: I would like to interject. It’s not so much holding back the material as holding it back from specific parts of the market. It’s the distribution chain that is the major causes of problem in most cases especially as was mentioned before with movies now. It’s fine where you’ve got a real number of reels shipping around the world there is a production cost there.
But we buy DVDs anymore? (A few put their hands up. Bit of laughter)
While we do download a great deal. Australians spend more per capita than any other Western country in the world at least that was that was the case when we took those numbers to the election in 2013.
Audience: Fustration over media cost
Audience Question: Do believe that piracy is so rampent because of the sheer fact that it cost s dammn much to buy a dvd? I mean just buy one of the TV series and it cost $57 dollars in the last time I checked. Do you believe thats why the pirate party became a thing.
McGinnis: I say its the combination of all cost and the ability to actually obtain it in Australia.
We are still classed as region 4 after the U.S. and Canada in region 1. Region 2 is Europe and parts of Southeast Asia… Japan I think, and regions 3 is most of the rest of the world except for Australia and New Zealand. We are literally the ass end of the planet and get everything last.
Well whenever you talk about a physical item, Australias out of luck. We have a small population we’re geographically dispersed and we’re literally as far away from anything as you can possibly be
- Morgan Jaffit: If there is a bright center of the universe this is the planet. And that’s just the reality the more niche the product - so the more the smaller the audience the more I’d add costs involved in bringing over. That being said we are pretty well overcharged for everything and particularly on this digital stuff where you have distribution.
That there are a lot of archaic distribution agreements in place that drive pricing. You know an American price will be said local distributors has a local price based around physical goods and therefore your digital copy will cost the same as if it had to be shipped here on a boat to a niche and and these are all difficult problems to solve without pissing off your physical goods distribution chain.
- McGinnis: Here’s the things like okay so you’ve got it shipping it from America, but I are you really?
You could transfer it digitally and press it here in Morabbin.
- Morgan Jaffit: Look you could but again it comes down to facilities there are various facilities of various sizes. And we looked into physical copies of various games there are places locally that do it but expensively because small batch compared to Chinese factory that can churn out many copies. The thinkg I think we should becareful about is that in almost every case there are reasons that things exist that doesn’t make it right correct or maintainable.
So you’ve got an ongoing user process of reasons and justifications but we have better options we have better opportunities and some things will change. To touch on Australia I just think we are criminal by nature (Laughter)
Particular compaired to Germans, Germans a very rule abiding people.
Audience: I think the was thing we have created I wanted broken and scribbling that we have generation post in fact the editable state may not really 2010 the Canadian usually post because that it gets (Note: The audience question was garbled… most likely incorrect. Need retranscribing)
McGinnis: Technically the thing about the ACCC, though they did get crushed by the MPAA by trying to arc up about it. The issue with that was that because the DVDs and now blu rays as well are encrypted are requiring very specific devices to play those items as distinct from a region free media is that that was technically third line forcing in what was then the Trade Practices Act. (Australian Consumer Law)
Paul Noonan: I would like to reiterate, that even though obviously you are a creator (Morgan Jaffit) and that’s your business. The discussion again shifted back to the consumer perspective and I’m not trying to downplay that, but copyright is by nature at the moment and always has been a territorial beast so you get you create something in Australia if your your rights come from the Australian Copyright Act.
And because there are a lot of international treaties you also get corresponding rights in other countries but from the perspective of a creator who’s been in bands or a songwriter or or other you know filmmakers who are clients of mine. The ability to control where your work gets exploited and commercialized and who by is really fundamental to your ability to to make money out of what you do.
Because if you if you do a deal with a big global bohemoth whoes to say that they’re going to have any interest in exploiting your product in Italy or Sweden or whatever and there are countless Australian bands who had nice successes in countries and made really good money because they’ve done deals with independent labels in a range of different countries.
I think that needs to be looked at as well the whole region coding thing and ended the fact that the Australian parliamentary inquiry showed that we do get hard done by in terms of purchasing the software and music and films.
You don’t want to dismiss that but there is there is something on the other side as well.
Jennifer Scheurle: Copyright is not only about money
- Jennifer Scheurle : I think just one thing that we tend to forget whenever we talk about copyrights. The copyright discussion always seems be about money and that’s valid obviously in that’s where it comes from.
But there’s something more about this that you just touched on which is control over the things that you create and having agency over the things that you create.
Because you have to understand that I love musicians and you know developers like myself develop things that are very close to them and they’re very personal a lot of the time, so it’s not always only about money sometimes about where do I want my content to to pop up… am i okay with where the platforms exists or do I maybe feel uncomfortable with my content is very close to my heart and that is very personal sometimes to be on a platform and I not only disagree with or I find difficult or goes against what I believe in for example.
And that’s that a part of copyright that is not only about money.
- Brigid Dixon: One of those stories that comes back to me, in about that idea of “where where do I want it to be” is when pauline hanson launched One Nation and used “I Am Australia” song. The people who own ted the copyright on that were really ashamed that it was being used and their way of pulling that song away from it.
Of saying that is not what this song is about you have no right to affiliate with that through copyright. They were able to say you don’t have the rights to that you can’t perform it publicly you can’t play it stop it.
- Simon Frew: The original idea of copyright was to have a way to balance the rights between the creators and the consumers and so the original copyright last for 14 years the chance to give immunity to actually still publishing in for another 14. Now its for life plus 70 years which is absolutely ludicrous for the games there’s no way game consoles/systems we used today is going to still support it in 70 years time.
And so this is fields that we are discussing today and you see other works like old movies and old music pieces, where before it runs out of copyright no one listens or watches for 30 years because they would have to pay full price and they don’t know what it is and there is no way to access it legally.
And thus everyone waits until it comes out on public domain and they can access it again, and people like music historian will through what they find.
So what the problem the Pirate party sees is that this current copyright regime has been going too long and far in favor of the rights holders, and that winding the copyright period back to 15 years would be fine.
As for copyright for commercial purposes there’s a lot of mods for games and… (Note: Not too sure on the meaning)… modding … important to keep the game balanced they can sort out like if people make the mod sort of breaks the game they want to use it somewhat becomes a super character like that’s really important the owners can retain the control over single player games.
We think that it would be best to have the freedom to mod their copy of the game as long as you own the original copy of the game and be able to add whatever mods you like.
Already a lot of gaming companies realize this and support modding and have left their game open for it.
The balance has to be (Note: Unsure on wording) drivers for customers in South America.
Why can’t we have it like that? On internet, I could use a VPN and pretend to be American. And now I got it.
It’s like a stupid artificial barrier that drives consumers do it. And thus we feel we need to be able to acheive the balance back again.
- McGinnis: There is an unpopular arguments within the party that copyright should only last for 25 years after the death of the author.
The theory that if you write or create something and following this you have celebratory sex then immediately afterwards you get hit by bus. Death of the author plus 25 years will get your kid through University and then on their own. (Laughter)
- Paul Noonan: Yeah I think there’s a lot of a lot of truth in what you’re saying you know there are all sorts of examples of this where for example them Chris Bailey from the Saints seminal campaign for song called “firewood” back in about 78 or 79. Bruce Springsteen recorded with in 2014 and sold 500,000 copies.
Under the record cut under the platform of of the pirate party and there’s a lot I find about pirate party platform I find fine under a copyright perspective. But under that platform Chris would have gotten nothing out of that song and I don’t see the economic or other justification for that.
You know I’m in a band in the 80s we’ve got a major record label that for some reason wants to release two of our songs at the moment. The record company that financed that album never made us money back, I don’t see the economic reason why they should not be able to get some return now even though the song came out 30 years ago.