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As and IFPI lobbyist, Maria Martin-Prat looked to outlaw DRM cracking and making backup copies. Now she's Europe's "copyright queen" (or more precisely the "Head of Unit Services I, Directorate General Internal Market, European Commission").   (Source: European Commission)

EU legislators Christian Engström (Sweden, top) and Marietje Schaake (Netherlands, bottom) are fighting the appointment.  (Source: Wired (top)/LGEO Online (bottom))
EU hires a head lobbyist from RIAA parent org. IFPI to steer its copyright policy

While most agree that piracy is illegal and wrong to some extent, many feel the media industry is behind the times when it comes to digital distribution.  They argue that media companies fail to provide consumers with appealing options hence consumers take matters into their own hands and resort to piracy.  They also complain that the piracy punishment resembles mob tactics more than a fair legal process, with million dollar verdicts against everyday citizensthreats, and off-the-record settlements.

Unfortunately for those unhappy with the situation, it may be about to get worse.  

I.  The EC's New Copyright Chief -- A History of Working to Cut Owner Rights

The European Union has been appointed Maria Martin-Prat to head their copyright commission.  The copyright commission is part of the EU's business regulatory body, the European Commission (EC).  Ms. Martin-Prat will be replacing former chief Tilman Lueder, who is heading to a new position in China.

Ms. Martin-Prat had formerly left the EC and enjoyed employment working at International Federation of the Phonographic Industry, the parent organization of the U.S.'s RIAA, Canada's CRIA, and Britain's BPI.

During her stint at the IFPI, Ms. Martin-Prat worked to try to outlaw backup copies of media.  The EC provides a private copying exemption, dubbed the European Fair Dealing.  The U.S. enjoys similar exemptions, which the RIAA/IFPI have contended in the past are illegal.  They argue that making backups is "stealing" and you should just repurchase damaged/lost content.  Ms. Martin-Prat argued [PDF] that backups have "no reason to exist".

She contends that backup exemptions violate the three-step test first written into the Berne copyright convention 50 years ago.  Those steps state that exemptions are only fair if they:

  1. Apply to a "special" case. 
  2. Don’t interfere with the "normal exploitation of the work."
  3. Don't "unreasonably prejudice the legitimate interests of the rights holder." 
She reiterated her stance in a conference paper [PDF].

Similarly, Ms. Martin-Prat looked to rob consumers of the ability to crack DRM.  DRM cracking in the U.S. and Europe is prohibited, but not typically prosecuted unless you distribute the cracked files.  Ms. Martin-Prat sought to make the very act of DRM cracking a prosecutable felony.

In her IFPI work said that she and the industry were "pleading for strong copyright protection".  Well apparently those pleas for stronger "protection" have been answered.

II. Growing Opposition to Appointment

Two EU legislators -- Liberal Dutch MEP Marietje Schaake and Swedish Pirate Party MEP Christian Engström -- have openly blasted the appointment.  They write [PDF] the EC asking:

 

Does the Commission not see any problems in recruiting top civil servants from special interest organisations, especially when being put in charge of dossiers directly related to their former employers? If not, why not?

Does the Commission feel that such an appointment would help to build confidence with the European Parliament and the general public that the Commission can be trusted to handle copyright-related issues in a fair and balanced manner?

Mr. Engström was even more emphatic in his own blog, slamming the EU for supporting what he sees as corrupt cronyism.  He writes:

Welcome to the European Union, where the big business lobby organizations are calling most of the shots at the Commission, and where citizens are just seen as a nuisance to be ignored. I guess the only real news is that they don’t even bother to try to hide it any more.

Given existing EC rules and policies, the organization now has to respond to the criticism pertaining to the appointment, justifying its controversial decision.

This is not the first time that the issues of corruption, favoritism, and bias have been raised in Europe.  During the iconic trial of the Pirate Bay, the judge in the trial was found to have formerly worked for a copyright protection organization.  

He provided jurors with information that the Pirate Bay admins' legal team felt was inaccurate and misleading.  The trial resulted in a conviction, a sentence of prison time, and a massive fine for the admins.

The legal team tried to appeal the verdict and sentence, but ended up losing before an unsympathetic higher court.



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Martin-Pratt
By tigz1218 on 4/6/2011 1:32:21 PM , Rating: 0
The "-" in the last name explains it all. She is a liberal.




RE: Martin-Pratt
By nolisi on 4/6/2011 2:00:15 PM , Rating: 2
But the fact that she worked for big business (supported by the fact that she makes statements indicating she wants to control you) explains it more factually- she's conservative.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By Ticholo on 4/6/2011 2:19:17 PM , Rating: 4
She's Conservative-Liberal, perhaps?


RE: Martin-Pratt
By Denigrate on 4/6/2011 2:23:28 PM , Rating: 2
As the Libs, at least in the USA, are the ones who look to control all aspects of a citizens life, I'd put her as a Lib.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/6/2011 2:36:09 PM , Rating: 5
quote:
As the Libs, at least in the USA, are the ones who look to control all aspects of a citizens life, I'd put her as a Lib.


"As the politicians , at least in the USA, are the ones who look to control all aspects of a citizens life, I'd put her as a politician ."

There, fixed it for you.

While what you're saying is true to some extent, there's plenty of things that at least some "conservative" politicians in the U.S. would love to try to take from you. For example, your right to freedom of religion (some argue the U.S. gov't should be religion-based).

They look to abridge your freedom to control what goes into your body by supporting the criminalization of low-risk narcotics like marijuana (while promoting others like alcohol and tobacco). They violate your privacy (as do liberals) by supporting domestic spying. And they support initiatives to kill fair use and local municipal internet projects.

And they look to regulate whether or not a woman can legally have an abortion, with some arguing it should be illegal even in cases of rape or when the mother's life is at risk.

You can cherry pick examples all day from both sides. Reality check. In the U.S. BOTH parties look to control different aspects of your life. Don't delusion yourself.

The longer we blindly ascribe to labels like "liberal" and "conservative" to describe which political party is "good" and which is "evil" without looking at issues, the longer politicians can profit off corruption and take away our freedoms.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By ClownPuncher on 4/6/2011 3:25:11 PM , Rating: 2
To simplify, Progressives (both conservative and liberal) generally dislike freedoms and favor "moral" populism. Liberal and Conservative have definitions that are far too loose to apply to statements like the one you quoted.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By Nutzo on 4/7/11, Rating: 0
RE: Martin-Pratt
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/7/2011 10:21:45 AM , Rating: 3
quote:

I see conservative politicians who acknowledge that this country was founded on Christian principles, but I have yet to hear one that wants to turn this country into a theocracy.


A nation founded on "religious principles" is a theocracy, more or less. You can argue semantics, but many Middle Eastern government are "founded on Muslim principles" and I'm sure you'd agree they have theocratic character.

I agree its ridiculous for people to get mad at Bush for praying (Obama says he regularly prays before making decisions too). Really that's a personal matter and does not deserve to be analyzed in a political context.

That said, the nation wasn't even founded by Christians. The majority of the founding fathers were DEISTS, who believed in God, but not in the Bible/traditional Christianity.

For the record, since everyone always questions my religious beliefs... I consider myself a Christian, though I'm not a fundamentalist. I do believe that church and state MUST remain separate. And I also agree with the Catholic church in its assessment that Christianity is ONE path to god and that non-Christians can get into heaven/the afterlife (see Vatican II for more info). It is the path I personally choose, but I'm against discriminating against others who have different religious views.

quote:

As for low-risk narcotics, do some real research on the harmful effects of marijuana first. However, I don’t think sending pot smokers to jail solves the problem. A better solution would be to ban drug users from all government benefits instead. No welfare, no section 8 housing, no disability because you are too drugged out to work. There are way too many druggies living off the taxpayers. If they say the drugs don’t affect them, then let them work and support themselves. And if they get caught driving under the influence, or selling/giving drugs to minors, then throw the book at them.


I suggest YOU do some research because I have. Medicine's most prestigious journal, The Lancet, recently published a study (which I covered and read) that comprehensively assessed the effects of various commonly used drugs. It found that Alcohol and Tobacco had worse health and social effects than Cannabis.

You're just wrong here, plain and simple, and just parroting the misinformation you've heard from some talking head. Do some actual reading.

quote:

As for abortion, the 1st reasonability of the federal government is to protect life, it’s the 1st item of the 1st amendment to the constitution. If you believe that it’s a live, there is no choice in the matter. As for when life begins, nobody really knows for certain, but technology can allow a baby to survive at 5 months, so I’m pretty sure we can call it a life some time before that.


I think it's ridiculous to argue that a fetus without a fully developed nervous system can be "conscious".

If you argument was true, a mother who got in a car crash due to making a mistake driving and lost her baby could be charged with second degree murder.

Regardless, your perspective is based on your religious views, not scientific ones, so it has no place in government (unless your "Christian government" is realized, and in that I mean your specific fundamentalist sect of Christianity, as many denominations do not agree with you.).

quote:

Most conservative are NOT against abortion in the case of rape or when the mother's life is at risk, that’s just liberal scare talk.


They've voted that way in the past! You can't argue with that.

quote:

Yes you can cherry pick examples but too often I see people on the left twisting them to support their side.


I could easily provide you examples of the hypocrisy of the left if you were insulting conservatism. Both sides are very hypocritical. I'm glad we can at least agree here (to some extent).


RE: Martin-Pratt
By Nutzo on 4/7/2011 12:33:23 PM , Rating: 1
Most of western civilization can be traced back to “Christian principles”, but that does not make us a theocracy.

Iran is a theocracy, since it has religious leaders (of one specific religion) running the country, to the exclusion of anything else.

I wasn’t justifying the use of Alcohol and Tobacco by saying that marijuana is not low-risk. They all have health and social risks, in fact my father died young due to smoking tobacco.
You should also look at the source of the marijuana used in the studies. Every official study I’ve seen, uses marijuana that was legally grown under government license at single research location (using illegal pot in a study would get the researchers in trouble). This marijuana is very weak compared to what is currently being sold on the street, which makes these studies biased towards your side of the argument.

As for abortion, what age would you say a fetus is conscious? Only after it’s born, 1 day before its born, at 8 months, at 5 months?
Studies have shown that the brain starts developing very early, during the 1st trimester, and by the 5th month, brain activity patterns resemble an adult. This is based on science, not religion, and the destruction of a conscious being is murder.

As for a mother who loses her baby in a crash, most states DO have laws concerning this. If you kill a pregnant woman, you can be charged with not only killing the woman, but will killing her unborn child. If the woman survives, but the fetus doesn’t, you can still be charged with the killing.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By JasonMick (blog) on 4/7/2011 4:08:49 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Most of western civilization can be traced back to “Christian principles”,


I would agree with this statement. You ORIGINALLY mentioned the founding fathers -- most of whom were NOT Christian.

The Christian church most definitely guided "western" society throughout the Middle Ages and Renaissance, including during the colonization of America during the late Renaissance. It was only in the 1600s and 1700s that the power of the Church finally weakened.

Now that's a totally separate issue and is more of a historical discussion, though.

What we were discussing (I thought) was the separation of church and state.

quote:
but that does not make us a theocracy.

Iran is a theocracy, since it has religious leaders (of one specific religion) running the country, to the exclusion of anything else.


I have no problem with you (an individual) praying no matter what your job is.

What is problematic is if teachers or other authority figures organize a group prayer in a government funded school (private schools should be able to do whatever, imo). Because in doing so, you've discriminated against children who pray differently or don't pray at all, essentially violating their Constitutional rights.

Also problematic is the issue of putting the ten commandments in a federal court house (there was a major debate on this -- some fundamentalists religious conservatives were very adamant that this should be allowed and encouraged). That is officially sanctioning three religions -- Judaism, Christianity, and Islam (as all believe in the ten commandments in some form in their religious texts). In doing so you've excluded other religions (Hinduism, etc.)

Any time the government adopts specific religious texts or allows its employees to lead religious activities while on the clock, you're essentially taking a step towards theocracy. No ifs and or buts.

quote:
I wasn’t justifying the use of Alcohol and Tobacco by saying that marijuana is not low-risk. They all have health and social risks, in fact my father died young due to smoking tobacco.


Oh I agree there. My grandfather died of tobacco-induced emphysema and my grandmother died of liver disease from alcoholism.

Marijuana certainly has health risks too. Psychologically it's amotivating in at least some individuals (and I've witnessed this first-hand in good friends). And inhaling any burning substance predisposes you to cancer and diminishes your lung power.

Even if its legal I wouldn't smoke as a) I'm a runner b) I've had cancer once and don't want to have it again and c) I'm a bit of a health nut.

That said, I think if people want to grow/responsibly consume it in their own homes that should be their own business.

Now of course there should be laws against them driving while intoxicated, but that would be trivial enough to extend the DUI alcohol laws.

Ultimately its money that's preventing legalization. Cannabis can be cheaply grown in arid and colder climates. Once grown it can be quickly harvested, dried and smoked with little effort.

By contrast alcohol requires complex distillation process (anyone who's microbrewed can appreciate the difficulty) to get a quality brew. Likewise tobacco grows only in select climates (the south). Thus both lend themselves to creating large commercial drug companies.

These companies e.g. Budweiser, Malboro, etc. represent an incredible powerful lobby. And they are the same ones that have been fighting to outlaw marijuana. Not because it's medically more dangerous than their products -- but because they'll lose control of a good chunk of America's legal drug spending.

quote:
I’ve seen, uses marijuana that was legally grown under government license at single research location (using illegal pot in a study would get the researchers in trouble). This marijuana is very weak compared to what is currently being sold on the street, which makes these studies biased towards your side of the argument.


I don't know how much you know about marijuana, but the "strength" is largely dependent on the growing conditions, the hybrid variety, and what part of the plant you smoke/ingest. But more potent marijuana, while intoxicating doesn't carry any other harmful documented health effects (in fact it creates positive effects like greater pain relief).

The amount of carcinogens you receive from more potent pot is the same as they're in the smoke itself, not the psychoactive compounds (THC) that determine the perceived potency.

What you're likely referring to is marijuana laced with some other illegal narcotic like PCP, etc. This happens largely because marijuana is illegal and there's no gov't oversight in terms of purity.

Consuming such a substance is most definitely dangerous -- not so much because of the marijuana, but because of the other drug that's in the mix.

But again, it's crazy to say this justifies illegality, because illegality CREATES such cases of dangerous lacing.

quote:
As for a mother who loses her baby in a crash, most states DO have laws concerning this. If you kill a pregnant woman, you can be charged with not only killing the woman, but will killing her unborn child. If the woman survives, but the fetus doesn’t, you can still be charged with the killing.


Read carefully. I wrote if the mother was found at fault. I'm not aware of states having laws that prosecute a mother if she miscarries her baby following an accident she was at fault for.

quote:
As for abortion, what age would you say a fetus is conscious? Only after it’s born, 1 day before its born, at 8 months, at 5 months?
Studies have shown that the brain starts developing very early, during the 1st trimester, and by the 5th month, brain activity patterns resemble an adult. This is based on science, not religion, and the destruction of a conscious being is murder.


I probably should have been more specific. I was referring to the most common type of abortion, early term abortions and post-zygote contraceptives (e.g. "the morning after pill"). These account for in excess of 90 percent of procedures and are relatively safe.

In general, I agree with you, though, late term abortion is a difficult issue. After five to sixth months, I agree neural activity is occurring to the point where sentience may be achieved.

Really I have no problem with rules/restrictions on later term abortions. After all these constitute such a tiny fraction of the abortions performed as they are VERY risky and dangerous.

What I DO have a problem with is restrictions on the morning after pill or early (months 1-3) abortions. That should be a woman's own right, as I said, as there's not clear-cut scientific evidence to support sentience of the fetus AT THAT STAGE.

You'll probably say that not all conservatives oppose this, and that's true. But many do, and they've fought quite effectively to ban or try to ban early abortions both at the state and federal level.

That's quite problematic.

I also think women should get something like a 2:1 vote in legislatures when deciding on abortion issues. After all, it's easy for you or me to try to sit and pass judgement on somebody, but neither of us is ever going to have carry a fetus inside of us (assuming your a man).

Just as I believe in greater self-governance in terms of local gov't I believe women should have greater self-governance when it comes to abortion issues.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By Skywalker123 on 4/7/2011 11:59:29 AM , Rating: 2
Marijuana is not a narcotic.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By TeXWiller on 4/6/2011 2:43:35 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
the ones who look to control all aspects of a citizens life

No no, those are called socialists. They are the opposite of the US libertarian and the European liberal. ;)


RE: Martin-Pratt
By Autisticgramma on 4/6/2011 2:53:55 PM , Rating: 2
Liberal, Conservative, Red-Neck, Hippy Whatever!

Just labels that divide us, I think we all agree this is BS.

If I paid, let me play the damn game. I say give the thing away free, with DRM that serves LOTS of Ads, there will be a reason to buy again, No adds (a must paying for adds will kill any industry eventually). Obviously something LIKE steam is the answer, only maybe check in every 90 days for single player stuff.

Jeez its not like the new release isn't a beta anyway, Make me auth (Genuine Advantage any one?) for the stability updates and to remove adds.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By FaaR on 4/6/2011 3:07:18 PM , Rating: 2
O RLY? Libs want to control your life, as opposed to conservatives who don't want women to be able to get abortions, gays to be able to marry, muslims to be able to build mosques wherever they like, and so on?

I'm sure I must be missing some parts of where LIBERALS are the ones obsessed with controlling peoples' lives.

As for this woman, just look at her name. Martin-PRAT. It says it all.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By tastyratz on 4/6/2011 2:46:08 PM , Rating: 5
Whats with the confusing political labels?
"the simplest explanation is most likely the correct one"

She's a douche bag.


RE: Martin-Pratt
By BugblatterIII on 4/6/2011 7:21:07 PM , Rating: 4
No, she's a turd sandwich!


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