Survey thank you

Thank you for completing my survey. Please share with all your friends, family and anyone else you know about it. The more people who do it, the better the quality of data I will get.

Note: I am "closing" the survey (i.e. not using any more data from it for my research) on 4 May 2014. It would be great if you could share with others before then.

If you want to read some more about the survey, please see my blogpost about it. There have been lots of comments on this page and I have put together another blogpost to answer some of them. Thank you for all your opinions - they are all appreciated.


Reuben Thomas said...

Maybe I just don't understand surveys, but this survey frustrated me in the way that most surveys frustrate me.

I said "yes" to almost every part of every question, but that does not mean that I think that it's good if everyone copies and shares everything; it's rather that the current situation is bad in so many ways.

For example, I said I wouldn't mind the student copying a DVD of a film she needed to watch for her course, as I'd expect her institutional library to have a copy, or some equivalent to a JSTOR subscription. They probably don't, because the film industry has been so backward about selling digital content; that's their problem.

Similarly, I've made many CDs, but make almost no money from sales of recorded music (a typical recording is done on a buyout basis, and air-play royalties are worth less than the time it would take me to supply the documentation to validate my claim to them), so I'm happy if people copy the recordings as I might get live work out of it (which is how I make most of my income).

I think creators should have some control over their intellectual creations once published, but at present that control is mostly vested in sclerotic corporations which have extended it beyond all reason or fairness. In a better organised world, many more of my answers would have been "no".

OrigamiGirl said...

Hi Francis,

I pretty much agree with the above. Especially about the academic one because really my answer is 'Teachers shouldn't expect pupils to pay for expensive learning materials. They should have a library copy. If no other is available and it is a requirement then it is ok.'

My main example of copyright annoyance is watching star trek. I love star trek, and I wanted to watch it legally. I found voyager available on lovefilm so I pay £5 a month just to watch all the Voyager I like. But when I tried paying to watch Next Gen on amazon, itunes and the official star trek website I was told I don't have the regional rights. I'm willing to pay to enjoy the shows but can't because of having a UK computer. Also the HMV and blockbuster in my local town have closed recently. It's kind of hard to even buy the physical things...
There are so many different copyright problems and nuances.

Saxon Christopher Whittle said...

I'm inclined to agree with Reuben there. The situation we have has been caused by the poor response by a lot of these industries to the internet - protecting intellectual property by making the product less functional compared to a 'pirate' copy for example just is a hallmark of an outdated industry.

Warbo said...

I agree that some of the questions seem loaded, or the choices don't reflect what I would answer in a free-form way.

In the example of a piece required for a course, I would not illegally obtain a copy; I would complain to the lecturer that if I they require me to accept the work's licensing terms in order to complete the course, then that is coercion (since I was not informed of these terms when I began the degree programme) and I would escalate the issue as far as necessary to avoid having to agree to such terms. I did exactly this when my I was told to use Microsoft Excel during my Physics undergraduate course, and helped others do the same via the student union's Free Software Society (which I had previously set up). In fact, the survey ignores this issue since it only mentions money; I refused to use proprietary software despite it being available for no cost on the University's computers.

Also, some of the questions have confusing terminology. One question says that someone "owns" a copy of a work, but the question seems to imply that they have merely accepted a limited license to access it. Many of the questions actually fail to mention the terms a work is under; for example one question essentially says 'is it OK to copy ebooks?', well of course it is if they're from Project Gutenberg.

mathew said...

"…that does not mean that I think that it's good if everyone copies and shares everything…"

Folks, Francis isn't trying to find out if people think the current state of play is good. I think pretty much everyone would agree that it's not good, even if they all said so for different reasons.

No, I think the question being asked is: How are people actually responding to the current state of play, and how well does the legal situation reflect the attitudes of the population as a whole?

This is important because when the law is completely out of step with what the people think, it brings the law into disrepute—think drug laws, for example.

Charles Oppenheim said...

Another problem with the survey is that, assuming the changes go through, UK copyright law will permit some of the actions outlined in the survey that are currently illegal.

Anonymous said...

A couple of comments about the survey itself though - one question is about a person videoing their friend singing a cover version. then it says that the person doesn't have the original musician's permission. Do you mean the singing friend, the person wgo made it famous or the writer who could hold the copyright? And which site would it have been posted to ? A social media site would be different to one that promotes bands.

Many other questions were based on whether you would download a video, but didn't address whether the video was available. Surely it's different watching an old clip of Casey Jones to relive your childhood to getting the latest blockbuster which is available in Asda or wherever.

Anonymous said...

The only thing I would say is that the use of "don't know" doesn't really feel appropriate - a better answer option might be: "It's complicated". Also, it might be useful to have: "Yes it is wrong except when it applies to me" which is what I was thinking about some of the answers (and is at the root of the problem I guess!) ... ;-)

Anonymous said...

There's a lot of politics around copyright.

If it had anything to do with making sure that an artist got paid for their work, then you'd think there'd be an interest in exactly how much the artist gets paid (if at all).

I mean, if the artist gets paid 0.02p out of a £15.99 product, or is dead, then it's a little difficult to argue that copying the CD counts as stealing from them.

If we cared about what artists got out of copyright material, there would be such a thing as FairTrade, where the amounts were disclosed.


Paul, UK said...

For the most part I had to say I don't know what 'most people' think. I know what I think, and I think I know what most of the people I know fairly well think. Maybe that option is deliberate and included after much deliberation. I don't know!

Good luck with the research.

Pete said...

As someone who writes questionnaires as part of my day job, I was frustrated by some of the options and lack of the possibility to write free text. Things are not as clear cut as your survey implies.

It might also have given insight if you'd given an option not just for people to answer 'do you think this is OK?' but also 'would you do this?'

I hope the work goes well and that you are able to draw some meaningful conclusions (or identify further areas for investigation) from this survey.

Harry Wood said...

Well as someone who frequently starts filling a survey on an interesting topic only to get bored about a third of the way through and give up....

...I think this simple survey is rather good :-)

Gervase Markham said...

I was disappointed not to have a "do you think this should be legal so you could do this" question, alongside the "would you do this" question.

Many of the things on that list I wouldn't do because they are illegal and because God commands me to respect the governing authorities, but I do think it should be legal to do them.


Anneke said...

I don't think ther is anything wrong with derivative works, so singing someone elses song, writing a sequel should be acceptable. However, I know that if you wanted to publish a book with say James Bond you might need to seek permission from the authors estate. On the radio the other day I heard that since flapping birds is no longer available, you can now download a multitude of similar flapping 'esque' games, these are clearly derrivitive works that someone else is cashing in on.

James said...

The trouble with this survey is that "OK" is ambiguous here. I answered "no" to most of the questions on the basis that, on my understanding of copyright law (which may not be accurate, as that is not a field in which I practise), these things are unlawful, and, whilst I believe that the law relating to copyright, patents, trademarks and other forms of so-called "intellectual property" ought to be drastically liberalised, I believe that people ought to obey the law even though they disagree with it: this distinction is not recorded by the survey, and people who believe that people ought to obey the law but simultaneously think that the law ought to be changed are not distinguished from people who agree with the law as it stands.

Anonymous said...

The one problem I have with this survey is this: in the situation where John wants to listen to an album but doesn't want to pay for it, while I marked that I thought it was OK, there needs to be a little nuance there. If he wants an album so he can hear it and decide whether or not he likes it and is willing to spend money, that's totally fine. If he wants it specifically so he doesn't ever have to pay for it, that's a problem. If it motivates him to go to that artist's concert, it's less of a problem, but the artist/creator should get something out of the exchange. The middle men I don't care so much about, but if you make something, you have a right to be compensated in some way for it.

Anonymous said...

All in all, a good questionnaire. I would have preferred the options without the 'OK' aspect (is it referring to legally OK- as most would answer 'no', or morally OK- as mentioned above if necessary as course material or the copyright owner is deceased, then 'yes'.) It feels like a bit of a wrist slap approach: "Do you think it's OK (because you know it's not don't you?? You know it's illegal really!)..." and I wonder whether this could influence peoples' honest answer? I dont know, I'm a northerner living down south so people generally think I'm bound to nick their penny chews- but I think that's OK if I'm hungry! ;) Good luck with your research- looking forward to reading your findings x

Francis Davey said...

Lots of great comments. I have tried to engage with the bulk of them in new post.

Karen Milam said...

Sorry if this has already been brought up as I didn't have time to read them all fully.

A couple of these questions bugged me, for example the borrowing a book or a film to make their own copy. I said was not OK but the far more common occurrence is for someone to pass a book or film on or lend it temporarily. I know you're research is specifically about copying but it may have been useful for you to have people attitudes to the former practice to compare as it has an impact on copyright.

An interesting topic for research though, good luck with it.

aislinnoc said...

I had an issue with one of the questions - if a person has downloaded music, why are they then moving it from a CD to their phone? Surely if they have downloaded it, it won't be on a CD?

Ted Lemon said...

I felt pretty comfortable saying yes to almost everything. The reason is that copyright is something that society grants to creators, not a natural right. Currently the terms of copyright are so onerous that violating them simply can't be seen to be wrong in a moral or ethical sense. Since copyright is something conferred to the holder by the people, if the people do not feel that they have gotten a good deal, they have the right to change the terms.

If we want copyright to work as advertised, the terms have to be balanced, so that people actually do feel it is wrong to violate them. This isn't rocket science.

Javier said...

Hi Francis

I just wanted to share some observations on the survey:

It is a bit unclear when you ask if I think it’s OK to do something, whether it’s a moral value judgement or an opinion on the current legality.

The scenario on borrowing a video to copy it is less realistic than the others. Most people would borrow the video to watch it. The problem is that they cannot do this with digital delivery items.

Good luck with the dissertation!

Tzctlpc said...

The survey isn't very useful.

To most third questions, where I am asked if I think it is OK to do what is described (a form or another of copyright infringement) I replied No, but that is because I think one should abide by the law, in reality I think the law is broken and hold no grudge against people that brake most stupid copyright provisions, but again, I go out of my way not to infringe copyright (I reason that items whose copyright is draconian will sell less, so not infringing is a way to punish the holders economically).

Anonymous said...

Fascinating project - it's really interesting to look at social norms in this way. I found answering on behalf of 'people' tricky - I really have no idea where people draw their personal lines, even among my immediate peer group.

For future exercises, I would suggest adding more nuances, as suggested by some of the commenters above. There can be a difference between what you think is ok, and what you would actually do. And, picking up on Javier's comment, it might be worth explaining what you mean by ok. Or asking respondents to distinguish between morally ok and legally ok. Even though you're looking at social norms, our perception of 'ok' is inevitably going to be influenced by our understanding of the law, however rudimentary. I'm not sure the social can be detached from the legal but it would be interesting to know if people draw different moral and legal lines.

Also, open-ended comment boxes under each question would be a good idea - judging from the comments here, you could generate some really interesting data from this.

I look forward to reading the results.