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[P]
Renaissance Now: Save the Public Domain!

By Eloquence in Culture
Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:48:08 AM EST
Tags: Freedom (all tags)
Freedom

In Eldred v. Ashcroft (previous story), the United States Supreme Court decided that the "limited times" clause in the US constitution should not be taken all too literally. Copyright is now, for all practical purposes, perpetual. Perhaps, if a prolific young writer of your childhood died in a tragic accident immediately after writing his first book, you might actually live to see the release of a "contemporary" work into the public domain. Copyright is "life of the author plus 70 years".

We may have lost a battle, but we can still win the war. With Larry Lessig's blessing, I have set up a mailing list (and associated wiki page) devoted to the specific issue of international copyright term reform. This is an issue we can all agree on. This is a cause we can rally around. This is where we can prove if this Internet thing can really make a difference or not. We have to try.


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Does it really matter?

Is the public domain so important as to justify such an organized effort? The vast majority of works from the 20th century will not be released into the public domain until late in the 21st. Chomsky, Sagan, Adams, Bradbury, Vonnegut, Steinbeck, Hemingway -- whatever floats your boat, chances are that it won't be freely available for a long, long time. In many cases, this means it won't be available at all, as publishers decide that there's no more money to be made. It won't be available for derivative works (including movies). It won't be possible to download it for free and print it out wherever you are. In most cases, it won't be indexed or electronically archived in a free format.

This also concerns a lot of still current scientific literature that could be used for education everywhere, especially in the Third World. Whole encyclopedias could become freely available and incorporated into projects like Wikipedia, which is currently restricted to the outdated 1911 Encyclopaedia Britannica.

While copyright nominally only protects specific expressions (and not ideas), this concept has been eroded through the legal construct of derivative works, to the point where authors are sued over characters. The case of the book The Wind Done Gone, a parody of the 1936 novel Gone With the Wind, became notorious as a Federal District Court ruled the parody in violation of copyright per derivation (the decision was reversed by a higher court, but the legal costs alone reveal the "chilling effect" on free speech).

It is hard to predict what kind of effects a massive release of works into the public domain would have. But it is perhaps best comparable to the Renaissance, where a lot of ancient works were rediscovered after centuries of secrecy and censorship -- and inspired a new period of creation and science. Leonardo's "Vitruvian Man" was inspired by the writings of Vitruvius (1st century BC), Copernicus cited Aristarchus, an ancient heliocentric philosopher, and even Charles Darwin had ancient predecessors. The authoritarianism of the church and the irrationalism of the period had the same chokehold on knowledge that copyright has now.

Clearly, the benefits of shorter copyright terms outweigh the costs to a select few. In fact, 17 economists filed an Amici Curiae letter in Eldred v. Ashcroft and argued the same, based on hard numbers. Ironically, the possibilities that the Internet gives us can be much more realistically applied under the copyright terms set by the US founders -- 14 years -- than under the current ones (up to about 150 years).

Everyone except for lobbyists and corrupt congress-critters understands that the situation is insane. This is something that we can actually agree to change! No matter where we stand on copyright per se, no matter where we live, we should all join forces and fight insane copyright terms, world-wide.

To this end, with Larry Lessig's approval, we have created the action mailing list. If we have accomplish this goal, we may choose a new task, but for the time being, this list is exclusively dedicated to copyright term reform. I have also started a stub page in our wiki to organize our activities.

Actions to take

So what can we actually do? Plenty! Here are some ideas:

  • Contact politicians. Make them aware of the issue. Let them know that there are people who care about the public domain. Try to locate potential friends -- local politicians who might become later allies, national ones who already are (in the US, Rick Boucher and .. well, maybe we can find more than just Rick Boucher).
  • Draft legislation. I see no reason why the OpenLaw process which was used in Eldred v. Ashcroft should not be used in the development of alternative legislation. We need to agree on a proposal that finds the correct balance between realism and idealism. Once we have sorted out the options, we will vote on one and rally behind it. Should terms simply be shorter, if so, by how much? Should copyright be extensible by holders like trademarks, so that corporations like Disney can preserve their precious "property" against hard cash, but the larger body of works goes into the public domain much sooner? Should there be different classes of public domain at different stages? We need to keep the internationality of copyright in mind here: WIPO should be one of our lobbying targets.
  • Educate. We need to carry the message to the general population. We should collaboratively write a "Public Domain Manifesto" and circulate it massively. We should create cool comics and posters and distribute them wherever we can. Publicity events like the proposed Mickey Mouse Release Day (needs to be planned well!) should help us get attention.
  • Protest. Street protests have been fairly effective in the Sklyarov case. If we can find common days and locations (e.g. specific corporations, seats of power) to protest, we will eventually get heard.
  • Boycott. Let Disney and the others know that we're not willing to take it anymore. List their products and stop buying them, tell others to do the same. "Disney doesn't want your children to read!" Protest with your wallets.
  • Collect funding. We need to collect financial support for our public domain efforts specifically. Perhaps the EFF can create a special fund for that purpose, perhaps we need to set up our own (keep in mind that this is an international, not just an American effort!). We can use this money for all of the above and more.

I'm sure we will think of more. This is a call to action - join the mailing list now and help work on the wiki. Let's create a new renaissance. Let's save the public domain!

This article is in the public domain. Please spread the word about this effort wherever appropriate.

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Poll
Will you join the effort to save the public domain?
o No, it's not important enough to me 6%
o No, I think it's hopeless 13%
o No [other reason] 3%
o I might .. perhaps .. what? A new Disney movie? Oh, shiny! 7%
o I'll look into it *cough* 24%
o Yes, I will. We can make a difference! 39%
o I support copyright term extension. Seriously. 5%

Votes: 122
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o previous story
o mailing list
o wiki page
o Wikipedia
o letter
o action
o stub page
o Mickey Mouse Release Day
o the mailing list
o Also by Eloquence


Display: Sort:
Renaissance Now: Save the Public Domain! | 214 comments (212 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
This is a good idea (4.50 / 8) (#2)
by rusty on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 07:26:55 PM EST

This is a good idea, and I think creating a working organization specifically dedicated to copyright term reform is a good way to go about it. I would suggest that the group collectively try to decide on a clear-cut goal, and that once a goal is identified, further argument about that goal be ruthlessly ignored and suppressed. One of the key factors for success here is unity, and I think you're starting on the right foot. The next step is to identify specific goals, measurable events which need to happen, such as "We seek to roll back the retroactively extended copyright on works granted by the Sonny Bono CTEA," or something like that. It needs to be driven by specifics for the group to work toward, not general desires like "copyright term reform."

We all know the net has the power to organize large numbers of people. This is an extremely important issue that quite a lot of people care about deeply, and I think has one of the best chances of success you'll find right now. The exectuion of the idea will make all the difference.

____
Not the real rusty

Thanks (3.66 / 3) (#3)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 07:47:34 PM EST

I agree we need to first agree on what we want and then enforce it. This is a common problem with many activist projects: no clear agenda, endless discussions. I am a firm believer in voting as a conflict resolution mechanism and this will be a good opportunity to test it. I will probably use Scoop's polling feature for that.

If it becomes necessary, I will moderate the list. I have done this on my other list, PEACELIST, and it works rather well. Mailman has better group moderation features than Yahoo so that is also an option. The wiki should be a good tool for organizing our documents (they can be switched to read-only when finished) and planning events (probably better than something like MeetUp, which is very limited). The thing I worry about is whether we will be able to get enough momentum. I hope some people reading this will try to help by spreading the word about this (*cough* Slashdot *cough*); I am a bit hesitant about mailing lots of people, the last time I did that I was accused of spamming.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

A couple of things (4.42 / 7) (#4)
by pde on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 08:50:01 PM EST

[Editorial] Do you really mean "should not be taken all too literally"?

[Topical] More importantly, you should realise that the biggest obstacle to achieving reasonable copyright terms is not WIPO, but the existence of the WTO's TRIPs Agreement. Aside from some technical exceptions, TRIPs makes it illegal for signatories to have copyright terms lasting less than 50 years after the death of the author, and is backed up a "dispute resolution" process that can impose economic sanctions. See Information Feudalism: Who Owns the Knowledge Economy? by Drahos & Braithwaite, for the story of TRIPs.

Visit Computerbank, a GNU/Linux based charity

Ironic title, don't you think? (3.90 / 11) (#6)
by gibichung on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:12:59 PM EST

It's hard to believe that the Renaissance could have happened if so much of its inspiration had not been lost and rediscovered hundreds or even thousands of years later. And don't get me started about the idiocy of comparing modern copyright laws to the "authoritarianism of the church and the irrationalism of the [medieval] period." How do you think that the Classic works came to be lost in the first place? And who preserved them?

To be honest, even when I agree with you I find your childishness infuriating. I'm sure I'm not alone. Maybe you should do "the cause" a favor and spare the other side a little ammunition. It'd be sad to think that this is the best "the community" could do.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt

Preservation etc. (4.54 / 11) (#14)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:57:08 PM EST

Sure, the church preserved about 1-10% of ancient works, the ones which were compatible with its ideology, after being properly modified (as we know from works where we have several surviving copies). Christian Emperors had, of course, repeatedly ordered the destruction of pagan temples and libraries, which included the Serapeum (part of the Library of Alexandria). We also know from the letters of Synesius of Cyrene that Christians of the time tracked and prohibited the holding of "unrevised copies" of books in private libraries. The contemporaries of the Christians blamed them for the downfall of ancient Roman civilization, which is why Orosius was asked to write a whole "History against the Pagans", which is the source for many revisionist claims about pre-Christian Rome that are repeated until today, even though it is generally recognized to be full of manipulations even by some apologists.

The same church didn't make any effort to bring these works to the unwashed masses, instead, it did its best to keep education from said masses by combatting the rise of secular authorities and regularly invading cities and towns that were a bit too free-spirited. Many of the monks who copied ancient writings couldn't even read them, as we know from the mistakes they made. Protestantism would just have been another of those sects we barely know anything about had it not had the support from several powerful lords.

I detest historical apologism of any flavor and will not resort to it just to convince the "bottom 1%", to which you have proven yourself consistently to be a part of.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

Did it occur to you (3.00 / 5) (#92)
by gibichung on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:14:06 PM EST

That you didn't have to confront the "historical apologists" on this issue at all?

Since you've completely ignored the question of whether your "Renaissance" analogy is appropriate in the first place - in lieu of a little Christian bashing and a show of arrogance - you've proven that you're willing to alienate the "bottom 1%" just to push one of your own pet agendas.

You'll fail to get any broad support because of it. And I doubt that you'll convince any "corrupt congress-critters" with that chip on your shoulder, either.

If you insist on acting like a child, you'll be treated like one.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

Once again, you're missing the point (3.66 / 3) (#149)
by Eloquence on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:02:30 PM EST

What may be off-putting to some may be enlightening and motivating to others. For example, if I used the analogy "the war on file sharing might turn into another war on drugs" on my weblog, most readers would then have a very specific idea of what could happen, whereas some (including you, I guess, if recent comments are any indication) would think: "Whoa, locking up kids for sharing MP3s is bad, but man, drugs are a completely different issue." Of course, it's always possible to go too far, but it's also possible to say too little.

For many, the Renaissance example helps better understand how freeing culture will boost it, it invokes images of artists rediscovering great works after centuries of intellectual darkness -- it was, after all, in this period that the term Dark Ages was coined by Petrarch. The church justified its reputation by immediately trying to suppress all progress, in the last stage with the help of the Inquisition and censorship, often successful.

Others may not understand the example and safely ignore it. It is only a small minority who regards the presentation of unpleasant facts as "Christian-bashing" (as if the Catholic Church represented all Christians - as if the CC of today was the same CC as that of the Dark Ages and the Inquisition). It would be irresponsible to twist or ignore imporant facts in order to convince this minority.

Childish? For me, being childish means impulsively jumping to conclusions while having an insufficient grasp of the topic in question. Here's looking at you, kid.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

The Real Causes (none / 0) (#182)
by LuYu on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 12:26:39 AM EST

This is a bit of a troll but I will respond to it anyway. You said:

It's hard to believe that the Renaissance could have happened if so much of its inspiration had not been lost and rediscovered hundreds or even thousands of years later.
It is not hard to believe, actually, for two reasons. First, the Catholic Church did supress information. They had lists of banned books. The other reason is that maybe it was not European knowledege that fueled the Renaissance, as the Europeans like to claim.

From the perspective of math and its impacts on the other sciences alone, this impact can be seen. The introduction of Arabic numerals revolutionized math in Europe. In fact, they made math possible in Europe. If you do not believe me, try long division with Roman numerals. Trigonometry was an addition to the Greeks' elementary work on geometry. It was a brilliant addition, and it was credited to the Arabs. At that time, most math and science in other Asian countries was much better developed than in Europe.

Inventions like the compass and printing had finally filtered through the intermediate countries from China into Europe. Many other ideas from the Middle East and India were also flooding into Europe.

Therefore, the Renaissance definitely could have happened without "so much of its inspiration [being] lost and rediscovered hundreds or even thousands of years later." The Greeks were not everything. Their ideas were not significantly more brilliant than ideas generated on the rest of the Asian continent.



----------

"I will believe you are not an animal when you do not eat, sleep, urinate, or defecate for one month."

[ Parent ]
I'd love to argue about the specifics (none / 0) (#185)
by gibichung on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 03:24:13 AM EST

of the history, but there'd be no point; if the inspiration for the Renaissance was revived Classics or new ideas from Asia, neither supports Eloquence's argument.

Obviously, both were important factors. And, of course the role of the Church was mixed, but it can hardly be called the sole reason for the disappearance of the Classics. The culture which produced them was already well on its way out at the time of the birth of Christ.

-----
"No man is above the law and no man is below it; nor do we ask any man's permission when we require him to obey it." -- Theodore Roosevelt
[ Parent ]

Who cares? (2.38 / 13) (#7)
by datapack on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:19:09 PM EST

Go to the library.

Yes I briefly considered the dire information straits of starving paupers in Deepest Africa, Iraq and elsewhere, and determined the art of 20th Century Dead White Men is uninvited, utterly inconsequential to their lives if not inimical to their culture, and not as good as copper during their frequent bouts with survival. If copyright is important to you, then the paradox is you live in a society with a combinatorial surfeit of information, more information than you know to do with. It simply is not important to anyone or anything if you are legally entitled to obscure your creativity with Mickey Mouse or are forced lay bare its lack of originality without.

I cannot think of a less important social issue than copyright. You should be ashamed of yourselves.

--
If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry. (Exodus 22:23)

Hi there! (4.00 / 5) (#13)
by rusty on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:54:22 PM EST

I thought you were leaving?

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
You think I should? (1.50 / 2) (#28)
by datapack on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:02:47 PM EST


--
If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry. (Exodus 22:23)
[ Parent ]

Well (3.00 / 1) (#41)
by rusty on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:14:50 AM EST

That's for you to decide, really. I just didn't want you to forget that you'd decided to go away.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
My intentions are noble. (3.00 / 4) (#44)
by datapack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:44:52 AM EST

If I go, who will witness your pristine community's incestuous circle jerk of would-be uncircumcised penises? For posterity, I mean, and to forewarn women and children. Make no mistake, friend, Connie Chung has a few difficult questions in your future.

--
If thou afflict them in any wise, and they cry at all unto me, I will surely hear their cry. (Exodus 22:23)
[ Parent ]

bravo (3.50 / 2) (#88)
by ethereal on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:58:58 PM EST

...would-be uncircumcised penises...

If that doesn't sum up that recent article, I don't know what does. Way to coin a phrase - it's the essence of "wannabe" I think. Too bad I probably can't work it into polite conversation very much...

--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

Rusty: Troll Buster (3.00 / 1) (#78)
by jayhawk88 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:37:36 AM EST

Coming this fall to NBC.

Why, then, should we grant government the Orwellian capability to listen at will and in real time to our communications across the Web? -- John Ashcroft
[ Parent ]
You say that as if it were a dirty word. (3.50 / 2) (#95)
by Noam Chompsky on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:26:11 PM EST

I am an unrepentant troll. I mean to manipulate your intellectual insecurities in order to satirize, without pity, your immunity to criticism. Well what does that mean? It means you believe, without warrant, that you are right about things you do not, and cannot by their nature, understand. Dig it: the geeks, like all theory that came before them, will be displaced by history, mystery, and prophecy.

--
Faster, liberalists, Parent ]

Fuck!!! (3.00 / 4) (#96)
by Noam Chompsky on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:27:32 PM EST

If you Open Sores scoundrels had a thought for the benighted souls forced to endure your stillborn sexuality (a.k.a. Perl scripts), you would have made it easier to work with multiple accounts. But, of course, you only care for the flap of skin connected to your unemployed penises, and to think of the children as it were.

--
Faster, liberalists, Parent ]

It's ok (none / 0) (#162)
by rusty on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 02:25:48 AM EST

After I posted the above, I read some of your other comments, and realized you were just trolling, and were not actually such an asshole. It's so hard to tell sometimes. Please, feel free to carry on.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]
Did I ever tell you... (3.00 / 2) (#157)
by Dirty Liberal Scumbag on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 12:24:19 AM EST

...that you're one of my most favorite people in the world? Seriously.

Toodles
DLS
---

I am now whatever you wish me to be to excuse your awesomeness.
[ Parent ]

What is the most important social issue, then? (3.00 / 1) (#110)
by roystgnr on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:30:17 PM EST

I would hate to follow your advice, focus my concern on starving paupers in Iraq, only to discover that starvation is only the third most important social issue and my efforts have, in some way unbeknownst to me but apparantly clear to you, hindered the support of whatever the second and first most important issues are.

[ Parent ]
I missed something here... (3.00 / 1) (#8)
by reza on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:32:49 PM EST

 Boycott.  Let Disney and the others know that we're not willing to take it anymore. List their products and stop buying them, tell others to do the same. "Disney doesn't want your children to read!" Protest with your wallets.

What does Disney have to do with this?  Is this an anti-Disney campaign or is it a reform law issue?

The mouse ... (none / 0) (#29)
by snowmoon on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:06:01 PM EST

Mickey mouse's copyright would have expired a few years ago had it not been for the CTEA.  The first work of Mickey in Steamboat Willie would have been fair game, as well as ant new works based on steamboat willie.

[ Parent ]
That's great.... (none / 0) (#57)
by reza on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:45:19 AM EST

...but isn't this a bigger issue than Mickey Mouse?

[ Parent ]
Derivative works (none / 0) (#60)
by ensignyu on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:00:19 AM EST

IANAL (yeah), but I don't think new works created from Steamboat Willie would fall into the public domain.

Disney could create a new movie, The New Adventures of Mickey Mouse, with all new content, and it would be copyrighted. Of course, Universal Studios could also create Mickey Mouse Goes to Hell and Disney couldn't do anything about it (in theory, anyways.)

Not sure if I misread your post.

[ Parent ]

Steamboat Willie is not the strongest example (5.00 / 1) (#91)
by Gorgonzola on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:01:39 PM EST

A lot of people that are using Steamboat Willie as an example of why the extension of the copyright duration is wrong (which I think is wrong indeed) overlook the fact that most Disney characters are covered by trademark law as well.

Trademarks can be extended every n years where n depends on the jurisdiction you are in and there are good reasons for that.

This means that even if Steamboat Willie ended up in the public domain, Universal still could not make Mickey Mouse Goes to Hell since that would constitute trademark infringement.

Better examples are films like The Wizard of Oz, Metropolis and other classics from that era.

But that is just me, nitpicking.


--
A page a day keeps ignorance of our cultural past away, or you can do your bit for collaborative media even if you haven't anything new or insightful to say.

[ Parent ]
Is that right? (none / 0) (#93)
by NoBeardPete on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:17:32 PM EST

I mean, "Coca Cola" is a trademarked name for a soft drink and "Jack Daniels" for a brand of whiskey, but I can still make a movie entitled "The Jack and Coke Club" about a group of alcoholics who happen to like Jack Daniels whiskey in Coca Cola, right? As long as I'm not trying to pass it off as being in any way affiliated with the Coca Cola Corporation or whatever company makes Jack Daniels, shouldn't that be fine?

Perhaps it falls under the purview of "dilution" or something like that. Could someone who knows about the legal situation clear this up for me?


Arrr, it be the infamous pirate, No Beard Pete!
[ Parent ]

Sir... (none / 0) (#112)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:46:02 PM EST

I would like to produce your movie.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
Dilution re: Is that right? (none / 0) (#122)
by arbofnot on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:18:59 PM EST

One of two general possibilities:

1. You get sued into oblivion by Jack Daniels or Coca Cola Corp. for trademark issues, whether legally justified or not.

2. Major studio gets a sweet product-placement deal after your script is rewritten by committee, to depict a ragtag bunch of terribly charming and funny drinking buddies.



[ Parent ]
The provision you make (none / 0) (#123)
by Gorgonzola on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:20:35 PM EST

...sums up more or less what the criterium is.

As long as you are not trying to pass it off in any way affiliated with the (insert brand name here) itself.

That does in no way mean however that you could do a Mickey Mouse film. Disney has trademarked the the cartoon figure itself as a brand that needs protection. Don't forget that brands aren't just words, but also logo's, pictures, colours, sounds, shapes and in some jurisdictions even smells.

That means that you can't make a film with Mickey in it since you are using a trademarked cartoon figure without owning the trademark. Try to sell pencils with Mickey on them and you'll have Disney's lawyers frying your ass before you can blink.


--
A page a day keeps ignorance of our cultural past away, or you can do your bit for collaborative media even if you haven't anything new or insightful to say.

[ Parent ]
Maybe I'm missing something here, (3.28 / 7) (#9)
by roam on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:34:02 PM EST

but why does the public feel they should be entitled to these works at all?

That was the question I had when reading the "Does it really matter" section, and I don't think it was sufficiently answered.  

I agree encyclopedias and scientific materials would be nice to be put into the public domain at some point. But, I guess I'm not seeing why an author should lose the copyright to their work ever?  It is still their work, isn't it?

___
Are they like hamsters?
Specifically, can I tape up a chinchilla, slather him in axle grease, and shove him up my ass? - Patrick Bateman


Not really (4.00 / 2) (#11)
by DavisImp on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:46:52 PM EST

It's not "theirs" in any sort of physical sense, just a legal one. For instance, take your computer: it's yours, there's only one of it, and if someone else were to take it you would be deprived of something (i.e. your property). Copyright protects words and ideas, not physical property.

Look at it this way. If I buy a book, it's mine, right? But copyright limits what I can do with it. If i photocopied large sections of the book and gave them away, I'd be breaking the law. Copyright says that the words of book belong to someone else even though the book itself belongs to me.

As far as copyright goes, I think that the benefits certainly outweigh the costs in the short term (i don't think anyone disagrees that people aren't motivated to create at least somewhat by profit). However, creative works have a habit of becoming part of cultural. Books, movies, songs, and pictures become part of our cultural vocabulary, and when they do, i think the claim of exclusive ownership is weakened. If something is never published, and the author hides it, i think you can make a very strong case for it being "theirs". When the author is actively trying to make their work a part of the cultural fabric (which is more or less the goal of anyone affected by copyright), the idea that it is theirs and theirs alone becomes a little silly.

[ Parent ]

Short-term motivation (5.00 / 2) (#15)
by rusty on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:58:43 PM EST

As far as copyright goes, I think that the benefits certainly outweigh the costs in the short term (i don't think anyone disagrees that people aren't motivated to create at least somewhat by profit).

And it's important to note that no one is argung for the abolition of copyright (or no one who should be paid any attention, anyway). What we want is simply a reasonable, limited term of copyright. The radical notions on either side, whether it's "information is property!" or "information should all be free!" are fruitless and counterproductive.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

copyright abolition (none / 0) (#68)
by mumble on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:38:52 AM EST

"... no one is argung for the abolition of copyright (or no one who should be paid any attention, anyway)."

Have you read the mission statement of Eloquences infoanarchy.org?

So should we pay attention to Erik/Eloquence or not??

-----
stats for a better tomorrow
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"They must know I'm here. The half and half jug is missing" - MDC.
"I've grown weary of googling the solutions to my many problems" - MDC.
[ Parent ]

infoAnarchy (none / 0) (#69)
by Eloquence on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:58:55 AM EST

I'm against all forms of "intellectual property", but I am also a realist. The action mailing list will not be used to advocate the abolition of copyright. People from all points of view are encouraged to participate, provided that they are pragmatic enough to see what is doable and what is not.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
The public domain matters (5.00 / 5) (#12)
by rusty on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:48:32 PM EST

The simplest, and probably most pragmatic, explanation is an economic one. Disney is one of the US's biggest entertainment companies. Disney built its fortune taking old stories, like the Brothers Grimm's fairy tales, and adapting them to an animated medium and a different cultural climate than they were written in. Most of Disney's most famous works are "derivative works" of stories that had passed into the public domain. This rich resource of material they had to draw upon has gone a long way to making Disney the global economic powerhouse it is. This is good for America, since it helps build a stronger economy.

However, the work that Disney produced is now being kept under copyright for longer and longer periods of time. This has the effect of preventing others from doing the same thing that Uncle Walt did -- taking work in the public domain and adapting it to our time. If nothing ever goes into the public doman, there will never be another Disney. Unlimited copyright is robbing the future of potentially great works of art, and economic benefits equal to or greater than those Disney has created.

Another important argument is that we are day by day losing our cultural heritage, as movies locked up in vaults literally decay to nothing because there is no economic incentive for the owners to preserve them or make them available. A relatively tiny portion of the total artistic output of the last hundred years is available to the public. Everything is under copyright, and the owners have no economic incentive to publish it. The very fact that it's not available points out the underlying reality that they are not makng any money from this stuff, and there is no sane reason to keep it locked up. But while Congress extends copyright (retroactively, mind you) again and again, our culture is literally disappearing.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

well (4.00 / 1) (#34)
by spacejack on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:40:45 PM EST

I'm not so sure if those are very good arguments for shorter copyrights. The example you use, Disney taking from The Brothers' Grimm. I don't think you would have much of a problem adapting from Disney in a similar way. Disney's scripts weren't literal copies of the translations I don't think. And the 20th century had tons of cartoons inspired by Mickey Mouse. I would argue that because you couldn't copy Mickey exactly, it forced other artists to be more creative. As it is, most cartoons, most shows... heck, most art imitates whatever else is popular at the moment, often coming as close as possible simply to ride the coattails of the original. IMHO, strong copyright drives creativity.

Second, while fair use rights seem to be on shakey ground, I do believe the right to copy works that have fallen out of print still exists, at least to some extent. But I can't remember if that's in Canada, the U.S. or both. Fair use and backup provisions do need to be defended.

Furthermore, although I think it would be fun to see Disney's early work enter the public domain (and not fun... disney.cx anyone?) I'm also partial to the idea that it is boxed away as a finished piece. I don't wanna see 20 billion Mickey Mouse rip-offs. I wanna see people make new stuff. Frankly, I'm pretty ambivalent about copyright durations for a lot of stuff except when it interferes with archival purposes. The thing is, Mickey's value ensures he will get the best, most advanced, most expensive and expert digital retouching available. It's the stuff rotting in vaults that's essentially locked up because the owner doesn't care about it that worries me. But even then, if they've got the only master copy... not much changing copyright law can do.

[ Parent ]
Out of print (4.00 / 1) (#43)
by rusty on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:36:14 AM EST

The example you use, Disney taking from The Brothers' Grimm. I don't think you would have much of a problem adapting from Disney in a similar way.

I very much doubt it. Ask Margaret Mitchell's estate if they're ok with you just using a few characters and settings from Gone With the Wind in your own story. Now see if they'll let you adapt Gone With the Wind to an animated form with a few musical numbers and a dancing household object or two. How far do you think you'll get?

I do believe the right to copy works that have fallen out of print still exists, at least to some extent.

I don't think so. Not legally, anyway.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

nah (none / 0) (#46)
by spacejack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:50:48 AM EST

Anthropomorphized cartoon animal? No one's ever done that except Disney? Jeez, look at TV, movies, games, music these days. It's all clones of whatever's popular. Tunes and plots and characters are just barely different enough from each other to avoid lawsuits.

I'd never use the characters from Gone With The Wind. I'd make up my own. I might "rip off" those characters, but I wouldn't illegally use them. :)

[ Parent ]
Please help a scared would-be songwriter (none / 0) (#170)
by pin0cchio on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 11:51:22 AM EST

Tunes and plots and characters are just barely different enough from each other to avoid lawsuits.

So if I write a tune that I feel is completely original, and I'm too poor to afford a good attorney, how do I make sure that there isn't somebody out there who thinks I copied something?


lj65
[ Parent ]
I'm sure Disney will appreciate that (none / 0) (#48)
by Pseudonym on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:08:05 AM EST

I don't think you would have much of a problem adapting from Disney in a similar way. Disney's scripts weren't literal copies of the translations I don't think.

While that's true, you see what happens if you make a film which is not a literal copy of The Lion King but has the same characters, uses the same title and follows basically the same plot. I'm sure they'll see it your way.

Technical nit: Disney animated features almost never have a "script" in the traditional sense.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
Basically the same plot (none / 0) (#50)
by spacejack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:29:15 AM EST

would be easy to get away with provided you change the characters and title. (Though I believe it's the trademark you've got to worry about.) Why wouldn't you want to change the characters and title?

[ Parent ]
True, kind of (none / 0) (#194)
by Pseudonym on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 05:46:33 PM EST

The Lion King is actually a retelling of Hamlet with a changed title and characters, but they main difference is that it's also a different setting. Instead of the royal family of Denmark, the setting is the royal family of somewhere in the African savannah.

If you were to make a film about a family of lions today which retold Hamlet, Disney would be looking very hard at you.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
That's why (none / 0) (#51)
by spacejack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:35:12 AM EST

I'm sure Disney will appreciate that

That's why I'm saying this is a bad defense for the public domain or shorter copyrights. I don't think it would be beneficial to the creation of new works. That's why this issue is divisive; copyright really does promote creativity in the arts.

OTOH, I really don't want to be enslaved by Microsoft Office 50 years from now.

[ Parent ]
copyright has nothing to do with creativity (none / 0) (#86)
by jcw2112 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:25:56 PM EST

i really hate this argument. copyright does nothing to promote or inhibit creativity. creativity exists outside of the law.

onward: mozart and bach based many works on melodies or phrases created by other composers. they reworked them and even (especially in the case of mozart with clementi's work) improved greatly upon the ideas.

why couldn't the same thing work with movies or literature?

the only thing that copyright does is protect the financial interest of the creator for a given period of time. that's fine, but it does nothing to promote more diverse work. it simply forcloses on certain forms of adaptation and in more and more cases, parody and fair use. how does that get us new art again?

and what makes the issue 'divisive' is the fact that it all revolves around money. to say anything else is a missing the point entirely. if it didn't revolve around money, why would corporations owning the rights to the works of long dead individuals care one bit?



____________________
suck. on. it.
[ Parent ]

Copyright and Mozart. (none / 0) (#90)
by linca on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:01:29 PM EST

Copyright promotes creativity by ensurin creative people do not die of poverty too often.

Mozart died in his early 30's, quite possibly had he been richer he'd have lived longer - and we'd have more of his work to listen to.

[ Parent ]

Mozart's life (none / 0) (#196)
by Pseudonym on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 05:56:59 PM EST

Mozart died in his early 30's, quite possibly had he been richer he'd have lived longer - and we'd have more of his work to listen to.

Quite possibly if he hadn't squandered all his money he'd have been richer.

Incidentally, one popular current theory on Mozart's death is that he was murdered by a jealous husband. If he had been richer, that might actually have happened sooner. :-)



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
You're saying things (none / 0) (#94)
by spacejack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:23:48 PM EST

that sound nice to this crowd, but not making any real points. With copyright restrictions in place, I've got to create an original work. Without copyright, I can just rip-off an existing piece and add a moustache or whatever. Or not even that. What's more creative?

Furthermore, I think you're seriously underestimating Mozart's creativity thinking his work would've been blocked due to copyright. He would've made whatever tweaks to those tunes he needed in order to produce music. How does anyone write a new tune today? Are you saying the pop musicians today are more creative than Mozart was?

[ Parent ]
interesting... (none / 0) (#98)
by jcw2112 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:18:23 PM EST

Without copyright, I can just rip-off an existing piece...

He would've made whatever tweaks to those tunes he needed in order to produce music.

i find the above puzzling. what's the difference between 'tweaking' and a 'rip-off'?

i would say that it's not a 'rip-off.' mozart did far more than just lift the theme and rearrange it. he developed it and turned it into things that clementi could not have even imagined. on top of it all, everyone who heard it knew that it was clementi's theme. and that's the point. mozart took well known, simple (and banal) themes and turned them into something amazing.

certainly, he didn't do this with every piece, but he did it. and that matters. that's truly creative work with an existing source.

much of the art in the 20th century adds a twist to this. for example: warhol's image of the mona lisa with a moustache. does this turn of events mean that andy warhol's estate now owns the rights to the image of the mona lisa with a moustache? or a campbell's soup can? it might.

now, i'm talking entirely about derivative works here. what you're saying is that derivative works are not creative. that's not true. look at every blues song ever written or recorded. the same chord progression again and again. what about that?

i maintain that creativity is not assisted by copyright and could be potentially deterred.



____________________
suck. on. it.
[ Parent ]

But you prove my point (none / 0) (#102)
by spacejack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:40:00 PM EST

Clearly 20th century artists were easily creative enough to produce works that use ideas from other works without violating copyright. Copyright laws are not nearly strict enough to actually hinder creativity. Ironically the biggest complaint people seem to have about art today is that it's all too similar.

I'm just saying that the art/creative angle is not a good one to argue for reduced copyrights -- it's probably the worst way to argue the point. IMHO it's trademarks that are the biggest hinderance.

[ Parent ]
Rip-offs or reworkings? (none / 0) (#101)
by squigly on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:39:48 PM EST

With copyright restrictions in place, I've got to create an original work. Without copyright, I can just rip-off an existing piece and add a moustache or whatever.

Not true.  With copyright restrictions in place, you still have to be creative.  People will not be as interested in the old painting with a couple of modifications, but only with a new take on it.  

Copyright restrictions prevent me from  doing this.    West Side Story was totally derivitive of Romeo and Juliet.  That doesn't matter because it was original and creative.  An attempt to apply the same treatment to a more recent play would not be permitted.  Who's to say that I have a totally original idea that I will bring to the world if I'm not working on this?

[ Parent ]

oh come on (none / 0) (#106)
by spacejack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:45:19 PM EST

You think you couldn't re-work Romeo and Juliet in a modern urban setting without getting sued by the makers of West Side Story? Give me a break. I work in the media industry -- people rip each other off all the time. It's pathetic how unoriginal most stuff is.

[ Parent ]
Not quite what I mean (none / 0) (#117)
by squigly on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:32:37 PM EST

Of course you can remake Romeo and Juliet as much as you want since the original material is Public Domain.

I mean I couldn't rework Lord of the Rings in a modern urban setting without getting sued by the estate of Tolkein.  Or if Romeo and Juliet was still under copyright, West Side Story might never have been made.

[ Parent ]

Yes you could (none / 0) (#120)
by spacejack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:54:27 PM EST

Seriously, just change the title and character names and put it in your own words. Damn, half the fantasy stuff written since LoTR is ripped off of Tolkein anyways, and the writers don't even bother changing it to a modern setting.

[ Parent ]
Derivative works (none / 0) (#169)
by pin0cchio on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 11:42:45 AM EST

mozart and bach based many works on melodies or phrases created by other composers. they reworked them and even (especially in the case of mozart with clementi's work) improved greatly upon the ideas.

When George Harrison tried the same thing, he got sued and lost. If the derivative work monopoly were as broad in Wolfgang Mozart's day as it is now, Mozart would have lost in court as well.


lj65
[ Parent ]
Mozart and Bach (2.00 / 1) (#195)
by Pseudonym on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 05:49:51 PM EST

Mozart and Bach relied on rich patronage (and, in Mozart's case, theatre takings, though this was less so) to live. This relied on aristocracy and royalty with enough money to pay them, which in turn relied on an underclass of indentured servants and so on and so forth. That world, for better or worse, is gone.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
The Japanese pretty much did... (1.00 / 1) (#131)
by jmc on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:27:53 PM EST

... in the anime "Kimba the White Lion". No, wait... that came out almost 30 years before!

[ Parent ]
re: out of print (none / 0) (#124)
by arbofnot on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:29:54 PM EST

[W]hile fair use rights seem to be on shakey ground, I do believe the right to copy works that have fallen out of print still exists, at least to some extent.

Copy right (aka copyright) can be used to withhold works. Disney can put a work in "The Disney Vault" for 7-10 years (to recycle Bambi for new generation of children) or 95 years (to lock away an embarassment as if it never existed).

One doesn't see a lot of WWII-era propaganda cartoons these days with bucktoothed Japs and whatnot. That content cannot be used legally, for commercial purposes or otherwise, say as cautionary example...



[ Parent ]
Wow (none / 0) (#115)
by thejeff on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:17:14 PM EST

If nothing ever goes into the public doman, there will never be another Disney.

This may be the best reason I've ever heard to keep extending copyright.

[ Parent ]

Cultural heritage (none / 0) (#139)
by cam on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:56:33 PM EST

Another important argument is that we are day by day losing our cultural heritage

The next adjustment of copyright terms in the US will close of all literature and images, both private and government generated of World War I. Apart from a few very old people there is no oral history left of World War I in the world. This poses a problem for historians as a veteran can no longer be interviewed to write a history. The only first person experiences are through their writing and official documents.

I think once the oral history is completely gone then any experience of that person becomes cultural heritage. If cultural heritage works become locked up in copyright it becomes harder keeping that history alive or interpreting that history in modern terms knowledgably.

One of the books from World War I that is important is "The Battle Below". It is a short print run book that was vaity published by a previous squadron member in the 1930's. Only 300 were printed and the book trades for $200 - $400 on the second hand book market.

Both the author Harry Wrigley and the publisher Errol Knox are now dead. Under Australia's copyright it is author's life plus 50 years. Harry Wrigley died in the late 1980's so the book wont be free from copyright until the 2030's.

The last Australian Flying Corps member died in the 1990's. So the oral history trail is completely gone for that minority interest part of Australian history. The only first hand accounts of their experiences are through their writings such as "The Battle Below". I think "The Battle Below" is a good example of why copyright should not extend posthumously.

The next extension of copyright in the US will cover the works during WWI. As it is now, many of the published post war books and serials in the 1920's by the USAS pilots have fallen back into copyright protection. Several of these are republished on the web now, such as, "Fighting the Flying Circus", "High Adventure" and others.

cam
Freedom, Liberty, Equity and an Australian Republic
[ Parent ]

Losing copyright (5.00 / 1) (#17)
by pgdn on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:59:58 PM EST

You don't see why an author should ever lose the copyright to his work. Well, that's fine. Just take it when he dies. He never loses it, the public gets it the day after he kicks. Personally, I would be happy with that. I don't mind copyright extending until the death of the author, it's the +70y that bothers me.

[ Parent ]
If only that were true. (none / 0) (#62)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:56:03 AM EST

If that were true, I would be able to kill somebody, and be able to have his works for my own malicious purposes immediately. That'd definitely give incentives to people and companies who want to use a certain idea to collaborate with the Mafia.
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Wow (none / 0) (#67)
by Eloquence on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:37:46 AM EST

That's an incredibly good point. Thanks for bringing that up.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Slow down (none / 0) (#138)
by Wah on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:55:56 PM EST

The fact that you didn't realize the "Tupac" phenomenon scares me.  It's a widely known fact that an artists work increases in value after their death (think: supply/demand).  We don't want to start an epidemic where anyone with a hit song or book has to look over their shoulder for publisher hit squads.

I'm glad you set up the list, and I can tell you're excited about the idea, it's a good one. Just please, slow down a little.  We've got plenty of time, and some great tools to work with.  Let things come together or you'll go crazy or piss everyone off trying to push too hard too fast..

Relax, go outside.  Come back in the morning, we'll still be here.  It's o.k.  Really.

:-)
--
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...
[ Parent ]

That's a valid point (none / 0) (#77)
by zocky on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:01:23 AM EST

The other thing is, we all want our kids to receive some of the fruits of our work. So author's death + n years is appropriate, as long as:

1) n is large enough that nobody could benefit from actually killing the guy
2) n is large enough to help a generation or two of author's decendents lead better lives
3) n is small enough that works written "long ago" are in the public domain

I'd say reasonable n is from 10 up to 50.
 

---
I mean, if coal can be converted to energy, then couldn't diamonds?
[ Parent ]

Instead... (none / 0) (#128)
by losthalo on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:19:33 PM EST

Just tie it to a specific number of years after death (say five, to make commercial re-use less profitable). It doesn't need to be "two generations" worth of time, which is the current definition I believe. There's no reason to expect that your children should be able to live off of your creations their entire lives, it's just a position put forth by people who want the entire world to be safe, stable, and predictable. If the author (and his estate for that five years) cannot make enough money from the copyrights in five years, they probably aren't marketing it worth a damn anyway.

The author retains control through his entire life, the kids get a shot at some money if he dies prematurely (i.e. right after publication), and the public gets some public domain use in a reasonable period of time.

Personally, I still think a period of thirty years or even less from publication would make more sense, but hey, there ya go...

(Losthalo)

We are Siamese if you please.
We are Siamese if you don't please.

[ Parent ]
It's a trade (4.00 / 1) (#121)
by Sloppy on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:06:24 PM EST

but why does the public feel they should be entitled to these works at all?
Because the public gave the creator something first: a monopoly backed by government force.

In exchange for you publishing your work and expanding the ideosphere, we will give you a government-backed monopoly on that work. This monopoly is for a limited time, and after a certain number of years, our courts will no longer enforce it. But in spite of its limited duration -- a cap on the value of the monopoly that we're offering you -- we hope that you'll still find this offer worthwhile.

If you don't like this deal we're offering you, that's fine, you don't have to take it. You may decide to not produce the work at all, or just hoard it for yourself, a secret from the public. Only a secret can really be "intellectual property."
"RSA, 2048, seeks sexy young entropic lover, for several clock cycles of prime passion..."
[ Parent ]

They release the work, they lose control over it (2.00 / 1) (#155)
by dh003i on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:57:31 PM EST

No-one has the right to control information, or how others distribute it.  This is a priviledge we grant authors.

"Their" work is made possible because of the vast amount of material in the public domain -- supported by the public -- which they draw from.  "Their" work is possible because the public paid taxes to educate them through high school, and subsidies for college.

"Their" work is protected at the expense of OUR tax dollars.  We pay tax dollars to enforce "their" copyrights.  We pay taxes to insure that, for a time, they can make money off of "their" work.  The other half of the bargain is that we eventually get their work for free, when it enters the public domain, and it should do so relatively quickly (i.e., 20 years).  A better question to ask would be why do authors feel they should be entitled to have their works protected by OUR tax-payer dollars at all, if they don't want to give anything back?

Social Security is a pyramid scam.
[ Parent ]

Street protests? (4.75 / 4) (#10)
by Tezcatlipoca on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:38:56 PM EST

Look, sorry to burst your bubble but unless street protests are rutinary and/or multitudinary (at least thens ot thousends) street protests achieve squat.

Mr Skylarov was fred for completely different unrelated reasons.

Yes, become politically active, but concentrate your effort in activities that really achieve something, not in feel good, good for nothing, street protests.

And for goodness sake, stop invoking the EFF like if it was a solve it all mantra.

European? Say no to software patents.

Yes, street protests (none / 0) (#19)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:06:14 PM EST

What the Sklyarov protests achieved was regular media coverage (including NYT) transcending the usual suspects (K5, Slashdot etc.). The tech community is fairly well networked with the media and just needs a good hook to get these topics covered. There are also specific reasons why certain large street protests are not covered which do not apply to us.

And for goodness sake, stop invoking the EFF like if it was a solve it all mantra.

I have frequently and publicly criticized the EFF and even in this article suggested that there may be better solutions. This doesn't change the fact that they are the most visible and important organization related to this and related issues.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

EFF can not lobby congress (none / 0) (#26)
by FlipFlop on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:58:10 PM EST

The EFF is a 501(c)3 non-profit organization. They can not get involved in lobbying congress. Please stop telling people to count on the EFF to do something which they can not legally do. Perhaps you should point people to Public Knowledge

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

Uh .. (none / 0) (#30)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:07:17 PM EST

.. where did I imply they can?
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
The end of your article (none / 0) (#49)
by FlipFlop on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:17:46 AM EST

Collect funding. We need to collect financial support for our public domain efforts specifically. Perhaps the EFF can create a special fund for that purpose, perhaps we need to set up our own (keep in mind that this is an international, not just an American effort!). We can use this money for all of the above and more.

And 'above' you suggest that we "draft legislation" and "contact politicians". That sounds like lobbying to me.

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

Not quite (none / 0) (#65)
by Eloquence on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:31:55 AM EST

I have suggested that EFF might create a fund, not that they should directly use it for anything which they legally cannot do. I'm not familiar with the specifics of US law -- perhaps you can help us with that -- but how about indirect use of money from the fund to assist people who carry out these activities? In any case, I'm not sure if EFF is a good option as they are fairly "US-centric".
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
ACLU Example (5.00 / 1) (#82)
by Luke Francl on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:50:01 AM EST

The best example of the type of orgainization which both educates and lobbies is the ACLU.

The ACLU is actually comprised of two different organizations: the ACLU and the ACLU Foundation. The Foundation, like the EFF is a 501(c)3 non-profit which conducts litigation and education. The ACLU is a different kind of non-profit which is allowed to engage in lobying. Donations to the ACLU are not tax-deductable.

For more information read ACLU and ACLU Foundation, What is the Difference?

[ Parent ]

Legal Change or Practical Change (4.28 / 7) (#16)
by cronian on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 09:59:35 PM EST

While I think the copyright laws are crazy, what exactly would happen if they were changed? If you want greater access to old movies, I suggest your favorite P2P network. The same applies for music and other media. Regardless of whatever copyright law exists, one solution is make more content available through P2P networks.

Derivative works are another issue. I could say they coudl be distributed over P2P networks too, but it imposes impediments on them. I guess derivative works are where copyright reform becomes important. I guess even these works could take donations anonymously over e-gold.com though.

We can work to get the law changed or work to make it eventually irrelevant. If digital rights management or other strongly prohibitive don't take hold, then copyright laws may be totally irrelevant by 2020. I think the best way to deal with the copyright situation would be to teach more people how to use P2P networks and get more people involved in digitizing content.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism

Maybe not so hot. (5.00 / 3) (#72)
by Djehuti on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:09:58 AM EST

By encouraging widespread flaunting of copyright law by sharing on P2P networks and taking advantage of the lack of technically-strong and/or legally-enforceable DRM technology, you would simply ensure that something like the Hollings bill would get passed.

I don't think we want to go there.

[ Parent ]

I agree (none / 0) (#119)
by urbanRealist on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:36:56 PM EST

I strongly agree with this. I've been smoking pot for years and there have been laws against it the whole time. Millions have done the same. It just requires some intelligence not to get caught.

Although I see some troubling times ahead when media and network connections are provided by the same company, this will be fixed as wireless networks become more prevalent. Indepent ISP's will become more widespread and cost effective. This combined with encryption will make it impossible to regulate P2P networks.

I think it's definitely time for more people to wake up and stop blindly following stupid laws.

[ Parent ]

that's the user's perspective (none / 0) (#164)
by martingale on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:32:31 AM EST

P2P is great for distributing works, but like everything that is created by people, works carry a source/authorship. The bad thing about copyright laws is that it nips the creation of new works in the bud. If a musician can't write a variation on some tune that was invented in the last seventy years, because if it carries his name it carries a location the lawyers can send their letters, then P2P isn't going to help spread new music.

Copyright is a problem for new authors, not (practically) for consumers as you point out.

[ Parent ]

anonymous handles (none / 0) (#181)
by cronian on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 09:23:56 PM EST

Authors don't have to make a claim to authorship publicly. They can operate under a handle of nickname. One instance where this thing is done today is AMVs (Anime Music Videos.) Anime (Japanese Cartoons) are edited together and then set to music. If everything is done right they could even collect payment anonymously through something like E-Gold. While the use of anonymous authorship is limited today, it coudl be expanded in the future.

We perfect it; Congress kills it; They make it; We Import it; It must be anti-Americanism
[ Parent ]
We need European help (4.35 / 14) (#18)
by Lode Runner on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:01:20 PM EST

If Americans are going to fight this thing, we need Europeans' help, not in lobbying the US government, but rather in restraining European-owned corporations.

You'll probably never hear this from the European "anti-globalisationists," but among the primary beneficiaries of Eldred v. Ashcroft are several Europe-based multinationals, notably Bertelsmann AG, the largest publisher in the USA.

If activism is going to succeed in bringing the big publishers to heel, Europeans need to correct their hyperopia, the sort that's exemplified by European Eloquence's exclusive focus on Disney. The lobbyists he's decrying aren't just from Disney, they're from European corporations too! Indeed, if one considers which companies gain the most from the Supreme Court's decision, globally replacing Disney with Bertelsmann in this article's text would render a more accurate --and frankly, more responsible-- description of how the American justice system was subverted.

If Europeans are so concerned about corporatism in the USA, it is imperative that they clean out their own home. The US government can only regulate powerful, foreign companies so much! Those Europeans who want to right the copywrongs of Eldred v. Ashcroft must confront the publishing interests at their source. This means Europeans will need to:

  • Lobby the EU to pass legislation that would restrain the Bertelsmanns and Vivendis.
  • Boycott all the big publishing houses that brought this situation about, not just the American-run ones.
  • Don't take these corporations' money, and don't let your politicians take it either.
Sadly, nobody's holding their breath waiting for Europeans to intervene on behalf of Americans who're being exploited by European businesses. Recent history demonstrates that what passes for European concern about corporate abuse is, in reality, European concern for American corporate abuse. You can be sure that practically nobody rails against Bertelsmann or Vivendi at European anti-globalization rallies.

I'm hoping things change... because the complicity of European corporations in the Eldred v. Ashcroft case presents a golden opportunity for Europe's anti-corporate activists to finally make good on at least some of their haughty rhetoric of global responsibility.

Evidence? (3.00 / 3) (#20)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:11:09 PM EST

Evidence for Bertelsmann lobbying for the CTEA in a larger extent than Disney?

I certainly agree that this effort needs to be international. Boycotts should focus on single targets (one by one) to remain effective and pragmatically doable. Sure, it's a bit unfair, but it's better to send a clear message to one corp than a barely recognizable one to many different ones. But that's just my opinion, we can vote on that.
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]

You know perfectly well (4.00 / 3) (#31)
by Lode Runner on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:17:45 PM EST

that the five major label groups (Bertelsmann, Capitol/EMI, Warner Bros, Sony, Universal) have a major lobbying presence in Washington, D.C., one that dwarfs (but is also frequently allied with) that of Disney.

Granted: the big five lobby on issues besides the CTEA; and it's unfair to compare a five-corporation effort to a one-corp effort. But given the circumstantial evidence of who's benefiting the most from this week's court decision and of Bertelsmann's experience with lobbying, it's not unreasonable to conclude that Bertelsmann probably didn't just leave its fate in Disney lobbyists' hands.

If we're going to single out a company, why not go after the biggest publisher?

[ Parent ]

I'd still like to see numbers [nt] (3.00 / 2) (#32)
by Eloquence on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:20:47 PM EST


--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
Strategy (3.40 / 5) (#40)
by rusty on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:12:42 AM EST

Actually, I think going after Disney is a good strategy. Disney, of all those, is the company that most relies on having a squeaky-clean image. They are the most susceptible to a negative public-image campaign and a vocal boycott. If people think Bertlesmann is evil, so what? When's the last time you took your kids to see a Bertlesmann movie? Bertlesmann does virtually no business under it's own name. Disney, on the other hand, is a powerful symbol, and that can be used better than any of the others.

They probably aren't the worst, but they might well be the ones most worth targetting.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

with all due respect... (4.25 / 5) (#55)
by Lode Runner on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:32:39 AM EST

The better solution in this moral battle is to put principle ahead of expediency; the public needs to be educated not herded.

Look, in this case, Disney's not the biggest culprit; attacking it may make for powerful symbolism, but such a superficial approach won't effectively address the actual problem. The let's-not-bother-trying-to-raise-people's-awareness-about-#notDisney's-wrongdoin gs-because-nobody-has-heard-of-this-company will fail precisely because the public's ignorance-fueled complacency regarding big media and copyright is what got us into this situation in the first place.

Lastly, which of the following makes vastly more sense in the context of the CTEA debate? "Disney doesn't want your children to read!" or "Random House doesn't want your children to read!"?

[ Parent ]

Idealism (4.50 / 5) (#84)
by Dephex Twin on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:18:14 PM EST

The better solution in this moral battle is to put principle ahead of expediency;
I agree with Rusty on this one. If you put principle first, you're never going to get anywhere. You have to do what's going to work.
the public needs to be educated not herded.
The public needs to have their attention grabbed and become interested before they can ever become educated. Once people are starting to care, that's when you can expand and talk about things like Bertelsmann. But to get your foot in the door, you want to say the thing that's going to get them to pay attention in the first place.

Maybe people should know better-- but they don't. And I see absolutely no reason why this particular cause is going to be the slightest bit different in that regard.


Alcohol: the cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems. -- Homer Simpson
[ Parent ]
But it's an abstract, idealistic struggle (4.00 / 3) (#137)
by Lode Runner on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:44:16 PM EST

and as such the best way to motivate people is to appeal to their principles. You want a clear, focused message? Then attack all the corps concerned and people will see a line of copyright reform connecting them; attack just one and they'll see rays darting out towards the activists' other agendas, ones that'll alienate them.

One of the few things the general public is really good at is spotting agendas. They'll ask, "Why boycott Disney and not Sony too?" And they'll figure out very quickly that you chose it not because it's the worst offender, but because you think Disney's some kind of symbol. They'll see that you didn't put much thought into your choice and they'll feel manipulated; worse, they'll suspect that you're using criticism of copyright law as a club to hit Disney instead of the vice-versa.

Already I suspect that the activists spearheading the campaign against the "Mickey Mouse law" are acting out of antagonism towards American corporations than they are out of concern for freedom of information. Their disingenuous rhetoric is going to bite them in the ass --the hamstring to be specific-- when they enter the public sphere.

[ Parent ]

Right. This is partly the Europeans' fault. (none / 0) (#172)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 12:02:29 PM EST

One of the reasons given for extending copyright in the US was to match existing copyright laws in Europe. Our terms used to be shorter, giving rise to cases where things were in the Public Domain in the USA but still under copyright in Europe. Peter Pan comes to mind as an example of this.


--
Wouldn't it be a victory for the oppressed people of Iraq, of North Korea, of Iran, if their police-state regimes were overthrown? Even by a cowbo
[ Parent ]

But congress did a pretty crappy job (none / 0) (#176)
by squigly on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:12:53 PM EST

European copyright as I understand it is 70 years after the death of the auther or 70 years after publication for anonymous works (which I guess includes anonymous works created for a company).  This explains why they added 20 years onto the life + 50 part of copyright, but not why they added to the works created for companies.  

I occasionally hear a suggestion (usually from publishers) that the EU should extend copyrights to match the American system.

And please don't mention Peter Pan

[ Parent ]

Come to think of it... (none / 0) (#177)
by squigly on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:22:13 PM EST

Mickey Mouse becomes PD in 2024.  If they went for 70 years after the creator's death then it would have been 2036.  Hell, I can't be bothered drawing a conclusion from this, but it seems strange that Disney didn't take their chance to increase the length of copyright further.

[ Parent ]
The Public Domain doesn't need saving (3.33 / 15) (#21)
by duncan bayne on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:13:40 PM EST

The Public Domain is doing just fine, thanks. If a copyright holder wishes to release copyrighted domain to the public, he still can, and no-one can stop him. For example, I have released all my writing (for Kuro5hin, my own site, etc.) under the FDL.

What you're complaining about is that you and others like you are losing the legal sanction to forcibly seize and redistribute intellectual property. Case in point, if I write and sell a commercial book, I sure as hell don't want some looter taking my intellectual property from me in 70 years because he feels like I've had it for long enough. Likewise, if I grant ownership to a company, why should that ownership cease when I die?

The decision to extend copyright periods was the right one, but the question being asked was the wrong one. The question that should have been asked is "should copyright be time-limited at all?"



Correction (none / 0) (#22)
by duncan bayne on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:15:09 PM EST

Correction - I meant "If a copyright holder wishes to release copyrighted material to the public domain...".



[ Parent ]
Lost in most cases (2.50 / 4) (#24)
by Pseudonym on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:25:54 PM EST

What you're complaining about is that you and others like you are losing the legal sanction to forcibly seize and redistribute intellectual property.

I know, I know. Don't feed the trolls. Nevertheless...

There are many reasons why perpetual copyright is undesirable. The number one that I emphasise is the problem that occurs when the current copyright holder is not traceable. Who, for example, would hold the copyright on Gutenberg's Bible? With perpetual copyright, the overwhelming majority of works (for which the copyright holder is untraceable) are locked up. Despite being nobody's "property", they can't be used.

Human advancement happens by precisely one mechanism: By building onto and expanding the fringes of what we already have. If "we" have nothing, we don't advance.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
No need (3.00 / 3) (#25)
by duncan bayne on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:54:21 PM EST

Lack of traceability could be handled just like it's handled for other types of property. Just because the police find abandoned cars from time to time doesn't mean there's an argument for limiting ownership period on cars :-) A simple solution would be to advertise a work as unclaimed, and if someone claims it, and can produce documentation of ownerhsip, he gets ownership. Just like with cars.

If "we" have nothing, we don't advance.

Strong claim. Any proof?

Also, there's a difference between building upon something and stealing it. Take copyrighted technical books for example - I can read them, and apply the knowledge I gather to the development of new knowledge. For example, I might be reading a book about compilers to get background knowledge while writing a brand new compiler. An example of theft would be if I photocopied the book and sold it or gave it to my friends.

BTW, my statement wasn't a troll, it was a considered opinion - thanks for giving me the benefit of the doubt and initiating a dialogue. Too many people here label any opinion with which they disagree as a troll.



[ Parent ]
Historical example (3.75 / 4) (#39)
by rusty on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:07:53 AM EST

If "we" have nothing, we don't advance.
Strong claim. Any proof?

Human history can provide some pretty good examples. One of the best is the Renaissance, as Eloquence described here. The rediscovery and wide sharing of works previously lost and forgotten spurred one of the most creative and productive periods of the ancient world.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Although (2.00 / 1) (#42)
by spacejack on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:35:53 AM EST

Most of that stuff would not have violated copyright. They didn't have copying machines back then and they weren't doing exact replicas.

[ Parent ]
Example (4.00 / 1) (#53)
by rusty on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:54:54 AM EST

The comment just asked for an example of "If we have nothing, we don't advance." The average medieval basket-weaver didn't have access to any of the large body of knowlege that had already been created. Perhaps worse, most of the better-off members of society didn't either. When information started to spread again, culture took a big jump forward.

It's not a direct argument applicable to the specifics of our copyright debate, just an example of the observable social differences between spreading existing work and keeping it locked up.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Access, not ownership (3.50 / 2) (#58)
by duncan bayne on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:07:15 AM EST

I agree, access to a large body of information helps scientific and cultural progress. However, there is a difference between access to a body of information , and ownership of that information. Again, consider the technical manual example - I can buy the right to use the information therein, but not actual ownership of the material.

Does that matter? Does lack of ownerhsip impair my ability to use the information? I see no evidence that it does, and no evidence that ownership would improve my ability to use it either.

Either way, the question is pointless; no-one has the right to appropriate the property of others, no matter how great the perceived benefit.



[ Parent ]
Access (5.00 / 1) (#99)
by rusty on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:21:11 PM EST

The lengthening period of copyright is leaving the majority of work inaccessable. I can find numbers for you, if you want, on what portion of books published in the last hundred years are available anywhere. It's a very small percentage. You're right that extended copyright doesn't necessarily impair access, but in practive that's exactly what happens. This is, ironically, precisely because of the economic factors that gave us the idea of copyrght in the first place.

Because the economic return from publishing something drops steadily over time, it eventually drops below the cost of publication, at which point the owner no longer has any economic incentive to publish it. The current length of copyright is far beyond that crossing point for all but a miniscule fraction of works -- and that's being generous. How much revenue did Steamboat Willie bring Disney last year? So if you want something older than a few years which wasn't extrordinarily popular, good luck. And don't look to the libraries, because their printed copies are decaying day by day and there's no place to order another. With the flanking erosion of fair use rights, libraries themselves are slowly being litigated out of existence as well.

____
Not the real rusty
[ Parent ]

Eek! Bad idea! (4.80 / 5) (#45)
by Pseudonym on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:47:52 AM EST

Just because the police find abandoned cars from time to time doesn't mean there's an argument for limiting ownership period on cars :-)

As has been noted many times over, there is a huge difference between physical property and what is commonly referred to as "intellectual property". Unlike as happens with cars, if I grab a copy of Linux, I don't deprive you of your copy.

Another problem with the car analogy is that cars are licensed by the state, so assuming the car has remained legally registered, there is an audit trail which there is not necessarily in an older copyrighted work. This is a separate issue.

The real problem with this analogy, however, is that in many places there effectively is a limited ownership over some kinds of property, such as "lost property". In many jurisdictions, if property is unclaimed after 12 months, the finder irrevocably gets it.

Strong claim. Any proof?

There are many examples of progress based on other peoples' works. Rusty mentioned the Renaissance (which is a "rebirth" of classical ideas), but I'll note another which I know a bit more about. In my first screenplay article (which I haven't forgotten about, incidentally) I alluded to the fact, though I didn't mention it explicitly, that the overwhelming majority of screenplays are adaptions, or retellings of other stories stories. (The exceptions, which I did not mention, are "aplot" or "antiplot" films which are quite rare.) Indeed, it's hard (probably impossible) to find a film with a traditional-style plot which is not based on a well-known story, legend or historical event; and even the ones based on historical events are almost always also based on stories.

Also, there's a difference between building upon something and stealing it.

Yes, but stealing only relates to property. See above.

Take copyrighted technical books for example - I can read them, and apply the knowledge I gather to the development of new knowledge. For example, I might be reading a book about compilers to get background knowledge while writing a brand new compiler. An example of theft would be if I photocopied the book and sold it or gave it to my friends.

Another example of theft would be if you wrote a brand new compiler even though compilers were perpetually patented. I know you were not arguing specifically in favour of unlimited duration patents, but you did mention "intellectual property" in general, so I claim artistic licence.



sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f(q{sub f{($f)=@_;print"$f(q{$f});";}f});
[ Parent ]
I'd like copyright to be 20 years (4.80 / 5) (#36)
by Holloway on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:51:02 PM EST

When you put copyrighted work into the public, and you want legal protection from society then then society gets to decide the terms (based on the burden of protecting your rights, the benefit to society from your work, etc.). Intellectual property was a new idea at the time.

One should lose exclusive ownership over copyrighted material because that's the pay-back society gets for protecting your new-found rights. That's the deal.

These days exclusive ownership is a considered a given, and people don't respect their rights because it comes so easily. This purely a mindset change, not a legal one.

Your argument is entirely about what's the natural state... what's default. If you think ideas (no matter how complex) can be owned forever then you'll see the public domain as forcibly taking what's yours. If you're like me you'll see copyright as a temporary privledge.

The value of Free Culture [tm] is that you can have a Maori version of the Merchant of Venice (you may never see a Maori version of Fight Club, for example).

Public domain is a library.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

What? (2.50 / 2) (#59)
by duncan bayne on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:12:27 AM EST

One should lose exclusive ownership over copyrighted material because that's the pay-back society gets for protecting your new-found rights. That's the deal.

I've said this before, but it bears repeating. If intellectual property is property, then ownership should never be time-limited, for the same reason that no other property ownership is time-limited. If it isn't real property, then copyrights and patents are simple legal fictions that violate the rights of the individual. If one argues both, that IP is real property, and that copyrights should be time-limited, one is advocating theft.



[ Parent ]
Origins (4.33 / 3) (#70)
by Holloway on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:18:13 AM EST

Real property is legal fiction, and if you're a burden to society (if you own a drug house) you'll have it taken away from you. Being legal fiction is no bad thing.

IMO it is a violation of individual rights to restrict the use of what's in your mind (after hearing another persons' song), but then the argument is that without a copyright industry individuals would have less on their mind.

Copyright reenforces the industry so they can make hay while the sun shines.


== Human's wear pants, if they don't wear pants they stand out in a crowd. But if a monkey didn't wear pants it would be anonymous

[ Parent ]

Intellectual property rights (4.60 / 5) (#66)
by izogi on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:36:21 AM EST

Case in point, if I write and sell a commercial book, I sure as hell don't want some looter taking my intellectual property from me in 70 years because he feels like I've had it for long enough.

Although I can't claim to be a lawyer, I believe the basis of copyright rests on whether information can naturally be considered property at all.

Property isn't defined by the person it belongs to, it's defined by everyone else who recognises it as belonging to that person. A very obvious example is the property deeds on the Moon being sold by several companies. They won't be worth a thing as soon as a nation or entity decides to actually go there, physically claim it and defend it.

Even the concept of land ownership, for example, is hardly natural beyond being a very western idea. Many cultures had no notion of property ownership, for example, until european colonising parties sailed in and started dividing up the land, shooting those who got in the way. Until then, land wasn't something that was owned and fenced off -- it was what people lived on. When it was necessary, people moved to new land.

Intellectual Property is defined by law, and nothing else, as an artificial means to promote creativity in the interests of society. So far it's worked nicely, and once that creativity has taken place, there's no incentive for society as a whole to protect it further.

The fact that your creativity can be considered yours and nobody else's is a favour of recognition granted upon you by society. Consider it fortunate that you're allowed to keep it and profit from it for as long as you are.

If you don't like it, you could try defending your creativity by force. Next time someone uses your work after it's legally out of copyright, try picking up a gun and shooting them... then see if society lets you get away with it.


- izogi


[ Parent ]
We're not siezing, (3.66 / 3) (#71)
by squigly on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:17:12 AM EST

Essentially it comes down to the old argument against all IP - It isn't exclusively yours in the first place.  

The fact is, that nobody is talking about "Taking away".  The oddity with intellectual property - that also makes the term "property" a little inappropriate - is that you can give it to others without taking it away.  After 70 years, you can still publish your book.  You can print it, and sell it.  You can make as many copies as you like.  It's still yours.  You simply can't stop other from doing the same.  

The main problem with copyright in my opinion is that it gives a total monopoly.  I can't actually think of a better system, and giving people a monopoly is better than preventing people from making a living from their creativity, so I accept thatthis is a sensible riught to give the creators.  Making this time limited restores the balance somewhat.  

[ Parent ]

I agree completely. (2.00 / 1) (#107)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:48:34 PM EST

As I said before, those who care about the public domain so much should spend their time creating works for it, rather trying to force others to work for the public domain. That way, there's a strong public domain, and people who want to protect their IP can. In the end, everybody wins.
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
The problem: Derivative work rights (3.00 / 1) (#153)
by pin0cchio on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:48:35 PM EST

those who care about the public domain so much should spend their time creating works for it

No work is created in a vacuum. Every work is derivative of something else. Under current copyright law, the copyright owner('s heirs) get the right to censor almost anything that remotely resembles the work, even if it was created independently.


lj65
[ Parent ]
..because you don't really own your anything... (3.00 / 1) (#114)
by awfar on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:59:24 PM EST

I'm sure it is said better elsewhere, The view that what you have to say, do, or create and hold your society hostage for your contribution is arrogant. For every thought or idea, cartoon, movie, or book you write, you have been supported, financed, cared for, and paid for these ideas by your society. And, they must get a return on the investment. When is the question. Are your thoughts original or unique or truly yours? Maybe, but likely the culmination of many, many thinkers, artists, etc. before you which you appropriated. After you give them their due, there may not be a lot left to argue about, though I think some protection is appropriate. I truly believe in individual freedom and free will and rewards, but pragmatically it is impossible.

[ Parent ]
Eternal Copyright ... (3.00 / 2) (#147)
by Innocent Bystander on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:32:57 PM EST

Fine, if you want eternal copyright we'll need to track down the guy who invented english, trace his lineage, and start off by giving all the money in north america to his descendants.

Or how about the guy who invented the musical scale?

It's ludicrous, isn't it? Those things belong to us. Well, like it or not, all of your writings will one day belong to us as well.

And if you're so fscking greedy that you don't want other people to have your stuff AFTER YOU'RE DEAD than you should BURN ALL OF YOUR STUFF just before you die. In fact, if you're too weak to burn your stuff, just call me and I'll burn it for you.

[ Parent ]

Disney aren't so bad ... (4.00 / 2) (#23)
by the moog on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 10:23:08 PM EST

They only came second: Sweatshop Retailer "People's Choice Award"

Copyright vs Public domain (3.87 / 8) (#27)
by snowmoon on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:00:31 PM EST

Our founding fathers invisioned a system where congress is autorized to implement copyright in a way that is fair to both the copyright holder and the rest of society in general.

The problem that has occured is that the only people who are lobbying are those WITH copyrights ( and the money to do so ) so the laws have been written to favor copyrihgt holders.  I am not against IP, but thier is a limit where legitimate copyright becomes hording and abusive.  

A healthy public domain is good for everyone.  Many people forget just how many current works are derived from earlier works.  Even those works that are in the public domain can still be profitted on by the original author ( or estate ) by selling a new revision.

Without a timley movement of older works into the public domain many new and very creative works will continue to suffer.  Remeber that copyright gives the author sole disretion on original or unusual changes to the public performace of their works.  The order of magnitude of works that are completly LOST before entering public domain is staggering.  Extending copyright only makes this problem worse.

We are at risk of forgetting entire generations of works becuase lifetimes pass between the work is created and when others can use it.  We are loosing our ability to pass on works from generation to gneration.

I am not against copyright, I am FOR a strong and active public domain.  I am deeply saddened that the Supreme court could not see this farce of a law for what it is;  It is a special grant to those in power who continue to hoard copyrights to the detrimint of the rest of society.

Grammar note (3.33 / 3) (#79)
by wurp on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 10:45:29 AM EST

The word that one pronounces 'loozing' is spelled losing, not loosing.  Loosing would mean to let something loose (free it), losing means to lose something (misplace it).
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]
My modest proposal (4.10 / 10) (#33)
by leviramsey on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:29:46 PM EST

Base copyright term:

  • 30 years from creator's death; if the work is jointly copyrighted, then creator in the previous clause shall be interpreted to mean the last to die; or
  • 65 years from creation; whichever comes first

Copyright holders would have the ability to extend copyright through payment to the government ("the extension fee"). Each work may be extended only once. The extension fee is based off of the following function:

F(y): fee for y years of copyright extension
F(y) = Sigma(i, 0, y, (1.25)^i*P)
where P is an arbitrary constant ($1,500 sounds reasonable to me)

The vast majority of copyrighted works (which are of minimal economic value 60 years after their creation; how much is a recording of a one-hit wonder's follow-up song from 1942 worth economically today?) would not be extended, but in those cases where the copyright holder could see a future economic value greater than the cost to maintain the copyright, they would be free to extend the copyright. The fees that they pay would serve in essence as a compensation to the Nation for keeping the works out of the public domain.



So which is it, a bribe or a tax? (3.50 / 3) (#35)
by theElectron on Thu Jan 16, 2003 at 11:50:02 PM EST

Both of those are quite undesireable things in my book. Hell, if anything wouldn't those who make the least money off of their copyrights be best served with a copyright extension? Under your system, they'd potentially be the most ill-equipped to procure one.

--
Join the NRA!
[ Parent ]
Which governement? (3.00 / 4) (#74)
by wiesmann on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:26:07 AM EST

The first part seems reasonable to me. For the second, the question is: What governement? One thing that is certain a resonable copyright system should be global.

Also if you think about it, if some entity is capable of paying for extending a copyright, it probably does not need it. Also with your system, only rich entities can afford to pay upfront for long period of time.

[ Parent ]

Hell will freeze over before this happens (3.50 / 3) (#111)
by Anonymous 7324 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:41:13 PM EST

but have treaties signed so the payment goes to an international organization that funds non-profits working in the public domain: so that the money eventually goes to things like Gutenberg, etc. instead of to any government.

Like I said, pigs will fly out of my ass before this ever happens. But I can dream, right?

[ Parent ]

Please clarify (3.00 / 2) (#135)
by awgsilyari on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:34:52 PM EST

I understand the basic premise of your idea, but I think you're charging people too much. Say someone wanted a 1-year extension. Assuming P = 1500 like you suggest: F(1) = 1.25^0 + 1.25^1500 = $2.3 * 10^145.

Twenty trillion-trillion-trillion-trillion-trillion-trillion-trillion-trillion-trillion -trillion-trillion-trillion dollars?

Seriously though, it would be clearer if you factored the P out (I assume you intended P to be a factor multiplied by the geometric series 1.25^i). In other words:

F(y) = P*Sigma(i, 0, y, 1.25^i).

In which case a 1-year extension would be:

F(1) = 1500*1.25^0 + 1500*1.25^1 = $3375.

Much more reasonable. ;-)

--------
Please direct SPAM to john@neuralnw.com
[ Parent ]

True... (n/t) (3.00 / 2) (#136)
by leviramsey on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:43:18 PM EST



[ Parent ]
Way, way too long (4.00 / 1) (#202)
by wurp on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 01:10:21 PM EST

Copyright period should be on the order of 15-30 years, maximum.  Not from author's time of death, but from the time of creation.

The only sane purpose of copyright is to promote the creation of materials that serve a public good.  Not to protect the creator's feelings, or guarantee income in perpetuity, or to let the smart people have jobs that don't require work.  If it's not promoting the public good, then it's just another example of policing powers being used to put money in the pockets of those who don't deserve it.

So, given that we want to maximize the utility of the work, we have two conflicting forces: we want to encourage the creation of the works, and we want the public to have as much access as possible to the works.  A copyright period should be no longer than the shortest period that doesn't dissuade the production of works.  People, being shortsighted, are virtually never going to decide not to do something based on the results it may or may not have 15 or 30 years in the future.  Corporations with their quarterly layoffs are no better, and often are worse.

As pointed out elsewhere, a 15 year copyright period wouldn't mean that the author would be broke in 15 years.  We're not talking about taking away the money the author made from the copyright, just about freeing the information after a reasonable period.

Personally, I think there is probably a much better solution than copyright at all, but I can't think of any that don't have holes a mile wide.  Ideally, we could gather a tax and pay people according to the value of what they produce, then make it available to everyone, but I don't see how that could be done well.
---
Buy my stuff
[ Parent ]

Limiting copyright should be greater (3.87 / 8) (#37)
by jdrake on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:05:34 AM EST

Many people are forgetting or at least no mentioning that copyrights extend far beyond books. They also include software.

Take a game, you can pickup a year or two old game for $5 to $20. You can pickup the tripack of Red Alert 2 (i believe it was two) for under $20. They cost at least $30 for the expansions, and $65 for the actual game.

Warcraft 3 - $90 after tax.

Most of their money comes within the first year or two. After it goes below a certain threshold, it isn't a money maker anymore.

Books behave in quite a similar way. The attraction to 'old' 20 year books (even if continually printed) is not as great as new books that come out.

Why should copyright be any more than 10 to 15 years?

Movies certainly don't make any great amount of money after a few years either. You know the thing about Disney and their 'get this before we lock up the vault again'. A big company like disney might make moderate income off of that, but not nearly as much as when it first came out.

Reason should be enough to limit it to 10 to 15 years maximum. Software should have at most 5 years, because of its nature. Congradulations to ID Software for releasing their source code on their games of old (after a few years when there isn't any more money to be made).
-----------------------------------------
- If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around, is there any sound?
- If the universe is created, and nobody is around, is there any bang?

All currency in my favorite money Canadian Dollar. (3.00 / 3) (#38)
by jdrake on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:06:21 AM EST


-----------------------------------------
- If a tree falls in the forest, and nobody is around, is there any sound?
- If the universe is created, and nobody is around, is there any bang?

[ Parent ]
well (3.00 / 2) (#134)
by Wah on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:33:27 PM EST

Why should copyright be any more than 10 to 15 years?

This really isn't about idealism.  It's about making an impact first.  Stand, walk, run, then fly.

Let's shoot for moving it back to life+50 the world over and then go from there.  

BTW, I wrote a simple post about the danger of really short copyright here.
--
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...
[ Parent ]

communism (1.57 / 19) (#47)
by turmeric on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:02:55 AM EST

i am sick of this communist crap on k5. why dont you people just put a red flag on the front page instead of that bridge. copyright law is to protect the people who work for a living to produce art. not lazy socialists who think pie falls from the sky. get a grip people. get a grip.

copyright is to protect creator, not a corporation (none / 0) (#63)
by pakje on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:12:06 AM EST

I pay for one thing, and for the creation of that one thing. I want my money to be spend to other writers, not on things like britney spears commercials, or a mobile market takeover. AOL warner, disney, microsoft and other big international corporations. Use the money brought up by one section to "invest" it into another section. That is manipulation of the capitalist market, there is no good balance anymore to price/value .

[ Parent ]
It's simple. (none / 0) (#104)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:43:38 PM EST

Don't purchase any Britney Spears albums. Nobody's forcing you to.
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Ummm...No (none / 0) (#105)
by gengis on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:45:18 PM EST

Copyright law is not meant to protect anyone - it's meant to encourage the creation of the "Useful arts."  It doesn't matter who creates it - be it a corporation or a person.  

[ Parent ]
Protection? (none / 0) (#64)
by squigly on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:17:28 AM EST

How is Walt Disney being protected by the copyright on Mickey Mouse?

[ Parent ]
Isn't it obvious? (none / 0) (#103)
by MessiahWWKD on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:42:14 PM EST

It's their mascot. When one sees Mickey, one thinks of Disney.
Sent from my iPad
[ Parent ]
Disney vs. Walt. (none / 0) (#109)
by cdyer on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:52:11 PM EST

It's their mascot.

The trouble is (and I think this is what the previous poster was trying to get at) the pronoun "they" cannot be used to describe Walt Disney. Old Walt is dead. But the copyright lingers on.

Cheers,
Cliff



[ Parent ]
Yep (none / 0) (#116)
by squigly on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:25:37 PM EST

That's exactly what I meant.  

Thanks.  I should have made it clearer myself.

[ Parent ]

Re: Disney vs. Walt. (none / 0) (#148)
by Mandoric on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 09:54:31 PM EST

> Old Walt is dead. But the copyright lingers on.

I'm waiting for 20 years to pass.

I'm waiting for another copyright extension act to be introduced into Congress.

With hope, some budding young representative from a populous state will make rumblings about how these copyright extensions fail to benefit the obviously dead original creator.

And then, I'm waiting for Eisner's corporate successor to wheel out Walt's head on ice in a bid to counteract this.

(This is nothing more than sarcastic humor. Hopefully.)

[ Parent ]

Ooh! Ooh! (none / 0) (#175)
by LilDebbie on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 02:28:32 PM EST

I can see the arguments now! "Your Honor, since my client theoretically could be thawed out and rescucitated at a later date, we believe the copyright should still stand."

I think the Disney lawyers should persue this with all speed.

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Not protection. (3.00 / 1) (#75)
by Djehuti on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:40:14 AM EST

Copyright is not protection, it is an encouragement to create by giving creators a (supposedly) limited-time monopoly on the commercial exploitation of their creation.

[ Parent ]
In practice... (none / 0) (#126)
by losthalo on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:43:51 PM EST

copyrights mostly protect corporations, who own all of the copyright-able work produced by their contracted employees. Hell, I'm currently working for a small local corp who requires a NDA that grants all intellectual property I produce to my employer. N.B.: the work I do is -not- about producing intellectual property, I develop and print photos, shoot copy slides, scan images for printing, and the like.

Shorter copyright periods would benefit individuals more than corps, because individuals (generally) can't afford licensing fees, and 100+ years is a long time to wait to produce a derivative work.

As to abolishing copyrights and patents entirely, that's a load of bollocks. It would destroy certain industries overnight (by destroying the motivation to bring works to market).

(Losthalo)

"I like the pretty lies."

[ Parent ]
YATT - Yet Another Tumeric Troll (n/t) (3.00 / 1) (#141)
by cestmoi on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:12:58 PM EST



[ Parent ]
OMG (none / 0) (#174)
by LilDebbie on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 02:21:04 PM EST

Pie falls from the sky?!? Where is this happening and how can I get a slice?

My name is LilDebbie and I have a garden.
- hugin -

[ Parent ]
Oh puleeeeeeeze!!! (none / 0) (#208)
by ragnarok on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 05:16:25 AM EST

I would like to know how some hypothetical work of mine is going to be paying my bills 70 years after I've kicked the bucket, popped my clogs or whatever phrase you prefer.

On the other hand, if the money is going directly into the wallet of the RIAA or whoever, then that puts a different spin on

copyright law is to protect the people who work for a living to produce art. not lazy socialists who think pie falls from the sky.
Please start brain before putting mouth into gear.


"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sis
[ Parent ]

What's wrong with (3.33 / 3) (#52)
by bjlhct on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:38:54 AM EST

32 years straight up?

Now, some overly simplified philosophy. A creative work (patents too) has a value per item. The more items made with some idea the more value the idea has created. The price of an item with a monopoly tends to be what it's worth to people, which is the cost of making an item plus the value per item of the idea. Thus the person who had the idea gets the same amount of money, more or less, per item, as the idea is worth. No net benefit to society. However, society wants something back for protecting these people's ideas. So it has the protection end after a while, at which point the price of an item tends towards the cost of making it, and there is a net benefit to society of the idea's per-item value with each item.

*
[kur0(or)5hin http://www.kuro5hin.org/intelligence] - drowning your sorrows in intellectualism

why IP (4.38 / 13) (#54)
by tichy on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:09:29 AM EST

I'm noticing a disturbing trend (I don't mean just K5) to consider intellectual property as something that naturally exists and we are "taking away" at one point; so now that we want to take it away "earlier" we naturally should justify ourselves. The opposite is true.

IP is a social fiction as much as (plain) property or money. Nothing in a physical object makes it "owned"; it is just an object, and nothing in the act of creating something gives you or anyone any kind of rights to its sole exploitation. What property really is, is a conditioning in the way other people can behave around the object; they can't take it, destroy it or (in the case of copyright) copy it. There is nothing in the object or in the act of creation that makes things this way. We make things this way.

And we do so because they are beneficial somehow; in the case of IP specifically, it was created with the intent of fostering the creation of intellectual works. But it was recognized, even at its inception, that prolonging IP for too long would make it contrary to this purpose. This is because, in a sort of weird joke, intellectual works are crucial to the creation of other intellectual works. And its greater, unimpeded availability, in turn greatly helps people to create more and better. That's just how we work; derivative works are only the most explicit form of how all creation is done, because you, me and everyone are the result of everything you've read, heard, talked about, thought about, seen, listened to...

Prolonging IP for too long would mean impediments to the availability of past creations, because they would all have owners for too long, who would be wanting to collect royalties or get compensation for their ownership in some way, making the works less available, or more complicated to obtain, for longer. So it would be contrary to the reason we created IP in the first place.

Now the discussion, how long is too long? That's another issue, but the idea that it's some kind of basic property or right - not so. We are entitled to question it and discuss how long is too long.

words shape thinking (3.50 / 3) (#83)
by han on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:52:36 AM EST

The concept of "intellectual property" may have begun as a whimsical analogy between certain immaterial rights and physical property, but the expression has become so commonplace that most people now find it completely natural to think of copyrights as a kind of property, even if they do not agree with the idea.

(Aside: It has been my impression, too, that the expression "intellectual property" has only proliferated recently, but I have not followed issues of public policy for that many years to be sure. Anyone know the history of the expression?)

To counter the association of copyright with property, I believe it would be useful to increase public awareness of the concept of public domain. At present public domain is a somewhat arcane concept that needs to be explained when mentioned in a general context, but it should be something everyone knows, or at least can recall hearing about. Then it would become a lot harder to argue for extending the rights of copyright holders without any consideration of the rights of the public.

Thus, one of the first steps in gathering public support for copyright reform should be to educate the public about the benefits of public domain. Now, what exactly are these benefits, and can they be explained in simple, concrete terms instead of referring to some vague notion of public good?

[ Parent ]

1682 (3.00 / 2) (#130)
by tichy on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:24:56 PM EST

Now, what exactly are these benefits [of public domain], and can they be explained in simple, concrete terms instead of referring to some vague notion of public good?
Very hard to do. In this thread most of the emphasis has been on derivative works, but like I said I think that's just the tip of the iceberg, because all our brains are derivative works. However it may be the only understandable way because a world where all intellectual work is owned forever is completely alien (to me).

If I were God I'd just bring Eric Blair back to life and make him write about a place where all inventions, discoveries and creative works have had an owner since the beginning of time. So everyone is paying to the 300th descendent of the inventor of crop rotation and you have to sign a EULA drafted by the Pope's IP attorneys before entering the sixtine chapel. So the little protagonist is having a hell of a time finding works and references for this book he's writing... called Principia Mathematica. Maybe he could even be sued by trademark attorneys of some monastic order that owns the "Principia X" trademark!

[ Parent ]

Counterpoint (4.00 / 3) (#113)
by Anonymous 7324 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 03:46:50 PM EST


And we do so because they are beneficial somehow; in the case of IP specifically, it was created with the intent of fostering the creation of intellectual works.

Perhaps this was the idea that the founding fathers of the US had, but that doesn't preclude other interpretations.
Semantics aside, I think the point of the phrase is to give validity to the idea that one can contribute very useful things to society without ever working with one's hands and producing physical objects. It recognizes the value of this kind of labor, and by giving it a name, we legimitize the products of this kind of labor and go on to establish a system for managing it.

[ Parent ]

counterexample (3.00 / 3) (#127)
by tichy on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:14:42 PM EST

I don't think you are historically correct. I tend to believe intellectual labor has been recognized very much as valuable contribution at least since the Greeks. I could be wrong though. In any case look at the example of science. Scientific discoveries have never been a property; did anyone ever believe they are not a worthy pursuit and valuable to society? If anything, they are regarded as more valuable than art by the recalcitrants. But you can't own a discovery.

[ Parent ]
Oh, (4.00 / 3) (#132)
by Anonymous 7324 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:47:54 PM EST

I never meant to imply that either what I said, or that what the founding fathers of the US proposed was in any way unique for original.

As for scientific ideas: there's a fine line between 'discovering' laws of nature and the way that nature acts, and using those laws in specific and novel ways to benefit mankind.

So while we don't have patents on the laws of electricity and magnetism, it's my humble opinion that the dude who originally invented the motor by using those laws in unique and innovative manners had damned well have gotten a patent.

(And yes, patents are not the same as copyrights, yadda yadda yadda.)

[ Parent ]

re. motors (4.00 / 3) (#167)
by Baldwin atomic on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 08:07:03 AM EST

actually, I don't think the guy who invented the motor did get it patented...

I bleieve it was Faraday, around 1834, by the way...

Your argument is still relatively valid, but maybe the telephone would have been a better example ;)


=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+=+
Opinions not necessarily those of the author.
[ Parent ]
ah, fuck Chomsky (1.14 / 14) (#56)
by dr k on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:35:56 AM EST

The fewer people who read him, the better.


Destroy all trusted users!

And I assume you've read all his works? NT (2.00 / 1) (#80)
by ph0rk on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 10:47:58 AM EST


[ f o r k . s c h i z o i d . c o m ]
[ Parent ]
I don't need to read all of his works (1.50 / 2) (#108)
by dr k on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:51:35 PM EST

to form an opinion. Just as I don't need to read every Piers Anthony novel to know that he's a pervert.


Destroy all trusted users!
[ Parent ]

It depends... (1.00 / 3) (#100)
by EriKZ on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 02:24:02 PM EST


If you don't like the left, Chomsky is a dream. His arguments are so clownish that anyone with any reasoning ability can dismiss them. And his media presence is so large, it crowds out the smaller, more rational arguments.

Not to mention that it looks like he represents the Left.

[ Parent ]

Medicine.... (3.66 / 3) (#61)
by Uncle Alex on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:43:34 AM EST

The human genome project.

The president of the US did a good thing making this discovery public domain even though there was a movement against it.

IP isn't just music or books...

don't forget about drugs... (3.00 / 2) (#133)
by Wah on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:18:49 PM EST

...the ones that save/extend your life.  Most of the fun ones are already in the public domain.  It is patents instead of copyrights, so I'm not trying to take any fire away from the topic, but it is something to keep in mind.

There has been some progress, not the least of which is an example like this.  Yea, it's a tangent, but well, there ya go.  IP does, and will, affect us all as we move forward...
--
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...
[ Parent ]

mailinglist blessing (2.16 / 6) (#73)
by jeroenb on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:18:52 AM EST

With Larry Lessig's blessing, I have set up a mailing list

This is very important, imagine setting up a mailinglist without it! How can I arrange to have my mailinglist blessed by him as well? Will it attract more members? And more importantly, are non-Lessig-blessed mailinglist going to be banned in the near future?

Not sure, but .. (3.50 / 2) (#76)
by Eloquence on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:43:11 AM EST

.. the mailman configuration has been exceptionally painless -- who knows? Perhaps we should also contact Saint IGNUcius ..
--
Copyright law is bad: infoAnarchy Pleasure is good: Origins of Violence
spread the word!
[ Parent ]
does he have Holy Penguin Pee too? (nt) (1.00 / 2) (#89)
by ethereal on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 01:00:42 PM EST


--

Stand up for your right to not believe: Americans United for Separation of Church and State
[ Parent ]

A couple of suggestions (4.00 / 1) (#81)
by Chris Marsh on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:47:15 AM EST

First, and I'm not sure that this would help your cause or not, but it seems like part of what should be fought for here is to have copyright apply differently to different things.  Movies, books, music, and software are very distinct things.  It makes more sense to me that they be treated differently.

Life+70 years seems like a long damn time for anything, but at least I could imagine someone still wanting to read a book that is that old.  I can't really say the same thing for software.  Hell, I doubt that more than 1% of software in use today is more than 15 years old.  Certainly no one is still selling software that is 15 years old.  Not even 10.  Should it really be copyrighted for over 100 years?

To be fair to the people who create these various things, we ought to propose a length of copyright where we would expect them to get at least 90% of the profit that would get under a perpetual copyright.  I think that that time is probably independent of the author's lifetime, so I don't really see a reason to include the author's lifetime into the length (which also creates an uneven standard, which I don't think is fair).  Maybe:

60 years for books
50 years for movies/songs
25 years for magazine/newspaper articles
15 years for software

Or, if you want the support of the ?IAA:

1000 years for movies/songs
60 years for books
etc. :-)

I should note that even this breakdown is incomplete; I think that there should be a difference between books that are technical or reference type works, books that are fiction, etc.

Back a few centuries, you'd be saying... (none / 0) (#146)
by Fen on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:48:25 PM EST

Slaves should be free a certain time after being imported!

20h years for household servants (they must like it).

1Ah years for field workers (that must hurt doing that).
--Self.
[ Parent ]

What happens when you mix them together? (none / 0) (#159)
by FlipFlop on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 01:45:48 AM EST

part of what should be fought for here is to have copyright apply differently to different things.

It would make sense to have shorter copyrights for newspapers and other periodicals, since they lose their value very quickly. While complex academic works, like an encyclopedia or dictionary, deserve much longer copyrights. You run into trouble when you mix them together.

What happens when you grab an article from Scientific American and put it in an encyclopedia? Or play a song in a computer program? Or print a computer program in a book?

You're changing the value of an expression based on how it's published.

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

Arrgghhh! (none / 0) (#161)
by FlipFlop on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 01:50:15 AM EST

I clicked "Post" twice because the first time, it said "Timeout on server"!

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

copyright interpretation (none / 0) (#165)
by martingale on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:45:26 AM EST

In a sense, I don't care at all what length a copyright should be allowed for, I'm starting to think that problem is just arguing around the issue.

What I would like to see is a very narrow scope, which leaves a wide range of "modifications" of the work free from legal claims. For one, things like characters and concepts in a book should be always exempt from claims, as well as translations. Suing somebody because they want to use Mickey Mouse is just wrong. Disney can have perpetual copyright to their own movies in unmodified form (including trivial changes, if they are obviously trivial). But like physical products, cheap imitations should always be allowed. Right now, copyright is used to prevent cheap imitations on intellectual property.

[ Parent ]

For credibility sake...... (4.55 / 9) (#85)
by modmans2ndcoming on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 12:22:29 PM EST

I would get rid of the Info Anarchy symbol in the top right corner.

the symbol makes the page look like they are an Anarchist web site and rather than wanting to work in the best intrest of society, it makes them seem that they want to achive their goals to further the political causes of Anarchy.

The guarenteed way.... (4.00 / 3) (#118)
by r00t on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 04:33:39 PM EST

Lobbying the government is one way to save the public domain, but chances of that working are slim because you have no money. The guarenteed way is to get off your lazy ass, work long and hard creating something, and then give it away just just like Richard Stallman, Linus Torvalds and all the other OS hackers.

-It's not so much what you have to learn if you accept weird theories, it's what you have to unlearn. - Isaac Asimov

Yep... (3.00 / 2) (#156)
by dh003i on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:58:14 PM EST

the government is filled with a bunch of crooks who only do the right thing if bribed with enough money to do it.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.
[ Parent ]

Different copyright terms for different things (3.50 / 4) (#125)
by dh003i on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 05:35:41 PM EST

Here's my proposal.

Patents terms (20 years) are fine.  This is just about the right amount of time to develop a drug, work out kinks to prevent lawsuites, advertise it, and make a worthwhile profit on it.  I, however, support drastically reducing the scope of patents.  For one thing, there should be no patents on trivial extentions of already-existing inventions, nor should there be patents on things which can not exist (i.e., perpetual motion machine).  Also, one should have to actually have a concrete product/model made to get a patent, otherwise people can just come up with a slew of ideas, patent them, not develop them, then sue the first person who actually does real work.  Also, no patents on business models, and no software patents.  Software patents would have prevented the computer revolution if they'd been around when it happened.

Copyright terms are not fine.  Here's my suggestions:

  1.  Computer games.  Games are generally complete non-factors five years after their initial release.  As good as Descent 3 was, hardly no-one's buying it today, and it's selling for under $10.  Copyrights on computer games, thus, should be 5 years.
  2.  Music.  Morris Day.  Anyone buying his stuff anymore?  Anyone making tons of money off of him?   No.  Financially, his music is a non-factor.  Hardly no music from 10 years ago is in any way making any significant money for anyone.  Copyrights on music, thus, should be 10 years.
  3.  Movies.  Jaws 1, anyone?  Great movie, but a non-seller today.  In fact, it wasn't selling much even 15 years after it's release.  Copyriht for movies should be 15 years.
  4.  Books.  copyright should be 20 years.
Sure, there are some cases where products continue to make money after these periods, but we don't make the rules by the exception.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.

Copyright length (3.00 / 2) (#142)
by TheEldestOyster on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:21:58 PM EST

Hardly no music from 10 years ago is in any way making any significant money for anyone.

I recently saw something on TV about how more than 50% of a fairly large label's income comes from *one* singer/songwriter from the 50's, which is just now coming into the public domain in the EU.

Overall, I think your copyright terms are way too short. Here's how I would set them:
  • Computer Games - I say at least 10 years, maybe 20. Nintendo is doing remakes of old NES/SNES games for the GBA and making some pretty good money off of them.
  • Music - 50 years.
  • Movies - 50 years.
  • Books - 50 years.
Perhaps cutting those terms in half and allowing one renewal.
--
TheEldestOyster (rizen/bancus) * PGP Signed/Encrypted mail preferred
[ Parent ]
Please (3.00 / 2) (#152)
by dh003i on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:47:31 PM EST

Again, ONE company where 50% comes from someone from the 50s.  Fuck em.  Scaling back duration times puts the pressure on, and encourages people to make NEW material frequently.

So what if Nintendo is making remakes?  Force them to do something new by scaling back copyrights.  They've just retouching OLD concepts.  Again, the rule should NOT be made around the exception.  The vast majority of games are unprofitable 5 years after IPO, indeed even sooner than that.

Your terms for Music, Movies, and Books are likewise excessively long.  The Founding Father's thought 14 years for all copyrights was fine, and that was back in the day when TV, radio, and the internet couldn't advertise your book to billions of people around the world.

For the vast majority of things, my terms cut off copyrights when things are no longer profitable, and gives a huge benefit to the public by allowing information to enter the public domain, and allowing anyone to work with it for free.  Even if they put something in the public domain while it's still profitable to the owner, so what?  Copyrights aren't RIGHTS, they are priviledges granted for the PROGRESS OF THE USEFUL ARTS.  Scaling back their duration creates a shorter product cycle, which means more things get created, which is good.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.
[ Parent ]

back in the slave days... (3.00 / 2) (#145)
by Fen on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:36:18 PM EST

You'd argue for a reduction in slave imports or some other half-assed solution.  Good thing back then we had people who didn't compromise.

We need all intellectual property laws abolished now.
--Self.
[ Parent ]

I actually do support the repeal of IP... (3.00 / 2) (#154)
by dh003i on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:50:22 PM EST

I support the repeal of all IP-laws, however I'm not sure it is practically feasible.  What system steps up into its place to create financial incentive for the creation of works?  Yes, some artists work for the sake of art, but many do it for money.

Completely abolishing IP laws would probably result in less works/inventions being made, and less eventually being available to the public (because there's less made initially).  The idea should be to maximize the number of works/inventions that are freely available to the public.  That can't happen if little is being created because there's no protection.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.
[ Parent ]

You're kidding about no money being made... (3.33 / 4) (#166)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 05:54:31 AM EST

One of last years best selling albums was a compilation of Elvis songs that have already appeared on dozens of other compilations. And look at the number of > 15 yo movies that are showing up on DVD.

In any case, I don't think the fact that no money is being made should be the factor.

A better way would be to allow copyrights to exist as long as the work is kept in circulation (up to a point - at least until the death of the original author). That way Cliff Richard would still get his royalties, while all those C64 games you can't get anymore would be public domain.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]

Please (3.80 / 5) (#168)
by dh003i on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 11:09:41 AM EST

I keep on saying this, but no-one apparently listens.  Sure, there are a few odd-ball exceptions.  Too fucking bad.  We don't make the rules based around a 2% of people who could benefit if they were this way or that way.

Even if they are still making money, too fucking bad.  Copyright isn't an inherent right, like the right to life.  It is a PRIVILEDGE that WE THE PUBLIC grant authors so they can make money on their works; the idea is to create an incentive to create works.  Long copyright terms, in fact, reduce incentive, by allowing artists to rest on their laurels.  Shorter terms would force quicker product cycles, which means more works being released.

The terms I described are plenty enough to create incentive for artists to create works, and create them often, as they wouldn't be able to rely on one book for the rest of their careers.

Consider this.  How long does it take write a good fiction story?  A year, two years at most?  Why should artists get a life-times worth of profit for one or two years worth of work, when no-one else gets that?  A teacher works for a year, (s)he gets a year's worth of salary -- payment for one year.

The point of copyright is not to allow authors to get as rich as they possibly can with the least amount of work.  The point of copyright is to promote the progress of science and the useful arts, which means that things should be entering the public domain in massive amount and relatively quickly after their creation-date, while they are still particularly relevant.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.
[ Parent ]

Those 2% are the ones who make it worthwhile... (2.00 / 1) (#178)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 08:40:50 PM EST

If those 2% stop creating, all we are left with is shit.

As for the rest, most of them are not making anywhere near a years salary. I read somewhere that the average new fiction book gets a print run of about 2000 and the author will get 10c from each copy sold.

In any case, what right do publishers of public domain works have to make a profit of other peoples effort.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]

sigh (4.00 / 1) (#183)
by dh003i on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 12:29:29 AM EST

Some people are really dense.  It almost exasperates me.

Those 2% are not the one's who are all making the best products.  They just advertise them the best.  And they are NOT going to stop creating just because their work is protected for 20 years, not life + 75.  That's an idiotic assumption.

As for the rest, most of them are not making anywhere near a years salary.

In other words, for the vast majority of people creating works, copyright terms beyond 20 years mean nothing.  We don't make our laws to allow the richest of the rich to get richer.

I read somewhere that the average new fiction book gets a print run of about 2000 and the author will get 10c from each copy sold.

This is a problem with greedy middle-men in the book-industry, affiliated with the SIAA.  It's sort of like the music/RIAA thing.  The artists do all of the important work, but get a minority of the profit from their work.

In any case, what right do publishers of public domain works have to make a profit of other peoples effort.

God, you are dense.  Authors don't have the inherent right to have their works protected.  There is no such right.  That's a PRIVILEDGE -- read this again P R I V I L E D G E -- that we grant them in order to create a financial incentive to create works.  20 years is plenty enough financial incentive.  Since our objective is to maximize the amount of work available to the public -- not to enrich 2% of artists who greedily want more money than they already get -- terms should not be longer.  

What right do publishers of public domain works have to make a profit off of other people's effort?  Every right.  Those other people made their profit by using other people's effort as their base, by extracting from the public domain, by freely gathering information from the wealth of public material available, by using the education which the tax-payers paid for to give them.  Better questions to ask revolve around what right artists have to selfishly take and take, without giving anything back, and expecting hte tax-payers to pay to protect their copyrights indefinately.  What right do these artists have to expect us to continue using OUR tax dollars to insure that no-one violates their copyrights forever?  What right to artists have to greedily take from the public domain to aid in the creation of their works, but never give anything back to it within their life-time?

Copyright is a deal between authors and the public, one which the authors and the Congress are crookedly changing after the fact.  The deal is, we the tax-payers will pay taxes to protect the copyrights of authors, so as to create a financial incentive for creation.  In return, we expect that their works will become public domain relatively quickly, while they are still culturally and/or scientifically relevant.

Artists -- and companies exploiting artists, like Disney -- have continually lobbied Congress to retroactively extend copyright terms, so they don't have to obey their half of the bargain.  This is crooked and corrupt.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.
[ Parent ]

after the fact (2.00 / 1) (#188)
by enterfornone on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 07:13:27 AM EST

Some people are really dense. It almost exasperates me.
Glad you agree.
Those 2% are not the one's who are all making the best products. They just advertise them the best. And they are NOT going to stop creating just because their work is protected for 20 years, not life + 75. That's an idiotic assumption.
Would George Lucas have bothered making Attack of the Clones had the copyright for Star Wars expired in 1997, allowing anyone to profit of the revived popularity of his characters? I doubt it.
This is a problem with greedy middle-men in the book-industry, affiliated with the SIAA. It's sort of like the music/RIAA thing. The artists do all of the important work, but get a minority of the profit from their work.
I doubt any musician would be able to get national airplay without a greedy middle-man promoting his work. And such promotion would not occur unless the record company had the exclusive right to sell the work.
God, you are dense. Authors don't have the inherent right to have their works protected. There is no such right. That's a PRIVILEDGE -- read this again P R I V I L E D G E -- that we grant them in order to create a financial incentive to create works. 20 years is plenty enough financial incentive. Since our objective is to maximize the amount of work available to the public -- not to enrich 2% of artists who greedily want more money than they already get -- terms should not be longer.
Well if I was a communist I might agree. But since I'm not I'll stand by the idea that people should profit from their own work and that they don't owe shit to the public.
What right to artists have to greedily take from the public domain to aid in the creation of their works, but never give anything back to it within their life-time?
Why should the artists of today have to give back during their own lifetime when this was never a requirement of those whose works are in the public domain today.
Copyright is a deal between authors and the public, one which the authors and the Congress are crookedly changing after the fact. The deal is, we the tax-payers will pay taxes to protect the copyrights of authors, so as to create a financial incentive for creation. In return, we expect that their works will become public domain relatively quickly, while they are still culturally and/or scientifically relevant.
I agree. Authors have no right to change the agreement after the fact, which is why I support life + 50 years as it always has been. But by the same token there is no reason the public should be able to change the rules after the fact as you are suggesting.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Always Has Been? (4.00 / 1) (#189)
by Matrix on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:19:37 AM EST

I suggest you do some research. Stating that copyright has always been life + 50 shows a startling degree of ignorance. Though since you claim that putting works the public domain is stealing from authors, I guess that's to be expected. Here's a question for you: would Lucas have made Star Wars in the first place if he didn't have numerous Japanese samurai tales and other pieces of mythology that are/were part of the public domain to draw from? Remember, before you answer, that Lucas received little to no studio support or funding for the first movie, and so would not have been able to afford licensing fees of any sort, including those necessary for creating a derived work.


Matrix
"...Pulling together is the aim of despotism and tyranny. Free men pull in all kinds of directions. It's the only way to make progress."
- Lord Vetinari, pg 312 of the Truth, a Discworld novel by Terry Pratchett
[ Parent ]

samuri tales (1.00 / 1) (#199)
by enterfornone on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 08:09:35 PM EST

Even if Star Wars was inspired by samuri tales, it would not have needed to licence them. Clearly you are ignorant about what copyright actually is.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
what stupidity (none / 0) (#201)
by dh003i on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 12:46:10 AM EST

support life + 50 years as it always has been

Bzzt!  Beep!  Wrong.  Try again.  Copyrights have not always had terms of life + 50.  You obviously are completely ignorant of copyright history.  When first instituted  by the Copyright Act of 1790, copyrights had a term of 14 years.  Obviously, the founding father's felt that was plenty of time to protect works:  and this was back in the day when artists didn't have the internet, TV, radio, and mass-advertising to get their books sold quickly.

Would George Lucas have bothered making Attack of the Clones had the copyright for Star Wars expired in 1997, allowing anyone to profit of the revived popularity of his characters? I doubt it.

If copyright lasted 15 years, Lucas might have gotten off his lazy ass a little bit earlier and made the prequels.  And btw, if he didn't make "The Phantom Menace", we'd all be better off.  Btw, copyrights don't protect an idea -- they protect an expression of an idea.  Copyrights don't give you exclusive rights over your idea.  Trademark prevents others from making Star-Wars sequels; btw, such trademarks w/c give Lucas trademark "rights" over Star-Wars characters and concepts should expire even quicker than the copyrights themselves.  Owning ideas/information is the "trademark" of a despotic nation.

So, lets say that copyrights on Lucas' movies run out, and now anyone can make sequels.  What's wrong with that?  He can still make a sequel, and if his is the best and the other's are lame, he'll get lots of money.  On the other hand, if his sucks -- like "Phantom Menace" -- then people will be warned, and will see "unofficial" sequels by other directors.  Lucas having a little bit of competitition would be a good thing:  we never would have had to endure that "Phantom Menace" crap, because he wouldn't have been able to get away with spewing out such shit.

I doubt any musician would be able to get national airplay without a greedy middle-man promoting his work. And such promotion would not occur unless the record company had the exclusive right to sell the work.

Which doesn't justify the middle-men getting 99% of the profit.  Advertising doesn't make a product good -- a shitty product can have all the advertising in the world, it's still shit.  In the modern era of the internet, good products will quickly get recognition without the need for televised advertising.

Well if I was a communist I might agree. But since I'm not I'll stand by the idea that people should profit from their own work and that they don't owe shit to the public.

You release an idea to the public, you LOSE control over it.  Tough fucking shit.  You want to keep it secret, then you can do whatever the fuck you want with it.  Authors have no "artistic rights" to control their work:  it is a priviledge granted to promote progress.  Read the constitution.  Under my system, artists would get to profit off of their work for a limited time, but not forever.  This forces them to engage in faster development cycles and release products more often.  Awe, poor babies.  Just like EVERYONE ELSE in the real world, they don't get to profit forever off of a year's worth of work.

Why should the artists of today have to give back during their own lifetime when this was never a requirement of those whose works are in the public domain today.

The vast majority of stuff in the public domain went into the public domain during the authors' lifetimes.  That's because copyright terms were initially relatively short.  Btw, this is a fallacy.  Just because something was so in the past, and is so now, doesn't mean it should be so.

I agree. Authors have no right to change the agreement after the fact

They already have changed the agreement after the fact, by retroactive copyright extensions.

which is why I support life + 50 years as it always has been.

Nope, it was only life + 50 very recently.  Learn some history.  Btw, even considering this "artists rights" crap you support -- which seems to allow artists to control ideas -- there's no reason for anything beyond life.  Just like other people, when they die, they stop making money.  I have a job:  I get paid on that job as long as I work.  I don't get paid for as long as I work + 50 years.

But by the same token there is no reason the public should be able to change the rules after the fact as you are suggesting.

No, I am not suggesting the public change the rules after the fact.  I do not support a retroactive decreasement of copyright terms.  I support reducing all terms for works that come into being from now on.  This is not "changing the rules after the fact"; this is calling artists -- who have continually, by retroactive extensions -- changed the rules after the fact, on their cheating.  Restoring things to equilibrium:  a proper balance, so as to encourage maximum progress.

Copyrights are not a "right"; they are a priviledge.  No-one has the "right" to own information -- or phrases -- in the same way you'd own a car or a house you paid for.  Why?  Because such permanent ownership is in conflict with the right to free speech:  it restricts others' free speech.  Owning information is the mark of a dictatorship, not a democracy, and is an inherent evil.  In this case, it may be necessary, so we allow it in so much as it maximized the promotion of progress, with the compensation that it becomes public domain quickly.

Shorter terms for copyrights -- and trademarks, patents, trade-secrets, etc -- create more competitiveness.  Shorter terms are more inducive to a rapid rate of progression, thus better.  They are also more in line with free-speech.

Social Security is a pyramid scam.
[ Parent ]

Sorry, my bad (none / 0) (#204)
by enterfornone on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 09:38:59 PM EST

Bzzt! Beep! Wrong. Try again. Copyrights have not always had terms of life + 50. You obviously are completely ignorant of copyright history. When first instituted by the Copyright Act of 1790, copyrights had a term of 14 years. Obviously, the founding father's felt that was plenty of time to protect works: and this was back in the day when artists didn't have the internet, TV, radio, and mass-advertising to get their books sold quickly.
Sorry, I'm not an American. The Berne convention made copyrights life + 50 in most of Europe in 1908, I think the US were one of the last countries to sign. Since few people alive today were buying books prior to 1908 I think changing things now still counts as changing things after the fact.
Copyrights don't give you exclusive rights over your idea. Trademark prevents others from making Star-Wars sequels; btw, such trademarks w/c give Lucas trademark "rights" over Star-Wars characters and concepts should expire even quicker than the copyrights themselves. Owning ideas/information is the "trademark" of a despotic nation.
No, copyrights stop people making star wars sequals. Trademarks stop people making Luke Skywalker Bar and Grill etc. (the characters and world created are protected by copyright, trademarks just protect the name).
Which doesn't justify the middle-men getting 99% of the profit. Advertising doesn't make a product good -- a shitty product can have all the advertising in the world, it's still shit.
No advertising doesn't make a product good, it makes it sell. That's why Britney Spears record company deserve most of the profits, they make shit music sell, all she did was make shit music.
In the modern era of the internet, good products will quickly get recognition without the need for televised advertising.
This very rarely happens.
You release an idea to the public, you LOSE control over it. Tough fucking shit. You want to keep it secret, then you can do whatever the fuck you want with it. Authors have no "artistic rights" to control their work: it is a priviledge granted to promote progress. Read the constitution.
The US constitution does not define what human rights are.
Owning information is the mark of a dictatorship, not a democracy, and is an inherent evil.
At least we agree about you being a communist.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Does anyone know (3.00 / 2) (#129)
by losthalo on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 06:23:48 PM EST

when the last time was that something new actually entered the public domain due to the copyright expiring? With multiple copyright extensions on the federal books, it must have been a long time ago, hasn't it?

(Losthalo)

"Opportunities multiply as they are seized."
(Sun Tzu)

That's easy. (none / 0) (#171)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 11:57:19 AM EST

The last time anything entered the public domain was the year they passed this law extending copyright - 1998.

At the time I was running a web site dedicated to converting Project Gutenberg texts to Palm Pilot file format. I had over 300 titles and the very first Agatha Christie novel had entered the public domain. But none of the others will for another 25 years.


--
Wouldn't it be a victory for the oppressed people of Iraq, of North Korea, of Iran, if their police-state regimes were overthrown? Even by a cowbo
[ Parent ]

Since I'm so lazy (none / 0) (#190)
by Wah on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 01:04:53 PM EST

At the time I was running a web site dedicated to converting Project Gutenberg texts to Palm Pilot file format.

can you post a link?  I got one of those Palm-phone things for christmas, so I actually use a palm now and don't mind reading some stuff on it from tim to time.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]

Tragically, (5.00 / 1) (#193)
by porkchop_d_clown on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 03:37:19 PM EST

My site, the PilotLibrary, shut down in 1999 when it got too popular for me to support in my spare time. I contacted my favorite "competitor" at the time and donated my content to them. Check out MemoWare. They've grown a lot since the days when we were on geocities...


--
Wouldn't it be a victory for the oppressed people of Iraq, of North Korea, of Iran, if their police-state regimes were overthrown? Even by a cowbo
[ Parent ]

Don't forget about our old friend. (3.00 / 2) (#140)
by Wah on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 07:59:29 PM EST

Civil Disobedience.

Let the computers do the hard part, we've all learned that by now.
--
The aim of an argument or discussion should not be victory, but progress. -- Joseph Joubert. ...

You can break the law here (3.66 / 3) (#150)
by pin0cchio on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:22:35 PM EST

Damian Yerrick of Pin Eight.com has illegally placed some novels online in such a manner as to break only the Bono Act and no other law.


lj65
[ Parent ]
What about weapons and killing? (3.00 / 2) (#143)
by Fen on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:29:30 PM EST

Why try to convince stupid dinosaurs when force is all that will matter? Point a .50 cal sniper rifle at an entertainmant exec and ask if it is "immoral" to copy digital content. Remember, your life is already at stake from patents on drugs and even genetic tests. Patents and copyrights are just different sides of the same evil coin.
--Self.
Hardly (none / 0) (#180)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 08:45:59 PM EST

I thik there is a ig differece between a drug that may save your life and a mickey mouse cartoon. Which is why patents have much shorter lifespans.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Write your representative (3.50 / 3) (#144)
by epcraig on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 08:31:20 PM EST

Presuming you live in some sort of republic, you have some sort of representative in your national parliament. Write to your representative.

Reportedly, neatly hand written hardcopy works best, closely followed by neatly spell checked and nicely formatted typed/printed hardcopy. Neatness and formality count. Crayons are right out. Cut 'N Paste is not your friend, unless you're explicitly quoting. Best not to quote, though, this should be your opinion. (Literal cut and paste kinapping-note style is almost as bad an idea as including powdered incense).

If nothing else, it'll let your Member of Parliament, Senator, Congressman or whatever title (pay attention to the formalities, your representative does) that somebody, in his or her district does pay attention to copyright, and a vote in the next election may depend on past and future votes on copyright legislation.


There is no EugeneFreeNet.org, there is an efn.org

Sorry to let you in on this...... (2.33 / 3) (#151)
by stpna5 on Fri Jan 17, 2003 at 11:33:32 PM EST

There has already been a
"massive release of works into the public domain."
It's happened every day for the past two or three centuries. And none of the works or authors you mentioned is missing in action now, nor will they be soon. Unless of course literacy itself evaporates, which after reading your piece seems suddenly possible. Sorry if you haven't ever visited a public library or a used bookstore when funds for reading material were running thin. You see, nobody is locked out of access to this stuff. Thought you should know.

You seem to think that the term of copyright in the 'founding fathers' era versus the newest revised statute of copyright is arbitrary and wildly out of whack with even the average life expectancy in the respective eras.

Because of this law a person who can only vaguely afford carfare can yet afford to copyright his or her work with the Library of Congress. Not so a patent-seeking genius inventor or chemist. Is it such an awful thing to enable a writer, artist, poet or other sort of creative being to protect their work even when they aren't yet published or contractually subjugated? A syndicate of corpulent media sloths whose substantial retainer fees paid to legions of rabid lawyers have retooled these laws. They have had much help from frequently corrupt and overfed legislators. They are sadly, even more dim than any "17 economists" when it comes to artistic pursuits. Your evident desire to accelerate the rush to bowdlerize and rip off the creations of others, much as rap music "artists" did prior to being required to pay a nominal license fee to permit legal use of a copyrighted piece of music smacks of Stalinism. A sovereignty-smashing, self-righteous cultural politburo telling the individual creator of the thing of value he must surrender his rights and monies? No thanks, -- oh yeah,--- and work liberates us all. Such pandering and looney attempts at stigmatizing and maligning an entire class of people (artists) because of the treacherous buffonery in several corporate boardrooms and the ruling kleptocracy of several legislative chambers is --at best-- hilarious in its unctuous anti-Americanism.

Sorry to let you in on this...... (1.80 / 5) (#158)
by stpna5 on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 01:25:18 AM EST

There has already been a
"massive release of works into the public domain."
It's happened every day for the past two or three centuries. And none of the works or authors you mentioned is missing in action now, nor will they be soon. Unless of course literacy itself evaporates, which after reading your piece seems suddenly possible.

Sorry if you haven't ever visited a public library or a used bookstore when funds for reading material were running thin. You see, nobody is locked out of access to this stuff. Thought you should know.

You seem to think that the term of copyright in the 'founding fathers' era versus the newest revised statute of copyright is arbitrary and wildly out of whack with even the average life expectancy in the respective eras.

Because of this law a person who can only vaguely afford carfare can yet afford to copyright his or her work with the Library of Congress. Not so a patent-seeking genius inventor or chemist. Is it such an awful thing to enable a writer, artist, poet or other sort of creative being to protect their work even when they aren't yet published or contractually subjugated? A syndicate of corpulent media sloths whose substantial retainer fees paid to legions of rabid lawyers have retooled these laws. They have had much help from frequently corrupt and overfed legislators. They are sadly, even more dim than any "17 economists" when it comes to artistic pursuits. Your evident desire to accelerate the rush to bowdlerize and rip off the creations of others, much as rap music "artists" did prior to being required to pay a nominal license fee to permit legal use of a copyrighted piece of music smacks of Stalinism. A sovereignty-smashing, self-righteous cultural politburo telling the individual creator of the thing of value he must surrender his rights and monies? No thanks, -- oh yeah,--- and work liberates us all. Such pandering and looney attempts at stigmatizing and maligning an entire class of people (artists) because of the treacherous buffoonery in several corporate boardrooms and the ruling kleptocracy of several legislative chambers is --at best-- hilarious in its unctuous anti-Americanism.

Where is all this new public domain work? (3.50 / 3) (#163)
by squigly on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 04:13:21 AM EST

Very few people here consider copyright to bad inherently bad.  You seem to think we do.  And please stop with all the "Stalinism" and "Anti-American" crap.  Why not entitle your post "This is a troll"?

The rap artists is the perfect example of why we should have a shorter copyright term, or at least more flexible copyright.  The music they allegedly "ripped off" was changed so much that it was a clearly distinct piece of work.  The input of the original creator is negligible.  They have created a class of artistic works that require the use of copyrighted material, but to practice this art, they have to pay for it.  

Before this law, absolutely anyone could afford to copyright their work.  Does extending the term of copyright from 50 to 70 years after an author's death really help the poorer artists?  The Bono Act did virtually nothing except extend the copyright term.  A copyright term that the implicitely agreed to in exchange for a monopoly on their work when they first published.

[ Parent ]

Rap artists (none / 0) (#179)
by enterfornone on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 08:43:31 PM EST

YOu mean the type that play an 80s record and shout over the top and think it's origial material. They are a excellet case for extended copyrights.

--
efn 26/m/syd
Will sponsor new accounts for porn.
[ Parent ]
Before the dawn of (none / 0) (#184)
by stpna5 on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 01:25:01 AM EST

hip hop as a branding tool and source of diamond-encrusted tabloid dishing, there were actual rap artists who were not addicted to samplers and loops and who could write (create) their own (NON-DERIVATIVE) material. The later rampant copyright violations by their corporate-approved imitators led to creating an entire licensing/clearance bureau to deal with this contingent of pop infohype. Coincidence? Must be. The People's Republic model of pretending everything is public domain and patents and copyrights are to be ignored as just not part of the long march plan however, dovetails nicely with a burgeoning, feeble-minded audience of braying consumers made near-ignorant of even the existence of musical works and performances involving melody, intonation and (ZOUNDS!) skillful musicianship. Much as when force-fed a diet of nothing but junk-food a toddler knows nothing better. Nor do machine-raised livestock remember running afield.

[ Parent ]
And technology provides a new medium (none / 0) (#187)
by squigly on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 04:28:36 AM EST

Now there are artists who know how to use a sampler,  who feel that the current music can be improved.  The technology allows them to do this.  

There are still people who can create non derivitive material.  There are also people who can create competent derivitive material.  Copyright forced them to create the licencing/clearing bureau.  Without it they would be free to create without restriction.  Okay, to be fair, the original creators probably do deserve some credit for work derived from their work.  

You don't think this is proper art - fine.  Some people will agre with you and produce something you do like.  Permission to use exisiting works doesn't seem to have reduced the number of original works.

[ Parent ]

Theft is theft , however (1.50 / 2) (#192)
by stpna5 on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 03:20:23 PM EST

no matter how justified the miscreant feels they may be in stealing something from its owner. Remixing, performing, re-arranging and even quoting can all be done without violating any rights. Counterfeiting of auto parts or airplane parts is something nobody feels is defensible but it has gone on just as similar piracy concerns affected authors and composers for instance, long before the current ubiquitous technologies. I'm not in favor of chopping hands off, and there are plenty of societies that are. Remixes and cover versions, though sometimes cheezy are not the problem.

[ Parent ]
Theft is indeed theft (5.00 / 1) (#197)
by squigly on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 06:56:08 PM EST

But who's talking about theft?  Copyright infringement is not theft.  If it was, then the original owner of the work would no longer possess it if was copied.  This is clearly not the case.  Hence it is not theft.  Sticking to the term "copyright infringement" works so much better because we can use this to determine whether it is right or wrong on its own merits rather than parallels to something that is wrong.

Do you think thatAre you arguing that reworking music into a rap version is the same as counterfeiting auto parts?  I'm not quite sure why people feel that this is not defensible.  The car company has already sold me a car.  Why do they reserve a right to a monopoly on parts?

Anyway, what about customising a car?  Am I allowed to modify it?  What if I want to modify the music I bought?  To do this, I need to make a copy.  The law prevents me from distributing this copy.  Fortunately I can licence the music, but what about movies?  If I want a custom version of the Phantom Menace, how do I get hold of it without breach of copyright?

[ Parent ]

no, no, no, (1.00 / 1) (#205)
by stpna5 on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:38:06 PM EST

Infringement of copyright isn't theft,---only in the same sense that--- entering someone's domicile without their permission isn't trespassing. The differences and distinctions among editing, publishing, arranging, displaying, marketing, and performing works etc., are not at all mysterious and have been defined and allowed for under copyright law country-to-country and long resolved just as the libel and slander laws have been.

Just because someone uses a new technology to run an old hustle doesn't ameliorate the damage. "Reworking" music is not the same as lifting it whole and then transmogrifying it in lieu of creating your own original work. The 'parts' analogy as in: sub-standard, below-spec imitations, that actually weren't what they appeared to be. It's fine to pretend that copying isn't copying when copying is not allowed as in: your 'right' to copy is nonexistent other than as it is permitted and controlled by the owner of the copyright. Gigantic media corporations never sculpt, write, compose and paint and thereby create. They distribute. Irving Berlin died some years ago but at age 100 was busily renewing the copyrights of his songs under the "old" law so they wouldn't fall into public domain as soon. You can safely make your own copy of something copyrighted that you own a copy of for your own personal (fair) use. You simply can't distribute it to others anymore than you can sell homemade sandwiches on the street without a vending permit or some similar license in most jurisdictions; even if you are a really nice person and your kind, old grandmother makes the sandwiches from a family recipe.

Throwing out the baby with the bathwater by pretending that it isn't theft, unauthorized reproductions, plagiarism and/or piracy but only avarice that's the motive force here ignores the foolishness inherent in treating both individuals and corporations the same. And there really have been crashes and mechanical failures from blackmarket-knockoff parts which were not of the same structural integrity or tolerance as the real item, but only cosmetically resembled the real thing much like the proverbial Rolex you buy from a guy on the street. The wonder of the new technologies as regards the creative arts is how they have precipitously lowered the threshold of talent necessary for being able to produce a CD, video or book. Talent is still rare, access to distribution is still almost whimsically parochial and under 'corporate' lockdown. "The road to hell is paved with good intentions."

[ Parent ]

Definitions (none / 0) (#209)
by squigly on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 08:35:47 AM EST

Infringement of copyright isn't theft,---only in the same sense that--- entering someone's domicile without their permission isn't trespassing.

Trespassing: To enter unlawfully upon the land of another.

Theft: (Law) The act of stealing; specifically, the felonious taking and removing of personal property, with an intent to deprive the rightful owner of the same.

I may be taking, but not removing.  The original holder keeps their copy when I make an infringing copy.  I do not deprive the original owner of anything.  Hence, I see a distinction between this and theft.  

I still don't follow the parts analogy.  If I were to make parts that were better quality than offical parts, then where's the crime?  Even if you are talking about poorer quality - this is surely an honesty issue.  Or possibly a reason that there should be certain specified tolerences for car parts.  The analogy doesn't fit.  Not only this, but the rap version of a piece of music is not passing off, but reworking.  Why is this a crime?  Is my CD player likely to cause injury because I'm paying a poor quality imitation?

I am aware that copyright law prevents me from doing many things that I would like to do, but should it?  Likewise, should I require a permit to sell sandwiches?  I see the justifiaction, and public health is more important than my right to sell sandwiches.  Why does copyright allow a movie company to prevent me from selling a modified version of a movie, even if I pay them the full retail price of their movie for each copy I sell, and make it clear exactly what has been changed?  I can sell modified versions of tangible property under the same conditions.  

[ Parent ]

Baloney. (none / 0) (#211)
by stpna5 on Fri Jan 24, 2003 at 10:01:23 PM EST

How many modified versions of a Rembrandt did you crank out last month?

[ Parent ]
What's tjhat got to do with anything (none / 0) (#216)
by squigly on Mon Jan 27, 2003 at 06:01:49 AM EST

I produced exactly as many modified rembrants as car resprays, and PC case modifications.

I'll occasionally dabble with a reworking of an old C64 compouter game though.  I could possibly release it if I added enough polish, except that the only thing that would prevent a lawsuit if I did this would be the good nature of the copyright owner.

[ Parent ]

You can't polish a turd... or a troll. (3.33 / 3) (#186)
by heliarch on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 03:39:08 AM EST

> There has already been a "massive release of works into the public
> domain."

Would you care to cite that quote?

> It's happened every day for the past two or three centuries. And
> none of the works or authors you mentioned is missing in action now,
> nor will they be soon.

Would you care to qualify that statement? Your argument is
really getting hollow and you are only three sentences in to it.

> Unless of course literacy itself evaporates,
> which after reading your piece seems suddenly possible.

Hollow and now, pompous, arrogant, and insulting.

> Sorry if you haven't ever visited a public library or a used bookstore
> when funds for reading material were running thin. You see, nobody is
> locked out of access to this stuff. Thought you should know.

Your lack of understanding of the issue is becomming very apparent.

> You seem to think that the term of copyright in the 'founding fathers'
> era versus the newest revised statute of copyright is arbitrary and
> wildly out of whack with even the average life expectancy in the
> respective eras.

Stop putting your words into other people's mouths. No matter how
eloquently you do it, it still makes you look like a horse's ass.
BTW: The answer is yes. Why? Because it is. If copyrights on artistic works
become family/corporate heirlooms, who wins? Not the artist. He/she is dead!

> Because of this law a person who can only vaguely afford carfare can yet
> afford to copyright his or her work with the Library of Congress.

Phooey! This law has nothing to do with that, and you know it!
Your just making noise (al la empty can). In what way does extending
copyright term 70 years past the artist/creator's life benefit that
individual? None whatsoever.

> Not
> so a patent-seeking genius inventor or chemist. Is it such an awful
> thing to enable a writer, artist, poet or other sort of creative
> being to protect their work even when they aren't yet published or
> contractually subjugated?

Not so a patent-seeker. Is it such an awful thing to enable a creator of
works to protect their work even when they are not published or contractually
obligated?

See how easy that was? You ought to try it some time!

> A syndicate of corpulent media sloths
> whose substantial retainer fees paid to legions of rabid lawyers
> have retooled these laws. They have had much help from frequently
> corrupt and overfed legislators. They are sadly, even more dim than
> any "17 economists" when it comes to artistic pursuits.

WOW! Your grasp of the obvious is incredible!

> Your evident
> desire to accelerate the rush to bowdlerize and rip off the creations
> of others, much as rap music "artists" did prior to being required to
> pay a nominal license fee to permit legal use of a copyrighted piece
> of music smacks of Stalinism. A sovereignty-smashing, self-righteous
> cultural politburo telling the individual creator of the thing of value
> he must surrender his rights and monies? No thanks, -- oh yeah,---
> and work liberates us all.

I could tell you where to stick that straw man, but I bet your smart enough
to figure it out on your own.

You didn't read the article did you? In fact, I bet you haven't even been
paying attention to this issue one bit! Your troll makes this painfully
evident.

Such pandering and looney attempts at
> stigmatizing and maligning an entire class of people (artists) because
> of the treacherous buffoonery in several corporate boardrooms and
> the ruling kleptocracy of several legislative chambers is --at best--
> hilarious in its unctuous anti-Americanism.

This is the biggest, most pretentious load of pseudo-intellectual straw man
horse shit I have ever heard in my life! Where do you come up with this crap?
It's horrible! Not because I can barely understand it, but because I can!
At no point did the author mention, advocate, or "pander" to info-socialism
beyond what existed before the Supreme Court decided that "limited" means
whatever congress wants it to mean. Which is what really happened in
Eldred vs. Ashcroft. At no point was the author "stigmatizing" or "maligning"
anyone. That was all in your overly active imagination.

You have a wonderful vocabulary, but it failed to save you from your obvious
lack of understanding: You can't polish a turd... or a troll.




[ Parent ]
List a single instance. (none / 0) (#200)
by DavidTC on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 11:22:06 PM EST

You're a troll, but I'll bite.

It's happened every day for the past two or three centuries.

List a single work that the copyright expired on in the last decade that the creator didn't either delibrately allow to enter the public domain or accidently screwed up and missed a filing date.

Here's a hint: There haven't been any. If you had a work that was under copyright on, to pick a random date, January 30, 1984, it's still under copyright today unless the owner of the copyright let it lapse, accidently or on purpose.

In fact, the original Disney cartoon 'Steamboat Willy' is still under copyright, so I'm betting it's more 'the last 70 years' then 'the last decade', but the last decade is enough to prove you completely wrong without me having to look up dates.

(Of course, for the purpose of this discussion I'm assuming you're in the US, but that seems rather obvious from the last word of your post.)

Oh, and, BTW, your 'for the last two or three centuries is a bit silly also. No copyrights entered the public domain in the US 'three centuries ago', due to the last of there being a US three centuries ago.

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

List a who.........? (none / 0) (#212)
by stpna5 on Sat Jan 25, 2003 at 01:25:42 AM EST

I'm unfamiliar with the term save in children's books. Anyway, record companies have not been required to put the" " copyright notice on recordings, subsequently allowing for a total savaging of royalties payments agreements, evasion of laws and screwing the creator of the original works. Not unlike the bribery-festooned behavior of Congress which allowed not a penny of royalties to be paid to anyone for jukebox uses until the mid-seventies in the USA, despite common payments for those uses, along with others, in European countries for most of a century. Long before the last two revisions of the copyright acts instigated by judicial incompetence in several court cases which resulted in no change in existing law. Interesting how it is suddenly ok to rape the creators of all this material because the new revisions benefit the corporate distributors who are glomming trademarks and contingency-fee lawyers into the mix. Edgar Rice Burroughs, Willa Cather, G K Chesterton, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,Theodore Dreiser,F Scott Fitzgerald, D H Lawrence,Sinclair Lewis, Mark Twain, H G Wells, all have created works that have passed into public domain. And not only J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Felix Mendelshohn, Handel, Brahms Lizst, Chopin as well, but also Stephen Foster,Sibelius, Mussourgsky, Scriabin, Puccini, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, George Gershwin and Victor Herbertas well created works now in public domain. Sorry if that isn't in some imaginary decade or several time window, however that is also the same space in which one of the Beatles and ZZ Top both found themselves in court for (perhaps inadvertently)plagiarizing earlier, older, black artists. This seems ironic (and obvious given the past Monday's MLK observance. At the time of the voting rights and civil rights legislation in the mid 1960's there were numerous people who thought it un-necessary and not because of the language of the Bill of Rights. Many today who pretend it was the 1860's. But it is not the fault of the artist or author who may pay a nominal fee to protect yet unpublished material, that the same law which may protect the use and rights in his/her work may benefit the media conglomerates whose foot-dragging and theft of royalties is legendary. Why punish the artist? There is an entire society and a megalithic infotainment complex already doing so 24/7.

[ Parent ]
First of all, we do have line breaks. (none / 0) (#217)
by DavidTC on Tue Jan 28, 2003 at 12:53:40 AM EST

As no one can possible read your post, I will break it up for you.

I'm unfamiliar with the term save in children's books. Anyway, record companies have not been required to put the" " copyright notice on recordings, subsequently allowing for a total savaging of royalties payments agreements, evasion of laws and screwing the creator of the original works.

And this has what to do with works passing into the public domain? Works, before the law was changed, started in the public domain if you left the off, which isn't 'passing into the public domain at all'. It is, in fact, exactly the exemption I said 'unless the owner of the copyright let it lapse, accidently or on purpose', except that the owner never even put it under copyright, either by accident or on purpose.

Works do not 'pass' into the public domain anymore. They are placed there.

Not unlike the bribery-festooned behavior of Congress which allowed not a penny of royalties to be paid to anyone for jukebox uses until the mid-seventies in the USA, despite common payments for those uses, along with others, in European countries for most of a century.

Again, completely bafffled as to what this has to do with anything. Playing music out of a jukebox is a public performance, and, yes, it's idiotic that artists didn't get royalties, but that's not what anyone was talking about, nothing I've said could be even vaguely interpeted to have anything to do with that.

Long before the last two revisions of the copyright acts instigated by judicial incompetence in several court cases which resulted in no change in existing law. Interesting how it is suddenly ok to rape the creators of all this material because the new revisions benefit the corporate distributors who are glomming trademarks and contingency-fee lawyers into the mix.

I think you're living in your own little rant world, and I wouldn't have even responded if you'd just posted the text above.

Edgar Rice Burroughs, Willa Cather, G K Chesterton, Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle,Theodore Dreiser,F Scott Fitzgerald, D H Lawrence,Sinclair Lewis, Mark Twain, H G Wells, all have created works that have passed into public domain.

Now you've come back to reality and the topic at hand. Now please explain to me which of these works passed (and was required to pass, not passed through lack of asking for an extension) in the last decade? Can't think of any? How about the last thirty years? No?

And not only J.S. Bach, Beethoven, Felix Mendelshohn, Handel, Brahms Lizst, Chopin as well, but also Stephen Foster,Sibelius, Mussourgsky, Scriabin, Puccini, Maurice Ravel, Claude Debussy, George Gershwin and Victor Herbertas well created works now in public domain.

Yes, and I've created works in the public domain. Quite a lot of people have. That's not a work 'passing' into the public domain, it's a newly created work in the public domain, and it would have presumably been created in exactly the same way without copyright law, so it's not really a very good argument for copyright law at all, which appears to have been what your original rant was about.

Sorry if that isn't in some imaginary decade or several time window, however that is also the same space in which one of the Beatles and ZZ Top both found themselves in court for (perhaps inadvertently)plagiarizing earlier, older, black artists.

The last decade was not 'imaginary'. There are several billion people that will testify it did exist.

And you are the one who started talking about 'every day'. Well, no, works stopped passing into the public domain unless the people wanted them to a long time ago, well before most of the people on this site were born and well before computers existed.

This seems ironic (and obvious given the past Monday's MLK observance. At the time of the voting rights and civil rights legislation in the mid 1960's there were numerous people who thought it un-necessary and not because of the language of the Bill of Rights. Many today who pretend it was the 1860's.

Who thought what was unnecessary? The civil rights movement? I don't think people thought it was 'unnecassary', although they might have thought it was too much too soon. (And other thought it was too little too late.)

But what the hell this has to do with copyright I have no idea.

But it is not the fault of the artist or author who may pay a nominal fee to protect yet unpublished material, that the same law which may protect the use and rights in his/her work may benefit the media conglomerates whose foot-dragging and theft of royalties is legendary.

Um, right. It's not the artist's fault, you've sure convinced me

Just out of curiousity, how on earth did you decided I was blaming the artist for anything?

Why punish the artist? There is an entire society and a megalithic infotainment complex already doing so 24/7.

I agree, except for mimes, who should be punished to the full extent of the law. What were you trying to prove again?

-David T. C.
Yes, my email address is real.
[ Parent ]

A Solution a Libertarian Could Love (4.50 / 2) (#173)
by dachshund on Sat Jan 18, 2003 at 12:58:06 PM EST

Just a thought, but why doesn't somebody introduce a "limited term license"? This would be a voluntary license, along the lines of the GPL, but it wouldn't release any of the rights reserved to copyright holders... at least for a number of years.

After that reasonable amount of time, it would give recipients unlimited rights to use the work. You could even build in a clause allowing for a certain number of extensions, on the condition that the copyright holder clearly posted their intent to renew-- along with their current contact address-- in some place where potential users could easily check. Perhaps a non-profit organization would have to be formed to handle that task.

This license, being voluntary, obviously isn't going to attract Hollywood or most of the paid content industry. But at very least it'd be a nice gesture that non-industry writers/musicians could take to show their support of limited copyright terms while still enjoying the benefits of copyright in the near-term.

Lessig proposes copyright tax (5.00 / 1) (#191)
by jacoplane on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 03:00:31 PM EST

Lessig has proposed a copyright tax in his op-ed piece in the NYT (registration required). A critique of the tax is online at GrepLaw.

Basically what Lessig proposes is to ask that people pay a small yearly tax (this could be a very small amount of money) to ensure that their copyright does not expire. If the tax had not been paid for three consecutive years the copyright would expire, and the work would pass into the public domain. The critique claims such a tax would only punish the poor.

Copyright Tax (none / 0) (#198)
by jefu on Sun Jan 19, 2003 at 07:38:02 PM EST

I'd support a copyright tax.

I'd structure it like this :
A work would be copyright for 17 years from first publication by default.
A 17 year extension would be granted automatically with a $1000 fee.
After the second extension the copyright could be extended for periods of 17 years. Each such period would require a fee of $(1000n-1) for n the ordinal number of the period. Thus the third extension would cost $1,000,000 The fourth would be $1,000,000,000 and so on.

I think this would nicely handle the rights of copyright holders vs the rights of the public.

[ Parent ]

Copyright tax (none / 0) (#203)
by bwcbwc on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 02:08:24 PM EST

Some related options:
  1. Charge copyright holders a royalty for each copyrighted work sold. Say 0.5% of the retail price. This would be passed to the consumer, as usual, but it would extract more cash from the copyright holders who are making the most money.
  2. Have copyrights renewable in perpetuity, but after x years on the initial copyright (say 30), copyright extension for y years (say 20) are auctioned off to the highest bidder. So Disney could lose the rights to "Steamboat Willie" to Bill Gates, or Microsoft could lose the rights to MS Word. One of the best ways to reduce the excessive power of the media giants is to get them fighting each other.


[ Parent ]
Taxes aren't always passed on to the consumer (none / 0) (#206)
by FlipFlop on Mon Jan 20, 2003 at 10:43:21 PM EST

Charge copyright holders a royalty for each copyrighted work sold. Say 0.5% of the retail price. This would be passed to the consumer, as usual

Taxes are not always passed on to the consumer. In this case, some company has a monopoly on a particular work. As with any monopoly, rather than setting a competitive price, they charge whatever people are willing to pay. If the tax is modest, the price won't necessarily change.

You have the same situation with supply and demand. Oil companies may charge $2/gallon for gas to keep the demand in check with the supply. They will continue to charge $2/gallon whether the gas tax is $.70/gallon or $1.20/gallon.

AdTI - The think tank that didn't
[ Parent ]

EXTEND COPYRIGHT FOREVER!!!! (none / 0) (#207)
by ragnarok on Tue Jan 21, 2003 at 05:04:40 AM EST

The main proviso of course being that the person whose work is being protected MUST stay around to collect.

The sole exception being for the head honchos of organizations like RIAA and the BSA, etc, who will be compelled to remain alive for as long as necessary - if copyright is extended to a thousand or a million years, then the RIAA bureacrats have gotts be there to administer it, even if they must be entombed in massive life support systems for the full million years - life support systems made and maintained by Microsoft of course.


"And it came to healed until all the gift and pow, I, the Lord, to divide; wherefore behold, all yea, I was left alone....", Joseph Smith's evil twin sis

What about the deep freeze? (none / 0) (#210)
by pfunk on Fri Jan 24, 2003 at 01:52:40 AM EST

How should we choose to treat works by people who have been cryogenically frozen?

I propose their copyrights be good until the moment they're frozen, but shall be reinstated upon their successfull revival.  There are so many what-ifs, but let's keep it simple.  We can't encourage corporations freezing people to keep works out of the public domain.

They only freeze dead people (none / 0) (#215)
by mozmozmoz on Sun Jan 26, 2003 at 02:00:52 AM EST

The way the law is now, they can't freeze you until you're already dead. So the issue is moot.

There's lots of comedy on TV too. Does that make children funnier?
[ Parent ]

Stallman's proposal for different copyrights (none / 0) (#213)
by spacebrain on Sat Jan 25, 2003 at 07:27:17 PM EST

As was pointed out in two commentaries already things should not be thrown just all in the same copyright-bag, but treated differently.

I very much liked reading Richard Stallman's article about copyrights and cite some parts here to summarize his proposal of different copyrights.

1.Functional Works: recipes, computer programs, manuals and textbooks, reference works like dictionaries and encyclopedias
People should have the freedom even to publish a modified version because it's very useful to modify functional works.

2. Works whose purpose is to say what certain people think: memoirs, essays of opinion, scientific papers, offers to buy and sell, catalogues of goods for sale
Modifying these works is not a socially useful activity.
It might be a good compromise policy to have copyright cover commercial verbatim copying but allow everyone the right to do non-commercial verbatim copying.

3. Aesthetic or Entertaining Works:
It's a hard question what we should do about publishing modified versions of an aesthetic or an artistic work, and we might have to look for further subdivisions of the category in order to solve this problem.

For explanations and further thoughts refer to the article.

Promoting freedom by watching porn? (none / 0) (#214)
by spacebrain on Sat Jan 25, 2003 at 07:41:43 PM EST

As the Wired article Porn Strategy: Share and Snare tells, the porn industry is going the other way: opening up.
They will try flooding the file-sharing systems with their legitimate content expecting a revenue from at least a proportion of the downloaders.
Time will show if it works. I guess the same could be done with music and movies as well.
And even if this concept does not please every hacker of such networks, it's free trade and does not violate basic democratic liberties, as the music and movie industries' concept is up to.

Renaissance Now: Save the Public Domain! | 214 comments (212 topical, 2 editorial, 0 hidden)
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