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[P]
Hillary Rosen Loves Larry Lessig (and other improbable tales)

By mcgrew in Culture
Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 07:45:04 AM EST
Tags: Politics (all tags)
Politics

In Wired, Hillary Rosen, the former head of the Recording Industry Ass. of America, writes of her love affair with... no way dude. Yep. Larry Lessig, her long time foe who started the Creative Commons.


She's the same disingenuous troll she's always been. She writes (emphasis mine):
Yes, the current system of copyright can be antiquated and user unfriendly, and its enforcement can be discriminatory, but it has created a lot of wealth for individual artists, not just corporations. More important, it has created a vast body of art for the public. Let's not dismiss it wholesale.
No, Hillary, it is most certainly not "for the public." A century ago this statement would have been true- copyright lasted 20 years, as a patent does now. When the copyright expired, it was in the public domain, where anyone could use it for any purpose. Want to read Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn? It's online. We, the people, own it. Not Sam Clemens' great grandchildren- we do.

Had copyright law been the same when Twain wrote these books as it is today, you would never have had a chance to read them. They contain the word "nigger," and no for-profit concern could risk the backlash from the black community. Never mind that these were anti-slavery, pro-African American books. "Nigger Jim" was the first black hero in literature.

Don't believe me? You think if it were protected by copyright you'd see Finn? Try and get a copy of what was my very favorite book when I was little, the little golden books version of Little Black Sambo. The fact that Sambo was black had nothing to do with anything, except that the book was set in deep dark Africa in the 18th century, where all the humans were black. What made this story special for me was that the protagonist, Sambo, was a little kid like me, who defeats a horrible monster, a tiger who is trying to eat Sambo. In the end, Sambo outruns and outsmarts the tiger, who is turned into butter that Sambo puts on his pancakes.

Some time in the 1960s the humorless "black community" was up in arms and demanded that this book be taken off the market, despite having sold well for twenty years because it was "demeaning to blacks". Why? Well, it seems that since Sambo ran from the tiger it made black people look like cowards. What was worse was that Sambo was illistrated in a cartoonish way, not unlike the illustration of Gerald McGrew in Dr. Suess' If I Ran The Zoo.

The publishers caved, and that version of Sambo is no longer available anywhere. The story itself was written in the 19th century and is in the public domain, as are the original illustrations. Ironically, these are available, but the illustrations for the "Little Golden Book" were drawn in the 20th century, with its oppressive copyright laws.

Today, copyright protection lasts longer than the physical media the stories, songs, and pictures are printed on. When the copyright for the illustrations in Little Black Sambo runs out some time in the 22nd century (unless the RIAA buys another century or two extension), any copies of that book that had somehow avoided the landfill will have turned to dust. The book is effectively gone, forever. Like hundreds of other books and movies, thousands of periodicals, and hundreds of thousands or perhaps millions of songs.

There was a writer in the 1930s named Vachel Lindsey, a native of Springfield. He was a hobo, making his books by hand and selling them during his travels along the rails in the 1920s and 1930s.

His books, as written, are not available. His son, who now owns the copyrights, has "edited" them, changing the 1920s-30s literary style to something closer to a 21st century style. The original Lindsey works, unchanged, are gone forever.

So, Rosen is full of excrement. These works are not "for the public," but for the personal profit of their publishers. Publishers who can censor their content, or cave to pressure from outside censors, as was the case with "Golden Books" and its Little Black Sambo.

I'm still pissed that I was not able to read Little Black Sambo to my children as my parents read it to me. What's next, one of my relatives will sue the late Ted Giesel (Dr. Suess)'s heirs to suppress If I Ran The Zoo, because, obviously, its protagonist Gerald McGrew is demeaning to McGrews everywhere? Not to mention white people everywhere?

Our copyright system badly needs reforming. I would suggest a new millennium act. This act would repeal all copyright legislation passed after the 19th century. It would specifically make any noncommercial use "fair" use (legalizing P2P once and for all) and, exactly the opposite of the DMCA, would strip the copyright from any work protected by technological means.

I have no hope whatever that this will pass. Rather, I expect that in the 22nd century, all that will remain of the 20th and 21st century's works will be my stuff, localroger's stuff, cheeseburger brown's stuff, Posamist's stuff, etc. It's rather ironic that Posamist may be remembered, but Metallica's songs stand less chance of surviving than a snowman has in the Sahara, while today nobody knows who Posamist is but everyone has heard Metallica.

Maybe that's a good thing?

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Poll
Copyrights
o should not exist. 11%
o should only last 10 years 25%
o should last 20 years 30%
o should last 40 years 5%
o should last 80 years 2%
o should last the life of the artist years 16%
o should last the life of the artist +50 years 3%
o should last the life of the artist +75 years 1%
o should last the life of the artist plus 500 years 0%
o should last the Forever, wtf, it's PROPERTY! 2%

Votes: 78
Results | Other Polls

Related Links
o writes
o Mark Twain's Huckleberry Finn
o Posamist's
o Also by mcgrew


Display: Sort:
Hillary Rosen Loves Larry Lessig (and other improbable tales) | 58 comments (39 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
Good story (1.33 / 3) (#1)
by debacle on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 08:48:35 PM EST

You're not drunk are you?

It tastes sweet.
Yes, very, why? nt (2.50 / 2) (#24)
by mcgrew on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 07:41:17 PM EST


"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

A modest proposal (2.00 / 9) (#3)
by CaptainSuperBoy on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 09:36:29 PM EST

OK, after the two surreally inaccurate "pro audio" articles, we now have the coup de grace: An argument against copyright law based solely on the author's desire to possess nigger books. I'm now almost positive that mcgrew is pulling a localroger. Hey, the master of "Adequacy Style Trolling" even gets a plug at the end.

--
jimmysquid.com - I take pictures.
No, I'm for copyright (3.00 / 3) (#22)
by mcgrew on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 07:28:02 PM EST

Just rational copyrights as existed before the 20th century. I own two registered copyrights, ISBNs and all. Both should have expired, but they won't until I do.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

PS, (3.00 / 2) (#43)
by mcgrew on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 10:13:11 AM EST

you suck at this "trolling" thing, boy. Take some lessons from the grownups.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Rational copyright (2.00 / 4) (#4)
by Wah on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 11:16:32 PM EST

the average lifespan of humans at the time of the authors work.

easy way to implement it, make the copyright notices on products include the date IT EXPIRES, not the date it was published.  

or, just bend over and worship our content overlords and smile when your grandkids have to pay to hear elvis sing or to experience the Jimi Hendrix eperience.
--
Fail to Obey?

Why give up? (none / 1) (#5)
by NoMoreNicksLeft on Thu Oct 28, 2004 at 11:26:01 PM EST

We both agree that a political/legislative solution will never happen. But you ignore the possibility of a technical solution.

--
Do not look directly into laser with remaining good eye.
Re: Little Black Sambo. (3.00 / 6) (#6)
by Kasreyn on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 12:13:16 AM EST

I grew up with that book. I can't believe anyone else ever read it, I never knew it was so widespread...

Personally, I loved it. Sambo and his parents were drawn in a rather absurd fashion, but it was an illustration fachrissakes, some artistic license is allowed.

And pardon me, but I get the feeling that if you put the director of the NAACP in sub-saharan India (sorry, no Tigers in Africa) right next to a hungry Bengal, that uptight mofo will fucking beat feet. If they want to live, that is. Tigers pwnz0r humans.

I never bothered to notice that Sambo was black until people started screaming about the book being racist. Until then, Sambo was just a kid who lucked out and got to eat a lot of pancakes (that was the real selling point of the story to me!). I didn't notice race in it until the racial crusaders brought it up.


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
I think the name 'Sambo' itself is demeaning (3.00 / 2) (#13)
by jongleur on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 04:12:31 AM EST

like calling a Jew Heimie (sp?). But it may be that the book is the cause.

Googling, I just found out that Black Sambo is not African anyway (at least originally), but Indian.
--
"If you can't imagine a better way let silence bury you" - Midnight Oil
[ Parent ]

Tigers (3.00 / 2) (#18)
by IHCOYC on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 01:06:34 PM EST

I figured that Sambo was Indian or Asian in-text before I was in grade school. Even when I was four years old I knew that tigers were in India and in Africa you had lions instead.
--
Ecce torpet probitas, virtus sepelitur;
Fit iam parca largitas, parcitas largitur;
Verum dicit falsitas; veritas mentitur.

[ Parent ]
That's right (2.60 / 5) (#25)
by five volt on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 09:33:21 PM EST

They should have called him Percival.

--
Ruthlessness kicks ass.
[ Parent ]

Btw, agreed on the copyright, of course. (3.00 / 2) (#7)
by Kasreyn on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 12:20:59 AM EST

And your cover's blown, methinks, McGrew. Coincidence?

Huckleberry Finn is the greatest American novel yet, IMO. There is actually a movement underway somewhere to get it declared the official national novel. I'm all for that. The thought of how it would have vanished under our current laws horrifies me.

Perhaps our time (assuming the laws ever relax, which seems rather optimistic to say the least) will be known as the Art Black Hole. Say these draconian laws are gotten rid of in 2209. There'd be over 2 centuries from which all great art - which is to say, all risky art, all books on someone's ban lists, all paintings that make someone gasp, all songs that make someone stick their fingers in their ears - all art that means something because it explores something NEW, will have disappeared. My fellow artists, if you want to be remembered after you're dead, if you want your slice of immortality pie, it looks like you're going to be reduced to banal pop art or fawning corporate jingles.

Perhaps they'll even call the day the Sonny Bono act passed, "The Day the Music Died".

Of course, they'll never have heard of a certain famous song by Don McLean, since that will be swallowed in the Art Black Hole as well. :-(


-Kasreyn


"Extenuating circumstance to be mentioned on Judgement Day:
We never asked to be born in the first place."

R.I.P. Kurt. You will be missed.
Bono was acting (3.00 / 2) (#27)
by gr3y on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 10:09:21 PM EST

for his Scientology masters...

The writings of that deranged madman cannot be allowed to lapse into the public domain, where the "church" of Scientology, through Bridge Publications, would not be allowed to charge for exclusive access to them.

I am a disruptive technology.
[ Parent ]

My cover? (none / 0) (#42)
by mcgrew on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 10:11:17 AM EST

I'm not PC, and I hate censorship. To quote the Firesign Theater:
It's spicks and wops and niggers kikes with noses as long as your arm- and honkeys who never left the farm. That's America, buddy!

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Ahh, Hillary (1.50 / 2) (#8)
by Wah on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 01:07:53 AM EST

come such a short way is so few years.

anyone remember this? (it starts with  a link to an old skool interview with Ms. Rosen.  One of the first that touched me off...)

Ahh, the memories.
--
Fail to Obey?

Boring (1.09 / 11) (#9)
by felixrayman on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 01:31:27 AM EST

Hey shithead.

Why not stop fucking whining about how the system sucks and tell us what the fuck you are going to do about it?

Call Donald Rumsfeld and tell him our sorry asses are ready to go home. Tell him to come spend a night in our building. - Pfc. Matthew C. O'Dell

Hey shithead (3.00 / 2) (#41)
by mcgrew on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 10:07:49 AM EST

You suck at this trolling thing. Take a few lessons from the grownup trolls.

Vote the story down down and submit your own if you don't like it.

"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

Hilary Rosen (2.28 / 7) (#14)
by forgotten on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 04:32:32 AM EST

is not a troll. she was a paid to do a job and did it well. now, she still has her opinion and frankly she knows more about the subject than very many commentators.

we live with an adversarial system: in the courts, in politics, in matters of public interest. it may not be the best way of doing things, but its far from the worst.

--

A content producer's view on copyright (3.00 / 3) (#17)
by ZorbaTHut on Fri Oct 29, 2004 at 12:09:07 PM EST

I'm going into the games industry. Now admittedly this is somewhat different from other industries in that games have a devastatingly short shelf life, but still.

I'm planning on putting my stuff in public domain relatively quickly, assuming I can. (Publishers might not let me. Perhaps once I'm world-famous and revered by all, I'll have enough leverage to make them.) Once I've made my money off it, and I have no further plans for sequels, I'll say "here ya go! Enjoy!" and let anyone do whatever they want with it.

I expect the goodwill to more than pay for any dubious profits I would have made off it in the past. The best part is, as public domain, I can later make additions to it later that I STILL OWN and still have copyright on. Of course, so can everyone else. But mine will be made by the universe's original creator.

I see no downside here, and lots of upside. Why don't other people do this? Are they too afraid that CompletelyUnrelatedCompany will make AlmostStarControl 4? (Note: I won't be public-domaining the logos and copyrights and the actual game names. I probably will make an official recommended free-to-use logo for "based in the X universe".)

But does it run on Linux ;-) ? (none / 0) (#34)
by gordonjcp on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 03:42:40 AM EST

Exactly. I *bought* the various Half-Life games, despite the lack of a Linux client (it works well in Wine). I'm probably not going to buy Half-Life 2 unless I get some clear evidence that it "just works" in Wine. Why did I buy them? Well, because they were reasonably cheap (<£10 in my local games shop) and because I liked the first one, and because there was a good, free demo that I could download and play with. It's a bit like music - I'll download an album from somewhere, decide if I like it or not, and if I do I'll buy that album and a couple more by the same band.<p> I've been less impressed with the various Unreal Tournaments, but they are still good and I did buy them. I will be buying Doom 3 (but I'll be buying a faster graphics card first).

Give a man a fish, and he'll eat for a day. Teach a man to fish, and he'll bore you rigid with fishing stories for the rest of your life.


[ Parent ]
Well consider Lords of the Realm (none / 0) (#51)
by xria on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 10:45:15 AM EST

I used to own the 2nd in the series on my Amiga, however the only Amiga machine I have left is stone dead. A few months ago I noticed the box, and thought I would like to play it again, so I checked for it online and found a copy and ended up playing it for a couple of evenings.

I got stuck on one level so checked for some hints as all the rest had been plain sailing - it turned out I had just had a really bad starting point on a 5 side map.

But the point was I also noticed that LotR3 was being released a few weeks later, so I made a point of picking it up for about £30 ($50?). It was crap, but thats beside the point ;)

For me thats the way copyright should work - when the point comes that almost no one would pay for it any more (and that comes fast with most computer games currently) it is more sensible economically to let it spread for free as an advertisement for your work - unless you are either think it was so bad it will put you in a bad light, or you think your new products offer basically nothing new to compete against 5-10+ year old releases.

[ Parent ]

A point to consider (none / 1) (#53)
by cdguru on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 03:30:05 PM EST

You may want to consider that by implementing the scheme you propose you can become your own competitor. This is why most publishers do not do what you are proposing.

There are two routes to this:

  • You release a game and it is a big hit. After some period of time it is released as public domain. This then removes any limitation on reverse-engineering, modification and such. Someone takes this, changes two or three things that they felt you did wrong and re-releases it. Perhaps even using the original name with the subtitle "Fixed and Corrected". Sales then eclipse your latest lesser-known title.
  • You release your game through your distribution channels that are available to you. They do not include several large retailers and even when you are approached by these large retailers you turn down their demand for 70% margin. After a while you release the game to public domain and someone without your expenses and principals sells the game through the large retailers - and gives them the demanded 70% margin. Since the new seller has no expenses involved in this, it doesn't really matter. Again, your "intellectual property" is being sold by someone else, in competition with your current goods.

This can happen and does happen today, only in general the risks are averted by strong copyright laws and enforcement of them. This makes getting involved in this kind of enterprise very risky in the US and EU, but is a no-brainer for the Far East market.

Note that I am not assuming your "game" is software or anything else. This works for anything that can be copied like this. There are people sitting around waiting for someone to make a move like this just so they can profit from it.

[ Parent ]

-1 WAH! WAH! WAH! (1.17 / 17) (#30)
by fyngyrz on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 02:03:18 AM EST

  • -1, Copyright whining, or in other words, "I want free stuff"

  • -1, Unable to understand concept of "Intellectual Property"

  • -1, Unable to understand concept of "Law"

  • -1, There are no tigers in Africa

  • -1, Story was set in India

  • -1, Book is available now but not free

  • -1, left-wing, self-entitlement, self centered

  • -1, (did I say that?)

Blog, Photos.

Uhh, you're on crack. (3.00 / 3) (#31)
by iCEBaLM on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 02:22:42 AM EST

<i> -1, Copyright whining, or in other words, "I want free stuff"</i>

The authors get monopoly over an arraingement of words in exchange for giving it up to society eventually, to further the state of the art. This is an exchange, however we're not getting anything these days.

<i> -1, Unable to understand concept of "Intellectual Property"</i>

Oh, I understand it alright, I just don't agree with it AT ALL. The very concept of someone owning an idea as if it were propery is preposterous. Once you share an idea you cannot take it back. You cannot give someone "your" idea without you still having it. It's rediculous. Ideas are not property, they are not tangible, they do not have the same characteristics, nor should they be owned.

<i> -1, Unable to understand concept of "Law"</i>

-1, Unable to understand the concept of "For a limited time"

[ Parent ]

Addendum: (none / 0) (#35)
by Elendale on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 03:57:31 AM EST

-1, Copyright whining, or in other words, "I want free stuff"

Copyright owners to the public: "Wah, wah, wah! We want free stuff! Please extend our copyright durations and we'll give you big, juicy checks!"

-1, Unable to understand concept of "Intellectual Property"

Gee, "intellectual property" doesn't actually exist beyond a concept. No, not even in law. Bringing us to:

-1, Unable to understand concept of "Law"


---

When free speech is outlawed, only criminals will complain.


[ Parent ]
Oh, no... you're not getting off that easily. (1.50 / 2) (#36)
by fyngyrz on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 05:57:48 AM EST

No crack here. Drugs are not of interest to me - I enjoy reality as is. My addiction of choice is practicing breeding. :)

Now to your salient points. First off all, I understand "for a limited time" just fine. In this case, limited time is defined by current law. You liked the time before, apparently, when the time was acceptable to you. Now, the law has been changed, and you don't like it anymore, or at least, you like it a lot less. But it is still "for a limited time." Those works will become available - if the law remains as is - when the newly defined legal interval runs out. You'll have to wait, unless you want to break the law, or you can get the law changed (fat chance on that one, buddy... the US federal legal system is not open to input from citizens, you don't have any input on the laws.)

Now - you state that you "don't agree" with the concept of intellectual property. You put forth as justification that "once you share an idea, you cannot take it back."

Let's look at what this rationalization of yours means. If I do some tangible work for you - let's say that I build you a chair, and twenty years later, you come along to my store and you want to take it away, for free. You won't pay, because you think that "chairs should be free after twenty years." You walk off with it. I'm old and feeble, I can't stop you. Can society take the benefits of that chair away from you without actually re-posssing the chair? As it turns out, the answer is yes. Society can simply destroy your ability to use that chair by imprisoning you, which is society's general solution for thieves, people who take things that society does not endow them with rights to. So as it turns out, I can take your ability to have any benefit from that chair without having to re-posses it, or destroy it. Or society can simply fine you more than it is worth to you to use a chair, which will hopefully deter the next "chairs must be free" guy from the general delusion, without having to imprison you.

Now: Intellectual property enjoys significant protection under law, though how much varies a bit depending on what facets of the intellectual property universe we're talking about. But speaking generally, society can indeed "take back" an idea from you, while not taking it from others, by removing your ability to use that idea, or worse yet, removing your ability to do more than that - take your freedom, take your money, destroy your ability to maintain a normal relationship with your family and friends, or all of the foregoing. Emotional damage is just a side effect, but will be significant for most law-breakers so punished. You get the underlying idea. Society makes life suck for you.

So as it turns out, this concept of "taking back an idea" is not "ridiculous" as you claimed; ideas can definitely be imbued with the characteristics of restricted, and retracted, usability as we can clearly see when we look clearly right at the problem in the existing context instead of through a miasma of confused ideals that don't apply in this society as it stands. Ideas are exactly similar to chairs in this regard.

Next, you say that "you cannot give someone your idea while still having it" as if this bolsters your argument. In fact, it is bewildering - for your argument - that you would even say this. I cannot give you the use of a chair while still being able to use it, but an idea, indeed I can give you while still being able to use it. We can both use an idea, unlike if you're sitting in that chair - that's a one user item. So I assume you got this backwards just in the general upset of being challenged.

Ideas are like any produce that can be shared; if I make heat in Alaska and it is cold, this is of general benefit to multiple people who are cold and in the range of the heat. I can sell this heat to them. I open the door and announce: "I have heat. Ten bucks!" Joe comes to the door, he pays his $10, I let him in, and he is warmed. He survives to breed. He's a smart guy, that Joe. You now come to the door and say that because I already gave the heat to Joe, (and perhaps because I got paid, or not, depends on the variety of "information wants to be free" you espouse, doesn't really matter anyway) my heat no longer has value. I disagree, smiling politely. You, a man of steel-hard principles, go off and freeze to death. Here, we have a situation where the product is tangible, but sharable among many. I set the price, and I control access (I am at the door with a gun, let's say.) What we have established here beyond a shadow of a doubt is that a product that is sharable is not without value, and also that the value is not diminished because it is shared. On the contrary, the value is multiplied. Unless you're really going to be stubborn, of course. In that case, it may be you that is without value, rather than the product, due to your impending reduction below minimum operating temperature. I'll leave that idea as an exercise for the class.

Next, you bring in this as a supporting leg for your position: "ideas are not tangible." So, let's directly address an intangible idea.

If you are reaching for a very hot surface, and I say, "whoa, don't touch that, that thing will burn you - I already touched it", I have transferred an idea from me to you. Pure knowledge. Clearly an intangable. Therefore, apparently, of no value, right? So why is it that you, if you have any brains at all, will pull your hand back? Simple: Because as it turns out, there was value in that idea, wasn't there? Obviously so. So much so, that both you and I know that your next act, if you have any class at all, is to acknowledge your indebtedness, as in: "thanks, I owe you one." Here, we have established that an intangible definitely has value. This is a sharable intangible, too: If you and Jane are both there, you both benefit. You'll both say thanks, if you're not cretins. The idea had the same value to both of you, too: I deserved two equally valuable sets of thanks, you'll note. The lesson here is that the wider the audience the intangible benefits, the more value it obviously has. By taking the pain, and disseminating the gained knowledge, I have entered into a valuable buy now, pay later, transaction. This is almost an exact analogy for inventing something. An inventor - of a drug, a story, a song, a usable analogy for natural law - takes the pain by doing the work, so you don't have to, or in many cases, because you're not competent to. Can you write your own music? Create your own software? Formulate your own drugs? When the inventors give over the benefits of their labors, the fact is, you "owe them one." Clearly, you don't owe them any less if they provided the idea to Jane before they gave it to you. That is because your benefit is not reduced by such sharing.

Let's move back to a more terminal thought experiment. Joe creates an antidote for cancer. You and I both get terminal cancer. Joe has the cure - you do this mental mantra, and it'll bug off. He won't tell what it is, though. You have $10.00. I have $10.00. Joe says, I want $10.00 for the cure. Are you going to stare me in the eye and tell me that Joe's idea, as an intangible, has no value? OK, fine. I shrug, I pay Joe, am cured, and walk away. I won't give the mantra to you, because I believe that the idea had value (I'm planning to go and breed more copies of me, I consider that a valuable ability.) I think that if you want this cure, you need to pay just what the seller demands. Otherwise, you go without.

You, on other hand, won't pay, and you subsequently die, mouthing absurd rationalizations that intangibles have no value to your last moment, I presume.

You know what that is? That is evolution in action - you couldn't understand the concept of abstract ideas having value, and it killed you. Ashes to ashes, simplistic comprehension to dust. I, on the other hand, having a more sophisticated grasp of the abstract, am off still working on breeding more people like me. :)

So here is what we have learned:

  • Tangible products can have value. (Chair.)
  • Intangible products can have value. (Hot surface.)
  • Single-user products can have value (Chair.)
  • Multiple-user products can vale value (Heat.)

And, here is how that information abstracts:

Music, stories, drug formulae, software, hardware designs, chairs, heat, food, sex - all these things have value in proportion to what? Need, scarcity and the general idea that if you reward inventor A, then inventor B will see that inventing is fruitful, and will invent instead of digging ditches. More inventors mean, again in general, that there will be more "stuff" for you to benefit from. In addition, since society in general has decided that it wants everyone to benefit from lots of inventors running around inventing things, we know that if you try to buck the system, society will set fire to your thieving ass.

There'll be a quiz next period. I'll give bonus points to ladies that wear thigh highs and garters who also score 90 or above on the test. This is a demonstration of the idea that style has no value without brains. I leave this idea to the public domain as a charitable act. Yes, I know, you're welcome, and you're welcome too. My pleasure, I assure you. Thank you for your time.

Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

It no longer is a limited time (none / 1) (#45)
by iCEBaLM on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 04:59:57 PM EST

Now to your salient points. First off all, I understand "for a limited time" just fine. In this case, limited time is defined by current law. You liked the time before, apparently, when the time was acceptable to you. Now, the law has been changed, and you don't like it anymore, or at least, you like it a lot less.

No copyrighted work created in my liftime will enter the public domain in my lifetime nor the authors lifetime, therefore from my point of view, and the authors point of view, it is not limited.

You'll have to wait

Until 100+ years after I'm DEAD, how is this a fair exchange again?

Let's look at what this rationalization of yours means. If I do some tangible work for you - let's say that I build you a chair, and twenty years later, you come along to my store and you want to take it away, for free.

You make no sense. Tangibles are items, they are physical, they are things I can see, touch, hold, carry, sit in, etc. They are made from materials that must be found, aquired, paid for. If you build me a chair from materials you bought and I pay for it then that chair is mine. If you subsequently build another chair from materials you bought then that chair is yours.

If you come up with an idea and you tell that idea to me, then we both have the idea. There is no way for me to erase what you told me from my mind, it's there, period, and it will remain there until I am dead. Not only that, what are the materials new ideas are made from? Ideas that came before, experiences, an inspiration or epiphany triggered by someone uttering a word or phrase, etc. Things many more than one person share. Are you compensating everyone whos materials you use to aquire this idea? How do you even know who all of them are? How would you know if an idea I came up with was built off of the idea you told me earlier? It's completely irrational to think of ideas as property.

Now: Intellectual property enjoys significant protection under law, though how much varies a bit depending on what facets of the intellectual property universe we're talking about. But speaking generally, society can indeed "take back" an idea from you, while not taking it from others, by removing your ability to use that idea, or worse yet, removing your ability to do more than that - take your freedom, take your money, destroy your ability to maintain a normal relationship with your family and friends, or all of the foregoing.

But I still have the idea in my head! You cannot take the idea away like you can a peice of land or a chair, you can only keep someone from using it. Why? Because it is not property, it is intangible.

So as it turns out, this concept of "taking back an idea" is not "ridiculous" as you claimed

Yes it is because it cannot be done. Only stopgap measures to enforce a ludicrous broken system.

Next, you say that "you cannot give someone your idea while still having it" as if this bolsters your argument. In fact, it is bewildering - for your argument - that you would even say this. I cannot give you the use of a chair while still being able to use it, but an idea, indeed I can give you while still being able to use it. We can both use an idea, unlike if you're sitting in that chair - that's a one user item. So I assume you got this backwards just in the general upset of being challenged.

It does bolster my argument and you saying otherwise doesn't change the fact that ideas are not tangible and therefore are not property. Tangibles, once you give, sell, trade, or otherwise transfer to someone you no longer have it. Ideas are very different. Once you speak, show, or discuss an idea, everyone a party to that experience has it. How can you tell me I have no right to my own experiences? How can you tell me I have no right to use what's in my memory, my mind, my brain without compensating me?

If you are reaching for a very hot surface, and I say, "whoa, don't touch that, that thing will burn you - I already touched it", I have transferred an idea from me to you. Pure knowledge. Clearly an intangable. Therefore, apparently, of no value, right? So why is it that you, if you have any brains at all, will pull your hand back? Simple: Because as it turns out, there was value in that idea, wasn't there?

Just because there is value in something doesn't mean it is property or should be treated as something to be bought or sold. I think life is valueable, do you want to reinstitute slavery?

Joe says, I want $10.00 for the cure. Are you going to stare me in the eye and tell me that Joe's idea, as an intangible, has no value? OK, fine. I shrug, I pay Joe, am cured, and walk away. I won't give the mantra to you, because I believe that the idea had value (I'm planning to go and breed more copies of me, I consider that a valuable ability.)

Yet you believe my life is not valueable and you allow me to die. Similarly Joe believes the same thing and lets millions upon millions of people in third world countries who cannot pay die. Again, simply because something has value does not mean it should be treated as property. A cure for the plague of the 21st century should belong to humankind.

Your world view of complete capitalism has brought us to the absolutely rediculous corporate state of the world we live in today where people die simply for being born in a poor country.

[ Parent ]

Simple. (none / 0) (#46)
by fyngyrz on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 07:40:19 PM EST

Until 100+ years after I'm DEAD, how is this a fair exchange again?

Ok. Somehow - I don't know how, but somehow - you have gotten the idea that copyright law is in place to see that an item that was created in your lifetime, must, or should, be free in your lifetime. This is not true. This has never been true.

If work A is created in a situation where works become public property 20 years after creation/publication, and person X is 59, but then person X dies at 65, work A was not freely available in their lifetime. Or person X is 20, and dies in a car accident at 39. Or person X is 20 and wants some rock tune, but by the time they're 40, they're into jazz, so they no longer even have any interest. And there are a zillion variations just like those.

So there never was any assurance that something would be available to you in your lifetime. The idea wasn't ever that you could wait and get something just created, for free a short time later; the idea, quite the contrary, is simply that the creator should be assured of benefit for a period of time, and then society, whoever that is comprised of at some future point in time, would receive the benefit of the idea eventually. Eventually does not equal "in your lifetime."

You've entirely misunderstood how this is designed to work - no wonder your other ideas are so confused.

Here's something else you're completely missing. If I build a company (as I have - I've built several, in fact) my goal is not just to enrich myself, it is to build something that will support my family, and my employees and their families, for quite some time down the road - generations is not at all an unreasonable timeframe. People don't even blink when I say this, companies are known to span long periods of time when well built, and that is considered a good thing.

But intellectual property - for some reason, that's supposed to not have the same characteristics. As if creators of intellectual property are second class citizens because you want a free lunch.

As it turns out, my father was a science fiction writer, a very successful one in fact. He died early; but income from his works continue to support his wife into old age, and eventually, I'll receive income from them as well, which I will then turn right around and attempt to make into more money. A fitting legacy, I'm thinking - you, apparently, are thinking that all income should be long gone, as my father died in the mid 1970's. You have an extrordinarily limited view of the goals of a creator of intellectual property. Your family, if you have one, will very likely suffer greatly if you persist in this myopic view of earnings across time.

Your world view of complete capitalism has brought us to the absolutely rediculous corporate state of the world we live in today where people die simply for being born in a poor country.

Come on. That is absurd. The USA is probably one of the, if not the, most capitalist countries in the world. No question about it. It is also one of the richest per capita, and one of the ones where the citizens enjoy the most benefits of goods and security even at the lower income levels. Healthcare is perhaps debatable, but you can even make a strong argument for great healthcare here. It sure looks good to those in Cuba and Sudan and Afghanistan, I can tell you that. Capitalism is largely, perhaps almost entirely, responsible for these facts.

On the other hand, countries that are dictatorships, or run primarily by religious precepts, or where socialist ideals are the bedrock of how goods and services and so forth are distributed, are significantly less rich on a per capita basis than are US citizens, speaking generally. Even when they are sitting on huge natural resources, in some cases.

You are trying to argue that the US should back off of capitalism, which has brought us to this very high level of success, and replace it with what? Communism? Socialism? Anarchy? Some hybrid? The obvious correct solution is for the poor countries to adopt the mechanism we are using - not for us to adopt the mechanism the poor countries are using.

I find your position less than compelling. Teach a man to fish and he can eat forever, as well as store fish for the security of his family. Give him a fish, and you'll be giving him another fish tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after, and so on - and at no time have you helped him generate security of any kind. Capitalism is fishing. Charitable systems are mostly variations on a theme of sitting on the dock waiting for free fish delivery. Teach fishing. Don't teach dock-sitting. That's my position, as a guy who has definitely caught quite a few fish.


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

My word, do you even read what you post? (none / 0) (#48)
by iCEBaLM on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 03:44:53 AM EST

Your incoherent scatter-brained approach is quite entertaining but makes for very bad linear discussion. Please stop it.

Ok. Somehow - I don't know how, but somehow - you have gotten the idea that copyright law is in place to see that an item that was created in your lifetime, must, or should, be free in your lifetime. This is not true. This has never been true.

That's not what I said, nor implied. What I was trying to make you understand is that since copyright terms far exceed the lifespan of humans at this point (and infact, multiple generations thereof) they are effectively not limited in time. Do you know what the original timespan of a copyright was? 20 years. Now it is 100 years after the death of the creator. Why? Because "intellectual property creators" want something for nothing. At this point copyright is so incredibly one sided society doesn't benifit, only the "creators" do because when a copyrighted work finally becomes public domain it will be obsolete and useless. This is not a fair trade.

So there never was any assurance that something would be available to you in your lifetime.

Duh, I could die tomorrow. It should however not exceed the average lifespan of a human being (and in my opinion, it should be only a fraction thereof).

You've entirely misunderstood how this is designed to work - no wonder your other ideas are so confused.

No, actually, I understand how it's designed to work and I see it failing for society. You, taking the stance of an "intellectual property owner" are arguing for the status quo because at this point "intellectual property owners" eat their cake and have it too.

But intellectual property - for some reason, that's supposed to not have the same characteristics. As if creators of intellectual property are second class citizens because you want a free lunch.

Hahaha, comparing companies to a peice of "intellectual property", that's rich. No, they're not supposed to have the same characteristics because, newsflash buddy, they're not the same! A company, quite literally, is "a group of persons". So let me get this straight, you want to give intangible items like ideas the same characteristics, rights, freedoms and priviledges as a group of persons? Why? What possible reasoning would you have to do this other than to line your own pockets and screw society? Are you trying to tell me that "intellectual property creators" cannot form their own companies?

On the other hand, countries that are dictatorships, or run primarily by religious precepts, or where socialist ideals are the bedrock of how goods and services and so forth are distributed, are significantly less rich on a per capita basis than are US citizens, speaking generally. Even when they are sitting on huge natural resources, in some cases.

Tell that to Norway, Sweeden, Iceland, Luxembourg, Belgium, Denmark, Germany, The UK, Italy, The Netherlands, The UAE, Ireland, New Zealand and Finland. All of which have a higher GDP per capita than the US. Most of which are quite a bit more socialist and a few of which are governed on religious precepts. None of which are as capitalistic as the US.

You are trying to argue that the US should back off of capitalism, which has brought us to this very high level of success, and replace it with what? Communism? Socialism? Anarchy? Some hybrid? The obvious correct solution is for the poor countries to adopt the mechanism we are using - not for us to adopt the mechanism the poor countries are using.

That's extremely arrogant of you to think that the economic system your country uses is the best in the world. Please take note of the countries I listed in my previous paragraph and make a mental note that the opposite is true.

I find your position less than compelling. Teach a man to fish and he can eat forever, as well as store fish for the security of his family.

I don't think you even understand my position at all. My position is this: ideas, intangibles, do not have the same characteristics as property and they should not be treated as such. Treating ideas as property is a completely human construct, one that is quite flawed. The less we bury ideas in bureaucratic red tape and the less we lock them away only to be used by the highest bidder then the more people can use them as building blocks of new ideas and the more society will benefit.

[ Parent ]

My arguments are fine. Yours, however... (none / 0) (#54)
by fyngyrz on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 04:33:32 PM EST

What I was trying to make you understand is that since copyright terms far exceed the lifespan of humans at this point (and infact, multiple generations thereof) they are effectively not limited in time.

What you are trying to make me understand is that an increase of a small number to another small number in the same order of magnitude == infinity, which it most certainly does not. Human lifespan has nothing to do with this if, as you specifically claim, you're not concerned about if something becomes available in your lifetime. IF lifespan has something to do with it, then you're arguing for the benefits to accrue to specific individuals.

The fact is that works coming out of copyright will benefit society eventually. The only difference here is when they will come out (and unlike your position that they "effectively" won't come out, they obviously will, and after not all big an increase in time, either - your position is here is absolutely untenable.)

Now, since you're resorted to base namecalling, and have failed to address my position but instead try to hold up absurdities like 70 years == infinite time, I'll leave the last word to you. Have at it. I will read your reply as a courtesy, I just won't respond.

Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Small number to small number? (none / 0) (#55)
by iCEBaLM on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 05:07:52 PM EST

Are you out of your gourd?

What you are trying to make me understand is that an increase of a small number to another small number in the same order of magnitude == infinity, which it most certainly does not.

No, what I am trying to make you understand is that an increase of a small number (20 years) to a large number (Life of creator + 100 years: approximately 185 years at current life expectancy) is virtually the same as infinity because it will only be given to society after the people who make up society when it was created die, at which point it will be useless and obsolete.

This is not a fair trade, period. Copyright holders get everything, society gets nothing, the system is broken and does not work as it was designed and intended to.

Have at it. I will read your reply as a courtesy, I just won't respond.

Good, because your responses seem to be filled with built up strawmen that you proceed to knock down. Where do you get this 70 year number? I never said it.

[ Parent ]

You called? (1.00 / 6) (#32)
by Wah on Sat Oct 30, 2004 at 02:53:45 AM EST

candyman, candyman...fucktard.
--
Fail to Obey?
[ Parent ]
Hi, Hillary (none / 0) (#52)
by mcgrew on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 02:13:07 PM EST

-1, disingenuous or incredibly stupid.

Copyright whining, or in other words, "I want free stuff"
I make free stuff, shill. As do my friends. Visit This page and download a free program - which I have an ISBN for. The article is about loss of our very artistic and cultural heritage. It is not about abolition of copyright, it is about reform of copyright.

Unable to understand concept of "Intellectual Property"
Neither did the United States' founding fathers. The concept is as unamerican as Soviet Communism.

Unable to understand concept of "Law"
Read the US Constitutopn, crackhead. It's what all US law is based on. You might find section 2 article 8 interesting, particularly the phrase "limited time".

On the actual topic, I think you should stop calling for your mother.


"The entire neocon movement is dedicated to revoking mcgrew's posting priviliges. This is why we went to war with Iraq." -LilDebbie
[ Parent ]

You're full of excrement yourself. (none / 0) (#58)
by vsync on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 04:41:54 AM EST

Liar. Your program costs $10. And you threaten people who redistribute it:
Artificial Insanity program and illustration 1984 S. McGrew, all rights reserved (I have the government paperwork, so if you get caught selling copies without my permission you will be in serious trouble...


--
"The problem I had with the story, before I even finished reading, was the copious attribution of thoughts and ideas to vsync. What made it worse was the ones attributed to him were the only ones that made any sense whatsoever."
[ Parent ]
Fabulous. (none / 0) (#59)
by fyngyrz on Fri Nov 05, 2004 at 10:12:22 PM EST

The article is about loss of our very artistic and cultural heritage.

Nothing is "lost" as a result of long copyright terms. Copyright ensures that intellectual property retains commercial value, and that in turn is one of the forces that can keep material available instead of depending on someone's charity. Your entire thesis is groundless.

disingenuous... incredibly stupid... shill... crackhead... stop calling for your mother...

As for the namecalling and trolling, you'll have to do a great deal more to get a rise out of me. You're welcome to keep trying though... it's always amusing to watch someone try to fish with an unbaited hook. :)


Blog, Photos.
[ Parent ]

Correction (3.00 / 2) (#49)
by cpt kangarooski on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 10:15:40 AM EST

A century ago this statement would have been true- copyright lasted 20 years, as a patent does now.

Well, that statement is not true.

In 1904, a federal copyright lasted 28 years from the date of the first publication, with an option to renew the term in its last year for an additional 14 years, resulting in a maximum possible term of 42 years.

The current patent term is 20 years from filing. Copyright terms overall have never been 20 years, and have never been measured from filing.

--
All my posts including this one are in the public domain. I am a lawyer. I am not your lawyer, and this is not legal advice.

Btw Fan Fiction is the downfall of copyright (3.00 / 2) (#50)
by xria on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 10:32:49 AM EST

There was an TV programme on about the author of the Harry Potter books recently in the UK. She had gone to the US to sign books for the latest installment.

Every now and then someone would come up and try and hand her a big brown envelope, each time this happened the person with her from her US Publisher would snatch it away before she could touch it. At the end she asked why this had kept happening. It seems that the idea is if you write a Harry Potter like book, and you can manage to persuade a jury she had seen it, if any reasonably sized excerpt or event from the 'fans' work is in a future Harry Potter novel then the 'fan' can potential be sueing for copyright breach.

You can imagine with a potentially very large amount of amateur fiction writers, fan fiction sites, and so on around the internet, the chances of things like this happening are likely to increase exponentially over time - as more use the internet, more sites, longer copyright durations - and remember technically all the fiction posted on this site (and other articles) are copyrighted by default until death + 70 years or whatever.

Within 20-30 years you could see professional authors not just needing proof readers, but having to use some advanced version of searching the Google Cache (well some future equivalent service that includes eventually a 200 year full history) to check against every paragraph of their novel to see it hasnt already appeared somewhere on the net since its inception.

Because if they don't some lawyer will be doing the search for them and then tracking down the original copyright owner (or their heirs) to start filing suit.

So.... (none / 0) (#56)
by Gruntathon on Sun Oct 31, 2004 at 06:38:10 PM EST

A million monkeys at a million typrewriters will eventually have copyright of everything?

I find this idea amusing...

__________
If they hadn't been such quality beasts (despite being so young) it would have been a nightmare - good self-starting, capable hands are your finest friend. -- Anonymous CEO
[ Parent ]
Restaurant (none / 0) (#57)
by PylonHead on Tue Nov 02, 2004 at 07:10:56 PM EST

I can remember eating at a Sambo's restraunt growing up. More info: Cnn article about reopening Sambo's

Hillary Rosen Loves Larry Lessig (and other improbable tales) | 58 comments (39 topical, 19 editorial, 0 hidden)
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