Copyright in various fields (5.00 / 1) (#9)
by wnight on Thu Jul 05, 2001 at 11:50:02 AM EST
Re: long copyrights...
Yes, I do see how, in general, the longer the copyright will last, the more a company will pay for it. However I think you hit diminishing returns after a while. No company is going to plan 100 years ahead when buying what may potentially be the next Mickey Mouse and pay accordingly. They'll still buy it for the exploitation rights in the next (guessing) 10 years and the rest is just gravy.
As to control...
If REM died today, I'd support a 20-year long copyright for their heirs. It'd remove any financial incentive anyone might have for killing them, and it'd last long enough to provide income for their youngest children to grow to adult-hood. (There are cases perhaps, of disability, where this is not true but I think the law needs to focus on general cases not the extraordinary.)
I think he deserves the same 20 years, but yes, actually I do want to see variations on his work. His work wasn't created in a vacuum, so it's unfair to place it there. He borrowed from the work of other people, if not directly, then during his education. Why should we deprive others of the same rights?
This is a case I was hoping would be settled the other way. If you buy a book, you have the right to resell that book, dispose of it, or display it alongside books that author wouldn't approve of. (Short of any libel issues if you were implying that the author was connected to those other books perhaps.)
You also gain the right to modify the work (rip out pages, annotate the margins, etc) and then distribute that modified work (Sell your copy) as long as you don't produce more copies.
Why isn't this true with art? Why can't I buy that stupid painting in the Canadian art gallery with the three vertical lines, the one that sold for millions, (ok assuming I was rich enough) modify it with a knife, and resell it? It's my artistic commentary on that talentless hack.
But anyways, I question if this was a copyright case, or a case of the court finding for the famous person who claims to be oppressed by the big corporation and has the public sympathy. The Canadian government did a similar thing before where they refused to let someone burn an original painting (specified in their will).
As for a big moral win...
Our big win will come when we lessen the power of large corporations to control what we do on our computers. If computers are all sold with MS OSes, we're at their mercy. They'd be able to snoop on what we do, control how and when we use our computer, sell the data to marketers, etc. And to reverse engineer it would be illegal.
The nature of the GPL is that GPLed code increases. Using this code can provide a great head-start over someone writing from scratch. Eventually, we should be at the point where it's a definate liability to write proprietary code because you have to avoid all these very-handy libraries. Hopefully at this point we'll start to get more commercial (ie, sold with computers, and designed so that mom can use them.) OSes, and some of those will be open. Not because of any moral reason, but simply because the fastest way for Company X to compete with MS was to reuse Linux and toss a GUI on top.
Through this, we can prevent a situation where it's illegal to lift the hood to see what makes the computer run, but mandatory to buy those parts.
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