Do You Actually Understand What Copyright Is For?

from the most-people-don't dept

One of the more amazing things I've discovered in discussing copyright, patents and trademarks with people is that very few people seem to know what each of those three sets of regulations are actually intended for. It certainly makes reasonable discussion and debate on any sort of reform difficult when a large percentage of people involved in the debate (or, tragically, writing the laws around those regulations) seem to believe the purpose of them is entirely different than it actually is. That's why we've tried to point to some historically interesting discussions on these regulations. Two recent blog posts pointed out something interesting related to all this. The first, comes (again) from copyright expert William Patry, who points to a seven minute video of ordinary people explaining why they think copyright exists. The video itself is by Karl Fogel, who also runs a site called Question Copyright. What the video pretty clearly demonstrates is that most people have no clue why copyright exists, and many assume (as we see in the comments around here) that it's there to "protect" the content creator or to prevent plagiarism. No one seems to note that its true purpose, as per the Constitution, is to promote progress (amusingly, many believe copyright is a much more recent creation).
While it may seem a bit simplistic to ask a bunch of random people in a park why they think copyright exists, it's actually fairly important when the vast majority of folks don't fully understand the purpose of copyright -- as that's what allows copyright to be extended and turned into something that goes far beyond its original intentions, as we see today. William Stepp, over at Against Monopoly, highlights this by pointing to a new dissertation called Pimps and Ferrets: Copyright and Culture in the United States. It's 231 pages of copyright history goodness, basically describing how this lack of knowledge and understanding of copyright in the 19th century is what allowed continual copyright expansion in that era as well. What started out as something that could only be held in very, very rare cases (as per James Madison's belief that copyright and patents should be quite limited to avoid abuse) was continually expanded to cover much, much more over time. There have been plenty of stories about how copyright has been expanded and lengthened greatly over the past one hundred years, but it happened for the preceding 100 years as well -- thanks in large part to a near total lack of understanding of the true issues at hand by many of the people involved.


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  1.  
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    mike allen, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 12:54am

    someone tell EMI

    According to BBC and others EMI are to shed 2000 jobs blaming falling CD sales and music piracy.

     

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  2.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:03am

    Re: someone tell EMI

    And in other news, a random comment on the internet makes Mike Allen look exceptionally stupid at first glance.

    Like seriously, I know I'm tired now that it's 2:00 AM but a post really shouldn't make a reader think "wtf, what does that have to do with anything" at first glance.


    Anyways, in regards to the article, it doesn't surprise me. I've come to the sad realization that 98% of Americans don't really believe in the Constitution of the United States. Too many are oblivious to the intent and facts of the actual document. It'd take a seriously powerful and influential orator to get Congress to fix what's wrong with several laws and regulations currently in use by the U.S.

     

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  3.  
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    mike allen, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:22am

    Re: Re: someone tell EMI

    You posted your comment at 2:03 AM jack ass. Now who looks stupid and first, second, and third glance?

     

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    Hellsvilla, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:54am

    Re: Re: Re: someone tell EMI

    You posted your comment at 2:03 AM jack ass. Now who looks stupid and first, second, and third glance?

    Mike Allen does. Thanks for asking.

     

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    Davkaus, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 3:58am

    "What the video pretty clearly demonstrates is that most people have no clue why copyright exists, and many assume (as we see in the comments around here) that it's there to "protect" the content creator or to prevent plagiarism. No one seems to note that its true purpose, as per the Constitution, is to promote progress"

    Now, I'm far from being a copyright expert, but doesn't it promote progress....by protecting the content creator?

     

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    Some Guy (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:00am

    Re: someone tell EMI

    I imagine your point is to say, "that's all well and good in theory, Mike M., but here in *reality* people are losing their jobs because of piracy." The problem is that as tragic as that may be, it's not the point -- and strictly speaking, they aren't losing their jobs because of Piracy, they're losing their jobs because EMI has struggled to hang onto a failing business model. EMI is trying to keep doing what it's been doing for X years when it (obviously) no longer works.

    "That's all well and good, Some Guy, but here in *reality* people are losing their jobs." I would argue, and I think Mike M. would agree, that they don't have to be. Even if you look at EMI as SOLELY "a merchant of CDs" there are plenty of ways they can leverage the free distribution of music as a way to sell CDs. They can put extra content on the CD itself, video media, interviews with the band, etc, which would be minimal cost to them. They could actually make the CD insert valuable, with lyrics, maybe guitar tabs, interviews, et cetera. They could link physical CDs to an oline site, and use serial numbers or whatever to grant access to exclusive content. But they're not. They're trying to hold onto the idea of "just selling music" and the market has changed.

     

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    Some Guy (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:03am

    Re: Davkaus

    No, not really. Because if you're guaranteed income for 15 to 20 years from what you do today, how motivated are you going to be to create anything tomorrow? More fundamentally, if I have to tiptoe through a mine-field of pre-existing copyright and fuzzy senses of 'fair used,' how likely am *I* to create content? If I can be taken to court because my bass line *sounds* like your base line, creating content becomes a *liability* to me.

     

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    Chris B in Abu Dhabi, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:26am

    Re: Re: someone tell EMI

    I'm confused... Did you have a personal problem with Mike Allen before reading his post today? His comment is relevant to the topic, and while it might not have been great it certainly doesn't deserve all the harrassment you gave him!

    To keep this comment on topic, I'd like to ask: Does it really matter what the majority of the population thinks about copyrights? Unless someone has an idea worth patenting in the first place, they can remain ignorant and it doesn't hurt anything. Thats the beauty about America! You can remain ignorant about anything that doesn't affect you directly (although, you leave yourself available for exploitation) and still live your life. I prefer to not follow that lifestyle myself, but many people I know do.

     

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    Wolfger, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: someone tell EMI

    Yep. Mike Allen does.

     

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    Wolfger, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:35am

    Re: Re: Re: someone tell EMI

    Chris, what do EMI, falling music CD sales, or piracy have to do with this story, which is about how people don't understand the purpose of copyright? Mike's first comment was completely irrelevant, and his follow-up comment shows a distinct lack of maturity and intelligence.

    In regards to the second part of your comment... now I'm confused. You switch from copyright to patent as though they are the same thing, which they clearly are not. This, of course, is part of the problem the article is talking about. People just don't understand the laws or the purposes behind the laws, and it allows the powerful corporations to mold the laws to their advantage (and society's disadvantage).

     

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    Vincent Clement, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:42am

    Re:

    How does extending copyright after the creator's death promote progress? What will J.K. Rowling's children do, other than rake in money, with the Harry Potter copyrights after J.K. Rowling dies?

     

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    Kevin, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:01am

    Re: someone tell EMI

    According to BBC and others EMI are to shed 2000 jobs blaming falling CD sales and music piracy.

    That's because selling and shipping little plastic discs is a failing business model.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:27am

    Re: Re: Davkaus

    An that is why copyright should be limited down to say 20 years after creation and should be an opt in agreement instead of an opt out as it is today.

     

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    bye, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:29am

    someone tell BuggyWhipsRus

    Mike Allen said: someone tell EMI
    "According to BBC and others EMI are to shed 2000 jobs blaming falling CD sales and music piracy."

    How many jobs were "lost" to the horseless carriage ?

     

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    could be really funny, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:33am

    Ask Congress

    I'd like to see them produce a similar video with members of congress. That's really who counts.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:40am

    Promoting Progress

    Promoting progress means that your work furthers some social good. "Protecting" the author is NOT the intent of copyright. What copyright does is give an a author a LIMITED monopoly to obtain revenue if his/her work furthers "progress".

    By way of an extreme example, if a work was deemed not to further "progress", it would not qualify for copyright protection. I wonder, if anyone has successfully overturned a copyright claim by asserting that the work does not further "progress"???? (Yes, I realize that "progress" is very vague and subjective and would lead to all sorts of slippery slope comments.)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:56am

    Fallicies

    Mike's appeal to ignorance. A straw man by the commenters that pretty much sums up most posts that Mike makes about copyright. Good times.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 6:12am

    The vast majority of people don't know the purpose of a lot of things.

     

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    Cixelsid, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 6:15am

    Re: someone tell EMI

    Do you see? Do you see now, General Public, what the result is of your rampant sharing? Do you see now what you made us do? It's because of you, People of the World, that we had to fire these poor people! Because you wouldn't buy more of our stuff! Not because we can't adapt our business model to changing technologies, not because we can't figure out how to make a profit without treating our customers like criminals and mooching off of our clients' talent. No...its because of YOU! You and your goddamn Internets!

    WE HOPE YOU'RE HAPPY NOW!

    Best Regards,
    The Music Industry.

     

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  20.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 6:34am

    Copyright vs Trademark vs Patent

    I, admittably, do not fully have my head around the difference in copyright, trademarks and patents. I understand the concepts, but sometimes they overlap in my thinking.


    So, if an avid TechDirt reader (who is exposed to these issues daily via the TechDirt RSS feed) sometimes has a hard time keeping these straight, the average American who isn't exposed to these issues will probably find it a bit complex as well. Its not because people are dumb, but because most people have never had to know the difference.


    I found this article on the web: http://www.lawmart.com/searches/difference.htm If anyone else knows of a really good article that spells out the differences, can you post it? I'm curious.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Davkaus

    I am not as concerned about the longevity of copyrights. Copyrights tend to cover creations that have a bit of art to them, and they generally cover the creation as a whole - not in part. I do not (to my knowledge) think you can copywrite a base line, only the composition as a whole. Likewise, you can not copyright the ingredients in a recipe, you can only copyright your particular wording of the instructions to put those ingredients together.

    However if you shift gears to look at the state of patents. (In particular software patents, and patents for vaporware) I think you have hit the nail on the head. The sheer quantity of patents, combined with the fact many are for crazy things like "clicking a button", "rewarding good customers", and "searcing a distributed database" stifle progress to no end. It is a mine-field. I would love to create a great new piece of software / hardware. But without a multi-billion dollar company behind me, I would be afraid to walk the mine-field alone, or hold liabilty for any so-called infringement.

     

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    mike allen, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 7:26am

    more on this

    Some of you the one s with little brain i suggest have wondered how EMI sheddibg jobs is related. If EMI had worked out way before now the true meaning of copyright they would not have be in a situation of shedding 2000 jobs today.
    The people who said about the buisiness model being worng are also correct.

     

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  23.  
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    Capi, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 7:50am

    What Copyright Is For

    Copyright was created as "An Act for the encouragement of learning."[1] It did so by guaranteeing the public ACCESS to the work of "learned men." You can see the clearly by the requirement to donate FREE copies to the nations archive for public use.

    "no person shall be entitled to the benefit of this act...unless he shall first deposit" Only AFTER you have given the public access to your work, can you subsequently claim the limited exclusive right to TRY to profit from your work. Original US law requires at least two copies be deposited, original British law requires copies be sent to every major library (nine) which was later increased to twelve.

    The US copyright act itself, is clearly derived from the British "Statute of Anne". (Almost as if by a plagiarist.) Direct statements can be found there as to the intention of the concept.

    "Whereas Printers, Booksellers, and other Persons, have of late frequently taken the Liberty of Printing, Reprinting, and Publishing, or causing to be Printed, Reprinted, and Published Books, and other Writings, without the Consent of the Authors or Proprietors of such Books and Writings, to their very great Detriment, and too often to the Ruin of them and their Families: For Preventing therefore such Practices for the future, and for the Encouragement of Learned Men to Compose and Write useful Books;"[2]

    Clearly, copyright was NEVER intended to protect the authors and/or publishers from the public. It directly addressed the problem of PUBLISHERS cheating authors, and thereby discouraging them from writing any of their learnings down. Since most people did not have direct contact with these "learned men" there was no way to pass on this knowledge to the next generation.

    By vesting the work in the author, the act gave the learned men incentive to write their work down. By requiring deposit in libraries and archives, the act encouraged learning by enabling ACCESS to that knowledge.

    (Everything else is a corruption of these basic principles.)

    [1] http://www.copyright.gov/history/1790act.pdf
    [2] http://www.copyrighthistory.com/anne.html

     

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  24.  
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    Capi, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 8:27am

    Patents

    Patents follow the same logic. They give the public access to invention. Logically they are the opposite of "trade-secrets".

    An inventor must first write down how the invention works, and then file it for all to see and examine. If a patent is granted, the inventor must then sell a product which includes the patent, or must license the patent for someone else to use in a product.

    Patents can be revoked if the inventor attempts to keep benefits of the invention from the public.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 8:35am

    With the Internet, are we not all publishers?

     

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    Capi, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 8:48am

    No. And we are not all digital artists because windows ships with paint.

    However, you are free to become either if you want. If you decide to become a publisher, don't steal the property of creators. And know that by definition, people get to read what you publish and don't have to ask your permission to do so.

    Pub•lish ORIGIN Middle English (in the sense [make generally known] ): from the stem of Old French puplier, from Latin publicare ‘make public,’ from publicus (see public ).

     

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  27.  
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    Philip (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 9:30am

    This anywhere true?

    Last year, I read a post made by one of the owner of The Pirate Bay explaining his views on copyright and why he does what he does.

    http://www.p2pconsortium.com/index.php?showtopic=9500

    This post is a translated version, which explains copyright was created because of the printing press and was designed as a system to hinder copying of books (ie: cannot copy without the church's permission).

    I'm now curious, how much of it is correct?

    I understand it's a biased source and some details might be exaggerated, but the general idea would remain the same.

     

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    teki, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 9:40am

    not by chance

    The general ignorance on the nature of copyright is not by chance. It is the result of a huge advertising/lobbying campaign run by the industry, which deliberately seeks to confuse "property" and "intellectual property".

    Companies are willing to take any steps to protect their income streams, no matter the cost to the general public or to human progress.

     

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  29.  
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    Infinite, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 11:58am

    Disagreement

    From watching the video, I disagree. Most people knew the purpose of copyright law. They just did not why it was in place. Copyrights were created to insure people who spend time, and money developing products are adequately fiscally compensated. Most people in the video knew it was to protect the inventors.

    If it was not for copyright laws, there would be limited reasoning for investors to invest into product development, as another company could quickly copy the invention without investing any funds.

    However, I do feel current copyright laws is too strict.

     

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    Steve R. (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 12:35pm

    Adequate Compensation is Incorrect

    The intent of copyright is NOT to provide adequate compensation. For example, you could write a book. Your work may be copyrighted, but if no one buys it you won't get any adequate compensation. Starving artist anyone? Copyright allows you for a limited period of time an opportunity to try to make some money.

    The original purpose of copyright was to encourage the development of works that further progress for the social good, not to compensate the author. Copyright today has degenerated to a toll-booth for generating revenue.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Disagreement

    If it was not for copyright laws, there would be limited reasoning for investors to invest into product development, as another company could quickly copy the invention without investing any funds.

    This sounds good, but falls apart when you think about it (and when you look at the historical evidence). Being first to market is a huge advantage, as it builds reputation and reputation creates a premium that you can charge for. Also, being first to market often means you better understand that market and future products tend to be more advanced ahead of the competition as well. So the idea that without copyright there would be no investment in product development is simply false.

     

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    Infinite, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Adequate Compensation is Incorrect

    If you write a book, and no one buys it, you get adequate compensation. There are reasons why no one bought the book; whether it be poorly written, horrible subject, or poor marketing. Because of the copyright you were given access to make money, and the market awarded you accordingly.

     

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  33.  
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    Infinite, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: Disagreement

    Possible. I don't really know of any evidence. Take writing a book for example. You spend one year writting the book and copyrighting the information in the book. Without copywritting someone else can sit back, wait for the book to be realease, and copy it word for word. Lets say its a major corporation and they have more money than you. Because they have more money they can more widely publish the book, market their version as the first and make money off your efforts. Without copyrights the author of the book has lost most financial benefits of his work.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Adequate Compensation is Incorrect

    Because of the copyright you were given access to make money, and the market awarded you accordingly.

    There's a big implicit assumption here that is false. You are assuming that it's copyright that allows a book writer to make money. However, books that are well out of copyright still make plenty of money -- and even though they can be "copied" by others, it doesn't mean the originator doesn't still receive the bulk of the benefit.

    For example, Congress' 9/11 report was released (as all public gov't documents are) without any copyright. However, it was first given to one publisher who was the first on the market with it. While others rushed their own version to market almost immediately after the first one, it was still the first "official" publisher who made the vast bulk of the profits from the sale.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Disagreement

    Possible. I don't really know of any evidence. Take writing a book for example. You spend one year writting the book and copyrighting the information in the book. Without copywritting someone else can sit back, wait for the book to be realease, and copy it word for word. Lets say its a major corporation and they have more money than you. Because they have more money they can more widely publish the book, market their version as the first and make money off your efforts. Without copyrights the author of the book has lost most financial benefits of his work.

    Again, as I wrote above, that's not actually true. Even when identical versions were published of the 9/11 report, it was still the publisher that got it out first who received the bulk of the sales.

    On top of that, there is the reputation issue, which is likely to keep the scenario you described in check. If a big publisher does that regularly, it would get a bad reputation in the market, and people would learn to stay away from them. That publisher has all the incentive in the world to actually reward the author, as it means that when he or she writes the next book, they may be more likely to team up with that publisher to release the initial copies (which, as we noted, is where the bulk of the revenue lies).

    As proof of this, back in the 19th century, US publishers did not need to obey copyright of foreign authors if they wanted to republish in the US. Certainly, there were some publishers who chose to merely copy foreign books, but the biggest publishers still sent royalties to the authors as they recognized how important it was to have a good relationship with those authors (and with the public).

     

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    Derek Kerton (profile), Jan 15th, 2008 @ 2:45pm

    People Seemed Informed

    Hmmm. I disagree, Mike. I think these people were remarkably well informed. Usually, man on the street interviews on ANY subject simply reveal rampant ignorance, yet these people had a pretty decent opinion on what Copyright does.

    Sure, they did not answer the PRECISE question that is written in the video "What is the purpose of Copyright?", because the original purpose is to stimulate the public release of creative works. But isn't that really a bit abstract a response to expect? Wouldn't you expect smart, practical people to just answer with the practical effect of Copyright?

    But my disagreement with you and Fogel's take on this has a better argument than the fact that people mistakenly responded with a practical interpretation of the purpose of Copyright. In fact, that is what they were actually asked to say...

    The actual question, orally recorded by Fogel at the start of the video is:

    "How would you describe the purpose of Copyright.
    What exactly does it do? What's it for?"

    What's it do? It does what they say it does. Perhaps they failed to mention the founding father's purpose, but I think the people did a great job of answering the question that they were actually asked, and thus the video and Fogel's point are completely moot.

    Who cares if they know how long Copyright has existed? I don't know how long the USA has driven on the right side of the road, and I don't need to. Been that way since I was born, and I can work in that system.

     

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    Capi, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 4:55pm

    The Problem With Not Knowing

    "original purpose is to stimulate the public release of creative works." Yea Verily!

    The problem with not knowing the above, is that it leads you to believe that it is sensible to monitor reading, restrict access to creative works, and curtail places like libraries. "Obviously," state the unenlightened, "If these were to get out of hand, it would seriously effect business opportunities."

    The logic of copyright is exactly the OPPOSITE of this. It dictates that society's education, privacy in consuming published works, and open access to complete archives FAR OUTWEIGH any mere business interests.

     

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    Karl Fogel, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 5:50pm

    Actually, the purpose of copyright is even more su

    Glad you liked the video!

    It's true that some of those involved in originally designing copyright (in the late 1600s and early 1700s) were interested in promoting "progress"... but they problem they were trying to solve was about replication and distribution, not about creation. (This all predates the U.S. Constitution by many decades, by the way. The U.S. constitutional clause enabling copyrights mainly echoes a British system that had already been in place for years, and with which the framers of the Constitution were very familiar.)

    Copyright is probably best understood as a printing industry regulation designed to make the printing of books economical for the publishers, given the replication technology of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries: the printing press.

    Today, people have somehow gotten this notion that writers and artists rose up in the distant past and demanded monopoly restrictions on the distribution of their work. It's a myth: that's not what happened. Creative artists were mostly uninvolved in the beginnings of copyright -- which makes sense, because it wasn't done for them in the first place.

    See http://www.QuestionCopyright.org/faq#origin, and other articles on the site, for more details.

    Best,
    -Karl Fogel

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 7:40pm

    "Its not because people are dumb, but because most people have never had to know the difference."

    Never having to know the difference puts them in the "dumb" camp, afaic.

     

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    Chris in Abu Dhabi, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 10:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: someone tell EMI

    haha, yeah I missed Mikes follow up comment... But I still dont think he should have received the abuse for his comment. It should have just been ignored.

    Anyway, follow up question: Are you saying these corporations are actually changing laws, or just manipulating current laws to their advantage? And if so, how exactly are they doing that? I'm oblivious to any of this.

    From the little I know, I really like the concept of copyrighting/patenting/trademarking. It is part of the capitalist mindset to further progress that is obviously working (Anyone seen the Soviet Union lately??) :)

     

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  41.  
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    Chris, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 10:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Davkaus

    Are you serious with the "rewarding good customers thing"??? Is it even possible to do something that ridiculous. God, I hope not.

    But if so, I'm filing for "walking on two legs in an upright position."

    You can pay me my royalties now. :)

     

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  42.  
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    Chris B in Abu Dhabi, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 10:44pm

    Re: Promoting Progress

    I'm so confused!!!

    Is this just a symantic quibble, whats going on here?? Heres my thought, which apparently makes me one of the ignorant public:

    The INTENT of copyright: Further progress and innovation to benefit society.

    The METHOD of doing so: Protect the intellectual property (or is that only patenting?) of an inventor/company from plagiarism.

    So is the problem here that people are confusing the method as the intent? Or am I still wrong?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  43.  
    identicon
    Chris, Jan 15th, 2008 @ 10:54pm

    Re: someone tell BuggyWhipsRus

    Fantastic point. Especially true today - if you're using yesterdays technology or methodology, dont expect to survive.

    Although, while I agree newer technology is responsible for the change, I think its a little different in that the EMI losses are due to piracy and theft (I would assume) as a result of the new technology and online filesharing communities. But I have no idea who EMI even is... I'm just assuming they're a record label!

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  44.  
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    Mike (profile), Jan 16th, 2008 @ 12:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: someone tell EMI

    Are you saying these corporations are actually changing laws, or just manipulating current laws to their advantage? And if so, how exactly are they doing that? I'm oblivious to any of this.


    They've done both, repeatedly. There's way too long a history to go into to give all of the examples, but a few key ones are things like the constant extension of copyright so that it's become essentially infinite (basically, whenever Micky Mouse is about to go into the public domain, it gets extended) and the recent PRO IP bill which would make the FBI into Hollywood's private enforcement arm.

    From the little I know, I really like the concept of copyrighting/patenting/trademarking. It is part of the capitalist mindset to further progress that is obviously working

    Hmm. Don't confuse correlation with causation. There's fairly strong evidence that US success has been in spite of its IP system, rather than because of it. If you look at actual studies on the matter, there's little to no proof that IP protection increases output, and a fair amount that suggests the opposite (i.e., once you have a monopoly protection, you now have less incentive to create the *next* thing).

    Also, I'm curious how you see IP as being a capitalist idea? It's a gov't granted monopoly, which is generally the opposite of a capitalist concept.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  45.  
    identicon
    Tzeentch, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 1:24am

    Re: someone tell EMI

    According to history books, developments from Spinning Jennies through Steam Engines to Industrial Robots have cost millions of jobs throughout the world. Luddites Unite and fight all progress !

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  46.  
    identicon
    Rare Species, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 5:43am

    Copywrite

    Do any of us Actually Understand What Copyright Is For?
    from the most-people-don't deptth - or perhaps this all depends on the price behind it? Money? Ego? Time? Or is the stress worth the havoc it pays on our bodies and minds?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  47.  
    identicon
    Rare Species, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 5:43am

    Copywrite

    Do any of us Actually Understand What Copyright Is For?
    from the most-people-don't deptth - or perhaps this all depends on the price behind it? Money? Ego? Time? Or is the stress worth the havoc it pays on our bodies and minds?

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  48.  
    identicon
    Chris B, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 10:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: someone tell EMI

    Very interesting points. The way I see it as a benefit toward innovation is that I believe some, if not most people need extra financial incentives to work hard enough to get these things done. I have no studies to prove this, it's just my personal belief. I would never slave over a project for a year if I'm not going to financially benefit from it. I do think that these intellectual monopolies should end after a short period, but I still believe they should be there.

    And as for relating it to capitalism, I have a very basic understanding of the details and definitions of capitalism, and I see IP as the opposite of communism - and therefore capitalist! haha, I know not the best of arguments, but I'm an engineer not an economist!

    Now, feel free to go ahead and tear that to pieces. :)

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 16th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Pimps and Ferrets

    The first chapter of that dissertation has a pretty good summary of the history of Anglo-American Copyright. Plus, it's free: Pimps and Ferrets.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  50.  
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    a mess, Feb 21st, 2008 @ 5:57am

    Grossly over done

    Copyrights were invented to protect trade names. It was GM's "Frigidaire" that was being used as a substitute for the word "Refrigerator". GM was in jeopardy of loosing the investment they had in design, building and promoting their product.
    U.S. patents for inventions of material things offer 21 years of protection for the inventor.

    Copyrights are thought of in the same way but the law offers Ninety Nine years for
    Creative intelligence. That's bull!

    You know, if you sing happy birthday in a group without paying a copyright fee your breaking the law.

    You know, The Laurel and Hardy movies that are approaching a hundred years old are still under copyright protection.
    Well, who profits from the control of intellectual thinking?

    Most of the people involved are those who gain control of the "rights" not the creators themselves.

    I strongly feel copyrights should be granted a maximum of 20 years.

    I also feel a patent or copyright should not be transferable to an employer.

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]

  51.  
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    Kort, Apr 10th, 2008 @ 11:00am

    Delaying public domain

    Copyrights are very different than trademarks.

    Copyrights were actually "invented" by a cartel of printers to protect monopoly rights to print specific books. They were only expanded to include rights for authors when government got involved - and then only to camouflage the real intent of subsidizing the printing of books.

    Copyrights were intended to be limited in duration, allowing the producer to recover his investment before the work became public domain. File sharing has only become "piracy" due to the extension of copyright protection far beyond the original duration - even as technology has made it possible to shorten the time required for the creator to recover fair value compensation.

    For a more complete exploration of this issue - including an historical perspective of how we got where we are today, and a way to achieve a workable solution - check out: http://www.kortexplores.com/node/174

     

    reply to this | link to this | view in thread ]


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