EU Plans To Extend Copyright; Turns Copyright System Into Welfare For Musicians

from the what-a-shame dept

Just as we feared, the EU has now approved copyright extension of performance royalties from 50 years to 95 years. This is basically an approval to steal from the public. The public made a deal with musicians 50 years ago: give us music, and we'll give you performance royalties for 50 years. The musicians accepted that, and it was a worthwhile deal for them. Yet, now, the government has decided to change the deal, remove that content from the public domain and give it to the musicians for another 45 years. This is, simply, bad policy. It encourages the exact wrong behavior: telling people that the public will pay them for work they did many many years ago over and over again. This doesn't encourage musicians to continue working and it doesn't encourage them to be fiscally responsible and save for retirement or anything.

At the same time, (again as expected), the EU has said that royalties collecting agencies need to compete, like they do in the US. As we noted a few weeks ago, this is better than forcing all artists to be represented by a single agency, but these agencies tend to do things in the name of artists that can be a lot more damaging than helpful in the long run.

These changes still require approval from the individual EU countries and the EU Parliament, so there's still some chance that folks in Europe will realize that extending copyright on already created works is a bad idea, but that seems unlikely at this point.


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  1.  
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    mark., Jul 16th, 2008 @ 1:14pm

    Mike, you are a retard

    Mike, you are a retard. Music is intellectual property; as much as code, a painting or a trademark. Why shouldn't the creator of the intellectual property profit from it's exploitation? Corparations do this all the time, should the Nike logo become public domain just because it has been around for 50 years? Or better yet should your written words, such as this article become FREE for others to exploit based on the date they were written. Your retarded logic makes me think I should publish a book selling the Articles you've written as soon as they age past 50, unfortunately no one would buy the book, because you are again, retarded. 95 years actually sounds pretty reasonable, that would allow the children of musicians to inherit the copyrights.

     

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    Eric, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 1:26pm

    Mark, confusing IP with trademark(s) immediately shows you have no clue what you are talking about.

    Dr E

     

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    PRMan, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 1:30pm

    Actually, he's not

    How does lifetime copyright ENCOURAGE NEW WORKS? Yes, the person creating something should profit, for a while. But he should also KEEP CREATING rather than sitting on his lazy butt.

    Also, we should encourage others to do CREATE DERIVATIVES by using other material that was previously created. How can that happen when the other material never comes out of copyright during the lifetimes of the people that wish to make derivatives?

    Since the things I listed above are what copyright is supposed to accomplish, it seems like 95 year copyright is completely missing the mark.

     

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    Matt (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 1:31pm

    I'd love to see the reverse

    I'd love to see the situation go to 5 years for copyright. Watch as all the old musicians squirm that they can't come up with new stuff, and all the new ones who are creative do just fine/improve/change their act!

    What an idea!

    /facepalm

     

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    Buzz, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 1:32pm

    Re: Mike, you are a retard

    Um, actually, I wouldn't be surprised if Mike allowed you to start publishing a book using his words right NOW (provided you gave proper credit). He understands these economics very well, and you "exploiting his works" would only bring him more positive reputation.

    It is a terrible mentality to think that anyone has the "right" to profit off something they created long ago. Should car dealers receive a percentage of customers' paychecks since they are "profiting" off those cars by using them to get to work? Who taught you that you ought to be paid over and over for something you did once? I work as a web developer. Should I go demand recurring checks from my clients because their sites are STILL running off my templates? OMG They're profiting off my work, and I'm not getting a piece of it! This is terrible!

    The old "pay me for my creation repeatedly" idea needs to die with all the old business models shoved around by the RIAA/MPAA.

     

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    Buzz, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 1:34pm

    Re: I'd love to see the reverse

    I'm all for this idea. The people who actually WORK for a living will survive just fine, while the oldies struggle to figure out how to exploit the fans.

     

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  7.  
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    david (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 1:45pm

    > Why shouldn't the creator of the ... property profit from it's exploitation?

    See what I did there? Read this sentence without the word 'intellectual' in it and you will see just how nonsensical you sound.

    Do you pay the architect and builder of your house every time you use it? What if you rent it out or otherwise make money out of it - do you expect to pay a royalty?

    Of course not, the creators of physical property profit from this clever thing called "selling" it, not from anything that subsequently happens to it. Why should "intellectual property" be any different?

     

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    Lauren, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:03pm

    Too far...

    I agree with intellectual property rights in general, but like a patent, all good things must come to an end. Patentsare only good for 20 years for a reason: to reward the holder by allowing him/her to make massive profits and then force them to improve on it and refile the patent or move on and let everyone else have a turn. The original patent holder for the television got screwed because of this but hey, war sucks like that.

    Music should work the same way...reward the artist then make them improve it. 20 years is about right for that.

     

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    Willton, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:03pm

    Re:

    Mark, confusing IP with trademark(s) immediately shows you have no clue what you are talking about.

    Dr E


    Trademark law attaches property rights to marks that are used to denote the source of goods or services. Thinking that trademarks are not a form of IP shows that you have no clue what you are talking about.

     

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    difranco, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:06pm

    What concern is it of yours?

    "This doesn't encourage musicians to continue working and it doesn't encourage them to be fiscally responsible and save for retirement or anything."

    What business is it of yours what an individual does with their money or time? If they blow it all on drugs, booze, loose women (men?) and go to an early grave so be it.

    I agree they shouldn't get lifetime royalties but certainly not because I care what they do with their time and money.

     

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    Fushta, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:09pm

    Not Surprising at All

    The EU, being a group of basically socialist nations, is bound to go for this "cradle to grave" protectionism. Same with their healthcare system, it covers everyone regardless of how hard you work (or don't work). The hard working cover the asses of the lazy. That's a welfare state. That's the EU.

    Therefore, this ruling is not at all surprising that they are providing welfare to aging rocksters. Create one great hit...set for life...and your kids/grandkids, too.

     

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    travis, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:40pm

    Trademark vs Copyright

    "should the Nike logo become public domain just because it has been around for 50 years?"

    Trademarks can be renewed so they don't expire. Copyright was only granted for a limited amount of time and are supposed to expire. That was the agreement between the artist and the public to create the work. Now they want to retroactively change the agreement.

     

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  13.  
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    mark., Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:50pm

    Re: Re: Mike, you are a retard

    " I work as a web developer. Should I go demand recurring checks from my clients because their sites are STILL running off my templates? "

    Yes, it is called a license and the Software as a Service model has proven to be quite profitable.

     

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    m, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:51pm

    Re:

     

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    mark., Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:55pm

    Re:

    "Do you pay the architect and builder of your house every time you use it? What if you rent it out or otherwise make money out of it - do you expect to pay a royalty?"

    To work as a contractor or work under a contract is a form of Work for Hire, In California for example the person or business who hire's then owns the property, physical or intellectual. Because the negotiation is handled upfront all party agree prior to any product or payment taking place.

    your can't really compare a contract or work for hire with copyright in this case.

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 2:57pm

    ....95 years?

    Suppose the artist comes up with a hit when they're 17, they're still likely to be dead before the protection runs out.

    Maybe the EU is making a powerful statement about how they plan to increase the average lifespan from 75-80 to around 120-130 years. Or maybe they just suck.

    Why not just have copyright for the lifetime of the creator. That's excessive too, but 95 years? Where did that figure come from? When has it ever made sense for a child to profit from something their parent created 70 years ago?

     

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    Eric, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    I have to retract my comment and I am now too a retard.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Mike, you are a retard

    Mike, you are a retard.

    When you disagree with someone, it doesn't automatically make them mentally incompetent. Perhaps it just means they have different (perhaps even better) information than you.

    However, when you start off a discussion by insulting your opponent, it's usually an indication that you have no real basis for your argument and are merely going to argue from an emotional viewpoint, with nothing to back you up.

    Music is intellectual property; as much as code, a painting or a trademark.

    That has nothing to do with the point being made in the post. Even if it's true that music is "intellectual property" you do not address what the post is discussing: which is extending the rights over that property. Property has limits. What the EU is doing here is extending the limits of that property at the expense of the public.

    Corparations do this all the time, should the Nike logo become public domain just because it has been around for 50 years?

    That's a trademark. Trademark's do not expire based on time. Also, the purpose of trademarks is entirely different than copyright. Trademark is to prevent consumer confusion -- so you don't think those shoes you just overspent on were actually made by Nike when they were made by some kid down the street. That's got nothing to do with "exploiting" the creation.

    Or better yet should your written words, such as this article become FREE for others to exploit based on the date they were written.

    Yes, they should be free for others to exploit, and I have explicitly stated that they are free for others to exploit -- not based on the date, even.

    Your retarded logic makes me think I should publish a book selling the Articles you've written as soon as they age past 50

    No reason to wait for 50 years. Feel free to go ahead and do it now. It's great that you want to promote my work. I really appreciate that.

    95 years actually sounds pretty reasonable, that would allow the children of musicians to inherit the copyrights.

    This post wasn't even discussing the reasonableness of 95 years. Perhaps it is reasonable. But if it's reasonable then that should have been the term 50 years ago when that music was created. If you are going to change the term of copyright, it should only be for *new* works. Not works that were already created under the old deal.

    How would you like it if I had sold you your house, and the deal we made was that you paid me $200,000 for it. Then, a few years later, I see that the value of the property has gone up, so now I go back and demand another $200,000 for it. Isn't that fair? Doesn't that sound reasonable? That would allow my kids to inherit some of the money that you are making *exploiting* my work? That's what's happening here.

     

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  19.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:04pm

    Re: Re:

    Trademark law attaches property rights to marks that are used to denote the source of goods or services. Thinking that trademarks are not a form of IP shows that you have no clue what you are talking about.

    Actually, he's making an important distinction, so it's wrong to brush him off. In fact, he's much more accurate than you are.

    Trademark comes from an entirely different set of rules, and it was not designed to be "property" in any sense, but as a law of consumer protection. It's designed to prevent someone from buying a bottle of Willton's Cola from thinking it's Coca Cola.

    It's really quite different than intellectual property.

    It's only in the last few decades that IP lawyers have tried to pretend trademark is the third leg of the patent/copyright stool.

    It's not.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:05pm

    Re: What concern is it of yours?

    What business is it of yours what an individual does with their money or time? If they blow it all on drugs, booze, loose women (men?) and go to an early grave so be it.

    But do you want the government rewarding people for doing that? That's what this does.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:18pm

    Re: Re: Mike, you are a retard

    This article is written by someone who I am guessing has little knowledge of royalties. I do forget this is the internet and anyone with half a brain (even me) can type up something and magically make it appear on the screen. I in no way makes it fact, correct or even informed. In this case I use the word Retarded, Widely used in the English language to describe something or someone that is ill informed.

    Without copyright laws in place I can go and rerecord, or even simple sell digital copies of songs I did not right. For example the Beatles formed in 1958, we will begin to see their records age past 50 years. Shouldn't Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still be able to control and profit from how their songs are used or sold. Should I be able to start press Beatles records and pocketing all of the cash?

    *understand they already sold a large portion of their publishing rights, so this is just and example.

    Again with the house. You can't compare Music and the mechanical and performance based royalties that get paid to the song writers to a house. Houses are bought and sold, with little further transaction happening beyond that single instance. Now, a much better argument would be - I can Rent you a house, and I will charge you rent everytime you want to use my house. My house can be inherited by my kids, who then can rent you the house and again charge you money.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:22pm

    "Without copyright laws in place I can go and rerecord, or even simple sell digital copies of songs I did not right. For example the Beatles formed in 1958, we will begin to see their records age past 50 years. Shouldn't Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still be able to control and profit from how their songs are used or sold. Should I be able to start press Beatles records and pocketing all of the cash?"

    They've had 50 years to come up with new stuff, and most of them have gone on to do new things, tours, or explore other avenues of work. So yes, their work *should* fall into the public domain.

    Why shouldn't it? And as you said, they've sold most of, if not all, of their publishing rights in the first place. How is it fair for someone ELSE to profit off their work?

     

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  23.  
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    Stew, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Mike, you are a retard

    Mmmm, no. Mark YOU are a retard. You obviously know zero about copyright or IP or trademarks.

    For your information a painting is a physical object and guess what? The artist does NOT get paid whenever someone sells that painting. And he sure as hell doesn't get paid everytime someone looks at it.

    As far as the rest goes: Mike makes a good point but his title is wrong. What 95 years of copyright does is create a welfare system for the recording companies and the families of musicians.

    I don't have a problem with musicians and songwriters getting a fair return on their work. But I think that rights should be limited to the lifetime of the creator/performer or 20 years. Whichever is greater.

    Your argument about children of musicians inheriting the copyrights is retarded. If a musician is successful and makes money while he is alive he leaves money and property to his children. If he wasn't successful then "inheriting" a copyright is worthless. If he was successful and blew all his money on drugs and whores, well that's too damn bad. His kids didn't do a thing to contribute to whatever he created so there is no reasonable argument that they necessarily have to benefit from it.

    Consider this: An architect doesn't get any residuals whenever someone enters a building he designs. He just gets paid for it and that's that. A chemist/doctor/whatever doesn't get 95 years of income from inventing a drug, even if it benefits millions of people. He sells the rights to a drug company and gets a flat sum or a share of the profits. And that share of the profits stops as soon as the patent expires. The same with anyone who actually invents something and patents it.

    Also: when a song is played on the radio the musician doesn't get a dime. The SONGWRITER is the one that gets paid. You know why? Because the musician (unless he wrote the song himself) is taking something that someone else created and making money from that.

    If a record company releases a greatest hits album with songs from 20 years before the musician probably isn't going to make huge money from the album sales anyway. Because everyone knows that the only ones that make big money from selling albums is usually the record company. So the 95 year copyright benefits the record companies and songwriters a hell of a lot more than the musician.

    The copyright system is even more fundamentally flawed than the patent system which allows someone to get a patent for an idea that is so broad and vague that it could apply to anything. Why should an "entertainer" be more highly valued than the guy who cures cancer?

     

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    Jason, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:33pm

    Re: Re: Mike, you are a retard

    Actually, Mike, Nike didn't make those shoes. Nike doesn't make any shoes. They license and market them, so if you live in a developing country, chances are those shoes WERE made by some kid up the street.

    But that's a far cry from something that would make you a retard.

     

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  25.  
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    Willton, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Actually, he's making an important distinction, so it's wrong to brush him off. In fact, he's much more accurate than you are.

    Trademark comes from an entirely different set of rules, and it was not designed to be "property" in any sense, but as a law of consumer protection. It's designed to prevent someone from buying a bottle of Willton's Cola from thinking it's Coca Cola.

    It's really quite different than intellectual property.

    It's only in the last few decades that IP lawyers have tried to pretend trademark is the third leg of the patent/copyright stool.

    It's not.


    I'm well aware of where trademark law comes from: the law of unfair competition. But that doesn't change the fact that trademark law gives the trademark owner/user the right to exclude others from using that trademark for as long as the owner has rights to the mark (which is for as long as the owner uses the mark). The right to exclude is a property right, and what the right attaches to thus becomes property. So, while patent law and trademark law come from two different bodies of tort law, the actual things that they protect are still regarded as property.

    Property can be any number of things, whether it's land, buildings, personal effects, money, securities, patents, trademarks, or trade secrets. As long as one has the right to exclude others from said things, said things are considered property.

    To say that trademarks were not designed to be property evinces a lack of knowledge as to what property is.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Mike, you are a retard

    For your information a painting is a physical object and guess what? The artist does NOT get paid whenever someone sells that painting. And he sure as hell doesn't get paid everytime someone looks at it.

    Um, what about prints, or reproductions are copyrights that belong to the painter unless otherwise sold with the painting. Just as musicians can sell their recordings to a record label.

    Consider this: An architect doesn't get any residuals whenever someone enters a building he designs. He just gets paid for it and that's that. A chemist/doctor/whatever doesn't get 95 years of income from inventing a drug, even if it benefits millions of people. He sells the rights to a drug company and gets a flat sum or a share of the profits. And that share of the profits stops as soon as the patent expires. The same with anyone who actually invents something and patents it.

    What do you thing a royalty is - it is exactly a share of the profits.

    Also: when a song is played on the radio the musician doesn't get a dime. The SONGWRITER is the one that gets paid. You know why? Because the musician (unless he wrote the song himself) is taking something that someone else created and making money from that.

    Again this is exactly what a Publishing royalty is

    If a record company releases a greatest hits album with songs from 20 years before the musician probably isn't going to make huge money from the album sales anyway. Because everyone knows that the only ones that make big money from selling albums is usually the record company. So the 95 year copyright benefits the record companies and songwriters a hell of a lot more than the musician.

    Not true, not even close. The largest revenue drive in the music industry has always been Publishing. The business' that represent the rights of the Musician and song writers directly. When an Artist "signs" to a Record label they still retain their Publishing rights.

    The copyright system is even more fundamentally flawed than the patent system which allows someone to get a patent for an idea that is so broad and vague that it could apply to anything. Why should an "entertainer" be more highly valued than the guy who cures cancer?
    I don't think you or I can say who actually makes more money - I have a good idea of what a songwriter might make and what someone who invents a cancer cure would make and I don't think you are able to compare the 2. To cure cancer would eclipse the pocket change Bill Gates has made.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:55pm

     

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  28.  
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    Mike Masnick, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 3:57pm

    For the record, I want to admit that I know nothing about Copyrights or IP. I will soon be changing my name to Mike Mansdick, so very sorry.

     

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  29.  
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    Stew, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 4:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike, you are a retard

    "Um, what about prints, or reproductions are copyrights that belong to the painter unless otherwise sold with the painting. Just as musicians can sell their recordings to a record label."
    Prints or reproductions are not paintings. The poster was saying code, paintings and trademarks are intellectual property. I pointed out his error. For that matter prints and reproductions don't necessarily come from a painting. In fact a print and a reproduction are sometimes the same thing. And prints are also physical property, and reproductions are often also physical property.

    "What do you thing a royalty is - it is exactly a share of the profits."
    Ummm no. A royalty is nothing like a share of the profits. A royalty is a royalty and a share of the profits is a share of the profits. A songwriter gets royalties when a song is played on the radio REGARDLESS of profits. Royalties are fees they are not a share of anything. I don't think you understand the difference.

    "Not true, not even close. The largest revenue drive in the music industry has always been Publishing. The business' that represent the rights of the Musician and song writers directly. When an Artist "signs" to a Record label they still retain their Publishing rights."
    Once again you are confused. A musician may not even have any publishing rights to retain when he signs with a record company. Publishing rights belong to the SONGWRITER. Even though they can inhabit the same body a songwriter and a musician are just not the same thing. I said that the record label and songwriter would make more money from the deal. I'm not sure from your confused response if you are agreeing or disagreeing.

    And it is CERTAINLY not true that the largest revenue comes from Publishing. If that were the case songwriters would make more money than musicians. And they don't. Because a musician is paid for performing and sometimes for recording that performance. The ones that make the big money are the record labels, who sell the recordings of those performances. NOT the ones that publish the actual song. Learn the difference between performing, recording and publishing, ok?

    "I don't think you or I can say who actually makes more money - I have a good idea of what a songwriter might make and what someone who invents a cancer cure would make and I don't think you are able to compare the 2. To cure cancer would eclipse the pocket change Bill Gates has made."
    Uh yeah I CAN say who actually makes more money. And where did I even mention that a songwriter might make more or less than the guy who cures cancer? I said ENTERTAINER. Once again: LEARN THE DIFFERENCE. And I said "valued", never mentioning anything about what any individual might make. Do you see anyone on the Forbes lists that invented ANY kind of drug? You might find a couple of drug company owners and some guys that own hospitals but not the guys that did the actual inventing. For that matter I haven't seen any somgwriters on there either. A few entertainers though.

    And if someone ever does invent the mythic cure for cancer, guess what? They don't get paid for that for the next 95 years.

     

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    GeneralEmergency (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 4:50pm

    Re: Too far...

    I agree. More ironically, from the Reuters love note: "In Britain the Gowers report for the government came out against extending the 50 year copyright rule for performers, but McCreevy said there was no compelling reason why a performer should not have similar rights to a composer." McGreedy is such a twit that it never occurs to him that there is no compelling reason why Copyright terms should be wildly longer than Patent terms. I am now in favor of eliminating copyright altogether. I can live just fine without professional media. The democratization of content creation means that sufficient art will be produced by real artists seeking fame.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 4:57pm

    "mark"

    Just for the record, the same individual who posted the first comment, is also responsible for posts 13, 14, 15, 17, 21, 26, 27, 28, even though he changes around his "name" and even pretends (weakly) to be me.

    I also like how he declares himself to have "pwned" others.

    Very convincing strategy to argue. We present reasoned argument, and you pretend to be other people supporting your own lack of argument.

    Plus, when called out on resorting to insults, rather than debate intelligently, your response is to impersonate me.

    You're one classy guy "mark."

     

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    Grae, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 4:57pm

    Awesome...

    I'm rendered almost speechless by some of the viewpoints on here.

    For those of you debating that US Trade/Servicemarks are the same or even close to Patents or Copyrights, try a little light reading: http://www.uspto.gov/web/offices/pac/doc/general/whatis.htm

    Directly from the USPTO. Some key statements: "used in trade with goods to indicate the source of the goods and to distinguish them from the goods of others" and "Trademark rights may be used to prevent others from using a confusingly similar mark, but not to prevent others from making the same goods or from selling the same goods or services under a clearly different mark". The scope of Trade/Servicemarks are very narrowly defined, it's only due to a popular misconception promoted by large corporations/big content owners/IP leeches that they are perceived as granting the mark owner anything beyond this in regards to how the mark may be used.

    And yes, the comparison of the construction of a house to the writing of a song is dead on. If you want to say they aren't, then give a better argument other than "It just is!", which is all I've seen from the pro-copyrighters here.

    Hey, here's a thought, if you're tired of analogies that compare creative works (not just music, but all infinitely copyable works) to physical works, stop insisting that it's a property, as property refers to something that can be owned, and you can't own something that can be copied infinitely once it is made. Anyone who believes that you can and not trample all over the freedom of society (see DRM, ISP content filtering, lawsuit witchhunts, and laws that are being written by corporations and NOT the people) are deluding themselves.

    Creative energy, regardless of how it is expressed, is one of the core elements (if not the core element) that defines a society. Are you pro-copyrighters really asserting you want a world where the culture of society is "owned" by a minority and all who resist this paradigm are oppressed by a corporately owned police government? This is what ever expanding copyright will bring us to.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike, you are a retard

    This article is written by someone who I am guessing has little knowledge of royalties

    You can guess, but you would be incorrect. I know quite a bit about copyright and royalties, and have been writing about them for years. It's why I replied to your original comment pointing out the specific details here, which you seemed to have been confused about in your original comment.

    In this case I use the word Retarded, Widely used in the English language to describe something or someone that is ill informed.

    No, you used the word "retarded" which is widely used to insult -- not to describe someone who is ill-informed.

    Without copyright laws in place I can go and rerecord, or even simple sell digital copies of songs I did not right.

    I assume you mean "write." And, yes, that is correct. In fact, that was the very idea behind copyright law. It was originally designed to get people to enter works of content into the public domain so that others can go and do what they want with it.

    For example the Beatles formed in 1958, we will begin to see their records age past 50 years. Shouldn't Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr still be able to control and profit from how their songs are used or sold.

    It amuses me that you accuse us of not understanding the issues, when it is clear you do not. First of all, we are just discussing the performance rights, not the mechanical reproduction, publishing or songwriting rights. So, they still do in fact control how their songs are sold. Of course, I will merely correct your misunderstanding of what we are discussing rather than use an insulting word to describe your (lack of) intelligence.

    As for whether or not it is proper, again, the purpose of copyright was to provide such exclusivity "for a limited time" with the clear reasoning that the content would eventually be placed in the public domain for the betterment of everyone.

    Do you still get paid for the work you did 50 years ago?

    Should I be able to start press Beatles records and pocketing all of the cash?

    If you can provide more value, then why not?

    Should Paul and Ringo also have to pay the folks who made Paul's guitars and Ringo's drums every time the music is played?

    Should Paul and Ringo also have to play the musicians who taught them to play their instruments?

    Should Paul and Ringo also have to play all the musicians who created the music they *built* their ideas on?

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 5:11pm

    Tom Clancy wrote "The Hunt for Red October". The work is copyrighted, has earned him scads of money, served as an entree for his later works that are likewise copyrighted and earned him scads of money. Some people have liked his works so much that they got him to agree to movie deals where the people made scads of money and Clancy added to his earlier "scads".

    All the while Tom Clancy and the movie folks have been making their "scads", other unrelated "scad-wannabees" have been free to come up with their own original works that in no way depend upon anything Clancy and the movie folks have done. Some of these other people have done such a good job that they too have been able to join the "Tom Clancy Scad Club" (TCSC). Funny thing is that they achieved membership in the TCSC without having ridden any part of Clancy and the movie folks' coat tails. In fact, some of these new TCSC members were able to join even though they too wrote works dealing with some of the thematic elements contained in Clancy's "The Hunt for Red October". Of course they were able to become members because copyright does not extend to "ideas", but to how those "ideas" are expressed.

    Question: Since life goes on even with Clancy holding copyright in his original work, and since others are still able to make a living writing about the same "ideas" contained in Clancy's work and without infringing Clancy's copyright, then why is it that Clancy's copright should ever expire? Sure, it might be nice at some later date to repackage his book and take away a few of Clancy's scads, particularly if you do not have any talent for writing original stories, but how does this make society better off? Some might say, "Well, now we can improve his original work!", to which Clancy or his heirs might retort, "Why don't you try writing your own darn story and quit trying to make a quick buck using what someone else did!"

    So, I ask, who cares if a copyright extends even into perpetuity? After all, you are always free to come up with your own ideas and hope they are good enough to gain you membership in the TCSC.

     

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  35.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But that doesn't change the fact that trademark law gives the trademark owner/user the right to exclude others from using that trademark for as long as the owner has rights to the mark

    No, this is incorrect, Willton. For someone who purports to know the law, I'm a bit surprised.

    Trademark law does not provide a right to exclude. It only provides a right to prevent usage that is confusingly similar or which dilutes the mark.

    It does not give a full right to exclude.

    Property can be any number of things, whether it's land, buildings, personal effects, money, securities, patents, trademarks, or trade secrets. As long as one has the right to exclude others from said things, said things are considered property.

    Yes, by some lawyers who don't understand the impact of calling infinite goods property. So I'm not sure what you think you're proving here, other than that lawyers shouldn't be making important decisions like that.

    To say that trademarks were not designed to be property evinces a lack of knowledge as to what property is.

    I'd just as soon say that insisting that trademark is intellectual property shows a lack of knowledge as to what trademark is.

    There. Can we now make this an "I know you are, but what am I?" debate? Do you really want to get into the semantics of why trademark is not property? Do you really want to be so high and mighty that you end appearing so dense as not to understand what the original commenter meant?

    The original comment that set you off on this silly pedantic (and, I should add, incorrect) exploration was to point out that the original poster confused copyright with trademark. That was correct. You chose to defend the other side. Is that the side you really want to be on?

    I would think not.

     

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  36.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 5:22pm

    Re:

    AC, why do you not identify yourself?

    *a bunch of Tom Clancy nonsense deleted*

    Question: Since life goes on even with Clancy holding copyright in his original work, and since others are still able to make a living writing about the same "ideas" contained in Clancy's work and without infringing Clancy's copyright, then why is it that Clancy's copright should ever expire? Sure, it might be nice at some later date to repackage his book and take away a few of Clancy's scads, particularly if you do not have any talent for writing original stories, but how does this make society better off? Some might say, "Well, now we can improve his original work!", to which Clancy or his heirs might retort, "Why don't you try writing your own darn story and quit trying to make a quick buck using what someone else did!"

    So, I ask, who cares if a copyright extends even into perpetuity? After all, you are always free to come up with your own ideas and hope they are good enough to gain you membership in the TCSC.


    Do you have such little understanding of the public domain that you would suggest such a thing? Nearly all creative works are built on the backs of others -- including Clancy's. Shakespeare's works were based on the work of others as well, but in your world, he should have been more original.

    Only those who do not understand property, property rights, copyright and the public domain would reasonably suggest an eternal copyright scheme.

    I've explained why elsewhere:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070521/015928.shtml

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 5:29pm

    Sounds like Mike is a commie, Pirate Bay loving tree hugger.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 5:49pm

    Re:

    Sounds like Mike is a commie, Pirate Bay loving tree hugger.

    This again from the same individual who called me a "retard" and then apparently was unable to respond to the points I raised in pointing out that he did not actually understand what the post was about.

    As for the specific charges above, those are pretty funny. For the record, I have never used The Pirate Bay and I do not download unauthorized music.

    As for "commie" I'm going to assume this individual means that I support communism. That's an odd assertion, again which seems designed (like "retard") to merely insult, rather than raise any real issue.

    Yet, I fail to see how supporting a more capitalist free market solution is somehow considered "commie" when a welfare scheme granting unlimited gov't monopolies is not. Given the history of communism, I would think that the gov't granting universal pensions and monopolies fits much more in with what most people think "communism" represents.

    Oh, but you're not here to discuss substance, are you? Your here to throw out random insults. And, when called out, your response is to simply throw out more insults.

    Does that make you feel more important somehow? Feel free to just admit that you were wrong with your comments, rather than digging yourself a deeper hole.

    Either that or go find a different pool to swim in.

     

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    Kiba, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 6:04pm

    The MAD(Mutually Assured Destruction) Doctrine

    Let the copyright mongers get what they want. If they want surveillance power to sue those who commit copyright infringement, so be it. If they want a 1000 years of royalty payment, so be it.

    Let them extend copyright law to incredible insane level.

    Meanwhile, let those of us who didn't use copyright law to making a living, compete. Let us show them how flawed and ineffective their policy is. Let us show them a possible future if they choose to adapt.

    Give them what they wish for. They just might not like it.

    Like DRM, copyright are not effective tool for future survival and economic prosperity. Since they refuse to listen, we shall show them their folly.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 6:56pm

    Re: Re:

    "AC, why do you not identify yourself?"

    Because I am attempting to pose a provocative question that I have found is often glossed over in all discussions concerning copyright in general.

    Last year Mark Helprin wrote an op-ed piece for the NYT entitled "A Great Idea Lives Forever. Shouldn’t Its Copyright?"

    http://www.nytimes.com/2007/05/20/opinion/20helprin.html

    Larry Lessig responded with a strongly worded critique of Helperin's piece. Lessig's response can be found on his wiki page.

    http://wiki.lessig.org/index.php/Against_perpetual_copyright

    As I read Lessig's critique I was intrigued by the fact that to the extent Lessig considered Helprin's question to be over the top, the very same thing can be said of many points raised by Leessig. Given Lessig's well deserved reputation as a copyright scholar, I expected much more than what at times seemed to be an almost religious fervor and attachment to the concept of "public domain".

    If anyone truly wants to have a meaningful dialogue concerning the duration of copyright, it is useful to understand both sides of the issue.

     

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  41.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 7:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Because I am attempting to pose a provocative question that I have found is often glossed over in all discussions concerning copyright in general.

    What does that have to do with not identifying yourself?


    Last year Mark Helprin wrote an op-ed piece for the NYT entitled "A Great Idea Lives Forever. Shouldn’t Its Copyright?"


    Did you read the link I put in my original reply to you on this question? Clearly not. It was in response to Helprin's article.

    I find it odd that you responded to something entirely different than the points I raise.

    Is that the sort of "meaningful dialogue" you like to have?


    If anyone truly wants to have a meaningful dialogue concerning the duration of copyright, it is useful to understand both sides of the issue.


    Yes, if you actually cared about having a meaningful dialogue. Your responses here suggest something different.

     

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    Deez Nuts, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 7:40pm

    Re:

    ....95 years?

    Suppose the artist comes up with a hit when they're 17, they're still likely to be dead before the protection runs out.


    Well, since the corporation can own, buy, and sell property, this makes sense, as a person who has a grasp of life (in your example, 17) probably won't live to see the protection end.

    Take the Sonny Bono/Disney extension for example.

     

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    Classical Music Conductor, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 7:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Mike, you are a retard

    BZZT! Wrong.

    Most mechanical or performing rights for music is owned/controlled by labels or music companies who have amassed large portfolios without intent of promoting or creating derivative works.

    I can Rent you a house, and I will charge you rent everytime you want to use my house. My house can be inherited by my kids, who then can rent you the house and again charge you money.

    Your attempt to create an emotional argument is shallow. It's not the actual writer, artist, or performer, who would enjoy seeing their works sold or re-promoted or derivative works created, but the record companies who control mechanical manufacturing or performing rights.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 8:34pm

    Re:

    Creative energy, regardless of how it is expressed, is one of the core elements (if not the core element) that defines a society. Are you pro-copyrighters really asserting you want a world where the culture of society is "owned" by a minority and all who resist this paradigm are oppressed by a corporately owned police government? This is what ever expanding copyright will bring us to.

    Good connection, Grae! Your comment got me thinking, and while I haven't connected the two until now, I think your right. You mention about how freedom in society is being written by corporations. On a more grand scale, when you look at No Child Left Behind, and how it's purposefully setup to suppress and teach a non-creative way of thinking. I worry about the next generation!

     

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    Willton, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 8:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, this is incorrect, Willton. For someone who purports to know the law, I'm a bit surprised.

    Trademark law does not provide a right to exclude. It only provides a right to prevent usage that is confusingly similar or which dilutes the mark.

    It does not give a full right to exclude.


    How is "a right to prevent usage that is confusingly similar or which dilutes the mark" not a right to exclude? Sure, it's a right that is limited to certain circumstances, but it is still a right to exclude. If I own the mark ROLEX for watches and jewelry, and someone else wants to use ROLEX for watches and jewelry, am I not allowed to exclude that someone from using ROLEX on watches and jewelry? The rationale for the right to exclude others from using a mark does not change the fact that it's still a right to exlude others from using said mark.

    Yes, by some lawyers who don't understand the impact of calling infinite goods property. So I'm not sure what you think you're proving here, other than that lawyers shouldn't be making important decisions like that.

    Do you even know the definition of property? Have a look here, here, here, here, and here. The word "property" is inherently a legal term, as it refers to a right of ownership that can be legally asserted against others.

    So, unless you want to change the dictionary definition of the word "property," you don't have a leg to stand on in saying that trademarks are not property.

    As to your apparent distaste for lawyers, I take it you don't have a whole lot of exposure to those who practice law. Otherwise you wouldn't make asinine statements about lawyers, such as the one above.

    The original comment that set you off on this silly pedantic (and, I should add, incorrect) exploration was to point out that the original poster confused copyright with trademark. That was correct. You chose to defend the other side. Is that the side you really want to be on?

    Read the comment again. The guy said, "Mark, confusing IP with trademark(s) immediately shows you have no clue what you are talking about." He said IP; he did not say copyright. The first poster did confuse trademarks with copyrights, but the second poster, as clearly shown by his quote, apparently thinks that trademarks are not intellectual property. The only people who seem to agree with that statement are you and your faithful readership.

    So yes, I will take the side I took, and I have a lot of authority to back me up.

     

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    toolazytologin, Jul 16th, 2008 @ 9:44pm

    rovism

    Hi Willton

    Didn't you know? Mike's a classic practitioner of Rovism. Reality's what he says it is. If he says trademarks are not property, you have to accept it. Or you will get standard responses like "Umm...no, you are wrong" or "That is simply untrue," and of course, a whole lot of handwaving.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    How is "a right to prevent usage that is confusingly similar or which dilutes the mark" not a right to exclude?

    The right is for the sake of consumer protection, not a claim of ownership over the mark.

    If I own the mark ROLEX for watches and jewelry, and someone else wants to use ROLEX for watches and jewelry, am I not allowed to exclude that someone from using ROLEX on watches and jewelry?

    Yes, but not because of the *property* right, but because of the *confusion* it might cause. Property rights are determined for the sake of better allocating scarce resources (i.e., if I own this particular plot of land, you cannot). But trademark is not a property right, it is a consumer protection statute.

    Do you even know the definition of property? Have a look here, here, here, here, and here. The word "property" is inherently a legal term, as it refers to a right of ownership that can be legally asserted against others.

    Again, property is about ownership, trademark is not. That is the key point that matters.

    Besides, we weren't discussing *property* we were discussing *intellectual property*. I recognize it's convenient for you to switch back and forth, but it's a huge mistake to assume that the definition of property automatically applies to intellectual property.

    Hell, it's people who make that assumption that have created this horrific "IP" mess that we're in today.


    So, unless you want to change the dictionary definition of the word "property," you don't have a leg to stand on in saying that trademarks are not property.


    Well, clearly we're not going to agree on this. Trademark law has never been about ownership and has always been about consumer protection. It's simply not about property. That some lawyers want to pretend it is is a tragic result of how some folks, such as yourself, like to think about these issues.

    I'll make one last point on this, and then let's leave it, okay? For consumer protection purposes, the gov't does not an advertiser to make false claims. i.e., they are *excluded* from making false claims. Yet no one refers to such truth in advertising laws as "property rights". Yet, by your definition, they are.

    Lots of things involve a prevention from being able to do something. Not all of them are about property.

    As to your apparent distaste for lawyers, I take it you don't have a whole lot of exposure to those who practice law. Otherwise you wouldn't make asinine statements about lawyers, such as the one above.


    I have no distaste for lawyers at all. I like lawyers a lot. I go to the Bay Area "bLAWger" gathering organized by Eric Goldman, a lawyer and a friend who often submits stuff to the site. I email constantly with a number of lawyers in the IP space. Practically half my family are lawyers. I know tons of lawyers. As CEO of this company, I talk to our lawyers all the time. Just today I had an email conversation with our corporate attorneys. Yesterday I had lunch with a well known patent attorney. I just got invited to address the bar association in NY later this year. Obviously, as you say, I don't know any lawyers at all, huh?

    Why do you always make these silly assumptions?

    My complaint was clearly not about all lawyers (try reading before you slam me). It was about *some* lawyers; those who seem to think that because they study IP law that no one who has a different, informed, well-researched and well-backed up perspective can possibly know how important IP is. It's those lawyers who argue from an emotional standpoint, who refuse to present any research or evidence and simply will claim that you don't know what you're talking about if you dare to point out to them the evidence that they might be wrong.

    Read the comment again. The guy said, "Mark, confusing IP with trademark(s) immediately shows you have no clue what you are talking about." He said IP; he did not say copyright.

    Right, but he was referring to the definition of IP that covers patents and copyright (i.e., the constitutional clause referring to "promoting the progress"). There are many folks who are knowledgeable in the field who consider trademarks to be entirely separate. There are many folks (obviously you land in this camp) that consider them to be part of the same field. It is not ridiculous to argue that trademarks are not IP, and that's what he did.

    And, in response, like those stuck up lawyers I mentioned, you smacked him down. But his point was valid.

    The only people who seem to agree with that statement are you and your faithful readership.

    Many of whom know the subject matter quite well. And, no, it's not just "my readership" who thinks this way, though, it does appear that many who do agree with this perspective do become readers.

    So yes, I will take the side I took, and I have a lot of authority to back me up.

    Willton: a recommendation: When picking a fight, try not to side with the guy who thinks that Nike would have lost its swoosh after 50 years if the EU hadn't extended performance rights to 95 years.

    The comment you mocked was pointing out something that is absolutely an acceptable statement.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jul 16th, 2008 @ 11:38pm

    Re: rovism

    Mike's a classic practitioner of Rovism. Reality's what he says it is. If he says trademarks are not property, you have to accept it.

    Yikes. Well, not that you're going to believe it, but I'd argue otherwise. Rove's classic traits are that he is all about propaganda and *hiding* from any criticism. He is unwilling to even let those who disagree with him have the floor at all.

    I, on the other hand, am more than willing to be convinced I am wrong. My current position on the matter came from many of the conversations held on this site, which helped point me to the research and evidence that frames this position.

    If someone can present evidence suggesting that the evidence I discuss is wrong, then I am more than willing to change my mind on the matter.

    That is, unlike Rove, whose job is merely to convince you that his candidate is electable, I want to have a discussion, where the best ideas win.

     

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    DanC, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Because I am attempting to pose a provocative question that I have found is often glossed over in all discussions concerning copyright in general.

    It isn't provocative at all, and it's been discussed repeatedly. And if you found that Lessig's response seemed to border on "religious fervor", it can easily be attributed to the sheer ridiculousness of Helprin's argument.

    His criticism of the public domain shows that he has absolutely no understanding of it whatsoever, stating that it amounts to passing "wealth from the families of American writers to the executives and stockholders of various businesses." Of course, it's easily proven false, due to the very definition of public domain. For example, Project Gutenberg, which consists of thousands of volunteers putting public domain works into ebook form, could not exist without the public domain. Various authors have taken stories from the public domain and reworked or retold them in new, creative ways.

    He fails to discern, or ignores, the inherent differences between tangible and intangible property, and proceeds to essentially whine about how unfair it is that copyright expires, all the while dismissing the fact that creative works are built on the foundations of other creative works.

    Helprin then goes on to praise the founding fathers' political genius, and in the next sentence supports subverting the intent of the Constitution by proposing what amounts to the infamous "forever minus a day" copyright term.

    Furthermore, he apparently fails to comprehend the full impact his proposal would have. Following his faulty logic of equating intellectual property with physical property, patents should be given perpetual terms as well. And it follows that someone supporting a perpetual term should, by logical extension, support the retroactive application of copyright and patents to works already in the public domain. After all, shouldn't the grave injustice Helprin insists is presently occurring be corrected for older works as well? In fact, it seems that Helprin supports this interpretation as well, since he bemoans the fact that Katherine Mansfield's heirs do not receive profits from sales of "The Garden Party."

    You may argue that I'm taking his arguments to extreme levels, but the fact of the matter is that this is a logical extension of the ideas Helprin put forth in his article. He limited his thoughts to copyright, but patents can equally be considered "the work of the spirit and the mind", as he puts it. So, by supporting a perpetual copyright, Helprin is inadvertently advocating the decline of both creativity and innovation.

     

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    Alex, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 12:52am

    Re: Not Surprising at All

    "The EU, being a group of basically socialist nations, is bound to go for this "cradle to grave" protectionism."

    Since when was protecing the revenue streams of already-rich rock stars and successful record labels a "socialist" idea? I always understood socialism to be about redistributing money to those are are *not* well off. Maybe I'm wrong, and socialism is actually about subsidising rich people and wealthy corporations. In which case big business and rich people should be the biggest supporters of socialism.

    And by proposing to extend copyright this way, the EU is simply following the US. So is the US socialist?

     

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    Alex, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 12:57am

    Don't be quite so pessimistic

    I take a slightly more optimistic view of the chance of this being stopped. The Commission proposal to legalize software patents in the EU was thought to be a done deal, but was stopped because of a very well-organized campaign against it. If the opponents of copyright extension (often the same people under different organizational banners) can similarly get their act together, then they could also achieve the same result.

     

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    cram, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 1:40am

    logic?

    Hi DanC

    "His criticism of the public domain shows that he has absolutely no understanding of it whatsoever, stating that it amounts to passing "wealth from the families of American writers to the executives and stockholders of various businesses." Of course, it's easily proven false, due to the very definition of public domain."

    Wow, you're sounding just like Mike here. How is it "easily proven false," simply because you say so? The very definition of public domain actually proves him right, because it means no one need pay anything to an author to commercially exploit his work. Am I correct, or are you going to dispute this as well?

    "For example, Project Gutenberg, which consists of thousands of volunteers putting public domain works into ebook form, could not exist without the public domain."

    How does that disprove his point or prove yours? Sheer smokescreen tactic on your part, but no one's fooled. For instance, Stephen King still makes money every year from the sale of his books because only his publisher has the rights to print and sell them, and that is made possible only because of a nine-letter word called copyright, thanks to which King's works are not yet in Project Gutenberg. But of course, you still think everything should be in the public domain.

    "Various authors have taken stories from the public domain and reworked or retold them in new, creative ways."

    More Masnickism. Can you point out 10 of these "various authors" who have rewrked or retold them in "new, creative ways"? I can list out 10,000 such authors whose creativity has strangely not been impeded by the existence of copyright.

    "He fails to discern, or ignores, the inherent differences between tangible and intangible property, and proceeds to essentially whine about how unfair it is that copyright expires, all the while dismissing the fact that creative works are built on the foundations of other creative works."

    Oh...since all creative works are built on other creative works, no one should get a copyright on anything! If only the founding fathers had had the same wisdom, there wouldn't be any concept of copyright at all.

    "Following his faulty logic of equating intellectual property with physical property, patents should be given perpetual terms as well."

    Faulty logic? Because you say so? Please enlighten me as to why the governments of the world are persisting in this "faulty logic" instead of treating all intellectual property as free-for-all, public property.

    "And it follows that someone supporting a perpetual term should, by logical extension, support the retroactive application of copyright and patents to works already in the public domain. After all, shouldn't the grave injustice Helprin insists is presently occurring be corrected for older works as well?"

    That's why copyright has an expiry date attached to it, which admittedly many are trying to subvert. The problem arises when people like you promptly use this as a stick to beat all those who are in favor of copyright. I'm against copyright forever, but I'm also against outright abolition.

    "In fact, it seems that Helprin supports this interpretation as well, since he bemoans the fact that Katherine Mansfield's heirs do not receive profits from sales of "The Garden Party."

    It is such ridiculous arguments by people like Helprin that hurt the pro-copyright group.

    "So, by supporting a perpetual copyright, Helprin is inadvertently advocating the decline of both creativity and innovation."

    I completely disagree. I don't see how copyright's existence hinders creativity and innovation. How do you explain the presence of so much creativity and innovation all around us, when all these decades of copyright should have actually turned the world into a wasteland? Please enlighten all of us with a simple example. If I want to write a song, poem, screenplay, piece of music that's original, how does the existence of copyright stop me from doing so?

     

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    MadJo (profile), Jul 17th, 2008 @ 3:06am

    95years?!

    95 years... so a toddler can create some piece of music, and receive money from it until he's 100?
    The average lifespan is what? about 75?
    So basically 20 years after their death, their next-of-kin can still benefit from their work, that they created when they were 5.
    Give me a break!
    We all know that it's the RECORD company that's behind this corrupt move.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jul 17th, 2008 @ 3:43am

    Re: logic?

    How is it "easily proven false," simply because you say so?

    Cram, I can't believe you're going to start this sort of argument up again.

    It's "false" not because Dan says so, but because Helprin claims that the public domain only passes wealth from creators to corporations -- and Dan proves that wrong by showing that it enriches our wider culture as well, often having nothing to do with corporations.

    He stated that quite clearly. The only "handwaving" here is coming from you.

    The very definition of public domain actually proves him right, because it means no one need pay anything to an author to commercially exploit his work.

    That's not what Dan said. Try reading before freaking out. He was responding to the specific criticism that the only beneficiaries of the public domain were big corporations at the expense of content creators.

    How does that disprove his point or prove yours? Sheer smokescreen tactic on your part, but no one's fooled.

    Again, please read what Dan was actually referring to.

    For instance, Stephen King still makes money every year from the sale of his books because only his publisher has the rights to print and sell them, and that is made possible only because of a nine-letter word called copyright, thanks to which King's works are not yet in Project Gutenberg. But of course, you still think everything should be in the public domain.

    cram, you really ought to read before you spew.

    This has nothing to do with what Dan was discussing, which was responding to Helprin's claim that the public domain is theft.

    Can you point out 10 of these "various authors" who have rewrked or retold them in "new, creative ways"? I can list out 10,000 such authors whose creativity has strangely not been impeded by the existence of copyright.

    You do realize that nearly every bit of Disney's work was built off of public domain stories?

    You do realize that nearly every Shakespearian play was actually based on works previously written?


    Oh...since all creative works are built on other creative works, no one should get a copyright on anything!


    Cram, again, you are responding to something Dan did not say. In your rush to slam, you seem to be arguing against a total strawman. Dan was not arguing against copyright at all. He was responding to Helprin's claim that copyright is identical to tangible property.

    Faulty logic? Because you say so? Please enlighten me as to why the governments of the world are persisting in this "faulty logic" instead of treating all intellectual property as free-for-all, public property.

    And, again. You are responding to something different. Dan was referring to the "faulty logic" of saying that tangible property is the same as copyright.

    Despite what you claim, governments *do not* persist in that kind of faulty logic. All governments realize that tangible property is different than copyright, which is why it has limits rather than being perpetual.

    That's why copyright has an expiry date attached to it

    Ok, and here you prove that you did not read what is up for discussion. The whole point Dan is arguing against is Helprin's argument for why copyright should be perpetual. And your response is to point to the fact that it's not perpetual?

    There are times I just disagree with your conclusions, but on this one, you clearly did not read, and just decided to spew.

    You are criticizing an argument when you don't even know what you're criticizing.

    The problem arises when people like you promptly use this as a stick to beat all those who are in favor of copyright.

    Dan isn't arguing against all copyright here. He is arguing against Helprin's request that copyright be forever.

    I'm against copyright forever

    Um. Then why are you defending Helprin arguing for copyright forever? Well, other than the obvious, which is that you chose not to read before you attacked.

    It is such ridiculous arguments by people like Helprin that hurt the pro-copyright group.

    Um....... what?!? You now admit that Helprin's arguments are ridiculous right after you BASH Dan for his post that was 100% focused on showing why Helprin's arguments were ridiculous.

    Cram, you owe Dan a huge apology. Clearly, you misread his comment.

    I completely disagree. I don't see how copyright's existence hinders creativity and innovation.

    That's not what Dan said. He said "perpetual copyright" hinders creativity and innovation -- which you yourself seemed to agree with above. And then you ignore your own self.

    Cram, please read before you spew.

     

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  55.  
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    DanC, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 5:09am

    Re: logic?

    Um...yeah. I don't know how I could have been any clearer that my comments were pointing out the inherent problems with supporting a perpetual copyright.

    As Mike has pointed out, you're arguing against something I didn't say.

     

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  56.  
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    cram, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 6:55am

    apologies

    Hi Mike, DanC

    A thousand apologies. That was sheer spewing on my part without looking carefully at the comment. I shouldn't have rushed to slam. Once again, I apologize.

    There's something about this blog that makes me lose my top, sometimes:-) but in this instance I was clearly in the wrong.

    I feel so strongly about issues like perpetual copyright and copyright abolition that sometimes I spin out of control. Peace guys!

     

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  57.  
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    Xanthir, FCD, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 7:07am

    Re: Re:

    To work as a contractor or work under a contract is a form of Work for Hire, In California for example the person or business who hire's then owns the property, physical or intellectual. Because the negotiation is handled upfront all party agree prior to any product or payment taking place.

    your can't really compare a contract or work for hire with copyright in this case.

    Actually, uh, you can. That was the point of Mike's post.

    50 years ago, these artists worked for a negotiated price (well, pre-negotiated by the government, but still). The government said, "We'll give you copyright for 50 years if you make songs." The artists apparently considered that a good deal, and made their songs. That's the transaction. We received a good (music), they received their pay (ability to exclusively profit from their music), and that was that.

    David's comment was exactly spot on. You find an architect to build your house; he draws up some plans, you pay him, and everyone's happy. He's not allowed to come back 50 years later and demand that you pay him more for his work, just because he's run out of money from the original contract.

    More specifically, the government shouldn't be allowed to *force* us citizens to pay the architect again 50 years later. He accepted the deal at the time, and there's no legitimate reason for him to demand more money now.

    Same with the musicians.

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are much too easily maneuvered onto a soapbox.

    I did not say or imply agreement/disagreement with the Helprin piece. The same can be said of Lessig's critique.

    My observation, as expressed in my original post using the TCSC example, is merely that creative expression will continue no matter what term of years is associated with copyright. As long as differentiation between expression and ideas remains a cornerstone of copyright law, no copyright owner can corner the market on intellectual creativity.

    I express no opinion on what is an "appropriate" copyright term. But one problem I do see whenever term is being discussed is that no one has ever come forward with a term that is anything other that a "guess", at best. 20 years? 50 years? 100 years? Perpetual? These are all arbitrary numbers, and certainly there is no number that has been emperically demonstrated to be optimal. In fact, I rather doubt this could even be done.

    While obviously off topic, I note you advocate an economic based approach for crafting business models that do not depend upon the existence of copyright law, and you have repeatedly noted that by adopting such business models it is possible to foresee a date in the future where copyright would eventually rendered a "non-issue". Given your views, they why should it even matter if a copyright term extends into the indefinite future? Again, this is not to advocate perpetuity, but only to note that under your proposed business models copyright terms are largely irrelevant.

    I will admit my comments concerning Lessig's critique do take him to task, but only because so many of his comments appear based upon assumptions that may or may not be valid. He chastizes Helprin, but then proffers an analysis that could just as easily be turned around and used against him. As I said, I expected a much more rigorous analysis that eschewed what is almost religious fervor in favor of reasoned and irrefuteable scholarly analysis. In this regard his comments fall well short of the mark.

    Helprin suggested perpetual. Lessig countered with limited. Which is the more intellectually honest approach and why? Neither Helprin nor Lessig provide any convincing insight.

    Personally, I believe that the discussion of copyright terms is somewhat of a red herring. What I do believe is much more important is a more thoughtful consideration of what should constitute fair use. Perhaps, just perhaps, what is a derivative work, together with dealing with orphan works, would likewise be proper issues for further consideration and refinement. After all, it is these three issues that form a significant part of the arguments why perpetual copyright is deemed problematic.

    Now, I will admit that patents are an entirely different beast. Copyright does not stifle ideas and original works are easily crafted that rely upon the expression/idea dichotomy. The same cannot be said for patents. Original works are limited only by one's imagination and creativity. I am not sanguine the same holds true for inventions, though I must note that even the limited terms associated with patents are likewise arbitrary numbers picked out of thin air.

    Again, my purpose is not to promote infinite copyright terms are being preferrable over limited terms. Mine is just to encourage discussion about why limited terms should be the rule, and what is an appropriate limited term and why.

     

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    Fushta, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 8:40am

    Re: Re: Not Surprising at All

    And by proposing to extend copyright this way, the EU is simply following the US. So is the US socialist?

    It is becoming more socialistic all the time with the Dems running the show. If Obama gets the Presidency, we will become no different than France in our socio-economic stance.

     

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  60.  
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    Alex, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 8:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Not Surprising at All

    Well that might not be such a bad thing for supporters of sane (i.e. balanced, limited) IP laws. In Europe the people who oppose IP expansionism tend to come from the political left. The people who support things like copyright and patent extension tend to come from the supposedly "free-market" right.

     

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  61.  
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    Sàndor, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 12:38pm

    ???

    "This doesn't encourage musicians to continue working and it doesn't encourage them to be fiscally responsible and save for retirement or anything."

    If for "musicians" you mean "creators" or "songwriters" I think you have a pretty weird concept of the business, my friend.

     

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    Thepodcasticator, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 12:41pm

    Argh!

    This is such a shame, this whole thing is because of frickin people like Cliff Richard and the Beatles who want to squeeze every last penny out of copyright, without doing the work. If you can't work out how to make money from music in 5 DECADES, i don't really think you deserve longer. Patents don't last that long, so why should anything else. If lifesaving drugs can't be monopolised for more than 50 years (in some countries its around 20), what makes Music so deserving of 95 years! Nearly a century, a period so long the work will be forgotten and tied up in a mist of unintelligble paperwork by the time its 95 years are up. Say no to 95 years! I used to be proud that the EU had relatively sensible copyright policy, the Record Industry has no right to effectively write laws which effect us, we are lucky in that unlike the US, the record industry does not have a stranglehold on our lawmakers. This is an affront against Law FOR THE people, don't let the record industry take hold on OUR lawmakers, write to your MP, your MEP (member of European parliament) or even your head of state. Protect out laws! Keep out the unnecessarily greed corporations! It sounds leftist, but democracy is "for the people, by the people", not "for the corps, by the corps"!

     

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  63.  
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    Another AC, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 12:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are much too easily maneuvered onto a soapbox.
    Talk about being "maneuvered onto a soapbox"...

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Excerpt from your article"

    "This is basically an approval to steal from the public."

    As one who rails at every use of the word "steal", I am surprised you chose to use it here. After all, you cannot steal an intellectual work. You can light your taper with it, but you can't steal it.

     

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    Mike (profile), Jul 17th, 2008 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You are much too easily maneuvered onto a soapbox.

    Mmm hmm. This from the guy who responded to my response by not reading it and responding to something totally different.

    My observation, as expressed in my original post using the TCSC example, is merely that creative expression will continue no matter what term of years is associated with copyright.

    Indeed. But you're arguing against a strawman. No one has said that with or without copyright there would be no creative expression. So why even bring that up?

    The argument is what is best to encourage the *most* creative expression (i.e., promote the progress...). But, rather than that you set up a strawman.

    I express no opinion on what is an "appropriate" copyright term. But one problem I do see whenever term is being discussed is that no one has ever come forward with a term that is anything other that a "guess", at best. 20 years? 50 years? 100 years? Perpetual? These are all arbitrary numbers, and certainly there is no number that has been emperically demonstrated to be optimal. In fact, I rather doubt this could even be done.


    Well, this debate isn't about the optimal length. It's about whether or not the lengths should be changed *retroactively*.

    Again, you seem to be arguing about something different then everyone else.

    While obviously off topic, I note you advocate an economic based approach for crafting business models that do not depend upon the existence of copyright law, and you have repeatedly noted that by adopting such business models it is possible to foresee a date in the future where copyright would eventually rendered a "non-issue". Given your views, they why should it even matter if a copyright term extends into the indefinite future? Again, this is not to advocate perpetuity, but only to note that under your proposed business models copyright terms are largely irrelevant.

    Because, as I have made clear (or, apparently not) that copyright can still be abused to harm others. And taking content away from the public domain is harm. So, yes, I think it's completely relevant.

    Personally, I believe that the discussion of copyright terms is somewhat of a red herring.

    And yet, you're the one who brought it up...

    What I do believe is much more important is a more thoughtful consideration of what should constitute fair use. Perhaps, just perhaps, what is a derivative work, together with dealing with orphan works, would likewise be proper issues for further consideration and refinement.

    You say that as if you believe those discussions are not happening.

    Again, my purpose is not to promote infinite copyright terms are being preferrable over limited terms. Mine is just to encourage discussion about why limited terms should be the rule, and what is an appropriate limited term and why.

    Your actual comments on the subject suggest otherwise.

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 2:53pm

    Retroactivity?

    While a US case, Eldred does provide some insight on the issue.

    Fair use, derivative works, and orphan works?

    Yes, some discussion is taking place...but hardly anything I view as a serious attempt to address the issues. For all intents and purposes copyright terms are bordering on being perpetual. This being the case (and I see no serious movement underway to reverse the trend), then at least the law should give more serious study to the three issues that present the most problems for the public at large...fair use, derivative works, and orphan works.

    Copyright terms a red herring?

    You bemoaned the possibility of EU terms being extended in your original article. In fact, didn't you in essence call it stealing from the public?

     

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  67.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 17th, 2008 @ 4:01pm

    Re:

    You bemoaned the possibility of EU terms being extended in your original article. In fact, didn't you in essence call it stealing from the public?

    Yes, the focus is on the *extension* part and the retractive nature of it. Not the term itself.

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 17th, 2008 @ 9:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Did you read the link I put in my original reply to you on this question? Clearly not. It was in response to Helprin's article."

    Yes, I did, as well as all of its links and many more references and articles nowhere mentioned in your articles. Why did I not respond to it? Primarily because just like Lessig it was based upon assumptions you made, and which you then used to denigrate the opinions of the authors.

    Having read many articles on the diversity of views concerning the length of copyright I am beginning to wonder if Samuel Clemens is one of the very few who have actually given the issue considerable thought and articulated views that seem far more persuasive than the views offered by those who constantly raise the hue and cry the the mere notion of copyright is an affront to enlightened society.

    I have never been an advocate of perpetual copyright, perhaps because it is a concept I have never seriously explored. However, based upon much of what I read here at techdirt, as well as many of legal journal articles from "distinguished legal scholars". I am beginning to wonder if perhaps Clemens was onto something that largely escapes persons who ridicule and dismiss the concept entirely without even the slightest attempt at intellectually honest debate.

     

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  69.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 17th, 2008 @ 10:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Btw, once again, I will ask why you do not identify yourself. I asked before and you answered a different question. So let's try again: why do you not identify yourself?

    Yes, I did

    Heh. Clearly, if you did, you only did so afterwards, because you brought up Helprin's article as if I'd never heard of it -- even though that's what the link was about.

    Why did I not respond to it? Primarily because just like Lessig it was based upon assumptions you made, and which you then used to denigrate the opinions of the authors.

    Translation: I didn't like what you said so I'm going to pretend that it had no basis in reality.

    Having read many articles on the diversity of views concerning the length of copyright I am beginning to wonder if Samuel Clemens is one of the very few who have actually given the issue considerable thought and articulated views that seem far more persuasive than the views offered by those who constantly raise the hue and cry the the mere notion of copyright is an affront to enlightened society.

    Do you not think that we have given this topic considerable thought?

    You still refuse to respond to the reasoning that has been given here and elsewhere for why perpetual copyright doesn't make any sense.

    I am beginning to wonder if perhaps Clemens was onto something that largely escapes persons who ridicule and dismiss the concept entirely without even the slightest attempt at intellectually honest debate.

    And you complain that *we* do not make arguments clearly? Holy moly. We have pointed to tons of evidence behind what we discuss here. I am open to opposing viewpoints if they were convincing.

    Your entire response has been to set up strawmen, answer different questions, not read what I linked to and discuss something entirely different.

    And you say *we* are not willing to have an intellectually honest debate?

    Yikes.

    Let's try this again, and let's see if you can respond to it:

    (a) The purpose of property rights is to manage the efficient allocation of scarce goods.
    (b) Property rights make less (if any) sense when there are infinite resources, because there is no problem with anyone wanting something they cannot have.
    (c) The argument in favor of copyright (at all) is to offer a bargain for the creation of content that will *benefit society* (promote the progress) -- and that means to get it out there and eventually into the public domain where it can be used to create even more works.
    (d) Removing the public domain from the equation (i.e., making copyright perpetual) doesn't make sense as it goes against the very purpose of property as noted in (b).
    (e) Making copyright perpetual destroys the public domain, and therefore takes away the bargain the public has made for the creation of new content -- thus, HINDERING the promotion of progress.

    Are you suggesting any of this is untrue?

     

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  70.  
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    MadJo (profile), Jul 18th, 2008 @ 1:57am

    Re: Don't be quite so pessimistic

    But how many times do we have to fight against this?
    I mean the software patents issue was brought up at least 2 times if I remember correctly.
    And the second time was really sneaky in a committee that had nothing to do with software patents (it was a agricultural committee), and it took a last minute effort to push it off the table.

     

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  71.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 7:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I was familiar with the Helprin and Lessig articles, as well as articles and opinions (e.e., Clemens) by others before I first commented. When you cited your prior article (I was not aware of it prior to your cite) I posted the Helprin and Lessig cites since they expressed two opposite sides of the issue and the Lessig article was not linked in your article. I figured two direct cites might be useful for others who might be wondering what the heck we were discussing.

    "(a) The purpose of property rights is to manage the efficient allocation of scarce goods."

    I am not steeped in economic theory, but is it possible that "unique" is a more accurate term than "scarce"?

    "(b) Property rights make less (if any) sense when there are infinite resources, because there is no problem with anyone wanting something they cannot have."

    Perhaps, but original intellectual creations are likewise unique. Whether in tangible form (e.g., a printed book) or in digital form, it seems to me that they are nonetheless unique.

    "(c) The argument in favor of copyright (at all) is to offer a bargain for the creation of content that will *benefit society* (promote the progress) -- and that means to get it out there and eventually into the public domain where it can be used to create even more works."

    Under current copyright protocols intellectual works do eventually enter the public domain (a legal term). My observation was merely take the issue of term limits to its maximum limits to discuss if it too might create incentive to create without foreclosing intellectual creativity by others. Even with term limits such creativity flourishes given the idea/expression dichotomy embraced within current copyright protocols. Merely as a hypo I ask if perpetual terms would interfere with creative activity? I had hoped that Lessig would provide scholarly insight, but this comments in my view did not coherehtly present a case against auch a situation, and I do believe he went off on a tangent using as one of his rationales the burden they would place on society in general. I am far from convinced his "burdens" arguments is compelling given that most can be addressed by reconsideration of redefining fair use, derivative works, and orphan works protocols.

    "(d) Removing the public domain from the equation (i.e., making copyright perpetual) doesn't make sense as it goes against the very purpose of property as noted in (b)."

    Using a term like "unique" seems to me as a way to mitigate this point, particularly when coupled to my point in response to (c) above.

    (e) Making copyright perpetual destroys the public domain, and therefore takes away the bargain the public has made for the creation of new content -- thus, HINDERING the promotion of progress."

    Every public disclosure of information represents the interjection of ideas into the public domain (with public domain being the body of work upon which aspiring authors can draw inspiration (note: I am now using public domain in a colloquial sense, and not in a legal sense).

    Perpetual copyright does nothing to remove ideas that have been placed before the public at large. They are still there for all to see and use as inspiration for intellectual activity.

    On a lark I searched the internet for articles to see how many ordinary (not those who look to ideas for creating their own intellectual works) view works once the associated copyrights have expired. It was disappointing to note how many were openly advocating making money by directly copying and selling such works, stating "and you can do this without having to pay the author a penny." From my perspective such persons are merely leeches who want to turn a quick buck at the expense of the author. Not only that, I do not see how turning a quick buck on someone else's original work is likely to encourage the masses to attach additional intellectual creativity to such works.

    Mind you, I am neither for nor against perpetual copyrights since this is something I have only recently considered. However, the pro/con arguments to give me pause to reflect and want to delve into the issue further. Again, bear in mind that my goal was to try and determine for myself if lengthening the term of copyright duration (as a practical matter they are currently bordering on perpetual...and I see no realistic possibility that reducing terms is likely or being seriosly cnsidered) would truly remove ideas from public use. What this led me to observe is the possibility that copyright terms is a "red herring" because the recurring problems noted by most who want to improve upon existing works are at times reluctant to do so precisely because fair use is ill defined, the derivative works right could be amended in a way that encourages intellectual creativity in a manner that fairly provides fair and reasonable compensation for the original author and the derivative author, and the burden presented by orphan works may be ameanable to a non-burdensome solution.

    Lest you think I am a copyright promoter (and the stronger and longer the better), I will be the first to admit that the Copyright Act of 1976 granting copyrigt from the moment of creation was ill-conceived, the latter removal of all statutory requirements for notice of copyright in the name of international harmonization was shortsighted, the DMCA is far greater in scope than the matter it was intended to address, that the further criminalization of copyright infringement is far too broadly stated, and that the ease by which large corporate institutions can secure all rights from original authors merits serious review since copyright law is predicated upon rewarding only "authors".

    In sum, and based upon my experience, legislative preoccupation with term extension, criminality, etc. are an interesting sleight of hand that avoids consideration of the three most troubling aspects of copyright law as currently implemented.

     

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  72.  
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    DanC, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 9:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Perpetual copyright does nothing to remove ideas that have been placed before the public at large. They are still there for all to see and use as inspiration for intellectual activity.

    The logic required to support a perpetual copyright would also require, as I noted in my original comment, the removal of works from the public domain. Helprin's reasoning is that physical and intellectual property should be treated equally, despite being inherently different. Following his reasoning, anyone who has had work fall into the public domain through the expiration of copyright has been unfairly deprived of property. It would be extremely hypocritical, therefore, to allow anyone the benefit of public domain works to create their own copyrighted work.

    It was disappointing to note how many were openly advocating making money by directly copying and selling such works, stating "and you can do this without having to pay the author a penny." From my perspective such persons are merely leeches who want to turn a quick buck at the expense of the author.

    If the copyright has expired and the work has entered public domain, then those works are openly available for exploitation. It certainly isn't at the expense of the author, since the author had the length of the copyright term to exploit their work.

    Not only that, I do not see how turning a quick buck on someone else's original work is likely to encourage the masses to attach additional intellectual creativity to such works.

    Making someone else's original work available to the masses allows as many people as possible to view and draw inspiration from the work. Those publishers looking to "make a quick buck" are ensuring that the work stays on the bookshelves and readily available to the public.

     

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  73.  
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    Mike (profile), Jul 18th, 2008 @ 10:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I am not steeped in economic theory, but is it possible that "unique" is a more accurate term than "scarce"?

    No, it's scarcity that's the key. Or non-rivalrous and non-excludable if you want to use the more trendy economic terms these days.

    Perhaps, but original intellectual creations are likewise unique. Whether in tangible form (e.g., a printed book) or in digital form, it seems to me that they are nonetheless unique.

    Again, it's not about "uniqueness," but about the fundamental properties of the good. For content, it *is* scarce prior to creation, but not after.

    Merely as a hypo I ask if perpetual terms would interfere with creative activity? I had hoped that Lessig would provide scholarly insight, but this comments in my view did not coherehtly present a case against auch a situation, and I do believe he went off on a tangent using as one of his rationales the burden they would place on society in general. I am far from convinced his "burdens" arguments is compelling given that most can be addressed by reconsideration of redefining fair use, derivative works, and orphan works protocols.

    Why do you keep insisting that Lessig speaks for everyone on this?

    Secondly, why do you not actually refute a single point Lessig says? You just brush him off.

    It was disappointing to note how many were openly advocating making money by directly copying and selling such works, stating "and you can do this without having to pay the author a penny." From my perspective such persons are merely leeches who want to turn a quick buck at the expense of the author.

    Yes, how *dare* Penguin publish the collected works of Shakespeare for all of us to read and learn from. Leeches!

    If you truly believe that those using the public domain to spread the creative works of past generations are "leeches" you haven't studied the history of creativity. Stories are passed down from person to person, and from generation to generation. Copyright has made that more difficult.

    Can you believe those cavemen? They passed on stories without paying the original creator?

    And troubadors? *Stealing* from other troubadors?

    Man, wasn't that awful?

    I would suggest you learn a little about the history of creativity and content production before you explore the legal issues here. It'll open your eyes.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 4:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Why do you keep insisting that Lessig speaks for everyone on this?"

    I have said no such thing. My reference to him has been solely in the context of HIS critique of Helprin's op-ed piece.

    "Secondly, why do you not actually refute a single point Lessig says? You just brush him off."

    If Lessig's critique was "rum" and I was a "sailor", I would be a "drunken sailor" about two paragraphs into what he wrote. I see no useful purpose to be served parsing his prose. Remember, it is not that I disagree with the notion copyrights should have some finite measure of "life", but that much of his commentary critical of Helprin is at best superficial.

    "For content, it *is* scarce prior to creation, but not after."

    I daresay that on reflection you might deem it appropriate to make this point a bit differently. Do you really mean to say that a work is scarce before it even comes into existence, but that thereafter scarcity no longer applies? I think not.

    "I would suggest you learn a little about the history of creativity and content production before you explore the legal issues here. It'll open your eyes."

    I believe Bertrand Russell made a quite insightful observation when he stated:

    "I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine."

    In my series of comments I have not advocated one position over another. I have attempted nothing more than to ask some questions that might help others understand that issues such as this do not admit to easy answers.

     

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

  75.  
    identicon
    DanC, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 5:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I daresay that on reflection you might deem it appropriate to make this point a bit differently. Do you really mean to say that a work is scarce before it even comes into existence, but that thereafter scarcity no longer applies? I think not.

    Guess again. For example, say I'm a musician. The process of creating the music is a scarce resource because not everyone is capable of doing it. Now the music is finalized and released as a digital file on the internet. As such, practically anyone is perfectly capable of taking said music and replicating the file ad infinatum. The creation of the music was scarce, while the final product is not.

    In my series of comments I have not advocated one position over another. I have attempted nothing more than to ask some questions that might help others understand that issues such as this do not admit to easy answers.

    You have, however, stated that you were trying to pose a "provocative question", and threw up Helprin's poorly thought out op-ed piece on perpetual copyright terms as representative of one side of the issue. You have yet to discuss any of the criticism of Helprin's piece, while stating that Lessig's response was filled with "religious fervor", and stating that it did an inadequate job of refuting Helprin's points. It appears, in fact, that you accept Helprin's position and are effectively asking others to prove him wrong. I've already discussed why Helprin's argument is ill-conceived (comment #49), which I note you have not responded to.

    You have not, to this point, bothered to honestly debate the points either article put forth.

    I believe Bertrand Russell made a quite insightful observation when he stated:

    "I think we ought always to entertain our opinions with some measure of doubt. I shouldn't wish people dogmatically to believe any philosophy, not even mine."


    Which, of course, does not actually answer Mike's (or my) critique of your opinion that those who simply republish public domain works are somehow "leeches who want to turn a quick buck at the expense of the author".

    What this quote seems to imply is that you wish to play Devil's Advocate on both sides of the fence without actually going into any details of the argument.

     

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

  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 18th, 2008 @ 10:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Helprin is an author and apparently a layman in the intricasies of copyright law. When his op-ed piece (and that is all it was...an op-ed piece) was published in the NYT is was immediately attacked by many persons, many of whom looked to and cited Lessig's critique as being authoritative.

    I have not "debated" the two views simply because my sole purpose was to have people who follow this blog realize that there are two sides to every issue. Given that for all intents and purposes the duration of copyright is virtually perpetual, I expected Lessig to take the issue of perpetual head on. He did not. He limited most of his remarks to the extension of currently existing copyrights, making many of the points that failed to gain any traction before the Supreme Court in Eldred v. Ashcroft.

    As for his "gee, it is difficult to track down all possible copyright holders", he should have focused on the issue of orphan works and how it should/could be abated. Of course, he never bothered to even mention this.

    His Rule Against Perpetuities argument was off the wall. It is a legal rule that was crafted in England centuries ago and pertains to the the transfer of future interests in real property, something that Lessig well knows.

     

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

  77.  
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    DanC, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 12:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When his op-ed piece (and that is all it was...an op-ed piece) was published in the NYT is was immediately attacked by many persons

    And thus hardly representative of any side of a copyright debate. As pointed out, the opinions of the author were poorly conceived. He's not even really arguing for a perpetual copyright; he just uses that as a means to an end. What Helprin is really arguing for is for the equality of intellectual and physical property.

    I have not "debated" the two views simply because my sole purpose was to have people who follow this blog realize that there are two sides to every issue.

    Of course there are two sides to the issue. Most of the posters here realize this, and those who don't typically don't bother reading the linked articles or the comments. The whole "showing us the way" shtick is incredibly presumptuous, and at this point, a tired exercise.

     

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

  78.  
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    MLS, Jul 21st, 2008 @ 8:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    We disagree in the point that most posters realize there are two sides to the issue. Perhaps some do, but it seems clear to me that many do not have any familiarity with the the pros and cons of both sides.

     

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

  79.  
    identicon
    T, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:31pm

    Re: Comment #37

    Yay! Everyone get your pitchforks and torches! This sounds like call for a McCarthy-style witch-hunt if I ever saw one!

    Granted, McCarthy-style witch-hunts never included pitchforks and torches.....

    ....but why should we let a little thing like historical accuracy get in the way of what promises to be a really fun time? Ridding the world of Pirate Bay lovers and Commies and such.....
    I mean, if it means that someone gets to profit from something over and over again for 95 years, why not?
    It'll give the poor old guys over at the RIAA something to live for up until they die from heat stroke caused by their stifling suits trapping all the extra heat their bodies release due to their constant and unwarranted anger (If you've ever read one of the DMCA takedown notices that people post on this fancy internet they've got going here, you'll notice that there is not one happy person involved in entertainment, so much for all that money, I guess.)
    Which, while we're (somewhat) still on the subject, I don't quite understand why Gucci doesn't get a paycheck every time that guy puts that suit on, or looks at it.....

    BTW: For those of you who have no sense of it (they seem to fare quite well on the internet), the above is called HUMOR and this is called a DISCLAIMER because I don't like being yelled at. Although with my tendency for sarcasm (the lowest form of humor, I'm repeatedly informed), I likely deserve it.... my despicable hippie/commie self. Although for the record I'll say that I'm a pretty big fan of capitalism, just not when it spawns an industry that starts to make communist countries laws look less unreasonably harsh....

     

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


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