How About Five Year Renewable Copyrights With A Use-It-Or-Lose-It Clause?

from the different-ideas dept

Over the years, we've seen numerous ideas and recommendations for ways to fix copyright, and a popular one is getting rid of the automatic creation of copyright on new works, requiring individuals to actually register that work -- often combined with a shorter time limit on copyrights that would have a renewal option. Larry Lessig has long supported such a system. The thinking is that this still lets those big companies who want to hoard their copyrights forever do so, but opens up plenty of other orphaned content that is locked down just because Disney doesn't want to lose the copyright on Mickey Mouse. Benjamin Krueger points us to Andrew Dubber's recent proposal of switching to a five-year renewable copyright plan, that also includes a use-it-or-lose it clause. Basically, copyright holders who want to retain their copyright can do so, but they have to renew the registration once every five years. And, during those five years, the content has to be available commercially one way or another. This way, if content is being neglected, ignored, abandoned or orphaned, it makes its way into the public domain in short order, where perhaps others can make it more useful. This would seem to fit much more closely with the original purpose of copyright law, though (as per usual), I'm sure there will be many complaints from copyright holders about how such a system would destroy their rights. When reading through those, though, note that they never seem very concerned with the rights of the public either.


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  1.  
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    RD, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:06am

    Use it or Lose it

    This should have been a cornerstone of copyright from the beginning. The idea that some 75+ year old created work that is no longer available in any form is locked up and no one else is allowed to do something with it serves no constructive purpose. Locking creations behind copyright law and then letting them languish is the exact opposite of what these laws were created for in the first place.

    Or to take more recent examples, music. These music companies let a lot of stuff go out of print, yet no one else is allowed to do anything with it. Hey Big Music Biz...if you wont keep it available to people who WANT TO BUY IT, then step aside and let those who DO want to have a go with it. Same goes for TV shows and old movies. Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way. If YOU cant figure out a way to monetize your back catalogs, then get the hell out of the way and let those who can do so.

     

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    Jerry in Detroit, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:08am

    Use It or Lose It

    Sounds like a reasonable proposal to me. So long as the copyright is generating income, I see no reason why the government shouldn't collect essentially what is an "intellectual Property Tax". If it's not generating income, there is no reason for the copyright to exist. I'd like to see this concept extended to patents as well.

     

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    Reech, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:10am

    Great...

    I think most reasonable people* will find this plan agreeable. I think it needs an outer limit of say 50 years or the lifetime of the holder, whichever is longer. Now to get everyone to lobby for this.

     

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    lavi d (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:11am

    In My Lousy Opinion

    Personally, as a struggling, procrastinating artist, I prefer automatic copyright which expires in 5-20 years.

    I think most of the problems with copyright stem from allowing corporations to perpetuate copyright on works created by dead people.

    Work created by/for a corporate entity with its copyright assigned to the corporation would expire 5 years after its creation.

    If the copyright stayed in an individual's name, then the copyright would have to be renewed after 20 years, but only by the artist him/herself.

    I think this strikes a great balance between corporate content, which should be dynamic and have a fast turnover and individually created content which (from personal experience) can take a long time to develop and bring to fruition.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:14am

    Sort of good...

    I like the idea but I think 5 yearly renewals would be too little to begin with. I'd suggest 15 years with 5 yearly renewals afterwards. That would give a decent guaranteed time to make money back on the original outlay, while protecting works from becoming orphaned.

    I can't ever see the corporations go for it though - one clerical error and Disney's crown jewels would be public property.

     

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    ScytheNoire, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:21am

    Good, but...

    Needs to be a bit longer than five years, more like a decade, ten years.

    But the idea of this never ending copyright is just ridiculous. It doesn't work, and it just causes more problems than it helps.

    One thing though, the creator of the content should be the one who has to do it. Often times it's someone else who claims copyright over something they don't own the copyright to. Should also be a way to sell the copyright rights to someone else, a transfer of ownership. Then copyrighted works will actually have value.

    At the same time, get rid of patent laws altogether, or make a similar law about limiting the time on a patent to a decade and you must produce a product, or the patent is not valid. Product on the market, although that still doesn't fix the patent system, which just needs to be done away with.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:26am

    Copyleft by default

    I suggested something similar a couple of years ago, which would make a new work freely copyable by default, but that could subsequently be registered for a reproduction monopoly with renewal fee.

    I called it Good Copyright, Bad Copyright.

     

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    Janet, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:28am

    In order for this to work, the general person needs to be educated on the *Original* intent of the copyright system, that copyright was originally intended to put art and works into the Public Domain after the government-granted monopoly timeframe.

    At the same time, maybe similar efforts should be pursued for patent overhaul. Companies that file patents after a brainstorming session without intent of bringing a product to market should be taken to the cleaners.

    Think of the effects of that small 2 person company who sued RIM. The needs of the few greedy people don't outweigh the needs of the many.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:29am

    Re: Sort of good...

    Nah, 5 years should be more than long enough. If you can't get a product marketable in 5 years than your business already failed.

    In the case of music or movie producers, if, in 5 years, that particular product doesn't have enough income to justify renewal than they probably aren't selling it anymore.

     

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    PRMan, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:31am

    Am I the only one seeing the loophole here?

    Sure you can buy a copy of Song of the South on DVD. It's only $10,000,000.

    See, copyright office? We're selling it.

     

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    Ulke, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:36am

    Re: Re: Sort of good...

    Yeah, your right. To compare, the IRS wants to see a company become profitable within 7 years.

    With everything working right, a piece of art should become profitable within 12 months of going to market.

    A well-funded label with manufacturing inhouse could potentially see profit within a few months of hitting the store shelf (if it's any good).

     

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    discojohnson, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:41am

    Re: Am I the only one seeing the loophole here?

    +1 Insightful. I was just about to mention this. However, it also means that at some point a company will decide that it's not worth it to even offer it. After all, it does cost some money to put something up to be available commercially.

     

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    Thom, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:42am

    Yeah

    I suggested this quite a while back in the comments on this very site, but no doubt many have come up with the idea. I think it's a good one, but needs some restrictions that I mentioned before.

    The main thing is making sure that there are no loopholes in the "commerically available" clause. We don't want any person or company making one production run of the material then hoarding back 10 copies which they'll make available at $1,000,000 each in order to fulfill this requirement. Commerical availability should mean readily available in quantity on the open market in the same price range as comparable products or comparable to the inflation adjusted original mass distribution price.

    I also agree that 5 years is too low for the initial term. 10-20 is better with subsequent 5 year renewals allowed if availability and other requirements are met.

     

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    Jeffry Houser (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:44am

    As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this idea. Just because the band I was in stopped gigging (and selling CDs) five years ago, why should I lose the rights to the songs I wrote?

    Along with that I don't want the expense of renewing such rights every five years.

    I don't understand why copyright should ever expire, except perhaps upon the death of the creators.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:51am

    Re: Re: Sort of good...

    I disagree with that, actually. There's plenty of albums that have only become successful after a re-release years down the line (or, for example, getting a kick into the mainstream from inclusion on a movie soundtrack), and many independent movies take a few years to get picked up by a distributor.

    After a decade or so, yeah you had your chance to have the exclusive rights (remember, public domain means everyone can make money off your work, but doesn't stop you from doing the same). But, in a market increasingly moving towards a long-tail format, it may take longer for your work to be noticed.

     

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    Yukeake, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Go a bit further

    It's a good start, but I'd say make it go even further.

    10 year initial term, with 5 year extensions. Make each extension progressively more expensive - giving large companies a reason to let things fall back into the public domain when they're no longer profitable enough to cover the cost of keeping them locked up.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:00am

    Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    So you're saying that you don't want anyone listening to your music ever again? And if you don't want to go threw the expense of renewing a copyright than I guess the product no longer has value to you.

    This is why copyright expired before, so when the item no longer had value to the producer than someone else can use the value that they can give it.

     

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    Duane, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:05am

    As a song-consumer...

    As a guy that enjoys music, I would say as long as you were doing something with your music, you wouldn't lose your rights. As long as you paid to re-up, you need never lose those rights. Sure it's a bit of a hassle, but ultimately this isn't about you, it's about how you benefit me, a member of the public. If you aren't, then your works go to a state where someone else can do something with them.

    Someone else could take your song and make it useful to the public again, and that is the intention of copyright, to benefit the public. If your song is sitting on a shelf somewhere, it isn't benefiting the public and therefore doesn't deserve protection from obscurity or someone who could possibly bring it back to a state where it benefits the public.

    Many would argue that without the incentive of copyright to infinity, many artists would not or could not create things to benefit the public. I refer them to "Cacoethes Scribendi." Oliver Wendell Holmes pretty effectively refutes that notion.

     

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    James Lauricella, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:05am

    Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Maybe if the assignee is a person, it gets an inital 10 year term, with up to 5- 5 year renewal options.

    If the asignee is a corporation, it gets an inital 5 year term with 7- 5 year renewal options. (but at additional expense as a corporation is expected to have more resources to bring the product to market)


    Separate Mechanical Reproduction rights from lyrical rights so sound recordings get something like 50 years protection.

    The goal is to promote progress of the arts. If you aren't doing anything with it, let someone else create derivative works.

     

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  20.  
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    ehrichweiss, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:06am

    Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    "I don't understand why copyright should ever expire, except perhaps upon the death of the creators."

    You don't understand because you've likely never had to use another's (orphaned) work. A band I used to tour with created plenty of their own music but still added samples, etc. here and there. One sample was part of a song put out by some middle eastern artist about 15-20 years ago and whose publisher cannot be found BUT if they tried to release their CD with the sample un-cleared, they'd have been sued. The song was incomplete without the sample as it served as a very nice break but the keyboardist had to decide against using it since the laws surrounding orphaned works are very blurry.

    So there was no purpose served by allowing perpetual copyright. The sampled artist was (still) unheard since they didn't release the song with the sample included and the song the band played was basically an incomplete work without it.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Sort of good...

    I'm just thinking about some stats I heard a while ago that most companies flop and die within a year.

    How about a compromise? If Ulke is correct and the IRS expects a company to become profitable within 7 years, why don't we start there. 7 year copyright and renewal. That way everything is consistent.

     

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    Evil Mike, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:10am

    I like the idea... I'd extend the initial period to 15 years for corporations, 20 for individuals--with ad infinitum renewals up to the lifetime of the creating entity (individual or corporate)--provided it's being used, that is.

    I would also limit the amount of possible transfer of copyright holder. Perhaps to once per renewal? That way you couldn't license something to everybody for a fee, and the rights would transfer all over the fricking map willy nilly.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: Re: Sort of good...

    There's plenty of albums that have only become successful after a re-release years down the line (or, for example, getting a kick into the mainstream from inclusion on a movie soundtrack), and many independent movies take a few years to get picked up by a distributor.

    The reason for this, is simple-- The work is orphaned, or near-orphaned, sitting on the shelf. As a producer, it usually costs less to re-purpose an existing piece of work rather than hiring current talent to write and sing a work specific for a movie soundtrack.

    A Sony Movie could use Sony Recording Artists for a blockbuster picture. This is something smaller independents lack resources to.

     

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  24.  
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    Xanthir, FCD, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:17am

    Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this idea. Just because the band I was in stopped gigging (and selling CDs) five years ago, why should I lose the rights to the songs I wrote?

    Think about this from the public's point of view. A band has stopped selling CDs, and in fact stopped selling them 5 years ago. If they were popular you *might* still be able to find their CDs in big music stores, but otherwise you're forced to dig through indie music stores (if there are any in your area) or hit the reseller market (of which the indie music store is usually a part of anyway).

    In other words, their music is probably impossible to find for the average person in the legal market. Why should it be illegal to hit up the infinite memory of the p2p sector to grab the songs then? The band is no longer making money off of them (remember, they stopped selling CDs, and aren't touring any longer either). Allowing the band to retain control over the songs is simply hurting the public.

    Along with that I don't want the expense of renewing such rights every five years.

    This is a legitimate criticism, but one must still consider just what's going on. The government is granting you a monopoly. This essentially becomes an every-5-years tax on that monopoly, to ensure that you're using it well.

    I don't understand why copyright should ever expire, except perhaps upon the death of the creators.

    If you're not making any money off of the monopoly, then why should you retain it? Remember, copyright is an artificial construct created and maintained through the government's will. It is given to you, the creator, as an incentive to create, and release your creations to the public. However, if you are not taking advantage of that incentive, it is correct for the government to remove what it had granted, and allow the public to benefit.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sort of good...

    That's good, and I like that idea, but then you have to account for asignees that are either trusts or foundations... To mitigate this, possibly they are released into the Public Domain immediately..?

     

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    Petréa Mitchell, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:30am

    A publishing problem

    Suppose a songwriter (or author, or artist) who owns a copyright wishes to make the work commercially available, but cannot find a publisher/studio/whatever, and doesn't have the resources to self-publish. It seems like someone in this situation, who can show they have made a good-faith effort, should be allowed to keep their copyright.

    I know fuzzy terms like "good-faith effort" open up a whole can of legal worms, and I know that at the moment, there are a lot of resources available in the vanity-press area, but the situation may yet come up, and I'd like to know how you think it ought to be handled.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:34am

    Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Why should you keep getting paid for something you did five years ago? I sure don't.

     

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  28.  
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    hegemon13, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:42am

    Short-term automatic copyright

    I like the proposal, assuming certain limits. First, I disagree that there should be no automatic copyright. The automatic copyright protects works-in-progress from plagiarism and/or outright theft. If I complete a novel and the wrong person somehow gets ahold of it and claims it as their own work, what would my recourse be if no automatic copyright exists? However, I do think automatic copyright needs to be very limited (maybe 1-2 years), and then can only be extended by registering.

    Second, I still think there needs to be an ultimate limit on copyright. The 5-year renewal is okay, but I don't believe that a corporation ought to be able to permanently withhold work from the public domain. I fear that, given the opportunity, most publishers would horde their copyrights forever. You could offset this by making registration expensive, but then there is the side-effect of hurting the original creators, who may not have the money to register, and would thus be forced to sell their work to corporate entities to get it registered.

     

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  29.  
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    Kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:51am

    Consider Copyright Abolishment

    How about abolishing copyright altogether? Plagiarism can be protected against by trademark/anti-fraud law.

    Better yet, implement very specific copyright law in area where it is actually beneficial. For example, copyright power can be applied for people who make free software so that distributors will be forced to disclose the source code.

     

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  30.  
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    Freedom, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:53am

    Renewable - Great Idea

    I'm not sure I agree with the work must be sold to enable renewal. As pointed out, opporunties for sale may or may not be viable during a 5 year period. However, I do think that if the copyright holder is not the original creator that this clause would come into affect.

    For instance, the creator doesn't do anything with it, no big deal. Some company buys his work and then doesn't do anything, that is a big deal and by adding a commercial element you would prevent someone just buying and sitting on a ton of copyrighted material.

    I really like the overall concept of turning this back into an active versus passive right. Very much like a domain registration, if you want to continue using it, you have to pay a fee, if not you lose it. I like the idea of giving someone the ability to by in year increments to renew their copyright up to maybe 10 or 15 years at a time. That way, they can decide how often they want to be bothered, etc. versus the cost to re-license.

    Where do I sign my 'John Hancock'

    Freedom

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:54am

    Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Couldn't you offer the song to other bands? If you were selling rights to the song, wouldn't that count as "commercial use."

     

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  32.  
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    Rhonda McQueen, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:55am

    Re: A publishing problem

    Hmm. If the goal is to obtain limited monopoly (copyright) but not do anything with it, is the monopoly useful? I'd say if you get limited monopoly and literally don't do ANYTHING with it, something doesn't seem right. If your given monopoly status on something and spend $100 marketing your product over a 10 year span, and gross $70 doing it, is that being a good steward of resources? Problem is that the people who need copyright are artists, and my experience is that artists are notoriously bad with running businesses and making business decisions. What a problem to get your head around...


    But I like the idea of seeing copyright as literally a "Tax on limited monopoly". Sometimes describing the problem in different words makes you think of it differently.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 9:59am

    Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    Yes, copyright abolition is a far better idea, but it'll be a few years yet before a significant number of people call for it.

    However, forcing people to disclose source code is a very bad idea. Are you going to send thugs round to arrest little Jimmy because he released a binary without providing source code?

     

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    Patrick, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:00am

    I think the whole problem is basically what is stated in the US Constitution. It states that Patents and Copyrights are to be granted for a limited time. Copyrights should have the same time upper-limit as patents. Limited, to me anyway, should be able to fit within a person's lifetime. 70 Years after death for the expiration is certainly not "limited"

     

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    Liquid, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:01am

    Re: A publishing problem

    Isn't that the whole part of the renewal process every 5 years is for? So that when someone creats something and they want it copyrighted, but they don't want to lose it they can just renew for the copyrights. Instead of proving that they were putting forth an effort to get their product out in the streets for the consumer. The copyright owner wont have to worry about that until the 5 year period is up for close to ending.

    Really what you should be saying is, and it think that this is the way that you are going with your thought process is. That if the copyright owner is out there selling an item(s) that they own, and they are making a profit from said products they shouldnt have to worry about a renewal process every 5 years. They can show that they are making a profit. Which is something that I can agree with. As long as the person(s) is making money on a item they copyrighted in the first place then they shouldnt have to worry about it. Is another thing that I can agree with. When that product drops below a certain revinew percentage over another item that they might have copyrighted as well then that product should be renewed if they wnat to keep the rights to that work. IF the fail to renew that then it should be dropped into public domain for someone else to try and make it work.

     

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    Joel Coehoorn, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:02am

    Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    The key here is that you wouldn't _lose_ the right to do anything. You can still sell or perform the song to your heart's content. The only thing that changes is that now so can anyone else.

     

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    Matt, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    Really? GPL seems to be doing pretty darn well, as a good idea.

     

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    DCX2, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:02am

    Wii Virtual console

    Use it or lose it would have screwed over Nintendo's virtual console. Many of their older games were no longer commercially released for many years, and yet some are re-released later.

    IMO, I agree with use it or lose it, but you have to account for such things as un-orphaning later when technology makes something else more feasible (like Nintendo selling the games digitally, which they couldn't have done until recently).

     

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    struggling artist, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:04am

    Individual copyright vs. Production Rights

    as an artist I want to retain my ability to show up and play shows, however I don't want to be required to play shows all the time. I also want to make sure my work is not abused by other parties. I don't mind the idea of orphaned work, but I think the person who actually wrote it should have say in how it's used. And if I retire from my 9 to 5 and decide to play music in my local bar, I want to have the ability to monetize my product again. And that might be well in excess of these 5 year limits we're talking about. What about when I write songs for some one else? If they stop playing does that mean I have to start playing just to make sure it's on the market for five more years? even if I only plan on playing it again when I have the time or talent to be successful as a musician only?

     

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    Kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:07am

    Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    No, it would entirely voluntary copyright, not mandatory.

    You would have to apply with the government for software copyright.

    So if little Jimmy released binary of his software, he wouldn't be arrested for not disclosing the source. His binary would be public domain though.


    That's being said. I am content to let copyright holders have whatever they want. If they want royalty, super long lifespan, they'll get it. I would let economic take its course in confidence that these copyright holders will eventually lose out to better competitors.

     

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    Starving Artest, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:20am

    Re: Use It or Lose It

    So if I create something for my personal / family enjoyment (I.E. I'm not making money) I'm supposed to loose control of it so that someone else can make money off my work ???

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Re: Wii Virtual console

    It would not have prevented Nintendo from releasing official Nintendo versions of the game just as they did. Most of those games would still be trademarked because of sequels and such so the authenticity would still be intact. Plus the added value of being on the Wii.

    If you're not going to use it for 20 years than it has lost it's commercial value. Nintendo just added more value by letting us download the nostalgic games onto the Wii.

     

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    kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Use It or Lose It

    What wrong with somebody making money off your work if in the end that it benefit the public?

    You are for economic welfare of society, no?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    I'm quite happy with the way the GPL neutralises copyright, but it remains important to respect the natural right to privacy.

    I do not believe a compulsion to disclose source code is necessary in the absence of copyright.

    After all it would be strange if those lovers of freedom said that they'd rather have copyright and the ability to use it to compel disclosure of source, than no copyright and everyone to have the liberty to freely copy and derive software from published source code. After all, who would would buy binaries given they could be freely copied? You'd only pay for source code improvements as these would be the only things worth buying. The binary would be used to demonstrate that the source code did the job prior to selling the source for money.

    Free as in speech, not as in beer.

     

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    Xavier, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:28am

    FCC currently does this

    Yeah, this idea may have some feet! What many don't know is that the FCC has been running with this model for years. Radio Stations, cable cos, satellite companies, telcos all are supposed to operate in the public's best interest, need to renew their licenses every 5 or so years. During which part of the review process is review of complaints and such.

    Seems there are too many distribution methods and not enough real breakthrough ideas being put forward to the public because of copyright and IP issues. This may be a good idea that balances it out.

     

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  46.  
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    Kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    That's an interesting and compelling economic reasoning.

    I distrust monopolies and the government in the regulation of the free market. So I'll be willing to play along with no copyright for software unless it can be shown that it is necessary to have something like GPL copyright law.

    Of course, such anarcho-capitalism might even sprout GPL-like contract all on its own. That what make free markets interesting.

     

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  47.  
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    Gracey, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:36am

    Frankly, I find it very frustrating that public thinks they should have any right in my work, or to use my work without my permission.

    Yes, I understand copyright - very well. So does my lawyer.

    If I want my work used freely, I'll publish it as free for use(and have done so with some).

    Allowing others to make money off someone else's work does nothing to further new work, only recirculates the old. (like, how many times are we going to get a new king kong movie? I'll take the original over all the others any day.)

    You also can assign your copyright to someone else, who then is considered to own the copyright - you can do that when you die also, by stipulating the copyright to whatever as part of your estate to be left to your heir(s).

    I inherited some of my father's copyright work, and I still maintain it - whether it's offered for sale or not should be my choice, not someone else's (like the general public or the copyright office).

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:37am

    Re: Re: Use It or Lose It

    You should be able to license it out while you still have ownership. If your good at doing that, then renew your work and collect royalties.

    I don't know about you, but see a problem with the current system when Walt Disney is dead and the Disney company has shown no effort to expand on his work-- bring back Mickey, Donald Duck or any of the original characters. Copyright shouldn't just be a monopoly protecting $35 T-Shirts at Disneyworld.

     

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  49.  
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    Shaun Wilson, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:38am

    Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Firstly the expiration of copyright "upon the death of the creators" is definitely a point worth looking at. If you do see copyright as a pension etc then there is no reason for it to continue beyond death - with the possible exception of being until your spouse is dead as well. And anyway, why should pensions be different compared for you compared to anyone else? Here in Australia when you work for a company a part of your income is automatically deducted and invested with an investment firm (specifically called a "superannuation" firm) of your choosing. If when you reach retirement age and cease to work your superannuation + other assets aren't enough to support you the government pays you a minimal allowance to allow you to survive. Why should this be different for songwriters etc? (And in fact really it isn't, you just get a bonus "asset" of copyright that most others do not have.)


    If instead we want to equate copyright to some sort of a property right we need to establish where the root idea behind the granting of property right and a copyright comes from, back long ago - both being a legal construct.

    Say you come up with the idea to start selling a new product in the marketplace, at one time this would have been coffee. You set up a store that sells it in raw form and as drinks. Now you can stop someone from stealing your stock by force of arms if necessary (the root of your property right to the stock). However you can not normally prevent someone who buys from you from setting up their own coffee shop, or indeed copying the idea and sourcing their own supplies, perhaps using tea instead - unless you steel their stock etc which leads back to their property rights to prevent this. Instead you go to the Monarch (king/queen etc) an ask (and generally pay) for a monopoly. Now you are legally the only coffee shop in town.

    Lets now look at how this works with a song. While it is still in your head (like previously the idea of opening a coffee shop) or written down in your keeping (like the stock of coffee) there is no way for someone to get at it without using force etc which you can again naturally prevent (essentially you have a property right to the song at this point which is well and good). When you sell a copy of a song to someone - either by commission or a previously created work there is nothing you can really do to stop them reselling it (like the coffee sold, possibly with developing a coffee substitute for an analogy to making copies of the song) or hearing it and making something extremely similar - even almost exactly identical (like the idea of the coffee shop) so you again go to the monarch and ask (and pay) for a monopoly.

    Nowadays you will automatically get your monopoly, now called a copyright but the coffee shop owner would be fined and possibly jailed if they succeeded in getting theirs, and people are generally supportive of the outcome in both cases. Can you explain how there is a difference between the two?

    And no the creative effort is not necessarily the differentiating factor, the idea of setting up the shop is no more the finished product than for you idea of making a song about the evils of war is (for example - I have no idea what sort of music you write, it is not meant to be offensive or dismissive). The coffee shop owner researches coffee, you war and its detrimental effects, he (or she, but he by convenience and literary convention) develops different products and establishes supply lines, you develop verses and a chorus (presumably?) and work to coherently link them together and finally you both have to promote and sell the end result. You both expend time and creative effort, and if anything his capital investment is more than yours so it could even be argued that he deserves his monopoly more than you deserve your monopoly (your copyright)!

    Also please don't accuse me of being totally separate from this issue, I am currently studying at university hopefully to enter the computer games industry which is traditionally very reliant on their monopolies (copyrights).

     

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    Termulator, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:42am

    Agree in principal, but...

    This adds a double requirement to keep your works copyrighted. How does the "use it or lose it" help small creators with the distribution of their works? It adds an extra accounting detail that can be met by any number of scrupulous means by big content companies. You could offer all of your works as licensable for one day use for a small or large fee.

    If your works are not viable in the first five years you'll be thinking twice about renewing your copyrights anyway. If you believe that your works will stand a better chance in the next five years due to a different environment - due to technology advancement, politics, or economy - you will file again. Why exclude you because you didn't loophole around the system?

    Almost all works can be put in some widely disseminable format for internet sale, but I don't believe that the culture is ready to adopt these on a broad scale. As such it will hinder creation for many people as they will find that the system is more complicated than they feel like dealing with, while still believing that it must be used.

     

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    Shaun Wilson, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Yikes there were a few responses to that post before I submitted my response, perhaps I should have asked for a monopoly on replying to it, looks like I ended up with a bit of competition. [/sarcasm]

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:52am

    Proposal

    Feel free to criticize this but constructive criticism please.

    To make a time limit on copyright we must think of not only the little guy but the big guy as well. Why would a company like Disney back this new copyright idea? Why would the one man songwriter back this idea?

    I propose:

    Copyright will initially last for 7 years (to match the IRS profitability requirements) on the condition that:

    The product is commercially available. By available I just mean that it has to be available if someone wants it. No one has to buy it but it must be available. By commercially I mean that it should be of reasonable price. No $10,000,000 DVDs. This part must stay or it won't prevent a lot of the current issues we have with the system.

    At the end of the 7 years the copyright can be renewed for a vary small amount, say a dollar (to help the little guy), for another 7 years. This renewal can reoccur every 7 years for as long as the originating creator or company is around (that will make Disney happy).

    This way we fix the issue of orphaned copyrights (If the holder of the copyright doesn't think that there is even a dollar value to the copyright than it goes into the public domain) while helping to avoid someone just keeping the copyright renewed without ever doing anything with it (like the patent trolls). This will also bring in extra money to the government that doesn't have to be pulled out of our pay checks.

     

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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:56am

    Re:

    Allowing others to make money off someone else's work does nothing to further new work, only recirculates the old. (like, how many times are we going to get a new king kong movie? I'll take the original over all the others any day.)

    You're using your personal preferences as "evidence". And apparently you haven't noticed the multitude of works that incorporate works in the public domain. There are plenty of stories based on L. Frank Baum's Oz books, not to mention Sherlock Holmes novels. There are many more examples available, but your assertion that using previous works doesn't lead to new creative works is demonstrably false.

    whether it's offered for sale or not should be my choice, not someone else's

    And it is, until the copyright runs out. It then goes into the public domain for the benefit of other creators. It's unfortunate that you seem to have a problem with that, but if absolute control over the work is that important to you, you could always not publish the works.

     

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    Greg, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 10:57am

    Re: Am I the only one seeing the loophole here?

    No, I doubt that anyone would actually sell a DVD for $10 million. It might be priced at that, but actually selling it?

    Therefore, another stipulation should be added, like pricing your product out of the market just to say "hey, look, we're trying to sell it" won't be allowed, and copyright would be forreited by the holder if the price was not brought to a reasonable level.

     

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  55.  
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    Hyrulio, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:19am

    Who's gonna copyright the 5-year-copyright idea?

     

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  56.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    Contract is not a substitute for copyright just as it is not a substitute for slavery.

    Liberty is inalienable.

    Its recognition in the form of free speech has been abrogated by copyright. That the state can so contract it away is the only thing that leads people to believe that the right to free speech can also be contracted away by an individual in receipt of an intellectual work.

    Without copyright, there is nothing to justify the individual contracting with an artist to non-disclosure and non-reproduction.

    So, contract is not a means by which you can engage the state in forcing all those who publish derivatives of your work to also publish their source code.

    In the absence of copyright you do not need to compel disclosure of source (it is only forgivable for the GPL to do this in the presence of copyright). An exchange of money for source is the equitable and ethical solution. You only need freedom to the source you purchase or are given, not to the source that you haven't purchased or haven't been given.

    Contract upholds your right to receive your money back or the source code you've offered it for. It doesn't entitle you to employ the state to sequestrate the future work of deriving coders. They will want the same right you had, to sell their unpublished source code for money. Slavery is getting someone's work through force or without their consent. That's not exactly cricket. I'd say it was highly unethical.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Superhero, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:38am

    Use it or lose it??

    How about we apply the same rule to your balls?

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:41am

    Re: Proposal

    Feel free to criticize this but constructive criticism please.

    To make a time limit on copyright we must think of not only the little guy but the big guy as well. Why would a company like Disney back this new copyright idea? Why would the one man songwriter back this idea?

    I propose:

    Copyright will initially last for 7 years (to match the IRS profitability requirements) on the condition that:

    The product is commercially available. By available I just mean that it has to be available if someone wants it. No one has to buy it but it must be available. By commercially I mean that it should be of reasonable price. No $10,000,000 DVDs. This part must stay or it won't prevent a lot of the current issues we have with the system.

    At the end of the 7 years the copyright can be renewed for a vary small amount, say a dollar (to help the little guy), for another 7 years. This renewal can reoccur every 7 years for as long as the originating creator or company is around (that will make Disney happy).

    This way we fix the issue of orphaned copyrights (If the holder of the copyright doesn't think that there is even a dollar value to the copyright than it goes into the public domain) while helping to avoid someone just keeping the copyright renewed without ever doing anything with it (like the patent trolls). This will also bring in extra money to the government that doesn't have to be pulled out of our pay checks.



    ========
    Sounds good enough to start a conversation! I really like it, Chrono!

    Should someone put together a formletter and shall we start contacting congressional leadership?

     

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    Justin, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:50am

    Making money clause

    If a one hit wonder makes an album and in 25-30 years the rest of the songs become popular, they should still be able to collect on the sales of the album. But because of this idea the copyright would have run out 20-25 years ago and they get nothing. I think a better way to do it is copyright it for a few years (5-10), after that time frame restrictions come off where if you don't make money using the copyrighted material in anyway then it is fair game, but the second you make even a penny off of it, roylties need to go to the creator.

     

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  60.  
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    Petréa Mitchell, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:51am

    Re: Re: A publishing problem

    "Problem is that the people who need copyright are artists, and my experience is that artists are notoriously bad with running businesses and making business decisions."

    I agree, the skill sets are very different. Which is why we have the whole publishing industry, to do the business stuff in exchange for licensing copyrights from artists. My question is what happens if the artist has a wish to license their work, but they are unable to sell the license over a 5-year span. Then in seems that, under the proposal above, the work wouldn't be "commercially available", causing them to lose the copyright.

    This would create a powerful incentive for publishers to join up and avoid licensing new works wherever possible, thus forcing them out of copyright, and then being able to distribute them without licensing fees. I don't believe that's the intent of the proposal, so I'm curious how it would deal with this.

     

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    Dubber, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:55am

    'Not sufficiently unfair in my favour' does not equal 'not fair'

    Glad this has stimulated such vibrant discussion. The terms and details of my provocation are, of course, up for discussion. I happen to like 5 years, but you could make a decent case for 7 (though 10 stretches it beyond the intent of the proposal, I think).

    The purpose of this is to reinforce the fundamental basis of copyright: to provide a richer, more vibrant and creative cultural public sphere. Rewarding artists is the means for that to happen - not the end.

    This would, of course, transform the political economy of musical works (which always happens when there's a major technological shift - say, from sheet music to recordings on disc) - and I agree that not everyone would be advantaged in the shift.

    But I'd have to reinforce here to those who would prefer the status quo: just because a new system is not more unfair in your favour than the previous system - that doesn't make it more unfair in general.

    Thanks everyone for giving the idea so much thought.

     

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  62.  
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    DaveX, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Use It or Lose It

    "Copyright shouldn't just be a monopoly protecting $35 T-Shirts at Disneyworld."

    How about the value in allowing a company to protect its own image? If Mickey ends up loose in the public domain, he'll be present on any number of things, which will most likely devalue him-- think of the first time your kid runs into Mickey Mouse t-shirts with him cussing or something.

    Consider what happened to Calvin & Hobbes. The author had a valid copyright, and STILL managed to get his shit ripped off. Now Calvin is a ubiquitous pickup truck window decal, probably best known to the majority of folks for pissing on Ford and Chevy logos.

    And who really needs more Mickey Mouse anyway? Are you telling me that the public has some great need for more Mickey Mouse works? That our culture is suffering because there just isn't enough Mickey to go around? I'm calling bullshit on this!

     

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    lex, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 11:57am

    Re: Wii Virtual console

    in the case of the Nintendo it is the characters that are the copyright is on not necessarily the game and all of Nintendo's characters have been in continual use new games etc. in effect protecting the older games.

     

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    Starving Artest, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Use It or Lose It

    No, I'm not for the economic welfare of society.
    I'm to take care of my family, not other families.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:08pm

    Re: Making money clause

    Hypothetical:

    1. Company A copyrights an idea
    2. Company A can't get idea off the ground
    3. Company A lets copyright expire after 5-7 years
    4. Company B (and C, D, and E) takes idea, revamps it, and gets it marketable
    5. Company A sees this, restocks the original (crappy) product
    6. Company A renews copyright
    7. Company A sues the hell out of company B (C, D, E).
    8. Profit

    I think that the idea of "Use it or lose it" and the idea of "once it's lost it's lost" is really important to keep, to prevent the same thing that is happening with the current system.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Proposal

    Re #52
    I would have to disagree with infinite renewal, for either personal entities or corporations of any sort.
    I think a 47 / 52 year max is more than enough. Half that for coporations. And also, completely transferring the rights in any way should not extend these limits. The limits would be set at the time of creation so that a corporation couldn't just transfer it to an individual to extend the duration of validity. Also to prevent it in the other direction, if transferred to a corporation, its limit is reduced so that they can't just have somebody start it, and then take right over.

    For the renewal fees, it should be something not too large for people, but something larger for organizations.
    Not so sure what numbers could be considered acceptable, but I believe the idea is sound as a previous poster mentioned, organizations will have more money and capital most of the time anyways.

    Those are the two ways I would amend your proposal to make it sound peachy keen to my ears.

    Sound acceptable? Stupid? Maybe good?

    I just think infinite renewal is horribly bad for everyond, and I really don't care what Disney thinks, they lost their right to talk before they started.

     

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  67.  
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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:14pm

    Re:

    Re #55
    Do you mean patent the idea?

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use It or Lose It

    As am I, and the code I write every day goes into products you use every day.

    I don't get royalties, but I write better and better code and better and better products. This also takes care of my family and society in the process!

     

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    Karen (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:21pm

    Re: In My Lousy Opinion

    I think your approach sounds like a reasonable one. It's more of a burden for an individual to keep renewing copyrights, but a corporation has more resources at its disposal. And I think "works by dead people" should probably be opened to the public, anyway, or at least limit to 5 years after their death.

     

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    Tony, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Use it or Lose it

    "This should have been a cornerstone of copyright from the beginning."

    It was. Prior to 1976, you had to assert copyright (by publishing the word or symbol) and register the copyright, which was valid for 28 years. You could optionally renew it for another 28 years. After that, it was public domain.

    The Copyright Act of 1976 extended the term to 50 years after the authors death. In 1998, it was extended to life + 70 years.

     

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    Just Me, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:29pm

    Great idea

    I think this should apply to everything, not just copyrights. If you have something and don't use it for 5 years then anyone should be able to take it and use it. That would open up a lot of buildings, property, cash, and who knows what to being put to productive use.

    Guess the same should go for any savings, don't use it then loose it.

     

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    Ninja Jello™, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use It or Lose It

    What your saying is that the government should grant a monopoly that extends past a lifetime to a company who has little intent to elaborate on it?

    There are examples of pieces of art that were produced as "Pop Art" only to die, only to come back probably stronger via organic promotion and distribution using subculture.

    Have you heard of Rickroll? That would have never been possible if someone called Columbia Records for permission "Uh yeah, I want to prank someone, can I use your musicvideo?" Astley's putting out a new CD because of his newfound fame.

     

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    Kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    Well. I don't have much to say. I bow to your awesomeness.

    BTW, your work on The Bedroom Coder's Business Model is inspirational to me. Among others', it has inspired me to work toward building a business of some sort based on writing free games instead of proprietary games.

     

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  74.  
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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:42pm

    Fools

    Only a total fool or someone who has NEVER created anything of value would support removing or limiting Copyrights like you idiots are talking about here.

    Copyrights should be an asset passed from generation to generation or last at least as long as corporate entities are in existance.

    I'm a Computer Programmer, have written and published a number of software applications. What gives anyone the right to take my work and do anything with it at any time in the work's existance????????????????

    The day that the Government limits the time I own my own work will be the day I stop creating anything...

    Maybe you fools should read the outcome of Ayn Rand's Atlas Shrugged. What will you fools do when those of us with the brain and ability to create stop creating?

     

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  75.  
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    Justin, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:43pm

    Re: Re: Making money clause

    It is still company A's original work, If Company B changes it enough to make it clearly distingushable from Company A's work then it is a different piece of work and has its own copyright.

    Take for example Queen and Vanilla Ice (ok, maybe not better in this case but different). That is where the likeness rules we have in place come into effect. If company B changes the product enough to make it different and better then good for them and they deserve the credit and value for it.

    This realy sounds more like a patent issue then a copyright one. I haven't heard of too many idle copyrights coming up and being used to sue like patents have been. Even with this new idea of copyrights all the suits coming from copyrights have been for work that would still be covered and are being used by the artists.

     

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  76.  
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    Carl W, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Great idea

    If you buy a Ronco Rotisserie Chicken machine and don't use it in 5 years, you may include it in this thing called a "Garage Sale" where someone else buys it and uses it. Point is, there's orphaned assets that no one's putting to good use. If they are receiving special Government Privilege, they should probably be put into the hands of independent artists that can make use of it.

     

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  77.  
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    Kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use It or Lose It

    Earth to Starving Artest:

    If you don't care about economic welfare, might as well forget supporting your family.

    Because the better economic condition of society, the better you can support your family and the better lives you will have. Generally, if economic welfare is improved, than everybody will be better off.

     

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  78.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 12:52pm

    Re: Re: Proposal

    Two different prices makes sense. I like it.

    I do agree with limiting the renewals. My first idea was to limit the renewal to 7 times. That would give them a full 49 years of copyright.

    Then I remembered that the big names currently have life plus 70. The only way we can get them to back the idea is to give them something better than what they have now. Otherwise all that money that they have goes into fighting the idea. If we can get them on our side all that money goes to helping us.

    I was hoping that the "Use it or lose it" clause and "life of originating company" would counteract the infinite renewal.

     

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  79.  
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    Kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:00pm

    Re: Fools

    If you're going to argue for monopolies, please support your argument with economic rationale.

    Crazy Ayn Rand supporter.(That woman support strong "intellectual property right")

     

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  80.  
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    Just Me, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:08pm

    Re: Re: Great idea

    Currently if you have the Ronco Rotisserie Chicken machine you MAY sell it in a garage sale, or you can keep it in your garage.

    What this is saying is that if you don't sell it then I can take it.

    If you have assets that are not being used, then I want to take them from you. Use it or lose it. I don't care what it is, I want it.

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Proposal

    Half that for coporations. And also, completely transferring the rights in any way should not extend these limits. The limits would be set at the time of creation so that a corporation couldn't just transfer it to an individual to extend the duration of validity. Also to prevent it in the other direction, if transferred to a corporation, its limit is reduced so that they can't just have somebody start it, and then take right over.

    I agree, but talk about a uphill battle. For years, there have been efforts to have corporations own things (on paper anyay) and lease out usage. Think EULAs, corporate subsidized housing (apartments) vehicle and car leases that all encourage consumption without ownership.

    This will be a foreign idea, something last seen pre-1990. I have doubts they will be on board with this idea, partially because it encourages individual ownership, you know?

     

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  82.  
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    AC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:13pm

    Re: Re:

    Always amazes me how when the discussion is new creative works the first thing that has to be done is copy or use someone else's idea.

     

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  83.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Making money clause

    I see where you are coming from and that would make sense if copyright lawsuits were currently used to protect the original product. Remember JK Rowling's lawyers suing over derivative works?

    I think the renewal idea just leave the door too wide open for abuse. If we can think up some kind of counter balance for it.

    Side note: I am presently writing a book (it will be proof read before I publish). So one would think (Michial) that I would be vary concerned over losing copyright protection. I'm on the exact opposite side. I'd still wright one if copyright didn't exist. In fact, if this idea gets put into action I'd probably only use the initial 7 years and never renew.

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Great idea

    If you have the only Ronco Rotisserie Chicken machine in the country then possibly the Government should ask you how it benefits the nation by providing you a monopoly on Chicken Rotisserie Machines when it's sitting in your garage, out of sight and not being promoted.

     

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  85.  
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    Benjamin Krueger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Use It or Lose It

    Mickey Mouse is a trademarked figure, representing the Walt Disney company. As long as the trademark is protected, it is perpetual for the life of the trademark owner. Mickey will live on unadulterated, regardless of what happens to copyright.

     

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  86.  
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    Jeffry Houser (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:47pm

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    I believe I'm saying I don't want other people selling or distributing my music. Listening is not a commercial use.

    Right now I have to do nothing to renew my copyrights every five years; why would I want an extra administrative burden?

    Why would I lose my rights if I'm not using it commercially? That makes no sense to me.

     

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  87.  
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    Jeffry Houser (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:53pm

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Anyone who wants a CD can Google the band name and find it for sale on CDBaby or on our band web site. We haven't sold any in many years.

    Why should my rights expire just because I'm not making any money off it now. I may want to re-use that material at some future point.

     

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  88.  
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    Steve R. (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Five years seems reasonable> My take is that only one or two renewal periods should be allowed based on the concept of a limited copyright period. An underlying principle is that copyrights are granted to foster innovation NOT to make the artist "rich"; however you want to define "rich".

    Thanks Shaun for the reference to computer games. The five year fee based renewal period raises the concept of "performance criteria". If the product author no longer pays to keep the copyright because the product has lost economic value, it falls into the public domain.

    In regards to computer software (games and operating systems), if a company "abandons" a product for five years it should also fall into the public domain. Old software and games that a company no longer makes available, where known patches are no longer available, no tech support, etc. should fall into the public domain after five years. Simply paying a renewal fee should not be allowed if software is discontinued (abandoned).

     

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  89.  
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    Jeffry Houser (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Sounds like you're in a bad business for yourself then.

    I also own a company creating software products. I plan to invest time [now] creating products and hope to still be able to sell said products in 5 years or so.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    Er, thanks Kiba. :-}

    I'm still working on the revenue mechanism that I hope will soon enable bedroom coders such as yourself to be rewarded (by your hopefully growing audiences) for the publication of copyleft games.

    I did check out libregamewiki.org recently. Good work.

    Looks like you've probably already come across Jason Rohrer. Did you find the BCBM via his interesting article on Free Distribution?

     

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  91.  
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    Jeffry Houser (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Yes, I could.

    I perceive that there is not enough financial gain in that to make it a worthwhile venture. However, the songs have value to me, the creator, beyond commercial use.

     

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  92.  
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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:01pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Always amazes me how when the discussion is new creative works the first thing that has to be done is copy or use someone else's idea.

    I also find it amazing that I didn't say that. New creative works don't necessarily have to draw from pre-existing work, but that wasn't what Gracey stated.

    Her contention was essentially that new works based on pre-existing material are not creative, and wind up being rehashes of the original, which is simply untrue.

     

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    Jeffry Houser (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:06pm

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    If I understand correctly, I would lose right of first publication if I do not publish within five years. That makes no sense to me.

    Once I publish / release the song there is nothing I can do to prevent others from using the song. I can prevent them from using my recording of the song, though. I believe they can get a compulsory license (don't quote me on that name), and there is no way I can deny it to them.

    Although, they have to re-create their own version. I still retain rights to my recording.

    I believe things are different for books / movies than songs, though.

     

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    Kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    Yes, I did.

     

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    Kiba, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    A question: How is this revenue mechanism thingy coming?

    I was also thinking of something similar for artists. A gaming art repository where not only artists can share their work but also a place for game hackers to contact and negotiate free art production contract. I still have to finish learning rails before that can happen.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:21pm

    Re: Re: Fools

    Why should I support echonomic anything. What gives any hume the RIGHT to something I create with my hands and resources?

    If I take the time to create something (song, book, computer program or anything else) I have the right to do with that whatever I wish, it is MY property, and as such I should have the right to pass that property on to whom ever I chose or let it vanish into thin air if I so chose.

    You tell me what gives you or anyone else a right to what I create?

    It's easy to proclaim that you rule the world while standing on the shoulders of giants, but eventually the giants will get tired of the extra weight and shrug it off.

     

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    Jeffry Houser (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    Let's go through the metaphor:

    I open a coffee shop, and can prevent someone from stealing my stock. I can't prevent someone opening another coffee shop. True. I can prevent them from making coffee using my "custom" recipe, though. Of course, they won't know what that recipe is just from buying coffee.


    When you sell a copy of a song to someone - either by commission or a previously created work there is nothing you can really do to stop them
    reselling it


    I cannot stop them from reselling the copy of the song I sold them. I have no problem with them having that ability. Just like, I can't stop them from reselling the same cup of coffee I sold them, either.


    Nowadays you will automatically get your monopoly, now called a copyright


    Not true in the US. Once I start the song for sale, I am legally obligated to let any other person create their own version and sell it. It is called a compulsory license.

    (Wikipedia link: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compulsory_license )

    They do have to compensate me for distribution.


    ...but the coffee shop owner would be fined and possibly jailed if they succeeded in getting theirs, and people are generally supportive of the outcome in both cases. Can you explain how there is a difference between the two?


    I lost you here. Why is the coffee shop owner jailed for having a monopoly?
    The coffee shop owner retains the right to use and protect his coffee recipe. The songwriter retains the right to use and protect his master recordings. I think one difference is that I'm forced to let others use my song, whereas the coffee owner can keep his recipe as a trade secret.


    And no the creative effort is not necessarily the differentiating factor, the idea of setting up the shop is no more the finished product than for you idea of making a song about the evils of war is [snip] The coffee shop owner researches coffee, you war and its detrimental effects, he [snip] develops different products and establishes supply lines, you develop verses and a chorus (presumably?) and work to coherently link them together and finally you both have to promote and sell the end result.


    No arguments. Both approaches take time.


    You both expend time and creative effort, and if anything his capital investment is more than yours so it could even be argued that he deserves his monopoly more than you deserve your monopoly (your copyright)!


    I'm not sure if the capital investment is 'easy' enough to compare between any two ventures. Before looking at a music career, I took 15 years of private music lessons in multiple instruments. I continued to do so while pursuing one. I also had to rent a studio and hire musicians. And buy performance equipment and instruments. The coffee shop owner, perhaps got a college degree in business school, or perhaps took an apprenticeship with a cook. He probably spent a significant time researching coffee beans and building the right taste. Of course, some people just pick up a guitar and are self taught and writing songs in a matter of months. Some people just stumble into business succesfully.

    I don't think the capital outlay can be genericized to say one approach to business is different from another.

    I'll add that I do not believe that books or movies or fixed music recordings have the same "compulsory" license guidelines that songs do.

     

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  98.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Fools

    "eventually the giants will get tired of the extra weight and shrug it off."

    Do it. Bigger giants will just take your place.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    "Do it. Bigger giants will just take your place."

    And with your arguement they will do it by stealing from me.

    Society has become lazy and dependant on the few willing to do work, when the few realize they have no obligation to society they will being taking care of only themselves.

     

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  100.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    "when the few realize they have no obligation to society they will being taking care of only themselves."

    That's all you're thinking about. You are telling me that you are the only one who could program what you programed. That if you weren't around no one would ever come up with the same idea. The only way that particular idea would ever be used without you would be because someone stole it from you. And if you ever decided never to use that idea again than no one else could.

    By the way quit using other peoples ideas. You didn't think up the idea of a car. You didn't think up the idea of a computer. You didn't think up the idea of ASCII.

    The entirety of society is built on the ideas from the generation before. If everyone thought like you, we'd all still be in caves trying to invent fire for ourselves.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Consider Copyright Abolishment

    I hope to have it tested and demonstrated by the end of the year. 1p2u.com (GPLed PHP MediaWiki plug-in) demonstrating contingencymarket.com (a commission free web service).

     

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  102.  
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    Benjamin Krueger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:51pm

    Re: Fools

    I am a creator. I support this whole-heartedly.

    I assume you are ready to pay a royalty fee to sing happy birthday? How about the National Anthem? Maybe Britain should stop the US from singing the US nation anthem since it's based on that tune. Then again Norway and Liechtenstein use the tune too. In fact, over 140 composers have used the tune.

    Are you a soccer fan from Liverpool? Better pay up when you sing Never Walk Alone at a game because that copyright belongs to the creators of Carousel. How about Aud Lang Syne at New Years? We Will Rock You at a hockey game. Take Me Out To The Ballgame at a baseball game. We Are The Champions. Ave Maria. Twinkle Twinkle Little Star. The ABC Song. Na Na Na, Hey Goodbye. The Star Spangled Banner. An Irish Blessing. Amazing Grace.

    Sticking with computer culture, how about the simple tradition of print "Hello World". If we allow everyone to lock down everything ever created permanently, innovation as we know it comes to a grinding halt. 30 years ago, a good compiler cost a lot of money and for good reason. It took a lot of effort to build it. Today, compilers are a dime a dozen and yet vastly more complex than they were 30 years ago. How does anyone feed their families when compilers are free? Because as the market opened up, and code was shared, everyone innovated and everything grew. Today, compilers are vitally important and essentially free. The money to support them comes from advanced computer systems and networks barely even dreamed about 30 years ago. OS vendors pay to maintain compilers because a widely used standards compliant compiler is a benefit to their platform. The value isn't in the compiler anymore. As we innovated, the value moved to the platform. We could never maintain the level of innovation and growth the software industry sees today if every potential programmer had to cough up $10,000 for a license.

    What you are suggesting is the wholesale theft of our cultural heritage, and certain economic ruin. A world where nobody shares, and nobody wins. Isolationism and protectionism is a failed economic policy, proven over and over again throughout recorded history.

    Without an audience, a creator is just a guy making stuff. Without a client to pay for a bridge, an engineer is just a person doing math. Without a society and a culture to teach you, nurture you, guide you, and inspire you, you won't grow up to be anything. Rand's ego blinds her to the fact that there are no gods among men. And even if there were gods among men, a god in a cave who refuses to participate in the world is nothing.

    Whew, what a rant!

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Yes I am ONLY thinking of me, again I ask what gives anyone else the right to benefit from my work without compensation to me?

    I paid $23k for my car giving me the right to drive it, I paid $1800 for my laptop and another $3k or so for the software I use for development, again giving me the rights to use such things.

    As for the software I right, I'm sure others could do it, and I encourage them to write software, I would enjoy the competition. As for taking my software and selling it or benefiting from it without compensation to me ore my descendants I am dead set against that, and will destroy every trace of the code from my death bed rather than die knowing someone else can steal it from me legally.

    Chronno, it's my guess that your one of the slugs that has no creative talent and only marginal talent for doing work for others. If you ever spent one moment of time or effort creating something of your own you would understand why those of us with talent oppose such ludicrous thoughts as forcing our work into "public domain."

    I would love to hear how you respond if the city was to take your house under imminent domain so that they could build a football stadium over the top of it.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Fools

    Benjamin;

    Why should we not pay a royalty for the national anthem or any other song? I'm sure if the creator were alive today he would expect to be paid for his work?

    Again I ask what gives us the RIGHT to use someone elses work without compensation???

     

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  105.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 3:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Fools

    What gives you the RIGHT to withhold an idea from society for all eternity? Just because you thought it up first?

    The government GAVE you copyright on a LIMITED bases. It is not an inalienable right.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    What gives me that right? My CHOICE gives me that right.

    The governement may have given me a copyright on a limited basis, but that still does not give anyone the right to take my work and resell it without compensation.

    Look at the publishing houses that have reprinted all of the old works and put them on bookstores for a fee? Why should they be making a profit off of Shakespear or Mark Twain or anyone else who's copyright has expired?

    If they want to make a profit then they should get off their lazy arses and do the work of creating the works themselves.

    If you want copyright's to expire, I am fine with that as long asn my investment and my assets are protected, insure that if someone steels my work that they pay me or my decendants for my work.

     

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  107.  
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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Yes I am ONLY thinking of me, again I ask what gives anyone else the right to benefit from my work without compensation to me?

    Suppose you write a book, and publish it. Now suppose I buy a copy, decide I like it, and turn around and use the characters in my own story. What right do you have to stop me from doing so?

    Copyright is derived from the Constitution, and offers creators protection of their creative works "for limited times." It does so in order to promote creativity while at the same time compensating creators for their work. Your stance, however, supports creative stagnation. Luckily, the founding fathers recognized what you fail to grasp, and placed a time limit on the duration of protection.

    If you ever spent one moment of time or effort creating something of your own you would understand why those of us with talent oppose such ludicrous thoughts as forcing our work into "public domain."

    You obviously haven't given this topic much thought, since you apparently fail to realize the repercussions of your position. Extend your logic to the patent system, and it's easy to see where this argument falls apart. Patents are likewise intellectual property, yet if we allow permanent ownership, innovation slows to a crawl. Ever wondered how many patents there are that are not based in part on previous patents? You won't find many.

    I would love to hear how you respond if the city was to take your house under imminent domain so that they could build a football stadium over the top of it.

    Since you're a programmer, perhaps you'll understand this: physical property != intellectual property. They are inherently different, for obvious reasons.

     

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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    "Look at the publishing houses that have reprinted all of the old works and put them on bookstores for a fee?"

    You don't like the old works? Because that is what you're saying. You're saying that no one should ever have the ability to republish good works because the copyright holder can't be found. You're saying that no one should be able to use you're program even 200 years from now. Even after you're long dead and your descendants have disappeared into history.

    Do you track these people down and pay them? I know you don't legally have to but since it's your stance that you should, do you? The original creator (nor his descendants) wasn't payed for the ASCII programing you are using. The creator of the trace wasn't payed for your computer. FORD wasn't payed for the use of your Jeep (just guessing). Do you track down the original creators of an idea and pay them?

    If you want to protect your assets than let me recommend not sitting on your ass and keep up with programing. Don't create a program and then sit back and hope it brings in the money. Truly compete in the market. Update your program. Make it better than the guy next door. Support it better. That's how everything worked before copyright.

     

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    Benjamin Krueger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    So re-use it in the future. This system doesn't stop you from doing so.

     

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    Benjamin Krueger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Seriously, this is either a troll or a true Randian. Either way, it isn't worth carrying on this thread with him.

     

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  111.  
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    Griper, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re: Am I the only one seeing the loophole here?

    I like it, the renewal fee could be based on a percentage of whatever you are charging.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 4:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    DanC;

    Copyright protection does not prevent you from using my Characters in your own works, it prevents you from using my work. You are free to use my charters in your work, and I would encourage that use because it would further the popularity of my own. I would not be willing to allow you to copy chapters or pages of my work into yours without expecting something in return.

    The reprecautions you talk about are written about every day, they are called Patents. The patent laws are flawed in that they grant patents for ideas, and the patent never expires. There are no less than 20 different patents for perpetual motion that have been granted. These devices will never be built. Patents are so vague that you cannot create a phone system that has a prompt for "Press one for English" without being in violation.

    You mention the founding fathers wonder foresight, that same foresight created the patent laws too, so your saying that vague ideas such as non working perpetual motion devices should be protected forever but my functioning work should only be protected for a period of time?

     

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  113.  
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    Chronno S. Trigger, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 4:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    That was a cool refrence. I may have to pick up the book Anthem now.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Chronno;

    When I purchased my Jeep or anyone else I assume the manufacturer of that item has the legal right to distribute that item, and is paying for that right. I should not have to track down every patent holder for every part and pay them, that is part of the purchase price and is the responsibility of the manufacturer to do.

    As for the old works, for them to be reprinted YES I feel that the publisher should track down the rightful heirs and pay them royalties. Why shouldn't they? Just the arguement that it's too hard to find them does not preclude the publisher from the responsibility.

    With today's technology there is no reason why the rightful owner of any work legally registered and granted a copyright could not be tracked down. If Copyrights were treated as property without an expiration then owners would treat them as assets and properly pass ownership from one person to another.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    What makes me a troll or a "Randian"?

    I referenced Ayn Rand because her book Atlas Shrugged is a wonder exageration of what I see going on in society every day. I highly doubt society will ever stop nor do I believe that a small number control the outcome.

    On the other hand I do believe in my write to own what I create, and I stand firmly in my belief than no one has the right to force me to give up what is mine just to make their life better.

    If my work benefits society then I should be rewarded for it, not scolded for not sharing it.

     

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  116.  
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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Copyright protection does not prevent you from using my Characters in your own works, it prevents you from using my work.

    Actually, that use is currently heavily debated. Copyright law currently considers such work as derivative and thus violating copyright. Defenders of such use cite it is allowable under fair use.

    The reprecautions you talk about are written about every day, they are called Patents. The patent laws are flawed in that they grant patents for ideas, and the patent never expires.

    Wow...you really have no idea what you're talking about, or you're simply trolling. I'm betting on trolling, since your misspellings at this point look almost intentional, and your statements overall display an incredible lack of basic understanding of intellectual property.

    Patents expire after 20 years.

    so your saying that vague ideas such as non working perpetual motion devices should be protected forever but my functioning work should only be protected for a period of time?

    I'm saying you need to either educate yourself on what you're attempting to discuss, or stop trolling the thread.

     

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  117.  
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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 5:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    If my work benefits society then I should be rewarded for it, not scolded for not sharing it.

    Copyright is a trade-off; you get exclusive rights to exploit your work for a limited time, in exchange for the eventual addition of your work to the public domain.

    If you decide to publish your work, you have decided to share it, and receive your reward for doing so for the duration of your copyright.

    If you want to maintain absolute control over your work, don't publish it or make it available.

    Additionally, the limited duration of copyright is supposed to encourage creators to continue creating, and not rest on their laurels.

    I referenced Ayn Rand because her book Atlas Shrugged is a wonder exageration of what I see going on in society every day.

    As far as Ayn Rand is concerned, I'm reminded of one of the fake quotes from the Daily Show's America (the Book):

    "This is similar to my works in that anyone who reads it is sure to be an asshole for at least a month afterward." - Ayn Rand

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 5:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    My mis-spellings are due to being tired and too lazy to run spell check. They are far from intentional.

    I am not trolling this thread, and I was mistaken about patents, I just looked them up and they do have a 17 or 20 year expiration. I still maintain that the issuance of a patent for something has not been built or for a vague description is flawed.

    The difference between intellectual and physical property is irrelevant in my argument. I am arguing for my right to maintain ownership, control and residual income on ANYTHING that I create no matter if it's a book I write, a software package, or a new electronic device.

    I maintain that if it is something I create then it should be my right to do with it as I please for as long as it is in existence.

    I will also admit to some ignorance in how copyrights apply to written works such as books. I was not aware that using characters from another work was considered derivatives. In software the laws are interpreted differently.

    For instance my software is for Law Enforcement, the contents of the software such as descriptions of fields, general methods for collecting the data and such are common terms to Law Enforcement and I cannot be accused of using another's work by using these names. Screen layouts are relatively common across software packages as well so it's not uncommon for two unrelated packages to look and function similar.

    It's not uncommon for me to find database/table structures of other software packages that are nearly identical to my own down to field names.

    So in court for my field you have to prove that they had access to your work, and directly copied it rather than did it on their research and work own. Often time it comes down to the source code it's self.

     

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  119.  
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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    As for the old works, for them to be reprinted YES I feel that the publisher should track down the rightful heirs and pay them royalties. Why shouldn't they? Just the arguement that it's too hard to find them does not preclude the publisher from the responsibility.

    Those works were published under the terms of copyright, and as such, there is no responsibility to track down anyone for permission or royalties. If they didn't agree with the copyright laws at the time, there was no requirement for them to publish their works.

    Your position also supports the loss of those works should the rightful "owners" not be located. I'm not sure why you can't see how your argument is ludicrous.

    You fail to mention a reason why heirs should receive any money for work they had no part in creating. For all your moral outrage at supposed freeloaders, I would think you would oppose the inheritance of copyrights.

    With today's technology there is no reason why the rightful owner of any work legally registered and granted a copyright could not be tracked down.

    This is yet another example of your lack of understanding. There are plenty of reasons why a rightful owner of copyright can't be tracked down. That's why orphaned works are one of the copyright issues currently being debated.

    If Copyrights were treated as property without an expiration then owners would treat them as assets and properly pass ownership from one person to another.

    What you are arguing for is the equal treatment of physical and intellectual property, despite their inherent differences. I've pointed out why the idea makes absolutely no sense when applied to both copyright and patents, which are simply another form of intellectual property (which expire after 20 years). If it was actually enacted, creative output and innovation in the U.S. would come to a virtual standstill.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    In relationship to Rand's books, you have to give some credibility to her writings when you look at society and see it paralleling her stories more than 50 years after they were written.

    This entire thread and judicial argument is a perfect example, on one side you have people arguing that because it's for the "good of the people" copyrights should not be enforced after a period of time. You have Disney trying to protect the core of their business by extending the copyrights and you have those wishing to benefit from Disney's work arguing that it's "for the good of the people" that these works be placed in public domain.

    Why shouldn't Disney be allowed to protect their works? Just because Walt is dead doesn't mean the business he built should die. The corporation is still alive, and there is no reason for it not to protect it's interests.

    Same goes for the works of Shakespeare, why shouldn't his descendants receive royalties, it seems every year or two some publisher put's their name on the inside of a cover and sells his work, just about every theater in the world at one point or another sells tickets to see one of his plays etc. Why are these people able to make a profit from works that they did not commission, did not pay for and did not play a part in making so famous?

    They have a right to make a profit just because the author has been dead 50 years? That seems wrong to me and seems to be a huge injustice to Shakespeare and his descendants.

    If y'all were arguing that once it goes into public domain it could be freely distributed or distributed strictly for cost I might feel differently.

    Public domain is abused by corporate America daily just walk into any book store. Would you feel the same if it was your works sitting on the shelf selling 100 years after your death for more per copy than you made per year off of it?

     

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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    The difference between intellectual and physical property is irrelevant in my argument. I am arguing for my right to maintain ownership, control and residual income on ANYTHING that I create no matter if it's a book I write, a software package, or a new electronic device.

    No, the difference in treatment between intellectual property and physical property is your argument.

    You want to have the same rights for both, despite not giving a reasonable explanation for why, beyond "it's not fair". Luckily, neither you nor anyone else has that level of control over intellectual property.

     

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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    You have Disney trying to protect the core of their business by extending the copyrights and you have those wishing to benefit from Disney's work arguing that it's "for the good of the people" that these works be placed in public domain.

    You really shouldn't have bothered bringing up Disney as a defense for perpetual copyright. You do realize that just about every animated movie Disney has made was based on works available in the public domain, right?

    If y'all were arguing that once it goes into public domain it could be freely distributed or distributed strictly for cost I might feel differently.

    Um...it can be. You really need to understand what you're arguing about. Take a look at Project Gutenberg. Over 25,000 free books available in digital format.

    Public domain is abused by corporate America daily just walk into any book store. Would you feel the same if it was your works sitting on the shelf selling 100 years after your death for more per copy than you made per year off of it?

    Corporate America ensures that those works in the public domain remain on the bookshelves and available to the public. As for the whole "after death", scenario, I'd be thrilled that people were still reading it. And, as Tobias Buckell, one of the authors who participated in Tor's free ebook program stated: "I definitely think that the biggest threat facing authors is obscurity."

    Forcing publishers to go fishing for permission for public domain works would only ensure that more works drift into obscurity.

     

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    Michial, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Ok, I admit that I want both treated the same. If I spend a year writing a book, or a year making a clay vase the end product both represent a year of my life. I have the ability to reproduce the book by the millions and I can take the vase and have tools made to reproduce it by the millions.

    Both are the product of my work. What makes them different? One is the product of my brain the other a product of my hand.

    Please explain what makes one worthy of being mine forever and the other mine until I die and then it's turned over to the public?

    Your argument may hold water when it comes to scientific works, you could argue that the world would be worse off if Einsteins works were to be erased. You can argue that without his works the general public would suffer.

    The only argument you could make for George Lucas is that someone might not be able to be inspired or take pleasure is reading them. You could not argue that the world would be worse off if his works were not published after his death.

    I do not like publishers capitalizing off of dead authors without paying for the work that they are selling. My argument so far has reiterated that time and time again.

    If the laws are modified and you allow the copyrights to expire in shorter and shorter time frames then write into the laws penalties for these companies capitalizing on the dead authors. Make them pay a percentage of the sales to a fund that is strictly for making these same works available to the public for FREE. Gutenberg's project would be a good start towards doing this.

    If the original author receives no benefit then neither should corporations.

     

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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 6:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    And a few notes on Shakespeare:

    1. He drew from pre-existing sources to write many of his plays.

    2. He didn't reach his current reputation until almost 200 years after his death. So, the people who reenacted those plays did, in fact, play a part in making it famous.

    3. He doesn't have any living direct descendants.

    They have a right to make a profit just because the author has been dead 50 years? That seems wrong to me and seems to be a huge injustice to Shakespeare and his descendants.

    Your duration is off; copyright lasts for the life of the author plus 70 years, unless it was work for hire. Then it lasts for 120 years after creation or 95 after publication, whichever is shorter.

    And yes, they have a right to make a profit because they are keeping the work available to the public, and adding their own creativity to it. Each public performance or movie is an interpretation of the play.

    And you haven't answered why descendants who had no part in the creation of the work should receive any royalties.

     

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    DanC, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 7:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Both are the product of my work. What makes them different? One is the product of my brain the other a product of my hand.

    One is a tangible, physical object. The other is not. That is why owning a book is not the same thing as having a copyright on the words in that book. Like an idea, an expression of an idea can be shared without consuming any physical resources or depriving the originator of its use. The same is not true of a physical object.

    Your argument may hold water when it comes to scientific works, you could argue that the world would be worse off if Einsteins works were to be erased. You can argue that without his works the general public would suffer.

    When you have to start making special exceptions in order for your argument to work, you should re-examine your argument.

    The only argument you could make for George Lucas is that someone might not be able to be inspired or take pleasure is reading them. You could not argue that the world would be worse off if his works were not published after his death.

    So, a franchise that has inspired millions of people already to create their own creative works is not worth preserving in the future? If his works are already that influential while his copyright is active, why would you deprive future generations of exposure to his work?

    I do not like publishers capitalizing off of dead authors without paying for the work that they are selling. My argument so far has reiterated that time and time again.

    Yes, you keep reiterating it, but you provide no reason for it. Publishers that capitalize off works in the public domain, whether their authors are living or not, ensure that the works remain available. It's a public service with a profit motive.

    I'm not really sure what the fascination with dead authors is either. Their copyrights are already passed on through inheritance after death, to people who didn't create the work, and thus, by both our reasonings, shouldn't receive a dime. Beyond that, money isn't really much of a factor once you're dead.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 23rd, 2008 @ 8:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    As the creator of that software, you are in the premium position to continue coding enhancements, providing support, and generating loyalty. That is your reward for having invested time in creating the software. The day you cease to be the best at that, then your users are being _cheated_ if you use copyright law to prevent others from supplying the upgrades and support. Society granted you that monopoly copyright--and they ought to be able to take it away if you are no longer serving them.

    So, you must continually earn that money or else you are an ass wielding copyright law to the detriment of society.

     

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    Philip Storry, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 1:16am

    Nice idea - but not appropriate for me

    I like the idea of this, except for two assumptions:

    1. That a centralised copyright registry should exist. That sounds expensive and prone to the kinds of institutional failures we're seeing in patents. Here in the UK, I get copyright just by claiming it. No registration, no cost, no hassles.
    It shifts the burden of such costs to the courtrooms when a dispute does occur, but for 99% of cases it's a better solution - despite the high cost for that 1% of disputes.

    2. What about Creative Commons? I *immensely* dislike the assumption that copyright only applies to for-sale works. If I go to the trouble of writing a novel, in the process creating characters, locations, events and so forth, but then choose to release it for free - does that mean my work is now fair game for plagiarism?
    I don't bloody well think so! Remove the "commercially" from "commercially available", and I have no problems whatsoever. But the assumption that I must charge for my works will effectively remove any copyright from too many people.

    I understand that he's trying to solve the issue of music copyright only, but I fail to see why any copyright reform should treat one medium in a different manner to another.

    Remove the registry, remove the commercially available requirement, and you have an interesting reform for copyright on all mediums. I'd certainly put it towards the top of my list of ways to reform copyright.

    But as it stands, it seems like a way to try and punish corporates, and in doing so will punish the small individual creators even further...

     

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    Michial, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 3:36am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    DanC;

    My descendants have a right to my assets and I have a right to leave those assets to my descendants THATS why they have a right to the royalties that I collect for my work. No different than my leaving my house, car or cash to them.

    Where do you or anyone else get that I have any obligation to society? I have absolutely no obligation to society, and society has absolutely no RIGHT to anything I do.

    It is my CHOICE to provide my works to society for a price, and it should be my CHOICE as to what is done with my work after I die.

    Society gives nothing to me for free, why on earth would I be expected to give back without reward?

    As for your defining my book as intangible, how do you figure? I can pick it up, I can turn it over, feel it, destroy it etc. Once those words are put onto paper it is a tangible object, and copies of that tangible object are just as tangible.

    A designer starts his design off on paper, then builds a prototype, then reproduces that prototype just as a publisher begins his work on paper, produces a prototype book, then reproduces that book.

    You sit one here pushing me for answers to why I feel the way I do, and all you respond to me with is that it's societies right, and its a detriment to society etc... What gives society a right to anything?

    As far as Shakespear, there may not be direct descendants alive today, but there are living person who would have had a right to his property through inheritance today. If his works were considered his property they would have been passed down/sold from one person to another, no matter how popular/unpopular they were.

    To Annymous: Yes when I cease to sell my software I will be a copyright weilding ass, welcome to the world of capitalism. If someone wants to make a profit from my work they will pay me for that work.

    Philip: The reason I mention a centralized registry is to establish and track ownership. Implied copyrights are difficult to trace ownership, and if they were treated as property as I wish they were the central registry would further this.

    As you said it is costly to prove ownership of an implied copyright. The registries cost to operate would be offset with registration fees.

     

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    DanC, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    No different than my leaving my house, car or cash to them.

    Except that those are physical objects.

    Society gives nothing to me for free, why on earth would I be expected to give back without reward?

    You keep claiming that there's no reward, when copyright gives you and your descendants ample time to exploit your work for profit. The fact is, without copyright, you wouldn't be able to prevent anyone from using your creative work. Copyright gives you the ability to prevent that, in exchange for entry into the public domain.

    As far as Shakespear, there may not be direct descendants alive today, but there are living person who would have had a right to his property through inheritance today.

    You focused on the least important point in that post.

    You sit one here pushing me for answers to why I feel the way I do, and all you respond to me with is that it's societies right, and its a detriment to society etc... What gives society a right to anything?

    I've responded to you with plenty of reasons on why you're wrong, which you have apparently ignored.

    As for your defining my book as intangible, how do you figure? I can pick it up, I can turn it over, feel it, destroy it etc. Once those words are put onto paper it is a tangible object, and copies of that tangible object are just as tangible.

    I already explained this to you. The book contains your intellectual property, but the physical object itself is not your intellectual property. If the book itself was your IP, then as soon as I bought a copy, I would own the words in the book as well.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Re # 128
    Your book IS an intangible object the second it is stored electronically.
    It is just basic economics 101.
    Once it is digital, it is infinitely available. As the supply increases, its price will be driven towards Zero. That is not to say it doesn't have value, just that it wil have a price of zero.

    Any by the way, reading many of your statements above, using your own argument, your children have no RIGHT to your works. None. And seriously, from reading a few of your posts, you contradict yourself by saying that your kids should get the rights to your works.

    I feel that DanC and Chronno did an adequete job of refuting your argument. They give many solid rebuttals, and all you do is try to confuse physical and intangible goods for your own purposes. There is an infinite difference between the two. Once you can reproduce with no cost / is infinitely available, the other is not. Please see above about econ 101 as to why your argument fails before it starts. The government is currently fighting econ 101 with these temporary restrictions. It will fall sooner or later just because the natural market forces will take effect.

    Just to add something I didn't see them metion, although I glazed over many posts, there are more and more artists these days using basic econ 101, and throwing the rules you say must exist out the window. Techdirt has more and more articles on these people. Soon you will be obsolete, trying to enforce something the rest of us have left behind. And you will be forgotten, and you can take your precious little works that nobody ever heard about simply because of how you feel things must be to the grave with you. You can feel all happy and triumphent then, and be proud that nobody on this planet gives a damn about you, or your kids, and nobody will know who you ever were. If you want obscurity, go ahead, have it, and leave us to the way things are, and will be.
    More and more artists are giving away music, giving away electronic copies of their books, etc. It IS and will be this way. Econ 101 man. You can't fight supply and demand forever, you just can't. The sooner you realize this, the sooner you can take advantage of it.

    My product is also intangible. I am a programmer. Once I leave my place of employment, I will not be paid for something I created years ago. That is fine. I accept that once my product is created, it is infinitely available and usable. That is just how it is. I will plan ahead, and save money for my retirement. It is almost funny that you seem unable to do this and feel the need to be paid forever and then some because you did something 20 years ago.

    I would make one last analogy, but considering your stout refusal to accept the difference between tangible and intangible goods, I feel no need. You seem intent on remaining as ignorant as can be.

     

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    Killer_Tofu (profile), Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:46am

    Missed in my post

    Where I state:
    "and all you do is try to confuse physical and intangible goods for your own purposes. "
    Should be more like"
    and all you do is try to confuse physical and intangbile goods, or try to use an emotional response of "I'm greedy and lazy" for your own purposes."

     

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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jul 24th, 2008 @ 7:05am

    "Stinks!" - by a photographer

    Right, so I took photos of the World Trade Center under construction in 1971, archived them because no one cared after a while. Then, in 2001, I get nothing from someone else rediscovering my pictures more than 5 years later? They get to republish them at no benefit to me for all my efforts and ownership of my own intellectual property?

    Stinks! Use it or loose it indeed!

    How about respect for ownership? Let somebody else go back in time and shoot what I shot and see if they can get it free using their own time-machine. Otherwise, it's mine, and I want royalties regardless of how old my intellectual property is when someone wants it.

    Moneyed companies are already circumventing copyright by applying for Trademarks that last forever (but happen to be use-or-loose) - Disney, Abba, and so on.

    Is this a corporate take over attempt - the new feudal system, with top corporations as the new king, and all royalties go to royalty? This is what revolutions were fought over!

    Individual artists have no such resources to protect themselves against corporations without the intervention of our self-governance. I have a challenge paying a mere $35 per to register with the copyright office as many of my pictures as I can in one batch each year. I cannot afford to add to my costs $35 every single day per roll of film or per day's shoot. I do not want to have to go back and re-register 10,000 images (and the count is growing) every 5 years.

    And, if I have them in my on-line catalog or Flickr, is that "use"? If I have them on my share drive, open to the public (with watermarks against copying), is that "use"? Who defines "use" - must there be a cash transaction? If I no-charge an image for single use to a charity, is that use or not? Does that automatically extend the 5-year registration, or do I have to register every use to prove that re-registration is not required? Has anyone thought about this bone-head idea in detail?

    This is just a way for corporate raiders to not have to go out and take their own pictures (and other authorship), to not have to innovate. This is a way for corporate raiders to take other people's pictures (and other authorship). And books. And poems. And artwork, illustrations, music, lyrics ... without doing any creative innovative work on their own.

    This is just a way to stifle innovation, not reward it. It is just a way to permit non-innovative, non-creative people and corporations from profiting unfairly from the innovation and creative work of others.

    You want something that's old? Make it yourself in the past! Or, pay the original creator for it.

    Property is property. I think all property laws should have commonalities. You don't get my farmland just because I haven't farmed. Okay, I pay taxes on that land as part of our societal arrangement, so there are definitely differences for different types of property. Still, how we treat one type of property informs how we think of other types of property. The US revolution and French revolution were in part a declaration that "royalty" didn't own everything, and that individuals could own things, especially authors of their own works. I suggest ardent historical study to respect continuity in respect for authorship and ownership.

    ==

    Earlier: "... The song was incomplete without the sample ..."

    So? Write your own song! Innovate! ;-)

     

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  133.  
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    Ed, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 7:15am

    Eternal Copyright???

    If copyright were eternal, the bible would be economically impossible to publish. Consider the number of decedents of all those authors of portions of the bible. In many cases, multiple people inherit from an estate. After what, something like 3-5 thousand years (sorry biblical history is not my subject), how many million decedents exist? You could not afford to distribute the royalties. Not to mention the number of works based on the stories of the bible, that would most likely not ever be made, because the artist/author could not arrange to purchase a right to produce a derivative work.

     

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    David Rhoden, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 8:02am

    copyright needs to be automatic

    Copyright is and should be automatic...this proposal would build a pointless bureaucracy that would please no one.

     

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    kevjohn, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 8:11am

    Too Short

    I agree with many posters here. I like the idea in concept, but the time period is way too short. Sometimes a product/property needs a cooling off period, like the Batman film franchise.

     

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    AMusingFool (profile), Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:18am

    don't like the "use-it-or-lose-it"

    The use it or lose it isn't really enforceable in any usable way ("What do you mean? We put out a cassette tape of that movie. It was available!"). The alternative I like, which accomplishes the same purpose, is to charge an increasing fee. The fee could be quite nominal for the first couple of renewals, but it should gradually increase to the point that it won't be worth the cost to renew.

    This way, copyright can be renewed indefinitely for those items that make a lot of money, but will quickly lapse for those without further commercial value.

    So Disney can keep the Mouse more or less as long as they want, but the public is essentially getting rent for it (and in my vision, that rent would end up in the multiple millions per year). And that CD you like? It'll pass out of copyright in a finite period. In fact, almost immediately, if no one else likes it.

     

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  137.  
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    AMusingFool, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:25am

    Re: copyright needs to be automatic

    It is bureaucracy, but hardly pointless. If copyright is automatic, how do you know who to contact if you want to license something? Even more to the point, how do you determine if something is still under copyright. As things stand now, it can be nearly impossible to determine.

    And if my suggestion of a rent is taken, that bureaucracy would even be able to pay for itself.

     

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    AMusingFool (profile), Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Fools

    Last time I checked, you are still a product of the society in which you were raised and/or still live. That's why you owe a debt to society for your creativity, even if misery with that society was what inspired those creations. Society still created the conditions that allowed you to write it.

    There's also the issue that a society is defined largely by the creative works that come out of it. By your argument, society would therefore be defined by the property of a collection of people.

     

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  139.  
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    DanC, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 10:53am

    Re: "Stinks!" - by a photographer

    Each point of your argument has already been countered, if you had bothered to read the other comments.

    I suggest ardent historical study to respect continuity in respect for authorship and ownership.

    History doesn't support your position. The founding fathers put the stipulation "for limited times" in the Constitution because they understood the difference between real physical property and intellectual property.

    You want something that's old? Make it yourself in the past! Or, pay the original creator for it.

    Pointing out how your own argument is ludicrous is kind of self-defeating.

     

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  140.  
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    Anon., Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:19pm

    "As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this idea. Just because the band I was in stopped gigging (and selling CDs) five years ago, why should I lose the rights to the songs I wrote?"

    Because we'd like to hear your songs? As it is, it's illegal for our friends to get copies of them. You could be enjoying a popular resurgence.... except that it's illegal.

    Remember, copyright is very very restrictive. At the very least, if you're not selling the CDs, everyone else should have the absolute, unarguable right to copy them and give them to their friends. As it is that's illegal.

    If you're not commercially exploiting the songs, you don't lose anything if others distribute them for free. It's reasonable to prevent others from making MONEY off of them, but it's not reasonable to prevent others from copying or distributing them at ALL, thus making them permanently unavailable.

     

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  141.  
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    Anon., Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:24pm

    "How about the value in allowing a company to protect its own image? If Mickey ends up loose in the public domain, he'll be present on any number of things, which will most likely devalue him--"

    That's covered perfectly well by trademark. Trademark is perpetual as long as you continue to use it -- it's "use it or lose it". The expiration of copyright on early Mickey Mouse cartoons would have no effect on the trademark: non-Disney copies of Steamboat Willie would not be able to advertise with the "modern" Mickey (who looks quite different) on the cover, for instance.

     

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  142.  
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    Anon., Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:31pm

    Oh, in response to the "WTC" thing? The "use it or lose it" terms should start with *PUBLICATION*. If you keep something private, it can stay private.

    But once you've published it to the world, you do not have the moral right to take it back and refuse to allow others to get new copies of it. You should have the right to *charge* for such copies, but the ability to suppress previously published material is, plainly, censorship, and should not be allowed. Yet current copyright law is doing *exactly that*, censoring the "orphan works".

    Perhaps the correct restriction is to simply eliminate some of the exclusive rights associated with copyright, by specifying that copying and distribution for which no money is charged or received (including by advertising) shall not be a copyright violation, ever.

    This would preserve the ability of librarians and aficianados to preserve and disseminate orphan works, while preserving the exclusive *economic* rights of the copyright holder. If people are willing to spend their own time and money to distribute your works, with no hope of profit, you probably shouldn't try to stop them!

     

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  143.  
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    John Wilson, Jul 24th, 2008 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    One small note here, of reality.

    Jeffry, if you are still performing the songs for a charge then money is being made, the songs are commercially available as you're there on stage performing them.

    The RIAA and it's cronies little silver discs are NOT the only form of commercial availability open to songwriters.

    Hell, if anyone performs your songs and pays you so much as a nickel in licensing I'd say the commercial availability bit is satisfied.

    ttfn

    John

     

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  144.  
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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jul 25th, 2008 @ 5:56am

    Re: Stinks, and, Copyright should be immediate - IT IS!

    Earlier: I suggest ardent historical study to respect continuity in respect for authorship and ownership.
    Reply: History doesn't support your position. The founding fathers put the stipulation "for limited times" in the Constitution because they understood the difference between real physical property and intellectual property.
    Follow up: We agree, sort of. I accept limiting the time to the life of the author and the first assignees, whichever is longer, not renewable after that.
    Historically, I'm referring to the revolutionary wars of the US and France that threw out "royalty" and "royalties" going only to "royalty", and respecting authorship as a form of property. The US Constitution wasn't written in a vacuum. It was written after a war.
    Moreover, to allow someone else to benefit from my property is against the whole point of the revolutionary wars, and against the resulting societal respect for personal property.
    I think that the premise in this whole thread is "when does one person's intellectual property become no longer theirs?" I suggest lifetime plus direct decedents who knew the author. So, if I had great grand children in my family and will, then they can maintain the benefits of inheriting the intellectual property I will to them. If I die childless, then have at it immediately upon my death! If I assign my copyright to a publisher, I suggest the same age restriction be applied, so they get to keep the assigned copyright as long as they live, but no one can extend the copyright beyond the age of the original recipient of the original assignment or the age of the original author.
    Complex? Sure. We can work it out. Basically, I propose that copyright benefits stay immediate, as it is now, (registration is optional, as it is now), but I propose that the duration be the lifetime of the author and or the lifetime of the first assignee, which ever is longer, and then become public domain and non re-assignable.
    Earlier: You want something that's old? Make it yourself in the past! Or, pay the original creator for it.
    Reply: Pointing out how your own argument is ludicrous is kind of self-defeating.
    Follow up: Huh? Your point? Anyway, I can reword it: You want something OF MINE that's old? Make it yourself in the past! Or, pay ME, the original creator, for it, REGARDLESS OF HOW OLD IT IS.
    Earlier: Copyright needs to be automatic
    Follow up: It is.
    Reply: If copyright is automatic, how do you know who to contact if you want to license something? Even more to the point, how do you determine if something is still under copyright. As things stand now, it can be nearly impossible to determine.
    Follow up: Don't use it if you can't find the author. Go innovate your own creativity. Quit complaining!

     

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  145.  
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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jul 25th, 2008 @ 6:44am

    Copyright ONLY for paid distribution? NO WAY!

    Earlier: Perhaps the correct restriction is to simply eliminate some of the exclusive rights associated with copyright, by specifying that copying and distribution for which no money is charged or received (including by advertising) shall not be a copyright violation, ever.

    Reply: Too easy to abuse. If I wanted to bankrupt or dilute my competitor, I'd give away copies of their work.

     

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  146.  
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    DanC, Jul 25th, 2008 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Stinks, and, Copyright should be immediate - IT IS!

    Historically, I'm referring to the revolutionary wars of the US and France that threw out "royalty" and "royalties" going only to "royalty", and respecting authorship as a form of property.

    Except they had nothing to do with respecting authorship as a form of property. English law at that point already had copyright laws in place with limits on duration. In fact, the original 13 colonies were frequent copyright infringers of British works. History simply doesn't support your position.

    I propose that the duration be the lifetime of the author and or the lifetime of the first assignee, which ever is longer, and then become public domain and non re-assignable.

    You don't promote the creation of creative works by setting up what is essentially a welfare system. Besides being an overall bad idea, you don't provide any support as to why your plan should be enacted. Why should heirs that did not create the work benefit from it? Isn't your whole idea to eliminate supposed "freedloaders"?

    Huh? Your point? Anyway, I can reword it: You want something OF MINE that's old? Make it yourself in the past!

    My point was that your argument is ludicrous, as shown by your "make it yourself in the past" statement.

     

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  147.  
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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jul 26th, 2008 @ 4:02am

    Re: Stinks, and ...

    Well, we could have a side chat ... but I think it's central to the whole point of this blog/thread.

    I respect intellectual property as real property and as such believe it should not only be mine for a lifetime, but also has real inheritable value, and want to pass that value on to those I intended to take care of with my life's work.

    Freeloaders are those who want the value I created and do not want to pay me for it.

    The ludicrousness is in the mind of those who want the benefits of something they didn't create without paying for it. They seem to value my old creation, but, having not created their own value in the past, they want to steal mine. That is ludicrous, and they are the freeloaders by your own standards.

    In the end, we just disagree. You want people's creative efforts our there free, and I want creators to get the societal benefits of their creations just as any other worker gets, especially any other worker that creates value.

    If I build a building that takes in rent, I keep it for my lifetime and can pass it on.

    If I create a catalog of creative works that brings in royalties, why do you think freeloaders should have at it without compensating me?

     

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  148.  
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    DanC, Jul 26th, 2008 @ 10:06am

    Re: Re: Stinks, and ...

    I respect intellectual property as real property and as such believe it should not only be mine for a lifetime

    There's no reason to treat intellectual property as real property, because they are different.

    Freeloaders are those who want the value I created and do not want to pay me for it.

    I fail to see how this disqualifies descendants as freeloaders. They would be receiving work they didn't create, without paying for it.

    You want people's creative efforts our there free, and I want creators to get the societal benefits of their creations just as any other worker gets, especially any other worker that creates value.

    The work was created and published with the understanding that it would be made available to the public after your period of exclusive rights has passed. You want to renege on that deal because you think it's unfair, without providing an actual reason why. Trying to paraphrase the problem as free vs. paid is an extreme mischaracterization. You have the term of copyright to profit from your creativity.

    If we treated intellectual property as real property, both creativity and innovation would decline. Almost every patent is built on previous patents, so if we get rid of the 20 year term, you can watch the number of "new" inventions slow to a crawl. Which in turn will have a negative effect on the economy. Limiting copyright will have the same effect.

    Your position limits creativity and innovation by mistreating intellectual property for no reason other than personal greed and a misplaced sense of fairness.

     

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  149.  
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    DanC, Jul 26th, 2008 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Stinks, and ...

    One other point...

    Treating intellectual property as real physical property would mean there would no longer be a need for copyright, since the laws covering physical property would suffice. That being the case, by selling your property, you would actually be relinquishing control over it, just like physical property.

    Say you write a book, publish it, and then sell it, and I buy a copy. By treating intellectual property as real property, I've now purchased your both the book and your intellectual property, meaning I could do whatever I wished with it.

     

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  150.  
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    Stephen, Jul 27th, 2008 @ 2:12am

    Forget about JUST music....

    I skipped a LOT of posts here, only to come up with one statement. Being TechDirt, and knowing as a culture we breath and eat in, seeing day after day of one company going after another company for a copyright infringement that was registered X number years ago, I say apply this to *ALL* copywrite.

    I think this is a wonderfully bliss idea, the 5 year roll over. The only snag I can think of is that if you have a tonne of stuff that needs to be re-registered, "Something happens" that prevents you from physically filling out the form for those copyrights, term lapses and you lose EVERYTHING, that'd be extremely painful.

    As an author of software, with one product that has managed to last about 10 years, I'd be more than happy to talk to a gov't official and say "I want to retain the copywrite on my software, my product, my idea, my heart and soul, and my bread and butter please" every 5 years. Hell, I'd do it every year. If I miss the term, then I'm obviously not interested in the software anymore.

     

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  151.  
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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jul 27th, 2008 @ 6:06am

    Anything less than 2 generation's lifetimes STINKS!

    Great points, Dan. Thanks for hanging in there and helping to work out and clarify each other's points. Your energies are quite helpful in polishing points here.

    Firstly, I see that we're talking about different things. Yes, we disagree, but, on top of that, we're still talking about different things.

    Side track: All motorized vehicles fall under some rules identically, and yet each category has it's exceptions. A motorcycle rider in court probably can't get away with saying, "Your honor, the speed limit is for cars, and I'm not a car, so going 120 miles per hour on my motorcycle is okay for me." The speed limit applies to the road, not different motor vehicles differently (with exceptions for trucks in some places). But they can say in the inspection station, "The seatbelt requirement is for cars, and I'm not a car, so not having a seatbelt on my motorcycle is okay." Different categories of motor vehicles are treated differently.

    Same with the word "property" - all "property" has some commonalities, and each category has differences. Like "real" property, "intellectual" property can be bought and sold, but unlike "real" property, "intellectual" property has a limited time-frame of exclusive ownership by the author or the author's assignees. This is not up for grabs in this discussion, is it? Does anyone argue against that?

    I'm not saying intellectual property is exactly in every way like real property. I'm saying I'm all for a societal agreement that intellectual property be considered like real property in terms of the author or owner getting the benefit of it and being able to assign those benefits. I'm acknowledging that intellectual property is unlike real property in some ways, and so I'm all for a societal agreement to limit ownership to the author's and first assignee's lifetimes. You think it should be shorter than author's or assignee's lifetimes. Fine. We agree except in duration.

    I'm not sure how I respect intellectual property in the hands of a corporation, though. "Lifetime" seems an inappropriate reference here. Corporations should be second-class citizens, I believe. They already have Trademarks that can last beyond a lifetime, as do "private" citizens, I suppose, but Trademarks are supposed to be different than copyright, although Disney and Abba and authors and others are recognizing the perpetual nature of Trademarks and are trying to get their authored limited copyright works to be also covered under perpetual Trademark law. Hmm ... perhaps we need more-assertive Trademark examiners, or a Copyright law review?

    If Copyrights expired during my lifetime, I see that I'd be disinclined to invest in marketing my copyright property near the end of the term, knowing someone else could benefit from my efforts mores than I. That makes me go back to the US Constitution and re-center myself on what the intentions were.

    You suggest that "limited time" is important, but I see that is not the only phrase in the US Constitution. I see, "...to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries ..."

    So, I see the requirement for "limited time" already being satisfied by "lifetime", in comparison to previous "royalty" being all-time. I favor limiting authorship copyright to lifetime plus lifetime of first assignee, or the equivalent of a lifetime or less only for corporations. I think that fits well with the agreement in historical perspective.

    More importantly to me, I see "promote the useful arts". I do not feel promoted to an artistic life of sharing my "writings and discoveries", my authorship, my intellectual property, in any useful way if others will get the benefit and I don't. Specifically, if you take away my copyright, why should I create at all in the first place? We've all heard stories of destitute creative artists dying in poverty while others, especially corporations, continued to make a profit off those artist's works. Perhaps we need an intellectual property based pension where an author is entitled to a minimum of, say for example, 1% of the profits of their work regardless of "giving it away", perhaps like social security, where the ongoing sale of any copyright intellectual property would be taxed at least an additional 1% to provide a pension for registered artists. I know, I know, managing an accurate accounting might be a nightmare, but ASCAP and others manage these types of things and do it well enough. Why not think about the "promote" part of the US Constitution, and not the "limited time" part so much?

    I don't think we'll resolve who we each think are freeloaders. Do you consider yourself a freeloader if you inherit and live in your parent's house? Do you think anybody else aught to have the equivalent right to just move in and live in that house or rent it to others in spite of your parent's wishes that you continue to reap the benefit of their caring for you? Are you raising the challenge of "family values" where parents cannot express caretaking for their children, that families are declared legally defunct once any member becomes of age? Very provocative!

    So, Dan, I think we agree on respect for intellectual property in many of the same ways we consider real property, except for duration of exclusive rights. I do not think it is in the best interests of society, especially for creative authors in society, if we take the benefits of authorship away from them or their family (2 generations). You'd like to take the benefits of authorship away sooner. Ouch!

    ==

    Now, about copyrights and trademarks - they do not have to be "registered" with the government to have legal effect. Registration is just our society's way of acknowledging and supporting in advance the need to smooth the waters of commerce and promote the general welfare by reducing the need to sue each other. With a registration, we have a professional, court recognized witness, for a prima facie case of our copyrights and trademarks. Without registration, we have a steeper hill to climb in court of we want to sue someone for infringement, but we can, nonetheless. Regardless, though, we have copyrights and trademark rights without registration with the Copyright Office or the Trademark Office. Let's not confuse registration with rights. Registration has nothing to do with the rights themselves. Registration is only a facilitator when asking a court for assistance in obtaining relief against infringement. Nothing more. As a photographer, I have immediate copyrights in the capture of even the latent image, and has been that way, recognized by the US Supreme Court since the late 1800s.

    ==

    My point about going back in time if you want your own pictures of the past being ludicrous is exactly that. You can't go back in time, can you? So why steal my pictures from back then just because you didn't have the foresight to take your own pictures back then? Your incompetence at anticipating and satisfying your own intellectual property authorship is no excuse for raiding mine.

     

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  152.  
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    DanC, Jul 27th, 2008 @ 10:31am

    Re: Anything less than 2 generation's lifetimes STINKS!

    You suggest that "limited time" is important, but I see that is not the only phrase in the US Constitution. I see, "...to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries ..."

    Exactly how are the progress of science and useful arts promoted by limiting their usefulness to only the creator, let alone their heir? A duration of copyright less than a lifetime encourages more creative output, because the creator cannot rest on his laurels. I have yet to see a legitimate reason to extend descendants the benefits of copyright to works they did not create.

    By allowing others, after the period of copyright, to exploit and base their own creative works on pre-existing works, the number of creative works is increased. The question, then, is what time period for exclusive rights is "fair" in both rewarding the creator as well as allowing for timely entry into the public domain.

    In the terms of this article, I think the proposed 5 years is too short a time span. I'm not opposed, however, to a shortened duration of copyright with the option to be renewed after the initial period. I haven't taken the time at this point to think about what fair limits might be.

    Your proposed 2 lifetime span, however, is already longer than the current system, and fails in any way to accomplish the goal of promoting science or the useful arts. Instead, it sets up a system where only a single profitable creation is required, which would entitle the creator (and his undeserving heir) to live off it for the rest of his life. As you noted, copyright is intended to promote progress and the useful arts, not establish what amounts to a welfare system.

    I don't think we'll resolve who we each think are freeloaders. Do you consider yourself a freeloader if you inherit and live in your parent's house?

    You keep insisting on drawing comparisons between the tangible and the intangible. It's a case of apples and oranges, and you don't provide a real reason for treating them equally.

     

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  153.  
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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Jul 27th, 2008 @ 11:54am

    Re: Anything less than 2 generation's lifetimes STINKS!

    Gotta love ya, Dan.

    Essentially, we agree over initial copyright, right?

    However, we disagree over duration, and the meaning of authorship to one's life's work and to one's life's earnings, the meaning of ownership regarding assignment, and the possible or speculative incentives for subsequent useful creativity.

    Other than that, we agree, right?

    However, I'm basing my argument on being a creator.

    You're basing your argument on speculation.

    I KNOW, as a creative artist, I'm disensentivised if my copyright is to be taken from me in my lifetime. Let me tell you that I am not less connected because of the passage of time with my writing, my songs, my pictures, from 50 years ago. In fact, I'm more connected than ever before with their importance in piecing together the jigsaw puzzle of my life, and presenting it to the world in a useful way. Don’t take my pride and joy, my personal resource away from me! You say I nave no incentive to create new stuff if I own my copyright for my life, but that's exactly the incentive I have to create - because I will own my creation for my entire life. And, I plan to retire on my creative investments, just as anyone else who works for a living plans to do in this country. It's just that, being self-employed, and having no employer's retirement plan otherwise, my copyright royalties are my only insurance against dying in poverty. Also, copyright royalties are my only way to provide continuity of support for those whom I promised to support - my family! Hey, this is my WORK. You want to nix the value of my work and the value of my retirement! Why? Why would you single out creative artists as the ones to disenfranchise from the value of their life's earnings? Sounds unconstitutionally discriminatory to me.

    You claim lifetime copyright is welfare, but you forget who's paying for copyright - the consumer who values my work, not the general taxpayer. If my work is valueless, I’ll get nothing. If my work has value, I get money. That's the plan. That's how society and I work together. I'm a part of society just as any consumer is, just as any other creative artist is, and just as any other productive worker is. Sounds fair to me to live in a society that's set up that way. You're suggesting that if my work has value as time wears on, I should not continue to get rewarded for my efforts. Why? It sounds as if you want people who do not create to get a free ride on my creativity. Why? That sounds exactly like a definition of "freeloader" that you so object to. I'm the hard working, creative one, NOT the freeloader. Why reward them and not me? Why GIVE my reward to them, and not me?

    You did not answer my point: are YOU a freeloader if you live in a house inherited from your parents? More importantly, is being a freeloader illegal? What about someone who wins the lottery? Isn’t that government incentive to be a freeloader? Where in the US Constitution doe sit say we the people empower the government to prevent freeloaderism? Actually, I see your desire to steal my copyrights as government created freeloaderism. Have you spoken to yourself lately?

    Anyway, why do I have to be the creative one TWICE in order to fulfill the US Constitution's imperative to "promote the progress of the useful arts? As the initial creative artist of useful copyright works, I've already done my part, and I'm trying to live off the benefits of selling valued copies of my creativity to an appreciative society. Why can't someone else be the creative one next? Why should they get to steal my creativity? GIVING them my work is no incentive for them to create, and it certainly disincentivises me form creating, too!

    Dan, the US Constitution is there to instruct the government on what they can and cannot do, not to instruct the populace. The government has "...to promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries ..." You and I are arguing over how to influence policy makers to accomplish that, with constant growth considering society's developments. I do not think we are convincing each other to change our minds, however. Me? I can’t imagine giving some non-creative person unearned profits from my creativity. You? You think I should be disenfranchised and disconnected from the revenue stream of my own hard work. What was the word you used ... "ludicrous"? Yeah, that's the word. Got it. Now I have an example of what "ludicrous" means. Thank you.

    Derivative works are not blocked by me retaining ownership of my works. Anyone can ask and negotiate incorporating my work into their own new creative work. Nothing's stopping them from asking now, and nothing's wrong with me asking back that they share the wealth of the results of our combined creative efforts.

    Thanks again, Dan. Your persistence has helped me clarify for myself, if not for others, what makes sense to me as a creative artist in this society, copyright policy wise.

    So. Does anyone else have alternative ideas NOT discussed so far?

     

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  154.  
    identicon
    DanC, Jul 27th, 2008 @ 1:38pm

    Re: Re: Anything less than 2 generation's lifetimes STINKS!

    You claim lifetime copyright is welfare

    The "second lifetime" is most certainly welfare, the initial less so.

    You did not answer my point: are YOU a freeloader if you live in a house inherited from your parents?

    I didn't answer the point because it has no relation to the discussion; What is referred to as intellectual property is intangible and thus inherently different than tangible physical property. Attempting to treat them equally as you are doing, i.e. inherit a house = inherit IP, is simply incorrect.

    GIVING them my work is no incentive for them to create

    There are plenty of creative works based off of existing works. Additionally, even though it's legal status is questionable, fan fiction is still generated based off of existing works, with no expectation of profit. So, yes, there is an incentive for others to create from freely available works.

    why do I have to be the creative one TWICE in order to fulfill the US Constitution's imperative to "promote the progress of the useful arts?

    You have no obligation to fulfill the Constitution's imperative; copyright law, however, does. The intent is to promote the progress and the arts, by allowing temporary exclusive rights. Your argument places the method over the intent.

     

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  155.  
    identicon
    drr, Jul 31st, 2008 @ 8:24pm

    Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    The government is "granting" me a monopoly??!?

    On something *I* made?

    I really want to curse at you.

     

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  156.  
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    Sue Donim, Jan 31st, 2009 @ 2:34pm

    As long as two specific companies exist (Disney and Universal,) as long as the music industry is allowed to continue it's practices, and if the current law remains unchanged, it will continue to be extended and abused. The copyright law can and should be changed, but it will not happen unless it perpetually serves the interests of these three entities. A heavy-handed push to put these three entities in line will need to be backed with a lot of money to counter their deep pockets. Unfortunately money makes the law in Washington, not the public's best interest.

     

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  157.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 31st, 2009 @ 3:22pm

    I think there's a huge potential for abuse of the of copyright laws in assigning works to the next of kin. See Orson Welles' daughter as an example. His work is being legally censored and altered by her in ways I doubt he'd approve of. I'm all for her attempts to update and alter his works; that's one of the intents of copyright laws, to allow everyone to reinterpret old works. But now she can say that her version is the only version, and withhold all others. And she has. If you want to see the original film as intended by Welles, you need to wait until copyright laws change, or she unil she passes on and the rights fall into the hands of someone more reasonable. The only other option is to find an out of print copy in a now out of date format using equipment the average person has no access to, which is exactly why I agree that we need a 'use it or lose it' clause. Under the current law, some intellectual property falls under a different type of 'use it or lose it.' If property isn't actively used by the copyright owner, it can be lost in a very real, physical way. I believe it was Martin Scorcese in the book Silent Movies who stated that many pieces of history and culture are lost every day (he is refering to film, but I extend this to print, art, and so on) due to the fact that companies hold on to copyrights it has no intention to exploit, and this neglect causes the permanent loss of filmic history and other types of media. Agter all, why would anyone bother to perform restoration or preservation on something they won't be able to then use?

     

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  158.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Feb 14th, 2011 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re: As a songwriter, I'm not sold on this

    You may want to curse him, but it doesn't stop it being true.

    You created something, anyone could have copied you, covered you, done anything they wanted with no comeback to you.
    So government passed laws preventing that and giving you a monopoly on that work for a time period.

    You, by your own admission, are not making anything from it now.
    Nothing, nada, zip.

    If someone covered it or copied it now and it became popular and they sold masses of it, you would not be one cent worse off than you are now.
    On the other hand, you might end up better off as the interest in the new version might well spill over into interest in your original version.

    So curse and curse away, but at the moment you are determined to protect something that is of absolutely no value to you whatsoever from becoming something of value to someone else and possibly yourself again.

    It is better to light a candle than curse the darkness.
    btw, that last line, I didn't write and whoever did didn't make a penny from me reusing it, shame.

     

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