How Copyright Is Holding Back The Creative Class

from the we're-all-the-creative-class dept

While not enough people recognize it, the real purpose of copyright law is to provide an incentive for the creation of more content. The government felt that there was a market failure, where not enough "content" would be produced without a limited monopoly, and thus, copyright was born. However, that happened back in the day when creating content wasn't easy. You pretty much had to go through a professional process. These days, thanks to new technologies, creating content is exceptionally easy -- and thus, a big part of the very basis for copyright no longer makes sense. We're drowning in content -- and it's not because of the "incentive" of copyright. There are plenty of incentives for creating content these days and very few have anything to do with copyright.

However, because of that bright line, where copyright was really designed for professional content creators, you end up with bizarre conclusions about how communications should be owned. This stems from the fact that these new technologies have blurred the boundaries between content and communications. Traditionally, professional content was about a one-to-many communication system. However, today, most content is really about many-to-many communication. This isn't new. Nearly four years ago, we pointed to some early work by Greg Lastowka and Dan Hunter (who are still doing good work in this field) pointing out how copyright law doesn't make sense for many-to-many communications.

But with that border being made increasingly blurry (and it's only going to get more so), it's causing more and more people to recognize how troublesome existing copyright law is -- because all it does is hinder that kind of communication. That is, rather than acting as incentive for content creation (as is it's basic purpose), it's instead hindering content creation. That's because it only targets one increasingly less relevant type of content creation, while hindering the increasingly more popular one. This realization is occurring to more and more people, and the latest is Jeff Jarvis, who has come to the conclusion that the "creative class" is a myth. And he's right. These days, we're all the creative class -- and copyright is holding us back.
I've long disagreed with those who say that copyright kills creativity, for I do believe that there is no scarcity of inspiration. But I now understand their position better. I also have learned that when creations are restricted it is the creator who suffers more because his creation won't find its full and true public, its spark finds no kindling, and the fire dies. The creative class, copyright, mass media, and curmudgeonly critics stop what should be a continuing process of creation; like reverse alchemists, they turn abundance into scarcity, gold into lead.
In the essay, Jarvis also dives into a fuller recognition of the economics of scarcity and abundance:
But we are shifting, too, from a culture of scarcity to one of abundance. That is the essence of the Google worldview: managing abundance. So let's assume that instead of a scarcity there is an abundance of talent and a limitless will to create but it has been tamped down by an educational system that insists on sameness; starved by a mass economic system that rewarded only a few giants; and discouraged by a critical system that anointed a closed, small creative class. Now talent of many descriptions and levels can express itself and grow. We want to create and we want to be generous with our creations. And we will get the attention we deserve. That means that crap will be ignored. It just depends on your definition of crap.
Welcome to the party, Jeff.


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  1.  
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    Michael Long, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 12:13am

    You seem to be missing a qualifier.

    You say that, "thanks to new technologies, creating content is exceptionally easy". And by and large, with computers and audio gear and camcorders and all of the other bells and whistles of the modern age, that's true.

    I maintain, however, that it's hard to create GOOD content, and exceptionally difficult to great GREAT content.

    Yes, we're drowning in "content". BAD content.

    Listen to any number of garage bands, and you'll see why they still play mostly in their garages. Most YouTube videos have all the creativity of a prat-fall, and definitely fit into the "watch once and forget" category. And 99% of all of the web sites and Facebook and MySpace pages are, relatively speaking, tasteless, boring, regurgitated crap. (An extension of Sturgeon's Law.)

    Much has been made of how great The Dark Knight was this summer, and that's true. But it's exceptional in large part BECAUSE it was exceptional. Sites like TechDirt say that "all theaters and studios have to do is make great movies" and people will go see them. But you seem to forget that all too often making a great ANYTHING is heartbreakingly difficult.

    Who, after all, starts out wanting to create something bad, to have their project fail, and have their investment in time and money wasted?

    I do believe that, as you say, there's "no scarcity of inspiration". But while there's no shortage of ideas, being able to actually translate that inspiration into something truely worth reading, watching, or hearing is a rare gift indeed.

     

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    Newob, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:45am

    Copyright law is but one pillar of the ideology that holds that distribution is a creative act and hence that unauthorized redistribution is "stealing."

    Copyright is designed to punish counterfeiters by giving a creator the right to sue unauthorized publishers or distributors. But today redistribution is not in itself counterfeit.

    The argument for copyright has evolved from a legitimate concern that someone might profit by distributing works that belong to others; to the religious belief that unauthorized copies represent a form of theft.

    Copyright law has become one of the many modes of control of the masses and isn't anymore about protecting creators. It now represents an attitude that justifies mega corporate ownership of everything, because copyrights can be bought by the highest bidder.

    Just as commerce law justifies the government withholding of goods and resources in order to maintain market prices, copyright law justifies the withholding of creative works to maintain the celebrity worship paradigm. We need our gods and our guns and our bullets or else society will crumble.

    Well that system has become poison to the very people who make it work and it will crumble too by its own cancerous workings. Society will move on, give or take a few billion people or a world war or two.

    Too bad humans were too stupid to revolt against their masters before Armageddon happened.

     

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    Douglas Fletcher, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 2:44am

    creative class

    Copyright is not holding back the creative class. It may be holding back neanderthals of the creative class who want to make money therefrom. Some of us do not worry. We create.

     

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    Douglas Fletcher, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 2:51am

    content quality

    Forty-five years ago I was in serious danger of drowning in bad content. Now I swim. Like a porpoise. You must learn to also.

     

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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Aug 9th, 2008 @ 4:13am

    Copyright respects authorship and treats it as property

    Earlier: "...The government felt that there was a market failure, where not enough "content" would be produced without a limited monopoly, and thus, copyright was born...back in the day when creating content wasn't easy...You pretty much had to go through a professional process..."

    No, "back in the day" you pretty much had to be ROYALTY, not "professional", in order to reap any benefits from your authorship, thus copyright for authors was born.

    There have been authors galore throughout history, nothing has changed that. Copyright is about a society respecting authorship through it's constitution and laws, not "to provide an incentive for the creation of more content".

    Does nobody remember that the US Constitution was a document written by greedy bastards who didn't trust each other, were afraid each would become the next monarch, and so knew that the only way to prevent another monarchy was to respect the greed to the common man, was to ennoble the common man with property rights.

    The original draft of the Declaration of Independence went: live, liberty and pursuit of property.

    Not: there is a market failure, not enough "content" is being produced without a limited monopoly, and thus, we declare copyright.

    You're confusing copyright, which is respect for the property value of authorship, and licensing the bifurcation of the free public airwaves, which is distribution. If anything, the expansion of the free public airwaves to include instant and accurate digital copying and instant world wide distribution via the Internet, copyright is more at risk, not less.

    While I appreciate you incessantly suggesting that people who own intellectual property should just get over it and change their marketing paradigm and give it away and sell advertising, you've got it ass-backwards, copyright wise. You're suggesting weakened copyright (respect for authorship) as a way of respecting stronger distribution (broadcast, or copies), but if anyone else can copy and profit from my authorship and I no longer can reap royalties, what's my incentive? If anything, the Internet begs for stronger copyright to respect the ease with which copies can be made.

    Go ahead, copy and distribute my work, populate your copy-cat web pages with my authorship, but pay me. That's copyright, and it is needed stronger now more than ever.

    Earlier: "...when creations are restricted it is the creator who suffers more because his creation won't find its full and true public, its spark finds no kindling, and the fire dies..."

    Huh? On what planet have you been hiding? Have you not seen http://www.Flickr.com/ and http://www.Lulu.com/ and so on? People are publishing directly in drives. What "restriction" on creativity or communication are you thinking of? You're complaining about the restriction on COPYING, and there is no restriction on copying, unless you think actually paying the author for the content you copy is a restriction. Oh, that bothers you? And you don't want to create your own content because ...? You are your own worst enemy, argument wise. Nothing proves your points wrong as well as you do yourself:

    Earlier: "...let's assume that instead of a scarcity there is an abundance of talent and a limitless will to create but it has been tamped down by an educational system that insists on sameness; starved by a mass economic system that rewarded only a few giants; and discouraged by a critical system that anointed a closed, small creative class. Now talent of many descriptions and levels can express itself and grow. We want to create and we want to be generous with our creations. And we will get the attention we deserve..."

    .. and that attention is called respect for our authorship and respect for authorship is called copyright.

    I'm sorry and sad that you think you live in a world where there is a creative class and the rest of us are suppressed, but if there be anything like that, it's called the monopoly of the publishing world and the corporate (second class) citizen having enough money to persuade legal authorities to favor them instead of individual (fist class) citizens. That is the problem, and taking away copyright won't kill communication monopolies, it will only kill communication autonomies. I will never share another picture on the web again if I can't reap the benefits of my authorship, I will only sell them at local art fairs.

    Earlier: "... copyrights can be bought by the highest bidder..."

    No. Copyrights can be SOLD TO the highest bidder. The difference is in respect for the authorship of property, and that's where copyright protects the individual.

    Earlier: "... copyright law justifies the withholding of creative works to maintain the celebrity worship paradigm..."

    I must have missed the withholding part. What planet are you on? This is so wrong, I can't imagine what you are referring to, and what copyright has to do with whatever it is you are complaining about. Care to resend, with examples? Thanks.

    Earlier" ... humans were too stupid to revolt against their masters ..."

    Is this a religious reference, calling on the US to be religion free?

    Earlier: "... Copyright is not holding back the creative class. It may be holding back Neanderthals of the creative class who want to make money there from. Some of us do not worry. We create...."

    Can someone help me understand what a creative class is and where I may find it? Are we talking about the movie studios or YouTube?

     

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    kiba, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 4:14am

    Re:

    No, copyright laws originated as an unholy alliance between rent-seekers and the monarchy.

    It was evolved out of the needs/want for censorship and monopolies.

    That's the dubious origin of copyright.

    Even today, it is a rent-seeker tool used to create monopolies at the expense of the public.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Aug 9th, 2008 @ 5:28am

    Re: You seem to be missing a qualifier.

    I'd say you're wrong, frankly. It does not take money or investment to create good content. It may take some time and effort to create a polished effort, but that does not equal "good". Yes, most content out there is bad, but that's no different to how things have been in the past. Have you listened to half the crap that passed as "punk" or "metal" back in the 70s? Most people trying to make music then were not Iron Maiden or the Sex Pistols either. Money != the different between "bad", "good" and "great".

    The one and only thing that's different now is exposure. Because you can now be exposed to bad home-made content as easily as you can to good professional content, that does not mean that the amateur stuff is no good, nor that copyright is helping any investment. Mike Oldfield created Tubular Bells on his own in a studio, as Fatboy Slim created many of his hit singles alone in his basement studio. Some of the greatest cinema ever made was made for less than the minimum $5m budget of most movies nowadays, even in adjusted dollars.

    "And 99% of all of the web sites and Facebook and MySpace pages are, relatively speaking, tasteless, boring, regurgitated crap."

    As is 99% of the "professional" stuff that appears. The problem is that the current copyright laws hold back the 1% of the web sites/MySpace stuff that are actually good, in favour of the 99% of crap coming from the studios. When they're doing badly, the "professionals" hide behind copyright law and blame piracy for their failing, despite the fact that it's poor quality merchandise.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 7:20am

    Copyright is not and has never been intended as a "property right". It's sole purpose was to offer a brief period of renumeration for a creator so they might have a reasonable chance to profit from their work to encourage "advancements in the arts" which would soon be available after the copyrights expiration.
    Extended copyrights as we have today is theft, theft from the advancement of man in general in favor of profits for the few.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 8:30am

    I don't quite follow the logic here

    Since it is so much easier to publish content these days in the past (as a self-published book, downloads from a web site, or audio CD-ROM), and the tools for creating content are fairly inexpensive and easy to use as well, then we shouldn't need to abandon laws prohibiting the pirating of copyrighted materials, should we? If millions of ordinary folks are able to create stuff that's just as good as the "pros", well they are free to release them into the public domain and distribute them via YouTube, or from their own web sites.

    Why do people want to do mash-ups with Star Wars films (or Led Zep songs), for example, when they can create their own space adventure movies with completely original characters and footage? Why rail against people "hoarding" copyrights when it is so easy to create and distribute original works?

     

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    Ulle, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 9:51am

    The first copyrights granted in England back in 1518 were given as grants of monopolies, guess some things haven't changed.

     

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    eleete, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 9:56am

    Childish Criminals

    Happy Birthday To You was copyrighted in 1893, more than 100 years ago. Thanks to increasing terms on copyright that song is still under copyright protection today.

    I don't think people want copyright law gone or abolished. It's rather easy to see by that example how we are not building a public interest, rather a private one.

    I should think that logical individuals would see an economic problem having to pay for work that was completed over 100 years ago, and repaying for it every time it is used.

    It's a nice welfare system if you're on the receiving end, but we don't pay people for work they did over 100 years ago. Teachers, Architects, Lawn Maintenance... the list is nearly endless. I don't believe in a system that tilts favor toward a 'content owner' so that they may make some small contribution and sit back and collect on it for over 100 years. The value of that song should have been realized in the first decade or two and allowed to become part of the public domain.

    When you think about it, that song is now benefiting people who were not even conceived when it was created. Is that how we pay people in America ? If so, I am due several delinquent checks.

    If you disagree, my advice would be to start cutting checks. Time Warner owns Happy Birthday today, so why not contact them and ask how much you owe for singing that tune to your children and friends. Each time, each year, and while you're at it, donate to RIAA for all the songs you get to 'pirate' off the airwaves too. We wouldn't want a starving artist to go without food tonight. Nor 100 years from today.

     

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    eleete, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:01am

    Re: Childish Criminals

    An interesting read on Happy Birthday, showing the murkiness of who really applied the music to the words.

    http://www.snopes.com/music/songs/birthday.asp

     

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    eleete, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:05am

    Re: Re: Childish Criminals

    And here is how ASCAP views our singing Happy Birthday.

    If you do it in an restaurant — and if the restaurant hasn't already worked out a deal with ASCAP — you may be engaging in copyright infringement.
    How Can I Help Stop Infringement?

    The best way to stop infringement is to tell the authorities and the owners so that they can follow up and arrange for a license and for royalties to be paid. Licenses for Happy Birthday are controlled by ASCAP. While monetary royalties will be negligible for a single restaurant performance, it is the principle that is at stake.

    If you have seen someone singing Happy Birthday in a restaurant, a park, or at a school, you should tell ASCAP so that they can arrange for a license. If you are an offender, you should apologize and offer to pay whatever is due — a nickel, a quarter, a dollar — whatever ASCAP demands.

    There is an overwhelming amount of copyright infringement of Happy Birthday. Let's right the balance and tell ASCAP about every one of these violations!

    http://www.unhappybirthday.com/

     

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    eleete, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 10:09am

    Re: Childish Criminals

    Just caught my own error, the song was composed in 1893 and says it was not produced and copyrighted til 1935 and will remain under copyright until at least 2030.

     

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    harvardjanitor7, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:14am

    erm stupid

    no matter what "evidence" you put out, you'll never be able to argue with the fact that without copyright laws, original pieces of work would just get ripped off, causing artist and inventors to lose money they deserve.

     

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    John Wilson, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 11:42am

    Re: Copyright respects authorship and treats it as property

    There's much in your comment that makes a degree of sense, or would if you hadn't started off with the blatant myth that copyright treats authorship as property.

    What copyright was intended to do in the US, as it was in England, is to provide an income for authors for a limited period of time by granting a monopoly on who could distribute it. That was done, as has been mentioned to death here, to encourage authors. (The same is true of copyright in England post Queen Anne.)

    Nor does copyright have diddly squat to do with censorship or the rights of a sovereign state to do as it basically wishes. Governments conveniently excuse themselves from actually having to respect copyrights or patents for a laundry list of reasons.

    OK...all that stated.

    What has been said is that people wrote before copyright and will continue to write once the current copyright regime dies a well deserved death.

    The giants will still emerge and still earn money, lots of it, from their work as they always have.

    There will be plenty of trash around, as there is now.

    And a lot of middle ground stuff which is the growing part now.

    As the article states copyright is intended for a world in which communication of the written work is a one to many proposition. (This includes software by the way.) And it works fine for that.

    Problem is that the rise of the Internet has put paid to that model as the only form of communication. What we have now is many to many, as the article states and the current model of copyright written with the one to many model in mind, is no longer helpful it is, in fact, a hinderance.

    Everyone, potentially, is a creator and publisher and distributor these days.

    End runs around copyright have come along like Creative Commons and reciprocal software licenseing like the GPL but they are still end runs.

    Large and influencial businesses built on the one to many concept feel, rightly, threatened and are lashing out at those "fool enough" to promote the many to many model often with the arrogant and untrue claim of protecting creators.

    The very way we commuincate is changing and copyright law either has to return to its roots as a protector of creators rather than distributors and keep the grant of monopoly as short as is prossible for the sake of the creator and not a distributor or it will rapidly fall into even more disrepute than it's in now.

    The sure and certain hint that this is happening is the increasing attempts at criminalizing what is, in essence, a civil matter. Even more outstanding is that advocates of this method appear in courts claiming they don't actually have to prove a "crime" actually happened just the suspicions that it "sorta, kinda, mighta" happened and that the accused "sorta, mighta, kinda" did it.

    Big business replaces monarchy, your term, but even more a new monarchy that rules by divine right of size in the marketplace. Just as dangerous, I submit.

    Copyright is not a grant of property and never has been. It's a grant of protection of income to promote creativity for a limited time.

    The term intellectual property is a fraud -- period full stop.

    (That should get MLS's attention though recall he makes an income from that fraudulant terminology.)

    ttfn

    John

     

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    Robert Anselmo, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 12:09pm

    Copyrights

    Copyrights by Robert Anselmo at August 9, 2008, 11:53 am The reason for copyright law is for the protection of intellectual material from "Copyright Pirates" who, because of a lack of time, a lack of creativity, a lack of knowledge or to profit in some manner, will "steal" or "borrow" someone's creative work product and use it for thier own purposes without permission of compensation. Everyone is generally aware that the creative work product includes entertainment material such as stories, movies, music, etc. It also includes the costly and creative work done when creating software. Because "Copyright Pirates" taking another work product without permission and/or compensation, copyright laws need to be strengthened. Maybe a solution is to have a two -tier system of copyright laws; one tier for creative work product as it currently exists while the other tier is a modified copyright law to allow mass communication within certain narrow media channels so that communications can occur without violation. The problem is that someone will try to take another's creative work product and say that it is "mass communications" and therefore they can freely use it.

     

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    eleete, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 12:11pm

    Re: erm stupid

    I would argue that I don't want copyright gone or abolished, rather, I'd like it relaxed. To grant an individual or corporation a monopoly for the life of their existence Plus 70 years is certainly egregious. Again, if it does make sense, then let's start paying our teachers, architects... in the same manner. Suddenly it won't make sense anymore.

     

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    EssenceofZen, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:19pm

    Technology has been increasing exponentially faster than the policy and laws can keep up. Since we're going through a transformation into a purely digital (or electronic) media age, "counterfeits" do not actually need to exist. Since they are the original copies of many of the materials. I would go as far as to argue that if you create a electronic copy of something, you must assume that it already has been distributed to infinity. Why? Because it can be distributed as many times as you may or may not like. I think this inability to control it is quite frightening to large organiztions. Furthermore, I would go as far as to blame them if they made the original file. I would say its like throwing dollars into the air and then demanding the police arrest whoever grabs those dollars.

    Back to policy and law. These large organizations are fighting a Machaivelli-style battle in a Sun Tzu front. In essence, it is the Fourth Generation Warfare of online activity. Except their war is already lost by the vastness of cyberspace and neglect (or possibly ignorance?) to the expansion of technology. Ultimately the laws are going to change. And the laws aren't going to change in their favor. The only people I see really whining about these things are the lawyer-based organizations of the recording industry, motion picture industry and publishing industry.

    I don't think they can handle the fact that people are getting information and entertainment for free (and legal) anymore. I hope more entertainers, artists, authors, etc. go independant and offer their work for free. Not so much for my benefit but to stick it to these for-profit based groups.

    Last, I think this term 'piracy' is extremely ridiculous and laughable. I guess, I'll remember to sue anyone that copies my images onto their hard drive and call them 'pirates'. If I leave my newspaper in a coffee shop and someone else takes it an hour later, is that stealing?

     

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    Michael Long, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:24pm

    Re: Re: You seem to be missing a qualifier.

    "It does not take money or investment to create good content. It may take some time and effort..."

    And that time and effort is an investment in the work. At traditional production rates, an author needs a year to write a book. If doing it full time, then he also needs to pay the rent, buy food, and so on during that period.

    Creating ANYTHING worthwhile takes time and effort. And to invest that time and effort you must have the ability and resources to do so.

    "The problem is that the current copyright laws hold back the 1% of the web sites/MySpace stuff that are actually good.."

    How? If it's good, creative, original content, then how does copyright hold it back?

    "Mike Oldfield created Tubular Bells on his own in a studio ... Some of the greatest cinema ever made..."

    Operative word, "some". I also never said you had to be a professional. But to be exceptional (which your examples are), you do have to be good. Really, really, good.

    "When they're doing badly, the "professionals" hide behind copyright law..."

    When they're doing badly, they're doing badly, period. "Hiding" behind copyright makes no difference whatsoever, as no one wants their junk anyway.

    However, it's amusing just how many people decry the quality of existing music and movies, insist that it's crap... and then fill up their iPods and listen to it and watch it anyway.

    Rationalizations abound.

     

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    ManagementHasNoStay, Aug 9th, 2008 @ 1:25pm

    Textbook Publishers vs. The Sudents

    The RIAA could learn a thing or two from the textbook publishing industry. However, I find it particularly very strange that none of these cases or stories have ever made it mainstream or public knowledge...

    Check out

    www.nysun.com/new-york/this-detectives-mysteries-involve-real-life-books/49753/

    And

    www.au ctionbytes.com/cab/abn/y05/m04/i25/s02

    They successfully sued a college student at Georgia Tech for copyright infringement with a judgment about $210,000 and $100,000 in attorney fees. This was only after he telephoned the plaintiff's attorneys to discuss a amicable settlement and, according to court documents, disclose his personal bank statements, etc. All this was over sending out portable document format (PDF) files. …

    Check out Pearson Education, Inc., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Thomson Learning Inc., The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; v. Nadir Knyane

    The defendant is being sued for allegedly distributing two (that's 2) instructor solution manuals as stated in the complaint. Only Pearson and John Wiley are itemized with the 2 allegedly distributed files. So why is Thomson and McGraw-Hill listed in the lawsuit?

    Check out

    Pearson Education, Inc., John Wiley & Sons, Inc., Thomson Learning Inc., The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.; Defendant v. Yi Shi

    The defendant, a college student in Missouri, is being sued for allegedly distributing homework assignments and foreign edition textbooks of 19 texts. Wow, so lesson learned, you can't distribute your homework without the expressed written permission of the publishers I guess. Actually, that could be reasoning for not turning in your homework on time.

    All of these lawsuits are from last year (September 2007). There's many, many more but going over all of them would take too long. Plus to read them you need access to LexusNexus and other legal website access.

    It seems to me that these are filed quite systematic. I find it very strange and unusual that a large majority of these lawsuits are filed by one attorney. Furthermore, I find it equally strange that they are all filed in the Southern District of New York. Unlike the Recording Industry, who sends it to the defendant's state of residence with counsel in that state, this is not the case.

    Since the publishers are concerned about people photocopying 'their' stuff and distributing it electronically why are they making their materials exclusively electronic? Why are they filing lawsuits on the basis of this?

    Also, popular McGraw-Hill text (named in a previous lawsuit against students) resource says this right next to the copyright “The contents of, or parts thereof, may be reproduced for use with [textbook name] provided such reproductions bear copyright notice and may be reproduced in any form for any other purpose without permission of the publisher...

    Isn't it funny how none of these stories truly make it mainstream or to public knowledge? A kid with a judgement larger than the RIAA lawsuit doesn't even make a bleep. With about 50 lawsuits filed in the last year, and settlements (according to court documents and an enforcement agent) of up to "five figures", or specified in one court case that settlements are between $700 - $70,000.

    Paul Newman put it best in Cool Hand Luke, "Wish you'd stop bein' so good to me, Captain."

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Aug 9th, 2008 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re: Copyright respects authorship and treats it as property

    Damn, John. You have more patience that I could muster. Well done.

     

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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Aug 10th, 2008 @ 4:11am

    Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    I can't figure out what each of us believes anymore, so I have no idea where the arguments are come from or are going to.

    I think there is much confusion about non-copyright issues, such as a creative class, publishing monopolies, the US FBI and US Customs pursuing copyright infringement of commercial products prompted by those publishing monopolies, the fear of theft from the public if an author holds or withholds their own copyright works, the fear of drying up the culture if copyright is maintained, expanded, reduced, or repealed (hey, let's do all four - hahaha). There's hatred of copyright because it is connected with historical monarchies, and respect for copyright because it is a revolutionary declaration (US and French to be specific) that all people have rights once only tendered to a sovereign. There's the perpetual confusion of patents, trademarks, and copyrights in the minds of authors, intellectual property holders, lawyers, and the general public, let alone in the minds of the government (US executive, judiciary, legislative branches, what to other governments do?).

    Great that Creative Commons was mentioned, which quickly empowers anyone, especially the common author of digital works, to specify their preference for copy rights and wrongs of their work (intellectual property, personal property, even if respected as singularly owned for a brief period, but universally respected as property nonetheless).

    Hardly mentioned are international treaties.

    ==

    I summarize for me: All I'm saying is, if I am the author of any work, respect it as mine, obey my preferences on copying it, including paying me to copy it if I stipulate that I want payment for copying (or don;t copy it, move on, and create your own, or copy someone else's). Respect me as owner of my authored works throughout my life and the life of my first assignee.

    While I appreciate others objecting to such long copyrights, I think your arguments prove my point - that my authored work has value, and anyone who wants to reap the benefits of that value should pay me what I ask. when I and my interests (including the interests of my first assignee) are gone (we each die), then my interests are gone, and you can have at it without paying me anymore. Otherwise the theft is real value from me, where you are not paying me for my work, and slave labor is universally illegal.

    You can disagree, but please, tell us what you prefer as society's way of implementing and respecting authorship and copyright to control copies of one's authored works therein. Thanks.

     

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    Bignumone, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 6:17am

    Another reason why copyright is good!

    I have a bunch of examples as to how copyrighting can be good. Because it is the best way to illustrate it, I will do this by example.
    Harry Potter was a pretty good series of books/movies. The characters were fun, the plot fairly compelling, and the story was unique and original. It was not immediately as popular as you see today, but took some time and effort to develop a following.
    After the popularity of the series was out of control, suddenly every book and TV show had something to do with schools for witches and wizards (most were pretty much garbage). But you still knew the original by the characters and the names of the creatures and the school.
    I had heard, even, that in Japan the copyright was violated and they had written in junk such as Harry and Hermione having sex. For a moment, "we're all the creative class dept.", imagine your most favorite creations being perverted like that. Also imagine you are the audience of that creation. Imagine how confused you could become by all the "Harry Potter" look-alike books that are really not up to your standards. (Do you really believe that people will not try to copy your creation to get money? Striking while the iron is hot?) Now your livelihood is put at stake because someone has in effect stolen your creation. Would it be worth putting years of effort creating something like that if, as it becomes popular, someone could just come in and ruin the whole concept. Poisoning the well for people to read the stories in the future.
    You know, creativity is more than spewing out crap. It is coming up with new and original ideas. Real creativity is singular, it is not something that can really be copied. Have you noticed how few really different movies there are? The movie makers have even gone to reworking old ideas. You really only get a few truly original movie ideas in a decade.
    Being really creative is hard. I can't do it. When I try, I find I am just rehashing someone else's idea.
    I am not sure how far you are talking about restricting copyrights, maybe some restrictions would be good. But another of my list of reason copyrights (and patents) can be good is the benefit to the consumer.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 6:38am

    pointless drivel with no clearly offered solution!

     

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    DMNTD, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 7:17am

    Thoughts are free....

    "One way to get there is to question the copyright myth. Copying isn't theft, and it isn't piracy. It's what we did for millenia until the invention of copyright, and we can do it again, if we don't hobble ourselves with the antiquated remnants of a censorship system from the sixteenth century."

    http://www.questioncopyright.org/promise

     

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    MLS, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 10:02am

    Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    "I can't figure out what each of us believes anymore, so I have no idea where the arguments are come from or are going to."

    An honest observation that I wish others would openly acknowledge as well. Perhaps then a debate could take place where reason rules and emotion is relegated to the sidelines.

    As a lawyer intimately familiar with copyright law at all levels (philosophical underpinnings, history, implementation by law, variations on an international level, treaties, etc.), I first took a look at this site in April or so to try and gain an understanding of how others view copyright law. For example, the attitudes concerning P2P were truly perplexing. I would like to think I am now better informed, but the truth of the matter is that this is far from the case. The "it's theft...no it's not", "it's property...no it's not", "I am being held back in my creativity because of copyright law...no you aren't", and other similar diagreements seem to be to overlook (or perhaps disingenuously ignore) a more fundamental question. Are there certain classes/groups in society who place a higher value on any restraint of their "liberty" than that of an author (e.g., a book, music, film, software, etc.) who only naturally seeks the opportunity to attempt to profit in some manner for their time and effort expended creating a new and original work of authorship (which for purposes of law have been characterized as "property".

    Professer Epstein at the University of Chicago several years ago published a paper entitled "Liberty versus Property" that delves into many of these issues. I would find it quite reassuring for a debate on the merits/demerits of current copyright law to take place with his comments foremost in the minds of those on both sides of the issue. The same can be said for the work of Professor Mossoff.

    To understand an issue one must be prepared to seriously entertain the views of those who what devoted their professional careers to carefully studying all sides of of an issue. Copyright is no exception.

    Personally, I find it much more informative to interact with experts in the field, as opposed to those who have merely a limited understanding of the issue and advance positions that are difficult to comprehend and chocked full of intellectual inconsistencies. It is indeed unfortunate that those with a limited understanding appear unwilling to accept that copyright law is filled with nuances, and it is by appreciating these nuances that a meaningful debate can take place.

    Until this happens I must agree with your sentiment.

     

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    kiba, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 11:43am

    Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    That's your justification for monopolies? You got to do better than "it is my work so please respect my wishes".

    Defender of monopolies have to justify such privileges since they assert that they need the monopolies.

     

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    MLS, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    By "monopolies" I presume you mean any grant by a sovereign government of a "right" to a specific member/group of the public. In the context of patent and copyright law this would embrace the 5 rights conferred under patents and the 6 rights conferred under copyright. In the context of other sovereign grants I presume this would similarly extend to the allocation of the broadcast spectrum, oil drilling grants, tree harvesting grants, land grants via land patents, mineral exploration grants, restricted licenses for hunting animals, etc. It is noteworthy that in all of these latter examples select individuals are enabled to exploit various resources to the exclusion of the public at large. Like authors and inventors, the holders of these various grants will naturally expend considerable time and effort to try and secure the resource. Like authors and inventors, no guarantee is provided from such grants that the time and effort will yield anything of value, but if perchance the time and effort pans out such that something of value is obtained, then they are positioned to exclusively exploit the fruits of their labor.

    Given the general tenor of remarks by those opposed to the concept of patent and copyright grants because they represent monopolies, then I presume that the same logic applies with respect to all other forms of government grants of the type as generally noted above.

    Let me take this one step further. It seems that many here seem to believe that somehow "property" and "law" are separate and distinct concepts. May I be so bold as to suggest they are not, for without the arm of the law being available for enforcing property rights the entire concept of property fails within those societies that eschew the notion that "might is right" and "self-help" should be the order of the day.

     

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    Kiba, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    Perhaps you misunderstand. We don't think of copyright and patent as property rights. We think of them as monopolies privileges infringing on private property rights.

    Granted, some of these are narrow monopolies, but monopolies they are.

     

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    MLS, Aug 10th, 2008 @ 10:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    "We don't think..."
    "We think..."

    I am not at all clear on why you have chosen to use the plural "we" in lieu of the singular "I".

    "...monopolies privileges infringing on private property rights."

    Please try and overlook my ignorance, but I am at a loss trying to understand the point you are making. For example, if I were to recieve a patent covering an improved method for manufacturing a "flex circuit board", what private property right would I be infringing by virtue of having received a patent? Obviously, I may very well infringe the rights of one or more persons who hold patents on prior methods associated with the manufacture of "flex circuit boards", but since you have stated your opinion that such pre-existing patents are not rightfully characterized as private property, then precisely what do you consider to be private property rights that I would be infringing?

    The very same thing can be said for other government grants of the type I noted above that do not involve either patent or copyright law. Here in Florida the state each year holds a lottery and issues a limited number or alligator hunting licenses authorizing each license holder to "harvest" about two alligators. Each hunter has been granted a very limited government authorization that is denied to every other member of the public. These other members of the public can look at gators, but they cannot hunt them and profit from an unlicensed "harvest".

    Since wild animals, so called animals "Feræ naturæ, are by law incapable of being considered "property" unless and until captured, and since only those with a duly issued license are authorized by law to attempt such capture, what possible private property right is at stake and infringed by the issuance of these very few hunting licenses?

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 1:29am

    Re: Copyright respects authorship and treats it as property

    No, "back in the day" you pretty much had to be ROYALTY, not "professional", in order to reap any benefits from your authorship, thus copyright for authors was born.

    Did you miss the part where I was talking about *post* copyright. Yes, apparently you did.

    There have been authors galore throughout history, nothing has changed that. Copyright is about a society respecting authorship through it's constitution and laws, not "to provide an incentive for the creation of more content".

    No. I'm sorry but you are simply wrong. Copyright has never been about respecting authorship. It has always been an incentive system for the creation of more content.

    Check up on your history.

    Does nobody remember that the US Constitution was a document written by greedy bastards who didn't trust each other, were afraid each would become the next monarch, and so knew that the only way to prevent another monarchy was to respect the greed to the common man, was to ennoble the common man with property rights.

    Copyright was not considered a property right at the time (that was only much, much later). To the framers it was a monopoly right granted for the purpose of incentivizing more content.

    Not: there is a market failure, not enough "content" is being produced without a limited monopoly, and thus, we declare copyright.

    Uh, seriously. Go read your history.

    While I appreciate you incessantly suggesting that people who own intellectual property should just get over it and change their marketing paradigm and give it away and sell advertising, you've got it ass-backwards, copyright wise. You're suggesting weakened copyright (respect for authorship) as a way of respecting stronger distribution (broadcast, or copies), but if anyone else can copy and profit from my authorship and I no longer can reap royalties, what's my incentive? If anything, the Internet begs for stronger copyright to respect the ease with which copies can be made.

    Your incentive is to make use of all the other business models that your competitors are also using. Notice how we're seeing more and more bands making money while embracing file sharing?

    What's their incentive? How about those other business models.

    Laziness and a failure to adopt a new business model is no excuse. Pretending there are no other incentives is pure willful blindness on your part.


    Go ahead, copy and distribute my work, populate your copy-cat web pages with my authorship, but pay me. That's copyright, and it is needed stronger now more than ever.


    Mmhmm. Until your competitors all embrace these other business models and no one is willing to pay you because you're clinging to an ancient obsolete business model.

    Huh? On what planet have you been hiding?

    I didn't say that quote, Jeff Jarvis did. But, he's right.

    Have you not seen http://www.Flickr.com/ and http://www.Lulu.com/ and so on? People are publishing directly in drives. What "restriction" on creativity or communication are you thinking of? You're complaining about the restriction on COPYING, and there is no restriction on copying, unless you think actually paying the author for the content you copy is a restriction.

    No, what Jeff is recognizing is that true creativity is built on the backs of those who came before. Or are you suggesting that your creativity does not owe a debt of gratitude to those who came before you? Do you pay them each time you create something? Then you are a hypocrite.

    And you don't want to create your own content because ...?

    Huh? Which part of this being about creating more content did you not get?

    Or are you so elitist that you think building content on top of what others have done isn't actually content?

    If so, then you are way too far gone.

    .. and that attention is called respect for our authorship and respect for authorship is called copyright.

    Please, please please learn your history. Copyright has never been about respect of authorship.

    You are confusing plagiarism with copyright. It's a common mistake, but it doesn't help your argument, since it's wrong.

    I'm sorry and sad that you think you live in a world where there is a creative class and the rest of us are suppressed

    Um, dude, go back and READ before you spew. The point I made was the exact opposite of that. Everyone is the creative class. That was the point.

    In your rush to yell in anger, not only have you got your facts and history wrong, you didn't even see what the post was about.

    Nice work. That takes talent.

    I will never share another picture on the web again if I can't reap the benefits of my authorship, I will only sell them at local art fairs.

    Good luck with that business model. When your competitors are all putting their content online and making a lot more money than you, perhaps you'll reconsider.

    I must have missed the withholding part. What planet are you on? This is so wrong, I can't imagine what you are referring to, and what copyright has to do with whatever it is you are complaining about. Care to resend, with examples? Thanks.


    Again, you are responding to a comment by Jeff Jarvis, not me (apparently reading comprehension is not your forte).

    But the fact that copyright is being used to stop all sorts of new music from being made is a pretty good example.

    Can someone help me understand what a creative class is and where I may find it? Are we talking about the movie studios or YouTube?

    Again, try a little reading comprehension. The point is that there isn't a creative class.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 1:31am

    Re: erm stupid

    no matter what "evidence" you put out, you'll never be able to argue with the fact that without copyright laws, original pieces of work would just get ripped off, causing artist and inventors to lose money they deserve.

    How is it "losing" money if they put in place business models where they use the "ripped off" content as promotion that pushes them towards a business model that makes them more money?

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 1:34am

    Re: Copyrights

    The reason for copyright law is for the protection of intellectual material from "Copyright Pirates" who, because of a lack of time, a lack of creativity, a lack of knowledge or to profit in some manner, will "steal" or "borrow" someone's creative work product and use it for thier own purposes without permission of compensation.

    Well, it's nice that you believe that, but that's untrue. The purpose was to encourage the creation of more content.

    And, it's rather wrong and elitist to suggest that someone else building on the works of another is stealing. After all, in your own creative endeavors you are also building on the works of others.

    Because "Copyright Pirates" taking another work product without permission and/or compensation, copyright laws need to be strengthened.

    Nope, try again. That's only because some businesses have made the mistake of making their business model reliant on an obsolete system. Those who have learned to embrace the free promotion of their work by fans, and who have put in place business models that take advantage of that are doing great.

    The idea that copyright is necessary is an easily disproved myth.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 1:39am

    Re: Re: Re: You seem to be missing a qualifier.

    And that time and effort is an investment in the work. At traditional production rates, an author needs a year to write a book. If doing it full time, then he also needs to pay the rent, buy food, and so on during that period.

    Mmhmm. And most authors today, how do they do that? Most first time authors don't have any support already, so it's not as if that scenario would change at all. But if they're successful, the next book can get paid for (in fact, that's exactly how most of book publishing works today -- with "advances"). Why that changes without copyright, you haven't explained.

    Creating ANYTHING worthwhile takes time and effort. And to invest that time and effort you must have the ability and resources to do so.

    Yes, but nothing in that says you need an artificial monopoly to get those resources, so I'm not sure why you keep insisting you do.

    We've had this discussion before (just last week, as I recall).

    How? If it's good, creative, original content, then how does copyright hold it back?

    Heh. You honestly think that content isn't based on the works of those who came before? Sorry. There is no "original" content. It's all built on the works of those before. Yet, copyright limits how that can be done.


    Operative word, "some". I also never said you had to be a professional. But to be exceptional (which your examples are), you do have to be good. Really, really, good.


    What does that have to do with copyright?

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 1:44am

    Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    All I'm saying is, if I am the author of any work, respect it as mine, obey my preferences on copying it, including paying me to copy it if I stipulate that I want payment for copying (or don;t copy it, move on, and create your own, or copy someone else's). Respect me as owner of my authored works throughout my life and the life of my first assignee.

    Sure. But if that means that your competitors all clean your clock by embracing business models that don't rely on such draconian control, you'll change your tune pretty quickly (except, by then it'll probably be too late).

    While I appreciate others objecting to such long copyrights, I think your arguments prove my point - that my authored work has value, and anyone who wants to reap the benefits of that value should pay me what I ask. when I and my interests (including the interests of my first assignee) are gone (we each die), then my interests are gone, and you can have at it without paying me anymore. Otherwise the theft is real value from me, where you are not paying me for my work, and slave labor is universally illegal.

    No one denies that authored works have value (who suggested that?!?). What we're saying is why do you get a complete monopoly over the work, when a much greater creativity could spring from freeing it up -- and that in doing so you could also derive much greater value from it as well.

    And the comment about slave labor is totally meaningless. No one is saying work for nothing. They're saying choose a better business model.

    You can disagree, but please, tell us what you prefer as society's way of implementing and respecting authorship and copyright to control copies of one's authored works therein. Thanks.

    What's control got to do with it? We're talking about expanding creativity while putting in place better business models for creators. If there's more creativity out there and you're able to make more money from it, I think you should find that to be plenty of "respect."

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 1:48am

    Re: Another reason why copyright is good!

    For a moment, "we're all the creative class dept.", imagine your most favorite creations being perverted like that.

    That's not a copyright issue, it's a trademark issue, but thanks for playing.

    Imagine how confused you could become by all the "Harry Potter" look-alike books that are really not up to your standards.

    And then you focus on showing people how yours is the original authentic one, and it increases the value of it.

    Now your livelihood is put at stake because someone has in effect stolen your creation.

    No, actually, the value of "authentic" versions becomes even greater -- and more people become aware of the stories because of all the knockoffs.

    This isn't just a random theory, it's proven fact in the fashion industry, where knockoffs have helped GROW the industry and increase how much people are willing to pay for the real thing.

    Damn that reality.

    Would it be worth putting years of effort creating something like that if, as it becomes popular, someone could just come in and ruin the whole concept.

    Yes, if you're in a position to do better because of it.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 1:55am

    Re: Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    An honest observation that I wish others would openly acknowledge as well. Perhaps then a debate could take place where reason rules and emotion is relegated to the sidelines.


    Funny that you say this MLS. Because every time we use logic on you concerning copyright, you come back with an emotional argument about how we're all a bunch of immoral kids with no respect.

    When you learn to grow up yourself and debate logically with reason instead of emotion, then we'll take you seriously when you demand the same of us.

    Are there certain classes/groups in society who place a higher value on any restraint of their "liberty" than that of an author (e.g., a book, music, film, software, etc.) who only naturally seeks the opportunity to attempt to profit in some manner for their time and effort expended creating a new and original work of authorship

    Ah, MLS, we've discussed this to death. Why do you assume (falsely, again) that that "class" needs to seek profit via a gov't granted monopoly? They don't.

    Stop pretending they do and maybe we can stop having this silly debate every day. But, alas, you'll return to your "emotional" argument about morality.

    It's tiresome.


    To understand an issue one must be prepared to seriously entertain the views of those who what devoted their professional careers to carefully studying all sides of of an issue. Copyright is no exception.


    And yet, when we presented you with some such scholars, without even reading what they had written, you called them "nutty."

    You do this sort of thing frequently. When people disagree with you, they're immoral and nutty -- and when called on your double standards, you play innocent, and claim you're just trying to "understand."

    Uh huh. We understand hypocrisy just fine.

    Personally, I find it much more informative to interact with experts in the field, as opposed to those who have merely a limited understanding of the issue and advance positions that are difficult to comprehend and chocked full of intellectual inconsistencies. It is indeed unfortunate that those with a limited understanding appear unwilling to accept that copyright law is filled with nuances, and it is by appreciating these nuances that a meaningful debate can take place.


    We discuss these "nuances" all the time -- and somehow, whenever we point out that these nuances do little to counter the overall argument, you resort to your usual double standards and name calling or other childish behavior.

     

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    cram, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 2:23am

    a few points

    Hi Mike

    "But if they're successful, the next book can get paid for (in fact, that's exactly how most of book publishing works today -- with "advances"). Why that changes without copyright, you haven't explained."

    No publishing house would pay an author advance money if they are not going to be assured the exclusive right to publish that work. Why do you keep insisting that this is not a problem? Surely you know how the industry works.

    If a dozen or more different publishers can put out my book without having to pay me, won't it eat into my sales? Why do you naively assume that won't be the case?

    And more importantly, why should I, as a publisher, be expected to allow another publisher to compete with me using the same work for which I have paid an author advance money, spent more on marketing, tied up distribution? Publishers are more than willing to compete with each other in wooing readers for their offerings, but exclusivity of content is key.

    What you are suggesting is a lose-lose business model - the publisher and the author both stand to lose.

    "Heh. You honestly think that content isn't based on the works of those who came before? Sorry. There is no "original" content. It's all built on the works of those before. Yet, copyright limits how that can be done."

    Oh, so there's no original content? If that were the case, every author should be getting his ass sued by publishing companies since they are all infringing on someone else's copyrighted work. Strange that isn't happening.

    And could you please explain how so much quality content was produced in the past 100 years despite copyright "limiting how it can all be done"?

    Also, I have raised this point earlier, which you haven't asnwered: if the Mike Masnick model is so awesome, why aren't more authors adopting it? No one's stopping them. After all, copyright and public domain can co-exist, can't they? And no one is required by law to copyright all his creative output.

    I think it's because self-publishing is often not an option, marketing and publicity require a lot of financial muscle, distribution is a pain, printing runs require a lot of upfront investment. Why do you stubbornly refuse to address the issues?

    Now that we all have the Internet, everyone who has a book inside him (reportedly 81% of all people) can become an author. But most of us still need the publishing industry to become a widely read author making money from printed books. And if copyright goes, that will become more and more difficult, if not impossible.

    Over to you.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 3:36am

    Re: a few points

    No publishing house would pay an author advance money if they are not going to be assured the exclusive right to publish that work.

    Really?

    Why do you keep insisting that this is not a problem?

    Because there's evidence that it's not a problem. They will still pay for the rights.

    Surely you know how the industry works.

    Yes, I do. That's why I know that W.W. Norton paid good money to the U.S. gov't to get the publishing rights to the 9/11 commission report, even though there was no copyright on it, and other publishers rushed out their own versions soon after.

    Yet, W.W. Norton still made out like a bandit by being first, where it dominated sales. And even after others entered the market, the W.W. Norton version was the leading seller -- even though it was MORE EXPENSIVE than the other publishers.

    So, you're simply wrong. Publishers would still pay for the initial rights. I know because they have despite your false claim that they wouldn't. And they'll continue to do so as they put in place even better business models that won't be as easy to copy.

    If a dozen or more different publishers can put out my book without having to pay me, won't it eat into my sales? Why do you naively assume that won't be the case?

    Again, because there's evidence that your assumption is wrong.

    And more importantly, why should I, as a publisher, be expected to allow another publisher to compete with me using the same work for which I have paid an author advance money, spent more on marketing, tied up distribution?

    Well, if you don't, someone else will, and they'll reap the rewards. And then you go out of business, but everyone else is better off.

    I don't have a problem with that. If you want to cling to a bad business model, that's your problem.

    What you are suggesting is a lose-lose business model - the publisher and the author both stand to lose.

    But I only see a win-win. The originating publisher profits greatly, as does the original author. And if anything the "copy-cat" publishers just help drive more attention to the authentic version. And, if the publisher and author are smart, they put in place a good business model that gives you a reason to buy from them instead of a copycat.

    Oh, so there's no original content? If that were the case, every author should be getting his ass sued by publishing companies since they are all infringing on someone else's copyrighted work. Strange that isn't happening.

    Don't be ridiculous. It's a question of a degree. I said all content is based on earlier works. Not that it infringes on the copyright of earlier works.

    Why do we need a standard concerning what sorts of creative works are allowed vs which aren't? Do we allow something like "The Wind Done Gone?" which was a great creative work, but which got sued for copyright infringement? Why should we even have to make that decision?

    Also, I have raised this point earlier, which you haven't asnwered: if the Mike Masnick model is so awesome, why aren't more authors adopting it? No one's stopping them. After all, copyright and public domain can co-exist, can't they? And no one is required by law to copyright all his creative output.

    I did answer this before, just as I've answered all of your questions before. It strikes me as odd that you seem to pretend otherwise.

    As for the answer, more and more authors ARE adopting it. We've pointed out a bunch, in fact. But it takes time for these ideas to permeate, because many are used to the myth that copyright is necessary and rely on that crutch. So you get folks like yourself who, despite having this explained to them at length, prefer to put on blinders. So these things take time.

    But as the point of this post showed, copyright IS actually harming some of those business models by LIMITING what people can do with content.

    Why do you stubbornly refuse to address the issues?


    I have addressed it. Why do you stubbornly refuse to admit that it's been addressed? I'm guessing it's because you don't like the answers. But that doesn't mean that the answers are wrong. Just that you have trouble accepting them. Your loss.

    Now that we all have the Internet, everyone who has a book inside him (reportedly 81% of all people) can become an author. But most of us still need the publishing industry to become a widely read author making money from printed books. And if copyright goes, that will become more and more difficult, if not impossible.

    W.W. Norton seems to disagree.

    Oh yeah, as does Random House. After all, they did the same deal as W.W. Norton on the Iraq Study Commission report, and they made a ton of money off of it.

    According to you, that's impossible.

    Oops.

     

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  41.  
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    cram, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 4:36am

    typical

    Hi Mike

    Thanks for your typical response. Couldn't have expected anything less.

    "No publishing house would pay an author advance money if they are not going to be assured the exclusive right to publish that work.

    Really?"

    What kind of an answer is that? Can you give me a plain answer why a publishing house will want to give an author a huge advance, knowing fully well they will have no exclusive right to that work?

    "Why do you keep insisting that this is not a problem?

    Because there's evidence that it's not a problem. They will still pay for the rights."

    Where is the evidence? How many publishing houses have embraced this model? How many popular writers are currently following this model? You can't point to the Norton 9/11 report as evidence that the entire industry is following this lead.

    "Surely you know how the industry works.

    Yes, I do. That's why I know that W.W. Norton paid good money to the U.S. gov't to get the publishing rights to the 9/11 commission report, even though there was no copyright on it, and other publishers rushed out their own versions soon after."

    You claim to know how the industry works but keep coming up with this same example. Can you do better and point out another example, like a fiction author who has followed this lead?

    As for the Norton report, surely you know how riled other publishers because the government did exactly what you are railing against: it gave Norton an unfair advantage by granting them the rights to publish what everyone knew was a sureshot.

    "So, you're simply wrong. Publishers would still pay for the initial rights. I know because they have despite your false claim that they wouldn't."

    They have? Like who? Can you name any publisher or author who has followed this lead? And who's making a false claim here, you or me? How many authors have been able to sell publishing rights in this fashion? Please name them.
    I am talking about individual authors who stand to lose, not a government putting out a report which example you use to claim a trend. I don't see any trend.

    "And they'll continue to do so as they put in place even better business models that won't be as easy to copy."

    Handwaving alert! What business models are you talking about?

    "If a dozen or more different publishers can put out my book without having to pay me, won't it eat into my sales? Why do you naively assume that won't be the case?

    Again, because there's evidence that your assumption is wrong."

    Where? Where's the evidence to disprove my assumption? Please correct me and dispel my ignorance (no, not the Norton story again please).

    "And more importantly, why should I, as a publisher, be expected to allow another publisher to compete with me using the same work for which I have paid an author advance money, spent more on marketing, tied up distribution?

    Well, if you don't, someone else will, and they'll reap the rewards. And then you go out of business, but everyone else is better off."


    How will "someone else" do so and "reap the rewards" when it's clearly a losing proposition to do so? And pray, how will I go out of business? You are just talking wildly here. Even if everyone goes public domain, and JK Rowling doesn't, and I bag rights to her next book, I'll make a killing. You know that.

    "I don't have a problem with that. If you want to cling to a bad business model, that's your problem."

    You want to cling to the notion that this is a bad business model. Seriously Mike, if it's a bad model, please enlighten me as to how the publishing industry is surviving...and not just surviving, but raking it in. No one realy wants copyright to go away, except you and your acolytes.

    "What you are suggesting is a lose-lose business model - the publisher and the author both stand to lose.

    But I only see a win-win. The originating publisher profits greatly, as does the original author. And if anything the "copy-cat" publishers just help drive more attention to the authentic version. And, if the publisher and author are smart, they put in place a good business model that gives you a reason to buy from them instead of a copycat."

    Good business model? The current model is the best model, because everyone's happy - the author, the publisher, the reader (or book buyer). And of course, the bookstores too. Where is the need for a brand new business model that you keep tom-tomming as the next best thing after sliced bread?

    "Oh, so there's no original content? If that were the case, every author should be getting his ass sued by publishing companies since they are all infringing on someone else's copyrighted work. Strange that isn't happening.

    Don't be ridiculous. It's a question of a degree. I said all content is based on earlier works. Not that it infringes on the copyright of earlier works."

    Wow...now you playing a diferrent tune. All content is based on earlier works, no content is original. So, how does copyright "limit all the we can do"? Please elaborate, because you are not addressing that question.

    "Why do we need a standard concerning what sorts of creative works are allowed vs which aren't? Do we allow something like "The Wind Done Gone?" which was a great creative work, but which got sued for copyright infringement? Why should we even have to make that decision?"

    You want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That's about it. I too want copyright to be a lot less rigid, to allow people fair use, to alow derivative works of a certain nature...but does that mean we do away with copyright simply because that will solve the problem? You seem to think so, but I strongly disagree because it would give rise to other problems.

    "Also, I have raised this point earlier, which you haven't asnwered: if the Mike Masnick model is so awesome, why aren't more authors adopting it? No one's stopping them. After all, copyright and public domain can co-exist, can't they? And no one is required by law to copyright all his creative output.

    I did answer this before, just as I've answered all of your questions before. It strikes me as odd that you seem to pretend otherwise."

    Where did you address this question? Give me a simple answer: can't copyright and public domain co-exist? If people despise copyright, let them publish in the public domain. Why do you want to force every creative artistto play by your rules?

    "As for the answer, more and more authors ARE adopting it. We've pointed out a bunch, in fact."

    As I said again, please spare the time and effort to dispel my ignorance by pointing out at least a few.

    "But it takes time for these ideas to permeate, because many are used to the myth that copyright is necessary and rely on that crutch."

    Oh...you are already contradicting yourself.

    "So you get folks like yourself who, despite having this explained to them at length, prefer to put on blinders. So these things take time."

    You have not explained anything. All you keep saying is that this model will work, but when people ask uncomfortable questions, you keep parroting the same lines.

    "But as the point of this post showed, copyright IS actually harming some of those business models by LIMITING what people can do with content."

    Who are these "people" and whose "content" are you talking about? What is stopping people from creating original content?

    "Why do you stubbornly refuse to address the issues?

    I have addressed it. Why do you stubbornly refuse to admit that it's been addressed? I'm guessing it's because you don't like the answers. But that doesn't mean that the answers are wrong. Just that you have trouble accepting them. Your loss."

    Where have you addressed it? You merely keep saying "aahh this is an awesome model, more and more people are adopting, it's the future," when clearly nothing of that sort to assume any significance.

    "W.W. Norton seems to disagree.

    Oh yeah, as does Random House. After all, they did the same deal as W.W. Norton on the Iraq Study Commission report, and they made a ton of money off of it."

    Great! As always, classsic Mike Masnick tactic: use one example and pronounce it as a trend. Why can't you point to a handful of fiction authors and their publishers who are following this trend, Mike?

    "According to you, that's impossible.

    Oops."

    Oops? Yeah...when the likes of Stephen King, Salman Rushdie or Stephen Covey follow the great, brand new, paradigm-altering Mike Masnick school of thought, then it's time for Oops. Not yet, darling.

     

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  42.  
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    cram, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 4:41am

    grammar nazis...

    ...please refrain from pointing out the grammatical mistakes in my post. i was typing away furiously. after going through the post, i know where i have slipped. thanks for your intent.

     

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  43.  
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    eleete, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 6:13am

    Design a WebSite for a Lawyer

    Have you ever tried to design a web site for a lawyer Cram ? I have and I don't think I've ever had conversations with more "can't" in it. Everything I tried to pitch to them came back with some form of concern over copyright or trademarks. Ultimately leading to objection. In the end, to this day, they do not have a web site. The ONLY reason I can think of, is fear of lawsuits. I would hate to live in their world, but we all do.

     

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  44.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Copyright respects authorship and treats it as property

    "Copyright was not considered a property right at the time (that was only much, much later). To the framers it was a monopoly right granted for the purpose of incentivizing more content."

    To the Framers there was no copyright. The constitution did not recognise copyright.

    The Framers recognised the natural, exclusive rights of authors and inventors, and considered that the state should have the power to secure these rights for limited times, e.g. the lifetime of the author/inventor.

    The Framers couldn't possibly recognise a privilege of copyright since such a statute would have to arrive after the constitution - it couldn't occur before it. The constitution can only recognise what precedes it, i.e. natural rights. It cannot paradoxically recognise the legislation that was based upon itself or claimed sanction from it. So, the constitution could not recognise copyright.

    Copyright claims constitutional sanction, because copyright clearly helps secure exclusive rights. Unfortunately, copyright does more than this by granting an exclusive reproduction privilege to published works, i.e. a monopoly over reproduction. Published works lie outside of an author's exclusive right, so any extension is an unsanctioned privilege for however long a term it is granted. The Framers specifically expressed their abhorrence for monopolies, so copyright clearly exceeds constitutional remit.

    So, Mike, whilst some of the Framers may have lived to see the first copyright law become enacted (3 years after the Constitution in 1790), it is not copyright that the Constitution sanctioned, but the securing of exclusive rights. The US Copyright was heavily influenced by the Statue of Anne (which didn't recognise a reproduction monopoly as a natural right - hence the need to legislate such a privilege - and had no qualms about granting such mercantile privileges, indeed was quite familiar and comfortable with them).

    So, 3 years after the Framers agreed that monopolies were to be deprecated, good old George Washington rubber stamps copyright - the most egregious monopoly ever invented.

    All they had to do was to re-interpret 'exclusive right' to include control over works even after those works had clearly been released by their author from his natural exclusive control.

     

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  45.  
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    Willton, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright respects authorship and treats it as property

    Something tells me that Crosbie Fitch is not a Constitutional scholar. Otherwise he would not make such a baseless assertion.

    Disagree with the law all you like, Crosbie, but copyright law is inherently tied to the Constitution via Article I, Section 8 Clause 8. You have no authority to back your proclamation and a ton of authority contradicting it.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 8:07am

    How does one join . . .

    The creative class? It sounds kind of pampas and arrogant to be honest. Like a term coined by someone who over values thier own contribution to society.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 8:10am

    Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    Respect me as owner of my authored works throughout my life and the life of my first assignee.

    Throughout your life and the life of your first assignee? Why, in the name of God, should your rights last so long? What did your fist assignee do to deserve protection? Please explain why you think your "work" should be protected for such an extreme length of time? Doesn't the Constitution say specifically "limited time?"

     

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  48.  
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    MLS, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 8:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Okay, what was it again that each of us believes is appropriate for Copyright law?

    Perhaps if you read the entire comment you would understand what it is I am trying to say. If you take the time to read the work of Messrs. Epstein and Mossoff (among many others who explore the concepts of law associated with the term "property") you may better appreciate my references to "liberty" and "property".

    Likewise, if you read the comment in its entirety you will discover it was made in response to a post by Mr. Mohanon, who was generally commenting on the the positions proferred by many of the people posting comments on this subject in this and other threads. Like him I find many of these positions very confusing and not at all clear.

    In a post above I ask why a person used the plural "we" instead of the singular "I". Since you do the same perhaps you may wish to explain why this is so.

    As I stated on several prior occassions, I do have substantial concerns over the scholarship of those upon whose work you rely upon as evidence of the opinions you express. This is so because in each instance I have studied their work and I was immediately struck by the inadequacy of many of their initial assumptions, not to mention their reliance on raw numbers without any attempt to look behind those numbers. Merely by way of a single example, some of them have pointed to Italy and the number of drug compies existing pre and post enactement of patent laws. In my view raw numbers are essentially meaningless without further analysis. For example, what was the nature of the products manufactured by each such companies pre and post patent? Were mergers taken into account in calculating the raw number post-patent? Was there a change in R&D investment pre and post patent? Was there an increase/decrease in revenue pre and post patent? Etc., etc.

    Let me reiterate. If at any time you have [a] question(s) about any of my comments, please feel free to ask for clarification.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 9:33am

    Re: Re: Another reason why copyright is good!

    "This isn't just a random theory, it's proven fact in the fashion industry, where knockoffs have helped GROW the industry and increase how much people are willing to pay for the real thing."

    Works well in fashion because you're dealing with tangible goods. Doesn't correlate well with digital copies, though.

     

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  50.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 12:03pm

    Re: typical

    Hi cram,

    Small point, as I haven't had a chance to read all of the comments.

    You said: "As for the Norton report, surely you know how riled other publishers because the government did exactly what you are railing against: it gave Norton an unfair advantage by granting them the rights to publish what everyone knew was a sureshot." [emphasis mine, of course]

    Without getting into the specifics of this situation, that seems to be the whole general point being made. Even you recognize that it was an advantage for a publisher to get it first even though they didn't have the exclusive rights.

    Why would any publisher agree to publish a scenario like this? Because it's an advantage.


    Also, you initially described this as a "lose-lose business model." Showing a counterexample isn't an attempt to pronounce a trend based on a single example, it's an attempt to show an counterexample.

    If you say it's not possible, a counterexample is a good way to show that it is possible.


    And one last thing. You can't just pick apart Mike's responses and pretend like he's not answering you. It makes trying to follow the discussion thread really annoying, because it's as if you're just looking for ways to pretend he's avoiding the issues when he's not.

    When Mike just says "Really?", you don't honestly think that was his answer, do you? The rest of the answer is broken up throughout the rest of the comment. It's called inline replying.

    Attacking every one of Mike's inline comments as if it were an answer in and of itself doesn't prove anything. It just confuses the discussion and makes it more difficult to follow.

     

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  51.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 12:17pm

    Re: typical

    Thanks for your typical response. Couldn't have expected anything less.

    Ditto. This is my last response on the subject. I'm coming to the conclusion that you are purposely missing the point. I don't see any other way you could state the things you state.

    What kind of an answer is that? Can you give me a plain answer why a publishing house will want to give an author a huge advance, knowing fully well they will have no exclusive right to that work?

    I did. I gave two examples. Norton and Random House, both gave the gov't an "advance" knowing full well they had no exclusive right to that work, and it worked out great.

    Why do you think those examples don't count.

    Where is the evidence? How many publishing houses have embraced this model? How many popular writers are currently following this model? You can't point to the Norton 9/11 report as evidence that the entire industry is following this lead.

    Cram, YOU were the one who said NO PUBLISHERS would ever follow this model. I gave you examples of two. I did not say it was a trend, I merely pointed out that in the absence of copyright you were WRONG in saying that NO PUBLISHERS would adopt this model.

    The examples of Norton and Random House prove that you are wrong. In these cases, where copyright is absent, they still did pay.

    The fact that others haven't followed that lead wasn't even up for discussion, because in those cases copyright does exist.

    YOU claimed that NO PUBLISHERS would do this if there were no copyright. So the proper response, which I did, was to show you the cases where NO COPYRIGHT exists, that publishers DID in fact still pay for the rights to books.

    In other words, you're wrong. And when caught as wrong, you ignored what you had said (no publishers!) and pretended that I had said something I had not (this is a big trend!).

    No, you said that IF there were no copyright THEN NO PUBLISHER would pay upfront. So I looked at situations where there was no copyright, and proved your statement false.

    You can admit you're wrong.

    You claim to know how the industry works but keep coming up with this same example. Can you do better and point out another example, like a fiction author who has followed this lead?

    What's with the artificial condition? You were the one who said without copyright no one would pay for the rights.

    As for the Norton report, surely you know how riled other publishers because the government did exactly what you are railing against: it gave Norton an unfair advantage by granting them the rights to publish what everyone knew was a sureshot.

    Huh? Norton paid for the rights. What "unfair advantage" is that? That's called selling the initial publication rights. That's perfectly fair. The point is that this proves that you don't need copyright to make it worthwhile for a publisher to publish.

    You were the one who insisted it was impossible.

    You are wrong. It's time you admitted it.

    They have? Like who? Can you name any publisher or author who has followed this lead? And who's making a false claim here, you or me? How many authors have been able to sell publishing rights in this fashion? Please name them.

    Ugh. You aren't serious, are you? YOU said WITHOUT COPYRIGHT. So I looked at situations WITHOUT COPYRIGHT. Of course others aren't following this exact lead, because those are situations where THEY DO HAVE COPYRIGHT.

    My point, which you totally ignore, because you simply don't want to see it, is that without copyright, business models here still work. There's proof. You are denying it.

    Where? Where's the evidence to disprove my assumption? Please correct me and dispel my ignorance (no, not the Norton story again please).

    I repeat: you said "NO PUBLISHER."

    I gave you two examples. To disprove a negative, you just need one example.

    You're wrong. It's time for you to admit it (and apologize).

    How will "someone else" do so and "reap the rewards" when it's clearly a losing proposition to do so?

    Neither Norton nor Random House found it a losing proposition. Why do you insist it must be?

    And pray, how will I go out of business? You are just talking wildly here. Even if everyone goes public domain, and JK Rowling doesn't, and I bag rights to her next book, I'll make a killing. You know that.

    If all the other good content out there is being sold for much less, and then you come out with an expensive HP book, then, no, you won't make a killing. Welcome to the world of competition. Take a look at some competitive markets that are disrupted by much cheaper and equally good "open" solutions.

    You want to cling to the notion that this is a bad business model. Seriously Mike, if it's a bad model, please enlighten me as to how the publishing industry is surviving...and not just surviving, but raking it in.

    Have you talked to any publishing folks lately? They're all freaking out about changes to the market for books. You might want to attend O'Reilly's Tools of Change conference which shows just how freaked out publishers are.

    That's good, though. Many of them are starting to embrace these theories, and are finding that it works well for their bottom line. Then, the old school publishers will find themselves needing to change as well.

    Such is the life of competition.

    Good business model? The current model is the best model, because everyone's happy - the author, the publisher, the reader (or book buyer). And of course, the bookstores too. Where is the need for a brand new business model that you keep tom-tomming as the next best thing after sliced bread?

    Well, isn't that special? Who made you God and said you get to decide what's the "best" business model? How do you know it's the "best"? What if there's something better? And given the experiences of authors giving away their books leading to greater sales, I think that many are finding better business models every day.

    But, according to you, YOU are the grand poobah of business models who gets to determine what's "best." Unfortunately for you and your ego, it's actually the market that gets to determine what's best. And right now, the market is unfortunately blocked by gov't monopolies and regulations.

    Wow...now you playing a diferrent tune. All content is based on earlier works, no content is original. So, how does copyright "limit all the we can do"? Please elaborate, because you are not addressing that question.

    Please reread the post, and maybe learn something.

    You want to throw the baby out with the bathwater. That's about it. I too want copyright to be a lot less rigid, to allow people fair use, to alow derivative works of a certain nature...but does that mean we do away with copyright simply because that will solve the problem? You seem to think so, but I strongly disagree because it would give rise to other problems.

    And yet you present no evidence of those "problems" other than easily proven false statements like NO PUBLISHERS would pay for the rights to a book without copyright. Yet when proven wrong (time and time again) you then change the story and pretend rather than saying NO PUBLISHERS would pay for the rights, that you actually said that there's no trend of publishers moving in that direction.

    But you didn't say that. You said NO PUBLISHERS, and you've been proven wrong. It's time for you to at least admit that.

    Where did you address this question? Give me a simple answer: can't copyright and public domain co-exist? If people despise copyright, let them publish in the public domain. Why do you want to force every creative artistto play by your rules?

    No, the question is why do you insist that everyone plays by the rules of giving these artists a monopoly on their rights, and not letting anyone do any work on top of their work? Why should one small group of the population (this fake "creative class") get to limit the rights of everyone else?

    I'm not trying to get everyone to play by "my rules." I'm trying to level the playing field, so that people recognize there isn't a special class of people who gets to limit the rights of everyone else.

    And, yes, obviously, the public domain and copyright *can* co-exist, but every bit of copyright HARMS the public domain in limiting what can be done with the works under copyright. That was the point of the post, which you clearly missed.

    As I said again, please spare the time and effort to dispel my ignorance by pointing out at least a few.

    Cory Doctorow, Paulo Coehlo, Charles Sheehan-Miles.

    Oh...you are already contradicting yourself.

    How am I contradicting myself? Because I've said that some authors are adopting this, but not all publishers have rushed to it immediately, under some unknown timeline that the god of all book business models cram decides is the right timeframe?

    Spare me.


    You have not explained anything. All you keep saying is that this model will work, but when people ask uncomfortable questions, you keep parroting the same lines.


    It's not parroting the same lines. It's explaining to you why you're wrong. Which you refuse to accept.

    Who are these "people" and whose "content" are you talking about? What is stopping people from creating original content?

    Read the post again and maybe you'll actually learn something. People enforcing copyright to stop others from creating new original works on top of that copyrighted content. That is what we're talking about.

    Where have you addressed it? You merely keep saying "aahh this is an awesome model, more and more people are adopting, it's the future," when clearly nothing of that sort to assume any significance.

    You are confusing two separate things (yet again). You were the one who claimed that no such business model was possible. I proved you wrong.

    Then you insisted that no one was adopting this at all. I proved you wrong again.

    But then you are mixing things up by pretending that I said that everyone is adopting this already. I said no such thing.

    Great! As always, classsic Mike Masnick tactic: use one example and pronounce it as a trend.

    No, I did not pronounce it as a trend. I was merely proving YOU wrong, because you insisted that NO PUBLISHERS (meaning NONE, ZERO, ZILCH, NADA) would EVER adopt such a model. To prove such a negative wrong, you just need ONE example. I gave two.

    You can apologize for being wrong now.

    Oops? Yeah...when the likes of Stephen King, Salman Rushdie or Stephen Covey follow the great, brand new, paradigm-altering Mike Masnick school of thought, then it's time for Oops. Not yet, darling.

    Seriously, cram, until you understand basic logic, I can't see any point in continuing this discussion.

    So the rules of logic, according to the god-of-all-book-business-models, cram, is that until such an author as one you names adopts this business model, it's impossible for that business model to exist?

    Ok. Go with that. See how that works out here in the real world.

     

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  52.  
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    Willton, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Re: typical

    Attacking every one of Mike's inline comments as if it were an answer in and of itself doesn't prove anything. It just confuses the discussion and makes it more difficult to follow.

    Then blame the originator: Mike does this practice all the time. Cram is merely mirroring it. I agree that the inline replying is annoying and tends to make the discussion more difficult to follow, but it's hard to fairly criticize one party for doing so when the other party is equally guilty of the same practice.

     

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  53.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 2:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: typical

    Then blame the originator: Mike does this practice all the time.

    Can you point to an example where I do that? Blaise was pointing out, accurately, that I did, in fact, respond to cram's point, but felt it was more effective to break up the response.

    I think you're criticizing something else, which is that I may occasionally break up your original paragraph to reply to specific points. That's not the same thing that Blaise is pointing out.

    But you knew that... didn't you?

     

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  54.  
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    Mike Schinkel, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 4:22pm

    Question marks after questions, please?

    Hey Mike:

    While I'm totally with you on the subject of your post, it would really be nice if you used question marks more often to denote questions in your comments. Please? :-)

     

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  55.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 11th, 2008 @ 6:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: typical

    I wasn't trying to say that inline responses are hard to follow, I prefer them! But you have to break things down logically, you can't just reply to comments taken clearly out of context (e.g. "Really?").

    The "as if it were an answer in and of itself" bit is key...

     

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  56.  
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    Havvy, Aug 11th, 2008 @ 8:49pm

    Books + Copywrite Vs. Other Things

    You two are debating copywrite on books. Most people are debating it on other things; like music and movies. Try taking it in the light of music. Should somebody who creates something five minutes long get to profit for it for 100+ years?

     

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  57.  
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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 6:17am

    Rewording: How some author's Copyright practices are Holding Back Their own Creativity

    Maybe the opening title should be reworded:

    Rewording: How some author's Copyright practices are Holding Back Their own Creativity

    Okay, thanks everyone for valuable and vigorous, productive and provocative contributions. Great that we can keep these discussions of Copyright so active. I'm thrilled that there is real interest in a subject that is so critically important to my own relationship with my society.

    I think I get a couple of things:

    Mike, I think you believe in a new way of marketing authored and copyable works. You suggest that authors get with these new technologies and marketing concepts and stop trying to wrestle with a moving marketplace that is leaving them behind, stop trying to use Copyright law as a means of throwing the brakes on the market and trying to pick the pockets of other hard working people who are making money off of copying other people's works but don't offer those author any royalties. You suggest that the authors quit whining and just super-publish and be better than those who may have ripped them off. You suggest that these authors are hanging onto Copyright as if it were a floatation device or buoy, but you see Copyright as an anchor, dragging those non-productive authors down. You have great sympathy for such authors, don't want them to suffer, and you wish to help disabuse them of unworkable marketing gambits that, though legal, are not profitable for them nor beneficial to their potential audience or consumers. Your complaint against copyright law is that authors use it to diminish their own creativity and distribution, so if others have learned to just say no to copyright, why not toss copyright altogether, and have a really free marketplace, intellectual property wise. Have I got it? What is your alternative suggestion, specifically?

    Mike, you also suggest that there is a difference between plagiarism and copying. I wonder if you think the difference matters, or should an author just ignore any copies, attributed or not, accurate or not, and just go ahead and super-publish on their own and hope they win out over their competition (their competition who has accurately or inaccurately copied their works)? Could you specify what you think an author should do about unauthorized copies or inaccurate copies, and how the law should (or should not) respond or support the author (or not)?

    Mike, you suggest that publishing the 9/11 reports, and fashion copies, are excellent examples of why copyright is not needed, however, you may like to know your choices of examples here convince me against your points because: there are no author's Copyright involved in the republication of public domain material such as Shakespeare or the publicly owned 9/11 report; and copying garments and jewelry (like my $20 street Fauxlex) are Trademark issues, not Copyright issues. Otherwise, keep those examples comin' as they help me confirm that I'm absolutely accurate in my understanding of the current practice of Copyright both in the US and Internationally.

    No problem here. I think may of us get confused between patents, copyrights, trademarks, campaign and advertising slogans, designs, original ideas, and, of course, creative marketing and business models that cut new paths across our experience and challenge us to not rely on previous methods. But, only 3 of these are law - patent, copyright, and trademark - and the others are personal choices, whim, and have nothing to do with law. It's great that you propose new and clever marketing and business models, and any author can pursue them at the moment unhindered by law. I'm not sure what is your point in asking the government to stop supporting other methods of authorship participation in society. You seem to admit they are unrelated, so what do you care if some authors choose alternate societal relationships to your ideas? Even without copyright formalized in the way it is, there might be equivalent contract law effectively establishing the same end. In other words, in a free market place, some people choose to market one way, and others choose to market other ways.

    To others, regarding "extreme" amounts of time for copyrights - that's one way of assessing differing preferences. I think anything less than my lifetime and the life of my first assignee is "extremely" short, and you may think that anything more than (... um, you don't specify ...) is "extremely" long. Could you specify without adjectives what specific "limit" you prefer? Regardless, the US Constitution suggests "for a limited time" and Shakespeare's time is up, so I guess that's "limited", and we can all have at it. After the limited time I prefer, please feel free to copy my stuff without prior permission or royalties - that is, after my lifetime and my first assignee's lifetime. Regardless, at least by 400 years from now, I'm confident my interests will have expired with me.

    "Securing" rights does not mean granting them, as all people inalienably have all the rights to begin with. The government has no rights, and therefore has no rights to give. The people have all the rights, and empower our self-governance with certain powers derived from the people. "Securing" rights means protecting them (not granting them in the first place). We already have copyright as an inalienable part of our creation of our own artifact. In the late 1800s, in the early days of photography, the US Supreme court recognized that photographers have authorship and copyright immediately in the creation of even the latent image (at the time, the undeveloped negative - no development, printing, nor publishing needed). All the government is doing is securing those rights -- protecting those innate, unalienable, rights, authorship copyrights. A copyright registration with the Library of Congress does not give us copyrights. We already have authorship copyrights before registration. A copyright registration gives us a professional witness in court in a prima facie case against infringers. Neither the US Constitution nor subsequent Amendments nor laws give us any rights - we already have all the rights. The US Constitution and Amendments and laws circumscribe the powers of government who protect or prohibit expression of rights in certain circumstances (exceeding the speed limit on public roads, protecting a peace march, and so on). Let's not forget how this thing called constitutional democracy works. Okay, constitutional republican capitalist democracy. Okay, ... anyone wanna add some adjectives here? My fingers are getting' tired! ;-)

    Earlier: "... The Framers specifically expressed their abhorrence for monopolies ..."

    Oh, point me to the place where this is written and is the model by which all property law, especially intellectual property law is governed, please!

    Earlier: "... given the experiences of authors giving away their books leading to greater sales, I think that many are finding better business models every day ..."

    ... and the only way they get paid is through copyright licensing via contracts that hold up in court because they are based initially on respect for authorship copyright. If there were no respect in court for authorship copyright, they'd get nothing once their first book copy was bought by a competing publisher, who can then copy it and republish it for no further royalty costs paid to the author.

    As far as I can tell, the "new business model" depends entirely on respect for authorship copyright in order to work to the benefit and incentive of the author of any work - which I think was the point made earlier. The 9/11 Commission was paid otherwise and was not depending on authorship copyrights and royalties for their income, so they are not an example of authorship copyright in a free marketplace of ideas, unless you propose a welfare state where all authors are paid directly by the state as the 9/11 commission was, an then all author's written products are given away or sold to the highest first bidder. Of course, once published and the fist copy hits the public, no one needs to bid again since they can just freely copy, and the flow of capital in exchange for intellectual property content value never again returns to the originator or author of the intellectual property.

    I suggest Trent Reznor as an example of an author with copyrights who is giving it away and, at the same time, selling copies, and doing well. But notice that Trent is not giving it away to other publishers to republish without royalty. He is giving it away to consumers to download free, and encouraging them to buy collector's editions with real cover art and supplemental artifacts not available in download. He is doing well, but he is totally dependent on our society's support and respect for authorship copyright as shown in the US Constitution, Amendments, Laws, and the Court decisions and opinions - oh, and international copyright treaties, too. He's just picking and choosing which copyrights to pursue and which to abandon. He's happy with direct downloads form him. He's not happy with competitors selling his work without permission and without paying him royalties.

    Earlier: "... right now, the market is unfortunately blocked by gov't monopolies and regulations ..."

    Oh? Do tell. What government monopoly? The one that paid for and gave away the 9/11 report as public domain? Oh, there isn’t one. What regulation? The one prohibiting anyone from publishing without claiming copyright or taking advantage of Creative Commons copyright contract examples? Oh, there isn’t one. I'm lost to identify any "gov't monopolies and regulations" blocking my marketing of my authored intellectual property. In fact, it's the non-governmental free market vendors who both empower, and yet at the same time provide insurmountable challenges to my creative sharing. I can't get Time Warner on the phone, but Lulu will publish my stuff on demand tomorrow. Gotta love this free marketplace and all the choices I have! And al lof it, Time Warner, Lulu, and myself, are backed by strong government support of respect for my authorship copyright. I'm lookin' good today! And maybe, just maybe, I may successfully stick my finger into the stream of royalties flowing out there on the Internet that O Might be able to retire on. That is, if my intellectual property offering is valued. Gosh, I hope enough people like my stuff to buy some of it. And I'm so happy the government has provided a platform of protection I can call on if I want to against anyone trying to rip me off!

    Earlier: "... All content is based on earlier works ..."

    Not mine, and even if it were, it certainly is not based on anyone's extant copyright. And even if it were, I could simply ask for permission to copy. Nothing is standing in my way creating new work, certainly not "gov't monopolies and regulations". Do you know of any, and can you name any, authors who are inhibited by "gov't monopolies and regulations"?

    Earlier: "... everyone plays by the rules of giving these artists a monopoly on their rights ..."

    There's no problem here. What's the problem here?

    Earlier: "... not letting anyone do any work on top of their work? ..."

    There's no problem here. The courts can resolve trivial issues where unauthorized copies are considered "fair use" and are not under the control of the author's copyright anyway. Yet, where the author's copyright is extant, what's the problem with asking permission, or, god forbid, creating one's own new works! Isn't that your whole read on the US Constitution wording?:

    Earlier: "... The government felt that there was a market failure, where not enough "content" would be produced without a limited monopoly, and thus, copyright was born ... back in the day when creating content wasn't easy ... You pretty much had to go through a professional process ..."?

    You want new content? Then why are you harping on rehashed content as the reason to abandon societal and government support for respect for author copyrights? Which way do you want it - new work, or rehashed work? Today, there's both, unhindered by anything but societal and government support for respect for author copyrights in the otherwise free marketplace of ideas and capital. Have at it, and play nice -- play fair -- respect others as you would have them respect you. Don't plagiarize, and pay what another author asks if you copy.

    Earlier: "... You two are debating copyrwrite on books ..."

    No, we are debating copyrights. "Copy writing" is writing advertising copy. However, I appreciate our typos, misspellings, and even the YELLING going on here, and, by now, I usually just read past it looking for the real content. We all have greater and lesser resources. I end up writing in a word processor, spell check, miss "from" versus "form" typos, then publish, and go, "Doh!" -- too late, I missed my own typos. I appreciate others would like a nice, perfectly edited read, but I suggest that that ain't gonna happen in the heat of blog replies!

    Earlier: "... Should somebody who creates something five minutes long get to profit for it for 100+ years? ..."

    If they deserve it, yes. But, we're not talking about profit, we're talking about respect for authorship copyrights, and I believe that denying a living person within our society control over and benefits from their work is theft, and society should strive to prevent that by one member over another, and to support all it's members intact. If someone wants that author's content 100 years from now (what, they were 1 year old when they authored that 5 minute piece?), then pay for it, or make their own creative burst to compete. The logic here escapes me. People keep saying that the more value something has, the less the author should get. Aside from being the inverse of marketing experience, is there a basis in law that suggests societal and governmental support for individual's rights are to be inversely proportional to the value of those rights? The more something has proven it's worth, the less the creator should be able to control it and reap benefits from it? Huh?

    Oh, and I love the example of not being able to build a satisfactory web site for a lawyer - hahahah. ROTF-LOL! I also had to fire my lawyer customer mid project just to get the dang thing completed. Lawyers tend to hammer away at anything that they believe could cause them a liability, and they have no awareness of marketing and advertising as investments regardless of certain affordable risks. As John Wanamaker, considered the father of modern advertising, once said, "Half of all advertising money is wasted. We just don’t know which half." Lawyers hate that, and become immobilized by trying to come up with the perfect presentation as if they had one and only one chance before a judge to prove their case. Advertising is a hit-and-miss broadcast universe that is anathema to lawyers to completely and successfully persuade and convince each and every judge and jury member they come across, one at a time, no exceptions. The example says more about an uninitiated person's fear of the unknowns of advertising than it does about copyright.

    Anyway, thanks again and again, everyone, for this great discussion. Keep it up. More, please. Vote early, and often!

     

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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 9:12am

    Re: Rewording: How some author's Copyright practices are Holding Back Their own Creativity

    Oh? Do tell. What government monopoly?

    Maybe a more accurate term is "government granted monopoly," which is what copyright is.


    All the government is doing is securing those rights -- protecting those innate, unalienable, rights, authorship copyrights.

    This is not the American view on copyright. The constitution says,
    The Congress shall have Power... 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.


    These are not natural rights.

    1. It's optional for Congress to implement them

    2. It's for a limited time -- nothing says that it has to be greater than the life of the author, and the original 14 years of copyright in the US certainly wasn't

    3. The purpose is "to promote the progress of science and the useful arts", not "to give authors and inventors what is rightfully theirs" or something. It says "the" exclusive right, not "their" exclusive right. It's an incentive to create more art



    If these rights are innate and unalienable, why is it optional for Congress to secure them? And why only for a limited time?

    Mike linked to an earlier article on the real purpose of copyright in the post.


    Could you specify without adjectives what specific "limit" you prefer?

    Given that the purpose of copyright is to create an incentive for the creation of works, the limit should logically be linked with that incentive. What sort of limit is reasonable to "promote progress of science and the useful arts?" The law of diminishing returns also kicks in. What's the real difference between 20 and 50 years in terms of the incentive to create? At some point, the trade off (of not getting works into the public domain) no longer becomes worth it. Will there be any shortage of works if people don't retain the rights after they're dead? I'd be willing to bet money that there won't be.


    "All content is based on earlier works ..."

    Not mine, and even if it were, it certainly is not based on anyone's extant copyright.


    So you've never taken a photograph of something which someone else has created? You've never tried to learn from or mimic the styles of other photographers? Not all of these cases are copyright infringement, but it's a myth that our creativity comes entirely from within. We are all influenced by those around us.



    Sidenote: "I end up writing in a word processor, spell check, miss "from" versus "form" typos"

    Firefox has a built-in spell-checker. Save me a lot of time. :)

     

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  59.  
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    Peter Blaise Monahon (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 10:32am

    Thanks other Blaise,

    I wonder where the call to disenfranchise authors comes from, and the call to empower copyists?

    I still do not understand why anyone feels (a) they have to claim that my ownership and control of my own authored intellectual property is inappropriate, and (b) that it can only be seen as a monopoly. What am I denying anyone else access to by monopolizing my own creative artifacts?

    No one seems able to succinctly answer: what limits do you prefer?

    "... The Congress shall have Power ... To secur[ing] for limited Times to Authors ... the exclusive Right to their respective Writings ..."

    Seems like "secure" is the operative word, not "grant".

    Anyway, moot point since subsequent US Supreme Court decisions and opinions recognized innate unalienable copyrights in authorship.

     

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  60.  
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    Mike, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 11:52am

    Re: Rewording: How some author's Copyright practices are Holding Back Their own Creativity

    Mike, I think you believe in a new way of marketing authored and copyable works.

    Almost, but not quite. I actually think this is really the same old way of marketing, it's just a better understanding of what you're actually selling.

    You suggest that authors get with these new technologies and marketing concepts and stop trying to wrestle with a moving marketplace that is leaving them behind, stop trying to use Copyright law as a means of throwing the brakes on the market and trying to pick the pockets of other hard working people who are making money off of copying other people's works but don't offer those author any royalties. You suggest that the authors quit whining and just super-publish and be better than those who may have ripped them off. You suggest that these authors are hanging onto Copyright as if it were a floatation device or buoy, but you see Copyright as an anchor, dragging those non-productive authors down. You have great sympathy for such authors, don't want them to suffer, and you wish to help disabuse them of unworkable marketing gambits that, though legal, are not profitable for them nor beneficial to their potential audience or consumers.

    Good summary.

    Your complaint against copyright law is that authors use it to diminish their own creativity and distribution, so if others have learned to just say no to copyright, why not toss copyright altogether, and have a really free marketplace, intellectual property wise. Have I got it? What is your alternative suggestion, specifically?

    Alternative suggestion? Learn how to embrace these things to your advantage:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070503/012939.shtml

    That means recognizing the difference between infinite and scarce goods, and how to use infinite goods to make scarce goods more valuable.

    Mike, you also suggest that there is a difference between plagiarism and copying. I wonder if you think the difference matters, or should an author just ignore any copies, attributed or not, accurate or not, and just go ahead and super-publish on their own and hope they win out over their competition (their competition who has accurately or inaccurately copied their works)? Could you specify what you think an author should do about unauthorized copies or inaccurate copies, and how the law should (or should not) respond or support the author (or not)?

    I've written extensively about plagiarism:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20041116/1140203.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/arti cles/20060508/183237.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20061204/203658.shtml
    http://www.techd irt.com/articles/20070207/153817.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070219/010207.shtml
    http ://www.techdirt.com/articles/20070308/184312.shtml

    The response to your question about what's to be "done" about is to simply position yourself to take advantage of it. Those who straightup plagiarize your works open themselves up to having their reputations damaged -- but they also help promote you. Look for ways to use that to your advantage.

    Mike, you suggest that publishing the 9/11 reports, and fashion copies, are excellent examples of why copyright is not needed, however, you may like to know your choices of examples here convince me against your points because: there are no author's Copyright involved in the republication of public domain material such as Shakespeare or the publicly owned 9/11 report

    Um, that was the WHOLE POINT. Cram indicated that publishers would never pay for rights to works without copyright. So I pointed out how that was not true. Do you see how you've twisted that around? You say that I can't use an example of a business model working in absense of copyright because there actually isn't a copyright in that examples.

    That's the whole point. Of course there isn't copyright on that document, but there was a business model that still worked.

    and copying garments and jewelry (like my $20 street Fauxlex) are Trademark issues, not Copyright issues. Otherwise, keep those examples comin' as they help me confirm that I'm absolutely accurate in my understanding of the current practice of Copyright both in the US and Internationally.

    No, actually, it's not a trademark issue. You should read some of the background. Trademark does allow some designers to prevent direct knockoffs that purport to be the designer brand, but not other copies. Fashion designers are pushing for *COPYRIGHT* (yes, copyright) to be added to fashion design. But studies have shown that it's actually the lack of copyright (yes, copyright) that has helped the industry flourish by making it much more innovative, since designers have to keep innovating. Plus, those that do knockoffs (completely legally, not violating trademarks) help make the original designs MORE VALUABLE by getting them more widely known and promoting the design itself. But there's tremendous cache in owning an original, so it actually boosts how much the designers can make. Plus, it pushes them to keep designing new stuff, rather than resting on their laurels.

    In other words, it functions quite well without copyright, entirely separate from the trademark issue.

    It's great that you propose new and clever marketing and business models, and any author can pursue them at the moment unhindered by law. I'm not sure what is your point in asking the government to stop supporting other methods of authorship participation in society.

    Because, as this post highlighted (I thought), those models are being held back by those who cling to copyright. They're preventing others from doing more. That's a problem.

    Even without copyright formalized in the way it is, there might be equivalent contract law effectively establishing the same end. In other words, in a free market place, some people choose to market one way, and others choose to market other ways.

    Actually, while some might try to establish such contractual relationships, as others flourish without them, they won't last.

    We already have copyright as an inalienable part of our creation of our own artifact.

    Actually, no. Copyright was considered a very limited monopoly grant from the gov't. Not "an inalienable part of creation".

    Neither the US Constitution nor subsequent Amendments nor laws give us any rights - we already have all the rights.

    You recognize Thomas Jefferson disagrees with you:

    "Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it."


    Oh, point me to the place where this is written and is the model by which all property law, especially intellectual property law is governed, please!


    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20080220/020252302.shtml

    James Madison: "But grants of this sort can be justified in very peculiar cases only, if at all; the danger being very great that the good resulting from the operation of the monopoly, will be overbalanced by the evil effect of the precedent; and it being not impossible that the monopoly itself, in its original operation, may produce more evil than good."

    Thomas Jefferson: ". . . other nations have thought these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices."

    ... and the only way they get paid is through copyright licensing via contracts that hold up in court because they are based initially on respect for authorship copyright. If there were no respect in court for authorship copyright, they'd get nothing once their first book copy was bought by a competing publisher, who can then copy it and republish it for no further royalty costs paid to the author.

    That's simply untrue. It is not "the only way" they get paid. They can put in place better business models to get paid. That was the example I gave with the 9/11 report. It was still worthwhile for Norton to buy the rights, because they still made money. So authors could still sell those same rights. And if the book is huge success, the rights for their NEXT book will go for much more.


    As far as I can tell, the "new business model" depends entirely on respect for authorship copyright in order to work to the benefit and incentive of the author of any work - which I think was the point made earlier. The 9/11 Commission was paid otherwise and was not depending on authorship copyrights and royalties for their income, so they are not an example of authorship copyright in a free marketplace of ideas,

    I think you're missing the point. The point is that publishers were still willing to pay HUGE royalties, even though there was no copyright. So the same would apply to authors as well.

    I suggest Trent Reznor as an example of an author with copyrights who is giving it away and, at the same time, selling copies, and doing well. But notice that Trent is not giving it away to other publishers to republish without royalty.

    Actually, he's using a creative commons license that does let others give the music away.

    And the point is that even if he weren't, the business models he's adopting don't change if others do give it away or even sell their own copies... Because the value is in Trent himself (getting "official" versions, signed and numbered versions, concert tickets, etc). None of those are harmed by others publishing his stuff.

    He is doing well, but he is totally dependent on our society's support and respect for authorship copyright as shown in the US Constitution

    How is it totally dependent on copyright? He's selling the UNIQUE versions that come signed or numbered from him directly. That doesn't rely on copyright. He sells concert tickets. That doesn't rely on copyright.

    Oh? Do tell. What government monopoly?

    Copyright.

    And I'm so happy the government has provided a platform of protection I can call on if I want to against anyone trying to rip me off!


    But if that protection limits the value of your content (i.e., others can't do much to make your content more valuable, thus limiting the value to them as well), then it's HURTING the value of your work.

    And why do you view others making your work more valuable as ripping you off?

    Earlier: "... All content is based on earlier works ..."

    Not mine


    Have you never taken a photo of something made by someone else?

    And your photographic style isn't influenced by anyone else?

    Do you pay royalties to the guy who built the buildings you photograph? How about the people who taught you photography? Why don't you pay them a royalty everytime you make money on a photo?

    You want new content? Then why are you harping on rehashed content

    Not rehashed. Built on the works of those who came before. Just like your work. Just like anyone's work. We're all better for standing on the shoulders of giants.

    I believe that denying a living person within our society control over and benefits from their work is theft,

    Who's denying a person control over their works? If you build a chair and sell it, do you have control over what a person does with that chair afterwards? Of course not. So why do you insist on control over your works after you sell them as well?

    People keep saying that the more value something has, the less the author should get.

    Not at all. The more value something has, the more they can make from it if they put in place good business models -- which don't rely on copyright.

    The more something has proven it's worth, the less the creator should be able to control it and reap benefits from it?

    Yes, because the less they control it, the MORE VALUABLE it becomes, meaning that there are MORE opportunities for them to reap the benefit from it.

     

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  61.  
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    Corey, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 1:45pm

    Re: creative class

    "It may be holding back neanderthals of the creative class who want to make money therefrom." Wow, Douglas, I'm guessing you've created nothing worth paying for.

    Some people want to make a living so they can continue to create. I don't know if you know this, but creating music, movies, and books takes a lot of time (maybe not for bad garage bands or bad 2 minute youtube movies). By being able to make a profit from the work, the artist can justify the investment of time and money into the project.

     

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  62.  
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    Corey, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 1:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: You seem to be missing a qualifier.

    "Mmhmm. And most authors today, how do they do that? Most first time authors don't have any support already, so it's not as if that scenario would change at all. But if they're successful, the next book can get paid for (in fact, that's exactly how most of book publishing works today -- with "advances"). Why that changes without copyright, you haven't explained."

    The reason that changes without copyright is the loss of income. I've used this example in the past, and I know you'll ignore it/not get it, but here you go. I write history books. The first edition will be hardcover. From all of the research expenses, etc, that went into the book, I will barely see a profit from this first edition. Where the profit comes from is the paperbacks (generally released a year later, depending how quickly the hardcover sells out). Now, without copyright, once the hardcover hits the stands, anyone can reproduce and sell a cheaper version, thus cutting into sales I make money on.

    Now here's where you change the subject and babble about how true fans will but the "official" version. True, some will, but not all. What percentage of sales would be lost by people buying knockoff versions can only be speculated at, but judging from what most writers I know make, even a 10% loss in profits would send them back to the "day job." This means much less time to write, and thus lost content.

    To go back to the post you were responding to, yes, most books take a year to write, but most first time authors take much longer because they have to balance that with the day job. If they produce good books, there becomes a demand for their product, still, the vast majority of working writers don't get rich doing it. By having copyright protection and not having to compete with knock-offs of their own products, they are more likely to turn a profit, and to do so early in their career.

    Copyright does more then encourage creation. It makes continued creation possible.

     

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  63.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: You seem to be missing a qualifier.

    The reason that changes without copyright is the loss of income. I've used this example in the past, and I know you'll ignore it/not get it, but here you go. I write history books. The first edition will be hardcover. From all of the research expenses, etc, that went into the book, I will barely see a profit from this first edition. Where the profit comes from is the paperbacks (generally released a year later, depending how quickly the hardcover sells out). Now, without copyright, once the hardcover hits the stands, anyone can reproduce and sell a cheaper version, thus cutting into sales I make money on.

    Ah, so you chose a poor business model. Why should everyone else suffer for your mistakes?

    Now here's where you change the subject and babble about how true fans will but the "official" version. True, some will, but not all.

    Who cares if some don't? You know millions of people watch BMW commercials every day. Some buy BMWs, but not all. Yet BMW doesn't accuse those people of "stealing."

    Put in place a business model where it doesn't matter if some don't pay for the legit version, and stop worrying. Focus on those who *will* pay and you'll be fine.

    What percentage of sales would be lost by people buying knockoff versions can only be speculated at, but judging from what most writers I know make, even a 10% loss in profits would send them back to the "day job." This means much less time to write, and thus lost content.

    You are assuming that you don't put in place a business model that affords you a way to make more money. You assume only what's lost and not what's gained.

    To go back to the post you were responding to, yes, most books take a year to write, but most first time authors take much longer because they have to balance that with the day job.

    Indeed. How does that change with or without copyright?

    If they produce good books, there becomes a demand for their product, still, the vast majority of working writers don't get rich doing it.

    Indeed. So why are you complaining when we suggest business models that will allow more to make a living from writing?

    By having copyright protection and not having to compete with knock-offs of their own products, they are more likely to turn a profit, and to do so early in their career.

    Heh, and you were just complaining that the current system doesn't pay them enough. Now suddenly it's great? Bizarre.

    Copyright does more then encourage creation. It makes continued creation possible.

    You haven't explained why that also doesn't happen without copyright. We've already shown that you can make money without copyright -- and we've shown examples of how authors have ignored copyright to get more attention and sell more.

    put the right business model in place and copyright doesn't matter.

     

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  64.  
    identicon
    Corey, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 3:20pm

    "Ah, so you chose a poor business model. Why should everyone else suffer for your mistakes?"

    No. This isn't just a business model issue. It's the reality of how many people read books. You can go on about business models as long as you want, but you can't make everyone read books. Some people just don't. But that doesn't mean we should get rid of books. Just because a business model doesn't make everyone rich, doesn't mean it isn't the best possible business model for that product.

    "Who cares if some don't? You know millions of people watch BMW commercials every day. Some buy BMWs, but not all. Yet BMW doesn't accuse those people of "stealing.""

    I see this is the point where you make your standard, unrelated example. If other companies put out cars that were an exact copy of BMWs, then you'd have a point. no one is complaining about competing with other products, they just don't want to compete with THEIR OWN PRODUCT.

    "Indeed. How does that change with or without copyright?"

    It doesn't. What changes is, if the author makes a profit on the first book, they can devote much more time and money to the creation of the second one.

    "Indeed. So why are you complaining when we suggest business models that will allow more to make a living from writing?"

    I'm not. Trying new business models is great. But there is no reason to completely ignore copyright to try new business models. These are unrelated issues that you attempt to tie together. For example, if me and my publisher decide it is in our best interest to give away digital copies of my book, that's are decision, and in no way goes against copyright, and has nothing to do with the fact that we are still protected from having someone else print the same book and try to undercut our prices with our own product. Sorry Mike, it's two different issues.

    "You haven't explained why that also doesn't happen without copyright. We've already shown that you can make money without copyright -- and we've shown examples of how authors have ignored copyright to get more attention and sell more.

    put the right business model in place and copyright doesn't matter."

    No, you haven't. You shown how it works on a microlevel. And your modern examples do not work because in many of those cases the works still benefit from copyright, ie, just because someone gives away the digital product, doesn't mean that other companies have the right to print the physical product.

     

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  65.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 6:13pm

    Re:

    No. This isn't just a business model issue. It's the reality of how many people read books.

    Huh? How does the reality change things? It's still a business model issue. If you don't recognize that, then I'm afraid I can't help you.

    You can go on about business models as long as you want, but you can't make everyone read books.

    Who said that we would? We're talking about a variety of business models. That means more than just getting everyone to read books. But if you honestly think that the entire market for your books has been reached and you can't do any more to penetrate a larger market, then you'd be the first such author I've ever met.

    But that doesn't mean we should get rid of books.

    My goodness?!? Who said anything about getting rid of books. Not me.

    Just because a business model doesn't make everyone rich, doesn't mean it isn't the best possible business model for that product.

    And when did I say that? You keep putting words in my mouth of awful things you're hoping I said but most certainly did not say.

    Who said any business model makes everyone rich? Not I.

    But a different business model could support more authors by allowing them to make a good living. How do I know? Basic economics. Look at any market where you remove such artificial restrictions and you see much greater opportunities emerge and a larger number of people able to make a living. Those who insist books are somehow "different" are wrong. There's never been a market that doesn't follow basic economics.

    I see this is the point where you make your standard, unrelated example.

    It's not unrelated at all. You claimed that some will use your works without paying. And I pointed out that there are business models where that's not considered a bad thing. If you don't see the connection, don't blame us. Try rereading and rethinking.

    no one is complaining about competing with other products, they just don't want to compete with THEIR OWN PRODUCT.


    If they're competing with their own product, then they don't understand their market properly. You always have products you can offer that no one can directly copy. That's the point.

    You choose to ignore them. Your loss (literally).

    I'm not. Trying new business models is great. But there is no reason to completely ignore copyright to try new business models. These are unrelated issues that you attempt to tie together. For example, if me and my publisher decide it is in our best interest to give away digital copies of my book, that's are decision, and in no way goes against copyright, and has nothing to do with the fact that we are still protected from having someone else print the same book and try to undercut our prices with our own product.

    Read the original post again to understand why copyright is holding back your market. You are correct that it's your choice, but it's one that damages the market for your works.

    No, you haven't. You shown how it works on a microlevel.

    Hmm. I've shown how it works at a microlevel with examples, and then people complain that I haven't shown how it works at a macrolevel. So then I present economic evidence showing how it works at a macrolevel and people complain that I haven't given any examples of how it works at a microlevel.

    I have shown both.

    It's not my fault that you apparently can't hold both concepts in your mind at once.

    And your modern examples do not work because in many of those cases the works still benefit from copyright

    My goodness. So I give an example where copyright doesn't exist at all and people in the thread jump on me saying the example doesn't count because copyright doesn't exist in those cases.

    Then I give examples where copyright does exist and you claim that it doesn't count because copyright does exist in those cases.

    Do you not realize that the combination of all these factors proves the point? You don't need copyright and the business models work. How hard is it to combine these two ideas... oh right, some folks can only keep one concept in their mind at once.

    I give up. Enjoy your business model while it lasts. I'll focus on helping those who want to be helped.

     

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

  66.  
    identicon
    Corey, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 8:09pm

    I can't even begin to respond to each of your responses, because you continue to change the point and twist my words.

    It is clear you don't have the understanding of economics that you claim to have. If you did you would realize that people's entertainment budget is finite. It may go up, it may go down, but it is limited. If you completely do away with copyright, the market gets flooded with knock-offs of the original item, yet people still have x dollars they can spend on entertainment, and now that limited amount of money is spread out over more products. Thus there's no way to get rid of copyright where there is not a high number of copyright holders who will lose money. And when the reason they are losing money, and we as fans losing creators, is because they are competing with their own product, well, that's not a good model for anybody.

    And no, there's not always other products someone can offer. Talk to the average novelist. There's usually not a lot else a novelist can offer.

    But I suspect you know all this, and the flaws in your theory, but can't admit them because you're playing for your techdirt audience. So be it.

    Have a nice life.

     

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

  67.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 3:43am

    Re:

    It is clear you don't have the understanding of economics that you claim to have. If you did you would realize that people's entertainment budget is finite. It may go up, it may go down, but it is limited. If you completely do away with copyright, the market gets flooded with knock-offs of the original item, yet people still have x dollars they can spend on entertainment, and now that limited amount of money is spread out over more products. Thus there's no way to get rid of copyright where there is not a high number of copyright holders who will lose money. And when the reason they are losing money, and we as fans losing creators, is because they are competing with their own product, well, that's not a good model for anybody.

    You assume, incorrectly, that all dollars currently allocated to entertainment are the full amount that can be. I would think that the history of the GROWING dollar spend on entertainment would be pretty convincing evidence against that, but... apparently not?


    And no, there's not always other products someone can offer. Talk to the average novelist. There's usually not a lot else a novelist can offer.


    Trust me, there is ALWAYS other products that someone can offer. Including novelists. Paulo Coehlo, Jonathan Lethem, Charles Sheehan-Miles and Cory Doctorow are all novelists who have figured out ways to profit without relying on copyright. Any novelist can do the same.

    But I suspect you know all this, and the flaws in your theory, but can't admit them because you're playing for your techdirt audience. So be it.

    Huh? "Playing to my Techdirt audience"? I don't understand. Why would I do that if I were wrong. I say what I believe in based on EVIDENCE and if I were wrong and there were such huge flaws then people would point them out -- with corresponding EVIDENCE. So far, you have not done so.

    You have merely confused what I said. Fair enough. That suggests I need to do a better job explaining what I'm saying, but it doesn't mean I'm wrong.

     

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  68.  
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    comboman, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 12:57pm

    Re: I don't quite follow the logic here

    Why do people want to do mash-ups with Star Wars films (or Led Zep songs), for example, when they can create their own space adventure movies with completely original characters and footage? Why rail against people "hoarding" copyrights when it is so easy to create and distribute original works?

    Because everyone over 30 grew up watching Star Wars and listening to Led Zeppelin. It's part of our common shared culture (popular culture yes, but culture none-the-less). Referencing and building on previous creative works has always happened. West Side Story is a musical version of Romeo and Juliet (which in turn is based on an older Italian play which was based on a much older Greek play).

     

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  69.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 14th, 2008 @ 8:33am

    Re:

    Hi other Blaise,

    I wonder where the call to disenfranchise authors comes from, and the call to empower copyists?... I still do not understand why anyone feels (a) they have to claim that my ownership and control of my own authored intellectual property is inappropriate, and (b) that it can only be seen as a monopoly. What am I denying anyone else access to by monopolizing my own creative artifacts?

    I ask again, have you never build off the work of others? Do you ever take photographs of things that other people have made? It's natural to build off the works of others, to "stand on the shoulders of giants." Mere copyists won't have anything new to offer the world, but there's a lot to be offered from those would can add something new or original, something transformative.

    I forget if it was in this thread or another, but take West Side Story as an example, based on Romeo and Juliet, based on an earlier Italian play, based on a Greek play...

    Derivative works are not just mere copies. There's such a thing as transformative use. See Garfield Minus Garfield for a recent example, or Girl Talk.

    And who's trying to take power away from authors? We're trying to show them that there's an opportunity to grow their market and develop stronger business models that will thrive in a digital age. That would be helping authors.

     

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

  70.  
    identicon
    Corey, Aug 16th, 2008 @ 10:14am

    Re: Re:

    Sorry for the delay in this comment, but I didn't have the time too go look back on your "evidence" until now. I found this post from you on a previous copyright conversation:

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

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

    The problems with this statement can be pointed out in much of your evidence. First, the 9/11 report had so much news coverage, and so many people were waiting for it, that to use it as a typical example is dishonest.

    Secondly, depending on the type of book and the amount published, stating that the initial copies is where the bulk of the revenue lies is false. This is true in some cases, but certainly not all. Many books see their most significant sales in the second printing (I know this from experience).

    The other problem is that you say what you say based on a theory. True, it may work in theory, but that doesn't always translate to it actually working. To quote Homer J. Simpson, "Communism works in theory...in theory."

     

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  71.  
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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 16th, 2008 @ 3:00pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The 9/11 report had so much news coverage, and so many people were waiting for it, that to use it as a typical example is dishonest.

    This sounds like a Masnick's Law type comment to me... If a smaller profile example was used, someone would step in and complain of the exact opposite.

    Though, there were more examples given. You ignored "Paulo Coehlo, Jonathan Lethem, Charles Sheehan-Miles and Cory Doctorow."

     

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


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