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In An Age Of Abundance, Attribution Is More Important Than Copying

from the now-we'll-find-out-who-actually-let-the-dogs-out dept

It's no secret that copyright law has fit, at best, awkwardly into the digital age. Originally designed to make creators more profitable, as the cost of creation has fallen, the government granted monopoly seems more and more outdated. When ideas are abundant, limiting them seems silly. Now, the EFF's Danny O'Brien points out that what might actually matter most to content creators is not limiting copies, but attaining proper attribution -- even though that was not the intended purpose of copyright law.

Because copying used to be expensive, it was reasonable to assume that someone making a copy was going to sell it. Copyright law was aimed at that action to funnel money back to the original creators. It had the side effect of limiting plagiarism by making it more costly, but it was never copyright's goal to mandate proper attribution. Now, however, copying isn't anything extraordinary; in fact, it is the very nature of digital technologies. With the decrease in the price of copies, the cost associated with plagiarism has plummeted, too. O'Brien tells the story of a DJ friend who is more than happy to have her works widely distributed through copies online, but when she learned that another DJ was passing her creation off as his own, she became upset. Shirking copyright law for publicity's sake was fine, but when the historical side-effect of proper attribution also disappeared, she was more worried. Although plagiarism isn't always as troublesome as many assume, as attribution becomes untangled from copyright, the two ideas will be increasingly approached differently by creators.


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  1.  
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    Jake, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 1:35am

    Hear, Hear

    This has implications for patent law as well, now I come to think of it; why else would any sane programmer patent a few lines of code?

     

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    yogi, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 1:50am

    On the money!

    As a creator I feel that no attribution or wrong attribution is much much worse and more annoying than copying.
    Copying is almost inevitable and many times beneficial but no attribution - that's just mean.

     

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    JoeHark, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 1:55am

    this poster is more confused than Tiffany.

    You claim that the purpose of copyright is to increase profits. That not what the law says. MAybe you should read up on it before you pontificate.

    Also, you make the ridiculous and uniformed claim, "When ideas are abundant, limiting them seems silly."

    Ideas have always been abundant. New ideas are in the essential nature of the human animal. The abundance of or lack of ideas is irrelevant to copyright. You cannot copyright ideas. You can only copyright their expression.

    The rest of your post continues arguing from the position of someone who hasn't a clue about the source and purpose of copyright law.

    Those arguments have nothing to do with attribution as an acceptable alternative to compensation. You do not even mention that another motivation for enforcing copyright is that the creator wants to control where and how the copyrighted materials are used.

    But the law still says, until you can change it, that the copyright owner may choose to be paid. And that's where you get stuck, because you want someone's work without paying for it.

    All the sophistries in the world will not change that.

     

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    Hans-Peter Oeri, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:06am

    Don't over-simplify

    There are different cultures of "copyright" in the world. While US-american style copyright does not really care for attribution, the european style copyright (droit d'auteur) does. Actually, the right to correct attribution is the FIRST right mentioned, e.g. in the Swiss Copyright Code (second in the German Code)

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:58am

    Re: this poster is more confused than Tiffany.

    Also, you make the ridiculous and uniformed claim, "When ideas are abundant, limiting them seems silly."

    What's ridiculous or uninformed about that? It's true. It makes no sense to try to limit ideas.

    Ideas have always been abundant.

    Yes, so why have we tried to limit them?

    New ideas are in the essential nature of the human animal. The abundance of or lack of ideas is irrelevant to copyright.

    Really? Not so at all. The purpose of copyright was to establish a system to make them less abundant, but giving monopoly rights to the original creator of the expression. That limits the abundance.

    You cannot copyright ideas. You can only copyright their expression.

    In this case, semantics, not a meaningful critique.

    The rest of your post continues arguing from the position of someone who hasn't a clue about the source and purpose of copyright law.

    Actually, Kevin is quite knowledgeable on those subjects. You ought to read up on his writings.

    Those arguments have nothing to do with attribution as an acceptable alternative to compensation. You do not even mention that another motivation for enforcing copyright is that the creator wants to control where and how the copyrighted materials are used.

    What does that have to do with anything?

    But the law still says, until you can change it, that the copyright owner may choose to be paid.

    Did anyone deny that? I don't see it anywhere.

    When making an argument you're best off not assuming what the author says.

    And that's where you get stuck, because you want someone's work without paying for it.

    Yikes. Where did Kevin say anything along those lines?

     

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    Mattt, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 4:20am

    creative commons?

    Uh, what about creative commons attribution licenses?

     

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    Ferinoch, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 5:18am

    Seen this more and more

    I've seen this in the art communties I participate in. With the rise of image boards, a lot of artists initially went ballistic over the idea of people posting their work without permission. But now, a lot have realised that the boards open them to potentially huge new audiences, and can provide valuable feedback and interaction oppurtunities. Slowly they're beggining to embrace the image boards and be more focused on ensuring that people posting their art point to the right source so they get more viewers.

    Similarly, it used to be people just had uttter hissy fits (to put it nicely) when someone used their work as a reference, (copying a pose or an expression) and would threaten lawsuits and all other sorts of things, publicly ridiculing the person ad trying to get the community to turn them into pariahs. Now there's a lot more relaxed attitude. So long as you mention where you reference from, and link to the guy, more often than not it's seen as flattery and an attempt to learn from someone, rather than "stealin mah artzes!"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 8:50am

    Re: Re: this poster is more confused than Tiffany.

    JoeHark: "You cannot copyright ideas. You can only copyright their expression."

    Mike: "In this case, semantics, not a meaningful critique."

    That's unhelpful and wrong, Mike.

    Kevin says: "When ideas are abundant, limiting them seems silly." This implies that copyright is about limiting ideas. Limiting ideas sounds like thought control, which is scary, and makes copyright seem like a really bad ... um ... idea.

    However, JoeHark is pointing out that there's a mixup in that progression: specifically, that copyright is about a particular expression of an idea, not an idea itself. So it's not about thought control, is simply about protecting the details of an expression of a specific thought. This isn't merely meaningless semantics, this is a crucial point to any informed discussion of the issue that's going to move beyond emotional responses. Your dismissal is not helpful and suggests a shallow approach to the issue (though by your other writings, it's clear your thoughts are not usually shallow).

    These same "semantics" come into play when you claim that copyright is about making ideas less abundant. That's simply not true. Copyright is about protecting the specific expression of an idea. There can be many, many ideas, and there can be many, many specific expressions of the same idea. Both prove that your claim is incorrect.

    Far from meaningless semantics ...

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: this poster is more confused than Tiffany.

    However, JoeHark is pointing out that there's a mixup in that progression: specifically, that copyright is about a particular expression of an idea, not an idea itself.

    The expression of an idea is often indistinguishable from the idea itself.

    This isn't merely meaningless semantics, this is a crucial point to any informed discussion of the issue that's going to move beyond emotional responses. Your dismissal is not helpful and suggests a shallow approach to the issue

    If the "expression" is a bit of music, and I try to do something with that bit of music, copyright limits my "idea" because I cannot express it.

     

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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Re: this poster is more confused than Tiffany.

    So replace the word "ideas" with "content" or "creative works" or something.

    I can see some potential objections if you want to be picky, but I don't see how this affects the fundamental point in the post.

     

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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 9:44am

    Re: creative commons?

    Isn't CC BY a perfect example? All rights waived, except attribution is required.

     

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    simon phoenix, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 10:41am

    THAT IS EXACTLY THE POINT I WAS MAKING (sorry for the caps...) when i was posting to this topic http://techdirt.com/articles/20080630/0131411542.shtml a month or so ago. that using other peoples creative output (whether artistic or technological) should be done in a manner that gives proper credit to the original creators. its not promotion without attribution. its just plagerism.

    thank you for validating what i was saying.

     

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    John Doe, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 10:56am

    Attribution doesn't pay the bills.

     

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    Larry Jr., Aug 12th, 2008 @ 10:58am

    Blue sky idealists

    Mike, the "idea/expression dichotomy" is fundamental to existing US copyright law. If you think that the difference between ideas and expressions is merely "semantic", you argue with a fundamental assumption of the existing law. The reason you get some negative comments is that people think you are proposing practical solutions, when in reality you're just being blue-sky idealistic. (Contrast with Larry Lessig, who is realistic with his proposals.)

     

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    JoeHark, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 11:13am

    wordplay

    Thanks to AC who gave the very same response I returned to give.

    And here is a perfect example that the difference between ideas and expression is not merely semantic.

    Under copyright law, neither AC nor I could never have a copyright on the idea that I think Mike is fundamentally mistaken as to what copyright law is about. The fact that others here have joined expressing in the same idea does not prevent others from their own expression (their own words) of that idea.

    The response AC posted said it all and very well, even more clearly than I would have. He has a copyright on his words. I have a copyright on the words of this message (unless the TOS for posting here says otherwise).

    All of which begs the point I was making. All these hald-baked arguments against copyright come down to one ugly fact. There are people who want to benefit from someone else's creative work without paying for it. That is not only illegal, with civil and criminal penalties, it also is contemptuous of and insulting to the work of the creator.

     

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    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 11:29am

    Re:

    Increasingly, neither does copyright.

    No one is suggesting that attribution alone is a business model. But, for an artist, having your work recognized is key to paying the bills.

     

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    John Doe, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re:

    How is having work recognized going to pay the bills if all anyone ever does is "recognize" it? Copyright works in an honest society. Face it, we have a society full of thieves who think everything should be free. Well, everything but their own work that is. Even sadder is they are starting to convince people who don't steal that it is ok because it is digital. What incentive does a content producer have to produce anything of value if it has no value?

     

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    simon phoenix, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 12:25pm

    I'm so glad i stuck around long enough to see my stance validated.

    Increasingly, advancement of reputation is the precursor to career financial security and this concept is destroyed if everyone feels that it is ok to use your creation without asking (which means that you can't promote said use yourself), or attribution, or BOTH.

    I do alot session work for free for cats that i think are really heavy. but under the condition that the project says "Featuring XXXXXXXXX". same thing with podcasts. at very least, it is just nice. at best it's great promotion and says that you are "relevant". someone to pay attention to. and that "attention" is valuable. attention is the currency of the digital age; the more of it you have and for the longest amount of time, the more relevant you are in that sphere and the more valuable your brand.

    yay, for common sense.

    simon

     

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  19.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:14pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    How is having work recognized going to pay the bills if all anyone ever does is "recognize" it?

    If all anyone does is "recognize" it, then you have a bad business model.

    Blaming others for your own bad business model is a pretty weak excuse.

    Copyright works in an honest society.

    If by "works" you mean limits many people for the benefit of a few.

    Face it, we have a society full of thieves who think everything should be free.

    Those people are your customers, so you might want to treat them a little more nicely.

    Even sadder is they are starting to convince people who don't steal that it is ok because it is digital.

    Learn the difference between theft and infringement first. Then, perhaps look into business models that use infringement to their *advantage*.

    What incentive does a content producer have to produce anything of value if it has no value?

    Who said such things have no value?!? Don't confuse value and price. People making use of your work make it MORE valuable, which provides more opportunity to profit from smart business models.

     

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  20.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:15pm

    Re: Blue sky idealists

    Mike, the "idea/expression dichotomy" is fundamental to existing US copyright law. If you think that the difference between ideas and expressions is merely "semantic", you argue with a fundamental assumption of the existing law. The reason you get some negative comments is that people think you are proposing practical solutions, when in reality you're just being blue-sky idealistic. (Contrast with Larry Lessig, who is realistic with his proposals.)

    As Blaise pointed out, the difference between ideas and expression is somewhat meaningless in this context. If you were to rewrite the post and change the word "ideas" to something else, it wouldn't change the meaning of the post.

     

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  21.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:19pm

    Re: wordplay

    And here is a perfect example that the difference between ideas and expression is not merely semantic.

    The point was that even if you changed the word in the post, it wouldn't change the meaning of the post.

    All of which begs the point I was making. All these hald-baked arguments against copyright come down to one ugly fact. There are people who want to benefit from someone else's creative work without paying for it. That is not only illegal, with civil and criminal penalties, it also is contemptuous of and insulting to the work of the creator.

    Not at all. Which part of the fact that these other people are making your work MORE VALUABLE enabling you to make MORE MONEY did you miss?

    Is Trent Reznor insulted when someone does something cool with his music that makes the originals more valuable? Is Jim Davis "insulted" when someone makes Garfield comics more valuable by removing Garfield? Is Paulo Coehlo "insulted" when people share his books and then make creative additions to his works?

    Nope. They've learned to embrace it, and all have found that it actually increases their ability to profit.

    The arguments about copyright aren't "half-baked," they're well proven and more and more content creators are embracing them to tremendous benefit. Ignore them at your own peril.

    As for the claim that it's just about using someone else's work without paying for it, I assume you pay everyone who ever influenced you every time you create something? No? Hypocrite.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:21pm

    Re:

    Increasingly, advancement of reputation is the precursor to career financial security and this concept is destroyed if everyone feels that it is ok to use your creation without asking (which means that you can't promote said use yourself), or attribution, or BOTH.

    Why? If someone doesn't attribute, then all you need to do is make a stink about it -- that gets YOU more attention and damages the reputation of whoever used your content without attribution.

    What's the damage?

    I do alot session work for free for cats that i think are really heavy. but under the condition that the project says "Featuring XXXXXXXXX". same thing with podcasts. at very least, it is just nice. at best it's great promotion and says that you are "relevant". someone to pay attention to. and that "attention" is valuable. attention is the currency of the digital age; the more of it you have and for the longest amount of time, the more relevant you are in that sphere and the more valuable your brand.

    Yup. No one denies that attribution is important. But the point is that even if you're lacking attribution, it's not the end of the world.

     

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    simon phoenix, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 2:52pm

    Re: Re:

    Yup. No one denies that attribution is important. But the point is that even if you're lacking attribution, it's not the end of the world.

    um, you did.

    [from the thread about girltalk] http://techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20080630/0131411542#c289
    (simon)But building a career from “OTHER PEOPLES READILY AVAILABLE MUSIC” and calling it your own is something that has to be governed, preferably by artists and the people who love what the internet can be.

    (mike)Do you credit every one of your influences on all of your songs? Do you credit those who taught you your instruments? Do you credit those who first created the instruments you play? Do you credit those who build your specific instrument?

    All music is built on the works of others. Not everyone gets credit every time.

    If it’s an aggregation/promotion argument, then make a page with links to each of the artists myspace profiles so people can get a sense of the depth of the pieces of this collage work.

    Sure, I agree that would be a better solution, but plenty of others are having fun figuring out who the different snippets are from, and it's making them go out and search out the originals. In other words, there's no reason that Girl Talk need to do it when others are doing it for him.
    [/End from the thread about girltalk]

    you deny the importance of attribution as something for a vague "others" to do, when it should be something that anyone who reuses and/or aggregates the content of other, who has any morals and regard for the contents original creator, should do even without the spectre of the law.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 5:50pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Simon,

    Read my quote again: "No one denies that attribution is important. But the point is that even if you're lacking attribution, it's not the end of the world."

    Then read those other quotes again. I'm saying the exact same thing. I don't say attribution isn't important, but I'm saying don't worry about it if attribution doesn't occur because it's not a big deal. I even said that, yes, attribtuion would be *better* but that it's not a big deal if there's no attribution. Just focus on what you can do, rather than whining about others.

    you deny the importance of attribution as something for a vague "others" to do, when it should be something that anyone who reuses and/or aggregates the content of other, who has any morals and regard for the contents original creator, should do even without the spectre of the law.


    Try reading what I said again. I said attribution is *better* but not to freak out if it isn't there.

    Don't pretend I said something I didn't.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: this poster is more confused than Tiffany.

    What exactly do you want to "do with" a bit of music that current laws don't permit? If you don't plan to do anything genuinely transformative, or you're not critiquing or parodying the work, then just what are you doing with it? And why should you be allowed to do so if it's contrary to the wishes of the original creator?

    I'll grant that current fair use laws are overly vague and restrictive, that copyrights extend far too long, and that the litigious mania rising around these issues need to be brought in line, but all of this argues for revision, not abolition.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 7:44pm

    Re: Re: wordplay

    "As for the claim that it's just about using someone else's work without paying for it, I assume you pay everyone who ever influenced you every time you create something? No? Hypocrite."

    It's a bit ridiculous to carry this to the extreme and then sink to name-calling. No one's talking about crediting every possible influence on every creative work. However, if I'm clearly building on/mashing-up/whatever a particular work or a particular artist's body of work, and I don't make that clear, that's a genuine problem.

    Don't muddy the waters more than they already are ...

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Aug 12th, 2008 @ 7:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Try reading what I said again. I said attribution is *better* but not to freak out if it isn't there."

    Actually, you said the opposite: "If someone doesn't attribute, then all you need to do is make a stink about it -- that gets YOU more attention and damages the reputation of whoever used your content without attribution."

    Pick a strategy.

     

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    Allen (profile), Aug 12th, 2008 @ 11:49pm

    Copyright gives you the right to choose whether or not to make money or give it away for free.

    Whether you choose to do so or not, someone taking your work and passing it off as their own is going to hurt.

    Plagiarism and copyright are two different issues.

     

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    simon phoenix, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 12:45am

    well, saying "it's not the end of the world" is the same as "just". in the music world people try to punk you out of paying you properly with the word just. for example..."I just need you to do some horns on this track" JUST, makes it sound so simple and innocuous..."just" like saying "it's not the end of the world". of course its not the end of the world. it is, at worst, still illegal, and at best, disrespectful and makes you a thief. at least attribution shows that you own up to it somewhat and those that you stole from can benefit a little, if not more.

    it's also not about whining (this is where i would usually inject sarcasm, but i will digress). just like all of these pedantic posts are not about me having a pissing contest with you. i post about this on every forum where it comes up, because when people look this stuff up online, these posts come up sometimes and it is important that a view such as yours--that there is no need to attribute or even compensate a content creator for works that are, at that point, plagerized--can not go unchallenged.

    so call it whining if you must, but i will/would whine, sue, challenge, anyone who used my music without at least asking me and/or attributing my own work to me. and luckily, the law is still on my side. at least attribution, as i keep saying, is a step in the right direction and acknowledges the creator.

    why is it that you feel that content creators deserve nothing? no recognition, no recompense, no say over the use of their work. It's no big deal!?! that is amazingly ignorant and shortsighted especially since you are in a position of being a voice that impressionable readers listen to. and, at present, you are now contradicting the author of this article.

    for real dude...what's up? please make me understand...i really want to, (no sarcasm intended). if you can really show me how your position is right, or even kinda sorta, under-a-cherry-moon OK, i'll listen.

     

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    Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 3:06am

    Re:

    well, saying "it's not the end of the world" is the same as "just". in the music world people try to punk you out of paying you properly with the word just. for example..."I just need you to do some horns on this track" JUST, makes it sound so simple and innocuous..."just" like saying "it's not the end of the world". of course its not the end of the world. it is, at worst, still illegal, and at best, disrespectful and makes you a thief. at least attribution shows that you own up to it somewhat and those that you stole from can benefit a little, if not more.

    Hmm. So you misunderstood what I said.

    it is important that a view such as yours--that there is no need to attribute or even compensate a content creator for works that are, at that point, plagerized--can not go unchallenged.

    Again, please understand what I am saying. I DID NOT say that there is "no need" to attribute. I said that it is in fact better to attribute, but if someone doesn't attribute there are better ways of dealing with it than suing or threatening them.

    so call it whining if you must, but i will/would whine, sue, challenge, anyone who used my music without at least asking me and/or attributing my own work to me. and luckily, the law is still on my side. at least attribution, as i keep saying, is a step in the right direction and acknowledges the creator.

    Even if it harms your reputation and makes it less likely for you to be able to make money?

    why is it that you feel that content creators deserve nothing?

    Yikes. I've said no such thing. I've asked you before not to put words in my mouth. You are apparently unable to avoid doing so.

    I think content creators should have every opportunity to make money. In fact, these posts are all about helping them. For you to paint it as the opposite is simply wrong.

    no recognition, no recompense, no say over the use of their work.

    Um... what?!? You apparently have trouble reading. I think it's great when artists are recognized, rewarded financially and are creating new content. That's why I try to show them business models to do so.

    For you to suggest otherwise is a blatant misreading of what I write.

    It's no big deal!?!

    Well, when you misrepresent what I said then I can see why you would think it's a big deal. But since I never said what you're making into a good deal, I should respectfully ask you to reread what I actually said.

    and, at present, you are now contradicting the author of this article.

    Kevin's point was that attribution is something that many artists find more important than copyright. I agree with him on that. But that doesn't mean that an artist should sue if attribution isn't granted.


    for real dude...what's up? please make me understand...i really want to, (no sarcasm intended). if you can really show me how your position is right, or even kinda sorta, under-a-cherry-moon OK, i'll listen.


    I'll try once again:

    Yes, recognition and attribution is a *good* thing. But freaking out and suing over those who don't attribute can be counterproductive as it can do just as much damage to your reputation. Instead, there's nothing wrong with asking for attribution, or pointing out yourself that someone else is making use of your work, and even explaining what you like or dislike about it. But attacking them for appreciating your work is going to backfire.

    Hopefully that clarifies things, as I'm seeing many statements and positions being attributed to me that I did not make (the dangers of "attribution", I guess).

     

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    John Doe, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 4:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Theft is taking what doesn't belong to you. Infringement of copyright is theft. It may not be coded that way in the law since it is a civil and not criminal matter, but it is theft none the less.

    Things have no value if people get them for free. So if they can get them for free, why would they pay for them? Who wants thieves as customers?

    Please provide an example of making money off copyright infringement? If I take a great photo of the Grand Canyon and everyone takes it off my website for free, how exactly is that going to make me money?

     

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    Willton, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Blue sky idealists

    As Blaise pointed out, the difference between ideas and expression is somewhat meaningless in this context. If you were to rewrite the post and change the word "ideas" to something else, it wouldn't change the meaning of the post.

    But it may make the post noninfringing. That's the difference.

     

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  33.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: Blue sky idealists

    The key sentence in the original post that addresses ideas is this: "When ideas are abundant, limiting them seems silly."

    That sentence is predicated on the assumption that copyright law limits ideas. Replacing ideas with something else fundamentally changes the meaning, assumptions, and implications of that sentence and, consequently, of the post. If you don't see why, see some of the arguments given in earlier comments about the idea/expression distinction.

     

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  34.  
    identicon
    simon phoenix, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 9:37am

    Hmm. So you misunderstood what I said.

    HOW?  you say that it's no big deal as to whether a person breaks the law and plagerizes when, clearly it still is.

    Again, please understand what I am saying. I DID NOT say that there is "no need" to attribute. I said that it is in fact better to attribute, but if someone doesn't attribute there are better ways of dealing with it than suing or threatening them.

    exactly what would those better methods be?

    Even if it harms your reputation and makes it less likely for you to be able to make money?

    so, telling someone NOT to use copywritten materials, as per the existing law, is going to make me look bad to whom?  other thieves?  that's cool, i can live with that.  and less likely to make money how?  because at this point, hypothetically, my reputation and recompense are a non-issue because no one knows its mine and i'm not getting royalties.  so, in who's eyes is my reputation tarnished...oh wait, i get it!....are you using the metalica argument?!  i will refrain from any snarky comments because i really would like to know.

    Yikes. I've said no such thing. I've asked you before not to put words in my mouth. You are apparently unable to avoid doing so.

    I think content creators should have every opportunity to make money. In fact, these posts are all about helping them. For you to paint it as the opposite is simply wrong.

    but, IT SEEMS, as if you are saying that they should give away their content for free, and not make a big deal if they dont get credit or attribution for it, IN HOPE, that it will become a coupon of sorts, to sell live performances and t-shirts.  that is what it sounds like.  what I am saying is that it is not up to you.  if a content creator wants to sell a 2 bar mp3 of him/herself farting, for $2000, it should not be up to you to circumvent that.  at that point the market will dictate.  and who knows, someone may want a $2000 fart sample (i'm not kidding).  its the content creators right to price it that way and the consumers right to buy it.  last week 8 people bought an iphone app called "i'm rich", that did nothing, for $1000.  thats their choice.


    Um... what?!? You apparently have trouble reading. I think it's great when artists are recognized, rewarded financially and are creating new content. That's why I try to show them business models to do so.

    For you to suggest otherwise is a blatant misreading of what I write.

    rewards are something you win.  recognition is also something that is granted by someone else. sales are not reward.  copyright is not a reward.  and aggregators do not have the right, AS IT STILL STANDS IN THE EYES OF THE LAW, to steal. of course you will call is reuse (not my word...yours). 

    Kevin's point was that attribution is something that many artists find more important than copyright. I agree with him on that. But that doesn't mean that an artist should sue if attribution isn't granted.

    WHAT EXACTLY DOES A PERSON WHO'S CONTENT HAS BEEN "REPURPOSED" WITHOUT PERMISSION, DO FROM YOUR POINT  OF VIEW?! Just chalk it up to the way things go, while they are selling mixtapes or software bundles with your content? 

    But attacking them for appreciating your work is going to backfire.

    Appreciation?! your padwan jedi attempts may work on some (yes, i wanted to make a star wars reference, so get mad if you want), but it is not appreciation when it is not done in a manner that respects the original creator.  it's like saying that i "appreciate" this blog so much that i cope the entire contents of your server and replace all references of your name with mine (but seeing your opinions on such matters i would be loath to do so) and calling it mine, sans a new header.  i can't/won't do it to prove a point, not least of which, BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL!. 

    I want a content thief to be real good and pissed off  if they get a cease and desist letter about my content.  safe bet#1; make your own. less safe bet#2. Ask and give credit.  not rocket science.

    (oh, and i'm on vacation all week so if it takes a few days to make this point, keep it coming, becuse you are (let me make clear) WRONG.

     

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

  35.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 11:39am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Theft is taking what doesn't belong to you. Infringement of copyright is theft. It may not be coded that way in the law since it is a civil and not criminal matter, but it is theft none the less.

    No, theft is removing something from someone illegally so they no longer have it. Infringement is copying something, but the original owner still has it -- so it is different from theft.


    Things have no value if people get them for free.


    No, things have no *price* if people get them for free. Don't confuse price with value.

    You value air, right? But you don't pay for it. Why? Because it's abundant. You value water a lot, but you don't pay very much for it.

    Value and price are two separate things. You should learn the difference.

    So if they can get them for free, why would they pay for them? Who wants thieves as customers?

    You don't sell the same thing you are giving away for free. Is this really that complicated? You give away one thing for free so you can charge for others. And it has nothing to do with theft.

    Please provide an example of making money off copyright infringement? If I take a great photo of the Grand Canyon and everyone takes it off my website for free, how exactly is that going to make me money?

    If it then causes people to hire you to take more photos it could make you a lot more money. If a musician becomes famous because lots of people are downloading his stuff, and then has huge concerts because of it, he's profiting from copyright infringement.

     

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  36.  
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    Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 11:51am

    Re:

    HOW? you say that it's no big deal as to whether a person breaks the law and plagerizes when, clearly it still is.

    "Clearly"? No, we disagree. It's not a big deal unless you make it a big deal, and that tends to backfire.

    exactly what would those better methods be?

    Please read my comments above, where I made this clear. I'm not sure why you chose to ignore it.

    (1) Ask the person for attribution.
    (2) Tell others about the use, so that you get attribution by default, whether or not the original person attributes you. Word will spread.

    Trying to stop them from doing stuff, though, is simply a bad idea.

    so, telling someone NOT to use copywritten materials, as per the existing law, is going to make me look bad to whom?

    To those who liked the new works. If, say, The Guess Who gets Girl Talk to take down his songs, which people really like, it will certainly make The Guess Who look like a bunch of big bullies. It will hurt their reputation, while also denying interest from new fans who would have learned about their works via Girl Talk.

    and less likely to make money how?

    By shutting off those new fans, and pissing off plenty of new and old fans.

    because at this point, hypothetically, my reputation and recompense are a non-issue because no one knows its mine and i'm not getting royalties. so, in who's eyes is my reputation tarnished

    Your reputation is tarnished when you sue. If you're upset that no one knows its mine, then go ahead and TELL PEOPLE that it's yours.

    but, IT SEEMS, as if you are saying that they should give away their content for free, and not make a big deal if they dont get credit or attribution for it, IN HOPE, that it will become a coupon of sorts, to sell live performances and t-shirts.

    No, it's not about hoping. It's about USING IT to YOUR ADVANTAGE. If someone else is making use of your work, draw attention to that, and then make sure that you have a way to make more money from that attention.

    if a content creator wants to sell a 2 bar mp3 of him/herself farting, for $2000, it should not be up to you to circumvent that. at that point the market will dictate. and who knows, someone may want a $2000 fart sample (i'm not kidding). its the content creators right to price it that way and the consumers right to buy it. last week 8 people bought an iphone app called "i'm rich", that did nothing, for $1000. thats their choice.

    Indeed. That is their choice and I'm not trying to take that away from them. But if someone else then samples that fart and does something cool with it, that should be *their* choice as well.

    You are trying to limit that choice.

    rewards are something you win. recognition is also something that is granted by someone else. sales are not reward. copyright is not a reward. and aggregators do not have the right, AS IT STILL STANDS IN THE EYES OF THE LAW, to steal. of course you will call is reuse (not my word...yours).

    You are avoiding the point. It doesn't matter what the law says here, we're talking about what makes the most sense for your success as a content creator.

    WHAT EXACTLY DOES A PERSON WHO'S CONTENT HAS BEEN "REPURPOSED" WITHOUT PERMISSION, DO FROM YOUR POINT OF VIEW?! Just chalk it up to the way things go, while they are selling mixtapes or software bundles with your content?

    No, you USE IT TO YOUR ADVANTAGE. See what Jim Davis did with the Garfield w/o Garfield guy? That was "infringement", but Davis helped PROMOTE IT, knowing that it also helped PROMOTE his own works. Win-win.

    Appreciation?! your padwan jedi attempts may work on some (yes, i wanted to make a star wars reference, so get mad if you want), but it is not appreciation when it is not done in a manner that respects the original creator.

    If it wasn't appreciation, they wouldn't have used it.

    it's like saying that i "appreciate" this blog so much that i cope the entire contents of your server and replace all references of your name with mine (but seeing your opinions on such matters i would be loath to do so) and calling it mine, sans a new header. i can't/won't do it to prove a point, not least of which, BECAUSE IT IS ILLEGAL!.

    It's not illegal at all. In fact, I've encouraged it, and there are about 10 sites right now that do EXACTLY that, thinking (wrongly) that I would get upset and sue. They're trying to prove a point, but I've encouraged them to go ahead and do it.

    I've explained why before:

    http://www.techdirt.com/article.php?sid=20070412/183135#c612

    To repeat:

    Yup. And as we've said repeatedly, we have no problem with people taking our content and reposting it. It's funny how many people come here, like yourself, and assume you've found some "gotcha." You haven't. There already are about 10 sites that copy Techdirt, post for post. Some of them give us credit. Some of them don't. We don't go after any of them.

    Here's why:

    1. None of those sites get any traffic. By itself, they offer nothing special.

    2. If anything, it doesn't take people long to read those sites and figure out that the content is really from Techdirt. Then they just come here to the original source. So, it tends to help drive more traffic to us. That's cool.

    3. As soon as the people realize the other sites are simply copying us, it makes those sites look really, really bad. If you want to risk your reputation like that, go ahead, but it's a big risk.

    4. A big part of the value of Techdirt is the community here. You can't just replicate that.

    5. Another big part of the value of Techdirt is that we, the writers, engage in the comments. You absolutely cannot fake that on your own site.

    So, really, what's the purpose of copying our content, other than maybe driving a little traffic our way?

    So, if you really want to, I'd suggest it's pretty dumb, but go ahead.

    I want a content thief to be real good and pissed off if they get a cease and desist letter about my content.

    Sure, get them pissed off, but the collateral damage is you end up pissing off all their fans as well.

    (oh, and i'm on vacation all week so if it takes a few days to make this point, keep it coming, becuse you are (let me make clear) WRONG.

    Lovely.

     

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  37.  
    identicon
    simon phoenix, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 12:32pm


    now you're just lying because you did not make a 3 point defense of attribution in this thread. you said;

    "Do you credit every one of your influences on all of your songs? Do you credit those who taught you your instruments? Do you credit those who first created the instruments you play? Do you credit those who build your specific instrument?

    All music is built on the works of others. Not everyone gets credit every time."

    and

    "Yup. No one denies that attribution is important. But the point is that even if you're lacking attribution, it's not the end of the world."

    and

    "Then read those other quotes again. I'm saying the exact same thing. I don't say attribution isn't important, but I'm saying don't worry about it if attribution doesn't occur because it's not a big deal. I even said that, yes, attribtuion would be *better* but that it's not a big deal if there's no attribution. Just focus on what you can do, rather than whining about others."

    And you DEFINITELY did not say that they should ASK others to attribute and credit to original content creators (I re-read the entire thread juuuust make sure), but I am happy that you see how important it actually is and not as something that is trivial.

    at the basic level, if an argument is to be made about the value of digital media, it must include the ease with which history can be permanently attached to it. literary content has done this for a very long time and it works. the original author gets credit when he is quoted and it adds to his reputation over time.

    that was the main point i wanted to make and i'm done now...

     

     

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  38.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 12:45pm

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

    Your logic is just plain twisted. If people can get a service or product for free, why would they pay for it? A musician sells music. If it is stolen, er copied, for free then who is going to pay him? Concerts? Compare the number of people a musician can perform in front of in a year to the number of people he can sell music to? Thousands compared to millions. So maybe he gets paid pennies instead of dollars for his music? But hey, its not a crime, all that lost income isn't stolen now is it?

     

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  39.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 2:54pm

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

    Your logic is just plain twisted. If people can get a service or product for free, why would they pay for it?

    Ask the bottled water companies and then get back to me.

    Or ask anyone who buys a CD these days (there are still plenty) or pays iTunes for music.

    Obviously, there are ways to compete with free.

    But, the more important point that you seem to be missing (repeatedly) is that you focus on them having to sell the same product they're giving away for free. They don't. And they shouldn't. They should sell something else -- something scarce -- that isn't free.

    A musician sells music. If it is stolen, er copied, for free then who is going to pay him? Concerts? Compare the number of people a musician can perform in front of in a year to the number of people he can sell music to? Thousands compared to millions. So maybe he gets paid pennies instead of dollars for his music? But hey, its not a crime, all that lost income isn't stolen now is it?

    Learn a little economics and try again:

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

    Already most musicians make money on concerts rather than music sales, but why let facts get in the way? And if the free music attracts many more people to those concerts than the musician can make much more money.

    And, of course, it's not just concerts as we've explained repeatedly. Look at Trent Reznors business model. Or Radioheads. Or Jill Sobule's. Or Maria Schneider's. They all put in place business models that involved free music but that still had them getting paid -- and while concerts were an ancillary part for some, it wasn't the main point of all of their business models.

    Open your eyes a little and you might learn something.

     

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  40.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 13th, 2008 @ 2:56pm

    Re:

    Simon, thanks for missing the point again.

    Let me try to summarize so you stop going in circles:

    We agree that attribution is something good.

    We disagree about how to deal with situations where attribution doesn't occur. You say go on the attack. I say that can backfire, and instead focus on what you can do to take advantage of the situation.

    That seems to be the crux of the discussion.

     

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  41.  
    identicon
    simon phoenix, Aug 13th, 2008 @ 3:32pm

    well, as long as there is consideration towards respecting the content creator by referencing him/her in resultant products/works, the other details can be hashed out in various ways by the various creators and or lawyers.

     

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  42.  
    icon
    Blaise Alleyne (profile), Aug 14th, 2008 @ 8:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you're following the whole conversation (granted, there's a lot), what he's saying is pretty clear.

    From another comment, Mike suggested two methods to deal with a lack of attribution:

    "(1) Ask the person for attribution.
    (2) Tell others about the use, so that you get attribution by default, whether or not the original person attributes you. Word will spread."

    These suggestions are in place of taking legal action.

    "Make a big stink about it" was in response to a comment about reputation and refers to (2), while "freaking out" was in response to a comment about the legal matters involved. (Basically, if someone is using your work without attribution, tell people it's yours instead of suing them.)

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 8:54am

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

    Read the second comment to the article you linked to and maybe you will learn something. Your argument is for a business model. My argument is theft is theft. Maybe some musicians in this case may want to implement this business model due to the low morals/high rate of theft in society these days. But what about the musician who would like to work from his home town on making CDs or music for download rather than spend all year going from town to town playing concerts?

    Your argument consists of how to take advantage of the situation. My argument is the situation is wrong.

     

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  44.  
    icon
    Mike (profile), Aug 14th, 2008 @ 11:33am

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

    Your argument is for a business model. My argument is theft is theft.

    But it's not theft. It's infringement. With theft, you end up losing something. With infringement, you don't. It's an important distinction.

    Maybe some musicians in this case may want to implement this business model due to the low morals/high rate of theft in society these days. But what about the musician who would like to work from his home town on making CDs or music for download rather than spend all year going from town to town playing concerts?

    There are business models that don't involve touring that they are perfectly free to use as well.

    But, there's something in the question above that could be read like "and what about the office worker who would like to play solitaire all day, rather than work?"

    At some point, if you're unwilling to do the work, you don't get paid. That's life.

    Your argument consists of how to take advantage of the situation. My argument is the situation is wrong.

    No, my argument is that if you sit there and whine about how the situation is wrong while everyone else realizes it's not wrong, and by embracing it they can do better... you're going to be in a heap o' trouble in pretty short order.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 14th, 2008 @ 11:50am

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

    But, there's something in the question above that could be read like "and what about the office worker who would like to play solitaire all day, rather than work?"

    Not at all. The work is the creation of the music. This analogy is insulting and reveals a fundamental problem for the rest of your arguments: you don't really think that making music takes much effort or is worth very much (monetarily or otherwise). Deny it all you want, but these kinds of comments reveal the truth.

    No, my argument is that if you sit there and whine about how the situation is wrong while everyone else realizes it's not wrong, and by embracing it they can do better... you're going to be in a heap o' trouble in pretty short order.

    This doesn't address his claim (i.e., that "it's wrong"), it just skirts it by basically saying "nuh uh." If I ask for payment for my work and you take/accept my work but don't pay, then it's wrong. Period. You might not think my work is worth paying for ... so don't buy it. But if you take/accept the work, then you're obligated to the terms.

     

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  46.  
    identicon
    John Doe, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 4:56am

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

    We are wasting our time with this guy. He is trying to justify his stealing (infringing on copyrights) by saying the content producer should "get over it" and find another way to make money. I bet he would sing a different tune if people were stealing the results of his efforts.

     

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  47.  
    identicon
    SomeGuy, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 9:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: this poster is more confused than Tiffany.

    What exactly do you want to "do with" a bit of music that current laws don't permit?

    I'll grant that current fair use laws are overly vague and restrictive, that copyrights extend far too long, and that the litigious mania rising around these issues need to be brought in line


    Seems you have a good idea of what someone might want to "do with" music or video or pictures or writing that the current regime keeps from happening. Even aside from what the actual law SAYS there's the chilling effect of not knowing where the lines are drawn: copyright prevents creation because I'm unlikely to put effort into a work if I feel there's even a significant chance that I might be sued for it.

    but all of this argues for revision, not abolition.

    I don't see where Mike or Kevin say we should abolish copyright rather than revise it. In fact, elsewhere, Mike has argued directly for revision of copyright.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Aug 15th, 2008 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: this poster is more confused than Tiffany.

    I don't see where Mike or Kevin say we should abolish copyright rather than revise it

    Then you haven't been reading long enough, or paying close-enough attention.

     

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


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