Is There Any New Technology The Copyright Industry Hasn't Tried To Stop?

from the luddites-in-action dept

Earlier this year, we wrote about a long line of politicians fearing the impact of new innovations -- from video games to the waltz -- and how they would harm the morals of children. These were classic "moral panic" quotes from politicians. As a bunch of you have sent in, Ars Technica put together a similarly nice list of moral panic quotes concerning pretty much every major new technology innovation from the past 100 years. From the days of the grammophone and the player piano (which was the main reason behind much of the 1909 Copyright Act), the big copyright holding industries have pushed out fear mongering quotes about how some new technology would absolutely destroy the ability to make money from content, unless Congress acted quickly to put in place some new restriction, tax or extra right for those copyright holders. In every single case the fears and complaints from the industry weren't just wrong, but were stunningly backwards. Every technology opened up new markets and new opportunities.

And yet, where are we today? We're still listening to the RIAA, MPAA, BSA, NMPA, ASCAP and others spewing the same nonsense about the internet. And almost no elected official or reporter calls them on this. They may claim that "this time it's different," but shouldn't the burden be on them to actually prove it for once?


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    Shawn (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:12am

    Great article worth the read!



    Towards the end is a quote that rings a bell...

    Copyright expert William Patry put it strongly at the conclusion of his new book, Moral Panics and the Copyright Wars, writing, "I cannot think of a single significant innovation in either the creation or distribution of works of authorship that owes its origins to the copyright industries."

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:39am

    "Is There Any New Technology The Copyright Industry Hasn't Tried To Stop?"

    No, because the purpose of intellectual property has nothing to do with promoting the progress and has everything to do with stopping the progress.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:55am

      Re:

      That is the lie that Mike wants you to buy, way to parrot the Guru.

      Reality: IP without use has no value for anyone, not for the public and not for the rights holders. The rights holders only make money when the idea, product, or service is being used. Thus, they have an incredibly huge interest in progress.

      Many of the great masters, in the times before copyright, would work in secret hideaways and keep their inventions to themselves, showing them to nobody. Much of Divinci's great inteventions and ideas were only discovered years after his death, because he would not share them in public for fear of them being ripped off. If anything, a totally open system stymied developments.

      Would you prefer no patent or copyright system, but things only exposed to the public when they become actual products? You could sit on your PII Intel computer and connect via your 56k modem and enjoy the internet that way, because that would be all you would have. Many developments in communication and computer hardware have been based on looking at patents and other public annoucements, finding out it is possible, and moving forward. Waiting for the products to actually hit the market before starting that process would slow progress tremendously. We would have a huge market of closed PII computers, but the PIII would probably still be in development (secretly).

       

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        Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:12am

        Re: Re:

        So if DaVinci shared some of his ideas, instead of hiding them, others could have helped/improved on those ideas and sped up innovation. DaVinci could have been alive to see his inventions actually benefit mankind. Nice try shill!

        Oh! And the computer thing. What? If that is a case for pro-patent/copyright then you will be losing fast.

        Many developments in communication and computer hardware have been based on looking at patents and other public annoucements, finding out it is possible, and moving forward.

        So patent and copyright collections are a place to put your ideas so others see them and they can be used to innovate? A place to share ideas? Sorry, I used the word share. I know, it stings.

        To the contrary. We have seen patent after patent of overly broad processes which have been used to stop innovators, to make lawyers rich. When somebody comes up with an innovation and it happens to infringe on one of these patents the first thing the patent owner does is try to shut down the innovative work. That's progress, ain't it!

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:27am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Poor reading skills will kill you every time.

          How many patents are "overly broad processes which have been used to stop innovators"? Mike goes out of his way to detail every one of them, there are about 50 a year. How many patents are issued a year? Tens of thousands? It is a very, very low failure rate.

          Further, most of those lawsuits end up with a payment and licensing, or the patent being dismissed, which takes years. In the meantime, the products are still for sale, innovation still continues, and mankind moves forward.

          lawsuits in the patent world are like line breaks on the internet, a failure that is routed around. It is extremely rare that a patent lawsuit results in the immediate removal of a product from the market. I would actually challenge you to find one case in the US in the last 5 years. It doesn't benefit the patent holder to "shut down the innovative work" - they cannot profit from their inventions if nothing is going to market.

          So if DaVinci shared some of his ideas, instead of hiding them, others could have helped/improved on those ideas and sped up innovation. DaVinci could have been alive to see his inventions actually benefit mankind. Nice try shill!

          You are so busy trying to drag me down, that you aren't thinking. If you lived in Divinci's time, you would not have benefited from his developments, because they were hidden. Perhaps your children, or your children's children might of. In effect, he delayed progress by keeping it private, rather than making it public and being able to collect a licensing fee. So for us today, it isn't a significant difference, but for the people of his time, it would have changed their lives.

          So patent and copyright collections are a place to put your ideas so others see them and they can be used to innovate? A place to share ideas? Sorry, I used the word share. I know, it stings.

          Again, trying so hard, yet you fail.

          The patent system is how you plant a flag and claim on idea. Others see the idea, and either they work to develop their own non-infringing methods to get the same or better result, or they license the technology and innovate from there. Without it being out there to be seen, neither of these things would happen. Thus, development would be done at a much slower pace, because new ideas would not be seen until completely developed and brought to market, which is often years past when a patent would be issued. The publication factor of the patent process does allow for a certain sort of sharing, there is no "sting" in that. It also means that the original developer can control the idea for a given period, profiting even as others work with it. It is mutually beneficial.

          The lessons can be learned from AMD versus Intel. Many of the developments of chip size, configuration, trace sizes, and all sort of other developments have often come as a tit for tat process based on announcements, advances, and yes, patents issued. The first dual core processors came from each company about the same time. With secrecy, the one who came up with the idea would develop the product completely, then bring it to market, and the other company might take 12-24 months to catch up, in the mean while, the leader has little reason to push harder. Once the other company catches up, they can then finally release the next model, which again would take 24 months to catch up on.

          Don't think with your heart, think with your head. Think about how the real world works, not how socialist Mike wishes it worked.

           

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            brent (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:43am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            of these 3 previous posts i found all the arguements interesting. I don't think we need to throw Mike under the bus here as from previous posts he has said that the patent system does have its use but that sometimes it is misused which i think everyone can agree on.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:48am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Yes, except that Mike's solution is throwing the baby out with the bathwater. Because a very, very small number of patents are an issue, the system is broken and should be ditched. That's the line here.

               

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                Sheinen, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:56am

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

                The point is that you can't go around hailing something as the father of creation if it's secretly stabbing some of it's children to death at the same time!

                Oh and what you're describing is the opposite of what Patenting is for/doing. You don't register a patent to give someone else with greater resources the idea to make their own, you do it to stop them.

                 

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                Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:06am

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

                Get your head out of your ass. Mike never said that he wanted the patent system gone, he only said that it could go away and it wouldn't be a bad thing. Patents were originally meant to encourage innovation, that's all we are pushing it back to.

                And if DaVinci had to deal with our current patent system, he would have been sued into the ground by past inventors. That is, assuming that he did keep inventing and didn't climb back into a tree and write the whole evolution thing off as a bad idea. While DaVinci was a smart man, he still worked off of what others had made before him.

                 

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:07am

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

                "Because a very, very small number of patents are an issue, the system is broken and should be ditched."

                No, patents in general are an issue. Companies have to do expensive patent searches before creating a product because just about anything one can think of is somehow someones intellectual property. An individual can't build and sell a product because it likely violates many patents and the individual is unlikely to be able to acquire all the rights necessary to sell anything whereas this gives corporations who cross license (because they have many patents of their own so other corporations are willing to cross license with them) a government granted unlevel playing field. It doesn't help the individual, it helps the corporations because corporations work together, individuals can't pool their patents together as easily to create new products that may violate many patents and to cross license with corporations. Monopolies are universally bad for society in that they decrease aggregate output and increase price and if the monopolies granted by patents have no effect people and corporations would have little use for acquiring so many, yet there is very little to no evidence that patents have done anything to advance technology.

                 

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:45am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "How many patents are "overly broad processes which have been used to stop innovators"? Mike goes out of his way to detail every one of them, there are about 50 a year. How many patents are issued a year? Tens of thousands? It is a very, very low failure rate."

            How many patents have actually helped advance innovation. So far I haven't really seen that many. and to say that Mike or anyone has the time to go into detail of every bad patent, given the many many bad patents out there, is nonsense. We can come up with far more bad patents and more cases of patent abuse than your ability to come up with cases where patents have helped society and to demonstrate that without those patents society would be worse off.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:51am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "With secrecy, the one who came up with the idea would develop the product completely, then bring it to market, and the other company might take 12-24 months to catch up"

            With patents the one who develops the product first will prevent anyone else from developing it for TWENTY YEARS and hence others who would have quickly developed it independently of the first company will not and so the product would never advance. It was the lack of patents or the lack of the enforcement thereof that allowed these innovations to advance to what they are today. It is the patent system that is holding back medical advancement.

            "The first dual core processors came from each company about the same time."

            Which is just more evidence that patents are not needed, because people innovate independently of each other and independently of the need for patents or the alleged transparency that patents bring (ie: both companies independently invented the dual core processor without the need for one company to tell the other has to do it). The innovation comes because new problems arise so we come up with new solutions, not because some company revealed some secret that no one else can figure out. Patents would have only harmed such innovation.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:52am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              ie: both companies independently invented the dual core processor without the need for one company to tell the other how to do it *

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "and the other company might take 12-24 months to catch up, in the mean while, the leader has little reason to push harder."

            Isn't the purpose of patents to give the leader an opportunity to recover costs to their innovations. Well, this 12 - 24 month period is their opportunity, now they have incentive to innovate because they know they will have 12 - 24 months to recover costs. With patents they will have a TWENTY YEAR monopoly and so they will have no incentive to innovate for that long and no one else will be able to catch up or build upon the technology for that long.

            One could argue that they cross license, but corporations are perfectly capable of sharing different technology with one another to their mutual benefit and to the mutual benefit of competition and society without the need for patents. So long as anti trust issues don't get involved, but there is no reason to suggest cross licensing patents is any less subject to these issues.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            So by your statement the patent system is just about patenting an idea. Well I have thousands of ideas that cover a very broad range. Great I have an idea, so I should get a patent for that idea even if I will never implement that idea? Patents are supposed to be about a specific invention and way of doing something and providing proof of concept and encouraging others to find other or better ways to achieve the same end, such as a physical product of sort not just "Hey I have idea X now I want money because my idea, which I was never going to act on in any way shape or form, got a patent".

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:09am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "Patents are supposed to be"

              But that's not what they are. People have acquired patents on stupid things like swinging sideways on a swing and the wheel ( http://www.newscientist.com/article/dn2178 ). Who cares what you claim they're SUPPOSED to be for, the fact is that patents are ACTUALLY being used for exploiting the public.

               

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            R. Miles (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:12am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Very nice debate on the pros of patent, but I've got an issue with your position.

            And it stems from this line:
            The patent system is how you plant a flag and claim on idea.
            Idea. Maybe we're going to debate semantics here, but ideas shouldn't be allowed to be patented without some sort of product to back it up.

            Even then, I discount your belief innovation would cease. Our history has shown, repeatedly, innovation continues without the need for patents to be used. Many, many products were introduced during the Industrial Revolution which bore no patent, and helped bring this country forward.

            If IP/patent issues were as prevalent as they are today, every history book would not include a reference to the Industrial Revolution.

            For companies to pay another for use of an idea is blocking progress. Yes, I do agree there are ways to use patents properly, but they're unnecessary. I would fully support your idea if most patents had a product on the market.

            Given you're knowledgeable of the patent system, tell us how many are sitting there collecting dust. One estimate I've read stated over 52% of filed patents bearing no product.

            That's an extensive amount of waste over this concept of an "idea" when that patent's sole purpose is now for litigation, not innovation.

            I see no significance to a patent if its only purpose is to protect an idea. The patent system allows for companies to take advantage of a short term monopoly, but over 52% refuse to use this advantage. Why?

            I do agree with your position innovation doesn't stop regardless of patent disputes (and enjoyed the statement such products aren't removed from the market), but I draw the line when such disputes are over the idea, not a product.

            I'm also against the idea of patents being given over reasonable expectations of design. For example, a patent over the "1 click checkout"? Absurd, and even you should agree.

            As a once software developer, patents shouldn't be allowed here, either. Software isn't a damn idea. It never will be. Such idiocy deserves outcry from the business world, but instead, they're too busy filing their own patents on the possibility someone will use a "2 click checkout" software code.

            All too much, we hear of how badly patent disputes can be. Especially in the pharmaceutical world in which products from discovery can save lives.

            This alone should tell you patents are about money, not ideas.

            But as a supporter of patents, maybe you'll change your mind should your life be in jeopardy and wouldn't have been because a simple pill would have changed the outcome, but instead sits as an idea in the patent office.

            I hope this never happens to you, but the possibility it could happen should scare the crap out of you.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "I see no significance to a patent if its only purpose is to protect an idea. The patent system allows for companies to take advantage of a short term monopoly, but over 52% refuse to use this advantage. Why?"

              Either to have the patent so that if someone sues them for infringement they can countersue or to scare competitors into not innovating with a new product that drives the patent holder out of business in fear of infringing upon the someones intellectual property or to sue someone who does invent a new product that competes with a patent holder and accidentally infringes upon the patent holder's intellectual property. People and corporations are spending lots of money and resources to acquire these patents that they never plan to innovate on and they're not doing it for no reason, they're doing it because it somehow benefits them.

               

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:12am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              The patent system is how you plant a flag and claim on idea.
              Idea. Maybe we're going to debate semantics here, but ideas shouldn't be allowed to be patented without some sort of product to back it up.


              That gets us back to the land of secrecy. Some thing take many, many years to develop into actual products. Under you idea, they companies would have to hide their research, hide their findings, and hide everything they are doing until they actually get a product to market. So the announcement of the advancement (say the ability to produce microchips using narrower traces) would have to wait until the entire process is ramped up for actual production, and a product comes out of the end. That could take years. In the meantime, others could be wasting money and effort making the same mistakes and not getting any further, which instead they could be licensing the technology and getting along with producing products.

              Actual product isn't a very good measuring stick, except in very simple products. The more complex the product, the more difficult the production, the more time it takes to go from idea to market.

              Can you imagine the value of stealing an engineer from another company? Nothing would be patent, so they could "borrow" all the ideas and try to rush to market first, screwing over the company that spent all the money developing secretly for years.

              Hmmm. Doesn't sound very useful or productive, does it?

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:41am

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

                "That gets us back to the land of secrecy."

                The alleged land of secrecy causing so many problems is an invention you made up that intellectual property has never done anything to alleviate. At least there is no evidence of it, simply your assertions. (ie: Windows 95 is still under intellectual property and is closed source)

                "Under you idea, they companies would have to hide their research, hide their findings, and hide everything they are doing until they actually get a product to market."

                Stop with the unsubstantiated made up scare mongering. Even if one company chooses to hide the availability of a new discovery,

                A: exposing it and not allowing anyone else to use it is even more harmful

                B: other companies are very likely to independently make the same discoveries at the same time and it's very likely one of them will expose it to the public.

                C: a company that thinks others would not independently discover something is unlikely to reveal information even with patents. They are likely only to use patents to exploit ideas that they know others will independently discover very soon, especially given D.

                D: Companies are not likely to invest in terms of 20 years from now being that the present value of future returns twenty years from now from investment done today is very small compared to the returns on today's investment that yields a return tomorrow. So the need to invest in something for twenty years and keep it secret for that long or to patent something for twenty years due to returns in such a distant future are slim to none. The need to keep twenty year old inventions patented today is high being that those ideas will otherwise compete with you today.

                "So the announcement of the advancement (say the ability to produce microchips using narrower traces) would have to wait until the entire process is ramped up for actual production, and a product comes out of the end."

                See above. Also, lots of universities do research and reveal those results to the public, publicly funded universities and publicly funded research.

                It's amazing how you have to resort to speculative situations and the most unlikely hypotheticals, with no evidence, to promote your ideas. Figures, I have yet to see intellectual property maximists make a decent argument. As we have shown on techdirt, you have no interest in how valid your argument is, as long as you can make up some fake hypothetical that might support your position then you will present it as fact.

                 

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                R. Miles (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:56am

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

                That gets us back to the land of secrecy.
                How so? In using your chip production example, what harm would there be if AMD hits the market before Intel?

                Even by your own statements, a duo core processor was being designed at the same time. This is exactly my point in that patents covering expected innovations shouldn't be granted.

                Think about it: Where did Intel and AMD get their processor knowledge? I'm quite confident Texas Instruments was manufacturing microchips long before Intel became a household word.

                The patent system did nothing but award the first to market the rights to sell without competition, or paid licensing for such. It's absolutely pointless when, by your own example, innovation continues regardless of patent.

                Now, for the debate on your more challenging products. There's an inherent risk on manufacturing these types of products but you offer no proof other companies are willing to take the idea to rush to market, especially when there's no guarantee such a product will benefit them.

                This is why most companies build on the innovations of others.

                As for engineering theft, you'd be foolish to believe this doesn't happen, regardless of patents. In fact, many employees today are forced to sign non-disclosure agreements, which hints at "secrecy" of developments.

                Think employees care about those agreements? Pfft. They're definitely hard to prove, especially in your AMD/Intel example of the duo core development.

                So far, you've not really defended a need for patents. If anything, you've only proven their use is for revenue protection, not innovation.

                 

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            DocMenach (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:38am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            How many patents are "overly broad processes which have been used to stop innovators"? Mike goes out of his way to detail every one of them, there are about 50 a year. How many patents are issued a year? Tens of thousands? It is a very, very low failure rate.

            It appears as if you just like to make things up. This statement is completely untrue. I'm sure there are much, much more than 50 a year that are overly broad. You just pulled numbers out of thin air. Sorry, completely making things up does not make it true.

            Think about how the real world works, not how socialist Mike wishes it worked.

            Actually, most of the things that Mike says are quite Capitalist, not socialist. He supports an open market (which is a capitalist idea) and opposes government support of poor business models.
            You actually sound a lot like the pundits who toss out the word socialist in order to try to scare people off.

             

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            Richard (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 2:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "You are so busy trying to drag me down, that you aren't thinking. If you lived in Divinci's time, you would not have benefited from his developments, because they were hidden."

            No - because they were impractical at the time due to inadequate materials technology and lack of power sources.

            Oh and it's Da Vinci by the way...

             

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        Matt (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:14am

        Re: Re:

        Would you prefer no patent or copyright system, but things only exposed to the public when they become actual products? You could sit on your PII Intel computer and connect via your 56k modem and enjoy the internet that way, because that would be all you would have. Many developments in communication and computer hardware have been based on looking at patents and other public annoucements, finding out it is possible, and moving forward. Waiting for the products to actually hit the market before starting that process would slow progress tremendously. We would have a huge market of closed PII computers, but the PIII would probably still be in development (secretly)


        I did not know that Intel only released the Pentium 3 due to IP protection. Could you please point to some references of this?

         

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        R. Miles (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:15am

        Re: Re:

        Reality: IP without use has no value for anyone, not for the public and not for the rights holders.
        Reality: IP's only purpose is to obscure the fact all innovations are built off the innovations of others.

        That PII computer you're referencing owes its existence from the works of others, which in turn owes their products to the works of those before them, and so on.

        Show me any proof that anything created today wasn't built off the works of others.

        IP prohibits innovation through the misguided assumption it's to protect ideas. No, it's not ideas in protection, but a blockade from others using the knowledge of old to reproduce similar, if not identical, products.

        And for what? Right. Revenue.

        IP is creating a slippery slope when it comes to who owns what. Imagine, for a second, laws in IP get so strong, Microsoft has the right to charge for data you created using Excel. How about Adobe coming after everyone who used Photoshop for copyright infringement.

        Works created from the works of others should have no IP protection, but rather, an open source so that others can do the same.

        Profiting will come from selling such expertise, not the product of it.

        When (excuse me, if) people learn this, issues of copyright and patents disappear, as well as copyright and patents themselves.

         

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          Geekish, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Imagine, for a second, laws in IP get so strong, Microsoft has the right to charge for data you created using Excel. How about Adobe coming after everyone who used Photoshop for copyright infringement."

          This is completely off-topic from your point (sorry!), but in the event something like that happened I could only hope people would migrate to Open Office and Gimp (or some equivalents). The open source movement would probably be strengthened if the 'industry standards' started trying to 'nickle-dime' businesses to death. The software is too damn expensive as it is, in my opinion.

           

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            R. Miles (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:23am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This is completely off-topic from your point (sorry!)
            Don't apologize, but I'm curious to know why you feel it's off topic.

            Granted, my examples of Microsoft and Adobe were off the mark, but the premise should be clear: IP is getting to the point in which any development, patented, is open to litigation to which expectations in design are hindered by lawsuits.

            GIMP, as you exampled, is open source software. Now imagine if company "Z" turns around and sues the makers of GIMP for use of vectoring functions because it calculates based on using sin and cosine, rather than tangents.

            Poor wording, I'm sure, but that's the gist of my original remark. Eventually, if things continue, software will cease to be developed because software companies can't afford to pay the extortion costs of an idea.

            Just ask Amazon who had to defend itself against the patent of "1 click checkout".

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:22am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Maybe I need more caffeine before I post. I meant I was getting off-topic from your post (by talking about the possible cost benefits of open source instead of addressing the copyrights/patents issue), not that you yourself were off-topic. Sorry about that. I generally agree with your points, though I didn't really state it.

              "Eventually, if things continue, software will cease to be developed because software companies can't afford to pay the extortion costs of an idea."

              Yes, that would threaten even the open source programs being developed (as you stated with your GIMP/vector example). I hope things never reach that extreme, though patent and copyright laws sure seem to be on a very disturbing trend...

               

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        ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:19am

        Re: Re:

        " The rights holders only make money when the idea, product, or service is being used. "

        Right, but there's not cost to holding the rights. If we have to have perpetual 'intellectual property' rights, let's tax that shit. At least the public will get something out of this monopoly.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        AJ, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:22am

        Re: Re:

        "Would you prefer no patent or copyright system, but things only exposed to the public when they become actual products?"
        I actually laughed out loud at this question, and my answer is, yes I would.

        Companies will never stop producing the next best thing, even if you took away their monopoly power, they will still innovate. They still want to make money. The only difference would be their temporary monopoly would actually be temporary. They would get copied, someone I'm sure would make their product better. But that door would swing both ways, they could then take what someone else did and make that better.. etc.. etc.., and their you have progress for all.

        Sitting on a product, or using the rights to some technology as a sword to hack down your competition may create some gain in the very short term, but in the long term, it destroys the potential for progress for everyone, including the company with the sword.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:55am

          Re: Re: Re:

          AJ, sorry, you aren't thinking past the end of your nose. The "next best thing" usually doesn't come over and over again from the same company. A company gets to the top of the heap, and then works only enough to stay at the top of the heap. Others work to get to the top, and thus force the first company to work harder to get to the next great thing.

          If the process is signficantly delayed because of the lead times required to make the next best thing, then progress slows. 24 months to market for a new product means that every new product with be the best for 24 months, because nobody else knows what is good until it hits the market. So instead of a dozen innovations a year, you would get 1 innovation every couple of years.

          Sitting on a product, or using the rights to some technology as a sword to hack down your competition may create some gain in the very short term, but in the long term, it destroys the potential for progress for everyone, including the company with the sword.

          Exactly, but if there is no pressure to produce the next big product (ie, you would only be bettering your own best selling product) there is little impetus to release the new product any time soon. Thus, as you said, it would destroy the potential for progress.

          ChurchHatesTucker: Right, but there's not cost to holding the rights. If we have to have perpetual 'intellectual property' rights, let's tax that shit. At least the public will get something out of this monopoly.

          There is no perpetual IP rights. Most patents are 10 years or so, some drug companies have found ways to extend that somewhat, but in the end they are not perpetual. There is however fairly long rights of control on things like music, books, and movies. That is a different game, because they are unique expressions, not concepts. There isn't only one book, one song, or one movie. Thus, extended copyright coverage really doesn't slow progress. Oh yeah, the stuff is taxed, corporate profits and personal income is taxed every year. (tax, not a fee).

           

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            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:00am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            "Most patents are 10 years or so"

            Patents last twenty years.

             

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            Steven (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 12:00pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Your entire argument seems to be based on one simple concept. That companies go trolling through the patent database to come up with their ideas. That is provably false as nearly all companies specifically forbid engineers from looking at patents for fear of getting caught in a willful infringement case.

            "If the process is signficantly delayed because of the lead times required to make the next best thing, then progress slows. 24 months to market for a new product means that every new product with be the best for 24 months, because nobody else knows what is good until it hits the market. So instead of a dozen innovations a year, you would get 1 innovation every couple of years."

            ... BWHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA... Oh, you're serious... Wow that is demented reasoning. So everybody else just sits around and waits for one company to release a product, then the pick one to develop the next product, and so on, so that only one company is ever doing any work at one time. Riiiight, cause that's how the real world works. Sure.

             

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 12:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "So everybody else just sits around and waits for one company to release a product"

              No, we all sit around for one company to make a discovery and release it to the public and if it doesn't we do nothing to make the discovery ourselves.

               

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            AJ, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 12:38pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Your response made absolutely no sense at all.

            "A company gets to the top of the heap, and then works only enough to stay at the top of the heap."

            Obviously your not at the top. If you were, you would know, there is no "only enough". Why would a company not make it that much harder for everyone else to get to the top, by raising the bar? When it comes to money, just ahead is not good enough.

            "If the process is signficantly delayed because of the lead times required to make the next best thing, then progress slows. 24 months to market for a new product means that every new product with be the best for 24 months, because nobody else knows what is good until it hits the market. So instead of a dozen innovations a year, you would get 1 innovation every couple of years."

            What the hell are you talking about? You think everyone else is sitting on their ass and not thinking up new products? Everyone is going to wait to see if something is a "Hit" before they try to bring a product to market? Are you insane?

            "Exactly, but if there is no pressure to produce the next big product (ie, you would only be bettering your own best selling product) there is little impetus to release the new product any time soon."

            The "pressure" is money, bettering your own best selling product happens constantly, in every market. My company has made millions making something we already sell "better". That is how you stay on top.

             

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            DocMenach (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 1:35pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Exactly, but if there is no pressure to produce the next big product (ie, you would only be bettering your own best selling product) there is little impetus to release the new product any time soon.

            Riiiiiiiiight. So what about the iPod? It became a best seller almost immediately after it was released. Did Apple stop innovating on the iPod because they were at the top? Of course not, they kept improving, giving it more storage, giving it more capabilities, making it smaller, adding in a camera and microphone, and doing so very quickly. In the eight years since the first iPod was released we have seen 6 iterations of the regular iPod, 2 iterations of the iPod Mini, 5 iterations of the iPod Nano, 3 iterations of the iPod Shuffle, and 3 iterations of the iPod Touch.

            Obviously even when you are at the top there is lots of incentive to keep on innovating.

             

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            •  
              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 2:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              So what about the iPod? It became a best seller almost immediately after it was released. Did Apple stop innovating on the iPod because they were at the top?

              If the Ipod was the only MP3 player in the market, if nobody else was making MP3 products, they would have little desire to advance the technology except perhaps to sell a new versions to the suckers stupid enough to fall for "new box, same technology" stuff. Ipod advance as much because of competition as it did from internal desire, especially considering the original prodct was sell well even to it's last day.

              Competition refines the product. If the time to market for competition is longer because the original products and ideas are hidden, it will take longer for the originator to need to upgrade their own product. It's the nature of the game.

              Patents, product announcements, trade shows, demos, pre-release versions, press previews, and all those other things gives the competition the head start to get their productions going. It makes the originator be in the cycle for their next product before the first one hits the market. Without this stuff, it would be "boom" and all of a sudden there would be Ipod, 45 days before christmas, a total shock - and it would probably take at least until NEXT christmas for real competition to materialize.

              No iterations required when there is no competition except yourself.

               

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                DocMenach (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 3:51pm

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

                No iterations required when there is no competition except yourself.

                Okay then lets look at a product that doesn't have any competition: Microsoft Windows. For all intents and purposes they have a monopoly on the PC Operating system market. Yet they are constantly updating their product, adding new features, making improvements.

                Your argument is so nonsensical I don't understand how you can actually believe in it. You have hypothetical piled on top of hypothetical, with each hypothetical making less sense than the one before it.

                To quote Congressman Barney Frank: "Arguing with you would be like arguing with the kitchen table."

                 

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                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 5:07pm

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

                "Patents ... gives the competition the head start to get their productions going."

                no because the competition is often instructed by their bosses (ie: engineers and programmers) not to read patents because they don't want to be accused of intentionally infringing upon them (ie: in case they accidentally infringe upon a patent they read about and forgot) and they don't want to be artificially restricted with respect to what they could build. The fact that these people are asked not to read patents because they don't want such artificial restrictions is evidence that people will come up with patented ideas without patents.

                Or if they do patent searches it's not to help them come up with ideas, it's because they want to know what ideas to avoid (notice they must intentionally avoid these ideas, ideas that they would come up with without patents but now must avoid) or they came up with an idea (ie: WITHOUT PATENTS) and want to know if it's patented and if it is they need to determine if they should ditch the idea or change it.

                But they don't do patent searches to see what the competition is coming up with. Heck, patents are very little indication of what the competition is going to make being that most patents never get implemented into a product.

                 

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              •  
                identicon
                Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 5:10pm

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

                "Patents, product announcements, trade shows, demos, pre-release versions, press previews, and all those other things gives the competition the head start to get their productions going."

                Murder, water, good food, nutrition, education, adequate sleep, good exercise, and all those other things give you a head start to a healthy and fruitful life.

                 

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:09am

        Re: Re:

        Actually, DaVinci wouldn't have been able to invent anything because he would be too busy tracking the inventor of the wheel only to find out that he can't use it without paying royalties.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        batch, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:17am

        Re: Re:

        I didn't even bother to read beyond your first sentence, I'm so sick of you and your ilk's drivel and nonsense.

         

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 11:26am

        Re: Re:

        re: "Much of Divinci's great inteventions and ideas were only discovered years after his death, because he would not share them in public for fear of them being ripped off."

        Rubbish! da Vinci: 1452-1519. First patent in Florence: 1421. First in Venice: 1474

         

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      •  
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        Richard (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 1:59pm

        Re: Re:

        Would you prefer no patent or copyright system, but things only exposed to the public when they become actual products? You could sit on your PII Intel computer and connect via your 56k modem and enjoy the internet that way, because that would be all you would have. Many developments in communication and computer hardware have been based on looking at patents and other public announcements, finding out it is possible, and moving forward. Waiting for the products to actually hit the market before starting that process would slow progress tremendously. We would have a huge market of closed PII computers, but the PIII would probably still be in development (secretly).

        Biggest load of nonsense I've ever heard.

        The main driver of our recent development has been pure science. Without Newton Carnot and Joule no efficient heat engines. Without Faraday and Maxwell - no electrical devices. Without Planck, Einstein, Heisenberg, Bohr, Schwinger, Feymann, Dirac, Dyson and the others too numerous to mention no Quantum mechanics - and hence no semiconductors no computers.

        Now pure science has never (thank God) been encumbered by patents and copyrights of any kind. I shudder to think what could have happened if there was some kind of IP system in pure science.

        In engineering - by contrast - patents have clobbered the development of almost every significant invention for over 200 years. The industrial revolution was held up for nearly 20 years by Watt's patents on the steam engine. Photography was hobbled for years by Fox Talbot's patents. Aviation in America was hit so badly by the Wright brothers' patents that the US had no serviceable aircraft on entry to world war 1 and had to buy them from abroad. (Incidentally patent litigation didn't do the Wrights any good - it killed one of them and sidelined the company.)

        In contrast the jet engine developed rapidly and aircraft speeds doubled in just a few years - assisted by the fact that Frank Whittle let his patent lapse.

        How many patents are "overly broad processes which have been used to stop innovators"? Mike goes out of his way to detail every one of them, there are about 50 a year. How many patents are issued a year? Tens of thousands? It is a very, very low failure rate.


        50 a year obstructive nasty patents and tens of thousands of utterly useless pointless patents. Have you read the garbage that ends up being patented?

        As for patents being a "useful disclosure to the world" I have some news. No serious scientist or technologist ever reads them. We read journals and conference proceedings, which have the merit of being comprehensible!

         

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  •  
    icon
    syber (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:49am

    17 USC 1201, the right to steal?

    April 1, 1997 directv reached into my set top box, into the chip and turned off the programming I bought and paid for. Attorney's general from 31 states sued then stating Fraud in the complaint. Directv paid 11 million for having used there intellectual property rights to turn off the paid for programming. Under our constitution consumers have the right to protect and defend the property they purchase. Does usc 17 1201 really extend the right of the copyright holder to alter the embedded chip to steal? The answer is yes. In fact I was sued in 2003 because I bought an access card to stop this same theft. So 17 usc 1201 gives the right to the copyright holder to use there right to commit theft and fraud on the products we buy every day? It is discussed here :
    http://theft-by-satellite-company.com/index.html

     

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    icon
    Headbhang (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:06am

    The great late Douglas Adams put it best...

    1) Everything that’s already in the world when you’re born is just normal.
    2) Anything that gets invented between then and before you turn thirty is incredibly exciting and creative and with any luck you can make a career out of it.
    3) Anything that gets invented after you’re thirty is against the natural order of things and the beginning of the end of civilisation as we know it, until it’s been around for about ten years, when it gradually turns out to be alright, really.

     

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      Headbhang (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:10am

      Re: The great late Douglas Adams put it best...

      Napster (which can be said kickstarted the whole filesharing craze) started out in 1999, so we are barely hitting the ten years mark now. Things should start gradually getting alright now... :)

       

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        Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:59am

        Re: Re: The great late Douglas Adams put it best...

        It seems to be. More and more people are starting to realize that P2P is not only not a bad thing but a good thing. Hopefully the damage done between then and when it's fully accepted will be reversible.

         

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    •  
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      brent (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:45am

      Re: The great late Douglas Adams put it best...

      i like this

       

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      ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 9:55am

      Re: The great late Douglas Adams put it best...

      "ten years"

      Meh. I think it's a tad too long, but it's better than what we have now.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:22am

    Proselytizing again, are we?

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 8:49am

    I hope 2012 turns out to be true, we need a clean start...

     

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  •  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:08am

    Morse code

    Morse code?

     

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    icon
    The Infamous Joe (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 12:58pm

    The Answer

    The answer to Mike's question is: DRM.

    You're welcome.

     

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      Richard (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 2:26pm

      Re: The Answer

      "The answer to Mike's question is: DRM."

      Which is a negative technology that mechanises the process of stopping other useful technologies.

       

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  •  
    identicon
    Steve, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 4:10pm

    The whole damn thing boils down to the Entertainment Industry getting caught with it's pants down when the train left the station. Then it became about getting the courts to stop said train until they were good and ready to get on board. Tough shit. Adapt or die. Nobody OWES you a living.

     

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  •  
    identicon
    songwriter 1, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 6:36pm

    Actually no - it is required by law that the "burden" is on the tech companies. You are arguing that copyright owners should have to police the organizations that are using content to further their business models. This is a ridiculous argument. Broadcast companies weather it is Television, Radio or the internet all must abide by our copyright laws. These laws are in place for a reason...to protect the creators of this content.

    Maybe if you change your perspective & understand that it is a privilege to use this content. You should try & respect the many artists/ musicians who create for a living. These organizations (ASCAP, BMI, etc) represent many people who create for a living. Let's face facts - without the content that people want these new media companies would not exist. Period.

    Stop trying to make the argument that tech companies should not pay for content. It is a narrow-minded & limited viewpoint. There is no reason that tech companies shouln't be paying for the use of content just the same as it pays for other services.

     

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    •  
      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Oct 14th, 2009 @ 7:44pm

      Re:

      Stay away from fire, straw men are quite flammable.

       

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    •  
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      Mike Masnick (profile), Oct 14th, 2009 @ 10:17pm

      Re:

      Actually no - it is required by law that the "burden" is on the tech companies.

      This is false. You are simply making things up.

      You are arguing that copyright owners should have to police the organizations that are using content to further their business models.

      No, you are reading this wrong. We are arguing that companies who provide technologies and platforms should not be blamed for the actions of their users -- or had progress halted because content providers can't figure out new business models.

      Broadcast companies weather it is Television, Radio or the internet all must abide by our copyright laws. These laws are in place for a reason...to protect the creators of this content.


      Please reads the constitution, because that is not the purpose of copyright at all. The purpose is to promote the progress of science. That's it. It's pretty clear from the above that copyright has been used for the exact opposite purpose.

      Maybe if you change your perspective & understand that it is a privilege to use this content.

      Actually, copyright -- a gov't granted monopoly -- is the privilege.

      You should try & respect the many artists/ musicians who create for a living.

      I do. I work with many artists and musicians. I spent a bunch of time today helping one with a new business model idea, in fact. I have tremendous respect for them.

      What I don't have respect for are big middlemen industries using the law to stop progress that helps those artists.

      Let's face facts - without the content that people want these new media companies would not exist. Period.

      That presupposes something false: that copyright and the big industry is the reason that content exists. False. Oh so incredibly false.

      Stop trying to make the argument that tech companies should not pay for content.

      That's not what I argued. Nice try.

      There is no reason that tech companies shouln't be paying for the use of content just the same as it pays for other services.

      Huh? Again, that's got nothing to do with the argument here.

      Please read more carefully.

       

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      •  
        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Oct 15th, 2009 @ 7:37am

        Re: Re:

        Please reads the constitution, because that is not the purpose of copyright at all. The purpose is to promote the progress of science. That's it. It's pretty clear from the above that copyright has been used for the exact opposite purpose.

        Furthing the progress of science and the arts isn't mutually exclusive from protecting their rights to their work.

        Stop trying to make the argument that tech companies should not pay for content.

        That's not what I argued. Nice try.


        It is very typically your argument. Tech companies should not have to pay for content, because they are providing valuable advertising for the artist / product / content they are giving away for free. It's the very basis of your arguments and support of all things free.

        The reality is that online companies should pay for the use of copyright material, and they should pay at the going rate. You go on and on about business models, but you always put it on the content producers for having bad business models. The reality is that the "new media" tech companies trying to give content away for free are the ones with the bad business model. It is exactly like someone opening a store but not considering the costs of products to put in the store. Don't blame the producers of the products for the store owner being an idiot.

         

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          DocMenach (profile), Oct 15th, 2009 @ 10:02am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It is very typically your argument. Tech companies should not have to pay for content, because they are providing valuable advertising for the artist / product / content they are giving away for free. It's the very basis of your arguments and support of all things free.

          That is quite a gross gross misconstruing of both what Mike has been talking about, and what the the situation is. He has never said that people should not be paid for their content, and tech companies do not make a business of giving content away for free.

          The issue is the fact that the content industry has a history of continually demanding increased protections, and increased compensation. The content industry also has a history of trying to block the progress of any technology that that makes mass distribution easier. A good example is the introduction of the VCR, which was vehemently opposed by the both television and movie industries, but in the end the content industry benefited enormously from the VCR.

          The reality is that online companies should pay for the use of copyright material,...

          Again, no one is saying that online companies should not have to pay for copyrighted material. The issue is the question of what should qualify as copyrighted material and for how long it should be protected, and what is covered under fair use.

          ...and they should pay at the going rate.

          Again another issue. The "going rate" has been a forced creation of the content industry. The cost of creating and distributing content has gotten cheaper and cheaper. This creates a market force that drives the price down, but the content industry fights this.
          A good example is music: The Audio CD came out in the mid 80s (1985 marks the 1st million selling album on CD). At the time the retail cost of audio CDs was between $14 and $16 and usually had between 12 and 16 tracks. The costs associated with this were Recording/mixing/producing the album on high quality equipment, insert layout design and printing, duplication, packaging, and distribution, marketing & promotion. Since then all of these things have become cheaper: The cost of equipment to record/mix/produce at high quality has come down dramatically, tools and equipment to design and print inserts have come down in cost, blank media and duplication tools have become much cheaper, it has even become cheaper to market and promote thanks to the internet, yet the cost of a music CD remains the same as it was in the mid-80s. Now the Music industry has translated that same per-track cost to digital media, which has even lower associated costs. They do this by abusing their granted powers of copyright, and continue to try to extend their copyright protections further and further.

          You go on and on about business models, but you always put it on the content producers for having bad business models.

          It's not that their business models have always necessarily been bad, the have simply failed to adjust their business models to take advantage of changes in the marketplace over time, and rather that adjust they simply demand more protection.

          It is exactly like someone opening a store but not considering the costs of products to put in the store.

          Actually it's more like the producer of the goods in the store trying to charge the store owner the same or even higher wholesale price even though his cost to produce has dropped dramatically, while also demanding payment for more and more uses of the product.

           

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Oct 16th, 2009 @ 9:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "Furthing the progress of science and the arts isn't mutually exclusive from protecting their rights to their work."

          No one has an ethical right to a monopoly.

           

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


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