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How Do You Measure The 'Benefits' Of Copyright?

from the evidence-based dept

One of the major problems we have with the way copyright law today is developed is how much of it is faith-based -- with supporters insisting that more stringent copyright law is obviously "better," without presenting any evidence to support that. The history of copyright law is filled with examples of this sort of argumentation in favor of stronger copyrights. Thomas Macauley famously (and quite eloquently) argued against such things in the UK House of Commons 160 years ago, and his words still stand today. Here are just some brief excerpts, though the whole thing is worth reading:
I believe, Sir, that I may safely take it for granted that the effect of monopoly generally is to make articles scarce, to make them dear, and to make them bad. And I may with equal safety challenge my honorable friend to find out any distinction between copyright and other privileges of the same kind; any reason why a monopoly of books should produce an effect directly the reverse of that which was produced by the East India Companys monopoly of tea, or by Lord Essexs monopoly of sweet wines. Thus, then, stands the case. It is good that authors should be remunerated; and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by a monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good....

... consider this; the evil effects of the monopoly are proportioned to the length of its duration. But the good effects for the sake of which we bear with the evil effects are by no means proportioned to the length of its duration. A monopoly of sixty years produces twice as much evil as a monopoly of thirty years, and thrice as much evil as a monopoly of twenty years. But it is by no means the fact that a posthumous monopoly of sixty years gives to an author thrice as much pleasure and thrice as strong a motive as a posthumous monopoly of twenty years. On the contrary, the difference is so small as to be hardly perceptible. We all know how faintly we are affected by the prospect of very distant advantages, even when they are advantages which we may reasonably hope that we shall ourselves enjoy. But an advantage that is to be enjoyed more than half a century after we are dead, by somebody, we know not by whom, perhaps by somebody unborn, by somebody utterly unconnected with us, is really no motive at all to action...

The principle of copyright is this. It is a tax on readers for the purpose of giving a bounty to writers. The tax is an exceedingly bad one; it is a tax on one of the most innocent and most salutary of human pleasures; and never let us forget, that a tax on innocent pleasures is a premium on vicious pleasures. I admit, however, the necessity of giving a bounty to genius and learning. In order to give such a bounty, I willingly submit even to this severe and burdensome tax. Nay, I am ready to increase the tax, if it can be shown that by so doing I should proportionally increase the bounty. My complaint is that my honorable and learned friend doubles, triples, quadruples, the tax and makes scarcely and perceptible addition to the bounty.
But, that, of course leads to the question of just what is the benefit that copyright provides. If you talk to many of today's copyright system supporters, they will claim the benefit (or even the entire purpose) of copyright, is to provide remuneration to creators. That, of course, ignores the basic history of copyright law, but even if we assume this is true, then copyright does not seem to serve that purpose. After all, very few content creators get remuneration for their creations, and among those who do, fewer still get enough remuneration to make a living.

In discussing how copyright law might be rethought, Cory Doctorow does a nice job pointing out the extremes which disprove the common claims of copyright. After all, he notes, if copyright is about helping content creators make a living, then the "best" solution would be to simply award content creators a living wage. So arguing that copyright is designed to serve that purpose is misleading. Similarly, in measuring the overall impact of copyright, you can't simply add up the aggregate amount made from copyright -- as some copyright system defenders love to do with the oft-cited $1.52 trillion dollar number. Doctorow again disproves that as the proper measuring stick, by again taking it to the extreme: if only one person were to make all that money thanks to copyright, no one would think that was a good program.

So, how do you judge the benefits of copyright? Cory's suggestion is the following:
In my world, copyright's purpose is to encourage the widest participation in culture that we can manage -- that is, it should be a system that encourages the most diverse set of creators, creating the most diverse set of works, to reach the most diverse audiences as is practical.
While this sounds nice, I still don't believe this is the proper way to measure copyright, either. After all, one could easily take this to the same extreme and note that if we get the widest participation but, in doing so, it creates disincentives for great artists to create their works, is that the best system? I'm not convinced that's the case either. This is also why I think Cory's piece, which starts out so promising, goes somewhat askew at the end, in proposing a blanket music tax for file sharing -- an idea that I believe is actually quite a bad one due to serious unintended consequences.

So I would posit that the way you judge the "benefit" of copyright is the way economists judge such things: you look at the aggregate marginal benefit across all stake holders. That is, what is the marginal benefit to everyone in society from a specific change to copyright. Does it increase output but decrease consumption? Thus, you should be looking at not just if it makes artists better off, but by how much, and whether or not it makes others better off and by how much. This may not be easy to measure, but it is how to best think about the impact of changes in copyright law. Look at both the increases and decreases in "benefits" to everyone in the ecosystem and see which maximizes the overall societal benefit.

This is also why I disagree with Cory's concept of "balance" -- a concept I have argued against in the past. If you are striving for "balance," you are arguing for what everyone must give up. Yet, if you are looking for the greatest marginal benefit, you are seeking the result where you are maximizing overall social benefit -- meaning, you are increasing opportunities for content creators to create and to make money, while at the same time increasing the social benefit that others can get out of their art by consuming it, by sharing the experience associated with it, by building on it, etc.

The goal should not be to "balance" what needs to be taken away or to just focus on one side of the equation (artists or "participants"), but to seek out what policies would actually maximize the marginal benefit to all.


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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 7:50pm

    "How Do You Measure The 'Benefits' Of Copyright?"

    I'm sure the net benefit would be a very large negative number. It hinders innovation and creativity, reduces quality, and increases prices for no good reason.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 8:12pm

    Re:

    (not to mention it causes lots of content to be lost in history due to never ending extensions).

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 8:28pm

    Only fair way, and only way possible, is to limit rewards.

    Especially to the already Rich, and corporations. Remove the possibility of obscene profits, and all that structure collapses, but the drives to create remain, and are more likely to be rewarded at higher than current, yet reasonable.

    The premises and plan:
    1) The pleasure is sheerly entertainment.
    2) We can't set a value on entertainment, too complex. Not even by "popularity".
    3) Those who entertain us deserve some reward.
    4) But the middlemen, the legalists, don't deserve to profit so much as present from values that they didn't create.
    5) Corporate creation is possible, but a corporation should never own the copyright; it should be distributed to individuals in rough proportion to contribution. I see that as including, for a movie, technicians and laborers who are currently shut out of the royalties. Proportioning will work itself out, eventually.
    6) Those who put in mere money don't actually *create* anything; limit them to no more than other investment returns. -- My preferred method would be for labor / techs / actors to invest only *time* in the project, on the risk of future income. Capital equipment would be leased as needed. Automatically cuts out the current waste.
    7) Copyright length has to be rolled back to reasonable.
    8) After the term expires, anyone is free to *copy* it except *for profit*; in the latter, some fixed fees plus percentage of profits *must* go to taxes.
    9) To absolutely keep prices down to the objective value of entertainment (versus, say, food), an upper limit on "profit", rigorously defined, no padding with accounting tricks.

     

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    JackOfShadows (profile), Nov 24th, 2010 @ 8:55pm

    You really need an ecometrician

    For the marginal benefits/costs measurement you don't really need an economist. We have all too many of those. You need a hungry (reputation-wise) econometrician willing to take on this challenge. They are often maligned (for measuring our woes, such as unemployment or inflation rates), seriously crazy numbers people that really, really like measuring things, often for the first time. I'm no longer in fighting trim so I'll pass on the challenge. [IOW I've become even more crazy, if that is possible, since I retired.]

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 24th, 2010 @ 9:53pm

    "Look at both the increases and decreases in "benefits" to everyone in the ecosystem and see which maximizes the overall societal benefit."

    And just how can this be measured. "Faith based" is generally used as a pejorative term to describe those who may happen to lend some measure of support to copyright law, but then again the very same thing can be said of those who support your suggested approach because there is simply no way to to a qualitative number or the like.

    It is repeatedly said by those who decry the existence of copyright law that all authors "stand on the shoulders of giants." To that I say that the system of copyright law does likewise. It was not crafted in a vacuum. It was crafted over centuries, and in no small part by persons who had given the question of incentivizing authorship serious thought and consideration.

    No matter which side of the spectrum people approach the subject, in each instance "faith" plays an important role. Even the learned gentleman from whom you quote excerpts of a speech given so many, many years ago before the English Parliment was a supporter of a copyright system, with his speech being directed towards debate concerning a proposed extension of the then existing term of years for the subsistence of a copyright grant. In his speech he appears to state a view of copyright as reflecting a balance between the natural right of an author and countervailing interests of society. Moreover, he goes to great lengths articulating and identifying the very class of people for whom copyright provides an incentive to create works. In many regards this is the very class for whom patent law was likewise viewed as a necessary incentive.

     

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    Michael Lockyear (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 12:11am

    Sounds like the Soviet approach to getting things done...you must be American!

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 2:10am

    Same way you measure the benefits of slavery

    Let's see.

    1) The privileged vendor of the slave gets an upfront fee and can haggle for a commission, e.g. 1% of the profits obtained through use of the slave.

    2) The privileged slave owner enjoys the lucrative use of a labour resource considerably below market rates, with minimal overheads.

    3) The state that permits the privilege of owning slaves is feted, favoured, and rewarded with prompt taxes and back-handers.

    Everyone wins! The benefits are obvious, bountiful beyond measure.

    The only remaining issue is after what term of service is it optimal to retire the slave? When do the costs of keeping them outweigh the benefit of their labour? That needs an econometrician to figure out.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 2:13am

    Re:

    I see where you're coming from but I vehemently disagree.

    The biggest problem with copyright, as it stands, is that there's currently little incentive to create 'good' work that stands the test of time.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 2:59am

    Re:

    It was not crafted in a vacuum.
    Perhaps not, but by observation neither has it been "advanced" (at least recently) by or on behalf of the creators or society as a whole but rather for the "gatekeepers" to the creators. Benefits to the creators seem almost incidental and effect on society seems almost entirely negative.

    Perhaps you could answer this:
    Do you consider the primary purpose of current copyright law to be:
    A/ To generate income for the content creator
    B/ To generate an incentive for the creator to create further content
    C/ To generate income for the "gatekeeper" (often the copyright holder)
    D/ To futher the advancement of knowledge in society by encouraging creation in general
    E/ Other (please specify)_________________________


    And another more general question if I may for everyone. One of the more common justifications given for copyright is that it creates incentive to create. Could someone then critique this simplistic example?
    Usually the primary peak of sales for a newly created work is just after it's released is it not?

    So if for the sake of an arbitary example copyright was for say 5 years from release would that not generate a good return on "investment" and generate the inventive touted?
    After that initial flush, if futher money is generated is that not a disincentive to create more? If one gets income for 1 act of creation potentially for life, then after a certain number of works based on one's desired lifestyle isn't creating further works for money somewhat irrelevant if one's lifestyle is supported by existing ones?

    Note: I'm not suggesting this is how it should work, but setting up an easily understood model to solicit opinions

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:05am

    Re: Same way you measure the benefits of slavery

    Um That's a little pejorative - there are usually an awful lot of complaints and rightfully so when supporters of IP use words like "theft" and "piracy" and make analogies to murder, rape and the like. I don't think it helps real debate any to make an analogy for copyright=slavery the other way. Nothing is being held captive against it's will except in a very tenuous figurative sense.

     

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    Freetard, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:20am

    Re:

    Everything should be free. Your work should be able to be used by me without any consideration for your effort. Why can't you just adapt to the new reality?

    Now then, go make me a sandwich and bring it to me right now.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:24am

    Re: Re: Same way you measure the benefits of slavery

    Freedom is being captive and the ability to make a living out of your own work.

    To have copyright one must give up the right to own and copyright keeps expanding and it is getting ridiculous already.

    About work, copyright exclude others from building business around those copyrighted things it empoverish the business environment and kills competition which ironically is what it is needed to have a healthy ecosystem.

    Radio couldn't happen if it was taxed to extinction, cable wouldn't happen if copyright was absolute so you see there is a need for free in there it is part of the formula, well it was now it is the rule in distribution, there is not one way to distribute it anymore there is an infinite number of ways but that doesn't mean the end of remuneration for artists they still have some revenue streams it just means that people are now able to do the distribution part and don't need others to do it for them, which it is a important concept because business only succeed where there is a need, there is no need to distribution companies anymore, there is a need for cataloging, for offering, for portals, but not distribution. Which affect the concept of "exclusive", exclusive contracts are a barrier and that is why they were broken.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:28am

    Re: Re:

    I don't think that is accurately.

    Kid paintings type of things are cherished all over the world when they are found in caves.

    Pottery and deformed sculptures are sold for millions, I guess this is one of those things nobody can predict, what it is bad today could be rediscovered and painted in a total new light that will create value for it in some form.

    Basically it is not important if it is good or not but that it is being produced, that is how I view those things.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:46am

    There is just one problem with trying to measure the benefits.

    We don't know how to measure those things so it ends like the "balance" thing, sounds good but in practical terms it doesn't work that well.

    The way it works today is to throw everything on the wall and see what sticks and pray that nobody complains.

    I don't know what it works or if it will work, what I do know is what I don't want ever.

    And that are rights that exclude my own rights to resell, own or copy anything I paid for.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:49am

    Copyright is a disincentive

    Copyright is the main reason I am not interested in creating music. I do not want to be sued and have to play a huge amount because I "subconsciously copied" some music I heard years ago.

    Not to mention that the best way to learn to create music would be to copy some piece of music I like and try modifying it. Yet, the current view of copyright goes against that.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:59am

    Re: Re: Same way you measure the benefits of slavery

    My point is that in a system in which the loss of liberty is taken for granted, few notice that loss in considering the benefits of its exploitation.

    People rarely think of 'what could have been' had people had their rightful liberty - in the case of copyright to share and build upon their own culture for the last three centuries.

    Anyway, it's a bit late to ask about the 'benefits' of preventing people from sharing and building upon their own culture. Copyright can no longer prevent them. People are taking back their liberty. All the privileged copyright owners can do is harass some with litigation, or throw a few people in prison now and then by way of threatening the rest.

    Instead of appraising the benefits of copyright to publishing corporations and their state, it's probably time to think in terms of abolishing copyright and paying artists (not printers) to produce good art. Free exchange, aka money, is an ethical incentive. A monopoly isn't - it necessarily derogates from everyone's liberty, and, as has been long known, is an instrument of injustice.

    If, as an art lover, you want to persuade an artist to work, try offering them money.

    If, as the state, you want to enrich publishing corporations in exchange for their support, accede to their wishes for global monopoly harmonisation and entrenchment such as ACTA, and legislate ever more draconian enforcement measures such as COICA - which also help suppress sedition such as WikiLeaks.

    What do you want? Cultural liberty and a new renaissance, or subjugation and enslavement in a corporate state? Or as the latter would put it, cultural desolation and starvation, or fulfilling your dreams of wealth and security?

    Do you have liberty only in so far as it is useful to the state? Or does the state only have your power in so far as it protects your liberty?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:02am

    Re: Copyright is a disincentive

    "be sued and have to pay", sorry for the typo.

     

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    cc (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:21am

    Re: Re:

    No, you make me sandwiches for life + 70 years and I'll sing you a song. See, you must compensate my one-off effort again and again for eternity minus a day.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:26am

     

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    misterdoug (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:36am

    Re: Only fair way, and only way possible, is to limit rewards.

    I would settle for #7.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Same way you measure the benefits of slavery

    it's probably time to think in terms of abolishing copyright and paying artists (not printers) to produce good art.
    [snip}Which affect the concept of "exclusive", exclusive contracts are a barrier and that is why they were broken.
    I don't dissagree with you, I was merely pointing out that your analogy was prejorative and should probably have been re-thought. It would have been a double-standard on my part not to have since I am indeed one of the people who has lambasted people on the "other side" of the debate for murder analogies.

     

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    Marcos, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:45am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'll sing you a song for one sandwich. But each time you want to listen to it again, you'll give me another sandwich. Sound good?

     

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    cc (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:51am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you'll sing it for me in person every time I give you a sandwich, you have a deal. If you want a sandwich every time someone plays a recording of your song, you can bugger off.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 4:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Same way you measure the benefits of slavery

    NB Only the first sentence of your quote is mine.

    When people say copying is theft, they are not making an analogy, but asserting an equivalence.

    Copyright isn't slavery, but in derogating from individual liberty it is dimensionally similar.

    The difference between copyright and slavery is that whereas slavery suspend all liberties from a few, copyright suspends a few liberties from all.

     

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    misterdoug (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 5:35am

    Limiting the length of copyright would solve the problem

    The current longevity of copyright protection exists specifically for the purpose of allowing companies to control the long-term rights to an extremely tiny handful of works that produce significant commercial returns for decades -- call them Disney-class material.

    Simply reducing the longevity of copyrights to a few years would reduce the content industry's incentive to gamble huge sums of money in the hope of owning Disney-class properties. This would result in fewer blockbuster movies and a smaller branding industry -- clothes, games, Happy Meal toys...

    With those decades-long commercial opportunities destroyed, what would take their place? The answer is innovation -- whatever new business paradigms are now lying undiscovered because the copyright monster keeps gobbling up so much investment. People who want to make money don't simply dry up and blow away when a business or a whole way of doing business goes out of style. They come up with something new. That's what the free market is all about.

    Giving one business model a monopoly on how things are done suppresses innovation. Take away that monopoly by removing the legal props that are artificially holding it up, and we'll see whole new ways of running the idea business. The world will evolve, like it's supposed to. That's not socialism or repression of anyone's liberty. It's called Progress.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 5:37am

    "How Do You Measure The 'Benefits' Of Copyright?"

    How do we measure the infinite?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re:

    As an initial starting point, I suggest you read the portion of the speech by Mr. Macaulay where in pertinent part he states:

    The advantages arising from a system of copyright are obvious. It is desirable that we should have a supply of good books: we cannot have such a supply unless men of letters are liberally remunerated; and the least objectionable way of remunerating them is by means of copyright. You cannot depend for literary instruction and amusement on the leisure of men occupied in the pursuits of active life. Such men may occasionally produce compositions of great merit. But you must not look to such men for works which require deep meditation and long research. Works of that kind you can expect only from persons who make literature the business of their lives. Of these persons few will be found among the rich and the noble. The rich and the noble are not impelled to intellectual exertion by necessity. They may be impelled to intellectual exertion by the desire of distinguishing themselves, or by the desire of benefiting the community. But it is generally within these walls that they seek to signalize themselves and to serve their fellow creatures. Both their ambition and their public spirit, in a country like this, naturally take a political turn. It is then on men whose profession is literature, and whose private means are not ample, that you must rely for a supply of valuable books. Such men must be remunerated for their literary labour. And there are only two ways in which they can be remunerated. One of those ways is patronage; the other is copyright.

     

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    herodotus (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 6:10am

    Re: Re:

    "The biggest problem with copyright, as it stands, is that there's currently little incentive to create 'good' work that stands the test of time."

    There has rarely been a social incentive to create art of lasting value. Ancient Greek Drama is the only case of this that I can think of offhand (at 8 AM, mind).

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Copyright - unethically derogate from the liberty of all citizens the right to copy, perform or otherwise communicate any folksong, folktale, or folklore, that printers shall exploit a monopoly in each work to enrich themselves, and being beholden to the state that grants them this privilege shall keep that state safe from challenge.

    That might work for a few years - until few citizens can resist taking back their liberty to share their culture with each other in disrespect of such monopolies.

    Patronage - all an artist's enthusiastic fans insatiable for more art from them collectively commission the artist to produce further works.

    It's a farcical and anachronistic privilege vs exchange of work for money in a free market.

    Which is the better incentive? A decent wage OR being able spend one's lifesavings hiring a firm of lawyers to bankrupt the Cratchit's because their Tiny Tim downloaded a Disney DVD?

    "The latter!" say you all.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 6:39am

    Re: Re:

    Perhaps you could answer this:
    Do you consider the primary purpose of current copyright law to be:
    A/ To generate income for the content creator
    B/ To generate an incentive for the creator to create further content
    C/ To generate income for the "gatekeeper" (often the copyright holder)
    D/ To futher the advancement of knowledge in society by encouraging creation in general
    E/ Other (please specify)_________________________


    D is, of course, the classically correct answer. But, in order to achieve this laudable goal it is believed by many who have devoted their careers to examining this issue, and as noted by Mr. Macaulay in his speech, that the provision of an incentive to create a work is best realized by affording authors the "opportunity" to secure compensation for their time and effort. While incentivizing the creation of futute works is not a driving force, to the extent one is able to devote the bulk of their activities in the pursuit of future opportunities, copyright can provide a means by which one remains an author for a period of time during which the incentive remains for future works.

    Many decry "gatekeepers", and in many instances this appears to be a legitimate criticism. Neverthless, by the ability for an author to transfer his/her rights, an author is able to realize a "sum certain" today that would otherwise be a "'maybe' sum tomorrow."

    While most works are of dubious value, there are works having value in the short term, and a much rarer (and much smaller) species of works having value over the long term. Those who consistently produce works of dubious (i.e., virtually none) should likely soon realize they should move on to other pursuits. Those who produce works having a short "half-life" are left with little choice, should they desire to remain authors, to constantly create yet other works of similar time-limited value (and, perhaps, even luck out by crafting one that passes the test of time). The last group, having created works that consistently pass the test of time (and only a very few authors fall within this group), are afforded the luxury of being able to devote all of their time and talent to the pursuit of comparable works.

    It would be disingenuous for me to omit mention of current copyright terms. Under US Copyright Acts from 1790 to 1909 copyright terms were for definite periods of time. In the case of the 1909 act the terms was 28 years, with an opportunity to extend the term for an additional 28 years if circumstances so dictated. Unfortunately, in acceding to the Berne Convention after about 100 years of refusing to do so, the US "caved" to the European model of exorbitantly long copyright terms and the elimination of the formalities that had been a mandate of US law under the 1909 act and all of its predecessors. In a very crude way I would characterize this an ACTA in reverse.

    Would I change back to definitive terms and formalities were it within my power to do so? Yes, since it provided dates certain when copyright would expire and regularly culled out from copyright protection those works for which no reasonable case could be make that the pursuit of extending the term was worth the effort.

    Unfortunately, this is no longer the law. Thus, Fair Use has taken on an even more important role than was the case pre-1/1/78, the date upon which the 1976 act entered into force.

     

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    Nina Paley (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 7:17am

    Fear based

    Copyright is fear based, not faith based. Freedom requires faith: in audiences, in culture, in the artist's own self, that one can thrive without restricting others. Copyright thrives on fear: that something terrible happens when culture, and people, are Free; that audiences don't love artists, and only force can get them to part with their money; that artists are victims; that the more open one is, the more victimized they will be.
    This is also why I think Cory's piece, which starts out so promising, goes somewhat askew at the end, in proposing a blanket music tax for file sharing
    That's disappointing, that he advocates that. :-(
    This is also why I disagree with Cory's concept of "balance"
    "Balance" is the weasel word of the year. http://mimiandeunice.com/2010/09/28/balance/

     

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  32.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 7:34am

    Re: Re: Re:

    An interesting discourse and opinion on the history of copyright law. You didn't unfortunately quite answer the question you quoted (which was about the purpose of the current laws passed in the "internet age") due to taking a more historical view on it, but it was interesting nontheless.
    The last group, having created works that consistently pass the test of time [snip]are afforded the luxury of being able to devote all of their time and talent to the pursuit of comparable works.
    That almost sounds like a defense of lifelong payments for the same work, though you later partly refute:
    regularly culled out from copyright protection those works for which no reasonable case could be [snip].....
    Could you clarify? Do you for example feel that the creator of a truely stellar work should be paid for it ad-infinitum while those of "lesser" works should not?

     

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  33.  
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    Transbot9, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 7:55am

    Re: Limiting the length of copyright would solve the problem

    Except Disney-class properties also rely on trademark law - although Hasbro-class properties (toy lines) are constantly reinventing their properties, so it may work.

     

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  34.  
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    darryl, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 8:17am

    Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    One of the major problems we have with the way copyright law today is developed is how much of it is faith-based -- with supporters insisting that more stringent copyright law is obviously "better," without presenting any evidence to support that.

    Why is it "faith-based" Mike ? Where is your evidence to support that ??
    Is your supporting evidence, the link you posted ?
    The link to your own letter to the USTR ? where you say..

    This is what you posted in your letter to the USTR

    "This is not a new concern. Thomas Macaulay famously argued in 1841 that we ought to be careful to only extend and expand copyright upon evidence that such an extension or expansion would, in fact, lead to greater incentives to create. Yet, to this day, our public policy has been to take it on **FAITH** that stricter copyright laws lead to greater incentives to create -- despite the lack of evidence to support this position. ".
    (Michael Masnick).

    So what is that Michael ? you are referencing your own comments as supporting evidence of your argument. So you are right according your YOU!!


    with supporters insisting that more stringent copyright law is obviously "better," without presenting any evidence to support that.

    Ok michael, What evidence to support less stringent copyright is obviously "better"? Please present any evidence to support that !! ???

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re:

    "Everything should be free."

    No one said everything should be free. That's just a dishonest strawman you made up.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 10:14am

    Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    TechDirt has a search function. Use it.

    Mike has presented years worth of evidence. Of course, since you're a longtime reader, and longtime troll, you've already seen all of those articles. In fact, I can almost guarantee that you've trolled on almost all of them.

     

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  37.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Re:

    "It is repeatedly said by those who decry the existence of copyright law that all authors "stand on the shoulders of giants." To that I say that the system of copyright law does likewise. It was not crafted in a vacuum. It was crafted over centuries,.."

    On your first point about the giants past is true but only marginally, as I'll get to in a moment. It applies more to the things covered by patent law as it was originally constructed rather to the mish-mash we have now.



    Nor can you or anyone else lay claim to some ancient heritage of copyright as it simply didn't exist prior to the Statute of Anne in 1710. Three hundred years is a little bit short to claim some ancient heritage as you try to imply.



    "...and in no small part by persons who had given the question of incentivizing authorship serious thought and consideration."



    If you look back at the debates, background and purposes of the Statute you'll find that it wasn't about providing and incentive to authors at all but to protect publishers from one another. Yes, publishers were the "pirates" of the day.



    Authorship was a very minor consideration if a consideration at all.



    I'll go so far as to suggest that the kerfuffle now over copyright has far less to do with the tiny minority of writers who earn a living exclusively from their work than it is to protect the self-same publishers who are now finding it difficult to compete in a world where the Internet has come along and expanded publishing from the cozy little cartel it's been to just about anyone who takes the time and effort to put up a web site.



    In fact it's the publishers (movie studios and major record labels, as well) who hold the vast majority of copyrights not the authors and stand to gain the most from further restrictions and/or extensions.



    Now, and this is vitally important. Human beings are the only creatures on this planet (as far as we know) with the ability to tell stories to one another.



    Among the first things we want as children is for our parents to tell us stories. We, and they, then pass those stories on to others.

    One of the most highly regarded people of ancient times and in pre-history, was the storyteller. Whether around a fire outside or inside some sort of building the people of a tribe of village would gather to listen to the storyteller weave a tale.


    There was no need for an incentive like copyright for the storyteller. They just did it and were held in very high regard by their fellows, sometimes becoming a religious sage or leader in the process.

    In fact, this is so ingrained in us that we still hold storytellers in exceptionally high regard. Where authors, by and large, are very poor storytellers some excel at it.



    Mark Twain's memory, in large part, isn't kept alive by the fiction he wrote as much as by his tours to different parts of North America and to England to tell stories. Not to read from his books. He told stories.



    Similarly I'd far rather hear Margret Atwood lean back in a chair and spin a tale than the rather boring for me (and her from all reports) process of listening to her read a book. She's a hell of a good writer. She's a better story teller.



    We all know storytellers. It may be the old guy down the street, it may be someone at work, it could be someone in our social group and when they start to tell their stories we gather round, often spellbound, by the story even if we've heard it, in one form or another, before. They don't need copyright to sit down and tell a story. They just do.



    If authors stand on the shoulders of "giants" the shoulders they stand on are those of the storyteller whose stories they often retell with a change here and there and call it their own.



    None of this is to denigrate authors or to say they shouldn't be fairly recompensed for their work. What it is to do is to knock some, if not most, of them off the pedestal post-modern society has placed them on.



    As for Macauley, he didn't support copyright as much as he considered it a necessary evil which is what, economically, it is. As the quote above shows, he was prepared to tolerate that evil, which he correctly calls a tax, for a limited term only and certainly would not support the caricature we call copyright today.



    We still have storytellers today. Just flip though the net and you'll find millions telling their stories and others. Damn few of them seem to be relying on copyright to do it or seem interested in making a living off it. To the hoity-toy of the arts community (a 19th Century development who have dug themselves in as post-modernists) this is all very dreary and pointless. To people like me who are interested in human history, the arts be damned, this is and will be a gold mine for historians in the future.




    In short, you're wrong on all counts.

     

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  38.  
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    max (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 10:35am

    Copyrights/Intellectual property protection helps monetize human intelligence and creativity, resources that we will NOT run out of as we will most other "material" resources. This is VERY important to a capitalist economy. Used correctly copyrights empower the people/individual much more than corporate monopolies.

     

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  39.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 10:36am

    Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    If you want to know why weaker copyright is better then how about....

    .... the fact a lot of disney films were created thanks to the fact that older works were in the public domain?

    ...the fact that a lot of works are created not because of copyright, but in spite of it?

    ...the fact that a lot of works are only sold once, making infringement the only option to get them?

     

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  40.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 10:40am

    Re: Re:

    "It is repeatedly said by those who decry the existence of copyright law that all authors "stand on the shoulders of giants." To that I say that the system of copyright law does likewise. It was not crafted in a vacuum. It was crafted over centuries,.."

    On your first point about the giants past is true but only marginally, as I'll get to in a moment. It applies more to the things covered by patent law as it was originally intended.

    Nor can you or anyone else lay claim to some ancient heritage of copyright as it simply didn't exist prior to the Statute of Anne in 1710. Three hundred years is a little bit short to claim some ancient heritage as you try to imply.

    "...and in no small part by persons who had given the question of incentivizing authorship serious thought and consideration."

    If you look back at the debates, background and purposes of the Statute you'll find that it wasn't about providing and incentive to authors at all but to protect publishers from one another. Yes, publishers were the "pirates" of the day.

    Authorship was a very minor consideration if a consideration at all.

    I'll go so far as to suggest that the kerfuffle now over copyright has far less to do with the tiny minority of writers who earn a living exclusively from their work than it is to protect the self-same publishers who are now finding it difficult to compete in a world where the Internet has come along and expanded publishing from the cozy little cartel it's been to just about anyone who takes the time and effort to put up a web site.

    In fact it's the publishers (movie studios and major record labels, as well) who hold the vast majority of copyrights not the authors and stand to gain the most from further restrictions and/or extensions.

    Now, and this is vitally important. Human beings are the only creatures on this planet (as far as we know) with the ability to tell stories to one another.

    Among the first things we want as children is for our parents to tell us stories. We, and they, then pass those stories on to others.

    One of the most highly regarded people of ancient times and in pre-history, was the storyteller. Whether around a fire outside or inside some sort of building the people of a tribe of village would gather to listen to the storyteller weave a tale.

    There was no need for an incentive like copyright for the storyteller. They just did it and were held in very high regard by their fellows, sometimes becoming a religious sage or leader in the process.

    In fact, this is so ingrained in us that we still hold storytellers in exceptionally high regard. Where authors, by and large, are very poor storytellers some excel at it.

    Mark Twain's memory, in large part, isn't kept alive by the fiction he wrote as much as by his tours to different parts of North America and to England to tell stories. Not to read from his books. He told stories.

    Similarly I'd far rather hear Margret Atwood lean back in a chair and spin a tale than the rather boring for me (and her from all reports) process of listening to her read a book. She's a hell of a good writer. She's a better story teller.

    We all know storytellers. It may be the old guy down the street, it may be someone at work, it could be someone in our social group and when they start to tell their stories we gather round, often spellbound, by the story even if we've heard it, in one form or another, before. They don't need copyright to sit down and tell a story. They just do.

    If authors stand on the shoulders of "giants" the shoulders they stand on are those of the storyteller whose stories they often retell with a change here and there and call it their own.

    None of this is to denigrate authors or to say they shouldn't be fairly recompensed for their work. What it is to do is to knock some, if not most, of them off the pedestal post-modern society has placed them on.

    As for Macauley, he didn't support copyright as much as he considered it a necessary evil which is what, economically, it is. As the quote above shows, he was prepared to tolerate that evil, which he correctly calls a tax, for a limited term only and certainly would not support the caricature we call copyright today.

    We still have storytellers today. Just flip though the net and you'll find millions telling their stories and others. Damn few of them seem to be relying on copyright to do it or seem interested in making a living off it. To the hoity-toy of the arts community (a 19th Century development who have dug themselves in as post-modernists) this is all very dreary and pointless. To people like me who are interested in human history, the arts be damned, this is and will be a gold mine for historians in the future.

    In short, you're wrong on all counts.

     

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  41.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    In his speech he appears to state a view of copyright as reflecting a balance between the natural right of an author and countervailing interests of society.

    No, he absolutely was not, and you know it. Nowhere did he mention any "natural rights" of authors. He often mentioned the best way for authors to get paid to produce more works. But if, for example, he was rooting for patronage to replace copyright, that would not make patronage a "natural right."

    That is a very important distinction. Copyright is not a "natural right," it is a utilitarian solution to a social problem. It is as much a "natural right" as Social Security or unemployment compensation.

    Incidentally, many people here (myself included) support a copyright system. Just not our current copyright system. And our objections are similar to Macauley's.

    Now consider that at the time, copyright lasted for the life of the author or 28 years, and the proposed bill - which was rejected - proposed a term of life plus sixty years. That bill, which was rejected as being an extension of an unacceptable monopoly, is now thirty years shorter than our current copyright term.

    It's also somewhat ironic that "patronage" is exactly the system that copyright created. Far from freeing artists, it ultimately benefited publishers, to whom your copyright must be assigned, and who took the bulk of your earnings. If you did not have such a publisher as your patron, you could not earn a living as an author.

    Not only does copyright harm the public through monopoly; it creates exactly the type of patronage system it was supposed to prevent.

    So you can see why people like me are upset.

     

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  42.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    TtfnJohn, that's excellent!

    Incidentally, even without copyright there's nothing stopping those who'd like to persuade a storyteller to tell a story, or a songwriter to write a song, to offer them money to do so.

    The crime is to instead offer them as incentive the suspension of all others' liberty to retell the story they've told or to sing the song they've sung. Such a privilege is useful only to printers, and having power only in the hands of an immortal corporation, the price they'll pay a mortal for it is a pittance.

    We are no longer free to entertain ourselves with our own culture, but enthralled by the myth that copyright is the only magic that can save us from a cultural yoke the corporations would otherwise put upon us. That copyright encourages our culture is the biggest lie of all. It is a cultural parasite, a corruption, an instrument of injustice.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 11:23am

    Re: Re:

    Seriously, I've made you so many digital sandwiches, for free, but you refuse to tell me where to send them!

    I would happily bring you your free digital sandwich but you make it impossible for me to do so.

    It's your own fault really.

     

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  44.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re:

    Sharing helps monetize human intelligence and creativity too.

     

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  45.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 11:55am

    Measuring benefits

    We can debate all we like, but the ultimate measurement of copyright's benefit is given right in the Constitution:

    "To promote the progress of Science and the useful Arts."

    This has been interpreted by historians, legal scholars, and the Supreme Court to mean that copyright exists, first and foremost, to benefit the public.

    So we need to answer only these questions about copyright law:

    1. Does it incentivize the production of additional artistic works?

    2. Does it guarantee public use of those works?

    3. Does it do so with the minimum infringement on the public's inalienable rights?

    Currently, the answer to all three questions is "no."

    1. There's no evidence that fewer works would be created in the absence of these specific copyright laws - for example, I have never seen any evidence that an author would not write a book if his copyright lasted only until his death. Furthermore, copyright law treats "derivative works" the same as original works, and it has an overly broad definition of a "derivative work." Because of this, it actively discourages the creation of additional works ("derivative" though they may be).

    2. A lengthy copyright monopoly guarantees that the public can not fully use those works. Also, by treating public use the same as commercial use, it takes away uses of currently-copyrighted material (which are already restricted).

    3. Copyright is, by nature, an infringement upon both free speech rights and property rights. That is unaviodable. The question is, are the current laws the minimum necessary infringement on those rights? When downloading an album has a far harsher punishment than stealing a CD, you can get arrested by the FBI for sneaking a camcorder into a theater, and there are bills before the Senate that allow the government to censor an entire website if a portion of it links to infringing content... Well, I'd say the clear answer is "no."

    Now, it may be possible that the answer to all three questions is "yes." If you believe this, you're a copyright reformer; if not, you're a copyright abolitionist. (I am the former.)

    If you're neither of these, then you'd better present some good evidence that the current laws result in "yes" answers to all three questions. Not just theories or legal opinions - but actual empirical evidence.

    Why is the burden of proof on you? Because laws need to be justified - freedom does not.

     

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  46.  
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    darryl, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 11:59am

    Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    Mike has presented years worth of evidence


    Oh ok, great, then you or Mike will have no problem providing that "evidence" maybe something a bit more significant that an old Mike article saying that is the case.

    And still providing no evidence then, not then, not now assume not ever.

    I do not have to use TechDirt search, Mike has kindly given us a link to his 'evidence' that evidence is Mike saying that is the case..

    So you are welcome to elaborate, and do a bit more than just say "we have lots of proof", but never showing any proof, at the same time accusing the other side of not providing any proof of their conclusions.

    So if you dont "them", not showing any sources or evidence for their claims, why is it ok for you do make claims that are equally unsupported.

    Sorry I dont buy the 'we've given lots of evidence'..

    No you or Mike HAVE NOT, you say you have but it never actually turns out to be the case.. just layers of FUD, and strawen.

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 1:47pm

    The copyright laws of today derive from a body of law in the England that reaches back to at least the 1600's.

    To better understand how we reached where we are, it may prove useful for those who may be interested in placing the law within its historical context to peruse a collection of essays that can be found online at:

    http://books.google.com/books/p/pub-8194589960919624?id=SRBkCOC8d-4C&printsec=frontcover# v=onepage&q&f=false

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    Seriously, do you have an english/darryl translation disctionary? I managed to make it though this post because it's shorter than most but it still didn't translate and seems to use a sentence structure with which neither I nor babelfish is familiar.

    Am I mis-translating or are you actually suggesting that where Mike has directly quoted other people that he has deliberately misquoted? And that the external links in the articles referred to in the case studies section are in some way false?

    In the former instance I'd imagine a libel suit or 2 would have been forthcoming.

     

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  49.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    Yo, Sunny D! leave the rum already :)

     

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  50.  
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    Richard (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    So if you dont "them", not showing any sources or evidence for their claims, why is it ok for you do make claims that are equally unsupported.


    The burden of proof is on those who believe that copyright extension is based on something other than "faith".

    You have had many opportunities to present such evidence - you have never produced any.

    It is unreasonable to expect our side of the argument to produce evidence in such a matter - by the nature of the argument it is necessary for your side to produce the evidence that there is something other than faith behind you arguments.

    However I will produce some evidence for you now. Rather a lot of evidence in fact - it will take you a long time to read it all - but when you have done so you can come back better informed and perhaps make a sensible contribution to the debate.

    The first place to look is Boldrin and Levine's book.

    Although much of the book is about patents there are several substantial sections on copyright and everything in there in backed by substantial evidence

    Now you might not like that book because it explicitly argues our case - but you had better pay attention to the factual evidence presented there.

    You can also go to the horse's mouth and look at this site
    It contains a comprehensive set of source documents from the history of copyright throughout the world. I have studied many of the documents on this site and I have never found one that contradicts the statement that copyright has been founded and built on faith based arguments. The proponents of copyright have never, in history, presented any factual arguments in support of their case. The evidence is there on this site - if you have the nerve to go and read it.

     

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  51.  
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    Richard (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:23pm

    Re:

    The source material for that book is on this site

    Lots of interesting stuff...

     

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  52.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:24pm

    Yellow sock guy on the bus stop(a.k.a. Drunk guy at bustop)

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a3RCaMB6iis

    Fellow techdirties who this remind you guys?

     

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  53.  
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    TtfnJohn (profile), Nov 25th, 2010 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The biggest problem with copyright as it now exists is that it has little or nothing to do with the people that create stories, music, sculpture, paintings, plays etc though all too often those creators fall for the lie that it has to do with them. It never has.

    And human history shows that a lack of copyright won't stop them from creating.

    Now I can see why creators want something like copyright to exist. It means, at least theoretically, that they'll have some control over their work (they won't, just ask The Beatles) and earn some money from it.

    Fear. as Nina, says is the major motivator here.

    "Creators" (an invented class if there ever was one) are afraid the the Web and Net will take away their source of income. This tends to ignore that most of them make very little from their copyright or are employed to write by others (television or movie scripts, newspaper articles or opinion, magazines, some web site, shall I go on?) in other words today's patrons who are very careful that they have the copyright not the "creator".

    We can entertain ourselves with our own culture and many are starting to recover that. In my country Newfoundland celebrates it's culture and exports it (the band Great Big Sea) as do the Maritime Provinces with such exports as The Rankin Family.

    There are similar movements in different parts of the United States and in other countries.

    Funny, though, traditional tunes and lyrics somehow get a copyright slapped on them when the most that can be placed there is the particular arrangement not the tune or lyrics themselves because they've been in the public domain for longer than copyright has existed.

    Sadly your final point contains the paradox of the myth of copyright. In the vast majority of cases as I hinted at above the "creator" doesn't hold the copyright on what they created but the big bad corporate entity that employed them does. In that very important sense copyright, which was put in place to prevent publishers from "pirating" from each other continues to work in that sense and continues to keep the vast, vast majority of "creators" on the sidelines driving cab.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 6:09pm

    you wont be doing it with a pencil

    your not allowed to bring them to school no more, i say we protest and no one buy pencils

     

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  55.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 7:52pm

    Re: sex toys for women

    A thought provoking post there ms. spambot.

     

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  56.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 9:05pm

    Re: Measuring benefits

    So we need to answer only these questions about copyright law:

    1. Does it incentivize the production of additional artistic works?

    2. Does it guarantee public use of those works?

    3. Does it do so with the minimum infringement on the public's inalienable rights?

    Before one can even attempt to answer these questions, some clarifications are in order.

    With whom is the word "additional" (Question 1) associated?

    What is meant by "public use" in Question 2?

    What is meant by the "public's inalienable rights" in Question 3?

    You say the answer to each is "no". As a reader it is difficult for me to follow your logic without the above clarifications being presented.

     

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  57.  
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    Lyle, Nov 25th, 2010 @ 10:05pm

    Limit the free copyright term.

    Put that back to 56 years, but allow people to pay to extend at a rate that increases so that the work commands 100k/year after 100 years. The government needs money,the folks that want the protection obviously think their properties are valuable, so let them pay for the protection. This solves the orphan problem as if you don't pay the fee for year 57 the copyright expires and an orphan work would be unlikley to pay even what I would start out at $10/year.
    In summary if your work has a lot of value you can pay forever to protect it, at 100k/year per work. Most copyrights would likely expire in the 56th year as most works after 56 years are worthless in terms of potential value.
    Note that if you go to the show at My Old Kentucky Home State Park you learn how Steven Foster was railroaded away from royalties for his songs and as a result died early. 56 years should handle the author or composer, but not heirs.

     

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  58.  
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    Cory Doctorow, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:01am

    Music tax vs blanket license

    Thanks for the thoughtful commentary, Mike. I think, though, that you're putting words in my mouth. I very carefully do NOT propose a tax or levy -- rather, I propose a blanket licenses that ISPs *may* purchase, not one that they *must* purchase:

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/discussion/comment-permalink/8491168

    Cory

     

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  59.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:05am

    Re: Re: Measuring benefits

    With whom is the word "additional" (Question 1) associated?

    "With whom?" With whoever would produce any form of artistic expression. In other words, it must provide an incentive to produce more artistic works; if it results in artists (professional or otherwise) creating fewer works, then it fails. If it is unnecessary for artists to produce additional works, then it also fails. (I'm deliberately avoiding the word "new," because "new" has two meanings: "additional" and "novel." A work doesn't have to be "novel" to be "new" in this context.)

    Perhaps I didn't understand your question?

    What is meant by "public use" in Question 2?

    It means all use by the public. Quoting it, re-publishing it, creating deriviative works based on it, copying and sharing it, whatever. It means that ultimately, it results in a larger pool of works in the public domain.

    Before those works enter the public domain, their use should automatically be allowed by the public, in whatever manner the public chooses, except when that use infringes on the author's monopoly (granted by the public, through Congress) on commercial use of his works.

    What is meant by the "public's inalienable rights" in Question 3?

    "Inalienable rights" is the term used in the Constitution. For specifics, read the Bill of Rights.

    Copyright is, by definition, an infringement on the public's rights (most notably, free speech rights). In order for it to ultimately benefit the public, copyright law must be written in deference to those rights; they must be no broader than necessary to achieve copyright's aim of incentivizing the production of additional works. Just as all legal exceptions to public rights must be, no matter what the law in question. (For another example, see wiretapping laws.)

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:18am

    Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    That's a fair distinction. But why put the burden on ISP's? They don't benefit from infringement - in fact, the less people download or upload, the more money they make.

    Instead, why not have that "blanket license" apply to any commercial entity that chooses to purchase one? There are already tons of music startups that would happily pay it - Spotify, eMusic, Last.fm, etc.

    With other forms of royalties (at least in music, which is my area of knowledge), there are statutory royalty rates put in place by the government. For example, if you want to cover an artist's song, you don't need to get permission; you only need to pay statutory royalties to the songwriter. It's not limited to any industry. In fact it's not limited to industries: even a private individual can pay these rates and cover the song, no permission required.

    You seem to advocate a kind of global Harry Fox Agency. While that's probably better than the current situation, it has its own problems. See SoundExchange for an example of how things can go horribly wrong.

     

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    cc (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 2:45am

    Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    What I don't understand is, how do you propose to divide the revenues from such a blanket license?

     

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    Cory Doctorow, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 5:54am

    Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    I don't propose to solve that problem -- rather, I propose that solving that problem (coming up with a blend of metrics including random sampling, traffic analysis, self-reporting "Nielsen families," etc) is easier than solving either of these problems:

    * How do you stop people from downloading?

    * How do you stop the war on downloading from destroying the Internet?

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    easier than solving either of these problems:

    * How do you stop people from downloading?

    * How do you stop the war on downloading from destroying the Internet?
    Except those aren't problems they're questions and the answers respectively are:
    "You don't, you find a way to work with it"
    and
    "By stopping the war on downloading"

     

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    cc (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 8:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    I see where you're coming from, but I don't agree with what you are proposing.

    Simply put, I think it's unworkable because it tries to support the old-world publishers. They are greedy and will ask for exorbitant licensing fees (we are all familiar with "industry math"), the majors will try (and succeed) to take everything, giving nothing to the independents (random sampling favours the publishers who hold 90% of copyrights; traffic analysis and self-reporting can easily be faked if publishers start downloading their own content en masse).

    IMO the very heart of the problem are the over-sized old-world publishing industries, who have become parasitical and increasingly redundant middlemen in the content producer-consumer relationship. For everyone else to go forward (consumers, creators, the internet etc), those old-world publishers need to be put in check. For that to happen, governments need to grow a pair and roll back the copyright expansion starting from the latest Acts and going backwards. Initially some jobs will be shed, some balance sheets will shrink, but as most economists will attest, ultimately the benefits will outweigh the losses.

    tl;dr:
    A modern publishing medium like the internet is in direct competition with the old-world publishing. For the internet to survive, the incumbents need to take the back seat and that means throwing out all the legislation put in place for the sake of the incumbents.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 8:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Measuring benefits

    Thank you for the clarifications.

    I asked about "additional" because here it is typically used in relation to a single author and the encouragement provided for the author to create still more works.

    Perhpas the more appropriate question to have asked was "Does the law encourage the production of more works than would other wise be the case in the absence of the law?" Here it seems to me that the answer is far from clear cut. For some people the answer is clearly no. They pursue the creation of works without the slightest thought to the possible benefits that may be available via reliance on the law. For others, however, I submit that the answer is yes. The system of renumeration under which they labor is not "dollars paid for hours worked". Their is based upon a contingency system. They self-fund in the hope that their work finds a receptive audience willing to pay for a copy of what the author has done. No audience? No renumeration. Large audience? An increase in the possibility that remuneration may be forthcoming, either via sales to the public at large or via a "license" arrangement (most typically an assignment of rights to a third party) where they trade possible renumeration in the future for definite renumeration in the present.

    In regard to public use, as I now understand how you use the term the necessary consequence is that the quantum of rights now secured by law would essentially be reduced to zero. Once a work is published there would be no residuum of rights remaining since it would reduce copyright law to simply the right of being the first to publish. Once publication has occurred all bets are off and an author's opportunity to secure renumeration would be identical to that of others who choose to immediately copy and distribute the author's work. Perhaps this may be of no moment in the case of some works, it seems clear to me that it can have devastating consequences for others, and particularly where those others have created works where the author's investment in time spans months/years.

    As for the "public's inalienable rights", it cannot be said as a matter of law that copyright and the First Amendment are incompatible. It is one thing to have something to say and to be precluded from doing so. It is quite another to do nothing more than regurgitate verbatim the totality of someone else's speech without even the slightest effort to add anything more.

    Thus, my responses to each of your questions would be"

    1. Sometimes "yes" and sometimes "no".

    2. Yes, but to a degree less than you advocate.

    3. Yes, so long as it is kept in mind that like any law it must be read in a manner that is consistent with other relevant law. In the context of the First Amendment, it would be inaccurate to say that it subsumes all other laws that touch in part upon speech. The First Amendment is not an absolute as some may try to argue is the case. In fact, in the view of many the First Amendment has been the subject of incremental creep in scope as is associated by many with respect to copyright law. Copyright law was relatively limited in subject matter scope, but then again so was the First Amendment.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 9:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    How do you stop people enjoying their natural liberty to communicate, to tell each other's stories, to sing each other's songs, to engage in free cultural intercourse?

    How do you stop immortal corporations persecuting and predating upon the populace?

    There are three final solutions:

    1) Draconian enforcement - 'cultural terror'
    2) Cultural mulct
    3) Copyright abolition

    In the first case, the law is so extreme that downloading ends, and the war ends. There is 'peace', but the populace are effectively subjugated into content consumers, scared stiff to do anything else.

    In the second case the copyright cartel's persecution (deliberately directed at the most naive and innocent victims) catalyses the populace into paying the mob's protection money. A cultural mulct is collected from all citizens in exchange for immunity from prosecution (no longer based on guilt or evidence). Thus the people pay an unjust rent to those publishing corporations who've received and amassed the stolen good that is their cultural liberty (Statute of Anne 1709), for its temporary restoration.

    In the third case, the people rub the scales from their eyes and realise the emperor is naked, that they had never lost their liberty, that it was all an illusion, that their children have been innocent all along. Artists learn to exchange their intellectual work for the money of their fans in a free market, no longer intermediated by immortal corporations taking most if not all of the revenue for copies that can no longer be priced as if they were expensive to make.

    The only reason the third solution is unthinkable is that those in a position to champion it cannot confront the possibility that all their lives they have been wrong in supporting copyright. Copyright MUST be right. That it is an unethical anachronism and instrument of injustice is too horrific to countenance except as incoherent verbiage. People have been indoctrinated by copyright as a religion to believe that it is the only thing able to encourage author to put pen to paper, the only means of enlightening mankind out of cultural oblivion. This is its truth, that it is as essential to our species as circumcision, that any questioning of this is heresy.

    To imagine a world without copyright is a failure of imagination.

    http://questioncopyright.org/promise

    Imagine all the people
    Sharing all the world

    You may say that I'm a dreamer
    But I'm not the only one
    I hope someday you'll join us
    And the world will live as one

    From Imagine by John Lennon

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    That should be:

    "To be unable to imagine a world without copyright is a failure of imagination"

    A bit of a tautology. :-}

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 9:55am

    Copyright

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 10:01am

    Copyright

    Interesting. The comment:

    But, that, of course leads to the question of just what is the benefit that copyright provides.

    Follows approval of this quote:

    For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good....

    So, which is it?

    Even so, copyright today is so badly abused, perhaps it should be abolished, then reinstated as the need arises.

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 10:04am

    Doctorow and copyright

    As to paying someone a "salary" because they claim they are artistic (or can spit further, or whatever):
    Charity should be based on need, not greed.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 10:42am

    of course to techdirt, copyright is evil and bad. But for those who actually put a lot of work and effort into something, copyright PROTECTS their work and investment, so you and others just can't leech off it for free. If there was no copyright, no one would buy anything and there would be NO support for content creators. Grow up and stop stealing everything you think you have some right to.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 10:55am

    Re:

    Wrong. Exhibit A: William Shakespeare

     

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    misterdoug (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 11:02am

    Re: Re: Limiting the length of copyright would solve the problem

    Unlike copyrights, trademarks aren't created automatically. They require an initial fee and a renewal at 5, 10 and every 10 years after. If the length of copyright were actually limited and someone wanted to trademark something to get around the limitation, the material would have to be lucrative enough to justify the renewal cost. This would force people to select the works they want to keep restricting, while letting orphan works fall to the public domain.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 11:30am

    Re:

    "natural right of an author"

    Such a "right" requires an institution to instate and institutions do not exist in nature. To call copyright a natural right is disingenuous at best.

     

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  75.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:05pm

    Re: Re:

    "No, he absolutely was not, and you know it."

    This is why, the more I read techdirt, the more I become an IP abolitionist. The people who promote these laws are dishonest and they continue to display their dishonesty. They won't even try and pretend that they're honest, they keep on making their dishonesty obvious. If these laws exist just to support dishonest people lets just abolish them.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:11pm

    Re: Re:

    IIRC, a "stationer" did hold a copyright on Shakespeare's scripts, but that copyright long, long, long, ago expired.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:27pm

    Re:

    "Grow up and stop stealing everything you think you have some right to."

    That's funny, because when I was little I respected those things, but I stopped respecting them as I grew older.

    Seriously, I cannot condone copyright the thing its just wrong, is like some punk entitled dude that wants to claim ownership of the air, sound and light coming from everything.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Re:

    "Grow up and stop stealing everything you think you have some right to."

    I hope the government double taxes every person like you.

    I pay by being forced to watch commercials all the time, I pay when I rent something(because it is not buying if you can' resell it), I pay through taxes and I even pay when I'm shopping for other things and you want more you greedy bastard?

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 12:49pm

    Re:

    of course to techdirt, copyright is evil and bad
    Wrong. Some perhaps, but many here think SOME copyright is basically necessary but object to the money grubbing protectionsim of the companies that have NOTHING to do with creating but buy the current laws to generate more money.
    See The difference?
    Wrong. Exhibit A: William Shakespeare
    Yep... Mozart too. In fact there seem to be really rather a lot of people who created music, wrote books, created sculpture and many other things all without the benefit of copyright. I know americans often think only america exists, but there's a whole world and a few thousand years of human history outside which is rife with creation that wasn't supported by copyright. To say there'd be NO content and "NO support for content creators" is patently absurd with the tinyest glance.

     

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  80.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 1:03pm

    Re: Re:

    Perhaps you know something I do not.

    Prior to the Statute of Anne copyright could in England be found, generally speaking, in one of two places; namely, royal grants and the common law. It was with respect to the latter that the term "natural rights" was used to signify that an author had a "right" to his/her mental labors, which right could thereby be assigned to a third party. For those who subscribed to the concept of "natural right", the argument then proceeded that as a "right" it was perpetual in nature.

    With the enactement of England's first statutory law regarding copyright, the Statute of Anne in 1711, a
    whinefest" broke out concerning what was the import of the newly enacted statute vis a vis common law rights that pre-existed the statute's enactment. On one side of the argument where those who opinied that the statute was cumulative to the common law. On the other side were those who opined that the statute displaced the common law and placed all such rights under its terms.

    It was not until many years later that the law in England was concluded to define copyright solely by statute, and that common law copyright was no longer recognized a part of the law of the Realm.

    For those who may have an interest in the historical record about how this came to be, a link above to historical essays discusses this in extensive detail. It also provides very useful insight into what various factions viewed as the meaning and scope of the term "natural rights".

    Interestingly, the linked presentation transpired about 130 years after the Statute of Anne was enacted, and in the presentation reference is made to those who continue hewing to the position that a right at common law had not been legislated out of existence. The presenter does not "buy in" to that position, but does note that it nevertheless has continuing advocates.

    From there the presenter appears to basically say it does not matter to him how the law got where it was (he had no interest in getting into a philosophical debate), but to look forward and ask the question if the proposed amendment to the then existing law was calculated to achieve the objective for which its enactment was being urged. Obviously, he felt it was not. In his view it provided for an extended copyright term with no reciprocal benefit flowing to the public.

    As a postscript, even after the Statute of Anne was enacted there were at least two occasions where the Parliment passed laws granting copyright in perpetuity to specific groups. I can only begin to imagine what would happen if Congress by special legislation/bills did the same thing today (but staying true to "limited times" by decreeing a term of "perpetual minus one day").

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 1:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Measuring benefits

    I asked about "additional" because here it is typically used in relation to a single author and the encouragement provided for the author to create still more works.

    I agree wholeheartedly. I merely used "additional" to distinguish it from "novel," to make a point about "derivative works."
    There's this idea that copyright is supposed to prevent prevent authors from "stealing" each others' works, and that works must be created sui generis to be legitimate. That's wrong. Prior art is the foundation of future art, so without "stealing," new art isn't possible. Discouraging the production of derivative works, discourages the production of all works, to a degree. It thus runs counter to the intent of copyright law, and is ultimately a detriment to the public.

    In fact, the creation of "derivative works" could be considered the ultimate intent of coyright law. Encouraging authors to create is only half the equation; the other half is publishing these works. It is not about artistic creation per se, but about making these artistic creations available for public use.

    Perhpas the more appropriate question to have asked was "Does the law encourage the production of more works than would other wise be the case in the absence of the law?"

    It's not just about the "absense of the law," but the absense of specific laws, and about whether the same end can be achieved with a different set of statutes. You can't just argue for or against copyright's existence; you must also argue for or against the specific laws under which copyright is defined and enforced.

    And there is also a complimentary question: "Does the law discourage the publication of works that would have been produced in the absence of the law?" That answer is also "yes." I can name a slew of artworks that were banned from publication due to copyright law; and I can name cases where the artwork was ultimatel produced, but only in spite of the fact that copyright hindered their efforts. But let's take a single example: Would J.D. Salinger have produced more works, if he was not allowed to perpetually earn royalties from Catcher In The Rye? I'd say the answer is "yes." So, the public has been robbed of additional works by a great author.

    In regard to public use, as I now understand how you use the term the necessary consequence is that the quantum of rights now secured by law would essentially be reduced to zero. Once a work is published there would be no residuum of rights remaining since it would reduce copyright law to simply the right of being the first to publish.

    You've ignored my caveat: "except when that use infringes on the author's monopoly [...] on commercial use of his works."

    That hardly translates to merely a "first publishing" right. It means that any commercial use must be reimbursed, or permission must be attained. But copyright is a commercial monopoly; it should not prevent uses that do not generate profit.

    As an aside: Don't be so quick to knock "first publishing" rights. That's essentially the only advantage Apple has in the marketplace. Last I heard, Apple was doing pretty well. It might also be better if copyright were these "first-to-the-gate" rights - it forces you to continually produce more works, to stay ahead of the curve. "Publish or perish" is a damn good motivation for artistic production, so it might satisfy the Constitutional purpose of copyright better than our current laws.

    I'm not convinced by this argument personally, but I'm not going to pretend it's without merit.

    via a "license" arrangement (most typically an assignment of rights to a third party) where they trade possible renumeration in the future for definite renumeration in the present.

    Just so you know, that's not how publishers work (at least, not in music). As an artist, you "assign" your rights to the publisher; but the publisher doesn't renumerate you - it loans you money to cover the costs of production. You are still dependent upon future sales in order to be renumerated; only now, you're not paid until you pay back both the cost of production, and the expenses encurred by the publisher. The only thing you gain is the ability to create works without paying production costs up front. What you lose is your rights to your work, and the vast majority of any future profits. Publishers are like credit cards, except if you bought a toaster, the credit card company would own the toaster after you paid them off.

    I know, that's an objection to contracts, not copyright law. Still, it shows that copyright is not designed to protect artists from exploitation, which is another common misconception.

    As for the "public's inalienable rights", it cannot be said as a matter of law that copyright and the First Amendment are incompatible. It is one thing to have something to say and to be precluded from doing so. It is quite another to do nothing more than regurgitate verbatim the totality of someone else's speech without even the slightest effort to add anything more.

    You are making exactly the same, incorrect, argument that I was trying to avoid by using the word "additional" earlier. Firstly, nothing in the First Amendment requires that speech be "novel" in order to be protected (indeed, it cannot). Secondly, I can't think of a single case where it's possible to "regurgitate" someone else's speech, and not add anything more - both the speaker and the context have changed, which changes (however slightly) the speech itself. In fact, that's how parody works, and parody is explicitly protected speech. Thirdly, copyright doesn't just prohibit the "regurgitation" of existing works, but any expression that uses parts of those works - that is, derivative works. So, yes, copyright and free expression are inherently in conflict.

    That doesn't mean we must abolish copyright as being unconstitutional. There are plenty of cases where the government can suspend civil rights - hell, we have prisons, and prisons are the very definition of the suspension of civil rights.

    So, coyright and free speech must be balanced. Note, however, that I'm not talking about a "balance" between copyright holders and the public. I'm talking about a balance between competing public interests. On the one hand, there's a strong public interest in unlimited free expression; on the other hand, there's a public interest in growing the body of public domain works. Those are the interests that must be balanced. The interests of rights holders may be relevant, but they're not decisive; they should be considered strictly in terms of public benefit. (To make a legal metaphor, the public is both plaintiff and defendant, and rights holders are only amici curiae.)

    And under our current laws, that balance is way off. The very fact that people think speech must be "novel" to be protected is a symptom of that imbalance.

    Which do you think hurts the public more: the loss of free expression, or the loss of the next Avatar?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 1:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Measuring benefits

    "...I can't think of a single case where it's possible to "regurgitate" someone else's speech, and not add anything more."

    I can think of many, such as, for example, a copy of a newly published novel. Nothing new is added by the act of doing no more than cloning the original.

     

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  83.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Measuring benefits

    You're making an extra copy and that copy is new.

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 2:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Measuring benefits

    I can think of many, such as, for example, a copy of a newly published novel. Nothing new is added by the act of doing no more than cloning the original.

    Perhaps so, but such cases are virtually unheard of. At the very least, the competing publisher would slap a new cover on the book, or perhaps write a new foreword.

    In any case, the free speech argument still holds. For example, let's say that the published work is (for whatever reason) not covered by copyright. The publisher simply "regurgitates" the work, adds nothing new, and publishes copies of the work. Would those copies be protected under the First Amendment?

    Of course they would. And there are several publishers who have done exactly that - Dover's "Pocket Editions," for instance. If the government created a law that prevented Dover from publishing a pocket edition of King Lear, that law would be an unconstitutional restriction of free speech.

    In absence of copyright law, all works are protected expressions, whether novel or not. So, by definition, copyright infringes on the right to free expression.

    The entire question is whether that infringement is justified. If the loss to the public (infringement on free speech rights) is outweighed by benefits to the public (creation of new works for public use), then it is justified. Otherwise, it's not.

     

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    Karl (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Copyright

    But, that, of course leads to the question of just what is the benefit that copyright provides.

    In theory: the growth of public works, leading to the progressive enlightenment of mankind.

    In reality: not much. The legal requirement that the public be nothing more than passive consumers. Works of art that exist as slaves on a plantation: they can make their masters rich, but they can never be part of society.

    For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good....

    To which I would add, "and the evil must never be greater than the good."

     

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  86.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 3:18pm

    Re:

    of course to techdirt, copyright is evil and bad.

    To us here in the comments, current copyright laws are evil and bad. We're split on whether copyright itself is beneficial. (I believe it could be.)

    But for those who actually put a lot of work and effort into something, copyright PROTECTS their work and investment

    Copyright has the unintended consequence of occasionally protecting artists. But most artists are very much exploited - primarily by publishers. If you're looking at copyright to "protect" you, you're going to be very disappointed.

    so you and others just can't leech off it for free.

    Artistic production is very much a matter of "leeching off others" in order to produce new works. If you're against people "stealing" your ideas, you're against art.

    If there was no copyright, no one would buy anything and there would be NO support for content creators.

    Copyright didn't exist until the Statute of Anne, in 1709. I guess before then, nobody ever supported artists?

    You also act like artists make most of their money from royalty checks. They don't.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 3:57pm

    Re: Re:

    "Copyright didn't exist until the Statute of Anne, in 1709."

    The Statute of Anne (1710)is to my knowledge the first known statute concerning copyright. However, non-statutory copyright (royal grants and/or common law) can be traced back to at least as early as the mid 1500's in (IIRC) England, Italy, Germany and France.

    This is not entirely unexpected since the printing press entered into popular use in the mid 1500's as well.

     

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    Anonymous, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 5:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Same way you measure the benefits of slavery

    it's probably time to think in terms of abolishing copyright and paying artists (not printers) to produce good art.

    And then you have a situation where you have to decide who will be the arbiter of deciding what good art is.

    Ain't gonna work.

    Many would suggest that these ideas are nothing but Marxism.

    The best way to determine what is valued art is the free market. And if there is something upsetting normal free market conditions, you remedy it.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 5:20pm

    Re: Copyright is a disincentive

    You've just demonstrated a major advantage of copyright: encouraging original and unique creations.

     

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  90.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re:

    They call it leeching for a reason...

     

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  91.  
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    herodotus (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 6:28pm

    Re: Re:

    "Artistic production is very much a matter of "leeching off others" in order to produce new works. If you're against people "stealing" your ideas, you're against art."


    While I agree with you most of the time, Karl, I simply don't see this as being true.

    I read time and again about 'the myth of originality', about how everyone takes ideas from everyone else, and about how culture is about building upon the works of others and so on. It's a big theme here on Techdirt, and it's rife in discussions of remix culture.

    But there seems to be something just a trifle disingenuous about conflating the way, say, Tolkien 'built on' the poetry of Medieval England and Iceland, and the way Timbaland 'built on' the work of Janne Suni. I think there are quite a few people who would characterize the latter as 'leaching' and the former as just plain old 'being influenced by'. And so far as I can recall, I have never heard anyone, not even Jack Valenti, claim that artists shouldn't be influenced by each other.

    Pretending that Tolkien and Timbaland were essentially doing the same thing because they both 'built on' their predecessors (and no, I am not saying that you personally are saying this) makes fair use advocates look kind of like they are trying to play a shell game. And as a strong believer in the importance of fair use, this troubles me.

     

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  92.  
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    darryl, Nov 26th, 2010 @ 8:01pm

    From the "that makes sense" Dept.

    " If you have an apple and I have an apple and we exchange apples then you and I will still each have one apple.
    But if you have an idea and I have an idea and we exchange these ideas, then each of us will have two ideas."


    George Bernard Shaw.

    If you have a hurt locker pirate copy, and I have a hurt locker priate copy, and we exchange copies of hurt locker, then each of us has less hardrive space

    Thats right, you actually have less of what you had before, with no net gain. As well ofcourse, the cost of production (marginal cost).

    Measuring the 'benefits' of copyright !!!

    We'll get to that, and the other non-economics term used by Mike a little later..


    But you might want to think about, or do some research on what Mike is trying to tell you.

    So I would posit that the way you judge the "benefit" of copyright is the way economists judge such things: you look at the aggregate marginal benefit across all stake holders.

    AGGREGATE MARGINAL BENEFIT

    Mike, you might want to preempt me on this one, by providing me and you thinking reader an explination of that term Aggregate marginal benefit you might also want to elaborate on who you consider to be "ALL STAKE HOLDERS". As to who that includes and exludes.

    Aggregate marginal benefit is not a econimics term. As you should well know Mike.. Try googling that term and see how many hits you get ??

    sure Marginal Benefit is a formal economics term, so perhaps you might start to explaining to us what you think Marginal benefit IS, and how you can get "aggregate marginal beneifit" ? And what would "aggregate marginal benefit be, and how do you measure or calculate it ?

    If its how "the economists do it, there should be many sources for that information..

    But you claim to know Mike, so what dont you tell us about it, and explain the basic economics you are refering too.

    Can you explain the big words you are using, or are they just for show. With little or no substance to make a point, or to promote a sensibe debate..

    So Mike, come clean,. and give us your definition of marginal benefit is, and how it would be possible to aggregate that value to all stake holders, (who you fail to define).

    So come clean Mike, Hopefully you will explain it before I have too. mabey that will give you a chance to spin it, or actually study the subject.. :)

     

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  93.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 11:39pm

    Re:

    And just how can this be measured. "Faith based" is generally used as a pejorative term to describe those who may happen to lend some measure of support to copyright law, but then again the very same thing can be said of those who support your suggested approach because there is simply no way to to a qualitative number or the like.

    I disagree. It is not all that difficult to measure if you allow different copyright systems to function, and then run economic comparisons of them. There are a few such examples, some of which I've spoken of in the past. I'm all for allowing such evidence to be determined, and then we can use that to determine optimal policy. It is not faith-based at all.

    It is repeatedly said by those who decry the existence of copyright law that all authors "stand on the shoulders of giants." To that I say that the system of copyright law does likewise. It was not crafted in a vacuum. It was crafted over centuries, and in no small part by persons who had given the question of incentivizing authorship serious thought and consideration.

    If there were evidence to support that, you might have a point. Tragically, there is not. If you look at the history of copyright law and its expansion, it is *always* driven by those who unfairly benefit from it, rather than those who are consequently harmed by it (often the public). I know my history. You, apparently, do not.

    No matter which side of the spectrum people approach the subject, in each instance "faith" plays an important role.

    Only if one pays little attention to the evidence.

    Even the learned gentleman from whom you quote excerpts of a speech given so many, many years ago before the English Parliment was a supporter of a copyright system, with his speech being directed towards debate concerning a proposed extension of the then existing term of years for the subsistence of a copyright grant.

    He was a supporter based on what evidence he had. I am fine with that. Should the evidence show an optimal result with a particular copyright system, then I am all for it.

    In his speech he appears to state a view of copyright as reflecting a balance between the natural right of an author and countervailing interests of society.

    I am afraid you have read a different speech by a different person. Macauley's speech makes no such description. I am greatly troubled by your repeated desire to misstate the positions of people who comment on these matters.

     

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  94.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    Why is it "faith-based" Mike ? Where is your evidence to support that ??

    It is faith-based because there is no economic evidence to support it.

    Is your supporting evidence, the link you posted ?

    No. I have linked to multiple studies and examples that provide evidence in the other direction. I didn't realize I needed to do so again.

    So what is that Michael ? you are referencing your own comments as supporting evidence of your argument. So you are right according your YOU!!

    No, Darryl, for over a dozen years, I have posted and discussed numerous studies that show stronger copyright does not benefit the public, but that weaker copyright or no copyright has done so.

    Ok michael, What evidence to support less stringent copyright is obviously "better"? Please present any evidence to support that !! ???

    I have done so many times over. I prefer not to take commands from trolls, but would suggest that you use the search engine where you might find some of the examples.

    A few places to start however, might be the research that has been done on database rights in the US vs. Europe, weather data rights in the US vs. Europe, fashion industry results, and the recent Harvard studies on the impact of ignored copyright on creative output. All of those have shown weaker effective copyright tends to increase net benefit.

    Do you have evidence to the contrary? I've been asking for it for about a decade and o one has yet shown me any. If you have it, I'd love to see it.

     

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  95.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 26th, 2010 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    I do not have to use TechDirt search, Mike has kindly given us a link to his 'evidence' that evidence is Mike saying that is the case..

    No, that was a link to an explanation of why the other view is faith-based. It was not a link to the evidence. As I explained in my previous comment, there have been numerous studies that do have actual evidence, many of which have been discussed here. However if you have evidence to the other position, I'd be perfectly happy to see it.

    So if you dont "them", not showing any sources or evidence for their claims, why is it ok for you do make claims that are equally unsupported.

    Again, that is not the case. I listed out the details of just a few of the studies in question. Feel free to go find them.

    And then you can apologize for lying, yet again. However, I doubt that will happen. In the last week I have directly presented evidence of you making 100% verifiably false statements and asked you to retract them. To date, you have responded to none of them. That, it seems, presents pretty clear evidence that you are here to troll, not discuss seriously.

     

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  96.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 12:02am

    Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    Thanks for the thoughtful commentary, Mike. I think, though, that you're putting words in my mouth. I very carefully do NOT propose a tax or levy -- rather, I propose a blanket licenses that ISPs *may* purchase, not one that they *must* purchase:

    Hi Cory,

    This is a good point, though, in practice I have trouble seeing how a voluntary license avoids becoming a tax. We've already seen this attempted with Choruss, and the description called it voluntary, but it showed that in reality it wasn't at all voluntary.

    ASCAP/BMI licenses are technically "voluntary" today, yet they function as a tax on small businesses playing a radio. They are told they have to pay up, no matter what just in case they *might* play covered music. This leads to fewer businesses willing to pay music.

    And, the end results are the same. Giant bureaucracy in the middle, that tends to funnel more money to well known artists, since it's impossible to track or find less well known artists.

    I just don't see it as a workable solution, and believe that it turns into an effective tax. I mean, we've seen it with the DMCA as well, right? Now we have companies like Viacom claiming that the DMCA *requires* a filter in the YouTube case. The DMCA does no such thing, but because filters are available, they're twisting the law to suggest it's required.

    I have no doubt that given the existence of a "voluntary" license, it would not take long that it becomes effectively mandatory through those same forces.

    If you look at the history of such collective licensing agencies, all you see are examples of bureaucracies that constantly seek to increase the amount of spend they take, and do little to actually help content creators.

    (And don't even get me started about the other industries... if you start with music, obviously you need to follow up with movies... and then software, video games, books. What about newspapers? How about a blanket license for newspapers? Comic books? Oh yeah, them too. It just expands and expands and expands...)

     

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  97.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 12:08am

    Re:

    of course to techdirt, copyright is evil and bad.

    Did not say that. Merely asked for the debate to be evidence based.

    Do you have evidence towards one side?

    But for those who actually put a lot of work and effort into something, copyright PROTECTS their work and investment, so you and others just can't leech off it for free.

    I put a lot of work and effort into what I do (a lot more than you do, I would imagine), but I do not seek to "protect." To me "protecting" my work seems like limiting my opportunities.

    Also, not sure I understand your reference to "leeching." By that measure, you have "leeched" off me.

    If there was no copyright, no one would buy anything and there would be NO support for content creators.

    Tragically for you, the evidence (which is what we were talking about) suggests otherwise. I've discussed much of this in the past, but a good place to start is the comparison of database rights in the EU vs. the US. The EU established database rights, while the US had none. The end result? EU database industry stagnated, while the US one grew many times over.

    Yet, according to you, that would be impossible, since there would be no support for database creation.

    That's what I mean by evidence. Your position is faith-based, and the evidence suggests you are wrong.

    Grow up and stop stealing everything you think you have some right to.

    I don't steal anything. And, while it's something different, I'm assuming you actually mean "infringe," and I don't do that either. I pay for the music I listen to and the movies I watch. Why would you assume otherwise, other than a desire to take a misguided cheap shot where you have no actual evidence to support your position?

     

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  98.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 12:18am

    Re: From the "that makes sense" Dept.

    Mike, you might want to preempt me on this one, by providing me and you thinking reader an explination of that term Aggregate marginal benefit you might also want to elaborate on who you consider to be "ALL STAKE HOLDERS". As to who that includes and exludes.

    I would think that's rather obvious. Aggregate marginal benefit is the sum total of the marginal benefit for all of the stakeholders impacted by a change in copyright laws.

    Aggregate marginal benefit is not a econimics term.

    I am afraid you are incorrect, Darryl. It is very much an economics term. It is true that many economists use interchangeable terms -- such as marginal utility or marginal revenue (which is not quite an interchangeable term, but is often used as such). But marginal benefit is absolutely a standard economics term -- and summing up the aggregate marginal benefit is perfectly standard, your Google search, notwithstanding (though, I will note hundreds of thousands of results for the term, so not sure what you think you've "proven" by suggesting poor results on the term).

    sure Marginal Benefit is a formal economics term, so perhaps you might start to explaining to us what you think Marginal benefit IS, and how you can get "aggregate marginal beneifit" ? And what would "aggregate marginal benefit be, and how do you measure or calculate it ?

    Already explained above. Why do you repeat yourself?

    So come clean Mike, Hopefully you will explain it before I have too. mabey that will give you a chance to spin it, or actually study the subject.. :)

    Darryl, I'm not sure why you keep doing this. You work yourself into a lather with a bunch of easily proven false statements, which I then call you on, and you have never -- not once -- admitted it once I called you on them. In the past week alone I've highlighted a bunch of examples where you made provably false statements, and each time I point that out, you did not respond. I find it odd, then, that you continue to make stuff up and claim that it is I who is making stuff up.

    By the way, what is your economics training?

     

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  99.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 12:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Timbaland

    But there seems to be something just a trifle disingenuous about conflating the way, say, Tolkien 'built on' the poetry of Medieval England and Iceland, and the way Timbaland 'built on' the work of Janne Suni.

    The Timbaland controversy is actually instructive. For those who don't know: Timbaland potentially plagiarized the song Acidjazzed Evening by Janne Suni (aka Tempest). The Timbaland song in question is usually thought to be Nelly Furtado's Do It. Here's a side-by-side comparison.

    Unfortunately, it doesn't stop there. In 2006, Timbaland also released a ring tone called Block Party. Unlike the Furtado song, which at least adds vocals and other original expressions, this is almost 100% plagiarized. There's no way even the strongest free speech advocate would call it fair use.

    But here's the thing. So far, neither Timbaland nor his publisher have lost a copyright case. Timbaland won in Finland (where the original composer lives), but the case is on appeal. A case is underway in Florida, but it just started. Both the ringtone and the Furtado song are still being sold as we speak.

    Suni is not the only person Timbaland has "ripped off:" he has been involved in copyright lawsuits with The Elastik Band, Osama Admed Fahmy, and Saregama India. Here's a YouTube video detailing some of his Arabic "appropriations." And the Timbaland case is hardly unique: ChipFlip has a "Plagiarism" page devoted to commercial infringement of 8-bit compositions.

    Ironically, if a member of the public used any of Timbaland's music even for non-commercial purposes, they would get their asses sued immediately, and their music banned.

    So if you believe that copyright is supposed to prevent other artists "leeching off of" your work, then you'll have to admit it does a terrible, terrible job.

    Now for the meat of the matter. Does it benefit the public more to ban Timbaland's music, or to allow it? On the one hand, the public benefits from allowing it, merely by the fact that the public values the song. On the other hand, allowing it would mean that any member of the public can have their art plagiarized and sold by corporate artists... but that isn't being prevented in any case.

     

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  100.  
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    techflaws.org (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 2:59am

    Re: Re: Copyright is a disincentive

    Of which there are none, neither in music, writing or films.

     

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  101.  
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    herodotus (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 5:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Timbaland

    "So if you believe that copyright is supposed to prevent other artists "leeching off of" your work, then you'll have to admit it does a terrible, terrible job."

    Here I agree completely.

    Copyright law doesn't really help artists. It certainly doesn't help the public, and it doesn't even help the RIAA, whose fortunes continue to decline even as they vainly attempt to sue the public into submission.

    Copyright law as it exists in America today seems to be made to benefit lawyers more than anyone else.

     

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  102.  
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    Freedom (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 6:23am

    Registration of Copyright Works

    I wrote the comment below on Copyright Reform under the Techdirt article about Copyright Reform/Lawrence Lessig. I highlighted the WIPO move to create a database for registering works. In the esteemed opinions of this blog membership, would such a database, one that gives access to information on copyright ownership information, etc. help in solving some of copyright's most patently obvious problem, that is copyright terms that are just way too long? If there is to be change, exactly what part of the copyright law needs fixing? And please don't say that abolishing the law in itself, that's just not constructive. Answer instead if copyright law should change in regards to the registration of works. Just throwing this out there as I'm interested to know how developed and developing countries would tackle the registration issue.

    My previous comment on copyright reform is below:

    My first comment regarding this topic is based on a news article I just read on registration of creative (copyright) works: I quote "Ms. Cruickshank urged copyright stakeholders, such as musicians, to legally resister their work with CAIPO. Registration, she warned, may be their only defence in court."
    (http://www.spiceislander.com/?p=3097)

    WIPO seems to have already moved forward and taken a position on Copyright Reform, one that includes encouraging stakeholders to register their creative works as a precautionary measure. To learn more one will have to carefully listen and read all of WIPO's interventions, especially the repeated need for an infrastructure, for example "He (Francis Gurry Director General of WIPO) said WIPO plans to build a global database of music and films to facilitate convenient, legal use of the cultural products."

    So that is what is called 'Copyright Reform'. I wonder what civil law countries would say when one says that registering copyright may be their only defence in court? And do they mean with a collective management agency or with a government agency, for example, several national copyright offices have a so-called voluntary registration system. I looked up what some of these were and just picked one out of the blue, i.e. Finland: Here is what was said in their response to a WIPO Questionnaire on said subject: "Question: 1. What is the name and legal status of the copyright registering/recording body in your country?
    Answer: There is no requirement for registration of copyright in Finland."
    (http://www.wipo.int/copyright/en/registration/replies_survey_copyright_registration.html )

    Also of interest is WIPO's response to a call for comments on the proposal for a global database (http://globalrepertoiredatabase.com/rfp.html)

    Here are the responses, mostly from industry:
    (http://globalrepertoiredatabase.com/rfir)

    And WIPO's response:
    (http://globalrepertoiredatabase.com/rfir/EU%20GRD%20-%20WIPO%20Contribution.pdf)

    At any rate, if there is to be Reform, it should probably start with the current issues on the table at the WIPO SCCR meetings. Civil society discussion on some of these issues will be interesting to read and follow.

     

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  103.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re:

    "I know my history. You, apparently, do not."

    Had you resisted the urge to interject a personal "dig", you would likely have noticed the link at #47 above. That article, together with other articles tracing the roots of copyright law, illustrate that the law began to be developed at least as early as the 1500's in several european contries, most notably England, Germany and Italy. The catalyst for its development? A reasonable assumption is that that development roughly coincided with the introduction of the "Betamax" of the day, the Guttenberg printing press.

    "I am afraid you have read a different speech by a different person. Macauley's speech makes no such description. I am greatly troubled by your repeated desire to misstate the positions of people who comment on these matters."

    You appear to have responded to this before reading #80 above. Moreover, my comments were directed solely to the reported contents of the presentation he made to the assembled House of Commons in 1841.

     

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  104.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 7:18am

    Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    "It is faith-based because there is no economic evidence to support it."

    Perhaps my recollection is faulty, but I do not recall any article directed specifically to an economic analysis of copyright law, but only patent law. A citation to a study limited to copyright law would be appreciated.

     

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  105.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 8:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    The State of Recorded Sound Preservation in the United States: A National Legacy at Risk in the Digital Age (pdf))
    http://www.clir.org/pubs/reports/pub148/pub148.pdf

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gowers_Re view_of_Intellectual_Property

    Johanna Blakely: Lessons from fashion's free culture
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zL2FOrx41N0

    The Fashion Industry's Piracy Paradox
    http://www.publicknowledge.org/node/597
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id =878401

    For more try:
    http://www.techdirt.com/search.php?q=study&eid=&tid=Copyright&aid=&searchin=st ories

    ps: Is difficult to find the actual studies because the articles are all string up to point to techdirt, but it is there.

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 9:43am

    Re: Re: Re:

    No, they don't.

     

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  107.  
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    max (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 10:56am

    Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    The question is, do you have a better way to monetize creativity and human intelligence that doesn't force intellectuals to sell advertising and t-shirts to survive? A copyright system is critical to our capitalist economy. This is not China.

     

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  108.  
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    cc (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 11:19am

    Re: Re: From the "that makes sense" Dept.

    Mike, never before has there been a troll more pathetic than Darryl, and there's a bit of popular wisdom about trolls and not feeding them that I think is very much pertinent in this instance.

     

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  109.  
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    cc (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 11:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    The real scarcity in creative work is not the infinitely copyable finished product, but the creativity itself.

    In other words, creatives can sell their time and effort for sponsorship from their fans. In practice, think something like kickstarter.com but on a much larger scale.

     

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  110.  
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    misterdoug (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 11:36am

    Re: Copyright as a "Natural right"

    Unfortunately there are many who believe that people do inherently own every original idea they express, and thereby have the natural right to control it forever. I've had discussions with people who insist that this right has existed since the dawn of time, but there was no practical reason to enforce it until the publishing industry came along. This point of view has the absolutist quality of a religious belief, which makes it difficult to discuss the subject in practical terms.

     

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  111.  
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    max (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 11:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    Supporting the "finished product" would be the most sensible and obvious thing to do for respecting one's creativity/intellectual effort. However, the establishment screwed up the concept of copyrights a while back by not understanding technology better. This can and will be fixed.

     

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  112.  
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    cc (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    The finished product doesn't need to be "supported" because it's already created and published! But, if the published work is of good enough quality, people will certainly want to support the authorship of more works from the same creator.

    In other words, the creator will stay employed by his fans, and will not sit back, indefinitely receiving rents on what has already been created.

    If you think about it, this system encourages the creation of works of exceptional quality, as quantity and barely-good-enough quality won't cut it any more. That means no more movie sequels that should never have been made, because the market will send a very clear signal by not funding their production.

    I'm not anti-copyright per se, but I think the above, if workable, is an almost utopian solution to the problems of supporting creativity and funding new works that does away with the need for copyright and all impossibility of its enforcement.

     

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  113.  
    identicon
    Zragnab the Graargle, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 4:30pm

    [OT] Stale cached view of site

    I seem to be seeing only a stale, cached version of this site. It's late Saturday so the latest post should be from Friday afternoon but I seem to be seeing the site (at least, the front page of it) as it existed sometime early Wednesday evening.

    It's not caused by a local caching proxy near my end; I see the same thing when I directly talk to www.techdirt.com without any proxying.

    So, it looks like you have some kind of caching loadbalancer at your end that hasn't been propagating updates properly for nearly half a week.

     

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  114.  
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    Zragnab the Graargle, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 4:32pm

    [OT] Stale cached view of site

    Addendum: the comments on this post appear up to date when I reload. I'll try reloading the front page, and if that doesn't work, I'll try viewing it from other IP addresses.

     

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  115.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 5:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    Why it is critical?

    Fashion doesn't have protections, it is not thriving?

    Restaurants and chefs have no protections do they not make a living and thrive?

    Those are not the only ones thriving without protections, the rest of the world mostly don't have those kind of protections and keep thriving, so explain with examples why it is that critical?

    China is thriving and they have little protections there are you saying the U.S. wouldn't be happy with 10% growth every year? That is the thing countries that have less protections seems to be the ones doing all the growing these days can you show one country with hard protections that is thriving?

     

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  116.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 5:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    People do support the finished product everytime the go to the dentist they pay for the music and video they watch there, everytime they go shopping they are paying for the music in the stores, everytime they go to eat in a restaurant they are paying, they pay also by being forced to watch those horrible loud ads, they also pay when they buy merch, they also pay when they buy tickets to live performances, what do you mean "supporting the "fineshed product" would be the most sensible and obvious thing to do for respecting one's creativity/intellectual effort" people do it everyday, and more and more every year.

    Want to show us the earning of the top hundred artists and see if they got smaller or have grown, compared to the top 100 artists of 10, 20, 30 years ago?

    About technology there is nothing to fix because there is nothing that can be fixed except the illusion that copyright works.

     

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  117.  
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    max (profile), Nov 27th, 2010 @ 6:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    Your perspective is valid and gets to the root of what creators need~support to sustain those efforts as who knows how long the "process" would take. Therefore, there would have to be some sort of system in place to ensure the creator is provided with some sort of security to continue up that road. A creator IS a publisher. Step one is for creators to learn what that means and stop assigning their rights to others.

     

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  118.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 8:11pm

    Re: [OT] Stale cached view of site

    You've never heard of thanksgiving have you?

     

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  119.  
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    abc gum, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 8:29pm

    Re:

    Grow up and stop accusing everyone of infringement.

     

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  120.  
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    Zragnab the Graargle, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: [OT] Stale cached view of site

    Anonymous: I don't see how your reply is relevant. 1) Thanksgiving was over a month ago; 2) load balancing caches don't take the day off from propagating updates anyway; and 3) even if they did, it would cause stale views of the site for only one day, not the better part of a week.

     

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  121.  
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    Lyle, Nov 27th, 2010 @ 11:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Limiting the length of copyright would solve the problem

    Also a way to raise revenue on basically a fee for service basis, you want copyright protection you pay for it after X years. I have not seen any estimates of what this might bring in, but of course Disney would complain about a tax increase, but it would not be really a tax but a fee for a government service, i.e. the use of the courts to protect the companies rights.

     

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  122.  
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    darryl, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 4:18am

    Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    An Economic Analysis of Copyright Law

    http://cyber.law.harvard.edu/IPCoop/89land1.html

    Marginal Benefit and Marginal Cost

    http://www.investopedia.com/study-guide/cfa-exam/level-1/microeconomics/cfa5.asp

    One of the major problems we have with the way copyright law today is developed is how much of it is faith-based -- with supporters insisting that more stringent copyright law is obviously "better," without presenting any evidence to support that


    "In 2004, as estimated 70 millions people participated in online file sharing.
    According to a CBS News poll, nearly 70% of 18 to 29 year olds though file sharing was acceptable in some circumstances and 58% of ALL American who followed the file sharing issue considered it acceptable in at least some circumstances.

    In, January 2006,l 32 Millions Americans over the age of 12 had downloaded at least 1 feature length movie from the Internet

    Of the population sampled, 40% felt that downloading copyrighted movies off the internet constituted a very serious offence."

    A 2010 study, commissioned by the Internation Chamber of Commerce condusted by INDEPENDENT paris-based economics firm TERA estimated that unlawful downloading of music, film and software cost Europe's creative industries several billion in revenue each year.

    The Importance U's Creative Industries, predicted losses due to piracy reaching as much as 1.2 millino jobs and $e240 BILLION in retail revenue by 2015 if the trend continued.


    Faith-based

    Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf Study:


    Mie you suggest we ready that on your "faith-based" link to your own comments.

    Do you know that the writters of that 'study' now claim it is wrong ??
    Or do you prefer the earlier version, that has been widely disproved, by well,, everone, including Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf.

    It is also clear that their method for determining no damage was just plain stupid, trying to compare the popularity of illegal downloads, to the popularity of the legel version, and from that claiming that as the legal version is still popular the illegal version is not damaging legal sales..

    That is not economics, and Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf agree with me..

    So if you cant rely on that report to support your failing arguments, please provide us with some REAL proof of your claims Mike !!!

     

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  123.  
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    darryl, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 4:43am

    Re: Re: From the "that makes sense" Dept.

    Yes Mike I do understand that Marginal benefit is a common economics term.

    I was saying that the term,

    Aggregate Marginal benefit

    IS MOST CERTAINLY NO A COMMON ECONOMICS TERM OR PRINCIPLE.

    If it was Mike and if you know what marginal benefit ACTUALLY MEANS, then you would be able to explain how you can derive an Aggregate value?

    What false statements have you called me on Mike ?? or do you mean the false statements called you out on, that you also never (not capable) of prove...

    The reason why I Keep doing this Mike, is im tired of your crap, if you told the truth, to your readers that would be fine, but whenever I check your 'facts' I always see you are lying, I dont have to lie, I just look up the actual facts as they stand, that is enough for me to easily expose your lies... and its fun.

    But the fact that once again, you failed to to address the simple question that I asked..

    So I will ask it again,

    Please explain to us (if you can) what the term "Aggregate marginal benefit" ** is ** AND HOW it applies to copyright piracy..

    Or you can just defin for us, what

    AGGREGATE MARGINAL BENIFIT..

    If you cannot explain what "marginal benefit" is (a common economics term).

    Then how are you going to explain how you can have an "aggregate margin benefit.

    Because to put bluntly the marginal benefit is different for each consumer (yes its a comsumer related term)

    So if you can explain what marginal benefit IS, you will show how it is not possible to calculate an "aggrgate marginal benefit".

    I only asked you Mike to explain one term, just ONE, but once again Mike you have lived up to your reputation by not being able or willing to support what you say, and especially your inability to support or even explain your statements.

    It appears you are just willing to say what you like, expecting no one to check you for what you saying..

    It does you no favors, when I ask you to explain one term that you used, and you fail at that task..

    Cant you use google ?

     

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  124.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 5:51am

    Re: You really need an ecometrician

    I dunno. Perhaps we should just ask Richard Marx what kind of royalties he gets for that song that Jammie Thomas got the 80K judgement over. The problem really isn't that hard despite the fact that the music and movie industries try to make it hard.

    If creative works are really real property then you should be able to appraise property values and assess taxes.

    Of course the problem is that the industry wants to have it both ways.

     

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  125.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 5:55am

    So many fallacies, so little time...

    > It was not crafted in a vacuum. It was crafted
    > over centuries, and in no small part by persons
    > who had given the question of incentivizing
    > authorship serious thought and consideration.

    No. It was not. This is simply a bald faced lie.

    Copyright is a VERY new thing.

    Copyright has been crafted over a rather small number of DECADES and has been in particular bent out of shape in just the last few decades primarily motivated by corporate lobbying.

    You don't even have to be very old for the condition of copyright law at your birth to be a remarkably more balanced one.

     

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  126.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 6:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Same way you measure the benefits of slavery

    Of course it's "perjorative". One thing that usually gets glossed over in this rush to become corporate serfs is the fact that actual individual property rights are eroded by all of this nonsense.

    Yes. You are trying to give my individual liberties to Big Content.

    Expansive "intellectual property" furthermore allows others to stake claim on the product of my own intellect even when it was created in relative isolation. THAT is the single biggest destructive element of the monopoly.

     

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  127.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 6:07am

    Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    > Why is it "faith-based" Mike ? Where is
    > your evidence to support that ??

    Statutory damages.

    That there is your classic "faith based" approach. The industry can't even be bothered to compute the damages done by a single non-commercial pirate. So the fall back on the "statutory damage" part of copyright law rather than claiming some real number.

    They won't even disclose the "value" of the property involved.

    There is no voodoo here. They could simply apply well known formulas from commercial real estate.

     

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  128.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 6:19am

    Lies, Damned Lies, Et Cetera

    > The copyright laws of today derive from a
    > body of law in the England that reaches
    > back to at least the 1600's.

    ...which is not terribly long in historical terms. Even if you are talking about US law, there are still much older direct precedents in things such as criminal law, property law and contracts.

    Then there's the rest of recorded culture to consider including Law. Some of this material is many times older and is still being made into Hollywood blockbusters.

     

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  129.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 6:36am

    Re: Registration of Copyright Works

    I think registration is definitely needed and that dropping it was a very bad idea. Not every bit of information should be treated as if it has or should be published. However, anything that is to be treated as "published property" should certainly be trivial to identify.

    The fact that it is owned and who the owner is should be a simple matter to determine.

    It's yet another area where artificial property needs to be more like real/personal property if it is to be treated as such.

     

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    darryl, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 9:33am

    No, im not wrong Mike, You are not wrong either, as you did not say anything.. !!!

    Aggregate marginal benefit is not a econimics term.

    I am afraid you are incorrect, Darryl. It is very much an economics term.


    Ok, then you will have no problem in showing me (and everyone else) all the economics papers, articles and courses that include the term

    Aggregate marginal benefit

    Then you might want to explain, to you're good readers how you can aggregate something like 'marginal benefit'.

    I see you are reluctant to explain what marginal benefit as an economics term means.

    I know the reason for this, as well as you do, because if you explained it you would look like an idiot.

    But im willing to give you a change to spin it your way, and provide a fair explination of your claims.

    Otherwise, I will have to post the definition of the term, with examples, and you can then try to explain how that term can be aggregated.

    so 1.
    Show me, and your readers some sources where the term Aggregate marginal benefit is used as a single term, for a heading, or providing an equation or explination on how you work out that value.

    2.
    Explain, (in reference to 1.) how you can aggrigate marginal benefit, and how marginal benefit relates to producers and consumers.

    3.
    Explain what marginal benefit actually means, in economic terms, and how it relates to production and consumption.

    If you cannot do that, I will be happy to do so.

    But if you claim my education on the subject is not as sound as your's then I would expect you to be able to "teach me a lesson".

    If you cannot do that, (and I know you cant) then I will happily give you a lesson on basic economics, particularly microeconomics.

    If I just posted an example of what marginal benefit is, you would look like an idiot, if you posted it, with examples, and real facts you would look like a hero..

    The call is yours..

    And thanks for showing me that you are willing to question the qualifications and knowledge of others before showing your own abilities on the subject.

    If you want to go head to head with me, on this or any other subject I will be happy to do so.

    And I wont ever question your qualification or resort to ad hominen attacks.

    And I will even try not to be too patronising.. :)

    I have no fear or worry about taking on your issues head on with you, and engaging in a fair debate.

    But from your response it appears you are not willing to take on that challenge..

     

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  131.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 28th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: [OT] Stale cached view of site

    Thanksgiving was last Thursday. There are no posts because Mike, like most people, is on holiday.

     

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  132.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 28th, 2010 @ 9:52am

    Re: No, im not wrong Mike, You are not wrong either, as you did not say anything.. !!!

    Ok, then you will have no problem in showing me (and everyone else) all the economics papers, articles and courses that include the term

    Aggregate marginal benefit


    Here, let me Google that for you.

    EEP101/ECON125 Problem Set 2 (PDF) from Berkeley:
    Find the aggregate marginal benefit curve. (Hint: Find the horizontal sum of the individual MB curves). Draw each of the three curves in a single graph.

    ENR-201/Econ 1661 Problem Set #1 Answer Key (PDF) from JFK School of Government
    To aggregate the demand curves vertically, first express the individual demand functions in terms of P; this is
    the "inverse demand function" [...] Now multiply the right hand side by 1000, the number of people who benefit from the River's various services [...] This is the aggregate marginal benefit curve for the public good.


    Hint: It's often used to calculate the benefits of environmental legislation.

    See? We both learned something today.

     

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  133.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 10:02am

    Come on Mike...

    I know my history. You, apparently, do not.

    Is this how you host honest debate with those who hold beliefs different than your own Mike? I don't get it. You are thoughtful enough to make persuasive arguments without resorting to ad hominem attacks against the commentators, correct? And yet you regularly make snarky, condescending comments against those who post completely legitimate, thoughtful comments that challenge your beliefs. I'm not talking about those who are insulting, but those who raise legitimate issues. Come on Mike.

     

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  134.  
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    darryl, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 10:24am

    Mike, Also how do you apply economics theory, and terms like marginal benefit on a NON-Consumer thing.

    Thats right, Mike..

    When you are explaining to your readers what marginal benefit is.

    Then you can explain how that term relates to copyright, when that term is a value placed on, and calculated for a PRODUCT or a good/service.

    So when was the last time you purchased a COPYRIGHT, how do you determine the marginal utility of a COPYRIGHT ???

    How can you calculate the marginal cost of the product, when it is not a product, but it is "copyright".

    How do you work out the inputs for production (marginal costs) for "A copyright"

    Ofcourse Mike, as you are so aware of economics theory and practice, and willing to question my qualifications then you will be able to explain. How you can apply supply and demand factors on something that is not generally on the market or in great demand.

    You dont sell copyrights, so you cannot calculate a marginal benefit value for them..

    You can if you want to calculate the marginal benefits for a cup of coffee..

    But you cannot do the same thing for 'drinks' or anything generalized, but you try to tie sound economic principles, with some hairy fairy stuff, using some big words and terms, that make so sense in context.

    So if you are buying a pizza you can calculate the marginal benefit. Because a pizza is something, that has a fixed (for the one supplier) costs of production.

    How can you apply the same theory to 'copyrights' ???

    So would I have to look at all copyrighted material, and aggregate (add up) all the labour costs, production costs, distribution, and social costs FOR EACH ONE, !!!!

    Thats right for every copyrighted item I would have to include them all, to be able to calculate any aggregate values.

    Mike you know you cant apply economics theory like this to something like copyright..

    You can to do it for each copyrighted item, and then aggregate that.

    So by aggregating all those vastly different values, (it probably costs alot more to create a movie, than it does a bus timetable).

    So by aggregating those differences you would be creating an average, where a bus timebable writer, would gain as much from his copyright as a creator of a epic movie..

    Clearly that type of analysis is not carried out on "copyrights".

    Because its impossible, and would yield zero information of any analylitical value..

    And you dont know this Mike ?


    So now you can also explain how you can apply production, supply, demand economics to something that itself is not a product, a unit, or a goods.

    People dont buy copyrights, they buy copies, so there is no real trade in copyrights as such.. So there is no issue with consumers trying to work out the marginal benefit.

    Also marginal benefit, is not the same of all consumers, its different depending on what they feel the benefit of that purchase will be. (or the purchase of an extra unit of a good).

    Clearly there is very little marginal benefit to buying a copyright, if all you want to do is watch a movie.

    But for some people, (movie investors) the marginal benefit might be very high. and if the marginal benefit exceeds to marginal + social costs of production/acquisition then it may be beneficial for them to pay the millions of dollars for the copyright..

    MOST people will just buy, rent or watch on TV that movie, or if the marginal benefit is high enough they may go to the movies.

    And if marginal benefit is not high enough, then 'the next best thing' becomes the 'best thing'.

    That might be going out to dinner as opposed to buying or renting a movie.

    But you cannot, do similar economic comparisons with a broad term like "copyright'.

    Copyrights are not products, they protect products on a one to one basis.

    It has littleto do with a market economomy, or IP rights issues,

    And again, you dont know this Mike ???

     

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  135.  
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    MTAmory, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 2:00pm

    Benefits of Copyright

    Lewis Hyde of the Berkman Center at Harvard wrote the exceptional book "Common as Air" on this subject. His central argument (traced from common law and the the perspectives of the framers of the constitution for maximum impact on the originalist supreme court) is that it does indeed make sense to incent creators of intellectual and creative content with a limited monopoly on the use of their creations. However, since well before the DMCA and the Bono/Mickey Mouse Copyright extension act, corporations have been asserting and enforcing their property rights in a way that is indeed counterproductive.

     

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  136.  
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    gscottlo, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 3:40pm

    Copy right or anything

    Mike I like your ideas and thoughtfulness. I stopped reading you when you allow anonymous coward to monopolize your discourse. If he wants to add something to the conversation he should start his own blog. I know you don't like censorship but he/she/it hurts your business.

     

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  137.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    So your studies show that people either don't care for copy"right" or they don't care for current copy"right" laws. Well, then, if these laws do not exist at the will of the people then whose will do they exist at? The will of the big corporations who wrote them? I highly doubt that 95+ year copy protection lengths was instated to serve the will of the people, they were instated to serve the will of big corporations. Perhaps the problem is with the laws and not with the people who are subject to them.

    "Do you know that the writters of that 'study' now claim it is wrong ?? "

    and what makes them the ultimate arbitrator of ethics? The fact that they want to spread corporate propaganda? Not good enough.

     

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  138.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 5:16pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    and who are "they"

     

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  139.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 5:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    Also, things like putting popular musicians and movie stars in commercials that support scarce goods is another way that they can make money. They have incentive to create because doing so gives others incentive to place them in (and pay them for) advertisements that allow them to make more money off of their fans. Heck, many movie stars make a TON of money through advertising.

     

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  140.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 5:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    (ie: look at Shaq and those who advertise for Niki shoes. How does Niki get to sell their shoes at such high prices? Partly because they get basketball players to promote their products on commercials).

     

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  141.  
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    Zragnab the Graargle, Nov 28th, 2010 @ 8:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: [OT] Stale cached view of site

    Thanksgiving was a month ago, and even if you were right, there should still be posts from Friday as well as from Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday. And yet I can't get Friday's posts to appear.

     

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  142.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 28th, 2010 @ 10:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    Perhaps my recollection is faulty, but I do not recall any article directed specifically to an economic analysis of copyright law, but only patent law. A citation to a study limited to copyright law would be appreciated.

    I mentioned a bunch above in one of my responses to Darryl.

     

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  143.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 28th, 2010 @ 10:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: From the "that makes sense" Dept.

    Aggregate Marginal benefit

    IS MOST CERTAINLY NO A COMMON ECONOMICS TERM OR PRINCIPLE.


    Again, Darryl, I'm afraid you are incorrect. Karl has already responded to you, but just so you know, the marginal benefit I am discussing is the change in benefit, negative or positive, from a particular change to copyright law across all stakeholders. That is, if we (for example) were to increase copyright by 50 years, that would impact a variety of different people: artists, the public, middlemen, gatekeepers, retailers, etc. So you would look at the marginal benefit (positive or negative) to each, and then you sum them up. That sum is the aggregate marginal benefit.

    Again, this is not a crazy concept, and as Karl noted, it is used in economics.

    Darryl, I'm not quite sure what to say to you any more other than that you seem to purposely misstate my position and when I call you on your blatantly false statements you refuse to admit it.

    I've tried to respond to you civilly on the belief that you were just confused, but at this point, I may just have to listen to others and assume that you are flat out trolling. Your refusal to even admit you were wrong about that century-old photograph (from the Library of Congress) which you insisted was a modern photograph kind of sealed the deal. Unless you have a legitimate point to raise, I figure it's best to no longer respond to your silly assertions that appear to be based on willful misreading of what I have said. Good luck to you.

     

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  144.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 28th, 2010 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Copy right or anything

    Mike I like your ideas and thoughtfulness. I stopped reading you when you allow anonymous coward to monopolize your discourse. If he wants to add something to the conversation he should start his own blog. I know you don't like censorship but he/she/it hurts your business.

    "Anonymous coward" is the name given to anyone who doesn't post a name. It's not one person.

     

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  145.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 28th, 2010 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Come on Mike...

    Is this how you host honest debate with those who hold beliefs different than your own Mike? I don't get it. You are thoughtful enough to make persuasive arguments without resorting to ad hominem attacks against the commentators, correct? And yet you regularly make snarky, condescending comments against those who post completely legitimate, thoughtful comments that challenge your beliefs. I'm not talking about those who are insulting, but those who raise legitimate issues. Come on Mike.

    Fair point. It's no excuse, but I have only done it to a few specific commenters with whom I have a history -- and in this case, it involves someone who has a long history of regularly stating false things about me on this site and on other sites in an effort to personally defame me. So I may be a bit extra snarky towards him. But, you are correct that I should not be.

     

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  146.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 28th, 2010 @ 11:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: [OT] Stale cached view of site

    I assume you're Canadian? In the U.S., Thanksgiving is celebrated on the fourth Thursday of November. Generally, everyone takes Friday off as well, meaning the holidays encompass a four-day weekend.

    So, no new posts have been written since Wednesday. Be patient, normal hours of operation will resume tomorrow.

     

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  147.  
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    4 Chan, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 12:39am

    Re: Re: Come on Mike...

    At least you're still alive. I thought you might have self-imolated after the latest ICE takedowns...

     

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  148.  
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    4 chan, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 12:41am

    Re: Copy right or anything

    gscottlo likes his discussion one-sided. Fox news anyone?

     

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  149.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 4:29am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Copyright pre 1709 was a very different animal.

    It was very clearly a grant of monopoly rights to a particular individual (usually in respect of a specific book) or to a trade association in respect of ALL printing.

    I've never seen any evidence that a common law copyright existed - plenty of evidence that certain people thought it should have existed. However even this evidence is mostly dated rather later (from around the time when the first copyrights granted by the statute were about to expire).

    The one I like is Luther's idea of how long copyright should last - a couple of months...

     

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  150.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 5:01am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Isn't "leeching" what people call when you download but do not share? Sharing is the opposite of "leeching".

     

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  151.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 5:04am

    Re: Re: Copy right or anything

    We are Anonymous. We are legion.

     

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  152.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 7:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Referencing your self as an 'independent' 'expert' "Its true because I said it was true earlier. But no supporting evidence.

    The response you mention generically refers to studies, but does not cite any. This is why I previously said I do not recall any studies specific to copyright law, but only to patent law.

    I have previously read articles I have known about for several years published by Posner et. al, Epstein, and others, but other than general discussions of basic economic principles, none of them include any data drawing comparisons between such data and such economic principles.

     

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  153.  
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    greg.fenton (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 12:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Music tax vs blanket license

    Supporting the "finished product" doesn't make sense, and here's just a couple of reasons why:
    • What is a "finished product" when works are iterative and based on others' works? Where does the work "finish"? Where does it "begin"?
    • We are supporting something that has zero marginal cost, and yet a variable initial cost. One song takes a day to write, another takes ten years. So supporting the "finished product" is not properly, proportionally or fairly compensating each artist.

     

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  154.  
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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Nov 29th, 2010 @ 3:00pm

    Lawrence Lessig

    Perhaps instead of Cory Doctorow (or in addition to him) you should be reading Lawrence Lessig's book "Free Culture".

    Actually I expect you (Mike) have already read it, I mostly wanted to get a reference to it into these comments. :)

     

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  155.  
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    darryl, Nov 29th, 2010 @ 11:47pm

    Re: Re: No, im not wrong Mike, You are not wrong either, as you did not say anything.. !!!

    Wow, well done so from the entire internet, and the probably millions of economics papers available, you found ONE.. Yes one only use of the term 'Aggregate marginal benefit.'

    Yes, only one, one is the question and one is the answer to that question. So only one.

    And again, it is not a known economics term, "marginal benefit" is.

    But because you can have "average, peak, aggregate of a term does not make that in itself a typical terms.

    Also if you read that, school question, it is a question about a single product. And the ability to calculate the marginal social benefit (an economics term, commonly in use).

    But you still cannot apply to same logic or analysis to something like "copyright"..

    So you may be able to calculate the aggregate social benifit of a public good, a specific public good.

    If you are able to calculate the SUM of the marginal benefit for all consumers -- the marginal social benefit

    So tell us, (or Mike can) how it is possible to sum the marginal benefits for all consumers of COPYRIGHT, keeping in mind copyright is not a consumer item.

    People dont 'consume' copyrights. so who are the 'customers'.

    How can you calculate the marginal benefit to the consumer, who does not for one, consume that product, and 2. the products they do consumer are all different.

    Ie songs, different songs, different books, different movies, and so on.

    When you consume a movie, you do not consume the copyright, and when you pay for your consumption you are not paying the full marginal cost of the product. Nor are you buying a copyright.

    So to search the entire internet, and google and only find one reference to "aggregate marginal benefit" in a school test exam. Does not make it a standard economics method for determination.

    As Mike falsly claims.

     

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  156.  
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    darryl, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 12:04am

    Still all talk and oh yea, no facts..

    when I lie I will apoligize, but it has not happend yet.

    So ok, so you said that link does not provide any supporting evidence of your claim.

    But you again claim that said evidence is available.

    Good, if it is, freaking show

    If you want to accuse me of lying, that is fine, prove it, If I accuse you of lying, I always state why I feel that is the case.

    If you have 100% varifiabley false statements and sked me to retract them. please point me to them. \

    And I will respond accordingly.

     

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  157.  
    identicon
    darryl, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 12:05am

    Still all talk and oh yea, no facts..

    when I lie I will apoligize, but it has not happend yet.

    So ok, so you said that link does not provide any supporting evidence of your claim.

    But you again claim that said evidence is available.

    Good, if it is, freaking show

    If you want to accuse me of lying, that is fine, prove it, If I accuse you of lying, I always state why I feel that is the case.

    If you have 100% varifiabley false statements and sked me to retract them. please point me to them. \

    And I will respond accordingly.

     

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  158.  
    identicon
    darryl, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 12:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: From the "that makes sense" Dept.

    Mike with regard to the photo, I said In my opinion that photo looks like a modern photo of an amish community.

    I tried the links you provided to the source of the pic, and it was a dead link.

    So it could be an old pic, I dont know.

    What I do know, is that IN MY OPINION, it does not look like an old pic, it looks like a modern pic.

    But that is just my opinion, it is what it looks like to me, it is not what it is, but what it looks like to me !!!.

    Do you see that there is a difference between actual facts and opinion ?
    You Mike should be more aware of that than most, you mix facts and opinion all the time.

    I was not stating a fact, I did not state that photo WAS NOT what it said..

    I said it did not look like what it said it was to me.

    Big difference Mike..

    But if you can quote me of any blatently false statements I will be happy to respond to them.

     

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  159.  
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    Karl (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 2:04am

    Re: Re: Re: No, im not wrong Mike, You are not wrong either, as you did not say anything.. !!!

    so from the entire internet, and the probably millions of economics papers available, you found ONE..

    ...in the first page of Google hits. I posted the first two that were from university economics courses. There's plenty more out there.

    Also if you read that, school question, it is a question about a single product.

    Also if you read them, they are basically cost/benefit analyses of pollution legislation. They're not about "products" at all.

    Copyright is a product of legislation, just like environmental protection laws are. Both are legislative restrictions on the use of public goods.

     

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  160.  
    identicon
    darryl, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 5:08am

    Re: Mike, Also how do you apply economics theory, and terms like marginal benefit on a NON-Consumer thing.

    As usual, Mike has failed to address ANY of the issues I raised here,

    It is not hard to work out why that would be. Its simple.

    Clearly, the knowledge, and facts to answer my questions, or get clarification about what mike actually means. Is beyond Mikes abilities.

    I know it is difficult to explain a theory you do not understand, but I do not understand why if you dont know something you just make up something that sounds about right.

    What do you hope that no one will check, if so, that is very sad, that you assume such dedicated followers of you to believe what you say, just because you say it..

    Its fine for weak minds, or to those who dont care to think for themselves.

    But Mike you make those statements, you publish those statements, but when questioned on them you fail badly.

    that shows a fundamental misunderstanding of the concepts you are trying to display knowledge of.

    If I can catch you out almost every time, you cant be that good !!.

    Imagine if someone who actually was an expert in all the many fields you claim expertise in, actually read and analysed what you are saying.

    Why dont you just start by explaining to us how you can have a marginal benefit analysis on "copyright".

    Ofcourse you cannot explain how that would work, because it does not work, and you say we should use standard economics techniques to calculate something, and you dont seem to comprehend that you cannot use microeconomic analysis on 'copyright'. Its not a product and it hold no marginal benefit for consumers.


    Consumers do not look at the benefit of purchasing a copyright as opposed to purchasing a car.

    they dont purchase copyright at all.

    So how can you analyse copyright as a broad term as a "good or service".

    How can you define the utillity of 'a copyright'. so you can calculate the effective marginal utility.

    And then explain to our readers what you think "MARGINAL BENEFIT" actually means.

    Then relate that in context to your original comments.

    Until you do that, I have won, and you have failed.. (just say'n)

     

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  161.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 10:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: From the "that makes sense" Dept.

    Mike with regard to the photo, I said In my opinion that photo looks like a modern photo of an amish community.


    Ha! Your exact statement on that post is as follows:

    "Wrong, That would be a modern photopraph, taken of an Amish community. sorry, but this is certainly not an early twentieth century picture.."

    Note there is no "in my opinion." There isn't even any hedging. You flat out declare it "wrong" and follow it up with a claim that it is "certainly not" from when it was claimed to be.

    You did not state an opinion in any manner. I also find it funny for you to say that, because when I do state opinions, and even make it clear that it's an opinion, you regularly accuse me of stating something factual.

    Darryl, this is why it's not worth responding to you. When we prove you wrong, you simply make up more stuff.

    I was not stating a fact, I did not state that photo WAS NOT what it said..

    I'll just use your words again:

    "Wrong, That would be a modern photopraph, taken of an Amish community. sorry, but this is certainly not an early twentieth century picture.."

    It certainly appears that you did exactly what you just claimed you didn't do.

    Funny. This is why you are not worth responding to. Darryl, some of us are trying to have serious discussions on important topics. You, clearly, are not interested in that. You lie, you mislead, you misstate, you take out of context, and you ignore reasonable explanations.

     

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  162.  
    identicon
    Lynn Chu, Nov 30th, 2010 @ 12:50pm

    Copyright is a right to sue. Not the obligation to.

    A copyright is simply property. Property is a good thing. Society can't function without decent respect for property. A copyright is also a very limited thing--just the right to sue (for an accounting of all the gains of the infringement, within three years--an extremely tight statute of limitations). Few authors choose to sue--the vast majority of individual copyright infringement claims are small matters people generally have no desire to waste time or money fighting about. An author's exclusive right to profit from his property is NOT the problem. The problem today is the persistence of rent-seeking corporate copyright aggregators, whose threshhold for suit is lower because of that aggregation. But, aggregate copyright control no longer makes economic sense.

    Authors consider the occasional use by others, mostly, just to be good advertising and to their greater fame and glory. They will rarely sue -- and only when clearly ripped off. The new digital publishing reality -- "publishers" no longer controlling access to publication -- means that authors will begin to retain more control over their rights, including their rights to sue. Broad rights assignments to corporate entities should wane in future. They should become limited use licenses. Not sweeping rights assignments as in the past.

    So, tendentious infringement suits are a threat that should be self-cancelling, as the digital world rewrites its contracts to suit the digital world better, rather than imposing the old forms of the print world.

     

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  163.  
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    Lynn Chu (profile), Nov 30th, 2010 @ 1:58pm

    Copyright is creators' source of bargaining power

    One more critical virtue of copyright property: without it, one has no bargaining power with which to extract a decent sum to permit third party uses. Mess that "right" of authors up, and you blow away all (financial) incentive to create. So, do not mess with copyright. Copyright is much wiser than some among the digerati think.

    What most miss (apart from talent professionals and professional licensors, who tend to avoid these debates) is that the aggregation model of corporations does not work very well in the licensing arena. The large corporate structure in entertainment is, I posit, in the process of evolving to a flatter hierarchy, more individually based world. Big corporations are an artifact of their monopoly of the presses (and the studios) in the old physical world. Entertainment licensing is inherently creative, personal, and discretionary. It is best done, not by corporate drones in back rooms, but by the artist him or herself using a professional licensing agent/lawyer, who works on limited commission -- and acts under principles of strict fiduciary duty to that artist. The outsize commissions that publishers award themselves to license "for" artists, in no way incentivizes successful exploitation. In fact, it incentivizes the opposite -- passive rentseeking.

     

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  164.  
    identicon
    Not an electronic Rodent, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 1:42am

    Re: Copyright is a right to sue. Not the obligation to.

    A copyright is simply property.
    Really? I'll admit to being no expert but I can Google. This from About.com:
    Copyright refers to laws that regulate the use of the work of a creator, such as an artist or author. This includes copying, distributing, altering and displaying creative, literary and other types of work. Unless otherwise stated in a contract, the author or creator of a work retains the copyright.

    For a copyright to apply to a work, it must be an original idea that is put to use. The idea alone cannot be protected by copyright. It is the physical use of that idea, such as an illustration or a written novel, that is covered under copyright law.
    Call me picky but there's nothing in there about "property", instead there are words like "use of the work", "original idea"... the closest if comes to property is using the word "physical" in an entirely different context. As far as I can see a good portion of the problems with copyright law come from exactly that fallacy.

    Of course the rest of the post is a nice ideal to aspire to, but there seems no evidence of things going that way at the moment with large corporations screaming about "property" and "authors' rights" while doing their best to remove them and buying laws to prop up their cash cow - I can't see it changing until "lobbying" (buying politicians) laws change or the companies in question run out of money.

     

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  165.  
    identicon
    Not an electronic Rodent, Dec 1st, 2010 @ 1:53am

    Re: Copyright is creators' source of bargaining power

    Mess that "right" of authors up, and you blow away all (financial) incentive to create.
    I create and have almost never owned the copyright on the works I've created, usually passing to the company for whom I have done the work. That's my "financial incentive to create" - they pay me. There are hundreds of "authors" creating right here without any financial incentive... look, I'm doing it right now. You may not consider my "work" here to be very valuable, but it doesn't change the fact that I have created an original writing and look, no one paying me nor do I expect any "rights" over my words, other than the right to not be mis-quoted.

    Suggesting that we can't do without copyright just because you can't think of an alternative is a little absurd as is suggesting that authors won't write without it. Also, whether we need something like copyright or not that's still no justification for the laws we have now, which largely have nothing to do with the "rights of authors" at all.

     

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  166.  
    identicon
    Dr Huge, Dec 6th, 2010 @ 12:32pm

    Copyright beneficiaries

    Mike said:

    "very few content creators get remuneration for their creations"

    In my e-book I point out that in fact, the effect of copyright has always been reward the owners of the technologies of copying, not the owners of the copyright. This is due quite simply to the fact that copyright does not exist until the concept has been fixed in a reproducible form, and as soon as it does the benefit accrues to those who control the reproduction, not those who created the concept.

    That's why arrangements such as "Not an electronic Rodent" describes above are so appropriate: the creator works for and is paid by the owner of the reproduction technology. They take the risks on monetising the content and the creator gets a guaranteed income. This is all about risk management and has occurred since at least the Renaissance ...

    My book can be bought here: http://www.huge.id.au/shop/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=51

    Excerpts can be read at the link above.

    Cheers,
    Dr Huge

     

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