Revisiting The Question Of Who Deserves Copyright

from the no-one-deserves-it dept

Our final post last Friday was to point out that if your argument in favor of copyright (or stronger copyright) is that an artist "deserves" it, that argument is wrong. The basic point was that copyright discussions are not about the moral issues. Copyright was established in the US not because artists "deserved" it. In fact, the first copyright law really didn't protect "artists." It was for the sake of knowledge and learning, and only covered maps, charts and books -- but not things like music, news or plays. The key point, however, was that copyright was designed to advance such knowledge, and more specifically to "promote the progress of science."

That post kicked off quite the discussion. Last I looked, there were close to 800 comments on that article, which may set a record. What struck me as interesting was that many critics of the post jumped to the conclusion that if you say it is wrong that anyone "deserves" copyright, it means that there should be no copyright at all. But that wasn't what the post said at all. It was pretty explicit (I thought!), that it was merely saying that any debate over copyright needs to focus on that question of whether or not it promotes the progress, and not on the moral argument that anyone "deserves" such a government granted monopoly. It was nice to see that much of the discussion in the comments was reasoned and well thought out (as always, there were a few exceptions to that), but so much of the debate simply seemed to assume that by arguing against using moral arguments, it was the equivalent of arguing against the entire system.

It may very well be that we'd be better off with no copyright system at all. I've seen arguments to that effect, but I don't think we have nearly enough data to support that position. I do think it's clear that if we had only two options: what we have today or no copyright at all, that no copyright would likely lead to greater societal benefit. But that's just an indication of how bad copyright law is today, not necessarily a total condemnation of copyright law itself. So, I'd like to restart this discussion, by making the point of that earlier post clear: by saying that the moral argument for copyright isn't valid, it's not saying that copyright itself is not necessarily valid. I'm just saying that the debate over copyright should be on the key factor: does it promote the progress or not, and are there better ways to promote the progress?

So, can we focus the next 800 or so comments on that?


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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:07pm

    Blunt

    Copyright has suffered regulatory capture by those who've twisted it into a means of extracting greater profit via means of false scarcity.

    As with all governmental/regulatory entities which have been perverted into things which their creators would never have wished, it should be given a swift painless death.

     

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    A Dan (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:10pm

    I know the problem

    You're thinking like an economist, where the actual effects are what's important. That's not how most people think.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:16pm

    'Promote progress' never mentioned copyright!

    The idea that copyright was created to 'promote the progress' is bunk. Copyright was created by Queen Anne and re-enacted by James Madison.

    See 18th Century Overture for details.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:22pm

    This site is just out of touch.

    I don't think Mike Masnick has a traditional understanding of morality. So it is not surprising he has trouble understanding how piracy would contradict many moral sentiments.

    Copyright is designed to allow creators rights to their work because whether a product is tangible or not, if it is your unique creation, it is natural to feel like it is yours. Have you ever been plagiarized? Have you ever had someone take credit for something you worked really hard on?

    It's not a pleasant feeling. No one stole anything tangible from you. But you still feel cheated and ripped off.

    That's how many people feel when they are pirated.

    Those feelings go to the core of personal morality. So if you are arguing that morality should have nothing to do with piracy, you are either suggesting:

    1) You don't understand how many people think and feel, or
    2) You don't care.

    Fortunately, politicians are tending to disagree with your "anti-morals" perspective. You hear Joe Biden speak and all you hear are "lies." But they are personal, emotional, moral truths that many creators agree very strongly with.

    Both morals and economics drive policy. If you can't understand how being pirated against their will might make someone feel violated, perhaps you are just out of touch.

     

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    Rob Bodine (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:26pm

    Re: I know the problem

    That may not be how most people think, but that's how the Constitution frames the express right of the Federal government to grant copyright monopolies. As happens many times throughout the Constitution, an interest (progress of arts) is served through a contrary mechanism (copyright), and the two sometimes are in conflict.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:33pm

    Re: 'Promote progress' never mentioned copyright!

    Good grief. Give it a rest. Mike has debunked your misguided argument many times. The lesson obviously hasn't sunk in, but that's no reason to keep beating the same dead horse.

     

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    Paul Lockett, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Copyright is designed to allow creators rights to their work because whether a product is tangible or not, if it is your unique creation, it is natural to feel like it is yours. Have you ever been plagiarized? Have you ever had someone take credit for something you worked really hard on?

    It's not a pleasant feeling. No one stole anything tangible from you. But you still feel cheated and ripped off.


    It's a common argument, but it is a flawed one. Plagiarism is a completely separate issue to copyright. Most material that is copied is not mis-attributed and is therefore not plagiaristic. Appeals that rely on references to plagiarism are usually appeals to emotion which the person making knows wouldn't hold if the reference were to correctly attributed copying.

    In any case, the feeling of being ripped off and it not being pleasant doesn't make a great basis for decisions. Somebody who opens a shop and then sees a competitor open next door might feel unhappy about it, but that hasn't lead to a ban on competing shops.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:35pm

    What strikes me as odd about this post (and the last) is the assumption that the legal framework for copyright (i.e., does it promote the progress, because that's the constitutional basis in this country) is viewed as the only framework that is valid.

    There may be a perfectly valid argument that artists "deserve" copyright as some moral principle. It's just that such an argument has no bearing on copyright law in this country.

    I like discussing copyright through a legalistic lens, but I'm surprised to see an article saying that is the *only* valid perspective on copyright.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:38pm

    Mike, I think you've framed the question incorrectly and too narrowly.

    It entirely ignores any other justification for copyright as being irrelevant, but its not clear on what grounds you justify dismissing other arguments. Other than, of course, the grounds that copyright in the US was created to promote advancement of science (or words to that effect).

    A more sensible debate would be, what is the justification for copyright in todays world. What is the real justification for the expansion of copyright and is it really justified in a free and democratic society.

    I do not for a second accept that almost any of the changes in copyright since it was first formally enshrined in 1709 have been about its original stated purpose (yes, that's right, copyright did not originate in the USA but was adopted by them based on British laws, which stated a similar purpose). The fact for me is that copyright was created for one purpose and then over the next 300 years has developed an entirely new purpose.

    To ignore what it is and means today and try to have a debate about it framed so narrowly is a bit like expecting to be able to interpret the US Constitution only in terms of what was meant at the time it was written and ignore the changes in society that have happened since - a position I am sure most of us would criticise.

    What needs to happen is to get all the arguments on the table, for us all to understand the wide variety of justifications and be able to balance them off against each other.

    Perhaps you are just trying to make that point? Perhaps you are really just trying to draw peoples attention to the fact the stated objective of copyright is not being met and we should be more honest about it. If so wahoo to you. But I would still like to see a real debate and have people understand that it is not a simple argument with only one position.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:38pm

    Re: Re: 'Promote progress' never mentioned copyright!

    seconded

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:39pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Piracy doesn't contradict any moral sentiments. We are taught as kids to share. Piracy is sharing. Only it's even better than what we are taught as kids. I was taught that it's nice to share my physical belongings or other scarce things (such as my time) with other people. With copyrighted works I can share my stuff without having to sacrifice it. From that standpoint, it's copyright that actually looks immoral.

    Plagiarism and copyrights are different issues and the feelings are different. If someone were to take my work and try to pass it off as their own, and take all the glory and success for it, then I would probably feel cheated. However, if they merely shared with others what I had created then I wouldn't feel cheated at all.

    As to your argument that morality should have nothing to do with piracy is off topic. Your morality might say that it's moral to obey the law. Copyright is the law, so you think it's moral to not pirate. But that has nothing to do with whether or not copyright law should be based on morality.

    If lies are personal moral truths, then we have one messed up society. And if your personal morals only come from the laws, then you have a messed up moral compass. Laws are external, and you need to create some internal morals for yourself. I might not agree with whatever it is you come up with, but if your morals only come from others in power, then you are one messed up person.

    As for how people feel when they are pirated, we had that discussion the other day when we talked about whether people would rather have 100,000 pirated downloads or none. Musicians chimed in and said they'd rather have been pirated. Shakespeare showed us how he felt about it: he created work after work after work.

    If you are so for the morality of copyright, please tell me that it bothers you that Disney intentionally waited for The Jungle Book to lose copyright status before releasing their movie of the same. If copyrights are based on morals, then Disney acted immorally.

    However, copyrights were never a moral concept. Unless you think abusive monopolies are a moral concept.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I don't think Mike Masnick has a traditional understanding of morality.

    Assertion based on...? Right. Nothing.

    Copyright is designed to allow creators rights to their work because whether a product is tangible or not, if it is your unique creation, it is natural to feel like it is yours. Have you ever been plagiarized? Have you ever had someone take credit for something you worked really hard on?

    It's not a pleasant feeling. No one stole anything tangible from you. But you still feel cheated and ripped off.


    No one denied that. In fact, I've written posts discussing exactly that. I absolutely agree that when most people first see someone copying their work, it does have a strong emotional impact.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091012/0349006491.shtml

    Kind of odd that you say I don't understand this when I wrote a post saying exactly that.

    The *point* is that this doesn't matter when it comes to the purpose of copyright.

    Those feelings go to the core of personal morality. So if you are arguing that morality should have nothing to do with piracy, you are either suggesting:

    1) You don't understand how many people think and feel, or
    2) You don't care.


    Or... there's a third option. You realize that the purpose and intent of copyright law was not to make certain people feel good, but to (and I quote) "promote the progress of science." That's the whole point. The point isn't to make you feel good, it's to create the most beneficial situation overall.

    Fortunately, politicians are tending to disagree with your "anti-morals" perspective. You hear Joe Biden speak and all you hear are "lies." But they are personal, emotional, moral truths that many creators agree very strongly with.

    Completely against what the Constitution requires when it comes to copyright law.

    Some of us see that as a problem.

    Both morals and economics drive policy. If you can't understand how being pirated against their will might make someone feel violated, perhaps you are just out of touch

    Again, I never said that. Not sure why you would put words in my mouth (and didn't you just say that putting words in someone's mouth makes you a "douchebag"?).

    What I am saying is that copyright law is not supposed to take into account how someone feels when their work gets infringed upon. I understand that it feels bad. You know what else "feels" bad? Building a company and getting beat in the market. It sucks. In some cases I would say it sucks a lot more than having someone copy your song.

    But we don't pass laws outlawing competition. Because that would harm society.

    Is it really so complex that you can't grasp this?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:40pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    The question isnt whether or not piracy is moral.
    The question is should copyright be based on morals.
    The answer is no, its should be based on what will best promote the growth of knowledge and intellectual progress.

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    It's not a pleasant feeling. No one stole anything tangible from you. But you still feel cheated and ripped off.

    Thus explains why copyright should continue well after the death of the creator...because their ghost may come back to haunt us for the reasons you list above.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:43pm

    nobody deserves anything. easy answer. if someone rips you off and you feel cheated, then remember that they don't deserve a life free of being punched in the face by people they ripped off, either. yes, its anarchy. bring it on.

     

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    Anonymous Cow, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:44pm

    What numbers would be useful?

    The Fed looks at all sorts of economic indicators to determine what monetary actions to take.

    I'd be interested if anyone's got any good ideas of what sort of indicators policy makers should look at when tweaking copyright protections. I'm not sure what sort of quantitative/qualitative values should be considered when deciding whether the current levels are helping or hindering the progress desired. I'd love to hear your ideas.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:45pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Then you can "share" your money with me.

    No? Then you're a hypocritical douchebag.

     

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    Seth, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:47pm

    Not a moral judgement...

    Without copyright, there is les incentive to create content.

    Less incentive will lead to less content.

    With less content, there will be less progress.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    Funny, Masnick says Friday's post only got an "average" amount of page views, yet here he is trolling for more eyeballs by trotting out a sequel:

    Freetard 2: Freetarder.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Right, I don't share everything. I will also not share my body with you, nor will I share my wife and kids with you. Nor will I share anything and everything with anyone at anytime for any reason. I didn't say we were taught to share everything. We were just taught as kids (or maybe you weren't) to share. With stuff that we can copy, we can share without making any sacrifice, so to not share in that case, really is immoral. When it comes to things you can't easily copy, then you need to have some basis for what you will and won't share and when and with whom.

    There isn't any hypocrisy. You seem to be unable to see the difference between scarce and infinite.

     

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    Dark Helmet (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:51pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Ugh, really?

    "I don't think Mike Masnick has a traditional understanding of morality. So it is not surprising he has trouble understanding how piracy would contradict many moral sentiments."

    You're not paying fucking attention. It isn't about whether morality exists or not, or even whether or not a common morality exists in our country, it's about what do you build law upon, and in the case of copyright our forefathers gave us a pretty succinct framework within to work and morality was NOT a part of it. Seriously, end of fucking story on this moral crap!

    "Copyright is designed to allow creators rights to their work because whether a product is tangible or not, if it is your unique creation, it is natural to feel like it is yours."

    Oh, yes, clearly. I can see now Thomas Jefferson sitting around with James Madison as they play with themselves and they say aloud: "Ya know, Jimmy boy, we should give people monopolies because of their FEELINGS. We should definitely take peoples FEELINGS into account when creating federal law, right? Now why don't we go find Hancock and make fun of his name?"

    No. Feelings are personal and subjective and not the stuff to build law around. So you're wrong. Again.

    Does that hurt your feelings?

    "Have you ever been plagiarized? Have you ever had someone take credit for something you worked really hard on?"

    I have. And Mike has to, by people who claim to be on the side of stronger copyright, no less. And while Mike could have reacted negatively, he actually THANKED the person for spreading his work. So try again, if your feelings aren't too hurt yet....

    "It's not a pleasant feeling. No one stole anything tangible from you. But you still feel cheated and ripped off."

    Sorry, no one cares. Not when they do it to you, not when they do it to me, not when they do it to Mike. Your personal feelings mean exactly dick with regard to federal constitutional law.

    "Those feelings go to the core of personal morality."

    Which is exactly why morality in general is bullshit and should probably go away as a concept. Doubley so for anything that's been tainted by a major religion.

    "You hear Joe Biden speak and all you hear are "lies." But they are personal, emotional, moral truths that many creators agree very strongly with."

    And here's how I know you're an idiot. The truth is moral, it isn't personal, and it sure as nun-fucking shit isn't emotional. It's just the truth. In fact, that's the beauty of the truth. It's the truth for EVERYONE. It's non-subjective. You and I share the same truth, no matter how much we disagree on unsettled matters. Isn't that truly wonderful? That we ALL have the truth in common.

    Why are you destroying the truth by trying to turn it into a Hallmark Channel piece of nonsense emotional bullshit?

    "Both morals and economics drive policy. If you can't understand how being pirated against their will might make someone feel violated, perhaps you are just out of touch."

    Unfortunately, you're right that morality is highly in play in making policy. Which sucks, because morality is not truth nor fact, it's as subjective as faith and feelings and all the other ethereal non-starters that politicians spew because the general public just eats it up.

    Move on. Make your case based on facts, not feelings, because facts are beautiful, and feelings are just kind of lame....

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    If there is no copyright, anyone can repackage and sell a song as their own, without even credit given. How does that differ morally from plagiarism?

     

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    Rich, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:53pm

    Re: What numbers would be useful?

    I know where they should STOP looking: to the corporate lobbyists that are lining their pockets.

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:54pm

    Re:

    Devil's advocate here...but couldn't being punched in the face by the people that got ripped off essentially be protectionist copyright/patent laws? (Of course, they want that punch to be more of a destroy your life even more than current laws allow, but that's not the point I raise here)

     

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    Chuck Norris' Enemy (deceased) (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    Re:

    Paytard 2: Payharder

     

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    Rich, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    Re: Not a moral judgement...

    That can be easily disproved by looking at all the art and literature that was created BEFORE copyright. You know, the stuff in the PUBLIC DOMAIN that corporations, like Disney, like to raid for their new movies, et. al., but don't contribute to.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:56pm

    Re:

    Funny, Masnick says Friday's post only got an "average" amount of page views, yet here he is trolling for more eyeballs by trotting out a sequel:

    Yes, it got a standard amount of traffic. Has it occurred to you that perhaps I do much of this because I like to have interesting discussions on this topic, and I thought much of that conversation was interesting, and so I thought it might be nice to continue it?

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Copyright is designed to give creators of cultural symbols an exclusive right to copy and distribute as an incentive to produce more works. That is the core principle of copyright as stated in the Constitution of the United States of America Article One, Section 8.

    -It is not, and never was, a right to extract payment for the copying and distribution of cultural symbols.

    -It is not a title of property granted to the creator of new cultural symbols for they cannot be exclusively owned due to the fact that all works are built on the foundations of what came before, just as the Romans built their society on the concepts of the Greeks. To give title of property to a cultural symbol is to take away the property of the cultural symbols that are the "property" of others.

    -It is not a tool to be used to force people to pay extortion fees through fear of litigation and is definitely not an acceptable alternative of creating revenue.

    Your moral outrage against the idea of people sharing ideas and knowledge the way they do is in complete contradiction of human nature. Sharing of knowledge and ideas is what puts us above all other species on this planet and you want us to let your kind hold it for ransom? The only truth to your morals is that you believe that people are owed something for taking what already exists, adding to it, and then calling it your unique and exclusive property.

    Morals do not drive economic policy. The proof is in the sub-prime mortgage crash. Or how about pharma hoarding much-needed medical research just to leech more profit? What about Haliburton? Are they morally driven in their economic policy? No, they are corrupt and only answer to the forces that drive them to achieve perpetual growth. If anything, economics has shown that humans act very irrationally when it comes to economic incentives. Morality and reason only factor into it tangentially.

     

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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 2:58pm

    Re:

    I think the law of copyright simply embodies the moral underpinnings. Those who put in the effort deserve to gather the fruits of their labor.

    According to the Supreme Court:

    "The economic philosophy behind the clause empowering Congress to grant patents and copyrights is the conviction that encouragement of individual effort by personal gain is the best way to advance public welfare through the talents of authors and inventors in "Science and useful Arts." Sacrificial days devoted to such creative activities deserve rewards commensurate with the services rendered." Mazer v. Stein, 347 U.S. 201 (1954).

    "That every man is entitled to the fruits of his own labour must be admitted . . . ." Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. 591 (1834).

     

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    Steven (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:01pm

    Re:

    I don't think this is the only lens through which we can view copyright, but unless the conversation is limited in such a fashion we may as well go back to the basic philosophical grounds for government and build up from there (which we might be able to get started on in ~800 comments)

    The point is that those discussions are fairly worthless when you're talking about how to shape copyright laws in the US (which does have some impact around the globe). So you have to start with the purpose of those laws and go on from there.

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:03pm

    "What struck me as interesting was that many critics of the post jumped to the conclusion that if you say anyone "deserves" copyright is wrong, it means that there should be no copyright at all."

    And alot of supporters of the post jumped to that conclusion as well - using the argued absence of morality as justification for full abolishment while insisting that copyright itself is immoral. As I tried to say repeatedly on that thread: Morality is irrelevant when it comes to copyright and this logic applies in both directions.

    That said, I though the initial post was very well articulated and well reasoned. I don't know why so many people found this topic difficult.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Sorry, but you don't get to make the rules.

    Since you think it's ok to "share" my music wihout my permission, it therefore is equally ok for you to "share" your money with me without your permission.

    Pay up, or you're a hypocritical douchebag.

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:05pm

    Re:

    Even if he were seeking more page views... is there anything wrong with that?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:06pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Assertion based on...? Right. Nothing.


    Your morality is driven by libertarianism, but libertarianism is a fringe philosophy.

    I don't think your concept of morality is very much like most. I think that's why you have so much trouble with understanding the direction most governments have been moving in with respect to issues like piracy, privacy, censorship, and state secrets.


    copyright law is not supposed to take into account how someone feels when their work gets infringed upon. I understand that it feels bad. You know what else "feels" bad? Building a company and getting beat in the market. It sucks. In some cases I would say it sucks a lot more than having someone copy your song.


    All laws are written with the understanding that humans are not robots. Emotion has a part of all law enforcement. Laws without some sense of moral justification are meaningless, and morals are impossible to define without emotion.

    Getting beat out of the market fairly by someone who comes up with a better idea is not the same thing as someone ripping off your work and using it to monetize their own website directly without your consent.

    Every market needs to have rules of fairness to function. Copyright, trademark, and patent are some of the rules governments have come up with. I think they are imperfect, but they mostly do what they are supposed to.


    Not sure why you would put words in my mouth (and didn't you just say that putting words in someone's mouth makes you a "douchebag"?).


    I have never called anyone on your site a douchebag. I don't think of you as one. I think you're passionate but misguided.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Ghosts are scary.

     

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    Gary Lester, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

    If we can agree that no other transactions include such powerful and lengthy restrictions as those that accompany the sale of copyrighted material than we must ask ourselves whose interests are being served by the application of such law.
    If the answer is, as I suspect, parties other than the artist or society then the time for change is now and should be pursued with vigor immediately.

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Can it? Do you have statistics measuring and comparing the volume of artistic output (and how accessible that art was to the general public) both before and after copyright?

     

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  38.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:10pm

    Re: Re:

    Look dammit. We all know you are doing this for maximum page views! Stop with the "interesting" that and "discussion" this and "contribute" these things. Just give us the old and boring.

    Where is your McKinley Tariff post? Get on with it already! It's been over 120 years and I have absolutely nothing interesting to say about it, so your post on it is long overdue.

     

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  39.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    That would be plagiarism, but no one is arguing against that.... do you not get that? Plagiarism IS morally wrong, no one said otherwise. So why bring it up other than to obfuscate the argument?

     

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  40.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, it's a good thing that the Supreme Court doesn't have the power to legislate because that is completely asinine. Morality is not a proper basis for law because morality is completely subjective and is different for every person. Laws are based on what will provide best for the welfare of the people, not what satisfies their petty desires.

     

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  41.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    You idiot. Money is scarce. Your 'music' is not. Thats the difference. Can you honestly not see that?

     

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  42.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    So in addition to not understanding the difference between scarce and infinite, you also don't understand copyright law. I don't need your permission. Ever heard of fair use?

    Also, as soon as I release my money to the public, and my money becomes an infinite good, then I'd be happy to share it with you. You released your song to the public. Your song is an infinite good. If you'd like to come up with a better analogy, feel free. Until then, you continue to demonstrate that you don't understand what it is you are talking about.

     

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  43.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: 'Promote progress' never mentioned copyright!

    Wow, the anonymous cowards are really keen to let you know that there's nothing for anyone to see here, that folk should just move along...

     

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  44.  
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    Atkray (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:18pm

    Re:

    "I thought the initial post was very well articulated and well reasoned. I don't know why so many people found this topic difficult."

    Likewise. I think it is called skimming instead of reading?

     

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  45.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re:

    "That every man is entitled to the fruits of his own labour must be admitted . . . ." Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. 591 (1834).

    Doesn't Feist clarify this quite clearly? Contrary to what you state, Feist makes it clear that copyright is *not* about rewarding someone for their labor at all.

    The court there ruled that *originality* not *sweat of the brow* (labor) is the touchstone of copyright law.

     

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  46.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I doubt Mike's morality is 'driven by libertarianism', but by the stimuli he received from his parents and society as a child, just like all of us.

    Or, are you saying that your morality is as shifty as partisan politics?

     

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  47.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Feist seems to roll back the importance of the "labor" language pretty significantly, though.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Each dollar bill is just a copy of the last. So why doesn't the government let us share our own copies of those? Don't they know "sharing is caring" and that copying never hurt anyone?

    No one needs to share their money with you. If the file sharers are correct, they only have to make you a copy. Then everybody wins.

    Who wants to start?

     

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  49.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:22pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Heh, great post DH, but one touch on common truth: Do you pay much attention to current quantum theory? The LHC is, in a sense, attempting to pull truth out of fiction. To make a particle that does not exist in our universe, exist in our universe.

    Just sayin', the truth might be out there, but it damn sure isnt fixed :P

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Money is not scarce. Bills are just copies. They are only artificially scarce through strict anti-copying law (ie. anti-counterfeiting).

     

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  51.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 'Promote progress' never mentioned copyright!

    You know 'copyright' started in France, right?

     

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  52.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:24pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Copyright was first created as a block to stop cheap goods from flooding England, pre-forms of copyright existed before and they were granted monopolies by kings and queens which lead to severe civil unrest in every single case when they got absurd and out of touch with reality in those times that is why the first one was only 14 years. People would not respect those laws and power people were afraid to loose their necks.

    Plagiarism was never accepted inside society and even today the same tools used for thousands of years are still effective, people shun those who practice those things.

    Piracy is not an issue of plagiarism, nobody is taking credit for any work done.

    Piracy today, is not about bootlegs or for profit enterprise, nobody on a P2P expects to make money out of it, so the question here is limits, should those crazy people be allowed to criminalize the entrire population because they feel they are owned something? NO!

    Those creative type person are some of the luckiest people on earth they have rights that no one would accept others to have and it happen because it didn't affect society before, the thing about society to remember is that, people can talk and come with horrible scenarios but unless there is real impact on their lifes nobody cares about it is being said or done elsewhere, criminalizing "piracy"(a.k.a. sharing) will impact everyone and you bet people won't be happy about it, they will not respect such demands and will route around legally or otherwise.

    Should we be worried? nope, creators have at their disposal many, many streams of revenue, despite claims to the contrary.

    Now should creators use copyright to transform everybody else into their serfs?

    Its funny to see anyone claim that people should pay them for eternity, over and over and over again, that is not right and not even moral, who else inside society have the right to keep earning anything after they finished any work? Car producers? Electronic producers? Furniture producers? Secretaries? House builders? Engineers? Doctors? Scientists?

    Why can't a creator survive with a law that says if you release your work before being paid you are just stupid and have no claims on it afterwords? you know like everybody else.

    Besides I don't think any creator has an option, people can create their own art, and move to legal alternatives what then, who will dare outlaw those legal options?

    Would you prefer to enable people who would harm you making your life more expensive or would you enable those people who don't care if you share it or not?

    God knows who I will patron and it is not the copyright crazy people.

     

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  53.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Why is plagiarism morally wrong?

    Why is using someone's song/movie/game to drive advertising to your pirate site without paying them a cent back morally okay?

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Sure you can share my money. Come by later and you can make all the copies you want. You won't be able to distribute it or trade it for goods and other currency but feel free to enjoy it in your own home or share it with your friends and family.

    See the quality isn't as good as the original so no one will want to buy it from you and you will probably get arrested if you pass it off as the orignal thing. But it looks nice and has plenty of uses around the house.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Partisan politics are not shifty. There is mounting evidence that the political ideologies we align ourselves with are connected very closely with fundamental aspects of how our brains are wired.

    For example, this was one study that got a lot of play in the media:

    http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/09/080918170616.htm

     

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  56.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Another key question

    How exactly are artists being paid through copyright?

    I see a lot of arguments regarding "the artist is being paid through copyright"

    How about an argument about how exactly copyright does pay the artist in question?

    We've had people hide behind untold amounts of rhetoric saying that "the artist is being paid" or "You're a pirate, Mike". But ask for details and no one can answer that simple question.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:30pm

    Owning Ideas and a sense of entitlement.

    A guy in town built a very attractive new entrance to his house and landscaped around it quite nicely. Another guy who lived across town that drove by it every day liked it so much that he built a exact copy of it at his house. A couple of years passed and the guy who built the original one saw the copy and was very upset that his design was "stolen". So he sends the "thief" a bill for $12,000 for design services, the "thief" refuses to pay. Then he gets a lawyer to send him a "cease and desist" letter which was rightly ignored. Then the underemployed lawyer sends a threatening letter mentioning copyright and trademark violations ... again ignored. Then he gets someone from the local paper to write about this "injustice". The "journalist" failed to research any legal basis for his distress. The latest is that he has drug the "thief" into court for trespassing, theft, emotional distress, loss of income and libel. Sadly the "thief" has to pay a attorney, take time off of work and defend his actions. Even more sadly the "thief" has taken out the improvements to his house and re-landscaped his yard.
    People in our community seem to be aligned with the thought that the victim was the guy with the original design and is entitled to compensation and that the second guy is a thief.

    With this attitude being prevalent, how can we make progress on more important issues?

     

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  58.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    If you copied money willy nilly you'd be creating inflation which effects everyone negatively, including you who are copying the money. On the flip side, everyone copying your song doesn't hurt anyone, not even you. Unless you're such a poor businessman that you can't turn massive popularity into even a measly monetary gain.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    *crickets*

     

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  60.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Your morality is driven by libertarianism, but libertarianism is a fringe philosophy.


    Say what? Yesterday someone was calling me a Marxist. Last week someone accused me of being a "liberal." Others have called me "extreme right wing." Now you're saying I'm a libertarian?

    How about I'm none of those. My morality is driven not by any political philosophy at all, but by *my morals*.

    I don't think your concept of morality is very much like most. I think that's why you have so much trouble with understanding the direction most governments have been moving in with respect to issues like piracy, privacy, censorship, and state secrets.

    Frankly, you don't know jack about my morals. I'm not so sure why this is so hard to comprehend. That last post and this one are not making any comments on morals whatseover. It's not making any comment on my morals, your morals or anyone's morals.

    It's just pointing out that morals -- no matter what they are -- have no place in copyright law.

    You can make whatever assumptions you want about my morals, no matter how wrong they might be. It has nothing to do with this post. I am not arguing that *my morals* say morals have nothing to do with copyright law. I'm saying *copyright law has nothing to do with morals* period.

    All laws are written with the understanding that humans are not robots. Emotion has a part of all law enforcement. Laws without some sense of moral justification are meaningless, and morals are impossible to define without emotion.

    You are missing the point. No one said that humans are robots. Obviously they're not. But what does that have to do with anything?!?

    Getting beat out of the market fairly by someone who comes up with a better idea is not the same thing as someone ripping off your work and using it to monetize their own website directly without your consent.


    "not the same thing." True. But you claimed that what mattered was that people felt ripped off. Trust me, when companies get beat in the market place by competitors, the losers usually feel cheated and ripped off as well.

    And according to you, that's justification enough to pass laws to protect them.

    So I'm asking you, if you believe there is a moral justification for one, why not the other?

    Every market needs to have rules of fairness to function. Copyright, trademark, and patent are some of the rules governments have come up with. I think they are imperfect, but they mostly do what they are supposed to.

    This is incorrect. Those laws were not designed with "fairness" in mind. That's the whole point. You're simply denying history or ignorant of it. They were designed to maximize the public benefit.

    If you want to create a "moral right" or something, we can discuss that, but copyright is different than moral rights.

     

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  61.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:33pm

    Re:

    "A more sensible debate would be, what is the justification for copyright in todays world. What is the real justification for the expansion of copyright and is it really justified in a free and democratic society."

    The only justification for copyright, and patent for that matter, is that if it promotes more art and greater scientific progress. If you can say that art and science does better with copyright/patent than without, then it has a place. To argue that it's necessary for the compensation of creators is completely contrary to the goal of copyright. Artists, authors, and scientists can acquire compensation for their work just the same as any other person who performs labor for pay.

    The only people that "need" copyright to get paid are those that didn't perform any of the labor that create said works and/or wish to extract perpetual profit without applying any additional labor to it's reproduction. The fact that people can, and do, get payment for their labor negates any mandate for copyright to serve as a law to "protect" creators' ability to earn a living. That's why copyright = income and no copyright = no art are both complete bunk.

    The whole argument is obscured by this perpetuated false belief that creators must be able to control individual copies and receive compensation for the existence of each copy. Completely wrong. What did the artist do to create the art? They labored over it. What does a factory worker do to create a product? They labor over it. They both perform labor that they can be paid for. Neither needs laws to "protect" their ability to earn income. End of story.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Copying money devalues money. (That is how you get inflation.)

    Copying digital goods is no different.

     

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  63.  
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    magecat (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Information is not finite. A person's money is. Here's a little song and dance explaining it and everything: http://questioncopyright.org/minute_memes/copying_is_not_theft

     

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  64.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:38pm

    If the current system isn't right, and copyright abolishment isn't either, then what do you propose?

    Maybe I've missed it, but where is the succinct summary of what copyright law should (not shouldn't) look like? Dancing around the question isn't going to cut it if you ever want to change anything.

    Every time there is a TD post that avoids the question of how things should change (like this one), it makes me think that Mike is doing this deliberately so he doesn't have to defend a specific recommendation or set of recommendations. It is not like there hasn't been ample time to think about this.

    Should there be copyright?
    How long should copyright last?
    What exceptions should be permitted?
    Who should decide whether something falls under the exceptions or not?
    What should the remedies be for infringement?
    What should the limits be on those remedies, if any?

    Can you answer these questions without hedging? In a way that would be specific enough to derive new statutes from? This is what you demand of legislators. What is the Masnick Plan for Copyright reform?

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:38pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Wow it seems like youre being a little emotional.

    Calm down, deep breaths, think of funny things like:
    Fart jokes
    Mini-dump
    Raptorphile
    Merica
    Boobies!
    Taint
    The schwartz
    The acting of aniken skywalker

    Feel better? Good, don't let the trolls get to you because then the terrorists win

     

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  66.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    But why is a person's money finite? Why can't you just make copies and share them with everyone else? What is stopping you?

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:41pm

    Re: 'Promote progress' never mentioned copyright!

    >The idea that copyright was created to 'promote the
    >progress' is bunk. Copyright was created by Queen Anne and
    >re-enacted by James Madison

    While it is true that Letrre Patente and the Statute of Queen Anne both preceded the drafting of the American Constitution, I believe you are incorrect in three respects.

    The first respect is when Mike says copyright was *designed* (he does not use the word created) I believe he is speaking of American copyright as included in the Constitution.

    The second respect is that regarding the American Constitution, there is documentary evidence in the form of correspondance between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison (Jefferson was against copyright) that clearly establishes that Madison convinced Jefferson to accept the limited monopoly rights (because that is what copyright is, and that is what Jefferson objected to) on the basis of it being useful to encourage (he did not use the word promote) advancement in the arts. Madison, although in favor of copyright clearly acknowledges it to be a monopoly and a "great nuisance" eventually convinces Jefferson on the basis that it will be limited in term to 21 years and it was inconceivable (to them, and this is spelled out in the correspondence) that the term would ever be extended past 21 years.

    The last respect in which I feel you are incorrect is that the full official name of the Statute of Queen Anne is: "An Act for the Encouragement of Learning". When the Copyright Act was revised for 1976 a great deal of study went into clarifying the Act, and including the reason for its existence, therefore the preamble.

    Amending a part of Constitution is one of the gravest and most serious undertakings the American government can make. I feel confident that stuff does not just get thrown in there randomly for no reason, and if the preamble was introduced in 1976 it was after a great deal of scholarly review and debate by the legislature.

    P.S. Kudos for having the integrity to post under your real name. Nice to see someone else not hiding like a coward behind a pseudo.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Money is not scarce. Bills are just copies. They are only artificially scarce through strict anti-copying law (ie. anti-counterfeiting)

    I realize you are trying (badly) to make a point, but to clarify, you seem confused about your definitions.

    When people on this site talk about scarcity, we're talking about the economic definitions. Something that is rivalrous and excludable is scarce. Money is scarce.

    Something that is non-rivlarous and non-excludable is not scarce. Music is not scarce.

    You having a music file does not take it away from anyone else. You have a dollar does.

    You must know this. If you don't, you really ought to stop this silly line of debate. It doesn't make you look good.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    If emotion should be taken into account, why is the government ignoring the universal unanimous sentiment against copyright?

    Everybody in the world is feeling cheated, just ask anybody in the streets and they will tell you.

    Explain why the whole population on earth is wrong and you are right?

    You think people like when they discover that they pay more for things because of copyright, when they go shopping, when they go to a restaurant, when they buy a printer, a camera, and HDD?

    You think people feel sympathetic to people who don't want them to share anything with anybody and are willing to tap their communications to find out about it?

    You think people feel sympathetic to people who have extra-ordinary concessions inside society?

    You think people feel sympathetic to a law that if "one size fits all"?

    You think anybody will see it your way when you tell them you can't don't sell them anything but is just renting it to them and charging more for a rent saying it is a sell?

    You think people understand why they can't share things? because some creepy hippie drug fulled schmuck want money?

    You think people see it like you when people start getting extortion letters and they know they didn't do anything?

    You think people see it like you when if somebody stole a DVD from a store or a book he would be fined and release but for sharing anything they face financial ruin?
    Ask the labels if people see it that way.

    You people talk about morals but have none to show apparently.

     

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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Oops

    That was me above - I did not notice I was not signed in. Ironic. (sigh)

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Money is scarce. Your 'music' is not. Thats the difference.

    ah, I see. So my music isn't scarce so it's ok.

    Why isn't my music scarce? Because at the moment you can rip it off easily?

    So the market is off because of lawbreaking? That's not how societies function.

    Sorry.

    So the government realizes it's a problem on a massive scale, and seeks to alleviate the imbalance by reducing illegal activity.

    But then you, Masnick and every other freeloader freak out about it?

    You know what that means?

    You, Masnick and all the other greedy freetards are complete and total douchebags.

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Nobody wants your shitty music tam

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    All DRM can be circumvented. So can all physical copy protection. Why don't people even bother trying? Because they go to jail for many, many years.

    Copying something infinitely drives its value to zero. If the government let me set up a professional lab and printing press to make indistinguishable copies of dollar bills, they'd be allowing me to destroy the value of everyone else's bank account in that currency.

    Pirates are doing the same, but instead for those whose holdings are in digital goods.

     

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  74.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    A terabyte of ripped off music isn't fair use, ding-dong...

     

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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:46pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Right. But the issue there was whether the directories were copyrightable to begin with. The Court did not say that if someone creates something copyrightable, then they shouldn't be entitled to the fruits of their labor. The Court's position has always been that authors of copyrightable works have a right to the rewards that go with it. This right is based on the moral principle that you may reap what you sow.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    *crickets*

     

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    Dave, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Plagiarism is lying. It is saying: I wrote this. Lying is considered morally wrong by pretty much all major religions and most people who do not subscribe to a religious philosophy.

    So I can copy a book that is in the public domain and give 100's of copies out, but as long as I'm upfront about the origins, I'm not plagiarizing.

    So why is there a moral difference between a public domain book and a copyrighted one? The morality is purely defined by the legal status which is an arbitrary construct. If there was no copyright law they would be morally equivalent.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    They should all go to prison.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    What about a yottabyte of music?

     

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  80.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Nollywood and Bollywood doesn't count?

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    *crickets*

     

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    Dave, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:50pm

    Ha!

    I just marked Mike insightful! Maybe he'll finally win this week!

     

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  83.  
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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:51pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    >Copyright is designed to allow creators rights to their
    >work because whether a product is tangible or not, if it
    >is your unique creation, it is natural to feel like it is
    >yours.

    This is incorrect.

    As I post below in this thread there exist a substantial body of correspondance between Thomas Jefferson and James Madison on exactly why it was included in the Constitution and exactly what it is designed to do.

    Ownership of ideas is specifically NOT what it was designed for. Jefferson who was very much against copyright (because he found the benefit of any form of monopoly - his word not mine - "too doubtful")

    Regarding what is now called "intellectual property" Jefferson famously says "since there is no natural right to property in land, how much less is there a natural right to a property in ideas"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    So all those people who give away copies of their own money for free is doing what now . . . ?

     

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    Huph, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    ^^^ Can we put the 86 on this guy, Mike? I don't mean to be a dick, but the quality of comments has really nosedived since this Nicedoggy character started spewing his 13-year-old's nonsense.

    Nicedoggy: "UNIVERSAL", "UNANIMOUS" Sentiment?! Do you even know what words mean? How can you possibly argue with somebody and tell them that *your* position is universally accepted AND a unanimous opinion? Seriously, do you know what those words mean? Let me straighten this out for you: if a sentiment is universal and unanimous, then those factors preclude the idea that there could be anyone "against" you. Surely, even this disjunctive thinking must be apparent to you.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:53pm

    Every time there is a TD post that avoids the question of how things should change (like this one), it makes me think that Mike is doing this deliberately so he doesn't have to defend a specific recommendation or set of recommendations.

    Everyone sees that. I think he honestly believes he's fooling people. Which is frightening.

     

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  87.  
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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I share my money with you.

    When I pay taxes, some of my money is used for things that benefit you.

    If Chosen Reject is paying taxes than s/he is sharing his/r money with you too.

     

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  88.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I'm trying but they keep changing the damn design, watermark and paperweight every few years

     

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  89.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Your music isn't economically scarce. Whether or not it has actually been copied a bunch is irrelevant to economic scarcity.

     

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    Dave, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Your mind seems to be in the closed position. While it is closed every bit of logic and opinion contrary to your own seems to be just bouncing off. Please open it up and we can try the discussion again.

     

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    joehark, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    you said, "Somebody who opens a shop and then sees a competitor open next door might feel unhappy about it, but that hasn't lead to a ban on competing shops." Very flawed argument because it's a totally incorrect premise.

    No one is objecting to the store next door that sells merchandise it created or purchased from someone who had the right to sell it. The objection is that the other store uses merchandise I created but for which he has not paid. It matters not if the merchandise is apples from my orchard or the words of my book or the unique arrangement of notes of my song or images from my camera.

    A guy next door (or down the block or on the other side of the world) who selling goods I brought to market by the sweat of my brow and the force of my skill, is a parasite.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.


    Say what? Yesterday someone was calling me a Marxist. Last week someone accused me of being a "liberal." Others have called me "extreme right wing." Now you're saying I'm a libertarian?

    How about I'm none of those. My morality is driven not by any political philosophy at all, but by *my morals*.

    Frankly, you don't know jack about my morals. I'm not so sure why this is so hard to comprehend. That last post and this one are not making any comments on morals whatseover. It's not making any comment on my morals, your morals or anyone's morals.

    It's just pointing out that morals -- no matter what they are -- have no place in copyright law.

    You can make whatever assumptions you want about my morals, no matter how wrong they might be. It has nothing to do with this post. I am not arguing that *my morals* say morals have nothing to do with copyright law. I'm saying *copyright law has nothing to do with morals* period.

    you claimed that what mattered was that people felt ripped off. Trust me, when companies get beat in the market place by competitors, the losers usually feel cheated and ripped off as well.

    And according to you, that's justification enough to pass laws to protect them.

    So I'm asking you, if you believe there is a moral justification for one, why not the other?


    Our collective morals have always supported fair, equal competition. They support two people going in a ring with gloves, equal weight, equal class and boxing it out. They don't support one hiding a razorblade in his fist, or one kicking the other in the junk.

    One business out competing another with a better original idea is the fundamental basis of fair market competition. It is completely morally acceptable to almost all.

    Taking my work, my innovation, and using it to make money for yourself without permission or a penny given back is not fair. It is parasitism and opportunism at its worse.

    No one expects business to be a fairytale for everyone. But they do expect all sides to play fair. And when they don't, it's the job of the government to play referee and intervene with things like antitrust tribunals, or in this case, anti-piracy law.

    Morality is always among the fundamental drivers of the law. The law cannot be written or enforced without first asking, "What is right and what is wrong?" That is a personal question everyone has to ask of themselves.

    To claim that morals have nothing to do with the law is to misunderstand the law. Morality has everything to do with legality.


    Whether you are a Marxist, libertarian, or liberal, you cannot separate morality from legality.

     

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    Len Boyle, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:57pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I tend to agree with Mike and his point of view on Copyright when he writes about it. I also see where you are coming from. One thing you're not accounting for is how peoples' sense of morality in this matter is a little more complicated than how somebody feels if their work is plagiarized.

    WTF is the internet? Other than being a place where just about anybody talk smack about your latest film on moviepoopshoot.com. It's a place where data is available to ANYBODY that is looking for it. The beauty of the internet is none of that data is filtered (it shouldn't be at least) and it connects you to the entire planet. That is the foundation of our new market. To fight against that basic principle is redundant and will only serve to ensure 300 million Americans who use this mythical "communication service" are somehow criminals because they clicked some links.

    Now for that sense of ownership people have over their crap that's getting pirated...
    They aren't losing ownership here. They are losing money. The problem now lies in these crybabies ability to change with the market that currently exists. Their attempt is to try to make the market change for them (hindering progress). Another commenter mentioned "false scarcity". How do you make something that EVERYBODY knows exists in ABUNDANCE (cheap prices) scarce (high prices)? Laws. Laws nobody will follow, but laws none the less.

    Shall we halt the progress the internets is currently bringing us for the benefit of the Big Record Lables & Hollywood and their bank accounts? Shall we pander to the artists that fail to catch the wave of the internets ability to connect them with thousands... oh wait BILLIONS of people? If the artist is losing out on money in today's market it's because either; 1. They are signed to a big record label don't understand shit. Or, 2. They are indie musicians who should be broke anyways because they are still trying to sell 8 tracks. A good artist could easily make more than they would from signing with a record label simply by charging $.50 per song, placing the download on InsertBandNameHere.com, and twatting the link to Charlie Sheen. They would take 100% of the profits from that song and it would be all theirs. They wouldn't have to share with Slick Rick over at Epic Records at least.

    Simply put, you can't fight the mechanics of the internet. To think otherwise would be futile. To try to impose restrictive measures on the mechanics serves no purpose other than making news worthy of being used to pick dog shit off the ground. Thank god for the internet.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Wait a minute....the treasury is inovating to stay ahead of copiers? They have to continully redisgn there product to make it unique? They can't just design one thing and rest on that creation for the rest of eternity? The let everyone know that they are the original true producers of american money so people don't get duped? Hmmm maybe somebody should think about applying this to a bussiness

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Copying money certainly does devalue money, and that's because money has no other intrinsic value other than how labor it can command.

    Copying a digital good doesn't do the same thing. The good has some intrinsic value to whoever it is that has it. It's nominal value might decrease or increase, but it's intrinsic value is unchanged.

     

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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 3:59pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    >The answer is no, its should be based on what will best
    >promote the growth of knowledge and intellectual progress

    I would suggest that actually it should be (and in the American Constitution, originally was) based on what provides the greatest good for the greatest number of people.

     

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  97.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Copying something infinitely drives its value to zero
    No it doesn't. Copying something infinitely drives its price to zero. It doesn't do anything to its value.

     

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  98.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    If emotion should be taken into account, why is the government ignoring the universal unanimous sentiment against copyright?


    Sure. Why don't they just make taxes optional as well? I'm sure plenty of people would love that on an emotional level, just like they'd love to get all digital entertainment for free.

    The government's job is to act responsibly. It is their job to protect the minority against the majority when the majority seeks to abuse that minority.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:02pm

    Who deserves copyright?

    Nobody, copyright creates industry that become to big to fail and keep getting more favours than they deserve and end up over staying their welcome inside society.

    Competing with others to sell the same thing may not be that all bad, it will limit how much one grows, it allows everybody to get a stab at some earnings and creation of markets everywhere, much more efficiently than it could be done by any single mega institution and spreads the wealth, not concentrating it in the hands of a few, it also self regulates since bad players will be forced out by the invisible hand of the market powers.

    It is not about the product is about the connection people feel with something or someone, I see that happens all the time in open-source projects some start with a dick creator, that gets forked and new management more competent and capable takes over in a natural process, copyright destroy that kind of interaction and organic self regulatory system.

    Creating something is not enough, you need to know the other basics too.

    Why do we need to regulate something that can be self-regulate and produce optimal results?

     

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  100.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Uninhibited copying of dollars devalues dollars.

    Uninhibited copying of digital goods devalues digital goods.


    Sorry, but it's as simple as that.

    Also, if you want to be credible, perhaps you could try not to punctuate every reply with a thinly veiled ad hominem?

     

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  101.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    > Why isn't my music scarce? Because at the moment you can rip it off easily? So the market is off because of lawbreaking?

    Since we are discussing the law itself, and whether that law should exist or not, using the fact that these actions are currently classified as "lawbreaking" makes for a circular argument.

     

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  102.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    True, maybe you should let people know its your music and if they like you they can by it cheaply straight from you somehwere. Or if this "guy" is making boatloads of money on advertising by giving away your music, maybe u should give it away and advertise, seems to be working so well for him.

    Point is if you make something people like and m/ake the tiniest effort to connect with those people they will happily pay you, because they want you to make more things they like. If I download something I like I buy it, if I don't like it I don't.

    If you make a living selling music WAY over margin and people get home and are disappointed a feel they wasted money and they definiatly wouldn't have bought it if they heard it first, you sir are a parasite

     

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  103.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Abuse the minority?
    The majority is being abused by the minority why the government doesn't protect them?

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    You could do this. But it would only come back to bite you. Certainly you'd get a benefit at first. But eventually money would become devalued, so you'd need more of the nominal value to equal the original worth. Continuing to make copies eventually makes money worthless.

     

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  105.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    > Each dollar bill is just a copy of the last.

    A quick look at some dollar bill pictures in Wikipedia shows me that each dollar bill has a unique serial number. So no, they are not copies of each other. Each one is unique. I believe the same is valid for other currencies.

     

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  106.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Piracy is saying "I deserve to make money from this work in lieu of the actual creator." Which is worse, taking credit you don't deserve or taking money you don't deserve?

    Either one is morally reprehensible IMO.

     

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  107.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    About taxes why is copyright earnings not taxed yet?
    I'm sure the government should tax that since is so valuable no?

    It doesn't seem so responsible to me to give monopolies for free and not taxes them again.

     

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  108.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Think Germany after WWI, and hyperinflation.

    Think Zimbabwe printing money and making it worthless. Money is scarce in having a value.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I highly doubt anyone here has ever made money from Piracy. The MPAA has, the RIAA has, but we have not.

     

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  110.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Serials on bills are no different than digital watermarks. Or keygen. The bill will work regardless. Once the you know the numbering system, you can just create your own numbers when you print your own bills. It won't change anything about whether or not you're going to jail should you get busted.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Who said anything about a terabyte of music? You said that "shar[ing]" required your permission. I am merely stating that fair use says you are wrong. I did not say uploading or downloading or copying a terabyte worth of music is perfectly legal (nor is it necessarily illegal - who says one song can't be a terabyte big?). I only said that I don't need your permission to share.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Care to show us how inflation of music leads to decrease consumption?

     

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  113.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Money's only value is in its economic scarcity. Make it abundant and it loses all of its value. Digital goods have an intrinsic value. That intrinsic value is not tied at all to it's actual scarcity, because it's not an economically scarce good.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    You cannot 'copy' money. You can copy a Monetary Note (bill or check) but 'money' is an ephemeral concept alluding to a nations wealth in resources, both human and physical. Its a philosophical construct we use to codify a Market/Barter system.

    And actually, all economics is as a science is 'copying' money (ie, moving it around) over and over again to increase the economic impact of every dollar. By your own logic, copying songs over and over again would increase their musical impact.

     

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    magecat (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Money is a stand-in for finite goods for the purpose of exchange. Using something infinite to stand-in for finite goods defeats the purpose. Information's purpose in to enlighten or entertain. Copying aids this purpose. Your analogy doesn't work.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Than you are just amoral since to be on the right wing is to have little sense of community or respect for others and be self-centered according to numerous studies out there.

    And the funny part is you trying to claim some moral high ground, when you definitely lack any LoL

     

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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:21pm

    Happy to debate

    I'll be happy to discuss with you on the grounds you propose.

    I'll start by saying I think you are too quick to dismiss the "legalistic lens". A great deal of philosophical thought and debate underpins Common Law. It represents centuries of vigorous and active exploration of morality by some of the greatest minds that have ever lived.

    Two of the most important areas of that centuries-long discussion are "natural rights" and "property". These concepts represent humanity's (at least a significant percentage of humanity) collective best effort at defining and describing what laws should be based on, how far they should go, and what punishments are just.

    Natural rights are also known as "inalienable rights", and when discussed by Locke property was included (life, liberty, and estate). It is therefore significant to note that when the US Constitution was drafted after a hundred years of further debate and consideration, property (of any kind) was no longer on the list of inalienable rights which now consisted of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. By then it had been agreed upon that property was in fact an "alienable right" which is why for example the government can expropriate your house to build a freeway. Your personal good may be found to be secondary to the greater good.

    Nobody of any serious standing that I know of has ever suggested that exclusive claim to ideas - a monopoly on thoughts - is an inalienable right. What ever property rights may exist in ideas - and I will not debate that in this discussion - they are not recognized as inalienable. (If any reader has evidence of the contrary please let me know.)

    Because "intellectual property" is alienable, that means that just as with expropriation, any personal good that a creator may be entitled to enjoy, may at any time be deemed to be secondary to the greater good for a greater number of people to enjoy. It is not inalienable in the way that freedom from slavery is.

     

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  118.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    "To claim that morals have nothing to do with the law is to misunderstand the law. Morality has everything to do with legality. "

    By that very same token, look at the weapons that copyright holders (read: not artists) have to selectively enforce regulatory capture on the market. Look at how most artists (read: doesn't seem to be you) are reacting to piracy. I highly doubt that copyright is earning them extra income but you're saying that morality has something to do with their behavior to abundant goods.

    No, what you think is immoral has no basis on what others do. There is no supposed "fairness" in the market place. That's a pipe dream. The only thing that people have is the savvy to follow where the market goes and adjust accordingly.

    "Morality is always among the fundamental drivers of the law. The law cannot be written or enforced without first asking, "What is right and what is wrong?" That is a personal question everyone has to ask of themselves. "

    This is funny. Because it's so far off base to reality as to believe the law does not have consequences. The laws are subverted in a myriad of ways for selfish reasons and I find it surprising that you are going with such a ludicrous statement. There are plenty of bad laws on the record books and I would suggest you look at Wisconsin for reactions to those laws.

    Point is, morality is one subject. Legality of copyright law and it's economic effects are another.

     

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  119.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    "Our collective morals have always supported fair, equal competition."

    This is the biggest load of bullshit you've spun yet, and you've spun a few doozies. Clearly you know NOTHING of anthropology if you think our 'collective morals' have ALWAYS done anything. Also, the idea of 'collective morals' is in itself a logical inconsistency. You can talk about our collective ethics have always DEALT with fairness, or tried to incorporate it. I would still disagree, and you'd still be wrong, but at least thats an argument. But to say that there is such as a thing as 'collective morals' is insane.

    Whos part of this collection? 'society'? Who's society? Mine? Yours? China's? India's? And always? For a concept that has only existed for about 5% of recorded human history? Or were cave drawings protected and controlled against infringement? Was the second sabertooth tiger we found on a cave wall morally wrong?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:22pm

    Re:

    you're an idiot. You can't even contribute to the conversation.

     

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  121.  
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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:25pm

    i will attempt to address the post, as while i cannot believe someone would equate sharing and pirating with a favorable nod towards pirating, it seems off topic.

    that it was merely saying that any debate over copyright needs to focus on that question of whether or not it promotes the progress.

    why can this be the only focus? why sohuld this be the only focus?

    i think the debate over copyright, indeed all debate, should cover both the economic and societal matters. law should consider both the practical effects of enforcement and the societal effects.

    while often these conflict or are misunderstood, the misunderstandings need to be addressed, and we may have to resort to a best guess of what is the better result. drinking alcohol was made illegal when only the societal effects (the 'wrongness') was considered. when the reality of outlawing it was that society had an 'allergic reaction' to the law, it was repealed.

    maybe that is an imperfect example, but i think it is good enough to illustrate that we should definitely consider whether a copyright promotes progress, but we should also consider societal matters, such as the fairness of the rulings.

    the question seems to be like saying in judging the validity of a violent crime law we must only consider whether it makes 'ordinary citizens' safer. we also consider. i think most people weigh their value of safety against their values of freedom, independance, morals, likely several more issues.

    the copyright law, as all laws, need to be weighed against everything we value, not only progress.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    It is quite different.

    Bank notes and coins are meant to represent value. A US$ 1 bank note is meant to represent US$ 1 of value, and can be exchanged as such (so you could exchange ten US$ 1 bank notes or coins for one US$ 10 bank note). When you duplicate a US$ 1 bank note or coin, you are "creating" an extra US$ 1 of "value". Since the real total value of the money in the economy has not changed (simplifying a lot the explanation here), the real value of any US$ 1 bank note has now reduced a bit.

    With what you called "digital goods", most of the time they are not meant to represent any fixed value. If I write a song and you copy it, the value of my copy has not reduced. I can still enjoy my song as much as I could before you copied it. But since now there is a new copy, the total value of my work has now doubled, since the new copy is as valuable as the old one (again simplifying a lot the explanation - the increase in value can vary for several reasons).

    That is the difference. The total value of all bank notes is (mostly) fixed, while the total value of all copies of a work is variable but the value of one copy is (mostly) fixed.

    Of course, there are exceptions. If the "digital good" is meant to be exclusive - like a Veblen good - more people having it is less desirable ("it is popular, now it sucks"), and thus the copy can reduce its value. On the other side of the coin, network effects can mean more people having it making it more valuable.

     

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  123.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Is piracy a local phenomenon? it goes beyond borders and cultures no? then it is universal.
    The unanimous part is for dramatic purposes, do you have something against dramatic expression?

     

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  124.  
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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:30pm

    Re:

    >The fact for me is that copyright was created for one
    >purpose and then over the next 300 years has developed an
    >entirely new purpose

    I agree and I think that this is self-evident. Lettres Patente were a boon. A gift from the King. Copyright as included in the American Constitution had a very different purpose, one that is clearly established in the correspondence between Jefferson and Madison.

    I also am happy to discuss "what is the justification for copyright in todays world" independently of what the Constitution says - as if we were Jefferson and Madison and were deciding whether or not to include it or not.

    I am like Jefferson, against it because I believe that monopolies are a blight on a free society, and that there are other and better ways to ensure that "every man is entitled to the fruits of his own labour" than creating a monopoly.

     

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  125.  
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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Oops

    So, if copyright was created in 1709, around 80 years prior to the Constitution in 1787, it couldn't exactly have been designed in 1790 to 'promote the progress' given the US Copyright act of 1790 was a 'copyright infringing' rip off of the 1709 Statute of Anne, now could it?

    The Constitution doesn't mention copyright, yet so many folk are still happy to say it empowered Congress to re-enact it as a means of promoting the progress. Clearly, it did nothing of the sort. It simply empowered Congress to secure the author's exclusive right to their writings - not to grant the author a transferable monopoly.

    Read http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk/index.php?id=276 for more.

    If you believe in copyright as devoutly as a religion then you will believe that the Constitution said "And Congress shall have power to re-enact the Statute of Anne to promote the progress..."

     

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  126.  
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    Chris in Utah (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:34pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Speaking of cognitive dissonance DH you might be suffering some on Feelings.

    For further thoughts refer to a thinker.

    http://www.newgrounds.com/portal/view/567181

    He's going to say it a lot better than I but when a person comes to a conclusion about something they usually follow through with it, regardless if it was an emotional or moral cause.

    Though your arguments are valid the premise might need some work. Just a thought.

     

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  127.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Why?

    Do you deserve to make money out of water?
    Do you deserve to can air and sell it?
    Do you deserve to use the earth to plant anything?

    There is a lot of things we didn't create and we still use it to make money out of it, why should your work be any different?

    Why can't I exploit a carpenter and use his works to make a cart to sell vegetables? do I need to keep paying him after he has done the cart and got paid once?

    This is the thing with copyrights it doesn't have and end limit, and that is bad, very bad for society and commerce everywhere.

    If you want to produce something and sell it that is all fine and good, but if you want to produce something and keep extracting a rent till the end of times that is not acceptable or moral.

     

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  128.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:36pm

    Re: Re:

    > Has it occurred to you that perhaps I do much of this because I like to have interesting discussions on this topic, and I thought much of that conversation was interesting, and so I thought it might be nice to continue it?

    Nah, you were just annoyed that the bulk of the discussion happened while you were away, so you restarted it making sure this time you were in it since the beginning. ;-)

     

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  129.  
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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:40pm

    Re: What numbers would be useful?

    Ah. I have been waiting for someone to ask this question.

    I believe that I understand why the federal government has been going the way it has regarding "intellectual property"(independent of political party in power). Also the Internet.

    I believe that the Washington think tanks have been searching for a way to preserve American world dominance in a post industrial society where the US no longer has any hope of preserving manufacturing dominance.

    The US used to be the only place in the world that really knew how to do cool stuff like design microprocessors or airplane wings. Now of course that simply isn't true.

    So I think that Washington (think tanks and government alike) became fixated on "intellectual property" and Internet as America's only hope of being dominant in the 21st century. This is why the administration considers ACTA to be a question of national security. I believe that they really believe that.

    So this is what I believe is influencing policy makers the most: the desire to see the US remain the dominant player on the global scene.


    been advising

     

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  130.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:41pm

    Re:

    Then you are not paying attention, those suggestion where extracted from the comments on similar discussions before.

    How copyright should be:

    • Producer should have rights to achieve double their costs and have their rights cease to exist after that, it gives a fair payment for the work done and incentivize the continue creation of works to maintain revenues.

    • Use it or loose it, if you don't use the copyrighted material for a certain amount of time you loose the rights to it.

    • If copyright extensions are permitted, those terms should be subject to renew licenses every year with increasing fees for every year it is extended, those fees should be calculated as a percentage of the earnings of the copyright holder or if available the revenues for the work.

    • Copyright should be opt-in

    • Copyrights exist as an incentive for production of works and not as a payment system that is why copyrights lengths that can reach 150 years or even more are absurd. Term length should be 10 years because it is the time the most revenues are generated for the majority of works, after that no meaningful revenues are observed so we allow one term extension. Some exceptional works continue to generate revenues after that and since they are few and far between one extension may be appropriate, but only if this never becomes the rule but the exception, so we permit another 10 years where the copyright holder should pay a percentage of what he makes yearly from the sales of that work each year for the reminder of the years it will be covered.

     

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  131.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    >> Every market needs to have rules of fairness to function. Copyright, trademark, and patent are some of the rules governments have come up with. I think they are imperfect, but they mostly do what they are supposed to.

    > This is incorrect. Those laws were not designed with "fairness" in mind. That's the whole point. You're simply denying history or ignorant of it. They were designed to maximize the public benefit.

    A bit more to the point, laws actually started to protect the status quo (the king/queen/big honcho). The concept of fairness, and its, er, common usage, in law is much more recent, a few hundred years only. Also, fairness is not the same as quid pro quo.

    By the way, current copyright laws fail on both fairness and quid pro quo (as do a lot of other laws, from pretty much all countries).

     

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  132.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:42pm

    Re:

    Now what is your plan?
    Reform? no, everything is just fine we don't need anything else? More enforcement? more copyright extensions?

     

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  133.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Continuing to make unauthorized copies of recorded music makes it worthless.

    You're finally catching on!

     

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  134.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:46pm

    Re:

    If the current system isn't right, and copyright abolishment isn't either, then what do you propose?

    I propose that we explore what the evidence actually says and seek to create a flexible plan, with metrics, that measures whether or not it works and adjusts over time.

    Every time there is a TD post that avoids the question of how things should change (like this one), it makes me think that Mike is doing this deliberately so he doesn't have to defend a specific recommendation or set of recommendations. It is not like there hasn't been ample time to think about this.

    Time, yes. Data, no. And this is my main issue. No one wants to actually set up empirical tests to measure differences in copyright law and its impact on cultural output.

    Should there be copyright?


    We don't know. If the data and evidence supports that progress is promoted via copyright, then sure. Tragically, because copyright law has been driven in one direction, we do not have data to test this.

    How long should copyright last?

    Again, this is something that can be established empirically through testing. There has been some work done here.

    What exceptions should be permitted?


    Again, this is something that can be established through testing and we can judge from there.

    What should the remedies be for infringement?

    Again, this is something that can be established through testing.

    Can you answer these questions without hedging? In a way that would be specific enough to derive new statutes from? This is what you demand of legislators. What is the Masnick Plan for Copyright reform

    You will, of course, call these "hedges." I'm sorry. Is it so wrong for me to admit that I don't know the exact proper levels and setup? What I do know is that the evidence to date is that what we have now does not work, and that less copyright almost certainly works better. Does that mean no copyright would work best? We don't know yet. But my suggestion is to bring actual data and empirical tests in to determine these things.

     

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  135.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And the questions here generally are about the limits of the fruits of that labor.

    Should every carpenter be entitle to charge a fruit seller money from his earnings because he build him a cart?

    Or should the the carpenter be paid once and have no further claims.

    You see I don't believe unlimited rights are moral, I don't believe others have the right to charge anything from others labors even if that labor is based on the labor of another that got paid already.

    Explain why should people get more money from the labor of others transforming them into their personal modern day serfs?

    Why can't this small group of people ask for the money before they release anything and have no further claims on it, like everybody else inside society.

    That would be real useful to everybody.

     

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  136.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    But why is a person's money finite? Why can't you just make copies and share them with everyone else? What is stopping you

    Money is finite by the very nature of money. Money is a representation of *scarce* value.

    I'm not sure why you are continuing down this road of debate. You think it makes you look clever. It does not. It makes you look somewhat ignorant of the economics being discussed. You are not contributing to the discussion, you are detracting from it.

     

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  137.  
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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    >Should there be copyright?

    No. With the costs of creating copies and distributing them down to almost zero, I believe that the financial risk involved in publishing has been diminished to the point where it is no longer necessary to create a monopoly to ensure that the initial investment get recouped. The amount of risk involved with being a publisher is now low enough for it to be economically viable without copyright.

    >How long should copyright last?

    Obviously I feel not even a day, but if copyright was unavoidable and it was up to me to set a term I would say 18 months is long enough for anyone with a blockbuster hit to get rich off of it, and that is what the copyright maximalists are all about after all - the dream of striking it rich - doing a finite amount of work and getting rewarded for it infinitely.

    >What exceptions should be permitted?

    Again, if copyright was a given that I could not debate, and all I could debate was what exception should be permitted, I would say that all non-commercial use of the Work should be permitted, and only copies of the Work sold for a price should be considered infringing.

    >Who should decide whether something falls under the exceptions or not?

    A federal judge.

    >What should the remedies be for infringement?

    The original constitutional remedies. Injunction and double actual damages as calculated by the number of copies sold by the infringer.

    >What should the limits be on those remedies, if any?

    I should never be investigated, prosecuted or in any way paid for by the public. All investigation, filing, and prosecution should be assumed entirely by the plaintiff. Just like with any other tort.

     

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  138.  
    identicon
    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Also open source that depends on copyright to not let people forbid others from using the labor of others, which effectively is like having no copyrights at all, is just teeming with new projects and ideas everywhere.

    Could we not compare that to commercial solutions?

     

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  139.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Uninhibited copying of dollars devalues dollars.

    Uninhibited copying of digital goods devalues digital goods.

    Sorry, but it's as simple as that.


    Scarcity is not determined by what devalues something. You are making up your own definition.

    Separately, you are incorrect. Uninhibited copying does not devalue digital goods at all. As we have shown -- repeatedly -- it increases the value. It may decrease the *price* but price and value are two separate things, something you seem to implicitly recognize with your first statement, but totally ignore with your second. That's why you're "it's as simple as that" is flat out wrong.

    Please stop trying to do this. You're not that smart.

    I gave you the definition of scarcity and you ignored it. I do not know why.

    But I have trouble finding any value in discussing something with someone who purposely ignores factual statements.

    Also, if you want to be credible, perhaps you could try not to punctuate every reply with a thinly veiled ad hominem

    I am credible. Because I actually know what I'm talking about and I can back it up with my statements. You, on the other hand, are stating things, as an "Anonymous" internet users, that are easily proven as factually incorrect.

    Thus, my credibility is nothing that I worry about here.

    And my comments on your mistakes are not ad homs. They are pointed criticisms of your failure to understand some rather basic subjects. I am trying to have an adult conversation here that we can all learn from. When you interject ridiculous claims and ignorant statements, you are taking away from that. So if I am criticizing you, it is for your own good, in the hopes that you might actually come back with something intelligent. Unfortunately, it appears you desire to go in the other direction.

    I find it odd that you then choose to lecture me on credibility.

     

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  140.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:56pm

    I'm just saying that the debate over copyright should be on the key factor: does it promote the progress or not, and are there better ways to promote the progress?


    I think the question "does it promote the progress or not" is biased.

    First, it implies a excluded middle. Either it promotes the progress or not, there is no middle ground where it might promote some progress.

    But most important, even if you accept a middle ground, that question implies that the answer lies in a continuum between 0 (does not promote progress at all) and 1 (completely promotes progress). It fails to consider the possibility that copyright could prevent the progress. The true question lies in the interval between -1 and 1. Let me try to formulate it: "How much does copyright promote or prevent progress?" Still not good enough, but better than the original question.

    The second question, "are there better ways to promote the progress", is also not very good. It also implies that copyright's contribution to the progress is positive or at most neutral. It could perhaps be better phrased as something like "what are the best ways to promote the progress".

    Finally, the questions presume that there is a single answer. There are several things to which copyright is applied, and several ways in which it is applied, with it being applied to more things and more ways all the time. It is quite possible that, for instance, you would get one answer for copyright on books and a completely different answer for copyright on computer software. Even within a single category (books, for instance) the answer could vary (for instance, between fiction books and textbooks).

     

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  141.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Study up, bro

    I have even more with the GAO Report, the Felix and Stumpf report on piracy, and other data regarding the effects of various forms of copyright.

     

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  142.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 4:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Right. But the issue there was whether the directories were copyrightable to begin with. The Court did not say that if someone creates something copyrightable, then they shouldn't be entitled to the fruits of their labor. The Court's position has always been that authors of copyrightable works have a right to the rewards that go with it. This right is based on the moral principle that you may reap what you sow

    This is incorrect. If they believed you "reap what you sow," then there would be no issue in Feist, and of course copyright would be granted there. But it was not. Because copyright is, in fact, not based on "you reap what you sow." It's based on promoting the progress, which is entirely separate.

     

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  143.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Why isn't my music scarce? Because at the moment you can rip it off easily?

    No. As already explained (multiple times) music is not scarce because it is non-rivalrous and non-excludable.

    I'm not sure why you keep seeking to drag morality into an issue where there is none.

    So the market is off because of lawbreaking? That's not how societies function

    Again, no, this has nothing to do with law breaking. We're talking about the *fundamental economic elements here*. It has nothing to do with lawbreaking.

    But then you, Masnick and every other freeloader freak out about it?

    I am confused why you continue to falsely refer to me as a "freeloader." Why do you do so?

    You, Masnick and all the other greedy freetards are complete and total douchebags.

    I'm afraid that your logical progression here leaves much to be desired. False premise -> false premise -> factually incorrect statement -> Conclusion: insult.

    Do you think that impresses anyone?

     

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  144.  
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    bigpicture, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Morals is exactly what it is all about. If you want to put his issue in one or two sentences it is: Is any individual or even corporation entitled to more rights than another? or Is any individual or corporation entitled to a government sponsored monopoly? And if so what exactly is it that entitles then those rights or that monopoly? And why does that concept not violate the Bill of Rights?

    If you can intelligently answer some of these questions without the biased rant, it may dawn on you that yes some things can devolve into an anachronism.

     

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  145.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Re:

    theyre similar. but when a law punches you in the face, the entire apparatus of society is doing it, and there are millions of faceless actors, likely to be pansies with briefcases, working sanctimoniously from a distance, with professional skill in order to torment people weaker than them in the legal arts. that kind of face-punching business creates more problems than it solves by making conflict resolution several steps removed from the reality of the injured parties--usually several steps down the rabbit's hole.

     

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  146.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:03pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    *crickets*


    Dude. Just a tip: the use of the phrase "crickets" is how you respond *AFTER A SIGNIFICANT PERIOD OF TIME* and no one has responded. It sorta loses its effectiveness when you do it minutes after the original statement before anyone's even had a chance to respond.

     

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  147.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Also I got some notes from studies that Techdirt pointed to.

    Envisional was commissioned by NBC Universal to analyse bandwidth usage across the internet with the specific aim of assessing how much of that usage infringed upon copyright.
    http://documents.envisional.com/docs/Envisional-Internet_Usage-Jan2011.pdf
    ∘ The study shows a dramatic reduction in copyright infringement for music.
    • RIETI - Research Institute of Economy, Trade & Industry, IAA - Study about piracy showing that it actually helps sell more DVD's.
    • RIETI - Do Illegal Copies of Movies Reduce the Revenue of Legal Products? The case of TV animation in Japan
    http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/publications/summary/11010021.html
    ∘ Author Name: TANAKA Tatsuo (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
    ∘ Creation Date: January 2011 11-J-010
    • The Norwegian Music Industry in the Age of Digitalization. (Richard Bjerkoe, Anders Sorbo)
    • Date of submission: 01.09.2010
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/37406039/Thesis-Bjerkoe-Sorbo
    ∘ The study shows that the music industry in Norway is growing despite piracy claims to the contrary.
    • Jailhouse Frocks: Locating the Public Interest in Policing Counterfeit Luxury Fashion Goods
    http://bjc.oxfordjournals.org/content/50/6/1094.short?rss=1
    http://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=1649773
    ∘ David S. Wall and Joanna Large (2010)
    ∘ This article seeks to locate the public interest in policing counterfeit luxury fashion goods by separating it out from the broader debate over safety-critical counterfeits such as aircraft parts. Meaning to stop wasting resources trying to protect something that doesn't need protections like luxury fashion goods.
    • PRS for Music - Economic Insight 20 – Adding up the UK music industry for 2009
    http://www.prsformusic.com/creators/news/research/Documents/Economic%20Insight%2020%20web.pdf
    • The Swedish Music Industry in Graphs - Economic Development Report 2000 - 2008 - Dec2009
    • Daniel Johansson & Markus Larsson (December 2009)
    http://www.trendmaze.com/media/1038/swedish_music_industry_2000-2008.pdf
    • Legal, Economic and Cultural Aspects of File Sharing
    Nico van EIJK, Joost POORT, Paul RUTTEN (2010)
    http://www.ivir.nl/publications/vaneijk/Communications&Strategies_2010.pdf
    ∘ The studies demonstrate that filesharers buy more secondary merchandise and there is no apparent change in purchasing habits from them in relation to music.
    • Intellectual Property Rights and Innovation: Evidence from the Human Genome
    ∘ Heidi L. Williams
    ∘ July 2010
    http://papers.nber.org/papers/w16213

    "Celera's short-term IP thus appears to have had persistent negative effects on subsequent innovation relative to a counterfactual of Celera genes having always been in the public domain."

    • Wired - Labels: Lower Music Prices And Increase Your Profits, Study Says
    • By Eliot Van Buskirk (January 29, 2010 11:57 am)
    http://www.wired.com/epicenter/2010/01/labels-lower-music-prices-and-increase-your-profits-study-say s
    • File-Sharing and Copyright
    No. 09-132
    Felix Oberholzer-Gee and Koleman Strumpf
    Strategy
    May 2009
    http://www.hbs.edu/research/pdf/09-132.pdf
    http://www.hbs.edu/research/facpubs/workingpapers/papers0809.html#wp09-132
    • Media Piracy in Emerging Economies
    • A report by: The Social Science Research Council
    • Posted on March 15, 2011 by karaganis
    http://piracy.ssrc.org/
    • Creative Destruction and Copyright Protection, a paper by the London School of Economics' Bart Cammaerts and Bingchun Meng
    http://www.scribd.com/doc/51217629/LSE-MPPbrief1-creative-destruction-and-copyright-protection

    Ch eck for more studies
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091101/2005096753.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/article s/20091103/1904526791.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20091202/1503337167.shtml
    http://www. techdirt.com/articles/20091207/2310207240.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20100122/092125787 2.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20090824/1430475981.shtml
    http://www.techdirt.com/article s/20090828/0444096038.shtml

     

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  148.  
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    Anonymous Coward (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Way back when, oh without researching it, music was only performed. An artist got up in front of a person or group of people (or a herd of animals) and performed. Then one day, Thomas Edison I believe, used technology and recorded it. Actually preserved a reusable copy of that music where the artist was no longer needed to hear the music. When that technology became commercially viable, lawsuits happened all over the place a copyright law was amended to cover music so that although the artist "recorded" it once, they got money for every sale of a "copy" of the recording. There is even a push to get paid every time the recording is "performed" because, you know, they did spend a couple of hours 2 decades ago making that recording. In most every other field of industry, the cost of a product is controlled by the economic reality of marginal cost. But "record labels" banded together into societies and fixed the price at about $10.00 (don't quibble over a couple of cents here and there) and even when the cost of blank CD went from $3.00 to $0.25 or less the cost of a music CD stayed at $10.00 or so. Since the societies were in control, even though the marginal cost dropped, the price stayed the same. Now, jump ahead to the last decade or so and the ability to make a copy is a viable option for any person with a computer.
    People knew the cost of a blank CD had dropped, buying them in the store to make copies of their home pictures they could see the cost drop from a couple of dollars apiece to $10.00 for 100 blanks. They could make their own copy and cut out the middle man (which as we know is the record labels and they really really don't want to be cut out of making all that money on the little plastic disks). Now with big hard drives,the internet and MP3 players, the little plastic disks are no longer needed even. But, somebody spent a couple of hours making a "recording" and now wants to get paid for the following 75 years every time it gets played. Does this mean that now I should also be paying the carpenter every time I go to sleep in my house? For that matter, the guy who made the bed frame, the mattress, the sheets, the blankets, and the pillows? Does it mean that I have to pay the "artist" who made my custom quilt every time I sleep under it or heaven forbid let someone else see it?
    It used to be that a musician had to be a working musician to get paid (wasn't it great to be the court musician/composer?). Now "the band" must get paid every time the song is played? Why doesn't the soundman, the electric company, and the makers of the drumsets and guitars get paid every time the band plays? Well they don't have "collection societies" (yet) of course.
    Moral or immoral, I get paid for an hour to work an hour. Unfortunately, I can't record my work and get paid over and over and over again until I die and then have my kids get paid for my hour for the next 75 years after I'm dead. But the two sisters who wrote (or at least claim to have written) the "Happy Birthay" song (in about 2 hours probably) do expect that. Where is the morally right in that?
    No, in conclusion, the marginal cost to the artist/composer/and everybody else involved in the making of the recording is now ZERO which makes this an infinite good. That means that the price has dropped to ZERO for the recording (you don't need to argue against this, just read an economics textbook to learn all about it). The marginal cost of "attending" a live performance is much higher and much more scarce. Consequently, the cost to me (for example to see Elton John recently cost me more than $400 for the wife and I) is much higher than ZERO.

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:06pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    I'm not seeing the specific info, though admittedly I'm not inclined to slog through the blog looking for a relevant post. Can you post a more direct link?

     

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    HothMonster, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Piracy is saying "I deserve to make money from this work in lieu of the actual creator." Which is worse, taking credit you don't deserve or taking money you don't deserve?

    Piracy is saying "I deserve to be able to view this work but don't know if ill like it." or "Jeeze, I want to see this movie but don't want to get off my couch drive to the store and get it, wtf! its 12$ dollars to watch it on cable? Thats like half the price of the dvd! Wheres my laptop?" Which is worse demanding money up front for works of art or allowing people to sample art and then decide if they would like to provide the artist a means of support so he can make more art instead of becoming a techdirt troll? OR Which is worse not giving people something they are willing to pay for how they want it because if you sell it on discs in stores you can make more profit or refusing to pay non-nonsensical amounts of money so people can make millions in profit?

    The only reason people can make money is because its illegal. Its like cannabis, if i could grow it in my house without fear of being arrested I would, or if i didnt want to grow it I would pay someone what I thought was a reasonable price for my not having to grow it. If the system is like this people will make money with a quality product but they can't charge me more than I feel it is worth because they are the only means of supply.

    Since I can't grow it and the risks are greater for the people who do they can charge way beyond margin because I don't have a lot of options, and their margins have to be high to make up for the risk they are taking or its not worth it. It works the same with music if sharing(what you like to call piracy) isn't illegal, or if the industry provides it in a convenient manner and at a reasonable price, criminals can't make money off it. Everyone could share or would have a safe place to go and get good quality music, so a shady criminal element couldn't make money. Why pay someone, with my attention, if I know someone else made the art and I can still get what I want giving the artist my attention. There could be one offical p2p client with no ads. Or it did have ads and the money went to an artist fund or something whatever, (stupid small window I'm losing continuity) point is.....
    TL:DR version
    YOU allow people to make money off YOU by not giving them what they want how they want it. "Pirate" sites don't sell music they sell a service. Isn't that what a label is suppose to do for an artist? Provide the service that connects them to the fans?

    Hmmm i wonder if thepiratebay will publish my next album?

     

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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:09pm

    Re: Re: Oops

    >So, if copyright was created in 1709, around 80 years
    >prior to the Constitution in 1787, it couldn't exactly
    >have been designed in 1790 to 'promote the progress' given
    >the US Copyright act of 1790 was a 'copyright infringing'
    >rip off of the 1709 Statute of Anne, now could it?

    Where to start (sigh)?

    a) Personally I would not call it a "rip off". The adoption and evolution of Common Law has never been considered a "rip off" by anyone of any seriousness that I have ever heard of. The whole US Constitution is based on previous philosophy and law.

    b) You seem stuck on the idea that copyright was "invented" for the first time in 1709. Sure whatever, have it your way, it does not really affect the substance of what Mike (or I) have to say.

    >The Constitution doesn't mention copyright...not to grant
    >the author a transferable monopoly.

    Dude, you're preaching to the converted. No argument from me here.

    >If you believe in copyright as devoutly as a religion then

    Have you even read what I wrote? I think, that you think, that I am in a very different place then I actually am.

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    As the topic was specifically about the volume of art created before copyright, and the context is the US economic system, what do you think?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Our collective morals have always supported fair, equal competition. They support two people going in a ring with gloves, equal weight, equal class and boxing it out. They don't support one hiding a razorblade in his fist, or one kicking the other in the junk.

    This is not a sporting competition. Why even bring that up?

    We're discussing an *economically* driven law.

    One business out competing another with a better original idea is the fundamental basis of fair market competition. It is completely morally acceptable to almost all.

    You are ignoring my question. You claimed that the reason why copyright was moral was because some people felt ripped off. I am asking why it's okay in one instance (the one you like) but not this other instance?

    You choose not to answer. I don't understand why.

    Taking my work, my innovation, and using it to make money for yourself without permission or a penny given back is not fair. It is parasitism and opportunism at its worse.


    That's your view. That has nothing to do with copyright law however. It is not based on fairness, which is why it even allows for a certain element of copying and opportunism that you seem to think is immoral.

    Based on your statement above, you seem to be saying the public domain is immoral. Do you agree with that statement?

    No one expects business to be a fairytale for everyone. But they do expect all sides to play fair. And when they don't, it's the job of the government to play referee and intervene with things like antitrust tribunals, or in this case, anti-piracy law.

    But that was not your initial argument. Your argument was that copyright was moral because someone felt ripped off. I gave you another example of someone feeling ripped off and your response is "that's okay because that's fair."

    You are not being logically consistent.

    Morality is always among the fundamental drivers of the law. The law cannot be written or enforced without first asking, "What is right and what is wrong?" That is a personal question everyone has to ask of themselves.

    No. This is simply false. I'm sorry, but not all laws are driven by morality. Morality is a question that comes into play in cases where some people are better off and some are worse off. You need to make choices as to how to allocate the "costs" and that's morality.

    But if you are talking about a situation where everyone is better off, no morality comes into play.

    You seem to assume a zero-sum world. This is a mistake and takes away from your analysis.

    To claim that morals have nothing to do with the law is to misunderstand the law. Morality has everything to do with legality.

    I am afraid that you are simply wrong here.

    Whether you are a Marxist, libertarian, or liberal, you cannot separate morality from legality.


    I believe you are completely wrong on that. But you seem to be philosophically stuck on this fundamentally incorrect position. I'm not sure that anything will drive this debate forward until you recognize your own mistakes here.

     

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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:12pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Effort is not sufficient, as there must be also originality. That's what Feist says. It does not stand for the proposition that effort should not be rewarded. As long as the effort has originality, then it is rewarded, and deservedly so.

    Feist clears up the issue of whether "sweat of the brow" alone warrants copyright protection. It doesn't. That doesn't mean that the labor behind original works shouldn't be rewarded. It should.

    I think you're reading too much into Feist.

     

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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    you want to take away the right to negotiate away from the recording industry?

    the artists neednt sign with them. they negotiate. they agree on terms. i would think the removal of the right to negotiate should be justified more then the preservation of it.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Video version

    pdf version

    I'm surprised that you've yet to hear about this, but the pdf is worth just reading the first 70 pages for relevancy in regards to price points, enforcement, and global impact of various copyright laws.

    Oh, and the link between copyright and terrorism FINALLY gets debunked. Other than that, there's a lot of information about how people respond to copyright for the last 3 years that I feel everyone should read in some capacity. I have the book so I'm studying each section as need be. Best $30 I ever spent.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:21pm

    Re: Re:

    Deserve to get paid once, not ad infinitum, not from the fruits of others labors that paid for that once and shouldn't need to keep paying it forever without receiving any new works that they can pay once and do whatever they want with it, sell it, rent it, or use it as toilet paper if they so wish to do so.

    If you think that is moral, how about you start paying the computer manufacturers that help you do your work?

    Would they be entitled to get a percentage of your earnings?

     

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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:27pm

    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.

    you are focusing so hard on the first have the second half seems ignored. these rights are secured for all authors and inventors. the reason is given, but the assumption that this implies a case by case review is a leap.

    driving while drunk is illegal. why? because it creates a risk of accident or injury. does that mean if i can hold my liquor i can drive, since while my BAC is over the legal limit, i am not at greater risk of causing an accident? no, because while the law was created to make the streets safer, the law has a BAC line that if over you have violated.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Really?

    What is the concept of money based on?
    Trust, we trust that there is only that amount of money and that it is backed up by the government to have a certain value, that is why making copies of it is damaging.

    On the other hand, art is base on what?
    Market penetration a.k.a. wide spread use of it. The more it spreads the more valuable it is to everybody else, nobody want to talk about music they don't know about it, nobody want to hear references to jokes they never heard about it, that is what drives consumption of arts.

    So how are the two analogous again?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    You're such an idiot. Money and music aren't the same thing, as has been explained to you repeatedly.

     

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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:32pm

    Re:

    ... on the first half... wish i could type well, but as i cannot i disclaim any typos into the future. touch typing for me means what i hear in my head i type, and if i dont notice in quick proofing, well, you see the result.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Doubt?

    Say no more amoral creature, just look at payola and why it was done.

    Look at the research of RIETI.

    RIETI - Do Illegal Copies of Movies Reduce the Revenue of Legal Products? The case of TV animation in Japan
    http://www.rieti.go.jp/en/publications/summary/11010021.html
    ∘ Author Name: TANAKA Tatsuo (Faculty Fellow, RIETI)
    ∘ Creation Date: January 2011 11-J-010

    They found out that actually piracy increases DVD sales, is that not amazing?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Sure. Why don't they just make taxes optional as well? I'm sure plenty of people would love that on an emotional level, just like they'd love to get all digital entertainment for free.


    Wait. I'm confused. In this very same thread, you claimed that it was perfectly reasonable to legislate something to help people so they don't feel ripped off.

    Many, many people feel "ripped off" by taxes.

    So... why are you okay with taxes?

    Again, this is the key point: you go back to that "ripped off" feeling, but clearly that's NOT what you actually believe. If you actually believed it made sense to create laws based on a feeling of being ripped off, you wouldn't support taxes either.

     

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    Dave, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:39pm

    Dude! Stop it!

    If you are not going to address anything at all in the post you are replying to, find a post that your reply fits or start a new stinking thread.

    If you think you did reply to my post in any kind of a meaningful way, you lack the basic literary and logical skills to function in any kind of discussion no matter what the topic is.

     

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    HothMonster, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:40pm

    Copyright induces profit which induces crap product

    But without copyright people can't make ridiculous profit of art. Then we would be forced to live in a world where people make music and movies because they love music and cinema. Imagine that, if people did stuff because they were passionate about it instead of how much profit the can make, that would be horrible. If people created only for the love of creation despite the cost to themselves let alone gains.

    But then you say, I can't make a living if i can't profit then I won't make music. GOOD!! if thats the case i don't want to hear your music anyway, its probably shit. It will get people who just want to be rich and famous off my radio and I can focus on people who can't keep the music from flowing out of them.

    I know amazing bands that only play once a month, or so, because they have families and other jobs and because music can't pay the bills for them. They get out there when they can because they are passionate about the music and passionate about getting it heard. Would they like to make a living doing what they are passionate about? Who wouldn't! The sad thing is few people can.

    I'm passionate about snowboarding. I do it as much as live allows. Would I like to make a living doing it? hell yeah! Unfortunately I can't have lawyers sled behind me and charge people who watched me and enjoyed. If somehow I find a way to make money doing it more power to me.

    Alot of you keep saying piracy devalues music (or movies, paintings, guichi[sp?] handbags, whatever...anything people pirate works] I'll say copyright devalues the market. It allows people to get into things because they want the profits involved instead of because they can't help themselves.

    Just as we have lawyers with no respect for the law, politicians with no respect for the people, cops with no respect for the law, pharma companies with no respect for the patient we now have musicians (labels, directors, ect) with no respect for the music (art) or fans.

    There will always be that small percentage that can make a living off of music. Lets try to tear down these constructs that allow that small percentage a ludicrous amount of money and instead let them make a modest living.

    Anywhere you show me someone passionate about what he is doing in hopes of making just a modest living I'll show you a quality product.

    The only time you find someone making a quality product AND a ton of money is when they start out like above and get lucky.

     

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    Joe (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:42pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    No, piracy is saying "I deserve to be able to rob those people on that ship." I think you meant to say "[C]opyright infringement is saying.."

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    I think they are valid models that show what happens when you don't have copyrights.

    Since both of them create more movies than the U.S. film industry, by such a high margin, the second place(i.e. Nollywood) outputs double the U.S. production capabilities.

    So what do you think, how is that not applicable to the U.S.?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    No, he's 100% correct, and you know it.

    Continuously counterfeiting currency will eventually make it essentially worthless. Look at Zimbabwe or Weinmar Germany; they kept making "copies" of their currency and released them into the system. What happened there?

    The analogy works perfectly for recorded music being infinitely copied.

    You know this, but you're too much of a disingenuous slimeball to admit it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:52pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Go look up value in the dictionary.

     

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    Joe (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    You have my permission to copy my money to your heart's content. ;)

     

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    HM, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Earnings from copyright are taxed exactly the same as all other income, you silly buffoon.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 5:59pm

    You've lost your damn mind...

    "Continuously counterfeiting currency will eventually make it essentially worthless. Look at Zimbabwe or Weinmar Germany; they kept making "copies" of their currency and released them into the system. What happened there?"

    ... WTF?!

    The money from Germany and Zimbabwe were used as real value currency.

    You're treating that as if it's a substitute to a digital product? And how does a copy of a song devalue the musician, artist or whatever?

    Seriously, if you're going to be disingenuous, at least keep your own story straight!

     

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  174.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:24pm

    "You're treating that as if it's a substitute to a digital product? And how does a copy of a song devalue the musician, artist or whatever?"

    if you can download a perfect legal copy for free, would you instead pay $2 for it? most people would not, i suspect. a guess i admit, but i think a fair one. itunes had about 4 billion in sales in 2009, do they have 4 billion in sales witout copyright laws? if not then whatever that difference would be is devaluation in their song library.

    music is a better barometer of piracy, i believe, since downloaded music quality difference is inaudible. DVDs are noticeable better quality then downloaded movies, so not quite as good.

     

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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:33pm

    Re:

    above post mine, although, being on the internet and using my normal screen name and not my real name, i suppose is anon enough. but forgot to enter name, so here it is

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    You're changing the argument. I'm not saying that other economic models might not exists, I'm asking for data regarding pre-copyright artistic output versus post-copyright. Do you have this data?

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:38pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Thanks much. I'll read it tonight.

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:39pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Nevermind. Jay posted some homework for me. All is well.

     

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    Karl (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:40pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I don't think Mike Masnick has a traditional understanding of morality.

    Possibly so. Judging by the fact that the majority of people are "pirates," I'd say he's probably more anti-piracy than your average person.

    Copyright is designed to allow creators rights to their work because whether a product is tangible or not, if it is your unique creation, it is natural to feel like it is yours.

    That is absolutely, positively, 100% not why copyright exists. It is designed so that the public will have greater access to, and use of, the arts. It exists for the same reason libraries exist... at least in theory.

    Have you ever been plagiarized? Have you ever had someone take credit for something you worked really hard on?

    First of all, copyright infringement is not plagiarism. Even if that "someone" gave you full and complete credit, they would still be infringing. And even if you allowed that person to take credit for your work (e.g. you're selling fully-written term papers), then it's still plagiarism.

    Second of all, plagiarism is not illegal. If you were the aforementioned term-paper salesman, you are doing nothing against the law, and neither is the student. Of course, that doesn't mean they won't get ejected from school if they're caught.

    The two are completely distinct, both ethically and legally.

    That's how many people feel when they are pirated.

    They shouldn't, since pirates are not plagiarists.

    You hear Joe Biden speak and all you hear are "lies." But they are personal, emotional, moral truths that many creators agree very strongly with.

    The reason Biden speaks has nothing to do with "moral truths." He's the one who wanted so badly to allow the FBI to spy on you, that PGP was created in response. He may be good with some issues, but when it comes to privacy or technology, he has the worst record of any politician, ever.

     

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    Memyself, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:41pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    Just saw this post. Thanks. I'll try to read up on as much of it as I can.

     

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    J.J. (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Not really, the LHC is trying to prove or disprove a theory.

    We might be right or wrong, but all the LHC is doing is letting us find out, ergo - it's not 'changing the truth' it's letting us know if we were right or wrong in assuming we knew the truth.

     

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  182.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:51pm

    Re: Re:

    I'm flabbergasted.

    It is not "wrong" for you not to know. However, given how much complaining you do, and how much of your life is dedicated to this one subject, it is a little amazing for me to hear that you have not a single remedy you are willing to stand up and defend.

    Since you propose only "more research," where is your research proposal? You are so fond of "debunking" the research and methods of others. Where is your superior methodology? What are your experiments and your controls? What is your strategy for mitigating the dozens or hundreds of confounding factors that naturally arise in any economic "experiment." What is your plan for making these experiments practical?

    That doesn't even touch the policy questions. How much data is enough data to make a policy change and how should studies with vastly different conclusions be weighed in the balance?

    If you amass a mountain of evidence that the current system is broken, but have no position whatsoever on how to repair it, what of it? Nothing. You have a strong premise with no argument.

    Personal opinion: you would have many fewer problems with "trolls" and would be taken far more seriously if you actually offered a practical alternative to the status quo rather than just endless complaints about it. Yes, you might have to actually defend and revise your position, and yes, you might turn off some of the abolitionists. Thems the breaks.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 6:59pm

    Re: Owning Ideas and a sense of entitlement.

    Those that demand ownership over ideas as it is or even expanding upon its power love to accuse others of being "entitled". These people, they accuse, somehow have a false sense of entitlement to their own culture and ideas. "I created it! It's my intellectual property! If you want a copy, you have to pay for it!" They conveniently ignore where they got the inspiration, ideas, and instruction to create their "property" in the first place. They took what was the commonwealth of all people, our collective cultural history, and used it to build works with their own ideas.

    When you grow a crop with seed that was grown and saved by your ancestors, your labor may have brought that crop to harvest, but so did the labor of all the other people that toiled in the fields before you. To ignore the contribution of every artist, writer, musician, scholar, and scientist when you claim your "intellectual property", you spit on the work and thoughts of everyone who ever dared to put their mind to create. What right do you have to claim property over ideas crafted, expressed, and passed down over generations of people? When you claim "property" over these works as has been done, you deny me, the world, and all of our ancestors the credit due for the work that made your creation possible. Without that which came before, your works couldn't have been.

     

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  184.  
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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:11pm

    true, it's easier to complain about something then fix it.

    most of this discussion is about making music/movies free. because alot of people currently illegally download them. if we are looking at progress then they have an obligation to explain what progress would be made if anyone could download these.

    why is your free entertainment progress for mankind?

     

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  185.  
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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:20pm

    Re: Re: Owning Ideas and a sense of entitlement.

    i will use the crop metaphor you used and simply make it literal.

    When the farmer claims "property" over these works as has been done, you deny me, the world, and all of our ancestors the credit due for the work that made your creation possible. Without that which came before, your works couldn't have been.

    indeed there is an arguement for true (is it better to say 'pure?') communism here. however, i dont think the united states is heading to this ideal anytime soon.

     

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  186.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re:

    That's the narrow view that I am concerned about. As soon as you say "the only" it's evident you have a conclusion and are not willing to look at the broader contexts.

    There are multiple justifications for copyright. One that jumps to mind is the economic one. By making what should be an infinite good scare you can create a market for it. This promotes commerce and leads to industries around it. Now you can argue if this is a good thing, or whether the detriment caused by granting a monopoly is greater than the benefit. But its still a justification and one that should be more openly discussed.

    There are others too. The concept of moral desert is common in academic circles as an IP justification, as are other concepts around property and ownership of unowned things. All are justifications with pro and con sides worth debating.

    Personally if the debate was less partisan and more reasoned I think we'd end up closer to something we'd all be happy with. My opinion is the main justification in the modern world for copyright is that without it lots of people would lose a lot of money. Is this a good justification? That's something society should decide through a reasoned and balanced argument.

     

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  187.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:50pm

    Re:

    I'm assuming those are my words from an earlier post so I'll respond:

    "if you can download a perfect legal copy for free, would you instead pay $2 for it? most people would not, i suspect. a guess i admit, but i think a fair one. itunes had about 4 billion in sales in 2009, do they have 4 billion in sales witout copyright laws? if not then whatever that difference would be is devaluation in their song library."

    I think there's a very real difference between what you're advocating and what my post was intending.

    There's a number of examples of people using torrents from PirateBay, music from (insert site here), and various other means of promoting themselves.

    50 Cent used his popularity, not only for stocks, but he recognized that his music was used for free advertising for other goods.

    The price of a song has gone down, but the value of artists has actually gone up. The videos on Youtube are played and collect revenue, even though they're free. You have Spotify that makes 43% more money to music labels than those that don't have even that service in Europe.

    The song itself is not a zero-sum equation. It's added value in various ways. Say for example there's someone that uses a song in a Youtube video that goes viral. That adds value as people like the song (or dislike in the form of Rebecca Black, who's making some money on her notoriety).

    Let's also add to this that the artist knows their music is out in the wild being collected. They can now use their resources in a variety of more creative endeavors such as making new songs, planning more tour dates, or making other endeavors that their minds can come up with (read: Trent Reznor model still seems very applicable here)

    Also notice that concert prices went up and artists can make gob ends of money with other scarcities. They're no longer tied to CDs, but can use CDs to promote themselves. So it's not a devaluation, it's more about finding out how to use this to your advantage and taking off from there.

     

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  188.  
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    Karl (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:53pm

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

    As long as the effort has originality, then it is rewarded, and deservedly so.

    The effort in Feist was "original" (in the way you appear to mean it). Were it not for the work of Rural Telephone, the data would not have been compiled at all. It still wasn't granted copyright:
    Lower courts that adopted a "sweat of the brow" or "industrious collection" test - which extended a compilation's copyright protection beyond selection and arrangement to the facts themselves - misconstrued the 1909 Act and eschewed the fundamental axiom of copyright law that no one may copyright facts or ideas. [Emphasis added.]

    An interesting factoid that I didn't catch the first time around: Four of the listings in Feist's directory were fictional listings that Rural had placed into the directory, specifically to detect copying.

    Also:

    Mazer v. Stein

    You quoted the last paragraph, but totally ignored the quotes that came right before it:
    "The copyright law, like the patent statutes, makes reward to the owner a secondary consideration." United States v. Paramount Pictures, 334 U. S. 131, 334 U. S. 158.

    However, it is

    "intended definitely to grant valuable, enforceable rights to authors, publishers, etc., without burdensome requirements; 'to afford greater encouragement to the production of literary [or artistic] works of lasting benefit to the world.'"
    Washingtonian Pub. Co. v. Pearson, 306 U. S. 30, 306 U. S. 36. [Emphasis mine]

    Copyright is not granted because the artists work hard and therefore deserve to get paid. It is granted because it is the most utilitarian method to achieve the production of works for public use.

     

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  189.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 7:59pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    I'm flabbergasted.


    Then you are easily flabbergasted.

    It is not "wrong" for you not to know. However, given how much complaining you do, and how much of your life is dedicated to this one subject, it is a little amazing for me to hear that you have not a single remedy you are willing to stand up and defend.

    Really? Odd. If there isn't enough data to support a position, then isn't it better that I not take a strong stand?

    I have my *suspicions* on what policies would make sense, and I've certainly talked about those.

    Since you propose only "more research," where is your research proposal?

    It's not research. As I said, I want to actually *test* different copyright efforts and review the results.

    You are so fond of "debunking" the research and methods of others. Where is your superior methodology?

    I'm not asking to do a study. I'm asking to run an experiment. We have a few such natural experiments (fashion industry, changes in copyright law, etc.). But we could use some more.

    That doesn't even touch the policy questions. How much data is enough data to make a policy change and how should studies with vastly different conclusions be weighed in the balance?

    Different evidence can be weighted as is reasonable.

    Personal opinion: you would have many fewer problems with "trolls" and would be taken far more seriously if you actually offered a practical alternative to the status quo rather than just endless complaints about it. Yes, you might have to actually defend and revise your position, and yes, you might turn off some of the abolitionists. Thems the breaks

    Doubtful. I do have specific proposals on patent reform that I have laid out many times... and we have just as big an issue there with people complaining.

     

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  190.  
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    Shadow-Slider, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    It is true from Locke-like point of view that every is man entitled to the fruits of his own labor, but in my opinion that does not extend to the right to prevent others use of similar or identical fruits of their own labor.

     

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  191.  
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    Karl (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:09pm

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

    Having said all that, I must point this out:

    Because copyright is, in fact, not based on "you reap what you sow." It's based on promoting the progress, which is entirely separate.

    The entire theory behind copyright is that they are not entirely separate, but in fact compliment each other. Allowing artists to "reap what they sow" results in promoting the progress. In theory, both the public and artists are better off.

    Of course, that theory is rapidly being proven wrong. It works OK when the "exclusive right" is granted to commercial distribution, but it breaks down entirely when that "exclusive right" is granted to mere communication. That is what is going on right now.

     

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  192.  
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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:09pm

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

    They're called "fictitious entries." http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fictitious_entry

    You're absolutely right that recompense for authors is not the primary purpose of copyright. It's secondary. But it's a purpose nonetheless. Copyright is, of course, "granted because the artists work hard and therefore deserve to get paid." That's exactly it's secondary purpose. Just because that purpose is secondary doesn't mean that it's not its purpose. It's just not the only purpose.

     

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  193.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:09pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    "I don't think Mike Masnick has a traditional understanding of morality."

    The founding fathers disagree with you. Most of the world (ie: China, India, etc...) disagrees with you and has, throughout history, disagreed with you. Animals freely copy each others ideas and nature has made copying very easy and natural, so I would argue that even nature disagrees with you.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Owning Ideas and a sense of entitlement.

    "i will use the crop metaphor you used and simply make it literal."

    Therefore, missing the point entirely and making an ad hominem argument.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:10pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    8 minutes is a TON of fingernail chewing....

     

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  196.  
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    Karl (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:10pm

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

    Just because that purpose is secondary doesn't mean that it's not its purpose.

    I posted a clarification above. Jinx?

     

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  197.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:14pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    By the way, the next time you accuse Mike in a post of making ad homs, you should then avoid calling him a "disingenuous slimeball". By the way, "disingenuous slimeball" is basically a thinly veiled attempt to insult someone in the most character possible. Its not a race to use the biggest meaningless word. Also, you're stupid and using it wrong, which is funny.

    dis·in·gen·u·ous/ˌdisinˈjenyo͞oəs/
    Adjective: Not candid or sincere, typically by pretending that one knows less about something than one really does

    So, if Mike is pretending to know less than he does, then he really knows EVERYTHING about copyright, and you shouldnt be arguing with him. Fool.

     

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  198.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:15pm

    Re:

    "you are focusing so hard on the first have the second half seems ignored. these rights are secured for all authors and inventors. the reason is given, but the assumption that this implies a case by case review is a leap."

    And I counter with this:

    Is death + 70 years really a limited time? It's one reason no one respects copyright law.

    "because it creates a risk of accident or injury. does that mean if i can hold my liquor i can drive, since while my BAC is over the legal limit, i am not at greater risk of causing an accident? no, because while the law was created to make the streets safer, the law has a BAC line that if over you have violated."

    Just to let you know, the legal limit changes depending on where you are. The unintended consequences there could really set someone back.

     

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  199.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    val·ue/ˈvalyo͞o/
    Noun: The regard that something is held to deserve; the importance or preciousness of something: "your support is of great value


    The regard it is held in. How does copying a song decrease the 'regard it is held in'?

     

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    FUDbuster (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:19pm

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

    What do you mean by "communication"? I'm not following...

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Are you one of those people that only values something if it costs a lot of money regardless of its quality? Do you value air? Sunlight? Their price is free yet they are extremely valuable.

    Music (or any good, digital or otherwise) has a value to you that you assign it. The value I assign that same good may be different than what you do. If the price of that good is less than or equal to the amount you value your money (or more correctly, the value you assign to the labor for you to make the money necessary to buy it), then you buy it. If it is more, then you don't (assuming you are rational). Price and value are not the same.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:21pm

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

    Deserve to get paid how many times?
    1, 2, 3, forever how many times does an artist needs to get paid?

    Does the builder of your house didn't work hard? did the producer of your electronics not work hard enough?

    Why do they not get paid like artists. I mean why everytime you use their creations to make money, why you don't pay them?

     

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  203.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Heh, no, its trying to pull a particle that doesnt exist in our universe, into our universe. Right now if you say the higgs boson exists, you would be wrong, but if they succeed, they will change that unchangeable truth. Pretty cool.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:24pm

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

    A better way to word it is that artists should be allowed to "reap what they sow" through these monopolies because allowing such promotes the progress and only to the extent that allowing such promotes the progress.

    I, btw, do not really believe that allowing them to reap what they sow through these monopolies promotes the progress all that much. At least not with today's laws, which come nothing close to promoting the progress. Our laws are intentionally immoral.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:28pm

    Re:

    It's not just about price. It's convenience. If you can make the paid-for experience easier acquire and more enjoyable than what the P2P model can offer, then you'll make money. If I were to guess, a balanced combination of price, convenience, and quality are what will bring people to give you money for the work you do.

    Perhaps a one-time download of a game for $5 or $10 might entice a great many people to impulse buy? Then others might enjoy the convenience of having it stored on your server to be download at any point in the future for a larger fee of $30 to $60 depending on price elasticity. Perhaps you have an in game editor so people can build their own adventures and share them with friends? What if you offered them a convenient and community-oriented hosting space where modders can collaborate and share for a small monthly fee? The TES Nexus sells premium services for downloading mods for a game made by big AAA game studio. It would be wise if a developer got in on some of that action by launching their own service and make it superior to the others.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:31pm

    Re:

    Not making it free as in beer but free as in freedom, why is that freedom to distribute and copy is so wrong, when we have done it for thousands of years?

    Why is there no other options, why can't artists get their money before they release anything and then let it go like every other endeavor of the human race.

    How many times someone needs to get paid for something they did?

    Why should society pay somebody forever and have no easy access to that work? what is the benefit for society? that doesn't sound useful to me.

     

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    Karl (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Piracy is saying "I deserve to make money from this work in lieu of the actual creator."

    That would mean that neither the people who post torrents on The Pirate Bay, nor the people who use those torrents to get content, are pirates. After all, they're not making money from the work.

    Also, your definition would mean that all record label executives are pirates. They make money from the labor of artists, even though by their own calculations, 90% of those artists don't make any money from artists' royalties.

    If that's what you mean, then I actually agree with you. But at least according to the law, you're wrong.

     

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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:40pm

    Re: Re:

    regarding jay's post 186. (posts seem to float to me)

    it is quite possible that some artists can make more money by giving their music away. i have no doubt that it is a good way to become known for some unknown bad. there is nothing stopping bands from releasing their music for free. currently *they* get to choose.

    without copyright laws the artists sees none of the money youtube or any other site gets from playing their music or videos.

    without copyright laws that great independant song that was released, that was so amazing was noticed by other bands who couldnt write, and there are now so many covers of the song that noone even knows who wrote it.

    without copyright laws i can the song 'imagine' and use it in my furniture store commercial. no heaven?!? then how do you explain a fold away couch for only $699?!?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:43pm

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

    I don't know, but one problem that I have with it is that outside the Internet copy'right' is part of what contributes to ensuring that private interests have a monopoly on both communication distribution (ie: public airwaves and cableco infrastructure use) and content. I think this is wrong.

    Even within the Internet, people have attempted to use it to create an undue burden on Google/youtube and other service/communication providers, though safe harbors have luckily curtailed that to some extent. Still, a lot of people try to use it to make communication artificially more expensive by imposing more liability to protect copy'right'.

    What the government should do right now to foster a more communication platform to a wider audience is to substantially remove the broadcasting monopolies that it creates and to remove the cableco monopolies that it creates, the very monopolies that are intentionally designed to restrict open communication. If they were interested in the public welfare they should seek to reduce copy'right' length. They should seek to make ACTA, TPP, and other negotiations and discussions open to the public and not just to industry reps. But they're not doing any such thing exactly because they have no interest in the public interest. Instead, they are focusing their efforts on regulating the Internet in a way that makes copy'right' even worse than what it already is and in a way that restricts our rights on the Internet exactly because this effort reflects their nefarious motives against the public. They they give transparency to industry reps, and not the public, exactly because they are serving industry interests and not the public interest. If they wanted to serve the public interest, there are better ways they can do so (ie: reduce copy'right' length, be more transparent to the public) but they are avoiding these better alternatives exactly because they have no intent on serving the public interest. So why should I believe that their current actions are intended to serve the public interest? They're not, and so they probably don't.

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Copying money does nothing but decrease the value of money. You seem to already understand that. But copying a song doesn't do the same thing.

    You value a good. If the amount you value that good is greater than or equal to its purchase price, then you'll buy it. If the amount you value it is less than the purchase price, you won't buy it (assuming you are rational). Notice the difference between value and price?

    If it is an infinite good, then the marginal cost goes to $0. Digital goods are infinite and the marginal cost should go to $0. That decreases the price. But the amount you value it doesn't change.

    For example, say I value certain chair at the same amount I value the labor required to acquire $100. If the chair is priced over $100 then I won't buy it. If it is priced at $100, then I will. If it is priced at $0 then I'll buy it. The price going to zero does not change how much I value the chair.

     

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  211.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "It's not research. As I said, I want to actually *test* different copyright efforts and review the results."

    That does seem quite odd. I would think that looking into the various efforts of the world in regards to copyright might show a much better picture than say, just the US.

    We know of Korea and France, and their 3-strikes law. We know of the more draconian US standard and the ineffectiveness there. We could look into Canada's copyright law and see the changes.

    In regards to places with no copyright, might not we look into the places researched into the "Media Piracy" pdf? I'm still not done with the entire book, but so far the research there seems to be a great start.

     

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  212.  
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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:47pm

    "why can't artists get their money before they release anything and then let it go like every other endeavor of the human race."

    what other endeavors? ford gets paid for every automobile they make, and while this seems different, this is why it is not: noone can copy their models, noone can build a factory and make ford explorers, with the logo and everything. ford not only gets the money for making the physical automobile, the fact that noone else can use their brand or engineering allows them to charge more for the car, this increase is the 'intellectual value added.'

     

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  213.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:49pm

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

    to foster a more open communication platform *

    and if you don't think these broadcasting/cableco monopolies result in censorship, consider the fact that MM would be willing to express his criticisms on IP over such communication channels (he's said so before) but copy'right' criticisms are hardly ever communicated over such communication channels (despite the fact that copy'right', at least as it stands today, is virtually indefensible intellectually). Instead, they indoctrinate us with ridiculous pro-IP propaganda. Censorship is real and the government is responsible for it.

     

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  214.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:49pm

    Re:

    In fact they have 4 billion dollars in sales without the benefit of copyright that it is offset by piracy, so despite all the sharing done music got sold somehow even though people could acquire those things for free and without fear of punishment, remember sharing didn't even slowdown with the threat of legal action, every single attempt to curtail piracy failed.

    Also why would anybody buy music if they could hear it on the radio for free and even record it? and people did record it all the time.

    Also does piracy reduces the value of secondary and tertiary means of revenue? that is a big "nope", it increases it.

     

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  215.  
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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 8:59pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    very theoretical analysis. if something costs 4 billion to make, but you can make unlimited copies then the marginal value is zero. because 4 billion divided by infinity limits to zero.

    but reverse engineer the equation and you see that infinity times zero is not equal to 4 billion, so by charging $0 for it, you will not recoup that $4 billion dollars by producing an infinite amount of infinities of it.

     

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  216.  
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    blaktron (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:05pm

    Re:

    I just gotta say, you're here trolling for 'artists' to make infinite money off their creative output, slamming mike for supposedly trying to make money off his creative output? I dont even get it anymore. I dont know the guy, dont feel I need to defend him or anything, but do you even think this shit through? It started out funny, now its just sad...

     

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  217.  
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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:07pm

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

    you pay for a song one time, just like you pay for a house one time. you can listen to it all you want. if your friend wants the song he pays for it too, just like if your friend wants a house he doesnt get it for the cost of construction because you paid retail.

     

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  218.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:17pm

    Another question that often gets overlooked is that, even if copy'right' promotes the progress of the arts, why should the government artificially promote the progress of the arts? Artificially directing more labor towards art directs labor away from other things (since labor is a limited resources) which hinders the progress of those other things. Not that art isn't important, it is, but those other things are important too. Shouldn't the free market determine how much of each thing should be produced?

     

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  219.  
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    alephen, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:39pm

    Re:

    i think once you have a structure in place that protects the intellectual property of say "huckleberry finn" (pretend it is undelined) it seems rather easy and logical to extend that protection to other forms of art. when this protection was extended it was rather difficult to reproduce these things so enforcement was not so labor intensive as it is today.

    (of course the initial protection of "huckleberry finn" was framed in the constituion, although i suspect the primary focus of the initial law was to protect non-fiction work.)

     

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  220.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Really? Odd. If there isn't enough data to support a position, then isn't it better that I not take a strong stand?

    Regardless of whether you think there is enough data or not, we need laws now - one way or the other.

    It's not research. As I said, I want to actually *test* different copyright efforts and review the results.

    That's called an experiment. When scientists do experiments, they often call that research. So your testing is research, however empirical it may be. Where is your experimental plan? How do you intend to review the results? How will you draw conclusions? How do you intend to eliminate confounding factors, such that you know that your changes (and not something else) were responsible for the results you claim? How long will each test take? How can you do tests in such a way that we will achieve a more optimal outcome in a reasonable timeframe? If a test takes 2, 5, 10, or 30 years to generate a single, highly-confounded result, how is that going to work? Just saying "I want to run a test!" is not good enough.

    As an aside, I'm not an economist or a politician, so maybe I'm missing something here, but what laws and policies are actually made this way - through scientific experimentation like this? What domains of law were arrived at through careful and systematic experimentation? Where have we ever changed the law just to see what would happen, without doing a tremendous amount of modeling and research first such that we could make an educated hypothesis?

    I'm not asking to do a study. I'm asking to run an experiment. We have a few such natural experiments (fashion industry, changes in copyright law, etc.). But we could use some more.

    What experiment? Lay it out. Work out the details.

    Different evidence can be weighted as is reasonable.

    Weasel words. Reasonableness is about as fungible a standard as you could possibly encounter. If you can define reasonableness in a way such that two people with diametrically opposing viewpoints can come to the same conclusion on reasonableness, maybe you've got something.

    Doubtful. I do have specific proposals on patent reform that I have laid out many times... and we have just as big an issue there with people complaining.

    Exactly two such proposals, if I recall correctly. Both of which were modest reforms leaving the existing system primarily intact. One for an "independent invention" defense that you pose as a fait accompli, without answering perhaps the key question: how do you propose for a party to demonstrate independent invention? "No, your honor, I never ever saw my competitor's product at all." Then there are the follow-up questions: even if we had that, and even if it worked, how many patent cases would be foreshortened? How many would still have to go all the way to trial to find that out? What impact would it have?

    The second, if I recall right (and I may be misremembering) was a set of changes to the obviousness standard linked back to the notion of independent invention (i.e., that independent invention should be a secondary indicator of obviousness). You also mention asking people of ordinary skill in the art to explain whether something is obvious, but again fail to answer the key question: how do you do so in a way that avoids hindsight reasoning, and without giving them the answer to the problem in the way you ask the question?

    Time to step up the game.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 9:51pm

    Seriously...?

    If something cost 4 billion to make, there's a lot of work gone into it, yes.

    But if someone made something similar for say 15 million, that did the same job and was just as effective with much less cost, more people would gravitate towards the cheaper alternative.

    See also, rocket engine research in the 60s.

     

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  222.  
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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "Regardless of whether you think there is enough data or not, we need laws now - one way or the other. "

    What the hell kind of laws do we need right now? The internet was doing just fine without COICA and all of these abusive forms of legislation either hamfistedly going through Congress or aggressively done by ICE for their RIAA/MPAA masters, and I'm sure that the ONLY ones that will continue to suffer are the ones who want a call back to the 1980s. Which should die in a fire along with the mullet.

    "As an aside, I'm not an economist or a politician, so maybe I'm missing something here, but what laws and policies are actually made this way - through scientific experimentation like this? What domains of law were arrived at through careful and systematic experimentation? Where have we ever changed the law just to see what would happen, without doing a tremendous amount of modeling and research first such that we could make an educated hypothesis? "

    Look up Dambisa Moyo. Laws can be changed with good (or bad) intentions but the consequences become prevalent if a law is not researched thoroughly.

    Let's take donations to Africa, as she argues. She argues that assisting Africa doesn't make them independent of the loans and resources of the US, which has really hurt Africa in the long run. Yes, you have good intentions, but the results speak for themselves. Of the last 20 years, have you heard of great advances out of any of the countries of the Middle East?

    Well, other than a lot of war... [/hyperbole]

    "Time to step up the game."

    I really don't see anything that you're offering except some kind of challenge. Why is it that Mike has to answer you and yet you offer nothing of yourself?

    No name, just an anonymous face in the crowd trying to challenge someone else because you want to knock them off an imaginary throne...

     

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  223.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.


    This is not a sporting competition. Why even bring that up?

    We're discussing an *economically* driven law.


    Our moral compass governs what we consider fair and sporting whether in a boxing ring or an economy. The government is the referee. When private citizens or corporations step over the line, it regulates. That is always its role.


    But that was not your initial argument. Your argument was that copyright was moral because someone felt ripped off. I gave you another example of someone feeling ripped off and your response is "that's okay because that's fair."

    You are not being logically consistent.


    Feeling bad because you are actually cheated or wronged is different from feeling bad because you are a sore loser in a fair fight.

    We use our sense of morality to differentiate the two.


    I believe you are completely wrong on that. But you seem to be philosophically stuck on this fundamentally incorrect position. I'm not sure that anything will drive this debate forward until you recognize your own mistakes here.


    The very first laws came from "right vs wrong", often handed down from "God" himself. Little has changed since. The Ten Commandments were based on moral principles of right vs wrong. So was the Constitution. So is modern law.

    I would love to know where you get your theory that morality has nothing to do with legality. They have always been intrinsically linked.

    Morality is what guides us through the gray. We enshrine our collective morals in the code of the law. That is the purpose of the law.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.


    Please stop trying to do this. You're not that smart.


    Considering you have to consistently revert to personally insults for anyone who disagrees with you, maybe it is your own capacity for open debate you need to re-evaluate.

    What was there to comment on?

    You said:

    Something that is rivalrous and excludable is scarce. Money is scarce.

    Something that is non-rivlarous and non-excludable is not scarce. Music is not scarce.


    Dollar bills are rivalrous and excludable only because the law makes it so. If there was no anti-copying law, dollar bills would cease to be either, just like digital goods.

    The copy protection on bills only works because the legal consequences of trying to break those copy protections are so steep most with any resources for good R&D will never try.

    Take away the anti-copying laws, and I guarantee that would change overnight.

    Dollar bills are only artificially scarce. There is no real shortage, except that which the law enforces.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:45pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.


    With what you called "digital goods", most of the time they are not meant to represent any fixed value.

    Yes they are. Each copy is meant to represent the fixed value determined by the creator needed to recoup investment.

    Copying without paying for the license devalues it just like copying bills does - by decreasing exclusivity and rarity.

    If I write a song and you copy it, the value of my copy has not reduced.


    Yes it has, because it has become less exclusive and more prevalently available at the unlicensed price of $0.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I thought pirates were against DRM? Or punishment for those who try to circumvent DRM?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:50pm

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

    What the hell kind of laws do we need right now?

    That's the question, isn't it? Taking away laws is one way to go, changing them is another, adding more is another. The path we choose matters. But Mike won't take a position on any of these: he simply wants to run "experiments" or "tests" to see which alternative is best. Though he hypothesizes that removing laws will work out better than adding them, he won't say which laws to remove.

    Look up Dambisa Moyo. Laws can be changed with good (or bad) intentions but the consequences become prevalent if a law is not researched thoroughly.

    Yes, they do. What I am asking is: in what domain have we ever run deliberate scientific experiments with the law in the way that Mike is suggesting? Is Mike's suggestion even vaguely realistic? Where do we change the law purely to see what happens if we do, and then change it again to see what happens then, and then as soon as we do that enough times, we start changing it to achieve some outcome?

    I understand that we often change the law, and then years later we see how things are and maybe change it again. But we are not doing so to run tests or experiments to see how specific changes in the law affect the world. Do lawmakers say "hey, let's raise the speed limit to 100 everywhere and just see what happens? If lots of extra people die, we'll knock a few miles per hour off. Or maybe add a few!" They'd be crucified. Lawmakers change the law to achieve an outcome based on some stimulus: sometimes it's new data and sometimes it's just sentiment or belief, and then if enough people complain they change it again. Is Mike really arguing that we should invent a fundamentally new manner of lawmaking just to address the problems of copyright? If so, now he has two problems.

    I really don't see anything that you're offering except some kind of challenge. Why is it that Mike has to answer you and yet you offer nothing of yourself?

    He certainly doesn't have to answer me. But every reader of this blog has endured years and years of endless complaints about the current system from the pulpit here. Step 1 to changing is realizing you have a problem. Steps 2 through N are figuring out what you have to do and then doing it. This blog barely even dips a toe into Step 2.

    If I went to every restaurant in town and complained loudly in person, in the newspaper, and on the Internet, that every chef's food sucked, I would be perfectly in my rights to do that and nothing more. I could do that for 10 or 15 years. But I would not be surprised if, at some point, chefs and others came up to me and said, "You have never liked any food you've eaten at a restaurant in this town. So how can we make food that doesn't suck?" What if my answer was, "well, I think what you should do is systematically combine different ingredients together to create a set of dishes, and then serve each and select the most reasonable opinions of your patrons..."

    What do I offer? Just these opinions. I believe that's what these comment boards are for. I was invited, as was all the public. I haven't been asked to leave yet. It seems that the management has decided that a board full of detractors and "trolls" is more valuable to it than one without. They can change their mind anytime. It is not hard to marginalize either group with modern message board technology and a modicum of moderation.

    No name, just an anonymous face in the crowd trying to challenge someone else because you want to knock them off an imaginary throne...

    The throne is not at all imaginary. Alexa says that this site is about the 10,000th most popular on the entire Internet, and the 4,200th most popular site in the United States. While this may not put it in the exponential upswing of the J-curve, it's certainly in the knee, which is very good given the generally narrow subject matter. Like it or not, the site gets plenty of traffic and influences the opinions of others. For what is that influence being used? For what will it be used in the future?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 10:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Value and price are equivalent in economic terms. Price = economic value.

    It is true the song will still have sentimental value to you if it is infinitely copied. But economically, it will be worth $0.

    Same with money. You might derive sentimental value from calling yourself a millionaire once you've made all those copies. But economically it will be worthless.

     

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  229.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "By making what should be an infinite good scare you can create a market for it"

    But that defeats the whole purpose of having an economy to begin with. The whole purpose of having an economy is so that we can have more goods, not so that we can have more scarcity.

    Creating a monopoly on anything creates industries around that monopoly. But it decreases aggregate output, the very purpose of having industries to begin with.

    "My opinion is the main justification in the modern world for copyright is that without it lots of people would lose a lot of money."

    but money isn't an end of itself, it's the things that money produces. No monopoly = more aggregate output = more things produced.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:24pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    But it decreases aggregate output, the very purpose of having industries to begin with.

    A copyright monopoly is a monopoly on copies. Since the good is infinite, what additional value is more aggregate output, since the additional aggregate output is just more copies?

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I would love to know where you get your theory that morality has nothing to do with legality. They have always been intrinsically linked.

    I did not say morality has nothing to do with legality.

    Why must you lie?

    I said morality has nothing to do with *copyright law*. Many other laws are morally driven. Copyright is not.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Otherwise, we can just have the government print more money and start handing it out. You complain that this creates inflation? Why? Because there is more money and the same amount of stuff is being produced. We don't want to create more money for the sake of creating more money. and we don't want to direct the existing money in any specific direction just for the sake of doing so. We want to optimize aggregate output. Monopoly abolition does that, though the argument is that, in the case of IP, that's allegedly not the case. But even if it's the case that copy'right' leads to more art production, which is questionable, the additional labor necessary to produce the additional production takes labor away from other economic sectors (since labor is a limited resource that must be allocated) reducing aggregate output in those sectors.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:27pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Dollar bills are only artificially scarce. There is no real shortage, except that which the law enforces.


    You keep saying that and you keep being wrong.

    Dollar bills are both rivalrous and excludable. They are scarce.

    I cannot continue discussing this with you. I thought you were here for a serious discussion. You are not.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "regarding jay's post 186. (posts seem to float to me)"

    You can actually change the way the posts look so that they're threaded. Either click the "view in chronology/thread" words or you can change it at the end of an article where it says "flattened/threaded"

    " there is nothing stopping bands from releasing their music for free. currently *they* get to choose."

    *Looks at the Beatles on Pirate Bay*

    Yeah... Who's getting to choose?

    "without copyright laws that great independant song that was released, that was so amazing was noticed by other bands who couldnt write, and there are now so many covers of the song that noone even knows who wrote it. "

    Culture always builds on the past - People build on the songs, and it can make you more popular if you don't try to sue everyone using your song.

    "without copyright laws i can the song 'imagine' and use it in my furniture store commercial. no heaven?!? then how do you explain a fold away couch for only $699?!?"

    ...You're going to have to explain this one to me...

    I don't know exactly what you mean?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The good is only 'infinite' without copy'right'. Copy'right' seeks to artificially make it finite by placing a price on it (people only have so much money and so they can only buy a finite amount). Allowing it to be 'infinite' creates more aggregate output. More aggregate output is good because more people have more things of value, that is, copies of the content. Aggregate output is the whole purpose of having an economy to begin with, to give more people more of what they value.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Value and price are equivalent in economic terms. Price = economic value.


    Um. No. They are not. Seriously. Stop this debate. You're digging yourself in deeper.

    You value air. You do not pay for air. Price does not equal value.

    In basic economic terms (you might want to take a refresher course), "value" is a part of the demand curve. It helps you decide what you are willing to pay for an item. The *price* is determined by the intersection of supply and demand, at which point you are able to make a decision. If the price is HIGHER than what you value it at, you don't buy. If the price is lower, you often will buy.

    But price and value are entirely different. To claim that they are the same is false and economically ignorant.

    Please stop arguing when you clearly do not know what you are discussing.

    It is true the song will still have sentimental value to you if it is infinitely copied. But economically, it will be worth $0.

    False. It has value to you in all sorts of way. The price may be zero, but it has much greater economic value in many ways. If I am the artist, for example, it has economic value in that it acts as free promotion. If I am a fan, it has economic value in the marginal benefit that I get from it.

    I'm not sure if you have any economics background, but please, I beg of you, stop trying to discuss this until you learn some basics.

    Same with money. You might derive sentimental value from calling yourself a millionaire once you've made all those copies. But economically it will be worthless.

    Um? Ok. That makes no sense.

    Please, please, please, stop trying until you understand the basics. I am not insulting you. I am telling you that you are speaking ignorantly about a subject I understand, and when I and others have tried to teach you, you continue to repeat ignorant claims.

    Being ignorant initially is one thing. To have people teach you and then to have you repeat ignorant statements is something else entirely. I am not insulting you. You are doing it to yourself.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's called an experiment. When scientists do experiments, they often call that research. So your testing is research, however empirical it may be. Where is your experimental plan?

    Heh. You're really digging deep now. Until I present the fully vetted plan, I am not able to speak on the subject? Sorry, I don't play by the rules of an anonymous critic who comes here on a daily basis to insult me.

    Exactly two such proposals, if I recall correctly. Both of which were modest reforms leaving the existing system primarily intact. One for an "independent invention" defense that you pose as a fait accompli, without answering perhaps the key question: how do you propose for a party to demonstrate independent invention? "No, your honor, I never ever saw my competitor's product at all." Then there are the follow-up questions: even if we had that, and even if it worked, how many patent cases would be foreshortened? How many would still have to go all the way to trial to find that out? What impact would it have?

    The second, if I recall right (and I may be misremembering) was a set of changes to the obviousness standard linked back to the notion of independent invention (i.e., that independent invention should be a secondary indicator of obviousness). You also mention asking people of ordinary skill in the art to explain whether something is obvious, but again fail to answer the key question: how do you do so in a way that avoids hindsight reasoning, and without giving them the answer to the problem in the way you ask the question?


    Point proven. Even after I present detailed proposals, the people who dislike me, will pretend that the proposals are not good enough, will misrepresent them and then mock me anyway.

    Your claim that if I presented a proposal I would no longer deal with trolls is disproved.. by you.

     

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    Brendan (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:46pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Can't buy much music in prison, so again we have to ask ... how would this help you?

     

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    Brendan (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    It's not DRM. You can easily make a copy.

    But that copy will obviously (in most cases) be fake. It fails the authenticity test.

    People want real money because it's authentic.

    Authenticity is one of those things that is Better Than Free. http://www.kk.org/thetechnium/archives/2008/01/better_than_fre.php

     

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    Brendan (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Wrong again (I think that's strike 3 for you, but since you won't register, we can't keep track of your comments).

    The price and the value are completely disjoint. You may price your music at $10, but I don't value it at all. They are not the same.

    Similarly, a band may hand out free CDs for promo at a show. I paid nothing for it, but I highly value the music because it's good and I got the band to sign the liner.

    Try registering for an account and letting us read a history of your comments. It will allow for more enlightened discussion.

     

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  241.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:57pm

    Re:

    Why is your free air progress to life?

    Why is it progress when people freely give to charity?

    "why is your free entertainment progress for mankind?"

    and no one is forcing anyone to produce entertainment. If you don't want to, then don't. But others will produce free entertainment and they do. Why is it not progress when entertainment doesn't have to cost money?

     

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    Brendan (profile), Apr 13th, 2011 @ 11:59pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Can you please register for an account and set an avatar?

    Either somebody is impersonating Nicedoggy, or his IP keeps changing which changes the Identicon.

    Get an account and prevent impersonation.

     

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    alephen, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the bands choose to release for free or to sign with a record lable. they are not foreced to sign.

    people neednt build on it they can copy it directly, make a near exact copy from their band. if 400 bands make nearly exact copies of your song in the month following your release, it can very easily cause you to get lost among them. currently those bands have to pay you a small amount, so you at least get some compensation.

    regarding the commercial comment, currently you need to get permission and pay to use a song in your commercial due to copyright laws. without anyone can use any song to advertise their product, i think it would be a shame for some artists serious work to be used to market some flippant item.

     

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  244.  
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    alephen, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the bands choose to release for free or to sign with a record lable. they are not foreced to sign.

    people neednt build on it they can copy it directly, make a near exact copy from their band. if 400 bands make nearly exact copies of your song in the month following your release, it can very easily cause you to get lost among them. currently those bands have to pay you a small amount, so you at least get some compensation.

    regarding the commercial comment, currently you need to get permission and pay to use a song in your commercial due to copyright laws. without anyone can use any song to advertise their product, i think it would be a shame for some artists serious work to be used to market some flippant item.

     

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    Brendan (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Register for an account. Idiot.

     

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  246.  
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    alephen, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the bands choose to release for free or to sign with a record lable. they are not foreced to sign.

    people neednt build on it they can copy it directly, make a near exact copy from their band. if 400 bands make nearly exact copies of your song in the month following your release, it can very easily cause you to get lost among them. currently those bands have to pay you a small amount, so you at least get some compensation.

    regarding the commercial comment, currently you need to get permission and pay to use a song in your commercial due to copyright laws. without anyone can use any song to advertise their product, i think it would be a shame for some artists serious work to be used to market some flippant item.

     

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  247.  
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    alephen, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    the bands choose to release for free or to sign with a record lable. they are not foreced to sign.

    people neednt build on it they can copy it directly, make a near exact copy from their band. if 400 bands make nearly exact copies of your song in the month following your release, it can very easily cause you to get lost among them. currently those bands have to pay you a small amount, so you at least get some compensation.

    regarding the commercial comment, currently you need to get permission and pay to use a song in your commercial due to copyright laws. without anyone can use any song to advertise their product, i think it would be a shame for some artists serious work to be used to market some flippant item.

     

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  248.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:04am

    Re:

    "ford gets paid for every automobile they make"

    but they shouldn't get paid for every copy someone else makes, even if a car copying machine exists.

    "the fact that noone else can use their brand"

    You're confusing trademark with copy'right'

    "the fact that noone else can use their brand or engineering allows them to charge more for the car, this increase is the 'intellectual value added.'"

    So, the fact that they can charge more for the car itself is a good thing?

    Them being able to charge more for the car isn't an end in itself.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:09am

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

    So if he is in my car he should pay then?
    If he is in my house I can't play the music since he didn't pay for it right?

    Copyrights gets silly pretty fast.
    Why not adopt what every other person in the world do and that is get paid for the work once and have no further claims on it. Price the f'ing work and ask a price for it and release it when you get that money not sooner, what is wrong with that?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    An inability to determine what constitutes an obvious invention itself is a criticism of the patent system. Patents should only be granted on inventions that won't exist without patents. Without patents, progress will happen and many inventions will continue to occur, as they have in the past in areas without them and as they do today as well in areas that don't really enforce them. The question is, how do we filter out the bad patents from the good ones. If we can not, then that's a criticism of having patents to begin with. We should not grant a patent on every possible idea or invention that anyone can come up with. Also if we can't tell the difference between what deserves a patent and what doesn't, then who's to say that anything deserves a patent?

     

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  251.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:13am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "How much data is enough data to make a policy change"

    How much data is enough data to justify maintaining the current policy? Oh, wait, you have no data to justify maintaining the current policy. Lets abolish it.

     

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  252.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:14am

    Re:

    I'll make a specific recommendation. Abolish IP. How's that for a specific recommendation for you?

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:15am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Agreed the fact that Glenn Beck its allowed to drive a car from any manufacture and use it for his own personal financial gain should be prohibit, also no electronic manufacturer should let him get away with what he say on television using their creations to make money from himself without having to pay anything to them it is a damn shame.

     

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    Nicedoggy, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    See this wouldn't happen to anybody who get paid first and release the work later, why do artists do such a thing?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:18am

    Re: Re:

    "i think once you have a structure in place that protects the intellectual property of say "huckleberry finn" (pretend it is undelined) it seems rather easy and logical to extend that protection to other forms of art. "

    Despite the fact that this is a non-sequitur, the question that I'm asking is why should we have a system that prevents the free copying of "Huckleberry Finn" to begin with, even if that means more art will be created?

     

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  256.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:23am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Have you ever heard of rule utility?

    We are better off with anti-plagiarism laws than without them and so these laws are justified. If we allowed plagiarism to continue, if we made the allowance of plagiarism a rule, then we would all be worse off.

    The same thing likely can't be said about the current copy'right' laws.

     

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  257.  
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    Nicedoggy, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:32am

    Re:

    Do Ford get paid by anyone that uses their cars to make money?
    Have cab drivers have to pay a percentage of their earnings to Ford?
    Has Ford charged truckers for their earnings they are using Ford's creation to make money it is obscene, imoral, those truckers are thieves OMG!

    Why should anyone have to pay an artists for using their music in their business if they paid once?

    Why do artists are paid over and over again and nobody else inside society have the same rights?

    Why can't artists put a price on what they sell and be done with any further rights down the pipe?

    Those people don't want to change that is why, but there is no problem here, law or no law, people will just turn against them and no money will be made by that group.

    Doubt?

    It has more than ten years now since I last bough any music from any "artist" from a label, movies the same thing and books, how will they get my money when I'm angry and pissed and there is no law saying I need to buy anything from those people.

     

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  258.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:57am

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

    Heh. You're really digging deep now. Until I present the fully vetted plan, I am not able to speak on the subject? Sorry, I don't play by the rules of an anonymous critic who comes here on a daily basis to insult me.

    You can speak on whatever subject you want. I have no illusion that I am going to stop that.

    For someone with such broad reach and readership - certainly in the top 5 of influential voices on the Internet with respect to IP issues day-to-day- why does everything have to be so negative all the time? Why are there currently 13 posts on the front page that are fundamentally just complaints about the status quo? Why does that seem to be the norm here? I understand that a lot of crazy stuff is going on out there, but how does that get fixed?

    You have made a strong case, over years and years and years, that current IP law is flawed. I even believe you sometimes. But when and how does the discussion move on from there? We all know what we are changing from, and even why. What should we change to?

    And even when that's established, how do you get there from here? You will certainly not believe this, but I was surprised to find out that rather than a position on this issue, you have a meta-position: a position for figuring out a position. It's a hard sell for me.

    I would think, and maybe I'm wrong, that anyone who thinks that things are really screwed up in the world of IP would be interested in developing and executing a practical agenda to change that. That agenda seems to be largely missing.

    Point proven. Even after I present detailed proposals, the people who dislike me, will pretend that the proposals are not good enough, will misrepresent them and then mock me anyway.

    I suppose somehow coming here every day I have missed the detailed proposals that are properly represented and answer these clearly trollish questions.

    Imagine what someone who doesn't come here every day thinks and sees.

    Can anyone who is not Mike, or a troll like me I guess, please - without going and searching the archives - correct my articulation of Mike's detailed proposals on how to reform the patent system, and (if my questions about them are still relevant in light of the corrected proposals) answer them?

     

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    misterdoug (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 1:00am

    It's almost a religious issue

    One of the problems in any copyright discussion is that the rights-holding industry -- the business sector that buys and sells the rights to other people's creative works, treating those rights as assets -- has done a really good job poisoning the well of collective thought by convincing people to equate rights with property.

    Property isn't a legal concept or a social custom, it's an instinct older than civilization, dating back to animals chasing other animals away from their territory. Property isn't just wired into our brains, it's wired into the pre-human part of our brains. A caveman who picks up a pretty rock has property, but he only has it until another caveman takes it away from him. When the cave clan makes a rule that says it's wrong to take it away, that's when he has rights.

    If you can get people to forget this fact and start thinking of rights as property, if you can get them to look at copyright the same way they look at their own possessions, it's easy to get them to go along with any level of copyright law. The need to make genuine arguments vanishes. You don't have to defend copyright or even argue the relative merits of different forms of copyright. All you have to do is say that stealing is stealing. Period. And heads will nod and people will start calling each other pirates and socialists.

    Defenders of our current copyright system aren't really defending the system, they're defending a picture of it that has been painted specifically to make a defense seem unnecessary. That's why these discussions are generally no more useful than theists and atheists ranting at each other. In practical terms what really matter is who is winning, and since most of the money being invested politically is on the copyright side, the copyright side is winning.

    What's interesting to me is that copyright reformists don't seem to have learned anything from their opponents, who know that Presentation Is Everything. I think reformists should turn their backs on the image that has been manufactured for copyright, and create a different image. Instead of saying "copyright" they should say "copy restriction," since that's what it really is.

    People have been imitating each other for thousands of years. When they heard a song or a poem or a story they liked, they sang it or repeated it to somebody else. When they saw how well arches worked they went home and built things with arches. This behavior is totally natural, and is in fact responsible for civilization. The ancients evolved writing, architecture, music, medicine, engineering, etc. by imitation, not by restricting each other from doing something just because someone else had done it first.

    Copyright criminalizes this behavior. Why? Force copyright hardliners to defend restricting the behavior that brought about civilization. Make them explain their position rather than using the property facade to pretend that it's a given.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 1:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Oops

    My use of 'rip off' is just to emphasise that the US Copyright act of 1790 was a blatant copy - ironically - and so not designed by the Framers or others to 'promote the progress'. So my point is: how could © be designed in 1787-90 to 'promote the progress' if it was drafted and enacted in 1709? Moreover, you seem to be quite happy to entertain the idea that the Statute of Anne was itself a copy of preceding legislation.

    And the 'you' in my 'religion' sentence should be read as
    'one', thus: If one believes in copyright as devoutly as a religion then one will believe that the Constitution said "And Congress shall have power to re-enact the Statute of Anne to promote the progress..."

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 1:56am

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

    No, the good is still infinite with copyright, regarless of the legality of doing so.

     

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  262.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Are you saying the people that run Pirate Bay don't post on their own site?

    On the boards that's certainly not what they're saying...

    They brag about their ad revenue.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:01am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Owning Ideas and a sense of entitlement.

    I disagree - the argument is sound. By having a monopoly on corn,f ro example, you deprive a LOT of other people the capacity to grow more corn to satisfy the needs of a scciety.

     

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  264.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Delusional Freetardism 101:

    "If you make a living selling music WAY over margin and people get home and are disappointed a feel they wasted money and they definiatly wouldn't have bought it if they heard it first, you sir are a parasite"

    He can't spell or comment on reality, but he can almost put together a few cliches to form a rationalization.

    Save the children. Please.

     

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  265.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    (That is we are worse off with copy'right' than without).

     

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    Mr.E, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:10am

    Copyright is not needed

    Strangely enough there are several innovation-based industries where there is no copyright protection, and they still make tons of money, and have been doing so for some time.

    Wait, what? Profit with no copyright protection?

    A joke, right?

    Not only am I not joking, many of these industries actually dwarf the record, movie and book industries combined in gross sales.

    Fashion, perfumes, sculptural designs of cars, food, jokes, game rules, furniture, to name some, have no copyright protection.

    There is a very interesting TED talk by Johanna Blakley about the lack of copyright protection in the fashion industry and what lessons can be learned from it.
    http://www.ted.com/talks/johanna_blakley_lessons_from_fashion_s_free_culture.html

    Blakely's talk convinced me that the best way forward is less copyright, not more. Some business models will not survive, but that has been the case with pretty much every technological revolution to date. Money can be made with no copyright, thats all we need to know, the market darwinism will do the rest.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I cannot continue discussing this with you.

    Because you can not prove him wrong.

    Which is why you are a gigantic vagina that won't admit when he has been outsmarted, despite the entire Web witnessing it.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:15am

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

    I, personally, have made numerous assertions about promoting progress over the past eighteen months:

    Patents:

    1) Limit to five years, with a one-off renewal to ten years;
    2) Automitcally granted for ninety days whilst the patent is assesed for obviousness and prior art; obviousness is rejected with prejudice (no renewal), and prior art can be appealed once after modifications made to the patent to make it distinguishable;
    3) A form of Harvard referncing for building on earlier patents;
    4) Non-transferrable, so no Shell game for you;
    5) Instant revokation of all currently-held patents for patent-fraud.

    Copyrights:

    1) 20 years or life plus five years, whichever is the shorter;
    2) Rights are given to the creator(s) of a work, regardless of who funds the work, and are non-transferrable, except in the case of death of a creator, in which case, it passes to his estate;
    3) Fair-use is the default in infringement casees;
    4) Copyfraud is punishable by the same levels as other types of fraud;
    5) If a work is put out for consumption for the sole purpose of intending to sue and is proven to be so, it is considered public domain and the uit will be dismissed with prejudice.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    No. As already explained (multiple times) music is not scarce because it is non-rivalrous and non-excludable.

    Never been explained (of course), and you're far too much of coward to dare try and put it into a few sentences.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    tl;dr

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Nah, I knew you would wuss out and not respond with a real answer, so I just posted *crickets* to save some time in advance.

    And I was right!

     

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  272.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:31am

    Re: You've lost your damn mind...

    You're treating that as if it's a substitute to a digital product? And how does a copy of a song devalue the musician, artist or whatever?

    No speaking in tongues allowed; spell it out.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Ask a person gasping for air how much they'd pay for it.

     

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    blaktron (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 3:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    A lot, because of the value they place on their life. Air is actually a great example of the point you are arguing against. Its price is 0, its abundant and non-scarce. BUT, because of the absolute need of it we have, its value is VERY high. And because of that extremely high value, when the supply becomes short and demand shoots up people would pay almost anything for it.

    Thats an example of how value and price are different, but connected. In that the price people will pay for something is based on the demand for it and its value.

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 3:53am

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    it is natural to feel like it is yours. Have you ever been plagiarized? Have you ever had someone take credit for something you worked really hard on? ........ You hear Joe Biden speak and all you hear are "lies." But they are personal, emotional, moral truths that many creators agree very strongly with.

    I wonder how Neil Kinnock feels about Joe Biden's plagiarism of his speech. The problem with many of these moral copyright advocates is that they are Grade A hypocrites.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 3:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    And you're far too much of an idiot to breed, but we both know that'll happen, too.

     

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    The eejit (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 4:00am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    *tumbleweed*

     

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  278.  
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    Richard (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 4:04am

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I don't think Mike Masnick has a traditional understanding of morality. So it is not surprising he has trouble understanding how piracy would contradict many moral sentiments.


    Let's see what "traditional morality (at least the Christian tradition) has to say:

    "And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloak forbid not to take thy coat also." (From St Luke's Gospel)

    "Freely you have received, freely give"(From St Matthew's Gospel)

    You see if the REAL traditional morality basically tells you not to defend even your physical property - how much less would it want you to defend a non-scarce good.

    Traditional morality abhors copyright (along with other concepts such as Usury (interest) which we allow ONLY for utilitatrian reasons).

    Morality is a slam dunk AGAINST copyright - so Mike's (and the US constitution's) allowance of it for practical reasons is the only possible justification.

     

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    indieThing (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 4:19am

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

    Not coming here every day myself, I have still managed to pick up the gist if not the full details of Mikes arguments. With someone as erudite as yourself, I'd think you were capable of picking up on these.

    As far as I can tell, society has only tried a couple of copyright systems in modern times, and thus we have no experimental data to make a reasonable decision that benefits the most people.

    There are various studies that have been done, and these are mentioned most days on this site, that seem to indicate that making money is just as easy without copyrights (unless you're a lawyer or middleman), and as a small businessman who makes content, I can assure you that having a great product and good marketing makes far more impact on your bottom line than any amount of copyrights will.

    Also, with copyright being increasingly difficult to enforce, and no amount of laws will stop what is basic human nature, the likelihood of it stopping is pretty close to zero. So why not work with it, use it to your advantage.

    More and more we see that IP laws are being used in unethical ways, to enrich large corporations and even by governments to stifle free speech and invade our privacy.

    More and more people are becoming aware of these issues as our rights are eaten away and at some point there's going to have to be some action, or there'll be an awful lot of angry citizens.

    My personal opinion is that non-commercial infringement should be done away with. There's no real evidence it does any harm and as most people infringe at some point in their lives, it criminalizes them for no good reason.

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 4:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    This right is based on the moral principle that you may reap what you sow.

    Wow - what a misinterpretation.

    Search for reap what you sow on Bible gateway and you get the following:
    "Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

    For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting. "

    I don't think that supports your case at all. Reap what you sow is a figurative warning - not a literal entitlement!

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re: What numbers would be useful?

    So this is what I believe is influencing policy makers the most: the desire to see the US remain the dominant player on the global scene.
    Isn't this a losing battle - wouldn't it be better to concentrate on finding ways for the US to survive when it is no longer the dominant player on the global scene?

     

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    Karl (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 4:58am

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

    What do you mean by "communication"? I'm not following...

    The way most people interact now is, to a very significant degree, online. In a very real sense, there is no difference between someone posting a video on YouTube (or wherever), and that person merely telling their friends about that same video.

    It is exactly in situations like this where copyright really breaks down, and theory does not (perhaps cannot) match reality. Thinking about all of it in terms of "infringement" rather than "communication" leads to making communication itself a criminal act.

    I'm not alone in this view. If it's not stated outright, then certainly it's implied. In the latest issue of Maximum PC, for instance, Quinn Norton (who also writes for Wired) called the new TPP IP agreement "about as close as current technology can get to letting the studios charge you for thinking about a movie."

     

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    Karl (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Are you saying the people that run Pirate Bay don't post on their own site?

    Do they upload torrents themselves? If so, I wasn't aware of it. Can you provide a link to any evidence?

    They brag about their ad revenue.

    Their ad revenue does not come from piracy per se, but from offering their users a service. If non-commercial use truly is not piracy, then their users aren't pirates, and whatever profits they generate are not from piracy either.

    Also, the only time I saw a quote about the ad revenue, it wasn't "bragging." It was claiming that the ad revenue barely covers server costs, and that TPB might be operating at a loss. But, if you have a link to someone from TPB "bragging," then again, please post it.

    By the way, we're not the only people interested in these sorts of definitions of "commercial." In 2009, Creative Commons conducted a survey of what sorts of use constitute "commercial use." The results are here:
    http://wiki.creativecommons.org/Defining_Noncommercial

     

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    Karl (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 5:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Never been explained (of course)

    Let Me Wikipedia That For You:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rivalry_(economics)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Excludability

    Economically speaking, copyright is the attempt to turn a public good into a club good. Unlike most club goods, its "excludability" is not provided by a natural monopoly, but by an artificial restraint on the market, enforced through government regulations.

     

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    Karl (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 5:57am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    By the way, here's another instructive Wikipedia entry:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Regulatory_capture

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 6:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Owning Ideas and a sense of entitlement.

    That's not what I was describing. I didn't say at any point that this particular farmer had a monopoly, just that he was using the community seed and claiming ownership of what he produces from it. It was a metaphor for ignoring the work of others that made your work possible. The seed is our culture and the farmer is the artist. That seed was the property of everyone and that "farmer" took a portion of it to make new crops, then claimed it was his property. Nevertheless, this side-steps the argument being made here. It's that copyright makes people mistakenly apply the concept of property to that which belongs to us all.

     

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  287.  
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    Greevar (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 6:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "There are multiple justifications for copyright. One that jumps to mind is the economic one. By making what should be an infinite good scare you can create a market for it."

    But that is simply a misconception. You're assuming that the only viable way to make revenue from art is to sell copies and completely ignoring the fact that it took labor to create that art in the first place. Labor has a much more realistic scarcity applied to it. In fact, labor is probably the only real scarcity there is. All copyright does is give artists an easy way to keep making money for works without investing additional labor into it. When you realize that art requires labor and labor is scarce, then you realize that copyright is completely unnecessary.

    The way I use the phrase "the only way" is that which only a round peg fits a round hole. Copyright just shaves the corners from the square peg and changes it into something it is not (a round peg).

    As I write this, I realized that I already said most of these points in my previous comment, which tells me that you cherry-picked one part of my point and argued that while ignoring the rest of my argument. You can't argue a against tiny sliver when it's part of a shard.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That value is in the aggregate output of new works inspired by and derived from other works. Art begets more art. If you monopolize art, you inhibit its growth because you can't create new if you can't be inspired by what came before when it's locked up in copyright.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 6:30am

    Re: Re: Re:

    (and why)

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 6:48am

    Re: It's almost a religious issue

    Thank you. I wholeheartedly agree.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 6:49am

    The way back machine ... Lottery tickets ... and pop stars as artificial constructs

    For the billion or so years that earth has been around there was no copyright. We did well with out it. Copyright only came about in 1709 with the Statute of Anne. Ever since the beginning of copyright it has been used to control the population or make the people doing the publishing rich at the expense of the authors and artists. The modern day artist that dreams of making it big by getting a record contract is delusional. Its like buying a lottery ticket, many will enter few will win. 5 million bands and artists on MySpace and FaceBook. How many of those actually get recording contracts? And out of those how many recoup? Yes there are the rare few musicians and singers that recoup, but the majority never do.

    Most modern day pop stars are nothing but no talent, puppets, created to fit a certain mold. They are advertising and promotional constructs designed to sell product. A brand and focal point for a population of children that wouldn't know talent it if bit them on the ass.

    Copyright is not needed. Its is a drain on society, that does exactly the opposite of what it was designed to do, promote the progress of the arts and sciences.

     

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    Shawn (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:10am

    What a Copyright Should Be

    copyright == CC BY-NC-SA

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:11am

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    It matters not if the merchandise is apples from my orchard or the words of my book or the unique arrangement of notes of my song or images from my camera.

    Wrong! It matters a great deal. A physical good is fundamentally different from an idea or expression.

    If I take and sell your apples, you no longer have the apples to sell or eat yourself.

    If I copy your idea or song and use it, you still have that idea. You still have created that song and can use it yourself. I have stolen nothing from you.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:33am

    Re: The way back machine ... Lottery tickets ... and pop stars as artificial constructs

    You still have to divest yourself of the fairy tale that copyright was "designed to promote the progress of the art and sciences".

    It was designed decades earlier to restore Queen Anne's Stationers' Guild's expired controls over which printer could print which works - primarily because in the space of a few years a free (& seditious) press was beginning to be recognised as destabilising and a threat to the crown. We see this struggle for control over the press repeated today with Wikileaks and ACTA/COICA. The state is on the side of the publishing corporations and their struggle for control - not on the side of the pirates and people struggling for liberty.

    Have you read 18th Century Overture or The Promise of a Post Copyright World?

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:36am

    Morality, Ethics, and Freedom

    but so much of the debate simply seemed to assume that by arguing against using moral arguments, it was the equivalent of arguing against the entire system.

    We live in a (supposedly) free country. The in the good old USA, you're supposed to need a reason for restricting freedom (making a law that says doing something is illegal).

    There needs to be a damned good moral or ethical reason for restricting the right for me to repeat someone else's idea or expression in whatever form I wish.

    There isn't one.

    Therefore, copyright law in its entirety needs to go. It does not promote the progress, neither in its current form or any modern form that I can conceive*. The burden of proof is for copyright system defenders to show that the law is moral, ethical, and promotes the progress. If they can't, then the founding principles of this country say it cannot be law.

    *(I'm perfectly willing to admit there might be a form that could be both ethical and which promotes the progress, but until I see one and the supporting evidence, my opinion stands.)

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "people neednt build on it they can copy it directly, make a near exact copy from their band. if 400 bands make nearly exact copies of your song in the month following your release, it can very easily cause you to get lost among them. currently those bands have to pay you a small amount, so you at least get some compensation."

    That's not happening. I go to Jamendo, I know who's song I'm downloading.

    I go to Youtube and put up a video, I know who's song is being played. Licensing is not the end-all answer to free distribution.

    "regarding the commercial comment, currently you need to get permission--"

    Cutting you off there, no you don't. If you look at enough CC content, you notice that there's noncommercial music that can be used for almost anything. Further, if you look at Jamendo, they have a PRO license that takes care of that for you. The problem is how copyright is an opt out system that seems to frustrate anyone. But continue.

    "---and pay to use a song in your commercial due to copyright laws."

    And that's a problem. There's other benefits to free advertising that have worked quite successfully. I don't pay attention to commercials, but I do pay attention to a few good songs used in various methods on the internets. For example, I wouldn't be a fan of Balrog Boogie if it weren't for someone showing me the song in another context.


    " without anyone can use any song to advertise their product, i think it would be a shame for some artists serious work to be used to market some flippant item."

    And there's other ways to mark that abuse that are far more effective than litigation. But I think you're confusing what copyright is supposed to do versus what it actually is doing.

    If copyright can censor people (think Youtube takedowns), that isn't progress.

    If copyright can promote high statutory damages, that's not progress.

    If it's used to silence and chill research (think Sony), that isn't progress.

    It it's used because someone doesn't like how they look in a video, that's not progress.

    Basically the copyright clause is really clear in this, we promote a limited monopoly (for this sake, a limited monopoly means less than a human lifetime) where people can use the gathered material to promote even more creativity that is inherent in all of us (a public domain).

    I think there is more evidence that more people are becoming content creators than there is the need to protect every single "copyright holder" from an onslaught of new material.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 7:48am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    "Nah, I knew you would wuss out and not respond with a real answer, so I just posted *crickets* to save some time in advance."


    No, that just makes you look like a jackass. Congratulations.

    Now back under your bridge.

     

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    Adam Wasserman (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 8:01am

    Re: Re: Re: What numbers would be useful?

    Beyond my ability to say. Lots of things could happen. Many of them unplanned.

    I am sure that reality happens, we will all be equally surprised at how it turned out.

     

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    Rich, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Not a moral judgement...

    You are arguing against something I did not say. Of course there is more art today. There is a Hell of a lot more people, and a lot more are artist, and there are a lot more forms of art. What I say was the argument that no one would create anything without copyright is absurd. There was a lot of art being created when there was no copyright. Saying because there is is copyright today and more art today means that the former caused the latter is a prime example of assuming a correlation without actually showing proof. There are a lot more factors involved.

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 8:14am

    Re: What a Copyright Should Be

    You're limiting yourself if you're using an NC license.

     

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    hxa7241, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 8:28am

    A rational moral view of copyright would reach the same conclusion as the economic one -- that it can only be moral pragmatically, i.e. only if it were actually shown to be a practically beneficial arrangement.

    This is because a rational moral view must ultimately be based on the hard facts of reality, just as economics is (or at least ought to be). And the key feature is non-rivalrousness: that copyability is unlimited. (And if we value intellectual products (as in the context of copyright arguments we do), we also value their instances or copies. And if we value both of these, we want both.)

    *Why restrict a beneficial abundance, when there is no essential need?* That is the crucial question that any moral view in favour of copyright, that is not the pragmatic one, must answer. And it is difficult to see how any really satisfactory answer can be given.

    Does copyright not pay for production? Is that not an answer? No, because there is nothing essential there. There is no logical/physical dependence of production on copies. And, indeed, it is entirely possible to pay for production without restricting copies.

    Does the author not deserve to be paid for work? For work, yes, but for copies of work, no. Again, it is perfectly possible for the author to be paid for work without restricting copies. A general moral rule or right of payment-for-work would not cover a *particular* way to be paid.

    Should the author not benefit from their work? Not as a *moral* rule exactly, no. A moral rule is one that makes sense for all. It is justified not simply by its gain for an individual, but as something that works for everyone.

    Is not the 'intellectual product' deeply connected to the personal 'actualisation' of the author (or some such stuff)? Not in a way that makes sense -- because there is no physical connection between a copy and the author. A physically separate copy, in itself, can obviously have no effect on the author. But to deny that copy would deny someone actual physical use of it.

    In summary: there seems to be no route to a rational argument for an intrinsic morality of copyright. There is no virtue in denying ourselves the benefit of copies. Quite the contrary, communication is good, as people unconciously know and feel. Copyright is something we would *not* *want* to have. We would only have it because we had to.

    The vested interests of media 'owners' see the idea of 'morals' as a way to avoid rational examination and simply tell people what to do. But that is not what morality is about.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 8:52am

    Re:

    In summary: there seems to be no route to a rational argument for an intrinsic morality of copyright. There is no virtue in denying ourselves the benefit of copies.

    100% agree.

     

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    hxa7241, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re:

    Supreme Court or not, that moral argument does not really work. Copyright is about *copies* not labour. It is not simply a general rule, but a special rule about copies, so it cannot be justified merely on general grounds, it must be examined on its specialness. So let us have a quick look:

    Copyright is not really about you selling your labour exactly, it is about allowing you to sell your labour, by means of copies, *multiple times*. Does that seem reasonable? Why should you have that special privilege?

    Is the possibility that the labour's result can exist in multiple copies due to the author? Where in authorship is it that makes the work copyable? Is it a special skill that is learned, or an extra effort expended? No. It is simply the way reality is. Information is copyable. So it is hardly 'just desert' that the author be paid specially for copyable labour. Every payment for a copy looks like a payment unearned.

    An author does some work to produce a product. Their just desert is to be paid for that labour, and no more, and to be granted normal rights, and no more -- just as anyone else.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 9:11am

    Re: Re: The way back machine ... Lottery tickets ... and pop stars as artificial constructs

    "You still have to divest yourself of the fairy tale that copyright was "designed to promote the progress of the art and sciences"."

    In the US it was "the promotion", in the UK thats another mater entirely. In both cases it has been or was twisted into something entirely unrecognizable from its initial intent. Or it has been made irrelevent through technology.

    "We see this struggle for control over the press repeated today ... The state is on the side of the publishing corporations and their struggle for control - not on the side of the pirates and people struggling for liberty."

    Slowly the mainstream press is having less and less influence over events. We see this in the drop in ratings at various news networks and in the failure rate of long established newspapers. As the younger generation ages they will drag their parents and grandparents along for the ride. This will make the current press release based "News" less relevent in the world.

    It will make us all liberty seeking, rum drinking, pirates.

     

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    Paul Lockett, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 9:35am

    Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    "No one is objecting to the store next door that sells merchandise it created or purchased from someone who had the right to sell it."

    Plenty of people would. They would use the same argument as those who argue copying is immoral. They would say that through the first person who opened the shop had an idea that there was a market for what they wanted to sell and did all the research to establish that. They would argue that the second person, opening a shop in direct competition, is a parasite, who, on seeing the success of the first person's idea, copied it, taking advantage of that first person's original idea and research without giving anything in return.

    "A guy next door (or down the block or on the other side of the world) who selling goods I brought to market by the sweat of my brow and the force of my skill, is a parasite."

    And of course, you could use the same argument to say that the person who sees you skilfully spot a gap in the market, watches you successfully fill it with your shop and then copies your idea and takes your customers, is a parasite.

    The two arguments stand or fall together.

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Because you can not prove him wrong.


    I invite anyone to read the thread and see that I did, in fact, prove him wrong in great detail.

    You saying I did not is of no consequence, considering people can read exactly where I did. However, I do find it amusing that you seem to believe that saying an obviously false statement will somehow convince people that you are correct. You really think people are stupid, which sort of explains why you have so much trouble understanding these business models. Hint: they rely on the fact that most people are not morons.

     

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    RadialSkid (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 10:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Good job dodging the question about the public domain.

     

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    IBuyButDoesItReallyGoToArtists, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 11:25am

    So if I buy a song and then give it to a friend then I am a pirate and criminal, but when the labels use complicated accounting schema or otherwise fail to pay artists for their creative work they are what? Just late?
    Funny how it's always those handling all the money that are the most indignant.

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 11:54am

    !

    More fool you then - it was worth it

     

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    Andrew F (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

    Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Here's the distinction between copyright and plagiarism. Plagiarism may be immoral, but it isn't always illegal.

    We do have many laws based primarily on morality, and I'm not going to go so far as to say there should always be some economic cost-benefit analysis rational for each law.

    However, we should be much more cautious about justifying laws on the basis of morality. A few reasons:

    * Morality saying something is bad doesn't entail that the solution is good. Author A may have a moral right to prevent others from ripping off his work, but Author B also has a moral right to write a review of Author A's work. If we enforce the moral rights of A too strictly, we may end up stepping upon the rights of B.

    * Morality can yield inconsistent results. Racism is immoral. So is an author writing a racist book therefore entitled to less copyright than one writing a book promoting tolerance? Likewise, letting people die is immoral. Should we permit poor people to infringe a drug patent if doing so is necessary to save their lives?

    * Moral norms often don't require legal action to enforce. Mike makes this point quite frequently -- e.g. with comedians. You don't need to assert copyright claims with jokes to prevent people from ripping off your jokes. The stigma associated with being a "rip-off" is often enough.

    * Morals are difficult to debate. With economics, you can bring in facts and studies to convince someone. With morality, it ends up being relative.

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Re: Re: The way back machine ... Lottery tickets ... and pop stars as artificial constructs

    In the US it was "the promotion", in the UK thats another mater entirely.

    No, actually the Statute of Anne is entitled "a bill for the encouragement of learning. The copyright clause of the US constitution and the first US copyright law were copied directly from contemporary British law.

    Of course it was a sham then (on both sides of the atlantic) just as it is a sham now.

     

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    Dave, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Oops

    So my point is: how could © be designed in 1787-90 to 'promote the progress' if it was drafted and enacted in 1709?

    Liberally paraphrased conversation between 'Founding Fathers':
    FF1:"So there's this law over in England that gives printing monopolies to booksellers. Should we include something like that?"

    FF2:"I don't know. Sounds like something that could be abused fairly easily. Monopolies are bad. Bad, bad, bad."

    FF1:"Well, it could be good. Maybe having a temporary monopoly would encourage the creation of new works."

    FF2:"I'm still not convinced, but I guess if we make it clear that its purpose is to 'promote the progress of science and useful arts' and that congress can only grant monopolies that are for a 'limited time', I guess I can sign off on it."

    FF1:"That sounds good. I'm sure there's no way that future legislators will be dumb enough to think that increasing monopoly powers beyond 14-28 years could be anything but a stupid idea."

     

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    Dave, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:42pm

    Re: Re: The way back machine ... Lottery tickets ... and pop stars as artificial constructs

    I don't see how you can call it a fairy tale when the wording is right there in the Constitution. US copyright law was certainly influenced by SoA, but to reject that the Founding Fathers wanted to create something with a different purpose here is disingenuous.

    Also, considering the FF's opinions on censorship and free speech, it seems reasonable that they didn't want to duplicate a system that let 'The Crown' shut down seditious printings.

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Oops

    Well said - I was planning to post something similar but you beat me to it!

     

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    monkeyseemonkeydo, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 12:58pm

    Just cruising through the worlds favorite music store I notice there are over a thousand versions of the theme song from Titanic My heart Will Go On.
    All by different artists. All for sale.
    I don't think that has taken anything away from the original. Or has it?

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 1:04pm

    Re: Re:

    I think the law of copyright simply embodies the moral underpinnings. Those who put in the effort deserve to gather the fruits of their labor.

    That isn't a moral underpinning that you'll find in the Christian religion (which was the primary source of morality in the US when the original copyright laws were framed.
    You will find the idea that someone who has been commissioned to do a job of work by an employer deserves to be paid. However that is a very different concept. If copyright followed that principle then rights would be "exhausted" once initial costs and reasonable profits had been achieved. The idea that a monopoly should be granted which would create a right to continued income from an relatively small initial amount of work would have been regarded as akin to usury and hence not acceptable.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 1:54pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: The way back machine ... Lottery tickets ... and pop stars as artificial constructs

    Where in British law was the progress clause directly copied from?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 2:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: The way back machine ... Lottery tickets ... and pop stars as artificial constructs

    You need to be clear whether you're talking about those who drafted the Constitution in 1787 (Framers including Madison) or those who assumed the power to re-enact the Statute of Anne in 1790 (Congress - Madison).

    In the former, the people empower Congress to secure their exclusive right - to their writings.

    In the latter, a British privilege of 1709 is re-enacted to annul the right to copy in the majority, to leave it by exclusion, in the hands of a few - so called 'copyright' holders.

    The question you should ask is "How can power to annul a right be provided to Congress via a clause that empowers it to secure a right?"

    This is the forbidden question.

     

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    Gene Cavanaugh, Apr 14th, 2011 @ 6:53pm

    Copyright and entitlement

    As an IP attorney, I can only say - "You are right!".

    We should abolish copyright, it has too many problems for a real fix; but failing that, we need to return to "to promote the progress", not to "promote campaign finance contributions".

     

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    Jay (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 8:49pm

    Re: It's almost a religious issue

    Damn do I agree, this should be on the insightful posts of the week.

     

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    misterdoug (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 10:47pm

    Re: Copyright is not needed

    It's been said that the reason there are so many similarly shaped car bodies is that software used to design them uses principles of aerodynamics, which are universal. Nobody has a patent on "use of aerodynamic principles in automobile design." That would be as stupid as giving out a patent for conducting online polls, or automatically responding to email, or buying stuff with one mouse-click. Oh, wait...

     

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    misterdoug (profile), Apr 14th, 2011 @ 11:11pm

    re: This is the forbidden question.

    Yep. As is the fundamental question of how copying and imitation came to be defined as "rights" which the government can hand out to specific people and withhold from everyone else.

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 2:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: The way back machine ... Lottery tickets ... and pop stars as artificial constructs

    OK - perhaps I overstated in saying "directly copied" I didn't mean word for word - however the general thrust of the US copyright clause is very much in line with that of the preamble to the statute of Anne

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 6:36am

    Re: re: This is the forbidden question.

    I'll give you the answer. In earlier times governments, even in places like W. Europe were not as secure as they are now and had little spare cash. Therefore the business of maintaining order was delegated. It was delegated geographically (to Dukes and Barons and various other noblemen - who in turn delegated it to lower level gentry), but it was also delegated by profession. The various medieval guilds are often seen today as "trade unions" - but they were much more than that - they were also the means by which the government controlled these activities.

    In the absence funding for a police force this delegation of power provided an economical means of keeping order in the realm.

    Now in England one of these guilds was the guild of Stationers - so called because they occupied fixed market stalls around (old) St. Paul's cathedral. IN the 16th century this guild acquired the right to regulate all printing in England. Having been granted this monopoly (which was done to allow government control over printing) they did what most monopolists do - they established a structure of administration that ensured a fair distribution of profit amongst themselves, whilst excluding outsiders and penalising new entrants. Copyright was originally the key point in this arrangement. Ii could be held only by a member of the stationers' company and was in perpetuity. However, at this stage it was simply the rules of the club, not the law of the land - it only derived standing from the overall monopoly held by the guild.

    After the Glorious revolution of 1688 the stationers' monopoly was allowed to lapse. The stationers whinged, big time, and had some support from authors - mainly because pirate editions of the time were notoriously inaccurate and authors wanted their books printed correctly. In 1709 (note the 20 year gap of freedom) the statue of Anne was enacted. Originally the stationers simply wanted their monopoly back but what they got - after much argument was a system where anyone could hold a copyright (initially the author) and a time limit of 14 years, renewable for a second term if the author was still alive (21 years for books already in print). They weren't too happy about it but took it as better than nothing - and bided their time, waiting for opportunities to extend it.

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 6:41am

    Re:

    A rational moral view of copyright would reach the same conclusion as the economic one

    and so (as it happens) would a moral view based on any revealed religion that I am aware of . All of them (to my knowledge) disapprove of usury - and copyright is simply a form of usury.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re:

    I'm intrigued, what's your basis for claiming that copyright is a form of usury?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re: re: This is the forbidden question.

    I'd question whether the Guild was un/happy about the Statute of Anne.

    That simply instituted the guilds de facto monopolies on a per work basis. That as a consequence the author became the initial holder of the monopoly arising in their work is just a logical inevitability. It doesn't actually give them any power - being able to choose which Guild member gets to print your work doesn't constitute having the same power as a Guild member to exploit the monopoly. Just as today: being able to choose which mobile network provider to use doesn't make you as powerful as a mobile network provider, nor does it diminish the latter. Copyright is as impotent in an author's hands as Sauron's ring is in Frodo's.

    One shouldn't be surprised that the Statute of Anne was presented as a transfer of power from Guild to author, but that doesn't mean it was anything of the sort.

    But you're right about the brief period in which England enjoyed a free press - and so how easily the crown was persuaded by the Guild as to how dangerous a threat such liberty posed. Obviously, the Statute would pretend, as the copyright cartel does today, that it was all a matter of preventing the poor starving authors being bankrupted by piracy (not the publishers/printers of course), oh, and so encouraging authors to write useful works, the better to educate the masses. Daniel Defoe was one of those awkward authors who had no problem even with commercial piracy - just so long as it printed fair copies. But, instead of law to recognise authors' moral rights, we have a privilege to enrich the guild and regulate the press at her majesty's pleasure.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 4:13pm

    Next 800 comments...

    I'm just saying that the debate over copyright should be on the key factor: does it promote the progress or not, and are there better ways to promote the progress?

    So, can we focus the next 800 or so comments on that?


    Apparently not. :-p

     

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    Richard (profile), Apr 15th, 2011 @ 5:02pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Because, like usury, you obtain payment for no new work.
    Also the power relationship is similar.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2011 @ 1:48pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    Yeah, let's knock on the spelling instead of the point. Makes you look so much better.

    On another note, what part of 'reality' is he not commenting on? Seems to me he's hit the nail square on the head, but of course you ignore/miss the point, as usual.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 17th, 2011 @ 1:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    I'd have to agree that your 'music' is scarce. Mostly because it's not music, it's just sucky noise scratched onto a disc.

    See? I can make baseless accusations with no substantiation, as well! It's easy!

     

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    duh, Apr 17th, 2011 @ 8:22pm

    Re: 'Promote progress' never mentioned copyright!

    Why do people on this site seem so content to express their opinion with so little knowledge? Way to "debunk" the Constitution in 2 stupid sentences

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 1:46am

    Re: Re: 'Promote progress' never mentioned copyright!

    The second sentence is one of these new fangled hyperlinky thingies. If you click on the "18th Century Overture" part of it you'll be able to read a much more knowledgeable opinion - of more than two sentences.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 7:26am

    alternatives...

    Very interesting discussion. I'm interested to know what the people in favour of abolishing copyright suggest as an alternative.

    ie. How can we "promote the progress" of music, software, literature etc if we remove the copyrights of the creators of those works?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 7:44am

    Re: alternatives...

    Well, firstly the progress clause only provided power to secure the author's exclusive right to their writings and being a natural right this should certainly be secured.

    Copyright was enacted with the insinuation that it would help secure the author's exclusive right - even as it at the same time derogated the right to copy from everyone's liberty.

    Securing the exclusive right to one's intellectual works is essential to the commercial exchange of that work, e.g. for money. So, this carries on anyway.

    Your question is probably more about how authors exchange their work directly with their readers, for their money, i.e. given the monopoly of copyright granted for the benefit of the printing industry is no longer effective (and so should be abolished). All you need is a marketplace where author and readers can meet, make their offers, and do an exchange. Selling the work in one go instead of copies.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 8:00am

    Thanks for your reply. I'm not sure I fully understand your point though.

    If authors should keep an exclusive right to their intellectual works, how is that any different to copyright? And if we abolish that right, how do we promote progress?

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 8:25am

    Re: alternatives...

    I'm interested to know what the people in favour of abolishing copyright suggest as an alternative.

    This statement hides the assumption that an alternative is necessary. I suspect that is an unfounded assumption.

    ie. How can we "promote the progress" of music, software, literature etc if we remove the copyrights of the creators of those works?

    Do you have some reason to think it is necessary to promote those things? In other words, is there reason to believe output and public availability of them would drop substantially in the absence of copyright?

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 8:49am

    Re: Re: alternatives...

    My own love for music (and literature and probably even some software!) makes me believe they are worth "promoting the progress" of.

    Purely anecdotal, but I know of a wonderful music producer who also does a second job to pay the bills. I would much prefer it if this guy spent every day making music. The world would be a richer place if he did.

    Also, I'm interested to hear thoughts on how a software company, for example, could afford to develop new software, if they do not keep an exclusive right to sell that software.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 9:43am

    Re:

    Rights are not 'kept'. We are born with them. We create governments to secure them.

    Governments however, if we let them get away with it, can assume power beyond that provided by the people (via Constitution) and grant privileges (such as were often granted by Kings & Queens), and James Madison assumed the power to grant the privilege of copyright (which requires the legislative derogation of the people's right to copy from their liberty - that they created the government to protect in the first place - the Statue of Liberty is a big reminder).

    We have a right to exclude others from our material and intellectual possessions because we have a natural power & need to (we build houses and lock the doors). Conversely we have no natural power or need to prevent others singing the songs we sing to them or retelling the stories we tell to them, or improving them. That doesn't mean such power is not attractive - to those who'd rather a monopoly to exploit than their liberty left intact.

    We do not and cannot abolish rights. We can however, and should, abolish the archaic, unethical and now anachronistic privileges that derogate from them - especially copyright and patent.

    Cultural and technological progress is promoted by preserving people's liberty, to share and build upon each others' ideas. State granted monopolies may well be potentially lucrative to those who receive them, but they represent a net loss to society (loss of opportunity and cost of administrative/policing overheads and inhibition of intercourse). All an author or inventor needs to enable commercial exchange of their writings and inventions is the recognition and securing of the exclusive right to them. It is the act of releasing their work from this (rightful) exclusive possession into the possession of the purchaser that enables commerce. Note that 'the purchaser' can just as well comprise a consortium of 10,000 sufferers of a particular disorder as a single person.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 9:59am

    Re: Re:

    We can't abolish rights but we should abolish copyright?

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    You could always try reading 18th Century Overture or The Promise of a Post Copyright World.

    Copyright is a privilege. That means it annuls the right to copy in the majority to leave the right by exclusion in the hands of a few. So, copyright is not a right so much as a law that enables the holder of the privilege to prohibit the enjoyment of the right in others (others who were born with that liberty and power, the natural right to copy the songs and stories they heard, to improve and retell them).

    Copyright is law that was first enacted in 1709 (The Statute of Anne). It was re-enacted in 1790 in the US.

    This anachronistic law, that youngsters are today ignoring in ever greater numbers, this instrument of injustice (ask Joel Tenenbaum or Jammie Thomas), should be abolished, repealed. And thus people's cultural liberty, their right to copy is restored.

    So yes, abolish the publishing corporations' privilege of copyright, and thus restore the people's right to copy.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 11:05am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Thanks for the links. They look interesting and I shall endeavour to read them. I understand the point your making now but I guess I'm not quite getting what it means in practical terms.

    For example, if copyright is abolished, then I spend a year writing a book and sell it to someone, they would then have the right to copy it and give it away for free.(?) Wouldn't that make my year off a rather expensive excercise?

    I understand that there are problems with copyright (though I don't think it's nearly as broken as other areas of IP law), and I hear of countless examples of its failings (many on this blog actually) but I haven't heard many alternative suggestions for how to do things.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 11:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Bear in mind that copyright has already ended in effect. If you sell one copy of a novel as an ebook (and it's popular) it's going to be pirated anyway - irrespective of your privilege of copyright, that if you were very wealthy you might try prosecuting against a few random victims.

    You have to sell your novel - not copies of it. That means you build up an audience from which you invite commissions/sponsorship for each further novellette/novella/novel. If you get 100% of revenue from 1% of your readers that's equivalent to a 1% royalty from sales to 100% of them.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

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

    I've read about the fan-funded model a fair bit recently. I have to say that although I think it's an interesting idea and is working for some people, I don't agree at all that it is a good solution to replace traditional copyright.

    It's a wonderful thing that people can self-publish these days, start small labels, and go the DIY route; it's great that a small unknown artist can produce a piece of work that does really well and they benefit from that. In the model you're describing, they won't. It will benefit the known acts who already have a following and make the job of the small guys all the harder.

    From the consumer side, you're suggesting telling people that copying music/software/literature is fine, legal, a right, and then you're expecting them to fund creative projects. Why will they do that?

    The world is learning how to adapt to the changes the internet has brought, and saying that copyright has already effectively ended isn't right. If you decide you're not going to pay for copyright works then you're not playing by the rules, and you shouldn't think of yourself as a "random victim" if you get caught out.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 4:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    My own love for music (and literature and probably even some software!) makes me believe they are worth "promoting the progress" of.

    Of course, but that isn't the question. The question is whether it's necessary to promote the progress. Would there not be sufficient writings (etc) without copyright? And if not, what kind of copyright laws would most effectively promote progress while causing the least possible harm? The copyright lobby is not examining these questions, and in fact would prefer that they not even be asked.

    Purely anecdotal, but I know of a wonderful music producer who also does a second job to pay the bills. I would much prefer it if this guy spent every day making music.

    That's fine, but it is no reason to blindly enact, strengthen, or even continue with copyright law in the hopes that it will somehow let him quit his day job, when the copyright laws we already have don't do so.

    Also, I'm interested to hear thoughts on how a software company, for example, could afford to develop new software, if they do not keep an exclusive right to sell that software.

    By selling services. None of the companies I've worked for as a software developer sell copies of their software as the business model. They sell the service of the software. Hosting, maintenance, support, upgrades, new features, customization. Those are ongoing scarcities that customers are willing to pay for because they cannot be copied.

    If your next question is how to make sure companies can still sell copies of software, my answer would be another question: why would we want to do that? There is no lack of software being produced; we obviously don't need more incentive for anybody to make more. If market or technological conditions make selling copies an obsolete business model, then let companies find new ones. That's how capitalism is supposed to work.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 18th, 2011 @ 4:06pm

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

    it's great that a small unknown artist can produce a piece of work that does really well and they benefit from that. In the model you're describing, they won't. It will benefit the known acts who already have a following and make the job of the small guys all the harder.

    This is what's known around here as Masnick's Law. Any time a business model is suggested that doesn't rely on copyright, somebody will say "but that will never work for the little guys" or "but that will never work for the big guys" or even "that's fine for unknown artists and the big stars but it won't work for anyone in between"*.

    Any one business model won't work for everyone. This has always been the case. For example, the "perform and record music part time until you catch the right person's attention and get a label contract" model works for almost nobody. It's just a very small percentage of musicians who can make a living that way, or who ever could. I believe the same is true for books and movies.

    * yes, someone actually said this

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 12:16am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    ...what kind of copyright laws would most effectively promote progress while causing the least possible harm?

    I'm very interested to know more about this subject.

    That's fine, but it is no reason to blindly enact, strengthen, or even continue with copyright law in the hopes that it will somehow let him quit his day job, when the copyright laws we already have don't do so

    That's an excellent point, but it's not an argument for why to abolish copyright, and get rid of the way many people put food on their tables, without some kind of alternative plan.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 12:25am

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

    Ok, but we already have the fan-funded model. Companies like Kickstarter, Slice The Pie, Pledge Music are doing it. I don't see anything wrong with it, in the same way I don't think there's anything wrong with selling merchandise at a gig (or any other system which supplements the income of musicians). None of those are mutually exclusive to copyright though.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 3:15am

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

    Alex, you will have to shift paradigms at some point.

    I'm just letting you know that without intermediary publishers exploiting a monopoly to provide an artist with a 1% royalty, it is possible for artists to exchange their work directly, for the money of those in their audience who want them to produce more work.

    Note that a free market involves voluntary exchange.

    A monopoly is state granted power, compulsion. A loss of power (copyright's dissolution and abolition) is obviously not a replacement for power. If you're looking to replace copyright you're looking for a power that is as effective as copyright once was. About the only thing that would do it is a tax or mulct on the Internet to fund the publishing corporations directly - bypassing the tedious scam of selling digital copies that cost nothing to make. This could be achieved via ACTA by enabling the provision of premium, licensed Internet subscriptions vs unlicensed ones (subject to invasive infringement policing & penalties). My hunch is that this hasn't got a hope in hell, but I could be wrong.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 3:46am

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

    I'm trying to be as open-minded as I can about this, but I'm not convinced at all that abolishing copyright would be better than keeping it.

    There are existing routes (and lisenses) that people can use to release content freely and there are existing routes that people can use to release content under copyright. I don't understand how deleting one of these options is going to improve matters.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 4:37am

    Maybe it's time for a metaphor.

    Copyright is bit like the Berlin wall, but with umpteen sections completely destroyed and only a few guard towers remaining. Thousands of people enjoy the restoration of their liberty to pass through the gaps every day - in both directions. Unfortunately, there's one bitter & twisted soldier in a guard tower who each week receives a magazine of ammunition for his rifle. Now and then, when he sees a particularly naive wall-transgressor, he shoots them in the leg. He has been told that this will serve as an educational deterrent, and thus maintain the wall's effectiveness.

    When I say that copyright should be abolished, I'm saying that the wall's guards should be disarmed and stood down, and the remains of the wall entirely dismantled.

    All you're saying is "What can we replace the wall with to control the movement of people?", and "I don't see how dismantling the wall is better than keeping it", and "The wall never prevented people from crossing so as long a they obtained the necessary visas".

    Alex, the wall has become ineffective. We should abolish it to prevent any more file-sharing kids being shot (sued/fined/bankrupted/imprisoned). The wall's military infrastructure (copyright cartel) will come to an end, but musicians will keep on making music, and their fans will keep on paying them.

    Now I have a hunch you're just going to tell me "Well, I think we should keep the wall - until we have a better way to control the movement of people across our (imaginary) political borders".

    My hunch may be wrong...

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 4:53am

    Re:

    I'm completely speechless

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 5:14am

    Re: Re:

    You should be more worried that your speech is abridged by copyright than stunned by mock surprise at an apposite metaphor.

    "Godwin's law itself can be abused, as a distraction, diversion or even censorship, that fallaciously miscasts an opponent's argument as hyperbole, especially if the comparisons made by the argument are actually appropriate."

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 7:14am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's really not an apt metaphor.

    You're comparing copyright holders to communist snipers shooting children in some fantasy crumbled-berlin-wall scenario!

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 7:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    It's not a comparison, but a metaphor.

    What do you think of the copyright holder who obtained a sentence of 6 months in prison for Emmanuel Nimley (who shared some iPhoned recordings he'd made of a few movies)?

    The shooting of one in umpteen thousand wall breachers is a METAPHOR for the penalty used by copyright holders against infringers unlucky enough to be selected as educational examples - as a grievously futile and patently ineffective deterrent - against an action they should be naturally at liberty to enjoy in any case.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 8:03am

    I just found it odd that you chose to use a made-up situation of people freely passing through the berlin wall with snipers shooting children as a metaphor for copyright.

    Anyway, no offense meant, and interesting to read your thoughts on this stuff.

    Peace.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    It's a metaphor. It's figurative: to refer to a familiar situation in order to explain an unfamiliar one that shares similar dynamics - even if their elements are dissimilar. A 'hive of industry' doesn't necessarily mean that human workers have wings and produce honey, or that bees are intelligent and have two legs.

    For bullets substitute copyright litigation. For totalitarian state substitute corporate state.

    They aren't shy of suing children - the shock story provides useful publicity.

    If guards on the Berlin wall issued court summons to people attempting to cross it without permission, perhaps you would have found it a more apt metaphor?

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 4:11pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    That's an excellent point, but it's not an argument for why to abolish copyright,

    That is true, and the fact that some people make a living from copyright is not a reason to keep it. The decision ought to be based on objective data rather than the lobbying that's been the case up to now (and that shows no sign of changing). Mike and others have posted links to many studies on the subject though I don't have them handy.

    get rid of the way many people put food on their tables, without some kind of alternative plan.

    Keep in mind that copyright is not supposed to be an artist welfare system. If it's discovered that weaker copyright, or no copyright, is better for getting public access to new works, then we should do that even if it means some people have to figure out a new way to make a living.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 4:16pm

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

    I don't understand how deleting one of these options is going to improve matters.

    It depends on your definition of "improve matters". If you mean "make things better for people who are used to relying on government granted monopolies" then no, it would not do that. If you mean "promoting the public's access to and use of new works of literature, music, etc" (which is what the Constitution says copyright is supposed to do) then it may very well accomplish that aim by shifting power away from the monopolists and toward the public. Obviously the monopolists will object strenuously to this option until the bitter end.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 19th, 2011 @ 4:17pm

    Re: Re:

    Godwin's Law is about Nazis. The Berlin Wall was the Communists.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 20th, 2011 @ 12:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    It's not a welfare system. It's a system that (despite it's problems) gets people paid for their works if they are in high demand.

    You could say that all museums should be free - even if it means some of them can't afford to stay open - it's better for the public. You could say the same about taxis, doctors, food, whatever; they can all find new ways to make a living.

    I'm of the opinion that if you want a book/album/software that the owner wishes to charge for, then you should pay for it, or don't have it. I don't see anything wrong with that.

     

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    Crosbie Fitch (profile), Apr 20th, 2011 @ 1:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    I'm of the opinion that if you want a book/album/software that the owner wishes to charge for, then you should pay for it, or don't have it. I don't see anything wrong with that.


    Sounds perfectly reasonable to me too.

    Unfortunately, in 1709 Queen Anne created a law that prohibited anyone from making a copy of a book - even one they had paid for - unless permission was obtained from the holder of this privilege. In 1708 people could freely make copies of books. In 2011 people are once again freely making copies (of eBooks and a lot else). Trouble is, this unethical 18th century law hasn't yet been repealed.

    Just because a monopoly has been around for a few hundred years, that doesn't make it any less ethical.

    So, let's just abolish copyright and stick with your suggestion of straightforward exchange in a free market.

    Author offers to write a novel. Readers offer author money to write one. No money, no novel. No novel, no money. But, if both agree that the offer to write a novel is equivalent to the money offered for its writing, then the exchange can proceed. Author gets the money. Readers get the novel. Then, anyone can print the novel as a book, file-share it as an eBook, or even translate it, abridge it, improve it, or write a sequel, etc. The only ones upset are the immortal publishing corporations who'd been hoping to sell copies at monopoly protected prices for the next two centuries.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 20th, 2011 @ 11:07am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    It's a system that (despite it's problems) gets people paid for their works if they are in high demand.

    Yes, but that is the means, not the end.

    You could say that all museums should be free - even if it means some of them can't afford to stay open - it's better for the public.

    You're twisting the analogy. If museums could be free, and we could still have as many or more museums of equal or higher quality, of course that would be better. Similary, if there were no copyright, and we could still have as much content of equal or higher quality, that would be better too. Copyright should only exist if it pays for itself, so to speak, by actually increasing access to and use of content.

     

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    Meredith L. Patterson, Apr 20th, 2011 @ 3:28pm

    Re: Re: This site is just out of touch.

    "it's about what do you build law upon, and in the case of copyright our forefathers gave us a pretty succinct framework within to work and morality was NOT a part of it. Seriously, end of fucking story on this moral crap!"

    The fact that moral rights are a subset of copyright in several legal systems (though in the US, only explicitly with respect to the visual arts under copyright law -- for other works, moral rights get spread into other areas of law) muddies the waters a bit.

    That said, if copyright were limited exclusively to moral rights as they have been codified, it would look an awful lot like CC-BY-ND. Food for thought.

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 21st, 2011 @ 12:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    Means or end, I don't have any problem with it. It's supply and demand.

    I make the museums point because it seems clear to me that without entrance fees some museums would close their doors just as without copyright, some individuals and companies would.

    I get the greater-good idea that you are echoing from Mike's original post but I have no idea how that could possibly be measured to make any sort of educated judgment. My opinion is that the quantity of content wouldn't change significantly, but the quality would take a massive nose-dive.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 23rd, 2011 @ 8:44am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    Measuring quality would be tricky, but possible. It can be done by comparing similar markets with stronger and weaker copyright laws, and the same place over time as laws change.

    Also, do you think that what the major labels and studios are producing now is the highest quality?

     

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    alex (profile), Apr 24th, 2011 @ 10:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    I don't get this. What markets could you look at? How can you measure a change in quality? What units do you use?

    I think it's reasonable to expect that if you remove an incentive from an industry, that will have an effect on the output of that industry. So far, I haven't heard anything that suggests that removing copyright will increase that output, and basic economics would suggest that the opposite is actually more likely.

    Majors? I don't consider what they do to be a yardstick of quality in the music industry. The "quality" music usually comes out on small labels. Your question has got me wondering if most people view the music industry and the majors as synonymous, and if much of the anti-copyright sentiment is actually anti-corporation sentiment.

    Whether the music is currently of the "best" quality - I can only answer that subjectively and say that 2011 has been absolutely amazing for new releases as far as my ears are concerned.

     

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    nasch (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 12:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    What markets could you look at?

    Any markets where copyright law has changed or is different from other markets with otherwise similar conditions.

    How can you measure a change in quality? What units do you use?

    I'm not sure, but researchers do come up with ways of measuring such things. It's never as precise as something like quantity or temperature or the like of course.

    I think it's reasonable to expect that if you remove an incentive from an industry, that will have an effect on the output of that industry. So far, I haven't heard anything that suggests that removing copyright will increase that output, and basic economics would suggest that the opposite is actually more likely.

    That assumes the incentives can only lead in one direction. If you could produce one thing and then make money of it for the rest of your life, or if you had to keep producing to stay ahead of your competition, which situation would be more of an incentive to produce?

    Majors? I don't consider what they do to be a yardstick of quality in the music industry. The "quality" music usually comes out on small labels. Your question has got me wondering if most people view the music industry and the majors as synonymous, and if much of the anti-copyright sentiment is actually anti-corporation sentiment.

    I asked because the majors are the ones who most strongly defend and depend upon copyright. If they are not the ones coming out with the best material, doesn't that make you wonder? If the labels that are more likely to try new business models that don't depend on copyright so much (or at all) are putting out the best music, I think that's indicative (though not conclusively so) that copyright isn't what produces high quality.

    And it certainly isn't what rewards musicians, other than the miniscule few at the top.

     

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  369.  
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    alex (profile), Apr 25th, 2011 @ 2:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    Okay, you could argue that copyright may provide a negative incentive in some situations. Perhaps there are some artists who won't record that next album because they're too busy riding a jetski around their private island. I suspect the number is insignificant compared to the number of artists who value and appreciate the royalties they receive for the music they've released, but either way, you're missing a big part of the picture: the music industry is made of more than just artists.

    If we abolish copyright and, all of a sudden, all released works have no monetary value (as nobody has the exclusive right to sell copies of them), there's no incentive for a label to sign an artist, for a distributor to sign a label, for a store to promote a label/artist's catalog. There's no incentive for the majors to license tracks from an indie. My point is that if you remove the financial incentive that allows the industry to function, it's reasonable to expect the output of that industry to decrease.

    Your point about the majors not producing the highest quality music is interesting and made me laugh. I don't think they really function in the same way as other labels. They dominate the charts but that is hardly a mark of quality. I don't think the normal rules apply to them...

     

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  370.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    I had a reply all typed up on this ridiculously slow hotel computer the other day and then it crashed...

    Okay, you could argue that copyright may provide a negative incentive in some situations. Perhaps there are some artists who won't record that next album because they're too busy riding a jetski around their private island. I suspect the number is insignificant compared to the number of artists who value and appreciate the royalties they receive for the music they've released

    But that isn't the yardstick. Anybody would value and appreciate money, but that isn't a reason to help them get it at the expense of the public.

    you're missing a big part of the picture: the music industry is made of more than just artists.

    That presupposes that the only reason to do any of those things is to sell copies of music, which is not true. And besides, it's all pretty much a side issue. If business models are there to support all those things, that's fine, but they're not the purpose of copyright.

    My point is that if you remove the financial incentive that allows the industry to function, it's reasonable to expect the output of that industry to decrease.

    The problem is, the idea that copyright is the only thing allowing the industry to function is a lie. You can see this by observing people succeeding in the industry without relying on copyright.

    Your point about the majors not producing the highest quality music is interesting and made me laugh... They dominate the charts but that is hardly a mark of quality.

    Exactly. The ones most reliant on copyright are not producing the high quality output. Doesn't that cast into doubt the assertion that copyright produces higher quality works?

     

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  371.  
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    alex (profile), Apr 27th, 2011 @ 11:57pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    I had a reply all typed up on this ridiculously slow hotel computer the other day and then it crashed...

    I hate it when that happens. This thread is getting pretty long though! =] It's an interesting topic so good to have a decent discussion on it.

    Ok, firstly, I didn't say that copyright produces higher quality works. I said that abolishing copyright is likely to lead to a decrease in the overall quality of music that the public has access to.

    The problem is, the idea that copyright is the only thing allowing the industry to function is a lie. You can see this by observing people succeeding in the industry without relying on copyright.

    Please give me some examples of companies succeeding (financially) in the music industry without copyright, specifically, higher up the chain, so, music distributors, record labels etc. I work in the industry and don't know of any. I know record labels and artists that release their music under free licenses, but they all do it as a hobby.

    Also (bit of a tangent here but anyway), I don't accept this idea that musicians should be selling tickets to gigs and t-shirts and signed photographs rather than music. Being a musician should be a profession in itself (as should being an author) rather than a side-line to help t-shirt sales. This is not about musicians "deserving" a living but about the public "deserving" the works these people produce.

     

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  372.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 28th, 2011 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    It's an interesting topic so good to have a decent discussion on it.

    Indeed!

    Ok, firstly, I didn't say that copyright produces higher quality works. I said that abolishing copyright is likely to lead to a decrease in the overall quality of music that the public has access to.

    I'm afraid I don't see the difference. Isn't "more copyright = higher quality" and "less copyright = lower quality" saying the same thing?

    Please give me some examples of companies succeeding (financially) in the music industry without copyright, specifically, higher up the chain, so, music distributors, record labels etc.

    Why do you insist that those entities need to be financially successful? That is not what copyright is for. If they can survive and succeed, great. If not, fine - as long as the music gets made and is available.

    Being a musician should be a profession in itself (as should being an author) rather than a side-line to help t-shirt sales. This is not about musicians "deserving" a living but about the public "deserving" the works these people produce.

    Exactly, it's about the public getting access to the works. If copyright promotes that, then it's doing its job. If copyright is not necessary to make that happen, then it has no reason to exist under the Constitution.

    I find it hard to believe very many musicians would stop making and releasing music if there were no copyright. Do you think that is what would happen?

     

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  373.  
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    alex (profile), Apr 28th, 2011 @ 10:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    Isn't "more copyright = higher quality" and "less copyright = lower quality" saying the same thing?

    I said abolishing copyright is likely to lead to a decrease in quality of music and you paraphrased me as saying that copyright produces quality. Abolishing shoes from athletics is likely to see a decrease in running times, but that's not to say that shoes produce great athletes.

    Why do you insist that those entities need to be financially successful? That is not what copyright is for. If they can survive and succeed, great. If not, fine - as long as the music gets made and is available.

    I spoke to a colleague yesterday about this. He also didn't know of any record companies working outside of copyright with any success (although he did mention a couple that started with the free music idea and then switched to selling music once they were well-known).

    So... if these businesses are not able to make a profit, they will obviously cease to be (or evolve into concert ticket / merchandise / whatever companies). So the question is whether that will promote or hamper the progress of music.

    I find it hard to believe very many musicians would stop making and releasing music if there were no copyright. Do you think that is what would happen?

    I agree with you. I don't think they would stop making music (although they may need to find a day job which could cut down available hours to make music).
    Without the labels though, we've lost the first bit of quality control, so we'd get a mass of music being uploaded to soundcloud / myspace etc. There would be no direct feedback on the tracks from the label (something many artists benefit from greatly) and so a working relationship dedicated to ensuring high-quality has been lost. Fans end up doing the job of labels, and quality music is replaced by pop music.
    Radio and club DJs will no longer be sent music by promo companies (because they don't exist any more) and so they'll be left to trawl through soundcloud like the rest of us.
    Same with music stores - they evolve into add-funded blogs, but they no longer have distributors, so they end up drowning in the saturated pool of blandness too.

    (I might be rambling a bit now!) My point is that if the companies whose interest it is in to find/promote/push the best quality music they can suddenly go out of business, in my opinion, that will hamper progress and quality of music.

     

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  374.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 29th, 2011 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: alternatives...

    Abolishing shoes from athletics is likely to see a decrease in running times, but that's not to say that shoes produce great athletes.

    No, but they produce faster athletes. Just like copyright doesn't create artists, but is supposed to promote more (and better?) works.

    So... if these businesses are not able to make a profit, they will obviously cease to be (or evolve into concert ticket / merchandise / whatever companies).

    Exactly, where "whatever" is "what the market has a need for". If there's a need for music labels, smart people will find a way to make them work.

    Without the labels though, we've lost the first bit of quality control, so we'd get a mass of music being uploaded to soundcloud / myspace etc.

    We have that now.

    There would be no direct feedback on the tracks from the label (something many artists benefit from greatly) and so a working relationship dedicated to ensuring high-quality has been lost. Fans end up doing the job of labels, and quality music is replaced by pop music.

    There will be filters. They are in their infancy now (such as Pandora), but there will be better and better ways to find music that you like. It's impossible to have millions of people who want good music, and a willingness and ability to spend some money on music, and for nobody to come up with a way to connect fans with music they like. It may take time, and it may move in fits and starts, but it is going to happen, and it's started already.

    Next point: is copyright functionally obsolete already? The younger and younger you go, the less interest in copyright people tend to have, and the less problem with downloading copyrighted music and other materials. Combine that with contiuning improvements in technology, and in 10 or 20 years, will copyright law have any effect at all? Regardless of the "shoulds" of the situation, how will the industries adapt to deal with this fact? Or will they simply disappear to be replaced with newer companies run by younger people who understand what's going on?

     

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  375.  
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    alex (profile), Apr 30th, 2011 @ 2:44am

    I think I pretty much agree with everything you've said.

    * We already have artists (and some labels) giving music away for free (using licenses other than copyright). In the absence of any examples of financial success with this method, we have to assume these people are hobbyists (with some other form of income).

    * Many of the companies responsible for quality control of copyright works (label, promo, distro, stores etc) will cease to be without copyright.

    * The new quality control filters are in their infancy. You mention pandora as an example - that's one of the better ones in my opinion. They basically pay a bunch of people to listen to tracks and score them on a load of criteria. That sounds like a huge task. The tracks they work with are those that have already filtered through the record labels. Imagine how much bigger their task would be if they had to listen to and grade every half-finished track that someone made in their bedroom then uploaded to soundcloud!

    So with those things in mind, I think it's fair to conclude that: abolishing copyright before other systems that do not rely on copyright have developed to a point of offering similar quality control is likely to lead to a decrease in the quality of the music that the public hear.

    Do you agree with that?


    On a side note, I keep reading this term "copyright maximalist" on this blog. I'm not quite sure I get its meaning and I'm not sure if the above is making me sound like one of those! I am thinking about this stuff with an open a mind as I can. I know that copyright has problems; sampling and fair use is a mess; the 50 year term is much too long; the bullshit the big 4 are trying to get Amazon to agree to with their locker service is outrageous etc etc. At the same time, I have no problem with buying an mp3, and I have no problem with an artist or label making a living from selling mp3s. I hope that doesn't make me some kind of extremist!

     

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  376.  
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    nasch (profile), Apr 30th, 2011 @ 3:15am

    Re:

    So with those things in mind, I think it's fair to conclude that: abolishing copyright before other systems that do not rely on copyright have developed to a point of offering similar quality control is likely to lead to a decrease in the quality of the music that the public hear.

    Do you agree with that?


    I think it's possible that would happen, temporarily. But I'm not convinced. And it's also an academic discussion (nothing wrong with those of course) because there is no freaking way copyright is going to be abolished any time soon. Probably not ever. The lobbies that like it are far too powerful for that to happen.

    Rather, copyright will just be increasingly ignored until it effectively fades away. That is what the "copyright industries" have to deal with - not any changes to the law.

    I certainly wouldn't consider you a copyright maximalist. Those are the people who think things like:


    • File sharing is destroying music
    • Copyright terms are not too long, and maybe not long enough
    • The DMCA is not strong enough
    • Other people such as ISPs and web site operators should be responsible for policing copyright and/or compensating copyright holders for violations


    That's of course not an exhaustive list.

     

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


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