Getting Past The Myth That Copyright Is Needed To Produce Content

from the simply-not-true dept

Glyn Moody points us to an excellent article at Eurozine, by Felix Stalder, about the myths of copyright today and how weaker copyright actually can increase cultural output. It starts out by showing that the standard claims behind copyright are simply not true. It's based on an assumption, implicit (and sometimes explicit) in almost all pro-copyright arguments, that copyright is the sole source of income for content creators. But this is false.
This simple assumption, however, is incorrect. First, copyright as the basis of artists' income is just one of many cultural economic models, namely that in which the "first copy" receives substantial investment that has then to be recouped (and more) through the sale of specific usage rights (licenses) to the users of further copies. This model is by no means applied across all domains of culture and, even where it is, it generates extremely unequal incomes. By and large, copyright-centered business models generate blockbuster economies, in which very few people earn very substantial incomes while the great majority of producers receive little to nothing for their work. Thus, the argument that copyright generated income works well only for a few, highly visible artists and their supporting industries.
This is a point we've discussed before, but which often gets ignored. When you look at the historical evidence of monopolies, you see the same thing. While it can create a few giant businesses, it actually harms the wider market, decreases competition, and cuts out any chance of a "middle class" in the market. It's entirely "go big or go home." Culturally, we may be losing out in such a market, because your choices become limited mainly to the major blockbuster artists. If you remove, or weaken, copyright laws, you open up the opportunity for many more artists to make a good living by employing other business models.

The article notes that, in fact, copyright "is simply not very relevant for many forms of cultural production." And for many areas of content, weak copyright protection likely increases output, because it lowers the "cost" of the raw materials (other parts of culture). But, on top of that, weaker copyright opens up all sorts of new opportunities. The article discusses things like YouTube's setup for monetizing videos, which simply creates tremendous new opportunities to make money where none would have been made before.
Given that most independent videos on YouTube would have received no revenue at all under the old copyright regime, the important thing to recognise is that it is possible to gain some revenue by providing free access to one's material. A such, it represents a functioning, if limited, commercial opportunity enabled by a weak copyright environment.
It also discusses totally new opportunities, like Flattr (of which we are a happy user -- which we'll be discussing more about soon) and Kickstarter. Basically, into the void new and interesting business models emerge (as some of us at Techdirt have been predicting for over a decade). And the nice thing about those new business models is that they rely less on gatekeepers and more on people to support what they like, with more of the money going directly to the content creators. It may not create the same blockbusters (and even that I'm not sure I believe), but it creates a much wider spectrum of people who can make a good living. All in all, a great article.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  •  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 10:40am

    Don't you mean "debunk"?

    Also, since we don't have any examples of western cultures without copyright, isn't this all fairly speculative?

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 10:44am

      Re: Actually,

      We do have example of western cultures without copyright: China.

      The Chinese did brilliantly using 'western' culture and all while ignoring 'western' copyright. Only recently with their desire to not anger the government brain-leeches of their largest cash cow have the begun showily/hastily "enforcing" the asinine copyright laws of their favorite cow.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 10:50am

        Re: Re: Actually,

        No, I am sorry, that doesn't work. China is working from the copyrights of others. There is strong financial incentive in the other areas to create these goods. China piggybacks on those incentives to get things done. So China isn't working without copyright, they are leeching off it.

        So, sorry, that argument doesn't hold. Got another example?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 10:52am

          Re: Re: Re: Actually,

          Haha I'm sorry I read this as "that example is too good use another one for me to try to argue"

           

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          :Lobo Santo (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:05am

          Re: Re: Re: Actually,

          No need--you've already proven my point. China was making the money that we should have been making but didn't due to following stupid copyright laws. Good work, Thanks.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually,

            No, China is making money by allowing others to invest in development, and then copying them once that is done - without paying for it.

            As China is attempting to move forward and start with it's own developments, they become more attached to a copyright system. They understand otherwise that their own developments would leak out and get copied, without any way to recoup losses.

            The problem is that in these sorts of examples, the Chinas or Japans in the deal rise up to a certain point, basically catching up by taking other people's ideas, and then they stall out when they actually have to work to develop from there.

            Without the copyright cultures actually producing the ideas and the products, China wouldn't have much to copy, would they? The copycat is rarely the leader, and never for long.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:32pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually,

              Perhaps the Chinese will copyright (or patent, rather) the method of copying the copyright cultures!

              Yanno, since no one anywhere at any time could possibly have an idea and bring it to market without copyright or patents.

              Yer funny.

               

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              Nicedoggy, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:46pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Actually,

              Which just proves the point that by disregarding IP laws China was able to not only grow but acquire knowledge necessary to become not just a copy cat but a producer of technology as it was for most of that last 3 thousand years of their history.

              Wanna know who else also did that?

              Japan, South Korea, USA, Europe and everybody else.

               

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          Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:26am

          Re: Re: Re: Actually,

          This is about when the example of the US not recognising other countries' copyright in the 19th century comes in isn't it.
          And where Mike points out that Dicken's as an example didn't get a revenue stream from the states where his works were very popular but did find other ways to "monetize" his popularity doing lecture tours and the like.

          In the couture world, fashion designs still don't have copyright and while they want it, it seems they do very well without it.

          Nothing you raise ever has not been addressed here many times but you just ignore it all and consider ever new article as if it is the first and challenge it with all your old tired arguments.

          You don't actually want examples because you are simply here to annoy, and to be honest you do succeed there somewhat, if mediocrity is success.

           

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          jilocasin, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:37am

          O.K. I'll bite

          If we are talking about culture or creativity, and you are looking for examples of how it flourishes _without_ copyright....

          Fashion - the biggest one that comes to mind.
          Food (i.e. Recipes)

          both evidence a phenomenal amount of creativity and neither are covered by copyright.

          Copyright was originally envisioned as _a_ incentive, not the _only_ incentive to creating works. Originally most of the works that people think about when talking about copyrights (music, movies) weren't even covered.

          Unfortunately, never content to pass up a profitable government monopoly, more and more things became _protected_ for longer and longer periods of time with larger penalties. Were things produced _without_ copyright protection? Of course, look at Mozart, or Plato, or da Vinci. Copyright just locked up more and more culture into fewer and fewer hands.


          From the US Copyright office:
          ( http://www.copyright.gov/circs/circ1a.html )
          "May 31, 1790 ...Books, maps, and charts protected."

          "April 29, 1802 Prints added to protected works."

          "February 3, 1831 ...Music added to works protected against unauthorized printing and vending. [note performance not protected]

          "August 18, 1856 Dramatic compositions added to protected works. "

          "March 3, 1865 Photographs and photographic negatives added to protected works."

          "July 8, 1870 ...Works of art added to protected works. Act reserved to authors the right to create certain derivative works including translations and dramatizations."[first time derivative works protected]

          "January 6, 1897 Music protected against unauthorized public performance." [Performance rights not protected until 100 years after copyright established]

          "August 24, 1912 Motion pictures, previously registered as photographs, added to classes of protected works."

          "January 1, 1953 Recording and performing rights extended to nondramatic literary works."

          "February 15, 1972 Effective date of act extending limited copyright protection to sound recordings fixed and first published on or after this date."

          "March 10, 1974 United States became a member of the Convention for the Protection of Producers of Phonograms Against Unauthorized Duplication of Their Phonograms, which came into force on April 18, 1973."

          "December 12, 1980 Copyright law amended regarding computer programs."

          "October 4, 1984 ...Grants the owner of copyright in a sound recording the right to authorize or prohibit the rental, lease, or lending of phonorecords for direct or indirect commercial purposes." [the start of prohibiting people from doing what they want to with what they have legally purchased]

          "November 8, 1984 Federal statutory protection for mask works became available under the Semiconductor Chip Protection Act...."

          "December 1, 1990 ...Grants the owner of copyright in computer programs the exclusive right to authorize or prohibit the rental, lease, or lending of the program for direct or indirect commercial purposes."[even software isn't safe from after sale restrictions]

          "December 1, 1990 Protection extended to architectural works. ...Grants to visual artists certain moral rights of attribution and integrity."[who says we don't respect _moral_ rights?]

          December 8, 1994 Uruguay Round Agreements Act restored copyright to certain foreign works under protection in the source country but in the public domain in the United States [removing works from the public domain? presently being fought in court]; repealed sunset of the Software Rental Amendments Act[copyright restrictions always go in one direction]; and created legal measures to prohibit the unauthorized fixation and trafficking in sound recordings of live musical performances and music videos. [now even _your_own_recordings_ of live events are punished]

          November 16, 1997
          The No Electronic Theft Act defined “financial gain” in relation to copyright infringement and set penalties for willfully infringing a copyright either for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain or by reproducing or distributing, including by electronic means phonorecords of a certain value. [Now commercial penalties are levied against non commercial personal use copying]

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:31am

        Re: Re: Actually,

        Citing China as an example of western culture is a hard argument to make.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 10:45am

      Re:

      Also, since we don't have any examples of western cultures without copyright, isn't this all fairly speculative?
      you could try western culture prior to like 1800(or 1700 if you feel like including britains printer monopoly)

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:05am

      Re:

      Also, since we don't have any examples of western cultures without copyright, isn't this all fairly speculative?


      False. We have many, many, many examples of creative industries within western culture that do not use copyright. Fashion, restaurants, sports plays, etc. And, as various researchers have shown over the years, those industries without copyright tend to show a much more rapid rate of innovation and creativity than similar industries that do have copyright.

      So, no, Not speculative at all.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:33am

        Re: Re:

        All those industries (not really industries in some cases) use copyright to some extent.

        Take "sports plays." The industry benefits massively from copyright protection through broadcasting revenues.

         

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          FormerAC (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:52am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Sports plays. Not sports broadcasting.

          He means that Vince Lombardi was not able to copyright "the sweep." Steve Carlton is not able to patent the curveball. Wilt Chamberlain was not able to issue a DMCA takedown notice when Shaq dunked.

          Players, coaches, and teams are not able to protect their plays with bogus IP claims. Lombardi didn't patent the sweep, yet you still couldn't stop it.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:54am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I understand that. But ignoring that the industry in which those plays are developed is supported by massive copyright-influenced revenues doesn't help make the point that the innovation happens "without copyright."

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:35pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Too often it happens despite copyright.

              Or it happens but is killed by copyright industries.

              Those industries Mike mentions succeed because they are *unencumbered* by copyright issues.

               

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                Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:44pm

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

                "Too often it happens despite copyright.

                Or it happens but is killed by copyright industries."

                How is that related to sports? The sports industry is not "unencumbered by copyright issues."

                 

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:51pm

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

                  The sports industry is not "unencumbered by copyright issues."

                  How about any time a fan site is taken down for using a short video blurb or a picture? How does it HELP the sports franchises?

                   

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                    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

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

                    I'm not saying that helps sports franchises. How did this turn into a "air all your complaints about sports and IP" discussion?

                     

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                  Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:29pm

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

                  He said sports PLAYS. Pay attention, dammit.

                   

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          Richard (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:01pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          The industry benefits massively from copyright protection through broadcasting revenues.

          Yet so called sporting rights have no legal backing. True the video and audio streams have copyright - but if you fly an airship over a stadium and video from there then you own the copyright and the sports authorities have no legal comeback.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:10pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            I haven't heard of "sporting rights" terminology.

             

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            jilocasin, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:11pm

            But don't try that at a concert

            It's true of sporting events, but thanks to your ever greedy corporate maximalists, it's now illegal to make your own recording of a live music performance.

             

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          Ninja (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:17pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Massively? With free streams everywhere? Rly?

          Sports benefit massively from advertisements and income from ppl that go see it live and loud at the stadiums. Do you really think that a company advertising in the t-shirt of some major national team wants to have the access to the feeds restricted?

          While I don't have any citation to provide (you can Google for it) I would love to see a citation from you proving that revenue from copyright in sports is a significant part of it.

           

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          Nicedoggy, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I think everyone should start filming those sports events and stream the video directly to a website that would stich all those images to create a 3D multiview image of the game.

          Then I want to see the government actually forbid people from making their own stream available to others.

           

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:15pm

        Re: Re:

        Let's take your examples one at a time Mike, and see where we really sit:

        Fashion: No current copyright on fashion, but since most of the styles and designs have been done before in the past, they are just using what would be the public domain. The real action in fashion is in the patent area, where developments like combed cotton fleece and such is key. So sorry, not a good example of copyright areas.

        restaurants: Similar to fashion, the food has pretty much all been done. Much of the action in the food world is in trademarks and appearance rather than the food itself, as there really isn't much new under the sun. We are talking about riffing off of the public domain again. Another poor example.

        sports plays: What is a sports play? If you are talking purely sports, there isn't much there. I can't think of any truly new sport developed that wasn't "football on steroids" or "baseball with a twist". Both of those sports, of course, have been around for 100+ years, and would all be in the public domain by now. So another dead end example.

        Do you have any example of areas where there is actual activity that doesn't involve things hundreds of years old already?

         

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          Any Mouse (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:14pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "restaurants: Similar to fashion, the food has pretty much all been done. Much of the action in the food world is in trademarks and appearance rather than the food itself, as there really isn't much new under the sun. We are talking about riffing off of the public domain again. Another poor example."

          Wow... You really are out of touch, aren't you? I'd suggest sitting down and watching some Food Network for a week and see just what you're most likely missing out on. Food is art, and saying it's all 'pretty much been done' is as nonsensical and unsupportable as saying the same thing about music, sculpture and literature.

           

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          Dude, there have been more developments in food in the past 20 years than in perhaps the entire history of food prior to that. The development of "molecular gastronomy" has fundamentally changed countless recipes and spawned many more new ones - especially at the restaurant level. You may notice that brand new techniques like using liquid nitrogen to make better hamburgers or chemically infusing a cocktail with bacon flavour are not copyrighted.

          And, honestly, if cooking is all just riffing off stuff hundreds of years old (I assume you mean techniques and common ingredients, so say "whisking egg white until peaks form" or "reducing vinaigrette" or "thickening with blood" or whatnot) then it seems to me that music is no different - just the use of ingredients and techniques that are hundreds of years old (scales, harmonics, syncopation)

           

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            Any Mouse (profile), Jul 27th, 2011 @ 12:27am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            As always, thank you for explaining better what my fumbling attempts at communication could not properly convey. Sadly, I'm better with the cookin' than that talkin'.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 12:52pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Marcus, you are very, very confused.

            In the food world, molecular gastronomy is more of a patentable process than a copyrighted idea. That is to say that it is a method by which to achieve something, not and end product in itself. You copyright a work, you patent a process.

            In food prep, patents have always been in place. The processes by which these things are achieved may be eligible for patent, but the end result product is unlikely to be eligible for copyright, except perhaps in a very narrow exact configuration. Others can obtain the same results using other, non-patent methods, and are unlikely to face an issues.

            Patents for processes, copyright for works.

            You should know the difference, considering you work in a copyright industry.

             

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2011 @ 3:39am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Fashion: No current copyright on fashion, but since most of the styles and designs have been done before in the past, they are just using what would be the public domain. The real action in fashion is in the patent area, where developments like combed cotton fleece and such is key. So sorry, not a good example of copyright areas.

          You apparently are wholly ignorant of the fashion industry.

          restaurants: Similar to fashion, the food has pretty much all been done.

          You apparently are wholly ignorant of the restaurant industry.

          sports plays: What is a sports play? If you are talking purely sports, there isn't much there. I can't think of any truly new sport developed that wasn't "football on steroids" or "baseball with a twist". Both of those sports, of course, have been around for 100+ years, and would all be in the public domain by now. So another dead end example.

          You apparently are wholly ignorant of what's happening in sports.

          Do you have any example of areas where there is actual activity that doesn't involve things hundreds of years old already?

          When you're unable to comprehend the examples already given, or are simply too ignorant to learn, then what's the point?

           

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            Richard (profile), Jul 27th, 2011 @ 5:52am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            You apparently are wholly ignorant of what's happening in sports.

            To which I could add motor racing.

            Formula 1 technology advances at a furious pace - and is completely devoid of IP issues other than trade secret. If Colin Chapman had been able to patent monocoque chassis, or wings, or ground effect Lotus would have got a 20 year winning streak from each of those - rather than the 2-3 advantage they actually got.

             

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              Richard (profile), Jul 27th, 2011 @ 5:58am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              An intersedting comment from a pro IP site bemoaning the lack of patents in Formula one (trying to drum up busines?

              "McLaren has only filed two international patents in the last fifteen years and Williams hasn’t filed any. This is shocking when you consider that the technology on an average family car is covered by hundreds, if not thousands of patents. It is even more shocking when you consider that much of the technology developed in Formula 1 ends up in normal passenger cars - especially technologies developed in areas like engine efficiency and performance; brake design and performance and fuel and oil improvements. "

              link here

               

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            Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 12:54pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Wow Mike, you worked hard on that one.

            You apparently are wholly ignorant of the idea of supporting your comments with examples.

            I detailed why I don't think these industries have any potential for copyright (and why either of them asking for copyright is sort of misleading), and that for the most part, everything involved in them is "prior art" or "process". Processes get patents, not copyright.

            If you are going to call me ignorant, at least try to explain yourself. Otherwise you just look like you are deflecting because you don't like that I just called your crap out.

             

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        Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 6:16am

        Re: Re:

        Those industries all use trademark.

        A "sports play" is not an industry, btw.

         

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Jul 27th, 2011 @ 8:28am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Trademark is an altogether different thing from copyright. Trademark is all about protecting the consumer - copyright is all about granting power to the creator. There is very little similarity in most cases.

           

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      Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:59pm

      Re: we don't have any examples of western cultures without copyright

      um, fashion, architecture, music, writing, films, business, all these things are taught at schools where you learn from what has gone before and try to improve - the wheel, the wall, the scales, the cut etc.. you listen and you learn and then you fork/tweak/develop.

       

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:00am

    Content?

    Replace 'content' with 'billable hours' and it all makes sense.

     

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    isuppose, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:01am

    "... which simply prevents tremendous new opportunities ..."

    I think, it is the opposite of the intended meaning.

     

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:03am

      Re:

      I think, it is the opposite of the intended meaning.


      Yeah... I think something got screwed up in the editing process. :) Initially I think I said "presents" and then it got changed. I've edited for clarity.

       

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    Michael Long (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:14am

    Nothing to do with Copyright

    "By and large, copyright-centered business models generate blockbuster economies, in which very few people earn very substantial incomes while the great majority of producers receive little to nothing for their work."

    Sorry, but the article fails on this point. Take practically ANYTHING, from making movies to novels to music to selling insurance to playing baseball to writing software. The top artists and "players" in a given field tend to make a lot of money.

    The people at the bottom of the pyramid make little to nothing, and the ones in the middle make ends meet, or at least make enough to make their endeavor worthwhile.

    As such, this distribution has NOTHING to do with copyright.

    Nor does it prevent other people from choosing to employ "alternative" business models in order to generate additional income. A fact TechDirt delights in pointing out when discussing the music industry and the CwF/RtB methodology.

     

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      Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:26am

      Re: Nothing to do with Copyright

      As such, this distribution has NOTHING to do with copyright.

      Yes, its economics. Which is entirely the point. Copyright has nothing to do with how much the original creators of the work make.

      Glad to see you're starting to understand.

      Now can we dispense with copyright, since it doesn't work?

       

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        Michael Long (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:42am

        Re: Re: Nothing to do with Copyright

        "Copyright has nothing to do with how much the original creators of the work make."

        Then you agree the original article is flawed, in that copyright has nothing to do with "blockbuster" economics. Good.

        I'll be glad to reduce the copyright term down to 14 years, or perhaps even 7. I'm all for the public domain.

        But we need some legal protection to keep people, businesses, and corporations from simply ripping off a finished work before the ink's even dry.

        Even Mike is discussing "weakened" copyright, and not calling for us to abolish it completely.

        So no, we can't "dispense" with it.

         

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          Nicedoggy, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:28pm

          Re: Re: Re: Nothing to do with Copyright

          Why do you need protection against leeches?
          You don't need it, you want it, there is a difference.

          Being ripped off means you also can rip off people who actually have better ideas then you do, being ripped off also doesn't mean you are suddenly unable to sell anything.

           

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:37am

      Re: Nothing to do with Copyright

      Sorry, but the article fails on this point. Take practically ANYTHING, from making movies to novels to music to selling insurance to playing baseball to writing software. The top artists and "players" in a given field tend to make a lot of money.

      The people at the bottom of the pyramid make little to nothing, and the ones in the middle make ends meet, or at least make enough to make their endeavor worthwhile.


      Actually, there have been some studies comparing industries before and after changes to IP laws... that have shown a clear impact in which stricter IP laws tend to lead to fewer bigger operations, rather than more, smaller/mid-size operations.

      So, no. The article does not fail on that point. There have been multiple studies that have shown this to be true. And while there are other industries where there's a pyramid, historically, in the copyright industries there HAS BEEN NO pyramid. Either you succeed or you fail.

      That's finally changing now... especially since copyright is less of an issue in that industry.

       

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        Michael Long (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:00pm

        Re: Re: Nothing to do with Copyright

        "...historically, in the copyright industries there HAS BEEN NO pyramid. Either you succeed or you fail."

        I can't believe you wrote something so puerile. Of course you either "succeed" or fail. But now define success, because you don't have to have a blockbuster to be a success.

        No pyramid, huh? So you don't make living running this site? There aren't thousands, if not millions, of authors and writers and blog owners and musicians and bands and independent filmmakers and developers who work in the copyright industry and make a living doing so?

        And even more writers and bloggers and garage bands and so on, who do it part time?

        People that you, yourself, write about and discuss on almost a daily basis?

        No pyramid????? Are you nuts?

         

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          cc (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:13pm

          Re: Re: Re: Nothing to do with Copyright

          "Historically", I would guess, means before computers and the internet came along.

          As recently as 20 years ago, if you didn't have the endorsement of a label, there was no way to record and distribute music.

          Now, all you need are a good quality microphone (that you could find cheap on Ebay), some free software and an internet connection...

           

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          Mike Masnick (profile), Jul 27th, 2011 @ 3:35am

          Re: Re: Re: Nothing to do with Copyright

          I can't believe you wrote something so puerile

          I don't think you know what that word means.

          Of course you either "succeed" or fail. But now define success, because you don't have to have a blockbuster to be a success.

          I stand by my point. Historically, when copyright allowed for gatekeepers, if you weren't a blockbuster, you failed out of the industry.

          Today, because copyright is less of an issue, and technology allows people to avoid the gatekeepers, there is much more opportunity.

          No pyramid, huh? So you don't make living running this site? There aren't thousands, if not millions, of authors and writers and blog owners and musicians and bands and independent filmmakers and developers who work in the copyright industry and make a living doing so?

          Um. Dude. You're proving my point for me. That's become more and more possible today.

          No pyramid????? Are you nuts?


          Reading comprehension fail.

          Try again.

           

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      Richard (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:09pm

      Re: Nothing to do with Copyright

      Take practically ANYTHING, from making movies to novels to music to selling insurance to playing baseball to writing software. The top artists and "players" in a given field tend to make a lot of money.

      Yes - but the ratio is bigger in copyright industries - and in those industries the vast majority have difficulty making more than pin money.

      Compare musicians with teachers, lawyers and doctors and you will see what I mean.

       

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    mike allen (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:27am

    i wont reiterate what I said earlier but surely a percentage of sales to authors and artistes music and film would be better than decades long copyright and annoying customers.
    It wont stop file sharing but I don't see any law that will but it will allow greater freedom to do what you want with what you buy.

     

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 11:36am

    The premise of this article is true: copyright is not needed for innovation/creation/progress.

    That doesn't answer the question of whether copyright is good for innovation/creation/progress.

     

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      Nicedoggy, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:31pm

      Re:

      It did answer, it showed that the overall market increases.

      There are real modern examples of that happening right now.

      Bollywood and Nollywood.

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 12:49pm

    How did the article show that "the overall market [for what?] increases" when there is no copyright protection?

    How do Bollywood and Nollywood show whether more, better or more widely distributed creative works would exist without copyright?

     

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      Nicedoggy, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:01pm

      Re:

      Because if you don't hold the exclusive rights that means more people enter the market to try and make money, which means there are more people interested in creating a market, which drives demand for more works, which creates more jobs, which create more revenues and bla bla bla.

      Bollywood and Nollywood are good examples of that neither India nor Nigeria have the means to enforce any IP laws and despite this fact they both are growing tremendously, Nollywood produce 3 times more movies than Hollywood and the quality keeps improving, so they actually have a bigger market for film production, employ more people and despite zero protections the money keeps coming why?

       

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        identicon
        Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:31pm

        Re: Re:

        "How did the article" =/= give me your own theory

        "Bollywood and Nollywood are good examples of that neither India nor Nigeria have the means to enforce any IP laws and despite this fact they both are growing tremendously,"

        That doesn't show what would or would not happen with IP enforcement. That only shows that, even if your premise is true, which I don't really know, IP enforcement is not an absolutely necessary precondition to any sort of success.

         

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:40pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          ...IP enforcement is not an absolutely necessary precondition to any sort of success.

          Finally, you're getting it!

          I'm going to print that out and fram it!

           

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          •  
            identicon
            Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 2:02pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Um, that's exactly what I said in my first post in this thread.

            To wit: "The premise of this article is true: copyright is not needed for innovation/creation/progress."

            Again, though, that does not answer the question of whether copyright is good for innovation/creation/progress.

            If you or anyone else is having trouble understanding the difference, I can try to explain in greater detail.

             

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              identicon
              Nicedoggy, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 12:33am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              What don't you understand?

              The fact that locations that have affectively no copyrights produce more works and employ more people are in fact better to innovation/creation/progress than the parts that have copyrights and don't produce as many works and don't employ as many people?

              In one the wealth is spread which incentivize the production, create more jobs and naturally limits the size of what one can achieve to a healthy sustainable size, in the other you see the hoarding of capital, which does not employ as many people with a natural tendency to lay off personnel and unhealthy dependency on a monolith block of companies that if it breaks can harm the entire country because those giants successfully killed all those that could have taken their place in the market.

              What is so hard to understand?

               

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                alex (profile), Jul 28th, 2011 @ 1:34am

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

                Sorry but I have no idea what you're talking about.

                Please give an example of 2 countries with different approaches to copyright. Also please explain how you measure innovation/creation/progress.

                 

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      identicon
      Nicedoggy, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:08pm

      Re:

      Even China produce more and they enforce nothing over there unless it is to block western movies.

      Here the biggest pirates in China after QQLive LoL
      http://www.pptv.com/

       

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        Nicedoggy, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

        Re: Re:

        PPTV according to some have 200 million eyeballs, imagine just how much ad revenue that means.

        Those are the new "channels" of the future.

         

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    identicon
    Pops, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:22pm

    How is an independent artist or programmer supposed to get paid if his works aren't copyrighted?

    Through donations alone?
    Would the (probably small amount of) donations motivate people to produce good quality stuff?

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:35pm

      Re:

      Work for hire or private sale and providing services like teaching come immediately to mind.

       

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        identicon
        Pops, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 3:08pm

        Re: Re:

        >Work for hire or private sale
        You're kinda avoiding the question here. Putting another middle man in between the author and the consumer is not a real answer.
        >and providing services like teaching
        So, take up another job altogether?

         

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          identicon
          Nicedoggy, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 12:35am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Did they loose the ability to play live, give lectures, sell merchandise?

           

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          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 4:00pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          You asked how else to earn if not through copyright. I had a couple of lines of earning pop right into my head. How is that avoiding the question? And what middleman is added for hired work or private sales?

          Teaching cannot possibly be part of being an artist or programmer? Wha?

           

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      Gwiz (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 1:49pm

      Re:

      How is an independent artist or programmer supposed to get paid if his works aren't copyrighted?

      A good business model.

      There are a lot of examples here:

      http://www.techdirt.com/blog/casestudies/

      Would the (probably small amount of) donations motivate people to produce good quality stuff?

      Well, you are assuming that money is the only motivation for creating. I don't believe it is. I write code for the joy of creating something. At times it has been part of my employment, other times not, but I still code regardless.

       

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        identicon
        Pops, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 3:16pm

        Re: Re:

        Of course, money is not the _only_ motivation. But it's an important one.

        In general, products (like software) made with no money involved are of lesser quality.
        Yes, there are many good freeware programs. I use plenty of them myself. But those are mostly small scale projects that don't require many people working on them.
        For big complex pieces of software, freeware is not that good. And before you mention some open source enterprise stuff, that's software paid by big companies, it's not made by volunteers.

         

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      JMT (profile), Jul 26th, 2011 @ 2:32pm

      Re:

      "How is an independent artist or programmer supposed to get paid if his works aren't copyrighted?"

      If an independent artist or programmer is not skilled enough to convince others to pay for his works, then he needs to go get a different job. That's how it works for the rest of us. Why should they be treated differently?

       

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        identicon
        Pops, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 3:20pm

        Re: Re:

        They should be treated equally, of course.
        They should get paid if they provide value, just like you. That's all I'm saying.

        Copyright laws are in many way ridiculous at the moment. Not to even mention the "war on piracy" and all that BS. But removing copyright altogether? I'm not convinced. At all.

         

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        •  
          identicon
          Anonymous Coward, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 4:03pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          There are some that advocate that, but I might wager that making copyright easier to understand and comply with, in addition to shortening it, would go a long way for a lot of folks who hate it as it stands.

           

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 26th, 2011 @ 8:26pm

    This article's comments are so prolific that they have surpassed my interest in the original text.

    Said text as well all of the ranting, baiting, trolling, and arguments are by in large just that, random opinions.

    Wouldn't it be something if the reader could highlight any applicable portions with the phrase "Citation Needed," however, this TechDirt is not exactly the Wikipedia. (shrugs) Rationalizations spoken merely for the purpose of babble may bring 7th-grade intellectual stimulation, but not much value.

     

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    alex (profile), Jul 27th, 2011 @ 3:16am

    I don't really get how copyright "harms the wider market, decreases competition, and cuts out any chance of a "middle class" in the market."

    If a small record label wants to release an album, what difference does it make to them that the big 4 hold copyrights on their catalogues?

    I agree that copyright isn't the only business model, but I don't follow how it harms the wider market.

     

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    identicon
    chris, Jul 27th, 2011 @ 10:42am

    Be careful with that word "content", it only hurts our cause.
    http://www.gnu.org/philosophy/words-to-avoid.html#Content

     

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    identicon
    Mr. Feasible, Jul 28th, 2011 @ 4:54am

    The no copyright argument rips off musicians...

    How many people would rather not pay for a track? MOST (and most of you commenters, as well, it would seem) And yet you pay through the nose for your iPod, iPhone, iPad, etc. protected up the wazoo by patent, trademark and copyright laws. As if that would happen without protection: look at China. NO CREATIVITY, ALL COPYING. Because they copy with impunity and they virtually have no protection!

    You gyp the musician because you can.

    Without fees from copyright-protected tracks, how does the average musician make a living? Performance? Don't be ridiculous. If you're not trying to make it as an musician, you don't know the difficulties. Take away my rights in my song or my recorded performance, and you are getting something from me that I created -- for nothing.

     

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