Why Johnny Can't Read Any New Public Domain Books In The US: Because Nothing New Entered The Public Domain

from the and-won't-for-many-years dept

Every year, January 1st is "public domain day" around the globe. It's the day when all works that have had their copyrights expire enter the public domain, since copyright term is based on the year of publication, rather than the exact date. While some parts of the world still have something to celebrate on public domain day -- such as how the works of James Joyce are now in the public domain in the EU, here in the US as we've noted in the past, we're left waiting... for nothing. Because thanks to massive changes to copyright law, as well as copyright term extension, absolutely nothing has or will enter the public domain for many years in the US (minus a specific declaration by the copyright holder... and even then it's not entirely clear that qualifies).

The good folks at the Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University put together a depressing list each year of what would have gone into the public domain under copyright law if the law prior to 1978 remained in effect. You can check out this year's unfortunate list of works seized from the public in a retroactive one-sided renegotiation of the deal the copyright holders had with the public. These works should be in the public domain, and they're not... and the public got nothing in exchange for having these works taken away from us. Pulling from their writeup, here are just a few of the works that I thought you might find interesting:
  • Rudolf Flesch's Why Johnny Can't Read: And What You Can Do About It
  • J.R.R. Tolkien's The Return of the King, the final installment in his Lord of Rings trilogy
  • Michihiko Hachiya’s Hiroshima Diary: The Journal of a Japanese Physician, August 8–September 30, 1945, translated by Warner Wells, md
  • Evelyn Waugh’s Officers and Gentlemen, the second book in his Sword of Honour trilogy
  • C.S. Lewis' The Magician’s Nephew, the sixth volume his The Chronicles of Narnia
  • Vladimir Nabokov's Lolita
  • Jerome Lawrence & Robert E. Lee's play about the Scopes “Monkey Trial,” Inherit the Wind
  • Isaac Asimov's The End of Eternity
  • Jack Finney's The Body Snatchers
  • Arthur C. Clarke's Earthlight
  • Elvis Presley's first TV appearance (on Louisiana Hayride, March 5, 1955)
  • Episodes of "I Love Lucy"
  • The first issue of William F. Buckley's "National Review."
  • "The Seven Year Itch," directed by Billy Wilder; starring Marilyn Monroe and Tom Ewell
  • "Lady and the Tramp," Walt Disney Productions' classic animation
  • Alfred Hitchcock's "To Catch a Thief," starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly
  • Two of James Dean’s three major motion pictures: "East of Eden," directed by Elia Kazan and co-starring Raymond Massey and Julie Harris; and "Rebel Without a Cause," directed by Nicholas Ray and co-starring Natlie Wood, Sal Mineo, and Jim Backus
They also list out a bunch of songs:
Unchained Melody (Hy Zaret & Alex North), Ain't That a Shame (Antoine "Fats" Domino and Dave Bartholomew), Blue Suede Shoes (Carl Perkins), Folsom Prison Blues (Johnny Cash), The Great Pretender (Buck Ram), Maybellene (Chuck Berry, Russ Fratto, & Alan Freed), and Tutti Frutti (Richard Penniman (aka Little Richard), Dorothy LaBostrie, & Joe Lubin),
As they point out, it's really even more ridiculous than this, because under pre-1978 copyright law, most works didn't even go to the full 56 years of copyright protection. Instead, the vast majority of works gave up their copyright after 28 years. If the rates from the time held up, about 85% of the works created in 1983 would be in the public domain today. Instead, they'll be locked up until most of us are dead. Isn't that wonderful?

The thing is, with the list of works from 1955 above, when they were all created, the maximum term of copyright of 56 years was a perfectly acceptable trade-off for those creators. They got their monopoly, and they created their works. What I can't understand is what the logic is in extending those rights retroactively. Clearly the incentive to create was fine as it was. Why should it change after the work was created?


Reader Comments (rss)

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    Chronno S. Trigger (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 1:42pm

    If anything deserves to be in the public domain where anyone can read it, it's The Lord of Rings and anything from Isaac Asimov. To do otherwise disrespects what they wrote.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 1:45pm

      Re: Pair o' sights?

      I'm certain their potentially undeserving descendants hold a different opinion on the subject...

       

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        MrWilson, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:06pm

        Re: Re: Pair o' sights?

        I'm certain their descendants should get a job like the rest of us poor schmucks.

        The children of construction workers don't get royalties from the buildings that their parents worked on that are still standing.

        The children of piano teachers don't get royalties when their parents' student have a recital.

        Heck, the children of artists don't get royalties when their parents' works are resold.

         

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          hothmonster, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:10pm

          Re: Re: Re: Pair o' sights?

          "Heck, the children of artists don't get royalties when their parents' works are resold"

          they are working on this one

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:37pm

          Re: Re: Re: Pair o' sights?

          "Heck, the children of artists don't get royalties when their parents' works are resold."

          But their working on it in the EU yes they are, those progressive nitwits.

           

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          known coward, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 5:20am

          Re: Re: Re: Pair o' sights?

          For now, but that all will be changed soon.

           

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          Mike Hardin, Mar 7th, 2012 @ 9:12am

          Re: Re: Re: Pair o' sights?

          But if the parent's OWNED the building and never sold it, the descendants could still collect rent or sell the property.

           

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      PaulT (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:13pm

      Re:

      "disrespects what they wrote"

      Especially in the case of Asimov, I dare say that there are certain adaptations made by people who honestly don't care. They got their corporate sponsors, who cares what a dead guy thinks?

      Either, same as it's ever been. Corporate idiots who did nothing to create the original work continue to profit, while lesser known works are destined to be destroyed forever because they didn't make enough money. Meanwhile, those of us who wish for culture to be available to all are labelled freetards and pirates...

       

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        Jay (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:26pm

        Re: Re:

        "Asimov"

        I don't think anyone understands the power of Asimov. He created the word "robot" based on his own influences in sci fi. He influenced people as disperse as Keiji Inafune, who created Megaman based on the three laws and the entire field of robotics wih his observations and stories.

        But it's amazing how people don't understand that others don't build new stories in a vacuum. There's no evidence of this. Even Asimov would probably say the same thing.

        “I believe in evidence. I believe in observation, measurement, and reasoning, confirmed by independent observers. I’ll believe anything, no matter how wild and ridiculous, if there is evidence for it. The wilder and more ridiculous something is, however, the firmer and more solid the evidence will have to be.”

        — Isaac Asimov


        Doesn't this also explain the insanity of copyright law right now? Where's the evidence that it's needed?

         

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          MrWilson, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:41pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          "He created the word "robot" based on his own influences in sci fi."

          I assume you mean that his use of the term "robot" set the modern connotation of an artificial lifeform usually made of metal or similar substance since Karel Capek coined the term in Rossum's Universal Robots in 1921 to denote synthetic humans made from other substances.

           

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            Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 5:02pm

            Re: "He created the word "robot" based on his own influences in sci fi."

            Isaac Asimov is the Steve Jobs of robots.

             

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              Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 11:50pm

              Re: Re: "He created the word "robot" based on his own influences in sci fi."

              I hate that people have the misguided impression that being called "Steve Jobs" is supposed to be a good thing.

              The guy was a horrible tyrant, and unfortunately, his minions decided that keeping the company immoral like that is the way to go.

               

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                MrWilson, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 8:31am

                Re: Re: Re: "He created the word "robot" based on his own influences in sci fi."

                I agree that he was a horrible tyrant and a hypocritical, anti-competitive egomaniac, but I have to concede that Steve Jobs did have skills. He was good galvanizing an entire cult of personality around his ability to remix pre-existing concepts into a viable product and sell it for excessive markets in his proprietary little world.

                I think Lawrence was referring to Steve Jobs' ability to take something that already existed and make it more marketable when he used the description in his comment about Asimov.

                 

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                PaulT (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 8:50am

                Re: Re: Re: "He created the word "robot" based on his own influences in sci fi."

                "the misguided impression that being called "Steve Jobs" is supposed to be a good thing"

                Somehow, I don't think that was what he was getting at (think "he took ideas that had been raised before and made it better/more popular")

                "the company immoral"

                Companies have morals now?

                 

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          nasch (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 8:03am

          Re: Re: Re:

          I wonder how many people know that any time a sci fi robot is described as being incapable of harming a human (think "Aliens"), that was inspired by Asimov.

           

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 8:11am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Actually, the word "Robot" came from Karel Capek's play, "R.U.R."

           

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      ArtG, Nov 12th, 2013 @ 3:52pm

      Re:

      YES!!!! you are 110% right (don't know what the other 10 is, but I'm not taking it back :)

       

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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 1:46pm

    Suddenly I feel like sending a turd in the mail to Disney Headquarters...

     

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    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 1:48pm

    One score

    The thing is, with the list of works from 1955 above, when they were all created, the maximum term of copyright of 56 years was a perfectly acceptable trade-off for those creators.

    I'd say even that is too much. People should be able to make use of the culture they grew up with while they're in their prime.

     

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      John Doe, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:01pm

      Re: One score

      You make a great point here. Culture needs to be shared immediately or within a few years. Otherwise it dies and the next generation develops their own culture of which they can't share either.

       

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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    I do have a question for Mike...why no article on the fact that Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act? I only found out today (3rd), even though he had signed it on the 31st December.

     

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 1:58pm

      Re:

      I do have a question for Mike...why no article on...

      I do have a questionf for Rikuo...where's your blog?

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:05pm

        Re: Re:

        Ah...touché. You do have a point there. It's just, where I'm coming from, Mike has written so many articles about the censorship aspects of SOPA, and the NDAA is so much worse, what with it giving the military the right to indefinitely detain anyone they choose to label as a terrorist suspect, without charge or trial.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:10pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's worse than that. You can just be suspected of the deliberately ultra-vague (amendments to clarify were shot down) offence of being "associated" with terrorism or terrorist group(s). It's hard to avoid thinking that severe martial law is coming soon.

           

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            :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:13pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Motive

            Why bother declaring "martial law"?

            It makes people unhappy, and when you can get all the power you'd normally get from martial law by passing several shady laws anyhow--plus you can claim with a straight face you've never declared martial law on the US populace.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:06pm

      Re:

      I wouldn't be surprised to see the NDAA used to execute file-sharers without trial. It just would not be a surprise.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:09pm

      Re:

      "...why no article on the fact that Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act?"

      If it had something to do with copyright, I'm sure Mike would've made mention.
      Since it has nothing to do with copyright (unless it states we'll nuke foreign copyright infringers), it's not a topic for this forum.

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:28pm

        Re: Re:

        Mike writes about more than just copyright. He has a lot of topics and "government policy" is one of them. If he doesn't want to write an article fine, I'm not gonna hold it against him, or force him to write about it. I'm just saying, that writing about the evils of SOPA and then not writing about the evils of the NDAA sounds a little weird to me.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:10pm

      Re:

      "...why no article on the fact that Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act?"

      If it had something to do with copyright, I'm sure Mike would've made mention.
      Since it has nothing to do with copyright (unless it states we'll nuke foreign copyright infringers), it's not a topic for this forum.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:40pm

        Re: Re:

        I don't see anything in TechDirt's self description that should limit its focus to copyright issues...

        "Started in 1997 by Floor64 founder Mike Masnick and then growing into a group blogging effort, the Techdirt blog uses a proven economic framework to analyze and offer insight into news stories about changes in government policy, technology and legal issues that affect companies ability to innovate and grow."

        But I think you are right, TechDirt has lost its focus. How does this bit of information affect a company's ability to innovate and grow?

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:54pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          As someone pointed out above disney got its start by releasing new versions of public domain works. With the shrinking of the public domain new companies can no longer reach into it and create new innovate works from classic tales in order to grow their brand.

           

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:42pm

      Re: NDAA

      If you've the desire, you could draft something and submit it here using the "submit a story" link.

      And then everybody will read it and discuss it intelligently in a civilized manner.

      Half of the above missives might be false...

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 5:59pm

      Re:

      I do have a question for Mike...why no article on the fact that Obama signed the National Defense Authorization Act? I only found out today (3rd), even though he had signed it on the 31st December.

      This is totally off-topic, so I'll answer it once and ask in the future that you not try to raise off-topic discussions in the comments. It can really throw off a thread.

      However, to be honest, while we've mentioned NDAA, it's (1) not really a key coverage area of what we write about, though it does touch on some stuff (2) the hype around it does not actually match what's in the bill (it basically codified what both the President and most in Congress already thought was the law) and (3) much of it is totally political. See the following to understand why: http://www.reddit.com/r/politics/comments/nxu96/obama_signs_ndaa_with_signing_statement/c3ctkzz

       

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      Machin Shin (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 7:45am

      Re:

      Just a thought, but maybe he did not write about that because this site is called TECHdirt implying technology instead of something like PoliticalDirt. The NDAA is a terrible law but is not really technology related and so stories on it are better suited for other pages.

       

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    eMike (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 1:49pm

    I would be anything that if copyright term length ever shortens, these works will be grandfathered so they don't have their term reduced... even though they were extended by legislation after they created.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:01pm

    And this is why...

    ...the Internet is overruling government. (It's a design goal, you see, and we're smarter than they are -- so we win.)

    And why I'm teaching every student I come into contact with to ignore all forms of "intellectual property". Whatever merits it might have once had, it's now become a farce, subject to the will and greed of corporations.

    So go ahead, maximalists: lobby and legislate and even prosecute all you want. You'll be dead soon enough and the next generation will mock your selfishness and ignorance.

     

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      Cody Jackson (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:31pm

      Re: And this is why...

      +1. Regardless of what copyright maximalists, lawyers, and legislators want to believe, the reality is that all of these works are either now, or soon will be, available to the public on the Internet.

      However, as I understand it, no one can _make use_ of these items in a commercial, and often non-commercial, way. So while the public may be able to read/watch/listen to these works, they can't use them to make new works.

      But my question is, if other countries have allowed them to become public domain, they can make new works from them, right?

      Ah, that is why the US is trying to get every other country to have the same copyright extensions the US has. It's also why, whenever one country extends its copyright, others are brought along so everyone "plays fair".

      Got it!

       

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        MrWilson, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:53pm

        Re: Re: And this is why...

        This reveals the absurdity of legislation like SOPA. In the same manner as the classic phrase, "if you outlaw guns, only criminals will have guns," if you censor websites in the US, only foreign countries will experience the full benefits of the internet, including the economic benefits. Just because we cut off our nose to spite our face doesn't mean everyone else in the world will be as stupid as us.

        And as for the expected results: the DARE program is reported to increase drug use in kids and abstinence-only sex education leads to higher rates of teen pregnancy.

         

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      MrWilson, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:36pm

      Re: And this is why...

      I've been noticing the pattern of history in which people find new ways to be free in order to circumvent oppression and control, only for the oppressors to catch up and impose on the newest frontier of freedom.

      If your lands were invaded, you could migrate somewhere else. Then all the land was claimed and national boundaries were set, and your options were more limited.

      Religion was supposed to set you free by letting you worry about the afterlife rather than the hell of living. Then the Catholic Church uses it to control you and makes you believe you can be condemned to hell on the word of a priest or pope.

      Literature and other forms of art allowed you the freedom to imagine anything you like and escape into that world. But government censorship and obscenity laws and intellectual property laws impose upon this freedom.

      The internet started out as a relatively free space where anything could be exchanged without the imposition of physical limitations. But now governments and the wealthy and powerful are trying to crack down on this too.

      What is the next frontier into which we can retreat to escape these greedy, power-hungry assholes after they ruin the internet?

       

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        wilson..., Jan 4th, 2012 @ 11:07am

        Re: Re: And this is why...

        bullets still kill tyrants right?

        long as someone is willing to fight the rest can go #### themselves.

         

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      Kathy Cobb, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:48pm

      Anonymous Coward

      You're an idiot and a thief. I doubt you have ever created anything original. If you had, you would not be teaching others to ignore intellectual property.

      Intellectual property first and foremost belongs to those who created it as well as their descendants.

      I find it amazing that so many of you think you have an absolute right to works created by other people.

      While I do understand the need for Pubic Domain, you act as if it is your God-given right and use it as an excuse to rip off the work of others.

      People who create these works feel quite differently.

       

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    btrussell (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:10pm

    "Why should it change after the work was created?"

    This just makes it obvious that it isn't for authors and inventors benefit.

     

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    Brian, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:11pm

    A little confused

    Hey Mike -

    While I understand your consternation regarding the retroactive extensions, I'm not sure I understand the level of your ire. Ok, yeah - I'd love to be able to do whatever the hell I like with Folsom Prison Blues, but I don't see it as my RIGHT, or as something that I've had taken away from me. It'd be nice, it'd be fun - but you seem to be annoyed that some sort of contract with the public has been breached.

    You make it sound like the public made a deal with content creators: "We are GOING to arbitrarily take the fruits of your labors and generate personal profit from them, but we'll be nice enough to give you a couple of decades to make a living first." I've never seen that as the spirit of works entering the public-domain. I don't feel I'm ENTITLED to use these works just because I had the decency not to use them illegally for the last 50 years.

    If you're going to take issue with immoral and in-ethical extensions of patent and copyright laws, it seems to me that the pharmaceutical industry would be a better target - when THEY circumvent legislations and tack on a few more years to the copyrights on their drugs, tens of thousands of people die without access to cheaper generics.

    When you're talking about musical copyrights, the biggest downside I can see (besides the fact that I can't bootleg and sell any James Dean movies yet) is that we'll never be treated to the Biebs' cover of Folsom Prison Blues.

    I call that a wash.

     

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      :Lobo Santo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:16pm

      Re: A little confused

      So you're saying you owe nothing to the country, people, society, culture, and planet which birthed you??

      Damn, wish I was that greedy & self-centered.

      Anything I make--when I'm dead--you can have it.

       

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        Kathy Cobb, Mar 7th, 2013 @ 5:54pm

        Re: Re: A little confused

        Lobo Santo: The artists/authors do not OWE you anything.

        All of you are selfish who think you are owed something for work created by someone else.

        And my guess is that none of you are talented enough to create on your own. Therefore, you have to rip off the work of someone else to make a profit.

        This has nothing to do with preservation of art/culture. It has more to do with the public's desire to own absolutely everything.

        Public Domain is why the work of Beethoven has been used to sell toilet paper.

        Some people do not have the common sense to use the work of other's in a dignified manner.

         

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      Rikuo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:23pm

      Re: A little confused

      Um, yeah, you should have been entitled to use the works after 56 years. Yes, you, a member of the public, have lost out.
      Here's the thing. Do you want to know how Disney started out? He created movies that used and recycled content and ideas from fairy tales that were in the public domain (Snow White, Beauty and the Beast etc). He was able to freely use those tales without having to negotiate expensive licensing deals with either the authors, or their estates. Imagine if he'd had to, and Disney decided that the license costs were too high, and decided not to (say what you will about the evils of Disney, the movies they created are simply fantastic works of animation).
      Now, with all these works not in the public domain, the same thing can't happen. What if someone other than Peter Jackson wants to create a Return of the King movie? Well, thanks to this, they can't, not without paying Tolkien or Jackson exorbitant fees. Thus copyright here has impeded in the creation of works of art.

       

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        Rikuo (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:25pm

        Re: Re: A little confused

        Gah, mistake above. Meant to say "without paying Tolkien's ESTATE". Of course, Tolkien has been dead since the seventies, so how longer copyright extensions are supposed to help him create new works, I don't know.

         

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          bjupton (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:38pm

          Re: Re: Re: A little confused

          But won't we think of dear little Christopher?

          You know how tough it is to go work when you have a famous name?

          Try to be more sensitive.

           

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            ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 5:25pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A little confused

            But won't we think of dear little Christopher?

            Last time I checked, Chris was doing a pretty good job living off of editing his father's unreleased works and creating derivative works. Which, is probably the only antithesis I can think of as to why the children of authors shouldn't receive royalties and the works of the author should become public domain the moment they die because the whole point of copyright is to get the author to continue to create, and a dead author cannot create new works.

            However, we all should be allowed to create derivative works -- why should Chris be the only one to do so just because he happened to be lucky enough to be born as the son of J.R.R. Tolkien and followed in his father's footsteps. Chris can still capitalize on the stuff his father didn't release. I don't get paid for all the work my dad did -- what makes an author/artist so special that their children get to rest on their parent's work?

             

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              MrWilson, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 8:39pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little confused

              Imagine the beauty of a Star Wars movie written and directed by people who could honor the spirit of what George Lucas created prior to the prequels. Great works are being kept from the public and not just the ones that are already created but the ones that never were because of copyright and fear of lawsuits and expensive licensing deals. Culture is more than a product to sell. It is an inherent part of who we collectively are as a society.

               

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                ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 8:33am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little confused

                Imagine the beauty of a Star Wars movie written and directed by people who could honor the spirit of what George Lucas created prior to the prequels.

                Imagine if Greg Bear's "The Phantom Menace" was used as the script for Phantom Menace. It would have been decent -- and Bear used Lucas's script and added to it (and changed some of it too.) Pretty much like how Empire sucked before Brackett and Kasdan were brought in to redo it. This is why I find crowd-sourcing and open source so amazing -- the best product is created as a result of opening the project up to the users.

                The problem is that most artists don't want to let go of the control they have -- but I've found myself that like free speech, you really get the best product when you allow others to get a say.

                 

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                  ltlw0lf (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 7:11pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: A little confused

                  Imagine if Greg Bear's "The Phantom Menace"

                  Oops, Terry Brooks novelized "The Phantom Menace", not Greg Bear. But Greg wrote some really good Clone Wars books.

                  Still, Terry Brooks novelization was better than Lucas's movie.

                   

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        Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:52pm

        Re: Re: A little confused

        So why doesn't someone create a new Snow White (or take your pick), and when Disney comes calling, just claim that they did NOT base it on Disney's Snow White, but on Grimm's Fairy Tales? How is a court going to determine it isn't?

        Right, they will just hold a secret hearing where Disney will just claim that that just isn't possible. We feel soooo violated!

         

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          jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:07pm

          Re: Re: Re: A little confused

          You can actually, as long as you stick to Grimm and not anything Disney added, like the seven dwarves. Have at it...

           

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          PaulT (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 3:13am

          Re: Re: Re: A little confused

          "why doesn't someone create a new Snow White"

          There's 2 versions of it in production for release in 2012. You can be sure that Disney's lawyers will be ready if any of them appear to take their cues from Disney's version rather than the Grimm version, even though by all rights both versions should be public domain by now.

          The bigger question is - would either version exist (or would Disney's version even exist) if Grimm's estates had to have approval and payment before any of them could be created? Would that make our culture poorer? Who should be the judge of that?

           

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      Anonymoose Custard (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:28pm

      Re: A little confused

      The problem is that Copyright came with a promise similar to the promise that Patents have: That once the creator has profited from the work, the work enters the collective cultural domain. The reasoning is that then the Public will always have access to the works.

      As it is, though, these works remain under Copyright, and it is still technically illegal to create archival copies for cultural preservation, and it's also therefore illegal for the Public to gain access to those archival copies for their enjoyment.

      Right now, there is a collection of recordings of Jazz music from the '30s by some of the masters of early Jazz - from Armstrong to Basie - that no one is allowed to listen to because they're under Copyright, even though it's not clear that anyone actually holds the Copyright to these recordings. So they will remain in an archive in Harlem until the Copyrights expire, probably sometime around 2025 at the earliest, if not longer. It's a travesty that no one will be able to listen to it.

      Worse, there are huge storerooms at the movie studios in Hollywood that hold collections of some of the most influential and (culturally) important movies of the Silent Era and the early "Soundies" that are simply decaying in their tins. The film is a material that is extremely fragile and doesn't survive even in controlled conditions, and so the reels are covered in a brow-gray gunk that used to be film. None of those movies will ever be seen again because the Copyright owners have no interest in recovering what's left (they don't see a market) and no one who has the funding is able to recover them all because they can't get the Copyright releases - if they can get it at all. In many cases, the studio that "owns" them can't even prove they have the Copyright.

      And so our Culture is being destroyed or lost because no one is allowed to make valuable archival copies, and no one is allowed to view them because the proper royalty payments can't or won't be made.

      Even if it can be proven that the works are true orphan works, no one will touch them because someone will make a Copyright claim that needs to be verified, even if the claim is invalid.

      Worse yet, derivative works that build on this culture (like tributes and documentaries and the like) can't use this material, even if they can get their hands on it.

      It is as if Copyright is making it illegal to record and share any of our History that occurred between 15 years ago (which is roughly when most Copyright owners seem to abandon their works) and 95 to 170 years ago (which is when the current Copyright extensions expire).

       

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        Ninja (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 4:39am

        Re: Re: A little confused

        Share with no regrets.

        MAFIAA are just o bunch of greedy rotten excuses of humans (that includes the first publishers that made copyright this mess). Except that, through the Govt imposed monopoly they have the money to bribe... I mean, lobby in their favor.

         

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        Rekrul, Jan 9th, 2012 @ 11:37pm

        Re: Re: A little confused

        And so our Culture is being destroyed or lost because no one is allowed to make valuable archival copies, and no one is allowed to view them because the proper royalty payments can't or won't be made.

        The ironic part is that the people who now performing this archival service are called "pirates".

         

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      PaulT (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:32pm

      Re: A little confused

      "you seem to be annoyed that some sort of contract with the public has been breached"

      It's called copyright. You know, the limited term artificial restriction that's meant to give a *temporary* monopoly to artists in return for the creation of more cultural works. I wonder how such terms extended decades beyond the artist's death achieves this aim?

      "it seems to me that the pharmaceutical industry would be a better target"

      ...which Mike has also criticised on many occasions. Your point?

      "When you're talking about musical copyrights, the biggest downside I can see (besides the fact that I can't bootleg and sell any James Dean movies yet) is that we'll never be treated to the Biebs' cover of Folsom Prison Blues. "

      You do realise that the above list is just the list of the best known works that *should* have entered into the public domain, under the original agreements entered into by the original artists? Why do you think that the works should have been retroactively "protected" after the artists' deaths, let alone allow works considered less commercially viable to rot in vaults with no legal exposure? What possible benefit could there be to anybody, other than a handful of corporations who had nothing to do with the creation of said works, especially considering that several clearly and legitimately built on previously existing works themselves?

      You do also realise that "public domain" does not mean that the existing owners of copyrights cannot make money, only that they no longer have the exclusive right to do so? I'd love to see East of Eden, but I'll be fucked if I'm buying a full priced DVD of the movie in order to do so just because Warner lobbied for some right to keep the film for 56 years after the star's death. Hell, there's several songs on that list I only know because of the cover versions - should I not be allowed to listen to the originals because someone has profit to be made?

      "I call that a wash."

      I call you a fool.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:33pm

      Re: A little confused

      How long should I be entitled to have monopoly rights on something AFTER I have released it to the public?

      Forever, my life and my children's lives? Now that's entitlement.

      Once you release something it becomes part of the culture, a part of the collective fabric of America (or wherever you are from)or for some master pieces the world. So why is it that the corporation who contracted you and gave you a decent upfront payoff can retain the rights to that work indefinetly?

      Do you really think the only reason we would want something in the public domain is so we can make money off it? Maybe I would like my kid to be able to play Folsom Prison Blues at a recital without worrying about rights, or to be able to buy a book of tabs/lyrics to classic songs like that with out having to pay rent to whoever bought the rights to that song 50 years ago. Maybe a school would like to be able to show classic movies by Hitchcock or staring James Dean without having to worry about licensing. The purpose of making these things public isn't so new people can make money off them its so everyone can enjoy them for free and can share, modify, copy, emulate, remix, use them freely.

      Infinitely extended copyright only puts a tax on our culture.

       

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      jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:37pm

      Re: A little confused

      The real issue with prolonged copyright terms isn't the works that are still being published - it's the thousands and thousands of works that the publishers figure they can't make money on, so they don't make them available in any way. A hundred years of culture are sitting in corporate vaults inaccessible because they're the only ones that can make copies, and they see no profit in it. Those are the works that really need to be in the public domain so that the niche group of people that have an interest in them can have them.

      Consider for example an old TV talk show - it's not being broadcast, it's no for sale anywhere, and nobody really would pay to see it - but your favorite musician appeared on there and sang a song. You'd like to see it, or at least hear it, but you can't, because the rights are owned and the content is locked away. Thankfully someone had it on VHS and uploaded it to Youtube. Technically that's illegal because it's not in the public domain, but now you can at least see the performance. Otherwise it would be culture lost.

      Before copyright, everyone had a right to copy any work of art. If someone recorded a song, you could take that song an do anything you wanted to it, including singing it yourself without acknowledging where it came from.

      Government created copyright to prevent that from happening - mainly so big publishers wouldn't take someone's book and profit from it without paying the writer.

      Now the tables have turned, and copyright protects the big publishers from having their work used by the general public.

      So yes, you have a basic human right to copy anything you happen upon. It's the essence of being creative. See something you like, copy it. The government took away that right with copyright, and when it's reasonable most people agree that it's fair, because without it a lot of people may not create anything.

      Copyright term extensions, however, have gone way beyond fair, esp. considering when all those works were made, the original creators knew the original terms of copyright and were fine with them. It's the corporations, which profit on the work of (dead) artists, that longs for eternal copyright. They want to keep making money on the same material for years and years.

      The funny part is, just because it's in the public domain doesn't mean they can't still make money on it. There are plenty of publishers making money on public domain books. But they want complete control.

      Copyright has locked our culture away, and we need serious pro-public copyright reform.

      Oh, and most songs licenses are set up so anybody can cover them, even the Biebs. You don't have to ask permission - you just have to pay royalties to the original artist. That's because the music industry at least realized that artists cover songs all the time and it would be impossible to grant permission every single time.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:48pm

        Re: Re: A little confused

        Before copyright, everyone had a right to copy any work of art. . . .

        Government created copyright to prevent that from happening. . . . .


        Nice theory. But unsupported by the historical record, at least in England and her colonies.

        Instead, the actual history is even more fascinating:

        Printing was introduced into England by William Caxton in 1476. During the subsequent Elizibethan age, printing was under state control by Star Chamber. Following the English Civil War, and the restoration, state censorship continued, under the Licensing Act of 1662 (14 Car. II, c.33). After the Glorious Revolution (1688), the Licensing Act finally expired without renewal in 1695.

        That Statute of 8 Anne, c.19 (1709) came about as a result of the end of official state censorship.

         

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          Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:32pm

          Re: Re: Re: A little confused

          Indeed - but most of the state censorship you mention had little or nothing to do with "intellectual property" and everything to do with politics and diplomatic relations. Plus, culture and art (and the ability to copy them) have existed since long before printing.

          So while jupiter did overstate it, the point stands: copyright created the idea that you could "own" an expression. Unlike physical property, which you can defend with a big stick, there is no natural way to own expression, other than never sharing it with anyone. If I steal your house, you can try to steal it back - but if I hear your poem, not only can you not take it back, I can't even give it back if I want to. It's in my head, and though I may forget it eventually, I can't take it out of there and neither can you.

          That's why copyright is a contract with the public: an agreement to grant completely artificial rights to creators - an agreement to "pretend" we don't own your poem, even though it's right there in our heads and we could write it down any time. One can certainly argue that there is a degree of this in all law - that's what society is - but in few areas is it so extreme. Sure, we agree not to steal houses, thus saving us from all sitting vigilantly with our big sticks 24 hours a day - but underneath that societal contract, there is still the reality of the stick. No such reality underpins copyright: it exists by public consent only.

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:45pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A little confused

            ...most of the state censorship you mention had little or nothing to do with "intellectual property" and everything to do with politics and diplomatic relations.


            You left out religion.

            Gutenberg's first major work was the Gutenberg Bible (ca. 1454-55).

            After that, came the Protestant Reformation and the Counter-Reformation.

             

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A little confused

            "intellectual property"


            Property, Intellectual Property, and Free Riding” by Mark A. Lemley (Stanford Law School):
            [T]he term “intellectual property” itself may be part of the problem. Patent and copyright law have been around in the United States since its origin, but only recently has the term "intellectual property" come into vogue. [Footnote 6]   . . . .

            [Footnote 6]: The modern use of the term intellectual property as a common descriptor of the field probably traces to the foundation of the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO) by the United Nations. See Convention Establishing the World Intellectual Property Organization art. 2(viii) (Stockholm, July 14 1967 to January 13 1968). . . .

             

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          Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 3:12am

          Re: Re: Re: A little confused

          Glorious Revolution (1688), the Licensing Act finally expired without renewal in 1695.

          That Statute of 8 Anne, c.19 (1709) came about as a result of the end of official state censorship.


          So there were about 15 free years!

           

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            Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 4:55am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A little confused

            Licensing Act ... expired ... 1695.

            Statute of 8 Anne, c.19 (1709)

            So there were about 15 free years!


            That's actually a very a contentious issue. It was debated at length later on in the cases of Millar v Taylor (King's Bench, 1769) and Donaldson v Beckett (House of Lords, 1774).

            Members of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers argued that a common law copyright existed prior to the Statute of 8 Anne.

            But, according to Lord Camden:
            The arguments attempted to be maintained on the side of the respondents, were founded on patents, privileges, Star Chamber decrees, and the bye laws of the Stationers' Company; all of them the effects of the grossest tyranny and usurpation; the very last places in which I should have dreamt of finding the least trace of the common law of this kingdom; and yet, by a variety of subtle reasoning and metaphysical refinements, have they endeavoured to squeeze out the spirit of the common law from premises in which it could not possibly have existence.

            In the United States, the historical issue was examined again in the case of Wheaton v. Peters (Supreme Court, 1834).

             

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      PopeHilarius (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:41pm

      Re: A little confused

      Reading this makes me a little sad:
      "You make it sound like the public made a deal with content creators: "We are GOING to arbitrarily take the fruits of your labors and generate personal profit from them, but we'll be nice enough to give you a couple of decades to make a living first." I've never seen that as the spirit of works entering the public-domain"
      Because that is in fact exactly what copyright is. A deal between the public, and Authors and Inventors, to secure for limited Times the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries (as outlined in Article 1 Section 8 of the Constitution). Explicit in that agreement is not just 'exclusive Right', but 'limited Times', after which the author or inventor no longer has exclusive right, but it belongs to the public.

      You write as if when these books were written, the authors had an expectation that the works would be exclusively theirs forever. That has never been the stated deal.

       

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        bjupton (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:04pm

        Re: Re: A little confused

        what are you, some sort of 'socialist'?

        don't deny it. how else would you think that the government has any duty to the public.

         

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          Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:56pm

          Re: Re: Re: A little confused

          Ummm "by the people for the people" maybe?

           

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            bjupton (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 5:22pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: A little confused

            heh...yeah, I know that and you know that...

            There are a certain group of people who get skeezed out anytime someone mentions the "People". These same people also purport to be stalwart defenders of the US Constitution.

            Heh...it's only on the first line, 3rd word. They even wrote it in big letters.

            We the PEOPLE!

             

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      Arthur (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:10pm

      Re: A little confused

      Well, yes, you are confused. Content creators have NO inherent RIGHTS to ANY monopoly protection. Period. That isn't a RIGHT like Freedom of Speech. There is no "you shall have a monopoly" clause in the Constitution.

      Why should "we the people" give them any monopoly at all? Many creative industries do quite well without such monopolies.

      You are assuming that monopoly is their RIGHT and it isn't. It is a PRIVILEGE, given by US to them to encourage their creativity. That is the exchange. THEY get a limited monopoly and WE benefit from their creativity.

      There is nothing in the vastly extended monopoly that encourages the ORIGINAL creator -- we're long past that cause and effect. Today the BENEFIT accrues to some big corporation and the original creator gets nothing.

      The agreed-upon exchange has been destroyed. WE get NO benefit so why should we keep extending the privilege?

       

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      Marcus Carab (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:18pm

      Re: A little confused

      You make it sound like the public made a deal with content creators: "We are GOING to arbitrarily take the fruits of your labors and generate personal profit from them, but we'll be nice enough to give you a couple of decades to make a living first."

      Close, but not quite. It actually went like this: "There is NO conceivable way to physically own and control a copyable expression, like a piece or artwork or music, except by refusing to share it at all - in that situation nobody wins, so we will agree to treat creative expression in a manner similar to physical property for a couple of decades to make it easier for you to make a living - but after that it reverts to its natural state of public ownership."

       

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        Ryan Smith, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:27pm

        Re: Re: A little confused

        Well put. Content has little to do with its creator once it is complete. The creator can die and the content remains, not in spite of, but because of public ownership.

        Are we, the public, supposed to respect and support anyone whose argument is simply "I worked once so I deserve to be paid indefinitely!"

         

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        crade (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:31pm

        Re: Re: A little confused

        it's natural state isn't public ownership, it's natural state is no ownership, since it isn't a thing that can be ownded at all. Copyright is a control over other people's actions, not a thing.
        Also, it's may be true that the conceivable way to "own" a copyable expression before copyright was by refusing to share it, but people still "won" that way, and still do today simply by getting paid up front to share it.

         

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:29pm

      Re: A little confused

      I've never seen that as the spirit of works entering the public-domain.


      What do you see the spirit of works entering the public-domain as? Because I get the impression you don't see any reason for the public domain.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:01pm

      Re: A little confused

      Ten years is long enough. If you can't profit from your work in ten years, then you're too stupid, incompetent, lazy, and limited to be worthy of getting anything from society.

      Can't live with that? Fine. Don't create anything. You're not important. Your work isn't important. Neither you nor your work will be missed. You're disposable, expendable, replaceable. Someone better than you will come along and produce better work, while you disappear into well-deserved oblivion. The only possible value you have to society is summed up in the phrase "organ donor".

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:20pm

      Re: A little confused

      Quote:
      You make it sound like the public made a deal with content creators: "We are GOING to arbitrarily take the fruits of your labors and generate personal profit from them, but we'll be nice enough to give you a couple of decades to make a living first." I've never seen that as the spirit of works entering the public-domain. I don't feel I'm ENTITLED to use these works just because I had the decency not to use them illegally for the last 50 years.


      Well, it should not sound it was the deal, as clarifyed in the correspondence of the forefathers and why they accepted that monopoly that although evil they felt it was necessary for a very short limited time.

      Copyright also blocks others from using the same things even if they were made independently, more importantly a monopoly hold back the use of resources that should be common to everybody that was the original intent of copyright and patents, with copyrights surpassing patents in evilness, heck big pharma can't hold back people back life + 95 years now can they? patents don't even have "derivative" anything you can create derivatives and it would be legal, so in the immoral scale copyrights is right there up with satan.

       

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      Iori Branford, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:36pm

      Re: A little confused

      While I understand your consternation regarding the retroactive extensions, I'm not sure I understand the level of your ire. Ok, yeah - I'd love to be able to do whatever the hell I like with Folsom Prison Blues, but I don't see it as my RIGHT, or as something that I've had taken away from me. It'd be nice, it'd be fun - but you seem to be annoyed that some sort of contract with the public has been breached.

      It's not that it should be a right; it's that there's nothing wrong with it to merit the current laws and legal actions.

      You make it sound like the public made a deal with content creators: "We are GOING to arbitrarily take the fruits of your labors and generate personal profit from them, but we'll be nice enough to give you a couple of decades to make a living first." I've never seen that as the spirit of works entering the public-domain. I don't feel I'm ENTITLED to use these works just because I had the decency not to use them illegally for the last 50 years.

      That is the deal. We let the work be profitable for a short period, even extend that period if the artist can prove that the market still demands it. We do not let the artist ride forever on one piece of work, nor crown him dictator for life with the power to legally rob and gag whoever slights him.

      When you're talking about musical copyrights, the biggest downside I can see (besides the fact that I can't bootleg and sell any James Dean movies yet) is that we'll never be treated to the Biebs' cover of Folsom Prison Blues.

      The biggest downside I can see is the pointless, wasteful, destructive regime we have today, threatening to crush you because you happened to do or say almost kind of the same thing as someone else.

       

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:39pm

      Re: A little confused

      "It'd be nice, it'd be fun - but you seem to be annoyed that some sort of contract with the public has been breached. "

      But that's exactly what happened -- a contract with the public has been breached.

      Copyright is a deal made with content creators for the benefit of the public, not the creators. The deal is that the creators get a limited-term monopoly in exchange for the public "owning" the creation after the term expires.

      Retroactively extending the length of that term is a violation of that contract. Something has been stolen from the public in the sense that something was due that was intentionally withheld.

       

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      Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 6:05pm

      Re: A little confused

      While I understand your consternation regarding the retroactive extensions, I'm not sure I understand the level of your ire. Ok, yeah - I'd love to be able to do whatever the hell I like with Folsom Prison Blues, but I don't see it as my RIGHT, or as something that I've had taken away from me. It'd be nice, it'd be fun - but you seem to be annoyed that some sort of contract with the public has been breached.


      Yes, because a contract with the public has been breached.

      You make it sound like the public made a deal with content creators: "We are GOING to arbitrarily take the fruits of your labors and generate personal profit from them, but we'll be nice enough to give you a couple of decades to make a living first." I've never seen that as the spirit of works entering the public-domain. I don't feel I'm ENTITLED to use these works just because I had the decency not to use them illegally for the last 50 years.

      Yes, the public did make a deal with content creators, but it's not what you describe. It's the opposite. Because the natural state of content was that anyone can make a copy of it -- and that was always considered good. Look at the history of story telling, folk tales and folks songs. It's all about others copying the content, sharing, building, etc.

      Copyright was a bargain in the other direction. It was -- explicitly, mind you -- a bargain that said we will NOT make use of your works or build on them to enhance the culture further for a LIMITED period of time in the hope that this artificial monopoly allows you enough time to make some money. After that we will go back to the natural state of things.

      And, yes, you are entitled to those works. Not because you had the decency not to break the law, but because that's the nature of culture.

      If you're going to take issue with immoral and in-ethical extensions of patent and copyright laws, it seems to me that the pharmaceutical industry would be a better target - when THEY circumvent legislations and tack on a few more years to the copyrights on their drugs, tens of thousands of people die without access to cheaper generics.

      I've spent tons of time doing exactly that as well -- probably more so than I've spent discussing the death of the public domain.

      When you're talking about musical copyrights, the biggest downside I can see (besides the fact that I can't bootleg and sell any James Dean movies yet) is that we'll never be treated to the Biebs' cover of Folsom Prison Blues.

      First of all, thanks to compulsory licensing, Biebs can already cover Folsom Prison Blues, so that's not the point. But, do you really not recognize how much of culture is built on the works of those who came before you?

      Please, read this book: http://www.thepublicdomain.org/

      It's available for free online if you'd like. The whole thing is worth reading, but I particularly like Chapter 6.

       

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 5:08am

      Re: A little confused

      You might want to have a gander at the US Constitution. You'll find the original deal with content creators in there.

       

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        Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 5:58am

        Re: Re: A little confused

        You might want to have a gander at the US Constitution.


        The Anti-Monopoly Origins of the Patent and Copyright Clause” by Tyler T Ochoa and Mark Rose (2002):
        At the Constitutional Convention of 1787, both James Madison of Virginia and Charles Pinckney of South Carolina submitted proposals to give Congress the power to grant copyrights.... These proposals were referred to the Committee on Detail. Later, provisions which had not been acted upon by the Committee on Detail were referred to the Committee of Eleven (of which Madison was a member), which drafted the Patent and Copyright Clause as it exists today, and recommended its adoption. The clause was unanimously approved by the delegates with no debate.

        The language of the Clause is ambiguous when it speaks of “securing” exclusive rights. For the next forty-seven years, this meaning of this term would be debated, with proponents of perpetual copyright arguing that “securing” meant the affirmation of pre-existing rights, and proponents of the utilitarian view arguing that “securing” meant nothing more than “to obtain” or “to provide.”

        (Emphasis added.)

        In Eldred v Ashcroft (2003), Justice Ginsburg decided that the Supreme Court would not enforce the “promote the progress” quid pro quo.
        [P]etitioners contend that the CTEA’s extension of existing copyrights does not “promote the Progress of Science” as contemplated by the preambular language of the Copyright Clause. Art. I, §8, cl. 8. To sustain this objection, petitioners do not argue that the Clause’s preamble is an independently enforceable limit on Congress’ power... Rather, they maintain that the preambular language identifies the sole end to which Congress may legislate. . . .

        [I]t is generally for Congress, not the courts, to decide how best to pursue the Copyright Clause’s objectives. . . .

        We note, furthermore, that patents and copyrights do not entail the same exchange, and that our references to a quid pro quo typically appear in the patent context.


        In Marbury v Madison, of course, the Court proclaimed that it was the final decider on the Constitution. Since then, Congress has gradually come around to the idea that they'll pass whatever legislation they feel like, and see what sticks in court.

         

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    crade (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:16pm

    "Clearly the incentive to create was fine as it was. Why should it change after the work was created?"

    Umm.. because Disney wants to get other people's money without having to work for it. If they honoured the agreement they made to make the films for the amount of copyright offered at the time, Why, they would only get the money they agreed to make the movie for! Where's the free money? The stuff they get just by voting for more money (with *real* votes, not the fake ones the rest of us get)? What do you expect them to earn *all* their money?

     

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    BentFranklin (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:30pm

    Hey Brian,

    You may not see those things as your rights, but you should. They are yours (and mine) and we (the public) bought and paid for them by granting their creators their limited monopolies.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:41pm

    They do this now.

    And then scratch their heads later and wonder why P2P of copy-written works goes up. Sheese...

    "You may not see those things as your rights, but you should. They are yours (and mine) and we (the public) bought and paid for them by granting their creators their limited monopolies."

    You hit the nail on the head BentFranklin.

     

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  • This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    average_joe (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 2:50pm

    The thing is, with the list of works from 1955 above, when they were all created, the maximum term of copyright of 56 years was a perfectly acceptable trade-off for those creators. They got their monopoly, and they created their works. What I can't understand is what the logic is in extending those rights retroactively. Clearly the incentive to create was fine as it was. Why should it change after the work was created?

    LOL @ Mike. Obviously, the retroactive extension is not for the purpose of incentivizing the creation of works that have already been created. That clearly does not make any sense whatsoever. That should lead you to suspect that some other reasons exist for the retroactive extensions. Perhaps you could even do a little research to determine what those reasons were. I know, I know. You're not a real journalist. But still, if you want to pretend like you're making an argument about how stupid it is, it only makes sense that you address the actual reasons for the extension. Too much to ask? I suppose. This is Techdirt after all...

     

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:05pm

      Re:

      Mr. Average_Joe, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this thread is now dumber for having read to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

       

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      The Infamous Joe (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:06pm

      Re:

      Mr. Average_Joe, what you've just said is one of the most insanely idiotic things I have ever read. At no point in your rambling, incoherent response were you even close to anything that could be considered a rational thought. Everyone in this thread is now dumber for having read to it. I award you no points, and may God have mercy on your soul.

       

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      crade (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:07pm

      Re:

      Companies need a reason to vote themselves money? The reason is because they can.

       

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      Robert (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:08pm

      Re: Average_Joe Jan 3rd 2012 2:50pm

      You're funny, really.

      You attempt to argue by starting out with a straw-man fallacy and expect people to listen or even consider your points?

      Then you throw in personal attacks "You're not a real journalist. But still..."

      Wow, and you wonder why everyone here gangs up on you!

      Mike HAS addressed the actual reasons for the extension, control, but he wonders why. It sure as hell ain't for profit because the public, at large, has the attention span of a gnat. So extending copyrights only ensures that those who CAN create USING older works, or derivatives there-of, are limited to those who can license with the copyrights owner. These license fees are cost prohibitive for a reason, but in actual fact, you'll find the re-users of said work are actually giving their recycled creation rights to the owner of the rights of the original work.

      So it costs them nothing, they are just trying to control content creation.

      Go take your equilibrium and go back to sleep.

       

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        crade (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:18pm

        Re: Re: Average_Joe Jan 3rd 2012 2:50pm

        Umm, I think you are off base. It's totally about free money. Disney and them still plenty of money from ancient stuff like lady and the tramp and the mickey mouse character and such. They put them on cups and crap and they sell like hotcakes. They looked at it and thought, heh, if we just change the law, we get more money without having to work for it and it was done.
        The lord of the rings just had a big movie a few years ago that I'm sure someone got money for the copyrights to the story for (although is wouldn't have expired yet at that time anyway, but you get the idea). Why would you think people won't listen to old stories?

         

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          Robert (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:09pm

          Re: Re: Re: Average_Joe Jan 3rd 2012 2:50pm

          Not quite, there are thousands of works that are protected under copyright that are not released and no profits are made, for every work that is released and profits made.

          That was my point. You're only considering the works that are old and make money, what about the many, many more that do not make money but are not released into the public domain?

           

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            crade (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 7:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Average_Joe Jan 3rd 2012 2:50pm

            Sure there were / are many people who owned the copyrights of the stuff that were not bringing any money, but they weren't really a factor in the copyright extention. Disney and (maybe?) others who were still getting money by keeping people from copying stuff got that extention put in in order to get money.

             

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      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:24pm

      Re:

      Yeah! Fuck culture!

       

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      jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:30pm

      Re:

      You seem to have an inkling of why it was done. Why don't you enlighten us?

      It's generally known the only reason it was done in the first place was to keep Mickey Mouse out of the public domain (and he's still out of the public domain). Many people don't see that as a very convincing argument, however.

       

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        Bengie, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 5:27am

        Re: Re:

        While I understand that Mickey Mouse would be placed in public domain, I also know that he is also used as a trade mark, which has no limitation.

        Being that I don't know much about law, would that mean the older works could themselves be freely distributed, but one could not create their own works and pass it off as Mickey Mouse?

         

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        average_joe (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 5:57am

        Re: Re:

        You seem to have an inkling of why it was done. Why don't you enlighten us?

        If we're talking about the Copyright Term Extension Act, there were lots of reasons why Congress enacted it. If you really want to learn about it, look up the history of the CTEA. Look up the Eldred case that went to the Supreme Court. Read the briefs submitted that go over all the reasons.

        My point was that if Mike really wants to know why it was extended retroactively, he could actually and simply look it up. Instead, he just pretends like it's all stupid and doesn't make sense. I just don't understand why he constantly does this: If I wanted to declare that something was stupid, I would take the time to learn what was actually going on. Not Mike. He can't be bothered. I guess when you're hell-bent on dissing copyright, there's no time to let facts get in the way.

         

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          Robert (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 6:10am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Why don't YOU explain the reason why instead of saying "go look here" and then taking the chance to insult Mike.

          Actually provide a real argument for once, with citations and quotes to back up your points, insult free.

           

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            average_joe (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 6:26am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Why don't YOU explain the reason why instead of saying "go look here" and then taking the chance to insult Mike.

            Actually provide a real argument for once, with citations and quotes to back up your points, insult free.


            Sigh. You seem to miss the point. Mike ALREADY KNOWS the reasons the CTEA was passed. He's just PLAYING DUMB like it all doesn't make sense. Sheesh.

            It's just ANOTHER example of Mike lying and manipulating his readers to diss IP law.

            But if you're actually interested in the reasons, you can start here: http://thomas.loc.gov/cgi-bin/bdquery/z?d104:S483:

             

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              identicon
              Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 6:50am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              After reading the PDF it says "may" referring to the termination grant, not "will". So it is a PERMISSION not force, and it must be done within 5 years after the 75 years (from original registration of copyright secured) has expired. This is basically an extension of currently existing copyrights from the 75 years pushed by the 1978 Sonny Bono Act to 95 years. And it does state also that the extension applies back 20 years. Which is the confusing part, which means works created from 1976 forward are granted 95 years, but prior to 1976 they are still at 75 years?

              Confusing text but I don't see any conspiracy of dumbness you're implying.

              The point of an act is to start effective when signed and NOT be retroactive. This is akin to the police going back in their records and issuing "balance owing" to all who were caught speeding and given the older, lesser fines, in order to match the new fine values.

              How well do you think such a retroactive law would go over with the public?

              The only reason these acts get passed without much resentment is the fact that the masses don't know and don't care about copyrights. That alone should be the wake-up call that copyrights are out-of-touch with reality, as are those who ram them through the legislative process.

               

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              jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 7:28am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Well, I went there and didn't see anything that explained the reasons why the law was needed or passed. Did I miss it?

               

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          jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 6:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          It's my understanding that TechDirt offers commentary on other news items online. Every posting links to relevant outside material. I searched TechDirt for "Eldred" and found about 30 blog postings, but I didn't look into their relevance.

          If you feel something is worthy of discussion, you're welcome to submit a link. That would be much more effective than simply trying to discredit the blogger for his laziness.

           

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            average_joe (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 6:29am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            Again, Mike knows the reasons behind the CTEA, and he knows they don't include the impossibility of influencing things that happened in the past. What you should be wondering is why he misleads and lies so much. That's a topic worth investigating.

             

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            •  
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              jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 7:35am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Seems to me the whole reason behind copyright term extensions is so that the artist can die and their heirs can die before the copyright expires, so that hopefully it will end up in the hands of some corporation as a perpetual source of revenue. I don't consider this a good reason.

              Please explain why it's nothing more than a corporate cash grab instead of feebly trying to defame Mike.

               

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:57pm

      Re:

      The actual reason is corporations who want to make money perpetually off of rights they forced others to relinquish and greedy/lazy people being greedy and lazy.

      I'm not even interested in discussions about trying to fix the broken copyright or patent systems anymore, short of the complete and total abolishment of these systems.

       

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    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:15pm

    We're not getting enough new works from these dead people, so obviously extending copyrights on their existing works will give them incentive to create more.

    Duh.

     

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    Christopher (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:18pm

    Piracy is good.

    It's the "fourth box" in this whole scenario. And no one gets shot.

     

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    John Doe, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:47pm

    This gives me an idea

    I have stated here many times in the past, that I don't pirate anything. But maybe I will start pirating things that should be in the public domain? After all, they were stolen from me first, right? If the creators were fine with the terms of copyright at the time of the creation, they should have no problem with me copying their works for free now. After all, when they created the works, they thought I would be able to have them for free by now anyway. Seems logical to me.

     

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    fb39ca4 (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 3:49pm

    so what?

    we can still pirate them so no harm done.

     

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    SlinkySlim (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 4:02pm

    Ay?

    Fuck the public!

    My strong-armed, manipulated copyright hold means more money for me. Profit from public.

    You have no culture. We own you.

     

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    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 5:10pm

    Popular Culture vs Corporate Culture

    It is a sad state for a society when much of its “popular” culture is in fact owned by big corporations. What kind of culture is it that is not free for the people themselves to use, reuse and adapt? That is where culture comes from, after all—it is created by the remixing of the ingredients that came before.

    A culture that is “owned” is a dead culture.

     

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      identicon
      Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 5:29pm

      Re: Popular Culture vs Corporate Culture

      A culture that is “owned” is a dead culture.


      Coming up next on Keeping Up with the Kardashians!

       

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      Suja, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 9:20pm

      Re: Popular Culture vs Corporate Culture

      A culture that is “owned” is a dead culture.


      much the same as if one could own colors & elements

      it might just be culture today, but give them time, next up nobody will be able to use silver (the color or element) anyone without asking/paying up

       

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    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 6:25pm

    Hurm, has no one ever considered the idea that the extension was to keep the property locked up long enough that the people who would remember it from the first go round would be dead and not see the idea get "reinvented" in a new telling from Hollywood?

    They keep making the same 12 movies over and over, this just helps them keep a larger pool to draw from. Back from a time when people were creative and kept making new ideas, because they couldn't produce one thing and just sit back and know their entire dynasty would live forever on the profits of it.

     

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      martyburns (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 5:33am

      Re:

      Best explanation ever.

      Its already happening with the swathe of 3D re-releases of movies at the theatres. When I saw Tintin the other day every single preview was for a movie that was being re-released in 3D.

       

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 6:57pm

    but .... but ... but ... CORPORATE PROFITS!!!

     

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      Suja, Jan 3rd, 2012 @ 9:25pm

      Re:

      but... but... but... THE ARTISTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!


      (no, really, "the artists" tend to be some of the most adamant defenders of copyright themselves, even though it hurts them)

       

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    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 7:22am

    Copyright Maximalists/Megacorps/Vader: I am altering the deal. Pray I don't alter it any further.

    The megacorporations must be destroyed, literally if need be, by any means necessary, before they destroy our country and our world in their greed and unrelenting lust for profit.

     

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    identicon
    ANONYMOUS, Jan 4th, 2012 @ 12:27pm

    "Clearly the incentive to create was fine ..

    ... as it was. Why should it change after the work was created?"

    Yeah - I smell a rat!! Or is it a mouse? Based on a rabbit.

    It's the American way - steal someone else's horse then insist on padlocks to keep the "thieves" out.

     

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    DanZee (profile), Jan 4th, 2012 @ 12:46pm

    Feb. 15, 2067

    Actually, sound recordings were not covered by federal copyright laws, rather they were covered under the laws of individual states. The Digital Millennium Copyright Act will allow pre-1972 recordings to go into the public domain on Feb. 15, 2067. 2067! I'm afraid I won't live to see it!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Oct 26th, 2012 @ 9:20pm

    This comment was removed due to copyright infringement.

     

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    Mas Parjono, Oct 28th, 2013 @ 11:55pm

    I've never seen that as the spirit of works entering the public-domain. I don't feel I'm ENTITLED to use these works just because I had the decency not to use them illegally for the last 50 years.

     

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      nasch (profile), Nov 13th, 2013 @ 6:14am

      Re:

      I don't feel I'm ENTITLED to use these works just because I had the decency not to use them illegally for the last 50 years.

      You're entitled to use them because the artificial monopoly that kept you from using them before has expired. Without copyright laws, you would be entitled to use them immediately.

       

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