Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the dropping-knowledge dept

The comment voted most insightful this week is a response to a comment on our post about US Copyright Register Maria Pallante claiming that copyright is "for the artist first and for the nation second." The commenter argued that she was correct, and people were making up the idea that copyright law was for the nation. Karl schooled that person by providing some citations to both the Congressional record and the Supreme Court that makes it clear that copyright is to benefit the public.
You are 100% wrong. The primary purpose of copyright is to benefit the public, a fact that has been reiterated by Congress and the Supreme Court, repeatedly:

The enactment of copyright legislation by Congress under the terms of the Constitution is not based on any natural right that the author has in his writings, for the Supreme Court has held that such rights as he has are purely statutory rights, but upon the ground that the welfare of the public will be served and progress of science and useful arts will be promoted by securing to authors forr limited periods the exclusive right to their writings. The Constitution does not establish copyrights, but provides that Congress shall have the power to grant such rights if it thinks best. Not primarily for the benefit of the author, but primarily for the benefit of the public such rights are given. Not that any particular class of citizens, however worthy, may benefit, but because the policty is believed to be for the benefit of the great body of people, in that it will stimulate writing and invention, to give some bonus to authors and inventors.

In enacting a copyright law, Congress must consider two questions: First, how much will the legislation stimulate the producer and so benefit the public; and second, how much will the monopoly granted be detrimental to the public? The granting of such exclusive rights under the proper terms and conditions, cofers a benefit upon the public that outweighs the evils of the temporary monopoly.
- H.R. Rep. No. 60-2222

It may seem unfair that much of the fruit of the compiler's labor may be used by others without compensation. As Justice Brennan has correctly observed, however, this is not "some unforeseen byproduct of a statutory scheme."... It is, rather, "the essence of copyright," ... and a constitutional requirement. The primary objective of copyright is not to reward the labor of authors, but "to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts."
- Feist v. Rural

The limited scope of the copyright holder's statutory monopoly, like the limited copyright duration required by the Constitution, reflects a balance of competing claims upon the public interest: Creative work is to be encouraged and rewarded, but private motivation must ultimately serve the cause of promoting broad public availability of literature, music, and the other arts. The immediate effect of our copyright law is to secure a fair return for an "author's" creative labor. But the ultimate aim is, by this incentive, to stimulate artistic creativity for the general public good.
- Twentieth Century Music v. Aiken

The sole interest of the United States and the primary object in conferring the monopoly lie in the general benefits derived by the public from the labors of authors.
- Fox Film Corp. v. Doyal

I could understand the usual kneejerk anti-Techdirt trolls lying about this.

But when the person who is supposed to be in charge of copyright doesn't even know this basic fact, it's time for her to be fired.
This is such a great comment, that I'm probably going to write some more about it this upcoming week, so stay tuned for that.

Coming in second was a comment from Killer Tofu responding to the story about the White House hinting at a new SOPA in its annual "IP Enforcement" report. KT had a simple suggestion:
How about the US stop trying to make laws to control the rest of the world. I don't know hardly any Americans at all that like how our government makes us all look like controlling imperialistic bastards.

How about we try to get our own laws in order first. When most of the population doesn't agree with the laws they are trying to pass to control us or anyone else in the world, how about the government consult the people and actually listen. Then we can arrive at much more reasonable laws. It would be a lot better than their current procedure of ask the public for opinions, then ignore everything they hear so they can pass some bill written by a lobbyist instead.

Or, and for the record, even when our laws do become much more reasonable instead of the copyright insanity that exists today, we STILL don't want our government trying to force our views down other country's throats.
Moving on, we have Jay with a post that he admits upfront is somewhat controversial, but it has to do with the unintended consequences of prohibition -- specifically when it comes to prostitution (the article was about public pressure against Backpage for allowing "adult services" ads).
I'm going to say a few things that people may not understand. The human trafficking problem is significant, but there really is a solution. If you notice, the problem with human trafficking is the same one we have for drugs, the same one we have for piracy, the same one we had for alcohol...

It's prohibition. We put more cops on the street to enforce laws and it doesn't help the situation at all. We have people preaching about the morality of these girls being pimped and prostituted while we do very little to help these women get out of their situation. As evidenced by the NY Sex Trade, women can actually do better if they want to go it alone. But the key point here: we're not doing a lot to protect women from pimps or police officers.

If women had a choice to be an escort (or a real estate agent...) and the trade is regulated (ie government taxes it) we could have less women forced into sexual slavery from out of the country. There are a number of countries that have proven this such as Ontario and the Netherlands. If that's to be your choice, the government shouldn't try to punish a woman who they have failed to protect. And they fail to protect these girls, not from the trade, but by creating unsafe environments that can cause them to be jailed for the world's oldest profession or having to rely on pimps that may physically hurt them (although the pimping business has shifted as well since most of the need for pimps in the form of protection are gone)

What we have here is a recognition that our morality can not change what people do on a massive scale. We don't need to continuously attack areas where people congregate to force consumers (of whatever material) to purchase inferior goods. What is sorely needed is a recognition that markets are changing, be it the sex trade or music goods and that the laws might need to change along with our new realities.
That isn't to say the profession is a good thing, but by making it illegal and pushing it underground, you automatically increase the value to criminal operations, which leads to some very serious problems, such as people being more or less forced into the situation. I don't know that I fully agree with Jay about the "solution," but I definitely think there are better ways to deal with things than the way it's handled now.

Finally on the insightful side, we've got Ed C. explaining that big media has never been about serving customers well:
The sad truth is that big media has never really been about the customers, or the talent. It's about using their money and clout to own media, just so they can control who gets to see it and how. They don't make money by making content. They can't! These middlemen don't have a creative bone in them. They make their money by selling their services, such as reproduction, distribution and advertising, to those who really create the content. For instance, the MPAA studios constantly took movie trailers down from free sites like YouTube. Why would movie productions pay them billions annually to use their mandatory promotional services if they could simply get them from a third party for free? It's the same reason why they don't want anyone else to replace their reproduction and distribution services either. At least not without paying them wads of cash first.

You see, it's all really about forcing creators and their fans to keep paying the publishers, whether they want to or not.
Moving over to the funny side of the ledger, the clear winner (by a wide margin) was Dark Helmet's response to Microsoft's nonsensical anti-piracy commercial that involved guys dressed up to camouflage themselves stealing credit cards or copying your personal information:
One time when I got home from the grocery store, pulled the NY Ribeye I bought out of the plastic bag. I inspected it to make sure it was safe, looked at the label to make sure it was from the store brand, and sniffed it to make sure it was real meat, not spoofed almost-protein.

I then put that steak into a lovely balsamic vinegarette marianade, allowed it to soak for nearly an hour, and then placed it on a clean plate to be peppered with garlic salt and crushed red pepper. Then I took the steak out onto my deck and opened the grill-

AND BICKETY BAM SIX MEN IN HOODIES AND WEIRD ANKLETS POURED OUT OF THE GRILL HATCH, KNOCKED THE FUCKING STEAK PLATE OUT OF MY HAND, AND PUNCHED ME IN THE LEFT NUT.

I died of testicular tortion later that day. And do you know why?

because #piracyiseverywhere....
Welcome back to the winner's circle, DH!

Amusingly, the second place comment, from an Anonymous Coward responding to the same exact ad. In fact, DH's comment that won is actually a reply to this comment. I think that means that DH, the student, has surpassed AC the teacher. The teacher is still pretty damn funny, though:
That commercial makes perfect sense. I recently bought a used couch. Thankfully I did a virus/malware scan before I installed it in my house. I caught three perps that were going to try and pirate my vinyl collection. Piracy is everywhere.
Actually, it turned out that a full five of the top 10 comments on the "funniest" list were replies to that same post, so let's go with one more in the editor's choice section. This one comes from Yakko Warner and does a nice job mashing up the Microsoft commercial with another bizarre commercial:
Identity theft, apply directly to the forehead.
Loss of data, apply directly to the forehead.
Financial risk, apply directly to the forehead.

Palm slap, apply directly to the forehead.
For the final editor's choice for funny comments, we'll move on to another post, and chose an Anonymous Coward's alternate explanation for the massive gap in books available on Amazon in the middle of the 20th century, where the immediate and massive jump at the 1923 cutoff (any book published before that is in the public domain). It seemed clear that copyright was the issue here, but there are other possibilities:
That's one theory on what's happening.

Another, simpler explanation (and the simplest explanation is usually correct) is that every book between 1925 and the first Harry Potter book was garbage and not worth publishing or buying.
I should note that a few people voted to "report" that comment, which is the sign of a truly good satirical comment. Anyway, get to work on sharpening your wit to see if you can make it into next week's list.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 12:27pm

    The comment voted most insightful this week is a response to a comment on our post about US Copyright Register Maria Pallante claiming that copyright is "for the artist first and for the nation second." The commenter argued that she was correct, and people were making up the idea that copyright law was for the nation. Karl schooled that person by providing some citations to both the Congressional record and the Supreme Court that makes it clear that copyright is to benefit the public.

    Give me a break with this already, Mike. Yes, copyright exists for the primary purpose of benefiting the nation first and the author second. But sequentially speaking, the benefit accrues first to the author who gets property rights in the work. Later on, once the copyright expires or is abandoned, the nation then benefits. So the Register is exactly right: it benefits the artist first and the nation second. Yes, the benefit for the nation is paramount, but temporally speaking, the artist benefits first.

    The fact that you don't acknowledge this explains a lot of the stupidity you spout about copyright on a regular basis. For example, all your whining about how locking up works with copyright doesn't help educational efforts. What you so stupidly gloss over in your idiotic analysis is the fact that the benefit accrues first to the author, and it makes no sense to complain that the public doesn't get all the benefits of the bargain immediately since that's not how the system is intended to work. You pretend that copyright is about benefiting the nation ab initio. That's not the bargain described in the Constitution. You really are a tool for pretending it's supposed to work some other way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 12:47pm

    "Anyway, get to work on sharpening your wit to see if you can make it into next week's list."

    This blog is a pretty good blog. Be careful not to turn it into Slashdot (and Slashdot certainly has its place), where sometimes everyone fights over five star ratings at the expense of thought provoking discussions.

    The weekly insightful comment posts are a good idea because it can highlight a lot of good comments that people have missed, but it shouldn't be considered some sort of contest. The objective should be to help people better understand the issues and not to simply try and drive up comment ratings.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 12:49pm

    Re:

    "The fact that you don't acknowledge this"

    No one is not acknowledging this, what we are challenging is whether or not IP laws are ultimately doing a good job at benefiting the nation.

     

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    Debajyoti Banerjee, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    I don't want to go into any argument for primary or secondary purpose of copyright but somehow I also feel that the copyright exists sequentially first for the author who gets property rights in the work and secondly for the nation in a bigger way when the copyright expires or is changed or is abandoned.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 12:51pm

    Re:

    (and the above comments are good ones, btw, I'm not criticizing how the process works. It's been pretty good so far).

     

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    BeeAitch (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    Let me guess. You were the AC that Karl schooled, and now you're all butthurt?

     

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    hfbs (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 1:08pm

    Re:

    So the fact that the copyright laws (according to your logic) effectively never benefit the nation any more (life + 70) is by the by, then?

     

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    Killercool (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 1:21pm

    Re:

    Well, copyright exists for the purpose of giving the artist a reason to make MORE art for the public to use.

    I (and the judges quoted above) grok that as, the only reason the artist gets any exclusive benefit is because the public is supposed to get more art out of the deal.

    Yes, the artist might get the first sequential benefit (he gets paid for his work), but the primary benefit is supposed to be owed to the public.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 1:22pm

    Re:

    When called out on a lie, simply lie more. It usually works, right?

     

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    MrWilson, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 1:25pm

    Re:

    You're misunderstanding the arguments on both sides due to semantics.

    Maria Pallante said, "for the artist first," not "to the artist first." Pallante is using the term first to refer to the prioritization of the benefit, not the sequence of events in which artists benefit before the public. Pallante is saying (incorrectly) that copyright law holds that it is more important for the artist to benefit than for the nation to benefit from works.

    And as has been stated by another commenter in response to your comment, the fact that the nation no longer benefits from relatively contemporary public domain works due to the obscene extension of copyright durations, the contract with the public whereby the artist receives benefits from copyright has already been broken by the middlemen in the entertainment industry and their paid stooges in Congress who aren't representing the people.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 1:58pm

    Re:

    "benefit accrues first to the author"

    You are correct, here is the kicker though, "by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors". The constitution says what the federal government can do. It says nothing in the constitution about transferring copyrights. Only that the author and inventors may have a limited monopoly.

    If you follow the wording of the constitution, the authors can licence out their works but never transfer them to another entity.

     

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    Hephaestus (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 2:00pm

    Re: Re:

    With all the alternate authors mike has had recently. I think he is heading down the Huff-Po route around copyright.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 2:03pm

    Re:

    The benefit to the artist is supposed to promote the perpetual creation of works for the benefit of the public to have more works. We reward artists who create so that they create more works for us to experience. At least, that's how it's supposed work. As it stands, it encourages the hoarding and censoring of art so as to give more power to copyright holders so they can extract perpetual income from previous works instead of constantly creating new works.

    Simply put, copyright provides incentive to act in contradiction to it's intended purpose. We don't have more art, we have people (artists and publishers alike) sitting on their laurels trying to ride their flash-in-the-pan success for the rest of their lives.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 2:35pm

    Re:

    And by "temporarily speaking" you refer to Life + 70 years. At the end of which, as that deadline gets near, the term is expanded for X MORE amount of years. In a rather one sided deal, which negates ANY benefit to the public in regards to the "limited term" as was originally the deal for copyright. The author gets a limited term to reap any financial success/benefits of their work at the end of which ownership is essentially transferred to the public at large.

    So while is technically correct, it's still wrong. Yes, the author benefits first. But the spirit and original intention of copyright was that it would be for a LIMITED time. And no, life + 70 years is not a limited time.

    Besides, I think you of all people should be careful about the "stupidity you spout". You're probably the same AC who gets proven wrong constantly and never backs up anything with actual evidence. So at the end of the day you come off as sounding like more of an idiot than you claim Mike or Marcus or anyone else here is.

    Also, I've never seen Mike say the benefit should immediately go to the public. What I have seen Mike say is that it is supposed to work as how I pointed out above. Author reaps the rewards for a bit, at which point the public does by it going into the public domain.

    And the point of copyright is to encourage more creation. Not to make one thing and profit for life while doing nothing else. That's definitely not in the spirit of things. I think there's one tool here. And I'm replying to him.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 2:55pm

    Re: Re:

    "And by "temporarily speaking" you refer to Life + 70 years."

    I believe the reasoning behind that is:

    "Well, we can't have anybody using my work as source material to create new works that compete with mine, can we?"

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 3:03pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    OP said "temporally speaking", not "temporarily speaking."

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 3:10pm

    Re:

    You're still wrong. The public benefits as soon as the work is published. Not in the same way as the author and not as much as they could have benefited had the work not been under a copyright, but it's ridiculous to say that the public hasn't benefited at all from works like Star Wars, The White Album, Angry Birds, and way too many works to even begin to acknowledge here. So the public benefits most when copyrights expire, but the public still benefits at the same time as the author.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 3:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And I'm saying they (ip maximists) convince themselves of this "temporary" nonsense with what I said above.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 5:04pm

    Re: Re:

    "Only that the author and inventors may have a limited monopoly. "

    Yes, and that by extension allows them to license, sell, or transfer that right to others.

    If you follow your logic, they would never be able to sell a copy, because they would never be able to license. They would never be allowed to have a publisher, or anyone else - because they would all be incapable of maintaining the copyright.

    You need to learn how to read the law a little better.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 6:23pm

    Re: Re:

    Looking at the icons, it wouldn't seem so, but that is a reasonable guess.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 6:40pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    The law is doing a bang-up job so far.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 7:19pm

    Re: Re:

    Yes, if the author decides to share his work before the expiration of the copyright, the public may benefit during the existence of the right. But the author can also decide to keep it all to himself and never publish or share.

    But you're still missing the point. The point is that as far as the constitutional bargain is concerned, the public gets its side of the bargain after the copyright term has expired.

    Says the Supreme Court:
    "The monopoly privileges that Congress may authorize are neither unlimited nor primarily designed to provide a special private benefit. Rather, the limited grant is a means by which an important public purpose may be achieved. It is intended to motivate the creative activity of authors and inventors by the provision of a special reward, and to allow the public access to the products of their genius after the limited period of exclusive control has expired."
    Sony Corp. of Am. v. Universal City Studios, Inc., 464 U.S. 417, 429, 104 S. Ct. 774, 782, 78 L. Ed. 2d 574 (1984).

    So there you go. The Supreme Court saying the public purpose kicks in "after the limited period of exclusive control has expired," that is, once the copyright owner no longer holds the right.

    That's what you, Mike, and all the other copy-whiners don't understand. The public benefit comes later. Stop whining about it already. And for fuck's sake, read some copyright law before you pretend like you understand it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 7:24pm

    Re: Re:

    Nonsense. Mike whines day in and day out about how all the benefits of copyright aren't accruing to the public immediately. It's a major recurring theme on TD, sadly enough.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 7:26pm

    Re: Re:

    Karl's a nice guy, but there exist no legal passage that he can't misread. He doesn't understand the difference between saying the public good is of primary importance, but that the author's good gets fulfilled first.

     

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  25. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 7:46pm

    Re: Re:

    If you read the article (I happen to subscribe to ABA Landslide), it seems clear to me that when she says copyright is for the author first and the nation second, she means sequentially. The whole paragraph is about how we need to respect and enforce author's rights first--the nation will get its dues later on.

    Regardless, just because Mike has a different interpretation of the last sentence, it's childish and stupid to call for her resignation and write a whole article about how dumb she is. Give me a break. What an asshole.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 8:13pm

    "Regardless, just because Mike has a different interpretation of the last sentence, it's childish and stupid to call for her resignation and write a whole article about how dumb she is. Give me a break. What an asshole."

    And yet again, you fail to see the irony in saying what you do.


    You say "it's childish and stupid to call for her resignation and write a whole article about how dumb she is" and then you call Mike "an asshole". Guess what? You just acted and sounded both childish and stupid and come off as a bigger asshole all in literally the span of 3 sentences. Way to go.

    In fact, all you say is negated by those handful of sentences. It goes to show just how petty you are and how eager you are to try to paint Mike (and anyone who disagrees with you and your interpretations of this or that, fyi you've been repeating yourself for days and even when people almost repeat exactly what you say you still keep going, the word "limited" seems to be one you don't want to acknowledge or discuss and Life + 70 years is anything BUT limited) in a negative light.

    Also, what seems "clear" to you does NOT make it so or even make you right. The same thing she said can be interpreted differently by almost everyone. But you seem to think that since you believe she meant one thing (in line with your views on the matter) that you must be correct and thus she is. Again, all in an apparent rush to go "Mike is a big baby and so are the rest of you and also assholes to boot". As I said, your arguments fall lose all meaningfulness at that point. You know, when you resort to name calling.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 8:20pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You could also try reading the rest of the sentence before the part you bolded. I know reading is hard for you, though.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 8:31pm

    When crafting your later article, I suggest you may want to think about the "purpose of copyright" issue in broader terms because the same can be said of all "property" rights, including those associated with tangibles.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 8:32pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    >The public benefit comes later.

    Yeah, after we're all dead. Why do you care so much about keeping it out of the public's hands?

     

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  30.  
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    Leigh Beadon (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 8:56pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Wow. Look at what you just quoted. The debate, here, is about the purpose of copyright... I think you need to take that citation, and emphasize a different part:
    The monopoly privileges that Congress may authorize are neither unlimited nor primarily designed to provide a special private benefit. Rather, the limited grant is a means by which an important public purpose may be achieved. It is intended to motivate the creative activity of authors and inventors by the provision of a special reward, and to allow the public access to the products of their genius after the limited period of exclusive control has expired.


    Yes, granting control to the author is part of the means by which the purpose is achieved. But the purpose is, clearly and without a doubt, to benefit the public.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 9:14pm

    Re:

    >Yes, the benefit for the nation is paramount, but temporally speaking, the artist benefits first.

    So riddle me this, AC. If the public is only intended to benefit after the copyright term of life + 70 years has expired...

    How is the author benefiting in the 70 years where the author's life has ended and the work is not in the copyright domain?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 9:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Again, you miss the point and replace it with a strawman. The argument isn't that works that are created now aren't benefiting the public now, it's that works that were created twenty years ago aren't benefiting the public now via being entered into the public domain. We've had copy protection laws for well over a century and even up until now there are no benefits. When are these alleged benefits supposed to occur?

     

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    [citation needed or GTFO], Apr 8th, 2012 @ 9:43pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Unfortunately, the icons tend to change after a certain amount of time, so even if it looks red now (to me at least), it might be green next time you see it.

     

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    Watchit (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 9:51pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    yes, we recognize that the author gets to benefit "first" as you say, but that's just arguing semantics...

    What we are saying is that the scales have tipped to far into favoring the author (or more likely the copyright "holders") rather than benefiting the public, irregardless of who "benefits first"

    So, assuming we all agree that technically the authors benefit first, What is your argument? And do you think that the monopoly that is granted by copyright as it stands today, at 70+ years, is not outweighing the benefit to the public?

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 10:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I don't think he has an argument. He just wants to say "Mike is wrong" and leave it at that. In fact, I think we've all agreed that the author benefits first. They get the "limited term" monopoly to do with their creation what they will after which it goes to the public. But for some reason, this one AC is dead set/fixated on saying (over and over) that the author benefits first. And that's it. That's pretty much all he's been saying since the original article. (Well that and calling Mike childish, while adding a few choice insults right after calling Mike childish.)

    However, the rest of us are pointing out how copyright, which is not a Constitutionally protected or even guaranteed privilege (because that is what it is, it is NOT a right), no longer appears to benefit the public. Insofar as it was originally meant to, which would be by going into the public domain after the limited term expires. What I mean is, the rest of us are saying the reason behind copyright is that it benefits the public at large eventually (by granting the author benefits in the immediate short term).

    This AC however seems determined to stick his fingers in his ears and say "the author benefits first la la la". [shrugs] Some people are a bit thick it seems and want to just keep repeating themselves.

     

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

  36.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 10:24pm

    "I should note that a few people voted to "report" that comment, which is the sign of a truly good satirical comment."

    I just thought of a (non-patentable) idea. Next to the submit and preview links, add a link that says "indicate sarcasm/satire after (and put a textbox) hours." and allow them to specify any number of hours up to, say, 48? (or whatever) hours.

    Then when the comment is initially posted, there is no indication of satire. But after the specified number of hours have elapsed, the comment has a satirical indication remark at the top or something. That way people who later see the satire remark can know that it was intended to be satire when posted.

    Or you can have a set of buttons they can press or checkmarks they can check or combo boxes or radio buttons they can select, one that says indicate satire after one hour, a second that says indicate satire after 6 hours, and a third that says indicate satire after 24 hours of being posted.

     

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

  37.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 10:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    If you read the article (I happen to subscribe to ABA Landslide), it seems clear to me that when she says copyright is for the author first and the nation second, she means sequentially. The whole paragraph is about how we need to respect and enforce author's rights first--the nation will get its dues later on.

    When is "later on" supposed to be? As soon as copyright is set to expire some alphabet organisation somewhere will campaign for it to be longer, then the rest of the organisations go, "Well, we must all extend copyright to be on par with the rest of the world." What's the point of calling it limited if, in the end, the goalposts get shifted?

    Oh, and by the way, you've yet to answer the other commenters on how the author benefits when he's long dead and the work isn't in the public domain - or how this is supposed to be a good thing.

     

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

  38.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 8th, 2012 @ 10:39pm

    Re:

    Or (another non-patentable idea) perhaps there can be an option for a delayed addendum to a comment, where the delayed addendum gets posted after a specified number of hours (up to a limit) as indicated above and when it does get added to the original comment, there is an indication that it was later added and of the time it was added. That way people can add a delayed /sarc tag or a delayed whatever comment. Or they can ask questions in the original comment, like a riddle, and have the answer automatically post after a delay. The commenter can even have the option, via another checkbox, to indicate that there will be a delayed comment added to the original comment ahead of time (like for a riddle) or not (like for a sarc tag or whatever).

    I really don't expect these ideas to get implemented, I'm just posting them in case no one has a patent on them already so that no one can get a patent on them. Someone else could use them. These are non-patentable ideas and this is prior art :)

     

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

  39.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Apr 8th, 2012 @ 11:12pm

    Re:

    But sequentially speaking, the benefit accrues first to the author who gets property rights in the work. Later on, once the copyright expires or is abandoned, the nation then benefits.

    This is not really true. I replied to this viewpoint in the original thread, but you apparently did not read it (or chose to ignore it).

    Fair use; the idea/expression dichotomy; statutory royalty rates; the specific exemptions granted to libraries and educators; the exemptions granted to those who prepare alternative works for the disabled; even (to a degree) first sale rights - all were put in place specifically because copyright is supposed to benefit the public first and foremost, even when those works are still under copyright.

    If you had said that copyright "ownership" accrues to creators first (sequentially), and the public second, you would be correct (insofar as the statutes are concerned). But neither you nor me were talking about public "ownership," but public benefit. And neither, despite the best efforts of her spin doctors, was Maria Pallante.

    I did also talk about the natural rights of the authors vs. the public, but that has nothing to do with "sequential ownership" under the law. It has to do with the theory of copyright that has been accepted from the Founders to the present day. That accepted theory is clear: artists don't have any sort of "natural right" to copyright (nor even a "common law" right). Copyright is granted to artists by the public, through their public servants in Congress. Without that grant, copyright would not exist in any form whatsoever (unlike most personal property rights).

    As an example, I pointed out that if Congress did away with copyright altogether, they absolutely would not violate the Fifth Amendment's "takings clause." That was pretty much decided by Wheaton v. Peters: "Congress, then, by this act, instead of sanctioning an existing right, as contended, created it."

    Congress could do away with copyright altogether, and there would be absolutely no conflict with the Fifth Amendment's "taking" clause. There would no longer be any kind of personal property to "take." The Constitution does not give any sort of property right to authors, but gives to Congress the right to create a monopoly, at its discretion (and in whatever statutory format it wants, "property" or not), solely for the purpose of promoting the public good.

    For example, all your whining about how locking up works with copyright doesn't help educational efforts.

    Considering that Congress singled out educational efforts to be exempt from certain copyright restrictions, I'd say it's a concern that both him and Congress have in common.

     

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  40.  
    identicon
    Lawrence D'Oliveiro, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 3:13am

    Re: The fact that you don't acknowledge this explains a lot of the stupidity you spout about copyright on a regular basis.

    So youíve succeeded in pointing out that what copyright was ostensibly supposed to achieve in theory, and what it actually achieves in practice, are two different things.

    So youíve finally grasped the whole point of Techdirt, and why copyright is a concept that has outlived its usefulness and must now die. Congratulations.

     

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

  41.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Apr 9th, 2012 @ 3:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And your claim would be that "first" including until long after the author, probably their children too, and almost anyone who might have heard of the author in the first place are dead is a reasonable thing? Or are you just picking on a tiny out-of-context part of something in an attempt to make your point again?

     

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

  42.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 3:58am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "That's what you, Mike, and all the other copy-whiners don't understand."

    The purpose of copy protection laws should not only be to benefit the public once works enter the public domain. That's a pointless statement. They should be to provide an overall benefit to the public in general. The overall public benefits should outweigh the overall public costs. and currently that's not the case, partly because their lengths are way too long.

    The problem is not our inability to understand anything, it's your failure to understand that copy protection laws do not, and are not intended to, benefit the public. The longer the public is deprived of works the less the public benefits. It's not a matter of "now vs later" it's that they simply don't benefit the public period. By the time works make it into the public domain it's obsolete, and so some of those works have lost much of their public value, and many of those works have likely died into history because we no longer have access to them (other than very popular works. Why do you think very big libraries even, like university libraries, are very paranoid about allowing research students to take some older books out. Those students are forced to copy those books sometimes in the library. Because those books are so rare and still can't be legally copied that if they were taken out they could very easily become lost to history since they're discontinued. It's an unacceptable travesty. All discontinued works should immediately enter the public domain. Anything less is socially harmful. and libraries are even more paranoid about their peer review journals that they subscribe to. I remember even my public high school library stored journals in a special section where you have to get a librarian to gain access to them and they weren't allowed outside the library. For copy protection lengths to last that long is unacceptable).

    These laws are supposed to benefit the public. We've had these laws for well over a century and the public still sees no benefit. and even if these protections lasted twenty years that's still much too long and publicly harmful. Windows 95 will be obsolete by then and the public will not see much benefit from it (beyond its historical value in a museum maybe), for example, despite the fact that Microsoft discontinued (support for and the distribution of) Windows 95 relatively long ago.

    Their only purpose should be to benefit the public, the alleged means of which are by helping out artists, and their lengths should be no longer than what optimally benefits the public. Every year that the public doesn't have access to works is a year that the public is deprived of the benefits that having access to those works would bring and so it's a year that the public is harmed from these monopoly privileges. So we need to make sure that the length of time is no longer than what is needed to optimally benefit the public. The sooner the public has access to works the more the public benefits from these laws. The longer it takes them to have access, the less they benefit from these laws. So we need to find the alleged balance of time where the public optimally benefits. Our current lengths far exceed that balance and are detrimental to the public.

    Our current lengths are far too long. Even twenty years is too long. I shouldn't have to wait twenty years to enjoy all of the works resulting from to the unowed monopoly privileges that I have allowed and from my rights that I have sacrificed in the process. Very few can possibly afford to purchase even a substantial portion of those works and so they don't have access to those works and I should freely have access to those within a reasonable period of time. It's not beneficial to me not to and I would rather not have copy protection laws if that's the case. As a member of the public these laws should benefit me and it's more beneficial for me for these works to last maybe seven years. That's more than long enough for IP holders to recoup their investments and if not all of them can recoup their investment by then that shouldn't be my problem. There is risk in everything and that not all investors will recoup all of their investments shouldn't be taken out on me or the public.

    In fact, IP lengths shouldn't last long enough to ensure that all investors who can recoup their investments will. That's not optimally publicly beneficial, as the public is being harmed by not having access to those works within a shorter period of time. They should only last long enough to encourage investors enough to take an investment risk despite the fact that some of them might not recoup their investment in time. Like with all investments, some investors can recoup their costs and make a profits. Some can't, yet they still take risks knowing ahead of time that they very will might not recoup their investments. and the public can better benefit from having sooner access to some works that required a high investment because the lengths were long enough for investors to perceive that they might recoup their works. That's why investors often hedge their bets, they make several investments and profit off of the more profitable ones. It shouldn't be the public's job to ensure that investors in works optimally profit off of their investments in each work. It should be their job to ensure that the public optimally benefits. And that should be the job of politicians since they should represent the public.

    So stop whinging that copy protection lengths need to last nearly this long, we don't owe you such monopoly privileges and you shouldn't whine just because others aren't giving you something they don't owe you. We have every reason, in fact it is our duty, to whine that copy protection lengths last so long as to be publicly detrimental. When the public acts publicly detrimental we should fix it. But you should find something else to whine about.

     

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

  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 4:03am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    When the government acts publicly detrimental *

     

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

  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 4:16am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "That's what you, Mike, and all the other copy-whiners don't understand. The public benefit comes later."

    Arguing that our current copy protection laws are publicly harmful is different than arguing that they are ultimately beneficial. We are arguing that our laws are ultimately harmful. We very well understand the difference and no one here is arguing that our current IP laws are ultimately beneficial. We are obviously arguing that they are ultimately harmful. Trust me, if you understand the difference, we do too, because IP extremists are dumb meritless fools and what's difficult but possible for you to understand is easy for normal people to understand. Your comment provides no insight.

    In fact, I don't really think you are that dumb. You are simply being dishonest by finding a disingenuous way to change the subject with a strawman. You're dumb enough to think it would work ... so, ok, you're pretty dumb. No one is arguing that our laws are ultimately beneficial (in the long run). We are arguing that both the short and long term consequences of our laws are harmful. It's obvious what we are arguing. It doesn't take a bunch of technocrats like the ones on this blog to figure it out, even a lawyer like you can. If you, an IP extremist lawyer, can figure it out then so can any average person and the people on this blog even moreso.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    JarHead, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 5:19am

    Re: Re:

    Hmm, both are good ideas I haven't seen implemented anywhere. While the delayed mark idea is simpler to implement, the delayed addenda is more flexible in the long run. I'd like to see this feature implemented, if not here at least at some other sites.

    With all the ideas/request for more buttons but seemingly unheeded, I'd have to ask if there's an active webdev currently employed on TechDirt or it's outsourced.

     

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

  46.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 5:46am

    Re:

    She is a public servant that is clearly in bed with business.
    While I will refrain from pointing out that she is now a member of the oldest profession, she has clearly presented her priorities.
    And as a public servant, she is clearly not working for the public.

    Lets fire her and let her jump on a job with the *AA bunch.

    She'll be far less dishonest.

     

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

  47.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re:

    >She'll be far less dishonest.

    Or they'll leverage on her public servant resume and insist that they should get away with more.

     

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

  48.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 12:55pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not disputing that the primary purpose is to benefit the nation, and neither is the Register. What she said was that the benefit to the author happens first. It's the difference between first and foremost. The benefit to the nation is foremost, but the benefit to the author occurs first in time. She said, "first," and it is indeed first. She did not say "foremost," which would have been wrong.

    And Mike calling for her resignation is idiotic. Grow up, Mike. He misinterpreted one sentence from an article and then called for her head. Crazy fucking zealot much?

     

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

  49.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 9th, 2012 @ 3:56pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Again, you tell Mike to grow up but you call him a "crazy fucking zealot". Do you not see the irony or how idiotic you're being yourself? He also did not call for her resignation in the manner you make it seem like. He said for the person in charge of copyright to not know about copyright is pretty much an oxymoron and if that's the case maybe they shouldn't be in the position they are in.

    You do seem to be disputing the primary purpose. In fact, you've gone so far as to ignore the primary purpose and who benefits from this for days and articles now. Just to harp on and on about "author" and "first" and "grow up, Mike".

    Look. No one really cares what you say. Why? Because you can't even talk without an ad hom directed at Mike. Maybe if you want people to care about what you say, stop coming off as jerk. Try growing up yourself before you tell others to do the same. Try and make your point, while acknowledging (not ignoring entirely) the point others are making. You don't have to repeat yourself 20 times neither. Yes, we all heard you the other gillion times (that's what it seems like) in the other article. We get your opinion and view on the matter. Author. First. Wre wre wre. You could've just put that and we'd know who you were and what you think and avoided all this. But like a dog with a bone....

     

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  50.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Apr 10th, 2012 @ 1:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I'm not disputing that the primary purpose is to benefit the nation, and neither is the Register. What she said was that the benefit to the author happens first.

    If you are the same person I originally responded to, then you absolutely were disputing that the primary purpose is to benefit the nation: "Sorry, but the words don't say that - the 'for the nation' is something added by people like yourself."

    And it is pure post hoc rationalization to claim that she was saying copyright benefits authors first in time. There is absolutely no way you could interpret it that way:
    It is my strong view that exceptions and limitations are just that -- they are important but they must be applied narrowly so as not to harm the proprietary rights of the songwriter, book author, or artist. Copyright is for the author first and the nation second.

    She is quite clearly saying that copyright is for the author foremost and the nation second.

     

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

  51.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:08am

    Re: Re:

    Congress could do away with copyright altogether, and there would be absolutely no conflict with the Fifth Amendment's "taking" clause. There would no longer be any kind of personal property to "take." The Constitution does not give any sort of property right to authors, but gives to Congress the right to create a monopoly, at its discretion (and in whatever statutory format it wants, "property" or not), solely for the purpose of promoting the public good.

    You are such a fucking idiot, I don't even know why I bother. Copyright is property. If the government took that property away without just compensation, that would violate the Fifth Amendment. This is why the Second Circuit said copyright is property subject to the Fifth Amendment. Mike himself even admits this.

    The fact is, Karl, you have not studied the Fifth Amendment Takings Clause. You don't understand the test that is used to determine whether is something is "property" under that Clause. You don't know shit. You just keep talking like you're a legal expert, when the fact is, you don't have a fucking clue.

    Of course the Constitution creates no property rights, but it does permit Congress to create property rights in copyrights, which is exactly what Congress has done since 1790. I can find tons and tons of quotes from courts calling copyright property. What you can't find is one single court saying copyright is not property.

    You're a complete fucking joke, Karl. You're the biggest fucking idiot on TD, and that's saying something 'cause there are some really huge fucking idiots here. Sorry to be so rude, but you are just too fucking much.

    Jesus, Karl. What the fuck is wrong with you? Do you really think you're an expert on the issues of property and the Takings Clause even though you haven't studied either one?

     

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  52.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:11am

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

    Get the magazine and read the whole paragraph, and then we'll talk. In the meantime, go read some actual law and learn what it actually says.

     

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

  53.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Apr 10th, 2012 @ 7:13am

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

    Whatever. Mike is a fucking douchebag for pulling one sentence out of what she said that maybe could be twisted into saying something other than what it says, and he thinks that she doesn't deserve the job and should be removed from office.

    It's things like that that prove that Mike Masnick is a complete tool and sack of shit. What a fucking asshole. And you dipshits eat it up.

    TD is the shit stain of the internet, where the willfully blind lead the blind.

     

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  54.  
    identicon
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