'Quantum Copyright:' At What Point Does A Legal Copy Become Infringement?

from the spoofing-your-region-for-fun-and-profit! dept

Laws in general aren't known for their clarity, hence the need for lawyers to rack up billable hours searching for loopholes to exploit or to try to bend them to fit the case at hand. Copyright laws, while less tangled than the infamous "Patent Thicket, " are no straightforward walk in the park, either.

Eric Hellman tackles the ambiguous nature of copyright infringement, especially as it pertains to the "region-free" aspects of the internet, in a post amusingly titled, "Heisenberg's Uncertain Copyright." (via The Digital Reader)

Hellman turns his attention to F. Scott Fitzgerald's "The Great Gatsby," and using his skills in the area of "Quantum Copyright" (a term he threw into his LinkedIn profile for a bit of fun), determines that the question of whether or not copyright infringement has occurred might depend on where the copying occurred, something that is even harder to define when the copying takes place via the internet.
It turns out that where a copy is made has consequences. Consider Fitzgerald's The Great Gatsby...
The Great Gatsby already belongs to every Australian, in the sense that Australians have the right to read and copy it for free without anybody's permission. In the US, it belongs to the CBS Corporation, and if you want to read it on Kindle, it'll cost you $7.80.

If you copy Gatsby in Australia, no problem, it's cool, because Gatsby has entered the public domain. There's an excellent version available from Project Gutenberg Australia. If you do it in the US without permission from the CBS, it constitutes copyright infringement and is punishable with jail time and statutory damages up to $150,000 per incidence of infringement. So it really matters where the copying occurs.
While Hellman exaggerates the repercussions of making a hypothetical copy (the highest statutory claims would apply only to willful infringement [which this could be, especially when infringing in order to prove a hypothesis] and the jail time only applies to criminal infringement -- which this almost certainly would not be), the fact remains that one deterrent of infringement is the underlying threat of legal action (whether civil or criminal). No doubt F. Scott Fitzgerald's estate is in no hurry to give up the American rights (and the attendant enforcement of those rights), seeing as "The Great Gatsby" earned its author all of $8,400 during his lifetime -- but generates $500,000 per year for his daughter. This secondhand largesse enjoyed by many heirs is one of the motivators behind the ever-extending copyright lengths here in this country.

Hellman posits this not-so-hypothetical situation:
Suppose you have a book sitting on a computer in Australia. The computer breaks the book into thousands of UDP packets and sends them into the Internet. Copying can't have occurred yet, because the packets aren't fixed in any form. For copyright purposes,

"Copies" are material objects, other than phonorecords, in which a work is fixed by any method now known or later developed, and from which the work can be perceived, reproduced, or otherwise communicated, either directly or with the aid of a machine or device. The term "copies" includes the material object, other than a phonorecord, in which the work is first fixed. http://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

Now suppose the packets are reassembled on my hard drive in New Jersey. A copy of "The Great Gatsby" has materialized. Has a copyright been infringed? If I was in Australia and the source of the packets was in the US, would the answer be different?
In this case, the copying process originates in a country where no copyright protection covers Fitzgerald's book. Its "assembly" in the US suddenly makes it an infringing copy. Does this make sense? More importantly, does it even matter? According to rights holders, the copy would still be infringing, simply because it was copied, at least according to the section of copyright law cited by Hellman, which states that only the owner of the copyright has the "exclusive right... to reproduce the copyrighted work."

But even that doesn't entirely clear up the situation. If no rights holder can claim this "exclusive right to reproduce" in Australia, then it would seem that "shipping" copies from Australia would be a legal act, right up until the copy "hits" the US border. Exploring this hypothetical situation further, Hellman comes up with a list of "quantum copyright" possibilities.
So we have 8 different quantum copyright location scenarios; 6 have uncertainty as to the fact of infringement:

1. Person copying, copy source, and copy destination all in US. (US law controls!)
2. Person copying, copy source, and copy destination all in Australia. (Australia law controls!)
3. Person copying and copy source in US, copy destination in Australia.
4. Person copying and copy source in Australia, copy destination in US.
5. Person copying and copy destination in US, copy source in Australia.
6. Person copying and copy destination in Australia, copy source in US.
7. Person copying in US, copy source and copy destination in Australia.
8. Person copying in Australia, copy source and copy destination in US.
So, to sum it all up, magic 8-ball style: "Answer unclear. Ask again later." More narrowly, however, the exclusive rights granted to copyright holders would find most of these situations infringing. Any copy originating in the US would violate the reproduction right as Hellman points out. Any action initiating in the US would very likely violate the holder's distribution rights. For all intents and purposes, the hypothetical copier is only 100% in the clear in instance #2, where all copying starts and stops in Australia where Fitzgerald's book is public domain. In cases where the copy is "sent" to the US from Australia, it could very well fall under the the "right to reproduce," as US consumers would be limited to "authorized" copies from the rights holders. If some Australian set up a site offering downloads of public domain books that were still under copyright in the US, the rights to reproduce and distribute would likely be pointed out as the reason any US users availing themselves of this service are actually guilty of copyright infringement. If it's under copyright in the US, then the copyright owner's rights must be respected... at $7.80 a copy.

Certainly, copyright-centered entities like the MPAA would prefer to simply have our copyright laws exported to other countries with less stringent laws, especially any sections that extend the length of copyright protection and weaken fair use/fair dealing exceptions. Getting other nations to sync up with our copyright lengths would certainly eliminate these hypothetical discussions, along with many items in the public domain. Many aspects of current copyright laws were written years ago, long before the internet made "country of origin" a meaningless term and reproductions as simple as a right-click on a mouse. What it usually boils down to, after all the discussion, is this:
You could also be a cynic and say the only thing that matters is where the judge is sitting.
Much like fair use is often determined by a courtroom appearance, the "quantum" aspects of copyright are largely theoretical -- right up to the point that someone finds themselves at the other end of an infringement lawsuit.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:08am

    And there was me thinking..... Illegal filesharing was sharing of illegal files.

    How brainwashed am I.

     

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  2.  
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    S. T. Stone, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:17am

    Re:

    When it comes to copyright and lawyers, pretty much anything can become illegal if given enough time, money, and politicians willing to suck Hollywood’s metaphorical dick.

     

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  3.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:30am

    'While Hellman exaggerates the repercussions of making a hypothetical copy (the highest statutory claims would apply only to willful infringement [which this could be, especially when infringing in order to prove a hypothesis] and the jail time only applies to criminal infringement -- which this almost certainly would not be)'

    what absolute bullshit!! everyone knows full well that every lawyer in the US working for whichever entertainment industry would be all out to get the maximum financial damage and the maximum jail time for even the slightest infringement. as has been said so many times in the last couple of days, nothing is more important to both the government and the entertainment industries than winning! justice and what is right dont even enter the argument!

     

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  4.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:31am

    Re:

    "sharing of illegal files"

    There's no such thing as an inherently illegal file, hence the issue. Even child porn or viruses can be legal in some jurisdictions. Only the use of that file can be infringing, but that depends on who, where and how it's used.

    To go further than the example above - Troma currently has most of its catalogue available for free viewing on YouTube. If I were to view, say, Poultrygeist - that's perfectly legal. If I were to download that film, I may be breaking the law depending on the distribution rights granted by Troma. If I were to upload an identical file to YouTube, but do so without express permission from Troma, my copy may well be infringing, despite the existence of a non-infringing copy of the film on the exact same site. The files are identical, but one is legal and the other isn't. There's also the issue of local laws regarding content - if Poultrygeist is cut or banned in the country I'm viewing from, it may be illegal even if it's perfectly legal in the US.

    These are just some of the reasons why people who insist that YouTube should just be able to tell what's infringing automatically are outing themselves as abject morons. It's a hell of a lot more complicated than mere filesharing, and it usually gets more complicated the older and less popular a particular title gets due to orphaning, no official release, etc.

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:39am

    while a US copyright holder would want compensation and/or prosecution, and while an overzealous prosecutor would love to make an example out of the case, if I understand the quantum mechanics involved (and I'm no quantum physicist), if the artifact resides freely in Australia, and the copy is made of that file, even if it's reassembled in the U.S., it's not infringing.

    Why? because it's not a copy of a U.S. artifact. And only the U.S. artifact is protected against illegal copying.

    Or do I completely not understand physics and the nature of reality?

     

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  6.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:41am

    "The Great Gatsby" earned its author all of $8,400 during his lifetime -- but generates $500,000 per year for his daughter

    Am I the only one that is outraged by this? I never ever relied or will rely on money my parents are earning and I"ll always help them when they are in financial woes and yet.. I'm sincerely disgusted.

     

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  7.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:48am

    Re:

    technically, that's an erroneous claim. $8400 "during his lifetime" needs to be adjusted to 2013 dollars. So in today's terms, he made a lot more, relatively speaking.

    When a descendant profits from an estate, it is, by fairness, their inheritance. Should we judge such people if the value is such a high figure? And if they are rightfully entitled to it as an heir? I mean, other than to condemn them from the perspective that they didn't earn it themselves, which personally, I think is an ugly notion.

    What right do others have to condemn someone who gains wealth through inheritance?

    I'm not saying this to be purely argumentative. Only to probe the validity of the outrage you express.

    Personally, I think the issue here that is outrageous is not that someone profits via inheritance, but instead, that copyright can be held for so long. Especially for such works as the Great Gatsby. While I don't personally think it's THAT important a writing, an overwhelming majority of people do. And if they do, at what point does the value of sharing need to outweigh a copyright term?

     

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  8.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:49am

    Re:

    I'll take this up a notch.

    If you are downloading it using bittorrent and 1% of the data come from Brazil; 0,7% come from Bulgaria; 0,3% from Italy, 36% from the US; 12% from Australia; 21% from the UK ..................................................................................................
    (excluding wasted bits that may go over 5% of the downloaded data)

    I invite mr Hellman AND techdirt AND whoever can retain sanity here to discuss about this =D

     

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    Ralph-J (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:58am

    What about travelling with copies?

    What if I make the copy in Australia and then take my laptop, or ereader to the US?

    What if a business made 1 million copies on USB sticks in Australia and physically took them to the US to sell?

    The copying would not have taken place in the US.

     

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  10.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:01am

    Re:

    What if the file resides on a server located on the US, but is then copied to a computer located in Australia? It might be that the same site could let an Aussie download for free, but require a charge to an American despite being the same file.

    It all depends on where the files are located and where you consider the copying to have taken place... and even that doesn't consider the mobile nature of much of the modern population (e.g. a US tourist visits Australia, and downloads a perfectly legal free copy onto their Kindle. Are they breaking the law because they're a US citizen despite committing a perfectly legal act on Australian soil, or does the copy only become infringing when they return home? What if they never physically visit but use a VPN to get the same file from the same location?).

     

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  11.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:02am

    Re:

    I'll guess that his daughter's income came only after his death, when the rights reverted to her and she benefited from the book's growing popularity. Not that she somehow stole her father's income when he was alive.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:02am

    So what you're saying is, the copyright cat is both alive and dead simultaneously.

     

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    explicit coward (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:04am

    Re: Re:

    "What right do others have to condemn someone who gains wealth through inheritance?"

    Well, certainly no legal right, but maybe a moral right?

    Don't get me wrong, I admire and respect anyone who goes from "nobody" to "Richie Rich rich" through his or her own work. But I definetely can't say the same about their heirs. They were just lucky enough to be born in the "right" family. Of course this should not be a reason to condemn them. But putting certain limits to the advantages that such family-ties bring does not seem wrong to me.

     

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  14.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:06am

    Re: Re:

    this is easy if the "you" in your example, is downloading while in the U.S. - that 36% is more than "fair use" would allow and clearly prosecutable. :-)

     

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  15.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:08am

    Re: Re:

    I'm outraged that the earnings come from something that's not benefiting society. If I inherit a company from my parents I need to nurture it, work to keep it running and so on. Most of us when we work an hour we can't keep charging people over and over for that worked hour. Nor will our children be able to profit of our worked ours (nor they shouldn't). However what we got during our life may be inherited yes.

    If she had earned a hundred gazillion dollars from what her father earned DURING his life then it's ok. If people wanted to give her money as means of helping her and honoring her father's memory then I'd be ok with that. What is not ok is that the public is being deprived from that piece of culture so someone can get easy money.

    I don't condemn her directly. She could be doing a good job. As much as I don't really like Tolkien's Estate for instance they did gather unfinished stories and did some editing work that was quite welcome and for that the money was well earned. If the girl is running around promoting her father's work, keeping him alive and spreading it around then maybe it's ok but overall I'm still outraged the man earned what he did. Sure it may be, say, $100k if brought to present value but it's still much less than what's being made today that's going for several unrelated pockets.

    So I agree with you. And disagree slightly at the same time!

     

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  16.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:10am

    Re: Re: Re:

    True enough, 36% of that copy came from the US. But something tells me even if only 5% came from the US itself you'd still be in trouble ;)

     

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  17.  
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    maclypse (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:12am

    I' ve often wondered about this "jurisdictional issue", being a swedish citizen. We do have some pretty extensive rights (still, despite best efforts to have them removed), which includes making private copies of anything we buy - in any format we want. We even have the right to, for example, decompile our copy of windows, change the source code and then recompile it, to suit our personal needs.

    What happens when I bring my laptop through customs in the US? Will I be charged with copyright infringement, and hacking? Does the act of bringing your perfectly legal laptop with perfectly legal content with you on a vacation to the US suddenly amount to criminal activity punishable by several years in prison and outrageous fines, because the US doesn't approve of swedish consumer law?

     

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  18.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:13am

    But even offline you get into trouble via regional differences. Suppose you take a job in Australia for a decade. While there, you buy up a small library of books, some of which are printed public domain works. What happens if you transfer back? Common sense would be to me that they are legal, because you bought them legally. Even if you sell those used books later on that should be legal. But seeing as copyright law is generally insane, I doubt the common sense answer is also the right legal answer.

    And when you've determined the above situation, apply the same scenario to ebooks. Are you allowed to keep your Kindle full of Australian public domain books? What about that DVD with old school text files your friend gave you once?

    With things that are illegal for what they are, those issues never arose. If you import child porn or are in possesion of it, your guilty as soon as you are on the souvereign territory of any state that prohibits it. But the whole IP area makes stuff not illegal because of what it is, but because of how it came to be in your possession. And afterwards, often a legal copy is totally indistinguishable from an illegal one - which makes it even more complicated, often unenforcable and quite often brilliantly stupid.

     

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  19.  
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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:13am

    Re: Re:

    Yes I understand that. My problem is that she keeps making money of his work and he made very little out of it. I wouldn't mind if he was filthy rich due to the book and she inherited the money.

     

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  20.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:17am

    Re: Re:

    if its a file on a server in the US, then it's clearly within the borders of the copyright protection. Unless the server is owned by an Australian. Then all bets are off.

     

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  21.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:19am

    Re: Re:

    to answer the mobile nature concept, even if they're a US citizen, the artifact they're copying while in Australia is not protected and therefore they aren't infringing. Even when they come back into the U.S.

    Same goes for VPN access. They're not accessing an artifact controlled by, held by or in the possession of the copyright holder.

     

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  22.  
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    Zakida Paul (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:19am

    In reality?

    A legal copy becomes illegal as soon as you pay for it. That is what the entertainment industry teaches us.

     

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  23.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    that's the rub. at what point does it become morally wrong? I, my brother, and sister inherited my parent's house. It was worth, at that point many years ago, worth something around $75,000. So what's the threshold? Is that morally disgusting?

    That's why I have a concern with the categorization being based on moral considerations as well. And what if the heirs give away X amount of that each year? how much then becomes "enough" to give them a free pass?

     

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  24.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:27am

    Re: Re: Re:

    "What is not ok is that the public is being deprived from that piece of culture so someone can get easy money."


    ah - that strikes me as making some sense now! I appreciate you providing clarification with that statement. It helped me see the "moral" issue at hand "explicit coward" might have also been referring to.

    Now I need to go ponder that notion. Because you caused me to pause in my premise...

     

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  25.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:28am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Well, there you get a very murky issue. Some works take time to gather steam, whereas some are instant successes. Are you saying that if Gatsby had been an instant success along the lines of 50 Shades Of Grey that his daughter should be entitled to the money, while because it took a long time to become popular she should get nothing? I don't know the estate's history, but what if she was the one who took control of the novel to make it a success after her father's death? If she didn't create the work but was instrumental in its later success, what then?

    Pure speculation, of course, but each estate is different. Some heirs do nothing but pick up the money. The heirs of Tolkien and Herbert have continued their family's legacies despite being entitled to income regardless. Steig Larsson's family and partner have been embroiled in legal issues because he died before the books found their success, while the legal issues may not have existed had he lived a few more years.

    There's not really any blanket rule that can fit every estate, although I do agree that someone picking up a large cheque every year because of who their father happened to be, decades after his death, is not right. The question is where and how to draw the line.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I suspect that there's a fundamental difference between inheriting a house (where the money is "locked in to" the house, and inheriting a copyright (where the value isn't "locked in to" the perceptional property. In the example above, it would be The Great Gatsby, but it might also be The Chronicles of Narnia or Casino Royale.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:30am

    Re:

    Yup, it's Schroedinger's Copyright.

     

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  28.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:31am

    Re: Re:

    My voices accept this challenge... thankfully the meds are going to kick in and they, the infringing bastards that they are trying to copy and transform without authority my thoughts... will be silenced!!!

     

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  29.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:32am

    Re:

    this is where the issue of resale comes into play. There's been articles here on TechDirt recently about the subject even - the goal US copyright holders have is that if something is exported, that export cannot be resold to someone IN the U.S. While this is not the same, it's likely they'd want to try and get a similar law in place. I don't think it IS though, so you could definitely BRING it into the U.S. and not be prosecuted, but they may want to try and find you guilty of infringing on resale aspects.

     

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    explicit coward (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No - I don't think it is morally disgusting. AND I understand the human need to ensure that one's offsprings will have the best possible (financial) future.

    And yes, where to put the threshold is yet an unresolved question.

     

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  31.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:34am

    Re:

    As per the physics of quantum copyright it is most likely relative to how much money the observer (owner) of the copyright wants to throw at it. Though the half life of any court case is probably determined by how pure the sample (judge) is

     

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  32.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:35am

    Re: In reality?

    "as soon as you pay for it"

    Or download it. Or link to a copy of it that gives you free access in case you WANT to download it without paying. Or view it without paying for it. Or make it available for access without their permission. Or...

     

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  33.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:40am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ha! even if none of it came from the U.S., but it merely passed through a U.S. pipe on its way to it's destination, some corporate hack would demand prosecution and some overzealous bully U.S. attorney would likely agree with them.

    You know. because that corporation might then want to hire that U.S. attorney down the road.

     

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  34.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:42am

    Re: What about travelling with copies?

    if anyone actually wants to test this theory I (being an Aussie and therefore a crazy copyright criminal according to your copyright laws and that Hollywood.Inc lost to our 2nd biggest ISP *chuckles*) am absolutely willing to copy onto a USB or other fandangled electronic device everything that is under the PD here that is not in the USA and mail it to you.. via snail mail no less.

    And basically you're correct, the USA copyright holders nor the government cannot prosecute you (civilly or criminally) under copyright for your receipt of the works as long as you then do not copy them or allow them to be copied within the USA for commercial purposes. That also is correct even if I charged you for the privileged of myself sending you the device they resided on. Actually I'd love them to come after myself.. they'd lose bigtime.

     

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  35.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:43am

    Re:

    "would be all out to get the maximum financial damage and the maximum jail time for even the slightest infringement"

    And submit completely bogus "data" on the "severity" of the harm. Because they sure do like to be creative in that way as well.

    And do so "for the artists".

     

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  36.  
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    Another AC, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:45am

    Re: Re:

    To kick it up one more notch, we can take those pieces of the copyrighted work downloaded from each country and print them on the back of thousands of watches then try to import those watches into the US...

     

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  37.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:47am

    Re:

    wait. you can decompile windows? If you have the skill to do that, you should have the freedom from prosecution to do it. because holy crap that's a pretty amazing thing.

    Then again, I'm not very skilled at programming, never hacked anything in my life, and actually like daylight. And talking with women. So I guess "amazing" is a relative concept. :-)

     

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  38.  
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    JarHead, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:49am

    Re:

    What if an AU citizen rent a UK hosting provider who mirrors the site it's managing on both AU and US (among several others) for redundancy/load balancing, then upload the file on that site. A person from the US then download the file. How can such a person know whether his download is legal, cos at anytime, the site he's seeing may be served from either AU or US mirror, supposing the user physical location doesn't factor in on actual server auto-selection (i.e. the AU server for whatever reason is down).

     

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  39.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:55am

    Re: Re:

    Hmmm good question, think I'll upload my PD copy of Gatsby into dropbox, google drive, amazon S3 etc and allow it to be publicly linked.

    Come at me CBS!!!

     

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  40.  
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    gorehound (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 4:58am

    Fuck Off CBS !!! I purposely avoid the TV Networks.
    I will be very happy to see these MAFIAA Extinct !

     

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  41.  
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    nospacesorspecialcharacters (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:03am

    Re: Re:

    I believe I can 1-up you even further.

    I travel a lot for work - I use my laptop and start a BT download in the UK, through a Swiss VPN, but then pause it half way through, travel to Singapore, continue the download on the Hotel's wifi - but this time pointing my VPN through Sweden.

    When I started the download it was 1% Brazil; 0,7% Bulgaria; 0,3% Italy, 36% US; 12% Australia; 21% UK.

    In Singapore it's 5% Italy; 19% Canada; 22% Portugal; 23% China; 31% Australia.

    Discuss.

     

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  42.  
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    jameshogg (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:14am

    I'm not really anti-war on "terror" or fascism... but I still have to make this joke.

    America does not just declare war on the public domain in its own country... it exports its declaration of war on public domains all over the world.

    Copyright makes me physically sick.

    By the way, 6 is nowhere near enough situations to consider when you throw in multiple countries and multiple relays using proxies and VPNs, never mind TOR. Never mind having a friend from Australia send you a PDF of The Great Gatsby over post.

     

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  43.  
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    Seegras (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:24am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Oh, that's easy. Since what actually might be illegal is always the _publishing_, you did the following:
    - Publishing 0.5% of the work in Brazil
    - Publishing 0.35% of the work in Bulgaria
    - Publishing 2.65% of the work in Italy
    - Publishing 18% of the work in the US
    - Publishing 21.5% of the work in Australia
    - Publishing 10.5% of the work in the UK
    - Publishing 9.5% of the work in Canada
    - Publishing 11% of the work in Portugal
    - Publishing 11.5% of the work in China
    Some of this is legal, some not. The VPN is irrelevant, as is where you published from.

    There might have been a case in the UK, since you've been there, there is none in Singapore. Now it depends on where you go next (or where you've got citizenship) whether anyone can sue you at all.

     

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  44.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:25am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I understand what you're saying, but I do wonder how the law actually sees things vs. how people who understand the technology view things. Time will tell but I wouldn't be surprised to see a lawsuit against VPNs because they allow bypassing of regional restrictions and paywalls, especially in areas where they use the regional pricing to scalp consumers.

     

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  45.  
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    Seegras (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:38am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Addendum: I'm assuming that you publish the same amount of data to each country that you're downloading. Which probably wouldn't be the case.

    Anyway if you really want to complicate things, you should have put "Germany" into some of your locations. Because in Germany, downloads are only legal if "from a legal source". Australia obviously qualifies. But so would the US, if, and only if, the guy you're downloading from had itself bought the work.. ;)) Yes, the USA is not alone in making incredibly stupid laws.

     

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    Chris-Mouse (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:42am

    Re: Re:

    The only creative "artists" that Hollywood cares about work in the acciunting department.

     

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  47.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:43am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    The VPN is irrelevant,

    Actually NO - the VPN is the ONLY relevant factor. Whether it is technically illegal is unimportant - the only thing that matters is if they can catch you - and the VPN is (by far) the biggest influence over that.

     

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  48.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Addendum

    Actually the visibility of what is going on is really important.

    The copyright industries disliked home taping, floppy-copying etc - and even put out some limp publicity against it - but they never took serious legal action.

    The Pirate Bay , on the other hand, attracts their ire because it is so public. I predict that, if they ever manage to suppress visible activities on the web etc - they will stop short of pursuing things like Frrenet or sneakernet - because they are sufficiently private not to be a visible taunt.

    It's like swimming pools. Everyone knows that children "wee wee" in the pool - and they get away with it - unless they do it from the top diving board...

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:49am

    Re: Re:

    > And submit completely bogus "data" on the "severity" of the harm.
    > Because they sure do like to be creative in that way as well.


    I would just like to point something out.

    Bogus data meets the threshold of creativity required to be eligible for copyright. Real data is mere facts and therefore not subject to copyright.

    Maybe creative industries (MPAA / RIAA) publish bogus data because they love copyright and already have extensive publishing machinery in place to widely disseminate fiction. Real data would be an offense to the senses and as vile as creative commons, or worse (gasp!, please cover the children's ears. . .) public domain.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:51am

    What is a file?

    What is a file? Simply a bunch of 0's and 1's. At what point can a bunch of 0's and 1's be illegal? Does it require the whole file, or just any section? How small of a section can be considered illegal? If the section is illegal in one file, is it illegal in all files? I'm sure lots of files have the same short sequence.

    What if you don't know what is being shared with you? You have to have the complete file to know what it is. Yet you could be identified as sharing an illegal file when you are sharing a small piece. Maybe that piece isn't truly illegal?

     

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  51.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:56am

    Re: Re:

    technically, that's an erroneous claim. $8400 "during his lifetime" needs to be adjusted to 2013 dollars

    Difficult to do accurately - see http://www.measuringworth.com/uscompare/relativevalue.php

    Howeever his total income is still no more than about 2 years of her current income even at the highest estimate

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:09am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I can't believe you referenced public domain in this discussion. You know that's going to draw a troll to this thread who is now going to be obligated to label us all fascists or anarchists again, right? < sigh >

     

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  53.  
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    Seegras (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:12am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No, inheriting is not "morally wrong" per se, as long as it's NOT about artificial monopolies.

    If some of you inherit a chair, you've got to decide who keeps it (and the associated rights to it, like the right to sit on it), or whether you sell it and split the proceeds. However, with copyright, suddenly ALL OF YOU have the same negative right: To inhibit publishing. The opposite right, the right to publish is shared amongst all of you together.

    Macauley held a speech against the extension of the term of copyright to 60 years after the death of the author in 1841, and he mentions most of the problems:
    http://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Copyright_Law_%28Macaulay%29

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:13am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    ah- VPN as law circumvention... now that would make for a great trial. Well not great, except in the mind of the prosecuting attorney and the corporate attorneys. But the thread on TechDirt would be great for the rest of humanity...

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:17am

    Some silly but serious questions

    There are a lot more quantum copyright situations that need answers.

    Suppose a file in the US under copyright is legally transferred to Australia (eg, purchased for example). As soon as it is downloaded in Australia it is no longer under copyright there. Being public domain, placed on a public server and made freely available. Someone in the US downloads that file. Is it now back under copyright? If so, is it because the US copy loses or gains copyright as it moves across borders? Is it because the artifact started in the US under copyright, so it regains copyright as it crosses borders.

    Suppose a file under copyright in the US is legally transferred to Australia. The file is also under copyright in Australia. Time passes. Now the file is no longer under copyright in Australia, but remains under copyright in the US. Being public domain in Australia, the file is put on a public server and made freely available. If someone in the US downloads that file, does it regain copyright protection? Since the item was legally purchased, the creator has been paid a pittance, the gatekeepers have been paid an outrageous amount, and the copyright has legitimately expired in Australia, should it now be copyright free anywhere it is shipped to?

    Is there any effective difference between the above two situations?

    What if the above two situations applied to a physical book or optical disk that was shipped back and forth? Would the book lose and gain copyright protection as it moved? Why is a digital file different? If the physical book shipped back to US were not under copyright, could one begin making copies of it in the US and distributing them? What about if it were a digital file? If the copies could not be made in the US, what if they were made legally in Australia and then shipped to the US? Would a box of The Great Gatsby books shipped to the US from Australia be okay? What about a shipping container?


    Now let's move to reading content online.

    Again, let's presuppose a text out of copyright in Australia but under copyright in US. It is on a web server in Australia, and I read it in the US on my web browser. Is that infringement in the US? After all, the packets that form the text were sent to the US, reassembled in my computer and displayed.

    Now let's suppose I use a remote screen sharing application to remotely view the desktop of a computer in the Australia. I can remotely operate the computer using my mouse and keyboard and I can see the pixels on its screen echoed to the pixels on my screen. No text is ever transmitted or reassembled. If I remotely operate a web browser on the computer in Australia to see the text on a server in Australia through remote screen sharing, is that copyright infringement? After all, no text came to my computer, just images of a remote desktop.

    What if I could remotely use my mouse and keyboard to operate a computer in Australia, but the only way I could see what was happening on the remote computer was through a video link to my television? If I made the remote computer in Australia view a text under copyright in Australia and I could see it on my television in the US, would that be copyright infringement? If not, then if I hire a temp to re-type the text into my laptop, would the newly typed text suddenly be under copyright in the US?

    What if the text were read aloud in Australia, heard over the telephone in the US and re-typed into a computer? Would the re-typed text now be under copyright?


    What is space aliens took an out of copyright work and brought it back to the present? Oh, wait. That is a strong argument for why copyright should last forever. Nevermind.

     

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    Seegras (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:18am

    Re: Re:

    I can decompile windows too, but I can't recompile it ;)

    Seriously, most decompilers just are not made with "recompiling" or even "compiling" as one of the goals. Even small programs end up uncompilable, since there will be a slew of things like standard-libraries included in the decompile.

    Besides, http://www.winehq.org/ does much a better job at re-implementing Windows than any recompile ever would ;)).

     

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    peter, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:21am

    easy answer

    Don't know why everyone is getting all confused over this question. The answer ostensibly simple and obvious.

    It does not matter where you are or the law was broken, you have broken the law if the American government sez so.

    simple

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:23am

    Re:

    Maybe it should work the other way in order to avoid making criminals out of innocent actions. If a copy was obtained from a country where it was not under copyright, then importing it to the US should not bring it back under copyright.

     

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    Seegras (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:25am

    Re: Some silly but serious questions

    copyright applies to publishing, not to downloading, reading, digitizing or shipping.

    If you want to ship containers of the text to the US, you're free to do so. Only, you might not be allowed to sell them or maybe even give them away.

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:25am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    setting aside the fact that it was quite painful to translate the speech by Macaulay, I don't disagree with the core tenets, except when I step back into a detached perspective.

    The house. My parents paid for it in full. It was theirs. We inherited it. Why should we not have the right to then pass that down endlessly through the generations?

    The claim that copyright is different under the premise that it is in the public's interest to break the inheritance chain doesn't wash when the copyright is acknowledged as having been created (or bought), then passed along to heirs. It's property. It was rightfully and lawfully and morally created or purchased.

    Should the house be taken from the children or grandchildren "because we have a bunch of homeless people so letting them live in it is in the public's interest"?

    Purely a hypothetical. At what point does the "public interest" outweigh the passing along of property from generation to generation?

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:26am

    Re: Re: Re:

    As you say, you can decompile Windows, but why would you want to? You can't put it back together again. That's why open source is great. You start with the freely available source, then you CAN modify it and compile it. Furthermore, others can build upon your work.

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:33am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Okay - I contemplated this. See my reply two slots up to Seegras - house, copyright. Both are property. What justifies one being designated needing to be taken from the generational heir chain because "it benefits society, and that is more valid than the family" compared to the other, and who gets to decide that under what circumstance?

    it's purely subjective. Because as I said initially, personally, I think Gatsby isn't all that important to society. Nor is the overwhelming majority of content that has been copyrighted.

    And I'll even go further in my outrageous "what if". I would also argue that copyright could be seen as a family treasure given the sentimental value more than the financial value. In that regard, copyrighted content is no different than the silver jewelry.

    Do we take the silver jewelry away from the heirs because "our city could use the money to help balance the budget"?

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Re:

    And what's worse, she makes this money each year for doing absolutely nothing. And her children will benefit the same way. And her children's children. And so on. All due to continuing copyright extension.

    This is what rubs people the wrong way about copyright. People work their entire lives to make a living, perhaps pass a small inheritance to their children.

    And yet with copyright, someone puts in a day, a month, a year of effort creating something and their great-great-great grandchildren are still profiting from it? I think that is absurd.

     

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  64.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:48am

    Re: Re: Re:

    that's too bad. I can't even try WINE. Because I'm a recovering addict. :-)

     

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  65.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:56am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Yep. I started doing it not long ago, largely because DVDs are too expensive here in Spain, physical rental is nearly non-existent and there's no good local legal options for video streaming. It's a good decision, and makes a great alternative to my old routine of stocking up on sale titles on my regular visits back to the UK. I pay, of course, both for the Netflix subscription and the VPN, on top of the Spotify subscription that's actually offered locally.

    By the opinion of some of the regular trolls, this somehow means I'm a "thief". I've never quite worked out how, but hey if any of them want to explain their logic to me without namecalling and false assumptions, they're welcome to. I suspect logic isn't the basis of their opinions, however.

    But, does this circumvention of regional licencing agreements in order to access paid content that's legal at the point of sale actually make the use of a VPN illegal in any way? Especially when the only legal online alternative being offered is to simply not pay for the content and go without? That's an interesting discussion, and at the centre yet again is the point that people only tend to go looking for alternative options when the copyright holders aren't meeting the demand themselves...

     

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    Prashanth (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:57am

    No cloning

    How long will it be before quantum no-cloning becomes a part of copyright law?

     

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  67.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 6:57am

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

    You bought the house (a single, finite object), so that can be passed down through the generations as you wish. Unless you have a bizarre planning rule, only you and your heirs can alter or even demolish the house, and only you or they can sell it. Same with a book in my collection - someone can buy that from me, borrow it, re-read it or even use it as toilet paper so long as they have my permission. But only on that one copy of the house or book.

    With copyright, it's different. The text of the book is art that's been granted a temporary monopoly in order to encourage future works. Once you're dead, you're not creating any more works so at some point, the text should at some point revert back to the public where all art ultimately belongs. Once reverted, your heirs don't lose the ability to monetise or build on the work, they just lost the exclusive monopoly on that right.

    If you tried to assert the same rules on your house, what about the children of those who built it? The architect who designed it, the people who laboured to make it for you, the people who came later to remodel it and improve its value - what about their heirs? Nobody expects them to profit if you sell the house, nor ask their permission if you wish to alter it.

    They agreed to a different payment model, but the difference there is that they did their work and continued to work to provide for their children. If you agreed to copyright on your novel, there should be a limit, and that should have been agreed on at the time, not extended ad infinitum because your grandkids don't think they're earning enough off your work long after you die...

    "At what point does the "public interest" outweigh the passing along of property from generation to generation?"

    Not a concretely quantifiable limit, really, but there has to be one. I'm sure that the heirs of Shakespeare and Dickens would love it if they could still collect on the work of their ancestors, but how much poorer would education and culture be today if people could not adapt and reuse those texts as they wished?

     

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  68.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Counterpoint. One could say that a significant act of culture (which is what most people think Gatsby is, regardless of your and my opinions), a gift to the world. In that sense then, we are all Fitzgerald's heirs, and shouldn't we all share in the inheritance?
    If that argument doesn't persuade, consider this. I would argue, that yes, the copyrighted content could be considered a family treasure. I certainly would. But there is a difference between the copyright and the content. Just because someone else can enjoy the family treasure doesn't mean you can't either. That's the difference between the content and the house. One group using the house prevents others from using it.

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    that's an argument made based on the premise that someone can earn millions playing a game while the next guy can only earn $10 an hour scrubbing dishes. Except the person earning millions playing a game is a very rare breed in the world, while it takes almost no skill, offers infinitely less risk to health to scrub dishes.

    Are there outrageous problems in wages in the world? absolutely. Yet the overall argument is not sound except from people outraged that someone else can make a fortune while most cannot.

    Going even further though, if a single copyrighted work generates millions in revenue, whether during the writer's lifetime or after building up steam many decades later, it's still generated from the work the writer put in.

    I am by no means a copyright maximalist (people should have the right to sing the happy birthday song at a 2 year olds birthday party without having to pay a royalty), however I think its outrageous that an author, songwriter or creator of a work that is so popular as to have the capacity to even generate that much money is so rare a human on this earth that they, and their heirs should absolutely have the right to reap the reward.

     

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  70.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:14am

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

    The house. My parents paid for it in full. It was theirs. We inherited it. Why should we not have the right to then pass that down endlessly through the generations?
    Because in the far distant past, the land on which that house sits was the common property of everyone on the planet. No one could claim an exclusive right to that land. It was held in common by everyone and individual use of it required consent of everyone. The same is true of the trees, stones, water, and fuels that were the raw materials used to construct the house. Then at some point, most likely (but not necessarily) also in the far distant past, the land, trees, stones, water and fuels were stolen from everyone (most likely in a terribly violent fashion) and arbitrarily designated the property of some individual. People like to imagine that we have some kind of "natural" right of ownership, but that's an infantile fantasy propped up by laws that, after all, were themselves designed to favor robber-barons who amassed wealth through the agency of violence.

    Holding property is not a natural right; it can come about either by the consent of the everyone -- or by a theft from the everyone.

     

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    Spaceman Spiff, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    Other question

    I don't know if other commentards brought this up, but here is my question.

    What is the situation where I go to Australia, copy the work, and then take the copy back to the US? Is this a violation of copyright? After all, the copying took place entirely in a region where it was "patently" legal. Yet, the copy is (in theory at least) illegal in the US.

    Enquiring minds, and all that...

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:21am

    Re:

    Illegal filesharing was sharing of illegal files.


    If the publishers, including hollywood and the record labels, have their way, that should be:
    Illegal filesharing is the sharing of files.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:22am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Assuming that only talented people can produce what you say are "rare".

    Rare are the ones that can do it consistently, most people do it by accident there is no "talent" there.

    But lets assume that it is true, then only that person should rip those benefits because he/she was the one to produce it, not their heirs and certainly not their gran-gran-gran-gran-children.

     

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  74.  
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    Eric Hellman, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:27am

    Re: Some silly but serious questions

    Questions surrounding copyright and the importation of books are currently before the Supreme Court in "Kirtsaeng". I don't know what how that ruling will apply to the transnational copying issue.

     

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  75.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:27am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do we take the silver jewelry away from the heirs because "our city could use the money to help balance the budget"?
    We might; it might depend on whether the silver was a grant from the city in the first place. Let me turn the question back to you: which do the heirs value more? The silver, or that the city should thrive and be a pleasant place in which to live?

     

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  76.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    There is a big difference, real objects have real limitations meaning real boundaries, imaginary property has none of it.

    Silver spools are of specific size and can only be used by one person at a time and there is a finite distance from which it can be appreciated so the number of people capable of fitting inside any space would be limited by the laws of physics.

    Imaginary property on the other hand has no boundaries, no natural limitations except the ones one can impose or imagine, that is nothing like a silver jewelry.

    Restrictions imposed on silver jewelry would apply localy, not to all silver jewelry in the world, any consequences of bad decisions about that property would be local not global.

    So no, intellectual property is nothing like real tangible goods or even services for that matter.

     

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  77.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:31am

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

    "revert back to the public where all art ultimately belongs".

    I love hearing this argument. "It's art, and art belongs to the masses."

    Why? You and most who take this position claim "how much poorer would education and culture be today".

    Not everyone agrees with you on that. Some don't agree because they believe that if they create the art, they deserve compensation for others to have access to it. And in the case of information that benefits readers and enriches their lives, it's not just because it's "art". It's often "lessons I've learned the hard way, and if you read this, you won't have to learn it the hard way".

    That value deserves compensation while the writer is alive. Why should their family stop benefiting from the profit when the writer dies? It's information that's still just as valid afterward. People still benefit. Your view is "at some point, people who benefit shouldn't have to pay to get access."

    As a writer I find that insulting. If I wanted to make it freely available from the beginning, I would have. If I want to charge for it until I die, I should have the right. If I want my children to continue to benefit when I die, because they become my living representatives after I die, they should have the right to do so. Regardless of whether they do anything further.

    Once I've written a book, if it's that good, I don't have to do any marketing or promotion after a certain point, even while I'm alive. It's gone viral. So my heirs shouldn't have to then do something either.

    So in that narrow context of copyright, as far as I personally am concerned, I should have the right to pass that copyright on down through the generations of my family. It should, in that circumstance, only pass into the public domain when that chain ceases.

    Because in your thinking, I shouldn't have the right to even profit from it the moment I've stopped working. You claim there should be a "reasonable" length for copyright. You didn't write it. You didn't create it. You just want to benefit from it without having to pay for it or earn the right to access it.

    Of course there are other copyright situations that are stupid. Taking already public domain content and then trying to force people to buy it for example. But if its not already in the public domain, people should have the right to reasonable compensation if they're the ones who created it.

    We can argue all day long about how to go about allowing others to build on the work. And I agree that there has got to be a better way legally for others to have the right to do so. But pure consumption? Or pure sharing? No - those are not the same.

    Then there's the reality that "most art is crap" anyhow.

     

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  78.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:32am

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

    Because your hose is a physical object that has real limitations while intellectual property has no barriers and no real boundaries affecting the whole of society and not just one very limited local set of assets.

     

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  79.  
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    JarHead, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:32am

    Re: Some silly but serious questions

    I tend to think like this pertaining the digital file on the net part: separate copying and reassembling.

    To be able to view/download something across the web, the "original" file/stream of bytes first is broken down into packets. It is not the original "thing" that's broken down, but the system copies chunks of it one at a time (for simplicity of discussion, let's not bother with parallel operations), and make packets out of each of them. Those packets then sent across the web to the target computer, where it is then reassembled.

    So you see, copying is always done at where the original is. Copyright deals with copying, not reassembling. So in my opinion, if it's legal to copy at where the original is, it doesn't matter where the final reassembly is taken place, it's legal.

    Of course this is a highly simplistic view of the matter. The actual method of "sending the packets" is complicating the matter, cos it's not like wrapping something up in a parcel and sending it thru snail mail. The packets will hop server to server from source to destination. At each hop the packets are copied again and again. So what end up being reassembled at the destination is a copy of a copy of a copy of... (ad nauseum)... of the original. The question will be whether each individual packet is copyrightable. I'd like to think that sane person will answer no, but copyright law is not known for sanity.

    Then there's a problem with routing. Cos of the original design intention of the net, not all packet follow the same route from source to destination. So some packet will go through one route, other go through another, ...(ad nauseum)... Related to the question of packet copyrightability, what if some of the packet go through where copying is illegal? Suddenly the reassembled file at destination is a mix of both legal and illegal. In this regard, then it's a schrodinger's cat.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:33am

    Re: What is a file?

    I believe I can 1-up you even further.

    That bunch of 0's and 1's is in fact a large number (represented in base 2). EVERY file is a number. Think of where that leads. Illegal NUMBERS.

    For those who did not read this old text yet: Software as Property: The Theoretical Paradox.

     

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    Seegras (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:39am

    Re: Other question

    It's legal. Because copyright is about _publishing_ and not really about copying.

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:40am

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

    wow. I love this one just as much. I agree that nobody can own property in that sense. Heck, nobody is even a real native of a particular country. Except the first people born in Africa where everyone on earth eventually migrated from.

    Yet we live in a world where civilized society dictates that property "ownership" is a concept that serves a valid purpose related to the ability that people have to live in a space that others should not have the right to trespass on.

    If you think that's not a valid reason to at least establish some sort of boundary lines, then I would have to assume that you live on the streets or in the parks, and not in an apartment or home. And you don't believe in compensating someone for building a shelter for you to live in. Or a government to provide you running water or electricity or heat.

    But let's go that path - everyone consents that buying a property at the very least allows you the society approved right to not have that space trespassed just because someone else wants to.

    Let's say I "own" that property. What you're implying is when I die, my family should move out, even if it means they have to live on the streets.

    At least that's what I take from reading your diatribe.

     

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    crade (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:40am

    Re: Other question

    You don't even have to copy anything, you could just buy a book of the great gatsby off the shelf in australia and take it back with you to the U.S.

    As always, the answer is that it's infringing if the corrupt want it to be.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:44am

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

    Quote:
    The house. My parents paid for it in full. It was theirs. We inherited it. Why should we not have the right to then pass that down endlessly through the generations?


    That specific house, that specific locations, you can inherite all you want it will always be yours, what you cannot inherit is the rights to any copy of that house, any rights to copies of that house, any derivative designs from that house or any rights to charge others because they copied that house or parts of it, have you ever tried to knock on others doors and tell them they should pay you because your grandfather build his first?

    That is why.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:53am

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

    Is simple, if it has global effect the public good is in front and center not heirs or even individuals, if it affects only part and not the whole the public interests can take second place.

    Copyright is different because it has no hard baoundaeries only the ones we chose to impose or accept and by today standards nobody accept them because they are so "global" their are not localized, their effects are not local are global.

    I can own house, I cannot own all copies of that house, I cannot claim ownership on all copies or derivatives of that house, most people would just laugh if I tried so why is that copyright people believe they can claim ownership over copies when they should be entitled only to the original?

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 7:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I can see your point and I'm finding this discussion incredibly enriching. I'd say that if I were to inherit the rights to such popular material (regardless of the importance it has or has not) I'd have to ponder before taking action.

    First if that was all the inheritance I had and I REALLY needed the money I'd set a schedule to help my financial situation (which in many cases inheritance can help a lot) and then put it into public domain. I would NOT be comfortable milking money from it ad infinitum. I'd say that $500k is far enough. But that's me.

    I might use a second year of income to start some sort of free culture initiative and then throw it in the public domain and rely on like minded people to keep it running. You know, fight the copyright idiocy. You see I'm not against the notion of copyright. I'm against the current implementation.

    Do we take the silver jewelry away from the heirs because "our city could use the money to help balance the budget"?

    Except that you aren't taking anything away, the works will be there, more accessible than ever which in my opinion is a better tribute to his memory. I wonder, if you inherited jewelery would you sell it for the money or would you keep as a memento and use it?

    See the problem here? The fact that it's intangible makes things more complicated.

    I'm still outraged. Copyright should end when author dies or in at most 20 years. The inheritance should be what copyright generated to the deceased.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:02am

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

    What makes things that complex is that everything here seems to count, the pipe, the origin, the destination. The law is broken.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:05am

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

    "I love hearing this argument. "It's art, and art belongs to the masses." Why? You and most who take this position claim "how much poorer would education and culture be today". "

    To take the Shakespeare example - most schools use his texts because they're public domain. Most adaptations take place because they're public domain - from your local school production to a Royal Shakespeare Company show to Kurosawa's Throne Of Blood to Baz Luhrmann's Romeo & Juliet. Many of these would not have been possible without the text being free, especially in the case of the more outlandish adaptations.

    Do you honestly think it would be used and appreciated as freely and universally if his descendants had to take a cut every time? If so, I disagree. If not, I don't know how you can argue that the quality of culture would not be affected - culture that in turn inspires new works. This can be applied to many authors - as a horror fan I shudder to think what we would have missed if people had not been able to adapt Frankenstein at their whim in the 20th century, for example.

    "Because in your thinking, I shouldn't have the right to even profit from it the moment I've stopped working."

    Then you haven't understood a word of my thinking. I don't think we need to argue any further if that's what you've managed get out of what I've been saying as you clearly have not understood. I'm not arguing against the idea of copyright, only the idea that it should be in place for generations solely to benefit your lineage.

    "Of course there are other copyright situations that are stupid. Taking already public domain content and then trying to force people to buy it for example. But if its not already in the public domain, people should have the right to reasonable compensation if they're the ones who created it. "

    Until which point? Are you saying that "well, that stuff that's already PD should be there, but mine shouldn't be because I want alanbleiweiss the seventh to get his cut"? or are you admitting there needs to be a cutoff point where it reverts to the public domain like many of the works you built on and which inspired you to create your own work in the first place?

    "Then there's the reality that "most art is crap" anyhow."

    Always has been, always will be. That doesn't mean that anyone would be better off if we all had to pay Homer's descendants every time we wanted to reference or use The Odyssey.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    You see, if he made millions during his life and she inherited I'd be fine. Of course with some taxing for big wealth. What bothers me is that money is being made with some intangible and cultural work with no effort at all. And the fact that you can't build upon it without risking getting a copyright lawsuit on your back. Maybe if it was clearly designed for COMMERCIAL use and you could copy it for personal use it would be a lesser issue. Ant truth to be told, it is widely available and not simply locked up rotting, which is a good thing per se.

     

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    PaulT (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:09am

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

    "Let's say I "own" that property. What you're implying is when I die, my family should move out, even if it means they have to live on the streets. "

    ...and here's where the analogies to physical property become completely ridiculous. Nobody removes your work from your heirs when it reverts to the public domain. They simply lose the exclusive right to use it, adapt it and profit from it. That's OK though, because unlike your house, there can be infinite copies and the original doesn't simply disappear because someone else has another copy. Nobody's stopping your heirs from profiting. They just can't stop my adaptation.

    If you don't get that, you really don't get the argument. At all.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:16am

    Re: Re:

    Are you sure it's metaphorical?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re: Re:

    The extent of copyright is not the only problem the scope of it also is a problem.

    Copyright is a global nightmare is not a local issue, and by global I don't mean the world I mean it affects the whole of the system and not just a part of it like traditional ownership where you can own one copy and you hold every right to just that one copy of that thing, copyright on the other hand gives rights to every copy ever made for very, very long periods of time and that is a serious problem.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:17am

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

    That. I think the main issue is length. I replied above that death should be the limit but a premature death could be quite unfair. So maybe 10 renewable via some challenging fee (so ppl won't renew it if it's not profitable enough) by 10 more years. Sounds reasonable. Of course the amount of time can be discussed but it should not be short enough so there won't be time between the 'creations' for profit nor long enough that public domain cannot be enriched in a timely fashion. Tolkien, regardless of copyright, has inspired a generation of RPGs and fantasy creations.. I wonder if they went fiercely after every single derivative of elves/orcs/whatever.. Then there's the fact he took it from Nordic and other mythologies and it could be debated here but I think it's straying too much from the focal point.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:21am

    Re: easy answer

    Copyright law is like a light and quantum weirdness.

    An intellectual property can be both legal and illegal just like light can be a particle and a wave at the same time, also like quantum qbits that can be zero and one at the same time their are both.

    So the answer is simple a work is illegal and legal both at the same time until somebody tries to look at them and it forces to take one form or another LoL

    Schoriender where are you?
    Come on kitty, kitty, kitty, are you alive or are you dead?

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    That's where I support copyright but with limited terms. Indeed some books find success some years after being released but say it finds success 50 years after... Wouldn't you think that proper marketing or even making it widely available couldn't have sparked that success earlier? And even so, many gadgets found success later when the original company had already failed and another one took advantage of it. So I'd argue that if it emerges as a success after the initial copyright term expired then shit happens. I'd grab the opportunity as the author to make money over my fame and new writings. As the inheritor I'd try to monetize in different ways but never by locking what's already in the public domain. I'm naturally against this.

     

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    Ninja (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:55am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Copyright terms. They should be reasonable. If they were the only way they could be inherited would be a premature death or if the creator is too old and dies before expiration. In that case it sounds good enough for me. And they should cover commercial use only.

     

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    Josh in CharlotteNC (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:06am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    songwriter or creator of a work that is so popular as to have the capacity to even generate that much money is so rare a human on this earth that they, and their heirs should absolutely have the right to reap the reward.

    Do we really know how rare those talents were, and are?

    Fitzgerald was born into an upper-middle class family and all the privileges of it - including high quality education from various private Catholic schools, and later to Princeton. How many millions of other people could have written masterpieces if they had that type of education - along with the access to all the knowledge and culture of that time? And again, the resources to distribute a book to such wide audiences was only available to large publishing houses - how many of those millions could have been able to have the reach if the Internet had existed 100 years ago?

    Those questions are impossible to answer, I know. But I know that we'll never be able to answer them for future generations if all the knowledge and culture is locked up behind copyright so that only the privileged few with money can afford to access it.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:29am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I do have to thank you for having a quality debate with us regulars here. Its been a while since someone had a different viewpoint to the rest of us and was able to debate it calmly and politely, with no need to result to ad homs or the standard stock in trade of the troll.

    That being said, from what I'm reading of what you wrote...it seems that you're locked into a mindset that the heir LOSES something if copyright were not inheritable. If my father had a house worth 500K and willed it to me, but the state took it willy nilly: that is a loss. I no longer have possession of the house, or any control over it.
    Not so with copyright. Copyright should actually be called copy-restriction. You do not gain anything at all with copyright. What happens is the right to copy specific works and use them without permission is instead taken away from everyone else. Once the work passes into public domain, that right is restored. Once that happens, the heir does not gain or lose anything.
    Only a finite number of people can use my father's house at a time, so to stave off societal chaos, so to speak, people decided houses could be owned. How is a work owned? The house could be in an area with extremely tight inheritance laws, but the work can be consumed anywhere. If someone consumes the work that my father wrote in Random Country with Lax/No Copyright Laws, I have not been harmed or lost anything at all. I do not notice it or perceive the use at all.

     

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    MD, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:30am

    Copy

    "In this case, the copying process originates in a country where no copyright protection covers Fitzgerald's book. Its "assembly" in the US suddenly makes it an infringing copy. Does this make sense? More importantly, does it even matter?"

    Why would it matter? If the act of producing a **readable copy** is "assembly" then if assembly of the individual packets takes place in the USA, you are violating copyright. If I fax you the pages, and the fax receiver/priner is in the USA, you are **making a copy** in the USA. If you are writing a readable file to a disk in the USA, that is making a copy.

    If you open a remote session to a computer in Australia, and read it page by page from there, no copy. (Is making a copy of one page out of 200 a copyright violation? Or simply "technically" a violation, but not one that's big enough to be actionable?). If you open it on a giant screen that displays the entire work at once, maybe that's a "copy" since it's assembled as a readable copy on the screen.

    The whole issue of splitting hairs about what is or is not copyright violation is basically intellectual masturbation. (If I'm doinking her while lying across the state line if it's statutory rape in one state but no the other? How about if our pelvises are in the legal state? How about if the penetration happens in the legal state but extends internally into the non-legal state? If I only have bodily contact with her in the legal state? If teh only body contact we have in the non-legal state is kissing, while lying across state line? If I talk dirty in the legal state while doing it, but she hears it in the non-legal state? Is that corrupting a minor?

    You can make up "what-if" til the cows come home to roost and the metaphors stop mixing.

    This is why we have judges. Every case has its own unique circumstances and requires a judgement. from multiple judgements, we get appeals jddgements thats et permanent guidelines to narrow down the exactness of what is considered a copyright violation.

     

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    Rikuo (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: What about travelling with copies?

    Okay then. What about once you sell...excuse me, I mean give your flash drive to Random American Joe and he goes out to buy a Kindle expressly so he can read the books? At the very least, is Amazon now on the hook, for having done a commercial transaction (sold the Kindle)?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:44am

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

    The raw material for new culture is, in fact, old culture.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Re: Re: Some silly but serious questions

    I meant shipping container. That is, a container that holds ten gazillion books. Or holds 500 smuggled refugees. Or holds dozens of stacked palettes of mp3 players.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:31am

    Re: easy answer

    Content is illegal if it didn't cost an extortionate amount, or if it was consumed in a new fashioned way that the gatekeepers don't understand.

    It is irrelevant what country you are in. It is irrelevant if what you did was perfectly legal in your country. If the US DOJ, or their paymasters RIAA/MPAA don't like you, they'll just extradite you and lock you away for decades.

     

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    DannyB (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: Other question

    Yes, you say that. It might even be true. But truth is irrelevant. We're talking about copyright, not about justice or truth.

     

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    dennis deems (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:57am

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

    I don't really see that "diatribe" is a fair description of what I wrote, but I am interested in continuing the conversation.

    Let us not lose sight of the fact that we are pursuing a metaphor. A house is not really like a work of art. I prefer an attractive house to an ugly one, but the salient property is that it provides shelter from the elements and affords a degree of comfort and privacy. Art does none of these things. It engages the mind and emotions, temporarily, creating impressions that feel something like experience.

    A house benefits only its owner and occupants; a work of art benefits any who behold it. Thus we can say of a work of art that its value is in direct proportion to the number of minds it engages. We can go further: quite unlike a house, a work of art has value ONLY insofar as it is shared with others, and whatever benefit is conferred upon the creator is wholly incidental to its value. So it is an extremely irrational creator who locks his work away where none can see or hear or engage it.

    But your metaphor is concerned primarily with the right of inheritance. And you are confusing the issue because on the one hand you want to inherit a house which already you occupy (so that in consenting to this society isn't really deprived of anything), and on the other hand to inherit an exclusive control over art which was already released into the world and has already engaged countless minds (so that consenting to this deprives society of a great deal that it had).

     

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    Dave Xanatos, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Start with a faulty premise (copyright is property) and it makes it much easier to prop up your other fallacies. Unfortunately, this lie has been told so many times by monopolists that a lot of people who should no better accept it as valid.

    The truth is every comparison of imaginary 'Intellectual Property' to actual physical property fails. Every. Single. One. Any analogy that you put forth is invalid. Copyright the same as a house? Please.

    I can do fake comparisons too! Clouds and watermelon should be treated the same because they both share the same main component: water. A human body is 65% oxygen, 18% carbon, 10% hydrogen, 3% nitrogen and so on. So if I have a collection of chemicals that have the same ratios then I am, in a legal sense, carrying around a human body. Right?

    Just because imaginary property shares some of the same characteristics as real stuff, doesn't mean they should be treated the same. Not even close.

     

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    dennis deems (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 11:19am

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

    Moreover, I get the distinct impression that what matters to you is the dollar value of the house, and not its utility as a shelter and a place of comfort at all. You say that your parents "paid for it in full". And this money changing hands, in your view, gives you the right to decide what happens to the house for all eternity.

    It's a very flawed metaphor, but: Suppose it were a house that had been designed by a great architect like Frank Lloyd Wright? What if the land the house sits on had the only clean water springs in the county? What if the party that sold the house to your parents had stolen it from someone else? What if your parents had promised everyone in town the free use of the house after their death? Do you still insist in each case that the fact that your parents "paid for it in full" gives you exclusive right to the house for all eternity? Merely because they happened to be your parents?

     

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    Chosen Reject (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 12:31pm

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

    That's why I think copyright inheritance needs to be taxed at inheritance levels. Let's suppose 1) that Fitzgerald made millions from Gatsby while alive, and 2) that Gatsby entered the public domain before he died, then his daughter would surely inherit the millions and be taxed for that inheritance. No one really sees any problem with this. But the system allows Fitzgerald's daughter to inherit millions without inheritance tax because Fitzgerald hid it inside a copyright.

    Copyright should have been taxed in two ways; 1) Every dollar his daughter earns from Gatsby should be taxed at inheritance levels (how fun to do tax amendments each year as the amount she earns increases, putting her into higher and higher inheritance tax brackets) and 2) the duration of the copyright should be taxed at the inheritance level (i.e., if 20% is the tax rate, and the copyright has 10 years, then now it has only 8).

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    I know Americans do some punctuation differently but 'Quantum Copyright:' yada yada yada looks downright dumb.

    What is this, punctuation for dummies? lol

     

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    The Groove Tiger (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:08pm

    Re:

    If these files are illegal, why is CBS allowed to own them? Shouldn't they be arrested?

    Surely if someone else was in possession of something illegal, they'd be arrested? Why not CBS, if these files are illegal? Why can they have illegal things?

     

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    Someone who knows, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:13pm

    Actually, there's a 9th

    If the copying originated, as in it was initiated by someone in Australia, then it is an Australasian copy, governed by Australian law. It is protected by treaty with the US, and doesn't fall under American copyright law at all, regardless of the public domain status of the work. If not for the treaty protecting Australian copyright, an Aussie copy of the work would have no copyright at all, and be in the American public domain, regardless of the domestic status of the same work. If you can use this identical argument to eliminate the first sale doctrine, then the same should apply to the public domain. It's not a leap.

     

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    btrussell (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 3:15pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "That's where I support copyright but with limited terms. Indeed some books find success some years after being released but say it finds success 50 years after... Wouldn't you think that proper marketing or even making it widely available couldn't have sparked that success earlier?"

    You got it Pontiac.

    And if the **AAholes et al were smart, they would realize that the best way to keep themselves relevant and maintain anywhere near the profits they have seen in the past, would be to go back to near original terms of 14 and 14 years renewable. This encourages creators to seek them out, instead of the dam that is about to break open, releasing a torrent of creators worldwide, acting on their own.

     

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    Pseudonym, Jan 17th, 2013 @ 5:15pm

    Re: Re: What about travelling with copies?

    In your offer, there's the question of intent. You're actually offering to distribute to the United States stuff that's illegal to distribute in the United States.

    So here's a related offer. I (an Australian) am willing to sell to any American a shiny almost-new, slightly-used, USB flash drive for whatever the normal market price is for an almost-new USB, slightly-used, flash drive. Oh, plus postage.

    There may be some (public domain in Australia) stuff already on it. I didn't get a chance to wipe it before I posted it. You can do that, right?

     

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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:13pm

    Re: Re: Re: What about travelling with copies?

    Absolutely selling the container that includes the work is quite legal, and as long as you ahve a license for the work that might or might not have been in the container (in this case the license is PD so legal) then again it is no problem.

    Also my intent to distribute a work within America via a one to one distribution chain is moot since the legality of my right to the work and to do with as I wish is inherent in its PD nature. This doesn't mean that either the US authorities or the content owner of the work (within USA) could not bring some sort of action, its just they have no jurisdiction to either do it within Australia or to even extradite and under our tort laws I would bring action against them to counter it and most likely make enough money to then provide a whole lot of USA citizens with flashdrives gratis.

     

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  115.  
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    G Thompson (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 8:31pm

    Re: Re: Re: What about travelling with copies?

    Unless Amazon sold the kindle with the work already on it then no they have no liability whatsoever.. This doesn't mean if Amazon find out they wouldn't send one of their trojans ... oops... "content modifiers for safety purposes" to delete the offending work for your own safety of course *eyeroll*

    btw.. Amazon removing or changing content on Kindles within Australia is an offence that the ACCC needs to prosecute, also it could be an offence under numerous state Criminal Acts to do with unauthorised access, not to mention breaches of contract.

     

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  116.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    you can enjoy the house. My position is that you shouldn't have the right to profit from it without compensation under some circumstances.

    My family paid $100,000, or $1 million (or Euros or whatever). Individual copies of a book cost pennies relatively speaking. The original work of the book probably took years of the author's life to produce.

    Just my take on it.

     

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  117.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "which do the heirs value more? The silver, or that the city should thrive and be a pleasant place in which to live?"

    By that logic, heirs should have the right to inherit nothing. It should all be turned over to the city. Except even then, only the city benefits. What about the next town over? or a poor village half-way around the world? Even then it's not a true distribution to "all".

     

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  118.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:40pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I agree with the concept that it's different in many ways. Quantum physics teaches that it's all of the same originating substance anyhow though. For example, quantum non-localized consciousness (a scientific theory) makes the case that even thoughts are part of the connectedness that makes up physical substance as well.

    I'm merely coming from that which I believe are commonalities, not the differences.

    Speaking in regard to differences, I'll offer this.

    Copyright need not have ALL of the same rights as physical property. The right to create derivative works, perhaps. Or already existing opportunities such as "fair use".

     

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  119.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 9:44pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "You see I'm not against the notion of copyright. I'm against the current implementation." Oh in many ways we are in total agreement. Abuse of copyright to prevent fair use cases, IP trolls, threats and takedowns prior to due process of law... Many issues with copyright are severely abused every day.

    It's the core principle of profiting from a parent or grandparent's work specifically that I'm focused in on. And we both have reasonable personal views that differ, that's the biggest issue of all.

    What gives one person the right to decide the length of financial benefit? Why is $500,000 a valid number to draw the line at? It's arbitrary and only fair in the eyes of those who agree to that number.

     

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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    LOL - I wrote my thoughts in the middle of the night, in the midst of my being quite ill with a nasty virus. So when I awoke today I was concerned there would be a torrent of hate comments :-)

    As good as I am at ranting uncontrollably on Twitter in the most vile ways at those I think are asshats, I utterly LOVE TechDirt and the TechDirt community for the intelligence and the passion that most here provide.

    Copy-restriction is an excellent description of how I see it as well. As I've stated in other comments, there are many cases where, even when the author is alive, others should have access and opportunity.

    I do not, however, believe that, as you state, "the right to copy specific works and use them without permission is instead taken away from everyone else". It's not taken away unless an already public-domain work is usurped by unethical profit-mongers.

    Until it's in the public domain, the public has not yet held possession to enough extent to have the right to profit from it without substantial derivation or enhancement (the fair percentage of which itself could require ten thousand hours debate).

    So until it DOES pass into the public domain, non-copy-restriction holders (original or heir), to at least a certain degree, are the only rights holders commercially. And thus nothing is "restored" upon entry into public domain.

    The work is "owned" in that it took the author what? a year, five years out of their life? Probably caused untold emotional, psychological, physical and financial toll on the author, their family... Hypothetically then - 5 hours a day of writing, 300 days a year, for five years - seven thousand five hundred hours of life. Gone. Given to the work.

    Non copy-restriction holders benefit greatly from that effort, in exchange for pennies. As much as I believe in societal and global justice, I do not believe it should extend to the point of constraining the value received for that sacrifice. (again, as limited to certain aspects of copy-restriction)

    If someone consumes the work that my father wrote in Random Country with Lax/No Copyright Laws, I have not been harmed or lost anything at all. I do not notice it or perceive the use at all.

    Now THAT I can agree on for the most part. "Piracy" to me, is a non-issue. No - let me retract that. "Piracy", to me, is just a facet of market value perception. I charge a fee I think the market will bear. If part of the market "pirates" a copy and shares it and I am unaware of that, so be it. If nobody buys it, so be it.

    Either I am capable of producing a work so great, so valued, I have the maturity and conscious faith that enough people will WILLINGLY compensate me reasonably for that.

    Where my own thinking goes hazy though is what if I don't make any money from it, and that happens BECAUSE a "pirated" copy becomes so accessible that nobody bothers to consider paying me.

    Even then though, I lean on Mike's overall take that this is how the world should be and that it's up to me to find those creative opportunities to offer value beyond the base work itself, so that I can monetize.

    Either way, purely from my own perspective, all of the above comprise, at least partly, my extrapolation that heirs deserve the opportunity of benefiting from my five thousand hours of sacrifice. Especially since I quite likely was not around to parent them, and thus they too sacrificed, without a choice in the matter.

     

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  121.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:03pm

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

    correction to my comment: "So until it DOES pass into the public domain, non-copy-restriction holders (original or heir), to at least a certain degree, are the only rights holders commercially. And thus nothing is "restored" upon entry into public domain."

    should have started with "So until it DOES pass into the public domain, copy-restriction holders (original or heir),"

     

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  122.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:08pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    and you're clearly entitled to that opinion (calling it a serious problem). ON my side of the view-screen into copyright, the only serious problem is that copy-restriction is abused all over the place in ways far beyond length and inheritance rights concepts.

    Governments and corporations that abuse copyright is where I care to focus, because to me personally, that's they only real issue as far as human ethical concerns come into play.

     

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  123.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:13pm

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

    I would argue (am arguing? :-) ) that there is no such thing as an accident on this planet. On a spiritual level, on a quantum consciousness level.

    Read my comment a few minutes ago above where I suggest that a writer could potentially give up five years of their life to create that work. Thousands of hours. Gone. Never to be reclaimed. All the while their family suffers. So if profit comes from that (and effort/time is NO guarantee it will), THAT is something heirs and legacy should most definitely be entitled to.

     

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  124.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:19pm

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

    As I've stated, Gatsby, to me, isn't such a big deal. Not all authors of copyrighted material had such a gilded path as Fitzgerald. Harry Potter ring a bell, as far as an author who had NOTHING before J.K. Rowling wrote that series?

    So it's not based on place, or privilege. It's based on statistics. How many millions of books and journals and songs and movies and manuals have been written for all history? And of those, how many reached such mass appeal as to garner such financial gain (regardless of whether that came during or after the author's lifetime).

    No - the "we can't know the real scale potential" premise doesn't wash for me.

    YES, station in life CAN have an influence. However it is NOT a criteria required for success. And the whole "how much better would the world be WITHOUT copyright? In THAT regard, I'd argue it's not because of copyright. It's because copyright is flawed. Not in its length, but in its failure to allow for truly unique innovative derivation.

    And please. Don't get me started on big pharma and their strangle-hold over drugs they've copyrighted so that they can charge unreasonable rates forever. Because that is a complete different case as compared to a book that costs $5 or $10 and for that small fee, one book CAN change a readers life forever.

     

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  125.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:31pm

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

    I apologize for the "diatribe" reference. Late night. Very sick with a virus. Cranky.

    Now - I DO believe that a house, and a written work, song, movie, etc. are NOT just art. BOTH provide value. BOTH were created (or bought). BOTH provide lasting benefits.
    No, they don't both provide value or lasting benefits in the same exact way, yet they do both provide those things.

    "A house benefits only its owner and occupants; a work of art benefits any who behold it."

    Want to go that path? Okay. A house benefits society. Disease limitations, sanitary and noise limits, visual things others REALLY don't want to see, civility of interaction... The benefits to society are many beyond those examples.

    "and whatever benefit is conferred upon the creator is wholly incidental to its value".

    I care to highly disagree with this claim. Incidental to its value? How about the cost of creation? You seriously consider fair and just compensation for creation effort to be an incidental? It's a critical aspect of at least some significant portion of creative works.

    Because creative works are not just "art". As I've stated in several other comments, copyright also applies to educational material, as just one example. And educational material is as and in some cases, significantly MORE important in what it offers than pure art for art's sake.

    Read my other most recent comments regarding exclusivity. I offer NO claim to exclusivity, without limits. Instead, I am totally on the side of fair use, of certain forms of derivative works access, and other similar aspects of being able to benefit society that current screwed up copyright laws prevent.

     

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  126.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:39pm

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

    "so why is that copyright people believe they can claim ownership over copies when they should be entitled only to the original?"

    I answered this above but will do so here for emphasis. 5 hours a day, 300 days a year, 5 years to produce the book. That's seven thousand five hundred hours of the author's life. Gone. Forever. Given into the book. The original never sees the light of day, except as only one single copy, like the house. It is only the copies that provide that value to society.

    So unless someone pays a compensation equal to that 7,500 hours of work (good luck pinning a number value to THAT), it is only through sale of copies that the author is compensated for that effort. And while the author poured that effort into the book, that is the equivalent of the "worker" working for a wage. And thus, that compensation received is the equivalent of the worker's paycheck.

    So unless you think that someone who works 40 hours a week for a living should not have the right to pass their savings and investments on to their heirs, I'm confused as to why it's so difficult to grasp how a house and a copyright are not similar enough in regard to inheritance. (other than the notion that derivatives should be allowed under some situations that it is not currently).

     

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  127.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:41pm

    Re:

    Read my comments from this evening about the seven thousand five hundred hours it might take to create that product. Because the content that is copied, IS a product. Your unwillingness to accept or acknowledge that notion is tragic.

    I do NOT agree with copyright maximalists. I think they are deplorable. I do, however, understand that which you are choosing to fantasize as non-existent.

     

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  128.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:52pm

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

    "No one really sees any problem with this."

    I sure as hell do. Why should governments double-dip on already taxed income? They already tax us to death in some ways.

    While I believe taxation is valid for public services, I think abuse of taxation principles is rampant. And used to allow governments to do stupid things, and profit a small fraction of society that DIDN'T earn that money. And since it was generated within MY family, I surely don't have any desire or willingness to bequeath it to those thieves.

     

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  129.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 17th, 2013 @ 10:54pm

    Re: Re:

    setting aside the potential arguments as to whether CBS is in possession of something illegal, the reason big corporations in America aren't prosecuted is because they own the government for the most part.

     

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  130.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 18th, 2013 @ 1:41am

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

    I personally like the idea of 20 year copyright, with limited options to renew, and only by individuals, not corporations. That gives a nice length of time for works to find their audience, while allowing those who wish to retain the copyright to do so for a certain length of time, and also removes problems with orphaned works and the like. Nobody knows who the copyright owner is or the corporation isn't interested in releasing it at all? No problem, just wait for the 20 year window to end, and it's back to the public for general consumption.

    There's no definite easy answer, only the idea that the system as it is cannot be maintained without huge losses to the public domain - and even the defenders of the current system only seem to be able to come up with "those who are already successful need a pension plan for their grandchildren" as the reason it should remain. Not only does that go against the very stated reason for copyright's existence, it effectively pisses on the graves of those who were not successful and thus have their work hidden from the public so the select few can benefit.

     

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  131.  
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    Richard (profile), Jan 18th, 2013 @ 3:20am

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

    It is worse than that. It is not the just the law as it is. It is the fact that you cannot even define a logically consistent sopyright law in the modern world.

     

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  132.  
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    explicit coward (profile), Jan 18th, 2013 @ 7:03am

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

    Unlike the worker's paycheck which is paid once for work done once, authors should be paid until eternity for work done once?

    Doesn't seem fair to me...

     

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  133.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 18th, 2013 @ 7:24am

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

    "And thus, that compensation received is the equivalent of the worker's paycheck. "

    A worker's paycheck tends to arrive in a pre-agreed number of payments, not an infinite number of payments every time that thing he worked on is used. Why is the 7500 hours of work an engineer worked to design and build your car not worth a cut every time it's used, yet you think your 7500 hours is worth your grandchildren earning from every time someone reads your book?

    "So unless you think that someone who works 40 hours a week for a living should not have the right to pass their savings and investments on to their heirs"

    I don't think anyone's arguing that at all. They're arguing that you don't get to keep the saving and investments *plus* a monopoly on everything that was used to create it. Unless you think the descendants of the architect who designed that house deserve a cut if you decide to sell it, of course...

     

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  134.  
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    alanbleiweiss (profile), Jan 18th, 2013 @ 2:22pm

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

    A worker typically works for a set agreed upon compensation. However they are part of a collective effort. A writer is typically a sole contributor. A worker negotiates compensation in advance. A writer cannot have such a luxury, and thus the risk is infinitely greater. Greater risk, greater reward potential.

    Some workers can however, negotiate a percentage of stock ownership in the company, so they CAN potentially receive income forever after, from that work.

     

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  135.  
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    btrussell (profile), Jan 18th, 2013 @ 9:12pm

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

    You need a liver transplant immediately.

    Who is more important, the Doctor performing operation, or person driving delivery van bringing the liver?

    Who is taking the greater risk and how?*

    Who has greater monetary reward potential?


    Who is more valuable to you: Doctor? Nurse? Teacher? Author? Rock Star/Band? Football Player? Home Builder?

    Are they paid accordingly with your order of value?
    Don't you like having a house to live in?



    *Hint: The doctors life isn't put into much danger performing his part.

     

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  136.  
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    Sheogorath (profile), Jan 18th, 2013 @ 11:35pm

    Don't we exist?

    The guy who wrote Quantum Copyright neglected to mention that F. Scott Fitzgerald's works are PD in Europe as well. Since a European Directive upped the term to life plus 70, the calculation is as follows: year of death 1940 + 70 up to end of year = 01/01/2011.

     

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  137.  
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    PaulT (profile), Jan 19th, 2013 @ 5:10am

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

    "A writer cannot have such a luxury"

    Publishing advances don't exist any more?

    "Greater risk, greater reward potential."

    But, not GUARANTEED reward, and I still don't see why his descendants should be entitled to both the reward already received and the monopoly on all future income for all time. If Bram Stoker's estate doesn't get cash for his work any more, why should yours after the same period?

    "Some workers can however, negotiate a percentage of stock ownership in the company, so they CAN potentially receive income forever after, from that work."

    Not many of them, and there's very few companies that last that long at any particular level of profitability. Again, the guy who designed your house may have put in as much work, but we don't hear his descendants whining about how they're not getting paid for it any more, or that other people are adapting the room layout he created.

     

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  138.  
    identicon
    Dave Xanatos, Jan 20th, 2013 @ 8:32am

    Re: Re:

    " Your unwillingness to accept or acknowledge that notion is tragic."

    My acceptance or yours has nothing to do with it. Neither does the amount of time you spent on it. There isn't anything magical about 'work' that transforms your 'intellectual' property into real, tangible property.

    And actually the work part is another strike against it. Your 7500 hour project gets the same as my 30 minute one.

    " I do, however, understand that which you are choosing to fantasize as non-existent."

    See, it's not me. It's reality. And 'existence' is far too loose a term for me to deny. My thoughts 'exist', ideas 'exist', your copyrights 'exist'; they just aren't property. No matter how strong your feelings or how hard you work, you will never be able to assign the same characteristics that physical property has to imaginary property.

     

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  139.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:11pm

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

    "A house benefits only its owner and occupants; a work of art benefits any who behold it."

    Want to go that path? Okay. A house benefits society. Disease limitations, sanitary and noise limits, visual things others REALLY don't want to see, civility of interaction... The benefits to society are many beyond those examples.
    These are all oblique benefits that could come just as well from an apartment building or dormitory as a house. I would agree that adequate housing for everyone is in everyone's interest, but this is by no means the same as saying that everyone should own a house, much less that they should have the right to inherit one down through centuries. In any case, the point is that there really is no way in which a house is like a painting, making the metaphor extremely problematic.

    "and whatever benefit is conferred upon the creator is wholly incidental to its value".

    I care to highly disagree with this claim. Incidental to its value? How about the cost of creation? You seriously consider fair and just compensation for creation effort to be an incidental? It's a critical aspect of at least some significant portion of creative works.
    Fair and just compensation is entirely irrelevant to art. I would much prefer a world where everyone is treated fairly and justly, but the one we live in is decidedly not that world. Do you seriously expect me to care one iota what it cost an artist to create his work, or whether he was paid anything for it? I don't, and it has absolutely no bearing on my experience of the art.

    You seem to be arguing that the works of Vincent Van Gogh have no artistic value because the artist received negligible compensation for his effort.

     

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  140.  
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    dennis deems (profile), Jan 22nd, 2013 @ 2:21pm

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

    Exactly, and thus we reach the end of the metaphor's usefulness . There is no limit to how much we can distribute "The Great Gatsby". Everyone can have it.

     

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  141.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jan 28th, 2013 @ 4:15am

    Re:

     

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  142.  
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    Kagen Aurencz Zethmayr (profile), Feb 5th, 2013 @ 1:46am

    Macaulay's speech cited above

    Just finished reading the text - Macaulay knew what he was talking about, and he projected a good many of the situations with which we now have to contend, even without knowledge of the various technologies to come. I strongly second that it should be read by anyone and everyone with an interest in the reasonings of copyright law (and with having it conform /to/ actual solid reasoning).

     

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