Surprise: Register Of Copyrights Expected To Call For Reduction In Copyright Term

from the legal-scrum-about-to-begin dept

For a long time now, the idea of an overhaul of copyright law in the US has mostly been seen as a pipedream. However, it appears that the Register of Copyright, Maria Pallante, may actually be angling for a major bit of copyright reform. Coming up next Wednesday, she's going to be testifying before the House Judiciary Committee on her supposed "Call for Updates to U.S. Copyright Law." Apparently, on March 4th, she gave a talk at Columbia University which has remained amazingly under the radar until now, in which she proposed a long list of possible copyright reforms, which are likely to headline the hearings next week. It's fairly impressive, given how much attention copyright law has been getting lately, that she could present a surprising call for massive changes to the law, and not have a single person report on it immediately after the event ended. However, that is the case.

Having spoken to a few people who were either there or who spoke to people who were there, it appears that Pallante is proposing changes touching on nearly every part of copyright law, and as you might expect, it's a very mixed bag, though I'll withhold final judgment until we see the full details. However, the big one would be a change in copyright term length, to effectively "roll back" the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act with one caveat. That is, she's proposing switching us back to a life plus fifty year copyright, but with the ability to renew for that additional 20 years for the tiny percentage of works that makes sense for. While, in the grand scheme of things, life + 50 is still ridiculously too long for copyright, this would be the first major reduction in copyright terms in the history of the US. That's notable.

There are a number of other issues that she apparently is suggesting, including expanding collective licensing, "reforming" the DMCA exemptions process that has generated so much controversy lately over phone unlocking, a change to the DMCA's safe harbors, some sort of effort around dealing with the orphan works issue (something the Copyright Office has been trying for for a while), and a "review" of statutory damages. This could get very interesting -- though it's unclear if it will be interesting in a good way or bad way. Once you open up the law, you have to realize that things could go in either direction. At the very least, a lot of lobbyists on all sides of copyright are about to be very busy for quite some time.

As we get more details, we'll be writing more about this, I'm sure. And, of course, we'll do our best to cover the hearing on Wednesday.


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  1.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 9:36am

    Did... Did I end up in Bizzaro world?

     

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  2.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 9:40am

    Wait a second...

    If this goes through...

    *Checks the graph*

    ...

    STEAMBOAT WILLY IN PUBLIC DOMAIN?!

    ...

    You KNOW Disney's going to throw a tantrum about this one.

     

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  3.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 9:58am

    Re: Wait a second...

    STEAMBOAT WILLY IN PUBLIC DOMAIN?!

    Not necessarily.

    1. May not apply retroactively to the past.
    2. There's still the ability to renew to existing lengths.

     

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  4.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:02am

    Re: Re: Wait a second...

    SHH! You're supposed to let me be misinformed about that. XP

    Still, would be nice if it worked that way.

     

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  5.  
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    S. T. Stone, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    Okay, who let the Register of Copyright visit one of those states that legalized marijuana?

    Someone must have smoked the really good shit to come up with all’a this.

     

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  6.  
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    Tony, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:03am

    Life+50 is still too long, but we can't make it any shorter than that without violating international IP treaty obligations :( TRIPS requires that terms be at least that long.

    I'm sure there will be no retroactivity, and I doubt that any reforms could survive the deluge of lobbying that would occur if reform was actually introduced in Congress.

     

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  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
     
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    out_of_the_blue, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    28 years is the deal from when I was born, and that, like the state of law back then, and the Constitution from 200 years ago, is what I want.

    [Note that though wicked courts have variously ruled against the clear language of the Constitution, as from Dred Scott on, that the principles laid out there are STILL just fine. Moneyed interests -- as slave owners were: RICH from slave labor while maintaining a two-tier society -- will always try to corrupt those principles.]


    Take a loopy tour of Techdirt.com! You always end up at same place!
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130315/09225322338/surprise-register-copyrights-expected- to-call-reduction-copyright-term.shtml#comments
    (NB: a variation to properly credit Mike with delivering news I ain't read elsewhere first.)

     

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  8.  
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    Atkray (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:09am

    Tap Tap Tap...

    Is this thing working? *looks at sarcasm detector*

     

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  9.  
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    S. T. Stone, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:11am

    Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    Wait, did I just see OOTB calling for shorter copyright terms and essentially agreeing with Mike Masnick?

    Did…did we all just catch a whiff of whatever the RoC smoked? Have I fallen into Bizarro World?

    MY WORLD IS CHANGING AND I DON’T LIKE IT!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:19am

    Huh?

     

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    Brent (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    perhaps the scaling back to life + 50 is being proposed as a way to get the reform ball rolling. Maximalists won't like it but they certainly wouldn't accept what we would consider reasonable anyways. Maybe its a variation on the strategy congress used with SOPA: start overly extreme knowing it will fail but plant the seed so when the more reasonable version is introduced, its more widely accepted. Except this isn't the asinine strategy Congress used, this is one that might work b/c it starts off with reasonable instead of...asinine.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:22am

    Re:

    TRIPS only specifies that the term must be greater or equal to life+50 if the term is based on the life of the author.

    If a system not based on the life of the author is adopted, TRIPS would allow periods as low as 50 years from creation of the work. 50 years total seams like a very reasonable time to me but I doubt that we will be seeing suggestions to move to this kind of model from her.

     

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    cpt kangarooski, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    Re:

    That's not an insurmountable problem. We can withdraw from those treaties, or renegotiate them, or just ignore them (in fact, the US has been violating Berne for years, lost a case under TRIPS, and then just ignored the situation for a good decade now and it's been working out fine).

     

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    Mike Masnick (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:26am

    Re:

    Okay, who let the Register of Copyright visit one of those states that legalized marijuana?


    Might be good to withhold judgment. Some of the changes suggested may be quite bad... I'm worried about revisiting the safe harbors, for example...

     

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    cpt kangarooski, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:27am

    Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    28 years is the deal from when I was born, and that, like the state of law back then, and the Constitution from 200 years ago, is what I want.

    Well, it's never been 28 years in the US, and copyright terms aren't mentioned in the US Constitution save that they're obligated to be of limited duration. Are you perhaps from a different country?

     

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    dennis deems (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:31am

    Re: Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

     

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    silverscarcat (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Re: Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    It was effectively 28 years originally since you could go 14+14 years, then it got bumped up to 28+28 years and now we have the Berne convention...

     

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  18.  
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    Greevar (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:33am

    Unconstitutional

    The entire copyright law should be repealed just on the fact that it's unconstitutional. Almost everything in the Copyright Act currently goes beyond what the powers granted to Congress are allowed to give. The treaty we are beholden to is also unconstitutional since it requires Congress to exceed their given powers.

    Copyright itself doesn't even need to exist anymore. What's more is that it's also powerless to restrict copying and distribution of applicable works without violating more constitutionally reserved rights. The intended purpose of copyright, as it has been said over and over, is to increase the supply of works and access to them so that we can promote the progress of culture and knowledge by using existing works to innovate new works.

    The public domain is the brick and mortar we use to build new works. If you take away the building materials by locking them away in pseudo property rights, that leaves us with nothing to build with. In fact, the only people who can create new works are the owners of the works who constantly recycle their own "IP" over and over with very little innovation, which stagnates our culture. Look at the movies the studios put on a regular basis. There's a few gems floating in a cesspool of crap that is basically the same as the stuff they made the previous year. No, eliminating copyright won't rid us of crappy movies, but it will allow for innovation and remixing of many of them, resulting in a more innovative climate for art.

     

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  19.  
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    Akari Mizunashi (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:41am

    If there's someone in the copyright office proposing changes, I'm not confident the changes will be good.

    It doesn't help to see the talks start off with "rolling back" terms which are still much too excessive for the current age of digital distribution.

    Moreso, the last time someone from the copyright regime proposed a change, everyone else got screwed.

    The copyright office gets a vote of "No Confidence" from me, though by doing so, I may have unleashed a fate worse than what we have now.

     

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  20.  
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    Chosen Reject (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:44am

    Re: Re:

    I get the feeling that some lobbying group felt they were getting enough business from their clients so they asked her to make this proposal. Maybe it's just the cynic in me. Perhaps the MPAA felt like Disney and Warner Bros. weren't paying enough, so they asked the Copyright Office to hint at reduced terms, just so Movie Studios will increase MPAA funding to get it stopped.

     

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  21.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:48am

    'not have a single person report on it immediately after the event ended'

    those there were probably threatened with being prosecuted for copyright infringement if they let anything out. either that or the only ones at the meeting were the entertainment industries execs and they have been running around like headless chickens since, trying to convince, yet again, the thick fuckers in government who keep falling on their side that Pallante has had a nervous breakdown and needs to be institutionalized.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:51am

    Lets hope it sticks

    Remember when Derek Khanna wrote that paper for the RSC? Everyone was so happy that someone was finally taking a stance against IP. Then he got fired...

    I hope the same doesn't happen here...

    Only time will tell.

     

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  23.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Orphan Works

    I'm thrilled that orphaned works are being addressed.

    I strongly believe that works should not be able to go "out of print" in our modern digital age. If a work can't be reasonably and reliably purchased, then some sort of mandatory licensing should be invoked to allow people to buy out of print movies, books, music, and software. The specific fees can be based on industry standards for the type of media and its age.

    My solution is actually very simple: when a work is registered with the LOC, the LOC creates a contact entry in their database. That person is required to update his contact information once a year - by Internet or mail.

    If the Copyright holder fails to register his address after a period of time, and if a work is no longer reasonably and reliably found for sale, then the work should be classified as abandoned. While a work is abandoned, the owner cannot make any claim under Copyright.

    If the person re-connects to the LOC and updates their address, then the owner's rights are restored, and he can assert his rights. Anything distributed during the abandoned phase may continue to be used but not re-distributed.

    * Reasonable and reliable: by this, I mean that a work is currently offered for retail sale and is easily available at market value for that type of work.

    Examples: You can buy this CD on Amazon for $9. That's reasonable.

    There's one copy of a 20 year old CD on EBay from a band that broke up 18 years ago, and it's going for $300. That's neither reasonable nor reliable.

    A comic store in Iowa has the only remaining copy of a 40 year old comic book. Not reasonable or reliable.

    I'm all in favor of setting up a fund for orphaned works and using these funds to pay owners who re-claim their Copyright. Use the current iTunes/Amazon pricing model as a guideline: $1 for a song, $5 for a book, and $10 for a movie. Let the seller keep 30% and put the rest in the recovery fund. If no one claims it after 5 years, the money can go to a fund that helps legitimate Copyright holders protect their works.

     

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  24.  
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    TG (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Wait a second...

    If the reduction doesn't apply retrospectively then it won't be much of a fix - the benefits won't start appearing until the 2060s.

    And if registration is required then the benefits will be limited. Sure, it'll free up forgotten works a little quicker, but the corporations and estates will just reregister the profitable works.

    And in any case, life plus 50 is still an order of magnitude too long.

     

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  25.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:57am

    Re: Unconstitutional

    Sorry, but no. The US Constituion explicitly directs Congress to create a system of Copyright and Patent protection.

    Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution, known as the Copyright Clause, empowers the United States Congress:
    To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.


    from Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Clause

     

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  26.  
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    DannyB (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:01am

    It's not April Fools day

    I hope your calendar is set correctly.

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:02am

    Safe Harbors

    The "Safe Harbors" is scary. It seems to me like she wants to put a little bit of SOPA in there and eliminate safe harbors, like SOPA did.

    I think we are seeing another SOPA in the making here, folks.

     

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  28.  
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    TimothyAWiseman, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:05am

    That one is good.

    "is, she's proposing switching us back to a life plus fifty year copyright, but with the ability to renew for that additional 20 years for the tiny percentage of works that makes sense for. While, in the grand scheme of things, life + 50 is still ridiculously too long for copyright,"

    I think this would be a step in the right direction. Personally, I am a great fan of copyright and depend on it, but it currently lasts too long and I also think Fair Use should be stengthened.

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:06am

    Having spoken to a few people who were either there or who spoke to people who were there, it appears that Pallante is proposing changes touching on nearly every part of copyright law, and as you might expect, it's a very mixed bag, though I'll withhold final judgment until we see the full details. However, the big one would be a change in copyright term length, to effectively "roll back" the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act with one caveat. That is, she's proposing switching us back to a life plus fifty year copyright, but with the ability to renew for that additional 20 years for the tiny percentage of works that makes sense for. While, in the grand scheme of things, life + 50 is still ridiculously too long for copyright, this would be the first major reduction in copyright terms in the history of the US. That's notable.

    Mike, what is the proper term of copyright? You are intimating that you know. Please share the details.

     

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  30.  
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    Applesauce, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    Read it again. The clause grants congress the power to do so, but does not mandate it.

    The constitution had to permit congress this ability since it otherwise conflicts with the first amendment (your free-speech ability to say what someone else has said).

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:08am

    Re: Unconstitutional

    The intended purpose of copyright, as it has been said over and over, is to increase the supply of works and access to them.

    The real purpose of copyright was to regulate the printing Industry, and in particular to ensure that one printer had control over the printing of a title. When type had to be set by hand, setting a book was a time consuming operation, and required sufficient sales to make a profit. Therefore if several printers in a locality printed the same title none of them would make a profit.
    Note, authors rights were a fiction to get the statute of Anne passed, they had been selling works to printers for several hundred years before copyright was invented.

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:09am

    Re: Re: Re: Wait a second...

    "If the reduction doesn't apply retrospectively then it won't be much of a fix"

    Then make it retroactive. Give everyone a year to register what's already out there, of course. (And even if it won't give any benefits for 50 years... may as well get started now.)

    "And if registration is required then the benefits will be limited. Sure, it'll free up forgotten works a little quicker, but the corporations and estates will just reregister the profitable works."

    But it does help with the orphaned works. And it has the benefit of being likelier to pass. Large corporations with high powered lobbyists won't mind it as much because it won't affect what they own - after all, they're going to register anything that they can make money from. It also precludes any ridiculous lawsuit about the government "taking their property" - all they have to do is register. And it doesn't violate any treaty obligations.

    I'd prefer a limited benefit to the status quo.

    "And in any case, life plus 50 is still an order of magnitude too long."

    Well, yes. There's no reason that something you write as a young person should still be generating royalties for your grandchildren in their old age, and in no case should it depend on how long a person lives. I'd be perfectly happy with 50 years. Just long enough that the culture you enjoyed in your youth can be in the public domain when you retire.

     

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  33.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:17am

    Re: That one is good.

    but with the ability to renew for that additional 20 years for the tiny percentage of works that makes sense for

    IOn almost all cases those are the works that have made the publishers and creators very rich, and therefore do not need extended term to reward the publisher or creators.
    Further this could be used to extend the protection on a work that is not available because the current copyright holders does not want it made available. The nightmare scenario is a religious bigot gains control of an academic journal, and then prevents copies of any paper to do with evolution being made available.

     

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  34.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Biggest issue with all these life+XX constructs is how the hell do you know when it expires?

    It could be 50 years from publication or 100+ years from publication, with no easy way to find out.

     

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  35.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:24am

    Re:

    Most studies seem to indicate for movies, almost all your money is made in the first 10 years (or less).

    Songs are largely the same. Most money is made in the first 10 years, with a few big names going on much longer (see Beatles, Elvis) but those are rare exception.

    Literature is also not too far off. You still make all your money early on in the process, with only a very small % making any money after a decade.

    Video games is something like 5 years of commercial relevancy (or less).

    So it would seem that a 10-20 year term is quite viable. There can even be some extensions possible for another 10-20 years, with a fee, for those works that are still commercially viable.

    Everything else should go public domain after that timeframe. There is little reason for it to stay locked up for so long, especially after the composer/author/artist's death.

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:26am

    Re:

    A co-worker pranked Mike and ripped off 2 weeks worth of pages from his daily desk calendar. This story was originally scheduled to be posted April 1st.

    But seriously, is there any way to get Derek Khanna to be a witness in that congressional hearing?

     

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  37.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:35am

    Public Domain project

    Speaking of public domain, there's a project that I want sent to public domain, who do I contact. To have it archived? Project Gutenberg? Archive.org? And can we use Kickstarter to help fund it to make hard copies to sell, or am I missing what public domain is all about?

     

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  38.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:37am

    Re: Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    Then its true what I said in the Insider Chat...we are in the Mirror Universe. Hang on folks, I'm gonna have a think now...should I keep the goatee or not?

     

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    cpt kangarooski, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:42am

    Re: Re: Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    Neither 14+14, 28+14 nor 28+28 is 28. Saying that it was just 28 years is a serious oversimplification. And I knew what the historic terms were already, thanks.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:43am

    Re: Safe Harbors

    It could be another attempt by those in power to fool us into getting SOPA into law this time by trying to get us to see that they are coming to our way of thinking regarding copyright to get us on board with stating that we will do for this you but you have to agree to SOPA in doing so. I don't think so comes to mind.

     

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  41.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Re:

    Personally, I'm in favor of the 14+14 scheme of original copyright law. I could live with 28+28.

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:48am

    Re:

    Perhaps its a proposal to pre-empt another extension.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:53am

    Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    I'm familiar with the stationers laws, but I'm talking about copyright as the founders of America intended it. That intent was to encourage authors to create works that would benefit the public and add to the supply of cultural context we use to create new works.

    Basically, we allow authors to have a temporary ability to exclusively exploit a new work so that they can make money from its distribution and after such term expires, it would be made available to everyone else as a cultural resource for the creation of new works. But the law doesn't work that way as it exists. It is held in perpetual exclusivity in direct contradiction of the phrase "for limited times" and prevented from ever joining the public domain so that others may access and utilize it freely.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 11:56am

    Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    Um no. "Congress shall have the power..." precedes "To promote the progress...". It doesn't say "Congress must..."

     

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    Violated (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:18pm

    A positive step

    I think this is productive when any debate on copyright in Congress will receive a whole load of public input along with technology experts.

    Yes rolling back the term of copyright by 20 years would be truly historic and not even an event that I expected to see in my lifetime.

    There would be some bad along with the good in any large change to copyright law but it is clear to see that currently both sides are deeply unhappy with how the law works where any large change may well turn a broken system into a working one.

    I also hope they see that relaxing copyright laws can lead to a bloom of new creation like can be seen on Imgur daily with their community mixing, matching, improvement and reuse.

     

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  46.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:19pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    The problem with that is that new works have been created without the benefit of copyright for far longer than copyright has existed. Also note that all extensions and additions to copyright have come about when commercial scale copying became possible or shortly afterwards. Performance rights came in with recording for instance.

     

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  47.  
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    Greevar (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    I didn't say I think it's an ideal concept. In fact, I don't agree with copyright in any form. I'm just pointing out how our laws are exceeding their constitutional restrictions.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Public Domain project

    Use a CC by SA license, which only requires attribution. You can ask for funding without having to enforce you own copyright, and sell the works.

     

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  49.  
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    Violated (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Public Domain project

    You may be better off going the Creative Commons route.

    If you want true Public Domain though then remember that anyone can use your media, chop it into bits to mix and match into their own creation, or just to take the whole thing and sell their own "special edition" hardcopy.

     

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  50.  
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    AB, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:24pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    " asked the Copyright Office to hint at reduced terms, just so Movie Studios will increase MPAA funding"

    It's depressing that this is more believable then the idea that a government office wants to make changes in the public interest. And let's face it, things like the proposed reduction are equivalent to throwing out a bone - a carefully scraped, well boiled bone with all the marrow removed - to the dogs. Still, like any addiction it's hard to completely give up hope.

     

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  51.  
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    Watchit (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:31pm

    Well, it's a step in the right direction I suppose.

     

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  52.  
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    Violated (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:32pm

    Re: Orphan Works

    And where would all that unclaimed money go?

     

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  53.  
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    AB, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 12:43pm

    Re:

    Or it's intended the other way - What if the option to renew is extended infinitely?

    Hmm... actually I wouldn't mind that so much since it would at least require active action on the part of the copyright holder; if they set the default back to 14 years I could even tolerate an infinitely renewable extension period. Especially since it would effectively eliminate orphaned works.

     

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  54.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:15pm

    Re: Unconstitutional

    All international treaties override the constitution. Why do you think the US is pushing treaties like ACTA and TPP? Those treaties will give Congress the green light to totally ignore the constitution in making new copyright laws.

     

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  55.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    Not under international agreements. International treaties take precedence over the constitution.

     

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  56.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:16pm

    Statutory damages

    I'm personally excited that statutory damages are going to be revisited. I've always believed that statutory damages should only be available if the infringement was committed for commercial gain.

    Whether that's the direction we go is another matter.

    If any good changes are made to U.S. copyright law, I wonder what the response will be from the other countries who are being forced into copyright maximalism by the U.S.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Wait a second...

    "Then make it retroactive. Give everyone a year to register what's already out there, of course. (And even if it won't give any benefits for 50 years... may as well get started now.)"

    Except in the case of older (1963 and back) books/films/etc, 1) many of the companies that owned the copyrights simply dissolved into the ether with no successor companies.
    2) didn't renew during the original 28 year stretch.
    3) Didn't perform the transfer of copyright to either a successor company or whatever company they merged into!

     

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  58.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:23pm

    Not a Reduction Just a pay US More

    This isn't a reduction in term. It is just a means for the government to get more money.

     

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  59.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:26pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    "Saying that it was just 28 years is a serious oversimplification. And I knew what the historic terms were already, thanks."

    Then you were aware, boy, that 28 years was the initial period with the option of another 28 years if it was renewed.
    You'd be amazed at how much material wasn't renewed, making the effective period of copyright for those works only 28 years, then they became PD.

     

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  60.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:29pm

    Re: Re:

    If the option to renew was extended infinitely, but had to be done annually, it would solve the unemployment problem by providing work for countless clerks.

     

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  61.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:33pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    If international treaties overrode the Constitution, then why doesn't American copyright law have the "moral rights" clause almost all other countries have, giving rights to work-for-hire creators for additional income and control over their work that American laws ignore?

     

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  62.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:40pm

    Re: Public Domain project

    Speaking of public domain, there's a project that I want sent to public domain, who do I contact. To have it archived? Project Gutenberg? Archive.org?

    I'm assuming that you are the one that currently holds the copyright on the work. (If not, you can't do anything about the work's copyright status.)

    Technically, it's impossible to put anything into the public domain. This is due to the "droit d'auteur" ("moral rights") in copyright laws of other countries (mainly Europe). The closest that you can do is issue it under a CC0 license:
    http://creativecommons.org/choose/zero/

    But no matter what you do, you are legally still the copyright holder. So you could, for example, change or revoke the license at any time. (Once rights are granted, however, they would be very hard to take back - anyone who used the work while it was still under one license, retains the rights granted under that license.)

    If you issue the work under a CC0 license, then I'm sure Archive.org will host it. Probably Project Gutenberg as well (if it's a book), though you should check with them to make sure.

    There's nothing stopping you from using both if you want. In fact, I'd recommend using as many outlets as humanly possible, including the "pirate sites."

    And can we use Kickstarter to help fund it to make hard copies to sell, or am I missing what public domain is all about?

    Absolutely you can do this. You do not need copyright in order to fund or sell copies of your works. Without copyright, the only thing you would lose is the ability to prevent everyone else from doing the same.

     

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  63.  
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    cpt kangarooski, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    that 28 years was the initial period with the option of another 28 years if it was renewed.

    Yes, it was 28+28 under the 1909 Act. But the way to describe the term generally (as opposed to a specific work, with a specific history) was as 28+28 or some variation thereof that indicates that there were two separate terms of 28 years each, such that a copywriter work might only be copyrighted for 28 years, or might be copyrighted for the full 56. To merely say 28 is to oversimplify. And of course, terms for works initially copyrighted under the 1909 Act only got longer after the 1976 Act came along, shooting up to 28+47, then 28+67, not to mention the complication of automatic renewals in the early 90s, and the issue of in whom the rights vest.

    You'd be amazed at how much material wasn't renewed, making the effective period of copyright for those works only 28 years, then they became PD.

    I already knew that too. Indeed, the common failure of authors to renew is why I've long suggested that one useful reform for copyright would be to not only have short maximum durations of copyright, but to break it up into many very short terms, e.g. 1 year terms renewable nineteen times, so that the public can benefit more immediately from a renewal claimant's inattention. Why wait many years longer than necessary?

    Oh, and go fuck yourself.

     

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  64.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    If international treaties overrode the Constitution, then why doesn't American copyright law have the "moral rights" clause almost all other countries have, giving rights to work-for-hire creators for additional income and control over their work that American laws ignore?

    First: The "moral rights" in other countries don't generate "additional income" for artists. They cover things like attribution, and control over the "integrity" of the work. They are distinct from "economic rights" in those countries - in fact, the term lengths are often different.

    The U.S. only recognizes "economic rights." We have been able to form treaties with countries that have "moral rights," because in theory those rights are covered by libel and slander laws in the U.S.

    Second: International treaties do not override the Constitution, nor U.S. laws in general. If an international treaty requires changes to U.S. law, then those changes must be explicitly approved by Congress. Also, Congress must approve the joining of the U.S. to any international treaties.

    The U.S. can change its laws any time it likes. The issue is that it may then no longer be part of that international treaty. Generally speaking, Congress doesn't like doing that.

     

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  65.  
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    Internet Zen Master (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    Re: Re: Orphan Works

    Honestly, I think it should go to government of the country where the work originated from/author was born (Oh hey look! A potential cash cow for the US government! If money makes the world go 'round, then a potential cash flow like this might get Congress to start talking about reforming copyright, since it'd set up opportunities for more revenue...)

    And I understand where your coming from tomxp, but that whole one copy of an old comic is being sold in a store for an obscene amount of money concept is kinda central to economics. That whole supply/demand thing with physical objects still applies.

     

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  66.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:23pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    Read it again. The clause grants congress the power to do so, but does not mandate it.

    You're absolutely correct on this point.

    The constitution had to permit congress this ability since it otherwise conflicts with the first amendment (your free-speech ability to say what someone else has said).

    That, however, is incorrect. For one thing, the First Amendment (protecting free speech rights) was not around when the Constitution was written, so there would be nothing to conflict with.

    The real reason is that certain publishers (mainly Joel Barlow) convinced some of the Founders that, without a post-publication monopoly, they would not be able to publish to the general public (or at all).

    In fact, this was explicitly written into the copyright laws of most states: in order to get copyright protection, you had to furnish editions of the works to the public at "reasonable prices."

    To the Founders, this must have seemed like a no-brainer. By granting copyright to authors, and not the State, they avoided any censorship issues inherent in a state-controlled publication monopoly. Also, the laws explicitly applied only to publishers or booksellers, so it had a negligible negative affect on the general public. But the result of more books, at cheaper prices, benefited the public immensely.

    So, at the time, it was a terrific idea. Unfortunately, times have changed. Technology has eradicated the difference between public and publisher, but copyright law has changed in the opposite direction. The copyright laws we have now would absolutely horrify the creators of the Copyright Clause.

     

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  67.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 2:25pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    (Oops. "negative effect," not "negative affect." Sorry.)

     

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  68.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    When properly concatenated with the beginning of the section, it reads:

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

    That does two things:
    1. It gives Congress the exclusive power to establish Copyright law.
    2. It even says what form that law will take - that authors and inventors will have exclusive rights.

    Congress has the power to do it. Nobody else does. I was responding to the original assertion that Copyright is Unconstitutional, and I believe I've made my point. It's not, since Copyright is essentially written in to the Constitution - and not even as an amendment, but the actual main body of the Constitution itself.

    If I worded it wrong, then sorry... but let's not pick nits here. =)

     

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  69.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:07pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    My point was that Congress has that power. I wasn't trying to imply that the Constitution forces Copyright on us, but that it allows it and that the concept was already explicitly established when the Constitution was written.

     

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  70.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:09pm

    Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    Please define "limited time," and explain how the current Copyright system is not limited.

    The last time I checked, a Copyright has a finite time span. The time is variable, but there is still a finite end to the term of any Copyright.

    Is that somehow unlimited (the opposite of limited)?

     

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  71.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:19pm

    Re: Re: Orphan Works

    Didn't you read the last paragraph?

    To be honest, I don't really care where it goes, but I think the best purpose for unclaimed funds would be to set up a legal foundation to defray the costs of prosecuting and defending Copyright suits - specifically for small-time holders and managers of free content.

    Or just forget the whole statutory license thing and just give it away... I don't really care. My point is that I don't want to see orphaned works in a state where it's illegal to copy them simply because you can't find who owns them. I also hate the practice of "vaulting" an item simply to make it more valuable. Once something is out there in the public, you can't take it back.

     

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  72.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:27pm

    Re: Safe Harbors

    Or maybe she means to have Safe Harbor more explicitly defined, with specific direction to the courts about how to apply it.

    Google provides links to sites with no discrimination between "legal" and "not legal." That should qualify for safe harbor, since Google has significant non-infringing uses, and identifying pirate sites vs legitimate sites is not all that simple.

    YouTube makes an honest attempt to identify pirated content, even to the point of overreaching and marking stuff as infringing when it's not. This should qualify as safe harbor.

    For example: MegaUpload allegedly solicited pirated works. That would not be safe harbor.

    Web hosting sites have no interest in what their consumers host. This is safe harbor.

    IMO, linking should never be Copyright infringement. Period. No safe harbor applies here, because links are not infringing. If site owners don't like hotlinks, they should implement http-referer checks or use sessions like the rest of us do.

     

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  73.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:29pm

    Re: Re:

    I think that characters and works in active use should have longer terms.

    For example, Disney still produces Mickey Mouse cartoons, books, and video games. They should retain the rights to the character for as long as they're actively using him and for as long as any of their works with his likeness are still in Copyright.

    That would fit the original intent a lot better, I think, than turning Copyright in to a century-long term.

     

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  74.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:32pm

    Re: Public Domain project

    You always own the rights to a work unless you explicitly give them away.

    So you could and should register it with the LOC, just like any work you want to preserve.

    You could also place a notice in the work that states explicit terms of use, such as: "I donate this work to the public domain. You may freely copy, sell, modify, or use this work."

    But really, when many people say "Public Domain" they really mean "Share Alike", so you should probably explore the Creative Commons license and consider publishing your work under the CC-SA license.

     

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  75.  
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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Statutory damages

    I think statutory damages should be more in line with the value of the work and the nature of the violation.

    Distributing a 99c song should not invoke a $100,000 fine. That should more like a parking ticket.

     

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  76.  
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    Greevar (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 3:36pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    That's nothing but a semantic game. Sure it has limits, until they get close to expiring. Then, the industry lobbies to extend the length and we're back to square one. They've done it several times already, there's no reason to think they won't try do it again. The purpose of this semantic game is to make copyright effectively a property right when it's supposed to be a temporary grant to encourage new works, not let people sit on them and milk them until they die. That's an incentive to not make more and exploit it. "Lifetime of the author plus X years" is not really "limited" honestly. By the time those works expire, they'll have little relevance to current culture. That's why they were supposed to be shorter, short enough that the artist would be compelled to keep creating to keep receiving copyrights and when they do expire, they would be useful to us for creating new works.

     

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  77.  
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    John Fenderson (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:28pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That's the idea of allowing the copyright holder to file for an extension.

     

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    special-interesting (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 4:35pm

    Hunnn?

    -hardball hits face while standing in left field- “whap”

    I have been jumping up and down for terms closer to 15-30 years (absolute) so any retraction of current permanent copyright has got to be good. Think of the gain to public domain?

    IMHO the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act should be replace with (and only with) our warm and fuzzy feelings for them. To our economic benefit a few local bars will actually be able to display their Sonny and Cher memorabilia (pictures, records and figurines) and play their music without fear of copyright abuse. (or whatever fave artist will be liberated from such a cultural black hole)

    Since the copyright industry apparently controls the White House and D.C. Based DoJ Maria Pallante has been raised to hero status in my light. (Just for even raising the topic it is that rare.) Phone unlocking? Expansion of safe harbors to cover orphaned works? Review of the outright ridiculously outrageous statutory damages? Coooooolllllll. (Exciting even.) Even if fired b4 Wednesday (reality is sooo ugly) and left off as rumor it still counts and greatness. (don't get me wrong am still cynical)

    Yes any time legislation is introduced it might be corrupted by the usual special interest groups. I hope they are able to fend off the normal commercial buy outs. (If they would whine and scream, and ignored as such, like little kids do when mom tells them she cant afford that bag of candy... Yes!)

    It would be nice it we could convince our wonderful legislators to never talk with them (monopolistic special interest groups) ever or be guaranteed a vote out next term. (Impeachment at an earlier date? Don't laugh it is the way the public enforces their will.)

    Life+50 is still waaayyy to long. My best cultural arguments are for a term much less than the life of the intended audience. (absolute 15-30 years) In this way the children you teach your lesson to will be able to use it before they die. (what is common sense?)

    It is possible that several unfortunate treaties and trade agreements have been engaged but they can hopefully be tossed off as stupid mistakes. The economic and cultural Renaissance (implied not guaranteed) leadership more than pays for the special interest medaling.

    Because of all the culturally restrictive (am being polite) legislation attached to the current copyright amendment I think it should be discarded and replaced with something else.

     

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  79.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 6:12pm

    Re:

    in my view I like something I saw proposed,

    back to 14+14 model, the first 14 being cheap or free to register, the 2nd 14 requiring a fee based on how much the work has made for the company/person.

    the fee is to discourage extensions of works that the creator/ower of copyright know arent going to be profitable but just dont want to let go of.

    this would let movies/books/games/exct stay under copyright for their profitable periods(first 14 years covers that) and if the owner of said copyright wants to extend it thinking that will be profitable, they can choose to pay a fee based on how much the work made in sales/licencing already.

    but it would need a system to ensure that no hollywood accounting goes on.
    http://www.techdirt.com/blog/?tag=hollywood+accounting

     

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  80.  
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    Rob Bodine, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 7:14pm

    Term

    Life + X should have been ruled unconstitutional for any value of X, including 0, but life + 50 might be a step in the right direction that's more likely to be accepted than presenting my opinion to Congress. :-)

     

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  81.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re:

    Lifetime or 50 years, whichever is longest.

     

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  82.  
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    teka, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:17pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    plus, at the time "their respective Writings and Discoveries" had a much more specific meaning.

     

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    Greevar (profile), Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    No, the copyright act exceeds what the constitution allows for copyright. That's what I'm talking about.

    The constitution says "for limited times", yet the term of copyright is being constantly extended. It's supposed to promote the progress, but it doesn't. It's used specifically to stop the creation of works which would fulfill the goal of promoting the progress. With perpetual terms and censorship of works based on previous works, copyright exceeds what is allowed by the supreme law of the land (i.e. the constitution). It actually makes it so a copyright holder can hold a copyright like it's property.

     

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  84.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:22pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: STILL TOO LONG: "life plus fifty year copyright"

    "But the way to describe the term generally (as opposed to a specific work, with a specific history) was as 28+28 or some variation thereof that indicates that there were two separate terms of 28 years each..."

    Not quite, boy.
    The term was 28 years.
    There was an option to renew, but since many didn't bother, the actual term of most copyrights pre-1976 was only 28 years.

    Try to get on a first name basis with facts, kid.

    Oh, and I'd say "same to you", but it's obvious by your attitiude, it's the probably the only action you've had in quite a while.

     

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  85.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:30pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    "First: The "moral rights" in other countries don't generate "additional income" for artists. They cover things like attribution, and control over the "integrity" of the work. They are distinct from "economic rights" in those countries - in fact, the term lengths are often different."

    Actually, no.
    To use the classic example of Terry Nation and the Daleks...
    Nation created the Daleks as a part of his work-for-hire assignment on the BBC tv series Doctor Who.
    Since the Daleks were his creations, the BBC has to pay him (and now his estate since Nation is deceased) every time the little pepperpots show up on the series or in merchandising.
    In addition, Nation had the right to use the Daleks in his own licensed products (excluding any reference to Dr Who), and there were a lot of them in the late 1960s-early 1970s.
    In fact, Nation tried to sell a Daleks tv series to American television after the two Dr Who feature films (which featured the Daleks) came out, but the films didn't do well in the US and the project fell through.
    So those moral rights DO generate income for the creators.

     

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  86.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:33pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "I think that characters and works in active use should have longer terms."

    Which is the way trademark works.
    If you don't use it, you lose it!

     

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  87.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Mar 15th, 2013 @ 10:36pm

    Re: Re: Safe Harbors

    "MegaUpload allegedly solicited pirated works."

    Really?
    Got a link to verify that?

     

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  88.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 16th, 2013 @ 12:02am

    Re: Re: Statutory damages

    I think statutory damages should be more in line with the value of the work and the nature of the violation.

    The theoretical reason that statutory damages are available, is that calculating actual damages is difficult.

    Nonetheless, there's a kind of "unwritten rule" in case law that says statutory damages should be in the general ballpark of what actual damages would be. Unfortunately, since it's an unwritten rule, juries are usually not informed of it. The juries are just given a big range, and told to come up with something. That's why the damages in e.g. the Jammie Thomas suit were so astronomical.

     

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  89.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 16th, 2013 @ 12:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

    Actually, no.
    To use the classic example of Terry Nation and the Daleks...


    Well, I'm afraid you're wrong. I know this, because Britain does not have "moral rights."

    In fact, Nation simply retained the copyright in the character. This link from the Daily Mail explains it (scroll down to the middle):
    Until 1963, the BBC had used staff writers, ensuring that the Corporation kept the copyright of their work. But from that point on, the Corporation started using self-employed writers such as Nation. And in many cases these new writers could keep the rights for themselves which, in the case of the Daleks, proved a bonanza.

    The monsters not only ensured the success of the programme for years to come, they created a new Doctor Who market for toys, books, games, soap and sweet cigarettes. Nothing like this had been seen before. By the end of 1964, licences had been issued for almost anything that could be branded with the Dalek logo.

    The monsters not only ensured the success of the programme for years to come, they created a new Doctor Who market for toys, books, games, soap and sweet cigarettes.

    The phenomenon made Nation a rich man; despite the fact he was still being paid at the standard BBC rates of 275 guineas per episode, by March 1965, he had earned £300,000 from the Daleks. That is the equivalent of £4.4million today.

    'It was the first outbreak of merchandising,' noted fellow Doctor Who writer Terrance Dicks.

    'And Terry Nation got rich off it. I always used to say he was the only man to get rich off Doctor Who.'

     

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  90.  
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    Karl (profile), Mar 16th, 2013 @ 12:17am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Unconstitutional

     

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  91.  
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    Renee Marie Jones, Mar 16th, 2013 @ 7:43am

    Copyright

    The whole copyright mess is a massive failure. It started as an experiment to "encourage innovation" it has, in the end, only encouraged greedy rent-seeking behaviour and has crushed all innovation that threatens the entrenched corporate interests. In the absence of copyright law we got Shakespeare. In the presence of copyright law we got Milli Vanilli. Mindless copyright proponents scream that nothing would be written without copyright ... and yet, Justice Rader, I have a copy of Shakespeare here. Plays and poems that you claim your ideology proves cannot exist. Maybe your mindless ideology is wrong, Justice Rader. Copyright is a pox on society. A failed experiment. Time to end it.

     

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    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 16th, 2013 @ 9:22am

    ... and we also got Gone With The Wind and Robert A Heinlein and Asimov and Star Wars and John Williams and Rush.

    Talk about cherry-picking your examples. I'm sure the 15th Century also had its share of ridiculous thespians who couldn't write, sing, or act and still tried to make a living in the arts.

     

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

  93.  
    icon
    tomxp411 (profile), Mar 16th, 2013 @ 9:34am

    Re: Re: Re: Safe Harbors

    It's alleged, therefore unproven. That's actually the linchpin the whole US Vs. MegaUpload case hangs on, if I understand correctly.

    But if you haven't actually read any of the 5.3 million articles written about the allegations against Mega, here's the Ars summary on it: http://arstechnica.com/tech-policy/2012/01/why-the-feds-smashed-megaupload/

    But the government asserts that Megaupload merely wanted the veneer of legitimacy, while its employees knew full well that the site's main use was to distribute infringing content. Indeed, the government points to numerous internal e-mails and chat logs from employees showing that they were aware of copyrighted material on the site and even shared it with each other. Because of this, the government says that the site does not qualify for a “safe harbor” of the kind that protected YouTube from Viacom's $1 billion lawsuit.


    Anyways, it doesn't matter whether Mega specificaly was or was not soliciting it. My point is that if you ARE soliciting Copyrighted content, you are in violation of Safe Harbor.

     

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

  94.  
    identicon
    Anonymous, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 12:11am

    Re: Re: Re:

    A proper term, oh timid one, is one where the next generation can print T-shirts of the things they grew up with, for their own kids.

    In other words, compete or die, like the rest of us.

     

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

  95.  
    identicon
    Eponymous Cowherd, Mar 17th, 2013 @ 1:10am

    Composing while decomposing

    The one thing I'd really like to know about is this: since the US Constitution grants copyright protections for authors in order to encourage further compositions, etc., and the copyright terms are now life plus 70 years, which publishing houses maintain an on-staff medium in order to receive stuff I compose while decomposing?

    And, since monetary compensation is what is meant by "encouraging" further compositions, which banks would facilitate the transfer of money from the realm of the living to the world of the dead? Or are the publishing houses actually pocketing that money instead?

    These are questions that should've been asked at the time of the Sonny-Bono Act. It's called the "Giggle Test". Does a proposed course of action contradict established physical reality in such a way as to be life-threatening, in this case by causing an uncontrollable fit of laughter?

     

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

  96.  
    icon
    Tom (profile), Mar 17th, 2013 @ 9:55am

    Ever heard of corporations?

    Part of our modern compensation system for Copyrightable works is that companies can pay the author for the work far ahead of the time where the work actually earns any money.

    For example: a comic book company buys the works to the Power Guy character, giving the creator $100,000 in advancce, along with royalties. The only catch is that Mega Comics now owns the Copyrights.

    Would that guy have been able to earn a living by publishing a little webcomic and maybe some e-books? Current trends say that he's still be working a day job and also writing and drawing Power Guy at night; he would never end up getting out all the other stuff in his head, since he has to work at Innitech by day to feed his family.

    On the other hand, now that he has enough money to live comfortably for a while, he can script out a huge story arc that has Power Guy building a team of super heroes and saving the world from the evil mind-controlling drones of The Congolmerate. After that, he can go on to write the world's finest Superhero opera, and Mega Comics follows THAT up with a television series and a line of successful video games.

    Part of Mega Comics' motivation for taking a risk on the artist who created all this is the knowledge that they can leverage his material even after he's gone.

    Personally, I don't want to deny creators exclusive control over the works for their lifetime. When it comes to corporate exploitation after the creators' death... we only have to look at the continued success of real-life examples like Superman and Batman to see that this system DOES encourage new works. It's not like Superman stopped being productive after his creators died. It's not like Batman hasn't had 8 movies, 3 TV series, and more popularity than nearly any other fictional character in existence.

    I have fewer issues with the term of Copyright than I do with over the top enforcement and complete lack of ability to legally use orphaned works. (I also think we need better systems for fighting piracy; the current system of notify and takedown is expensive and only really protects the big guys who can afford to continuously search for their pirated content.)

     

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


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