Vast Majority Of US Businesses Say Intellectual Property Is Not Important

from the of-course-not dept

This post is licensed CC-BY SA 3.0, and may be shared and reposted with attribution. Please include a link back to the original, which will contain the most up-to-date version.

Last year, the USPTO released a widely cited report entitled “Intellectual Property and the U.S. Economy: Industries in Focus.” This report emphasized the importance of IP to the U.S. economy, claiming “the entire U.S. economy relies on some form of IP,” and estimating that “IP-intensive industries” accounted for 40 million American jobs and 35% of the U.S. GDP in 2010.

While many pro-IP groups hailed the report as demonstrating the importance of IP to the American economy, the report was widely panned by critics who pointed out that the definition of “IP-intensive industries” was so broad as to be meaningless. Indeed, according to the report, the number one IP-intensive industry by employment in the United States was… grocery stores. Although supporters of stricter IP regulation and enforcement continue to rely on the report to justify policies relating to copyrights and patents, the vast majority of the report’s purported economic benefits were attributed to trademarks.

USPTO’s report was released in March 2012, and received a lot of attention. Just one month prior, the National Science Foundation (NSF) released the findings of a survey on business use of intellectual property. While a few sites picked up on the NSF report last year, it received far less media attention than it deserved. Why? Perhaps because it turns out that if you actually ask, the vast majority of businesses report that intellectual property is not important to them.

Infojustice.org was among the few noting that the NSF’s findings directly contradict the USPTO report. The initial NSF report, published in February 2012, reported data from 2008. However, it has recently been updated to include data from 2009 and 2010.

But wait – surely I’m making all this up. If “IP-intensive” industries account for 40 million jobs and 35% of GDP, intellectual property must be very important to businesses. What’s this “vast majority,” then?

  • In 2010, 87.2% of businesses reported that trademarks were “not important” to them.
  • 90.1% of businesses reported that copyrights were “not important” to them.
  • 96.2% of businesses reported that patents were “not important” to them.

If you still think I’m making these numbers up (and I wouldn’t blame you if you did), head on over to the NSF’s page describing the survey, results, and methodology. Note that these results are consistent across the three years of the survey, and the survey itself is a representative sample across the country.

According to the NSF, the Business Research and Development and Innovation Survey (BRDIS) “is an annual, nationally representative sample survey of approximately 43,000 companies, including companies in manufacturing and nonmanufacturing industries. The target population for BRDIS consists of all for-profit companies that have five or more employees and that perform R&D in the United States.”

If you examine the details, the survey results begin to make more sense. Larger companies tend to report intellectual property as being more important; businesses designated as especially “R&D active” also place more importance on various kinds of intellectual property.

Nevertheless, the results of this survey (now in its third year) are striking. Even when looking at a sector where one would expect heavy reliance on intellectual property, the results do not match expectations. For example, take one of the most copyright-dependent sectors we can imagine: “R&D active” software publishing. In 2010, 51.4% of respondents in this sector said copyright was “very important”; 34.6% said it was “somewhat important”; and 13.9% said it was “not important.” That is, only about half of respondents in a purportedly heavily copyright-dependent sector describe copyright as “very important” to their business.

In my mind, there are two ways of interpreting these data: either all the survey respondents are totally uninformed about what is going on in their businesses, or formal intellectual property protection is far less important to the vast majority of U.S. businesses than some would like us to believe.

Some additional highlights:

  • 61.7% of businesses manufacturing computer and electronic products report that patents are “not important” to them.
  • 96.3% of businesses with less than 500 employees report that patents are “not important” to them.
  • 45.6% of businesses with 25,000 or more employees report that patents are “not important” to them.
  • 53.6% of businesses classified in the information sector (NAICS code 51 – i.e., a sector we’d expect to rely heavily on copyright) report that copyrights are “not important” to them.
  • Overall, businesses report that trade secrets are the most important form of intellectual property protection, with 13.2% of businesses calling trade secrets “very important” or “somewhat important.” Trademarks are a close second, with copyrights and patents significantly farther behind. Trailing in last place is sui generis protection for semiconductor mask works, although that is no surprise.


Reader Comments (rss)

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  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:25pm

    the people who are more concerned with IP are the lawyers. they can see $$$$ in front of their eyes and on them like a fly on a turd!

     

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  2.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:26pm

    If that's the case...

    Why the HELL do we have so many damn archaic laws from the fucking 17th Century still in effect today when it comes to information, culture and sharing?!

     

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  3.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:35pm

    Re: If that's the case...

    Because once you lay down the laws, it's pretty hard to change anything without a revolution.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    This post is licensed CC-BY SA 3.0, and may be shared and reposted with attribution. Please include a link back to the original, which will contain the most up-to-date version.

    LMAO @ the irony of you asserting your copyright first thing in a post about how copyright is so very unimportant. Good thing for you copyright law empowers you to demand that attribution you want so badly. I mean, copyright is so useless, except where you invoke it to get something you want, right? The intellectual disconnect is truly amazing. Typical for Techdirt, of course, but still amazing.

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:51pm

    Holly cow! Keen grasp of the obvious proves nothing!

    [* "Holly" is intentional seasonal humor.]

    There's so little in THIS COPIED BIT that I'll just fling in apt new tagline:

    Any damn fool can copy. Copyright was put in statute to prevent greedy damn fools from profiting off what others made.

    08:51:12[j-602-3]

     

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    out_of_the_blue, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:53pm

    Re: @ Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    LMAO @ the irony of you asserting your copyright first thing in a post about how copyright is so very unimportant.

    Oh, YOU NAILED IT! I get so used to this self-contradictory drivel here that my eyes just skipped over that!

     

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  7.  
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    Ruben, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    CC-BY and other copyleft licensing options are all we have in this era of automatic copyright. It's not currently possible to opt out of copyright, and by utilizing a CC licensing option actually does allow you to opt out of some of the protections and restrictions that copyright induces. CC licenses are a symptom of a much larger issue.

    The issue being that copyright's role has been expanded much much too far.

     

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  8.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Re:

    You have no idea how copyright law works, do you?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    CC-BY and other copyleft licensing options are all we have in this era of automatic copyright. It's not currently possible to opt out of copyright, and by utilizing a CC licensing option actually does allow you to opt out of some of the protections and restrictions that copyright induces. CC licenses are a symptom of a much larger issue.

    The issue being that copyright's role has been expanded much much too far.


    LOL! He could have dedicated it to the public domain and opted out of having any control over his work. Yet, he didn't. He opted to not only retain his copyright, but to use it to demand attribution. The irony is too much.

     

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  10.  
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    JEDIDIAH, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Holly cow! Keen grasp of the obvious proves nothing!

    Copyright is no virtual land grab. The "profit" aspect of copyright is secondary. It's all intended to be "pirated" sooner or later.

    The goal of copyright is to increase the body of work that can be "pirated".

    The government is empowered to encourage you to create new works. Copyright is a power that the government has. You have no right to profit from a work or exclude others from doing so.

     

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  11.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:58pm

    How typical that ootb puts in it's copied data when what he posts as his "what's interesting" was nothing but the same. Again demonstrating his hypocritical nature as well as his total BS.

    It matches the data on the lack of copyright being meaningful beyond a handful of major corporations that have stopped innovating and now make considerable sums litigating in court.

     

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  12.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    Re: Re: @ Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:48pm

    Now why don't you and your buddy go back to your MAFIAA masters and bend over and explain how you "showed Techdirt". BTW, the gas station on the way sells some lube, you might need that.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 12:59pm

    You have no idea how copyright law works, do you?

    On the contrary, I understand it more than you. Which is not saying much, because, well, I know you're not very bright. You're a loyal Masnickian though. Good for you. But as a loyal Masnickian, surely you know that Mike says his posts here on TD are in the public domain. This guy could have dedicated his post to the PD as well, but he didn't. He explicitly invoked his copyright. The irony is killing me.

     

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  14.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    Re:

    Again, you have no idea how copyright law works, huh, AJ?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:00pm

    Now why don't you and your buddy go back to your MAFIAA masters and bend over and explain how you "showed Techdirt". BTW, the gas station on the way sells some lube, you might need that.

    Care to admit that irony is remarkable? You obviously see it too.

     

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  16.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    Re:

    *Snicker* you call me not very bright?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

    Oh gods! The stupidity of your statement just makes me laugh!

    Someone who has never worked a real job a day in his life is saying I'm not very bright?

    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAA!!!!

    Oh gods, you're too funny, AJ. The fact you can't figure out how to reply to people properly just shows what a fool you are.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:02pm

    Again, you have no idea how copyright law works, huh, AJ?

    Great job not responding to the substance of my post. Your specialty.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:03pm

    Oh gods, you're too funny, AJ. The fact you can't figure out how to reply to people properly just shows what a fool you are.

    Your arguments are so insightful. What a beast you must have been on the Debate Team.

     

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  19.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:04pm

    Re:

    What irony? I see where it says that this is covered by Creative Commons and allows others to share with impunity, just linking back to the original article because there are people like you who might claim that Techdirt or other websites might be committing infringement otherwise.

     

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  20.  
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    silverscarcat (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Re:

    Man, I'm so glad that you're here. It was getting boring with Blue being a moron. Now he has friends.

    BTW, if you want to debate, why not bring up some actual real points for once?

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:07pm

    What irony? I see where it says that this is covered by Creative Commons and allows others to share with impunity, just linking back to the original article because there are people like you who might claim that Techdirt or other websites might be committing infringement otherwise.

    The irony is that the person who set out to write an article about the unimportance of copyright himself invokes his powers under copyright to demand attribution for his work. He's using his power as a copyright owner to create a license that binds others under threat of copyright infringement should they breach the license. The man who says copyright isn't useful at the same time decides copyright is so important that he better invoke it before making his point. The irony is so ridiculously obvious that it hurts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:09pm

    Man, I'm so glad that you're here. It was getting boring with Blue being a moron. Now he has friends.

    BTW, if you want to debate, why not bring up some actual real points for once?


    Keep those eyes of the ball! Well, that works for the dumb ones, at least. Mike's bread and butter.

     

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  23.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:12pm

    Re: Re:

    The link back is their to ensure that Gabriel's view are not misrepresented.

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:15pm

    If businesses are counted by how many PO Boxes they have in Marshall Texas than I am sure most would say IP is important to them.

     

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  25.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:20pm

    I admit, I'm tempted to join this 'game' but I will not. A real game has set conditions for victory and defeat. However, this cannot be called a game when one side (*cough AJ cough*) refuses to admit defeat when he has clearly been shown to have lost. Remember when I challenged you to prove your accusations about your IP address being blocked? I remember you stubbornly refused. I remember that that meant you willingly forfeited what little credibility you had left.

    So no, AJ, I won't bother trying to teach you. You're not worth it.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:24pm

    Ideas are 5%, execution is 95%

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:30pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    That too, but doesn't Techdirt link back all the time anyway?

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:38pm

    can we discuss the actual topic?

    Anyone notice how quickly AJ diverted this discussion away from the actual point about how his buddies who work as lobbyists have blatantly misrepresented what happens in the real world? Clearly that was done on purpose.

    So let's get back to the actual point here: since businesses don't care so much about IP, why do copyright/patent lobbyists get so much attention?

     

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  29.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:39pm

    Re:

    Actually execution is 100%. The idea simply makes the execution worthwhile.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    The link back is their to ensure that Gabriel's view are not misrepresented.

    And he can demand all of the noneconomic benefits of that link back thanks to the magic of his rights under copyright.

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:43pm

    Re: can we discuss the actual topic?

    Because those who seek power have a dread of anarchy, and see weakening copyright as encouraging anarchy in ideas.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:44pm

    Anyone notice how quickly AJ diverted this discussion away from the actual point about how his buddies who work as lobbyists have blatantly misrepresented what happens in the real world? Clearly that was done on purpose.

    So let's get back to the actual point here: since businesses don't care so much about IP, why do copyright/patent lobbyists get so much attention?


    I think that, given the substance of the article, it's entirely relevant to talk about the author's reliance on copyright. Care to admit the irony?

     

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  33.  
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    CK20XX (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:45pm

    A parable for copyright conflicts (and many other things)

    One day, making tracks
    In the prairie of Prax,
    Came a North-Going Zax
    And a South-Going Zax.

    And it happened that both of them came to a place
    Where they bumped. There they stood.
    Foot to foot. Face to face.

    "Look here, now!" the North-Going Zax said, "I say!
    You are blocking my path. You are right in my way.
    I'm a North-Going Zax and I always go north.
    Get out of my way, now, and let me go forth!"

    "Who's in whose way?" snapped the South-Going Zax.
    "I always go south, making south-going tracks.
    So you're in MY way! And I ask you to move
    And let me go south in my south-going groove."

    Then the North-Going Zax puffed his chest up with pride.
    "I never," he said, "take a step to one side.
    And I'll prove to you that I won't change my ways
    If I have to keep standing here fifty-nine days!"

    "And I'll prove to YOU," yelled the South-Going Zax,
    "That I can stand here in the prairie of Prax
    For fifty-nine years! For I live by a rule
    That I learned as a boy back in South-Going School.
    Never budge! That's my rule. Never budge in the least!
    Not an inch to the west! Not an inch to the east!
    I'll stay here, not budging! I can and I will
    If it makes you and me and the whole world stand still!"

    Well...
    Of course the world didn't stand still. The world grew.
    In a couple of years, the new highway came through
    And they built it right over those two stubborn Zax
    And left them there, standing un-budged in their tracks.

     

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  34.  
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    Automatic Grammatizator, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 1:57pm

    Uh...

    There isn't any irony.

    I note you haven't responded to Ruben either, who answered your fanatical accusation.

     

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  35.  
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    Gabriel J. Michael (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:13pm

    I'm the author.

    Hi. I'm the author. Since you're picking on the CC BY-SA licensing, let me explain why it's there.

    This post was not originally written for TechDirt. I originally wrote it on my personal blog. It's since been posted to Slashdot, BoingBoing, here, and been reblogged elsewhere.

    I include the CC BY-SA to make sure that people know they are free to copy and reuse the content elsewhere. I often include graphics in my posts that may be useful in peoples' PowerPoints, etc., and embedding a note about the CC BY-SA licensing makes it more likely that people won't lose the licensing information and feel they need to ask for permission.

    As you will have presumably read in the post, the conclusion is not that we should eliminate IP laws. Rather, I wrote the post to highlight important empirical data on IP that had received almost no attention.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:31pm

    This post was not originally written for TechDirt. I originally wrote it on my personal blog. It's since been posted to Slashdot, BoingBoing, here, and been reblogged elsewhere.

    I include the CC BY-SA to make sure that people know they are free to copy and reuse the content elsewhere. I often include graphics in my posts that may be useful in peoples' PowerPoints, etc., and embedding a note about the CC BY-SA licensing makes it more likely that people won't lose the licensing information and feel they need to ask for permission.

    As you will have presumably read in the post, the conclusion is not that we should eliminate IP laws. Rather, I wrote the post to highlight important empirical data on IP that had received almost no attention.


    I appreciate the response. I don't really understand how your license solves the permission situation any better than a dedication to the public domain would have. And the fact remains that while you feel the need to advocate that "the vast majority of businesses report that intellectual property is not important to them," you yourself are making use of intellectual property to spread that very message. Instead of simply dedicating your work to the public domain, you have chosen to embrace your copyright and to use it to leverage a demand for attribution for your post. Do you consider yourself in those businesses that say IP is not important to them? I should hope not, given the fact that you thought it so very important to use IP in this very instance. Copyright is what empowered you to demand that attribution, and you grabbed onto it with both hands.

     

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  37.  
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    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:35pm

    Re: can we discuss the actual topic?

    why do copyright/patent lobbyists get so much attention?
    At an average of about $2M to get elected to congress, $8.5M to get into the senate and $2.5Bn to be president the answer is obvious and sad:
    Because money.

     

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  38.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:41pm

    Re:

    The question still remains:

    Does using a CC-BY SA 3.0 copyright notice mean he is concerned about protecting his copyright?

    And more importantly:

    Wouldn't the far more restrictive standard copyright be the default unless he added the notice, thus making it presumably more important to him?
    Why use a CC-BY SA 3.0 copyright notice if you are concerned about protecting your work?

    Your post is a hatchet job without these questions having rather specific non-standard answers...

     

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  39.  
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    ottermaton (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:42pm

    Re:

    LMAO @ the irony of you asserting your copyright first thing in a post about how copyright is so very unimportant.

    Actually, you'd be the only one being laughed at, because the rest of us realize that a CC license is pretty much the opposite of "regular" copyright. You see, it explicitly gives you rights to share and transform the work, the only restrictions being to credit the original and to also pass those same rights forward when you do a transformation/adaptation. It practically begs you to share it and build on it.

    Compare that to your "normal" copyright which basically says, "You can do fuck all with this."

    That's a HUGE difference, one that is only lost on complete dunces.

     

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  40.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:46pm

    Re:

    Heh, the all or nothing arguments:
    "Either you denounce racism or you are with Hitler! Either you smoke or you are uncool! Either you love copyright as it works today or you want copyright removed!"

    Somehow the last line you quoted should have clued you into why you are misrepresenting his arguments bigtime!

     

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  41.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:49pm

    Re:

    So, this irony can't be patented?

    Damn!

     

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  42.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:52pm

    Re:

    Interesting that you took that position, though your hostility earlier did your argument absolutely no favours at all.

     

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  43.  
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    Karl (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 2:59pm

    Re:

    the irony of you asserting your copyright first thing in a post about how copyright is so very unimportant.

    As you very well know, CC-BY is the most lenient form of license that is enforceable worldwide. In countries that have the "droid d'auteur," dedicating your work to the public domain is not legally allowed. The SA bit is to prevent others from locking up any derivative works behind copyright.

    If someone believes that "copyright is so very unimportant," CC-BY-SA is the most consistent license they can choose. It is the one that most guarantees that no rights will be removed from the public around the globe. That's not "irony," it's logical consistency.

    Of course, you know this. You're just here to insult people and create red herrings. Exactly the sort of behavior one would expect from a disingenuous troll.

     

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  44.  
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    Karl (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:01pm

    Re: Re:

    "droid d'auteur,"

    Ha, droit d'auteur. Obviously, it doesn't apply to just R2D2 and C-3PO.

     

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  45.  
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    Gabriel J. Michael (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:06pm

    Re:

    FWIW, I'm not a business, I'm an academic. Academics typically have a twisted relationship with copyright, since we often have to sign over our copyrights on written work to publishers in order to publish journal articles. I just did this recently, and was informed that if I wanted, I could pay several thousand dollars to make my journal article open access.

    CC BY-SA is superior to a public domain dedication in the American context (e.g. CC 0) because the United States does not have effective protection of moral rights. If it did (à la France), I could have said something to the effect of "this work is dedicated to the public domain; the author has asserted his moral rights." Moral rights would be adequate to provide me with attribution and protect me from distortion or misrepresentation of the work, which for me are the most important considerations.

    Obviously I fall more on the "flexibilities/limitations and exceptions"-oriented side of the copyright debate. But I don't see why that should preclude me from using copyright when it is to my advantage to do so.

    If your position is that it is hypocritical for anyone who believes copyright should be reformed to make use of copyright, I simply have to disagree. If anything, people who use copyright may be especially interested in its reform, just as people who deal with patents may be interested in patent reform.

    Also, copyright is only one aspect of the survey, which also deals with trademark and patents. Frankly, I think the trademark data is even more interesting than the copyright data. Unlike copyright or patent, trademarks should in theory be useful to virtually every business, but apparently businesses do not view them in that way.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:13pm

    The question still remains:

    Does using a CC-BY SA 3.0 copyright notice mean he is concerned about protecting his copyright?

    And more importantly:

    Wouldn't the far more restrictive standard copyright be the default unless he added the notice, thus making it presumably more important to him?
    Why use a CC-BY SA 3.0 copyright notice if you are concerned about protecting your work?

    Your post is a hatchet job without these questions having rather specific non-standard answers...


    The point being made is that he was able to choose whatever license he wanted because of the power that copyright provided him with. I'm not arguing about the specific license he chose. I'm pointing out that he chose a license at all, rather than just dedicate it to the public domain. The license that he chose works because it's backed by copyright. Violate the terms of the license and you're an infringer.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:20pm

    FWIW, I'm not a business, I'm an academic. Academics typically have a twisted relationship with copyright, since we often have to sign over our copyrights on written work to publishers in order to publish journal articles. I just did this recently, and was informed that if I wanted, I could pay several thousand dollars to make my journal article open access.

    You're an academic posting an anti-copyright piece on an anti-copyright blog.

    CC BY-SA is superior to a public domain dedication in the American context (e.g. CC 0) because the United States does not have effective protection of moral rights. If it did (à la France), I could have said something to the effect of "this work is dedicated to the public domain; the author has asserted his moral rights." Moral rights would be adequate to provide me with attribution and protect me from distortion or misrepresentation of the work, which for me are the most important considerations.

    So, as I said, you are using your copyright to leverage for noneconomic rights that you otherwise wouldn't have. Seems like copyright is doing good things for you.

    Obviously I fall more on the "flexibilities/limitations and exceptions"-oriented side of the copyright debate. But I don't see why that should preclude me from using copyright when it is to my advantage to do so.

    I agree 100%. I celebrate your using copyright for your own benefit, while it at the same time benefits us all. The system is working well.

    If your position is that it is hypocritical for anyone who believes copyright should be reformed to make use of copyright, I simply have to disagree. If anything, people who use copyright may be especially interested in its reform, just as people who deal with patents may be interested in patent reform.

    I think it's pretty darn ironic that you explicitly utilize copyright in an anti-copyright piece posted on an anti-copyright blog. I wasn't leaning towards hypocritical, but I think there's something there.

    Also, copyright is only one aspect of the survey, which also deals with trademark and patents. Frankly, I think the trademark data is even more interesting than the copyright data. Unlike copyright or patent, trademarks should in theory be useful to virtually every business, but apparently businesses do not view them in that way.

    The data is interesting too, don't get me wrong. But I have to wonder if you would count yourself in your own data.

     

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  48.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:21pm

    Re:

    What substance??

    You have no idea what you are talking about.

    Still cheating on your exams AJ??

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:23pm

    Of course, you know this. You're just here to insult people and create red herrings. Exactly the sort of behavior one would expect from a disingenuous troll.

    He said it himself. He's benefiting from copyright by utilizing this license.

     

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  50.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:24pm

    Re:

    Are you really too stupid to realise that the CC-SA licence is from the original creator of the report and it is a condition of the CC-SA licence that attribution and CC-SA licence is passed on with the document.

    You are really grasping at straws now. You have nothing but dishonesty and lies in all of your posts.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:31pm

    Are you really too stupid to realise that the CC-SA licence is from the original creator of the report and it is a condition of the CC-SA licence that attribution and CC-SA licence is passed on with the document.

    You are really grasping at straws now. You have nothing but dishonesty and lies in all of your posts.


    Huh? Where in the report does it have a CC license? The license applies to the OP's post.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 3:34pm

    Re:

    I admit, I'm tempted to join this 'game' but I will not……...So no, AJ, I won't bother trying to teach you. You're not worth it.

    Maybe it's because you're a lowly grocer clerk who's tired of catching a beatdown in every debate you engage in. Better you just worry about the wet spill on aisle four than mix it up with your betters.

     

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    Digitari, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:01pm

    Re: Re:

    "Betters"? like the non-heterosexuals and other minorities that Scream for tolerance, all the while being intolerant of others facts and/ or opinions, yeah "betters".
    You're just human, and obviously, as fallible as the rest of humanity

     

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  54.  
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    Karl (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:05pm

    Re:

    posting an anti-copyright piece on an anti-copyright blog.

    Add "ad hominem" and "straw man" to the long list of lies you habitually tell.

    Demanding that copyright serve its stated purpose of primarily benefiting the public is not "anti-copyright." Believing that copyright laws should be evidence-driven, rather than driven by pure hyperbole, is not "anti-copyright." Being a copyright reformer is not being "anti-copyright."

    Techdirt certainly calls for reform, but it is not "anti-copyright," and this study is not "anti-copyright" either.

    In fact, by always putting the interests of copyright holders above the interests of the general public, the only one here who is anti-copyright is you.

    If you argue against fair use, you are anti-copyright. If you argue that copyright is some sort of natural right, you are anti-copyright. If you argue against public access to works, you are anti-copyright.

    If you want to know who is anti-copyright here, look in the mirror.

     

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    Automatic Grammatizator, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:09pm

    If the system really is working well, we shouldn't be seeing things like the composer of VVVVVV getting flagged for copyright violations on his own music that he composed from scratch.

    http://www.giantbomb.com/articles/the-youtube-snake-is-eating-itself/1100-4815/

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:12pm

    Techdirt certainly calls for reform, but it is not "anti-copyright"

    LOL! Of course it is. If Mike's so pro-copyright, perhaps you can point me to exactly which parts of copyright Mike supports. I mean, he's written tens of thousands of words about copyright, so it should be easy to find examples of him saying something positive about it, right?

    In fact, by always putting the interests of copyright holders above the interests of the general public, the only one here who is anti-copyright is you.

    If you argue against fair use, you are anti-copyright. If you argue that copyright is some sort of natural right, you are anti-copyright. If you argue against public access to works, you are anti-copyright.


    God, you're so binary. It's sad.

    If you want to know who is anti-copyright here, look in the mirror.

    ROFLMAO.

     

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  57.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Copyright reform, anti-copyright; there's no difference to a maximalist.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:39pm

    No one believes you, Chicken Joe.

    average_joe just loathes it when due process is enforced.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:42pm

    Copyright reform, anti-copyright; there's no difference to a maximalist.

    I'll ask you the same question. Precisely which aspects of copyright does Mike support, and how did you arrive at your conclusion? There's tons of data out there. Surely you can find something to back up your claim that he's not anti-copyright.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:43pm

    No one believes you, Chicken Joe.

    And yet the author himself admitted that he benefits from copyright. Funny how you guys just skip the parts you don't like.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:46pm

    Re:

    Better to be binary, than mono like you.

    Lets ramp up copyright and steal more from the public.

     

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  62.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 4:54pm

    Re:

    Funny how you'll defend Prenda Law to the dying breath and you'll find every opportunity to shit on this site.

    Maybe if you hadn't spent months mimicking a coop you might have a shred of credibility left. But you did, so you don't.

     

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  63.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 5:32pm

    Re:

    Where has Mike EVER called for the abolution of Copyright.

    Can you link to even once where he has called for NO copyright at all?

    You are the biggest piece of lying shit to comment on this site. I guess that is why you are in training to be a copyright lawyer. The truth gets in the way of your story telling.

     

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  64.  
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    LAB (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 5:57pm

    "In 2010, 87.2% of businesses reported that trademarks were 'not important' to them."

    While that is true, 55.5% of businesses with an active R&D Department said trademarks were "very important" to "some what important."

    "90.1% of businesses reported that copyrights were “not important” to them.

    This figure drops to less than 50%(47.9) for companies with an active R&D department with over 50 employees.

    "96.2% of businesses reported that patents were “not important” to them."

    This figure is specifically for utility patents.

    Utility patent: Issued for the invention of a new and useful process, machine, manufacture, or composition of matter, or a new and useful improvement thereof

    In 2010, 96.2% of businesses had no need for a utility patent. Most businesses do not invent and thus have no need for utility patents.


    "For example, take one of the most copyright-dependent sectors we can imagine: “R&D active” software publishing.
    In 2010, 51.4% of respondents in this sector said copyright was “very important”; 34.6% said it was “somewhat important”; and 13.9% said it was “not important.” That is, only about half of respondents in a purportedly heavily copyright-dependent sector describe copyright as “very important” to their business.

    What those figures means is that 86% of respondents said copyright was important. Over half saying it was very important. Only 13.9% said it wasn't important. I am not saying this piece is biased in any way but.........

    I don't get on here just to be contrarian. But seriously, c'mon. The study itself is set up as companies with active R&D Departments and those without. IP is important to companies that innovate and create. That is what this study communicates to me.

     

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  65.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 6:33pm

    Re:

    >I don't get on here just to be contrarian.

    Looking at your commentary on Prenda Law, your concern that content creators (read: pornographers) might face obstacles in suing people for alleged downloads seems to indicate otherwise. Your best attempt at outrage over copyright abuse is a shrug and a "meh, it might be illegal".

    I'm not convinced.

     

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  66.  
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    Gabriel J. Michael (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 6:35pm

    Re:

    The R&D active versus non-R&D active distinction is only particularly relevant for utility patents and design patents (and mask works, but hardly anyone registers masks works anymore).

    From a theoretical perspective, there is no reason to think that R&D active businesses would benefit more or less from trademarks than non-R&D active businesses. Of course, these data suggest there is a difference between the two groups, which is something worth exploring.

    The copyright data are more complex, given that most copyrightable subject matter was explicitly excluded from the definition of R&D used in the survey. One could make an argument about which group (R&D active/non-active) is more meaningful to discuss, or simply report the overall figures, as I did.

    The three value Likert items are not really ideal precisely because the definition of "somewhat important" is unclear. Is "somewhat important" equidistant from "very" and "not"? Do survey respondents select it as a "neutral" value when they don't want to choose "very" or "not"? In my opinion, eliding the distinction between "very" and "somewhat" will tend to overstate importance.

     

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  67.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 6:55pm

    Re:

    So, all of those IP intensive Grocery stores have massive spends on R&D?

    What those figures means is that 86% of respondents said copyright was important. Over half saying it was very important. Only 13.9% said it wasn't important. I am not saying this piece is biased in any way but.........

    This is correct if you only look at the companies that do R&D in exclusion. When you factor in the rest of the industries, Especially when you factor in all of the companies that were included in the USPTO report, then that figure changes dramatically.

     

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  68.  
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    LAB (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 7:09pm

    Re: Re:

    I have no need to convince you or any other "anonymous coward" of anything. I am not addressing Prenda nor made any mention of it in my post. This article is about a survey of U.S companies in relation to Copyright, trademark, and patents. If you do not wish to discuss that then

    "these aren't the droid you're looking for,..........."
    "You can go about your business,........."
    " Move along..............."

     

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  69.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 7:13pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    You brought up your insistence that you're not here to be "contrarian". Yet anyone looking through your posts would find your credibility in that regard wanting.

    You're not an asshole like most of the copyright shills, but giving you the benefit of the doubt is a stretch.

     

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  70.  
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    LAB (profile), Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 7:37pm

    Re: Re:

    The R&D active versus non-R&D active distinction is only particularly relevant for utility patents and design patents (and mask works, but hardly anyone registers masks works anymore).

    One would posit companies that are inventing or innovating would have any use for utility patents. If most companies do not participate in these activities then it would follow most companies would have no use for patents.

    "From a theoretical perspective, there is no reason to think that R&D active businesses would benefit more or less from trademarks than non-R&D active businesses. Of course, these data suggest there is a difference between the two groups, which is something worth exploring."

    I think Xerox would be a perfect example. Xerox copies would be a process that a company would want to trademark and undoubtedly required an R&D department to invent.

    "The three value Likert items are not really ideal precisely because the definition of "somewhat important" is unclear. Is "somewhat important" equidistant from "very" and "not"? Do survey respondents select it as a "neutral" value when they don't want to choose "very" or "not"? In my opinion, eliding the distinction between "very" and "somewhat" will tend to overstate importance"

    If an answer is Yes, no, or maybe, Yes's and maybes count as possibles and no s stand alone. I believe "very important" and "somewhat important" are not ambiguous. They either have importance or they do not. On this we do not agree and that is fine. Thank you for your response

     

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  71.  
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    Just Sayin', Dec 23rd, 2013 @ 8:10pm

    Addressing the actual story

    Okay, you guys have a hard time with AJ or whoever pointing out the incredible irony of an anti-copyright post using a subset of copyright to demand certain things in return for a license to use... but hey, it's shallow.

    Let's look more at the scam of numbers. Notice that nobody talks about WHICH businesses were surveyed here. If you survey 100 shops at your local mall, most of them won't consider patents important. If you survey 100 ice cream shops, they likely won't say copyright is a big part of their business. If you survey 100 non-franchise burger places, they are likely to say trademarks aren't important to them.

    What is missing is the link between the first number "“IP-intensive industries” accounted for 40 million American jobs and 35% of the U.S. GDP in 2010." and the actual percentage of GPD represented by the companies surveyed. It really depends on the businesses you look at. If you surveyed 100 fast food franchises, they would tell you that trademarks are VERY important, or 100 publishers who would say copyright is important, or 100 drug companies who would say patents are important.

    The author conveniently skips over the methodology, and as a result, nullifies his work. It's still a copyright work and you damn well better give him an attribution or he an sue you, but it's still horseshit lies and made up stupidity.

     

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  72.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 1:51am

    Re:

    A fair answer. I would however hold, that this context wasn't clear and the framing was a bit unfair if you wanted a real discussion.

     

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  73.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 1:56am

    Re:

    You have had your fun. Now go away!

     

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  74.  
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    JMT (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 3:54am

    Re:

    "...surely you know that Mike says his posts here on TD are in the public domain."

    And as a wannabe lawyer, you should know this has no legal basis, and is really only a statement of Mike's intent not to enforce the automatically granted copyright.

    "He explicitly invoked his copyright. The irony is killing me."

    And real irony here is that he's doing the exact opposite of what you claim, and yet you claim to be a legal expert.

     

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  75.  
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    JMT (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 3:59am

    Re:

    What's the matter Joe? Afraid to discuss the fact that as a wannabe IP lawyer this study is a direct threat to your intended career? Trying to deflect the conversation off-topic again?

     

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  76.  
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    Karl (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 5:41am

    Re:

    If Mike's so pro-copyright

    And there you have it. If you're not "pro-copyright," you're "anti-copyright."

    God, you're so binary. It's sad.

    Pot, meet kettle.

    In any case, all of the things I enumerated are well-settled law. It's not "binary," it's factually correct.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 7:12am

    Where has Mike EVER called for the abolution of Copyright.

    Can you link to even once where he has called for NO copyright at all?


    He's written tens of thousands of words about copyright, all of them negative. It's not hard to tell that he's anti-copyright. Again, if he supports ANY of it, surely you can identify which parts he supports. Do you honestly think that Mike is pro-copyright? LOL!

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 7:15am

    And there you have it. If you're not "pro-copyright," you're "anti-copyright."

    Tens of thousands of words point to anti-copyright. This isn't hard, Karl. Are you seriously suggesting that Mike Masnick is pro-copyright? LMAO! He's too chicken shit to ever have a direct conversation about his personal beliefs about copyright. I wonder why... Hmmm... This really isn't hard, Karl.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 7:19am

    The fact that you guys (including the oh-so-sad TD sockpuppets) all so vehemently deny that Mike is anti-copyright is some of the funniest shit I've ever seen. Not one of you can point to even one instance where Mike shows that he supports any aspect of the copyright system.

    Sorry, Chicken Mike, but everyone knows it--even without you being man enough to actually come right out and say it. How ridiculously sad that you can't be honest about something so obvious. I actually feel sorry for you.

     

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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 8:12am

    Re:

    I know more subtle stuff is a little confusing to people with such black-and-white views, but it's possible to disagree with the abuses of a system, while still agreeing with the underlying system and reasoning behind it.

    Pointing out what's wrong with copyright law no more makes someone 'anti-copyright' than pointing out that a building is on fire makes someone 'pro-arson'.

     

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  81.  
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    That One Guy (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 8:17am

    Re:

    'I wonder why...'

    Because you've proven beyond a doubt that it's a complete and utter waste of time for anyone to attempt to debate with you, as you are incapable of doing so.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120818/01171420087/funniestmost-insightful-comments-week-techd irt.shtml#c1210

    Next question.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 8:37am

    I know more subtle stuff is a little confusing to people with such black-and-white views, but it's possible to disagree with the abuses of a system, while still agreeing with the underlying system and reasoning behind it.

    If Mike agrees with any of the underlying system and reasoning behind it, wouldn't it stand to reason that he would have said so somewhere in those tens of thousands of words he's written about copyright? It's hilarious how you guys (and Mike esp.) can't just admit that he's anti-copyright.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 8:40am

    Because you've proven beyond a doubt that it's a complete and utter waste of time for anyone to attempt to debate with you, as you are incapable of doing so.

    Bullshit. I'm ready to discuss difficult issues on the merits. Mike runs from such substantive discussions like a cockroach fleeing when the lights come on. I love how you guys try to spin this to being about me. I'm not the one who's too scared to discuss his beliefs about copyright. Mike is. And it's not just me he runs from, so that kind of blows your whole theory. Want proof? Ask Mike yourself which parts of copyright specifically he supports. He will not answer you.

     

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  84.  
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    Karl (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 9:27am

    Re:

    Are you seriously suggesting that Mike Masnick is pro-copyright?

    Failing to be "pro-copyright" does not make you "anti-copyright." Apparently you missed that part of my post.

    He's too chicken shit to ever have a direct conversation about his personal beliefs about copyright.

    Well, yeah, except when he does an entire post about it:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130516/15445423110/framework-copyright-reform.shtml

    That isn't the first one, either.

    I could hunt down examples, but why bother? You would just lie about what Mike said, then claim he didn't answer questions he absolutely did.

    It's exactly what you do every single time with anything Mike says, and you do that most of the time with anything anyone (like me) says too.

    Hell, this entire thread was started by you doing just that. Using a CC-BY-SA license does not mean you are "really" pro-copyright. It doesn't mean that the person who uses a CC license is hypocritical if they advocate for copyright reform. It is not "ironic" if they use a CC-BY-SA license even if they are a copyright abolitionist (which the author is not), because a CC-BY-SA license is the closest one can get to effecting copyright abolition within the bounds of the law.

    The only thing "ironic" is that you believe it is ironic. That belief stems from a false sense of the hypocrisy of others, when in fact you are the most hypocritical person on Techdirt.

     

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  85.  
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    Gene Cavanaugh (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 9:52am

    IP not important to US businesses

    As an IP attorney, I generally agree with this post. I do only small entity IP, since large entity IP is so abused I would feel unpatriotic doing it.
    When a client comes to me for IP work, I ask them to consider whether or not they actually NEED it.
    Obviously, if they have some sort of product that they can be sure other people will want to copy, they may need a patent.
    Also, obviously, if they have worked hard to build a good reputation, and the unscrupulous will want to unload junk using the good will they laboriously built up, they will need a trademark.
    I don't see, and have never seen, the need for copyright, but that could happen in some cases.
    But, by and large, most people DON'T need IP, and may be wasting their money in getting it.

     

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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 10:39am

    Failing to be "pro-copyright" does not make you "anti-copyright." Apparently you missed that part of my post.

    You still haven't shown how he's not anti-copyright. You at least admit he's not pro-copyright. You're most of the way there!

    Well, yeah, except when he does an entire post about it:
    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130516/15445423110/framework-copyright-reform.shtml


    And nowhere in that post does he say he agrees with any aspect of copyright. It's just high-level stuff about promoting the progress and using empirical data, about which, of course, he never tells us anything concrete.

    Hell, this entire thread was started by you doing just that. Using a CC-BY-SA license does not mean you are "really" pro-copyright. It doesn't mean that the person who uses a CC license is hypocritical if they advocate for copyright reform. It is not "ironic" if they use a CC-BY-SA license even if they are a copyright abolitionist (which the author is not), because a CC-BY-SA license is the closest one can get to effecting copyright abolition within the bounds of the law.

    The author himself admitted that he was benefiting from copyright since it permits him to demand the noneconomic benefits that he wants. That he himself uses copyright for his own benefit in an article that was meant to discredit copyright is pretty freakin' hilariously ironic.

     

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

  87.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 11:58am

    Re: Re:

    Hey, I'll have you know that as one of the card carrying members of the MOST IMPORTANT IP INDUSTRY of all... Grocery Stores Dunh Dunh Dunh (think Belt from the Croods)... (seriously, read your masters reports if you don't believe me), that lowly grocery store clerk is the one who's paying your masters salaries so they can fund your trolling.

    If it were not for Grocery Stores and Grocery Store Clerks upholding the mantel of Copyright Shenanigans, who else would we have to look to for guidance?

    /ramble/s

     

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  88.  
    icon
    Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 2:15pm

    Re:

    Copyright is what empowered you to demand that attribution, and you grabbed onto it with both hands.
    Well I find myself completely unsurprised that you failed to read even the part you actually quoted. Or perhaps you deliberately misinterpreted...
    and embedding a note about the CC BY-SA licensing makes it more likely that people won't lose the licensing information and feel they need to ask for permission.
    The point Mr Michael seems to be making there is that copyright exists on everything and , as has been seen time and again, many publications are nervous to use content that might be copyrighted. His stated intent in attribution is not personal aggrandisement, but instead to help keep the information intact that would allow more people to use it without fear.
    That you would try and paint someone desperately trying to work as best he can within the mess that is copyright law as hypocritical is as predictable as it is dumb.

     

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  89.  
    identicon
    Just Sayin', Dec 24th, 2013 @ 2:27pm

    Re: Re:

    Mike's general comments on Patents (that they are blocking innovation) sort of point to where he is going. If you read back over the years, he doesn't want to abolish patents or copyright, as much as he just wants to modify the law until they are toothless and without danger of actually being effective in any way.

    It's sort of like the Republican's trying to defund Obamacare. They knew they could never change the law, so they tries to erode it instead. The intended result was exactly the same, and Mike is more than smart enough to couch his opinions in a manner that doesn't take the extremist stance of purely abolishing the systems.

     

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  90.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 3:41pm

    Re:

    You still haven't shown how he's not anti-copyright.

    Those are not the statements of a copyright abolitionist. If he was an abolitionist, he wouldn't have said that copyright needs to be based on promoting the progress; he wouldn't have said it needs to be based on facts. He would have just said "Congress needs to abolish it" and left it at that.

    ...Not that it makes a difference. No matter what he says, you'll just claim he's lying, and that he's "really" a copyright abolitionist. All part of building a straw man.

    You at least admit he's not pro-copyright.

    Almost nobody is "pro-copyright" by your standards. To be "pro-copyright," apparently you think you have to support any and all legislation or enforcement that benefits rights holders, no matter what damage it does to everyone else. That's not actually "pro-copyright," it's copyright maximalism, and it goes against the very purpose of copyright.

     

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  91.  
    icon
    Karl (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 3:46pm

    Re:

    Also:

    in an article that was meant to discredit copyright

    It's meant to debunk myths that are deliberately spread by certain pro-rights-holder organizations. That doesn't "discredit copyright," unless you think that promoting facts over myths "discredits copyright." If so, then you're doing more harm to copyright than any study ever could.

     

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

  92.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 7:42pm

    Re: Re:

    Well, I don't know if he considers it all that important... but it doesn't appear to important to his business -- he's willing to let others use it for free.

     

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

  93.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 24th, 2013 @ 7:42pm

    Re:

    Right back atcha:

    I'll ask you the same question. Precisely which aspects of anti-copyright does Mike support, and how did you arrive at your conclusion? There's tons of data out there. Surely you can find something to back up your claim that he's anti-copyright.

     

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

  94.  
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    BernardoVerda (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 7:50pm

    Re: Re:

    IOW: the problem isn't the existence of copyright, itself, but the current abuse of copyright, enabled by a counter-productive copyright regime.

    And Creative Commons, and the GPL, and several other similar instruments, highlight this reality.

     

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

  95.  
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    BernardoVerda (profile), Dec 24th, 2013 @ 7:54pm

    Re:

    ... an article about the unimportance of copyright to business!

    Think about that, just a little...

     

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

  96.  
    identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Dec 25th, 2013 @ 3:43pm

    Barriers to Entry, Other Than Intellectual Property (to Gene Cavanaugh, #86)

    I would go a bit further, actually. I think you are tacitly assuming that a manufactured product is something which can be either photo-printed or downloaded. The electronic and software industries are rather singular in that their basic manufacturing processes are similar to those of the entertainment industry, and allow the industries to shift products as fast as new information-carrying media can be loaded.

    By contrast, a mass-produced automobile represents some billions of dollars worth of tool-and-die work. The kind of limiting factors which operate in the automobile industry are availability of investment capital; labor costs, including legacy labor costs; government safety, fuel economy, local content, and environmental requirements; etc. If you read local studies, accounts of the development of particular car models, you find that the principal motive of secrecy was usually to avoid political manipulation, not to preserve competitive advantage. The automakers were afraid that people with inside information, accurate or otherwise, might come and demand things. The limiting factor on copying features from rival automobiles was usually not information, but the sheer capital requirements, eg electroplating tanks big enough to galvanize a thousand automobile bodies a day, and one set of tanks for each assembly line. Naturally, the automobile industry has a strong preference for the status quo. It prefers to use an existing part, whose tooling is already paid for. As against that is the necessity of making the difference between a new automobile and a five-year-old automobile publicly visible, in order to put pressure on customers to buy new cars. This is done by changing superficial surfaces, such as fenders, grilles, etc. The actual limiting factors on an automobile's performance are speed limits and traffic congestion. A correlary of this is that an independent inventor, who comes up with an automobile-related device, is likely to have an exaggerated idea of the automobile industry's willingness to adopt his device, piratically or otherwise. It costs a good deal of money to reduce anything to mass-production practice, and if it isn't conspicuously visible, it probably won't sell new cars. As for compliance with government mandates, manufacturers tend to adopt a "Pay the Danegeld, and you never get rid of the Dane" mentality. That is, efforts to comply with government mandates, achieving some success, will merely result in more stringent mandates in following years, with no net advantage to the manufacturer.

    For a whole range of small items which are necessarily sold through general merchandise stores, such as convenience stores, drugstores, grocery stores, and discount stores, there is a different factor, that the store has de-facto powers of preemption. A big chain store is not very likely to cause counterfeit Coca-Cola cans to be manufactured, but it can and will push its own house-brand cola, and few consumers are likely to care enough about the difference to go looking for "the real thing." Store chains levy slotting fees, on the threat of not stocking the name-brand product at all. A general merchandiser has its own reputation to consider, and tends to impose its own standards on its suppliers.

    As a general rule, the most important factor for storefront businesses is Location, and related factors such as zoning. The trademarked name of a store is often not as important as knowledge of how to get there. Again, the inherent barriers to entry are such that it is not possible to be a fly-by-night grocer. Even to deceive a "Moron in a hurry" requires much too much in the way of fresh produce, bread, meat, and dairy products. Parenthetically, a storefront business can often change its name without any particular difficulty. Customers arrive at the store, discover that "Smith's" is now "Jones," but it seems still be in the same business. So they go in, and meet a familiar sales representative, who turns out to be selling substantially the same merchandise, and there is no problem.

     

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  97.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 29th, 2013 @ 5:11pm

    average_joe just hates it when due process is enforced.

     

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


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