Yes, just about every measure goes into the right direction. However, the real problems aren't tackled at all.
a) Patents on mathematics. It's still possible to patent mathematical algorithms, called "software" to muddle the case. These are completely illegal already BUT the patent office and patent lawyers have defined pi=3 to justify them. In other words: The mathematical (and computer science) definition of algorithm is totally different than that of lawyers, courts and the patent office. And the lawyers, courts and patent office just don't get it that their definition is wrong unscientific bogus. Somebody would need to fix that, even if it would mean to insert a definition that "software is mathematics" into law. *sigh*
b) patents on things were prior art is provided by nature, or by somebody else who didn't patent it. This includes a lot of patents on gene-sequences. While it may take a lot of work to re-create bacterial DNA sequences, these very same sequences already exist in the bacteria, and are therefore in no way novel. Patent offices neither check whether something already exists in nature, nor whether something was used or published long time ago, but not subject to any patent. This leads to (apart from being an illegal patent on mathematics anyway) absurd things like "slide to unlock", which happens to be invented in the bronze age (are maybe even the stone age): http://seegras.ch/patents-on-bronze-age-technology/ This issue is rather more difficult to fix than the mathematics one.
There's some more issues, like the lumping of trademarks, copyrights and patents together, and ending up with bans on imports of technology which /might/ violate patents, but which were meant to be used against counterfeit (=violating trademarks) goods.
And of course this is also not conclusive, looming in the back is the big question itself: Is it worth all the effort and wasted energy only to grant _monopolies_?
Because, as the Economist already noted in 1851: "the granting patents “inflames cupidity,” excites fraud, stimulates men to run after schemes that may enable them to levy a tax on the public, begets disputes and quarrels betwixt inventors, provokes endless lawsuits, bestows rewards on the wrong persons, makes men ruin themselves for the sake of getting the privileges of a patent. Patents are like lotteries, in which there are a few prizes and a great many blanks. Comprehensive patents are taken out by some parties, for the purpose of stopping inventions, or appropriating the fruits of the inventions of others, &c. Such Consequences, more resembling the smuggling and fraud caused by an ill-advised tax than anything else, cause a strong suspicion. that the principle of the law from which such consequences flow cannot be just."
And actually, that is the final word about the patent system. That abomination needs to be abolished, as it should have been in 1851 already.
I presume you wanted to say "Fuck Washington and fuck Jefferson" as well. And especially "Fuck Benjamin Franklin", because he was the one publishing all those stories about the British abusing their power?
In a Democracy, "We the People" are the topmost ruler. And somebody leaking government secrets to the People can not be a traitor.
Yes, some adversaries of the People now know the secrets too, but that still does not mean the whistleblower is a traitor.
Yes, it's very common and well-known that museums claim copyrights where they haven't any.
For instance, any reproduction of a two-dimensional work of art for which copyright has expired CAN NOT be placed under copyright again. So you're free to scan museum postcards or catalogues and publish them again. You can't put a license on them, because they're public domain anyway.
It's different with three-dimensional works of art, where light, angle, focus and so on play a role. This means, a photograph of say, a piece of armour, can underlie copyright. Not the armour, but the photograph of it, because it can constitute a work of art itself.
Any museum trying to restrict photography on the basis of copyright can only do this for modern works (but doesn't even have to -- the work is on public display, and unless the photographer publishes his picture, no copyright violation has taken place), but not ever for anything which does not underlie copyright (anymore).
They can however, restrict photography however they want, on the basis of householders right. If you violate that, they can throw you out. But they don't have any right to a) search your camera, b) make you delete your pictures, c) call the police (unless you refuse to leave) to obtain a or b. And in case you've photographed a three-dimensional work, your picture probably even underlies copyright, and deleting it would be a destruction of your copyrighted work... ;)
If you're such a moron to expand copyright to whenever, you shouldn't be surprised people don't honour it. To quote:
"And you will find that, in attempting to impose unreasonable restraints on the reprinting of the words of the dead, you have, to a great extent, annulled those restraints which now prevent men from pillaging and defrauding the living." -- Thomas Babington Macaulay, Speechs to House of Commons
on 5 Feb. 1841 Opposing Proposed Life + 60 Year Copyright Term
Before you try to "educate" people to adhere to your mad money-making scheme that is this copyright with durations above lifetimes, fix it. No copyright for the Dead. Fuck these Zombies!
... exists in Germany too, it's called (rather clumsy, because it's coined by courts, not just some lawyer) "Schutzrechtsberühmung".
And the applicable article regarding the parts quoted by techdirt would be §51:
"Allowed is the reproduction, dissemination and public rendition of a published work for the use as citation, insofar as the use in its extent is justified by its special use."
(translation by me, keeping the convoluted structure of the original).
So no matter which law applies, what techdirt did is still legal.
The real problem is that if we did carve out software from patentability, it's likely that crafty patent lawyers would quickly figure out how to rewrite patent claims to make them broadly cover the same concepts in a way that could be seen as not being "software."
Eh, that has already happened. Software is mathematics, and mathematics are not patentable. However, patent offices and courts have come up with a completely nonsensical definition of algorithm which they apply to judge software as being not mathematics. Kind of ruling that Pi is exactly equal to "3".
Software being mathematics is mathematically proofable. So there is actually no ambiguity involved. And as it happens, it also dispells all these arguments that come up all the time, like "but if it's in an ASIC" and whatever, because it defines totally clear what is patentable (In this case: the ASIC as such, but not the logic of any possible program that runs in it).
Now, the only problem is to get patent offices and courts to acknowledge the scientifc truth. And *poof*, all the software patents would be gone ;)
Apart from that, there's another big BUT: Having no software patents would NOT solve the problem. All the problems discussed at this conference would still exist.
Because most of them are inherent in the matter that is being subjected to patents (namely: the impossibility to draw clear borders to other things, ambiguity of the language, and the fact that most innovation happens gradually and everything depends on everything else).
There's only one thing where these inherent problems don't exist, and that's chemical compounds. And if you look at the statistics, you'll see that _everywhere_ but in pharmaceuticals legal expenses are much higher than gains with licensing. Which makes it clear that the patent system is not just defect, it's completely kaputt, broken by design, at best useless and more often damaging for everything but chemical components.
You can't fix it. The only thing there is to do is to abolish it for everything where it does not work.
As for chemicals, there are other problems. It produces monsters like Monsanto. However, that is not a problem within the patent system itself. In that case it works as it is supposed to work.
And I'm going to amend it: If you do, you won't get neither.
Security is also "security from being imprisoned without a charge", security is also "security from not being taken out of your home at night by the secret police", security is also "security from an unfair process", security is also "security from not being bombed by a drone because your neighbour happens to host a wanted criminal", security is also "security from being groped by some customs official". And so on.
What you get if you give up liberty is a totalitarian state. And you'll will find that in a totalitarian state, you've got no security at all.
Like "if you're gambling away your money, you're going to be bankrupt?" Well, there used to be something like that, before some people decided to "bail-out" banks on account of them being big...
Anyway, a whole lot of the shenanigans banks are involved today could probably be prevented in just having a few very simple laws. Like "capital gains are subject to taxes" and "You may not lend out more than half the money you're indebted" or something like that... You can tell it's not going to be popular ;)
Well, it would be fine and all if anyone had thought of the future when writing the law.
Sometimes they did, sometimes they did not. And sometimes an entirely sensible law was changed in a way which produced problems in the future.
Like those morons that decided that copyright should be valid after the death of the author. There was no reason to change it to that, but rampant rent-seeking of publishers. They did it, and lo and behold, we've got a shitload of works nobody can publish anymore because nobody can find all the probable heirs and rightholders.
And it goes on. Loads of laws with specific exemptions for some technology, which will be obsolete in 20 years, but the law will still be wreaking havoc.
That is correct. However, that design was corrupted by extending the term of copyright past the lifespan of generations of humans. Currently copyright benefits authors and its remains
I fixed that. Obviously copyright past the lifespan of the author benefits its remains..
Assange willingly solicited leakers from the U.S. This is no different from any other spy agency in the world trying to recruit assets in a nation it wishes to gain secret information from.
I paraphrase: The New York Times willingly solicited whistleblowers from a company. This is no different from any other news agency in the world trying to recruit assets in a company it wishes to gain secret information from.
You miss one crucial bit: Public. So they would solicit "spies" for the public (which, by the way, includes you)?
I repeat here what would really work:
Fixing the problem would be minimizing the amount of people who have access to classified material. Since they tend to over-classify, nobody can work without that classified-access, so there's a huge amount of people who need that access.
The only rational course would be the declassify 90% of what gets classified right now, since it's not really important. And for the rest, you would not have to give 2 Million people access, but maybe only 50'000, so the chance of leaks would be very much lower.
But bureaucracies don't really work like that, since bureaucrats get power over other bureaucrats when classifying things. So everyone classifies and thus ever more people need access to that material...
...Well, at least "advances" are not what you want to have from publishers anymore, so why not just self-publish?
Hire your own free-lance editor (since the publisher will sue you for your advance anyway), get somebody who will publish it on all the usual e-book-shops, and you're set. And probably much cheaper than with a publisher..
The court misses some important points here, indeed. First, if people are paying levies for unauthorized downloads, society will perceive their actions to be justified.
That's NOT a problem. This is absolutely intended, because copyright applies to PUBLISHING, not to possession or acquisition. And most European countries do have exactly the same philosophy behind their copyright laws.
Second, people mainly use phones, computers and portable devices for music and films. Hardly anyone uses blank media any more. Therefore, levies on CD’s, for example, miss the objective.
Yes, if the levies are only on CD's it's of course absurd. The NRW Pirate Party (Germany) proposed a general levy on data storage devices not exceeding 5% of the retail price. Which sounds about sensible.
Third, if a levy is imposed, we get into the sticky situation where actual losses from downloading unauthorized content needs to be determined, which is a seemingly impossible task.
THAT is of course a problem. I can see here the big content producers profiting, but not the photographer of a cat, whose picture is widely circulated everywhere.
But these levies are already here, in the Netherlands, Germany(!), Sweden, Norway, Switzerland .. I don't know where else, but probably all over Europe.