More People Thinking About Smart Copyright Reform

from the about-time dept

With the entertainment industry constantly pushing for ever more draconian changes to copyright law, it seems we’re finally seeing some pushback from folks who are extremely knowledgeable about copyright law and its impact. From that, more and more suggestions are popping up, saying that copyright reform really needs to go in an opposite direction. In the last year alone, we’ve already highlighted proposals from Jessica Litman and Public Knowledge with suggestions on how to reform copyright law. On top of that, William Patry has indicated that his next book will be all about how to fix the copyright system. Now, apparently, we can add Pam Samuelson’s voice to the group. SF Gate has a short article by Samuelson highlighting the problems with copyright law today, and then suggesting some ways to fix the system. Apparently, she’s about to release a larger report, called “The Copyright Principles Project: Directions for Reform,” which will “explore 25 ideas for copyright reform.” Once that comes out, we’ll be sure to spend some time going through the proposals, but it’s great that some of the brightest minds in copyright are all starting to converge on the need to fix copyright law, rather than just keep ratcheting it up.

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Comments on “More People Thinking About Smart Copyright Reform”

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R4ltman (profile) says:


I’ve been making collage since ten years before youtube came around, in fact, my local paper has a quote from me regarding what i thought of them then. It is the same as it ever was, ever since disney mashed up the grimmz, however i always knew that all the edits that made up the college, heretofore referred to as RCP (recontextualized content promotion) were/are in and of themselves a link potentially to the souce component. If content owners incentivized usage of otherwise dormant (more obscure, ie not current, ie six months old, stuff they are no longer actively promoting) we’d make a bundle off RCPs. Don’t reproduce this, no one will agree for at least another ten years, patheticaly.

Karl (profile) says:

Good news

It’s good to see more copyright experts realize that the system is very broken. Too bad those experts don’t have the deep pockets of the MPAA or RIAA.

There is one simple reform that would solve about 90% of the copyright problems in our country today: get rid of statutory damages for non-commercial infringement.

The moment that rights holders actually have to prove their financial losses, they are sunk. Things like the Righthaven or Hurt Locker lawsuits would be eliminated overnight.

Hephaestus (profile) says:

Re: Good news

“There is one simple reform that would solve about 90% of the copyright problems in our country today: get rid of statutory damages for non-commercial infringement.”

Here are some more ideas …

Remove the instant copyright and allow 1 year from publishing to actually have to register a copyright or else it goes into the public domain.

Charge to copyright.

Limit copyright to 30 years (15 year with a 15 year renewal) after which it goes into the public domain.

Define fair use. Also allow the rights holder to expand the definition of fair use when copyrighting.

Steve R. (profile) says:

Missing the Original Intent of Copyright

While it is good to see some people questioning the current state of copyright, the article by Pamela Samuelson misses a very critical concept; that copyright was only meant for a limited time to further the progress of the arts and sciences. In reading Ms. Samuelson article, the casual reader may come to the realization that copyright is out-of-whack but they won’t realize that it was never meant to be a toll-booth to collect revenue.

By failing to get back to the basics of copyright in her article, Ms. Samuelson does not provide us with good entry point for arguing how copyright can be improved. For example she makes the statement that: “Moreover, virtually every firm today has some copyright asset it wants to protect, such as a logo, an advertising motif, software, databases or website content.” The preceding statement is not a valid use of copyright; so if a pundit allows it to pass as an acceptable use; how do we refute it???????

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