Comic Artist Dylan Horrocks Explains How Copyright Is Too Often Used To Kill Culture

from the death-by-a-thousand-cuts dept

Andrew Dubber points us to a wonderful essay from New Zealand cartoonist Dylan Horrocks (who, it should be noted, recently claimed that some stuff here on Techdirt was "very stupid") highlighting how New Zealand's government (and content creators) shouldn't be too quick to rush into expanding copyright law following the vision presented by the US entertainment industry. The whole thing is worth reading (seriously -- go read it), but I'll just highlight a few key points. First, he covers the well-chronicled history of Superman, and how DC Comics totally screwed over Superman's creators. But, even more importantly, they used that same copyright to block a competing (and, for a time, more successful) superhero, Captain Marvel:
Superman's popularity led to a boom in 'superhero' comics, with dozens of new characters introduced by every publisher in the business. One in particular, the red-costumed Captain Marvel (created by C C Beck and Bill Parker for Fawcett Comics), became so popular it eventually overtook even Superman in sales. Captain Marvel was witty and clever, with distinctive and playful art, and helped push the young American comics industry to new heights of quality and sophistication. But National, searching for a way to crush its biggest competitor, sued Fawcett for copyright infringement.

The case dragged on for years before Fawcett finally gave up, settling out of court and promising to shut down the Captain Marvel line. Many comics fans remember the end of Captain Marvel as the day their favourite hero was finally slain -- not by alien invaders or supernatural powers -- but by copyright lawyers. Looking back today, National's lawsuit looks weak indeed. But in the battle between Superman and Captain Marvel, the better comic lost.
He also talks about other cases, such as one involving Disney shutting down an underground comic -- while at the same time screwing over its own internal cartoonists. And another, about how the organization that holds the copyright for Tarzan in the US, which is in the public domain in New Zealand, threatened a NZ author for writing a book that included Tarzan. Even though the author had a strong case (hello, public domain!), just fighting it in court was too expensive. The pattern he lays out is clear: how copyright is so frequently abused to allow corporations to actually harm content creators, rather than help them.

The key point he makes at the end is worth repeating. The entire concept of copyright is based on this idea that you can actually own culture -- but as has been discussed plenty of times in the past, culture is about a shared experience. And these two points are very much in conflict. It is difficult to share an experience when someone else claims ownership of it:
When we're honest, most writers will admit that our work is not entirely ours. We don't invent our stories out of nothing. The truth is, we make them out of what's come before and what surrounds us every day: the world we live in, people we know, stories we've read and images we've seen. We swim in a deep ocean of culture, and in a very real sense, everything we make is made from that vast, shared sea. We are part of it, just as we are part of the world in which we live. If we treat that ecosystem as nothing more than raw materials to be torn up, exploited and sold in the marketplace, then sooner or later the whole system will fall apart. And if we draw water from the shared ocean -- as all writers do -- we must also learn to give something back. The relationship between a writer and their work is vitally important and must be respected. But we must also respect the countless other relationships that form around our stories and ideas: those who read them, share them and respond by making something new.
If only those who made policy actually recognized this concept.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:02pm

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

     

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  2.  
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    sidewinder, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:03pm

    " ... that ecosystem as nothing more than raw materials to be torn up, exploited and sold in the marketplace, ..."

    Certainly, that has been my experience of the American Capitalist view of ecosystems both physical & cultural.

    Never has a nail been hit more squarely on the head

     

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  3.  
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    Nina Paley (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:07pm

    Yay!

    Thank god some comic artists are getting it.

     

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  4.  
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    Yogi, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:10pm

    Well said

    I thought Obama would be the first president to understand this intuitively. Unfortunately, I was wrong but sooner or later the generation that grew up in this shared culture will come to power and then - payback time...

     

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  5.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:12pm

    Re: Well said

    Or at least "let's end this stupidity" time.

     

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  6.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:13pm

    Tarzan is public domain in the U.S. as long as you do not use anything from the post 1922 books/stories. Trademark on the other hand is unsettled on whether literary character trademark are valid. My opinion is they should not be.

     

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  7.  
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    Yogi, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:22pm

    Re: Re: Well said

    Yeah, I'll settle for that too.

     

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  8.  
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    DMNTD, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:28pm

    Sorry to say..

    but the HUMAN race as a whole are not creators my fellows. Indeed we do nothing more than innovate upon all things around us. We don't have the ability to "come up" with anything that is not based on the reality that we live in.

    We don't create, we just barrow from a shared space. Hard to deal with but, oh well. I for one appreciate it, means we truly are resourceful and why we can neva die!!(as a whole)

     

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  9.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:40pm

    Re: Sorry to say..

    I agree with you for the most part, but I challenge you to find an analogy or origin in nature from whence we borrowed the idea of Copyright itself. I think that's at least one thing we wholly invented ourselves.

     

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  10.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:42pm

    This is the difference between the artist owning copyright and a corporation. The corporation has no respect for art or culture - it's just something they can use to make money for as long as they can keep people interested in buying it. Therefore it's better to have less original art so that the market for the corporate-owned art is restricted and more valuable. It's the exact opposite of copyright's purpose.

     

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  11.  
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    Free Capitalist (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:43pm

    Hard to deal with but, oh well. I for one appreciate it, means we truly are resourceful and why we can neva die!!(as a whole)

    I'd like to think this way about Earth, but the universe is an awful big bully.

     

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  12.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 12:57pm

    Re: Bully?

    Pffft!

    Physics is a stone-cold bitch, but she's always consistent, and never plays favorites. And, we never quite under her as well as we thought we did--true of all females, come to think of it.

     

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  13.  
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    Anonymous, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 1:05pm

    Re: Yay!

    No one is stopping you from giving away your stuff for free.

    Why do you find it imperative that others do what you think they should?

    If a creator comes up with something no one else can, that does indeed make them special. They deserve protection to do with it what they choose.

    Why do you think you have the right to decide for them?

    They have protectable rights, as they should. Are you advocating trampling on those rights?

     

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  14.  
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    :Lobo Santo (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 1:10pm

    Re: Re: Yay!

    That is the best constructed fallacious argument I've seen in ages!

    Wow, you're good.

    Do you work for a spin-doctor or something?

     

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  15.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 1:11pm

    Re: Re: Yay!

    Where in that single sentence Nina posted do you get any of what you're so irate about?

     

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  16.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 1:37pm

    Re: Re: Yay!

    If a creator comes up with something no one else can, that does indeed make them special.

    Everybody is special.

     

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  17.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 2:12pm

    Re: Re: Yay!

    Why do you think you have the right to decide for them?

    That would be the Constitution of the United States. Or at least our elected representatives have the right to decide for them.

     

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  18.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 2:17pm

    Re: Re: Sorry to say..

    Nah, his idea is absurd. Possibly hyperbolic. New ideas are created on a fairly regular basis, just not remotely as often as old ideas are built upon to their betterment.

     

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  19.  
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    The Mighty Buzzard (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 2:18pm

    Re: Re: Bully?

    Consistent? Do you actually know any females?

     

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  20.  
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    Dylan Horrocks, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 2:25pm

    Thanks, and...

    ...since your intro made me chuckle, I figure I should explain that the "stupid things" I was thinking of were various comments here about Colleen Doran by people who clearly had no idea who she is. While I strongly disagree with most of her piece in support of COICA, I've respected her for years as a cartoonist who went outside the corporate industry to self-publish 'A Distant Soil' in her own way. Plus, she's been a pioneer of webcomics, and has her own reasons for feeling the way she does (she engaged in a long battle with htmlcomics.com, if I recall correctly). So, y'know, that's all...

    Of course, on the bigger issues of copyright and the future of the internet, there have been plenty of smart things said here on Techdirt - so thanks for that, and for the mention!

     

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  21.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 2:41pm

    Re: Re: Sorry to say..

    I'd also be inclined to ask what the forefather to the internet was and while you're at it how about space travel?

    The internet is far too multi-faceted to be a replacement for any one particular idea/concept/market/communication form.

    Space travel, in and of itself is unique also. It is simply not a new method of travel because the destinations were never available prior to the initial flight and the technical requirements and expense prevent the masses from employing it as a useful way to go from point A to point B within our atmosphere.

     

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  22.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 3:42pm

    Super Creativity

    I wonder what will happen when computers are used to do the creation.

    Computers can invent new hardware, new music and soon even writing, they also can be used to create animations with dialogues from a text already.

    So what happens when this turns into a race between computers?

    Will geeks rule the earth and own all entertainment?
    Will those people now clamoring "I have rights" that depend on the suspension of others rights be happy to see them left out of the race?

    Imagine a computer churning thousands of variations on an story arch, rendering and putting dialogues all in a day, is that the "thousand monkeys with typewriters" paradigm come true?

    Will companies employ humans in the process or use IP laws to keep those same humans outside?

    Will those rights make sense in a world that no human produces anything?

    Just for fun, get a subtitle and use a TTS(Text-To-Speech) software from the current crop that sounds just human and dub a video to see how fun it is.

    Here are some interesting things that show us what the future could bring.

    Xtranormal - Text to Video
    http://www.xtranormal.com/

    You type in the dialogues and it creates an animation with the dialogues. How far off are we from truly realistic synthesized acting?

    Ivona - TTS(Text-To-Speech)
    http://www.ivona.com/

    Sounds just like a human voice, which opens the possibility of using subtitles to dub videos. How cool would be to get a subtitle editor and create a dub in many languages, using different voices for each individual that appears on the screen?
    I was thinking how cool would it be to get Khan Academy dubbed into hundreds of languages.

    You make one original subtitle and it can be used to do dubbing automagically for any language.

    Where we are at simulating creativity(Hint: We passed the theoretical barrier already)
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Computational_creativity

    Stephen Thaler's
    Computer Creativity Machine Simulates the Human Brain
    http://www.mindfully.org/Technology/2004/Creativity-Machine-Thaler24jan04.htm

    Interesting story about curiosity and where it leads. What brain death has to do with creativity? That question lead to some interesting discoveries about ourselves and how our brains work.

    Can a human be more creative than a machine working 24/365?
    Will corporations need humans to create imaginary goods?
    Will those artists employed by corporations today like to be downsized without any rights whatsoever to any creative rights that they no longer are able to produce first?

    I wonder when the craziness of those people will end.

    We don't need a loud revolution just a quiet one this time around.

    Once people start making their own decisions based on real facts on the ground, realities that can't be ignored no more there will be some changes.

    Culture is shared, is lived, trying to corral that will lead to disobedience and disrespect for the law.

    People are not going to accept a small group telling them what they can do and cannot do, they will rebel against that and they won't let universal ideas be boxed. Like superfluids ideas will find a way to escape the container they are in either going against gravity or finding its way through the porous material they are contained in.

     

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  23.  
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    Ron Rezendes (profile), Dec 13th, 2010 @ 3:49pm

    Re: Re: Re: Bully?

    I'm sure he does but this particular bitch is immune to mood swings, emotional overide in the presence of conflict, and PMS.

    "Payback", the other bitch, is the sister of "Physics" and is also similar with these same qualities/abilities

     

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  24.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 4:21pm

    Re: Re: Sorry to say..

    I don't think we invented "copyright" it evolved from possessive feelings, so it is not that original or groundbreaking, it came about in the current form from the necessity to control something, so I don't think it was invented it was expanded from one form of control to another.

     

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  25.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 4:37pm

    Re: Re: Re: Sorry to say..

    Evolution of ballistic projectiles+desire to go somewhere = space travel.

    Now where did the powder to make that possible came from?

    How did we found the chemicals to do all of that stuff?

    Most of it where incidental I believe, like alcohol that some lazy farmer must have left his grapes in a barrel and found the strange liquid inside, milk that was left out in the open and turned into yogurt or cheese, some guy that was curious to know why his furnace was eroding and getting whiter when he put water on it and discovered that the ashes leaked potash(Potassium carbonate) when soaked in water, that probably got his fingers all soap like and someone discovered that mixing that with fat creates soaps probably by having a barbecue and letting the fat go to leak into the fire and throwing water on top of it and when trying to clean it out discovered some soap under there, or adding the white powder to some grease meat to see what it was good for.

     

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  26.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 4:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Sorry to say..

    Almost forgot, metallurgy probably was discovered by accident too, when people lit fires and looked at the ashes they could have found some pieces of metal that wasn't there and somebody notice how some rocks mixture with the burning wood(carbon source) would reduce the rock to metal.

    Iron extraction was done by putting intertwined layers of rock and wood stacked on top of each other and firing it, the metal would leak to the bottom.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Smelting#History

     

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  27.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 4:49pm

    "The pattern he lays out is clear: how copyright is so frequently abused to allow corporations to actually harm content creators"

    All he is shown is that on occasion, copyright law has been used to disrupt certain actions that are on the border of copyright law.

     

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  28.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 5:12pm

    Re:

    Oh, good, I'm convinced. Nothing to see here, move along, everything is fine!

     

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  29.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 5:17pm

    Re:

    Well then it is no more a theoretical, it happens.
    And the human drive to exclude others from what they think is theirs will eventually drive you out too.

    Copyright is exclusive, it will exclude everyone eventually if let alone and never challenged, which by the way it is not going to happen, long before that day, people will just ignore it and do it despite objections from a few inside society.

    It happened before, why do you think the church is so maligned today?

    People killed monks because of this type of behavior, there is a limit to how much control citizens will allow into the hands of a few, past that point things start to get ugly.

     

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  30.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 8:46pm

    Re: Re:

    Copyright is exclusive only in fairly narrow ways, especially in writing, including comic books.

    Copyright doesn't stop you from writing a new story about new people, it can stop you though from writing a new story about someone else's characters, or make it hard to "extend" an existing story.

    The book that included Tarzan was a great example. Why not write the book with "Zartan" or "Jungle White Guy" instead? While Tarzan may have been in the public domain in New Zealand (for whatever reason), we all know that books don't really know borders. The author could have avoided the issue and written the book with a slightly renamed and slightly modified character and avoided issues. Instead, he ran headlong into the only 6 foot section of fence in an otherwise open field. He has only himself to blame. How much would you like to bet that without being able to play off the Tarzan books, that this wasn't worth writing?

    It also touches why something like ACTA is actually important. Getting the most countries possible on similar systems (like them or not) makes it easier for everyone on both sides of the deal to know what is going on.

    Copyright (especially in writing)has almost no restriction on creative people. It does have some restriction on derivative people. If you look at things as narrowly as the person quoted in the article did, you might get angry. But standing back and looking at the overall in the field of writing (including comics) you will see there isn't really much restriction.

    After all, do you think that Superman somehow precluded "Life in Hell"? Or Spiderman somehow making Family Guy impossible? Wide copyright would cover things like color or overall concepts (hand drawn characters on paper). Copyright doesn't do that. By being original, we continue to get new comics to this very day. Amazing, isn't it?

     

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  31.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 8:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Bully?

    And in the end both own you? Come down from the ledge, guys! ;)

     

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  32.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 8:54pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    ACTA doesn't make anything any easier for anyone when it's mainly about exporting US type copyright law (oh, without the fair use exceptions, btw) as if it's *good* law. Who says it is? Plenty say it isn't. Dylan took the time to show it isn't.

     

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  33.  
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    Felix Pleșoianu, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 11:05pm

    Re: Re: Yay!

    Re: #13

    Because as a creator you're borrowing from many others; you can't avoid it (and claiming otherwise is delusional at best). Yet when others borrow from you, you screech "thief". Do you really think you're so good that human culture should end with you?

     

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  34.  
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    Felix Pleșoianu, Dec 13th, 2010 @ 11:09pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    "Why not write the book with "Zartan" or "Jungle White Guy" instead?"

    Because then it would be a rip-off instead of a tribute. Tarzan is Tarzan.

     

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  35.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 12:03am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It isn't about creating something new - it's about who owns our cultural heritage. Edgar Rice Burroughs died in 1950 - 60 years ago. Tarzan was created in 1912. There is no sane reason why Tarzan shouldn't be in the pubic domain, except that the character is owned by a corporation (essentially a collection of lawyers) to rent out to anyone able to pay enough money to make it worth the corporation's effort.

    Lawyers have twisted copyright specifically to benefit lawyers. That's why it extends 70 years after the creator's death - long enough for even the creator's children to die off - so that all copyright will eventually end up in the hands of lawyers. Lawyers controlling estates or lawyers working for corporations. They do not care about its artistic value, only its economic value. The entire 20th century is owned by corporations, and will likely remain so the rest of our lives. Our culture has been highjacked by big business, and if we don't change copyright, there may never be free culture again.

    We're drowning in a sea of media. Every where you turn there's music, video, art, images. The internet is practically made of media. You're allowed to look at it, enjoy it, buy it, sell it, but god forbid you actually use any of it to create something new. For that you need a lawyer's permission.

    I'm a creator myself, and I feel I have to go see a lawyer every time I write something new, no matter how original I try to make it. And I can tell you that most audiences aren't that interested in something new - they just want more Tarzan. Put two movies on a 1,000 movies screens - one called "Tarzan" and one called "Jungle Jim" - and guess which one people will go see?

     

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  36.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 12:35am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So it's cool if I take Superman and use him as a religious figure and hand out pamphlets with His name and His image on it, in order to express my belief in Him?

    I mean, a large multi-national corporation wouldn't take me to court, would they?

    For stealing their character?

     

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  37.  
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    Marion Gropen, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 6:17am

    Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    I keep seeing people discuss copyright as if all of the rightsholders were large (and therefore automatically evil) corporations. Not so. I don't know the music world, but I've been in book publishing since the 1980s.

    The vast majority of book publishers are "mom and pop shops." There are more than 100,000 of them active in the US alone, and only 5 are large corporations. Only 100 are even modest-sized corporations.

    As for the output? Yes, most of the books in bookSTORES are from the corporations, because the tiny companies have huge barriers between them and you. Because of that, every single sale is critical. The margin between life and death for these companies is razor thin.

    We all know that not every download of pirate content is a lost sale. But we also all know that some are.

    On another front, most authors are making minimum wage, at best. So the royalties are pretty important to them, as well.

    Last, but not least, most "bookstore books" pay more to the author in royalties than to the corporations' profits and overhead. This means that even if you're "sticking it to The Man," you're doing even more damage to some poor author at the same time.

    Victimless crimes? I don't see it. And I also don't see that many people buy printed copies of books they've pirated. Or pay for some sort of performance from the author of same, or any of the other inanities I've heard as models for our brave new world.

    Yes, downloading is different than simple theft of a physical object, but it's also more similar than those who download want to think. It's wrong.

     

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  38.  
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    Jonathan Uhls, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Yay!

    Save our culture - the plutocrats stole it, monetized it, recycled it, and sold it back to us! Our kids will now have the same cultural experience we did and our culture will be stuck in a kitschy, soulless feedback loop.

     

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  39.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 7:00am

    Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    "I keep seeing people discuss copyright as if all of the rightsholders were large (and therefore automatically evil) corporations. Not so. I don't know the music world, but I've been in book publishing since the 1980s."
    Perhaps they're not all big corporations... but the article (and the resultant discussions) focuses on those that are. It's kind of the whole point of the article. The CR system is so over-abused, it no longer serves its intended purpose.


    "The vast majority of book publishers are "mom and pop shops." There are more than 100,000 of them active in the US alone, and only 5 are large corporations. Only 100 are even modest-sized corporations."
    Good! That means there's a better field of competition! But the focus here was who owns the copyright holders and why it's ever anyone other than the creator of the work.



    "As for the output? Yes, most of the books in bookSTORES are from the corporations, because the tiny companies have huge barriers between them and you. Because of that, every single sale is critical. The margin between life and death for these companies is razor thin."
    Unfortunately (or fortunately?), that's the nature of competition. While I do believe that the big congoms like Wal Mart and Target (altho I do prefer Target) harm competition and make for interesting debate, I don't think it really fits in here. Again, we're talking about who owns the copyrights of works, and what they're doing with those copyrights.


    "We all know that not every download of pirate content is a lost sale. But we also all know that some are.
    No, sorry... an illegal download of a digital copy is never a lost sale. The logic behind that claim is fallacious.



    "On another front, most authors are making minimum wage, at best. So the royalties are pretty important to them, as well."
    No one is arguing that a creator should be given their due for a creation. What is being pointed out by this argument is that too many times, a huge corporation is taking such due themselves all because of a piece of paper saying it's theirs. In short: you're preaching to the choir.



    "Yes, downloading is different than simple theft of a physical object, but it's also more similar than those who download want to think. It's wrong."
    The point is in the fundamental difference between the two... theft implies that there is no longer the original item to be sold by the artist/creator. Copying leaves the original so there is no lost ability to sell the item. In fact, the only substantial similarity is that they are both illegal acts. But, overall, this is not really related to the discussion of why Copyright is being abused by the corporations who own them and why they own them instead of the creators.

     

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  40.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 7:19am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    No it's not cool. It's against the law. That's the whole point. It's a question of who gets to own culture, or should it even be ownable?

    You can do anything you want with Hamlet, Ebenezer Scrooge, Don Quixote, Tom Sawyer, or War of the Worlds, but you can't do it with Tarzan, which was created a 100 years ago, and whose creator died 50 years ago. The creator is not benefiting from copyright, and it's not fostering the creation of new work. Tarzan would be public domain under the original copyright law that Tarzan was created. Will Tarzan be public domain in 50 years? 100 years? Will it ever? Who is it benefiting? Copyright law has been hijacked by lawyers for the benefit lawyers, and they've robbed the people of their own cultural heritage.

     

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  41.  
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    jupiterkansas (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 7:24am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I might add that turning Superman into a deity and founding a religion on him is a clever idea. Maybe in a 250 years you'll be allowed to express yourself that way. After all, the creators of Superman died in the 1990s. We wouldn't want to steal from them.

     

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  42.  
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    MarionGropen (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 8:28am

    Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    "Good! That means there's a better field of competition! But the focus here was who owns the copyright holders and why it's ever anyone other than the creator of the work."

    In the book publishing field, copyrights are almost never sold to the publisher. They're licensed to them for a period, but owned by the author or illustrator. And, as I said earlier, even when the corporation is the publisher, the majority of the little profit there is, goes as royalties to the author.
    an illegal download of a digital copy is never a lost sale. The logic behind that claim is fallacious.

    I beg to differ. I think we all know that some of the people who download now would buy a copy if they couldn't pirate. Not all, but certainly some. And so, some of the downloads really are lost sales.

     

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  43.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 9:26am

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations


    I beg to differ. I think we all know that some of the people who download now would buy a copy if they couldn't pirate. Not all, but certainly some. And so, some of the downloads really are lost sales.


    I bet to differ. I think we all know that some of the people who download now would never have bought a copy if they couldn't read it first. Not all, but certainly some. And so, some of the downloads really are bonus sales.

    There, ftfy.

     

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  44.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 9:32am

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    And just like some downloads lead to an actual sale. It's like this great cultural balancing act where, apparently, everybody loses.

     

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

  45.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 9:41am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Superman is God Anonymous Coward, 2010

     

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

  46.  
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    Gabriel Tane (profile), Dec 14th, 2010 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    "In the book publishing field, copyrights are almost never sold to the publisher. They're licensed to them for a period, but owned by the author or illustrator. And, as I said earlier, even when the corporation is the publisher, the majority of the little profit there is, goes as royalties to the author. "
    And that's good too! But again, what we're focusing on here is the abuse of the system. What about Tarzan? The creator is dead and the copyright is owned by someone who had no hand in it's creation.
    Or Superman? Yeah, the original creators sold their right which was a bad business decision, but what does the retention of that copyright as it stands now accomplish other than securing that copyright owner's legal claim to the money generated by those copyrights? How was the death of Captain Marvel (read: competition) anything other than the stifling of said competition?

    "I beg to differ. I think we all know that some of the people who download now would buy a copy if they couldn't pirate. Not all, but certainly some. And so, some of the downloads really are lost sales."
    You're arguing what 'might have been if...' which is fallacious logic. With that kind of logic, I could say that without making that one bad decision in my past, I would be a millionaire by now.

    And Copyright (abuse) advocates are trying to make that false logic into law by saying that a downloader is liable for those lost sales if they are found guilty of copyright infringement. And that's the problem.

     

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  47.  
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    Felix Pleșoianu, Dec 14th, 2010 @ 10:51pm

    Re: Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    "I think we all know that some of the people who download now would buy a copy if they couldn't pirate."

    Name one. I discovered many authors by -- legally! -- downloading their books for free, and now I buy their books. Not those I have already downloaded, mind you; their other books. But here's the trick: had I not read the first one for free, I would have never bothered. Did I mention all my friends to whom I recommended the same books, and who are now buying based on that?

    And since I don't pirate on principle, guess who loses: all the authors who don't offer at least one book for download.

     

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  48.  
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    Huph, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 10:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    You're also presuming that people only download something to discover an author or artist. That's not always the case.

    I know that I've downloaded music I would have otherwise bought. I've passed up on merch tables because I know I can find an album for free online And this is after sneaking into the show, so I didn't even pay for the ticket. I'm not going to justify it, either. It was wrong. Sometimes I do bad things on purpose knowing full well that they're wrong. I'm no angel. I can't download a beer, so guess where I spend my money at a show? (I also sneak my own flasks into shows! I'm eeeeevil!)

    I've also bought music because I couldn't find it easily enough for free. In fact, this JUST happened to me last night. I was searching for a song by an old underground band in the 80s that a client wanted to use in a dance performance, I searched for torrents and share sites, but couldn't come up with it so I relented and bought the single from the label's website. So right there is a real world, verified example of the limited access to free music leading to a sale.

    Now, I'm sure the dancer isn't going to license this music (but she will get paid), and I'm sure the "venue" (read: loft) is not compliant in their licensing either.

    I don't know that any of this specifically harms any artists, as has been pointed out there are balancing factors, but the idea that "No piracy results in lost sales" seems absolutely ludicrous.

     

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  49.  
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    Huph, Dec 15th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    Derp. I replied to the wrong post, sorry. I'm sure y'all can figure it out.

     

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

  50.  
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    Kevin Bradley (profile), Dec 19th, 2010 @ 10:54am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Copyright isn't just about selfish corporations

    And for every person that downloads stuff, there is a person like me who goes out of their way to purchase content I like. Best example: My best friend, who used to write for the Kansas City Star, has written 2 books of poetry. When I learned this, I went to Amazon and looked them up and bought them. When he learned I had done this, he said to me that I didn't have to buy them, he would have given me copies. I replied that wasn't the point - I wanted to support him as an artist.

    I appreciate iTunes and Amazon's Mp3 stores for giving free tracks away. They have lead me to buy new artists, people I've never bought before, because I like their work and want to make sure they keep creating new work. The same for Starbuck's weekly free track.

    Piracy opened my eyes to the idea that my money goes to the artist in support of their work. So in that sense, it served a real purpose, to alert me to "vote with my feet" and spend my money where my own self-interest lies.

     

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  51.  
    identicon
    SLK8ne, Dec 20th, 2010 @ 12:31pm

    Did we all miss something?

    The point here is that the original creator (Burroughs) nor his family are not the ones suing for copyright infringement. It's a corporation, that bought the rights. So, even if they win, will the heirs get anything?

    And speaking of Superman, I would remind the forum that they were fired from DC because DC decided that it owned Superman. They had to fight them for decades to get their names even on the byline as the creators. And they only got this because the Superman movie was coming out and DC didn't want the negative publicity. If it hadn't been for the movie DC would have continued to claim ownership of the character and Segal and Shuster would have died without a dime of the money DC made off the character they created.

    So, tell me again how corporations don't use the system to screw creators?

     

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


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