Copyright Ratchet In Action Again: UK Introduces Yet Another Unjustified Extension

from the faith-based-policy-making dept

Until recently there has been an unchallenged assumption that the more copyright, the better. Although people have begun to realize that's not the case – and that extending copyright diminishes the public domain because we must all wait longer for works to enter it -- governments around the world continue to make copyright longer, stronger and broader.

Francis Davey has written a blog post about an amendment to what he calls a "fairly obscure corner of the [UK] Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988" that offers us yet another example. Here's the background:

Section 52 [of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988] deals with the situation where an artistic work has been exploited in the making of articles by an industrial process and marketing them in the UK. At the end of 25 years after the articles are first marketed, it ceases to be an infringement of copyright to copy the work by making articles (of any kind)
Davey gives an example of what this rule means in practice:
Suppose an artist drew a picture of an iconic vehicle - let's say a car - in a comic strip. After 25 years of marketing models of the car as merchandising, the artist could no longer use copyright protection from preventing others making rival versions of the car, but the artist could still stop the making of stamps, greeting cards and, most importantly, comic books based on the original drawings.
The exceptions mentioned there are thanks to a later modification to the 1988 Act, which excluded a list of objects from it, for reasons best known to itself.

The proposed amendment to the law would remove that limit of 25 years, and enable artists to prevent others from making rival versions (of the car, in the example above) for the full term of copyright -- life plus seventy years. The UK government's press release on the move speaks of:

Deterring the importation and sale of unauthorised replicas of classic designs which qualify for copyright protection and extending copyright protection for mass-produced artistic works to life of the creator plus 70 years. These measures will promote innovation in the design industry and encourage investment in new products, while discouraging unauthorised copies.
Of course, no evidence is offered that this will be the case -- this is classic faith-based policy making. And it's hard to see manufacturers investing anything extra just because their monopoly has been extended -- they are more likely to sit back and enjoy the windfall profits, assuming there are any. Similarly, surely nobody is suddenly going to decide to produce replicas because of possible sales half a century from now. All in all, it's really hard to see why the UK government is wasting the limited time of politicians pushing through such marginal and unnecessary extensions to a copyright system that already reaches too far for too long.

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Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2012 @ 8:54pm

    It's not faith-based -- it's the opposite of faith.

     

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

  2.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2012 @ 9:24pm

    how do i get rid of this stupid fat "social networking" toolbar on the bottom of my screen!? i hate it! it makes me feel like i'm trying to read the page through a embed youtube video. I refuse to say anything on topic until i have a way to remove it >:(

     

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

  3.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2012 @ 9:32pm

    ok fixed

    copyright extension is bad

    end "on-topic" message

     

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

  4.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2012 @ 9:33pm

    "this is classic faith-based policy making."

    No, it's corporate bought policy making.

     

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

  5.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2012 @ 9:34pm

    Re:

    get noscript addon, disable all 3rd party scripts by default, add back in only the sites you want.

    viola, faster cleaner internet.

     

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

  6.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2012 @ 9:42pm

    Re:

    I agree, it's getting on my nerves too.

     

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

  7.  
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    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2012 @ 9:47pm

    Re: Re:

    OK, the issue has been addressed here

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120619/03360719380/nina-paley-explains-intellectual-disob edience.shtml#c181

    Though a collapse button would be nice and it seems they are working on it. The toolbar perhaps can be useful but there should be a convenient way to disable and enable it.

     

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

  8.  
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    Watchit (profile), Jun 20th, 2012 @ 10:49pm

    If by "encourage investment in new products" they mean "You have to invest in new products because everything else will be caught up in that black hole known as Copyright" then yes I suppose it will promote new products... /sigh

     

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

  9.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 20th, 2012 @ 11:11pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    here is what would like from ideal to less ideal
    1. the tool bar doesn't exist AT ALL
    2. the tool bar is smaller, disabled by default, has a closure button, and is moved to the side of the screen
    3. the tool bar is smaller, enabled, has a closure button, auto-closes after after less than 3 seconds, and is moved to the side of the screen
    4. like 3 but longer wait time
    5. the tool bar is smaller, enabled just has a closure button, and is moved to the side of the screen
    6. the tool bar is smaller, enabled, and is moved to the side of the screen
    7. the tool bar is enabled, and is moved to the side of the screen

     

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

  10.  
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    mlang (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:17am

    Wouldn't it be a good idea to require that any patent that is to be used in legal proceedings must be peer reviewed any such proceedings take place? It would reduce legal fees.

     

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

  11.  
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    mlang (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:20am

    Re:

    Oops. Silly phone. Wrong article. Sorry.

     

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

  12.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:21am

    ..seriously who is going to respect or follow copyright when it is getting so ridiculous.

     

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

  13.  
    identicon
    Rain Day, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:24am

    Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    I don't think I've ever thought or said a bad word about Techdirt. I like Techdirt's writers and support their efforts towards restoring sanity in a worldwide situation of censorship and copyright madness.

    But today I'm saying WTF! Why, when I opened Techdirt's main page from my usual bookmark, was I met with a giant blue Facebook banner that would NOT go away. I tried a ton of blocking filters through AdBlock plus, but that damned blue banner was still there, itself blocking a big chunk of the page. There was no X to close it out, at least not one that was visible.

    I know, I should have Ghostery and NoScript installed (and they will be, shortly), it's just that I've never had problems with Techdirt's site before today, sometimes the comment system is a pain, but not often enough to be overly annoying.

    I simply do NOT understand why that banner is necessary, nor why Techdirt is encouraging more people to visit or join Facebook. It's time for Facebook to go the way of MySpace and AOL. It's always seemed to me that Techdirt aimed to help the world move forward, not shuffle more people into the Facebook pits.

    Sorry, I'm normally pretty quiet, and definitely not an angry ranter by habit. But the fat, non-closable, page-blocking, blue, fucking, Facebook-promoting banner on a usually trusted website just pissed me off.

    It felt a bit like looking out my window one morning to find that a trusted neighbor had toilet-papered my favorite tree.

    ok, rant over, I feel better now...

    RD

     

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

  14.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:29am

    Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    One good thing about text only browsers is they can't run annoying things like that.

    Also the nerd points involved

     

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

  15.  
    identicon
    Rain Day, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:37am

    Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    Just a quick update, NoScript stops the stupid banner. The thing is, it would have been fine if the damned thing just had a 'close' button or X.

    This is the kind of thing one expects on MSN sites or ZDNet, etc., but it just so unexpected from a trusted site. It seems out of character. It makes no sense.

    Is it possible that techdirt was actually hacked and defaced with a malware-ridden Facebook banner that redirects folks to a fake Facebook page?

     

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

  16.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:43am

    Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    But today I'm saying WTF! Why, when I opened Techdirt's main page from my usual bookmark, was I met with a giant blue Facebook banner that would NOT go away.

    I hear you. Though, as was already pointed out earlier in this very thread, we answered some of the questions here and have been pointing a lot of people to this comment:

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120619/03360719380/nina-paley-explains-intellectual-d isobedience.shtml#c181

    There are a number of really cool and useful features that this bar can enable (and it's not just "a facebook" bar -- but one that tries to suggest the most relevant way of interacting). However, we agree that it's too big and the lack of a close button -- and Wibiya has said they're addressing these issues. The bar should be smaller -- perhaps within a day or so.

    But, there are some really cool and useful things that this bar can do, so it would be great if you could give us the benefit of the doubt as we get it into working order.

     

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

  17.  
    identicon
    Rain Day, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:52am

    Re: Use NoScript to kill the banner

    One wonders what will be next. A giant Bing! banner? Maybe a huge green Windows 8 ad? Or an animated, uncloseable floating pop-up from Go-Daddy?

    Hmmph! >:(

     

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

  18.  
    identicon
    Rain Day, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:00am

    Re: Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    Thanks for the answer, Mike. At least I now know your website hasn't been hacked.

    I have a minimal, fake named Facebook page for purposes of viewing family pictures (grandkids, weddings, etc.) but I don't do Facebook for any other reason and have tried my best to discourage my family from getting too involved with Facebook.

    I'll wait and see what happens with the banner, but if Facebook is a necessary part of those "cool and useful" things you spoke of, I still won't want it. Can't you do cool and useful things without Facebook?

     

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

  19.  
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    drew (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:36am

    Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    First world problem?

    ;¨)

     

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

  20.  
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    Mike Masnick (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 1:52am

    Re: Re: Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    I'll wait and see what happens with the banner, but if Facebook is a necessary part of those "cool and useful" things you spoke of, I still won't want it. Can't you do cool and useful things without Facebook?

    It's not Facebook specific, however, it does try to target the systems that you already use. In fact, it actually works much more nicely on that front. The old bar that we had for years pointed people to Twitter, Facebook, Stumbleupon and a bunch of others -- even if you didn't use them. This one tries to only focus on enhancing the tools that you already use. So the only reason you're getting Facebook stuff is probably because you're logged into Facebook. I'm not logged into Facebook and haven't seen a single Facebook thing in the bar.

     

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

  21.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 6:42am

    Re: Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    Third party Toolbars traditionally are bad and completely useless.
    Perhaps you could explain why you think you need to add a toolbar and elaborate on "cool and useful things".
    I know I don't need a toolbar to get in my way.
    This IS NOT the Techdirt I know and love.

     

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

  22.  
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    Rikuo (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    Just out of pure curiosity, is everyone complaining about this bar?
    http://imageshack.us/photo/my-images/40/techdirtbar.png/
    Because if they are, notice the double down arrows on the far right? That gets rid of it. Also, Mike...if this is the bar in question, you mention it's only supposed to show systems you already use. Except, as shown in my snip, mine has Twitter on it and Google+, and I've never used either of them (I do use Facebook though and am permanently logged in).

     

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

  23.  
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 10:35am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Techdirt's stupid blue Facebook banner

    you don't need a tool bar and as a result you shouldn't have one pop up by default but if you must have one(you still shouldn't)then put it over some unoccupied real-estate like on the side of the screen(if you put it on the right side make it bigger to cover the ads i hate it when i leave the mouse hovering over the ads on accident and they start talking to me)

    simply put it should not be as big, fat, and obstructive as it is now no "cool and useful" feature is worth how much of an eye sore it is

    also a "heads up we are going to try this" post would have been appreciated

     

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

  24.  
    identicon
    DogBreath, Jun 21st, 2012 @ 10:45am

    Unjustified extension reason?

    Maybe the UK Govt doesn't want anyone to have an unlicensed copy of Straker's car from the 1970's TV series UFO???

    Look of the show
    Ed Straker's dramatic gas turbine car, resembling somewhat the 1970 CitroŽn SM, was, in fact, based on the chassis of a humble Ford Zephyr with a specially built aluminium body shell. There appear to have been only two cars made for the series, a prominently featured brown/gold car and a pink car with a larger hood opening. It appears that at some point in production the brown car was damaged because in some shots you can see one of the headlight openings has been covered in tape, one of the wheels has been replaced by a mismatched wheel, and the lead characters start using the pink car more frequently.

     

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

  25.  
    icon
    Hephaestus (profile), Jun 21st, 2012 @ 12:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    If you are logged in
    click on account
    scroll down
    bottom toolbar disable

    done

     

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


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