The Public Domain: Now Available For Only $165 An Hour!*

from the and-even-then,-we-don't-promise-anything dept

So you want to use a work you think is in the public domain in your creative project.  Hang on; it might not be as simple as you think.

Works published before 1923 are in the public domain. This means these works are no longer protected by copyright and are free for use by anyone in any way. However, works between 1923 and 1964 fall into a grey area -- they may be in the public domain depending on if their copyright was renewed 28 years from the date of the original copyright.

Figuring out if a work is renewed can be a tricky business. The only official records of renewal are held by the Copyright Office in Washington D.C. However, records before January 1, 1978 are not available online. The only way to gain access to these accurate and official records of copyright renewals is to either:

  1. Go to the Copyright office in person, in Washington D.C. , and research their records using paper card catalogs OR;
  2. Pay the copyright office $165 an hour to search the copyright records for the original copyright and the renewal notice.

In 2013, should we have to rely on paper card catalogs to help determine if a work is in the public domain? Moreover, is a work really public domain if it costs $165 an hour to know it's in the public domain?

Of course, there is a much larger problem. Even a search by the copyright office stating that the work was not renewed isn't definitive proof that the work you want to use is in the public domain. It's entirely possible that the work you want to use is actually a derivative work of a public domain work and still under copyright protection. For a great example of how complex this can get check out our video “Is the Wizard of Oz Copyright protected?

The difficulty of assessing which works are in the public domain is a huge problem. Creativity cannot exist in a vacuum. When we can't easily determine what works we can safely use and draw inspiration from, creativity is stifled and our critical First Amendment right to free speech is chilled. New Media Rights recognizes the complexity of the problem. However, a great first step would be the digitization of all copyright office records to make them accessible to the public without a plane ticket to D.C. or a $165 an hour surcharge.

Teri Karobonik is a staff attorney with New Media Rights. New Media Rights is a nonprofit program that provides legal services and advocacy for internet users and creators. This story is reposted with permission.


Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. identicon
    Lord Binky, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 10:16am

    That's over a 10% savings !

    Shit, I need to move to DC and charge $148/hr to search copyright catalogs.

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

  2. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 10:19am

    quite amazing really how this could cost someone $165 per hour. for what, exactly? people are supposed to live on half that amount for a week, so how can this cost be justified? considering when it is concerning something that is supposedly or most likely, useable for free, it's rather an extortionate amount!

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

  3. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 10:24am

    More and more complaints, and again, no initiative or even reasonable proposal to fix the problem aside from a vague demand that somebody else do it for you.

    Here's a business opportunity: set up an office near DC and pay some people $50 an hour to go into the paper card catalog and do research. Charge clients $100 an hour if they're for-profit and $60 if they're non-profit. Undercut the librarians. Put your findings on the Net so nobody pays for the same search twice.

    Or, if there's downtime, have your people scan the paper records and digitize them. There are no magic digitization fairies that will do it for you. Alternatively, convince Google that if these records were online they'd be able to slap lots of ads on them, and maybe Google will come in and digitize them for you.

    Or, write your congressperson to get an earmark for a taxpayer-funded digitization effort.

    Any of the above is likely to be many times more effective than sitting at home whining on the Internet.

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

  4. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Re:

    Beat me to it, I was going to suggest something similar, where every record that gets searched for also gets archived, so that the same record never has to get paid for twice, but the idea of turning it into a business opportunity could certainly provide incentive for someone to digitize it as well, even if it would just reduce, not eliminate, the cost to search what should be public information.

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

  5. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 10:37am

    Re:

    i like the second idea. scanning the cards, assuming you were allowed to. it is public information... still imagine even getting a few authors complete card info...

    now i want to go to DC

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

  6. icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 10:53am

    Re:

    More and more complaints, and again, no initiative or even reasonable proposal to fix the problem aside from a vague demand that somebody else do it for you.

    I've suggested many times that we move from "automatic" copyright back to "opt-in" copyright with mandatory renewals. We would at the very least have a comprehensive database of copyright status going forward for US works. And it would help with the orphan works problem going forward also.

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

  7. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:00am

    Re: Re:

    Suggested to whom? This circle jerk here? Your buddies on the Internet? Which of your buddies have the power, ability, or are willing to put in any effort whatsoever to change the status quo?

    If they can't or won't and you can't or won't, what exactly is the value of your suggestion?

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

  8. identicon
    Lord Binky, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:09am

    Re:

    You could pay someone $25/hr to scan each card with a handheld scanner, then another person $25/hr to proofread the scanned data. Throw that through an OCR and make your database searchable for a fee. Profit!

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

  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    out_of_the_blue, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:10am

    So what's your point?

    "So you want to use a work you think is in the public domain in your creative project." -- Umm, no. I'm not a grifter, besides as a consumer, just bored with new versions of old crap. I'd like to wring that Shakespeare's neck, but to be fair, it's the endless COPIERS of old crap who are the criminals. The tendency of copyright to force actually NEW works is reason enough to support it.

    Is your point "creativity is stifled"? -- No, can't be, because "the work you want to use" is NOT creativity, it's copying.

    Then "our critical First Amendment right to free speech is chilled."? -- HOW? First, again, using someone else's work isn't "free speech", it's copying. And if you're doing it to get money by using that priorly created value, it's grifting off the past: while legal, it's shabby. But second, I'm simple and need a concrete example where "critical First Amendment right to free speech is chilled" by your not being able to use to use what someone else has said. You may be prohibited from publishing the exact prior expression itself, but not from using the idea in "free speech".

    A concrete counter example is this text I've written here, almost certainly an entirely new arrangement of words as no one else ever has, yet expressing for about the millionth time here that Techdirt's focus isn't "free speech", but grifting off the past (in this piece), or in other pieces trying to grift off current creators (as when defending Megaupload and The Pirate Bay).

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

  10. icon
    ChurchHatesTucker (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:15am

    Re: So what's your point?

    First, again, using someone else's work isn't "free speech", it's copying.

    If I had a dime for every time I heard that...

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

  11. icon
    TheLastCzarnian (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:15am

    Comment II - The Sequel

    Now you know why Hollywood is so keen on sequels.

    They've already cleared the copyright hurdles making the previous movie. Less weirdness coming out of the woodwork, like Roger Dean suing James Cameron/Avatar over copyright of the concept of "floating islands".

    Nice to see copyright encouraging originality.

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

  12. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:16am

    Re: So what's your point?

    so you prefer the works of the past to be lost in time? you feel it is ok, then, to lose our own culture?

    if the works are locked up and never read, how would I even know if i am copying someone?

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

  13. icon
    Ninja (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:16am

    I tell you, we are in the wrong business. Let's all become copyright workers or something and milk the real artists for money. The MAFIAA guarantees the success of this model ;)

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

  14. icon
    Zakida Paul (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: So what's your point?

    I just want to know how using public domain work makes a person a grifter.

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

  15. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    I wrote to the White House suggesting such. Mind you, they probably thought I was a terrorist.

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

  16. icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:20am

    Re: Re: Re:

    Suggested to whom?

    Suggested it here.


    Which of your buddies have the power, ability, or are willing to put in any effort whatsoever to change the status quo?

    As a individuals, not many. Derek Khanna lost his job for making those types of suggestions. A large group of constituents writing letters, signing petitions and making phone calls could sway Congress away from the lobbying dollars though.

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

  17. identicon
    PRMan, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:26am

    Re: So what's your point?

    Like your buddies at Disney that built an empire off the public domain and then extended it so nobody else could do the same?

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

  18. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:33am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Good for you! Yesterday, I gave a really eloquent speech to my dog about my thoughts on runoff voting and campaign finance reform.

    He thought it was pretty good. Any day now we should be good to go.

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

  19. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:41am

    Re: Re: Re: So what's your point?

    You want to have some real fun, point out how that makes companies like Disney massive 'grifters', given how many of their films are based on public domain stories/myths.

    Same with a lot of musicians, given how many songs are remixes/reinterpretations of older tunes.

    Likewise writers, given how many stories are inspired, based upon, or re-imagining of older stories.

    So basically all the 'creative' people that they are defending, are all 'grifters' by their definition.

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

  20. icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 11:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Good for you! Yesterday, I gave a really eloquent speech to my dog about my thoughts on runoff voting and campaign finance reform.


    Seriously, no need to be condescending.

    Not really sure what you are expecting. Political change is birthed from like-minded individuals sharing ideas.

    Since I lack the political clout, money, notoriety and media platform to initiate large scale political changes this is how I contribute. Sorry if that's a problem for you.

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

  21. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Seriously, no need to be condescending

    Wait, are you dismissing my earnest effort to create real political change?

    Not really sure what you are expecting.

    Action that requires removing both buttcheeks from one's office chair?

    Political change is birthed from like-minded individuals sharing ideas.

    Well this site launched 16 years ago and these political changes are still in the birth canal. How much longer do you think we need?

    Since I lack the political clout, money, notoriety and media platform to initiate large scale political changes this is how I contribute. Sorry if that's a problem for you

    It's more of a problem for you. I don't mind the status quo so much. But if complaining on the Internet and waiting for somebody else to recognize your brilliance and get off their ass to implement your vision is really the most you can possibly do I hope you find it fulfilling.

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

  22. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:00pm

    Re:

    Any of the above is likely to be many times more effective than sitting at home whining on the Internet.

    But sitting at home whining on the internet is what Techdirt is all about. Solutions? No thanks. We demand everything be done for us.

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

  23. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:02pm

    Re:

    Any of the above is likely to be many times more effective than sitting at home whining on the Internet.

    But sitting at home whining on the internet is what Techdirt is all about. Solutions? No thanks. We demand everything be done for us.

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

  24. identicon
    Nate, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:03pm

    I agree that it would be a good idea to create an online database of renewals.

    Luckily for us someone had that thought years ago and built one. It's hosted by Stanford U:
    http://collections.stanford.edu/copyrightrenewals/bin/page;jsessionid=DA4393F5B85FBD4991E5C52BD5 ED2741?forward=home

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

  25. icon
    MonkeyFracasJr (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Go be a dick somewhere else.

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

  26. identicon
    Teri, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:31pm

    Re:

    Good to know about the Stanford database. But it only has renewals for US Books. Foreign works and all other forms of copyrighted content are not included.

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

  27. icon
    Gwiz (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wait, are you dismissing my earnest effort to create real political change?

    Kind of a loose definition of "earnest" there, my friend.


    Action that requires removing both buttcheeks from one's office chair?

    Fair enough. Although, at this point in the game, I'm not sure marching in the streets for copyright reform would actually do anything effective. It's really not that much of a hot button topic with the general public.



    Well this site launched 16 years ago and these political changes are still in the birth canal. How much longer do you think we need?

    Well, since this fight is against heavely entrenched players with bottomless lobbying coffiers it's gonna take plenty of time. Public perception of copyright has been changing gradually over the last 16 years. I'm sure this site has contributed to some of that.



    It's more of a problem for you. I don't mind the status quo so much. But if complaining on the Internet and waiting for somebody else to recognize your brilliance and get off their ass to implement your vision is really the most you can possibly do I hope you find it fulfilling.

    First off, not sure "complaining" is the right phrase. I certainly do voice my disagreement with issues, but I wouldn't call it complaining, per se.

    And I am not waiting for anyone to implement my ideas at all. I am merely waiting for public perception of copyright to catch up. Like I said above, change won't happen until the power of the masses exceeds the power of the lobbying dollar. To expend my resources now would be futile. I'll wait until the odds aren't stacked so much in the house's favor.

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

  28. identicon
    Lord Binky, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:41pm

    Re: Re:

    As long as the foreign work is not in english, your translation will be a creative work. If it is in english, your SOL.

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

  29. identicon
    Nate, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 12:56pm

    Re: Re:

    Why would foreign works need to be included?

    In most countries you only need to know when the author died (and sometimes the original date of publication). If the author is alive then it's safe to assume the work is in copyright.

    But if you are asking about works published outside of the US after 1923 and before 1964 but were never renewed in compliance with US law, sorry but I cannot help you. The topic of foreign copyrights and whether they are valid in the US is so complicated that I would direct you to consult an attorney.

    I'm not just talking through my hat. I am also a moderator over at MobileRead Forums, and I have had to check the copyright status of ebooks which were uploaded. My rule of thumb is that I can usually determine the copyright in either 5 minutes or 5 hours. I'm not kidding; sometimes determining the copyright of a work is such a complicated question that it can take hours to answer.

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

  30. identicon
    RD, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:05pm

    Re: So what's your point?

    Everybody read through blue's tirade carefully, and you can see clearly why he/she/it goes off on copyright issues. Blue is a failure at being a creator, and clearly someone has done it better than blue, either using similar ideas to blue's or getting there first. Sorry blue, maybe you should focus more on, you know, actually DOING something that someone wants, rather than sitting at home in your moms basement railing against the "unfairness" of a world that couldnt care less about you. Also, you are 14 years old :P

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

  31. identicon
    RD, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:06pm

    Re: Re:

    "But sitting at home whining on the internet is what Techdirt is all about. Solutions? No thanks. We demand everything be done for us."

    Says the fucktard sitting at home whining on the internet.

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

  32. identicon
    cpt kangarooski, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:08pm

    Re: So what's your point?

    I'd like to wring that Shakespeare's neck, but to be fair, it's the endless COPIERS of old crap who are the criminals.

    Well, you can have your wish, I suppose. Shakespeare, generally regarded as the single greatest author in the English language, copied from other works all the time. The man had a gift with words, but only had one original plot.

    Then "our critical First Amendment right to free speech is chilled."? -- HOW? First, again, using someone else's work isn't "free speech", it's copying.

    So you're saying that the government would not be infringing on your free speech rights and would not be violating the first amendment, if they banned you from reading Romeo and Juliet aloud in a public park, merely because you aren't Shakespeare?

    How ludicrous. Of course free speech encompasses the verbatim repetition of others' speech. How could it not?

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

  33. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:11pm

    This isn't just a big problem, it is the biggest problem.
    We're talking about an entire century's worth of culture.

    If the public can't easily determine what is and isn't protected by copyright, the law is pretty much useless.

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

  34. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:19pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Says the fucktard sitting at home whining on the internet.

    The proper place to deal with a crying baby on a plane is on the plane. The proper place to deal with a lot of crying babies on a website is on that website. If the baby wants serious modifications to copyright law, it doesn't matter how loud he cries on the plane. It may make the baby feel better but the actual practical effect is just to annoy the other passengers.

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

  35. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:28pm

    Re: So what's your point?

    So under your rules politicians cannot quote party policy verbatim. Well that's one way of slowing them down on their road to totalitarianism.

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

  36. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:31pm

    Re: That's over a 10% savings !

    you jest, but i'm betting if you really did provide such a service (and it actually sounds like a good idea), there would be *someone* who would come down on you like a ton of bricks...
    i bet...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

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

  37. icon
    art guerrilla (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:35pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    i will only say this:
    our influence as mere citizens is close to zero: THE WHOLE FUCKING WORLD marched in unprecedented PRE-WAR protests, the american public was against it by a large margin (in spite of being propagandized up the ass), BUT WE STILL WENT TO WAR...

    IT DOESN'T matter what 99% of us lowly citizens 'want', it is what the 1% want: THE ONLY TIME the power elites even pretend to pay attention is when we THREATEN THEM...

    it has gotten that far: ONLY revolution -peaceful or armed, i don't really care anymore- that will FORCE our betters to concede ANYTHING...

    The Man (tm) doesn't care, 'cause he doesn't have to...

    art guerrilla
    aka ann archy
    eof

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

  38. identicon
    Lord Binky, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 1:56pm

    Re: Re: That's over a 10% savings !

    It's only a jest because I've been to DC enough to know I strongly prefer to live elsewhere.

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

  39. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 2:54pm

    Re:

    Under UK law, copyright is life + 70 years, which could keep a work protected for 150 years or more. (write at 20 live to 100). While due to changes in the law make the situation more complex, this can be a problem for historians. It is probably safe to reprint eye witness accounts from the Crimean war, but their is possible problems with eyewitness accounts of the American Civil war and all latter wars.
    Excessive copyright not only puts culture at risk, but also the preserving of history.

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

  40. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 3:03pm

    I'll do it for $40/hour.

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

  41. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 3:14pm

    Even a search by the copyright office stating that the work was not renewed isn't definitive proof that the work you want to use is in the public domain. It's entirely possible that the work you want to use is actually a derivative work of a public domain work and still under copyright protection. For a great example of how complex this can get check out our video Is the Wizard of Oz Copyright protected?


    I'm not sure how the situation described in that link is confusing. If someone is unable to figure out that The Wizard of Oz movie is based on the book The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, I don't think an online database of copyright renewals is going to help them. They might want to start with Wikipedia and/or figuring out what the hell it is that they actually want to appropriate.

    When we can't easily determine what works we can safely use and draw inspiration from, creativity is stifled and our critical First Amendment right to free speech is chilled.


    "Draw inspiration" from? That's easy. Anything. There's no legal restriction on inspiration, only appropriation. It seems like New Media Rights is actually trying to confuse people more than they already are.

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

  42. identicon
    Gerare Pierce, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 3:59pm

    public domain

    It could be a simple solution. If some holder claims that they have renewed, or that they have a derivative copyright, let them simply inform the copyright office.

    Setting up a database is neither complex nor expensive. I could do it myself in about 8 hours work. The bandwidth might cost a few bucks at the start.

    Any holder who does not claim a renewed or derivative copyright within 6 months loses any future ability to claim copyright and the work becomes definitely public domain.

    That could clear out all of the orphan copyrights and would be a great benefit to the creators and the public.

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

  43. identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 4:39pm

    I can think of better things to pay $165 an hour for. ;)

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

  44. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 5:12pm

    Sorry for the info dump

    - The University of Pennsylvania has scans of the copyright registrations and renewals going back to 1891, found here: http://onlinebooks.library.upenn.edu/cce/ These appear to be PDFs of the registration books, and include indices that list the works that were registered and renewed. It's an OCR scan, so search is functional, if not perfect.

    -As someone else mentioned, Stanford hosts a renewal database here: http://collections.stanford.edu/copyrightrenewals/bin/page?forward=home The database only covers books, however; if a work was first published in a magazine, for example, it will probably not appear in Stanford. It also only covers works published in the US; the copyright registration and renewal requirements mentioned in the article are only with respect to the US.

    -Another wrinkle to the "is it PD or not?" question for works published between 1923-1964 is rights restoration. If a work was first published outside of the US during that time, it's possible that the copyright has been restored, and thus the work is still under copyright in the US. See here: http://www.copyright.gov/gatt.html for a list of restoration notices, but it is not complete.

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

  45. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 5:45pm

    Re:

    despite what he boasts ootb isn't worth that much...

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

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 6:29pm

    Re: Re: Re:

    Hell of a lot more value than your useless suggestions.

    Have you got a job yet AJ, or are they all still telling you that you have no clue what so ever and to FUCK OFF

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

  47. icon
    AC Unknown (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 6:50pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    And you wonder why your comments are constantly reported. They're nothing but ad-homs dripping with venomous hatred for Mike.

    You know what: go start your own blog.

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

  48. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 8:36pm

    Re: Re:

    go in there with a cell phone with a scanner app and go to town. OCR makes it doa-ble.

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

  49. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jul 16th, 2013 @ 8:42pm

    Re: Re:

    History and culture go hand in hand, and today's history is largely in a a form that's illegal to copy.

    But excessive copyright is one issue - not having a reasonable way to know what is and isn't under copyright is a massive failure of the U.S. government.

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

  50. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 8:53pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    sorry, but no it couldn't

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

  51. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jul 16th, 2013 @ 9:06pm

    ...there are basically 5 stories, everything else is derivitive of those 5 stories...

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

  52. icon
    Tim Griffiths (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:10am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Do you know how every revolution in history has ever started? It's started with people talking together. Suggesting ideas, and debating those suggested by others, to help mold an actionable and common set of ideals and goals.

    A thousand individuals shouting at government all with a individual set of ideas is nothing but ignorable noise. A thousand individuals shouting with one voice for a common set of ideas? That's different.

    Of course revolution requires a call to action and those who will act but action is meaningless with our direction and direction is unachievable without debate and consensus.

    This rhetoric of yours is, if anything, an attempt to produce either inaction or action that is ineffective. There's a subtle difference between calling for people to act on their views and suggesting that discussing those views with like minded people is meaningless. Which suggests you either know that, or don't, either making you intentionally subversive or simply dangerously stupid.

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

  53. icon
    Tim Griffiths (profile), Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:23am

    Re: So what's your point?

    A concrete counter example is this text I've written here, almost certainly an entirely new arrangement of words as no one else ever has, yet expressing for about the millionth time here that Techdirt's focus isn't "free speech", but grifting off the past (in this piece), or in other pieces trying to grift off current creators (as when defending Megaupload and The Pirate Bay).

    But not new words. You copy those words which are, clearly, the result of other peoples work. Do you pay licensing for the use of the language system you just used to express your self? No?

    BUT! I'm sure you will cry, how can we know who invented the words we use? They are a common system of expression that evolved over the years! And this, to an extent is true, but let's narrow this down to a concrete example shall we?

    Shakespeare;
    http://www.shakespeare-online.com/biography/wordsinvented.html

    There are a raft of words we use everyday that can be traced to Shakespeare and I'm sure entomologists can trace a lot of other words to a single individual who created them.

    You no doubt use those words so by your logic your new arrangement of words is not free speech because it may rely on using words that other created to express a meaning to express yours. You are, in matter of fact, very literally remixing the work you copy from others to express your self.

    Now of course this is absurd, that's kinda of the point, but for someone so intent on the idea that free speech can't involve building, working with, and adapting the work of others you sure are doing exactly that simply by speaking the English language.

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

  54. identicon
    Pragmatic, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 5:56am

    Re: So what's your point?

    Didn't Shakespeare rip off Richard Marlowe?

    All works are derivative whether you like it or not, Cathy. We're all influenced by something.

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

  55. identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:30pm

    Re: Re: So what's your point?

    Who the frell is Richard Marlowe? Another Sam Crubish?

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

  56. identicon
    Anonymous, Jul 17th, 2013 @ 2:32pm

    Re: Re:

    Okay, I'll take your word for it. You seem to have first-hand knowledge.

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

  57. identicon
    awaiting, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:16pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

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

  58. identicon
    idio thee, Jul 19th, 2013 @ 11:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Well, baby, is this where you get off, or do you need to be dropped somewhere?

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


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