by Leigh Beadon

Funniest/Most Insightful Comments Of The Week At Techdirt

from the the-disneyfication-of-culture dept

As occasionally happens, we've got a pair of related comments in the top spot this week. When we wrote about a project to crowdsource a list of all the public domain works Disney has used, That One Guy won first place for insightful by crunching a few numbers on one specific example:

From source page:

14. Jungle Book by Rudyard Kipling (1894 copyright, movie released just one year after copyright expired)

Revenue = $205.8 million

Barely even waited(if at all, wouldn't surprise me if the movie was already in production and they just waited until the wouldn't have to pay out for it) until pushing it out, and yet, if copyright duration was the same then as it was now, that $205 million likely wouldn't exist, as the story would have only entered the public domain in 2006.

No problem taking from the public domain, but they sure are loathe to ever contribute to it, or otherwise allow it to grow... hypocrisy, thy name is Disney.

(Maybe I could use a wacky legal theory of some kind to assert some rights of my own, since Kipling explicitly wrote about my family getting some "bread"...)

In response to this, an anonymous commenter won second place for insightful and first place for funny by summing it all up in torrenting terms:

Disney doesn't believe in seeding, only leaching.

For editor's choice on the insightful side, we'll start out with one more from the Disney post. A commenter brought up the old canard that the public domain is some sort of socialist concept where the government takes your property away, and Pub Editor neatly put that idea to bed:

The owners have already received their compensation -- during the copyright term -- in the form of state-sanctioned and court-enforced right to stop others from copying, using, or building upon the copyrighted work. Why do you think that it is *theft* for the government to say, "We will enforce this exclusive right of yours, but only for a limited time"?

No one is taking your car from you. But your owning a car is not the same as the government saying that only you may own a car.

Not all property works the same. IP is a tradeoff. The state says, "In order to encourage you to invest blood, sweat and tears into your invention, we will grant you a right, for 20 years, to STOP other people from using your invention." It is a right of exclusion, rather than a right of use, and that right of exclusion comes with a built-in expiration date. Which is what Art. 1, sec. 8 of the US Constitution expressly intends when it talks about "a limited time."

Next, we'll check in on another industry famous for manipulating IP law to its advantage, this time with even more serious and concerning results: pharmaceuticals. When the Bayer CEO made the disturbing statement that they don't make drugs for poor Indians (okay, now I'm starting to feel guilty about that bread thing) an anonymous commenter asked the obvious question:

Why does he care then?

If they didn't develop it for Indians, and only rich westerners were supposed to be their target consumer, then why should they give a rat's ass if Indians are producing their own and selling it for 97% cheaper (from the article)?

I suspect they're really afraid that the world will begin to see what's really going on here, and other countries will follow India's lead.

Over on the funny side, we've already had our first place comment above, so we'll get straight to second place. With Senators Wyden and Udall continuing their efforts to get the intelligence community to own up to its activities, aerilus was inspired to make a comparison:

Udall:what are we going to do tonight wyden?
Wyden: The same thing we do every night Udall. Try to save the world.

For editor's choice on the funny side, we start with Jessie and a response to the ludicrous idea that you need a license to teach coding in California:

I have the perfect idea to settle this matter. Unfortunately I do not have a current license required to pass information from one person to another.

Wait, I just told you I didn't have a license, that was information. Crud, where do I go to turn myself in at.

And, finally, when one commenter made the bizarre claim that Edward Snowden meets the definition of a "tyrant", Baron von Robber offered a pretty brilliant retort:

Is Snowden ruling his domain of his hotel room with impunity?

Does he make his mouse move with every movement of his iron fist?

Is he waterboarding his laundry?

Indeed. That's all for this week, folks!

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  • identicon
    Average American, 2 Feb 2014 @ 3:49pm

    Aw, forget about the government and what they're doing to us. Who cares? It's the holiest day of the year: Superbowl Sunday! Let's get drunk and watch the game! Go Seacos and/or Bronhawks! And give it up for Bruuuuno Marrrrs! Yee-haw!

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

  • icon
    Sheogorath (profile), 2 Feb 2014 @ 6:53pm

    Off topic

    Going to interview Justine Sacco. Hope I don't get stupiditis.
    And here are the Vengaboys: "Hey now, hey now. Hear what I say now
    TSA is just around the corner
    Hey now, hey now. Hear what I say now
    They'll be groping you
    The Apple iCar's coming
    And everybody's jumping
    Because the NSA boys
    Don't need no more new spy toys..."

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

  • icon
    btrussell (profile), 3 Feb 2014 @ 3:47am

    "...that $205 million likely wouldn't exist,..."

    Disney didn't print $205 000 000. If no one bought it and instead pirated the movie, the money would still exist.

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

    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 3 Feb 2014 @ 4:17am


      True, but the point is, it wouldn't exist for them, being instead spent on other stuff.

      As well, the 'pirating' option for the movie also likely wouldn't exist, since current copyright duration length, life+70 years, which they defend as 'necessary to incentivize creation', if it was the same back then as it is now, would mean that the story would only have entered the public domain in 2006, so they probably wouldn't have made the film at all.

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

      • icon
        btrussell (profile), 3 Feb 2014 @ 8:11am

        Re: Re:

        No problem!

        Just sounded a little too close to the line of "piracy is bad for the economy" as opposed to "another example of how too long of copyright length is not an incentive to create."

        Being most insightful comment, congratulations, I wanted it clarified for the nsa and new visitors alike!

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

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