Here We Go Again: All The Works That Should Now Be In The Public Domain, But Aren't

from the *sigh* dept

Each year, for the past few years, the wonderful Center for the Study of the Public Domain at Duke University publishes a blog post highlighting key works that should have entered the public domain on January first, but did not. And each year, we write about it again. Here is the list for 2016. These are mostly works that were published in 1959. Under the law at the time they were created, the maximum copyright term was 56 years, and that apparently was more than enough of a bargain for the work to be created. That we retroactively extended those works, taking away the public domain for no actual benefit, remains a travesty. The list includes books like Robert Heinlein's Starship Troopers, William Burroughs' The Naked Lunch, Richard Condon's The Manchurian Candidate, and Strunk and White's famed The Elements of Style. Films that should be in the public domain today include Ben-Hur, North by Northwest, and Some Like It Hot. The original season of the seminal Rocky and Bullwinkle show would also be in the public domain.

Not surprisingly, if horrifically disappointingly, the blog post points out that many of the movies that should be going into the public domain were, themselves, built on public domain works:
Many of these movies were built on public domain works. Ben-Hur was based on Lew Wallace’s novel Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1880). Sleeping Beauty drew on fairy tales including Charles Perrault’s La Belle au bois dormant (1697) (itself based on earlier fairy tales) and the Brothers Grimm’s later version of Perrault’s story (1812). Journey to Center of the Earth adapted Jules Verne’s 1864 novel of the same name. One work inspires another. That is how the public domain feeds creativity.
But if you wanted to continue to build on those works, too fucking bad. What a massive loss to culture.

The post also details music that should be in the public domain (including Miles Davis' Kind of Blue and the original score to The Sound of Music). Even more terrible is scientific research that is still locked away:

1959 was another noteworthy year for science. C. P. Snow presented The Two Cultures and the Scientific Revolution, an influential lecture about the gulf between the sciences and the humanities. The programming language COBOL was developed. Martin Gardner published the Three Prisoners Problem, a probability theory paradox, in his “Mathematical Games” column in Scientific American. Giuseppe Cocconi and Philip Morrison published Searching for Interstellar Communications, a foundational work for the search for extraterrestrial intelligence, in the journal Nature.

If you follow the link from Nature above (and you do not have a subscription or institutional access), you will see that this 1959 article is behind a paywall. You can purchase it for $32. A distressing number of scientific articles from 1959 require payment or a subscription or account, including those in major journals such as Science and JAMA. And the institutional access that many top scientists enjoy is not guaranteed—even institutions such as Harvard have considered canceling their subscriptions because they could no longer afford the escalating prices of major journal subscriptions.

I hate writing this post each year. It's incredibly depressing. What's worse is when we see people who claim to support "artists' rights" or who claim to be supporters of culture not realize how damaging this is to their own creative output. The usual refrain of "just make your own work" is so ignorant as to be laughable. Everyone builds on the works of those who came before, but thanks to all of this copyright extension we're seeing culture disappear into a giant blackhole. And, even worse, rather than fix this problem, the US government seems focused on making it worse. The TPP agreement would block the US from being allowed to roll back copyright terms, while forcing many other countries to extend their own copyright terms.

It is difficult to see how anyone can support such blatant destruction of culture.

Reader Comments (rss)

(Flattened / Threaded)

  1. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 2:06am

    'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    It is difficult to see how anyone can support such blatant destruction of culture.

    Not at all once you remember that the very same people who support such insane copyright terms also stand to profit very highly from them.

    Those that hold the copyright to the works locked up benefit both from the government granted monopoly on the works, allowing them to charge whatever they want without worry about having someone undercutting them on price, and from the decrease in competition to the more recent works they own.

    If someone is completely indifferent to culture as a whole, and only cares about what particular part of it they can make money from, then it's not hard to understand in the slightest why they'd support not only the current copyright laws, but their further expansion. So long as they're making money, they don't care at all what the collateral damage is.

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

  2. icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 3:43am

    Competition

    Actually the main reason behind this is not to continue to profit from those old works - rather it is to avoid new works having to compete with them. They don't care if the old works are lost completely - in fact that would be even better for them - because it would be permanent.

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

  3. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 4:04am

    Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    And the truly sick thing is, they are cutting off their nose to pad their wallets.
    By killing anyone building on things that came before, we end up in the barren wasteland of Taken 17 - I don't know who you are, but I will find you if you don't return my 3rd wives neighbors cat.

    They keep remaking the same dreck, hoping this time it'll make more money or at least keep anyone else from making any. How much time & effort is wasted as budding scientists, who don't have a subscription, redo experiments from decades ago to try and move forward with an idea they want to pursue? How many brilliant people have an idea for a new take on something, end up shelving the idea because they can't acquire the rights because its only on paper in a warehouse somewhere and we dunno if we own it, but if you make anything we'll sue you for 4x's what it might have made.
    By locking up the culture, they are killing it off. Look at how many awesome "reality" shows dominate the airwaves. We have to resort to manipulated reality rather than someone reimagining a classic story from their childhood? How many children were told a story that stuck with them but now is out of print keeping them from sharing it with their grandchildren (because we locked it away because someone might find a way to make a buck after 80 years of trying).

    The public are being screwed, copyright is now seen as just a blip in the lifetime of a corporation but can span several generations of the public. Do we really need to prop them up by making sure they can still collect the fees for re-airing Ben-Hur on some obscure channel 2 times a year? Does it really make them that much money to justify keeping it locked away so we can't see what Ben-Hur would look like with 21st century technology?

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

  4. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 4:29am

    Re: Competition

    I'd say it's both. They don't really mind older works competing with newer ones, just so long as they are the ones holding the rights to a re-release or licencing sales for another version of the original book, for example.

    But, they absolutely want to keep the exclusive rights to profit. They will still publish popular works, even as they may compete with newer works. These works won't go out of print, they will just retain higher prices and whatever restrictions the publisher decides to add. Public domain would mean no exclusivity, and they don't want others creating better/cheaper/etc. versions either of the original material or new adaptations.

    The downside is, of course, that the desire to keep publishing only applies to works deemed profitable. They don't mind works being lost to history if the title doesn't have an in-built way to lazily market. That's my real problem with this - the works deemed commercially popular and those of high quality are often not the same thing so it's more important to rescue those without an inbuilt audience rather than those that would have quality releases whether or not they were public domain..

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

  5. icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 4:54am

    Re: Re: Competition

    No, they make very little money from even the most popular older works. Take Ben Hur for example. They have done a remake (scheduled for release later this year - timed for next Christmas). If they could still make lots of money from the 1959 version why bother - but what they really don't want is the 1959 version competing with their new (and likely lame) film.

    There are very few old works (beyond Happy Birthday) that actually make siginificant money.

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

  6. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 5:37am

    Re: Re: Re: Competition

    "If they could still make lots of money from the 1959 version why bother - but what they really don't want is the 1959 version competing with their new (and likely lame) film"

    But, there's usually a re-release of older movies at the time a remake or sequel is released, usually in some kind of special edition/remastered/collector's edition. If your assertion was true, that would make no sense. Even without a new package, sales often spike as the new version reignites interest in the older film.

    No, what they want is for them, and only them to be able to grab from both sides. Think back to when Spielberg's War of The Worlds was made. There was not only a re-release of the 1950s version, but several other adaptations of the same book and numerous re-releases of said book. The problem for them wasn't the re-release of the older movie (which was also owned by the same studio), it was the lack of control they had. They couldn't block people from making money off the back of their decision to remake the property, even as they made more money, because the source was public domain.

    It's not just about money, it's also about control. It's not about making sure they get to profit from the newer version of Ben Hur, it's about making sure nobody else does.

    "There are very few old works (beyond Happy Birthday) that actually make siginificant money."

    Which is exactly why it's important that those without mainstream name recognition not be allowed to disappear. But, that's not happening because the studios want to stop people from watching a 50s film in case someone watches it instead of the new one.

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

  7. icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 5:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Competition

    But, there's usually a re-release of older movies at the time a remake or sequel is released, usually in some kind of special edition/remastered/collector's edition. If your assertion was true, that would make no sense. Even without a new package, sales often spike as the new version reignites interest in the older film.

    I think we're not really very far apart on this one. It is only a matter of relative scale of motivations. However I think we'd agree that their real nightmare goes something like this:

    They release new version - someone else re-releases older version. That someone else can now push the old version at the expense of the new one whilst profiting from their publicity. Given that the new one will be much worse than the old* that someone else will now get most of the profit.

    *I don't think a film like Ben Hur could be made these days - its cultural assumptions are no longer mainstream. If made in the modern climate it will most likely be a cheesy backward looking version with the harder edges removed (not that there were many in the 1959 one). Alternatively it could be an attempt to bring the story into line with the modern, more cynical worldview which would contradict the motivation of the original book.

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

  8. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:28am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Competition

    "someone else will now get most of the profit."

    Exactly my point. They don't want to stop the older version from competing, as you claimed, they just want to make sure nobody else gets a look in. They don't care how many less commercially viable works suffer as a result of locking everything up, so long as they keep control and profits from those that are.

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

  9. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:36am

    Another year, another whiny post from Mike. He complains about all the terrible harms, yet of course he has absolutely no proof of any harm. He chooses this topic because it safe: these works would have been in the public domain had their copyrights not been extended. And that's a terrible terrible thing, we're told. But, of course, Mike won't ever tell us anything about works that are more recent. It's not as safe of an argument to make, so he won't make it. What about a work that was created last year? Should that work have copyright, Mike? Crickets.

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

  10. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:42am

    Re:

    You're irrelevant.

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

  11. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:42am

    Re:

    lol - wut

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

  12. identicon
    Quiet Lurcker, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:43am

    Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    (s)
    I'm sorry. 'awesome' and '"reality" shows' are mutually exclusive terms. You get an 'F' for this essay.
    (/s)

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

  13. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:49am

    Re: Re:

    It's simple. Mike thinks it's a huge tragedy that these works from 1959 are not in the public domain. What about works from 1960? From 1970? From 1980? From last year? He won't tell us anything about those works. Does he think it's a tragedy that those works aren't in the public domain too? If not, what's the difference? When it comes to these works from 1959, Mike has absolutely no problem telling us exactly what his opinion is. His opinion is that these works absolutely should not be copyrighted. But why can't he give an opinion about other more recent works?

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

  14. icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:50am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Competition

    They don't want to stop the older version from competing, as you claimed, they just want to make sure nobody else gets a look in.

    Aren't those two things in practice the same?

    ie what they want to avoid is somebody else using the older works to get a look in.

    If the older work is in the public domain then the older work competing is synonymous with somebody else getting the profit.

    My point is that if the older works are in the public domain then others, who may be able to deliver the content more efficiently, can compete with their newer offerings.

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

  15. identicon
    Andrew D. Todd, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:53am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Competition

    Movie theaters and home video, by whatever means, are two different markets. Obviously, one cannot show bootleg video in a public theater, and advertise it in the newspaper. Nor can one use a DVD, becuase the DVD is not licensed for public performance. What is more to the point, there are not very many people who will say: "I viewed it on the internet, therefore I don't need to go to the theater." That is the attitude of a professional movie critic, with too little time, and too many movies to watch, or, even more plausibly, a Film Studies graduate student, with too little time _and_ money, and too many movies to watch _and_ faculty (boss) pressure to display familiarity with many movies which bore him.

    Most of the people who go to the movies go because they like going to the movies, and the choice of movie is secondary. When you take account of market segmentation (romances for thirteen-year-old girls, action films for nine-year-old boys), the effective choice for a given movie-goer in a given locality is likely to be one or two films. Most of the people at home simply don't care enough about a particular movie to bother going to watch it when there are a hundred or a thousand other movies they could watch.

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

  16. icon
    Richard (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:54am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's simple. Mike thinks it's a huge tragedy that these works from 1959 are not in the public domain. What about works from 1960? From 1970? From 1980? From last year? He won't tell us anything about those works. Does he think it's a tragedy that those works aren't in the public domain too? If not, what's the difference?

    I can't speak for Mike but :

    1. In my ideal world all of those works (in fact all works) would be in the public domain - so your criticism would be invalid.

    2. In this world as it was in 1959 those works were scheduled to be in the public domain now. Works from 1960 and later were not scheduled (at the time they were created) to be in the public domain now - so that is a simple and clear difference that you seem to be too stupid to see.

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

  17. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:02am

    I am glad these works had their cooyright extended. When I created a few of those works I my business plan used a minimum of a 56 year ROI. I am finally able to realize that business plan come to fruition. Hopefully I can start making a profit next year.

    (Hopefully Hollywood accounting won't ruin it!)

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

  18. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:05am

    Re:

    Another year another whiney jackass doing his best broken record impression.

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

  19. icon
    Mason Wheeler (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:08am

    That we retroactively extended those works, taking away the public domain for no actual benefit, remains a travesty.

    It's more than a travesty; it's blatantly illegal. The Constitution says straight out that Congress shall not pass any ex post facto (retroactive) law. How in the world has retroactive copyright term extension managed to pass judicial review in light of this?

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

  20. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:10am

    Re:

    He complains about all the terrible harms, yet of course he has absolutely no proof of any harm.

    Point to something that doesn't exist. Something that could have existed, but doesn't because the law is so insane and/or stupid that it was killed off before it could be created.

    If you can't, I can, and all I need to do is apply the law as it currently stands to the past:

    Disney.

    Heard of it? Big company, makes a lot of movies? Take a wild guess what the overwhelming majority of their earlier movies were based upon.

    Snow White? Public domain story.
    Pinocchio? Public domain book.
    The Sorcerer's Apprentice(original cause of Fantasia to be created)? Public domain poem.
    Cinderella? Public domain story.
    Alice in Wonderland?
    Peter Pan?
    Treasure Island?

    But hey, I'm sure just because all of those would likely have never been created were copyright back then the same as it is now, doesn't mean that anything that might have been created today never sees the light of day for the same reason.

    What about a work that was created last year? Should that work have copyright, Mike? Crickets.

    Oh look, more lies, though at least you rephrased your lies this time, so points for creativity I suppose.

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20150723/17125231743/state-georgia-sues-carl-malamud-copyr ight-infringement-publishing-states-own-laws.shtml#c663

    https://www.techdirt.com/articles/20130121/14 473121743/global-hackathons-prepared-to-carry-forward-work-aaron-swartz.shtml#c377

    https://www.techdi rt.com/articles/20130404/03365722575/dmca-as-censorship-chilling-effects-research.shtml#c825

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

  21. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:19am

    Re:

    Ah, but how could I forget, you're so focused on what Mike thinks, it would be downright rude not to ask you what you think.

    So with that in mind, what do you think the proper duration of copyright should be?

    Do you think it should be longer, shorter, or stay the same? For any of them, what reasons and evidence do you have to support your position that it is the best option?

    Do you believe that anything should enter the public domain, and if so when?

    Inquiring minds want to know. After all, if you're going to claim that Mike is silent on the subject, then surely you'll have no problem at all making your positions clear, and backing them up with solid arguments and evidence.

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

  22. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:20am

    Re: Re:

    average_joe/antidirt spends more time whining about his mancrush on Masnick instead of his wife.

    I'm honestly stunned they found the time to actually procreate. You can imagine the discussion: "Honey, let's get a copyright instead; those last seventy years longer, and we can argue to have it extended further!"

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

  23. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:31am

    Re: Re: Re:

    So you're an actual culture thief.

    Got it.

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

  24. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:33am

    Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    Anyone's free to make Ben Hur today because the novel is in the public domain. I doubt anyone could do it better though.

    And they keep making sequels not because of a lack of original ideas (Hollywood gets thousands of original scripts every year) but because audiences generally don't go to see original ideas.

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

  25. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:36am

    Can't be bothered to innovate so we destroy anyone that tries to compete with us. That sums up the governments attitude towards the rest of the world quite well.

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

  26. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:39am

    Re:

    Because nobody questioned it at the time?

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

  27. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:39am

    56 years is a (somewhat) reasonable limit

    I could live with an absolute 56-year copyright term. That might still fall into the Constitutional requirement of a limited time.

    When a copyright lasts longer than the lifespan of 100% of the population of the world, it's not a limited time (not to mention too long.) At least do away with the automatic renewals.

    If you can't give a specific number, that's another indication that it's not for a limited time. What if patents were the life of the creator, plus 70 years? Think about it.

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

  28. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:45am

    Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    but because audiences generally don't go to see original ideas.

    How would Hollywood know that, they haven't produced an original film in decades.

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

  29. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:47am

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    As culture is the stories that people share with each other, the only way to steal culture is to prevent people sharing stories, by extending copyright for example.

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

  30. identicon
    Anonymous Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:04am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    Focus groups, which are focused on Hollywood profits rather than consumer interest.

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

  31. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:18am

    Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    Going on my theory that sophomoric comedy writers who specialize in dick jokes tend to be the most insightful economic analysts to be found, I give you this.

    (http://www.cracked.com/blog/6-ways-china-hollywood-are-teaming-up-to-ruin-movies/)

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

  32. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:23am

    Re: Re: Re:

    But why can't he give an opinion about other more recent works?
    Good point. The only clues he's given us are a paltry two decades-worth of posts. Evasive bastard.

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

  33. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:30am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    ...they haven't produced an original film in decades...

    Actually they have; however:

    1) The film is poorly scripted and/or poorly acted; or

    2) The film is poorly cast thus turning off the audience; or

    3) The theaters charge too much and folks refuse to pay that much to see the film; or

    4) The film is only released in certain markets. I've lost count of how many films got nominated for an Academy Award that never came to my town until after the nominations.

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

  34. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:34am

    Re: 56 years is a (somewhat) reasonable limit

    Even that seems excessive, though if the data showed that a term of that long was the 'ideal' one, balancing public interests with motivation for the creator, I could at least see it as being somewhat reasonable.

    However, from what I've seen the 'ideal' duration would probably be notably shorter than that, much closer to the original 14+14, as the bulk of the profits from creations tend to happen in the first few years, and when copyright required registration the vast majority didn't bother for the second half, apparently feeling it was't worth it.

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

  35. icon
    That One Guy (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:39am

    Re:

    I might be wrong, but I think the argument used was that they weren't passing a law after the fact, they were just 'updating' one already in place, though even that fails the test given they didn't just apply it to works created after that point, but retroactively applied the new terms to works that had already been created.

    Alternatively, they just didn't care that it was illegal, as who's going to argue against 'the rights of the corpo- creators'?

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

  36. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 8:59am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    Releasing a film wide AFTER it gets a nomination is going to get a lot more interest from the public. The awards are nothing more than marketing tools. And most of the films that use this strategy are indie films, not MPAA-produced films (or are indie films bought by MPAA members).

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

  37. icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 9:07am

    Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    Well, it's obvious for quite a few people that the system is highly unfair and stacked even if they don't realize it. That's why we have piracy and people generally don't respect copyright. The tyrants can only gain respect via fear, the MAFIAA tries to emulate that via more and more draconian laws.

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

  38. icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 9:19am

    Re: Re:

    I scrolled down to see if somebody got the link to the comments Mike replied to this moron. Good job man!

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

  39. icon
    Ninja (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 9:23am

    Re: Re: 56 years is a (somewhat) reasonable limit

    That. I think it should go further than that though. The works should be fully and widely available for the duration of their copyrights. This should further help.

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

  40. identicon
    RD, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 10:08am

    Re: Re: Re:

    so Mike, in order to satisfy this anonymous coward, you need to go through each movie, for each year, & a firm for each individual movie what you believe its copyright status should be. Apparently, that's the only way this a****** will be satisfied about your stance on copyright.

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

  41. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 10:18am

    Re: Re: Re:

    It's simple. Mike thinks it's a huge tragedy that these works from 1959 are not in the public domain. What about works from 1960? From 1970? From 1980? From last year? He won't tell us anything about those works. Does he think it's a tragedy that those works aren't in the public domain too? If not, what's the difference?

    I don't think those works should be in the public domain, so long as the creators followed the rules at the time to get those works covered by copyright.

    My only issue here is that the bargain made *AT THE TIME OF CREATION* said those works should be in the public domain now. Works that were created after that would still be under copyright (in many cases) and thus should remain as such.

    I've said as much before. Stop lying about what you *think* I've said. It's not only petty, it's bullshit.

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

  42. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 11:44am

    Re: 56 years is a (somewhat) reasonable limit

    I think 7+7 is more than adequate for copyright, given that by the **AA's own numbers, that's when the majority of the profit is made.

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

  43. identicon
    Ed, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 12:41pm

    Its a shame the public has not thought to sell copyright

    Here's a thought. Change copyright to 10 years from the date of creation. Then, if the content owners wish to extend copyright, allow them to buy extensions from the public.

    10 years is a reasonably generous gift from the public to content creators. In the real world of physical content it is generally considered to be enough to warrant investment of considerable funds. For instance, in steelmaking we need around $600 million to build a blast furnace, and we know that after around ten years it will fall down and need to be replaced. So then, if we want to keep making money from steelmaking, we need to invest more money.

    Why not align copyright more closely to physical property in this way? Invest today to create a work, expect returns for ten years then invest in a new work or buy anther ten years of copyright monopoly from the public.

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

  44. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 2:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Btw, I find it somewhat amusing that when this particular commenter posts something and I don't respond within 3 or 4 hours, he will usually comment again saying "crickets!" even if I'm, you know, busy with my actual job.

    I'm going to assume that this same commenter is busy today which is why I haven't yet seen an apology for yet another of his bogus claims about the position he keeps insisting I have (which I don't). Of course, he also never apologized for any of those other times that I clearly answered his questions despite him claiming I didn't.

    Funny, that.

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

  45. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 3:05pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Wow, Mike. This is a big step forward for us. I've been trying for over five years to get you to say whether you think authors should have any rights. This is the first time, to my knowledge, that you've indicated that they should. Congrats on actually taking a stand on the issue.

    Now, if you think I'm lying, I challenge you to point to ANY post or comment of yours where you said this before. I don't think it exists. I would LOVE to see the link.

    Of course, your newly professed respect for copyright has numerous caveats, like the fact that you don't think there's anything wrong with infringement other than the author or right holder not liking it.

    Since you're being so open now, may I inquire as to WHY you think authors should have rights?

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

  46. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 3:20pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    "For us" as if you are in a relationship...creepy man, real creepy.

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

  47. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 4th, 2016 @ 3:21pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Hi Mike. I checked back in a couple of hours after I posted, and you hadn't responded yet. And you're right, I was working today--fighting the good fight, as you well know. The reason I pull out the crickets is because you often run away from discussions about your beliefs about copyright. If there's something you feel I should apologize for, I'm all ears. I'll happily discuss any of my comments on the merits.

    Let me ask you this: Why is copyrighting a work from 1959 terrible for culture, yet copyrighting a work from 1960 is something you now admit to supporting? Wouldn't it be terrible for culture too? I look forward to your thoughts.

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

  48. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 3:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    While someone could TRY to make a new Ben-Hur based off of the novel, why would they try knowing that they will be sued before filming begins or just before release? See cause the corps who own rights like to kick back and fuck with people. They can get a pound of flesh one way or another, and forcing an upstart into bankruptcy means they can acquire that new thing for a song and maintain control.

    Sequels get funding based on dreams that the first movie was a hit so make another and you will get the same results (even if you hire different cheaper people to make it)... oh hey maybe thats why they think that this time this new tweak to copyright law will make it all magically better.

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

  49. icon
    JMT (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 4:22pm

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

    "Why is copyrighting a work from 1959 terrible for culture, yet copyrighting a work from 1960 is something you now admit to supporting? Wouldn't it be terrible for culture too?"

    Wow, that is the lamest attempt at a "gotcha" question I've seen in a while. Both are just as bad, but you well know that a line has to be drawn somewhere to make a law. Why don't you explain to us why Life+50 is an acceptable copyright period but Life+49 is not? The question is just as dumb and we know you can't answer it.

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

  50. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 6:58pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    Interesting that this 2010 European produced Ben Hur miniseries didn't get sued into oblivion.

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

  51. icon
    jupiterkansas (profile), Jan 4th, 2016 @ 7:01pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    Or this 2003 independent animated version with Charlton Heston doing the voice.

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

  52. icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), Jan 5th, 2016 @ 1:49am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: 'As long as I get mine, who cares about the rest of you'

    So I picked a bad example, but the statement holds true.

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

  53. icon
    Seegras (profile), Jan 5th, 2016 @ 3:17am

    Copyright is used to supress competition

    It is difficult to see how anyone can support such blatant destruction of culture.

    Oh yes, I can.

    Old works are essentially competition to newly released ones.

    So if they can get "Starship Troopers" for free instead of paying for "Ender's Game", that's obviously a situation detrimental to the income of the author of the latter work and fixed by not letting "Starship Troopers" become public domain.

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

  54. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2016 @ 4:08am

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

    It's funny that he thinks no one has noticed that he's trolling to get the self-fulfilling answers he wants, and will keep trolling until he thinks he's got them.

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

  55. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2016 @ 4:38am

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

    Hi Mike. Me again. Listen, rather than complain about how I misrepresent your views, why don't you take a few minutes and actually explain what your views are?

    I've been trying for over five years to get you to do this, and all you've ever done is make excuses, demand apologies, say I'm misrepresenting you, pretend you've answered my questions (while refusing to ever link to the answer), attack me personally, and run away. You've done this hundreds of times.

    It seems very clear to me that you simply don't want to discuss your views. Nothing else could explain your behavior. I understand your need to pretend that the problem is on my end, but I'm here, ready and willing to discuss things on the merits. Why aren't you? What are you so scared of?

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

  56. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 5th, 2016 @ 4:55am

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

    "I've been trying for over five years"

    But, here's a funny fact: you appear to be the only person who hasn't understood the actual positions of this site and its authors. You regularly attack things that have never been stated, while ignoring the facts that have. Nobody but you seems to have a problem with what is actually said. They certainly don't personally harass people for not giving them a specific answer in some random timescale.

    The reality is, you've constructed a strawman version of Mike in your head that rests on a number of assumptions that are completely untrue (e.g. that criticising copyright means that he wants it removed completely, that by noting that pirates are often supplying demand unserviced by legal areas means he supports the pirates). Therefore, when Mike details his actual opinions or points to years of posts stating what he actually believes, you pretend these things weren't stated because they didn't jibe with the fantasy version of him you constructed.

    So, you continue to demand things, whining like a baby because Mike eventually refuses to deal with somebody so deluded and unwilling to address the actual positions he's stated. Because apparently, no answer other than the one you've invented will make you happy, and Mike isn't willing to lie about himself to shut you up (which you probably won't anyway).

    Deal with reality, then you'll calm down and we'll all be better for it. Repeatedly attacking someone for not spending half a decade either giving you personal special treatment or agreeing to a lie doesn't make that person more willing to deal with you. It only makes you look like an obsessed liar, possibly with severe untreated mental issues. That giant you keep tilting at really is just a windmill, that's why it won't talk to you.

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

  57. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 5th, 2016 @ 5:06am

    Re: Re: 56 years is a (somewhat) reasonable limit

    I've always said that automatic 14-20 years would be great, with the option to renew a limited number of times - with the caveat that the renewal can only be done by the originating author of the work, not a corporation or 3rd cousin or what have you. That would neatly remove a lot of the issues surrounding orphaned works and the current effectively infinite terms, while retaining the protections of automatic registration (often needed to stop the same corporations robbing independent work by those who don't understand the system before creating something).

    It would also clearly restate the original purpose of copyright - that it's a limited incentive to create works in exchange for a temporary monopoly, not a retirement package for people who only created one popular work in 50 years and squandered the resulting income, nor for a corporation to profit long after death.

    The chances of this becoming reality in the current climate may be slim, but I'd hope we slide back toward something reasonable.

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

  58. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2016 @ 5:57am

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

    He's probably concerned about the creepy guy who's been stalking him for five years. Do yourself a favor and get some help. They make really wonderful pills now that will make the gremlins go away.

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

  59. icon
    Mike Masnick (profile), Jan 5th, 2016 @ 6:27am

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

    Hi Mike. Me again. Listen, rather than complain about how I misrepresent your views, why don't you take a few minutes and actually explain what your views are?

    I think PaulT's response below accurately summarizes my thoughts here.

    I've been "explaining what my views are" for nearly 20 fucking years and you're the only person alive who claims I'm somehow unwilling to discuss them.

    As per always, when I do engage with you, rather than admitting you were wrong, you move the goalposts and pretend that the strawman Mike in your head must be more truthful than the real Mike who has actually responded to you, explained my position over and over again, despite your somewhat pathological insistence that I'm not actually answering you.

    I should have just remembered this and moved on.

    http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20120818/01171420087/funniestmost-insightful-comments-week-techd irt.shtml#c1210

    I've been trying for over five years to get you to do this, and all you've ever done is make excuses, demand apologies, say I'm misrepresenting you, pretend you've answered my questions (while refusing to ever link to the answer), attack me personally, and run away. You've done this hundreds of times.

    Refusing to ever link to an answer? Holy fuck, dude. I ANSWERED you above. I've answered you dozens of times. People above linked to a bunch of my older answers. I can link to more, but clearly that's not enough. In a thread where I directly answered your question and proved you to be a liar, you're still doing your trollish shtick.

    It seems very clear to me that you simply don't want to discuss your views.

    I write 10 or more posts a day "discussing my views."

    I'm here, ready and willing to discuss things on the merits. Why aren't you? What are you so scared of?

    I've discussed my views in detail. I do so every day. I've answered your questions in detail. Many times. And EVERY SINGLE TIME you pull out the same bullshit you're pulling in this thread where you ignore the answer, or insist that it can't be true or (your favorite) you start pretending you're Socrates with your list of silly goalpost moving questions, as if you think that you're somehow on the path to finding some inconsistency in my answers. You're not Socrates.

    Anyway, go ahead and throw your tantrum about how I'm "running away" even as I directly answered your question. I'm heading out for the rest of the week for CES, so I won't be able to respond much to comments, but go ahead, and pretend I'm not responding because you won. That'll be amusing to read about next weekend when I get back.

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

  60. This comment has been flagged by the community. Click here to show it
    identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2016 @ 8:33am

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

    Hi Mike. Thanks for responding. I'm not surprised you're claiming that you've answered me, while yet again not supplying any links to your answers. It's just a bunch of silly hand-waving and issue-dodging.

    Let's talk substance: Now that you've acknowledged that you think creators SHOULD have copyrights, at least insofar as they don't exist during a term extension, can you please explain WHY you think creators should have copyrights?

    I've read hundreds, if not thousands, of your posts complaining about copyright. I have yet to see where you ever explained WHY you think creators should have any rights. If you've answered this before, then please link to the answer. I don't think you can, and it's for the simple reason that you've never explained it. If you could prove me wrong with a simple link, you'd have done it already.

    But here you are yet again running away with a nothing but excuses. There's no "tantrum" here on my part, and you know it. I want an honest discussion on the merits--the one thing you appear incapable of having. Have fun at CES. When you get back and are done laughing, let's continue this discussion. No need for you to be so scared.

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

  61. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 5th, 2016 @ 7:14pm

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

    "I've harassed you for years, often with death threats, insults and outright lies. I now demand that you answer me and give me results that I want and won't stop pestering you until I do, on the grounds that I am currently being less of an asshole."

    That's you in a nutshell. Somehow you believe this is how most of humanity interacts and consider it acceptable, then when you're told otherwise, you react predictably. Is this how they do things in lawyer school or is it just the John Steele school of thought?

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

  62. icon
    PaulT (profile), Jan 6th, 2016 @ 12:59am

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

    "Now that you've acknowledged that you think creators SHOULD have copyrights, at least insofar as they don't exist during a term extension, can you please explain WHY you think creators should have copyrights?"

    Wow, at least you're managed to read the parts where he's stated that. I took you years of claiming he wouldn't answer, despite him stating it many times before you started having your breakdown. At least the truth is finally settling in.

    But, this is why he won't have the argument you want. You've whined and screamed for years that he won't admit one thing, and now that the answer he's given many times has suddenly entered your thick skull, you move the goalposts and demand an answer to something else. This will never end, because you will not be satisfied with the answers that are clearly obvious to every other reader. You want a specific opinion that does not belong to the man you're stalking.

    "I want an honest discussion"

    No, you don't. Harassment and whining, publicly and privately, are not the tactics of someone out for honest discussion. Demanding special attention, at a timescale you demand, is not honest discussion.

    "When you get back and are done laughing... No need for you to be so scared"

    You can't even be logically consistent within a single paragraph. If you know he's laughing at you, why would he be scared?

    "Have fun at CES"

    I'm sure he will, because he has a life and career that doesn't depend on answering you. This might be the time to realise that and begin to live with it.

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

  63. identicon
    Charles, Jan 6th, 2016 @ 1:35pm

    Very interesting

    Great perspectives shared, thanks for the read. Do you think this will change?

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

  64. identicon
    Philly Bob, Jan 6th, 2016 @ 5:43pm

    Re: Re: Re: Re:

    I can't speak for Mike but :

    1. In my ideal world all of those works (in fact all works) would be in the public domain - so your criticism would be invalid.

    2. In this world as it was in 1959 those works were scheduled to be in the public domain now. Works from 1960 and later were not scheduled (at the time they were created) to be in the public domain now - so that is a simple and clear difference that you seem to be too stupid to see.

    -----------------

    Disney says "no!"

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

  65. identicon
    Philly Bob, Jan 6th, 2016 @ 5:47pm

    Re: Re: Re: 56 years is a (somewhat) reasonable limit

    You have a better chance of seeing Christ.

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

  66. identicon
    Anonymous Coward, Jan 10th, 2016 @ 9:42am

    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

    Dude, you're not Socrates. And nobody liked Socrates anyway.

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

  67. icon
    mb (profile), Jan 15th, 2016 @ 10:28am

    stagnation

    This is exactly the reason why there are so few new stories coming to the cinemas, just an extension of an established franchise, or a "reboot" of an existing work for which the producers already hold the license.

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

  68. icon
    bryant2400 (profile), Mar 1st, 2016 @ 7:34pm

    Re: Re: Re: Competition

    I agree with you, the money they are making is not a significant amount.

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


Add Your Comment

Have a Techdirt Account? Sign in now. Want one? Register here
Get Techdirt’s Daily Email
Save me a cookie
  • Note: A CRLF will be replaced by a break tag (<br>), all other allowable HTML will remain intact
  • Allowed HTML Tags: <b> <i> <a> <em> <br> <strong> <blockquote> <hr> <tt>
Follow Techdirt
New Gear From Techdirt

Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Essential Reading
Techdirt Deals
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Techdirt Insider Chat
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads
Recent Stories
Advertisement
Report this ad  |  Hide Techdirt ads

Close

Email This

This feature is only available to registered users. Register or sign in to use it.