Copyright Maximalists Throw In The Towel On Term Extension; Admit That Maybe Copyright Is Too Long

from the about-fucking-time dept

Last week, in writing about how this should be the last year (for forty straight years) that no old works have moved into the public domain in the US due to repeated copyright term extensions, I noted that there did not appear to be much appetite among the usual folks to push for term extension. Part of this is because the RIAAs and MPAAs of the world know that the fight they'd face this time would be significantly more difficult than when they pushed through the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act 20 plus years ago. Not only do they know it would be more difficult, they know that they'd lose. Unlike last time, this time the public is paying attention and can mobilize on the internet.

Indeed, we were surprised a few years back when then Copyright Office boss, Maria Pallante -- who has long pushed for copyright maximalism in many different areas -- suggested one tiny aspect of potential copyright reform could be to make the last twenty years (the life plus 50 to life plus 70 years) sort of optional. Even this very, very minor step back from the idea of automatic life plus 70 years (or more!) was fairly astounding for what it represented. Copyright interests have never been willing to budge -- even an inch, and here was a tiny inch that they indicated they were willing to give up.

Tim Lee, over at Ars Technica, has now (incredibly) got three of the biggest copyright maximalist organizations on the record to say that they will not lobby for copyright term extension, and (even more incredibly) got the Authors Guild (the perpetually pushing for crazy new expansions of copyright law freaking Authors Guild!) to even say that they think maybe we should scale back to life plus 50 again:

The Author's Guild, for example, "does not support extending the copyright term, especially since many of our members benefit from having access to a thriving and substantial public domain of older works," a Guild spokeswoman told Ars in an email. "If anything, we would likely support a rollback to a term of life-plus-50 if it were politically feasible."

The RIAA and MPAA were slightly more muted, basically saying they "are not aware" of any efforts or proposals and it's not something they're pushing:

"We are not aware of any such efforts, and it's not something we are pursuing," an RIAA spokesman told us when we asked about legislation to retroactively extend copyright terms.

"While copyright term has been a longstanding topic of conversation in policy circles, we are not aware of any legislative proposals to address the issue," the MPAA told us.

Of course, those statements are kind of funny, because they both know damn well that the only way such proposals would even be a topic for discussion is if they were pushing for them. That won't mean some nutty copyright holder won't push for an extension, but the RIAA and MPAA's recognition that they would lose (and lose spectacularly and embarrassingly) means that no such proposal is going to go anywhere.

Now, let's see what it will take to get them on board with the Authors Guild plan to start to move copyright terms in the other direction.


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  • icon
    timlash (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 1:48pm

    Wow!

    Perhaps Disney is too busy counting all their Star Wars receipts.

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    • icon
      Atkray (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 6:12pm

      Re: Wow!

      "If anything, we would likely support a rollback to a term of life-plus-50 if it were politically feasible."


      It's a Trap!!!

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2018 @ 6:38pm

        Re: Re: Wow!

        No...it is easy to express support for something you know will never happen. The EU is not going to change its copyright directive anytime soon, which requires life plus 70 (and was the catalyst for the US to adopt life plus 70 to avoid placing US copyright holders at a competitive disadvantage within the EU marketplace).

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      • icon
        RIchZ (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 8:27pm

        Re: Re: Wow!

        Copyright is supposed to be a mechanism to encourage creation of new works. How is [any number] of years past death going to encourage a dead author or artist to create more works?

        How about "Life or 20 years, whichever comes first", with /maybe/ an optional second 20 years?

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 12:36am

          Re: Re: Re: Wow!

          I can't really understand how any copyright beyond an initial 14 years is an incentive, to be honest. For actual artists, they tend to create works whether or not they get paid money for them, they are just natural creators. With zero copyright, there is a history of the real artists getting heavily exploited and ripped off, so I understand why some is necessary. Slap a decade or 2 of copyright in there, and artists who might be put off by the lack of protection may feel empowered to go professional or take more risks.

          Beyond that, though? I've never been convinced. Nobody's going "well, I really want to write this piece of music, but if I can only profit exclusively for 14 years instead of 70 years past my death I don't think I'll bother". At that point, we're talking about corporate profits, not artists.

          There is some sense behind extending beyond death, of course, as it would be silly for the entire estate to lose everything the moment the artist expires. But, in the US it was getting to the point where nobody could ever see a piece of art created during their lifetime reach the public domain, and that is more like theft than any piracy ever could be.

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 2:44am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

            "With zero copyright, there is a history of the real artists getting heavily exploited and ripped off"

            The same is also true with the current copyright situation.....

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 2:51am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

              Well, yes of course, but at least there's usually some recourse today, even if the whole system is lopsided.

              Whenever someone comes up with the idea of zero copyright, I always point out that the major corporations will just rip artists off the instant any decent work is created. At least at the moment they have to go through the charade of advances and contracts before they start getting screwed.

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          • icon
            nasch (profile), 15 Jan 2018 @ 1:43pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

            There is some sense behind extending beyond death, of course, as it would be silly for the entire estate to lose everything the moment the artist expires.

            How does copyright beyond death incentivize the creation or distribution of more works? That is supposed to be the point of copyright after all, not making sure a creator's estate has sufficient assets.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2018 @ 1:01am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

              Indeed, but I'm thinking more of fairness beyond the exact letter of the intended law. I can't think of too many other circumstances where an asset instantly loses value the moment a person passes away, you usually have some buffer for the heirs to benefit. I'd certainly be opposed to extending any further than whatever timescale remained when the death occurred - for example, if a person died 18 years into a 20 year copyright period, the copyright would still expire in another 2 years - but I don't see the point in cutting the period short just because the artist's life was. The agreed period is the agreed period, and should not be retroactively changed one way or the other.

              There is also possibly an argument that an artist who knows he is close to death may be dissuaded from working if he knows there will be no copyright the instant he passes. I don't personally buy that and I'd believe that a true artist like, say, David Bowie was not thinking of copyright periods when he wrote his last works. But, that argument would exist.

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              • icon
                nasch (profile), 16 Jan 2018 @ 6:19am

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

                for example, if a person died 18 years into a 20 year copyright period, the copyright would still expire in another 2 years

                Right, I was thinking of a life + x years scheme.

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        • identicon
          David, 10 Jan 2018 @ 1:45am

          Re: Re: Re: Wow!

          Copyright is supposed to be a mechanism to encourage creation of new works. How is [any number] of years past death going to encourage a dead author or artist to create more works?

          Many creators come into a phase actually being able to earn more money than they need themselves at a time where finally getting children of their own does not imply that they are going to live until the end of their offspring's education.

          How about "Life or 20 years, whichever comes first", with /maybe/ an optional second 20 years?

          That means that somebody writing close to their death bed will not be able to do anything for the sake of their children.

          I think the main problem is tying copyright to the life of the artist in any manner since it means that neither artist nor publisher actually know how many years of publishing they are bartering for. And of course posthumous extensions are a complete perversion of the deal done without permission of the author who may have had an interest in posthumous fame rather than earning a handful of dollars for heirs he probably never even knew.

          No, 25 years after first publication seems fine to me. Possibly a non-transferable irrevocable option to relicense for another 25 years that the author can invoke at any time during the first 25 years: this is an incentive against giving authors a bad deal (cf Sholom Secunda and "Bay mir bistu sheyn").

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          • icon
            Richard (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 2:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

            _That means that somebody writing close to their death bed will not be able to do anything for the sake of their children._

            Whereas at present the wealth of ordinary people is subject to significant death duties the copyrights pass to the heirs tax free.

            In fact it would be entirely fair for the state to raise an extra tax on all intellectual property revenue. After all the state puts considerable effort and resources into enforcing copyright/patent - so why not recover a bit more of that from the beneficiaries?

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 2:53am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

              "Whereas at present the wealth of ordinary people is subject to significant death duties the copyrights pass to the heirs tax free."

              I don't think either of these statements is true. The estate tax is not the burden on ordinary people that Trump would have you believe, while new royalties are taxed even if the state doesn't collect on the copyright itself.

              "In fact it would be entirely fair for the state to raise an extra tax on all intellectual property revenue"

              Beyond the income taxes already levied? Why?

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 7:24am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

              Estate tax only applies if your current estate is worth $5 million or more. That's not going to apply to many people.

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        • identicon
          Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 5:51am

          Re: Re: Re: Wow!

          If it is 20 years or life, it could easily create an incentive to make sure the copyright holders life is shorter than intended, if you know what I mean...

          The theoretical point for avoiding such an incentive is around life + 15 years according to studies. So anythng less than life + 15 years is problematic on its own. On the other hand, it also means that anything above life + 15 years isn't predicated on the author per se, but on the squeeze of maximizing the economic monopoly. That studies generally don't find much societal value from copyright at anything beyond life + 30 years is a story about a complacant industry that has historically lacked any incentive to do research to convince politicians. And that is where "pirate Mike" and others pushing for the piracy side of SOPA and ACTA have made a difference.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 6:57am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

            It would definitely be silly to have a hard cut-off point at the moment of death of the author, but it's just as silly to have an after death cut off at longer than many artists were alive in the first place.

            "The theoretical point for avoiding such an incentive is around life + 15 years according to studies."

            Interesting. Do you have a link to those studies?

            "a story about a complacant industry that has historically lacked any incentive to do research to convince politicians."

            No, it's a story of corporations who wish to hoard their most profitable content as much as possible and prevent others from building on their work as they built on others. It's the industry who have bought out the politicans, not them not bothering to stop politicians.

            "And that is where "pirate Mike" and others pushing for the piracy side of SOPA and ACTA have made a difference."

            You'd get more of a point across if you didn't feel the need to lie about other people and call them childish names. After all these years of looking like an idiot, you still haven't worked this out?

            Stop lying, start addressing facts.

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          • icon
            That One Guy (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 7:04am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

            If it is 20 years or life, it could easily create an incentive to make sure the copyright holders life is shorter than intended, if you know what I mean...

            This one again?

            No, murder is already very illegal, the idea that people would be willing to risk going to jail for a non-exclusive right to use a work is beyond absurd, and it is well past the time it is laid to rest. People can make other arguments as to why the copyright timer shouldn't end at life, but 'if we make it based upon lifespan people might be tempted to kill creators' just hurts their case and makes it harder to take them seriously.

            The theoretical point for avoiding such an incentive is around life + 15 years according to studies.

            I'd be curious as to what studies you are talking about, because they would certainly be news to me.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 7:23am

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

              "No, murder is already very illegal, the idea that people would be willing to risk going to jail for a non-exclusive right to use a work is beyond absurd"

              I don't know, really. There's plenty of stories of crimes for less, and with decades of propaganda telling those heirs that the rights are naturally worth millions without having to do any extra work, I can see some of them being dumb enough to try it.

              It's a weak reason to oppose copyright ending at the moment of death, but not necessarily a totally unrealistic one.

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              • icon
                That One Guy (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 5:06pm

                Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

                I don't know, really. There's plenty of stories of crimes for less, and with decades of propaganda telling those heirs that the rights are naturally worth millions without having to do any extra work, I can see some of them being dumb enough to try it.

                Anyone stupid enough to murder another person over a non-exclusive right is stupid enough that just about anything would get them to kill, and tailoring a law around extreme hypothetical outliers like that seems a rather poor idea.

                It would be one thing if they owned the rights after the act, such that they could possibly justify the act to themselves by thinking about all the wealth they can now make, but a work entering the public domain means that everyone owns it(or no-one, I don't think that one was ever really nailed down), such that sure they can try to make a profit with it... alongside everyone else in the country, none of which are required to give them so much as a cent for it.

                (Funnily enough, now that I think about it using that argument copyright would be better off ending at the moment of death, because if a hypothetical heir is willing to kill for copyright and it lasts after death, then the sooner the creator shuffles off the mortal coil the sooner the heirs gain control over it. As such making it so that the death of the copyright owner meant the death of the copyright would be a way to prevent murder, as there would be no financial incentive to kill off the copyright owner.)

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                • icon
                  PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2018 @ 12:37am

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

                  "Anyone stupid enough to murder another person over a non-exclusive right is stupid enough that just about anything would get them to kill"

                  Again, remember that they'll be acting based on what the propaganda has told them, not what it is in reality. There have been decades-long court battles for exactly this thing, why not a little murder?

                  "tailoring a law around extreme hypothetical outliers like that seems a rather poor idea."

                  Agreed, I'm just saying that out of all the poor and silly ideas posited by the regular ACs, this one has some basis in fact. It shouldn't be the thing to change peoples' minds, it's just something that dumb, brainwashed heirs with no talent of their own might be tempted to try.

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                • identicon
                  Valkor, 11 Jan 2018 @ 1:02pm

                  Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

                  The fact that this can be pushed either way is support for the idea that a copyright term should be fixed.

                  To answer the question of the public domain status of a work, I should have to look at a calendar, not an obituary.

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                  • icon
                    PaulT (profile), 12 Jan 2018 @ 12:39am

                    Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

                    "To answer the question of the public domain status of a work, I should have to look at a calendar, not an obituary."

                    Great way of putting it. Works made in year X should enter the public domain in year Y, no exceptions. Anything else is just introducing complications, which in turn is asking for infringement, deliberate or not.

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          • icon
            rick (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 9:37pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

            How about something like 25 years or life+12years, whichever comes first? That way it does give some time after an author/artist's death to capitalize on the work.

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        • identicon
          Thad, 10 Jan 2018 @ 8:48am

          Re: Re: Re: Wow!

          There are cases, like Philip K Dick, where an author dies before becoming a bestseller.

          Had Dick lived longer, he would have made a lot of money. Had he made a lot of money and then died, he would have left that money to his children. Given those basic facts, not allowing his copyrights to pass to his children seems like it's effectively punishing the families of people who die young.

          (And if you want evidence of this encouraging new works, his daughter is a producer on multiple adaptations of his work, including The Man in the High Castle on Amazon.)

          I favor a flat term for copyright. The original "14 years, renewable once to 28" wouldn't be bad. I don't think copyrights should automatically expire on an author's death, but neither do I think "author's death + n" is a good way of defining them.

          (A 28-year copyright term would, of course, mean all the copyrights on works published during Dick's lifetime would have expired by now, as he died in 1982. Posthumously-published works, such as Exegesis, published in 2011, would still presumably be under copyright. As far as an "incentive" argument for this, it obviously doesn't incentivize Dick to write any new works, but it does incentivize editors to comb through his old work, collect, edit, and publish it, which I do believe is a valuable service.)

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          • identicon
            Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 9:16am

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

            > (And if you want evidence of this encouraging new works, his daughter is a producer on multiple adaptations of his work, including The Man in the High Castle on Amazon.)

            Using the copyright maximalists playbook here, this is not a new work, but a derivative work (which wouldn't have existed without the original work.) I agree with you here...this is a good thing, but in the eyes of the copyright maximalists, his daughter should have written her own stories instead of riding the shirt-tails of others (despite the fact that copyright maximalists continue to fail coming up with their own unique stories and instead repackage and extend.)

            I still favor the idea that if copyright is property, then it should be taxed like property. Those who exploit copyright should pay for a system to maintain copyright fairly, so instead of playing russian roulette, new authors can easily determine if something someone may possibly accuse them of "copying" or "creating derivative works" is currently under copyright and then go from there. Until that happens, copyright remains a ponzi scheme where the rich and those who came before hold all the cards and anyone new to the field has to fear getting sued for having something similar to, based on, etc. (because copyright maximalists want ideas copyrighted too.)

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          • icon
            JMT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 5:21pm

            Re: Re: Re: Re: Wow!

            ""Had Dick lived longer, he would have made a lot of money. Had he made a lot of money and then died, he would have left that money to his children. Given those basic facts, not allowing his copyrights to pass to his children seems like it's effectively punishing the families of people who die young."*

            And for every PKD there's a thousand dead artists who did not become successful after death, so that seems like a pretty weak reason for excessive copyright terms. Any family is punished in numerous ways when people die young. Why do artists' families deserve special treatment?

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 12:31am

      Re: Wow!

      The receipts that would still be coming in even if the last copyright extension hadn't gone through, let alone any further ones? Hmmm...

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  • icon
    That One Guy (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 3:26pm

    Nothing but empty words

    Until I see something(a lot of somethings in fact) enter the public domain and stay there, I don't for so much as a second believe that they wouldn't back yet another retroactive extension, even if they aren't directly the ones pushing for it.

    Yes trying to sneak yet another retroactive extension would likely face some hefty backlash, but we're not talking about groups that have shown even the slightest bit of restraint in the past when it came to screwing over members of the public, so until I see something more than empty words, I'll assume that they have not in fact had a miraculous change of heart.

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    • identicon
      Thad, 9 Jan 2018 @ 3:37pm

      Re: Nothing but empty words

      Yes trying to sneak yet another retroactive extension would likely face some hefty backlash, but we're not talking about groups that have shown even the slightest bit of restraint in the past when it came to screwing over members of the public, so until I see something more than empty words, I'll assume that they have not in fact had a miraculous change of heart.

      But it would take 60 votes in a dysfunctional Senate, on an issue that might generate the same kind of pushback as SOPA did. You're right to stay vigilant on this; we all should. But it's going to be a lot harder for Disney to pull a fast one now than it was 20 years ago.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 2:22am

      Re: Nothing but empty words

      , I'll assume that they have not in fact had a miraculous change of heart.

      Probably more a case of the businesses that totally relied on copyright having one under and the surviving ones having learned to make money by other means and so being less bothered.

      It's like the triumph of scientific theories - the ones that supported the old theories simply died.

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    • icon
      nasch (profile), 15 Jan 2018 @ 1:53pm

      Re: Nothing but empty words

      Sounds like it's not a change of heart at all, just a pragmatic recognition of changed circumstances.

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  • icon
    Roger Strong (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 4:18pm

    Fire and Fury doesn't even cover the current administration's entire first year. Now what incentive will Wolff have to write sequels?

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  • identicon
    Mr Big Content, 9 Jan 2018 @ 4:19pm

    This Is What Happens When You Let Teh Pirates Make Copywright Laws

    It should be a Law that anybody who has ever copied ANYTHING should be probihibited from having any say in Coppyright Laws. Then we will SEE FAIRNESS PREVAIL for teh TRUE INTELECTUAL PROPETRY OWNERS. YOU KNOW ITS MORALLLY RIGHT!!!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2018 @ 5:25pm

      Re: This Is What Happens When You Let Teh Pirates Make Copywright Laws

      So.. you mean everyone that Riaa, MPAA, Author's Guild, etc represent?

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 12:30am

      Re: This Is What Happens When You Let Teh Pirates Make Copywright Laws

      "It should be a Law that anybody who has ever copied ANYTHING should be probihibited from having any say in Coppyright Laws."

      You do realise you've just excluded a lot of the corporations you champion from holding copyrights there, right?

      (Yes, I do realise he's satire. I think anyway)

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      • icon
        Not an Electronic Rodent (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 3:12am

        Re: Re: This Is What Happens When You Let Teh Pirates Make Copywright Laws

        You do realise you've just excluded a lot of the corporations you champion from holding copyrights there, right?

        Actually, given the state of copyright at the moment and just how ludicrously easy it is to infringe even unintentionally, (e.g. anyone who's ever photocopied anything) doesn't that exclude, well, pretty much everyone?

        Come to think of it, that's a great idea!

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 3:22am

          Re: Re: Re: This Is What Happens When You Let Teh Pirates Make Copywright Laws

          Exactly, there's lawsuits all the time! I mean, just the other day Lana Del Rey was being sued by Radiohead for plagiarism. She's signed to Polygram / Interscope (i.e. Universal Records), who presumably own the copyrights and would be excluded if that case were to win. That's a hilariously huge player to be excluded from negotiations if he were to have what he wanted.

          Shame he's only a satire account rather than someone with real pull in the industry, it would be amazing if someone with real power put something so counter-productive to their own needs into play.

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  • icon
    OldGeezer (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 4:25pm

    Like I eally care what happens after I'm dead!

    Isn't it amazing that the RIAA MPAA are fighting to protect many works from reaching public domain until long after they are fucking dead? My house, everything in it, my savings will go to my son. 70 years after I have gone in quest of the "is there a God" final answer, do you think I will give a shit what he does with his inheritance? It's beyond insane that my grandchildren will be in their 50's before much of the music I listened to as a teenager will be public domain. I'm 65, so if I live another 12 years, Buddy Holly MAY be public domain. That's because I was 5 when his plane went down.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2018 @ 4:36pm

    Unpublished works

    You have to remember that unpublished works were bundled in with copyrighted works, and may have had some influence of the policy.

    Unpublished works, freed from state common law copyright and going from perpetual copyright to 70 years after death, was a major revolution and accounts for a lot of works being on the internet such as letters and diaries.

    This went into effect Jan. 1, 2003, 15 years ago, and the sky hasn't fallen yet. It will be more than 15 years, though, for archives and historical societies to catch on.

    Copyfraud is rampant and increasing, with gate-keepers popping up all over.
    ...

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  • icon
    Ryunosuke (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 6:02pm

    sounds like their copyright maximalism expired.

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  • icon
    ForCom5 (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 6:32pm

    Now there's something you don't see everyday...

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  • icon
    John Snape (profile), 9 Jan 2018 @ 6:55pm

    If you can't make a profit after 28 years exploiting a copyright, you're a failure.

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    • identicon
      David, 10 Jan 2018 @ 3:50am

      Re:

      Bach's last completed major work, the great Catholic "Mass in B minor", by some critics viewed as the greatest vocal work ever written, was unperformable at the time it was written because religious works were not performed in secular circumstances (particularly not works of that size), and the work was in an old Catholic rite no longer in use in Catholic churches and most certainly not in Bach's own protestant church.

      He had been dead longer than he had been alive when it was first performed in full. In fact, the death+70 years rule would not have netted his heirs significant performance royalties (there were partial performances though).

      Few people consider Bach a failure because of blatantly ignoring the moneymaking potential of his magnum opus when completing it.

      It's just these days that anything not making a profit for you is considered a "failure" to the degree where calling it such is rated "Insightful".

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 4:06am

        Re: Re:

        Nobody's talking about "failure" in artistic terms, so don't take offence there. We're talking about the kind of people who are pushing for essentially infinite copyright because a monopoly of life+70 years is somehow not enough incentive to encourage new works.

        They are liars, of course, but that's the frame of the discussion. The fact that you found a historical outlier of an artist who was prevented by the rules at the time from making a profit does not change the fact that if a person in the modern era hasn't made a profit in 28 years, extending copyright further will not help them.

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 7:54am

        Re: Re:

        > He had been dead longer than he had been alive when it was first performed in full. In fact, the death+70 years rule would not have netted his heirs significant performance royalties (there were partial performances though).

        Probably a good thing that copyright law didn't exist back then in Germany, otherwise his works would have ended up on a shelf somewhere and never exploited in fear that someone somewhere would come looking for their payday.

        > Few people consider Bach a failure because of blatantly ignoring the moneymaking potential of his magnum opus when completing it.

        Then again, without copyright, Bach did quite well for himself and his children. His patrons were happy with his work, even the unfinished and unplayable ones. He didn't fail to monetize copyright because copyright was not available to him, and yet he did quite well despite this fact.

        Copyright is a failed relic of a bygone era and it is time to rethink it. I don't think it should go away entirely, artists should be paid for their work, but I certainly agree that more than 28 years is too long for an "automatic" copyright.

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        • identicon
          David, 12 Jan 2018 @ 12:33am

          Re: Re: Re:

          > [Bach] had been dead longer than he had been alive when [the B Minor mass] was first performed in full. In fact, the death+70 years rule would not have netted his heirs significant performance royalties (there were partial performances though).

          Probably a good thing that copyright law didn't exist back then in Germany, otherwise his works would have ended up on a shelf somewhere and never exploited in fear that someone somewhere would come looking for their payday.

          Bach's Brandenburg concerti ended up on a shelf somewhere and were not exploited for over a century because the recipient couldn't be bothered.

          There are no guarantees. In fact, many of Bach's works have been lost and only to some degree been reconstructed from derived works. It's marginal to copyright, though.

          The main problem is that if you are not writing for your time, you'll not be able to exploit your works at the time they are written.

          By the way, Balzac was notoriously bad at marketing. With good copyright societies of today, he'd have been able to live comfortably from a tenth of his output or less instead of constantly writing against looming bankruptcy.

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        • icon
          nasch (profile), 15 Jan 2018 @ 2:02pm

          Re: Re: Re:

          I don't think it should go away entirely, artists should be paid for their work,

          The implication that copyright is the only way artists can be paid for their work is incorrect.

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          • icon
            PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2018 @ 1:19am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            This can't be stated enough. If a work is in the public domain, that doesn't magically prevent the original artists or their heirs from profiting from the work. They can do whatever they wish to try and make money. It just means they lose the right to stop others from using it, be that also to profit or to build upon that work as artists have always built upon what came before.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 6:28pm

      Re:

      Make it 7 and we are done.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 9 Jan 2018 @ 8:01pm

    The Berne Convention, enacted in 1886, is the source document for life plus 50...later increased to life plus 70 by the EU directive.

    I may be mistaken, but Berne came into being long before any of the US organizations regularly pilloried here.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 2:29am

      Re:

      Yes - and wonderfully - the US rejected Berne for many years.

      As for the life+50=life+70 transition the villain here is the UK. (and Jim Callaghan in particular).

      It was all provoked by Peter Pan.

      JM Barrie gave the copyright of Peter Pan to Great Ormiond St Children's hospital. In the 1980's this copyright was about to expire and so there was a huge sob story about how the hospital would lose out.

      Of course what should have happened was that another children's author should have donated a newer copyright to fill the gap - but instead of putting in a new act of generosity the copyright community leveraged JM Barrie's generosity to support their own greed.

      People often refer to copyright being the lifetime of Micky Mouse - but actually it is the lifetime of Peter Pan - who still hasn't properly reached his teenage years!

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 6:52pm

      Re:

      Shhhhh! No need for facts in an astroturfing circle jerk!

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  • identicon
    four72, 10 Jan 2018 @ 2:30am

    Copyright should be date of invention plus 20 years. No more.
    Same goes for trademarks.
    Most businesses fail after 5 years.
    If you're even around 20 years later, you've made your fortune.

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    • icon
      Richard (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 2:38am

      Re:

      _Same goes for trademarks._

      I disagree on that one. Trademarks are there to protect the consumer not the business. Provided the enforcement is _strictly_ for that purpose there is no problem with indefinte trademarks.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 6:53pm

      Re:

      Says the kid who lives with his parents lol

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  • icon
    That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 3:50am

    "our members benefit from having access to a thriving and substantial public domain of older works"

    Read As - We've helped create a world where if the 'mood' matches you can get sued & we're running out of good ideas.
    See Also: Avatar vs Polkahantus a comparison.

    "we would likely support a rollback to a term of life-plus-50 if it were politically feasible."

    Read As - We've spent so much to get politicians to this point, we are worried if we spend to get it rolled back people might call us out & it might confuse the politicians.
    See Also: Its one thing to talk about it, its another to put money on the record that our original plan was as bad as people said it would be.

    Here is a wacky idea - the term is the creators life + 5.
    End the entire cottage industry of protecting the dead's ideas from being remixed & paying handsome salaries to litigious assholes.
    End the corporations gobbling up vast swaths of culture & locking it away until they decide to see if its worth doing something with, while making sure no one else can try.

    The Dr. Seuss Estate sued over the Star Trek parody.
    It couldn't have harmed Dr. Seuss, he's dead.
    It couldn't deny Dr. Seuss cutting a deal with Paramount, he's dead.
    It could have let consumers pay someone who remixed 2 cultural icons into something new, but Dr. Suess would still be dead.
    The estate management has to make sure only THEY get paid, extracting rent before, during, and after the creation of derivative works, sadly this would not bring back Dr. Seuss back... he's dead.

    There are stories about starving artists who created something iconic who "deserve" money for their old age, yet the rest of us are told to invest our earnings to prepare for our future.
    Families are promised lifetimes of income, not for anything they did but for collecting rent from works that might predate their birth & survive onto their grandchildren.
    Our culture get worse as we have to create new "icons" to base things on carefully threading the needle to not be to like anything made in the the last 120 years...
    this is how you get the Kardashians on multiple shows
    this is how "housewives" expand into every state
    this is how "reality" in manufactured & edited to be more real
    this is how you kill imagination & ensure the future will remain barren so nothing will challenge the ancient texts that someone somewhere is being paid for being the only allowed thing
    everything has been done & its ideas locked away in corporate vaults... doubt me? Sharknado 6. We had disaster films but never with tornadoes & sharks... there was a reason for that. But we were so hungry for anything new, there are 6 of the damn things and probably more on the way.

    Perhaps the biggest problem isn't the length of copyrights so much as it is the gatekeepers who divert much of the income away from the artists while blaming the thieving public as they make billions for getting your video on YouTube & into iTunes.

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    • icon
      That One Guy (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 5:27am

      Re:

      Here is a wacky idea - the term is the creators life + 5.

      I'd actually honestly say that that is a wacky idea, or at least one I'd need more evidence to support. Why not roll it back to 14+14? Or 28+28 at the high end?

      If memory serves there was an article a few years back that pointed out that the financial value of a work is found in the first few years(years mind you, not decades), such that if the method of achieving the goal of copyright is to provide a financial incentive to create, then that incentive is likely to be almost completely tapped out in a matter of years.

      Once it reaches the point where the financial gain is down to a trickle why not give the public their half of the deal and let the cycle begin again, so that the next batch of creators can get their chance. If the ultimate goal is to serve the public by giving them new works to work with, then the focus should be finding the shortest amount of time that still provides an incentive to most creators, rather than just starting from the position of copyright lasting for life and then seeing how few years you can tack on from there.

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      • icon
        That Anonymous Coward (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 6:47am

        Re: Re:

        I'm all kinds of wacky you know this.
        We're at life + 120 years, life + 5 seemed better. (its hard to pull them back to reality all at once).

        14+14 would be neat, hell if you really wanted to push new creations 7+7 would be ideal.

        No more writing a 1 hit wonder & extracting money from someone who used 3 similar sounding beats 46 years later.

        It used to take time to get things to market, this is no longer the case.
        Much like the damages portion of copyright, it reflects an age when making a copy required all kinds of specialized & expensive machines. If you were willing to do it, you only did it to profit.

        The other side of this coin would be killing off all of the industry tactics that rob the creators blind.
        No more creative accounting making it look like a movie that was made for $20 Mil, took in $800 but didn't turn a profit.
        No more 1000 tiny rights societies collecting money that they just don't manage to get to the artists.
        No more RIAA execs screaming how the streaming services aren't paying enough, when the truth is they got a lions share of the income sent to them & skimmed it down to nothing for the artist.

        The costs to get content to consumers has dropped massively, yet we pay the same prices or higher because we have to cover the costs of DRM treating paying customers like crap.

        We've reached a point where we need to drag them kicking and screaming into the future that terrifies them, but like every other industry killing thing, will usher in a golden age.

        It would be lovely to see all of the missing content fall into the public domain & be released, rather than locked in a vault somewhere while they do the math to see if its worth making it available in the market ignoring consumers who would pay them for it.

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      • icon
        PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 6:53am

        Re: Re:

        I always support the following - pick a reasonable default copyright term (this can be debated - 10, 14, 20, 28, 35 years, whatever, although I'd err at 20 or below). Then, allow one extension for the same length, but the extension must be applied for. No second extension is allowed. If the author dies before the term is completed, it continues until the natural expiry date.

        That combines the best of all worlds, in my mind. Everyone gets the incentive of the first term. People who feel it's not enough can get it extended. After an agreed length of time, the work goes into the public domain as expected. No danger of long-term orphaned works being lost, no danger of corporations hoarding the entirety of human culture, new artists have plenty to legally build upon and heirs still receive the full benefit of work bequeathed to them.

        It will probably never happen like that since those currently hoarding culture have too much to lose, but it's a nice thought.

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        • icon
          That One Guy (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 7:17am

          Re: Re: Re:

          Could use some fine-tuning(going back to a requirement for registration for one, such that there is a guaranteed copy available for once the copyright is up), but I agree with the general concept of base duration plus the same amount again if you care enough to get it.

          With that a work that was less financially successful would enter the public domain quicker, while if a creator felt that the work was valuable enough they'd get to keep the rights to it for a little longer.

          As for what to set the initial duration as that's a tricky one to really nail down, though I'd likewise lean towards a shorter duration, given the article I mentioned above about how works are mainly profitable in the first few years, such that a shorter duration would likely result in a great many works only covered by the initial term before hitting the public domain.

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          • identicon
            Phalen, 10 Jan 2018 @ 10:35am

            Re: Re: Re: Re:

            The problem is that while works may be mainly profitable in the first few years, it can take many years just to finish the work and get it published. So when does the copyright begin?

            As it is now, once you start fixing your idea in a tangible form, it is protected by copyright. If, say, your book was only protected for fourteen years, but it took you seven years to write it, and two to shop it around and get it published, the copyright is already almost expired. You'd better hope it flies off the shelves immediately. Forget about publishing any slow-burning, deep reads that take years of word-of-mouth to build steam. Forget selling anything that doesn't have a massive publicity push behind it at the starting line.

            One of my favorite movies, Evil Dead, took around two decades just to pay back the original investors. That's before it ever made a profit. And I think it would be disingenuous to say that movie wasn't a success, considering its influence on indie movies.

            Conversely, if you only apply copyright once the work is published, then how do creators protect their work while they're making it? How do they collaborate with other artists in confidence that their idea won't be stolen? How do they shop it to publishers without getting ripped off?

            It's my impression that most of the arguments to limiting copyright are a noble attempt to curb the power of corporate greed, but most of the proposals I see would only serve to cement corporate power further. Big publishers and distributors can make a profit over a short time due to scale and their resources on hand. An independent creator, truly independent, as in one person, has to operate with a much longer game plan if they want to sustain a career.

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            • icon
              PaulT (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 1:24pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              Hmmm, the mention of Evil Dead is interesting to me for a couple of reasons.

              First, this is where the discussion often separates - are we talking about artists or investors or even middlemen? With Evil Dead as an example, the major players had huge success. Within a couple of years, Raimi was producing other scripts including 2 sequels in the timeframe you referenced, Campbell had also launched his career and many of the cast and crew were using it to get profit elsewhere.

              So, investors? Well, Hollywood Accounting perhaps exists even for indie films - after all, if The Empire Strikes Back hasn't made money on paper, then why should this film? The original investors, it depends on what they agreed to. If they had to wait for distribution deals then the home market to become successful after the fact then maybe they will have needed to wait a bit longer. Not great for encouraging new investment, but for a movie that didn't become legendary until home video maybe not surprising. It still recouped well before life + 70 years though.

              I'd be interested in any material you have about the making of the movie, but in the terms of the typical argument, movies are a very weird unique case in many ways, and when talking about the artists rather than investors it's a very different story either way. If you're solely talking about artists, Evil Dead returned huge dividends within a few years.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 1:45pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              >An independent creator, truly independent, as in one person, has to operate with a much longer game plan if they want to sustain a career.

              Any creator has to learn their art, and develop the ability to produce quality works. That takes several years, and is unpaid work. With the ability to self publish on the Internet, a creator has a chance of building an audience over several years from which they will find sufficient patrons to enable them to go full time.

              The valuable thing that their patrons are supporting is their ability to produce new works, and copyright is not needed to protect the ability to create new works.

              The big change that the Internet has brought, is elimination of gatekeepers, who tended to keep most of the profit, as a roadblock in finding an audience. Record labels, book publishers, film studios etc., only ever select a very small part of the creative output of society for publication, and for most creators were a roadblock on the road to finding an audience and the possibility of making any income from their works.

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            • identicon
              Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 1:57pm

              Re: Re: Re: Re: Re:

              "It's my impression that most of the arguments to limiting copyright are a noble attempt to curb the power of corporate greed, but most of the proposals I see would only serve to cement corporate power further. Big publishers and distributors can make a profit over a short time due to scale and their resources on hand. An independent creator, truly independent, as in one person, has to operate with a much longer game plan if they want to sustain a career."

              The solution to this is to apply copyright terms as a two-tiered system- Make the term, say, 14 years. Allow corporate entities to initially hold the copyright for a maximum of 2-3 years with the remainder reverting to the artist. And as the corporation will generally make the bulk of the money (according to the idea that most money is made at the corporate level within the first two years), they should be required to make the work digitally available for the duration of the artist's portion of the copyright (almost non-existent cost), in addition to defending the copyright for the same period (potentially costly, but a fair compensation for slurping up the bulk of the profit upfront).

              Copyright is meant to benefit the artist, right? Right?

              If the work is initially offered in digital format (and why wouldn't it be?), that would have the benefit of giving the artist 2-3 years of "free" buzz/advertising for their work, as well as availability in the same place so as to avoid lost revenue by making the product more difficult/impossible to find: a nice springboard to their later, likely smaller, "personal" earning window. And since digital distribution is done at such a grand, worldwide scale, no need for extensions. Artists could realize a profit quite easily. If you can't make money during your 10+ year part of the copyright, you aren't going to make it anyway.

              And screw your kids/"estate". Let them make their own money.

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  • identicon
    rforno, 10 Jan 2018 @ 4:22am

    Unspoken: "Life plus fifty is fine by us and we won't push for extensions. However, for any future copyright law updates we think customers should be required to buy at least 5 copies/forms of any copyrighted work as proactive and customer-friendly way to help ensure future infringements are avoided -- and thus preventing those evil, customer-unfriendly shakedown notices, which customers despise, from ever being sent. See? We care about things."

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  • identicon
    Wendy Cockcroft, 10 Jan 2018 @ 7:22am

    Baby steps

    Baby steps, people. The dawn of realisation is slowly breaking upon them and I think they are utterly fascinated by the yellow round thing emerging from between the hills.

    If they continue in this vein and copyright reverts back to pre-constitutional terms I might even start to respect it again.

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  • icon
    CrushU (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 8:06am

    Watch what you say...

    Not only do they know it would be more difficult, they know that they'd lose.

    Isn't that how we got a cheeto in charge of the USA?

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 8:30am

    Tell Cher I have been working on her special place in hell, she can burn all the money she can handle.

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  • icon
    DNY (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 9:04am

    ...to authors and inventors...

    Maybe the discussion of copyright (and for that matter patent) terms misses the point. If the law followed the plain meaning of the Constitution "by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries," The rights wouldn't ever be secured to publishers, and corporations would only be able to hold the rights to things the corporation produced -- yes that's possible, movies tend to not be the product of a single individual, and industrial research labs invent things through group effort.

    The original point of that clause was to authorize Congress to make analogues in American Law of the then still-innovative British Law of Queen Anne and Statute of Monopolies of 1623, which replaced the old custom of the Crown granting copyrights and monopolies to printers and favored noblemen or guilds and limited monopolies to authors and inventors respectively.

    It would be harder for publishers (record companies included) to screw artists if the right still inhered in the artist, rather then being transferable to a publisher in toto as a condition of publication.

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  • icon
    Hugo S Cunningham (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 9:28am

    28 years plus reduced protection for second 28

    I suggest 28 years, renewable (for a significant fee-- $1000?) for another 28 of reduced protection. The "significant" fee would encourage holders to abandon dead copyrights of purely speculative value. "Reduced" protection would be for copying only (not against derivative works), and damages would have to be proven, not the wildly inflated "statutory" damages allowed today.

    The lifespan of the author should make no difference (any more than for other property). Authors can be encouraged to save some of their royalties from the first 28 (or 56) years for their old age.

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    • identicon
      Phalen, 10 Jan 2018 @ 10:44am

      Re: 28 years plus reduced protection for second 28

      I suggest 28 years, renewable (for a significant fee-- $1000?) for another 28 of reduced protection.

      A thousand dollars per work? So to renew the copyright on an average album, the artist would have to pony up $12,000?

      I think Sony/Universal/Warner could swing that with ease, but your average working musician?

      Which entity are you trying to support, exactly?

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      • identicon
        Phalen, 10 Jan 2018 @ 10:47am

        Re: Re: 28 years plus reduced protection for second 28

        Wait, scratch that. An album attaches two copyrights for each song (the underlying musical work, and the recording itself), so that would be $24,000 on the shoulders of working artists trying to build a catalog and a sustainable career.

        Not to mention all the other ancillary copyrights on the album art, etc.

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        • icon
          rick (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 9:59pm

          Re: Re: Re: 28 years plus reduced protection for second 28

          If after 28 years the do not think $24K is a good investment for the next 28, the underlying work probably isn't worth it. Plus they will likely have newer works providing some income?

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      • identicon
        Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 1:54pm

        Re: Re: 28 years plus reduced protection for second 28

        The way that most musicians have made a living, even with recording contracts, is by live performance. Indeed, most musicians with a long career in music have been performing musicians, where new original works and copyright are not a significant factor in the ability to entertain an audience.

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      • icon
        That One Guy (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 4:53pm

        Re: Re: 28 years plus reduced protection for second 28

        $1000 may be a bit high, but I would agree that there should be some fee, just to make the copyright owner think before simply applying for the extension. If they're not willing to pay at least something for a work to stay under copyright then it's clear they don't think it's valuable enough to them to keep it locked up.

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        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 11 Jan 2018 @ 12:32am

          Re: Re: Re: 28 years plus reduced protection for second 28

          For comparison, $1000 is roughly the same as the fees everyone has to pay to the BBFC in the UK, in order for their movie to be classified and thus legally released there.

          It's a much higher barrier that $0, but not unsustainable and if payable on a voluntary renewal rather than mandatory for initial registration I don't see it being particularly ridiculous (you'd only renew something that you think will turn a profit anyway, so you're wasting everyone's time if you're demanding another 28 years copyright but don't think you'll scrape a grand together in that time).

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        • icon
          The Wanderer (profile), 11 Jan 2018 @ 5:58am

          Re: Re: Re: 28 years plus reduced protection for second 28

          My best idea in this vein thus far (which I think I may have posted in the comments here once, long ago) has been to tie the renewal fee to a certain percentage of the revenue from the work whose copyright is to be renewed, over e.g. the last year prior to the renewal, or a certain relatively-low minimum.

          So if it's still making you lots of money, you have to pay relatively lots of money to renew the term of the copyright; if it's making you some income, you can renew for less; if it's making you little or nothing, you still have to pay the minimum fee.

          That would still leave open the possibility of e.g. taking the work off the market for a year (or just over that) prior to the point of renewal, to drop the revenue for that final year down to zero. That could either be addressed by having the relevant year for determining the renewal fee be the last one in which income was generated (although that would probably just lead to people reducing availability so severely as to minimize income), or allowed to stand, on the grounds that the cost of forgoing that year of income is likely to be higher than the cost of the fee would have been.

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  • icon
    NeghVar (profile), 10 Jan 2018 @ 10:44am

    industry support

    One industry which should not support extending copyright is software development and publishing. What are the odds of people still using Windows XP in 2121 or playing Quake in 2116?

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    • icon
      The Wanderer (profile), 11 Jan 2018 @ 6:03am

      Re: industry support

      XP, maybe not high, but Quake? People still play Space Invaders, and other games from the same early period; I imagine the interest in playing old games, particularly early establishing classics like the original Quake, will still be around a century from now.

      (Even more so if you allow for remakes using updated engines for better graphics, et cetera, but the same level data and so forth.)

      Even the OSes may get some interest, to the extent that they are needed to provide the environment necessary to run old software of other types, including games.

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  • identicon
    Violated, 10 Jan 2018 @ 10:53am

    Copywrong

    So the RIAA is not aware of any copyright extension effort while TPPA is looking to extend copyright for the rest of the planet.

    They are at least right that the very idea is currently political poison where to get any bill to pass they can't include that.

    I am happy to see the book publisher has some modern thinking when a healthy public domain is the fruit of new ideas. In a world where little is truly original it does not help to keep ideas free instead of locked up in the estates of the deceased.

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    • identicon
      Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 5:17pm

      Re: Copywrong

      I wouldn't put it past the RIAA to simply be on "damage control" mode for the time being, and waiting for the right opportunity or scapegoat to piggyback off their end goal of copyright that lasts forever, minus a day.

      They at least got the political poison part right - and the poison is there largely thanks to their machinations.

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  • identicon
    Anonymous Coward, 10 Jan 2018 @ 6:30pm

    Life plus 50, life plus 70, life...of revenue and income, for the same unit of work and time invested aka a few months of mediocre directing, some cheap beatz or such. It is all ridiculous, complete bs. Make it 5 and that is it, no more.

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  • identicon
    Rekrul, 11 Jan 2018 @ 5:26pm

    Whether it's likely to succeed or not and no matter how much opposition there is to extending copyright, I still expect Disney to try.

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  • icon
    kadmos1 (profile), 16 Jan 2018 @ 9:13am

    Richard

    I hate the Berne Convention for allowing for a perpetual copyright. "Perpetual" in the sense of lacking a finite term. Life+50 lacks a finite amount. Since life times vary, it is not finite.

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    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 16 Jan 2018 @ 9:21am

      Re: Richard

      It is finite, at least technically, as there is a finite limit put on to the term (even if that term varies dpending on the lifespan of the artist).

      The issue is, really, that with such terms the majority of people will not see the majority of works created during their lifetime enter the public domain. So, while technically finite, it is effectively infinite to the average person.

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      • icon
        kadmos1 (profile), 17 Jan 2018 @ 7:12pm

        Re: Re: Richard

        When it is a set amount like 95 years, it is finite. However, for practical purposes, it is near infinite as most people alive when that work was first published will be dead. When it was a 56-year, they stood a better chance at eventually using the public domain status.

        When you have a variable (lifespan of artist)+70 years, that is not finite.It is only finite when the collective amount is calculated (life+70 could mean 120 years total coverage).

        A variable+a finite number I see as being similar to infinity is similar to infinity+finite number. Infinity meaning lacking a finite or specified amount means that life+70 is essentially infinite.

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

        • icon
          nasch (profile), 17 Jan 2018 @ 7:26pm

          Re: Re: Re: Richard

          Infinity meaning lacking a finite or specified amount

          Well if you want to get mathematical about it, that is not what infinity means. "Infinity (symbol: ∞) is a concept describing something without any bound or larger than any natural number." Copyright term isn't fixed to a certain number of years, but that does not mean it is infinite. If it were infinite, it would never end. The only way that can happen under current copyright law is if the author lives forever.

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

        • icon
          PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2018 @ 12:59am

          Re: Re: Re: Richard

          "When you have a variable (lifespan of artist)+70 years, that is not finite."

          No, it's still finite, you just don't know the finite figure until after the artist has died. If I show you a jar of pennies and you don't know how many are in there until after you've counted them, that doesn't mean it's a jar of infinite pennies, only that you don't know what the finite number is yet.

          It's true that if works created during your lifetime will never exit copyright until after you die, they are effectively infinite - that there's no difference between such excessive copyright and an actual infinite term. But, let's not redefine words away from their actual meaning, that's the copyright brigade's tactic, we're more honest than that.

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

  • icon
    kadmos1 (profile), 17 Jan 2018 @ 7:32pm

    Perhaps "perpetual copyright" is better to use then because that's what life+70 essentially is.

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

    • icon
      PaulT (profile), 18 Jan 2018 @ 1:30am

      Re:

      Yes and no. If life+70 stays, that doesn't mean that the copyright is perpetual, it only means that you're unlikely to see anything created during your own lifetime enter the public domain. Using life+70, I'm extremely unlikely to see anything written by Dolores O'Riordan exit copyright under that term. But, any grandchildren I might have would likely see the back catalogue of The Cranberries become public domain, so it's not perpetual.

      So, it's the same argument as finite vs infinite - it's *effectively* perpetual/infinite when applied to anything contemporary to my own lifetime, but it's not actually perpetual/infinite in practice over the lifetime of civilisation. It does seem a little petty to be arguing the toss over this terminology, but in a space rife with copyright maximalists trying to redefine words to defend their more despicable actions, I think it's important for the rest of us to stick to the actual meaning of words.

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

  • icon
    kadmos1 (profile), 22 Jan 2018 @ 9:48pm

    I think that virtually/effectively perpetual/infinite is just as bad as literally perpetual/infinite.

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

  • identicon
    Hana Hana, 27 Mar 2018 @ 7:50pm

    That's a good style, friend! Try yourself as a creative writer.You can definitely earn something!
    http://ludokinggames.com

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


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