I don't deny that they are probably being targeted because of the money — but above you seem to be asserting that this is appropriate, and the fact that they are making money does indeed somehow make this project more wrong or immoral. That's what I don't agree with.
You can't show how that matters, legally speaking, of course.
Well, we're not in court here. The question of how the copying work harms the original is of legal relevance, at least in terms of potential impact on the market for the original, which is one of the four factors of fair use. But even outside of that, since copyright contains many gray areas and fair use is a big one, and the whole purpose of fair use is to protect free speech and stop copyright from doing more harm than good, the question of who is harmed by something like this and whether we should want it to be covered by fair use is an important one.
It seems to me like you're blending copyright and trademark together.
I by no means think people should be able to freely claim they are making an official Star Trek movie, or writing an official Harry Potter story. That would indeed create the marketplace confusion you fear, essentially tricking consumers into buying something not simply because they like the fictional world it takes place in but because they have existing faith in who they believe to be the creator.
But unofficial creations harm no one, whether or not they make money. Star Trek fans are well aware that this is an unofficial production that is not sanctioned by the people in control of the Star Trek IP. Based on that, they look at what's being offered and decide for themselves whether they think it will be something they'll like, and decide for themselves whether to back it. Indeed, Star Trek fans are quite sensitive about the universe and are likely to give even more scrutiny than usual to a proposed fan project! Nobody has been tricked. There is no distortion of the marketplace simply because one thing is built on top of another. They are leveraging the existing fanbase of the Star Trek universe and the fact that those fans want more Star Trek and haven't been entirely thrilled with what the official creators have been giving them for some 20 years now. They are offering to create an entirely original work that includes many ideas, themes and settings from Star Trek — and those things are not supposed to be copyrightable. To the degree that courts have treated them as copyrightable, I think that's a problem, because I simply don't see what damage the reuse of them does.
you are building on and taking the effort that someone else (in this case Paramount) went through to make these elements part of our culture
Simple question: what is the harm done by that? (Secondary question: how does one "take" another's effort?)
Even if we had the 70 years (or life plus 50) these elements would not be public domain
Er, I'm not sure precisely what you're saying here. That even once something enters the public domain, its constituent characters do not? That's not true and if it were, it would be disastrous...
It is an appropriation of Star Trek without permission or paying royalties. This is the very essence of what copyright was designed to prevent.
Well no, not really. Copyright was designed to promote creation of new works, not block them. And appropriation art wasn't really on anyone's radar in the early history of copyright - the primary concern was the wholesale republishing of others' completed works. Meanwhile, transformative appropriation art is one of the key things fair use exists to protect - and while it only does so with middling success (and almost no success in the world of music), many appropriation artists have still been found not to be infringing. There's plenty of debate to be had on where the line should be drawn, and even more uncertainty as to where it actually is drawn, but it's clear that preventing appropriation art is hardly the "very essence" of what copyright was designed to protect.
I'm reminded of the story of Charles Dickens, fighting whack-a-mole in the early days of mass publishing; as he fought and went bankrupt trying to stop fly by night operators from simply printing copies of his "Christmas Carol"
Okay so... no. You have got that story entirely wrong. Charles Dickens *successfully* sued people for copying the book, and they declared bankruptcy, which somewhat unfairly saddled Dickens with their legal fees. But even that didn't make a dent in his money. Though he started his life in poverty, his writing made Dickens fabulously wealthy and an international celebrity. He was touring America like a movie star the year before the Christmas Carol debacle, and buying a huge estate in Kent a few years after. When he died, his estate (adjusted for inflation) was worth approximately $9-million.
Please let's do away with this myth that "piracy" bankrupted Charles Dickens, one of the most successful authors of his age and all time.
Indeed - there are legitimate and important issues surrounding personal data and devices like this. They need to be (and are being) addressed in a variety of ways, and nobody should ignore that. But that's no reason to be weirdly absolutist about instantly dismissing any product or service that makes use of data in any way. Data is powerful, and empowering.
And these aren't silly smart "Shitty Thing" devices collecting data nobody needs. They are systems that make extremely useful data -- the kind used heavily and for a long time now by professionals in these realms and with a proven track record of increasing performance -- available to far more people.
The etymological fallacy is insisting a term should mean what it originally meant. I'm not - I'm fine with the new use of snake oil. Unfortunately, if you use that new meaning, then what Whatever said is moronic and incorrect from every angle and in every way. However if you examine it through a more critical light of where that term comes from and what history it belies, then what he said is pretty much on the money and a lovely defence of Techdirt - and it actually makes sense and is accurate to boot! Really I'm throwing him a bone, making him look much more perceptive than he actually is.
Haha, nice story Mike, but Since (a) you ain't Chinese, and (b) you didn't understand my frame of reference, then you fail.
Not Mike. Not a story where the nationality matters (just a bit of historical context for you). And not failing to understand your frame of reference - explaining to you how you failed to understand your own frame of reference.
I was referring to snake oil salesmen... you know, the guys selling crap and claiming it's the best.
Yup. It's a nonsense term based on historical distortion. And the irony is that, to someone who bothers to understand what snake oil actually was, your weak attempt at wit makes the opposite point from what you hoped. Now you know! Always nice to educate someone, even someone who fervently resists being educated.
You're just on a roll with totally not understanding the expressions you're using today, huh?
Do you understand what the "full retard" joke was saying, like, at all? It was a commentary on what the public will accept/not accept due to their own discomfort and denial, not on what is "correct". The entire point was that all popular depictions of mentally challenged characters are largely cop-outs, tempering their disorders with fantastical superpowers to make audiences feel a bit better about themselves and spare them having to grapple with the reality of those conditions. It was a commentary on the fact that depicting the actual truth about a difficult subject is not a good way to get ahead or find success, because people don't want to be confronted with difficult truths, and established industries especially don't want to deal with them when money is on the line. They are only interested in sanitized depictions.
So once again, really, you nailed it! The entire point of this campaign is to fund our reporting on the sort of unpleasant, unsanitized truths that we would be "wiser" to shut up about if our sole interest was industry acclaim and traditional success. We don't intend to tone down the reality of the situation in order to make people feel comfortable or avoid posing challenging questions about privacy, encryption, government surveillance and law enforcement.
So yes: Techdirt is going to go "full retard" on encryption!
It's absolutely awesome that you are harping on the "snake oil" angle. Do you know why? No, you probably don't. Let's learn together!
"Snake oil" was something brought to America by Chinese rail workers. It was actually an effective treatment for inflammation - its composition then was extremely similar to modern anti-inflammatory rubs and ointments.
But then... "patent medicines" rose in popularity. These were the nonsense tonics that we actually think of when we say "snake oil": Dr. Suchandsuch's Magical Whatever Tonic. Either totally inactive, or just a mix of alcohol and hard opiates. Very dangerous, very rarely real medicine.
These medicines were in competition with "snake oil". Then one patent medicine maker started aping it, selling his own "rattlesnake oil", which was actually totally ineffective as an anti-inflammatory compared to Chinese snake oil. Federal investigators found that it didn't contain a drop of actual snake oil, and this is when the term became associated with "fraud". Popular depictions of the "snake oil salesman" arose in film, but these depictions were in fact based almost entirely on western patent medicine sellers.
So, what is "snake oil"? A genuine, effective medicine given a bad name by the smear campaigns and dishonest business practices of patent holders, legacy industries and Hollywood. Techdirt indeed!
Yeah but that's the thing - everyone feels that, and I wasn't suggesting you're any different. And that's precisely why America and so many other modern states recognized that bans on cruel and unusual punishment, and other rights even for criminals, were an important founding principal - because a system can (theoretically) be immune to wrath in a way people can't. So sure, people can and will all feel that rage, but when a whole community endorses it you end up with children treating "stone the prisoner" (metaphorically or literally) as a game they look forward to. And anyone who can do that, can do it to anyone. Our brains are only concerned with justice at the upper levels - the deeper bits that get numbed to, and then practiced at, harming people are much less discriminating.
Too bad for those persecuted and arrested unjustly by the Government, no?
That's part of it, but it's also about those justly arrested and convicted.
I mean look, I'm not overflowing with sympathy for murderers, and there are certain breeds of human monster that make me feel they deserve any horrors they must endure. But it isn't all about sympathy or what anyone "deserves" — it's about what our treatment of the guilty does to us. It's not healthy for a human being to be able to throw someone in a hole to suffer and die, to stand over a starving wretch and feel nothing, to hurl stones with glee and cheer when they draw blood. It's not healthy for a society to condone those things, or to ignore them. Perhaps one can personally believe that certain people deserve those treatments, because their actions have rendered their humanity forfeit — but there is no way to dish them out without sacrificing your own humanity to do so.
Well, for me, it's what exactly you mean by "murderers should have no rights." Leaving the encryption thing aside momentarily, that statement by itself is either (a) poorly thought through, or (b) quite radical and monstrous.
Are you saying convicted murderers shouldn't have the rights that protect them from cruel and unusual punishment, for example? What about their ongoing right to due process, including their right to appeal their conviction? Or their right to access the parole process?
What about the right under the 14th Amendment to not be treated unequally based on race, sex or creed? Prisoners retain that right. Should they lose that, so we're free to punish murders more or less based on their race? Do they lose their right to medical care? Do disabled prisoner's lose their right to accessible prison facilities?
Debate the encryption aspect all you want - but "murderers should have no rights" is a barbaric starting point.