One essential problem with all attempts legislating creative works, no matter what the term length, is that you cannot force or bribe anyone to be creative. Creativity requires inspiration, and all inspiration is derived from only two sources:
2. Prior creative works.
Money has nothing to do with creativity -- it can only speed up or slow down the process of discovery and creation, dependent on context. Inspiration via number 2 is diminished when the sharing of prior creative works is suppressed. Number 1 is a lot more difficult to suppress, but all current human nature is partially derived from exposure to prior creative works, so the two factors are related. Therefore, any effort to increase creativity cannot by definition involve suppressing its distribution, once created. All IP laws that require suppression in distribution are counter-productive against their stated Constitutional goals, and should be abandoned. No monopolistic "rights" should involve the suppression of copying or distribution of creative works.
Requiring attribution with distributed works can create an incentive to refrain from hiding or keeping secret a work, once it is created. Anybody can take a priori credit for a public work, when all other versions or copies are hidden from the public. Only the first to file a work for attribution into the public domain can rightly claim original ownership. There is no way to prove any ownership of a work while it is secret, except to those few exposed to the secret. Attribution rights are therefore productive, toward the dual goals of public dissemination and eliciting inspiration in others, and should be enforced accordingly. Secrecy at the source withholds creative works from the public, even more than externally suppressing distribution does. Such secrecy should not be encouraged, and therefore not legally defended.
"Part of the battle here is to sensitise the public to the fact that there is a real issue involved. It is not simply a victimless crime...."
I wish just once a journalist would stand up to such claims and ask someone to prove this hyperbole at the moment they spout it, rather than let it go unchallenged.
Sharing data that was already released to the public, in any form, is the very definition of a victimless crime. In reality, no one loses. The perception of loss is completely made up -- a "lost sale" where no sale ever existed. In fact, the expanded public exposure to the data can lead to sales which would not have occurred otherwise.
The reality is that, without the barrier of government obstruction to data sharing, the original purchaser gets to share their purchase, and thereby increase its value to them, and to show others why it was a good purchase. If others agree, they can purchase the same data as well. If they disagree, they can just delete or archive the copy. If they agree but would rather support the originating data provider in some other way, they can find another way to get the data provider just as much or even more money than a direct purchase. If they don't have the money or will to contribute, they can share it with friends who do have the money and/or will, so sharing it with the poor or disinterested is no net loss. Such sharing is a currently defined as a "crime", but all loss is a complete fabrication, and the gains to all parties in the "crime" are much better defined. In fact, this is the opposite of a victimization -- it is a liberation. Suppressing sharing causes more definite harm, so that should be the crime.
Hulser is 100% correct -- the survey results fully depend on what parts of the development hierarchy they are talking to. Game programmers in particular seem better informed about all the issues with DRM, way more than producers. It's the publishers and producers you have to worry about -- they're the one lot I too often find myself explaining why walled-garden DLC shops feel claustrophobic, why gamers hate DRM restrictions (even if they never intend to go around them), and why first-sale doctrine is a GOOD thing in terms of perceived first-buyer value. Some of them don't even understand how rentals are a good form of advertising -- anything other than a full purchase is immediately regarded as a lost sale. They have one sales hammer, and every consumer is a nail, waiting for their first strike.
I rarely read the NY Times, and I think one big reason is that they seem very light on the links. If they have outside sources, they should link to them. The vast majority of links I see there are just to other unrelated articles containing the same highlighted keyword. They link to outside content so rarely its like they're afraid they'll lose you forever if every link doesn't start with "http://nytimes.com/...". Even so, they miss plenty of opportunities to link to other related articles on their own site. It's like they're trying to bring their print format to the web, which doesn't work at all.
In general: if you don't hyperlink your sources in your article, I wont trust anything you are writing. This makes print a dead format to me -- I can't trust any of it.
"Without patents, would Ford and Toyota just followed down the road Honda started down originally?"
Without patents, they would have been free to improve upon Honda's path without interference. In the current thicket of patent monopolies, we become entirely dependent on Honda to improve that path, even if another company can do better.
If Honda didn't show an obviously optimal path, the natural tendency would be to experiment with a different path, in order to establish brand differentiation, which is a much bigger driver of "parallel" invention than patents ever were.
"Would we be seeing the refining (one-uppping) of each other down a single, narrow path?"
No, because they would be competing using all available options, rather than depending on their own little areas of patent hegemony. The assumption that one path is the most profitable is your own assumption, and not based in reality at all. A valid business assumption tends toward either path differentiation, or faster improvement along the most fruitful path for a given company's current circumstances, which might vary widely from that of all other competitors. The usefulness or profit potential of any invention depends a great deal on its unique market context.
"What would happen if that path turned out to be the wrong one?"
Then a newer or more nimble competitor is free to come in and take all the market share with the "right" path. The patent thicket is their main roadblock, currently.
The assumption that any of these hypothetical scenarios is helped by patent monopolies at all is ridiculous. Competition is intrinsically stifled by monopolies of all forms, so all these scenarios would benefit from the abolition of patents.
Apparently the prosecution isn't familiar with VNC, cron, at, WebMonkey, or computer scheduling and scripting in general.
IP numbers prove neither guilt nor innocence. With technologies like I2P, Freenet, TOR, or even IPv6:4 gateways, all readily available with simple installers and routing behind Multi-WAN NAT firewalls, IP numbers are all fairly meaningless. You can't even prove that any packets detected weren't dropped before reaching the intended destination, over an encrypted channel hop further down the chain. So in absolute terms, apparent network packet data sources and targets don't prove anything -- you can't even prove the intended recipient got the data.
Way to miss the points made AC. Your denial of obvious analogies doesn't change the fact that the RIAA and DMCA do nothing but stifle people's involvement with music. People buy music because they're into it -- and they get into it by hearing it, and they hear it best on their own terms. P2P is no different from radio, and cassettes are no different from MP3 players or other portable storage, in the way they allow consumer exposure, exchange, and interaction with music. They are just much faster, bigger, and better. They don't change the core consumer relationship at all, except to expand and simplify it. Maybe the devolvement toward mediocrity you bring up (I didn't) is more a product of a change in how industry attempts to control the music you have access to, not the music itself.
If anything, I might chalk up my lack of interest to music to my staying away from P2P. Even the traditional mediums for exposing more consumers to more music are under attack -- venue and radio replay fees are all on the rise. Everything the RIAA/big-labels have done in the last ~15 years has been counter-productive and stupid anti-music-lover litigious crap, which is why their business is gradually failing.
Good musicians should just bypass it all, and do what they can to expose me to their music directly. The old guard has not only failed, they have made things WORSE than they used to be with old/slow tape and sneakernet. Real musicians should just abandon them entirely.
Perhaps I'm dating myself, but when I was a kid I would use extended recording time cassettes to record a radio station I liked. I would then use a dual-tape recorder to edit it down to just the songs I liked that day, eliminating all the commercials and DJ blather. By the time I was done editing down, I could get about a week's worth of radio recordings into a single tape of just the songs I liked. I never thought of it as stealing. It took me so long to do, it seemed like I was just replacing store cost with labor time (which grade-school kids have plenty of, more than money). I rarely shared tapes, but got a couple of requests now and then. Most of my friends would just tape songs off the albums/CDs they like best, and share their own "if I were a DJ" style collections. It was called sharing, not stealing, and nobody thought twice about it. We bought A LOT more music back then, both CDs and concerts. Most of our allowances ended up on music and video games.
I buy a lot less music now. It doesn't have anything to do with piracy (I never have file-shared or torrented music), or because I hate iTunes (with a passion). It's because I'm far less passionate about music than I was a kid. There's no way I would spend the same time recording radio and editing song clips down now. I have more money than time now, but I spend less of both on music. For that, I blame the musicians. You can't blame piracy -- I bought a lot more back when I was getting all that "free" access to new music (via my own hardware and time). It's just rare that any new music really grabs me the way it did back then. I listen to NPR more often than the local "Rock" station now -- which doesn't seem like much of a loss, because they still seem to play the same old RIAA-label 90's pop rock every time I switch back over. Even the DJ's don't see enough good new stuff from the labels to fill their roster, so they go back to music from the days when portable music involved a rewind button. So why should I listen?
I agree with most of your post, but I disagree with the reasoning behind FSF recommendations about avoiding Creative Commons licenses. Their argument about needing to be specific applies to their own licenses, since you now have not just GPL (which most actually associate with v2 not v1), but you also have GPLv3, LGPL, GFDL, and various dual-license possibilities that include GPL non-exclusively.
The whole point of Creative Commons, which I think is in many ways more successful than GPL, is creating a consistent short-hand for expressing legal rights granted by copyright holders to their audience, in a way that doesn't force all content creators to become lawyers. CC, rather than depending purely on acronyms, version numbers, and overly-complicated web guides, include more consistent combinations of license sub-sections. Rather than impregnable backronyms, CC includes easily parsed short-hand like "non-commercial" and "share-alike", and matching visual iconography with the same meanings (which are preferable for many forms of visual mediums). The GPL authors could learn a lot about accessibility from Creative Commons, and inspect their own ambiguity instead of blithely discarding others'.
The AC was right in this case wvhillbilly. Unions formed in America because Industrialist fatcats thought they could own other people and their products, and the government didn't stop them, so Unions had to do it. Even if outsourcing is a byproduct of Unions, Unions are a byproduct of annoying Americans who think they own everything. You're only adding a degree of separation.
I can blame the USPTO all I want for releasing stupid, obvious, and not novel patents. IT'S THEIR JOB!
However, I don't mind making their job easier. Just make the default to not allow patents. Reward them for denying most patents, which are bad anyway. Praise them for preventing patents that do so much harm to real innovation, by presenting simple remixing of the old as something new. Force them to pick out only the most novel and incredible ideas for patent protection. Force the applicants to submit prototypes again, so the inventions can be properly confirmed. Throw everything else away -- it's all crap anyway.
I think Democratic government has a responsibility to provide some form of competition in all "needs" markets (food, water, shelter, health, energy, transportation, and communications) where none exists, due to natural Monopolies/Trusts, or necessary regulations that lead to the same. We have FedEx and UPS now, but I doubt they would stay as affordable if the USPS disappeared. The public should have more options in all these areas.
Does this carry any explicit or implicit penalty for metadata falsification or spoofing? A recent case showed that astroturfing lobbyists even used false letterhead in faxes, to send letters to congress members as other "grassroots" organizations, to fraudulently attribute "grassroots" support to their own messages. Most Spam exists by falsified header data, so I'm pretty sure lobbyists know how to falsify data. I want to make sure they can be punished for it.
Whether they miss any "opening" is more dependent on the speed of the crowdsourcing interaction in retail vs. studio release to other rental companies. The studios are talking about delaying the other contracted rental services from the initial DVD/BluRay release by about a month, so that gives Redbox up to a month ahead of their competition.
I like the crowdsource submit idea, but I think depending on how well the vending machines are run, it could be done even more efficiently than Mike's mail-in idea above. They stock each machine in each area with demand for a given movie with disc-holder empties for that movie the night before release. The crowdsourced disc buyer goes to the box, retrieves the empties in the same way they might rent a video normally (except without any money or credit exchanged at that point). As long as the empty is returned with a valid disc inside within the next day or so, full credit is applied to their account. Some penalty could apply to delayed returns or empty returns, the same way a bad rental return would be punished.
To create greater incentive for early/fast submissions, some pre-arranged decay rate can be applied to the credit amount, i.e. starting at 3xDVD-cost=Redbucks, and descending to 1.2xDVD-cost=Redbucks after the initial high-demand period is over. Cash reimbursement could be straight cost reimbursement or minimal percentage incentive, so that greater Redbox credit incentives would be more appealing to the customer. Better-than-matching cash reimbursement could be also be used just in the first-day release period, to give incentive to immediate retail-to-vending transactions, so the customer doesn't even feel compelled to watch the disc before submission just to "get their money's worth" from the transaction.
"Minimal protection after 20 years? That doesn't sound so minimal."
When I said minimal government oversight for Trade Secrets I meant as they exist today. Registered Trade Secrets (RTS) don't exist -- they're just an idea I have for replacing the patent system with something that wouldn't be mired in invention timing, novelty, or obviousness tests. The whole point of it is to avoid the cases where independent invention occurs, and one creator "beats" the other to getting a patent. I think such cases prevent innovation rather than fostering it. If the "invention" is instead protected only via its Trade Secret status, where the Registration only helps the government prove direct copying or industrial espionage vs. independent works, there should be no fear of retribution in any case except where someone licenses a RTS and then refuses to pay to use the secrets revealed in the license. It would be really more of an extension of existing contract law and anti-theft laws, where the only new aspect is the expiry of the Trade Secret and automatic placement into the public domain after a limited time, in my example 20 years. Current Trade Secrets are indefinite -- they last as long as the company successfully keeps the secret (see Coca Cola history).
Actually it's a bit more complicated than that. Google Voice essentially uses the same tricks those old 10-10- discount long distance numbers used, with lots of nice voicemail and web integration added on. You "call in" to GV through your own local number, and select what you want to do, including make a call out. You then dial the number, and the call gets routed over GV VoIP connections until it gets translated to POTS analog at or near the destination. They thereby get around all long distance charges, making traditional long distance service unnecessary, which has been true for years but Telco monopolists would never let on. They also have vastly reduced International rates negotiated with carriers in each country, using the same VoIP-POTS routing tricks to get around cross-country charges, in the same way more "standard" VoIP services like GizmoProject and Skype Call-Out already do.
You can also link GV to a GizmoProject SIP account (hopefully more SIP services in the future) to avoid the POTS system entirely on your end. If the destination of the call also has VoIP, you can use Google as a tool to circumvent POTS entirely, while still using the old number system instead of SIP addresses. GizmoProject and Skype charge for "call-in" numbers, and Google eats the cost to give you a free GV call-in number (presumably in return for advertising exposure on their web interfaces).
Personally I prefer SIP addresses when available -- they look just like email adresses email@example.com, which is much easier to remember than a 10-15 number string. Potentially once SIP services are advanced enough, your voice/video SIP, IM, Wave, and email accounts can all be the same address. They can also have aliases and numerical "shortcuts", so are much more flexible than old POTS numbers.
"BTW, I hope you're not an intellectual property maximist/copyright maximist."
I am actually against IP in most forms. You can look at my past TechDirt and Against Monopoly comments for proof. Just hit my Profile link here.
The only valid form of media protections that I think are viable are Trademark (excluding dictionary and common words -- I don't think a TM like "Monster [Product]" is ever valid) and attribution rights (i.e. "authored by [Name]" must be printed with all copies). Related to attribution rights, I am against plagiarism, which I see as a consumer transparency/fraud issue rather than any "author rights" issue, similar to Trademark. I think patents are too rarely valid or novel to be of any real use, and software patents are especially farcical given the original Constitutional intent.
The only protection I left out of that list is Trade Secret, because I view it as a sort of "natural" protection that requires minimal government oversight. I think Registered Trade Secret should replace patents. The trade-off is that Registered Trade Secrets are easier to defend against industrial espionage with the government's help, and the Registration expires and thus goes public domain after a decent "limited time", let's say the same 20 years as patents are now.
With those definitions in play, I view the MIT license as the ability to keep Trade Secrets if you want to, but also the freedom to contribute back to the public domain if you want to. GPL forces all involved to give back to the public domain, whether they like it or not, which is the primary roadblock to game developer adoption. They may well decide they don't mind releasing their game code, either after the game is done or a few years after release (like iD has done with Doom and Quake). The point is they are given the freedom to decide their level of openness vs. Trade Secret at any point, and it is not imposed on them through OGRE's license. This makes them much more likely to try out OGRE, and contribute back if they like it.
To further clarify, I don't view copyrights on hidden code as valid, in contrast to assertions made by the 1996 Copyright changes. I don't think you should be able to copyright or claim attribution right on something you never publish in any form. The binary output you do release is what is copyrighted, and everything else should be Trade Secret status. What I am actually arguing here is the ability of game developers to select their own Trade Secrets vs. attribution vs. public domain. Unfortunately, the reality of current copyright-maximist laws skews the end result, which can't be seen as a fault in any OSI license.
Any change from the MIT license base to a more restrictive license (including GPL) will affect downstream forks based on the game as a whole, but would not affect OGRE-only changes upstream.
So to all those complaining that making OGRE non-GPL will make all games that use it non-GPL, that is simply not true. MIT licensing leaves it all up to the game developers, which is exactly the aspect that will allow OGRE to open up its base to contributors of all stripes: commercial, non-profit, or open community.
Be careful with "BSD". The first version of the BSD license actually had an advertising requirement that was untenable for most software developers, and could create a situation where the required ad text would smother any potential advertising when multiple BSD license sources were used. The BSD license everyone uses now is called "Modified BSD" with the advertising requirements stripped. The MIT license is even simpler than BSD, and a good choice for OGRE in my opinion. If you need the kind of user support GPL is designed for in a video game, that game has already failed.