It might be worth looking a bit earlier than the Constitution to the Statute of Anne. It includes as part of the purpose section "and for the Encouragement of Learned Men to Compose and Write useful Books".
It seems mandatory arbitration can be beneficial when both sides have equal bargaining power and it is truly a part of a fully negotiated contract. It is a great time and money saver in many business arrangements.
But I do see great problems when the power base is so clearly lopsided. I think arbitration clauses should not be permitted as part of a standard contract with individual customers, especially when that contract is a contract of adhesion attached to a product already purchased.
Not needing registration is good, but the term is too long
"Now, of course, neither registration nor renewal is required: everyone is granted a copyright on everything they create, lasting until long after their death, despite clear evidence that the value of a commercial monopoly almost always expires in a fraction of that time."
I personally think it is a good thing that registration is not required. Amoungst other benefits it makes it simple to know that everything new is copyrighted unless explicitly released and, in an era where more is published then ever before, saves a tremendous amount of paperwork for registering.
With that said, the copyright term is far too long and there is tremendous value in a large public domain. The copyright term should probably be well short of the 28 years mentioned.
I sincerely hope that Senator Wyden manages to propose these ammendments in some other fashion, perhaps as their own separate bill. ACTA and TPP clearly have the qualities of a treaty and should require Senate approval.
The phrasing on this quote "the CERN team that first said they saw some FTL neutrinos, now admit they made a couple mistakes. " does the CERN team a disservice.
They arranged an incredibly complex experiment and got anomolous results. When they could not find a reason, they presented to the broader community for analysis. They always contemplated that it could be an error or systematic flaw. This phrasing, while technically accurate, seems to imply that they tried to hide or were at least surprised by the fact there were mistakes.
A better phrasing would be "the CERN team, after displaying unusual data, determined definitively that it was caused by a mistake and what that mistake was with input from the broader scientific community."
The CERN team worked hard, honestly presented their results with full contemplation it might include errors, and publicized all details when they were known. The Scientific Community, including the CERN team, worked exactly the way it should in this case.
I am not a lawyer, but I do not think you can "pretty much prepare any legal filing ". There is certain boiler plate that is used repeatedly of course, but much of that is provided by the Courts themselves in their published forms and in places like appendixes to the FRCP. There are certain other paragraphs that will need only minimal customization to the particular case, but they still need customization and that requires a full understanding of them.
Also, with a few exceptions that are sealed for various reasons, most court filings are part of the public record. That means that anyone can go down to the court house (or sometimes even the Court's website) and get a copy for a relatively small fee, with none of that money being paid to the lawyers that created the document.
I agree with some of your underlying points, but I have to disagree that music is not a product. It certainly no longer needs to be a product, but it still can be.
When I buy a track off of Amazon from say Nightwish, my goal is to buy the ability to listen to that music as often as I wish. It certainly feels and seems like I am buying if not the music then a copy of the music which is really no different from buying the music. It is not an MP3 file I am buying, but the music that happens to use MP3 as its packaging.
In certain areas, yes. I am an enormous fan of wikipedia.
But I am not so certain that process works well for fiction or visual art. Even if I were proven wrong, it wouldn't really change the fact that there will be a ton of stuff that is just bad or good but outside the genres I like.
I personally am quite willing to pay for someone to collect the best of the "Professional Amateur" work in genres I like, do the tedious but important work of fixing minor typos and grammar errors, and then see to it that I can easily provide some support/compensation to those creators. This seems to be close to the definition of an editor-reviewer.
I love the variety that can spring up due to lower barriers to entry in many of these fields.
Yet, after sifting through a substantial amount of low quality material it seems that as gatekeepers become less necessary, editors and reviewers to help identify, refine, and highlight the work that is of genuinely high quality will become far more significant.
While I may not like the fact that Google feels the need to do this, I think their reasoning is logical and this is probably the best way to approach the situation.
Google, for all that it does a great deal of good for the world, remains a corporation, and a for-profit one at that. Google must obey the laws, at least so far is it operates locally, of every jurisdiction in which it does business. This includes censoring content when there is a valid law or court order requiring it to do so.
Google already removes content in the US when ordered by a court for reasons such as Copyright Infringement, slander, etc. Many other countries apply censorship much more broadly. Google must comply with the laws of these other countries at least so long as it wishes to operate within them.
By applying the censorship only to the version of the site seen by that country, they are taking the absolute lightest touch to censorship that they can while still complying with their legal obligations.
While we may not like the fact that some of these requirements exist at all, they do and Google must comply. I am glad they are doing it with the lightest touch that they are permitted to use.
Clearly, this is anecdotal, but I go to libraries all the time and have found many of my favorite authors that way. I have almost never purchased a book after checking it out (the exceptions all involve either classics or reference books), but I have frequently discovered I liked an author and proceeded to buy many of their other books after checking one out.
It was because of libaries that I discovered Piers Anthony, Isaac Asimov, and others. I then went on to buy many books by each of them. If you only write one book in your life, then having it available in my local libary will probably stop me from ever buying it. But if you are going to be prolific, then libraries are the best way to get someone like me to become a fan.
" Apparently, in the mind of PayPal, no one but a non-profit ever asked for donations for anything."
Perhaps its just me, but I would prefer to see donate used in a narrower sense. I have always thought of a donation as something given for charity. That certainly doesn't restrict it to non-profits, but it is clearly associated with them.
When giving a voluntary payment for a service already rendered, it is more of a tip or bonus or even an actual payment where the asking price was "pay what you want". When contributing to something from which several people including me will benefit, it is a contribution or informally "chipping in." I know it is just a pet peeve, but it annoys me when donate is used for things other than charity.
With that rant out of the way, PayPal handled this badly. If it wanted to enforce its rules on the use of "Donate" (which is probably reasonable in my opinion), then it should have done its checks before taking the first payment to be processed. It is completely unreasonable to try to enforce that rule after payments have been made by people who were not decieved.
"First off, anything taken for free is not "trade" in any real sense."
That is not quite right. Piracy is probably not trade, but counterfits are (albiet perhaps illegitimate trade.) More broadly though, there are plenty of things taken for free which are trade. Sometimes the other party is looking precisely to have the item hauled away as its part of what it receives (see Pennsy Supply, Inc. v. American Ash Recycling Corp. for a discussion of this in case law). Sometimes it is being given away as a form of promotion (Venom energy drinks were given away on my campus as a way to promote them. It worked at least in getting me to buy them occassionally after the promotion was over). Sometimes it is taken for free because the other party is hoping to sell services or accessories (Red Hat Linux).
Free can be a real part of trade. Piracy probably isn't technically trade, but it is probably effectively dealt with as such, and counterfitting definitely is trade even if illigetimate.
Re: Re: Re: "you should be able to buy the DVD of the movie you just watched"
I must say I am impressed to see an actual intelligent defense of this practice, so I have to commend you.
With that said, I think the studios could easily work around all of those. I am no expert, but I cannot imagine how mastering a blu-ray in theater aspect ratios can be horribly hard when the movie is ready for theaters. The extras you mention could be dealt with by simply cutting them out for the initial "Theaterical Blu-Ray release".
And even if mastering does take longer than I think it does, I strongly suspect that time frame could be rapidly shrunk if there was a real profit-motive to find ways to shrink it, which there would be the moment studios started trying to make Blu-Rays for sale at the theater.
Re: Re: Re: "you should be able to buy the DVD of the movie you just watched"
The purpose of copyright is in the first part, "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" everything else is describing a possible means to an end and giving Congress access to that means as an enumerated power.
"Other than copyright, the only way to have the exclusive use of an idea is to come up with an idea nobody else can ever think of, then not share the idea with anyone."
Why should anyone have exclusive use of an idea?
Remember that copyright was never about protecting an idea at all, but the expression. Patents come closer, but even they don't really cover an entire idea, but the implementations of it (and things that are pure ideas like a mathematical formula cannot be patented.)
It is also worth remembering that even the rights which are secured by patents and copyrights are Constitutionally limited in time (even though that time has now become absurdly long).
Re: "you should be able to buy the DVD of the movie you just watched"
As others point out, people go for the experience, not to see the movie. When I go see a Cirque Du Soleil show, I generally can buy the DVD ont he way out the door, I still go when my budget permits.
But to make the argument worse, those friends already "won't have to pay to see it". If they want to play by the rules they just wait a few months (assuming they remember by then they wanted to see it) and borrow it from their friends then. If they are willing to break the law, they probably could have seen it illegally before it was in theaters.
I personally would buy DVDs of some movies on the way out the door, especially kids movies since my kids would be right there then with it fresh on their minds trying to convince me to buy it.
Great Article, but P2P can also be fully legitimate
It is a great article, but sometimes it is worth stating the obvious to go with it:
There arenumerous legitimate uses for P2P software. Many large software packets (OpenOffice and many Linux ISOs) are most effeciently distributed by P2P software, especially if the distributor is a small operation for whom bandwidth is a major line item.