I admit I'm mainly thinking of music, motion pictures, written works, and software here. Photographs and paintings would need a different set of criteria.
A derivative work in the form of a sequel or spinoff would continue to qualify a work for protection. So would, for example, using a song as part of a medley in a concert.
My point is really that Copyright should have some aspect of "use it or lose it". If the point of Copyright is to encourage the creation of new works. Once a publisher has ceased to do anything with an old work for a period of time, then that work should be available for other people to use in their creation of new works.
For example, Cheers has long since gone out of production, and Fraiser's last new episode was in 2004. Next year, if the producers don't create a new spinoff or tie-in, I should be able to create The Adventures of Cliff Claven, a show about a motormouth postal carrier. Or perhaps I could create Norm And Friends, a show about, well, Norm and his friends.
Under the current system, those shows could not exist without me paying a ton of money up front to whomever owns Cheers right now. But wouldn't you love to see Woody And Carla On The Town?
An interesting exercise is to pick a year, say 1995, and ask if you know the top ten books, movies, TV shows, songs, etc. in popular culture. Without Google, I suspect most will only name a few, if any. Next question, are any of these works something you want to buy today. Again, for most, I suspect the answer is no.
I recently bought a Mike & The Mechanics album. I wanted "Silent Running", and it's not available on Spotify or Amazon MP3.
I am also strongly considering buying the new Rolling Stones retrospective.
I bought Spaceballs and The Last Starfighter the other day.
I have been considering re-reading all of Heinlein's SF novels... which will entail buying them again, since I've since lost or sold all of his books that I've owned. I also recently re-read Asimov's Foundation trilogy.
For Christmas 2 years ago, I bought my mother Season 1 of Magnum PI.
I bought myself the box set of Star Trek: The Next Generation that same Christmas.
I own the Back To The Future trilogy, the Indiana Jones series, the Star Wars trilogy, and all 11 Star Trek movies.
There are reruns of 80's, 70's, and even 60's TV series on TV every day.
Yes, there's lots of stuff from before 1995 that's still commercially viable.
Re: Re: Re: Interesting, but is it still relevant?
The way point 2 there is worded, it ironically means that games sold digitally but without DRM (Gog.com for example) shouldn't have their purchaser's rights ensured.
Correct. First sale rights apply to the physical medium. That's why you can legally resell a CD but not an MP3. Only the Copyright holder is authorized to make a copy outside of fair use.
When you buy a digital copy without media, you are making a copy of the original work. Since there's no physical media to transfer, the first sale right does not apply. Even if you delete your copy, you have still made an unauthorized copy when you transfer your downloaded game to a friend.
However, if you have a downloaded item that uses any sort of DRM, there should be a way to revoke or reassign that DRM. In the case of serialized items (CD keys), recording the sale of that unique serial number should be good enough to qualify for first sale rights.
I am sure that the lawyers in this case are simply using every argument they can to try to win this case. Unless I miss my guess, the Copyright claim isn't the only claim that won't hold up under scrutiny.
I do find this to be an interesting question, though: if the stepmother illegally has possession of the diary, can the rightful owners prevent her from disclosing what she's read in the book? When you go to a sporting event, the fine print on the ticket prohibits you from disclosing the score or otherwise transmitting information about the event. Can a similar injunction apply to a diary, which everyone knows is considered private?
You're getting in to the "long tail," which is a relevant discussion.
Some people have argued that there's still value in the long tail.
Starship Troopers, for example, was published in 1959, and adapted to a movie in the mid 90's. When you consider the time it takes to make a movie, you have to figure that the producers bought the option sometime in the early 90's... more than 30 years after the book was published.
So there's definitely some value in older works... but in that case, why aren't we seeing more adaptations of books from the 20's or even the 19th Century?
To be honest, I think a lot of the arguing over Copyright is nonsense: as you pointed out, it is so cheap to "print" a book today that the cost is effectively zero. Even 5 year old books can be had for less than $5 in e-book form. To be honest, I don't see the problem in letting people continue to own their works as long as they're doing something with them.
I think a bigger problem is abandoned and orphaned works: so many books, movies, and computer programs have disappeared from the market because the publisher went under and nobody has seen fit to re-publish those works. In the computer software world, we call this "abandonware", and people distribute it anyway - but they occasionally land in hot water because of it.
Take the Infocom text adventure games, for example: there are a few that can't be re-released because there's not a clear owner of the works. And so everyone is afraid to do anything with it, fearing they might be sued.
Personally, I think Copyright reform efforts should focus less on the term of Copyright and more on a "bill of rights" for Copyright users:
1. Address orphaned works and ensure that they will never be lost to society.
2. Ensure customers' rights to own their copy of a work that is purchased on physical media or with DRM.
3. Change the DMCA rules regarding copy protection to allow out of print works to be preserved for society's benefit.
4. Ensure that a work, once published, can never go out of print, "put in the vault", or otherwise pulled out of publication or made rare just so the publisher can hike up the price.
That's true, but I also have no way to measure films based on just their theatrical run. Gone With The Wind has a higher gross adjusted for inflation than any other movie of all time, but it is also been collecting revenues for the last 7 decades.
If we were going to more precisely measure these things, we'd have to account for the total tickets sold as a percentage of the market population during the movie's original theatrical run... and I just don't think there are numbers out there for that.
In the world of commercial art: movies, records, and video games, the only relevant judge of quality is sales.
What other objective metric is there? ANY other system of measurement is purely subjective and therefore cannot be used in the realm of law. And businesses certainly don't care about "quality". They care about profit.
People tend to spend money on what they like. And if they enjoy it, that is the very purpose of art. So the amount of money spent on a particular piece of art is the only objective measure we have of that piece's quality.
Okay, so Copyright is intended to induce creative output by paying the people who create stuff.
So there are two conflicting priorities: we want the creator to earn as much as he can for a work, but we want a work to go in to the public domain while it's still relevant.
I really, really like the way Id software did this with Doom and Quake: once the product was no longer commercially relevant, Id opened up the source code to the public domain - but kept the game data closed. So anyone could create a new game engine that would run the Quake levels, or they could use the original Quake engine to power their own, original game.
So here's my proposal:
Copyright lasts 10 years (give or take), unless you continue to exercise your copyright. You can exercise your Copyright one of several ways:
1. Publish a sequel to your product.
2. Adapt your product to a new medium. (Make a movie from a book. Make a comic from a movie. Novelise a comic. Create a video game based on a book or movie.)
3. Significantly revise and re-release your work. (Textbooks, for example, will go through many revisions before their utility is exhausted.)
If a publisher simply puts something out there and abandons it, then after a decade it's public domain.
In all cases, the extension would have to be a fair commercial effort: so you can't, for example, add 2 deleted scenes to a DVD, run a limited print of 100, and call that a revision.
The idea here is to make the publisher put their money where their mouth is: if they really believe a work is still commercially viable, then they should spend time and money to keep it active. If they're not willing to spend the money it takes to create new artistic works from an existing property, then the work should go in to the public domain to allow other people to create new works.
I'm interested in the fairness of this model: does it reward the creators enough? Does it allow a work to go in to the public domain soon enough? Too soon? Let's not get hung up on the details of how the specific registration or extensions would work.
Notice he talks about a falling quantity of movies being produced
Right. I think that the movie and television industry has definitely stepped up its game in the last few years. I suppose you can quibble over what defines "quality", but the fact is that 13 of the top 15 grossing films of all time have been released in the last 10 years, and all of the films in the $1 billion club are less than 15 years old.
I am waiting for the part where this company simply implodes, leaving a small singularity in its wake - one that sucks all the other Copyright and Patent trolls in, forever ridding us of this nonsense.
You may be right, but we're getting off course. THe original comment was related to the fact that Doctorow would need to use the courts to fix this problem (bad DMCA takedowns), and I stand by my response: that's the only way for an individual to assert his Copyrights.
I disagree. You should NEVER leave your home WiFi open.
There are two basic concerns:
1. Your ISP typically prohibits sharing.
2. Your home WiFi can be used to do illegal things, and you're the one that gets stuck with the court case or police raid.
Sure, you can argue your case in court, but do you really want to have to go there? When it comes to child porn, for example, people are guilty in the public eye until proven innocent. I know of a few people locally that have lost their jobs and reputation due to simple unfounded accusations.
In this kind of dragnet application, fair use doesn't really apply.
What I could see working is automated analysis of the content of the video file: it would have to be rendered and compared to an official version of the work. If the first 10 minutes or so matches up, then it could be flagged as a match.
The thing is, I'm of two minds on this topic: as a software developer, I don't like piracy, but as a freedom-loving Human being, I want to see the Copyright trolls shut down hardcore.