Osno - I suppose I see your point. If you think that everything can be handled by contracts, then maybe individuals do not need copyright protection. But even in the example you provide, once one copy is in the hands of someone that is not under contract, what is to stop them (especially if they have $) from making a copy and distributing it.
In other words, you make a contract with X to pay you $ to print your book. But once X prints your book, Y gets a copy and distributes it, getting paid. Since you have no contract with Y, they are not obligated to pay you. The deeper Y's pockets are, the more likely Y can eclipse the distribution of X.
Also, without copyright protection, why would X pay you, knowing they could not stop Y and others from simply making copies and selling them? Your hypothetical works as things stand, but partially because your contract with X gives them rights in return for the money they pay you.
I see that you could say "I'll keep it a secret from you if you don't pay me" or have them sign an NDA. But the point is that they are more likely to purchase rights from you than they are to purchase "first access".
No crying here. I simply thought that Jason distorted my hypothetical. His sarcastic ending statement "I can see how it works out great for all parties involved," along with a hypothetical that seemed to be organized to be specifically contrary to mine, caused me to think that his hypothetical was meant to somehow rebut the one I provided. If that's not the case, then I apologize (Jason). If it is the case, then the logic is wrong.
Jason - I didn't even come close to suggesting that copyright, as it stands, is anything close to perfect. I merely suggested, through an example, that /some/ copyright protection is appropriate. In my example, a big corporation takes advantage of the lack of copyright. It shows that getting rid of copyright altogether would make things even worse.
Are you simply looking for someone to pick a fight with? I'm the wrong guy. I believe copyright is in desperate need of an overhaul. But your assumption that (c) is an all or nothing proposition is naive, and actually perpetuates the problem.
The general idea of Copyright is not necessarily all evil, and it is not only corporations that benefit. For example, imagine that you wrote an incredible novel. Then imagine that a big publishing company gets hold of it and prints it, then sells it for a lot of money. Without copyright, you don't get a dime.
The problem is that copyright terms are too long and that users are too restricted in their use of copyrighted material. This, coupled with the draconian enforcement policies of the RIAA, makes for public policy that is not supported by the public.
The answer is not to get rid of copyright. But copyright law should be something that benefits, rather than hamstrings, the public - creators and consumers alike.
"The RIAA must construct a public image of itself that fosters credibility. One possible solution would be greater transparency in the record industry. The public may need to be convinced that the business model of the record label is appropriate and that the artists are being treated fairly. If this is the case, the record industry must do a better job of articulating this; it is not enough to simply assert that the record labels are treating the artists fairly."
The paper is not exactly condoning spreading lies. The point is that people have to actually believe the story. For example, the RIAA says pirates are stealing from the artists. Even if this is true, the story will not work unless people actually believe it to be true. You should read the actual paper.
The "laugh" test you put forward actually helps drive home the underlying theme of this paper: The RIAA and friends have completely destroyed their ethos, and no reasonable amount of legislation will create a situation where people begin to obey copyright laws.
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