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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 04:52 PM
Original message
We need intellectual property reform.
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 04:58 PM by originalpckelly
1. No individual who creates intellectual property may have a monopoly over the manufacturing of said invention, copyrighted work or other IP mark, but only a monopoly on the licensing of the intellectual property. This model is the model used by Dolby laboratories, and it has produced a market for each of its inventions, while freeing Dolby to continue making great new ideas.

2. The rights to intellectual property may not be transferred between individuals and larger organizations, to do so will lessen the profit motive behind the creation of new IP, as any sale would be done to make a profit for the purchaser, meaning the seller would not receive full compensation for their invention, copyrighted work or other IP.

3. The time of licensing protection should be no longer than the life of the originator of the IP, and in most cases restricted to a decade at the most if the originator has another source of income, and if not, then until a new source of income other than the IP licensing is found. This would be a major difference between the current laws and this proposal, the exclusive time period can extend decades after the death of a person. An example would be a song from the 1950s, La Bamba by Ritchie Valens, which is to this day protected and owned by Warner Music Group. This is of course, 50+ years after Mr. Valens death.

4. If there is more than one originator for the IP, then they must enter into a contract describing how to share the royalties from their IP licensing.

5. If piracy of the IP should occur, then the unique nature of an idea allows unlicensed use and/or possession of the IP without a direct cost to the originator of the IP. For this reason, the material harm of IP must be considered with the following questions:
A. Did the pirated IP deprive the originator of income from licensing the work to the pirate?
B. Did the pirated IP deprive the originator of income from individuals the pirate distributed the IP to?
C. If the pirate distributed the pirated IP to other individuals, did those individuals who receive the IP know it was pirated?
D. Did the sub-pirates compensate the original pirate with money for this IP?

If the answer to A is yes, then a court should have to assess how much the pirate could have paid for the IP. If it was a non-zero value, the pirate should be forced to pay the licensing fee. If it was a zero value, then the pirate should continue to use the IP until income is earned and the pirate can pay a part or all of the licensing fee.

If the answer to B and C is yes, and the answer to D no, then the people who sub-pirated the IP should all be independently assessed and it should be determined how much they could pay. As before, if it was a non-zero value, they should have to pay back what they could have reasonably paid to license the IP. If it was a zero value, they should continue to use the IP until they earn money, and a reasonably affordable portion of the IP's licensing fee is paid back.

If the answer to B, C, and D yes, then the above applies, only if the amount of income collected by the original pirate is not sufficient to cover licensing fees.

If the answer to B and D is yes, but the answer to C no, then only the original pirate should be liable for any unpaid licensing fees.


With this law, which can be successfully be described in a few paragraphs, I think this nation could have a revolution. For example, school children would be able to pirate software and learn how to use it, so long as they cannot afford to pay for it. If a child cannot pay for music they've pirated, then they are not on the hook for the money, because there was no material harm to the person who created it, since the child would not have bought the music in the first place if they'd been following the law to the T.

This law is a modern IP protection law, because it contemplates the difference between stealing a physical recording, which is the stealing of actual property and cannot occur without harm to the store and the distributor of the media.

The law also prevents massive monopolies from forming to produce a single product, and it seeks to drive down the price of something new as soon as possible by eliminating this monopoly. It will also mean that people can create all kinds of products and will not be limited to pursuing alternative methods of doing something that may be inferior to the protected design.

The iPhone contains lots of patented technologies, well, if this law applied things would be very different. The whole idea of multi-touch based interfaces would still be protected, not for a corporation, but for the people who actually created the idea: the inventors/designers. It means that Apple wouldn't be able to monopolize multi-touch, which it is planning on doing since it patented the technology successfully. And even if the originators of the idea decided to only license it to one company, another company could pirate it and pay the remedy. This would act like a check and a balance on the licensing, so that it's not outrageous.

Piracy acts like a check on unreasonable licensing terms, and unless someone can pay for the pirated IP, no harm is done to the originator.

In certain circumstances it is a victimless crime.

And if the laws were perfectly followed the people who created the content who had unreasonable licensing terms wouldn't have any claim to any additional income anyway, so this system of finding reasonable compensation, rather than the full license amount is the best solution.

One might argue that no compensation should occur, but that produces a system where there is no profit motive for someone to come up with a new idea. While certainly some people would be interested nonetheless in creating new IP, many would not and the progress of technology and art and all other IP areas would be held back.

I thank you for your time.
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Kievan Rus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 04:57 PM
Response to Original message
1. Di$ney would never stand for this
After all, Di$ney has begged the government to extend copyrights twice so their characters wouldn't go into the public domain.

Anything IP law that isn't thoroughly pro-corporate is something that Di$ney and the MAFIAA would never allow.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:00 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I know, and I'm very anti-corporate for that reason.
Many of Disney's characters are now a part of our culture, and they have become ours.

I hate how they've destroyed the original beauty of the various works they exploit.
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Kievan Rus Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:05 PM
Response to Reply #2
4. Something else I don't understand
Thanks largely to Di$ney and the MAFIAA, copyrights last life plus 70 years.

However, patents only last for twenty years.

Go figure. Actually invent a spaceship that can go to Mars...you're only covered for twenty years. Write the script to a cheesy B-movie about a spaceship going to Mars...you're covered for life plus seventy.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:34 PM
Response to Reply #4
14. I know, the fact that we don't have a unified law is crazy.
In this law it's a unified time frame, that ends with death of the originator or even earlier if the originator of the IP comes up with another invention that makes money. That last part is negotiable, and I think if this were to be a matter of public debate, people could settle on the right time frame.
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msongs Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:04 PM
Response to Original message
3. get even w/those nasty writers n musicians! MAKE YOUR own!
it's amazing the scheme people who can't will think up to rip off people who can.

Msongs
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:32 PM
Response to Reply #3
13. Actually, I'm one of the people who stands to make money off of this.
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 05:32 PM by originalpckelly
What's interesting is that if you read what I wrote, you'll see that I proved artists will make more money this way than with current laws.
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Towlie Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:12 PM
Response to Original message
5. At least you made it complicated enough that lawyers will like it.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:15 PM
Response to Original message
6. I'm confused. If I author a screenplay and sell it to Warner Brothers, would that violate
your Rule #2?
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:24 PM
Response to Reply #6
9. You would license it to Warner, not sell the rights completely.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:58 PM
Response to Reply #9
18. Well, what if they wanted to make changes on the set, for a good reason?
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 05:59 PM by Mike 03
Or have a particular scene re-written.

What if an actor came up with a better line in a scene?

A screenplay is a blueprint. Sometimes good accidents happen on the set that make a film better.

If I were a director, I would not accept directing a screenplay under the provisions you are suggesting, because it would mean I would be so locked into the script that if circumstances changed on the set I could not improvise at all.



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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:10 PM
Response to Reply #18
22. Whomever is reponsible would sell the licensing rights to that change.
Just like any other market, the value of the change would be determined through a general assessment of its value.

If a change in a line was really great, then it would be compensated for more money. Same thing with a set.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:53 PM
Response to Reply #22
26. This is kind of what happens now...
...but the reason that entertainment lawyers and agents make so much money is because they are skilled at brokering those kinds of deals, including credits and royalties. Transfers of rights and suchlike exist to some degree because otherwise the administration of creative ownership would become impossibly unwieldy.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:17 PM
Response to Original message
7. Also, if I try to help out a new filmmaking company by executive producing the film
with the hope that there will be some profit when it is sold to, say, the Lifetime Channel or Imagine, is that in violation?

What will be the incentive for venture capitalists to help artists do anything?
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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:18 PM
Response to Original message
8. Unless you are a painter, poet, composer, filmmaker, or other artist
Sorry, no buying your victimless crime/means-tested intellectual property plan. Sounds like you just want to get some stuff for free.

Your focus is too narrow. This isn't about iphones.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #8
10. If it's not IP, then it's not covered under this.
Anything physical that's stolen litterally is protected by normal theft laws. Anything that's cloned is protected by IP laws.
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frazzled Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:50 PM
Response to Reply #10
15. Huh?
Stolen? Theft laws? Sorry, I don't know what you're talking about, because I don't think you know what you're talking about.

I deal with artist's rights issues in my work.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:55 PM
Response to Reply #15
16. What kind of rights would not be covered under an IP licensing law?
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 05:56 PM by originalpckelly
If a physical work like a sculpture is stolen, then it would be covered under as an actual theft.

If the design of a sculpture was stolen detail for detail, but not the actual physical medium used to create the art, then it would be covered.

You imply some type of art isn't covered by this. What wouldn't?
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:26 PM
Response to Reply #8
11. Thank you. I thought I was mis-reading the post. This makes no sense
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 05:27 PM by Mike 03
if you are an artist.

Sheesh, it's hard enough to make a living as an artist as it is. Chrissakes...

Removing ANY chance of making money from producing art would remove ALL incentive from even bothering to do it for a living, other than as a hobby, and no investors would ever consider financing it. It is wonderful to have a passion to make art, but we also have to eat, pay rent, raise families.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:27 PM
Response to Reply #11
12. Actually, it's quite the opposite.
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 05:30 PM by originalpckelly
You can license it to anyone who might actually manufacture it. If I signed a record deal with a record company, they would not be able to buy the rights, merely the license to distribute the music and manufacture it.

This law seeks to end the exploitation of artists by "investors" and big corporations.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:00 PM
Response to Reply #12
19. Well, this is why I'm asking. I want to think about what you are saying. But to me, this sounds
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 06:01 PM by Mike 03
like a bad plan.

But maybe you are right and I'm just missing something. For all I know, your idea is brilliant, and studios would bend and accept rules like this. But in my experience, that would be so unlikely.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:08 PM
Response to Reply #19
21. What I'm talking about is a revolution...
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 06:16 PM by originalpckelly
and one that's rather complicated to explain at this time. It involves transforming workplaces from the investor/management/worker model to the market regulated worked model. All artists produce goods or perform services and can fall into this model. This proposed law would ensure that they would receive just compensation in a non-corporate market regulated worker economy.

It's all capitalism, just the next step in capitalism, and if I'm right, it will accomplish the goals of getting workers to own the means of production, but instead of collective ownership, it would be private worker control. It has to be that in order to check greed, which is something that no one should lose as it's just one's self-preservation instinct. We need to check greed, not ignorantly hope we'll eliminate it.
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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:55 PM
Response to Reply #21
27. Your passion for this concept is exciting. Maybe you are onto something.
I'm bookmarking this thread for sure.

Thanks for your thoughtfullness and ideas.



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Mike 03 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:03 PM
Response to Reply #12
20. Man, I mean, I wish you are right that artists could have this kind of power.
But in my experience, the corporations hold ALL the cards at this point.

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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:13 PM
Response to Reply #20
23. My plan is to take this recession/depression and once and for all...
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 06:14 PM by originalpckelly
end this corporation bullshit. Artists are more exploited by this system than any other professionals, as artists produce goods/services that many many people can enjoy.

It's too complicated explain all at once. And sadly, I think artists might be the last ones to benefit from this revolution, because this is the law presuming that revolution happens. And the vast majority of the economy must change before the government of, by and for the people can stop being corrupted by corporate interests.

It seems impossible, but my friend, that's what our corporate masters want us to believe. All it takes is for people to change their minds. The mind is where all revolutions take place, even violent ones. It's just that violence actually makes it harder to change another person's mind, and therefore slows the progress of a revolution.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:50 PM
Response to Reply #23
25. I think you should dump the 'revolution' talk and pursue the economic arguments
It could be said that music publication has already gone through several revolutions thanks to both cheaper production technology and the internet - and the same has happened with the written word, film, video and so on - although, I'd also consider revolution as a continuous cyclic pattern leading forward drive (like a wheel), rather than a single political event (like a coup or collapse).

I say this because political movements are often corrupted by ideological interests just as commercial ones are often corrupted by financial interests. On a very personal level, I write or compose because I want to provoke internal change in an audience member than because I want to propagandize something external; at the same time I also want to make a buck and sometimes Do It For The Money.

So, I encourage you to pursue this line of research and imagination, but I'm perfectly happy to look at different IP and business models as better, fairer forms of capitalism that allow the artist to make the most of their artistic capital on a genuinely level playing field, rather than politicizing it with cliche terms which will cause a lot of people to just give a knee-jerk response.

Besides, I'm also a little skeptical of revolutionary talk as when I visited the USSR back in the days of communism, it didn't strike me as any kind of artist's paradise unless you enjoyed producing work 'for benefit of glorious Soviet Republic'. There were good things about the USSR, but a lot of negative aspects as well.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:33 PM
Response to Reply #8
24. Hmm, I work in the creative field and I see the OP's intent
I also see flaws in the proposal, in that it some provisions are an open invitation to moral hazard - but then soa re some of those in existing copyright law. I would argue that the flaws in the current model of IP ownership are part of what makes it hard for an artist to get paid, especially if they are producing work that is outside the commercial mainstream and thus of limited or no interest to mainstream publishers.

I've been in multiple situations, ie being paid fairly for my work but also exploited and/or screwed outright, and I've played a bit of hardball myself in some other circumstances. I sympathize with your point of view, because most people outside of the arts don't realize just how unforgiving and competitive it can be as a career; I have often had to explain to people that it's sort of like the business world on steroids, with artists as entrepreneurs and publishers as manufacturers, and normal business/product life cycles which last months or years compressed down to periods as short as a few weeks.

On the other hand, there are huge, huge flaws with the existing model, and the more rigidly ownership is interpreted in defiance of technology which accelerates the distribution and multiplication of IP, the harder it becomes to make money from it. One pragmatic example would the recent decision of Apple and other publisher/distributors to abandon DRM and other kinds of software-based copy protection because the costs of implementing and enforcing it were lowering revenue for both themselves and the creators. To use a hardware analogy, if the cost of the packaging is higher than that of the item inside, nobody benefits - consumers, designers, or distributors.

To give a practical example of successful copying in action, back in the 90s I got into an obscure style of techno music called Goa Trance (later, psychedelic trance). When I first came across it, it was by listening to a friend's cassette tape. I became an avid fan and pretty soon I had 8 or 10 cassettes with about 12 hours of music, almost none of which had any track listings or anything else, because they were copies-of-copies. Obviously, none of the artists involved got any revenue or even name recognition from this.

Now, I wasn't awash in money at the time so cassette copies were good for me, but a bigger issue was that I simply had no idea where to get hold of this music on vinyl or CD. You couldn't just walk into the local record store (large and corporate or small and friendly) and just ask for some 'Man with no name' or 'x-dream' or 'growling mad scientists' tracks. This stuff was being put out by little micro-labels that would press maybe 5000 copies of a 12-inch single *at most*.

As time went on and I attended more rave parties, I got more and more into it - and eventually I did find a store that sold the stuff, and where the people behind the counter knew what I was referring to...which led to me becoming a part-time DJ, and over the next few years spending maybe $3-4000 on CDs and vinyl (which is more than most people spend in a decade). Eventually it led me into buying keyboards and suchlike and making my own music, which led me into becoming a recording engineer, and eventually into doing sound for movies and TV.

I don't really keep up with that genre of music any more (like many flavors of techno, it fractured and most of my favorite artists either moved into other genres, mainstreamed by adding vocals and doing more 'pop' styles, or got stuck in a musical rut). However, from starting out with bootlegging tapes from beach parties in India, I ended up pouring a LOT of money back towards the originators of this music, as well as contributing to both the local music scene by organizing non-profit parties and by teaching other people musical and engineering skills. I didn't really make it as a musician (for lack of both funds and raw talent), but I did write the signature tune for one of the longest-running US dance music radio shows.

So...don't assume that a more open attitude to IP law and ownership is necessarily bad for artists. Approached the right way, it can create new opportunities and support a more diverse range of work than existing commercial models.
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anigbrowl Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 05:55 PM
Response to Original message
17. I'm broadly in favor, but...
it's worth bearing in mind that while one person may have the creative skills, they may be lacking in those required for successful production or distribution. In other circumstances, ownership of a work may be hard to assess; I work in TV and film, and generally people are engaged on a for-hire basis which includes waiving claims to ownership in the creative property because otherwise you could end up saying that a movie had (potentially) tens or hundreds of 'writers' and 'directors' depending on how you assessed the many, many creative contributions from different sources over weeks or months of pre-production, shooting, and post-production.

Thus, these things are usually negotiated (for those with a large creative input) or factored in by guilds and to a lesser extent by unions. This is rather like your point 4, but such contracts can and sometimes do come into conflict with statutory law. Additionally, the disparity of awareness an information between contractual parties can be a problem. Enthusiastic contributors and arty types sometimes wave aside contracts and want to work on the honor system (I've been on both sides of this) - sometimes it works out, sometimes different people have different ideas of what is 'fair' and their disagreement only comes to light when there's a problem, sometimes naive people sign away their legal claims without realizing they're accepting a bad deal.

You might find it interesting to look up some stuff on Lawrence Lessig, and also google 'the tragedy of the anti-commons' (I forget the name of the guy, but you'll find it quickly enough), which addresses the failures in our IP system from an economic perspective. I do think your concepts need refining, but basically agree that we need a 21st century approach to this issue. Sadly, both the issue and the legalities are only of interest to a very small number of people, and among those people the beneficiaries of the status quo have profited so handsomely that they wield considerable political power.

I am somewhat hopeful for reform given Obama's apparent philosophy and demonstrated first-rate legal mind, but given the heap of existing issues he has to deal with and the fact that IP law is of such little interest to the general public, it will be hard to build an effective political coalition to push for meaningful reforms.
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tbyg52 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 06:57 PM
Response to Original message
28. I think we have completely lost sight of the fact - and corporations are very happy about this,
I'm sure - that the primary purpose of copyright is not to enrich the copyright holder (that's OK but secondary) but to encourage people to produce IP for the public good.
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originalpckelly Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 07:28 PM
Response to Reply #28
29. With this model people can do it for the common good or...
do it for money, and in both ways, they'll be protected from exploitation by corporations.
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starroute Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sat Mar-14-09 09:36 PM
Response to Original message
30. I have several questions
Edited on Sat Mar-14-09 09:40 PM by starroute
Maybe you already answered them and I just got lost in the "put tab A in slot A" verbiage, but these are the things I have doubts about:

1. A ten year copyright for creative works doesn't seem long enough. Consider, for example, The Lord of the Rings, which Tolkien was gestating for some 35 years, and actively writing for 15, before it came out. It then remained obscure for another dozen years before it came out in paperback and developed a mass audience. Cutting the term of copyright down to ten years after first publication -- or even fifty years -- would not only penalize artists who work slowly and/or are slow to develop a reputation but would also mean that right around the time they reach their 70's, boom, everything starts going out of copyright and they have nothing left to live on in their old age.

On the other hand, setting copyright to expire at the creator's death would mean that a writer or artist who dies young would have nothing to leave for the support of their possibly minor children. Perhaps something like either the creator's death or 30 years after first publication, whichever is later, would cover both situations most effectively.

2. Your proposals for pirated work seem structured around the idea of unauthorized copies of existing recordings or movies, but things are actually way more complicated than that -- for example, in the case of bootleg versions of unreleased music. Sometimes the bootleg diminishes the market for a licensed version, so the loss to the artist is potentially greater than a simple licensing fee on the bootlegged copies would cover. Sometimes the bootleg is of poor enough quality (or is of resurrected juvenalia) to the point where the artist might feel it negatively impacts their reputation. On the other hand, bootlegs often represent concert performances or outtakes for which there is no current commercial market, so the artist has lost nothing. And sometimes a bootleg actually creates a market for a work that had not previously existed, so the artist comes out ahead.

No law is going to adequately handle all these situations, of course -- but reducing every possible variation to a simple after-the-fact licensing fee is taking away any ability for the legal system to distinguish among them.

3. Probably the most problematic area, which I don't think you cover at all, is derivative works. Disney obviously isn't worrying about somebody selling copies of "Steamboat Willie" on streetcorners. They're worried about losing the exclusive right to create new Mickey Mouse material.

On the other side of the equation, authors worry about large film companies buying the rights to their story, making a perfectly dreadful movie based on that story, commissioning a novelization of their perfectly dreadful movie that supplants the author's original work, and then going on to develop seventeen sequels to the perfectly dreadful movie and/or the novelization of the perfectly dreadful movie which completely distort the author's original intention.

That happens even under the present situation -- but it would be far worse if copyright were up for grabs. Or even if your proposed licensing-fee solution was in effect -- filmmakers would just rip off existing works far more blatantly than they already do, figuring that at worst they'd pay the fee if anyone noticed and then continue on their merry way.

There really does have to be some way to prevent a plagiarist from profiting from their plagiarism -- and that could happen only if derivative works are considered as something completely different from mere copying. That's actually the way I'd like to see things go, myself -- I don't mind letting Disney hold onto Mickey as long as all the existing bottled-up works get sprung loose -- but it does mean your proposed simple scheme is never going to be anywhere near as simple as you think.

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kickysnana Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Sun Mar-15-09 08:30 AM
Response to Original message
31. Including Genomes. n/t
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