Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
The Media Entertainment Your Rights Online

Expanding Fair Use To Reform Copyright Law 229

Posted by kdawson
from the distilled-common-sense dept.
Hugh Pickens writes "Gigi Sohn, President of Public Knowledge, presented a six-step program for reforming outdated US copyright laws in a speech at the New Media conference at Boston University. Sohn expressed no patience with the 'disconnect between the law and the technology' of media production and distribution. He puts Fair Use at the top of the list for changes that will help return balance to copyright laws that have limited innovation, scholarship, creativity, and free speech. In addition to the four-part legal test for fair use currently on the books, Sohn recommends that Congress add incidental, transformative, and non-commercial personal uses to the list of fair uses enumerated in copyright law, and in addition expressly provide that making a digital copy for the purpose of indexing searches is not an infringement. Beyond Fair Use reform, Sohn advocates punishing copyright holders who 'knowingly or recklessly' send out false takedown notices, protecting the manufacturer of a technology from liability for the infringing activity of others if the technology has substantial non-infringing uses, promoting fair and accessible licensing of copyrighted works, limiting damages for the use of orphan works, and requiring copyright holders to provide notice of any limitations on users' ability to make fair or lawful uses of their products."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Expanding Fair Use To Reform Copyright Law

Comments Filter:
  • right (Score:5, Insightful)

    by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:11PM (#21282015) Homepage Journal
    and how much did Public Knowledge give in campaign contributions this year? How much do they plan on 'donating' in 2008?

    'Cause I'm thinking the industries that give millions might not be in favor of any legislation that would do any of this stuff.

    And I'm thinking that the millions of dollars are gonna talk louder.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Apple Acolyte (517892)
      And if special interest funding is the only thing that moves legislation in Congress, our country has truly lost its way.
      • Re:right (Score:5, Interesting)

        by stoolpigeon (454276) * <bittercode@gmail> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:16PM (#21282109) Homepage Journal
        it's not the only thing - but not enough people care about this to bring other factors into play. you have an indifferent and predominately ignorant (on this issue among others) populace and a highly motivated, high profit industries that are willing to fork over truck loads of cash. that's quite an imbalance.
        • Re:right (Score:5, Insightful)

          by Billosaur (927319) * <wgrother@NosPAm.optonline.net> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:32PM (#21282309) Journal

          Similar to the DRM problem. The average user/consumer has no deep knowledge of the esoterica behind copyrights, etc. They simply want what they want. They don't realize that the content they get is not nearly as expansive as it would be if copyright and "fair use" were less of an issue. Marketing keeps people from caring -- "pay no attention to that fellow behind the curtain."

          • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

            by vtscott (1089271)

            The average user/consumer has no deep knowledge of the esoterica behind copyrights, etc.

            And this is great for corporations who can afford to have a legal department. Having too many laws and laws that are overly complicated really stacks the deck against the average person. Corporations and government love it though, because they can force us to play in a game where they know and interpret the rules while we don't. We definitely need organizations like this to level the playing field.

      • Re:right (Score:5, Interesting)

        by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:01PM (#21282737) Journal
        We live not in a democratic republic, but a plutocracy. Money talks and your bullshit vote walks.

        Here's how our government works: the great American corporation Sony gives ten million $ to the Democrat candidate, and another ten mil to the Republican. No matter who loses, Sony wins. When Sony's interests go against yours, you lose.

        We're not going to get copyright reform. Here's another two reforms we need before copyright reform is possible but won't get either:
        • You should not be eligible to contribute to a candidate you're not eligible to vote for. I should not be able to contribute to John McCain unless he runs for President, or moves to Illinois and aomeone from Arizona shouldn't be able to contribute to Obama unless Obama m,oves to Arizona or runs for President.
        • You should not be allowed to "contribute" to more than one candidate in any given race. "Contributing" to more than one candidate in a race is simply a badly hidden bribe.
        -mcgrew
        • Re:right (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Red Flayer (890720) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:42PM (#21283313) Journal

          We're not going to get copyright reform. Here's another two reforms we need before copyright reform is possible but won't get either:
          You should not be eligible to contribute to a candidate you're not eligible to vote for. I should not be able to contribute to John McCain unless he runs for President, or moves to Illinois and aomeone from Arizona shouldn't be able to contribute to Obama unless Obama m,oves to Arizona or runs for President.
          You should not be allowed to "contribute" to more than one candidate in any given race. "Contributing" to more than one candidate in a race is simply a badly hidden bribe.
          So in essence, you're saying that we should replace votes with cash donations. And to keep things fair, you can only bribe one candidate, not multiple candidates.

          You should be able to donate to as many candidates as you like. What if you want Candidate A to get elected, but you really like the message of candidate C? Why can't you support both if you like?
          • by sm62704 (957197)
            No, that's not what I said at all. What I said was that cash donations are the norm NOW; bribery. You should only be able to donate to a candidate whose causes you believe in, not to entice him to change his views.

            Your cash donation from another state should NOT trump my vote in my own state.

            • You should only be able to donate to a candidate whose causes you believe in, not to entice him to change his views.

              And how exactly are we to police the intent of the donor?

              Your cash donation from another state should NOT trump my vote in my own state.

              It doesn't. What trumps your vote in your state is the votes of others in your state who listen to marketing efforts more than you do.

              I'm in agreement with you that money has too much impact in politics. I don't, however, agree that limitations on the flo

        • Serious campaign finance reform is certainly in order and well overdue but I have serious concerns about not having some form of the fairness doctrine in place. Already the two big parties have too much weight both in dollars and media coverage to allow them to edge out serious competition. While contribution reform may help the situation there is more than one way to skin a cat and the media certainly is a part of this same corrupt system.
          • by sm62704 (957197)
            There's plenty of room for the fairness doctrine, but that's pretty well dead, too. In the last election (or was it the one before?), the Green Party with Nader as its candidate could not possibly have won the Presidential election as it wasn't on th eballot in enough states, while the Libertarian candidate was on the ballot in 49 states.

            Nader got the press, the Libertarian got nada. But that's to be expected, as the media are all corporate owned and have nothing to gain and everything to lose by us getting
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Teufelsmuhle (849105)
          You should not be allowed to contribute directly to any candidate. You should only be allowed to contribute to a general fund which is distributed evenly and fairly to all candidates who meet a predefined set of standards each step along the way based upon public support, not how much money they or their Daddy has in the bank.
      • by Kadin2048 (468275) *

        And if special interest funding is the only thing that moves legislation in Congress, our country has truly lost its way.
        Nice to see that you've been paying such close attention.

    • Re:right (Score:5, Insightful)

      by monomania (595068) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:16PM (#21282099)
      This is where we come in. It behooves us to support these organizations, with our voices and our purchasing power if they are commercial, and with our time (if possible) and our donations if they are non-profit. We have to foster the voices that speak for us whenever and wherever we can.
      • by Billosaur (927319) *

        The problem is your average consumer is a sheep -- Pink Floyd knew what they were talking about. You can't get enough people interested in the idea (voting is important, DRM is bad, copyright is broken, etc.), because they don't really see how it impacts them... until it does. And even then, only a few people go out and bang the war drum to try and stir up resistance. When we're talking hundreds of millions of consumers being affected but only thousands stepping up to do anything about it, you're looking at

    • by kaiser423 (828989)
      Or you could just vote for someone with morals....

      ok, stop laughing now. There are actually a couple who will vote what they think, not what they get paid to think (Ron Paul, Mike Gravel)
      • The problem is that those people don't get the support they deserve because the public doesn't vote what they think, and largely don't think before they vote at all. For thoughtful, honest people to be put in power we need to have honest, thoughtful people voting them into power.
      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by SpiritGod21 (884402)
        Right, because Ron Paul, 100% supporter of a free market and the libertarian-turned-republican who advocates small federal government with little or no interventionism is certainly going to be in favour of passing laws that restrict the privileges of business and copyright holders.

        Ron Paul is not the cure-all miracle tonic for our country. If you want to vote for him, fine, but at least be honest about what he stands for. His response to companies abusing IP and copyright would probably be that people shoul
    • by uncoveror (570620)
      You are right about that. Our parliament of whores will only turn tricks for the richest johns that lobbyists pimp them out to, and somehow it is us who get screwed.
    • and how much did Public Knowledge give in campaign contributions this year? How much do they plan on 'donating' in 2008?

      'Cause I'm thinking the industries that give millions might not be in favor of any legislation that would do any of this stuff.

      And I'm thinking that the millions of dollars are gonna talk louder.

      While the ultra-cynical side of me believes everything you just said, political currency is not simply measured in dollars. some small non-profit groups bat a lot higher then their pay scale due to representing or are thought a large number of people. An organization like NAACP can have influence on politicians and policy beyond their actual yearly income. Sometimes it works in other ways other then campaign donations. Union X pledges support for you campaign in return you must vote against policy Y. Organ

  • by theheadlessrabbit (1022587) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:13PM (#21282047) Homepage Journal
    if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. This is exactly what people want, and what they will never get.
  • by InvisblePinkUnicorn (1126837) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:19PM (#21282147)
    The problem with organizations like this, that are trying to tame copyright laws, is that they don't have any money, which is the only language politicians speak. I don't know if we should blame the politicians, or blame the media for forcing politicians to raise enormous sums. I would still blame the politicians, because I think given the choice between federally-mandated/funded campaigns, and raising millions of dollars, they would still rather raise millions of dollars (plenty of wiggle room for personal profit) and so aren't passing the necessary campaign finance reform laws that could easily level the playing field for the average Mr. Smith.
    • Blame the system---democracy---which by its very nature attracts people with no scruples who proceed to plunder the commonwealth for personal gain, leaving it strictly in worse shape when they leave office.

      The important question in my mind is: why are people at all surprised that this happens? The system is structured to work in precisely that way.
    • by Zordak (123132)
      The problem with campaign finance reform is it does not level the playing field for challengers. All else equal, the incumbent has a natural advantage of close to 10:1. So the challenger is already at a tremendous disadvantage. The only thing that has been shown to get closer to a level playing field is a whole lot of money. Imagine a Presidential race where the challengers had no money. Would it ever even be close? Probably not.

      Your congressmen, of course, understand this. That's why they passed M

  • by Dausha (546002) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:21PM (#21282167) Homepage
    You have to think the various treaties we entered into that apply to copyright law. Some nations have different legal philosophies about the property rights that exist in intellectual property. Our own nation has changed its standard on property rights (making them economic rights). The result is longer copyrights that cover more things than before. (I'm commenting on some things he said in his speech).

    There was an earlier /. article where a fellow showed that economically the nation is better served by shorter copyrights. The fact that Yoko Ono can be a near-billionaire for John's shaking his head and playing music should reveal how far gone copyright has become. Under the old-old standard (14 years plus 14 years), the Beatles' music would have all been public domain already.

    Or, perhaps we should limit corporate ownership of copyright? For example, limit a corporation to only being able to license an author's work (rather than receive a transfer of ownership). This is excepted where the owner is an employee or work-for-hire. Limit the license to a one-time 10 year license. Works-for-hire are good for only 20 years.
    • by Stooshie (993666)

      The fact that Michael Jackson can be a near-billionaire for John's shaking his head and playing music

      There, fixed that for you! In case you didn't know, Michael Jackson owns all the copyright on the Beatles songs.

    • by shark72 (702619) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:48PM (#21282539)

      "There was an earlier /. article where a fellow showed that economically the nation is better served by shorter copyrights."

      Interesting... my understanding is that the US is in favor of long copyrights because our IP is one of the only things we have left in this information age -- as Neal Stephenson put it: music, movies, software and high speed pizza delivery. I would like to see a dissenting viewpoint; does somebody have a link to that earlier article?

      "The fact that Yoko Ono can be a near-billionaire for John's shaking his head and playing music should reveal how far gone copyright has become. Under the old-old standard (14 years plus 14 years), the Beatles' music would have all been public domain already."

      This actually serves as an excellent example of how many people believe that strong copyright equals economic power. Yoko's sitting on all that cash and she's a U.S. resident. More to the point, she spends that money in the US and pays taxes on it. You're right that if we rolled back copyright to the 18th century standards, we'd all get to have all the free Beatles music that we want. The invisible hand being what it is, the economic benefactors would be whomever could provide it to us the most cheaply. The Beatles catalog would be available on CDs imported by Chinese corporations, and downloadable from countries where bandwidth is cheap. That whimpering sound you heard might not be Yoko softly crying in anguish, but the slow death of the USA's information-driven economy.

      Having a strong economy isn't the end-all, be-all, and perhaps the unwashed masses don't really care about big-picture things like this -- so perhaps cheaper Beatles music is better for society as a whole in the short term. But, here's the thing: cheap Beatles music would not affect my life one bit. I can already buy the Beatles catalog in its entirety for a small fraction of my paycheck. It's not like it's air or water. But clean air and clean water are important to me, and I rely on the government's help for those. If a rollback to a 28-year copyright system resulted in a 1% reduction in the GNP next year because our entertainment money started going toward Russian download sites and Chinese CD pressing plants, we might not notice the effects right away, but those points add up. We might all be boiling the frog slowly while we enjoy our cheap Beatles music.

      • by king-manic (409855) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:19PM (#21282979)

        Having a strong economy isn't the end-all, be-all, and perhaps the unwashed masses don't really care about big-picture things like this -- so perhaps cheaper Beatles music is better for society as a whole in the short term. But, here's the thing: cheap Beatles music would not affect my life one bit. I can already buy the Beatles catalog in its entirety for a small fraction of my paycheck. It's not like it's air or water. But clean air and clean water are important to me, and I rely on the government's help for those. If a rollback to a 28-year copyright system resulted in a 1% reduction in the GNP next year because our entertainment money started going toward Russian download sites and Chinese CD pressing plants, we might not notice the effects right away, but those points add up. We might all be boiling the frog slowly while we enjoy our cheap Beatles music.
        California has one of the largest economies in the world. Eclipsing most nations. It's industries are primarily IP related thus it's economy is tied to IP laws. However Cheap Beatles music may not benefit anyone, but the free Dissemination of ideas do benefit society as almost all IP is built on other IP. If IP laws are too lax the motivation for people to release material and to release designs will be diminished. Too harsh and innovation is hurt for fear of violation. a 28 year monopoly on IP seems more reasonable then a 99 year monopoly. The Us was built on stolen European IP and China/Russia/India are building with stolen IP as well.

        You may enact restrictive laws but it hurts you more in the long run then it hurts china/Russia/India.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      In the US, copyright is NOT a property right. I own my car; it is my property. I can pass it to my descendants for a thousand years. My two registered ISBNs will expire. They are NOT my property, and the work will enter the public domain after an extremely retardedly long length of time. From Atricle I section 8 of the US Constitution:

      To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;

      The

      • by spikedvodka (188722) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:52PM (#21283471)

        In the US, copyright is NOT a property right. I own my car; it is my property. I can pass it to my descendants for a thousand years. My two registered ISBNs will expire. They are NOT my property, and the work will enter the public domain after an extremely retardedly long length of time. From Atricle I section 8 of the US Constitution:

        To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
        The concept of "intellectual property" is unamerican.
        -mcgrew
        The problem that you'll run in to is the following: 90 years is techinically still a "Limited Time" as would be, hypothetically, 472 years, 19 days, 12 hours, 14 minutes, and 53 seconds, or 1000 years.

        What I see happening is, effectively, and end-run around the "Limited Time" set forth in the constitution. As long as there is a set time frame, the test of "Limited time" is met, however, currently there is the unspoken assumption that said limited time will be expanded as the end of it gets closer, effectively making it unlimited.

        this has a few major bonuses:
        1. it isn't technically unlimited, there's no reason for it to get overturned by the courts.
        2. The politicians can keep expecting bribes^H^H^H^H^H"donations" from media companies as they try to get it extended, Yet again.
        3. The media companies can "honestly" say "We're not trying to get eternal copyright" becuase they're only pushing for the next 20 years.


        ergo, media wins, politicians win, we lose
        • by Dausha (546002)
          "What I see happening is, effectively, and end-run around the 'Limited Time' set forth in the constitution."

          While I believe copyrights should be short (more like 28 years than 90), I have to disagree with this one phrase. The Constitution says limited time. We might ask the courts to interpret that to mean "reasonably limited time," which is what we all seem to think it should mean. However, under the Constitution, Congress has the prerogative to legislate in this arena. Being an Originalist, I believe this
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      Or, perhaps we should limit corporate ownership of copyright?

      I would rather we not allow corporations to hold copyright.
  • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:21PM (#21282169) Homepage Journal
    ...with the vast amount of bandwidth, private networks, and users who are happy to share anything they spend time ripping and encoding.

    The Internet has been very exciting for me -- I've never put a copyright on my works, and always openly let people copy and distribute what I've created. I'm even OK with no attribution, and letting others put their name on my productions. In the long run, it increases the interest in the markets I'm in.

    The little guy has rarely been helped by copyright. There are a few examples, but in general, copyright has been about protecting distribution monopolies and NOT protecting the artists or content creators. It changed when copyright lost its 7+7 year cap.

    Since then, distributors have had a de facto strangehold on most markets. That's fine -- the more people have access to the web, the faster the amateur, pro-am, and casual artists will be able to distribute without the old media monopolists.

    You can try to "fix" copyright, but why beat a dead horse? I get more excited from seeing the massive influx of new artists in ALL markets (music, video, cartoons, comics, blogs, etc) where the artists openly place their content for the world to use. I can't recall the guy's name (mphillips, maybe?), but there's an artist who produced pencil art of Serenity/Firefly characters (yes, they're protected for some strange reason), and he distributes the high res images freely only. He makes his money by selling his own prints -- but anyone is free to print their own. Why let the artist print? Because some people feel a MORAL obligation to compensating the artist (I do), so they "donate" to keep him going. That's how most art was commissioned until the copyright monster reared its ugly head.

    The future is bright for those who don't resist the open atmosphere of the new public domain, which is what I would consider MOST of the Internet. Yes, most blogs have a copyright statement at the bottom, but the long term solution to battling people who "steal" your "work" is to just notify your fans about them, and let simple reputation take care of the rest. What happens if a big company takes your work? Good luck fighting them in court. A single artist with a Cease and Desist has almost NO chance of even going to court -- the laws are written against artists.

    10 years from now, I bet we'll see even MORE people sharing the photos freely on flickr, writing freely on blogs, producing videos and music freely. Sure, all those sites have some creative commons license, but again -- who will have the money to fight infringement?

    Embrace the new market -- supply is near infinite, demand is finite, so price drops to zero. But the reputation you can build from producing years of quality new content is more than enough to compensate you in the long run; financially and otherwise.
    • by Billosaur (927319) *

      Grain of truth to this idea. Given the Internet's rate of replication, the fact that anyone can put their information ideas on it, and the fact that the information can be modified and transformed almost at will means that copyright can no longer function as originally intended. Is it possible for a copyright holder to sue the tens of millions of people who may take a piece of work and replicate/reproduce it? Even a large corporation doesn't have infinite resources. This is what the RIAA is trying to do wit

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:57PM (#21282677) Homepage
      I've never put a copyright on my works

      Just to be clear, according to the Berne convention, the minute you create a work, it's copyrighted. Period. End of story. Registering that copyright simply makes it easier to enforce, if it ever came to that.

      What you *should* be doing is placing your works under the Artistic License or something similar. That will ensure that those who might wish to use your works will be able to do so without fear that you'll come along later and hand them a cease and desist ('course, if you made public statements that you won't do such a thing, that changes things, but it's still advisable to just use an open license and be done with it).
      • by mdielmann (514750)

        What you *should* be doing is placing your works under the Artistic License or something similar.
        Or he could release to the public domain, and copyright becomes a moot point and all his statements stand. If you check out the gp's web site, he does put in a very general release statement, but doesn't explicitly mention public domain. I don't know if this is required.
        • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

          by Abcd1234 (188840)
          Actually, at least according to Wikipedia [wikipedia.org], that bastion of truth and knowledge, there doesn't actually exist a legal mechanism in the United States for relinquishing to the public domain one's copyright on a work. That's not to say it can't be done, only that there is nothing codified in law regarding the topic, and as such, it should be seen as a bit of a legal gray area.

          Consequently, I stand by my original statement. It's simply far clearer to just attach an extremely liberal license to one's works, and
    • by Jtheletter (686279) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:05PM (#21282791)

      Embrace the new market -- supply is near infinite, demand is finite, so price drops to zero.
      But the price curve on the demand side *always* drops to zero, however it is the intersection of the supply and demand curves that determines price. Although distribution costs trend to zero, production costs do not. There is a finite lower limit to the supply curve below which the product will not be sold no matter how low the cost of distribution is.
      This is what most people don't understand, the price will drop, but it will never reach zero cost for new goods due to the fact that there IS a cost associated with production that must be recouped.
      • by dada21 (163177) <adam.dada@gmail.com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:29PM (#21283113) Homepage Journal
        This is what most people don't understand, the price will drop, but it will never reach zero cost for new goods due to the fact that there IS a cost associated with production that must be recouped.

        In terms of economic theory, this has not been proven or even insightfully debated.

        Per my own economic theory, which has roots in the Austrian school but we differ in many areas, I truly believe that even new goods have no intrinsic cost unless such cost is applied or assumed by the creator of the goods (or services). Not all creators of goods or services place an inherent cost to creation. I don't. I spend close to 20 hours a week inventing, writing, recording or whatnot, and I place absolutely NO cost on that time. My view on time preference is that my content is pure entertainment value, so the actual cost to me to write, or create, is actually negative -- I gain a profit (entertainment value) from the act of creating.

        If we take this perspective (for myself), the cost of goods is negative, let us say I can assign it a value of $-10. The entertainment I've gained has an equity of $-10 because I would have to spend $10 to get the same entertainment elsewhere ($10 cost - $10 in entertainment received gives a time preference net value of $0), so for me I have ($0 cost - $10 in entertainment or a time preference net value of $0). Since I already set aside a certain amount of hours each week (consciously and subconsciously), I don't attribute those hours to my normal time preference value which has a net value of +$100 per hour. Some Austrians might factor in the entertainment "Zero Hours" into an average of the positive net time preference hours, but I don't.

        Now, with a negative cost of goods, and and a near infinite supply of those goods once created, the price actually falls to a negative based on the flawed supply and demand curves. This is why I am a fan of supply and demand theory, but have written extensively on the failures when one does not consider a zero sum net time preference value or even a negative cost association. Sure, you can say that web hosting has a cost, but I use NearlyFreeSpeech, so I pay around $0.01 per megabyte transfered, and if a typical blog post or RSS feed is 3K, I can have 333 readers for $0.01, so there is SOME intrinsic cost, but it is part of my entertainment value. In fact, I receive LESS entertainment value just writing an article in Notepad than I do in Wordpress, so even the hosting charge is not considered a positive cost to me.

        Do most people think this deep about creating free content? Surely not, but most people aren't aware of time preference or supply and demand curves. "Mmm, writing on MySpace blog good." Why do they do it? Because there is an inherent profit to entertaining yourself because of the zero cost, other than time preference losses.

        Why do I do it? Because not only do I lose nothing (other than time I set aside to lose), AND gain entertainment, I also gain something MOST bloggers, musicians, producers and artists don't perceive as a gain: I get a HUGE response to what I create. Beyond the minimal income that advertising gives me, I get hundreds of e-mails a week with amazing insights, criticisms, comments, and debate points that I can work into my real life (work). This gives me an edge and an enhanced time preference profit because now I have MORE information to sell to my clientele.
        • Hi dada, thanks for your reply, I've had you as a friend on slashdot for some time and respect your opinions. That said, I must respectfully disagree with the following:

          This is what most people don't understand, the price will drop, but it will never reach zero cost for new goods due to the fact that there IS a cost associated with production that must be recouped.

          In terms of economic theory, this has not been proven or even insightfully debated.

          It is completely false that in economic theory my above poin

        • In the future, it might be helpful if you would give some sort of warning before redefining well-known economic terms like "cost" and "time preference".

          In standard economic parlance, "cost" is always positive, because it refers to the most-valued thing you must give up in exchange for what you choose; all choices have positive costs because every choice excludes some other option of positive value. You are simply stating that your creative endeavors are, to you, leisure activities (a first-order good) and

        • You still require supplies (a computer, typewriter, or even pencil and paper) to write. At the very least, you require enough food to keep your body functioning for those 20 hours per week. The cost for those items might be very low, or you may earn enough money the rest of the week that the cost is negligible compared to your income, but the cost can never be zero.
  • by davidwr (791652) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:32PM (#21282317) Homepage Journal
    It's a bit off-topic, but "mere" transforms devoid of creativity should never get a fresh copyright.

    This is already the case with photographs of 2-dimensional works in the USA: Due to a court ruling, if I photograph a painting that is in the public domain, my photo does not have any copyright protection.

    In a perfect world, the same would hold for literal translations of text, musical recordings that are faithful representations of a public-domain score, and other mechanical transforms.

    On the other hand, if I took a passage from the King James Bible and wrote it by hand in my own calligraphy, I should be able to protect it as a work of art for the usual length of time. I have added a non-trivial creative element. Likewise, musical recordings that contain a significant amount of improvisation or other deviations from the public-domain score should also enjoy a fresh copyright.
    • by badfish99 (826052)
      On the other hand, setting the bible in type is a substantial job of work, as is performing a piece of classical music, or translating a book from a foreign language. It could easily be argued that this work is just as deserving of copyright protection as the original creation. Just taking a photograph does not require so much effort.
      • by russotto (537200)

        On the other hand, setting the bible in type is a substantial job of work, as is performing a piece of classical music, or translating a book from a foreign language. It could easily be argued that this work is just as deserving of copyright protection as the original creation. Just taking a photograph does not require so much effort.

        Could be argued and has been argued. Fortunately, one of the few areas the US hasn't screwed up on copyright is that the courts have rejected the "sweat of the brow" theory.

        Tr

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773)
        On the other hand, setting the bible in type is a substantial job of work, as is performing a piece of classical music, or translating a book from a foreign language. It could easily be argued that this work is just as deserving of copyright protection as the original creation. Just taking a photograph does not require so much effort.

        Dead wrong.

        Mere 'sweat of the brow' is never a valid argument for copyright, and the notion is dead and buried in the US. See Feist v. Rural for the Supreme Court throwing the
    • It's a bit off-topic, but "mere" transforms devoid of creativity should never get a fresh copyright.

      In the US, they do not, regardless of medium. This is agreed upon by the Constitution, the Copyright Act, and the courts. See e.g. 17 USC 102(a) and 103(b) as well as L. Batlin v. Snyder.

      On the other hand, if I took a passage from the King James Bible and wrote it by hand in my own calligraphy, I should be able to protect it as a work of art for the usual length of time. I have added a non-trivial creative el
  • by trifish (826353)
    I'm not sure why I've got the feeling that copyright is considered to be the evil around here. Let's not forget that without copyright and its enforceability the GPL and other FOSS licenses would not work. Copyright is good for FOSS.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by The Cisco Kid (31490)
      Its not copyright itself that is evil, it is certain uses that it is put to by big megacorps.
    • by i.r.id10t (595143)
      Right. But at the same time, the rights of the customer have to be considered.

      Should I be allowed to make a backup copy of the latest Disney Princess movie so my daughter can put it in the DVD player herself, and I don't have to worry about replacing the original copy after it gets scratched/broken beyond the point of being able to be viewed? Should I be allowed to watch that same movie on my Linux laptop while traveling with her in a plane?

      I don't mind not being able to make a copy of the movie - as long
    • by sm62704 (957197)
      I'm not sure why you've got the feeling that copyright is considered to be the evil around here either, as none of the comments so far have said anything of the sort, or even remotely like it. The closest was the fellow who said he doesn't mind anyone plagairizing his work. Even he didn't say copyright was evil.

      What's been said is that copyright is in bad need of reform. Not that it's evil, but that the laws as written are bad.

      Many copyright HOLDERS are indeed evil; Sony [mcgrew.info] comes to mind.

      -mcgrew

      (linked text is
    • If copyright did not exist, then the GPL would be unnecessary - people could share code, and those who didn't would have their binaries decompiled and stuff.
  • Reform is needed... (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Bert64 (520050) <bert@@@slashdot...firenzee...com> on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:41PM (#21282413) Homepage
    Copyright law certainly does need reform...

    Copyright terms are too long, especially for things like software. While for example a piece of music may be listened to (and have commercial value) for many years, software very rapidly loses value. Do you think anyone would have much use for windows 3.1 short of a curious enthusiast or a collector/museum? Copyright terms in all cases should be shortened severely, most of the profit is made in the first couple of years after release anyway, and it's wrong to let someone carry on milking something they produced years ago. Would you continue to subscribe to slashdot if there were no new stories being posted?

    Fair use needs to be extended to ensure people aren't forced to buy multiple copies of the same media to play in a car etc, and DRM needs to be clamped down on for the same reason. People also need to be able to make copies for use (this used to be considered reasonable and standard behaviour, copy the original and play the copy, if the copy gets damaged make another), especially important when kids are involved, and made worse by things like games that require you to keep the original media in the drive (even if theyre not actually reading from it).

    Similarly, when copyright expires a work falls into the public domain, DRM prevents that. There needs to be a facility in place to ensure that work will be available freely once it's copyright has expired. Software for which it's copyright expires should be required to be released with source code too.

    Abandonware, companies should be required to keep their old products available on a non discriminatory basis, it is unacceptable for something to be "no longer produced" in this digital age. If there is no longer mass market appeal for something, it can be made available in a much cheaper form (ie free or low cost download) and without support. The restriction should be that older media is still available for not more than it's previous cost plus standard inflation, but it's free to become cheaper, and availability should not be artificially limited (ie you should always be able to call and order it, or order online, they cant make the process overly convoluted to put you off).
    As an example of why this is important, i have an Amiga here that i would like to play with for nostalgic reasons. I had one years ago, so i still have a pile of floppies containing media in various formats some of which proprietary, but i cannot obtain the program that opens them (and potentially can convert to other formats), the company that made it wont sell or provide me a copy at all. I also can't buy a TCP stack for the amiga or much of the networking apps because the places selling them no longer exist, and the downloadable versions are time-limited demos (disconnect after 30 minutes, useless).

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Bert64 (520050)
      Forgot to mention wrt keeping available...
      Releasing a copyrighted work into the public domain early (ie before copyright expires) should satisfy the requirement to keep something available, and remove the burden of doing so from the original publisher.
  • the law has always trailed technological progress. this makes sense, as it takes time for the changes technology wreaks upon society to percolate up into society's laws and customs and mores

    however, we live in an era where technological change is accelerating

    such that, perhaps for the first time ever in human society, the contrast between law and technological change is taking place so fast, the law is getting challenged within a single human generation. the change is bumping up, to the effect that society's laws are actually impeding technological progress

    before, it might have taken a few generations of technological change to seriously conflict with the law. so i would assert we are the first human generation to suffer from technological legal whiplash

    i hope someone else has coined a better term for this phenomenon than me
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by sm62704 (957197)
      Actually, if you repealed all copyright law written in or after the 20th century it would make a lot more sense. The problem isn't the law trailing technology, but being hijacked by financial interests.

      If the copyright law was as it was in 1901, all of Jimi Hendrix' works would be in the public domain. Windows 3.1 would be in the public domain. Steamboat Willie would be in the public domain. In fact, all the movies Disnay made prior to 1987 would be in the public domain! There would be no DMCA (now THERE'S
  • enforce what we have (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Trailer Trash (60756) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:45PM (#21282473) Homepage

    Beyond Fair Use reform, Sohn advocates punishing copyright holders who 'knowingly or recklessly' send out false takedown notices

    Last I looked, those were already sworn to be true under penalty of perjury. We just need to enforce it. One time. Some slimy RIAA lawyer sitting in jail for a couple of days would completely change the way it's done now.

    While these changes sound good, the copyright industries have congress in their pockets, and congressmen/women openly go to them for "advice" on copyright issues. Until that changes, you can talk all you want, they won't hear you (unless you come up with cash).

    As I've said before, they are cheap given the influence that you can buy. It costs just a few hundred thousand dollars to turn a congressman into your own remote-controlled robot that'll say and do what you want. The CEA needs to figure that out.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by nomadic (141991)
      Some slimy RIAA lawyer sitting in jail for a couple of days would completely change the way it's done now.

      You think any smart lawyer swears to things him or herself? One of the first things you learn as a lawyer is, "don't believe everything your client tells you."
  • by sm62704 (957197) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:48PM (#21282535) Journal
    1. Fair Use Reform.
    The author offered no concrete suggestions, just "expand fair use". I offer a suggestion: any non-commercial use should be considered fair use. And if you sue me for copyright infringement and the courts deem my use to be fair use, I should be able to collect a kingly sum from you.

    2.Limits on Secondary Liability
    BZZZT! No, these tech ddin't become popular because they "challenged the status quo." They became popular because (surprise) they were USEFUL. And again, IMO TFA is wrong. There shouldn't be "limits" to secondary liability, there should be no such thing as "secondary liability.

    3. Protections Against Copyright Abuse.
    Am I the only one that gets annoyed when someone presents some obscure reference that I'm supposed to know about to the point that they need no link? Look, you want me to know about the "The Let's Go Crazy Baby" case then dammit, link to a Wikipedia article [wikipedia.org] about it. Hmmm... "No page with that title exists". That said, I agree with the author about his point even though it was extremely retarded to expect me to know about "lets go crazy baby". If it isn't in Wikipedia it must be pretty damned obscure.

    4. Fair and Accessible Licensing
    As an end-user, I should have no license, nor any need for one. Licenses are for those who wish to use a copyrighted work for financial gain. End-user licenses should be illegal, PERIOD, not merely the unenforceable clickthrough licenses.

    As to music, a small sample should be considered "fair use", not unlike a quote from a book. File sharing, being noncommercial, should be fair use.

    5. Orphan Works Reform
    Agreed, to get copyright you should have to register your copyright. And you should havce to clearly state the year your copyrighted work was registered so one can know when it gets to the public domain.

    6. Notice of Technological and Contractual Restrictions on Digital Media.
    Agreed.

    But the guy completely missed the most needed reform of all: Sanity to copyright lengths. IINM at the beginning of the 20th century it was twenty years. That sounds about right; you're not going to pursuade Jimi Hendrix to do any more recording!

    The recording artist should hold copyright to the recording rather than the record label, as it is now.

    -mcgrew (I hold two ISBN numbers)
    • i am trying to see how the law helps wikipedia. They sent a bunch of admins out to stripe photos out of all the movie pages. They are now so naked is unacceptable.
    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by ivan256 (17499)

      But the guy completely missed the most needed reform of all: Sanity to copyright lengths. IINM at the beginning of the 20th century it was twenty years. That sounds about right; you're not going to pursuade Jimi Hendrix to do any more recording!

      I think copyright terms should be unlimited... sortof.

      They should expire every 7 years, but with infinite renewals. For each renewal, the fee should increase exponentially.

      This would accomplish several things. It would give a clear legal path to the use of orphaned

      • by sm62704 (957197)
        I think if a work is protected by technical means, it should not be eligible for copyright at all.
    • by Pofy (471469)
      >Agreed, to get copyright you should have to register your
      >copyright. And you should havce to clearly state the year
      >your copyrighted work was registered so one can know when
      >it gets to the public domain.

      How do you propose to make such a system work internationally?
      • If you don't have a computer or a fax or a phone, you can always use the mail. The international postal system is pretty good.

        If you want a US copyright, you deal with the US paperwork. If you want a Canadian copyright, you deal with the Canadian paperwork. If you want a UK copyright, you deal with the UK paperwork.

        The paperwork should be very simple, however: name, address, name of the work, date. That's mainly it. In some cases there may be a bit more (e.g. if there are multiple authors, what it is based
    • The recording artist should hold copyright to the recording rather than the record label, as it is now.

      They would have that option if they didn't sell out. Basically what you're asking for is for the copyright owner not to have the ability to sell their copyright. What's so wrong with being able to sell the copyright to a work? It would be like not allowing inventors to sell a patent. It makes no real sense.
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        In the US, that's codified by statute. A recording is, by law, a "work for hire".
    • by BadMrMojo (767184)
      Congratulations on reading TFA, but I think you might have missed a few rather crucial points.

      1. Fair Use Reform.
      The author offered no concrete suggestions, just "expand fair use". I offer a suggestion: any non-commercial use should be considered fair use. And if you sue me for copyright infringement and the courts deem my use to be fair use, I should be able to collect a kingly sum from you.

      Currently, Fair Use is something that you never, ever want to have to invoke in a court of law. It's the last chance

      • by russotto (537200)

        Currently, Fair Use is something that you never, ever want to have to invoke in a court of law. It's the last chance defense to be used only once you've been determined as having definitely infringed upon the copyright holder. By definition, it means admitting guilt to infringing. The author is proposing radically strengthening the current system by adding several specifically-named considerations - one of which is specifically stated as non-commercial personal use. Using the strengthened definitions, you g

        • by BadMrMojo (767184)
          My bad. Common English versus Legal English. Thank you for the correction.

          Nonetheless - however inaccurately I may have used very specific terms - the end result is that:

          a) Fair Use is a defense only after the establishment of the acts in question having occurred.
          b) Resorting to a Fair Use argument is therefore an admission of said acts being factual - which cannot accurately be described as either "guilt" or "infringement" in Legal English.

          Is that correct and accurate? Because that was my intention, clumsi
          • by russotto (537200)
            Disclaimer time: I'm not a lawyer.

            But I think it is possible (legally) to make an argument to the effect of "I didn't do it, but if I did it was fair use". For instance, I believe in one case the argument was made that a copy of a program in computer RAM was not a reproduction for the purposes of copyright law, but if it was, it was fair use.

            If "fair use" is your only argument, you probably have conceded (at least implicitly) that you committed the act of reproduction, distribution, public performance, etc
      • by sm62704 (957197)
        Who here wants to see a large entity with deep pockets legally infringing upon a smaller independent entity's work by blatantly stealing it and giving it away for free in order to drive them out of business?

        BZZT! In my country (the US) there is no such thing as "intellectual property"; see Article 1 section 8 of the US Constitution. You are granted a limited time monopoly to distribution, NOT ownership. Copyright infringement is not stealing. I have to own something before you can steal it from me.

        And anoth
        • by BadMrMojo (767184)
          You just love saying, "BZZT!", don't you? Endearing habit you've got there.

          You are correct, however. As with the reply above, I misspoke/mistyped yet again. "Stealing" was a very poor choice of words and was intended in a non-specific, generalized way which is entirely inaccurate when taken in a very specific legal context. My apologies on my error.
  • Copyright Expiration (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Doc Ruby (173196) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:50PM (#21282567) Homepage Journal
    Copyrights are a compromise between the government protecting our free speech and protecting the commerce in "speech" (communication) products that would have failed without some artificial exclusivity back in the 1790s.

    The free speech right is unchanged, of course, as well as the minimal infringement people are willing to accept for a working compromise. What has changed is the commerce, and its requirements. But the basic term of the original compromise is still largely acceptable. Which was 14 years of exclusivity for printed matter.

    That time is also how long it takes a teenager to grow up to consider their parents' pop songs to be folk songs like the rest of their cultural legacy. Old pop songs that survive that long are make folk songs by the folks, not by the author. The author's exclusive right is not justifiable after that balance evolves in favor of the audience's contribution. Books work the same way.

    The same is true of other media, but with different speeds. Movies are "old" before 14 years pass, though the culture could survive a 14 year exclusivity for them. TV (other than movies) is old in under 10 years; talk shows in under a year; TV ads in a few months. Videogames are "classic" after the time that it takes an older brother to hand it over to a younger sister, which is usually 5 years or so.

    Copyright has gone so far out of whack that it threatens both the commerce, as the music and book businesses amply demonstrate, and the culture (ditto). Copyright law should specify maximum terms before expiration of 14 years, with shorter exceptions for faster aging media. Those faster media also happen to be more profitable faster, and cheaper to produce, and more completely adopted more quickly. That balance is mandated by the Constitution. We should get back to what's right.

    Then "fair use" won't have nearly as many hard boundary cases to consider.
    • Copyright has gone so far out of whack that it threatens both the commerce

      How do you feel that copyright threatens commerce?
      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Doc Ruby (173196)
        Lots of commercial content is produced by reusing content that came before it. Copyright stops that.

        There's a period within which copyright works in favor of commerce, but gradually the balance inhibits commerce.

        The negative effects of relying on copyright rather than creation can also be easily seen in the music industry, as well as other entertainment media. Especially when the copyright prevents the distribution of content whose free distribution is still monetized, like advertising, branding and promoti
        • Lots of commercial content is produced by reusing content that came before it.

          Such as? And is that really a good enough of an argument? I really don't see it that way. I can understand it in the frame of fair use but the outright use of a work to produce another work in it's entirety is a very shady interpretation of new content.

          The negative effects of relying on copyright rather than creation can also be easily seen in the music industry, as well as other entertainment media. Especially when the copyri
          • by Doc Ruby (173196)
            Give me an example of commercial content that doesn't reuse content that came before it (that isn't licensed or copywritten by the new author).
            • Give me an example of commercial content that doesn't reuse content that came before it (that isn't licensed or copywritten by the new author).

              Well, as much as I really don't understand what the purpose of bringing up it's being licensed (these are the exact kind of things I wish you guys would get to the point over instead of acting like it's simple commonsense to everyone)...

              Let's take Fugazi's Repeater album. How does copyright effect this album's ability to be a viable commercial product and a new cr
              • by Doc Ruby (173196)
                Albums are the perfect example. There is no work of pop music that doesn't use some previous content in its production. The copyright protecting some material, but not other, is arbitrary to the art, even if it's convenient to the business. And since the art is the product, that hurts the business.

                More to the point, if that album could be shared without copyright limits after some reasonable time, its free distribution by fans would promote the other products. Like later albums still under copyright, like c
  • by thtrgremlin (1158085) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @12:51PM (#21282587) Homepage Journal
    Of all the changes going on, rather than creating new laws or changing things that have been the way they were for a very long time, how about just repealing some very recent laws that were, in hind sight, horrible mistakes. Until 1997, copyright violations, for the most part, only occurred where there was measurable loss on the part of the copyright holder greatly reinforced by the proportional gain by said thief. The No Electronic Theft Act of 1997 basically changed the second part such that it was much easier to go after 'thieves' that were not profiting monetarily from their actions. This is what has screwed up the whole system, and what I think most people are arguing about.

    So why don't we admit our mistake, repeal the stupid very recent law that has failed society and rethink how that act should have been written to fairly protect artists, as well as the people.
    • by cdrguru (88047)
      So you agree that everything should be free, right?

      Sure, put the streetcorner pirates out of business but allow the gamers to have their games for the price of a download. Eliminate all software sales because it should all be free, right? Music and everything else that CAN be shared should be, right?

      Because that is the world the NET act was trying to stop. That is pretty much how people viewed things in 1995.
  • Is Mr. Sohn looking for anyone to birth his children?
  • Well, yeah, I guess that's a short haircut [google.com], but really, isn't the name "Gigi" kind of a giveaway?
  • The sad part is (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MaxLoad (569818)
    That copyright is being used to line the pockets of those unable to either let go of antiquated business models, or devise new and innovative ways to deliver their products.

    Witness that the *AA's (the main litigants in most copyright cases) seek to kill technologies they didn't think of, a la Napster, Grokster, Bittorrent, etc., simply so they can increase their revenue streams. They now salivate, *years* after the introduction of P2P and streaming, at the thought of charging "consumers" not for a show/son
  • I wasn't impressed (Score:3, Insightful)

    by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:39PM (#21283257) Homepage
    While I'm all for meaningful copyright reform as soon as possible, I was not impressed by Sohn's proposal. Responding to her points:

    1. Fair use reform is dangerous; it is essential that a flexible approach be maintained, even though this may result in less certainty. Remember, fair use arose in the mid-19th century; could the jurists of the day have anticipated novel fair uses such as time shifting? Sohn acknowledged that position, but I don't think she paid it enough heed. The only fair use reform I would suggest, though I am ambivalent as to whether it would actually be a good idea, would be to allow facilitators of fair use to stand in the shoes of actual fair users, reversing the decision of Princeton v. Michigan Document Services.

    I do agree with the proposal that copyright should be reduced so as to not interfere so much with certain uses, but these should be structured as statutory exceptions separate from fair use, rather than as a part of fair use itself. In particular, I have long advocated for a broad exception for any non-commercial conduct by natural persons. Exceptions for incidental use, and particularly the incidental copies that are inescapable when computers are involved, are also good ideas. Just not all shoehorned into fair use.

    Sohn also proposes an exception to the anticircumvention statutes. That's just inadequate, however. Sections 1201 et seq all need to be repealed; it is impossible to fix them. Indeed, what we really need is the opposite provision: that if a work is published (using a broad definition of publication that encompasses public performance and display) by or under the authority of the copyright holder, the work enters the public domain immediately. Further, that one of the duties of the Copyright Office and Library of Congress will be to assist in the efforts of cracking the DRM on those works and of disseminating those works once unprotected. There would need to be a brief period of time for publishers to reissue or forfeit their already-published DRM'ed works, though that wouldn't apply to works that hadn't been published in some manner prior to the reform taking effect.

    While we cannot ban DRM outright, as it is a free speech issue, nor would we want to in certain applications, e.g. private communications and information, unpublished manuscripts, etc., we can at least avoid providing the incentives and benefits of copyright to anyone who would use it for published works. Authors would be free to opt to use DRM, but would forgo legal protection. This strikes me as a fair balance.

    2. I generally agree with Sohn on this point, though I don't see much point in abolishing statutory damages for secondary infringers if you're already reversing Grokster with a strict reading of Sony.

    3. I generally agree with Sohn on this point as well, though really the 512 exception should be made broader, with more general language, lest a court read it too narrowly, as happened in Napster. Also, the remedies for abuse should be broad, ranging from mere money damages, to injunctive relief, and in extreme cases, copyright revocation.

    4. I agree that music licensing needs to be reworked from the ground up, as it is hopelessly convoluted. However, I do not think that there should be a public performance right for sound recordings, as it seems not to have produced any incentivizing effect, and clearly harms the public interest otherwise.

    Further, I absolutely abhor the idea of non-assignable copyrights of any type. If an author wants to assign some or all rights, then it should be up to him to do so, provided that no one is forcing him. The typical practice in the music industry to present contracts that are heavily weighted in the favor of the publisher does not rise to the level of compulsion. Authors are free to reject those deals, to try to negotiate for something better, and to self-publish if all else fails. Authors are not children, and do not need special paternalistic protection against making foolish deals. I'm willing to speak out against
  • by Animats (122034) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @01:39PM (#21283261) Homepage

    US copyright terms should simply be "harmonized" with the TRIPS agreement. The TRIPS treaty (a WTO thing pushed by the US) calls for a minimum copyright term of 50 years, and most countries have signed on. So let's take that as the US term - 50 years, maximum.

    Call it the "Copyright Term Harmonization Act", and trim back US law to the minimums required by the TRIPS agreement. That's a good first step.

    As part of this, provide that willfully publishing content with a false copyright date voids the copyright in the material. This punishes criminal copyright fraud (it's a crime now, but there have been no prosecutions), and will discourage re-stamping old content with new copyright dates. This provision should be retroactive.

    Those are provisions one could probably get through Congress.

    • Call it the "Copyright Term Harmonization Act", and trim back US law to the minimums required by the TRIPS agreement. That's a good first step.

      No, a good first step is setting TRIPS (and Berne, and the UCC, and the rest) on fire, then dancing on the ashes. We will never have even the slightest meaningful reform of copyright, much less good copyright law, until the US withdraws from these terrible, terrible abominations of treaties. While I have no qualms with international cooperation normally, copyright is
  • If you cannot discern the difference between "fair use" and "unpermitted redistribution", there will be difficulties in exercising your fair use rights. The problem is that people have taken "fair use" to mean "give it to the rest of the non-paying planet". Nobody in their right mind respects the copyright holder to make a buck on the sale of digital material. It is all free, all the time.

    Sure there are some people that do not share - they downloaded it or (if they don't have a high speed Internet connec
  • by pcause (209643) on Thursday November 08, 2007 @02:15PM (#21283841)
    What bothers me is the argument about technology. This isn't about technology, but instead is about people who want to take and use someone else's work for free. The person who puts in the sweat and creativity should own the fruits of their labor. If they choose to make their work available for free, so be it. But just interesting and don't like he terms that the owner sets doesn't give you the right to take it and we shouldn't change the laws to legalize theft just becuase technology makes it easier to steal. YouTube has some legitimate user generaed content but it also has a whole lot of stolen content that is owned b others. YouTube and Google avoided monetizing so they'd avoid liability under the Safe Harbor provision. They knew full well that a LOT of the content was stolen, but as long as they could build value they didn't care about someone else's ownership rights.

    Yes, he content owners have gone too far in fighting fair use, but they are (over)reacting to rampant and widespread theft and the fact that supposedly serious people are making excuses for theft. Look at the BitTorrent nets and you'll see pirated movies, TV shows, software, etc. Lots of it. None of this is fair use.

    We need to get rid of stupid DRM schemes that limit the number of devices in my house that I can play something on. We need to allow indexing but NOT full content storage / retrieval from "caches" without the copyright owners permission. We should allow some level of sharing but not on a scale like YouTube where things are so generally available we wind up taking away the ability of the owner to have any say in the use of their works or effectively make money from those works. We need to define "fair use" in an understandable and possibly quantifiable way.

    The author has a lot of reforms but the suggestions aren't balanced. We need to restore balance and not have the government confiscate one set of property, just becuase it is somewhat "intangible". People work hard to create great music, movies, software, books and the like and deserve recognition of their efforts and rights.

The number of arguments is unimportant unless some of them are correct. -- Ralph Hartley

Working...