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UK Report Proposes Changes To IP Laws

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the shaking-things-up dept.

146

NKJV writes "A new report from the Institute for Public Policy Research, a UK think tank, has some concrete suggestions on how to reform the UK's dated intellectual property laws. The starting point for its deliberations is the notion that knowledge is both a commodity and a public good, and it recommends that the UK move from a model where knowledge is 'an asset first and a public resource second' to one where knowledge is primarily a public resource and secondarily an asset. Is that an anti-business attitude? The report's authors don't think so."

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146 comments

It has to be right (1)

tizan (925212) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710195)

Otherwise you can't borrow a library book or get taught at school without paying a license to somebody who owns the knowledge originally !!

Won't SOMEBODY think of the investors! (1)

Travoltus (110240) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710379)

Don't you realize that without the promise of profit, no one is going to invent anything anymore?

Without the ability to sue thousands of people and hold everyone hostage for 20 years to your IP, there won't be any progress!

Imagine if there wasn't capitalism at the time of the discovery of fire, the invention of the wheel, and the creation of Linux.. er, wait a minute......

Re:Won't SOMEBODY think of the investors! (2, Interesting)

tizan (925212) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710859)

good point... Yes like say Einstein learnt from previous knowledge ...from Galileo, Mach etc etc these were investments in his developing relativity and assume he blocked it with a licensing scheme...imagine how backwards physics would have been today ! investors shmestors... there is a middle point between stifling innovation and promoting it !

Re:Won't SOMEBODY think of the investors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16712109)

whoosh!

Re:Won't SOMEBODY think of the investors! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16710891)


Uhg. I thought all you people gave up when the Berlin wall fell.

Re:It has to be right (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16711293)

Otherwise you can't borrow a library book or get taught at school without paying a license to somebody who owns the knowledge originally !!

Actually you do pay for studying in school, directly in case of private school, and indirectly(your future tax) for public schools.

In the same manner you pay for library, because it costs to have it servicing you.

Anthem, anyone? (1)

Syncerus (213609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710217)

Well, as long as you don't believe that thinking is the act of an individual, you should probably be in favor of the change.

If you believe that ideas are generated from individuals and that thinking and ideas are hard work, you should probably be opposed to the change.

If you believe that you'll have another beer, you're undoubtedly in the majority.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

ThosLives (686517) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710297)

Here's an interesting concept that I've been tossing around in relation to your rebuttals: What is valuable is not the created idea, but the ability to create ideas. That is, you can still be economically valuable as an idea producer because you can develop ideas, not because some idea has already been disseminated.

That's my take, anyway, and I think if "idea producers" - or anyone in the creative arts for that matter - took that stance, then you wouldn't have any issues with any intellectual property law, copyright law, etc. becuase what would be valued is not the work but the worker - and that is where, in my opinion, the value belongs aynway.

Think about it this way - would you rather have Einstein's works, or Einstein himself? Or Beethoven's works, or Beethoven himself?

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

smallfries (601545) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710455)

While it's an interesting idea - if ideas don't have any economic value, then why would the ability to produce them? Who cares if you have Einstein himself, even if you don't you still get free access to anything he produces. The only way that the ability would be prized is if there is some restriction on the supply of the ideas. This sounds like the old system of patronage, although in that case the ideas / craft / art was also restricted, giving the patron some incentive to fund their development.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16710581)

If I talk to Einstein and you have to talk to me to get his ideas, then I can recoup the costs of keeping Einstein happy. The typical argument for patents is that with patents the ideas get released into the public whereas without patents ideas have to be kept secret to be of commercial value. That is partly true, but an idea which is kept secret can't be used, because if you do use the idea, someone else will "reverse engineer" it simply by looking at your product. So even without patents, ideas become public knowledge eventually. The individual who came up with something new and the commercial venture which gets to use the idea first has a huge advantage in the market. We don't need incentive beyond that. Non-movers have no chance in the market. A business has to invent to survive, even if it is just a way of making things cheaper which someone else invented. Intellectual property as we know it is a burden on society. It keeps inventors from realizing their ideas because no idea can be implemented without using other people's intellectual property. We as a society are limiting our potential for invention by only following ideas that a few big companies deem worthy of investment.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711171)

While it's an interesting idea - if ideas don't have any economic value, then why would the ability to produce them?

Because the ability to produce them is scarce, even though the ideas themselves aren't scarce once they've been produced initially.

Think of it this way: the speed of light is a useful value to know, but although it has utility value (you want to know it because you can do stuff with it), it has zero economic value (because it has no marginal cost of distribution; a rational buyer wouldn't be willing to pay for it). However, the effort of the scientists who discovered it did have economic value, because not everyone can discover the speed of light. There were a limited number of scientists who could do it, and their time had value because they only had a limited amount of it to spend in pursuit of such things.

The only way that the ability would be prized is if there is some restriction on the supply of the ideas.

Nope. All you need is a restriction on the supply of the ability.

(Also, it's important to distinguish between the supply of all ideas that ever will be produced, and the supply of one idea that already has been produced. The former is restricted inherently, due to the fact that not everyone can or will come up with every possible idea. The latter is not restricted, except by copyright and patent laws, because sharing an idea costs nothing and doesn't deplete any resources.)

The GP is right on the money. Even in a world where selling copies of artistic works is impossible, the ability to produce those works would still be in demand, so the producers could still make money at it. They'd just have to do it by charging for their time directly, like a barber or an accountant, rather than by performing the labor for free and selling copies of the resulting work afterward. It'd basically mean turning the marketing machine upside down, because the goal would now be to get people to contribute to the creation of a work, instead of getting them to buy a product.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

dash2 (155223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711449)



Nope. All you need is a restriction on the supply of the ability.

(Also, it's important to distinguish between the supply of all ideas that ever will be produced, and the supply of one idea that already has been produced. The former is restricted inherently, due to the fact that not everyone can or will come up with every possible idea. The latter is not restricted, except by copyright and patent laws, because sharing an idea costs nothing and doesn't deplete any resources.)

That's missing the point. We know that the ability to supply goods is valuable. The question is, will it be correctly valued in a world without IP? Answer: no, because nobody will be able to capture that value, hence it becomes a public good, hence there is underinvestment in it.


The GP is right on the money. Even in a world where selling copies of artistic works is impossible, the ability to produce those works would still be in demand, so the producers could still make money at it. They'd just have to do it by charging for their time directly, like a barber or an accountant, rather than by performing the labor for free and selling copies of the resulting work afterward. It'd basically mean turning the marketing machine upside down, because the goal would now be to get people to contribute to the creation of a work, instead of getting them to buy a product.

This addresses part of the issue. Yes, if (say) IBM needs knowledge of how to optimize its business process, then it will pay for that knowledge - and nobody else would be interested anyway, as the knowledge is only useful to IBM. But suppose you develop a new faster computer chip. Then who will pay for it? IBM? No, because the knowledge will be available to their competitors. The consumers directly? Not unless they have chip fabs in their back yard. (Could the consumers band together and pay for this kind of research? Possible but unlikely: too much temptation to free ride. Put it this way: it is as possible as any other form of public good being provided without compulsion. There are ways to do this, but it is not as simple as getting a private good provided.)

We actually have a perfectly viable form of IP socialism right now. It's called the patent system. You get a temporary right to exploit your idea. Thereafter, it's common property - reflecting the thought that eventually, someone else would have come up with it. I am not saying the patent system doesn't have problems - I know about e.g. the patent to amuse a cat with a laser pointer. But it needs reform, not wholesale destruction.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712437)

The question is, will it be correctly valued in a world without IP? Answer: no
  1. I guess the simple answer is "You don't know that". You have absolutely no way to back that statement. I'd suggest that quite probably the valuations will be no worse than they are today. And note there's nothing in the current system that leads me to believe that (for example) musicians are valued "correctly" ... you're pretty much a serf to the Big Four as a musician.
  2. Assuming you are correct, F/OSS developers don't get paid their value. Afterall, their work is freely available, and is (for the purposes of discussing "getting paid") totally without intellectual monopoly protection. And yet, they do get paid. IBM, Oracle, RedHat, mySQL and others pay people (real creative people) lots of money to write real creative code that is then given away for free ... open-source is the aberration that proves that intellectual monoply is not a requirement for either creativity or remuneraton.
Yes, if (say) IBM needs knowledge of how to optimize its business process, then it will pay for that knowledge - and nobody else would be interested anyway, as the knowledge is only useful to IBM.
At best, the bits that are specific to IBM are of litte use to anyone else. The principles, however, are of use to various other organisations, and so if IBM hires a consultant (group) to come in and optimize they are going to pay people who have some history of optimizing other companies processes. The principles will be the same from company to company, and so without business method patents, the consultants are freely allowed to build on the existing works (principles) to help IBM optimize it's process...
But suppose you develop a new faster computer chip. Then who will pay for it? IBM? No, because the knowledge will be available to their competitors.
Why won't IBM pay for it? If it gives them a competative advantage they *will* do it, even if it means that their competitors follow (months or years later...) giving IBM a first-mover advantage. Let's also remember that making CPUs has a natural barrier to entry: you need a billion dollar fab to actually make them. This means that they don't have to worry that (other than a handful) of other companies are even going to try and compete...
We actually have a perfectly viable form of IP socialism right now. It's called the patent system.
The patent system as it stands today is completely broken, and opens companies to risks like submarine patents. The patent system as it was designed so many many moons ago was not as broken, but it was destined to be broken. imho, any system of unnatural barriers will eventually be subverted by people who will make massive profits well beyond their investments, and will be gamed by those that don't want to do 'real' work.

Patents are unnecessary and contain hidden costs that most apologists conveniently ignore. The patent system costs millions of dollars to operate, and all of that money is added to the cost of the products you buy.

First-mover advantage offers sufficient incentive to offset marginal increases in product.
While the patent system attempts to leap-frog innovation, what it really does is stop anyone from improving on your idea for 20yrs, thereby slowing down (not speading up) innovation.
A simple contrast is the rate of change in Linux vs. the rate of change in Microsoft.
One is locked-up, and tries to make expensive mammoth changes at a time. It requires massive capital outlay and massive returns only affordabe via some kind of long-term artificial protection. This method of progress justifies the arguments that intellectual monopoly laws are needed to ensure that this creativity happens in the first place. (Also note, that it causes the successful company to make profits that are way out of line with their investment, and tends to cause monopoly and anti-competative behaviour, but that's for another day)
The other is fast, agile, and each change is essentially free, and so requires little or no incentive to be enduced. Since each itteration, change, contribution and innovation is relatively small, there is no need for protections.
If you look at how much time and money advantage Microsoft has over Linux, and you look at the quality and depth of products that are open-source, it becomes obvious that the model of 1000s of small incremental changes is far superior to a small number of collosal jumps.
And you can see this in nature too: organisms that have high rates of turnover tend to exist in larger numbers, and are able to adapt to new environments more easily. In short: The monopolist protection systems like patents are hurting (not helping) us progress ...

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

Asrynachs (1000570) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710515)

That's like saying a lottery ticket is more valuable than the actual prize.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

Gospodin (547743) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710585)

A sibling post of mine has a good reply to this (what's the value of an idea-producer if the ideas have no value?), but another reply is that the value of an idea has a strong component of luck. That is, while Beethoven and Einstein produced a consistent sequence of good ideas, there are many thousands more people who had one great idea. A butterfly flaps its wings in Malaysia and maybe he doesn't have that great idea - or the idea doesn't become recognized as great.

You might say we don't want to reward luck. But I saw we do, because when someone gets lucky every now and then, that gives creators the incentive to create and maybe get lucky. You can't win if you don't play, as they say.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710617)

Think about it this way -- how separable are they?

If you can't have Einstein's works without Einstein, you probably want to start with Einstein.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16710335)

I do believe thinking is the act of an individual and precisely because of that I think it is ridiculous even to say "Intellectual" property. Don't you think I can think somewhere far away from you what you thought of? On the other hand, "Intellectual Property" presupposes the shortage of Intellect (among 6 billion people!) and once somebody thought of something, somehow no one else can get the same "idea" or if somehow someone else comes up with the same idea, then that second person be imprisoned.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710673)

Where does the second person get imprisoned? Nowhere?

Things may have gone a bit further than is ideal, but the basic idea of intellectual property is that if you come up with something *first* that you get to exploit it a bit, hopefully leading to more firsts. The "I got food poisoning so I'm not going to eat anymore." approach to evaluating things like patent laws is just as crazy as not eating.

quick FYP (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710555)

"If you believe that ideas are generated from individuals in isolation and that thinking and ideas are hard work, you should probably be opposed to the change."

If, however, you believe that most of the progression of ideas is incremental advance upon previous ideas, you should probably support the change.

Re:quick FYP (1)

dash2 (155223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711527)

To this and other posters making the same point: that's great. Of course we depend for our ideas on other people's ideas. Does that mean that the individual doesn't contribute anything? Of course not. An industry takes inputs and turns them into outputs. We still think it's reasonable to pay for that. Similarly, people take ideas and build on other people's ideas, and they should be rewarded for that. Either because they deserve it, or, if you don't like that notion, because if they aren't, people will not have ideas. (Yes, I know great geniuses will still work for the love of it, and I know that Joe Bloggs has written an open source IRC client. Unfortunately modern society also depends on a whole lot of non-great-geniuses doing quite mundane, boring, difficult intellectual work, for profit. That's why there is no open source cure for haemorrhoids - or cancer.)

Re:quick FYP (1)

Mateo_LeFou (859634) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711585)

Your dichotomy is false. Nobody says the individual creates nothing. The question -- when it comes to treating ideas as property -- is whether the cost to the public is greater than the benefit. Make no mistake: the cost to the public is germaine; it is the public that sets up the state, which in turn is the thing that forbids from from freely copying & distributing other people's ideas.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

kfg (145172) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710589)

Inventor, scientist and lawyer Thomas Jefferson believed that lighting one candle from another does not diminish the orginal candle, but augments it. Nor can the second candle be lit without an original flame.

Composer Beethoven believed that artists should deposit their works in a large warehouse; from which he could withdraw those that he needed to create his own art.

Thoreau believed that a poet should live on his poetry as a steam planer is fired from its shavings.

I believe that thinking and ideas are hard work done by individuals upon the the previous thinking and hard work done by other individuals; and given back to them in gratitude. . .

But I understand that tradesmen think differently.

KFG

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

vertinox (846076) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710645)

Well, as long as you don't believe that thinking is the act of an individual, you should probably be in favor of the change.

That's not too hard to grasp considering our thoughts are simply the by products of 10,000 years of civilization.

You didn't come up with your language on your own did you? Did you come up with math either? How about problem solving?

Did you think your personality and thought process came about over night or perhaps it was the evolution of our language, past thinks, philosophers, and various religious personalities.

The truth of the matter is that most modern ideas and information is pretty much the result of efforts of people long dead.

Most of what we come with today is not really that novel, but rather rehashing of what is old.

Unless you really want to make your own language and thought process, chances are you ideas aren't really novel but rather a recombination of prior ones in an ingenious way.

Personally, I'm against paying people for simply coming up with ideas... It is better to pay them for application of ideas.

Application and creation are quite two different things.

Re:Anthem, anyone? (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710791)

If you believe that ideas are generated from individuals and that thinking and ideas are hard work, you should probably be opposed to the change.

Anyone who has ever had a truly original, individual thought uninspired by having learned of the thoughts of others, raise your hand.

Put your hand down, you liar.

Thinking is hard work, but the nature of human beings, our power, is that our thoughts are built up from the thoughts of others, and our thoughts will further inspire others to have new, but necessarily derivative, thought.

We know from developmental psychology that were it not for a massive influx of ideas received from others when we are young you would be physically incapable of anything approaching the kinds of thought we are discussing. Only by learning from others do the mental pathways that enable thought come into being. Thus every thought you have you owe to someone else.

Human beings learn, and communicate what we've learned, and others build on what is communicated to learn more, and so on. That's our power. That's why we rule the earth. Because we can share knowledge. Newton, perhaps one of the most qualified to claim original thought for himself, was wise enough to understand that he only had great thoughts because of the great thoughts of those before him. Then again, he was a genius.

To eliminate confusion... (1)

Tarlus (1000874) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710223)

Just an FYI, it would be better to spell out 'Intellectual Property' and not use the IP acronym since "IP" more commonly means a much different thing to the /. community.

:)

Not anymore (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16710307)

These days, /. is all about politics and patents, GPL and iPod...

Re:Not anymore (1)

DaveM753 (844913) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710369)

You're right...When the author said "IP", I thought the reference was to iPod. ;-)

Re:To eliminate confusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16710837)

since "IP" more commonly means a much different thing to the /. community.

I thought the same thing, but I gave up on getting people to spell it out, and am now looking for an ISP that supports X.25

Re:To eliminate confusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16711315)

yeap... IP sounds a lot like I Pee...

Re:To eliminate confusion... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16711465)

What?! Protocol laws?!11oneone

Re:To eliminate confusion... (1)

JasonTik (872158) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712737)

IP Law, however, makes sense only in the context of Intellectual Property, not Internet Protocol, or, as another replier commented, iPods.

Irony (3, Funny)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710227)

Does anybody else find it vaguely ironic that the report itself, with its "public first-private second" model costs £9.95?

Re:Irony (1)

Nemetroid (883968) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710331)

No, i find it terribly ironic.

Re:Irony (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710413)

This is British understatement. They did not want to occupy the first rank.

CC.

Re:Irony (1)

MichaelSmith (789609) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710473)

Does anybody else find it vaguely ironic that the report itself, with its "public first-private second" model costs £9.95?

It would if the purchaser had to agree not to talk about it to anybody who had not also bought the report. As it stands the £9.95 is first sale.

And while you're at it (1)

bersl2 (689221) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710247)

How about telling WIPO to go shove it and reducing copyright terms so that people might see the elements of their culture enter the public domain during their lifetimes?

Re:And while you're at it (2, Insightful)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710865)

Doesn't matter. Even if Copyright went back to the 14 years plus a 14 year extension people will still flagrantly violate copyright. Why? because they want to distribute the latest music and movies via P2P, not stuff from 1992 or 1978 if they want to play it safe. Not only that but they would have to determine is something is still protected between the 1978-1992 time period and that requires effort. When you realize this is simply about getting shit for free you'll finally understand the anti-copyright movement.

Re:And while you're at it (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711281)

When you realize this is simply about getting shit for free you'll finally understand the anti-copyright movement.

I'm sure for some people, it really is only about getting shit for free, but that's a stupid generalization. You might as well say "when you realize this is simply about creating one good thing and milking it for the rest of your life you'll finally understand the pro-copyright movement" - also arguably true of some copyright supporters, but not the majority.

There are plenty of people, including myself, who just believe copyright boils down to letting one person veto another's speech on the basis that he'd prefer to sell that speech himself (or alternately, that since he uttered it first, he has some moral right to decide who may or may not utter it later), and that that isn't a legitimate reason to restrict speech.

Re:And while you're at it (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711679)

HOW MANY FUCKING TIMES MUST I REPEAT THIS ON SLASHDOT BEFORE IT FINALYL SINKS IN?!?!?!?!?!?! YOU CANNOT LOCK IDEAS UP WITH COPYIRGHT!!!! If you want to write a book about a little boy who goes to wizarding school, goright ahead. Just don't name your little boy Harry Potter and call the School Hogwart's. Our society benefits far greater from the breadth of ideas being expressed then the same idea being expressed by different people over and over ad nauseum. Come up with your own ideas and write a book about them, scult them, paint them, photograph them, write a song about them, whatever.

Re:And while you're at it (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712059)

He didn't even say 'ideas.' He said 'speech,' and he's right. There's nothing wrong with repeating verbatim what someone else has said, and it's just as valuable to preserve and disseminate existing expressions as it is to create new ones. Copyright as a restriction on speech is acceptable if it provides a greater benefit than the harm it causes, but not otherwise.

I know all about the idea/expression dichotomy, but you forget about the rent-seeking behavior of copyright holders. They frequently try to expand their monopoly beyond appropriate bounds, and sometimes they get away with it, or at least manage a chilling effect.

Re:And while you're at it (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711803)

You miss the point of reducing copyright's lifespan, which is to allow people to freely enjoy stuff once it has been <subjective>fairly</subjective> exploited by its creator. Once they've made their cut selling something, they should lose the copyright so that the information can provide a greater good than it does if it is locked away. Anyone that argues that reduced copyright will harm the economy is merely asking for us to ignore the overvalued, bubble-like falseness of our current information economy. Eventually that bubble will pop, and all of these information production industries will become service oriented, ie. people selling labour rather than products of labour. IP laws are only prolonging the bubble, both directly, and by enforcing the flawed paradigm of idea as concrete property. There are many who can't wrap their heads around the free software model, and yet at the same time, free software exists and is flourishing, regardless of whether it is well understood why anyone would bother to create it without locking it up and exploiting it. Is there any reason why the free software model cannot succeed with ideas, music, movies, and other copyrighted content? Unless there is one, it's only a matter of time before other types of information start to become freely available in large, useful quantities.

Re:And while you're at it (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711985)

You miss the point of reducing copyright's lifespan, which is to allow people to freely enjoy stuff ...
The point of copyright having any end whatsoever is so that works get added to the public domain to be remixed/reimagined by the next artist.
The public "freely enjoying" is only a distant second to ensuring that the next generation of artists has something to work with.

Is there any reason why the free software model cannot succeed with ideas, music, movies, and other copyrighted content?
That is entirely the point of the commons: By making more art a public good, it decreases the difficulty of an artist to express themselves; they can add and expand and create something new for the public to enjoy.

I think you're bang on: what F/OSS does for software, a copyright-less world can do for artists (not publishers, mind you, but I'm having a difficult time finding any use for art publishers these days...)

Re:And while you're at it (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712257)

The point of copyright having any end whatsoever is so that works get added to the public domain to be remixed/reimagined by the next artist. The public "freely enjoying" is only a distant second to ensuring that the next generation of artists has something to work with.
I don't see how this remixing/reworking/whatever is not included in the broad definition of the public freely enjoying previous works. Artists, businesses, they are all members of the public, and public domain includes all of them. In any case, my point was that the public benefits, rather than having the content locked away. An example of something that copyright stifles is the use of contemporary music with rhythmic patterns of steps or strums in games like DDR and Guitar hero.

Re:And while you're at it (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712547)

I don't see how this remixing/reworking/whatever is not included in the broad definition of the public freely enjoying previous works.
Yeah, I don't think our opinions differ in any great way. But I guess for me the distinction is important to make: afterall, if a CD is available on the store shelf for $20 then I buy it and I can enjoy it.
But as long as the copyright exists on that CD I can't remix and re-interpret that art without negotiation with the rights-holder.

So what is (to me) important is that creative people have a commons of art to inspire the next generation, and they can work with it...so while even with copyright-forever, the public-at-large is able to enjoy the works they buy, the more specific segment of the public (artists) need more than passive access to that art that the general public needs/gets.

I guess what I also didn't make clear in my initial post was that whenever I read someone posting that art needs to be 'free' I'm afraid that they are just going to get bashed as freeloaders etc., but the argument for this 'free' isn't about the public directly, it's about the artists directly, and this is what makes it better for society. ...just my own personal view on this, and like I said; I don't think we see this very differently.

Re:And while you're at it (1)

Simon80 (874052) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712779)

Yep, I didn't mean to imply that I disagreed with you, it's really all about the ability to use the material for everything that isn't just spinning a CD. The same applies to free software. People may try to argue that your average person doesn't want or need to be able to modify code that they run, but that's not the point, the point is that with that freedom, someone can port quake 3 to your PDA and you can benefit, geek or not. Sad how much further we need to go before such things are widely recognized (so it seems to me).

Re:And while you're at it (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712005)

Well, there's nothing whatsoever wrong with wanting to get things for free. That's simple greed, and greed is the same motive that we appeal to authors with when we offer them a copyright. The copyright itself isn't an incentive, it's the money that can be had by exploiting the copyright that is. Furthermore, copyright is meant to satiate the public greed, rather than to aid artists at public expense. It just takes a long view of things, is all, and is meant to provide a much greater public benefit after a time than a smaller public benefit immediately.

So I wouldn't be so quick to condemn greed. It's at the heart of copyright and is shared by all the parties.

Even if Copyright went back to the 14 years plus a 14 year extension people will still flagrantly violate copyright.

I agree (assuming no changes to the law other than the term length), which tells us two things:

First, that 14+14 might still be too long of a term. We need to consider shorter terms, more than one renewal term, terms of differing lengths for different kinds of works, etc. We need to base the lengths not on historical lengths or what sounds good, but on economic studies that measure just how much of an incentivizing effect different term lengths have on authors, with an eye toward having the shortest term that yields the greatest public benefit.

Second, and more importantly, that we need to consider changing more about copyright law than just the term length. We need to consider the scope. We need to consider whether certain kinds of works should be copyrightable at all (e.g. architectural works do not need copyrights as an incentive, but currently are copyrightable for no good reason), what rights copyright should consist of, what exeptions to copyright should exist, what the process and conditions should be for getting a copyright, who should get copyrights, what sort of remedies should exist for infringement, etc.

For example, you say that even with short terms, people will still infringe a lot. What if we made some of their infringing behavior noninfringing. For example, what if noncommercial acts by natural persons were never infringing, no matter what they were? While this would reduce the amount of incentive that copyrights can provide, would the greater freedom for the public nevertheless be worth the potentially reduced amount of creation that would result. If it would be worth it -- that is, if an increase of one kind of public benefit would make up for a reduction of a different kind of public benefit -- then it is silly to not implement this, since that's the only metric for whether a copyright system is good or bad.

Re:And while you're at it (1)

Digital Vomit (891734) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712519)

When you realize this is simply about getting shit for free you'll finally understand the anti-copyright movement.

How did this garbage get modded up as insightful?

Meaning what? (2, Insightful)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710375)

What does it mean for something to be public first, and "only secondarily as an asset"? The executive summary [ippr.org.uk] calls for "Assisting small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and individual creators to better utilise the IP system, by creating cheaper routes to enforcing IP rights" and also "Providing better legal protection to ensure that consumers ... can pursue non-commercial objectives without fear of recrimination."

Those sound at odds to me. The record labels/movie studios don't care that you're not making a profit by distributing their music/movies P2P. They care that a whole bunch of people have it but didn't buy it, and that they're not making a profit. Do they get to enforce their IP rights or don't they?

If you tell them that it's now completely legal to distribute their content as long as it's "non-commercial", that dramatically changes their entire business. Fine with me, but don't try to tell me that it's not anti-business. New businesses will spring up, and we may well all be better off for it, but you're legally killing off the old ones or forcing them to completely alter their models.

You can't have your cake and eat it too on this one. Either I own the distribution rights, or I don't; telling me that my distribution rights come second is as good as saying I don't have them. Feel free to tell the RIAA/MPAA where to stuff themselves, but don't piss on their heads and tell yourself it's raining on them.

Re:Meaning what? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710591)

but you're legally killing off the old ones or forcing them to completely alter their models

There is a thing called "change management [wikipedia.org] ". Let them do their homework.

CC.

Re:Meaning what? (1)

abe ferlman (205607) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710885)

"Those sound at odds to me. The record labels/movie studios don't care that you're not making a profit by distributing their music/movies P2P. They care that a whole bunch of people have it but didn't buy it, and that they're not making a profit. Do they get to enforce their IP rights or don't they?"

I'm glad you posted this. This is an entitlement, and it's precisely the problem. Owning a patent or copyright currently entitles you to sit on your butt while other people do work and you get to collect money. In a sensible system, people who create knowledge/media would be paid what their creation skills are worth in the marketplace. After all, even without patent/copyright protection, people would still need inventions and want music; we'd just let the market assign the costs rationally.

Re:Meaning what? (1)

dash2 (155223) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711569)

Wikipedia:Public good [wikipedia.org]

Re:Meaning what? (1)

jfengel (409917) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712735)

I'm not sure how to value costs of creation in a world without the artificial scarcity that distribution used to provide. A record that goes gold is presumably "worth" millions of dollars, in that under the old scheme people were willing to pay $10-$10 for a million copies to own a physical printing of it. No matter how the means of distribution change, that was the fair market value for that song since that's what people were willing to pay. It may actually have been worth more; perhaps they'd have sold 20% more copies for 10% less. But it's worth at least that much.

Without IP enforcement, it's difficult to extract that price for the song, because once it reaches a copyable medium, there's no reason for anybody to pay anything at all for it. The artist can probably make money in other ways, but the value of the recording itself has gone to essentially zero. It's worth whatever you can get somebody to pay you for that first copy, or what you can get for performing live.

Many artists would create for no pay whatsoever, and will continue to do so. Without the IP encouraging big businesses to over-promote certain artists, those others may have a bigger slice of people's attention, if not their dollars.

I can't quantify how many talented artists will pursue other tasks because there's no hope of getting rich off of it, or even of finding enormous audiences without the backing of a major label hoping to get rich off of them. It would be ludicrous to claim that art will be seriously damaged by this, and it might even be helped.

But I wouldn't completely denigrate those who make a living off of copyrights these days. Owning the copyright on a song may be free money, but composing and recording it requires years of training. Years they put in with the idea of getting rich off of them, and for which the market demonstrates that there is considerable money to be spent.

Not zero-sum: copyright benefits the public good (2, Insightful)

Geof (153857) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710897)

If you believe that copyrights, patents, and so forth encourage the creation of new works, then you must also believe they serve the public good. So placing the public good first and business second doesn't mean IP will go away. It means designing those laws so that the optimize the public good, rather than maximizing profits.

This is not necessarily bad for business. Maximizing the public good aspect of information benefits everyone. Reducing the costs of information benefits businesses who rely on it as an economic input. If more business benefits from reduced costs of information, this will result in a net gain. Yochai Benkler argues that even among businesses dependent on the creation of IP, very few rely primarily on IP protections to make their money. When you consider all the businesses who depend on information as an input but don't make a profit from it, this approach could end up being very pro-business.

Maximizing direct profits from IP, on the other hand, is a terrible idea. The best way to maximize profits is to create a monopoly and use price discrimination to charge the maximum the market will bear. When the monopoly of copyright is extended over derivative activity, this goes way off the rails. Google indexes my book? Well then, I should make some money! How much money? I'm a monopolist, so I only have to leave Google the minimum to make it worth their while; I can take all the rest (and I don't even have to do any work). This works like the market in reverse: it maximizes prices. It's like charging the storage place that sets up shop next to the U-Haul because it's benefiting from U-Haul's customers.

As for non-commercial copying, copyright used to be aimed at publishers, not private use. The recording industry's business model is relatively recent; the reliance of the movie industry on sales to consumers only came about over the past couple of decades. The current situation, in which individuals are sued for private copying, is the radical innovation. Without it, the change to their business is traceable to technology - and the other businesses who created it - not some sort of policy intervention.

Re:Not zero-sum: copyright benefits the public goo (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712245)

If you believe that copyrights, patents, and so forth encourage the creation of new works, then you must also believe they serve the public good.

No. There's more to the public good than encouraging the creation of original works. There's also encouraging the creation of derivative works, and having the most freedom with regard to works, soonest. It's entirely possible, when you consider all the different kinds of public good, that merely encouraging more works to be created still harms the public more than it helps.

Still, I agree that it's entirely possible to have copyright and patent laws that place the public interest first, and that in fact, those are the only kinds of copyright and patent laws that we ought to have. While they might alter the landscape for the industries in the field, I'm sure that there will be plenty of opportunities for them still, in part because to the extent that it is in the public interest to help those industries, it makes sense to, and we should. But only to the extent that it's good for everyone, and not just some manner of subsidy that has a net harm for the public.

Re:Meaning what? (1)

rHBa (976986) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712413)

I agree with jfengel but I would add that diferentiating between commercial and non-commercial distrubution would still be important as it would provide a tool to help shut down any organised crime that may be involved in counterfit DVD distribution.

What's the difference? (1)

sonicattack (554038) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710381)

How can a public resource not be an asset?

What's the difference? Really?

Re:What's the difference? (1)

foobsr (693224) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710713)

How can a public resource not be an asset?

This is obvious, as there is no shareholders value. The public is not authorized to gain from resources. </cynical>

CC.

Re:What's the difference? (1)

serialdogma (883470) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711919)

A public resource, is for use of the public; such as a park.
An asset is for the use of private organization; such as the Googleplex.

... good idea, that's why it'll never fly (1)

Lead Butthead (321013) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710385)

Good idea, that's why it'll never fly. There are too much money tied to 'intellectual property.' Too much money and power at stake, groups with vested interest will see to it that it meets an undeserving end.

Re:... good idea, that's why it'll never fly (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711155)

Well, lots of important people with too much money have been beheaded in Europe in years gone by. It can happen again. Never say never...

Anti-human attitude. (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710409)

I think the idea that knowledge should be locked up, that you should not be allowed to know something and to then share that knowledge, to be an anti-human attitude. The ability to communicate complex ideas, sharing knowledge, and then expanding on it, is the foundation for human existence.

So is treating information as a public resource first anti-business? Um, maybe, if they can only conceive of information as commodity, but I don't care. More importantly, treating information as a public resource is pro-human, accepting that the natural status of information is that it can be shared freely without it being lost to the sharer. If, after acknowledging this, we wish to add on what are necessarily artifical regulations which prevent information from being shared freely, then so be it. But it should always be seen as what it is: an artificial restriction, given for a specific purpose, on top of the natural unrestricted state.

It is not copyright or other IP law that is the problem. Not inherently, at least. The base problem, the cause that results in the laws becoming a problem, is the mentality that information is something to be owned first, and only if nobody wants to own it should it then be public. The right mentality is to view information as an infinitely shareable resource that we allow, in some select circumstances and for limited times, to be "owned" as long as it benefits society at large.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710719)

Nah, fucking the most hot chicks is the foundation of human existence. That we have gotten to the point of arguing about how to handle sharing of abstract ideas is nothing short of astounding.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710817)

Nah, fucking the most hot chicks is the foundation of human existence. That we have gotten to the point of arguing about how to handle sharing of abstract ideas is nothing short of astounding.

That's the foundation of every animal's existence (details of mating behaviors of every animal intentionally glossed over). It's the sharing of ideas that makes us different.

By the way, arguing about how to handle sharing of abstract ideas necessarily involves the sharing of abstract ideas, thus as part of the process revealing the most natural way to handle it.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710973)

It's the sharing of ideas that makes us different.

No, it's language that makes us different. Sharing of ideas is a consequence of language.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711033)

Well on the one hand I agree with you, but on the other hand language is a shared idea, so causality is not so easily stated.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711537)

Well on the one hand I agree with you, but on the other hand language is a shared idea, so causality is not so easily stated.

Actually the ability for language is genetic. The ability to form a sentence is genetic. You don't have to teach kids language, they learn it even if no-one teaches them. A group of deaf and dumb kids who were never exposed to any form of language created their own form of language. So, language is more genetic than an idea.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711091)

OK, but the sharing ideas is more or less the foundation of culture, not the species. I'm pretty sure that humans could exist without culture, until they developed it anyway.

Natural is a pretty loaded word to be using. Natural in what context, etc. At the moment, if I have a momentous idea, given that we have a patent system, the most natural thing for me to do is patent it and try to profit from it. Perhaps it isn't the ideal thing to do, but I am pretty sure it is the most natural.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711143)

OK, but the sharing ideas is more or less the foundation of culture, not the species. I'm pretty sure that humans could exist without culture, until they developed it anyway.

Without culture and accumulated knowledge, we'd be just another species of primate.

Natural is a pretty loaded word to be using. Natural in what context, etc. At the moment, if I have a momentous idea, given that we have a patent system, the most natural thing for me to do is patent it and try to profit from it. Perhaps it isn't the ideal thing to do, but I am pretty sure it is the most natural.

In the context you are using it, "natural" would mean "rational".

I mean "natural" as in "as it would be without artificial limitations", or "as it is in nature". Patent laws, like all human laws, are an artificial restriction that exists only due to mutual agreement by a bunch of humans living in a society.

Before laws like that existed, before law existed, if you told me something, I could tell anyone else, and so on. This is what I mean by "natural" -- the way something works unless you decide to limit yourself. The natural state of information is that it can be shared. You must go to great lengths, in fact, to prevent it from being shared.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711217)

We are just another species of primate. Some of the stuff we do is pretty neat, but me eat banana.

I'm not really convinced that the mutual agreement of a bunch of humans living in a society is any less natural(more artificial, whatever) than the distance of the earth from the sun or the freezing point of water. That was my point, how do we know that what we do is anything other than natural, in the comes-from-nature way.

Intellectual property was originally designed to encourage sharing, not to restrict it. Perhaps because the default action was not to share, out of paranoia.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711471)

We are just another species of primate. Some of the stuff we do is pretty neat, but me eat banana.

No, we aren't just another species of primate. Sure, we're animals, but we are also the animal whose works can be seen from space, and who has been to space in order to see them. As a direct result of the sharing of ideas.

That was my point, how do we know that what we do is anything other than natural, in the comes-from-nature way.

Because it was working that way until we agreed to change it, and we have to actively maintain the state of non-sharability. This isn't about what we do, this is about the information. The natural state of information is that it is shareable. Only by agreeing not to share it, and by prosecuting those who don't abide by this artificial rule, do we change this natural state.

Intellectual property was originally designed to encourage sharing, not to restrict it. Perhaps because the default action was not to share, out of paranoia.

You might chose not to share. However if you do chose to share, then those you share with are also capable of making the choice to share or not share. The whole point of IP law is to prohibit what other's do with information after you have shared it with them.

The mechanism by which intellectually property is intended to encourage sharing is fine. My whole point is that we must see this as what it is: an artificial mechanism that inhibits information's natural state. Information-as-property should not be seen as the default, natural state of information, because it isn't. If we mutually agree to allow information to be owned, that's fine, but the fact is that it is an agreement, not a right.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711747)

If I think something up and choose not to share it, it is, on some level anyway, my property. My thinking of it doesn't prevent anyone else from thinking of it, but until that happens, there is no(substantial?) difference between my thought and actual property.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712329)

Well, there is a difference, in that your idea is basically irrelevant since it's being kept to yourself. Property is capable of being lent, returned on demand, or transferred. Since you can't do those with an unshared idea, it's not property. Patent and copyright law is concerned with what happens once sharing commences.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

dwandy (907337) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712065)

does anyone else find it ironic that for 99% of all human history, the exchange of information had natural barriers (time, distance, geography, small populations that didn't move much etc)
And this difficulty in exchange of information is what held humans back from progressing (and still does: look at countries that repress knowledge transfer). In other words, as the rate of information exchange increases, the rate of advancement also increases.

So we finally eliminate these natural barriers, and we get ourselves into a situation where information can be transmitted nearly instantly to all the corners of the globe, which should create an environment of explosive advancement, and instead of embracing the possibilites we fabricate unnatural barriers... wah?!

Re:Anti-human attitude. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16712209)

My whole point is that we must see this as what it is: an artificial mechanism that inhibits information's natural state. Information-as-property should not be seen as the default, natural state of information, because it isn't. If we mutually agree to allow information to be owned, that's fine, but the fact is that it is an agreement, not a right.

I agree with you, but physical property is absolutely unnatural too. The natural state of affairs is that anyone can go wherever they like, take anything they like from anyone else who's weaker than they are, expect anything they have to be taken from them at any moment, etc. The whole point of the state is to take us out of the utterly dismal state of nature.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

mochan_s (536939) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710957)

Complex to us, humans maybe but probably not that complex.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711141)

I think you might need to explain a little more, as I have no idea what you are getting at. Or did you post to the wrong thread?

Re:Anti-human attitude. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16711037)

Cease and desist immediately! Bagging the most hot chicks was an original copyrighted idea by me in high school in 1987. You have violated my intellectual property rights and will be hearing from my lawyer post haste. In the interim, you are neither encouraged nor allowed to continue lusting after any hot chicks as that may necessarily result in their banging by you or an affiliated party that is not me.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710789)

Copyright laws do NOT lock up knowledge, they grant the creator specific rights to the expression of an idea in a fixed medium for a limited time, not brief, limited. Quit spreading FUD that knowledge is being locked up forever. It's bullshit and you know it (or you do now).

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710917)

Copyright laws do NOT lock up knowledge, they grant the creator specific rights to the expression of an idea in a fixed medium for a limited time, not brief, limited. Quit spreading FUD that knowledge is being locked up forever. It's bullshit and you know it (or you do now).

So, you don't think that there is knowledge contained in expression, beyond the idea expressed? I'd say there's a lot of knowledge locked up in the expression, otherwise the exercise of creating a specific expression of knowledge would be meaningless and we wouldn't have degree programs that teach one how to do it, and we wouldn't study the works of authors for the sole purpose of studying not the conveyed idea, but how it is expressed. Copyright law keeps me from sharing that expression, and thus from conveying the knowledge contained therein.

As far as it being locked up forever, as a practical matter it is. As long as copyright is extended every time the copyright on a certain existing work threatens to expire, then it is infinite.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711255)

Copyright only prevents non originators from wanton sharing; you are free to loan a book or movie to a friend.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

Mr2001 (90979) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711311)

Loaning isn't exactly sharing. When you share knowledge with someone, he has it forever, and you don't lose it: he gets a copy of your knowledge. When you loan him a DVD, he only has it until you ask for it back, and during that time you don't have it: you're moving it from one place to another.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711391)

Is that really a useful distinction? Libraries only ever loan books, but they have a pretty share-like effect.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711657)

Copyright only prevents non originators from wanton sharing; you are free to loan a book or movie to a friend.

Well, it only prevents distribution, and passing around a single copy isn't distribution. So yeah, you can loan, and that's a good thing. Copyright law in the U.S. is actually a pretty reasonable tradeoff, at least before the Sony Bono Never Let Micky Free infinite extensions regime began, and until the DMCA criminalized things like loaning if the copyright holder didn't want you to. Roll back the changes to the original copyright terms, and roll back most of the DMCA provisions, and I think copyright law is pretty good.

Patent law's problems have as much to do with the USPO as the actual law, though I also think software patents should not be allowed on the basis that they are patents on math.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (2, Informative)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712317)

Well, it only prevents distribution, and passing around a single copy isn't distribution.

Actually, it is. But there's an exception that permits it -- for certain copies, to certain degrees, anyway.

Copyright law in the U.S. is actually a pretty reasonable tradeoff, at least before the Sony Bono Never Let Micky Free infinite extensions regime began, and until the DMCA criminalized things like loaning if the copyright holder didn't want you to.

No, I'd say that the last time it was good was in the 19th century, and it stopped even being decent with the 1976 Copyright Act. But it's always been worth improving.

though I also think software patents should not be allowed on the basis that they are patents on math.

I disagree. I think that the reason to disallow software patents and business method patents is because we don't need to incentivize inventors in those fields; natural incentives are already sufficient, and patents seem to be disincentivizing invention in those fields, in fact. Would Amazon have not developed one click shopping if it couldn't get a patent on it? Of course not; it would have developed it anyway. So no patent was needed. Maybe someday those fields will change, and patents will be needed, but not anytime soon.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711653)

I have MFA in graphic design, arguably one of the most expressive degrees one can pursue (and still make money) and I never learned one "specific expression", I learned how to express ideas in new and unique ways. I learned by observing other works that are protected by copyright but I'v enever found any value in using their expressions to formulate my own expression. Sure, I might was a type technique or illustration style (brightly colored icons like Windows XP or Firefox for instance) but in a wholly unique way and the technique or style itself isn't protcted by copyright. Perhaps you're just not in a creative career field and don't understand copyright from the right pespective?

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

maxume (22995) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711827)

What constitutes a 'creative' career field? Does an MFA make a person more expressive than Stephen King(a lowly teacher) or Michael Crichton(just a Doc)? Is there any expression contained in a building or a bridge or a car? How about in an elegant piece of software or even more simply, an algorithm? Of course there is. And don't go off about King and Crichton being 'low' art, their accessibility is an important component of their expression.

Re:Anti-human attitude. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712273)

Meh. I'm not only a copyright lawyer, but I also used to make my living as a graphic designer. I think that you don't ascribe enough value to expressions, as apart from ideas. The plot of Romeo and Juliet predates Shakespeare, but I think the world would be poorer if his particular expression had been lost. A monopoly on a given expression of an idea is better than if it were for the idea itself, but it's still not a good thing in itself, and we should avoid having monopolies on specific expressions unless there is some public good that comes from them that outweighs the harm they inherently inflict on the public.

Wow (1)

Life700MB (930032) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710471)


There have to be a lot of these so-called "think tanks" there in UK, is was just about two days that... another... think tank proposed something very similar. More info, on slashdot [slashdot.org] .

Exactly twice the info!

--
Superb hosting [tinyurl.com] 200GB Storage, 2TB bandwidth, php, mysql, ssh, $7.95

Suggestion for tags (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710599)

Let us tag a dupe a dupe and link to the orig. [slashdot.org]

Re:Suggestion for tags (1)

Nicolay77 (258497) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711605)

Then another tag would be "nottheoriginal". I find that more useful than "dupe".

Foundations (1)

muramic (1022463) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710635)

This is at the root of humanity...

Whoops, that's backwards! (1)

davecb (6526) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710901)

It's a public good first, that to, as the Americans say "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts", is made into a commodity for a limited time.

To suggest it is a commodity or private good by nature is to fall into the same trap as to say a Crown or Constitutional grant of privilege is "intellectual property".
--dave

Not gonna happen... (1)

kcbrown (7426) | more than 7 years ago | (#16710951)

it recommends that the UK move from a model where knowledge is 'an asset first and a public resource second' to one where knowledge is primarily a public resource and secondarily an asset.

There are far too many well-financed players that want things to at least stay the same, if not move towards a model where knowledge is treated even more like an asset than it already is, for a move in the opposite direction to ever get off the ground pretty much anywhere in the world. The entities in question are multinational, extremely rich and powerful, and have no interest in the common good.

Those who make and enforce laws pay much more attention to those people than they do to the needs of society as a whole. It's why there's been such a big shift in the direction of fascism in recent years. Fascism == corporate-friendly government.

So I'd bet that this is a total non-starter and will be summarily ignored by anyone with any real ability to change things.

Good to see someone restating the obvious -- (1)

siddesu (698447) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711089)

there is no, and there has never been such a thing as "intellectual property". There is a deal between the society at large, and some of its members, by virtue of which deal some are granted _temporary_ and _limited_ monopoly on some of their ideas, because the society views such monopoly as beneficial to its development. The keywords here, by which the concept should be judged are temporary, limited, and beneficial to the society.

What is happening (and has been happening for a while) is a concerted, well-funded effort on the part of a few large companies and their "IP" lawyers to subvert this deal via lobbying (bribing) politicians to pass laws that turn the deal on its head to the detriment of the society at large.

The only reason why the copyright holders are fighting for this is to perpetuate returns from old ideas. There is no other reason to perpetually extend the copyright terms.

The only reason they have been able to excel at this is that the political system is stacked against the large disorganized majority in favour of small, but well-funded groups -- and that the politicians haven't been doing their job well, following the money instead of following the public interest.

The only way to make them follow the public interest is to demand it from them at election time.

"intellectual property" is an oxymoron (1)

Joseph_Daniel_Zukige (807773) | more than 7 years ago | (#16711235)

Doesn't change, no matter how many lawyers start jabbering away at it.

Thoughts can't be owned.

People who misunderstand this fact seem to be at the base of all the worst abuses, both in macro an micro society. But you can't get into my head and I can't get into yours. You will think what you will, I will think what I will. (And you will think what you will about what you think I think you think I think you think ... . ;-) Attempts to restrict other people's thoughts are at best exercises in self-frustration. If you think you want to control what someone else is thinking and doing, look to yourself first. Are you even controlling your own thoughts and acts?

What we call intellectual property is actually a claim on certain social artifacts, ergo market segments, etc. And since both the UK and the US are supposed to have given up patronage, giving a claim on a piece of the market anything close to a permanent status runs awfully close to treason.

Re:"intellectual property" is an oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16711359)

Thoughts can't be owned.

Thoughts CAN be owned, just look at marketing and China.

Re:"intellectual property" is an oxymoron (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16712193)

No, that's 'controlled'. There's a difference.

Changing IP law? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#16711547)

You can have 127.0.0.1 when you pry it out of my cold, dead hands!

Phew! (1)

Shadyman (939863) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712331)

For a second there, I thought they were going to go higher than 255!

UK turns out some of the most bright people... (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 7 years ago | (#16712669)

I'm not surprised, the culture in the UK is pretty superior to what you find in the US. Less religious, more rational, etc, more immune to capitalist propaganda that you find in the states and their easy manipulation of their people.
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