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Cory Doctorow Says DIY Licensing Will Solve Piracy

samzenpus posted more than 5 years ago | from the well-that-was-easy dept.

The Internet 189

An anonymous reader writes "The founding editor of Boing Boing, Cory Doctorow, has written a report about 'do-it-yourself' digital licensing, which he's touting as the panacea for piracy. Doctorow's solution for content creators is two-fold: get a Creative Commons license and append some basic text requiring those who re-use your work to pay you a percentage of their gross income. Doctorow refers to this as the middle ground between simply acquiring a Creative Commons license and hiring expensive lawyers for negotiations. He calls do-it-yourself licensing 'cheap and easy licensing that would turn yesterday's pirates into tomorrow's partners.'"

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BRILLIANT IDEA (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949533)

If I have to pay 27% (standard royalty rate) of my gross income on the product as royalties when I make...NOTHING, I have to pay...NOTHING.

Brilliant. Everybody's a business partner.

Re:BRILLIANT IDEA (5, Insightful)

mftb (1522365) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949575)

CC is all about free sharing. Personally, I have no objection to people using my music in free projects. I do, however, have an objection to people using it to make money without cutting me in.

Re:BRILLIANT IDEA (5, Insightful)

twisteddk (201366) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949843)

I have to agree. Current copyright laws dont work, because they do not allow "fair use". In fact licensing and patenting is getting to a point where the social benefits are not weighed in and thus otherwise profitable and usefull tools are distributed illegally.

However, the proposal will work fine for components, patents and such. But would be disasterous for coplete products, and would require a fair-use or even free-use model to follow it.

As someone else already pointed out, there are a ton of piriates out there who pirate to make money, and another ton who just "make a copy for the car", or even those who "make a copy for their friends". In either case the complete replication of a work is so simple that the recipient has no intrest in purchasing the original work, because the copy is "perfect", in that it's digital.
Some countries are already starting to deal with this issue by giving out licenses for "unlimited use" of example music, while you pay a monthly fee, this fee makes you able to download pretty much any piece of music and use for any non-commercial use you want. Same thing goes for videos and books. For years you have been able to get them at the local library as often as you wanted, basically for free.

With these great distribution models, then where's the incentive to pirate ? In the exact business model that the distribution companies are employing. Libraries and ISPs have limits in their spending policies because of wear and tear on their products, aswell as the strain on their profits due to aquisitions. But once the product becomes digital, it's just a matter of time before a purchase will last lifetimes, given that they again are subject to a decent pricing.

You dont have to be a genious to know that the laws of supply and demand show that the higher the price, the lower the demand and vice versa. So in our day and age, you can actually distribute your products at a price close to free, if the user himself will create the physical object (CD, book, whatever) on his home printer. So with the significantly lower price on distribution, a lower prices can be charge for the product, and more people will "buy".
The business model suggested simply states that IF the user decides to make a little dough by turning the download into for instance a karaoke thing and selling it to his friends, then he should fork over a part of his profits. I can't think of ANY artist who would normally provide his work free of charge who would object to this business model.

Ofcourse that doesn't stop people from pirating against THIS model, or even the business from claiming they wont make money this way, but how's that different from today ?
It's different in one major aspect: People who contribute, and people who are not profiting from other peoples work are no longer criminalized. A 6-year old who just wants to hear the latest justin timberlake song, or the co-worker who hands his collegaue a DVD and says: "hey I recorded this from the late night show, you REALLY have to see it" will no longer get treated like the taiwaneese pirate who bootlegs 60 million DVDs a month and sells them on ebay. So IF the taiwaneese pirate is willing to fork over $5 pr DVD he sells, then presumably the licensee dont give a crap if it's buena vista home entertainment or hai-fats local DVD store that made the physical copy as long as they get their end of the business.

Even though the idea is not new, it is IMO a great way to legalize (and in a smaller way also to profit from) the "casual pirate", while offering the organized crime a way to become respectable, and at the same time holding the door open for the possibility of legal action.

Re:BRILLIANT IDEA (-1, Troll)

xp (146294) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950279)

Yeah. And when you steal my car make sure you let me drive it once every other week. Thanks.
--
Slow Poke [pair.com]

Re:BRILLIANT IDEA (2, Informative)

Futile Rhetoric (1105323) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950541)

YOU WOULDN'T DOWNLOAD A CAR.

Re:BRILLIANT IDEA (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27950413)

CC is all about free sharing. Personally, I have no objection to people using my music in free projects. I do, however, have an objection to people using it to make money without cutting me in.

It's not that simple. People might profit a lot without technically making money. If you make something (let's say an image good enough to be a work of art) and CC it and someone else uploads it in their ad-supported website... They don't technically earn anything from your image (at least nothing from which it would be easy to calculate royalties. And saying "pay 27% from whole site's ad revenue" would be stupid and just as unfair if someone just uploads the image once) but it helps them make money.

Or perhaps if he uses it as art (background, load screen, etc.) in a game he lets people download for free (isn't necessarily open source or anything like that). He doesn't directly earn money from the image but it might be part of something that helps him get higher wage jobs, investor funds, etc. and earn more with those. And what if the website from which people download the game has ads?

Those aren't all the possible cases and I am not saying that people even should be able to earn money in all those. I ask you not to nit pick about some single examples. Rather... What I am trying to say is that it is VERY difficult to divide stuff to "He profits so he should pay me 27%" and "He doesn't profit so he should pay me nothing".

Re:BRILLIANT IDEA (3, Insightful)

noundi (1044080) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950193)

Exactly, I mean come on. This is not exactly news, this is the same bullshit solution that has been around for decades. The problem is not the solution, and it's not bullshit by default. It becomes bullshit because the major corporates don't give a rats ass about you profiting or not. They seek to grab anything and everything. If possible they would even have you pay twice (Spore) for the same product. It's not about ideologies (CC, GPL, MPL), so don't try to shape it that way. It's about looking to grab every penny possible. The corporates are simply not looking for a solution, they are looking to nail everybody that ever copied anything. Thus it's a bullshit solution.

Paying pirates (5, Insightful)

BSAtHome (455370) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949547)

So, you want pirates to pay royalties. I always thought that pirates we pirates because they did not want to pay the royalties. What another license makes for a difference is beyond me. If they do not want to pay, they simply will remain pirates.

Re:Paying pirates (4, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949609)

When he says pirates, he means people out to make money using material they have no rights to reproduce otherwise. People who download and share things freely are completely without obligation.

I think most people are in agreement that it wouldn't catch on simply because there aren't enough teeth in it. For people to take things seriously these days, a gentleman's agreement isn't enough. We need blood, gore and violence before anything is taken seriously.

It's a "good idea" until you realize that it would be of no interest to media publishers who are the REAL people behind all this copyright mess in the first place. The plan here is to skip around these publishers by giving everyone non-exclusive rights to publish copyrighted works. So big publishers won't go for it. Little publishers might give it a go but the distribution won't be there and neither will the marketing muscle of the big establishment. And if big publishers have anything at all to do with it, it would be in trying to block it or stop it in some way.

Re:Paying pirates (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949869)

When he says pirates, he means people out to make money using material they have no rights to reproduce otherwise. People who download and share things freely are completely without obligation.

Piracy in the media form is a myth. Piracy in taking a ship and killing the people and stealing the cargo is piracy.

What is at issue here? Content? No. The content is available in many, many forms. From free over the air to renting the property for a period of time.

The content sucks. Not a value judgement on the quality of the programming, but a technical one. I've got about $3,000 invested in a TV and a blu-ray player, and I feel ripped off. I can't find 1080p content. Most movies I get from netflix use about 1/2 of the height of my 16x9 screen. I had to abandon cable because the quality was so poor. Actually, DVDs or free downloads of rips from DVDs are about the sweet spot for price/quality.

Until the people can figure out a way of distribution and quality content, I don't think lawsuits are a viable business model.

Last night, I watched a music DVD and it had pictures of the band's _album covers_. They were actually still worth looking at. That ended in the mid 80s with the advent of the CD. I have boxes and closets full of CDs that I've been giving away to people over the years because its not worth my time to hunt for them (they are all on harddisks now).

Bah, yet another /. article on this crap. I guess it won't change until it changes.

Re:Paying pirates (3, Informative)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950965)

Piracy in the media form is a myth.

Nice try - but the term 'piracy' has been associated with 'media' for nearly two centuries.

Re:Paying pirates (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949893)

Little publishers might give it a go but the distribution won't be there and neither will the marketing muscle of the big establishment.

Sublime got their first commercial album exposure through IUMA... but whatever.

Also, I am too lazy to go look it up, but bands without album sales have got songs into the top ten since the rules were changed to permit it... perhaps that was a UK story? So your complaints about distribution and advertising are just battered customer syndrome. Neither artists nor listeners need major labels. Or, in fact, labels.

Re:Paying pirates (1, Funny)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950025)

Neither artists nor listeners need major labels. Or, in fact, labels.

<oblivious>
But if an album doesn't have a label, how do you know what songs are on it?
</oblivious>

Re:Paying pirates (3, Insightful)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949957)

Besides, the "percentage of the income they make from it" would essentially be a free license for anyone to reproduce the work as much as they want without any restrictions, as long as they don't do it for profit. "Hey, post our whole feature film or piece of software to Youtube or anywhere else, just as long as you offer it for free!" would go over like a lead zeppelin with just about any content producer.

I like Doctorow's science fiction. But he's really beyond the pale on this one. Even a science fiction writer shouldn't be THAT far removed from reality.

Re:Paying pirates (2, Funny)

mad flyer (589291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950147)

Doctorow is somekind of Paris Hilton for the geeks.

He had his 15 minutes of fame. And now you continue to see him babling around like if he was to be listened like a wyse oracle of some kind.

He should do like the real one, stick to infrared war-in-the-gulf style porn tapes, product launch for crappy perfumes or the new equally crappy Audi of the week.

Re:Paying pirates (4, Insightful)

Rary (566291) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950409)

Besides, the "percentage of the income they make from it" would essentially be a free license for anyone to reproduce the work as much as they want without any restrictions, as long as they don't do it for profit.

That's exactly the point. CC is intended for content creators who actually want their content to spread around. The problem that Doctorow is addressing is the hesitation that some people have to going with a CC license because they don't want people taking advantage of it to profit off the work without cutting the content creator in on the deal.

This solution is not intended for the major Hollywood studios. This is intended for the content creators who want to reside in the middle ground between absolute free-for-all and totally restricted licensing — and avoid having to hire a lawyer.

Re:Paying pirates (0, Redundant)

nomadic (141991) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950187)

When he says pirates, he means people out to make money using material they have no rights to reproduce otherwise.

In other words, a tiny, tiny, tiny percentage of pirates.

Re:Paying pirates (1, Insightful)

colmore (56499) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950433)

If I was a manufacturer of, say, illegal DVDs, and I saw some Creative Commons License with a little addendum on it, I would immediately think to myself: "OK, cool, this guy can't afford even four or five hours of a lawyer's time."

If pirates aren't going to pony up for licenses composed by corporate firms that are very capable of bringing suit, why are they going to respond to "pay me, please?"

Re:Paying pirates (2, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949657)

Cory is projecting the ethics of his readers onto the rest of the piratsphere. It's a charming notion, but not very useful in the real world.

Re:Paying pirates (4, Funny)

smallfries (601545) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949689)

Yes but that's easy to do when you live in a blimp, blogging away high at the top of the piratsphere.

Re:Paying pirates (5, Interesting)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949921)

Actually, all he's advocating is the old state of things. The casual swappers
shouldn't be prosecuted, persecuted and litigated. The side effects of trying
to squash all the little ants ends up creating more collateral damage than it's
worth. It's far better to apply the old intent of the laws and the original
pirate ethos.

There was always a distinction made between those that just passed stuff
around and those that tried to profit from it financially.

The big problem of course, as others have said, is the fact that it is
big media that has driven the recent changes in the other direction.
They're the ones that want to make copyright perpetual and turn
criminalize everyone. They will never go for this.

Re:Paying pirates (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950841)

There was always a distinction made between those that just passed stuff
around and those that tried to profit from it financially.

Well... until the RIAA and MPAA knowingly tried to distort the distinction.

I still don't get why they fight file sharers when they are REALLY losing money when it comes to true piracy, especially the on-the-street selling that goes on in most of the countries in the East. I think you can get almost total agreement that sort of unlicensed, first-sale piracy is wrong without moral ambiguity and you can tell it truly costs real money without a pseudo-economist trying to pull numbers out of the air...

Re:Paying pirates (1)

sootman (158191) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950919)

The side effects of trying to squash all the little ants ends up creating more collateral damage than it's worth.

Agreed, but sadly, I think it's clear the *AA don't care.

Re:Paying pirates (1)

JeffSpudrinski (1310127) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949743)

BSAtHome,

Seconded. I think that using CC is a great idea, but the problem is that there are a LOT of software pirates who simply have no intention of every paying for anything unless they can help it.

Some software is "pirated" by some who legitimately want to try something out before buying it. They are not the problem. The problem are the ones who steal. Using CC won't address that problem.

-JJS

Re:Paying pirates (5, Informative)

eugene2k (1213062) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949849)

Actually, from what I've read, Corey doesn't claim that it will solve the piracy problem. He tries to tackle the problem of individuals creating derivative works without hiring lawyers to negotiate a license. For example if some person remixes a song, they either have to negotiate a deal with the record company and pay them royalties (and this involves hiring a lawyer to negotiate), or do it without hiring a lawyer, and thus be called a pirate. The latter is what Corey tries to address.

Re:Paying pirates (4, Insightful)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950053)

You are on a short list of people who've read and understood the article. That list does not include Slashdot editors nor the AC who wrote the headline nor most of the people commenting here.

The licensing makes sense for certain uses but I don't see much advantage over the current system apart from the 'self serve' aspect. Licensing a photograph (which is the area I'm familiar with) for non-exclusive use is pretty straight forward and nearly always I or the client has some mutually acceptable boilerplate agreement that covers everything. Exclusive uses are more difficult and usually involve an IP attorney, but I don't see where his self-serve license would grant exclusivity.

Regardless, the biggest expense comes if you ever have to go to court to enforce a license, and that isn't changing here.

Re:Paying pirates (3, Insightful)

Chief Camel Breeder (1015017) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950019)

He's presuming that many commercial users of the product would pay the royalties if they could get a license without paying legal fees. They would cease to be pirates.

I agree that this scheme has no effect on willful pirates. I don't think it's meant to address that. The Slashdot summary exaggerates that aspect.

Re:Paying pirates (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950137)

Pirates, a summary [www.pown.it] .

Re:Paying pirates (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27950527)

No, I pirate because the right-holders do not want my money:
I can not buy series I like online "because of Rights Reasons"
I can not buy some of the music I like online "because of Rights Reasons" and
I can not buy some of the books I like "because of Rights Reasons".

eg: I already spent hundreds of Euros for ebooks of O'Reilly and Pragmatic Programmers because they don't refuse to sell to me. Same goes for Digital Music without DRM. I have hundreds of tracks bought on the ITMS.

But sorry: If you refuse to sell me your material, don't complain about not getting my money.

Re:Paying pirates (1)

Xest (935314) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950649)

I think his idea isn't so much aimed at people who share and download, but at sites like The Pirate Bay.

I'll admit I haven't RTFA, but I'm guessing the idea is that a ton of content would be available for anyone to use if they pay royalties, so for example, the guys behind TPB could go legit using this license by paying royalties from their ad-revenue.

Effectively it'd make a way for new business ideas to be carried out without hassle. You could go home tonight and create your pay subscription site for the TV program Lost for example that has every episode available for download in 1080p to people you pay x amount per month. You could then pay the royalties out of that.

It wont ever work of course, because no one is going to pick up the idea, particularly the cartels who own all the content, it's a nice idea though and would be win-win for everyone as long as everyone was sensible - i.e. sensible royalty percentages etc. It'd mean the likes of TPB could go legit, artists etc. could get some money, and people could get content cheap or even free with an ad based revenue model or similar.

Depends upon honesty (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949549)

Works only if people are honest.

Re:Depends upon honesty (2, Insightful)

noidentity (188756) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949571)

Works only if people are honest.

...and believe that an author has a right to demand something in return for making copies/derivitives of things he's written.

I like Cory but that isn't going to work (4, Insightful)

montyzooooma (853414) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949553)

AFAIK what he's suggesting is already within the scope of the CC license. But it won't stop P2P/home copying. It won't really stop people selling copies of CDs or films out of their car boots either.

At best it will just encourage a lot of people to sell other people's media under the guise of legitimacy, while kicking back something to the creators. I can't see the MPAA/RIAA agreeing to that.

CCPlus (4, Informative)

tepples (727027) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949589)

AFAIK what he's suggesting is already within the scope of the CC license.

It's been floated before, under the name CCPlus [creativecommons.org] . See also Slashdot's coverage of CCPlus [slashdot.org] .

Re:I like Cory but that isn't going to work (4, Funny)

clang_jangle (975789) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949591)

We could make this work -- we'll start an association of content owners, whose purpose will be to enforce the license. They'll pay or we'll sue! Yeah, that's the ticket...

Re:I like Cory but that isn't going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949623)

as in... another *IAA? how is that solving the problem?

Re:I like Cory but that isn't going to work (1)

Daengbo (523424) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949647)

Whoosh!

Re:I like Cory but that isn't going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949659)

Whoooooosh

Re:I like Cory but that isn't going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27950745)

WOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!!1

Re:I like Cory but that isn't going to work (5, Informative)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949663)

He isn't trying to stop car-boot pirates, the only place he mentions pirates is a throwaway line at the end "cheap and easy licensing that would turn yesterday's pirates into tomorrow's partners". He's talking about people who want to use your material but not to just rip you off. Maybe "would turn the people who yesterday had no choice other than to be pirates into tomorrow's partners" would have been clearer, but less snappy.

Re:I like Cory but that isn't going to work (1)

blahplusplus (757119) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950901)

"Maybe "would turn the people who yesterday had no choice other than to be pirates into tomorrow's partners" would have been clearer, but
less snappy"

Examples of such:

http://www.opcoder.com/projects/chrono/ [opcoder.com]

Re:I like Cory but that isn't going to work (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949685)

.I can't see the MPAA/RIAA agreeing to that.

These may be powerful cartels, but I fail to see what either can do for authors.

ok! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949559)

this is the way!

Pirates don't pay (2, Interesting)

jevring (618916) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949563)

Why would a pirate, who currently doesn't pay for the work he/she redistributes, pay for a work with a license allowing him/her to do it? If the reason for not paying is that you don't want to pay, then you will not want to pay, regardless of the reimbursement model.

Re:Pirates don't pay (3, Interesting)

downix (84795) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949611)

Ah, because now you've moved from the Copyright law category to the Contract law category, which is by and far less compromized and much easier to enforce/more difficult to abuse.

Re:Pirates don't pay (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949701)

Er, no, you're moving from copyright alone to copyright plus EULAs.

Re:Pirates don't pay (2, Informative)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950513)

Because he isn't talking about the guy downloading from P2P as much as he is talking about artists like Danger Mouse [wikipedia.org] who can't sell their albums because greed has made sampling all but dead. Which frankly sucks. This of course was kinda the whole reason for HAVING a Public Domain in the first place, which was stolen from us by Disney to make sure that damned mouse will NEVER be free as long as politicians are corrupt.

But the simple fact is the copyright laws have become SO long and SO nasty that pretty much anybody and everybody is a pirate. Don't forget we are talking about evil bloodsucking leech corporations that honestly believe that ripping your CD to your iPod is illegal [eff.org] and that you should have to pay them OVER and OVER and OVER again for the exact same content. And I'm sorry I can find the link right now but there was a great interview with the head of one of the record labels (I think BMG) where he said their ultimate goal is to make EVERYTHING into "jukebox content" where you will have to pay per listen, by simply getting nastier with laws like DMCA and DRM.

So whether we go with this idea, or the one I would prefer which is forcing copyright back to the term limits of 1900, or maybe even less, we simply have to scream bloody murder until something changes. Because as it is now YOU are a criminal and I am a criminal and your kids are criminals, simply because the laws have gotten so damned nasty that there really isn't any way to avoid it. Cue the guy with the Ayn Rand quote.

I don't get it (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949577)

First of all - what gross income? The pirates just upload their work to torrent sites. (Or, um, so I'm told...)

Second, why would someone who ignores the current "don't copy this at all" licensing have any more respect for Doctorow's proposed license?

Not their work at all (1, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950037)

First of all - what gross income? The pirates just upload their work to torrent sites. The pirates are uploading the work of others. That's so much easier and cheaper than producing anything on your own.

Stone soup! (3, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949579)

Get a Creative Commons license, and append some basic text requiring those who re-use your work to pay you a percentage of their gross income.

Anybody remember stone soup? In this scenario, it appears that the CC license is the stone.

Re:Stone soup! (3, Insightful)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950131)

Anybody remember stone soup? In this scenario, it appears that the CC license is the stone.

Yes! I remember stone soup! It's a great story. So that means Music is the carrots, Video is the potatoes, Writing is the chicken, and the Performers are all the herbs and spices that make the end dish taste fabulous.

Only trouble is... stone soup is meant to take input from an entire village, while the artistic creations of the world are only contributed from a reasonably modest percent of the population. The fact that *everybody* can enjoy them creates sort of an imbalance (though, I guess that's where the "percentage of revenue" comes into play).

good idea.. I have a proposal too (1)

youn (1516637) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949599)

Wishful thinking is sweet. I am gonna write a proposal so that virii like aids or the swine flu or aids stop damaging the body and clean up after them... it would be beneficial to the virii too as their host would live longer and they would be in symbiotic harmony. they would stand to gain more if they applied my proposal. I believe it may have more chances of being adopted by the authors... and we dont need to talk about the riaa as they promised they wouldnt sue anyone (some more wishful thinking) and are very busy showing people how to videotape from a flat screen these days.

(yes I like this form of the plural of virus :p)

Re:good idea.. I have a proposal too (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949661)

... virii like aids or the swine flu ...

Wouden't it bee kewl iv weh culd jest envent aur owen versons ov wurds?

Re:good idea.. I have a proposal too (2, Insightful)

thegreatemu (1457577) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949683)

Unfortunately, virii would be the plural of 'virius' (which, if it were a word, would mean something along the lines of 'manly'). =)

Re:good idea.. I have a proposal too (1)

zrq (794138) | more than 5 years ago | (#27951035)

... virii like aids or the swine flu or aids stop damaging the body and clean up after them... it would be beneficial to the virii too as their host would live longer and they would be in symbiotic harmony ...

Sounds like endosymbiosis [wikipedia.org] , which is how we ended up with mitochondria [wikipedia.org] .
Apparently humans need the help of immunodepressive viruses [wikipedia.org] during pregnancy, which I didn't know until I looked it up. Thanks for prompting me - learn something new every day.

LOL (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949603)

Cory Doctorow
LOL

Why not lower costs? (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949625)

Doctorow is a writer so his problem may be slightly different, but it seems to me that for much of the media industry today the problem is more of too high costs than too low income, no matter what "pirates" do.

To make a standardized measurement, let's limit ourselves to one well-defined segment: 007. Look at this graph [wikimedia.org] . Investment in James Bond films has gone steadily up without a corresponding return in profits. The first 007 movie, "Dr. No", cost $1 million to make ïn 1962 and got $60 million in the box office, a 60:1 ratio. "Casino Royale" cost $100 million and got $600 million, ten times less.

One could argue that James Bond jumped the shark, but in adjusted dollars "Dr. No" got about as much income as "Casino Royale", yet cost 1/16th as much adjusted for inflation. People are still paying as much to see James Bond today as they paid in 1962.

The main problem, IMHO, is not reduced income for intellectual property owners, the problem is reduced creativity. They not only seem unable to create a character to replace 007, they also need to spend sixteen times as much to create the same level of special effects.

Re:Why not lower costs? (3, Informative)

BiggerIsBetter (682164) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949703)

One could argue that James Bond jumped the shark, but in adjusted dollars "Dr. No" got about as much income as "Casino Royale", yet cost 1/16th as much adjusted for inflation. People are still paying as much to see James Bond today as they paid in 1962.

Actually, people are paying about 3 times more to see James Bond today than they did in 1962.

Ref: http://www.bbhq.com/prices.htm [bbhq.com]

Re:Why not lower costs? (1)

moon3 (1530265) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949707)

You can't lower costs when banks are retarded and greedy beyond belief, they are basically unable to handle micro or low payments, fees start at $1 or so for transaction..

Re:Why not lower costs? (3, Insightful)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949723)

The main problem, IMHO, is not reduced income for intellectual property owners, the problem is reduced creativity.

Perhaps so, but you haven't shown such a thing.

They not only seem unable to create a character to replace 007...

Why would they? They have a good character that people like. Not replacing him isn't "reduced creativity", it's simply giving your fans what they want to see. Only a fool replaces something for the sake of replacing it.

...they also need to spend sixteen times as much to create the same level of special effects.

Blatantly false. They need to spend sixteen times as much to create a lot more special effects. Now, maybe you believe that the movies don't need that level of special effects, which is a whole different topic. It is untrue, however, that the level of special effects is the same as it was back then. The budget has grown because the amount of special effects has grown.

Furthermore, your logic as to the success of the movies is flawed. The industry isn't necessarily interested in maximizing their profit per dollar spent (although that's always nice), they're interested in making more absolute profit. Using the inflation-adjusted figures you provided, we can see that while the industry made $59 million in profits from Dr. No, they made $500 million in profits from Casino Royale. Even though their profit-per-dollar may have been less, they still made more money overall, which is what is desired.

Re:Why not lower costs? (3, Informative)

mangu (126918) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949819)

Using the inflation-adjusted figures you provided, we can see that while the industry made $59 million in profits from Dr. No, they made $500 million in profits from Casino Royale

Perhaps I didn't make myself quite clear. "Dr. No" made $60 million in 1962 dollars. Adjusted for inflation, "Dr. No" cost $8.4 million and got $420 million in profits, "Casino Royale" cost $140 million and got $500 million in profits.

Go to any industry executive and ask, is it better to get $420 milion in profits from a $8.4 million investment, or is it better to get $500 million in profits from a $140 million investment?

Re:Why not lower costs? (4, Informative)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949939)

Dr No is probably a bad example. They had no idea whether it was going to be a success. Contemporary films To Kill a Mockingbird and Lawrence of Arabia had 2 times and 15 times the budget respectively.

Re:Why not lower costs? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949965)

I think you misunderstood: $500M is still larger than $420M. It doesn't matter that they're making less per dollar spent, they're still (a) making more money and (b) their investment is more certain to be profitable.

Obviously it's better to make more money per dollar spent, but the $140M invested in a new James Bond movie is almost certain to make its money back several times over (>4x in this case) whereas investing $14M in ten smaller projects is much riskier -- most won't make their money back and even if you get a couple of decent hits, you're still unlikely to match the $500M net revenue of the James Bond film.

Re:Why not lower costs? (1)

JasterBobaMereel (1102861) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949797)

Options invest a lot of money in Bond movie with well know star(s), and you are practically guarenteed a return on your investment, or try a brand new movie with unknowns and hope for the best ...

When one bad movie can kill a studio, they tend to play it safe...

Re:Why not lower costs? (2, Insightful)

billcopc (196330) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949827)

Reduced creativity is part of the problem, but another aspect is there is simply "too much creativity", in the sense that today, practically anyone can produce anything with very little investment. Those same eyeballs are being spread more thinly because there is so much goddamned content out there.

There's also the disproportionate salaries in the movie industry, that were certainly nowhere near as distorted back then as they are now. Does it really "cost" 100 million to shoot a Bond movie, or does it cost more like 5 million with a bunch of greedy pseudo-thespians accounting for the remainder ? The concept of celebrity actors is nothing new, but their hyper-commercialization and glamorization seems to have sustained dizzying heights since the 90's.

Cut out those extraneous costs, and suddenly the 60:1 margin isn't so ludicrous anymore. The cost of computer-based visual effects is at an all-time low thanks to mass availability of the tools and exploitative offshore labour, so a Bond movie could be a whole lot cheaper if they went back to their roots and focused on the characters themselves, instead of the name-brand puppets portraying them.

Re:Why not lower costs? (2, Funny)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949863)

I don't think your analysis is complete.

Using your figures, we assume a 600% inflation rate since 1962 ("... yet cost 1/16th as much adjusted for inflation", applied to $100 million current dollars, yields a little over $6 million dollars or 6 times the unadjusted cost for "Dr. No"). That may seem a little high, but I just put the numbers in an inflation calculator (The Inflation Calculator [westegg.com] ) and it's close: 679% inflation between 1962 and 2007. So, let's assume that figure.

At 679% inflation, "Dr. No" would have earned $407 million current dollars at an expense of $7 million, or a total profit of $400 million current dollars. On the other hand, "Casino Royale" earned $600 million at an expense of $100 million, or a total profit of $500 million.

So, "Casino Royale" made 25% more profit than "Dr. No", when adjusted for inflation. It's not a huge jump, but it debunks your assertion that the new movie actually made much less by comparison. The new movie made less "percentage-wise" when comparing income to investment, but more actual dollars.

If you can gain 25% profit by investing 16 times more money, and you have the money to invest, you would be wise to do so.

Re:Why not lower costs? (2, Insightful)

east coast (590680) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949999)

I think part of what you're missing in the 007 example is that home viewing wasn't a reality in 1962. So fans went to the movie house. Welcome to the age to digital media in the home... I wanted to see "There will be blood" but I really don't enjoy the movie house scene too much so I waited for it to come out on DVD (and have since bought the BluRay after I got my BR player). In my case I have lowered the box office numbers by not seeing it in the theatre but have increased the overall profits by actually purchasing it.

How many people who haven't seen the latest Bond film on the big screen will buy it at 10-20 dollars?

Re:Why not lower costs? (1)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950009)

They not only seem unable to create a character to replace 007, they also need to spend sixteen times as much to create the same level of special effects.

The same level of special effects?

That's ridiculous. The F/X in the Connery films is simplistic and obvious.

The best moments come when the gadgets are real.

Who hasn't wanted to pilot "Little Nelly?"

With frikken lasers (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950441)

One could argue that James Bond jumped the shark

The original James Bond, by Ian Fleming, was a parody of the "superspy" literature of the time. Adjusted for cultural inflation, James Bond was Austin Powers for a quieter time. James Bond is ALL ABOUT jumping the shark... and that has carried over to the movies right from the start.

Re:Why not lower costs? (1)

cowscows (103644) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950973)

The "media industry" is a pretty broad term, and might not even be that useful of a grouping for this discussion, but either way I'm not sure that big budget movies are the best example. While it's certainly true that the costs of giant blockbusters has been increasing pretty steadily, there's whole sections of the media industry, and even the movie industry specifically, where costs have come down a lot, or at least stayed about the same.

It doesn't cost any more to write a book now than it did before. If anything, it's probably cheaper than any time in history, because making edits and copies with a computer is so darn easy compared to dealing with actual sheets of paper. Digital technology has also drastically reduced the costs of making decent music recordings. A few thousand bucks worth of equipment and software, and just about anybody can build out a passable studio in their basement. Digital photography can cut out a bunch of costs that regular film needs. And for smaller and independent film makers, there's affordable editing software running on consumer level computers with abilities that were unimaginable just a decade ago. Factor in all the new ways being explored to distribute media digitally, and there's a giant amount of cost savings potential there as well.

There are a few very specific costs that are continually climbing, but it's nothing that's 100% to the production or distribution of any sort of media. Special effects don't come cheap, big name actors cost a bundle, and advertising blitzes can eat money endlessly. But you don't need any of that stuff to make something good or profitable.

Media is cheaper than ever. Don't let the extreme cases define the entire landscape for you.

LOL, Obongo cancels release of Gitmo "abuse" pics (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949637)

Gee, Dems have been shitting all over the CIA and the military for years, and now that we find out that Pelosi knew about what was happening at Gitmo, Obama conveniently agrees to block the release of pics of Islamic douchebags luxuriating in their tropical paradise instead of the sandy hell from whence they came.

I think that not only is Obama providing cover for Pelosi, but he's also afraid that someone inside the intelligence community might decide to reduce his longevity as repayment for yanking the carpet out from under their feet. You see, you can't ask the CIA to do something, rail against them in the media for 8 years while they do the thing you asked, and then remove their political cover when you finally get the power you've been so obviously desperate and frantic for since that douche Gore lost the WH. And make no mistake about it - several high-level Democrats knew exactly what was happening at Gitmo and approved of it privately while they shrieked about it publicly. And their media surrogates were only all too happy to not ask any questions and to go along with the charade.

That brings up another point. Forgive me if I don't shed any tears for the "mistreatment" of homicidal, misogynistic, misanthropic assholes that Islam seems to breed like rabbits. If anyone needs to be slapped around a little, it's some dude who thinks that a witch doctor gouging out his wife's clitoris is a reasonable action. We're talking about people who subscribe to a religion whose theology hasn't matured one bit since it's birth. They still preach expansion by violence and subjugation of all non-converts, just like their pedophile leader Mohammad did, God damn his miserable rotting corpse. So you think Islam means peace, huh? Well then I challenge you to walk into a mosque in Afghanistan and tell them that you are an apostate and see if they don't stone you to death on the spot. Do we really want such people gaining a foothold in a real civilization based on individual liberty and mutual respect?

I really hope this takes off (4, Interesting)

iris-n (1276146) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949705)

What you are forgetting is that this is aimed to people who do want to paint the license, but can't. There are "pirates" who will just profit from another person's works, and there always will be. The idea is that you shouldn't be forced to be one of them.

Take my case for example. I ran a small t-shirt store, whose drawings included, but were not limited to, characters of famous and not-so-famous movies, who were definitely copyrighted and/or trademarked. I did make money off them, and never paid the creators a dime. Why? The cost to get a license agreement with just one of the biggies would be enough to put me out of business. And their terms weren't suited to me as well. They wanted a huge upfront payment followed by a small per-unit cost.

So, as a law-abiding citizen, I just went out of business? Of course not, I just didn't contact them and hoped that they wouldn't contact me.

The terms that Doctorow proposes would suit my purpose just fine. And I would pay.

Also, I don't think the big distributors would be against it. The distribution terms he proposes aren't advantageous to a big distributor. It wouldn't be fostering competition. And I doubt that the shop from around the corner can damage them.

Re:I really hope this takes off (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27950079)

So if the creators of the content you want to put on shirts didn't want to use that license, you'd just continue to rip off their copyrighted images?

Nice. Also, you're a shallow ass for your entitlement complex.

Re:I really hope this takes off (1)

Garwulf (708651) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950155)

Sorry, but as a business owner myself, I have to wonder - how did you know what their terms were without contacting them?

Aside from which, I think your argument here regarding your business does come out as a cop-out. Just because you couldn't afford to pay the license fee to produce the shirts yourself, it doesn't mean that you had to resort to piracy. Surely there are wholesalers out there who sell those licensed shirts to vendors like yourself, without you having to produce them, or pay a license fee.

Re:I really hope this takes off (3, Insightful)

westlake (615356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950159)

The terms that Doctorow proposes would suit my purpose just fine. And I would pay.

You didn't before.

You flew under the radar.

Why should anyone believe you will behave any differently now?

The geek is always puffing smoke about the "failed business model." Meaning the one in which he is expected to cough up some cash.

Re:I really hope this takes off (1)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 5 years ago | (#27951007)

The geek is always puffing smoke about the "failed business model." Meaning the one in which he is expected to cough up some cash.

One of the best replies ever posted on Slashdot.

Re:I really hope this takes off (3, Informative)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950351)

Take my case for example. I ran a small t-shirt store, whose drawings included, but were not limited to, characters of famous and not-so-famous movies, who were definitely copyrighted and/or trademarked. I did make money off them, and never paid the creators a dime. Why?

Because you were not sufficiently creative to produce original designs for which people would pay, and felt entitled to profit from the work of others? Many of us would have no problem with you wearing the shirts, but selling them is pretty much indefensible. I wonder if Copyright shouldn't be extended indefinitely, but with derivative works permitted and protected immediately so that anyone is free to reinvent anything any time, but nobody is free to reproduce anything without permission ever. It would promote similar, competing works... But still prevent people from gaining from the labor of others. They would have to do something.

Won't work. (4, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949729)

1. Most Piracy isn't a for profit business. It is just some one who downloads a bunch of pirated stuff, when he actually does buy a product he will post it online for the rest to pirate, combined with a few hackers to break any DRM to make sure what they get wont get others in trouble. But they do it to protect themselves because they don't want to pay for the software. Granted there is some people making money off of software piracy. However most of it is if any money trades hands is to cover cost.

2. They already don't respect your license. Why would they respect this. It is like telling the wolves in the zoo if they don't eat the rabbits then they will get a good meal later, then place a bunch of rabbits in the wolf cage of hungry wolves. They have already convinced themselves that Software Piracy is good and some how they are heroes for fighting the man.

3. After the fact enforcement, or in other words, if you don't do this and you are caught then we sue you. It is better to correct issues before it gets to that point. Though I am not a fan of DRM, DRM has probably saved a lot of people from getting sued and loosing a lot of money (on both sides) as DRM for the most part keeps the Honest honest. Sure it is a download patch away to breaking the DRM. However that is probably that one step too far that isn't worth it and they will just buy a copy. And no one bashing at the door and suing a guy for piracy of software that is stilled crippled.

Re:Won't work. (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950281)

2. They already don't respect your license. Why would they respect this.

I have to disagree. Software pirates respect Creative Commons licenses. CC is a "free distribution" license. There isn't any way to distribute CC licensed material so that the person you give it to can't give it to all their friends for free.

The argument here, if I understand it correctly, is bridging the gap between the Non-commercial license and the No-derivatives license.

The fact is that MOST creative types that have an interest in profiting from their creations tend to distribute Non-Commercial AND No-derivatives to protect their investment.

A while back I had a plan to distribute my novel [2076book.com] as NC-ND up until I was able to draw some pre-determined sum on money through monetary donations collected on my site. I have since abandoned that because $0 came in over the course of over a year.

But for the reader who isn't interested in reselling it or creating derivative works, as long as it is CC, then they don't care about the other terms of the license. Right?

Re:Won't work. (1)

Inverted Intellect (950622) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950297)

All of your points disregard that this is an honor system, and they frequently work without any sort of enforcement whatsoever. You don't need 100% compliance either, you don't even get that with purely commercial works.

Also, it's not like giving a choice between a non-commercial CC license and a commercial license without enforcement has much of a downside, as compared to only offering the CC license.

piracy vs. bootlegging (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27950799)

1. Most Piracy isn't a for profit business.

Perhaps we should start making a distinction:
    . piracy - commercial copying
    . bootlegging - private/personal, non-commercial copying

Re:Won't work. (1)

Comboman (895500) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950865)

DRM for the most part keeps the Honest honest.

No, DRM annoys the Honest and is at most a minor inconvenience for the Dishonest.

Boing Boing (2, Insightful)

maxume (22995) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949735)

Cory Doctorow is not the founding editor of Boing Boing. Mark Frauenfelder is. Wikipedia gives a decent rundown:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boing_Boing [wikipedia.org]

Sorry (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27949765)

You lost me at "Cory Doctorow says"

Panacea! (0, Redundant)

retech (1228598) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949779)

Yippie! I'm certain that since this solution has Doctrow's name attached to it pretty much all of the world's digital piracy will be solved.

I can only hope he solves open sea piracy next.

This man is a GOD!

Okay, but the maths causes problems (4, Insightful)

91degrees (207121) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949791)

If I wanted to produce something that used two pieces of music, charged at 10% of gross each, 10 different images charged at 5% of gross each, and some animation charged at 40% of gross, I need to pay 110% of my gross to the make this.

Re:Okay, but the maths causes problems (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#27950457)

If I wanted to produce something that used two pieces of music, charged at 10% of gross each, 10 different images charged at 5% of gross each, and some animation charged at 40% of gross, I need to pay 110% of my gross to the make this.

Avast, matey! Ye have unraveled me secret plan to steal your booty!

Now walk the plank, ye scurvy dog!

Hollywood accounting (2, Interesting)

malx (7723) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949821)

This doesn't even work in licensing with proper commercial corporations like the record labels and film studios. It will fall foul of "Hollywood Accounting" [wikipedia.org] . Normally this is applied to rip off artists who are promised a percentage of profits (they find the company they've dealt with has made no profits, they've all been moved into a different company). This is slightly harder with gross revenue, but not much.

Re:Hollywood accounting (1)

RobBebop (947356) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950347)

This was one of my first thoughts as well. Unless companies can track the real value that consumers spend on products and services, the opportunity for companies to lie about profits is much to high.

When the IRS can't even figure out how to stop US Corporations from getting tax shelters to avoid paying their legal taxes, I'll never believe that organizations are going to honestly pay the suggested "percentage of income" that Doctorow is suggesting.

Re:Hollywood accounting (1)

Wildclaw (15718) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950501)

Hollywood accounting uses "net income" to rip of artists. Cory is talking about "gross income".

Different uses require different payscales (4, Insightful)

Andy_R (114137) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949847)

Here's a big problem with this idea... Let's imagine you're a photographer who uses this new system, and asks for 8% of gross. I'm a printer, and I want to use your work. I have to give you 8% of gross for a birthday card made from your work, 96% of gross for a 12 month calendar using your work and 11 of your friends work, and illustrating an encyclopedia would cost me many times more than gross!

Re:Different uses require different payscales (1)

argent (18001) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950329)

So you contact the human licensing the good and say "I'm making a calendar, and can't afford to pay 12 people 8% of the gross each, will you accept 1.5% (18% of the gross shared among 12 people)?".

And if you're publishing an actual printed encyclopedia you ought to be able to afford actual lawyers.

Aggregating Multiple Works into Something New. (1)

jsberg (631118) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949915)

This particular CC+ license would be feasible when the product sold contains only one of these types of works in its makeup. But in the instance where something is created out of 200 of these works and sold as an integrated whole the cumulative royalty rate would be 4000% of sales. Any solutions to this?

This guy is dumber than I thought (1, Redundant)

dilute (74234) | more than 5 years ago | (#27949919)

This is not thought through in the slightest.

Fail (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950191)

Get a Creative Commons license, and append some basic text requiring those who re-use your work to pay you a percentage of their gross income.

So, his solution is to allow others to redistribute one's work as long as the one redistributing the work make no money on the redistribution. This would effectively limit one's market, especially in a digital market, to one person who could then freely give it away to everyone, destroying one's ability to make money on the product.

One could set up two independent companies/organizations, one of which is a non-profit which distributes works under this license, and the other a shell company which makes revenue on ads and exists solely to direct people to the works provided by the first company. This would get around the "gross income" provision by moving most of the income to a company that is not bound by the license.

Interestingly, if one did the books right, one could buy a single copy of a book, convert the book to an electronic or book format, then print new copies of the book and sell them for the cost of printing and shipping. If one were to set up a company to do the printing and shipping, one could easily make money selling other people's work.

Doctorow is either being disingenuous, or he is an idiot, or both.

Already doing this... (1)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950271)

It is a French-speaking website, but In Libro Veritas [inlibroveritas.net] has this model since 2005. It proposes to host novels and short stories under free licenses, including CCs and Art Libre. If commercial derivatives is allowed, In Libro Veritas tries to sell books or compilation of short stories to its readers (while maintaining a free web access to the texts) and redistributes 50% of the profits to the authors. It keeps afloat, not many authors manage to live from that but it is trying to prove that this model can succeed.

They also have a big list of public domain texts that are classics of literature.

NOT ABOUT PIRACY (1)

lucas_picador (862520) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950431)

AFAICT, the actual article has nothing to do with piracy. It's just about lowering transaction costs in your licensing business by using a standardized (CC) license instead of hiring lawyers. Doctorow seems to be addressing companies with media assets who are generally CC-friendly, but who are nervous about how to monetize the idea and so stick exclusively to non-commercial CC variants. The article describes a model whereby a for-profit media licensing business model can be built using modified CC licenses. That's it. He's not talking to Hollywood. He's talking to people who already know what CC is and think it's a good idea, but also want to make some cash off their media assets. I mean, Christ, it's in the first paragraph of the story.

There is a big difference... (1)

rshol (746340) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950445)

...between putting language in a license and collecting money for your work.

Distribute high quality at no cost too (1)

drDugan (219551) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950567)

We offer a service to Content Creators who license digital material with share-friendly licenses (like Creative Commons) and distribute the full quality content. We do not charge Content Creators for this service. We also offer to optionally collect sponsorship for the Content Creator (sent to them by check quarterly), and now (just recently) support external sponsorship links to Paypal, Google Checkout or other services.

see http://beta.legaltorrents.com/ [legaltorrents.com]

It's not at all about pirates (1)

Aceticon (140883) | more than 5 years ago | (#27950903)

He's aiming at providing a legal, well balanced way of letting people and small companies create and sell things which use iconography from modern society which is "owned" by famous-individuals / large-companies under trademark and/or copyright laws while at the same time making sure that the owners of the original IP are rewarded.

This would, for example, empower somebody to craft a clay vase with (for example) the Intel logo and sell it while:
- Not needing to upfront pay expensive lawyers to agree with Intel Corp on the use of their trademark
- Not being sued (assuming Intel Corp had made their trademark sign available under this agreement) by Intel Corp for trademark infringement.
- Pay inga percentage of the profits to Intel Corp.
- In a standardized manner, making it clear in their work that it's NOT something done by Intel Corp.

At the moment, a huge number of the icons of our culture are actually owned by big companies and things are likely to remain so unless a proper reform is done of IP laws. What the article is proposing is a way of giving society more access to those icons in a way which lets individuals create and profit from derived work, not just large corps.

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