Beta
×

Welcome to the Slashdot Beta site -- learn more here. Use the link in the footer or click here to return to the Classic version of Slashdot.

Thank you!

Before you choose to head back to the Classic look of the site, we'd appreciate it if you share your thoughts on the Beta; your feedback is what drives our ongoing development.

Beta is different and we value you taking the time to try it out. Please take a look at the changes we've made in Beta and  learn more about it. Thanks for reading, and for making the site better!

Fair Use Generates $4.7 Trillion For US Economy

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the you-say-pirate-we-say-patriot dept.

Businesses 160

Hugh Pickens writes "The Hill spotlights a study released by the Computer & Communications Industry Association, which concludes that companies relying on fair use generate $4.7 trillion in revenue to the US economy every year. The report claims that fair use — an exception to the copyright law that allows limited use of copyrighted materials — is crucial to innovation. It adds that employment in fair use industries grew from 16.9 million in 2002 to 17.5 million in 2007 and one out of eight US workers is employed by a company benefiting from protections provided by fair use (PDF). Rep. Zoe Lofgren (D-CA) says the reasonable fair use of content needs to be preserved; otherwise, content owners will control access to movies, music, and art that will no longer be available for schools, research, or web browsing. Lofgren tied the copyright issue with the question of net neutrality. Without net neutrality 'content owners will completely control and lock down content. We're going to be sorry characters when we actually don't see fair use rights on the Web,' says Lofgren. 'If we allow our freedom to be taken for commercial purposes, we will have some explaining to do to our founding fathers and those who died for our freedom.'"

cancel ×

160 comments

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

What a Stupid and Wrong Title (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012522)

Fair Use Generates $4.7 Trillion For US Economy

Wrong, from the article

Companies that rely on fair use generate $4.7 trillion in revenue, according to a study released today by the Computer & Communications Industry Association.

See the difference? Fair use generates a third of our GDP? Please, I'm not stupid.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (2, Funny)

elwinc (663074) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012560)

You beat me to it.

I will point out that the $4.7 trillion figure sounds as exaggerated as the loss numbers claimed the RIAA.

Exaggerate? I don't know the meaning of the word!

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (3, Insightful)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012724)

It is exaggerated and as all "effect on the economy" estimations, it is wildly dependent on the assumptions. But it uses a methodology similar to what is known of the MPAA/RIAA methodology. The MPAA/RIAA are not real forthcoming with how they came up with their numbers though, while at least this study does list out where all the numbers came from. Even the GAO criticized the MPAA/RIAA funded studies as being entirely secretive with no way of verifying the results.

The important take home is that IP/copyright exceptions matter a great deal to people as does what is covered by copyright/IP law

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (2, Insightful)

MrNaz (730548) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012816)

No, the important take home is that *all* political agendas need to be audited. The moment you start giving a free ride to politicians just because you agree with their cause is the moment you open the floodgates to total political anarchy.

Not that it matters, really. The floodgates have been open for a while already.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (0, Redundant)

infalliable (1239578) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012882)

No, the important take home is that *all* political agendas need to be audited. The moment you start giving a free ride to politicians just because you agree with their cause is the moment you open the floodgates to total political anarchy.

Not that it matters, really. The floodgates have been open for a while already.

Ok, that is a good take home also. ;)

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (1)

Hijacked Public (999535) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013240)

Not that it matters, really. The floodgates have been open for a while already.

The moment you start giving a free ride to apathy just because you disagree with a decision you open the floodgates to total apathy anarchy.

Not that it matters, really. The floodgates have been open for a while already.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (1)

davester666 (731373) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015348)

The copyright holders demand their cut for helping these companies generate $4.7 trillion, as they are sure their music, video, text, pictures, etc are central to the generation of that money.

They expect a cashiers cheque in the amount of $4.699 trillion by no later than 4/30/2010 or they will have to sue for triple damages, and they have no desire to wreck the economy just for their own personal gain. A wire transfer is also acceptable. Personal cheques are expressly forbidden, and it's too late to start counting the money if you try to pay in cash.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (4, Insightful)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012794)

When dealing with an intractable foe, I see nothing wrong with adopting their tactics. RIAA exaggerates their numbers? Well then exaggerate your numbers too. RIAA sends-out talking points to Congresscritters with their "piracy costs us 5 trillion a year!" stats? Then send out YOUR talking point that says the exact opposite: "Fair use generate 5 trillion a year in revenue!"

If the enemy cheats, then you need to cheat too, else you might as well just accept defeat. Nice guys finish last.

Tactics depend on the situation (2, Insightful)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013154)

When dealing with an intractable foe, I see nothing wrong with adopting their tactics.

You assume that all tactics favour both sides equally. The IP cartels can afford to employ professional liars, while they don't have much in the way of moral high ground. We have the moral ground, and any lies we might employ will be quickly picked apart and used to discredit us.

Better to play to our strengths and keep it clean. Not everybody regards the world as the utterly amoral zero sum game that some economists would like it to be.

Re:Tactics depend on the situation (2, Funny)

PopeRatzo (965947) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013362)

The IP cartels can afford to employ professional liars

Yes, but Fair Use has God on its side.

Or at least morality and the common good for those of you who don't believe in fairy tales.

Copyright is murder.

Re:Tactics depend on the situation (2, Funny)

NickFortune (613926) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013438)

Copyright is murder.

And that, ladies and gentlemen, nicely illustrates the shortfall between a trained professional and the enthusiastic amateur.

Thank you, your Holiness.I'd say the check is in the mail, but that would ruin your amateur standing, and thereby destroy my point :)

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (1)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012820)

as exaggerated as the loss numbers claimed the RIAA.

I think that's rather the point. RIAA claims that piracy costs the US economy Dr. Evil Voice:One Million Billion Dollars, so people who depend on fair use provisions need to inflate their numbers by the same amount and claim that fair use allowances benefit the US by an equally inflated amount, so the argument balances.

As long as both groups are using equally-inflated numbers, the effect evens out. :)

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (1)

Pharmboy (216950) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013170)

As long as both groups are using equally-inflated numbers, the effect evens out. :)

So the net loss to the music industry because of piracy is about $132 then?

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (2, Informative)

natehoy (1608657) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013464)

So the net loss to the music industry because of piracy is about[...]

No, the net loss to the US economy is. RIAA still lost trillions in revenues, but other sectors of the economy generated trillions in revenues, so as far as the economy as a whole works out it's just about break-even.

[...]$132 then?

Or maybe it's a gain of $32.57, depending on whether Bob went out and bought that $164.57 in albums he's been talking about lately. I'll have to ask him later.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (2, Insightful)

Junior J. Junior III (192702) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012858)

Also, this will be the MAFAA's point of contention. Everyman's "fair use" is the MAFIAA's "copytheft". Hence, that $$$ these companies are deriving from fair use rightfully belongs in the MAFAA's coffers.

It's not enough to argue that fair use is important because it generates value in the economy. We have to argue that fair use is indeed fair, and that certain provisions in copyright law are unfair, ridiculous, unenforceable, and impose an undue burden on all of us.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (1)

GooberToo (74388) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015004)

Hence, that $$$ these companies are deriving from

That argument assumes they don't make the distinction between piracy and fair use. There is a huge difference. Most pirates don't make such distinctions and assume theft is covered by fair use. It is not.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014012)

I will point out that the $4.7 trillion figure sounds as exaggerated as the loss numbers claimed the RIAA.

So? They can make up numbers, we can make up numbers. BTW, did you know a recent Oomain Society study showed that the RIAA was responsible for the torture and mutilation of up to 5000 puppies every day in 2009?

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (4, Funny)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012638)

You're right. This kind of sloppy hyperbole is precisely HITLER STRANGLING A KITTEN worse than the numbers that the xxAA pull out of their elbows during their lobbying rounds.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013046)

For needlessly and willfully invoking Godwin's Law, you are hereby sentenced to -1 Offtopic

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (2, Funny)

bunratty (545641) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012670)

How dare you introduce facts into the discussion! I dream of a world where we have no copyright and 100% of our GDP is generated by unfettered use of content. Then get rid of patents and 200% of our GDP can be generated by freely sharing information!

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32012752)

See the difference? Fair use generates a third of our GDP? Please, I'm not stupid.

Perhaps you are.

Re:What a Stupid and Wrong Title (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32012950)

What did you expect from kdawson, accuracy?

so what let acta get rid of it and (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013484)

and get rid of whats left of the us economy
this is good stat now you kow what your are losing with acta for what holly.insane wants

Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (4, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012548)

the reasonable fair use of content needs to be preserved

Would you care to define the boundaries of fair use for me? How much a song can I use non-commercially in one instance (not like a repeated sample) without fear of repercussion or litigation from the copyright holder? Because even though some people have established "safe harbor" and guidelines, they don't seem to be officially codified yet. I uploaded some song samples on Wikipedia for my favorite albums and the rules were 10% of the length of a song or 30 seconds, whichever is shorter. And, honestly, there's no law that completely and irrefutably protects this as fair use. Then there are the people that claim a full album is a "work" and therefore 10% of that (which could be a whole song) is fair use. I don't know where it starts and stops ... with movies it seems like nothing goes while with songs it seems you can get away with a little more. So hazy and ill defined, how can you rely on something like that for income when every step is potential litigation?

I'm all for preserving it so long as you can define what exactly it is that you are preserving.

Re:Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (2, Insightful)

iYk6 (1425255) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012646)

Easier said than done. There are so many variables that affect fair use. Is it for commercial purposes or non-profit? Parody or satire? 10% of what? Like you alluded, 10% of a large work is a lot. An entire song, over a hundred pages in a large book. And what about new technologies? The nature of fair use makes it difficult to define.

Re:Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (2, Insightful)

thunderdanp (1481263) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012948)

Your search for a clearly defined boundary of fair use boils down to this question; would you prefer that Congress decide the issue, or would you prefer the courts decide? I would argue that the Courts are better situated, in this context, to figure out what uses out to be protected under fair use. This is so due to the significant implications of rights gained under fair use. If you accept that copyright generally is a good, productive, successful inducement scheme to yield creative works, then taking some of those rights given under copyright away shouldn't be done lightly. The more you expand fair use, the less valuable a given copyright will be to the original author. Given that Congress has to act in a uniform manner and isn't able to feel out the edges of the ramifications of fair use, I posit that courts will produce the most fair and practicable rule for both parties.

Re:Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013722)

> I posit that courts will produce the most fair and practicable rule for both parties.

You meant "for the party which has the most money". Most of us don't have (or wouldn't bother to spend) the mega-dollars (OK, maybe I exaggerate: kilo-dollars) it takes to go unaided to Federal court, even if it was a shoe-in that we would win. Especially if we are talking about personal fair use.

So, your point depends greatly upon whether you are talking about revenue-generating fair use or personal not-for-profit fair use. For the second, it's better to have something codified in law.

Re:Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (1)

ThunderDan (788062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014128)

You meant "for the party which has the most money". Most of us don't have (or wouldn't bother to spend) the mega-dollars (OK, maybe I exaggerate: kilo-dollars) it takes to go unaided to Federal court, even if it was a shoe-in that we would win.

While it is certainly true that going to trial in federal court is expensive, it is similarly expensive to have an effect in Congress. It is a cynical, but none the less accurate, reality that interest groups are major players in the legislative process, and those with the most money are typically the best able to hold the ear of any given legislator, let alone the many that are needed to pass a bill. I'm saying, given the choice between a multitude of legislators, each of whom is answering to their constitutents, mingling with interest groups, and plotting their next election campaign, or a federal court judge, who for all intents and purposes has a life tenure and is mostly immunized from the political system, I'll take the latter when making my arguments.

Re:Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013970)

> If you accept that copyright generally is a good, productive, successful inducement scheme to yield creative
> works, then taking some of those rights given under copyright away shouldn't be done lightly.

Except I don't, and shouldn't believe any such thing. Copyright is not a "good thing".

Copyright is a necessary evil. It should be treated as such.

This is the only way that the least destructive path towards "encouraging creativity" will occur. Otherwise, the
copyright maximalists will run amok and try to invent rights that don't really exist in the law and then try to
penalize everyone else for violating them.

It is copyright that should be expanded with care.

It has been undergoing reckless expansion for decades now without any signs of stopping.

Re:Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (2, Insightful)

ThunderDan (788062) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014262)

Copyright is a necessary evil. It should be treated as such.

I am always curious about comments such as this. If Copyright is "evil," what makes it necessary? And if it is really necessary, is it really evil? To argue that something is a "necessary evil," to me, belies the underlying principles that makes something necessary in the first place, and is simply a semantical device to remain indignant to an idea, but still reap its benefits.

Re:Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015274)

The problem is that in order for a court to decide, someone must have standing to sue you over it. You can't just call a judge and ask them to make a ruling. And if you lose the case, you may lose your house, your retirement, and your children's college fund.

Re:Preserve it? Hell, Let's Define It! (2, Interesting)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013908)

Fair use is quantifiable in many cases, but it's not simple enough to always put numbers on it. It's been up to the courts to decide in many cases, because fair use also impacts cases such as libel suits.
    Someone quotes a paragraph from a one page essay by someone else. Is that fair use? We could go by some simple rule, i.e. it's 1/4 or less of the whole by word count, but why did someone quote an entire paragraph in the first place? Was that much needed to establish context? Were there several ideas in the same paragraph that the second writer wished to comment on separately? Has the first writer been complaining that people were taking her remarks out of context, quoting isolated sentences in a misleading way, and yet is now complaining people are quoting too much of her works? It's the real world - deciding what's fair in general is part of fair use.
      We need more actual legal codification, but it should probably be to set minima, as in using no more than this percentage of a song is absolutely allowable, higher percentages may be fair use also for various reasons. We also need to expand that list of various reasons, which now cites some examples such as satire or parody, academic use, and others, as there was no intent to make that list comprehensive when it was developed.

Wow we'll all be rich! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32012572)

If we just make everything free we'll all be millionaires! Yes I know, troll. I was waiting for this one to show up on Slashdot. The whole premise is silly because it would mean about a third of the economy was based on it. The intent of Fair Use is legitimate but it's quoted far too often and is far too often used as an excuse. The trick is balance not rationalizing. I'll have my troll now please.

Be careful what you wish for (3, Interesting)

ugen (93902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012612)

The vehemently anti-copyright stance of Slashdot is, in my view, not entirely thought through. Remember - GPL (or any other software license) is a *copyright*, protected and upheld by the same laws that protect music distributors and the like. From the point of view of the law MPAA, RIAA and FSF aren't really that different (yes, some do it for money, while others for fame, "principles" and/or a bit less money). Undermining copyright protections will not be "selective", though you may wish it were. If music or movies become trivial to copy against wishes of their authors or "copyright holders", so will the software under GPL.

Just something for you to think about.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (3, Insightful)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012680)

Note that the FSF view the GPL as a necessary evil on the road to destroying all software copyrights entirely. This isn't hyperbole, or my opinion: read Stallman's book [gnu.org] , particularly Chapter 4.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (3, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012868)

Also note that not all of us agree with your goal of destroying copyright. Speaking for myself, I merely want to limit it to its original 14-year-lifespan with the possibility of ONE renewal of that license by the original creator (see US Copyright Act of 1790). i.e. I think everything pre-1980 should be public domain.

Of course Stallman and the rest always have the right to NOT copyright their creations. They have the right to release it to the public domain for the benefit of all.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013040)

"my" goal of destroying copyright? Sir, I shower quite regularly.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013808)

Also note that not all of us agree with your goal of destroying copyright. Speaking for myself, I merely want to limit it to its original 14-year-lifespan with the possibility of ONE renewal of that license by the original creator (see US Copyright Act of 1790). i.e. I think everything pre-1980 should be public domain.

Of course Stallman and the rest always have the right to NOT copyright their creations. They have the right to release it to the public domain for the benefit of all.

Duh.
The GPL gives _users_ even more than public domain (patent protection, for instance, in the case of the GPLv3). Only distributors would benefit from public domain, and they are not the subject of free software, users are. Of course, in a world without software copyrights it would be useful to just release to the public domain, but in the world we live now, your works could be repackaged against users.

The GPL is a fence around a copyleft playground, that even guards you against other menaces. You can have our software, but you have to be nice to others, too.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (4, Insightful)

ledow (319597) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012700)

I think you're missing the point. It's not about anti-copyright, because of the reasons you describe. It's about changing the goalposts all the time - fair use has been written in law for decades / centuries. Suddenly, companies want to clamp down, pretend it doesn't exist, stop you using your "fair use" rights at all, making "fair use" almost impossible through DRM schemes etc. And then copyright extension terms gets extended *again*, and *again* until nothing ever hits the public domain at all. That's *not* what copyright was about, and it's *not* the stated purpose as written in every historical law on copyright. It's supposed to be a temporary arrangement to allow the authors to prevent plagiarism for a reasonable time in order for them to capitalise on their work, and then to ultimately let the public benefit from "archaic" works.

The message was lost. But even those people who license under the GPL release that when their copyright expires (if it *ever* does), their works may revert to the public domain (I don't know if anyone's looked at the copyright expiration situation but it's very difficult given the average development history of popular GPL software). At the rate things are going, that's going to be never.

Most people *aren't* anti-copyright. They actually want the laws to be enforced as written and for the law to stay static. Hell, most Disney stuff, The Beatles, etc. should have expired into the public domain *YEARS* ago.

The only significant works that I know where you can get public domain copies of them are the books on things like Project Gutenburg (and we're talking still-money-making stuff like the original Beatrix Potter illustrations and novels etc. and the rights-holders are still making a killing... you just have to be sure that you took the images from the *original* books, not from the modern (re-copyrighted) reprints). Music, software, video, where's the public domain stuff now?

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

ugen (93902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012746)

new Mickey Mouse cartoons are pumped out by Disney all the time. by the same token, if we expect Mickey Mouse to "expire" a certain number of years from initial creation, so will the Linux kernel and once that happens - all of it, no matter what new development is happening, will be in public domain.

Fine with me, I license my code under BSD license when I have to.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (3, Informative)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012918)

Uh..... NEW Mickey Mouse cartoons are copyrighted. Old cartoons (like Steamboat Willie) under the previous law would be public domain by now, and therefore you could watch it anytime you felt like it.

Similarly Linux kernal 1 might very well be public domain by now, but the current Kernal 10 (or wherever we're at) would still be copyrighted.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32012922)

"all of it, no matter what new development is happening, will be in public domain."

You sure? Why would reprints of books, with new illustrations and small revamped improvements / preface etc., have a new copyright?

IANAL, but first thing to go would be Linux kernel aka 1992, not the entirety of Linux.

To continue this copyright-sherade seems like total madness, but I guess it generates a lot of revenue to lawyers who love to ruin people's lives..

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

Artifakt (700173) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014022)

New copyright on revamped works is limited to the changes. Anyone can make their own copy of the original work. I can go reprint Tarzan of the Apes based on the original edition or a manuscript, and I can write my own preface to my edition, paint my own cover art and so on (actually, I'm not polymath enough to do all that, so presumably I'd hire some people). What I can't copy legally are the new parts of a competitor's edition.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013014)

Presumably the original Mickey Mouse character design should be in the public domain. And older Linux kernels will be eventually too.

I'm interested - what is your problem with older versions of Linux becoming free of restrictions?

Re:Be careful what you wish for (3, Insightful)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013374)

Presumably the original Mickey Mouse character design should be in the public domain.

Disney could probably claim the character name and image as trademarks, which don't expire. Even if that isn't the case now, I personally would be okay with allowing it in exchange for shorter copyright terms. You wouldn't be able to create new cartoons and market them as Mickey Mouse, but you can freely watch and share Mickey Mouse cartoons that Disney made 50 years ago.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (2, Informative)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013026)

But the FSF wish is that any code written would be open source, and in that case the differences between the GPL and the BSD licenses wouldn't exist. Imagine a world where any software buyer would demand the code to be released. The GPL would have no reason to exist.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

bws111 (1216812) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013710)

What does copyright have to do with demanding the source code? Absolutely nothing. I am drinking a non-copyrighted class of Coke right now - does that somehow imply that Coke must give me the recipe? If the purpose of the GPL is to make sure that the source stays open, copyright MUST exist.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014930)

Without copyright, the GPL couldn't be enforced, and proprietary vendors have no method to prevent reverse engineering and proliferation of software. The GPL is dependent upon copyright, but free software isn't. The Debian project, for example, can still share the source code they already have, and businesses that see free software as a better development method can still contribute. What's more is that a business that just sells software would no longer be viable, so proprietary vendors lose a lot while free vendors don't lose much.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013126)

if we expect Mickey Mouse to "expire" a certain number of years from initial creation, so will the Linux kernel and once that happens - all of it, no matter what new development is happening, will be in public domain.

That's not how it works, you will have copyright on a patch you release tomorrow regardless of the copyright status of the software you are patching. Similarly, Disney is welcome to the copyright on a MM image they release tomorrow, but not on the ones that should already be in the public domain.

It will be functionally very similar to when BSD licensed software is released with GPL'd modifications. I personally would see no problem with all versions older than 14 years being in the public domain.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014072)

Old Linux kernels being exploitable by Microsoft is a small price to pay to prevent the RIAA from suing housewives over 30 year old pop songs.

Although the first kernel won't be forced PD under the old regime until 2019.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

AnonymousClown (1788472) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012740)

It already is trivial to copy GPL software. And if fair use is preserved, I don't see how it hurts GPL or the **AAs, for that matter - except in the eyes of paranoid lawyers.

The only problem that the GPL software has run into is when folks have marketed GPL software or parts of it as their own without making their software GPL compliant; which isn't affected by fair use - it's an outright violation.

I don't understand your point, I guess.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012766)

The vehemently anti-copyright stance of Slashdot is, in my view, not entirely thought through.

Slashdot is made up of many different people, with different views and therefore doesn't have a vehemently anti-copyright stance. However I, personally, do.

Remember - GPL (or any other software license) is a *copyright*, protected and upheld by the same laws that protect music distributors and the like.

Yes, I know. You're not the first person to raise this, and it's a fairly obvious objection.

Personally, as long as copyright exists, I'm quite happy to see it subverted by the GPL. However, I'd gladly see the GPL go if it meant that copyright went with it.

Does that answer your point?

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

ugen (93902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012798)

My point needs no answer :) It is simply an observation.

That said, I would like this thread to be stored for posterity. One day, when copyright is abolished and private companies are free to take all the open source code they want, put it in proprietary software and resell it - I would be interested in revisiting the topic ;) (Though none of us will probably live that long)

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013064)

But along with the abolition of copyright, they also defend the abolition of proprietary software. And remember, it doesn't have to be government mandated; if for example companies and states start only buying OSS software (or defining that term in contracts with software development companies), proprietary software would virtually disappear.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

ugen (93902) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013208)

:) And abolition of private property too. I know, I am from one of those places :) We are talking about what's possible (perhaps remotely), not communist utopias.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

monkeythug (875071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013134)

Without copyright all software could be copied with impunity - so it would be impossible to sell proprietary software.

This is for the same reason that although the FSF is fine with people selling GPL software, in practice this is not possible - in a free market where every recipient can resell copies, the price rapidly drops to zero.

In a non-copyright world all software authors would have to adopt the opensource business models of selling
support and services if they wanted to profit from their creations.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

dylan_- (1661) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014158)

My point needs no answer :) It is simply an observation.

Well, you seemed to think there was a conflict between supporting the GPL and dismissing copyright. I hope I've explained how you can be in favour of both.

One day, when copyright is abolished and private companies are free to take all the open source code they want, put it in proprietary software and resell it - I would be interested in revisiting the topic ;)

I would suggest that the existence of the BSDs shows that Free software can exist without the restrictions of the GPL. Also, the motivation for keeping the source code hidden is greatly reduced if there is no copyright on the software to begin with.

GPL would be unnecessary (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32012826)

The GPL would be unnecessary if not for overzealous, unjust copyright law. Stallman created it as a response to injustice. If that injustice never existed, chances are the GPL wouldn't be nearly as important.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (3, Insightful)

tbannist (230135) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012834)

No, it's the pro-copyright stance of many people that has not been entirely thought through. Copyrights are, at best, a necessary evil. The exist to create an incentive to create new works of art and to allow artists to work professionally on their art. They have been corrupted by corporate interests to make a perpetual money machine where new art is suppressed to keep the old art profitable. That runs exactly opposite to the reasons for copyright existing in the first place.

I don't think the possible consequence that if you make something truly great your great-grandchildren will never have to work a day in their life is really a very good incentive. I doubt that's what motivates many, if any, artists.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015318)

It sounds like you are pro-copyright, just not in favor of the United States current implementation of copyright.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014016)

> The vehemently anti-copyright stance of Slashdot is, in my view, not entirely thought through.

Mindless insults.

The "anti-copyright stance" here at Slashdot is mostly bourne of objecting to things that have no real consequence being turned into life shattering events.

It's more like "tort reform" for media moguls.

The law is already badly out of balance only being recently pushed that way by corporate interests.

Re:Be careful what you wish for (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014484)

> The vehemently anti-copyright stance of Slashdot is, in my view, not entirely thought through.

Mindless insults.

So, someone having thought through an idea enough that they can see multiple sides to the story and saying that someone else might not have explored all sides of the issue is a "mindless insult"?

I just "love" arrogance. You display it with vigor.

I teach at university and am constantly fighting (5, Interesting)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012632)

the silly brainwashing about fair use pounded into students' heads by other well-meaning but misguided instructors.

I have students afraid to read books before writing papers because if they "get an idea from a book" and use it, it's plagiarism. The entire notion of citations has gone right past them; all they know is that everything they do has to be "original."

I routinely hear that they didn't know they could use a quote because they thought it was "stealing" and are afraid of reading relevant works first so that they don't "copy an idea" without meaning to.

The other half of the students, steeped in remix and sampling culture and fancying themselves anti-IP warriors, routinely copy and paste without citing, then give me lectures about how IP is coming to dominate society. They intentionally refuse to cite out of a misguided sense of activism and as a result flunk assignments and even classes and are referred to disciplinary bodies where they presumably make the same arguments.

There is little sanity and a lot of craziness coming out of the discourse on IP, and we're going to see it affect us as the current generation of students enters the workforce.

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (2, Interesting)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012864)

The whole issue of fair use has been warped quite a bit by people believing they've a good knowledge of related laws because of reading tech sites and places like Digg, Reddit and Slashdot.

Too many people look at cases that are right at the legal limit of fair use and had to be argued heavily in court and be well justified. Rather than looking that at the point where fair use ends, they see that as a new baseline and then step over the mark whilst thinking the law is on their side.

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014094)

Too many people look at cases that are right at the legal limit of fair use and had to be argued heavily in court and be well justified. Rather than looking that at the point where fair use ends, they see that as a new baseline and then step over the mark whilst thinking the law is on their side.

This implies that there IS a hard line somewhere. There isn't. The "gray area" in which decisions are mixed is the WHOLE area in which fair use might be asserted. There have been cases where copying single sentences (out of several paragraphs) have been ruled not-fair, for instance.

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012966)

IP has nothing to do with plagiarism. If I pay someone to write a paper for me, even if I get them to sign over the copyright for me, submitting it as my own work would be plagiarism. As for learning how to quote and cite work, sounds like they just need some remedial technical writing classes.

They need more than that. (4, Insightful)

aussersterne (212916) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013234)

I recently assigned a paper on the difference between plagiarism and copyright infringement in a class on innovation. We had to spend two weeks more discussing it after I got not a single paper that understood the difference, despite having spent time going over the topic already.

What surfaced in the course of our discussions after the paper was that they were relying on sources (articles, press, other instructors) that simply conflated the two, and whose language on the justifications for both was almost always couched simply in individualist ethics (protecting an implied right on the parts of other authors in terms of identity and status) rather than in rational policy calculations. In short, most of the sources they found sloppily interchanged words like plagiarism and copyright infringement and implied both to be a matter of protecting egos and personas as an individual rights issue.

Plagiarism = Copyright Violation = Failure to be original

It was a very tough discussion because they were very suspicious to find one single instructor (i.e. me) telling them that pure originality is not the basis of science or creative life (indeed, isn't even possible), and that plagiarism is not a legal construct and should not be imagined in that way.

Re:They need more than that. (2, Insightful)

LynnwoodRooster (966895) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014676)

I got not a single paper that understood the difference, despite having spent time going over the topic already

That's what happens when everybody Google's the same terms and uses those same first 10 sources for their research...

Re:They need more than that. (1)

MobyDisk (75490) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015418)

mod parent up. This seemingly snarky comment is very insightful. Teachers often complain about the use of Wikipedia and the internet in general, but they often complain for the wrong reasons. There is nothing wrong with using these sources. What is bad is when those sources are the only ones they use. We are starting to become a search mono-culture: Google is so good that everyone uses it, so everyone gets the same results. This makes it possible for some corporation or blogger with an extremist opinion to game the search results and draw unwarranted attention.

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (1)

forand (530402) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012976)

This makes me sad. I have yet to teach many undergrad courses and I am in the hard sciences but it frightens me if I am going to have to deal with people who think they can reinvent the wheel much less all of physics just to not be "thieves."

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (4, Interesting)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012984)

Vice-versa I was visiting an engineering school, and the students came-up with a very ingenious idea to convert tidal waves into air motion and then electricity (via windmill action). I asked where they got the idea, and they said they saw it on the internet.

Yes they copied the idea, but so what? That's how science advances. One guy has an idea and ~10,000 other guys work to perfect it and make it reality. As you said, as long as they cite it, I have no problem with it. "Stable ownership is the gift of social law, and is given late in the progress of society. It would be curious then, if an idea, the fugitive fermentation of an individual brain, could, of natural right, be claimed in exclusive and stable property. If nature has made any one thing less susceptible than all others of exclusive property, it is the action of the thinking power called an idea, which an individual may exclusively possess as long as he keeps it to himself; but the moment it is divulged, it forces itself into the possession of every one, and the receiver cannot dispossess himself of it.

"Its peculiar character, too, is that no one possesses the less, because every other possesses the whole of it. He who receives an idea from me, receives instruction himself without lessening mine; as he who lights his taper at mine, receives light without darkening me. That ideas should freely spread from one to another over the globe, for the moral and mutual instruction of man, and improvement of his condition, seems to have been peculiarly and benevolently designed by nature, when she made them, like fire, expansible over all space, without lessening their density in any point, and like the air in which we breathe, move, and have our physical being, incapable of confinement or exclusive appropriation. Inventions then cannot, in nature, be a subject of property." - Thomas Jefferson in the 1780s

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (3, Insightful)

orasio (188021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013910)

Every time I see someone from two centuries ago respond so clearly to the dumbasses that rule today, I get more convinced that the world is advancing in the wrong direction.

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (2, Interesting)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013024)

There is little sanity and a lot of craziness coming out of the discourse on X, and we're going to see it affect us

Corrected. Replace X with "IP", "climate change", "economy", "healthcare", "drugs", "terrorism", "the tube network"...

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (1)

croftj (2359) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013578)

Your comment sounds like the democrats and republicans fighting over every stinkin' piece of legislation that has gone through congress over the last 12 years. Two sides each standing as far to the extreme as possible making stupid if not totally wrong and invalid arguments on how they are right and the other side is wrong.

Sadly, I don't see it stopping anytime soon.

Re:I teach at university and am constantly fightin (1)

orasio (188021) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013988)

The other half of the students, steeped in remix and sampling culture and fancying themselves anti-IP warriors, routinely copy and paste without citing, then give me lectures about how IP is coming to dominate society. They intentionally refuse to cite out of a misguided sense of activism and as a result flunk assignments and even classes and are referred to disciplinary bodies where they presumably make the same arguments.

I don't think it's a misguided sense of activism.
While plagiarism is almost unanimously regarded as a bad thing, what you describe is typical activism. They are pushing the boundaries, going too forward in some cases, and suffering the consequences. They might be on to something. At least, the situation can't get any worse.

nothing is original (1)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014910)

everything we say do and think is built on the bones of our ancestors

in that respect, if you talk about anything being original, what you really mean is it "significantly expands" upon existing work

human culture science and thought are all branches on a tree. and like any tree, some tiny twigs turn into mighty trunks that in turn support their own twigs, while other twigs fail to thrive or break and fall off

the tree of memes is the same as the tree of genes: constant innovation, most of it misguided, but a spare few leading to the next big thing

nothing is ever original. all you can ever do is expand on what came before, and that is all you should ever aim to do in your life. but don't fool yourself: if it wasn't for who came before you and what they did, what you do would be impossible to do

note i am not excusing the losers who only imitate or coopt someone else's work as their own. but sometimes, good ideas are forgotten, and it takes someone to rediscover them and, on their own, discover they are important (and don't deserve to be forgotten) and to then shout about them to gain the prominence those forgotten or muted ideas deserve

and while this kind of copying is not as noble as original discovery, it is just as important and just as valid a way to contribute to the world. this applies to culture and science. is darwin less of a thinker because he reimagined and remixed the idea of evolution that was already realized but not as expounded upon by many others before him and many of his contemporaries? sometimes, who gets attributed for an idea many others have already realized is simply because they are the ones who first shouted about it the loudest, and then, because of thwm, the idea catches on like wildfire, even though they themselves weren't original in the strictest sense of the word

is gore verbinski less of a moviemaker because he reimagined the japanese "ringu" as "the ring" (which some say is superior to the original)?

is hideo nakata less of a storyteller because he only made a movie of koji suzuki's book (but he popularized it globally because he made such a scary good movie)?

and is koji suzuki just a hack writer because he took some medieval japanese folklore and a canadian film and remixed it as ringu (but of course, it was his contribution to remix like this, and add the idea of a vhs tape, modern technology, being a ghost's manifestation (which is also an idea that has also been explored by others))?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Banch%C5%8D_Sarayashiki [wikipedia.org]

Once there was a beautiful servant named Okiku. She worked for the samurai Aoyama Tessan. Okiku often refused his amorous advances, so he tricked her into believing that she had carelessly lost one of the family's ten precious delft plates. Such a crime would normally result in her death. In a frenzy, she counted and recounted the nine plates many times. However, she could not find the tenth and went to Aoyama in guilty tears. The samurai offered to overlook the matter if she finally became his lover, but again she refused. Enraged, Aoyama threw her down a well to her death.
It is said that Okiku became a vengeful spirit who tormented her murderer by counting to nine and then making a terrible shriek to represent the missing tenth plate - or perhaps she was tormented herself and still trying to find the tenth plate but crying out in agony when she never could. In some versions of the story, this torment continued until an exorcist or neighbor shouted "ten" in a loud voice at the end of her count. Her ghost, finally relieved that someone had found the plate for her, haunted the samurai no more.

*ring* *ring*... "seven days..."

http://www.terrortrap.com/ghostmovies/changeling/ [terrortrap.com]

Another clue that came up in the tape of the seance was the word "well," so John concludes it must be the spot where Joseph's body was buried.

He finds that a well nearby now has a house built over it. The woman that lives there initially denies John the right to dig up the floor in one of the bedrooms, but changes her mind when her daughter has nightmares of a dead boy coming up out of it. John and Claire do indeed find the bones of a child, and when John goes back for a second visit, he finds a medallion with the name Joseph Patrick Carmichael inscribed on it.

everything everyone ever does is never original. but you always add something of yourself into what came before. so your contributions matter, sometimes a hell of a lot

people really need to lose the bullshit false test of "originality". it is a false concept

See? (1, Redundant)

Nugoo (1794744) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012648)

See? We can make up numbers too!

Bad comparison (2, Insightful)

epte (949662) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012728)

The assumption is to compare against $0 revenue for unfair use. But isn't it myopic to rely on the term "revenue" instead of "value"? It implies a suboptimization of the entertainment industry, instead of optimizing the whole.

Don't you have to instead compare against the value generated for society as a whole? If it generates $10 trillion in value to society for moderate unfair use, then that changes the picture a little.

I Am Not An Economist (obviously)

Re:Bad comparison (1)

sourcerror (1718066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013120)

If you were an economist you knew, that we cannot measure the value of things that are not paid for. (It doesn't mean it's worthless.)

As stupid as the exaggerated piracy claims (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32012744)

You cannot draw a parallel between revenue generated by companies that manufacture products and services that *may* benefit from fair use and the total revenue that is generated by those companies.. Its as absurd as the claims made by RIAA.. The broad strokes used by the study combined with almost laughable conclusions are an embarrasement to the computre industry they claim to represent.

Re:As stupid as the exaggerated piracy claims (3, Insightful)

monkeythug (875071) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014224)

In fact the whole point of this report is the highlight the absurdity of the claims made by the RIAA/MPAA. It deliberately uses the exact same methodology, where in the *AA case it assumes that all revenue generated by creative industries is attributable to the existence of copyright law - this report applies the same thinking to fair use.

The idea is to point out that even by the *AA's own calculations the economy benefits far more from exceptions to copyright law than it does from copyright law itself.

Public Domain has benefitted Disney the most (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32012772)

Yet Disney destroys the public domain?

Maybe we shouldn't let those with simply a profit centric outlook dictate how the rest of us live.

Re:Public Domain has benefitted Disney the most (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013818)

profit centric outlook

Microsoft?

Woot let 'em kill fair use (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32012872)

To kill the US economy!

Down with you, imperialist assholes.
Down with you, devil's warfare machine

Fuck America
Fuck Americans

Fair use vs Copyright length (3, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012928)

Originally the length of time a Copyright was valid for was 14 years. This allowed publishing and distribution in a world of Ox carts and sailing ships. One would only reason that with instant, world wide "content" distribution, it should be much less now. Say 1 or 2 years. This would be enough to extract money from the general public before the real purpose of Copyright law which is to put all creative works into the public domain would come into effect.

Now with the post Eldridge Mickey Mouse forever life + 75 years as the term, and the whole reason of copyright law being twisted into some ownership of "content" forever which is exactly the opposite of it's intent, we need "fair use" and "net neutrality".

What really is needed though, is to fix copyright and patent law so the time limit of protection is only a year or two, and return to it's original purpose of bringing all of these works into the public domain where they belong!

Re:Fair use vs Copyright length (2, Insightful)

Aladrin (926209) | more than 4 years ago | (#32012994)

I think 2 years is too little. That's enough for the giants to make their money, but is unfair to the small publishers and self-publishers. It effectively creates a barrier to entry into the arts.

Re:Fair use vs Copyright length (1)

tkrotchko (124118) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013184)

I think 14 years is probably about right.

It seems to me that our current view of copyright is that it somehow establishes "ownership" of a work, which is an interesting idea if you think about it. Copyright should encourage a view that promotes what the name implies: it gives me exclusive copying rights to a work for a moderate time period.

Re:Fair use vs Copyright length (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013792)

Well, let's take the original 14 years and be extremely generous and give them an extra 6 years, which is nearly 43% more than what copyrights intended in the first place. After all 20 years is a nice round number but it's still a lot better than the mess we're in right now.

If you can't make profits in the first 20 years, you won't make any after that either. And just to be sure, let's make breaking DRM legal on works 20 years old or more. Let's also make it an obligation to release the DRM encryption method for those works.

Re:Fair use vs Copyright length (4, Insightful)

mangu (126918) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013874)

let's make breaking DRM legal on works 20 years old or more. Let's also make it an obligation to release the DRM encryption method for those works

Better to make DRM and copyright mutually exclusive. If you use DRM you don't need the legal protection of copyright.

Re:Fair use vs Copyright length (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014992)

If you make them exclusive, you give them the best loophole they could possibly want.

Copyright = 14 (or 20) years of protection. After that the works go into the public domain. That's the original idea of copyrights and that's a fair case of artists profits vs the public domain.

DRM = it's illegal to break it, there's no time limit on the protection, the works never enter the public domain, you lose control over where and how you can access the works. The perfect solution for the MPAA/RIAA/etc because they get everything and we get nothing.

I'm fine w/ copyrights lasting longer than 14 yrs (1)

Benfea (1365845) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013382)

I am not fine with copyrights extending past the life of the creator. I also think copyrights should belong solely to the creator(s) and be non-transferable. Big content corporations can still make money without holding the copyrights themselves.

meaningless (0, Troll)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013054)

Ghetto baby-momas last year generated $17-B in shop_lifting profits for their neighborhoods. Plenty to keep Jane-da-krak-ho and Slimp-da-pimp in business. Thieving is a very efficient & self.reinforcing value redistribution system.

Illegal Drugs (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32013164)

Illegal drugs generates 10.8 Billion dollars for the U.S. Economy. 1 in 5 people benefit from the movement of drug money. Pulling numbers out of your ass makes for interesting articles. Lies, damn lies and statistics.

We'll be sorry characters... (1)

greatgreygreengreasy (706454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013226)

...protected for 80 years past the life of our Creator.

Our founding fathers only worried.... (1)

croftj (2359) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013450)

about us being enslaved by the government. I'm sure they had no qualms about us being enslaved by our corporate leaders.

Now bow down and submit to our corporate benefactors and overlords.

Leave network neutrality out of this (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 4 years ago | (#32013454)

The fight to truly codify what fair use is into law will be hard enough. It doesn't need the network neutrality anchor around its neck. The two are unrelated issues. It's possible to have a very non-neutral network with regard to what protocols can be used at what times and still have fair use legally protected; it's possible to have an entirely neutral network and have no legal right to fair use.

Re:Leave network neutrality out of this (1)

scorp1us (235526) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014714)

Right on! Lets level the transport of content out from the content itself. The two are separate issues. Your ability to legally transfer content is not restricted by the speed at which you get it. That would be like saying "all downloads under 10kb/s are legally obtained." Clearly, transfer speed does not confer a right or permission.

$4 Trillion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32014632)

Is this paper, digital, or fictitious capital. Where is it vanishing too?

but for who? (1)

nazsco (695026) | more than 4 years ago | (#32014966)

even if it generates the value mentioned, it's for apple and korea selling ipods. not for the artists.

As a musician (1)

Sta7ic (819090) | more than 4 years ago | (#32015496)

As an open-mic musician who gets up and plays for fun, I'm not surprised by the dollar value for businesses affected by fair use. Karaoke, open mic, folk music, classical music, 'expired' music, etc, all ends up being used in a small or large part by a huge number of companies. Who owns the copyright for Vivaldi's orchestrations? Mozart's compositions?

'Fair use' is what lets me get up and play 'Rare Old Times', 'Whiskey in the Jar', or 'Black Velvet Band' in front of a small crowd without worrying if ASCAP or the like has someone fishing for royalty violations ~ which did happen in my little 100k population city a few years back and turned a lot of businesses off from allowing live music.

Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?

Submission Text Formatting Tips

We support a small subset of HTML, namely these tags:

  • b
  • i
  • p
  • br
  • a
  • ol
  • ul
  • li
  • dl
  • dt
  • dd
  • em
  • strong
  • tt
  • blockquote
  • div
  • quote
  • ecode

"ecode" can be used for code snippets, for example:

<ecode>    while(1) { do_something(); } </ecode>