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The Rise of the Copyright Trolls

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the encouraging-champarty dept.

The Courts 169

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "In the new mass filesharing suit brought in Washington, DC, on behalf of a filmmaker, Achte/Neunte v. Does 1-2094, the Electronic Frontier Foundation, Public Citizen, and two ACLU organizations have filed an amicus curiae brief supporting a motion by Time Warner to quash the subpoena. EFF commented: 'We've long been concerned that some attorneys would attempt to create a business by cutting corners in mass copyright lawsuits against fans, shaking settlements out of people who aren't in a position to raise legitimate defenses and becoming a category of 'copyright trolls' to rival those seen in patent law.'" And reader ericgoldman notes a case that arguably falls under the same umbrella: "Sherman Frederick, publisher of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, wrote a blog post declaring 'Copyright theft: We're not taking it anymore.' Apparently upset that third-party websites are republishing its stories in full, the newspaper 'grubstaked and contracted with a company called Righthaven ... a local technology company whose only job is to protect copyrighted content.' Righthaven has brought 'about 22' lawsuits on behalf of the newspaper, including lawsuits against marijuana- and gambling-related websites. Frederick hopes 'if Righthaven shows continued success, that it will find other clients looking for a solution to the theft of copyrighted material' and ends his 'editorial' (or is it an ad?) inviting other newspapers to become Righthaven customers. A couple of months back Wendy Davis of MediaPost deconstructed some of Frederick's logic gaps."

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Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457928)

If one equates copyright infringement with theft, he or she is either trolling of ignorant. The same goes for "think of the poor starving artists, homeless in their nansions", "I don't just have a monopoly, I own the work itself", etc.

Of course, many of these aren't trolls but astroturfing. Sadly, the trolls seem to be winning on all fronts -- copyright trolls, patent trolls, and slashdot trolls.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (3, Insightful)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458148)

But it can have the same effect on a newspaper or a blog. They make money when people look at ads or buy subscriptions. If you reproduce a large part of the article or somehow intercept the readers, it has the same effect as stealing some money directly from their bank account. So you can quibble over the word "theft", but the comptroller who needs to issue the paychecks and the people who have to write their mortgage checks feel the same thing.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (-1, Flamebait)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458430)

"If you reproduce a large part of the article or somehow intercept the readers, it has the same effect as stealing some money directly from their bank account."

Prove it -- prove that if I distribute a copy of some article, it will result in money being lost on the part of the newspaper. Prove that the people reading my copy of the article would have otherwise paid money for it.

This has been said a thousand times over, but somehow, nobody ever seems to get it.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (3, Informative)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458632)

For the sake of argument, consider that search engines aren't perfect, and people often click based on SE captions of hits.

You're a newspaper that uses GoogleAds. You're also the original author and copyright holder of an article. Some other site with a name that suits someone better-- for whatever reason-- has the same article and that person clicks on that third party site-hosted article, instead of the 'original'. The newspaper loses the revenue associated with GoogleAds or whatever clicks that add to their advertiser demographics. They were robbed of the click. Clicks==revenue.

The other site has no license or authority to reproduce an article in whole. Fair use portions are perfectly acceptable. In the case where articles are lifted wholesale, attributed or not, in lieu of an authorization to do so, that site is misappropriating the copyrighted content.

The proof is in the dilution of money-producing clicks. Do you understand it now?

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (0)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458984)

You have failed to prove that people who are reading the articles on those websites would have otherwise read the articles on the newspaper's official site. What reason is there to believe that people are flocking to these unofficial websites, as opposed to them simply not reading the articles at all? Maybe everyone is too busy on their favorite social networking website. Maybe some random blogger's opinion seems more relevant to people than a journalist's.

So I'll ask you again: prove it.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (3, Insightful)

LordAndrewSama (1216602) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459540)

The fact that they have a revenue stream from the adverts is the evidence you need that people would otherwise have read the original work.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458658)

I routinely skip articles after reading summaries on BoingBoing. I don't read them on the original site even if I go to the site regularly. What kind of proof do you imagine?

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (4, Informative)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458728)

This has been said a thousand times over, but somehow, nobody ever seems to get it.

Well actually the newspapers have been losing money from the loss of ad sells. This has been very well documented and the primary reason being that advertisers will not spend money when readership is in decline. The reason readership is down is because the articles can be read elsewhere for free.

The reason newspapers are going to the "pay wall" system is that the only ones that benefit from banner ads is Google and bloggers with very little expenses. After all, how much does it cost to cut and paste? Google is like a casino. They don't care who wins or loses because they always get a share of the money. Bloggers are happy with the small amount of money they get because they don't have the expense. Newspapers are screwed because they spend money for the articles, and watch other people benefit from their work.

The problem is not the lack of proof.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (3, Interesting)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458156)

How about the "information wants to be free" trolls, who insist that just because something can be digitized, it has to be freely available to the masses?

Seems everyone is in either one extreme or the other. Whatever happened to moderation?

Moderation? (3, Insightful)

mister_playboy (1474163) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458190)

Whatever happened to moderation?

Moderate posts tend to go unmoderated on /. Where's the fun in that? :)

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458242)

Yes, "information wants to be free" trolls like Thomas Jefferson.

Expansive copyright interferes with free speech in general, political discourse and basic academic pursuits. It also allows for Big Media to bully new talent.

The Review-Journal is more in danger of becoming irrelevant than "stolen from".

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (4, Informative)

brit74 (831798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458706)

Yes, "information wants to be free" trolls like Thomas Jefferson.

Jefferson supported copyright. Yes, he supported a shorter version of copyright than we currently see, but don't try to co-opt Jefferson into some extreme "information wants to be free" supporter - which, by definition, requires that Jefferson opposed any form of copyright.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

arose (644256) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459246)

What would that definition be? There is nothing contradictory about a "information wants to be free, artists want to eat, let's balance the two position", which a reasonably short period of limited copyright represents.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459426)

A shorter copyright term is only important when we're talking about battles over things like Mickey Mouse. The news is rarely valuable after one month .

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458334)

Obviously you are one of those trolls since I claim rights on that statement and by not paying me you are more or less stealing that money from my bank account. Thief!

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

jgagnon (1663075) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458444)

By definition, there are no "moderate activists". So nobody is pushing the cause of moderation.

It's a vicious circle of mediocrity. ;)

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (2, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458488)

You know, I can still remember a time when the Web and the Internet in general were being hailed as the coming of a golden age of information availability, where people would be able to find information faster than ever before. What happened to that view of the Internet?

Oh, that's right, a group of people whose businesses are based on information not being available started suing people left and right.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (2, Interesting)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459466)

The information-must-be-free folks have already put a number of newspapers out of business and reduced the headcount at many others. So who's really reducing the available information.

Paywalls don't restrict access to paying customers, just those who don't want to pull their weight.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (4, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458910)

Information doesn't want to be free, but when it isn't, neither are you.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458362)

If one equates copyright infringement with theft, he or she is either trolling of ignorant.

So you are saying if I disagree with you then I *must* be a troll because you are obviously right...

Republishing stories in full without crediting the original author is plagiarism. Basically taking someone else's work and passing them off as their own in order to garner hits, elevate the status of their blog, and possibly earn some revenue from Google advertising.

Even if they give proper credit to the original author, they are republishing the work without the author's consent which equals copyright infringement.

Copyrights exist to protect the works of the authors. The author had to spend money to research their articles and should expect some protection from poachers. I see nothing wrong with fair use that republishes a small portion of the article with a link to the full article, but to republish a significant portion of an article is not only bad manners it's also copyright infringement which is a crime.

The fact that copyright infringement does not equate to what is traditionally thought of as theft does not make copyright infringement any less wrong or any less of a crime. Save your strawman arguments for another time. This has nothing to do with your addiction to share MP3s.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

DJRumpy (1345787) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458730)

And yet you yourself don't use the word 'theft' to describe the same situation, but rather you chose to use 'plagiarism'.

"Republishing stories in full without crediting the original author is plagiarism. Basically taking someone else's work and passing them off as their own in order to garner hits, elevate the status of their blog, and possibly earn some revenue from Google advertising."

Copyright Infringement is NOT theft. The owner of said works can open up their hard drive, safe, or wherever they keep the original and verify it is still there. You can argue that by infringing on their work, you are 'stealing' money from them, yet the money has to exist in their accounts before it can be stolen.

Are these copyright owners suffering financial damage from infringement? Possibly yes, but calling it theft is inaccurate. These people are infringing on a copyrighted work. No more, no less. To be fair, OP did imply that the 'starving artists, homeless in their nansions' were acting like martyrs when they are more than likely far from it, but in any case, it is not theft.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459088)

You skipped over my quote in the same comment:

The fact that copyright infringement does not equate to what is traditionally thought of as theft does not make copyright infringement any less wrong or any less of a crime. Save your strawman arguments for another time. This has nothing to do with your addiction to share MP3s.

So what was your point?

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

mpeskett (1221084) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459564)

His point was that copyright infringement is a different crime from theft. Or if that wasn't his point then it's one I'd like to make.

The two things are both illegal, may well both result in financial damage to the victim, bear a certain sort of superficial resemblance, but they aren't the same crime. They don't carry the same punishment (bizarrely the less direct one tends to be punished more harshly, though less often) they aren't seen the same way in public opinion, they are not the same thing.

So it's quite perfectly possible to have a reasoned debate about whether copying should be legalised (making it non-infringing) without that argument also supporting theft being legalised. I for one would support a drastic reduction in the length of copyright terms, to preserve the right to make a buck on your work without depriving the public domain of what would otherwise have been public property (works on which the copyright has expired) for decades/centuries after the creative work was done.

Wait... did I say reasoned debate? I meant hate-filled shouting match. I must be new here.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

toriver (11308) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458842)

YES it does make it less a crime since theft is a criminal offense but copyright infringement is a civil offense.

The "copyright infringement is theft" crowd seems to use the amusing logic that since they both are illegal they must be comparable. Yet they would not equate speeding with serial rape.

Please cite a copyright case where the defendant was accused of theft, then we can say they have been equated.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459056)

YES it does make it less a crime since theft is a criminal offense but copyright infringement is a civil offense.

From the Copyright Law FAQ, by Terry Carroll:

3.3) Is copyright infringement a crime, or a civil matter?

It's always at least a civil matter (a tort). 17 U.S.C. 501(b) details the mechanisms by which an owner of a copyright may file a civil suit, and 28 U.S.C. 1338 expressly refers to civil actions arising under the copyright act.

However, under certain circumstances, it may also be a federal crime. A copyright infringement is subject to criminal prosecution if infringement is willful and for purposes of commercial advantage or private financial gain. 17 U.S.C. 506(a). If the offense consists of the reproduction or distribution, during any 180-day period, of 10 or more copies having a retail value of more than $2,500, the offense is a felony; otherwise, the offense is a misdemeanor. 18 U.S.C. 2319.

As a side note, although 18 U.S.C. 2319 purports to prescribe the penalties for criminal infringement, all crimes covered by Title 18 have their penalties determined by the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines, another part of Title 18.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459566)

That's like claiming that sex is a criminal offense, because some very specific instances of sex are criminal offenses. Copyright infringement is not a criminal offense, profiteering from copyright infringement is, just as sex is not a criminal offense, but rape is.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459456)

Republishing stories in full without crediting the original author is plagiarism

Yes, and I hate plagiarism too; about ten years ago I wrote something that may have been the most plagiarized piece on the internet, but that's not what I was referring to.

And I'm for copyright, although against the extreme times copyrights are granted for these days, and think that non-plagiarising, non-commercial use should be noninfringing.

But copyright infringement is NOT theft. Nor is it rape, nor is it a red canary. Calling it "theft" is either a lie, or ignorant.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

Smauler (915644) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459504)

The fact that copyright infringement does not equate to what is traditionally thought of as theft does not make copyright infringement any less wrong or any less of a crime.

Ummm... I think you'll find it does. One necessarily deprives the owner of something, the other does not. One is a criminal offense, the other is not.

easy solutions (1)

chronoss2010 (1825454) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458402)

one guy at the cbc page lost it claiming that its a RIGHT GRANTED TO THEM NOT US funny cause who exactly gave him any rights? IT was WE THE PEOPLE THAT GAVE YOU THE RIGHT AND IF ENOUGH OF US GET SICK AND TIRED OF IT We can completely remove copyright and then what will lil artists say when you argue and fight the majority you will lose

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

EvilBudMan (588716) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458562)

Yeah, we'll lets think about software patents for a minute....Why? It's totally insane and so is this. Yep, the US is going down the tubes without anyone else left. OK we will have a depression followed by global war. The human race cannot stand another world war so we need to get our stuff together and get rid of nonsense like this.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (1)

Chowderbags (847952) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458854)

Trolls trolling trolls troll trolls trolling trolls.

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459392)

Wow! You just insulted anyone who disagrees with you, and shot down every argument against your argument without ever actually stating what your argument is.

Say hi to everyone at the next Tea Party for me!

Re:Different kind of copyright trolls on /. (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459704)

only dumbass fuckwit hippies here at slashpiracy are fucking stupid enoguh to think that anyone who doesnt think that "Information should be teh free!!!111111" is a troll.

Fucking grow up kiddies.
And worshipping this pathetic fake lawyer who only posts this drivel to drive ad impressions to his crappy blog is just sad.

heh (3, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457946)

Frederick hopes 'if Righthaven shows continued success, that it will find other clients looking for a solution to the theft of copyrighted material' and ends his 'editorial' (or is it an ad?) inviting other newspapers to become Righthaven customers.

So, is this possibly a Glenn Beck/Goldline [yahoo.com] type of situation?

Copyright trolls or enforcers (2, Informative)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32457994)

The summary seems to be abusing the negativity around patent trolls and the actions of the companies in question.

This isn't companies sitting on pools of copyrighted content they've no intent to distribute. This is companies hiring a third party to protect their material.

Lots of small companies can't afford their own legal teams to protect themselves so it makes sense to outsource this type of thing.

"Protection" (5, Interesting)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458122)

It is interesting that you use the word "protect" to describe the activities of these companies. What exactly are they protecting? It is not the works themselves -- the works are protected by being distributed as widely as possible, so that they do not become lost or forgotten.

What is being "protected" here is an out of date business model, created in an era where making a high quality copy required specialized and expensive equipment. Now things are different, and less than a week's pay at minimum wage is sufficient to make perfect copies of music or movies, and the practice is widespread. Instead of updating business models to reflect the reality of the 21st century, what are these companies doing? Attacking people and attacking technology, hoping to turn back the clock.

Why should we feel sympathy for companies that engage in that sort of behavior? These companies are not protecting anything, they are just trying to scare people away from modern technology through malicious litigation, and trying to turn a profit in that process. I feel no sympathy for them, and I certainly won't defend their abuse of the American judicial system by suggesting that they are "protecting" anything.

Re:"Protection" (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458406)

When will one of you offer a system that compensates the creator of the content?

You focus on the making of copies because it is easy for you to argue, but you always start from the point where the content already exists.

Re:"Protection" (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458470)

The creator could attempt to ensure / acquire compensation before creating the content.
In other words "donate $500 and I'll write a new song".

Re:"Protection" (1)

Dorkmaster Flek (1013045) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458564)

This is essentially what I was thinking of as a solution to this problem. Obviously, we cannot turn back the technological clock, and people will never ever ever stop sharing digital content. It's just human nature. In addition, duplication of content once it's created is so trivial and cheap it's basically a non-issue. However, the initial production of that content is what takes time and resources. So it seems to me that this is the actual problem we need to solve, not how to "protect" that content once it's created and loose in the wild.

Re:"Protection" (1)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458794)

I can see people saying "never ever stop sharing" after a fun looting episode during the 70s or after Katrina. But people stop when the stores go out of business. And they'll stop "sharing" when the newspapers go out of business too. Then whatever news there is will be kept behind closed walls.

Re:"Protection" (1)

MadKeithV (102058) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458836)

That's the same argument as the peak oil thing though. As content becomes scarcer, it becomes more valuable again too, and new opportunities (with probably entirely different business models) will open up.

Re:"Protection" (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458858)

"they'll stop "sharing" when the newspapers go out of business too."

Why? People will just find a new source for their news. Now that we have a massive, globally deployed network that enables fast communication, news spreads quickly. Of course, good, solid journalism is another story, but the age of greed based journalism is at its end. It is time for a new system to be devised, where journalists are paid for their work without having to rely on the scarcity of information.

Re:"Protection" (3, Interesting)

rattaroaz (1491445) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458724)

This was the model for creative art for hundreds of years. There were patrons, who sponsored commission on a work. Afterwards, the patron owned the work, but the rest of the world got to appreciate it. In other words, the patron could use it for whatever purpose they wanted, but the rest of the world could only use it for viewing (modern equivalent of non-commercial purposes imo). The flaw in using this model in the modern era, is that neither group can make sick money. Honest living, yes. Sick money, no.

Re:"Protection" (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459102)

Yeah, those were the days! Back when governments were monarchies, women had no rights, and men could own slaves. Sometimes the patron model just sounds an awful lot like "make somebody else pay for my entertainment".

Re:"Protection" (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459214)

Those were also the days of the rise of science and the scientific method, the invention of printing press, and the beginnings of the industrial revolution. I suppose all those things should be done away with, simply because they happened at the same time as the negative things you mentioned?

Re:"Protection" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459444)

Well, I can tell you this.. The printing press did a hell of a lot more to end those things than copyright restrictions ever have. In fact, it was the monarchs who instituted copyright... to protect the slave owners, and themselves from widespread criticism.. The printing press presented a grave danger to their authority.

Re:"Protection" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458574)

When will one of you offer a system that compensates the creator of the content?

You focus on the making of copies because it is easy for you to argue, but you always start from the point where the content already exists.

live music and merch.... like in the old days.

Re:"Protection" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458964)

It's the content creator the one who has to find a way to get a compensation for his work and to make his business work.
Their current business model is falling apart because it's full of shit and nobody wants to pay outrageous prices for small value. It's an overpriced business and every potential client sees it.

It's obvious to anyone that the copyright holders, who are not content creators, have gained too much money with their overpriced business and are using it to buy laws to extend the monopoly they have on content to be able to charge outrageous prices for content that was created once and want to be paid for it all eternity.

Their business model is doomed because people, their customers, have to work every day to get money to live. And are pissed by the idea of paying the price they are asked for something that was made many years ago. Everyone would like to work only a day and live with the income generated by this one day of work, but it's not possible.

So, fsck the content creators. Find a job that pays for working every day and realize that the money you are trying to steal from people is hard to get with real work.

Re:"Protection" (3, Insightful)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458548)

What is being "protected" here is an out of date business model, created in an era where making a high quality copy required specialized and expensive equipment.

You've seem to left out the part that includes money being spent to pay the reporter's salary and his travel expenses. Not to mention the salaries of the support staff that doesn't include distribution.

It appears that the business model that you support involves taking someone else's work, republish it, garner web hits for free, and cash the check from Google. This doesn't sound like a sustainable business model. Of course, you are preserving the work itself by helping it being distributed to a wider audience. This is a flimsy moral argument that ignores the original author's intent or the need to sustain the actual sources of these articles.

Why does it appear that the "new business model" is parasitic? How does this model continue when the host dies?

Re:"Protection" (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458744)

Maybe newspapers could refuse to publish stories unless a certain number of people subscribe? Or, perhaps it is time to change the system at a more fundamental level, and not have news be treated as a business, but as a public service?

Yeah, that second one sounds nice. A system where the public pays for the news. Where the law protects the public's interest in having access to reliable news, rather than putting the public in danger if they dare to disseminate the news further. Or, if the thought of the government paying for news makes you uncomfortable, perhaps it is time for the general public to set up a source of financing that is independent from the government, to pay for news. You know, the people looking out for their own interests.

It is interesting how you dismiss a moral argument as "flimsy," and then present a greed based argument as the solution. Last I checked, the most successful news-driven-by-profit-motive operation was Fox News; do you want to see all news sources degenerate to that level?

Re:"Protection" (1)

lymond01 (314120) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459108)

A system where the public pays for the news.

Like NPR?

I hear what you're saying about people protecting their wallets, not their content. And because people need to eat, these newspapers, movie moguls, songwriters still need the money, not just your interest. In terms of online news, much of it is paid for through advertising. So if people aren't going to that particular site because they're reading it elsewhere, that newspaper isn't making money. If there was a technological way of having the attribution follow the article no matter where it is, that would be something. But in the world of cut and paste text, or rip and replay movies, I don't see that as possible. You're back to fundamental funding.

Music is similar -- to really make a living as a musician you need marketing, and that's really what the RIAA is charging for. Sure they shell out 10K or whatever to record a simple album, but it's the 100K to millions of dollars they spend on advertising to get you to buy that album that concerns them. In a world where people don't have to pay for food, a musician could play because he wants to be heard, or feel the applause, etc. Now, they are recorded and sit back and collect their pennies (with the occasional tour if you're huge). But rich and famous musicians are rare. Most musicians [citation needed] I imagine are those you see in bars and other venues who make $2-300 a night having fun or trying to be heard by some studio exec.

Patronage is fine. But money is important.

Re:"Protection" (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459300)

Maybe newspapers could refuse to publish stories unless a certain number of people subscribe?

Sounds unrealistic, and a catch 22. How can you attract subscribers without stories? How can you publish stories without subscribers?

Now if only there was a way you could publish a story and have people come to your site and actually read it. But we need to make sure no one else poaches our story and reap the rewards of our hard work. If only there was a way of doing just that... oh right it's called copyright.

Or, perhaps it is time to change the system at a more fundamental level, and not have news be treated as a business, but as a public service?

Well I'm actually in favor of that. And there are non-profit news organizations being formed that accept donations to collect news stories so that they can be republished by other outlets. But this doesn't take away the for-profit news organization right to protect their works.

Vote with your wallet. Bloggers should support the non-profit news sources and stop plagiarizing the corporate sites. This would also have the added benefit of getting the word out about the non-profit.

This leaves the corporate sites with providing value added in-depth news articles, and the only way to support that model is to actually enforce the current copyright laws.

It is interesting how you dismiss a moral argument as "flimsy," and then present a greed based argument as the solution. Last I checked, the most successful news-driven-by-profit-motive operation was Fox News; do you want to see all news sources degenerate to that level?

That's a strawman argument. No one talking about the quality of the news, just the enforcement of copyright. In fact, your example lends credence to what I've been saying all along. The more valuable a source (by reputation) the more likely it will plagiarized. Fox News is successful because they offer biased news to the "unwashed" masses, yet don't worry too much from plagiarizers because no real research went in their articles anyway.

Re:"Protection" (-1, Troll)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458668)

Yeah, getting paid for your work is so out of date! Those actors, photographers, musicians, writers and so on should all be grateful that I deem their lowly works worthy of my time!

You're also forgetting that copyright law is vitally important to the GPL and creative commons too.

Re:"Protection" (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458814)

"Yeah, getting paid for your work is so out of date!"

Where did I say people should not get paid? I have no problem with people getting paid for their work. My problem is that these companies are attacking the general public. As far as I am concerned, it is time to find a new way to pay journalists and artists. "You're also forgetting that copyright law is vitally important to the GPL and creative commons too."

Please point out where I said we should repeal copyright law. All I said was that it is time for the focus to shift away from greed and toward improving the public's ability to access creative works.

Re:"Protection" (0, Troll)

brit74 (831798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458926)

Where did I say people should not get paid? I have no problem with people getting paid for their work.

You implied it by undermining the system whereby creators can get paid.

As far as I am concerned, it is time to find a new way to pay journalists and artists.

If you're undermining the copyright system whereby creators get paid, and not suggesting any alternatives, then, yes, you are undermining people's ability to get paid. One of my irritations is when people undermine copyright but don't suggest alternatives or suggest bad alternatives, and act like they're being reasonable.

Please point out where I said we should repeal copyright law.

It's implied in your comment.

All I said was that it is time for the focus to shift away from greed and toward improving the public's ability to access creative works.

Where did you say that?

Re:"Protection" (1)

arose (644256) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459470)

Yeah, getting paid for your work is so out of date!

Leaving the larger issue aside... Copies are not work.

Those actors, photographers, musicians, writers and so on should all be grateful that I deem their lowly works worthy of my time!

Acting is work, the DVDs containing a record of it are not. Photographing is work, prints are not. Composing, performing and singing is work, the CDs containing a record of them are not. Writing, editing and typesetting is work, the books themselves are not.

This does not address how any of the above should be compensated, but it gives a better perspective on the debate.

You're also forgetting that copyright law is vitally important to the GPL and creative commons too.

This is false. They are mostly a protection against overbearing copyright. Basically all of the CC licenses (besides the non-commercial one) can be satisfied by a copyright independent requirement to identify the original author(s). The GPL is bit more tricky, but in the end the only advantage to keeping the source secret would be the ability to say "I can modify this to suit your needs, for a modest charge, no one else can...". It would simply be a bad business decision to lock yourself into that. Besides that, binaries can still be dissembled to figure out their secrets and/or directly modified.

Re:"Protection" (1)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459022)

It seems as if people who claim to support GPL and other effective community-building copyright licenses that depend on the protections provided by copyright law also show blatant contempt for idea of copyright. I'm not talking about the irrational duration of copyright, but the idea that the creator of content should get to set the rules for use of his own content.

Maybe I'm wrong, and the people who don't respect copyright also don't give a crap about the GPL, but if I were to characterize the Slashdot community as a whole on this issue, I'd say it's two-faced.

I don't like the fact that movies are expensive. I don't like paying for news. But if I really want those things that cost money, I'll pay for them. If the content owner makes them available "for free" with advertising, that's even better. But the kneejerk reaction against lawyers who seek to prevent or obtain compensation from people who republish copyrighted material without permission (and especially those who SELL or get advertising revenue from the illegally published material) is appalling.

Re:"Protection" (3, Insightful)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459106)

Actually, the whole point of the GPL is that the authors of creative works should not retain absolute control over the distribution of the work. The fact that the GPL uses copyright law as a means to that end is entirely incidental; it would have been just as effective to rewrite the law itself to grant the public the same rights that the GPL grants.

The whole "GPL is built on copyrights, so free software supporters should not opposed other uses of the copyright system" is misleading and attempts to portray the GPL as another case of "creators get to decide the rules." The point of the GPL is to improve the public's access to software, and the philosophy is based on improving the public's access to information and creative works in general. Sure, dismantling the copyright system entirely, without creating a new set of laws protecting the public's access to creative works, would be a problem for free software supporters. Replacing the current copyright system with a new system that encourages sharing and increases the ability of people to find information, that is perfectly fine for a free software supporter.

Re:Copyright trolls or enforcers (2, Informative)

$RANDOMLUSER (804576) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458226)

Here's the (PDF warning) complaint [beckermanlegal.com] in case anyone's interested.

Here's my favorite quote:

Thus, a Defendant's distribution of even one unlawful copy of a motion picture can result in the nearly instantaneous worldwide distribution of that single copy to a limitless number of people.

Re:Copyright trolls or enforcers (3, Insightful)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458312)

You try to make it sound like its a fair game. Its not. Guilty or not, a lot of small people people cant afford to fight these attacks and why would they when everybody that has tried has gotten statutory damages awarded to the bullies in amounts that equate direct bankruptcy and do not even resemble fair compensation in way way. Smart legal people see a low cost moneymaking machine in these cases. Sue crap-ton of people on dubious proof, get a contact to go with that IP, that does NOT represent an individual in any way, shape or form and then extort settlements from as many as possible. Legal extortion. Retarded.

Re:Copyright trolls or enforcers (1)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458850)

You're right that the business game isn't easy for small entities, but it's not fair for them to take all of the advantages of small size without living with the disadvantages. These small bloggers constantly crow about being faster or better focused, but what the reason they're faster is that they don't do any of the work. The bloggers just summarize someone else's work. The bloggers seem to want to be considered to be just as powerful, just as insightful, just as innovative as the big corporations-- but they don't want to live with all of the legal rules that the big guys do.

If you're going to claim that you're just as cool as an official, old-school journalist, then you've got to live with the same rules as the old-school journalists.

that's the wrong issue (2, Interesting)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458418)

the issue is not the legitimacy or illegitimacy of the enforcers, the issue is the legitimacy or illegitimacy of what is being enforced

the very concept of copyright itself is coming under question as to its validity due to technological progress (the internet)

there is an entire body of legal status quo that was developed in an age of vcr tapes and vinyl records and xerox machines. much of it is fundamentally at odds with how the internet functions

such that renegade nongovernmental organizations exploiting this disconnect between legal status quo and technological status quo is genuinely dangerous

we are talking about the financial victimization of individuals of limited legal means who have committed no moral crime, but are simply riding the wave of technological progress... while being pulled down by an undertow of legal anachronism

much of ip law needs to be junked, due to the rise of the internet and the new status quo for how media is distributed. understandings of what is "right" and "wrong" based on dead technological eras are not valid. of course, they are still legally valid, and that's the whole problem with these free enterprise legal goon squads

Re:Copyright trolls or enforcers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458698)

Can you really defend the mass filesharing suit though? Its all well and good if the person accused is actually guilty but we all know that the technology for detecting filesharers is nowhere near 100% accurate. So while the ammount demanded to make the case go away is reasonable enough for a guilty person, fact of the matter is, its probably cheeper for an innocent person to pay the fine rather than hire a lawyer to defend them. Definetly as they also run the risk of being found guilty and paying a massive fine. To be honest if I were to get a letter tomorrow accusing me of downloading far cry (which I did not) I'm not sure if I'd fight it because fact of the matter is that I am legally responsible for my network, if a hacker downloaded it (although my network is obviously secured anyone who tells you their security is perfect is either an idiot or a lier) or a guest then its on me an I can't be 100% certain that that isn't the case. Even if I do fight it, fact of the matter is the very best I can hope for is that I'll be awarded lawyers fees, otherwise I will end up paying more to my lawyer than I would have to settle. How is this anything but exortion, the law firm can file thousands a law suits at the drop of the hat, sit back and wait to reap the profits.

Strange Bedfellows - Re:Copyright trolls or enforc (1)

dpilot (134227) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459082)

Does anyone else find it odd to see the EFF and MPAA on the same side for a court case?

The EFF's motivations I understand. I guess I need to RTFA, but my gut-level guess at the MPAA's motivation is, "Only big guys like us (MafiAA) who can afford a stable of lawyers and a few purchased legislators deserve copyright protection."

Jews (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458032)

You know what I'm talking about.

But it still hurts the newspaper (2, Interesting)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458068)

I know it's a complement and it's not as horrible as giving someone a complement by making out with their girlfriend, but it's still something that hurts the paper. If they don't get ad revenue, they die. If someone really wants to give someone a complement, they'll give a short teaser link with a suggestion to the reader to follow the link and read the piece. A long quote may not seem mean, but it still hurts.

Re:But it still hurts the newspaper (2, Insightful)

Rusty KB (1778458) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458136)

I don't know. If you complement someone by making out with their girlfriend, aren't you initiating a threesome? I'm not sure what that has to do with paper, bit I compliment you on your creativity!

Re:But it still hurts the newspaper (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458252)

If they are really worried about it, perhaps they should stop publishing their content on the Internet. Of course, that would kill them. So would a paywall.

They built their business in an age where creating copies of a newspaper required expensive equipment. That age is gone. To be perfectly honest, the age of "news as a business" is on its way out -- it is time for us to start looking at new ways to pay journalists for their services. Either that, or newspapers need to come up with a really good business model, one that is not based on attacking people who spread the news further.

Re:But it still hurts the newspaper (1)

biryokumaru (822262) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458848)

... it is time for us to start looking at new ways to pay journalists for their services.

It's called blogs. Look it up.

Re:But it still hurts the newspaper (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459172)

There are two issues I have with that:
  1. I have not seen many blogs that really fall into the category of "high quality journalism."
  2. Blogs are based on the same business model, and will suffer from the same problems.

I am thinking more in terms of a system where journalism is viewed as a public service, so the public pays for it, and the public has the right to copy and disseminate the news as much as they want. Instead of the law being used to limit the spread of that information, the law would be rewritten to prevent abuses of the system, and to ensure that the public has access to reliable and accurate news.

Re:But it still hurts the newspaper (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459316)

It's called blogs. Look it up.

Blogs: The epitome of journalism with integrity....

Re:But it still hurts the newspaper (1)

cornicefire (610241) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459568)

Most blogs I know just grab the work of others and pretend that they did some real work. Look at this brilliant blog post:

http://www.boingboing.net/2010/06/03/commercially-availab.html [boingboing.net]

The blogger wrote one sentence. Wow. I can't wait for bloggers to continue when they finally overthrow the evil mainstream media.

Can you say RIAA (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458150)

The copyright trolls have been with us for a while now.

Plaintiff is no member of the MPAA (2, Funny)

Mojo66 (1131579) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458182)

Obviously only Hollywood companies are allowed to sue american citizens for file sharing.

How can a blogger belive he can just copy an artic (3, Insightful)

TheSunborn (68004) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458194)

I really think the newspaper is right in this case and I can't belive why the blogger belive he is allowed to just put a copy of (large parts of) an article online on his own page. What he should do is to put a snippet(Normally the first paragraph or so) and then link to the newspaper. (Like google news does).

But when that is said, I still think that suing without even sending a warning is a bit aggresive.

Oh and the reason this kind of lawsuits are so seldom seen is that if the newspaper just send an takedown email, the article will normally be taken down, simply because the guy who put it up there normally know he has no right do so, so he will just take it down when asked.

Re:How can a blogger belive he can just copy an ar (1)

AlexiaDeath (1616055) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458436)

Takedown warning is fine. Even a suit against a single persistent copy-blogger is fine. Suing a crap-ton unnamed individuals is not.

Re:How can a blogger belive he can just copy an ar (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458932)

It seems odd that one is allowed to prevent a specific wording, no matter how large, from being spread by others.
Yes, prehaps it "protects" their model of income, perhaps it is necessary for them to continue with what they do. But do we really want it to be allowed to lock in information in that way? Does their income outweight the benefit to society?
If the information they provide is important enough to protect then it is probably too important not to spread.
If it is so damn important to protect a newspaper and the information they provide then perhaps it is better to fund it by public means and provide the information they provide to everybody.

From the blog post... (5, Insightful)

ThisIsAnonymous (1146121) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458262)

Look at this way. Say I owned a beautiful 1967 Corvette and kept it parked in my front yard. And you, being a Corvette enthusiast, saw my Vette from the street. You stopped and stood on the sidewalk admiring it. You liked it so much you called friends and gave them my address in case they also wanted to drive over for a gander. There'd be nothing wrong with that. I like my '67 Vette and I keep in the front yard because I like people to see it. But then, you entered my front yard, climbed into the front seat and drove it away. I'm absolutely, 100% not OK with that. In fact, I'm calling the police and reporting that you stole my car. Every jury in the land would convict you. Yet, when it comes to copyrighted material -- news that my company spends money to gather and constitutes the essence of what we are as a business -- some people think they can not only look at it, but also steal it. And they do. They essentially step into the front yard and drive that content away.

The part in bold is my emphasis. Is he saying that facts, meaning news, can be copyrighted? That if his paper is the first to publish an article about the outcome of a sporting event, that that should be copyrighted? I agree that an article about the game shouldn't be copied verbatim to another site but copyrighting the facts is ridiculous.
Also worth a laugh is the entire analogy of the Corvette and the "news." They are very different. With the Corvette, he would no longer physically have the Corvette. With the news, he has a copy and now the thief has a copy. What has actually been stolen is the possibility that someone might only see that article on his site. It's now available in two places. This is a lot different than the Corvette. I'm not saying it makes copying articles verbatim OK, I just think the analogy is incorrect.

Re:From the blog post... (1)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458798)

Plagiarism is plagiarism. Newsworthyness means nothing if it's lifted wholesale and unaltered. That copyrighted works are a 'body' like a 'Vette is real.

Steal the news, steal a 'Vette, both are stealing.

You can take a picture of the 'Vette. Fine.

You can look at it. Fine.

Drive it away, and it's stealing, as its *owner* is denied its benefit, a benefit that he may have paid nothing for, or a lot of money. It matters not what the ownership was worth, rather, that he (presuming his gender; I could be wrong) the fact that he's the actual owner.

To extrapolate, the news was done by someone, and written by them. Someone picked it up and republished it in its entirety, denying the person that owns it (no matter how it came into being) benefits their original work is due them.

Re:From the blog post... (2, Insightful)

truetorment (919200) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459032)

Plagiarism is plagiarism. Newsworthyness means nothing if it's lifted wholesale and unaltered. That copyrighted works are a 'body' like a 'Vette is real.

Steal the news, steal a 'Vette, both are stealing.

You can take a picture of the 'Vette. Fine.

You can look at it. Fine.

Drive it away, and it's stealing, as its *owner* is denied its benefit, a benefit that he may have paid nothing for, or a lot of money. It matters not what the ownership was worth, rather, that he (presuming his gender; I could be wrong) the fact that he's the actual owner.

To extrapolate, the news was done by someone, and written by them. Someone picked it up and republished it in its entirety, denying the person that owns it (no matter how it came into being) benefits their original work is due them.

Except that there is NO evidence that a single article was "...republished in its entirety...", at least according to the articles listed above. And despite your claims, the owner is NOT "denied its benefit", either. They still get traffic to their website, and all those ad impressions. What you're arguing is that the content owner lost *potential* benefits from their content, which is an entirely different discussion and--in my opinion--not the intent of the DMCA.

Either way, you're still using a terrible analogy using physical goods, and the content they've created is not physical, it's digital. We need to stop using such awful physical goods analogies when discussing intellectual property.

Re:From the blog post... (0, Troll)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459164)

Admittedly, the car analogy sucked.

And the owner is denied benefit if someone else republishes it. I've published ten books. Photocopy mine, and should I find out about it, your injury to me will be salved in court.

Re:From the blog post... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458950)

The part in bold is my emphasis. Is he saying that facts, meaning news, can be copyrighted? That if his paper is the first to publish an article about the outcome of a sporting event, that that should be copyrighted? I agree that an article about the game shouldn't be copied verbatim to another site but copyrighting the facts is ridiculous.

I just wanted to amplify your sentiment, since it got lost in the weird corvette story.

The issue isn't the copyrighting of facts. The issue is the verbatim copying of the source article.

Nothing wrong with saying "I read in John's article that the local team won their away game", but to copy John's article is wrong. Also there is nothing wrong with quoting part of John's article (eg. John reports that "The local team arrived on the field ready for battle, and played splendidly throughout the match" to read more click this link").

What is and isnt ok (4, Insightful)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458326)

Its ok to try to protect something you poured your blood sweat and tears into, even if copying it only costs a few pennies. Whats not OK is trying to claim that each infringement costs them thousands of dollars. If youre going to sue for a few MP3s, then do it in small claims court, and do it often. Don't blame one person for the crimes of 10,000.

Re:What is and isnt ok (1)

betterunixthanunix (980855) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458388)

Explain how limiting the distribution of information "protects" that information.

Re:What is and isnt ok (2, Insightful)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458428)

It doesnt protect the information, it sustains the creator. The fact is that it takes time and energy to produce intellectual property, and if the rightful owner decides to charge a license fee, thats fully within his rights. Trying to claim that illegally downloading it has caused 1000 dollars worth of damage when its sold for only $10 is ludicrous.

Re:What is and isnt ok (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458936)

I agree but the MPAA and RIAA never wanted to make money off their lawsuits, they wanted to shock people into going legal, and the best way to do that is large lawsuits which will grab headlines and force soccer moms to pay enough attention to make sure that their kids aren't downloading illegally. And to be honest for the non-technically minded it probabbly worked pretty well, but the rest of us know that the chances of getting caught are slim to non. What I'd much rather see is the industry adding value to the legal services that people can't get via the illegal ones to entice people back, its the whole carrot versus stick thing and hopefully they are trying the carrot now (with services like spotify, hulu and steam (although I know steam isn't new its still an example of value added rather than taken away with excessive DRM)).

But these new lawsuits are all about making money, through extortion and should be illegal.

Re:What is and isnt ok (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459058)

A solution to this would be extending public defenders to civil cases. How else can someone defend against a lawsuit (or worse, multiple lawsuits) from an economic Goliath?

Re:What is and isnt ok (2, Insightful)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459072)

Its ok to try to protect something you poured your blood sweat and tears into, even if copying it only costs a few pennies. Whats not OK is trying to claim that each infringement costs them thousands of dollars. If youre going to sue for a few MP3s, then do it in small claims court, and do it often. Don't blame one person for the crimes of 10,000.

Its too easy to defend yourself in small claim's court so they don't want to sue there. They want a lawsuit where its cheaper to just fork out the money and pay them off than it is to fight.

Re:What is and isnt ok (1)

spikenerd (642677) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459074)

Its ok to try to protect something you poured your blood sweat and tears into...

Even this sounds benign, but is dangerous reasoning. It's really a revenue stream that Copyright holders are trying to protect, not the information itself. Further, the mechanism they use to protect this revenue stream is to tell me what I'm allowed to do with copies. While Copyright may give them that legal right for a limited time, let's not pretend that it is somehow inherently right for content creators to be able to say what I can and cannot do indefinitely just because they poured effort into making something. The content creator didn't ask for me to agree to refrain from copying it in exchange for his labor--he just relied on the government making that agreement for me. But to the extent that the government has drifted away from the constitutional purpose of Copyright, I may still be legally bound, but I am certainly not ethically bound to honor your blood sweat and tears. I work hard to give freely to the world, and I don't think you owe me for that.

Re:What is and isnt ok (1)

morphotomy (1655417) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459256)

Thats a bit different. When you buy a license to a work, then you' should be able do what you want with that bit of property. Not satisfied with the fragility of DVDs? Then its perfectly OK to make a copy to your drive. Whats not ok is sending a copy to everyone and their mothers. There are some unjust laws in place to stop us from making legitimate copies, which is terrible. Am I supposed to shell out the price of another copy of windows just because my pc didnt come with an install disc? The DMCA is completely backward in my opinion, as it moves enforcement from legal channels to the IP providers, and as absolute power corrupts absolutely, it is now illegal for me to break the copy protection on a DVD and load it onto my ipod. There is no reason for such law, the system we had before accounted for everything that needed to be covered. Someone is distributing your IP against its licensing terms? SUE! Making it illegal to produce copies of works for use by the license holder is an ass backward revokation of rights, that extorts users into having to purchase extra licenses when the media holding the IP breaks down. Enforcement of law by anyone but law enforcement is gov't sanctioned vigilanteism.

Warner v. Warner (1)

mdmkolbe (944892) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458550)

Aren't Time Warner Cable and Warner Brothers owned by the same company? Couldn't this motion come back to bite them if WB ever wants to sue TWC customers?

(On the other hand, maybe their plan is to make it hard for their competitors to sue, but helpfully provide customer details whenever WB asks.)

Time will show you (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458588)

Embrace Copyrights as you will serfdom..... Get rich soon or else !

How many deaths? (3, Insightful)

stephenn1001 (1780930) | more than 4 years ago | (#32458748)

Interesting study would be to see how many deaths are caused by these mass court orders. I know at least one person that could "tip over the edge" if they are hit with a $5,000 lawsuit.

Copyright 101 (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32458994)

Must be an original creative work. The facts presented cannot be copyrighted, nor the arrangement of such facts. The work must be of such sufficient length as to be original in both form and content. Nothing prevents someone from linking to a site and paraphrasing the content in a summary. Nothing prevents a site from barring direct access to the site (paywalls, etc.) Copyright holders (not 'owners') can control all manner of how the content is copied except for fair use criteria, which almost no one understands. Unless the copyrighted material is registered, the damages that one can claim in court for infringement are limited. Liability for infringement is based on intent, such as reselling or not. Claims for damages cannot be based on ad hoc business models. For example, you cannot claim that copyright infringement hurt your t-shirt sales because someone linked to your blog, or your dog washing business or your restaurant, etc. You need to prove a direct link between infringement and loss of sales. You can claim against lost sales instead of the stricter lost income, which means that even if you are losing money selling your copyrighted material you can claim damages.

The people going to court hear a motivated by money, not legal arguments, so it's simply a question to them of time and money.

Patent Troll vs Copyright Troll (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459044)

One major difference between patent trolls and copyright "trolls" is the fact that people and companies can accidentally violate a patent or violate a patent on the way to implementing some technology - they can be victims of patent minefields. Copyright, on the other hand, can't be violated without someone intentionally violating copyright. Yes, we can still agree that the size of the copyright-violation punishment is too large, but I think equating patent trolls and copyright trolls is fallacious. Are we going to call companies who slap shoplifters with overly large penalties "shoplifting trolls", or call groups who hit car thieves with big punishments "car theft trolls"?

Re:Patent Troll vs Copyright Troll (1)

maugle (1369813) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459630)

Are we going to call companies who slap shoplifters with overly large penalties "shoplifting trolls", or call groups who hit car thieves with big punishments "car theft trolls"?

Only once they start suing everyone near the store during the time of the shoplifting, and everyone within two blocks of where the car was stolen.

How attorneys can print money (3, Insightful)

Picass0 (147474) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459092)

1) A lawyer copies a story from your newspaper and posts it anonymously on a blog or user aggregated news site. Then that same attorney runs to you and says "They stole your story! You should sue!!!"

2) Repeat

3) Profit.

Re:How attorneys can print money (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459694)

yea, and the government is watching your every move... YOUR every move. They also tapped into your sewer line to monitor your stools.

I fail to see how anyone can consider... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#32459242)

...stealing someone else's work "making information free".
Lets say you're a new, small time stand up comic, you come up with a really clever bit. Then Dane Cook, a much more famous stand up, hears your joke at some small club and copies it verbatim into his act. Now any time you try to tell that bit everyone boos you and claims you're "ripping off Dane Cook". Everyone who knew you thought of it first would agree that Dane "stole your joke". Since your business to to provide the service of writing and telling jokes, he has denied you the ability to get paid for services you performed and unfairly coopted your work. He is getting paid for something you created and you are not.
This is clearly morally wrong. Dane did not stop you from having the joke, but he has removed your ability to make a living off of it.

The fact that it's small blogs stealing articles from larger papers does not change the fact that the person who created the content has the right to profit from their service (researching, reporting, writing, editing, etc.) and someone who comes along with a ctrl-c ctrl-v does not and should be punished for doing so.

What a tool (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 4 years ago | (#32459524)

Sherm and the rest of his Journal pals are pure right wing jackasses. I lived in Vegas for 2 years and promptly cancelled my paper subscription because I couldn't put up with it anymore.

It's one thing when their views are limited to the Opinions section, but when it's pervasive throughout the entire paper it's too much. And then he wonders why no one is buying his rag.
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