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Czech Copyright Bill Undercuts Copyleft, Artists

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the czech-please dept.

Government 282

Andorin writes "Earlier this month a copy of a draft of the Czech Republic's new Copyright Act [Czech PDF] was leaked to Pirate News. Included among several disturbing provisions are new regulations for 'public licenses' such as Creative Commons licenses and the GPL/BSD licenses. The amendment essentially requires that an artist wishing to use a public license must notify the administrator of a collecting agency, and must prove that they created the work in question. This goes against one of the strengths of Creative Commons and other licenses, namely the ease with which they can be applied. Additionally, collecting agencies will have increased jurisdiction over copylefted and orphaned works. ZeroPaid covers the story, noting that the amendment also reduces the royalties which artists receive from libraries by 40%, with that money instead going directly to publishers."

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282 comments

Think of the Artists (2, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392266)

Won't somebody please think of the artists?

Isn't that the rallying cry of the copyright cartels?...

must be piracy (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392318)

It must be "piracy" that is making them broke. The piracy committed by those who claim to be protecting and/or representing them. Disgusting.

Re:Think of the Artists (2, Insightful)

idontgno (624372) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392694)

Sure. The media pigopolists are thinking of the artists. Specifically, how to get more money out of their hands and into the publishing interest's own.

This kind of legalized extortion isn't reflexive, you know. It takes a fair bit of thinking, plus the scruples of a stoat, to invoke the cause of your own victim in support of your victimization.

Re:Think of the Artists (3, Insightful)

Moryath (553296) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393790)

Translated more simply:

If you have the money like the MafiAA does, you TOO can buy incredibly asstarded laws to protect your illegal monopoly price-gouging and put those uppity little "artists" back in their rightful slave-labor places in shitty little countries like the Czech... or UK... or USA...

Re:Think of the Artists (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392754)

Isn't that the rallying cry of the copyright cartels?...

Well of course. The rules of this game are simple and obvious: 1) Maximize profits 2) justify your means after the fact.

Win the hearts by saying "we protect the little guy" while simultaneously taking for yourself all the value generated by the little guy, and keeping him indentured to you indefinitely. This is nothing new or secret. It happens in plain view of the public all the time.

The public doesn't like to bother checking facts and buys the corporate line, so strategies like this work well.

Rich people got rich by learning how to use their wealth to create even more wealth. So they spend money to lobby their government to pass laws that force an increase in their own wealth, to the detriment of everyone else.

And they win, because we let them.

Re:Think of the Artists (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392858)

I work in Music Publishing and I have to say that this is an extremely fair deal.

1. Why do you have a license in the first place.

        To protect your work

        Allow people to use it for commercial purposes and be paid for your work.

People are so damn hypocritical.

I want free music... I want free this... I want free that

I want a job! I need a job! .... Oh wait our economy is in the toilet there are no jobs...gee I wonder how everything started falling apart...

Well you can have a job. You should work for free. Free culture right? Free music right?

Oh you want to be paid for your work? For the effort you put into something?

But you don't want to pay for music? Although the recording engineers, artists, instrument makers, etc. all put in effort to make something...

Quit bitching, stop being hypocritical, all this is doing is making sure that when an artist creates something it is there work, and helps them collect money on it.

I'm sure everyone would be okay with just "making a copy" of their back accounts and distribute it. Hey free culture right?
Or your medical records? Free information right?

Re:Think of the Artists (4, Insightful)

DarkKnightRadick (268025) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393046)

I don't see how restricting an artists rights to apply whatever license they want to their creation is helping them in the least.

Re:Think of the Artists (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393658)

Most people get paid for the work they do, not the work that they did. If a construction worker wants some more money, he has to build another house. It seems perfectly reasonable to me that if a performing artist wants more money, he should have to execute another performance.

Artists should be paid for live music. In the modern technological landscape, digital copies are no longer the product, but rather the advertisement.

And besides, even if that wasn't true, there is nothing that says an artist has to be an artist. If artists can't make a living being artists, then they can go get a job that pays, just like the rest of us. I see no evidence that this will result in a complete absence of new music, and if it does then the forces of widespread demand will create new opportunities to profit on music.

So your justification of your outdated business model is crap. Music publishing is an anachronism, and you need to stop taking our freedom away, move into the modern era, and get yourself a real job.

Re:Think of the Artists (1)

Red Flayer (890720) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393966)

It seems perfectly reasonable to me that if a performing artist wants more money, he should have to execute another performance.

Sure, but what about the recording artists? Should they be left high and dry? Is public performance the only art venue that is deserving of reward?

Speechless (5, Insightful)

rantomaniac (1876228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392302)

I'm stunned. This has to be the most brutal attack on the idea of free culture to date. We're all accustomed to copyright being made more strict, but actively making it harder to release your works under permissive licensing is a new low.
It's like the copyright lobbyists didn't care about keeping a low profile anymore and shouted "we own your government" from the rooftops.

Re:Speechless (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392340)

It costs more money to hide what they're doing and achieve their goals in secret.
They just realized theres no point in hiding it any more.

Its not like the reality tv addicted people of generation-emo will do anything anyway.

Re:Speechless (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392472)

Us: It's a bad law.

Them: But, it's a law! There must be a good reason! Why do you think about stuff like this!?!

Re:S peechless (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392530)

Standard issue in the dysfunctional state of Czechs (according to Wikipedia, of turkic origins, not slavs). Highest prices of every day items in the EU, highest prices of communication services in the EU, highest prices of energy & fuels in the EU. Country ruled by economic mafia for good 20 years, whose biggest thieft and a man with obvious blood on his hands, callous Kalousek, has been voted by Brussel's byrocrats as "the best finance minister in EU." That's not a spit in the eye, that's kung-fu kick in the eye! And it will be worse. (P.S.: Even the iPhone costs there 100 euro more per month with Vodafone plan than anywhere else in the EU, with Vodafone plan.)
Czech Republic = a black cancer in the hart of EU, comparable only with Kosovo jihadist mafia.

Pavel007, Amsterdam.

Re:S peechless (2, Insightful)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392728)

While the above is probably rightly marked flamebait, there is a truth hidden in the midst of it. Czech policies on some level have been causing massive migration of Romi to France and Italy, sparking off the recent debate over who's allowed to be in what country (despite fairly broad travel agreements under EU treaty).

Re:S peechless (1)

yumyum (168683) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393734)

While the above is probably rightly marked flamebait, there is a truth hidden in the midst of it. Czech policies on some level have been causing massive migration of Romi to France and Italy, sparking off the recent debate over who's allowed to be in what country (despite fairly broad travel agreements under EU treaty).

I believe the issue with the Romi is not the right to travel to France and Italy, but the right to stay there. Similar to the U.S. and people staying here beyond their visa limits.

Re:Speechless (5, Insightful)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392532)

It would be interresting if the same laws were to be applied to all copyright licenses. Want to publishing something closed source? "notify the administrator of a collecting agency, and must prove that they created the work in question".

Re:Speechless (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392636)

Face it. The age of the freetard is over. It's time to pay people what their work is worth. Freeloader.

Re:Speechless (3, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392720)

Excuse me... Free has little to do with price. And in the case of GPL and LGPL, the price is as follows: "If you use the software you have to provide the source and any possible modifications you might have made to the people you sold/gave the software to." That's the price. Whether you view it as worth nothing or priceless all is in whether you're just a user or a developer.

Re:Speechless (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392892)

Excuse me... Free has little to do with price.

Bullshit. You can claim "it's free as in speech not as in beer!!!" all you want but when the first thing that people always say when they try to sell you on Linux or GCC or whatever piece of FOSS is that "you can get it for no cost" then the arguments and protests such as this ring extremely hollow.

Re:Speechless (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392968)

> Face it. The age of the freetard is over. It's time to pay people what their work is worth. Freeloader.

What if the AUTHOR declares that price to be ZERO.

Why should a Robber Baron Wannabe such as yourself have ANY say in the matter?

This is an assault on the rights of AUTHORS.

People who whine "freetard" should be all over this.

Of course that word doesn't really mean anything.

Re:Speechless (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392660)

Our reply should be: Don't quote laws to us, we carry swords.
Just to keep it Roman

Re:Speechless (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392664)

I'm stunned. This has to be the most brutal attack on the idea of free culture to date. We're all accustomed to copyright being made more strict, but actively making it harder to release your works under permissive licensing is a new low.

Taking things a bit out of context? It's not actively making it harder, it's just making it so that people actually have to show they have a right to license the content that way. How would you like it if you released something under a particular license, and then somebody else got the content, then put it out under some other license which you didn't approve of? Maybe the Czech government just wants to be sure that anything they're being asked to protect in certain ways is actually being done right.

Is that not a valid concern? Beyond that, given that this is written in legalese, do you not think that maybe, just maybe, that it's the translation at fault, not the actual law?

It's like the copyright lobbyists didn't care about keeping a low profile anymore and shouted "we own your government" from the rooftops.

Nor has any indication been made that any lobbyists were involved.

Sorry, but the outrage? I'm not buying it, if anything, it makes me think even more than I shouldn't listen to the Copyleftists, because they get hysterical over every little thing, and think the sky is falling, they're crying wolf and...

Yeah, it's not good for your side.

Make a better case, don't go speechless, don't get up in arms, and maybe you'll be able to persuade better. Probably wasting my time pointing it out here, but eh, I just felt that this was typical propaganda, not as bad as the whole Obama is a Muslim who wants to build a Victory Mosque at Ground Zero from the Bones of American Soldiers, but similar in spirit.

Re:Speechless (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392782)

It strikes me that the road is in between complete lack of concern (which the parent seems to indicate) and hysteria. The key point of the above argument does not appear to be registration with a collecting agency (unless there are barriers to entry, a group of GPL minded folks could create their own), but rather the stipulation under law changing the royalty schema from artist to publisher. Publishers need bread and butter as well, but this could easily be accomplished through fees to artists for services rendered. The government decidedly does not need to legislate money away from the content creator (though I tend to be opposed to government meddling except where absolutely necessary anyway).

Re:Speechless (2, Informative)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393068)

Yes, there are barriers to entry. The law specifically states that each collecting society has to register with the Ministry of Culture and once it's registered, it has complete monopoly over its assigned area of culture. For example, OSA has monopoly over sheet music and lyrics, Integram has monopoly over music recordings, DILIA has monopoly over literature etc. No other collecting society can register for these areas until these cancel their registration.

Re:Speechless (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393334)

Publishers need bread and butter as well

So do horse whip makers. Publishers were very important in the physical media world, but just like horse buggy fitters, their role in a changing world diminishes. CDs are almost dead, DVDs will be following on behind as on demand services replace them, even ereaders are gaining traction, in spite of the ridiculous prices of ebooks. The publishers role will soon be boutique and central portals like itunes. The content creators will be able to cut out the behemoth publishers, unless they manage to buy laws to force all creators into due paying guilds.

Re:Speechless (2, Informative)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393874)

... but rather the stipulation under law changing the royalty schema from artist to publisher.

Except that if the comment at the bottom of that blog is correct, that's not what has happened. In effect, they increased the artists' royalties by 20% and added an additional publisher royalty equal to 2/3rds of the newly increased author's royalty.

Previous royalty for the author: 0.5 CZK. New royalty 1.0 CZK. Author's part: .6 CZK. Publisher's part: .4 CZK.

But saying that they've increased the author's royalty by 20% and added a publisher royalty isn't as headline-grabbing as saying that they've reduced the percentage of the royalty that authors get.... Why does all the news have to be about twisting reality to create more shocking headlines? A lie of egregious omission is still a lie.

Re:Speechless (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393896)

I definitely need to start reading more of the articles instead of just the summaries. Thank you.

Re:Speechless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393884)

It strikes me that the road is in between complete lack of concern (which the parent seems to indicate) and hysteria.

Well, that is exactly what I intended to strike you with, so if you did think I had suggested a complete lack of concern, then no, that's not the case, but since you did, however, grasp that there is a better place to be instead of hysteria, it's not a problem, because you got the point. Too bad others would rather decide it's flamebait than think...

To be honest, I am fairly unconcerned, but that's because I have nothing to do with the Czech Republic, and really wouldn't care what they do in their territory, anymore than I'm concerned that the neighboring city is say, raising their property taxes. Nothing wrong with that, being a limited human being, I can't blame myself for devoting my concern to things that matter more directly to me.

The key point of the above argument does not appear to be registration with a collecting agency (unless there are barriers to entry, a group of GPL minded folks could create their own), but rather the stipulation under law changing the royalty schema from artist to publisher.

No, I don't think this was a key part of the discussion. Wasn't even mentioned by the GP for example.

As far as it goes, though, this change is in regards to libraries, who are probably receiving some sort of discounted rate, because well, libraries are often treated differently due to their perceived cultural value. So I wouldn't object to it without more knowledge as to the circumstances.

If I cared to learn them, but I don't, because, well...not worth the bother. It doesn't strike me as inherently unfair though.

Re:Speechless (2, Interesting)

grahamm (8844) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392788)

Taking things a bit out of context? It's not actively making it harder, it's just making it so that people actually have to show they have a right to license the content that way.

Yet does the same not apply to any creative work?. Should people who use a commercial licence not also have to prove that they have the right to licence it - and that it is not plagiarism?

Re:Speechless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393648)

Yet does the same not apply to any creative work?. Should people who use a commercial licence not also have to prove that they have the right to licence it - and that it is not plagiarism?

Sure, if there is a substantial difference, that'd be something to look into, but here's the thing...do you really know that there is such a difference?

Me, I don't know Czech law enough to say what they have to do for other licenses. I doubt you do either.

But me, I'd rather not condemn them in ignorance, so I'll give them the benefit of the doubt and not do so, until somebody shows otherwise.

Re:Speechless (2, Interesting)

rantomaniac (1876228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392852)

It's not actively making it harder, it's just making it so that people actually have to show they have a right to license the content that way. How would you like it if you released something under a particular license, and then somebody else got the content, then put it out under some other license which you didn't approve of? Maybe the Czech government just wants to be sure that anything they're being asked to protect in certain ways is actually being done right.

I don't see how it needs special casing, it's copyright infringement. I'm no fan of the Berne Convention, but it requires copyright to be automatic and involve no formal registration. It's only fair to either uphold that treaty for both copyright and copyleft, or neither.
Neither would be the preferred solution. Registration would simplify a lot of things and ensure survival of works throughout the ages if coupled with compulsory archival in national libraries.
You could even legitimately call unauthorized use or fraudulent registration of unregistered works "theft" then.

Re:Speechless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393540)

I don't see how it needs special casing, it's copyright infringement.

If it didn't require special casing, it wouldn't be licensed under a particular license, which vary by scope and substance. Is it so unfair that the Czech government might have some concerns about how to handle it, when they're going to be asked to protect it?

I'm no fan of the Berne Convention, but it requires copyright to be automatic and involve no formal registration. It's only fair to either uphold that treaty for both copyright and copyleft, or neither.
Neither would be the preferred solution. Registration would simplify a lot of things and ensure survival of works throughout the ages if coupled with compulsory archival in national libraries.
You could even legitimately call unauthorized use or fraudulent registration of unregistered works "theft" then.

AFAIK the Berne convention doesn't say diddly-squat about special copyrights, if anything, wanting special rights and privileges would seem to justify some formality. Doesn't the US, for example, require you to register your work to get certain statutory damages?

Re:Speechless (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393712)

This is not special copyright. This is licensing applied to normal copyright. Berne Convention says copyright is automatic once in a fixed form, and copyleft is waiving some of these rights under certain conditions.

Re:Speechless (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33394044)

This is not special copyright. This is licensing applied to normal copyright. Berne Convention says copyright is automatic once in a fixed form, and copyleft is waiving some of these rights under certain conditions.

Which I expressed as "special copyright" but if you don't like my choice of phrasing, feel free to suggest a better option. Then you can mentally substitute it.

Re:Speechless (4, Insightful)

tinkerghost (944862) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393662)

I don't see how it needs special casing, it's copyright infringement. I'm no fan of the Berne Convention, but it requires copyright to be automatic and involve no formal registration. It's only fair to either uphold that treaty for both copyright and copyleft, or neither.

Legally speaking, there is no copyleft. It's simply a legal issue of licensing a copyrighted work under a royalty free license. The problem isn't with the copyright, it's with the collection agencies and their mandates. Since they are set up to collect for all the works under their purview, copyleft agreements confuse them.

In the US, ASCAP collects for recordings by Spanish, French, and Outer Mongolian artists - those people never actually see any money since they aren't usually registered with ASCAP, but they do collect. According to ASCAP, it is a violation to not pay for the use of the songs, even if the songs have been released under a royalty free license. The only exemption recognized by the law that allows ASCAP to collect is public domain works - so it's possible that they are correct. That is a flaw in the law creating the collection agencies not the copyright law.

The issue is that the vast majority of the works are used under national Mandatory Licensing regulations. This allows venues to use the works without having to negotiate individual use licenses. Because they are built around the ML, individual licensing agreements aren't considered when calculating royalty payments to the collection agencies. There are 2 approaches to resolving the issue:

  1. Require registration of "collect" works.
  2. Require registration of "do not collect" works.

Given the vast disparity of volume in "collect" vs "do not collect", the easy solution is to require copyleft works to register. This also has many other advantages for the collection agencies:

  • Simplified paperwork.
  • Shorter search lists - exclude vs include.
  • More royalties collected that will never have to be passed to artists.

Since I can't read the original proposed law, I will give it the benefit of the doubt and say it seems to be a step in the right direction in that it at least codifies the right of an artist to remove their work from the mandatory collection pool without having to deposit the work in the public domain.

Re:Speechless (2, Insightful)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393006)

You do realize that a LOT of infringement actually occurs by proprietary companies, right? FFMPEG, LAME, Busybox, and many other FOSS projects have been repeatedly subject to violations of their licenses. When it comes to track records, 'public licenses' have fared far better than 'standard' licenses when it comes to actually respecting copyright law.

Re:Speechless (2, Insightful)

Chris Burke (6130) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392670)

I'm stunned. This has to be the most brutal attack on the idea of free culture to date.

Er, more like the most brutal (and direct) attack in recent times, or most brutal attack from the copyright lobby sure... I mean, when it was Czechoslovakia and under the Soviets, I think free culture took a worse beating.

Re:Speechless (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393410)

... he who has the gold makes the rules. it shouldn't be true ... but it is. greedy, small-minded, short-sighted, egocentric people direct the world ... not visionaries who care about more than themselves.

Re:Speechless (2, Insightful)

Angst Badger (8636) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393498)

I'm surprised that it took this long, actually. Charity was only legal in the first place because there was no way for charities to significantly compete with for-profit businesses as long as we were talking about goods and services. Data is any entirely different matter, thanks to the negligible cost of duplication and distribution.

If you think large businesses are going to tolerate kindness and generosity when it cuts into their bottom lines, you are in for a long series of rude shocks. Abundance is bad for business.

Copyleft does complicate the system (1, Interesting)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392334)

I admit I was furious on property/creative rights grounds at first, but then it struck me that enforcement of copyleft could become extremely difficult at some point for the government. The government cannot take for granted that you just post some code or a media file, slap a CC license on it and you had every right to do that. As people reuse it and modify it, if it goes to trial, the government has to hunt down the entire chain back to the original content in order to respect due process rights.

Their solution is wrong. The easiest way to solve it would be to pass a law which requires Copyleft to be stated, in writing in a copyright office application. Otherwise, the government would take the approach of saying that if your Copyleft license is violated, it is 100% on you to prove in court since you didn't register it in advance under penalty of perjury.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (5, Insightful)

rantomaniac (1876228) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392406)

I don't see how it's fair to demand registration of copyleft and not other copyrighted works. Enforcement of copyright is (and should remain) a private not criminal matter, the government doesn't have to hunt anyone down. I imagine the authors of the work will show up in court if they file infrigement charges.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392724)

Are you enough of an expert in Czech Law to tell us for certain that they do not demand registration of other copyrighted materials in some way?

Is it fair to complain about a system if you don't know it very well?

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (2, Insightful)

mcgrew (92797) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392862)

Personally, I'm for everyone regardless of license being required to register. If the copyright office can't find the rights holder, then the work should be public domain. Not having a registration requirement makes the "orphaned works" problem much worse.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (4, Insightful)

jimrthy (893116) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393154)

I think there are a lot of details you're probably missing. I'm going from the perspective of American copyright, so it doesn't directly apply. Still, the international laws tend to be fairly similar.

I know I should have used a car analogy. I'm sorry.

Let's say I'm some no-name wanna-be who wrote a song, had my no-name band record a demo, and submitted that demo to a record label (no, this isn't the way it generally works in real life). There are 3 different copyrights involved right there. Even if it's only $30 to register those copyrights to keep the labels from stealing the songs...for many "starving artists," that's a week's worth of food.

The situation's probably even worse for an author trying to get a story published. He's almost definitely going to submit several different versions of several different stories before one gets accepted. If s/he has to register for copyrights on each version, s/he'll wind up shelling out more in copyright fees than comes back in royalties until/unless s/he manages to write enough hits to support him/herself and the family. Who's going to stick with it that long?

The situation gets *really* bad when you get into situations like GPL. Do you have to register each "official" release? What happens when someone tries to register a fork? What if you decide to license the next version of your work as BSD?

Come to think of it, this could have been aimed directly against free software, with Creative Commons just a nice little bit of collateral damage.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (0, Troll)

kyrio (1091003) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393300)

Is English not your first language? You don't have to "he/she" everything. Using "he" works just fine.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (2, Insightful)

2obvious4u (871996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392514)

Better solution, get rid of copyright entirely. Society is producing content at to fast a clip for it to be necessary any more. You produce a work and by the end of the week someone has already produced a derivative work. All this copyright stuff does is slow down progress.

If you are worried about how content creators get paid then you haven't thought about it long enough. Content as a service, that is the new model. If you can't sell your content as a service to customers or businesses then the other option is merchandising, make a physical good that can be confiscated for trademark violations and earn your money off of that.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393086)

If I write a book, and wish to live on it, I prefer to be able to sell that book, and not worry about somebody undercutting me or just taking advantage of their lack of costs of writing it.

And no, I don't want to be forced to merchandise it, or hold my hypothetical readers hostage by refusing to release more until I get enough money.

As for Derivative works, some of us get attached to our stories and don't like others messing with them while we're alive. Go figure.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (2, Insightful)

clarkkent09 (1104833) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393438)

The problem with that naive view is that removing copyright really does remove the incentive to create and gives every incentive to copy. I don't see how it does not. If everyone can copy and sell, r give for free and sell advertising or profit in another way from distributing a book, software program or a movie, the we have a race in marketing instead of a race in creativity. The creator of the work becomes the most disadvantaged party because he is the only one who has to recoup the cost of creating the work (could be many millions in case of say a major software application or a movie etc) to even break even, while for the copiers any money they make out of distributing that work is free profit.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (2, Interesting)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393798)

A few weeks ago, I read an article about the lack of copyright in Germany in the 18th and the beginning of the 19th century. Compared to England - where copyright had been introduced a long time ago - there were significantly more books available at cheaper prices. The authors were paid better, too.

Here it is:
Google Translation [googleusercontent.com] / Original German [spiegel.de]

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (2, Informative)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393826)

That assumes that 18th century psychology about the incredibly complex dynamics of motivation for creative activity was accurate, with a fair amount of evidence suggesting otherwise, such as the following article. http://www.spiegel.de/spiegel/0,1518,709761,00.html [spiegel.de] Also, if we reasonably suggest the abolition of copyright and actually get someone to listen, the legislators might pick a happy medium such as a reasonably short term and expansive fair use

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (4, Interesting)

roman_mir (125474) | more than 3 years ago | (#33394038)

Except that the actual truth is on the exact opposite side of the spectrum.

Fashion industry [nytimes.com] shows how profitable it is [ssrn.com], especially compared to most other industries, and in Fashion industry there are no copyrights or patents. Sure there are trademarks, but no copyrights or patents at all, and they are highly creative and profitable, thus proving your position inconsistent with reality.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393730)

So let's say you write a novel or a symphony. That's a lot of work. Without copyright at all, anybody can take what you wrote, do the equivalent of photocopying it, and make a big pile of cash off of your work without paying you a dime. The ways anything artistic gets created in a world without copyright are patronage systems (e.g. writers and poets in the service of a monarch), folk art (generally not written down until the 18th century or so), or hobbyists (often nobility) who have the spare time to write.

Remember, copyright was originally created to protect writers from publishers, not the system of protecting publishers from the general public that is currently called "copyright".

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393740)

Copyright still serves a purpose in our society. Let's say I produce a great book, something along the lines of the next Harry Potter. Should a movie studio be able to just take my book and make it into a movie without my permission? Of course not. I should be able to sell the movie rights to whichever studio I wish (or no studio at all).

Of course, the lengths that copyright lasts for these days are ridiculous also. It's very unlikely that my hypothetical "hot new book" will be making me anything but the occassional pocket change 40 years from now. And, even if it somehow manages to make me money, is the fact that my book was in the tiny minority reason to keep all of the non-profit-generating books out of the public domain?

Remember, the copyright deal is that authors get a temporary monopoly of control on their work in order to attempt to make money on it. This gives them the incentive to produce the works. In exchange, the author reliquishes control after a certain period of time and the public gets to decide what they do with it.

I'd like to see copyright revert back to the original 14 years + 14 years of the founding fathers' time. (14 years plus a one time 14 year extension.) If your work was still making money after 14 years, you could renew for another 14 years. If not, or once that second 14 year period passed, the work would be in the public domain. (Renewal gets past any abandonware issues.) How many works from 1982 are still making their creators significant amounts of money?

copyleft is simple (3, Insightful)

OrangeTide (124937) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392574)

Or treat copyleft as a license, a form of contract. And settle disputes in a court, presenting evidence that the license was applied to an original creation. Which is how it manages to survive in the rest of Europe.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (2, Insightful)

WankersRevenge (452399) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392580)

Government exists to serve the interests of the people ... not vice versa.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (1)

thijsh (910751) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392744)

Technically they do, they always by definition serve the interests of *some* people. In theory this would be the >50% that elected them (note: also never 100%), but in reality it's mostly a small subset unrelated to the democratic process. This is for example why you have lobbyists giving equally large amounts of money to both candidates. This is not because they try to help the democratic process (election) take place, but to insure their demands are met easier than the demands of others *no matter who wins*, thereby undermining the democratic process to at least some extent.

Disallow lobbying with large chunks of cash and you will have a more democratic process again. Or better yet only allow people to sponsor *one* party of their choosing by a limited amount. But the sad irony there is a strong lobby against such legislation...

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392970)

Corporations exist to satisfy demand, not create it.
Laws exist to further justice, not obstruct it.
News exist to inform people of relevant changes, not hide them in a constant stream of spin and meaninglessness.

Startling just how much times change, huh?

Why? (1)

Errol backfiring (1280012) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392632)

Why is it complicated that you create content with a CC license but not complicated that you can basically create anything? How is it more difficult for a CC licensed work of art to trace than for any other newly created work? If complication is an issue, maybe people should not be able to create anything at all! Oh wait, that is exactly the direction we are going...

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392824)

maybe people should not be able to create anything at all! Oh wait, that is exactly the direction we are going...

well, people shouldn't create anything. Unless it is sanctioned by a big media corp and the profits go that media corp. How else are we going to ensure that our entertainment is standardized to the lowest common denominator. Who wants original and challenging entertainment anyway?

This is a good thing. it pushes out some more of the competition for the media corps.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393004)

The complication is in the enforcement burden put upon the government.

Namely something outside the norm, which sometimes does increase the cost. Especially given the plethora of options out there. And yes, the CC license does rely upon the government as the ultimate enforcer, if it didn't, then what would be the force behind it? Hiring your own army of ninjas?

Besides, how do you know for sure that this change is a greater burden than the one on works under the regular laws?

Really, how do you know?

Re:Why? (1)

king neckbeard (1801738) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393204)

Generally speaking, copyleft licenses are far less likely to result in court action, which is where a lot of the costs go. There has been I think one CC case and two GPL cases that ever made it to court. Cases that make it to court are what cost money. Also, personal infringement is where a lot of additional government resources are going, and copyleft licenses are pretty much only concerned with commercial infringement, which can actually be done in a cost effective manner. The costs to the government are basically 99.99% involved in proprietary licensing.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (1)

Galestar (1473827) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392750)

enforcement of copyleft could become extremely difficult at some point for the government. The government cannot take for granted that you just post some code or a media file, slap a CC license on it and you had every right to do that.

How is that ANY different from proprietary copyright?? I will rewrite that for you:

enforcement of copyright could become extremely difficult at some point for the government. The government cannot take for granted that you just post some code or a media file, slap a proprietary license on it and you had every right to do that.

In fact, proprietary makes it HARDER to enforce since no-one can see the code and say "Hey! I wrote that! You stole it!"

Also, since when does the government enforce copyleft? Enforcement is a civil matter that is left up to the rights-holders.
Mods, please tell me again why this ignorant comment is modded up?

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392812)

This would seem to sadly indicate that the Czech republic will no longer accept sealed posted mail as proof of creation prior to another (even with your solution). Though, to be honest, I don't know if the "poor man's copyright" ever actually has held up.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393050)

Their solution is wrong. The easiest way to solve it would be to pass a law which requires Copyleft to be stated, in writing in a copyright office application.

Easiest for that government, perhaps, but quite frankly I don't give a rat's ass. The Berne Convention says that everything I write, including this post, is copyright to me - automatically. I can't imagine a single legitimate reason why I should have to specifically register my writings in order to distribute them with a Copyleft license, when I have to do no such thing to distribute them with a proprietary license.

Your suggested handling of proprietary licences: "Hey, MikeRT! I wrote this. Want to read it? Here you go! Just don't give it to anyone else, OK?"

Your suggested handling of Copyleft licenses: "Hey, MikeRT! I wrote this. Want to read it? I have to wait for the Copyright Office to return my paperwork before I'm legally allowed to hand it to you."

Ixnay on the idea.

Re:Copyleft does complicate the system (1)

MtHuurne (602934) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393194)

The government cannot take for granted that you just post some code or a media file, slap a CC license on it and you had every right to do that.

And why not? Unless there is evidence to the contrary, I think there is no problem believing such claims. Putting the burden of proof on the creator stifles creativity. Do I have to take a photo of me in front of my PC to prove that I wrote this comment?

Reality Czech (2, Insightful)

abulafia (7826) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393392)

The government cannot take for granted that you just post some code or a media file, slap a CC license on it and you had every right to do that. As people reuse it and modify it, if it goes to trial, the government has to hunt down the entire chain back to the original content in order to respect due process rights.

Try this:

"The government cannot take for granted that you just post some code or a media file, slap a proprietary license on it and you had every right to do that. As people reuse it and modify it, if it goes to trial, the government has to hunt down the entire chain back to the original content in order to respect due process rights."

In other words, you seem to be under the mistaken impression that intellectual property rights in general are not bought and sold and pass through tons of hands. Witness the entire orphan-work problem. Liberal licenses like CC make it easier to manage these problems, because the entire issue of ownership from the point of the CC license is very straightforward. (It is likely easier backwards as well, because, contrary to the fever dreams of grabby middlemen, there are not, in fact, hordes of eyepatched 14 year olds slapping CC licenses on Elvis mp3.)

Also, I don't know how this works in the Czech Republic, but in the U.S. the government's cost is court time. In civil suits, the litigating parties pays for their own discovery (subject, of course, to outcomes and sometimes other rules). I don't see how the state's costs go up because a license is CC.

Publishers' business model failing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392336)

The business model of publishers and collection agencies is failing, so they buy laws from corrupt governments.

After "piracy" they're going after free, legal competition and governments happily comply shafting their citizens.

Current law isn't much better either (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392392)

Currently the Czech law requires you to pay royalties to collecting agencies regardless of the fact that you are not a member of any such agency and therefore will never get any money of them back.
It doesn't matter that you are only playing music composed by you, you are still obliged to pay.

Re:Current law isn't much better either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392582)

Not funny, but true and sad :(

Re:Current law isn't much better either (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392756)

I don't know the copyright situation in the Czech Republic but the royalties situation was corrupt everywhere. Bands who released on an indy label and received massive play on local stations wouldn't get a fair royality because local stations were always under represented in the limited sample of playlist stats for a given period.

With the internet, I'd question if we need collection agencies at all. This development and sideline squarking over compulsory licensing in the EU show the agencies also recognise their impending and inevitable redundancy. The berne convention doesn't state that works must be registered to receive copyright protection. So any Czech legislation to this effect would be unenforcable.

Re:Current law isn't much better either (1)

eleuthero (812560) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392850)

How does one get to be a collection agency in the Czech republic? Would the registration fee for the government for such an agency be cheaper in the long run for a group of like-minded individuals committed to open work?

Re:Current law isn't much better either (2, Informative)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393240)

The short answer: You don't. The long answer: The law states that there can by only one collecting agency registered for each area of culture at any given time. Since most of what can be registered already is registered, we're out of luck here.

Re:Current law isn't much better either (1)

arth1 (260657) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393080)

Currently the Czech law requires you to pay royalties to collecting agencies regardless of the fact that you are not a member of any such agency and therefore will never get any money of them back.
It doesn't matter that you are only playing music composed by you, you are still obliged to pay.

And how is this any different from, say, ASCAP, who demands that you pay a license fee because you potentially could [techdirt.com] sing songs to which they have grabbed the rights.

Re:Current law isn't much better either (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393110)

That's so East from The Iron Curtainish!

Ah, the ACTA beta test (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392398)

I see that the ACTA [wikipedia.org] beta test is about to begin. Once they've finished the trials in the Czech Republic, they'll start rolling it out through the rest of the western world.

who's behind it? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392456)

Will the trail lead back to Walt Disney? Then through the leveraging that's common today, they slowly work these laws into other countries under the argument that "We need to make are laws consistent with other countries"

Re:who's behind it? (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393650)

No, the trail leads to the collecting societies because they get the most out of it. They wrote the law themselves after all, since big media is busy pushing ACTA through Brussels.

Still just a draft (2, Insightful)

jDeepbeep (913892) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392476)

Although I feel as many others do, that this has obscenely nefarious elements, my indignation is slightly lessened when I remember this is still only a draft. Who here knows about Czech law that can enlighten us on the likelihood of this becoming real/passed/enforced?

Re:Still just a draft (2, Interesting)

O('_')O_Bush (1162487) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392524)

"Who here knows about Czech law that can enlighten us on the likelihood of this becoming real/passed/enforced?"

Depends on who ponies up the cash to pay off the right people. The Czech Republic has some of the highest rates of corruption in the OECD according to wikipedia. Take it with a grain of salt.

Re:Still just a draft (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393542)

The Czech minister of culture denied that the text is not actually authentic in recent interview (http://www.ceskatelevize.cz/ivysilani/210411058080819-hyde-park-ct24/) on CT24 (state-run news channel). He also promised that if there was such a law in the making, there would be a wide public discussion about it.

My opinion is he's being dishonest at best. Consider this: when the Czech Pirate Party asked the Czech Ministry of Culture for the draft, the ministry flatly refused to given them any information. Note that they didn't tell them there was no such law or that they have no information to give them, they actually refused to provide any information about it. According to the Czech Pirate Party, that was a violation of the Constitution of the Czech Republic and several Czech laws, but no one really cares (except for the Czech pirates, but nobody cares for them either - in Czech, they have the reputation of a modern day Mániky - see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mánika).

Copyright to protect companies not works (1)

iter8 (742854) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392504)

This seems to me to be more evidence that governments and corporations see copyright only as a means to protect profits, not the rights of individual producers or "To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts." I wouldn't expect business to be interested anything except short term profits and I guess it's naive to expect a government to take a different view and consider what might be better in the long term.

Waiting... (4, Funny)

retech (1228598) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392540)

I'm waiting to form an opinion until Cory Doctorow posts some long winded treatise on Boing Boing.

VIolation of the Berne Convention (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392586)

Isn't this a violation of the Berne Convention?

According to Wikipedia:

Under the Convention, copyrights for creative works are automatically in force upon their creation without being asserted or declared. An author need not "register" or "apply for" a copyright in countries adhering to the Convention. As soon as a work is "fixed", that is, written or recorded on some physical medium, its author is automatically entitled to all copyrights in the work and to any derivative works, unless and until the author explicitly disclaims them or until the copyright expires. Foreign authors are given the same rights and privileges to copyrighted material as domestic authors in any country that signed the Convention.

Re:VIolation of the Berne Convention (5, Funny)

jdgeorge (18767) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392764)

Appears that is correct; this draft is not compatible with the Berne Convention.

Of course, it is only a leaked draft, not even a public document, so it has likely not been subjected to normal sanity checks, or by normal, sane Czechs.

Re:VIolation of the Berne Convention (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393174)

Maybe the latest version of ACTA that we haven't seen yet supercedes this language.

Re:VIolation of the Berne Convention (2, Informative)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393338)

No, it's not. The registration is required in order to prevent the collecting societies from collecting royalties on your behalf. Since collecting societies have a monopoly, they don't need any contract to collect royalties. This doesn't affect the existence of your copyright, only what you can do with it.

Re:VIolation of the Berne Convention (1)

Anders Andersson (863) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393672)

Indeed it seems so, and the draft creates confusion with respect to the rights of foreign authors. From the EDRI-gram article:

It imposes the obligation to notify collecting societies on authors each time they decide to publish their works outside the strict copyright framework.

Leaving the issue of what "the strict copyright framework" actually covers aside, the draft appearantly imposes this obligation on "authors" rather than "distributors", meaning that a foreign author can technically be subject to Czech law merely by allowing his work to be distributed in the Czech Republic. How many foreign authors will bother even trying to satisfy the bizarre requirements of a single country? I certainly won't; I'd rather use this opportunity to ridicule their legal system.

This suggests to me that if this draft ever becomes law, the obligation will instead be placed on distributors working in the Czech Republic, which in the case of domestic works may very well be identical to the authors. That also seems more in line with the purpose of the notification, to demonstrate that the distributor is (or has permission from) the author, not that the author is the author (which is sort of self-evident).

Still, that only deals with domestic distributors (of physical copies or electronic transmissions). How about transmissions originating outside the country and aimed directly at individual recipients, such as radio broadcasts or Internet downloads? Will Czech residents be prohibited from using foreign hosting services (such as SourceForge, Youtube or Wikipedia) to contribute to our global collection of information and culture without also notifying their collecting societies? How will the obligation be enforced, by threat of monetary penalties or denial of copyright claims?

While the law itself may fly under WIPO:s radar, it will be interesting to see when the first foreign "public license" work ends up in any court, Czech or otherwise, for being distributed in the Czech Republic without passing their national clearinghouse or other paperwork hurdles.

I own the copyright to everything I have written. I'd be happy to help my Czech friends throw this piece of legislation out the window, with or without their legislators clinging on to it.

Czech opinion (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392730)

The worst thing is that I am Czech, I live in Prague and I am hearing about this from /.! I do not follow local news too much, but this? This is insane! The tech sphere should be buzzing about this and instead nothing is happening. Makes me sad.

Prove it? (1)

PhilHibbs (4537) | more than 3 years ago | (#33392958)

How do I prove that I created something? When I write something in Wikipedia, do I have to notify the Czech authorities of every update?

Author royalties are not reduced! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33392980)

They got it wrong on ZeroPaid, now the author royalty fee is 100% of 0.5 CZK per book borrowed, the proposal is 60% of 1 CZK.

Garret Raziel (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393186)

I am Czech and if that pass the goverment, I have a plan. I will make a small script that every word I write will send to OSA for proving of opensource.

Re:Garret Raziel (1)

Shoe Puppet (1557239) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393836)

To bad the only approved way of registering your work will be to send in a package of 8" floppies by mail.

Orphaned works (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#33393254)

It is disturbing to see how easy so-called orphaned works get appropriated by these "rights-groups". Oh, we don't know who owns it? Well, I guess then that makes it ours. Anyone got a problem with that? Eh? Didn't think so. Ka-ching!

If it can not be determined who owns IP, then that should revert either to the public domain, or the Crown/State/whatever, but not to some Industry group.

A little clarification (2, Interesting)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393572)

The article was written in Czech for Czech readers so it doesn't say some facts about Czech copyright law that may not be obvious to foreigners. First, Czech collecting societies have complete monopoly over their culture area once they register. The law also states that collecting societies don't need any contract for collecting royalties from TV, radio and their Internet equivalents. That means that if you start an Internet radio, you have to pay royalties even for most CC-licensed music. The registration is there to opt out from this. This draft is a nice example of what happens when collecting societies get to write copyright law while the big media is busy lobbying somewhere else. They write the law for themselves.

It has a very good chance of passage... (4, Interesting)

lexidation (1825996) | more than 3 years ago | (#33393574)

Take it from someone inside the Czech Republic. The reason: this is still not a full democracy in the Western sense. Corruption is still rampant. And that extends all the way up to Parliament. If you think lobbyists in your country have power over legislators -- try living in this place. Translation: if anyone with an interest in destroying copyleft has enough money or interesting favours to pass to the politicians, the bill gets passed. Meanwhile the Prime Minister, like one of our recent ones, may well turn up standing on a beach in Italy somewhere with a boner. Will the Czech people do anything to protest? Even the ones who understand this issue will not. After fifty years of the old regime, no one feels any power to stop what the politicians do. This is precisely the dynamic they take advantage of to pass things like this. It is the perfect location to set this kind of precedent.
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