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What Could Have Been In the Public Domain Today, But Isn't

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the happy-new-year dept.

Books 412

SgtChaireBourne writes "Many works published in 1955 would have entered the public domain this year. Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain has an overview of the movies, books, songs and historical works that are kept out of the public domain by changes to copyright law since 1978. Instead of seeing these enter the public domain in 2012, we will have to wait until 2051 before being able to use these works without restriction."

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Study of the Public Domain (5, Funny)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556134)

So... is the Study of the Public Domain itself in the public domain (through Creative Commons licencing), or is it copyright too?

Re:Study of the Public Domain (3, Informative)

CRCulver (715279) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556154)

public domain (through Creative Commons licencing)

Creative Commons isn't the public domain. The term "licencing" is enough to make it clear copyright applies, though CC tries to be generous.

Re:Study of the Public Domain (4, Informative)

butalearner (1235200) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556392)

Check out Creative Commons Zero [creativecommons.org] .

Re:Study of the Public Domain (4, Informative)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556418)

You could not scroll down?

"The Public Domain Day 2012 web pages by Duke University's Center for the Study of the Public Domain are licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License. "

Brought to you by: (5, Insightful)

kurt555gs (309278) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556142)

The Sonny Bono copyright extension act, and the DMCA are brought to you be the same greedy evil fucks that are now serving up SOPA / Protect IP.

Looks like the same Capitalism that ended Communism in the 90's will end Democracy in 2012!

It's for your protection.

Think of the children.

Ugh!

Sony Bono Copyright Restriction Act? (4, Funny)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556222)

Eh, maybe he was working out repressed jealously that no one would ever want to use his work.

Re:Sony Bono Copyright Restriction Act? (4, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556276)

If I could turn back time...

Re:Sony Bono Copyright Restriction Act? (0)

assertation (1255714) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556306)

lol

Re:Brought to you by: (4, Funny)

Sponge Bath (413667) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556256)

The Sonny Bono copyright extension act...

At least that "tree hugger" checked out before he could do more damage to global progress. To paraphrase the lyrics to "George of the Jungle", (bite my ass copyright thugs): "...look out for that tree!"

Re:Brought to you by: (4, Informative)

airfoobar (1853132) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556628)

OH DID HE NOW? His lovely ex-wifey, who is the bitch responsible for the "forever minus a day" quote, is still a Congresswoman, and is in fact a co-sponsor of SOPA.

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

Re:Brought to you by: (5, Insightful)

dbet (1607261) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556258)

Blame the people who keep electing them. Maybe it's you. Maybe it's people you know.

Re:Brought to you by: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556340)

Well WHO THE HELL are we supposed to elect? when they are ALL GREEDY FUCKWITS!!!

Re:Brought to you by: (5, Insightful)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556440)

Start early, before the primaries. Then you might have a chance of getting a real person on the ballot. If you just show up late to vote and bitch, it is STILL your fault.

Re:Brought to you by: (2)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556530)

Honstly,the primaries would be a good moment to break out the old lantern and search for a honest man.
Sadly, it's quite pointless..Spineless offers of easy answers for the punters is all I can see.
The good thing about the primaries is you get to vote for the lesser of a couple of evils. Whereas later you basically only get to choose between two lesser evils.

Re:Brought to you by: (3, Interesting)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556562)

Before... BEFORE... B 4

When there are a hand full of people just starting out, find one you like. One not completely in the machine. Contact them, and offer help. Offer to set up the office network, and give desktop support. Offer to set up an Asterisk phone system. Offer to do a web page. Make a difference early when you still can.

Re:Brought to you by: (4, Insightful)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556782)

It doesn't matter that they are not in the machine before elections. They will be five minutes after they say their inauguration pledge. Stop wasting time on looking for the non-existent perfect politician for the office and use that free time on making sure that those imperfect politicians who got elected do their job properly.

Re:Brought to you by: (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556798)

Wow, you are so quick to blame everyone. So lets just say I bust my butt getting someone I agree with elected, and it actually works out somehow. Well, I can do this at most 2 times. I can get 1 out 100 senatorsand 1 out of 435 congressmen. What exactly is that going to get for me? Not much. So while I wait for hell to freeze over...I mean for enough other people to try to vote in agreeable candidates, my representives are sitting there in congress, and more than likely 1 of 2 things are going to happen. Either they are going to not play ball and get run out of town when the the donors they won't cozy up to pile all their money behind another candidate, or they are going to realize they like their job there in congress and learn to play nice with the donors just like the last guy I worked so hard to vote out.

Re:Brought to you by: (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556442)

Well WHO THE HELL are we supposed to elect? when they are ALL GREEDY FUCKWITS!!!

The other guy. And when the other guy does the same thing, elect yet another and another and another, Eventually, they'd get it.

That won't happen.

Because you have people like a friend of mine who'll give plenty of lip service about how both parties are screwing us over - yadda yadda yadda, but come election day, she votes Republican - the incumbent - instead of a third party candidate because she can't stand the thought of a Democrat winning. I do point out to her that in Georgia, USA, Democrats have a very hard time getting elected and voting third party isn't "throwing her vote away."

Then there are the folks who believe whatever their chosen media outlet tells them to believe and votes according to that because they're afraid of Socialism, Big Government, Higher Taxes, guns being taken away, Sharia Law becoming the law of the land, Israel being exterminated by the Muslim hoard, etc, etc, etc, .....

Personally, if Mitt would run as the Governor of Mass Mitt, I'd be inclined to vote for him. Unfortunately, he won't be nominated by the Reps because he's a Mormon and because he's "flipped flopped" too much (they all do), and *gasp* signed into law government health care years ago.

Re:Brought to you by: (3, Insightful)

Forty Two Tenfold (1134125) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556492)

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. — 1 stone.

Re:Brought to you by: (3, Insightful)

Ramin_HAL9001 (1677134) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556808)

Interestingly, Mitt Romney would have made a good Republican candidate, but he's a Mormon, so the more common Christian conservatives just don't like him.

I just LOVE the karma of it all. So the Republicans sell their soul and suck up to the immovable religious fundamentalists to get votes and win elections, only to find that the guy that could have led them to victory over their most hated president Obama is NOT electable because those same immovable fundamentalists don't like Romney because he is the wrong kind of Christian.

That is truly poetic justice.

Re:Brought to you by: (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556384)

There is no difference who gets elected, as long as companies can "donate" to politicians during their campaign, then they lobby and create laws as these companies want them to be.

The only solution would be to forbid such donations and treat them as corruption, and all the elections to be sponsored only by the state equally for all the candidates that participate in the election.

Also, any officials that come from big companies should be monitored for conflict of interests during their term and punished if they are proved to serve their company's interests instead of the state's.

Re:Brought to you by: (5, Insightful)

desdinova 216 (2000908) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556514)

But sadly that will never happen because the people who are affected by election rules make them.

Re:Brought to you by: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556266)

Right, because not being able to make your own Mickey Mouse cartoons is a giant threat to democracy. Keep things in perspective people.

Re:Brought to you by: (3, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556348)

First they came for Mickey mouse ...

Yes, it is a treat to democracy. The majority of people do not want this. The minority wants this. Seems like a pretty undemocratic rule to me.

Re:Brought to you by: (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556564)

No no, it's not a threat to democracy, it's a threat to his Freedom of Speech(tm)!
Because obviously his free speech is so important, it could only possibly be expressed by a Mickey Mouse cartoon that someone else conceived of, created and released 70+ years ago.

Re:Brought to you by: (1)

Dragon Bait (997809) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556690)

Right, because not being able to make your own Mickey Mouse cartoons is a giant threat to democracy. Keep things in perspective people.

If the copyright expired on the early Mickey 'toons you would be able to do whatever with the ones out of copyright, but I'd be surprised if Disney hadn't trademarked the term "Mickey Mouse" and his likeness. That's what prevents you from creating your own Mickey Mouse cartoons -- not copyright of the existing body of work.

Re:Brought to you by: (5, Insightful)

SlippyToad (240532) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556772)

And what prevents Disney from creating more Mickey Mouse cartoons is that they have no incentive to be creative anymore since no one alive today at Disney was involved in those early cartoons, no one today had to do anything particularly creative to succeed at Disney.

Consider that Disney's only films of note for the last 20 years have been Pixar movies, and that virtually every other thing they've done has been completely forgettable? Of course the irony is Disney's major successes after Mickey Mouse and crew were almost all public domain fairy tales. No, there is not a lot of creativity going on at Disney anymore. This is what happens when you can milk a dead teat.

I won't go into the eventual disappearance of Mickey Mouse from popular culture as the generations that grew up with a living creator of the art around pass away. The drivel that Disney puts out now as original material, aside from the Pixar stuff, is eminently forgettable. They're digging their own grave as an organization by creating a scenario where they can perpetually rest on their laurels.

Re:Brought to you by: (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556296)

Do not worry. Thanks to inefficiency in the staff at Ted Turner's Cartoon Network they were not able to get copyright extensions all of the banned 11 so at least 3 are in the public domain.

Re:Brought to you by: (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556410)

"Looks like the same Capitalism that ended Communism in the 90's will end Democracy in 2012!"

The American public are lazy slugs and deserve to suffer a lot more than they already do. If they haven't suffered enough to collectively wake up, add more suffering.

Too bad for those of us who are awake and caught in the blast radius, but I understand WHY corporate interests fuck over stupid people. They are just too tempting a target and they don't exactly command respect.

The problem is corporate personhood=civil rights (5, Insightful)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556738)

The problem from corporate personhood is unlimited money in elections. The supreme court effectively killed campaign finance reform by declaring corporations as having free speech rights. In legal speak this is known as corporate personhood. There are a couple of very simple changes that can happen at the state level to put a leash on corporate influence in government:

1) Change state corporation law giving for profit limited liability to companies that have full personhood. The argument the supreme court uses for defending corporate personhood is that the constitution supports "the the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.” So you allow people the right of free association so long as they do not hide under the shield of limited liability. One weird bit of law in all states is that you can not usually sue the owners of a company. The company yes, the owners, no. If I buy shares in MegaEvilChemCorp and one of their factories blows up and kills half a city the worst that can happen to me is that MegaEvilChemCorp could go bankrupt and I'm out what I paid for the stock. Even though I am an owner of MegaEvilChemCorp no one can sue me or put me in jail for the damages MegaEvilChemCorp may do even if they blow up or poison half a state. The result of this is that no large company would be an unlimited liability company and they would not have personhood rights.

2) Pass meaningful finance reform. $200 limit per person. Open up the books fully of any entity lobbying or campaigning. No PACS, no bundling, no "issue ads," no corporate or union money. (A union and corporate money ban needs to be bound together or it favors one side or the other).

3) Allow corporations to do the right thing. In most states if you run a company and do anything other than maximize profits you can get sued by any share holder. There is a movement to create corporations that are allowed to take other consideration into account beyond just short term economic gain such as the environment and their community. See http://www.bcorporation.net/ [bcorporation.net] for more information. Very few companies are likely to do this in the near term, but lets at least allow the experiment for those who are interested in doing the right thing.

lil' johny byte-fyuck wants your property (1)

noshellswill (598066) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556496)

Infinite copyrights for "artistic" works? Why not? Can't cook, cut or mold with 'em now can you? Can't eat them either. You **of-course** haver no **rights**. To anything. Useful stuff gets limited-time PATENT protection. If you want to "express yo-useless self", then create your own compelling paragraphs and images. Yours, not mine. Why give gropey lil' Johny byte-fuck even a cents worth of anothers literary financial value? If you cannot create yourself, then puke .... starve ... go die in the gutter. Crows will appreciate the diversion.

Re:Brought to you by: (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556760)

That's "crony capitalism", brought to new heights by der furher Obama.

Not by 2051 (5, Insightful)

wbr1 (2538558) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556158)

By 2051 the Multinational corporate conglomerates that hold the rights will have paid the politicians and courts to extended it to 3051 or perpetuity. That is if we make it through 2012 first!

Re:Not by 2051 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556228)

Namely, Versalife and Majestic 12.

Re:Not by 2051 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556294)

That is if we make it through 2012 first!

Just get your Aquarius calendar before december and you'll be set for another 5000 years or so.

Re:Not by 2051 (5, Informative)

six025 (714064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556528)

By 2051 the Multinational corporate conglomerates that hold the rights will have paid the politicians and courts to extended it to 3051 or perpetuity. That is if we make it through 2012 first!

While I don't agree with our culture being ruined by greed and believe sane copyright laws would benefit everyone, there is a very good reason the corporations are continuing to fight for copyright extension - and presumably won't stop until perpetual copyright is granted. Obviously, that reason is profit. Let's look at Happy Birthday To You as an example. From the Wikipedia entry [wikipedia.org] :

in 2008, Warner collected about $5000 per day ($2 million per year) in royalties for the song.

A corporations only goal is to make profit. As we have witnessed time and time again, the corporation does not care how profit is created, human or cultural concerns are not part of the equation. It would be a failure of corporate duty to give up $2 million a year without a serious fight.

Peace,
Andy.

why not live your own life? (1, Troll)

zugedneb (601299) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556174)

If the problem had been that i am restricted to play a mudical instrument, or write my pwn poetry, I too would be upset...

As it is, this is about _OTHERS_ work that they had choosen to sell, and now belong to _SOME_ but _NOT_ to you... Why do we yearn so much for this?

So guys, why not go out, smoke some sweet leaf, have a little sex, experience life, than you can all write good poetry and good music... Because it requires to much work? Or what?

Re:why not live your own life? (2)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556308)

Getting pleasure from creating stuff yourself is one thing. Getting pleasure from stuff someone else has created is a different thing.

Your suggestion is equivalent to satisfying yourself with masturbation because you can't get sex.

Re:why not live your own life? (1)

drzhivago (310144) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556380)

No, his suggestion is equivalent to satisfying yourself with masturbation because you can't watch other people having sex.

Re:why not live your own life? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556574)

No, his suggestion is equivalent to watching yourself masturbate because you can't watch other people having sex.

Re:why not live your own life? (4, Insightful)

fooslacker (961470) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556644)

We yearn because this is about _OTHERS_ who sold their work to _NOBODY_. A company is not somebody it's a legal entity designed to restrict liability of individuals for harm they may cause and collect and pool capital investments in an efficient manner. Unlike an author who has a death, an obvious point in time around which which his rights and the good of society can be balanced a company can go on indefinitely and has a inherent disregard for any concerns which don't directly affect short or long-term profitability. The idea that a corporation can own intellectual property without an intellect is not beneficial to our advancement as a species. I've got not problem if the author wants to restrict his/her work for as long as he/she lives. But after they are gone a company shouldn't be able to hold something they didn't create and milk profit in perpetuity. We're talking copyright of artistic works today and that's disturbing enough but when the same concepts and legal tactics bleed into more other areas that affect quality of life and advancement it can be even more damaging.

Whilst here in the EU (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556182)

James Joyce's works are now freely available to everyone. [irishtimes.com]

An interesting thing I noted is that the Irish and UK copyright terms used to be limited to 50, but were changed to 70 to match the Germans.

Re:Whilst here in the EU (4, Funny)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556516)

> James Joyce's works are now freely available to everyone

So even the expiring of copyrighted works has its drawbacks. Interesting.

Theft (4, Insightful)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556184)

I find it a bit ironic that media and publishing companies call copyright violations "theft" after having this put in place. In my opinion they are holding our literary and cultural history hostage.

Re:Theft (1)

garcia (6573) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556236)

So get your ass into office and work to change the laws before you fall into the trap where you game the stock market and make a fortune on the backs of others.

Re:Theft (2)

Mannfred (2543170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556338)

Like it or not, from a government's perspective the licensing (etc) of these works generate at least a few private sector jobs and some tax revenue. As such it's conceivable that we will move toward - if we are not already there in practice - a system where copyrights never expire.

Re:Theft (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556478)

People are still making money from The Iliad, and the works of Shakespeare, and yet they are out of copyright.

Re:Theft (1)

Mannfred (2543170) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556680)

True, but at the same time I can't help but think that the works of Shakespeare would 1) be more expensive to enjoy, and 2) generate more revenue for a government if they were still under copyright (that's assuming the copyright owner would seek to maximise licensing income). It would actually make for an interesting bit of impartial research - perhaps one could attempt to estimate total revenue from public domain music versus copyrighted music at around the current copyright expiration cutoff. Any takers? :-)

Re:Theft (5, Interesting)

KiloByte (825081) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556398)

Many folks call copyright (rather than copyright violations) "theft", but I'd go farther. Being a form of censorship, it is a crime against humanity.

A mere war against lives is limited in scope. With free dissemination of ideas, oppressive regimes don't last long -- note how the first thing they try is blocking communication among protesters and jailing of authors/journalists/etc who dare to voice something that opposes the regime in question. War on culture has effects that last forever. Books burned don't come back.

Imagine a guy in, say, 400BC, who took a spray^H^H^H^H^Hbucket of paint and wrote something on a wall. Like everyone else born during the next 2300 years, his life is gone. Yet a part of him lives on. Culture has the potential to last forever.

Copyright, by massively hampering culture, is the very worst thing we have.

Re:Theft (5, Informative)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556710)

Many folks call copyright (rather than copyright violations) "theft", but I'd go farther. Being a form of censorship, it is a crime against humanity.

I absolutely agreed with you regarding copyright law today. There is no reason to restrict works for nearly a century. It is a horrible abuse of power. And I also agree that even a much more limited copyright length (like the 14 years originally granted by the first U.S. act in 1790, with a possible 14 year extension) might need to be significantly reformed to deal with the new technologies today.

However, that's not the reason copyright existed originally. Look into the history. I mean the really early history, long before the Statute of Anne in 1709.

If you look at printing in the late 1400s and early 1500s, when copyrights were first granted, there was a real problem. Publishers at that time were really trying to disseminate knowledge for the first time in a big way. Before that, copying of books required actually scribes to write every copy, which was of course very expensive and time-consuming.

But around this time, many Italian scholars were rediscovering ancient works and coming up with their own works based on those models (and extending them), something commonly referred to as the Renaissance. This diffusion of knowledge was made possible in a large part by the publication of books. Translators worked hard to release editions of these ancient sources of knowledge, and publishers wanted to invest in a printing run.

But why should the translator and the publisher spend so much time and money when a month later a rival press could just take the text and republish it? The first copyrights were granted in Italian cities to promote the diffusion of knowledge: they encouraged authors and printers to take the time and make an investment to produce quality books. Yes, believe it or not, we have plenty of records stating that this was the purpose: rulers and councils in many Italian cities actually funded and promoted the culture of learning that was happening in the early Renaissance. And the terms generally lasted anywhere from a couple years to 10 years, only enough time for a publisher to sell off the stock from a first print run.

That's why copyright came into existence, and it may very well have contributed to the preservation of lots of knowledge from a time when publication was still such an expensive endeavor that high quality publications needed to be encouraged.

Granted, many evil things happened over the years since then. Rulers tried to suppress writings by only authorizing publication from certain publishers who wouldn't publish treasonous or seditious materials, etc. Those "copyrights" are hardly the same idea. But finally in 1709 in England, the Statute of Anne established a 7-year term for authors rather than publishers, and the idea was still to allow a short time to recoup the time and costs invested by someone writing a high-quality book.

Copyright is no longer like this. It is a travesty today. But until recent years, when reproduction costs became essentially nil for many types of media, it did serve a useful purpose. And in the early days, it truly helped disseminate important knowledge that arguably led to major historical advances.

I doubt it (4, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556186)

Barring a sea change in Congress' perception of copyright, we'll get another Mickey Mouse Protection Act by 2051. Remember, the Supreme Court already gave Congress permission to continue extending copyright indefinitely.

...and nothing of value was lost (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556250)

Are people being jealous of fat useless leach members of "estates"? Let them have their dubious castles and kitschy art collections at the expense of fools who still pay for this old crap.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (5, Insightful)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556368)

Are people being jealous of fat useless leach members of "estates"? Let them have their dubious castles and kitschy art collections at the expense of fools who still pay for this old crap.

Nothing of value was lost?

What about all of the old celluloid films which are disintegrating but can't be copied to preserve them because their copyright ownership is cloudy?

The problem isn't people who are actively profiting from old works. The problem is old works that are locked up to the benefit of none and the detriment of all.

Re:...and nothing of value was lost (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556684)

I'll just put the "old crap" comment down to philistinism.

Bur it is worth pointing out that the problem is not with watching/listening/reading material that is available on the market.

The problems include:
1) Those things that are no longer distributed but could be.
2) The limitations of creating adaptions and derivative works. (Good artists copy, great artists steal.)

Re:I doubt it (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556304)

That's alright, though. Hollywood and the rest are decreasing the quality of most of their works so fast that by 2051 nobody will even bother pirating their stuff anymore.

Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (5, Interesting)

DERoss (1919496) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556208)

U.S. Constitution, Article I, Section 8: "The Congress shall have Power To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries; "

I believe in the benefits of copyrights. Most of my Web pages are copyrighted. However, the current state of intellectual law is unacceptable. Extending copyright coverage to 90 years (Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998) violates the concept of "limited Times". The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) stifles innovation instead of promoting it. And the primary beneficiaries of these laws are not "Authors and Inventors" but corporate publishers, movie studios, and record companies who reap the bounty of others' creativity. If you agree that this situation is intolerable, tell your representatives and senators in Congress.

I copied the above paragraph from one of my own copyrighted Web pages (with a slight modification in the second sentence). I hereby grant to the public the right to quote that paragraph at will, in all contexts, and in all media.

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (1)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556226)

I believe in the benefits of copyrights. Most of my Web pages are copyrighted. However, the current state of intellectual law is unacceptable. Extending copyright coverage to 90 years (Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998) violates the concept of "limited Times". The Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA) stifles innovation instead of promoting it. And the primary beneficiaries of these laws are not "Authors and Inventors" but corporate publishers, movie studios, and record companies who reap the bounty of others' creativity. If you agree that this situation is intolerable, tell your representatives and senators in Congress.

I copied the above paragraph from one of my own copyrighted Web pages (with a slight modification in the second sentence). I hereby grant to the public the right to quote that paragraph at will, in all contexts, and in all media.

Duly quoted! :-)

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556242)

"90 years" is a limited time. So are "592 years," "1098 years," and "17 million years."

Also, you don't need to grant copy rights to what you wrote, because you made no claim of copyright. It does not matter that you posted it elsewhere with a claim. That you posted it here without one puts it in the public domain.

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (4, Informative)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556382)

That you posted it here without one puts it in the public domain.

No it doesn't. Copyright is by default.

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556280)

And the primary beneficiaries of these laws are not "Authors and Inventors" but corporate publishers, movie studios, and record companies who reap the bounty of others' creativity.

Please be careful, a law change forbidding corporate copyright while preserving personal copyright would not necessarily help the public, although it would probably make lawyers richer.

Maybe... make copyright non-transferable under any condition other than heirs (and make adopting a corporation as a heir/child illegal)

A world of non-transferable personal copyright, patent, etc, would be interesting. Maybe not ideal, but interesting to think about. Imagine trying to get an entire orchestra to agree on a license for their work (just four drugged out rock band members would be challenging enough) I think we'd see a bit more solo record activity.... Good luck getting everyone involved to agree for a movie...

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (2)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556414)

Easy way out is a limited time of 10 years. If you want to sell your sole and copyright to the MAFIAA, please do so.

If you don't make enough money from it in 10 years, then perhaps others can do good with it and build on it.

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (1)

aztektum (170569) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556592)

Maybe... make copyright non-transferable under any condition other than heirs (and make adopting a corporation as a heir/child illegal)

Meh, still no good. Heirs should be contributing their own work, not living off yours.

Copyright should only be 3-5 years anyway. Afterall, if you're not making money on something after that point, it's time to reconsider your career. No one else gets special protections of their income source. If you're a shit mechanic or Blockbuster, you go out of business (well I suppose the big banks are another exception).

What grinds my gears is most of these patent/copyright companies are using public services while avoiding taxes. They want us to foot the bill for their protection.

I've soured on even giving them my eyeballs. Cancelled Netflix and I use to pirate under the premise it was "civil disobedience". I realized I just didn't care. The shit filled up drives and I never watched or listened to it. I spend the money I save not buying their crap on local shows and events. Screw 'em.

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (4, Interesting)

Tokolosh (1256448) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556484)

Assuming (big assumption) that Congress seeks to maximize "the Progress of Science and useful Arts", then the optimal "limited Times" must be determined, to seek a balance between rewards for authors and inventors, and benefit to society.

One week of copyright is not much incentive to an author. 100 years is not much benefit to society. I think 14 years is about the optimum, but have no data to prove this. However, it cannot be too difficult to determine the optimum, at least to within 5 years.

The current situation is primarily for the benefit of the authors, with promotion of progress only a secondary by-product. As such, current copyright law is unconstitutional.

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (4, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556638)

One week of copyright is not much incentive to an author.

Depends on the work. A week is more than enough time for a daily newspaper, given that each issue will make most of the money it will ever make within mere hours of publication, and then be so much birdcage liner and fish wrapper.

If you're looking for data, I would suggest taking a look at the work of Rufus Pollock [rufuspollock.org] , who has been looking at this. I admit that the math is over my head, but this is really the sort of thing we need to be doing (perhaps also broken up by type of work -- the ideal term for a movie may be different from the ideal term for a computer program, and there's no reason at all why we need a one-size-fits-all term length).

Re:Strange Interpretation of the U.S. Constitution (1)

TheGratefulNet (143330) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556740)

If you agree that this situation is intolerable, tell your representatives and senators in Congress.

hey! what an idea! its so very likely that they don't know this info and they'd be so appreciative of our telling them this.

maybe since they didn't know that they were doing harm, they might stop if we tell them.

you think??

one chapter falls flat (1, Troll)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556230)

Chained Melodies, and Molecules . . .

What if you were interested in scientific developments in 1955 (the year that Tim Berners-Lee, Steve Jobs, and Bill Gates were born)? Many copyrighted scientific journal articles about, for example, the synthesis of DNA- and RNA-like molecules, the effect of placebos, the experimental confirmation of the existence of the antiproton, fibre optics, or the synthesis of mendelevium remain behind paywalls (see here, here, here, here, and here.) (Not all scientific publishers work under this kind of copyright scheme. “Open Access” scientific publications, like those of the Public Library of Science, are under Creative Commons attribution licenses, meaning that they can be copied freely from the day they are published.)

1/ Most important articles published now are free for read.
2/ Old articles are already in the textbooks if they are worthy, and should be forgotten, if not. Nobody except freaks is interested in what exactly was the wording of Crick and Watson's paper, and everybody knows what it is about.

greedy boomers? (2)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556248)

It seems to be a greedy boomers thing, it will be interesting to see when all the boomers are gone if their "stuff" will be free. Last time I suggested no one under 50 listens to the Beetles so it doesn't matter anyway, I got mercilessly flamed, so I'll refrain from that form of trolling.
My guess is we'll have a new law for greedy-Xers such that everything post 1970 will remain in "perpetual" copyright but everything older will be free. An interesting area of discussion would be transitional era. I'm thinking Scooby Doo and Black Sabbath Paranoid are going to be soundly copyrighted as X-er fodder, but what about Led Zepplin, or the Bee Gees, I'm thinking those two would become free as boomer fodder.
Then once the last of the X-ers die off, everything up to roughly Jason Beiber will probably become free, etc.

This inspired by a recent XKCD implying that christmas music has been "hostage" to boomer childhood sensibilities for some decades now, and a radio christmas music playlist transition in the near future appears inevitable, assuming broadcast radio survives as an industry long enough for the transition to happen.

Re:greedy boomers? (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556300)

This inspired by a recent XKCD implying that christmas music has been "hostage" to boomer childhood sensibilities for some decades now, and a radio christmas music playlist transition in the near future appears inevitable

I'm curious - what do you think the new Christmas playlist will include that the old one didn't?

Other than some TSO pieces, I can't think of anything much that's new in Christmas music since before I was born....

Re:greedy boomers? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556586)

You should put "Christmas" into Pandora and watch all the stuff you never heard come up.

Re:greedy boomers? (1)

modmans2ndcoming (929661) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556576)

Excuse me, but Gen-X is the screwed over generation... the three generations before us squeezed everything there was out of this country and brought it to its knees...Now we along with the millennials will have to fix it. Thanks mom and dad, grandma and grandpa.

Re:greedy boomers? (1)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556730)

I'm quite sure Gen-Y will be perfectly happy to add Gen-X to the list of generations that screwed everything up.

Re:greedy boomers? (4, Interesting)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556580)

I always thought I was the only one with a deep feeling of resention for the Baby Boomers. Could we please get rid of that particularly horrid generation of selfish bastards and their Xer collaborators? The whole western world is paying off their debt they amassed with their Greed is Good philosophy. Hindsight is supposed to be 20/20 yet theirs only goes as far as the tip of their nose.

Re:greedy boomers? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556820)

Sorry, but you're really badly mis/underinformed. There were no boomers in the 18th century, when what we know as copyright first was passed by parliament, but there were greedy businessmen who already sought perpetual copyright, and failing that, pushed for an extension when the first works approached the end of their copyright terms, which was sanely rejected on the grounds that there was no justification for the first extension that would not hold for any subsequent extension, thus opening the door.to.a.practically perpetual copyright. (Hindsight being 20/20, I can't tell whether the Brits were eerily prescient, or our congress was astoundingly short-sighted when they opened that door in the early 20th century... I'd guess the latter, though -- it's the fundamental nature or a good politician that he can be precisepy as short-sighted as he's paid to be.)

How about mass disobedience? (4, Interesting)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556270)

2011 was the year super-injunctions were beaten in the UK. Previously, in the UK if you were rich, you could get a super-injunction to stop the media publishing stories about the fact that you cheated on your wife etc. In 2011 that was broken by the fact that 70,000+ people on Twitter decided that they weren't going to abide by it. The law simply can't prosecute 70,000+ semi-anonymous people on the internet.

How about a mass movement to respect the pre-1978 copyright law, but ignore the subsequent changes? Or another line in the sand could be drawn on international lines with the Universal Copyright Convention or the Berne Convention.

Have a lare number of web-sites and/or torrent sites with this material, and only this material.

Established torrent sites aren't the answer, because whilst they do contain some of this material, the also have lots of material that morally should still be copyrighted. Such as last years movies.

Re:How about mass disobedience? (4, Interesting)

CanEHdian (1098955) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556424)

How about a mass movement to respect the pre-1978 copyright law, but ignore the subsequent changes? Or another line in the sand could be drawn on international lines with the Universal Copyright Convention or the Berne Convention.

Have a lare number of web-sites and/or torrent sites with this material, and only this material.

The Berne Convention of the 1880s is where all this crazyness about 'copyright for life + another generation' started.

A couple of professors in a lab with a large team of students come up with an invention - they get 20 years, after which it becomes public domain. And that's all working out fine, given the number of new patented inventions. Why should this be any different for creators? Are they somehow 1st Class Humans and inventors are 2nd Class?

Yes please, bring those servers up, but use 20 years.

Re:How about mass disobedience? (3, Insightful)

BasilBrush (643681) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556606)

A couple of professors in a lab with a large team of students come up with an invention - they get 20 years, after which it becomes public domain. And that's all working out fine, given the number of new patented inventions. Why should this be any different for creators? Are they somehow 1st Class Humans and inventors are 2nd Class?

Authors have a difficult enough time earning a living as it is. I wouldn't support taking their income away during their lifetimes.

Movies on the other hand are made by corporations, and they have enough of them making money in the first few years to make handsome profits. They don't need such long term copyrights.

So perhaps the answer isn't making all copyrights the same length as patents, but rather to differentiate between different art forms.

Re:How about mass disobedience? (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556672)

So, dipshit, what are you going to do about the movies made for $5000 out of some guy's pocket because he loves the medium? Here's a hint... there's a world outside of your narrow fucking frame of reference. Get out of the goddamn basement and check it out sometime.

Be Careful (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556506)

Mr Brush or the hand that controls you will get 'renditioned' to the USofA as a suspected terrorist.
you think I'm joking?
Trying to go against the inexorable move to keep the like of a cartoon mouse in perpetual copyright is regarded by some on the left hand side of the pond, as a threat against the core values of the USA such as Mom and Apple Pie.

Re:How about mass disobedience? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556522)

Established torrent sites aren't the answer, because whilst they do contain some of this material, the also have lots of material that morally should still be copyrighted. Such as last years movies.

This is actually the problem. The law has become so intrusive and so vast, that no one respects it. So it no longer protects those it was designed to protect. (Like photographers getting pictures "stolen" by media outlets.) It is like the US boarder. With the thousands of "good hard working people" sneaking across, you can hide a lot of really bad people as well. Just like a more open boarder would actually keep out more criminals, a more open copyright would protect more artists.

Copyright is theft (0)

Snaller (147050) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556278)

Which is why they invented it in the first place.

(Yes, its a soundbite, but we are pressed for time)

there should be a copyright extension tax or fee (5, Interesting)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556302)

Say if you want to keep your copyright after X years pay X fee. That way Mickey Mouse can say out of the PD as long as the fee is payed. But other stuff and abandonware can go free. Also make it pre work or at least some way to stop places buying up lot's of old corporate conglomerates and clamming copyright to lot's of old works with out proof and may it that they have to use / offer the work for sale. The down side of copyrights is dead works and a copyright extension fee / or tax will help fix that.

Re:there should be a copyright extension tax or fe (4, Interesting)

shess (31691) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556378)

The fee should have an N^2 or 2^N or N! factor, where N is the number of years since expiration.

Re:there should be a copyright extension tax or fe (2)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556446)

The fee should have an N^2 or 2^N or N! factor, where N is the number of years since expiration.

Meh. That might be satisfying, but it's unlikely to be enacted, and it's not necessary to solve the dead works problem.

Re:there should be a copyright extension tax or fe (0)

Jaxim (858185) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556466)

Totally agree!!!!

Re:there should be a copyright extension tax or fe (1)

iplayfast (166447) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556560)

You need to account for inflation as well. Add another 2% per year while your at it.

Re:there should be a copyright extension tax or fe (2)

swillden (191260) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556434)

+1

The fee doesn't really even need to be large. You could probably achieve the same results with no fee at all, actually, just a periodic re-registration requirement. The key is to ensure that the copyright holder still knows and cares about the work, and that others who are interested in doing something with the work can identify the owner.

Re:there should be a copyright extension tax or fe (3, Interesting)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556498)

This would benefit the companies and hurt the individual. Mickey will be in copyright forever, while my fantastic great book I have just written won't be. Then that will be turned into a Disney production, because it is in public domain.

That will then be copyrighted. They have done so with several stories already. The only difference is the fee. The rest would not make any difference.

And you can be damn sure that there will be a group discount and it will be tax deductible and so many other rules that they will pay less for all their copyrights then you will do for just one.

Just make it a max of 10 years. That would mean no need to change anything, except the number of years. If grand-dad dies the day after he wrote his book, I have 10 years to collect on it. If he dies the before, I have 1 day.

Artists can start playing their own music after 10 years f they had problems with their publisher. They can even use their own name again. (Who? Prince! That skinny MF with the high voice.)

Re:there should be a copyright extension tax or fe (4, Insightful)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556616)

Say if you want to keep your copyright after X years pay X fee.

While that would be a nice trick to get a lot of today abandoned stuff into the public domain, I really don't like the idea in the long run, as it would mean that all the big cooperations simply let their lawyers handle things and get copyright protection for as long as the law allows, while the stuff of the little guy will slip into public domain against their will.

I think a much better solution to copyright would be staged copyright, i.e. 15 years of copyright as is, after that another 15 years where the work is free-for-non-commecial-use, then full public domain.

Sonny Bono (0)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556322)

His bill was an ex-post facto law, he needed to die, and he did.

He wanted royalties on such shitty songs as "I got You Babe" and "The Beat Goes On". He was a conflict-of-interest asshole. Thankfully he died, unfortunately, his bill was passed before he died! NIGGER !

stuff falls under copyright termination rights? (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556344)

I think the time line for that is comeing up as well and that may lead to some works coming out as well.

Why not change copyright laws to state that (5, Interesting)

mehrotra.akash (1539473) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556362)

If after say 30-40 years from the date of copyright, the material is no longer available for purchase to the common man (Easy to do via digital distribution for movies/songs/etc atleast), the copyright is declared invalid?

Re:Why not change copyright laws to state that (2)

grumbel (592662) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556666)

That could lead to situations where a publisher simply refuses to publish a work to avoid paying the author any royalties, i.e. way pay now when you can get the thing for free a few years down the road? I'd like that solution better if it would be limited to non-commercial use and only allowed commercial use until regular copyright expired (which a shorter overall copyright term of course).

Re:Why not change copyright laws to state that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#38556724)

You think that someone would say "Your book is great, but in 40 years I'm going to make a killing by stealing it from you!" Highly doubtful.

Sad (0)

mholve (1101) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556370)

Such is the price of progress... Nay, greed.

The Ancients got that one right (4, Interesting)

bfandreas (603438) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556454)

The city Alexandria at the time did reputedly the following.
If you entered the harbour you were asked if you had any scrolls with you. If you had then you were to hand the over so they could copy them for the Great Library.Chances were you'd get back the copy. I don't know if that particular anecdote is true but it is one that makes perfect sense. That's how important knowledge was to them. If you could read it you could access it. Copy it. Teach it. Available knowledge was part of Alexandrias wealth.
When the Great Library burned down it was one of the greatest losses to humanity I can ever imagine.
Now most of us can read it but only as far as the rights as granted by the copyright holders allow.
Not letting things enter Public Domain is a catastrophy that is akin to the fire in the Great Library. How many works have been forgotten due to nobody really knowing who holds the rights or because it isn't profitable to publish it?
Wasn't Return of the King first widely published in the 70ies? At least that's when the great craze started.
We burnt Savonarola, could we please do the same to those clowns who actively steal from our civilisation? I find that particular notion heartwarming.

I hate retroactive legislation... (3, Interesting)

advocate_one (662832) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556488)

the extended copyright terms should ONLY have applied to works FIRST registered after 1978 (the date of effect of the bill) and nothing registered prior to that... Imagine the howls of protest if they passed a bill that retroactively extended the sentences of people already convicted of crimes or retroactively extended back a change in tax rate to cover years of income for which you've already paid taxes on? Surely that 1978 bill was unconstitutional in the first place as it was retroactive in effect?

1955?? 1984 should be the public domain line (1)

AthanasiusKircher (1333179) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556556)

Why focus on copyright extensions from 1978? That was just one in a long line of ridiculous extensions.

The original copyright act passed in 1790 just after the Constitution was ratified to create the power of copyright allowed for a term of 14 years, with a possible 14-year renewal. That was plenty. If you can't make money off of something in 28 years following its publication, you probably won't be able to. That's an entire generation who has to pay for your stuff. It also is a good chunk of the career length of an artist. The point of copyright was to encourage future works and time investment by artists, not allow them to live off one lucky creation for the rest of their days. Any revival of your work after 30 years is not going to be something you expected from your initial investment of time and money, which is what copyright law is supposed to pay for.

The correct date for the end of the public domain should be 1984. Not just "From Here to Eternity," but the music of the Beatles, etc. should be in the public domain by now....

28 Years Later (4, Informative)

bfree (113420) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556646)

TFA talks about the pre-1978 law and how these would have still fallen out of copyright had they not applied for extensions, but I prefer to simply think about the scenario where copyright had stayed at 28 years (or less) and there was no option to extend it beyond that.

Released in 1983

Film [wikipedia.org]

  • Flashdance
  • Jaws 3D
  • Mickey's Christmas Carol
  • Monty Python's The Meaning of Life
  • Never Say Never Again
  • Octopussy
  • Star Wars Episode VI: Return of the Jedi
  • Staying Alive
  • Superman III
  • Terms of Endearment
  • Trading Places
  • WarGames

Literature [wikipedia.org]

  • Isaac Asimov - The Robots of Dawn
  • Jackie Collins - Hollywood Wives
  • Roald Dahl - The Witches
  • Stephen King - Christine
  • Terry Pratchett - The Colour of Magic

Music [wikipedia.org]

  • Let's Dance - David Bowie
  • Europe - Europe
  • Sweat Dreams - Eurythmics
  • Genesis - Genesis
  • An Innocent Man - Billy Joel
  • Rebel Yell - Billy Idol
  • Madness - Madness
  • Madonna - Madonna
  • Under a Blood Red Sky - U2
  • Who's Greatest Hits - The Who
  • "Weird Al" Yankovic - "Weird Al" Yankovic

TV [wikipedia.org]

  • final episode of M*A*S*H
  • Debut of Fraggle Rock
  • music video for "Thriller"
  • The Black Adder

Obviously the above list is far from comprehensive and biased by the idiot who plucked thoe above from the various lists, but I'm sure you get the idea. You might also notice I was slightly biased towards early (and final) works of an artist/series as I wonder how many of these might have seen a renewed interest in the rest of their catalogue now if these initial works were entering the Public Domain.

Proof (1)

EuclideanSilence (1968630) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556660)

Public libraries, the subjectivity of fair use, and the arbitrary duration of copyright are all proof that everyone knows copyright is a bad idea but just can't admit it.

2051? (3, Insightful)

paiute (550198) | more than 2 years ago | (#38556734)

Bull. Nothing will ever be allowed to enter the public domain again.
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