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Eternal Copyright: a Modest Proposal

Soulskill posted more than 2 years ago | from the just-a-matter-of-time dept.

It's funny.  Laugh. 184

New submitter SpockLogic writes "The Telegraphs has a tongue in cheek essay in praise of eternal copyright by the founder of an online games company. Quoting: 'Imagine you're a new parent at 30 years old and you've just published a bestselling new novel. Under the current system, if you lived to 70 years old and your descendants all had children at the age of 30, the copyright in your book – and thus the proceeds – would provide for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren. But what, I ask, about your great-great-great-grandchildren? What do they get? How can our laws be so heartless as to deny them the benefit of your hard work in the name of some do-gooding concept as the "public good," simply because they were born a mere century and a half after the book was written? After all, when you wrote your book, it sprung from your mind fully-formed, without requiring any inspiration from other creative works – you owe nothing at all to the public. And what would the public do with your book, even if they had it? Most likely, they'd just make it worse.'"

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184 comments

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Are you crazy?!? (5, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102589)

You call it sarcasm, they call it talking points. Stop giving them ideas, asshole!!

Re:Are you crazy?!? (4, Funny)

bondsbw (888959) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102609)

Who said anything about "giving" ideas? Those things cost money, you know.

Re:Are you crazy?!? (1)

Jeremiah Cornelius (137) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102675)

Snow-fucking-White. Mr. Disney.

Re:Are you crazy?!? (4, Interesting)

Phat_Tony (661117) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104449)

Snow White (1937), Fantasia (1940), Pinocchio (1940), Dumbo (1941), Bambi (1942), Song of the South (1946), Cinderella (1950), Alice in Wonderland (1951), Robin Hood (1952), Peter Pan (1953), Lady and the Tramp (1955), Mulan (1998), Sleeping Beauty (1959), 101 Dalmatians (1961), The Sword in the Stone (1963), The Jungle Book (1967).

Steamboat Willie, Mickey Mouse's first success, was a parody of Buster Keaton's Steamboat Bill.

And this entire comment is taken from Lawrence Lessig's work Free Culture [authorama.com] , let's hope he doesn't issue a DMCA takedown notice for this comment ;)

Re:Are you crazy?!? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102651)

That idea is copyrighted by the author of that essay. They can't adopt it without charged for theft.

Re:Are you crazy?!? (1)

Bradmont (513167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103419)

Somebody ought to file a patent on copyright extension as a business model...

Re:Are you crazy?!? (1)

next_ghost (1868792) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103583)

Too bad that patents only last 20 years. You'll only get paid once.

Re:Are you crazy?!? (1)

Gideon Wells (1412675) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103691)

Nah, not even once. They'll either claim prior art or rush in a new extension of 21 years to get around it as a stop gap.

Re:Are you crazy?!? (1)

Bradmont (513167) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104649)

Ahh, but I'm a step ahead: I *already* filed a patent on patent term extension as a business model. ;)

Another way of eternity (4, Insightful)

Hentes (2461350) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102623)

Copyright technically won't be eternal, but its duration increases linearly over time in a way that it never ends.

Re:Another way of eternity (3, Insightful)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102705)

No, it will definitely end. About 70 years after the last human died.

Re:Another way of eternity (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102861)

No, it will definitely end. About 70 years after the last human died.

you think copyright will be ended by the extinction of the human race?

oh you poor naive sod, there are plans for that.

Re:Another way of eternity (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39103137)

No, it will definitely end. About 70 years after the last human died.

you think copyright will be ended by the extinction of the human race? oh you poor naive sod, there are plans for that.

No, he thinks we'll all go extinct before 2018, when congress plans to extend it from life+70 to life+90.

LO and BEHOLD ! (3, Funny)

nu1x (992092) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104267)

The first archeologist to discover the copyrighted works of humanity will be summarily executed by Automated Copyright Enforcement Mechanism.

Re:Another way of eternity (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39103465)

You say this as if, right before humanity's final breath is exhaled, the lawyers wouldn't teach the concept of eternal copyright to the cockroaches.

Or, in other words, their peers.

Re:Another way of eternity (4, Funny)

Timex (11710) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103477)

No, it will definitely end. About 70 years after the last lawyer died.

There. FTFY.

Re:Another way of eternity (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102991)

I think it's odd that the Ouhg family is still seeing the benefits of the 'wheel' patent.

Please be satire (2, Funny)

Picardo85 (1408929) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102627)

Oh please let this be satire and not something serious

Re:Please be satire (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102677)

If it's called "A Modest Proposal", that means it is satire:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_modest_proposal

Admittedly, it seems like every new class of student that reads it has some in it that thing Swift actually wanted to eat babies...

Re:Please be satire (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102749)

If it's called "A Modest Proposal", that means it is satire:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_modest_proposal

Admittedly, it seems like every new class of student that reads it has some in it that thing Swift actually wanted to eat babies...

Yes, we call that "the class idiot". It's also why "no child left behind" is a stupid idea.

Re:Please be satire (2)

Turken (139591) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102793)

"No child left behind" is a GREAT idea. After all, my momma always told me to clean my plate and not waste any food!

Re:Please be satire (5, Funny)

danbert8 (1024253) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102921)

I have a new disciplinary policy I'd like to institute called "No Child's Left Behind". You spank them, but you can only hit their right butt cheek.

Re:Please be satire (1)

I_am_Jack (1116205) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104013)

If it's called "A Modest Proposal", that means it is satire: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/A_modest_proposal [wikipedia.org]

Admittedly, it seems like every new class of student that reads it has some in it that thing Swift actually wanted to eat babies...

Yes, we call that "the class idiot". It's also why "no child left behind" is a stupid idea.

The same idiots that think "Gulliver's Travels" is Swift-boating.

Re:Please be satire (1)

borrrden (2014802) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104931)

Oops, accidentally modded this....replying to clear it

The Article (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102637)

I read the article. Hahahahaha.

It was so funny I almost forgot to laugh. It was as funny as Ellen DeGeneres, XKCD, and Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - meaning not funny at all. It's a damn shame, too, because it would have taken only one jab at greedy Jews to make the whole thing worth reading.

Re:The Article (4, Funny)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102693)

Clearly you didn't read it, or you can't read.

Since it had such a jab...

Re:The Article (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39103689)

It... wasn't supposed to be funny?
This is irony. It's supposed to make you outraged. Swift's "modest proposal" wasn't exactly a knee-slapper either.

And not one mention (4, Funny)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102641)

I kept waiting for the baby eating, but it never happened.

Re:And not one mention (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102827)

I kept waiting for the baby eating, but it never happened.

The baby was everyone's "baby", ie the public domain, which is eaten by us all in the form of progress and now shat out as irrelevance.

Re:And not one mention (2)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103545)

That explains why we, the public, have moved from being "citizens" to being "consumers"

Re:And not one mention (4, Funny)

mounthood (993037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102909)

I kept waiting for the baby eating, but it never happened.

Are you suggesting that the author should have copied someone else's work?

Re:And not one mention (1)

Master Moose (1243274) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103651)

I do not see why not, after all, he must have obtained the necessary permissions from and paid the appropriate royalties to the Swift family for the use of the title. Surely as a part of the proposed eternal copyright laws, this would extend to Names, Titles and Ideas?

On the other hand... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102655)

Why does my random great-great-great-grandchild deserve my brain's creation?

Re:On the other hand... (4, Funny)

AngryDeuce (2205124) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102711)

Socialist! Is a man not entitled to the sweat from his great-great-great-grandfather's brow?!

Re:On the other hand... (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102735)

Well, if you don't want your great-great-great-grandchild to get your brain's creation, you can simply sell it to some **AA company. They will happily take it.

Micky Mouse Copyright (5, Insightful)

wonderboss (952111) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102713)

What we really need is a special copyright for Mickey and the rest of the Disney characters
so that The Walt Disney Company can stop lobbying to extend all copyrights.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (1)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102785)

It would be hard to get away with it due to equal protection etc.

Could "they" do something like purchase haiti or somalia and change its law to be eternal copyright, then have the US and their newly purchased state form a reciprocal treaty for copyrights, then transfer all their copyrights from the us to haiti, then return our countries laws to something sane for 99.999999% of content?

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102839)

Except everyone will publish there and we're all fucked even worse.

Trademark? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102811)

Maybe Micky Mouse should be protected by trademark?

Dastar v. Fox (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103919)

At least in my home country, trademarks cannot be used to extend a copyright. Dastar v. Fox.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (4, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102847)

What we really need is a special copyright for Mickey and the rest of the Disney characters...

It's called Trademark, and once Disney realised they could have just Trademarked the mouse instead, they laughed about how needless yet simple it was to crush out and poison the public domain from which Walt's famous works initially sprang.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (3)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103557)

They have. The character is protected by trademark, not copyright. Only the films themselves require copyright - and for some reason, Disney wants the original, pre-WW2 cartoons kept out of public domain. It's not like they're making much, if any, money off them right now... I'm not even sure they're not in the Vault.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (1)

gknoy (899301) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103995)

I'd rather special-case certain films, than argue that ALL copyrights should last for the duration of the Disney monopoly.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (5, Interesting)

_xeno_ (155264) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104221)

they laughed about how needless yet simple it was to crush out and poison the public domain from which Walt's famous works initially sprang.

Incidentally, if you think Disney is done ripping off the public domain, then you've missed John Carter [wikipedia.org] . Wondering why on Earth Disney would create a film about a Civil War vet who is sent to Mars to save the Princess of Helium?

Because it's based on the now public domain A Princess of Mars [wikipedia.org] .

Disney is, to this day, still profiting off the public domain, while refusing to allow anything they have made to ever enter it.

I'm sure you're all completely shocked to discover that. Completely.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (2)

bane2571 (1024309) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104423)

Man, really? Do disney execs just spend all their time searching project gutenberg for the word princess now?

Though to be fair, after reading the John carter wikipedia page, it does appear that they actually purchased the rights to this one back in the early 80s.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (2)

iceaxe (18903) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104505)

I just finished reading my (free, of course) Gutenberg ebook copy of A Princess of Mars so that I can have it fresh in my mind and be outraged at what Disney has done to a great classic. I enjoyed it thoroughly. Working on Gods of Mars now.

I have all 11 volumes in paperback, which I read years ago, but those dang paper books are format locked and I can't get them onto my reader. I hope Gutenberg (or someone) finishes publishing the series in electronic format. They only had the first four when I last looked.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (5, Interesting)

jcrb (187104) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103009)

What we really need is a special copyright for Mickey and the rest of the Disney characters
so that The Walt Disney Company can stop lobbying to extend all copyrights.

I've said the same thing many times, but sadly it would never happen.

But suddenly you make me think of something that might work Reset all copyright terms back to something simple like 50 years from publication. BUT, you can extend the copyright for as long as you want for a payment each year of

  $1 Million + $100,000 * years over 50 since publication , (in inflation adjusted dollars)

so $1M at year 50, $1.5M at 55, $2M at 60, and so on

If you have Winnie he Pooh, you can pay for as long is it makes sense to do so, if something has little value it will go into the public domain at 50 years.

The money collected for the copyright extensions can be first directed to scanning everything the Library of Congress or any other library has to be put online so that it really does go to the public domain.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39103269)

Starting from year one the copyright costs $1 and doubles every year. So year 2 is $2, year 3 is $4, etc.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (5, Informative)

need4mospd (1146215) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103519)

I like this plan. Copyright fees would cross $1,000,000 by 20 years.

If Disney was to renew their Mickey Mouse copyright this year, it would cost them $19,342,813,113,834,066,795,298,816.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39103779)

Heh, that'd be effective even if it were a penny for year 1.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104847)

I'm stupid so I doubted your assertion, so I wrote a quick bash script to confirm what you claim:

$ cat duh_math.sh
#!/bin/bash
year=1
amount=1
while [ ${year} -le 30 ]
do
    echo -n Year: ${year}. Amount: \$
    echo ${amount} | sed -r ' :L
    s=([0-9]+)([0-9]{3})=\1,\2=
    t L'
    amount=$(( ${amount} * 2))
    year=$(( ${year} + 1 ))
done

The 21st year would be a cost of over just a million dollars. The 30th year would be over half a billion. The 41st year would top a trillion dollars. The script stopped displaying the amount properly at 64 years.

Wow. I'm in favour of this copyright length method.

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (1)

BeerCat (685972) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104927)

I like this plan. Copyright fees would cross $1,000,000 by 20 years.

If Disney was to renew their Mickey Mouse copyright this year, it would cost them $19,342,813,113,834,066,795,298,816.

Now you know why they wanted that $45 trillion anti-piracy lawsuit - preparing for the day when they are forced to pay for copyright in those terms

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (1)

gutnor (872759) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104157)

Awful idea ! That would only exclude author from getting copyright on their work. The big companies will probably be able to get around it using loopholes or bully some politician for exemption. For example Disney would just bully some random community somewhere to foot the bill for them in exchange of creating 5 mac jobs, or other hollywood accounting type stuff

Re:Micky Mouse Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104905)

Simple. Deny companies from purchasing copyrights. They can only purchase use rights, which has the doubling effect that the original concepts can stay with the original author, which can guarantee better products, as we have seen with the collaboration of Game of Thrones. (Not saying it is perfect, only that it is one of the best books to other media adaptations.)

The author is a neuroscientist and he can't add? (1)

TheSeventh (824276) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102743)

simply because they were born a mere century and a half after the book was written?

How does 120 years equal a century and a half? You have children at 30 when the book was written. Grand-Children 30 years after the book was written, Great-Grand-Children 60 years after, Great-Great-Grand-Children 90 years after, and Great-Great-Great-Grand-Children 120 years after. If you die at 70, copyright would last another 70 years, so your copyright would expire 110 years after the book was written, 10 years before your Great-Great-Great-Grand-Children are born.

Re:The author is a neuroscientist and he can't add (4, Funny)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102819)

Sheldon, mathematical liberties are allowed when used in hyperbole.

Re:The author is a neuroscientist and he can't add (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102837)

The could be accounting for an assumed extension of the copyright period.

We stand on shoulders of giants (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102781)

it sprung from your mind fully-formed, without requiring any inspiration from other creative works

Whatever story someone writes, is based on stories that come before it. ALWAYS. Even the most original pieces are based on language, something that has evolved in *public domain* for millenia.

And if you create something so unique you do not need copyright to protect its value. See paintings by Picasso. The originals are quite expensive. Copies, much less so.

Re:We stand on shoulders of giants (2)

ZeroSumHappiness (1710320) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102947)

WhoooTHIS MESSAGE HAS BEEN SEIZED BY THE IMMIGRATION AND CUSTOMS ENFORCEMENT AGENCY. This message had been used to distribute a copyrighted joke and was taken down to protect the interests of the author(s) of the copyrighted joke.

There is to much abandonware as there is now (3, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102801)

There is to much abandonware as there is now and the last thing we need is longer copyrights that will let to most lost software / books / movies that should be in the open but can't be due to copyrights.

Re:There is to much abandonware as there is now (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104121)

"to much"?!?! Fuck you!

I'm all for it (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102805)

I'm all for eternal copyright. However, after a certain amount of time (say 20-30 years or so), you would have to start paying a fee to the government to maintain your copyright. This fee would increase at an exponential rate for every year after that. This way companies that have a valuable copyrights could hold on to it for at least some time, but the vast majority of creative works would be converted to public domain within a reasonable time frame.

(I also think patents could work similarly, except that the exponential fees would start at say 3-5 years and with a fixed timelimit of 20 years after which the patent will expire.)

Re:I'm all for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39102985)

I'd rather see a tax on the value of the copyright. Say, 2% of the income generated from owning it. When the tax is less then $100 for a year, the copyright is lifted. If there is no income there is no need to protect the work. This does pooch the whole GPL thing but I'm sure that something could be worked out.

Re:I'm all for it (5, Interesting)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103637)

I say start it immediately, at $1. Then double it each year. Math so simple, even Congress can understand it.

In a decade, it'll cost just over a grand a year. By two decades, it'll be costing over a million. Even 30+-year copyrights would be possible, if they were worth billions of dollars to whoever owned them.

This would also allow for near-immediate entry into the public domain of works by extinct companies. Abandonware would flourish - when a company goes bankrupt, unless their copyrights get bought up, their products would enter the public domain within a year.

Re:I'm all for it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104835)

I say start it immediately, at $1. Then double it each year. Math so simple, even Congress can understand it.

In a decade, it'll cost just over a grand a year. By two decades, it'll be costing over a million.

The way the Fed has been printing money of late, that's not even going to keep up with inflation!

Re:I'm all for it (1)

elgo (1751690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103911)

Great idea! It would make it even easier for large corporations to hold onto their copyrights, while making it harder for starving artists and less-fortunate companies. Money should be able to buy everything, since economic success is the only conceivable indicator of value!

Re:I'm all for it (2)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104635)

Artists and less-fortunate companies would pay with the proceedings of work itself, just like big-companies, while it gives them more money than it costs to keep it copyrighted.

Or are you claiming that big companies, just because they have more money, would pay more than what the work gets them?

Economical success is not the only conceivable indicator of value, but luckily nobody claimed that. But it is the only reason to keep a work copyrighted.

Not Exactly Swiftian (0)

glwtta (532858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102831)

Sometimes it feels like satire is a lost art.

Here's a small hint: just putting 'horrifically' in front of the thing you're arguing for, does not make for a clever read.

Re:Not Exactly Swiftian (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103195)

Horrifically does it seem to some that satire be lost as an art. If only successors to the throne one held by Jesters and Arthurs of yore could still fathom such a concept as this! Ironically, the common man's interconnection for intercourse has allowed their shared mindless drivelling to stamp out even irony itself!

Re:Not Exactly Swiftian (1)

spire3661 (1038968) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103835)

and as the decibels of this disenchanting discourse continue to dampen the day......

Re:Not Exactly Swiftian (1)

glwtta (532858) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104431)

Yeah, that's pretty much what I'm talking about.

reads like a shill piece you d order from turk (2)

gale the simple (1931540) | more than 2 years ago | (#39102907)

And I really hope so. Otherwise, I will have to accept that there are people who truly believe that:

  "it will be difficult to enforce due to the inherently criminal nature of digital technology"

I didn't know it was inherently criminal until few minutes ago. Someone please save me.

Its hard not to comment on the entire , prevalent these days, rent seeking behavior from some distant heirs. I do not five a flying rat's ass about descendants of Jane. She wrote the classic. Not the heirs. What did they do exactly?

My Modest Proposal (1)

Microsift (223381) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103015)

Copyright should be 5 years, penalties for violating copyright should be large enough to discourage willful copyright violations (i.e criminal, not civil). After 5 years, copyright is gone, want more money? do more work!

Re:My Modest Proposal (1)

thegrassyknowl (762218) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104413)

Here's the problem I see with that: People like free stuff. If we make copyright terms sufficiently short that people could just wait and get a cheap-ass bootleg copy legally they might just do that.

Without a major uprising of sorts the media money will buy whatever copyright rules it wants. People won't rise up because they don't think there is a problem while they leech whatever they want for free off the Internet. It's not like most of them could afford the outrageous prices with their minimum wage and ever-increasing rent and utility bills anyway.

Seriously, let them take away the avenues for getting free stuff and maybe the plebs will start noticing them.

Re:My Modest Proposal (1)

Golddess (1361003) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104543)

If we make copyright terms sufficiently short that people could just wait and get a cheap-ass bootleg copy legally they might just do that.

Perhaps. Or perhaps as evidenced by video game sales, people would prefer to get it RITE NAO rather than wait even just a couple months for a guaranteed price reduction.

Re:My Modest Proposal (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104697)

People have shown again and again that they will pay even if they can get it for free. See most of the pay-what-you-want deals or studies like this [guardian.co.uk] .

Yes, plenty of people will get it for free. It's irrelevant. We just need to ensure artists get paid enough to make it reasonable to produce new works, not that they get a cut from each and every single viewer.

Of course that is what they want (1)

swb (14022) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103059)

To re-establish the aristocracy and it's permanent claims on resources. Family dynasty money.

How about perpetual copyright, include retroactive (1)

Ixitar (153040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103205)

How about we change copyright to being perpetual, but require that all previous public domain goes back to copyright as well. All of the descendents of the authors those public domain stories that Disney used for its movies can sue Disney for royalties.

If you refuse to give back to the public domain, then the public domain should never be accessible to you.

Re:How about perpetual copyright, include retroact (1)

Ixitar (153040) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103277)

I am sorry. I did not RTFA. I have been thinking along the lines of the author for a while.

History (1)

jimwelch (309748) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103221)

Check your history. This is the way it was in Britain. Until a Judge ruled otherwise.

Hopeful idea, terrible execution. (1)

ultimatefish67 (2237322) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103253)

1. From my knowledge most copyrights are owned not by individuals but by corporate (greedy) hands. Don't count on them supporting your heirs. 2. What do you want as grandchildren? A bunch of lazy trust-fund-ish narcissists. 3. If you want to provide for your children who follow you, then teach them the intangible things about yourself that made you the rockstar worthy of a copyright. Think of teaching them how to fish instead of giving them fish (which by that point would be REALLY old fish).

An Awesome Proposal (1)

MDillenbeck (1739920) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103417)

Here was the idea my wife and I came up with: Follow the original terms of copyright (20 years) for exclusive production, then after that time allow derivative works but allow the original to be retained for whatever term is chosen (for example, the current 70 years after death). What does this mean? Star Wars would have been in public domain. Allow Lucas to keep the rights to the original and the manipulation of it, but the setting and characters become public domain. A simple addendum to this: derivative works have limited copyright protection - direct replicas of the work cannot be produced, but derivative works can be produced from a derivative work (ie, a word-for-word book of a derivative film might classify as a direct copy, but a sequel to the book would not).

For a serious question to the legally savvy: If a corporation gains the copyright to a product, and since the corporation has personhood status, does that mean the copyright is retained by the corporation for 70 years after it is dissolved? If so, where do the profits go since corporations don't have offspring - or are subsidiaries considered offspring in this case?

Two Years (1)

Wolfling1 (1808594) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103561)

That's it. Long enough to achieve market dominance (if you've got half a brain).

After that, its fair game.

I've never had an employer who continues to offer me ongoing royalties for my suggestions on how to improve their business. In fact, they require me to sign away any rights I hold to any ideas I may have.

Re:Two Years (1)

MozeeToby (1163751) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103765)

I actually don't think 2 years if fair, you're not going to establish market dominance in the book selling industry in two years based on your novel, even if it's the most groundbreaking piece of literature every written. So at the end of 2 years Amazon can give your novel away as an ebook for free or $.50 for a paperback copy? Yes, most of the profit from a work comes from the first year or two, but I think you'd see prices collapse overnight if everything more than 2 years old was public domain. Actually, what I suspect would happen would be a rebirth of short form and episodic literature. Why sell your novel for 2 years then see no income from it, when you can publish a new chapter every 3 months, relying on free advertising from the newly free earlier chapters to bring in new readers.

And dammit, I think I've made your argument for you. I take it back, if you throw out the old ideas of how the content industry is run you could make it work. Episodic content could push the price for any single piece of the final product well below the impulse buy threshold. You'd be killing off the cinema industry possibly, but even there when the final chapter of your movie is released you could play the movie in its entirety in theaters, you'd be the only one legally allowed to distribute the final chapter, which would still give you an effective monopoly on the movie. And if fewer people come because they've already seen the movie in the comfort of their own homes, well, you've already made $2-10 from them (for say 5 chapters at $2 each) and should probably count that as a win.

Re:Two Years (1)

icebraining (1313345) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104759)

People will still buy from the author. Paulo Coelho makes a ton of money by giving away his books as free downloads, just because lots of readers buy an hardcover from him afterwards.

Imagine you are a kid (1)

houghi (78078) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103667)

Imagine you are a kid and in 30 years you have kids yourself. You want to sing them a song your mom sang to you as a kid, but you can't, because there is a copyright on it for 30 years.

So you wait another 30 and want to sing it to your grand child, but you can't, because there is a copyright on it for 70 years. So you wait another 30 and just before you die, you want to sing it to your great-grand-child, but you can't, because there is a 70+70 year copyright on it.

Go ahead and make copyright permenant (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39103719)

Make copyright permanent. Oh yea and lets make it retroactive at the same time.
Never again will we have to watch another rendition of Snow White, Cinderella, or any other story.
Maybe then we can get something original.

Comments as a derivative work. (3, Insightful)

fish_in_the_c (577259) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103855)

While considering this most modest proposal of 'eternal copy rite' I think we should also take pause to consider another terrible form of piracy so frequent today. That of creating a body of work, that's soul purpose is the critique of an existing piece of work. Obviously any monetary benefit derived from such a work , would not exist without the author of the original work. So much so that such works are derivative works par excellent of the original. Since the comments are bound to do nothing more then make the original less useful and worse then it's initially concise and proper format the author should retain control over Removing or modifying any comments not fully in the spirit of the original.

After all, all freedoms have limits , and freedom of speech certainly is of a lower value then an authors freedom to create wealth and provide a viable income to her/himself and future descendants.

I once worked for IP lawyers... (1)

joshamania (32599) | more than 2 years ago | (#39103977)

"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."

So that's how the constitution reads...I was asking one of the younger attorneys at the firm about the "limited time" if the application of the Sonny Bono copyright schmutz didn't make copyright, in effect, unlimited.

His response, verbatim...and I am not shitting you:

"Unlimited is a limit."

The law is whatever they want it to be folks.

Talk about a way to kiss creativity goodbye (1)

scottbomb (1290580) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104023)

Imagine being sued for writing something similar to what someone else wrote say, 1000, 4000, or 10,000 years ago. Pick your timeframe, it doesn't matter. It would be impossible for anyone to do enough research to make sure their work hasn't already, at some point in history, been done by someone else. As Soloman said, "Nothing is truly new under the sun."

Until they respect the public domain... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104089)

Until they respect the public domain as they should, I have no respect for copyright. I haven't bought a single music CD in over 12 years and have only bought movies out of the $5.50 bin at Walmart if i buy them at all (about 10 over 12 years).

Sorry, but until copyright is restored to 14 years with only a single 14 year extension. I feel obligated never to obey it. Sucks for them even more now that I pretty much quit watching TV and listening to music entirely for about two years now.

I refuse to even buy movies or music for my friends and teach them how to get it without it, especially if it is over 28 years old, I flat out tell them not to buy it and I will give it to them. Sorry, but if the music is that old, it should be in the public domain by now, they made their money, now time to uphold their end of the bargain for their limited time monopoly on it and allow it into the public domain.

Edit: Capcha: Mortared

what we really need (and is more likely to happen) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104123)

...is a decree from Emperor Obama...
"On this day, February 20th, 2012," [black history month is ideal month for Emperor Obama to make this decree as it would add to Black History] "I, Emperor Obama do hereby proclaim that any copyright over 100 years old is officially null and void."

i think the wikipedia article says it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104311)

...when it says...
"This law, also known as the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, Sonny Bono Act, or as the __Mickey Mouse Protection Act__"

sonny bono was a recording artist, etc. this seems like a conflict of interest to me.

Great Ideas (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104445)

Seriously, there are plenty of great being talked about here on how to improve the system... so how many of you have the money to pay a few million bucks to bribe your congressman into passing one of these proposed solutions into law?

Yeah, I can't afford it either =(

Re:Great Ideas (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104737)

If he accept bribes, then he shouldnt be there, Attack that (don't know, instead of keeping voting for them, or by default approving them for not voting, try to pick an alternative or make vocal that no alternative is good), and maybe in not very long time other problems will be solved.

Laugh (1)

koan (80826) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104661)

Since there are only seven basic plots to stories the entertainment side would run out of steam quickly.
http://www.ipl.org/div/farq/plotFARQ.html [ipl.org]

Imagine this applied to other patents as well, a World of lawyers.

Why bother to read the comments? (2)

rickb928 (945187) | more than 2 years ago | (#39104753)

I've got my own modest proposal;

If you wish for your creation to provide for your offspring to the fourth and beyond generation, establish a trust or foundation to accept the proceeds from the sale and use of your creation, invest it as necessary to preserve the contributions and what interest is not too risky, and hope that it does indeed provide enough income to fund this before a reasonable copyright runs out.

Because, it seems to me, the past function of copyright is to protect the interests of the creator, the author, inventor, what have you. NOT their children's children's children's children's.

Perpetual copyright is the equivalent of perpetual patent. At what point are we no longer protecting the original holder, and are perpetuating a stream of income forever to those whose only interest is in being born of someone born of someone born of someone who was born of the instigator of the whole darned thing?

And if the initial proposal is acceptable, to perpetuate copyright forever, then clearly it must be assignable, so that one could even grant it in perpetuity to a mere friend. Or their dog. And their offspring. In perpetuity.

Time to really consider what copyright should be. Notice there are no corporations out there with perpetual licenses to prosper? They have to provide value to survive, even if that value is only to their shareholders or management and employees. So what of value does perpetual copyright provide to anyone other than the spawn of the initial holder?

I know. Money. Wrong answer. I pay copyright holders liberally for their work. When they are long gone, I just can't summon up a reason to do so.

Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39104881)

Maybe they could finally prevent us from not only using the Constitution to protect ourselves, but we would not even be able to read about the past when we had rights.

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