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Proposed Chinese Copyright Changes Would Encourage Re-Use

timothy posted more than 2 years ago | from the thousand-flowers-all-bloom-differently dept.

China 169

New submitter BBCS writes "The National Copyright Administration of the People's Republic of China ('NCAC') is seeking public comments on a controversial draft amendment to China's copyright law. A number of recording artists and musicians have reacted strongly against this proposed amendment because it appears to encourage using others works without compensation. The amendments that have drawn particular ire are article 46 & 48. Per Article 46, one does not need consent to make recordings of another person's musical work if 3 months have passed since such work was published. Per Article 48, to use such person's musical work, one must contact the NCAC, identify the published material and its author, and within 1 month of use, submit a usage fee as per the NCAC, to facilitate the distribution of payment to applicable parties. I wonder what happens when someone applies to make use of Chinese Democracy by Guns N' Roses." What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?

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169 comments

Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law... (4, Informative)

Chris Dodd (1868704) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607855)

There's nothing here about using others works without compensation -- this is about manadatory licensing of works, with rates set by the state licensing board. Which may or may not be a good thing, depending on who you are.

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (3, Interesting)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607899)

Yes but it looks like its a one time fee. i.e. 3 months after Lady Gaga has released her single you can copy it, pay a 1-time fee of say $10, and then make as many copies as you like for your own ends. Unless the summary misses out that the fee scale is more complex than this, I'm not sure that the balance is right and normally I'm in favour of drastic cutback of Intellectual Property time periods.

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (4, Interesting)

10101001 10101001 (732688) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608515)

Well, I think it's also a bit ironic also because in the US there's rather similar laws involving doing a cover version of a song. Yes, there is the issue of whether it's a one time fee or a continuous fee based upon units sold, but in either case it's a mechanical, compulsory process where the copyright holder has little to no say over it. The most interesting part to me of it is that such a law only covers music, AFAIK.

It could be argued this is because music is special, either in that each performance is unique and hence it is that which should be treated as copyrightable, but that leaves the question of why plays and other similar performance works aren't treated the same. After all, it's rather different in whether a group of children or a group of trained actors do Hamlet and whether the play's creator has the right to avoid some sort of "blasphemy" against his artistic vision.

It could also be argued that music is not unique enough in its production--given the seem argument of how few chords are available and how even a few notes might be enough to violate someone else's copyright--but then works like books are based upon a generally unique selection of phonetics and words, although of a grander scale, and based upon plot lines and characters of a generally limited flavor as well. At the same time, authors don't have to pay a "genre" fee and it's usually quite trivial to copy a work or character, so long as one makes a few alterations along the way; still, that would presumably be the same with music since clearly there are many sound-alike songs.

So, overall, I'm just curious about why compulsory licensing of the sort is accepted and whether it's more a means to expand the artistic availability of some authors or more of a money grab by authors (or likely their producers, given how it works in the US) to try to take in more money on copying that is presumed would happen regardless. To that end, it's more of a tax system meant for a subclass of people, and that seems rather dubious.

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (5, Interesting)

ebusinessmedia1 (561777) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607909)

China has no history of embedded civil code; it has always been run from the *center*, by powerful interests that made the law punitive only when one upset "the natural order of things" - e.g. poisoning a rice paddy, or carrying a sign in 1967 that claimed "capitalism is good" - those things would get you killed. However, if you stole someone intellectual property, the dispute was settled strictly between the parties, without the intervention by a civil authority; essentially, it was between you and the thief. In those situations, the person who had the most political power, or local connections, would win. This is simply the way things have been, until very recently, in China.

In other words, no LEGAL sense of protected IP. That is starting to change, slowly, as the world gets wired up, but it will take a while. Another way to say this is that many, many people in China have no problem with lifting someone else IP, because that's the way things have always been. btw, this doesn't make China a thieving culture, but rather a culture where there have been no strictures embedded in civil code to prevent this sort of thing. This is one more reason why international companies need to be cautious with IP in China, and understand how to play hard ball when they have IP stolen.

Devil's Argument on IP (4, Interesting)

TaoPhoenix (980487) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608067)

Okay, we've seen the real problems of locking up IP for a century in US copyright law.
Here come the Chinese to say "Hai. You have 3 months to sell it, then it's fair game."

That creates a rapid promulgation of culture. (I didn't read the article) but it doesn't prevent the original artist from using it. Same thing, you can grab someone else's stuff for your own project 3 months later.

It's a hyper-accelerated sharing cycle.

The final end is unknown. They "claim to want to educate children" (in the US) but after the stock basics of who was who in the civil war, "education" gets all tied up in Journal fees.

Re:Devil's Argument on IP (3, Insightful)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608249)

Sure it's three months now. But it'll be up to "life of the author + 75 years" soon enough.

Re:Devil's Argument on IP (5, Insightful)

Gr8Apes (679165) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608447)

To mod your first responder funny, or respond to you?

While 100+ years is extremely absurd, I think 3 months is on the other end of extreme absurdity. I do believe the US founders had a pretty good concept of copyright limitations, and that should be something we return to. A maximum of 28 years, renewed at 14, seems like a fine separation of of concerns to allow an artist to recoup what they ca before it goes into the public domain.

Re:Devil's Argument on IP (2)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608575)

But if you start the discussion being 'reasonable', the copyright lobby will cry about how you're unwilling to compromise if you try to stick anywhere near it.
So start at no copyright or 3 months. Then compromise to a few years. Don't do half their work for them.

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608771)

If they're not careful, they'll turn into another US. Draconian copyright laws abound!

But it's pretty difficult to 'steal' an IP, anyway.

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (1)

tftp (111690) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608969)

But it's pretty difficult to 'steal' an IP, anyway.

It's very easy, actually. Just take the IP and improve on it (or remove unwanted pieces.) Then your fork will be more valuable than the original.

Microsoft wouldn't want that to happen with Windows 7 and Windows 8 because all their horrible Metro model would fall apart if a company shows up that is willing to sell Windows 7 for $25 and to support it until the end of time. Then Windows would be essentially stolen because MS would be unable to sell it. MS would have to actually invent something new that people want (I'm not sure that MS even knows how to do that, considering ribbons and Metro.)

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609331)

MS could easily afford to sell windows 7 for less than $25, and still turn a tidy profit.

The reason things like ribbons and metro, that you clearly don't like, are forced on people is because MS can, thanks to there being no competition.

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (2)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609319)

They have a more natural culture of sharing... They don't have mass thefts of property that deprives the original owner, they only copy ideas and information... This is how people have learned for thousands of years.

Mod parent up (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607913)

I don't understand why this is so controversial. In fact, I'm surprised there is a 3 month protection period before one can release a cover of a song.

Because, as the parent points out, this is about mandatory licensing for derivative works. That is a Good Thing.

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (3, Insightful)

Pf0tzenpfritz (1402005) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608313)

Yes, exactly. Sounds fair enough to me. If you don't want your music "covered" then don't publish it. I don't see why anyone would need the copmoser's (or rather "rightholder's", nowadays) consent to play, record or remix any original works. As long as they pay royalties, if required.

Re:Copywriters can't read the copyright draft law. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608549)

Yes, exactly. Sounds fair enough to me. If you don't want your music "covered" then don't publish it. I don't see why anyone would need the copmoser's (or rather "rightholder's", nowadays) consent to play, record or remix any original works. As long as they pay royalties, if required..

What would you do... (2)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607865)

What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?

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Re:What would you do... (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608135)

Well that's about the right price for Oracle stuff.

Re:What would you do... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39609233)

Actually Oracle is more than worth the extra price, I had opportunity to work with MySQL, MSSQL PostgreSQL and Oracle, differences for (medium sized - 5000 simultaneous users) application are HUGE in development cost, maintenance cost, ability to use advanced hardware, performance, if you are using more powerful database server (as in not some cheap I7 but 4-way or 8-way Opteron/Xeon) MySQL simply does not scale enough and you have your EXPENSIVE database box working like much cheaper model, even when you add Oracle licenses to server it still gets cheaper (in $/user) than FREE MySQL because same expensive box can support more users as consequence

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Re:What would you do... (1)

Mogster (459037) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609437)

SAP.... We'll GIVE YOU $49.99 to please take it TODAY

Anyone noticed... (3, Interesting)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607873)

...that we're talking about China a LOT lately?

Re:Anyone noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607977)

Of course we are. It's a legitimate sexual orientation, you know --> http://imgur.com/gallery/qd1R0
You're not Chimophobic, are you?

Re:Anyone noticed... (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608143)

Oh, that's just special.

BTW, I think you meant 'Chinophobic'. There are other definitions for 'Chimo', the most interesting one I just looked up referring to high school seniors dating high school freshman. That... I MIGHT be phobic of, lol.

Re:Anyone noticed... (2)

History's Coming To (1059484) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608431)

"Sinophobic" is the term.

Re:Anyone noticed... (1)

Cazekiel (1417893) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608559)

That's just the phobia of Chinese people, but what's the term for your sexual orientation BEING Chinese?

Re:Anyone noticed... (3, Insightful)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607995)

Yeah! And I also noticed that USA is building-up troops in Japan, Australia, and the south of China sea (and knowing that freaks me out...).

Re:Anyone noticed... (1)

jhoegl (638955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608011)

This is how it starts good sir.
If you remember the "cold war" with USSR (Russia), there were many stores about our adversaries and why we should fear them.
When in reality, they matter little because the policies enacted are local to that country.

Re:Anyone noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608365)

Why? Did China annex Iran? I thought America was bombing Iran next?
Who the hell jumped the queue!?

Re:Anyone noticed... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608745)

The US, war with China? That'll be the day. China makes our damn weaponry.

Besides, it'd have to be straight-to-nukes, or they'd steamroll us.

Re:Anyone noticed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608389)

Yeah, soon enough we'll be talking about a fifth of the human race nearly a fifth of the time. Bizarre. :)

Copyright ends when revenue drops (3, Interesting)

Animats (122034) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607875)

The lifetime of entertainment media is surprisingly short. Most movies make at least 1/3 of their ultimate revenue in the first weekend. Perhaps the way to define "orphan works" is to expire copyright when 95% of the ultimate revenue has been extracted. The movie industry already makes that calculation to decide when to end theatrical release.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (2)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607947)

The lifetime of entertainment media is surprisingly short. Most movies make at least 1/3 of their ultimate revenue in the first weekend. Perhaps the way to define "orphan works" is to expire copyright when 95% of the ultimate revenue has been extracted. The movie industry already makes that calculation to decide when to end theatrical release.

Where did you get this "fact"? This may be true of an initial box office run, but fails entirely to account for DVD sales, streaming, download, etc. And what about stuff that rears its ugly head over and over again like Star Wars?

And what if you don't want to license your music to someone -- e.g., I don't want to license my band's music to Rick Santorum's campaign because I think he's a cocksucker? Or suppose Radiohead doesn't want their song used in a MacDonald's commercial? And what about derivative works? E.g., I take your dance song, remix it a little and make *my* dance song which totally cannibalizes your revenue stream a mere 3 months after it launches?

It seems pretty clear to me that this defines a vision of copyright law that is distinctly communist in nature and represents a business model where artists have no rights to their own creations.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607969)

It seems pretty clear to me that this defines a vision of copyright law that is distinctly communist in nature and represents a business model where artists have no rights to their own creations.

Other than being "capitalist in nature," how, exactly, does that differ from our own RIAA-ruled vision of copyright law?

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (2)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608451)

Perhaps I fired that comment off half-cocked. I'm not going to pretend I know all about it. The short answer is "I don't know". However, I believe that in Western countries, artists may assert rights to their works in civil court. For example, if I release a song in May and you copied my song and released an exact sound-alike in August, then I could sue you for cramping my style and expect a judge or jury to settle it for us. It is legal in Western countries to record a cover of somebody else's song under compulsory license [cdbaby.com] without their permission and the original songwriter and publisher will receive legally mandated royalty rates on sales of the new recording -- in that sense the two systems are the same. I do not know if there is any time limit attached. It seems to me that the intent in the Chinese law is to prevent civil action by setting a time frame after which all civil remedies are prohibited. The comments of the affected Chinese artists clearly indicate that they are unhappy about it. I personally think it sucks the wind out of the music recording business model if people are permitted to copy and "use" your music however they like after 3 months.

As for "our own RIAA-ruled vision of copyright law" as you put it, I'm not sure how I feel. Full disclosure: I have made a little money from music recording and still get royalty checks from ASCAP every now and then. I believe that if I sell someone a song that the terms of that sale should be clear to both of us and pretty flexible. Obviously, they should be able to play it anywhere they want on any device they want until hell freezes over, pass it on to their kids, etc. I want people to be able to give my song to friends or play it at parties or play it for their family. This is how songs become popular. That somebody would take my song and put it on BitTorrent so the entire world can have it for free bothers me. That some loathsome creature like Kim Dotcom can make a fortune selling advertising on the back of content that he had no hand or share in creating bothers me too. I've never sued anybody, though. I don't like the RIAA. I don't like big record companies. I welcome P2P technology and the decentralization of the music industry. I like that it's easier to make and distribute music now than it has ever been. I love that NIN and Radiohead made tons of money from voluntary contributions. I LOVE that some of these douchebag record companies have been taken down a few notches. Their arrogance and that radio pay-for-play stuff was just nauseating.

On the other hand, I often wonder about the future of music. You need enormous amounts of money to record music with the London Symphony Orchestra. Those fantastic recording studios at Abbey Road with the 90-channel Neve 4078 boards in them cost millions of dollars to build and thousands of dollars a day to rent. While you don't need the LSO or one of those Neve boards to crank out garage rock or electro clash or house music, they are kind of magic things that may soon become extinct. Dark Side of the Moon -- best selling record ever -- took something like six months or a year to record at Abbey Road and was done on the record company's dime. Aside from record companies, who is willing to pay for something like that?

I really don't want to ignite any flame wars or anything, but I do hope that people who make (good) music get compensated for it. I hope that people who enjoy music appreciate that it takes effort to create and will consider sending some compensation to the artists -- however small that compensation may be. I hope that people don't feel entitled to have all their music for free. I hope the RIAA stops acting like a bunch of dickheads. I hope I can watch Game of Thrones [theoatmeal.com] soon without having to get cable or subscribe to HBO or whatever -- I'm totally willing to pay for it!

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

lytles (24756) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608019)

in semi-communist china the music copyrights you

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608325)

And what if you don't want to license your music to someone

You're apparently operating under the delusion that you have a choice in the matter here in the U.S. For as long as I can remember, we've had compulsory licensing such that anyone can record your song once you publish it by paying a small per-unit licensing fee.

As far as I can tell, the only differences here are that it is a flat fee instead of a per-unit fee, that there isn't a cap on the number of units, and that in China, you have to wait three months.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

sneakyimp (1161443) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608457)

See my other comment. I'm not going to pretend that I know all about it, but I believe that the Chinese law's intent is to prevent civil action after a period of 3 months.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608591)

After a certain time period artists should have no right over their own creations - they should be in the public domain so they can be used. Copyright is simply a protection period to allow an artist to profit by having a monopoly on his work.

Anyway, its a little unclear as to what the Chinese law is, whether through poor drafting of the law or poor translation in the article. Does it mean you can make a direct copy after 3 months, or simply that it is fair use to record it yourself or use the original as part of your mix track?

In some cases in the US you can get a mechanical license to copy by right immediately after the original musician has first published or performed see Compulsory Mechanical License [wikipedia.org] , so it is possible this Chinese law is more restrictive than the US

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (2)

Lazarian (906722) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607985)

As I generally understand, only large media distributors are able to distribute and generate revenue in a timeframe as short as that. Small independent artists and creative groups would probably be unable to generate any meaningful return in three months. Sure, they can get exposure in three months, but by the time that happens, they already lose copyright.

Add to that the fact the only way say, a band, could keep a copyright going is to come out with an album every three months. Impossible to make anything worthwhile, and the independent scene would drown in a glut of crap.

A copyright law like this would only be workable to big media groups that can do a broad release and generate revenue quickly, and if you are unable to release on that scale, you'd get slaughtered. I'd be fuming if some MP tried to introduce something like this in Canada. I might be missing some points in regards to this, but it seems that copyright like this would be a death sentence to small artists.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

cheaphomemadeacid (881971) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608409)

So i guess 120 years is fitting then?

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609387)

Who's to say they can't continue to sell the work after copyright has expired? If it's a small band, then the volume won't be high enough to make it worthwhile for a third party distributor to release their own version.

Sure there may well be distribution online, but again for a small band this will mean wider distribution and promotion, something they might not get otherwise, and so their next album may see higher returns as a result.
Similarly, greater distribution will increase interest in live performances and other merchandise.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607997)

I don't think George Lucas would agree... also you have to think about sequels, studios would probably have to make II and III as well before the initial film's release to stop other studios cashing in if a film happens to be popular. As much as it sucks to have to actually "pay" for things, I doubt we would have all our nice little toys, movies and games without some form of intellectual property rights.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (4, Insightful)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609403)

People have produced music, literary works, and put on all manner of live entertainment performances for hundreds if not thousands of years before copyright was ever dreamt up.

That's not to say the scene wouldn't be different, but it may even be better because only people who were truly passionate about their work would do it, people would be in the business because its something they are truly passionate about and not because they see it as a way to get rich.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608183)

Copyright is not only about revenue and money people, it is also about control of the actual use of your work, you do not want your music to appear in some gay porn video nor would you want your painstakingly created designs be copied and mass produced by some Chinese corporation without your consent. Copyright encourages creation of original works, you really do not want to reuse old or 3rd party stuff trust me, it's bad for your karma.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (3, Insightful)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608639)

But why should the creator have such control of all instances of his work? Let's say the porn producers bought 1000 copies of his song from iTunes, then sold 1000 copies of their film. So they paid for all music used.
Why should the musician be able to prevent this? Just because he's uncomfortable being associated with it?
Can the person that made the bed the film was filmed on demand it be blurred out? The condom makers?
What about a news report. Can weapons manufacturers demand that their weapons be removed from the photos of terrorists?

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1, Informative)

muon-catalyzed (2483394) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608783)

To answer your first comment, if you buy 1000 copies of my song off iTunes, you can't use it in 1000 copies of your media with the intention of further redistribution (a film). iTunes copies are for personal use only. Any kind of distribution of my song or broadcast has to be approved by me or my publisher. Just for a second, for God's sake, try to imagine you are the creator.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (3, Interesting)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609175)

Like I said, that makes 'creators' any different then makers of physical objects? You sold a copy of your work. If I choose to use it as toilet paper, that's my choice. If I then choose to nail it to wall and display it, that's my choice too.Or do you call the maker of your instrument whenever you're about to record a song and ask for permission to distribute the sound of their creation?

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39609301)

well they are NOT buying 1 song and redistributing/broadcasting it to 1000 people, they are actually bundling your product (song) with theirs (porn movie) because they are buying 1 copy of your work for each purchaser of porn, like if you were selling nice glass bottles and some milk farm bought them for packaging their milk and sold them to their customers, I do not see why would you have ability to stop them from reselling your product and bundling it with theirs, you are getting paid for your work fair

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608455)

I imagine Disney's Snow White has its opening weekend revenues many times over the last few decades. By your system copyright could be extrapolated to be virtually infinite with just a bit of hand-waving and dodgy math.

A solid, unbreakable term like 1 year would be enough.

Re:Copyright ends when revenue drops (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609371)

Copyright terms should be limited to no more than 5 years...

And as a copyright holder, you should have to make your media available to anyone on equal terms and in (applicable to the type of media) standard forms at a price that can stay the same (adjusted for inflation) or go down, but not go up.

If you stop making your work available, copyright should automatically expire.

There are far too many works out there which will be completely forgotten by the time the copyright on them expires, there may not even be any readable copies left by that time resulting in the loss of that work.

If this passes, the US is really screwed... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607895)

China is already eating our lunch because they don't have the ridiculous laws like every child left behind, accessibility rules that forced my friend to put a wheelchair capable bathroom at the end of a 2 mile hiking/rock climbing path no wheelchair could ever pass on and such... If they now go ahead and enable quicker re-use of knowledge, art and whatever, they'll just cement their position. Like it or not, but patents and copyrights have become the main inhibitor of progress in the US - just think of the billions of dollar each year wasted due to pointless copyright claims.
I for one welcome our new chinese overlords!

There is no question that this is the future (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607919)

Although many in the content business will fight this and not concede until it is pried out of their dead clawing hands, there is no question that this is inevitably where things should be going....
Music biz laywers will hate it most of it, because streamlining the entire process over which they historically have had control is not going to be pretty for their firms' balance sheet.
Other than that, I would say that the terms is a bit short, otherwise the intent is precisely going along the way of what the constitution meant when they were thinking that copyright should 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.

Personally, I would think that the 14 year term that was originally in place sounds good for this sort of thing; three months more than a bit too short. Allow any use, in any manner, as long as the person using it is paying a flat licensing fee (as set by law, and just like mechanical royalties are for songwriters) to the original owner.

I'd say that with regards to the broad strokes of the idea - even if the proposal is far from perfect - it's about time someone went in the direction of common sense.

(sudden outbreak of it or otherwise)

What whould I do? (5, Funny)

cffrost (885375) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607923)

What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?

Celebrate.

Re:What whould I do? (1)

DMUTPeregrine (612791) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608105)

Make more music so I can make money from it. Current copyright gives a strong incentive to sit on your ass after a few successful songs.

Re:What whould I do? (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608155)

Artists don't sit on their asses because of long copyrights; music and movie companies just reap more profits. That said, three months is ridiculously short. Most albums take more time to write, refine (usually at gigs), record, master and release than that. The "sophomore slump" that successful new musicians are prone to has more to do with pushing out a new album too quickly -- within a year or so -- of the first album, than anything else. I think realistically, though, in this ADD world, it's very hard to justify copyrights lasting more than 5 years. (The original 20 years made much more sense when long distance communication and shipping was limited, thus having time to actually get your work to every small town and have a chance to profit from it could take a long, long time.)
 
Another result of long copyrights: They give music companies the ability to control sampling in other artists' works, thus giving them a way to control artists who otherwise might choose a different label or go completely independent. Hence why most sampling today is blatant and slow-witted, rather than the kitchen-sink inventive sampling of the late 80s and very early 90s.

Re:What whould I do? (1)

optikos (1187213) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608231)

If the terms of the GPL were in effect for only the first 3 months after a software release, would you still celebrate?

Re:What whould I do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608523)

I'd be perfectly fine with copyright being reduced to 3 months even if this covered GPL works along with everything else.

Re:What whould I do? (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608527)

To me, the spreading of knowledge and information is something to celebrate. The GPL promotes this, so I would prefer it to go on forever. Without IP laws, things might not be so open — specifically, the patent system was designed to promote the sharing of ideas, while preserving a limited commercial monopoly.

http://iki.fi/teknohog/rants/sex_and_the_ip.php [iki.fi]
http://iki.fi/teknohog/rants/ip.php [iki.fi]

Re:What whould I do? (1)

TFAFalcon (1839122) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608657)

If all software reverted to public domain after that, then yes.

What would I do? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607925)

Rejoice.

Australian law made most sense (0)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607929)

Something like author's lifetime + 20 years. That seems more than fair. It is outrageous that Disney has all of their films from some 70 years ago, still copyrighted, yet, they make use of stories from the 1800's and earlier.

China is simply putting the screws to the west. They grabbed the business via illegal means, and will now control the legal setting. It is time for the west to re-evaluate what they are doing.

Re:Australian law made most sense (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607949)

How about making it 30 years after initial production. Seriously. Who else can sit back on their work and live it up? Even patents aren't as absurd.

Re:Australian law made most sense (5, Insightful)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607973)

Something like author's lifetime + 20 years.

If so, please explain to me why someone that does a single song could live out of it all of his life. That's not fair, IMO. Stallman (and others) are proposing date of publication + 10 years. THAT seems more fair to many, and I even think that's quite long. Originally, the first copyright laws were about publication + 14 years.

Re:Australian law made most sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608593)

If so, please explain to me why someone that does a single song could live out of it all of his life.

If enough people like that song to pay him a dollar, why not let him live on it all his life? He obviously benefited a lot of people.

Re:Australian law made most sense (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608831)

Because copyright isn't strictly for the author. Its intended purpose is to encourage innovation (which doesn't mean living off of previous creations forever). Monopolies should be avoided where possible. That's why people want to limit how long copyright lasts to a reasonable amount of time.

Re:Australian law made most sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608967)

sounds cool to me. more incentives to kill your favorite artists

Re:Australian law made most sense (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39609031)

Mod the parent poster +5 please.
5-10 years is more than enough to recoup losses.

Btw, f*** Disney - who are the a**holes who drove this mess in the first place.

If you want to know more about "family friendly" Disney, read "The Mouse That Roared". It shows just how destructive a company can be for the sake of greed. Gordon Gekko - eat your heart out.

AC

Re:Australian law made most sense (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608029)

They are a sovereign country and thus get to say what is and is not legal in their country.

If the west wants cheap iPhones, they have to deal with the fact that in China Lady Gaga and Madonna are already has-beens.

China doesn't see Micky Mouse or The Monkey God from Journey to the West as a cultural icon to be protected.
They see them both as just creative works made in the past that can be re-made in the future by other people.

Re:Australian law made most sense (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608635)

China can and should do their own thing. The problem is, that they have signed a number of agreements (such as the clinton accord as well as WTO) in which they are living up to few of their obligations. When USSR did far less lying and cheating on treaties than did China, we considered it worthy of a cold war. That is the issue.

Re:Australian law made most sense (1)

Elldallan (901501) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608037)

Authors life plus anything is completely ludicrous, while I think the Chinese proposal is a bit short in span it's certainly more sane than anything we have in the west.
Pretty much all commercial copyright work is expected to make a profit within considerably less than a year or it is considered a loss, some works as much 2 years maybe.
So I'd say limit copyright to 3-4 years counting from it's creation/release date. That way the creator has ample time by today's standards to make an ample profit.

So what I would do if copyright had a strong time limit is to celebrate, copyright after all is not for the creators but for the public! Works are supposed to become public eventually, with the current scheme the "limit" is extended every once in a while to ensure that no work ever enters the public domain.

Re:Australian law made most sense (2)

robcfg (1005359) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608153)

I think that a person's lifetime + some years is simply too much time. Specially when it comes to software. Think of it, there are still people alive from almost the very first years of computing, imagine 70 years from now... There would be no one able to recover any history of computing, as it's difficult today to dump tapes, roms, disks. In 70 years from now almost nobody will remember how the origins of computing looked like. In this case, copyright is destroying culture.

Re:Australian law made most sense (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608609)

Software is a whole other issue. I was actually thinking of books. Generally, books take a long time to write. You want to reward these ppl.

Re:Australian law made most sense (2)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608545)

How does a posthumous monopoly encourage the artist to create new works?

Re:Australian law made most sense (1)

WindBourne (631190) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608623)

On average, a literary work is not released early in life, but later. However, there have been plenty of ppl that was working on pieces, or even finished them, but then died. Now, unless you have SOME amount of time after the release, with the author dead, there is ZERO incentives to release it. OTOH, if a family finds out that an author, artiest, etc. have a piece that is not only marketable, but possible their masterpiece, they now have strong incentives to release SOONER. Personally, I do think that 20 years is too long. But that is besides the point.

Re:Australian law made most sense (1)

GmExtremacy (2579091) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608817)

Something like author's lifetime + 20 years.

What? That's an absurdly long time. I'd accept no more than 15 years, and even that's probably more than is "needed."

What would I do??? (2)

GPLHost-Thomas (1330431) | more than 2 years ago | (#39607961)

What would you do, if copyright were so strongly time-limited?

I'd do a big party and enjoy free music! Does the above implies that we should care about {RI,MP}AA? Hell, we don't and they should die. For once, USA should follow the Chinese example.

I also don't like China Acts (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39607963)

I am also against of China Copyrights act.
London [londonolympics2012uk.com]

What is China doing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608001)

I think china is doing to control its people to do anything.
Thasariya [thasariya.com]

Mechanical License (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608017)

Not having to ask permission to play a song, but having to pay royalties to the songwriter, is "mechanical license", not copyright.

Say what? (4, Funny)

ArcadeNut (85398) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608097)

China has Copyright laws?

What wuld i do?! (1)

martino87r (2612857) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608103)

Tell the RIAA that is time to invest into some new Concert Halls and shutdown their lawyer offices!

Before you all try to become Chinese citizens.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608151)

I know that this strongly appeals to the Slashdot crowd who think they would be "sticking it" to the "1%ers" but if this law was actually used in areas other than music like in oh... software... then the GPL would effectively become worthless. Any company like Microsoft could just wait 3 months and expropriate code wholesale.

Oh.. but you say that this would mean piracy is suddenly OK right and that's wonderful right? Well imagine a world in which technical DRM is about 10X stronger to put up even higher barriers to prevent you from copying the software since there's no legal recourse to go after commercial piracy. The same people who act like this would be a magical utopia would be the loudest complainers after they get what they wish for.

Re:Before you all try to become Chinese citizens.. (1)

Bengie (1121981) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608227)

"Well imagine a world in which technical DRM is about 10X stronger" It wouldn't sell, they would go under. The "RedHat" business model would take over.

Re:Before you all try to become Chinese citizens.. (1)

symbolset (646467) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608289)

Well imagine a world in which technical DRM is about 10X stronger to put up even higher barriers to prevent you from copying the software since there's no legal recourse to go after commercial piracy.

If it were technically possible to make a functional DRM system, it would have been made already. Since it isn't possible, 10x stronger isn't really a concern.

Re:Before you all try to become Chinese citizens.. (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608393)

Here's the thing. You legalise people making derivative works of GPL software, without complying with the license, as long as they wait a reasonable period of time. (I might argue for 3 years not 3 months but certainly shorter than the eternity under US law currrently.) And that in isolation may not be unalloyed good.

But you also repeal the laws that prevent me from immediately reverse engineering the resulting product, and incorporating what I learn back in the GPL product immediately. And all the laws that make it difficult for me to pay someone else to do the job, of course. You legalise an entire new business world. And the GPL would STILL function better than the BSD license ever has. So I could live with that.

Sounds like an excellent idea (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608309)

Good to see the Chinese taking a more sensible stance on copyright. Copyright has been grossy abused in the West for blatent profiteering, and extortion. All of society would benefit from much shorter copyright terms. Personally, I'd like to see copyright on media expire after 1-2 years at longest.
I will celebrate progress, if we can achieve such widely desired changes. I have little faith that the corrupt regime in my own country will see sense unfortunately.

Freedom (4, Interesting)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608347)

I never expected, in my lifetime, to wish I had some of the freedoms enjoyed by Chinese citizens.

Re:Freedom (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608425)

You can't pick and choose - if you want this freedom, you have to accept the restrictions that go along with it.

Hope that helps relieve some of your envy. I think this does not make up for the numerous other disadvantages.

Re:Freedom (1)

DoofusOfDeath (636671) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608493)

Agreed. However, this copyright issue can be decoupled from the other freedom issues. That is, I see no reason America couldn't drastically reduce copyright, while still retaining our other freedoms.

I believe this is a terrible indictment against our Congress.

Re:Freedom (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608589)

Are you time traveler from 20th century or what freedoms exactly do you think you still have?

Re:Freedom (1)

TeknoHog (164938) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608621)

You can't pick and choose - if you want this freedom, you have to accept the restrictions that go along with it.

Hope that helps relieve some of your envy. I think this does not make up for the numerous other disadvantages.

I don't think that's a fair comparison. For example, I enjoy the right not to be mugged by random strangers, but then I agree not to beat up anyone myself. Copying knowledge and information is a different topic, and I'm happy to let everyone copy the works I release. (I'm not a full-time professional musician, but I occasionally get paid for gigs, which IMHO is fair compensation for work, as opposed to sitting on my ass after writing a song.)

However, it is interesting to consider the free speech card that IP abolitionists in the West like to play. What good is a copyright freedom after 3 months, if my song pisses off the communist party?

how about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608485)

the life of the creator? anything else is arbitrary. and then, add some protections from usurius payments for copyright. maybe whatever the market will bear for 10 years, with a lower rate after that. or, charge whatever you want, but you lose the right to refuse copyright use after 10 years. you can charge, but cannot deny.

Re:how about... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608891)

anything else is arbitrary

Everything will be arbitrary.

But your suggestion does not encourage innovation at all. It should be 10 years, max. I don't want people sitting around doing nothing while still retaining a monopoly on their previous works.

I think people are forgetting that copyright's original purpose was to encourage innovation. In exchange for allowing artists to have a short monopoly on their works and use ideas from works no longer protected by copyright, after a certain number of years, it goes into the public domain. Or something to that effect. People are forgetting that these monopolies restrict our culture. It's not truly our culture if the created works never enter into the public domain in our lifetimes!

Re:how about... (1)

Arker (91948) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609061)

Any term is arbitrary here. Anything linked to the lifespan of the creator is even more arbitrary, since the length of copyright would be different for two works published at the same time, depending on which author died first. It's also dangerous as it has the potential to create motivation for murder where there would otherwise be none.

Re:how about... (1)

brit74 (831798) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609409)

I support more fixed-length copyright lengths, rather than "life of the author". Why? Because life-spans can vary (what if we start living to 200?), and because I support allowing copyrighted works being used to support the widow and family of a creator if he has an untimely death. Afterall, if a guy is working for X years creating something while his family is sacrificing with him, waiting for the payoff at the end - but he dies before his work's publication - I support the use of copyright to support the family left behind. (Sort of like how a home builder who builds a house with the intention of selling it - if he dies before the sale happens to a homebuyer - I support the family getting control of the home in order to sell it and earn the money from the creation of the house.)

Innovate (1)

gmuslera (3436) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608863)

Part of the problem of the copyright laws, specially if last very long, is that you can't do anything even barely similar for very long, at least without paying potentially high fees if enabled at all. Low term copyright laws if well not ensures, at least opens the door for innovation and evolution of works. How can be improved something that someone else did? How far you could reach?

Mandatory Licensing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608897)

This isn't without precedent. In the United States we already have mandatory licensing of song writers' and composers' works. When a band at a bar, or even someone in Hollywood, wants to "cover" a song, they can do so without the consent of the song writer. The Copyright Act specifies a mandatory fee to be paid, yet oddly the fees on the private market (e.g. through ASCAP) are less than the mandatory fee, which is already quite low all things considered.

Of course, most bar bands don't pay the fee, although they're supposed to. ASCAP usually collects royalties through the establishments themselves, and then everyone looks away when the bands play their covers. A lot of people dislike ASCAP's tactics when collecting royalties (they employ an army of spies and snoops, and then shakedown establishments), but if you step back to see what the rest of the industry is like sans mandatory licensing, it's not so bad.

Good law (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39608915)

As a person who lives in china there is the increased fear among us that china will at one point strictly enforce copyright. Now i feel much better. Freedom of culture adn education for everyone at anytime is one reason why they are gonna be #1 soon.

Protecting pointless patents only serves to destroy creativity and create monopolies.

Slashdot's China-hating hypocrisy (2)

compucomp2 (1776668) | more than 2 years ago | (#39608963)

The only reason there are negative comments in this thread is because China proposed this, so it must be a nefarious ploy by the Evil Red Menace to destroy America. If this were proposed by the American government all of you would be fainting from excitement.

Re:Slashdot's China-hating hypocrisy (1)

Tapewolf (1639955) | more than 2 years ago | (#39609321)

No, it's because 3 months is ridiculous. In many cases it's taken more than that to produce the song in the first place. 3 years? That's far more sensible. 'Course, it could be that old principle of asking for something insane so that any compromise is an improvement.

Maybe 12 months (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#39609263)

I think 3 months is a little short but say 12 months would be good. That gives them a heads up.
There should be some limitations on blatant copying and redistribution, but any restrictions should only apply to retail sales of original content, not remix, reuse, incorporate etc. The idea of paying to simply use a piece of music is ridiculous. Artist should pay some of these for advertising for them.
I think a similar thing should happen with patents. You get 12 months head start then its open up to the rest. encourage innovation and expansion on current ideas etc.
Artists themselves blatantly copy other artists, for example they sing the same songs, or "remake" which is blatant copying.

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