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How Corruption Is Strangling US Innovation

Soulskill posted about a year and a half ago | from the there-oughta-be-a-law dept.

Businesses 391

hype7 writes "The Harvard Business Review is running a very interesting piece on how money in politics is having a deleterious effect on U.S. innovation. From the article: 'Somehow, it seems that every time that [Mickey Mouse] is about to enter the public domain, Congress has passed a bill to extend the length of copyright. Congress has paid no heed to research or calls for reform; the only thing that matters to determining the appropriate length of copyright is how old Mickey is. Rather than create an incentive to innovate and develop new characters, the present system has created the perverse situation where it makes more sense for Big Content to make campaign contributions to extend protection for their old work.if you were in any doubt how deep inside the political system the system of contributions have allowed incumbents to insert their hands, take a look at what happened when the Republican Study Committee released a paper pointing out some of the problems with current copyright regime. The debate was stifled within 24 hours. And just for good measure, Rep Marsha Blackburn, whose district abuts Nashville and who received more money from the music industry than any other Republican congressional candidate, apparently had the author of the study, Derek Khanna, fired. Sure, debate around policy is important, but it's clearly not as important as raising campaign funds.'"

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surprise (-1, Redundant)

Janek Kozicki (722688) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226533)

money corrupts politics, news @ 11

Re:surprise (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226833)

money corrupts politics, news @ 11

Of course, but that is not the problem.
Most civilised countries throw in jail corrupt politicians. In the US bribery is legalised among other nice things such as torture and abductions (extraordinary renditions), and the penalty is zip, nothing at all. In fact the more bribes, ehm contributions you have the bigger the possibility of finding a job in the bribing industry right after leaving Congress.
HBR is correct, the US is failing not because of bribery, but because there is no mechanism in the system to thwart that threat.

Well Harvard... (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226545)

it was nice knowing you. We'll see how well you do when the rich people stop sending their kids to "that hippy, progressive college."

captcha: enroll

(that was funny)

The corruption is FAR, FAR more severe... (5, Insightful)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226765)

It's scary how few people in the U.S. take the corruption in their government seriously. There are jokes!

The corruption is FAR, FAR more severe than shown in the Harvard Review article. For example, read Funding the Enemy: How U.S. Taxpayers Bankroll the Taliban [amazon.com] .

Or read House of Bush, House of Saud: The Secret Relationship Between the World's Two Most Powerful Dynasties [amazon.com] .

To many in the U.S. government, killing other people is a way of making money.

Ya but any time you point it out (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226809)

you get laughed at for being a tin foil hatted conspiracy theorist. The trouble is this stuff is so horrible people can't believe it's happening. It's too far removed from reality. Plus their taught from day one that America is the greatest country on earth, and it's hard to get away from a belief that's been ingrained in you since childhood.

Ever notice how little time Obama spent attacking Romney's policies? The Obama campaign did focus groups and found they couldn't attack Romney on policy because nobody believed he was going to implement them for real. The massive cuts to medicare, social security, tax cuts for the rich, etc. Maybe Romney wasn't really gonna do those things, we'll never know. But either way Obama couldn't convince anyone that he might...

Re:Ya but any time you point it out (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227157)

Well said! It's come to the point where you don't even have to be creative to be labeled a conspiracy theorist; all you have to do is cite an article in the New York Times to be considered a loon.

"Huh, yea right, our government has a list of US Civilians to kill without due process; who told you that the Illuminati???"
"...no, the New York Times did and here are their sources."
"Sure sure, tell me when you see Bigfoot next."

Re:The corruption is FAR, FAR more severe... (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226899)

Also read Classified Woman [amazon.com] by Sibel Edmonds.

Re:Well Harvard... (1)

elashish14 (1302231) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227215)

Good. The last thing this world needs is the offspring of rich people.

water is wet (1)

MickyTheIdiot (1032226) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226551)

It's more startling that these corporate worshiper types see this as such a major revalation.

Re:water is wet (5, Interesting)

Blue Stone (582566) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226807)

"The money powers prey upon the nation in times of peace and conspire against it in times of adversity. It is more despotic than a monarchy, more insolent than autocracy, and more selfish than bureaucracy. It denounces as public enemies, all who question its methods or throw light upon its crimes. I have two great enemies, the Southern Army in front of me and the Bankers in the rear. Of the two, the one at my rear is my greatest foe.. corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money powers of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until the wealth is aggregated in the hands of a few, and the Republic is destroyed." - Abraham Lincoln

The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Re:water is wet (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226927)

"I will say then that I am not, nor ever have been in favor of bringing about in any way the social and political equality of the white and black races, that I am not nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of Negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people . . . . I as much as any man am in favor of the superior position assigned to the white race." - Abraham Lincoln

Thank You Captain Obvious (3, Funny)

mrbcs (737902) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226555)

In other news, America seems to be full of people that want money for nothing.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226665)

In other news, America seems to be full of people that want money for nothing.

They also appear to want their checks for free.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (5, Funny)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226735)

How did we get in such dire straits.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (4, Funny)

MyFirstNameIsPaul (1552283) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226949)

Copycat responses can really sting.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (2)

rtfa-troll (1340807) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226995)

Guess you just took a walk of life in the wrong direction.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (5, Funny)

houstonbofh (602064) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227005)

Thankfully, like minded people can now come together on the internet and be brothers in arms.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (1)

PPH (736903) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226749)

I don't think they understand the dire straights this has placed our climate of innovation in.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (1)

Trepidity (597) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226757)

I guess that's why we're in such dire straits.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226689)

In other news, America seems to be full of people that want money for nothing.

Ah, yes, but (most) people in America are not able to get money for nothing

The copyright _is_ being regularly extended for no good reason

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (0, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226747)

47 million on food stamps, average welfare spending per poor household is HIGHER than median income, I just read a story about an illegal immigrant getting a free kidney transplant, the Fed Reserver currently printing $40 Billion a month for whoever they deem should get it.

If you are in America and not getting money for nothing you are a moron now. They are literally throwing out for anyone and everyone as quick as they can. Welfare spending in 2012 has exceeded $1 Trillion.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226855)

Average welfare spending per poor household IS NOT higher than median income. That is a god damn lie and you fucking know it.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227059)

Average welfare spending per poor household IS NOT higher than median income. That is a god damn lie and you fucking know it.

Then perhaps you should direct your fuck-yous to the appropriate liars then.

http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/welfare-spending-equates-168-day-every-household-poverty_665160.html

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (0)

AntiBasic (83586) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227145)

Truth hurts doesn't it Obaaaaaama fanboy?

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (5, Insightful)

geoskd (321194) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226889)

47 million on food stamps, average welfare spending per poor household is HIGHER than median income.

The tragedy isn't that 47 million people are getting food stamps, the tragedy is that a person can be holding down three part time jobs paying *more* than minimum wage, and still need food stamps. Corporations are paying their employees starvation wages, working their salaried employees for hundreds of mandatory unpaid overtime hours every year, and paying almost no taxes to boot. Our system isn't fostering corruption, it is the embodiment of it!

-=Geoskd

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (-1, Troll)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227131)

don't have 5 kids if you don't make enough

i knew people in the army not making much but they had 2 or 3 kids and complained about money. not like its hard to use birth control

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (3, Insightful)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227049)

47 million on food stamps, average welfare spending per poor household is HIGHER than median income

[Citation needed]
That seems unlikely, as median income is (so far) above the poverty line (42K, I think vs 14-18K poverty line, depending on number of children). I doubt that the welfare offered exceeds the poverty line by a factor of two, which is what you seem to be claiming. It is even less likely that the average welfare per household did.

I just read a story about an illegal immigrant getting a free kidney transplant

[Citation needed]
How would an illegal immigrant have insurance?

If you are in America and not getting money for nothing you are a moron now

Lose your job, go below the poverty line and you could get money for nothing too! You wouldn't like it thought.

Welfare spending in 2012 has exceeded $1 Trillion.

The economy had collapsed recently and unemployment is high. There are more people needing welfare than in other years (say, before the last implosion). The number of $ means nothing without considering current unemployment rates, overall inflation, etc.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226701)

Yea and the only people who really get money for nothing are the plutocrats.

Re:Thank You Captain Obvious (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227279)

In other news, America seems to be full of people that want money for nothing.

We also want our chicks for free...

oh boy ! (5, Insightful)

garaged (579941) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226559)

What a surprise ! :D

getting serious, it is really sad what is happening with society, we have come to a stage where pretty much everything we do is getting richer the rich, we see that a lot here in México, every new law is pushing for lower salaries and less benefits, and from some years ago, gov is pushing to convert universities into technicall schools so we can have even more cheap workers.

Re:oh boy ! (5, Interesting)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226705)

Sad but true. The USA has more wealth inequality than it had in the last 75 years (or more) , mostly thanks to the GOP's plan to destroy the middle class these past 30+ years. Social mobility is getting to be impossible and the only way people can go is down. It's really fucking bleak and there's no end in sight.

Re:oh boy ! (-1)

AntiBasic (83586) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226847)

Can't tell if trolling or complete idiot....

Re:oh boy ! (2, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226981)

Are you one of those people who still believes in trickle-down/supply side economics? The rich LOVE trickle down because they are the only ones who benefit.

Re:oh boy ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226989)

Can't tell if trolling or complete idiot....

I hate to say it, but the middle class more or less requires social equality.

It's not very hard to see that Aristocracies in European history, and that most people were extremely poor. There was a sliver of a merchant caste, and bureaucrats, but the entire working class was piss poor. They were malnourished and practically no money.

Re:oh boy ! (2, Funny)

Gr8Apes (679165) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227017)

You can't argue that trickle-down economics has been a raging success. The flow of wealth to the masses has slowed to a trickle.

Re:oh boy ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226895)

Yep, that's the plan. Destroy the Middle Class. I think it's platform plank #10 or #11 ... I'd have to dbl check. I can't quite remember if it's priority is above or below destroying the entire ecosystem.

-- GOP

Re:oh boy ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227147)

Yeah, the GOP is the ones doing it as the "middle class" runs off to buy Chinese goods from Walmart. We've sold ourselves down river.
 
Oh, and I'd like to thank that notorious GOPer Bill Clinton for giving China the MFN status in 1994. That certainly helped bolster the position of the middle class.

Re:oh boy ! (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226717)

we have come to a stage where pretty much everything we do is getting richer the rich ... pushing for lower salaries and less benefits

That process has a natural stopping point.
What happens when everyone except the top-1% is below the poverty line?

Re:oh boy ! (3, Insightful)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226751)

The rich will flee the country with as much ill-gotten wealth as they can take with them. They don't care if the USA falls apart because they have stashes in tax shelters around the world so they can just move when things get bad. The rest of us will be stuck in the shithole they created.

Re:oh boy ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226795)

Promote loans, loans, more loans... This way 'poor' people own a negative quantity of money and will make you even richer by working for you to pay it back...
 

Re:oh boy ! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226891)

we have come to a stage where pretty much everything we do is getting richer the rich ... pushing for lower salaries and less benefits

That process has a natural stopping point.
What happens when everyone except the top-1% is below the poverty line?

Nah you don't even need to get to that point. But if some equilibrium is not achieved we will see in the western world what happened over 70 years ago in Russia. And don't think for a moment it's impossible. History likes to get back at you the moment you less expect it. And right now the western world is creating at a fast pace under the "libertarian" cry of war such a system. You know even in old 18th century France the situation wasn't bad. Of course only the aristocracy said so. And you know what happened to their heads some decades later.

Re:oh boy ! (1)

abirdman (557790) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227043)

You make a good point. My theory is the 1% don't realize if they pauperize everyone they'll end up poor themselves. I don't know how it was in other times, but today it's no problem to be both rich and ignorant.

A poster elsewhere in this thread mentioned personal debt-- negative net worth. This is the definition of slavery, and some among the 1% probably assume they'll make money from usury. Fie.

Re:oh boy ! (2)

Bob9113 (14996) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226991)

pretty much everything we do is getting richer the rich

That's only true in the short run. In the long run, the inefficiency resulting from the distortion of economic incentives is hindering GDP growth, which ultimately reduces the income of rich and poor alike. The corruption is not only stealing from the poor, middle class, and upper middle class -- it is also stealing from the rich in the long run -- to line the pockets of today's benefactors of corruption. They are stealing even from their own future meta-selves.

Re:oh boy ! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226999)

Steve Jobs, Bill Gates and Mark Zuckerberg all managed to go from middle class to rich. There's no barrier except brains and hard work. If you aren't make decent money in the US it's most likely you own fault. Everyone I knew growing up who went to college and got a meaningful degree are doing well. Those who fucked around aren't. That's the way it's supposed to be.

Re:oh boy ! (1)

pwizard2 (920421) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227047)

Except those examples of yours had the right ideas, at the right place, at the right time, and had the means to make it a reality. There's a luck factor involved. If they were too early or too late they would have failed and we would have never heard of them.

I know plenty of people who work hard and yet they aren't rich.

Re:oh boy ! (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227245)

lots of people have gone from almost nothing to living very comfortably

you're a moron if you think that just because you're not a CEO you're nothing. my wedding photographer has a million dollar house in one of the best school districts in NJ. he runs a small business and is not a billionaire. is he a failure?

Re:oh boy ! (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227257)

3 peole of out 300 million does not make social mobility.

We should have no castes at all. Yet we have a class system. No one owns this planet, yet certain institutions and individuals own the vast amount of wealth and land and "things of value".

They are also creating a monopoly on ideas and speach so we will have not even our minds, look around you, how many revolutionaries do you see?

Do you see your neighboors peparing to feed an army to defend what little they have left? Are you communities prepared to cut themselves off from the rest of the world and survive without a federal government?

Only the Amish really understood this, and I think even those communities are collapsing.

I pity you all. I for one have nothing left to fight for other then to laugh as all this comes crumbling down around me. I am one lone man with nothing left to cry about. You will not see me lifting you out of the muck, not unless its on one of my good days. But I have nothing to help you with and will never have, because its been deemed so by the likes of the people you listed, congress, and many others.

Re:oh boy ! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227107)

Just a little Econ101: salaries rise, and I don't just mean nominally through inflating a currency, when the productive capacity of an employee rises. Just legislating doesn't make that fact go away. I know very little of Mexico's situation, and from what I understand it's a corrupt a state as any, but it may be that they are placing more funding into training skills that are actually in demand.

Also, laws that push for higher minimum wages and more benefits hurts those who's productive capacity is too low to merit hiring them at that higher price point. If an employer can only get 3 dollars worth from an employee's labor, and the minimum wage including benefits costs him 4, he has to fire that employee.

Also, before you go on claiming that businesses can afford it, you must remember that, in the US anyway, many businesses operate at 5-10 percent net profit margins [chron.com] .

Re:oh boy ! (1)

rbprbp (2731083) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227139)

We are walking towards the same situation in Brazil: every new law pushes for higher salaries, as long as they are for politicians or judges, and other ways of keeping our bloated government fed. No matter who you vote for: they all stink and won't move a finger to make things slightly less sucky.

America: (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226583)

the country that legalized bribery!

Only an internet nerd could summarize it like that (4, Insightful)

anyaristow (1448609) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226585)

With all else that article had to say, the entire summary was about copyright? Hot button much?

Steamboat Mickey (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226591)

As soon as Steamboat Mickey is in the public domain I'm going to burn that shit on billions of DVDs and just sell it on the street. I will be RICH cuz everyone wnats da Steamboat Mickey

Re:Steamboat Mickey (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226685)

Sorry, you can't. Steamboat Mickey is now a "Trademark" of Disney, making it off limits forever.

Re:Steamboat Mickey (1)

Mitreya (579078) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226741)

As soon as Steamboat Mickey is in the public domain I'm going to burn that shit on billions of DVDs and just sell it on the street.

What _is_ this worth to Disney, exactly?
The Mickey character is presumably trademarked -- so how much money are they making from the Steamboat Mickey cartoons? Does anyone know?

Re:Steamboat Mickey (2)

istartedi (132515) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226929)

how much money are they making from the Steamboat Mickey cartoons? Does anyone know?

Since it's on YouTube [youtube.com] , they're at least getting however much ad revenue it generated from the currently 1,537,753 views.

corruption? (1)

Black Parrot (19622) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226595)

I'm not sure it's corruption. It's more like taking advantage of a system that is optimized for helping the Haves get more.

Re:corruption? (2)

teslabox (2790587) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226647)

There is a simple truism: it takes money to make money. It also takes money to lobby congress, and old-money has more to spend on lobbyists to keep money out of the hands of the proletariat, than working stiffs have to lobby for a fair economy.

Re:corruption? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226793)

Well sort of. It's actually more like:

Rent seeking [wikipedia.org]

Re:corruption? (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226835)

I'm not sure it's corruption. It's more like taking advantage of a system that is optimized for helping the Haves get more.

That's the textbook definition of corruption. Using your public position for personal gain.

Politicians should be like Nascar drivers and be required by law to wear a vest that has patches of all the corporations (and any individuals that donate more than a set amount per year) that own their votes. The size of the patch directly relating to the amount of ownership. When the amount of ownership gets above 50% that politician can no longer run for public office as it is obvious that he no longer represents his constituency.

Re:corruption? (1)

fustakrakich (1673220) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227105)

You should not have been modded down. It's true. The system is nothing more than a perfect reflection, an 'evolution', if you will, of natural, biological predation. Corruption and deceit are features...

disney hasn't created new characters? really (3, Insightful)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226659)

one of the most popular halloween costumes this year was from Jake and the Neverland Pirates, a Peter Pan spin off that Disney has in its 3rd season now
disney jr has lots of new characters like Oso, Handy Manny, Little Einsteins and others

and the popularity of Mickey and its copyright protection is what fueled the children's animation revolution of the last 20 some years
lion king
shrek
all the Pixar movies
and at least a dozen other movies

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226683)

Phineas and Ferb merchandise is around too.

I don't think the Disney Corporation is suffering from creative ideas.

Obviously you can quibble over who did it, and whether they just funded somebody else.

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (3, Insightful)

fey000 (1374173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226707)

I don't understand your reasoning here. Are you saying that because Disney has created more characters than Mickey Mouse, it's fine that copyright protection be extended ad infinitum? Could you elaborate a bit on your argument please, as I'm sure there is at small step inbetween premise and conclusion that I am missing.

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (-1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226763)

say congress passes a law tomorrow extending copyright forever

Big deal? lots of new popular characters have been created. a lot more characters will be created in the future. at one point Mickey might even go the way of the dodo as people/culture changes

the only people hoping to kill copyright are the leaches who have never created anything themselves and just want to rip off someone's work. with amazon and youtube it has never been easier to think up of art yourself, create it, put it up for the world to see and make money off it

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226859)

Big deal?

It's not a big deal if they violate the constitution? It's not a big deal that that would destroy the public domain and not do anything to encourage innovation?

You're disgusting.

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226957)

the only people hoping to kill copyright are the leaches who have never created anything themselves and just want to rip off someone's work

What, like Disney and their extensive use of public domain music and characters? You best be trolling, bitch.

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227037)

and like no one else has created any new animation lately?

disney animation was a joke until they bought pixar. they haven't had a good story since the lion king

the fact that mickey and disney's other properties were protected by copyright is what spurred Pixar, Dreamworks and others to create new animation and leave disney in the dust

disney thought they were riding on easy money paying for perpetual copyright, but there is an endless pool of new ideas out there and people thought up stories a lot better than Mickey

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (1)

fey000 (1374173) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227121)

Yet it would appear Pixar has created the Pixar movies. I don't see how buying other companies can equal innovation. In fact, looking at the list of movies created (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_Pixar_films) I would posit that the Disney buyout (2006) did not affect the production of movies in any particular direction.

Furthermore, I find it interesting you describe 'copyright killers' as leeches (leechers? lechers?) who cannot create anything themselves and want to steal other's work, since that sentence can also be applied to companies that claim the rights to any intellectual property conceived by their employees, or to any music production company that signs artists into debt.

Last, I would like to emphasize that not everyone (on personal note I would say *far* from everyone) wants to limit copyright on the basis of making money.

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (1)

Austerity Empowers (669817) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226843)

I think the fear that one day Mickey Mouse WILL enter the public domain is spurring that revolution. Imagine how much more would exist if it wasn't renewed. THey'd need a steady stream of new characters

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (3, Informative)

Stormwatch (703920) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226979)

"The Lion King" was a good movie, but it was far from original; it started as an adaptation of Osamu Tezuka's "Kimba the White Lion", and the plot is heavily based upon Shakespeare's "Hamlet".

And Shrek is not even a Disney character, fool!

Re:disney hasn't created new characters? really (2)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227011)

i never said shrek was disney. the point is even with mickey protected by copyright there is still lots of new animation coming out and people thinking up new stories

and shakespeare copied as well. everyone does. nothing bad about it, you just have to make your story unique to make it something new. like Paramount did with DS9 when they used Babylon 5 as inspiration

just make your own character (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226695)

with amazon making it easy to self publish i decided to try my luck with writing. almost finished with my first novella. i got the idea for the story from a meme i saw on Google Plus almost a year ago and used my wife and other people i've met for the characters.

not very hard

how is lack of copyright going to encourage people to make up new content?

Re:just make your own character (4, Insightful)

rknop (240417) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226715)

There is a WIDE gulf between completely lack of copyright,and the never-ending copyright terms that we have in the USA today. (And don't tell me that copyrights are finite, because they DO get extended every time things are about to start to enter the public domain again.)

Arguing against infinite copyrights doesn't necessarily mean arguing for absolutely no copyright at all.

Re:just make your own character (2)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226787)

so what if copyrights go to infinity? there is an almost never ending pool of new ideas to work on

Fifty Shades of Grey may have gotten a lot of hype a few months ago but there lots of other romance novels in the kindle store. people are always making up cool ideas for art, creating the product and selling it

Re:just make your own character (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226825)

so what if copyrights go to infinity? there is an almost never ending pool of new ideas to work on

Hah! Where do you think these copyrighted ideas come from? Disney specifically had taken things from public domain like there is no tomorrow (name 3 Disney cartoons that aren't based on public domain fables...?)

Fifty Shades of Grey may have gotten a lot of hype a few months ago but there lots of other romance novels in the kindle store.

Ok, the fact that you consider romance novels a prime area where copyrights are important (or even a significant area) is sad
Romance novels is one area that will do fine with or without copyrights. What are they going to copyright? Well-pictured abs on the cover? Exotic euphemisms for describing a cock?

Re:just make your own character (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226915)

Disney is not the only ones making cartoons. In fact most of disney's revenue is from sports these days. They own espn

There was shrek that was based on a kids book
Maracascar
Ice age
Pixar has made some excellent stuff like toy story and monsters that Disney only distributed
Megamind was a superman ripoff but superheroes in general are an old idea
Despicable me

But if you want to talk Disney
Special agent oso
Handy manny
Chuggington which is inspired by Thomas the tank engine
The older kid crap that Disney has for teens

My two year old likes Mickey but he's such a minor character these days it's like he doesn't exist. He is mostly for clueless foreigners to identify American animation by

Re:just make your own character (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226885)

So you take the meme and don't care that it may be copyrighted. What about the people you used, with the right laws they could copyright everything about them forever. I bet none of your characters is so unique that there hasn't been written something similar before. With eternal copyright you are screwed.

Re:just make your own character (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226945)

You just have to make your story unique enough. Not very hard if you use your imagination.

Start trek copied Babylon 5 but they made it unique
Same with sliders copying doctor who

What does MIcky Mouse have to do with innovation? (1)

Osgeld (1900440) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226697)

This story just makes no since, innovation is not imagining up some new character for dumb shit kids to drool over, and its not like micky mouse is keeping animation in the steam boat era. If nothing else, micky is a driver in the innovation of new animation techniques and technologies.

 

Re:What does MIcky Mouse have to do with innovatio (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227201)

It's not Mickey Mouse per se. The subject is the corruption of the legal protections granted through patents & copyrights. Originally, it was argued that there should be a period of time during which a creator would have exclusive right to profit from his work. Copyrights are for creative works, and Disney is the copyright holder of all things Mickey Mouse.

The Mickey Mouse Law [slashdot.org] is a nickname for the Copyright Term Extension Act that was sponsored by then California senator Sonny Bono to increase the length of the copyright generally, but it was specifically (and some would argue corruptly) created to protect the Disney corporation's dynasty built around the Mickey Mouse brand. It was passed just in the nick of time to save Disney from losing Mickey. If the copyright lapsed, Disney would have lost the exclusive right to control the use of Mickey's image, license its use in exchange for royalties and exercise its right to control who does anything with Mickey for profit. (It is VERY lucrative.) And so yet another in a series of legal extensions to the term of all copyrights was enacted by Congress.

The patent system grants similar rights of control, licensing and discrimination to the owner of a any industrial innovation. That's been extended and amplified in ways that are questionable, like the patenting of genetic sequences which were not created at all but which can become the exclusive property of some corporation for the term of the patent none-the-less. And since the definition of what's patentable is subject broad it's been refined by the courts and Congress. And it's applied very broadly within the patent office.

The patent office and its operations have been a political battleground since the Constitution was originally constructed. Jefferson and Madison disagreed on whether such rights should be granted at all. Jefferson originally argued against such exclusive rights, and when Madison convinced him that copyright was a legitimate benefit, he argued that the term should be limited to 1/2 the average lifespan of the author, in order to ensure that subsequent generation's rights were not subordinated to the wealth built during their antecedent's tenure. Jefferson argued that the length of protection had to fair to up and coming next generation. Our current politics has lost sight of this in favor of monied interests, both as regards copyright and patents.

As technology is evermore complex because it builds incrementally on previous innovation, the patent system becomes more confused. The nature innovation is arguable, and therefore the courts are more and more the judge of what should be protected. Many argue the system itself is ripe for change.

A new Mickey Mouse is in order, if you will.

My problem is that (5, Insightful)

Nyder (754090) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226729)

companies like Disney rape the public domain for ideas and never give back to the public domain.

An interesting variation (3, Interesting)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226831)

We all know the typical way of presenting news - whenever an (R) does something bad, the party affiliation is right up there, and whenever a (D) does something even more despicable, the party affiliation is omitted and both parties are said to be equally bad. We all know this already. What's interesting about this story is how Blackburn is conspicuously identified an an (R) while Khanna's party affiliation is left blank - even though Khanna is a Republican through and through. An ignorant or negligent observer might conclude that (R) are uniquely and despicably evil while (D) never seem to be attached to anything bad.

At the risk of bringing raw politics into it... (5, Interesting)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226841)

this was pointed out during the recent storms (Sandy), and there were several pundits that pointed out that Democrats tended to staff FEMA with professional disaster management folks while the Republicans tended to give those positions out to friends, family and donors. That was why the disaster was as well handled as it was and didn't turn into New Orleans II: The Squeal.

The hard part about this is even though it's demonstrably true (it's easy to trace the reasons for the FEMA appointments under the two administrations) it's so outlandish to think that a man would appoint someone to such an important position for political points that people just don't believe you when you point it out. Even if you've got the evidence (google it) to back it up...

you're missing the real corruption (1, Interesting)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227239)

this was pointed out during the recent storms (Sandy), and there were several pundits that pointed out that Democrats tended to staff FEMA with professional disaster management folks while the Republicans tended to give those positions out to friends, family and donors

You're missing the real "corruption" here, namely that people choose to live in areas predictably endangered by hurricanes, can't get insurance or don't bother to pay for it, and then decade after decade rely on the federal government to pay for the damage that invariably occurs.

Obama just requested $60bn of handouts to these people. Why should someone living in a safe and boring place trying to make ends meet pay so that people in The Hamptons have their beach front properties taken care of by the federal government?

Until pirates have enough money to lobby (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42226849)

Economic rent will accumulate with illegal operators until they have enough money to lobby. Don't count on that doing any good in your lifetime. Marijuana was made illegal in what? 1937? The charge towards legalization is being led by *users* in that case anyway, not producers. Mendocino County was a majority vote against California's prop 19 which would have legalized pot there last year.

So. Nevermind the theory I put forth in the first paragraph. Economic rent will accumulate until pirates *and* incumbents both have money to lobby. The only way for it to change will be for users to force the change.

I want to say... (1)

ilsaloving (1534307) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226857)

I want to say that I'm glad the guy got fired, because he's now become a martyr and a very visible example of how corrupt everything has become.

Unfortunately, I'm just not that optimistic that it will amount to anything constructive. Things will need to get a whole lot worse before people finally start demanding real change.

Sure, it's the copyrights fault. (1)

Jmc23 (2353706) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226935)

The inability to copy previously copyrighted items is strangling INNOVATION? Perhaps they don't understand the word innovation.

Re:Sure, it's the copyrights fault. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227097)

It is. Believe it or not, it's perfectly possible to use previously copyrighted items in innovative ways.

It's also screwing over the public domain, but I digress.

The Magic Number 435 (5, Interesting)

grumling (94709) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226963)

We haven't increased the size of the House of Representatives since the 1930s, but the size of the population has grown 3X since then. The House is supposed to grow (and shrink) with population, yet it has not for nearly 100 years. Are we to believe we have the same level of representation as our great grandparents? Just try to get your Representative on the phone, for example. You might be able to reach him if you have a campaign check, but even that's doubtful these days.

Why is this relevant to the conversation? Because $435 million is a drop in the bucket for most companies, while you'll likely never see your Representative in person, let alone sit down with him/her and voice your opinion. The corporations don't care about who or which party gets elected, just so they remember who cut them the million dollar donation.

But imagine if there were 1000 or more Representatives. Now how easy would it be for corps to buy the Congress? Yes, a lot of the activity would just switch over to the Senate, but both houses have to agree to get legislation passed.

Re:The Magic Number 435 (0)

AntiBasic (83586) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227177)

>Because $435 million is a drop in the bucket for most companies,

Also, money grows on trees.

Oh FFS. (0)

AmazingRuss (555076) | about a year and a half ago | (#42226967)

You want to draw cartoon characters? Make up your own characters. Do we really need a swarm of knockoff Disney crap?

Easy to say (2)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227051)

when you've already got a successful business. There's a reason most of Disney's stuff is retreads of old tales. It's much easier to sell something tried, true tested and familiar. Later on when you're established and you've got a steady flow of cash in payin' the bills you can get to real innovation. The thing people like to ignore is that most big innovation is built on past successes. Just about all the big guys in tech got there because their parents were well enough off to support them while they fucked around getting something off the ground. Try doing that around a 40-50 hour work schedule. Doesn't happen.

Disney et. all are monopolizing those stories. Hell, that Harry potter twat has sued people copying the framework of her stories that she herself stole.

Re:Easy to say (1)

alen (225700) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227195)

until disney bought pixar their animation was in the toilet except for a few TV characters they made up

people aren't going to buy crap based on 100 year old characters perpetually. and they didn't. lot of new stuff over the last few years has been better than almost anything disney has done in decades

Vulture Capitalists (4, Insightful)

rsilvergun (571051) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227021)

Like Bain and the guys that did Hostess in are what's scaring me. Basically guys with money and connections come in, buy a company, and then immediately start raiding the pension funds and paying themselves huge consulting fees from the loans they take out on the business' good name. Then they blame the whole sodding mess on workers making 45k/yr and unions and shut the whole thing down and move it to Mexico where slave labor abounds.
br> These guys are what'll stop innovation. They've got it so good (because they're so damn rich) they don't care about innovation. They become intensely, frighteningly conservative. There what's moved the US so far right these days. They don't want anything to change since they're makin' out like bandits. Hell, they've made progress (as in 'progressive') a bad word...

US corruption is very extreme (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227053)

The extent of corruption in the United States is not well known. A sitting Senator did an interview with CSPAN with little to no filtering about the variety, methods and scale of the corruption. After I saw the show it was clear to me why the founding fathers presumed we would have an Article V Constitutional Convention every 20-40 years. We have had none. I am seriously considering suggesting a parliamentary system as an improvement.

Our handling of money is aggregious and deeply self destructive

http://booktv.org/Program/14027/In+Depth+Senator+Tom+Coburn.aspx

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philadelphia_Convention

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Convention_to_propose_amendments_to_the_United_States_Constitution

"In framing the Constitution as the fundamental embodiment of such safeguards, the Constitutional Convention assembled in Philadelphia in 1787,[6] at the invitation of the Continental Congress.[7] That is the last time a federal constitutional convention has convened in the United States."

"Every state except Hawaii has applied for an Article V convention at one time or another. The majority of such applications were made in the 20th century. While there is no official count of the number of applications, one private count puts the total number of applications at over 700.[14][15]"

"States have requested that Congress convene an Article V convention to propose amendments on a variety of subjects. According to the National Archives, Congress has, however, never officially tabulated the applications"

The People... (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227065)

...have the government they deserve. Start "throwing your vote away" or sit down and shut up. (Cue Democrats talking about Republicans misdeeds while ignoring their own party's misdeeds. Rah rah sisboomba.)

The Government is missing out on huge revenues (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year and a half ago | (#42227095)

All that they have to do is revoke all Copyright extensions from the last century, and revert all existing copyright expiration dates to their original dates, subject to the following:

If the copyright holder wants to extend the copyright, there will be a fee of 1 Million USD per year, per work to do so, doubling each year for that work. This dollar amount is a suggestion - but it should be punitive enough to discourage copyright extensions from being made, and keep the list from getting too big.

Create a website that lists all of the works that have had their copyright extended. All other works revert to the public domain at their normal copyright expiration dates. Back when copyrights were originally extended, this would have required a paper distribution of the list, with yearly updates. Now, thanks to the internet, the cost of distributing that list is essentially free.

This would serve two purposes: (1) allow the works to enter public domain as they were originally intended, and (2), generate tons of revenue for the federal government for each work that is restricted from the public domain. This is Win-Win.

This will allow Disney to continue to retain the copyright on Steamboat Willie indefinitely, or as long as they are willing to pay. If the copyright would have expired, it would have only affected that work, not Mickey Mouse in general (which is trademarked). All it would mean is that someone could watch and distribute Steamboat Willie without paying Disney - not that anybody could create their own Mickey Mouse cartoon. Our public domain has been robbed of millions of works because of this idiocy.

rent seeking, not corruption (2, Insightful)

stenvar (2789879) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227155)

Although people are often sloppy about the distinction, strictly speaking, that's rent seeking, not corruption. The difference is important. Corruption suggests a criminal offense, and it suggests that the solution is more laws, regulation, and law enforcement. But if you try to fix rent seeking with additional laws, you're just throwing gasoline on the fire, since people will figure out how to use the new laws to their advantage as well.

Rent seeking grows with the size and power of government. The only way to reduce it is to reduce the size of government.

How is copyright related to innovation? (3, Insightful)

wiredlogic (135348) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227223)

I don't see the point of this article. It seems to be based on the common conflation of copyright, trademarks, and patents.

Copyright terms have no bearing on innovation. It restricts the creation of unauthorized copies and derivative works to the domain of fair use until the term of the copyright expires. These activities are, by their very nature, not innovative. I fail to see how the continual extension of copyright duration impacts innovation in any way.

Well sure but.... (1)

gelfling (6534) | about a year and a half ago | (#42227271)

There's always billions of dollars laying around to pay lawyers to sue everyone else for a few billion other dollars.

Apple Macht Frei

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