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House Judiciary Chairman Plans Comprehensive Review of US Copyright Law

samzenpus posted about a year ago | from the taking-a-second-look dept.

Government 142

SEWilco writes in with news that U.S. House of Representatives Judiciary Committee Chairman Bob Goodlatte plans on conducting "...a comprehensive review of US copyright law over the coming months.""In a speech given in celebration of World Intellectual Property Day at the Library of Congress today, Goodlatte mentioned a few examples of the sorts of problems that he hopes to address in such a review: 'The Internet has enabled copyright owners to make available their works to consumers around the world, but has also enabled others to do so without any compensation for copyright owners. Efforts to digitize our history so that all have access to it face questions about copyright ownership by those who are hard, if not impossible, to locate. There are concerns about statutory license and damage mechanisms. Federal judges are forced to make decisions using laws that are difficult to apply today. Even the Copyright Office itself faces challenges in meeting the growing needs of its customers - the American public.'"

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Head fake. (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544813)

Do you really think that the end result will be better, and not worse?

Re:Head fake. (4, Insightful)

XxtraLarGe (551297) | about a year ago | (#43545097)

Do you really think that the end result will be better, and not worse?

No, it will almost certainly be worse.

Re:Head fake. (3, Insightful)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year ago | (#43545195)

The end result will certainly be worse... Did the summary mention ANYTHING about people that buy and use Copyrighted works? It's going to be discussion on how to "lock it up" better.. Not produce more USEFUL WORKS.

Re:Head fake. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545621)

It will allow more USEFUL profiteering from existing WORKS.

Re:Head fake. (3, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545233)

Chairman Bob Goodlatte plans on conducting "...a comprehensive review of US copyright law over the coming months."

Copyright will be worse, but the coffee will be better.

Re:Head fake. (3, Interesting)

DrEldarion (114072) | about a year ago | (#43547349)

Why would it necessarily be worse? The DMCA, for instance, has a lot of valid criticism but the safe harbor provision was essential protection for many websites.

The fact that he says "Even the Copyright Office itself faces challenges in meeting the growing needs of its customers - the American public" is promising.

This is a REPUBLICAN! OHHHHNOOOOEEESSSS! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544835)

Run! Miust hate Republicans!

Bush Tax Cut!

Haliburton!

Durka Durka!

Re:This is a REPUBLICAN! OHHHHNOOOOEEESSSS! (1, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | about a year ago | (#43545345)

My republican senators act like they represent Los Angeles rather than the red state that actually elected them.

Re:This is a REPUBLICAN! OHHHHNOOOOEEESSSS! (2)

Charliemopps (1157495) | about a year ago | (#43545599)

I think the majority of Los Angeles would disagree with you on that one.

Re:This is a REPUBLICAN! OHHHHNOOOOEEESSSS! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545775)

Durka Durka sums up our government pretty good IMHO.

Re:This is a REPUBLICAN! OHHHHNOOOOEEESSSS! (2, Insightful)

Cinder6 (894572) | about a year ago | (#43546631)

Here's my summary of what's frustrating about American politics:

Overall, Republicans represent most of my interests better than the Democrats, but dear lord can they be horrifyingly stupid and clueless on other issues, copyright and technology in general being big ones.

Re:This is a REPUBLICAN! OHHHHNOOOOEEESSSS! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546769)

Democrats are owned by the entertainment industry, so you know anything coming from that side of the fence will be to protect those dinosaurs' business models at the expense of the public.

Re:This is a REPUBLICAN! OHHHHNOOOOEEESSSS! (1)

krept (697623) | about a year ago | (#43547169)

And of course a bit more on the religious fanatic side, abortions etc. Universal healthcare doesn't seem to be in their agenda either.

In other words... (1)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#43544843)

We need to do the copyright law what we did for patents. What is wrong with enforcing the laws we have?

Re: In other words... (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544897)

I wonder how the copyright laws would affect something like this? [t.co]

Re:In other words... (4, Informative)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year ago | (#43545133)

"What is wrong with enforcing the laws we have?" Aside from the fact that some of the laws we have are wrong-headed and counterproductive (e.g. copyright terms that not only outlive the creators, but also their children, and even their grandchildren, thus stifling independent creative appropriation), there's the fact that the laws we have don't make any sense (as in "I have no idea what this means", not just merely misguided) in the context of modern technology.

Re:In other words... (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#43545181)

Which is exactly my point. They already done enough damage. There isn't any need to make things worse.

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545191)

So you're saying that you know that current law is terrible, but you want them to enforce it anyway rather than changing it?

Re:In other words... (2)

Bill_the_Engineer (772575) | about a year ago | (#43545213)

Do you honestly think they are going to change it for the better? What did the media corporation's political donation check bounced?

Re:In other words... (2)

davester666 (731373) | about a year ago | (#43547173)

More like "what can we do for you to up your weekly payments?"

Re:In other words... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545255)

No, he is saying he would rather (if given only 2 options) they enforced the current laws over more draconian laws. IF given a 3rd option he would probably rather they actually fixed the laws.

Re:In other words... (1)

tverbeek (457094) | about a year ago | (#43545715)

Please read the second half of my reply. That is what's wrong with "enforcing the laws we have".

Re:In other words... (2)

rudy_wayne (414635) | about a year ago | (#43545139)

. What is wrong with enforcing the laws we have?

You mean like the DMCA and copyrights that last for a gazillion years?

This so-called "review of copyright law" is being conducted by the same people who work on behalf of the Media Cartel and created the DMCA and extended copyrights to last forever, along with other ridiculous laws.

Far out, man! (0, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544845)

Like, information should be like free and stuff! Hey bud, let's party!

Re:Far out, man! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545135)

need to fix abandonware and older versions (4, Insightful)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#43544861)

need to fix abandonware and older versions of software that are no longer sold (maybe limit that to vers needed for old hardware / os's)

I was looking for a older ver of this software and they where not selling it and there e-mails said that there older vers that where not up to our standards and also said it's not legal to just download the older ones they are not selling (but they ones they are selling don't work on the older hardware / os's)

Re:need to fix abandonware and older versions (4, Insightful)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#43544955)

I'll be very surprised if he isn't more worried about the rights of large media corporations.

* Worried that their bribes might to somebody else...

How can I buy if you won't sell? (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545037)

I'd happily pay $100 for a certain movie -- but the copyright owner won't sell! BigCorpInc has decided there isn't enough profit to be made so they won't make it available. But a core of diehard fans has been trying to track down remaining copies. I've had a worldwide ebay search running for years now and zero hits. A few copies are known to exist in the private collections of actors who were in the film -- but they don't want trouble from a potential future employer, so they won't make "illegal" copies for us fans.

Once the copyright owner no longer offers the product for sale, the law should allow fans to distribute copies for free. The owner is essentially saying "I can't figure out how to distribute this." Well, we can. So get in gear or get out of the way. It's not costing you lost sales when you refuse to sell.

also stuff that has no owner / a mistory owner (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545183)

also stuff that has no owner any more / a unknown owner

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (5, Interesting)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about a year ago | (#43545699)

I think that there need to be a few things which should be added to copyright law:

1. If you aren't making it commercially available it reverts to public domain.
(for a most 2x more than the average for the same mediatype. ie: $100,000 per copy shouldn't be considered making available. So a movie cannot be sold for more than $50 and still be considered available)
2. All copyrights must be registered, and rights must be defined by law and cannot be subdivided. The copyrights must be identifed as sold/transferred to a specific person. If the registry isn't updated within 5 years of the death of the person in the registry, it reverts to the public domain.
(To avoid issues where Bob Author died, and his estate was divided equally among 10 children who then sold portions of odd bits of rights to different corporations in 10 different countries which were then subdivided 100 different ways again.)
3. Property tax must be paid on IP.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546011)

I believe I read about a town (city/country?) where property taxes were based on a voluntary assessment of the purchase price of the property. Where if the town thought you understated the price of the property for tax purposes, they could buy it outright. I think we need something like this for tax purposes. If the music business says they are missing $1billion in sales due to IP infringement, then we should tax the IP. If they price it way up, their tax liability goes up.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#43546241)

Where if the town thought you understated the price of the property for tax purposes, they could buy it outright.

That seems positively ripe for abuse.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546539)

The real problem is that it leads to exactly the situation that prompted Prop 13 (older residents forced out of their homes by rising property taxes).

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (1)

Microlith (54737) | about a year ago | (#43546227)

3. Property tax must be paid on IP.

This is actually exceedingly unfair, and plays into the hands of the major corporations.

If I create a work, it has no inherent value out of the gate. If a major corporation comes along and sees it and figures that it's worth $5 million to them, they could easily lowball me and offer $1 million. Since my work now has a publicly known value, I owe taxes that I can't possibly afford. Now I'm forced to sell my work to a company who can easily make more for it.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546327)

You can fix this by a valuation clause which says the IP is valued by the last sale price. If you haven't sold it, there is no value.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#43546387)

It has just gone from worth nothing to you to worth $1million how is that low ball? Does a carpenter lowball Home Depot every time they pay $20 for a hammer because they are going to use it over the next year to make $40k+ building houses?

Valuation requires an agreement (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#43546607)

If I create a work, it has no inherent value out of the gate. If a major corporation comes along and sees it and figures that it's worth $5 million to them, they could easily lowball me and offer $1 million. Since my work now has a publicly known value, I owe taxes that I can't possibly afford. Now I'm forced to sell my work to a company who can easily make more for it.

An offer to buy does not mean it is worth what is being offered unless you agree to the price. No sale = no objective valuation. You could offer me $2 for my DVD of Batman begins but that doesn't mean I will sell it to you for that amount or that it is worth that much in the broader market place. While there are taxes on assets they are not based on prices thrown out during negotiations.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546315)

I think it should go back to the 20 years, plus the option to renew. But you pay to renew: $500 * 2^n where n=the nth time it was renewed. The renewal period would be every 2 years.

This way, it's up to the owner to decide how much the work is worth. Most works would go out of copyright at the 20, big media could afford to go another 32 years easily, (n=16, so $500 * 2^16=$32,768,000 but if it's still bringing in enough to justify that cost, then I have no problem with that), but it would have to be insanely successful to be renewed for 48 years (n=24, ie: $8,388,608,000) Even the Mouse couldn't pay for himself: (Introduced in 1928 in Steamboat Willie, so n=(2013-(1928+20)/2) = 32, ie: $2,147,483,648,000)

Now, that doesn't mean that Mickey Mouse is now in the public domain, it means that the film "Steamboat Willie" is in the public domain, as it rightfully should be.

TLDR: You have 20 free years to make something out of it. After that, you pay whatever it is worth to you, when it's no longer worth it for you, it goes back to the public.

Valuation of intangible property (1)

sjbe (173966) | about a year ago | (#43546551)

3. Property tax must be paid on IP.

Sounds great in theory but in reality it is usually very difficult to do. You really can only tax a work if you can objectively value the patent or copyright. If the intangible property hasn't been sold or licensed it is usually nearly impossible to value it and many have limited market value by themselves. Without some sort of objective valuation you can't tax it in any way that makes sense. Things are only worth what others are willing to pay for them. If no one has ever bought it, you can't really say what it is worth. Might be zero or might be many millions or somewhere in between. Lots and lots of intangible property falls into this valuation grey zone. It's just really hard to say what it is worth.

Furthermore if a company does buy a piece of IP, they will have an asset on their balance sheet (which is amortized) and the may have goodwill (amount paid above market value) as well. This can have tax consequences so in many cases companies already do pay tax on IP they acquire.

No more difficult than any other property tax. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43547175)

Other real property ideas that should be instituted:

1) Abandonment laws. Don't keep the IP fresh? Lose it.
2) Squatters rights. Let someone else keep the IP worthwhile and then, when money has been made and time has passed, demand all the money and more.
3) Public right of way. What people have been able to do for 20 years, they must continue to be allowed to do.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (1)

jamstar7 (694492) | about a year ago | (#43547379)

Good idea. It'll never happen. Keep in mind that lawyers like vague laws that are difficult to understand and enforce. Lawyers make money on the loopholes and grey areas because they can argue either side of an argument. And laws tend to be written by lawyers for their corporate clients. Keeping things vague and difficult to understand keeps lawyers working.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (3, Insightful)

bware (148533) | about a year ago | (#43547449)

1. If you aren't making it commercially available it reverts to public domain.

So JayZ writes 12 songs for an album and decides to release 10, the other two are public domain? When do they become public domain? Everything he writes, even the smallest, worst, most ahead of its time has to be made available either commercially or it's public domain?

I write three novels and the first two are rejected by publishers. Now I have to find a way to make them commercially available, or I lose all rights to them? The third one is a bestseller, and now the publisher wants to release the first two, but won't because they've previously been made public domain due to your rule 1.

How is this helpful to anyone? It doesn't give me incentive to write more novels that I might or might not control.

Making something commercially available has its own costs which a penniless artist might not want to bear. Not to mention the impossibility of making creators declare "This is now finished, and I want to sell it", or have lawyers determine when a creation is finished and must be made available.

Copyright gives the creator exclusive rights for (what should be) a limited period of time. There's nothing wrong with the "exclusive" part of that, which includes excluding it from the public. It's the limited period part which has problems.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43545939)

I feel your pain.

Some shows simply don't get shown over here. No idea why, they just don't make it across the pond. Britain has some great shows that I would love to watch, yet no such luck.

Ok, one'd say, there's maybe not even a DVD set of it because, well, it just ran for a season or two (the old Simpsons joke about the longest running British sitcom with 4 episodes is actually pretty apt). Well, there IS. Great, I'd think, I'm in the EU, Britain is in the EU, it is trivial to order ... huh? Not delivering to your country? Why not? Because it didn't run here yet. I see, but nobody has any intent to do it.

I got a wordy reply that can be summed up in four words: "Sucks to be you".

Asking around with our networks I got replies along the lines of "doesn't fit into our lineup". It's not statistically significant since that was the ONLY reply I got out of 10 emails I sent. The rest couldn't even be assed to reply.

So I'm sitting here, screaming "STFU and take my money already!", but nobody wants to sell it to me.

Re:How can I buy if you won't sell? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546563)

If it's that obscure, how the hell did you see it in the first place?

Re:need to fix abandonware and older versions (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545309)

English probably isn't your first language, so here are a couple of tips:

where - you wanted were
there - should have been their

Not being a grammar nazi, just trying to help.

Two blood-curdling phrases (4, Funny)

paiute (550198) | about a year ago | (#43544893)

"The calls are coming from inside your house!"

"Congress is looking into this issue."

Re:Two blood-curdling phrases (2)

Greyfox (87712) | about a year ago | (#43545167)

Yah, I predict they'll extend the copyright period again, institute jail time for file sharing and authorize the use of drone strikes on overseas file sharers.

Re:Two blood-curdling phrases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545215)

You forgot:

"Let's get the UN involved!"

Re:Two blood-curdling phrases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545701)

It's amazing how quickly the party that spent years being terrified of "I'm from the government and I'm here to help" bent over to take it up the ass from TSA agents.

Re:Two blood-curdling phrases (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546863)

I am altering the deal, pray I dont alter it any further.

This could be a good thing (2)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#43544933)

But the wording concerns me and implies that they are looking to extend copyright instead of cut it back

Re:This could be a good thing (1, Troll)

Jade_Wayfarer (1741180) | about a year ago | (#43544975)

I seriously doubt that there is anyone here who honestly believes in any good outcome of this initiative. Cut copyright terms? Implement saner policies? Right... what, there are communists in that Committee?

lobby rational thought (1)

Infestedkudzu (2557914) | about a year ago | (#43544977)

No one thinks our government will produce anything but a set of reforms that benefit institutions of power.

Copyright is obsolete (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43544989)

Copyright in the digital age is ridiculous and unenforceable, but the same technology that troubles copyright nowadays has largely removed the disadvantages of patronage, as crowdfunding is becoming popular, why not just go back to patronage? it's not a tax on the public and it's a correct way of paying for the actual effort of producing media.

Re:Copyright is obsolete (2)

denis-The-menace (471988) | about a year ago | (#43545819)

This exercise is the middle-men trying to keep their leech-type jobs.

With copyright trying to create artificial scarcity, projects should be funded by donations or kickstater-like methods.

Anything else is playing little dutch boy:
https://www.google.ca/search?q=dutch+boy+finger+dam [google.ca]

Oh wont some one think of the morality of it all (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545085)

This comming from a nation thatbuilt itself on stolen ip.

Re:Oh wont some one think of the morality of it al (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43545841)

"Do as we say don't do as we do", in other words, business as usual.

Can help you out here (1)

Murdoch5 (1563847) | about a year ago | (#43545093)

If your write it down and it's an original work you own it! If you create it as an original work you own it! If it in anyway is a copy of someone else's work you owe them.

......Pretty simple review

Re:Can help you out here (4, Insightful)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43545187)

So does disney owe royalties to the families of the writers of the books they base their movies on?

At some point ideas become part of the culture and are no longer owned by anyone person. I believe the founders had it right with a 14 year term and one 14 year extension. We should go back to that model, but the extension should cost enough to ensure that not every work is extended for the full term.

Re:Can help you out here (0, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545389)

So does disney owe royalties to the families of the writers of the books they base their movies on?

If it's still in copyright: yes.

If it's out of copyright (e.g., Beauty and the Beast, The LIttle Mermaid): no.

Re:Can help you out here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545679)

You do realize that many of the "out of copyright" stuff were first put on paper by the Brothers Grimm in the early to mid 1800s?
Some 100-120 years later, Mickey Mouse was born in 1928.
Do you think Mickey be public domain in 15 years (2028)?

We're rapidly approaching the point we'll have to pay royalties to the decendants of Homer.

Re:Can help you out here (1)

GreyWanderingRogue (598058) | about a year ago | (#43546117)

So for The Little Mermaid, published in 1837, Disney made their movie of this original work in 1989, making it 152 years after publication. What's the shortest time from an original work (you might argue some of those Brothers Grimm tales were based on existing local legends, which is what Disney was basing their movies on; does that matter?) to publication that Disney used without licensing? What are the chances Disney wouldn't lobby for an extension beyond that time limit?

Re:Can help you out here (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43546177)

Not sure, but disney will not care, they just will make sure it is no retroactive.

Re:Can help you out here (3, Informative)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43546217)

Alice in wonderland was 86 years.
It was published in 1865 and the movie came out in 1951. Lewis Carroll died in 1898, so using today's Life + 70 it would still have been in copyright.

The copyright actually expired in 1907. This means they have already done this.

Re:Can help you out here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545703)

they use public domains works and then create copyrighted movies based (sometimes loosely) on them.

Re:Can help you out here (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43546135)

Using todays lengths those stories would not all have been in the public domain.

Re:Can help you out here (1)

flayzernax (1060680) | about a year ago | (#43545825)

I believe the idea of the extension was for the government to get payed back and in theory us, because it would lessen the burden of our taxes enforcing monopolies. Thus being a fairer form of monopoly for the sake of "forced advancement of the arts".

Re:Can help you out here (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545899)

You're on to the idea, but not quite there.

1) Shorten the term. It should be about 5 years. The first term is automatic and free. Subsequent terms require copyright-holder registration.
2) Require payment for the extension based on revenue generated in the current term. A copyright tax, essentially. And the amount of revenue should be worldwide gross, not local, not net, and certainly not open to loopholes and interpretation like other tax codes. The rate applied to it should be a flat percentage.
3) Do not limit extensions.
4) If you miss the extension deadline by even a day, it's public domain. No exceptions.
5) Public domain is permanent and irrevocable. No exceptions.
6) All transfers must be registered. A one-time filing fee may be charged. This does NOT reset the clock on the current term. Transfers during the first term are free, except for the filing fee.
7) Copyrights cannot be registered to non-entities (e.g. companies that went out of business) or foreign entities (e.g. foreign copyright havens) and retain copyright protection. This means that to retain a copyright in the US, a foreign entity must set up a local shell corporation to hold copyrights for them. Unregistered copyrights go to the public domain after the first term.

That gives everyone what they want. Disney can keep Mickey locked up for a million years, as long as they don't run out of money. Abandonware is public domain within a term length. No more abandonware that doesn't have an identifiable owner. And no more congressional shenanigans due to treaty pressure pulling stuff into an undefined foreign copyright term after it's been in the public domain.

Re:Can help you out here (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545211)

Even if you treat copyright as a natural right, modern copyright law goes way beyond that by extending the monopoly after the author's death and benefiting people, at great cost to the public, who are wholly unrelated to the author.

Mickey's copright must be expiring soon. (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545099)

Mickey's copright will expire in 2018. They are going to get at it early this time.

The only way we can stop this is to go after Disney shareholders.

Re:Mickey's copright must be expiring soon. (3, Informative)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year ago | (#43545277)

Mickey Mouse would still be firmly under TRADEMARK for a long time. That would mean you could copy early Mickey clips on YouTube all day, or use them for mashuos and such... but YOU couldn't MARKET "Mickey Mouse" stuff because he's still running Disney and making merchandise.

What the summary indicates is that "lost" INDIVIDUAL authors will soon LOSE protections... Because COMPANIES don't like a grandkid getting money at the 90 year mark. And "orphan" works will probably revert to publishers that last printed them... So most likely a bunch of PD stuff will get snatched back into "publisher/broadcaster" copyright.

Re:Mickey's copright must be expiring soon. (2)

h4rr4r (612664) | about a year ago | (#43545289)

Orphan works belong in the public domain. How that is not blindingly obvious I do not know.

Re:Mickey's copright must be expiring soon. (2)

lessthan (977374) | about a year ago | (#43545567)

Well, you put a dollar bill over the left eye and another dollar bill over the right eye... Ta-da! Your vision has been "corrected."

Re:Mickey's copright must be expiring soon. (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43545827)

I tried it. I don't know, it either makes me extremely short sighted or reasonably blind. Can't help but this corrected vision seems a bit like asking for disaster.

Re:Mickey's copright must be expiring soon. (1)

Zimluura (2543412) | about a year ago | (#43546093)

I'm not entirely sure mickey mouse's character design can be trademarked. I'm sure disney would try to push that he is, but i just don't know how well they could apply his (potentially) public domain use as trademark infringement.

putting certain, specific images of him, on clothing or other products might be out, if those specific glyphs are trademarked; but releasing an animated version of the godfather with public domain disney characters should be ok (notwithstanding the mario puzo ip).

Re:Mickey's copright must be expiring soon. (1)

mabhatter654 (561290) | about a year ago | (#43546229)

My point is that copyright protects COPYING. Things like the character "Mickey Mouse" and his likeness have other protections if they remain in use.

I think being partly in public domain has worked out OK for Cthulhu. Part of the works "accidentally" fell into PD (darn Munchkin cultists) and the remaining works are owned by several different companies. Surely of the masters of Dark, Lawyering Arts can negotiate such terrain the Mouse's lawyers would be just fine.

Yet another reason to vote Cthulhu! Although I prefer overlords with noodly appendages and not tentacles.

Re:Mickey's copright must be expiring soon. (1)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#43545287)

The current market capitalization of Disney is over $100 billion. I cant find any specific information on Disney but I would expect that the shareholding of Disney is the same as for many large blue-chip companies where significant chunks are owned by entities (index funds, hedge funds, pension funds and others) who are only interested in the short term share price or the next set of quarterly financial numbers.

Personally I think Google could do well to buy one of the big movie studios. (Warner might make a good target) then use that ownership (and seat on the MPAA and etc) to push for a saner copyright system (e.g. one that doesn't place as many requirements on Google and YouTube to look for, censor or remove illegal content themselves and placing greater burden on the owners of the copyright to carry out the policing)

Are we talking about expansion again already? (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545159)

That's the issue.

I think most users of copyrighted works think copyright law has been broadened *WAY* too much, like ever-lengthening (effectively indefinite) copyright terms and making it technically illegal to circumvent DRM even for otherwise legitimate fair use. The DMCA made a perverse wreck out of copyright law, with all sorts of pathological side-effects. Yet even with the huge expansion over the last century through revision after revision, copyright holders still want more. They are afraid of the way technology has made copying easy? Fair enough. There's certainly some rationalization that needs to be done here, but are legislators going to respect the balance of public interest that is supposed to exist in copyright law, and that has been there since its inception? If they're only going to address copyright holder's concerns to hold onto stuff forever, and parade a slew of Hollywood copyright maximalists in front of the panel to appeal for insanely lengthier copyright terms, then this review is useless. What will be the point if the complaints of regular users and the demands of the broader public are ignored?

Basically, are you finally going to tell Disney "Screw off. We don't care how much money you put in our campaigns, you've made enough money off Mickey. It's expiring to the public domain on schedule. The debt to the public domain is due. Be happy you still get to use Mickey as a trademark." If not, then you can stuff your review.

Copyright sanity (5, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#43545163)

In a sane world, "a comprehensive review of copyright law" would lead to cutting copyright terms back drastically. Something on the order of 14 years plus an optional, one-time 14 year extension. This would take care of abandoned works (after 14 or 28 years they'd be public domain) and would enable us to simplify copyright law. A sane world would also set different penalties for "non-commercial infringement" (you shared that movie on a P2P network for free) and "commercial infringement" (you burned that movie to a few dozen DVD discs and sold them for $5 each).

Of course, I don't think we live in a sane world. Instead, I'm sure we'll see proposals helpfully "guided" by the content industry. Perhaps terms will be lengthened. Maybe penalties will rise. Perhaps more criminal penalties will be enacted and law enforcement will be forced to take a bigger role in arresting individuals whose crime was installing a P2P program that shared out music files on their computer. (Because, you know, law enforcement has nothing better to do than help the RIAA/MPAA enforce their business model.)

I *really* hope that sanity will prevail, but I'm not holding my breath.

Re:Copyright sanity (2)

c (8461) | about a year ago | (#43545359)

I *really* hope that sanity will prevail, but I'm not holding my breath.

Yeah, that's pretty much my feelings when I see anything to do with the US government and copyright. It's sad when the best you can hope for is that it doesn't get much worse.

Re:Copyright sanity (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545891)

I wouldn't hold my breath if I were you, so good on you.

The only real long term option is paring it back until it's nothing. Don't pull the rug out, but make the transition as speedy as practically possible. The entire notion of intellectual property is an obsolete, antique, archaic idea from the guild era, not something that belongs in twenty-first century law. It's more harm than good and with international I.P. agreements we're trying to export the chilling effects of our own absurd regulatory environment to the rest of the world. Until the nation starts talking seriously about I.P. abolition the only reform we're likely to see is going to follow the same trend that I.P. law, and especially copyright law, has been following for the last few decades: Longer terms, harsher penalties, and even broader and more vague language so it's easier for gigantic rights holders to monopolize ownership of our technology and culture. All in a day's work for big-guv.

Re:Copyright sanity (1)

Chris Mattern (191822) | about a year ago | (#43545907)

In a sane world, "a comprehensive review of copyright law" would lead to cutting copyright terms back drastically. Something on the order of 14 years plus an optional, one-time 14 year extension. This would take care of abandoned works (after 14 or 28 years they'd be public domain) and would enable us to simplify copyright law.

Disney will outright start shooting Congressmen before they let that happen.

Re:Copyright sanity (1)

ArsonSmith (13997) | about a year ago | (#43546981)

Or, have the 14 years free, extension cost $x, then every 5-10 years after it would be $x^2 so as to exponentially increase the costs. Eventually there would be a trade off where it is no longer valuable to the current owner to continue the increase, while the public would get the benefit of additional tax revenue at the expense of not having the material in public domain.

More like "Comprehensive Expansion" (2)

EmagGeek (574360) | about a year ago | (#43545199)

That's what this sounds like based on the language...

Thew way forward (4, Interesting)

WOOFYGOOFY (1334993) | about a year ago | (#43545261)

" 'The Internet has enabled copyright owners to make available their works to consumers around the world, but has also enabled others to do so without any compensation for copyright owners"

I think we all know where this is going. Total extinction of any notion of "fair use" so that every image you ever did a right click-->save to file on will be an independent criminal act punishable by not more than 5 years in jail and a $50,000 fine.

Let me tell you what this industry fears the most. Let me tell you what makes the execs in this industry shit their pants and drink too much after work. The idea that you will chose to do something else with your time. The notion that you will choose to spend the half million of so waking hours you have over the course of your life doing something else.

If they can't get those away from you because your attention was directed elsewhere, doing something more engaging, then they're fucked. You want one of my precious hours to look at your Desperate Housewives / Jarhead crap ? You should be so lucky.

I used to just think that people who did mass downloading when they *could* have bought the stuff were total assholes who would just cheat any and all the systems of civil society which make things tolerable for everyone. I still sort of think that, but what I don't think is this represents a good application of our justice system and my tax dollars -

http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2013/03/18/downloading-case-cant-pay/1997127/ [usatoday.com]

What I think is this is a sado-system designed to turn even the meekest and most law abiding of our citizens, the ones that get up every morning to got to their underpaid , dead end jobs just to keep their noses and their children's noses slightly above water, into criminals.

This is a system run by the financial elite solely for their benefit . Elites whose mega-crimes go completely unpunished no matter how globally catastrophic their effects and how many people's lives are completely destroyed by their criminal actions. This is a system whose prosecutors look and look at those crimes but can't find anything but reasonable doubt, while the ordinary citizen can be assured they will be punished beyond any definition of reason and beyond all any definition justice for the even the meekest and most innocuous of infractions.

To the publishing houses and record companies and entertainment business and especially to Mickey Mouse and all the diseased and dysfunctional special interest politics he has come to represent to my generation I say this- we're going to take yoru out. We're going to decimate your industry and leave you with nothing- no customers, no interest, no money, and no power.

There's exactly nothing you can do to stop it, counter it, co-opt it or benefit from it. The future in no way includes you irrespective of how broadly you interpret the word "includes". You're all walking dead men, grotesque corpses staggering around, wailing for blood but finding none.

 

Re:Thew way forward (1)

phantomfive (622387) | about a year ago | (#43546235)

To the publishing houses and record companies and entertainment business and especially to Mickey Mouse and all the diseased and dysfunctional special interest politics he has come to represent to my generation I say this- we're going to take yoru out. We're going to decimate your industry and leave you with nothing- no customers, no interest, no money, and no power.

I'm sure they're shaking in their boots. From laughter.

Re:Thew way forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546925)

Bravo!

*clap clap*

Re:Thew way forward (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546941)

"There's exactly nothing you can do to stop it, counter it, co-opt it or benefit from it. The future in no way includes you irrespective of how broadly you interpret the word "includes". You're all walking dead men, grotesque corpses staggering around, wailing for blood but finding none."

Oh look a shinny thing, I sell out now ok!

First thing mentioned is stopping piracy. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545347)

Not a sign it's moving in the best direction.

I bet CISPA would help. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545431)

Once we get CISPA in place we can go after all of those freeloaders. And we'll need better laws so that they don't get off easy. Way to go House Judiciary.. you're doing God's work man.

In other words... (1)

PortHaven (242123) | about a year ago | (#43545733)

We've found some loop holes which entities like Droid TV are taking advantage of. And some recent court decisions did not side in favor with copyright holders.

So we're planning and discussing new legislation to fuck over the common people.

What does "comprehensive" mean? (1)

Opportunist (166417) | about a year ago | (#43545749)

Apologies, but English is not my first language. Does that mean that he wants to change it so normal, sane people (as opposed to, say, copyright lawyers) can comprehend it?

Re:What does "comprehensive" mean? (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | about a year ago | (#43545911)

No, what he is saying is that he got a big campaign contribution from the *AA's and wants to pay them back by making things even worse for the public.

Re:What does "comprehensive" mean? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546791)

Assuming you're not being sarcastic, "comprehensive" means "all-encompassing" or "complete" - dealing with all aspects of the problem. As an example, Congress is currently considering comprehensive immigration reform - i.e., addressing current illegal immigrants, the need for low-cost workers (one of the largest groups of illegal immigrants), and the method by which the US gives visas which will lead to citizenship (they are considering moving to a Canadian-like system based on skills rather than the current method that prioritizes family connections).

The digital age (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43545869)

The Internet has enabled copyright owners to make available their works to consumers around the world, but has also enabled others to do so without any compensation for copyright owners.

First, the Internet has enabled copyright owners to ignore consumers around the world and keep their works from being made available. Fixed that for you.
Second, copyright has met the reality of bits and bytes. "Copy" has been a command on every operating system for the past 30 years. There is no possible way to keep people from copying your work. No make-believe right, outrageous statutory damages, or criminal charges will prevent this from happening... ever.
Third, statutory damages are absurd when the marginal cost of creating copies is free. No one is hurt by copying.

The American public? (1)

bp+m_i_k_e (901456) | about a year ago | (#43546163)

"Even the Copyright Office itself faces challenges in meeting the growing needs of its customers - the American public."

Comical.
Since when is the "American public" considered the customers being served by the Copyright Office. Methinks there is a much more narrow description of the customers served by the Copyright Office. But, hey, it reads a lot better when you the widest description possible.

This is a Win, Win situation. (1)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about a year ago | (#43546171)

If by some miracle the copyright terms get shortened and abandoned works enter the public domain sooner, then we win.

What's more likely to happen is that they'll make the copyright laws even more restrictive with longer terms bigger fines for infringement, etc. Go down this road far enough and the common folk will start to feel pressure from the jackboot at their throat and actually do something about it.

In other words: Either they make it worse, and who gives a crap -- it really can't get much worse than it is right now, or it gets a bit better.
IMO, I'd rather have copyright laws get a lot worse and eventually force a drastic change than have some piddling teeter-totter back and forth to stay just under the amount of crap the public will put up with -- Which is what's actually happening here.

They made their own bed (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#43546541)

The best part is that they get to look busy and then, several months later, announce that they ultimately accomplished nothing or came up with new copyright restrictions. Why? International treaties (which the USTR wrote). We can't legally back down from our own internal copyright laws because we have them codified into international law.

Whatever They Do (1)

some old guy (674482) | about a year ago | (#43546819)

you can be absolutely certain that it will

1. Benefit comapaign-contributor busnesses.
2. Cost consumers money.
3. Result in uneven, draconian enforcement.
4. Require a bigger burocracy to implement (3).
.

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