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How Copyright Makes Books and Music Disappear

Soulskill posted 1 year,27 days | from the copyright-is-the-world's-worst-magician dept.

Books 128

An anonymous reader writes "A new study of books and music for sale on Amazon shows how copyright makes works disappear. The research is described in the abstract: 'A random sample of new books for sale on shows three times more books initially published in the 1850's are for sale than new books from the 1950's. Why? A sample of 2300 new books for sale on is analyzed along with a random sample of 2000 songs available on new DVDs. Copyright status correlates highly with absence from the Amazon shelf. Second, the availability on YouTube of songs that reached number one on the U.S., French, and Brazilian pop charts from 1930-60 is analyzed in terms of the identity of the uploader, type of upload, number of views, date of upload, and monetization status. An analysis of the data demonstrates that the DMCA safe harbor system as applied to YouTube helps maintain some level of access to old songs by allowing those possessing copies (primarily infringers) to communicate relatively costlessly with copyright owners to satisfy the market of potential listeners.'"

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Infringer? (3, Insightful)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | 1 year,27 days | (#44196777)

I hold lots of "copies" (I rather would call them originals) of old songs.
Holding them makes me not an infringer.
Uploading them to youtube does!

Also I don't feel the need to add a screensaver to an old song and upload that to a MOVIE SITE.

Re:Infringer? (1)

houstonbofh (602064) | 1 year,27 days | (#44196849)

So what major upload you own song streaming site do you use?

Re:Infringer? (1)

X0563511 (793323) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198143)

Soundcloud is pretty popular, though some of the processing they do murders a few styles violently.

Re:Infringer? (2)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198453)

I don't upload.
Don't see a reason why I should.
The only stuff that is uploaded is movies about myself doing Aikido ... uploaded by my students with my permission.
That has nothing tomdo with copyright but might be a cultural thing. I'm rather old and don't see a point in sitting at my computer transforming a CD rip into a "video" and putting that on youtube.
If you are interested in music try mixter (google, not sure how it is spelled) ... lots of actually new music, often under cc license or completely free. My friends publish their stuff there.

Re:Infringer? (4, Insightful)

eksith (2776419) | 1 year,27 days | (#44196879)

But that's exactly how I've discovered so many artists (many of whom have been playing for years) that I enjoy to this day. Yes, it's just a stupid screensaver, for all intents and purposes, but it exposed me to something I can enjoy. I went out and searched for it. Bought the thing. Play it at home and at work. All thanks to a screensaver.

This really boils down to what exactly "holding" means in the digital age of intangible property. Music (and text, by and large) is as intangible as the emotions they illicit. So what does "holding" mean? And how does this death-grip affect future triggers of emotion?

Re:Infringer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44197693)

You aren't by far the only one. There is no way you will go to a record store, find an artist that no more than a few thousand people know about, hope you will like it and spend 10$ on buying the record. All without actually supporting the artist. I have discovered many really good artists by just downloading random stuff by genre and would spend several hundred dollars to travel a few thousand kilometres just to go to their concert... If I'm lucky and they are still active.

Re:Infringer? (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199291)

There is no way you will go to a record store, find an artist that no more than a few thousand people know about, hope you will like it and spend 10$ on buying the record. All without actually supporting the artist.

This is where Google Music, Amazon Music, and Apple have it all over records, or concerts, or even word of mouth.

If you like a certain style, any of those services will show you similar artists and similar music, and let you listen to a bit of it by click the sample button.

With a few minutes of spare time, you can, with each exploration branching our wider and wider, discover things you might never find any other way. Not since my days in the college dorm have I seen such an elegant engine for exposure to such a wide variety of styles and tastes.

The 45 and the CD may be considered the Gutenberg press of the audio world. But the Play Sample button is the equivalent of the card catalog in the library, or the Encyclopedia Britannica (before its demise). Exposure to everything, quickly, with enough depth to decide whether or not to pursue it further.

Yes, in many instances, its still tied to the music publishing business, but more and more indi music is showing up.
This tool is probably the ONE thing needed to set indi music in motion, much to the demise of the recording industry.

The same is true of books, although the random sampling feature works much less effectively.

Re:Infringer? (1)

eksith (2776419) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200049)

Those are not nearly as interactive, explorative or in any way as expansive as word of mouth + "screensaver". The advantage sites like YouTube have above all else is that it's content is by and large geared toward driving traffic to artists that they deem worthy. It's not an organic search when you see "you may also like" or something similar, whereas on YouTube, I'm sure, there are clicks taken into account as well as the keywords. Plus user feedback (although the majority of YT comments are seizure, tumor or other form of brain damage inducing) can take you places you wouldn't otherwise consider. It's a combination of word of mouth as well as organic search.

It's not as random as you think.

Re:Infringer? (1)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200173)

Word of mouth is meaningless, no better than top 20 radio unless you happen to hang around with people who just happen to like the same music as you.

YouTube has nothing that I need except endless miserable covers, each worse than the last. Its a wasteland of bad remixes and stupid screensaver videos. Its impossible to find anything new or unique unless you have some external links.

Re:Infringer? (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | 1 year,26 days | (#44202271)

You seem to be mistaken.

yes, youtube has a lot of shit.. but it also has some of the best stuff available.

For example, Vika Yermolyeva. [] and Sungha Jung [] .

We'll excuse your ignorance if you stop being ignorant.

Re:Infringer? (1)

intermodal (534361) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198513)

Elicit, not illicit. The meanings are very different.

Re:Infringer? (1)

eksith (2776419) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200019)

My mistake

Screen saver? How about Screen liberator? (1)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | 1 year,27 days | (#44196935)

Also I don't feel the need to add a screensaver to an old song and upload that to a MOVIE SITE.

You say screensaver, I say transformative addition to the original art as a home-made music video (I wonder if that'll legally clear me to monitize the work of others on youtube)...

Re:Screen saver? How about Screen liberator? (1)

angel'o'sphere (80593) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198323)

Well, I hate it to click on a youtube video to realize it is a slide show of photos or a still video of one picture.

Re:Screen saver? How about Screen liberator? (1)

sdoca (1225022) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198443)

I go to youtube when I've heard a snippet of song (usually in movie trailers, tv shows etc.) and want to hear the whole thing to see if I like it. I don't really care what's the visual is, I just want to hear the music. If I like it, I usually research other music by the same artist and that often involves listening to other youtube videos.

Re:Infringer? (3, Insightful)

jellomizer (103300) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197281)

Like many things their needs to be the correct balance.
We need Patients and Copyrights however they need to be sure that they they are fare enough for the content creators to get their due for their work, but not so restrictive that it restricts innovation and free speech.

Re:Infringer? (1)

sdoca (1225022) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198461)

Like many things their needs to be the correct balance. We need Patents and Copyrights...


Re:Infringer? (1)

xigxag (167441) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198759)

Patience and Copyrights, more like, if you're expecting anything to ever enter the public domain again.

Re:Infringer? (1)

sdoca (1225022) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198819)

Although I think the poster really intended to write "patents", I see where "patience" is also necessary. :)

Re:Infringer? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200689)

"Like many things their needs to be the correct balance."

Well said.

The headline here is incorrect. It isn't copyright that's making titles disappear. It's the extremes of copyright that the government has allowed.

The fact that a system is subject to abuse (like forever copyrights) does not mean the system itself is a bad one. What's bad are the a**holes who have abused that system. (I'm looking at you, "content owners", and Congress.)

Re:Infringer? (1)

gmanterry (1141623) | 1 year,27 days | (#44201181)

"Like many things their needs to be the correct balance."

Well said.

The headline here is incorrect. It isn't copyright that's making titles disappear. It's the extremes of copyright that the government has allowed.

  I was complaining to a friend of mine who is just starting his graduate studies at Uconn. I was complaining about the DHS warnings on movies. What does Home Land Security have to do with IP? I own over 4000 original DVDs and I paid for every one. I used to buy 33 and 45 RPM records when I was his age. My young friend informed me that his generation doesn't buy either movies or music. Generational difference. OK, so his generation pirates IP, what the hell has that got to do with Home Land Security?

The fact that a system is subject to abuse (like forever copyrights) does not mean the system itself is a bad one. What's bad are the a**holes who have abused that system. (I'm looking at you, "content owners", and Congress.)

Re:Infringer? (1)

Jane Q. Public (1010737) | 1 year,26 days | (#44201763)

Your young friend is incorrect, and in fact is part of the problem.

On average, today's young people spend more (in inflation-adjusted dollars) on music and movies than ever before.

But there ARE some who don't.

Re:Infringer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44202625)

"We need Patients and Copyrights .. " (GP)
Assumes facts not in evidence

"The fact that a system is subject to abuse (like forever copyrights) does not mean the system itself is a bad one"
Correct, but the fact that a system exists doesn't make it a *good* one.

Re:Infringer? (1)

Kirth (183) | 1 year,26 days | (#44201917)

I don't see where patents (what you probably meant) come into this debate. They don't have anything to do with "content creators".

And besides, in contrast to copyright, there is an extremely strong case that patents are ONLY destructive and have no benefit to society at all. So throwing in patents there makes me (and actually just about anyone who ever did a scientific investigation on the patent system) need to disagree.

Re:Infringer? (1)

bzipitidoo (647217) | 1 year,26 days | (#44203089)

Do we really need patents and copyrights? Their purpose is to put more science and art in the public's hands. Secondary to that is seeing that creators get their due, which we try to do because we realize that they need to cover living expenses and a bit more in order to produce, and they need feedback on how good we think their work is, and monetary persuasion is especially effective at that. But patents and copyrights are only one means, and are very poor. Ironically, they work against their purpose, in many ways. If we can devise other, better ways-- and intellectual property is so bad that it is easy to do better-- why not dump patents and copyrights? I'm thinking widespread and diverse patronage, somewhat like that practiced in Europe in past centuries, in which it was considered fashionable and cultured for courts, especially royal courts, to support art. There were dozens of kingdoms, small and large, and many had court musicians, painters, and the like. Competed with each other for the best. The church was also pretty big into research and was especially keen on funding observatories, though it often didn't turn out the way they wanted, see Galileo. Today we could do patronage so much better, with Internet social groups more than any modern nobility. For instance, why couldn't we here on Slashdot sponsor rock groups or orchestras? Digg, Reddit, and others could do the same. More corporate sites like Facebook, Twitter, and of course Amazon could get into the action as well. Or, perhaps sites devoted more specifically to art could do it, sites like Youtube, Photobucket, tumblr. Maybe a struggling site like Yahoo could use it to boost their flagging numbers. Of course we would insist that any work we sponsor be released under some kind of open license, CC, or maybe just public domain.

A goal I like to orient on is that of realizing the digital public library. The digital public library would be an enormous social good. All the works ever published, all available anywhere in the world that the Internet reaches. The ability to search through this information would put card catalogs and digests to shame. There would no longer be any such thing as all copies checked out, or returns, especially late returns with penalty fees. All the space currently devoted to the extremely redundant storage of billions of paper sheets and plastic discs could be mostly freed up for other uses. 1000s of small towns could have the same library at their fingertips as the biggest cities, instead of the very small facilities with very limited selections that they typically have now. We would save millions, and have a far better public library. But we can't do it, copyright law blocks it. I think the digital public library is more valuable than copyright. Therefore, copyright should go.

Re:Infringer? (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44198311)

Also I don't feel the need to add a screensaver to an old song and upload that to a MOVIE SITE.

That's precisely how many (younger) people discover new music, particularly older material. Obviously you are anti-artist and prefer works to be lost and forgotten, rather than be discovered by a new audience that then buys the back catalog, and buys concert tickets to see them live.


Re:Infringer? (1)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199361)

You misread because of the terrible writing.

YouTube helps maintain some level of access to old songs by allowing those possessing copies (primarily infringers) to communicate relatively costlessly with copyright owners to satisfy the market of potential listeners.'"

The people uploading are infringing, and you can "communicate" with copyright owners by having YouTube identify your upload as protected, and give the copyright owner the option to profit or take it down DMCA style.

The word "primarily" has no business in that sentence. Its only purpose is to suggest that anyone possessing a copy probably downloaded it in the first place, rather than owning it. For rare, out of print, or geographically restricted works, this is probably true. For the average 14 year old making lyrics for a song, this is also probably true. But "primarily" is probably not a true characterization without either more support for the claim or more clarification.

Re:Infringer? Leave Brittney Alone! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44200165)

You may not see the merit in the "simple screensaver" music videos, but the ones with lyrics overlaid are actually very useful, especially for karaoke practice. Yes there are other ways to get the lyrics, I know. But it is hella convenient to watch and read on YouTube. And seeing the related videos has helped me find new music and versions of songs I might not have known about otherwise. Stations like Pandora don't have some of the quirky versions you might find on YouTube. Same for live music... Especially for live music! I'm a deadhead, and love finding sweet live gems on youtube. Besides that, there are far "stupider" things on YT vids than rudiementary music videos. "Leave Brittney Alone!" Need I say more?

Alternatively..... (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44196791)

The ability to rapidly consume books and music using the internet contributes to shitty efforts being pushed out of the market at an proportionally
  rapid rate.

Re:Alternatively..... (2)

houstonbofh (602064) | 1 year,27 days | (#44196839)

But the shitty copies only push to the top if better copies are not available. Look on IMDB at the people wanting a DVD of "Spenser for Hire." Some have paid over $100 for a crappy rip of an old VHS. No one would do that if there was a good copy available.

Re:Alternatively..... (1)

TWiTfan (2887093) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197433)

"Spenser for Hire" isn't available on DVD?!?!?

Re:Alternatively..... (2)

jfengel (409917) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198471)

Baffling, ain't it? It's free money. Somebody puts in an afternoon's worth of work, presses copies for next to nothing, and millions of dollars will come rolling in.

Usually when they're not doing that it's because one of the contracts wasn't clear. They didn't anticipate release of it when they negotiated the contracts, and they don't want to get sued. Unlike banging out a copy, negotiating a contract is work. Lawyer work, at multiple hundreds of dollar per hour.

A good case in point is WKRP in Cincinnati, which uses a lot of music. Rights to the music were negotiated at the time, but expired. In a lot of cases they had to rerecord the music with cover bands, and the licensing was still a pain.

They went through it (and are still working on it) because the show was very popular. "Spenser for Hire"... well... I assume they'll get around to it one of these days.

Re:Alternatively..... (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200209)

WKRP isn't either - at least not in its original form. The producers of the show only licensed the music for television broadcast, not for VHS or DVD sales. So...

Re:Alternatively..... (1)

Rockoon (1252108) | 1 year,26 days | (#44202287)

Too bad, WKRP's Thanksgiving special was one of the most hilarious things ever witnessed on broadcast television.

American cretin (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44197405)

Why do Americans keep writing "an" instead of "a"? HOW did you manage to type "an" before "proportionally", apart from 'Because I'm a stupid American'?

Re: American cretin (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44197479)

Because I'm an American, stupid? ...

Re:American cretin (1)

ArcadeMan (2766669) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197681)

Because he's an stupid American.

Re:American cretin (1)

denis-The-menace (471988) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197901)

It's because of the No-Child-Left-Behind policy.

You show up for class, you pass (barely with 50%)
No need to actually pass a test or turn in homework (That's too stressful for kids.)

So if you hire an American, a HS diploma is a attendance record.
Not a proof of competency or education.

Re:American cretin (1)

ebno-10db (1459097) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198165)

So if you hire an American, a HS diploma is a attendance record. Not a proof of competency or education.

I've never heard of any diploma that was proof of competency or education.

Re:American cretin (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44198697)

Are you calling me a asshole?

Re:Alternatively..... (3, Interesting)

icebike (68054) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199393)

The ability to rapidly consume books and music using the internet contributes to shitty efforts being pushed out of the market at an proportionally

  rapid rate.

There was always shitty music and shitty books. You find the latter in every honkytonk in north america, and every pub in europe. The books, well you never really saw any of that stuff.

We had gate keepers you see. The publishers and recording industry were filtering what we were allowed to hear and read.
Somewhere along the way their tastes were separated from ours. Their aim became simply to make money, and artistry and talent be damned.

We don't need that any more. We have better tools.

But if their filters still suit you, you can still use them. Just keep reading and listening to the best seller lists and you will have the same benefit of filtration working for you. But don't complain when all there is to read is yet another vapid Vampire story and the only instruments you ever hear are guitars and drums.

Re:Alternatively..... (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200225)

There was always shitty music and shitty books. You find the latter in every honkytonk in north america, and every pub in europe. The books, well you never really saw any of that stuff.

Sure you did. It was called pulp magazines.

IP Law and Vanishing Works (5, Interesting)

SerenelyHotPest (2970223) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197105)

It seems to me that one of the most compelling arguments against the status quo of our IP law is how it ephemerizes most works by preventing their circulation and their movement from one format to another. If the owner of the distribution rights of the works is uninterested in moving a work, say, from a vinyl record to a CD, then the only way to find the work on CD is to break the law--even if the person interested would be willing to spend money for the work. When you add in constraints like the fact that most records are no longer being pressed, you see that the effective "half-life" of the average work is vanishingly short. What this effectively means is that only the most popular (or most lucrative) works make the format transition for any new format. All the other works are left to more or less disappear. Even with my mediocre understanding of the history of art and culture, I am worried by what this means in the long-run. What percentage of the greatest books, albums, movies, games, etc. of the 20 and 21st centuries will be available to future generations? Unless you define these to be those works that enjoyed the most commercial support, I'd say a slim minority. Remember that many of the most celebrated works of earlier eras languished in non-recognition for the lifetimes of their owners--often longer. Shouldn't we be doing more to plan for the protection of our cultural treasures--the things that should someday belong to everyone? We don't know what will and won't be considered a cultural treasure in a hundred years, but the myopia of large media companies coupled with the scarcity created by IP law means that almost all contenders in that hypothetical contest would be disqualified.

Re:IP Law and Vanishing Works (2)

jc42 (318812) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199131)

It seems to me that one of the most compelling arguments against the status quo of our IP law is how it ephemerizes most works by preventing their circulation and their movement from one format to another. If the owner of the distribution rights of the works is uninterested in moving a work, say, from a vinyl record to a CD, then the only way to find the work on CD is to break the law--even if the person interested would be willing to spend money for the work. ... What this effectively means is that only the most popular (or most lucrative) works make the format transition for any new format.

Except that this isn't really true for the last such transition, to online MP3s. Those can be created very easily by the musicians themselves (or by a techie friend). I've been involved in a lot of those, which are typically handed out free, just hoping for listeners.

What often happens then is that various listeners post comments on the recordings, saying what they liked and didn't like. After a while, a group has collected many such comments, and decides to get together and re-record some of them, incorporating some of the critics' suggestions (but never all of them ;-). They typically make a somewhat higher-quality recording the second time. Then they put it online and wait for the comments to trickle in.

In several cases, they start getting questions of the form "Where/When can we buy your album?" After a while, they take this seriously, and sit down with their recording techies to create the tracks -- which they also post online.

This stage generally gets replies, which lead to re-recording a few of the tracks, but usually not all of them. Then they announce their first "album" to their collection of fans.

As various people suggested back in the 1990s when this approach started to develop, this tends to lead to fewer albums than before, but the ones produced are much higher quality. And since listener feedback was incorporated for all but the first recordings, the results tend to be tracks that appeal to all listeners (who like that sort of music).

The exclusion of the big distribution corporations is just one of the benefits of this scheme. Of course, eventually we may have distributors who cooperate with this approach. But it's unlikely that the current distribution corporations will be part of the resulting system, since their business plan is based on controlling what is distributed and claiming the lion's share of the income.

Anyway, it's all very interesting, but we'll have to stick around a few more decades and see how it works out. The Big Guys are starting to wise up, and they have the legislative clout to buy laws that outlaw such "independent" distribution. We can all hope they fail, but history says that such failure isn't guaranteed, and it's always possible that they'll find ways to claim the income from the independent "content producers", even for things that they'd never have approved on their own.

Re:IP Law and Vanishing Works (-1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44199503)

even if the person interested would be willing to spend money for the work.

Some people might not want to sell their works anymore. Having money does not mean you get to buy a copy.

Re:IP Law and Vanishing Works (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200269)

Some people might not want to sell their works anymore.

Why should they have that choice? They have contributed to society's cultural mosaic. It should be society's choice whether that contribution is continued or not.

And if they don't want to sell any more (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44201945)

Then surely there is ABSOLUTELY ZERO LOSS for anyone "pirating" the work, is there.

If they hadn't sold copies, they could reasonably claim they didn't want the copy of the work to be sold, since that would diminish the value of the original (e.g. statues, paintings, photographs, etc), but if they sold it and no longer wish to, why the hell should they continue to get copyright?

The copyright cartels keep claiming "Property" rights, but with property you get such things as abandonment laws, where if you leave the property to dilapidate enough, the property can be taken off you. Or squatters rights, where someone using the property long enough or improving the property at their own expense can gain right to the property that could otherwise have become abandoned.

Apparently the copyright "property" isn't property enough for those laws...

but of course (3, Insightful)

Laxori666 (748529) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197181)

Hopefully this will help put to rest the notion that copyright & patents & other intellectual property help to *promote* works, and bring about the understanding that all they really accomplish is to *limit* works (as all they do is make it illegal to produce & use works under certain circumstances).

Re:but of course (2)

i kan reed (749298) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197297)

It's the duration that's problematic here. Things from the 1950s are, by and large, no longer valuable enough to exploit copyright for, but more recent things are, and continue to be published. We should target copyright dates so that things enter the public domain when approximately 75% of a given medium are no longer on the marketplace. For movies, that's probably about 30ish years.

Maintaining the author's brand (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197597)

On the other hand, keeping works that are an author's old shame [] under wraps might help keep those works from tarnishing the reputation of the same author's newer works. Case in point: Disney's Song of the South.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (2)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197945)

Or The Nutcracker Suite.

Or for that matter, the version of ET featuring goons with guns or the Star Wars where Han shot first.

Copyright is supposed to increase the availability of a work. The "Disney Vault" should never be supported by copyright.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

Laxori666 (748529) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197967)

"Copyright is supposed to increase the availability of a work." No, all copyright does is restrict a work from being presented, transmitted, reproduced, displayed, etc., in certain circumstances. How would that ever increase the availability of a work?

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198085)

That *IS* the one and only legitimate purpose for copyright according to the Constitution.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

xigxag (167441) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199019)

The reason given in the US Constitution is, "[t]o promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

IOW, "to promote progress" is the reason given. Not to "increase the availability of a work." You can argue that the latter implies the former, if you wish, but in the US Supreme Court, you will lose that argument. It's been definitively established that the right to first publication trumps the right of the public to the availability of a work. (e.g. Harper & Row v. Nation Enterprises - 471 U.S. 539 (1985) [] ). I'm not saying I support that position, but that is the law of the land.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199079)

It's not terribly hard to argue that a discovery or writing kept from the public will not contribute to any sort of progress.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199123)

Sorry to double reply, but WRT the Supreme Court case, anything in 'The Disney Vault" has long ago exhausted first publication.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

xigxag (167441) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199421)

Again, it's not that I don't agree with you in principle, it's that the Supreme Court has closed the door on the "Limited Times" argument, not only in the infamous Eldred v. Ashcroft decision, but also in denying certiorari to the follow-up Kahle v. Gonzales [] 9th circuit decision. That's not to say that Congress can't pass an orphan works bill, hopefully it can and will one day, but trying to achieve that outcome through a Constitutional challenge is a non-starter.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

sjames (1099) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199683)

I am aware that Congress is bought by Disney and the Supreme court is stacked with pro corporatists. That doesn't make what's being done legal, moral, or ethical, it just makes it crooked.

Half-century-old works (1)

tepples (727027) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199137)

It's been definitively established that the right to first publication trumps the right of the public to the availability of a work.

First publication, yes. But the work I'm talking about was first published over half a century ago.

Having this would be extremely useful (2)

tlambert (566799) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198671)

On the other hand, keeping works that are an author's old shame [] under wraps might help keep those works from tarnishing the reputation of the same author's newer works. Case in point: Disney's Song of the South.

Having this would be extremely useful to teach courses on cultural history. []

Similarly, it would be useful to have access to the Popeye cartoons referring to "Alice the Jeep", as well as the various Bugs Bunny cartoons of the WWII era, which have been censored in the name of political correctness.

In fact I would say that having this information available is critical to future cultural historians undestanding of our current era, and the whole "Political Correctness" phenomenon.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

camperdave (969942) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200629)

I've seen Song of the South. I didn't really see anything wrong with it. It's not like L'il Rascals, where, on a hot day, Stymie wipes his brow and then flicks the sweat off of his hand, and it leaves black marks on the wall.

Re:Maintaining the author's brand (1)

kermidge (2221646) | 1 year,26 days | (#44202171)

Applying cultural/politically-correct/moral 20/20 hindsight to earlier works does not strike me as useful criterion for deciding whether to allow the preservation and dissemination of those works. On its merits alone, "Song of the South" is a good piece of work. Using your filter, much of Twain would be prohibited, for instance, as would many of the Doris Day style of romantic comedy films from the Fifties. Other examples abound.

Re:but of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44199801)

No, it's actually the fundamental concept of 'owning' copiable information that is problematic.

Re:but of course (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44197955)

They're not there to promote existing works, but to promote the creation of new works.

Of course, another way of doing this would be to outright ban reproduction and sale of anything older than say 10 years, but that'd be a tough sell.

No, they're there to promote existing works. (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44201957)

If it were to promote new works, it would expire immediately on the death or retirement of the author and would not be transferrable.

Re:but of course (1)

the eric conspiracy (20178) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200305)

The phenomenon described here has nothing to do with patents. Every single US patent issued since the beginning of the Republic is available, for free. It is only the last 20 years that have any restrictions on practicing the patent, and a lot of these are available because the owner has not paid the maintenance fees.

Patents themselves are not covered by copyright, so they are free to be duplicated and passed around. There is also a research exemption that allows you to (usually) conduct R&D on the invention without infringement.

The key problem here with copyright is ridiculous term. It should be 20 years, just like patents. And there should be a maintenance fee so that these things will expire even sooner if the owner takes no interest in them.

copyright & patents & (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44200513)

stupidity & embarassingly bad /. mods

I don't understand any shit of this post! (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44197331)


What is this saying? (3, Interesting)

BlueMonk (101716) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197367)

Is my sleep deprivation impacting my ability to comprehend what is being said here, or are others having trouble understanding what is being said in this article/abstract too? I understand the headline, but I can't quite understand how the words in the article support that simple statement. People who own older copyrighted material can exchange it more freely and easily and can communicate with copyright owners and... what? I'm really missing some point here. It looks like gobbledygook generated by a random thesis generator to me.

Re:What is this saying? (1)

almechist (1366403) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198281)

Yeah, I thought the "article" made no sense at first. The thing is, it's actually just an abstract of a much longer academic paper, and while the abstract may seem poorly written, the full text makes much more sense. The full paper is freely downloadable at that same link, and explains things much more clearly.

Re:What is this saying? (2)

b4dc0d3r (1268512) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199311)

It's saying that because out-of-copyright materials are not protected by copyright, they can be re-printed for a lot less. When Amazon adds mark-ups, they can add more to out-of-copyright products and still undercut copyright protected works, making them more valuable even if there is a limited market.

So this is what the study shows: Amazon prefers to sell non-copyright works. Also, Amazon is a good indicator of availability of all works. Also, Paul J. Heald seems to have a lot more talent for weasel words like "seem to" than critical thinking.

There are piles of better ways to show the problems with copyright - this is not one of them.

Re:What is this saying? (1)

srmalloy (263556) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200735)

I think that there should be a comparable study looking at e-books. There is a phenomenon in publishing referred to as "compression of the midlist". This is characterized by the advances and print runs for "midlist" authors -- authors whose books sell steadily, but not quickly -- getting smaller as publishers look to maximize the return on their investment. A large print run of a book by, say, Steven King will be quickly shipped to retailers in box lots, while a smaller print run of a book by Spider Robinson will result in boxes of books sitting on a warehouse shelf for years and shipping out five or ten books at a time to retailers. The maintenance of warehouse space is an ongoing cost for publishers, and the longer a printed book sits in a warehouse before being sold, the less money the publisher makes on the book. Hence the compression of the midlist -- an author that a publisher knows will have 10,000 books from a 20,000-unit print run sitting in their warehouse for an average of five years before selling (i.e., it takes ten years to sell out the books that don't sell in the first rush) will be offered a smaller advance, with a print run of perhaps only 12,000 units. As a result, once the initial surge of sales for a newly-published book wanes, the number of copies that are available for sale is much smaller, so the availability of these titles will drop significantly a relatively short time after publication, falling into the purvue of the used-book dealers -- who are specifically excluded from this study.

E-books, however, do not have this ongoing storage overhead; tens of thousands of e-books can be stored on a single hard drive for years after publication, just as available for purchase ten years after publication as they were ten days after publication. Ideally, then, we should expect to see that the availability of e-book editions of titles to lack this drastic falloff of availability as they age, and it should be possible to compare the availability of e-books against the availability of printed books by the interval since publication, and determine whether -- and how much -- the desire to reduce the cost of unsold inventory, rather than copyright itself, is causing the severe decline in availability of non-public-domain works.

Re:What is this saying? (1)

thejynxed (831517) | 1 year,26 days | (#44202675)

The problem is, there are quite a few publishers who absolutely refuse to print some major titles to e-book format. This would skew the market study heavily.

Re:What is this saying? (1)

pbjones (315127) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200001)

It's the new /. Effect, publish a 'story' that on vaguely relates to the title.

Use it or lose it (5, Interesting)

neghvar1 (1705616) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197675)

I really wish we had a "Use it or Lose it" clause in our copyright laws. After X number of years of the product not being marketed, it falls into public domain. Software for even shorter periods.

Re:Use it or lose it (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44199523)

You want a system where marketing gets even more money; to prevent copyright lapses?

Re:Use it or lose it (1)

neghvar1 (1705616) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200325)

What do you mean?

Mickey Mouse needs a new argument (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44197697)

From the article:

    "Creative works need owners who will assure their
availability and adequate distribution. Although Congress in 1998 relied on this argument in
extending the term of protection in the U.S. by 20 years, empirical studies have thus far failed
to support this key assertion made by copyright lobbyists."

In other words, the argument for Mickey's law was made in 1998, just as the Internet was making it nuts.
      Next time around, he'll need a new argument..

Too bad congress won't go back and fix the now broken logic.

Re:Mickey Mouse needs a new argument (2)

neghvar1 (1705616) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197725)

Just wait till 2017 and 2018. Disney will be dumping millions of dollars into congress for another perpetual extension of copyright terms.

Re:Mickey Mouse needs a new argument (1)

dk20 (914954) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199977)

All while gutting the public domain for a story for their next blockbuster...

Re:Mickey Mouse needs a new argument (1)

neghvar1 (1705616) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200311)

Disney actually had "The Jungle Book" competed early, but were just waiting for it to enter public domain before announcing its release

It's the Disney Vault phenomenon. (1)

Culture20 (968837) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197909)

Once a market is semi-saturated with a specific copyrighted work, further copies for that work are discontinued so that new works can semi-saturate a market until a new generation (the copyright holders hoping that the media has changed or deteriorated since then).

Re:It's the Disney Vault phenomenon. (1)

neghvar1 (1705616) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200383)

That's why I'd like to see a use it or lose it clause. When people demand a product but the rights holder refuses to release the product, consumers will then find some other way to acquire the product they want. Usually download it illegally. Is the rights holder then indirectly promoting piracy of their own product? Same applies to old PC and console games, but many rights owners are re-releasing their old products via digital downloads or passing on the marketing responsibilities to another company licensed to sell their old games. (Good ol' Games) has many old games with the DRM stripped, modified to run on present OS's (often via DOSBox) and many have extra content. pdfs of manuals, star charts, maps, resource trees, HD images for wallpapers and sometimes ringtones of audio from the game. Answering the consumer demands opened a new avenue of revenue for the rights holders.

Separate trends for old and new books (1)

jhecht (143058) | 1 year,27 days | (#44197935)

The data show two separate trends. For in-copyright books, the publisher's initial printing sells out and when sales drop off (for paper editions) the publisher stops printing more copies. Readers buy used copies, easily available from Amazon, Alibris, etc., which have taken over the market for older books, so eventually no new copies are available. If lots of copies were printed, the volume of used books is large and copies are cheap. If few were printed and more people want them, used copies are hard to find or expensive. Readers may have a problem, but it's not as bad as it looks. Authors and publishers have more problems because it's harder to make money selling new reprints. The large volume of new copies of out-of-copyright books probably comes from the ease of print-on-demand publishing. A simple recipe for do-it-yourself publishing is to set up a book template, skim the texts of public-domain books from Project Gutenberg or a similar source, and put the books into the system, without investing a penny in paper or ink until someone buys a copy on-line. Look up a public classic, like The Deerslayer by James Fenimore Cooper, and you'll get dozens of different new editions on Amazon. Go a little ways down the list and you'll start finding publishers you've never heard of. They (probably) are POD editions that can be cheaply produced. Because the investment is so low (compared to actually printing copies and distributing copies the old-fashioned way), there are many more editions of these old books available than newer ones -- but you'll never find most of them in a bricks and mortar bookstore.

Amazon is just one publisher (1)

Hentes (2461350) | 1 year,27 days | (#44198187)

Missing from Amazon and unavailable are two very different things.

An example (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44198639)

It is good to see this issue getting some some credible coverage. I have run into this problem repeatedly trying to find good books on ancient history. A good example is David Magie's excellent 2 volume set _Roman Rule in Asia Minor_. It is one of a relatively small number of books written about the history of Anatolia in the Roman period. It was published in 1950, so it is old enough to have gone out of regular publication. And as a specialty interest book there were probably never a lot of them printed. If you look on Amazon at the moment, you will find two copies availabe from third party sellers, one at $475 and one at $600. ABE books is a little better, showing one copy from a Japanese seller for ~$150 and the next cheapest available in the US beginning at $275 and running to $600. In total, there appear to be roughly six copies available worldwide (perhaps a slight exageration, but not a great one). Compare this now to an older, but still excellent, book by Ramsey in 1897, _The Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia_ (Phrygia is in Anatolia). Because this is out of copyright, it is available electronicly at It is also readily available in print at Amazon (and I am sure others) for $28. Being an old guy (tm), I wanted a paper copy and happily allowed someone to make money on this out-of-copyright work printing and sending me one.

Finally, consider Colin Hemer's updating of Ramsey in _The Letters to the Seven Churches of Asia in Their Local Setting_, published in 2000. This is readily available for ~$22, though his related _Book of Acts in the Setting of Hellenistic History_ published in 1990 is already beginning to be more difficult to obtain and demands escalating prices.

You could build an example like this in any field of scholarship with which I am acquainted. There is a virtual black hole developing between 1930 and 1990 for important contributions to our knowledge and culture. Many of both scholarly and creative works that are disappearing are uniquely valuable and do not have simple modern equivalents. This is particularly frustrating at a time when technology, apart from greed, is gaining the ability to make such things more available than ever before.

And yes, I think Anatolian history is cool. I own all of the above in good old dinosaur paper.

Re:An example (1)

kermidge (2221646) | 1 year,26 days | (#44202191)

Good examples even if obscure or of limited interest to many. You're right, it's not just that many works, scholarly and otherwise are becoming less available, it's worse because the owners of copyright are creating a cultural black hole. A student of cultural history will be going along, following media production from ancient to modern times, then suddenly find a decades-long blank spot. Seems to me that Congress allowing greed to trump public interest is malfeasance on their part.

That a publisher can command such high prices as you describe is also bad. Publish the works electronically, have those interested in obtaining copies do the proof reading gratis, sell the e-books at five or ten bucks a crack, and everyone wins. (If the author is still alive, split the price with him.)

Federal copyright does not apply (1)

edibobb (113989) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199089)

Sound recordings made before the 1970's are not protected by federal copyright law.

I've been trying to get permission for 10 years.. (4, Insightful)

dpbsmith (263124) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199189)

Tell me about it. I have been trying fruitlessly for over ten years to find someone capable of giving me permission to post a chapter of a 1955 novel, The Gadget Maker, by one Maxwell Griffith. It has not been reprinted since a 1956 paperback. It very obviously has no commercial value left in it. But if you happen to be an MIT alumnus, you would be fascinated to read the chapter describing the protagonist's years at MIT during the 1940s. It's a wonderful picture of a milieu--and it's not as if there were all that many novels set on the MIT campus! (The protagonist applies for admission to the aeronautical engineering program, interviews with the department head, expecting to be asked why he loves aeronautics--and finds that the department head's only real concern is to make sure that he isn't Jewish).

It's under copyright. The copyright was properly renewed in 1982. It has been a long, difficult journey--publishers basically do not take any responsibility for anything about old books, and the novel was published by Lippincott, which was taken over by medical-book publisher William & Wilkins, which acquired all Lippincott's medical books claims to have no records of Lippincott's fiction. No record at the Author's Guild, no leads through the MIT Alumni Association. Where the story stands at the moment is that I put up a sort of shout-out on my website, and Maxwell Griffith's son contacted me--and said he thought it was OK but that he needed to check with his two sisters. That was over a year ago and I've heard nothing... I've just emailed him again and perhaps there will finally be a resolution.

It's a perfect example of a cultural loss. There are thousands of books out there that are of intense interest to a few hundred people, or more, that under the old copyright laws would have been long out of copyright, but now are locked up--and you cannot find the person with the key. Thousands of books of cultural but no commercial value are being sacrificed in order to protect a tiny handful that are still worth big money.

Re:I've been trying to get permission for 10 years (1)

s7uar7 (746699) | 1 year,27 days | (#44200867)

If it's not there already then there needs to be a 'reasonable endeavour' clause. If you can show that you've gone out of your way to track down a copyright owner without success - and it certainly sounds as if you have - then you should be allowed to publish and have a defence against any action should the copyright holder suddenly appear. I suppose the only difficulty would be defining what constitutes reasonable endeavour.

Re:I've been trying to get permission for 10 years (1)

kermidge (2221646) | 1 year,26 days | (#44202205)

That is one sad story. Multiply by.... It shouldn't be a matter of that, though. All those works should simply be public domain.

Selection bias. (1)

westlake (615356) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199307)

The book that has been in print for 150 years will likely remain in print for the next 150 years:

Literary classics. Historical documents.
Foundational texts in the law, sciences, engineering and so on. In medicine, for example, you have the first publication of Gray's Anatomy.

The Compromise of 1850 begins this era in the US, the firing of Fort Sumter ends it.

Bad Science (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44199309)

There are certainly big, big issues around copyright. But this study tells us nothing useful about them.

Firstly the sample size is ridiculously small, and far too small to generalise from.

Secondly anyone who works in publishing knows that books have a short shelf life. This is not a copyright issue, this is a side-effect of print and distribution. Basically it costs a ton of money to print a book and a not much smaller ton of money to warehouse it. So for paper print, the industry has evolved - or possibly devolved - towards quick-hit sale and return campaigns.

Same with any physical carrier of content, including CDs, LPs, tapes, and such. The initial distribution cost is a big up-front chunk of money. Physical reprints *only happen for content with a proven market.*

This totally sucks for content creators. But not a few are discovering that ebooks and print-on-demand are making it possible to reissue old work without going through a publisher.

Is it still under copyright? Oh yes. The difference is the author/creator is the copyright holder, and is making a decision to by-pass the publisher bottleneck and get the content out there.

*A lot of that old content sells well.* It's selling so well that some authors are making a real living from their backlists, for the first time ever.

So the issue isn't copyright, it's physical distribution. Once the limitations of that disappear, the business model changes and the content doesn't get stuck in a short-time tar pit.

As for old titles - there's no information about what format the content is in. Project Gutenberg has done a great job of digitising old content and making it freely available. It takes no effort and almost no money to grab a Gutenberg file and put it up as an ebook.

Here's the bottom line: are publishers really likely to hunt down titles from the 1910s and 20s and put them into print just because they're out of copyright?

How many titles from the 1910s and 1920s have you bought recently? How about the 1870s? How many people do you know who buy those kinds of books regularly - as opposed to buyers of recent work?

If the content is already digitised, there's no reason not to ebook it. But it's still not going to be printed, except as a very small print run by a tiny specialist press with a guaranteed audience (like Persephone Press, who do exactly this.)

So what does 'available' actually mean? Is it in print as a new copy? Is it an ebook? Is it a second-hand title?

If there's a huge market for freshly printed vintage fiction, the paper may have a point.

But there isn't. There's a solid market for a few classics, but I'm going to take a lot of persuading that publishers are stampeding to print vintage titles no one has heard of just because their copyright has lapsed - not when they could be screwing over contemporary authors instead.

If they were, B&N would be full of this stuff, and you'd see it everywhere - airports, Walmart, the rest.

I'm not seeing that. Are you? And Amazon is still a long way from being the only source of printed books.

Last word - not only does correlation not imply causation (assuming there is correlation here, which is debatable) but evangelism isn't a substitute for critical analysis.

A bit more thought would have made this paper a good one. As it is, if I had to look this over for peer review, I'd send it back for more work.

Re:Bad Science (1)

kermidge (2221646) | 1 year,26 days | (#44202215)

It's the publish and return policy I take issue with: the number of works for which there is no choice for one to decide whether to buy and read because those works no longer exist, unless one should chance to find it in a re-sale shop. Wider market choice is precluded.

The Art of War (1)

dk20 (914954) | 1 year,27 days | (#44199717)

A great example of this problem.
Book was written by Sun Tzu in the second century BC and according to wikipedia translated to french in 1772.
Take a quick look at Amazon and see how many copies are for sale. All are "translated by" but what is the copywrite on a translation of something clearly in the public domain?
Is this a public domain -> copywrite thing at work?

Also used to region lock content (1)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44200553)

I've seen the same process used to shut down distribution of various programming outside its home market. Copyright is more or less used to region-lock content for whatever reason.

I follow a few animes, and it seems that once shows which aren't officially distributed outdide of Japan start to become popular outside of the country - the companies will do their damnest to shut it down. Its disappointing because all the good quality video and subs tend to go away from streaming and aggregator sites where they're most easily watched. Then you get left with fuzzy video and poor subs, which may be discouraging to any potential new fans. (At least there are still torrents, but not everybody is arsed to download so much content unless deemed worth it in the first place. Availability is still there to some extent, but discovery and convenience is being taken away.)

The irony is that they could be making money on this stuff by approving distribution elsewhere, but you simply don't find a lot of the funnier or more esoteric shows anywhere in the western markets. They just don't get approved or allowed to ship out. You can only find those programs by following the fansub community.

I've also heard the same goes on with western programming everywhere else, but I'm not sure if enforcement is at the same level in terms of shutting it all down.

Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,27 days | (#44201193)

On copyrights, patents and copyright infringement.

First of all, lets all realize that calling copyright infringement piracy is an attempt by the RIAA/MPAA and others to make copyright infringement sound like a far worse crime than it really is. While copyright infringement is not right, it is in no way as heinous as the acts of the real past or present day pirates of the high seas. Penalties for copyright infringement need to be limited to the actual retail price of the media involved, not the totally bogus figures seen today.

Copyright has been extended far beyond all reason in recent years, delaying the entry into the public domain of many works that rightfully should have been there for many years, so that the overly greedy can continue to profit on these works to the great detriment of society as a whole. These vastly overextended copyrights are also used to stifle innovation and derivative works.

Copyright MUST be reduced to 5 years maximum, with no extensions allowed whatsoever for the original works. Further, purchase or transfer of copyright must not extend the original copyright period at all. Death of the original creator of the copyrighted content must automatically make that content public domain. And once a work is in the public domain, under no circumstances at all will it ever be copyrighted, or removed from the public domain. Further, anytime that copyrighted material becomes unavailable to the general public for more than 2 years, copyright must be terminated and the work becomes public domain. Any copyrighted material over 5 years old needs to automatically made public domain, no exceptions!

Patents must not be granted for âoebusiness methodsâ nor for computer software. And any such patents must be immediately invalidated. Further, far too many spurious and/or vaguely worded patents have been granted, which must be reviewed (at the expense of the holder) and invalidated. And the practice of patent trolling (entities buying patents only for the purpose of litigation to make a profit) needs to be illegal, with extremely heavy fines and long jail sentences. The penalties for wrongfully bullying a competitor (in any way) with invalid, vaguely worded patents or false patent claims need to even higher.

Patents need to be very very specifically worded, and not granted if there is the slightest bit of prior art. Entities seeking patents must prove beyond any doubt that there is no prior art at their own expense. Patents that are not being used to actively bring a product to market must become public domain after 3 years. All patents that are currently being sat on to stifle a product or innovation must fall under this 3 year term.

Copyright infringement will never completely go away. BUT here is how to drastically reduce it. The RIAA/MPAA/Publishers need to:

STOP going after the folks that download a few mp3s, movies, or ebooks. Go after the pirates who sell hundreds of thousands or millions of illegal copies!

STOP buying draconian legislation that only hurts legitimate customers and threatens the internet!

STOP treating your paying customers like criminals with DRM. DRM doesn't stop or even slightly slow down the big piracy operations, it only hurts legitimate paying customers!

STOP all the regional restrictions BS!

STOP screwing and ripping off the Artists/Authors/content creators!

START producing high quality, DRM-FREE content that people want. Price it reasonably, and make it easy to get over the internet.

START adapting to changing technology and the real world!

Copyright infringement cannot be legislated away, it cannot be sued out of existence. The only real solution is to give the customers what they want, when they want it, at a price they consider reasonable, with as little hassle as possible. I know that the above mentioned entities (and their clones around the world) don't want to hear this. If they don't start listening, eventually they will go away. They are already starting to be seen as the un-necessary parasites that they are.

And one more thing. The people of this country are fed up with wealthy corporations and individuals not paying their fair share of taxes, and buying laws that take away our rights and freedoms!!!!!

Old news (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44202177)

Great that Mr. Heald finished the paper. But he had the story in the news a year ago:

Works against music, too (4, Insightful)

cardpuncher (713057) | 1 year,26 days | (#44202551)

I do a bit of small-time music arranging, for choirs and so forth. I can't legitimately make publicly available any of that work for others to use if the original subject is still under copyright, even if I don't get (or don't want) any personal compensation and even though any performance would still result in the original copyright holder getting any appropriate revenue via one of the collection bodies.

If you look through the published music, other than classical music (and even there you really need to find old editions to be safe - there may be no copyright on Mozart but there sure is copyright on the "edited" notation), available to amateur music groups you'll find a lot of folk tunes and a relatively small selection of more modern standards that are sufficiently popular to justify the effort of licensing. There's a whole load of neglected older music that deserves a wider airing but isn't going to get it - it could become popular by being shared and consequently have value, but in the absence of sharing will be unheard and valueless.

The Lost Generations Of Scholarship (0)

Anonymous Coward | 1 year,26 days | (#44203471)

I've said this for a long time. We've produced generations of Penguin Classic and Oxford World's Classic (and other) philosophy books and works of literature, carefully edited and meticulously researched, and what people buy are cheap 19th century editions. The English speaking world might as well have shut down publication of new editions after 1930, because the choice is between a ridiculously overpriced copyrighted edition, or an old 19th century edition.

The most insane example I can think of - Wittgenstein's Tractatus costs under $10 because it is out of copyright, but Philosophical Investigations is one of the most silly-overpriced paperbacks I've ever seen.

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