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Eldred Attracts Heavyweight Supporters

timothy posted more than 12 years ago | from the as-well-it-ought dept.

The Courts 230

dipfan writes: "Opening briefs have now been filed with the Supreme Court for the Eldred v Ashcroft copyright case, arguing that the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act is unconstitutional. The anti-extension case has attracted some big name supporters, including Intel, and Nobel prize winning economist Milton Freidman, who argue it is "highly unlikely that the economic benefits from copyright extension" outweigh the additional costs, and that copyright extension reduces consumer welfare. (Previous coverage of the case on /. here and here)"

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fp (-1)

kahuna720 (56586) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565911)

fp

 fp (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566037)

first sneaky snake post (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565918)

Tom T. Halls says all you fruits can bite him.

Boys and girls take warning, if you go near the lake
Keep your eyes wide open, and look for Sneaky Snake
Now maybe you won't see him, maybe you won't hear
But he'll sneak up behind you, and drink all your root beer

And then Sneaky Snake goes dancin', wigglin' and a-hissin'
Sneaky Snake goes dancin', gigglin' and a-kissin'
I don't like old Sneaky Snake; he laughs too much you see
When he goes wigglin' through the grass, it tickles his underneath

Well, Sneaky Snake drinks root beer, and he just makes me sick
When he is not dancin', he looks just like a stick
Now, he doesn't have any arms or legs, you cannot see his ears
And while we are not lookin', he's stealin' all of our beer

And then Sneaky Snake goes dancin', wigglin' and a-hissin'
Sneaky Snake goes dancin', gigglin' and a-kissin'
I don't like old Sneaky Snake; he laughs too much you see
When he goes wigglin' through the grass, it tickles his underneath

Fuckin A. (1, Offtopic)

Pope Slackman (13727) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566000)

Hahaah...I had that record when I was like 3 years old.
You rule.

Re:Fuckin A. (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566117)

no, my friend. Tom T. Hall rules us all. The Masons, Skull and Bones, Council on Foreign Relations, the Trilateral Commission? They are all just catspaw's in the hands of Mr. Hall. He pulls the strings.

hey (-1)

GaylordFucker (465080) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565919)

i like shit

Heavyweight (-1)

MMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM (537317) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565920)

I'm so fat when I first post I pass out.

Yay! FP (i think) (0, Offtopic)

Spazzz (577014) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565921)

Seriously though, It's good to see that people with influence are finally realizing that copyright extensions are bad.

Re:Yay! FP (i think) (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565956)

Seriously dude, your mom had my whole cock in her throat... I've seen than thing gag women who live on diets of nothing but cum, so god damn...

Re:Yay! FP (i think) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566002)

Small bones are always a choking hazard.

Re:Yay! FP (i think) (-1)

DivineOb (256115) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566089)

Come on dude... we're trying to have a discussion here... why do you have to resort to petty insults?

the last article was incomplete (-1)

neal n bob (531011) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565932)

in addition to being an illegal hacking tool, makers are good for sniffing.

Re:the last article was incomplete (-1)

YourMissionForToday (556292) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566006)

right! And for coloring your titties black. I've always wanted black titties, but mine are sort of silly-putty orange. Thank god for markers.

I love it (3, Insightful)

marshac (580242) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565943)

"Congress shall have the power... To promote the progress of science and the useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors, the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries."

So a limited time will now far exceed several generations. I can totaly see how this will benefit all the people of the good 'ol USA.

Economic recovery, here we come!

What if copyright extensions are overturned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566314)

I just checked what copyright extensions were issued and when. If extensions are overturned all content from before 1946 will fall out of copyright. Every year after that another year will fall out until 2017 (corresponding to 1961) at which point the extended laws come into play. For example 1962 isn't available till 2021.

If ever there was a case that should win. (5, Insightful)

dinotrac (18304) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565948)

If this doesn't prevail before the Supremes, then all hope may be lost.

The copyright extension can't reasonably be argued to server any Constitutionally argued purpose. After all, to be extended, the works in question had to be produced.

Absent a time machine, how do you encourage the creation of something that's already been created?

The only thing you can do is negate the other side of the deal: transfer of your work into the public domain.

This is not even an issue of being for or against intellectual property. Congress used its Constitutinally provided powers to grant intellectual property to authors, but demanded consideration in return. That consideration was placement of works into the public domain after the author or subsequent copyright holder had been granted an adequate opportunity to exploit the work.

We have delivered on our end of the bargain. The copyright holders must deliver on theirs.

Re:If ever there was a case that should win. (4, Funny)

gowen (141411) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566107)

If this doesn't prevail before the Supremes, then all hope may be lost.
Is easy to win the Supremes over, just before they make a bad decision shout:

"Stop! In the name of Love
Before you break my heart"


How could they resist...

Re:If ever there was a case that should win. (2, Funny)

dinotrac (18304) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566344)

I am humbled.

Re:If ever there was a case that should win. (2)

JThaddeus (531998) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566161)

Well, thankfully, Disney can't bribe the Justices with money for their reelection coffers.

And what is Disney's business plan anyway? To have copyrights extended whenever Mickey Mouse risks becoming public domain?

Re:If ever there was a case that should win. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566172)

Youve hit the nail on the head. That's the most concise decription of Disney's business model one
could think of.

Re:If ever there was a case that should win. (1)

dthable (163749) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566528)

That and to produce a lot of bad sequels of decent movies.

Re:If ever there was a case that should win. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566849)

I built a time machine to let artists of the past know the good news that in the distant future the holding company that owns the investment firm that owns the media conglomorate that controls the subsidiary that bought the company that obtained the rights from the defunct publishers who screwed the artist over in the first place (herein refered to as "The Bastards"), would now have their right to sue the living crap out of anyone distributing the material that The Bastards decided wasn't cost-effective to make commercially available extended for an additional twenty years.

For some reason that I didn't understand, this didn't really seem to inspire them to create more.

I was so disapointed at their underwhelmed reaction to the great news I was bringing them that I dismantled my useless failure of a time machine.

GNU files amicus curiae brief (5, Informative)

jdavidb (449077) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565971)

Also, the FSF filed a "friend of the court" brief [gnu.org] , though if, like me, you are not a lawyer, you might rather just read the press release [gnu.org] .

Open Petition? (2)

Twylite (234238) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565975)

This sort of high-profile case is just crying out for a shown of public support. Do you think a couple of free software heavyweights could agree on a middle-of-the-road viewpoint on Copyright law (by which I mean somewhere other than abolish it) in a form that "open IP" supporters everywhere (or just in the US ;) ) could "sign" in an online show of support.

The recent /. article on Copyright would probably been a good place to look for ideas ;)

Re:Open Petition? (2)

Gaccm (80209) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566109)

It has been said a million times, online petitions are meaningless. Congress will only people to people from their district that calls/writes/faxes their beliefs. Anything online for the most part is ignored. And for this, I seriously doubt that the judge could be swayed in such a manner.

Re:Open Petition? (0)

neocon (580579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566184)

So get out there and make those calls / write those letters / send those faxes!

If you don't know who your senators and congressman are, or don't know how to reach them, you can lookup by zip code at:

congress.org [congress.org]

Re:Open Petition? (4, Insightful)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566220)

The justices had better not be swayed by petitions -- their job description includes interpreting the law as it is written, not as how anybody else (including the justices) thinks it should have been written.

Even if the justices think that a law is a pathetic, weak, idiotic law -- if it's Constitutional and all, they need to uphold it as is. It's the other two branches' job to reflect the populace and consider bending to petitions.

Re:Open Petition? (0)

neocon (580579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566288)

I think Gaccm was refering to putting pressure on congress through these means -- to see that they exercise their constitutional authority over copyright protection to make things better, not worse.

You are, of course, quite right that the SCOTUS is appointed for life exactly so they won't be subject to political pressure. The constitution provides another means of public control of the court, as it is the elected president who appoints new members, with congress' `advice and consent'.

Good quote (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3565980)

Eben Moglen's brief for the FSF [fsf.org] has a great quote:

``Actually, Sonny [Bono] wanted the term of copyright protection to last forever.''
--Rep. Mary Bono
144 Cong. Rec. H9951 (daily ed. Oct. 7, 1998)

Re:Good quote (1)

withnothingtodo (549171) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566242)

If that wouldn't be a direct violation of the Constitution's "limited time" provision of the copyright clause, I'm not sure what would...

Re:Good quote (0)

neocon (580579) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566376)

<sarcasm>Now, now, we all know that the Constitution is a `living document' which must be reinterpreted in the spirit of `evolved intent' to meet the needs of the current time...</sarcasm>

In all seriousness, the fact that a congresswoman could look at the Constitution and think that the above statement was in line with it is a perfect example of why we must stick with a strict constructionist interpretation of the Constitution, i.e. one based on what the founders actually meant, not on a reinterpretation of the text to fit the times.

IMO, any other approach leads to the above -- to the Constitution coming to mean whatever view is popular in congress or the courts that particular day...

Re:Good quote (3, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566809)

Actually, Scientology wanted Sonny [Bono] to want the term of copyright protection to last forever. Otherwise Hubbard's stuff would eventually leak out into public domain. (Some already has due to slip-ups.)

Although there were rumours that Sonny wanted out shortly before he went eXtreme tree-skiing.

I hope copyright extensions get repealed (4, Interesting)

Black Aardvark House (541204) | more than 12 years ago | (#3565987)

I have debated this hot topic on the Napster Forum at great length, with people ranging from typical ranters to a small record label owner.

The biggest issue I have is with the duration of copyright. Originally set to last 14 to 28 years from date of creation, it now stands as 95 years from the death of the copyright owner. The latest lengthening (the Sonny Bono Act) might have to do with strong lobbying from Disney, as Mickey Mouse would have lost its copyright in 2004. And to extend it again, 20 years at a time only takes a mere act of Congress.

On one hand, I'd like to see creators get just rewards for their work. But I disagree with a near-eternal guarantee, that might stifle creation in the future because current creative minds can rest on their laurels. In other words, they can stop working and continue to enjoy a revenue stream, while I need to keep working to get my next paycheck.

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (2)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566106)

The biggest issue I have is with the duration of copyright. Originally set to last 14 to 28 years from date of creation, it now stands as 95 years from the death of the copyright owner.

Is it 95 years? I thought it just went from 50 to 70. If it's 95 then I need to fix my sig.

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (0, Offtopic)

Royster (16042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566433)

Copyright term for works of hire, i.e. copyrights held by corporate persons instead of real persons, run for a fixed term of 95 years not for life plus 70.

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (2)

SirSlud (67381) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566153)

> .. current creative minds can rest on their laurels.

Or the creative minds' parents, or kids, or family, or employees .... some copyright holders can support armies of folks who 'eek out' (sarcasm) a living off the nepotistic returns of a ubiquitous (high use) and nearly expire-less copyright law.

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (2)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566275)

Rest on their laurels? Hardly -- unless the work is of enduring quality. Even when something is of pretty lasting quality, such as MLK Jr's speeches (copyright strictly defended by the King family so they can make money selling King's image to be used in commercials, for instance), it's rarely going to be enough to justify stopping of work.

I don't think Judy Blume's descendants are idly living out their days on royalties from "Superfudge", for instance, nor did Electronic Arts stop after the days of "Pinball Construction Set".

If something IS so awe-inspiring that it'll really stand the test of time for ninety years, *shrug* I don't have a problem with that, especially with purely artistic works -- there's less public harm in, say, having a nigh-indefinitely copyrighted Mickey Mouse flick than there is in having an indefinitely-patented hypothetical rhinoviral cold vaccine. If Disney slams the door and people stop paying for Mickey Mouse, big deal -- it's only Mickey Mouse.

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (5, Insightful)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566445)

> If something IS so awe-inspiring that it'll really stand the test of time for ninety years, *shrug* I don't have a problem with that, especially with purely artistic works -- there's less public harm in, say, having a nigh-indefinitely copyrighted Mickey Mouse flick than there is in having an indefinitely-patented hypothetical rhinoviral cold vaccine.

Which raises an interesting question.

How come our laws are structured so that the guy who cures cancer has to make back his entire investment in 14 years, but RIAA and MPAA get to sponge for 90 years plus the life of the creator?

If the rationale for these intellectual property "protections" is that they somehow promote innovation and investment, how did we conclude that a fucking cartoon mouse is deserving of 90+ years of protection, but a cure for cancer, only 14?

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (4, Insightful)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566620)

Well, one's a patent and one's a copyright. Patents might get less protection in general because they cover procedures and systems, which in some cases are useful or even critical for derivative work within a section.

A writer, for instance, can probably get away with writing quite a bit without deriving from "Snow White", say -- there's nothing, besides constraints on imagination and effort, stopping a writer from designing his own distinct universe. And if they're REALLY creative, the universe might be so distinct that it won't involve axe-wielding dwarves, fair tree-loving elves with bows, and half-height people not named H*bbits to avoid the dreaded Lawyers of Mordor. Worst case? A creative work falls into oblivion, because the author refuses to license it to anybody else at prices that others will accept.

But systems and methods have to work in reality -- there may not be another satisfactory way around a problem. If, for instance, somebody designs a KSR/RGB Mars-style "treatment" that improves longevity by fixing long-term accumulated genetic damage, restores telomeres, and so forth, then that's a huge amount of IP. Some of the necessary methods may be the only effective solutions. So a long, closely-held patent could be used to throttle potential research in that area. What if, say, a radical anti-"playing God" group set up shell companies to quietly purchase IP, or even set up a biotechnology firm for the sole purpose of blocking applications by winning the research race? Imagine if a group tried to blackmail the world with a patented, 90-year-protected cure to cancer? The threat to society's potential welfare is much worse than that of, say, withholding "Steamboat Willie".

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (1)

karmawarrior (311177) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566816)

Perhaps that's the right way around.

Which would you rather was in the public domain, available for widespread use with no single entity able to control or prevent its use, as fast as possible? Something to cure a horrific disease, or a cartoon mouse?

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566617)

Well, considering MLK's well proven track record for plagiarism, it is ironic indeed to hear that his family is still profiting from his "copyright".

Re:I hope copyright extensions get repealed (2)

AJWM (19027) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566298)

Mickey Mouse would have lost its copyright

To be more precise, Steamboat Willy (the first Micky cartoon) would have lost its copyright. Later works would lose their copyrights at later dates.

Although given how much heavy duty recycling some of the 50+ year old Disney "classics" have gone through on VHS and DVD, I'm sure the company would love to keep on milking those for a few more generations. Although it looks like they're hedging their bets with all the derivative stuff lately -- Little Mermaid 2, Cinderella 2, Return To Neverland (aka Peter Pan 2), etc, etc.

Interesting... (and OT) (0, Offtopic)

the_skywise (189793) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566022)

Not: Eldred v. The United States of America
but
Eldred v. Ashcroft

Funny, I never heard cases like:
Cuba v. Reno ...

Re:Interesting... (and OT) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566055)

iirc, the case was originally Eldred v. Reno. But when the Bush Administration took office Jan 2001, it became Eldred v. Ashcroft. If Ashcroft for whatever reason were to leave office tomorrow or something, it would become Eldred v. [name of replacing Attorney General]

Reno v. ACLU (1)

revscat (35618) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566097)

Or see Reno v. ACLU [aclu.org] . This was originally ACLU v. Reno, but when the ACLU won in a lower court, the Justice Department appealed. The name's where therefore swtiched.

This is how the case looks whenever a private party brings suit against the federal government over the constitutionality of a law.

before DMCA what was there (2, Offtopic)

Brigadier (12956) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566038)



Is it me but ever since mp3's it's like the entire world is an expert on copyright infringment. I remember teh days on slashdot when all teh articles were about supercooling my 300a. interesting paradigm shift.

Re:before DMCA what was there (3, Interesting)

bnenning (58349) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566148)

True, and it makes perfect sense. The DMCA and its buddies are direct assaults on the concept of general purpose computing. If things continue on their present course, it will eventually be illegal for you to open the case of "your" computer, or use it in any other way that Disney or Microsoft disapproves of.

Re:before DMCA what was there (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566300)

Ever since the Stamp Act, it's like the entire world is an expert on politics; everyone's talking about "tyranny" and "representation" and stuff. I remember the old days here at the tavern, when everyone just talked about how to hard to push our slaves to maximize their labor, and thus, our plantations' profit. I remember when Samual Adams was just a guy I bought beer from!

I'm hopeful (5, Informative)

jms (11418) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566059)

I read the opening brief last night and I'm overwhelmed by the quality of the work. The plaintiffs have, over the course of the trial and appeals, clarified and distilled the essence of their case. Their arguments are very persuasive, and the writing is superb.

This is probably the most important copyright case of our generation. The government has characterized retroactive copyright extension as a "national tradition", and if this case fails, the result will be that Congress will be given the go-ahead to continue the "tradition", and the result will be perpetual copyright. The entire idea of a public domain of ideas will be destroyed.

Eldred is our last, best chance to prevent perpetual copyright. It's a tremendous effort, the best contemporary legal writing that I've EVER seen. I urge all Slashdot readers to read through the opening brief. It should be required reading for anyone interested in the issues behind copyright extension.

Re:I'm hopeful (2)

Amazing Quantum Man (458715) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566764)

<AOL>
Me Too!
</AOL>

Seriously... I don't pretend to understand legalese, and yet this brief was a brilliant piece of work, obviously fitting the "DTD" for a legal brief, with all the appropriate legalese, yet understandable, direct, and clear. A masterful work by the attorneys!

Mickey Mouse is not the issue (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566065)

I think the core of Eldred's case should focus not on Mickey Mouse, because as Valenti said, who cares if Mikey isn't in the public domain for another 1000 years. The argument should focus on the 10,027 books published in 1930, of which only 174 are still in print. Who is being harmed by these works being put into public domain ? Certainly Disney isn't hurt, nor the owners of the copyrights, since they aren't making any money anyway. We the people, thats who, each year there are less and less readable copies of these books. If these books are not put in the public domain, we are in real danger of loosing them. Project Gutenberg certainly isn't going to spend thousands of dollars to find out who owns a copyright, just to be told, no. As Lessig pointed out, it also stifles creativity, because no derivitive works can be done. He also pointed out two instances where an author has written a piece based on an older work, spent real money to find the copyright holder and been told NO, not, I will licence it to you for X amount of money, but NO. If we allow these extensions to stand, we get Mickey Mouse, if we don't let it stand, we get to preserve a whole body work for all time and we get a whole new body of work, which will never happen otherwise. This lawsuit should really be called Humanity vs Disney.

Somebody has to say it... (1)

DuckDodgers (541817) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566538)

Believe it or not, Ayn Rand advocated a 7 year limit on intellectual copyrights for the exact same reason... it stifles innovation and lets people rest on their laurels for too long.

Objectivist philosophy has its flaws... but sometimes she wasn't totally off her rocker.

Re:Somebody has to say it... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566661)

That's very interesting, considering that most of the libertarian types who take Rand seriously seem to be of the persuasion that Intellectual Property is to be treated the same as real property: something inviolate and eternally the property of the creative agent, rather than what it is: a State granted priviledge of a monopoly for a limited duration of time.

Problem... (1)

maroberts (15852) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566070)

In the event of victory, would the law be totally repealed, or just the law applying to already produced works ?

If the latter, then I think we have a long way to go to get it back to a sensible level of say, 20 years from publication, which needs to be a worldwide campaign, or at least one which will get the EU and US to change simultaneously

Re:Problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566110)

I love your sig:
The greatest trick the devil pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist Well, the devil must be cribbing God's notes then, because God's been amazingly successful at doing the exact same thing. LOL

Re:Problem... (3, Informative)

wendy (42400) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566116)

Eldred's arguments are focused on the retroactive extension, but the petitioners also argue that the provisions are "inseverable" -- if the Court strikes down the extension of existing copyrights, it should strike the whole law, including the extension of future copyrights.

(The arguments against severability are that Congress wouldn't have passed just the future extension, all the lobbying was for the extension of existing works, and the Court shouldn't be in the business of rewriting flawed legislation.)

Re:Problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566278)

It'll be also be interesting to see if striking down the 1998 law also, by extension (*snicker*), takes out the 1976 law too. If that 1998 law is ruled unconstitutional, we'll be back to 28-year copyrights almost automatically. The IP-law-buyers shouldn't have been so greedy; they might lose more than they needed to.

This is a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566077)

I am often in disagreement with the most zealous anti-intellectual property sentiments found on this board. Perhaps because my livelyhood depends on my ability to copyright and sell the reproduction rights of my work (graphic design and illustration). Copyright and patent protections are important to protect financial interests of the creators and inventors in society. Information may "want to be free" but until food, clothing, shelter and a college education for my kids is free too I want to get paid. If you make my information "free" you will get a letter from my lawyer (I've had one company attempt to "liberate" illustrations I did even before the net. They just photocopied product illustrations I had done for their competitor & put them in their own ads.)

But, the current length of copyright protection is obnoxious - and counter-productive. 70 years past the life of the author has nothing to do with encouraging or protecting creativity and invention. It has to do with protecting the interests of estates and corporations that do nothing creative at all but live off of the efforts of some long dead ancestor. Most of the time these buzzards, in their efforts to get the last scrap of meat off the carcass basterdize and demean great works of art. How many times have you heard of an estate or corporation (usually a publisher) doing something with a work of art that must surely have the artist rolling over in his grave.

Re:This is a good thing (2)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566151)

Sorry but it should be 15 year from the date of creation. no more no less,..

companies will piss their pants hearing that, but I highly doubt that microsoft or ANY company that made a program in 1992 is still selling it. versions made thereafter? yes... that exact one? no.. they milked all the cash out of it possible, quit being greedy bastard children and give it up.

AS400 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566594)

Spoken like someone who has never worked with COBOL, or on an AS/400 system.

Friedman is still alive? Cool! (-1)

Bob Gortician (246811) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566093)

I was just re-reading 'Free to Choose', and I was wondering that last night. He must be impossibly old, he looked ancient on the cover, and it was from the early 80s.

Free markets,
Jason

THE BEST NEW UNDERGROUND HIP-HOP
BONGHITS AND SODOMY - New High-C Track with Crackwhore Lewinsky. http://www.mp3.com/highc

Siva Vaidhyanathan on the Sonny Bono Act (5, Interesting)

haaz (3346) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566098)

Now I wish I hadn't snipped what Siva said about the Sonny Bono Act from the interview we did! [slashdot.org] Here it is:

JH: "In your book, you refer to the DMCA as an example of what you call a "thick" copyright law. Can you explain the difference between "thick" copyright law and a "thin" law?"

SV: "...One way to measure the thickness of a copyright law is to look at the duration of protection. If works enter the public domain before an author's life expectancy expires, then it's a thin and democratic system. If the duration of copyright protection is absurdly long and potentially indefinite, then it's way too thick.

"JH: And the DMCA does this?

"SV: Not exactly. The Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act of 1998, which added 20 years to almost all active copyrights, does this. The Copyright Act of 1976 did this as well, but it took people a while to complain about it. Before THE 1976 ACT, copyright terms were for a fixed amouNt of time: 28 years per term, renewable once. Since the 1976 act, the term has been life of the author plus 50 years, and now 70 years. The Supreme Court will hear a case in the fall about the constitutionality of the Sonny Bono Act. And many of us on the public interest side of copyright debates are hoping that the justices revert to the first principles of American copyright: that copyright is meant to promote creativity and expression, not retard it. Copyright has become corrupted to such a degree that it's now an instrument of censorship, as Dmitri Sklyarov and Edward Felten can tell you."

-- haaz, who will think twice before snipped for brevity's sake.

Re:Siva Vaidhyanathan on the Sonny Bono Act (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566587)

if they win this battle, do you think they will focus on the 1976 copyright law?

oh the Irony of a law the restricts speach being passed in 200th year of our nations independence.

Who's who (5, Informative)

MountainLogic (92466) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566100)

It just boggles the mind to look at the list of folks filing AMICI CURIAE briefs in the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act case. Here is just a random sampling of the names:

Eagle Forum/Phyllis Schlafly

Milton Friedman

Hal Roach Studios

Intel

Wendell Berry

Ursula K. Leguin

Barry Lopez

Peter Matthiessen

David Foster Wallace

National Writers Union

The United States Public Policy Committee for the Association of Computing Machinery

Computer Professionals for Social Responsibility

The Apache Software Foundation

The Domain Name Rights Coalition

The Center for The Public Domain

Public Knowledge, The Digital Future Coalition

The Public Domain Research Corporation

The Center for Book Culture

The Computer and Communications Industry Association

The Consumer Electronics Association

Re:Who's who (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566491)

We're doomed.

Apart from Friedman, Hal Roach Studios, and Intel, the words "Coalition" and "Public" and "Foundation" appear too frequently in that list. We need more corporations and industry associations to file amicus briefs.

But Friedman - wow. If anyone can convince the Supremes of the economic harm wrought by indefinite copyright, it'll be him. You go, Milt! (And happy birthday!)

Mickey Rat Protection Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566105)

Many scholars in the legal community have taken to referring to the Sonny Bono Act as the Mickey Rat Protection Act, reflecting the fact that every time major corporate interests in IP (such as Disney's in its early content) threaten to fall into the public domain, these interests run to Congress for another extension.

Of course, this wasn't really about bringing us in line with EU directives; it was just a convenient cover to save Mickey's ass. Hence, you can bet your bottom dollar that in twenty years, when the most recent extension runs out, the IP lobbyists will once again descend on Capital Hill.

What this case is all about is whether this is unconstitutional. Activists like Prof. Lessig and others have argued that the Copyright Clause of the Constitution is limited by the First Amendment. Because IP rights have to be granted in the name of "advancing progress", there's a real question about whether or not giving Disney another two decades of revenues advances anyone's interests but their own.

Also, because the Constitution only grants authors rights for "limited times", granting an unlimited number of extensions, (20 years, every 20 years) constitutes a grant of an unlimited right.

And I don't think anyone needs to be a lawyer to figure that one out.

Re:Mickey Rat Protection Act (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566256)

I've heard of the Mickey Mouse Protection Act but I think Rat is more appropriate. If you just made that up then I'm thinking you started a meme.

Why Bother? (2)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566125)

Why is anyone bothering to fight against the copyright extension, anyway? If you listen to the copyright holders, you'd know that everying under the sun is just going to be stolen by copyright thieves anyway. Of course then you also have to wonder why they're so worried about extending the term of copyright if they believe that it's impossible to publish anything without having it stolen. Something doesn't add up here...

Do artists benefit? (1)

VEGx (576738) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566130)

It sounds good when people demand that the artists should be paid and all that. But the question is:

Will they?

It's one thing to do SOMETHING in the name of a good cause, and another thing is actually helping this good cause. As I see it, many of the copyrights are, in fact, owned by corporations. So the question is, when did the artist get paid?

We all know the stories of famous painters who NEVER sold a SINGLE painting!!! They died in a state of close starvation, yet today their painting sell for millions of dollars-

Re:Do artists benefit? (3, Insightful)

Stonehand (71085) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566541)

Theoretically, they get paid depending on their contracts, without which they shouldn't have transferred copyright. Of course, if there's a conspiracy among the labels to present only highly unfavorable contracts, then there's a bit of a problem.

The labels, of course, have a huge problem -- the public's tastes can be quite fickle, and advertising a new potential talent is likely quite expensive. Those costs have to be borne by somebody even if the music doesn't sell -- either because it's drek, or because the public simply didn't latch onto it in sufficient quantities to justify costs. I don't know what fraction of artists actually do well enough to justify marketing costs, but if it's low, ugh.

That means that, realistically, either the labels have to be extremely good at picking (or deliberately building bands -- for instance, composing new boy bands aimed specifically at female pre-teens and early teens, by choosing what they hope are photogenic young males of specific ages, et al, or choosing female artists according to jiggle factor and mid-riff exposure) bands, or artists should be willing to share the costs, because otherwise the marketing machines collapse.

And without marketing, many obscure artists won't have much of a chance. It may have worked for Wilco, but what happens when there are no major labels and everybody is in the same boat? Then there's no prevailing culture to be "counter-cultural" against; opposing the labels isn't anything special, because there aren't any. That means that bands trying Wilco's approach would no longer be entitled to free publicity because they're trying something different. End result: Probably many bands with smaller audiences and smaller releases driven by word of mouth.

Keep in mind that nobody's entitled to an income on only their own terms, no matter how much they think they deserve it. If an artist's work is niche, lousy, or underexposed -- then it doesn't matter how much he loves the music. Love != quality or appeal. I'm reminded of the Elaine character on "Seinfeld" -- she loved to dance, but only masochists would have paid to watch her at the Bolshoi. If an artist seems promising enough to get a favorable contract, however, more power to 'im.

Re:Do artists benefit? (1)

VEGx (576738) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566655)

Theoretically, they get paid depending on their contracts

Very well said; especially the first part: "Theoretically..."

The point I was trying to make was exactly this, the artist theoretically get paid. But the real question is do they? Will they?

Tell me, in which stage did the artist "who was unable to sell a single painting during his/her lifetime" got paid for the work?

The problem is not just do the right extend over the lifetime of the artist. The question is WTF does it matter to the artist what happens after the death?!? OK, in some cases it makes a difference. The family can collect the money and all. But many of these artists were so poor they didn't have means to HAVE a family in the first place. Now, who benefits of the copyright of the work of these artists? The dead artist? The non-existing spouse? The never born children?

Or is it the "labels"?

Another resource for copyright arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566147)

We've seen some great minds contributing to the argument recently. I'm particularly impressed that Coase is on our side. He's another Nobel prize winner in economics, and perhaps a better writer than Friedman. I'm sure that their arguments will go a long way to make the court see the light.

For the people who can't quite manage to read dense legal briefs, there is another great writer who has tried to get our message across, and succeded rather well. Spider Robinson [spiderrobinson.com] wrote Melancholy Elephants [baen.com] to get the point across to people who don't care. If you know someone who figures that this just doesn't matter to him, and doesn't want to be bored by discussing it, loan him this short story.

The primary problem... (2, Insightful)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566180)

from what I understand, is derivitave works. The works of Motzart, Bethoven, and Shakespear, are all in the public domain. This means that all of their works are "fair game" when developing your own creative works.

If you like the base key changes in a work by Motzart, or Bethoven, you are welcome to use it. Unless someone since then has used that same combination of key changes, and their music is not in the public domain.

We have not seen quite the same situation in written works. Authors regularly steal story concepts from other books, file off the serial numbers, wrap them with new characters and locations, and publish it as a new story.

While I sympathize with musicians who cringe at the thought of finding some other musician taking their song and changing one or two words and re-publishing it. In writing, that would be plagerism.

On the other hand, if the creator of some work does not release the work to the public domain at some time, it will stifle creativity.

I think that Spider Robinson pointed out the problem best, though I do not remember the story or the book I found it in. When musicians can't publish the music they create, because it contains "substantialy similar" parts, we will see a greater loss to society than just about any loss due to war.

Then again, that's just my opinion. I can be wrong.

-Rusty

Re:The primary problem... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566483)

I can't believe you spelled all of their names wrong. Granted, Shakespeare himself probably tried a couple different spellings ( like F r a n c i s B a c o n :) but there's no excuse on the others. At least you got Spider Robinson right.

For the record:

  • Mozart
  • Beethoven
  • Shakespeare

Re:The primary problem... (1)

rusty0101 (565565) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566756)

figured they wouldn't come back and beat me up over it, Spider might though... ;-)

Sorry about that...

-Rusty

How will the Supreme Court function in this case? (2)

dpilot (134227) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566204)

There are several angles from which a decision can be approached:

First and foremost, there is the one-liner in the Constitution. That one line can be picked apart and the syntax and semantics debated.

Second, one can look for 'obvious' flaws in the existing (extended) law, and see if they (again 'obviously') flout the Constitution.

Essentially, is the focus from the bottom-up or from current-law down. I hear a lot about 'strict constructionism' on the Court, and that would seem to me to favor the first, bottom-up approach.

Beyond that, one can begin reading the thoughts of the framers of the Constitution. Any /. reader will be quite familiar with Thomas Jefferson's thoughts, but Alexander Hamilton's opposing views will also weigh in, here.Then there is also the interesting comparison with patents. AFAIK, patent terms have been 17 years from day 1, and haven't been lengthened. In fact, recent reform put the additional cap of 21 years from date of file, to rein in people who stalled their patents in-office in order to extend protection.

Why Ashcroft? (1)

BlueFall (141123) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566286)

IANAL, so could someone explain why this case is called Eldred v. Ashcroft? Ashcroft wasn't the attorney general when the act was passed. Is it just common practice to use the name of the attorney general when suing for unconstitutionality?

Re:Why Ashcroft? (0, Offtopic)

Royster (16042) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566478)

The suit is against the United States of America as represented in the office of the Attorney General, not a specific officeholder. Thus, when the Attorney General changes, the name of the case changes (becuase Ashcroft's Justice Department will be arguing it the fall) right up until the final decision when the name becomes final.

Re:Why Ashcroft? (2)

Tackhead (54550) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566518)

> IANAL, so could someone explain why this case is called Eldred v. Ashcroft? Ashcroft wasn't the attorney general when the act was passed. Is it just common practice to use the name of the attorney general when suing for unconstitutionality?

Yes, that's the established practice. The individual holding the office of Attorney General is representative of the state's laws - and it's the law that's being challenged - so it's the AG's name that appears on the docket.

Severability? (2)

mamba-mamba (445365) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566346)

I read about 60% of the opening brief and I find it VERY convincing when it argues that retroactive extensions of copyright are unconstitutional.

Does anyone know whether the various acts extending copyright have severability clauses in them? If not, does that mean that the extensions might be struck down entirely? That could be a bombshell.

I would like to read some arguments submitted by Ashcroft/US on this matter, however.

MM
--

Re:Severability? (2)

rgmoore (133276) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566757)

Does anyone know whether the various acts extending copyright have severability clauses in them? If not, does that mean that the extensions might be struck down entirely? That could be a bombshell.

That's what Eldred et. al. are arguing. To quote from their brief:

... This Court should therefore strike down the retroactive aspect of the CTEA under the First Ammendment as well. And because the retroactive aspect of CTEA is inseverable from its prospective aspect, CTEA's entire extension should be set aside.

I'm personally a bit dubious about this argument. It seems perfectly reasonable that the rules for future copyrights could be different from those for past copyrights. After all, the arguments being made are all about the unconstitutionality of extending copyrights retroactively, so future extensions should not be affected. Even if the law does not specifically include a severability clause, there's no fundamental reason that the prospective aspects can't be severable from the retrospective ones. I strongly doubt that the Supreme Court would strike down the whole law based on this idea.

Software Copywrite Act. (2)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566348)

Proposal (by me):
You no longer need to send a copy of works to the Library of Congress in order to receive copyright, but it still needs to be done if you plan on publishing a large quantity, especially if you hope to legally protect the work. This is done, so that once it goes out of copyright, a copy will exist at the LOB so that it can be copied when it reaches public domain, and won't get lost.
I propose that any software in which you expect legal protection of your copywrite, needs to not only be submitted to the LOB, but must include the source code. This source will be sealed away, from public view untill the copyright ends of course. But will be also accessable by a court order (not contestable by the copyright owner), to government agencies wishing to examine the security of any systems that are vital to government interest. These security reports then (excluding any source code, and given reasonable time for the copyright owners to fix the security hole) will be available to the public. The source code will also be accessable by a court order during any court cases involving the copyright holder in which it is deemed nesseary.

Re:Software Copywrite Act. (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566400)

As well as of course movies distributed in encrypted format needs to be filled in an unencrypted form. The LOB may at its descreason include a fee for storage of source code and the movies, which should not extend past current commerical massive storage cost. And be a one time fee.

Re:Software Copywrite Act. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566847)

Proposal (by me):
You no longer need to send a copy of works to the Library of Congress in order to receive copyright


You already don't need to send a copy of works to the Library of Congress for them to be protected by copyright!

Copyright is automagically granted when you write the thing. Having it in the LoC just helps you prove that you wrote it and when.

Does the public care? (2)

nakhla (68363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566443)

I think a very important question to ask here is, "Does anyone care?" I mean, seriously, ask Joe Schmoe on the street if this matters to them and chances are they will say no.

To the STRONG majority of the world's population, Disney and Mickey Mouse go hand in hand. They wouldn't want to see the creators of South Park begin marketing Mickey Mouse cartoons. People draw an association between a work (be it a song, movie, etc.) and the creator of that work. That connection is important on a cultural level, even if people don't realize it. I'm sure if you asked people on the street, a majority of them would say that yes, a company/individual who creates something should retain ownership of it. It's human nature. If I build a deck on my house, I wouldn't want my neighbors thinking they could hold parties on it. It's MY deck. I created it, therefore I should retain ownership of it. Human nature tends to this belief.

Would Disney (and other companies as well) have had much of its early material if it werent for the Brothers Grimm and other public-domain stories? No. But, that's not to say that 100 years from now the Earth will be devoid of any culture unless Disney releases Steamboat Willie into the public domain.

Re:Does the public care? (2)

Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566610)

They wouldn't want to see the creators of South Park begin marketing Mickey Mouse cartoons.

That's Not An Issue! "Mickey Mouse" is ALSO protected under Trademark law, which doesn't expire so long as it is "protected" by its owner. Someone trying to market "Mickey Mouse cartoons" (other than public-domain originals) without Disney's permission will find themselves in court on TRADEMARK violation, even if they aren't then infringing on "Copy"(Distribution)right any longer...

Re:Does the public care? (1)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566621)

I thin kthat enought people that do care are now mobilised.

ask yourself, how many people cared about the vietnam war? not many, but those hippies sure were loud about their position.

you need a certain amount of peopl eto yell loud enough. you do not need an entire nation, and certainly not the joe 6-pack.

Re:Does the public care? (2)

gfxguy (98788) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566723)

I was just thinking about this last night for some reason, using exactly your example.

I think the difference here is that Mickey himself is a well known trademark of Disney - I don't think Steamboat Willie , per se, should be protected under copyright - it should be protected under trademark laws.

So, in other words, let's say the next thing up is Cinderella, they would get zero protection after the copyright runs out (which could mean lot's of cheap videos on the market, for example), but people would have to stay away from Disney's trademark.

Now, if in five years they change the trademark to something more modern, like Buzz Lightyear, then I believe any protection they got for Mickey should be gone.

Re:Does the public care? (2)

nakhla (68363) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566788)

This brings up another problem I have with this issue. Cinderella certainly isn't a Disney story. It's a fairy tale. Now, let's assume that Disney puts out a movie based upon a story they originated in-house. In 100-or-so years when the copyright expires, why isn't it just the STORY that becomes public domain? Why is it that Disney's "implementation" of the story has to become public domain.

In my opinion, the story itself should be released to the public, but not necessarily Disney's version of it (i.e., your cheap videos statement) The company no doubt spent millions to develop the movie, so I don't feel it should become public domain. The story, however, should be and other studios should be allowed to retell it in their own way. Just a thought.

Re:Does the public care? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566893)

They wouldn't want to see the creators of South Park begin marketing Mickey Mouse cartoons

Whether or not the early cartoons are still protected by copyright, Mickey Mouse may still be trademarkable...

If I build a deck on my house, I wouldn't want my neighbors thinking they could hold parties on it.

Do not confuse physical property with the expression of ideas. By using your deck, your neighbors are depriving you of its use. The same does not happen with so-called "intellectual property". A real analogy would go something like:

If I build a deck on my house, I wouldn't want my neighbors building a similar deck on their house. It's MY deck. I created it, therefore no one else should be allowed to have a deck like it, from now until the end of time! Self-centered and short-sighted fools tend to this belief.

DMCA and technologicly enforced copyright (4, Interesting)

MSG (12810) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566506)

Being NAL as I am, I would like to see some discussion of how limited term copyright is expected to work in a future where copyright is enforced by perpetual technological means.

As more information is published on digital media, DRM is becoming a means of enforcing the copyright on the information. However, I know of no DRM systems which provide for expriation of protection. So, while the legal protection may go away after the granted term, the data is still protected technologically. I wonder, what are the legal implications of this?

Copyright was granted on the grounds that after the granted term, the information was to enter the public domain. If the information is designed by the distributors to never enter the public domain, does it still deserve copyright protection? It seems like this is analogous to patents vs. trade secrets where trade secrets have no legal protection because there is no obligation to disclose the way they work. You have to trade one for the other.

Re:DMCA and technologicly enforced copyright (3, Insightful)

rhadamanthus (200665) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566821)

Well, my first inclination is to debate the "perpetual" standing you give DRM schemes. Given time, there is nothing you can do to protect anything heard or seen from being copied, DRM notwithstanding.

I realize also, however, that thanks to the DMCA, such tactics are now illegal. However, if I remember correctly, fair-use rights imply nothing about tha actual feasability of making said legal copies. I.e., if Sony wants to release musc and movies in a totally new "in-house designed" format which is almost totally impossible to copy, they are welcome to. The problem with that sheme is that past expierience with such products has only lead to miserable failure on the market. No one wants to buy such items.

It gets worse. Since the majority of the public does not care about the proceedings of this type of legislation/technology, the possiblity of such DRM schemes resurfacing is very alarming. Not necessarily because of the technological implications, but because no one would resist it, thereby leading to its grudging acceptance in the market.

Your point with regards to copyright protection vs. perpetual protection is well-taken, and I believe you are correct. But I seriously doubt that congress or the courts would make the same distinction with the lobbyists breathing down their necks...


We might be doomed here.
--------------rhad

Re:DMCA and technologicly enforced copyright (2)

Catiline (186878) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566825)

If the information is designed by the distributors to never enter the public domain, does it still deserve copyright protection? It seems like this is analogous to patents vs. trade secrets...

Mein gott! If I'm not mistaken, you may have just found the perfect argument for the anti-protection crowd. Because Celene Dion's latest CD has a "technology-enforced" indefinite copyright, it loses all traditional copyright protection. Hmm, sounds like a feasable argument to me (but I too am NAL).

Hmm, even stranger yet-- this may be the grounds upon which you can overturn the entirety of the DMCA. Must talk to lawer! << grabs at yellow pages >>

"Original intent" disparagers should be ashamed (2)

joneshenry (9497) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566592)

I hope that the same people who mocked the doctrine of "original intent", particularly with regards to the Second Amendment, aren't the ones promoting the Supreme Court's striking down copyright extension, an interpretation that relies precisely on the philosophy of ascertaining the intent of the framemakers of the Constitution. The "facts on the ground" are that the elected representatives of the people of the United States, both Congress and the President, have repeatedly within the past few decades agreed to extend copyright without any manifestation of widespread public protest. The opponents of copyright extension need to come up with something a little more substantial than an opinion that copyright extension damages the "public good".

I suspect that of the groups and people submitting amicus briefs about the only ones with "clean hands" are Phyllis Schlafly and the Eagle Forum and Milton Friedman. Love them or hate them, people such as Phyllis Schlafly and Milton Friedman at least have consistency in their viewpoints, a true worldview and not opinions that bend with each passing intellectual fad.

Phyllis Schlafly and Milton Friedman can argue with clear conscience that they have always been in the fight to limit the role of the federal government over the lives of the people, regardless of the issues. In contrast all of the NIMBY environmentalists and gun control advocates are merely carpetbaggers, passengers of convenience who the moment the issue is gone will revert to readvocating increased expansion of governmental authority and regulation. In essence the left-wing supporters of the movement to strike down the opinion of the elected representatives of the people are merely seeking to steal property for their own purposes, because they have no intellectual foundation for their critique of the current system.

If the Constitution is merely a piece of paper to be reinterpreted as each generation sees fit, why shouldn't eternal copyright extension be a legitimate interpretation of this generation? If it is just as legitimate to question the applicability of the Second Amendment to today's society, why isn't it legitimate to question whether an 18th century understanding of copyright is not applicable to today's reality of mass media corporations continuously producing new works in new formats that the people have no problem paying for without visible public protest? See what happens once you decide to jettison the entire opinion of the past for the sake of expediency, it might just come back to bite you.

support the fight (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 12 years ago | (#3566618)

Ok, so everyone here has donated a few bucks to the cause, right?

Here's a chance to be a part of one of the most important cases of our time, people. Open your wallet.

Eldred Legal Defense Fund
c/o Carinne Johnson
Stanford Law School
Crown Quadrangle
559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
Donate via PayPal to free.mickey@foobox.com

Not only Milton Friedman but 5(!) Nobel prizes (3, Interesting)

sl956 (200477) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566751)

From the list of signatories to the brief :

George A. Akerlof
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 2001

Kenneth J. Arrow
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 1972

James M. Buchanan
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 1986

Ronald H. Coase
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 1991

Milton Friedman
Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences, 1976

Impressing!!!

Re:Not only Milton Friedman but 5(!) Nobel prizes (1)

dipfan (192591) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566797)

Yes, it is very impressive array of talent - I only mentioned Friedman because he's the one most non-economists have heard of. For what it's worth, having Coase on board is important, because his work bears directly on issues like this: the Nobel prize citation explains it here [nobel.se] .

Why not short but many times renewable copyrights? (1)

fr2asbury (462941) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566766)

Seems to me that the super long copyrights are causing works to be lost because the original author etc. no longer cares about them, probably because they are dead.
However to use the example of Mickey Mouse, Disney as a corporate individual still very much cares about it's characters and is likely to for quite a long time.
Rather than have works be lost in the extremely long copyright term we have now, why can't we just let copyright holders who DO care about their works renew the copyright until they no longer care about them? This would take care of the work of dead authors and companies that have gone out of business, while allowing Long standing companies protect their "classics."
Just a thought that seems to make too much sense to me.

Cheers,
Jonathan

The Power of Compound Interest - Einstein (2)

redelm (54142) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566784)

Expost facto incentives like retroactive copyright extention obviously cannot influence creation. Even long copyright periods do little.

I can add some quantification by running the numbers. A publisher is investing when they buy a copyright, and expects a return on their investment, usually expressed as a percentage per annum to compare with other investments like bonds or stocks.

Consider a publisher who wants a 10% return rate, and is willing to pay 100 for a 20 year copyright on a given work. Then 25yrs is only 106, 40yrs 115, 100yrs and forever 117. But tastes change, and work may become irrelevant by events, so sales 20 years hence are very uncertain. The usual way of coping with the risk is to increase the rate of return. So try 30%, with 100 still for 20 years then even 100 years is only worth 100.5!

Note that these analyses assume flat sales through the period, like for established continual sellers. For heavily front-loaded sales like most modern works, the premia fall by a large factor (5-10 times). And more for risky (high rates of return required) authors.

and if the court decides in favor of eldred... (3, Funny)

non (130182) | more than 12 years ago | (#3566831)

i'll be wearing a mickey giving the finger tshirt!


___

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