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Jumping In On The Lessig / Adkinson Copyright Debate

timothy posted more than 11 years ago | from the more-than-witty-dialogue dept.

United States 163

An Anonymous Coward writes: "LawMeme has an excellent response to William F. Adkinson's critique of Larry Lessig's ideas on copyright reform. What I found most interesting about the article though, was the link to this paper by Ernest Miller (of Yale's Information Society Project) and Joan Feigenbaum (editor-in-chief of the Journal of Cryptography) that says we should take the copy out of copyright."

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Braaap. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3585964)

What did you guys do with Katz? I miss his articles!

Re:Braaap. (-1, Offtopic)

j0nkatz (315168) | more than 11 years ago | (#3585978)

No worries friend...

They cannot silence me!

Re:Braaap. (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586204)

do you know where i can get some high quality gay biker porn?

Re:Braaap. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586021)

Well, it turns out that having sex with 14 year-old boys really is a crime. Who knew?

Re:Braaap. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586056)

Where's Jon Katz? two words: hot grits.

Re:Braaap. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586123)

pardon me good sir, but can you please explain what a "grit" is exactly? I have often heard that the negroid race regularly consumes a foodstuff of the same name. is the "grit" of negroids the same as the "hot grit" of slashdot and if it is, what is it?

gaping anus... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3585965)

....like what!

http://goatse.cx/

:D

Copy of all three articles. (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3585966)

Not that Lessig needs any defense, but I thought I would write a response to the recent article by William F. Adkinson, Jr., Senior Policy Counsel at the Progress & Freedom Foundation, in the American Spectator. The article is entitled (Creativity & Control, Part 2) [via Doc Searls] and is a critique of Larry Lessig's arguments in The Future of Ideas. Mr. Adkinson is also co-author of a more detailed look at copyright issues (The Debate Over Digital Online Content: Understanding the Issues [PDF]).
My counter-critique of Adkinson below ...

Adkinson first takes issue with Lessig's claim that overly strong copyright threatens creativity. Indeed, Adkinson asserts Lessig's theory "is difficult to square with basic facts about the Information Age." Adkinson notes that Lessig apparently agrees with the idea that copyright can encourage creativity, and asks, if that is the case, why "Lessig is so concerned about the future of creativity?" But it is Adkinson's characterization of Lessig's argument that is difficult to square with basic facts. For Adkinson's question to be an intelligible critique of Lessig, it must be that Lessig's position is that copyright should be abandoned. This, of course, is not the case. Lessig's argument is not that copyright should be abandoned, but that there needs to be a balance. Too much copyright can harm innovation just as too little copyright can harm innovation as well. Given that copyright has continuously expanded over the past 100 years, is it unreasonable that Lessig believes the balance has shifted too far in favor of copyright holders? Adkinson would seem to be saying so.

--

Stanford Law Professor Lawrence Lessig's new book, The Future of Ideas, was recently excerpted in these pages. Lessig describes two possible futures for the Internet--one an enormous but vacuous shopping mall, the other a flowering of barely imaginable forms of creativity. He argues that through legal and technological machinations--and specifically, the over-assertion of copyright--business interests are charting a course toward the first. And he darkly warns that "the future of ideas is in the balance."

From the outset, this thesis is difficult to square with basic facts about the Information Age--particularly with the explosion in access to information made possible by the digital revolution. Indeed, Lessig approvingly quotes Judge Alex Kozinski, who has said that copyright "encourages others to build freely on the ideas that underlie" copyrighted expression. But if copyright leaves a rich public domain, why is Lessig so concerned about the future of creativity?

--

Copyright is Not About Copying
Under current U.S. law and common understanding, the fundamental right granted by
copyright is the right of reproduction - of making copies. Certainly, the first
"exclusive right" granted to the owner of a copyright under Section 106 of the
Copyright Act 1 is the right to reproduce the copyrighted work "in copies or
phonorecords" or to authorize such reproduction. Indeed, the very word "copyright"
appears to signify that the right to make copies must be a fundamental part of any
system of copyright. Nevertheless, we believe that the primacy given to the right of
copying, while seemingly intuitive, is both illogical and counterproductive,
particularly when one considers its application to digital documents. We base our
analysis on both the nature and characteristics of the digital realm and on a historical
and instrumental understanding of the law of copyright.
Our examination of whether reproduction should play a central role in copyright
law is motivated in part by the question of security in digital rights management
(DRM). Many designers of DRM technology seek to enforce copyright by
controlling copying. Consequently, there is careful attention paid in the security and
cryptology literature to the question of whether such control is technologically

LawMeme (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3585976)

LawMeme, c'est toujours *la même* affaire.

saturday night (-1)

Anonymous Cowrad (571322) | more than 11 years ago | (#3585981)

and I'm drunk and assaulting slashdot.

whee!

i hope you are all having a good holiday weekend

Abuse of system (1)

coryboehne (244614) | more than 11 years ago | (#3585991)

I agree with most/some of the points made, I feel that the copyright is over-used and poorly understood. In this day of digital everything it has become very easy to copy almost anything one would want, and for that matter, this applies to both digital and "hardcopy" materials. I feel that there are quite a few laws that need updating to fit in today's digital world, however we must be careful to not "over legislate" these laws simply and over broaden their horizon and scope as this is a far worse situation than the outdated laws.

Re:Abuse of system (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586027)

Moderators, please mod down the parent troll.

first post (-1, Offtopic)

malkman (539215) | more than 11 years ago | (#3585992)

this makes me cool. somehow.

Re:first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3585995)

If I had moderator access I'd give you a -1 (stupidity)

Re:first post (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586048)

NO JAM!

The problem with copyright (5, Insightful)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#3585993)

is that the current trend is to increase copyright terms into incredibly ridiculous territories (which I define as being longer than the human lifespan) instead of decreasing the terms, which one would think would be the natural response given the advances we've made in distribution technologies such as automated printing presses, aircraft, and the Internet. The time it takes to fairly achieve a return on creating a work has been going down dramatically, given how quickly it can be duplicated and transported to where it can be sold -- it's no longer a bunch of monks transcribing a book by hand for months, or even a hand-cranked printing press -- yet we're expected to believe that we need to ramp the restrictions up precisely because of the advances in distribution technology? I don't need someone to refute a guy that argues that taking 25 years off of the current copyright limit will unfairly hurt the industry because it's obvious he's full of it.

Re:The problem with copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586041)

Longer copyright terms are an absolute necessity in today's world. Please disregard the parent troll. Think of a world in which copyright terms were shortened: Beloved characters such as Mickey Mouse would be public domain! How would you explain Mickey Mouse porn to your child? We cannot allow the foundations of our culture to be corrupted. Copyrighted material must remain protected from public abuse for the sake of our poor children.

Re:The problem with copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586044)

And the worst part is that copyright holders are sitting idle on their rotting product, denying 3rd parties the right to replant and produce fresh derivatives. Have you seen a good Mickey Mouse flick lately? I thought so.

Re:The problem with copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586088)

denying 3rd parties the right to replant and produce fresh derivatives

Why can't 3rd parties create their own material instead of profiting from someone else's ideas and hard work?

Re:The problem with copyright (1)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586210)

Why can't 3rd parties create their own material instead of profiting from someone else's ideas and hard work?

Under copyright, profiting from your ideas and hard work is not and end in itself, it is a means to an end.

Let me repeat that: Under copyright, profiting from your ideas and hard work is not and end in itself, it is a means to an end.

The primary goal is not to reward individuals with profit for their ideas and hard work. It is to increase the overall output of ideas and hard work throughout the nation. It just happens that restricting copying is the easiest way to acieve this goal.

So the question is, what's wrong with 3rd parties profiting from someone else's ideas an hard work? Answer: Nothing, until you prove that such activity is suppressing the overall production of ideas and hard work in society. Lately, very little effort has been done to prove that output is suffering before each expansion of the copyright statutes.

Re:The problem with copyright (4, Interesting)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586219)

So you propose absolute originality? Wouldn't this preclude Disney from making films based on fairy tales? I.e. roughly half of the animated features they've made to date?


What happens to basic plotlines? What happens to literary devices? What happens to _words_?


Art does not occur in a vacuum. All artists stand on the shoulders of those who came before. We rely on previous generations and our contemporaries to provide us with inspiration, to open new directions to pursue, to give us something to react to.


You implicitly insult Shakespeare, who recycled material constantly. You insult Picasso, who truthfully noted that great artists steal. Hell, you insult Spider Robinson who's specifically rebutted [baen.com] this stupid argument before.

Total originality would be completely alien and incomprehensible. It's worthless. A mixture of original and derivative elements is absolutely necessary. There are multitudes of excellent derivative works in existance. Disney's had their fair share.


But good writing pops up in surprising places -- I've read fan fiction that was not only superior to the original source material, but could probably do quite well if it were released commercially.


Honestly, what the hell do you think countless generations of now-unknown people did but retell each other's stories, changing them slightly as they went along? It's a good thing, and absolutely to be encouraged! (which is why we do, if you actually bothered to study the intent of copyright law)

Re:The problem with copyright (2, Insightful)

Chemical (49694) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586475)

So you propose absolute originality? Wouldn't this preclude Disney from making films based on fairy tales? I.e. roughly half of the animated features they've made to date?
You're comment got me thinking about just how many of Disney animated movies are shameless ripoffs. Let's see:

Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs - Nope
Pinocchio - Nope
Dumbo - Nope
Bambi - Nope
The Adventures of Ichabod and Mr. Toad - Nope
Cinderella - Nope
Alice in Wonderland - Nope
Peter Pan - Nope
Lady and the Tramp - Nope
Sleeping Beauty - Nope
101 Dalmatians - Nope
The Sword in the Stone - Nope
The Jungle Book - Nope
The Aristocats - Yep
Robin Hood - Nope
The Many Adventures of Winnie-The-Pooh - Nope
The Rescuers - Nope
The Fox and the Hound - Nope
The Black Cauldron - Nope
The Great Mouse Detective - Nope
Oliver and Company - Not Really ("Based on Oliver Twist")
The Little Mermaid - Nope
The Rescuers Down Under - Yep (allthough it is a sequel to an "adaptation", this movie is an original story)
Beauty and the Beast - Nope
Aladdin - Nope
The Lion King - Not really
Pocahontas - Not really
The Hunchback of Notre Dame - Nope
Hercules - Nope
Mulan - Not really
Tarzan - Nope
The Emperor's New Groove - Yep
Atlantis - Yep

So in 75 years of making animated features, just about every last one of them has been either based on a fairy tale, novel, or folk lore. Geez. If Disney had to be original in order to copyright their work, they would be really screwed. Of course it is okay for Disney to rip something off and call it their own. If you want to use a PVR to time shift TV shows or watch DVDs on a Linux box though, watch out, cuz that's obviously a sinny-sin-sin.

Re:The problem with copyright (1)

number one duck (319827) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586696)

Just for the sake of the nitpick, you might want to doublecheck the "Atlantis" reference. Like the Lion King, there is some controversy about whether or not they were rehashing an older anime.

what the fuck? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586012)

What the fuck does copyright law have to do with your "rights" online?

Timothy, you have ot be the biggest fucktard out of all the slashdot janitors.

Bite this!

Linux for the Masses? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586030)

You can feel my cock in your mouth. You haven't lost enough blood to lose consciousness. Your eyes still have the shine of life, the spark of fear, the glaze of terror that lets me know you're still with me.
Your legs are warm with your piss, your innards hanging down from your slit stomach each foot long length bearing a turd that you will never shit. Your shit-to-be will be excavated by the medical examiner while you lie cold and lifeless on the stainless steel table in your local hospital's basement.
The greatest indignity will be not knowing the custodian will come in during the night and grope your dead balls only to be caught by the nightwatchman who will lick the dried blood from your limp, dead penis.
You won't cum.
You're too busy burning in hell.
Each demon's face is twisted into the visage of my face, your tormentor in life and now in death and then your afterlife for your eternity. Intestines twisted around pitchfork tines like spaghetti for a giant Italian's dinner. Sulphur sprinkled liberally over your exposed guts like parmesian cheese. Your agony will not be legendary. Your agony will simply be tedium for the unborn punishers who want to move onto greater things like working the huge vat of boiling diarrhea for gamblers, rapists and gluttons because they believe they have the next big thing and you aren't going to get them anywhere with your sins.
Your sin is deriding people for not using linux.
Your sin is deriding people for thinking for themselves rather than bending to the will of self-important, self-described nerds who believe they know what is best for the once-burgeoning computer culture.
Your sin is begging to be raped in the handicapped stall at E3 by Richard Stallman, if he went by Dick he would be aptly named, because polyamory is the ultimate in open source.
Your sin is eating shit and liking the taste. The texture. The scent. "Your stomach didn't digest the corn but my stomach sure as hell is going to give it the old college try" is what you think as you scorn those who lack your intestinal talent. Your salvation and sanity in hell will be the memories of walking through the downtown park early in the morning before the rising sun had a chance to burn away the mist like last night's dreams. You spy the treasure resting gently between the green blades. The pile doesn't steam having since lost the warmth of its birth to the cold unforgiving night. A tear runs down your cheek when you feel the longing to give that turd love, to give that turd a home, to reintroduce that coil of poo to your special womb. You want to relish its taste. You want to play your little game of "What did they have for dinner?" You don't dare smile in the face of your tormentors lest they become agitated and step up your punishment. Still the thought of smiling is still there when you had the happy moment to realize that firm craplog was formerly kibble instead of pizza pie.
After a while you could tell the kibbleshit's brand. Eukanuba has a tangy taste, firm and chewy while you dislike the whole experience of a Purina shit.
A single tear flows down your cheek as I finish raping your mouth. The back of your throat is coated with jizz. Your chest is afire with pain as you feel my knife rape your chest again and again letting your heartblood spread the pool of gore at your knees.
As the life slips from your eyes you can feel me cum again, dribbling down your forearm.
The last thing you do before your soul falls into the bowels of the earth is rub your ring finger against the pool of cum in your palm lovingly, gagging the words "It's GNU/Linux and it's the kernel!"

facts, please (5, Insightful)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586033)

This lack of effective protection from this piracy is the greatest threat to incentives to create digital works and distribute them over the Internet.

People like Adkinson keep repeating this claim ad nauseam without any facts to back it up.

As far as I can tell, the tightening and extension of copyright law over the 20th century is correlated with a deterioration in quality art. Many of the greatest works of history were created without the benefits of copyright protection. Many great works of art would, in fact, violate copyright if today's copyright laws had been in effect at the time because they are the highly evolved end product of a long line of copies, with incremental improvements at each step. Much of creativity involves craftsmanship, and craftsmanship requires copying and recreation before creativity can be achieved.

So, some facts, please. If the government grants 100+ year monopolies to people and corporations, I'd like to see some evidence that this is beneficial to the rest of us. Because, Adkinson's ideological mumblings to the contrary, copyrights are not "property rights"--they are limited rights granted by the government only because they are beneficial to society.

Re:facts, please: From You Too (1)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586053)

In the pre-copyright era, copyright really wasn't need because, by and large, copying simply wasn't possible, and when possible, was very, very, tedious.

Re:facts, please: From You Too (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586233)

This is quite untrue.

Copying was precisely as easy as it was to create the original copy of the work (as opposed to thinking up the idea of the work) in the first place.

When Chaucer wrote the Cantebury Tales, he would've spent no more on a scrivener to make copies than anyone else could. When Michaelangelo sculpted the David, it was not impossible for another stonecutter to measure the original and make a replica, or to make models. (n.b. that a replica stands in the Piazza that was the original's original home) When Shakespeare's plays were performed, it was common for competing actors to memorize the lines and restage the play themselves.

Just because it is not as easy to copy works as it is NOW does not mean that it was EVER harder to make a second generation copy than a first. Future generations are going to wonder how we ever got along with the tedious computers and such that we think are all that.

Re:facts, please: From You Too (2)

g4dget (579145) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586330)

copying simply wasn't possible

Sure, it was. Before the 20th century, almost all content was somehow created manually, and if it could be created manually, it could be copied manually even faster. Music and plays were performed without royalty payments. Artists and sculptors would copy the works of others, change it slightly, and present it as their own. Writers would rewrite a story slightly and republish it to the masses. Publishers would republish writings and music. Copyists would copy paintings. In the process, people honed their skills, stories matured, and artistic ideas circulated widely without being controlled by big companies.

Today, doing anything like that would be both professional suicide and be subject to severe penalties.

Back then, artists had to do new stuff constantly in order to make a living--no living off royalties. The US flaunted European copyrights because Americans felt that they needed cheap access to content in order to get their country educated.

By comparison, for a consumer to copy someone's CD or sheet music today is tame. We don't even consider the possibility that allowing artists to copy the works of others liberally might be a better way. We should.

piracy is the greatest threat (4, Insightful)

AmericanInKiev (453362) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586109)

Many, such as Harry Potter, are available illegally as soon as they are released in theaters. This lack of effective protection from this piracy is the greatest threat to incentives to create digital works and distribute them over the Internet.

These producers of digital works are the greatest threat to performing artists. The ability to reproduce at minimal cost an artistic experience is an obvious threat to those who would otherwise be able to make a living at their craft - ie live performers.

Now that mass production has disenfranchised several generations of performers - their ox stands to be gored by the same technology they have used to destroy others - namely the performing artists.

So begins the funeral procession of the cheap reproducers of art - Lead by the even cheaper reproducers of art. Let the tears of irony flow like wine - let us wring our hands in pathos and mourn the passing of the unnecessary.

What the world should miss is not the Anderson accountants who would otherwise be record and movie executives - but let the world miss the Waiters and Carpenters who would otherwise be Poets and Playwrights - Violinists and Sopranos.

Re:facts, please (2)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586340)

While I agree with you this quote bothers me:

As far as I can tell, the tightening and extension of copyright law over the 20th century is correlated with a deterioration in quality art. Many of the greatest works of history were created without the benefits of copyright protection.

Works of 'art' such as the Mona Lisa are in fact protected, not under "copyright law" but by other rules.

Any artist can go to the Louvre and copy the Mona Lisa. They can't however use the same dimensions and other specifics so that they can't sell them as originals.

Digital copies can't be made, obviously, but their art equivalent is outlawed.

Sure 100 years is too long. IMHO 50 is even too much. Copyrights in many cases shouldn't last 6 months.

But on an aside... why can musical artists (who work for the RIAA in effect) "sample" others music but we aren't allowed to take advantage of our fair use rights?

Re:facts, please (1)

DragonMagic (170846) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586399)

I just love how slashdot people seem to think that copyright should be lessened greatly.

If copyright lasted six months, then people would be abusing GPL software quite often. The license from GPL is for the COPYRIGHT use, that is, it's free to copy and distribute under the rules of the license. If there's no or little copyright, then people do not need to abide by the license agreements.

And as far as people sampling others' works, have you even thought that question out? Sometimes the artists' works are for the same production studio or conglomerate, or they actually ask permission or license the work.

Re:facts, please (2)

ImaLamer (260199) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586560)

You could have attacked me on other levels but you got me in the wrong spot.

My statement of "six months" was concerning crap - that is it. A joke, ha ha funny. Some music out there is popular for about a week while the music industry claims piracy has robbed them of future sales - pure crap.

--

Sampling doesn't require permission or licensing. I've got a cousin who was sued for sampling a song - which was 30 years old - actually playing the notes in reverse. They had no case and as soon as he hired a lawyer (a bad one) they dropped the charge.
You really answered your own question. The reason one artist can rip off another is because a company can't sue itself. They turn a blind eye.

As if Microsoft would sue their own Comcast cable or MSNBC ventures...
---
I understand that the spirit of the GPL is "copyleft" while it is in fact a "copyright". It's not that hard to understand.

Re:facts, please (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586714)

Some music out there is popular for about a week while the music industry claims piracy has robbed them of future sales - pure crap.

Obviously somebody wanted to hear it after the week was up, or they wouldn't be making unsanctioned copies of it, eh?

How Long should copyrights last? (2)

zenyu (248067) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586431)

My thoughts are something like...

30 years fiction
20 years historic, lit-crit, and reference non-fiction
10 years self-help and current affairs non-fiction
5 years registered software (source code published)
2 years non-registered software

With a possible 1/2 period extension if you are still selling at 10% of the rate of the best year of sales.

I don't think the right should automatically expire due to the death of the author if his will states it shouldn't but linence at a reasonable price (no more that 5% of gross say, or 20% of profit) should become cumpulsary since the author is no longer around to say some new adaption isn't to his liking.

This isn't particularly GNU friendly extensions are all based on sales, but I think it would strike a good balance on copyright for society and hence fulfill the main reason programmers choose an open source licence.

I would further add that the source code should be published at the end of support for any software for anyone wishing to copyright their work, and using 'copy protection' should automatically revoke and claims to copyright protection. Hence those wishing to avoid copyright would need to licence everything and sue only the person that violated the contract but once the first copy was made work would be in the open. This would discourage these licences except for made to order software where it makes sense.

I'm just putting this out there because I want to hear what you have to say. Are my numbers to conservative? Too liberal? Just right?

Different time limits for copyleft? (2, Interesting)

pussyco (243391) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586635)

The purpose of copyright is to provide an incentive for creative artists. We all discount the future rather heavily. 20 to 25 years is about the limit. Copyright should be no longer than this.

The purpose of copyleft is freedom. Once copyleft expires, it is back to the bad old days of breaking interoperability for commercial advantage, keeping the source code secret, so that most programming is duplication of work already done, etc. There is no public interest in having copyleft expire.

A rewriting of copyright law, to 20 years from publication, because that provides plenty of incentive, could also provide for two types of public domain.

1)The current public domain, the source of copyright derivative works.

2)A GNU domain, perpetually copyleft.

The Miller article and libraries (5, Insightful)

jfrumkin (97854) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586045)

The linked Miller article is very interesting and insightful - but I wonder, based on its discussion of public and private distribution, how libraries would work with this new definition of copyright. A library by default provides public distribution of a work - would this then be made illegal should copyright reflect distribution rather than reproduction?

Re:The Miller article and libraries (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586077)

Libraries should be outlawed. What other medium has such ridiculous distribution methods? You can't just walk in somewhere and see any movie you want for free. Libraries are a dinosaur, a holdover from the less enlightened days centuries ago. They have no place in modern society. Modern society exists to control the masses by controlling what they think-uncontrolled distribution of books will lead to chaos, thievery, rebellion, and ultimately the downfall of society.

Re:The Miller article and libraries (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586187)

That is one of the best, nay the greatest sarcastic argument i have ever read on slashdot. Mod that sucker up!

Re:The Miller article and libraries (1)

Futurepower(R) (558542) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586565)


Well said!

When libraries became common, the sales of books almost stopped. Why would anyone buy a book when they could read a library copy free?

Re:The Miller article and libraries (1)

Froze (398171) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586249)

I would think that fair use would be sufficient for libraries to continue existing. When was the last time you went to a library and found that they had ten thousand copies of "blah"? Libraries distribute one or two items at a time, they do not perform mass replication for large scale distribution. Just as fair use covers the limited "copying" today, the regressed copyright law would have to allow for limited ditribution, otherwise it would be a crime everytime you invited a friend over to watch a movie, or listened to music in a public place.

covered by first sale doctrine? (1)

upper (373) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586414)

The Miller article's analysis of the first sale doctrine is that it applies, and should continue to apply, to particular copies embodied in physical objects -- i.e. the physical books and CDs that a library lends. They also say first sale doesn't apply in the purely digital realm.

First sale doctrine is what lets libraries operate today, and it sounds to me like they'd say libraries could continue to lend the physical embodiments as they always have.

But if the physical embodiment has a form which can be copied easily, then what? If I burn a copy of a library CD, hasn't a distribution happened? And, if the library is open to the general public, isn't it a public distribution? I'd say a distribution happened either when I made the copy or when I returned the original to the library, but I'm not sure whether it was a public distribution made by the library or a private distribution made by me.

I like the general idea that making the copy is no longer the place to draw the line -- I've had the same idea myself. And distribution is the only replacement I can come up with. But I'm not sure I can see what the implications would be.

Re:The Miller article and libraries (1)

inerte (452992) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586448)

Is Gnutella (and other P2P networks) a library?

I think so, they provide information, but who decides what information to give away are the ones running the software clients.

Basically, I am a library of mp3s.

Lawmeme needs editors (3, Interesting)

RovingSlug (26517) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586052)

While I agree with the premise and arguments asserted by the Lawmeme articles, I find their overall structure to be meandering and ill formed. The paper, "Taking the Copy Out of Copyright", on the other hand, is much more well written. Maybe it'd help Lawmeme if they had an editor to cut the fat and keep the articles focused.

Hrmm. But maybe that's the point of law "memes" -- constructed to seep into the general consciousness rather than provide a well-supported web of logic. Regardless, whenever I read a Lawmeme article, I get the strong sense that they'll only appeal to the already-converted ("preaching to the choir"). Which makes me think they're wasting their breath. :/

Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (3, Interesting)

Howzer (580315) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586054)

Heh! Perhaps I am just getting too old. Because the point in the LawMeme article about the ability to sell above marginal cost being a leading indicator of monopoly just hit me right between the eyes!

That is SO right, and so how come I don't remember hearing that point before (or how come I didn't think it up myself!)

I immediately thought of games (who didn't!?) retailing at hugely above their production cost, and books the same. Why do we accept these things? I for one would buy far more books and far more games if publishers set prices at simply a "fair margin". Who would rip games onto CDs for their friends if you could get them in the store (with a free CD case and handy booklet) for $5? Who of us wouldn't have libraries twice, thrice as big if books were similarly priced?

And if these new pricing schemes were in existance, wouldn't they force publishers to try and innovate in the way their "content" was delivered? There is no pressure to build a useable "e-book" while "paper-books" have such huge profits built into the system. There is no pressure to take the (in some cases) 3 boxes out of the packaging of computer games (3 boxes that mostly just get torn off and thrown away like christmas paper).

Ya gotta love a good lawyer or law writer, they always make arguments that set your mind to work!

Re:Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (2, Interesting)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586080)

One thing to take into consideration in regards to this point is that, when you think about it, copyright is all about granting someone a monopoly over a particular creative work. If I don't like the pricing on the latest Metallica CD I can't just wander over and buy a competitor's version. It's a natural consequence and probably a necessary evil of copyright law, just as inflated drug prices are a consequence of patent law (you notice how quickly those drop when a patent expires?)

At least patents expire.

Re:Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586092)

I can't just wander over and buy a competitor's version

Yes you can; 'Competitors' being bands other than Metallica

Re:Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586106)

You're taking my point out of scope. If I want a new Metallica CD (quite the assumption, that, but run with it), my legal options are paying the price their representatives want me to pay or taking a pass. It's not like buying salt, packing material, or beer -- buying a Limp Biskit CD will not get me the material from the Metallica CD.

So you're saying... (1)

Blaede (266638) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586142)

...the person who makes a product no longer has the right to set their own prices? Then what's the point of trying to make a profit? When one enters into commerce, the whole idea is to make money. One must find the and find the price that will bring you the most money overall. Sure, pleasing the customer is one aspect of the product, but at the end of the day, one tallies up the cash register, not the goodwill.

Re:So you're saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586180)

If you want specific brand X beer, then the price range (budget supermarket to posh bar) is similar to the price range for the Metallica CD (bargain bin at costco to 'Hottest Hits' shelf at Tower Records).

If you want significantly cheaper beer then you need to switch brands (to either something inferior, or more local, etc .... but that's getting irrelevent)

Re:So you're saying... (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586203)

I'm not saying that at all. I'm attempting to describe why the effects of copyright on price margins mimic the effects of a monopoly on price margins in regards to the post at the very top of this thread. I'll address your post, but again it's out of the scope of my original point (copyright is a government-assigned monopoly on a particular creative work).

For a while at least our country was running on the assumption that the market itself is fit to determine what the appropriate price for a product will be. It's all well and good if you want to sell sacks of flour for $50; the market will hand you your hat when your competition is selling the same amount at $1 per sack. The idea is that (in general!) the price will never drop below the level at which the product can be produced or rise above the level at which the market can afford it.

If you are the sole producer for flour in the country, or are colluding with the Big 3 flour producers to hold the price artifically high by refusing to compete, then you are not permitting market forces to work and you (used to) run afoul of antitrust laws.

My argument is actually that you can't perfectly apply this model to copyrighted material because it is a sanctioned monopoly on the material. That's it. Anything else that you get out of these comments about my attitude towards whether or not this is appropriate is an assumption.

Re:So you're saying... (1)

spectecjr (31235) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586403)

If you are the sole producer for flour in the country, or are colluding with the Big 3 flour producers to hold the price artifically high by refusing to compete, then you are not permitting market forces to work and you (used to) run afoul of antitrust laws.

My argument is actually that you can't perfectly apply this model to copyrighted material because it is a sanctioned monopoly on the material. That's it. Anything else that you get out of these comments about my attitude towards whether or not this is appropriate is an assumption


What kind of different model would you suggest?

Of course the copyright holder has a monopoly on the material! They created it. No one else could have created that same thing. Allowing other people to copy it without them getting something in return completely invalidates the time and work they spend doing it.

Simon

Re:So you're saying... (1)

Sheetrock (152993) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586447)

I haven't given much thought to a different model, being that I'm comfortable with the following concepts:

A) People who generate intangible products such as stories, music, movies, or computer games deserve to be rewarded for their efforts every bit as much as people who generate tangible products such as flour, furniture, or automobiles.

B) Currently, because we only put value on things that are not limitless, our best idea for having society recognize the value of intangible products (and renumerate their creators) is to set a limit on the products.

C) Who is better suited to set a limit on the products than the creators themselves?

Voila, I actually do support the concept of copyright, at least until something better comes along.

But in another attempt to spell out what I was saying: copyright does not mesh perfectly with a free market. Copyrighted products show some of the same symptoms as products churned out by a monopoly because copyright holders are assigned monopoly rights over their product. I'm stating observations. I'm not saying I'm against this. I'm not advocating the overthrow of the system.

My honest opinion, since you're the second person that seems to think I'm spouting anti-Copyright propoganda rather than just making an observation about it: I'd advocate a continuance of the current system with an affirmation of fair use rights, a restriction on the implementation of any system that could impede those rights with careful attention to preserving the material for the public domain, and a huge chopping-back of the copyright terms to something resembling fair (shorter than Jeffersonian given the relative increases in publication, duplication, and distribution technology since then). I'd recommend a separate term for software where the pace of development generally obsoletes it in 3-5 years.

A short-term monopoly encourages creation of a particular work. A long-term monopoly stagnates it, reduces the incentive to create, and harms those who have the incentive to create because nothing new is going into the pool of public works. It's a scale that needs balancing, and while it'll provide irritation to the entrenched interests it'll benefit society by prodding them to create more while adding a backlog of 70 or so years of culture into the pool for new artists and authors to draw from.

Re:So you're saying... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586232)

I think you're missing the point. CD and Movie prices are in the main not set by individual artists, but by cartels. All cd's cost about the same, no matter whose music they contain. Some cd's go to bargain and clearance prices faster than others, but the overall pricing scheme is pretty rigid and obviously fixed to gouge consumers.

Re:Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586243)

No, competitors being such as buying a Pengiun copy of Shakespeare, or the Riverside copy of Shakespeare.

A different author is a wholly different kind of competitor, and not relevant to the issue of a monopoly. They are not providing the same product -- their works are different.

To use an analogy, your claim is rather that if I need to buy a diamond, and there is only one diamond mine, that's alright, because I can still buy a cubic zirconium. Vaguely similar products aren't necessarily interchangable commodities -- try giving someone a cubic zirconium engagement ring! Or asserting that Star Trek is an equal substitute for Star Wars; there's only a one word difference, right?

Re:Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (2)

parliboy (233658) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586182)

Perhaps. But the way the laws are written now, it'll be sometime in the next century before competitor versions can even be legally sold.

Re:Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (2)

Alsee (515537) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586367)

just as inflated drug prices are a consequence of patent law (you notice how quickly those drop when a patent expires?)

For a second I thought you said when a patient expires. What a difference one letter makes LMAO!

-

Production costs are more than $5 a CD. (1)

Blaede (266638) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586097)

You have to be either incredibly naive or extremely stupid to think that the only costs a producer incurs in making a game is the simple cost of physically making the disk, packaging and literature. There is also the cost of paying the guys who created the game, which includes salary, and workplace. And at $45K plus per programmer, payroll adds up PRETTY QUICKLY. Then there's taxes. Did you know that a corpaoration, in addition to paying sales tax on any equipment it buys, must also pay a tax simply for having the equipment? And this is every year. Running a business entails way more expenses than you think, or I can list. Those usurious profits you think all businesses are making start to get whittled down pretty quickly when you start subtracting the other costs. You should try running your own business one day, and you will see that simply having a corporation is not a licence to print money.

Re:Production costs are more than $5 a CD. (1)

Howzer (580315) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586402)

I wasn't saying any of the things you attribute to me. I am well aware of the costs associated with producing content, distributing it, etc. etc.

Production costs, by the way, amortize out over the number of units you sell, just to respond breifly to your straw man arguments.

But you weren't attacking my point, or the point of the original article. Perhaps my point wasn't clear. I'll put it another way:

The thing that I came to understand, that I didn't before reading the article, was the connection between copyright and monopoly. That's all I was really saying, and I was using games and books to emotively illustrate that point. Other respondants to my post have spoken to this.

Now I also know that admitting you didn't know something or figure something out years before is tantamount to flame-induced suicide on /.! And as I said in my original post, perhaps I am just getting old, or, as you so kindly put it, perhaps I am just extremely stupid. But there it is.

Re:Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586105)

Because for finite sales, marginal cost average cost. So for what you are asking for, no one would ever make anything news, because they would always lose money on it, with no hope of recovering the loss!

Re:Good Lawyer = Clear Arguments (1)

jcam2 (248062) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586347)

In my opinion, that marginal cost argument was
the weakest in the article. All physical property
owners sell their property at above the marginal
cost, because they have a 'monopoly' on the things
that they own. If a company spends $1 billion on
a factory to make widgets that contain $1 in raw
materials but sell for $10, is that somehow
unfair?

when is enough, enough? (1)

hostage89 (461006) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586059)

No matter how much I write my senator (Dashle) I never seem to get through to him. It makes you wonder just how much your congress critter actually listens.

With all the power (money) the major corporations have it just seems hopeless. Everyday you hear about another lawsuit against another company that is allegedly violating some obscure copyright law.

Maybe someday the government will learn that they are just turning thier people away in favor of a few thousand dollars and some stupid companies.

Re:when is enough, enough? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586098)

Create (or find and join) a grassroots organization that's designed solely to mass-mail his constituents a pamphlet describing the things he's done that you aren't pleased with and you don't think they'll appreciate either. Get a web presence that you can direct people to in your mailing, preferably with an online forum where you can reach them on a more frequent/less expensive basis. Ramp up your efforts when he gets some competition you feel will do the job better in the next election, preferably someone who will respect the honest opinion of the electorate, and make sure you can talk to him from time to time to educate him on the issues.

That's all that the PR lobbyists do. It isn't really that hard if you can dedicate some time to it.

Re:when is enough, enough? (2)

prockcore (543967) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586566)

" No matter how much I write my senator (Dashle) I never seem to get through to him. It makes you wonder just how much your congress critter actually listens."

Am I the only one who thinks that's funny? Senator Dashle? The same senator that got an anthrax letter? No shit he's not reading the letters you send him.. all of his mail goes into the real-world equivilent of /dev/null now.

The Argument Nobody's Making (blog repost) (4, Interesting)

al3x (74745) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586068)

The entertainment industry's war on Fair Use and consumer rights is often debated in terms of legal precedent. You'll see Slashdot comments fumbling towards a constitutional justification of Fair Use, or authors like Lawrence Lessig positing ideas like a digital commons as a rebuttal to the wave of copyrighting and litigation. But there's one simple, clear argument against much of what the entertainment industry would like to do. Read on.

It's clear that the purveyors of movies, television, records and so forth are scared. They're losing money (or claim to be), and this does not make them happy. Their scapegoat is digital copying, as they refuse to accept that perhaps the content they provide is simply of poor quality, or badly and inconviently distributed, thus explaining their drops in sales. The response of the RIAA and MPAA has been to call for endless litigation and lawmaking, outlawing any behaviour that undercuts their profits at the taxpayer's expense. As above, many "activists" argue that this is illegal, immoral, etc. My response is different.

The key concept to note is "at the taxpayer's expense." The entertainment industry has every right to protect their content. What they don't (or should not) have, however, is the resources of government and public money. When public funds and time are used to save a failing industry, this is called protectionism, and it's a concept more familiar to Communist ideology than our Free Market. Of course, this White House is no stranger to protectionism, bailing out airlines, the steel industry, and offering farmers massive subsidies. And perhaps one can justify saving these industries: people need transportation, crops, building materials. But who can justify saving the entertainment industry?

It's entertainment, the superflous recreation that we fill our idle time with. While it generates a lot of money (and ergo political influence), entertainment has, ultimately, zero effect or worth to a population. Sure, music, film, and so forth are part of what defines a culture. But what the public agrees to support are the arts, works of inherant cultural value, not "Dude, Where's My Car?"

With this in mind, I think any debate about the worth of RIAA- and MPAA-proposed legislation comes to a grinding halt. The entertainment industry is allowed to protect itself using its own time and money; if they want copy protection schemes, for example, let them pay for research and development. But the instant taxpayer time and money is being spent to save big media, we've entered into profoundly unamerican territory.

Re:The Argument Nobody's Making (blog repost) (1)

Darkninja666 (198306) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586226)

While it generates a lot of money

This is not exactly true....the entertainment industry (including records, movies,etc.) makes approx. $30 Billion US.....while the computer industry (including hardware and software) makes approx $600 Billion US.

A better question would be "Why are we trying to help such a small industry?" or "Why does a 30B industry get to tell a 600B industry how to do its job (ie: include content controls in computers)?"

Screw it. Give it ot them. Complete control. (2)

crovira (10242) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586237)

Like giving Arrafat control of Palestine. (Now lets see if it outlives him.)

Like giving Levesque control of an independent Quebec. (it never happened...)

Like giving Lenin and his band of thugs control over the Soviet Union. (Who? What? I don't read history...)

Like giving Botha control over the system of Apartheid. (South Africa is now free to find solutions it can live with rather than laboring under rules it can die from.)

Giving the xxAAs absolutely EVERYTHING they asked for and being able to blame them for EVERYTHING that goes wrong after will lead to their membership being decimated and their being declared outlaws.

The cessation of the creation of content is an inevitable conclusion. NO NEW CONTENT. NO NEW BOOKS. NO NEW MUSIC. NO NEW MOVIES. Nothing will be created by the "factory" system since its cheaper to re-cycle the same old shit.

The neo-Luddites of the xxAAs will be so surprised when they finally win one after having fought EVERY technological development since the invention of the player piano and NEVER having won, not even ONCE.

That single victory be pyrric indeed as they get dismanteled and the rules of the self-styled industry watchdogs get regulated and enforced by government fiat.

Re:Screw it. Give it ot them. Complete control. (1)

CantGetAUserName (565692) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586485)

Are you willing to bet that the studios (which are basically PR factories) won't have enough sense to go easy. They'll be the odd bit of rough stuff, maybe, but how are you going to hear about it? Fox news? I don't think so!

And, yes, there'll be no new content. Let's see, UK cinema listing...Episode II (aka Ep I with better swordfight) About a boy (Hugh Grant being Hugh Grant number 52) Dog soldiers (Werewolf thing, maybe cool) Ice Age (CG cartoon thing) Scorpion King (Mummy III)

I don't see a fantastic amount of people complaining, do you?

Re:Screw it. Give it ot them. Complete control. (2)

Danse (1026) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586503)

Unfortunately, if we give them that control, they'll completely fuck up the computer industry, which would make me profoundly unhappy. I don't think I like that solution.

Start by letting them pay for Airwaves (1)

bstadil (7110) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586246)

I agree with you. It galls me that the Media companies think that the Frequencies they are using is somehow thiers.

Let them pay for it or if not let them loose the right to the content if they choose use this public resource.

We might all get Broadband quickly and cheaply as an added bonus. G3 band in Europe netted $45B or so. Sure the TV spectrum can net a pretty penny.

Re:The Argument Nobody's Making (blog repost) (1)

Thenomain (537937) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586297)

quote: entertainment has, ultimately, zero effect or worth to a population

If this statement wasn't in this ideology, I would happily nod and "Me Too" to this blog. But this statment strikes me as insensitive to the those things that we find entertaining.

Seseme Street: Entertaining, educational, positive effect or worth to a population.

WW2 Propoganda Cartoons: Entertaining, helped remind people of (relatively positive) civic duties, positive effect or worth to a population.

The Seven Samurai: Entertaining (to most of us), examines and describes a cultural legend with beautiful filmography, positive effect or worth to a population.

The point being is these things are art and art (like the specific subset of pornography) is a deeply subjective idea.

And whose to say there is no societal value to being able to sit and numb the brain for a while? "Geniuses" like to relax their brains, so why can't everyone else?

I am not making a case for the RIAA or any other heavy-IP control group. But the idea that all entertainment is "superfluous recreation" is decidedly erroneous.

I would like to "Me Too" on the taxpayer comment if it wasn't for the fact that taxpayer money also funds PBS and the National Endowment for the Arts, as well as other "positive effect or worth to the population" that we might call entertainment.

If we are to can the RIAA (et al.) from getting any taxpayer money (and we should), it should be for a better reason than "it's just entertainment".

Re:The Argument Nobody's Making (blog repost) (1)

al3x (74745) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586815)

Let me say that I tried to reinforce in my post that movies, music, etc. (even pop ones) have cultural value. I don't deny this. I also don't think we as taxpayers need to pay to save the distribution channels that provide them when those channels are inconvienient, costly, and full of middlemen with fat pockets. I like to veg out as much as the next guy ^_^

Re:The Argument Nobody's Making (blog repost) (1)

jcam2 (248062) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586329)

By that logic, the government shouldn't be
protecting the property of manufacturing
companies from thieves and looters either ..
instead, those companies shold be hiring their
own security guards to do the job. Anything else
is a government subsidy, right?

The whole point of 'intellectual property' is that
it gets protected by the government, just like
physical property does. That's what all the movie
studios and recording companies are paying tax
for. And the idea that only 'quality' art is
deserving of protection is simply ludicrous - by
what objective measure can we detetermine what
is quality and what isn't?

Re:The Argument Nobody's Making (blog repost) (1)

al3x (74745) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586812)

We already make the distinction between "quality" art - worthy of taxpayer funds - and the rest of it. Some people may disagree with that funded art (as in the elephant dung Virgin Mary thing in NYC about a year ago), but we fund it anyway. That's why we make the distinction of "the arts" and "entertainment." People seem to agree with that.

There's a difference between legal protections deployed by a government based on existing laws, and redefining theft. I think many people feel that the DMCA and similar laws redefines what's illegal to a detrimental extent. Everyone deserves due process, and I don't believe I recind the entertainment industry's right to it anywhere in my post. I just don't believe that they should get a clearly unfair advantage - if they're legislating for changing times, than consumers should get a "consumer bill of rights/fair use declaration" for the changing times.

Re:The Argument Nobody's Making (blog repost) (2)

dirk (87083) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586349)

It's entertainment, the superflous recreation that we fill our idle time with. While it generates a lot of money (and ergo political influence), entertainment has, ultimately, zero effect or worth to a population. Sure, music, film, and so forth are part of what defines a culture. But what the public agrees to support are the arts, works of inherant cultural value, not "Dude, Where's My Car?"
While I agree with the general sentiment of your post, I have to take great exception to this piece. Entertainment is art, whether you like it or not. You may not like "Dude, Where's My Car" (and trust me, I agree with you), but that does not make it any less art than Shakespeare, who in his time was a playwright playing directly to the lower class and under educated, just as "Due, Where's My Car" is. There are many good arguements against the RI/MPAA and the tactics they are employing, but the one that always sticks out as old fogeys looking at a younger culture they no longer understand is the "but all they put out anymore is crap" arguement. I do not like Britney Spears, but there are millions who do (for whatever reason it may be). My not liking her does not keep her from being art anymore than my not liking Van Gogh keeps him from being art.

Sound-bite analysis (2)

caduguid (152224) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586103)

Reading over the articles, I can't help but feel that the Atkinson article doesn't deserve the attention and response. It's more of a sound-bite recitation of the pro-intellectual-propertization CopyRighteousness than it is a reasoned analysis.

My favourite two bits:

1- from the Mission Statement of Atkinson's "Progress and Freedom Foundation"...
The sentence which begins "The Foundation's public policy work brings a market-oriented, pro-technology perspective" is said without any sense of irony. Didn't copyright start out as a tool for government censorship? Is prohibiting study and reverse engineering of code really either pro-technology or pro-market?

2- from the article itself:
"But "we" act through highly imperfect governmental institutions, subject to influence by the very corporations that Lessig distrusts. Worse yet, as Lessig himself has recognized, these institutions tend to be bureaucratic, resistant to innovation, and insufficiently flexible to respond in Internet time." Speaking of bureaucratic and insufficiently flexible, how about still discussing/framing the issue in 2002 based on what we thought, back in 1995, that the future would be (aka: information wants to be free, internet routes around censorship, ...) instead of what it is increasingly apparent the future will actually be, (aka: more and more content encrypted and accessible only on the extremely restrictive licensing terms of the major content-owning conglomerates.) And the "we act through highly imperfect governmental institutions" bit, too, as if the DMCA or even copyright itself weren't acting through those same institutions! Man.

Wait a minute, I fell for it too. Doh!
My apologies to Miller. Respond-away.

Re:Sound-bite analysis (2, Interesting)

Planesdragon (210349) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586174)

Didn't copyright start out as a tool for government censorship?

Not as far as I know. Going mostly on inference, it seems that the origin of Copyright came up sometime in Europe, and someone made an argument for it good enough that the authors of the US consitituion thought that it was necessarilly a power that the federal government should have.

It's hard to imagine how copyright could be used for government censorhip, too. The government can just outright censor someone--especially when the idea of copyright was being invented, they had no reason whatsoever to "censor" someone in the convoluted scheme that "copyright censorship" would require.

(heck, copyright, if anything, works against plagarism, rather than working for censorship.)

Is prohibiting study and reverse engineering of code really either pro-technology or pro-market?

Yes. Any security device is only good until it's bypassed. A blanket numbing effect on the development of new security workarounds helps lengthen the effectiveness of security.

It's not *pro-innovation* or *pro-startup*, but it is "pro-technology" and "pro-market." ;)
________________

Personally, I think the whole sheebang would just go away if code was covered by patents rather than copyrights, and copyright protection was widespread, fair, and had no legitimate reason to bypass. (and, no, that wouldn't necessarilly mean having a way to give bypass to those with fair use... they could just re-type or handwrite their own input like they were doing for years.)

'course, doing such requires a time machine, or a massive government subsidy. The key word here is *cheap*. *sigh*

Re:Sound-bite analysis (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586250)

Copyright did start as a censorship tool, yes. IIRC, it was started by Henry VIII -- today we would call it a stationer's copyright. Essentially the idea was that presses couldn't legally print anything unless it had been vetted for seditious content, etc. and approved.

However, copyright as we know it started with a radically different law, the Statute of Anne, in England, circa 1700. Publishers hated it, because this time the idea was to promote public learning, which would harm their profits.

American copyright is based on the same concept, and our Constitution says as much. AFAIK all modern copyright statutes are no longer of the stationer's variety, though copyrights of any sort did take a long time to catch on.

trivia: "copyright" is not from "right to copy" (4, Informative)

Adam J. Richter (17693) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586120)

Chapter two of The Nature of Copyright: A Law of Users Rights by L. Ray Patterson and Stanley W. Lindberg discusses the origin of the word copyright ("Copyright In The Beginning: A Publishers Right"). According to the book, copyright does not come from a "right to copy", but rather from copie, which was a noun meaning "manuscript" (not a verb meaning "to duplicate"). The title of the copie was recorded in a registry maintained by the Stationers Guild in the late 1500's to mid 1600's to record who they gave a monopoly to to publish a given book. This right lasted in perpetuity, but was only legally binding on members of the guild, which is apparently where the big push came from to turn this arragement into a law in order to prevent non-members from breaking the monopoly.

Authorship of the work apparently did not matter. Instead, a guild member could claim a monopoly in this registry for six pence (no idea what that translates to in today's dollars).

Re:trivia: "copyright" is not from "right to copy" (2)

rossz (67331) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586216)

It would be difficult to properly convert 16th century six pence into a modern equivelent. However, we can get a rough estimate of its worth by making simple comparisons.

A six pence is half a shilling. A typical seasoned merchant sailor made about this amount per day. This is on the high end for skilled workers (hazard pay). With this in mind, I would make the wild guess that we're talking one or two full days for a skilled worker. This makes it an expensive endeavor to register a copyright, so acts as a limiting factor. A bookmaker isn't going to go through the trouble of registering copyrights for a few dozen manuscripts "just in case" as the expense would ruin him. He would be very selective with his choices, looking for items that would give him a reasonable return on his investment. Remember, the majority of the population would not be capable of purchasing this type of luxury, so the market is very small.

Source of 16th century sailer pay is from "The Mariner's Mirror". Sorry, I don't have the exact citation handy at the moment.

Re:trivia: "copyright" is not from "right to copy" (2)

daniel2000 (247766) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586241)

Authorship of the work apparently did not matter. Instead, a guild member could claim a monopoly in this registry for six pence (no idea what that translates to in today's dollars).

I guess on the authorship Vs control issue, nothing has changed since the late 1500s...

One phrase I keep seeing (1)

fidget42 (538823) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586137)

WRT both copyright and corporations is that they are there to support the "public good." It is quite sad when people, and corporations, forget this. It appears as if many laws established for the public good have been re-interpreted as being for the "corporate good" instead.

*sigh*

simple is better (3, Interesting)

sydlexic (563791) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586145)

if the government is going to hand out monopolies in the form of copyright and patents, then they should force the recipient of a monopoly to license the work in reasonable, equal and non-descriminatory terms. that would put an end to the corporate patent-swapping schemes since everyone would have to a) declare the value and b) all licensers would get that price. it would also make it possible for works to be disseminated/sold legally through any and all channels. it would put an end to the RIAA's stranglehold on content.

america sucks (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586155)

let's face it America sucks. Everyone on Slashdot knows America is evil, shit that's all you guys talk about all day.

The best solution is destruction of America and Israel and the creation of a world wide Islamic state and recreation of the Caliphate.

Problems solved.

Jumping In On The US Flag Debate (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586176)

As noted on the Smithsonian Institution's site [si.edu] , the first official American flag had thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, each representing one of the thirteen original states. The flag icon for Slashdot's 'United States' section is missing its first stripe - the stripe that represents Delaware, the first state admitted to the Union. While a simple oversight could be forgiven, it should be known from here on out that Slashdot is in fact aware of the missing stripe, and even worse, refuses to do anything about it! [sf.net]

This vulgar flag desecration and rabid anti-Delawarism must be put to a stop. Let the Slashdot crew know that we will not accept a knowingly mutilated flag or the insinuation that Delawarians deserve to be cut out of the union. I ask you, what has Delaware done to deserve this insolence, this wanton disregard, this bigotry?

This intentional disregard of a vital national symbol is unpatriotic. Why, the flippant remarks CmdrTaco made about our flag border on terrorism! I urge you to join the protest in each 'United States' story. Sacrifice your karma for your country by pointing out this injustice. Let's all work together to get our flag back. Can you give your country any less?

The xxAAs use copyright to smother artists... (3, Interesting)

crovira (10242) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586208)

The creation of content is anathema to the xxAAs since it involves expense and possible financial loss.

These people(?) would rather sell reruns of crap for pure profit than spend a buck on a creative artist.

They see artists as a necessary evil which is controlled and manipulated by putting the art and the artist through a mill which grinds out "hits" while grinding down the artists.

Sometime the hype is so transparent that anyone with an ounce of integrity would hide their face in shame. Instead , you get some babe shilling shit while holding up a can of beer for scale.

What gets air play or screen time is not what's good or what is worth seeing but what some soul-dead accountant decides you should see.

Harry Potter books sold? Lets play it safe and make Harry Potter movies. How about a remake of ... ?

Eventually, they media mavens realize that the rerun is more profitable, specially if all the artists are dead of old age. How else can you explain Alphal-fuckin'-fa still being on TV? How about the "Three Stooges," week after week after week? Used as filler between commercials.

The reason they don't want anybody to be able to copy anything is that THEY want to SELL every byte that comes over the 'net and they don't want you to be able to hang on to any of them because then they can't charge you over and over for the same cra, uh, content.

The creators of content, the animators, artists, authors, musicians, playwrights, thespians etcetera will soon have no market anyway.

500 channels on TV and ALL running infomercials.

Message-less Media in the purest McLuhanistic sense.

The artists who are already the source for the content, will have to form their own separate distribution networks and use some form of micro payment PER COPY (the bane of the xxAAs control mechanisms. :-)

Imagine after the introduction of IPv6, when DynIP can finally be disposed of and spoofing becomes a great deal more difficult, a very minor change to the FTP protocol, call it cFTP, which records, when necessary, the address of the recipient of a document or packet stream.

Imagine a micro payment scheme which records charges for every copy of some artist's work collecting money from the recipient and depositing it in the artist's account.

Now imagine the xxAAs wondering where all the sucke, uh, audience has gone? Don't we WANT to pay for the n-th rerun of "My Mother The Car?"

Re:The xxAAs use copyright to smother artists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586281)

although i dig where your coming from don't go bombin on the three stooges now. those cats are my childhood heroes. at least the machine hasn't had the gall to remake the stooges. (or have they...)

Derivative works (2)

jcsehak (559709) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586218)

Okay, as someone who is trying to make a living from selling digitally-reproducable works (music, see sig), I can be sympathetic to copyright-holders' fears of a loss of sales due to people copying and distributing their goods for free. But what I completely fail to understand is this:

How is making a derivative work anything but a benefit to all parties concerned? Let's say I wrote a song and included a sample of a Benny Goodman song. I wouldn't be taking away from sales of Goodman CDs--who would say "Oh I don't need to buy that CD, I have another CD by someone else with a 4 second sample on it. That's all I need." As a matter of fact, it would boost sales of Goodman CDs. I myself have bought a lot of CDs just on the basis that a bit of a song on it was sampled by an artist I really like. It's really free advertising. The only problem I can see is if I made it seem like Benny Goodman was actually playing along with me, and the song had content that would tarnish his reputation in it. But that would fall under the laws for libel, wouldn't it? Or let's say I wanted to make a movie that featured someone reading an entire Stephen King book out loud? Well maybe that could be construed as copyright infringement, since it would be reproducing the entire work, but if I used just a passage? And I credited King? It's FREE ADVERTISING!

Here's an interesting true example: Raymond Carvers last book of poetry, "A New Path to the Waterfall", included a number of poems that were nothing more than snippets from Chekov (his favorite writer) stories. His removal of these passages from their original context imbued them with an altogether new meaning that wasn't present in the original works. It's really amazing stuff, and it pisses me off that writers of today are only able to do this with works in the public domain? What if Disney retro-extended copyrights so that they covered Chekov works? We'd all be out a damn fine book of poems.

The wierd thing is, I can do all of these things today by buying the rights to a work, which are almost always owned by the publisher, who rarely cares about keeping intact the original artist's reputation (remember the commercials that showed Fred Astaire dancing around with a vacuum cleaner? *shudder*). For example, the movie "From Hell" was a piece of crap compared to the complex genius that is the comic book. But did it tarnish the original author, Alan Moore's reputation? I don't think so. Were there some people who didn't buy the comic book because they saw the movie? I doubt it. I bet that more people bought the comic book since it came out. Plus, no matter how much I didn't like the movie, the world is richer because of it. Its creators should have had to do nothing more than conspicuously display credit to the original authors.

Copyright law today as it relates to creating derivative works has nothing to do with the integrity of the original work and everything to do with making a buck. Long-term copyrights may be preventing the growth of the public domain, but the bit that relates to creating derivative works is preventing the creation of many, many new works, by only allowing those with deep pockets to make those new works. If we want to see sampling as an art form develop to the levels of say, jazz or cubism, the law needs to be rewritten to either a) allow the unauthorized creation of a derivative work, but still force appropriate credit to be given, or b) everything in (a), but also allow the original author, and only the original author--this right must be non-transferrable-- the ability to sue a creator of a derivate work if he feels it tarnishes his reputation, or the integrity of his original work. Under no circumstances should an artist collect any payment from another artist for the permission to use a piece of his work.

MOD PARENT UP!!!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586424)

Preferably interesting. I wish I knew how to mod (I have a login name)

understanding effects of copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586245)

Doesn't an overly strong copyright encorage re-inventing the wheel instead of incremental improvement.

Who is William F. Adkinson, Jr. (5, Informative)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586255)

William F. Adkinson, Jr. is Senior Policy Counsel at The Progress & Freedom Foundation, a group that describes itself as a market-oriented think tank that promotes innovative policy solutions for the digital age.

The key phrase is "market-oriented." They are a group sponsored by big business. Their sponsors include:

* AOL Time Warner
* BMG
* National Cable & Telecommunications Association
* Sony Music Entertainment Inc.
* Vivendi Universal

And the article was published in The American Spectator, a shamelessly right-wing rag that caters to the crowd that believes that helping big business get bigger is the most important contribution that legislation can make to our lives.

Of course Adkinson came out with a pro-copyright rebuttal. His article is as unbiased and trustworthy as one citing the health benefits of cigarette smoking sponsored by R.J. Reynolds and Philip Morris.

Re:Who is William F. Adkinson, Jr. (2)

Jay Carlson (28733) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586383)

You know, the funny thing about "market-oriented" is that it seems to mean "encourages bigger and better corporations though vertical and horizontal integration". Which actually means fewer economic decisions are being made by markets, and more are made by managers at firms.

Sometimes it seems like "the market" is just the excuse for transfering decision power around (expecially away from your consumers), and reveals a deep mistrust of the use of markets as the basis for broad economic decision-making.

Re:Who is William F. Adkinson, Jr. (2)

fmaxwell (249001) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586397)

Groups that purport to be "market-oriented" are often just front organizations that push the agendas of large corporate "sponsors." They have no concern for individual rights or the greater good of society. Their sole interest is maximizing the profits of corporations. If that means taking away the basic rights that we have all come to value, so be it.

What's up with lawyers??? LawMeme (0, Offtopic)

jellybear (96058) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586257)

I just checked out that lawmeme site and it is BIZARRE. No "first posts" or goatsex or anything. What is up with those law people? Very disturbing.

monopoly and oligopoly (2, Interesting)

dukethug (319009) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586284)

Adkinson claims that the "5 movie studios and 7 record labels" should be plenty to create a competitive market. He argues that there is no real monopoly beyond that which is expressly allowed by copyright itself.

This argument felt funny to me, and it didn't take me long to realize why- there is something of a "critical mass" phenomenon when it comes to monopolies. You can have a monopoly in one big thing (e.g., operating systems) OR you can have a large number of small monopolies (e.g., in music.) The power of the record labels emerges from a single entity that has so many small monopolies at its control. This is what skews the market, as opposed to the ideal- a large number of small monopolies in the hands of many people.

Any claims that the movie studios are anything less than an oligopoly is absolutely ludicrous. If I did a survey of 1000 people, how many of them could tell me what record label she's on? Does it even matter? Of course not. It's not even the entertainment industry. It's the copyright industry.

Making copies is not a crime (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586307)

The Miller-Feigenbaum piece makes some sharp arguments about the distinction between copying and distributing creative works, and why it makes little sense to regulate copying in the digital age. I'm definitely going to recommend this to my Senators when I tell them what I think of the MPAA's efforts to trash my input devices [slashdot.org] .

I Blockquote:
Reproduction is not necessary to access a work embodied in a physical artifact. No copying is required to read a book or watch a movie. However, copying is necessary in order to read an e-book or watch a DVD. In the digital world, the right to control copying becomes tantamount to a right to control access to a work for purposes of normal use, such as reading, viewing, and listening. In the digital world, the right to control copying means that actually reading an e-book is presumptively a violation of the copyright owner's rights.

That's the crux of it. That's why I get so riled by any attempt to legislatively force DRM (Digital Rights Mangling) into my computer. It feels like the government granting a few cartels the power to dictate the conditions under which citizens access and formulate their responses to public discourses. If that ain't speeding down the road to unfreedom, pass me the hemlock. Freedom just ain't all it's cracked up to be.

...the copy out of copyright... (0)

jeanicinq (535767) | more than 11 years ago | (#3586355)

Least we could have thought of "co pyright".

CmdrTaco - US flag desecrator and Anti-Delawarian! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586512)

As noted on the Smithsonian Institution's site [si.edu] , the first official American flag had thirteen stars and thirteen stripes, each representing one of the thirteen original states.

The flag icon for Slashdot's 'United States' section is missing its first stripe - the stripe that represents Delaware, the first state admitted to the Union. While a simple oversight could be forgiven, it should be known from here on out that Slashdot is in fact aware of the missing stripe, and even worse, refuses to do anything about it! [sf.net]

This vulgar flag desecration and rabid anti-Delawarism must be put to a stop. Let the Slashdot crew know that we will not accept a knowingly mutilated flag or the insinuation that Delawarians deserve to be cut out of the union. I ask you, what has Delaware done to deserve this insolence, this wanton disregard, this bigotry?

This intentional disregard of a vital national symbol is unpatriotic. Why, the flippant remarks CmdrTaco made about our flag border on terrorism! I urge you to join the protest in each 'United States' story. Sacrifice your karma for your country by pointing out this injustice. Let's all work together to get our flag back. Can you give your country any less?

The focus on copies is about control (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586520)

Basically, if you and I cannot make any unauthorized copies, then all uses of the media go through the distributors. This level of control gives them three things they *want* very much going forward into the digitial age.

1. They can utilize pay per view and subscription models. WIth these, the larger the catalog, the more potential dollars they make over time. --I am talking about very long periods of time.

2. They stop the consumption problem. Right now we are busy buying media both new and old that we find interesting because the two primary digital formats promise long life and high fidelity. Once the boom in old media purchases is over, they will be left with the blockbuster profits they generate with new media productions. Over the next 10 years they face quite a revenue shortage with the current media and distribution models. Look for format changes that favor them and not us. (DIVX style, or at the least copy restricted media formats worse than what we have now.) You can bet that they will push the heck out of the blue laser DVD media and correct the "mistakes" made with existing DVD media.

3. They eliminate potential competition. Anyone wanting to distribute anything will have to go through an authorized distributor. No more "Blair Witch Project" releases stealing revenue from the first-run hits. A secondary effect here is about control of speech in general. Harder to make artistic statements without distribution. All they need to is say "the market is not ready for that!" and you are done. Maybe they buy it from you, or knock it off to marginalize your work and its all over.

Personally I have little sorrow for them. I am sure profits are important, but the benefit of the emerging distributed creative culture is more important to me. As others learn, they will agree. This is a large part of why this stuff does not get a lot of mainstream press.

Maybe the above is a little alarmist, but I can find few other sane motives that explain their actions of late.....

Re:The focus on copies is about control (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 11 years ago | (#3586626)

It's not alarmist -- check this [key2audio.com] out for an example of 'copy protection' as marketing tool:

Step 1) Disable access to protected disc on computer.

Step 2) Offer special software to permit streaming access to a copy of the material by visiting website of the music label.

Step 3) Bombard you with ads whenever you visit the site to listen to the music you can't play directly from the disc.

BTW: This is the same scheme that locks some Macs, and is apparently defeated by your average marker. Anyway, make sure to keep bringing this point up whenever it looks like people are accepting the 'piracy' argument, because you and I both know there's more money in opening new revenue streams via controlling the medium than there is in loss management (and hey, if they can do both, so much the better).

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