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Kahle vs Ashcroft: Copyright Battle Continues

michael posted more than 10 years ago | from the ding-ding dept.

The Courts 390

Robotech_Master writes "People may remember librarian Brewster Kahle as the man behind Archive.org's Wayback Machine and the Internet Bookmobile. He was one of the big supporters of Eldred in the Eldred vs Ashcroft case. Well, he's at it again. A new lawsuit, Kahle vs Ashcroft, has been filed as of March 22nd. Lawrence Lessig comments on this case in his blog." Question number 3 of the FAQ explains that while the Eldred case challenged the length of copyright expansion, this case challenges the breadth.

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390 comments

frist post for lord trink (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648277)

all hail lord trink and the his glorious mother

Venezuelans catching flamingoes for food (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648467)

Yes, it's true -- the poor people of Venezuela have been reduced to catching and eating an endangered species. [cnn.com] Chavez, elected president of Venezuela, wants only help the poor and bring social justice -- but George Bush responds with plots and conspiracies to overthrow the Venezuela's lawfully elected government and to destroy its economy.

How many more endangered species and peoples of the world will be eaten and starved (respectively) by George Bush's stubborn 'diplomacy'?

Re:Venezuelans catching flamingoes for food (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648480)

Why do you think GWB would care about you.

You are not the God's chosen people: jews and Americans.

Re:Venezuelans catching flamingoes for food (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648594)

or the disciples of lord trink

Hasn't this already been settled? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648289)

Not that I agree with the result, but didn't the US Supreme Court rule that effectively "open-ended" copyright terms were OK?

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (5, Informative)

panthro (552708) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648336)

Not really. This is with reference to works that are no longer available... basically, he's saying that retaining copyright restrictions on abandonware is unconstitutional, and I agree.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (5, Insightful)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648400)

Who's to classify a work as "abandonware?" If the author doesn't want the work released, he should have the right to keep it that way. The burden should rest on the publisher, even if that means tracking down the current copyright holder and begging for permission.

Just because you can't find it easily doesn't mean that it should be free for the taking.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (5, Informative)

AnyNoMouse (715074) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648524)

Who's to classify a work as "abandonware?" If the author doesn't want the work released, he should have the right to keep it that way. The burden should rest on the publisher, even if that means tracking down the current copyright holder and begging for permission. Just because you can't find it easily doesn't mean that it should be free for the taking.
The constitution originally provided that all works had to apply for copyright to be copyrighted and that these copyrights had to apply for a renewal at some point to maintain copyright. A recent law changed these requirements.

"Abandonware" would be a copyrighted work that was not renewed.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648536)

  • If the author doesn't want the work released, he should have the right to keep it that way.
THE HELL HE DOES.

That line of thinking has caused thousands of hours of vintage TV programming to be lost forever.

If you can't legally buy it, you should be able to freely trade it around.

Besides, since everything is supposed to end up in the public domain eventually, what better way to preserve something?

You forget that copyright is not meant to solely benefit the copyright holder, and noone else.

Amiga Unix is now being spread around the net thanks to someone who had a tape of it and had the forethought to back it up before it degrades. The source code was already lost long ago, so if this were lost, there would be no existence of Amiga Unix at all. And it's said that AMIX is one of the better implementations of it's time, I believe. With your line of reasoning, AMIX would be lost.

Abandonware could be set at, say, 15 or 20 years. More than plenty to let something sit around. And if it can be legally acquired (not used, brand new), then copyright protection is fine. But something like this literally allows someone to destroy a part of history, intentionally or otherwise. And that should be prevented above all, because what good is it if the future generations can't benefit from it?

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (0, Troll)

glenrm (640773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648607)

Shit vintage TV and Amiga UNIX I didn't know this was so serious...

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648626)

If you can't legally buy it, you should be able to freely trade it around.

That's right! Where is my free weed?

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648644)

Here's the problem. I think an author should be allowed to maintain the rights to his material as long as he lives. Why should I only be allowed to make money off of my great american novel for 20 years and then for the rest of my life, a bunch of knock-off publishing houses can redistribute my novel without paying me - yet they continue making money off of my work and product without any contribution or significant change to it *themselves*?

But then, if the creator only gets rights for the length of their own life, are publishers and movie makers going to want to accept material from authors who are in their golden years? Hell no - because they can't make money off the material very long.

So we have the situation we have now. Life of the creator plus.. however long. It sucks, I know.. but what other solution is there? I think it's wrong for material to never return to public domain, but I also think it's wrong to force someone to put their material out in the public for other people to make money off of while they're still alive. What if I'm living in a cardboar box but Random House is still running the 74th printing of my book and raking in cash for themselves? That's just wrong.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (2, Insightful)

jeffkjo1 (663413) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648686)

Somehow the 28 years system worked for over 150 years.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (4, Insightful)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648554)

So does the author have the right to say "I don't want my work released, ever, so any old copies out there can degrade until they are unuseable but no one can make any new copies."????

Answer honestly. Do you believe that this is true, that an original content creator has perpetual rights to control the use of his work?

If so, congratulations, you believe in the European model of copyright, where it is an inherent right of a person.

In the US, however, copyright is not an inherent right. Instead, public domain is the inherent right, and the constitution grants a limited monopoly on creative works ONLY so that the public domain is improved. Thus, in the US, once an author/creator/etc. chooses to write down and release a work, he or she has given up perpetual control of that work. The constitution demands that, after a limited monopoly, the public domain shall inherit the work.

Frankly, I agree with the constitution. Some things belong to humanity, not to the greed or whims of those in control. The sum body of human creativity is one of them.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648597)

The answer to your question is:

The author has every right to prevent his work from being released during the copyright period. However, you do have the right to make a copy for backup, shifting, etc.

But the author should not be prevented from maintaining a right to his own work during his lifetime. I'm not sure that I agree with the "so many years after his lifetime" part of our current law.

If I create a work for personal benefit, and then others benefit but I do not - then copyright has failed. I simply would not create any more work. If he wants to let others benefit from his work, then that's his choice.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (1)

panthro (552708) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648563)

The copyright holder often stops distributing the work before the copyright term is up. I don't have statistics, but it seems logical to assume that in the vast majority of these cases that happens because the work stops being profitable; therefore, in those cases, the fact that the work is being distributed by someone else is not hurting the copyright holder's profit at that point. The copyright term can be cut short here without curtailing (and indeed, enhancing) the principle behind finite copyright terms.

If we follow your reasoning, why have copyright terms at all? Works should stay copyrighted forever and ever until the copyright holder (who may have inherited the copyright from a great-grandfather) decides to let it go.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (2, Insightful)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648654)

I don't think stopping production means that it isn't profitable. I think Disney does this with the intent of maximizing its profit.

Often Disney stops production of a video title and lets the market go without new copies for seven or so years then re-releases it. I think under the idea of abandonware, it has been abandoned for seven years.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (1, Informative)

Galuvian (755742) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648565)

Prior to the Sonny Bono Act + DMCA changes to copywright laws, all Copywrighted work needed to be registered with the government. The question this case raises is now that copywrights are granted automatically at the time the work is created and no registration is necessary, there is no way to tell what the abandonware is, so everything is protected for life+70. The original copywright law provided for 14 years plus the option for another 14. The author had to explicitly come forward and request that the work remain copywrighted after a certain period of time. That is fundamentally different than the current copywright laws.

"If the author doesn't want the work released" (2, Interesting)

Atanamis (236193) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648567)

The issue they are questioning is whether the work should be protected if the author doesn't care. The suit is stating that for a work to be protected, the author ought to be required to express a desire for it to be protected. Also, the author could then provide some means for contact so that permission can be requested.

I agree that difficulty of access does not make it permissible to use without authorization, but see little value in restricting access to works where the author doesn't care. Requiring the author to request and renew copyright merely ensures that they are still interested in maintaining the rights to their work.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648581)

I'm sorry, but author or no, you don't have the right to destroy information. If the author dosen't want something released, then they shouldn't have released it.

With copyright terms "protecting" works for longer than their recorded medium can hold them, we are faced with a very real danger of our history, culture and knowledge disappearing.

If you want to live in the dark ages, find a cave somewhere. Me, I kinda like some things about the 21st century.

Ok, I'll Clarify (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648674)

I agree with most of your points. I'm not trying to support a perpetual copyright; quite the opposite. I would argue is that copyright is too long - not that it should be removed from people who want it kept.

If an author wants to protect his work, he should. But only in the interest of him protecting his work and ability to profit from it reasonably. He should be able to extend it to a period if he chooses. But that would require registration. If an author wishes to protect it for a period (say, 20 years) then he shouldn't need that registration requirement. After that point, failure to extend would result in the work being released to the public domain.

If a vintage TV show is released on DVD, you might buy it. So they keep the copyright.

It sucks, but if I release a book and then decide that I don't want to sell it anymore, I should be able to stop the distribution. Within reason. Not forever.

If an author doesn't care (abandonware) then it should lapse and go public domain. If they don't care, then contacting them should result in a "sure, I'll release it to public domain and you can give it away."

This case is summed up: I want to give stuff away for free, but tracking down authors and getting that release is a lot of work so I'll try to do it in one fell swoop.

Re:Hasn't this already been settled? (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648385)

no. SCOTUS basically said that Congress was still within the letter of the constitution by saying that copyrighted works still had a difinitive time-limited scope. even if that scope keeps getting extended.

read lessig's comments. he points out the difference in the complaints between this new case and the Eldred case.

re (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648292)

arrrrrrr i win

Re:re (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648300)

Sorry - you lose!

FROSTY POST INSIDE (TM) (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648307)

copyright 2004 AC Enterprises

FROST BIATCH!

Creative Commons (5, Informative)

v_1_r_u_5 (462399) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648309)

Musicians who are interested in this might also be interested in the creative commons license [creativecommons.org] .

1-2-3-4 What are we fighting for?: +1, Patriotic (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648451)


Iraq is an imminent threat [topplerummy.org]

RISE UP CHANT

Who can stop the war?
(answer back)We can stop the war!
Who can stop the war?
(answer back)He can stop the war!
Who can stop this war?
(answer back)You can stop the war!
Who can stop the war?
(answer back)We can stop the war!

Rise up! Resist and Rebel!
Our world's not theirs to sell,
Rise up! Resist and Rebel!
Lets tell Rummy to go to szszsz!

End this war-(answer back)We don't want it!
End this war-(answer back)We don't need it!
Fight the system!
Take the power!
Make the corporations cower!

Rise up my friends & spread the word
It's time to make our voices heard!
(clap) Resist (clap) Resist, Raise up your fist!
(clap) Resist (clap) Resist, Show 'em that youre pissed!
(clap) Resist (clap) Resist, Fight the militarists!
(clap) Resist (clap) Resist, Tell them what to kiss!

Who can stop the war?
(answer back)We can stop the war!
Who can stop the war?
(answer back)He can stop the war!
Who can stop this war?
(answer back)You can stop the war!
Who can stop the war?
(answer back)We can stop the war

Re:Creative Commons (2, Informative)

panthro (552708) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648655)

Creative Commons licenses can apply to a lot more than just music. They are currently used with writings, visual arts, photography, film/theatre, music, research, and more, and could potentially apply to anything that a copyright can.

Important info for our Kiribati-speaking friends: (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648662)

TAEKAN REIREIN TE TUA

Iai ana waaki ana Kuura te Tua n te USP ibukin karekean te itoman ke te katiteuanaaki iaon reiakinan tuua. E boboto te waaki aio iaon tuan te Betebeke Maiaki ike angia ana ataei te kura aio bon roko man te aono anne. Ibukin baikai are e a kuneaki bwa te Kakaokoro boni ngaia te boto ni iango ae e na riai ni katuruturuaki ianngoakina. Ngkana ngaia bwa te Kakaokoro aio are e na karekea te itoman ke te katikeuanaki nakon te waaki aio, n aron ae e a bon tia n riki ngkai, e kuneaki bwa e na bon iai naba kaiangatoa ke kanganga aikai ana Kuura te Tua ao n aron iangoana bwa a na bon kona n riki bwa boutokaan ma kakorakoraan te waaki ngkana a karaoaki n angaia ae e eti.

Iai taben ana Kuura te Tua bwa reiakinan tuua ao kairan kakae ake kaineti ma te Betebeke Maiaki. N atakin maitin aba ake a reke iaan USP ( aba ake 12, ma a kona n raka riki ), ao e kakoauaki bwa te anga reirei ao te kakae bon bwaai aika iai irekerekeia.

Man te tai are e tei iai USP n te 1994 ao te waaki aio e bon ti kaineti ma reiakinan tuua nakoia ataei ake a karaoi aia kamatebwai iaon tuua bon man ana kura te tua. Ataei aikai ake a karaoa aia kamatebwai ibukin aia moan n ririki n te Laucala Campus i Suva, Fiji, ke n te Emalus Campus i Port Vila, Vanuatu. Imwin banen te ririki anne ao a manga reitanako aia kamatebai ibukin aia kauoua, kateniua ao aia kaaua n ririki n te Emalus Campus i Port Vila, Vanuatu. N taai aikai ao e tia ni moana katauan reiakinan tuua ana Kuura te Tua n taabo ake iai mwangan iai USP n te aro are a na kona iai ataei n aonon te Betebeke Maiaki n reke riki angaia ni karekea aia atatai iaon aio.

Taben te Kuura aio bwa e na karekea te kabanea n tamaroa man te reirei are e anga iaon tuua. Tabena aio are e kaineti ma reiakinaia ataei bwa a na atai bwaai aika a rangi ni kakawaki ibukin te rabakau aio ma ni iai atatai ni bwaai ake a bongana ibukin te Betebeke Maiaki.

Ni karoa ririki ao ana Kuura te Tua n te USP e aki toki ni kabwakai nanoia Iabatera man aba aika a kakaokoro itinanikun te Betebeke Maiaki ake a ibuobuoki n anga aika a mwaiti ibukin reiakenan tuua ao karaoan kakae rinanon te reirei. Iai naba aia ibuobuoki ana taan reirei te Kuura aio ake a rangi ni kakawaki nakon taabo ake a irekereke ma tuua ni ikotaki ma botaki ake a boutoka aron rikiraken tuua n te Betebeke. E reitaki ana Kuura te Tua ma te rbwata ae e aranaki bwa te Institute of Justice and Applied Legal Studies. Te rabwata aio e bon tabe ma rabakau ao kataneiai ake a bongana ibukin te Betebeke Maiaki.

E teretere ikai bwa reiakinan tuua bon te banna ae e a tia ni keaki nakon te aonnaba bwa tiaki ti te kawai ni kareke mwakuri ibukin taabo ake a irekereke ma tuua, ma a kona naba n reke ma iai mwakuri aika a kakaokoro n aron te bitineti ( commerce), taabo ni karao - bwai (industry), mwakuri ni kairiri (management) ao ai bon taabo ni mwakuri ake a kabuta (public service). Ibukin aikai ao ti kona ni kangai bwa ana Kuura te tua bon te reirei are e na kona n reke ma iai mwakuri n aekaia nako ao tiaki ti taabo ake a kaineti ma te rabakau ke te atatai iaon tuua. Te kuura aio e na bon kona naba ni katauraoia aomata ibukin mwakuri n taabo aika a kakaokoro n aban nako te Betebeke Maiaki. E na reitanako ana mwakuri te kura aio iaon te anga reirei, te kaekae ao mwakuri ibukin botaki nako. Baikai ake a na reke bwa a na ibuobuoki ibukin kaitaraan kainanoia ana botaki te Betebeke Maiaki.

DUPED AGAIN! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648317)

So when's his book detailing his masterful support of our first ammendment rights coming out? All this is is another publicity stunt for another book. Sheesh. Only slashdot would fall for a ruse like this. SUCKAHS!

One more chance left... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648320)

the length, breadth and finally the depth of the copyright expansion.

You heard it right! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648323)

Would it not be great to turn on the TV tonight and see G. W. Bush give
> the following speech...
> >
> > My fellow Americans:
> > As you all know, the defeat of Iraq's regime has been completed. Since
> congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in
> Iraq is complete.
> > This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American
> forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days.
> > It is now time to begin the reckoning. Before me, I have two lists.
One
> list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during
the
> Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria,
> Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there.
> > The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the
> world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing
> copies of both lists later this evening.
> > Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those
> nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved
> during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the
Iraqi
> war.
> > The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world
> hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption.
> > Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France. In
> the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money
> toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home.
> > On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we
> will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of
> the earth. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or
> maybe China.
> > To Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Yo, boys. Work out a peace
deal
> now. Just note that Camp David is closed. Maybe all of you can go to
> Russia for negotiations. They have some great palaces there. Big tables,
> too.
> > I'm ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France,
> Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring
> from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.
> > I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN
> diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid tickets
> to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I
> don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. Pay your tickets
> tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers, and limos be turned over
to
> some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York.
> > A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are
going
> to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not
> pissing us off for a change. Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and
> his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I have
a
> couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I'm
> gonna put 'em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your
> oil. Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty -
> starting now.
> > It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens.
> > Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them be saying darn
> tootin'. Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life
around
> the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on
> the planet.
> > It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate
> homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup soccer from
> America.
> > To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you.
> > To the nations on List 2, a final thought. Drop dead.
> > God bless America.

Re:You heard it right! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648388)

That's quite a knuckle-dragging isolationist fantasy. The interesting thing is that the isolationists who want the US to turn its back on the world are planning to vote for Kerry. That's enough to make me vote Bush right there.

Re:You heard it right! (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648513)

Nice formatting. Try making it readable next time, Cheesedick:

My fellow Americans:


As you all know, the defeat of Iraq's regime has been completed. Since congress does not want to spend any more money on this war, our mission in Iraq is complete.

This morning I gave the order for a complete removal of all American forces from Iraq. This action will be complete within 30 days.

It is now time to begin the reckoning. Before me, I have two lists. One list contains the names of countries which have stood by our side during the Iraq conflict. This list is short. The United Kingdom, Spain, Bulgaria, Australia, and Poland are some of the countries listed there.

The other list contains everyone not on the first list. Most of the world's nations are on that list. My press secretary will be distributing copies of both lists later this evening.

Let me start by saying that effective immediately, foreign aid to those nations on List 2 ceases immediately and indefinitely. The money saved during the first year alone will pretty much pay for the costs of the Iraqi war.

The American people are no longer going to pour money into third world hell-holes and watch those government leaders grow fat on corruption.

Need help with a famine? Wrestling with an epidemic? Call France. In the future, together with Congress, I will work to redirect this money toward solving the vexing social problems we still have at home.

On that note, a word to terrorist organizations. Screw with us and we will hunt you down and eliminate you and all your friends from the face of the earth. Thirsting for a gutsy country to terrorize? Try France, or maybe China.

To Israel and the Palestinian Authority. Yo, boys. Work out a peace deal now. Just note that Camp David is closed. Maybe all of you can go to Russia for negotiations. They have some great palaces there. Big tables, too.

I'm ordering the immediate severing of diplomatic relations with France, Germany, and Russia. Thanks for all your help, comrades. We are retiring from NATO as well. Bon chance, mes amis.

I have instructed the Mayor of New York City to begin towing the many UN diplomatic vehicles located in Manhattan with more than two unpaid tickets to sites where those vehicles will be stripped, shredded and crushed. I don't care about whatever treaty pertains to this. Pay your tickets tomorrow or watch your precious Benzes, Beamers, and limos be turned over to some of the finest chop shops in the world. I love New York.

A special note to our neighbors. Canada is on List 2. Since we are going to be seeing a lot more of each other, you folks might want to try not pissing us off for a change. Mexico is also on List 2. President Fox and his entire corrupt government really need an attitude adjustment. I have a couple extra tank and infantry divisions sitting around. Guess where I'm gonna put 'em? Yep, border security. So start doing something with your oil. Oh, by the way, the United States is abrogating the NAFTA treaty - starting now.

It is time for America to focus on its own welfare and its own citizens.

Some will accuse us of isolationism. I answer them be saying darn tootin'. Nearly a century of trying to help folks live a decent life around the world has only earned us the undying enmity of just about everyone on the planet.

It is time to eliminate hunger in America. It is time to eliminate homelessness in America. It is time to eliminate World Cup soccer from America.

To the nations on List 1, a final thought. Thanks guys. We owe you.

To the nations on List 2, a final thought. Drop dead.

God bless America.

Mod Child Up !!! (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648324)

Insightful!

Re:Mod Child Up !!! (-1, Offtopic)

Mateito (746185) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648414)

Thanks.

Orphan works (4, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648488)

The works described as "orphan works" in the linked FAQ show a need for some sort of copyright reform. Clearly, there are works out there which hold a good deal of intellectual value, but hold no commercial value for their owner.

Perhaps what we need is some sort of system that if a work has not been used commercially for x period of time, it should be deemed to have no commercial viability and be released to the public domain.

What about retro appeal (1)

modder (722270) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648614)

"Perhaps what we need is some sort of system that if a work has not been used commercially for x period of time, it should be deemed to have no commercial viability and be released to the public domain."

What if someone is intentionally holding on to something (which currently has no commercial appeal any more) in order to use it later for some sort of retro throwback appeal, which would make it commercially viable again? Would they be able to prevent this slip into the public domain somehow?

Re:What about retro appeal (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648653)

Perhaps there could be some sort of exception for this, such as some form of registration for works that would fall into this category.

boring (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648334)

when is ashcroft going to throw these damn thieves in jail?

Dear Mr. Ashcroft (5, Funny)

spun (1352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648358)

We have a few things that might help with your plans for world domination. Please take a look at our latest catalog [villainsupply.com] . A man your age could use a nice exoskeleton, or some mutant super powers. We have great deals on lairs of all sorts this month, and I know how you love to hide out in a nice lair.

Yours in Evil,
Dr. Freidrich E. DeSpayr, MD, Ph.D, Ev.D
Chairman and Chief Evil Officer, World Domination LLC

Re:Dear Mr. Ashcroft (1, Offtopic)

spun (1352) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648472)

Moderators of Slashdot! How DARE you mark this post offtopic? Know you not that Mr. Ashcroft was our February 2003 Customer of the Month [villainsupply.com] ? We at World Domination LLC do not take lightly to being moderated down. Prepare to meet our blazing hot wrath, you peons!

Lord Seismodeus
Marketing Director, World Domination LLC

Re:Dear Mr. Ashcroft (4, Informative)

nycsubway (79012) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648477)

Ashcroft is a nutcase. He spent $8000 of taxpayers money cover up the bare breasts on the lady of justice statue in Washington DC. Because, as Al Franken says "he didn't want to be photographed next to another boob."

He also has daily prayer sessions with his staff. Regardless of their faith.

There are also stories of him asking judges to annoint him with oil when he got into a new position... weird stuff. He's just an all around nut.

Re:Dear Mr. Ashcroft (1)

glenrm (640773) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648651)

Didn't Al Franken send questions to Ashcroft and other conservatives posing as a professor at a major university?
Also I am sure the prayer session are voluntary if he has them and it is nice to see that he does not exclude others, would you rather there be a Chrisitan only prayer group?
Know way does he ask judges to annoint him with oil, there maybe stories of him doing this but then there are stories of Hillary Clinton channeling Ghandi on the White House roof and I don't believe those either...

Re:Dear Mr. Ashcroft (1)

October_30th (531777) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648694)

would you rather there be a Chrisitan only prayer group?

What business does any religion have in the government?

Re:Dear Mr. Ashcroft (1, Insightful)

pnatural (59329) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648656)

Ashcroft is a nutcase. He spent $8000 of taxpayers money cover up the bare breasts on the lady of justice statue in Washington DC. Because, as Al Franken says "he didn't want to be photographed next to another boob."

If he were a member of the Islam religion and had had similar objections to nakedness, would you take fault with him then?

He also has daily prayer sessions with his staff. Regardless of their faith.

Does he require that his staff attend and participate?

So he should be forbidden from praying? By extension, should all civil servants renounce their religion in order to do their job?

Again, would you object to this if he was a muslim? Or would you just sit silent?


There are also stories of him asking judges to annoint him with oil when he got into a new position... weird stuff. He's just an all around nut.


Have anything to back that up? A link to an eye-witness account of this? Or just more rumors?

Seems to me you (and many others here) are in the business of Ashcroft FUD.

Re:Dear Mr. Ashcroft (1)

PacoTaco (577292) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648704)

There are also stories of him asking judges to annoint him with oil when he got into a new position...

It's in his book. They used Crisco [disinfo.com] .

Pretty sweeping (4, Interesting)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648364)

6. How does "unconditional copyright" create these problems?

Under our traditional system of conditional copyright, the overwhelming majority (as much as 90%) of published works were neither registered nor noticed, and thus passed immediately into the public domain, where they were freely usable by others without the need to ask permission.

Challenging the perpetual extension of copyright is one thing. Going back to the old "no copyright until you register" system is something else, and pretty radical. (Note that GPL stuff very definitely uses copyright as its base. Do you want to have to register every little release to have a valid GPL on it?)

Re:Pretty sweeping (1)

morcheeba (260908) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648409)

GPL has the copyright notice, so it'll still get protection. But, unless you register, you can't win extra damages when someone violates your copyright. IANAL.

Re:Pretty sweeping (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648459)

If someone violates your copyright, you can indeed register after the fact and still sue them for damages.

Re:Pretty sweeping (1)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648461)

GPL has the copyright notice, so it'll still get protection. But, unless you register, you can't win extra damages when someone violates your copyright. IANAL.

What do you mean by "protection"? What does "win extra damages" mean? Do you have any links to back this up? This isn't very reassuring for me.

Re:Pretty sweeping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648602)

He means, if someone steals your manuscript and makes a movie out of it and you didn't have it officially registered with the copyright office, you can sue to make them STOP using it.

However, if you have it officially registered with the copyright office, you can sue them to make them STOP using YOUR material *and* for money to compensate for your loss and their theft of your material.

In other words, if they make a billion dollars off of your manuscript by making your movie, it's the difference between telling them "okay, don't do that anymore..." and "okay, now hand over the billion dollars you made by ripping this guy off".

And all the links you need to back this up are at the US Copyright Office. Check out their website.

Re:Pretty sweeping (2, Informative)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648479)

Under the current system (in line with the Berne Convention). Under the old system, if you didn't register, that copyright notice isn't valid and means sweet richard all.

Re:Pretty sweeping (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648486)

Eaxctly, but this is only under the unconditional copyright system. If Kahle is successful then these protections won't exist at all and you must register your work to get protection of the law. Each derivative work woudl need to be registered to beprotected by copyright law regardless of the legal status of the originl work. If the work is not protected by copyright the GPL will have a much weaker leg to stand on legally.

Re:Pretty sweeping (2, Informative)

David Hume (200499) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648605)


GPL has the copyright notice, so it'll still get protection.


This isn't correct. According to item #2 of the FAQ [stanford.edu] , if this lawsuit is succesful, mere "notice" would be insufficient, and instead we would be back to:

"a conditional copyright system that limited copyright protection to those who took affirmative steps to claim it -- by, for example,
registering their copyright, marking copies of their work with copyright notice, and renewing their copyright after a relatively short initial period of protection."


FAQ [stanford.edu] (emphasis added)

Re:Pretty sweeping (2, Insightful)

XaXXon (202882) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648432)

I'd like to say that the parent post is *EXTREMELY* important and must be addressed.

Most open-source developers take their copyright for granted. One says that his/her code is GPL (or BSD or whatever) and *poof*, like magic, it is.

I don't know what is involved in registering for a copyright, but I'm sure it's harder than doing nothing.

These fears may be misplaced, but I'd like someone to address them.

Re:Pretty sweeping (4, Interesting)

happyfrogcow (708359) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648623)

Interesting. Wondering myself what is involved, i went to the U.S. Copyright Office [copyright.gov] online.

I was pleased to see:

Literary Works
Register your book, manuscript, online work, pamphlet, poetry, report, test, automated database, computer program, or other text.

then, on the next page as step 1 of Literary Works, "Computer programs and databases also are considered literary works." however following at link of examples i found

"Computer Programs
A "computer program" is a set of statements or instructions to be used directly or indirectly in a computer in order to bring about a certain result.

Copyright protection extends to all the copyrightable expression embodied in the computer program. Copyright protection is not available for ideas, program logic, algorithms, systems, methods, concepts, or layouts."


This lead me to a 4 page PDF File [copyright.gov] . It says what you need to submit and that it costs $30. It is a somewhat interesting read, but offers no explanation of what exactly is copyrightable if, as they previously said "Copyright protection is not available for ideas, program logic, algorithms, systems, methods, concepts, or layouts." That leaves me with nothing but comments, and *maybe* data structures. However data sctructures are nothing more than a layout of data in memory, or an idea encapsulating data layout.

I don't get it.

Re:Pretty sweeping (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648672)

That's because *POOF* like magic - IT IS COPYRIGHTED.

Copyright is granted instantly upon creation by the author. Paying the copyright office $30 and filling out paperwork is just an additional and OPTIONAL course you can take. Just because you don't officially register it doesn't mean you don't still own it and control it and that there isn't a copyright on it.

You can verify this anywhere on the internet including the copyright office themselves. YOU ARE NOT REQUIRED TO REGISTER YOUR COPYRIGHT TO MAINTAIN COPYRIGHT ON YOUR CREATED WORK AND SUE IN COURT TO PREVENT OR STOP SOMEONE ELSE FROM USING IT.

Re:Pretty sweeping (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648702)

Yes, but this seems to be something Kahle wants to change.

Re:Pretty sweeping (2, Insightful)

PCM2 (4486) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648557)

Yeah, I'm not sure I get his arguments here. The idea that authors' works are "locked up" against their will seems ludicrous at the face of it.

I've created works that I have specifically registered with the copyright office. An example is the comic strip, below. I registered this work to protect myself from people reprinting the strip against my will for financial gain. For instance, I don't want to be browsing through a book in a bookstore and come across my strip printed there, and I want to have the full benefit of the tools of financial restitution available to me should that occur.

If, on the other hand, you, Joe Blow, wanted to use the very same strip for your own purposes and you weren't planning to really make money off it and your use really wouldn't do any damage to my ability to "profit" off the strip, in my opinion, then I might just allow you to use it. In fact, even if you never contacted me for permission to use it (but I'd prefer you did), there'd be nothing stopping you. All I'd have to do to "unlock" that terribly "locked up," copyrighted work is .... (drum roll please) ... finish this cup of coffee and read the paper.

Follow me? One common misconception about copyrights is that they "go away" if you don't defend them. That can be true of trademarks, but not of copyrights. If it's my personal policy to sue Disney when they infringe my copyright, but not sue individuals like you, then that's my business and nobody else's.

On the other hand, he seems to be saying that we should go back to mandatory registration, because at least then works that nobody remembers to register will be public domain. Well, where's the fairness in that?

Who do you think is more likely to register everything they produce: Disney, with its army of lawyers? Or me?

So the end result of mandatory registration is that companies like Disney continue to amass their ivory towers of intellectual property, while people like you and me lose out. That is, Disney would be able to make use of our works with impunity, because nobody took the time to educate us to be diligent about registering our works if we believe in the protections of copyright.

P.S. And I shouldn't need to remind you that most of us here do believe in the protections of copyright. Copyright law is the very backbone of licensing structures like the GPL.

Re:Pretty sweeping (2, Insightful)

Atanamis (236193) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648671)

The issue seems to be primarily dealing with "orphan works", by which the article refers to works that were initially marked with a copyright notice but whose owners cannot now be determined. Obviously if the work contains a means of contacting the owner, it should be fairly simple to determine whether that owner minds if the work is used. It is when the owner cannot be contacted that long unrequested copyright terms become a problem.

In the case of your comic, twenty years from now you probably won't care much if someone wants to archive it for a non-profit use. In the intervening time though, any contact information that the comic contains on it may no longer be valid. Can you then see the possible benefit of having a central repository of contact information for copyright holders? If it is the responsibility of the user to obtain permission from a copyright holder, shouldn't it at least be possible to contact that person?

Re:Pretty sweeping (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648579)

Worse, do you want to pay the $30 copyright fee for every painting, sketch, poem, article, book or anything else you create? Students and young persons certainly can't afford that, so does that make it okay to steal their material because they couldn't afford the time and money involved for each individual copyright?

I prefer the current "a thing is copyrighted the instant you create it without any need to register it".

Re:Pretty sweeping (2, Informative)

SydShamino (547793) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648617)

Every source file includes a copyright notice, correct?

Thus, they are protected under the traditional system. He says "noticed" in the text.

"no copyright until you register" is completely different.

If someone choose to publish source code without putting a copyright notice of any sort in the code, then under the traditional system that code would immediately become public domain. If, however, they bothered with a "Copyright 2004 Syd Shamino. All rights reserved except those provided by the General Public License." then their bases are covered. It's really that simple.

Re:Pretty sweeping (1)

AndroidCat (229562) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648684)

Under the "traditional" system merely sticking a copyright notice on something didn't mean anything unless you registered it. Retroactive registration didn't protect you either. A number of works and movies slipped into public domain because someone goofed the paperwork.

Re:Pretty sweeping (2, Insightful)

iminplaya (723125) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648630)

Going back to the old "no copyright until you register" system is something else, and pretty radical.

It also makes copyright an almost acceptable premise. To expect every idea to be "born copyrighted" is just a little too much. How greedy and lazy can one get? They want all this protection and don't want to put up ANY effort to apply for it. Talk about wanting a free lunch... If you want to have it and keep it, you should have to go out and get it and maintain it.

Comments are owned by the Poster. (4, Insightful)

sulli (195030) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648660)

To claim as the plaintiffs do that unconditional copyright has no benefits to the author is ludicrous. The administrative burden of registering every damn thing (website? slashdot comment?) you publish is not something I, or anyone else who wishes to have his/her works protected by copyright for any length of time, wish to have restored.

The abandonware issue is more substantial. A requirement that copyright be renewed for $1, or that it be deemed abandoned if nobody is available to offer the rights after a reasonable period of time, is more rational. Perhaps one of those evil "activist judges" will so find.

Re:Pretty sweeping (2, Informative)

pavon (30274) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648681)

I was very much in favor of what they were trying to do in the Eldred v. Ashcroft case, and can't understand why any judge could possibly think that extending copyright terms on existing works could encourage innovation. But I have to say that my initial reaction to this is that I don't like it at all. One of the nice features of copyright in my mind is the fact that it doesn't require going through a beurocratic agency - your copyright is assumed at the time of creation. If we go back to the old system it will create an unnecisarry burden on both the government and content creators.

All of the problems mentioned in the FAQ are really due to the fact that copyright is too long. Furthermore, I don't see how unconditional copyright creates a violation of free speech. (I haven't read the whole complaint yet, just the FAQ) But this is a good time to remind people to write their congress critters about the Public Domain Enhancement Act [eldred.cc] It will acheive the exact same goal of releasing "orphanware" into the public domain, but only requires people to register for copyright after 50 years - only putting the burden on money grubbers who want copyright for longer than it should exist anyway.

I'm torn on this issue... (4, Interesting)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648374)

Obligatory IANAL. I think "unconditional copyright" is a good idea. I might write a hundred songs (or poems or whatever) in a year and not make any money off of them. It costs money to register your work as copyrighted.

Not needing to register each work simply puts the burden on the "fair use" user. If they want to use my work, then I can grant them the rights to use it. But that doesn't mean that I give up copyrights.

If I am required to register my copyright, then I lose some of the ability to protect it.

As it stands, I am able to create a work and the copyright exists immediately. I can even register the copyright after an infringement takes place and win in a lawsuit.

Want to prove that you created the work on a certain date? Mail it to yourself and don't open it.

Re:I'm torn on this issue... (1)

mi (197448) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648405)

That's my feeling too. Those, who wish to put their work into public domain are welcome to do that -- Lessig's FAQ is somewhat misleading at that.

The case is about people, who don't care to indicate their intentions...

Re:I'm torn on this issue... (1)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648507)

Want to prove that you created the work on a certain date? Mail it to yourself and don't open it.

The "poor man's copyright" is a myth - it is not legally binding in a US Court of Law - info on how to legally copyright your work [copyright.gov] .

Re:I'm torn on this issue... (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648543)

From the very link you posted:
The way in which copyright protection is secured is frequently misunderstood. No publication or registration or other action in the Copyright Office is required to secure copyright. (See following Note.) There are, however, certain definite advantages to registration. See "Copyright Registration."

Copyright is secured automatically when the work is created, and a work is "created" when it is fixed in a copy or phonorecord for the first time."


Mailing it to yourself is a way of verifying a date before which the copyright was secured. Since the copyright exists upon creation, you do not need to register it. Because a good way to fight the authenticity of such a copyright, you would do well to provide some time/date proof that the work existed (and therefore the copyright) at the point that you say it did.

Re:I'm torn on this issue... (1)

bcolflesh (710514) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648618)

I agree copyright exists upon creation as defined on the site - that wasn't the question. Mailing the document to yourself is absolutely meaningless - any individual can mail himself a unsealed envelope (or sealed and steam it) - it's an old hack that has been utterly disproved.

Re:I'm torn on this issue... (1)

lukewarmfusion (726141) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648699)

I see what you're saying. I thought you were arguing the date-stamp thing. There are ways to verify without mailing, too.

the dark side of "fair use"... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648529)

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Re:I'm torn on this issue... (1)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648542)

I thought Berne Convention covered the "automatic" copyright of your songs/poems?

Re:I'm torn on this issue... (1)

David Hume (200499) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648698)


I thought Berne Convention covered the "automatic" copyright of your songs/poems?


This issue is addressed in item 13 of the FAQ [stanford.edu] :

13. If you win, how could copyright law change?


There are many ways Congress could change the copyright law back to a conditional system and still remain in compliance with the Berne Convention. One way would be to re-impose formalities for all works of U.S. authors -- these are most works published in the U.S., and Berne doesn't prohibit signatory nations from imposing formalities on their own authors. Another would be to pass the Public Domain Enhancement Act [eldred.cc] , which would impose a tiny renewal fee designed to move unused copyrighted work into the public domain. The PDEA also wouldn't violate Berne, because it would apply only to works of U.S. authors.


FAQ [stanford.edu]

Housecleaning in the Middle East (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648377)

One down [foxnews.com] , plenty of more terrorists to go.

Arafat's going down next.

How do you like that you bleeding heart liberal assholes? Don't like it when the guilty are actuually getting punished?

RIGHT ON - MOD PARENT UP. (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648591)

The asshole got exactly what he deserves.

alburaq.net/....... [alburaq.net]

CLICK THERE FOR PROOF.

(contains dead bodies)

Bring it on you palestinian motherfuckers. I can't wait until Al Jazeera captures me and my white redneck buddies pissing out burning Palestinian, Egyptian, and Syrian flags after throwing them in cow shit.

Sharon's going down next. (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648621)

Maybe Sharon and Arafat can go down on each other. That's what the Arabs and Israeli's really want.

Love thy neighbor.

I guess my age shows ..... (4, Interesting)

a-aiyar (528921) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648396)

Robotech Master wrote:
People may remember librarian Brewster Kahle as the man behind Archive.org's Wayback Machine and the Internet Bookmobile.

I remember Brewster from when he developed WAIS ......

Re:I guess my age shows ..... (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648482)

Pfft.

I remember Brewster from when he "inherited" thirty million dollars and had to spend it all in one month to get his real inheritance of 300 million dollars.

This could be bad IMO (3, Interesting)

Lonath (249354) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648413)

After all, licenses like BSD and MIT/X are basically public domain anyway. The only difference is that they explicitly disclaim warranty. This is the only reason why I have released software into MIT/X instead of PD. I don't want to get sued if I release it under PD. This would mean I would have to register everything I do with the copyright office or it's automatically under PD? I would support this if there was a way to release writings into PD without incurring any liability for how they are used. I hope they take that into account.

have you ever noticed... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648431)

that the YRO color scheme looks like last nights chimicanga's and beer splattered across the toilet bowl?

Re:have you ever noticed... (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648535)

don't you dare criticize the piss-yellow and shit-brown colors!! these signify the what "Our Rights" represent!! FREEDOM!!

Summary: burden authors to make his life easier (1, Insightful)

geekee (591277) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648434)

In summary, the plaintiff is annoyed that he has to track down authors to get permission to publish their books online. So he wants the law to change back so that authors need to be burdened with paperwork and fees to obtain copyright because he doesn't want to spend the time and money getting permission from the authors. Standard practice of trying to use the govt. to make your life easier at the expense of someone elses constitutional rights.

Re:Summary: burden authors to make his life easier (5, Funny)

chromatic (9471) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648476)

A lot of those authors are easy to track down. The problem is in getting 70+ year old corpses to sign legal forms.

Any law that requires raising the dead for the public good is bad law.

Re:Summary: burden authors to make his life easier (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648548)

Standard practice of trying to use the govt. to make your life easier at the expense of someone elses constitutional rights.

I don't think that getting rid of automatic copyright is a good idea. However, he is trying to invalidate something the Government has done, and I don't see how it could affect anyone's constitutional rights. So your comment seems a little silly. No, it seems a lot silly.

Berne convention (5, Interesting)

Boing (111813) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648444)

The Berne Convention, mentioned in the faq, requires that member nations may not impose formalities (read: registration) on works from other member nations.

Since authors are, largely, unlikely to care about the rights of people who want to derive from their works, couldn't a reinstatement of copyright registration for works within the United States theoretically drive authors to nominally publish their works in other nations (in order to get automatic protection as per the current U.S. system), and thus drive creativity out of the U.S.?

I don't know if this would occur in practice, and I'm not saying it's a good reason to maintain a flawed system, but it seems like something to think about if/when we design new copyright policy.

Abandonware (5, Interesting)

panthro (552708) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648445)

Would this case, if ruled in Kahle's favor, make abandonware legal?

People have been distributing old, abandoned software (mostly from the 1980s) on web sites for years, knowing that it is illegal but under the likely correct assumption that they are doing the publisher no harm whatsoever. I have never heard of any true abandonware resulting in legal action, but currently a company that holds the copyright for a program can go after someone distributing it online for free. It makes no difference if they still sell it, support it or even remember it exists.

Of course, there would have to be some kind of definition for what constitutes abandonware, but that would be the case with all other works as well so I'm confident they'll figure that part out. I hope Kahle wins this one, personally.

I get mad then I get ... (0, Offtopic)

airrage (514164) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648452)

I read the article and with every line I got more and more angry. Then I closed the article and I couldn't really recall what they were talking about ....

One small problem with logic here. (2, Interesting)

SillyNickName4me (760022) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648454)

From the FAQ:

> a freedom, it should be noted, that was granted by an author's voluntary decision not to register his work.

One can as easily reason that first of all, in the old situation, many people would not obtain a copyright simply due to lack of knowledge, means for registration etc.

In the new system an author can still take the voluntary decision to keep a work free by explicitly putting it in the public domain.

The FAQ argues that this makes life more difficult for people trying to preserve things in the digital domain, but that is soemthign that I believe can be addressed by fair use. The FAQ also claims that the new system does nothing to protect authors, but that is not true, it makes that authors can do waht they are best at, creating works.

The term of copyright, the unfair limitation of user rights, and fair use are the issues, not automatic copyright.

I don't see a problem here. (3, Interesting)

baudilus (665036) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648460)

I may be missing something, but I think the current unconditional system is OK if other considerations are made. Works are copyrighted regardless of the will of the author, which seems OK. The only problem I see is with proof of ownership documents. I imagine someone falsely claiming that "I wrote this and authorized so-and-so to use it in his college thesis."

The only solution I see is that if the author WANTS to grant rights to any or all, he must prove ownership beforehand. Otherwise, it's more of a hinderance than a help.

The upside is that owners of works who have not explicity copyrighted their material still have rights.

Then again, it may just be bunk.

The Million Permission Project (2, Insightful)

modder (722270) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648511)

"But many books fall into a nether region. These are works that are not commercially viable and therefore not widely available to the public, but are nevertheless subject to continuing copyright protection."

In the event that they cannot convince Ashcroft, they could also start another project which would automate and simplify the process of obtaining this permission.

If anything, making it easier to access this type of information would be beneficial for both the authors and those in search of using their work.

Another Possible Problem (4, Insightful)

ewhac (5844) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648516)

This suit seeks to have the laws that implement the Berne Convention struck down as unconstitutional. However, my highly inexpert reading of the Constitution reveals that the Constitution and all treaties entered into by the US are the supreme law of the land. The Berne Convention is just such an international treaty. Thus, it would seem that the supremacy clause trumps any argument Lessig et al may bring before the court, since the terms of the Berne Convention enjoy equal footing with the Constitution.

Now, if the US enters into a treaty that is in direct opposition to the Constitution, which document wins? I have no idea if this issue in Constitutional law has ever been addressed.

Schwab

How DARE he! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648520)

Anyone who would sue the Attorney General of the U.S. is obviously a terrorist, and should be shipped off to Gitmo immediately.

Unconstitional? (5, Insightful)

Jay Bucks (697483) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648527)

Obviously perpetual copyrights are unconstitional. It explicitly says so in Article 1 of the Constitution...

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

Notice how no execeptions are made for abandonware, shareware, vaporware, freeware or any other type. So now the question to ask seems to be what constitutes limited? My limited copyright time doesnt seem to equal Mickey Mouse's.

Jason
Argue About Stuff [arguecity.com]

Trying to overturn Berne? (4, Interesting)

frankie (91710) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648528)

Sadly, I don't see Kahle winning this case. The current Supreme Court has shown itself to be quite unwilling to smack down Congress if the end result is "inconvenient". For example, they let Veeck vs SBCCI [google.com] stand, which allows laws to be copyrighted by private entities.

Not to mention, the Berne Convention [wikipedia.org] is a world-wide treaty (and well-liked by megacorps) that may as well be carved in an adamantium tablet. No way they'd be willing to disadvantage US content owners while foreign copyrights are being extended just as freely.

it is wrong??? (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648546)

To liek anulsecks?

Plz repl1

Ashcraft (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 10 years ago | (#8648598)

is an idiot. The guy might as well admit he believes it's his right to deprive the citizens of their constitutional rights. hopefully he'll die of cancer or something horrible.

The Court doesn't like repeat challenges (4, Insightful)

GPLDAN (732269) | more than 10 years ago | (#8648657)

The history of the Supreme Court shows very little traction for the reframing of constitutional questions and going back up. Even though they make a big deal about how this isn't Eldred vs. Ashcroft, it really is a distinction the court will find tenuous. They got shot down on the copyright extensions, they will get shot down on the inclusionary aspects of this.

I believe they are right and the court is wrong on Eldred, but until a Democratic president can get in for another 8 years and Kennedy and Scalia get the boot, they won't win.
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