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RFC Deadline Looms For "Orphan Works" copy

Hemos posted more than 9 years ago | from the speak-now-or-forever-don't-hold-those-works dept.

United States 200

psychonaut writes "As previously reported on Slashdot, the US Copyright Office is currently reviewing the law as it applies to "orphan works" and "abandonware". The question is how to treat works (books, films, software, etc.) for which the copyright owner cannot be found so that permission can be granted to republish or create derivative works. "The issue is whether orphan works are being needlessly removed from public access and their dissemination inhibited. If no one claims the copyright in a work," they write, "it appears likely that the public benefit of having access to the work would outweigh whatever copyright interest there might be." The Copyright Office has been soliciting comments from the public since 26 January 2005. Now, as their 25 March deadline draws nearer, the EFF, along with freeculture.org and Public Knowledge, have teamed up to produce a website,Orphan Works, which gives some background on the issue and makes it easy to submit comments directly to the Copyright Office." And while you're at, contribute to the EFF. Good organization.

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What's wrong with the current system? (5, Interesting)

bigtallmofo (695287) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931494)

Why would anyone have a problem with a totally unaffiliated company buying the copyright of a work from a bankrupted company for pennies and then holding that copyrighted content hostage for the next 75 years?

Anyone that has a problem with that is applying too much common sense to the copyright system.

Re:What's wrong with the current system? (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931623)

If I purchase a building for my business, I guess that means I'm holding the building hostage.

Re:What's wrong with the current system? (0)

91degrees (207121) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931890)

Yup. You are if you're not using ot for anything

Re:What's wrong with the current system? (4, Informative)

Ubergrendle (531719) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931662)

With the way copyright laws are going, we're lucky we see anything from the 20th century in the public domain. If the latest new copyright laws were grandfathered (e.g. 75 years after death of creator), we'd be looking at the 1850s.

"Get your 100% royalty free cotton-gin blueprints right here! For an unlimited time only!!!!"

Original Sources - US Constitution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932774)

http://www.house.gov/Constitution/Constitution.htm l

USA Constition

Section 8. Clause 8:

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;

Re:Original Sources - US Constitution (1)

Abcd1234 (188840) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932941)

How do you define "limited"?

Re:What's wrong with the current system? (4, Informative)

Cylix (55374) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931671)

I don't believe that is the issue.

It's simply cost prohibitive for the little guy to locate the rights to an obscure piece of footage or film. (two examples I'm familiar with)

Say for instance, you find a nice picture you want to incorporate and maybe it looks quite old, but maybe its unclear whether copyright has expired.

It seems more to be a CYA directive and would ease some tension when using /most likely/ interesting works that have been locked away by age.

Right now, it's not even an option to use such things even if the owner or estate owner has long since been gone. Simply because you just don't know and you probably can't afford the time or investment in something like that.

This sorta implies that older copyrights would have to be protected much like trademark. You can just buy it and forget it. (Now you have to catalogue it and forget it)

So if you did the leg work and came up with nothing you would have some defense in court should an issue arrise.

For someone with not-so-unlimited resources tracking down something like that can be tough. In the end, if you are cautious about being sued, you can't use it.

I believe the idea is that if you pursue a reasonable course of action to attempt to locate the owner and find nothing then it can be classified as abandonware.

Re:What's wrong with the current system? (5, Interesting)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932446)

"Say for instance, you find a nice picture you want to incorporate and maybe it looks quite old, but maybe its unclear whether copyright has expired."

What about this idea?

Can't find copyright owner?

Compulsory license applies. Fees paid to government. Invested by government in safe investments. Government keeps half of profits on investments and other half goes to pay authors who create copyleft works. Actual copyright owners who find their works being used under a compulsory can claim monies fgrom the government. (Can't get the profits earned in the meantime though.

Compulsory license still applies to the works in question and to any derivatives.

all the best,

drew

Re:What's wrong with the current system? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11933078)

WAHH.

only pure greed and asshole-ness support the copyright as it is currently written. At MOST a sane person can support 15-20 years after the creator's death or 50 years after first copyright. And even then it's bullshit.

you make all your money in the first 25 years of the copyright. It's greedy assholes that like to wrting every dime possible out of it (typically the no-talent children and grandchildren of the creator doing this) that are whining for perpetual copyright so they do not have to actually do anything productive in society.

i so wish there was a way we could turn copyright upsdie down in this country, but with the government owned and paid for by corperate america, there is no chance.

these times will be known as the dark ages. future historians will wonder how the hell we did anything with rampant greed and selfishness that is not only the norm, but the preferred behaivoir.

and it's not like anythong lately is creative in any way.. the past 30 films I have seen advertised are remakes or based on someone else's work. copyright stifles creativity.

MOD PARENT OFF-TOPIC (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932081)

Completely missed the point in the hurry to post...

haha (-1, Troll)

Fossilet (735452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931508)

my first post on /. ;-)

Re:haha (-1, Offtopic)

XFilesFMDS1013 (830724) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931534)

haha indeed, since it isn't.

Re:haha (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931590)

Cuggle bag.

Re:haha (0)

Fossilet (735452) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931636)

Sure, this _is_ my prima-nocte with /. //cry. That day, i tried my 1st post, but it said "You can't post to this page". :(

Tone of words is interesting (5, Interesting)

barrkel (806779) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931509)

"If no one claims the copyright in a work," they write, "it appears likely that the public benefit of having access to the work would outweigh whatever copyright interest there might be."

This indicates that the copyright office leans extremely strongly towards copyright interests. Is there any indication that they (the US copyright office) have the same perspective as most of the rest of us re copyright as enforced monopoly etc.?

Re:Tone of words is interesting (1)

sjames (1099) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931566)

(the US copyright office) have the same perspective as most of the rest of us re copyright as enforced monopoly etc.?

Unlikely. Their primary interest (preservation and expansion of the copyright office) is better served through exclusive focus on copyright interests. What we really need is a public domain office where one may apply for a temporary exemption (AKA a copyright).

Part 1: What I find _ok_ about copyright (4, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931586)

Personally I have no problem with "copyright as enforced monopoly", because frankly that was the whole idea with copyright to start with. You give them a temporary "monopoly", in exchange for getting those works from them in the first place.

Thing is, most people only work for money. Yeah, in open source too. Check out the email addresses of contributors to all major components of Linux. Most work _is_ done by people paid to do so, even if they're paid by some OSS company.

So copyright is a way to say "ok, if you do publish a book, here's how we'll allow you to make money out of it."

I see nothing wrong with that. I _am_ willing to buy a good book, or a movie, or a music CD, rather than not have it available at all.

"Why your work should be available for free" demagogue theories are good and fine, but in practice it never works that way: practically _noone_ works for free nowadays. The freeloaders actually get something paid for by someone else, not for free. E.g., everyone who downloaded a SuSE Linux ISO for free, rest assured that SuSE's work was paid for by people like me who bought the boxed distro repeatedly. E.g., everyone who has some free Linux distro installed on ReiserFS, can know that ReiserFS was sponsored by SuSE, so again, it was people like me whose money went into making that.

So, again, I have nothing against copyright as a way for authors to make money. Beats not having those works available in the first place. Maybe it's not the perfect system, but it's the best we have so far.

But it's broken (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931695)

The dispute isn't about whether people are able to make a profit off of their published works. Copyright isn't just about making sure people can make a profit. In fact, the OSS examples show that copyright isn't always necessary to find a revenue stream. The published work can be used as a loss-leader to promote services or hardware sales.

The idea was the provide a temporary monopoly on published work in order to expand what is available in the public domain. The concern was that if the temporary monopoly wasn't available, then no-one would want to publish their works. Thus, the public domain would dry up. This clearly isn't a problem anymore with the Internet. People hapilly publish their works on order to get recognition from others.

The only problem they are trying to address is that copyright was changed in a way that caused it to no longer add to the public domain. You no longer have to register published works for copyright. This can make it very difficult to track down the owner to get permission to re-publish it. Thus we now have a large body of work that no-one is utilizing. It's wasted.

Re:But it's broken (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931732)

OK, thats the dumbest thing I've heard around here for a long time. Having a temporary copyright on a work isn't nescessary because "people hapilly publish their works on order to get recognition from others."?

Well, guess what, I DON'T happily publish my works in order to get recognition. I am not stupid, I want to make money from my works - therefore I want the protection that copyright gives me. And the vast majority of people who produce IP agree with me.

Just because sf.net has 100,000 unfinished mp3 labelers available doesn't mean we should get rid of the copyright system which has served us well for over 100 years.

Re:But it's broken (1)

epcraig (102626) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932041)

It's been 100 Years since 1976? Who'd o' thunk it?
Before that, to register a copyright was a bit harder, you needed to provide a copy of the work to the Library of Congress, for instance.

Re:But it's broken (3, Informative)

LetterJ (3524) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932116)

The "system which has served us well for over 100 years" isn't a single, constant system reaching back to the Constitution. Rather, it's mutated quite a bit, especially in the last 30 years. To defend most of the major parameters of modern copyright is really to defend the changes of the last 30 years.

Up until then, you had to specifically register anything you wanted copyrighted. This ensured that the work that the "vast majority of people who produce IP" to make money from their works were protected, while allowing everything else to be public domain (the stuff created for reasons other than money). For most of the time before 1976, you also had to renew that copyright periodically to keep it.

Essentially, for the first 200 years of American copyright, making money from IP was an active process: deliberately file for copyright, include specific notice on all published copies, renew to continue copyright, etc.

What we have now is a passive process: everything is automatically copyrighted, notice doesn't need to be included, no renewals are needed and your family gets to automatically keep these passive rights long after you're dead.

Those 2 systems, while both called "copyright", have little in common as far as their approach, intent and results.

Re:But it's broken (1)

drsmithy (35869) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932357)

Just because sf.net has 100,000 unfinished mp3 labelers available doesn't mean we should get rid of the copyright system which has served us well for over 100 years.

Because clearly the preceding ~6000 years of civilisation didn't produce anything of cultural value...

Re:But it's broken (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932535)

"Just because sf.net has 100,000 unfinished mp3 labelers available doesn't mean we should get rid of the copyright system which has served us well for over 100 years."

If it is serving us so well, why do the big boys keep finding a need to tweak it to their benefit. If they can validly, in your mind, call for these tweaks, why is it not permitted for others to call for tweaks in their interests?

all the best,

drew

Again, that's not the case (0, Troll)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932054)

The _only_ people publishing stuff purely for recognition seem to be newbie programmers.

Everyone else is paid for it, even if their work is then included in an OSS project. E.g., OpenOffice is paid for by Sun. So is NetBeans. E.g., Eclipse is mostly IBM's work. E.g., as I've said, check some of the submissions in your average Linux distro. Check out how many of them are paid employees of IBM, Novell, Sun, RedHat, etc.

But let's get back to the actual ones that publish stuff actually written 100% unpaid for, and 100% for recognition. The problem is that invariably they're (1) _only_ the programmers, (2) never polish their work to any degree of usability, and (3) newbies.

1. E.g., one problem most OSS software projects have is the utter lack of usability specialists, good graphics artists, technical writers, etc. Sure, you might find some newbie CS student publishing his newest Pac-Man clone for peer-recognition. You almost _never_ however find also some graphics artist involved to make the graphics, nor someone who could write a good manual, nor more than 1-2 simple levels for their games because good level designers never joined. (E.g., try Pingus someday. Great game engine, but it never got more than the tutorial levels.)

And that also means that other domains would be practically non-existant, because they're not software hacks. E.g., good luck finding someone who'll come over and take professional photos at your wedding, just for fame and recognition. E.g., while every teen dreams of being a famous novelist, I can't remember any good novels that were just posted on the Internet for fame and recognition. E.g., good luck waiting for a good movie to be made purely for fame and recognition: those cost quite a bit to make, even if you don't go for overpaid stars, so everyone will want to recoup their investment one way or another.

2. An invariable problem of projects made purely for fame and recognition, is the lack of polish. And I mean above and beyond the fact that they couldn't find a usability expert that wants to work for free.

See, everyone wants to code great hacks or great algorithms for fame and recognition. "W00t, my clever BitFlipSort works 3 times faster" or "W00t, my clever use of B-trees makes the whole search faster" are things you can (A) brag about, and (B) get done in an afternoon. On the other hand, "I spent 2 months making a good usable GUI for it, and another month writing a good manual" is neither. It's just plain old work and no bragging rights. Not many will do it.

3. They're invariably newbies, and the results are invariably of very limited scope, complexity and quality. Sad to say, I haven't found any professional project that was made purely for fame and glory.

To put it otherwise, yeah, writing a monolythic 0.01 kernel is something a bored hacker might do just for fame and recognition. Turning it into an enterprise multi-platform OS, on the other hand, that involved a helluva lot of paid people.

But even that 0.01 kernel is already something _way_ over the level of usual works made purely for fame and glory. Most of them are barely at the level of "hey, look, I too made a buggy Windows or X calculator."

So to cut an already long story short, I really wouldn't fancy a future where everyone is done just for recognition. I very much prefer being able to go to the shop and buy a good program, than wait for a bored hacker to make a piss-poor approximation of it in his free time.

Re:Again, that's not the case (2, Insightful)

Waffle Iron (339739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932880)

E.g., good luck finding someone who'll come over and take professional photos at your wedding, just for fame and recognition.

Wedding photos would work fine without copyright. You pay the photographer to take some pictures, you get your photos. None of this "Photographer owns pictures of your event that he was *hired* to make" bullshit.

Re:But it's broken (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932495)

"The only problem they are trying to address is that copyright was changed in a way that caused it to no longer add to the public domain. You no longer have to register published works for copyright. This can make it very difficult to track down the owner to get permission to re-publish it. Thus we now have a large body of work that no-one is utilizing. It's wasted."

A possible solution to this problem:

http://www.infoanarchy.org/wiki/index.php/Copyri gh t_Term_Reform/Default

all the best,

drew

Re:Part 1: What I find _ok_ about copyright (5, Interesting)

swv3752 (187722) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931776)

See, the problem comes in that my taxes are being used to enforce your copyright. The deal is, for helping to enforce your copyright, we get free access after a limited time. The problem is that it becomes unlimited for any practical consideration. Anything created during my lifetime I can reasonably expect to die before a copyrighted work becomes public domain.

heh (5, Funny)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932218)

Well, I never said I want it to be unlimited or anything. So we can easily aggree upon that part.

But on the issue of taxes:

<sarcasm type="heavy">
Yes, and _my_ taxes are used to protect your car from burglars and thieves. Hey, I don't own a car, so I shouldn't pay for it. Right?

_My_ taxes are used for government AIDS cure research. Hey, I don't screw everyone in sight, so why the heck should I have to pay for that? Let them just die, I say ;)

_My_ taxes are used to build highways. Maybe even the one you drive on to work. WTF? I always get a flat very near the company, so I don't have to commute. Why the heck should I pay for all those commuters? No, really.

_My_ taxes go into funding the school system. Piss-poor and under-funded as it is. Or to give a tax break to people with kids. Blah. I have no kids. Why should I pay for that? No, really? Did anyone even ask me if I want to subsidize everyone who's too stupid to use a condom? And let them pay out of their own pocket for their kid's schooling.
</sarcasm>

Again, that was sarcasm, if anyone can't tell. I am _not_ really advocating any of that.

I'm sure you probably get the idea already. Yes, society sometimes must use taxes to enforce things that are considered beneficial for society as a _whole_. Yes, there might be people who do not _directly_ get a ROI on their money, but the idea is that on the whole you get more good than bad out of it.

In this case, the whole copyright thing actually costs you _very_ little. Other than the copyright office itself, most other things are handled by lawsuits between companies. Or between companies and individuals.

You might notice, for example, that even the much villified RIAA lawsuits didn't involve the FBI taking the suspects into custody, nor a DA doing a criminal style prosecution. So that part has cost you exactly nothing.

So, well, I hope you'll excuse me if you're not getting much compassion out of me, over the fact that a couple of cents out of your taxes (and mine) go into sponsoring the common good. I do believe that on the whole the benefits far outweight those few cents.

Re:Part 1: What I find _ok_ about copyright (2, Interesting)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931880)

"So, again, I have nothing against copyright as a way for authors to make money. Beats not having those works available in the first place. Maybe it's not the perfect system, but it's the best we have so far."

No, I disagree, in fact, I think we have had a better copyright system in the past and have been making it steadily worse.

I sometimes can't decide if I should fight to make it better, or fight to make it so bad that everyone cries foul and calls for scrapping the present system and trying to design a better one from scratch.

Hey, here is a new way for small countries to profit:

Sign on to the copyright conventions. Have citizens publish hugh quantities of material, never mind the quality. Then try to extradite foreigners for copyright violations. Have hugh fines and jail time on the books for such violations. Have local juries find them guilty, extract big money under threat of jail time in less than perfect facilities. Put fines in general fund so that citizens tax burden is reduced. This will "encourage" juries to bring in guilty verdicts.

Anyone see any problems with this? (I should hope so, but what actually would prevent it happening.)

all the best,

drew

Re:Part 1: What I find _ok_ about copyright (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931905)

Thing is, most people only work for money.
I work for money because we live in a society where we need money. There are lots of things I would like to contribute to, not for pay but because it interests me and maybe to make the world a little bit of a better place, but I have to spend 8 hours a day + travel time in order to make enough money to feed myself and get a roof above my head.

Capitalism truly sucks donkey balls, but it's the best system we've come up with, and untill someone invents a better system, we're stuck with it.

That said, I think certain things need to be free in the interest of the public.
e.g. art in all forms should be freely available, and artists should be paid by the government, providing their work entertains a certain minimum amount of people.

Also, I think patents and especially copyright should be held by the original creator and not by companies, nor should it be transferrable. If you didn't invent/create something, you cannot hold the patent/copyright. How can you claim to 'own' an idea/creative work if it didn't spawn from your brain ?

Re:Part 1: What I find _ok_ about copyright (0)

operagost (62405) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932162)

With apologies to Winston Churchill, but it has been said that capitalism is the worst economic system except all those other forms that have been tried from time to time.

Re:Part 1: What I find _ok_ about copyright (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932614)

"Also, I think patents and especially copyright should be held by the original creator and not by companies, nor should it be transferrable. If you didn't invent/create something, you cannot hold the patent/copyright. How can you claim to 'own' an idea/creative work if it didn't spawn from your brain ?"

Not that I particularly like the way the current system is working, but how can the creator "own" something if he cannot sell it? This is a tough problem to solve. Any good ideas?

all the best,

drew

Re:Part 1: What I find _ok_ about copyright (1)

BorgDrone (64343) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932985)

but how can the creator "own" something if he cannot sell it?

In the exact same way record labels / patent owners don't sell the ownership of a piece of IP : license the right to use the IP.

Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (5, Insightful)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931646)

What I find all wrong about copyright, as it is right now, is that it also gives the right to _kill_ a work of art or a program. You can buy the copyright to something for the _sole_ purpose of burying it 6 ft deep. I.e., making sure no more copies of it will be made.

Which was _not_ the purpose of copyright in the first place. The idea was to secure a source of income for those publishing books, _but_ that was only a means to another end: having those books available to society. Using copyright as a way to make them UNavailable, is IMHO contrary to the whole spirit and idea of copyright.

And just for the sake of a wanton comparison with Soviet Russia, I find it stupid that while we all were/are outraged when a dictatorship tries to suppress a book, we all shrug and find it normal when a corporation does the same via copyright. I mean, geesh, Stalin could have just bought the exclusive distribution rights in the USSR of the exact same works, and killed them via copyright, and we'd all suddenly no longer find it abhominable. It would be just normal business. Think about it.

So IMHO the copyright should only last as long as people can still order that book or program or music from you, for no more than the original price (i.e., no "yeah, it's still available, but we'll charge 10,000,000$ for it" scams), and have it delivered within a reasonable time frame. The moment that's no longer possible, the copyright should become public domain.

It would also be a self-regulating kinda thing. It's up to the company in case to decide when it's no longer profitable to keep that stock of old books, just for the 1-2 people per year still ordering it. When they decide it's no longer profitable to play that game, sure, make it public domain. But ffs, don't bury it.

Re:Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (2, Insightful)

Heian-794 (834234) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931690)

Are there many real-world examples of corporations saying things like, "Well, we can't be bothered to print up another hundred copies of that textbook just so your students can buy it. Go ahead and make photocopies if you really want to teach the class using our book."? This came up in a linguistics class of mine, which used Shiro Hattori's phonetics book (retail price, about $50). The professor had been using it for 20 years and found that the publisher wasn't receiving much demand.

It seems to me that even if corporations *could* bury their unprofitable work, it would be good PR if they chose not to, and it wouldn't cost them a dime. Are any publishers known for doing this?

Oromissory estoppel (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931758)

is only good if

1) The *current* copyright holder is OK
2) You have the OK in writing
PS the idea has been one I have raised may times here in the UK with two governments.

No answer, however, and no change.

Re:Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (2, Informative)

shimmin (469139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931968)

Disney. Song of the the South. Also much of their WWII-era propoganda stuff. Now all-but-buried because it has become politically embarrassing.

Re:Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (1)

dallaylaen (756739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931846)

...for no more than the original price (i.e., no "yeah, it's still available, but we'll charge 10,000,000$ for it" scams)...

I agree with the most part of your post... Except that I'd rather live in a world where copyright just cannot be taken away from one who recieved it legitimately.

One should be able to share the rights, not give them away.

Unfortunately, this is good for authors and general public, but bad for publishers (recording companies as well).

Re:Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932263)

Unfortunately, this is good for authors and general public, but bad for publishers

In the modern world, with the cost of copying and disseminating a digital work approaching zero, what value do publishers actually add?

Re:Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932128)

Brilliant idea!
Now I'm going to go into business as a comic book company... if they're not printing any more, I can print them, right? and with scanning and reprinting being my only costs, I'll be rich! Hmm, no? now what if there were reasonable limits on the length of a copyright as they work now, let's say 20 years... ahhh, that would ensure people had enough time to profit without being ripped off... it's not a bad scheme after all, it is just a little broken.

Re:Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (2, Interesting)

Moraelin (679338) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932726)

If the company isn't selling those old comics any more, how is it profitting from them any more to start with? What would the income lost there? The exactly zero dollars that they're losing there?

And if re-printing old comics would be so profitable for you, what's keeping the copyright owner from doing the same? I mean, they don't even have the scanning costs in that equation?

Basically all I'm saying is that I _do_ support the idea that "ok, you're allowed to make money from creating something." But then comes the moment they're _not_, in fact, either making any money or even trying to make any money out of it. Then it seems to me like we're way past the point and the scope of what copyright was supposed to solve.

But I'm also for keeping in mind what copyright was supposed to solve: making those works _available_. The moment that's no longer happening, it seems to me like the copyright no longer fulfills its _main_ role and function.

As I've said: as long as it's still profitable to print those old comics (again, they don't have the scanning costs, so it's easier for them to be profitable than it is for you), sure, let them keep the copyright.

You'll also notice that I didn't really put any limits there on _how_ it is to be delivered. I just said I should be able to order it, for no more than the original price. It can be a PDF, if it's a book, or it can be printed-to-order on a nearby color laser printer for comics, or whatever. They just have to keep making it _available_ to keep the copyright.

Because, as I've said, that was the whole idea of copyright to start with. It was _not_ just supposed to support corporate money. So I hardly think it's that unreasonable to expect it to actually fulfill that promise.

Re:Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (4, Interesting)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932259)

"What I find all wrong about copyright, as it is right now, is that it also gives the right to _kill_ a work of art or a program. You can buy the copyright to something for the _sole_ purpose of burying it 6 ft deep. I.e., making sure no more copies of it will be made.

Which was _not_ the purpose of copyright in the first place. The idea was to secure a source of income for those publishing books, _but_ that was only a means to another end: having those books available to society. Using copyright as a way to make them UNavailable, is IMHO contrary to the whole spirit and idea of copyright."

You are so right on this. There needs to be compulsory licenses at least to prevednt this practice. Perhaps they only need to kick in when the copyright owners refuse to keep the work available to the mass market at mass market prices.

"And just for the sake of a wanton comparison with Soviet Russia, I find it stupid that while we all were/are outraged when a dictatorship tries to suppress a book, we all shrug and find it normal when a corporation does the same via copyright. I mean, geesh, Stalin could have just bought the exclusive distribution rights in the USSR of the exact same works, and killed them via copyright, and we'd all suddenly no longer find it abhominable. It would be just normal business. Think about it."

You are certainly racking up the good points. Perhaps he could even have used "eminent domain" theories to take the work in the first place.

"So IMHO the copyright should only last as long as people can still order that book or program or music from you, for no more than the original price (i.e., no "yeah, it's still available, but we'll charge 10,000,000$ for it" scams), and have it delivered within a reasonable time frame. The moment that's no longer possible, the copyright should become public domain.

It would also be a self-regulating kinda thing. It's up to the company in case to decide when it's no longer profitable to keep that stock of old books, just for the 1-2 people per year still ordering it. When they decide it's no longer profitable to play that game, sure, make it public domain. But ffs, don't bury it."

This would work. An alternative would be to have all copyrights pass back to the original authors under something like a CC BY-SA or some other copyleft license. This would allow the authors to try earning some more out of their works and at the same time let the general public get access to the works as well for copying, creating derivatives and making money if they can.

Check some of these legal proposals:

http://www.infoanarchy.org/wiki/index.php/Copyri gh t_Term_Reform#Legal_Proposals

especially this one:

http://www.infoanarchy.org/wiki/index.php/Copyri gh t_Term_Reform/Default

Again, great points.

all the best,

drew

Re:Part 2: What I find _wrong_ about it (1)

quisph (746257) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932746)

we all were/are outraged when a dictatorship tries to suppress a book, we all shrug and find it normal when a corporation does the same via copyright.
Sometimes the best way to market something is first to create artificial scarcity. I'm not a huge fan of it, but it's a far cry from Soviet-style censorship. (There should be a clause in Godwin's Law to cover Soviet Russia comparisons; they're usually just as irrelevant and inflammatory as comparisons with Nazi Germany.)

More to the point, though, is that you can't take this power away from one subset of copyright owners (i.e., the ones *you* don't like) but leave it in place for everyone else. So if you take this power away from corporate publishers, it would affect original authors as well. Suppose you had written something embarrassingly bad when you were young. Would it be sensible to say that the government should be able to FORCE you to make it public?

For that matter, under current law, virtually everything you write is instantly copyrighted. First drafts, random scribblings, doodles, snippets of code. How would you like all of it to be made public against your will? If a publisher shouldn't be able to own a copyright without keeping the work perpetually in print, neither should you.
</devil's advocate>

Other copyright issues (5, Interesting)

sandstorming (850026) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931521)

I'd like to see the laws also fixed on how long it is before works pass into the public domain. The so called disney effect (the extending of copyright periods after authors death, being done just before disney stuff reaches public domain) really needs to be fixed. Someone (and I can't remember his name) did a fantastic conference somewhere on copyright issues. http://free-culture.org/index.html has some great info.

Re:Other copyright issues (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931551)

My child, you don't understand how the world works. He who has the gold makes the rules, you don't have any gold so what you want won't be the rule.

Re:Other copyright issues (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931564)

The so called disney effect (the extending of copyright periods after authors death, being done just before disney stuff reaches public domain) really needs to be fixed.

It is fixed. The Constitution is pretty clear that copyrights have to be time-limited. The Supreme Court has ruled that that doesn't really mean anything, because Congress can extend them arbitrarily, but unfortunately, that's the Supreme Court. By definition, there is no higher appeal. "Fixing" the loophole would pretty much require some kind of "No, we really meant it, guys" amendment to the Constitution, but fat chance of that. The people with the power to amend the Constitution are too busy worrying about the total destruction of society that will obviously and inevitably result from giving same-sex couples the tax privileges currently reserved for heterosexuals.

Re:Other copyright issues (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931584)

It seems like your post has been moderated by the allies of those who seek to save society from "t3h g4y5".

What Parent speaks is the truth, mod it down how ever you wish, but the truth is the truth and Jesus would be ashamed at your behavior.

Re:Other copyright issues (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931761)

I think the mods were thinking that the change in the copyright laws were made under CLINTON not BUSH therefore the slam at the current administration was illogical. Of course, you want to blame everything on the jesus lovers huh?

Re:Other copyright issues (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931814)

I am a Jesus lover. Don't be so quick to judge. I know the darkness that is in some of my brothers' hearts and they need to allow Jesus into their hearts rather than trying to force "Jesus" to fit their own narrow beliefs.

Re:Other copyright issues (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932303)

Christian persecution is still in vogue I see. Mod me what you want troll.

Re:Other copyright issues (5, Insightful)

Have Blue (616) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931747)

It wouldn't even need an amendment- all that needs to happen is for Congress to not pass another law extending existing copyrights when the issue comes up again in 20 years.

You just don't get it (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931821)

No, that is NOT at all what the Supreme Court ruling said. The Supreme Court very carefully stated that their ruling was not about whether 75 years after the death of the copyrighter was a good idea or not but whether it was legal. They ruled that 75 years after the death of the copyright originator did indeed meet the test of being time-limited. Congress could also make copyrights valid for 10,000 years and that would meet the test of being time-limted, unfortunately.

you are a study in divigation (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932093)

Wow, from copyright law all the way to the power mafias that rule in Washington all the way to same sex unions.

Pretty good. I can almost sense the time release prozac tablets bursting in your brain as you wrote your post.

Re:Other copyright issues (3, Insightful)

jabuzz (182671) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931611)

That's easy to fix. If Disney wants to extend the copyright from 50 to 70 years say, then it has to go and pay royalties (complete with interest) to all the copyright holders that had their works used royalty free by Disney because it had passed the 50 year mark but not yet reached the 70 year mark, at any point in the past.

It would then immediately become far less favourable for Disney (or any other organization) to presue such copyright extensions. Imagine thay they had to pay out the first 20 years earnings plus interest on Pinochio to the estate of Carlo Lorenzini! It is also morally and ethically fair. If Disney think that Steamboat Willy deserves added protection, then surely Pinochio does as well. Very hard to argue against and not look like obviously greedy and grasping.

Disney Effect - Ex Post Facto? (1)

krysith (648105) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932323)

I've always wondered why the Constitution's prohibition on ex post facto laws didn't keep Congress from extending the term of already existing copyrights. Can anyone explain to me why it doesn't? I understand that Congress has the power to grant copyrights of any limited duration, as per the recent Supreme Court judgement, but do they Constitutionally have the power to change the duration of an already granted copyright? It seems to me that if they have the power to extend the duration of an already granted copyright, then they also have the power to reduce it. As unlikely as it seems that they would do such a thing, if they did so it would seem to clearly be an ex post facto law - so why is an ex post facto law reducing the duration prohibited but one extending it is not? I am not a lawyer but I figure someone must have challenged one of the extensions on this basis at some point.

Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (5, Interesting)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931528)

Obviously in todays political environment Money Talks. Is there any interest in the collective pool of technically minded folks from Slashdot starting a Political Action Committee in the sense that we support progressive, technological and scientific issues & candidates with our money and not just our collective angst?

SlashPAC if you will.

It would be a great place for us to consolidate our beliefs (wiki) and put our money where our mouth is to support politics and issues that reiterate our beliefs and values as a community.

It would make calls for help like this easier to answer and give us some strength to lean on.

SlashPAC campaign slogan (1, Funny)

duffbeer703 (177751) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931560)

"Hot grits in every pot & a Beowulf cluster in every basement!"

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931599)

Because slashdot aspires to be a real news organization and the EFF and FSF do pretty well.

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (1)

elhondo (545224) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931602)

Try ipac. www.ipaction.org

Duplication of efforts? (4, Insightful)

PornMaster (749461) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931606)

Wouldn't it be wiser to support the EFF who's already working on these things?

Re:Duplication of efforts? (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931689)

It's not a duplication of effort when "SlashPAC" could fund EFF issues (or any other foundation) that are inline with the goals of the PAC.

Re:Duplication of efforts? (1, Interesting)

geminidomino (614729) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931692)

Depends... If SlashPAC was pro-spam, it would be equally as worthless as the EFF.

(Yes, that single position, that the EFF presumes to tell me what I should and should not do with my private property, does indeed preclude ANY chance of me giving them one red cent.)

Re:Duplication of efforts? (1)

dAzED1 (33635) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931966)

so if I own a hammer, and want to smash your spamming hands with it - the hammer is my private property, right?

keep your money. It's tained anyway.

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (4, Interesting)

MurkyWater (866956) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931618)

I don't know if this had previously been discussed but I've been thinking that something like this would be a good idea. We constantly see the effect Slashdot has on webservers. I would imagine a PAC consisting of even a portion of slashdotters could do great things. Especially if we worked together with other groups such as Citizen Works [citizenworks.org] , the EFF [eff.org] , and the ACLU [aclu.org] .

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931704)

Exactly,

My idea of a PAC isn't to segregate ourselves from the others that exist, but use our collective voices to support existing groups under an umbrella reflective of the "grass roots geeks". EFF, Aclu, Citizen works and other groups do a fanstastic job and a new PAC could align on issues they agree with but also stand for issues specific to this community.

The collective force of Slashdot is strong

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931726)

This "collective voice" you speak of does not exist. If you haven't noticed, there are a lot of different opinions on various issues discussed here.

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931791)

If i believed what you are saying then that would mean i have no reason to come back here.

If i believed for one second that the world was perfect your saying would be true, but it isn't. We have our differences but we obviously have our collective indifferences that bring us back time after time.

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931847)

The differences in opinion are exactly what keeps me coming back here. Sometimes I vehemently argue, and sometimes I learn something. This site would be boring as hell if everyone thought exactly the same way.

Ummm.... how 'bout NO! (-1)

goldspider (445116) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931685)

I guess you really do believe the tongue-in-cheek references to "Slashdot Groupthink".

I know for a fact that not every Slashdot reader is of similar mind on issues discussed here. If I were a paying subscriber, I'd be pretty pissed if my money were to be used to fund a political effort with which I personally disagree.

Besides, isn't there a FSF and EFF for this kind of thing?

Re:Ummm.... how 'bout NO! (1)

cybrthng (22291) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931740)

The FSF and EFF don't always go in the realm that slashdot does (or the community wants it to do).

Your idea of politics doesn't jive with anything that exists today. Nothing is black & white. Simply ignoring the power of the community because you may not agree with 100% of it is worse off than taking action you may not always agree with.

The PAC wouldn't have to be funded through the commercial efforts of the site but through contributions and efforts outside of that. Obviously a PAC means much more when its "grass roots" based and i think with the size of the community here that could be a sizeable force - not of just money but people with talent & experience to make a difference (whom are willing to do so)

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (2, Insightful)

RobotRunAmok (595286) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931745)

consolidate our beliefs

Yeah, and lemme take a look at that when you've pieced it together.

"Our?" Who's "us?" Do you mean to imply that there is some commonality among the people posting on slashdot beyond gadget-fetish? The editors would like it if we were all left-leaning anti-copyright urban CTO's (so would their advertisers, for that matter...), but you need only spend 20 minutes here to realize that there is no "typical" poster, that our politics are all over the map, and that today's high school and college kids aren't getting nearly enough exercise and fresh air...

support politics and issues that reiterate our beliefs and values as a community

Stop it. You're killing me.

Hey, no, seriously, what would you say are the shared values of an anti-copyrightist/artists-should-be-paid-only-for- their-performances guy and his comrade on the barricade who has obsessively collected every bit of Boba Fett-related merchandise manufactured since the mid-seventies?

Is there a wiki for that?

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (0)

earthbound kid (859282) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931994)

First Bill!

Slashdot is a place to listen and learn (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932126)

The people who post here don't all agree about everything.
PAC's are for people who want to 'get theirs'.
It seems to me that slashdot posters are a lot of people who are able to get their own without having to beg the government.

PAC's are part of what is wrong with government.
Selfish interests are in power in Washington. I wouldn't post here if I thought that there were lawyers or lobbiests getting money from it.

Re:Why doesn't Slashdot start a PAC? (2, Informative)

Guanix (16477) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932703)

There's already IPAC [ipaction.org] , which supported several candidates financially in the 2004 US election.

This is humorous in a way. (4, Interesting)

bigattichouse (527527) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931660)

I was trying to secure rights to stream several movies.. and guess what, for all the MPAA and RIAA's heavy handedness over people not getting rights? I couldn't... couldn't even figure out who to talk to, and no one that I called could do more than refer me to some large outlets that said "We don't do that." So not only are they going after people for electronic distribution of their works, they make it damn near impossible to actually license said works for electronic distribution. silly bastards. To put this in the perspective of the post, I honestly felt that they had "abandoned" the electronic medium, I hope the law says "fire away" to people who can't find licensing channels for works.

Re:This is humorous in a way. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932874)

So not only are they going after people for electronic distribution of their works, they make it damn near impossible to actually license said works for electronic distribution. silly bastards.
You say that as though they have some obligation to make it easy, or even possible, for you. They don't. You are entitled to nothing except what they decide to allow, or what fair use covers; that's the nature of copyright.

The other side of the coin (the non-??AA, non-evil side) is that you, as a copyright owner, are likewise under no obligation to anyone to do anything you don't want to do with your own works. You should be happy about that.

Corporate influence (2, Interesting)

wschalle (790478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931661)

Corporate influence will play more part in this than anything the public will ever say about it.

Re:Corporate influence (2, Insightful)

the_2nd_coming (444906) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931666)

why? if a copyright owner can not be found, a corporation can not buy the work. I see no corporate interest here.

Re:Corporate influence (0)

wschalle (790478) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931785)

Oh. All's well then.

Re:Corporate influence (3, Insightful)

dallaylaen (756739) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932017)

> why? if a copyright owner can not be found, a corporation can not buy the work. I see no corporate interest here.

Let's say a company that wrote some useful software a few years ago has gone. Now, only the competing software from Microsoft (tm) is widely awailable and supported. If the old sources went to public domain, they could easily be adopted by some new company or even a crown of hackers. And MS does not need yet another Firefox. They just don't like competition.

Consider a book that has gone to public domain. Everione can publish it at will, it's available on the net for free, etc. Unneeded competition to the new books (for which the copyright is "belong to us" (c) ).

So, the less public domain, the less competition in IP areas, the more profits.

BTW, when it comes to art, old works are usually filtered through the waters of Lethe: only the best ones remain. "Manuscripts do not burn" (c) M. Bulgakov. And they are hard to compete against.

Re:Corporate influence (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932394)

" why? if a copyright owner can not be found, a corporation can not buy the work. I see no corporate interest here."

it could be in the corporate interests that there be no public domain as those works compete with the corporate owned ones.

naturally what they might like even better is if works passing into the public domain were only useable by corporations.

all the best,

drew

Contribute to the EFF? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931672)

This is the difference between real news sites and Slashdot. Slashdot is loaded with political and social bias. Such "parasitic" comments really should be cut.

But of course, how much are you expecting from a site that puts a Borg-ified Gates on nearly all Microsoft articles?

Orpan works legislation is a trap (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11931766)

Orphan works legislation ... it can be used in 2020 to again increase the length of copyright ownership. The unethical publishers and copyright holders will demand that the 99 year copyright expiration date be further increased because orphan works will be available for the public. I don't know sounds like they'll be given an easy path out.

Plus, how do you know when something is an orphan work? Is it fair that some copyright holders get more "rights" and others dont?

All creators and profitters of new works benefitted from public availability of knowledge, yet it seems some dont wish to give back. Especially with patents, patents are being awarded for 20 years when most of the inventions would have been invented by others within that 20 years. Only a few hundred patents a year should be awarded and the term decreased to 14 years.

It's ridiculous that 100 years ago when it took much longer for a person to profit off a work, that the copyright term was short. But nowadays a person can profit off their work much faster yet they maintain copyright for longer (99 years following death of creator). This 99 years will be extended again by the 2020's no doubt.

Re:Orpan works legislation is a trap (1)

pommiekiwifruit (570416) | more than 9 years ago | (#11931930)

Plus, how do you know when something is an orphan work?

The same way as originally. Tell them to send in a cheque for $1 to the copyright office once every seven years to prove they still exist.

My solution (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932794)

How about maintaining a current (2 year expiration if you are unreachable) contact information/address with the copyright office instead?

But will this now means the copyright office will have to have a copy of every work ever written from now on? Or maybe just a title and a "originally published with XYZ address under ABC name" should be recorded at the office.

If you reappear, any people that utilized your copyrighted work can continue to do so (don't know how practical this is .. maybe a "you snooze, you lose" approach is better .. actually i would prefer that).

There should be a process for notifying the copyright office that you intend to use an orphan work (simple email containing the work should suffice IMHO)

Re:Orpan works legislation is a trap (1)

shimmin (469139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932019)

In the US anyway, it will be a hard legal case to show that a term > 99 years is a "limited time" in a constitutional sense. Under the common law, there are a number of instances where the maximum length of time something can be leased, etc. is 99 years, because a longer term would be indistinguishable from outright sale.

Re:Orpan works legislation is a trap (1)

menace3society (768451) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932331)

Given that we've gotten up to, what is it, 90 years now, it won't be long until 100 years is perfectly acceptable. The Supreme Court has already said that a part in the Constitution about a "reasonable" amount of time doesn't mean anything. Congress is against us, the Supreme Court is against, and if the President cares about the issue at all he's probably against us too.

Re:Orpan works legislation is a trap (1)

shimmin (469139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932472)

Read footnote 17 of the court's decision in Eldred. While they shy away from saying that the 99-year term marks the outer boundary of the "limited times," they do mention both it and another common law term, "lives in being plus 21 years" as worth taking into consideration when drawing the line between constitutionally acceptable times, and those that while limited in a dictionary sense are effectively perpetual times.

Re:Orpan works legislation is a trap (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932514)

and just how is 90 years, greater than the majority of peoples life spans still a "limited time" ? given the 90 years after death of the author rule, then a work can take getting up to around 150 years before becoming public domain. (assuming kids don't produce anything)

What I think (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932030)

Make it easy to maintain the copyright, such as saying "I am so-and-so and I'm renewing everything I have a copyright on." Add a nominal fee and contact information. Require this every few years, say 5 to 7.

Also make it easy to release a copyright into the public domain before normal expiration.

Hmm, sound like a big database. And searching. Google?

Public comment is a waste of time (1)

russotto (537200) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932063)

Those opposing any changes have plenty of paid commenters to drown out comment from the rest of us. And even if they didn't, the copyright office doesn't have the authority to change the law; that's up to Congress, and you _know_ who owns them. Spend your effort elsewhere; commenting to the copyright office is about as productive as posting to Slashdot.

Re:Public comment is a waste of time (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932835)

Oh, yes, let's not try at all. Brilliant. I'm glad Martin Luther King Jr. and other visionaries of the past didn't take that attitude.

I'd rather make my comments heard just the same, thank you. At least that way if the system's shit, I'm not a party to making it that way.

Re:Public comment is a waste of time (1)

dreamword (197858) | more than 9 years ago | (#11933177)

You're wrong, and here's why.

While it's true that there will be plenty of comments from copyright holders and their lawyers in this proceeding, it isn't true that "the rest of us" will be drowned out. The point of a Notice of Inquiry (the formal name for the proceeding the Copyright Office has undertaken) is to create a *record* which they can refer to in later rulemaking and in their report to Congressional leaders. In general, if and when rulemaking time comes around, they'll have to respond to every significant public comment.

So if you have an experience that brings to the fore the problem with licensing orphan works, they'll have to at least weigh your situation if you comment. If you don't comment, they won't.

As to the Copyright Office not making the law -- this proceeding was requested by Hatch and Leahy, chairmen of the Judiciary Committee (which is in charge of copyright law). This is Congress trying to figure out where the problems are so it can fix them. If you want your story before Congress, you must comment.

And further, it's not completely clear that Congressional action would be required to fix the orphan work problem. While that would be the most obvious way, there may be ways to change Copyright Office regulations regarding registration to fix the problem -- no Congressional action needed.

So, bottom line: this is not a waste of time. This is our best chance to put our facts before the decisionmakers. File your comments today.

The proper term of copyright. (4, Interesting)

shimmin (469139) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932155)

Let's give the creator the benefit of the doubt and say that whatever they have created is of enduring value, and the copyright on their creation is worth a perpetuity of some annual income A.

Then, the present value of the copyright is, and will remain, A/i, where i is the interest rate.

Meanwhile, at time t, the present value of the copyright they have already held is A/i * (exp[it] - 1).

So, at some time, it is fair to both the author and public to expire the copyright, because the present value of the copyright (that is being transferred from author to public) is equal to the present value of the copyright that the author has held in the past (that was given to the author by the public). This occurs when t = (ln 2)/i.

Then, the proper term of copyright depends on the interest rate, thusly:

2% 35 years
3% 23 years
4% 17 years
5% 14 years
6% 12 years
7% 10 years
8% 9 years

My input to orphanworks (1)

ralphdaugherty (225648) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932493)

No, there should be no concern about copyrights being held by difficult or impossible to find owners, as in, for example, cannot find a contact to get permission to reprint.

Just require documented efforts to contact owner before publishing or using the copyrighted works, require publishing with original copyright notice, and if the owner surfaces and wants money, have an arbitration of percentage of profits to be awarded to owner.

No transfer of copyright, no legal mumbo jumbo, no providing loopholes in the copyright system. There's nothing here except lawyers looking to game the system.

rd

Re:My input to orphanworks (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11933116)

"Just require documented efforts to contact owner before publishing or using the copyrighted works, require publishing with original copyright notice, and if the owner surfaces and wants money, have an arbitration of percentage of profits to be awarded to owner."

How about just advertise intent to publish in some federal register (set up for the purpose?) and if no objections are published by the copyright owner, go for it. Then if they surface, your plan takes over. Person putting in intent to publish would have to pay for copyright owner's reasonable costs to respond if any.

all the best,

drew

p.s. Actually, I think it might be better if such works fell into a copyleft state, but any improvements would be welcome.

Reserve copyrights to individuals only? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 9 years ago | (#11932654)

Why allow corporations to own your ideas in the first place? IP should resolve corporate NDAism, not perpetuate it.

Copyright Registry (1)

Roger_Wilco (138600) | more than 9 years ago | (#11932805)

I just sent the following comment:

I strongly support the concept of having works for which the copyright holder cannot be identified fall into the public domain.

It has been suggested that there should be a registry of copyrighted works, along with contact information for the holder. This "orphan works" proposal would permit the free market to form such a registry. Copyright holders would want themselves to be identifiable to retain their copyright, so being registered, by a "copyright registrar" would ensure this identifiability. The system could be similar to that used currently for Internet domain names.

Re:Copyright Registry (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 9 years ago | (#11933130)

"I strongly support the concept of having works for which the copyright holder cannot be identified fall into the public domain."

Would it not be better if they fell into some copyleft state that permitted commercial use? Think about the possibilities.

all the best,

drew

Just remember "It's a wonderful life" and "jpg". (1)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 9 years ago | (#11933211)

It will remain an orphan until it becomes popular and widely used and then someone will turn up wanting money for something that was only popular because it was free. They should have to pay a fee to the orphan organization for popularizing their work if they do this.
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