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Dead Musicians Signing Media Rights Petitions

Zonk posted more than 7 years ago | from the curiouser-and-curiouser dept.

Music 357

epeus writes "Following from the Gowers coverage and the Musicians' ad in the FT, Larry Lessig admits he was wrong about term extension: 'If you read the list, you'll see that at least some of these artists are apparently dead (e.g. Lonnie Donegan, died 4th November 2002; Freddie Garrity, died 20th May 2006). I take it the ability of these dead authors to sign a petition asking for their copyright terms to be extended can only mean that even after death, term extension continues to inspire. I'm not yet sure how. But I guess I should be a good sport about it, and just confess I was wrong. For if artists can sign petitions after they've died, then why can't they produce new recordings fifty year ago?'"

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357 comments

First post (0, Redundant)

Red Moose (31712) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172726)

Yeah! FInally after all these years!!!!

Re:First post (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172828)

With a UID that low, you should know how idiotic the whole FP thing is. Damn. Idiot.

Re:First post (5, Funny)

Eideewt (603267) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172994)

With a UID that low, GP is likely dead.

The dead have expenses too. (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173326)

"Amazing isn't it, I guess they want to keep up the payments on the cooling and heating bills for their coffins."

Above from my post to the cc-community list.

You know it has to be for some valid reason like this don't you?

all the best,

drew

Re:First post (1)

empaler (130732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173328)

With a UID that low, GP is likely dead.
If you check the signature list, he actually co-sponsored the petition anyway...

Obligatory Simpsons Quote (4, Funny)

ctid (449118) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172746)

Oh no! The dead have risen and they're voting for copyright extension

Re:Obligatory Simpsons Quote (5, Funny)

legoburner (702695) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172830)

Thankfully many of us have spent dozens of hours practising zombie destruction in computer games like dead rising and are well-versed in their destruction. I'll go after zombie Elvis if someone else wants to get zombie Freddy Mercury.

Re:Obligatory Simpsons Quote (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172882)

I'll take the dragon.

Re:Obligatory Simpsons Quote (3, Funny)

Sqwubbsy (723014) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172924)

I'll go after zombie Elvis if someone else wants to get zombie Freddy Mercury.

No way. I don't want that zombie AIDS shit getting on me...

Re:Obligatory Simpsons Quote (5, Funny)

marcello_dl (667940) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173132)

Oh no! The dead have risen and they're voting for copyright extension

What's wrong with that? After all, they got many advantages from the copyright system. I'd call'em the grateful dead.
*ducks*

they should have a whip round (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172762)

i wonder what the net worth of these 4500 "artists" are ?

then compare it with the net worth of 4500 Wallmart shop employees or 4500 Ford car plant workers who wont be getting paid either for work they did 50 years ago

perhaps the music industry needs a close audit to see where those 4500 poor, poor starving musicians are going wrong
if you have nothing to hide as they say...

not just that... (5, Funny)

macadamia_harold (947445) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172764)

I take it the ability of these dead authors to sign a petition asking for their copyright terms to be extended can only mean that even after death, term extension continues to inspire.

I don't see why Lessig is so surprised. Not only can the dead sign petitions, but they can vote, too. America has lead the way in the legal frontier of corpse-rights and suffrage, at least as far back as the 1800s.

Dead artists... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172766)

Dead artists can't say no.

Remember, this is not just about the Royalties... (5, Insightful)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172780)

They're using every means possible to ensure their copyright gets extended. If copyright is not extended it will have a huge negative effect on the record companies / British Phonographic Industry (BPI), RIAA groups and content distributors, beyond that of royalties paid.

Content in the public domain waters down the argument for requiring ALL content to be 'protected'. If half of the worlds music was public domain, lobbyists would have a hard time persuading lawmakers to put restrictions on ALL devices. This has been evident with the RIAA continuously argue why DRM is required for ALL music to prevent copyright infringement. These arguments usually fail to recognize the existence of non-copyrighted music (Creative Commons, Public Domain etc), and certainly make no provision for it in their argument or 'industry drafted bills' (e.g DMCA). This results in systems like the Zune wi-fi sharing system which applies DRM when transferring songs, whether the media requires protection or not, and with total disregard for other licences such as 'copyleft' which may expressly forbid it.

We've seen from the Napster and Gokster cases in the 'war on file sharing' argued that "file sharing is always infringement of somebody's copyright", and fails to recognize the legal uses of file sharing systems. Again, if half of the worlds music was public domain, the argument agaisnt services like Bit-torrent is significantly watered down. Services like Youtube and Google Video have already been targeted, and we've seen media companies desire to shutdown the service altogether. Although Youtube and Google video are exceptional in that they've been careful to prevent copyright infringement from the start, and the result has been for the media companies attempts to re-define infringement. (i.e teenagers lip-sinking etc). Again their aim is to prove the majority of content that is free is infringing copyright and the services providing it should be shut-down.

We are seeing the music industry / BPI "pulling out all the stops" to prevent an extension of copyright. They're using artists that have done very very well out of record company who may 'win the hearts and minds of the people' (Cliff Richard), and now their padding their 'stats' with dead people. It is certain they are lobbying politicians as fast as they can.

The BPI (and RIAA) have responsibilities "in the collection, administration and distribution of music licenses and royalties" which relies on a vast library of content being under their control. Music that is currently in their control placed in the public domain erodes their breadth of responsibility and will ultimately affect their cut of the royalties.

This argument is not about the artists getting more money, it is about the BPI and RIAA retaining their value and ability to "fight the crime of music theft".

They cannot fight the "crime" if half the time it is perfectly legal to copy and share.

Re:Remember, this is not just about the Royalties. (1)

russ1337 (938915) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172800)

>>> "We are seeing the music industry / BPI "pulling out all the stops" to prevent an extension of copyright"

should read: "We are seeing the music industry / BPI "pulling out all the stops" to ensure an extension of copyright.

I'm sure you get what i mean.

Re:Remember, this is not just about the Royalties. (3, Insightful)

grahammm (9083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173000)

The material does not even have to be in the public domain for it to "water down" the argument for all content to be protected. Works released under licences such as Creative Commons, which allow (sometimes with restrictions) copying and sharing while still retaining copyright, also water down the argument. In fact they add something new to 'pot'. If DRM is mandated (such that players will only play DRM protected content) then the DRM 'system' will have to handle the situation where the rights owner does allow copying, sampling etc. This would, of course, include putting no restrictions on content which is in the public domain either because the copyright has expired or it has been deliberately placed in the public domain.

Re:Remember, this is not just about the Royalties. (0, Troll)

CPMO (1013807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173064)

The internet is a scary place sometimes. I read a comment on another site by some idiot who said "How will Stallman and Torvalds like it when the copyright protection that underpins the GPL runs out after 50 years - it will be a different story then. Typical socialist attitude to intellectual property: what's yours is mine but what's mine is my own."

Co-authors (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173352)

Doesn't copyright last until after the death of the last co-author?
Because GPL projects tend to have a lot [about] of contributors.

Re:Remember, this is not just about the Royalties. (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173394)

Great, so Windows 2050 gets to use Linux 0.1 code with free reign. Wow, that's devastating I tell you, devastating!

Boycott Cliff this Christmas (4, Funny)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173184)

Cliff Richard is the face of the multi-national companies who want to destroy fair use, remixing, amateur music and anything they cannot control. Therefore lets boycott Cliff this Christmas, refuse to listen to his crappy contrived whining. The last thing we want to do is to "incentivise" Cliff Richard to produce new songs.

I don't see what the big deal is here. (5, Funny)

Chas (5144) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172798)

Of course, I'm from Chicago. The dead regularly climb out of the ground to vote up here...must be something in the water...

John Lennon... (1)

Rastignac (1014569) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172816)

...phoned me yesterday to speak about this ! "Imagine there's no limit to copyright", he said. "So, sign the petition", I replied. I hope he will follow my advice. ;)

makes me wonder.. (4, Funny)

oedneil (871555) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172840)

Makes me wonder how 2pac or Biggie would feel about this. I guess we'll find out on their next albums!

Copyright should permanently belong to the author (-1, Flamebait)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172842)

If I'm a painter, and I create a great work of art, does it pass into the public domain after n years?

If I'm a programmer, and I create a wonderful piece of software, does it pass into the public domain after n years?

If I'm a singer, and I create a great song, does it pass into the public domain after n years?

Oh. It does. Erm, why?

It's basically judicial theft.

The ethical rule is this; if you make something, it belongs to you, and you can do what you want with it - and that includes handing it down to your kids to help them in their lives.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172880)

hahahahahahah!

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172896)

I hope this is a polemic to show why the view is wrong and I'm just missing it...

Things should pass into the public domain. Everything should which is not based on tangable property. Tangable property should be taxed on death (possibly up to 100%).
If you think about how the world would look if we all had eternal rights to our property there would be about 100 people who would own everything and the rest of humanity would die, although a revolution would probably be inevitable anyway and then maybe some more sensible rules could come in.

It is also not judical theft, it is the state acting in the best interests of the population, in exactly the same way it does with people's other rights from the state of nature. They have a legitimate right to do this.

MOD COMMUNIST DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172950)

...and also lynch him.

thaaaanks

Re:MOD COMMUNIST DOWN (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173380)

That's not communism. :p

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173094)

> Tangable property should be taxed on death (possibly up to 100%).

Wouldn't that mean that in a couple of generations, the State would basically own everything?

If you get the urge to examine your thoughts in this matter, I'd like to point you at Milton Friedman's book "Capitalism and Freedom". He describes how economic freedom (e.g. private property rights and ensuring economic power is kept out of the hands of State) is vital to political freedom. If you can read this and still think that 100% tax at death is the right idea, I'd be very interested to understand your view.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Merusdraconis (730732) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173248)

So, what, the State owns it but everyone, even those pesky Chinese, get to use it to?

Doesn't 'ownership' usually imply that there are people who aren't allowed to use it? Like if I own something, it's not everyone else's, and if the State owns it, no-one outside of the State gets to own it? I mean, usually the arguments about State-ownership come when the State decides not to allow people something, and that's nothing like public domain where no-one by default has rights to it so no-one can control it.

And anyways, ownership of intellectual property is a tricky beast because it copies itself into memory whenever it's accessed.

So private property might well be vital to political freedom, but copyright is a kludge provided by the state to shoehorn intellectual property onto private property rights, which worked okay right up until intellectual property and private property stopped being the same thing.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173324)

That would make sense only if the state is unable to sell things.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

CPMO (1013807) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173118)

I wholeheartedly agree. In another thread, I read a comment by some idiot who had a similar view to the grandparent. He said:

"If you own something you have the right to gift it to whoever you want whenever you want. If the government takes it at gunpoint then you never really owned it. And if you can't own the fruits of your own labour, there's no incentive to produce. Easier to wait for someone who did produce to die and then pick through the remains of their estate with all the other vultures. And doin't believe what you read about the gap between rich and poor: capitalism, based on ownership, makes the poor richer than any other system. Fact.".

What a n00b!

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173188)

>...there would be about 100 people who would own everything...

Welcome to Britain, please turn the lights out when you leave.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173316)

If you are talking about the US, then you are wrong. The ninth and tenth amendments is the reason why you are wrong.

When the wealth remains in the family, then the heirs to the estate either spends it, uses it in such a way that they make more money and spends the money elsewhere, or they use it. When it is spent, others have a chance to become wealthy off of it. When the government takes it at gunpoint however, it is usually given to those that either caused their own disability or are simply too lazy to work.
__________________________________
A vote against a Libertarian candidate is
a vote to abolish the Constitution itself.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

martin-boundary (547041) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172902)

The ethical rule is this; if you make something, it belongs to you, and you can do what you want with it - and that includes handing it down to your kids to help them in their lives.
Very well put. Here, let me make a copy of that song. There, now it's all mine, if you want a copy, go make your own.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173110)

The fact you can copy something a zillion times with no effort doesn't make a difference to the ethics of ownership.

If I make a beautiful carved wooden table, then it's mine, I invested a lot of time and money to make it. It can't be copied - but so what? it's mine, and no less or more mine because of it.

If I make a beautiful song, then it's mine, I invested a lot of time and money to make it. It can be copied at no cost whatsoever - but so what? it's mine, and no less or more mine because of it.

The *properties* of an object make no difference to who it rightfully belongs to. The fact than an object has properties which might well make it absolutely easy to pass it widely into the public domain does not mean that it is ethically right to do so.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

SharpFang (651121) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173206)

If I carve a table, I have a beautiful table. If you make a copy of it somehow, I still have my table but so do you. I don't have anything less than I had before. I still own the table. I still have my ideas. But what god-given right grants me exclusivity to all these? Why can't anyone else have an identical table, or a picture of said table, or plans of making it, or similar table painted different colours? If I didn't know they do, I'd have no slightest idea I lost anything after most careful examination of all my property. A strange crime, when I lose nothing but you gain something, isn't it?

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173242)

> If I carve a table, I have a beautiful table. If you make a copy of it somehow, I still have my table but
> so do you. I don't have anything less than I had before.

How do I recapture the time and money I spent making the table if other people make copies for free?

I cannot.

And since I cannot, I can't make the table in the first place, because I need to make money so I can feed myself and rent my flat and buy clothes.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173304)

You make that sound as if it's a problem, but I'd guess that things would look much better if everybody who's just in it for the money quit making tables.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1, Troll)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173312)

> You make that sound as if it's a problem, but I'd guess that things would look much better if everybody
> who's just in it for the money quit making tables.

Let's say I'm not in it "for the money".

Let's say I make tables because I love working with wood.

Don't I *STILL* need to sell them for money?

How can I spend all day carving if I don't have any cash?

And if I spend all day carving, how else am I going to make money other than selling the things I make?

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (4, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173340)

Except this is 50 years ex post facto. If anyone can copy your table after 50, would that make you go back and uncreate it? I mean, after 50 years, if you haven't turned a profit on your first table, either by selling it or appreciating its exclusivity, you're not going to. I think we can count on two hands the number of songs that are still making money after 50 years. And most of the people who made them are dead. So the question isn't "Do I have enough incentive to create this table?" because removing copyright extension takes no rights from you, it just doesn't give you extra rights. So the argument here is that artists will arise from the dead, build a time machine, and then go back and stop themselves from entering the recording business, because their kids and grandkids are only making thousands instead of tens of thousands.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (0, Redundant)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173404)

> Except this is 50 years ex post facto. If anyone can copy your table after 50, would that make you go
> back and uncreate it? I mean, after 50 years, if you haven't turned a profit on your first table, either
> by selling it or appreciating its exclusivity, you're not going to. I think we can count on two hands
> the number of songs that are still making money after 50 years.

It's still theft to take something which belongs to another person. I don't think it's right to argue taking something without permission is not theft is the item has no value. It is still a violation of that person's property rights.

> And most of the people who made them are dead.

Plenty of people live in houses which were made by people who are now dead.

If something has value, and it belongs to you, you can pass it down to your children, and it then rightfully belongs to them, and the theft is then against their property. The fact they didn't make the original item is irrelevant; it belongs to them.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (3, Insightful)

ZachPruckowski (918562) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173422)

We're not talking about stealing the table. We're talking about copying the table. There's a large difference. If someone copies the table, all you lose is the uniqueness of your table. You still have your table.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173358)

Another flaw in your reasoning is that the statement "If I make a beautiful carved wooden table, then it's mine" isn't true. The defining trait of capitalism is that the workers sell their labour to a capitalist, and now the corporation owns the table you just made.

So what are you, a Marxist, a troll, or both?

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173444)

> Another flaw in your reasoning is that the statement "If I make a beautiful carved wooden table, then
> it's mine" isn't true. The defining trait of capitalism is that the workers sell their labour to a
> capitalist, and now the corporation owns the table you just made.

Making a table requires three things;

1. tools
2. the raw wood
3. the skill as a carpenter

All three must be provided.

If you as an individual buy the wood and the tools and have the skills to work the wood and you make the table, it belongs to fully to you, for you have provided the tools, the materials and the labour.

If you're *employed* as a carpenter, someone else has provided the tools and the materials and is now providing the labour, by paying your wages. You do *NOT* own that table, because it rightfully belongs to someone else - the person who paid for the wood and the tools and the labour to have it created.

> So what are you, a Marxist, a troll, or both?

I'm civil, which is more than can be said for yourself.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (4, Insightful)

idlake (850372) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172906)

The ethical rule is this; if you make something, it belongs to you, and you can do what you want with it - and that includes handing it down to your kids to help them in their lives.

You always can do with your ideas whatever you want: you can keep them in your head, you can publish them, you can tell your kids about them.

You want something completely different: you want the power of the state to create a market place for you where there ordinarily wouldn't be one. There is nothing "ethical" about that; it's an artificial construct and a compromise between the rights of the people (which copyright infringes on) and the desire to encourage creation of new, useful content.

The ironic thing about whiners like you is that if your rule were implemented, you wouldn't be able to create anything at all since inventors of basic ideas and creators of basic content are using license enforcement to restrict others from building new stuff. Expiration of copyright is fundamentally necessary for intellectual property to work--if stuff didn't fall into the public domain, others couldn't derive benefits from ideas that build on the old ideas.

Or, to put it bluntly: your ethics are screwed up, and so are your economics.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173160)

> You always can do with your ideas whatever you want: you can keep them in your head, you can publish them,
> you can tell your kids about them.

This is not true if copyright is taken away. You then cannot make money from your creations, because anyone else can make copies of them for free.

> You want something completely different: you want the power of the state to create a market place for
> you where there ordinarily wouldn't be one.

In what sense?

It seems to me if I create something, it belongs to *me*. If I invest time and money making a beautiful carved wooden table, it's *mine*. If I invest time and money making a beautiful song, it's *mine*. The fact that some of the things I make have *properties* which lend them admirably to being placed in the public domain is utterly irrelevent. Ownership of an creation is held by the person who created it, regardless of its properties.

So it seems to me I'm using the power of the State to prevent theft.

> The ironic thing about whiners like you is that if your rule were implemented, you wouldn't be able to
> create anything at all since inventors of basic ideas and creators of basic content are using license
> enforcement to restrict others from building new stuff.

Whereas if anything which *can* be copied for free is legally permitted to be copied for free, production of such things will almost cease. How can I make songs or films or software, when they cost me time and money, when I cannot recapture those costs?

> The ironic thing about whiners like you is that if your rule were implemented

and

> Or, to put it bluntly: your ethics are screwed up, and so are your economics.

If you need to attack me, you are insecure in your arguments.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (5, Interesting)

stony3k (709718) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173286)

If copyrights don't expire, you probably couldn't even make a table - there'd be copyrights on screws, on table legs and anything else you may want to make. For copyright to work for the next generation, it's important that the copyright of this generation expire. By endlessly extending copyright, you're doing a great disservice to future generations.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (5, Insightful)

Tom (822) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172910)

You confuse copyright with ownership. Not a surprise that muddling these terms is exactly what the "intellectual property" mafia has been doing for yours.

The painting is yours as property and will belong to you forever, your heirs will inherit it, etc.

The copyright enters the public domain, i.e. after n years someone else can take a photo of your painting and publish it in a book without paying you for doing so. Someone else can sing your song without paying you for it.

The ethical rule fails here because copyright is not a limit on what people can do with your property, but what they can make with their own hands and work.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172912)

I found the cure for cancer the other day.
I won't be patenting it though, i'm just going to keep it secret and pass it down to my kids.
Gotta keep something like this in the family.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173048)

I could be wrong, but I think you've conflated property rights with the ethical imperative to help others.

If I make a song, and I decide to keep it in the family, I've not caused harm to others - either by my action or by my inaction.

If I invest a cure for a terrible disease and I keep it in the family, I've caused others harm by my inaction - by not offering them the cure when I could have done so.

I would agree that for some knowledge, there is an ethical imperative to share that knowledge, and I think this is the case when harm is prevented by sharing. However, it does not count as "harm" to prevent someone from listening to a song, seeing a film or having a copy of the latest Oracle database.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (5, Insightful)

Znork (31774) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172914)

"if you make something, it belongs to you"

Copyright, however, isnt about the possession of the object, it's the right to prevent anyone else from possessing a copy of that object.

If you're a carpenter and make a great chair it doesnt pass into the public domain, but you cannot prevent your neighbour from making a chair just like it, nor do you have the right to prevent anyone who purchases the chair to pay another carpenter to copy it.

"It's basically judicial theft."

Except it's the other way around. Preventing the neighbour or customer from making a chair just like the original means you're depriving them of the right to do what they wish with their property.

The value of copyright does not come out of nowhere; it derives its value by depriving others of value and rights. From an ethical point of view it's just the same as other taxation methods; you're depriving one group of people to give to another. Wether that's good or bad is arguable, and mostly a question of public utility.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Trailwalker (648636) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173128)

You can copyright the design of a chair. This Side Up successfully sued imitators. You can make crate furniture, but not copy exactly a This Side Up design.

The classic British furniture designers made and sold design books. These were protected by the copyright of the era.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

msparshatt (877862) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172932)

The ethical rule is this; if you make something, it belongs to you, and you can do what you want with it - and that includes handing it down to your kids to help them in their lives.

This is the case now. No one is going to take away that picture/piece of software/song, ie the thing you actually created. You'll still own that and be able to do what you want with it.

The only thing that'll you lose is the ability to stop other from making copies.

As to whether that's a good thing, consider the fact that if copyright had always been indefinite then most of the literature, software, music around now wouldn't exist.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Hemispheres (970100) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173270)

As to whether that's a good thing, consider the fact that if copyright had always been indefinite then most of the literature, software, music around now wouldn't exist.
Fact? This is speculative at best. Is it really your assertion that there are no original ideas left to be had? Is it not also possible that much of the truly original literature, software and music that we have today wouldn't be around now if it's creators had not, by copyright laws, been prevented from taking the easy way out and copying the previous work of others?

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

geoff lane (93738) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172938)

The object doesn't, the copyright does.

Copyright is on the non-physical aspect _because_ it is non-physical. It's an added extra that rewards craftsmen who do not work with stuff you can kick.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172942)

It's not theft. It's your part of the bargain.

Every act of creation of non-material goods such as stories, paintings, programs and songs is thought to be based on works of others. You did not create it yourself, you learned from others. Society grants you the right to get money for it, for the most part of your live, but not longer. In the end, the creation flows into the public domain because, into the culture it came from. This is thought to help others create more and new things.

Don't confuse "IP" (i hate that therm) with physical property. It is not the same. Sure, you can give it to your kids. And you can give the money you earned with it to your kids. But why the hell would it make sense to provide a free income for your kids for the rest of their lives because you wrote a nice song once?

And furthermore, in reality, it is not the children (o think of them, nice try that argument of yours) who in most cases get the money. It is the investors in 5 or 6 record companies. What is ethical about paying them money for 95 years?

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Boronx (228853) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172946)

Because granting someone a copyright is a violation of everyone else's right to free speech. Nations that value both kinds of rights often try to find a balance.

You don't lose copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17172978)

We regain the right to do with our posesion as we wish.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

b.burl (1034274) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173006)

i'm not up on right wing american talk radio slang, so forgive me but, what is 'judical theft'? Does it mean that it is well reasoned and fair theft that is in the best interest of society?


The problem with owning a song or book is that it fails to recognize the fact that the artist did not create something ex nihilo. Each artist is bequethed a heritage of material and inspiration from those who have come before, kinda like scientists. They then make their contributions and it is passed onto the next generation. For example, Shakespeare took his story ideas from other authors and many subsequent authors have used him for source material.

IMo, you cant own information anymore then you can own your children. And trying to circumvent this self-evident truism only hinders growth, be it spiritual, economic, or scientific.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

m50d (797211) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173036)

Oh. It does. Erm, why?

For the good of society.

It's basically judicial theft.

No it's not, since it doesn't deprive you of anything. The only judicial theft going on is the theft of my right to do what I want with property I own, including making a copy of it.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173144)

> For the good of society.

Who decides what is good? what happens if what is decided as good is harmful to members of that society?

Wasn't segregation justified in this way?

> No it's not, since it doesn't deprive you of anything.

Of course it does; if anyone can make a copy of the item for free, how can you recapture the time and money you invested in creating it?

And given that, you would have to stop creating these things - since you can't feed and clothe yourself doing it - and change jobs.

If there's one single action which will devestate any industry, it's removing the ability to make money from that industry, because people working in that industry are then obliged to change professions - and that entire industry basically disappears overnight.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173054)

"It's basically judicial theft.

The ethical rule is this; if you make something, it belongs to you, and you can do what you want with it - and that includes handing it down to your kids to help them in their lives."

Uh, no. If you make something, it belongs to you, yes, and you can do what you want with it. But if you make a car, and it belongs to you, obviously if someone steals it you don't have it anymore, and you can't use it or pass it on to your kids. If, however, you write a poem, novel, or a piece of sheet music, you can still hang on to it forever, and it is still yours, and you can pass it on to your children, but once you make zillions of copies and sell them (i.e. publish it), what then? What's to prevent someone from copying it themselves? In the absence of copyright law, nothing. You can appeal to people's sense of ethics, but history shows that often doesn't work, and there is a grey line regarding what constitutes copying a work versus merely being inspired by it. Anyway, people haven't stolen your copy from you if they make their own copy, either from the paper expression of it or by listening to you reciting the material or playing it, and writing down their own copy from what they heard. They are NOT stealing from you, they are duplicating what you made. It would be like seeing your car, and then manufacturing their own, identical version. They have not stolen your car.

Now, you can call it "judicial theft" that under copyright law your work will eventually pass into the public domain, but in actuality it is a simple bargain. A contract of a sort. You'd like legal protection against people attempting to make copies of your work? That's fine. In the interests of encouraging you to publish your work, you can get a period where you, exclusively, can make and optionally sell copies of your work. The public (via law) is giving you that right and will enforce its protection using the judiciary and police. In exchange, after a reasonable period of time (to be defined), the same law says that you must turn the work over to the public domain -- i.e. the exclusive period has limited duration. Copyright is not "judicial theft", it is this bargain. You get something (exclusive copy rights), the public gets something (the eventual end of those rights).

Don't like it? It's simple. Keep the work to yourself (i.e. don't publish it), and it will forever remain under your complete control. Put your original in the attic, and your kids can keep it and admire it forever.

To put it simply: if you don't like the ethics of copyright law, then don't enter into the bargain by publishing your work.

And if you want to enter into the world where, due to application of strict ethics, people can't use any of each other's good ideas to develop their own, because it's "wrong", well, that would be a pretty stifling environment in which to try to operate.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

aussie_a (778472) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173068)

The ethical rule is this; if you make something, it belongs to you, and you can do what you want with it - and that includes handing it down to your kids to help them in their lives.
Alright, but only on one condition. We get to strike all of the laws that give you a monopoly on anything non-physical you produce. You can have all the laws you want protecting your physical property (which includes CDs and paintings) but no longer will you be able to sue people for copyright infringement.

If you're willing to agree to that, I'm willing to abolish the public domain.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

grahammm (9083) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173096)

Though in art, the original nearly always has considerably more value than copies or reproductions (and often only becomes valuable after the artist's death). Music is a little different, often the copies (ie arrangements) become well known and therefore more valuable. Take for example Pictures from an Exhibition by Mussorgsky. Almost everyone knows it as an orchestral piece, as orchestrated by Ravel, many do not even know that in its original form it is for piano. In music, 'borrowing' themes from other composers, and adapting them, is very common and is an important part of how music evolves.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173108)

So-- you're up for paying royalties for the use of Aristotle's works? Or Shakespeare's plays? Should we be paying to take photos of the Sistine Chapel? How about churches coughing up for the use of the King James bible? Maybe we should go back and find all of Edgar Allen Poe's relatives, start paying them royalties to offset the effects of "judicial theft" over the years (especially those football-playing bastards in Baltimore!).

We may not be able to track down the heirs of Aristotle, but what about Mark Twain? How about Thomas Jefferson?

The idea of perpetual copyright seems wonderfully logical when you apply the (incredibly recent and very inappropriate) label of "intellectual property" to them. But when you start looking at older works, particularly those of nearly immeasurable cultural value, it becomes apparent that, at some point in time, copyright protection is neither reasonable nor appropriate.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173256)

> So-- you're up for paying royalties for the use of Aristotle's works? Or Shakespeare's plays?

In fact, with regard to Shakespeare's plays, what happens is that the publishing company publishes the plays and makes a profit, but Shakespeare's descendents (to whom the plays rightfully belong) get nothing.

Shakespeare worked hard to make those plays; and despite handing them down to his family, his family gets nothing.

What would be wrong with a part of the money I spend buying a book of a play going to his family?

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173366)

What would be wrong with a part of the money I spend buying a book of a play going to his family?
Practically speaking, friction. Securing the rights is in itself a deterrent. Also, the price charged and/or the conditions attached will simply prevent some wealth being created. More than you imagine, because of the "long tail".

In addition, this whole attitude redefines the meaning of culture; without freedom of expression, culture is sapped to the point that works are so boring that they cannot possibly contain others' IP, for they contain no meaningful IP themselves.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Dunbal (464142) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173378)

Shakespeare worked hard to make those plays; and despite handing them down to his family, his family gets nothing.

      Shakespeare earned money from his plays and the performances. Why should his family continue to profit from something done 600 years ago? You know, my grandfather's company built a major highway 60 years ago. Perhaps I should set up a toll booth and charge every car that drives down it today?

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173424)

> Shakespeare earned money from his plays and the performances. Why should his family continue to profit
> from something done 600 years ago?

If I had an ancestor who built a house and my family lived in it for six hundred years, would it be wrong for my family to continue to benefit from it after such a long time? so that the house should now be in the public domain?

Why is this wrong for a house but right for a song or film or play?

I think it is because the song or film or play has a *property* such that it *can* be copied for free, and so we *do*, because by and large we lack an understanding or knowledge of what property rights really mean. We're selfish, we benefit from the theft, and we lack the knowledge to prevent us from acting in that way, despite the fact it's not actually in our best interest or indeed ethical.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173396)

~What would be wrong with a part of the money I spend buying a book of a play going to his family?~

Your entire argument boils down to "copyright must continue to exist, since it takes time and money to produce something".

Therefor, what's wrong with giving the family money is simply : they didn't invest time and money to produce the original work. Ergo under your system, they have no right to an income.

Taking that line further, you're essentially arguing that a work should be copyrighted up to exactly the point where original time and money has been recouped. Then it enters public domain (since you have no other arguments for copyright ?). Or are you saying that this step should be delayed a bit, because investing time and money should also "naturally" lead to turning a profit ?

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (1, Offtopic)

Toby The Economist (811138) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173178)

I find it depressing that /. readership mods views they disagree with as flamebait and troll.

It should be clear from the post that I'm making a serious point, which means I'm not trolling or angling for a fight.

When debate - which inherently means the positing of disagreeing views - is modded as flamebait, you have ossified.

You're an Economist? (1)

Morosoph (693565) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173222)

Not everything is property. Consider air. Consider untreated sea water. Why? Partly because some of these are difficult to enforce, but also partly because property requires society to enforce it.

Society will only enforce something if it is in their interests to do so. Certainly rival goods such as a physical painting, a program that hasn't been distributed, or a physical copy of an artist's work are enforced as property because protecting rival goods is good for society, as well as the individual.

But with non-rival goods it's not the same. Furthermore, it's a muddy area whether it is even theft when the act of copying leaves the original. More prosaically, this "theft" can create new demand [slashdot.org] . Charging for pirated goods is theft in my opinion since this directs funds that are intended for the copyright holder towards the counterfeiter, but it is the misrepresentation that makes it theft: you are buying a forgery. Accordingly, I have always argued that punishment should be proportional to money made, rather than some projected level of damages, that according to research simply doesn't exist.

Property is a positive right; a priori, you only own yourself; less if you are a theist. The rest you have as a result of being willing to defend your property, and because society sees the common interest in preserving incentives so as to allow long-term freedom. The ability to plan, for example. The inability to create derived works is a restraint of freedom, so the reason why property is protected begins to fail with time, and more so as time moves on. Eventually, the value to culture of having a work freely available far outweighs the value of the incentive, so society stops enforcing the right.

Re:Copyright should permanently belong to the auth (4, Insightful)

TrekkieGod (627867) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173370)

The ethical rule is this; if you make something, it belongs to you, and you can do what you want with it - and that includes handing it down to your kids to help them in their lives.

If you make something physical, that object belongs to you. You paid for the materials, you did the work. If you show it to someone, and they like it, they might decide to build one themselves. The one they build does not belong to you, it belongs to them.

Intellectual property is very different from real property. Here's another example:

Let's say you tell someone that you have this ESP-like feeling that the numbers 17 35 8 7 22 and 19 are going to be this week's lotto numbers. You go ahead and play those numbers, and guess what...the person you told them to figures they might play them as well. You both win. Now the jackpot is divided between the two of you. Do you think you should have the right to sue them because it was your idea to play those numbers? If you didn't want them to play those numbers, why did you tell it to them?

Music is pretty much the same way. If you don't want to share it with the world at large, you can write it and keep it a secret. Record it, play it to yourself when no one else is at home. No one is going to "steal it" from you. However, you want other people to listen don't you? You want to make money off of it? Well, once they listen, it becomes part of their culture. They might get it stuck in their heads. They might be whistling it while they work. They might like to sing along with it when they hear it on the radio. They'll reference the lyrics when they think they would bring something to the conversation. The music is now theirs. It's part of them. By letting them hear it, you gave it to them.

Any rights you have to prevent them from singing it in public (like Happy Birthday in restaurants), or to otherwise copy it, is purely artificial. Nothing is being taken from you. You still have the guitar you used to compose the music (unless you sold it), you still have the original recordings (unless you threw them away), you can still play them yourself. The only reason people can copy your song is because you let them have it in the first place. So choose. Keep your song secret and profit from it, or give it to the community.

You want both? Well, if you're a good musician, society wants to encourage you to write more songs. So we'll give you the artificial right to control what is now our song for a set number of years. They should be small enough that you can't really live off of that one song for the rest of your life. After all, that defeats the purpose of encouraging you to write more songs, doesn't it?

Do you want to profit from the song after the copyright has expired? Feel free. Society has this strange "celebrity complex." If you perform the song in public, the people who like the song will pay to be near you, to see you there, next to them, singing it live. Society has taken nothing from you. You definitely gave something to society. Stop trying to steal it back from us, while at the same time keeping our money.

Reminds me of a Monty Python song (4, Funny)

jlowery (47102) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172850)

... called "Decomposing Composers".

Although in this case I think they're recomposing composers.

2Pac doesn't need to do this (4, Funny)

Lewisham (239493) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172900)

Instead of signing petitions, why don't they just release a couple new albums like 2Pac? It's totally paying for the henny and the hos in the afterlife.

Whenever you hear "corporation" or "association" (5, Insightful)

The Master Control P (655590) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172916)

Remember that corporations meet almost every criteria for being psychopaths [wikipedia.org] that doesn't involve age or sexuality (Jokes about getting raped at the pump notwithstanding).

Pathological lying, conning/manipulative, shameless, parasitic lifestyle, irresponsibility? I consider it extremely unlikely that they wouldn't know that a member was dead (seeing as he wouldn't be showing up for recording and all), and even then, so what? If the signatures were genuine, no dead person's name could possibly be on the list. Yet another in the media industry's endless stream of manipulative lies. Naturally, when called out, they will shamelessly deny any previous knowledge. Parasitic lifestyle? We hear every day how the Internet makes the recording industry obsolete. Irresponsible? Like forging dead people's signatures?

Corporations are psychopaths. But they aren't psychopathic because they enjoy being evil - If they don't act like this, the shareholders can sue (If you don't [obviously wrong action], it's bad for profit = lawsuit). If this nonsense is to stop while it's still possible to get corporations back under control, the law needs to change. Seeing as it's 4am, I leave it to the rest of you to propose the changes.

anger (1)

gravesb (967413) | more than 7 years ago | (#17172948)

I wonder if the general public will be outraged enough by this to do something about it. Its obvious to everyone here that the labels are evil, but I wonder if the public at large understands it as well, and if not, if obvious lies and manipulation are sufficient to show it to them. Of course, you would think the Sony root kit would have done the same thing, and it doesn't seem to have made a real difference.

Advertising Standard Authority (4, Insightful)

MythMoth (73648) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173026)

If this is an Advert in the UK Edition of the FT, then the appropriate action to take would be to complain to the Advertising Standards Authority. ASA rulings are usually considered newsworthy in a minor way, and would raise awareness of the issue.

Re:Advertising Standard Authority (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173236)

Also, if it is a petition meant to influence government, it wouldn't surprise me if there is law on the books making inclusion of "dead people's signatures" illegal, unless the signatory happened to be alive at the time the petition was signed and died subsequently. It certainly looks like some kind of fraud.

Writing a letter to the editor is of course also an option.

Re:Advertising Standard Authority (4, Informative)

Marcion (876801) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173276)

I made a complaint, if some other British people could then it might help them notice, you can complain online. The article was Thursday, 7th December. Here is the online complaint form:

http://www.asa.org.uk/asa/how_to_complain/complain ts_form/ [asa.org.uk]

If anyone knows the page number, or better, even has a copy of the ad then that would be really god.

Welcome to the new world of ..... (3, Interesting)

3seas (184403) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173120)

...Cyber space virtual reality where you never really die and someone else really does own all your base.

Intellectual property rights are man created and man enforced where they can reasonably be enforced.

However, the value of the intellectual property only goes as far as the ability to share it, via licensing or some other method of "regulation" of the value exchange flow.

You can have all the intellectual property in the world but to yourself it is value less, it is only upon sharing it that it becomes valuable or has value.

With this in mind the apex of debate is regarding at what time does the IP rights constraints become to constraining to others on the path to human advancement that it falsely limits human advancement even effecting the author/inventor life and living environment?

Maybe some see creative works of non-invention as something that doesn't apply to this but the fact is that such creative works being constrained of the past would have, for example, nearly eliminated all science fiction of today. Today all science fiction contains enough elements of works previously done that it would be virtuallyt impossible to write a decent story. The same applies to alot of music.

Intellectual property right are intended to benefit the creator of it, but not to give them a permanet monopoly on it.

As a human character, right and duty, we build upon and with the works of those before us. If we did not then we could not evolved our environment, society, technology, medicine, shelter, transportation etc.. We'd still be living in caves and hunting for food.

Now what if technology could reach the rate of advancement that itself would provide solutions fast enough that we could live much longer, healthier, etc. And this would certainly effect any living "creator"

This cannot happen with IP rights constraining such forward movement!

I like Lebanon's hezbollah petitions better (2, Funny)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173250)

Dead people do NOT sign these petitions ... but they do have a strong tendency to die AFTER it was asked of them

Copyrights should not be permanently transferrable (4, Insightful)

PyrotekNX (548525) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173274)

One of the biggest problems with the recording industry is that the artists sign over their copyright holdings permanently instead of leasing them. Right now the transfer of copyright is complete and permanent.

The lease should end when the contract does. The artist or artists would then have the option to renew their contract and lease, sign a new contract / release indie, or release it into the public domain.

With a lease, you can be assured that there isn't an abuse of the power that record labels have now. A simple law could make these current types of contracts obsolete and illegal. Artists should also be able to reference this law and get their copyrights returned to the rightful owner.

This kind of thing is being done with the LOTR Trilogy and The Hobbit. The movie rights were leased to Miramax for a short period. If they do not finish the movies within that timeframe, they cannot release them.

Lets face it, record labels themselves are an obsolete business model. There are many ways to do self promotion now and you don't need to include a 3rd party publisher. A simple website, some iTunes tracks and a live tour are you really need to promote yourself. All labels really do is publish little plastic discs. They don't need exclusive rights to your material to do that.

Are we sure it's a problem? (1)

bmud (590967) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173400)

Err, I'm only in my second year of law school, so everyone should take this with a grain of salt. However, if the trustee of his estate is empowered with the right to endorse certain things on his behalf, my half informed judgment is that this isn't a problem. The endorsements you make are probably an asset that can be allocated to trustees upon certain executory conditions, the least problematic of which is endorsing an organization that legally represents your interests as an artist.

Re:Are we sure it's a problem? (1)

vidarh (309115) | more than 7 years ago | (#17173448)

It might not be illegal, but it certainly is dishonest. If the petition listed "the estate of ..." as supporting it, then that would be fine. As it is, the ad about the petition is an attempt to make the public believe those persons supported the petition, while in some cases they obviously were never able to make any decision about it.

Lawrence Donegan - not dead yet (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 7 years ago | (#17173466)

I haven't seen the ad first-hand, not being in the UK.

Is it signed "Lonnie Donegan" or simply "L. Donegan"? Because there was also a Lawrence Donegan, bass guitarist with a couple of reasonably well-known UK bands in the 80s, and as far as I know he's still alive and kicking. After his music career was over, he went on to become a Guardian journalist. Not that the P2P thieves would give a damn, but he'd probably appreciate the occasional royalty cheque.

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