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White Paper Decries RIAA Attempts To Raise Infringement Payouts

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the making-a-quick-buck dept.

Music 140

Little Big Man writes "Public Knowledge, the CEA, and six other industry and public interest groups have issued a white paper critical of the attempts of the RIAA and other major copyright players to have statutory infringement levels raised. 'Noting that the courts can currently award massive statutory damages without rightsholders having to demonstrate that they have suffered any actual harm, the white paper calls current copyright law a "carefully designed compromise" meant to balance the interests of both parties ... The authors of the white paper paint a dreary future where "copyright trolls" file lawsuits in order to rake in massive amounts of statutory damages, where innovation is stifled, and where artists are afraid to "Recut, Reframe, and Recycle" because of the financial risks involved.'"

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140 comments

Nice idea but... (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22324790)

A hundred whitepapers wont do much good unless you can afford to lobby a few politicians and they only deal in cash.

Re:Nice idea but... (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325066)

and whatcouldpossiblygowrong with that?
 

Re:Nice idea but... (2, Interesting)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325426)

It's a money war, and unfortunately every forced copyright settlement is paying politicians for the sorts of laws that make extorting people so easy. Somebody form a lobby group for shutting down the RIAA's frivolous lawsuits and I'll gladly donate money to it.

Re:Nice idea but... (5, Informative)

CodeBuster (516420) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326062)

Its called the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) [eff.org] and they would be pleased to accept your tax deductible donation right now [eff.org]. I have donated money to them each year for the past three (3) years now. I think you will agree, after reviewing their website, that their lobbying efforts have been intelligent, organized, informed, and as their list of successful actions attests, surprisingly effective as well. The professional lobbyist is an inevitable and some would say unfortunate part of our democracy, but the EFF proves that it does not take a fortune to effectively agitate for positive change or resist unwelcome changes. If you can donate even fifty ($50) US dollars on a yearly basis then that would be a useful and powerful statement against the RIAA and other special interest groups who are fighting to take away and roll back your rights and carve out unwarranted new rights and protections for themselves at your expense.

Re:Nice idea but... (1)

u-235-sentinel (594077) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326178)

A hundred whitepapers wont do much good unless you can afford to lobby a few politicians and they only deal in cash.

And with the way the economy is going, it must be in euro's ;-)

Copyright Trolls Say.. (0, Offtopic)

dippitydoo (1134915) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324806)

All your copyrights are belong to us

Re:Copyright Trolls Say.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22327002)

Don't you mean All your copyrights are belong to them

Not going to make a difference (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22324814)

Unless whoever wrote this white paper is prepared to bribe congresmen, presidents, and government officials at the rate at which the RIAA is doing it nothing will ever change.

Put simply, corruption and bribary are the language of American politics.

YOU have to MAKE a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325988)

the language of american politics is defined in freedom, justice, and equality. (have you ever read our charter?)

The shit of the current political tide is theivery, conspiracy, and slavery.

this will NOT stand.

I am a man born of INALIENABLE rights. and I'm pissed off. watch out criminals.

the 13th cycle is approaching.

Re:Not going to make a difference (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22328502)

If you vote Mitt Romney, then at least the President will not be for sale.

CEA to RIAA: (4, Funny)

Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324856)

We are in your politics killin' your business models

Re:CEA to RIAA: (2, Informative)

Dr.Merkwurdigeliebe (1055918) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325026)

Wear in ur politics killin ur biznis models If you're going to lolCat something, do it right. at least half the words have to be spelled phonetically

Re:CEA to RIAA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22328640)

My God - a correct way to do a lolcat. Now I've seen _everything_!

Re:CEA to RIAA: (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325284)

Just remember, they aren't cat burglers, they are cat copyright infringers. And they even have a copyright infringement tool named after them: cat foo.mp3 > bar.mp3

Poison Pill (4, Interesting)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22324898)

Let them raise the statuatory infringement cap...
But only if they cut copyright back to 14 years instead of life + 70 yrs.

Re:Poison Pill (0, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325168)

Do you have any idea how ridiculously fucking short 14 years is?!

That would put everything before 1994 into the public domain. That includes things like Super Mario Bros., the original Linux kernel, the first two Terminator movies, Blade Runner, the first six Star Trek movies, all the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, and more into the public domain.

I think it's safe to say that 14 years is ridiculously short. Really anything shorter than 50 years is too short, although even 50 years would public domain some stuff that's still making the creators money.

Re:Poison Pill (5, Interesting)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325420)

That would put everything before 1994 into the public domain. That includes things like Super Mario Bros., the original Linux kernel, the first two Terminator movies, Blade Runner, the first six Star Trek movies, all the Star Trek: The Next Generation episodes, and more into the public domain.
And, of these, which are you saying has not made enough money to finance the original development and make a reasonable profit? The aim of copyright, after all, is to promote the development of creative works by allowing the creators to make money from them. If 14 years is enough time for the creators to make enough money from their creations to both fund their development and provide an adequate return on investment to encourage for future funding then 14 years is long enough. It might not be, but none of the counterexamples you cite back up your claim that it's too short.

Re:Poison Pill (4, Interesting)

Maxo-Texas (864189) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325534)

Regarding "Blade Runner", released in 1982 (26 years)

Aug 3, 2007
Ladd jury orders WB to pay up over profits

The 12-juror panel then ruled 10-2 to adopt the plaintiffs' suggested damage calculations for 12 films produced by the Ladd Co., including "Blade Runner," "Chariots of Fire" and the "Police Academy" movies.

The Superior Court jury delivered a unanimous verdict in finding that the studio breached its duties to the producers. The 12-juror panel then ruled 10-2 to adopt the plaintiffs' suggested damage calculations for 12 films produced by the Ladd Co., including "Blade Runner," "Chariots of Fire" and the "Police Academy" movies.

---

The movie was profitable loooooong ago and the studios are still ripping people off with fancy accounting.

I personally support the original "14 years + option to reup 14 years".

The current disney purchased "forever" system is obscene and removes any respect for the copyright system because it is so obviously unfair and corrupt.

Re:Poison Pill (4, Interesting)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325564)

Copyrights should last 70 years because that's probably how how the artist will live after they've made it, and possibly help their family after they're dead. Copyright holders are rarely the millionaires you seem to think they are. Yeah, you have the big record companies and movie companies, but a lot more copyrights are being given to authors or freelance photographers, exactly the sorts of people that need long-term protection because chances are they aren't making a lot of money off of their work. You want to shorten patent terms, sure, you want to make it harder for the RIAA to extort people, sure, but let the starving artists have control of their work during their lifetime.

Re:Poison Pill (5, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325850)

Think of it the other way. How many artists will stop creating because they "only" have 14 years to make money off of it.

Copyright was not originally intended to guarantee the artist a paycheck for the rest of their life. Having copyrights that last for the life of the creator isn't about "encouraging the arts" it's about locking in control and legally enforcing a profit, neither of which are what it was created for.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

zenkonami (971656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326136)

True, but I think it's important to remember that the creative arts are a different kind of business than many others. In most cases, you get no pension, no retirement, no health care, no sick days...it's a freelance gig (most of the time) and with it come those hazards...hazards the artist hopes can be made up for over the life of their works.

The artist is being paid for work they did, but if they stop promoting it, it is likely to stop producing money for them, so they are also, effectively, being paid for work they are doing. Very few can actually "rest on their laurels" and watch the mailbox money roll in. Promoting often involves performance, the creation of new material, etc... Except for some major corporations, the arts are not as lucrative for most people as some are led to believe...even with copyrights that extend to the life of the copyright holder.

The problem is when the creator is no longer the copyright holder, which is frequently the case in exchange for the opportunity to promote and distribute their work.

Re:Poison Pill (2, Insightful)

mOdQuArK! (87332) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326242)

I think it's important to remember that the creative arts are a different kind of business than many others

No they're not. That's the incorrect assumption that keeps this stupid argument about "intellectual property" going.

"Being creative" is no different than providing any other sort of service. For most types of services, you get paid for what people think is the value of the provided service, at the time that you provide the service. Only the greedy want to get paid over and over for providing a single act of service.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

milsoRgen (1016505) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326462)

I'm starting to understand now... I like this imaginary property thing, let's have it apply to other works as well... Like if I'm a house painter, I should still get paid for that house I painted 20 years ago... That would rock... Seriously tho the length a copyright can be held should be drastically shortened, it would keep the creative types pumping out new works.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

bishiraver (707931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327180)

Answer:

If copyright is issued to a legal non-human body (ie, corporation, LLC):

Copyright term is 14 years with possibility to re-apply.

If copyright is issued to a human person (as opposed to a corporation or legal body), it is copywritten for 70 years.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

syousef (465911) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325996)

That would only make sense if the artists were getting a reasonable amount of money from their copyrighted works. In general they don't, and few those that do get too much which is then spent on the cult of celebrity, drugs and hookers.

Even if you still do subscribe to the idea that the artist should profit from their work, the idea that an artist should CONTROL (or sell control of) their work for their lifetime is a separate issue. It would be possible to award civil damages for use of a work without compensation, but still allow others to use it without having to negotiate terms.

Re:Poison Pill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22326294)

>Copyrights should last 70 years because that's probably how how the artist will live after they've made it

what either they are superhuman or only sell stuff at the age of 10? i guess New Order are looking forward to being 120 years old at death, thats the last CD I bought (and it was crap, game over man)

the facts to remember here are:
1) the artist generally gets it in the shorts when it comes to a cut from the sales of their work. they'd have to have sold multi millions to get a damn good deal
2) if (1) is true, they probably don't need (NEED I SAID) the money. if they pissed it away on coke and whores, f*ck em.
3) if you've not made enough money in your creative lifetime to care for you middle-to-old age, you probably aren't going to make enough money to do that from back catalogue sales - you weren't that popular to start with.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

JudgeFurious (455868) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326316)

You have a good point and so does the fellow you're talking to. I can't help but feel like there is no perfect answer to this however and I find myself thinking of the age old sequence of events where a relative few screw things up for everybody. A handful of people own the laws now and when it no longer suits their purpose they buy extensions on existing laws or sometimes entirely new ones. We may not be able to afford to keep helping those starving artists you speak of. The few may have broken the system beyond repair and the many may just need to get a day job (or keep the one they have).

  I'd like to let the starving artists have control of their work during their lifetime because that just seems like a good thing to do. At the same time I don't see a lot of people lining up to exploit the work of artists who are themselves "starving" (so to speak). If you're not making any money off of your work then what's the point of giving you 70 years to "not" make money off of your work?

  I'd like to see a system where works enter the public domain relatively quickly (the 14 years being tossed around sounds about right. I'm thinking 15-20 though) and then entire a halfway-public state with a graduated and decreasing scale of revenue going towards the copyright holder. Say for instance I invent a cute cartoon rat when I'm 20 years old and copyright it. It takes off and I make some money off of my rat. We'll call him Ricky Rat or "RR" for conversations sake. At 15 years RR becomes "semi-public domain" and anyone who wants to can use him for whatever they like. If they're making money off of him however they have to pay me a percentage of the profits to use him. That percentage decreases as the next decade or two goes by until I no longer get to leech off of other peoples work. I think that would be more than fair.

Re:Poison Pill (5, Insightful)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326494)

You have just demonstrated that you haven't any idea why copyright was created in the first place. People are by nature creative. We do stuff all the time that is new. Not all of it (or even a majority of it) is interesting or useful to other people, but a lot of stuff is. As a society we only grow when everybody's creative ideas are out on the table. We take the best ones and build upon that.

However, ideas are an infinite good. Some people don't want to share their creative ideas unless they have some way to profit from it. Because ideas can't be controlled like a physical thing can, some people a long time ago designed copyright to give incentive to those people. In brief, copyright is the government granting a temporary monopoly on your idea (so that you can profit from it) to you in exchange for you to share that idea with society. During that copyright period, you are free to charge however much you want for the use of that copyrighted material (free use excepting). After that copyrighted period though, the public and society as a whole is now free to build upon that idea however they see fit. If you want to have another monopoly that allows you to create money off an idea, then you have to come up with something new and creative again. Thus, copyrights give incentive to create more copyrighted work from even the original author. However, with a copyright term that is guaranteed for life, what incentive do you have to create something new more than once? Sure you can create more works to make even more money, but if you are content with what you have, you have no reason to create new works. Let's take an example. If the copyright for Star Wars ran out in 1993 (14 years after 1979) then George Lucas would have been forced to come up with something new to make money. He couldn't just continue riding the Star Wars wave the rest of his life. (For those of you who didn't like the prequels, this means that after 1993 anybody could have made them). As it is, he just sits around and makes money off of a few properties he's made.

I will only be for lifetime+ copyrights once my work as a plumber guarantees me and my posterity money for all individual jobs I do. If I make a toilet and install it somewhere, then guarantee me that I can get a decent income from that work for the rest of my life and my childrens' lives as well. If I happen to want more money, then I will install a second toilet and then you have to guarantee me profits from two toilets. But it doesn't work like that in real life and it shouldn't be that way for anything else. To make a more appropriate analogy: Say you are a marketing guy and you come up with a neat way to advertise a product. Should you be guaranteed an income for you and your posterity for that one idea? No, that would be silly. You get paid a salary and if you stop coming up with ideas then you're fired and the next idea-man gets hired in your place. Same with individual authors of creative works. They should have to keep coming up with ideas if that is how they want to make a living. If they don't, then they can go work as a salaried employee somewhere.

In either case, if you want to leave your children some inheritance, that is your deal. People who don't make money off of copyrighted things have to save up and invest in order to provide for their families. Why should a person who came up with some idea before anyone else be treated any differently in that regard? We, as a society, gave them an opportunity to market their creative work and make money, now it is our turn to build on it.

I have kind of gone astray. Anyway, the purpose of copyright is to grant a temporary monopoly to give incentive for you to release your work of art into society. Society grants that (through the government) and in return we get your creative work and get to build upon it. Copyright gives incentive to people who have creative works to release it upon society for the express reason of society being able to use that idea and further it. Once you are granting overly long copyrights you have moved from that purpose to the purpose of securing lifelong income to the copyright holder. That is not its originally intended purpose, nor should it ever be.

Again, the purpose of copyright is to give incentive to people with creative ideas to share their creativity with society so that society can progress. Its purpose is NOT and NEVER was and should NEVER be to guarantee an income for life and posterity.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

click2005 (921437) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327106)

and possibly help their family after they're dead.

I've never understood that part.. why should the family (usually not a family but a company anyway) get to live off someone else's work? Is there some reason why the family of an artist/author/creator of whatever cant earn a living like most other people on the planet? Why do they deserve special treatment? Its not like they contributed to society in any way.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

mrxak (727974) | more than 6 years ago | (#22328498)

Why should your kids or spouse benefit from your income? People actually work to support their families. And when they aren't around, it's usually nice if they still provide some support, from insurance, or whatever's in the estate. I guess it's that whole evolution thing where you take care of your family so your genes survive.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | more than 6 years ago | (#22328608)

Copyrights should last 70 years because that's probably how how the artist will live after they've made it, and possibly help their family after they're dead.

I'm sorry, but that's a really stupid argument.

First, copyright isn't intended to help authors or their families. It is intended to get them to create and publish the work and otherwise to protect it as little as possible, for as brief a time as possible. That is, we want the maximum incentive for the minimum cost. If most authors would be incentivized by five years of copyright, then fifty would likely be excessive due to the problem of diminishing returns.

Second, there are other incentives besides copyright. For example, if I pay you paint me a portrait, the commission was your incentive. You can't exploit your copyright to sell copies of the painting, since it isn't in your possession. And I'm not planning to make copies, so I don't need to get a license from you to do so. The work still gets created, but not because of copyright. Works created and published for non-copyright related reasons are actually extremely common. Slashdot posts are a decent example; I bet not a single post would not have been written if they were not copyrightable.

Third, the vast, vast majority of copyrights have zero economic value. Of the teensy tiny minority that do, the vast majority of those have all of that value realized immediately after publication in a given medium. For example, a movie will sell more tickets at the theater on opening weekend than the next weekend, or the weekend after that. Eventually it does poorly enough that it has to go to the second run theater, where the same cycle occurs. Then it goes to pay-per-view, and the same thing happens. Then DVD sales and rentals, and again, it's popular at first, and then does worse and worse. With books, the time span is a few months. For a morning newspaper, the time span is a few hours; people don't buy old news.

So this means that your reason is bunk. It doesn't matter how long the author lives, it only matters how long the work has material copyright-related economic value. Fourteen years would be generous! For most works it's far less time, if there's any value at all. A work that retains value for a long period of time is as rare as winning lottery tickets.

You would surely say that anyone who tried to provide for themselves or for their family by buying a box full of lottery tickets was a fool, right? That if you're worried about what happens to your survivors, you should act responsibly, and get life insurance, save and invest your money carefully, and support social welfare programs if all else fails. Leaving behind copyrights would be foolish. And if the work was valuable, then the cash money that was wrung from it should've been spent in a smart manner so that the family wouldn't need to pray that there's anything left in the copyright.

So not only do we want copyrights to be as short as possible while still incentivizing authors enough, merely as a matter of public policy, we also want them to be short so that authors will not act foolishly and rely on them when they shouldn't. We certainly never want to suggest that they should last a long time so as to help the widows and orphans, since we know that they almost certainly won't help one little bit! It is grossly irresponsible to pretend otherwise.

Copyright holders are rarely the millionaires you seem to think they are.

I agree. But long copyrights don't help them, and do hurt the rest of us. That being the case, we might as well shorten them.

the sorts of people that need long-term protection because chances are they aren't making a lot of money off of their work

And again, that's where you have it wrong. Long term protection will not help them to make a lot of money off of their work except in incredibly rare circumstances. Just because you do it for longer doesn't mean you can wring blood from a stone.

Re:Poison Pill (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325676)

And, of these, which are you saying has not made enough money to finance the original development and make a reasonable profit?
What's your point?

Let me guess, you're one of the "information wants to be free" types who thinks that a work entering the public domain means that it will become freely shared and easily available.

Wrong.

What it means is that people can start making money off it without giving the original creators a dime.

It means that the content you've now dumped into the public domain will suddenly start showing up on TV, surrounded by ads, making money for the TV network but offering nothing back to the creators.

It means that it'll show up on boot-leg DVDs for $5/pop - with all $5 going to the person who ripped the disk and nothing to the creator.

Dropping stuff into the public domain doesn't suddenly make it free - it just means that the creator no longer gets anything. Instead the middle man gets to keep everything.

Re:Poison Pill (3, Interesting)

dada21 (163177) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325938)

It means that the content you've now dumped into the public domain will suddenly start showing up on TV, surrounded by ads, making money for the TV network but offering nothing back to the creators.

It means that it'll show up on boot-leg DVDs for $5/pop - with all $5 going to the person who ripped the disk and nothing to the creator.


Good! That's how it should be!

Someone taking a near infiite resource (digital info), combining it with a very finite resource (time/airwaves) and then finding a hungry market for it!

Everything I create I release to the public domain, yet I still make good income on it.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326612)

Let me guess, you're one of the "information wants to be free" types who thinks that a work entering the public domain means that it will become freely shared and easily available. Wrong. What it means is that people can start making money off it without giving the original creators a dime. It means that the content you've now dumped into the public domain will suddenly start showing up on TV, surrounded by ads, making money for the TV network but offering nothing back to the creators. It means that it'll show up on boot-leg DVDs for $5/pop - with all $5 going to the person who ripped the disk and nothing to the creator.

Why, in all of this, would it not also be freely shared and easily available? Just about every public-domain written work you could name is to be found on Project Gutenberg - freely shared and easily available. The complete Dickens is there. So is Poe. You can freely read the complete adventures of Sherlock Holmes and pay not a penny to the descendants of Arthur Conan Doyle or to the Strand Magazine in which he published. Set copyright back to fourteen years, and we'll do the same with movies and music and software. It's not as if we don't have the infrastructure in place for the task. I believe there are some guys in Sweden who are doing it already...

Re:Poison Pill (1)

vimh42 (981236) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325854)

But the goal of so many isn't to make money to fund development but rather to hit it big with their one hit wonder and ride on its laurels for the rest of their lives.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

zenkonami (971656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326044)

But the goal of so many isn't to make money to fund development but rather to hit it big with their one hit wonder and ride on its laurels for the rest of their lives.
That may be the goal, but it is the exception rather than the rule.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

Damon Tog (245418) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327874)

Reducing copyright terms will discourage independent music and art.

Sound backwards?

There are many artists who labor in obscurity for years before gaining recognition. Small musicians that slowly build up careers over time will be hurt by short copyrights. Major labels that can afford to aggressively promote their wares will not be as hurt because they will make most of their money in the first few months anyway.

It will not be to the public's benefit to have every author, musician and artist immediately selling their rights to their work to corporations instead of holding on to them.

A blanket reduction of copyright terms is a blunt instrument. The problems of copyright can be more effectively be resolved by reducing the copyright terms of works that are out-of-print and are no longer actively being sold. 90 percent of copyrighted works are out-of-print and collecting dust. If the copyright holders can't be bothered to release them, these works should revert to public domain. This would resolve the orphaned culture problem without discouraging independent art and music.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

Lord_Breetai (66113) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325450)

...although even 50 years would public domain some stuff that's still making the creators money.


But that's just it, ip holders will always claim they're still making money with their ip, and continue to lobby for extensions. The line has to be drawn somewhere.

Re: limited terms (4, Insightful)

Migraineman (632203) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325466)

Do you have any idea how ridiculously fucking short 14 years is?!
Long enough so you have a reasonable time to market your work and make money; short enough that you don't get to sit on your ass for the rest of your life, and short enough that you are prohibited from obstructing other peoples' progress.

Go re-read the Constitution ...

To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
As copyright stands now, the term can outlive the author. That's bad. Exactly how does that beyond-death structure encourage the dead guy to create additional works? (hint - it doesn't.)

Re: limited terms (2)

Anakron (899671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325622)

how does that beyond-death structure encourage the dead guy to create additional works?
It doesn't. However, it also reduces any incentive for the artist to suffer an "accidental" death.

Re: limited terms (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325992)

So does having a fixed period of 14+14 years. Having it automatically outlive the author by a given number of years, however, could be an incentive to keep the author alive in a persistent vegetative state for 50 years....

*shivers*

Re:Poison Pill (1)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325640)

I think it seems just about right. If you haven't profited in 14 years, then you're doing it wrong.

Copyright isn't there to create a gravy train. It's there to encourage the useful arts and benefit the country as a whole, not just the original content creators of things that become popular.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

Shagg (99693) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325954)

I think it seems just about right. If you haven't profited in 14 years, then you're doing it wrong.
Agreed, and if you haven't done anything new after 14 years in order to keep paying the bills, maybe you should go out and get a job like everyone else.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

dgatwood (11270) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325958)

To be fair, it was originally 14 years with the ability to renew once for an additional 14, for a total of 28. That would mean that unless a title was not making money, the effective term was 28 years. That would release anything made before 1980. That pretty much puts all the old UNIX code in the clear plus a few early Atari games, but not much else.

Also, you seem to mistakenly believe that copyright holders are usually the original creators. Almost all works of consequence made since about 1970 have been works for hire, which don't necessarily pay residuals to the creator at all.

Despite the word "right" being used in the name, copyright is not an inherent natural right. It is a privilege bestowed upon content creators for the purposes of promoting the arts by allowing time for it to make a reasonable amount of money through a limited monopoly. Patents are similar in this regard. Patents, however, no matter how ingenious, last only 20 years (and much less for things like design patents). It requires far, far more work to create something worthy of a patent than it does to write a three minute song. Why, then, should a song get almost five times the protection? (I feel this way even speaking with my songwriter hat on, BTW.)

IMHO, the protection of a copyrighted work should depend on the amount of work that went into its creation. Writing a song takes a few hours, so it should be protected for maybe ten years. Recording a performance of a song takes a few hours, so it should similarly receive a short protection period. Writing a novel can take a year or more, so it should be protected for maybe fifty years. Writing a piece of computer software depends on the software, but fifty years seems reasonable IF AND ONLY IF the author is an individual or a group of individuals holding copyright for their relevant contributions individually.

Corporate-held copyrights (works for hire) should be much shorter. The authors of works whose copyright is held by corporations almost never get any compensation beyond a salary, so the actual creators do not benefit from the copyright in any useful way. Even when they do, the vast majority of the benefits occur in the first year, and after that, it quickly approaches zero. As such, the rights of these third party "owners" to protect these works for hire should be limited to a shorter duration than similar rights for the actual creators. A duration of 14+14 seems too long. I would suggest 10 + 10, with the exception of musical works, which should be capped at the shorter 10 year total duration.

All dates should be from the date of first publication. (In the case of music/movies, this should apply to either A. the first public printing of the score/script or B. the first time a recording of the song/movie is published, whichever comes first.) Unpublished works should be protected by copyrighted until 10 years after the creator's death, or for up to twenty years in the case of a corporate work for hire. In the case of publication during this time period, the copyright durations described earlier would then apply, beginning on the date of publication.

In cases of copyright transferred from an individual to a corporation, the duration should be the remainder of the corporate copyright period from the date of first publication or 10 years, whichever is longer, with maximum duration not to exceed the duration the work would have been protected had the individual retained the copyright.

You obviously need a clue. (1)

znerk (1162519) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326394)

14 years is plenty of time to make plenty of money from an idea. Star Wars would be public domain, yes, but do you really think George Lucas (or his estate) needs more money from Skywalker and company?

The idea is not to "milk products until they're dead", the idea is to put the ideas into the public domain so that all can profit from them... after the original creator (who, half the time, isn't even the one who got the copywrite) makes a reasonable amount of money from it.

Yes, I have a *very* good idea just how short 14 years is. Maybe you have no idea how *long* 14 years is? 14 years isn't even half my lifespan. it's just over a third. I know how long it took (subjectively), and I know how long it seems now. It's over 5,000 days in which to try to make a profit on something.

Super Mario Brothers would be public domain? Including the original 8-bit Nintendo Entertainment System you'd need to play it? AWESOME. Nintendo isn't selling them anymore, anyway (Not that it stops them from claiming millions in losses when they catch someone counterfeiting them).

I can't get parts for my NES, and when I asked a Nintendo rep where I could find an NES after reading that they busted a counterfeiting ring that they said cost them some $800 million plus in lost revenue, I was told "try Ebay". Why should I have to try to locate a product on Ebay, if the counterfeits of the exact same product cost your company nearly a billion dollars in lost sales?!? One of your statements is utter and complete bullshit.

It's ridiculous for a product that has been on the market for over a decade to be protected by law. If everyone knows what it is, if it's a household name, don't bother trying to stick a Band-Aid on the situation, just have a Coke and a smile, and deal with it.

If it's no longer being produced by the original company, don't bother trying to protect it anymore. Obviously, Nintendo is done with the 8-bit Entertainment System. Let it go to public domain, so we can play the games we loved 20 years ago without having to dig through the bargain bin at garage sales. Besides, I've got 2 NES Advantage controllers, and both the original Zeldas in the gold carts. (nevermind Metroid, Castlevania, Contra, etc.) Why should I have to just suck it up and hope I can find something on Ebay to play them on?

My post got sidetracked, but my core idea is sound. 14 years is plenty of time to make a profit on an idea. Let it go when you're done with it, instead of being greedy bastards.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

Nullav (1053766) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325500)

14 years is just about as ridiculous as what the RIAA is proposing, the only difference is that it hurts people on the other side. Say what you will about riding a single work for a lifetime, but if someone's buying what you spent time to make, I'm sure you'd want a chunk of it, too.
I'd rather see it reduced to ~70 years or the artist's lifetime (whichever is shorter), with (significantly) derivative works expiring at the same time. This wouldn't fix the current mess, or the dystopian future of shotgun lawsuits the whitepaper paints, but at least it would add some sanity to the currently broken system.

Re:Poison Pill (1)

jimicus (737525) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325692)

14 years is just about as ridiculous as what the RIAA is proposing, the only difference is that it hurts people on the other side. Say what you will about riding a single work for a lifetime, but if someone's buying what you spent time to make, I'm sure you'd want a chunk of it, too.

What you're effectively saying is that anyone who produces any sort of intellectual property which becomes sufficiently popular should receive an exception to the rule of thumb which says "keep some of your money aside and put it into a pension scheme" which applies to practically everyone else in the developed world.

Why? The original purpose of copyright was to enable creative people to make a living from just doing the creative stuff - not necessarily riches untold for them and three generations succeeding them.

14 years was the original term... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325768)

The *original* copyright term was 14 years, though! It only got radically expanded back in the '70s. Sorry, but it's VASTLY more reasonable to me than life+70. If anything, I feel it could be a bit too long.

Of course artists want a good deal, but so does the public! Just how many other types of work are there where you can do one bit of work and expect to be paid for it for life? CEOs, the President, Congress... people who get to decide their own wages, in other words... not exactly a sympathy-inducing list.

Wash. Rinse, Repeat (1)

SeaFox (739806) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326176)

Let them raise the statutory infringement cap...
But only if they cut copyright back to 14 years instead of life + 70 yrs.

They'll accept the offer, then in 13 years when there's a different Congress they'll have copyright extended again.

Is this misworded? (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22324978)

'Noting that the courts can currently award massive statutory damages without rightsholders having to demonstrate that they have suffered any actual harm, the white paper calls current copyright law a "carefully designed compromise" meant to balance the interests of both parties

I'm misunderstanding how the assignment of statutory damages without a demonstration, much less proof of harm can be considered in the interest of both parties.

Obvious really (4, Funny)

Recovering Hater (833107) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325024)

The RIAA won't be happy until they can sue someone for "100 Jillion dollars" *

* Spoken in Dr. Evilese

Re:Obvious really (3, Funny)

HikingStick (878216) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325312)

In all likelihood, I believe the RIAA would prefer to make copyright infringement a capital offense.

The executions, themselves, will be recorded (and copyrighted) and then tacked on the beginning of every DVD or future media type.

After a few years, consumers will be able to purchase "The best of RIAA Executions" in a variety of formats (each disk or download fully protected by DRM, of course).

Future? (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325046)

The authors of the white paper paint a dreary future where "copyright trolls" file lawsuits in order to rake in massive amounts of statutory damages, where innovation is stifled, and where artists are afraid to "Recut, Reframe, and Recycle" because of the financial risks involved.'"
Strange. That sounds remarkably similar to the dreary present.

Copyright lawsuits to censor, intimidate, or extract cash are already fairly common. Also, the financial and legal burden to remixing content and culture is already so high that no independent artist can endure it, and most big-name outfits avoid it wherever possible.

Welcome to the future.

content creators (1)

SoupGuru (723634) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325060)

I have a dream. I have a dream that content creators will find it easier and easier to retain the rights to their works instead of being coerced into signing them away to a 3rd party.

If large monolithic recording companies and their associations didn't con the artists into handing over the rights to their labor in the first place, none of this would be an issue. Hopefully the industry will change and allow the artists more freedom over their work while still being able to make a living.

Re:content creators (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325702)

that's bs...there's tons of independent musicians out there today...TONS...and guess what...people are stealing their songs left and right as well.

theft is theft...you are guilty of blaming the victim...it's the record companies fault that people are stealing their products...

open your home...and all you do and create to everyone...just let folks come in and take all you do for free...take your livelihood see how you feel about it then.

the artists aren't being conned (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325774)

It has been well established that the big distributors have been lying thieving ripoffs for generations now, not just years, decades. This is nothing new. Any artist/group that signs with them and gets ripped off just didn't care or something, "something" possibly being drunk/stoned/greedy enough to think they were "special" and wouldn't get ripped off. I have actually lost interest in this issue for the most part, all I see are willing victims who all think they are leeter than leet. I don't download, or purchase legit either, the entire recording "industry" is a scam, top to bottom and sideways. If bands now can go fully independent and not price gouge and handle all their own affairs with distribution, fine, that is a different story, but any of them that "sign" with an outside third party..well...forest gump said it best "stupid is as stupid does".

It's like all the little kids conned into believing they are going to be team sports gods, with all the money and glory, etc., so they devote thousands of hours to practice some stupid game with a stupider ball of some sort while they are growing up, and one in a thousand or less makes it to the pros...it's just retarded.

This just in (3, Funny)

LockeOnLogic (723968) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325070)

A late amendment to the PRO-IP would give the RIAA permission to "hold you upside down and shake out every last penny" on suspicion of copywrite infringement. Not satisfied with this development, RIAA is now pushing for a further amendment permitting cavity searches as well.

Re:This just in (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325506)

Someone needs to put this on a t-shirt.

I think Lars Ulrich or James Hetfield would be the perfect
subjects to be oversized the "troll" holding a poor media
consumer up in the air by his leg.

"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"? Good Riddance (0, Troll)

Gorlash (957166) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325078)

Honestly, if you can't come up with material yourself, you shouldn't call yourself an artist.
If you can't be bothered to ask the originator if she minds if you reuse her work, you can't call yourself respectful.
If you can't honor the wishes of the originator when he says he doesn't want you reusing his work, you shouldn't call yourself honest.

All in all, the only way in which I'd miss the recyclers is in the lack of easy targets for mockery.

Re:"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"? Good Riddance (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325186)

Honestly, if you can't come up with material yourself, you shouldn't call yourself an artist.

"Good artists copy. Great artists steal." - Pablo Picasso

What was that you were saying?

Re:"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"? Good Riddance (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325188)

"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"
"Honestly, if you can't come up with material yourself, you shouldn't call yourself an artist."

I guess Picasso wasn't an artist.

I heard it on Slashdot so it must be true.

There is nothing new under the sun (1)

spun (1352) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325264)

Honestly, if you can't come up with material yourself, you shouldn't call yourself an artist.
If you can't be bothered to ask the originator if she minds if you reuse her work, you can't call yourself respectful.
If you can't honor the wishes of the originator when he says he doesn't want you reusing his work, you shouldn't call yourself honest.

All in all, the only way in which I'd miss the recyclers is in the lack of easy targets for mockery.
Everything in art is recycled. If you can't see that, you have not studied art, literature, or history. Go ahead, find me one original piece of art, something that has never, ever been done before, and which is not influenced by anything which went before. Or try a thought experiment: if you raised a kid in a box with no contact with the outside world, would they be capable of producing anything approaching art?

Re:There is nothing new under the sun (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326980)

Go ahead, find me one original piece of art, something that has never, ever been done before, and which is not influenced by anything which went before.
Ask and you shall recieve [wikimedia.org]

I kid. I kid. I actually agree with you.

Re:"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"? Good Riddance (1)

freedom_surfer (203272) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325374)

Because we know all artists have originated all their work and techniques and not built upon the foundations of their predecessors...

I have a better idea...if you want to horde your art, then don't share it or release it to the general public...a real artist would prefer his/her work to be enjoyed by many rather than locked away with a financial key...IMHO

Now should people have protections for their created works? Of course....but for 70+ years? No way... if you can't make your money back in 14 years, then you made a bad decision with your investments and time...and probably weren't driven to make 'art' at all... societal progress and their ability to embrace and extend the work of previous generations shouldn't be stiffled to benefit a few. (and might I add those that benefit from extensions often simply bought the 'rights' and had no part in the creation of the 'art' at all)

Also, to get back on topic...the courts need to throw these awards out...its about time they have to prove actual losses...these large awards and litigation are just foundations upon which to extort out of court settlements...again IMHO

Re:"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"? Good Riddance (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325490)

Exactly. Every musician who's written a song that uses the I-IV-V structure is a laughable fraud, because somebody else came up with that idea first.

Don't even get me started on the hacks who use the verse-chorus-verse-chorus-solo-chorus song structure!

Re:"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"? Good Riddance (1)

tepples (727027) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326370)

Honestly, if you can't come up with material yourself, you shouldn't call yourself an artist.
If I write a song, how can I tell whether I have subconsciously copied something that I had heard on the radio ten years ago?

Re:"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"? Good Riddance (1)

meringuoid (568297) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326528)

Honestly, if you can't come up with material yourself, you shouldn't call yourself an artist.

Damn. Well, there goes Shakespeare, then.

Re:"Recut, Reframe, and Recycle"? Good Riddance (1)

zotz (3951) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326644)

"Honestly, if you can't come up with material yourself, you shouldn't call yourself an artist."

Cool, so any works found to be built upon works in the public domain and so on down the line will automatically be put into the public domain then? I mean, if they are building on the works of others, they can't be artists and why should we give copyrights on artistic works to non-artists? Right?

How about we go on a copyright offensive everyone?
http://zotzbro.blogspot.com/2007/04/some-thoughts-on-copyright-offensive.html [blogspot.com]

all the best,

drew

Higher return-on-investment. (2, Insightful)

fahrbot-bot (874524) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325140)

The RIAA makes perfect sense here. In response to dwindling (or flat) profits from lawsuits, they want to raise the guaranteed ROI on fewer lawsuits. Models the recording industry business practices perfectly... Rape, don't innovate.

Having their cake and eating it too (4, Insightful)

Shagg (99693) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325246)

Why is it that the RIAA (and I guess the MPAA too?) are able to basically have the best of both worlds with current copyright laws. They have the reduced burden of proof that a civil court gives them, but are also allowed to basically get criminal levels of punishment. If they really want to be able to financially ruin someones life for a single infringement, shouldn't they at least have to do it in criminal court with a "beyond a reasonable doubt" burden of proof.

Re:Having their cake and eating it too (1)

pembo13 (770295) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325396)

Seems to me that the punishments are higher than the average criminal punishment

Re:Having their cake and eating it too (4, Insightful)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325546)

You would get about 1/100th punishment from just shoplifting it.

"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325278)

...the white paper calls current copyright law a "carefully designed compromise" meant to balance the interests of both parties

I don't. I think copyright is WAY out of hand. Terms should be brought back to the eighteenth century's tewnty years, and no noncommercial use should be called infringing except in the case of plagairism.

P2P is advertising and MP3s are free samples of a far better commodity.

If copyright were reasonable, you wouldn't have folks on slashdot calling for its abolition like you do now.

-mcgrew

PS- I hold hundreds of copyrights, two having ISBN numbers. The two registered ones would have gone into the public domain already if I'd had my way, as they are both over 20 years old. How are you going to convince Jimi hendrix to record any more songs? That is what the US Constitution says the purpose of copyright is!

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (1)

FishWithAHammer (957772) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325502)

P2P is advertising and MP3s are free samples of a far better commodity.

This is disingenuous. The difference between a 256kbps MP3 and an audio CD is negligible and you know it.

The complaints about copyright--and I might add that holding copyrights does not make you an expert, though it might make you an outlier--boil down to "I can get it for free, so I want it for free."

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (0, Troll)

cliffski (65094) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325666)

agreed. People aren't on slashdot arguing about copyright because copyright is a problem. They are doing it because it helps them justify piracy/theft. There was no huge outcry 20 years ago about copyright terms or the penalties for infringement. In fact, I never heard anyone ever criticize anything about copyright until it became easy to download copied music and movies from the web.
In short, the only thing thats changed is its easier to copy stuff now. People want stuff for free (big surprise!) so they try to justify getting it by a sudden outbreak of outrage about IP law.

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (1)

UncleTogie (1004853) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326190)

People aren't on slashdot arguing about copyright because copyright is a problem. They are doing it because it helps them justify piracy/theft. There was no huge outcry 20 years ago about copyright terms or the penalties for infringement. In fact, I never heard anyone ever criticize anything about copyright until it became easy to download copied music and movies from the web.

Guess you weren't born early enough to hear the whining about VCRs, [wikipedia.org] were you?

I'll gripe when any industry gets too big for its britches 'n' starts pissing on the consumer. No "piracy" excuse needed.

Selfishness rules (1)

ThurlMakes7 (937619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326410)

Spot on. In one way it's even worse: denying the originators (of music, or quality games like your good self) has become a moral crusade in its own right.

This quote summed it up for me:

"can there ever have been a more empty and worthless cause than fighting for the right for artists not to be paid?" http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/01/03/jammie_thomas_attorney_flees/ [theregister.co.uk]

Which is an interesting PoV from the guy who coined the word "pigopolist".

People used to campaign to make everyone better off, to raise everyone higher. Now they campaign to make talented people worse off. The anti-copyright nuts will disappear up their own backsides eventually, I just wonder how much damage they'll do before they feck off.

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (3, Insightful)

shark72 (702619) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325606)

"P2P is advertising and MP3s are free samples of a far better commodity."

I've purchased hundreds of MP3 and AAC tracks. Not once have I proceeded to purchase the CD version, nor have I gone to see the performer play live, or -- to use the Slashdot cliche -- "bought a t-shirt." The track was the product, not an ad. And the fact is that there are many, many consumers like me. If I could have legally gotten those MP3 files for free, then the copyright owner would have seen exactly zero money from me. Let's not pretend that MP3 files hold no value... while I acknowledge that many people reading this use P2P as their primary source for music, Apple and others have done quite well in the business of selling downloads.

"I hold hundreds of copyrights, two having ISBN numbers. The two registered ones would have gone into the public domain already if I'd had my way, as they are both over 20 years old."

Possibly a dumb question... if you hold the copyright, don't you have your way? Does obtaining an ISBN hamper your ability to release something into the public domain?

I'm thinking of what Cory Doctrow has done with some of his stuff... he didn't see the need for it to be under copyright any longer, so he set it free. His stuff, too, has ISBNs, so I don't understand what the difference is here.

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (1)

Dusty00 (1106595) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326524)

False analogy.

The argument made on Slashdot, and elsewhere, is that the music is the promotional material. No promotional material is ever 100% effective. If I'm at the grocery store, get a free sample and don't purchase the product I don't feel any obligation to pay for the sample I've received.

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (1)

zenkonami (971656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327576)

I've purchased hundreds of MP3 and AAC tracks. Not once have I proceeded to purchase the CD version, nor have I gone to see the performer play live, or -- to use the Slashdot cliche -- "bought a t-shirt." The track was the product, not an ad. And the fact is that there are many, many consumers like me. If I could have legally gotten those MP3 files for free, then the copyright owner would have seen exactly zero money from me. Let's not pretend that MP3 files hold no value... while I acknowledge that many people reading this use P2P as their primary source for music, Apple and others have done quite well in the business of selling downloads.
Absolutely correct. I think the assumption is that because the "physical" supply is unlimited, then there is no value to the product, completely dismissing the demand side of the equation. It presumes the container is the measure of value and not the contents.

I think it is perfectly acceptable to use the product as promotion (and am attempting to do so myself in my own band) but that should be a decision on the part of the artist/publisher.

Some people don't want T-Shirts, and they don't go to concerts. They just want a soundtrack for their lives. Why shouldn't artists be compensated for that?

------------------

Do You Experiment? [mmexperiment.com]

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (1)

EzInKy (115248) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325946)

...and no noncommercial use should be called infringing except in the case of plagairism.


You would think this would already be the case as current copyright law stomps all over the first amendment.

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22326200)

"How are you going to convince Jimi hendrix to record any more songs?"

I have no idea, but I imagine it'll take a lot more than copyright reform.

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (1)

stubear (130454) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326818)

Even if copyright terms were brought back to 20 years there would still be MASSIVE violations occurring on P2P networks. People don't pirate movies, music, and software that is 20+ years old, they are illegally distributing works that are barely days or weeks old. In some cases works that have yet to be publicly released wind up on P2P networks. Your advertisement argument, weak as it is, only works for music. How do you suggest movie and TV production companies make a living? TV shows are traded on P2P networks sans advertisements hours after they air and I doubt advertisers are going to continue to dump money on shows that people aren't watching on TV or through an authorized distributor. What about authors? Are you honestly suggesting that authors should live off a tip jar based system? The only way to make copyright work is to maintain the SOLE right of distribution with the cpoyright holder for both commercial and NON-commercial use, period, even if you go to a five year term.

Re:"carefully designed compromise", my ass! (1)

zenkonami (971656) | more than 6 years ago | (#22327334)

I hold hundreds of copyrights, two having ISBN numbers. The two registered ones would have gone into the public domain already if I'd had my way, as they are both over 20 years old.
IANAL but doesn't Section 203 of the Copyright Act allow you to release your works in to the public domain if you are the sole copyright holder? Or am I completely misunderstanding how that works...?

When arguing supports the opposition (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22325308)

"and where artists are afraid to "Recut, Reframe, and Recycle" because of the financial risks involved."

All I have to say to that is DUH! That's exactly what big business and most copyright holders (with a financial interest in their work) want.

Already seeing "Copyright Trolls" (2, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325722)

The authors of the white paper paint a dreary future where "copyright trolls" file lawsuits in order to rake in massive amounts of statutory damages


It's not widespread yet as a means for profit, but copyright protection laws are being already being (mis-)used to silence critics and competitors. There was the Lexmark DMCA case [techdirt.com] where they argued that a competitor's ink replacement system was a violation of the DMCA. There are the widespread Scientology claims of copyright on items they don't own, but want offline [chillingeffects.org]. In general, anyone who wants a site offline quickly [techdirt.com] can just file a DMCA claim on it You can sort out those messy perjury issues later (if they come up at all). Attach a financial reward for filing DMCA claims and suddenly copyright trolls will appear everywhere.

The real trick is a nuisance fine. (0)

samuel4242 (630369) | more than 6 years ago | (#22325808)

I've grown so annoyed with the virtual shoplifters on the internet who give fair use a bad name that I actually hope the RIAA will be able to hang a few of the folks with the 50,000 song collection that they got for free. But I don't think charging $150,000 per incident is the way to do it. Charge $150 and the police will be more likely to prosecute. Heck, if the police department in my town could write tickets for illicit copies, you know they would love that. They routinely write $27 tickets for inane violations like parking the wrong way on the street. Most people pay them because it's more trouble than fighting them-- then they park the right way. I bet $15 per violation would bring in more money and increase compliance.

Re:The real trick is a nuisance fine. (1)

melink14 (1160527) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326008)

It's not shoplifting. People need to stop comparing downloading music to stealing. It's not. As has been said many times, the issue is actually copyright infringement.

Corporate use of an individual's copyrighted work? (5, Interesting)

Christoph (17845) | more than 6 years ago | (#22326626)

A corporation took a photo from my website (cgstock.com) and used it in an entire ad campaign (phone book, brochures, newspaper). I saw it, they refused to pay, then sued me for defamation when I wrote about it on my website ( http://www.cgstock.com/essays/vilana [cgstock.com] ).

The case went to trial in federal court November 5th, 2007 (case 06-01164, District of MN -- my copyright infringement claim and multiple counterclaims over me "disparaging" them...it was a bench trial and I'm still waiting for the judge's ruling).

I explicitly permit non-commercial use of my photos -- personal web pages, schools, etc. (I require a photo credit, but I would not sue over it). But I greatly object if you are making money from my work, you HAVE A BUDGET to pay me, but are cutting me out of the loop to inflate your profits while I'm earning nothing.

There are excessive penalties for copyright infringement where the infringer does not seek to profit, but (speaking subjectively) I would like the corporation that stole my photos (two photos, actually), lied about it, forged evidence, and tied up in court since 2005, to pay "a billion dollars"...not just a token amount, or a few hundred. The risk of getting caught has to be a deterrent, which (for this company) it was not.

(licensing photos largely relies on professionalism and the honor system; if a local bank tells me they are going to use my photo in 1,000 brochures, I assume they are not using it in a TV campaign, billboards, and 100,000 brochures -- if so, the damages should outweigh the benefit of lying).

I guess this relates to the change in copyright law (to address P2P) that equated infringement without a profit motive = infringement with a profit motive.
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