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The Copyright Crusade a Lost Cause?

Zonk posted more than 6 years ago | from the got-lost-in-his-own-museum dept.

Media 253

A. Smith writes "Ars Technica is exploring the relationship between property rights and copyright, arguing that copyright holders are making a mistake by stressing similarities between property rights and copyright. They compare P2P users to 18th-century squatters in North America: 'Like squatters of old, many ordinary users find copyright law bewildering and are frustrated by the arbitrary restrictions it imposes. Customers wanting to rip their DVD collections to their computers, download music they can play on any device, or incorporate copyrighted works into original creative works find that there is no straightforward, legal way to do these things.' They conclude by offering that more reasonable, understandable copyright restrictions would result in a user base friendlier to publisher interests."

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253 comments

if ip = real p, how about some taxes (5, Interesting)

jt418-93 (450715) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654248)

if they are arguing property is property no matter what, then it would seem to me it should be taxed as such.

just an idea i read about in the last week or so.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (5, Informative)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654322)

And not a new idea.

The last time this came up on slashdot, a point was made that until some income is derived from a copyrighted work it has no value. Thus taxes paid on such works are via income tax.

Inconsistent Logic (5, Insightful)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654370)

Would that mean that unless my business is profitable, I don't have to pay property taxes on the warehouse, factory, or store?

Does that also mean that if I own an unoccupied residence I don't have to pay property taxes on that?

Re:Inconsistent Logic (5, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654438)

Well then we have to consider that copyrighted works are intangible, and bare little resemblance to physical property. You can appraise the value of a warehouse, factory, store or residence. How do you appraise the value of a copyrighted work?

How would you determine the tax to be paid on an open source project? Or on this post?

Mind you I'm just carrying forward a point someone else brought up, not necessarily vouching for it.

Re:Inconsistent Logic (4, Funny)

techpawn (969834) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654532)

How would you determine the tax to be paid on an open source project? Or on this post?
Your posts? I'd say they're worth two cents, maybe a penny for your thoughts...

Then again that's just my $0.02

Possible model (4, Interesting)

TheMeuge (645043) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654562)

Well, we have appraisers (my gf is one) that can assign value to personal property based on past sales, market conditions, etc... etc... I really don't see why that cannot be done with ideas. And just like tangible properties, this value may change.

For instance, to claim a copyright over an essay you write on slashdot, may cost you $0.01, based on how much ad-based revenue can be expected from reading a web-page containing it. If you then proceed to publish this essay in a personal blog, you'd need to pay $0.10 to claim copyright. If it gets published in NY Times, you'd need to pay $100/year to keep it. (all the prices, of course, are purely arbitrary)

Guidelines can be made that would allow people who generate content, to pay for blanket copyright of similar kinds of content... while especially valuable objects would need to be individually appraised. This would work the same way that property insurance works - your insurance will cover anything in your house up to a certain value... but any objects that are over that, have to be declared individually.

Maybe if Disney had to pay a few million $ per year to maintain copyright of Mickey... and BMG had to lay out a hundred thousand for every album they'd like to keep out of the public domain, we'd have a much more balanced system.

Re:Possible model (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654762)

Well, we have appraisers (my gf is one) that can assign value to personal property based on past sales, market conditions, etc... etc... I really don't see why that cannot be done with ideas. And just like tangible properties, this value may change.
Even then the value tends to be somewhat arbitrary. The assessors around here for the county, and the appraiser for banks have had very little reason to bother with reasonable numbers.

The prices of property wouldn't be declining the way that they have been lately if the value estimates correlated to reality.

Assessors being responsible for assessing the value upon which to tax a property, and appraisers that are working for banks both have a vested interest which doesn't necessarily correspond with accurate results. Even if the assessment involves assessing structures to include non-livable space in the building as defined by the local building code.

Independent appraisals are likely to be a bit better, but still the mutual consensus around here was that the value should mirror the prices people were willing to pay. And without factoring in for what could happen with interest rate hikes or large scale job losses.

Re:Possible model (5, Interesting)

aix tom (902140) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655188)

Heck, WE don't need to figure out or appraise how much one copyright for one work is worth.

Just take the amount the RIAA wants as damages for one copyright infringement, since that is what they TELL us their copyright is worth, and multiply that with the amount of copies they can theoretical make of that work, and compute the tax based on that amount.

After all, when they calculate their damages on the theoretical copies sold without pirating, why shouldn't the taxes also be calculated on the theoretical amount of possible copies.

For works that are never involved in lawsuits there would be no tax, so that would take care of those frivolous lawsuits once and for all.

Re:Possible model (1)

cromar (1103585) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655358)

Good one dude :) I'd love to tell this to some RIAA lawyer's face.

MODERATORS LOOK UP (1)

mutube (981006) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655362)

Why is the above post moderated Flamebait? It's a valid contribution to the discussion.

Re:Inconsistent Logic (4, Interesting)

MMC Monster (602931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655382)

Simple: The creator/owner sets a price for the intellectual property, and is taxed based on that price. If they want to change the price, they have to back-date taxes for 3 years. If a person wants to buy the intellectual property, it must be up for grabs for a certain multiple of the price the creator sets.

Re:Inconsistent Logic (1)

Khaed (544779) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654584)

The difference is, land is the only thing they're not making more of. Property tax is partly an incentive for people to *use* property and not sit on it.

IP is much the same as other properties -- such as your computer, your books, your chair. Most places in the US don't tax these (I was shocked to find out some places actually tax you on the value of your property -- so in addition to income and sales tax, you have a "keep it" tax.)

Re:Inconsistent Logic (1, Informative)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654774)

You are using the same fallacious logic IDiots use when referring to evolution as a "theory".

Property has multiple meanings. The "property" in "property tax" has specific meaning. But, property has a different meaning when used in "intellectual property".

Consider this: If one has to pay property tax on intellectual property, one would also have to pay property tax on cars, bikes, books, furniture, and everything else one owns.

Are you sure you want that?

Re:Inconsistent Logic (2, Insightful)

japhering (564929) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655050)

Consider this: If one has to pay property tax on intellectual property, one would also have to pay property tax on cars, bikes, books, furniture, and everything else one owns.

Depending on where you live you may already pay property taxes on said items. In some states .. the value of the property is determined to be a fraction of the value of the residence.. in other an appraiser comes by to look at everything you own....

Re:Inconsistent Logic (4, Informative)

WhatAmIDoingHere (742870) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655296)

"Consider this: If one has to pay property tax on intellectual property, one would also have to pay property tax on cars.."

I just DID pay a property tax on my car. I was just told by the state that my car is worth $7300 and I have to pay $25 for every $1000 of value. Even if it just sits in the garage. It's not a road use tax, it's a "value of the item" tax. Don't pay it and you can lose it.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22655082)

This would reward companies sitting on IP, not offering it for sale, and basically locking it up in a box where nobody could get at it and the copyright holder wouldn't have to pay taxes on it.

Basically the opposite of what copyright was originally intended to support.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (2, Interesting)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654358)

Other than my home, none of my property is taxed unless I buy or sell it (sales tax). I'm not sure what you are getting at.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

Otter (3800) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654430)

He read about it here and, yeah, it's that stupid. The submitter seems to have heard of "property tax" and concluded that all property is taxed, doesn't know that patents have renewal fees, and concocted a theory around that.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22655180)


  Personally, I pay property taxes on my house and car; but nothing else.

  As a business owner, the business is paying property taxes on every tangible asset, including the computer I'm typing this on, the desk the computer sits on, and the chair I'm sitting on.

  Local laws may vary, I suppose.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654756)

States like Virginia have Personal Property taxes on things like cars. Businesses pay taxes on assets as well. IP is a productive asset - ie, it is capital. therefore capital gains tax should be paid on income derrived from it, in addition to the corporate income taxes.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

OrangeCowHide (810076) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654836)

Other than my home, none of my property is taxed unless I buy or sell it (sales tax). I'm not sure what you are getting at

Why would you buy your own property?

I cannot speak for the rest of the world, let alone this country (US), but in my state (MO) we have a "Personal Property Tax". Basically, If anything you own is worth more than about $1000 you are supposed to declare it and pay PPT on it (Most people only declare vehicles, but you are supposed to declare things like large screen televisions, expensive appliances, etc). So If someone from my state creates some IP that he believes is worth more than $1000 and will sue anyone for "stealing" it (no, I am not going to get into a whole theft/copyright infringement thing right here), there is some justification for demanding they pay PPT on it.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (4, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654382)

if they are arguing property is property no matter what, then it would seem to me it should be taxed as such.

Really? I have stapler on my desk that I don't pay property taxes on.

On this desk alone I also have a mouse, a telephone, a can of coke, a screwdriver, a keyboard, 2 monitors, a flashlight, a spindle of blank DVDs... all property, all completely exempt from 'property taxes'.

I'm curious what idiot convinced you that all real property is taxed.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (4, Informative)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654434)

a mouse, telephone, coke, screwdriver, keyboard, 2 monitors, flashlight, and blank DVD spindle are not real property.

Real property refers to real estate, which is "the land and anything permanently affixed to it". Personal property is everything else.

Get your definitions straight.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

MontyApollo (849862) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654784)

The whole "IP = real property" is just a contrivance for an anti-IP argument. As far as I know it is not IP owners that are claiming this. You have to buy the original argument first that IP = land for the taxation issue to make any sense, and nobody is really arguing this except those looking to take a swipe at IP to begin with. IP = land is a silly argument; IP = personal property makes more sense to me.

You generally can't create real property; you just make improvements upon it. IP is fundamentally a creation.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654820)

And intellectual property is personal property. The OP suggests that IP == Real estate property, when in reality IP == personal property.

Get your own definitions straight.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

shentino (1139071) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655044)

Er, I was merely explaining why staplers and stuff aren't subject to property tax. :/

I didn't even go into IP.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654938)

My point is that personal property has a lot in common with real property too, at least as much as intellectual property... and we don't go around asserting that it too should be taxed, now do we?

Why should IP be considered real property and taxed, but not personal property? What's the compelling trait shared by IP and real-P that is not also shared by personal-P?

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

plague3106 (71849) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654518)

Are you really that ignorant of context? Property in this sense means land. Does that clear things up for you?

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

Knuckles (8964) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654596)

FWIW, he just might not have English as his first language, and be more used to a language that actually tries to come up with different words for different concepts. English is pretty hard to get right in this regard.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654888)

Are you really that ignorant of context? Property in this sense means land. Does that clear things up for you?

Not at all.

My point is that personal property has a lot in common with real property too, at least as much as intellectual property... and we don't go around asserting that it too should be taxed, no do we.

Why should IP be considered real property and taxed, but not personal property? What's the compelling trait shared by IP and real-P that is not also shared by personal-P?

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (5, Informative)

Skevin (16048) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654632)

In California Real Estate Law, your mouse, stapler, telephone, can of coke, screwdriver, keyboard, 2 monitors, flashlight, and spindle of blank DVDs are personal property, not real property. It's all "Chattel".

Real property is considered tangible and mostly immovable. The grandparent post's warehouse, factory, and store are real property.

Now before people complain that it must be "real" because they can touch it, I should point out that the word "real" in this case derives from the Spanish word for Royal. "Real Estate" doesn't mean an estate that's "fake"... it was traditionally land granted to you by the king, hence "Royal Land".

So, buildings and land are considered Real Property (and therefore fall under a slew of taxation laws). The chattel on our desks, including the desks themselves are Personal Property.

IANAL, but I'm having a problem with the claim that IP is "Real Property". What kind of claim is that? Is it legally clueless media companies (despite large legal teams) trying to enforce the idea that IP is "not fake"? Or are they trying afford the same protections for which we provide to "Royal Land"?

So MPAA/RIAA, which is it - are movies and music Personal Property, or Real Property? Answer carefully, because one answer will cause you give up several contested channels of distribution, and the other will let the State tax the hell out of your IP.

Solomon Chang

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22655208)

I should point out that the word "real" in this case derives from the Spanish word for Royal. "Real Estate" doesn't mean an estate that's "fake"... it was traditionally land granted to you by the king, hence "Royal Land".

Perhaps the comparison to real estate is somewhat apt.

Chattel is naturally owned, and regulated (if at all) by state government (probably UCC, but I don't really know).

IP is naturally owned (e.g. a trade secret) until you share it. At that point, you have either given it away or sold it. Other people have it, now, so you don't really own it anymore. Or that's how it would be, except for an interesting thing: the constitution gives the federal government the power to establish copyright law. Under copyright law, you no longer own the single expression, but are granted some exclusion rights. Granted. Given by government (as a King might give land), as an incentive for you to create and give up more.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (5, Informative)

chammel (19734) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655248)

Right, Some states (Virginia mine) Personal Property is subject to taxation as well. Things like cars, boats, motorcycles, planes, livestock you are required to pay an assessed tax every year on the current value of the items.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (4, Informative)

JonWan (456212) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655342)

Really? I have stapler on my desk that I don't pay property taxes on.

hmmm, I have a computer,desk, counters, displays, pizza oven, freezers, and inventory I pay tax on every year. Around here it's called Personal Property Tax even tho it's only on business now days. I can remember about 30 years ago we had to pay a tax on cars, boats, RV's and refrigerators.Each year I get a declaration form in the mail and I have to fill it out with my estimated value. If they think I am fudging the numbers they will send someone by to do an inventory.

so yes this kind of tax exists.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (4, Insightful)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654468)

In Missouri you pay propertty tax on your car. In Illinois you don't.

Property tax is the most onerous of all taxes. You don't pay income tax unless you make money, you don't pay sales tax unless you have money to spend, but if you don't have money for property tax you can lose* your home.

Please don't advocate that I have to pay property tax on my imaginary property. None of it in any way brings in revinue, and one of the two works I've registered is on a software program for a computer that has been obsolete for a quarter century.

Considering all the gibberish I've spread all over the internet since 1997 (sorry guys, still no new ./ journal, having a hard time topping the last one) I'd be living in a cardboard box starving to death if I had to pay tax on my copyrights.

-mcgrew

*If you leave your door unlocked you'll loose your home.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (2, Informative)

evilviper (135110) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654598)

Please don't advocate that I have to pay property tax on my imaginary property. None of it in any way brings in revinue,

Well then, the assessor should find it worth almost nothing, and tax you an appropriate amount.

and one of the two works I've registered is on a software program for a computer that has been obsolete for a quarter century.

Well then, if it's worthless, you should simply give up your copyright on it, rather than keeping it from the public.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654830)

Well then, if it's worthless, you should simply give up your copyright on it, rather than keeping it from the public.

I would if I still had a copy. All I have a copy of concerning it is the documentation stating that I have copyright. The other is going to be reworked in javascript and licensed with a Creative Commons copyright.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (5, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654574)

And last week, I suggested the following "tax":

- Each copyright must be re-registered on a yearly basis. The fee for re-registration depends solely on the length of the copyright term. By this formula:

$0.01 * (2 ^ number_of_yearly_renewals)

Thus, it is $0.01 for the first registration, $0.02 for the second year, $0.04 for the third year .. and doubling.

So, after 10 years, it's only $10.24

But, after 16 years, it's $655.36

And after 32 years, it's $42,949,672.96

And after 50 years, it's $11,258,999,068,426.24

This means that any small guy or girl (no matter how poor) can easily keep his or her copyright for 10 years. However, no individual or company will be able to copyright out of the public domain for 50 years!

I consider it the perfect balancing factor between "publisher's rights" (limited rights, granted to PROMOTE THE USEFUL ARTS AND SCIENCES) vs. the public interest (that'd be ME, YOU, and EVERYONE else).

Update: If you want to avoid the hassle of re-registration, you can pay in advance. $10.24 as a pre-payment means you're good for ten years without the need to re-register. You can extend by paying the difference ($645.12 after 10 years will give you another 6 without need to re-register) as many times as you can afford.

The rate $0.01, doubling every year thereafter, is to be enshrined as Amendment 0 in the Constitution and unable to be changed except by 80% vote of Congress, approval by minimum 7 out of 9 supreme court justices, the signature of the President and Vice-President, and an 80% popular majority of the voting population.

Can anybody see any reason why this isn't the perfect plan?

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (2, Funny)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654634)

I suggest that we rename it notional property, and then it can be treated in the same way as property if they can prove that NP = P.

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

Znork (31774) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654950)

That would be rather ironic, considering that intellectual 'property' would more aptly be called intellectual 'taxation right'.

Economically the monopoly rights of IP are much closer to taxes such as alcohol or tobacco tax. Best way they could be described as privately held taxation rights on copies of certain material.

Of course, that would be far to close to describing the purpose of the medieval origin of the concepts (enriching the aristocracy and paying their merchant friends for support (privately held taxation rights were not an alien concept at the time)), which is why WIPO promoted the 'property' concept (World Intellectual Taxation Organization might alienate conservatives, libertarians and free marketers who could be tricked into thinking 'property' instead of 'tax').

Just like tobacco and alcohol taxes, these taxes also have the same effects of creating a lucrative black market (altho less lucrative thanks to p2p) and slowing distribution and adoption in the economy (not very bright as unlike alcohol and tobacco we might actually want more rapid adoption of new and improved products, as well as maximizing the created wealth perceived through the duplication of these products).

The tradeoff was claimed to be increased creation of the originals; in reality, as a tax it's even less efficient than most government run taxation and benefit programs (and you dont hear that many anecdotes about coke-sniffing IRS agents and government employees, compared to how these privately owned taxation revenues are spent).

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

Zugok (17194) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654970)

yes I recall that and I have tagged this story as such

Re:if ip = real p, how about some taxes (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655076)

Property != taxable property. My guitar is my property, but I don't pay taxes on it. So no, IP being property doesn't mean we should tax it for consistency's sake.

Friendly? (1)

zlexiss (14056) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654260)

"They conclude by offering that more reasonable, understandable copyright restrictions would result in a user base friendlier to publisher interests"

If only they cared about a friendly user base...

If it's "property" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654264)

When are they going to start paying property tax on IP?

Too Late (1)

Naughty Bob (1004174) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654274)

...friendlier to publisher interests
The time for middle men to play nice was 10 years ago. Their abuse of the system has allowed us to see the light-

We will now use technology to ensure that only the content producers are rewarded.

Re:Too Late (2, Interesting)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654366)

We will now use technology to ensure that only the content producers are rewarded.

If the pirate bay is any indication, we will use technology to ensure that the creators are shafted directly, as opposed to shafting the middle-man (who in turn provides fewer opportunities for content producers.)

Re:Too Late (1)

TubeSteak (669689) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654738)

They conclude by offering that [1] more reasonable, understandable copyright restrictions would result in [2] a user base friendlier to publisher interests.
1 of these things is a legislative issue. The 2nd is a public relations matter.

The **AAs of the world already have #1 heading in the opposite direction and I find it hard to imagine their "user base" will be able to do much to halt this trend.

You claim they are abusing the system... I would contend that corporations created the system as it is today. They aren't abusing the system, it is doing exactly what it was designed to do.

Ideas cannot be owned! (2, Insightful)

PC and Sony Fanboy (1248258) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654294)

Ideas cannot be owned - 99% of them are not original, chances are that ANY idea that you've had ... has occurred to at least ONE other person in the past.

Given that ideas are not property, why can't society simply accept that people should profit from the application of ideas and not from the idea itself?

Re:Ideas cannot be owned! (1)

njfuzzy (734116) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654500)

I think the point is that if you're one of the rare people who actually does come up with original ideas, you should be able to benefit from contributing them to society.

Re:Ideas cannot be owned! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654622)

I think the point is that if you're one of the rare people who actually does come up with original ideas, you should be able to benefit from contributing them to society.

Sure. And you should be able to benefit from your ideas by finding a useful application of them, not by taking control of everyone else in the world and forcing them to use the ideas in ways of which you approve (not to mention provide you with a steady income stream derived from THEIR application of the ideas).

If you can't figure out how to monetize an application of an idea you've had, then don't. Someone else will have that same idea and will be able to monetize it without trying to rule the world, and innovation will live on without you.

Re:Ideas cannot be owned! (1)

mrbluze (1034940) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654692)

Ideas cannot be owned - 99% of them are not original, chances are that ANY idea that you've had ... has occurred to at least ONE other person in the past.

There is more to this than an idea. If someone is creating a work which took them, say, 100 hours, then what is it worth? 100 hours of work multiplied by the skill level of the person, I would say.

If a work took 100 hours per person and 100 people, then it's an expensive work. The company/individual is entitled to make a reasonable benefit from this work (royalties), such as pay their expenses and pay a reasonable wage for it.

My point is, an idea can be owned in the sense that an idea should be protected (by royalties) so the person who came up with it and made a business model out of it can do some business with it. If you came up with some great piece of software and dedicated your entire time to it, you should reasonably expect to make a living out of it, at least for a time.

But not all ideas are the same and I do think it's a good place for government to regulate this process, such as set time and size limits for copyright infringement actions (and patents, although that is another question), adjusted to the cost of production of the work. A movie is good for the cinema season, perhaps. After that it should be free. A software copyright should be good for a couple of years, maybe, after which it should be free. It's shameful and wrong if a company such as Microsoft can make a squillion dollars and use its money further to block innovation, purely because it has copyright over its aged and out-dated works.

Re:Ideas cannot be owned! (2, Insightful)

PitaBred (632671) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655460)

Dude... so that means that all that time I spent masturbating is worth an actual monetary amount?

Just because someone spent time on it doesn't make that time automatically worth something.

Re:Ideas cannot be owned! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654712)

Ideas cannot be owned - 99% of them are not original, chances are that ANY idea that you've had ... has occurred to at least ONE other person in the past.

I wish you'ld tell legislators that. The insane copyright terms make for a barren landscape for creative types.

Just as Newton (among others before him) said "If I see farther than other men, it is because I stand on the shoulders of giants" referring to science, the same is true for painters, writers, mucisians, programmers, and all other artists and artisans.

Having insanely long copyright terms benefits publishers at the expense of artists and society in general.

Re:Ideas cannot be owned! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654736)

That's cute, but you're confusing copyrights and patents, and trying to mash the issues all together like play-dough to justify your silly belief that anyone should be able to rip off anyone else's work without compensating them.

We're talking about copyright here. Try to keep up.

Let's say I write a book about killer androids rampaging in Los Angeles, chased down by an official tasked with killing them.

Clearly this would be inspired by Blade Runner. The IDEA of killer androids running around Los Angeles, chased by an official, cannot be owned. Anyone who wants to do so can write such a book.

BUT, the writing of the book IS the application of the idea. Once I've created MY VERSION of the concept, I OWN MY VERSION.

My right to decide what happens to my version -- my intellectual property -- is called "Copyright".

Copyright is good for people like me, who create things. It sucks for people like you, who do not (and who want to get them for free).

Tough titty.

 

Re:Ideas cannot be owned! (1)

Serenissima (1210562) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654760)

Well, I think you're wrong. Fortunately for us Slashdot readers, this idea of copyright protection being a lost cause has been brought to us by Ars Technica. I'm relatively certain that at no point in time, has anyone brought up this idea before. Ever.

You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (4, Insightful)

Orig_Club_Soda (983823) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654302)

It doesn't change the fact that you don't own the content. If you bought a book, you own the paper. If you bought a cd, you own the plastic. You don't have a right to distribute that content to 100s of thousands of people. The efforlessness of reproduction does not nullify the ownership of content.

Re:You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (2, Insightful)

mordors9 (665662) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654464)

I think most people understand that. But the more the RIAA tries to argue that I can't take my CD, rip it to my computer to put it on my iPod, the more likely people are to say, screw them and their stupid rules. Most of the analogies they try to make comparing someone building a shack in my backyard to someone downloading a song is not going to make much sense to most of us non-intellectuals. The squatter is depriving me of the use of part of my land.

Re:You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (5, Interesting)

moderatorrater (1095745) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654528)

If I bought a book, I could lend that book to my friends as much as I wanted to. I could take the pages, rip them out of the binding and scrapbook them. If I did it in such a way that the book's pages were merely decoration, I could even reproduce that scrapbook for non-profit use. I could scan that book into a computer and read it to my heart's content.

If for some reason the book had a lock on it, then I could break that lock to read it. If the company uses a special kind of binding that's supposed to allow me to read the book, but not take the pages out of it, I could circumvent that binding all I want. I could sell the book to somebody else for whatever price I wanted to. If a page of the book started fading or was scratched, I could photocopy the page so I'd have a backup.

Just because it's in a digital format doesn't nullify my rights to my copy of the work.

Re:You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22655196)

If I bought a book . . .

Exactly. So how does acquiring a free copy via p2p equal purchasing.

Now, before you go on to explain that you are the honest one who goes back a pays for a legitimate copy after you've had a chance to "test drive" it, I do believe it is Mark Twain who is credited with saying something to the effect of "95% of all men masturbate, the other 5% are liars."

I think it needs to be rephrased for Slashdot, though. This is my proposal:
5% of all Slashdotters engage in illegal filesharing via p2p so they can get free shit, the other 95% are liars.

Works for me.

Re:You guys can try and twist the issue but... (4, Insightful)

Chas (5144) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654600)

No. Nobody's twisting the issue.

If I buy content to consume (because that's what I'm buying, the packaging, including the disk, drive, whatever it's on is only a means to an end, nobody buys an optical disk to moon over...well, unless they're very VERY disturbed), I want to be able to consume it any damn way I please.

And NO, consumption does NOT mean "redistribution". I want to be able to make fair backups (which I won't be giving to people), or shift it off to a computer, digital video player, iPod, whatever.

Recorded media is NOT the same as a live show (as every live show is different, even if an identical set is performed). Thus there's no justification for what is, essentially, pay-per-play.

Additionally, we're not talking about public exhibition of the material either. We're talking about viewing in the privacy in the privacy of my own home, or on the street watching a screen small enough that it's only meant for me to view it anyhow.

I can, and DO, pay for the content I consume. I also comprehend the fact that the media on which this content comes is not indestructible. Thus, in addition to media shifting, I will make backups.

I refuse to be sold the same content, over and over again. And I refuse to be labeled a pirate or grouped in with pirates simply because I take care of my investment in my own entertainment.

Re:You guys can try and twist the issue but... (2, Funny)

db32 (862117) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654826)

You pirates are all the same. You can't justify your crimes with "I want to make backups" or any of this nonsense about transfering. You didn't buy the content of the DVD, you bought content for use in a DVD player. That means you need to pay up again if you want to watch it on a iPod because you didn't purchase content for use in an iPod. Don't you know that making backups and transfering content supports terrorism? People like you are how 9/11 happened! Making copies of movies and music costs this country more than all of the bank robberies and should justify its own federal enforcement branch.

I hope the RIAA/MPAA throw you in Gitmo with all of the other terrorists for putting America in such danger!

Re:You guys can try and twist the issue but... (1)

rkanodia (211354) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655070)

Your sig isn't irony. It's poetic justice.

Re:You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (2, Insightful)

Hatta (162192) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654658)

Of course I don't own the content. Content is unownable.

Re:You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (5, Informative)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654672)

Maybe in your country, but in the US you're dead wrong. The US Constitution says [cornell.edu] "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;"

If you rent a home, you have exclusive right to that home but you don't own it. If the founding fathers meant that one could own content, it would have read "granting ownership" instead of "securing for limited times the exclusive right".

I asked in another thread why, in this light, a law school had "intellectial property" in its name and Ray Beckerman (AKA "NewYorkCountyLawyer") responded (and I'm paraphrasing here) that it was just a name, not descriptive.

The efforlessness of reproduction does not nullify the ownership of content, but the US Constitution does.

Re:You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654694)

What does "ownership of content" mean?

I don't believe in Imaginary Property.

A book is a piece of physical property. Words and ideas should not be ownable.

Re:You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (5, Insightful)

FredMenace (835698) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654962)

It doesn't change the fact that you don't own the content. If you bought a book, you own the paper. If you bought a cd, you own the plastic. You don't have a right to distribute that content to 100s of thousands of people. The efforlessness of reproduction does not nullify the ownership of content.
However, the entire justification for copyright (and patent) in the first place was to benefit SOCIETY by making creative ideas MORE WIDELY AVAILABLE. It was considered at the time that an evil such as limited (in both duration and scope) monopoly on distribution would be a necessary incentive to encourage such publication (so that others could then benefit). That presumes that not only is paper expensive, but so are printing presses, etc. - expensive enough that some financial return would be required to pay for the cost of those supplies.

Fast-forward to today, where nearly any media can be created with low-cost (or free) tools and also distributed freely, and the argument about needing to recoup costs to distribute no longer has any meaning.

The point here is that copyright was not meant to reward having a good idea; it was meant to reward DISTRIBUTING that idea. (Similarly, patents are meant to reward PUBLICATION of ideas for others to learn from; that is, to facilitate new ideas building on old ones by making the details of the old ones explicitly public.)

Re:You guys can tryy and twist the issue but... (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655014)

You are wrong. Just because there is a law against reproduction of copyrighted works does not mean that I have lost my rights regarding such actions. The premise of the Constitution is that rights cannot be taken away. Just because there are legal consequences does not mean my rights are any less.

no P2P (1)

jbeaupre (752124) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654320)

I don't believe the article mentions P2P, which can encompass a whole different set of concerns.

What a shocker (1)

Bombula (670389) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654352)

Customers wanting to rip their DVD collections to their computers, download music they can play on any device, or incorporate copyrighted works into original creative works find that there is no straightforward, legal way to do these things.

These 'customers' only 'find' this out if they start making money by doing this illegal activity. As long as you make no money, there is really very little legal recourse that copyright holders have unless they go to the trouble of trying to demonstrate that you have caused them damages. That is pretty damn difficult to prove, despite the RIAA's army of litigators hard at work at it. So what happens is that while such activity may be technically illegal for everyone, the defacto situation in practice is that common people do what makes common sense, and that's pretty much all there is to it. Would it be nice if the legal technicalities matched up better with common sense? Sure. Does it really matter if they don't? For all practical purposes, nope, not really.

Re:What a shocker (4, Insightful)

FauxPasIII (75900) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654414)

> These 'customers' only 'find' this out if they start making money by doing this illegal activity.

Tell it to customers of 321 Studios [wikipedia.org] .

Re:What a shocker (4, Interesting)

tomhudson (43916) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654512)

Customers wanting to rip their DVD collections to their computers, download music they can play on any device, or incorporate copyrighted works into original creative works find that there is no straightforward, legal way to do these things.

That's because in RIAA Amerika, DVD rips YOU!

What amazes me is the absolute whining about the "need to extend copyright beyond 50 years because people are living longer, and a writer con't be able to make (even more) money in their old age off something they created when they were young." Extended copyright discourages innovation by encouraging people to "rest on their laurels". 50 years is too much. 20 years should be more than enough.

Re:What a shocker (1)

emj (15659) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654606)

Extended copyright discourages innovation by encouraging people to "rest on their laurels". 50 years is too much. 20 years should be more than enough.


You could also say that it encourages innovation because people have to iterate over the same subject several times, making new variations of it. Instead of just copying something old.

Re:What a shocker (1)

street struttin' (1249972) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654910)

Extended copyright discourages innovation by encouraging people to "rest on their laurels"
Yeah, but being lazy is practically the definition of being an American. Would you expect anything less? Now, go flick on the boob tube and drink a cool, refreshing Pepsi.

Re:What a shocker (3, Insightful)

jwiegley (520444) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655068)

And why should "artists" be given preferential treatment compared to "inventors"?? Patents have a term of 20 years. period. Not after death and not extendable. Why should "artists" enjoy revenue two and half times as long?

I'll tell you why. Because the world is run by looters. Patents cover things like machines, manufacturing processes and drugs. Everybody acknowledges that without these things people get sick or quality of basic life is diminished. So the looters use their majority to vote that in a short period of time they can take any practical invention they want for free.

Just take the time to look at how much better copyright protects the creators profit compared to the tons of loopholes present that can invalidate a patent.

Re:What a shocker (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655012)

DMCA aside, the only time one violates copyright is when one copies a work so there are two copies of the work and then gives one copy to someone else and keeps the other for one's self.

The DMCA and the rest of the copyright enforcement laws all follow from arrogant people violating the legal right of the copyright holders by doing exactly what I outlined above. It doesn't matter if it is Napster, LimeWire, BitTorrent; the moment you down load a copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright holder, you are violating the (civil) rights of the copyright holder. You are still breaking the law by violating someone's rights.

You don't own property now! (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654424)

If you think you own your house, you don't. You are leasing it from your local government.

If you don't believe me, don't pay your property taxes for a couple of years and see if you still own it.

Just food for thought.

confused and motionless? (1)

notgm (1069012) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654442)

i don't know if anyone i've ever met has been confused by copyright law enough to prevent them from ripping a cd or dvd for their own purposes. some people might encounter feelings of paranoia or guilt by doing so, but stop them? i'd be surprised if the numbers were all that high.

Publisher Interests, What a Hoot! (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654470)

That's the silliest argument ever - somehow, if a publisher lets everyone else duplicate their stuff, then, they will get more money. The whole point of modern thinking on copyright is that you don't need publishers any more. Anyone can make a million copies of something any more. While I for one tend to side with those who favor strong copyrights, you can't help but notice that the idea of a centralized publishing agent, any more, is just obsolete. You don't need a service to distribute something, because computers do it so very naturally. It sucks for those who want to write or engage in creative arts, but, hey, there's plenty of people out there that used to shovel coal by hand before steam engines came along. Technology is cruel that way. Attempting to carve out a copyright space in the digital age is just government interference in an economy whose most efficient course is to allow unmitigated copying.

Re:Publisher Interests, What a Hoot! (1)

Microlith (54737) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654540)

Well so distribution costs have gone to effectively zero. That's only half the problem.

Attempting to carve out a copyright space in the digital age is just government interference in an economy whose most efficient course is to allow unmitigated copying.


So the most efficient course is to ensure that the costs of production cannot be recouped? Mind you, the p2p feeding frenzy we have these days is largely on the backs of the existing economic model. Blow that out and the food for the frenzy will probably slow to a trickle as well.

Re:Publisher Interests, What a Hoot! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654660)

Is it just me or is the super ascii bunny really just a crazy guy having fun wearing a decapitated bunny's head on his own?

Re:Publisher Interests, What a Hoot! (2, Insightful)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654750)

The point (and I say this as someone who makes a living from copyright) is that property is a really bad model for the things 'intellectual property' actually represents. Physical property and ideas have completely different attributes. Property is a scarce resource. It can be duplicated, but at a cost proportional to its intrinsic worth (that, after all, is the definition of intrinsic value). An idea is the opposite. An idea can be copied trivially and the copy is as valuable as the original. With ideas, the value comes from the act of creation, not from the idea itself. An original idea is worth a great deal more than a copy, but attempting to use property as a metaphor hides this.

Of course, this is probably deliberate. By treating copies as being as valuable as the original, the record labels (for example) get to claim that what they do (make copies) has more value than what their signed artists do.

Good ideas are the scarcest resource of all (1)

tjstork (137384) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655092)

With ideas, the value comes from the act of creation, not from the idea itself. An original idea is worth a great deal more than a copy, but attempting to use property as a metaphor hides this.

The thing of it is, we're living in a world whose economy was predicated on marking up the cost of duplicating an idea to fund its development. By unlinking the two, we cannot forget that we still have to arrive at some alternative for funding ideas, lest, we do not get them. At least with the copyright model, a free market could exist such that could participate in the funding of an idea by consuming it as a product.

Now, without IP for content, there's really no way to monetize an idea, in a free market sense, and so, they aren't going to be monetized, invested in, and so on, in the same way. If we attempt to circumvent that by creating a federal bureacracy that doles out funding for researching new things, then, what we'll have really done is sort of enslaved ourselves in order to gain free content. Everyone will be able to copy everything, but, the only stuff that will be produced will be what the Feds pay for through taxes, and that's a fairly troublesome course.

Clearly, we need a mechanism that allows IP to get funded, but, allows for unlimited copying, so as to get the best of both worlds. These goals seem at odds with each other, but maybe they do not have to be.

Once again, we need new ideas. How rare they truly are!

Re:Good ideas are the scarcest resource of all (1)

Irish_Samurai (224931) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655414)

Clearly, we need a mechanism that allows IP to get funded, but, allows for unlimited copying, so as to get the best of both worlds.
Well, when I figure that one out I'm gonna patent it.

Re:Publisher Interests, What a Hoot! (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654614)

If you try to sell me music, but won't let me duplicate it by putting it on my iPod, then you will not get any of my money. If you let me duplicate it, then I will pay for it and you'll get money. So yes, allowing customers to duplicate stuff can get the publishers more money.

Re:Publisher Interests, What a Hoot! (1)

sm62704 (957197) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654764)

You don't need a service to distribute something, because computers do it so very naturally.

Computers can't distribute printed volumes and CDs. That is what we need publishers for. If a million MP3 downloads sell ten CDs, then that's ten CDs' worth of profit. It doesn't matter than nobody made any money off the download.

But I agree, we don't need publishers for "content". We only need publishers for the physical media that hold the content.

Re:Publisher Interests, What a Hoot! (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655040)

"That's the silliest argument ever - somehow, if a publisher lets everyone else duplicate their stuff, then, they will get more money"

Please explain in detail how a publisher will get more money if everyone is able to duplicate "their stuff" without paying anything to the publisher and then give it away to other who also do not pay the publisher?

But a problem with that plan... (1)

Wandering Wombat (531833) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654582)

... is that the resulting documentation would have to be written by lawyers and technical writers.

Long have I said that if the BC Building Code (1400+ pages, almost 17 lbs of book) were ever written in plain, straight English, it would fit in my back pocket, and I have no doubt copyright info would be much the same way. HOWEVER, it's never going to happen, because you're never going to be able to get any sort of concrete, prescriptive documents that the lawyers could get behind.

FTFA -- blockbuster movies (2, Insightful)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654656)

It is hard to imagine, for example, that Hollywood studios would spend tens of millions of dollars producing a new blockbuster if the law didn't grant them exclusive rights in its commercial reproduction.

Its not that hard to imagine at all. Its hard to imagine they would spend tens of millions of dollars producing new movies if they couldn't make their money back and profit from it. But that has nothing to do with a "law that gives them exclusive rights in its commercial reproduction".

They could always find a new way of making their money back. -gasp-

Hell, "blockbuster movies" generally make their money back from theatre ticket sales, before even going to DVD. As long as you had a law in place that gave them control over public displays at theatres, in airplanes, satellite subscription services, etc they'd survive, and there would still be adequate incentive to make new movies.

And even if consumers were free to copy movies provided they did it non-commercially that wouldn't kill DVD/bluray sales anytime soon, and when the internet is fast enough that physical media is actually threatened, they can sell copies of them via itunes music store type services. A lot of people will pay a modest amount for a copy even if they can get it free legitimately, if the paid version invariably meets a high level of quality and is more convenient and is always available.

All the industry has to ask is: how do you compete with free? And the answer: better service. As long as copyright gives them the monopoly to charge for content they will always be able to compete, and profit.

If they don't want to, fine, they can get out of the business, and someone else will come along see the money on the table, and get in on this 'making movies thing'. Its not our job to ensure that something becomes increasingly lucrative as time goes on, and that's what hollywood is essentially demanding... that their profits not be allowed to fall... at all... ever.

Re:FTFA -- blockbuster movies (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655106)

They could always find a new way of making their money back. -gasp-

Please explain in detail how?

Hell, "blockbuster movies" generally make their money back from theatre ticket sales, before even going to DVD. As long as you had a law in place that gave them control over public displays at theatres, in airplanes, satellite subscription services, etc they'd survive, and there would still be adequate incentive to make new movies.

So, you would support moving every work into public domain once said work has made back the money invested in creating the work, yes? Which would mean that Linux gets put in the public domain because it has made back the money invested in creating it. Why should anyone invest in creating CDs and DVDs if one is not going to make money?

Re:FTFA -- blockbuster movies (1)

vux984 (928602) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655440)

So, you would support moving every work into public domain once said work has made back the money invested in creating the work, yes?

I said 'big blockbuster movies' make their money back before being released to DVD, so its not like hollywood would stop making them even if they went into the public domain after their theatre run. But I didn't actually say they should go into the public domain at that point.

Which would mean that Linux gets put in the public domain because it has made back the money invested in creating it.

I didn't say anything of the sort. However, if you want to apply what I did say to Linux, it would be the case that anyone could make a copy of it themselves. (Which they can anyway.)

Why should anyone invest in creating CDs and DVDs if one is not going to make money?>

Do mean CD's and DVD's or 'music' and 'movies'?

If the former, I'm fine if only the copyright holder can SELL copies. And I think think they will be able to sell copies even if people can make their own copies for free. It takes time, and a blank disc, and its a hassle and if I want cover art its a bigger hassle... I'd pay a reasonable fee to have that all done for me. And I have no problem if only the rightsholder is authorized to charge for that service/product and saves me the hassle of doing it myself, and giving me a better product as a result too.

If the latter, music and movies can be made for the money earned on public performances, and for the service/convenience of making copies of those CDs for users who don't want to do it themselves or who otherwise want to 'support the band'/etc and have 'official merchandise'.

There is no reason to criminalize non-commercial copying except that it 'lessens' the rights holders profitability. But society has no obligation or reason to care about that. As long as their is a significant incentive to create works the public will come out fine... and we don't need to criminalize non-commercial copying to achieve that -- even in this age of internet and p2p.

low cost rights for amateur music video makers (2, Interesting)

PhantomHarlock (189617) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654690)

It would be nice to see a blanket or low cost system for amateur short form video makers that post to YouTube and the likes. It would allow people who make AMVs and other short videos to use commercial music, so long as the videos are not sold directly for profit. Websites like YouTube would be allowed to host them (and make money off of advertising) in exchange for this. Perhaps a low blanket fee paid for by the ISP, or paid per individual per use. (but it would have to be very reasonable.)

Right now it is impossible for the average joe to license a Bon Jovi song for his home-made video. The industry is missing out on some cash flow and great publicity by not looking at this market.

--M

I disagree (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654718)

I think their conclusion is wrong because, as demonstrated repeatedly by comments on /. and other sites, users only feel copyright should be respected when it is to THEIR benefit.

Re:I disagree (1)

Dog-Cow (21281) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655100)

Which makes perfect sense. Copyright is supposed to be for our benefit.

Re:I disagree (1)

DaveV1.0 (203135) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655176)

The point of my post, you missed it.

Squatters? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654730)

They compare P2P users to 18th-century squatters in North America...


If I have 100 squatters in my backyard, it might be kinda rough for me to use it (or lease more space in it). No matter how many people steal a work, it does not decrease the value of the work (though it may decrease demand for the work).

First Sale Doctrine (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#22654984)

Someone needs to inform them on the First Sale Doctrine.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/First-sale_doctrine [wikipedia.org]

Those disenfranchised by the law flaunt the law (2, Insightful)

HTH NE1 (675604) | more than 6 years ago | (#22654992)

When you establish a scheme where you withhold your exclusive rights from your contemporaries for their lifetime, you will have contemporaries that will say, "Nuts to that," and disregard your rights. There's no benefit for them to wait until the work passes into the public domain if they'll be long dead before that ever happens.

As it stands now, copyright law might as well be based not on author's lifetime but rather the lifetime of the last (mortal) survivor of the year when the work was first published. Disregarding Disney, that would appear to be the goal of Lifetime + 70 years: to ensure that your work is never exploited by anyone that directly knew of your being alive.

Copyright is Too Complicated on Purpose (1, Insightful)

Doc Ruby (173196) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655034)

Copyright is hard to understand because it's made up complexity at odds with our actual rights. Copyright isn't an "inalienable right" that's protected by the government. It's a made up privilege that's just called a right to make people obey it. The Constitution actually abridges the First Amendment right to freedom of the press, which would have no restrictions, to compromise with the late-1700s commercial necessity of a monopoly on copying printed matter so competitors don't have lower costs just reprinting material that cost the author more to create and print. But even then the Constitution said that copyrights are for limited times, which they are no longer, and that they are justified solely "to promote progress in science and the useful arts", which today they more often conflict with.

There is no provision for "making a killing". There is no provision for "protecting the author's heirs". Or anything else, except promoting science and useful arts.

Because the only right in question here is our right to free press. So long as the Constitution (and the law under it) just documents the actual rights we have, and creates a government to protect them, people will understand it. Those "Fair Use" rights are the real rights, which is why people understand them. Rights are familiar to us from real life. They're typically easy to understand. They shouldn't be that hard to protect.

And since science and the useful arts can progress perfectly well these days with the minimum protection from competition, everyone will understand if we roll back copyright to just very limited times, like at most 14 years for print, and as little as a week (or even a day or so) for content like news.

A crusade is only lost when warriors lose faith (1)

CubeRootOf (849787) | more than 6 years ago | (#22655354)

If you believe in the Anti Copyright Crusade: Don't lose faith and keep fighting. As soon as you give in, and say 'Maybe its not so bad...' You have just given them permission to do whatever they want.

Keep crusading, or give up, but only you can make that decision for yourself.
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