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Author Topic: Making the case for eternal copyright  (Read 6526 times)
feppe
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« Reply #20 on: February 22, 2012, 02:37:59 PM »
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Actually Disney's stance and (ab)use of copyright is somewhat disingenuous and not reflective of my views.
Using a crazy stance to justify another polarised oppositional and equally extreme viewpoint is not the solution either.

While I agree on your premise, this particular case is entirely valid, given that it is Disney who have been driving (I believe) every copyright extension in the US, making it by far the longest in the world. Some claim Mickey Mouse will never go out of copyright due to ever-increasing copyright length - and that's exactly what the article linked to in the OP alludes to.
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« Reply #21 on: February 22, 2012, 02:57:44 PM »
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I take the exact opposite tack, completely abolish all copyright and patents.  This would make all artists and creators performers.
it would make individual artists and small inventors victims of big players: an author would get to sell maybe a couple of copies of a book, but as soon as one of the customers is Amazon of Google, it would be out as an eBook, with not a penny more to the author. So the only way to earn anything as an author or inventor would as a wage-slave to a big content seller or major manufacturer.
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« Reply #22 on: February 22, 2012, 03:02:57 PM »
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I take the exact opposite tack, completely abolish all copyright and patents.  This would make all artists and creators performers.  That is where their money is made.  Musicians make most of their money from concert tours, not CDs. 
Some musicians do. Many, many others do not. Making money from performing favours a few certain genres and marginalises many others.  So effectively you are diminishing the range of music out there, by supporting this view.
And suggesting abolishing patents only underlines the fact you have zero idea of how patents work. No company is going to invest millions of pounds in research that they cannot then make money out of.

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Many Photographers today make their living teaching, not selling images.  The teaching is their performance.
And their audience would be vastly diminished by the lack of people wanting to be photographers if the career of being a photographer was simply to be a teacher, not to mention the fact that not all people who are good at something are good at teaching the subject. And  who would be the pupils if all photographers were teachers?

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Other photographers make their living on fine art prints.  This too is an individual performance that is much harder than most laymen would imagine.
and whose market would be killed if no copyright existed.
So to repeat myself - So effectively you are diminishing the range of photography out there, by supporting this stance.

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Every company would be valued for it's ability to retain it ideas by retaining their talent and their success would be predicated on their ability to compensate their creative people to keep their ideas in house.  Further, their success would come from the "performance" of manufacturing a great product.
So what does that woolly concept actually entail?

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Authors are the tough one, but if you recall that Dickens first published his work in a weekly magazine.  This too is a one-off performance. 
No it wasn't as the weekly episodes were collected into books and copyright meant he earned the money from his work not others parasiting over his talents.
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« Reply #23 on: February 22, 2012, 03:05:00 PM »
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While I agree on your premise, this particular case is entirely valid, given that it is Disney who have been driving (I believe) every copyright extension in the US, making it by far the longest in the world. Some claim Mickey Mouse will never go out of copyright due to ever-increasing copyright length - and that's exactly what the article linked to in the OP alludes to.
And what I meant by a crazy stance, eternal copyright. Not quite as daft as no copyright though.
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Rob C
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« Reply #24 on: February 22, 2012, 03:42:46 PM »
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I had a giggle reading the suggestion that stopping copyright would lead to frenzied activity from creative talents... yes, right, as if these same people aren't already working their asses off just to stay in the game!

Apply that to the medicine industry. So, who'd be investing millions to find a cure for the specific cancer (feel free to substitute with your own favourite) you're going to develop as you grow older unless there was a guarantee of success being rewarded long enough to return the investment and then create profit high enough to pay off patient (no pun intended) shareholders, salaries, laboratory expenses, investment in the next try, which certainly does not always come off; who'd pay for the failures, I have to ask again, were the companies not able to generate enough to speculate? Sure, some magical time-scale would then be invented, just to satisfy the envy lobby... how some people hate success in others.

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BJL
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« Reply #25 on: February 22, 2012, 08:08:56 PM »
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Apply that to the medicine industry. So, who'd be investing millions to find a cure for the specific cancer (feel free to substitute with your own favourite) you're going to develop as you grow older unless there was a guarantee of success being rewarded long enough to return the investment and then create profit ...
Indeed, there seems to be plenty of evidence that fruitful lines of treatment not based on patentable approaches get neglected. Not to mention the sometimes disproportionate emphasis on discomforts of the affluent over more severe afflictions of less profitable patients. Consider the disease category added to our vocabulary a decade or two ago to justify "medications" like Viagra.
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« Reply #26 on: February 22, 2012, 08:11:42 PM »
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Some musicians do. Many, many others do not. Making money from performing favours a few certain genres and marginalises many others.  So effectively you are diminishing the range of music out there, by supporting this view.
And suggesting abolishing patents only underlines the fact you have zero idea of how patents work. No company is going to invest millions of pounds in research that they cannot then make money out of.
And their audience would be vastly diminished by the lack of people wanting to be photographers if the career of being a photographer was simply to be a teacher, not to mention the fact that not all people who are good at something are good at teaching the subject. And  who would be the pupils if all photographers were teachers?
 and whose market would be killed if no copyright existed.
So to repeat myself - So effectively you are diminishing the range of photography out there, by supporting this stance.
So what does that woolly concept actually entail?
 No it wasn't as the weekly episodes were collected into books and copyright meant he earned the money from his work not others parasiting over his talents.

I agree that my suggestion is pretty radical and in many ways impractical. I don't have any way to refute your speculation about the outcome any more than you can back up your speculation. I might note that you are really advocating for the "traditional" view here, and "Tradition is the Backbone of the Spineless."  (ooh, that was a mean rhetorical technique. haha)

I encourage you to watch Everything is a Remix that was linked above. It is a very thoughtful look at intellectual property and how when people lay claim to an invention or a piece of original artwork, they are always building on those who come before them. It is unfair for them to lay sole claim to that property.  I will repeat Henry Ford's statement about his achievements, "I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work. Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense." -- Henry Ford

While it is certainly debatable whether large industries would invest the billions needed for something like an investment in a new medicine if there wasn't a patent process, there are certainly other market mechanisms that are equally harmful to the common good.  Why, for instance do pharmaceutical companies rarely invest in vaccines? It is because preventing disease with vaccines is less profitable than treating diseases with drugs. 

Finally, yes I do know a bit about patents, and I also understand that there are shell companies out there who produce no product, create no new intellectual property, and invent nothing new.  Their entire interest is to purchase patents and then litigate to prevent others from developing on that technology.  That is wrong. It is wrong that pharmaceutical companies have been awarded patents on sequences of the human genome.  In a complex world like this, we don't need more lawyers running around creating obstacles to innovation.  Due to the success of the open source movement, one of the most important things we can now understand about the nature of innovation is that you can actually create greater value by giving away your 'property' and then selling services to help people deploy processes built around that 'property.'  IBM has had great success in that arena with Linux.  Google also with android.  Services and processes are what has value. An Engineer or an artist with a good idea but no ability to deliver is worthless. 

I will leave with one last historical comment about the consequences of patent litigation.  This is from Wikipedia and summarizes the Wright Brothers Patent Wars.  Their intransigence is widely credited with creating a situation where the US forces in WWI were unable to field a domestically produced airplane. 
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In 1906 the Wrights received a patent for their method of flight control and fiercely defended it in the years afterward, suing foreign and domestic aviators and companies, especially Glenn Curtiss, in an attempt to collect licensing fees. The legal threat suppressed development of the U.S. aviation industry. Letters Wilbur Wright wrote to Octave Chanute in January 1910 offer a glimpse into the Wrights' proprietary feeling about their work: "It is not disputed that every person who is using this system today owes it to us and to us alone. The French aviators freely admit it."[4] In another letter Wilbur said: "It is our view that morally the world owes its almost universal use of our system of lateral control entirely to us. It is also our opinion that legally it owes it to us."[5]

Read more here, it is fascinating.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wright_brothers_patent_war
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« Reply #27 on: February 22, 2012, 09:32:14 PM »
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I agree that my suggestion is pretty radical and in many ways impractical. I don't have any way to refute your speculation about the outcome any more than you can back up your speculation. I might note that you are really advocating for the "traditional" view here, and "Tradition is the Backbone of the Spineless."  (ooh, that was a mean rhetorical technique. haha)
Not mean, innaccurate.  Tongue
Tradition is doing things in a certain way for no other reason than because 'that is the way things are done'. Supporting a system that works versus one that doesn't, has nothing to do with tradition. Find a better method and I'll support it straight away, suggest a stupid one and I'll call it stupid. And no copyright/patents is extremely stupid or naive in my view.

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I encourage you to watch Everything is a Remix that was linked above. It is a very thoughtful look at intellectual property and how when people lay claim to an invention or a piece of original artwork, they are always building on those who come before them. It is unfair for them to lay sole claim to that property.  I will repeat Henry Ford's statement about his achievements, "I invented nothing new. I simply assembled the discoveries of other men behind whom were centuries of work. Had I worked fifty or ten or even five years before, I would have failed. So it is with every new thing. Progress happens when all the factors that make for it are ready and then it is inevitable. To teach that a comparatively few men are responsible for the greatest forward steps of mankind is the worst sort of nonsense." -- Henry Ford
If you'd actually read the posts in this thread properly, you would notice that I was the person who originally linked to  "Everything is a Remix". But the thing about standing on the shoulders of giants is that those who are able to put the ideas of the past into new and interesting ways have created well, something new and interesting. If it were that easy, everyone would be inventing and creating stuff.

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While it is certainly debatable whether large industries would invest the billions needed for something like an investment in a new medicine if there wasn't a patent process...
Actually, nothing to debate. Research and development costs money and unless you can recoup costs, there will simply be no R&D in private business.

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.....there are certainly other market mechanisms that are equally harmful to the common good.  Why, for instance do pharmaceutical companies rarely invest in vaccines? It is because preventing disease with vaccines is less profitable than treating diseases with drugs.  
That's nothing to do with copyright/patents. Is is morally iffy, yes, but not relevant to your copyright free world argument.

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Finally, yes I do know a bit about patents, and I also understand that there are shell companies out there who produce no product, create no new intellectual property, and invent nothing new.  Their entire interest is to purchase patents and then litigate to prevent others from developing on that technology.  That is wrong. It is wrong that pharmaceutical companies have been awarded patents on sequences of the human genome.  In a complex world like this, we don't need more lawyers running around creating obstacles to innovation.  
Quick let's legislate against kitchen knives, as some people have used them to murder their spouse and to skin kittens!
Just because some people abuse a system, it doesn't mean the system is in itself bad. Humans are devious fuckers and whatever the system is, the wicked people will always twist it to suit themselves and is why in reality capitalism, communism and socialism often end up looking very similar once those pesky humans get involved. And a copyright/patent free world will always benefit the bad people far more than the good guys without any doubt

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Due to the success of the open source movement, one of the most important things we can now understand about the nature of innovation is that you can actually create greater value by giving away your 'property' and then selling services to help people deploy processes built around that 'property.'  IBM has had great success in that arena with Linux.  Google also with android.  Services and processes are what has value. An Engineer or an artist with a good idea but no ability to deliver is worthless.
Google can give away Android for the same reasons Apple can sell their software for insanely low prices, neither are software companies. Google is an advertising company and Apple is a hardware and media sales company. The OSes and cheap/free programmes are effectively loss leaders. Someone has to be making money somewhere to support these 'free' things and until capitalism is replaced by a money free society where everything is free to anyone, that'll be how it works. And to bastardise Winston Churchill's comment on capitalism - "Copyright is surely the worst protective system, except for all the others that have been tried."
Oh and I think the open source 'success' is frankly overrated.

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I will leave with one last historical comment about the consequences of patent litigation.  This is from Wikipedia and summarizes the Wright Brothers Patent Wars.  Their intransigence is widely credited with creating a situation where the US forces in WWI were unable to field a domestically produced airplane.  
Read more here, it is fascinating.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wright_brothers_patent_war
You can argue against anything by giving examples of how sometimes a rule/law/system has had unintended or unexpected effects. But unless you can suggest a better system, one that benefits more people than the current one, don't just criticise. Try and be constructive instead.
As far as regarding the Wright brother's interfering with the US war effort. Should people not patent things so their competitors can profit without investment, just in case a war breaks out? Allowing everyone to use other's ideas willy nilly is so much worse than patent trolls, as all you will have to do is wait for someone to spend time, money and effort inventing something and then market it yourself at a price undercutting the inventor.
« Last Edit: February 22, 2012, 09:34:49 PM by jjj » Logged

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Rob C
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« Reply #28 on: February 23, 2012, 03:44:51 AM »
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Thanks all my friends


Any time dear boy; glad to have been of help.

Rob C
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« Reply #29 on: February 23, 2012, 10:06:01 AM »
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Here's an excellent example from today of a big company shamelessly stealing someone else's ideas and basically destroying their business.
This demonstrates exactly why copyright was developed.

Claire's accessories rip off

Spot the difference
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« Reply #30 on: February 23, 2012, 10:35:25 AM »
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Here's an excellent example from today of a big company shamelessly stealing someone else's ideas and basically destroying their business.
This demonstrates exactly why copyright was developed.

Claire's accessories rip off

Spot the difference

I can't read the first link...it's blocked here at work, but the second....are you seriously holding up a dinosaur necklace as an example of the importance of protecting copyright and patent law? Is that idea so novel and unique that the creator deserves exclusivity? I can't imagine the court case where an individual tries to establish that they were the first and only person to put dinosaur bones on a necklace.

Copyright and patent are out of control. Their applicability is absurd and their length far longer than originally intended.  While I can't honestly say that I want them fully abolished, they certainly need to be overhauled and probably weakened.  For example: http://www.petapixel.com/2012/01/25/create-a-similarly-composed-photo-in-the-uk-risk-copyright-infringement/

 
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Rob C
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« Reply #31 on: February 23, 2012, 11:14:49 AM »
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Well, in general, I guess if one's photographic life consists of ARAT, then there's not a whole lot to protect; in fact, one is probably treading on other more established toes already...

But then such radical thoughts are but one of my little idiosyncracies, of which there are many. But they're all mine.

Rob C
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« Reply #32 on: February 23, 2012, 11:40:00 AM »
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Rob, every day I try to learn something new, so help me out please for today's dose: what the hell is ARAT?
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« Reply #33 on: February 23, 2012, 01:01:35 PM »
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Yes, what is ARAT?
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« Reply #34 on: February 23, 2012, 02:59:07 PM »
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ARAT

Another rock, another tree.

;-)

Rob C
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« Reply #35 on: February 23, 2012, 11:16:36 PM »
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I can't read the first link...it's blocked here at work, but the second....are you seriously holding up a dinosaur necklace as an example of the importance of protecting copyright and patent law? Is that idea so novel and unique that the creator deserves exclusivity? I can't imagine the court case where an individual tries to establish that they were the first and only person to put dinosaur bones on a necklace.
The idea of a dinosaur on necklace is of course something that is not copyrightable. However it is not just another necklace it is a direct copy as are all the other copies of the various other designs. Just as bad as me putting my signature on the Mona Lisa or my photocopying an Ansel Adams and claiming it as my own.
Saying a dinosaur on a necklace is not original is like saying words in a book is not an original idea. Copyright protects the expression of an idea. Not the concept.

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Copyright and patent are out of control. Their applicability is absurd and their length far longer than originally intended.  While I can't honestly say that I want them fully abolished, they certainly need to be overhauled and probably weakened.  For example: http://www.petapixel.com/2012/01/25/create-a-similarly-composed-photo-in-the-uk-risk-copyright-infringement/
You simply have no idea about copyright and use extreme cases to demonise it. As daft as banning kitchen knives because some people misuse them. I could ask to ban or restrict just about anything I could think of if I took your stance
As for the photo copying case, it not as crazy as it seems. The reason the infringer was punished is because he had previous long running dodgy form in trying to rip off the plaintiff. Not just because he took a similar photo. Context is important and that's what you keep missing in your attacks and criticisms.
And you've still not added anything constructive in what could replace or improve on copyright and patents.
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« Reply #36 on: February 23, 2012, 11:22:42 PM »
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ARAT

Another rock, another tree.
;-)
Meowww!
And haha haha.  Grin
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Rob C
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« Reply #37 on: February 24, 2012, 03:40:08 AM »
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Re.ARAT

Can't claim it for my own, unfortunately, since the first time I came across it was courtesy a post elsewhere form WalterEG. At first I thought he was being biblical, but that clearly didn't quite fit.

On the credit side, I think I was the first to use/coin LuLa - if heads are to roll on that score, then maybe it should/can? be mine.

;-)

Rob C
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« Reply #38 on: February 24, 2012, 07:28:25 AM »
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The idea of a dinosaur on necklace is of course something that is not copyrightable. However it is not just another necklace it is a direct copy as are all the other copies of the various other designs. Just as bad as me putting my signature on the Mona Lisa or my photocopying an Ansel Adams and claiming it as my own.
Saying a dinosaur on a necklace is not original is like saying words in a book is not an original idea. Copyright protects the expression of an idea. Not the concept.
You simply have no idea about copyright and use extreme cases to demonise it. As daft as banning kitchen knives because some people misuse them. I could ask to ban or restrict just about anything I could think of if I took your stance
As for the photo copying case, it not as crazy as it seems. The reason the infringer was punished is because he had previous long running dodgy form in trying to rip off the plaintiff. Not just because he took a similar photo. Context is important and that's what you keep missing in your attacks and criticisms.
And you've still not added anything constructive in what could replace or improve on copyright and patents.

You are a pretty strong defender of the traditional system of copyright and patent.  Me, not so much. I have repeatedly said that I probably wouldn't support completely abolishing copyright and patent, but I really want to see it radically transformed. 

You have claimed that I have only offered extreme anecdotes to "demonize" intellectual property. You are right that my method of argument has focused on anecdotal evidence because that is all we have.  There are no double-blind scientific studies that can prove or disprove our different points of view. Your arguments, on the other hand, have only been assertions with no backup.  You have claimed that all investment in R&D would cease.  That isn't an unreasonable assertion, but it is without any substantiation--it relies on the opinion of people who have a lot to gain or lose.  Your anecdote of the necklace as you admit doesn't rise to the level of a copyrightable idea or innovation.

It is very hard for either of us to prove whether intellectual property is good or bad because in the modern era, we have never really had an environment without intellectual property law to compare.  What we can look at are examples of disruptive innovations that have spawned rapid development and growth--without intellectual property dragging it down. For example, we can look at the dot com period of the late 1990s. There was a massive increase in innovation growth and investment.  Amazon wasn't able to patent online shopping because 500 people invented it at the same time, enabled by new, unpatented technologies that weren't present 1 year before.  Those technologies were dropped on us by DARPA researchers--without patents. What is the most popular internet webserver?  The open source webserver Apache.  It has been for years.  It is free to use, extend, modify and copy. 

I would suggest that it could be really possible that weakening patent and copyright could have the unexpected effect of actually stimulating MORE innovation instead of less. The innovation may not like like the grand multi billion dollar develpoment projects that pharmaceuticals require, but they may be just as transformative, like the internet.  BJL also mentioned this above:

Quote from: bjl
Indeed, there seems to be plenty of evidence that fruitful lines of treatment not based on patentable approaches get neglected. Not to mention the sometimes disproportionate emphasis on discomforts of the affluent over more severe afflictions of less profitable patients. Consider the disease category added to our vocabulary a decade or two ago to justify "medications" like Viagra.

Fundamentally the creative impulse is NOT dictated by the desire for wealth. The human spirit is creative and inventive.  Look at the millions of people contributing to youtube...granted 99 percent of it sucks, but frequently there is some great stuff put up that is innovative, creative or beautiful.  ...and it is given for free.

Now JJJ, I must say this is a very interesting topic to me, but I am not a big fan of your style of argument.   Your tone isn't pleasant to me.  For example "You simply have no idea about copyright..." and "...suggest a stupid one and I'll call it stupid." Those are ad hominem attacks and they do nothing to advance your argument except trying to bully your debate partner.  I am interested in continuing to discuss the merits of intellectual property rights, but we should stick to the topic.
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« Reply #39 on: February 24, 2012, 12:50:42 PM »
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I am interested in continuing to discuss the merits of intellectual property rights, but we should stick to the topic.

Trailpixie,

I agree with most of your argument and would like to expand on it.

Currently, we know:
  • The Copyright Term Extension Act (CTEA) of 1998 extended copyright terms in the United States by 20 years. Since the Copyright Act of 1976, copyright would last for the life of the author plus 50 years, or 75 years for a work of corporate authorship. The Act extended these terms to life of the author plus 70 years and for works of corporate authorship to 120 years after creation or 95 years after publication, whichever endpoint is earlier. Copyright protection for works published prior to January 1, 1978, was increased by 20 years to a total of 95 years from their publication date.
  • This current copyright law requires vigilance on the part of the copyright owner to legally pursue any and all infringers of their property with the intention of ending any infringement. "Legally pursue" now includes legal entities (citizens and corporations) from one country arresting a legal entity in another country. The Megaupload arrests are the latest example of this. I'm not insinuating any innocence or culpability in this case, I'm merely using it as an example of how legal entities can now use their governments to pursue individuals in other countries (this in itself is frightening). The ultimate infringement here is loss of revenue to the content creators. If there was no loss of income, I doubt anything would have been done.

Entire legal teams exist only to pursue patent infringement. The latest example is in the crop fields of the USA where Monsanto sues farmers who inadvertently grow a few feet of Roundup Ready Soybean because a few seeds found their way onto the "infringing" farmer's land. Their actions are protected (and prompted) by our patent laws. (A dirt road typically separates one farmer's land from another).

BTW, Monsanto lawyers have shut down the majority of seed harvesters because kernels of their hybrids were found in the harvester's combines. This has effectively shut down the ability for farmers to grow heirloom food plants, drastically reducing the number of food varieties available to the consumer. These actions, too, are protected and prompted by our patent laws. A worst-case scenario from these actions would be entire crops wiped out (i.e., billions of acres) by a chemical-resistant strain of bug, weed or virus causing a massive, world-wide food shortage.

We have never lived in an economy or society with very short copyright and patent terms. Only speculation can be made as to what would occur. I speculate that innovation would occur at a logarithmic rate of increase. Some claim that innovation would cease. The classic example being that it wouldn't be economically viable to produce, say, a cancer cure. I speculate that if Company X declined to produce such a drug, then Company Y, Z or Ω would step in to provide the product.

I include these examples of patent protection because it and copyright protection both fall under laws for the protection of intellectual property, and legal arguments for one can be easily applied to the other. This is because the ultimate aim of these laws is to protect the revenue derived from the intellectual property.

When we talk about photography, the immediate inclination is to view the copyright as a tool that protects income. Back in the 1970's and 1980's stock photography expanded greatly and provided many photographers with a good income. Comstock being the highest profile in 1984, with the owners taking crews to the Bahamas and producing classic BIBOB (babe in bikini on beach) images which sold by the truckload. Production costs ran about $200,000 with total sales at $1,000,000 it wasn't a bad investment (source: PDN, 2/1984). All these images are protected under the copyright act, but now Comstock's library is a part of Jupiter Images, which is a part of Getty Images. Getty Images' revenue was about $400,000,000 in 2008.

All the content that created revenue is protected by copyright laws, but now the business model is being eaten away by royalty-free imagery. This move to a royalty-free business model is caused and/or motivated by two things: quick access to billions of images via the internet, and the democratization of images. More people are producing photographs now than at any time in history. It's a buyer's market out there, but the content is still protected by copyright laws. If copyrights were reduced to 10 years total, would it affect this business model? Not significantly, because the rate of image creation will keep accelerating, and a better or more appropriate image would soon be available.

Outside the world of stock photography, we have images from Ansel Adams and Edward Weston, for example. How is copyright protection a benefit to others? One way is that I can log onto the Ansel Adams gallery and buy a print from an original negative. The same is true for Weston's work. Because of the copyright laws, the gallery can retain control of the reproduction of the images and customers will receive a print that's been produced professional and with care to the content's reproduction. In addition to this benefit to the marketplace, the family heirs of both Adams and Weston receive financial revenue (Matthew Adams and Cara Weston, respectively). I speculate both Adams and Weston would appreciate this.

Lastly, I see, Trailpixie you copyright the content of your web site. As an advocate for minimal or zero copyrights, why do you do this? (I'm curious, not antagonistic).
Logged

~ CB
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