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« Evidente | Main | Hurry hurry hurry »

Nov 17, 2011

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Roch101

Senator Kay Hagan is a co-sponsor of the Senate version (The Protect IP Act of 2011).

You may write her here.

Mel Watt is a co-sponsor of the House version (Stop Online Privacy Act).

You may write him here.

North Carolina's Howard Coble is on the House Judiciary Committee, which is holding hearings on the bill today.

You may write him here.

Billy Jones

Another reason to Occupy.

Bill Yaner

Anarchy has never worked real well elsewhere in our lives. Is it realistic for the net to remain wide open to those who violate copyrights and rip off the creative and performing talents of our country?

The bill's opponents paint an awful picture of government censorship if we open up this Pandora's box, but if I stand on the corner openly selling pirated music, the cops could close down my operation pronto. I saw that very thing being done in New York last month. I don't understand the difference.

RBM

Anarchy has never worked real well elsewhere in our lives. Is it realistic for the net to remain wide open to those who violate copyrights and rip off the creative and performing talents of our country?

The net is NOT meat space, for a start. Ever heard of Copyleft ? Are you familiar with Creative Commons ? These are just a couple efforts off the top of my head that deals with what the NET is, versus what it is not.

justcorbly

If I make something, then I get to decide who can copy it. That's simplistic, but it is, I think, at the heart of copyright law. I agree with that.

It also means that I might decide anyone can copy it, as much as they want. Or, I might stash it away in a drawer and hide it. Or, sell that right to a publisher. It's my call.

That said, it would be very nice if there was a technical solution to this problem, so we wouldn't have to put up with music and movie corporations bribing Congress and trying to make copying an mp3 a federal offense.

polifrog

Why is it that the intellectual property of drug companies continue through 7 years and no more, but for music, movies, Mickey Mouse intellectual property rights continue for something like 90 years plus the lifetime of the creator?

The stuff should really fall into the public domain within 10 years of introduction. Make your money and then create something new if you want more.

  If Bill Yaner  N

RBM, sorry, cannot understand your point, no doubt because I am not familiar with your references.

JC, no fan of lobbying here, but in this case some of those corporations "supporting" the legislation are the conduits of money getting back to the artists - which is a good thing. Downloading a song for free is tantamount to walking out of a store with an item in your pocket without paying for it. No difference, though many in the net generation seem to feel entitled to the goods for free - like manna from heaven.

Pfrog, good point, though in the case of drugs, pharmas can and do mark up their pricing way up to compensate for that brief time of return on investment. Would they generously drop that pricing given a longer period to cash in?

polifrog
Would they generously drop that pricing given a longer period to cash in?

I would never argue for a longer period as I believe it is tantamount to a subsidy.

Furthermore, I believe copyrights should run their course within ten years. No more.

Would books/music/movies cost more during the ten years? Likely.

Would news agencies get more funding? I believe so. When there is less easy profit over the long term more emphasis will be placed on the short term, which all news is. That benefits us today.

Would creativity increase? Yes. Not only would artists be forced to go back to work on the stage or write new material rather than live in perpetuity on past hits, but the creation of new ideas on the shoulders of others would be less precarious from a legal stand point.

The current lifespan of copyrighted material does not benefit our nation anymore than a similar lifespan for a drug patent would.

  If Bill Yaner  N

You make good sense, pfrog, and have convinced me of your point. Is that a first on this blog?

But going back to the legislation at hand, we would both agree, yes, that the Justice Dept. should be patrolling that Sherwood Forest of today called the Internet for the Robin Hood bands of merry men that would make the creations of our artists totally free - from day one?

justcorbly

>>…...Downloading a song for free is tantamount to walking out of a store with an item in your pocket without paying for it…"

Of course. Unless the artist/author wants us to download it for free.

I have no problem with lengthy copyright term that apply to the creator of a work. I think a good case can be made that the copyright ought to be in force over the lifetime of that person.

I do have a problem with copyrights sold to second and third parties that still extend for several decades. I think the law ought to disinguish between copyright held by a work's creator and that copyright when it acquired by other people or organizations Those copyrights should be much shorter.

There is some validity to the notion that copyright encourages an artist to be creative. There is no validity to the notion that the typical American corporation is going to start writing love songs because it's acquired a copyright portfolio.

So, long copytight terms for actual people who actually make things. Short copyright terms for businesses who buy them in order to cash in.


That means, for example, that I might hold a lifetime copyright in a piece of music I write. But, I cannot transfer that lengthy copyright to anyone else. Downstream holders of the copyright get the short end of the stick.

  If Bill Yaner  N

100% dead on, there, JC. Could not agree with you more.

Andrew Brod

I'm not going to weigh in on how long copyrights should be. However, it doesn't make sense to shorten the copyright once it's acquired by another party. Why not? Suppose you've created something and I'm considering buying the rights from you. If I get fewer years to profit from your creation, I'm going to pay you less for it. Reducing the copyright's value to the acquirer reduces its value to the creator.

So if you care about the creator's interests, you'll let others (even corporations!) get full value from the copyright.

Andrew Brod

In any case, as I understand this issue, it's not about whether copyrights are good or bad. They're good.

The problem with this bill is the extremity of the sanctions used against infringing sites and individuals. Good laws strike a balance between competing interests or principles; this bill seems way out of balance.

  If Bill Yaner  N

Though you have to admit, A.B., a "slap on the wrist" does nothing to address the issue if those flaunting the law can make a whole lot even after paying the fine. The penalty has got to be significant enough to discourage those who would ignore it.

Billy Jones

Froggy,
I understand where you're coming from but I think you need to understand that 99% of all new books require more than 10 years to turn a profit. I can't speak for music, art or movies but for authors, a 10 year copyright limit would be devastating and would certainly be detrimental to increasing creativity.

polifrog

Billy Jones:

I understand where you're coming from but I think you need to understand that 99% of all new books require more than 10 years to turn a profit.


That would only matter if pricing were fixed. It is not. As I mentioned earlier:

Would books/music/movies cost more during the ten years? Likely.

Dr. Brod:

However, it doesn't make sense to shorten the copyright once it's acquired by another party. Why not?...

and

...it's not about whether copyrights are good or bad. They're good.

Good points, Doc.

Billy Jones

Froggy,
If the day ever comes when corporations actually write books then your argument has weight but as long as books are written by real people and not by imaginary people, your argument is entirely flawed.

Will books cost more in 10 years? Of course they will but when the profits become divided too thinly, by too many "publishers" who need not pay royalties, as proposed by your model, the original author's take is nil, as in none. The cost of books in 10 years is entirely irrelevant as the vast majority of any price increase comes from increased costs like the cost of ink and paper, rising wages for printers but not increased profits.

For one such as yourself, who generally appears to be astute in matters of business and finance, I find your misunderstanding of the publishing industry to be quite shocking.

You model forgets the authors of the original works. Generally, authors get from 5-25% of the revenue from their book sales. Your model cuts 99% of the authors out of the equation before they have the chance to earn from their works. No royalties are paid to authors after copyrights end therefore the author earns nothing.

Having had 4 titles in print I know a little bit about what I'm talking about.

In the case of books, the current copyright regulations extend 70 years beyond the death of the author. That seems like an excessive amount of time but when it comes to books, 10 years would devastate the publishing industry.

Roch101

Bill Y, the problem with these bills is not their intent, it is the crude and overreaching methods by which they would attempt to protect copyrights. The consequences would be harm and burdens to innocent people, companies and even the workings of the internet itself, which I think the first link in Ed's original post explains.

There have been numerous laws passed in the past decade to deal with digital piracy. It's not these new laws or anarchy.

polifrog
Will books cost more in 10 years? Of course they will but when the profits become divided too thinly, by too many "publishers" who need not pay royalties, as proposed by your model, the original author's take is nil, as in none. The cost of books in 10 years is entirely irrelevant as the vast majority of any price increase comes from increased costs like the cost of ink and paper, rising wages for printers but not increased profits.

I was not referring to back ground inflation, but rather market dynamics that would force the price of new material higher during the ten years the material would be protected by copyright. Why would there prices rise? Because authors would demand more in their contract knowing that the time that they could viably make money from their work would be shortened. The same would be true of the publishers.

Those who are "early adopters" would pay a higher price, while those like myself would wait for the "generics" unless the material were time sensitive.

That markets are dynamic meaning that changes in something such as the window of opportunity in which profits may be made mean changes in within the whole of the market. Not its destruction as suggested below.

In the case of books, the current copyright regulations extend 70 years beyond the death of the author. That seems like an excessive amount of time but when it comes to books, 10 years would devastate the publishing industry.

You are holding to the fiction of a non dynamic market and essentially defending a non defensible corporate subsidy.

Why do I tie copyright length to SOPA?

The reason I bring this up is that I believe the excessive length of copyrights is the source of many of the information issues we have today. Napster was not an expression of the desire to thieve, but rather an expression that something is wrong with the permanence (as far anyone's lifetime is concerned) of idea ownership.

Would we have the same degree of resistance to copyright enforcement if there were a continual flow of material coming off of copyright that wasn't 120 years old, but rather 10 years old?

I don't think so.

Imagine if drug industry patents lasted 70 years beyond the moment of invention. Today's generics would be leeches and mercury. Well, today's "generic" off-copyright material would be coming from that same period of time had today's laws been in effect then. Beyond stale.

Bill Yaner

Roch, I did see that argument about crude and over reaching methods of enforcement but am not convinced that DNS blockage of rip off sites is a slippery slope down to me being thrown in jail for singing on Facebook. Of course, if you ever heard me sing, that might be justified.

This is the Justice Dept. doing the enforcing, not the SS. Is it not reasonable to expect that the bill would include a due process of law at some point?

Roch101

Oh, well if it's not the SS.

Robert Reddick

Er. Bill Yaner? Sorry dude, but you seem to think our #griftcongress actually writes legislation; that somehow this prose is an "honorable" stab at a solution.

This is a multi-billion dollar industry - attempting to put in place a technical management layer - that let's them direct non-due-process website take downs and lawsuits.

#rootstrikers

Bill Yaner

Your point rings true, RR....and Roch. I guess if lobbyists can write legislation to put back french fries, pizza, and lots of salt back into school lunches, they sure as hell can put some bad stuff onto this internet plate that may not be good for our health.

I don't know what got into me.....but I'm over it now.

Billy Jones

Froggy,
Your apples to oranges approach (drugs to books) simply doesn't work in the real world and it is all too apparent you know nothing about the publishing industry as it pertains to authors. For starters, until I wrote it you didn't even know how long a book copyright lasts.

Drug prices go down when copyrights end and so do book prices when compared to new releases. Check out the thousands of out of copyright titles printed and sold in-house at Borders (One of the early adopters) on Borders' very own printing presses, all cheaper because they don't have to pay royalties to anyone.

But hey, go ahead and starve authors out and see how creative those books written by corporations become. Then, when your publishing industry stocks crash you can remember I told you so.

Bill Bush

Re: piracy.....I am an old, so I do not even use mp3s. But I wonder what percentage of the music downloaded is current stuff versus old (10 years or more) music? I doubt much music over ten years old gets downloaded, except for "hits" that remain in current play. Of course, collectors/hobbyists may be accumulating vast libraries of Dixieland (told you I was an old) or whatever their interest is. How much of that is out of print and unavailable otherwise? Maybe there is an opportunity for back catalogs of books and music to be dollarized somehow. I have read that downloaders actually buy more new retail music than non-downloaders. True?

If I spent three years writing a book and another year selling/getting it published and a year on the book tour circuit, I am not sure I would regard a 10-year copyright as very rewarding. I recall from my lit classes hearing that writing used to be the province of the wealthy because there were no copyright laws, thus no remuneration. Where is the happy medium? 10 years because we have 10 fingers? 20 years if we count toes? Lifetime at least, because it may take 10 years for some writers to produce Volume II. Should your car become your neighbor's car after 10 years? What is the difference? If I have a copyright to leave, instead of a stock portfolio, why do I deserve to have it destroyed? Should land titles void upon death? Why is a patent on a machine more durable? There is some serious anti-intellectual bias at play, it seems to me.

Roch101

Bill B., What is the title of your book?

polifrog
Of course, collectors/hobbyists may be accumulating vast libraries of Dixieland ...

One of the metrics I used when gauging the depth of Napster was the number of Bob Scoby tunes that were listed. Eight at its end.

and

Should your car become your neighbor's car after 10 years? What is the difference?

Excellent questions.

It seems some of this is due to the difference between intellectual and physical property. But they are not really as different as they may first seem. Even land and stock ownership have a ticking clock attached to them if taxes are not paid. There are no absolutes in ownership; in the end society lays claim to all.

Likewise, patents and copyrights differ in that patents protect ideas while copyright only protects dissemination. But are they really so different? At base each have the same goal of protecting different types of intellectual property. Why one should deserve a longer duration over another is difficult to fathom, however when one considers the linkages between media and governance and the influence that media has over governance then perhaps government's placation of the media via copyright law should come as no surprise.

In the end subsidies benefit a few at great social cost and this is simply another example.

justcorbly

A.B. is correct that reducing copyright terms for second parties is going to reduce what they pay for the rights in the first place.

I still think a technical solution would be welcome: Files that cannot be copied/played/viewed by anyone other than the original purchaser. I don't know how to do that. If I did I'd be off getting rich, not writing this stuff.

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