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View Diary: Supreme Court to review first-sale doctrine in copyright law (214 comments)

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  •  the way to fight this shit is to go on the ATTACK. (40+ / 0-)

    What we need to do is introduce legislation that rolls back copyright from the present 90 years to the original 25 years.  

    Push that legislation every year and eventually it will pass, or some variation on it will pass.  

    This will scare the intellectual property fascists sufficiently to tie up a significant chunk of their efforts to defeat it every season until they finally lose.  

    It will also put the issues in front of the public in a way that wouldn't happen otherwise.

    "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

    by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 04:22:41 PM PDT

    •  Excuse me? Roll back copyright to 25 years? (16+ / 0-)

      I'm a writer. Working on my 30th novel right now. My first book came out in 1992, so I'm getting close to that 25 years.

      Why in the world should I lose the rights to my work after 25 years? They're my books, and I assure you, I wasn't that well-paid for them to begin with.

      People take published works and put them up on free sites all the time, giving my hard work away, and it pisses me off. It's mine.

      How would you feel if someone came and took your house after 25 years? And said your ownership rights had expired?

      •  So how long should copy write be? The current (16+ / 0-)

        120 years?

        And comparing intellectual property to physical isn't necessarily a great comparison.

        Lots of people labor to make all sorts of stuff they don't own, why should a writer be any different?  A construction worker builds houses he doesn't own....

        Should intellectual property never fall into the public domain?

        •  Yes, but not in the lifetime of the creator, and (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brooke In Seattle

          maybe his or her direct descendants for ten years after the creator dies.  We may need a new copyright classification for corporations where they get to have control no more than 25 years, after which the right reverts to the creator.

          Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

          by StrayCat on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:03:25 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  I create this book entirely on my own. (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Brooke In Seattle

          It comes out of my head and goes down on the page with my hands. People are paid to edit it, to create a cover for it. People make money selling it.
          But the product is mine.
          Copyright for my lifetime, at least, is what I deserve.

          •  Did you create the alphabet? If not, then your (0+ / 0-)

            book did not come entirely out of your own head in the same way that life was created wholly out of godess' head.

            You borrowed the alphabet, sentence structure, every book you've ever read, especially those that have most inspired you.  You borrowed the roads society built to take you to school, the life saving polio vaccine that dr. Salt freely gave to both you hand I.

            So when you claim that you have brought forth a completely unique item completely by yourself, what exactly do you mean?

      •  life of the author (18+ / 0-)

        or 20 years if the author dies before 10 years from copyright date. That is my idea of fair

        •  I like it (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Deep Texan, chimpy, StrayCat, Bach50b3

          In the music world, living composers should receive (or waive) performance royalties.

          Any change would have to be prospective,many way.  I also think we should bring back the requirements of formalities -- if copyright is going to be super long, it shouldn't also be automatic.

          The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

          by Loge on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:15:05 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

        •  Some fixed limited time with extensions (5+ / 0-)

          A key problem with copyright at present is that one frequently cannot even find the copyright owner for older works. If there were a fixed time limit, with the ability to extend copyright (for free at first & for increasing fees as time lengthens) -- and if the database of extended works & who owns them were public -- that would solve one of the key conflicts here.

          Let Disney keep Steamboat Willie in copyright forever, if they pay increasing yearly fees. Or anyone else who is still profiting from an old work. Let works that are abandoned pass into the public domain.

          •  Claims on land, even recorded ones lapse after a (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            period of time, so as to preserve the merchantability of title.  There is no reason why copyright matters should not follow this rule.  If no correction are made, corporations will own everything.  Remember, we can't even sing "Happy Birthday" at a restaurant because of some copyright claim.  Of course, there are aesthetic virtues in that particular case.

            Patriotism may be the last refuge of scoundrels, but religion is assuredly the first.

            by StrayCat on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:08:01 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

        •  People are routinely living to be 100. (8+ / 0-)

          I don't think that's at all "fair".

          The purpose of copyright law is to encourage the production of new works.  

          The question isn't "what provides the most wealth for authors" but rather "what is the sweet spot that maximizes the benefit for the overall economy".

          25 years served that purpose perfectly adequately until lobbyists started buying Representatives and convincing them to sacrifice our interests in favor of the interests of publishers and film distributors.

          Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

          by JesseCW on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:42:15 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  SUre (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            But hardly anyone produces copyright material at birth. To own what you have created while you are alive seems fair to me. Anyhow I think life is covered always in the 5 and now in the 95.

            •  Life was no part of the original copyright (4+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              StrayCat, aztecraingod, xgy2, wsexson

              laws passed by Congress.

              One 14 year term, renewable for 14.

              You cannot own an idea.  "Ownership" is something Ayn Rand and her followers grafted on to Copyright.

              Copyright is a temporary exclusive right to the profits from a work, not ownership of that work.  That's no quibble - it's the difference between owning Yosemite, and getting the hotel concession at Yosemite for a limited time.

              Copyright is a privilege we extend to an individual in order to serve the greater good.  

              Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

              by JesseCW on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 09:47:10 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Why? Why would intellectual property (0+ / 0-)

            be any different from other property?

            The book is a new story to anyone who buys it for the first time and reads it. If people still want to buy and read my work after 20 years, why shouldn't I benefit from it?

            I am in no way rich, have never been from my writing. I think the top-earning book I have made about $22,000. Publishers and booksellers make a much higher percentage than I do.

            •  Reproducibility. (0+ / 0-)

              If I built a bridge, it's there, it's done.  My work was not the idea of the bridge, it was the labor of building the bridge.  Even if I designed the bridge rather than buy the design from an architect, then the IP would be the design of the bridge and the product would be the bridge itself.

              The difference is that one can be reproduced and one can't.  I could build another bridge with the same design, but that's not a duplication of the original bridge, it is a reproduction from the original design.

              If I designed a bridge and sold it to a couple people and they produced bridges from my designs (and maybe I do too) then they probably own the bridge or sold it to whoever, but that doesn't mean they can claim the design of the bridge as their own.

              The way the laws are written, it is almost like they are made to provoke questions like yours.  It's a good question, especially when it comes to software (like Microsoft office, for example) which isn't really 'produced' at all, it exists more or less in it's designed essence.  Our manufacturing world and the natural development of laws has not evolved completely enough to deal with this problem correctly, and so we have growing pains such as those described in these threads that are pasted over with 'solutions' like copyright law.  It's not a perfect or even correct solution, but it will stay in place for as long as the people creating content that is regulated by it are satisfied.

              I've already rambled away from the initial point (there's a difference between producing an item from a design, and producing a design itself) into a related topic (laws evolve and are imperfect) but I'm going to take it one bridge further and suggest that someday we may be able to reproduce items themselves, like the aforementioned bridge, and in those days law suits will abound and maybe the relevant laws will actually be made in the proper context.  We are getting there with 3d printing, so maybe those days will come soon.

              "Never let your sense of morals get in the way of doing what's right." - Isaac Asimov

              by Aramis Wyler on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:15:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  This goes here (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              We already have death panels. They're called insurance companies.

              by aztecraingod on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:37:19 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  And how much do you expect to make (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              from your books 20 years from now?

              Why do you expect that anyone will still be publishing your work in 20 years, or that anyone would prefer paying for a new copy to buying a used one?

              I don't, by the way, care if you're capable of negotiating a good contract with a publisher - it's got nothing at all to do with the issues at hand.

              "Intellectual Property" is a Randroid fiction.  It does not exist.  It is as fictional as a corporate person.

              Nothing is taken from you when someone makes a copy of one of your books, except what you imagine would have otherwise been a sale that put money in your pocket.  

              Nothing is removed from your possession.  All that is lost is a potential profit you feel you're entitled too.

              You've been misled into believing that a privilege is a right.

              Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

              by JesseCW on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:53:49 PM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Because they're different... (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              "Intellectual property" is a term of propaganda popularized by corporate lobbyists and special interest groups fairly recently. It's a misleading term that distorts the whole discussion. "Other property" like a house is a finite thing of limited use. You own that specific thing and nothing else. Everyone can make "copies" of your house on their property all they like. They just can't use your specific house. A claim of ownership over "Intellectual property" is, on the other hand, a claim over an infinite class of properties, an infinite phylum of goods, or hypothetical goods than anyone else in the world might make that involves the copyrighted ideas in some way. It's a claim over what everyone else in the world can make with their property and ideas. "Other property" makes no such claim over the rights of everyone else in the world.

              Moreover, copyright does not create your ability to benefit from selling your books. It may expand it, but doesn't create it from scratch. So nobody's saying you shouldn't benefit from it.

            •  Natural Property vs. Artificial Creation (0+ / 0-)

              Physical property is a concept that derives from nature -- if you dig something out of the ground or pick it off a tree or whatever, it's yours. Copyrights, patents, etc are a creation of government for a public policy purpose -- obviously there's no reason found in nature that would prevent Joe Blow from copying what he sees John Doe do, but society has decided that there's a public interest in giving John Doe some reward for originating the technique.

              It's like the difference between "teresahill is a person" and "Monsanto is a person" -- same words, but two different concepts that cause problems if they're confused (either inadvertently or deliberately to serve an agenda).

              On the Internet, nobody knows if you're a dog... but everybody knows if you're a jackass.

              by stevemb on Wed Apr 25, 2012 at 06:52:31 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

      •  false equivalence and other logic fails. (17+ / 0-)

        Frist of all, creatives typically don't benefit from copyright fascism: middle-men do.  That kills off most of your arguement.

        Second, the harm to you from a time-limited copyright is hardly significant compared to the harm to society at-large from unlimited copyright.  So, do you want to make the same arguements about that, that the plutocracy makes about its own very special cozy financial dealings?  

        Third, most of us have to work for a living all our adult lives.  If you want to cry a river over not being able to retire early, be my guest.  You bring the whine, we'll bring the cheese.  

        Fourth, even David Brin (who is on dKos) doesn't flatter himself to imagine that his works (many of which have won awards) will become magically immortal.  What makes you think that yours will?

        Sorry, but arguements for special economic privileges don't get much weight around here.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:30:05 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Fascism? (8+ / 0-)

          Lost me there -- quite the false equivalence itself.

          The interesting thing is she made the moral case for copyright (that a limited monopoly is ok because one's work is one's own), you made the economic one (that granting a limited monopoly is ok because it incentivizes creation). U.S. law officially follows the latter, but many people (and arguably a few cases in spite of that) think of it as the former.  The economic arguments are better if we like the infringer, the moral ones if we don't in other words.  

          In the case at bar, I don't like either.  The 9th Circuit proposed splitting the baby, and that seems right.  Sometimes importation can be infringement, sometimes not, really depending on whether there's already a legal domestic market for the same copyrighted content in that work.  Just based on e statute, mind.  The policy judgment seems less about scope of copyright (it's a means to an end) and more of how we feel about price discrimination. The diarist is against, I'm willing to pull a Sandy O and go case by case.

          The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

          by Loge on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:24:08 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  heh, well said. (13+ / 0-)

            The moral arguement for limited copyright is straightforward under any philosophical system:

            Deontology:  Permanent copyright violates the principle under which IP was originally established (to promote innovation), thus it violates the categorical imperative.  (Act only according to those rules that you would will to be universal.)  The exception does not itself provide its own categorical imperative as a rationale (e.g. by analogy, "speeding is permissible to take an injured person to an emergency room"), it's merely a special pleading for a privilege, so it fails.  

            Consequentialism:  The consequence of permanent copyright is to lock down information, thereby holding the entirety of a culture hostage to the middlemen who control the information.  That produces an unacceptable form of tyranny, so it can't be allowed.

            Utilitarianism:  Clearly it's the case that permanent copyright sacrifices the good of the vast majority for the sake of the benefit of a very few, so it's unacceptable on those grounds.

            Personally I tend strongly toward deontological ethics, but this is a case where the consequentialist and utilitarian arguements are in some ways stronger and more easily grasped.  For that matter the deontological basis of IP is actually rooted in consequentialist and utilitarian rationales.

            And to be very clear I am not arguing that creators of IP should not be compensated.  Though I am arguing that middlemen should not be allowed to become the center of the entire system as they have so far.  

            In purely psychological terms what we see here is a kind of "abusive partner problem" where content creators defend their middlemen even though the middlemen are screwing them.

            Ultimately I'm arguing for something radically different to capitalism, in which labor is equity and capital is a rented factor of production, rather than the other way 'round.  This would take middlemen mostly out of the equation and benefit content creators as well as benefiting the public.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:13:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  This is great, thanks! Also, the argument, "I (0+ / 0-)

              made it, therefor it's mine" depends upon the assumption of making it out of thin air, therefor it's ALL mine.  But since no creative object is made out of thin air by us near mortals, but heavily relies upon utilizing our inherited cultural wealth, and so is partly made of the commons and partly made of my unique addition, it's partly mine and partly the commons'.

              But it's nice to think I'm a little god bringing forth something from nothing.

        •  So I owe it to society at large to give (0+ / 0-)

          them my work? I don't think so.

          And yes, it's mostly big corporations that have benefited from copyright law to this point. But publishing is changing as we speak. Authors are fighting for the rights to their work and cutting out the publishers, for the first time being paid a percentage that's more fair of the work we do.

      •  What would you consider adequate time to be (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Simplify, Felix, gerrilea, blueoasis

        compensated for your work??

        •  Why would I ever not be compensated for my work? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          That's my question.

          A story is new to anyone who reads it. It doesn't matter if I wrote it today or 20 years ago. The product -- the story -- is brand new to that person. They get the same enjoyment from it that someone did reading it 20 years ago.

          Why would I deserve less after a certain period of time than in the beginning?

          •  Because the purpose of copyright (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            wsexson, Odysseus, katiec, nchristine

            is to promote the creation of arts, not so that you or the Disney corporation can get rich.

            The world wouldn't be a better place if the Shakespeare estate was busy suing anyone who tried to produce A Westside Story.

            We already have death panels. They're called insurance companies.

            by aztecraingod on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 11:44:34 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  You're not asking to be compensated for your work (0+ / 0-)

            What you're asking is to be automatically compensated for is other peoples' work, anytime anyone uses something having to do with ideas in your work. Not the same thing.

            You wrote a book. Your work is over and done. Unless you signed a contract for remuneration for your writing you do not have any natural right to receive anything for the work of writing your book. You might convince people to buy copies of your book after you wrote it, fine, or you might not. So let's say you sold a bunch of copies of your book after you wrote it. Then let's say some years later someone makes copies of that book, or makes derivative works based on that book. You expect another bit of payment, as if you are entitled, but you did no more work than you already did, no matter how many or how few people make such uses of it. You didn't do anything other than you already did writing. Thus, you are not asking to be paid for your work. You are asking to be paid for other people's work that have something to do with ideas you wrote. If the other people never made those copies you have no claim. It all depends on other peoples' work.

            You did the same "work" if everyone copies it, or if nobody copies it. So you are not asking for compensation for your work. You are asking for something else entirely: an unbounded rent fee on everyone else's hypothetical work, no matter how large or small their work might be, or how far into the future.

      •  Why in the world... (15+ / 0-)

        25 years is too long anyway. 10 years would be plenty. But to answer your question, because the point of copyright is to benefit the public, not to benefit authors. When copyright length benefits certain authors but harms the public, it should be rolled back until a balance is restored in favor of public benefit.

        The rights you are granted by copyright are the rights to forbid everyone else in the world from making various uses of ideas, uses that are themselves beneficial to the public (such as making and sharing copies, making derivative works, etc.). The argument for copyright is that giving you these powers over the public will create an additional incentive for you to write more books: not because you deserve these powers, but because more books will ultimately benefit the public. But those forbidden uses are also beneficial to the public, so it is ultimately harmful for the balance to be skewed so heavily toward excessive copyright powers. You wind up taking away something clearly beneficial for the hypothetical benefit of something else. And there's very little public benefit to be had from copyright beyond a pretty short duration.

        •  copyright is a tradeoff (7+ / 0-)

          why should our government be used to protect an author's works at all?  Because we want to encourage people to write.  The trade is that they don't keep the rights to it forever.  If you put a picture of mickey mouse on something, it's not Disney that comes and gets you, it's the police.  They should be paying something for this, but they aren't.  We have somehow lost sight of the fact that there are costs to protecting copyrighted works, and there needs to be concessions from the copyright owners.

          •  Disney's lawyers would be surprised to learn (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Deep Texan, Aramis Wyler

            that Disney doesn't pay to enforce copyright.  Drawing Mickey on something is likely civil, not criminal liability.

            The study of law was certainly a strange discipline. -- Yukio Mishima

            by Loge on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:27:32 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  It's the police? (0+ / 0-)

            I'd like to hear when that happened...

            "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

            by auron renouille on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:54:08 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Ever heard of MegaUpload? (6+ / 0-)

              Did you think that was Disney's Pinkertons raiding the place and arresting the guy?

              It's always the police. All Disney does is pay for its own lawyers, and they only do that when they think doing so will result in financial gain for themselves. The public pays the price of copyright enforcement, in court costs, policing costs, etc. Not to mention the more fundamental costs like freedom.

      •  You don't understand Copyright (18+ / 0-)

        Copyright was intended to provide authors like yourself a government-approved monopoly on your work for a limited period of time. After that time, works would pass into the public domain. The idea was that the arrangement would benefit THE PUBLIC in the long run. Not you forever.

        25 years is long enough.

      •  Couple things... (6+ / 0-)

        I no longer work at the grocery store.  They stopped paying me fifteen years ago when I quit.  Most people don't continue to get paid for work they did decades ago, nor would they expect to be.  Also, your house metaphor is incorrect, it would be more like if someone built an exact copy of your house on another lot and lived in that.

        Poor people look for work. Middle class people find a job. Rich people seek employment.

        by k4pacific on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 08:44:41 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Would that be a Pennsy K4? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          If so, it's good to hear from another steam fan.  (I still prefer the Frisco's 1500 class Mountains, though.)

        •  But you got paid while you worked... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          marleycat, elengul, Aramis Wyler, brouski

          Writers don't (generally) get paid while they work, so your analogy doesn't quite hold up. A writer hopes that, over time, they will earn some money in exchange for the time they put into writing. For most writers, it never approaches minimum wage.

          Imagine if the grocery store only paid you when the items you stocked on the shelf got sold, and they decided that after an arbitrary amount of time, they'd stop paying you. They still get the fruit of your labour, no matter what happens. You only have a limited time to hope to earn something from your effort. And now someone says the time over which you get paid is too long. After you've already done the work stocking the shelf.

          •  You're right. A better analogy would be (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            xgy2, k4pacific, Miggles, wsexson

            a luthier who creates a great guitar.

            She gets to sell it once.  Unless she came up with some amazing and truly new process or new part like some unique kind of fret or something, anyone can immediately make copies of it and sell them, as long as they don't falsely use her trademark.

            But she still got paid when she sold it.

            Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

            by JesseCW on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:47:08 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  and note that if she did create a new process (5+ / 0-)

              The patent would expire after 20 years.  Also note that the patent would not affect resale rights on the actual product.

            •  But she got paid (0+ / 0-)

              The luthier makes a guitar, she sells it, she gets paid. She hopes to charge a price that compensates for the time she took to make it. Until she sells it, it's her guitar. It could sit in her shop for 20 years, unsold, and it's still her guitar.

              A writer writes a book. She doesn't get paid when she 'sells it' to the publisher (ok, some people still get advances, but advances are advances against future royalties. They aren't "payment" for your work.) She then earns about $1 for each copy that gets sold. A book is doing pretty well if it sells 5-10k copies in the first year. After that, sales fall of sharply. So 6 months work earns her $5-10,000 if she's lucky. If you consider $50k a decent salary, the writer has only earned half her money after one year. Now you wait to earn the rest, a few hundred or thousand dollars a year. If you're lucky. If someone decides to arbitrarily shorten the amount of time you can get paid, they cut your income. Which makes writing books (already a risky way to make a living) even more risky.

              We complain when corporations arbitrarily cut workers wages and benefits to make more money. How is this different? Sure, people would still write if they didn't get paid. But people would also still serve food who don't get paid. Neither the existence of volunteer-run soup kitchens, nor the existence of highly paid waiters is a very good argument to cut the salaries of all waiters.

              •  And the copyright law was written (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                to address your concern. And it was nowhere near a lifetime plus until the corps sunk their claws into it during the 20th century.

                "Nothing happens unless first a dream. " ~ Carl Sandburg

                by davewill on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 02:17:41 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

          •  But this is a product of copyright law (0+ / 0-)

            Copyright law tells writers that they don't have to convince anyone to pay them to do the work of writing something. They can do the work on their own accord, without ever convincing anyone to pay them for it, and with no agreement from anyone to pay them anything, and then wait and see if someone likes or uses it later, in the form of copies or whatever, and then the government will force those people to pay them.

            If you work at a grocery store you have to actually convince the owner of the store to pay you for your work before you do it. You can't just wander into a store off the street, stock the shelves, and then if the owner somehow benefits from your spontaneous voluntary work, demand payment.

            Copyright is unrelated to regular work payment, and unrelated to regular property. It is a social construct apart from these things.

      •  Sorry, but you're wrong. (15+ / 0-)

        When the copyright period expires, it is no longer your work.

        Read that again.  When the copyright on your work expires, that work is no longer yours.  You already sold it.

        When the copyright period expires, it belongs to the public -- it is, literally, in the public domain.  

        The public bought it.  
        The public paid for it.  
        The public owns it.
        Not you.  Not anymore.

        The public paid for it by paying for the enforcement of your copyright.  
        The public paid for it by allowing you to have a limited monopoly on control of your work while the copyright period lasts.
        The public paid for it by artificially keeping the sale prices of your work higher than it would if you didn't.  Money that already went in your pocket.

        When you publish a work under the protections of copyright, you are entering into a contract with the public.  You get the benefits of copyright protection of your work.  IN EXCHANGE for that protection, you cede ownership of your work to the public when the period expires.

        Don't like that contract?  Don't want to give up control of your work?  The answer is very, very simple -- don't publish it., and don't take advantage of copyright.  Then, it will be all yours, exclusively, forever.

        You ask about someone coming along and taking the house I've lived in for 25 years.  Well, if I sold the house, and was paid for the house, then it seems perfectly fair to me that I should get the hell out of the house.  I mean, I sold it, so why should I get to stay living there, right?

        This issue -- of restoring copyright after 25 years -- is simply  a question of how much of a benefit you are receiving for the sale of your work.  It is an issue that is totally different from people downloading your works; that is a violation of your copyright protections, and it wouldn't matter if copyright was 25 years or 25 centuries.

        If copyright was only 25 years, would people really stop creating new works? Maybe a few might, but that kind artist probably wasn't motivated by their passion for creating great art that they loved.

        Which means they were creating absolute rubbish anyway.

        Which means they will not be missed.

        •  Or sell it in a more tailor-made way (0+ / 0-)

          If copyright holders want something on top of copyright, they should sell my signed contract rather than anonymous generic transaction.

          But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

          by Rich in PA on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:16:48 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Why? It says so in the Constitution. (14+ / 0-)

        Article I, Section 8, Clause 8 of the United States Constitution:

        To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.
        Note that it says limited times. When the Constitution was enacted, the length of copyright was 14 years, and the copyright holder could apply for one additional 14 year period. So, 28 years total. After that, the work entered the public domain.

        The intent of the copyright clause is to balance "progress" with the right of an individual to profit from their work. Current copyright term for new works is Life + 70 years. One could reasonably argue that the present terms have shifted dramatically in favor from the public domain to copyright holders.

        After all, how can one profit from their work when they're dead? Their heirs can. A corporation can. But the creator cannot. Current copyright law serves the interests of inherited wealth and corporations (who can live on indefinitely) as much as or more than the creators themselves.

        Outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read. - Groucho Marx

        by Joe Bob on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 10:57:24 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It's really to balance the economic (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Joe Bob

          boon that comes from encouraging the creation of new works with the economic boon that comes from making those works more cheaply and widely available.

          No "right to profit" really comes into it.  It's a privilege we grant, for a purpose.

          Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

          by JesseCW on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:49:40 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  do YOU really still personally own your original (0+ / 0-)

        copyrights, or have they been sold off to some corporation?

        how about ... as in the recent past, living persons, original intellectual content creators -- lifetime of the author plus 35 years, the end. if the additional 35 years of "free" income isn't sufficient for heirs, too bad.

        woo hoo, i've got a socialist here... a "work for hire" -- corp. hires a creator to make a work (i.e., an instruction manual) then corp. gets 25 years copyright.  

        HOWEVER any work-copyright a corp. BUYS, they only get 3 years' rights! -- plenty of time to publish it ONCE, then copyright reverts to the actual creator.

        and any 3-year contract can NOT be made exclusive. told ya' SOCIALIST, he he.

        "real" work : a job where you wash your hands BEFORE you use the bathroom...

        by chimene on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 12:12:03 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  How would I feel ? (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Unit Zero

        Well, that's what happens when one of my patents expires. How do I feel ?  Like it's the right thing to do.  

      •  i think 'or life of the author' is assumed nt (0+ / 0-)
      •  WHAT!!! You're suggesting something that might (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Aramis Wyler

        cost me MONEY!?!?!

        You do not own your work, and never have under US law.  I'm sorry that people have lied to you and given you the impression that you do.

        All Congress has been empowered to do is to grant you and exclusive right to profit from your work for a limited time.  This is not ownership.

        Ideas are not things.   They are impossible to own.

        Nuclear weapons don't kill people, Harry Trumans kill people.

        by JesseCW on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:39:09 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Not excused (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I'm an author too, and 25 years sounds perfectly reasonable to me. This eternal copyright bullshit is getting ridiculous, and it's absolutely destroying our common culture. We're only able to share past memories at the behest of corporations.

        How would you feel if someone came and took your house after 25 years?
        How would you feel if 25 years from now, the architect of your house (which you bought from a previous owner) came and demanded royalty payments?

        Proud supporter of nuclear power!

        by zegota on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 10:25:16 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  I thought it was now 120 years.... (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      •  I find stuff on Google Books dated back to... (5+ / 0-)

        .... 1922, which is 90 years.  

        120 years would be even more outrageous.

        "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

        by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 06:19:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If I'm not mistaken, it's the life of the author (7+ / 0-)

          plus 70 years, depending upon the medium upon which it's produced.  Look to Disney for length of copyrights as they're the ones that have been major drivers of extending the laws in their favor.

          •  It varies for medium (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            G2geek, Cassandra Waites, gerrilea

            and for when changes in the law happened. What I'm thinking of in particular is sound recordings, or, in the law "phonorecords".  This comment is from the top of my head, so it is possible that this date is wrong, but recordings made prior to 1973 (at least sometime in the early 70's) are not subject to federal copyright law. Rather, they are subject to state copyright protection. Usually that is stricter than federal law, and, in some cases, does not expire. Ever.

            "Human beings can be beautiful or more beautiful, they can be fat or skinny, they can be right or wrong, but illegal? How can a human being be illegal?" - Elie Wiesel

            by HugoDog on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:03:00 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

          •  and boycott Disney accordingly. (5+ / 0-)

            Ultimately they all feed off our money, and that's all they want.

            So the simple solution is to deny them our money by not buying their products.

            There's enough indie music & film & writing etc. to add up to a lifetime of listening, watching, and reading pleasure for anyone.

            And if your kids beg for Disney products, educate them about how those products are created to appeal to them for purely cynical reasons, and offer them something else.  

            "Minus two votes for the Democrat" equals "plus one vote for the Republican." Arithmetic doesn't care about your feelings.

            by G2geek on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:16:59 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Let telling them your own bedtime story! n/t (0+ / 0-)

              -7.62; -5.95 The scientists of today think deeply instead of clearly. One must be sane to think clearly, but one can think deeply and be quite insane.~Tesla

              by gerrilea on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 01:10:16 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

            •  Disney is the last company I have a problem with (0+ / 0-)

              Most of what they've produced over 70 years has been decent quality, and there's no Disney product (movies, physical goods, theme parks) that costs appreciably more than its non-Disney corporate-made alternatives, which generally aren't as good.

              But nobody's buying flowers from the flower lady.

              by Rich in PA on Mon Apr 23, 2012 at 06:15:33 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

          •  Yep. (5+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            nchristine, Felix, katiec, marleycat, elfling

            Basic rule of thumb: if the creator has been dead longer than Disney and/or the piece predates Steamboat Willie, it may be out of copyright.

            Prayers and best wishes to those in Japan.

            by Cassandra Waites on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 07:22:26 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Yep.... It's also my understanding that when (0+ / 0-)

              Disney 'releases' a movie in a new format the copyright for the title gets extended.  For example, copyright was extended on 'Cinderella' when it came out on VCR, yet again when it came out on 'standard' dvd, and yet again when it came out on blue-ray and finally again when released in 3-d format, and will again when technology changes yet again.

              •  Close, but not exactly (4+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                dsb, Felix, Ignacio Magaloni, Deep Texan

                It isn't a new copyright when it comes out in a new medium. It is a new copyright when they add in "new material," i.e., extras.

                For example, here's the records for Disney's "Beauty and the Beast" from First, the cinematic release in 1991:

                Type of Work: Motion Picture
                Registration Number / Date: PA0000542647 / 1991-11-20
                Title:     Beauty and the beast / directed by Gary Trousdale and Kirk Wise.
                Description: 5 film reels.
                Notes: Animation.
                Copyright Claimant: the Walt Disney Company
                Date of Creation: 1991
                Date of Publication: 1991-11-13
                Authorship on Application: Walt Disney Pictures and Television, employer for hire.
                Previous Registration: Character artwork & music prev. reg.
                Basis of Claim: New Matter: "all other cinematographic material."
                Names: Trousdale, Gary
                     Wise, Kirk
                     Walt Disney Company
                     Walt Disney Pictures and Television

                Then, the "IMax" version:

                Type of Work: Motion Picture
                Registration Number / Date: PA0001081640 / 2002-01-30
                Title: Beauty and the beast / directed by Gary Trousdale, Kirk Wise.
                Description: 2 videocassettes (Betacam SP)
                Notes: Imax version.
                Copyright Claimant: Disney Enterprises, Inc.
                Date of Creation: 2002
                Date of Publication: 2002-01-01
                Authorship on Application: Walt Disney Pictures and Television, employer for hire.
                Previous Registration: Prev. reg. 1991, PA 542-647.
                Basis of Claim: New Matter: cinematographic materials incl. newly animated scenes.
                Copyright Note: C.O. correspondence.
                Names: Trousdale, Gary
                     Wise, Kirk
                     Disney Enterprises, Inc.
                     Walt Disney Pictures and Television

                Note the line "basis of claim".

                Q. Why is Obama like a stalagmite?
                A. One is always in a cave and the other always caves in.

                by Simolean on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 08:07:02 PM PDT

                [ Parent ]

            •  May is accurate since, for example, (4+ / 0-)

              Fritz Lang's Metropolis  from 1927

              The American copyright had lapsed in 1953, which eventually led to a proliferation of versions being released on video. Along with other foreign-made works, the film's U.S. copyright was restored in 1998,[22] but the constitutionality of this copyright extension was challenged in Golan v. Gonzales and as Golan v. Holder it was ruled that "In the United States, that body of law includes the bedrock principle that works in the public domain remain in the public domain. Removing works from the public domain violated Plaintiffs' vested First Amendment interests."[23] This only applied to the rights of so-called reliance parties, i.e. parties who had previously relied on the public domain status of restored works. The case was overturned on appeal to the Tenth Circuit[24] and that decision was upheld by the US Supreme Court on January 18, 2012. This had the effect of restoring the copyright in the work as of January 1, 1996. Under current US copyright law, it remains copyrighted until January 1, 2023.

              A movie whose original print has been missing for decades won't get into the public domain until 2023 giving it a copyright of 96 years with it being held for 47 years after the death of the writer/director of the film.  Absolutely ridiculous.

        •  "I Want To Hold Your Hand," will phase out of copy (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          ozsea1, Odysseus, Losty, Deep Texan

          right in England in 2013. The "Beatles" and Rolling Stones have songs that will no longer be covered under Britains 50 year rule.

          Sound Recordings and broadcasts

          50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was created, or,

          if the work is released within that time: 50 years from the end of the calendar year in which the work was first released.


          "We are a Plutocracy, we ought to face it. We need, desperately, to find new ways to hear independent voices & points of view" Ramsey Clark, U.S. Attorney General.

          by Mr SeeMore on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:40:40 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  Cornell U. copyright chart (6+ / 0-)

        Cornell University has a chart which explains copyright terms and the public domain about as concisely as possible:

    •  What problem does this fix? (0+ / 0-)

      I know there's a lot of derision for the Mickey Mouse extensions just because of the appearance of impropriety, that Disney can buy extensions, but I'm not quite sure what problem this solves.

      "The first drawback of anger is that it destroys your inner peace; the second is that it distorts your view of reality. If you come to understand that anger is really unhelpful, you can begin to distance yourself from anger." - The Dalai Lama

      by auron renouille on Sun Apr 22, 2012 at 09:51:40 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

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