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As of this moment, I'm not sure, but I maybe banned from mydd because there seems to a concerted effort to talk about copyright law in what I considered by some pretty simplistic political, but not legal terms.

I'm posting this here in case people are interested in the subject of copyright law. I'm not going to go through the entire history but suffice to say there is a modern trend of wanting to treat copyright law as purely the instrument of big corporations. I want to bring up something that is rarely talked about in liberal circles: copyright law as a way to protect the interest of labor.

More below

I should start by saying that copyright law is not designed to protect the sweat or effort that you place into a work, but instead is meant to protect the creativity that you place into it.

We all know of the big time ideas of what this mean- the famous writer or RIAA or any number of other bogiemen, which are rightly chatised for what they are.

But, there are others never talked about in these discussions. What about the labor side? What do I mean by labor if I'm not talking about sweat or effort? I mean there are a whole class of professionals out there, from writers, to my friend an art director to another who is a graphic designer who makes their money off of things like the work for hire doctrine, and when they create it independently other aspects of copyright law.

To put another way, without copyright law how do we protect these people who aren't wealthy from exploitation if we change copyright law in such a way that they are unable to bargain for what they are owed.

I can tell you having negotiated these kinds of contracts there are few bargaining chips available other than the protections that copyright law provides.

Now, I imagine many of you who happened to be interested in this subject will say that you are concerned with corporate America- but that doesn't answer my concern. How is going after corporate America by changing the copyright law do you know affect what are in essense the labor rights of my friend who supports himself and his partner through the fact that he can gain an enforceable copyright in what he creates?

I've also noticed a desire to avoid legal and/or consequential discussions of this nature, and instead rely on emotional tugs of one or another example without answering does that mean the system in general is not working? If you don't think it is, how do you think we should respond to the labor for whom this system is working?

I've got my opinion, but I'm looking for others. I would prefer if you can give me some ideas that aren't purely emotional or anecdotal, but instead can truly grapple with the bigger picture of what changes will mean for everyone and not just the example you bring up.

I think the worse thing we can do is to trade the set of faith based analysis by the right with the same sort of approach on the left. When I have discussed this elsewhere at mydd, the response has been to avoid the discussion, trollrate me or act as if I'm a shill for corporate America just because I can see that there re two sides to this issue.

Originally posted to bruh1 on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 03:59 PM PST.

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Comment Preferences

  •  One of my oldest friends (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    is a professional author.  I can't remember when I lost count of the number of people who were stunned that I never hit him up for freebie copies.

    He has a family to support, for God's sake!  A few pennies in royalties causes me no pain!

    Besides, I do have the autographed copy of Noah and the Dinosaurs.  It may never be worth much, but it is proof he can do cute, which is something he would rather nobody knew.

  •  The problem with equating it with labor (1+ / 0-)
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    instead of capital is that those of us who labor don't get anything except paid for the time while we're working.  No carpenter gets royalties for framing a house, y'know?  

    I'm not for artists, musicians, and authors getting ripped off, but when a corporation can "own" my DNA, something's rotten in the state of intellectual property.

    •  That's a false position (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      that could just as easily be used by services to talk about manufacture. Graphic designers get nothing for their time spent on a project whereas you at least get compensated for your time. Graphic designers - who are free lance for websites, whether they put 2 or 200 get the same pay. that means that if the client doesn't like the work they will put in the 200, and still not see a penny more. And we are talkinga bout copyright law not patent law.

      •  I authored an academic book (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        ktakki, BachFan, kmiddle

        about ten years ago.  The research cost me close to $1000, and my contract was for royalties only.  In other words, I only get paid for the copies sold, and even then it's only pennies on the dollar.  Do I support copyright?  You betcha.

        "We *can* go back to the Dark Ages! The crust of learning and good manners and tolerance is so thin!" -- Sinclair Lewis

        by Nespolo on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 04:54:26 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  I think part of the problem is that (0+ / 0-)

          people confuse hollywood- what julie roberts or beyonce makes with all copyright owners or they dont see all the possible consequences not merely to the designated bad guys such as mpaa or riaa but to everyone. thats my frustration often when people talk about these issues. they resort to comments like only the superwealthy will be effected as if those are the only people who regularly use copyright law or as if they can judge with some rule that says well you only make most of you money in the first year without any evidence to substantiate the position other than they thought upt he argument.

    •  The RIAA already rips off many of their artists (1+ / 0-)
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      Artists get roughly $2.50 AT MOST for royalties out of a $16-$20 CD. Usually it's more like $.50 or less. For example, TLC and Toni Braxton hit bankruptcy because they got paid very little in royalties (after taxes.) I don't feel sorry for letting these dinosaur media institutions go under. Whole I support labor, I don't support trade groups like the RIAA and MPAA. Flame away, but they're as doomed as the Titanic in the long run. The internet eliminates the need for large record companies altogether, and making your own movie is getting cheaper every year.

      •  In Mexico and many other countries (0+ / 0-)

        the function served by RIAA is served by a non-profit organization equivalent to a union for creative people.

        Their law also provides a right to pay a forced royalty if someone sleeps on a popular work rather than making it available (especially for translations).  This right is available under U.S. law only for covers of songs.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

        by ohwilleke on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 06:35:43 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  I agree, the titanic is sinking (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Progressive Moderate

        Big music has prevented more musicians from making a living than it's helped.  CDBaby, an independent distributor for independent artists, is now the second (to amazon) largest distributor in the world.  They pay over 90% of download royalties directly to the artists.  Publishing (or words and images) will figure out a similar method of exchange that doesn't need to rob artists or their audiences.

        •  Plus, online music should be inherently cheaper (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          Due to the fact that there are NO shipping or distribution/inventory costs...other than keeping copies of the songs on Apple's servers for itunes. Yet, the RIAA thinks that you should have to pay MORE than the $.99 price that Apple charges (which I think should be more like $.75, and albums should be $7.99 or $6.99) BTW, did you know that the RIAA wants you to pay three times more for a CD from its 1983 value? They use the Consumer Price Index to justify this, even though its the same f&@#! technology from the early '80s! And don't think of a second that the artists will see a dime of those new earnings if they were to get their way. If they jacked the price up to $30.00 or more, they would do more damage to their sale than p2p could ever do (which, in and of itself, has been negligible at best.

          •  all of which (0+ / 0-)

            suggests contract law combined with copyright law works rather than the claimm that copyright law with contract law doesn't work because you are able to get music for 99 cents a song. innovation can and does happen under copyright law. i see al of these arguments claiming it does not being provent false considering you yourself indicate that you can now get a song for 99 cents versus having to pay full price. why is that? because copyright law- the basic premise is not the problem. it was a matter of econonics- the control of big corp and contract law- unconsciousnable contracts. those things are what needed to change. the only thing i serious think needs to happen with copyright law is that the lenght needs to go back to 50 years plus 20 or life of the author plus 20 rather than the span that it is at now.

            and as for the idea of something doing damage to their sales- the fact is there is a middle ground- the 99 cents per song with other big intermediary has been working. my real concern is people dont want innnovation- they want no copyright protection at all. i think if people were right that copyright law wasn't working thye should have to prove it. as cliche as it is- reality based means looking at what's actually happened.

            •  The DMCA is a good example (0+ / 0-)

              Of copyright gone too far:


              For once, I agree with the Cato Institute. DRM technologies and locks on software, CDs and DVDs that YOU bought and YOU own is unfair and anti-consumer (and anti-innovation on the software front, as you can't reverse-engineer certain products, even when it would be beneficial.)

              Another example is on the patent front with DNA. It prevents other companies from doing research on DNA that could lead to the development of new medicines or cures. It also makes medical treatment more expensive for you and me.

              •  well (0+ / 0-)

                first as I said patent law is not copyright law , and my background is in copyright law. I agree in theory with the DNA point but I dont know enough to say.

                Second, you are talking about technologies- again- not copyright law. The fact that copyright holders create technologies that prevent you from doing what you will with their works isn't a matter of copyright law one way or the other.

                many of you along this thread tend to do that- mix multiple things into one big glob of general grievances that are actually conflicting but sound good on paper. I've seen people argue simultaneously for artists (or claim to) and then in the next sentence assume that the best thing for artists is less copyright protection when any attorney who has ever represented an artist or copyright industry worker will tell you- the only bargaining chip you often  have is the copyright interest involved. It's an equilazer amongst the other factors such as the technology you mention, but also against contracts to some degree (at least in music) etc.

                without copyright law, we get what happened to the blues artists who saw their works stolen by other artists such that a foundation had to be set up to actually pay for these guys retirement. that's the other side of this.

                i don't pretend like i know any easy solution, but i do know that a lot of people are offering either contradictory statements or solutions which sound good but aren't realistic.

                about the only thing i do agree with is that the copyright in a work shouldn't be over a 100 years. now my view is 50 plus 20 for a corporation is fine, and then life of artist- this is what we had for a while, but they changed it based on big corp. bu tthat being said there is a difference between tweaking and dismantling and cato and libertarians are about dismantling. the org yo uae defending would be perfectly happy as with every other part of the economy to return to the days of feudalism. if you want to understand why i say you need to realize as most dont seem to want to admit that what preceeded copyright law was something a kin to a patronage system where artists where at the mercy even more than they are now of the money class.

  •  copyright and patent law (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Progressive Moderate

    The one argument that holds water for the government giving exclusive rights (patent, copyright, etc) to someone as an incentive is that the costs borne by the general public as a result of the exclusive rights are smaller than the benefits received by the general public.

    Personally, I think most of the changes in copyright and patent law in the past few years aren't holding true to that original justification:  the increased benefits are going disproportionately to the rights holders and the costs are going disproportionately to the general public.

    I can't find your discussion on MYDD, so I can't be more specific. Is there still a link?

    Quick! Man the Blogs!

    by HiBob on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 04:40:23 PM PST

  •  Not all parts of copyright law are created equal. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Few people who don't like existing copyright laws argue that pure copyinig for resale at a profit of recent works should be free of legal sanction.

    The hottest issues are those where a lot of low economic value works re kept out of the public domain by excessive copyright law protections, and where the penalties are out of proportion to the economic gains involved.

    The vast majority of the commercial value of most commercially sold media (newspapers, periodicals, television shows, movies, books, software, etc.) is in the first year, and at least, the first five years, after it is first published.  The vast majority of unpublished works have no commercial value at all.  

    The percentage of works with any commercial value after the 28 years from publication for published works only that was in place pre-1976 (with a possibility of renewal once) is miniscule.

    In addition to low value works which should enter the public domain, the other hot point is the use of derivative works.  Lots of kinds of copyright protected uses have huge innovations from the original work.  But, the original work owner (many of them in sampling or multimedia applications) has veto power over any use which can be abused for non-commercial political purposes.

    Also, rank and file workers, even in big dollar productions usually come away with no or miniscule intersts in the copyrights of their own work.  It ends up being owned by a publisher or a producer.  A few stars benefit from ongoing use, but most of the rank and file workers are settled up in full out of the first run of a theatrical production (movies and plays and performers are heavily union, authors and composers are rarely union, reporters rarely get any copyright take even though they are often union).

    Every union actor save a few dozen stars would not be impacted at all, if the copyright duration for plays and movies were reduced from lifetime +75 years or whatever absurd level its been brought to, down to 28 years.  Indeed, repretoire companies would gain a lot because they would be paying less to playrights.

    The only ones would would take any nick in their income would be those who were already supersuccessful.  How many plays or movies do you know that lost money for 28 years and then later went on to make huge profits?

    "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

    by ohwilleke on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 04:48:26 PM PST

    •  can you provide links to (0+ / 0-)

      non interested parties to prove your position because I think that what you post is what people think but haven't proven. Ie, you assert that the vast majority of value happens inthe first year- and yet I can tell you that I know for a fact that it depends heavily on the work as to the life cycle of the material.

      It's like your last sentence- how do you know this versus are you sure you aren't just repeating received knowledge? there is a culture online that believes a lot of unsubstantiates things- I asking you to substantiate your position rather than just repeat back unproven facts. The fact is we know what preceeded copyright law, and it wasn't good for labor so I wan't to see something more when I got to go out and negotiate a contract with nothing more than what the creative professional has created as a bargaining position.

      •  Certainly there is great variation by medium (0+ / 0-)

        A movie generally makes more than half of its money in its opening run (anyone who tracks receipts knows this).

        Record sales are less vapid than movie sales, but you don't have to spent a lot of time reading Billboard to realize that multi-year runs of high sales are exceedingly rare.  The BeeGees aren't making a lot of money from record sales these days.

        In software, sales generally plummet when a new version comes out or related operating system software chnges. I can say with confidence that not much software invented in 1979 has much commercial value in 2007.

        Most Broadway plays make most of their money in their first run, and most of the balance in the first round in regional theaters, and even Cats didn't run for 28 years.

        Ever try to sell a year old newspaper or magazine?  There's a niche market for the physical thing, but newspaper companies aren't making any substantial share of their money that way.

        Yes, there are TV reruns.  But, again, how many shows from pre-1979 have you seen in the last week?  And, those that are still running now have already made huge profits.

        The vast majority of textbooks are outdated in 28 years, although they tend to last a little longer.

        Walk into a trade bookstore with a gang of burly friends.  Have your friends remove all the classic titles that are out of copyright (Dickens, the Bible, etc.).  Have your friends remove everything copyrighted in 1979 or later.  Get a garden wheel barrel.  Insert the remaining books.  Weigh them.  Weight what you've already discarded.  There is a good rough estimate of the percentage of trade book profits based on old publications.  It isn't a huge percentage.  More importantly, the books that are still selling 28 years later have overwhelmingly made wildy huge profits already.

        I am sure that the Harry Potter series will still be in print in the 2050s.  But, I wouldn't shed a tear if J.K. Rowling missed out on royalties after the first 28 years.  

        She we really care if the heirs of the creator of Whinnie the Poo can no longer enhance their fortune?

        Should I really care if Michael Jackson can no longer make any money licensing the Beetles?

        How many people do you know of who have ever made a commercial profit from an unpublished work?

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

        by ohwilleke on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 06:19:27 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  basically, (0+ / 0-)

      we got screwed by The Mouse

      Quick! Man the Blogs!

      by HiBob on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 04:58:02 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  how does that help to understand (0+ / 0-)

        99.999999999999999999999999999 of all the other works out there that aren't an easy to hate target?

        •  HiBob may be more terse than me (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Progressive Moderate

          but he isn't far from the truth.

          How many people were making a lot of money with 1920s copyrights when they passed the Sonny Bono Act.  Not damn many.

          A handful of extremely long lived cases are driving general rules.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

          by ohwilleke on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 06:05:18 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Music copyright holders... (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            The Irvin Berlin family still makes substantial amounts of money on the songs he wrote almost 100 years ago.

            I suspect the Cole Porter estate and a whole host of other songwriters with substantial catalogs are in a similar position.

            If you want to arrange a song for performance, you have to get permission and pay a fee. If you want to perform that arrangement in a public setting where admission is charged (even if you yourself don't profit), then you have to pay ASCAP licensing fees.

            It's not just about copying CDs and sharing MP3 files.

            The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it -- GB Shaw

            by kmiddle on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 06:27:12 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Just because it is doesn't mean that it should be (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              it is an outrage that people still pay royalties to sing "Happy Birthday" in movie.

              Irving Berlin had no reasonable expectation that his family would still be collecting royalties when he created the work.  Neither did Cole Porter.  Those heirs are receiving a windfall that is nothing more or less than theft from the public domain via lobbist.  It is even worse than abolishing the estate tax.  

              That kind of B.S. discourages creative innovation.

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

              by ohwilleke on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 06:33:11 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

            •  The ASCAP tried to sue the Girl Scouts back in (0+ / 0-)

              1996 and was publicly humiliated into dropping it. I'll be damned if they're going to snoop into high school talent shows or Kareoke bars. Likewise, going after people who sell their old CDs at garage sales is also an act of abuse. If an official from the RIAA or ASCAP ever came to my house and pulled this shit on me, I would chase such a person out and call the police to get a restraining order.

        •  I realize this comment is late (0+ / 0-)

          and on a tangent to your diary, and worse, I have no real training in this field. but this is a topic that interests me and i hope you have time to answer this point:
          I don't think whether there is remaining revenue to be extracted from a greatly  extended copyright is relevant. Copyrights are granted as an incentive  to get creators to create and to publishers to publish, not as a reward for things already in the market. The idea is 1., that the general public receives benefits from creators that have exclusive rights that they wouldn't receive from creators that don't have exclusive rights. 2., those benefits the general public receive due to that incentive are greater than the costs the general public incurs from that incentive. I know laws have changed, but personally I think they should hew to the original model.

          The incentive is the promise of future revenue. But money you will get in the future isn't worth is much as money you will get today: you have to calculate it's value as an incentive using the discount rate. which even for the safest possible investment is 6%. So the highest possible value (today) of an incentive of the possibility of getting a dollar 50 years from now is 5.4 cents.  Adding a 51st year to the incentive adds 5.1 cents, and so on. And that's being pretty generous; I'll spot you a few decimal points and say that in the real world a copyright longer than 40 years does not provide any meaningful incentive for the creation of 99.99% of all copyrighted works.

          It does however increase the cost to the public:

          1. abandoned works. If you can't figure out who to pay for licensing, you can't create something new from something old.

          This is an increasing problem.

          1. Monopolies, i.e., the mouse. A lot of things could be created using Walt Disney's work, but they won't, because they're locked up.

          I'm sure you can come up with more examples.

          Quick! Man the Blogs!

          by HiBob on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 07:25:04 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  The logical falsehood (0+ / 0-)

      Is in this idea that films are instantly profitable. Often times, it takes 20 years for a film to actually turn a profit. The New Superman film needs to net a billion dollars before the studio actually sees a profit. For other films, it's a lot more.

      Most films need to earn their entire budget back during the opening weekend to be a success. Piracy has effected the industry to this extent. The longer the film plays, the more likely it will be stolen.

      The studio that fronted the money typically only sees a profit after a great many years of DVD and VHS sales. The remakes of films, twenty, thirty, and sometimes 50 years later are often times more successful than the originals. Factor in sequels, and the possession and ownership of an intellectual property, actually helps maintain our film industry.

      Hypothetically, say Universal Studios wants to remake JAWS. They own the rights to it, certainly. But, they also have to pay Peter Benchly's family for every sequel or remake.

      Under your new proposal, after 28 years, anyone could make a sequel or remake JAWS. Meanwhile, Peter Benchley's family recieves nothing - which is completely unfair.

      The other thing you fail to take into consideration is that unions negociate their deals with the studios, in large part, based on the promise of future income from residuals.

      This directly effects our insurance and pension, which the studios have to pay a generous amount into our funds. Because of the wealth generated by the excessively long copyrights, older writers and actors, and other tradesmen can continue their heathcare coverage because of these residuals.

      As a writer, a 28 year cap on copyright would steal money out of my own pockets, and my children. It also threatens the insurance and pension plans of nearly 100,000 other people.

      I should also point out that a majority of these people are Democrats, by enacting a 28 year copyright, you're actually stealing money from the coffers of Democratic candidates and progressive causes. Just something you should consider.

      Baby, you're the kind of gal, who makes a guy wanna dig his own grave...and lick the shovel clean.

      by harrylimelives on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 07:30:39 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I doubt it. (0+ / 0-)

        Is in this idea that films are instantly profitable. Often times, it takes 20 years for a film to actually turn a profit.

        In a rare case where a movie gets say, 95% of its costs back in the first couple of years, it might get over the hump 20 years later.  In the vast majority of cases it is abundantly clear whether the movie is in the black or the red 20 years later.  Very few movies that lost money in the first couple of years make it up in the following 18 years of video rentals.

        Most films need to earn their entire budget back during the opening weekend to be a success. Piracy has effected the industry to this extent. The longer the film plays, the more likely it will be stolen.

        This was true long before piracy was a serious issue.  Prior to the 1970s the only way a movie made money at all was in theaters.  Then and now, re-releases of films after the first run are very rare and often very small in revenue.  It was rare, even pre-1970s for a film to be in theaters more than six months.

        The studio that fronted the money typically only sees a profit after a great many years of DVD and VHS sales.

        I can't think of a single movie that fits this category.  See above.   It is the movies that did well in the first place either in theaters or in the initial release on video, that get big DVD and VHS.

        The remakes of films, twenty, thirty, and sometimes 50 years later are often times more successful than the originals. Factor in sequels, and the possession and ownership of an intellectual property, actually helps maintain our film industry.

        Hypothetically, say Universal Studios wants to remake JAWS. They own the rights to it, certainly. But, they also have to pay Peter Benchly's family for every sequel or remake.

        Under your new proposal, after 28 years, anyone could make a sequel or remake JAWS. Meanwhile, Peter Benchley's family recieves nothing - which is completely unfair.

        Why is that unfair?  What is so bad about an unauthorized remake 30 years later?  Peter Benchley had his chance to get it right the first time and made good money doing so.  The value of a sequel decreases greatly after 30 years.  The vast majority of sequels are made shortly after the original film while it is still hot.

        Is the world worse off because people do remakes of Shakespear plays without paying the author royalties?  No.  Indeed, had existing copyright laws been in place back then, most of Shakespear's plays would have never been made because many of them were themselves remakes.

        The other thing you fail to take into consideration is that unions negociate their deals with the studios, in large part, based on the promise of future income from residuals.

        This directly effects our insurance and pension, which the studios have to pay a generous amount into our funds. Because of the wealth generated by the excessively long copyrights, older writers and actors, and other tradesmen can continue their heathcare coverage because of these residuals.

        Unions negotiate their deals with studios largely based on the likely first run income.  Long term (i.e. 28 year plus) residual are a miniscule part of the bargain and very few people in a production get any meaningful residual at all.

        As a writer, a 28 year cap on copyright would steal money out of my own pockets, and my children. It also threatens the insurance and pension plans of nearly 100,000 other people.

        Not impressed.  The vast majority of those 100,000 other people are going to make the bulk of their money in 28 years.  If you have a work that was so successful that it is still making money 28 years later, you did fine.  A copyright isn't some sort of natural right, it is a special privilege, a form of government pork, designed to give you a little helping hand.  Going forward, there is nothing unfair about that.  

        Obviously, there are property law issues with simply abolishing existing rights.  I would propose something like a mass buyout of all existing copyrights where anyone who wanted to hold onto their rights for existing works could submit a request to do so with a report on all earnings received to day.  This would go into a formula which would provide a generous estimate of future earnings based upon that amount.  Copyright holders could cash out and sell the work to the public domain, or elect to keep their rights at that point.  

        A huge buyout like that would allow the handful of copyrights with real economic value to stay in place, while buying up for the public domain the vast majority of copyrighted works.

        I should also point out that a majority of these people are Democrats, by enacting a 28 year copyright, you're actually stealing money from the coffers of Democratic candidates and progressive causes. Just something you should consider.

        The vast majority of the value of outstanding copyrights has already been sold to publishers and record companies and studios.  

        The other thing is that it would reduce deadweight adminstrative costs and royalty costs for a huge class of people creating new works which involve performances or derivate works from the newly enlarged public domain.  We'd gain more than we would lose.

        "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

        by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 09:22:36 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Absolute nonsense (0+ / 0-)

          Which is the exact reason why your arguement will fail. A lot. You display an almost uncanny lack of knowledge of how the film industry actually works.

          Film A is released into the theatres. It has a budget of 100 million dollars. It has a marketing cost of another 40 million dollars. It has hard cost for prints, shipping, customs, and other costs of 10 million.

          Bringing the total cost of Film A to 150 million dollars. It has a theatrical run of 6 weeks, netting a total gross of a 150 million dollars.

          Now, 25 cents of every dollar is kept by the movie theatres. The profit sharing by the producers, actors, writers, directors, and crew members comes to another 25 cents on the dollars. (Of their take, 25 cents of every dollars goes towards lawyers, agents, and managers).

          Already, 50 cents of every dollar is gone. Meaning, that while the gross take for the film is 150 million dollars, it has actually only earned 75 million dollars.

          The film is released on DVD. And, in its first DVD run, it earns a gross of 40 million dollars. One fourth of that goes towards profit sharing. So, it only takes in 30 million dollars, leaving it still 45 million dollars in the red.

          That's 45 million dollars that needs to be made during television presentations around the world, and subsequent dvd releases (Including difference formats)

          Often times, it takes 20 years for the original investors to make their money back on a film.

          And what's so bad about an unauthorized remake 28 years later? It's stealing. Benchly wrote the novel, created the characters. Created the scenario. JAWS belongs to him.

          What you're advocating is the redistribution of wealth through copyright infringement. If someone has a burning desire to make a movie, why don't they create their own damn work instead of stealing from others?

          As for insurance, the unions negotiate with the Studios for insurance and pension plans. It's not just first run. You need to earn X number of dollars every year to qualify. 20 years down the road, those residuals ensure that the actual union members still qualify for their insurance.

          More importantly, you're under the false impression that people lucky enough to work in the film and television industry are instantly millionaires. Nothing could be further from the truth.

          The vast majority of these guys are carpenters, and gaffers, and electrical guys. Tradesmen, making 15 to 20 bucks an hour. Their long term insurance, 30 years down the line, is soley dependent on copyrights - and the idea that a studio will continue to make money on a film, long after its been made.

          Long term residuals pay for insurance. It's a fact. Frankly, it's frightening that you've lost the forest in the trees, because your plan will negatively impact thousands of people.

          I hope you're ignored as a fool.

          Baby, you're the kind of gal, who makes a guy wanna dig his own grave...and lick the shovel clean.

          by harrylimelives on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 10:59:17 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  No he want be (0+ / 0-)

            unfortunately there are a lot of peo like him running around online. when I tried in earnest to discuss the issue with Stoller over at mydd, he said that I was bogging the discussion down with legalese. Apparently you can have a discussion of copyright law without understanding the law or the business outcomes to real people.

          •  The revenue curve for movies is a lot more steep (0+ / 0-)

            than you suggest.

            The fact that Hollywood has devised a bad way to pay for insurance has nothing to do with it.

            I certainly don't think that the film and television industry makes instant millionaires.  But, the hourly guys, by and large, are simply getting paid by the hour.  They are getting ordinary income out of copyrights.

            "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

            by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 02:26:19 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  The once again (0+ / 0-)

              You don't know a helluva lot about the industry.

              Which is nice though, considering that you have no problem putting people out of work, and forcing them to lose their coverage, just so you can get a free copy of that fucking Bee Gees album you've had your eye on for so long.

              Baby, you're the kind of gal, who makes a guy wanna dig his own grave...and lick the shovel clean.

              by harrylimelives on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 08:28:23 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

  •  here is the link (0+ / 0-)

    My point in this particular link is that the issue really being discussed seems to contractual rights, but matt says that makes me a troll. The context is that we had discussed other isues where it seemed that what was a specific instance of bad application of law was turned into a bigger argument. For example recently a diary on google and youtube taking down 100,000 clips was stated as a case against copyright law because it included 5 percent (i believe thats the number) of works that were not infringed material. I asked why is this a case of copyright law per se rather than an issue of there being a recourse under the law for making sure corp can't abuse the rights or set up an approach to make sure that non infringed work could be restored? One of the posters called me  a shill for the copyright industry.

    Another example was where they posteda bout DJs making compilation tapes and not just listening to them or giving them to their friends, but selling them. I asked whats the difference between this and what I see in NYC subways- namely pirated copies of DVDs. Again I was labeled as extreme. Hence why I posted this diary here rather than there because I am curious about what people think in general.

    Normally, the discussion isn't about copyright law writ large instead its been a series of jabs that then try to extrapolate huge points without ever saying it. ie, Matt who is one of the lead bloggers over there seems to like EFF which has supported companies like NAPSTER. The Napster decision however much I dislike the RIAA would have created huge problems for copyright owners no matter whetehr they are big corp or people like my friends who a small time musicians.

    •  Copyright violations shouldn't be a crime most of (0+ / 0-)

      the time.

      The biggest problem with copyright law is conceptual.  Thinking of it as property is a mistake.  The harm caused by copyright violations is unjust enrichment and not theft of property.

      Intellectual property is too unlike conventional tangible property for property like laws to work well.

      Threatening criminal prosecution or massive thousands of dollar fines for say, downloading a song which has a commercial copyright value (apart from any physical medium) of about a buck, is gross overkill.

      If you want to bring civil actions to collect a dollar and whatever attorneys fees could possibly be reasonable to collect that dollar (realistically, no amount could be reasonable unless there were hundreds of separate downloads), so be it.  But, the current law treats it as theft, which is overkill.

      I disagree that media consolidation is driving opposition.  In my view the big problem is that copyright law is becoming more of a barrier to innovation, by preventing people who would benefit from using other people's ideas to build their own works, than it is a financial incentive to it.

      Do you have any idea how many permissions you need to do a movie?  If you are a multi-million dollar studio you can take the time and money necessary to do it.  If you are an independent film maker with a $100,000 budget, you have killed the entire project.

      Bloggers are at the extreme of the low profit, and integration of many sources continum, and there are a lot of us, and we have some political importance.  So, there you have it.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

      by ohwilleke on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 06:29:57 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I was going to respond (0+ / 0-)

        but then i realize you are just mouthing off the same rhectoric of the anti copyright crowd. this diary is about the impact to those who aren't wealthy who make a middle class living such as graphic designers, web designers, game makers, and multiple others,  such as writers, down to basic mom and pop jewlry makers  etc.

        and yes, i know exactly how much indie film making cost since that's the career i'm transitioning to from practicing law.  and that's exactly why i can spot the bs you are putting out.  film cost alot of money to make regardless of the music rights. it's also quite possible to make a film without having to steal somene else's music to do it. there are a plenty of musicians looking to get their started  like i am. and like me, they probably want to make a living off of what they create without your idealogy getting in the way.

        •  No all creative income comes from copyright. (0+ / 0-)

          graphic designers, web designers, game makers, and multiple others,  such as writers, down to basic mom and pop jewlry makers  etc.

          Few graphic designers, web designers, and mom and pop jewelry makers use copyright law to get paid for their efforts to any great extent.

          Most graphic designers and web designers make their money doing commissioned works.  They have the same business model as a lot of pre-copyright law creative professionals such as Mozart and Leonardo DaVinci.

          Small jewelry makers draw a large part of their income from mark up on materials and labor, and a relatively small part from the designs themselves.  Also, as I noted before, no one wants to eliminate some compensation for pure copies.  Jewelry designs are trendy, and rarely stay in fashion more than 28 years.  Finally, jewelry design protection for derivative works is quite weak because a fairly minor difference is often not considered a derivative work and because many jewelry designs can fairly said to be derivative of the thousands of years of out of copyright designs.  Unlike software, there is a large public domain of jewelry designs.

          Even when there is a copyright infringement for jewelry, copyright law is rarely used to try to enforce that right because the dollars involved are small and the costs and risks of litigaiton are high.  Moreover, it is at least as common that a mom and pop jeweler (who may be serendipity make a similar design to a large company without actually copying, which is O.K. but can provoke good faith lawsuits) gets sued for copyright violation by a big operation than the other way around.

          The bigger issue for mom and pop jewelers is trademark which doesn't expire for good reason.  There is far more money in trying to pass of say a knock off design for one made by a big name designer, than trying to pass off a knock off under a no name designers label.  The aura of the person who made it has more value than the design itself, because it goes to expectations of the quality of the workmanship.

          As for game makers, I really am not worried if video games made in 1979 fall out of copyright now -- the economic cycle of those just isn't huge.  Most successful board games likely are fad driven and relatively short lived.  Most of the classic games would be out of copyright now, but for extension of copyright terms for already produced works made in 1976.  They aren't any worse off than they expected to be and have received a windfall.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

          by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 09:36:38 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  The MSM could effectively kill the blogosphere (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        if it wanted to. Every major newspaper or TV network could threaten high-cost suits against Kos, Crooks & Liars, and even right-wing blogs, for every quote (even for one sentence) or link to their sites that they have posted. However, if they started doing this, it would create an immense public backlash. Even if it's fair use, the cost of such a lawsuit would cow the defendant into submission. Witness the case of Jon Else, who was making a documentary that included taping a scene that happened to have a TV turned on with The Simpsons in the background. Else, being cautious, ask Matt Groening for permission, and he said yes. But because Fox owned the rights to The Simpsons, Else also had to ask Fox officials. They told him that he would either have to pay $10,000 for a couple of second of the show that run on a barely-visible TV in his background shot, or else they would sue him for copyright infringement. This is clearly a violation of Fair Use, but because Else didn't have the money for such a suit, he removed the scene.

    •  As to the MyDD thread (0+ / 0-)

      I wouldn't call you a troll, but I would call you pretty damn thick.

      C-Span tapes of public governmental business are a very different thing than a typical creative work.  It isn't at all clear to me that C-Span's contribution is significant enough (when it is merely taping proceedings of official business) to merit a copyright protection at all.

      These aren't C-Span actors who have signed off to have their performances belong to C-Span.  This is a lot more like someone compiling the phone directory.

      This is a clear case of C-SPAN trying to profit by trying to claim private and exclusive rights in a public resources.  It goes far beyond contract law.

      "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

      by ohwilleke on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 06:41:37 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  my point (0+ / 0-)

        on that thread is that many people dont understand the legal issues, and confuse concepts. ie, why exactly is there a need to change all of coptyright law for the narrow issue that the diarist was referring to. it is more of a contractual  issue. but that's not the goal is it, they examples as i mentioned not just there, and multiple other one which you conventiently dont mention is not about the subject at hand- it's a wider point, which makes the debate dishonest.

  •  I'm taking that class (0+ / 0-)

    in law school right now and we just discussed Feist today (abandoning the "sweat of the brow" approach and focusing on originality).  Copyright really is a two way street.  It can be abused by those with superior bargaining power, like any system.  

    I know you know this, but for the sake of others who are new to the topic.

    It's been 30 years since the last rewriting of the copyright act, and it may be more overdue now than it was in 1976.  The last rewrite before that was in 1909 and it took years to appease and balance out all the interests at stake.  It may already be time to start on another given the explosion of technology that allows copying, transmission, etc.  Computers were just being developed at the time; in fact they had to hold off and have a commission decide on protection for computer programs that was added to the Act a few years later.  Then the wars between Apple, Franklin, and Microsoft started in full.

    The corporate approach to monetizing everything is coming back to haunt them, at least in terms of media companies.  For example, by giving people a corporate perspective on the news instead of actual news when they want it, the "unwashed masses" are finding ways to get it and taking it upon themselves to distribute it to those who want it.  The people in doing this are often infringing on copyrights by copying too much of an article or a picture, but people don't feel bad about "stealing" from big corporations.  The creators don't get what they deserve either because the media companies offer a take it or leave it proposition.  With more companies to shop your work to, the better price you can get.  But when you have only a few choices, it's Disney's way or the highway.

    My personal observation is that the antagonism to copyright protection, at least in progressive circles, are a symptom of media consolidation.  It seems to the average bear that a few corporations own everything in their lives, including facts, including their own bodies, and they have to pay for it all over and over again.  The diversity and growth of the internets is like the part of the balloon that bulges out when you squeeze it too much.  People's expression and opinion are going to come out somewhere somehow.  Stealing a few songs or a picture or whatever is just a little way of sticking it to the man.

    Then again, it will all come back to computers and the problems they caused tearing up the 1976 system because cheap computing power is democratizing expression and distribution, making it possible to bypass those media conglomerates and really stick it to the man.

    (-7.25, -5.85) "Talk amongst yourselves. The Christian Right: neither Christian nor right. Discuss." --Linda Richman

    by Slartibartfast on Thu Feb 15, 2007 at 05:03:58 PM PST

    •  over at mydd (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Progressive Moderate

      often my poinsts are yours- that's is a balancing act. for example i have a problemw ith a copyright going longer than he old copyright date of 50 plus 20, now its incredibly long.

      i also have a problem with the balance of fair use- there should be more of it, but by the same token, i notice people trying to stick arguments in there that is really abou tthem just taking other peoples livelihood for granted.

      i honestly don't know what the balance should be, but i'm suspicious of the dogmatic response i see and hear on both sides. i thought it was interesting that i would be threatened with being banned for disagreeing with the overarching idea that copyright law is somehow as seemed to be the point per se a  bad thing. ia lso dont know how anyone can have a serious discussion of copyrightlaw without understanding its history, the law etc. it's the same misgivings I have when evangelicals talk about equal protection without understaind it.

  •  I think copyright should (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    ohwilleke, Progressive Moderate

    run 28 years for published works and until death for unpublished works.

  •  Copyright is necessary (0+ / 0-)

    As a professor of mine pointed out, copyright not only "protects property."  Copyright is what ensures that works actually get distributed.

    Without copyright, what movies would get made? Piracy is bad enough now - can you imagine a studio putting $100 million or more into a movie knowing that anyone could rip it off with impunity?

    For all that I agree that the large players in the music industry have abused and mistreated artists, that's not the fault of copyright. Without some form of copyright protection, we would never see large distribution of music.

    It's all good and well to create some utopian world where artists, actors, musicians, programmers and so on just give their work away for free for the rest of us to enjoy. Let's be clear - those who say that there should be no copyright at all are saying that those who do creative work should be noble and give it all away, or, I suppose, depend on charity to live.

    A lot of the comments I'm reading are upset that some works that don't seem worthy are getting copyright protection. It used to be that the courts were in the business of deciding which works were worthy of protection and which weren't. Now, the rule is that the merits of a work don't matter. How can we, as progressives, not believe in that rule? Do we really want to allow the government to deny protection to "unworthy" works?

    All that said, of course there are problems with copyright law. Terms seem ridiculously long. Life + 50 is more than enough, but we harmonized with Europe and went to life + 70. Fair use needs to be beefed up to cope with the flood of new possibilities for derivative works that computer tools bring. But then again, why should the creator of a work have to allow a work to be defaced? (Did you know that John Huston's family was able to sue under French copyright law to prevent a colorized version of the Asphalt Jungle from being shown on TV? Isn't that a good thing, at least if you love movies?)

    There are plenty of corporate of abuses of copyright law. Get in line - big corporations abuse every aspect of the law. It's their thing, it's what they do.

    To my mind, the biggest problem with copyright law is how little most people understand it. There's this perception that, "I bought this, I can do what I want with it." Or, worse, "I found this, I can do what I want with it." Or, worse still, "I like this, I can do what I want with it."

    There are tradeoffs. If someone can suggest a way to protect individual creators of works while cutting off corporate abuses, I'm all ears.

    •  There's nothing wrong with copyright (0+ / 0-)

      But there does need to be a balance, as the diarist said. The Sonny Bono Copyright Act and the DMCA should be repealed, and Fair Use needs to be clarified to prevent abuse by the incumbent industries. 95 years for Mickey Mouse? Fuck that.

      Another alternative to current copyright law is Creative Commons, which allows you to place "Some Rights Reserved" licenses, and even gives you the option of a "Founders Copyright," which allows you to only keep your license for 14 years with the option of a 14 year extension, which was how copyright law operated in 1790.

      •  to do something that radical (0+ / 0-)

        you should have to prove that the prsent system has not produced a) more information than we have eveer had in human history (and you know e are online based on the present regime so that would be an interesting argument for you to make given the tool you are using to make it) or that b) the present system is so damaging that its irredeemable except for a little tweaking- again given actual facts of what we see having been produced under copyright law, the massive numbers of works, the ability of people to build businesses, fortunes, put their kids through college etc, you again have a tall order. idealogy is nice- but i prefer reality to utopia as th eother poster points out. it's easy to say we can do this and that- but will this and that be better and its up to you who are claiming it will be to prove it rather than merely propose that it will be. And oh- prior to gthe system we have now- there was  feudal system in which the creative professions were at the mercy even more so than they are now of powerfully money classes that controlled all that was considered fit to see. you may ask what's different? well- having a hard time getting through is a better than not getting through at all.

        •  The people who think copyright law created (0+ / 0-)

          the scientific and technological boom we see now are factually off base.

          Most of that is patent law, which protects rights for only a couple of decades.

          All the innovation pre-1976 managed with almost no protection for unpublished works and far less protection for published works.

          The huge boom in intellectual property has far more to do with improvements in the technology that makes it than with anything else.  

          Prior to the 20th century there was no meaningful radio and no television and no movies with sound.  Radio and television relied largely on the give it away for free model and didn't have to worry about consumer copying for many years because the technology to do so was not affordable or compact.  Snail mail or telegrams or low fidelity tape recorders were it until the transistor was invented at the consumer level.  

          Carnegie made the institution of the library widespread two or three generations ago, and that has made almost every book in print available for free to just about anyone for that entire time period.  Yet, somehow, there are numerous succesful book stores still in business.  For all intents and purposes the book industry is like the bottled water industry.  After books have been in print long enough for libraries to get them and have them regularly available, book stores are selling the convenience of the packaging, not the content which is available for free.

          The counterrevolution against digital copyright protections is driven by the fact that it is upsetting the status quo that Carnegie created.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

          by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 09:48:41 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Unpublished works were protected pre-1976 (0+ / 0-)

            under state law.

            Prior to the 1976 act, states had their own copyright statutes or common law copyright, which typically covered, among other things, unpublished works.

            I agree that the explosion in technology has created a corresponding explosion in IP, but that's hardly a reason to do away with copyright. Ideally, copyright should provide more and more people the opportunity to benefit personally from their own creativity. (I'm not saying current copyright law achieves that, I'm saying that an ideal copyright law would.)

            Your historical analysis is incomplete. Back around 1900, player pianos were all the rage. The problem was, copyright didn't prevent people from taking songs and putting them on player piano rolls, so the authors got nothing. The 1909 Act brought those in under copyright and created a licensing scheme. (This is the origin of the term "mechanical license.")

            And let's not forget the revolutions in printing presses that created the original need for copyright under Queen Anne, because all of a sudden nearly anyone could publish a work. Publishers wanted exclusive rights to avoid flooding the market with lots of cheap editions.

            Copyright law has always had to struggle to keep up with the technological times, and it is still in the midst of its most recent one. That doesn't mean the concept of copyright is invalid, just that it needs some adjustments to cope with changing realities.

            For the record, I didn't claim that copyright created the current technological and scientific boom. In fact, I wouldn't even claim that patent law created it. Patent law arguably helped it along or hindered it, depending on your point of view.

            •  I'm not for abolishing copyright, just taming it. (0+ / 0-)

              The main abuses are:

              • The duration of a copyright.
              • The scope of the works protected by copyright.
              • The declining scope of fair use particularly in cases where content has already been made available to the public for free.
              • The unreasonably severe penalties for violations such as punitive damages and criminal penalties and liquidated damages.
              • The right of the copyright holder to veto uses for non-commercial reasons.
              • The impact of derivative use rights on creative expression.
              • The impact of limitations on performance rights on public ownership of popular culture which has been made a part of their lives.

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

              by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 02:33:57 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  change the rules changes the rule for all (0+ / 0-)

                thats how the law works. below you dispute even the commone sense aspect of how laws work, how do many of your ideas affect all copyright holders not just te ones you find egregious. as i said to stoller over at mydd before he threatened me- it seems overkill to say all these drastic changes need to occur for a law that works in 95 percernt of the cases in a manner that helps rather than hurts. that is unless you have something else in mind such as redistribution of income which per se makes the whole conversation dishonest becauase you could care less about the harm you are doing.

                •  The law fails in a wide variety of circumstances (0+ / 0-)

                  it is self-destructing in a wide variety of areas.

                  It is not serving the recording industry well.  It is providing a serious barrier to the low budget end of the movie industry.  It is flailing all over when it comes to all online applications from e-books to google to blogging.  It takes common sense situations like buying a book and turns them into confusing technical angel on a pinhead discussions.  It is nonsensical as applied to software protecting the wrong things for the wrong reasons.

                  Not every part of the copyright law is deeply broken, but most of it is seriously out of kilter.

                  It is creating windfall profits for people who don't deserve it, while preventing many creative works that should be encouraged from being produced at all.

                  Weakening copyright law in the respects I suggest protects people who are creating new works to a much greater extent than existing law, while only marginally impacting the economic value of copyright to existing users and impacting disproportionately the people who have already reaped massive gains out of the government created monopoly that they have been granted.

                  One can put 95%+ of works that are now covered by copyright in the public domain, at the expense of probably less than 5% of the aggregate economic value to authors of copyright law.  This is a bargain worth making because it maximizes creation of new works, while minimizing disruption of established industries.

                  "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

                  by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 03:29:48 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  riiiiight (0+ / 0-)

            I will leave it to dc to argue with you. As I said over at mydd- so much of this is driven less from reality than idealogical zeal.

      •  No one thinks copyright terms are right (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Progressive Moderate

        I don't know anyone in copyright law who really thinks life + 70 is necessary. 14 + 14 is a bit short, though. Take the Police, who are just doing a 30 year reunion tour. Under your reasoning, Roxanne would be in the public domain by now. As would every decent song by the Who, the Beatles, every song Elvis recorded, the bulk of the Rolling Stones' catalog, Bob Dylan's hits, and on and on. 2001:A Space Odyssey would be in the public domain, as would The Godfather, Rocky, Annie Hall and Star Wars. So much for DVD releases, or CD reissues of albums that were previously only on LP.

        For the record, it wasn't Disney that pushed the Sonny Bono Act. It was the families of Irving Berlin, Cole Porter, and other classic songwriters.

        As for the DMCA, again, you're tossing out the baby with the bathwater. DRM is an ongoing debate, no doubt, but do you really want DailyKos to be liable for yours and my copyright infringement? Part of the compromise of the DMCA protects sites like this from copyright infringement liability as long as they take down infringing material.

        With respect to Creative Commons, knock yourself out. There's nothing wrong with creative experiments in licensing, as long as they're voluntary.

        •  I dont think he or she means (0+ / 0-)

          volunteer since up above they were referencing the CATO institute

          •  My limited understanding of Creative Commons (0+ / 0-)

            is that it's a voluntary set of licensing provisions that artists can adopt. I don't have a problem with that or with Open Source as a general principle. (Specific open source licenses have their own problems.)

            There's no reason people can't voluntarily make their works public domain or license them generously.

            I don't know what the Cato Institute is proposing on copyright, but I admit that they rarely make my "must read" list.

            •  I admit- I hear CATO (0+ / 0-)

              and my mute button goes on. I simply do not trust the rationale behind most of what passes for economic libetarianism just because I know what preceeded the modern social demoratic states, and it wasn't pretty for anyone except the most wealthy.

        •  The protection provision of the DMCA (0+ / 0-)

          Can be preserved, as part of broader legislation that repeals the draconian portions.

        •  So what? (0+ / 0-)

          Would the Police, the Who, the Beatles, Elvis, the Rolling Stones or Bob Dylan starve because they stopped getting residuals?  They made fortunes beyond any reasonable artists wildest dreams by then.  

          The Police aren't making huge money on their reunion tour because people don't have the choice of listened to old Police CDs of Roxanne for a couple of bucks bought from a used CD store with no additional royalty to the artists (which they can probably legally put on their own MP-3 player).  They are paying the big bucks for the tour because they want to see a live performance.

          Likewise I shed no tears for the makers of 2001:A Space Odyssey, The Godfather, Rocky, Annie Hall and Star Wars.  They have all made hundred of millions of dollars from works that when they made them could easily have washed out and left them with nothing.  And, again, people can buy used copies of the original media without getting another buck to the creators anyway.  Nothing prevents them from releasing new version or sequels by the way, and its is the Lucas name and not the story itself, that makes people want to see Star Wars IV-VI.  The unauthorized remake market is not killing Hollywood.

          This is just limiting the very high end of the scale.

          "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

          by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 09:55:36 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The rich artist fallacy (0+ / 0-)

            I only pointed out well known works to make a point. There are plenty of artists on the edge who would starve without their residuals, many more than there are rich ones who don't need them.

            Take folk or jazz musicians as an example. Should Arlo Guthrie, who's hardly rich, be denied whatever he manages to get from Alice's Restaurant? Are you favoring screwing over Sonny Rollins, a brilliant jazz sax player, just to keep George Lucas from getting richer?

            Of course it's not the rich and successful artists who need protection. It's the artists who just get by who need protection. You know, the kind of people we progressives care about?

            I think that what stuns me is the sheer greed, and I don't mean the greed of George Lucas or Sting. I mean the greed of people who want something for nothing. Writers, musicians, filmmakers, and other artists typically slave at their craft. Not all do, and a handful make seemingly disgusting amounts of money. But most do what they do in order to share something with world, and just try to eke out a living. Who are you to tell them they have to give it away?

            •  thank you for this post (0+ / 0-)

              When I said these things are labor right issues- its often glossed over as well Julia Roberts isn't me or Beyonce, etc. They conventiently ignore all the other people impacted by any changes in law.

            •  Not everybody makes it in Hollywood. (0+ / 0-)

              Most people don't.

              And, the economic of jazz is just one more example.  Jazz players, by and large, make their money from gigs and not from massive record sales.

              The point is not to prevent anyone from getting richer, it is to expand the public domain so that other people can build on what came before them without undue regard to the dead hand.

              And, it is worth noting that the vast majority of the benefit of long copyright terms goes to those who are best off, not mostly to those who are struggling.

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

              by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 02:19:46 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  In other words... (0+ / 0-)

                the people who are rich make the most money.

                I'll have to concede that as a tautology.

                Obviously, the people whose works are the most popular will benefit the most. But if you want to clamp down their success, it makes more sense to do that directly with income caps or a more progressive income tax than by going after copyright law.

                Expanding/contracting the public domain is a zero-sum game. Every work you put in the public domain can no longer produce income for its creator/owner.

                Now, rather than simply taking away or severely limiting copyright, why not support more forms of compulsory licensing? If your concern is that people can be blocked from being creative, compulsory licenses would allow the creativity, while still compensating the copyright owner. Doesn't that make more sense than stripping away copyright protections?

                As far as long copyright term goes, I've already posted in several comments that you'll get no argument from me that life + 70 is appropriate. It's absurdly long.

                •  Not a zero sum game. (0+ / 0-)

                  Materials in the public domain are available for other people to use to create new works.  Materials under copyright are much less so.

                  "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

                  by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 03:09:55 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

          •  incidentally to add to what he is saying (0+ / 0-)

            do you know how many members there are in the Screen Actors Guild? About 65,000. How many of those are big hollywood? Do you know how many members of the WGA there are? One writer can write dozens of scripts for years, and still have only one sold every few years.  This isn't about sweat labor, but it is about giving people a chance to make a living off of what they do without people resorting to 'well but some get wealthy from it." people get wealthy in other industries too- do y ou want to pass a law to cap what people make?

            •  What cap on what they can make (0+ / 0-)

              the only cap is on how long they can make it.

              And, while the Screen Actors Guild has lots of members, very few have meaningful residuals coming in more than 28 years after the works they act in come out.

              "Those who can make you believe absurdities can make you commit atrocities" -- Voltaire

              by ohwilleke on Fri Feb 16, 2007 at 02:16:52 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

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