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'Appeals Court Rejects Copyright Extension Challenge' | Login/Create an Account | Top | 212 comments | Search Discussion
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The Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. Slashdot is not responsible for what they say.
Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0, Troll)
by Lover's Arrival, The (Lovers_Arrival_The@americanwicca.com) on Friday February 16, @02:41PM EST (#12)
(User #267435 Info)
Some say that property is theft. Of course, this is a nonsense left wing Marxist viewpoint. However, it appears that some reactionaries are trying to apply this discredited idea to copyright law. I am afraid I have to dissent from this.

The notion of property is fundamental to any society. Property is in itself an intellectual idea, and as such does not just have remit over physical objects, but can be just as well applied to the world of ideas.

The division between physical copyright laws and intellectual copyright laws, is then a false dichotomy.

We can own a physical object forever, I do not see why we cannot own an idea, like a disney film or character, forever too.

If we are to be honest, we must impose terms of limitation on physical property too, such as the holdings a company or person owns. Of course, this is unfair and unworkable.

I think that those who would limit intellectual copyright laws are trying to deny our freedoms, and imposing an unworkable and unfair solution.

They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
<<That just stinks. by Hallow (Score:1) | all your base are belong to us... THE MOVIE! by cpeterso (Score:-1) >>
Moderation Totals:Flamebait=2, Troll=4, Interesting=4, Total=10.
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @02:43PM EST (#15)
MEATHEAD!!!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
by DeadSea (1010SD@LegOstermillerArm.com (Amputate to email)) on Friday February 16, @02:45PM EST (#17)
(User #69598 Info) http://www.ostermiller.com/
There are limits on physical property. Property and inheritance taxes mean that you will constanty have to pay for whatever you own.

Web sites should be compiled.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @02:48PM EST (#20)
    Well companies never pay inheritance taxes, and they often pay faurly low property taxes or find a way to escape them, so they are better treated than the individual in this respect. Corpocracy...
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
    by steveargonman (steve@trango.net) on Friday February 16, @02:54PM EST (#28)
    (User #183377 Info)
    ... which is bullshit. Once you own it, you shouldn't need to keep paying on it.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
      by UnknownSoldier (pohoreski@SPAMIGNOREDmediaone.net?Subject=Slashdot) on Friday February 16, @03:22PM EST (#78)
      (User #67820 Info)
      >> Property and inheritance taxes mean that you will constanty have to pay for whatever you own.
      > Once you own it, you shouldn't need to keep paying on it.

      Which means you DON'T own it!

      *cough allodial title cough*

      Another solution is to become a corporate sole:

      "Corporation sole consist of one person only and his successors, in some particular station, who are incorporated by law, in order to give them some legal capacities and advantages, particularly that of perpetuity, which in their natural persons they could not have had. In this sense the king is a corporation sole; so is a bishop;


      Gee, I wonder why the Queen is a corporate sole !
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @03:29PM EST (#83)
    There are limits on physical property. Property and inheritance taxes mean that you will constanty have to pay for whatever you own.

    Property tax sucks, but inheritance can be gotten around.

    Create a "trust" a legal entity created on paper that than own things just like a real person. Transfer ownership of your house and finances to the trust. Add your kids to the list of people allowed to manage the trust when they're of age. Then when you die, no "change of ownership" takes place. Thus there is no "inheritance" and therefore no inheritance tax. The trust was the owner all along. This is repeatable for unlimited generations.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by BeerSlurpy on Friday February 16, @02:50PM EST (#22)
(User #185482 Info)
This is a troll. Moderators save us!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by mikej (spam@jurney.org) on Friday February 16, @02:54PM EST (#27)
(User #84735 Info) http://jurney.org

The division between physical copyright laws and intellectual copyright laws, is then a false dichotomy.

The difference is that physical property is inherently scarce, and intellectual property is not: Only one person can own a physical resource (land, car, pencil sharpener), thereby mkaing any other's use of it a necessary decrease in the value held by the original owner. Intellectual property just isn't scarce in this way. My creting and owning a copy of a digital work that you hold does _nothing_ to decrease the value you _actually_ hold; At most it decreases a _possible_ value in the form of a potential sale. These are _not_ the same kind of value.


-- Ideology breeds Hypocrisy. Just how much is up to you.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
    by nmarshall (nmarshall-AT-den.virtualave.net) on Friday February 16, @03:36PM EST (#95)
    (User #33189 Info)
    IMHO the more ppl that share in idea the more value that idea has. for example when linus shared the linux source (his IP) it gained in value as others shared their ideas; code.


    nmarshall

    The law is that which it boldly asserted and plausibly maintained..
    --Colonel Burr 1783
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Permanent copyright? (Score:1)
by scorbett (steve.corbett@cadvision.com) on Friday February 16, @02:54PM EST (#29)
(User #203664 Info)
I suspect I've been trolled, but... are you serious? Permanent copyright? Are you honestly telling me that in your idea of a perfect world, people would have to pay Shakespeare's descendants royalties to read a copy of "Romeo and Juliet"? Or that religious types would have to pay royalties to the church to read a bible?

Copyright was intended to foster innovation in science and the arts, by granting the artist control over his/her/their works for a limited time, after which, the works enter the public domain for all to enjoy. "Permanent copyright" would pretty much guarantee that innumerable works, both scientific and literary, would be lost to future generations.


--
Old, obscure computer game music.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Assuming you're not just trolling.. (Score:1)
by Cuthalion on Friday February 16, @02:57PM EST (#32)
(User #65550 Info) http://rubby.ducker.org/~cuth
If my physical property rights ran out and I was forced to give up my toothbrush, I would suddenly be unable to brush my teeth. If my copyright on my IP (say, The Muppet Show) ran out I would still be able to do everything I could before, EXCEPT use the law to eliminate all competition in the market for that specific piece of IP (eg, Other people could rebroadcast the Muppet Show whether they paid me or not!).

Somebody had to put all of that chaos there!
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1, Insightful)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @02:58PM EST (#33)
While I respectfully disagree with you I must point out that if you want to make copyright permanent you'll have to pass an amendment. With regards to copyright, the Constitution only gives Congress the power to "promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts" and it only allows Congress to do that by "securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."

Read Sentelle's dissent at the end of the ruling. It's well written.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
    by eXtro on Friday February 16, @03:42PM EST (#102)
    (User #258933 Info)
    "promote the Progress of Science and the useful Arts" and it only allows Congress to do that by "securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries."
    Which would indicate that copyright beyond the life of the author would be unjust, let alone an extension. (I realize you're disagreeing, but I'm amplifying a point) So the present copyright law, which states that a material is copyright for the life of the author + X years, is already unconstitutional.

    The copyright law wasn't intended to protect or compensate the families of the authors or inventors, it was intended to protect the livelyhood of the author or inventor so he could go out and do more excellent work. It also allowed for the advancement of the state of the art by allowing others to expand on previous works.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
      by alkali (ab294@detroit.freenet.org) on Friday February 16, @05:43PM EST (#147)
      (User #28338 Info)
      Which would indicate that copyright beyond the life of the author would be unjust ...

      Not necessarily. Gen. Grant wrote his memoirs while he was dying to provide for his family after his death. If copyrights were always limited to life, we wouldn't have that important book.

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
        Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
        by eXtro on Friday February 16, @09:01PM EST (#168)
        (User #258933 Info)
        Those are two seperate issues. The goal of copywrite is to protect the author and bolster creativity. It's not at all to protect the authors family.

        With or without copywrite Grant still could've written his memoirs and expected them to provide for his family. They've got something, his memoirs, which others don't have. It's up to them (or him prehumously) to negotiate favourable terms.

        [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by Pierre on Friday February 16, @03:01PM EST (#35)
(User #6251 Info) http://www.icaen.uiowa.edu/~pwgreen
That would be interesting. So how do we compensate those who controlled the idea on which a character was based? I thought that is was why copyright was limitted. At some point the ideas are released back to the society which enabled the person to have such ideas. Otherwise, perhaps people should have to pay to interact with others in our society. Even with the time limits copyright now the actual people who created a culture/technology of the time would never benefit directly.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
by Fatal0E (anyluser@yah00.com) on Friday February 16, @03:02PM EST (#37)
(User #230910 Info)
One of the things that justified copyright in my mind is that it was meant to equate physical ownership of something tangible to ownership of something intangible.

If you invent a machine, you patent it, exploit it, and either someone invents something better or they dont. On the other hand, you create a cartoon character (an expression of thought), exploit it, someone else should try to outmarket you. Just as the machine will be obselete in however long it takes, so would the cartoon character by becoming public domain.

The thing is though that it seems unfair (for lack of a better term) to me to say that Disney should give up Mickey Mouse. He's still their bread and butter and seeing things like Mickey Chinese Food and Mickey Rolling Papers don't serve public interests. On the other hand, no one should own Mozart. If I want to produce a recital I shouldn't have to pay a licensing fee. I guess my point is that copyright is awfully subjective but it serves some purpose.

I'd have to say on some levels I agree with you but if I had to decide against permanent copyrights I would


"Me Ted"
-Meathead
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
    by markt4 on Friday February 16, @03:10PM EST (#51)
    (User #84886 Info)
    Mickey Mouse is not protected specifically by copyright. He is a trademark of Disney. As such the protection for use of his specific image will not expire. I'm not sure how this would reconcile with someone using the trademark, Mickey Mouse, in a story whose copyright had expired. Once the copyright expires on "Steamboat Willie" will anyone be able to market copies of it, since it includes a Disney trademark as it's main character?
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
      by ocelotbob (ken@fuckhumanity.DONTSPAMME.org) on Friday February 16, @03:27PM EST (#81)
      (User #173602 Info)
      I believe that anyone would be entitled to make copies of specific animated shorts that have become public domain. However, this point is moot, because Disney has purchased enough congresspeople that whenever the copyright is about to expire, the laws are magically changed to allow for another 20 year extention.

      Meow?

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
      by Ethanol on Friday February 16, @03:32PM EST (#88)
      (User #176321 Info)
      That's not true. The character of Mickey Mouse is indeed covered by copyright. They have a trademark too, and you're quite right that that wouldn't expire, but that only means no one would be permitted to use Mickey Mouse as a corporate logo if they were in the same line of business as Disney (a different line of business would be okay).

      The copyright protection on Steamboat Willie isn't just about that one short film, but about any derivative work based on the same character. Right now, no one else but Disney can make a cartoon about Mickey or Donald or Pluto, period, unless they're willing to beg for permission that won't be given, or to pay stupendous licensing fees in the unlikely event that it is. But once Steamboat Willie enters the public domain the character of Mickey Mouse will be public domain, and derivative works will be permitted.

      The infinite extension of copyright is really a theft from artists who might wish to make use of such a cultural icon in their work.

      (One of the most grating hypocrisies of the whole issue, to me, is that the Disney people see nothing wrong with making a Mickey Mouse version of A Christmas Carol without paying royalties to the heirs of Charles Dickens. Public domain material is fine for them to use, but if their goodies enter the public domain it'll be a catastrophe. What bastards.)

      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
    by docwhat (docwhat@gerf.org) on Friday February 16, @03:12PM EST (#57)
    (User #3582 Info) http://docwhat.gerf.org/

    It's not that you'd see "Mickey's Chinese Food" and "Mickey's Rolling Papers" (What are those?). It's that you'd be able to show Steamboat Willy anyplace you'd want.

    The early movies, which are a part of our history and heritage would become public domain. Which is comparable to the idea anyone should be allowed to play Mozart.

    The Doctor What (KF6VNC)

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
    by Random Utinni on Friday February 16, @04:07PM EST (#117)
    (User #208410 Info)
    Actually, you're confusing Copyright and Trademark here... Copyright is the right to make, distribute, and/or sell creative works. Trademark is the right to use a symbol to represent your enterprise.

    Even if you eliminated copyright entirely, a Chinese restaurant couldn't advertise itself using the mouse. It'd get sued for trademark infringement. However, it *could* show Steamboat Willie or other mouse movies/cartoons during meals. The mouse is a Trademark of Disney Corp., while Steamboat Willie is a copyrighted work that happens to include the mouse.

    What most people here are arguing is simply that Copyright lasts way too long; Trademark is generally considered to be a benign and beneficial thing.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Listen to classical music? Are you now a pirate? (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @03:06PM EST (#40)
I see no difference here.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
by elegant7x (elegant7x(a)hotmail.com) on Friday February 16, @03:06PM EST (#41)
(User #142766 Info)
We can own a physical object forever, I do not see why we cannot own an idea, like a Disney film or character, forever too.

You can't own anything forever. Sooner or later, you'll die.

Ownership is not an intrinsic property of a physical object, its something humans associate with it. Communism didn't 'fail' on its own merits so much as it did because of inept and twisted leaders in Russia. And when the USSR fell, it took the rest of the "Communist world" with it. However, if you look at china today, their economy is doing fine, despite they're 'communist' nature, but this is beside the point.

Capitalist systems are more 'intuitive' to humans, and they do work better then communist systems. The idea of property is just that, an idea, and nothing more. Having it, and believing in it makes our society run more smoothly then not having it.

Where is the evidence that society can't function well without a tight copyright/patent system? As far as I can see there are two fundamental differences between physical property and intellectual 'property'

+Instances of intellectual property can't be taken, only copied.

If I have an audio recording, and someone makes a copy, I'll still have my copy, I haven't lost anything, yeh maybe I had to work for it and they didn't, but I'm not a selfish person, It doesn't bother me. And there's always the issue that that particular person might not ever have even heard of the product, much less purchased it. When I pirate a copy of Adobe Photoshop, It isn't costing Adobe any money, because I couldn't have afforded it. Either way, none of my money would have ended up in their pockets.

+Most intellectual property isn't really needed

I'm pretty sure that most of here wouldn't be adversely affected by a lack of new Hollywood blockbusters, or the latest crap custom made for the glowing box. We don't really have a problem, here, we aren't really going to have a huge problem if the production of intellectual property slows down, and warnings of economic down don't make sense if you figure that people would just spend their money elsewhere. Teens might spend more money on clothes, or cars, or computer hardware, whatever. The money is still going to be spent. It will just be spent elsewhere.

And lets not forget that a lot of intellectual property is created for fun. Maybe without the commercial intent, it wouldn't be as high quality, but then again, commercial interests often pander to the lowest common denominator, and create pure garbage just because it sells. Without the motivator to sell, perhaps the quality will go up as people produce things they want to produce. I'd imagine that things like music and writing, which don't require a huge overhead would be just as prevalent now as ever.

Amber Yuan 2k A.D
This sig is well formed, but invalid, XML.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @03:12PM EST (#60)
    Are you Nitrozac?

    --A concerned troll (who isn't anywhere on this thread, oh NO)

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
    by krlynch (krlynch@ihatespam.bu.edu) on Friday February 16, @06:00PM EST (#150)
    (User #158571 Info) http://physics.bu.edu/~krlynch

    Just because something doesn't have a physical manifestation doesn't mean that it isn't worth anything. If I hack into my bank acount and "update" the balance, I haven't "taken anything" from anyone, it doesn't "cost anything" according to you....but the fact is that it does. It costs everyone else in the diminished value of their holdings. This is exactly analogous to you pirating an Adobe product because you don't want to pay for it; there IS a cost associated with stealing that software, in that it diminishes the value of others' work as well as the capital and educational investments made by the investors (and the programmers, marketers, educators, suppliers, etc...). The world would be a much less interesting and lively place to live if no one had any incentive to produce intellectually grounded works and expect compensation. Make no mistake, there would be much MUCH less intellectual output today if no one was compensated and their output wasn't protected. You may not like the fact that others are making money that you aren't, but that doesn't automatically make it acceptable for you to take it by force or other means.

    Note that I am not defending the excesses that can occur under the current system....but just as I wouldn't advocate eliminating alcohol from society just because a small percentage of people abuse it, I can't condone violations of IP law just because a few IP owners abuse their position. To do so would in fact undermine the rights and protections we have in our modern world, not enhance them.

    In an ideal world, maybe we wouldn't need IP law and IP protections...everything could be free because there would be no scarcity, and hence no need to enhance that scarcity to encourage production. But as long as there is scarcity in ANY part of our economy, losses in any OTHER part of the economy diminish the value of the whole. But then again, in an ideal world no one would be stealing tangible objects either...or killing, maiming, insulting, assaulting, etc. etc. etc.

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
      Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
      by elegant7x (elegant7x(a)hotmail.com) on Friday February 16, @07:35PM EST (#163)
      (User #142766 Info)
      . If I hack into my bank account and "update" the balance, I haven't "taken anything" from anyone, it doesn't "cost anything" according to you

      No, according to me you would have stolen money from the bank, duh. They might not know where it went, but they certainly wouldn't have it anymore.

      IS a cost associated with stealing that software, in that it diminishes the value of others' work as well as the capital and educational bla, bla, bla, bla....

      You use a lot of words here, and say nothing. My using Photoshop without paying for it doesn't diminish the value of the work done by Adobe in anyway unless I was going to pay for it. Whether I use the software or not has no effect on the value, the compensation, whatever.

      Amber Yuan 2k A.D
      This sig is well formed, but invalid, XML.
      [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2, Insightful)
by E_Lizardo (brad.danielsNNOOSSPPAAMM@netiq.com) on Friday February 16, @03:07PM EST (#42)
(User #223523 Info)
In a society whose most fundamental principal is the free exchange of ideas, the existence of any instituationalized restriction on that exchange is problematic. Copyrights clearly limit free speech and free expression by restricting who is allowed to say or write what, and who must be paid for it.

At the same time, however, copyrights can encourage free speech by allowing authors the exclusive right to derive income from their works for a limited time. The legitimate purpose of copyright in a free society is to provide just this kind of encouragement. Any extension of copyright beyond the term needed to encourage free expression begins to act in restraint of such expression.

You make the argument that ownership is itself an intellectual idea, and that intellectual property is no different from physical property. Do you believe somehow that owning a pair of shoes is the same as owning the story of Romeo and Juliet?

When I buy a pair of shoes, I own that one pair of shoes. I don't own the rights to charge money to everyone who makes a pair of shoes that look like my shoes.

Patents, and trademarks may give me the right to restrict who can make shoes that look like mine, but these concepts restrict free trade in the same way as copyrights restrict free speech. They have value in that they encourage innovation, but beyond that, if someone buys the materials and builds a pair of shoes exactly like mine, they should be permitted to keep all the fruits of their labor.

Similarly, if someone wishes to write a new story based on Romeo and Juliet, they should not have to track down any living heirs to Shakespeare and negotiate intellectual property rights. Shakespeare had no expectation that he would own the rights to his works beyond his lifetime, and probably expected to be copied within a few years, if not months, of producing his work. A long copyright period would not have encouraged him to write more or better works.

Similarly, do you think any film or music company woould refrain from making CD or motion picture simply because they'd lose the rights in 20 years instead of 75? They make most of the money in the first couple of years anyway, and additional time is just a nice bonus in the rare cases where a work has lasting value.

Was mich nicht umbringt macht mich hungrig.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
    by lingsb on Saturday February 17, @05:35AM EST (#187)
    (User #192878 Info) http://www.theklyvz.co.uk/
    ...do you think any film or music company woould refrain from making CD or motion picture simply because they'd lose the rights in 20 years instead of 75? They make most of the money in the first couple of years anyway, and additional time is just a nice bonus in the rare cases where a work has lasting value.

    In the UK, there are 3 (if not 4 - IANAL) different copyrights associated with the music on a CD:

    1. mechanical copyright - This is the copyright of the actual, physical CD. Say a record label wanted to press a copy of my bands CD, they would have to pay the MCPS (Mechanical Copyright Protection Society) a royalty, who in turn pass the money on to us (via our publishing company, in our case). As far as I know, the MCPS were set up to collect this money so that individual artists don't have to go round making sure that people pay them for copying their work.
    2. Copyright in the sound recording - This deals with the songs in the form that they are recorded. So, if radio 1 (national 'pop' music radio station in the UK), plays our track 'saturday' on the radio, they (via the PRS) pay us money for doing so. This is part of the reason that radio 1 has 'sessions', where artist come in and record their material in the BBC's studios. The BBC will own the copyright in the sound recording for the session(because they payed for it - that's how the ownership works with this copyright). Also, if a different band records one of our songs, they (or their record company) owns their copyright in the sound recording. The royalties from this are collected by the PPL (Phonographic Performance Limited), 50% goes directly to the owner of the sound recording, the rest is split between the artists who recorded it.
    3. song copyright - This is the copyright of the song (ie. the words and top line of tune). In theory you get money for each time your song is performed, but they actual mechanics are more complicated. The money venues, jukeboxes, etc pay in licensing as split between the people who's songs are played enough for the PRS (Performing Rights Society) to be bothered to count it.

    I think that's all of them - I might well have got the details mixed up. It's quite a complicated area. Back to the original post...

    You get money from your song: every time it's played on the radio/TV/jukebox, (in theory) every time someone else play/performs a version of it - including cover versions of the song. There have been cases where people have recorded cover versions of old (30 years) songs - sounding exactly like the original, and had quite big hits from them. Should someone make money from something you've written, with little or no effort on their part?

    -BB

    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
    by mpe on Saturday February 17, @11:35AM EST (#191)
    (User #36238 Info)
    Similarly, if someone wishes to write a new story based on Romeo and Juliet, they should not have to track down any living heirs to Shakespeare and negotiate intellectual property rights. Shakespeare had no expectation that he would own the rights to his works beyond his lifetime, and probably expected to be copied within a few years, if not months, of producing his work.

    Also Romeo and Juliet is simply a rehash of a pre-existing story anyway.

    Similarly, do you think any film or music company woould refrain from making CD or motion picture simply because they'd lose the rights in 20 years instead of 75? They make most of the money in the first couple of years anyway, and additional time is just a nice bonus in the rare cases where a work has lasting value.

    Sometimes even less. An even more silly example would be a newspaper. You also have situations such as commercial software companies which explicitally consider old versions "obsolete" after only a few years.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @03:07PM EST (#43)
Property on an unlimited resource is theft. For material goods, it is an issue of exclusivity: two people can't use the same thing at once. I can't give someone a book and still read it. But if I give someone the contents of the book, I can still read my own copy. If the act of giving a copy of content is effortless and unhindered by the limits of material media, then to not give it would be the same as taking it away.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Idea of Property is not Fundemental (Score:1)
by tethal91 on Friday February 16, @03:08PM EST (#47)
(User #263165 Info) http://www.unholyrouter.com
Many North American Natives had no concept of property the way Europeans did, nor do a few other tribes scattered across the globe. The idea of property itself had little formulation for the bulk of humanity's time on earth. What might be more appropriate to say is the Property is essential to Western Civilizaion. Or perhaps "the idea of self-identity is essential to our concept of society." Lots of thought was given to society and the role of property in the 18th and 19th centuries. Read Voltaire, Locke, Hobbes, Rousseaue, Montesquie for some of their ideas on this concept.
There is no guarantee that the content has been read or understood.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by jazman_777 on Friday February 16, @03:09PM EST (#48)
(User #44742 Info)
Some say that property is theft. Of course, this is a nonsense left wing Marxist viewpoint. However, it appears that some reactionaries are trying to apply this discredited idea to copyright law. I am afraid I have to dissent from this.
The notion of property is fundamental to any society. Property is in itself an intellectual idea, and as such does not just have remit over physical objects, but can be just as well applied to the world of ideas.


I still don't see how ideas can be property. So if idea A is someone else's property, and I think of it, is that a theft? A thought-crime?

I heartily agree that property is fundamental; it is fundamental to liberty. Notice how in collectivized societies, where property is shamed, people are routinely abused. In places where property is protected under law, people enjoy more liberty.


[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by MrResistor (mrresistor@hotmail.com) on Friday February 16, @03:10PM EST (#52)
(User #120588 Info)
Have you never heard of "derivative works"? Nothing is created in a vaccuum. Every creation is inspired by something else. The return of ideas to the public domain is the payback to the society or culture that helped create those ideas.


Under capitalism, man exploits man. Under communism it's the other way around.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @03:20PM EST (#71)
holy troll...

nice one...

i would like to think that most people would have picked up on this, but... nice job...


[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @03:21PM EST (#76)
Hmm, does anyone have right-wing Marxist viewpoints to share?
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:-1, Offtopic)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @03:24PM EST (#80)
good one, mods! this asshole is a known /. troll and notorious homosexual predator. great job in looking like fucking idiots, mods. i wonder when /. is going to be shut down? can anyone tell me please, so i can get on with my life and stop spending so much time here getting pissed off at the idiot trolls and unbeliveably mindless fools that mod this asylum.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by johndiii on Friday February 16, @03:32PM EST (#89)
(User #229824 Info)
Assuming that you're not just trolling...

First of all, please understand that ideas, in and of themselves, are not protected by law in any way. There are two means by which intellectual property is protected: copyrights and patents.

A copyright protects the expression of an idea. Thus I am free to write a play or a movie script about two adolescents who fall in love and commit suicide without licensing from Shakespeare, and I am free to paint a portrait of an enigmatic smiling woman without offending the estate of Leonardo.

A patent protects a specific implementation of an idea. A patent cannot be obtained unless an idea is reduced to practice.

Despite the questionable patents (one-click ordering) and copyright laws (DMCA) that we have been seeing lately, it is important to recognize the essential tension between the property rights of the individual and the interests of society as a whole. Would it be a good thing for Western culture if Shakespeare's heirs still held copyright on his plays? This tension is recognized in the fair use doctrine and right to create derivative works for copyright, and the short time period for which a patent is effective.

Given that law does not recognize the concept of ideas as property, the notion of permanent copyright is particularly odd.


[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by TechLawyer on Friday February 16, @03:34PM EST (#92)
(User #182030 Info)
Why is this thought-out viewpoint moderated to troll status? It may not be popular with most /. types, but it's hardly of penisbirdguy content; it is thoughtful and interesting. Gimme some mod points to help this poster out...
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
    by Rares Marian (rmarian@winblowsstart.com) on Friday February 16, @03:44PM EST (#105)
    (User #83629 Info)
    Because it isn't well thought out. He made some statements about his beliefs, some statement about the meaning of copyright, and the he skipped the aruments and jumped to the conclusion.
    Caught signal SIGSIG read this comment again.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
    by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @03:50PM EST (#110)
    you just get off the boat from some third-world country, or what. the parent poster is a well-known /. troll and general pain in the ass. the fucking mods are about as clueful as you are. the parent poster has about as much intellectual capacity as signal 11 or cyborg_monkey, combined - and that ain't saying much at all.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Copyright is not an entitlement (Score:1)
by Rares Marian (rmarian@winblowsstart.com) on Friday February 16, @03:41PM EST (#101)
(User #83629 Info)
The very idea of copyright allows someone to produce a written work and then sit on his ass for
life + 50 years making money from copies.

I don't have a problem with people owning property and maintaining it for their descendants. I do however have a problem with copyright on copies made by others.

I personally believe the property system needs to take into account that modifying a copy does not modify the original. This is what the entire software industry is based on. The first copy may cost billions. The second and after cost only the price of media. Another case is the fact that open sourcing a piece of software does not cause all copies of such software to be modified. If I modify my copy I have not modified yours. If I want to modify your unbreakable firewall code to weaken it, I have to break into your firewall in the first place.

People ignore that this independence between copies exists, and it's leading to some bizarre conclusions.

Preferably copyright would be tiered. I have permanent copyright on any copy that I make by my own hands. Some long-term copyright over those hired to mass produce my work as it is an expense, and a very limited copyright over those who purchased my work, since it is an expense to them.


Caught signal SIGSIG read this comment again.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Schnapper analysis (Score:1)
by dachshund on Friday February 16, @03:46PM EST (#108)
(User #300733 Info)
Congress shall have power ... 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....

What's interesting about the dissent is that it specifically addresses the majority's reason for determining that the constitution's language is irrelevant. In other words, although the constitution specifically says copyrights should only be granted for "a limited time", the majority found that Congress isn't bound by it.

They made this decision based on Mitchell Bros. Film Group v. Cinema Adult Theater, which dealt with the issue of whether a copyrighted work needed to promote the 'useful arts' (whatever that is!), also mentioned in the same sentence as the "limited time" requirement. The decision of that court was that, as the 'useful arts' stuff comes early in the the sentence, and is really very introductory and hard-to-define, 'usefulness' was not a binding requirement for copyright. This case is slightly different, though, as the "limited time" bit is a requirement and is right at the heart of the sentence. However, the judges writing the majority seem to be using the earlier decision as a means to rule that more or less any portion of the language in the copyright portion of Article 1 can be ignored. This would more or less allow congress to do whatever they wanted, without concerning themselves with the details. Am I understanding this decision correctly?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
by ChaosDiscord on Friday February 16, @03:56PM EST (#112)
(User #4913 Info) http://www.highprogrammer.com/alan/

The notion of property is fundamental to any society. Property is in itself an intellectual idea, and as such does not just have remit over physical objects, but can be just as well applied to the world of ideas.

The division between physical copyright laws and intellectual copyright laws, is then a false dichotomy.

Bzzzt, sorry. Thanks for playing. The difference between physical property laws and intellections property laws is quite obvious. (I'll assume you meant property above, since there isn't such thing as a "physical copyright" law.)

Physical property laws exist to protect something that is naturally scarce. If you take the computer desk I built, I no longer have my desk. However, you're completely free to make your own computer desk, and to even make your desk exactly the same as mine. Maybe I worked hard to make it a really well designed computer desk, but you're free to take advantage of all my hard design work and make exact copies. If technology is developed that lets you easily make exact copies of my desk, I'm still out of luck. This is perfectly reasonable, since your creation of a desk hasn't taken my desk from me.

Now let's say I create something protected by intellectual property law. I think I'll write a novel. To an extent, physical property law still applies. If you steal my manuscript (and I didn't make a backup), I no longer have it. If we're treat physical and intellectual property similarly, why can't you make copies of my novel? After all, I'd still have my original. Copyright law creates an artificial restriction that limits what you can do.

We can own a physical object forever, I do not see why we cannot own an idea, like a disney film or character, forever too.

Why not? Because ideas tend to propogate. The common phrase for this is "Information wants to be free." Information and ideas aren't alive, they don't really want anything, it's simply a quotable simplification of the fact that information tends toward freedom. Your seeing my desk doesn't give you a desk. However, your seeing my desk does give you the idea of my desk. Once you've seen my desk or novel, nothing I do can keep you from taking that idea away from you. Trying to restrict the spread of an idea runs against the natural tendencies of ideas (or more specifically, the natural tendencies of the humans holding those ideas). Granting "ownership" of an idea is granting ownership of ideas held in other people's heads. It's granting control over what other people can do. I, for one, don't want to live in a world where most of the stuff in my head in "owned" by someone else.

Copyright was created in the United States dispite all of these problems "to promote the progress of science and useful arts...." It was decided it was worth fighting the inevitable "for limited times" to this end. It was not an attempt to create an eternal privledge.

I think that those who would limit intellectual copyright laws are trying to deny our freedoms....

I think those who would extend copyright laws are trying to deny our freedoms. Copyright law gives other people control over what I can and cannot copy.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
    Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
    by jspey on Friday February 16, @06:18PM EST (#154)
    (User #183976 Info)
    Why not? Because ideas tend to propogate. The common phrase for this is "Information wants to be free." Information and ideas aren't alive, they don't really want anything, it's simply a quotable simplification of the fact that information tends toward freedom. Your seeing my desk doesn't give you a desk. However, your seeing my desk does give you the idea of my desk. Once you've seen my desk or novel, nothing I do can keep you from taking that idea away from you. Trying to restrict the spread of an idea runs against the natural tendencies of ideas (or more specifically, the natural tendencies of the humans holding those ideas). Granting "ownership" of an idea is granting ownership of ideas held in other people's heads. It's granting control over what other people can do. I, for one, don't want to live in a world where most of the stuff in my head in "owned" by someone else.

    This is exactly why some sort of copyright law in beneficial. Let's say that there is no copyright law. I decide to create and publish a book. By your own admission it's very difficult for someone who reads my book to forget about it or its characters. If said reader is creative it's very possible that they would come up with their own ideas based on my book. Without copyright law they're able to go ahead and publish a very similiar book, which would posibly take money away from me. They could even just copy my book verbatim and then publish it themselves. They could charge less than me for my book since the time spent copying the book is probably a lot less than the time required to write it. Copyright law gives me the exclusive right to make money off of my ideas for a certain period of time. Having the copyright wear out isn't too bad because I've had some time to make money off my ideas, making it a profitable activity. Infinite copyright is bad, but ten or twenty years is a really good idea.

    Mr. Spey
    Cover you butt. Bernard is watching.
    [ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2)
by Mark Gordon (mtgordon@nospamthanks.mailbag.com) on Friday February 16, @04:10PM EST (#120)
(User #14545 Info) http://www.mailbag.com/users/mtgordon/index.html
> The division between physical copyright laws and intellectual copyright laws, is then a false dichotomy.

Nonsense. There are two major differences between physical property and intellectual property.

1) Physical property cannot easily be replicated. Hence, if you give someone else an object, you no longer have that object. Intellectual property can typically be replicated trivially. If I give someone else an idea, then I still have the idea. This is a critical distinction. The whole notion of right to life, liberty, and property exists in the context that you cannot casually be deprived of those things. Nobody's arguing that anything should be taken away from anybody. Disney can continue to use Mickey Mouse if the copyright lapses. They just wouldn't be able use the government to prevent others from using it as well.

2) The whole concept of intellectual property runs contrary to free speech, and by implication the concept of liberty. By granting permanent, exclusive license to an idea, government prevents others from using or sharing that idea freely, and that deprives individuals of their liberty. Intellectual property, unlike physical property is wholely and entirely a construct of the government.

If you refer to the Constitution, the intent was that copyright laws be finite in duration (much like patents). Since they admittedly restrict liberty, they are only defensible in that they promote the arts (the constitutionally stated purpose behind copyright law). As the dissenting opinion pointed out, extending the duration of copyright on works already created does nothing to stimulate the creation of those works (especially when the creator is already dead, as in the case of Walt Disney).

The real hypocrisy of Disney (the corporation) in this matter is that Disney has a history of making films based on works that have lapsed into the public domain (thereby sparing themselves the expense of buying film rights to copyrighted works in many cases). The concept of copyrighted works lapsing into the public domain is an old one, long predating Marx, and Disney has taken thorough advantage of it. They should be willing to give something back eventually.

I understand you're new around here. I suggest you read our Constitution before you start calling us all a bunch of Marxists.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Ideas are not products (Score:1)
by Rares Marian (rmarian@winblowsstart.com) on Friday February 16, @04:21PM EST (#121)
(User #83629 Info)
Ideas, the majority of them, do not require any investment on the part of the owner of those ideas.

Ideas, come about and are wholly determined according to the details of the problem one attempts to solve or any other gain that can be had by them.

Millions of people are capable of coming up with the same conclusions and ideas about how to solve problems. I sometimes use a knife instead of a flathead screwdriver. Should I be able to extort money from someone for having the same idea?

If so I'll be happy to list my ideas and you can pay me.

Copyright reduces the world to first come, first served. I'm sorry but in the 24 hours/day 7 days/week 52 weeks/year and average 80 years/life I have I would rather not spend every waking moment inventing just so I could get through the day.

Oh and another thing:

The notion of property is fundamental to a person who has produced. Not a society, nor someone who sits on his ass.
Caught signal SIGSIG read this comment again.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:2, Interesting)
by joshsisk on Friday February 16, @04:28PM EST (#123)
(User #161347 Info)
I think that those who would limit intellectual copyright laws are trying to deny our freedoms, and imposing an unworkable and unfair solution.

Do you feel the same way about patents? Should they last forever? Doesn't allowing patents to expire infringe upon the freedom of the creators to continue to profit from their invention?

On a seperate tack, don't you think there should be some sort of time limit? Should William Shakespeare's descendants be making royalities off every copy of one of his plays sold? Or any movie based off one of his plays? Or how about Mozart's descendants getting paid any time one of his symphonies are performed?Before you answer that, consider that had those works not passed into the public domain years ago, it would be highly unlikely they would be as well know now... Their works would have been performed less, made into books/records/movies/whatnot less, etc.

Copyrights need to expire at some point. I'm not saying I know what the magic number is, but it needs to happen eventually.

I do not see why we cannot own an idea, like a disney film or character

Note that Mickey himself is a trademark... so his ownership isn't going to expire, regardless.

Josh Sisk
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by ProfBooty on Friday February 16, @04:32PM EST (#125)
(User #172603 Info)
>We can own a physical object forever, I do not see why we cannot own an idea, like a disney film or character, forever too.

>If we are to be honest, we must impose terms of limitation on physical property too, such as the holdings a company or person owns. Of course, this is unfair and unworkable.

Actually there are limits to property ownership. In the U.S. its called death taxes, the purpose being to redistribute weath and not have an aristocracy. Given that corporations never really die, they could hold property forever.

Since corporations are treated like people, couldn't their wealth be redistributed when they are purchased by other corportations or go out of business?

On a side note, aparently congress sees more innovation resulting from the far shorter time limits placed on patents. Why 20 years versus life+75?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Problems with perpetual copyright. (Score:1)
by einTier on Friday February 16, @04:55PM EST (#132)
(User #33752 Info)
First, let me say that some are confusing copyright with trademark. Mickey Mouse is a trademark (or should be), a movie starring Mickey Mouse has a copyright.

That means you won't see Mickey Mouse Rolling Papers or Mickey Mouse Chinese Food, just as you wouldn't see Coca-Cola rolling papers, even though Coca-Cola's been around a lot longer than Mr. Disney.

The problem with perpetual copyright is that it robs our generation and others of potentially useful content.

I'll use the video game industry since it's something that most of us can identify with. Many of us remember a favorite game we played in the arcades or on our Atari 2600, or Sega or Nintendo or what have you. Some of the current games today owe their roots to something spawned well in the past, and something that's likely unplayable today. If you want to revisit these games now, you're going to have a hard time finding them -- because they aren't made anymore. You're going to have to find a working game system and a working game for the consoles, you'll have to find an arcade game that wasn't gutted for the arcade games. Most of these things were not built to last (nor were they expected to last) twenty or thirty years. Most of them did not. Some of these games were expensive enough, odd enough, and unpopular enough that perhaps NONE survive (have you seen an original Street Fighter with the pressure-sensitive "punch" buttons lately?).

These games are disappearing because there is no marketing incentive for Sega or Capcom or whomever to sell just a very small handful to a few dedicated customers. These companies deal in bulk, and likely, would require a massive re-tooling to produce a very small run of games. It's not profitable for them -- so no new copies are produced. However, for a small company, it might well be possible. Pristine copies of Dragon's Lair go for over $1500 on ebay (a complete Transformers set goes for over $10,000). At least Dragon's Lair was popular enough and adaptable enough that they released a DVD of the original game. Most games don't get this fate.

Right now there are games I played and enjoyed as a kid that will not be played by future generations because they simply aren't available. Just think there is a 15 year old kid that loves video games that has no idea what Pitfall! was, why it was revolutionary at the time, and why the game play was fun even though you didn't kill anything or have a real, definable goal. These games (and movies and songs) slip out of production, and slowly they deteriorate into nothing. By the time the copyright expires and they can be printed again, there'll be no surviving copies to copy from.

Already there are famous movies (Nosferatu comes to mind) of which no pristine copy exists. This is a piece of our culture and our history that we can never remake, and never get back. Already there are CDs that I can't buy and can't find for a reasonable price. If the surviving copies are damaged, we can never get that back. Imagine if Beethoven's fifth had a perpetual copyright, and somewhere down the line the publisher wasn't making enough money and stopped printing copies. Then imagine if no one could print copies, and the copies that were left were lost to the ravages of time. It's quite possible we could be without this work of art today. Imagine if all his works were copyrighted this way, and none of it survived. We'd never know Beethoven or the contribution he made to our culture.

Imagine time traveling 200 years into the future to realize no one knew what Pac-Man was, or who the Beatles were, or what books Neil Stephenson wrote?

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing .. Not Marxist but Anarchist (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Friday February 16, @05:17PM EST (#137)
The quote that "property is theft" comes from the anarchists (Proudon I believe) and not the Marxists. Essentially it embodies the idea that to own something of collective importance is theft. It is a reaction to liberal thought which sought to extend individual rights to allow the individual to own property and do as he/she pleases with it (btw I said liberal thought not the Rush Limbaugh caricatures of liberals).
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by Firedog on Friday February 16, @07:54PM EST (#165)
(User #230345 Info)
An article buried deep within this thread touched off an interesting idea:

Items of physical "property" such as buildings, land, cars, shares in a corporation, etc. are all subject to taxes of one sort or another -- property tax, inheritance tax, sales tax.

Assume that we decide that it's OK to issue deeds and titles to ideas and concepts and call it "intellectual property". In that case, those "intellectual properties" ought to subject to the same sorts of taxes as physical properties. If you want to avoid paying taxes on your properties, physical or intellectual, you can donate them to a nonprofit organization, such as the EFF or the Trust for Public Land.

Property is subject to tax! If we're going to lend this idea of "intellectual property" any credence, why should it be immune?

And I hereby grant the "intellectual property rights" associated with this concept to a nonprofit organization to be designated later ;-)

- Firedog


[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:1)
by Rick the Red on Friday February 16, @09:14PM EST (#170)
(User #307103 Info)
If we are to be honest, we must impose terms of limitation on physical property too, such as the holdings a company or person owns. Of course, this is unfair and unworkable.

Why do you say this is "unfair and unworkable"? I own a mirror made by an artist. It has a wooden frame that has the image of a tree cut into it such that the mirror shows through where the bits of wood were cut away to make the tree. This mirror is physical, and it's copyrighted. I can sell it, give it away, or destroy it without the artist's permission, but I may not copy it. 50 (now 70) years after the artist dies, I am free to make copies of it. This is workable and fair.


If all this should have a reason, we would be the last to know.

[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Diff between property and IP (Score:2)
by abe ferlman on Saturday February 17, @12:31AM EST (#177)
(User #205607 Info) http://www.geocities.com/bgtrio
There is a meaningful difference.

Physical property, once exchanged, is still held by only one person.

IP, on the other hand, can be given and kept at the same time since the cost of copying digital data is essentially zero, and once you have a perfect copy, I haven't had to give mine up to give it to you.

In other words, we are creating artificial scarcity to make *intellectual* property act more like physical property because that's what we're used to. This is, to put it mildly, extremely stupid.

Bryguy
Alf's planet was destroyed when everyone on the planet plugged their hair dryers in at the same time.
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Re:Nothing wrong with permanent copyright. (Score:0)
by Anonymous Coward on Saturday February 17, @02:33AM EST (#184)
Why are you people replying to a troll?
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
Mark Twain agreed with this guy. (Score:1)
by AnotherPundit on Saturday February 17, @02:42AM EST (#185)
(User #315295 Info)
To all those who think this guy is trolling, I should point out that Mark Twain agreed with him. Copyrights SHOULD be permanent -- was mark twain a troll too? Here's a speech Mark Twain gave to congress on the matter: http://www.lightlink.com/bbm/twain.html
[ Reply to This | Parent ]
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