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World Copyright Treaty Coming soon 202

Posted by michael
from the one-world-government dept.
ebresie writes: "According to an article in Info World, the World Intellectual Property Organization indicates that the WIPO Copyright Treaty is scheduled to go into effect in March of 2002. The treaty "is designed to protect the rights of composers, artists, writers, and others whose work is distributed over the Internet or other digital media." It also makes reference of the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty which "specifically protects the digital-media rights of producers and performers of sound recordings"." This is not a "new" treaty; rather it's the old one, which says much the same thing as the DMCA and was used to justify the passage of the DMCA. Now the same provisions will be in effect across many countries.
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World Copyright Treaty Coming soon

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  • by eclectric (528520) <bounce@junk.abels.us> on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:18PM (#2672785)
    Could the GPL be extended to, say, artistic works? That way an artist could simply copyright(copyleft) his or her works and therefore bypass these kinds of inane copyright laws. Granted, one could simply make their works public domain, but you still would need some public protections. (Like, you might want to make your stuff freely available, but you don't want others taking credit for it. Or, you just might not want anyone else to make money off of it either.)

    Any thoughts?
    • Could the GPL be extended to, say, artistic works?

      Why? The GPL is designed by and for computer programmers. You already get the source code for books.
    • by Wolfger (96957)
      If you can put a copyleft on software, I don't see why it wouldn't work for other forms of copyrightable materials... Except for the obvious answer that the producers of those other materials don't have the same mindset. Imagine the possibilities, though. Stephen King writes a new novel, and puts a copyleft on it. Open source book! If I don't like it, I can change it and re-release it, giving credit where credit is due.
    • You can check out the buskware license [buskware.org]. It's basically shareware, but with no fixed price, and they claim it is "used broadly to include anything that can be stored in digital form, not just programs, so it makes sense to talk about releasing recorded music, text, or videos "
    • ...one could simply make their works public domain...


      No, you can't! That's one of the most non-intuitive parts of the DMCA which many peope don't get.


      If you create a work (you are the copyright owner) and release it CSS encrypted on a DVD, you lose a portion of your copyright-granted control over that work. Specifically, you can no longer just turn it loose to the public domain because anyone who would want to view, or copy, or derive from your work must buy a CSS license, and must agree to the terms
      of that license. And you (as the copyright owner) have no control over what that license allows the purchaser to do.
      The CSS license currently says (and the Law backs them up) that you can't make a copy of the work, even if you have otherwise been granted the right to do so by the copyright owner.


      So who cares? It's not like a lot of people are creating a lot of copyrighted works in an encrypted format that you have to have a license to decrypt, right?


      Think again. How much of your copyrighted material exists in a proprietary file format for which you must purchase a license to decode it?


      Got any Word documents? or PowerPoint charts? or FrameMaker documents?


      If the courts rule that a proprietary file format "effectively controls access to" the copyrighted material contained within, then programs like Star Office will be as illegal to make or posess as DeCSS is today.

    • CWPL - idea draft (Score:2, Interesting)

      by eclectric (528520)
      The Creative Works Public License would

      1.Require representation of the document (even modifications) to clearly indicate the original author.

      2. Ban anyone from making money off CWPL'd works, without the author's permission. (I don't know how I feel about this. On one hand, this is needed because without it, publishers could just pick books off the net, legally publish them and not have to pay the author. On the other, it doesn't jibe with the GPL)

      3. Require that any subsequent or derivitive use also be automatically under the CWPL. (This also doesn't go with the GPL, and I'm not even user if this is a good idea.)

      What makes this different from public domain? Well, I still have a legal right to keep my name on things. Also, nobody else can make money on my book by splashing on a new cover. (think about L. Frank Baum and how publishers have raked in the cash without forking a single cent over to his family).

      The CWPL could even have a stipulation that derivite works are exempt from the CWPL after the author's death (automatically) or at a specific date that the author specifies. This would leave the opening to make original works under any copy protection scheme we wanted, but only after the author has specified. Still, it would remain illegal for others to make money off the original work, and would require that any copy of the work carry the original author's name.

      I'm trying to think of applications and cases where this would be useful and necessary.
    • by Trepidity (597)
      Well, the GNU Free Documentation License [gnu.org] is probably closer to what you're looking for as a starting point.
    • The GPL is specifically written to apply only to software. You're looking for the Open Publication License (OPL) [opencontent.org].
    • http://opencontent.org

      Good! I didn't want to write this anyway!
  • Oh, this is just too cute.

    I live in Canada, and we're currently facing our own version of the DMCA... As if that wasn't bad enough.

    Does anyone think contacting our government representatives will help? Who has to sign this treaty? Is there a way to encourage our elected leaders not to? (Do we stand a chance?)

    • I looked it over and I didn't see anything nearly as objectionable as the DMCA; it seems to be a fairly simple statement that an author has certain rights to his or her work. The only one that really made me wonder was this:
      Compilations of data or other material, in any form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations, are protected as such. This protection does not extend to the data or the material itself and is without prejudice to any copyright subsisting in the data or material contained in the compilation. [See the agreed statement concerning Article 5]

      Seemed a little vague, though I assume the actual data entered would be protected by copyright law anyway.

      The rest of it can be summarized as follows:
      Let's all follow the Berne convention.
      • "Compilations" (Score:3, Interesting)

        by Dr.Dubious DDQ (11968)
        Compilations of data or other material, in any form, which by reason of the selection or arrangement of their contents constitute intellectual creations, are protected as such.

        I THINK what they mean here is that if, for example, you publish a book containing 10 public-domain short-stories or articles, that if someone else comes along and publishes a book with the same 10 public-domain works, that it would be a violation of your copyright to the particular collection you've put together, though the reprinting of none of the individual original public-domain works violates any copyright law...

        I think.

    • Is there a way to encourage our elected leaders not to?

      Start writing letters:

      Committee on Foreign Affairs and International Trade,

      Sub-Committee on International Trade, Trade Disputes and Investment,

      Committee on Industry, Science and Technology

      Marie Danielle Vachon, Clerk
      House of Commons
      Room 637, Wellington Bldg
      OTTAWA, Ontario
      K1A 0A6

      The Standing Senate Committee on Legal and Constitutional Affairs
      The Senate
      Ottawa, Ontario
      K1A 0A4

      The Right Hon. Joe Clark, MP
      House of Commons
      OTTAWA, Ontario
      K1A 0A6

      Mr. Stockwell Day, MP
      House of Commons
      OTTAWA, Ontario
      K1A 0A6

      The Right Hon. Jean Chrétien, MP
      House of Commons
      OTTAWA, Ontario
      K1A 0A6

      Ms. Alexa McDonough, MP
      House of Commons
      OTTAWA, Ontario
      K1A 0A6

      (Do we stand a chance?)

      Like a snowball in hell.

    • by ackthpt (218170) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:43PM (#2672942) Homepage Journal
      Act now and you could become the next millionaire!

      This is NOT a SPAM! Buy shares in the worlds largest prison network! With the adoption of the WIPO Treaty there will be enormous need for prisons to keep violators in while they await speedy trials, which could take years to come about!

      Sure, you're asking yourself how could I make money in this enterprise! World governments would be required to apprehend violators by the order of their masters, the likes of Adobe, Microsoft, RIAA, MPAA and Scientology International! In what will surely be the largest roundup since the Holocaust there will need to be a place to keep them! As a private industry AND and innovator, World Prison Systems would house these vermin and collect fees from these same governments! Act now, as we plan to have a copyright of our own awarded soon on this business process!

      To join in send $1,000 to:
      World Prison Systems, LLC
      8467 Frogfenster Road
      Wampley Upon Grimulet
      Ponzishire AYBRB2U
      UNITED KINGDOM

    • > Does anyone think contacting our government representatives will help? Who has to sign this treaty? Is there a way to encourage our elected leaders not to? (Do we stand a chance?)

      No, Edgar "My company comes from a long line of bootleggers" [slashdot.org] Bronfman, No, and (No), in that order.

  • We know our good allies CHina will avoid this like the plague and we will still get movies on DVD in China Town while the movie is still at theatres....
    • Ultimately the rules they are putting in place now like the DMCA and now this are seeking to stop casual sharing of copies, etc. Real pirates are already dealt with by the existing laws. This treaty won't change a damn thing about how they operate, it's just going to make it legitimate for somebody to sell me a movie I can only watch on certain devices, etc.
    • We know our good allies CHina will avoid this like the plague and we will still get
      movies on DVD in China Town while the movie is still at theatres....


      Sure, as a condition of joining the WTO China has to respect Intellectual Property and crack down on piracy *wink* *wink*


      The hard fact for the masses who have, up to now, illegally copied and sold music, movies (with the backs of other peoples heads and various noises thrown in as a bonus) and software (lacking manuals, but the first rule is to toss those behind a filing cabinet, anyway, right?) will now be obligated by treaty to pay bribes to their local officials, rather than it being optional or only when their Lexus bearing a New Jersey license plate draws attention on the streets of Shanghai.

  • "is designed to protect the rights of composers, artists, writers, and others whose work is distributed over the Internet or other digital media."

    I suspect that "others" refers to corporations and creators of shoddy encryption systems with enough money to throw at the politicians drafting the treaty to protect them from evil researchers who might discover that Rot-13 isn't that secure after all?
  • That seems to be the way folks are passing stuff that would never pass muster here in the States: Make it something that is a treaty, then argue that we need to do it because the rest of the world is.

    From what I understand this has been the tactic of the like of the FBI as of late (pre 9/11). They've been lobbying foreign countries to ratify treaties so they can come back to congress and say "hey, we need to do it too (damn the constitution)"
    • While it within congress' perogative to establish treaties, the clauses created by those treaties can still be ruled unconstitutional. So while this makes it possible to sneak in laws that otherwise might not get passed, it doesn't do a damn thing about judicial review.
  • Copyrighting on Moon in the year 2020. I think they are also trying to put cpoyright in place on mars on 2015. Well, we can always to go to Uranus.
  • by ewhac (5844) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:19PM (#2672807) Homepage Journal

    Who are these guys? And who elected/appointed them They Who Shall Decide Intellectual Property Policy For The Rest Of Us?

    Seriously, who are they? Who gets selected to be a member, and why?

    Schwab

    • by eclectric (528520)
      In the United States, the representative to the United Nations is an ambassador, which means the President chooses him or her. I imagine they have to confirmed by the senate, but I don't think it's every much of an issue.
    • by lysurgon (126252)

      Who gets selected to be a member, and why?


      Very good question. However, I think you're rather unlikely to get a good answer. For instance, you could ask the same of the WTO. No one knows. No one's telling. Members are "appointed" through some transnational process, but that process is non-public and appears to differ from member state to member state.

      This was actually part of the impetus for the (in)faimous Seattle WTO protests. I remember a couple of my west-coast dwelling friend's professors encouraging everyone to go (i.e. no bad marks for missing class) to promote openness and accountability in government.

      The WTO and WIPO are (very influiential) non-governmental organizations. That's the problem at the moment: they're really accountable to no one other then their fat-cat corporate sponsors.

      Of course, maybe you like corporate sponsors and think that sort of thing is how the world aughtta work. Hey, takes all kinds.
      • Of course, maybe you like corporate sponsors and think that sort of thing is how the world aughtta work.

        ...which describes most of our politicians. In contrast to what most people think, I don't think our congresscritters are particularly susceptible to bribes as campaign contributions. Instead, many of the people who get the support needed for a successful campaign are people who believe that letting corporations do what they will is in the best interest of the company. So they don't need bribing to make laws that help companies, they already believe that those laws are needed. The contributions are just to make sure they stay in office.

        Consider Bush, for example. He'll support Big Oil measures because he comes from Big Oil. Anwar never stood a chance. (I'm not fully decided one way or another on ANWAR drilling myself, I'm just saying there was never a question in Bush's mind.)
      • by donutello (88309) on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:10PM (#2673059) Homepage
        For instance, you could ask the same of the WTO. No one knows. No one's telling.

        Where do people come up with this crap from? The WTO and the WIPO have member states as their members. For the purpose of the meetings, individual member states appoint representatives to represent them. True, each member state uses its own mechanism to appoint the representatives - which also depends on the level of the conference. Some countries send their ministers (secretaries of state) for the relevant areas while other countries send other higher or lower ranking officials.

        The WTO and WIPO are (very influiential) non-governmental organizations. That's the problem at the moment: they're really accountable to no one other then their fat-cat corporate sponsors.

        Nonsense. These are international organizations just like the UN. Countries are members - they send people who represent their interests to the forums for discussion. Ultimately it is the government of the country that is responsible for the decisions they agree to and in a democracy the government is accountable to the people - in other forms of government whatever checks or balances (or lack thereof) is who the respective governments are acountable to.

        I really wish some idiots would read what they are protesting before protesting it. The majority of the WTO protesters were clueless idiots like the parent poster who have no idea what the WTO was about.
    • Some background on WIPO can be found here [infoanarchy.org].
  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:20PM (#2672808)
    Defend Microsoft from Competition Act ?

    Disney-Microsoft Corruption Arrangement ?

    I just want to be enlightened:-)

  • and was used to justify the passage of the DMCA

    And now the DCMA will be used to justify the WIPO Performances and Phonograms Treaty.

    "is designed to protect the rights of composers, artists, writers, and others whose work is distributed over the Internet or other digital media"

    Does that mean artists will now get paid decent royalties instead of the lion's share going to the suits?
    • No, because the copyright for the artists work is owned by the suits while the artists are in contract with them. You see individual people going after copyright lawsuits once the contracts on those works (songs) have expired and the copyrights have transferred back to the individual. But you don't see too many individuals going to court, as much as you see Sony or RIAA or other suits filing because they own the majority of the copyrights... _
      • That's my point.

        Since the suits are doing everything they can to maintain a monopoly of the means of distribution, the artist will be beholden to them if they don't want to languish in obscurity.

        That will change with time, but it's still true for almost everyone.
    • *ROFL!* stop, stop, you're killing me!

      More plausibly, B-list artists (and even some A-list artists) will now be repeatedly sued by intellectual property holders because their creations are 'like' some previous creation 'owned' by the suits.

      I actually kinda like this, in a sick way, because it's another step towards making corporate art utterly impossible, and where not impossible, complete pablum with no distinguishing qualities (all distinguishing qualities worth anything are 'like' something that's been previously done).

      The thing to hope for is that the mainstream becomes a creative wasteland bad enough to force bored consumers to explore, say, the Internet for their entertainment- BEFORE IP holders have any success at obliterating the distribution channels for said Internet entertainment.

      It's easy to sue any one indie artist in any field, but there are so many of them- and it would be an uphill battle to successfully ban communication by unauthorized persons simply on the grounds that they _could_ violate IP laws. That would be tantamount to requiring an 'Internet License' and is so direct and blatant an assault on free speech that it'd be very hard to do. It's a lot easier to attack a specific person for actually posting a derivative song to the Internet- though even this would be a potential PR disaster- but almost impossible to spin "You may not speak/sing/create without clearing it with central authorities" in any useful way. Too obvious, and too personal.

      • Another step? I thought we reached that point long ago.

        Sigh. And now I'm all depressed because I'm remembering how much more Britney Spears CDs I sell at work than classical.
        • That's 'cause classical music doesn't have videos involving lots of skin and thrusting pelvises.

          Now, if you had some 15-year-old sex kitten with a pierced navel writhing to the strains of Mussorgsky, they'd be jumping off the shelves.

          Just imagine how successful Beethoven could have been with modern marketing techniques! Da da da bomb!

          Bach missed the boat with all this lame 6-part fugues and contrapuntal complexity that could only be made by someone with a 200 IQ, what he really needed was some big boobies and a nice butt, and the same 5 second refrain repeated for 3 and a half minutes. Wotta chump!
  • Now the same provisions will be in effect across many countries (emphasis mine)

    More like restrictions. I wouldn't really consider something that deprives us of our rights to free speech a 'provision'. I wish I could find a harsher word than 'restriction', but I guess restriction will have to do.
    • You can still speek freely all you want. It's just reading, viewing, listening or installing somebody else's speech that's at issue.
      • Not exactly. The DMCA restricts speech that was previously unrestricted. In the DMCA USA, you can't say "The method to decrypt a DVD is to XOR with 0xcafebabe", without regard that this nugget of knowledge was obtained through independent scientific inquiry. You'll get thrown in prison and/or slapped with civil penalties. see dvdcca v everybody, universal, et al v corley, usa v sklyarov, felten v riaa.
  • Small fry (Score:5, Insightful)

    by seizer (16950) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:20PM (#2672816) Homepage
    Only 30 countries have ratified it. There are circa 200 floating around, and a hell of a lot of them, including Russia and China, don't pay any attention whatsoever to copyright at the moment. I can believe that they might, as countries, receive more income from the pirate business than they would if they forced people to only buy legitimate versions.

    There'll always be data havens, never fear.
    • Umm, it's not about data heavens. It's about people living in countries like US losing their freedom of speech (disclaimer: I live in US and I don't like this).
      You could almost always find a way to speak (or do not follow M$ license) anonymously. However free speech without fear of retribution is your right - part of UN declaration of human rights, part of US constitution and it's analogs in many countries. You should be able to publish code like DeCSS without hiding.
      Then again, there should be some force (technological solution like Freenet ?) to back up your legal rights - otherwise out lawmakers would be bribed^H^H^H^H^H^Hcamgaign-contributed to create more "laws" like DMCA.
    • Don't count on it. The rich countries could bomb anybody they want anytime they want. Look how we destroyed the iraqui army and the taliban in a few days. Just drop bombs from ten thousand feet in the night and kill them like flies. Look at palestine vs israel as an example too.

      They will all sign or they will die.
  • How will it be enforced? Are we soon going to hear about mass executions in because their government found some MP3s or a zip password cracker on their computers? Will the unlucky criminals be sentenced to jail in those countries, alongside the rapists and murderers?
  • Maybe the reds... (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Tebriel (192168) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:25PM (#2672843)
    Maybe China will, for once, actually help stem the tide, since they have such lax laws. Now that they're a member of the WTO, maybe they can actually make a moderating stand against this, or something.
    • Re:Maybe the reds... (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tackhead (54550) on Friday December 07, 2001 @05:12PM (#2673069)
      > Maybe China will, for once, actually help stem the tide, since they have such lax laws. [on copyright]

      I wouldn't bank on it.

      "Did you really think that we want those laws to be observed?" said Dr. Ferris. "We want them broken. You'd better get it straight that it's not a bunch of boy scouts you're up against - then you'll know that this is not the age for beautiful gestures. We're after power and we mean it. You fellows were pikers, but we know the real trick, and you'd better get wise to it. There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them. One declares so many things to be a crime that it becomes impossible for men to live without breaking laws. Who wants a nation of law-abiding citizens' What's there in that for anyone? But just pass the kind of laws that can neither be observed nor enforced nor objectively interpreted - and you create a nation of law-breakers - and then you cash in on guilt. Now that's the system, Mr. Rearden, that's the game, and once you understand it, you'll be much easier to deal with."

      - p.411, Ayn Rand, ATLAS SHRUGGED, Signet Books, NY, 1957

      You don't have to be a Randroid to see the wisdom in this passage.
      • She says lots of right-on things. Unfortunately, there are the others. It's like any "Holy Book". The true believers look, and see only the parts that they believe in. The scoffers look, and see only the parts that they doubt. Sometimes they see the same parts, and sometimes they don't.

        But that's one of the really good ones.
        .
      • "There's no way to rule innocent men. The only power any government has is the power to crack down on criminals. Well, when there aren't enough criminals, one makes them."

        Mark the parent of this comment up! Up! UP! Make sure everyone reads that passage -- it has never held so true as today, when it's illegal to speak out against the government, illegal to smoke an herb, illegal to share music with friends, illegal to use encryption, illegal to decrypt!
    • Unfortuanately I don't think China's standing on principle. I think they just haven't seen a satisfactory economic reason to impose the changes yet. Eventually western pressure will probably get to them.

      I'd love to be proven wrong, but even though you might be able to get away with calling the Chinese government "leftist", they are certainly not progressive.
  • this isn't too new. (Score:4, Informative)

    by psyklopz (412711) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:27PM (#2672851)
    As it stands currently, copyright law is *almost* international.

    Each nation has their own copyright laws, but almost all are either:

    1) parties to the Berne Copyright Convention

    or

    2) Members of the World Trade Organisation

    If your country belongs to either of these, it is already bound by a pseudo-international copyright law.

    The only countries not parties to these two conventions probably don't care much about copyright to begin with.

    So, I don't think that an international treaty will change very much at all.
  • Copyrights are good (Score:1, Interesting)

    by alen (225700)
    They protect the creator in profiting from the art , literature or music they create. If there wasn't any copyright protection there wouldn't be any incentive to create anything. Sure some people will do it, but not on a scale like we have today.

    Some people will say that's good because 90% is pop culture and not real art. But companies that deal in intellectual property employ tens of thousands of people and create a huge amount of wealth. If there wasn't any IP protection then thousands of jobs would be lost. The idea of a starving artist or musician who creates for the love of art or music is a lie. Everyone dreams of being famous and profiting from their works.

    It seems the only people who advocate getting rid of intellectual property protections are those who have never created anything and only want to use someone else's work for their own profit. Intellectual property protections are actually good because they force people to create something better than what exists today. Patents are a perfect example. There are thousands of companies researching new technology to create products that are better and cheaper than what we have today. Without patent protection we would have to rely on the government and universities for research. And since they aren't for profit we would only get things some geek thought up in a lab and would probably have no practical use in the real world.
    • Copyright protections are NOT a bad thing in moderation - even the EFF agrees with giving a short period of time where companies or individuals can hold copyrights (14 years). Copyright has been extended so much that it might be a century before a product goes into public domain. Companies or individuals have monopilies over ideas for so long that it really kills any potential competition.
    • If there wasn't any copyright protection there wouldn't be any incentive to create anything.

      Yeah, Mozart would never have composed The Magic Flute without copyright protection. Oh, wait...

      Well, I Know Britney 'Jailbait' Spears wouldn't have done quite as well without Copyright law. Um...

      • I argue that this was a "much simpler" time. Musicians woudl not think of stealing another's work or they would recieve such scorn from the musical community they would be a veritable pariah. Attitudes have changed drastically and people would nary give "borrowing" a song or artistic idea a second thought.

        I would also point out to the /. Linux users that without intellectual property protecion the GPL would not be enforcable. While it takes a different stance on copyright protecion, it reauires intellectual property law to be effective. The OSS community will lose as much control over their creations as would the artistic community and I think we can all agree that would be a bad thing.
        • If it hadn't been for the evil hoards plagarizing his plays, they never would have been put down on paper to be read (and hated) by schoolchildren everywhere.

          (Then again, Shakespear plagarized his most of the plays attributed him..)

          Methinks someone is viewing history through rosy glasses.
        • I would also point out to the /. Linux users that without intellectual property protecion the GPL would not be enforcable.

          With reasonable IP protection, the first things put under the GPL would soon be public domain, but newer additions to the original version would still have several years of protection left.

          That would be a fair price to pay.
      • Actually, Mozart was quite thoroughly compensated for his work. The great musicians of the time were usually signed by a benefactor, generally a Lord/King/Noble of some sort, then kept on commission for producing works of art. I've forgotten who was Mozart's benefactor, but he most certainly did work for profit. This was true not just in music, but in many fields--Machiavelli, for example, was at one point patronized by the Medici family.

        As to Britney, I don't think she has been helped so much by copyright as she has by a huge marketing arm and the mindless sheep^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H^H American public, most notably the teenage male market (not to pick on the guys, see also: N*SYNC, et al.).

        In any event, allowing the artist the opportunity to make money from his art seems only right--he is creating something, the consuming public is availing itselvf of his work, why shouldn't he have that opportunity? If you choose to create and distribute for free, that's your choice--you're welcome to it (please don't come to me for support vis-a-vis welfare, however); if somebody else decides that they want to be paid for their work, why should they be prevented from doing so?

      • Yeah, Mozart would never have composed The Magic Flute without copyright protection. Oh, wait...

        He might have, and he might not have. If we can assume a world where copyright does not exist, then there's really no money that will get thrown around. When Mozard comes out with his new piece, all the conductors in Europe will shamelessly yoink a copy and get their orchestras to play it, taking the money for themselves. Now, that means that composing can only be done as a hobby.

        But then again, copyright in Mozart's time != copyright in our time. Copyright probably only extended at most ten years for Mozard, but today it's over ninty-five! No one needs a ninty-five year copyright period! As one of my friends put it: "If you're not contributing anything new in ten years, you don't deserve to be making money."

        Well, I Know Britney 'Jailbait' Spears wouldn't have done quite as well without Copyright law.

        Britnet Spears is a whore who's selling point is her breast implants. <sarcasm>I wish my mom would've gotten me implants for my sixteenth birthday</sarcasm>. People see Spears because they want get a lap dance and jack off, so her income is as secure as any porn star at your local stripper's club, and it really isn't tied to her music at all.

    • by lysurgon (126252)
      The idea of a starving artist or musician who creates for the love of art or music is a lie. Everyone dreams of being famous and profiting from their works.

      Where do you get off? I find your sweeping generalizations to be both offensively cynical and incorrect! I mean, do you actually know any artists? Meet me, I'm an artist. I mostly subsist on ramen noodles and mac and cheese. I don't want to be famous. I don't want to be rich. Please don't tell me I don't exist: my ego might not handle it. (BTW: this is also how a lot of hacker artists lives, e.g. RMS)

      It seems the only people who advocate getting rid of intellectual property protections are those who have never created anything and only want to use someone else's work for their own profit.

      Ahem... "True invention is a myth. All art is theft -- without reference and past things nothing can be created." -- Malcolm Garrett (artist, designer, look it up)

      The problem with the late trend in copyright/IP law is that it cuts out fair use, and makes the creative process one that is fraught with legality and opportunities to litigate. This is not a Good Thing. Litigation is one of the most wasteful, culture-destroying thigns in the world. As Shakespeare said, first thing to we do, we kill all the lawyers. Step one towards utopia, man.
      • The idea of a starving artist or musician who creates for the love of art or music is a lie. Everyone dreams of being famous and profiting from their works.

        Where do you get off? I find your sweeping generalizations to be both offensively cynical and incorrect!

        Me, too. I've mentioned this before, but as Allen Ginsberg said, artists don't have to make a living from their art and they don't have to create all the time. Shakespear didn't make a living writing, he made one acting. William Carlos Williams was a doctor and a poet and was very happy with that. Wallace Stevens was an insurance executive because he realized he wasn't going to make any kind of living in literature, even though he was good. It didn't stop him from writing. Only an idiot starves in a garret somewhere; the rest of us work at what we can find, and often it enriches our art by doing so.
      • Absolutely. I don't know what field lysurgon works in, but I'm a musician and sound engineer, and even as I type this I'm remastering some older works to go onto a website where they can be heard.

        And I can tell you this- perhaps sometimes I'd like to be able to afford better tools, but that is toward an end- I can IMAGINE. Bits of other people's music leave flaming trails across my imagination, leave me wanting more, wanting to say, "OK, give me something like THAT- but MORE SO!" It could be a serene beautiful melody or it could be a wall of brutal overloaded guitar, bass and drums hitting like a hammer to the head- but I'll hear it and go WHOA! Did you hear THAT? Play it again!

        And in my own music I'll want to not simply copy THAT, but to take it a step or two beyond, make it my own, as always unsatisfied with what seemed wonderful yesterday.

        It's about having an insatiable hunger for pictures in sound (or pictures in pictures, for visual artists), being able to imagine a thing and determined that the imagined thing MUST exist. Sometimes when you create it, it's not as good as you'd hoped, but so what? On to the next thing.

        Explain why I would be less hungry for the next picture in sound should there be no prospect of other people paying me to do it.

        furrfu.

    • by klaun (236494)
      Maybe they are and maybe they aren't but...

      They protect the creator in profiting from the art , literature or music they create. If there wasn't any copyright protection there wouldn't be any incentive to create anything. Sure some people will do it, but not on a scale like we have today.

      This is one argument for copyrights that's always seemed a little skewed to me. How does getting residual profit from something you've already created encourage you to create more. I mean in programming for instance, the reason most commercial code is written is because the programmer does not get residual income, but rather only gets paid while actively programming. I mean would you continue to work if your company said, 'we'll continue paying you 80k a year for this one program you've written forever." I think the scheme that will lead to people producing more is one in which they are only paid while actively creating.

      The idea of a starving artist or musician who creates for the love of art or music is a lie. Everyone dreams of being famous and profiting from their works.

      I'm glad you settled that issue for us. If the majority of artist create with the goal of being famous and wealthy than they labor under a serious misapprehension since the vast majority will never be either. The fact is the vast majority of art is never rewarded in any financial fashion whatsoever. So if only profitable art were created there would be far less of it.

      Intellectual property protections are actually good because they force people to create something better than what exists today. Patents are a perfect example. There are thousands of companies researching new technology to create products that are better and cheaper than what we have today. Without patent protection we would have to rely on the government and universities for research. And since they aren't for profit we would only get things some geek thought up in a lab and would probably have no practical use in the real world.

      Kind of sly to mix patents in with copyright since many people have very different feelings on the two things. Muddying the issue only makes your argument look weaker, especially with smearing university researchers. The problem with all your speculation is that it's of the form, if the world were exactly the same except no patents... but the world would be vastly different without a concept of intellectual property. My problem with IP is that it introduces a prior restraint upon me. If I think up a great idea without any outside influences, I can be legally restrained from using just because someone else thought of it first.

    • The idea of a starving artist or musician who creates for the love of art or music is a lie.

      How do you reconcile that with the existence of thousands of artists, including musicians, who are starving, and do create for the love of their art?

      It seems the only people who advocate getting rid of intellectual property protections are those
      who have never created anything


      False dichotomy between "people who have created something" and "people who have never created anything". EVERYONE creates stuff.

      Without patent protection we would have to rely on the government and universities for research. And since they aren't for profit we would only get things some geek thought up in a lab and would probably have no practical use in the real world.

      You can't discount academic and governmental research just because you have some sort of anti-Ivory Tower mentality. I can name about one million inventions that have come out of those institutions that cannot be dismissed as having "no practical use in the real world".

      I agree with you -- copyrights ARE good. The problem is that copyright control is increasingly being taken away from the individuals who are actually creating anything.
    • by Anonymous Coward
      I don't mean to suggest that your op-ed is without merit, but I'll clear a few points up.

      They protect the creator in profiting from the art , literature or music they create.

      Over-generalization, and in the not-too-distant future, this may be completely false. Copyrights work under authority of law. Law, however, is not absolute or omnipresent or any of those nice things we would like it to be. Over the past five years, the info-anarchists and cypherpunks have made their foot-hold, and I can only see this growing. Witness Napster and Gnutella and Morpheus and Freenet (speaking socially, not technically) and then imagine what information exchange will be like 5 or 10 or 100 or 1000 years from now. Napster wasn't popular because its tens (hundreds?) of thousands of pirating users are stupid: copyright as an institution, as it exists right now, is unpopular. And I see it remaining unpopular. Copyright laws were created when they only affected about 0.1% of the population (those who owned presses), and even that's generous I think. WIPO and even the US Congress can make all the copyright laws they like, but they are all subject to the authority of law, which is quickly decreasing. The populace will eventually have its way, and legal restrictions on information will become completely moot.

      Everyone dreams of being famous and profiting from their works.

      Over-generalization. Even if we change this to what you really mean "almost everyone dreams of being rich and famous", this isn't really a great point. While most people would like to be rich and famous, I doubt very many people sincerely believe that they will ever deserve to be rich and famous. Most people will probably believe something like "I would like to be able to raise a family, have a good home, with some pleasures here and there, and everything else is gravy." It's very possible for artists (and even a lot of them, maybe more than we have rigth now!) to meet that goal without copyright law existing in its current form.

      I know I'm anonymous, which ruins my credibility somewhat (though I'm not sure why. Why does posting under an anonymous pseudonym somehow give me credibility?), but I'm not just some stupid whiner. I've created a few lesser software packages. Freshmeat (and my FTP logs) report that I've got a fair number of downloads on my projects (totalling about 2000 over the past couple years), some of which resulted in feedback (meaning people did actually try them out). I've sent a few patches to free software projects. I've written some music. Not record-company-contract material, but enough that a couple dozen people or so have thought it be "kind of cool".

      I have the coding skills that I could easily end up as a code monkey once I get my CS degree, writing in-house (or maybe contracted) programs for an above-average salary. I'm not going to do that, though. Once I graduate, I'm going to try to get service-based work, or maybe start my own service-based business, one that doesn't depend on draconian copyright law.

      WIPO is not democratic; it does hold a lot of logal power. But I think, in the end, the populace will have its say, one way or the other. Some will turn to info-anarchy (a la Napster). Some will respect, but reject, copyright law (a la the FSF and myself). Some will turn to a hybrid of the two (a la the Freenet developers). It'll all come out in the wash :)

    • .... If there wasn't any copyright protection there wouldn't be any incentive to create anything.

      That's like saying that Ford has no incentive to create cars without protection from GM makeing them too. That belief is stupid.

      ... companies that deal in intellectual property employ tens of thousands of people ... thousands of jobs would be lost ... Everyone dreams of being famous and profiting from their works.

      Before touting the wealth and industry it creates, I wish you would go back and take a look at the American plantation masters - they created alot of wealth and industry too! (of course, while in theory anyone could own slaves - the reality was that only a tiny pertentile actually did - sound familiar?)

      It seems the only people who advocate getting rid of intellectual property protections are those who have never created anything and only want to use someone else's work for their own profit.

      Hypocrite! 99.9% of everything you know was likely copied from someone else!

      Intellectual property protections are actually good because they force people to create something better than what exists today.

      Hey, Linux seems to be getting better every day without this force - unless you want to count the GPL ;)

      Patents are a perfict example...

      Yeah they are - like the AIDS patents, and the African nations that were sued in the world court for breaking them, and the 10 million Africans who are dying of AIDS who couldn't afford the royalties.

    • You're right, copyrights are good.

      But have you looked at these news laws and treaties? They're not about copyright. We already had copyright laws. These are something new to change what people are and are not allowed to do.

      Look at how the DMCA was used. What does creating a monopoly on DVD players (which is what ther eis, when every DVD lpayer maker much get a license from a single central authority) have to do with copyright? A monopoly on a specific DVD's content, I can understand -- that's what copyright is. But where do they get off leveraging monopolies into new markets?

      Another atrocity: Why is Skylarov in jail when he didn't do anything even tangentially related to copyright violation? It wasn't even the dubious "contributory infringement." These fuckers are creating new crimes!

      And one other thing to think about: Where's the public debate? Physical property is a natural law. (We humans aren't the only ones who have it -- lions and tigers and bears have it too. Hang out in a tiger's territory if you don't believe me.) But we (society) invented IP because it serves a purpose that we want. There is dissent, but as a whole, society said Yes Please to copyright law. But these new ones -- society didn't say anything at all, except maybe, "We're not paying attention to the changes you guys are making, so it's ok to screw us."

  • I fail to see... (Score:2, Interesting)

    by toughguy (451331)
    I fail to see how this is a problem (and I'm not trying to troll). If someone is capable of claiming "rights" on some physical artifact that they created then why shouldn't someone be able to claim rights on some non-physical artifact that they created as well?

    For example, the farmer creates carrots, let's say, and has certain rights over the carrots (they belong to him, etc.) and expects to be compensated for expending the effort necessary to create the carrots. Similarly, a musician creates jazz, let's say, and has certain rights over that jazz (it belongs to him/her, etc.) and expects to be able to be compensated for expending the effort necessary to create that jazz.

    Where's the difference here? The only difference I see is that carrots have a physical manifestation which limits their ability to be easily duplicated and dispersed among a large audience. Music on the other hand, especially in our digital world, can be easily duplicated. The fact that music can be duplicated doesn't mean that the creator should give up his rights to it. If that is the case then what is the problem in passing a law which protects the creator's rights?
    • Most opponents of this (especially in this forum) are not against intellectual property rights. (In fact, many of us here are creators of such work). However, legislation like this can easily lead to uninformed courts incorrectly weighing other, more important rights against the rights of IP holders and reaching the wrong decisions. In the Skylarov case for example, Dimiri Skylarov is charged with violating the DMCA by designing and distributing software that circumvents Adobe E-book security. Dimitri is automatically in violation such as as this, and the DMCA, whether or not Adobe is using ROT13 encryption, and is clearly fradulent about claims of their products security.

      Do not confuse laws such as this with an International Copyright Law. We already have those. What this, and the DMCA are, are simply encroachments onto fair use rights.
    • by Spinality (214521)
      Similarly, a musician creates jazz, let's say, and has certain rights over that jazz (it belongs to him/her, etc.) and expects to be able to be compensated for expending the effort necessary to create that jazz. -- toughguy

      You picked an interesting example. Consider this. The essense of jazz is improvisation, of course. A cornerstone improvisation technique is quoting material from other music. Listen to any solo by a great contemporary or past improviser -- Charlie Parker, Art Tatum, Louis Armstrong, or one of today's young lions. You'll hear snatches of familiar tunes here and there, intermixed with new ideas. Great improvisors nearly always use a mix of both techniques. This type of borrowing is as old as music. "Theme and variations" is a similar cornerstone of mainstream composed music through the centuries.

      Under current copyright law, as implemented through the courts, such borrowing of themes is now ILLEGAL without permission of the composer (which is frequently not available, or prohibitively expensive). Therefore, today's jazz musicians are frequently stopped during recording sessions and told to stop quoting material from other sources. "Stop playing it the way you want to and play it the way the lawyers tell you to." The Estate of Cole Porter is particularly notorious for litigation in this regard. (Note that parody is specifically permitted under the law, so although a beautiful apropos quote from "Night and Day" is illegal, a silly parody of the same song is not.)

      So this is an example of how unending copyright protection over works written early in the last century has stifled a vital and beautiful art form of today. Does the composer deserve some kind of protection over the composed works? Clearly. But should this extend to what, for me, is an essential type of fair use? I don't think so.

      I'm sure others will provide more substantive examples; but this is one that really pisses me off.
      • Got a reference on this? It sounds urbanlegendish.

        If only that _were_ true! It would only really apply to major label, record industry sessions expected to produce a lot of money- it would be an interesting sideshow to the spectacle of an industry devouring itself.

        People often behave as though the record industry, being a big-money cartel, is the only game in town- and to an extent that's true, but developing the habit of playing IP hardball so much is a self-destructive action. Wouldn't it be interesting if you _couldn't_ produce real serious art for the record industry because the only music you could record anymore was written by committee and run through gauntlets of lawyers before release?

        Every good story has been told thousands of times, every good bit of melody echoes through history- it's HOW you tell it, HOW you play it that matters. But if every story and note is cordoned off with barbed-wire fences put up and massive lawyer onslaughts made on 'copiers', the only possible result is that the 'legal' music will just absolutely suck... because GOOD music has been done, over and over, and increasingly IP holders are gaining the ability to effectively prohibit 'copiers' from building on that foundation. Seriously, I'd love to see some reference on your claim about jazz musicians being stopped during sessions. Do you mean stopped from making derivative songs, or even more insanely, actually interrupted during soloing? Please follow up with some kind of confirmation that you're not just making this up- it is actually quite important, with huge implications for the future of the record industry. Sort of 'live by the lawyer, die by the lawyer' kind of thing. If you're correct, they'll be LEGALLY incapable of holding on to their cartel as their product quality inevitably drops to below indie-garage-musician levels. It's not that indies will get so much better- the majors will continue to get worse!

    • If someone is capable of claiming "rights" on some physical artifact that they created then why shouldn't someone be able to claim rights on some non-physical artifact that they created as well?


      If that someone charges me for access to that physical or non-physical artifact, then I should have some rights to the use of that artifact. With respect to non-physical artifacts, I have the right to, among other things, make an archival copy. The DMCA, and IIANM, this WIPO treaty proposal make the tools that would allow me to excercise my rights illegal. The DMCA and this WIPO proposal don't make it a crime to violate copyright (existing copyright law does that) but it makes exercising fair use rights illegal if the form in which the non-physical artifact is distributed puts even a nominal barrier up to fair use.

      -Craig
      • they don't make the excercise of your rights illegal. The DMCA *changes* your rights, because it directly speaks to and ammends the Copyright Act, and the subsequent (is it Title 17?) part of the US Code. It basically removes the previously established to make a copy so you can archive the original.

        On the one hand, this sucks. We've basically lost our rights because a few moronic ninnies decided to abuse it. On the ohter hand, it makes sense. in the 1970s, making a copy for archive resulted in something of inferior quality. That is no longer the case. Not that I agree with DMCA... but I see their "logic" at least (besides the obvious money-grubbing one)
    • I agree with you. It is definetly wrong to steal music, movies, etc.

      The issue is that these things get enforced improperly. Rather than punishing individual infringements (ie arrest me for having bootleg music), companies are putting protections into their works that prevent us from doing things with them that we would want to do. (I like to rip cds, make compilations, put things on my mp3 player etc)

      These anti copy protections, which prevent privacy, remove value from the products, because we can't do what we want to with them.

      Rather than punishing Napster for allowing users to share files, really the users should be punished, as they are the ones breaking the law, so that I can have the freedom to do legal things with my CDs. Unfortunatly, it doesn't pay to prosecute individual users, so the RIAA is going after the things that allow piracy.

      Its a shame really. I think if they just busted a few guys sharing music on Napster, gnutella, etc, illegal uses of said technology would drop immediatly, and the rest of us can retain the ability to do the things we want with the product we paid for.

      Instead, since corporations are in the business instead of providing value to the consumer, this just won't happen. Ever wonder why, when CDs are cheaper to produce, they cost more than cassettes?

      Captain_Frisk

    • by artdodge (9053) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:53PM (#2672989) Homepage
      The only difference I see is that carrots have a physical manifestation which limits their ability to be easily duplicated and dispersed among a large audience. Music on the other hand, especially in our digital world, can be easily duplicated.

      That's exactly the difference, and it's a big one. I think it was Ben Franklin who said that an idea is set apart from a physical commodity in that you are no way impoverished when you give it away. If I give away my carrots, I have no carrots. If I give away an idea, I still have just as much access to and use of that idea as I had before it was shared. Hence the popular "Information wants to be free" meme.

      I tend to be mistrustful of copyright in the vein of Jefferson; historically, copyright was implicitly joined to the idea of physical embodiments and copies, which allowed for a reasonably balanced approach. But when objects of copyright are trivially disembodied, and "to copy" is something that gets done internally 10 times over in the basic handling of a copyrighted work to begin with (server copies it off of disk into buffer cache; copies it from buffer cache to network stack; from network stack to ethernet card; copied over a series of store-and-forward routers; copied from client network stack to client application; copied and manipulated within client application to decode; copied to kernel buffer; copied from kernel buffer to audio card), we need to look for a new abstraction instead of "copying" on which to hang IP law.

      • While there's certainly pitfalls to treating music like software, I think there's benefits in terms of clarification of rights.

        When I buy software, I get physical media (which is becoming less and less important) and a license to use the software in certain ways. Music could be released under all sorts of different licenses - maybe in several versions at once (per client/seat, free, free-but-no-internet-sharing, etc...)

        Now here's the question: Is this a serious suggestion, or am I poking fun at how bad software licenses are? Will the idiot who's been marking all my posts as flamebait find me here?
    • I fail to see how this is a problem (and I'm not trying to troll). If someone is capable of claiming "rights" on some physical artifact that they created then why shouldn't someone be able to claim rights on some non-physical artifact that they created as well? For example, the farmer creates carrots, let's say, and has certain rights over the carrots (they belong to him, etc.) and expects to be compensated for expending the effort necessary to create the carrots.

      The farmer's rights to his carrots don't derive from the effort in creating them. His rights derive from the fact that if I take his carrots, he will no longer have carrots. If I copy a jazz CD, the original artist still has his original recording.

      I believe copyright is a good idea and does effectively encourage creative efforts. But it's important to understand that copyright has nothing to do with physical property. They're different sets of rules and should be treated as such.

    • I fail to see how this is a problem (and I'm not trying to troll). If someone is capable of claiming "rights" on some physical artifact that they created then why shouldn't someone be able to claim rights on some non-physical artifact that they created as well?

      If I buy a physical artifact, I can make a copy of my own, or take some good ideas from it and make a derivitive object. I can even do this if I only see it through the window of a store, and don't buy it. Now, this doesn't apply to all objects (ie carrots), and trademark and patent laws may prevent me from selling my object, but in its creation I haven't infringed anyone's rights.

      Just throwing a wrench in the analogy.
  • by Maul (83993) on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:30PM (#2672876) Journal
    Hate to say it, but that is basically what this is all about. Protecting artists, my ass. US Companies don't want to wait for programmers and other "DMCA Violaters" to come to the USA for conferences to throw them in jail for 25 years for providing competition to their products.


    With this, they'll be able to do it no matter where you are. Sadly, the only place where these people might be safe now is Communist China, though 25 years from now that might not be so bad considering the direction we're taking in the West.

  • This might be good. (Score:3, Interesting)

    by booch (4157) <slashdot2010@craigb u c h e k . c om> on Friday December 07, 2001 @04:33PM (#2672884) Homepage
    If the wording in the treaty truly says "composers, artists, writers" that's actually a good thing. That would give the actual artists more power over the companies that "own" the rights to their works.
    • If a corporation is a person, can a corporation be a writer?

      It sounds silly, but since many copyrights are already owned by corporations, the answer is probably yes.
      .
  • As an artist, now I have to go out of my way to say, "You can copy this however you like"? Alright, that's fine with me. I just wanna sell enough of my CDs to cover costs (or just mp3.comize them). I'll make my money doing performances - which is also much more fulfilling.

    Oh yeah, and the RIAA sucks. I'm not a member of any musicians unions either - not since SOCAN had all blank media including CDRs taxed here in Canada.
  • I don't know. (Score:2, Interesting)

    by de_boer_man (459797)
    I, for one, don't really know how to feel about this. It seems that the same laws designed to protect me (my company develops software that is protected by these laws) sometimes seem to stab me in the back (I wish the old Napster was back!).

    I seem to find myself wishing that I could select which portion of these laws and treaties that apply to me and ignore the rest.

    I doubt I am the only one that feels this way. I was angry at the RIAA and others that shut down the Napster that I knew and loved, but I was probably more angry at the people caught with millions of copies of my company's software.

    So in reality, I don't know what to think about this. I see a need to protect what people create, but I also see how this is taken way too far. Unfortunately, I have little hope that reason and sanity will come from an international group of politicians.
  • Amnesia (Score:3, Insightful)

    by SmileyBen (56580) on Friday December 07, 2001 @07:27PM (#2673931) Homepage
    Has *every* single person in the world forgotten what copyright is for?!?!?! Copyright isn't there 'to protect artists', it's there to encourage people to create stuff, and thereby expand the public domain. The point of copyright is that if people have a limited opportunity to exclusively sell their work, more people will create. It has *nothing* to do with protecting a person's 'right' (?) to monopolise and control creative output.
    • Copyright WAS there to protect artists. It failed, and we just half to get rid of it, not fix it which will likely just pawn the problem off to the next generation, but get rid of it.

      Congress is there to represent the people, it failed too. While I would like to get rid of them sometimes, I think any alternative will likely be worse. So here's what we must do, DEFY COPYRIGHTS and ATTACK the intellectual "property" of anyone who tries to impose it That we can do. We have tools like the internet, we have code like freenet and Linux. This we can do.

      When we drive enough companies into bankruptcy, and enough regular people get caught up in the storm, then things will happen. Sorry, but the WIPO and DMCA are proof that we are never going to be able to do this thru the system. If we want something done right, we are just going to half to do it ourselves!

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