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How the Obama Copyright Policies Might Unfold 188

Posted by kdawson
from the pragmatic-is-as-pragmatic-does dept.
An anonymous reader points out a column by James Boyle, who knows a thing or two about copyright, analyzing the Obama Administration's policy choices about intellectual property and high tech. "Traditionally, Democratic administrations take their copyright policy direct from Hollywood and the recording industry. Unfortunately, so do Republican administrations. The capture of regulators by the industry they regulate is nothing new, of course, but in intellectual property there is the added benefit that incumbents can frequently squelch competing technologies and business methods before they ever come into existence. ... The Obama administration's warm embrace of Silicon Valley, and Silicon Valley's checkbook, had given some hope that this pattern would change — and I think it will. Now, instead of taking copyright policy direct from the media conglomerates (who, after all, have a very legitimate point of view — even if not the only point of view) it is quite likely that the administration will construct it as a contract between content companies and high-technology companies such as Google. In some places, citizens and consumers will probably benefit, simply because optimizing for the interests of two economic blocs rather than one is likely to give us a slightly more balanced, and less technology-phobic, set of rules. And perhaps the administration will go further. But recent actions make me doubt that this is the case."
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How the Obama Copyright Policies Might Unfold

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  • Don't bet on it (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:48PM (#28415081)

    Obama was elected thanks to the media. They're the ones who refused to cover anyone except Obama, they're the ones who forced the Democratic Party to skip the part of their convention where they count delegates' votes, they're the ones who completely ignored Ron Paul's existence and went out of their way to paint McCain as a senile old man and Palin as a crazy country bumpkin.

    Obama owes the media, and you'll bet they'll collect.

    • by FudRucker (866063)
      RE:"Obama owes the media, and you'll bet they'll collect."

      more like the media p0wns Obama.
    • Re:Don't bet on it (Score:5, Insightful)

      by hedwards (940851) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:57PM (#28415475)
      That's strange a candidate who has precisely zero chance of every becoming relevant is ignored by the people that are supposed to be covering the news. If only there were some organization with the guts to cover things that nobody really cares about.

      Seriously though, what exactly entitles Ron Paul to coverage. At some point you actually have to put up a decent showing if you wish to get time on the national news, it's strange how you have to be involved in the news to make it into the news. Just because the news media has a tendency to give the right wing a free pass doesn't mean that it should.
      • Re:Don't bet on it (Score:5, Interesting)

        by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @10:05PM (#28415523)

        Seriously though, what exactly entitles Ron Paul to coverage.

        Well, clearly not getting second place in a state's presidential primary, as when that happened (Nevada) all of the news reports read "Romney first, McCain third", not mentioning the "Paul second" part anywhere. I agree Ron Paul had no chance of winning, but he got even less coverage than the others who had even less chance of winning.

        • Re:Don't bet on it (Score:5, Interesting)

          by im_thatoneguy (819432) on Monday June 22, 2009 @04:59AM (#28418553)

          Well, clearly not getting second place in a state's presidential primary, as when that happened (Nevada) all of the news reports read "Romney first, McCain third", not mentioning the "Paul second" part anywhere. I agree Ron Paul had no chance of winning, but he got even less coverage than the others who had even less chance of winning.

          Maybe because your story isn't true?

          I just Googled Nevada GOP Primary. Clicked the first news story http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/22739349/ [msn.com]

          Headline is:
          Clinton, Romney win in Nevada
          Texas' Paul to finish second in state's GOP caucuses

          They don't talk much about Ron Paul in the story. Probably because he got the same number of caucus seats as McCain. So although McCain got third he actually in effect tied for second. And since Ron Paul was currently polling in the low single digits there was no reason to believe it was anything other than a fluke in an unimportant caucus won by the guy who came in third place in the end anyway. And take one look at Rudy Giuliani. If the media was to be believed then he was a shoe in. So if Huckabee could go from obscure to competitive second then there is no reason Ron Paul couldn't have as well despite minimal media coverage. The simple fact of the matter is most people think Ron Paul is a nut job because he advocates things they don't believe in nor want to vote for.

    • Re:Don't bet on it (Score:4, Insightful)

      by cK-Gunslinger (443452) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @11:17PM (#28416031) Journal

      .. went out of their way to paint McCain as a senile old man and Palin as a crazy country bumpkin.

      If by "went out of thier way," you meant "turned the cameras on and stepped back," then I agree with you completely. You can't blame everything on the media, the dancing monkeys on TV performed their act as well.

    • by MobyDisk (75490)

      went out of their way to paint McCain as a senile old man and Palin as a crazy country bumpkin.

      I dislike the RIAA ties as much as any slashdotter, and I voted for RP in the primary, but really... this part really wasn't difficult.

    • Tada. That's the truth.

      .

      Obama got Silicon valley's checkbook because of Pelosi. It's a Cali thing.

      Obama hands down had huge support from Hollywood and considering he's been to SoCal two times already for fund-raising events since Jan says a lot. How many times has he been to the valley since the election?

      The only reason he's into technology is because his teleprompters and [mainly] his Blackberry. Otherwise, he, as any typical lawyer, would care less about tech.

    • by DinDaddy (1168147)

      and went out of their way to paint McCain as a senile old man and Palin as a crazy country bumpkin.

      Agree on McCain, but I think that was the factory paint job on Palin.

  • by FudRucker (866063) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:50PM (#28415087)
    meet the new boss, same as the old boss...
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:54PM (#28415111)
      Come now. If you're going to be "same as the old boss"ing the Obama administration, you can do better:

      The more things change, the more they stay the same!

      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by Anonymous Coward
        I disagree with the premise, but agree with the implication. How am I supposed to moderate this comment?
        • by gringer (252588)

          You are supposed to moderate on the insight, thought, or humor in the comment, rather than whether or not you agree with the comment.

    • by fm6 (162816) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:57PM (#28415477) Homepage Journal

      Cynical fatalism sure does make life easier. Not only does it justify your self-absorbed lifestyle, it allows you to have an opinion on every issue without the nasty bother of reading or thinking!

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by lorenlal (164133)

        ..it allows you to have an opinion on every issue without the nasty bother of reading or thinking!

        Excuse me... This is Slashdot. We barely read the summaries before hitting the comments. I doubt most of us read outside of that. Unless it has something to do with source code.

      • "Cynicism is a sorry kind of wisdom" -- Barack Obama
      • Cynical fatalism also makes it easier to dismiss your viewpoint when making decisions, since you're completely resigned to the fate of being dismissed.

  • Legitimate? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by DoofusOfDeath (636671) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:54PM (#28415107)

    from the media conglomerates (who, after all, have a very legitimate point of view â" even if not the only point of view)

    It the MPAA/RIAA have a legitimate point of view, then I can barely comprehend what illegitimate is.

    They have paid for legislation and administration policy. To want your paid-for laws to be enforced is not a "legitimate point of view".

    • Re:Legitimate? (Score:4, Insightful)

      by schon (31600) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @08:56PM (#28415117)

      It the MPAA/RIAA have a legitimate point of view, then I can barely comprehend what illegitimate is.

      My thoughts exactly. I have no idea how this guy thinks that "we should be able to rape the Public Domain, but nothing we have can ever enter into it, and nobody has any fair use rights" could possibly be considered "legitimate".

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by japhering (564929)

        It the MPAA/RIAA have a legitimate point of view, then I can barely comprehend what illegitimate is.

        My thoughts exactly. I have no idea how this guy thinks that "we should be able to rape the Public Domain, but nothing we have can ever enter into it, and nobody has any fair use rights" could possibly be considered "legitimate".
        --

        As one of my graduate school professors was quite fond of saying... "If you are in the IP business, you are in the litigation business!"

        What this means is that any Intellectual Pro

    • Re:Legitimate? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:21PM (#28415281) Journal
      It is a legitimate point of view from a political science point of view: they have their desire, which is essentially to be able to make money from each copy of whatever they made, and have complete control over it. Others (especially around here) have the desire to be able to take their creations and use it any way they want, without paying them at all. Both are legitimate, real desires.

      Politics isn't about deciding who is right and who is wrong, it is about finding a compromise, or workable solution between two conflicting parties. In this case, the compromise is likely to be reduced copyright durations, and expanded fair use. Downloading music for free, as a lot of people want, is not likely to ever be legalized. The RIAA will not disappear until artists stop using their services, which may happen one day.
      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by bertoelcon (1557907)

        Politics isn't about deciding who is right and who is wrong, it is about finding a compromise, or workable solution between two conflicting parties. In this case, the compromise is likely to be reduced copyright durations, and expanded fair use. Downloading music for free, as a lot of people want, is not likely to ever be legalized. The RIAA will not disappear until artists stop using their services, which may happen one day.

        Compromises only work if both sides have equal say, and no one is allowed to bribe the mediator.

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          As if money were the only form of power in a democracy.

          Hint: we are the government, we are the mediator. If you let the RIAA bribe the mediator, it is your own stupid fault (along with that of 200 million other citizens).
          • Re:Legitimate? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by lorenlal (164133) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @11:08PM (#28415913)

            As if money were the only form of power in a democracy.

            Hint: we are the government, we are the mediator. If you let the RIAA bribe the mediator, it is your own stupid fault (along with that of 200 million other citizens).

            Oh ho ho ho! Now THAT's something!

            If we elect someone thinking that they're "good and honest" folks, and they turn around and act like the typical asshat that we're much more familiar with, I'll point the blame at that asshat first. Now, if that asshat gets re-elected, I'm totally with you. The idiots who vote and proclaim "Thank you! May I have another!" would certainly be at fault in that case.

            Point is: When electing someone, we can only take our best guess and choose from those of us who decide to run for the public office. It's kinda like a lengthened interview. I've been tricked in interviews... But I learned from those mistakes (after cleaning them out the best I can), and I've done my best to get better. Likewise, I've been tricked by my elected officials. It happens. But, that's why we're supposed to pay attention and make sure we don't repeat those mistakes.

            This also (not coincidentally) happens to be a major reason I hate the political party setup in the US. People tend to get used to voting for one side or another... and they tend not to hold those they vote for accountable for the BS they pull. It's also why I beg and plead with people to vote on more than just an affiliation... But that's a battle I'm going to lose for a long time.

            • This also (not coincidentally) happens to be a major reason I hate the political party setup in the US. People tend to get used to voting for one side or another... and they tend not to hold those they vote for accountable for the BS they pull. It's also why I beg and plead with people to vote on more than just an affiliation... But that's a battle I'm going to lose for a long time.

              Agreed, I am with you on this one. People are getting smarter though. If you compare the typical political savvyness of a citizen now to that 50 years ago, it is much higher.

              And honestly, if it bothered me enough, I would do something to get out and educate people, but I am too lazy, so I take the blame partially on that one.

      • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward

        I don't think it should be the role of politics to find a compromise between two positions, one of them being completely abusive and unreasonable and the other one being, well, rather common sense.

        So if you have a child abusing lobby and a parents association would it still make any sense to find a compromise between the two?

        Politics damn well have the responsibility to also make decisions about right and wrong, otherwise how could laws be made if it wasn't so? Laws are the essential way of saying this or t

        • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

          by phantomfive (622387)
          You bring up an interesting point, but laws are the way of codifying the will of the people, not always in a fair way. Sometimes one portion of the people enforces its will on another part. It's unfortunately not fair.

          Who is to say what is right and what is not right? God? Preachers? You? The presidents? Society? What happens if 95% of the people in a society decide that it's alright to abuse children? It's not nice to the children, but it would be accepted, regardless of the parents' association.
      • Re:Legitimate? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by bennomatic (691188) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @10:50PM (#28415807) Homepage
        Very good comment. One additional point to throw in about the RIAA's desires is that they want to be sure that all music has some cost (and therefore, value) associated with it. If all of a sudden, the best selling albums and singles become public domain, the record companies will have to work 10x as hard to compete against freely available music which is arguably of better quality than the tripe they're serving up.

        It reminds me of the scene in the Grapes of Wrath where poor, starving farm workers tried to take some imperfect (i.e. not good enough for market, but totally edible) fruits from a farm's dump and they called in the national guard. If they can eat my garbage for free, the thought was, why would they ever pay for the "market quality" stuff?

        So let's play this out a little bit. Let's say we drop the copyrights on everything over 17 years old. All of a sudden, everything older than Third Eye Blind is free. The majority of Metallica music. U2, Madonna, Pink Floyd, Paula Abdul... Jefferson Starship, Beatles, the list goes on. Anything recorded by Casals, most of Pavarotti's records... How many people would say, "I've got a lifetime of music to wade through that's free. Why would I buy this top-40 crap for even a dollar?"

        Unless, of course, they actually turn out some product that's better than Britney. I'm not saying that there's no good music these days, but I'm saying that most of the pop stuff they put out now would have a hard time competing against a practically infinite supply of free music.
        • There's still the tweens market that would keep them afloat.

      • Re:Legitimate? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by EdIII (1114411) * on Monday June 22, 2009 @02:46AM (#28417673)

        have complete control over it

        I think that is the crux of the problem right there.

        IMO, reasonable people would interpret that to mean they have complete control over distribution, licensing, and profits derived from such activities from their copyrighted works. I have no problem with that. I BELIEVE in copyrights. Not as they exist now, but the idea of what a copyright is and provides, is beneficial to society. I think everything should be 20 years. Or 25, 17, whatever. Not 75 years, or the lifetime of anyone plus anything.

        The RIAA, Big Media, and *especially* SONY (rootkit), interpret that to mean complete control over how and when their customers enjoy their works. I myself think, and that most reasonable people, would think that is an unreasonable and unethical position to take.

        Does Tyson tell you how to cook your chicken? How to cut it? Does Shake-n-Bake mandate exactly 6 shakes? Does Toyota tell you that your Prius can only be driven in the Southwest U.S?

        Why do we put up with the idea that after, most importantly AFTER, we give our money to these companies that they get to control us in any way shape or form? That is not normal. That expectation is not realistic or even what a normal person has ever expected.

        What these companies are fighting so hard for is something we would have never agreed to in the first place, and is certainly not in society's best interest. Their purported* financial best interests, but not our society's, or freedom for that matter.

        * - That is not even certain. I don't believe that an instance of piracy equals a lost sale. I think if piracy stopped completely tomorrow that CD sales would rise marginally. A few percentage points. Not year over year multi-digit gains. The business models have to change. Like or not, music is a 99c world and albums just don't sell for 20$+ like they used to. They are panicking and desperate, if not suicidal. It reminds me when aluminum was worth more than gold, and then suddenly was worth less than 1c on the dollar. My concern is that they seem hell bent on destroying our freedoms, destroying copyrights, and basically making life a living hell till they finally die.

      • The RIAA will not disappear until artists stop using their services, which may happen one day.

        I would put that day at about 90 years after the last artist stops using their services. If they don't get another extension by then.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by maxume (22995)

      It comes down to how you define legitimate. If laws are for sale, shouldn't the people buying them expect that they will be enforced?

      • Re:Legitimate? (Score:4, Insightful)

        by bennomatic (691188) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @10:54PM (#28415831) Homepage
        Of course, the quote doesn't say that the laws are legitimate; only the perspective. It's perfectly fine for me to say, I want you to work for me for $0.02/hour, and it's legitimate for you to say, no, a fair wage is $30/hour for what your doing.

        Of course--and I think this is what you are getting at--when one side has the power to buy laws to enforce their desires over less-well-enfranchised parties, then the making of those laws should not be considered legitimate.
        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by maxume (22995)

          Right. People often complain that such and such a system is bankrupt and then propose as a solution a rule, within the system, that the system cannot be bankrupt. It is a hopeless pursuit.

    • It the MPAA/RIAA have a legitimate point of view, then I can barely comprehend what illegitimate is.

      One can hope that we'll continue to keep the pressure on until Federal policies begin to align with something approaching a workable consensus. Faint hope perhaps, but it keeps me going.

      There has to be some plateau when a balance can be struck where we can abjure both the trading of works that aren't ours to trade, and the egregious, obscene litigation history of the RIAA with their $1.9M judgement against a poor, naiive mother who walked into an open candy store.

      A new business model has to arise from the

  • Obama's Copyright Policies? All Copyright belongs to the Federal Govt. Next up, Mr. Conway Twitty!
  • by Adrian Lopez (2615) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:08PM (#28415189) Homepage

    Barack Obama has decided that copyright issues are a matter of national security [slashdot.org], and has appointed a number of former RIAA lawyers [wired.com] to various positions in his administration. I think it's pretty clear whose side Obama is on, and it does not bode well for the future of the Internet.

    Obama: Change you can believe in. It won't happen, but you sure can believe in it.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by maxume (22995)

      Yeah, lawyers are well known for not being in any way mercenary. Or something.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Mithyx (1532655)
        Lawyers do the best job they can for who they work for, otherwise they're not good lawyers. Just because a lawyer defends a serial killer, that doesn't mean they believe that what the killer did was right. I'm not saying they won't side with the RIAA, just that their previous employers might not have as much to do with their position in the matter as some people think.
        • In fact, lawyers have a legal responsibility to defend their client's interests to the best of their ability. I'm not concerned about Obama's appointees acting against the interests of the Obama administration. Instead, I am concerned about what Obama's picks say about the Obama administration's own goals.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by QuantumG (50515) *

      Change you can believe in. It won't happen, but you sure can believe in it.

      That's what I call Christian Values.

    • by Abcd1234 (188840) on Monday June 22, 2009 @12:06AM (#28416523) Homepage

      Barack Obama has decided that copyright issues are a matter of national security [slashdot.org], and has appointed a number of former RIAA lawyers [wired.com] to various positions in his administration.

      Yes... god forbid teh ev1l goverment should hire people familiar with copyright law to work in the justice department...

      FYI: lawyers defend who they're paid to defend, and prosecute who they're paid to prosecute. That's their job. Just because they worked for the RIAA, doesn't mean they are, by default, shills for the media conglomerates.

  • by phantomfive (622387) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:09PM (#28415199) Journal
    Government moves slow, which is probably a good thing.

    In the case of copyright, it has only been in the past few years that normal people have even cared about copyright. Up until now, it's mainly been an issue between creators, authors, musicians, performers, and publishers. And they've had some pretty riotous fights about it. For the average citizen, who feels it's pretty good for a musician or author to be compensated for his work, and it seemed reasonable to allow longer copyrights. Better the artist (or his chosen publisher) be compensated for their work, rather than some random publisher who had nothing to do with it. In general people favor giving an artist control of their creations.

    In the last 20 years, it's become more of an issue because anyone can make copies of songs, and the average person can easily get the equipment to reuse the work and make something new and creative from it. For us who are on the edge of the technological wave, it is obvious that there are problems with copyright, and we have some ideas about what the solutions should be.

    The average person, on the other hand, has no idea what the issues are, hasn't really thought about them, and the government tends to be even slower than the average person. So it isn't that Obama (or Bush) is in the pocket of the RIAA, in fact, if you look at his campaign contributions, they are probably just a small portion.

    Ask your non-technical neighbors or family members what they think of copyright. They will probably think that it is a good thing, even if they pirate songs themselves. They just haven't thought of all the issues.
    • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:27PM (#28415313)
      I would go even further. Even as a CS undergrad at one of the top CS universities in the US, I still know very few people who even know what copyright is. Sure, they are vaguely aware that laws exist saying you shouldn't copy music/movies and they have seen the FBI warnings on movies, but they have no idea what is legal or not. That is why there are tons of videos on YouTube with unlicensed music in the background or unlicensed photos: the vast majority of those people would probably be very surprised to learn they broke a law by using that music or those photos.
      • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

        by hedwards (940851)
        Copyright? Isn't that the result of using the right shift operator?
      • Yep, you can certainly count me as one of those idiots then. I certainly had no idea that the doctrine of "Fair Use" had been abolished, and that the two minutes home video clip of a baby dancing to the low-quality rendering of a commercial song would constitute copyright infringement.
    • by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:36PM (#28415361) Homepage Journal

      In general people favor giving an artist control of their creations.

      In general people are apathetic about a law that doesn't touch their lives.. until it does touch their lives.. and then they proclaim how completely unfair it is. In the case of copyright, they're right.

      • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

        by phantomfive (622387)
        And that is ok with me. In general, laws should be decided in consideration of the people whose lives they DO touch; just as I have no particular say or interest in what laws are created in Ohio. If I ever move to Ohio, it will be a different story. Of course there are exceptions to this (for example, in the case of slavery it was probably a good idea to force the south to give up their slaves), but since for most of history copyright has mainly only affected artists and publishers, it is reasonable that
      • It's not really unfair so much as unjust in its judgements.

        If I get busted for having illegal music on my hard drive I think it would be fair to get charged 2x the going rate for the music or maybe $300, whichever is lower like a speeding ticket. "You got me!"

        If I park my car an extra 30 minutes on the street after the meter expires I think it's fair that I get charged a $20 ticket.

        I have no problem with the idea of it being illegal and punishable. What I do have a problem with is $1.9m settlements for 24

    • by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday June 22, 2009 @01:01AM (#28416975)

      Government moves slow, which is probably a good thing.

      We are used to government moving slow, because until now it's been regulated by two parties with different goals slowing each other down.

      When the Democrats were elected to control essentially two branches of government and neutralize the third, we removed all governing forces keeping government moving slow. Government is now free to grow unchecked, at any rate desired. That's how you got an almost order of magnitude increase in the federal deficit in the first month of a new president. That was of course before any of the other multi-trillion dollar projects come up and get added to the grand total.

      That was really the singular reason to vote for McCain to the exclusion of all others good and bad, but the independents who voted for Obama blew it when they could not grasp this fundamental concept (control of the house and senate was never really in question). Never let one party hold all the marbles, it's like crossing the streams...

      • by Toonol (1057698)
        I'm not positive, but I anticipate a backlash against the Democrats in the 2010 elections for just this reason. I doubt it will be large enough to shift the balance, though. It almost seems like the Democrats are anticipating their period of ascendancy to be short, with the pace at which they are creating new laws, and reshaping our institutions and economy. I wish the Republicans had cut, trimmed, and scaled back as enthusiastically when they had total control... but they were too drunk on money and pow
      • by rsborg (111459)

        When the Democrats were elected to control essentially two branches of government and neutralize the third, we removed all governing forces keeping government moving slow. Government is now free to grow unchecked, at any rate desired. That's how you got an almost order of magnitude increase in the federal deficit in the first month of a new president. That was of course before any of the other multi-trillion dollar projects come up and get added to the grand total.

        Gee, I wonder if your arguement could be ap

        • Gee, I wonder if your arguement could be applied to the Republicans circa 2002.

          Yes, which is why the Democrats were given power the next election cycle.

          Only as bad as Republicans were, Democrats are 10x worse [pajamasmedia.com].

          That's why you can't let either of them have control of everything. The hell of it is that at this rate the Democrats are going to hand the whole bag of marbles over to the Republicans and while as stated it's not as bad, it's still much worse than when there is a mix.

  • Political thought (Score:5, Insightful)

    by QuantumG (50515) * <qg@biodome.org> on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:19PM (#28415259) Homepage Journal

    "Gee, how can I piss off a bunch of rich and powerful people.. I know, I'll take away their special rights to a government granted monopoly, that sounds like a great idea!"

    • Actually, that's the way European political systems seem, or at least that's the way they seem to work to a timid Yankee observer like myself.

      it seems like the European and UK systems work where they try to placate the rich and the poor equally(and pissing off both equally too) knowing both are possible registered voters, rather than trying to suck up to the obscenely rich in cynical attempts to pull off political victories during election seasons using smarmy scummy advertising.

      I'm sure hoping Obama's list

      • by QuantumG (50515) *

        Do the rich in Europe run tv spots to encourage voters to turn out and support candidates that back their pet cause? Does that mean the opposing candidate has to run a campaign to keep voters focused on the real issues, or just to explain the legitimate reasons why he/she may not be backing the pet cause? Because that's the kinda shit that happens in the US.. and is why politics is so monetized there.

  • by erroneus (253617) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @09:58PM (#28415489) Homepage

    When was the last time anything fell into the public domain? That has to change before I will sit up and take notice of any positive changes. These days, if they didn't make their money in the first five years, any given work is nearly dead -- especially movies. Copyright terms need to be seriously shortened by default and let there be some sort of copyright appeals process if it can be shown that they didn't get adequate return on investment.

    • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @10:18PM (#28415611)
      And games, and things with regional lockout. Today, there is no reason with the rise of digital distribution that there shouldn't be 20 year copyright along with a clause that states that if the item is no longer available new, in your region for 3 years you have a right to download it for non-profit, non-commercial use. You only need to look at all the old video games that have passed into obscurity to notice the need for such laws, without the illegal dumping of ROMs a vast majority of early gaming would be completely lost forever.
    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      > These days, if they didn't make their money in the first five years, any given work is nearly dead -- especially movies.

      No... not really. This was the feeling during the studio system of Hollywood. It's not really true today. There are many titles (and not all ones you'd think of like Star Wars) that are making money years and years down the road. As a matter of fact, if I remember by college film studies correctly... there are very few titles that done *eventually* make their money back. In the U

      • by japhering (564929) on Sunday June 21, 2009 @10:46PM (#28415791)

        I think copyright has to accommodate this somewhat. However I agree with the parent's point... they are not falling into Public Domain at all these days and that should be corrected.

        I would say the system is definitely broken, when copyright for a work belonging to an individual is 75 years after death and belonging to a corporation is 100 years.

        Next time you are in Europe look at how many Disney characters are used all over the place.. Disney messed up and didn't get copyright extended in Europe before Mickey and Minnie hit 50 years and if I recall correctly, a few other characters escaped into the public domain before the EU changed the copyright to match the US limits.

        Personal opinion, NO copyright should extend past the death of the artist.

        • Seconded. Do I hear a third?

        • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

          I agree with one exception. I think copyright should be a fixed term, not relative to a person's death. I think we should just promise them a fixed period of protection, and if it goes past their death, and ends up paying into their kids pockets, then that's their business.

          • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

            by Toonol (1057698)
            I agree. I wouldn't mind something like a flat twenty years. Artist dies, it goes to their heirs, for the duration. I also wouldn't mind something like 10 years + an optional renewal, but the less complicated the better.

            I want to keep copyright, and I wouldn't want it to be extremely shortened... there really are some creative works that languish for several years before becoming hits. But if the duration was twenty years... hell, Pac-Man would be public domain now. Lord of the Rings. Indiana Jones
        • by johannesg (664142)

          Next time you are in Europe look at how many Disney characters are used all over the place..

          Err... Pretty much none? Do you have a specific country in mind for this? Because it certainly isn't happening where I live...

          Besides, aren't the disney characters protected by trademark?

          • by japhering (564929)

            Err... Pretty much none? Do you have a specific country in mind for this? Because it certainly isn't happening where I live...

            Just realized how long ago that was.. last time I was in Germany, Austria and the Netherlands in 1994-95... Mickey and Minnie were hocking all sorts of non-disney stuff

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by MarionGropen (1286682)

      When was the last time anything fell into the public domain?

      Yesterday -- all the works of anyone who died on June 21, 1939 became public domain then.

  • I know there are lots of left-leaning people here on slashdot, and understand the moral calling they feel. But it pains me every time I see an issue like net neutrality come up and people are demanding that the politicians intervene and regulate. We beg the politicians to enslave us and to take power they shouldn't (and don't) legally have. In the end, everything we give them is abused. It's expansive government regulation that helps cartels like the RIAA to remain in operation. Instead of fostering econom
  • sits on the boards of both Apple and Google, it would be difficult to over estimate his influence within the Democratic party.
  • 1) accept bribe^H^H^H^H^H donation from corporate backers
    2) do their bidding
    3) profit!

    Until political funding can be prised from the grip of the oligarcy of the rich, that's how it will stay. What's sad is it has been that way so long, hardly anybody perceives it as immoral anymore.

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