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Alternative 2009 Copyright Expirations 427

Posted by kdawson
from the world-of-what-if dept.
jrincayc writes "It's nearly the end of 2009. If the 1790 copyright maximum term of 28 years was still in effect, everything that had been published by 1981 would be now be in the public domain — like the original Ultima and God Emperor of Dune — and would be available for remixing and mashing up. If the 1909 copyright maximum term of 56 years (if renewed) were still in force, everything published by 1953 would now be in the public domain, freeing The City and the Stars and Forbidden Planet. If the 1976 copyright act term of 75* years (* it's complicated) still applied, everything published by 1934 would now be in the public domain, including Murder on the Orient Express. But thanks to the Sonny Bono Copyright Term Extension Act, nothing in the US will go free until 2018, when 1923 works expire." Assuming Congress doesn't step in with a Copyright Extension Act of 2017. What are the odds?
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Alternative 2009 Copyright Expirations

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  • by Thanshin (1188877) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:06AM (#30521430)

    I give you a prediction:

    New law - Copyright doesn't expire.
    Consequences - Not enough people care and life goes on.

  • Sickening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mirix (1649853) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:10AM (#30521450)
    I vomit a little bit when I think about the state of copyright. Surely this is advancing the collective cultural repository?
  • Ridiculous (Score:4, Insightful)

    by tylerni7 (944579) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:10AM (#30521452) Homepage
    I think this graph [wikipedia.org] in the wiki links sums the problem up nicely.

    These copyright extensions are simply ridiculous. It's pretty obvious that the copyrights are going to continue being extended indefinitely, even though this clearly wasn't the original purpose of our IP laws. What gives?
  • by bl968 (190792) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:18AM (#30521490) Journal

    It can't happen without amending the U.S. Constitution.

    To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries; -
    Article 1, Section 8, Clause 8

    The key word there is limited time. The problem has arisen is that the courts have defined limited as anything short of forever, and I think it stretches the Constitution beyond all meaning. Originally you could register a copyright for 7 years, and renew it one time for another 7. This was when shipping between cities could take weeks, and to cross continents could take years. With modern distribution copyright durations should be decreasing not increasing. Copyright was never intended to be a life time income source, and it definitely was not intended to cover heirs.

  • by Afforess (1310263) <afforess@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:20AM (#30521500) Journal
    The next copyright extension will be by 2023. Why? Because that's when the Walt Disney Corp will lose it's copyright on Mickey Mouse [wikipedia.org]. And there is no way they would ever willingly lose their symbol. Walt Disney is the largest lobbying force in the Copyright Term Extensions, primarily because of all their older, but well recognized artistic works.

    Politicians, from both parties, are easily purchased to vote for Copyright laws. Copyright laws appeal to both Democrats and Republican lawmakers. Democrats, because by keeping copyright laws in effect makes them seem like they are protecting the (copy) "rights" of the people, making their constituents happy. Republicans, because by keeping copyright laws in effect makes them seem like they are protecting the rights of business, making their constituents happy. And when both parties agree... everyone loses.

    The biggest problem with copyrights though isn't that it is becoming such a big political issue, at least with some groups of people, or that it is easy to "presuade" lawmakers to side with the copyright holders; it's that Copyright laws are merely a symptom of the disease. Simply rolling copyright laws back to 1790 levels would only be a temporary solution. That fix would be repealed within the decade. The voters need to completely re-shape the political atmosphere of America, perhaps removing the 2 party system entirely (5 political parties, anyone?), or at least reforming the political parties so that Special Interests have much less of a say on future laws and bills. But if we only see more of the same, I expect to eventually see copyrights last an "indetermined" amount of time. Your great-grand-children may live to see the Mickey Mouse copyright expire...maybe.
  • Meh (Score:4, Insightful)

    by kjart (941720) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:25AM (#30521522)
    I have a hard time getting excited about this. Whether copyright expired in 1, 10 or 100 years, people would still violate it, whether it be by torrent or some other means of sharing. Copyright infringement has taken the same character as speeding to many people: while people get caught and fined, almost everyone does it to some degree or another, and almost nobody feels guilty about doing so.
  • by mirix (1649853) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:29AM (#30521542)
    I too, would enjoy a license to print money. Can I get the exemption?
  • by mpe (36238) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:38AM (#30521578)
    A simple way around this is to allow Disney to keep Mickey, you do this by creating a new class of limited rights for National Icons.

    Or Disney (TM) could trademark everything to do with Mickey Mouse(TM) in the same way that Paramount (TM) treats everything to do with Star Trek (TM).
  • by bl968 (190792) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:39AM (#30521584) Journal

    Not really, it would fall under the commerce clause.

    To regulate commerce with foreign nations, and among the several states, and with the Indian tribes; - Article 1, Section 8, Clause 3

    While copyright was limited, a new intellectual property status called "National Icon" would not be directly limited by the Constitution. The idea is if Disney is going to continue to use their money and political influence to craft legislation to suppress the progress of all the Arts and Sciences (extend all copyrights) in order to protect their interest in Mickey Mouse, separate it out!

  • by dryo (989455) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:46AM (#30521606)
    It's a well-known fact that the limit of US copyright is always at least the age of Mickey Mouse plus one year. It's kind like Moore's Law for copyright attorneys.
  • Re:Meh (Score:1, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @04:56AM (#30521650)

    So..... by extension you are saying that we shouldn't bother making laws at all since people will break them anyway?

    The point here is not if people will break copyrights but when we can stop worrying about doing so. There is a big difference between being able to use 100 year old or 10 year old work without any legal worries.

  • by BitZtream (692029) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:03AM (#30521682)

    No they aren't, their firewalled from accessing our news sites cause they talk bad about the Chinese government.

  • by DNS-and-BIND (461968) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:07AM (#30521716) Homepage
    Well, what do you expect? That is the state of creatives in the year 2010. They honestly can not think of anything new, and only plunder the past for its riches. Can you imagine a cultural and artistic flowering like the 60s in our current age? Hell, even establishment stooges like Perry Como or Frank Sinatra seem like cutting-edge innovators compared to Lady Gaga or Alicia Keys.
  • Re:Sickening (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:25AM (#30521800)

    And of course good ol' Walt never would have created Mickey Mouse if he'd not known that down the line the brave souls at the company that carries his legacy would fight the good fight and get copyright extended from that extra 20 years!

    Seriously - there is no justification for extension of copyright being retroactive. People aren't going to be motivated to retroactively create new old works...

  • by cboslin (1532787) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:27AM (#30521810) Homepage

    It's pretty obvious really. The whole point of copyright was to enable the creator to benefit commercially from their artwork for a limited period so that they would have an income and be able to continue producing works that enrich/entertain society. As distribution has become quicker and quicker, the time needed for an artist to commercially exploit their work has decreased and therefore the time period for which copyright applies ought to be shorter, not longer, than in the past.

    What has happened instead is that time periods have been extended, more and more money has been made, which has concentrated the means of distribution into fewer hands, with the net effect of decreasing the amount of art (music, literature etc.) that is widely available. This is now starting to change with digital distribution, although it's quite clear that DRM is not about preventing the pirating of works (because it doesn't stop commercial pirates) but is about maintaining a barrier to entry into the market.

    Great post, simple to the point.

    Another reason to DENY companies person-hood

    What in the constitution allows a company to buy the rights from a person and continue them in force as if they are a person?

    Everything we need to fix problems with corporations are in the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. If we really are a nation of laws, its time to start enforcing them.

    Even Presidents must NOT be above the law!

    To not enforce laws ensures their continued abuse. I do not think that this is what our founding fathers had in mind!

  • Re:Sickening (Score:5, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:28AM (#30521814) Homepage

    No. We're now in a situation where copyright extends well beyond the likely lifetime of the creator(s) of the work in questions. Endlessly extending copyright causes a net decrease in the amount of books/music/etc. available, here's why:

    Long copyright terms have made music and literature into big business and concentrated the means of production and distribution into the hands of mega-corporations who get to decide what is published and what isn't. Long terms encourage companies to exploit their back catalogue ad nauseam rather than constantly seeking out new talent because they know that within [less than a decade | whatever short time period] all of their current catalogue would be valueless. Musicians only have to produce a couple of hit singles to be made for life, and then they can churn out mindless 'concept' albums that no-one really wants to hear. Conversely, manufactured bands can record covers of hits from 10 years ago, and because the big corps control the market, you end up with shops saturated with music that's already been sold ten times over (unless, apparently, you buy Rage Against the Machine).

    If copyright terms were short, amateur musicians like me could record covers of hits from 10 years ago and enjoy the pleasure of recording and giving away music or distributing for free / cheap online. Why should I not be able to record a cover version of a song that's been sitting in a record label's back catalogue and hasn't seen the light of day for 40 years? Compare this to the software market, where software from as recently as the 1980s is being perceived as 'abandonware' and available for download online on the premise that the copyright is owned by companies that no longer exist and therefore no-one will challenge it.

    The point is, copyright per se is a good thing, but the never-ending extension of its terms is definitely bad. It's now well over the the line from stimulating creativity to just lining the pockets of the already very-rich, and the way that the market is set up makes it very difficult for small-time artists to make a dent.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:34AM (#30521846) Homepage

    Ahh yes, in the good old days people weren't influenced by others in their activities. While you're at it, also point out that in the past youth wasn't on the road of moral and intellectual demise that will doom our civilization.

  • Re:Fair Copyright (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:37AM (#30521852)

    With your idea open source dies.

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:38AM (#30521858)

    We're not going to have more than two parties until we change the way we vote. Our simple plurality voting [wikipedia.org] system naturally leads to [wikipedia.org] a two-party steady state system as surely an electron orbiting a proton leads to a hydrogen atom in the ground state. No amount of imploring, scolding, pleading or whining will change that reality.

    If you really want more diverse representation, change the way we vote. Granted, a perfect voting system is impossible [wikipedia.org], but we can far better [wikipedia.org] than the system we have today.

    That said, I'm not sure that adding political parties will necessary end corruption. After all, the British have a multi-party proportional system and still ended up with Tony Blair and Darth Mandelson [guardian.co.uk]. Corruption is a different problem, and is best fought by an enthusiastic and educated public demanding sunshine laws and public campaign financing.

  • by JumperCable (673155) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:41AM (#30521870)

    Then the answer is simple. We must culturally kill Mikey.

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:45AM (#30521886)

    Another reason to DENY companies person-hood

    You're focusing on the wrong problem. The issue isn't corporate personhood, but rather with certain legal persons (natural or corporate) having too much power. It really isn't any better for the person "J.P. Morgan" to be able to buy a congressman than it is for company "J.P. Morgan Chase" to be able to do the same thing.

    Changing some arcane corporate classification don't help a damned thing.

    What will help is limiting how influential a single person can be. Limit the maximum size of corporations. Institute a super-progressive income tax that asymptotically approaches 100% as you reach, say, the 99th percentile of the population.

    No man on earth is worth FOUR BILLION [wikipedia.org] times that of another human being, no matter who is he or what he's done.

  • by Kjella (173770) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @05:49AM (#30521920) Homepage

    SCOTUS responded "On paper, it is limited - we don't care if Congress keeps changing the limit."

    While I disagree with the decision, it's not QUITE the same thing as "[we] couldn't give a shit what the constitution says."

    If limited can mean "until the sun burns out", you have effectively stricken "for limited times" from the constitution. If you can play with words like that, it's worth less than toilet paper.

  • by Genda (560240) <marietNO@SPAMgot.net> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:04AM (#30521976) Journal

    Copyright was never intended to be a life time income source, and it definitely was not intended to cover heirs.

    No, it's intended to be an indefinite source of income for the RIAA, MPAA, and a growing list of IP holders who effectively want to own all meaningful human endeavor.

  • by QuoteMstr (55051) <dan.colascione@gmail.com> on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:12AM (#30522014)

    That's democracy in action, people directly making their own decisions.

    Sometimes, everyone making the decision that's best for himself leads to an outcome that's terrible for everyone [wikipedia.org].

  • by Lloyd_Bryant (73136) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:14AM (#30522020)

    A simple way around this is to allow Disney to keep Mickey, you do this by creating a new class of limited rights for National Icons. This would be similar to copyright but would not expire. These would require a specific act of Congress for a copyrightable work to be awarded this status but would not expire as long as the company in question is still actively using and marketing the iconic item in question

    Or simply link the copyright to a trademark. Trademarks, unlike copyrights, have to be maintained (costing money), and as such are dropped by corporations when they are no longer cost-effective. They have all of the attributes of your "National Icons".

    So Disney could potentially keep "Steam Boat Willie" under copyright for as long as they wish, by tying it to the Mickey trademark(s). But the majority of copyrighted works would never be linked in this fashion (because there's no economic incentive to do so), and could fall into the public domain in a reasonable number of years.

    The real problem with these copyright extensions isn't that certain valuable properties are being kept under copyright forever. It's that the vast majority of works, which aren't particularly valuable, are being kept under copyright forever as a side effect of protecting those valuable works.

  • by JAlexoi (1085785) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:16AM (#30522034) Homepage
    Yeah.. I just hope that the spirit of the law will not be abused, as it always has been.
    Yet, I love the fact that a contract cannot be void based on simple technicality.
  • by timmarhy (659436) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:38AM (#30522120)
    it's crazy when in the same sentence they talk about "to promote the progress of science and useful arts" and then extend copyright out to 75 years, completely eliminating a persons need to continue progress, and just let them milk one piece of content for ever...
  • by TubeSteak (669689) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:46AM (#30522142) Journal

    It is the millions of books that did not achieve enough popularity to still be easy to find. Not edited anymore but forbidden to save for posterity.

    What?
    "forbidden to save for posterity"?
    Nobody is stopping you from saving books.
    Go buy a pile of books right now and stick 'em under your bed.
    If you take some basic measures to preserve them, they'll still be in great shape when the copyright expires and they'll still be yours.

  • by langarto (718855) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @06:46AM (#30522144)

    Yay for living in Europe, where the spirit of the law still counts for something.

    I am European, but I am sick of reading claims like this one in Slashdot and elsewere. It makes no sense to pretend that we are better than the Americans, or that our laws are more fair or that our politicians are better. In most areas we are almost as bad as the states (and copyright is one of them), while in other areas we are even worse.

    And we both (Americans and Europeans) are seeing our laws changing continuously for the worse, and we will end up with a very similar set of laws in the end: those that are good for the people in power (i.e.: the corporations).

    You think "the spirit of the law" counts for something in Europe? Do you trust those currently in power in your country to uphold it? Do you think the European Comission cares about "the spirit" of anything?

  • Re:Fair Copyright (Score:3, Insightful)

    by TheVelvetFlamebait (986083) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:05AM (#30522202) Journal

    Prohibit the outsourcing of this process

    Why? Why can't someone act on someone else's behalf? I mean, if we can sign away power of attorney, why can't we sign away renewal privileges to other people?

    And how does it apply to artists who sell their copyrights? What if they sell to a company? Who is burdened with the responsibility of personally renewing copyrights?

    Also they could require the work to actually be available for purchase during the previous year, or else you can not renew it. This would stop the Disney-ish practice of copyright holders removing their their copyrighted works from the market to generate a artificial demand later on for their product.

    In what way is the demand artificial? By starving themselves of sales over a period of years, all they do is allow the demand to accumulate. If a product has generally weak demand, it can be a way of minimising the (significant) overhead of catering for a weak market. By showing a little patience, they can make use of the natural demand for the product over a much shorter time frame.

  • by darthflo (1095225) * on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:08AM (#30522216)

    You think "the spirit of the law" counts for something in Europe? Do you trust those currently in power in your country to uphold it? Do you think the European Comission cares about "the spirit" of anything?

    To be honest, no.
    The only way to make the current situation in Europe look any good is to contrast it with the one in the U.S. (and, well, forgetting about the UK helps too). Also, the uptake of several pirate parties throughout Europe (and the occasional sensible court decision) inspire some hope. It'll be interesting to see if they manage to shed the one-issue party image, but if they do, a large percentage of the 18-29 crowd's votes are up for grabs.
    Let's hope for the best.

  • by wvmarle (1070040) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @07:32AM (#30522298)

    The legal system (courts, lawyers, judges, etc) is imho not supposed to have "common sense" whatever that may be for you. Their task is to implement and enforce laws, no more no less. There may be ambiguities in laws - then courts can decide which way to go. But when the law says that e.g. copyright infringement has statutory damages of $1 mln per count then the court has no choice but to lay down such fines.

    It is the task of the government to write laws based on common sense. That is where you really have to complain: the government that prescribes 100-year copyright terms, not the courts that allow that to happen.

  • by jargon82 (996613) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:29AM (#30522548)
    Take it a step further and require an annual renewal. Why wait 25 years if some fool can't make good use of their copyright?
  • by G-forze (1169271) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:32AM (#30522570)

    Parent does not mark his sarcasm clearly enough. For one minute I actually believed he meant that Disney really IS coming up with their own stories. What a thought...

  • by lorenlal (164133) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @08:58AM (#30522700)

    Do you trust those currently in power in your country to uphold it? Do you think the European Comission cares about "the spirit" of anything?

    I trust those in power to do whatever they are told to by their biggest donors. I think the EC and the US government will do whatever they can, and enact any law they can to further the "spirit" of those donations.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:03AM (#30522720)

    Thanks to Disney, creative artists now have the kind of long-term protection that Hans Christian Andersen, Rudyard Kipling and Lewis Carroll never enjoyed, whereas cheap rip-off merchants who only plunder other people's ideas can no longer ply their grimy trade.

    Heh, I see what you did there. Little Mermaid, Jungle Book and Alice in Wonderland.

  • by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:24AM (#30522832)

    It doesn't even matter anymore, does it?

    DRM will take care of copyright not playing a role anymore quite soon. And more movies will be added to the lost movies [wikipedia.org] list. Not because we can't find a copy anywhere. Simply because duplicating it to new media is made impossible and any medium deteriorates over time. It's in the hand of the rights holder whether a movie, a computer game, a song gets "lost". At least until accidents happen and the single existing DRM-free master gets destroyed.

    If you look at the "lost films" list, you will notice that many movies are "almost" lost, because only a fractioned copy of the movie exists, with missing scenes, torn and worn by years of showing. In other cases, films are rediscovered [wikipedia.org] in a cache somewhere, even if the master has been lost in something like the fire in the Paramount storage.

    Take a look at the rediscovered list. It includes such historic material as the first Frankenstein film, W.C. Fields first movie, the first Titanic movie (made 1912), and also important documents of early FX mastery as Metropolis (which was only existing in fragments until an almost complete copy was discovered last year). Now imagine these movies gone.

    This means losing history. Art history. And we will see a lot of it happen in the future. And while I tend to agree that with many movies made today it would probably not be a loss to art, for many more it would certainly be. What I personally find especially scary is that it will become trivial for rights holders and even governments to make movies disappear should they become politically or otherwise "unfavorable".

  • by calzones (890942) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:26AM (#30522844)

    While I'm in favor of the same reform you are, your argument can easily be twisted to support the status quo. Congress can argue that they were convinced that extending copyright duration incentivized the sort of production that has established hollywood, the record labels, and book publishers; they can say the sheer riches these companies and individuals have amassed is proof that progress in these areas has been promoted and has succeeded. Some could argue that much of the arts we have today would not exist were there not such a huge monetary draw.

    As for Mozart, I think a some might argue that he SHOULD have benefitted more than he did.

    Our position is better defended by clarifying the benefit to society that well-adjusted copyright terms would offer, by illustrating the perverse cancerous growth of these publishing industries that has taken place under copyright's inflated terms, by demonstrating the productive stagnation in OTHER areas that has occurred as a result of descendants leeching off some author's famous work, or as a result of some poor artists who think they have made it when they release a hit record having grown up with no other goals or vision, and ultimately collapse into a life of mediocrity or poverty accelerated by artists' natural tendency for debauchery.

    The question one must address is not simply whether we need to "promote the progress..." but WHY those words were written to begin with. Why did they want to promote progress? Surely it was not to create a whole new class of copyright barons and sharecropper artists who yearn to join the ranks of the barons and occasionally get there like court jesters. Surely it was not to promote it to the point that there is a stranglehold on creative works that prevents society from benefitting from them to their fullest. Because the point of promoting the progress is of course to bring a benefit to our society. To make things better across the board and allow us all the opportunity to benefit both as consumers and reusers of content AND creators.

  • by Kiaser Zohsay (20134) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @09:59AM (#30523080)

    Another reason to DENY companies person-hood

    I don't see what that has to do with copyright at all.

    The reason copyright terms have been extended so many times for so long is that large corporate media has exerted its large influence in Congress to get these laws passed. The interests of the general public are not represented by lobbyists, giving the corporations a monopoly on the attention of Congress. Limiting the size (and thereby the power) of these corporations would break part of that monopoly power.

  • by cpt kangarooski (3773) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @11:00AM (#30523694) Homepage

    It's pretty obvious really. The whole point of copyright was to enable the creator to benefit commercially from their artwork for a limited period so that they would have an income and be able to continue producing works that enrich/entertain society.

    No, the whole point of copyright is to benefit society by encouraging the creation and publication of works which otherwise would not be created or published, while restricting the public's use of those works to the least extent possible, in both duration and scope.

    It isn't meant to support an author no matter what (a flop is a flop, regardless of copyright), and frankly, who cares? It isn't the authors we care about; it is their output. And even then, we still want to be frugal, and provide authors with the bare minimum incentive that gets them to actually keep creating and publishing more of the works that we want.

  • by CrimsonAvenger (580665) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @12:04PM (#30524466)

    Now I don't know the constitution exactly however there are problem areas. Such as racism. Many constitutions will say that everyone is equal regardless of race/gender/religion/etc. Then comes a person claiming "blacks are inferior!", without any argumentation, scientific or otherwise.

    Free speech maybe - but how about the equality? Doesn't this person deny just that?

    Equality under the law is not negated by anything you or I might choose to say.

    I/You can say that you/I are/am too stupid to live, but this does not serve as sufficient to make murdering you/me legal.

    Remember, Freedom of Speech means anyone can say rude and hurtful things. It also means that everyone else can think he's an ass for saying such things.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @12:06PM (#30524486) Homepage Journal

    There's no way you can get enough mod points for that post. It just doesn't matter: Euro, US, UK, Canada, or Australia - every dick in office is on someone's payroll. The "rights holders" have money to throw around, so they can buy a LOT of those dicks. And, it goes beyond our little Euro & English Empire club - little third world nations are being bullied to fall into line.

    What was it Forrest Gump said? "Crooked is as crooked does"? Alright, maybe I'm off a little bit - but it all works out the same.

  • by Runaway1956 (1322357) * on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @12:20PM (#30524698) Homepage Journal

    I can tell you that there are precious few people on this planet whose worth is more than ten times my own. And, NONE of them are freaking Hollywood stars, or rap singers, or corporate talking heads. On the rare occasion that I've met a person who really was superior to me, they invariably SERVED their fellow man. Nurses, doctors, volunteer workers - people who CARE about their fellow man, and are willing to sacrifice for them. Yes, there are people who are genuinely superior to me - but none of them will ever admit to it.

    Real worth - not some score kept by the banking industry.

  • Re:Sickening (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @12:47PM (#30525052) Homepage
    Because I'm not talented at writing songs, but I'm good at arranging and playing my instrument(s). Songwriting and recording and performing are different (and not always related) skills. Why should Dan Brown be able to [mis-]quote the Bible without paying royalties? The re-use, re-arrangement, re-imagining, etc. etc. of existing works is part of creativity, not its antithesis, and by making creative works virtually permanent 'property' of a select few corporations, creativity is being decreased.
  • Re:Sickening (Score:3, Insightful)

    by uglyduckling (103926) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @01:28PM (#30525538) Homepage

    I'm not saying that copyright alone is stifling my personal creativity, I'm saying that - in general - a more permissive attitude to the re-use of work (enabled in part by copyright law that is much more in keeping with its original intent) would increase the amount of creative works available to enrich culture.

    OK.... so you've decided that 'several centuries' is long enough to be able to use another person's work, but 100 years-ish where copyright currently stands, isn't. So where would you place the cut-off?

    You wouldn't be stealing if you wrote a story based on Jurassic Park (stealing is when you deprive someone of physical property or money), and simply re-stating the story wouldn't be creative. Writing a story based upon those characters, inspired by the original work, would be creative.

    I'm not a fan of Jurassic Park but I'm a fan of Star Trek, and I have enjoyed fan fiction - but that market relies on the original "owner" allowing and licensing the franchise. To counter your example, given that Gene Rodenberry is dead, I would like to see the original Star Trek scripts/characters/concepts/footage available as public domain - partly for free enjoyment, and partly so that new works can be created from that basis, because I think there are a lot of people who are good at writing scripts but not good at coming up with wholly new concepts, and I would enjoy their creative output.

    By the same token, I'm not good at writing wholly original songs. Although I've penned a few, I'm far far better at musical arrangement, but most of the ideas I have could never be recorded/released without a large investment for licensing that I can't afford.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Tuesday December 22, 2009 @02:54PM (#30526800)

    DRM will take care of copyright not playing a role anymore quite soon.

    But DRM doesn't work, so how is it going to cause media to be lost?

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