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EU Copyright Reform: Your Input Is Needed! 154

Posted by Unknown Lamer
from the public-domain-needs-a-bit-of-help dept.
An anonymous reader writes "The European Commission has finally (as of last month) opened its public consultation on copyright reform. This is the first time the general public can influence EU copyright policy since fifteen years back, and it is likely at least as much time will pass until next time. In order to help you fill out the (English-only, legalese-heavy) questionnaire, some friendly hackers spent some time during the 30c3 to put together a site to help you. Anyone, EU citizen or not, organization or company, is invited to respond (deadline fifth of February). Pirate MEP Amelia Andersdotter has a more in-depth look at the consultation."
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EU Copyright Reform: Your Input Is Needed!

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  • Abolish it. (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Stormwatch (703920) <rodrigogirao&hotmail,com> on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @12:08AM (#45884917) Homepage

    No, seriously. Copyright does more harm than good. Just get rid of the whole damn thing.

    Obligatory reading. [ucla.edu]

    • by symbolset (646467) *
      I second this motion.
    • Re:Abolish it. (Score:5, Interesting)

      by Opportunist (166417) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @02:17AM (#45885391)

      Just because politicians are corrupt asshats doesn't mean that the idea of politics and government is a bad one. Likewise, just because copyright is broken doesn't mean we should get rid of it either.

      We should fix it.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The only fix I see for copyright is to abolish it entirely. I am opposed to censorship, and I am opposed to ideas that infringe upon free speech and private property rights; copyright does all of those things, and so it is unjustifiable.

        Also, copyright is 100% unproven. No one has ever offered any actual proof that it has done any good. But let me stress that even if they could, the problems I mentioned above are infinitely more important; copyright will always remain unjustifiable, as freedom is most impor

        • Re:Abolish it. (Score:5, Interesting)

          by Greyfox (87712) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @05:04AM (#45885879) Homepage Journal
          Hmm. I copyright my resume to prevent dumbass recruiters from scraping it off the internet and submitting it to companies. So far that seems to be working pretty well (I haven't had to threaten to sue anyone yet.) It makes a difference because companies will typically not consider a direct application if they've already seen the same resume from a recruiter. Having the copyright notice puts recruiters on notice that I will sue the bejsus out of them (at the salary under consideration times the number of years on average I stay with a company times triple damages for intentional copyright infringement.) I think I'd have a pretty good chance of winning that, too.

          I think some tweaks could be made to the legal code without discarding it completely. You could set it back to around the original term -- 10-20 years of a legal monopoly on the work in return for it being released into the public domain at the end of that time would be fine. I'd also set it up so that if you wanted to be eligible for any additional damages for infringement, you'd be required to register a DRM-free version with the Library of Congress, which will be released at the end of the copyright term. And under no circumstances could copyright ever be used to prohibit you from using hardware you purchased and own for whatever purposes you wanted to put it to. Under my regime.

          Since politicians like money and the current copyright holders will deliver large briefcases of cash to them to prevent their little racket from being up-ended I really doubt this is much more than a dog-and-pony show before the back-room fuck-and-suck starts between the politicians and the political donors. By the time they get done I'm sure they'll have dismantled anything contributed by The People.

          • Copyright for resumes isn't needed to protect your employment prospects. We have other laws against misrepresentation, fraud, and plagiarism. Copyright was always overkill for such purposes. It's like using nuclear bombs to dig canals. As for employers, they seem to think it's good to receive several hundred resumes for each position, to increase their bargaining power, and are always reaching for the feeblest excuses to reject most. I find it incredible and hypocritical that they whine about talent sh

          • Having the copyright notice puts recruiters on notice that I will sue the bejsus out of them (at the salary under consideration times the number of years on average I stay with a company times triple damages for intentional copyright infringement.) I think I'd have a pretty good chance of winning that, too.

            Huh. I wonder what jurisdiction you're in that permits you to do that, because it isn't the US. Over here, notice is good, but it isn't enough by itself to qualify for statutory damages. And statutory damages max out at $150,000 per work, which unless you are looking at fairly low salaried jobs for short durations, isn't the kind of money you're talking about. And you likely wouldn't get the maximum anyway, since you can only be awarded an amount which is just, up to the maximum, and I have a hard time seei

          • We need a different scheme for "design patents", or "design trademarks" so that one can retain the style of a certain mouse so long as you're doing business with the mouse, but lose it if you stop using it.

            Trademark works very much that way, but doesn't protect artistic designs. Design patents exist, but don't deal with the rodent use case.

            Having done that, the pressure to have silly periods in copyright can fall to zero.

            --dave

      • Yes, it is being fixed. Just not in the way a normal person would expect it to be. It is being fixed for super-people, or "citizens", people who have paid their dues to be part of the ruling class.

        This is just a "see, we consulted everyone to come up with this legislation", that extends copyright another 100 years, and adds the death penalty as a possible punishment for people making tools that can remove or disable DRM.

      • You can't fix something that is incapable of working. If we hold that copyright is a fundamentally flawed concept, then there's no way to fix it, just as there's no way to fix phrenology.
        • by fatphil (181876)
          Well, it probably was capable of working. The only problem was they kept making it more and more invasive and pervasive. If it had stayed at what was originally agreed was sensible, none of the current major issues that people have with it would even exist (there would be no DMCA, no region-coding of DVDs, etc.). We've not had a long-enough running experiment to test whether the original concept is viable, due to corporate greed.

          Just look at the geke.us venn diagrams showing the overlap between content crea
          • I think you are being far too generous. You are assuming that it would work if kept in check, but we have no good reason to believe it would work. Copyright was invented as a means of censorship, and was later adopted (at least nominally) for a more benevolent purpose of the advancement of learning. However, it's still a tool that was meant for another purpose, and we have no reason to believe it performs its new task at all.

            Also, the EU was for a long time much stronger on copyright than the US. Fro
            • by fatphil (181876)
              You're indeed right and make some very good points. I had presumed that Steamboat Willy (nearly) expiring was the trigger for the US racing ahead, but instead it was just barely catching up. Thanks for the correction. Of course, things have spiralled quite insanely since then in the field of IP law.

              However, everything that has been relevant to the above paragraph - 1886, 1909, 1976, etc. are all irrelevant to my initial idealistic (perhaps naive) point - as all of those codify terms which are way longer tha
    • by mwvdlee (775178)

      I'm assuming you are genuinely a nice guy, who intends no harm and truelly believes copyright should be gone for the good of society as a whole.

      But not everybody is honest and moral like you.

      There are people who would take a product of creativity and try and sell it as their own, denying fruits of labour to the inventor, author or artist.

      Surely copyright has problems, but those can be fixed to be fair to all. I say look at the original intent of copyright (which is roughly to encourage creators to keep crea

      • This a utilitarist argument, and I don't buy it.
        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          If you assume that any level of utilitarianism is evil, then indeed it is pointless to try and reason with you.

      • Surely copyright has problems, but those can be fixed to be fair to all. I say look at the original intent of copyright (which is roughly to encourage creators to keep creating) and change the laws to ensure that original intent and nothing more.

        Fixed how? The single biggest problem of copyright is that it gives corporations the ability to sue a competitor out of existence. And that's a problem you can't fix because that ability is also the fundamental basis of copyright.

        • by mwvdlee (775178)

          Possible fix; whoever sues for copyright infringement is responsible for providing the evidence and bearing all costs for both parties until such evidence is found to be infringing. After that only reward actual damages unless the infringing party knowingly and willingly infringed. It's not a perfect fix, but it'd make it more risky for corporations to sue.

          • Possible fix; whoever sues for copyright infringement is responsible for providing the evidence and bearing all costs for both parties until such evidence is found to be infringing. After that only reward actual damages unless the infringing party knowingly and willingly infringed. It's not a perfect fix, but it'd make it more risky for corporations to sue.

            And it will also effectively protect the MAFIAA from having to sign any contract with authors ever after. By all means, let's mildly annoy the big players by something that royally screws the small ones...

      • by suutar (1860506)

        the original intent of copyright (which is roughly to encourage creators to keep creating)

        Except it wasn't. The original intent of copyright was protectionism for the king's favorite printing press owner.

    • by Urkki (668283)

      No, seriously. Copyright does more harm than good. Just get rid of the whole damn thing.

      I think it'd be enough to make the Copyright holder have a right to a big slice of any revenue (not profits) made with use of copyrighted material without license. If there's no revenue, then there's no basis for demanding a slice of it.

      • I think it'd be enough to make the Copyright holder have a right to a big slice of any revenue (not profits) made with use of copyrighted material without license. If there's no revenue, then there's no basis for demanding a slice of it.

        Exactly, the author's ability to get paid must not depend on preventing others from distributing his work. But then it's not copyright anymore.

    • by wertigon (1204486)

      I do not believe in a total abolishment of copyright. It does three things well:

      1. Protect the authors' right to recognition by making it illegal to claim another persons work as your own.
      2. Protect the authors' reputation by allowing the author to veto any use of his work that may damage his or her reputation.
      3. Protect the author from unwanted commercial exploitation by granting every author a monopoly over each and every copy of their work, for a limited time.

      However, the means it does to accomplish thes

  • by mark-t (151149) <markt@ l y n x.bc.ca> on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @12:18AM (#45884953) Journal

    Do *NOT* create any kind of web interface which automatically will send a letter to them based on some kind of template.

    Someone who was very well meaning in Canada did this during our copyright consultation and the results backfired heavily... they received a staggering number of submissions, but because of the lack of effort that it takes to simply use a website, fill in your name in an appropriate field and hit "submit" without altering any of the letter content, and the fact that a very significant majority of the letter submissions were unaltered verbatim copies of one particular website's letter, the government chose to completely ignore those submissions... although the remainder of submissions that said similar ideas but were not based on that template still accounted for a majority of the total submissions, discounting that many submissions entirely almost certainly had a negative impact on how the government interpreted the consultation and the actions that they took in the aftermath of it. If even a quarter of those so called automated submissions had been an original letter from a concerned citizen which expressed the same basic ideas, I expect that the government may have interpreted the results of that consultation very differently than they did.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Orgs like the ACLU and the EFF create templates all the time for lazy citizens. Ignoring them sounds like an intentional circumvention of Democracy.

      But as they say, "Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

      • by Bugamn (1769722)
        If the resulting letters are all equal, they could all come from the same entity.
      • But as they say, "Sufficiently advanced incompetence is indistinguishable from malice."

        I suspect this was probably aimed at Government representatives & bodies, but please correct me if I'm wrong.

        I would argue that this equally applies to the lazy citizens who jump on a bandwagon and send a template letter because someone shared a link with them on Facebook. If the citizens really cared about the issues at hand then they should be competent enough to research the issues at hand and put it into their own words.

    • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Hi! Original submitter here. We're well aware of this - hence if you check out the site, it's based on making the questions easy to understand and answer in your own words, rather than to have pre-filled responses.

      The point is to get many, varied, and good responses, preferrably in many different (EU) languages as well, so the Commission can't ignore them (at least not without looking like absolute asshats).

    • by Xest (935314)

      "I expect that the government may have interpreted the results of that consultation very differently than they did."

      No they wouldn't, because your current government is a US puppet government, so copyright reform in favour of Hollywood et. al. was always on the agenda. This was just the particular excuse they chose to use in this instance, it doesn't make sense of course, but they thought it sounded good enough to dupe people like you.

      Think about it, it doesn't matter if those responses are the same, the fa

  • by Animats (122034) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @12:31AM (#45885009) Homepage

    Most of the EU contries are signatories to the Trade Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights (TRIPS) [wto.org] treaty. That sets a minimum copyright term of 50 years. Many EU countries now have longer copyright terms, after heavy lobbying from the US music industry.

    So suggest that the EU should harmonize their nations' laws by using the 50 year TRIPS limit. The EU can do with without renegotiating any external treaties. Few works over 50 years old generate significant revenues, and longer terms just keep many works orphaned and forgotten, rather than in the public domain.

    This would set a de-facto worldwide standard of 50 years. The US, with its much longer terms, would then be the major exception, and would be under pressure to reduce its copyright term.

    It's a goal that's within reach. Whining about "copyright is evil" wiil get nowhere. Asking the EU to harmonize their laws with the WTO standard has a good chance of playing well in Brussels.

    • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @01:19AM (#45885205)

      This would set a de-facto worldwide standard of 50 years.

      I appreciate that there is an element of fighting for what you can realistically achieve in political matters. I'm also generally in favour of retaining the basic principle of copyright, at least until a better idea for promoting the creation and distribution of new works comes along.

      Even so, I think the fundamental problem with your position is that it still implicitly accepts that a copyright term comparable to many humans' adult lifetimes is reasonable. With the rise of modern technologies, a much shorter term would still provide a substantial commercial incentive to create and share new works, without locking up aspects of our culture to the same degree. I'm open to discussions on the specifics for different types of work and for special cases like orphan works or works that continue to be developed over time, but I would expect a period of no more than 10-20 years from public disclosure should be more than adequate in just about any case today.

      • by chrismcb (983081) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @03:32AM (#45885605) Homepage
        http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/07/31/why-does-amazon-have-more-books-from-the-1880s-than-the-1980s-blame-copyright/ [washingtonpost.com] claims there is a SIGNIFICANT drop off of books on amazon after about 20 years. So it appears that something in the range of 25 years (at least for books) is a fine length of time. I don't see why that wouldn't work for any other medium.
        Any period of time that is longer than the average lifetime of a human, isn't really limited.
        • by Anonymous Brave Guy (457657) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @04:55AM (#45885847)

          Your numbers sound reasonable, but to me they suggest something more like an upper bound on how long protection should last, not necessarily a target.

          I believe copyright is best treated as a purely economic tool; it may have some desirable side-effects like giving credit to artists or maintaining confidentiality, but these are usually better treated as separate issues IMHO. On that basis, the job of copyright is to provide sufficient economic support to allow reasonable financial returns to be generated from creating and distributing useful works.

          So, if a AAA console game has made 90% of the revenues it will ever generate today after the first few weeks, or a Hollywood blockbuster makes 90% of its revenues within a couple of years because that's when cinema showings, DVD releases and first runs on broadcast TV happen, then a period of perhaps five years from first public performance might be sufficient.

          On the other hand, something like a school textbook can be very labour intensive to produce in good quality, but might bring in substantial revenues over several years if it can be adapted to produce slightly modified editions suitable for different national markets, not all of them necessarily available immediately in the first year of publication. A period as short as five years might cause a sharp reduction in returns in this case, potentially meaning it's no longer worth putting in the effort to produce a good textbook and corners get cut instead. This clearly isn't a desirable outcome if our goal is to promote the creation and distribution of good quality works, so maybe longer protection is needed in such cases to maintain sufficient incentive.

          • Yes, I agree. The solution, though, is clearly to grant different maximum term lengths for different classes of work. A newspaper is one of the shortest lived examples, with most of its copyright related value realized in less than a day. A term of, say, two months would be thoroughly generous and sufficient. A textbook is probably one of the longer lived sorts of works. (Well, so long as it isn't for modern history or other fast-paced subjects, but I think we can live with the small bit of waste that comes

            • by fatphil (181876)
              Whilst I mostly agree, a newspaper could contain an editorial opinion piece about, for example, the outgoing two-time president's legacy that is as pithy a work as any textbook, perhaps more so. That work is hot for a lot longer than two months (imagine text-book authors wanting to get their mitts on it to reduce the workload for their next book). Why should a cartoon in a newspaper have a shorter copyright than the same cartoon in an anthology of an author's work? Alas the more complex a rule is, the less
            • The solution, though, is clearly to grant different maximum term lengths for different classes of work.

              I think we already do this to some extent in most jurisdictions, but I agree with your point all the same.

              The best mechanism for dealing with this, I'm convinced, is to grant very short copyright terms which must be registered for

              Here I do disagree, for the simple reason that as someone trying to run multiple small businesses, overhead is the #1 enemy, and registration of routine practices is a particularly wasteful form of overhead. We don't all have accountants, lawyers or admin staff; for some of us, any time taken to deal with the paperwork is time directly taken away from the handful of people doing actual creative work, an

              • I think we already do this to some extent in most jurisdictions

                Not to my knowledge. (Though sound recordings tended to be treated unusually for a while) And not in the US anyway, which is what I'm most concerned with, being a USian.

                Here I do disagree, for the simple reason that as someone trying to run multiple small businesses, overhead is the #1 enemy, and registration of routine practices is a particularly wasteful form of overhead. We don't all have accountants, lawyers or admin staff; for some of us, any time taken to deal with the paperwork is time directly taken away from the handful of people doing actual creative work, and if we're developing work for others then presumably that overhead roughly doubles because there's going to have to be some sort of assignment executed around the time we get paid as well for any such system to work.

                Well for most businesses, they simply won't care, and neither will their clients. Automatically granting copyrights results in the ridiculous situation of granting copyrights even to individual Slashdot posts, not to mention many emails, text messages, and other ephemera that do not deserve copyrights because of the simple fact that copyrigh

    • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @01:39AM (#45885269)

      So suggest that the EU should harmonize their nations' laws by using the 50 year TRIPS limit. The EU can do with without renegotiating any external treaties. Few works over 50 years old generate significant revenues, and longer terms just keep many works orphaned and forgotten, rather than in the public domain.

      This is an OK suggestion, with the caveat that the TRIPS limit should be a limit cap, not the actual limit, since the effect of setting it to the TRIPS limit would be immediate and incessant lobbying to raise the TRIPS limit. This is a likely outcome of setting the TRIPS limit as a cap as well, but then there would be no obligation on the part of the EU to raise their limit, should such lobbying be successful.

      Assuming this is done, there should also be a proviso that, should the TRIPS limit be lowered, that the EU limits are also automatically lowered, while any raises in the limit should require explicit EU legislation to match. So if the EU "harmonizes" to 50 years to equal the TRIPS limit, then the TRIPS limit goes down to 40 years, the EU automatically goes down to 40 years, and if the TRIPS limit is then jacked back up to 50 years or higher, the EU remains at 40 years, low watermarking the EU limit.

      This would set a de-facto worldwide standard of 50 years. The US, with its much longer terms, would then be the major exception, and would be under pressure to reduce its copyright term.

      This is highly unlikely; the two California Senators with the most power in regard to U.S. Copyright law are strongly incentivized through campaign contributions from the movie industry bodies (MPAA, et. al.), and, to a lesser extent, since it is less localized to California, the music industry.

      In other words, there would be about as much pressure on the U.S. to lower its limits as there is for Disney to put Mickey Mouse in the public domain, and about as much as there is on the current WIPO to lower the TRIPS limits -- which is to say "effectively none".

      • by Xeno man (1614779)
        Which is why the EU needs to tell the US to go fuck them selves when the US demands longer copyright terms.
    • nah, we would just bomb the EU into submission, or do something stupid like ban / embargo stuff.
    • 50 years is already way beyond any sensibility. 50 years might have been sensible in a time when it took ages from conception to publication to penetration, but in a time when the time between conception and penetration, given rapid development tools and distribution and advertising venues like the internet, could be measured in days rather than years, anything past 10 years is already an abomination.

      In this fast paced world, you will rather not invest in an artistic venture where you cannot regain your inv

      • by maswan (106561) <slashdot2.maswan@mw@mw> on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @04:36AM (#45885793) Homepage

        Maybe. On the other hand, 10 year terms means no movie company ever has to pay the author of a book for making the movie out of a book, or adher to the authors wishes. Just wait the years out.

        • by aaribaud (585182)
          How about different terms depending on whether the rights owner is a person or a company?

          For instance, physical authors, whom may want to ensure survival of their direct descendance, could enjoy up to say thirty years from death (or less if all immediate descendants have become adults able to sustain themselves), whereas companies, which seek profitability, would only enjoy at most 10 years from publication (or less if profitability has obviously been reached eariler).

          Of course, actual criteria for ei
        • by coofercat (719737)

          In 10 years, 50 Shades of Grey, as an example, will be a long-forgotten memory. Just last year it was THE book to be reading (although probably not on public transport). If they make a film out of it in 10 years, it might just help shift a few extra books.

          I'd hazard that the same would be true for Harry Potter. I seriously doubt it'll be a popular book in 5 years, and so making a film might give it a bit of a boost. Shame they already used up that option though ;-)

        • You are assuming that the only factor that motivates studios is avoiding paying authors. While it's certainly a big factor, you have to keep in mind that they would also face competition since other studios could make the same work, there are often limited shelf lives for maximum commercialization, and involvement and endorsement from the author can be quite valuable.
        • by jader3rd (2222716)

          Maybe. On the other hand, 10 year terms means no movie company ever has to pay the author of a book for making the movie out of a book, or adher to the authors wishes. Just wait the years out.

          Is that a bad thing?
          On the other hand, 10 year terms means no book author ever has to pay the movie company for making a book out of the movie, or adher[sic] to the companies wishes. Just wait the years out.

        • If you're stupid enough to wait out the 10 years to make a movie on a bestselling book, I'll butt in and pay the author to make one while it's still hot. You can come out with your movie 10 years after mine when nobody gives a shit about it anymore.

          I doubt anyone has a problem with that.

          Never underestimate the power of competition. If you're willing to wait, someone else certainly won't be.

        • by Xest (935314)

          I'm not sure if you're suggesting that's a bad thing?

          It means films can be made for books without inheriting families or copyright hoarders blocking it unnecessarily or with unrealistic demands. It means people outside Hollywood can have a go at making films based on books without needing Hollywood style fortunes to barter for a license.

          It sounds like a very good thing IMO, sure it may mean more crap films on famous books, but it also means more choice, and amongst that choice will be a bunch of gems that w

    • by drsmithy (35869)

      Few works over 50 years old generate significant revenues, [...]
      The limit should not be decided around when a work has stopped generating significant revenues, but by when it has made the creator a reasonable return on their investment [of time].

      That way it actually works as an incentive to keep creating.

      Further, there should be a distinction between copyright for the purposes of acknowledging a work's creator (which should be automatic, and not expire), and copyright for the purposes of commercialising the

      • by aaribaud (585182)

        Further, there should be a distinction between copyright for the purposes of acknowledging a work's creator (which should be automatic, and not expire), and copyright for the purposes of commercialising the work (which should be opt-in, and short). (I believe EU copyright already makes this distinction to some degree.)

        Indeed, at least in France: we have "moral" rights (correct attribution of the author, respect to the author's work) which cannot be sold or otherwise taken away from the author (even after their death and even beyond the 50 years limit), and there are "patrimonial" rights which govern anything related to commercial use of the work, and which can be sold.

      • The limit should not be decided around when a work has stopped generating significant revenues, but by when it has made the creator a reasonable return on their investment [of time].

        Actually, it should be based on when a work is no longer likely to generate significant copyright related revenue. You forget that the vast majority of works are flops with no significant copyright related revenue ever. Something like Gigli will never make a reasonable return, yet it's stupid to grant it a perpetual copyright as a result.

        Further, there should be a distinction between copyright for the purposes of acknowledging a work's creator (which should be automatic, and not expire), and copyright for the purposes of commercialising the work (which should be opt-in, and short). (I believe EU copyright already makes this distinction to some degree.)

        Why?

        We don't have this in the US, and yet we have loads of authors making loads of works all the time. Other countries that do have this don't appear to be doing better tha

    • by sirlark (1676276)

      I've said it before, I'll say it again. Let the market for the work drive it's copyright term. I think most copyrights should be registered in a database, the only exceptions being works with exteremely short life spans such as news items. Rights holders should get a certain short period of free protection, where the length of the period is dependent on the nature of the work (music recording, video, novel, poem, song lyrics, news broadcast, combinations thereof). The period would be determined factoring th

      • P.S. If you like this idea, or even have improvements and/or comments, don't just make them here, go and fill in question 74 on the questionnaire. Even if it's the only thing you fill in. You only have to answer questions on which you have an opinion.
    • by stiggle (649614)

      We should distinguish between the end user and a commerical user.
      While I don't think there is much to be made from the early Beatles albums (first 2 albums are now over 50 years old), I don't think anyone should be allowed to use one of those tracks in movies, adverts, etc without permission or payment.

      So 50 years for sales, 70 years for commercial re-use.

  • by TrollstonButterbeans (2914995) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @12:51AM (#45885097)
    Copyright is made out of people. This isn't a joke or being funny, by the way and as a result it will NEVER be "right".

    Since copyright is made out of people, and people come up with laws to try to maximize productivity and creation, there will always be scavengers and predators looking to exploit copyright for private gain.

    Google, for example, loves weaker copyright protection so they can sell 3rd party content. Media companies and small-time authors love copyright because it rewards the creation of works.

    Meanwhile, fans dislike copyright because it creates an imbalance between quality vs. convenience (cracked software is ALWAYS better) or availability (a movie or game isn't available in a certain region or is no longer sold).

    Because copyright is made of out of people, there isn't going to be a "final solution" --- it must always be subject to revision because any legal system is subject to exploits.

    I'm not implying "you shouldn't try", actually I'm saying you always SHOULD try to improve it.

    But the results will be imperfect next time too ... because there are always at least 2 angles for exploit (the too lax exploit and the too strict exploit). This will, in fact, be a perpetual issue ...
    • by Anonymous Coward
      Soylent Green is made out of people too. Mmmmmmm ....
    • Google, for example, loves weaker copyright protection so they can sell 3rd party content. Media companies and small-time authors love copyright because it rewards the creation of works.

      One of the things Amelia Andersdotter suggests people say 'yes' to, is required copyright registration. I'm sure the idea is that it makes it harder for some random person or company to come after you for placing their image (usually with all credits cropped out, if posts on imgur and such are any indication) on your blog/t

    • Meanwhile, fans dislike copyright because it creates an imbalance between quality vs. convenience (cracked software is ALWAYS better) or availability (a movie or game isn't available in a certain region or is no longer sold).

      That's not about copyright, that's about copy protection aka DRM. Copyright doesn't prevent the act of copying, it just provides a legal defense against it.

  • by ciaran_o_riordan (662132) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @12:59AM (#45885131) Homepage

    There's only one month left, don't procrastinate too long.

  • Nah, those that would enforce it here ran off to be gmen/spooks and fight some corporate war for oi... err middle eastern mob... err terrorists, yeah, that's it, terrorism...

    -And I wouldn't really take anything the U.S. has to heart on pretty much any subject these days, they're nuts here, I mean flat ass nuttier than squirrel shit, bat shit crazy.

  • by tlambert (566799) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @01:46AM (#45885301)

    Please add these provisos:

    (1) If a work is explicitly placed into the public domain, then it receives indemnity protection equivalent to that provided by the BSD two clause license, so that authors are not *required* to keep a work out of the public domain and place a license on it in order to obtain a legal "hold harmless". Most BSD licensed software, for example, would have been placed in the public domain, rather than licensed at all, if it were not for the need for the author to disclaim legal liability.

    (2) If a work is placed in the public domain, it shall not be legal to place it under other terms; it remains in the public domain in perpetuity. You can't just take a public domain work and slap a license or DRM on it; for example, a book placed in the public domain can not be converted to a DRM protected eBook format which would prevent further dissemination of the work (e.g. no grabbing Joseph Conrad from Project Gutenberg and making it non-redistributable).

    • by chrismcb (983081)
      I don't understand your point #2. If a book is in public domain, and someone else releases a DRM protected eBook version. Nothing stops you are anyone else from releasing a public domain eBook version.
      Don't complicate things needlessly.
    • by Kjella (173770)

      (1) wouldn't be very practical until it applied in most of the world and without a claim of who placed it in the public domain it'd be like grabbing random things with no copyright notice off web pages. Granted, you'd probably replace the two clause with "Placed in the public domain by [name], [year]" but it wouldn't really make it any easier to show that all your code is legally licensed.

      (2) would be silly since everything derives from the public domain, you're trying to narrow down a direct reproduction (

      • by tlambert (566799)

        (1) wouldn't be very practical until it applied in most of the world and without a claim of who placed it in the public domain it'd be like grabbing random things with no copyright notice off web pages. Granted, you'd probably replace the two clause with "Placed in the public domain by [name], [year]" but it wouldn't really make it any easier to show that all your code is legally licensed.

        I think that this would actually require some form of registration, which I would hope would be without charge, given that it's a gift to the public, and the public should perhaps pay the "gift tax".

        (2) would be silly since everything derives from the public domain, you're trying to narrow down a direct reproduction (slap a license on it) as something special but you'd end up in a legal quagmire over how little needs to change. You can take a BSD codebase, add 0.01% spice and sell it as your own closed source binary, the public domain would be the same.

        Direct reproduction. And there is already established case law regarding "trivial changes" which was hammered out the the USL/UCB lawsuit so no legal quagmire. Derivative works involving non-trivial changes would be subject to copyright (as the USL cpio.h header file, et. al.).

    • Regarding point (2) - would it be your intent to simply prevent distribution of a public domain work as a copyrighted work, or would it prevent the copyrighting of a derivative work from anything in the public domain.

      Example: Currently, if someone arranges "Silent Night" for bell-choir, the arrangement is copyright (not the work, but the specific version created for bell choir). Under the (2) provision, would that bell choir version now be public domain also? What if they added a new section - a bridge - w

      • by tlambert (566799)

        Regarding point (2) - would it be your intent to simply prevent distribution of a public domain work as a copyrighted work, or would it prevent the copyrighting of a derivative work from anything in the public domain.

        The former. Derivative works would still be copyrightable. It would probably be useful to also require a notice of derivation when mentioning features or use, similar to the clause 3 in the 3 clause BSD, but only that it was derived from a public domain work, rather than preventing using someone else's good name. This would be contentious, I think, however.

  • by Tablizer (95088)

    1. Burn copyright law
    2. Profit!

  • If you won't make your content available in a convenient form in a timely fashion, you lose the right to complain when someone else does.
  • by viperidaenz (2515578) on Tuesday January 07, 2014 @02:48AM (#45885479)

    Take out all the parts that were lobbied for.

    Take it back to something reasonable, like 20 years since creation. Perhaps require copyright registration so there is a place someone can go to check if something is under copyright.

    That, or adopt the Marshall Islands copyright laws.

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  • I appreciate the work of sites like http://copywrongs.eu/ [copywrongs.eu] but you cannot simply reword the questions to a questionnaire to your liking without influencing the result. The people who created the questionnaire probably send a lot of time to tweak the exact wording and should in the analysis of the results take the introduced bias into account. When people start building websites that hide the original questions and instead replace them with their own questions, they are basically trashing the data. They have
    • by Anonymous Coward

      Hi! Original submitter here!

      Have you visited the site at all? The front page allows you to choose a number of grievances that you would like to address (e.g. Youtube videos not playable in your country), after which the site present the relevant questions (verbatim) from the questionnaire, and gives a number of hints on what the questions mean, basically translating the legalese into plain english.

      At the end, you get a copy of the questionnaire with your answers filled in to download, which you then need to

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