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AI The Internet Your Rights Online

Is 'Fair Use' Unfair To Humans? 259

An anonymous reader writes "This article in Wired advances the idea that humans are losing the copyright battle against machines because the fair use laws are tilted against them. The writer wanted to include photos in his book, but the licensing fees were too high. The aggregators, though, like Google, are building their own content by scraping all of the photos they can find. If anyone complains, they just say, 'Fill out a DMCA form.' Can humans compete against the machines? Should humans be able to use the DMCA to avoid copyright fees too? Should web sites be able to shrug and say, 'Hey, we just scraped it?'"
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Is 'Fair Use' Unfair To Humans?

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  • by Billly Gates ( 198444 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @03:38PM (#44501535) Journal

    The whole idea to charge money is to be inconvenient for someone has to loose something in order to gain a limited resource whether service or a product.

    It exists because with finite resources those who really need it are willing to sacrifice to get it. Our brains are wired to be greedy too in order to get ahead by forcing people to give up everything for you means you make more money. Money is a form and way to keep track.

    However, realistically this is not a bad thing per say as we would all starve. No farmer is going to get up at 4am and bust his butt for your egg mcmuffin you ate this morning from the goodness of his heart right? No other humans demand he sacrifice to pay his mortgage, bills, and healthcare and you too get breakfast but had to give something up for it as well.

    Copyright though is artificial. Unlike food, it is created a limited resource by default so you can sacrifice more of your lives for the few who own it so they can stroke their egos by getting it in the form of money from other people.

  • by Type44Q ( 1233630 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @03:59PM (#44501765)

    For the US, it should have been obvious to the framers that taking away the property rights of (Everybody - 1) for the sake of some "rights" to imaginary property for one person was an error, but at least they had the idea that it should be only for real people and only for a short time, if it was at all.

    Not re: copyright per se but entirely relevant nonetheless:

    "Accordingly, it is a fact, as far as I am informed, that England was, until we copied her, the only country on earth which ever, by a general law, gave a legal right to the exclusive use of an idea. In some other countries it is sometimes done, in a great case, and by a special and personal act, but, generally speaking, other nations have thought that these monopolies produce more embarrassment than advantage to society; and it may be observed that the nations which refuse monopolies of invention, are as fruitful as England in new and useful devices."

    - Thomas Jefferson

  • by ShanghaiBill ( 739463 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @04:22PM (#44502021)

    The only counter-example I can think of is the Wikipedia.

    Wikipedia is copyrighted. Creative Commons is not the same as public domain.

    Copyright is not evil in principle (authors/artists need to earn a living). But the way it is applied and retroactively extended far beyond the lifetime of the creator is not reasonable. We should have clear rules for "fair use", and a sensible duration of, say, twenty years. One proposal I like is to have a "copyright tax". An artist would automatically get, say, a ten year copyright, and after that would have to pay an increasing annual fee to maintain the copyright. If you want the government to enforce your monopoly, then you should pay for that.

  • by camperdave ( 969942 ) on Wednesday August 07, 2013 @05:31PM (#44502771) Journal
    The idea of the increasing annual fee to maintain copyrights goes like this: For the first year of copyright protection, the cost is $1. For each subsequent year, the cost doubles: year 2 is $2, year 3 is $4, year 4 is $8, and so on. Year 11 would be $1024. Year 21 would be $1,048,576. By year 31, it would cost over a billion dollars to maintain a copyright. Disney's only advantage is that it has deep pockets. So if the copyright maintenance fee doubled every year, they could keep the copyrights going for a couple of years more than the average Joe. On the flip side, they also have scazillions of copyrights to maintain.

Research is what I'm doing when I don't know what I'm doing. -- Wernher von Braun