Fine on the links. Mods aren't limited in number, but users are, as a spam-prevention measure. They're in my post, so no issue.
And yes, it's waay OT. Will split sometime -- spent so long composing the following reply that I got logged out, and I need a break anyway.
Thrawn wrote: Tom T. wrote:
Thrawn wrote:... If it's to reward authors for producing, and thus motivate them to keep producing, then it should only last as long as is actually needed for that (eg movies make their money back, or not, within weeks),
So, they're only allowed to break even, and then it goes into the public domain? After risking $100,000,000 to make the movie?
Not at all. Profits are fine. I just meant that the timescale needed is quite small compared to the current length of copyright.
The timescale needed varies greatly and is unpredictable.
We have two conflicting core ideologies here.
You believe that everyone on Earth owns the rights to everything ever created or invented, subject to some limited rights granted by the King to the creator.
I believe that everyone on Earth owns anything original that they create, and the only reasons to limit this are that it becomes impractical, after some large number of years, for every auto-maker to pay royalties to the caveman who invented the wheel. Impractical, and hard to trace inherited ownership over many centuries, so we limit it to that which can be reasonably expected to be documentable and provable.
This is the same reason that there is a Statute of Limitations on, say, title claims for land.
The first belief is the core belief of those who accept any form of authoritarianism, be it a Monarchy, dictator, Communism, ... including the UK/CW nations, which still recognize a monarchy (even if said power isn't exercised very much).
The American Revolution was founded on the basis that these rights are inherent to humanity, and not to be "granted" by an autocrat. Who could also revoke them at any time.
The original phrase written by Thomas Jefferson in the Declaration of Independence was to have included property:
"We hold these truths to be self-evident .... that all men are endowed by their Creator  with certain unalienable rights, ... among them, the rights to Life, Liberty, Property...."
He was urged to remove "Property", not because it isn't a human right, but because of the unfortunate institution of slavery that had been established by the colonizing monarchies: British, Dutch, Spanish, Portuguese... all countries that do not recognize inherent rights against a Crown.
The fear was that including "property" might be interpreted by slave-owners as supporting their right to own such property as slaves, contradictory as that sounds, but the monarchist colonizers had already established that sub-Saharan Africans were not human beings as such, mostly because they were heathens, or really, because the wimpy colonizers didn't want to pick their own cotton.
The idea of inherent rights was a radical idea then, and is still not accepted by much of the world. It's eroding badly in the US. The Founding Fathers are spinning in their graves.
 It's not necessary to believe in a Creator to embrace the doctrine of inherent rights as being right, proper, and necessary conditions for humans to live in a civilized society, rather than eating each other, or returning to the rule of the jungle, where theft, murder, etc. prevail. Ayn Rand has written extensively on this topic, in both her fiction and her non-fiction works.
Haven't heard about too many movies flopping at first and succeeding later,
Who said "flop"? It may do well, but not well enough to make back the ever-increasing costs of production, especially since the studio typically gets only half the "box office revenue" -- and must spend a lot of that on advertising. The revenue stream grows over time. An unpredictable time, so we allowed ample.
But you're dividing the right to copyright between "economic" reasons and "moral" reasons. False dichotomy. A proper economic system is a moral one.
The moral economic system is free-enterprise capitalism, which has existed only briefly, and died in the US at least a century ago
, as politicians sought to regain the absolute authority of monarchs, by degrees, telling us what we could and couldn't drink, smoke, buy, sell, etc. ad infinitum ad nauseam.
but OK. Let's say that you get 20 years, like patents. That should be enough time for 99.9% of movies to make their money if they're going to. Yes, they might be able to continue to make money after that, but the point is, the incentive has already been amply given, but the work - movie, book, etc - is available to benefit all of society vastly earlier than the current life+70.
It's still available to benefit all of society. You just have to pay for it. Which is fair, because you didn't create it, and you don't own it.
Would you have done that movie work if you knew that you would only get royalties for a maximum of 20 years? If so, would you have made money out of it? I suspect the answer to both is yes.
The rationale for residual payments -- for actors, writers, directors, etc. -- is that if one's work can be reproduced (re-run) infinitely at ZERO cost, then there is less incentive to create new works, and new jobs for those persons (whose employment is always short-term), and more incentive to keep rerunning the old stuff for free. Also, that when you go home from your shift at the factory, no more value is gotten from your day's work than what you produced that day. When a movie/TV actor goes home, value is extracted from that performance hundreds or thousands or millions of times. So that value was inherent in the actor's work, who therefore is entitled to a (rather small) share for each rerun.
Whether I or any other individual would have chosen to accept a given job in a given situation is irrelevant to the point that 98% of the members of Screen Actors Guild (of which Yours Truly is a member on honorable withdrawal) earn less than $2,000/yr. It benefits producers to have a huge talent pool from which to select, with hundreds of actors often being auditioned for a single role. The thousands of people who get off the bus in Los Angeles every day are enticed by the chance of hitting the lottery, so to speak, and making the really big bucks -- with about as good a chance as buying a lottery ticket. No one is going to work nights as a food server for years if the maximum "success" for hitting the top is so strictly limited.
Again, higher risk deserves a higher reward for success -- versus a very steady job as a garbage collector, there being always garbage to collect.
The whole arts and entertainment industry is very much like the lottery: very high risk, very small chance of success, but it can pay off very well if you hit it.
And if I create and OWN something, why do you have an automatic right to license it from me at some fixed rate? Do you have a right to lease (hire, in en-BR) my car from me, regardless of whether I want to lease it out? My home? My book that I spent years researching and writing?
.... If I happen to see your book lying open, I can read a page without your permission.
No argument. But you can't photocopy all of the pages, publish 100,000 copies, and start selling them yourself.
You're distinguishing the products of the mind from the products of the hand (although a lot of minds went into inventing those cars, etc.), and I say that if it came from my mind, and did not exist before I created it, it's mine.
'Owning' an idea is very artificial,
Correct. You cannot patent or copyright an idea. However, you can patent the invention you create from your idea, and you can copyright the book in which you proclaim your idea to the world.
If I hear a tune and it sticks in my head, I might start whistling it, and no fence or lock can stop me.
How is that in any way like your creating many copies of that tune and distributing them? Lots of invalid analogies here.
There are good reasons why artificial restrictions are imposed - to create a market and thus stimulate production - and it's good that you should be rewarded for what you work to produce, but there is nothing inherent or natural about restricting what may be done with duplicates of your work.
The last clause of that statement directly contradicts the rest.
Society gives you certain exclusive rights - a monopoly over all copies or adaptations of your work - in order to help you to be an author/artist, and what it wants in return is for what you produce to be available to benefit everyone. If it's not made available, then society is being cheated, and should never have given you the monopoly in the first place.
Without me, the work would never have been created. How can society be cheated out of something that doesn't or wouldn't exist?
This is the basic principle of Socialism -- that "Society" owns everything, except for that which, in Its Infinite Mercy, it lets you keep.
This has never succeeded for very long, outside the level of very small, homogeneous, cohesive, primitive societies.
Prime example: USSR. Far richer in oil, gold, diamonds, platinum, and arable land than the US, but under this Marxist/Socialist concept, it was unable to feed its own people, whose per capita income was about a third of their US counterparts. (psst! -- it's called "incentives")
Greece went down the path of entitlements and cradle-to-grave welfare, and has been on the brink of bankruptcy for a long time, sustained only by borrowing more from other countries. Spain is close. Ireland and Italy are in trouble. Every day, the Euro makes new lows against the dollar.
And as the US proceeds down that same path, the results are showing: Massive and exploding public debt, currently about $50,000 for every man, woman, and child in the US; a prolonged recession and continued high unemployment unequaled since the Great Depression of the 1930s, which itself was caused by Government interference in the economy
These things should be negotiated, as all others are in one way or another, and free trade involves the voluntary agreement of *both* parties.
In some cases, yes, but Is it reasonable to ask a small radio station to contact & negotiate individually with every artist for each song they ever play? It's just as well that there are collecting societies that do essentially turn this into "pay a fixed rate to use it freely". And some usages do have mandatory licensing schemes created by statute; I think cable TV is one.
Yes, I did think of ASCAP as a good example. But was it created by law, or by an individual?
And are all individuals forced to join and accept their terms, or is membership voluntary?
Those who choose to join, and to accept the *negotiated terms* (which have changed over time), do so because they believe that they will indeed be better off by being represented by such a group. Someone who thinks that they can negotiate a better price for their work is free not to join.
You yourself rely on exceptions to copyright to produce your parodies, rather than having to negotiate and pay royalties, and I think that your ability to do that unrestrained is a good thing.
I don't claim to have created the original, and much more importantly, I don't *sell copies of the original*, only of my own work.
It may well be that parodies of songs may increase interest in the original. Many readers have commented that they DKTOS (don't know the original song, or the group who did it), but become interested in them after seeing the parody.
The parody is totally my original work. The producer did in fact have to pay a licensing fee for the original melody, in order to market the new hybrid (existing melody, new lyrics).
I don't think the law is wrong. It has evolved over many years, and is still evolving as new media come into play, like the Web.
He who does not own that original work which he himself created or invented is a slave.
You have a natural right to own the original work, the original manuscript or musical score or other source. If I take the original item from you, that's theft. But the right to control copies made by others is artificial. Real, but artificial, given for a specific purpose that needs to be time-limited to be fulfilled.
What good does it do me to own the one manuscript that I spent years (or ten minutes; doesn't matter) preparing, if anyone on earth can copy and reproduce it at will, and give it away or undercut me on price -- as music and software pirates do?
If I become famous (perhaps posthumously), then yes, my original acquires collector value. But otherwise, the value is in the content itself, and when you illegally copy my work, you steal that value from me.
rather than lasting for the lifetime of the author plus 70 years.
So, if the author keels over the day after the book is published, his/her heirs have no right to receive what would have become part of her estate, had she lived? And would have bequeathed to them had she lived long enough to make a goodly sum from it?
Won't this punish and discourage elderly and/or chronically-ill people (heart disease, e. g.) from taking the risks and effort to innovate, create, improve?
That's a good argument for fixed terms, instead of life+amount. The abovementioned 20 years is one candidate. Even 70 years - entering the public domain in 3 generations - would be better than the current situation.
That was a compromise between the situation of an artist producing at age six, like Michael Jackson, who could have lived to be 90 or 100, plus the value of the estate to the heirs -- something else that I embrace and you reject -- versus the keel-over-the-next-day. And again, it all goes back to the ability to document these things. So long as the artist is alive, it's easy. And with modern record-keeping, it should be easy for some number of years after demise.
Pretending for the moment that classic works are still under copyright, I can charge for my detailed analysis and exegesis of Shakespeare's "Romeo and Juliet", "Hamlet", "MacBeth", "Julius Casear", etc., or Homer's "Iliad", or Dante's "inferno", citing each part as I analyze it. But I may not simply reprint them and sell them, or even give them away, because this hurts the original author's ability to earn the fruits of his labors.
But should society really have to give someone 400 years of fruits in return for a single labor of authorship? Isn't that pretty one-sided? Give someone credit forever, OK, but give them an economic monopoly? Remember, we're not talking about control of the original. Shakespeare's scripts can be forever owned by his descendants, fine. But controlling what the whole world may do with his work, forever? That's far too much power to give anyone.
What part of "Pretending for the moment
that classic works are still under copyright," was not clear to you?
I guess I needed to add "for the sake of argument" (or "illustration"). I could have said, "My analysis of Stephen Hawking's published works", but there never will be such a thing
, whereas I actually have done exposition of the works in question. Sorry that the concept of assuming something (false) for the sake of argument, illustration, or analogy was lost on you.
I realise that copyright on Shakespeare and Homer has expired. But when it's feasible for a book published in 1900 to be still in copyright today, and likewise almost every movie and computer program and recorded song is still in copyright, and copyright terms are regularly - and restrospectively! - extended, may I put it out there that for all practical purposes, copyright as it now stands may as well last forever?
No, you may not. 100 years is not forever. See above, re: paying royalties to the caveman who invented the wheel.
According to the US Constitution, copyright exists for the benefit of science and the arts - the public good. Rewarding authors is stated as a method of achieving that benefit. But unless the work is actually given back to the public, then that purpose is not being achieved, and copyright becomes, at least in spirit, unconstitutional.
Not everyone, even in the revolutionary US, fully understood, much less embraced, this concept of "inherent rights". Many needed some concrete reason to accept that. There are other examples of that phenomenon, which is why the Constitution and Bill of Rights have been continually eroded.
given back to the public,
Now you're scaring me. How in heck can you say, "giving BACK" to an entity that didn't create it in the first place?
If that's your knowledge and standard of logic, remind me never to use any sw you create.
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