View Full Version : Books copyright protected in US but not Canada


markbot
03-17-2010, 02:32 PM
The US has longer copyright protection so there are a lot of books protected in the US but not in Canada, such as "1984".

As an American who is located in America, can I argue that downloading a book like "1984" is legitimate if the website in question is based in Canada or is from a Canadian "source"?

If I drove to Canada, photocopied a paper version of the book, and then drove back to the US, I don't think I would be in violation of the copyright. Or would importing the work be a violation of the copyright? Assuming this isn't a violation, then I think downloading the digital version of the book from a Canadian source should be ok.

What do you think?

pholy
03-17-2010, 02:43 PM
An interesting question, especially since I am working on creating an EPUB version of Jim Kjelgaard's Big Red for upload to MR. I know I'm not in trouble, but if you Americans download it, might you be?

You would have to have a court case to decide it. Do you really want to know? Our opinions don't count, you know. :)

leebase
03-17-2010, 02:57 PM
I imagine that if you are a US citizen you are bound by US laws. If you went to Amsterdam to buy heroin, you couldn't then just bring it back with you. So while you are in the US, you can't do "US illegal things" from your computer even if the server is in a foreign country.

But IANAL

Lee

Elfwreck
03-17-2010, 03:36 PM
If I drove to Canada, photocopied a paper version of the book, and then drove back to the US, I don't think I would be in violation of the copyright. Or would importing the work be a violation of the copyright? Assuming this isn't a violation, then I think downloading the digital version of the book from a Canadian source should be ok.


Disclaimer: I am not a lawyer. I am not a law student. I am not a paralegal. My only connection to the legal industry is a job where I scan a lot of depositions, which I don't read and am not qualified to have opinions about. This is not a legal opinion.

*Distributing* unauthorized copies is forbidden; *acquiring* them is not. AFAIK, you break no laws in downloading *anything*, even if it's entirely under copyright everywhere in the world.

However, the uploader could be guilty of copyright infringement in a country he's not a resident of, by making it available to you. Encouraging out-of-country downloads to places where the material is copyrighted, could be seen as inciting a crime. (Not sure if cross-country copyright infringement has been prosecuted. DMCA violations have been prosecuted on non-US citizens whose "crimes" took place in countries where they were not crimes, but DRM tech was involved, not unauthorized copies.)

Nakor
03-17-2010, 03:42 PM
Same disclaimer: Not a lawyer.

Elfwreck is correct. At least, I'm certain that's how it is in Canada, and I'm fairly sure it's the same in the states. Only the party making the new copy of the file, which is considered to be the uploader and not the downloader, is guilty of piracy. (Much like a person buying a counterfeit is not guilty of counterfeit -- only the one who made it is.)

Of course, you would need to make sure that you're downloading the files in such a way that you're not uploading or sharing them in addition to the download.

However, the uploader could be guilty of copyright infringement in a country he's not a resident of, by making it available to you. Encouraging out-of-country downloads to places where the material is copyrighted, could be seen as inciting a crime. (Not sure if cross-country copyright infringement has been prosecuted. DMCA violations have been prosecuted on non-US citizens whose "crimes" took place in countries where they were not crimes, but DRM tech was involved, not unauthorized copies.)
I wonder about this. I think there's a legal difference between distributing something a Canadian is licenced only to sell in Canada outside the country (which would obviously be a breach of that contract, and thereby copyright infringement) and a Canadian putting up something on a website that in Canada has no copyright at all. If the Canadian court does not recognize the copyright, do they have any responsibility to the international community to exercise foreign copyright law? I doubt it, personally.

The key difference is that the courts up here probably wouldn't recognize the copyright at all, so copyright infringement may not be possible.

pilotbob
03-17-2010, 03:45 PM
Only the party making the new copy of the file, which is considered to be the uploader and not the downloader, is guilty of piracy.

really? Do you have any court cases to cite that support that?

BTW: Downloading a file is basically the act of COPYing the file from a server to your PC. So, I'm not sure why only the "uploader" is the one that copied the file.

BOb

HarryT
03-17-2010, 03:46 PM
*Distributing* unauthorized copies is forbidden; *acquiring* them is not. AFAIK, you break no laws in downloading *anything*, even if it's entirely under copyright everywhere in the world.


I'm sorry, but this is completely untrue. Downloading copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder is a copyright violation, because the very nature of downloading implies making a copy of the work.

To answer the original question: you are, strictly speaking, violating copyright in downloading a book that is in copyright in your country, but in the public domain in the place that you download it from. However, if it's for your personal use, your chances of being prosecuted for doing so are zero.

markbot
03-17-2010, 04:02 PM
Were the people who were sued for MP3 sued because of downloading or uploading? I will check this out.

markbot
03-17-2010, 04:05 PM
http://www.webopedia.com/DidYouKnow/Internet/2004/music_downloading.asp

Based on this article it would seem that the act of copying digital IP that you don't already own is illegal...although doesn't completely answer my question since the IP in question is located in Canada where it is legal to copy it!!!

Nakor
03-17-2010, 04:16 PM
I'm sorry, but this is completely untrue. Downloading copyrighted material without the permission of the copyright holder is a copyright violation, because the very nature of downloading implies making a copy of the work.

To answer the original question: you are, strictly speaking, violating copyright in downloading a book that is in copyright in your country, but in the public domain in the place that you download it from. However, if it's for your personal use, your chances of being prosecuted for doing so are zero.

FWIW I know it's true in Canada -- only the uploader is breaking the law. And as yet every MP3 related case I've heard of in the states has been against a file-sharer, not someone who has downloaded but not uploaded.

calvin-c
03-17-2010, 04:22 PM
Copyright law, in the US at least, starts with the basic premise that the act of making a copy, without the copyright holders permission, is illegal. There are specific exceptions written into the law, but if your situation doesn't fit into one of those exceptions, then the act of making the copy is illegal. (IANAL but I've talked to some about this. This isn't legal advice though, just my interpretation of what they told me.)

As with geographic restrictions, US law considers the site of the 'sale' of a downloaded product to be the location of the person downloading it-so the US downloader of the Canadian PW book would be in violation of US law. (Unless they downloaded it while in Canada, and then bringing it back into the US would be a Customs matter, I think.)

On the practical side, it's handled like the war against drugs-both distributing & using are illegal, but they prefer to charge, or sue, the distributors when they can find them. That doesn't prevent them from charging or suing the users because failure to sue (or at least threaten a lawsuit) when an infringer is found can cause loss of copyright. (Just as failure to charge a drug user, when caught, can cause law enforcement to be themselves sued for corruption. Not all charges are prosecuted, nor are all threats of lawsuits carried out-that can be a practical consideration, but the 'gesture' must at least be made.)

Elfwreck
03-17-2010, 04:36 PM
(Unless they downloaded it while in Canada, and then bringing it back into the US would be a Customs matter, I think.)

Would be no different from buying the book or picking it up at a yard sale and then bringing it back to the US; if you acquire the copy in a country where it's in the public domain, you can then carry it anywhere. You're not required to pay royalties to other jurisdictions when you move.

And it's possible that downloading doesn't get prosecuted because copyright laws mention numbers of copies--making less than 10 copies may not be illegal, and so a single download isn't prosecutable. (Criminal copyright infringement in the US requires 10+ copies, so a single download isn't a crime. I'm less certain about how the civil laws work.)

DawnFalcon
03-18-2010, 01:24 PM
*Distributing* unauthorized copies is forbidden; *acquiring* them is not. AFAIK, you break no laws in downloading *anything*, even if it's entirely under copyright everywhere in the world.

However, further copying, including the incidental copying on a PC required to read the file is an offence.

In some countries, the Rule of the Shorter Term (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rule_of_the_shorter_term) would apply, but the USA does not recognise this.

asjogren
03-18-2010, 03:30 PM
So I searched for "Lady Chaterley's Lover" - its is NOT in my public library. And I was somewhat curious what all the uproar is or was.

It was not in Gutenberg or Gutenberg Canada - I suspect because the copyright is still in force there.

I found it in Australia. And not on the dark nets. So I guess copyright is shorter there.

Now complicate the picture. First I am a US citizen. Second, it is winter - so I am living in Mexico. I downloaded the eBook in Mexico from Australia.

Whose laws apply?

DawnFalcon
03-18-2010, 04:13 PM
You're in Mexico. Mexico's.

asjogren
03-18-2010, 04:44 PM
Good. What country where English is significant language, has the shortest copyright?

Nakor
03-18-2010, 04:59 PM
Looks like Life+50 (Canada, among others) is the shortest you can get in an English-as-a-first-language country. (The Republic of Seychelles (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Seychelles) is Life+25 and lists English as a national language.)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_duration

asjogren
03-18-2010, 05:21 PM
I think we need to start reducing these long copyright durations.

The Fortune 500 searches the world for the most lax regulations and the cheapest labor. Perhaps Project Gutenberg should have a Seychelles office.

Or, force copyright owners who have published previously to keep their works available for sale else the work reverts to public domain early. Patent law required defending the patent. Copyright should have some responsibilities too.

Ralph Sir Edward
03-18-2010, 05:40 PM
Maybe Alex should relocate the main server to The Seychelles....

(Let's see, that would be any author croaked before 1985....)

calvin-c
03-18-2010, 08:11 PM
I think we need to start reducing these long copyright durations.

The Fortune 500 searches the world for the most lax regulations and the cheapest labor. Perhaps Project Gutenberg should have a Seychelles office.

Or, force copyright owners who have published previously to keep their works available for sale else the work reverts to public domain early. Patent law required defending the patent. Copyright should have some responsibilities too.
I think you're confusing 'defending the patent' with 'producing the product'.

Copyright law (in the US, at least) already requires defending the copyright. If you ignore the infringement for too long after you become aware of it then you'll lose the right the copyright, i.e. you'll lose the right to sue the infringing party. (Um, let me reword that-anybody can sue, for anything, at any time-but you'll lose the suit unless you have the right to sue.)

AFAIK 'too long' isn't defined so it depends on the lawyer, the judge, and the circumstances. (For instance, the period in which you have the right to sue only starts when you become aware of the infringement-the penalties, of course, start accruing at the same time as the infringement occurs whether you're aware of it or not.)

As for the length, I only see two possibilities-a fixed length or a variable length. A fixed length can result in the copyright expiring while the author is still alive, depriving him of 'ownership' of his work. But making it variable (usually 'life') can result in the author having no 'work' to pass on to his heirs.

Consider the situation of John Kennedy Toole, who wrote 'A Confederacy of Dunces'. Admittedly his heir was his mother, but maybe that's why he wrote it-so he could support her. (I don't think that's the reason, but the situation wouldn't be any different if it was. Unless you want to really distort the idea of copyrights?)

Anyway, he committed suicide before his book was published. Had the copyright been for his lifetime only his heirs quite possibly would have realized no income whatsoever from it. (I suppose some people would contribute, out of fairness, even though it was in the public domain-but I doubt if any of those people would be the ones publishing the book.)

So, limiting the copyright to lifetime is, IMO, unfair-but a fixed length copyright also seems unfair, so it seems to me that the current system (life + a fixed period) is the best compromise. That being the case, what's a fair period? (IMO 25 years is about right. 75 is definitely too long.)

calvin-c
03-18-2010, 08:14 PM
Good. What country where English is significant language, has the shortest copyright?
Irrelevant, as far as legality is concerned, unless you're planning to move there. As was pointed out, whether or not it's legal to download a book depends on its status in your location-not in the location in which it's posted.

markbot
03-18-2010, 08:46 PM
From what I've read so far it indeed appears that the distributor, the uploader/sender, of the protected IP is breaking the law, not the downloader. The RIAA suits were against people who shared the MP3s not the people who received them.

If this is the case, then I wouldn't feel comfortable downloading the protected content since it creates a liability for the sender.

Is this correct?

But if the sender is from a country where it is legal to upload it....now what?

I'm torn on this issue since I strongly believe in IP. At the same time, I think the US has gone overboard on the length of the copyright...so if it's not illegal to download "1984" then I think I would feel justified.

DawnFalcon
03-18-2010, 08:47 PM
Anyway, he committed suicide before his book was published. Had the copyright been for his lifetime only...

Nope. If it's unpublished then the copyright would transfer as part of his estate. Bad example.

"A fixed length can result in the copyright expiring while the author is still alive, depriving him of 'ownership' of his work."

And?


markbot - Check your local law. It varies.

pilotbob
03-18-2010, 08:53 PM
"A fixed length can result in the copyright expiring while the author is still alive, depriving him of 'ownership' of his work."

There is a simple way to resolve that. A fixed length from publish date or the death of the author... whichever comes later. Of course, it would be a bit harder to keep track of what was still in copyright. Although it would be a heck of a lot easier than figuring out what is in or out of copyright with today's crazy system.

BOb

DawnFalcon
03-18-2010, 08:58 PM
Outside of America, it's not actually /that/ hard. And what you quoted wasn't something I said, my response to it was "and?".

pilotbob
03-18-2010, 09:00 PM
Outside of America, it's not actually /that/ hard. And what you quoted wasn't something I said, my response to it was "and?".

Yes, didn't notice you were quoting someone there... but I was responding to that line... not necessarily to you.

BOb

Edited the quote so it doesn't say you actually said that.

Ralph Sir Edward
03-18-2010, 09:18 PM
I think you're confusing 'defending the patent' with 'producing the product'.

Copyright law (in the US, at least) already requires defending the copyright. If you ignore the infringement for too long after you become aware of it then you'll lose the right the copyright, i.e. you'll lose the right to sue the infringing party. (Um, let me reword that-anybody can sue, for anything, at any time-but you'll lose the suit unless you have the right to sue.)

AFAIK 'too long' isn't defined so it depends on the lawyer, the judge, and the circumstances. (For instance, the period in which you have the right to sue only starts when you become aware of the infringement-the penalties, of course, start accruing at the same time as the infringement occurs whether you're aware of it or not.)

As for the length, I only see two possibilities-a fixed length or a variable length. A fixed length can result in the copyright expiring while the author is still alive, depriving him of 'ownership' of his work. But making it variable (usually 'life') can result in the author having no 'work' to pass on to his heirs.

Consider the situation of John Kennedy Toole, who wrote 'A Confederacy of Dunces'. Admittedly his heir was his mother, but maybe that's why he wrote it-so he could support her. (I don't think that's the reason, but the situation wouldn't be any different if it was. Unless you want to really distort the idea of copyrights?)

Anyway, he committed suicide before his book was published. Had the copyright been for his lifetime only his heirs quite possibly would have realized no income whatsoever from it. (I suppose some people would contribute, out of fairness, even though it was in the public domain-but I doubt if any of those people would be the ones publishing the book.)

So, limiting the copyright to lifetime is, IMO, unfair-but a fixed length copyright also seems unfair, so it seems to me that the current system (life + a fixed period) is the best compromise. That being the case, what's a fair period? (IMO 25 years is about right. 75 is definitely too long.)


Most copyright jurisdictions have a separate copyright (usually a fixed length) for posthumously published works. The classic answer is life or -X- where X is a fixed number of years (and posthumous works get X).

But let's face it, too much money, too many politicians needing money, for it ever to get shortened.....

asjogren
03-18-2010, 10:12 PM
"But let's face it, too much money, too many politicians needing money, for it ever to get shortened....."

Very true in the USA. But, some politicians, like my 3 representatives to the Federal government, actual DO try to serve the public good.

However, all it takes is one country not to play. Just like some small island nations that become tax havens for business and the wealthy. Once something becomes public domain elsewhere, it is very difficult to sell it for high prices here.

I do believe that if a work has been published, but is no longer for sale with general availability (given some grace period) I believe it should revert to public domain.

Copyright will undergo several more rounds of negotiations. If the Corporatists get their way, copyright will be for life plus 100 in the next round. Perhaps WE can have a minor impact on the next round.

arvsinha
03-18-2010, 11:41 PM
Another thing I can think of, regarding copyright. Instead of having it life +25/50 - It can be made for 25 years. To get this Copyright the author/publisher would pay a nominal sum. However, After the end to the copyright, they would have the option of extending the copyright for another 25 years - but at a much higher costs/payment.
this would allow authors to keep profit making books still under their copyright, but would also allow out of print books/ non selling books to go out of the copyright.

DawnFalcon
03-19-2010, 12:04 AM
I do believe that if a work has been published, but is no longer for sale with general availability (given some grace period) I believe it should revert to public domain.

I disagree. Cheap, mandatory licensing for copyrighted orphan and unavailable works. The author gets paid, but you cannot subtract knowledge from the Human corpus of knowledge, and you'll get better rates for keeping your own version available.

arvsinha - The problems with a "registration" system are...numerous. Quite simply, you're going to need an ever-expanding bureaucracy to deal with it (an Orphan system only needs to deal with the subset which is commercially interesting), and adding ideas to the Human corpus of knowledge in a way which protects authors always costs them money - a considerable disincentive to the poor and people creating for the joy of creation.

The issues of the American copyright regime when it required registering are worth reading up on.

Iphinome
03-19-2010, 01:21 AM
I disagree. Cheap, mandatory licensing for copyrighted orphan and unavailable works. The author gets paid, but you cannot subtract knowledge from the Human corpus of knowledge, and you'll get better rates for keeping your own version available.



I like the idea of statutory licensing is a great idea, along with shorter copyrights for a fixed term. We've gone though this before, I don't believe in lifetime copyrights, UK rules are the UK's buisness but in the US I read "limited Times" to mean a maximum fixed time I've advocated 56 years time and time again but if say the law was amended to say life plus blah but not to exceed 95 years (the current too long time of corporate copyright.) I'd still argue for shorter times but I'd at least feel the law was more in line with the constitutional requirement of limited times.

Also I'm starting to think copyright is itself a misleading word, distributionright might be more apt. If I littered my house with piles of photocopies of copyrighted material or with hard drives filled with millions of copies of the same copyrighted file I can't think of any reason why I should fall afowl of any copyright law. Considering the near universal dislike for DRM on these board most seem to agree that the making of copies isn't the issue.

GhostHawk
03-19-2010, 09:59 AM
I can understand having a reasonable period of time to conclude contract negotionations, movie deals, and the like. And I can understand why publishers would want a reasonable period of time to make their money back.

What I can't see is allowing publishers a lifetime plus 70 years to make their share.
20 - 25 years, allowing extension for 5 year period, file fee for the extension should double every time its used. So if the first extension is $5k, the second would be 10k, the third 20k, etc. Quickly reaching the point where it is not worthwhile for most books.

HarryT
03-19-2010, 10:04 AM
Why do you believe that someone should have to pay to retain the rights to their own property?

Ralph Sir Edward
03-19-2010, 11:09 AM
Why do you believe that someone should have to pay to retain the rights to their own property?

You pay to retain the rights to other real property. That's why property taxes exist.

If people want I.P. to be treated like real property, then they need to take the bad with the good, and pay for it's (and societies) upkeep.

TANSTAAFL....

Elfwreck
03-19-2010, 01:41 PM
Why do you believe that someone should have to pay to retain the rights to their own property?

What rights? When you make a bookshelf, and sell it, you retain no rights about its use. It can be copied by anyone who wants to go to the effort to do so. If I paint my house white with blue trim and green accents, anyone else can copy my paint scheme. However, if I write an eight-word poem or epigraph, I can legally prevent anyone else from using it.

Written, musical, and flat-painted works are treated *differently* from other creative works. They're given a "property" right that doesn't exist for other works. Why shouldn't they have to pay to maintain it?

ficbot
03-19-2010, 03:36 PM
I think the reason it's fair to expect works to eventually revert to the public domain is because authors don't create their works strictly from their own selves but they are influenced by and borrow from, a common pool of culture, therefore one of the rationales behind the public domain is that eventually their work returns to that common pool so others can draw from it just as they drew from the work of others who came before. For example, do you think JK Rowling was the first to come up with a story about a young boy who discovers a secret world, battles a nefarious bad guy and has a transformative journey? Of course not. The quest story is as old as stories themselves. Now, she does deserve the opportunity to profit from her particular interpretation and her own creative labours. But eventually, it should go back into the same pool of culture that she herself drew from when she created it.

HarryT
03-19-2010, 03:38 PM
I think the reason it's fair to expect works to eventually revert to the public domain is because authors don't create their works strictly from their own selves but they are influenced by and borrow from, a common pool of culture, therefore one of the rationales behind the public domain is that eventually their work returns to that common pool so others can draw from it just as they drew from the work of others who came before.

Oh, I completely agree with you. What I dislike is the suggestion that an author should have to pay for those rights, rather than being granted them automatically.

Ralph Sir Edward
03-19-2010, 04:37 PM
Oh, I completely agree with you. What I dislike is the suggestion that an author should have to pay for those rights, rather than being granted them automatically.

Why? We pay for police, courts, schools, road, and all other public goods. In America, when the land was formally claimed, you had to pay for surveying, among other things. Even under the Homestead Act, you had to improve the property within 5 years in order to keep the claim.

If you want to claim an economic benefit from your creation, you should have to pay. Nobody complains about the cost of patent filings, they aren't just handed out free. Why is copyright so special...

Pre-Berne (1978) in the US, if you wanted a copyright you had to file for it, (just like making a claim on a piece of property), so that everyone could see that this piece of Intellectual Property was defined (you submitted a copy so there was no question what piece of I.P. was involved) and reserved for private economic use. Nowadays I can't just pitch out a Red story, and know it's going to fall into the public domain. I have to stamp Public Domain on it!, just so that cheap people can have I.P. lottery tickets!

Sorry Harry, this gets my dander up.....

Elfwreck
03-19-2010, 05:26 PM
Pre-Berne (1978) in the US, if you wanted a copyright you had to file for it, (just like making a claim on a piece of property), so that everyone could see that this piece of Intellectual Property was defined (you submitted a copy so there was no question what piece of I.P. was involved) and reserved for private economic use. Nowadays I can't just pitch out a Red story, and know it's going to fall into the public domain. I have to stamp Public Domain on it!, just so that cheap people can have I.P. lottery tickets!


The problem isn't with stories, which maybe should be copyrighted without a registration requirement. (I'm fond of the "attach a copyright notice to the work & it's copyrighted" approach.) The problem is that every letter, email, forum comment & greeting card inscription is now copyrighted for L+70; you can't *archive* our culture without tripping over copyright law.

Nevermind the books and paintings and photographs, which could, presumably, be in the marketplace earning their creators some money. It's the kids' sketches on refrigerators which are un-copyable for another 150 years that are the problem. It's the margin notes teachers make on homework, which can't be included in a book about modern education without getting permission from each & every teacher. It's the funny office memos that nobody knows or cares who wrote--except now, sharing it around requires a name and permission, and nobody wants to admit to writing "10 ways a toilet is better than my boss."

Ralph Sir Edward
03-19-2010, 06:16 PM
The problem isn't with stories, which maybe should be copyrighted without a registration requirement. (I'm fond of the "attach a copyright notice to the work & it's copyrighted" approach.) The problem is that every letter, email, forum comment & greeting card inscription is now copyrighted for L+70; you can't *archive* our culture without tripping over copyright law.

Nevermind the books and paintings and photographs, which could, presumably, be in the marketplace earning their creators some money. It's the kids' sketches on refrigerators which are un-copyable for another 150 years that are the problem. It's the margin notes teachers make on homework, which can't be included in a book about modern education without getting permission from each & every teacher. It's the funny office memos that nobody knows or cares who wrote--except now, sharing it around requires a name and permission, and nobody wants to admit to writing "10 ways a toilet is better than my boss."



Me, Me, ME.... I want to claim full and complete control over the toilet joke....


More seriously, the problem is that copyright law is backward to all other property rights. There is no automatic "it's mine" to any other type of property. Every other type required effort to invoke, and effort to transfer. I get a receipt when I buy my bag of lemon drops precisely to show the change of ownership. And that receipt is not free!!!. It's part of the costs of the store, just like salaries, stock cost, and property taxes for the location.

So why is copyright so &@#$ SPECIAL??? It isn't I.P., per se, both Patent and Trademark require work to invoke and maintain. Just copyright. Because we all have to pay with the loss of our culture over time just so creative people can have an free I.P. lottery ticket? <Bleep> it, buy your own lottery tickets! You want copyright, then file the puppy! And of you don't file it, you lose it!

(Sorry, have to talk with the men in white suits for a moment.)

Elfwreck
03-19-2010, 07:17 PM
So why is copyright so &@#$ SPECIAL??? It isn't I.P., per se, both Patent and Trademark require work to invoke and maintain. Just copyright. Because we all have to pay with the loss of our culture over time just so creative people can have an free I.P. lottery ticket? <Bleep> it, buy your own lottery tickets! You want copyright, then file the puppy! And of you don't file it, you lose it!

I like automatic coverage without need to register for some things (although I prefer them to have to be at least labeled); requiring formal registration before any protection kicks in is a great way for small artists to get screwed over by big companies. Big companies can file registrations of all their new works quarterly; authors who are midway through writing a novel can't get it registered until they're done (certainly can't afford to pay to register each chapter as it's finished)--and if the book gets stolen before then (or their computer gets borrowed & the files are released online) they lose their legal rights.

However, I'd love to see "everything [with a notice] is copyrighted for 10 years," followed by a mandatory registration to extend that. You get enough time to find out if it's financially valuable before you have to invest in it; corporations will register everything as a matter of course, and individuals will decide after graduation if their college research papers or film projects contained enough fascinating insights to bother keeping control over them.

DawnFalcon
03-19-2010, 07:50 PM
More seriously, the problem is that copyright law is backward to all other property rights.

Except it isn't, to other IP rights.

Ever wonder why many trademarks are marked (TM)? That's because they're not registered. A registered trademark (R//registered) has been paid for, but you can register after the infringement has started and still assert your rights. Design rights, where they exist, function in the same way.

Trade secrets? Whole point is they're not "registered", they're generated in the normal course of business, just like copyright!

Only patents require registration from the word go.

DoctorOhh
03-19-2010, 09:16 PM
FWIW I know it's true in Canada -- only the uploader is breaking the law. And as yet every MP3 related case I've heard of in the states has been against a file-sharer, not someone who has downloaded but not uploaded.

The person distributing the file certainly is the one that would be on the hook for damages. In the states it is a copyright violation to download copyrighted material.

However if law enforcement set up a site it would most likely be deemed entrapment. So while d/ling copyright materials is a violation only those distributing(sharing/selling) those copies are likely to be prosecuted.

GhostHawk
03-20-2010, 09:31 PM
Oh, I completely agree with you. What I dislike is the suggestion that an author should have to pay for those rights, rather than being granted them automatically.

First off no one who makes money doing anything does it cost free. Why should authors be special? Everyone else has fees, taxes, overhead, something.

You want to make 50k of a novel, fine, pay 500 up front and your protected.

Second, how many authors are self published, big name stuff?
They all sell those rights to publishers. So Publishers would be in the hot seat, deciding if they can make enough off the books to be worth paying the extension. Their choice, go or no go, will it pay or won't it?

You want to tie the extension to 10% of how much that book has earned to date, fine by me. Heck you can even set it up for 2 year deferment, and pro rate it out as a % of sales.

But, keep it short, and if someone wants to lock a book up for 50 years, make them PAY through the nose for it.

Nakor
03-20-2010, 09:58 PM
If the copyright fee were not paid before the book went to the publisher, would the author not then lack recourse against the publisher if they copyrighted it in their own name and didn't pay a dime to the author?

Remember, the author no longer owns any copyright on the book under this scheme, so it wouldn't be copyright infringement.

HarryT
03-21-2010, 05:52 AM
Second, how many authors are self published, big name stuff?
They all sell those rights to publishers. So Publishers would be in the hot seat, deciding if they can make enough off the books to be worth paying the extension. Their choice, go or no go, will it pay or won't it?


No, authors do not "sell" their copyright rights to publishers. They sign publishing contracts with publishers; the copyright remains very firmly in the hands of the author.

Iphinome
03-21-2010, 06:54 AM
Harry, I've never read a publishing contract for a novel so I can't be certain but a quick google turned this up for scholarly journals. http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/copyright.asp it does ask that authors assign copyright to the publisher though it doesn't demand it. And outside the book world we know it has been standard in the past in music or it would be Paul McCartney getting royalties for Hey Jude not Michael Jackson's estate. This link http://www.copylaw.com/new_articles/copyterm.html seems to hint that assigning copyright was common in the past (I don't know about now.) I do wonder how those contracts handled derivative works, in comic books it seems the publishers kept rights to that given how old Superman is but in novels it'd be interesting to find out if an author could shop a sequel elsewhere or prevent one not written by him/her if the publisher wanted to produce one.

Edit. Link on reclaiming copyright after 56 years is in no way an endorsement by me of copyrights that last longer than 56 years.

HarryT
03-21-2010, 07:14 AM
Harry, I've never read a publishing contract for a novel so I can't be certain but a quick google turned this up for scholarly journals. http://www.tandf.co.uk/journals/copyright.asp it does ask that authors assign copyright to the publisher though it doesn't demand it.

True, but it's absolutely not done for book publishing. I do speak from personal experience.

Iphinome
03-21-2010, 07:23 AM
Could you tell us what rights are assigned then? And for how long? At what opint if any can the deal be backed out of by one party? I'm not being confrontational I'd just really like to know that information, I was reading Lynn Abby's blog and she seems limited in what she has the right to put on closed circle (and dammit I was really hoping to not have to scan rise and fall of a dragon king myself.)

HarryT
03-21-2010, 07:27 AM
A publishing contract is either "exclusive" - meaning that the publisher has the sole right to distribute the book in a particular country or part of the world - or "non-exclusive", meaning that the author is free to also sell to other publishers (eg Baen always have non-exclusive, world-wide rights on a book). A contract may or may not include eBook publishing rights. In addition, a contract (especially for a new author) may give the publisher "first refusal" on further books from that author for a specified period of time (or a specified number of future books). But in all this, the actual copyright is retained by the author.

Opt-out clauses are very much a matter of the individual contract, but the publisher, for example, may have the right to withdraw from the contract in the event of poor sales.

Iphinome
03-21-2010, 07:47 AM
But how long is the contract? Till the copyright expires? A number of years? Number of printings?

HarryT
03-21-2010, 07:51 AM
Depends entirely on the individual contract. 3 years or 5 years would be typical.

GhostHawk
03-21-2010, 10:37 AM
My mistake sir.
I bow to your superior knowledge.

captcrouton
03-21-2010, 10:36 PM
So back to Canada, I think the deal is this. Make a list of the books that are public domain there. Next time you fly through, open up your netbook, download the lot of them and go on with life.

We're abiding by the law in both countries, in my estimation. It's not illegal to download there, and not illegal to own it here.

I'm flying through on Wednesday. Any recommendations?

DawnFalcon
03-21-2010, 10:41 PM
Again, the moment you make a copy, including incidental copies used in displaying the file, oops, offence.

pietvo
03-22-2010, 10:53 AM
I don't believe that. Because if that would be true, it would also be the case for ebooks that you have legally bought. What if you bought a copy of one of the out of copyright ebooks in Canada? That would be silly if you can download them for free, but it would be legal. I don't see any difference with legally buying an ebook in your own country that is still in copyright. You would have the right to read it, although reading includes making incidental copies. I don't know the details of the law in the USA (and that's what we're talking about), but in the Dutch law the making of incidental copies like copying from hard disk to memory, of from memory to your screen is explicitely not a copyright violation.

DawnFalcon
03-22-2010, 02:46 PM
Nope, if it's an authorised copy then there are explicit clauses in the various laws for "transient copies" to be automatically authorised. These do not, however, apply to an unauthorised copy!

The EUCD is as clear as the DMCA on this.