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Old 10-06-2012, 11:32 AM   #106
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Let's go a step further. Now, I open the file I created and read it. And it actually contains your novel. Now, I'm damaging you: I did not contribute in any way to your finances. And I'm actually enriching myself of your deep insight about life, without your permission, neither explicit nor implicit. Now I'm "pirating" your book, never before this very moment.
There are those who think that the reading of a novel can never damage anyone. On the contrary, the not reading of novels causes the most damage.
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Old 10-06-2012, 03:36 PM   #107
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Is reading a public domain book morally equivalent to copyright infringement? Not legally of course but you are benefiting from the writer's labour but paying nothing for that labour? Why shouldn't his descendants benefit?

Why should there be any limit to copyright at all?

If it's morally wrong to benefit from an author's labour without paying while they're living, why does them dying make a difference (or more absurdly being dead for 100 years)?
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:30 PM   #108
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Is reading a public domain book morally equivalent to copyright infringement? Not legally of course but you are benefiting from the writer's labour but paying nothing for that labour? Why shouldn't his descendants benefit?

Why should there be any limit to copyright at all?

If it's morally wrong to benefit from an author's labour without paying while they're living, why does them dying make a difference (or more absurdly being dead for 100 years)?
Of course, a good argument can be made for unlimited copyright. At least it makes 100 times more sense than no copyright.
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Old 10-06-2012, 07:42 PM   #109
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Is reading a public domain book morally equivalent to copyright infringement? Not legally of course but you are benefiting from the writer's labour but paying nothing for that labour? Why shouldn't his descendants benefit?

Why should there be any limit to copyright at all?

If it's morally wrong to benefit from an author's labour without paying while they're living, why does them dying make a difference (or more absurdly being dead for 100 years)?
No.

And the idea behind copyright, patents, etc, was always that you had a limited monopoly over something, so that you could generate income to further your pursuit. Ideally you would make something, make money, and then invest that money into making something else. It was to be limited, to give incentive to keep working, and so that others could benefit as well (learn from your research, make improvements, create derivative works, etc.)

If copyright was indefinite, or infinite, what incentive would you have to keep producing more works? Also, for your offspring, what incentive do they have to do anything either? There have been many cases of this happening. I mean, look at Adrian and Dennis Conan Doyle. They were known as playboys, who lived off their father's works and name, just milking the family estate. Of the kids, the only one who had done anything of note was the daughter Jean, who retired as an Air Commandant (highest rank possible at the time) after 30 years in the WRAF.

Also, it has only been in more recent times that the length on copyright has really expanded past the lifetime of the creator. Originally, US copyright law allowed for 14 year term length, with a single renewal period of 14 years, only if the creator was still alive. Patents more recently have been lengthened, and they're only at 20 years now. Should I patent anything and die, what real benefit would it be to keep paying my children years down the line. They did not put any effort into my work, they may not even have the ability to do anything with my work or create anything of their own. Copyrights are largely the same. If I, the content creator, die, then it is not guaranteed that anyone I am related to has the ability to create. The founding fathers of the US understood this, and that is why the constitution states
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The Congress shall have power...To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;
. A perpetual copyright, that goes to others long past the death of the creator, does nothing to promote science or useful arts. Plus, one of the things that have been happening in more recent times, is that there have been companies whose sole purpose is to buy patents and copyrights, in order to sue others who they believe have infringed upon those patents and copyrights. These companies never create anything, and usually don't even come to agreements with others so that others may create works based on them. They exist simply to sue others, and that is how they generate their capital.

So, again, why is longer or infinite copyrights good?
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:17 PM   #110
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The old question: "why did human beings form societies?" So that the individual is better off, or not? Is it fair for society to restrict the rights of of the creators of goods in digital form more than the rights of the creators of goods in physical form, just by saying "it is for the public good"? Are we ants, do we just live and die for society?

For me it makes no sense to think of copyright as being simply to encourage people to produce more. That is a great side benefit, but in the end it must be there to help protect the individual's rights. And no, anyone who was not written a book has no rights to the book unless being given permission to do so.
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Old 10-06-2012, 08:58 PM   #111
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Of course, a good argument can be made for unlimited copyright.
In the US, copyright inheritance is regulated by varying state laws. But, in general, if you have six children, you can give each child 1/6 interest in the copyright, either through your will, or by dying without one. Unlimited copyright would mean, for many books, copyright being split dozens of ways within three or four generations. Within a millennium, some books could be split a billion ways. So I'm going to say that any argument for unlimited copyright is a poor one due to practical considerations.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:08 PM   #112
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Of course, a good argument can be made for unlimited copyright. At least it makes 100 times more sense than no copyright.
Unlimited copyright is nonsense on stilts. The idea of it both ignores sense and the history of intellectual property law and is totally ridiculous. Copyright was always understood to be a limited monopoly, a gift to the creator to encourage creation, not a way for the creator to lock up ideas forever. And why should someone be able to lock up an expression for all of time? It's not as if ideas spring fully formed from an author's brow; they're the organic mixing of ideas the author has been exposed to plus his or her own creativity.

To treat ideas and expressions like they are any other kind of tangible property is barely worth arguing about it makes so little sense. I'm honestly hoping I've totally misread the tone of your post and you're making a joke.

Someone else who makes a modest proposal for eternal copyright:

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Imagine you're a new parent at 30 years old and you've just published a bestselling new novel. Under the current system, if you lived to 70 years old and your descendants all had children at the age of 30, the copyright in your book – and thus the proceeds – would provide for your children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren.

But what, I ask, about your great-great-great-grandchildren? What do they get? How can our laws be so heartless as to deny them the benefit of your hard work in the name of some do-gooding concept as the "public good", simply because they were born a mere century and a half after the book was written? After all, when you wrote your book, it sprung from your mind fully-formed, without requiring any inspiration from other creative works – you owe nothing at all to the public. And what would the public do with your book, even if they had it? Most likely, they'd just make it worse.

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Old 10-06-2012, 10:10 PM   #113
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In the US, copyright inheritance is regulated by varying state laws. But, in general, if you have six children, you can give each child 1/6 interest in the copyright, either through your will, or by dying without one. Unlimited copyright would mean, for many books, copyright being split dozens of ways within three or four generations. Within a millennium, some books could be split a billion ways. So I'm going to say that any argument for unlimited copyright is a poor one due to practical considerations.
To avoid any misunderstandings, I am not proposing unlimited copyright terms. I am just saying that there are a few good arguments in favor of it, and it would be a lot better than having no copyright at all. I am not saying we should walk down that road or that it is very practical.
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Old 10-06-2012, 10:55 PM   #114
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On the contrary, the not reading of novels causes the most damage.
When it comes to not reading, I think physicians failing to keep up with medical journals causes the most damage.

The single most influential currently copyrighted author is arguably selfishness guru Ayn Rand. Your proposals will give her lots more readers. The net effect of your proposals, in terms of whether they do or do not damage social solidarity, is impossible to know, or even to guess, in advance.
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Old 10-06-2012, 11:14 PM   #115
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The point I was making is that if you argue for copyright on the moral basis of the author deserving a reward for their labour (as HarryT most certainly did among others), then you have no logical reason not to extend that argument to every author or creator who ever lived. Does death remove their right to be rewarded? Not according to current copyright law in most countries in the world. Does the moral right simply end at their death and thereafter there is only the legal right of their descendants to proceeds but not a moral right?

The problem with using such moral arguments as the basis for copyright is that they are not compatible with current copyright law or common sense. Although current copyright law is utter nonsense for the most part. If it ended at death, that would at least make some sense. It should either expire at death or be infinite. Any half-way, arbitrary limit is just the kind of nonsense lawyers love to concoct.
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Old 10-07-2012, 10:14 AM   #116
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To avoid any misunderstandings, I am not proposing unlimited copyright terms. I am just saying that there are a few good arguments in favor of it, and it would be a lot better than having no copyright at all. I am not saying we should walk down that road or that it is very practical.
Whoops, sorry. Got a little too excited there.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:04 AM   #117
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When it comes to not reading, I think physicians failing to keep up with medical journals causes the most damage.

The single most influential currently copyrighted author is arguably selfishness guru Ayn Rand. Your proposals will give her lots more readers. The net effect of your proposals, in terms of whether they do or do not damage social solidarity, is impossible to know, or even to guess, in advance.
I think we can safely say that not knowing that there is something to know is more harmful than knowing what is known but then disregarding it because it's mostly rubbish.
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:07 AM   #118
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For me it makes no sense to think of copyright as being simply to encourage people to produce more. That is a great side benefit, but in the end it must be there to help protect the individual's rights. And no, anyone who was not written a book has no rights to the book unless being given permission to do so.
Are you referring to the right to read or copy?
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Old 10-07-2012, 11:54 PM   #119
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Are you referring to the right to read or copy?
What about your right to hit your neighbor over the head without causing any permanent damage? You want that to be protected, too? What about my right to take your car out for a spin without you knowing about it?
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:57 AM   #120
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Is reading a public domain book morally equivalent to copyright infringement? Not legally of course but you are benefiting from the writer's labour but paying nothing for that labour? Why shouldn't his descendants benefit?

Why should there be any limit to copyright at all?

If it's morally wrong to benefit from an author's labour without paying while they're living, why does them dying make a difference (or more absurdly being dead for 100 years)?
Copyright must protect authors, not their heirs.
And it has to be long anough to make an author being paid (a little bit more than a construction worker, say), but it also must be short enough to make the author write more if he wants to earn a living (exactly like a construction worker).
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