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Old 10-08-2012, 08:46 AM   #121
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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.
The problem is, how can you reward someone who is dead? Traditionally you reward someone with money, but if the person is dead, you cannot pay them. If you give it to their family, you're rewarding the family and not the creator. (What if we started giving your paychecks to your brother or sister, instead of you, that's still cool, right?) The idea for copyright after death, is to allow for respect of the creator's wishes for a period after death, to allow the estate to get things in order (generate capital to pay outstanding debt, etc.), and to prevent a mad dash to get at people's things as soon as they die. For instance, Stieg Larsson wrote three hugely popular books, but he died shortly after the very first one was published. At the time of his death, he was largely unknown. Had no post death protection been in place, the publisher would have kept 100% of the profits, and his family would be left with all his bills, a decent chunk of it presumably incurred while writing those books.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:55 AM   #122
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Actually, in Sweden you don't inherit debt. If the estate cannot pay the debt the creditor has to write it off, descendants can't be burdened with it, they didn't sign on for it.

Last edited by Kumabjorn; 10-08-2012 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:58 AM   #123
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Actually, in Sweden you don't inherit debt. If the estate cannot pay the debt the debtor has to write it off, descendants can't be burdened with it, they didn't sign on for it.
It's the same under British law.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:44 AM   #124
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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.
For me individual rights makes no sense as a basis for a moral system. And since there is different opinions about this it would be good if people stopped pretending that there is only one opinion that people can have.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:02 AM   #125
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In the US, some types of debt aren't inherited in the normal fashion, but they have to be settled by the estate, which often is is your spouse or kids. Probate Court may make the executor liquidate the entire estate. Can be an issue if people are still living in the house owned by the deceased.

Also, debt is entirely passed on in the event of a cosigner.

Plus, while credit card companies aren't supposed to, they have been known to harass family members over debt after someone passes.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:57 AM   #126
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Originally Posted by Kumabjorn View Post
Actually, in Sweden you don't inherit debt. If the estate cannot pay the debt the creditor has to write it off, descendants can't be burdened with it, they didn't sign on for it.
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It's the same under British law.
I am astonished about your very generous laws. In Germany you of course inherit everything, the assets and the debts. Of course you can relinquish the inheritance but in this case you don't refuse only the debts, but also the assets.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:17 AM   #127
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Here you have to repay the debt if there are enough assets in the estate, its not like the debt disappears when someone dies, but if there are more debt than assets (bankruptcy) inheritors are not legally bound to repay that debt. We often have accumulated tax debts on capital gains from selling abodes that needs to be settled when the title holder passes on. In other words, negative assets are not redeemable, but as lonag as the assets are higher than the debt, the creditors get their money back. I'm sorry if I wasn't clear enough in my earlier posting.
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Old 10-08-2012, 12:06 PM   #128
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I am astonished about your very generous laws. In Germany you of course inherit everything, the assets and the debts. Of course you can relinquish the inheritance but in this case you don't refuse only the debts, but also the assets.
Perhaps I wasn't clear. The debts have to be paid out of the assets of the estate - the heirs get anything that's left at the end. But the heirs will never be left with a debt; at worst, they'll get nothing.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:23 PM   #129
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Perhaps I wasn't clear. The debts have to be paid out of the assets of the estate - the heirs get anything that's left at the end. But the heirs will never be left with a debt; at worst, they'll get nothing.
I understood you clearly.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:43 PM   #130
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The problem is, how can you reward someone who is dead? Traditionally you reward someone with money, but if the person is dead, you cannot pay them. If you give it to their family, you're rewarding the family and not the creator. (What if we started giving your paychecks to your brother or sister, instead of you, that's still cool, right?) The idea for copyright after death, is to allow for respect of the creator's wishes for a period after death, to allow the estate to get things in order (generate capital to pay outstanding debt, etc.), and to prevent a mad dash to get at people's things as soon as they die. For instance, Stieg Larsson wrote three hugely popular books, but he died shortly after the very first one was published. At the time of his death, he was largely unknown. Had no post death protection been in place, the publisher would have kept 100% of the profits, and his family would be left with all his bills, a decent chunk of it presumably incurred while writing those books.
What actually happened after Larsson's death was that his intended beneficiary received nothing; his long-time partner received nothing and had to pay their joint debts; the publisher continued receiving its share of profits; and his estranged father and brother received a massive continuing windfall without paying any of his debts.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:23 PM   #131
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What actually happened after Larsson's death was that his intended beneficiary received nothing; his long-time partner received nothing and had to pay their joint debts; the publisher continued receiving its share of profits; and his estranged father and brother received a massive continuing windfall without paying any of his debts.
That was a very sad case. A prime example of why everyone should have a legal and updated will and trust. Especially for someone who received death threats.

He also made a poor decision in not marrying Eva.
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Old 10-08-2012, 07:29 PM   #132
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That was a very sad case. A prime example of why everyone should have a legal and updated will and trust. Especially for someone who received death threats.

He also made a poor decision in not marrying Eva.
I understood that they couldn't marry because it required you to put your address on an open public register - too risky in view of the death threats.

The real point of my post, however, is that this case is no support for copyright surviving death, but rather the contrary.
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Old 10-08-2012, 08:11 PM   #133
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What actually happened after Larsson's death was that his intended beneficiary received nothing; his long-time partner received nothing and had to pay their joint debts; the publisher continued receiving its share of profits; and his estranged father and brother received a massive continuing windfall without paying any of his debts.
That is a separate issue though.
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Old 10-08-2012, 11:19 PM   #134
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I understood that they couldn't marry because it required you to put your address on an open public register - too risky in view of the death threats.
Yes, I heard something similar.

Couldn't they marry in a country where no address is needed? I'm sure Sweden recognizes licenses issued in other jurisdictions.

Anyway, this is off topic.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:17 AM   #135
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So, what are you out if someone takes software you wrote without paying for it? I guess you're not able to sell it to anyone else because it's been stolen.

These arguments always break down into tiresome squabbling about analogies, and usually the analogies only work for tangible goods rather than infinite goods.
The best analogy, really, is theft of cable services. Something similar to piracy in that the product is intangible and potentially infinite, and there is no guarantee that the person stealing it would have paid for it. But states have had no difficulty calling this "theft" for quite some time, and there aren't a lot of people who feel that you should be able to get cable for free.
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