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Old 10-09-2012, 12:29 AM   #136
Andrew H.
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Originally Posted by corroonb View Post
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?
That is a strawman argument. The fact that there is a moral argument for something doesn't mean that it is the only argument, merely that it is *an* argument, which can be balanced with other arguments. In fact, we *do this all the time*; societies work by balancing moral imperatives against each other and against practical concerns.

There is a moral claim for punishing burglars. That doesn't mean that we are torn between executing them or not punishing them at all. There are lots of countervailing claims.
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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.
Wrong. See above.

There are at least two good reasons for extending copyright beyond death. The first is to allow the purchaser to have some certainty about what he's buying: otherwise, you might hesitate to buy the rights to a work produced by an older person or a person with a disease, out of fear that if the person died, the work would suddenly be in the public domain and you would have wasted your money. The second, related reason, is that it insures that even elderly writers can get a decent amount of money for their works...otherwise, publishers might just hold off on buying anything from someone 70+, on the theory that it would become free soon enough.
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Old 10-09-2012, 01:33 AM   #137
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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.
Just by looking at your device list I see that you actually do believe in individual rights and private property. Perhaps not where others' rights are concerned?
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:37 AM   #138
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...
publishers might just hold off on buying anything from someone 70+, on the theory that it would become free soon enough.
In 2012 publishers are still making money from Homer's works.
And he's been dead for almost 3000 years.

The "no copyright = no money" argument is clearly contradicted by facts.

OTOH, if Homer was still in copyright, Dan Simmons could not have had permissions to write "Ilium" and "Olympus", two great novels with Homer's characters.
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Old 10-09-2012, 04:45 AM   #139
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OTOH, if Homer was still in copyright, Dan Simmons could not have had permissions to write "Ilium" and "Olympus", two great novels with Homer's characters.
I bet you the current copyright owners (Al Capone Literary Enterprises, Inc of Troy, Ill.) would have taken about 1 millisecond before agreeing to give him a licence in return for a cut of the take.
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:42 AM   #140
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Just by looking at your device list I see that you actually do believe in individual rights and private property. Perhaps not where others' rights are concerned?
Eh, note that I wrote "as a basis". Also I do not see your argument. What are you trying to say?
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:46 AM   #141
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Eh, note that I wrote "as a basis". Also I do not see your argument. What are you trying to say?
He is making a false equivocation between ideas and physical property. Semantic shift.
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:47 AM   #142
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That is a strawman argument. The fact that there is a moral argument for something doesn't mean that it is the only argument, merely that it is *an* argument, which can be balanced with other arguments. In fact, we *do this all the time*; societies work by balancing moral imperatives against each other and against practical concerns.
I do not see this as a correct description of what was said. What was said was that the person that propose the argument that people deserve to get paid have no reason not to take that argument also into account for people that have been dead a long time if they want to be consistent. And I also seem to read in people being inconsistent with respect to that.

Also if copyright is motivated by the principle of maximizing some kind of utility then of course and overriding principle of creators deserving o be paid is not consistent with the copyright laws.
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Old 10-09-2012, 05:51 AM   #143
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He is making a false equivocation between ideas and physical property. Semantic shift.
Well not in this case I believe. I find individual rights as the basis (foundation) for moral systems nonsense and I belong to the camp that use maximization of some utility as the fundamental principle in the moral systems.

A lot of these copyright discussions just gets so bad because people just assume that there choice of the fundamental principles are the only one.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:01 AM   #144
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Originally Posted by Andrew H. View Post
That is a strawman argument. The fact that there is a moral argument for something doesn't mean that it is the only argument, merely that it is *an* argument, which can be balanced with other arguments. In fact, we *do this all the time*; societies work by balancing moral imperatives against each other and against practical concerns.
Remind me again what a strawman argument is, please? If you are going to use such terms like insults you would do well to define them or explain yourself. How is my argument a strawman argument?

It is in fact a reductio ad absurdum. I'm not sure how I'm misrepresenting an argument here. Some did suggest an author had a moral right to be rewarded for their labour. I asked some questions about the implications of such an argument. I took the argument seriously and drew out the unintended logical implications of such an argument. I did not say that the person actually believed these consequent implications.That is not a strawman.

The explicit argument was made in the other piracy thread just below and perhaps this argument should have gone in that thread but both threads had common participants and a similar sort of moral argument against copyright infringement (it's theft).

Proposition 1 = An author has a moral right to be rewarded for their labour . This is a basis for copyright law.

Propostion 2 = Copyright law should extend beyond death.

Conclusion = an author has a moral right to be rewarded after death for their labor.

I simply made the point that if one bases arguments for copyright law on an author's moral right to be rewarded, then it is incoherent to both extend this right beyond death and to limit this right to 100 years. If the author has a moral right to be rewarded after death, why should it end after 70 years? Why 70 years? Why not 20 years?

I made the not unreasonable assumption that a moral argument trumps all other arguments as a basis for decision making for an individual. I said nothing about practical considerations and neither did the person making this argument.


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There is a moral claim for punishing burglars. That doesn't mean that we are torn between executing them or not punishing them at all. There are lots of countervailing claims.
Not a fan of irony I see but at least you understand what a strawman argument is.

There is a moral claim for punishing burglars when they are alive. It makes little sense to punish them when they are dead or to punish their heirs.


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There are at least two good reasons for extending copyright beyond death. The first is to allow the purchaser to have some certainty about what he's buying: otherwise, you might hesitate to buy the rights to a work produced by an older person or a person with a disease, out of fear that if the person died, the work would suddenly be in the public domain and you would have wasted your money. The second, related reason, is that it insures that even elderly writers can get a decent amount of money for their works...otherwise, publishers might just hold off on buying anything from someone 70+, on the theory that it would become free soon enough.
Good reasons?

Have people suddenly stopped buying public domain books since ProjectGutenberg? Wouldn't publishers make nothing from publishing public domain books if your first point was correct?

Last edited by corroonb; 10-09-2012 at 06:28 AM.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:32 AM   #145
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Have people suddenly stopped buying public domain books since ProjectGutenberg? Wouldn't publishers make nothing from publishing public domain books if your first point was correct?
That hasn't happened yet, but pretty soon everybody and his dog will have an ereader (or at least a device that can be used for reading as well as easy access to PD books online). And then nobody will pay for PD books, anymore. So in the near future you won't be able to make money on PD books, period.
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Old 10-09-2012, 06:44 AM   #146
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That hasn't happened yet, but pretty soon everybody and his dog will have an ereader (or at least a device that can be used for reading as well as easy access to PD books online). And then nobody will pay for PD books, anymore. So in the near future you won't be able to make money on PD books, period.
People will pay for convenience and quality. Most PD books are badly formatted (not on mobileread) and more likely to contain errors than published edition. I believe Penguin are selling public domain ebooks.
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Old 10-09-2012, 09:43 AM   #147
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People will pay for convenience and quality. Most PD books are badly formatted (not on mobileread) and more likely to contain errors than published edition. I believe Penguin are selling public domain ebooks.
Soon all ereaders will come preloaded with the entire PD, decently formatted no less, or at least have easy access to this. This might put penguin classics out of business, or it might force them to come up with a new business model.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:51 AM   #148
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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.
I don't think even that is theft in the UK. Theft needs to deprive someone of a possession, a tangible item.

It does however sound like fraud

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Section 11 will cover circumstances where the defendant:

*obtains chargeable data or software over the internet without paying;
*orders a meal in a restaurant knowing he has no means to pay;
*attaches a decoder to his TV to enable him to access chargeable satellite services without paying;
*uses the services of a members' club without paying and without being a member
The first example is interesting, as that's also software piracy/copyright infringement related. I wonder if the distinction is how you obtained the software, if you enter false/dishonest details to download it from a retailer/developer vs making a copy someone else has obtained?

There must be more to it otherwise pirates would find themselves facing fraud charges rather than just copyright infringement. Anyone know more about it?

Either way, theft is a distinct category afaik.
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Old 10-09-2012, 11:59 AM   #149
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People will pay for convenience and quality. Most PD books are badly formatted (not on mobileread) and more likely to contain errors than published edition. I believe Penguin are selling public domain ebooks.
I have a shelf-full of Penguin classics. The reason they do - and will continue - to sell is their scholarly introductions, notes, etc. Money can be made by adding value such as this to a public domain text.
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Old 10-09-2012, 12:05 PM   #150
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The first example is interesting, as that's also software piracy/copyright infringement related. I wonder if the distinction is how you obtained the software, if you enter false/dishonest details to download it from a retailer/developer vs making a copy someone else has obtained?

There must be more to it otherwise pirates would find themselves facing fraud charges rather than just copyright infringement. Anyone know more about it?
I think fraud requires a false statement or action.
If you lie on a webpage to obtain something, that is fraud.
If you download it from a torrent site, you haven't lied to anybody, so it isn't.
(Interestingly, shoplifting an item from a supermarket is theft, taking meat but paying paying for carrots at a self-service checkout is fraud, because you have lied to the machine.)
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