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Old 03-01-2012, 10:38 AM   #16
QuantumIguana
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The problem with trademark is that it is used as a loophole around copyright. If the copyright for Steamboat Willie expires, people will be able to freely distribute copies of Steamboat Willie, but due to trademark, they will not be able to make new Mickey Mouse cartoons.

I don't agree with ending trademark at the death of the author. Ulysses Grant wrote his memoirs near the end of his life to care for his family. If his copyright expired at his death, it would been of no value to his family, so he probably wouldn't have written it. Thus, copyright ending at the death of the author would have deprived us of this book.

There is a tremendous irony in companies that have made a fortune from the public domain continually pushing to have the copyright period extended.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:41 AM   #17
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Originally Posted by Belfaborac View Post
Copyright should definitely end with the death of the author. It is the only natural cut-off point, whereas the other suggestions are arbitrary. Anything less than the lifespan on the author is also unreasonable in my opinion (like the ten years suggested above), as I fail to see any good reason to remove control from the author while he or she lives.

That said, I very much enjoyed the OP.
I think your conclusions make certain assumptions about the purpose of copyright. At least in the United States I will go with the Constitution where at least one of the purposes of copyright is to provide an incentive to authors to create and publish more works. So any term of copyright should be tested against this idea.

Having life copyright can provide a significant disincentive for an author to publish new works. One wonders whether J.D. Salinger would have spent his last 40-50 years not publishing anything if he had been unable to rely on the royalty checks for Catcher in the Rye?

Likewise, knowing that the work can provide income for his family after death can provide an author who is late in life an incentive to write one last book (And an incentive for publishing companies to purchase it).

Personally, i wish we could go back to a fixed length copyright. Having something like 25 years fixed would make a lot more sense in my mind.

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Old 03-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #18
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copyright should end at death. does your family keep collecting money in perpetuity if you spent your life working in a warehouse? no. so why should they if you wrote a book?
because working in a warehouse is a work for hire.

the owner of the warehouse keeps the capital generated by the hired work and can pass it down as he sees fit (death taxes withstanding).
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #19
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Ya'll can sarcastically and ironically put down the idea of a perpetual copyright as much as you like but I happen to strongly believe in the writeness of it. As a matter of fact I believe in it so strongly that when last I wrote my congressman I included a demand for perpetual copyright as a rider to my demand to receive my government retirement pay in perpetuity.
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #20
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Originally Posted by QuantumIguana View Post

There is a tremendous irony in companies that have made a fortune from the public domain continually pushing to have the copyright period extended.
Its human nature. In U.S. history, often the most vocal proponents of restricting immigration are the children or grandchildren of immigrants themselves. I.e., closing the very door they benefited from.

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Old 03-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #21
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That is, Ninjalawyer's post is most definitely ironic, and not intended to be taken seriously.
Oh, I'd take it as seriously ironic.

But perpetual copyright doesn't need new laws.
Life+70 by itself should suffice for most living authors, if we believe Ray Kurzweil.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/s...scientist.html
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:47 AM   #22
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Oh, I'd take it as seriously ironic.

But perpetual copyright doesn't need new laws.
Life+70 by itself should suffice for most living authors, if we believe Ray Kurzweil.
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/s...scientist.html
And Nuclear Fusion is only 50 years away... and has been for the last 60 years.

"Scientists" who make claims like this also seem to forget basic thermodynamics.

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Old 03-01-2012, 10:51 AM   #23
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Tokamak fusion will always be a hundred years away.
It's an ornithopter.
Doesn't mean that inertial confinement or electrostatic confinement fusion reactors might not scale up to make economic sense.
(Do remember I said seriously ironic...)
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Old 03-01-2012, 10:52 AM   #24
QuantumIguana
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I'm highly skeptical - at best - of this article, but the problem isn't with thermodynamics, it with the complexity of the system. We could keep a car running forever, barring a catastrophic accident, replacing one part at a time as it wore out. It just ceases to be economical to do so. We just don't know enough about the human body, and while nanotech has great promise, the more grandiose claims are a long way away, if they are even possible.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:00 AM   #25
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Originally Posted by bill_mchale View Post
Yes, someone who works the factory job or in the warehouse does not get that benefit, but copyright is also about giving authors a reason to write.
And wages give wage earners a reason to work, yet you aren't paid for a second more than you worked. If a wage earner wants to have money when they retire or to leave a legacy for their children, they have to actively set money aside while they are working. Quite frankly, I don't see why authors should be any different in this respect.

That being said, I acknowledge that there is a purpose for copyrights. Copyrights are necessary because you have to do the work before you can sell it, and because it is too easy for someone else to start reproducing your work once you have made it public. Patents are based upon the same principle: you have to do the work (research and development) before you introduce a product, and it is far too easy for someone else to start reproducing that product once you have made it public. Yet patents only receive 20 years of protection. That is true even though a great patent requires many more man hours to develop, much more talented people to develop it, and resources that are much more sophisticated to undertake the development. All of that means a single great patent will cost much more to develop than hundreds of great books. But, in many respects, authors receive much more protection. Why?
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:19 AM   #26
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Anything less than the lifespan on the author is also unreasonable in my opinion (like the ten years suggested above), as I fail to see any good reason to remove control from the author while he or she lives.
I would like to see life + 10 years. But definitely agree that while living, the author should have complete control over his/her work.
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Old 03-01-2012, 11:23 AM   #27
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I'm highly skeptical - at best - of this article, but the problem isn't with thermodynamics, it with the complexity of the system. We could keep a car running forever, barring a catastrophic accident, replacing one part at a time as it wore out. It just ceases to be economical to do so. We just don't know enough about the human body, and while nanotech has great promise, the more grandiose claims are a long way away, if they are even possible.
Nope. First of all you can't simply exclude catastrophic events (accidents, being killed in storms, wars, etc.) from the equation. Lets say you essentially end human aging and eliminate natural causes as a source of death. Ok, well, then we have to assume accident becomes the primary source of death. Right now, the average person has a much better than 1 in 100 chance of dying in an accident (1 chance in 84 of being killed in a car). For the sake of the argument, I will say that improvements to the human body cut the chances of dying in an accident down to about 1 in 200 over a 75 year span (a nice round figure for current human life expectancy). Now some thumb nail calculations show that that provides roughly 1 in 15000 chance of dying in any given year. Now granted, you do have good odds of making it to see 1000 (slightly less than a 94% chance), but only about a 52% chance of seeing 10,000 and only 0.1% chance of seeing 100,000. Now granted 10,000 years is a long time, but it sure isn't immortal. Isn't probability and statistics fun? Oh, right, and I forgot that catastrophic events are a type of entropy.

Of course this also ignores the problem of what we do with all the people. The single biggest reason for the exploding population of our planet is the fact that so many of us now live so much longer. Now imagine a world where even limiting births to one child per woman still leads to a soaring population. Wars and famine will almost certainly result... and thermodynamics will again make sure entropy triumphs.

Finally of course, sooner or later there will be no available energy left in the Universe... assuming matter isn't ripped apart by the expansion of the Universe, or that it doesn't decay into free floating quarks.

True immortality is impossible in this Universe (heaven and hell, if they fit in your belief system as they do mine must exist somewhere else).


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Old 03-01-2012, 11:41 AM   #28
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Entropy isn't a problem as long as you have access to energy. Yes, billions or trillions of years from now, there might not be any more available energy (although I can't say for certain what our ancestors of a trillion years might be able to do), but that is an awfully long time. If you want to use a definition of immortality that means living for an infinite number of years, you may do so, but it is a bit of a narrow definition.

If we had immortality, limited only by catastrophic accidents or available energy (if you won't call that immortality, call it what you like) we would have to make major cultural changes. Children would have to be strictly limited to only replacement of those who were killed. We probably wouldn't like such controls, but the alternative would probably be worse.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:17 PM   #29
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True immortality is impossible in this Universe (heaven and hell, if they fit in your belief system as they do mine must exist somewhere else).
Heaven's right at the edge, and it looks a bit like the Kremlin. Weekly World News found it in a Hubble pic.
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Old 03-01-2012, 12:24 PM   #30
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Copyright should definitely end with the death of the author. It is the only natural cut-off point, whereas the other suggestions are arbitrary. Anything less than the lifespan on the author is also unreasonable in my opinion (like the ten years suggested above), as I fail to see any good reason to remove control from the author while he or she lives.
Presumably, then, you'd also like to prohibit any form of inheritance? An author's copyrights are his assets which he passes to his heirs.
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