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Old 07-10-2013, 06:53 AM   #31
tompe
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The questions you ask were relevant to the publishing of old, where books went out of print and simply couldn't be obtained. Keeping books available now, with ebooks and print on demand, is a minimal cost or inconvenience. This is likely to mean that children and grandchildren can make sure the books remain available, even for what may be quite small residual payments. AND, I would add, they could even - with minimal or no cost and inconvenience - choose to make it explicitly public domain, if they choose, rather than letting the work disappear altogether. In other words: the availability for public interest issue is no longer much of an argument against copyright.
If that was true there would be no orphaned works. Why right holders lack of interest have different consequences? Why should they care to place things in the public domain if they have no interest in thinking about these kind of things?
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:54 AM   #32
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I have a standard zinc penny that says it won't. He's an argumentative little fellow.
Done. A penny here, a penny there....

The mouse house is simply not going to roll over and go to sleep when their business model is at stake. They haven't in the past, they won't in the future.

All that SOPA proved is that a full-frontal legislative assault won't work any more. That just means is will have to be "sneaked in". Legislatures have been doing that (for a fee) for over a hundred years in the US...

Sorry to seem argumentative, but somebody has to point out the opposing view (and why).
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:18 AM   #33
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I've never gotten a good answer to the question of why patents expire after 20 years or so but copyrights last for the lifetime of the creator plus 70 years. I suspect it is because people wouldn't tolerate waiting a hundred years or more for a lifesaving drug or device that improves everyone's life to enter the public domain. In other words, the category of creations that is more important gets a shorter protection span.
Here you go. A patent is used by a business as a tool of production. while a business can make good money off of a patent (through sale or license) just by owning it, But at the same time, other patents often have to be licensed to use the first patent effectively. That forces a dynamic - does it cost the business more to hold it's patent for a long time, and pay for other patents for a long time; or hold a short time and get the advantage of the other patents going into public domain. Generically, businesses have found that a relative short length best fulfills business usage. (Most of the time, you make the majority of your money from patent/copyright in a few years) They sacrifice the "long tail" for getting the rest of the world's "long tail" for free.

Copyright does not have that dynamic. A creator of copyright does not gain by other copyrights going into the public domain, so they are not willing to sacrifice the "long tail" (which costs the copyright holder <nothing> to maintain, unlike patents which cost money to maintain) for every last perceived penny. That's why RIAA/MPAA work so hard to maintain and extend copyright. If they had to pay a fee on an ongoing basis to keep their copyright, or (hypothetically) had to pay a patent fee to obtain/maintain a copyright, the length would shrink fast. Example - musician Les Paul invented and patented the electric guitar pickup. He got a royalty on every electric guitar made until the patent expired. If he could have gotten a royalty on all copyrighted music created using his invention, would there be a demand to keep the performances in copyright forever? I don't think so.

If you really want to solve the "copyright problem", tax copyrights. Why not? We tax all other forms of real property...
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:26 AM   #34
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Originally Posted by tompe View Post
If that was true there would be no orphaned works. Why right holders lack of interest have different consequences? Why should they care to place things in the public domain if they have no interest in thinking about these kind of things?
Do you have specific examples of books that have previously been published as ebooks or print-on-demand that are now orphaned? I grant you that it is possible it might happen, but it seems much less likely that works of significance will become unavailable for purchase in this way.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:26 AM   #35
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Here you go. A patent is used by a
Copyright does not have that dynamic. A creator of copyright does not gain
If you really want to solve the "copyright problem", tax copyrights. Why not? We tax all other forms of real property...
That's a great idea. If the government is providing a service to a business (the copyright holder) by enforcing copyright protection the copyright holder should pay for the service. Why should they get a free ride and have their business subsidized by the taxpayers. If they are no longer interested in paying for the service they should lose the protection. I don't say the yearly fee should be high but it should not be free. That would solve the orphan works problem.
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Old 07-10-2013, 09:50 AM   #36
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[...]If you really want to solve the "copyright problem", tax copyrights. Why not? We tax all other forms of real property...
Property taxes are generally based on the value of the property. How would you value a copyright? Presumably by the income that it generates (which is already being taxed). So if the book isn't selling the copyright would be considered zero value and tax would be zero - still no sting in the "long tail".

I have no particular problem with the idea that copyright of extended duration should incur a fee. But it isn't a just creators of copyright material (ie. everyone) that benefits from the no fee, no registration, system. It's the management of copyright itself. At the moment (in some countries at least) it's simple: create it and it's covered. If you start having variable length copyrights you need all the management and associated costs that go with that, not to forget all the treaties that you have to fit in with or change, not to forget that users of copyright material can't just look at a date to get a good idea, now they must research every item in detail.

It should be feasible to require a fee for extended copyright (I can't see it being feasible to require a fee for some more limited/basic form of copyright, copyright covers so much more than just books, and so many more people than just authors of novels), but it would be a significant undertaking and not one that seems likely to happen any time soon.

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Old 07-10-2013, 10:06 AM   #37
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Currently in the UK, copyright in sound recordings lasts for 50 years. There is an EU directive that must be implemented into UK law by 1 November 2013 that will extend the term to 70 years.

Various artists fought hard to get the term extended (which was originally going to be 95 years, not 70). It amuses me that Roger Daltry, the man who sang "hope I die before I get old" in one of his songs, fought for the extension, complaining that without it, he wouldn't have a pension
Aww poor, poor Roger Daltrey :-( He should have invested some of his income for retirement like us poor working slobs have to do. Or he could go on yet another reunion tour. I don't get paid for work I did 50 years ago, c'mon man seriously. Some people are so out of touch. Reminds me of pro basketball player Latrell Sprewell several years ago, who was widely ridiculed for complaining he couldn't "feed my family" on his current contract (which was like $14 million per year as I recall). Cry me a river.

But I'm sure the copyright will be extended yet again. I'm no fan of piracy, as I've said before artists and those who work with them should be paid and my concern form a consumer's viewpoint would be that rampant piracy would lead to less choice of entertainment content (but that has in no way happened as far as I can tell).

However, this excessive copyright terms nonsense is the one aspect of the debate that makes me waver, for older stuff. I guess I wouldn't feel too badly about the piracy of Beatles or The Who albums, William Faulkner novels, or old Disney movies at this point.
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Old 07-10-2013, 10:23 AM   #38
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Do you have specific examples of books that have previously been published as ebooks or print-on-demand that are now orphaned? I grant you that it is possible it might happen, but it seems much less likely that works of significance will become unavailable for purchase in this way.
Significance? That was not the class of work we discussed. But not being able to find the copyright holder must be as common now as it has been before.
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Old 07-10-2013, 11:08 AM   #39
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Aww poor, poor Roger Daltrey :-( [...]

However, this excessive copyright terms nonsense is the one aspect of the debate that makes me waver, for older stuff. I guess I wouldn't feel too badly about the piracy of Beatles or The Who albums, William Faulkner novels, or old Disney movies at this point.
So you feel entitled to have anything older than 40(?) years for free? (I'm assuming you're not talking about the newer albums of The Who.)

It's all very well to get sarcastic about how little the famous few need the money, but understand that copyright isn't really about them - if there were fees involved in extending copyright then they could certainly afford to pay them. Copyright is a much bigger topic than a few famous people.

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Significance? That was not the class of work we discussed. But not being able to find the copyright holder must be as common now as it has been before.
Well, I was talking about the "public interest" - if the public is interested then I would consider that (at least potentially) significant. If there is no interest then availability wouldn't seem to be much of an issue.

Why do you think losing the copyright holder must be as common as before? It seems to me that our record keeping has improved considerably in the last hundred years or so.
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Old 07-10-2013, 12:27 PM   #40
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So you feel entitled to have anything older than 40(?) years for free? (I'm assuming you're not talking about the newer albums of The Who.)

It's all very well to get sarcastic about how little the famous few need the money, but understand that copyright isn't really about them - if there were fees involved in extending copyright then they could certainly afford to pay them. Copyright is a much bigger topic than a few famous people.
I don't really have an opinion on how long copyright should be, other than it should be just long enough to fulfil its stated purpose (to encourage creators to create).

When the particular issue of sound recording copyright was being debated, one point that came up was that the "little guys" weren't likely to benefit, or would benefit by a few pounds/euros a year (literally in some cases). The big names (famous people, large record labels) stood to make a lot of money. I'm afraid I don't have links or anything, this is from memory.

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Well, I was talking about the "public interest" - if the public is interested then I would consider that (at least potentially) significant. If there is no interest then availability wouldn't seem to be much of an issue.
What about niche interests? Availability is an issue to the people who share that niche interest, but niches are unlikely to be commercially viable. An example - my father-in-law has a lot of vinyl records that are around 50 years old. None of them are available commercially now, and they're unlikely to ever be so. He'd like to turn them all into MP3s and offer them online to anyone that wants them. He can't do that, so they're unavailable to anyone. Legally, he can't even make copies for his own use, since the UK doesn't have a fair use exemption for private use.
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Old 07-10-2013, 02:05 PM   #41
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So you feel entitled to have anything older than 40(?) years for free?
Ummm, did I say that? No, I clearly did not. I merely indicated that I would not necessarily shed any tears if others felt that way about 40+ year old works, particularly if the creators are multi-billionaires and/or have been dead a half century.

But hey, don't let the facts get in the way of a good argument, eh?

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Old 07-10-2013, 02:36 PM   #42
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Previously it has been argued that books no longer being available is a problem and so "public interest" is served by limiting the period of copyright. As I noted above, ebooks and print-on-demand are reducing the impact of the "out of print" argument. If the book remains available, what "public interest" still exists to remove copyright protection? (I'm not trying to argue for unlimited periods of copyright, I don't believe that is necessary, but it is difficult to see how the public actually benefits from removal of copyright (if the book remains available) other than getting their free-lunch if they're will to wait for it.)
The public domain is not a "free lunch". That lunch was paid for by granting a copyright in the first place.
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Old 07-10-2013, 07:17 PM   #43
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The public domain is not a "free lunch". That lunch was paid for by granting a copyright in the first place.
Not completely true.There was no copyright in Greco-Romans times, or before the 1500's, at the earliest. All IP created before then was inherently public domain...
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:16 PM   #44
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So you feel entitled to have anything older than 40(?) years for free? (I'm assuming you're not talking about the newer albums of The Who.)

It's all very well to get sarcastic about how little the famous few need the money, but understand that copyright isn't really about them - if there were fees involved in extending copyright then they could certainly afford to pay them. Copyright is a much bigger topic than a few famous people.

Well, I was talking about the "public interest" - if the public is interested then I would consider that (at least potentially) significant. If there is no interest then availability wouldn't seem to be much of an issue.

Why do you think losing the copyright holder must be as common as before? It seems to me that our record keeping has improved considerably in the last hundred years or so.
It's not just about getting things above a certain age for free... although that is a driver for some people. It's also about the simple fact that extended copyright terms make it ever more likely that some works for which there is a real but small audience may be kept out of the public eye.

Free works are just a side-effect of the public domain. The real strength is its ability to fertilize the ideas of the next generation, and that can't happen when works are locked away or lost. Disney isn't even the real problem, they make keep things under copyright for too long (in my opinion) but they also make sure to keep their properties in the public discourse. It limits derivative works, but the capacity for inspiration remains.

The problem with records is that even though record-keeping has been getting better, as long as copyright keeps getting extended it's still bound by the record-keeping of the nineteen-twenties. Record-keeping from the twenties to the fifties isn't getting any better, and the more time that passes, the more records from the earliest part of that era are being lost rather than being kept and updated. Modern record-keeping is better, the records they kept in the past are exactly the same.

The more time that passes, the more likely it becomes that records will be lost, and with them the copyright holders.

This is one reason why I like to tie copyright terms to the publication of the work, not the life of the author. It makes it much easier to track things down.
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Old 07-10-2013, 08:28 PM   #45
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Not completely true.There was no copyright in Greco-Romans times, or before the 1500's, at the earliest. All IP created before then was inherently public domain...
Yes but if you wanted a copy then you had to either write it by hand yourself or pay someone else to copy it - a self-limiting system. Once printing arrived then any printer could copy anyone's work without recompense to the originator... and apparently did so which brought us eventually to the copyright hole we're now stuck in...
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