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Old 12-08-2009, 03:14 PM   #46
Ralph Sir Edward
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Originally Posted by devilsadvocate View Post
Yeah, right...next you'll try to tell us ours is a government of the people, by the people, and for the people...

Even if lobbying rules were given some real teeth, there would be a fully-exploitable loophole somewhere, because those who craft the laws will benefit from it.

What does this have to do with copyright abuse? Because in both cases it becomes a matter of "Who's policing the police?"

I know, I know....But it's delusions like these that keep White Fang from going Dingo.....
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:10 PM   #47
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Joy to the world!! You just made my whole christmas. The MAFIAA Canada branch is about to have its collective, whining, copyright-moaning arse bitten by the very same laws it's been using against individual filesharers! Oh Joy!!!
It's just priceless isn't it. I also like the blowback that sometimes hit the copyright groups when they illegally monitor user's computer and run denial of service attacks on websites then get busted. These groups will do ANYTHING in their fight against 'piracy'. The attack dogs of corporations.
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Old 12-08-2009, 04:23 PM   #48
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Originally Posted by DawnFalcon View Post
Not only no, but hell no. For one thing, 18 months is too soon for a film based off it but even ignoring that, you're going to spend your life savings and lose.
I agree with DF on 18 months. On the other front, however, we have some existence proofs of authors successfully defending their copyright in exactly this situation.

A. E. van Vogt won his plagiarism case against the folks who made the various Aliens films. The screenwriters blatantly ripped off one of his finest novellas (written sometime in the 1940s, I think) for major major aspects of the first film. The damages he won in the lawsuit made him quite a wealthy man late in his life.

IIRC*, he wound up with a modest percentage of gross from the first movie (on ALL aspects: exhibition, licensing, DVD, foreign revenues, the whole enchilada), and about 1/3 of that on any sequels. It worked out to more money than any of the various individual creative types (think actors, director, producer, etc.) made out of the films. Buckets of money.

Xenophon

*I may not be recalling the specifics correctly. What I do know for sure is that the net to van Vogt was very large indeed. It was many times more than the inflation-adjusted sum total of his prior lifetime earnings as an author -- and he supported himself and his family on his writing for more than 40 years.
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Old 12-08-2009, 05:33 PM   #49
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Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
I agree with DF on 18 months. On the other front, however, we have some existence proofs of authors successfully defending their copyright in exactly this situation.

A. E. van Vogt won his plagiarism case against the folks who made the various Aliens films. The screenwriters blatantly ripped off one of his finest novellas (written sometime in the 1940s, I think) for major major aspects of the first film. The damages he won in the lawsuit made him quite a wealthy man late in his life.

IIRC*, he wound up with a modest percentage of gross from the first movie (on ALL aspects: exhibition, licensing, DVD, foreign revenues, the whole enchilada), and about 1/3 of that on any sequels. It worked out to more money than any of the various individual creative types (think actors, director, producer, etc.) made out of the films. Buckets of money.

Xenophon

*I may not be recalling the specifics correctly. What I do know for sure is that the net to van Vogt was very large indeed. It was many times more than the inflation-adjusted sum total of his prior lifetime earnings as an author -- and he supported himself and his family on his writing for more than 40 years.
So you mean the "little man" successfully used the law to protect his IP without going bankrupt and obviously without losing?

How is that possible??

Cheers,
PKFFW
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:18 PM   #50
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Originally Posted by PKFFW View Post
So you mean the "little man" successfully used the law to protect his IP without going bankrupt and obviously without losing?

How is that possible??

Cheers,
PKFFW

Bu suing somebody with lots of money......

(Never, never, never sue poor people if you want money....)
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Old 12-08-2009, 07:47 PM   #51
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So... I'm just a little curious. Do the big boys have to submit to the "3 strikes and you're banned from the internet" rule, or does this only apply to those who can't afford lawyers?
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Old 12-08-2009, 08:30 PM   #52
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Originally Posted by Ralph Sir Edward View Post
That's not what's is in the US Constitution....
Nuts to that, sorry. You can easily look back to the intentions behind the Statute of Anne. It's right there in the long title:

"An Act for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies, during the Times therein mentioned"
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:14 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by zerospinboson View Post
Sure it does. Talking about the book market, however, those small creators make up what, .5-1% of the market, if that? I'm very sorry for them, but I'm not going to accept as necessary laws that are said to "protect the little man" when 99% of the benefits go to maybe 100 publishers, if not fewer (considering recent consolidation of the market).
Uh huh. Except that right now, you are witnessing the "little man" (read: artists) use copyright laws to protect their interests from the major labels -- who I'm fairly sure would've pulled these kinds of exploits regardless of copyright laws.

Should we now abandon copyright and watch the artists get screwed and go broke, because you haven't been in a position to observe copyright laws utilized by anyone other than large corporations...?



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Originally Posted by zerospinboson
but imo copyright does far more bad than good, while it's not even proven that it works for 5% of the [known? good?] authors (mind you, I don't want to talk about revenues here, I'm talking about literary success).
Uh huh. Normally I don't like to rely on anecdotes, but again: I've seen many photographers protect their IP from abuse, by organizations of various sizes due to copyright laws. And yet again: we're seeing artists protect their royalties using copyright laws.

Another point is that shorter copyright terms would not necessarily lead to better behavior. For example, patents are relatively short, but patent abuses abound -- ranging from pharmaceutical companies charging high prices for patented produces, or making a slight variation to an existing drug to get a new patent; to Intel, whose chip designs are patented but they still bash the competition with monopolistic practices; companies that buy patents with the hope that they can enforce the rights and collect payments.

And what about abolishing copyright altogether? If that happens, then the moment an artist releases any content -- even just sending out a manuscript or screenplay to try and get it published, or sharing a short story in a class environment -- anyone could take it and do whatever they want with it without sending so much as a single red cent to the artist. I won't go so far as to say "no one will ever create anything again," but it would be extremely difficult to produce anything that requires more than $500 and a lot of elbow grease, as you'd have absolutely no way to enforce payment for what you've done.

Last but not least, there is no requirement on the part of any artists to exercise any specific copyrights. As an artist, you are fully within your rights to release your content to the world, to copy freely and at will.

If you have some alternate method of protecting an artists' rights, let's hear it. Offhand, while I see room for improvement in copyright and in record labels paying what they owe, I don't see how tossing out the entire system will ultimately be beneficial for anyone.
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Old 12-08-2009, 09:47 PM   #54
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And what about abolishing copyright altogether? If that happens, then the moment an artist releases any content -- even just sending out a manuscript or screenplay to try and get it published, or sharing a short story in a class environment -- anyone could take it and do whatever they want with it without sending so much as a single red cent to the artist.
They'd just use precisely what they already do - NDA's. Contract law can and does provide the vast majority of the protection already-in-place.

So afraid I don't really agree that's a good rationale for life+ copyright.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:00 PM   #55
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Originally Posted by PKFFW View Post
So you mean the "little man" successfully used the law to protect his IP without going bankrupt and obviously without losing?

How is that possible??

Cheers,
PKFFW
In this case, I think he won because:
  1. He was right -- they did rip off his work.
  2. His case was strong enough for a good law firm to take it on contingency. Thus, he didn't have to front any money for the lawsuit. Rather, the law firm covered their own expenses because they had a strong expectation of collecting their contingency fee (typically 30% of the collected amount, although it can vary).
  3. The potential size of the judgement (if successful) was large enough to get that law firm's attention. Probably wouldn't have worked if the lawsuit was only trying to recover a few tens of thousands of dollars.
I'm only guessing about these issues, but these seem to be likely factors.

Xenophon
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:04 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by Xenophon View Post
In this case, I think he won because:
  1. He was right -- they did rip off his work.
  2. His case was strong enough for a good law firm to take it on contingency. Thus, he didn't have to front any money for the lawsuit. Rather, the law firm covered their own expenses because they had a strong expectation of collecting their contingency fee (typically 30% of the collected amount, although it can vary).
  3. The potential size of the judgement (if successful) was large enough to get that law firm's attention. Probably wouldn't have worked if the lawsuit was only trying to recover a few tens of thousands of dollars.
I'm only guessing about these issues, but these seem to be likely factors.

Xenophon
And also he was A.E. van Vogt, a not incosiderable giant within the field. I doubt very much that internet-writer number six million and one (i'm six millionth) would have even been listened to.
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:31 PM   #57
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And also he was A.E. van Vogt, a not incosiderable giant within the field. I doubt very much that internet-writer number six million and one (i'm six millionth) would have even been listened to.
They still won't give me a line number...(Something about being too tasteless even for the internet.... )
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Old 12-08-2009, 10:41 PM   #58
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And also he was A.E. van Vogt, a not incosiderable giant within the field. I doubt very much that internet-writer number six million and one (i'm six millionth) would have even been listened to.
I don't know the facts of that particular situation, but I'm going to take a wild guess that even a sci-fi author with a decent reputation and good sales has a fraction of the resources and legal firepower of 20th Century Fox.

The great thing about copyright, though, is that you don't have to be a "somebody" to have the full protection of the law. All you need is to copyright your creation, and if someone rips you off, the phone number of a half-way decent lawyer.

Simply because you aren't hearing about it on a regular basis doesn't mean it never happens.
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Old 12-08-2009, 11:02 PM   #59
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They'd just use precisely what they already do - NDA's. Contract law can and does provide the vast majority of the protection already-in-place.
No, it can't.

Let's say we eliminate all copyright. The process is completely and absolutely eliminated, all content can be reproduced at will.

An author sends an unsolicited manuscript to an agent; the agent then takes it to the publisher, they edit it, publish it, and refuse to pay the author anything. Another publisher sees that the book is selling well, so they translate it into German and sell it internationally. Again, they refuse to pay the author or original publisher anything. No contracts were signed, so the author has no protection.

Then, a director reads the book and thinks it will make a great movie. Since there's no copyright, she does not need the author's permission to make a movie; she does not have to pay for the rights; and she doesn't have to make any contracts with anyone. So she makes a movie, and doesn't need to pay the author a single cent. Next thing you know, there are 20 "Lord of the Ring" movies, including one in Esperanto and two set in the Star Wars universe.

Now let's say someone early in the process (the author, the agent, the publisher) isn't happy about all this, so next time around they slap some DRM on it and say that anyone who wants to read "their" book(s) has to sign a contract that prevents the reader from distributing the book for the life of the author plus 100 years. If that becomes the norm, then the public is right back in the same situation as it is now. You might even lose MORE rights, as the publisher might stipulate longer contract terms and insist that you cannot reproduce the content for any reason whatsoever, including parodies and fair use and backups. If you lose your copy, then it sucks to be you and you can go buy another copy.

So, got any other suggestions?
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Old 12-09-2009, 12:13 AM   #60
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No, it can't.

Let's say we eliminate all copyright. The process is completely and absolutely eliminated, all content can be reproduced at will.

An author sends an unsolicited manuscript to an agent; the agent then takes it to the publisher, they edit it, publish it, and refuse to pay the author anything. Another publisher sees that the book is selling well, so they translate it into German and sell it internationally. Again, they refuse to pay the author or original publisher anything. No contracts were signed, so the author has no protection.

Then, a director reads the book and thinks it will make a great movie. Since there's no copyright, she does not need the author's permission to make a movie; she does not have to pay for the rights; and she doesn't have to make any contracts with anyone. So she makes a movie, and doesn't need to pay the author a single cent. Next thing you know, there are 20 "Lord of the Ring" movies, including one in Esperanto and two set in the Star Wars universe.

Now let's say someone early in the process (the author, the agent, the publisher) isn't happy about all this, so next time around they slap some DRM on it and say that anyone who wants to read "their" book(s) has to sign a contract that prevents the reader from distributing the book for the life of the author plus 100 years. If that becomes the norm, then the public is right back in the same situation as it is now. You might even lose MORE rights, as the publisher might stipulate longer contract terms and insist that you cannot reproduce the content for any reason whatsoever, including parodies and fair use and backups. If you lose your copy, then it sucks to be you and you can go buy another copy.

So, got any other suggestions?
Your scenario presupposes that we haven't found some way to eradicate all the parasites in this future we have without copyright (I have my fingers crossed that we do ) As far as I can see it, the agents, the publishers and their ilk will be extinct within 20 years.

EDIT: I'll go even further than this prediction. I'll say that within ten years the idea of price-per-digital-cultural-object will be completely gone from our mindset. Copyright, if it even exists, will be some form of Creative Commons (but much less restrictive) and most people will abide by that copyright because of manners and netiquette and not threats of law. Also, we will have reached Mars. TV will no longer exist. And the reality-star will be a forgotten memory belonging to 'the end days' of traditional media. There will also be an ice cream that involves bacon

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