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Old 01-03-2012, 07:44 PM   #46
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We disagree on copyright. I think it should last forever. The public has no right to gain free use of someone else's creativity just because a period of time has elapsed.
And what would be the benefit to the public of using public resources (e.g., courts) to uphold the "rights" of Shakespeare 500 years later, or Jane Austen 150 years later? So their great, great, great, great, great-grandkids would never have to work? Where's the public benefit in that?

Copyright (and patents) were seen by the US's founding fathers as a bargain. You get the full power of the government to enforce your rights -- but not forever, and the creator's part of the bargain is that after that exclusive period (which is quite freaking long by any reasonable estimation, benefiting not only the creator but at least two generations afterward), the work is free for the public to use. So that high schools and philharmonics and community theaters and libraries other institutions can share/perform the work for the benefit of the public, without further cost.

Take your argument to its logical conclusion, and why should it only be limited to works of authorship? Maybe I shouldn't be able to enjoy a 19th century table or Craftsman house or vintaqe dress without paying that creator for their "creativity" too, despite the fact that they were originally compensated just as they had expected to be. But Shakespeare and Jane Austen both created their works without any expectation that 20 generations removed, their descendants would still be collecting checks. Do you really think that high schools performing Romeo & Juliet should be paying residuals to Shakespeare's relatives? Seriously?
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Old 01-03-2012, 07:46 PM   #47
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He was also a slave owner. IOW, wrong on slavery, wrong on copyright.
By that logic, he was wrong about everything else in the Constitution as well.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:20 PM   #48
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If the "starving student who always borrowed books from friends" has become the "starving student who downloads books from torrent sites"... what have we lost, as a society?
That's a pretty big if.

In a US scenario, I'm thinking it's more likely that the starving student usually borrowed the books from a public or private (any starving Ivy League students out there?) library, and that library purchased more books as a result.

Much more likely: The student isn't starving, comes from a household where annual income is $50,000+, and is downloading books of living authors who, with only a tiny handful of exception, make less money than his or her parents.
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Old 01-03-2012, 08:30 PM   #49
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That's a pretty big if.

In a US scenario, I'm thinking it's more likely that the starving student usually borrowed the books from a public or private (any starving Ivy League students out there?) library, and that library purchased more books as a result.

Much more likely: The student isn't starving, comes from a household where annual income is $50,000+, and is downloading books of living authors who, with only a tiny handful of exception, make less money than his or her parents.
Nice strawman.

Feel free to provide statistics that indicate that most of the people who download are supported by families making more than $50k/year. And that poorer students usually get books from libraries, which do feed into author revenue streams, as opposed to borrowing from friends or buying cheap used books, which don't.

When I was poor and a voracious reader, I barely touched libraries ... they weren't as convenient (they're not open when I run out of books to read, unlike my friends, whom I can call at 8pm and say "I've finished book 2; do you have book 3?"), and their selection didn't often fit my tastes, and they don't allow enough books checked out at a time to cover for the hassle of getting to a library.
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Old 01-03-2012, 09:35 PM   #50
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I just want to say something else about the relative poverty of authors and downloaders. I really do find this to be an issue. Many people live in countries and circumstances where it just isn't practical to purchase a lot of literature. They may be well off by that country's standards in having an eReader, but it would be impossible to spend a lot of money filling it. In some other places, there are freedom-to-read issues even for the wealthy. Those folks are, I think, justified in disrespecting copyright in order to gain a broad perspective on what is going on around the world. But if the only reason someone downloads without paying is that they like eReading better than a paper library book, well, I don't have to like that.

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Old 01-03-2012, 09:48 PM   #51
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Hardly anyone today has friends with private libraries more extensive, in any genre, than public ones, and whose doors are open to them, without invitation, more hours a week than public libraries. Your book-borrowing experience sounds like something more typical of a servant in one of the stately homes of nineteenth century England than of a late twentieth century American. I'm not saying that your story is incorrect, just that it describes something rarely seen in modern times.
What? Libraries are open during standard business hours and some weekend hours. My friends and I were at school or working during most of those hours, but getting together at 7-10pm was always an option. (What "without invitation?" These were my D&D gaming buddies. We showed up at each others' houses as often as we could squeeze time out of the week to do so.)

Their selections weren't more expansive than the libraries'--but it was more to my tastes. Most libraries have very sparse (or nonexistent) collections of Pagan books, and their science fiction is often hit-or-miss; they have the current bestsellers but not 10-year-old midlist complete series. Libraries don't usually have Elizabethan Costuming (For The Years 1550 - 1580), even if there's a local renfaire community; it had a small print run from an obscure publishing house.

Libraries had more books, but not *the one I want today.* Odds of someone in my group of friends having that book are a lot higher than the public library having it.

Libraries were always great for "I want to read something new; I'll go look at what's there." They weren't great for "I've finished the Chtorr series; what else has Gerrold written that I'd like?"
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:11 PM   #52
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Why do you see that as a problem? Authors have no moral obligation to make their works available to the public.
Well, technically they do. The point of copyright is not that the authors have a right to their intellectual property. That's a concept that was dreamed up by a lawyer much later (look up the origin of intellectual property if you doubt me). Originally, in England, copy right was a royal grant and had nothing to do with who created the original work.

In the US, copy right was placed in the Constitution - "The Congress shall have the power...To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries;"

A work that is not available to the public can hardly be said to promote the progress of science or useful arts. Of course, many have forgotten that with the right came the responsibility, promotion of the useful arts. Instead it has been seen as a "property" like land or a house which belongs to a person and can not be taken away.

Regardless, yes I am talking mostly about works that were made available to the public at one time. For one thing, if the work was never made available, why would I even know about it much less want to read it? There are some exceptions of course, works by well known authors that were known to exists but never published, but that's only a handful.
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Old 01-04-2012, 07:41 PM   #53
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I believe you've just described Demonoid.
...
Copyright is a first-world problem. It's a contract made among people of means, with the premise that everyone involved can afford monopolies on information. And inasmuch as it's being used to stall progress in developing areas and support oppression of the poor, the "Robin Hood" approach is very reasonable.
...
Actually, copyright is very much a European concept. One of the big reasons that there is so much copyright piracy in the various non European countries some of which really aren't what one would call third world, is that there is no real concept that supports it. China has a long and rich literary tradition, but absolutely no historical concept of things such as copyright or even plagiarism. Historically, the Chinese see absolutely no issue with taking a work, filing off the name making a few changes and presenting it as their own or better yet, take something they wrote and attribute it to a famous historical figure.

Last edited by pwalker8; 01-04-2012 at 07:43 PM.
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Old 01-04-2012, 08:50 PM   #54
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Actually, copyright is very much a European concept. One of the big reasons that there is so much copyright piracy in the various non European countries some of which really aren't what one would call third world, is that there is no real concept that supports it. China has a long and rich literary tradition, but absolutely no historical concept of things such as copyright or even plagiarism. Historically, the Chinese see absolutely no issue with taking a work, filing off the name making a few changes and presenting it as their own or better yet, take something they wrote and attribute it to a famous historical figure.
Where do you get this stuff from? This is the kind of misinformation being spread by those that would like to see all copyright abolished. See below, my source is Fan Zhang:

"As inventors of printing technology, the Chinese began official copyright protection in 1068 when the Emperor of the North Song Dynasty issued an order forbidding reproduction of the "Nine Books" without authorization. Guo Zi Jian, an official publisher of the Tang Dynasty, published the books in 932. The publishers of the Song Dynasty first became aware of copyright protection. For example, when a certain Mr. Cheng of Meishan, Sichuan, printed the book Stories of the East Capital, the "copyright page" of those days said, "Printed by Cheng of Meishan, who applied protection from the
superior, any reproduction is prohibited."

So this was almost 500 years before the first case I know of in European history (1523 in Spain).

Don't take the current copyright mess in China as being "based on history". The current mess is simply the byproduct of the last 25 years of unrestricted capitalism and an education system that didn't value creativity. Thus no new products were developed but existing products were copied in a spiral to produce shoddy products at the lowest cost.

Now China is getting serious about copyright because it is starting to affect development of their own industries. China's labor costs are getting too high to just rely on being the cheapest producer and the people demand better wages. Strong IP and patent protections are necessary for China's future path to become a developed nation.

Last edited by HansTWN; 01-04-2012 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 01-05-2012, 10:37 PM   #55
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Where do I get it from? Mostly from martial arts studies and pouring through scholarly articles on the martial arts. It's devilishly difficult to assert the true province of many Chinese martial arts books and manuals due to the practice of attributing the authorship of the book or manual to various historical figures.

Other scholars point out that the Song Dynasty "copyright" was actually government censorship and a limit on the ability to publish rather than any sort of attempt to protect authors' rights. It is much more in line with the various British monopolies of printing. The first true copyright laws in China were passed in 1910 by the Qing Dynasty. This comes from "Protecting Ideas and Ideals: Copyright Law in the People's Republic of China" an article published by June Lazar in 1996 in International Business.
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Old 01-06-2012, 12:43 AM   #56
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The first true copyright laws in China
Making up our own rules as we go, to illustrate your point?
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Old 01-06-2012, 04:46 PM   #57
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Let's face it, anything that appeared at the time of the Mouse or after will never, ever go into public domain, at least not in the US.

And that is the bottom line.
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Old 01-06-2012, 05:15 PM   #58
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The public has no right to gain free use of someone else's creativity just because a period of time has elapsed.
So the next time you use your car, you plan on paying a royalty to the heirs of the inventor of the wheel?
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Old 01-06-2012, 07:23 PM   #59
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So the next time you use your car, you plan on paying a royalty to the heirs of the inventor of the wheel?
They deduct that at the gas station when you fill up.
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Old 01-07-2012, 12:40 AM   #60
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I'm very serious. Copyright should exist to protect property rights in perpetuity; not to grant them for a limited period of time.
Native americans demand you give back their lands and Prometheus his fire.

That was really the most asinine statement I've ever read here. Fit for a monkey, for sure.
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