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Old 12-01-2019, 07:56 PM   #571
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Oh, I know who he is, Gnu software and copyleft, but his ideas are certainly not what I am advocating. If he's making the same point about terminology, then it's because the point is one that's been around for a very long time. Various words have connotations in addition to the technical definitions. The words you use can draw an emotional response from the audience.
But that argument goes both ways. Those who do not like the way intangible goods are treated like property want to change the word so it seems like we should not treat it like property. But - surprise, surprise - business isn't particularly interested in making such a change because they like treating IP as property, it works for them.

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You are trying to expand the definition of finance to include everything. A term of art is used by an industry. Copyright might be about making sure authors get paid, but it's not about the financial industry.
I offered the financial connection as a non-conspiracy-theory explanation for the term: in financial terms intangibles like this have always been referred to as a form of property. So when you're creating something for business purposes it is not a big surprise that terminology used by business might make its way into the discussion.

And I am not responsible for the expansion of the term. It's not my fault, for example, that the general purpose dictionary Merriam-Webster include for property "something to which a person or business has a legal title*". They also include specific (legal) definitions for intangible property and intellectual property. (And a rather circular definition of legal title as: "the means or right by which one owns or possesses property".)

The point being that such use as (I think) was probably first established for business and financial purpose (the treatment of intangibles as property that could be used in trade) has become common enough to have made its way into general dictionary definitions.

So arguing that copyright is not property is now similar to arguing that decimate does not mean to cause great destruction. Historically the word may have had a more specific meaning, but the world has moved on and the meaning has changed.
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Old 12-02-2019, 03:45 AM   #572
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The copyright is a GIVEN permission, not an ACQUIRED one. And it's a TEMPORARY right. Exactly like a CONCESSION (the right to exploit land, its gold, oil, diamonds, ores, gems etc.).

I think that the society will react somehow when the ratio burdens:benefits will become on the long term unbearable. In social organisation this is called revolution.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:08 PM   #573
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But that argument goes both ways. Those who do not like the way intangible goods are treated like property want to change the word so it seems like we should not treat it like property. But - surprise, surprise - business isn't particularly interested in making such a change because they like treating IP as property, it works for them.



I offered the financial connection as a non-conspiracy-theory explanation for the term: in financial terms intangibles like this have always been referred to as a form of property. So when you're creating something for business purposes it is not a big surprise that terminology used by business might make its way into the discussion.

And I am not responsible for the expansion of the term. It's not my fault, for example, that the general purpose dictionary Merriam-Webster include for property "something to which a person or business has a legal title*". They also include specific (legal) definitions for intangible property and intellectual property. (And a rather circular definition of legal title as: "the means or right by which one owns or possesses property".)

The point being that such use as (I think) was probably first established for business and financial purpose (the treatment of intangibles as property that could be used in trade) has become common enough to have made its way into general dictionary definitions.

So arguing that copyright is not property is now similar to arguing that decimate does not mean to cause great destruction. Historically the word may have had a more specific meaning, but the world has moved on and the meaning has changed.
Well, no because currently copyright is not treated as property, so while big businesses such as Disney might want it to be treated as property and might lobby the government to make it happen like they did in the 70's (it's called rent seeking), it doesn't follow that we should make that lobbying easier by adopted their terminology. Calling copyright property within the legal or financial profession might be useful short hand for both actual property as well as things like copyright, patents, leases, options or loans, but using it in that manner in general simply concedes the debate before it's started.
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Old 12-02-2019, 12:25 PM   #574
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The copyright is a GIVEN permission, not an ACQUIRED one. And it's a TEMPORARY right. Exactly like a CONCESSION (the right to exploit land, its gold, oil, diamonds, ores, gems etc.).

I think that the society will react somehow when the ratio burdens:benefits will become on the long term unbearable. In social organisation this is called revolution.
It's going to be interesting since the copyright on Mickey is due to expire in approximately 4 years. While Mickey Mouse, the character, is covered by TM, so you won't suddenly see Mickey Mouse legally in porn flicks and Steamboat Willie isn't a particularly valuable film, Disney might try to extend copyright just to make sure none of their movies go into PD. Or they might wait for the more valuable such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarves approaches PD after 2030.

IMPO, people are fine with copyright as long as companies don't start pushing the envelop more and more. If something like Star Wars verses Battlestar Galactica becomes the norm where similarities such as "The central conflict of each story is a war between the galaxy's democratic and totalitarian forces." is enough to trigger copyright protection, then that is going to cause major pain and push back. But of course, people being people, like the patent trolls, someone with money is going to eventually push the envelop.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:11 PM   #575
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[...] Calling copyright property within the legal or financial profession might be useful short hand for both actual property as well as things like copyright, patents, leases, options or loans, but using it in that manner in general simply concedes the debate before it's started.
Yep, that's what I'm saying, the debate was over long ago; I only trying to convince you of that fact . The general definition of the word property already includes intangible and impermanent.
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Old 12-02-2019, 07:23 PM   #576
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Jesus.....the lengths. Everybody benefits from what came before. But nobody comes to the farmer to confiscate his fields, to the tradesman to confiscate his bank account, to the teacher to confiscate her house. How come an author's works are deemed “owned by society”?

You don’t deserve Mickey Mouse any more than you deserve your neighbor's car.
Ah there is the concept of Eminent domain actually. And if a writer's books didn't eventually become public domain then a number of publishing houses would have probably gone under in the past. I mean I'm sure different publishers still publish books like Dracula, Frankenstein and Treasure Island just to name three books in the PD. Not all of them had publishing deals with the authors I'm sure. The classics are still sold because people still like to read them and if they weren't in public domain they could be sued if they didn't pay out to the author (or his estate). Those sales I have no doubt provide some of the income that the publisher needs in order to publish new authors and/or new books by still living published authors.
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Old 12-03-2019, 09:11 AM   #577
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Yep, that's what I'm saying, the debate was over long ago; I only trying to convince you of that fact . The general definition of the word property already includes intangible and impermanent.
Hardly. Oddly enough the IP movement is really being pushed by patents rather copyright, thought we mostly talk about copyright here. Companies love to talk about their IP after they file patents for everything and anything. There was an amusing case where some guy who was trying to teach his kid about the patent process filed a patent on a tire swing and was granted one. Sigh.

Even the Supreme Court has recognized that they are going to need to address patents. They left it so long it's going to be a major effort to clean up. But there is a political will to address patents, mostly because of drug companies. I don't think there is a similar push to reform copyright.

One restrain on copyright in the US is that while Disney may want to keep their copyrights, having Snow White in PD outside the US makes the attempt fairly moot. Prior efforts simply made copyright term more in line with the rest of the West. Once we start seeing major works such as Snow White, Gone with the Wind and Stagecoach enter public domain I think the whole copyright is property and belongs to the artist forever movement is going to lose a lot of steam. Who knows once the pressure by Disney lets up, the preservation movement will pick up again and they will finally do something about orphaned works.

Last edited by pwalker8; 12-03-2019 at 09:16 AM.
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Old 12-03-2019, 10:27 AM   #578
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Hardly. Oddly enough the IP movement is really being pushed by patents rather copyright, thought we mostly talk about copyright here. Companies love to talk about their IP after they file patents for everything and anything. There was an amusing case where some guy who was trying to teach his kid about the patent process filed a patent on a tire swing and was granted one. Sigh.

Even the Supreme Court has recognized that they are going to need to address patents. They left it so long it's going to be a major effort to clean up. But there is a political will to address patents, mostly because of drug companies. I don't think there is a similar push to reform copyright.
Abuse of the provisions is indeed a problem (and one that has absolutely nothing to do with the terminology). The issues surrounding patents in the software industry make an interesting example, although it is not really appropriate to that discuss here. But abuse of the provisions does not necessarily mean we have to throw out the whole lot and start again - at least with the current systems we have some experience with what problems exist and can work toward solutions.

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One restrain on copyright in the US is that while Disney may want to keep their copyrights, having Snow White in PD outside the US makes the attempt fairly moot. Prior efforts simply made copyright term more in line with the rest of the West. Once we start seeing major works such as Snow White, Gone with the Wind and Stagecoach enter public domain I think the whole copyright is property and belongs to the artist forever movement is going to lose a lot of steam. Who knows once the pressure by Disney lets up, the preservation movement will pick up again and they will finally do something about orphaned works.
Yes, I think this makes sense*. The global impact of the Internet does seem likely to make it fairly pointless to extend the US copyright beyond that in the rest of the world.

You can see a possible example of the effect already with Agatha Christie: the first two books are not public domain anywhere except the US, but still I see editions on Australian sites that are priced so you can be pretty sure the copyright holder isn't getting their share. These are legit' sites, so I can only assume the copyright holder is not spending much effort on these books any more. Maybe they try harder in bigger markets, I don't know.

We might suppose Disney (etc.) would find the US market large enough to try and actively protect their interests, but with so much being hosted offshore it will be next to impossible to stop without asking China for some help in developing national firewalls.


* Except the bit that implies "is property" has anything to do with the "belongs to the artist forever" argument. The two aspects of this are unrelated. Those that believe copyright should stay with with the artist forever will still believe that even if you change the words. A rose by any other name etc.
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Old 12-03-2019, 11:32 AM   #579
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Hardly. Oddly enough the IP movement is really being pushed by patents rather copyright, thought we mostly talk about copyright here.
I think not.

A company has to pay more than the lousy 56 $ to file a patent, it's not automatically granted, it costs to "maintain" it after granting, and,


more important,


it lasts only 20 years since the filing date.

Also a patent won't bring 80 million $ in the first weekend in movie theatres.
ANd it's teritorially restrcited (or pay more to have it enforced also in Senegal, or China, or N Korea).

But in one respect the patents try to emulate copyrights, they will eventually be applied to everything that is born out of the human mind.
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Old 12-03-2019, 02:29 PM   #580
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Yes, I think this makes sense*. The global impact of the Internet does seem likely to make it fairly pointless to extend the US copyright beyond that in the rest of the world.

You can see a possible example of the effect already with Agatha Christie: the first two books are not public domain anywhere except the US, but still I see editions on Australian sites that are priced so you can be pretty sure the copyright holder isn't getting their share. These are legit' sites, so I can only assume the copyright holder is not spending much effort on these books any more. Maybe they try harder in bigger markets, I don't know.

We might suppose Disney (etc.) would find the US market large enough to try and actively protect their interests, but with so much being hosted offshore it will be next to impossible to stop without asking China for some help in developing national firewalls.


* Except the bit that implies "is property" has anything to do with the "belongs to the artist forever" argument. The two aspects of this are unrelated. Those that believe copyright should stay with with the artist forever will still believe that even if you change the words. A rose by any other name etc.
Three Agatha Christie books are public domain in the US. The 2nd Poirot book, Murder on the Links joined US public domain on January 1. Two Agatha Christie books (the UK version of Poirot Investigates and both US and UK versions of The Man in the Brown Suit) are due to join US public domain very soon. I'll note this has not stopped new Agatha Christie books (written by Sophie Hannah with permission by Agatha Christie estate) from being published and the Agatha Christie estate has some years left before books start becoming public domain elsewhere.
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Old 12-03-2019, 03:17 PM   #581
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The classics are still sold because people still like to read them and if they weren't in public domain they could be sued if they didn't pay out to the author (or his estate). Those sales I have no doubt provide some of the income that the publisher needs in order to publish new authors and/or new books by still living published authors.
The second sentence is a very good point, and one I haven't seen in this discussion before.

It seems to me that very long copyright (including indefinitely prolonged, as suggested by Tubemonkey) is good for big business, while shorter copyright is good for small businesses, and no copyright (or so short that any investments become risky) is bad for most of us as it leads to less new art.

If a company pays a huge sum for a franchise (like the 4 billion USD for Star Wars, as leebase mentioned in another thread), it will, naturally, want to get return for its investment. This means:
  • Making lots of films, TV series, etc from the franchise. So the starting point for making a film won't be "Here's a good story we want to tell, what kind of world and characters does it need?", it will be "We need to tell more stories in this world, reusing these characters. Let's come up with something." In other words, the desire to use the valuable IP will come first, not the desire to tell a story in the best way it can be told.
  • Little willingness to take risks with the stories. This applies both to artistic choices, and willingness to engage with social issues.
  • Investing more in the IP. Huge budgets for making films, huge budgets for advertising. This isn't bad in itself, but it does make it even harder for other films to compete.
All in all, these extremely valuable IPs will, especially for film and TV series, lead to less artistic variation, and less variation in who get to tell their stories. The market will be dominated by huge colossi (colossuses?)

I don't think the same issues apply as much to books, maybe because the minimum investments are smaller? Behemoths like Harry Potter and Fifty Shades of Grey don't seem to have pushed out other books, instead they have made their genres more popular, and probably made more people into readers.

So I'm returning to my suggestion from earlier in the thread:

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I'd like to consider allowing transformative (or derivative? I'm not entirely sure of the difference) works made for profit when the copyright is held by a business (not an individual) after a much shorter time, like 5 or 10 years.


As for the discussions about definitions of property, I frankly don't see the point. There's nothing inherently good (or bad) about property rights, regardless of whether we are talking about physical property, immaterial property, or real estate. We're hairless apes making up rules to make it easier to rub along with each other. The human rules about ownership are no more inherently good or right than the chimpanzee rules about status.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:00 AM   #582
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I think not.

A company has to pay more than the lousy 56 $ to file a patent, it's not automatically granted, it costs to "maintain" it after granting, and,


more important,


it lasts only 20 years since the filing date.

Also a patent won't bring 80 million $ in the first weekend in movie theatres.
ANd it's teritorially restrcited (or pay more to have it enforced also in Senegal, or China, or N Korea).

But in one respect the patents try to emulate copyrights, they will eventually be applied to everything that is born out of the human mind.
I think you do not understand what is happening with patents in the US. Large corporations build big patent portfolios to give them leverage when making agreements with their competitors. Individual patents may not be particularly important, but as an aggregate, they yield a lot of leverage. Look at the patent battles between Apple and Samsung. Technology moves at such a pace that in many cases a patent is obsolete after 10 years, much less 20.
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Old 12-04-2019, 11:08 AM   #583
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Abuse of the provisions is indeed a problem (and one that has absolutely nothing to do with the terminology). The issues surrounding patents in the software industry make an interesting example, although it is not really appropriate to that discuss here. But abuse of the provisions does not necessarily mean we have to throw out the whole lot and start again - at least with the current systems we have some experience with what problems exist and can work toward solutions.



Yes, I think this makes sense*. The global impact of the Internet does seem likely to make it fairly pointless to extend the US copyright beyond that in the rest of the world.

You can see a possible example of the effect already with Agatha Christie: the first two books are not public domain anywhere except the US, but still I see editions on Australian sites that are priced so you can be pretty sure the copyright holder isn't getting their share. These are legit' sites, so I can only assume the copyright holder is not spending much effort on these books any more. Maybe they try harder in bigger markets, I don't know.

We might suppose Disney (etc.) would find the US market large enough to try and actively protect their interests, but with so much being hosted offshore it will be next to impossible to stop without asking China for some help in developing national firewalls.


* Except the bit that implies "is property" has anything to do with the "belongs to the artist forever" argument. The two aspects of this are unrelated. Those that believe copyright should stay with with the artist forever will still believe that even if you change the words. A rose by any other name etc.
In addition, the whole reason for joining the Berne convention treaty was because foreign rights for movies were become so lucrative. The foreign sales actually is much higher than local for a few movie genres. Probably not the case for Disney, but Disney makes a ton on foreign sales. For example, Frozen made $400 M in the domestic market and $873 M in the international market, for a total of $1.2 B (dang!). That's 31% domestic and 69% international. That's the box office, no idea what the DVD/stream brought. Some B grade action flicks get most of their box office from international, many are just release international and DVD.
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Old 12-06-2019, 07:51 AM   #584
Greg Anos
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Originally Posted by pwalker8 View Post
In addition, the whole reason for joining the Berne convention treaty was because foreign rights for movies were become so lucrative. The foreign sales actually is much higher than local for a few movie genres. Probably not the case for Disney, but Disney makes a ton on foreign sales. For example, Frozen made $400 M in the domestic market and $873 M in the international market, for a total of $1.2 B (dang!). That's 31% domestic and 69% international. That's the box office, no idea what the DVD/stream brought. Some B grade action flicks get most of their box office from international, many are just release international and DVD.
Not true. Hollywood realized that it's "talkies" were about to go PD, in a very few years. (5-6 years until the Jazz Singer went PD). Silents they didn't care about but "talkies" were another thing all together. The 1998 extension was al about the those kind of movies.
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Old 12-07-2019, 07:38 PM   #585
pwalker8
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Not real sure what the purpose this post is suppose to be. In general, I don't click on links if I don't know what they are linking to.

Last edited by issybird; 12-07-2019 at 08:19 PM. Reason: Spam links removed.
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