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Old 11-29-2019, 06:40 PM   #541
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No one is debating what IS....but what SHOULD BE
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Old 11-29-2019, 06:54 PM   #542
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Their own reasons is that it has a value for them.

That was the example of Tom Sawyer supposed to explain, but maybe the glass collars and mirrors used by Colombus to exchange them for gold is better - each object had a lower value for the owner than the new things they acquired. They imprinted a value to these objects.

Or is this a better example: A horse! A horse! My kingdom for a horse!
How about a block of land you no longer want but cannot sell? It no longer has any value to you, but as the owner you are still responsible for it. I've got stuff in my shed that is totally worthless to me, but it is still my property: I am responsible for seeing it disposed of responsibly. In economic terms, property can be an asset or a liability. Ownership works both ways, that's part of the deal.

I keep coming back to: property is a thing or things owned. That's it. We don't have to extend this argument to cover the abstract concept of value, we seem to be having enough trouble with what we've got.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:03 PM   #543
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I keep coming back to: property is a thing or things owned. That's it.
Yes, that's it exactly.

And if you think about what that means it will become clear why copyright is not property.

The clue is right there in the name.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:05 PM   #544
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And the answer is that no it's not. You may wish to redefine the word to make it property, but that doesn't make it property. It is simply a limited time grant of a monopoly to make copies of a specific work. That does not translate to own. It does not translate to property.

The idea of a limited time grant of control of an object is quite common in the real world. Few argue that leasing something is the same as owning it.
You can sublease a house that you rent to someone else. That doesn't imply that you actually own the house. It is quite common for one country to grant another country a 99 year lease on a piece of land for a lot of reasons, but most usually for military bases. [...]
But notice what I have been describing as property: the rights. A lease is also property - it is a thing owned. If I own the lease, the lease is my property for the term of the lease. I do not not own the land, but I do own the lease and the rights and responsibilities that come with it - even the owner of that land cannot sell those rights to someone else.
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Old 11-29-2019, 07:21 PM   #545
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Yes, that's it exactly.

And if you think about what that means it will become clear why copyright is not property.

The clue is right there in the name.
OED says of "thing": That which exists individually (in the most general sense, in fact or in idea); that which is or may be in any way an object of perception, knowledge, or thought;

Copyright exists as a thing and that thing is defined in law in a way that allows it to be owned, so it is property.
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Old 11-29-2019, 08:28 PM   #546
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No one is debating what IS....but what SHOULD BE
But if you want to debate what "SHOULD BE" you need to do more than assert some condition, you have to say why it is desirable, and this means comparing the costs as well as the benefits.

Land ownership comes with responsibilities as well as rights. It costs money to run this stuff: land registries, the legal system support etc., so society demands a continual contribution of one sort or another.

Similar issues exist with copyright and other IP - it costs money to manage. What are you going to offer society in return for it helping to protect the copyright of yesterday's shopping list in perpetuity?

Tubemonkey's suggestion of copyright extensions for those that pay for it was more practical, letting the detritus (the vast majority of copyright) get discarded while actively used copyright could help pay for the costs of the system.
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Old 11-30-2019, 05:48 AM   #547
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How about a block of land you no longer want but cannot sell? It no longer has any value to you, but as the owner you are still responsible for it. I've got stuff in my shed that is totally worthless to me, but it is still my property: I am responsible for seeing it disposed of responsibly. In economic terms, property can be an asset or a liability. Ownership works both ways, that's part of the deal.

I keep coming back to: property is a thing or things owned. That's it. We don't have to extend this argument to cover the abstract concept of value, we seem to be having enough trouble with what we've got.
Of course one of the definitions of own is property, so that's a bit of a circular definition.
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Old 11-30-2019, 05:55 AM   #548
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But notice what I have been describing as property: the rights. A lease is also property - it is a thing owned. If I own the lease, the lease is my property for the term of the lease. I do not not own the land, but I do own the lease and the rights and responsibilities that come with it - even the owner of that land cannot sell those rights to someone else.
That may be what you want to call property, but it's not generally what one considers property or own. In terms of a lease, you own nothing. You have a limited legal right to use something for a given period of time, but you don't own it. That legal right can be removed by the actual owner for various reasons, such as failure to take care of the property or failure to follow the terms of the lease. The true owner of copyright is the government. They can change the terms of the lease (copyright) at any time they choose and have done so on a number of occasions.

I think that you have fallen into the trap of taking what can be a useful analogy, i.e. one can think of copyright like it was your property because you can sell to copyright (i.e. sublease it), but it's not property because property implies a permanence that copyright and leasing does not have. At the end of a car lease, the car reverts to the true owner. At the end of the copyright, the ability to copy reverts back to it's true owner.

Leebase wants to assert that copyright should be permanent, but has so far not attempted to make a case for why it should. In the case of Disney, he asserts that Disney protects and advertises various franchises and thus the franchises ought to belong to the corporation forever.

Does this imply that when Disney declares that books about the post Return of the Jedi movie time period are no longer canon, then they should lose the copyright to those books? Does an author who does not advertise and make a book available for purchase lose the copyright?

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Old 11-30-2019, 10:11 AM   #549
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I have been quite clear and explicit about which sense of the word property I have been using - and have previously given dictionary definitions from multiple sources. Here are a few more related to the context of this discussion (since, obviously, there are other senses, such as theatrical properties, that are not relevant):

Business Dictionary = and intangible property (intellectual property). [Links to the definition of intangibles as:] Bonds, notes, shares (stock), long-term contracts, and rights (such as lease agreements and copyrights) which represent present or future value but, being mere documents, have no intrinsic value of their own.

Wikipedia on Intangible Properties = intangible property is traditionally divided in pure intangibles (such as debts, intellectual property rights and goodwill) and documentary intangibles, which obtain their character through the medium of a document (such as a bill of lading, promissory note or bill of exchange).

financial dictionary = Any tangible or intangible thing that is or may be owned by someone.


So when you say "not generally what one considers property" perhaps you could give some evidence of that (which is relevant to this discussion)? Likewise for "property implies a permanence".

I can imagine that someone not involved in business or accounting might not give much consideration to intangibles, but that is why I have been clear about the context I am using.
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Old 11-30-2019, 12:56 PM   #550
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I have been quite clear and explicit about which sense of the word property I have been using - and have previously given dictionary definitions from multiple sources. Here are a few more related to the context of this discussion (since, obviously, there are other senses, such as theatrical properties, that are not relevant):

Business Dictionary = and intangible property (intellectual property). [Links to the definition of intangibles as:] Bonds, notes, shares (stock), long-term contracts, and rights (such as lease agreements and copyrights) which represent present or future value but, being mere documents, have no intrinsic value of their own.

Wikipedia on Intangible Properties = intangible property is traditionally divided in pure intangibles (such as debts, intellectual property rights and goodwill) and documentary intangibles, which obtain their character through the medium of a document (such as a bill of lading, promissory note or bill of exchange).

financial dictionary = Any tangible or intangible thing that is or may be owned by someone.


So when you say "not generally what one considers property" perhaps you could give some evidence of that (which is relevant to this discussion)? Likewise for "property implies a permanence".

I can imagine that someone not involved in business or accounting might not give much consideration to intangibles, but that is why I have been clear about the context I am using.
And yet when you use a term, then it comes with all the connotations associated by the general public even if it might have different connotations when used as a term of art within the community of finance and accounting. In other industries such as entertainment, property might mean someone under contract and have absolutely nothing to do with actual ownership.

That's why there is a saying in the world of debate, if I can define the terms, I win the debate. This is, of course, the purpose of the term Intellectual Property, it's an attempt to win the debate and it's done a pretty good job of that.

A more proper term might be limited ownership, i.e. you have the right to use or dispose of something within a small subset of normal ownership rights, which is why I keep using the lease example since it is a more correct analogy for copyright than property. Copyright is more correctly understood by understanding the history of copyright and why copyright originally began.

Copyright was originally an attempt by the various monarchies to control the flow of information following the printing press. Authorship had nothing to do with copyrights at that time. It wasn't until 1710 that copyright was associated with the author.

There is a very explicit quid pro quo in copyright law. This quid pro quo, or social contract if you will, is included in the Statute of Anne in 1710 as well as the US Constitution, says to encourage "learned men to compose and write useful books", they got a finite right to copy and recopy those works. Since the primary purpose was to make useful books available, that copyright was of a very limited term (14 years) and then went into the public domain, thus ensuring access to the work for all. Of course, given the speed of travel now verses back then, an equivalent period now be much shorter, not the much, much longer period we have now.

The idea of copyright as an author's property is a very new idea, relatively speaking, and begun with Victor Hugo's rent seeking venture in the Berne Convention.
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Old 11-30-2019, 02:29 PM   #551
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The case is - and I repeat - society doesn’t own the fruits of the individuals labor, creativity, effort. Unlike with patents which deal in realms where there are only a limited number of solutions to a problem....fiction has no scarcity.

Society levies taxes to procure revenue to provide services. Whether via income or property tax. So society doesn’t need to take ownership away.

In the case of Disney and other large companies built on intellectual property...their properties have significant value because of ongoing and continuous investment. It’s not what Walt Disney did in making the first Steamboat Willie cartoon in the 30's that makes Mickey Mouse valuable today.

I would gladly concede all economically inactive intellectual properties become public domain...much in the way that Trademarks can become void if not used and defended.

This is not how things are...but how things SHOULD be.
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Old 11-30-2019, 04:27 PM   #552
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The case is - and I repeat - society doesn’t own the fruits of the individuals labor, creativity, effort. Unlike with patents which deal in realms where there are only a limited number of solutions to a problem....fiction has no scarcity.

Society levies taxes to procure revenue to provide services. Whether via income or property tax. So society doesn’t need to take ownership away.

In the case of Disney and other large companies built on intellectual property...their properties have significant value because of ongoing and continuous investment. It’s not what Walt Disney did in making the first Steamboat Willie cartoon in the 30's that makes Mickey Mouse valuable today.


I would gladly concede all economically inactive intellectual properties become public domain...much in the way that Trademarks can become void if not used and defended.

This is not how things are...but how things SHOULD be.
So how exactly is writing and movie making totally and completely different than every other endeavor where the individual does not own the fruits of their labor forever and a day, but rather gets paid and moves on? Of course, none of the individuals at the Disney corporation actually get the fruits of their labors. Rather, they get paid like everyone else and get nothing from the on going profits that Disney continues to rake in for the work of their employees.

For the most part, prior to author assigned copyright, authors were paid for their work, just like any other craftsman. Author assigned copyright was simply a way of using a particular existing practice (copyright) to encourage writers to write more by taking the monopoly grant from the printer's guide and assigning it to individual writers.

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Old 11-30-2019, 04:39 PM   #553
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So how exactly is writing and movie making totally and completely different than every other endeavor where the individual does not own the fruits of their labor forever and a day, but rather gets paid and moves on? Of course, none of the individuals at the Disney corporation actually get the fruits of their labors. Rather, they get paid like everyone else and get nothing from the on going profits that Disney continues to rake in for the work of their employees.
Asked and answered. When you buy a house....it’s yours. The money in your bank account is yours. Your boat is yours. The gold coins are yours.

If you start a company it’s yours. It’s not like Coca Cola becomes society's after a number of years. You can make a carbonated beverage....but you can’t make Coke.

You can write a story but you can’t write a Harry Potter book.

If you want to make money from Disney...buy shares in the company. If you work for Disney your wages don’t time out. What you are paid is yours forever...and when you die, your kids' forever...until they die and then it goes to their heirs. All the while that money can earn interest. Or...if you bought Disney stock, might earn dividends as well as accrue in value.

Contracts can change who owns the IP from creative effort....but the IP exists either way and shouldn’t evaporate any more than your fields will evaporate.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:13 PM   #554
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pwalker8 has already pointed out the truth of the matter.

Copyright is owned by the state. All you have as "property" is a time limited right to control what you create.

You don't own what you create. The moment it is let out into the world you no longer own it.

That's the way it IS, and that's the way it SHOULD be.

Sorry, but if you don't like it, don't create. Keep it all in your head and control it for as long as you live.
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Old 11-30-2019, 07:22 PM   #555
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Or...I can lobby for change in Copyright law. Laws can be changed as we’ve already witnessed with the extensions to copyright.

I’m all for those who wish to participate in the “information is free” movement. As a choice the creator gets to make.

I just draw the line at “Leebase's bank account belongs to society”....and see no reason why Steven Kings property should be any different than mine.
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