Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Qaanol » Mon Jan 30, 2012 6:50 pm UTC

What are some alternatives to the current intellectual property laws, that would more readily achieve the proper balance?

One that has been floated several times in this thread is to keep the function of copyright laws similar to the current US system, but decrease the term of exclusivity substantially, such as into the 10- to 30-year range.

Another would be to make a legally-mandated “default license”, such that during the term of protection, anyone can distribute and sell the protected work under the terms of the federal default license, which would likely include some compensation for the the rights-holder. For example, one possibility would be, if they have not reached a different agreement with the rights-holder, the seller must give half the gross revenue from those sales to the rights-holder (this particular implementation has serious flaws, especially for things like music and software where the marginal cost is zero, but if the default license were designed well it could work a lot better.)

A third option would be to distinguish between commercial and non-commercial use, with the term of protection for non-commercial use being much shorter—or perhaps non-existent.

Yet another way to restructure IP laws would be to write into the legislation some of the rights of purchasers. The right to access anywhere, at any time, using any device that is physically capable of doing so. The right to modify for personal use without restriction. The right to resell the purchased copy. The right to share (this would be the tricky one to codify, but perhaps the most important one to guarantee.) The right to distribute copies, either modified or pristine, to others who have a license to use the original. The right to use without restriction. The right to discuss without restriction. There are likely several more of these rights that should be enumerated. In general, the rights-holder holds the right to control the distribution of copies, but not to control how those copies are used.

For software in particular, to enhance the useful arts it would behoove any competent IP law to require that the source code be made available, and released into the public domain when the software is. This is most relevant to patent law, where laws could require that source code be submitted to the patent office as part of the application process. Another way to accomplish this is to require that source code must be made available to those who have purchased a copy of the software.

Of course, an all-of-the-above approach might be best. Shorter durations, much shorter for non-commercial use, rights of purchasers protected by law, mandatory source-code disclosure, and a default license system.

Whether in comprehensive terms, or simply a few ideas you’d like to see incorporated, what does your ideal IP system look like?
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Princess Marzipan » Mon Jan 30, 2012 7:22 pm UTC

Griffin wrote:But I can see someone turning from it completely and deciding "If this is the sort of shit that copyright leads to, maybe it isn't worth it after all".
Oh good, not EVERYONE is ignoring my reasoning.

Qaanol wrote:One that has been floated several times in this thread is to keep the function of copyright laws similar to the current US system, but decrease the term of exclusivity substantially, such as into the 10- to 30-year range.
We had that. It's been getting increased again and again. And again. AND AGAIN!

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Copyright_term.svg
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby LaserGuy » Mon Jan 30, 2012 8:58 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:And it's not like copyright- let alone strong copyright- is required to encourage people to make their works. Many of western culture's most cherished works were created before copyright existed: The Odyssey, all of Shakespeare's works, The Prince, the Mona Lisa, Beowulf, the stories of King Arthur, the stories of Robin Hood, Arabian Nights, and so on. Many of those works would not have had a significant influence on culture if they had been able to be locked down for ~100 years by the original producer.


Well, an obvious point to start would be the works of James Joyce. The estate has taken an extraordinarily aggressive stance on its copyright prior to this point. From the article:

“New biographies, digital representations of Joyce’s work, analyses of Joyce’s manuscripts, and, to a lesser extent, criticism—they hardly exist,” he said. “People either despaired of doing them . . . or the demands were so high that they just didn’t feel it was worth continuing the discussions.” Although more than fifteen hundred letters and dozens of manuscript drafts have been discovered since Stephen gained control of the estate, scholars told me that no new biographies of Joyce or his family are under way. The estate has not licensed online versions of “Ulysses” and “Finnegans Wake,” seminal works for hypertext theory. Anyone who plans to study Joyce today has to wonder whether it will be worth the strain.


Even doing a production of Joyce's play required considerable effort. The works have recently come out from under copyright in their home in Ireland (and, AFAIK, pretty much the rest of the world now as well), and the result is an almost immediate explosion of new works based on those by Joyce.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:34 am UTC

LaserGuy wrote:Well, an obvious point to start would be the works of James Joyce. The estate has taken an extraordinarily aggressive stance on its copyright prior to this point.

Sure, some works will become influential despite being locked down by the creator- that doesn't mean it couldn't have become more influential. Many of the works I mentioned have had many variations or adaptions made on them- altered to fit the time better, improved, or just change in general.

That some works were made and become influential part of our culture under strong copyright does not change that many of western society's most cherished works were made without that protection. Strong copyright is not needed to ensure new works are created, as evidenced by those works. Some copyright might be beneficial to encourage them more, sure, but I think we've long since passed the point of sufficient protection to encourage production of works. In fact, I'd argue the current terms discourage works. Take Rowling- she's become a billionaire under Harry Potter, and even if she took all of her money from it and gambled it all away, or otherwise lost it all, she would be set for life based on the royalties, because Harry Potter will be protected for her entire life. She has no need to create more works. Or take your own example- Stephen Joyce doesn't have to make any works of his own, but instead just take the benefits from his grandfather's works. Maybe he would have written something even better, more influential, with a stronger effect on society, had he needed to?

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:05 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:Take Rowling- she's become a billionaire under Harry Potter, and even if she took all of her money from it and gambled it all away, or otherwise lost it all, she would be set for life based on the royalties, because Harry Potter will be protected for her entire life. She has no need to create more works. Or take your own example- Stephen Joyce doesn't have to make any works of his own, but instead just take the benefits from his grandfather's works. Maybe he would have written something even better, more influential, with a stronger effect on society, had he needed to?
Yeah, this is another point about current copyright law that grinds my gears. That and never finding the droids I'm looking for.

The longer creators are able to milk profits off of years-old efforts, the LESS incentive we are giving them to create future worthwhile works. And looking at something like the Harry Potter franchise, I argue that society suffers from the fact that there is only one entity in the entire world with the legal right to create new works of any kind based on that world and its characters. Someone else could argue that it's Rowling's right to maintain control over her fictional world, but I would counter by saying that if she wanted control over how that world develops she could have done the development work BEFORE making the work available to others in exchange for money. It just seems like having one's cake and eating it too.

Even when everybody involved is being paid accordingly, the big labels throw their weight around and bully smaller distribution channels and theaters. Keeping with the Harry Potter theme, there's Wizard People, Dear Reader. It's an alternative audio track to the first film, and when a theater rented said film and played it with the WPDR audio instead of the actual audio, Warner Brothers threw a hissy fit and threatened to take their ball and go home, denying any future Warner Brothers films to the small theater. And so no one is allowed to experience this new work in a movie theater.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Hawknc » Tue Jan 31, 2012 5:29 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:That and never finding the droids I'm looking for.

Yeah, they stopped showing up on searches after Darth Vader sent a DMCA takedown notice to Google.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jan 31, 2012 7:42 am UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote:I argue that society suffers from the fact that there is only one entity in the entire world with the legal right to create new works of any kind based on that world and its characters.

Yeah, take two of the examples I gave earlier- Robin Hood and King Arthur. I'm going to take a guess and say that the original variants of those tales were worse than the newest ones. The stories grew and expanded over time- the tale behind and around the round table changed and was grown over time. This was good, and improved the work for later audiences. Now the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table is one of the most influential and lasting parts of anglo-saxon culture. Newer works don't have that. Think of what could have been if Star Wars was in the public domain; before making the new movies Lucas would have had to compete with the writers out there that, unlike him, have actual talent. He never could have gotten away with the refuse he tried to pass off as a new trilogy. Sure there'd be a lot of garbage out there to go with the new works- but someone out there almost certainly would have written, funded, and produced something interesting. Society has lost many great things that might have been because of these too-strong copyright laws.

Arguably, any truly ideal copyright law system would put something in the public domain once it has been consumed by society as an essential part of its culture. Similar to how trademarks are lost once they become generic terms. In this case, I think it'd probably be too difficult to codify when that happens, however.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Jan 31, 2012 8:25 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:Arguably, any truly ideal copyright law system would put something in the public domain once it has been consumed by society as an essential part of its culture. Similar to how trademarks are lost once they become generic terms. In this case, I think it'd probably be too difficult to codify when that happens, however.
Yeah, this is a good point. For some reason we recognize that trademarks are only fair to a certain point, and eventually we just have to accept that they're ubiquitous. It takes an INSANELY short amount of time for society to assimilate new works these days. In fact, due to how heavily some new works are marketed, they become assimilated almost before they're even actually available to the public at large! And that's before accounting for spoilers.

I think we've pretty clearly hit ubiquity with, to continue the earlier example, Harry Potter. It's not like there is any possible way that Rowling will somehow be forgotten as the creator of the world and author of the series. Anybody who becomes interested in hypothetical Harry Potter works from the public at large is likely to seek the original series, and anybody who finds they enjoy that is likely to very eagerly anticipate further works from Rowling. Except there's no incentive for her to create them.

Ugh. Star Wars. It's painfully obvious that Lucas' goal with the prequels was nothing more than to create as many merchandising opportunities as he good, by filling the movies with useless characters, vehicles, and species. But the original trilogy is so deeply embedded in our culture that I fucking DARE you to find me someone with access to Western culture who doesn't at least know who Darth Vader is. He's more recognizable than Beowulf for damn sure, and therefore more a part of our culture than Beowulf.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:51 pm UTC

Princess Marzipan wrote: He's more recognizable than Beowulf for damn sure, and therefore more a part of our culture than Beowulf.

Is there an indication that Beowulf was ever an important part of living culture? It's modern fame seems mostly based on being old, and it's mostly read by scholars and people who were told that they have to. It's cultural value is mostly as symbol, not as a work in itself. In many centuries before the 19th century people didn't care care much about germanic epics, it was just obscure.

Is there any evidence that it was an important cultural work somewhen in the middle ages, instead of just the one among many that happened to survive the centuries? Like Pompeii was never an important town, just a freak of preservation?

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Princess Marzipan » Tue Jan 31, 2012 12:56 pm UTC

I was just picking something out of public domain. It was specifically mentioned earlier so came to mind easily. I wasn't saying Beowulf is particularly important, just highlighting that oh, whoopdy doo, we can play around with Beowulf all we want, isn't that fun - no, it's not really, because Darth is much more culturally significant but regardless he and Star Wars aren't touchable.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Bharrata » Tue Jan 31, 2012 1:35 pm UTC

To be fair, Tolkien was a huge Beowulf fanboy (I'm pretty sure he could recite it off the top of his head in the original) and without the success of Tolkien you might not have had a Rowling later on....to say nothing of Rowling being a Classics major in college.

Just saying, a works apparent, popular visibility in a culture says nothing about how important it actually is.

Too bad IP lawyers aren't Literature majors, or else all of George Lucas' profits would have gone to Joseph Campbell. :roll:

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Zamfir » Tue Jan 31, 2012 2:50 pm UTC

It was just a random thing I wondered. Is Beowulf an old part of English culture, or has it only become that in the 20th century or so?

Anyway, back to copyright. Tolkien and the whole genre that followed is an indication that people can make extremely close reworkings, even in this day of copyright. You have to stop at calling the dark lord Sauron, but that's about it. And, yeah, if Star Wars had been a book, it would have been just another recycling of an old theme, with many predecessors and many successors.

I don; knwo why, but even the incredible success of the prequels didn't create much attempts to get "close" to Star Wars in movies. Somewhere between Spaceballs (which needed Lucas's approval, I think) and Firefly, studios could presumably make many Star-Wars-all-but-name movies, but on the whole they are not jumping.

While do they routinely do things like Under Siege as unoffical Die Hard sequel, and nearly indistinguishable superhero movies or disaster movies. That makes me skeptical that there would be much funding for legal but unofficial Star Wars movies. Perhaps in small-copyright-world, Mass Effect The Movie would have been Star Wars: The Old Republic instead.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:14 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I don; knwo why, but even the incredible success of the prequels didn't create much attempts to get "close" to Star Wars in movies. Somewhere between Spaceballs (which needed Lucas's approval, I think) and Firefly, studios could presumably make many Star-Wars-all-but-name movies, but on the whole they are not jumping.

Wouldn't a large part of that be because of things like the bit I highlighted? I suspect Star Wars also created a similar effect that 2001 created: people saw it as too perfect a fit for its story type, and were afraid to try to edge in on that turf. It was said after 2001 came out that Kubrick had single handedly created and destroyed the sci-fi movie market, because no one thought they could improve on 2001. As well, the fact that places like Hollywood have such a strong control over their properties gives them a very risk averse approach to dealing with markets they see as already at their potential. I don't think they'd have the luxury of that approach in a shorter copyright environment.

Zamfir wrote:While do they routinely do things like Under Siege as unoffical Die Hard sequel, and nearly indistinguishable superhero movies or disaster movies. That makes me skeptical that there would be much funding for legal but unofficial Star Wars movies. Perhaps in small-copyright-world, Mass Effect The Movie would have been Star Wars: The Old Republic instead.

While that's a very true danger from this type of setup- people will create derivative works instead of original works, I think that's a minor tradeoff compared to what is gained. And it's not like people would only create derivative works either- many writers would still have their own stories to tell. Giving them the option to help tell somebody else's story won't stop the ones who are dedicated to their own story, and those are probably the ones we need to worry about the most anyway.

Which I think loops back around to my example of Rowling earlier- the most successful, capable, and creative people are given the least incentive to create more works in our current framework. They only need to create one successful property, and they're set for life. Those are the people we should be encouraging to create new properties the most! The whole system is skewed in the wrong direction.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Bharrata » Tue Jan 31, 2012 3:20 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:It was just a random thing I wondered. Is Beowulf an old part of English culture, or has it only become that in the 20th century or so?


It's part of Anglo-Saxon culture, but it comes from Scandinavia originally, and it has had a large influence on Anglo-Saxon literature.

Since this list is in chronological order it should highlight the relative importance of the work, if we take into account that every major work will influence, in some way, everything that comes after it. (For good examples of works influenced, whether or not implicitly, by Beowulf, think Shelley's Frankenstein or Moby Dick).

http://www.rci.rutgers.edu/~wcd/complist.pdf


As popular as they are right now, I don't think it's predetermined that society will be discussing Harry Potter, or LOTR, or even Star Wars in the same way we can casually discuss Beowulf (700 C.E.) or even the Odyssey.

Whether this is because copyright laws prevent a wider and deeper cultivation of the mythos of those worlds or not is a good question that I don't have an answer for.

BUT, even just a quick look over that PDF should be evidence that culture and literature do NOT need IP laws to thrive.




edit: I could make a case for the Matrix being essentially the same story as Star Wars but I have things to do. :lol:

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby jakovasaur » Tue Jan 31, 2012 4:56 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:
Princess Marzipan wrote: He's more recognizable than Beowulf for damn sure, and therefore more a part of our culture than Beowulf.

Is there an indication that Beowulf was ever an important part of living culture? It's modern fame seems mostly based on being old, and it's mostly read by scholars and people who were told that they have to. It's cultural value is mostly as symbol, not as a work in itself. In many centuries before the 19th century people didn't care care much about germanic epics, it was just obscure.

Is there any evidence that it was an important cultural work somewhen in the middle ages, instead of just the one among many that happened to survive the centuries? Like Pompeii was never an important town, just a freak of preservation?

Tolkien was actually the one who convinced everybody that Beowulf was more than a historical curiosity, and an important work in its own right. Tolkien's article, The Monsters and the Critics is sort of an introduction to that, and an interesting read, if you're into that kind of thing.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:56 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:What I mean to say is, lets focus on why copyright exists in the first place. Producers prefer distribution channels where they have more control over their product.

This is true, but I think the success they find in those markets and channels are in spite of their bullheaded insistence on DRM / similar; not because of it.


Heh, I sure hope so. But I guess I'm more of a pessimist than you on this one. (I hope you aren't tired of this theme yet >_<).

Take the Humble Bundle, all the discussion of DRM free stuff made me start looking up the Humble Bundle 4, and Jamestown especially took my eye. As a guy who is willing to pay $40+ for a single imported Touhou game, a shooter like Jamestown is something that especially appeals to me.

Unfortunately, I missed out on Humble Bundle 4. And now the only places to get Jamestown are DRM-locked down Steam and other DRM-only dealers online. If you can prove me wrong, I'd love to buy a DRM-free Jamestown, and I am certainly willing to do it at a premium cost. (Again, imported copies of these sorts of games run $40 before shipping). Unfortunately, it would appear that DRM free + Charity was only a marketing scheme for this small indie developer.

Oh yeah, and to Princess Marizpan who doesn't believe me... actually owning a game matters. Believe me, I would prefer to have Jamestown released as DRM-free, especially a multiplayer game which would be nice if I could share it with my close friends. Its a shame I missed it on the Humble Bundle... but that only reinforces my view that the Humble Bundle is just a marketing scheme as opposed to a real "distribution network". At the end of the day, it doesn't help me if the game I want is only on Steam and no longer available DRM-free.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:04 am UTC

KnightExemplar wrote:Heh, I sure hope so. But I guess I'm more of a pessimist than you on this one. (I hope you aren't tired of this theme yet >_<).

I thought it was the other way around, and I was the pessimist?

KnightExemplar wrote:Unfortunately, I missed out on Humble Bundle 4. And now the only places to get Jamestown are DRM-locked down Steam and other DRM-only dealers online. If you can prove me wrong, I'd love to buy a DRM-free Jamestown, and I am certainly willing to do it at a premium cost. (Again, imported copies of these sorts of games run $40 before shipping). Unfortunately, it would appear that DRM free + Charity was only a marketing scheme for this small indie developer.

This would seem to be reinforcing my point however: their insistence on DRM isn't helping them, it's costing them money. They're still successful, but their insistence of stuffing DRM into things clearly hasn't helped them too much. They lost your sale, and a quick search on Google finds you can download a pirated copy anyway, so they haven't exactly stopped the pirates.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby KnightExemplar » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:38 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
KnightExemplar wrote:Heh, I sure hope so. But I guess I'm more of a pessimist than you on this one. (I hope you aren't tired of this theme yet >_<).

I thought it was the other way around, and I was the pessimist?


Yeah, but its still part of the theme. :-)

KnightExemplar wrote:Unfortunately, I missed out on Humble Bundle 4. And now the only places to get Jamestown are DRM-locked down Steam and other DRM-only dealers online. If you can prove me wrong, I'd love to buy a DRM-free Jamestown, and I am certainly willing to do it at a premium cost. (Again, imported copies of these sorts of games run $40 before shipping). Unfortunately, it would appear that DRM free + Charity was only a marketing scheme for this small indie developer.

This would seem to be reinforcing my point however: their insistence on DRM isn't helping them, it's costing them money. They're still successful, but their insistence of stuffing DRM into things clearly hasn't helped them too much. They lost your sale, and a quick search on Google finds you can download a pirated copy anyway, so they haven't exactly stopped the pirates.


Not really. Because its unavailable anywhere else, I kinda bought it. Lol. 4 player bullet-hell is too much for this danmaku fan to give up. I like DRM-free stuff, but I'm not such an idealist anymore that DRM will prevent me from buying something. At the end of the day, I am willing to support the indie game market, whether or not their views on copyright agree with mine.

EDIT: --------

Also, Jamestown was released as part of the Humble Bundle 4. Since that release was DRM free, it is trivial to pirate now. You'll have to find some statistics about pirated copies before the DRM-free copies were released if you want to make a piracy point.

Also, for me... Indie Games > DRM in my view. My last purchases have all been Indie games, and only one of them has been DRM-free. I'm just trying to state things from where I see them, and as far as I can tell, the small indie market has gone pro-DRM. If it weren't for a DRM-ed channel like Steam, they wouldn't have conglomerated onto that distribution network. I know for a fact that Achron for instance, had DRM way back when it was still in Alpha. (I was one of the people who pre-purchased the game at that time). From Achron, to Bastion (okay, WB isn't small... but it was awesome), to now Jamestown, these are games that have clearly taken advantage of the DRMed distribution network.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Feb 01, 2012 12:14 pm UTC

I usually hate breaking things up into little quote bits, but I can't think of a way for my response to make sense here unless I do it. So, sorry about that.

KnightExemplar wrote:Yeah, but its still part of the theme. :-)

Ah, yes, that makes sense.

KnightExemplar wrote:Not really. Because its unavailable anywhere else, I kinda bought it.

Dammit! You aren't helping my argument with that! :P

KnightExemplar wrote:Also, Jamestown was released as part of the Humble Bundle 4. Since that release was DRM free, it is trivial to pirate now. You'll have to find some statistics about pirated copies before the DRM-free copies were released if you want to make a piracy point.

That's actually a very good point that I hadn't considered. I went to check, and the Humble Indie Bundle #4 came out December 13, 2011. I then went and checked one piracy site, and they had posts offering downloads of Jamestown as early as mid June, 2011. I obviously can't give any links for that, so I guess you'll have to take me at my word, or do some searching of your own to double check.

KnightExemplar wrote:From Achron, to Bastion (okay, WB isn't small... but it was awesome), to now Jamestown, these are games that have clearly taken advantage of the DRMed distribution network.

The difference here is that I think they took advantage of the distribution network.. and it just happened to have DRM. Game and movie publishers are fighting tooth and nail to avoid going down the no-DRM path that music did, but eventually they'll be forced to go down it all the same, and their sales won't be hurt by that. I think they've basically all latched onto Steam, and they've succeeded there despite the DRM Steam has, not because of it. Steam has offered probably the best potential market and revenue kept combination of all the digital platforms available to indie developers. There are probably distributors that let them keep more of the revenue, or have more potential customers, but not the balance that Steam offers. I'd be surprised if many of those indie developers truly cared about the fact that Steam has DRM, and if they do care, it's going to be based on emotional reasons (I imagine it's frustrating seeing people access your work for free, so you want to feel like you're doing something, even if it's pointless), not business reasons.

I will say for my sake though, that Steam (and maybe stuff like key codes, maybe) is the only DRM I am willing to accept. If anything has extra DRM on top of it, or different DRM, no sale. I'm hoping to see a boost in GoG's catalog, because I like their no-DRM approach. At the very least, I intend to buy any future games made by them through GoG.

----------------
All of that aside, I think I inadvertently brought up a very interesting point earlier. More interesting than I expected it to be, at the very least. We allow some intellectual properties to become the property of the public the moment society has subsumed that property as part of its identity, in the form of trademarks. Copyrighted works are an even more integral part of our culture- just look at Star Wars, or Shakespeare, or the Lord of The Rings, or the Beatles- and yet, we have no ability for that ownership to transfer to society once that has transition has occurred. An obvious difficulty arises in defining when that has actually happened, but that trademark laws already deal with that fuzzy definition as is, so it can't be an impossible obstacle to overcome.

Since the full point of copyright law is to maximize the benefit to society, and it's pretty fucking obvious that people will make works even without copyright at all (let alone strong copyright), I think some provision for this would be a good idea.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Zamfir » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:06 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote: We allow some intellectual properties to become the property of the public the moment society has subsumed that property as part of its identity, in the form of trademarks. Copyrighted works are an even more integral part of our culture- just look at Star Wars, or Shakespeare, or the Lord of The Rings, or the Beatles- and yet, we have no ability for that ownership to transfer to society once that has transition has occurred. An obvious difficulty arises in defining when that has actually happened, but that trademark laws already deal with that fuzzy definition as is, so it can't be an impossible obstacle to overcome.

I am not sure whether this comparison works. If anything, it underlines how much "intellectual property" is a bag of highly different things. In the case of trademarks the valuable issue at hand is the reputation of a firm, not the trademark itself. The trademark is only protected to allow a firm to build an easily recognizable identification of that reputation.

Trademarks can (sometimes) lose their protected status, if they no longer serve as identification of a specific firm. That's formally not a decision to give the trademark to the public domain. It's a decision that the trademark is no longer a trademark, that it doesn't have the social function anymore that gave it its protected status.

The other side of that coin is that trademarks do not have time limit, because there is no public interest in handing over the mark to the public, if it is still attached to a specific firm's product. The assumption is that the public benefits from a clear identifier of a reputation, not just the trademark owner.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Feb 01, 2012 1:51 pm UTC

That's true, I'll readily admit it's not a perfect comparison. I was trying to get at the fact that the social benefit is a significant concern in one case, where it really isn't, at least not any longer, in the other. I think the bigger danger from that situation becomes non-cultural copyrighted works, such as operating systems or business software. They wouldn't really fit into that paradigm. That doesn't mean it's unworkable however, just flawed, and needing potential improvement. My central point has been, and shall remain, that current copyright laws (at least in the US- I don't know much about foreign laws in general) are completely broken. They fail at their central goal (encourage creative works in a way that benefits society), and only really serve to allow people to profit off the works of their grandparents, or companies like Disney to keep milking Micky Mouse. It's broken, and I don't think any suggestion for even stronger copyright laws is grounded in a thoughtful assessment of current affairs. I don't want to completely get rid of them, but they do need to be reworked significantly.

And it's not like derivative works won't be a net boon to society. As at least one example that I recalled earlier: A Fistful of Dollars. The first part of, argueably, the most influential western trilogy. It was an also unauthorized remake of Yojimbo, and had a lot of copyright issues for it's US release. If copyright law had been followed properly, we would never have gotten The Good, The Bad and The Ugly. With the exception of the most avid film buffs out there, I would argue that The Good, The Bad and The Ugly is far more a part of our culture. Maybe not a convincing argument in itself, but I feel it's worth giving an example of how strong copyright can bite us in the ass, even with more modern works.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Zamfir » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:08 pm UTC

Don't get me wrong, I agree derivative art can be an important boon, and that copyright hampers that. Still, I don't know how that translates to actual copyright law (which is not that different here as in the US)

For one thing, I think it is extremely hard to give a firm backing to such claims. It's a lot of gut feeling, individual examples, speculation. After all, there is an enormous amount of cultural works anyway. Including lots of negotiated derivative work, especially in movies. I am hesitant to call something broken if it seems to work anyway, because that relies on a counterfactual non-broken situation that is hard to be sure of.

And second, our society has a deeper problems with derivative works than just copyright. Don't take this the wrong way, I am going to use you as example:
Ghostbear wrote:While that's a very true danger from this type of setup- people will create derivative works instead of original works, I think that's a minor tradeoff compared to what is gained. And it's not like people would only create derivative works either- many writers would still have their own stories to tell. Giving them the option to help tell somebody else's story won't stop the ones who are dedicated to their own story, and those are probably the ones we need to worry about the most anyway.

See what I mean? We highly value originality, being the first, doing a new thing, and tend to put low status on derivations and emulations. Our views on copyright are tightly bound with a very deeply rooted concept that original works by identifiable creators are the highest art form. Instead of for example seeing them as first attempts, obviously to be redone and improved on by later masters. Especially in narrative, we don't have much of a tradition anymore of many artists redoing the same stories at the same time, and of audiences that appreciate this. That's not a hard argument against short copyright, more a warning that we aren't very sure how good the results would be.

Would we really be happier in world with 3 competing Star Wars pre/se/side/requels, and Steven Seagall, Bruce Willis and Hugh Grant as alternative Terminators? That's what traditional story cycles like Robin Hood and King Arthur might also have been like, the medieval equivalent of 8 indistinguishable sequels while no one dares to make something fresh.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Feb 01, 2012 3:50 pm UTC

Honestly, I don't see how it's not broken. Perhaps we get most of the output we need- as you say, it's really impossible to prove what might have been made- but the societal benefit? That's all lost. Instead we've gotten a sea of DRM, infringement suites for millions of dollars against someone who only downloaded a few dozen songs, a media industry that has possibly the most capable political lobby in the world, we get laws like SOPA/PIPA very nearly passing, we get the US having foreigners arrested for actions that aren't a crime in their own residence... It's all broken. The consequences of this system, to me, are unacceptable. Looking at historical trends, it doesn't appear to me that any significant harm would come along one of those goals (works produced)- and it very likely could have a significant boon, as I try to argue- while giving a very clear benefit on the other side (societal benefit).

As for originality, I don't think we'd lose a significant amount of it with a shorter copyright system. People will still want to create their own works, it's part of the fire that many creative people get. Even derivative works can be original in their own ways however. Just take the A Fistful of Dollars example I gave above, or take the Lord of The Rings, or take Star Wars itself, or Led Zeppelin, or the early work of the Beatles, and so on. Some of those outright took the ideas of others (A Fistful of Dollars, Led Zeppelin) and wouldn't have been able to make any of their works with fully enforced copyright laws, others are hugely derived from the works of others. Despite that, they're all original, and that's a significant part of cultural works. They don't come out of thin air: they're all derived from the culture that made it! And the current system is making it harder and harder to incorporate that culture into your work.

I'd argue it's something you can very directly see the negative influence of today: how many movies or games are sequels? How many big name directors do we have that didn't make their names in the 70s or 80s? How many recent movies, recent books, recent bands, recent superheroes, etc.. how many of them are a significant part of our culture, compared to the older works? We've already lost that originality. It's so legally dangerous now to incorporate the work of others into your own creation, they decide its safer to just outright buy or license that copy and use it directly.

Would we be happier in a world with those multiple Star Wars variants or Terminators? Not by themselves, no. That's not the point though. We'd gain other works besides just the shitty Chinese-knockoff equivalents. And some of those would make us happier; the poorly done derivations aren't going to last long anyway (how many people do you know that watched Snakes On A Train?). And it's why I originally brought up King Arthur and Robin Hood- the stories got improved upon and edited over the years. Maybe in their early days it was a bit chaotic, but I have no doubts that the final story of those figures is greater than the stories as originally told.

While you are right that there are risks to changing the system, I think the current system is so broken, legally, socially, creatively, I think that's a risk worth taking a million times over. We've been going down the same path for decades now, and I don't think the situation has improved at all; maybe we should turn around a bit, return things to one of our earlier points? I don't think we have much to lose, and yet, we have so much to gain.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Dauric » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:31 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:I'd argue it's something you can very directly see the negative influence of today: how many movies or games are sequels? How many big name directors do we have that didn't make their names in the 70s or 80s? How many recent movies, recent books, recent bands, recent superheroes, etc.. how many of them are a significant part of our culture, compared to the older works? We've already lost that originality. It's so legally dangerous now to incorporate the work of others into your own creation, they decide its safer to just outright buy or license that copy and use it directly.


This, IMO, is a result of the way that we fund most of our cultural works. It's not that there's nobody writing new superheroes, look at Johnny Saturn, Hero By Night, or even the overtly comedy heroes and villains of Evil Inc. And that's just superheroes, if you want adventures in space then Marooned, Supermassive Black Hole A* Crimson Dark (now completed), and of course no list of SF webcomics would be complete without the epic work of Howard Taylor Schlock Mercenary

Intellectual properties as settings are not in short supply, and given the resources (which the internet has made available at incredibly low cost all things considered) anyone with the creative drive to create their own setting will do so.

The problem is -expensive- projects like big blockbuster special-effects movies and so called "AAA-rated" games that come out of major game studios. The corporations that produce these are not out there to support independent creative efforts, they want investment vehicles. Star Wars is a major name brand, if you can convince George Lucas to make something Star Wars you're guaranteed to bring in income. Medal of Honor, Battlefield 1943, and Call of Duty weren't just three lines of WWII-inspired shooters, they were all -series- of WWII-inspired shooters. Battlefield Bad Company and Call of Duty Modern Warfare came out as public interest over -yet another- WWII shooter was waning and sales were dropping, and both have become series of modern-combat shooters and we'll continue to see more of these series until their respective sales numbers drop.

The thing is that as long as some project rakes in big money, the big developers will continue to produce the same kind of entertainment product. Not that there's anything inherently bad about making more product that people want, it is a fundamental pillar of capitalism, but it does lead the producers in those systems to become hidebound. New IPs are by their nature unknown quantities, the more unknown the quantity the greater the risk. If EA is going to plunk down millions to develop a new game their accountants are going to want to know what the risks of marketing and selling the game are to balance their books (and in EA's case they've gotten a reputation of meddling in the production of the game to make sure it's more of a known quantity).

This means that the people taking risks with new IPs are the garage developers, the webcomic artists and the indie game developers and the amateur filmmakers making steampunk serial movies on Youtube with inexpensive cameras and special effects that bring back memories of John Pertwee as Doctor Who.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Zamfir » Wed Feb 01, 2012 4:53 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:I'd argue it's something you can very directly see the negative influence of today: how many movies or games are sequels? How many big name directors do we have that didn't make their names in the 70s or 80s? How many recent movies, recent books, recent bands, recent superheroes, etc.. how many of them are a significant part of our culture, compared to the older works? We've already lost that originality. It's so legally dangerous now to incorporate the work of others into your own creation, they decide its safer to just outright buy or license that copy and use it directly.

That's the part I don't get. Copyright means that you have to pay for making sequels or superhero movies, and it precludes many people from making a sequel. With shorter copyright, someone would now have made Titanic 2: The Return Voyage, where Kate Winslett relives memories from her youth while on a boat to Europe and Leonardo DiCaprio appears only in flashbacks because he's too expensive to hire again. And someone else would make Titanic II: Hindenberg. The typical movie might be like that, like a boot stamping on a human face, forever.

Ok, that was exaggerated. But I still see a contradiction between on the hand preferring short copyright to encourage reuse of existing material, and on the other hand considering the bit of reuse that is currently legally and practically possible as already too much.

Another stone in the pond, for fun: I am far from sure that Arthur legends or Robin Hood are very good stories, nor many other of such shared traditions. A lot of repetition, little room for realistic human (or monkey) personalities, not much of a story arc. If they weren't already known, I doubt people would take them very serious.

EDIT: In 50 years time, someone will make Titanic 9/11. An historic drama with Kate Winslett as an early 21st century New York banker (that's a kind of duchess they had in those days, kids) who falls in love with the office handy man, on a tragic day in late summer.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Dauric » Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:22 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:EDIT: In 50 years time, someone will make Titanic 9/11. An historic drama with Kate Winslett as an early 21st century New York banker (that's a kind of duchess they had in those days, kids) who falls in love with the office handy man, on a tragic day in late summer.


And the iconic scene of her character spreading her arms like a bird at the railing is as she's standing on the roof as the tower collapses...
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:30 pm UTC

Potential derivative works still isn't the whole point here- there's other ways in which the too long copyright law has made things worse. Even focusing on the creativity bit, I want to return and point out the the current setup, copyright for life+, ultimately discourages the most successful (and thus, generally the most culturally significant) creators from making new works. And that even if we somehow ended up not gaining any new works from changing the system, we could still gain in other ways. I don't want to thump my chest on derivative works for 50 pages- I know it's not an argument that can have empirical evidence attached to it. So I'll readily admit that my argument on that specifically might not be compelling, but it's not the sole or central part of my argument anyway.

That said:

Zamfir wrote:Ok, that was exaggerated. But I still see a contradiction between on the hand preferring short copyright to encourage reuse of existing material, and on the other hand considering the bit of reuse that is currently legally and practically possible as already too much.

I've never denied that we'd get lots of garbage from opening the floodgates this way. It'd be inevitable. That's not the concern though; we'd also (I believe) get some true gems out of it. And culture, unlike many other things, doesn't really lose out from having lots of garbage available, unless there's so much that it prevents the good creations from being able to get exposed. If we get two gems and 300,000 horrible works, we're ahead of where we'd be with one gem and 50 horrible works. Especially since our ability to evaluate cultural productions isn't uniform; some people will like those "horrible" works, and find them to be the true gems.

As for the apparent disconnect, it's the manner in which it's reused. You can reuse something and be original, just see the list I made in the other post of derivative, yet original, works. The current practices have it so locked down that the only way to safely reuse a work is to outright own it already, and if they've already spent that money on it, they might as well just reuse it directly instead. Some of that is going to be the money factor as Dauric noted, but some of that money factor is going to be because of the current situation anyway.

Zamfir wrote:Another stone in the pond, for fun: I am far from sure that Arthur legends or Robin Hood are very good stories, nor many other of such shared traditions. A lot of repetition, little room for realistic human (or monkey) personalities, not much of a story arc. If they weren't already known, I doubt people would take them very serious.

Perhaps, but I feel safe in saying that the resultant stories are likely far better than the originals. And I can happily point out that the legends of King Arthur have been a heavy influence on one of my favorite fantasy series in the Wheel of Time. Maybe they are boring stories, maybe they wouldn't be fun to read, but I think that's completely secondary to the point I was trying to reach with them.

Dauric wrote:This, IMO, is a result of the way that we fund most of our cultural works. It's not that there's nobody writing new superheroes, look at Johnny Saturn, Hero By Night, or even the overtly comedy heroes and villains of Evil Inc. And that's just superheroes, if you want adventures in space then Marooned, Supermassive Black Hole A* Crimson Dark (now completed), and of course no list of SF webcomics would be complete without the epic work of Howard Taylor Schlock Mercenary

That doesn't invalidate that we have lost that creativity already. I did make note, albeit in a different manner, of the cost factor as well. And cost was still a major factor in many cases before hand; Star Wars had a lot of trouble due to its increasing budget. And we still have that cultural stagnation in industries that don't have those huge budgets; you honed in on the superheroes, for example. The cost of making a comic book won't have changed tremendously over the years. Yet culturally, we're still stuck with the classic superheroes of yore. No new superheroes have entered the mainstream for as long as I can remember.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Dauric » Wed Feb 01, 2012 5:57 pm UTC

Ghostbear wrote:
Dauric wrote:This, IMO, is a result of the way that we fund most of our cultural works. It's not that there's nobody writing new superheroes, look at Johnny Saturn, Hero By Night, or even the overtly comedy heroes and villains of Evil Inc. And that's just superheroes, if you want adventures in space then Marooned, Supermassive Black Hole A* Crimson Dark (now completed), and of course no list of SF webcomics would be complete without the epic work of Howard Taylor Schlock Mercenary

That doesn't invalidate that we have lost that creativity already. I did make note, albeit in a different manner, of the cost factor as well. And cost was still a major factor in many cases before hand; Star Wars had a lot of trouble due to its increasing budget. And we still have that cultural stagnation in industries that don't have those huge budgets; you honed in on the superheroes, for example. The cost of making a comic book won't have changed tremendously over the years. Yet culturally, we're still stuck with the classic superheroes of yore. No new superheroes have entered the mainstream for as long as I can remember.


This is actually my point though. The "Mainstream" is made up of big corporate conglomerates that are looking for entertainment properties that make suitable investment vehicles. In that regard they tend to stagnate on "tried and tested" IPs that attract a specific demographic, and they use census data to determine how many of that demographic there are and industry trends to determine how many will attend the first week and how many will buy the extended-director's-cut-with-limited-edition-vinyl-collectors-statuette-with-USB-thumbdrive-and-light-up-eyes. It's where we get "Michael Bay" movies becoming a genre unto themselves, because people tend to consume "mainstream" culture uniformly enough that new 'mainstream' entertainment numbers can be predicted.

It's not so much that current copyright laws itself has anything to do with the homogenization of mainstream media in to easily definable genres and a timid lack of exploration, but rather that the corporate environment where profits are more important than quality of product (as defined by corporate tax laws) encourages the producers of the mainstream to develop entertainment products with predictable profit-margins.

Note I'm not saying everything with copyright law is hunky-dory, but -at present- it's not what is reducing new creativity in the mainstream market, that's a factor of the expense of creating mainstream media and the people with that money acting as gatekeepers to the mainstream.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Wed Feb 01, 2012 6:25 pm UTC

Dauric wrote:Note I'm not saying everything with copyright law is hunky-dory, but -at present- it's not what is reducing new creativity in the mainstream market, that's a factor of the expense of creating mainstream media and the people with that money acting as gatekeepers to the mainstream.

I'm not saying, or at least, I'm not trying to say, that it's the only reason, or even the major reason. I think it does factor in though- it adds extra costs to many approaches, allows the accumulation of properties and licenses and characters at a handful of oversized and monolithic entities. They'd still try to follow their current approach in a different market, but it'd be more difficult for them.

And as I said, this isn't meant to be the whole or basis of my argument. I very well may have made a poor case with derivative works (even if I do still believe what I said, or at least tried to say), but I do think the current copyright system does impede or discourage creativity, whether it be institutionally or legally.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby yoni45 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 12:47 am UTC

Ghostbear wrote:Potential derivative works still isn't the whole point here- there's other ways in which the too long copyright law has made things worse. Even focusing on the creativity bit, I want to return and point out the the current setup, copyright for life+, ultimately discourages the most successful (and thus, generally the most culturally significant) creators from making new works...


Okay... and? Why do the most successful creators owe you any further creations? If they made a creation so awesome that it can set them for life, then be thankful for it and move on.

I mean -- if you want more creative material to be created, quit your day job, grab a pencil, and get to it. It seems rather ridiculous that your reasoning for legally depriving people from the proceeds of their work is because you want them to do more work for your benefit.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby elasto » Thu Feb 02, 2012 1:17 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:
Ghostbear wrote:Potential derivative works still isn't the whole point here- there's other ways in which the too long copyright law has made things worse. Even focusing on the creativity bit, I want to return and point out the the current setup, copyright for life+, ultimately discourages the most successful (and thus, generally the most culturally significant) creators from making new works...


Okay... and? Why do the most successful creators owe you any further creations? If they made a creation so awesome that it can set them for life, then be thankful for it and move on.

I mean -- if you want more creative material to be created, quit your day job, grab a pencil, and get to it. It seems rather ridiculous that your reasoning for legally depriving people from the proceeds of their work is because you want them to do more work for your benefit.

All that is being said is that it should be a trade-off. The optimal point for society is that works are protected a bit, but not too much.
- Don't protect at all and people have no incentive to be creative for a living - they'll only do it as a hobby
- Protect too much and (a) people have no incentive to be creative once they've had a hit and (b) you stop people being professionally creative using each others' work

Protect a bit - eg let people monitize their work for 10 years or so and then everyone can build on that work - and society as a whole benefits the most

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby yoni45 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 2:20 am UTC

elasto wrote:
yoni45 wrote:Okay... and? Why do the most successful creators owe you any further creations? If they made a creation so awesome that it can set them for life, then be thankful for it and move on.

I mean -- if you want more creative material to be created, quit your day job, grab a pencil, and get to it. It seems rather ridiculous that your reasoning for legally depriving people from the proceeds of their work is because you want them to do more work for your benefit.


All that is being said is that it should be a trade-off. The optimal point for society is that works are protected a bit, but not too much.
- Don't protect at all and people have no incentive to be creative for a living - they'll only do it as a hobby
- Protect too much and (a) people have no incentive to be creative once they've had a hit and (b) you stop people being professionally creative using each others' work

Protect a bit - eg let people monitize their work for 10 years or so and then everyone can build on that work - and society as a whole benefits the most


Right -- my point is that "(a) people have no incentive to be creative once they've had a hit" is not a very good reason to limit copyright protection. People, creative or not, have no legal or moral obligation to provide you with more work and so to deprive them of proceeds of their work to induce them to do more work for you is borderline extortion.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby elasto » Thu Feb 02, 2012 3:20 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:Right -- my point is that "(a) people have no incentive to be creative once they've had a hit" is not a very good reason to limit copyright protection. People, creative or not, have no legal or moral obligation to provide you with more work and so to deprive them of proceeds of their work to induce them to do more work for you is borderline extortion.

Depends on your political persuasion I guess. I'd argue copyright is inherently a distortion of the free market - a government enforced monopoly on your creation - and that people shouldn't expect one stroke of luck entitles them (and in many cases their descendants) to a lifetime of market distortion courtesy of the government.

(Not all free market distortions are bad, of course, but they need to be viewed with keen suspicion and kept firmly in check..!)

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby yoni45 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:04 am UTC

elasto wrote:
yoni45 wrote:Right -- my point is that "(a) people have no incentive to be creative once they've had a hit" is not a very good reason to limit copyright protection. People, creative or not, have no legal or moral obligation to provide you with more work and so to deprive them of proceeds of their work to induce them to do more work for you is borderline extortion.

Depends on your political persuasion I guess. I'd argue copyright is inherently a distortion of the free market - a government enforced monopoly on your creation - and that people shouldn't expect one stroke of luck entitles them (and in many cases their descendants) to a lifetime of market distortion courtesy of the government.

(Not all free market distortions are bad, of course, but they need to be viewed with keen suspicion and kept firmly in check..!)


So how would you view the government enforced monopoly on the oil that you find on your property by a stroke of luck?
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby elasto » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:24 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:
elasto wrote:
yoni45 wrote:Right -- my point is that "(a) people have no incentive to be creative once they've had a hit" is not a very good reason to limit copyright protection. People, creative or not, have no legal or moral obligation to provide you with more work and so to deprive them of proceeds of their work to induce them to do more work for you is borderline extortion.

Depends on your political persuasion I guess. I'd argue copyright is inherently a distortion of the free market - a government enforced monopoly on your creation - and that people shouldn't expect one stroke of luck entitles them (and in many cases their descendants) to a lifetime of market distortion courtesy of the government.

(Not all free market distortions are bad, of course, but they need to be viewed with keen suspicion and kept firmly in check..!)


So how would you view the government enforced monopoly on the oil that you find on your property by a stroke of luck?

I've never really thought about it. Would you like me to? My first thought is that, like always, ownership of physical objects needs different rules to ownership of information.

I'm not against people getting lucky and never needing to work again if that's what you're implying, I'm against free market distortions that on the one hand discourage people from working on things they've created and on the other prevent anyone else from working on them either. If Rowling doesn't want to create any more Harry Potter books because she's got money coming out of her backside that's fine - after a few years she should just lose the right to stop others doing so.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby yoni45 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:37 am UTC

elasto wrote:I've never really thought about it. Would you like me to? My first thought is that, like always, ownership of physical objects needs different rules to ownership of information.

I'm not against people getting lucky and never needing to work again if that's what you're implying, I'm against free market distortions that on the one hand discourage people from working on things they've created and on the other prevent anyone else from working on them either. If Rowling doesn't want to create any more Harry Potter books because she's got money coming out of her backside that's fine - after a few years she should just lose the right to stop others doing so.


That's fine, then that doesn't really contradict what I said: the fact that someone might not want to create more works isn't a very good reason to deny then proceeds from their existing work (you might have other reasons, but that isn't a good reason).
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elasto
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby elasto » Thu Feb 02, 2012 4:55 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:
elasto wrote:I've never really thought about it. Would you like me to? My first thought is that, like always, ownership of physical objects needs different rules to ownership of information.

I'm not against people getting lucky and never needing to work again if that's what you're implying, I'm against free market distortions that on the one hand discourage people from working on things they've created and on the other prevent anyone else from working on them either. If Rowling doesn't want to create any more Harry Potter books because she's got money coming out of her backside that's fine - after a few years she should just lose the right to stop others doing so.


That's fine, then that doesn't really contradict what I said: the fact that someone might not want to create more works isn't a very good reason to deny then proceeds from their existing work (you might have other reasons, but that isn't a good reason).

I think it's more that you read into what I said more than I intended. People becoming more productive (including the author themselves) isn't a reason for reducing the length of copyright protection (ie there's no punitive or vindictive element to this) it's just a happy result of returning information to its natural state quicker ("information wants to be free")

I think the disagreement will be around 'entitlement'. Sourmilk and others will say the creator is entitled to the fruits of their work - perhaps forever. You yourself imply such an entitlement by stating it in terms of 'denying them proceeds from their existing work'. I say it's the opposite: That it's a bonus for the author to be granted any sort of monopoly on their work; It's win-win for society to grant such a monopoly because what society loses by restricting anyone but the author from building on the creation, it gains by more authors being able to and hence choosing to make a living from doing so.

If there's any doubt remaining as to what I intended to say - perhaps I did express it poorly - I merely meant what was described in the post below this: "Copyright ostensibly exists for one purpose, and that's to encourage the production of more works. So when copyright law starts to accomplish to opposite of that (along with many other problems), then it's time to start revising it."
Last edited by elasto on Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:13 am UTC, edited 4 times in total.

Ghostbear
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Ghostbear » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:00 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:Okay... and? Why do the most successful creators owe you any further creations? If they made a creation so awesome that it can set them for life, then be thankful for it and move on.

They don't owe me shit. But guess what? We don't owe them shit either! And those things we don't owe them includes a lifelong+ protection of their work. Copyright ostensibly exists for one purpose, and that's to encourage the production of more works. So when copyright law starts to accomplish to opposite of that (along with many other problems), then it's time to start revising it.

yoni45 wrote:I mean -- if you want more creative material to be created, quit your day job, grab a pencil, and get to it.

That's not a reasonable criticism at all and you know it.

yoni45 wrote:It seems rather ridiculous that your reasoning for legally depriving people from the proceeds of their work is because you want them to do more work for your benefit.

Except they're still entitled to the seeds of their work, and if you don't think they would be than I don't think you're actually paying attention to what I'm saying.

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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby Malice » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:04 am UTC

yoni45 wrote:
elasto wrote:I've never really thought about it. Would you like me to? My first thought is that, like always, ownership of physical objects needs different rules to ownership of information.

I'm not against people getting lucky and never needing to work again if that's what you're implying, I'm against free market distortions that on the one hand discourage people from working on things they've created and on the other prevent anyone else from working on them either. If Rowling doesn't want to create any more Harry Potter books because she's got money coming out of her backside that's fine - after a few years she should just lose the right to stop others doing so.


That's fine, then that doesn't really contradict what I said: the fact that someone might not want to create more works isn't a very good reason to deny then proceeds from their existing work (you might have other reasons, but that isn't a good reason).


I think it is a good reason. Intellectual property rights are there to promote the creation of culture, and if you've hit the Laffer curve where too much incentive has stifled continual creation, you need to back it off a bit. IP has absolutely nothing to do with fundamental rights; it's a practical fiction designed for the short-term benefit of creators and the long-term benefit of society.
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Re: Major website shutdown by US govt without trial

Postby yoni45 » Thu Feb 02, 2012 5:17 am UTC

Malice wrote:I think it is a good reason. Intellectual property rights are there to promote the creation of culture, and if you've hit the Laffer curve where too much incentive has stifled continual creation, you need to back it off a bit. IP has absolutely nothing to do with fundamental rights; it's a practical fiction designed for the short-term benefit of creators and the long-term benefit of society.


You're going in circles here -- we've gone over this point and I'm pretty sure it was your argument that dropped off.

Also worth noting that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, article 27, lists right to intellectual property as an inherent human right:

"(2) Everyone has the right to the protection of the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which he is the author."

So your claim is at best particularly narrow.
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