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back to article Google scores major victory in copyright fight with Viacom

Google scored a major victory Wednesday when a federal judge dismissed Viacom's $1bn copyright infringement lawsuit accusing the internet giant of turning a blind eye to rampant piracy on its YouTube video site. The landmark decision is a huge win for other internet companies as well because it said they are shielded from …

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PT

Oh please...

Yes Viacom, appeal! This travesty of justice cannot be allowed to rest until every avenue of appeal has been exhausted, or the money runs out.

(This comment sponsored by the American Bar Association, Rolex, Porsche and the Las Vegas Chamber of Commerce)

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Bronze badge

phase 2?

In phase 2, I hope they actively pursue charges against those using the DMCA illegally to take down content just because they don't agree with it. After all, having to comply with illegal DMCA notices adds effort and cost for Google, while damaging their reputation. Certainly a case could be made to make an example of some of the more blatant abuses...

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Gold badge

illegal dmca notices

under the dmca, it's not up to the isp to do this, but the poster whose content an improper dmca notice was filed against. there *are* still penalties for this, and i am quite shocked nobody has gone through the process of extracting cash from people that are filing in clearly improper cases like public domain stuff, cases were some company assumes everything whose title contains a certain phrase is dmca-worthy with NO human verification, and so on.

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Grenade

Amen, at last a modicum of sense over copyright.

Amen, at last a modicum of sense over copyright.

- We now have to re-examine what constitutes 'Fair Use' in the Internet age and make certain that it is fair.

- We need to have orphaned works put in the public domain. They are works which are technically in copyright but year after year whose owners can't be found or they're deemed as unknown. Putting orphaned works in the public domain is opposed by copyright holders on the grounds that these works constitute extra competition. Simply an outrageous concept, it's a form of communism by capitalists.

- We need to re-examine what constitutes derivative works. No work is truly original, it always has some prior art contained therein--but under the terribly unfair Berne copyright convention (1886), copyright holders have total and absolute control over their works. Why does this unfair situation still exist--for authors are 'stealing' something from our existing culture and are not obliged to give one single iota back?

- We need to re-examine what constitutes a reasonable period for copyright to exist. Copyright durations are outrageously long, so much so that they're nothing more than a scandalous abuse of power and privilege.

(It is generally agreed that the vast majority of copyrighted works are spent in economic terms after 17 years or so and that it would make sense to reset copyright duration commensurate with this time. At least the 17-year figure would be a good point from which to start the re-evaluation.)

- We need to re-examine what happens when a publisher refuses to republish a work, whether it's uneconomic to do so or for any other reason. Either these works should fall into the public domain or they must be published by the author, irrespective of how small the print-run is.

…And that's just for starters.

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Privilege

"Copyright durations are outrageously long, so much so that they're nothing more than a scandalous abuse of power and privilege"

So what you are saying is that the copyright on the work I pour my heart and soul into is a 'privilege'? That once my work is done it should be yours to trounce, decimate, ridicule and steal without my and my duly appointed heirs having any say in the matter? I think this just stems from a gross ignorance of the creative process, jealousy and quite frankly a mean spirited sense of entitlement. To produce any creative work (even the bad ones) is a tremendous amount of work... let alone something of any value. Just because you lack any ability or sensibility to even try doesn't mean it's not a huge accomplishment on our part. All we, as artists, ask is that we have some say in what happens to our work once it is done.

"No work is truly original, it always has some prior art contained therein"

No one 'owns' culture - not even the vaunted 'public'. Just because an artist kind find inspiration anywhere any time does not somehow automatically transfer ownership to some retarded sense of 'the public'. The only way someone could claim that inspiration is somehow 'stealing' from culture could only come from someone who has never been inspired. This would of course go in line with someone who needed these 'derivative' works to produce anything at all.

"Putting orphaned works in the public domain is opposed by copyright holders on the grounds that these works constitute extra competition."

Orphaned works still have creators. And just because they can't be bothered to spend all day registering with Google and the rest of the bottom feeders does not mean they no longer have any say in the matter. The idea of extra competition is just cherry picking. At the end of the day I don't want the music I produce to appear in Nazi propaganda or a whole host of other affiliations I find odious. Is that asking too much?

"or they must be published by the author, irrespective of how small the print-run is."

Do you have any idea how expensive it is to produce even a small print run of a movie shot on FILM? We're talking about hundreds and hundreds of thousands of dollars. So what you're saying is that if an artist isn't hideously rich then they have no right to own the fruits of their own labor. You freetards are rapidly moving to a world where only Paris Hilton and other vapidly rich people publish anything at all and then only in the name of vanity and narcissism. Why the hell else would anyone publish anything otherwise?

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Can't get a date? Become a freetard!

"At least the 17-year figure would be a good point from which to start the re-evaluation."

Whine away, matey - it's not going to happen.

The usual cut-and-paste blah that would earn a punch in the gob if you dared say it to a musician, photographer, composer or author.

"Why does this unfair situation still exist--for authors are 'stealing' something from our existing culture and are not obliged to give one single iota back?"

Your logic only works if you think the works are communally owned to begin with. This means stripping rights from people.

If you picked on gypsies or Jews you would be rightly ostracized for your vile discrimination. But it's OK to pick on creators who've actually done something original.

Nerd fail.

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'Tard

I'm a musician/songwriter - obviously not a successful one or I'd probably be busy with some groupies rather than wasting my time posting on here - but the point is, even though I make no money from my songs, they're MINE. I've agonised over tiny nuances in the lyrics and music, sometimes taking six months to come up with a finished version of a song. To put it bluntly, why the fuck should I then let you do whatever the hell you want with it?

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Anonymous Coward

Duration of copyright

I think 30 years from the date of publication would be about right.

Timing it from the date of publication would mostly solve the "orphan" problem. You can usually find out when something was published (or put an upper bound on it at least) much more easily than when the (perhaps anonymous) author died. In any case, to me it just seems plain wrong for the duration of the copyright to depend on what happened to the author after they produced the work, particularly in cases where the copyright doesn't even belong to the author (which is most cases).

There are always these "creative" types who passionately rant about how they need to have control over their creations, and usually also threaten to stop treating society to their wonderful products if anything is done to rein in copyright. However, these same people are quite happy to sign over all their rights to some corporation in exchange for a bit of publicity. I met a musician like that once. He did the usual rant at a dinner party, then a few months later he was really pissed off that for copyright reasons it was not possible to record the first performance of one of his works: some of the choreography was copyrighted and the "estate" of the long-dead choreographer was not giving permission. "I had a friend video it illegally", he admitted.

Creativity doesn't always go with rationality. We need to ignore those people and limit copyright for their own good!

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Flame

Idiot

I've quite a few things I own copyright on - Music, code, photographs. I've put a lot of work into these, whether through wanting a challenge, or in the case of code and photography a genuine interest.

I make a small amount selling prints of my photos (not that I put much effort into advertising), so tell me exactly why it is you should be free to use it. And how exactly am I stealing from culture? If I take a photo of a tree (for example), you can have a copy for the price I specify. Alternatively, you can do without, or even go to the same tree and take the same photo.

Copyright laws are used and abused it's true, but you seem to want to close an entire playground on the basis of a few bullies. Perhaps you just aren't any cop at creating things of your own, perhaps you're trolling but your post definitely epitomises the term 'freetard'.

I can't believe the shite you're spouting about orphan works. Do you even actually understand the issue? Why should anyone be able to reuse my work because they can't be arsed to find me?

Why should I be compelled to publish (or re-publish) something I created? There's a great many photos that I don't share (whether because I don't want to, or don't consider them good enough)

In the UK, there's no such thing as 'Fair Use'. We have the concept of 'fair dealing' but it's far harder to satisfy. What would you define as fair use? Being able to consume MY work for free? I wouldn't call that fair.

Despite all this, I'm not going to trot out the 'we need copyright to foster creativity'. If all that you asked came true tomorrow, I'd still be into coding and photography. But I'd certainly think twice about publishing anything whatsoever. My work may not be a great loss to society, but I'm betting I wouldn't be the only one doing it.

So to sum up, your freetard turd spurt is about as intelligent as a baby badger that's mistaken a dogshite for it's mother and has started suckling on what it thinks is a nipple.

Why don't you go and have a lie down? Tit

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Numpty

[We need to re-examine what happens when a publisher refuses to republish a work]

One has a right to speak, and an equal right NOT to speak. Just because someone has spoken once gives no one the right to make them stand on the street corner and continuously repeat it.

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Bronze badge

Eh?

"We need to have orphaned works put in the public domain. They are works which are technically in copyright but year after year whose owners can't be found or they're deemed as unknown."

So let's say that an author - we'll call him Rushman Saldie writes a book called the "Verses of Satanic" and incurs the wrath of a religious group who put out an assassination order on him. He changes his name and goes into hiding.

In the mean time he can't be traced so his work goes into the public domain?

Also these schemes don't rely on spending years tracking down an author. They wouldn't use Private Eyes and laboriously read through public records. They would rely on a registration scheme which puts the onus on the author or a public notice that you would be expected to check every day.

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Thumb Down

What makes 'artists' any more deserving?

"So what you are saying is that the copyright on the work I pour my heart and soul into is a 'privilege'? That once my work is done it should be yours to trounce, decimate, ridicule and steal without my and my duly appointed heirs having any say in the matter? I think this just stems from a gross ignorance of the creative process, jealousy and quite frankly a mean spirited sense of entitlement. To produce any creative work (even the bad ones) is a tremendous amount of work... let alone something of any value. Just because you lack any ability or sensibility to even try doesn't mean it's not a huge accomplishment on our part. All we, as artists, ask is that we have some say in what happens to our work once it is done."

It takes a tremendous amount of work to design a new car, but I don't see people like Elton John rushing to demand that every time they drive their Rolls Royce or Ferrari they should have to pay a levy to the people who designed and built it. But with a piece of music, you musicians demand money every time we buy a copy of your work, you demand more money for a radio station to play it, and if I have a radio in my office to listen to, you demand money for me to listen to it. Not only do you demand that from me for the rest of your life, you even expect it to paid to your heirs for a further 40 years.

I don't see Elton being asked to pay full price for the car all over again every time it gets filled with petrol or the tyres replaced, but musicians demand more money from us just to change the format we have their music on.

I work in the classic parts industry. MG stopped producing the MGB about 30 years ago, but you can still get brand new parts for one, you could almost build a brand new car if you wanted to, even new bodyshells are available. If the MGB was a piece of music, MG could have said "We're not going to make any more MGB parts and for the next 70 years we're not going to let anyone else make them either". Does that sound fair to you, whether you drive a MGB or a Ford Focus, the manufacturer makes it so there are no aftermarket parts available from other suppliers either while they are still manufacturing the vehicle or after they finish, and after they finish even they don't supply them?

So, give me a valid reason why musicians and other performing artists should be treated so differently to car designers and car factory workers, and maybe I'll listen to you whining about people ignoring your copyright.

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Cars

I think you'll find you do pay to use the car over and over again. Difference is you pay up-front. If you'd prefer that you could buy a 'license' upfront for music/DVD's etc I reckon it might just be a little too expensive.

That said, I'd be willing to pay it for some things.

Some car manufacturers do something quite similar to what you state. And to be fair, if you want to draw a comparison - you're more than welcome to create your own piece of music in the style of someone else. You're also more than free to buy a CD of a tribute band rather than the original artist.

You'll also find that many car manufacturers rigourously enforce both copyrights and patents. IIRC there was a great deal of upset about Austin Power's 'Shaguar'.

And of course you ALWAYS get a free car when the manufacturer makes a change, cos you know - you've paid for the design once. Oh wait you don't. So why should you get a free 'upgrade' if a format change otherwise benefits you (think clarity of picture/sound, whatever).

No-one made you change from VHS to DVD. You can still buy record players, you've chosen to play CD's out of convenience. So why should the creators not be paid for something that has benefited you?

It's exactly the same in the non-free software economy. You can often have a trial version for free, but you have to pay to have the better product (even if that's just a lack of ads.)

In all honesty, I try to be fair as possible. I allow people to use a lower res version of my photos freely so long as they comply with two simple requirements. If you want more, you can pay for the benefit. But the reality is this - it's my product. _I_ decide what you may or may not do with it, if you don't like it don't buy it. But don't then expect to be able to use it anyway.

I've never even tried to sell any of my musical compositions, but if I did I'd be wanting a small amount for every copy sold. But then, I also wouldn't sell through a big corporation (assuming they'd have me of course ;-) ) but that's personal preference.

How you think it's OK to tell creators that they don't have the right to decide what to do with their creation is beyond me. Some choose to give it away (I release some software under GPL), others choose to charge for it (like some of my photos).

I charge my employer for my time, and when I sell something to you I'm charging for the time and effort invested in the end product. If you don't like it, then no-one is forcing you to buy it.

I don't believe copyright should last even a day beyond the life of the creator, but I do believe that the current system works when used properly. There are those who abuse both sides, and there are those like you who choose to whine about it.

Incidentally, wtf have car factory workers got to do with it? The designers yes, but the factory workers are simply assembling someone elses design. There's skill yes, but creativity?

None of this excuses the sh*tty behaviour of companies like Disney (and the various *AA's), but wanting something for nothing is hardly a justifiable position

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WTF?

Swing with a huge sandbag... and a miss!

"...when Viacom over a period of months accumulated some 100,000 videos and then sent one mass take-down notice on February 2, 2007, by the next business day YouTube had removed virtually all of them, ...”

This has bad faith written all over it. Viacom was trying to demonstrate noncompliance and failed completely, and they went ahead with the lawsuit anyway. Why are the lawyers in charge of lawsuits? When will businesses figure out that lawyers *love* multiyear battles and the following appeals?

"Viacom ... called the decision “fundamentally flawed” and vowed to appeal." How about just "Viacom ... decision (making) “fundamentally flawed”" and leave it at that.

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Silver badge

Counter-claim from Google?

Are Google going to sue Viacom for defamation now it's been proved that Viacom were actively putting material on You Tube then complaining to Google about it being there?

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How can they?

Google are fucking thieves pure and simple.

Fight On Viacom Fight On.

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WTF?

@John

Many of your posts, in the past, have made perfect sense to me. This one does not.

I own copyright on quite a number of works, and I expect them to be respected. BUT, there are limits to what can be done. Leaving aside the fact that Viacom were posting media themselves, Google did exactly what the DMCA allows them to do.

As a copyright holder, you have to notify them (see below for explanation) and then they must remove it once notified.

Now keeping track of it in order to notify them IS a lot of work. But look at the other side of the coin;

How are Google supposed to know what is Copyrighted and what isn't. Further, how are they supposed to know what is authorised and what isn't? A number of bands post their music videos to Youtube, how exactly are Google supposed to know (for definite), whether it's OK for the video to be shown?

If the username suggests the user is the band, then it may be OK. But what if they don't own the copyright to the video itself? How are Google supposed to know either way?

Now the obvious response is that it is obvious that things like Friends/Big bang Theory etc. aren't legit. But how would you frame a law so that it excludes these items without inadvertently removing the ability for bands to share their creations? As far as I can see, it can't be done.

In my experience, Google have been quite good when notified of copyright infringement. Some t@sser was displaying my website (and others) in a frame and serving Google Ads around the edges (i.e. making money from my content without consent). I sent Google an e-mail notifying them of this, and within a week the site no longer showed ads.

They've made some shitty moves around orphan works, but in this case I think Viacom are in the wrong (legally at least)

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@Ben

When you have popular music, films and TV shows being posted you can almost guarantee that they are all copyright. Whether they are being uploaded by the copyright owners or not is a secondary issue, but basically the starting point is that they are copyright. Of all the 100+ uploads of any particular copyright clip to youtube the ratio of legitimate uploads is less than 1%. What Google have argued is that because they aren't sure which is one legal upload they have to treat all the others as legal too.

Now they have a system in place where they can detect the films, music, and tv clips and automatically point the copyright holders (viacom) at the upload. Viacom can then decide whether to allow the upload, have it taken down, or run viacom ads against. In actual fact Google had such a system in place back in 2006/7 but refused to apply it to a content creators works unless that creator entered into an exclusive deal with Google. That is to my mind a form of extortion.

At the moment I'm particular annoyed with the THIEVES at Google as I can find no way of getting them to stop exploiting my own works for commercial gain. I can't send a DMCA because it is Google themselves that are in violation. There is no way I can contact them by phone or email, and they don't respond to FAXs, and in all likelihood they wont respond to snail mail either. I'm unlikely to be able to afford to take them to court either, all I can do is remove the content from general access. That is a pity but it is the only thing I can do in practice.

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Its Worse than that...

The way the law is enforced is such that if you start actively (i.e non-automatically) looking at the content people are posting on your site for copyright material, you no longer qualify for the DMCA safe harbor provision. Kind of a quantum effect, as soon as you observe the material you collapse the "might be/might not be copyright" waveform, not just for the ones you observed but for all possible observation targets.

The other way in which you can fail to qualify is if its clear that your service is all about infringing works, like maybe your advanced search options contain things like "pirate Hollywood blockbusters" as selectable options, the "red flag" provision.

So even if they wanted to, Google and similar sites would be foolish to start trawling their own sites with moderators or copyright reviewers. They would be bound to miss something, and then would be unable to claim safe harbor against the resulting lawsuits.

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wow

Wasn't aware of the script I have to admit. I'd agree that its pretty close to extortion. Pretty close to their arrangement with orphan works - to claim a share of the revenue you have to become a member of their 'approved' organisations.

Its a hard balance to achieve

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FAIL

Sorry this revenue stream is closed

Sorry this revenue stream is closed.

Please try again.

Sorry this revenue stream is closed.

Please try again.

Sorry this revenue stream is closed.

Please try again.

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Alert

Yes, but...

It's not like YOU were ever going to pay, is it? Tight-fisted chunter.

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Grenade

Incoming...

The sooner current the copyright paradigm dies out the better. There'll be (and there is!) much wailing and gnashing at this prospect. Tough shit. You've squeezed too hard, and the pips just don't want to squeak any more.

It's fucking entertainment anyway, not medicine or food. if you wanna be a performer buy a case of makeup and go back to clown school.

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Thumb Up

Why should I pay again and again and again

I own DVD's I own Video's I own CD's and possibly a lot more than most

When DVD's came out I upgraded most of my collection to from VHS to DVD so did I get a reduction due to already owning a license.... err no.

Why should I have to pay you the same figure 3 times for the same item? Just because it's in a different medium I only have one set of ears and the signal is processed in the same way.

My kids like Musicals, so I buy Musical DVD's, but then I have to pay again to get a CD for the car or pay again for the kids MP3 players. I don't mind paying a reasonable figure for use of your creation but I refuse to pay again and again and again. I think that is unfair so I use technology to 'rip' the audio out of DVD's and CD's for use in the car/MP3 player/ringtone. But does that make me a freetard I don't think so because I have paid my license fee I'm just ensuring I get the maximum product for my money.

Your license brands me a criminal.. so if you are going to brand a criminal me why not just go the whole hog and be a crim?

Plus only a tiny fraction of what I pay goes to you 'the creator' where does the rest of the money go... ahhh distribution, packing, selling, shops, and marketing. Which I don't want to pay as I get my stuff from the internet so I don't need a package or distribution or even a shop and your marketing is untrustworthy so definitely not worth the money.

I don't buy new media now because I don't like the way you license your product. I buy everything 2nd hand from eBay. It's my only way to fight back without stealing.

RIAA keep going...... before you know more and more people will catch on and your market will shrink further and further. And then who are you going to blame... maybe start with yourselves.

Of course you could prop your Business Model by trying to sue Google. Oh yeah that failed. Better try again maybe next time the judge will be a friend of yours and go your way.

Anon because you don't play fair

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FAIL

Answer

The reason you paid again for DVD to Video is because you then had a second copy of the item. You were perfectly at liberty to stay with VHS and not upgrade your collection to DVD (I've a number of videos that I didn't upgrade).

You pay the same each time because how the fuck is anyone supposed to know you've already bought it multiple times. When you have 2 copies, there's the potential for the media to be watched in two different places at once. The fact you only have one set of ears is irrelevant. if it was related to the person (rather than the media), it would cost more to buy a DVD for a 4 person family than for a couple.

You say you refuse to pay again, but clearly you don't. You've upgraded to DVD. If it bothers you that much, how about you actually practise what you preach and DONT BUY IT!

The license doesn't brand you a criminal, the law in your country does (assuming you're british). OK the license could allow you more leeway, but that's up to the creator, not you.

When you buy online, generally you are still using a distribution channel of some form. Bandwidth costs money, and most will pay someone else to build a website for them. I completely agree that if a physical copy of a book is £10, there's no way the e-book should be £15 (in fact it should be far cheaper than the physical copy).

You've obviously decided not to buy, that's your right.

Copyright covers more than just music, and is not misused by everyone. Many things are unfair about the way things are licensed but don't complain like it's forced onto you. You do actually have a choice.

To quote Shrek:

You have the right to remain silent, what you lack is the capacity!

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FAIL

The reason you paid again for DVD to Video is because you then had a second copy of the item

So to follow this argument if I get a download a copy from the internet because I haven't had a physical copy of the DVD I should pay nothing? Sounds like a freetard argument...

I remember an argument being raised that the physical copy is irrelevant it is the license to watch/listen which costs the money.

So either I do buy or 'DONT BUY IT!' your argument seems to wander off track there a bit but it does illustrate the point the media companies are unable to enter into any sort of reasoned dialogue with anybody that doesn't agree with them.

Why not just call me a freetard and be done with it.

I do buy media.. just not from you

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Re: A/C

By downloading, you obtained a second copy.

I don't disagree with you over the license versus purchase. It seems like it's whatever suits them at a specific time. AFAIK the argument is, as you state, that you purchase a license to watch/listen. BUT, what you miss is that it's a license to use that particular copy.

Now I'm not saying that that's fair on the consumer (in fact quite the contrary), but a balance has to be acheived between the interests of rights holders and consumers. It's a difficult balance to acheive (rights holders want you to consume as much as possible, but pay for it all. The consumer wants to consume as much as possible, spending as little as possible).

There are many parts of copyright law, and the way it is used and abused, but I'd argue that copyright for the lifetime of the creator is reasonably fair (if not necessarily in the interests of the consumer). But then, it would also depend on the product. Software often becomes irrelevant quite quickly, so could have a far shorter term.

Why would I call you a freetard? You've trotted out some of the freetard arguments, and I don't agree with a lot of what you are saying, but you do appear to be capable of reasoned argument. Thats _NOT_ a freetard trait, much like an Apple addict when the latest toy comes out, sensible reasoned discussion ceases.

Hey, I'd love it if you bought from me, but as I said before - noones forcing you to buy any of this stuff. I'm not trying to make a living from it, all I ask is that if someone wants to use some of my work I'm paid a reasonable price. Copyright law helps me ensure this, the real problem is that the big boys abuse it regularly.

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Anonymous Coward

@Graham Wilson

"- We now have to re-examine what constitutes 'Fair Use' in the Internet age and make certain that it is fair."

I have no gripe with this statement. I feel it is going to go downhill from here though.....

"- We need to have orphaned works put in the public domain."

OK, I am sort of with you here. Depending on the definition of orphaned works, naturally.

"They are works which are technically in copyright but year after year whose owners can't be found or they're deemed unknown."

Hmm. OK. Need to define "can't be found" and "deemed unknown". If the assorted Ass. es can allegedly trace infringers then it should be easy to trace virtually all holders.

"Putting orphaned works in the public domain is opposed by copyright holders on the grounds that these works constitute extra competition. Simply an outrageous concept, it's a form of communism by capitalists."

Not really true. They oppose it on the grounds that copyright is a right that shouldn't just be taken away because someone can't or can't be bothered to find out who holds the rights, and that it moves the onus from those who want to use material [they have no right over] instead to forcing rights holders to actively enforce their rights. Remember Google's apparent view that it is up to holders to find where Google are infringing and ask them to stop?

"- We need to re-examine what constitutes derivative works."

Why? It seems fairly straightforward to me.

"No work is truly original, it always has some prior art contained therein"

Yes and no. However, as you are advocating orphaned work and copyrigh terms then most of the prior art is, by your own argument, non copyrighted.

"--but under the terribly unfair Berne copyright convention (1886), copyright holders have total and absolute control over their works."

This seems fair to me. If you create something it is yours.

"Why does this unfair situation still exist--for authors are 'stealing' something from our existing culture and are not obliged to give one single iota back?"

(1) with orphaned works / copyright terms there is no stealing.

(2) If they gave nothing back there would be no value to the copyright and no need to obtain it.

"- We need to re-examine what constitutes a reasonable period for copyright to exist."

I agree.

"(It is generally agreed that the vast majority of copyrighted works are spent in economic terms after 17 years or so and that it would make sense to reset copyright duration commensurate with this time. At least the 17-year figure would be a good point from which to start the re-evaluation.)"

17 years? You do have evidence for this? However look at the following:

Star Wars: active films 1977 - 2005 (28 years)

James Bond: films from 1960 - (50 years)

Harry Potter : 1997 - 2011 (14 years)

And so on. However, even accepting your 17 years is absurd why should someone lose their rights just after a certain amount of time? Can I have full and free access to your house after you have lived there for 17 years?

"- We need to re-examine what happens when a publisher refuses to republish a work, whether it's uneconomic to do so or for any other reason. Either these works should fall into the public domain or they must be published by the author, irrespective of how small the print-run is."

I disagree. If you own the rights to something that includes the rights to ref use to publish and refuse to allow anyone else to publish.

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PT

@ Lee

"I disagree. If you own the rights to something that includes the rights to ref use to publish and refuse to allow anyone else to publish."

You say that as if copyright is some intrinsic human right, instead of a special right granted by law for a limited time and a particular purpose. Anyway you're wrong, in principle if not by the letter of the law. The underlying assumption of copyright is that the creator will publish, otherwise what would be the point of reserving to them the exclusive right to profit?

This whole copyright matter could be settled to the satisfaction of most people on both sides by simply stipulating that after some initial period, say 17 years, rights holders are required to renew copyright periodically with some agency to retain it. Unrenewed works would automatically enter the public domain. Thus anyone who cared strongly enough could keep their work in copyright for whatever grotesquely extended term was permitted, without destroying the public domain for everyone else.

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Back in ye olden days

You used to have to register for copyright.

See what you suggest is a good idea, right up until you look at what it would be likely to cost. If I wanted to maintain the copyright on something in order to prevent it from being used for something I don't agree with (See another commentor on use of music in Nazi films), then it could cost me a lot.

There'll be paperwork to fill out, people to pay, premises to maintain, all of which will cost money. Eventually the money will be paid by the consumer, whether it's through

- Taxes

- Rights Holders passing the cost on

Most of us would consider an e-book to be very expensive for what it is, start adding 'copyright registration' fees on top and it could be quite pricey.

There's just no right answer, any reduction in the strength of copyright law would probably be viewed badly by the international community (at the behest of megacorps). Any strengthening would likely be utterly crap for consumers.

Not that we can leave the situation how it is either!

Slightly OT: I'm curious. There's plenty of people arguing against copyright (whether in the extreme, or slight amendments), how many of you have created things that are covered by copyright? It could be code rather than music. Has it occured to some that scrapping copyright would effectively turn the GPL into a BSD license?

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Patents don't last forever* ...

... why should copyrights? Artistic work is more useful than scientific, technical and industrial work? I don't think so.

* forever = ages

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Anonymous Coward

This is why

Two reasons: because people live longer, and the works of art are played and enjoyed for longer - easily 40-50 years for a piece of music.

Look at all the 60s music shows.

So if the 0.000001 per cent of great music that was made 50 years is still giving pleasure and still finds an audience, it's fair that the people who created it should be rewarded for it.

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Copyrights are effectively forever now

Disney will keep buying extensions in the US every 20 years to keep Mickey protected, and the rest of the world will be strong-armed into following along. The public domain as it is now will never be extended.

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Anonymous Coward

So what?

Nobody cares. It's not as if Disney has put up the price by 4,000%. Most entertainment is cheaper because of more competition. CDs are much cheaper than they used to be. Maybe not games yet.

So quit whining and go back to school.

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Today's world

I was going to post about the issue directly, but I have to say that while reading all of this one thought occurred to me.

What an exciting time to be alive.

That is all.

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