back to article Senator demands Congressional vote on ACTA

Democratic senator and stalwart campaigner on internet issues Ron Wyden (D-OR) has introduced an amendment to ensure that the purportedly anti-piracy ACTA treaty currently being ratified in Europe is put to a legislative vote in the US. "The President may not accept, or provide for the entry into force with respect to the United …

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Facepalm

Lemon or squash?

When you think what a total waste of time the Bush replacement vehicle has been, you have to measure the alternative against a has been who outstayed his welcome to consider him an improvement.

The only problem is that when he fgoes will the next one be anothe doughnut or will he be a douchebag like George the Thicketh?

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Anonymous Coward

oh no

The dreaded vote, most senators will not want a vote like that before the elections......

They might have to actually make a decision that could lose them votes!

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Anonymous Coward

"The alternative"?

I don't see any possible contender who doesn't scare me silly. Methinks that "a waste of time" is preferable to all the frightening alternatives.

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Re: "The alternative"?

To quote the closest thing to my favorite comic book character: "It seems the convention is merely going to decide the face of the guy who'll be {CENSORED} us next..." We're doomed either way.

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FAIL

"currently being ratified in Europe"

where is it being rafitied in europe, currently? the deal is to all intents and purposes dead here. countries that signed it are one by one refusing to ratify.

so have your newsfeeds updated.

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Go

Now, if only someone could use this heat to get the world governments to cut back copyright down to 50 years.

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Duration of copyright

Here is the real problem. Excessive copyright term relieves an author of incentive to create additional works and actively discourages others from building additional creations on her work. To my thinking 14 years, with possible renewal for another 14 (but only by the original author), seems about right. The stated purpose of the copyright/patent clause in the U. S. Constitution was to "promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries." Pleas for lengthy (endless?) extension of copyright are pure rent seeking by hangers-on who had little or nothing to do with the creation.

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Re: Duration of copyright

Tom: If copyright expires in 14 years, or even 28 years, then film companies will be very, very happy. They can take a book, produce the film, then release it the day after copyright expires and never pay a penny to the author. Those film rights are a potential boon to authors, as is the potential income from licensed derivative works.

To give you an example of this: There's an Author. Nice bloke, but a bit ill these days. He's written possibly the most popular series of books of modern times. He's still publishing now: His next book is due in a few months. However, his first book in this series was written in 1983, 29 years ago. Right now, according to you, film makers could be in there, using that original book to base films on, authors could be in there writing their own books based on the world he created, and artists could be drawing the world he envisaged and he wouldn't have a say in any of it. All he might do is argue that some aspect of the work that has been copied didn't appear until a later book, which would arguably still be in copyright. It would be chaos, and it would break many people's hearts to see it happen. Jackals to a carcass, you might think, for the greedy will always seek to benefit from the works of others.

His name, of cause, is Sir Terry Pratchett, author of the Discworld books.

So, the problem is how do you handle series or sequels. Does the copyright run from the first book, giving the author only 14 (or 28) years to complete them all before the jackals appear, eager to rip off the original work and spoil things for the original author, or from the last book, which would just result in authors writing short story sequels to extend their copyright. Or do you let the author keep their rights until their death and then pass the rights on to their estate for a short time after? Surely that is the simplest, fairest and most balanced approach for all?

And that is pretty much what we have (other than the time the estate holds the rights seems to be extending, or the rights are going to a third party that wants to extend them even further...)

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Childcatcher

Re: Duration of copyright

As an aspiring author I am perfectly fine with the 14 & 28 year limit from first Publication, assigning rights to heirs for only the balance of the remaining period.

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Re: Duration of copyright

But OTOH you have companies like Disney that would prefer it never lose the rights to its oldest cartoons (cartoons which feature characters which, IIRC, are also protected by TRADEMARKS--perhaps that's an alternate way to protect certain fictional characters from exploitation?). And from the looks of things, filmmakers would want to take advantage of popular book series (Harry Potter, Twilight) while the popularity is fresh, so waiting out will mean losing out and possibly less revenue. And we've already seen people take advantage of works that are old enough to have fallen out of copyright (Sherlock Holmes).

And what's wrong with fan fiction and underground works, as long as the works don't claim to be canon? Some countries like Japan even have quite a market in underground works (that's right--money actually changes hands for them), and the original works creators generally forgive them for this; the buyers acknowledge the works to be non-canon and basically a sign of the popularity of their work. You're always going to have grey areas where you have to wonder where does the author end and the derivative begin, and you're always going to have people trying to sneak around copyright by changing a thing here and a thing there.

Copyright needs to be curtailed somewhat, but I'll grant you that perhaps conditions to account for out-of-the-box derivatives probably needs to be allowed for (so, for example, if a film adaptation based on a book is to be made, then the author must consent). Or perhaps acknowledge that copyright is not uniform and should differ depending on the medium or whether the work is an individual/small group work (say, a book which is usually the product of one, at most a few, people) or a collaboration (films, videogames, and other works of companies) and alter the copyright terms to provide the best balance for that medium.

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Re: Duration of copyright

so you'd have to wait 28 years MORE then likely me they who created to begin with would have done much more the public wants and if its priced right as they have to ... then you waiting 28 years will be out of the loop

ha kinda makes people get DOING rather then sitting around giving us utter trash they do now.

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Re: Duration of copyright

YOUR rights should end when you do. WHY should you kid get to be lazy on your coat tails make the bastard earn a living like the rest of us.

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Re: Duration of copyright

POOR disney and then at one point like we are in now they just make one film maybe every 3 years or 4 and nickle and dime ( tax ) society for any enjoyment for all time. IMAGINE how much wealth we all would have to spend on local economies if it was 14/28 years.THE jobs created from such might just help the world get back in order. YOU keep this up and the revolution will happen. AND then you will get nothing.

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Re: Duration of copyright

Because sometimes the author may die before the full benefits of the work can be reached. Suppose you have a heart attack and die just before your book gets a publisher? By your reasoning, the book is now public domain before any money changes hands, so all the hard work goes for naught. That's why there should be at least some reasonable minimum term (say, minimum ten years) to allow for the copyright to have its proper effect even in the face of unfortunate events.

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Anonymous Coward

It really doesn't matter

Anti-piracy legislation will continue to be approved in various forms around the globe and pirates will continue to be prosecuted. It's just a matter of if you feel lucky or not. Pay now or pay dearly later - but you will pay.

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Re: It really doesn't matter

and the costs of the prisons will go up , the taxes then need ot go up and eventually you have a situation of so many in prisons that would regularly be paying some forms of taxes that are not now that the govt goes broke for other stuff like health care militaries etc. IN time this adds to the debts and in time this then directly adds to the levels of unrest and one day it explodes. THEN we out law patents and copyrights for what they are a tax on humanity and no terms. YOU want to create do it cause you want to do something to share.

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Re: It really doesn't matter

But without an incentive, who's going to create? Many of the most timeless and revered works were actually COMMISSIONS. IOW, there was money or influence involved even then.

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FAIL

another right wing jagoff

Emphasizing his skin color first only empathizes your true reason for hating him. There are plenty of reasons to dislike Jimmy Obama Carter besides completely arbitrary skin color. Doing so only shows what a troll you are and ruins any logical points you may be trying to make.

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Anonymous Coward

Democracy be damned.

It comes to something when Americas first black president can't understand what freedom really means. He is after all the first president to enact legislation that allows the state to authorise the assassination of his fellow citizens with no judicial precess (apparently he will never use it, so why enact it?) So does anyone believe he will give more than a contemptuous glance at this?

The strange fruit seem to come in many colours, shapes and forms under this man's administration.

American politics, the two faces of extreme right wing agendas, democracy be damned.

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Re: Democracy be damned.

NO this isn't democracy it never was during cold war the corporations had ot act nice to us cause of the idea that socialism was evil. TURNS out capitalism is just as evil in fact its even more evil.

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Thumb Up

"ACTA is merely a trade agreement"

Of course. In the same way that the EEC was just a trading organization. Not taking a swipe at the EU there, just pointing out the fact that politicians' bullshit hasn't change over the decades.

ACTA requires those who sign up to have a certain minimum standard of law enforcement in relation to 'pirating'-type offences, so it cannot be merely a trade agreement.

I do hope that this comes off so that at least somewhere in the world the issues will be debated in public.

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Gold badge

Re: "somewhere in the world"

I knew Europe's influence was waning, but doesn't it even count as a place anymore?

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@Ken Hagan - Re: "somewhere in the world"

You know it didn't even cross my mind, even though I mentioned the EU in my post. I guess it must be because I only consider Europe to be a place - I don't consider the EU to be a State (it isn't yet, anyway). I don't expect the EU to generate the sort of debate that the US Congress might have and that the UK Parliament ought to have.

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Facepalm

It's astonishing...

...that in this era publishers even need 14 years copyright protection. Consider Windows 95 - this piece of software is now 16 years old and what have Microsoft got to lose if it became public domain?

As technological progress has quickened, media that would one time take months to produce and a decade to spread in popularity and sales across the globe; via word-of-mouth and physical shipments, can now be distributed and gain popularity within 24 hours.

So rather than a long distributed bell curve, we have very short series of bell curves - bringing in the money faster than ever - yet copyright terms are extending way beyond peak of the original bell-curve let alone these short ones.

One would think that copyright terms would have decreased rather than increased now that creators can create (with latest tech) and distribute (with internet) faster than ever. Is there any other industry where technological progress has been paralleled by such archaic measures? It would be akin to reducing the speed limit by 10 mph for each new generation of cars on the road despite safety improvements making a case for increasing the speed limit!

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Re: It's astonishing...

Nothing actually and that's the funny part , anyone read a book lately that's 28 years old ...not many i bet.... same issue its nickel and dimeing buy the big boys....a tax if you will.

AND to prevent competition form occurring as people could start up on older books and do a sequel to ....whatever....series. god forbid people got doing stuff.

what about the original basic edition of dungeons and dragons form 1977 - 35 years old still under copyright....i could do some neat stuff but i'm not going to as long as they own rights to what the now two dead authors have giving to a rights company WoTc. THEY tell me i can do stuff as long as i don't make a dime. OK not doing it

see there's your digital economy

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Anonymous Coward

This is not the entitlement planet

Contrary to the delusions of some folks, this is not the entitlement planet. If you want digital goods or services you pay for them or go without.

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This is a reasonable request. However, this is a trade agreement and is legally not required to be submitted to Congress for approval. Even Ron Kirk, the ambassador at the United States Trade Representative, has said Congress' authorization is not required. People need to read what is in the agreement before making a huge stink about it. Blindly reacting to these 'anti-piracy' voices is unproductive and counters efforts to address these serious issues.

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