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back to article CIOs should fear the IP police ... have your get-out-of-jail files ready

The powers that be in the copyright world continually push for ever-stricter copyright with longer terms. They seek to externalise the cost of enforcement onto society at large. Society at large, on the other hand, wants easier, quicker access to content with fewer restrictions. Regular businesses can easily be caught in the …

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Still living the dream

> extending copyright terms beyond absurdity,

The reason that vested interests keep pushing (and winning) ever longer copyright terms is that these old, ancient, "properties" are still very successful. A pertinent question would be: why?

Surely in the past 20, 30, 50 even 80 years someone, somewhere - with all the technology, marketing and production techniques at their disposal - would have made Mickey Mouse (c) (tm) and friends obsolete. The sad fact that there is STILL so little material that can compare with its popularity speaks volumes for the lack of originality, imagination and willingness to try new things.

We see popular music reinvent itself every 10-ish years (although the old stuff remains popular with the generations that grew up with it). But for children of today to still get fed the same saccharin-sweet, superficial culture that hasn't changed in 2 or 3 generations of childhood makes me think something is very wrong.

Is it time for the cult of Disney to go through a "punk revolution"? Maybe bring back the original, unexpurgated versions of Grimm's Fairy Tales

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Boffin

Re: Still living the dream

> The sad fact that there is STILL so little material that can compare with its popularity speaks volumes for the lack of originality, imagination and willingness to try new things.

Cause or effect?

The fact is there's plenty of new stuff but creating new stuff requires risk. It is simply easier to resell your old stuff to people who haven't seen it yet: there is a never ending supply of children for whom the fact Mickey Mouse was created nearly a century ago is irrelevant - it's all new to them.

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Re: Cause or effect?

> The fact is there's plenty of new stuff but creating new stuff requires risk. It is simply easier to resell your old stuff to people who haven't seen it yet:

Good point. And very long copyright terms rewards the endless promotion of non-risky old stuff over going out on a limb and creating something new. If copyright was limited to (say) a single generation - 20 or 30 years - then that would decrease the value of a product, but would incentivise people to create new ideas (or even to pick up the out-of-copyright "classics" in new ways). I reckon it would generate more new content, though the old stuff would still be available if people wanted it.

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WTF?

Re: Still living the dream

"... But for children of today to still get fed the same saccharin-sweet..."

Have you seen Ben 10? Or any cartoons popular with kids today (and not the ones their parents want them to see)???

Or, even going back a few years, Talespin?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Still living the dream

I'm more concerned about the seemingly LSD-fuelled Tweenies, Teletubbies and other brightly coloured eyerape. Thomas the Tank Engine and Postman Pat (the original ones) ftw.

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Re: Still living the dream

Talespin is pretty solidly locked down by copyright. but it's not dreadfully hard to find stuff on the web that riffs off of the same general theme of flying boats and Pacific Islands.

It's arguable that 20th century entertainment media has seen some big shifts in the balance of costs. A book is still the work of one man for about a year, the author and the copy editors and so on, and that, not the printing, is most of the cost. But the more recent media, music recordings and movies, are the work of a lot of people. The cost of making the copies has dropped a lot but, just like books, it can be a surprisingly small part of the total. These twentieth century media look insanely expensive to make.

If you want the new and exciting, go back to books.

There is no Frigate like a Book

To take us Lands away,

Nor any Coursers like a Page

Of prancing Poetry –

This Traverse may the poorest take

Without oppress of Toll –

How frugal is the Chariot

That bears a Human soul.

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Greshams's Law: Free Mickey Mouse tends to drive out non-Mickey Mouse

"And very long copyright terms rewards the endless promotion of non-risky old stuff over going out on a limb and creating something new. If copyright was limited to (say) a single generation - 20 or 30 years - then that would decrease the value of a product, but would incentivise people to create new ideas (or even to pick up the out-of-copyright "classics" in new ways). I reckon it would generate more new content, though the old stuff would still be available if people wanted it."

Well, no. If Mickey Mouse were to lose copyright protection, it would simply mean that more people would duplicate and then sell the old stuff that has been so popular. (I.e. "Duplicate" in the sense that you could buy a dvd with a given movie on it, that was produced and distributed by Disney itself, or you could buy the exact same film on a nearly identical dvd that was produced by, let's say, Nothing New Entertainment Inc.) If Mickey Mouse films and cartoons can be freely reproduced and broadcast, then they *will* be freely reproduced and broadcast, thereby making investment in new content an even less attractive risk than it might otherwise be.

And if Nothing New Entertainment Inc sells that dvd for less than Disney does, then already existing Mickey Mouse production will yet more strongly tend to drive other products out of circulation. (Think of this as a variation on Gresham's Law: Free Mickey Mouse tends to drive out non-Mickey Mouse when Mickey Mouse is free by law.)

I can see no other reason to expect any other outcome.

Of course, people will attempt to use the Mickey Mouse character in new productions, but is there really any reason to think that these new Mickey Mouse based productions will have any greater audience appeal than if the production were to be done without Mickey Mouse?

Why would anyone tolerate the risk and uncertainty of doing something new when using, in this case, characters, or complete existing works known to be popular would let them reduce both risk and uncertainty?

To me, it is pretty obvious that copyright and other forms of IP not only encourage but *demand* innovation, as one is prohibited from simply re-using existing, characters, works, productions, methods, and so forth.

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Re: Greshams's Law: Free Mickey Mouse tends to drive out non-Mickey Mouse

Nice unicorn magic fairy world there. In the real world, those with established, successful properties devote significant time, effort and expense to raising as many barriers to entry for new ideas, concepts and “universes” as possible.

You also make a huge assumption; that a work using novel characters and a novel universe will do just as well as a work taking place in a tried and true universe. Let me take a moment to call this blatant, utter bullshit.

If your pixie dust view of copyright were true, why would Disney, (or for that matter Electronic Arts or Activision) bother with established characters and universes at all? Surely there is enough empirical evidence on hand to demonstrate the concept that sequels are a bit of a crapshoot. If your reasoning were sound, then a novel universe with novel characters would be a sound investment for established copyright houses.

Instead, let’s look at the real world: those enterprises that succeed in the entertainment space tend to do so by creating and then fleshing out a given universe. Start Trek, Stargate, Transformers, Mickey Mouse/Donald Duck, and so forth. Even reviving an old franchise after a bit of a lay down can be obscenely profitable (Fallout.)

Then there are the kinds of tropes that we can only get from building on the works that have gone before. Fantasy novels are heavily influenced by Tolkien; Tolkien embedded the now nearly universal conceptualization of common races; elves, dwarves and so forth. Terry Brooks’ works couldn’t have occurred without building upon Tolkien, nor the Dungeons and Dragons universe, Dragon Lance or hundreds of others.

Indeed, were the copyright cartels to have their way, we could even lose the rights to things like parody, taking original works like Galaxy Quest and Robot Chicken off the table.

Creativity does not occur in a vacuum. All of mankind’s endeavors build upon the creativity, intellect, insight, artistry and craftsmanship of our predecessors. From any angle you approach it, perpetual copyright is a gross detriment to society. It is a limitation economically, creatively and morally.

So what then? How do we bridge the gap?

A man should be rewarded for his capability and his efforts; if his capability and effort is greater than that of his peers, he should be more generously rewarded. A man should be able to ensure the wellbeing of his family and his heirs.

But the works of a man belong to mankind, be those works the works of his hands or the works of his mind. There must be a balance between the good of the group (in this case all of mankind) and rewarding the individual.

So copyright abolishment is ludicrous. It provides no reward for the efforts and capabilities that go in to a man’s work. And yet perpetual copyright is equally ludicrous; society must benefit from the works of all its individuals. From the bricklayer to the academic, the policeman to the writer.

A balance needs be struck. One that we – as a society, and as a collection of societies that form a global community – can live with. As creators, as consumers, as businesses and as individuals. This balance needs to be negotiated in an open fashion, and with the participation of all major stakeholders.

More importantly, it needs to be something that we can set in stone. It is to be the foundation of all intellectual enterprise for the next several hundred years.

It cannot be negotiated in back rooms. I cannot be negotiated under a veil of secrecy, a cone of silence or outside the boundaries of democracy. It cannot favor one special interest of another, it cannot pit creators against consumers, corporations against people.

It must bring clarity to the copyright mess. It must bring finality; an end to the perpetual lobbying. Most importantly it must feel fair to the majority of society. People will resist and rebel against any law so important to the fabric of our economy which is fundamentally unfair.

The extant copyright cartels – and the laws they are paying dearly to impose – are most certainly and unquestionably unfair.

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Happy

Re: "LSD-fuelled" children's television

You must have missed The Magic Roundabout, a veritable advertisement for prepubescent orb experiences.

Then there's the equally psychedelic Chorlton and the Wheelies ("Eloh theah little ol' lady"), The Magic Ball (featuring Sam the Badly Drawn Boy), and of course the granddaddy of children's psychovision, Bill and Ben the (suspiciously inebriated) Flowerpot Men.

An honourable mention should go to Mr. Ben, Pipkins, Rainbow, Trap Door, etc.

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Anonymous Coward

No Winners

I'm surprised how virtually any business gets done at all! The only section of the economy that will grow is IP litigation.

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Sir

The more complicated and cumbersome the requirements, the less likely people are to adhere to them.

I am so drowning in paperwork that it has crossed my mind to just buy a cheap banger and not tax/insure it. I wouldn't do that, but it has crossed my mind just to avoid a small mountain of paperwork - and that's just for cars!

Make it simpler and people will honor it. Make it complicated and people will just get fatigued and finally say 'fuck that for a game of soldiers - I'm off down the pub'

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Re: Sir

I'm glad it's not just me that feels this way... it's all getting a bit much, it makes my head hurt.

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Vic
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Re: Sir

> Make it complicated and people will just get fatigued

It's worse than that.

The first time you break the law, it's a big deal. Huge.

The second time, it's that little bit easier.

The eleventy-fifth time, it barely registers.

So it is that by forcing consumers to circumvent the law on a regular basis, we actively train those consumers to flout the law.

The Big Content providers are their own worst enemy. But they keep getting legislation passed :-(

Vic.

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Big Brother

Re: Sir

So true, in my youth I was involved with a group not disimilar to Irving Welsh's train spotters. Always a good upstanding kid, my eyes were opened wide to a world where the law and social norms were ignored and jesus when I actually saw how thin our veneer of lawfulness was, it was scary. And worse still, there's not really a path back into legality once you punch through.

Criminalising routine activity without the active support of the citizens and pro-actively acting against their interests will not end well for our legal and political representatives.

Maybe one simple solution is to never have copyright transfer into the hands of a "rights holder"... the original creator is the only one who can determine what happens with their creation. Preserves the rights of the creator but disempowers the shambolic media monoliths.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Sir

"Make it simpler and people will honor it. Make it complicated and people will just get fatigued and finally say 'fuck that for a game of soldiers - I'm off down the pub'"

How hard you're being screwed is directly proportional to the complexity of the regulations.

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Re: never have copyright transfer

I agree with you. However, you have to find an argument that will persuade the insane die-hard Randians that think it's perfectly okay for someone to be sold down the river.

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Coat

Re: never have copyright transfer

Die-hard randians and objectivists tend toward the idea that copyright terms should either not exist or be very short - they're a creation of the state and a state-sponsored monopoly, which runs counter to the objectivist and more generally libertarian ideal of the smallest possible state with the fewest possible laws. They prefer to handle things with contract law rather than issue-based legislation as contract law is more consensus-based and handled through arbitration, whilst legislation is often the result of someone trying to inflect their personal opinions on everyone else. Very different fields of endeavour.

Of course there are always crazies. However I think it's safe to say that, if you meet someone who calls himself an objectivist but insists that the government MUST DO SOMETHING, they're probably not very familiar with the ideas they claim to espouse. And also likely to be no true scotsman. :D

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Copyright nightmare.

If you want to see some real noncompliance, try a school.

Students and teachers alike make extensive use of google image search. Search, copy, paste into powerpoint. Instant flare. Do they check copyright? Hell, no! They don't even bother to note where the image came from. Remember that teachers are ridiculously overworked - they don't have time to sort out compliance with the materials they make for their lessons.

Teachers copy, all the time, for simple convenience. This is a school - discs get lost, or scratched, or broken. On many occasions we've caught teachers (English dept being by far the worst) using films clearly taken from torrent. They have the DVDs, but it's just so much easier to use a file than to keep track of which department member was the last to borrow that Holes movie and where they might have left it.

The legal side is an absolute nightmare of complexity. Yes, we do have some blanket licences... but just working out if they apply would need an expert lawyer. Some of them apply only to some copyright holders, or to content produced in the UK. I have on one occasion had to confiscate a teacher's video of MLK's 'I have a dream' speech because, in so far as I could determine, we had no license to even view it, much less to publicly play it for a class. In Performing Arts, they have licenses that cover playing music, but not photocopying it in sheet form - and in at least one case, they can copy it exactly once. In theory that would mean everyone clustering around their single sheet, in practice it means they defy the law and just run it through the photocopier anyway.

Practically every day I have to delete another big collection of pirate music that has appeared in some student area. We don't punish them any more - we'd run out of detention space. I delete (I have a program I wrote for just this purpose, checks for music/games/porn nightly based on a hash-list of forbidden files), and they put it back on the next day.

Then there is the copying-because-they-must issue. Science is running into this one right now: They have a big library of old VHS tapes and DVDs they use in lessons. But we have no more VHS players, and the DVDs have the same issue of loss/damage as English. From a technical perspective, a simple solution: We have a shiny new network media library system going in soon that is supposed to hold it all. And yet all that catalog of media, aquired over the years, is copyrighted - and in the case of the DVDs, largely copy-protected too. So our shiny new media library is useless, and Science is probably going to have to spend a few thousand pounds over the course of the next ten years replacing all of its educational media.

And, for the final touch: We're moving to application virtualisation soon too. Is that compatible with all our licenses, including the obscure stuff like the datalogger interface software? We've got hundreds of EULAs that we should be going through to figure this out, but realisticaly... no matter how closely we look, the IT team are not lawyers.

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Vic
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Re: Copyright nightmare.

> Teachers copy, all the time, for simple convenience.

And they may well be permitted to do so.

Section 32 of CDPA88 is quite permissive when it comes to schools. For example, 32(1) says :

"Copyright in a literary, dramatic, musical or artistic work is not infringed by its being copied in the course of instruction or of preparation for instruction, provided the copying—

(a)is done by a person giving or receiving instruction,

(b)is not done by means of a reprographic process, and

(c)is accompanied by a sufficient acknowledgement,

and provided that the instruction is for a non-commercial purpose. "

> I have on one occasion had to confiscate a teacher's video of MLK's 'I have a dream' speech

You might not have had to do that at all...

Vic.

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Re: Copyright nightmare.

> > I have on one occasion had to confiscate a teacher's video of MLK's 'I have a dream' speech

> You might not have had to do that at all...

Yeah if it was produced by the USA government then most likely not. Simply because iirc all of their stuff produced with public money is Public Domained.

I could be wrong there but that's how I've read up a while ago.

As for deleting stuff off of comon shares etc... A better approach... each tyke has a known username/password and each file has a known owner... If there is an issue with copyright said complaint is directed to them/their rightful guardians.

That's how tho system should work.

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Re: Copyright nightmare.

I did look at that - but section 32(1)(b) says it applies only if copying is 'not done by means of a reprographic process,' whatever that means. It leaves sufficient ambiguity that I really don't know, and if I don't know then to avoid liability I go with 'not allowed' by default. I also note that section 32(1) only covers the copying, not the showing of a video, but fortunatly there is a seperate exception under 34(2).

Allowed or not, the point is that even determining what we can do needs someone well-versed in copyright law. Just the face that we are debateing this shows the problem. Do you think that teachers, already struggling to keep up, need to spend their precious time becoming armchair lawyers? The point of the article remains valid: The field is just too complicated for non-specialists to handle.

Oh, and none of this helps science department at all. Or english department. Because all their DVDs and quite a few of their tapes use copy-protection technology, and even if we are allowed to make the copies under the CDPA, the possession of the tools required to break those protections is still a criminal offense under Copyright and Related Rights Regulations 2003 section 24. Maximum two years in prison for even possessing a program capable of the decryption, and no exceptions for education in there.

All of which brings me back to the main point of the article. Can we use that video? Maybe, maybe not, but it doesn't matter if you need to hire a very expensive expert to get an answer. It isn't practical for every company to retain a copyright lawyer to check everything they do.

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Re: Copyright nightmare.

Ah, here we go:

"“reprographic copy” and “reprographic copying” refer to copying by means of a reprographic process;

“reprographic process” means a process—

(a)for making facsimile copies, or

(b)involving the use of an appliance for making multiple copies,

and includes, in relation to a work held in electronic form, any copying by electronic means, but does not include the making of a film or sound recording;

"

Which means... we can copy it for educational purposes, yes, but only if we don't use the photocopier or computer.

In other worse, section 32 is utterly useless.

See? You're not an expert, so you missed that crucial detail. I'm not an expert, and I very nearly missed it myself, but that one tiny clause changes everything. So are companies expected to let unreliable non-experts make decisions that could expose the company to massive liability? Or to spent vast amounts of money getting a professional to check every decision?

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Re: Copyright nightmare.

"Yeah if it was produced by the USA government then most likely not."

It wasn't produced by the US government though. King himself was the copyright holder, and upon his death the copyright was inherited. The current holder is rather possessive of it.

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Re: Copyright nightmare.

Crikey, it's the WhiteRaven. Hi you.

I understand you're in a somewhat awkward position but, if a teacher has the original DVD, then what is illegal about having the DVD rip somewhere? From what I understand, that's perfectly acceptable anywhere outside of DMCA insanity land.

Didn't know that about the King speech though. That is rather sad.

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Re: Copyright nightmare.

I have a useful suggestion: "fuck it" and concern yourself with something that actually matters.

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Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

No company needs an IP lawyer in house: all they have to do is to create all their own content. Need a photo of people in the street - send someone out to take one. Need a sketch - find someone who can draw. Its not hard.

This is just FUD and scaremongering. Maybe its by a shill for Big Advertising (an entity many sizes bigger than any content company), maybe its just what Lenin would call a useful idiot, but its little more than that.

As for extension of copyright terms. Well hell, if the stuff is still saleable and still has value (if only by generating advertising income) why should the only people who *don't* get any income from its sale be the people who did the real work in the first place. What's needed most of all is some sort of registry where if you want to use orphaned works you pay a reasonable fee to the registry and you have a licence.

Disclaimer: I don't work in any IP area myself at the moment, nor do I derive any significant income from IP. What little I have earned in recent years has gone to charity. But I have worked as a semi pro musican, and I have written for nationally published magazines. I am highly sympathetic to the basic proposition that creators should be paid in preference to the millionaire executives of Big Advertising.

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Re: Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

No company needs an IP lawyer in house: all they have to do is to create all their own content. Need a photo of people in the street - send someone out to take one. Need a sketch - find someone who can draw.

Need MLK's speech - fetch him from the grave and ask him to speak at your school.

Its not hard.

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Facepalm

Re: Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

"Need a photo of people in the street - send someone out to take one"

Then when they haven returned in a few hours, it's off to the local constabulary to pay their bail, and on the way back to work, drop in at the companies solicitors to arrange legal resourse to be availiable when the writs start arriving from all the people whos privacy has been invaded...

yup, nothing hard about that

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Re: Need MLKs speech.

You'll have to explain to me why they *need* that film.

Don't forget to distinguish "need" from "quite nice to have".

As far as I can tell people still managed to get educated before the internet and photocopiers: indeed I understand there's a school of thought that suggests they were educated rather better in those days.

For example I have a memory of a great english teacher wandering round the schoolroom declaiming extracts from Julius Caesar in overdone theatrical style, interspersed with comments in his own voice about what was going on. It made about ten times more impact than showing a pirated video of Kenneth Branagh or someone would have done...

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FAIL

Re: Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

"As for extension of copyright terms. Well hell, if the stuff is still saleable and still has value (if only by generating advertising income) why should the only people who *don't* get any income from its sale be the people who did the real work in the first place."

Because the people who did the work are long since dead, and it is their children and even grandchildren getting paid for doing fuck all?

The reason copyright exists is give a financial incentive to a creator. However, every additional year of copyright is worth less to a creator; to a creator, forty years of copyright isn't worth double twenty years of copyright. Copyright extensions past a certain point are worthless to a creator but act lock up old content so it is effectively dead to new generations.

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Re: Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

Create all content in-house? Well, that should only raise their expenditure by an order of magnitude or so.

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Re: Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

"Because the people who did the work are long since dead, and it is their children and even grandchildren getting paid for doing fuck all?"

Or some corporation, maybe a bunch of lawyers.

The Little Mermaid is clearly still worth something, who should Disney be paying?

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Meh

Re: Need MLKs speech.

Maybe "Julius Caeser" is not the best example here?

I certainly recall being far more impressed at school by a recording of the Berlin Philharmonic playing Beethoven[1] than the version then played by the music master on a shonky upright piano.

He was a bloody good pianist too. The point he was making and it came across very well, was that you cannot even begin to appreciate classical music until you hear it played as it was intended by the composer and by a decent orchestra at that.

I'm not sure that the school had the option (or the budget) to wheel in a full concert orchestra of international quality. For a start, I doubt the acoustics in the gym would have done them justice.....

[1] No, I'll bet he didn't have a bloody license to play it to us.

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WTF?

Re: Need MLKs speech.

I think that Beethoven's copyright has well and truly expired, so everything is most certainly in the public domain and has been for a long time. He died 185 years ago remember!

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Re: Need MLKs speech.

"I think that Beethoven's copyright has well and truly expired, so everything is most certainly in the public domain and has been for a long time."

Not true. The music he wrote, yes - that has expired. So you can use the sheet music all you want. But each performance is, for copyright purposes, a new work with a new term. So in order to find a recording of the music being played, you'd need to either find an acceptable license for a performance or find a recording made so long ago the copyright has expired - which, under current European-standard copyright terms, probably means it'll be on shellac record. If you're in the US it'd be on wax cylinder, if any has survived that long at all. Or you could perform it yourself, but as another commenter pointed out this would require an entire orchestra of highly trained musicians, something rather cost-prohibitive.

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Re: Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

"No company needs an IP lawyer in house: all they have to do is to create all their own content. Need a photo of people in the street - send someone out to take one. Need a sketch - find someone who can draw. Its not hard."

Need Martin Luther King's speech? Film a black homeless guy rambling about his dreams cause thats as close as you'll get.

It's not the artists or creators causing the problems but the rights holders. Even the song Happy Birthday is copywrited and you breech it every birthday. You breech it filming your two year dancing to some song their watching on TV. You breech it listening to the radio in a work vehicle. You breech it lending a DVD to a mate. You breech it copying a song from a CD you bought to an MP3 player.

They need to bring in some fair use laws to protect users and simplfy the laws plus copywrite should end at the creator's death

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Re: Oh what sensationalist nonsense...

"Because the people who did the work are long since dead, and it is their children and even grandchildren getting paid for doing fuck all?"

Personally I blame Cliff Richard. It's because he's still going that the term of copyright is so damned long.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Need MLKs speech.

"So you can use the sheet music all you want"

Photocopies (that you made yourself) of the Beethoven originals - absolutely. Your own hand-copied sheets - yes. Someone else's professionally-or-otherwise produced prints? No, because they own the copyrights to them.

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Childcatcher

Oh my!

A well reasoned, non-politically-biased, hysteria-free, non-troll-bait article from elreg!

I haven't seen that since the great y2k "don't panic" article of 2001!

Sadly I suspect that there is no logical middle-ground between the copyright forever and zero copyright for me groups. Whatever happens, the internet will allow the transfer of bits & bytes. There is rather little that can be done to offer a carrot to the copyright holders to reduce their rather successful lobbying which don't involve voters anyway. I can't imagine people ever voted for the extended copyright at any point. It's all down to campaign funds.

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Re: Oh my!

"A well reasoned, non-politically-biased, hysteria-free, non-troll-bait article from elreg!"

Actually, there was an article about server backups in 2005 that had all the features you find desirable.

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Childcatcher

Re: Oh my!

It's mostly well written. Found this gem tho'.

"Attempts to bring clarity to intellectual property concerns on an international level have been horrible, and have been met with resistance from other nations."

This is code for:-

'Attempts to enforce the US view of copyright on an international level have been horrible, and have been met with resistance from other nations."

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Re: Oh my!

'Attempts to enforce the US view of copyright on an international level have been horrible, and have been met with resistance from other nations."

Except sheep nations like Australia who do what their American overlords tell them to.

I for one welcome our new robot/zombie/jellyfish overlords cause they can't be worse than our American ones

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@nicho

Professional_curiosity; what's not well-written about that?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @nicho

@Trevor_Pott It was factually incorrect <grin>.

All attempts to harmonise international law around IP have focused on extending the US interpretation to other jurisdictions (eg the extension of copyright to protect Mickey Mouse). Now if IP law in the US was clear, you could say these were attempts to bring clarity but it isn't, as can be readily seen by all the frivolous lawsuits that abound.

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Re: @nicho

I am forced to disagree with you. While that is certainly the reactionary - indeed the cynical - take on the matter...a deeper analysis shows otherwise. Or, if not “otherwise,” shows “things in addition to.”

The French – as just one example – have had their own agenda to push for quite some time. They have been exporting their take on the matter for some time. Other nations have their own views (many of which have tempered the more aggressive stances pushed by the Americans.)

It’s far more complicated than simply “exporting American copyright to the world.’ Certainly, as regards the copyright of entertainment, this is generally the case. But these negotiations occur in complex environments covering patents, trademarks and even the right (or lack thereof) to impose duties on various types of trade.

Consider the French insistence on regional trademarks. (It’s not Champagne unless it’s from the Champagne region of France!) Consider also the requirement by many theocracies to outright ban (or at the very least impose import duties rendering items practically unavailable) various products that go against the dominant belief system.

Beyond this, there are complex copyright negotiations that are occurring which simply don’t involve the united states. South America has it’s own burgeoning regional ecopolitical alliance, and “friendly to the United States” could never be used to describe it. They have their own take on copyright, and they are trying to harmonise that across their own region.

Asia has at least two such entities, and the African Union is rapidly evolving to the point where many of its nations are going to have to start caring about exactly this. (Ethiopia, Kenya and South Africa in particular have red-hot IT sectors; experiencing growth the likes of which the west can only dream. Of course, starting from next to nothing and trying to catch up to the west will do that…)

The EU also has its own take on intellectual property. There have been numerous efforts at harmonisation within the regional borders of that entity, and they then go forth and work with other nations (and metanational entities) in an attempt to cause harmonisation.

A great example is the CETA (Canadian-European Trade Agreement,) a NAFTA-like free trade agreement between Canada and the EU that is currently being negotiated. The big sticking point in passing it has been the ratification of various copyright reforms within Canada…something that has just recently taken place. (I expect CETA to proceed with alacrity.)

That is a beautiful example of something that has the US quite up in arms; they view CETA as a danger to their dominance of NAFTA (which has screwed Canada time and again, with the Americans refusing repeatedly to abide by the terms of the treaty whenever it suits them.) It also formally ends Canada’s reliance on America for nearly everything, including the template for our intellectual property laws.

Canada will be bound by treaty to harmonise its laws with the EU; a stipulation that NAFTA doesn’t have. So the US’s global bargaining power decreases in this instance; Canada lends its political and economic might to the EU bloc, fundamentally altering the US’s ability to project culture and legal imperialism throughout the western world.

Indeed, there are far more interesting implications when you consider that CETA will provide for vastly increased and simplified trade between Canada and the EU. Canada’s unparalleled resource wealth will then practically overnight shift towards assisiting the EU recover from the economic crisis instead of the US.

The basic reason is that American laws are batshit bananas and it costs a crazy amount of money to do business there. (Lawyers, insurance, etc.) The EU may actually be more financially stable than the US – even if half the thing implodes – and has a number of countries that are far easier to do business with than anything involving the US at all.

So…US intellectual property imperialism? At first glance…yes. But it’s only a surface impression. International politics are complex and interwoven. Given how important “the knowledge economy” is to the west, intellectual property politics – and the economics that drive them – are anything but simple.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: @nicho

@Trevor_Potts. Aha ! Rational debate. Goody. While I accept all your points (annd yes, I was focussing on SOPA, ACTA etc and forgot the appelation stuff), I maintain the position that none of these initiatives are attempts to inject clarity. They all represent attempts to push a parochial position (with varying degrees of success).

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Re: @nicho

We partially agree. ACTA was not about clarity. The regional initiatives most certainly are. Lack of IP harmonisation is ruinous to the EU and similar entities. They know it. They are trying to fix it.

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Meh

A cull of decadent stupidity

Too many business models are reliant on the continuation of a cult of debt funded decadence which caused a lot of pointless pro IP troll legislation and extension BS.... this cannot go on!

Business has to get used to slower growth and even contraction, because there is still years of debt deflation in the pipeline, and QE is becoming less and less effective at holding this tide back.

Most people have contracting spending power, so the backlash against on-line advertising will only grow and could cause even more physical fallout!

I have been blocking adverts for years because it became frankly ridiculous and made pages too damned slow to load *; I can't even think of one thing I have ever bought because of an on-line advert or product placement, except at some retailer websites or when doing pre-purchase research.

* A lot of advert, CRM, metrics and tracking web servers are frankly pitifully slow and serve

way too bulky content; they are just begging to be blocked!

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I wonder

Does my RAID drives mean I've broken the law because I have two installed copies of all my software?

The fact someone can ask that question shows that the laws are stupid and complicated

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Unhappy

Re: I wonder

@Thorne

¨Does my RAID drives mean I've broken the law because I have two installed copies of all my software?¨

Dunno to be honest. The one that makes me laugh with many software licenses is the bit about keeping only one copy for backup purposes.

I´ve been doing some combination of daily / weekly / monthly / quarterly / yearly backups of full systems all my career. Where do my employers or customers stand with such licences? What about off-site backups? Or disaster recovery plans?

And then we get on to Trevor´s overly complex link. That makes my brain hurt.

¨Can I use Windows 7 Professional like a "server" to host applications?

No. The Windows desktop operating system cannot be used as a "server". Device connection is allowed only for certain purposes (such as File Services, Print Services, Internet Information Services, Internet Connection Sharing and Telephony Services). If you want to host applications and access them from multiple devices or for multiple users simultaneously, you need to license Server/CAL products¨

Fine. At work I´ll get proper server licences. But at home?

It quite makes me want to be done with it all and move to Linux and/or OS X.

Watcha mean that I can´t host anything other than

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