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aruna
04-23-2015, 07:35 PM
M jaw dropped to the floor when I read this. These people must be out of their minds! I now visualise a flood of would-be Green voters among writers and artists quickly withdrawing their vote. Most stupid, unfair, unthought out thing ever!
I don't vote in UK elections so it wouldn't affect me, but if it did -- there would go my pension.
Glad there's such a storm of protest. They deserve it.

http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2015/apr/23/green-party-plan-to-limit-copyright-attacked-by-writers-and-artists



The Green party may be forced to backtrack on its proposals to limit UK copyright terms to 14 years after a howl of protest from prominent writers and artists including Linda Grant, Al Murray and Philip Pullman.

The Greens’ manifesto said the party aims to “make copyright shorter in length, fair and flexible” with the party’s policy website saying it would “introduce generally shorter copyright terms, with a usual maximum of 14 years”. Representatives of the party said on Thursday that length could be revised after a consultation.

My bold. Fair and flexible --- to whom exactly?

Amadan
04-23-2015, 07:38 PM
Well, between 14 years and lifetime+70, I'd vote for 14.

Not that I am a UK voter.

aruna
04-23-2015, 07:40 PM
Why?

Amadan
04-23-2015, 07:47 PM
We had a big copyright argument-thread a while ago.

I am in a minority here in that I am unconvinced copyrights should be a thing at all*, and given that the media industry would clearly like copyrights to be eternal, if they could make that happen, I am in favor of pushing back in every way possible.


* "Unconvinced" - not the same as "convinced they should not be." Yes, I know all the arguments pro and con, yes, I want artists to be able to make a living, yes, I have considered the ramifications, etc.

aruna
04-23-2015, 08:03 PM
According to this law, I would have already lost copyright of the out of print book I published in 1999. The book was republished last year. So, the publisher who snatched it up would be able to make money from it, but I couldn't? Two more of my older books would be going out of copyright in the next two years. They, too, would be lost.

How is that remotely fair?

I'm depending on the sale of books well into my old age as I will have a very small pension.

I don't think you have considered the ramifications at all.

Usher
04-23-2015, 08:14 PM
You could always republish them yourself and the the publisher wouldn't own the copyright to them either.

I don't think this automatically puts me off either. I think the copyright is too long at the moment. Also it says usual maximum so what would be unusual? I think I would need to know more.

Amadan
04-23-2015, 08:20 PM
According to this law, I would have already lost copyright of the out of print book I published in 1999. The book was republished last year. So, the publisher who snatched it up would be able to make money from it, but I couldn't? Two more of my older books would be going out of copyright in the next two years. They, too, would be lost.

How is that remotely fair?

I'm depending on the sale of books well into my old age as I will have a very small pension.

I don't think you have considered the ramifications at all.


Yes, yes I have.

If copyright were shortened, I would not propose doing so immediately so as to pull the financial rug out from beneath everyone like you who has made plans based on existing laws.

heza
04-23-2015, 08:24 PM
You could always republish them yourself and the the publisher wouldn't own the copyright to them either.

I feel like the problem with this argument, though, is that it's impractical. It's absolutely an uneven playing field, and it's really difficult for an individual to compete with a publisher. They have the distribution channels to get their version of your book into book stores. You don't. They have the volume to cut ebook prices in a way that you might not if you're trying to earn a living wage from your books. What if Amazon was your publisher? Would they be fair in listing your version of your book alongside their version of your book? Hard to say at this point.

aruna
04-23-2015, 08:39 PM
They could make blockbuster movies from your work and you get nothing.

I can just see the big corporations rubbing their hands in glee.

Mr Flibble
04-23-2015, 08:48 PM
They could make blockbuster movies from your work and you get nothing.

I can just see the big corporations rubbing their hands in glee.

Exactly

And considering their motive is supposedly to stop big corps screwing the little guy...it seems ill thought out that they would try to do so by screwing the little guy/author

It doesn't exactly foster creative endeavours either -- you can make something, slave over it for years, but after this puny amount of time, it is ripped from you, and all you get is nothing. Where's the incentive to create, then?

Many authors rely on backlist sales to live. How is ripping that from them (and handing it to big corps) helping them?

ETA: Frankly it's making me wonder about the rest of the manifesto if this little part is so ill considered.

mirandashell
04-23-2015, 09:33 PM
The Green Party has been full of big ideas with no real idea of what they're doing, as far as I can tell.

Cyia
04-23-2015, 10:04 PM
Put into perspective with the biggest game out there, considering this is the UK and all.

Harry Potter was published in 1996, in England. That's 19 years ago. Rowling's copyright would have already run out for the first three novels, maybe four.

The final movie of the original books' run was in 2011, 15 years after the initial release of the first novel. Deathly Hallows would still be covered by copyright, but the earlier books wouldn't.

The proposed new films would be after copyright, as Fantastic Beasts was published in 2001.

This is her universe, and she's not done with it. No way should anyone else be able to stake a claim on it so long as she's alive - especially companies that might exploit the popularity with compensating the author.

With a 14 year span, there would never be a valid 20th or 25th anniversary edition of a novel, without someone constantly reprinting the books as "new" editions to keep the copyright going.

It's stupid.

Toothpaste
04-23-2015, 10:12 PM
Okay I apologise since it's clear from Amadan's posts this has been discussed a lot already, and no one has to answer if they don't want to. But what is the advantage to having a shorter copyright term or no copyright at all? This is a sincere question as I truly do not see it and would really like to understand.

Mr Flibble
04-23-2015, 10:38 PM
From what I can gather, the Greens want to stop big corporations (*cough* Disney *cough*) using copyright laws to their advantage by limiting the term

However, the proposed solution seems to me to benefit them as much as the old one (They could make big films and not pay the creator a penny, and not even have to wait to long to do it)

Now, I agree that it is something that needs looking at, debating etc. But trying to limit big corps by taking away a creator's income stream...does not seem like a good move.

ETA Although they seem to have removed the bit about file sharing being fine if you don't make money from it -- ie piracy would be legal. Probably at about 10:43 this morning when the twitter shit hit the fan

Cyia
04-23-2015, 10:45 PM
From what I can gather, the Greens want to stop big corporations (*cough* Disney *cough*) using copyright laws to their advantage by limiting the term




Changing copyright wouldn't dent trademark, and that's where Disney makes its money.

Toothpaste
04-23-2015, 10:49 PM
I see . . . but I still don't understand why getting rid of copyright would make things harder for big companies.

And I don't understand why authors, like Amadan, would be happy with no copyright at all.

Can someone explain that for me too please?

Amadan
04-23-2015, 10:50 PM
Short version, I think prolonged copyrights (extending well past the life of the creator) are intellectually and creatively stagnating. I also think existing copyright law is problematic.

I probably wouldn't be so radical as to do away with copyright altogether, but the current regime just allows corporations and estates of long-dead creators to hold onto property that should have passed into public domain.

And yes, that means I think JK Rowling's heirs should be satisfied with living off of whatever she leaves them when she dies, not living off the royalties from Harry Potter into perpetuity, and that Lord of the Rings should now be public domain.

Mr Flibble
04-23-2015, 10:57 PM
I see . . . but I still don't understand why getting rid of copyright would make things harder for big companies.



I am not clear on that either, though apparently it is A Thing.

Tbh, I think it's a fair point for debate and perhaps reform

However, I do draw the line at any reform that includes me having to go on the Philip K Dick diet*

Screwing the creators does not stimulate creation (which is what the Greens say they want), but may take us back to the days when the only people who wrote were people with a private income.




*One of the most famous and influential SF writers ever, who was so poor at times he lived on pet food.

heza
04-23-2015, 11:06 PM
Okay I apologise since it's clear from Amadan's posts this has been discussed a lot already, and no one has to answer if they don't want to. But what is the advantage to having a shorter copyright term or no copyright at all? This is a sincere question as I truly do not see it and would really like to understand.

Are you only asking with regard to the Green Party's reasons or are you asking about reasoning behind pro-copyright limit positions in general?

Toothpaste
04-23-2015, 11:08 PM
Short version, I think prolonged copyrights (extending well past the life of the creator) are intellectually and creatively stagnating. I also think existing copyright law is problematic.

I probably wouldn't be so radical as to do away with copyright altogether, but the current regime just allows corporations and estates of long-dead creators to hold onto property that should have passed into public domain.

And yes, that means I think JK Rowling's heirs should be satisfied with living off of whatever she leaves them when she dies, not living off the royalties from Harry Potter into perpetuity, and that Lord of the Rings should now be public domain.

Ah okay, I can get that, and can actually agree I think. But couldn't that be an easily phrased thing? Like create a law that says copyright can only exist for x years after the creator's death? I guess I just don't understand the copyright from date of creation thing being cut down, so that during the creator's lifetime they might find themselves no longer owning their own work. I do know there are people out there who think copyright shouldn't exist at all, and you also said as much above, can you explain that reasoning to me? (again, seriously not a leading question :) ).

Toothpaste
04-23-2015, 11:08 PM
Are you only asking with regard to the Green Party's reasons or are you asking about reasoning behind pro-copyright limit positions in general?

More in general I guess. It was sparked by Amadan's response. :)

heza
04-23-2015, 11:26 PM
More in general I guess. It was sparked by Amadan's response. :)

These are some of the more well-reasoned positions I can recall off the top of my head.

1) Like Amadan said, it slows intellectual development. Not so much in the developed world, imo, but in regions where books might be harder to come by, lengthy copyrights on scientific, technological, and medical literature could be having more of an impact on development.

2) Lengthy copyrights increase the risk that some literary works will be lost. If a work is between that stage where someone is actively exploiting the copyright and the time that it falls into the public domain, and no one is ensuring copies are being retained anywhere, it could disappear from circulation. This is especially true of short stories.

3) Creatively, artists need to be able to create derivative works that act as commentary on popular fiction of our time in ways that might not be currently protected or are often a giant hassle and super expensive to defend.


There are undoubtedly others I just can't recall at the moment and still others I just don't understand/agree with and so can't comment on them.

Amadan
04-23-2015, 11:41 PM
Pretty much. The philosophical argument is that proprietary ownership of intellectual property stifles creativity, synergy, and more intellectual productivity. (The counter-argument being that without an economic motive, people are less likely to put effort into such activities.) Most proposals to do away with copyright entirely would require an entirely new economic model for artists. For musicians, it would mean making a living off of your performances, rather than your lyrics and recorded albums, and for writers, you'd pretty much need some sort of modern-day patronage system.

Like I said, I probably wouldn't do away with copyright entirely, because I don't really see it working in a way that would allow artists to make a living (except a rare few - rarer than now). But I don't see any reason why Disney shouldn't have to give up Mickey Mouse to the public domain, or why anyone should be entitled to keep collecting royalty checks and licensing fees for something their grandfather did.

Mr Flibble
04-23-2015, 11:47 PM
Like I said, I probably wouldn't do away with copyright entirely, because I don't really see it working in a way that would allow artists to make a living (except a rare few - rarer than now). But I don't see any reason why Disney shouldn't have to give up Mickey Mouse to the public domain, or why anyone should be entitled to keep collecting royalty checks and licensing fees for something their grandfather did.

I could agree with that -- a shorter after death term perhaps.

The Greens proposal was "14 years maximum", which was taken to mean "from publication"*. And I think a creator (of anything) should be able to make a living from it for their whole lifetime.


I do wonder about the "ownership stifles creativity" argument. How exactly does that work? If I own what I create, I am more likely to do it more rather than if I create something and have to give it away. If I build houses for a living but am forced to give them away, I'll stop building them, and having built one and made a living is actually an incentive to build more. If I choose to give it away is different -- I made it, I should be the one deciding what happens to it.


I'd love to give all my stuff away. Unfortunately I'd like to eat as well.
*I think they've confirmed this

Amadan
04-23-2015, 11:58 PM
I do wonder about the "ownership stifles creativity" argument. How exactly does that work? If I own what I create, I am more likely to do it more rather than if I create something and have to give it away. If I build houses for a living but am forced to give them away, I'll stop building them, and having built one and made a living is actually an incentive to build more. If I choose to give it away is different -- I made it, I should be the one deciding what happens to it.


Well, for example, right now fan fiction is quasi-legal, and making money off of it is a copyright violation, full stop.

There is an argument to be made (which I admit I am on the fence about) that one should be able to write Harry Potter novels, using JK Rowling's creations, as long as you are not selling her stories. It's not like Rowling wouldn't still make money from her books, or she can't keep writing new books (which people are more likely to buy than yours). Not really that different from JK Rowling writing an alien invasion story, and me writing an alien invasion story - people will buy the one(s) they like.

I tend to lean that way, not primarily because of fan fiction, but because in principle, I don't think creating a new thing using someone else's idea should be illegal. IOW, you shouldn't have proprietary control over an idea, only over what you do with it.

But there are both economic and philosophical angles to both sides. Certainly it would be a large change in how we view intellectual products.

heza
04-24-2015, 12:00 AM
I do wonder about the "ownership stifles creativity" argument. How exactly does that work? If I own what I create, I am more likely to do it more rather than if I create something and have to give it away.

Creativity by other people, based on your works. Basically, some people feel it's necessary for the betterment of civilization that artists/writers/etc be able to freely create from/comment on/respond to anything that inspires them. As I understand it.

Mr Flibble
04-24-2015, 12:04 AM
Oh right. That makes much more sense....:)

I see no reason why someone cannot respond to or comment on something that is within copyright. Inspiration rather than plagiarism as t'were. In fact that already goes on.

And actually I'd have no problem with anyone writing fan fic of my stuff. It gets a bit iffy when making money...but hey, we can all name fan fic with the numbers filed off that hit the shelves, right?

So, er, we can do all that already? We're just a bit limited (and do we really want it totally unregulated? If we have that, anyone could just pop up a copy of any book they feel like and call it theirs...)

heza
04-24-2015, 12:07 AM
There is an argument to be made (which I admit I am on the fence about) that one should be able to write Harry Potter novels, using JK Rowling's creations, as long as you are not selling her stories. It's not like Rowling wouldn't still make money from her books, or she can't keep writing new books (which people are more likely to buy than yours). Not really that different from JK Rowling writing an alien invasion story, and me writing an alien invasion story - people will buy the one(s) they like.

The problem I've always had with this situation, though, is that in the current, practical reality, there's a sharp division between canon and fandom. If you're reading fan fiction, you've likely gone looking for it and understand what it is. If both works were professionally published, side by side, conceivably even by the same publisher, it would potentially confuse readers about the official nature of the pretend universe. You could get into a situation where someone gets mad at the original author because what they wrote, in the universe they created, doesn't jive with what their favorite fan fiction author wrote and sold. At some point, an original author could become a sort of second-class citizen in his/her own universe, which I think is kind of creepy.



I tend to lean that way, not primarily because of fan fiction, but because in principle, I don't think creating a new thing using someone else's idea should be illegal. IOW, you shouldn't have proprietary control over an idea, only over what you do with it.

I guess it depends on what you define as "idea" and what you define as "do with it." Because I don't think boy goes to wizarding school where he's hunted by an enemy from the past is an idea that necessarily needs protecting. Harry Potter at Hogwarts, fighting Voldemort... I think that's enough "done with it" to be protected.

Usher
04-24-2015, 12:07 AM
I feel like the problem with this argument, though, is that it's impractical. It's absolutely an uneven playing field, and it's really difficult for an individual to compete with a publisher. They have the distribution channels to get their version of your book into book stores. You don't. They have the volume to cut ebook prices in a way that you might not if you're trying to earn a living wage from your books. What if Amazon was your publisher? Would they be fair in listing your version of your book alongside their version of your book? Hard to say at this point.

But then if you've built a name and have a website you could use that to sell your books.

heza
04-24-2015, 12:12 AM
And actually I'd have no problem with anyone writing fan fic of my stuff. It gets a bit iffy when making money...but hey, we can all name fan fic with the numbers filed off that hit the shelves, right?

Yes, it's legal to file the serial numbers off and sell an inspired-by work. But I think the argument is that they don't want to have to file off the serial numbers. They want the association, up front, with the inspired-by work because it ties into whatever reason they had for writing the derivative work in the first place, whether that be financial or scholarship.


So, er, we can do all that already? We're just a bit limited (and do we really want it totally unregulated? If we have that, anyone could just pop up a copy of any book they feel like and call it theirs...)

Well, in this world of no copyright... I think plagiarism would still be a thing? So, no, someone couldn't publish your work and call it theirs, but they could publish your work and call it yours and get all the money for it.

heza
04-24-2015, 12:21 AM
But then if you've built a name and have a website you could use that to sell your books.

No. I don't think author web presence would have much of an impact at all. How many readers actually follow/buy from an author's website vs. find the book at a bookstore or online retailer? What about readers who don't know you exist, yet? How are they more likely to find your book first, through your website? Or through the many, many advertising venues publishers can afford to use?

The book the publisher produced, while the work was under contract, has already been professionally edited, professionally formatted, and outfitted with a professionally designed cover. A single author, working on their own with a much more limited budget is not going to be able to compete with that. That's the actual reason we're advised so often to seek trade publishing first before going the self publishing route.

Furthermore, the publisher already has that actual book in bookstores. Is the bookstore going to start buying directly from you? From thousands of other authors? Or are they going to maintain their comfortable relationship with a comparative handful of publishing houses? We don't have the same distribution channels.

I just don't think there's any way an author, working solo, can compete in sales with a large imprint.

Toothpaste
04-24-2015, 12:54 AM
Huh, okay, interesting. Thanks for answering! Not entirely sure how I feel about no copyright at all, but I do think maybe changing some of the rules isn't out of order. It's interesting to contemplate, but in practice gets really tricky. Obviously :) .

Usher
04-24-2015, 12:59 AM
No. I don't think author web presence would have much of an impact at all. How many readers actually follow/buy from an author's website vs. find the book at a bookstore or online retailer? What about readers who don't know you exist, yet? How are they more likely to find your book first, through your website? Or through the many, many advertising venues publishers can afford to use?


That assumes that an industry never changes. And if you have 14 years with the copyright on each book to build that presence then you'd make sure you did. At present there isn't the same desire to do it.

I'm working with comedians and they have learned how to use their online presence because they know how vital it is. The publishing industry has changed considerably since I began writing.

Poets use online and self publishing and performance to get their work out there.

I often find new authors from book festivals.

Mr Flibble
04-24-2015, 02:30 AM
Yes, it's legal to file the serial numbers off and sell an inspired-by work. But I think the argument is that they don't want to have to file off the serial numbers. They want the association, up front, with the inspired-by work because it ties into whatever reason they had for writing the derivative work in the first place, whether that be financial or scholarship.

And I want a million pounds and a unicorn. That doesn't mean I get to have them






Well, in this world of no copyright... I think plagiarism would still be a thing? So, no, someone couldn't publish your work and call it theirs, but they could publish your work and call it yours and get all the money for it.

Gosh that sounds absolutely fair. /sarcasm off. /abitanyway I know what I'll be doing for a living. Bunging up copies of bestselling books, acknowledge it is someone else's and make money off someone else's work

Totally fair

ETA: This quote by Usher, cos I forgot to multiquote

That assumes that an industry never changes. And if you have 14 years with the copyright on each book to build that presence then you'd make sure you did. At present there isn't the same desire to do it.


And you might get ooh a thousand followers if you are lucky. There's a million blogs out there, a billion or more internet "celebrities" I have never heard of. I've seen really good blogs take ten years or more to get that 1000 following. It's not about desire, it's about how effective that presence is, and for 99.9999% of people, that is "not very"


And tbh, I am not here to do blogs or whatever. I am here to write books. That is what I am selling. That is my platform

Pandering to the cult of celebrity won't help anyone but a very, very few (who likely don't need it)

Mr Flibble
04-24-2015, 02:52 AM
Someone has just confirmed to me on facebook that the intention is 14 years after death (which is at odds with what has been reported)

I'd actually be fine with that

It's the thought of losing control of my own stuff while I'm still kicking that rankles.

DancingMaenid
04-24-2015, 05:28 AM
I see . . . but I still don't understand why getting rid of copyright would make things harder for big companies.

And I don't understand why authors, like Amadan, would be happy with no copyright at all.

Can someone explain that for me too please?

My personal feeling about my work is that creative works should be shared as much as possible and that free expression should be encouraged. I'm not in writing to make money, so I don't care if my ability to make a profit from my work is limited. I'm a big fan of Creative Commons because I like the idea of maintaining rights over my work in a way that's less controlling and rigid than copyright.

I don't begrudge other writers for wanting to make a bigger profit, so I wouldn't want to see copyright eroded so much that writers' ability to exercise control over their work during their lifetime is limited. But I suppose I would prefer it if copyright didn't last for as long as it does, and that it was easier for authors to make other choices. I don't expect that many people will be interested in my writing after my death, but I want to make sure that my writing is freely available. I don't want other people to exploit my work. In life, that means I don't want other people to profit off my work, especially if I am not profiting off it myself. In death, that means I don't want anyone to be able to exert control over my work.

blacbird
04-24-2015, 05:39 AM
There is an argument to be made (which I admit I am on the fence about) that one should be able to write Harry Potter novels, using JK Rowling's creations, as long as you are not selling her stories.

But isn't that a trademark issue, not a copyright issue?

caw

Robert Dawson
04-24-2015, 05:51 AM
The Hugo-winning answer to this question: Spider Robinson's Melancholy Elephants (http://www.spiderrobinson.com/melancholyelephants.html). I don't think anybody's said it better.

Amadan
04-24-2015, 05:55 AM
The Hugo-winning answer to this question: Spider Robinson's Melancholy Elephants (http://www.spiderrobinson.com/melancholyelephants.html).


Yup - I brought that one up the last time we went round on this.

Albedo
04-24-2015, 06:25 AM
Sounds like this was misreported. Death + 14 years sounds perfectly reasonable. There's an argument to be made that a creator's family could be left precariously if the artist died early and copyright expired with them, but also strong arguments that long after-death copyrights benefit only big media corporations, at the expense of the wider culture. 50 years is far too long. 70's just farcical. 15 seems about right.

Albedo
04-24-2015, 06:29 AM
My ideal would be something like: '45 years or the death of the author, whatever occurs last'.

blacbird
04-24-2015, 06:40 AM
My ideal would be something like: '45 years or the death of the author, whatever occurs last'.

Which isn't a lot different from what it used to be in the U.S., during the first half+ of the 20th century, when a copyright term extended from publication date for 28 years, and could be renewed for another 28 years, making a 56-year term the maximum. That has, of course, now changed entirely, as the death date of the author is now the effective date, and copyright presently extends from that event. The EU has an essentially identical set of statutes.

caw

aruna
04-24-2015, 10:15 AM
I remember a copyright discussion here, but it was years ago -- unless there was a more recent one?

I personally have no problem with my grandchildren inheriting my copyright. I don't understand why it is OK for grandchildren and great-grands to inherit things ... houses, jewellery, paintings etc, but somehow copyright is unethical?

14 years after death is certainly better than 14 years after creation! But I would like to see it longer.

Why can't the creators of works be given some kind of specific protection from corprate rights-garbbers, thus solving the problem.

DancingMaenid
04-24-2015, 10:43 AM
I personally have no problem with my grandchildren inheriting my copyright. I don't understand why it is OK for grandchildren and great-grands to inherit things ... houses, jewellery, paintings etc, but somehow copyright is unethical?

I don't see it as being unethical (I think the people who have ethical problems with copyright being in effect years after the author's death are more concerned with major corporations taking advantage of copyright, not authors' direct descendants). I can understand why some people want their work to be inherited.

Personally, I don't see my writing as property. I see it as creative expression. I want it to be freely enjoyed by all as much as possible. While I'm alive, I'd like to profit a little bit, but it's not my main concern. After my death, it should belong to the public. I don't see why my relatives should be able to do with my work what I wouldn't do, myself.

aruna
04-24-2015, 10:51 AM
Personally, I don't see my writing as property. I see it as creative expression. I want it to be freely enjoyed by all as much as possible. While I'm alive, I'd like to profit a little bit, but it's not my main concern. After my death, it should belong to the public. I don't see why my relatives should be able to do with my work what I wouldn't do, myself.


I wouldn't take the words "ownership" or "property" so literally. Creative expression is indeed more accurate-- but being the reclusive person that I am, I would never ever had made the effort to write so consistently (I've been getting up at 4:30 am to write for the last 15 years) if I had not been in financial need; I would simply have carried on dreaming. That effort put the books out in the open in the first place; they'd have otherwise remained stuck in my mind. So I'd like a say in who benefits.

The reality is that we need money to build a decent life in this world; I still struggle, I still have a mortgage to pay off. The world is getting tougher and tougher to make a living in. I would like to leave the possibility of a financial cushion to my kids and their kids (even if it's just a monthls pizza!) just as I would like to leave them a house, or something small to remember me by -- it's normal.

If I had no kids, I'd make a will in favour of the Society of Authors, which has helped me out enormously over the years, and continues to help authors in financial distress. In fact, if my books should do well in later years, I probably would leave the SoA a legacy anyway.

Perhaps the number of years after death could be extended by registration through the heirs, before falling back into public domain?

cornflake
04-24-2015, 11:14 AM
Short version, I think prolonged copyrights (extending well past the life of the creator) are intellectually and creatively stagnating. I also think existing copyright law is problematic.

I probably wouldn't be so radical as to do away with copyright altogether, but the current regime just allows corporations and estates of long-dead creators to hold onto property that should have passed into public domain.

And yes, that means I think JK Rowling's heirs should be satisfied with living off of whatever she leaves them when she dies, not living off the royalties from Harry Potter into perpetuity, and that Lord of the Rings should now be public domain.

Ok, so, if you started a toaster company, a physical company, that did well, should you be allowed to leave that company, or whatever deal you or your estate makes regarding it (as plenty of companies are sold but an interest or shares or a profit percentage or whatever is retained by the founding family) to your heirs, or should they be satisfied with whatever you leave them and the company and/or its stock/profits/etc. should be auctioned off or some other thing?

Similarly, what about artists who are more successful after their death or after a period of time? It's not like no one has ever been 'discovered' with an existing substantial back catalog. They then might never profit off their stuff, if there's no or very short copyright.


Pretty much. The philosophical argument is that proprietary ownership of intellectual property stifles creativity, synergy, and more intellectual productivity. (The counter-argument being that without an economic motive, people are less likely to put effort into such activities.) Most proposals to do away with copyright entirely would require an entirely new economic model for artists. For musicians, it would mean making a living off of your performances, rather than your lyrics and recorded albums, and for writers, you'd pretty much need some sort of modern-day patronage system.

Like I said, I probably wouldn't do away with copyright entirely, because I don't really see it working in a way that would allow artists to make a living (except a rare few - rarer than now). But I don't see any reason why Disney shouldn't have to give up Mickey Mouse to the public domain, or why anyone should be entitled to keep collecting royalty checks and licensing fees for something their grandfather did.

Mickey Mouse isn't copyright, it's trademark. Are you suggesting doing away with trademark as well?

A patronage system?

I didn't see the other discussion that apparently took place regarding this and I just don't get it.

There's no copyright problem if someone wants to write fanfic as long as they're not selling it - that's already fine.

The idea that people shouldn't profit off their own work so that other people can profit off their work is just baffling to me. It's so roundabout. Why protect people who only want to use someone else's work over people making their own?

aruna
04-24-2015, 11:28 AM
It seems the original Green Party proposal came from this:
Researcher: Optimal copyright term is 14 years (http://arstechnica.com/uncategorized/2007/07/research-optimal-copyright-term-is-14-years/)



It's easy enough to find out how long copyrights last, but much harder to decide how long they should last—but that didn't stop Cambridge University PhD candidate Rufus Pollock from using economics formulas to answer the question. In a newly-released paper, Pollock pegs the "optimal level for copyright" at only 14 years.


Back to the Green proposal, I don't think it would ever see the light, but by merely mentioning this they will lose many votes. If I were a UK voter I might vote Green (I vote Green in Germany) but never, ever with such a proposal on the agenda. And I think many other writers and artists feel the same. They need to do a dramatic rethink if they are to get back in favour -- there's quite a revolt going on, apparently.

Albedo
04-24-2015, 01:13 PM
Ok, so, if you started a toaster company, a physical company, that did well, should you be allowed to leave that company, or whatever deal you or your estate makes regarding it (as plenty of companies are sold but an interest or shares or a profit percentage or whatever is retained by the founding family) to your heirs, or should they be satisfied with whatever you leave them and the company and/or its stock/profits/etc. should be auctioned off or some other thing?

A company is a thing that can be sold and resold indefinitely until it's wound up. Copyrights aren't so permanent. They're not meant to be permanent: that's why they have expiry dates, just like patents.

In your example, something more akin to copyright would be the patents the company held on a particular toaster. You can still buy and sell the company when its patents have expired, much like your descendants can do what they like with your estate. But they can't hold on to the copyrights forever, because they're not intended to last forever.

Becky Black
04-24-2015, 02:53 PM
14 years seems a weird number for after death. I'd think 18 would make more sense, as it would cover all of your children to adulthood, even if they were born around the time you died.

In practice 14 years in which whoever owns the copyright after your death can sell the rights is surely effectively going to mean only about 12 years when they have much value isn't it? Unless it's for a suddenly super hot property someone wants to publish NOW or make a movie of NOW, then a large corporation would say "well it's public domain in two years, we'll just wait until then."

I'd imagine it would be very hard to sell any rights for something with the end of its copyright looming so close. If the family has already had 60+ years of benefit from it, then that's probably okay. If they've only had a decade or so and some are still minor children of the writer, then it's a different matter.

I'm still voting Green anyway, because this is nothing but a proposal made by a party who aren't at this point in time going to have any power in government.

aruna
04-24-2015, 03:12 PM
14 years seems a weird number for after death. I'd think 18 would make more sense, as it would cover all of your children to adulthood, even if they were born around the time you died.

In practice 14 years in which whoever owns the copyright after your death can sell the rights is surely effectively going to mean only about 12 years when they have much value isn't it? Unless it's for a suddenly super hot property someone wants to publish NOW or make a movie of NOW, then a large corporation would say "well it's public domain in two years, we'll just wait until then."

I'd imagine it would be very hard to sell any rights for something with the end of its copyright looming so close. If the family has already had 60+ years of benefit from it, then that's probably okay. If they've only had a decade or so and some are still minor children of the writer, then it's a different matter.



Good argument -- except that nowhere does it say 14 years after death. It says 14 years, full stop.

Plus: "Until adulthood" isn't enough, because many kids go on to further education, which is ofte the most expensive time of all... so, 24 years after death should be the absoluite minimum.

Cyia
04-24-2015, 04:12 PM
There are very good reasons, IMO, that companies like Disney shouldn't ever have to give up their trademarked (or copyrighted) properties. If Mickey goes into the public domain, then he can used by others for things other than approved projects. It becomes more than a potential nuisance for the company; it becomes a potential hazard. I would hate to see established child-friendly characters used in decidedly non-child-friendly ways.

Again, it's a matter of trademark, rather than copyright, but Mickey's face (or worse at this point - Queen Elsa's) on unregulated merchandise could be disastrous, if said merchandise is faulty or toxic. It's not even a matter of conjecture that it could happen. Pre-"Mickey mouse laws," several companies and individuals churned out unlicensed merchandise featuring Disney characters. They're now collectors' items, as it was more difficult to mass produce things back then. But now, give anyone with a 3-D printer carte blanche to produce their own stuff, and you've got an epidemic on your hands.

MaryMumsy
04-25-2015, 01:37 AM
I have no horse in the race, but I think life plus 50 or life plus 75 is sufficient.

It gives the creator security during their lifetime. It gives their heirs time to make plans for when the copyright runs out.

MM

Mr Flibble
04-25-2015, 02:01 AM
I would be bloody helpful if the various members of the Green Party could agree


One spokesperson has said i is 14 years from pub

Another (it seems part of the IP planning thingy) has said 14 years from death

Make up your minds, guys!

Xelebes
04-25-2015, 02:21 AM
So. . . I'm late coming to the game.

So a copyright would have a shorter life than a patent?

Canadian copyright is 50 years from publishing pretty much across the board. There are a few exceptions with captures (sound recordings, photographs, etc.)

Mr Flibble
04-25-2015, 02:22 AM
Oh they want to dicker about with patents too (especially with software)

Xelebes
04-25-2015, 02:30 AM
Software patents may need to have very short lifespans, due to how quickly they become obsolete or become part of a standard.

Twick
04-25-2015, 04:00 AM
I think writers who "don't see the need for copyright" should revisit the position of Dickens, who saw gross exploitation of his novels almost as soon as they were printed. Often these "sequels" were written by hacks, and passed off as if they were written by him, using near-approximations of his name. So, you want a sequel to "Oliver Twist," just out six months ago? Here's one by Charles Dickins. Totally legit.

aruna
04-25-2015, 08:55 AM
I think writers who "don't see the need for copyright" should revisit the position of Dickens, who saw gross exploitation of his novels almost as soon as they were printed. Often these "sequels" were written by hacks, and passed off as if they were written by him, using near-approximations of his name. So, you want a sequel to "Oliver Twist," just out six months ago? Here's one by Charles Dickins. Totally legit.

Thank you. I don't even think they'd have to change the name -- AFAIK there's no copyright on names or pen names.

aruna
04-25-2015, 09:58 AM
The Telegraph chimes in.

Authors have expressed shock (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/11557810/Authors-criticise-Green-Party-plan-to-reduce-copyright-to-14-years.html) at the Green Party's proposal to reduce the length of copyright to 14 years.

And yes, it is 14 years after publication, according to a spokesman.



The Telegraph contacted the Green Party for clarification, and a spokesman confirmed the proposed 14 year term....
The spokesman later added: "It would be 14 years after publishing, as recommended by Cambridge University researcher Rufus Pollock."

I'm glad to see so many authors speaking up, as well as the Society of Authors:

In a statement released today on their website, the Society of Authors expressed concern over the plans, and said that "copyright needed strengthening, not weakening".
"Authors and other creators make their livelihood from their intellectual creations and a period of only 14 years would not allow them to fully benefit from their work," the statement said. "In practice it is likely to mean that once the period expires large corporations will pick up the work and continue to develop, licence and exploit it without rewarding the creator.

It doesn't matter to me that the Greens won't get in. The very fact that they are bandying around such ideas without consulting the main players -- authors -- is anathema to me.

TheNighSwan
04-25-2015, 02:26 PM
It should be pointed out that even Victor Hugo, one of the main engineers behind the modern concept of copyright, thought the good length for copyright was to end with the death of creator (on the ground that any creation belongs as much to the people who inspired and reads it as it does to its creator; therefore when the creator dies, the rights should revert to the people).

aruna
04-25-2015, 03:03 PM
It should be pointed out that even Victor Hugo, one of the main engineers behind the modern concept of copyright, thought the good length for copyright was to end with the death of creator (on the ground that any creation belongs as much to the people who inspired and reads it as it does to its creator; therefore when the creator dies, the rights should revert to the people).


I have no quibble with the notion that a written work should be enjoyed by everyone. That is not the question here, though.

The question is, when a book is published, who gets the profit? If the copyright ends at my death, then some anonymous publisher would receive and money earned. I prefer that my children and grandchildren receive some of the benefit. If I didn't have children it wouldn't matter.

The whole issue (including the Victor Hugo idea above) seems to be based on the premise that the heirs would be old meanies who would keep the work from the people and let it sink into oblivion, thus lost to humanity. I actually think it's the other way around. My kids and descendants are far more likely to care about my work and keep it in circulation, than "the people". I think "the people" are not particularly interested in some single author's work, unless it really is a classic!

It's like that rare British Guiana One Cent Magenta postage stamp. How many of you had ever heard of it or were interested in it? But because it was created by my great-great-grandfather, I wrote blog posts and even a novel about it, researched his life, and so on. Nobody cares except family.

Laurasaurus
04-25-2015, 03:39 PM
The Telegraph chimes in.

Authors have expressed shock (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/culture/books/booknews/11557810/Authors-criticise-Green-Party-plan-to-reduce-copyright-to-14-years.html) at the Green Party's proposal to reduce the length of copyright to 14 years.

And yes, it is 14 years after publication, according to a spokesman.


Damn, I'd just convinced myself to believe the reports I've read that they meant 14 years after death.
They'd better make it bloody clear what they do mean and very soon. They're going to lose so many votes over this.

aruna
04-25-2015, 04:15 PM
PROGRESS!

Caroline, who just a few days ago repeated the protested Green proposal discussed here, has updated her stance: (http://www.carolinelucas.com/comment/reply/10576)


I met yesterday with composers, photographers, musicians, and other creatives to listen to their views about copyright and ways to support their work. As a result of our positive discussion I have called on the Green Party to urgently review its copyright policy. Many of those I met and have been in touch with by email and social media over the last few days recognise the Green Party's strong support for the arts and I am proud of our commitment to reinstate the arts funding that's been cut by this government. But I think we have got it wrong on copyright and need to think again. I shall be inviting some of Brighton creatives to put their concerns to our next party conference where I am confident we will be able to agree a set of policies that better reflect our commitment to the arts.

My bold. Also:


I'm absolutely on your side. Artists and writers have to be able to make a living and fairly benefit from their work. I know that many often live in poverty for years before seeing any financial reward for their work and I would never back any proposal that did not take fair account of that fact. A copyright regime that both supports innovation and ensures people are fairly remunerated for their work is possible if we rebalance the power away from the big corporations and back into the hands of artists.

Weirdmage
04-25-2015, 10:53 PM
In a thread on copyright on AW I suggested that if the point of Public Domain is to make works available to the public, then it should be non-profit. Have not seen anyone explain why that is not desirable. -Except the people who think it is OK for corporations to earn money while heirs of a creator does not.
And that is really the crucial thing for me. Why should everyone else but the creator and their heirs be able to earn money off their creations?

(The "Copyright stifles creativity is just ridiculous to me. How can it be limiting to creativity to not being able to copy another creator? I think the word here is not "creative", but "adaptive". And I don't think people who want to adapt/re-mix should be valued above those that create original content.)

JustSarah
04-26-2015, 06:22 AM
Hmm, I'll have to verify this on my own. Fourteen years is way to short. I could in theory still be alive in this time. To note: I also don't feel anyone else is of any write to modify or add to existing work of whatever it is I right. And yes, I'm also one that feels only my blood related families is entitled to any of the wealth. I also don't look very highly on "fan-fiction".

raelwv
04-26-2015, 06:31 AM
The whole issue (including the Victor Hugo idea above) seems to be based on the premise that the heirs would be old meanies who would keep the work from the people and let it sink into oblivion, thus lost to humanity.

I don't think that's quite it. I think the idea is that if creative works never enter the public domain then eventually creative enterprises will dry up completely.* So much of what artists do is reinterpret/adapt things that have been done before. To use one example, the concern isn't that Shakespeare's heirs would keep Romeo & Juliet out of circulation, but it would have kept Sondheim, et. al., from ever making West Side Story. The idea is to let works out into the wild (at some point).

At least that's how I understand it.

* There was a really neat short story along these lines a few years ago, but I can't find it online anywhere.

aruna
04-26-2015, 09:52 AM
I don't think that's quite it. I think the idea is that if creative works never enter the public domain then eventually creative enterprises will dry up completely.* So much of what artists do is reinterpret/adapt things that have been done before. To use one example, the concern isn't that Shakespeare's heirs would keep Romeo & Juliet out of circulation, but it would have kept Sondheim, et. al., from ever making West Side Story. The idea is to let works out into the wild (at some point).

.

But if that's the case, why are the demands of "creatives" to use the works of other creatives, higher than the creatives themselves, which would be the case with the 14-year-after publication case. And I agree with Weirdimage that they should be called "adaptors" not creators.

Why should you be allowed to adapt and profit from one of my original books, making money from it, while I and my children are still alive and, having no copyright, get nothing? I truly don't get the reasoning. Maybe I'm just stupid. (OK, I realise that today I still have the option to self-publish. But as argued above, a self-published work faces huge hurdles.)


then eventually creative enterprises will dry up completely. Who thinks this? WHy can't creatives make up their own works from scratch, instead of piggybacking on others? I don't say this disrespectfully. While most of my books are "from scratch", i did adapt one public domain work, the Mahabharata, for a modern readership. So I get that it is OK to do so. But I would never claim that my version is anything other than derivative, and that the true glory belongs to the original creator.

Apparently in the Green proposal there would be some kind of Citizens Income which would compensate the disadvantaged authors.
But what happens if you are not a GB citizen, and/or don't live in GB? Are they going to pay me a Citizens Income in Germany? I think not. But since I have a UK publisher and release books in the UK I would fall under this law.

aruna
04-26-2015, 10:12 AM
Oh -- and by the way I said above that I would be happy to leave my copyright to the Society of Authors -- that was a total mis-post. I meant the Royal Literary Fund, a different entity altogether! Now that is something I can get behind -- if copyright passed to the RLF 14 years after death of author.

The RLF does magnificent work supporting writers in need. They have given me generous grants on two occasions, and they create and finance Fellowships for struggling writers, help them in emergency situations, and pay them pensions.

I can get behind that. I can also totally get behind my would-be profits going to an unrelated-to-writing charity. What I can't get behind is some corporation profiting from my work while my next descendants are alive.

aruna
04-26-2015, 10:56 AM
I don't think that's quite it. I think the idea is that if creative works never enter the public domain then eventually creative enterprises will dry up completely.* So much of what artists do is reinterpret/adapt things that have been done before. To use one example, the concern isn't that Shakespeare's heirs would keep Romeo & Juliet out of circulation, but it would have kept Sondheim, et. al., from ever making West Side Story. The idea is to let works out into the wild (at some point).

.

Sorry for coming back to this but I had another thought -- there is no copyright on ideas. Romeo and Julia didn't have to be in the public domain for West Side Story to be made. Pride and Prejudice didn't have to be in the public domain for Brigitte Jones' Diary to be made -- ditto Twilight and 50 Shades of Grey. So that argument is moot.

I've checked out the Green Party Policy Discussion page, and it seems a lot of people don't have the faintest idea what copyright is. They think authors sell the copyright when their work is published. Not true. They sell the licensing rights, aka publishing rights. That is all. The author retains the copyright.

They license the rights for that specific work, for a certain amount of time, to certain territories, and it is documented in a contract which sets out how the work will be used, what name will be used, what alterations will be made etc, and when the licensed period if up, the rights revert to the creator, who can then license again for more money. (There are exceptions, for instance ghostwriters, writers-for-hire etc.)

The licensing rights do not extend to the actual idea behind the work. Anyone can take the basic plot and rework it in their own words to make a completely different story with different characters.

To see the Green people arguing on a subject on which they are basically uninformed is very irritating, to say the least. They really need to get their facts straight on this. They are losing voters by the droves, which is a pity.

They should really stick to environmental issues and not venture into areas of which they know squat.

TheNighSwan
04-26-2015, 01:43 PM
A first problem I see is if truly you don't want people making money on your back, well, that's fair, but in that case you shouldn't go with traditional publishing anyway (unless you truly consider it's a fair deal to earn 10% of the retail price of an object where 90% of the time and efforts invested are yours*) — I heard (though I haven't been able to find the source back) that when an exiled Victor Hugo was offered a publishing deal where he would have gotten 50% of the retail price on the book, that was consider a scandalously favourable... toward the publisher!

* : and ironically, French authors, who don't typically own the copyright of their books, and who typically aren't represented by agents, usually get the same monetary deal — so intellectual ownership of their own work does stricly nothing in the way of cutting american authors better deals.


And yes, sometimes an author's popularity surges after their death, but that doesn't mean the heirs get anything out of it, because this surge almost always happens when the works enters the public domain.

Today Baudelaire is remembered as one of the greatest French poets who ever lived, but people have kindly forgotten that, between the first publication of the Flowers of Evil (1857) and its fall into the public domain (1917), it was mostly not reprinted, let alone read, and Baudelaire was largely forgotten as an author.

And when it fell into the public domain, publishers didn't go after it because they thought Baudelaire was a great poet (almost no one thought that at the time), but because of his reputation as a pornographer —they saw his work as nothing but cheap money. But this became a library success, a lot of people read it and were able to realise that wait, actually this guy wrote really good poetry; today his poetry is taught in French schools and is a major staple of French culture, a strong source of inspiration for French writers.

If copyright was perpetual, this would never have been the case.

aruna
04-26-2015, 02:06 PM
A first problem I see is if truly you don't want people making money on your back, well, that's fair, but in that case you shouldn't go with traditional publishing anyway (unless you truly consider it's a fair deal to earn 10% of the retail price of an object where 90% of the time and efforts invested are yours*) usually get the same monetary deal — so intellectual ownership of their own work does stricly nothing in the way of cutting american authors better deals.




I have a very fair deal with my trade publisher, thank you, by which I get a lot more than 10% of the retail price. I am happy to be with them as they put in a lot of work I don't want to do, such as cover, editing, and, above all, promotion, which I couldn't/don't want to do myself. I have agreed to the terms of the contract, which I consider fair to both parties.

I am against anyone picking up my work (by "my" I mean any author's!) and earning from it without my permission. Earning from it, and paying me nothing.

In the "14 years post-publication" scenario a movie company could turn up now, pick up Of Marriageable Age, make a movie -- and pay me squat. Or, if they preferred my newest book first published 2015, simply develop it behind the scenes, wait out the 14 years, and then release the movie. Again, paying me squat.

And yes, sometimes an author's popularity surges after their death, but that doesn't mean the heirs get anything out of it, because this surge almost always happens when the works enters the public domain.

With digital publishing the rules are all over the place. Many authors are reissuing their backlist in digital form and earning a good income -- books that were in print 15 - 20 years ago. A good example is women's fiction author Diane Chamberlaine, who is republishing her backlist and is regularly making the Kindle Top 100 with over 20 novels. A surge, within her lifetime! Digital books can gain in popularity at any time, unlike print books which have to "make it" within a few months of publication. We shouldn't really be taking Baudelaire as an example!

Xelebes
04-26-2015, 06:55 PM
In a thread on copyright on AW I suggested that if the point of Public Domain is to make works available to the public, then it should be non-profit. Have not seen anyone explain why that is not desirable. -Except the people who think it is OK for corporations to earn money while heirs of a creator does not.
And that is really the crucial thing for me. Why should everyone else but the creator and their heirs be able to earn money off their creations?

Give me a good reason why the grandchildren get a copyright. A copyright is not the same as a title that can be passed down through generation through generation. It is analogous to a patent, a right granted to an individual to have a say over their creation. A fixed copyright, as in Canada, does have the possibility of having a copyright fall into the hands of a grandchildren, but it is very much like patent and that it can't be extended ad infinitum or what not.

Corporations and individuals can profit on the use of public domain - but they will always be undercut and so the profit will always be minimal.


(The "Copyright stifles creativity is just ridiculous to me. How can it be limiting to creativity to not being able to copy another creator? I think the word here is not "creative", but "adaptive". And I don't think people who want to adapt/re-mix should be valued above those that create original content.)

The problem is that copyright is a bit broader than merely the re-printing of a book. It is also preventing the use of characters from the book, especially in instances where the characters themselves become archetypal figures (Odysseus, Romeo, Oliver Twist, Don Quixote, for example.) It is also preventing the use of settings from the book, especially in instances where the settings are archetypal (R'yleh, Midgard, The Land of Oz.) These are some of the problems that are faced when the literature actually does the job it is supposed to do: provide a story and provide stories for which other stories can be built.

Debeucci
04-26-2015, 07:03 PM
There is also the matter of film/television rights. Many novels take years after publication before they are optioned and produced into tv/films. It's a major source of income for many SF authors. Fourteen years will kill this revenue stream.

Debeucci
04-26-2015, 07:09 PM
Give me a good reason why the grandchildren get a copyright.

So if I bought a house, should my grandchildren have any right to it? What about inheritance? Should we make it so only the direct descendants see a dime? What if my children who own the copyright grow it? Do they lose everything as well?

What makes my novels, my hard earned IPs created from my risks and my hours be profited by anyone other than my choosing?

Xelebes
04-26-2015, 07:16 PM
So if I bought a house, should my grandchildren have any right to it?

A deed is nothing like a copyright.

Debeucci
04-26-2015, 07:23 PM
I know but I'm giving an example. If the question is rights to a property, why not houses? What makes that different in your eyes?

I also strongly disagree with this statement. "Corporations and individuals can profit on the use of public domain - but they will always be undercut and so the profit will always be minimal."
If this law was in effect, a movie studio can remake Harry Potter and make a killing right now if they choose.

Xelebes
04-26-2015, 07:35 PM
They can make a movie of Romeo and Juliet and still make a killing off of it.

(Please note that I am not for a 14-year terms on copyright. 50 years-ish sounds about right to me - longer than a patent but by no means indeterminably long.)

aruna
04-26-2015, 07:59 PM
Give me a good reason why the grandchildren get a copyright.

I can't speak for other authors and others might be more distant form their works -- but in my case, I write FOR my family. Everything I put into my books has to do with family, mothers, children, relationships, love, culture, background, etc etc. I only actually got up the energy to write because we needed money for my kids' education -- I was far too lazy otherwise. But once started I kept it up. A novel is really nothing like an engineering patent (for example). At least in my case, your whole heart goes into it. There are subtleties of emotion, of spiritual understanding, and behind it all is the wish for my children, my people, to understand where they came from and where they are going. It's not just a "thing" you invent and let go of. Well, OK, you do let go of it once it's out in the world but really, it's a very emotional creation.

So yes, I do see my writing as a sort of "heirloom". Even if the books would be flops, there are family secrets and family histories woven into my stories and I want my grandchildren to know and read and understand. These are THEIR stories. For instance, the book I'm revising right now is based on my grandmother; the story of a white woman who chose to marry a black man in 1910. It's our family story. So you're saying, some stranger has a greater right to the profit than my own grandchildren?

I don't think copyright should be eternal. But I expect to know my grandchildren, and I would like to pass ownership of my books on to them. It's a very human thing and most people should be able to understand. In fact, I don't get how people DON'T understand, and somehow insist that no, only strangers should profit.

The example of a house is also fitting. If you have a family home, it's normal to pass it on to your children and grandchildren and even further. A house is not just a "deed". It's a home; family history and love has gone into it. It's the same with books. At least in my case.

Weirdmage
04-27-2015, 12:46 AM
Give me a good reason why the grandchildren get a copyright.
The question isn't (in my opinion) why grandchildren should inherit copyright, but why the shouldn't? I see no reason not to treat intellectual property like any other property.


The problem is that copyright is a bit broader than merely the re-printing of a book. It is also preventing the use of characters from the book, especially in instances where the characters themselves become archetypal figures (Odysseus, Romeo, Oliver Twist, Don Quixote, for example.) It is also preventing the use of settings from the book, especially in instances where the settings are archetypal (R'yleh, Midgard, The Land of Oz.) These are some of the problems that are faced when the literature actually does the job it is supposed to do: provide a story and provide stories for which other stories can be built.
I don't see the problem in not being able to use other people's characters or worlds. And, again, what you are talking about is adapting rather than creating.

Midgard has never been in copyright, I assume you mean Middle Earth. Lord of the Rings being in copyright prevented neither The Sword of Shannara nor the Dragonlance Chronicles from being written and published. I have read both of the latter, and there's quite a lot in both of those that is lifted from LotR.
The facts seem to show that only directly taking from another author will get you in trouble with copyright law. When it comes to that, I think the creator's rights far outweigh those of any adaptor/re-mixer.

raelwv
04-27-2015, 03:09 AM
Why should you be allowed to adapt and profit from one of my original books, making money from it, while I and my children are still alive and, having no copyright, get nothing?

My perspective on this isn't really related to the Green proposal (which seems to have no chance to go anywhere) but more from American legal scholars and creators who argue for reforming the current copyright scheme (which, as others have pointed out - is basically a creation of Disney: the last big expansion came just before "Steamboat Willie" would have hit public domain). From what I've read, they don't argue for either no copyright or very short terms like the 14-year thing, but something shorter than it is now, but usually at least the life of the creator. I'm not sure they have the better side of the argument, but I'm not sure they're wrong, either.


Who thinks this? WHy can't creatives make up their own works from scratch, instead of piggybacking on others?

It goes back to the old saw that there are really only (I can't remember specific numbers) 8 or 10 stories to tell - everything else is a variation. The theory goes that everybody is doing a variation on common themes. Again - I'm not sure that's right, but that's the argument. Those in favor of shorter copyright aren't looking to make quick bucks on the work of others, they're trying to keep "culture" from being locked up behind walls.

Taking an American perspective (again), Congress is given the power to establish patents and copyright in the Constitution " to promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts" and to exist only for a "limited" time. Can copyright protection go so long that it's not furthering that purpose?

Mr Flibble
04-27-2015, 03:12 AM
Midgard has never been in copyright, I assume you mean Middle Earth. Lord of the Rings being in copyright prevented neither The Sword of Shannara nor the Dragonlance Chronicles from being written and published. I have read both of the latter, and there's quite a lot in both of those that is lifted from LotR.
The facts seem to show that only directly taking from another author will get you in trouble with copyright law. When it comes to that, I think the creator's rights far outweigh those of any adaptor/re-mixer.

Bingo

raelwv
04-27-2015, 03:15 AM
Sorry for coming back to this but I had another thought -- there is no copyright on ideas. Romeo and Julia didn't have to be in the public domain for West Side Story to be made.

Good point - that's not the best example. What about film versions of Romeo and Juliet, thought? Should Shakespeare's heirs (who must number in the thousands by now) by able to keep Zeffirelli or Luhrman from making their movie versions? What about the Prokofiev ballet? Is there any point at which copyright should expire?

Here's a more modern example (http://www.nytimes.com/2015/04/02/theater/play-reimagining-threes-company-wins-case.html):

A federal judge in New York ruled on Tuesday that the Off Broadway play (http://www.nytimes.com/theater/venues/broadway.html?inline=nyt-classifier) “3C,” a darkly comic reimagining of the TV hit “Three’s Company,” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=T9bJvPmFzuY) did not infringe the copyright of that decades-old sitcom. In the ruling, Judge Loretta A. Preska of the United States District Court wrote that the play represented a “drastic departure” from the TV show, which ran from 1977 to 1984 and remains in syndication.

Xelebes
04-27-2015, 03:28 AM
The question isn't (in my opinion) why grandchildren should inherit copyright, but why the shouldn't? I see no reason not to treat intellectual property like any other property.

The problem with intangible assets like intellectual property is that they have the potential, if given no termination date, the possibility to go on forever. Because of this, very few asset classes are to be given no termination dates: deeds and titles are two examples. Intellectual property is at best thoughts and concepts that are being asked to be protected by government. Copyright and patent law are meant to protect this. However, it is absolutely bizarre to ask the government to protect this over very long terms.

As for inheritance, it is quite okay that if a copyright is still intact but the holder passes away, that the child, grandchild or great-grandchild received this, according to the provisions of the copyright holder's will. The problem is when we design the law so that we can expect that great-grandchildren can wield the copyright, 150 years from the publishing date. I think that is absolutely bizarre and ultimately a perversion of what copyright is supposed to be: a protection of the creativity of the author so that the author may live on their work. It's not there so that the great-grandchild can milk the copyright that they have put no effort into making. You cannot expect the government to enforce that claim.

Debeucci
04-27-2015, 05:13 AM
I'm playing Devil's advocate but let me ask this:

Why is it all right for someone to buy a plot of land and deed it to his descendants for the next 150 years? These great grand-children can wield and profit from that property any way they wish. What makes their profiteering from the original land purchaser's hard work all right but not mine who possibly might make profits from my books?

Because what you're saying is it's not all right for my descendants to profit from my hard work that my family wishes to pass down, but it's all right for others to profit from it once the copyright expires.

Why don't these people who have nothing to do with me just go write their own books and create their own stories instead of steal from mine?

Xelebes
04-27-2015, 05:59 AM
Why is it all right for someone to buy any deed? The deed is doled out by the government on the promise that the owner of the land will work the land. Copyrights are not doled out, they are granted based on demonstration of authorship.

Titles are tricky because some jurisdictions recognise them, some only recognise titles to the grantee's life and some simply do not recognise them at all. Generally not true for copyright: they are generally recognisable.

Corporations are closer. They are nominal custodians of assets and the purpose of them is to allow people to pool resources together to put forth an enterprise. The cost to put together a corporation is substantial and the cost is intangible. The cost of organising the corporation is usually amortised such that you can end up with a zero-asset corporation (a completely nominal entity.) A zero-asset corporation is ineffectual, so corporations tend to have some assets or are dissolved. The difference between a corporation and a copyright is that a copyright is not an on-going concern. There is no further activity required to keep the copyright in effect.

Trademark is even closer but there is one caveat to trademark that is different from patents and copyright: you have to use it or you lose it. Corporations tend to have trademarks over individuals as it can very easily be difficult for individuals to maintain them.

Copyright is the most similar to patent. And patents usually have shorter lifespans. I turn to you: should patents also be extended as you suggest be done with copyright? Why or why not?

Debeucci
04-27-2015, 07:04 AM
Your question: Yes. I believe unless the inventor is working as a representative for another entity, he or she should be entitled for the ownership of the creation.

I believe the same with a house as well. If I own a house, it's mine. Why would I lose it upon my death? Who would it go to then? I do feel that an estate tax is necessary (the current US tax is for inheritances over 5 million).

DancingMaenid
04-27-2015, 07:10 AM
I just really don't see my work as property that can be passed down. It's creative expression, not something that can be inherited.

I think my feeling are largely influenced by the fact that I write stuff that I would not want to share with most of my family, anyway. For example, one of my primary genres is erotica. My family doesn't even know that I write it. I also write a lot of LGBT fiction.

Now, I hope to live a long life. Maybe when I die, I will have a partner who supports my work.

But if I died right now, I would not want my mother to take control of my explicit erotica. Or for my homophobic, anti-porn extended family to have any say in what happens to my work. I don't think anything I write will be loved and cherished for ages. But nor does it have much commercial viability.

Ultimately, I see my writing as something private that I share with other people who share my interests. It was never intended for my family.

Xelebes
04-27-2015, 07:30 AM
Your question: Yes. I believe unless the inventor is working as a representative for another entity, he or she should be entitled for the ownership of the creation.

So ye do not see the complication that would occur from that. The great-great-great grandchild of the man who invented the flat-head screw earning licensing fees from the manufacturers of screws for. . . what service again?

Do ye not see the problem here? So ye have a whole host of individuals who live off of trivial patents that simply never expire and as a consequence demand the constant searching through the patent system to pay out to some long-down-the-line descendant of an inventor? There is already some serious problems with the current setup and ye are insisting that this be expanded because ye do not see the utility of some things simply ever getting into the public domain?

What I'm saying is that A) monopolisation is to be minimised and B) we grant monopoly for the sake of utility. We don't create monopoly willy-nilly but we allow some monopoly to exist so as to allow producers the ability to recapture their costs.

Toothpaste
04-27-2015, 07:32 AM
DancingMaenid - So because you determined that you didn't want your copyright to go to your family, everyone else should do the same? I mean you could do what JM Barrie did and give the copyright of your work to someone else, an estate, a company, heck the government. I guess I don't get why others are allowed to determine where my hard work goes over me.

blacbird
04-27-2015, 07:33 AM
My view is that copyright protection should extend throughout an author's lifetime, and for some reasonable period beyond. It's determining that latter provision that causes angst.

But I don't think that determination should be made to protect publishers.

caw

Debeucci
04-27-2015, 08:13 AM
So ye do not see the complication that would occur from that. The great-great-great grandchild of the man who invented the flat-head screw earning licensing fees from the manufacturers of screws for. . . what service again?

Do ye not see the problem here? So ye have a whole host of individuals who live off of trivial patents that simply never expire and as a consequence demand the constant searching through the patent system to pay out to some long-down-the-line descendant of an inventor? There is already some serious problems with the current setup and ye are insisting that this be expanded because ye do not see the utility of some things simply ever getting into the public domain?

What I'm saying is that A) monopolisation is to be minimised and B) we grant monopoly for the sake of utility. We don't create monopoly willy-nilly but we allow some monopoly to exist so as to allow producers the ability to recapture their costs.


I think the entire patent system needs a huge overhaul. I also think a flat screwdriver is different from a novel or a painting or a song which is very specific. Just like I don't think Tokien's estate could sue Terry Brooks.

aruna
04-27-2015, 08:31 AM
Good point - that's not the best example. What about film versions of Romeo and Juliet, thought? Should Shakespeare's heirs (who must number in the thousands by now) by able to keep Zeffirelli or Luhrman from making their movie versions? What about the Prokofiev ballet? Is there any point at which copyright should expire?


The point where the creator does not actually know the descendants. I'm happy for it to stop with grandchildren.


I just really don't see my work as property that can be passed down. It's creative expression, not something that can be inherited.

I think my feeling are largely influenced by the fact that I write stuff that I would not want to share with most of my family, anyway. For example, one of my primary genres is erotica. My family doesn't even know that I write it. I also write a lot of LGBT fiction.

Now, I hope to live a long life. Maybe when I die, I will have a partner who supports my work.

But if I died right now, I would not want my mother to take control of my explicit erotica. Or for my homophobic, anti-porn extended family to have any say in what happens to my work. I don't think anything I write will be loved and cherished for ages. But nor does it have much commercial viability.

Ultimately, I see my writing as something private that I share with other people who share my interests. It was never intended for my family.

Then, leave a will stipulating who gets the royalties. Just because YOU don't want your family to know you can't dictate for everyone. Children and grandchildren are the default heirs usually. If you don't want this then you must make your own arrangements.

"Creative Expression" sounds all nice and artistic, but in the end writing is a business and royalties will be earned; so the question here is, who gets the money? If money is distasteful to you then OK; but most of us have a living to make and we don't mind earning money from doing that which we love, ie writing.

So, who gets the royalties when the writer passes away? And why should a stranger unrelated to me be earning the fruit of my hard work and years of dedication, and not my grandchildren? Or else, someone I care about? I mean, SOMEONE gets the money, assuming the books still sell so many years down the line. Why not those I most care about, or specifically choose? After all, the books would not be there if not for me. So why can't I have a say in who profits?

"Creative expression" is not some airy-fairy thing hanging in mid-dair. Creative expression is an extension of me, of who I am, my history, my experiences, my culture. Why should I not have a say in who reaps the rewards for a certain time after my death.

Xelebes
04-27-2015, 08:38 AM
I think the entire patent system needs a huge overhaul. I also think a flat screwdriver is different from a novel or a painting or a song which is very specific. Just like I don't think Tokien's estate could sue Terry Brooks.

So what is the point you were trying to make with the patent? I've always stated that a copyright should be longer than a patent.

aruna
04-27-2015, 08:43 AM
It goes back to the old saw that there are really only (I can't remember specific numbers) 8 or 10 stories to tell - everything else is a variation. The theory goes that everybody is doing a variation on common themes. Again - I'm not sure that's right, but that's the argument. Those in favor of shorter copyright aren't looking to make quick bucks on the work of others, they're trying to keep "culture" from being locked up behind walls.
?

Even if that old saw were accurate (which I never believed): the "variations" on those 8 or 10 stories are infinite, and each one original, just as each human being is completely original and different even though we all have the same basic physiology. It's like saying there are only two different types of body, therefore all women and all men are basically the same. Patently ridiculous.

Nobody else on earth could have written the novels I wrote. That might sound smug, but it's true. And what's this nonsense about locking culture behind walls? Culture is there, for all to see. Creators respect the works of others, or should. Read Myth number one in this article: (https://medium.com/@jkdegen/5-seriously-dumb-myths-about-copyright-the-media-should-stop-repeating-a92e934f12a4)

Debeucci
04-27-2015, 09:04 AM
So what is the point you were trying to make with the patent? I've always stated that a copyright should be longer than a patent.

I didn't bring up patent. You did. i was just responding to your question. I didn't even bring up expiration dates.

aruna
04-27-2015, 10:12 AM
I really don't get the entitlement attitude that says our work should be up for grabs because culture is a public good, and NOT üutting it up for grabs is locking it in. I mean, if we were living in a perfect John Lennon world where everything was free than I to would write for free and just enjoy the creative process. Until then, I want to see it protected from exploitation so I can make a living, just like any plumber or doctor.
The work would not even exist if we didn't create it; it's not like air or ocean that is just "present"!

Once!
04-27-2015, 11:03 AM
A little bit of context might help here. The UK is currently going through its closest general election in living memory. Quite possibly the closest ever.

This means that the main political parties are coming up with all sorts of populist nonsense to try to woo an increasingly cynical populace. We are almost certainly about to have another coalition Government. The Government will be formed when the smaller parties decide which of the two larger parties they will support.

Out of 650 Members of Parliament, the Green party has a grand total of ... ahem ... one. Just one MP. They can say pretty much anything in their manifesto because there is next to no chance that it will become law. Unless it's a good idea and will be picked up by one of the main parties.

This muddled copyright proposal? It has not been well thought through and it has next to no popular support. I'm not even sure that the Greens really want it. It will almost certainly disappear after 7 May.

aruna
04-27-2015, 11:15 AM
Yeah, I've beem reading up on it. The general consensus is that they admit that it is not properly worded and is a mistake, but that it cannot be changed until the next Green Party Conference.
They do seem willing to think again and get more info on the subject.
It's basically an irritation that such an idea is floating around, as it perpetuates the myths surrounding copyright. A lot of non-writer folk seem to confuse copyright with licencing right and think they are doing writers a favour by limiting the terms of cr. So it's good to get that mess cleared up, good that people are talking about it and clarifying the matter.

DancingMaenid
04-27-2015, 01:03 PM
DancingMaenid - So because you determined that you didn't want your copyright to go to your family, everyone else should do the same? I mean you could do what JM Barrie did and give the copyright of your work to someone else, an estate, a company, heck the government. I guess I don't get why others are allowed to determine where my hard work goes over me.

I've said multiple times in this thread that I support copyright for authors who want to maintain rights in that way. I think there needs to be a reasonable limit on it, but I've said several times that I understand why some people would want their estate to be able to profit from their work.

What I don't care for is the implication that wanting your family to have control over your work when you die is the only thing that makes sense and that the rest of us are "weird" for not wanting that.



Then, leave a will stipulating who gets the royalties. Just because YOU don't want your family to know you can't dictate for everyone. Children and grandchildren are the default heirs usually. If you don't want this then you must make your own arrangements.

I intend to. Like I've said multiple times in this thread, I don't begrudge other people for wanting to make arrangements in which their families will profit. But I would like it to be a little easier to make alternative arrangements.



So, who gets the royalties when the writer passes away? And why should a stranger unrelated to me be earning the fruit of my hard work and years of dedication, and not my grandchildren? Or else, someone I care about? I mean, SOMEONE gets the money, assuming the books still sell so many years down the line. Why not those I most care about, or specifically choose? After all, the books would not be there if not for me. So why can't I have a say in who profits?

I think royalties from existing publications should go to the writer's heirs. That makes the most sense. But that doesn't mean that the writer's heirs need to be the only people who have authorization to publish or distribute the work in the future.

I figure if I would make money from the publication of a story, then any money that that publication continues to make after my death should go to my estate. But if I wouldn't be profiting (as I don't profit from much of my work that I publish for free), why should anyone else?

I'm more concerned about stories that I have made freely available to the public or that I support the free distribution of. I don't want someone to suddenly restrict that because they can claim copyright in a way that I never intended as the creator.

Weirdmage
04-27-2015, 01:22 PM
I think it is all about choice. And I think the choice should belong to the creator. The easiest way to do that is to make Public Domain opt-in. That way anyone who wants their work to go out of copyright can do that. And let's make it the original creator's choice too.
An idea would be to have provisions in any copyright registration for what happens to the work. Whether that be it goes into Public Domain in 25 years, author's lifetime plus 70 years, as long as the heirs make sure it does not go out of print for longer than a set period, or forever. And the only one who can change the length of copyright would be the original creator.

I do not agree with any change of copyright law that takes power away from the original creator. And I do not see why people should be allowed to profit from a creator's work without paying the heirs a share. -And I think that is were the case for those that cite "stifling creativity" as a reason to limit copyright falls down. I haven't seen any one of them suggesting they are fine with paying a license fee for writing stories with other people's characters or worlds. They just seem to feel entitled to take it.

Albedo
04-27-2015, 02:47 PM
I think it is all about choice. And I think the choice should belong to the creator. The easiest way to do that is to make Public Domain opt-in. That way anyone who wants their work to go out of copyright can do that. And let's make it the original creator's choice too.
An idea would be to have provisions in any copyright registration for what happens to the work. Whether that be it goes into Public Domain in 25 years, author's lifetime plus 70 years, as long as the heirs make sure it does not go out of print for longer than a set period, or forever. And the only one who can change the length of copyright would be the original creator.
Forever is a long, long time.


I do not agree with any change of copyright law that takes power away from the original creator. And I do not see why people should be allowed to profit from a creator's work without paying the heirs a share.

How many generations of heir should be entitled to a share? Should it be indefinite? It was asked above, but again, should publishers of Shakespeare's works be seeking out his 21st century descendants and paying them? Because that's what eternal copyrights would mean.

aruna
04-27-2015, 02:53 PM
I think two generations after originator's death is fair.



How many generations of heir should be entitled to a share? Should it be indefinite? It was asked above, but again, should publishers of Shakespeare's works be seeking out his 21st century descendants and paying them?


IMO: no.

TheNighSwan
04-27-2015, 03:03 PM
It's worth repeating that, conceptually and legally, "intellectual property" is not analogous to physical property, it's an entirely different idea that is governed by different principles. You cannot understand the idiom "intellectual property" by breaking it down to its constituent words, it is to be taken as a whole.

Let's consider a painting. Property laws govern who owns the physical canvas, and what they're allowed or not allowed to do with it (keep it, sell it, destroy it, alter it, put as part of an inheritance).

Intellectual property laws govern who has a finacial and moral* right over the act of making copies of that painting. Nothing is "owned" here, it's an intangible priviledge granted by the legal system — it's completely independent of who actually owns the canvas, and has to do with who is allowed or not allowed to duplicate it and under which conditions.

For the house analogy to be similar, it would mean that not only your children inherit your house, but also that no one is ever allowed to build a similar house without paying money to your children.


*: I don't know how it works in the US, but at least in France, the moral right of intellectual property, unlike the financial right, is valid perpetually: this means that even when a work has fallen into the public domain, the heirs of the artist can still oppose the creation of derivative work if they feel that it betrays the spirit of the original (not that a tribunal will necessarily buy the argument, but the provision exists and has been used, sometimes with success).

Xelebes
04-27-2015, 06:39 PM
I didn't bring up patent. You did. i was just responding to your question. I didn't even bring up expiration dates.

Expiration dates has been what the whole thread is about. You asked about patents and I responded accordingly and you asked once more. So. . .

heza
04-27-2015, 07:41 PM
What I don't care for is the implication that wanting your family to have control over your work when you die is the only thing that makes sense and that the rest of us are "weird" for not wanting that.

I'm not sure anyone really thinks it's weird. We can understand your POV. I think it's an emotional reaction to what we perceive as being an unfair attitude. It's perfectly fine to want your work to go into the public domain upon your death or even earlier, and there are ways for you to do that under the current architecture. So if we get "our way," and copyright can go to grandchildren, you can still set yours up the way you want with wills or creative commons licenses, etc. But if you [the general short-copyright "you"] get "your way," then those of us who want to leave copyright to our heirs don't have any recourse. We feel having decently long copyright coupled with plenty of options for those who want to put their work into the public domain sooner is fair for both sides (at least the side who feels like you do... this still doesn't help the "stories want to be free!" side).

What would make it easier to make alternative arrangements? Maybe we should start a larger movement supporting some of that. I'm in favor of everyone having options.



How many generations of heir should be entitled to a share? Should it be indefinite? It was asked above, but again, should publishers of Shakespeare's works be seeking out his 21st century descendants and paying them? Because that's what eternal copyrights would mean.

Emotionally, I would like for the copyright to extend long enough to let the author's grandchildren profit because, like Aruna, I believe most authors would want copyright to extend to those they know and love, which would, on average, include the third generation. There are some grandparents who never get to meet their grandchildren... my grandmother has been able to watch all of her grandchildren grow into at least preteen stage and she's still very healthy, so it's conceivable she'd possibly even meet a great-great grandchild. I don't actually have a horse in this race because I don't have children, but as the world's greatest aunt, I'd like for my neices and nephew to benefit from any future sales of my work.

I do truly understand that there are a lot of valid arguments against very long copyrights, and imo, a lot of attention needs to be paid to the balance of things. As a compromise, I would say that I'd be amenable to a life+25, which, in most cases, would cover an infant child through to adulthood. But then again, this doesn't really help cases where special needs dependents need continuing support throughout their entire lives. In general, I would think it ridiculous to extend copyright to a generation of heirs who, at that point, don't really have any idea of what it's for—just that they get money from something that's legally theirs. At some point, there's an emotional disconnect between the heirs and the ancestor, and I definitely don't think copyright should outlive that.

The trouble with talking about all of this is that we all place value on different things. To some people the "greater good" is to keep as much literature in existence and free to read and adapt as much as possible to the exclusion of other concerns. For others, the need to provide for family, even after your death, is the greatest concern. And there are people all over the spectrum between the two ideas. A lot of us can mentally wiggle around in the middle of the spectrum, but it's much more difficult for those on opposing ends to understand what's driving each other.



For the house analogy to be similar, it would mean that not only your children inherit your house, but also that no one is ever allowed to build a similar house without paying money to your children.

It can, in some ways, be pretty similar.

We're inheriting property from my grandparents. I have siblings, so the property has been put in trust, and we will jointly pay taxes on it and receive a portion of the rental income on it. There are grandchildren who will then also inherit the trust, and their children will inherit the trust... this will go on, I suppose, indefinitely? That's nearly as complicated as multiple generations inheriting copyright. None of us worked or plan to work that land. In theory, it eventually should go to the family who has been leasing it this whole time, no?

Twick
04-27-2015, 08:42 PM
Personally, I'm puzzled by the idea that creative impulses will "dry up" if people can't steal someone else's work from 15 years ago. How did creative impulses continue through the 20th century under this supposed burden?

Goodness knows so few authors can make a living off writing anyway. Creating a system where, say, movie producers can simply wait out the 14 years and then announce the Major Motion Picture event based on the story seems grotesquely unfair.

aruna
04-27-2015, 08:50 PM
Funny Interesting story from Germany (http://www.spiegel.de/international/germany/a-856468.html)(where I live) which has a very strong Pirate Party which would do away with copyright altogether:

The party has stated that free-of-charge downloads should be "explicitly" supported. Julia Schramm, a member of the Pirate Party's executive committee, once even deemed the idea of intellectual property "disgusting" in a podcast.
Now, however, Schramm appears to be backtracking on her party's limited interpretation of intellectual property rights -- at least when it comes to protecting her own work.

Schramm published a book in which she railed against capitalism and yadayadayada, and got a hefty advance for it.


On Monday, the book's official release date, illegal copies could still be found circulating on the Internet. Unidentified parties uploaded a PDF version of the book to an Internet file-sharing service and then spread the link on social media platforms like Twitter and Tumblr, along with information about the Pirate Party's platform -- including its proviso that information should be free.
The publisher immediately engaged its legal department and contacted the operator of the file-sharing service. By late Monday evening, the file could no longer be accessed at the original address. Instead, visitors to the link were informed:

"This file is no longer available due to a takedown request under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act by Julia Schramm Autorin der Verlagsgruppe Random House."

The file-sharing site had removed the illegal download on behalf of the Pirate Party author.

Karma's a bitch, Frau Schramm! :)

And there's the rub. These anti-copyright people seem very happy to take what's yours. When the favour is returned.... ouch.

aruna
04-27-2015, 08:57 PM
Personally, I'm puzzled by the idea that creative impulses will "dry up" if people can't steal someone else's work from 15 years ago. How did creative impulses continue through the 20th century under this supposed burden?

Goodness knows so few authors can make a living off writing anyway. Creating a system where, say, movie producers can simply wait out the 14 years and then announce the Major Motion Picture event based on the story seems grotesquely unfair.

That's what I really don't get. Why is an author creating a story any different from a carpenter creating a chair, apart from the method of distribution? You wouldn't go into a furniture shop and just grab what you want. Why should you be able to grab an author's hard work, sometimes hard work over decades? Why do people think this is anything but stealing?

I am all for a compromise, as outlined by heza above, where everyone gets what they want: authors who want to pass on copyright, those who don't, as well as a law for orphaned work where the creator of a work cannot be found. If you can prove you have make every effort and received no reply, then yes, you should be able to use the work.

But I still don't see why those who want to use the work of others, should be favoured above those who created the work in the first place. I don't get why they can't try harder to create their own. :Shrug:

heza
04-27-2015, 09:03 PM
And there's the rub. These anti-copyright people seem very happy to take what's yours. When the favour is returned.... ouch.

Keep in mind, though, that some authors can't necessarily act in accordance with their own conscience when they're bound to a publishing contract. Protecting the copyright might have been a legal obligation.


What's more, as much as my personal sense of justice wants to condemn these people, intellectually, I understand why they protect their copyrights. It's the way the world is. Wanting the world to be different and trying to function as if the world were different when it's not aren't necessarily simpatico states. I don't totally think that copyright is an area where you can lead by example while the rest of the world is staunchly hanging onto intellectual property until appropriate provisions are made to protect interests or until the world becomes less commercial in general.

I think it might be a Catch 22 sort of situation.

heza
04-27-2015, 09:27 PM
But I still don't see why those who want to use the work of others, should be favoured above those who created the work in the first place. I don't get why they can't try harder to create their own. :Shrug:

I think this is the crux of why this is so difficult to discuss. I'm always faced with the question of, "How would you feel about it if Shakespeare was still under copyright and none of the Shakespeare retellings had been made?"

And all I've really got is: :Shrug:


It's hard to say. West Side Story still could have been created under the current system. And if it hadn't been, I wouldn't have known what I was missing, anyway. And who's to say that the creator wouldn't have made something else equally as important in its place—that we're not missing out on something even more significant because the creator was focused on this derivative work?

Clueless was basically a retelling of Emma, right? I enjoyed watching the film; I enjoyed it being a retelling. That said, I could probably have gone without watching it if its creation had meant someone was going to be out money I felt was owed them. So do I need the derivative work? A lot of it could still legally be made. There is an endlessness of stories in the world that I'm not going to get to read/watch in my lifetime. I just don't understand why we're so concerned when there's such variety out there.

And, frankly, I'm not sure I feel like every story that can be told really needs to be told.

I've never felt like my desire to use a copyrighted/trademarked thing is so great that it should trump all else. It's just never occurred to me, so it's difficult to understand where that mindset comes from. I'm not even sure why Disney should give up Mickey Mouse. I don't really understand what the world so desperately wants to do with Mickey Mouse.

What I would like is to see the definition of Fair Use expanded/better defined/something and penalties imposed for frivolous suites. I'd like an easier way of knowing pretty well what would and wouldn't be fair use and for people to be discouraged from making baseless lawsuits. I'd like that in general for all lawsuits, though.

Amadan
04-27-2015, 09:35 PM
That's what I really don't get. Why is an author creating a story any different from a carpenter creating a chair, apart from the method of distribution? You wouldn't go into a furniture shop and just grab what you want. Why should you be able to grab an author's hard work, sometimes hard work over decades? Why do people think this is anything but stealing?

A chair is a physical object. If you sell it, that person owns it, and can resell it. There are limited instances of it in the world, and you can't sue someone for making a chair that looks too much like your chair.

IP and physical property are both forms of property, but they are not the same thing.

heza
04-27-2015, 10:13 PM
That's what I really don't get. Why is an author creating a story any different from a carpenter creating a chair, apart from the method of distribution? You wouldn't go into a furniture shop and just grab what you want. Why should you be able to grab an author's hard work, sometimes hard work over decades? Why do people think this is anything but stealing?

Furthermore, the way investment is recouped is different between the two. All effort/materials/marketing is recouped at a single point of sale for the chair. For a book, the investment is recouped over many sales.

aruna
04-27-2015, 10:29 PM
IP and physical property are both forms of property, but they are not the same thing.

I KNOW they are different things! Please don't insult me by stating the obvious!

Yet still, they are both creations; they came from the mind/!hands of a creator. Without that creator, neither would exist. That one is physical and one consists of words in a certain order should make no difference whatsoever to the fact that a human being is responsible for their very existence, and both creators should have a right to adequate renumeration.

All jobs we humans do, all professions, have a different expression and are remunerated in different ways. A service, an object, a collection of words: why should the first two be worthy of payment, the third not?

Amadan
04-27-2015, 10:38 PM
I KNOW they are different things! Please don't insult me by stating the obvious!

Yet still, they are both creations; they came from the mind/!hands of a creator. Without that creator, neither would exist. That one is physical and one consists of words in a certain order should make no difference whatsoever to the fact that a human being is responsible for their very existence, and both have a right of adequate renumeration.

All jobs we humans do, all professions, have a different expression and are remunerated in different ways. A service, an object, a collection of words: why should the first two be worthy of payment, the third not?


Who said it's not worthy of payment? No one said authors should not be paid for their work.

I, personally, believe copyright should end at the creator's death, or maybe some small period after that, to account for heirs who haven't been adequately provided for in the event of someone's untimely death. But I really wouldn't be bothered by copyright ending at, say, 50 years post-publication, even if that is within the author's lifetime.

Twick
04-27-2015, 11:23 PM
Who is to say that Shakespeare today wouldn't still have written Hamlet, but that some other poor writer might have been paid some cash for the rights?

Xelebes
04-27-2015, 11:24 PM
Who is to say that Shakespeare today wouldn't still have written Hamlet, but that some other poor writer might have been paid some cash for the rights?

Wait, what's the question?

Brutal Mustang
04-27-2015, 11:29 PM
One thing that must be considered is children and grandchildren often play a role in the creation of art. Maybe they inspired it, supported it, put up with it, or downright contributed to its creation. Maybe a kid mowed the lawn often, or made dinners, or gave up outings so Mom or Dad could spend more time clacking around on the keyboard.

My mom wrote a song, and is a member of ASCAP. The whole family had to put up with the horror of songwriting (it is horrible, hearing the same thing being played over, and over, and over, and we weren't rich, so her going someplace private with her guitar wasn't an option).

With my writing, my younger sister has suggested names or ideas for me. If I croak, she should get something.

aruna
04-27-2015, 11:41 PM
One thing that must be considered is children and grandchildren often play a role in the creation of art. Maybe they inspired it, supported it, put up with it, or downright contributed to its creation. Maybe a kid mowed the lawn often, or made dinners, or gave up outings so Mom or Dad could spend more time clacking around on the keyboard.

.

My children absolutely did. I wouldn't have started writing were it not for certain financial needs my family had. And as I said before: my books are sort of heirlooms. My kids grew up in Europe, and I write about Guyana partly to let them know about their cultural background, where I came from, to help them develop a connection and a love for Guyana, that half of their ancestry. They have always motivated me, and they are very involved and proud of my writing. They know it financed their education, and their move to the UK in the early 2000's. Their loves are built from my books.

I don't think I would have written at all or worked so hard were it not for the needs we had. I remember writing through cold winters in Germany, in a house without heating, wearing coat and hat and gloves, just to get us out of that situation. And it worked.

It really does need to be choice. I don't mind you putting your works into the public domain. Why do you mind me passing my copyright to my children? Why would you want to stop me? Why? I honestly don't get it.

Weirdmage
04-27-2015, 11:46 PM
How many generations of heir should be entitled to a share? Should it be indefinite? It was asked above, but again, should publishers of Shakespeare's works be seeking out his 21st century descendants and paying them? Because that's what eternal copyrights would mean.

I think it should be as long as any other property rights.
And I ask all the time why it shouldn't be. So, please explain why intelectual property should be singled out as a right to something you create that expires. (As opposed to having a block of flats built for instance.)

MaryMumsy
04-27-2015, 11:48 PM
From TheNighSwan:

"Let's consider a painting. Property laws govern who owns the physical canvas, and what they're allowed or not allowed to do with it (keep it, sell it, destroy it, alter it, put as part of an inheritance)."

In the US at least, for more recent works, ownership of the original is not the be-all/end-all. I know several artists. Even if they sell the original, they retain the rights to produce and sell prints/postcards/refrigerator magnets or whatever.

It is a totally different matter than written material.

MM

Amadan
04-27-2015, 11:52 PM
It really does need to be choice. I don't mind you putting your works into the public domain. Why do you mind me passing my copyright to my children? Why would you want to stop me? Why? I honestly don't get it.


Society benefits from intellectual productivity passing into the public domain. We can argue over whether the proper time frame is your lifetime, your children's lifetime, or your grandchildren's lifetime, but if we do not agree on that basic point, then it's an unbridgeable philosophical difference.

heza
04-27-2015, 11:54 PM
Society benefits from intellectual productivity passing into the public domain. We can argue over whether the proper time frame is your lifetime, your children's lifetime, or your grandchildren's lifetime, but if we do not agree on that basic point, then it's an unbridgeable philosophical difference.

Maybe we should discuss the whys of this part. I mean, that's the only way to start bridging the gap.

Brutal Mustang
04-28-2015, 12:04 AM
I don't think I would have written at all or worked so hard were it not for the needs we had.

Same here. I'm an artist, and I sculpt and paint to eat. In fact, when needs are pressing, I sit down in my studio, and ask myself, What can I make that's so spectacular, my buyers will start an offer war over it?

Oh, and some of my paintings are on print-on-demand sites. Which means every time someone orders a poster, or a coffee mug, or whatever with my art on it, I get $0.40 to $7.00. So yeah, copyright is important to me! And my family (sister and parents) has put up with me being an artist, so they deserve to benefit from it if I die.

DancingMaenid
04-28-2015, 12:41 AM
I think it should be as long as any other property rights.
And I ask all the time why it shouldn't be. So, please explain why intelectual property should be singled out as a right to something you create that expires. (As opposed to having a block of flats built for instance.)

Well, the primary difference is that with real estate and tangible property such as, for example, a car, only one person can own or use the property at any given time. That's an oversimplification since sometimes property is owned by multiple people, but still, it's not like you can create multiple copies of a house to distribute among the various owners.

Intellectual property can usually be copied indefinitely, and if something is in the public domain, pretty much anyone can profit from it. Including the author's heirs.

heza
04-28-2015, 12:59 AM
...pretty much anyone can profit from it. Including the author's heirs.

I still don't think heirs have any way of competing with corporations.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 01:10 AM
I still don't think heirs have any way of competing with corporations.

What do you mean by that?

DancingMaenid
04-28-2015, 01:43 AM
I still don't think heirs have any way of competing with corporations.

No, but I think that becomes less of an issue the more that time goes by. Classic literature often has editions put out by several different publishers at any given time, and at that point the main value that the big publishers bring is in having good footnotes or good translations. I've picked up books before because the translator was a particularly good one, or the editor was a scholar I respected. At that point, you're paying for that person's work as much as you're paying for the original author's writing.

Albedo
04-28-2015, 02:25 AM
I think it should be as long as any other property rights.
And I ask all the time why it shouldn't be. So, please explain why intelectual property should be singled out as a right to something you create that expires. (As opposed to having a block of flats built for instance.)
Pharmaceutical patents for example. It should hopefully be clear why it would be a bad idea if the patent on (say) aspirin lasted forever.

aruna
04-28-2015, 07:54 AM
Maybe we should discuss the whys of this part. I mean, that's the only way to start bridging the gap.

That's what I want to know myself. WHY does society benefit from a work being in the public domain? What is the benefit?

In a link I posted earlier, it was stated that The Little Prince passed into the public domain this January, but is still under copyright in France. What is the huge difference for the public between last year, when it was under copyright, and this year, when it is in the public domain? What great damage is the French public suffering for it being NOT in the public domain there? Did anyone even notice some huge difference between it being in or out of the public domain?

Honestly, the only "benefit" I can see is the one given to corporations, who can now get their hot little hands on it for free.

This whole "benefit" to society to me is a croc. Nobody cares about my work right now except me and my family. When my books went out of print, nobody cared except me. Nobody struggled to bring them back into circulation, except me. Nobody rooted for them or worked hard to see them once more accessible -- except me.

Had they been in the public domain they would have died a quiet death.

Instead, I have made them (well, one of them, and the others will follow) again accessible to the public. Got them republished. Made them public.

It seems to me that them being under copyright was of more benefit to society than had they been in the public domain, and dead.

Society benefits from intellectual productivity passing into the public domain.

So I do not at all agree with this basic point. It all depends. In most cases, I would think, the copyright holders do far more to keep less well-known works alive than this elusive "public domain". And there must be some way to protect the copyright holders and their heirs from would-be profiteers.

aruna
04-28-2015, 08:27 AM
What do you mean by that?

I can't speak for heza but if heza self-publishes his/her book at the same time as Penguin Random House, guess who will profit the most. I assume this is what is meant.
Or, if heza wanted to make a movie of his/her book. Probably doesn't have the resources a big studio would have.

TheNighSwan
04-28-2015, 01:52 PM
I gave an example: if it wasn't for public domain, Baudelaire's poetry would have remained unknown from the public.

Weirdmage
04-28-2015, 01:57 PM
Well, the primary difference is that with real estate and tangible property such as, for example, a car, only one person can own or use the property at any given time. That's an oversimplification since sometimes property is owned by multiple people, but still, it's not like you can create multiple copies of a house to distribute among the various owners.

Intellectual property can usually be copied indefinitely, and if something is in the public domain, pretty much anyone can profit from it. Including the author's heirs.

Again, why should it expire? Why should your great-grandchildren be able to collect leases on a block of flats you paid to have builtand not royalties on the book you wrote?

Weirdmage
04-28-2015, 02:01 PM
Pharmaceutical patents for example. It should hopefully be clear why it would be a bad idea if the patent on (say) aspirin lasted forever.

Pharmaceutical patents are completely different to works of fiction. I am talking about works of fiction. Not patents, not trademarks, not textbooks, not even popular works of non-fiction, but works of FICTION.

Weirdmage
04-28-2015, 02:13 PM
I gave an example: if it wasn't for public domain, Baudelaire's poetry would have remained unknown from the public.

We can't know that. We do not have access to a paralell dimension that is the exact same as ours except there is no public domain.
Besides...Baudelaire died in 1867, the first copyright convention dates from 1886. It would be nice to have any examples of more recent writers/works.

Another thing we do not know of course is how many works were never written in earlier times because a lack of copyright made it a waste of time for the person who had the idea.
Nor do we know if some works "disappeared" for a time because publishers were waiting for copyright to expire before getting them printed.

What we do know however is that with easy access to electronic self-publishing no work will disappear unless the copyright holder wants it to. And if anything has been printed at some point the internet makes it pretty certain that you can get hold of a copy.
I find it telling that those who want to limit copyright/extend public domain usually use examples that pre-dates 1900. Times have moved on a lot since then, so perhaps we should focus on the present and not the past.

aruna
04-28-2015, 02:17 PM
I don't think anyone has ever suggested here that there shouldn't be a public domain.
The question is who does more for a work at which stage in its lifetime. I'm convinced that as long as the originator and his/her direct descendents are alive, they are the ones who do the most for it, prevent it form slipping into oblivion. No doubt there are multiple brilliant works of literaturer that were lost throughout history simply because there was nobody rooting for them. Whether they were in the public domain or not: it's the personal investment in such works that keeps them alive. Owning the copyright helps that to happen.

And as in the example of that German Pirate Party member I quoted above: I suspect there's a lot of hypocrisy involved. If you want things to be in the public domain only so you can adapt and mix, that is hypocrisy.

On one of the recent discussions (I think Passive Voice) a woman was whingeing that she was a songwriter but didn't write her own songs, she just took poems and set them to music, and she couldn't get hold of the copyright holders sometimes or they didn't reply and how awful and really hard blablah. My suggestion to her would be to take a course in songwriting/poetry writing and write her own songs from scratch. It's just hypocrisy, as I'm sure she doesn't write for free. Again I ask: why should the desires of such people be put above those of original creators? The entitlement is mindboggling

Amadan
04-28-2015, 03:27 PM
We can't know that. We do not have access to a paralell dimension that is the exact same as ours except there is no public domain.
Besides...Baudelaire died in 1867, the first copyright convention dates from 1886. It would be nice to have any examples of more recent writers/works.

H.P. Lovecraft.

Amadan
04-28-2015, 03:30 PM
I don't think anyone has ever suggested here that there shouldn't be a public domain.
The question is who does more for a work at which stage in its lifetime. I'm convinced that as long as the originator and his/her direct descendents are alive, they are the ones who do the most for it, prevent it form slipping into oblivion.

Sometimes. Sometimes they are just collecting royalty checks.

If we agree public domain should exist, then you agree there is value to works passing into the public domain. Therefore, we are simply disagreeing over when that should happen. You apparently think it should not happen until after the creator's grandchildren have passed away. I'd be more inclined to limit it to 50 years. I would not be distressed to limit it further. I would probably accept a compromise that puts the date further back. I do not at all agree with the current limit of death+70, especially since we know there will be pressure to continue extending that.

TheNighSwan
04-28-2015, 03:44 PM
Weirdmage > saying "we can't know if" doesn't bring anything to the argument: it's true both ways. Whereas there is positive evidence of work becoming famous by being released into the public domain, and inversely of works being near impossible to find because the copyright holder is sitting on them (for instance, we know there is a huge quantity of unpublished documents written by Tolkien about Middle Earth and other things, that the Tolkien Estate is only releasing at snail pace, for no good reason).

As for the heirs being the best promoters of their ancestor's work… when the Marquis de Sade died, his son promptly burned all of his work, including at least one unreleased novel.

TheNighSwan
04-28-2015, 03:51 PM
Also: perpetual copyright would mean that when the copyright owner is not known (which happens surprisingly often), a work would become effectively illegal to publish under any circumstances. That would pretty much make any book older than a couple centuries vanish from libraries.

aruna
04-28-2015, 04:08 PM
I would not be distressed to limit it further. I would probably accept a compromise that puts the date further back. I do not at all agree with the current limit of death+70, especially since we know there will be pressure to continue extending that.

But why do you care? Why should it matter to you? Why shouldn't authors themselves decide, seeing as wihtout them the work wóuld not even exist? Why does it all have to be so -- rigid? WHy do people who don't give a damn about my (again, with "my" I mean any random author) work, have never read it, have no intention of ever reading it, get to place it in public domain, against my own wishes?


You speak of "accepting" a compromise -- why should your "acceptance", or lack thereof, be in any way relevant? If you have kids and grandkids and don't want them to have your copyright why can't you make a will? If you don't have any, why should you obsess about any one else's copyright? How does it in any way affect you?

aruna
04-28-2015, 04:10 PM
Also: perpetual copyright would mean that when the copyright owner is not known (which happens surprisingly often), a work would become effectively illegal to publish under any circumstances. That would pretty much make any book older than a couple centuries vanish from libraries.

Not a single person has mentioned perpetual copyright.
There are already laws dealing with "orphaned work". I mentioned this above.

Albedo
04-28-2015, 04:38 PM
Pharmaceutical patents are completely different to works of fiction. I am talking about works of fiction. Not patents, not trademarks, not textbooks, not even popular works of non-fiction, but works of FICTION.
You didn't mention fiction in the post I was replying to. You asked about intellectual property, and I gave you an example of where it would be a bad idea for intellectual property rights to last forever.

As for patents being 'completely different' to copyrights, when they're both forms of IP, I think that's for you to demonstrate. I remain unconvinced.

Amadan
04-28-2015, 05:03 PM
But why do you care? Why should it matter to you? Why shouldn't authors themselves decide, seeing as wihtout them the work wóuld not even exist?

Because I believe society benefits from working passing into the public domain.

I believe this benefit is greater than the benefit of authors holding copyright for an excessively long time period.

"Excessive," and measuring the relative benefits, will of course be somewhat subjective judgments.


Why does it all have to be so -- rigid?

I am not being rigid. If we agree there should be a limit on the lifetime of copyrights, we are simply disputing how long it should be. If we don't agree, then you are indeed advocating perpetual copyright.



WHy do people who don't give a damn about my (again, with "my" I mean any random author) work, have never read it, have no intention of ever reading it, get to place it in public domain, against my own wishes?

This is not exclusively about you and your work. It is about the net effect of copyrights on all creative work, some of which will be notable, some of which will be forgotten.

aruna
04-28-2015, 05:49 PM
This is not exclusively about you and your work.

I know. That's why I wrote the following, in my last post: (again, with "my" I mean any random author). I speak for all authors. I want them all to have a choice.

As a matter if fact, I too have in the past been "disadvantaged" by copyright. When I published my version of the Mahabharata, I wanted a certain artwork on the cover, by an Indian artist. I knew his name; but all I had of him was a calendar which I had been given in the year 1973. In 2012 I had no idea if he were alive, where he lived; I had no idea about him at all! I just knew i wanted that image for my cover design. And this was in India -- a country of hundreds of millions, the vast majority of whom have no online presence. A chaotic, crazy country where it's a miracle that anything at all works. So, looking for a single artist in that mess was like the proverbial needle in a haystack.

But never once did I grumble about copyright. Never once did I think he (or his heirs) should not have it. I respected his right to his picture and to having a say whether or not I could use, and to an adequate remuneration.

But I was determined to find him. And in the end, via google and a university professor in the US who collected Indian calendar art, I discovered that he had died a long time ago but that he had a son who was a jeweler in South India. I even got the son's address! And my own son happened to be in India at the time so I sent him by taxi (several hours journey) to the copyright holder's village, and got the permission signed, and he didn't even want money for it.

The moral of this story that I respected the artist and his son and their copyright. And I actually enjoyed the research and the effort it took to find the son -- it makes a good story! And now that art -- I don't know if the original still exists -- is now back in circulation, on the cover of a book, even though it is not yet in the public domain.

So, I think the whole thing is just not worth stressing about. Most books written today might still be available 50 years from now. Perhaps my own will be earning enough for a coffee each month, or less.

Or perhaps, 30 years after my death, Hollywood (or its equivalent in those far off times!) will suddenly decide that one of my books is the Greatest! Thing! Ever! and want to make a movie. Huzzah! I would love it if that happened, and all the blood sweat and tears spent on it came to fruition! I would love it even more if my granddaughter, now five years old, were to reap the rewards of that blood sweat and tears! And everybody would profit: society, and my granddaughter! What's there to grumble about -- a win-win situation!

Amadan
04-28-2015, 05:55 PM
On the other hand, if you had been unable to find that artist's heir, his art could never have been used again (or else it could only be used - technically - without authorization).

Extend the argument further - why should Charles Dickens's great-great-great grandchildren not be making money from all adaptations of his books? Why should Jane Austen's heirs not get money from "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies"?

With longer copyrights, HP Lovecraft's mythos would not be nearly the cultural phenomenon it is. All those movies, derivative novels, and games based on his work would be unavailable.

Either there should be a limit or there shouldn't. If there should be a limit, we disagree on when.

I don't think your grandchild is necessarily entitled to all the money a hypothetical movie based on your book makes 50 years after your death. Sorry that you don't agree.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 06:25 PM
Another example is the Great Canadian Songbook is soon to start opening up (works produced under the MAPL rules) for them to start becoming a tradition. Yes, we have Le Papillon already in the public domain but Canadian songs written after 1969 are the first among many songs to have been written by Canadians that have broad distribution. So in 2019, Born to Be Wild, Bird on the Wire and Mille Apres Mille become public domain and become available to be part of the singing tradition.

aruna
04-28-2015, 07:29 PM
On the other hand, if you had been unable to find that artist's heir, his art could never have been used again (or else it could only be used - technically - without authorization)..

I had a plan. If I had not found him I would have invoked the "orphaned works" law, which I understand is very important in India. I carefully collected date of all my searches, emails etc. And if I had met with defeat, I would have accepted it. I never once had the feeling that I had the right to the art.



Extend the argument further - why should Charles Dickens's great-great-great grandchildren not be making money from all adaptations of his books? Why should Jane Austen's heirs not get money from "Pride & Prejudice & Zombies"?


Several times I've spoken out here for a cut off after the third generation, ie after grandchildren, whom the author is likely to know and love.


I don't think your grandchild is necessarily entitled to all the money a hypothetical movie based on your book makes 50 years after your death. Sorry that you don't agree

You don't have to agree. But with the current copyright law it would happen, and I'm glad. I'd be very happy for my descendents to reap rewards I always hoped for, and worked towards, but never reaped in my lifetime. It's a kind of karmatic justice! A balancing out of efforts made in vain! :) (And it wouldn't be "all the money". It would be a share; the real profit would of course go to the studio! So you support the hypothetical studio? Capitalist Schwein! ;)

aruna
04-28-2015, 07:34 PM
Another example is the Great Canadian Songbook is soon to start opening up (works produced under the MAPL rules) for them to start becoming a tradition. Yes, we have Le Papillon already in the public domain but Canadian songs written after 1969 are the first among many songs to have been written by Canadians that have broad distribution. So in 2019, Born to Be Wild, Bird on the Wire and Mille Apres Mille become public domain and become available to be part of the singing tradition.

I don't know about these songs but what makes you think that works under copyright are not available or accessible???
Most of them are both.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 07:45 PM
I don't know about these songs but what makes you think that works under copyright are not available or accessible???
Most of them are both.

On one hand, they are available to be purchased. That's the problem though. A lot of music is now in the public domain, mostly classical music, folk ballads and nursery rhymes and they continue to have a life as something that is practiced and not something that is bought and then limits placed on what you bought. There is licensing fees on music you bought you have to be mindful of if you intend to perform the music, especially when it comes to recording your own version of it and so forth.

aruna
04-28-2015, 08:05 PM
Sorry, I know next to nothing about the music industry and can't offer any opinion on that.

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 08:29 PM
WHY does society benefit from a work being in the public domain? What is the benefit?



I still haven't seen an answer to this question, which I think is extremely relevant to the discussion.

I certainly see the value in having historical works in public domain. As others have noted, it would be a shame to lose great works because someone sat on the rights indefinitely.

However, I think the important part of the term "Public Domain" is the word "Public." Everyone (the public) should be able to access and read classic works.

Let's say the 14-year copyright dropoff was implemented. Who would benefit from such a limitation? As a general rule, the public can already access those works free of charge via the library. Would their reading experience drastically change because the copyright status changed? Personally, I don't see that it would.

So who would benefit from the change?

- Other artists who want free rein to play in someone else's creation and pass it off as part of the original body of work, whether the author likes it or not?

- Film studios who don't want to pay the creators of the content they depict?

- Agenda-driven types who want to "correct" the source material and release an "improved" version without so much as including a statement that what they've released has been altered? (i.e. the "Slave Jim" controversy in Huckleberry Finn. I've often wondered how Mark Twain would feel about having his works altered, yet still attributed wholly to him. I was in the situation once of being asked to write something, which was then changed beyond recognition and made, frankly, awful. I had them leave my name off the final product and will not write for them again).

In other words, it would benefit not the public, but the competition. Any artist worth their salt should be able to create their own, original works, or, if they prefer to work within an existing framework, there's plenty of public domain material available to them, a resource that grows larger every day.

They're impatient to play in the newer world, the one that someone else just created? I don't see that such impatience is reason enough to force the artist to share, any more than I think the people inhabiting the nice houses next to the park should be forced to open their yards up for public use simply because they look to me like the perfect spot for a picnic. After all, it's close to the park, which makes it practically part of the park anyway, right?

Perhaps there's something I'm missing, though, some widespread problem wherein the public is regularly denied access to reading material specifically because that material is under copyright. I've heard the Tolkien example, so that's one. Is this a common issue? Common enough to justify a drastic change in copyright laws?

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 08:32 PM
Notice that no one here is advocating for the 14 year limit, so I think that is a bit of a strawman to suggest that people opposed to very long copyrights to begin the argument supposing that we may be even supporting the 14 year limit.

That said, what is being brought up is the non-rivalrous nature of (the monopoly granted with) copyright, especially after the one who made the work under the copyright has passed away and is no longer reliant on the right to provide a living for themselves on it. The purpose of a copyright is to enable the author to make a living off of their work, first and foremost. The thought of heirs is not the prime focus for the purpose of a copyright. We grant an extension of copyright for those who were unable to provide for their children due to premature deaths. Using a fixed date, like 50 years allows an author to use his corpus to support himself for a career while allowing the children to receive money for what should have been a career if the author does not make it.

The reason why this ends? Because it is a monopoly it is enforcing and it is in the government's interest to minimise the control of monopolies on our daily living.

heza
04-28-2015, 08:35 PM
I can't speak for heza but if heza self-publishes his/her book at the same time as Penguin Random House, guess who will profit the most. I assume this is what is meant.
Or, if heza wanted to make a movie of his/her book. Probably doesn't have the resources a big studio would have.

Sorry, yes, this is what I was getting at. I posted about it in more detail earlier in the thread. Thanks for tackling it Aruna; I had a busy night last night.

Basically, if you are publishing your backlist and one of the big publishers is publishing your backlist, they're going to do it better and they're going to be able to sell cheaper. They're going to have the distribution channels to get their version into bookstores, but you won't. If Hollywood makes a big blockbuster based on your book, not only will you not get any money from that, if anyone is going to negotiate to put out a new movie tie-in edition of the book, it's going to be the big publisher, not you.

So basically, you can feel free to not care whether or not the author is making any money at all. That's fine if that's how you feel. Some would say that if the publisher can do it better, then they deserve the money more.

What I don't like is the argument being thrown up there as evidence for why it's fine that author lose their copyrights earlier because even if everyone else is selling their book, they can also sell their book. They'll be fine! They won't, actually. If it's a book anyone cares about, the big boys will make the money, and the author or heirs will make squat.


...for instance, we know there is a huge quantity of unpublished documents written by Tolkien about Middle Earth and other things, that the Tolkien Estate is only releasing at snail pace, for no good reason...

Does that have anything to do with copyright, though? I have to admit not being very informed on the Tolkien thing, but since they've never been published, copyright doesn't even apply yet. And if they've never been published, wouldn't you have to break in and steal them in order to publish them? Or are these works that have been published before but the estate is restricting them now?

I'm grateful for examples, but I want to make sure they're actually relevant to the problem and not a one-off special circumstance.

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 08:39 PM
Notice that no one here is advocating for the 14 year limit, so I think that is a bit of a strawman to suggest that people opposed to very long copyrights to begin the argument supposing that we may be even supporting the 14 year limit.

Fair enough, but the statements are still valid. Seeing as the existing copyright timeframe (which I think is actually a pretty good balance of protecting both the author's and the public's long-term interests) is too long for your taste, exactly what time frame would you propose? After the period of your choosing, what is the added benefit to the public that they don't enjoy under the current system?

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 08:45 PM
Fair enough, but the statements are still valid. Seeing as the existing copyright timeframe (which I think is actually a pretty good balance of protecting both the author's and the public's interests) is too long for your taste, exactly what time frame would you propose? After the period of your choosing, what is the added benefit to the public that they don't enjoy under the current system?

In Canada, that is 50 years. I feel 50 years is fairly representative of the career of an author. I don't think it should go much shorter nor would I mind slight extensions (56 years is not bad.) When you start talking about anything over 70 years, it gets me asking who is benefiting from that? It's likely not the author.

heza
04-28-2015, 08:53 PM
In Canada, that is 50 years. I feel 50 years is fairly representative of the career of an author. I don't think it should go much shorter nor would I mind slight extensions (56 years is not bad.) When you start talking about anything over 70 years, it gets me asking who is benefiting from that? It's likely not the author.

Even if the author is still alive?

I'm not in favor of anything that cuts into copyright during the lifetime of the author. I really do feel, on just a moral and philosophical level that I can't really prove or argue except to say Fair is Fair, that if anyone is making money on the back of the author, the author should see some compensation.

All the compromises, for me, come into play after the death of the author. I still want some portion of heir support, so while I actually am happy with life+70, I'd take life+25.

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 09:01 PM
In Canada, that is 50 years. I feel 50 years is fairly representative of the career of an author. I don't think it should go much shorter nor would I mind slight extensions (56 years is not bad.) When you start talking about anything over 70 years, it gets me asking who is benefiting from that? It's likely not the author.

Harper Lee's at 55 years with To Kill a Mockingbird and still writing, but that's within the extension to 56 years you mentioned, so we'll set that aside for the time being.

Basically, then, your issue is less with copyright per se and more with the idea of inheritance, right? So let's use the end of an author's life as the cutoff.

Why is the public more entitled to a author's body of work than his/her children (or other designated heir, depending on the will)? How exactly would the public benefit from having said work pass into public domain immediately upon the death of the author?

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 09:03 PM
Even if the author is still alive?

I'm not in favor of anything that cuts into copyright during the lifetime of the author. I really do feel, on just a moral and philosophical level that I can't really prove or argue except to say Fair is Fair, that if anyone is making money on the back of the author, the author should see some compensation.

All the compromises, for me, come into play after the death of the author. I still want some portion of heir support, so while I actually am happy with life+70, I'd take life+25.

Notice I said career not life. The copyright should represent the career of the author, not the life of the author.

Amadan
04-28-2015, 09:08 PM
Harper Lee's at 55 years with To Kill a Mockingbird and still writing, but that's within the extension to 56 years you mentioned, so we'll set that aside for the time being.

Basically, then, your issue is less with copyright per se and more with the idea of inheritance, right? So let's use the end of an author's life as the cutoff.

Why is the public more entitled to a author's body of work than his/her children (or other designated heir, depending on the will)? How exactly would the public benefit from having said work pass into public domain immediately upon the death of the author?


Do you think the public has benefited from older bodies of work passing into the public domain?

Harper Lee has made her money on To Kill A Mockingbird. And it's now very much part of our cultural landscape.

Let's say a movie studio wants to make another movie based on her book, but doesn't want to pay her a lot of money for the rights. So the movie does not get made. Other than some emotional sense that it's "unfair," how would she be harmed by a movie being made, and not generating income for her, that wouldn't otherwise be made?

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 09:09 PM
Notice I said career not life. The copyright should represent the career of the author, not the life of the author.

Wow, that's harsh. You're basically saying that if an author lived a long time, they wouldn't have any right to benefit from their own work when they may be to too old to support themselves by other means?

"Happy 83rd birthday Grandpa. BTW, your last copyright just ran out. Hope you've been saving your money because that was your last source of income."

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 09:12 PM
Do you think the public has benefited from older bodies of work passing into the public domain?



Absolutely, but not to the detriment of the creators and/or their immediate heirs.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 09:13 PM
Basically, then, your issue is less with copyright per se and more with the idea of inheritance, right? So let's use the end of an author's life as the cutoff.

My issue with copyright is that it is a monopoly granted by the government to a claim by the author. The monopoly should at some point come to an end because monopolies are arbitrary, exclusive, and ultimately rent-seeking. The time given with a copyright should represent the cost to recoup the costs of the production of said work. Giving heirs the copyright when they have put no money or resources into the enforcement copyright is an example of rent-seeking. I don't mind if it is being used to recover the costs from the parents over their shortened career, but just giving them an extension on some tired copyright that they put no effort into isn't helping anyone.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 09:15 PM
Wow, that's harsh. You're basically saying that if an author lived a long time, they wouldn't have any right to benefit from their own work when they may be to too old to support themselves by other means?

"Happy 83rd birthday Grandpa. BTW, your last copyright just ran out. Hope you've been saving your money because that was your last source of income."

Yes. Just as with patents. Copyrights expire. Leonard Cohen will lose his copyright on Suzanne in 2017 (but his recordings will be copyrighted until at least 2037.)

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 09:21 PM
Giving heirs the copyright when they have put no money or resources into the enforcement copyright is an example of rent-seeking.

So are you against other forms of inheritance as well? If someone works their entire life to build a business, for example, should that business automatically go into some kind of public trust when the person who created it dies?

Monopoly is an interesting choice of terms and not one that I would have chosen. The heirs of an author aren't controlling all writing, or even all one genre. They control one specific example of a product, which is about as far from a "monopoly" as you can get.

You wouldn't say Oreo has a monopoly because they won't let other companies make their exact cookie with the exact Oreo name. There are plenty of other brands of chocolate sandwich cookies out there that compete with them.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 09:28 PM
Monopoly is an interesting choice of terms and not one that I would have chosen. The heirs of an author aren't controlling all writing, or even all one genre. They control one specific example of a product, which is about as far from a "monopoly" as you can get.

Then you don't understand the word "monopoly" is used for because a monopoly is always something someone owns that can be reproduced, called the same but isn't, usually by the force of law. You write a novel, the government recognises that you have a monopoly over that work. Make your money to recoup the costs and then let your work stand to competition. This isn't a monopoly on novels or books, but it is a monopoly on what you produced.

Amadan
04-28-2015, 09:31 PM
Wow, that's harsh. You're basically saying that if an author lived a long time, they wouldn't have any right to benefit from their own work when they may be to too old to support themselves by other means?

"Happy 83rd birthday Grandpa. BTW, your last copyright just ran out. Hope you've been saving your money because that was your last source of income."


Yes.

By the time you are 83, hopefully you have been saving all your life. Most people don't continue to collect income on work they did 50 years ago.

cornflake
04-28-2015, 09:32 PM
Do you think the public has benefited from older bodies of work passing into the public domain?

Harper Lee has made her money on To Kill A Mockingbird. And it's now very much part of our cultural landscape.

Let's say a movie studio wants to make another movie based on her book, but doesn't want to pay her a lot of money for the rights. So the movie does not get made. Other than some emotional sense that it's "unfair," how would she be harmed by a movie being made, and not generating income for her, that wouldn't otherwise be made?

She's made her money on it? Who are you - or anyone - to say that? 'You've made your money; the studio can take it now.'

It's hers. She created it, in toto. She has the only say over what is done with it.

That a studio should be able to make a movie out of it without her consent, without compensating her, because, well, she made money already, is just completely anathema to me.

If you want to argue for, say, author's life + 50 or something, I can see this type of cutoff. While an author or creator of a work is still alive, I'm completely not on board at all. You wrote it, your say completely. You want to sell it, sell it. You don't, don't. If you do, you get paid.

scifi_boy2002
04-28-2015, 09:33 PM
I think 50 years after the author has passed away is fair. That way the author and his family can benefit from it and then the public can after the copyright is up. We keep referring to Shakespeare and what if his copyrights would have been extended. I don't think it would matter today if the copyright of his works would have lasted only 50 years after his death. If that was the case, we would still be benefiting from it today. 50 years is not that long of a time. I'm 50 and that isn't really a long time. Most of the modern works based on Shakespeare's works came well after 50 years after his death. I don't see that 50 years would really matter that much in the scheme of things.

Amadan
04-28-2015, 09:33 PM
If you want to argue for, say, author's life + 50 or something, I can see this type of cutoff. While an author or creator of a work is still alive, I'm completely not on board at all.


Oh well.

Thus our dividing lines are clarified.

cornflake
04-28-2015, 09:36 PM
Yes.

By the time you are 83, hopefully you have been saving all your life. Most people don't continue to collect income on work they did 50 years ago.

They do if they created something that still sells.

They do, in a sense, if they collect a pension.

They do if they created a company that's still in business.

They do if they bought stocks that still pay dividends or they sell 50 years later.

Regardless, again, when did this become someone else's say? 'Eh, you're old, you can't have your things anymore./You don't need money anymore.' How is this the argument?

cornflake
04-28-2015, 09:39 PM
It's also not even old.

What if someone publishes their first novel at 18, then a bunch more, the first didn't get much notice, but decades later, their work does take off and then someone decides the person is the next Philip K. Dick and starts rummaging through the back catalog?

If that person didn't make money off the stuff originally, and is now, say, 68, well, too bad no one paid you then, you're old, other people will make money off your stuff now and you get nothing, na na boo boo?

Amadan
04-28-2015, 09:42 PM
Regardless, again, when did this become someone else's say? 'Eh, you're old, you can't have your things anymore./You don't need money anymore.' How is this the argument?


That is not the argument.

No one has advocated limiting the lifespan of copyrights because they hate old people.

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 09:46 PM
Then you don't understand the word "monopoly" is used for because a monopoly is always something someone owns that can be reproduced, called the same but isn't, usually by the force of law. You write a novel, the government recognises that you have a monopoly over that work. Make your money to recoup the costs and then let your work stand to competition. This isn't a monopoly on novels or books, but it is a monopoly on what you produced.

I see. You're using "monopoly" in the sense of "exclusive control of a specific product." I'm aware of that definition, but it's not generally used as a perjorative term unless there's an added element of "restricting access to competition." I'll thank you not insult my intelligence.

That said, my posts have been consistently dissected and secondary topics raised, yet the actual questions remain unanswered.

1) Do you feel that all other forms of inheritance should also be abolished, and all personal property pass into a public trust at death (or even before).

2) Why is the public more deserving of that property than the heirs? (It's been stated that the heirs did nothing to create the product, which is true. However, the public ALSO did nothing to create the product, so that's kind of a wash).

3) What is the benefit that the public would enjoy under the proposed system that they lack now?

I'll add one more...

3) If the answer to number 1 is "no," why should intellectual property be treated differently from any other private property?

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 09:57 PM
That said, my posts have been consistently dissected and secondary topics raised, yet the actual questions remain unanswered.

1) Do you feel that all other forms of inheritance should also be abolished, and all personal property pass into a public trust at death (or even before).

That is not my point. If you have a 50-year copyright and the author dies within that 50 year term, then it is handed off to the heir. Simple as that. What I am opposed is to designing the copyright for the purposes of the heir and not the author.


2) Why is the public more deserving of that property than the heirs? (It's been stated that the heirs did nothing to create the product, which is true. However, the public ALSO did nothing to create the product, so that's kind of a wash).

The public deserves a territory for expression not afforded to long dead individuals, a prohibition on the currently living to make a living for the simple sake of heirs extracting rents. The government, via the people, have decided that labour is to be valued more than rents and I tend to agree with that decision.


3) What is the benefit that the public would enjoy under the proposed system that they lack now?

The proposal by the Green Party? No, pardon the profanity, fucking clue. Fourteen years is a very short time to recoup the costs.

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 10:00 PM
That is not my point. If you have a 50-year copyright and the author dies within that 50 year term, then it is handed off to the heir. Simple as that. What I am opposed is to designing the copyright for the purposes of the heir and not the author.

I didn't say that WAS your point. I was simply asking your opinion on other forms of property inheritance.



The proposal by the Green Party? No, pardon the profanity, fucking clue. Fourteen years is a very short time to recoup the costs.

Not the proposal by the Green Party, the proposal that work pass into the public domain upon the author's death rather than going to their heirs, or the 50-year proposal. Take your pick.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 10:01 PM
Not the proposal by the Green Party, the proposal that work pass into the public domain upon the author's death rather than going to their heirs. You know. The one stated in the referenced question #1.

That is somebody else's proposal then.

eyeblink
04-28-2015, 10:15 PM
H.P. Lovecraft.

He is in the public domain in the UK (and the rest of the EU, I believe) as he died over seventy years ago.

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 10:20 PM
That is somebody else's proposal then.

OK. I'm going to try one more time.

YOUR proposal was a 50-year cutoff, right?

Now, do you feel that this cutoff should apply ONLY to intellectual property, or should it apply to other forms of private property/sources of income as well?

Say, for example, someone purchases a rental property when they're 20 and has literally done nothing but collect rent for 50 years. When that person hits 70, should he/she automatically lose their ownership of that space, which would then be made available to the public? Why or why not?

Amadan
04-28-2015, 10:27 PM
He is in the public domain in the UK (and the rest of the EU, I believe) as he died over seventy years ago.


Yes, I know.

The request was for an example of works that have passed into the public domain that are less than 100 years old, and that have benefited the public in some way in a way that would not have happened if the heirs still controlled the IP.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 10:52 PM
OK. I'm going to try one more time.

YOUR proposal was a 50-year cutoff, right?

Now, do you feel that this cutoff should apply ONLY to intellectual property, or should it apply to other forms of private property/sources of income as well?

Yes. Why should it be anything like other property? It is a right granted by the government. Your manuscript is still worth money as it is the original. But asking people respect your monopoly into infinity is stark naked greed. So yes, intellectual property is not like any other property.


Say, for example, someone purchases a rental property when they're 20 and has literally done nothing but collect rent for 50 years. When that person hits 70, should he/she automatically lose their ownership of that space, which would then be made available to the public? Why or why not?

Here is the thing about land: it is divided up by the government and then it is auctioned off. It isn't the government being asked to do something, it is the government tasking someone to work that land.

heza
04-28-2015, 11:18 PM
Notice I said career not life. The copyright should represent the career of the author, not the life of the author.

I'm not sure how that matters to my question.

For one, I don't understand how you're defining career except to arbitrarily cut it off at 50-56 years.

Second, I was asking about your statement that any longer than that the author wouldn't be profiting from their work anyway... and I'm asking, why wouldn't they if they're still alive?

Tazlima
04-28-2015, 11:18 PM
Yes. Why should it be anything like other property? It is a right granted by the government. Your manuscript is still worth money as it is the original. But asking people respect your monopoly into infinity is stark naked greed. So yes, intellectual property is not like any other property.



Here is the thing about land: it is divided up by the government and then it is auctioned off. It isn't the government being asked to do something, it is the government tasking someone to work that land.

Thank you. That's a very interesting perspective. I'm unaccustomed to defining property primarily by its relationship with the government, but you do make some intriguing points. This, of course, brings up the question of whether there are any inherent traits that makes something "property" independently of how it's defined by any given governing body. I'll have to ponder this one.

Xelebes
04-28-2015, 11:25 PM
I'm not sure how that matters to my question.

For one, I don't understand how you're defining career except to arbitrarily cut it off at 50-56 years.

Second, I was asking about your statement that any longer than that the author wouldn't be profiting from their work anyway... and I'm asking, why wouldn't they if they're still alive?

I make the distinction because life is not career. The purpose of a copyright is to give the author a chance to make a career out of writing. Giving it 50-ish years allows the author to have that chance over what would be a close approximation of his working career.

heza
04-28-2015, 11:26 PM
Your manuscript is still worth money as it is the original. But asking people respect your monopoly into infinity is stark naked greed.

But this is the part I think we're all stuck on. Why is it stark naked greed to want to be compensated for reproduction of your work during your lifetime? There's a philosophical difference here in this conversation:

It's fair and right that the person who spent years and years in the creation, revision, and marketing of a very specific story to benefit from all potential value of that story realized during that creator's lifetime.

It's fair and right that a creator of a very specific story benefit from some of the value realized by that story for a period and then lose the right to compensation by public production, adaptation, and commentary on said story.

As I understand it.

And I think it's the "all potential value" vs. "some value" as well as the "during the creator's lifetime" vs. "for a period" differences that split us up... all other things being equal. I know the heirs thing is another sticking point.

So what I think some of use are trying to get our heads around is why is it such a big deal to limit copyright to a period the author will live beyond? And why are we not taking into consideration that some properties have the potential to earn their real profits at various points in this timeline and not necessarily right at first publication or even within 50 years?

heza
04-28-2015, 11:32 PM
I make the distinction because life is not career. The purpose of a copyright is to give the author a chance to make a career out of writing. Giving it 50-ish years allows the author to have that chance over what would be a close approximation of his working career.


Except, again, writing careers are not like other careers and considerations have to be made for that. We all know that most authors don't start having an actual viable career until they've been in the business for a while and have a sizable back list published. The career is made possible by royalties being produced by sales of early works in combination with advances given for new works. With a 50 years after publication copyright termination, royalties from the back list will begin to fall off even though the books are potentially still selling and losing those royalties from the back list could tank an otherwise viable career for an author later in life.

cornflake
04-28-2015, 11:55 PM
Yes. Why should it be anything like other property? It is a right granted by the government. Your manuscript is still worth money as it is the original. But asking people respect your monopoly into infinity is stark naked greed. So yes, intellectual property is not like any other property.

Here is the thing about land: it is divided up by the government and then it is auctioned off. It isn't the government being asked to do something, it is the government tasking someone to work that land.

The argument could be made that lots of things we're talking about are rights 'granted' by the government, including ownership, inheritance of anything, etc.

Why, exactly, is it "stark naked greed" to ask people to respect that you own what you created?


I make the distinction because life is not career. The purpose of a copyright is to give the author a chance to make a career out of writing. Giving it 50-ish years allows the author to have that chance over what would be a close approximation of his working career.

Do you have some kind of backing for the bolded, because that's quite specific and news to me. I'm not saying some people don't think it, but 'the purpose of copyright?' It wasn't the origin, nor is it the reason I've most heard.

Though, again, if this is your reason, plenty of other careers don't have some cutoff for money-making or passing down of gains or the growth of those gains. There are people named Johnson, Rockefeller, Disney, Hilton, Carnegie, etc., etc., who don't work for the corporations or products started by their ancestors who still rake in bucks from them.

Xelebes
04-29-2015, 12:38 AM
Do you have some kind of backing for the bolded, because that's quite specific and news to me.

Sorry, doing some reasing on the Statute of Anne and it looks like I have misread a bit more than I intend (and not even on this point.) Recusing myself from the conversation until I get my argument altogether.

Weirdmage
04-29-2015, 07:22 PM
H.P. Lovecraft.

You have to eloborate a bit. Especially since Lovecraft's work hasn't been unavailable as far as I know. And he welcomed people to use his worlds/mythology.

Weirdmage
04-29-2015, 07:25 PM
As for patents being 'completely different' to copyrights, when they're both forms of IP, I think that's for you to demonstrate. I remain unconvinced.

There's different laws being applied to patents and copyrights.

Xelebes
04-29-2015, 08:23 PM
There's different laws being applied to patents and copyrights.

The Statute of Anne (1710) is based on the Statute of Monopolies (1624) (from which patents are clarified) and the Licensing Act (1662) (which drew from the Statute of Monopolies but for the most part concerned itself on the matters of the press.)

Twick
04-29-2015, 08:23 PM
With longer copyrights, HP Lovecraft's mythos would not be nearly the cultural phenomenon it is. All those movies, derivative novels, and games based on his work would be unavailable.


So, a lot of people made money out of not producing any really original work. Maybe if they couldn't have piggybacked on Lovecraft, they would have produced their own original material that would have contributed to our culture even more.

Amadan
04-29-2015, 08:31 PM
So, a lot of people made money out of not producing any really original work. Maybe if they couldn't have piggybacked on Lovecraft, they would have produced their own original material that would have contributed to our culture even more.


That's quite a remote definition of original work.

Most art piggybacks on earlier work in some form. Some more directly than others.

Ditto science and technology (the comparison to patent law has been brought up already).

Weirdmage
04-29-2015, 11:01 PM
The Statute of Anne (1710) is based on the Statute of Monopolies (1624) (from which patents are clarified) and the Licensing Act (1662) (which drew from the Statute of Monopolies but for the most part concerned itself on the matters of the press.)

Current copyright is based on the Berne Convention. You seem to go further and further back in hostory to try to back up what you say. I can look at the history of copyright on Wikipedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright) myself, but feel free to explain what it has to do with your claim that there is no difference between patents and copyright.

Weirdmage
04-29-2015, 11:12 PM
So, a lot of people made money out of not producing any really original work. Maybe if they couldn't have piggybacked on Lovecraft, they would have produced their own original material that would have contributed to our culture even more.

Lovecraft is said to have been positive to people using the mythos he constructed, so I don't think he's a good example in that regard.
But if we move into the present day, there are Creative Commons licenses (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/) that allow for letting others use your creations, I think one solution would be to incorporate those licenses into copyright law. (As opt-in clauses.)

aruna
04-30-2015, 08:21 AM
You have to eloborate a bit. Especially since Lovecraft's work hasn't been unavailable as far as I know. And he welcomed people to use his worlds/mythology.

I don't know what was meant with the single word "Lovecraft" -- I wish people wouldn't assume everyone had read the books they have read!

Anyway: the British Society of Authors -- the most influential association of authors in the UK -- have made their statement, (http://www.societyofauthors.org/soa-news/copyright-period) and it is for the protection of copyright.

There has been concern amongst authors over the Green Party's approach to copyright terms, particularly the proposed maximum copyright term of 14 years - drastically shorter than the existing term of 70 years after the author's death.

Our stance is that copyright needs ‎strengthening, not weakening.

Authors and other creators make their livelihood from their intellectual creations and a period of only 14 years would not allow them to fully benefit from their work. In practice it is likely to mean that once the period expires large corporations will pick up the work and continue to develop, license and exploit it without rewarding the creator.

With authors' earnings already far below the national average, such a proposal would mean that authors could not survive. We believe that all political parties should back a strong copyright regime which supports innovation and provides economic benefits, and in which authors are paid fairly for their work.

Needless to say, I agree with the SoA (of which I'm a member).

But this discussion has tickled my inspiration for a new novel: a writer, working hard all her life and producing novel after novel which nobody wants to publish, her family enduring years of poverty and hardship and she working minimum wage jobs to pull then through while writing through the night; and dying before any of them see the light of day. Her dream to create a wonderful home for her family never materialises. Then, 30 years after her death, her granddaughter discovers all her manuscripts in a drawer, and now the time is right -- not only are the novels published, one by one, but they are brilliant and become overnight sensations!
At last, all that hard work pays out, and the granddaughter gets to reap the long-due rewards! Huzzah! :)

I still don't get all the support for piggybackers. Nobody has yet convinced me of the need to protect their interests above those of original creators -- which is essentially what the weakening of copyright is about!

Anyway, I don't think it (weakening of cr) will happen soon so the question is moot. Gripe on, piggybackers -- or write your own stuff.

TheNighSwan
04-30-2015, 12:53 PM
You know, if shorter copyright terms really were a benefit for big corporations, you'd think you'd actually see these big corporations pushing politically for shorterning the copyright's length (or even removing copyright altogether); and yet, in practice, what we observe is the exact opposite: corporations are pushing for longer and longer copyright durations, and are all for strenghtening its terms, conditions, and for implementing stronger legal and technical tools toward its enforcement (DRMs, anyone?)

This alone should be a serious hint about who really benefits from longer and stronger copyright.

Edit: this is because, of course, corporations hate competition, and since copyright is an enforced monopoly, shorter copyright means more competition — which is healthy.

If truly the concern is about the lifehood of authors, then we should question the payment practices of publishers, yet I don't see much people doing so: most authors seem to consider that it's perfectly normal that a publisher can pay their taxes, their house, their car and their internet and make a living with their work, when an author, on an equal level of sells, cannot.

Weirdmage
04-30-2015, 01:49 PM
I don't know what was meant with the single word "Lovecraft" -- I wish people wouldn't assume everyone had read the books they have read!

Sorry, he was mentioned earlier in the thread. H.P. Lovecraft (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft), one of the most famous authors in SFF history. His works are now out of copyright.

Weirdmage
04-30-2015, 02:10 PM
You know, if shorter copyright terms really were a benefit for big corporations, you'd think you'd actually see these big corporations pushing politically for shorterning the copyright's length (or even removing copyright altogether); and yet, in practice, what we observe is the exact opposite: corporations are pushing for longer and longer copyright durations, and are all for strenghtening its terms, conditions, and for implementing stronger legal and technical tools toward its enforcement (DRMs, anyone?)

This alone should be a serious hint about who really benefits from longer and stronger copyright.

Edit: this is because, of course, corporations hate competition, and since copyright is an enforced monopoly, shorter copyright means more competition — which is healthy.

If truly the concern is about the lifehood of authors, then we should question the payment practices of publishers, yet I don't see much people doing so: most authors seem to consider that it's perfectly normal that a publisher can pay their taxes, their house, their car and their internet and make a living with their work, when an author, on an equal level of sells, cannot.

Copyright isn't a monopoly. It's the right of a creator to earn money from his/her unique work. For instance, the Tolkien Estate does not have a monopoly on Epic Fantasy. Anyone can write and sell their own Epic Fantasy, and there are myriad examples of those that have.

If the authors's livelyhood is the ultimate goal, then yes payment structure is something to look at. As it stands now booksellers typically get 50-60% of the retail price. The publisher's profit is often less than the author's royalties. If you are going to take money from one of the parties, take it from the one who gets the biggest piece.
A cut in discounts, more so to online stores who do not have the same kind of overhead as physical bookstores, and fixed book-prices is definitely a step in the right direction there.

Corporations wishing for longer copyrights have to do with work-for-hire and corporate copyright. There's a discussion that can be had about those, but it would be one of strengthening creators's rights vis-a-vis corporations.

aruna
04-30-2015, 02:15 PM
Sorry, he was mentioned earlier in the thread. H.P. Lovecraft (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/H._P._Lovecraft), one of the most famous authors in SFF history. His works are now out of copyright.
I was actually referring to Amadan, who simply said Lovecraft without explaining why that was an example -- as if it's common knowledge!

Amadan
04-30-2015, 02:27 PM
I was actually referring to Amadan, who simply said Lovecraft without explaining why that was an example -- as if it's common knowledge!


I was responding to weirdmage's demand for an author who'd gone out of copyright less than a hundred years ago whose works we'd benefited from.

I also described some of Lovecraft's influence in a subsequent post.

It's not as if I just randomly typed a word.

aruna
04-30-2015, 02:44 PM
But an author can be "of influence" and still be in copyright... because ideas can't be copyrighted. Example: Twilight leading to 50 Shades of Grey -- and all the multiple "Billionaire Boyfriend+Spanks" books that have been spawned as a result of 50SoG.

Xelebes
04-30-2015, 05:26 PM
You know, if shorter copyright terms really were a benefit for big corporations, you'd think you'd actually see these big corporations pushing politically for shorterning the copyright's length (or even removing copyright altogether); and yet, in practice, what we observe is the exact opposite: corporations are pushing for longer and longer copyright durations, and are all for strenghtening its terms, conditions, and for implementing stronger legal and technical tools toward its enforcement (DRMs, anyone?)

This alone should be a serious hint about who really benefits from longer and stronger copyright.

Edit: this is because, of course, corporations hate competition, and since copyright is an enforced monopoly, shorter copyright means more competition — which is healthy.

If truly the concern is about the lifehood of authors, then we should question the payment practices of publishers, yet I don't see much people doing so: most authors seem to consider that it's perfectly normal that a publisher can pay their taxes, their house, their car and their internet and make a living with their work, when an author, on an equal level of sells, cannot.

This recalls the Bookseller's War of late 18th century. What ultimately happened was that enough works opened up to the public domain that presses and bookstores could open outside of London. There is significant monopolist control afforded to copyright.

If copyright's main justification is found under moral law, as the Bern Convention finds, then it is not so wise to give it that monopolist control. If it is under common law, then length is most certainly not perpetual but it is given more monopolist control.

aruna
04-30-2015, 06:15 PM
I'd like to repost Weirdmagic's post:



Copyright isn't a monopoly. It's the right of a creator to earn money from his/her unique work. For instance, the Tolkien Estate does not have a monopoly on Epic Fantasy. Anyone can write and sell their own Epic Fantasy, and there are myriad examples of those that have.

.


My copyright does not give me a monopoly on anything. All it does is give me the right to earn a living by the sweat of my own brow.

I am aware that all this is a massive First World Problem, and that writing is nothing like tilling the dry soil in a drought-plagued African country. But it compares to other First World white-collar professions, and as long as everyone else can earn money from their profession, so should I, without being accused of being a monopolist.

Weirdmage
04-30-2015, 06:20 PM
I was responding to weirdmage's demand for an author who'd gone out of copyright less than a hundred years ago whose works we'd benefited from.

I also described some of Lovecraft's influence in a subsequent post.

It's not as if I just randomly typed a word.

Yes, it is. The conversation was about people who had been rediscovered by going into the public domain. Something I also specified to you in a later post replying to you. But, you seem to have missed that one.

Xelebes
04-30-2015, 06:26 PM
My copyright does not give me a monopoly on anything. All it does is give me the right to earn a living by the sweat of my own brow.

Sorry, monopoly here is the legal term. This is what copyright gives you. Copyright has been enforced under the assumption that it is a monopoly. That you have worked hard for it makes the monopoly sweeter (more justified.)

That all said, as I am reframing things in my head (and I apologise for any of the harder stances that I took before,) I do believe that there is room for a hybrid system where moral law (Berne Convention & the droit d'auteur) and common law (Statute of Anne) can work together to come up with something more fair.

What that is, I'm still playing with it in my head.

Weirdmage
04-30-2015, 06:35 PM
This recalls the Bookseller's War of late 18th century. What ultimately happened was that enough works opened up to the public domain that presses and bookstores could open outside of London. There is significant monopolist control afforded to copyright.

If copyright's main justification is found under moral law, as the Bern Convention finds, then it is not so wise to give it that monopolist control. If it is under common law, then length is most certainly not perpetual but it is given more monopolist control.

Could we please keep the debate in the present, maybe even geared toward the future.The problems of transport (and the economy) in 18th century England have absolutely no bearing on the present.

Today, with easy electronic self-publishing available to everyone, works will not disappear (i.e. "go out of print") unless the rightsholder decides to let them do so. The internet and e-books have made the "works will disappear" argument for public domain obsolete.

I am not convinced at all that it is in the public interest, in for example, that hundreds (guessing here) of Lord of the Rings sequels become published as soon as LotR goes into the public domain. I'd rather think it was in the public interest that hundreds of original works of Epic Fantasy were published.

As I have stated earlier in this thread a couple of times, only lifting directly from a copyrighted work gets you in trouble. I used The Sword of Shannara and The Dragonlance Chronicles as examples. 50 Shades of Grey is another one, it shows that fanfic with "the serial numbers filed off" can be published without running into trouble with copyright legislation.
I have a hard time seeing any restrictions that limits creativity in the way copyright law is applied today. It would be nice if those that claim there is a problem would give concrete examples -from the present day.

Amadan
04-30-2015, 06:36 PM
Yes, it is. The conversation was about people who had been rediscovered by going into the public domain. Something I also specified to you in a later post replying to you. But, you seem to have missed that one.


When was anyone arguing that public domain only allowed forgotten writers to be "rediscovered"?

Lovecraft probably would be largely forgotten without his work having gone into public domain, however.

Weirdmage
04-30-2015, 06:56 PM
Sorry, monopoly here is the legal term. This is what copyright gives you. Copyright has been enforced under the assumption that it is a monopoly.

This is a muddled version of Anarchistic theory on private property rights. (I'll get back to that.) Monopoly used in the way you do, in modern copyright debate, is an invention of Amazon during their battle with one of the big five. (Think it was Hachette.) And it was used so whiny that people where laughing at them all over the internet.
There is a "sole right to exploit", but that does not limit any form of competition, which is how the word monopoly is used. (Google the definition.)
I'm sorry, but arguing for the use you do is nothig more than derailment. We have gotten what you mean now, could we please get the debate moving on from that point.

In Anarchistic Theory (, I'll use AT from this point,) the monopoly excercised when it comes to private property is the monopoly of the state to grant property rights. But, that is part of a whole list of monopolistic rights the state have grabbed, that AT wants to collectivize, and collectivize in smaller units than nation states.
For us to get to this point we have to move very far from where we are today. -Which is why I call myself Anarchistically inclined, rather than an Anarchist. The difference may seem small, but from my view it's about accepting that there is no way we can get to the society postulated by AT from where we are now without an apocalyptic event.

If you want to discuss AT theory when it comes to property rights, I suggest we move that out of the thread. Feel free to DM me about it.

Weirdmage
04-30-2015, 07:00 PM
When was anyone arguing that public domain only allowed forgotten writers to be "rediscovered"?

That was what was discussed in the post you replied to. Which is why I asked for a clarification from you.


Lovecraft probably would be largely forgotten without his work having gone into public domain, however.

Lovecraft was never forgotten at any point. His work has never disappeared, despite being in copyright until recently. If you claim him as an example for your argument, you don't have a leg to stand on.
And as I previously stated, he was happy for people to play in his world, and with his Mythos.

Toothpaste
04-30-2015, 07:15 PM
I'd like to Amadan and Xelebes to walk me through their ideal copyright situation as things are now moving way more into the theoretical than the practical.

You each write a novel. A publisher licenses the rights, pays you an advance. Then what?

I'd like to read your version of what you'd like to see in the world of copyright at a very pragmatic level because right now I'm getting terribly confused. Once again this is a sincere request :) .

Xelebes
04-30-2015, 07:17 PM
Could we please keep the debate in the present, maybe even geared toward the future.

Good. Can you too? Common law.


The problems of transport (and the economy) in 18th century England have absolutely no bearing on the present.

Despite the fact that similar circumstances may appear in the future. Or unless you want us to forget about that.


Today, with easy electronic self-publishing available to everyone, works will not disappear (i.e. "go out of print") unless the rightsholder decides to let them do so. The internet and e-books have made the "works will disappear" argument for public domain obsolete.

Unless the rightsholder decides to let them do so.


I am not convinced at all that it is in the public interest, in for example, that hundreds (guessing here) of Lord of the Rings sequels become published as soon as LotR goes into the public domain. I'd rather think it was in the public interest that hundreds of original works of Epic Fantasy were published.

Note that what I am saying is that vaguely similar works are not being decried about. Those fall under Fair Use rules quite easily. Nor am I saying that similar(1) works should fall outside of the copyright. What I am saying is over the rules over adaptations are a bit too strict.

So a bit more fleshed out concept of what I am adjusting to:

(2) 50-70 years (pick which): monopolist control of work, including adaptations
(3) Life+50 after monopolist control: Similar copies, excluding adaptations
(4) Potentially forever: to the heirs, the manuscript and notes (drafts, character sketches and such) to be doled out as trade secrets.



So with the first bit (2), someone reads your work and tries to make a movie off of it? Need to ask permission and license the use. This is to abide by the common law definition.

Second bit (3) means you are selling copies of the book. You get to decide whether or not who gets to release it. Adaptations no longer need the permission but that doesn't mean they get to be privy to the manuscript and notes - something that is useful for those trying to do a faithful representation. Faithful representations, I believe are potentially more lucrative. See: Lord of the Rings movies. The second bit abides by the droit d'auteur but is separated from the common law definition.

Third bit (4): useful for those trying to do a faithful representation. The understanding that if someone can make a lot of money just based off of what is published, then there is significant creativity and effort being put forth by the adaptation of it. But if they need to say that they used the notes to make that money, then further payment must be expected.

(1) Similar being a somewhat strict definition here.

What I am effectively saying is that something that is A) used by the creator and B) released to the public commands payment. Custodians of a right, if they are not the creator, should have less consideration. Extensions should have some justification beyond droit d'auteur, a foreign import on our legal system.

heza
04-30-2015, 07:47 PM
The problems of transport (and the economy) in 18th century England have absolutely no bearing on the present.


Despite the fact that similar circumstances may appear in the future. Or unless you want us to forget about that.


I'd like us to, yes, for this conversation. We're talking about (well, half of us are) how changes to copyright length would affect present-day authors, here and now and in the near future. Planning for distant futures that might never happen seems outside the scope. Referencing periods where the publishing/economic/commercialization landscape has almost no relation to what it is today is also not productive.

The fact is, in this current climate, even good authors are finding it more and more difficult to make ends meet with writing. When their writing is enjoyed by many, when it's popular enough to make movies out of, etc., those authors definitely deserve to also do well financially. There's zero reason why everyone around the author should make bank and the author should toil away in poverty.

Corporations might not want copyright shortened because it could affect their bottom line. No one is saying (as far as I've read) that shorter copyrights won't impact corporations. I think we're saying that it would affect decent, midlist authors with a productive backlist even more, and we are erring on the side of the author.

Until the world around us changes, I think it would be devastating to change copyright in a way that would decrease an author's ability to make a living from their backlist and licensing of rights. When the climate changes, we can always reevaluate copyright.




(2) 50-70 years (pick which): monopolist control of work, including adaptations
(3) Life+50 after monopolist control: Similar copies, excluding adaptations
(4) Potentially forever: to the heirs, the manuscript and notes (drafts, character sketches and such) to be doled out as trade secrets.I have to admit, I'm not really following your list here—what you mean by "similar copies" and "manuscript."

For similar copies do you mean anything that would fall under the fan fiction label? Or are those adaptations? Are similar copies supposed to be printings of the actual work sold by someone other than the author or the author's representatives? I would not, personally, call those similar.

As for (4)... What is the "manuscript"? Isn't the story released into the world the manuscript for all intents and purposes? According to (3) anyone can make a movie or whatever based on the manuscript whenever they want and don't have to license the use of the manuscript. The "manuscript" at this point would be worthless unless it's, like, some handwritten signed copy that would only be worth something to a collector.

Furthermore, "notes"? I can see someone paying for the use of the notes to make a movie, except I really also don't. If they have the manuscript, what difference does it make if they have unpublished notes? And how does this fit into copyright? If the author or heir has published the notes, don't they start at (1) with regard to copyright, anyway, and then fall out of copyright as we progress to (3)? Or, in this scenario, are you assuming that any "notes," once published, would not have any copyright protection except under provision (4)? And, if these notes are unpublished, isn't this all entirely moot given you would have to break in and steal them in order to publish them?

Amadan
04-30-2015, 08:01 PM
Lovecraft was never forgotten at any point. His work has never disappeared, despite being in copyright until recently. If you claim him as an example for your argument, you don't have a leg to stand on.

My "argument" was in response to your comment that it was "very telling" that no one was using more recent examples.

Yes, Lovecraft basically Creative Commonsed his mythos. Without that, and his work passing into public domain, all the derivative works that exist today would not. Also some of his work was made public domain earlier than it otherwise would have because of a failure to renew the copyright.

Under the more extended schemes, his work would still be under copyright and nobody could use "Cthulhu" without paying his estate.



I'd like to Amadan and Xelebes to walk me through their ideal copyright situation as things are now moving way more into the theoretical than the practical.

You each write a novel. A publisher licenses the rights, pays you an advance. Then what?

I'd like to read your version of what you'd like to see in the world of copyright at a very pragmatic level because right now I'm getting terribly confused. Once again this is a sincere request :) .


Let's say my scheme of publication +50 years is adopted. (I am not wedded to that number, it just seems like a reasonable one to me.)

That means for 50 years, no one can publish that manuscript without my permission (and presumably paying me money for it).

After 50 years - yes, even if I am still alive - it enters the public domain and anyone can publish it. Or make a movie from it. Or write an "unauthorized" sequel. Without paying me.

Some people have been claiming this amounts to wanting old people to starve, or not believing that writers are entitled to profit from their work, and other very emotional arguments.

No, it means 50 years is a reasonable span of time over which I can profit from one work. If I want more money, and a longer period of income generation, I need to write more books. And I should probably put some of the money I made from the first book into savings. Just like people who earn income in other ways do.

Debeucci
04-30-2015, 08:15 PM
Someone might not be able to use the word Cthulhu but it would spring hundreds of derivative works. One could argue that it might actually create *more* creativity in the field instead of people always trying to piggyback Lovecraft's creations. I think it cuts both ways.

For example, and I'm only using an extreme example, say there is no copyright at all, and instead of the YA dystopian trend with hundreds of derivative works, everyone just writes in the Hunger Games world because there is no protections, is that encouraging creativity?

Cuts both ways IMO.

aruna
04-30-2015, 08:21 PM
The problem with your argument, Adaman, is the intrinsically fickle nature of writing. You speak as if all books bring in a guaranteed income of several thousand a year for 50 years or longer. This is not the case.

Many, if not most, books, make very little money over their lifetime; for most writers, it's not enough to raise a family (including university education of children) AND lay back money for a pension.

Writing is just not like your regular day job. You may earn just a few thousand a year for a few years, at best. After 50 years, probably nothing at all, if you are the average writer. This might be the case even if you have written several books. With the amount of e-books flooding the market in modern times, there is just no guarantee, and the odds are small that any one author will have a long-seller.

That's why a longer period is fair; it allows for the possibility that even if there's just a trickle of money coming in in 50 years time, it flows to you, the creator. And if, at some point in time, your work is "discovered" and becomes a breakthrough? Well, that's the luck of the draw. A few of us do get lucky, and that's the wonder and thrill of writing. It's what keeps many of us writing: the hope that the next book will be a breakthrough, get a movie deal, etc. But it happens to only a very tiny minority of us.

The fact remains that only very, very few writers earn enough to lay aside for a pension. I am hoping that my books -- when I'm finished I think there will be ten in all -- will help support me in my old age as my state pension is going to be tiny. I certainly won't live 50 more years, but 30-35 is not out of the question and what with possibilities such as old-age home and being a financial burden to my kids -- well, you get my meaning!

These things are very expensive. I know, because my husband is in a home and my mother had a personal carer at home till she died aged 96 last year. It has been and still is a struggle. If those things happened to me, well, it would be a blessing if there were a bit of royalties flowing to me.

And this is just an example-- it's not just me. We will all grow old, unless we die young. Old age is expensive. And like most creatives, I was not too sensible in my youth as I knew I would be young forever! It's just not like a regular day job where you know how much you will earn over time and can layaway gradually for old age.

Amadan
04-30-2015, 08:36 PM
The problem with your argument, Adaman, is the intrinsically fickle nature of writing. You speak as if all books bring in a guaranteed income of several thousand a year for 50 years or longer. This is not the case.


Of course not.

But making a living at writing is always going to be tough. I am not moved to extend copyright durations by the "starving artist" argument.

Saying you need to make a life plan that does not depend on the book you write when you are 20 earning money for you when you're 80 isn't much different than saying you should make a life plan when you are 20 that doesn't depend on your still being able to work when you're 80. Very few of us are guaranteed an income past our working life.

aruna
04-30-2015, 08:45 PM
It's not an emotional appeal for the "starving artist". That is your term, not mine.

A life plan that did not depend on my book when I was 20? At 20 I didn't even DREAM of writing books! It was not a career plan at all. My first was published when I was 49!

But, having now written books late in life, I don't follow the argument that others should profit from them, if there IS a profit to be made at any time, but not me.

Sorry, I will never understand that argument. I can understand the argument that my grandchild should not profit, and even my children; I'd grant you that. But copyright MUST cover the writer's life plus something negotiable in case of dependents.

Xelebes
04-30-2015, 08:51 PM
I will get back to heza's post later, but I do want to make a comment on the function of copyright.

Right now, there are a lot of writers looking to make some money on their writing. Many of them are not allowed to be hardnosed writers. Others are. Writing is a tough business and a lot of writers have the advantage of having primary jobs which bring in their own income.

The pay has been going down but there are several factors beyond stagnant aggregate spending on entertainment. There is also more writers publishing material, crowding the market. Extending the copyright allows publishers to promise to more authors that they can make their money back by playing with the author's sense of TVM. The best advice to anyone working is to make sure you get your money as quick as possible and if you can't be guaranteed that, then there is something hinky. You, the author, are being strung along.

http://justinelarbalestier.com/blog/2004/12/24/average-first-novel-advances/

Tazlima
04-30-2015, 08:51 PM
Some people have been claiming this amounts to wanting old people to starve, or not believing that writers are entitled to profit from their work, and other very emotional arguments.

Nobody said that supporting the 50-year cutoff meant someone wanted old people to starve. It's simply a potential side-effect of such a system, one that's realistically possible enough to be worthy of consideration. Should their income dry up, senior citizens aren't capable of bopping off to find a job the way younger, more able-bodied people can, and a 50-year hard cutoff guarantees that the author (if still alive) would be a senior at the time of said cutoff.

Additionally, most authors are self-employed, which restricts their access to retirement resources that they could earn in other fields. Long-term income from their work is one way to make up that deficit.


And I should probably put some of the money I made from the first book into savings. Just like people who earn income in other ways do.

This is also an emotional argument. How someone (anyone, not just authors) chooses to spend/not spend their income has zero bearing on how much or how long they deserve to be paid for their work.

I could also point out that one major life emergency can easily wipe out even a solid savings account, but it's irrelevant.

ETA something that just occurred to me:

It was said about Harper Lee, "She's earned her money," and there were several references to "earning back the investment" (I don't recall who said what). Let's say a book is wildly successful within the first 10 years and the author makes, I dunno, $5 million. Is that "enough?" Has the author "earned his/her money?" If the goal is to discourage greed and unreasonable expectations of returns for the amount of effort put into creating a work, should there be a dollar amount cutoff as well as a time cutoff? i.e. 50 years or $5,000,000, whichever comes first.

Amadan
04-30-2015, 08:52 PM
A life plan that did not depend on my book when I was 20? At 20 I didn't even DREAM of writing books! It was not a career plan at all. My first was published when I was 49!

Well then, under my hypothetical model, that book would still be yours to profit from exclusively until you are 99.

aruna
04-30-2015, 08:55 PM
But as I said, and you yourself said, this is not just about me. It's about ALL authors, even the 20 year old just starting out. I know I'm covered under your model. Others aren't. "Me" and "my" in all my posts means ALL authors. I've said this twice already -- this is the third time! You surely don't think that I am seriously only worried about myself??? I used my experiences only as examples.

Amadan
04-30-2015, 08:59 PM
But as I said, and you yourself said, this is not just about me. It's about ALL authors, even the 20 year old just starting out. I know I'm covered under your model. Others aren't. "Me" and "my" in all my posts means ALL authors. I've said this twice already -- this is the third time! You surely don't think that I am seriously only worried about myself??? I used my experiences only as examples.

So, a 20-year-old writes a book, and has 50 years to profit from it, save money, write other books, or make income in other ways.

aruna
04-30-2015, 09:18 PM
I must say, you have it all planned out, how others should manage their finances! How neat and tidy!
May I just say that it never, ever works out as neatly as you describe. Every single book is unpredictable.
And as Tazlima above so neatly put it:

This is also an emotional argument. How someone (anyone, not just authors) chooses to spend/not spend their income has zero bearing on how much or how long they deserve to be paid for their work.

Amadan
04-30-2015, 09:27 PM
I must say, you have it all planned out, how others should manage their finances! How neat and tidy!
May I just say that it never, ever works out as neatly as you describe. Every single book is unpredictable.
And as Tazlima above so neatly put it:


I am explaining why I don't think a 50-year copyright is unreasonable.

There is nothing emotional (or contrary to the principle of being paid for one's work) about it.

Yes, it would be very unfortunate for someone whose only source of income when they turn 70 is a book they wrote 50 years ago. I would not wish that on anyone, just as I would not wish for someone to turn 70 without having any pension fund or retirement savings, which of course also happens.

aruna
04-30-2015, 09:52 PM
Even more unfortunate, if that book happened to be earning money, but the money was going to some corporation that had nothing whatsoever to do with its creation!
That would be grossly unfair.

But we disagree on this apparently so no point rehashing it again and again and again. You will not change your mind and neither will I.

Luckily though your opinion will not change the present status.

aruna
04-30-2015, 10:03 PM
It was said about Harper Lee, "She's earned her money," and there were several references to "earning back the investment" (I don't recall who said what). Let's say a book is wildly successful within the first 10 years and the author makes, I dunno, $5 million. Is that "enough?" Has the author "earned his/her money?" If the goal is to discourage greed and unreasonable expectations of returns for the amount of effort put into creating a work, should there be a dollar amount cutoff as well as a time cutoff? i.e. 50 years or $5,000,000, whichever comes first.

Under Amadan's model Harper would not be entitled to the royalties the books have been earning for the last 10+ years! It would all be going to the publisher! And rightly so! After all she's earned enough! Why should she get even richer? ;)

Tazlima
04-30-2015, 10:25 PM
Under Amadan's model Harper would not be entitled to the royalties the books have been earning for the last 10+ years! It would all be going to the publisher! And rightly so! After all she's earned enough! Why should she get even richer? ;)

There's also the situation of people like Richard Adams, who DID go on to write a lot of books after his first novel, per Amadan's recommendation. AFAIK, the other novels did reasonably well but none of them came close to the commercial success of Watership Down.

You don't have to lose your ENTIRE income to kill your budget. Losing your biggest earner would do the trick just fine. Adams himself would be OK, since he's 94 and WD would still have 7 years to go under the hypothetical system. Good thing he wasn't successful too early in life.

Amadan
04-30-2015, 10:41 PM
There's also the situation of people like Richard Adams, who DID go on to write a lot of books after his first novel, per Amadan's recommendation. AFAIK, the other novels did reasonably well but none of them came close to the commercial success of Watership Down.

You don't have to lose your ENTIRE income to kill your budget. Losing your biggest earner would do the trick just fine. Adams himself would be OK, since he's 94 and WD would still have 7 years to go. Good thing he wasn't successful too early in life.


So in seven years, when Richard Adams is 101, Watership Down would pass into the public domain.

Why would this be so terrible?

As I said before, I'd probably be okay with copyright lasting for the life of the creator. But aside from conjuring up scenarios in which somehow that one book he wrote 50 years ago is his only source of income, or greedy corporations who are just waiting for it to pass into the public domain so they can jump on it and produce a multimillion-dollar blockbuster without paying the author anything (you do realize that optioning the rights to a novel is a miniscule portion of a movie's production budget, right?), I have yet to see a reason why it would be bad for copyright to expire after 50 years.

Debeucci
04-30-2015, 11:20 PM
As I said before, I'd probably be okay with copyright lasting for the life of the creator.

What if I publish my first book today and get run over by a car tomorrow? Is my family screwed?

Amadan
04-30-2015, 11:26 PM
What if I publish my first book today and get run over by a car tomorrow? Is my family screwed?


Depends - do you have life insurance?


Seriously, I've said several times during the course of this thread that I'm not fixed on one specific time period, and I know I specified earlier that some minimum number of years after the creator's death, for just the scenario you describe, is probably appropriate. My principle objection is to (a) the current model (life+70, which I think is much too long), and (b) extending it even further.

But if, hypothetically, copyright did expire on the creator's death, no matter how untimely, yeah, your family would be as screwed as any family whose chief breadwinner dies. Tragic, but not unique to writers. Just saying.

kuwisdelu
04-30-2015, 11:39 PM
Cool.

No way copyright should last longer than the creator's lifetime.

14 years seems reasonable. I'd be amenable to lifetime, too, I suppose.

But why should one be able to profit into perpetuity from work one did decades ago?

Tazlima
04-30-2015, 11:59 PM
But why should one be able to profit into perpetuity from work one did decades ago?

I'd approach the question from the opposite angle. Assuming a profit is being made, who is more deserving of that money than the creator of the work that's generating the profits? Who has greater claim on a written work than the author?

Albedo
05-01-2015, 12:01 AM
I'd approach the question from the opposite angle. Assuming a profit is being made, who is more deserving of that money than the creator of the work that's generating the profits? Who has greater claim on a written work than the author?

Total devil's advocate: the people keeping the book in circulation. I.e. the ones doing the work today.

Tazlima
05-01-2015, 12:10 AM
Total devil's advocate: the people keeping the book in circulation. I.e. the ones doing the work today.

Lol, I'll bite.

Certainly they're entitled to the fruits of their own labor. However, without the words to fill the books, they have no product.

A baker can make and sell cakes, but he/she still has to buy ingredients somewhere.

In books, words are as important an ingredient as ink and paper (more so, I'd say. At least, I've never bought a book just because it had awesome paper). It stands to reason the author providing those words should be compensated for their contribution. The fact that the contribution is not a physical substance doesn't lessen the value it adds to the final product (otherwise, why would anyone charge for e-books, ever?). Where value is obtained, the source should be compensated.

If the printers/distributors feel the words of one author aren't worth the asking price, they're welcome to go to the competition and find other words that are less expensive, or even free (public domain as it exists today). There's no shortage of words to fill their books.

I'd also like to point out that, while the people you mentioned are undeniably "doing the work today," they're not doing the work of an author. They're printing, distributing, and selling. If they want words for free but aren't happy with any of the public-domain options, they're welcome to sit down and write, just as a baker weary of paying for sugar and flour is welcome to grow wheat and sugarcane in the backyard.

Albedo
05-01-2015, 12:33 AM
Certainly they're entitled to the fruits of their own labor. However, without the words to fill the books, they have no product.

A baker can make and sell cakes, but they still have to buy their ingredients somewhere.

In books, words are as important an ingredient as ink and paper (more so, I'd say. At least, I've never bought a book just because it had awesome paper). It stands to reason the author providing those words should be compensated for their contribution. The fact that the contribution is not a physical substance doesn't lessen the value it adds to the final product (otherwise, why would any charge for e-books, ever?). Where value is obtained, the source should be compensated.

FWIW, I think copyright should last until the creator's death, with some way of giving a grace period to the direct descendants. (70 years is way too long.) But 50 years total is still much more generous than a patent period, and unlike other forms of IP, copyright is free of charge, so there's that. Isn't it a bit unfair to the creators of Viagara?

Tazlima
05-01-2015, 12:41 AM
and unlike other forms of IP, copyright is free of charge, so there's that.

I said that where there's value, the source of that value should be compensated and I stand by that statement. Therefore, perhaps copyright shouldn't be free of charge? Certainly there's value in holding a copyright.

(Now I'm playing devil's advocate). :)

kuwisdelu
05-01-2015, 12:57 AM
I'd approach the question from the opposite angle. Assuming a profit is being made, who is more deserving of that money than the creator of the work that's generating the profits? Who has greater claim on a written work than the author?

Why should anyone "deserve" to profit?

Authors should be able to make a living, of course, but after a certain point, all art should fall into the public domain. I think that point should be at most the lifetime of the artist, and possibly less.

If someone else can figure out how to profit from public domain works while the original author can't, then I would say that person is indeed more deserving of profit at that point than the original author.

Weirdmage
05-01-2015, 03:13 AM
Good. Can you too? Common law.



Despite the fact that similar circumstances may appear in the future. Or unless you want us to forget about that.



Unless the rightsholder decides to let them do so.



Note that what I am saying is that vaguely similar works are not being decried about. Those fall under Fair Use rules quite easily. Nor am I saying that similar(1) works should fall outside of the copyright. What I am saying is over the rules over adaptations are a bit too strict.

So a bit more fleshed out concept of what I am adjusting to:

(2) 50-70 years (pick which): monopolist control of work, including adaptations
(3) Life+50 after monopolist control: Similar copies, excluding adaptations
(4) Potentially forever: to the heirs, the manuscript and notes (drafts, character sketches and such) to be doled out as trade secrets.



So with the first bit (2), someone reads your work and tries to make a movie off of it? Need to ask permission and license the use. This is to abide by the common law definition.

Second bit (3) means you are selling copies of the book. You get to decide whether or not who gets to release it. Adaptations no longer need the permission but that doesn't mean they get to be privy to the manuscript and notes - something that is useful for those trying to do a faithful representation. Faithful representations, I believe are potentially more lucrative. See: Lord of the Rings movies. The second bit abides by the droit d'auteur but is separated from the common law definition.

Third bit (4): useful for those trying to do a faithful representation. The understanding that if someone can make a lot of money just based off of what is published, then there is significant creativity and effort being put forth by the adaptation of it. But if they need to say that they used the notes to make that money, then further payment must be expected.

(1) Similar being a somewhat strict definition here.

What I am effectively saying is that something that is A) used by the creator and B) released to the public commands payment. Custodians of a right, if they are not the creator, should have less consideration. Extensions should have some justification beyond droit d'auteur, a foreign import on our legal system.

A) I have already addressed most of this.
B) You are not answering what I have asked.
C) Much of what you say makes absolutely no sense at all. when taken into the context of A) and B).

Weirdmage
05-01-2015, 03:23 AM
My "argument" was in response to your comment that it was "very telling" that no one was using more recent examples.

Yes, Lovecraft basically Creative Commonsed his mythos. Without that, and his work passing into public domain, all the derivative works that exist today would not. Also some of his work was made public domain earlier than it otherwise would have because of a failure to renew the copyright.

Under the more extended schemes, his work would still be under copyright and nobody could use "Cthulhu" without payinng his estate.

You are still ignoring the facts about HPL.
And you are totally ignoring the context, that I have clarified several times now, of the comment you answered.
I am trying to have an argument in good faith. You are ignoring repeated clarifications from me.

Weirdmage
05-01-2015, 03:44 AM
I'll ask again. Why is it so important to limit creator rights?
I have been talking about the purpose of copyright being to secure the rights, and income, of creators. No-one who is opposed to that seems inclined to answer why that is so important to them..
I posited in post #206 some of my problems with the arguments for public domain. The people who posit a limit to copyright in some form has yet to answer those.
I have yet to see anyone who do not approve of current copyright give an actual argument for anything that is relevant to the present day in this thread.

I started out a few years ago with life+25 being accepatable. After that I have seen anti-present-copyroght arguments, and now I am honestly for perpetual copyright. That is because the arguments of the "limits to copyright" side always have a lot to desire.

kuwisdelu
05-01-2015, 05:20 AM
I'll ask again. Why is it so important to limit creator rights?
I have been talking about the purpose of copyright being to secure the rights, and income, of creators. No-one who is opposed to that seems inclined to answer why that is so important to them.

Ultimately, I think the contribution to society is more important than a creator's rights to profit indefinitely.

I think it is a great boon to civilization and culture that anyone can read Shakespeare for free, and any school can put on one of his plays without having to pay royalties to his descendants. (For example.)

To limit that contribution to society by copyright is what I think needs heavy justification.

I think authors need to be able to make a living, but having 14 years or so to profit off one work seems like plenty to me. An author's lifetime might be reasonable, too. Longer than the author's lifetime is completely unreasonable and indefensible, IMO.

(Incidentally, I would also support a higher price for books if necessary; I think fiction is currently undervalued.)

Edit: I suppose one's core artistic philosophy is also pertinent here. I don't view art as "belonging" to the artist. I view all art as belonging to the world, to the public, to humankind. The only justification for copyright, therefore, is so that artists can make an income. To that extent, there is no justification for copyright being longer than an artists' lifetime, and a shorter copyright creates incentive to continue creating rather than rest on one's laurels.

Xelebes
05-01-2015, 06:31 AM
A) I have already addressed most of this.
B) You are not answering what I have asked.
C) Much of what you say makes absolutely no sense at all. when taken into the context of A) and B).

A) No, you have not addressed any of it.
B) You're not answering what I have asked.
C) Much of what you say makes absolutely no sense at all when taken into context of A) and B)

So call it a draw.


Edit: I suppose one's core artistic philosophy is also pertinent here. I don't view art as "belonging" to the artist. I view all art as belonging to the world, to the public, to humankind. The only justification for copyright, therefore, is so that artists can make an income. To that extent, there is no justification for copyright being longer than an artists' lifetime, and a shorter copyright creates incentive to continue creating rather than rest on one's laurels.

This is the underpinning of my belief on art.

Amadan
05-01-2015, 06:31 AM
You are still ignoring the facts about HPL.
And you are totally ignoring the context, that I have clarified several times now, of the comment you answered.
I am trying to have an argument in good faith. You are ignoring repeated clarifications from me.


No, I am not. Your argument is that Lovecraft's work would now be public domain anyway, because (a) it's been long enough, and (b) he made it so. My argument is that if his work had been copyrighted under the current regime (life + 70), most of his work would have only a few years ago become public domain, and most of the the last half century of Lovecraftian works would not have been produced, but for his permission. Consider what might have been produced from authors who were less generous about letting other people share in their worlds and create derivative works.

(No, I do not think all authors should be required to do that in their lifetimes - I am just pointing out the benefits that do exist as a result.)

"Bad faith" is a very strong accusation, and rarely made in good faith.

Twick
05-01-2015, 07:05 AM
Cool.

No way copyright should last longer than the creator's lifetime.

14 years seems reasonable. I'd be amenable to lifetime, too, I suppose.

But why should one be able to profit into perpetuity from work one did decades ago?

Because they did it?

Why should one be able to profit from work one didn't do?

Why does it "increase creativity" to encourage people to write what are basically fan fics, rather than to take the risks of creating something new?

Xelebes
05-01-2015, 07:24 AM
Because they did it?

Why should one be able to profit from work one didn't do?

Why does it "increase creativity" to encourage people to write what are basically fan fics, rather than to take the risks of creating something new?

What is the point of creating something, everything, from scratch? What is the point of putting up the charade that you are doing something original (like 50 Shades of Grey) when you can make that direct reference and make sure people understand that reference?

(This is partially a rhetorical question but I realise that this question does intersect with my flimsy proposal.)

kuwisdelu
05-01-2015, 08:38 AM
Because they did it?

If I invent a new drug and patent it, I only get exclusive rights to profit from it for 20 years before others can make it, too.

Ultimately, it benefits us more as a society that more people gain access to that drug than my ability to profit from it.

I think the same applies to art.


Why should one be able to profit from work one didn't do?

This happens in all industries. It's called "bureaucracy".

But more seriously, if someone can figure out how to get me to pay for a public domain work that I can get for free, then IMO they deserve to profit.


Why does it "increase creativity" to encourage people to write what are basically fan fics, rather than to take the risks of creating something new?

Many of the great works of literature are "fan fics". See all of the works that use the works of Shakespeare, Jane Austen, etc.

I view literature as a great conversation across time. Using and responding to other works is a part of that conversation, IMO, and derivative works are an incredibly important part of literature.

aruna
05-01-2015, 09:13 AM
See, I would be very happy to write for free and have my work in the public domain from the get-go -- in a perfect world, where everything else was free, and greed and exploitation did not exist.

But this is a tough, dog-eat-dog world where everyone is fighting for his or her share and there are sharks only too eager to strip you bare just so THEY can profit.

Kuwi, I don't like to use ageist arguments but you ARE very young and have not yet had to deal with the struggles of raising a family in such a world, or growing old in such a world.

I am a basically peaceloving, non-materialistic person. I actually love the Indian attitude of years gone by, whereby artists worked anonymously, as a gift to society.
But that cannot work in a corrupt world.

In this world, I don't see a writer's product as anything different from any other businessperson's product. Because Culture, seems to be your only argument, you anti-copyright folk. Culture is some exalted, high-up idealialised good that "belongs to the world"? Nonsense.

The books a writer produces are his business. No different from any other business. Nothing special about them. Some are terrible, some are brilliant. A book is not necessarily "art" and something higher up just, well -- Because Culture. It's a business, pure and simple. And it belongs to its founder.


Nope, I am back to my first argument. Books aren't special and neither are writers. They are businesspeople who have created a gizmo, so let the market, readers, decide if that gizmo is of value or not. Just let it be. You don't have the right to take away a business, just because "Culture is Special and belongs to the World".

There are a LOT of books out there that are utter crap. They are not special. If a book really is special, a true contribution to World Culture, we'll only find out maybe a century from now, when we are long dead, because it will have survived that long. THAT is Culture.

Treat writers just like other businesspeople. Because that is what they are. Get rid of this idiotic "oh but books are Culture and they are SOOOO special" crap. For the most part they are entertainment, nothing more. Fun. Like a popsickle. If I produce popsickles I can pass the business on to my kids. Same with my books.

I've made a will and my kids are on it for my copyright. If I didn't have kids I'd put a charity on there instead. It's my business. I can do with it as I like. It's not yours. Go and start your own business, hairbrushes or popsickles or books. You can't have mine. If my business flops, too bad.

Now, in a perfect world, I'd be singing an entirely different song...

kuwisdelu
05-01-2015, 09:30 AM
Kuwi, I don't like to use ageist arguments but you ARE very young and have not yet had to deal with the struggles of raising a family in such a world, or growing old in such a world.

Well, yes. And for better or worse, I was taught that I was highly unlikely to make a living as a writer.

Personally, I don't think that has anything to do with the extent of copyright, but rather with how the modern world views art (or "content", if you'd prefer) and how it undervalues it.

So yes, I've wasted many years making sure I will be okay financially even if I never sell a single book. I wish it didn't have to be that way. But I sure don't blame copyright, or think a shorter copyright would hurt me.

Personally, I think higher book prices and people highly valuing fiction again would be far more important in authors being able to make a dependable income again versus a long copyright. In fact, I think a ridiculously long copyright (anything longer than lifetime is ridiculous, IMO) is one of the major reasons people currently undervalue content — they resent content creators as selfish rather than value their output. Even though that perspective is misguided when it comes to most content creators.

(I do understand it, especially when I read some authors' reactions to the idea of a shorter copyright.)


In this world, I don't see a writer's product as anything different from any other businessperson's product. Because Culture, seems to be your only argument, you anti-copyright folk. Culture is some exalted, high-up idealialised good that "belongs to the world"? Nonsense.

The books a writer produces are his business. No different from any other business. Nothing special about them. Some are terrible, some are brilliant. A book is not necessarily "art" and something higher up just, well -- Because Culture. It's a business, pure and simple. And it belongs to its founder.


Nope, I am back to my first argument. Books aren't special and neither are writers. They are businesspeople who have created a gizmo, so let the market, readers, decide if that gizmo is of value or not. Just let it be. You don't have the right to take away a business, just because "Culture is Special and belongs to the World".

There are a LOT of books out there that are utter crap. They are not special. If a book really is special, a true contribution to World Culture, we'll only find out maybe a century from now, when we are long dead, because it will have survived that long. THAT is Culture.

Treat writers just like other businesspeople. Because that is what they are. Get rid of this idiotic "oh but books are Culture and they are SOOOO special" crap. For the most part they are entertainment, nothing more. Fun. Like a popsickle. If I produce popsickles I can pass the business on to my kids. Same with my books.

Well, I am coming at this from the perspective of someone whose only "business" and entrepreneurial inclinations are in science rather than marketing.

So if I were going into business, I would be primarily dealing with patents rather than trademarks.

Patents only last 20 years or so.

So as I pointed out earlier, were I to invent a new drug or a new computer algorithm (the latter being more likely), I would only have 20 years or so to profit from it exclusively.

So from a "business" perspective, artists have it really good compared to creators in other fields.

So from my perspective, if writers were treated just like other businesspeople, then copyright would be 20 years.

Which seems fair to me.

Short of Mickey Mouse (to whom our current US copyright laws owe their crazy-long extent), please show me a business field in which creators hold exclusive rights to their creative works for as long as artists do. Because if authors and other content creators were treated "just like businesspeople" are in other industries, then copyright would be much shorter.

Edit: Incidentally, I have actually considered beginning a start-up after graduating. I have a few ideas for unique algorithms, particularly when it comes to recommending books. Whatever my product was, I would own it for far less time, and have a far shorter window to profit from it, than I would any book I write.

Edit 2: Incidentally, incidentally, when trying to think about ways to test some of the above ideas, I ran into problems because of copyright. My ideas are for recommending books to readers, similar to what Amazon et al. does, but based on actual text content rather than user ratings. However, I couldn't actually obtain any data to try out these ideas except for Project Gutenberg books, which aren't very relevant anymore when it comes to recommending things to modern readers. One more example of how copyright can hold back new ideas.

Edit 3: The only reason I want to be a writer is because I think books are special. Otherwise I wouldn't bother. I'd find a good job and make a lot of money and be happy with that. But I don't want to do that, because fiction is important to me. I think it is special. If I didn't, I wouldn't bother writing it. Maybe I'm young and dumb. Oh well.

aruna
05-01-2015, 09:45 AM
Personally, I think higher book prices and people valuing content again are more important than a long copyright.

To me, it's the opposite. Low prices for books. My publisher's books have low prices, below $2 for an ebook. That means, lots more people get to read them than if the prices were high. That's making "culture" available. Really good books will survive, because people will recommend them on, and that's the time to raise prices.

kuwisdelu
05-01-2015, 09:59 AM
To me, it's the opposite. Low prices for books. My publisher's books have low prices, below $2 for an ebook. That means, lots more people get to read them than if the prices were high. That's making "culture" available. Really good books will survive, because people will recommend them on, and that's the time to raise prices.

I know others see things differently. I think books are worth more than $2. I'd rather give a book away for free.

Perhaps part of my perspective is my interest in the tech industry, where early adopters bear the brunt of the cost of new technologies, before they come down in price for the rest of us.

What makes sense to me is to pay a high price to read a new book now, or wait several years to read it for free.

Edit: To compare to other businesses... Pay the high price for a new drug, or wait several years for the generic version. It's not as if "culture" is the only "special" thing that can be viewed this way. It's already how things work in many other areas of "business".