1. Earp

    Earp Contributor Contributor

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    U.S. vs. the World - Copyright

    Discussion in 'Traditional Publishing' started by Earp, Jan 2, 2018.

    Seems unfair to me, and I'll admit I have downloaded works I wanted to read from Australian (?) sites, but I have always thought that copyright should die with the author, and no trademark loophole either, Disney be damned.

    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/xw4gwd/public-domain-drought
     
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  2. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I agree with you and I'm curious to see how things go in the near future seeing as Mickey Mouse is set to go into the Public Domain again in the next few years.
     
  3. Shenanigator

    Shenanigator Has the Vocabulary of a Well-Educated Sailor. Contributor

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    There's a big factual inaccuracy in that opinion piece. Copyright has nothing to do with why film preservation is lagging behind. They were already behind the eight ball when people started becoming interested in it, because of the rate at which the stuff disintegrates. There are plenty of ways around the copyright for organizations who want to digitize them with a true goal of preservation, as opposed to a profit motive.

    I'm good with "Life of the Author, Plus" because it accounts for copyright holders who die young leaving small children behind.
     
  4. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Why do you feel copyright should end with the death of the author?

    Shouldn't the author's heirs benefit from what the author has labored to build/create over a lifetime? Isn't it his or her property?

    Although not a perfect comparison, should a business built by someone (such as a restaurant) be lost to the family/heirs upon the owner's death? Auctioned off by the state and the proceeds distributed to everyone evenly, or a property, such as the farm, revert to public land, and whatever is on the property allowed to be taken away by anyone that comes across it?

    What about financial savings and investments made by an individual? Should those be given up to the state or distributed to everyone evenly upon death? What about patents, should those even exist?

    An author could make their work public domain prior to death, or have a will that does so, just as an individual does with any sort of wealth--donate it to a charity or the state or whatever, if he or she chooses--or the heirs that receive it could. But you believe that the author should have no rights or claim to pass on or conserve what they have created upon their death? Why?
     
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  5. Earp

    Earp Contributor Contributor

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    Sure, and that's the only contrary argument that makes some sense to me, though as you said, it's not a perfect comparison. With your examples, there are physical assets involved, whose disposition would need to be accounted for. Maybe we could compromise by extending copyright to an author's heirs for a limited period of time, but if the copyright is sold, it passes to the public domain.

    There's a lot more involved in this, including the question: should rich and powerful companies like Disney be able to bribe members of Congress to repeatedly extend the copyright term on their cash cows (or mice)?
     
    Last edited: Jan 2, 2018
  6. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I actually don't think this is a horrible idea. Why should someone be able to live off of the labours of another person without contributing anything of their own just because that person shared some genetics? If my father died and left me a farm and within 50 years of his death, I was unable to support myself to the point of having invested in that land enough to make it my own, then it should go to people who could use it better.
     
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  7. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Why shouldn't the person who labored for the wealth/property (including intellectual)/business be able to direct how it will be distributed after his or her death? Why should it even matter that the recipient contributed or not?

    Does that mean you are entitled to lay claim to a slice (however small) of everyone's labors and efforts? Through taxes, doesn't that happen already, but it's not enough? Taxes are just a down payment toward eventual confiscation of all assets to be evenly distributed to you and everyone else?

    If someone owns a house, that means upon his or her death the property becomes public domain, to be used however anyone feels it should--decides to move in first, or take away the doors, windows, siding, vegetable garden, or the state gets to auction it off to use the proceeds as they see fit?

    Where the 'not horrible idea' leads? Consider: Should the children be evicted from the home so the state can sell it, including their beds, clothes and pets? It's not like they (the children) contributed to any of it, so the father and/or mother have no right to pass any of it on to them. Any wealth in the banks or investments would not go to the children. They would, of course, become wards of the state, or become adopted by relatives, but none of their parent's assets would be available to help raise them to adulthood. Or maybe the children could have access to their parents assets until they reach adulthood, and then have to return or pay it back to the state/everyone else. Sort of a loan, because they really didn't have any part in creating the wealth their parents established, and they subsequently used. They/the children should probably pay interest too. Or maybe there should be a sliding scale included (before interest is tacked on). If a child is less than 1 year old, they get 100% of their parent's assets, but if they are ten they get 50%, and at fifteen, they only get 25%, and if they're over 19, zero %, calculated upon the time of their parent's death. The state and everybody else confiscates and gets the rest, and gets paid back eventually, when the child starts making payments on the assets utilized (that they didn't help create), as adults.
     
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  8. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    There is a time frame when copyright expires/limited period of time. For works created today, I think it's life of the author, plus 70 years. Intellectual assets have value, and this helps to ensure that value remains for a time, just as it would for physical assets.

    Maybe the voters should oust those in congress that accept such bribes?
     
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  9. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    50 years after the death of the parents, they really shouldn't be children anymore. That sounds like a medical issue to me. Or were you referring to the children of the children of the person who passed away? Well, assuming that the child of the original person waited until they were, I dunno, 25, that means that their children would also be 25 by the time 50 year time limit ran out. Or were you referring to their children? If two solid generations can't get their wherewithal together enough to keep hold employment, whose fault is that really?
     
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  10. newjerseyrunner

    newjerseyrunner Contributor Contributor

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    I think death + 70 years is fine. I think John Updike's relatives should receive royalties for his work, but I don't think Mary Shelly's should.

    I think it should be up to the relatives to decide what to do. If they're well off enough or they simply think it's best to allow the public to access it, then they can chose to do that themselves. (For example, I'm sure that Carl Sagan's widow knows that the entirely of Cosmos is on Youtube, but I'm sure she also believes that's where Carl would want it to be.)
     
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  11. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    I’m fine with death plus a few decades. The issue with US copyright is that nothing is likely to ever go out of copyright again—it keeps being extended.
     
  12. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    The point is it should not matter to anyone else what is done with what an individual has accumulated via work, investments, creation, etc. upon their death, beyond making sure debts, taxes and other obligations are taken care of first. If the deceased chose to donate it to charity or the government, or give it to relatives or some random neighbor down the street, why should they be deprived of that opportunity?

    Having already paid taxes on the earnings and investments, why is it appropriate for you or anyone else, through the government, to lay claim to any wealth or potential wealth (ie earnings via copyright)?

    Why would it be appropriate for the government to immediately take ownership of any and all assets, tangible and intangible, upon that individual's death?

    If a child/offspring, or a charity, or even the government or random beneficiary of the assets does well with it (by whatever definition), or squanders it (by whatever definition), what business is that of yours or the government? Are you saying that what the individual earned in life is not really theirs, but actually the community's/government's?
     
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  13. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    The analogy doesn’t altogether work, because most of these “houses” (old copyrighted works) are sitting empty (no longer in print or sold.) I think that there may be precedent for seizing abandoned houses in some jurisdictions.

    Of course, that only addresses one part of the issue—the loss of parts of our culture because their owners won’t or can’t publish them.

    The other part of the issue is the fact that we can’t build on existing works because they stay in copyright forever. West Side Story, Rent, Scrooged, countless other and no doubt better examples, are inspired by older works.
     
  14. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    You’re focusing on money. The goal of “author’s life plus x years” is not to take money away from the creator or their heirs. The goal is to eventually free the cultural assets for less controlled use.

    That may deprive a small percentage of creators of money, but it is a small percentage. After a certain number of decades, the body of lost work is very large, and the population still profiting from that work is very small.

    To put it more bombastically: we’re losing chunks of our culture in the cause of maximizing Disney’s profits.
     
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  15. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    But, if the abandoned house is not decaying or dragging down the neighborhood, being maintained (as the copyright is maintained) then what is the purpose of seizing. Abandoned houses that are decaying, infested with rats, or worse, posing a fire hazard and dragging down the release value of those houses around it...then seizing the abandoned house makes sense. A work that remains in copyright does not drag down or blight a literary neighborhood.

    If a work is that important then, that is damaging the culture, someone or group that recognizes this, could purchase it. As an aside, this notion brings to mind Harper Lee's second novel that, if I recall, she did not ever want to publish. But as her mind failed, her lawyer, and possibly a relative, had it published, with Harper Lee's permission (although there are many who suggest otherwise). In this case, what's done is done. Harper Lee had gone to court over other things related to her writing, and I suspect she might have if she truly thought she was duped or tricked. Others argue after her stroke and failing health, and troubles with memory, it wasn't necessary her choice. But what I do also remember is so many readers and literary folks bemoaning that if it isn't published, a potentially culturally important literary work will be lost. That, notion, bothered me. It was Harper Lee's decision. Her work, to decide, not others who desired its publication for various reasons. (sorry--sort of out off topic for this post).

    Outsiders telling the owner of a literary work what they should do with it, even forcing a hand, makes me wonder.

    My answer to his is: So? If you cannot build upon some else's existing work, use creative energies to create your own, totally unrelated work. I think now is 70 years after the life of the author dies for copyright to exist on a piece. It's different for older works, but in any case, it's not forever.
     
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  16. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    I am not advocating against the 70 years after the author dies for copyright limitation. I am questioning copyright ceasing immediately upon an author's death, which several individuals posting above advocated for.
     
  17. ChickenFreak

    ChickenFreak Contributor Contributor

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    Oh! Then we mostly agree. (I say mostly because I might go below 70, and I’d like to see some solution for rescuing abandoned works—say, you can legally make a copy if you pay some price to the copyright holder.)
     
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  18. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    None of my post was about IMMEDIATE dispersal of funds. I agree with you that there should be a waiting period after the persons death because unfortunately sometimes when people die they do leave dependents. But putting a time limit on that wealth that you can work with to actually get yourself situated financially before it reverts back to the government. As much as we might not like to admit it, the only thing we brought into this world with us is the potential to do things and everything else we draw from society, so when we die, shy should those things we pulled from society not be made available for other people who are willing to work just as hard as we are to get them? This is my problem with Disney. As a company they 'inherited' a lot of wealth, and they worked hard and produced lots of new things and did great with that wealth. I'm not saying we should take all of these new things from them. When their copyright expires, it's only the first cartoons produced and the actual image of Mickey Mouse that enters the public domain. This opens those assets to others who would want to create something with them and possibly even make money with them. This would bother me less if Disney themselves hadn't made most of their money off of using Public Domain works, but they're effectively acting like a child who goes around stealing peoples candy and then crying "not fair" when makes a move to grab some of theirs.
     
  19. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    I guess where we disagree (I bolded areas of your post for reference) is that you believe all wealth is the government's and we as citizens are just allowed to use it for a while and must give it back. I don't believe that we draw from society, or drain it, but people by their creation, ingenuity and hard work contribute to to society, build it, enable it to flourish. Yes, there are individuals whose health or circumstances might be considered drawing or being a drain, but we (I believe) are talking about those that have created intellectual property (such as novels) for example, that have value. I don't believe that all property (physical and intellectual) and financial assets are the government's, or become the default property of the government once it's created...just that the creator can use it for a while before it's eventually confiscated.

    You indicated you agreed with the original post: "Seems unfair to me, and I'll admit I have downloaded works I wanted to read from Australian (?) sites, but I have always thought that copyright should die with the author, and no trademark loophole either, Disney be damned."
    So, end of copyright upon death of the author, it becomes public domain...it is in essence immediately dispersed to the public. From that moment forward, the ability of the heirs to collect royalties from or sell rights to the work(s) is largely diminished, if not eliminated.
     
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  20. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    Society, or humanity, not the government, but basically.

    Because a person can be born from nothing, be given nothing, take nothing, but still produce something?

    Exactly, which is why these assets should be returned to people who can use them to to further contribute to society instead of horded away somewhere.

    Not my quote.
     
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  21. Selbbin

    Selbbin The Moderating Cat Staff Contributor

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    But that's your choice.
     
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  22. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    I agree.
     
  23. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    No, it is not. But you said you agreed with it, and that was the point.

    You're more than welcome to donate all of your assets to the state when you pass on.

    I won't be doing that. I pay my taxes, do my civic duty, and strive to be a productive and supportive member of society. That will suffice. I will not be giving the house and property my wife and I have purchased over the years to the state to redistribute to someone else. Nor do I see a reason to relinquish our wedding bands to the state. My children can decide what to do with the house and property, etc., after whatever debts that may be in existence are settled.

    As they (my children) will be allowed to do with/manage the royalties and rights my published (and even my unpublished) novels might avail them of, based upon the Copyright law permitting 70 years after my death.
     
    Last edited: Jan 3, 2018
  24. The Dapper Hooligan

    The Dapper Hooligan (V) ( ;,,;) (v) Contributor

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    You mean I agreed with to a post that's main point was about how unfair copyright laws have become and then spent several posts explaining the areas where I don't agreeing with that post, but because you didn't bother reading them or you can't think of a solid argument against them, you'd rather ignore them?
     
  25. TWErvin2

    TWErvin2 Contributor Contributor

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    Yeah, I read your statements. Unlike you, I did not ignore statements, and responded to them. I did not see the big advocating against Disney's copyright/trade mark ending, or against copyright ending with the author's life. I more got the impression that you advocated, since we get everything from society, it should go right back to society.

    It's pretty clear we're not going to agree, and that's okay. Expressing opinions and discussing, even if it doesn't alter opinions, is still positive.
     

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