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The Beatles were able to imagine a world with no religion, no countries and no possessions but not one with no copyright laws.

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@Columbkille I find it amusing that copyrights are a human right (UNHDR) (I support them)

@Aslanmane I support copyright too generally. I think it just goes to show how dumb the song is (and, on a more philosophical level, about how utopian ideologies always fail due to the human nature, often as directly manifested by the proponents of the ideologies themselves). (See also John Kerry flying on his private jet to environmental meetings).

I think the length of protection is too long though. I think something like later of 50 years or life of the artist is long enough. Beyond that and its mostly about legally enforced cash cows for giant media companies.

@Columbkille @Aslanmane The issue with copyrights tend to be that the original creators do not retain them. Most often they are sold to companies that don't care about the creators or the audience's best wishes. Those with economic power can pressure others into doing their bidding.

@josias @Columbkille @Aslanmane As a musician - if I intend a thing to be public domain, I want it to stay public domain. However, the converse is clear - if there is a public, then there is also a private domain. While I dislike the web of laws that have accrued around copyright law, the rampant theft of others' private domain work is what has made those laws multiply. If I produce music that I intend to be sold, I have every intention of enforcing my right to do so. If you have one, it presupposes the other.

The fact that corporations are seemingly best placed (and most willing) to enforce their copyrights is simply an incentive for artists to use those corporations for their copyright management. It'd be nice if every artist could live on donations - but Napster, Limewire and Bittorrent have demonstrated that if theft on a grand scale is possible, it'll happen. Lars might have been pilloried back in the day, but he was right as far as that goes. Corporations own all the catalogs, because the theft's scale is so massive that nobody else has the resources to do something about it. Even so, artists get their work stolen in job lots constantly by folks who just... download it after the DRM is stripped away. We might not like DRM, but we dislike locks on private property we've come to think of as our own, too.

I find any system where heirs don't receive royalties hard to swallow - so I disagree with the "too short" idea. The current system is a decent compromise, if unwieldy - but what law isn't?

@RazorsKiss @Aslanmane @Columbkille

> I find any system where heirs don't receive royalties hard to swallow

This can occur whenever copyrights are sold to another. It doesn't become a matter of who created it, but rather who currently "owns" it.

> It'd be nice if every artist could live on donations - but Napster, Limewire and Bittorrent...

I've heard from some artists that record companies, labels, etc. take large portions of profit, leaving little (even nothing, sometimes) to the artists. One said he even distributed it on Bittorrent with a PayPal link and got more income that way.

We have a grand new way of distributing information freely. It's impractical to prevent the flow of it because someone "owns" it.

I believe it'd be better to compensate the creator as a society, and let everyone have access to it. Trying to restrict who can read/view/watch publications causes problems for everyone.

@josias @Aslanmane @Columbkille Tell that to the authors who can't sell their books anymore because they just get torrented from ARCs.

@RazorsKiss @Aslanmane @Columbkille Of course, it's not going to work when we don't have such a compensation system set up. I'm not advocating complete elimination of copyright, just reform and a better compensation model that better benefits everyone.

@josias @Aslanmane @Columbkille A lot of companies do have such a system - but artists often go with the companies who don't - because they not only have more power to enforce copyrights, but also vast promotion engines. With companies like that, the sheer scale tends to make percentages meaningless, in some ways - because 1% of billions is a wee bit more than 90% of thousands :) To change a lot of what goes on, artists have to change how they deal with labels as much as labels have to change - and for both to change, consumers need to change as well - which I see very little sign of.
@josias @Aslanmane @Columbkille free markets balance that out, eventually. If artists don't get paid by the people managing them, they leave, or quit producing. This is an issue that's been coming to a head for quite some time - but when their "fans" openly, blatantly steal from them - why do you think Spotify exists? It isn't because anyone thinks it is actualyl a good solition - it's just better than Limewire or Napster - and at least the artists get *something* from it, rather than nothing.

I have a pretty boundless contempt for "consumers" who can't be bothered to support the artists they consume, like husks.

@RazorsKiss @Aslanmane @Columbkille I agree completely that artists must be paid for their work. I resent those who avoid supporting artists. But I also resent and despise those who implement systems that subjugate consumers for their own gain, with DRM being the prime example of this in this sphere.

What the consumers "want" isn't really fair when their options are restricted, knowledge is restricted, and motivation is minimal.

@josias @Aslanmane @Columbkille consumers are the ones who brought those restrictions about through rampant, unmitigated theft. I don't feel bad for them at all.

@RazorsKiss @Aslanmane @Columbkille DRM is also used in computers and software in ways not intended on preventing theft, but user control and vendor lock-in instead. What is your opinion of that?

@josias @Aslanmane @Columbkille depends on the situation, I'd imagine. Sure, there is DRM in lots of stuff. There are also lots of valid use cases for DRM - since it is, after all, their software to do with as they will.
copying and sharing are not theft

supporting artists is great. DRM doesn't do that. it's imposed on them as much as on customers by those who exploit and control both.

https://www.fsfla.org/texto/copying-and-sharing-in-self-defense
@lxo I didn't say it did that. Have you read the thread, or are you Twittering? :)

@RazorsKiss @Aslanmane @josias On the "too short" issue, patent terms are only 20 years. In fields like biotechnology, the time from patent application through product delivery can take an enormous amount of time (like, upwards of a decade), meaning the window for monetization before big pharma swoops in with the knockoff is very small. The theory behind this is that it "encourages innovation" because people need to keep up coming with new patents in order to generate income.

I think it's odd to give patents 20 years while copyrights are passed down to heirs. I think it's all about lobbying, and which way the big corporation wins is how the law is structured. So, I'd shorten copyright terms and lengthen patent terms. But that's just my view as someone that does contracts.

The Beatles, though, should have given their music away for free if they were so enamored with no possessions. :)

@Columbkille @RazorsKiss @Aslanmane Patents and copyrights are also very different and can't be compared directly as the same kind of property. Patents are descriptions of an idea that prevent others from using that idea. Copyright is the implementation of such an idea. Patents are broader and give you a monopoly on a concept. Copyright protects your actual works.

@josias @RazorsKiss @Aslanmane That's a good point. I suppose I was thinking of it as "patents are for sciency people" and "copyrights are for artsy people" and "why are we being so generous to artsy people and so tough of sciency people" since that's often how it shakes out, but you are right that there is way more going on there legally.

Random aside: I have a lot of reservations about "process patents" where people try to patent some ridiculously overbroad manufacturing process that their competitors are doing anyways without bothering to patent it. I think that courts are pretty good at striking that stuff down at the end of the day, but there is a whole industry of "patent trolls" that try to file for or buy basically abusive patents and then sue to hold companies hostage. There's a specific jurisdiction in Texas that they try to file in that's known for big jury awards.

(All of this is through the grapevine from folks various industries not personal experience.)

@Columbkille @Aslanmane @josias I think completely opposite - and my dad is a multiple patent holder, all of which have expired, and were done under the auspices of defense contractor work.

Patents are theoretical. Copyrights are practical. Patents are to give the people with the ideas time to put them into practice, and reap the fruit of their labor - both theoretical and practical, through copyright.

I see that josias said roughly the same thing, though :)
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