erikars: (Default)
I heard a great proposal today, call it "Intellectual Privilege" instead of "Intellectual Property" so people do not get distracted by the obviously ridiculous idea that IP (which exists to give an incentive to creator) is analogous to physical property (which exists because we acknowledge that people have certain rights over non-reproducible items).

ETA: And with the power of search, I can even find the original proposal, although I have not ready it yet.
erikars: (Default)
Ars Technica has an interesting article on the parallels between property and copyright. Two key points are made by the article. The article discusses the degree to which copyright and property law are analogous and the degree to which they are not.

The article also points out that the history of property laws is actually quite turbulent and does not lend hope to those who think stronger copyright laws are a panacea for their current woes. In particular, the article states that
The fundamental lesson is that property rights are not—and never have been—created by Congressional fiat. Property rights emerge spontaneously from the social fabric of a community. The job of the legislature is not to create a property system from scratch, but to formalize the property arrangements that communities have already agreed upon among themselves. A system of property rights will only be effective if it is widely viewed as legitimate.
erikars: (Default)
Can anyone who is less skeptical of the current state of copyright law than I am tell me how the estates of authors retaining copyright over the dead author's works "promote[s] the Progress of Science and useful Arts"? (This being the latest of many examples that reinforce to me the stupidity of extending copyright beyond the lifetime of the author now, however reasonable it might have been in the past.)

ETA: Just in case it is not clear, I am not arguing that the Tolkien estate should not be suing Newline if Newline violated the terms of their contract; a contract was made and it should be followed. What I am against is the existence of the Tolkien estate (and the estates of other dead artists) in the first place.
erikars: (Default)
What ever happened to copyright being about the public's interests?

(Actually, the article gives a teensy bit of hope, but the fact that the mentioned legislation is even being considered is ridiculous.)
erikars: (Default)
You know something is wrong with copyright law when Best Buy tries to claim sale prices are copyrighted. Even though the claim seems obviously illegitimate, the fact that Best Buy would even think to make it shows that copyright law has gone way too far beyond its original intent.
erikars: (Default)
Ars Technica has an interesting article summarizing a recent report from the UK on Intellectual Property. The report contrasts models for dealing with IP. It looks at two attitudes towards IP; it can be treated as propertly, and it can be treated as a public good. The different models highlight the different balance between the two. The first treats IP solely as property during the (forever extending) term of monopoly. The second treats IP primarily as property and secondarily as a public good. The third switches the priorities, and the fourth treats IP primarily as a public good. The first approach is approximately American copyright law. The second is approximately British copyright law. The third compared to academic publishing, and the fourth likened to a community like Wikipedia. The recommendation of the committee was that the UK move from the second model to the third model.

This makes sense to me. Obviously the fourth model is not always appropriate. The first model, as we are finding in this day of easy ripping, burning, and mixing (to borrow a little of Apple's IP) is increasingly unsubstainable. That leaves a choice between the second and third models. The second model can be seen as more pro-business (although, as the article points out, it is really more pro-a-particular-type-of-business) and third model more in the public interest. Looking at it that way, it seems obvious to me that the government should promote the third model. The government's role is to work in the public interest first; it should work in the interest of business only in so far as that is in the public interest. The third model would support this by trying to provide enough IP protection to encourage creators to create while providing enough freedom of use to allow users to be even more creative.
erikars: (Default)
Ars article on MS adding support for Creative Commons licenses in Office. I think this is an excellent idea, and Microsoft's support of the Creative Commons licenses further discredits the mistaken belief that Creative Commons licenses are anti-copyright. Creative Commons licenses are exactly the opposite. The licenses are about giving copyright owners more power over how others may use their works. The licenses formalize what copyright owners could always do but did not have the knowledge or time to do on a work by work basis.
erikars: (Default)
An article on the use of copyright by the James Joyce estate. To some degree, what the estate is doing is reasonable; people want to protect themselves and their family from what they perceive to be uncomplimentary descriptions. However, that ought not be the purpose of copyright. The purpose of copyright is to encourage creativity. Copyright on a published work should die with the creator. Resting on the works of one's ancestors does not encourage creativity.

The matter is different for private works such as letters or manuscripts. Those were not presented by the author for consumption by the general public. Therefore, they should be protected beyond the life of the creator. I would say that they should be protected for all time unless the owners of the rights to those works give permission or the works become orphaned. Once permission is given and the private document is published for general consumption, permission cannot be revoked. In terms of existing legal law, I would say that private documents should be treated a bit like trade secrets.
erikars: (Default)
I just finished reading the report Will Fair Use Survive? Free Expression in the Age of Copyright Control. It is a bit long, but worth reading if you are interested in copyright. Some of what I noticed in the report is below. I am feeling lazy, so forgive me if it is incoherent.

The report presents case studies, surveys, and interviews which show that copyright often has a chilling effect on creativity. It does not promote creativity as it was meant to. One illuminating statement from the report:
Tony White has also been educating himself about copyright law, "but what I find discouraging is, the more you learn about copyright and fair use, the more of a chilling effect it has on your creative expression. Greater education about this topic, for artists, seems to have a chilling effect."

There is much discussion of copyright holders using copyright to try kill criticism of their work. Often, the users of the work had strong fair use claims, but litigation was used as a threat. Because litigation is so risky and expensive, critics will often give in instead of taking the risk of being sued.

Copyright owners often use copyright to prevent uses of their works they do not agree with. This is, certainly, one of their rights. In my opinion, copyright holders should be required to be neutral. They should be required to license their works to anyone willing to pay for the rights, even if the work is used in ways they do not approve. If you do not want your work appropriated by the culture, do not release it publicly.

The article also reports that scholars are often frustrated in their work because photographs of public domain paintings are copyrighted. This seems rather silly to me. If a work is public domain and a photo is taken of it and the photo is nothing more than a photographic reproduction of the work (just the work, not used creatively), it should not be under copyright.

The report discusses how fair use is unclear, especially for pictures and movies. What is fair use of a movie? Is the image of a single frame fair use? A short snippet of audio? A short snippet of audio with accompanying video? What about pictures? Can, as discussed in the report, a photograph of a copyright mural be used? What about a photograph you take of a painting? What if the picture is just in the background? What if you just use a portion of it? As image becomes a more important part of our culture, what we can do with image likewise becomes more important.


Dec. 31st, 2005 10:11 am
erikars: (Default)
What if I spontaneously say something? Is it in the public domain or do I hold copyright? What if it is a spontaneous speech? Does it matter if I am in a private or public space?

Works sponsored by the government are in the domain. Are the speeches public officials give in that capacity in the public domain? What if they are running for the same position; are their campaign speeches in the public domain? What if they are a public official running for a different office? What if you are just running for a public office?

What if a dog accidently walks in some paint and walks over a sheet and someone decides it is art? Who owns the copyright? The dog? Its owner? The person who decided it was art? Does it make a difference if it is a public or private space? Does it make a difference whether the person who decides it is art wants to use the sheet or take a picture of it?


Dec. 7th, 2005 08:47 pm
erikars: (Default)
Lawrence Lessig linked to the Center for Social Media's Documentary Filmmakers' Statement of Best Practices in Fair Use (pdf). It addresses the concerns of documentary makers, but it is still an interesting read for a member of the general public. The most important point made is that fair use is not dependent on whether or not the context of use is commercial or not. Creators do not have an exclusive right to profit from their work, just an exclusive right to profit directly from their work.

Of course, this is not the last word on fair use. This document does not give any insight into what is fair personal use (e.g., media shifting) or the border between personal fair use and public fair use (a border currently being explored by Google Book Search). Fair use is truly a complex beast.
erikars: (Default)
Apprarently, the creators of this add think owning nothing is a good thing... Personally, I would rather not lose my music collection if a particular company goes out of business.
erikars: (Default)
Well, I'm just getting caught up on my news, so you get to get caught up too!.
erikars: (Default)
More DRM stuff. Something old and something new from Cory Doctorow. He says it better than I can.


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Erika RS

May 2012

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