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What sorts of copyright changes do you believe would best foster innovation and creativity in Canada?
Strong copyright protection that enables creators to benefit financially from their works. Writers, artists, and software designers can already give away their works if they want to, and can create open source projects if they want. Consumers have no "right" whatsoever to the creators' intellectual property, any more than than they have a right to anything else that someone makes and sells. If someone spends several years writing a book, or making an album, or creating a game, they have a right to the long term exploitation of that creation in any way they choose, to support themselves during their lifetime, into their retirement, and to provide for their family after they're gone.
aclausen [2009-07-21 13:29] Comment ID: 210 Reply to: 201
This is an extreme position, and certainly not one that was considered appropriate for much of the history of copyright. From the earliest conceptions of copyright, there was this idea that eventually all ideas must be available to the Commons, or the public domain if you will. The essential idea of copyright was to give a creator a limited period in which to benefit from his or her work before the work was made freely available.
What you're talking about is more extreme even than patent protection. You seem to be advocating, if not an unlimited span, then an incredibly lengthy one.
There is another way to look at this. "Intellectual property" is a legal fiction. When one writes a book or a song, one does not possess a physical piece of property for which any claim can be made. Copyright creates a right where no inherent right existed, allowing you to benefit, but with the caveat that since it is the greater society which is limiting its own rights to your work, your work will not remain forever beyond the access of society.
That's a sort of philosophical underpinning of copyright (at least until Disney managed to convince Congress to give Mickey Mouse perpetual protection).
Now we deal with the practical matter of copyright protection. You can't stop people from making unauthorized copies of work. Every technological and legal attempt made thus far has failed. You can certainly fine people when you catch them, but catching them is neither easy nor reliable. In short, enforcement is at best a crap shoot, and one, particularly when investigators, and more importantly judges and juries, misunderstand the nature of the technologies, can lead to false accusations.
You seem to accuse potential consumers of having a sense of entitlement, and yet yours is just as extreme. Do you think the descendants of Shakespeare (if any survived), should still be profiting from the Portfolio four hundred years after the fact? Do you think that the Vatican should receive compensation for every viewing of reproductions of Michaelangelo's Last Judgement?
rinzertanz [2009-07-21 22:02] Comment ID: 319 Reply to: 210
I personally didn't think P.M's position was all that 'extreme' …
Nothing is more disheartening to a GENUINE living artist then when their work is 'stolen', aka 'borrowed' aka 'copied' WITHOUT their consent, acknowledgement and/or compensation. It doesn't matter what the medium is.
I also found your 'thoughts' about the Public's 'Rights' to Private industry a bit convoluted … Make no mistake, the Original Creator ALWAYS holds the Right to assign the Right to Copy, ie. the Copyright. 'The Public' has NO Right to Claim the Original's works whatsoever, unless, of course, they are going to PAY for it.
Large media corporations can afford the 'FOR FREE' marketing model cuz of product diversification and alternate revenue streams. But an individual self-employed GENUINE artist just cannot SURVIVE if they 'give away' FOR FREE what they have spent their life doing.
If Shakespeare or Michelangelo were alive today they'd likely be swarming the net just like everyone else. They'd be looking for NEW IDEAS, possible models, and potential venues/clients for their Original Creations.
WHat must be understood by GENUINE ARTISTS is that the net is just that, a 'FREE MARKET'. Whatever you put 'on display' there is 'up for grabs', literally.
aclausen [2009-07-21 22:30] Comment ID: 324 Reply to: 319
You use the word "right" a lot, as if intellectual property were some sort of a fundamental liberty, but it isn't. It's a legal construct that cannot really, at least in our legal system, be dated any further back that Elizabethan England. Certainly they have never been considered a fundamental liberty by any document that I am aware of, but perhaps you can enlighten me.
I don't think there's anything convoluted in what I said. Intellectual property is a legal fiction, because it is not real, in the sense that you have a tangible entity (ie. a car, real estate or cash). Essentially society has permitted the creation of this notion that certain classes of creative knowledge can be treated, for a limited period of time, as if they were actual property (in that the "owner" or rather "creator" has a period of monopolistic control). This is seen as a way of encouraging the creation of works. However, the flip side of permitting this artificial monopoly is that it does not exist forever, that at some point the recognition is revoked.
There's another side to this, that any particular occupation is somehow sacrosanct, that it must be guaranteed an existence, even if the force of law must be applied to assure that, in the face of new technologies, the occupation is no longer viable. History does not, so far as I'm aware, have any examples of where occupations that relied upon old technologies or the barriers created by the lack of technologies successfully surviving the advent of new technologies. Perhaps you could point out an example, but to be honest, I don't actually think it exists.
The guild system did not survive the meltdown of feudal Europe with the rise of a Middle Class, save in the very limited scope of the system of tradesmen (ie. apprentice, journeyman, master). The fletcher did not survive the advent of the gunpowder, save in a very limited capacity for hobbiests. The need for blacksmiths was radically shrunken by the advent of the automobile and large-scale steel refining, processing and remanufacturing. If anything survived of these old industries and mercantile concepts, it was pretty much limited to hobbiests, who might be fortunate enough to make a living at it.
I'm not saying that I want copyright eliminated. But I am questioning the underlying notion that just because a lot of people rely upon a certain class of occupation for their income and wellbeing, that the power of the state should or ultimately even can preserve their way of life.
cndcitizen [2009-07-21 23:06] Comment ID: 332 Reply to: 324
Look at the Canada/US auto industry..they failed to adapt to the change in technology and popular choices and are now being outsold by foreign cars that have to travel a lot longer to get here with shipping costs but still have a lower pricetag…plus they are more reliable and are better on gas…
rinzertanz [2009-07-21 23:32] Comment ID: 338 Reply to: 324
hmmmm … There is no question that the 'new media' with it's seeming endless capacity to both 'copy' and 'transmit' data has transformed the once 'distant relationship' between 'the Creator' and 'the Public'. However, I'd argue that the fundamentals remain the same.
If I create something, I am under NO OBLIGATION to either give it away or sell it. It is my Right to Do with it as I so choose. Likewise, if someone tries to take that 'creation' away from me without my consent or without compensation that is known as 'theft'.
In some cultures, theft is still 'disciplined' by the public hacking off of the snitching 'hand'. It is a potent symbol to dissuade CONTINUED trespass.
Mankind has enacted 'laws' to deal with the 'problem' of 'theft' since the beginning of time. And 'theft' is 'theft' whether you live under a communistic or capitalistic 'Rule of Law'. Can we agree on that?
cndcitizen [2009-07-21 23:39] Comment ID: 339 Reply to: 338
I don't think you should go there as you can be stone for holding hands in some countries…
Laws are the will of the people and hacking off hands or persecuting people for fair use of stuff found on the internet is not something you want to get into.
If someone is making money off your work then that is infringment then you can prosecute them under todays laws….
aclausen [2009-07-21 23:48] Comment ID: 345 Reply to: 339
It bothers me that what ultimately is a relatively recent innovation is now some sort of inherent, absolute right. The notion of copyright didn't really come into existence until the 17th century, and it wasn't until the beginning of the 18th century, with the Statue of Anne, that any government actually produced anything resembling copyright protections as we know them.
rinzertanz [2009-07-24 09:53] Comment ID: 766 Reply to: 345
Vassals and their labour were OWNED & EXPLOITED by Royal & Religious Dictatorships.
It is only with the rise of trade between the burgher middle class that 'citizenry' took hold.
LAW MAKING was wrestled away from both the Church & Royal families to protect the growing interests of merchants. 'Democracy', as we've come to inherit it, emerged from these hard won FREEDOMS.
Collectively and individually we can now influence the legal process. Deomocracy CAN get messy as each & every one attempts to balance their own self interest to the 'infringing' demands of The Rest - as this lively forum demonstrates …
aclausen [2009-07-21 23:42] Comment ID: 341 Reply to: 338
What are you talking about. Copyright didn't even exist as such five hundred years ago. If you wanted to make a copy of Pliny the Elder's works, you could do so, and unless Pliny the Elder had a gang of thugs ready to demand a cut for him, there certainly was no legal apparatus to force you to pay or cease.
It truly amazes me just how overboard some pro-copyright supporters can get on this. Talk of "chopping off hands" and mumblings about Communism make you sound more like some nut who just came out of a fallout shelter after forty years, and not someone who is seriously considering any issues.
Copyright exists because society feels there is some benefit. If copyright is made too restrictive, society may end up changing its mind. Most certainly creative works existed long before any notions of intellectual property.
rinzertanz [2009-07-22 00:05] Comment ID: 348 Reply to: 341
Are you an authority on how Pliny the Elder earned his keep? It seems most likely he would have received compensation for his public teachings - (that would include some kind of fee for his 'writings', copied or not) - no?
I used the 'chopping off of hand' illustration to graphically make my point about 'THEFT'. In reply, you whirled off into 'name calling'.
I also referred to 'communism' because your previous remarks of societal claim smacked of it.
Creative works ARE intellectual property. Present tense.
DarkDigitalDream [2009-07-23 13:13] Comment ID: 658 Reply to: 338
Copying a work is not theft, no matter which way you spin it. Copying a work is copying a work. Both the creator and the copier have the work now. Nothing is lost, nothing is stolen.
And you are right. If you create something, it is your right to do with it as you choose. You can lock it away from the world. You can tuck it under your bed. You can even burn it, destroying it entirely. Or you can join the rest of the civilized world and share it.
The choice is yours, and it's a fairly simple one.
canadada [2009-07-23 15:02] Comment ID: 680 Reply to: 658
If I 'create' something NEW and you copy it - WITHOUT MY PERMISSION - that is 'theft', not simply a 'copy'.
As an example, I have spent several decades of my life developing a NEW water converter to turn salt water into sweet. It will revolutionize fresh water supplies on the planet. I've invested my time, and my own savings to do so. If you COPY my 'invention', take it to market and sell/make gazillions WITHOUT compensation to me for MY Original Invention, that IS theft.
If I create something NEW and DO give you my permission to copy it, no problem.
It is the same for a living artist. I have invested my time and my financial resources into the production of something wholly 'unique'. If you copy it - without my permission - it is theft, not simply a copy.
I understand that developments in the arts & science can and do parallel each other. I also understand that we are, by nature, imitating beings. We learn from others: we advance and evolve by copying. We also teach by showing others HOW to copy. We often build on the thoughts/ideas/inventions of others. That's how we are as 'social beings'.
It is also 'correct form' for one who 'borrows' from another to ACKNOWLEDGE the work of the 'Originator'. Ideally, recognition for the work PLUS some monetary compensation to the ORIGINAL inventor/artist/TEACHER is the right thing to do.
To just rip off my work as a 'copy' and then try to say nothing is 'lost or 'stolen' is completely false and disrespectful.
DarkDigitalDream [2009-07-23 15:19] Comment ID: 682 Reply to: 680
Thank you for responding. In this, we do not entirely disagree.
"As an example, I have spent several decades of my life developing a NEW water converter to turn salt water into sweet. It will revolutionize fresh water supplies on the planet. I've invested my time, and my own savings to do so. If you COPY my 'invention', take it to market and sell/make gazillions WITHOUT compensation to me for MY Original Invention, that IS theft. "
First off, your example falls under the category of a patent, not copyright. Secondly, 'theft' is legally defined as: "Dishonest appropriation of property without the owner's consent, with intent to deprive them of its use, either temporarily or permanently", so by semantics alone, copying is not theft.
I do agree that taking your idea to market for 'gazillions of dollars' is absolutely immoral. Thats why I would like to push for a separation between commercial and non-commercial copying.
Finally, I also agree that recognition of the original artist when copying the work is absolutely nessesary. However, I don't agree that direct payment to the artists is.
This final idea of mine is by far the most controvercial. I hope to see a 'free to copy' world unfold in my life time, and we are already making major headway on the front of free/open source software. As a software developer, I am proud to give my work away simply for recognition. My dollar is made in supporting my product, not creating it.
I understand that different mediums have different issues surrounding the 'free to copy' ideals. As a software developer, it is perfectly viable. I can also see it working for the music industry as bands make most of their money on tours anyway. The biggest issue with the music industry is waiting for the record labels to die as their business model becomes obsolete. With the dawn of new technology, there is no longer a need for a middle-man in the equation. Unfortunately they have the money to lobby large legal battles to ensure their continued survival.
On the other hand, I must admit that the film industry is something of an anomaly. To make a great film truely DOES require plenty of expensive equipment. I am having a tough time thinking of a way that a free to copy model will work in this case, yet I believe it can some day happen.
I think we can all agree that the artists themselves deserve to make a living. That is the choice we make every time we give a coin to the person busking on the streets. But there is an excess of greed and corporate overhead that must be trimmed before I am anywhere close to satisfied with the situation at hand.
canadada [2009-07-23 21:08] Comment ID: 713 Reply to: 682
Yes, your distinction between 'patent' and copyright is correct. I was primarilly using the overall 'ownership' 'concept' to concretely illustrate the point.
You claim to be 'copying' only for 'private use'. Whatever. I've seen too many instances where 'private use' has morphed/transformed into 'other use' that ultimately is 'commercial'. The original artist/developer is left out of the loop.
As for your 'free to copy' world, I do tend to agree with you that we are moving in that direction. The only thing that will cap the explosive freebee copy market is a power outage and everyone has to learn how to play an instrument for amusement again … I jest, but perhaps you see my point.
I agree that middle men are a pain in the butt. It is often the case though that the 'artist' is not the best 'salesperson' for their own work, plus no artist in their right mind WANTS to be hustling instead of working on their stuff, ergo, someone else, like an agent or a manager or a license vendor can take over that 'role'. And so businesses GROW. Yes, traditional archaic models are dying, but NEW ones that have essentially the same social features are taking their place. What's changing is the 'old guard'. They are on their way out. The 'new guard' coming in, of course, will be the 'old guard' soon enough… It's just life.
Films are the most expensive art form being produced in our era. Not surprisingly producers vehemently protect their creations from pilfer/copying, unless they are 'fly by nighters' like 'Steal this Film.com'. Film producers who live in the Real World have employed people to pay so that all can eat, have a roof over their heads and develop their families, ie. they have a life.
Next time you see a busker, give him a bill, not a coin. Make his day, ok?
cndcitizen [2009-07-21 22:58] Comment ID: 330 Reply to: 319
Actually Shakespeare was a "copyright infringer"…actually copyright wasn't around at that time, from Oxford:
As was common in the period, Shakespeare based many of his plays on the work of other playwrights and recycled older stories and historical material. His dependence on earlier sources was a natural consequence of the speed at which playwrights of his era wrote; in addition, plays based on already popular stories appear to have been seen as more likely to draw large crowds. There were also aesthetic reasons: Renaissance aesthetic theory took seriously the dictum that tragic plots should be grounded in history
cndcitizen [2009-07-21 23:02] Comment ID: 331 Reply to: 330
sorry hit send too quick:
"One of the reasons there are textual problems is that there was no copyright of writings at the time. As a result, Shakespeare and the playing companies he worked with did not distribute scripts of his plays, for fear that the plays would be stolen. This led to bootleg copies of his plays, which were often based on people trying to remember what Shakespeare had actually written"
This is ironic…so Shakespeare stole others scripts, improved them then put on performances but was worried that others would steal from him….
I think this would be a case of copyright infringment for commercial gain which is already covered.
rinzertanz [2009-07-21 23:42] Comment ID: 342 Reply to: 331
In the visual arts world, there is a British 'graffiti' artist, Banksky, who is getting alot of press recently because of his 'bad boy' transformation of dead artists' work.
(You know the story: … 'give the finger to the Art Establishment' routine … )
Somewhat ironically, other YOUNGER living artists have started to transform his 'transformations' and now he's crying 'foul'.
Silly dope. If he had RESPECT, he'd be RESPECTED.
cndcitizen [2009-07-21 23:47] Comment ID: 344 Reply to: 342
funny…I am actually an amature phographer as a hobby…I saw a picture of a well know local artist in the gallery…I have tried a number of times to mimic that picture…
So, when I actually get that picture correct and it is better (doubt it) then the original then who owns the rights to that picture…granted there will always be some small detail like a different car or something but generally if the picture is the same or better who owns the shot?
rinzertanz [2009-07-22 00:19] Comment ID: 352 Reply to: 344
Believe me, this is very much 'an issue' in the arts community right now … Consider the very hot 'Fairey Shepard/Mannie Garcie' case.
Shepard is a 'graphic artist' who has a reputation for using others work. In this instance he 'used/copied' Mannie Garcie's 'photograph' of Obama, (without consent/compensation). Shepard created an 'icon' poster of the presidential candidate based on the photo. He changed the colour field, he added text, the word 'Hope'. it took off, the public loved it. Meanwhile Garcie's original photo has slid into obscurity … Except now, after someone else identified the image as his, Garcie is on the war-path. One year later. Question is: would he have BOTHERED if Garcie hadn't done all the leg-work and garnered the publicity???
This 'case' seems to be falling under 'transformative use' under 'fair use' … a very GRAY area …
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 00:32] Comment ID: 355 Reply to: 352
Actually that had nothing to do with my comment…what you said was that someone took an existing picture and transformed it to something else and used it for comercial purposes…
I am saying for example if I got Obama to pose in the same pose and took the same picture and added text to that picture so that the two pictures (without the text) were the same then who would own the copyright…I can go take a picture of the vatican and then if anything remotely resembles my picture I can cry foul…I think you are barking up a wrong tree…if you take a picture of someone then you do it for a service, if you take a picture of a landscape, someone else can do that same shot and sell it also….
rinzertanz [2009-07-22 08:09] Comment ID: 371 Reply to: 355
I see. Yes, I was commenting on the 'transformative' use of an existing image.
Professional photographers KNOW that getting a 'Photo Release' from the person their shooting is 'good form'. It means that the PERSON whose image is being taken has given their consent to Release their Rights to the image taken. In reality, the actual practise of same is very very small.
This is evident at either end of the spectrum by photogs who shoot 'no-name' (generally poor) people in the name of 'photo journalism' without ever getting their subjects 'permission', or the paparazzi who make their living preying off 'public' celebrities. In both instances, the photogs are scavaging, and using someone else as a vehicle for their own commerical success.
Taking a landscape shot does not 'violate' a person's privacy, unless it is private property.
As for who would own the copyright of the 'same shot', well, the likelihood of that happening is nil. If we both took pictures of the Vatican those would be our own pictures, unless the Vatican had a policy of 'no photography' (which I think they do inside the cathedral). If we took those photos 'without permission', that is 'theft' (and trespassing) and I think there would be grounds for the Vatican to 'claim' the imagery.
However, the recent proliferation and accessibility of photo technology via cellphones etc, now has the the once seemingly sacrosanct bastions of privacy under attack. The more something is marked 'private' the greater the photog 'fever' (amateur & professional) to penetrate and 'steal' aka 'take' it, with or without permission …
canadada [2009-07-22 09:05] Comment ID: 380 Reply to: 371
p.s. As a sidebar but relevant point, there are MANY blogs/websites out there who commercially benefit from 'public' archives. Shorpy.com is a prime example. This site is built upon FREE images taken from the Library of Congress, yet, 'Shorpy' has claimed 'copyright' for his site and the images therein, PLUS he's added 'google' adverts to create a revenue stream. At last look he's had well over 2 million hits. Is this 'right'? Is this 'fair'?
The Library of Congress DOES offer those works for 'free'. What Shorpy has done is basically created a personal, edited version of preferred images … He's 'created' a commercial enterprise off of public material.
Ought this be 'copyrightable'? At the moment, this seems to be the case. Like it or not.
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 10:34] Comment ID: 391 Reply to: 380
I doubt he would be able to enforce it as he can't claim copyright for something that is already in the public domain…his "copyright" statement is probably just a boilerplate one and he mostly wants to protect his written material on the site from other people using it for commercial use.
canadada [2009-07-23 10:26] Comment ID: 635 Reply to: 391
Meanwhile, he receives revenue from Google …
cndcitizen [2009-07-23 10:36] Comment ID: 637 Reply to: 635
Unless a lot of people read his blog, I doubt he makes much revenue and the revenue he makes is for his blogging, not public domain images….if he just had a site that had images and adds then that would be a different story…but I doubt anyone would visit it.
canadada [2009-07-23 11:36] Comment ID: 645 Reply to: 637
I don't know why people just don't go direct to the LofC, they'd avoid the ads, have greater selection and they'd have greater opportunity to review the entire fantastic LofC archives …
Perhaps it's the personal touch of a blog -?
Or perhaps it's just easier to 'take' FREE magery from his site then it is from the LoC, ie. without paying any kind of 'repro/copy/operating fee' for a 'download'?
Overall, he's piggy-backing off a public institution and attempting to generate revenue thru Google …
No wonder Google wants a 'Settlement' …
or, Dept of Justice …
Chris Brand [2009-07-23 12:43] Comment ID: 653 Reply to: 319
"But an individual self-employed GENUINE artist just cannot SURVIVE if they 'give away' FOR FREE what they have spent their life doing."
And yet there are numerous examples of people doing just that. Cory Doctorow (books), Radiohead (music), Brett Gaylor (video), for example. All are exactly what you say cannot exist.
canadada [2009-07-23 14:29] Comment ID: 669 Reply to: 653
So, how do they make their money?
DarkDigitalDream [2009-07-23 15:46] Comment ID: 685 Reply to: 669
I don't know about the other examples, but Radiohead made their money through a completely optional 'donation' scheme on the website their entire album was uploaded to.
Found in an online article:
"He guessed that when royalties were combined with money earned from publishing, Radiohead saw between $3 and $5 for every album sale.
Castle also estimates that the band typically sold between 3 and 4 million units worldwide. That would mean Radiohead hauled in between $9 million and $20 million"
Not bad for a free album.
canadada [2009-07-23 20:41] Comment ID: 711 Reply to: 685
Bogus claim. They had 'alternate' revenue streams that were ABSOLUTELY tied into their 'product', ie. 'royalties', 'money from publishing' and "3-4 million units SOLD worldwide".
This is known as the 'sucker sales' technique: lure your prospect in with a 'FREE merchandising' gambit knowing full well that 1 out of 3 will come back for MORE and PAY for it, one way or the other, covering the expense of overhead and/or any initial 'up front' outlay.
It's just a sales technique. O sure, SOME may think they are getting the 'FREE deal of the Century', and some may even pony up a few bucks, but the simple truth again is that this is a SALES technique to create 'fan base' with 'return customers' who WILL buy 'other' merchandise at some point.
I do not begrudge these musical dudes their cash. Their instincts were correct about how to solicit the funds from their target market. By the sounds of it they actually have a fairly sophisticated, profitable and working business model.
More power to them.
The technique works.
Chris Brand [2009-07-27 17:08] Comment ID: 983 Reply to: 669
All sorts of ways. Cory sells copies of his books as well as giving them away. He also does lots of public appearances, usually combining them with a book-signing. He also gets paid for a newspaper column. Brett Gaylor is paid by cinemas, and he has a DVD for sale. Radiohead have tried a number of different experiments. In general, I'd say music is the area where most alternative business models have been found - most of them recognise that distribution online fills a very similar role to radio airplay. Video is the least well-developed, although the recent prevalence of 3D movies is a clear recognition that it's important to offer a reason to go to the cinema rather than watch the movie at home.
The key point is that all of them try to use free distribution of the works they've created (which will inevitably have a price of zero) as marketing for things that they *can* charge for (genuine scarcities that can't be reproduced for free). Paper books, DVDs, live appearances, creator time - all these are things that can be sold. Data isn't.
Chris Brand [2009-07-22 15:19] Comment ID: 447 Reply to: 201
"If someone spends several years writing a book, or making an album, or creating a game, they have a right to the long term exploitation of that creation in any way they choose, to support themselves during their lifetime, into their retirement, and to provide for their family after they're gone."
I agree that that work is theirs to do with as they want, but why should they maintain any control over it once they decide to make it part of our culture ? I doubt that many people can "support themselves during their lifetime, into their retirement, and to provide for their family after they're gone" from "several years" of work, why should you ? If you can find somebody who will pay you enough money for your work that you can do so, great. If you can't, well, let's just say that's no great surprise.
The plumber who installed my toilet doesn't demand payment every time I use his work. He gets paid once for the work he did and has to find more work if he wants more money. Even if he spends "several years" installing toilets, bringing the wonders of indoor plumbing to thousands of families, he's still going to have to find more work if he wants more money.
P_M [2009-07-22 16:59] Comment ID: 489 Reply to: 447
The difference is obvious - no-one pays authors a salary or a pension, and they don't pay them like they do for plumbers. They pay authors to make copies of their work - that's how authors get paid. Copying their work without paying for it undermines the whole system by which authors are compensates for their work.
eye.zak [2009-07-22 18:11] Comment ID: 507 Reply to: 489
I think you quite correctly highlighted the core problem. We have yet to come up with a good system for compensating creators (not just authors) for their work. But the blank media levy is another approach that is currently implemented (the success of which is not entirely clear without transparent and immediate disclosure of how that money reaches creators). Also consider the new business models coming from music or open-source software creators where 'infinite' goods enhance the value of finite goods. So paying directly for copies is not the only solution.
I think that if we put our collective heads together we can come up with something better than a levy or direct compensation for copies.
Chris Brand [2009-07-23 12:37] Comment ID: 649 Reply to: 489
Right. That's exactly my point. There is no "why".
A couple of details :
- "no-one pays authors a salary" - I don't believe this. I think many, many authors are salaried. They write manuals, and the like, rather than fiction, sure, but they're still authors.
- "They pay authors to make copies of their work" - This wasn't true in the past, and there's no underlying reason why it should be true in the future, particularly as the cost of the copy has gone down significantly. And again, many authors don't in fact rely on royalties.
It's entirely a business model *choice*. There is no underlying reason why creative types have to be paid that way. As technology develops and the economics changes, business models have to change, too. Just as you can no longer expect to charge people for an email service, so you can no longer expect to charge people for copies of works. This isn't "good" or "bad", it just is, like gravity.
Using the horse as transportation lasted way longer than selling copies of works. I have no doubt that it was very traumatic for many people, and that some people refused to believe that life was possible without using the horse. No doubt some people continued to sell buggy whips and hay. Just because something has been that way all your life, that doesn't mean that it has to stay that way. That's why I asked whether there was any actual reason why. Your answer, essentially "because that's the business model that authors use today" is not a compelling reason.
P_M [2009-07-23 17:01] Comment ID: 696 Reply to: 649
Salaried writers are work for hire and give up their copyright in exchange for a salary - that's completely different from writing fiction, and copyright doesn't enter into it from the writer's point of view.
And sure, like any law, copyright is a choice. As a writer who depends on copyright for a living, I choose to keep my rights protected. If you make a compelling business model for writers making more money some other way, I'm sure people will adopt it - but that doesn't require forcing writers like me to give up our copyright protection, it just required convincing writers to put their work in the public domain in order to benefit some other way - and they can already do that under current laws. If you show that it works then people will certainly follow.
Chris Brand [2009-07-27 17:23] Comment ID: 985 Reply to: 696
I've confused things a bit here.
Yes, today you have rights granted you by the copyright act, and everything you say is reasonable, given that we, as a society, have decided to grant you those rights.
My point is that granting you those rights is a decision made by society, for the purpose of encouraging the creation of cultural works. Whereas it solves a lot of problems to have "owners" for tangible goods, because they are scarce, the same isn't true for intangibles like copyrighted works - the *only* reason to grant people copyrights is because it's good for society as a whole. If that's no longer true, then we should stop granting copyrights (and there's certainly an argument that existing copyrights should continue to be honoured because that's the deal that was made at the time the work was created). I actually don't advocate abolishing copyright, but I do think that it's important to look at exactly what monopolies are granted, and how long they're granted for. We also need to recognise that copyright was never intended to affect individuals other than creators. It was always a law affecting businesses (including creators). It originally only covered publication and distribution, not reproduction. Reproduction was added at a time when it required a printing press and an investment of thousands of dollars, and thus it was a good indication of intent to distribute or publish. I think there's a very good argument to be made that copyright should return to regulating just publication and distribution, and not copying, now that copying is ubiquitous and often unintentional. That's where I was coming from when I asked you to justify the "rights" you insisted on.
There's a clear difference between the "fundamental human rights" that are inalienable and the rights granted by society as a matter of policy. I've been talking about the former while you've been talking about the latter.
eye.zak [2009-07-22 16:04] Comment ID: 472 Reply to: 201
PM I have to disagree on two points.
Consumers DO have the right to your intellectual property once the copyright expires. This right is the default right, copyright is TEMPORARY but the public domain is PERMANENT.
I'm going to assume for the sake of argument that "several years" means 5 years and that our hypothetical creator who worked for those 5 years to produce his work is named Joe. I would like to see a law that limits the compensation Joe can receive to somewhere in the area of $50k (or more correctly the average Canadian income for full-time workers, for which I don't have data right now) times the 5 years he worked (total $250k). After that, our society has fairly compensated Joe for his time and his work should fall into the public domain. That does not mean that Joe cannot make more money, but his EXCLUSIVE MONOPOLY is at an end.
I believe that is fair compensation for Joe, what do the rest of Canadians think ?
P_M [2009-07-22 16:56] Comment ID: 487 Reply to: 472
The government will not place limits on the amount of money an author can earn from a book (any more than it legislates what anyone else can earn - earning is unlimited, except for taxes) so there's not much point in discussing that.
Consumers don't have any right in law to intellectual property - if I want, I can just burn my manuscript without publishing it, and no-one can complain that that violates the law. However, once copyright expires, a work does indeed become available for the public to use without payment of royalties.
eye.zak [2009-07-22 17:17] Comment ID: 490 Reply to: 487
I'm not saying that there should be a limit on earnings, but that just a time limit is not the most equitable expiration policy for copyright. If the purpose of copyright is to ensure fair compensation for creators, why should it not expire once they have received their fair compensation ?
P_M [2009-07-22 17:25] Comment ID: 491 Reply to: 490
"If the purpose of copyright is to ensure fair compensation for creators, why should it not expire once they have received their fair compensation ?"
Because no-one really has a right to determine how much money someone else can get from a creation - not in a capitalist system.
The marketplace determines that. Otherwise, there'd be no copyright on movies because they make millions on the opening weekend. The creator is a speculator who creates something without payment, hoping for a big return.
eye.zak [2009-07-22 17:46] Comment ID: 499 Reply to: 491
I think your example about movies lacks depth of consideration. Consider how many people worked on the movie, from writers to actors, directors, and support staff. Factor in that compensation for all of them and the fair compensation for the movie is a significant amount.
Also, the movie creators can make more money by doing more work: lets say a director's cut with commentary and such, or a reading by the author for your previous book example. Since they begin with the monopoly they have an advantage over other reproduction efforts as they should.
Remember capitalist principles pre-date copyright by a significant time. Early capitalism dates back at least to the 15th century, or earlier outside western civilisation. Copyright is much younger - 18th century for its inception, but the end of the 19th century for widespread adoption.
eye.zak [2009-07-22 17:59] Comment ID: 505 Reply to: 499
My internet search capacity at the moment has failed to yield the numbers I was looking for, but lets say 750 people worked on a movie for two years. That would put the limit I am proposing at about 75 million.
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 18:17] Comment ID: 512 Reply to: 499
Labourer, Well in the current movie making market, they have the top 2% with shares in the movie proceeds and the 98% that make scale wages based on function. Now the 98% are backed by normally unions to make sure that wages are high, but the top 2% are chosen for their "artistic vision"…
if you try and say that the total compensation for a movie can be x times the amount on the crew, then copyright would never expire on some of the crap that is out their…of course if you shared the crap with you friend then the studio could make another 85k from you….
all in all monetary caps are short sighted and 10 years down the road those caps would have to be rethought or somehow you introduce indexing of pay for the year making the copyright law more complex then less.
P_M [2009-07-22 19:30] Comment ID: 539 Reply to: 499
I don't think you could ever base a form of copyright protection on concepts of time for fair remuneration. How would Parliament decide how to connect the duration of copyright to compensation when actors demand tens of millions of dollars? It hardly seems fair for a movie copyright system to protect a film long enough to make the actors filthy rich, while the same system told authors that they had to give up their copyright after they made the average Canadian income for a few years.
eye.zak [2009-07-22 17:49] Comment ID: 502 Reply to: 491
Also we have already acknowledged in our laws that we must restrict how much money someone can make from property, just read the Residential Tenant Act for example. I would consider purchasing a building as a landlord hoping to get a return on your investment is very much the same as a creator hoping for a big return on their investment.
P_M [2009-07-22 19:21] Comment ID: 536 Reply to: 502
eye.zak: "I would consider purchasing a building as a landlord hoping to get a return on your investment is very much the same as a creator hoping for a big return on their investment."
The idea that authors should give up their copyright when they've made "enough" money off it is more analogous to a landlord losing ownership of the building after they've had it for x number of years, after which the landlord has made "enough" profit.
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 18:12] Comment ID: 508 Reply to: 487
P_M I have to agree with you on trying to place monetary limts on copyright…that is completely crazy as then someone can just turn around and pay you the minimum just so they can mass produce something.
Copyright should be time based and I see a lot of comments from 14-20 years BY THE AUTHOR and can be extended once for the same length of time. Selling copyrights to corporation that just routinely renew copyrights doesn't do anyone any good.
I read another post that they said that copyrights for corporations should be the same but could extend it every year to 70-95 years because if the corporations don't want to renew the license every year then they can let it lapse pushing into the public domain…..This is crazy, no company will let a copyright lapse especially if it only cost 1$ to renew the copyright every year…then you potentially have abuse…company A sells to a new company b that then has another 95 years of copyright….I vote no on that item.
P_M [2009-07-22 19:14] Comment ID: 533 Reply to: 508
In general, authors don't sell their copyrights to corporations (I don't know what is done in music or other fields). Authors licence the publishing rights to a publisher, and the publisher usually holds those rights until sales drop below a profitable level. Authors also have all sorts of other rights that they licence (such as movie rights, radio rights, audio book rights, etc) that may each be licensed separately. So one thing to consider is that any given work may be licensed for sale at a different time from the main work. For example, the movie, radio play, audio book, etc, for Lord of the Rings all were licensed long after the book came out. Authors depend on things like that for income, and if the copyright in their work were to expire only a few years after they published a book, they would never be able to earn anything from other uses of their story.
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 23:34] Comment ID: 586 Reply to: 533
For the LOTR is a different class of author.
My sister is an author and she said no to the stipulations of her book by the publishing company…granted she didn't have an agent but still, these companies pray on neive (and others on this site have already shown) people to weasel the rights from those works from new artists…she was pissed when she read the terms…she published privately and probably made more money then she would have made from the deal with the middlemen….the only thing was that most statistics are based on the middlemen sales and don't help the indi artists…that makes getting into Oprah's book club only about being on the standard publishing circuits….not how good the book was.
rinzertanz [2009-07-24 21:54] Comment ID: 858 Reply to: 472
The reality is that very few full-time artists make anything near what the average Canadian makes … Most artists toil in obscurity with the vague HOPE that someday their work will be recognized, appreciated and attain cultural value. That's why many artists DO set up legal vehicles to protect their assets for the next generation. David Milne, a now famous Canadian artist, died a pauper, but his family, the next generation, have enjoyed the fruits of his labour. Emily Carr, the painter, was very poor for most of her adult working life. The list goes on.
The 'celebrity' artists who do manage to achieve some fame AND fortune during their lifetime are few and far between. 'Publicity' is not a cheque.
Modifying the 'law' as you suggest would, frankly, be a waste of both lawyers and taxpayers time. They would be crafting legislation that has no application.
yngnstclair [2009-07-22 22:33] Comment ID: 571 Reply to: 201
I am puzzled by your comments. You speak of the "rights" of authors to protect their work (nearly) indefinitely into the future. I would ask, what about the collective public rights? Indeed what you are missing is the understanding that copyright is a balance between the public and the creative producers of art. The producers should be compensated for their efforts, but the public also has the right to enjoy the works in certain specified ways.
For example, it has been historically settled that I do not have the right to duplicate a book that I did not publish, but I do have the right to lend the book to my friend when I am not using it. I also have the right to quote sections of the book for criticism. This is the balance that I am speaking about.
The present balance is far too biased against the public. Certainly there is a public benefit to allowing an artist to protect, and thus profit from their craft. However, protections that extend past their death have little justification. There is no chance of the artist
producing new works for public consumption, yet the copyright restrictions continue. This is unfair to the common good, and a perversion of the ideals of copyright.
Many Canadians, myself included, feel that copyright has strayed too far away from this public/private balance. New legislation is needed to restore this balance between the public and producers of art.
In the future this balance will be even more important, in light of digital & technical protection measures. As I mentioned, I am free to share a book with a friend, but what about a book in digital form? Should that book be locked down indefinitely into the future? Will libraries be permitted to break these locks as part of their mandate? Will libraries be required to pay each time a patron checks out a digital work? Lastly, what about when the copyright eventually expires, will we be able to break the digital locks then?
Again, many Canadians, myself included feel that these digital locks and copyright extensions are biased against the balance between producers and consumers in Canada.
P_M [2009-07-23 07:51] Comment ID: 621 Reply to: 571
"The producers should be compensated for their efforts, but the public also has the right to enjoy the works in certain specified ways."
The public does get to enjoy works that are under copyright - they just have to pay for them (or in the case of some works they can get they for free at the library).
The current system works fine, and any reduction in copyright duration would mean that the whole economics of, for example, writing, would shift even further towards making it impossible for writers to make a living, to provide for their old age, and to leave something for their children - which is what the World Intellectual Property Organization states as the purpose of copyright duration: "This limit enables both creators and their heirs to benefit financially for a reasonable period of time."
Lending or selling (as opposed to copying) is a valid point, and DRM-protected files need a better system for transferring ownership so that the purchaser of the file can sell their original copy, or temporarily lend it to someone.
DarkDigitalDream [2009-07-23 09:18] Comment ID: 631 Reply to: 201
I couldn't disagree more. At some point after a creative work is made, it should most definitely be given to society rather than milked like a cow. If your ideals were put in place, you'd have to pay a fortune just to go visit a museum. That won't do. That won't do at all.
davegravy [2009-07-23 10:38] Comment ID: 638 Reply to: 201
I heavily disagree with this.
The goal is to promote the creation of great works. Copyright law which nets creators measly royalties obviously does not create incentive to produce such works. On the flip side, copyright law which allows an artist to retire after doing a couple projects is not good for society either.
There needs to be a balance and I think the consensus is that current law is too much in favor of the IP holder.
pneves [2009-07-26 01:45] Comment ID: 908 Reply to: 201
I believe the best thing we can do is to educate the public about copyright and to make them understand why copyright should be respected. The biggest problem is that it is viewed as a victimless crime. Instilling a sense of right and wrong in the general public will reduce a great deal of the copying. There really isn't anything that can be done to prevent piracy. Laws alone aren't enough of a detterent. It has to become part of the culture in Canada that piracy is wrong. Otherwise, it will never succeed.
Furthermore people need to get access to payed methods of distribution of content. If the average citizen can benefit from a book publisher who publishes books then they will be more likely to respect the law. I think that the biggest problem with the distributors of content make it difficult for Canadians to publish their own content. We need to become more of an inclusive society and create more opportunity for people.
I guess this statement is more of a statement of Canada in general then copyright. I once heard of a study that poverty is the root of most crimes in Canada. One of the ways that you reduce crime is to create the ability for people make a living and do the jobs they are most interested in. Certainly, the CD levy created some bad blood between government, the media companies and the public. I strongly recommend eliminating them. I know people who didn't pirate music before they put in the levy on Blank CD's and then were so incensed by the levy put in by the liberals that they started pirating music and stopped buying CD's. So such levy's do have a negative with people.
For the most part however the laws in Canada to do with copyright are pretty good. They really don't need to be rewritten. Some minor changes maybe but they don't need to be completely rewritten. What we have here is a failure of implementation of the laws. Both in law enforcement and in education of the general public.
No copyright changes are needed to foster innovation and creativity in Canada. We already have the perfect medium to inspire many generations to come - the internet. Making file sharing illegal will only serve to suffocate this creativity (and of course line the pockets of record company executives).
And exactly what do you mean by "there is a strong consensus in Canada that our copyright framework needs to be updated?" Are there statistics to prove this? If you read the comments on "Copyright forums begin in Vancouver" (CBC, 20 Jul 09), it seems Canadians are OVERWHELMINGLY in favour of leaving things as they are.
I think the real problem here is how you phrase this question. It should read "How should we foster innovation and creativity in Canada in the information age?"
cndcitizen [2009-07-21 13:06] Comment ID: 198 Reply to: 185
The way the questions in these forums are written is all about marketing and trying to generate the response to the question that the government (Industry) wants. If you read each of the topic areas you can see that they were made by industry friendly PR people to generate specific feedback or lead people unfamiliar with the issue to side with the Industry…
"Facts" and statistics are thrown around that actually are not true and are made up from thin air. An often used one is that it 25 billion in Canada and 250 billion in US for copyright infringment…guess what..the FBI made that number up for worldwide COUNTERFEITING…not US/canada copyright….
Truth behind the figures and misleading questions are not the way to build consensus…
cited article: http://www.freedom-to-tinker.com/blog/tblee/piracy-statistics-and-importance-journalistic-skepticism
dbrett [2009-07-21 21:45] Comment ID: 315 Reply to: 185
By arguing for no changes you support the current piracy culture and prefer a week legal framework.
This will lead to more an more consumption of "content" that measures up to an every lower bar of quality.
You get what you (don't) pay for.
intrinsic808 [2009-07-22 18:45] Comment ID: 519 Reply to: 315
Arguing for no changes does not mean I support piracy. The two are not necessarily linked. I'll leave it to you to figure out how this is possible.
And again with these unsubstantiated comments! "This will lead to more and more consumption of content that measures up to an even lower bar of quality."?? Has this ever been proven? I can think of several cases that show the opposite is true. Take for example the latest Radiohead album, which they decided to sell online for whatever users wanted to pay. Do you know what the average was? $8! And correct me if I'm wrong, but doesn't a band usually get about an eighth of that from a major record label?
The internet is the new driving force behind creativity. It gives millions of artists a chance to be heard worldwide, regardless of what record labels perceive as 'good' music. I will admit however, that my only proof for this is personal experience. Over 10 years of surfing the web has led to me discover how much more creativity there is in the world than what Universal or Sony lets me hear.
cndcitizen [2009-07-22 19:05] Comment ID: 527 Reply to: 519
Detailed and accurate…good job…I agree.
The problem is that now that writers and photogs are in the picture it gets more grey…
I am still thinking on that challenge.
pneves [2009-07-26 01:53] Comment ID: 909 Reply to: 185
I agree with you on this. The big problem is fostering creativity and innovation in general in Canada. However, the actions of the government in the past has been to stifle it. Free trade with third world countries for instance only puts people in Canada out of work. I read earlier this year that Stockwell Day went to sign a free trade agreement with Jordan. You know what their minimum wage is? 75 cents an hour. No Canadian can compete with that.
This is THE MOST IMPORTANT issue we need to address. 1000 new songs are published on the internet every second. In 10 years EVERY music arrangement and composition will have been done and therefore copyrighted (ex. think of your simple guiter riff). Future Canadian innovation is doomed with the present laws. In 10 years our children will STOP creating music because of the fear being sued if they published it on the net.
I bet you never thought about that?
Patents expire to foster innovation .
Guiter riffs need to expire to foster innovation. A guiter riff cannot be copyrighted for 150 years??
You are putting the Canadian culture in jeopardy.