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» Ship of Fools   »   » Oblivion   » Everything is a Remix: The Intellectual Property Debate (Page 1)

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Source: (consider it) Thread: Everything is a Remix: The Intellectual Property Debate
lilBuddha
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Actor Shia LeBeouf has recently finished a performance art. The piece appears to be an apology for plagerised apologies for plagerising. The performance itself appears derivative. One can easily search YouTube for examples of the performance.
( Here is a link to a news story regarding. )
YouTuber, Brett Fawcett provides an interesting deconstruction of LaBeouf's intent.* Fawcett believes the whole thing is LaBeouf's statement in the intellectual property debate with LaBeouf coming down on the "once created, a work belongs to everyone" side.
This isn't about Shia LaBeouf though, but the very real debate on Intellectual Property.
Ideas rarely exist in a vacuum. But does this mean no one has rights to what they make?
Where is the line between inspiration and theft or should theft even be part of the conversation?


*Not linking as it is 18 minutes long. Search YouTube for Brett Fawcett Shia LaBeouf.

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HCH
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I remember that some years back when the downloading of music was becoming commonplace, a songwriter commented that if he did not receive royalties for his work, he would have to give up writing songs and find some other way to earn money and support his family. The wholesale violation of copyrights is a threat to the future of art. Some works of art are indeed the product of long-term effort and simply would not be created by amateurs in their spare time.

I think the same argument applies to plagiarism of ideas. The workman is worthy of his wages, and the thinker or artist is worthy of credit for the work. It's true that art and ideas do not usually emerge without the prior existence of other art and ideas, but the same can be said of almost any kind of craft or construction.

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anoesis
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quote:
Originally posted by HCH:
I remember that some years back when the downloading of music was becoming commonplace, a songwriter commented that if he did not receive royalties for his work, he would have to give up writing songs and find some other way to earn money and support his family. The wholesale violation of copyrights is a threat to the future of art. Some works of art are indeed the product of long-term effort and simply would not be created by amateurs in their spare time.

I think the same argument applies to plagiarism of ideas. The workman is worthy of his wages, and the thinker or artist is worthy of credit for the work. It's true that art and ideas do not usually emerge without the prior existence of other art and ideas, but the same can be said of almost any kind of craft or construction.

I don't know how worthwhile my two cents are, here, because I don't know how representative my listening/buying/downloading habits are, but I'll chip in anyway. I don't listen to commercial radio AT ALL, because all the junk that is not music is so annoying as to make the whole exercise not worthwhile. I occasionally watch music TV in the evening, but not much, because we don't have TV headphones, and we do have sleeping kids, and what's the point of music if it's not loud? This means that I listen to music from two principal sources: From YouTube, with headphones in, so as not to disturb others, and in my car, from CDs that I own.

Now, much of the content on YouTube has been uploaded there illegally, to the distress of various artists and producers. However, I can tell you that in the last five years I have purchased more music than ever before in my life, and this shows no sign of stopping. Quite simply, it's because the medium of YouTube with its immense catalogue of incredibly diverse music just keeps on introducing me to more and more artists and genres. I don't buy everything or everyone I listen to, but still it's many times more than it would otherwise be.

Why do I do it? Why not just continue to stream it on demand? Well, it could partly be that I can't listen to YouTube in my car, but actually I think it's mostly because when I think something is fantastic, I'm happy to pay for it, and I want to own a piece of it, in some tangible way. This, I suspect, is very old-fashioned of me. I still prefer books made of paper, as well.

Actually, while I think of it, books make an interesting comparator. Books from certain genres usually get read by a minimum of five people in my wider family - should they all get their own copies if they want to read the book after having a look at the blurb on the back? Again, I usually do if I really like a book, because I read good books many times over, but lots of people are one-read types (in that sense, I guess books are NOT good comparators to music).

Well, that ended up being more like fifty cents worth...

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Eutychus
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I think that unless the internet becomes much more restricted than it is now, historic ideas of copyright are essentially dead in the water. They certainly look obsolete.

The problem is that a new business model for many artists has yet to emerge.

There has been some progress in music: a return to live performance, coupled with clever marketing and "360°" contracts with agents.

For books, it's never been easy to make a living unless you write a best-seller, now it's harder than ever. One of the things that annoys me is that minor celebrities vaunt the merits of Creative Commons and the like - but they make a living through speaking engagements and paid-for articles because they are so well-known. This promotes the CC concept but obscures the fact that very few people will be able to get a similar type of exposure - and related income.

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argona
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"once created, a work belongs to everyone". Why should that apply only to the arts? Why not kettles? "Once created, a kettle belongs to everyone". So who will make kettles? Those who love them of course, and long to make them only to give away. Wonderful people whose sole desire is to enkettle us all. Erm... I need a kettle, where can I find one? Well...

[ 21. February 2014, 21:21: Message edited by: argona ]

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by argona:
"once created, a work belongs to everyone". Why should that apply only to the arts? Why not kettles? "Once created, a kettle belongs to everyone". So who will make kettles? Those who love them of course, and long to make them only to give away. Wonderful people whose sole desire is to enkettle us all. Erm... I need a kettle, where can I find one? Well...

There is nothing to stop you making your own kettle if you wish.

Incidentally, it's my recollection that there is no copyright in an idea. There is only a copyright in a work. So something has to have been produced. You can be inspired by someone else's idea and produce a quite different work from theirs. What you mustn't do is plagiarise their work.

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Timothy the Obscure

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I think it's really necessary to look back at first principles, and for that the phrase "intellectual property" is misleading. While the history of copyrights and patents is complicated, the U.S. Constitution states a clear rationale:
quote:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
Note that it explicitly states a purpose. Now, progress depends on creators building on the work of their predecessors. At the same time, those who build the foundations should be rewarded appropriately for their work. Note that nowhere does the Copyright Clause use the word "property." It speaks of an "exclusive right," essentially a government-granted monopoly, for a limited time.

If the goal of copyright and patent law is to incentivize (horrible word, but that's the English language for you) people to create new work, and to ensure that creators are fairly compensated, while also ensuring that others are able to extend that work into new areas of creativity and discovery. This implies a generous scope for derivative works, along with strict rules about payment of royalties to those whose work provides the foundation.

What have have instead is a system that cheats the real creators while encouraging monopoly rent-seeking by corporate speculators, and uses the spurious construct of "intellectual property" to suppress innovation rather than encourage it. Copyright is life +70 years--it's really hard to incentivize dead people to create more works.

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When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
  - C. P. Snow

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
I think it's really necessary to look back at first principles, and for that the phrase "intellectual property" is misleading. While the history of copyrights and patents is complicated, the U.S. Constitution states a clear rationale:
quote:
To promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries
Note that it explicitly states a purpose. Now, progress depends on creators building on the work of their predecessors. At the same time, those who build the foundations should be rewarded appropriately for their work. Note that nowhere does the Copyright Clause use the word "property." It speaks of an "exclusive right," essentially a government-granted monopoly, for a limited time.

If the goal of copyright and patent law is to incentivize (horrible word, but that's the English language for you) people to create new work, and to ensure that creators are fairly compensated, while also ensuring that others are able to extend that work into new areas of creativity and discovery. This implies a generous scope for derivative works, along with strict rules about payment of royalties to those whose work provides the foundation.

What have have instead is a system that cheats the real creators while encouraging monopoly rent-seeking by corporate speculators, and uses the spurious construct of "intellectual property" to suppress innovation rather than encourage it. Copyright is life +70 years--it's really hard to incentivize dead people to create more works.

At least three problems with this analysis.

1. The US Constitution is only relevant to if you are in the US. Most civilised countries have their own legal regimes covering of intellectual property on which the US Constitution has no bearing. Mine certainly does.

2. I suspect 'discoveries' is C18 language for what we'd now call an invention, the sort of thing one gets a patent for. It doesn't give someone who discovers something that's already there, like a planet, a claim to be entitled to patent its existence.

3. I think 'life+70 years' is specific to the EU. I think the period and manner of operation in the US are both completely different.


I think the theory is, that there is a tension between people should be entitled to reap some sort of harvest from the products of their brains, and the fact that without legislation, that isn't the case. So without a legal regime, it's not "once created, a work belongs to everyone", but "once created, works are free as the air". That is the case, if something is outside the legal regime. So the legal regime has to strike a balance between everyone's freedom to breathe the intellectual produce of the centuries, and a legitimate notion that people feel they should be entitled to be paid for what they produce.

[ 22. February 2014, 08:24: Message edited by: Enoch ]

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chris stiles
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The other issue is that in practice large corporations have been very loath to allow copyrights to actually expire and have proved very good at lobby against this.

So in reality, copyright has meant lifetime+sliding period - where 'sliding period' is long enough to allow Disney to keep all of it's original copyrights.

You'd get far less protection if you discovered and patented a drug that cured cancer.

Were it not for this, I suspect the 'everything must be free' crowd would have lost a significant amount of steam. As it is it gives them a hook for all sorts of other arguments.

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hatless

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Rachmaninoff nearly came out of copyright in the early 1990s, as the 50th anniversary of his death (in 1943) approached. But some copyright terms, including for musical compositions, were extended to 70 years after death, and his work was covered for a further 20 years.

It's easy to see that creative people should be rewarded for their work, and even easier to see that other people should not be rewarded for exploiting or misappropriating that work. Companies that commission, print and record also want to protect their investment.

The extension to 70 years, seems harder to justify. I suppose an artist would like to leave something to their children, but I think this is more about the profits of companies than individuals. In fact, I think that copyright is more often about commercial interests than individual ones.

Copyright is literally about copying. If you write a short piece of music, a Taize chant or an Iona 'Wee Song' for example, no one needs to pay for it, because it can be taught, learnt and memorised without copying. Poetry can be learnt and recited for free; no copy is being made. If you create a new dance style, as far as I know, that can't be copyrighted. New recipes, as long as they are written down, must be copyright in that form, but anyone can cook them or publish their own version of the dish. Are clothes covered by copyright? Not usually, as far as I can see.

The law doesn't follow the moral argument that artists should benefit from their creative work very well. It really reflects the work of lawyers on behalf of massive commercial interests in the very small number of cases where there is a large value attached to a particular book or set of recordings.

It's said that Voyagers' golden records didn't include The Beatles song 'Here comes the sun' because EMI refused to give permission. I wonder what commercial risk they were worried about.

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Eutychus
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As far as my limited knowledge goes, you cannot copyright a performance. Copyright (or breach thereof) can only occur once the work is "fixed" ie recorded somehow.

Also, we seem to be talking about two distinct things here: infringement of copyright through unauthorised distribution of the original (eg uploading to YouTube), which as far as I can see involves finding a new business model for books and music, and infringement of copyright by replicating an original invention (eg Samsung vs Apple disputes): I don't know what the way ahead here might involve.

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Let's remember that we are to build the Kingdom of God, not drive people away - pastor Frank Pomeroy

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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:
... The extension to 70 years, seems harder to justify. I suppose an artist would like to leave something to their children, but I think this is more about the profits of companies than individuals. In fact, I think that copyright is more often about commercial interests than individual ones. ...

The background to the extension to 70 years was that the Germans and some other continentals felt guilty about some people whose families had lost out because of the 2nd World War. They therefore managed to make this an EU harmonisation. Before that, I think in the UK it was 60 rather than 70. I'm fairly sure it's still 60 in Australia.

I agree with you that 70 years is too long. Even if one accepted the rationale, it should only have been allowed as a temporary extension until, say, 2015 which is 70 years from 1945. But alas we're stuck with it. At least it's clearer than the position in some countries. Sometimes it depends on whether someone re-registered a copyright and when. At other times, it depends on what the state of affairs was at a particular date, long ago and probably forgotten.

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Hairy Biker
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quote:
What has been is what will be,
and what has been done is what will be done;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Is there a thing of which it is said,
‘See, this is new’?
It has already been,
in the ages before us.
The people of long ago are not remembered,
nor will there be any remembrance
of people yet to come
by those who come after them.



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there [are] four important things in life: religion, love, art and science. At their best, they’re all just tools to help you find a path through the darkness. None of them really work that well, but they help.
Damien Hirst

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by hatless:

Copyright is literally about copying. If you write a short piece of music, a Taize chant or an Iona 'Wee Song' for example, no one needs to pay for it, because it can be taught, learnt and memorised without copying.

Why should length or complexity matter. If I can memorise an entire James Dillon opera, am I free to perform it?
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:

So in reality, copyright has meant lifetime+sliding period - where 'sliding period' is long enough to allow Disney to keep all of it's original copyrights.

Where many run afoul of Disney is in trademarks rather than copyrights.
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
As far as my limited knowledge goes, you cannot copyright a performance. Copyright (or breach thereof) can only occur once the work is "fixed" ie recorded somehow.

Without some sort of record, it is difficult to enforce. In theory though, why should a performance be different? In the performing arts, it is often the performance itself which creates value.
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:
I think that unless the internet becomes much more restricted than it is now, historic ideas of copyright are essentially dead in the water. They certainly look obsolete.

Because it is easy to steal, it should be free to take. Odd notion.
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

The problem is that a new business model for many artists has yet to emerge.

There has been some progress in music: a return to live performance, coupled with clever marketing and "360°" contracts with agents.

Benefiting those who have the fame for this to work.
quote:
Originally posted by Eutychus:

For books, it's never been easy to make a living unless you write a best-seller, now it's harder than ever. One of the things that annoys me is that minor celebrities vaunt the merits of Creative Commons and the like - but they make a living through speaking engagements and paid-for articles because they are so well-known. This promotes the CC concept but obscures the fact that very few people will be able to get a similar type of exposure - and related income.

A problem is created by the very nature of sharing on the internet. CC is offering the entertainment equivalent of a lottery.

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Hallellou, hallellou

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:

So in reality, copyright has meant lifetime+sliding period - where 'sliding period' is long enough to allow Disney to keep all of it's original copyrights.

Where many run afoul of Disney is in trademarks rather than copyrights.

Absolutely - but they have also lobbied heavily for copyright extension in order to prevent the earliest disney movies falling into the public domain.
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Gwai
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Re the internet, I think it's less that it is be okay to steal because it's easy but that it is stolen a lot because it's easy.

I predict that the new way for fiction at least will kindle type formats. As far as I know, kindle books are pretty unstealable.

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A mate of the wind and sea.
If they think they ha’ slain our Goodly Fere
They are fools eternally.


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orfeo

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There are a lot of DIFFERENT topics to untangle here. Copyright is not equal to patents is not equal to a whole lot of other things.

We live in a world where direct copying is easy. But we also live in a world where patents are granted too easily, putting a brake on the kind of remixing that the title of this thread talks about.

Shia LaBeouf performing is doing something that only Shia LaBeouf can do. It requires at least one new element that hasn't been present in whatever previous works he is referencing. So it's certainly not direct copying in the same way that downloading a recording of a song and not paying the songwriter or the singer for their troubles.

The USA and a whole lot of other countries, often pressured by the USA, have extremely tough laws that discourage not just flagrant imitation, but most forms of remixing and referencing previous ideas. They have a lot of arguments with countries like Brazil that consciously take a different approach. In Brazil, taking a piece of music and reworking it and remixing it is encouraged - there's value seen in taking the original and putting SOME effort into turning it into something new.

In some systems, so long as you acknowledge that the original material was someone else's, you're free to work with it. But in the USA and allied systems, the original owner can forbid you not just from direct copying but from reworking or improving. Even if you're willing to pay, they can just say no.

The length of copyright is now ridiculous in my view. Going from life of author + 50 to life + 70 wasn't about Rachmaninov, it was about Disney. It's about protecting the millions they get from Mickey Mouse, for goodness' sake.

They would send threatening cease and desist letters to a cartoonist who drew Mickey in a caricature, obviously referencing the original rather than trying to pretend to be the original. In other words they've succeeded in making Mickey so obiquitous that he's part of common culture and instantly recognisable, but then refuse the right of anyone else to make use of that part of common culture.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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OddJob
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AFAIK, no market-based system of paying the creators of artistic works has yet been derived. Artists, deserve, in my view, to be paid no more and no less than that.

Royalties seem to be fixed at a cartel-based, fixed percentage. But why shouldn't Artist X, if they so wish, choose to offer their works to the market at X minus 20%? And who's heard of competition amongst suppliers to bring us the works of Artist Y?

Back in the 1970s/80s all of us in adulthood or adolescence copied vinyl LPs onto tape, seeing it as a morally courageous stance against the middlemen taking too big a cut. Overheads and costs are lower now, and costs per creation are lower. But there's still a monopoly supplier situation for almost every artist.

Digressing a little, I wonder what proportion of churches pay their dues to Christian Copyright Licensing.

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Belle Ringer
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I think people should be able to be paid for their labor, including writing a song or composing a photograph or designing a building if others appreciate the work and want to use it.

But life plus 70 - whose interests are we trying to protect? "Life plus 21" would make sure a creator's baby born the year he dies gets the royalty income through all of childhood. An adult doesn't need continued parental support. Or maybe life plus 30 - carry the kid through grad school, and the spouse for decades.

Life plus 70 just seems extreme. But it will be extended again before 2019, when early Mickey Mouse becomes public domain under current law. Disney will fight hard to prevent that.

Long but readable discussion of copyright length in USA.

(The last extension is often referred to as the “Mickey Mouse Protection Act.”)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

In some systems, so long as you acknowledge that the original material was someone else's, you're free to work with it.

The problem I have with this system is it is difficult enough for unknown artist with few resources to protect themselves in the US and similar domains now. This is potentially a license for established entities to steal.
quote:
Originally posted by OddJob:
AFAIK, no market-based system of paying the creators of artistic works has yet been derived. Artists, deserve, in my view, to be paid no more and no less than that.

Why? Other goods and services are not inherently so constrained.
quote:
Originally posted by Belle Ringer:
But it will be extended again before 2019, when early Mickey Mouse becomes public domain under current law.

Not exactly. Mickey Mouse is a trademark. IIRC, trademarks are held in perpetuity as long as the holder continues to use the trademark.

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I put on my rockin' shoes in the morning
Hallellou, hallellou

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Hairy Biker
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quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:

So in reality, copyright has meant lifetime+sliding period - where 'sliding period' is long enough to allow Disney to keep all of it's original copyrights.

Where many run afoul of Disney is in trademarks rather than copyrights.

Absolutely - but they have also lobbied heavily for copyright extension in order to prevent the earliest disney movies falling into the public domain.
And ironically, many of the Disney stories - i.e. the fairytales - were public domain before Disney stole them, set them to gaudy cartoons, thus destroying their innocence, and sold them back to the public at a massive profit. It is Disney who owe us, not the other way round.

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there [are] four important things in life: religion, love, art and science. At their best, they’re all just tools to help you find a path through the darkness. None of them really work that well, but they help.
Damien Hirst

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Jay-Emm
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And America in general benefited* from it's lapse copyright rules when it was convenient to it.

*well some parties.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Hairy Biker:
And ironically, many of the Disney stories - i.e. the fairytales - were public domain before Disney stole them, set them to gaudy cartoons, thus destroying their innocence, and sold them back to the public at a massive profit. It is Disney who owe us, not the other way round.

You are free to make a new Cinderella movie, a Snow White, etc., the copyright means you cannot reproduce a copy of the version someone else made.

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Adeodatus
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
... LaBeouf coming down on the "once created, a work belongs to everyone" side....

This doesn't quite mean what some people take it to mean. Among artists, it doesn't mean that a work, once produced, can be directly copied, or passed off as someone else's work. It means that one work of art can legitimately be used to inspire another. It's why Picasso could paint versions of Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe*, or why Mendelssohn and Wagner could quote Naumann's "Dresden Amen" in the Reformation Symphony and Parsifal.

The point is, neither Picasso, nor Mendelssohn, nor Wagner, were merely copying the older work. They were taking it and using their own creativity on it. This is an intrinsic part of being an artist: you use other people's work, and if you're lucky, other people use yours.

As for the copyright laws, count me among those who think it's immoral and insane that copyright can be prolonged almost endlessly after the death of the artist. It stifles creativity and allows the artist's grandchildren to sit Smaug-like on their unearned gold.


*(Déjeuner sur l'herbe - I think this is French for "Herbert will pay for lunch".)

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Adeodatus:
It's why Picasso could paint versions of Manet's Déjeuner sur l'herbe*, or why Mendelssohn and Wagner could quote Naumann's "Dresden Amen" in the Reformation Symphony and Parsifal.

Picasso's work is clearly his own, so no problem.
Let's explore music for a moment. Anyone with a passing familiarity with the remix scene will have heard a "new" work that is nothing more than an unvarying dance beat underlying an otherwise unmodified track. Does ummph chh ummph chh ummph chh ummph chh repeated under The Sound of music qualify as a new work? Is this inspiration or theft?

There is an album called The House That Wolf Built which take inspiration (and excerpts) from Howlin' Wolf and creates, almost Picasso-like, clearly new works.

I do not think the questions as simple or one-sided as often stated.

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Curiosity killed ...

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Someone asked upthread about CCL licences (and PRS and PPL) and copyright. I used to run it for the church and while I was doing it I really did make sure we covered ourselves. As we paid for the licences, we just had to declare what we did. But there were a few hymns and songs outside that aren't covered by CCL - Morning has Broken and anything by Eleanor Farjeon, including her version of People Look East. When I checked for Morning has Broken a few years back for weddings and funerals the charge was £25 plus VAT each time it was printed in an order of service. In contrast, using Little Donkey in the Christmas Nativity service we asked, we were granted use. Not that I'm drawing any parallels with this and Smaug like behaviour of descendants.

As someone who puts a lot of photographs online, I suspect I've had quite a few copied and pasted. In a few cases I've been asked if they can be used and I've offered some to people and charities for their publicity locally. But I do get irritated if someone nicks my photographs without asking.

This came up on 365 recently, and a very good photographer who has his photographs stolen all the time showed his picture of Vancouver being used on a Chinese website advertising elevators.

We are supposed to teach copyright understanding for the internet as part of the ICT Functional Skills and GCSE courses, and it's really difficult convincing teenagers that they can't just help themselves to anything on the internet without asking.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
You are free to make a new Cinderella movie, a Snow White, etc., the copyright means you cannot reproduce a copy of the version someone else made.

Adopting Disney's own present day guidelines, "Jungle Book" was an adaptation of a work that would have still been in copyright till 2006. In fact Disney did so without permission or payment of royalties taking advantage of the situation at the time.

There are other examples of this kind of thing. The history of copyright as it exists in the modern era is pretty much one of movie studios and labels underpaying artists.

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OddJob
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In common with 'Curiosity killed', my wife used to be responsible for collecting and submitting data to CCL. Rightly so in principle, and we're a large church who can afford the fee. However I do wonder how long it will be before the unedifying spectacle occurs where CCL takes action against an enthusiastic, probably small church with little funding and actually supresses worship?

Let's hope that CCL never behaves like the increasingly predatory PRS, which is contacting all manner of businesses, large and very small, to demand a cut if music is played in workplaces. In many cases the admin must cost a good proportion of the amounts collected, and its senior level salaries are scandalous.

Surely in both cases there's a strong argument for waiving the fee for organisations below a threshold size?

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no prophet's flag is set so...

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We should probably ask Richard Stallman for comments.

But let me give it a try. If you look at the problem as one of copyright and preventing people from "stealing" or "pirating" things, then you're looking at it from the point of view of people who have vested interests in maintaining the status quo because this is how they've been making money. You're not looking at it from the perspective of people who want to read, view, or listen to content and media.

Change and innovation are expensive, and the businesses like the MPAA would rather keep riding the gravy train they've been riding without doing anything new that might require spending some of the money they rake in. This is why we have stupid thing like them suing people who download music or movies. Really? This is how you get people to watch movies? Really?

But hopefully we're seeing change. Apple's iStore allows people to download songs and movies easily and they are willing to pay for it, it wasn't just about money for viewers, it is about getting it, and getting right now, or sooner. But this came a long time after Napster, Lime/Frostwire, eDonkey, and bittorrent etc. And Apple's system is incompatible with non-Apple things, so rotten apples to some of us. But you can see my argument: the failure of businesses to innovate and be on the leading edge on content distribution put them into a rearguard attempt to protect their financial interests by using laws and courts and stupid ideas like DRM. Because people want the content, and they will damn well get it, experiencing copyright a lot like censorship in this context.

So this morning when Canada was beating Sweden for Olympic gold in hockey, Canadians watched live internet streaming of the game from the CBC, from anywhere in the world, unrestricted. Because CBC has understood, at least this time.

Hasn't everyone seen that message "this video is not available from your region/country" and then spent an annoying 5 or 15 minutes to figure out the way around this stupidity, and then watched it?

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k-mann
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I found the video interesting, and I think that one problem is that people tend to confuse ‘intellectual property’ and ‘copyright.’ There are now longer any ‘copyright’ on Shakespeare’s works. They are all in the public domain. That doesn’t mean that I can copy Hamlet and try to pass it off as my own. Shakespeare, though dead, still has his ‘intellectual property.’ Though it often is reduced to money, ‘intellectual property’ is not based on money or compensation. In other words, ‘intellectual property’ and ‘copyright’ is not the same.

quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
It speaks of an "exclusive right," essentially a government-granted monopoly, for a limited time.

I would rather say that the government acknowledges the inherent right of creators, rather than they ‘granting’ them the ‘right’ to their own intellectual property. The government is an abstract entity, and owns nothing.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:

In some systems, so long as you acknowledge that the original material was someone else's, you're free to work with it.

The problem I have with this system is it is difficult enough for unknown artist with few resources to protect themselves in the US and similar domains now. This is potentially a license for established entities to steal.
Why do you regard it as stealing, though? If you're required to make an attribution of the original work, isn't that more likely the audience of the established entity go and look at the original work?

That's certainly happened with music sampling. The only reason I ever heard of one German electronic musician from the 1970s was because Radiohead took 4 chords of his composition and turned it into the basis for 'Idioteque'. Gotye had basically the biggest song of the year making use of a riff from an LP he picked up in a second-hand store. Interest in the original acts soared because the copiers acknowledged their sources.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Let's explore music for a moment. Anyone with a passing familiarity with the remix scene will have heard a "new" work that is nothing more than an unvarying dance beat underlying an otherwise unmodified track. Does ummph chh ummph chh ummph chh ummph chh repeated under The Sound of music qualify as a new work? Is this inspiration or theft?

It's neither. Yes it qualifies as a new work, and indeed all copyright laws will treat it as such. It's just not a very inspired one.

Whether it's theft depends on whether the rules require payment to be made. Not on whether the result represents good value for money in artistic terms.

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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
Let's explore music for a moment. Anyone with a passing familiarity with the remix scene will have heard a "new" work that is nothing more than an unvarying dance beat underlying an otherwise unmodified track. Does ummph chh ummph chh ummph chh ummph chh repeated under The Sound of music qualify as a new work? Is this inspiration or theft?

It's neither. Yes it qualifies as a new work, and indeed all copyright laws will treat it as such. It's just not a very inspired one.

Whether it's theft depends on whether the rules require payment to be made. Not on whether the result represents good value for money in artistic terms.

True, but the rules* are based on how close to the original a new work is. And if you take a recording and simply add a dance beat, does this, by those rules, truly classify as new?


*In certain jurisdictions.
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:

Change and innovation are expensive,

And if no one pays, where does the money come from?
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:

and the businesses like the MPAA would rather keep riding the gravy train they've been riding without doing anything new that might require spending some of the money they rake in.

I am not defending them or the RIIA or any such organisation.I think it less about not spending money as it is there being no incentive to.
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:

But hopefully we're seeing change. Apple's iStore allows people to download songs and movies easily and they are willing to pay for it, it wasn't just about money for viewers, it is about getting it, and getting right now, or sooner

Apple did so to make money, to grab a piece of the action. Apple's history is more about restriction than access.

quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
The history of copyright as it exists in the modern era is pretty much one of movie studios and labels underpaying artists.

Agreed as they have the money to fight legal battles. They have the money for promotion and distribution.
I would argue it is still the a better model to protect the individual than everything is free.

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Those who have creative aspirations need a better model. Free isn't it.

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
And if you take a recording and simply add a dance beat, does this, by those rules, truly classify as new?

That's the kind of question we end up making judges wrestle with. I think that any principles-based system of rules is going to end up with a fuzzy borderline, and I think that this is the kind of area where a principles-based approach is the only one that could work.

I mean, there's clearly an element of judgement involved in you saying that someone who is taking direct excerpts from Howlin' Wolf is using those excerpts in a sufficiently novel context to make something new, but that someone who is actually altering the music from beginning to end by adding a beat might not be making something new (because the original work is audible and very recognisable throughout).

Does it matter how recognisable the quotations or references are? I'm in two minds about that... there's an argument that someone who allows you to recognise the original source, and wants you to recognise the cultural reference, is actually more justified in their copying than someone who takes something and tries to hide the borrowing as if their work is wholly original.

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chris stiles
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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
The history of copyright as it exists in the modern era is pretty much one of movie studios and labels underpaying artists.

Agreed as they have the money to fight legal battles. They have the money for promotion and distribution.
I would argue it is still the a better model to protect the individual than everything is free.

A number of artists who ended up with nothing would dispute that - and it's not a two horse race.
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by orfeo:
Does it matter how recognisable the quotations or references are? I'm in two minds about that... there's an argument that someone who allows you to recognise the original source, and wants you to recognise the cultural reference, is actually more justified in their copying than someone who takes something and tries to hide the borrowing as if their work is wholly original.

The Wolf That House Built is all of the part of your quote I put in bold and none of the part that follows. This I why I used it as an example.

Between everything is free and nothing is free, contention will always exist. I think neither of those extremes correct.
quote:
Originally posted by chris stiles:
and it's not a two horse race.

Never said it is a two horse race. In point of fact
quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

Those who have creative aspirations need a better model. Free isn't it.



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Enoch
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quote:
Originally posted by k-mann:
... I think that one problem is that people tend to confuse ‘intellectual property’ and ‘copyright.’ There are now longer any ‘copyright’ on Shakespeare’s works. They are all in the public domain. That doesn’t mean that I can copy Hamlet and try to pass it off as my own. Shakespeare, though dead, still has his ‘intellectual property.’ Though it often is reduced to money, ‘intellectual property’ is not based on money or compensation. In other words, ‘intellectual property’ and ‘copyright’ is not the same....

.... I would rather say that the government acknowledges the inherent right of creators, rather than they ‘granting’ them the ‘right’ to their own intellectual property. The government is an abstract entity, and owns nothing.

It's true that I know nothing about Norwegian law, but I'd be surprised if either of those statements were correct there. They certainly aren't here.

'Intellectual property' is precisely that, a type of property. There's no physical object you can hold. It exists and can be enforced only because the law recognises and enforces it. In that respect, it's just like a debt or a bank account. But because the law enforces it, it's property all the same. 'Copyright' happens to be one variety of intellectual property.

Neither Shakespeare nor his descendants still have any property in his works. I could try and pass off Hamlet as my own, but nobody would believe me.


The fact that 'the government' is an abstract entity, does not stop it from being capable of owning things. Companies are abstract entities and own things. So are churches.

However, the government doesn't own a large collection of amorphous copyrights and then grant them back to the people who created them. Governments have provided various ways by which peoples' rights to their intellectual fruits are recognised.

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Timothy the Obscure

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originally posted by k-mann:
quote:

quote:
quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:
It speaks of an "exclusive right," essentially a government-granted monopoly, for a limited time.

I would rather say that the government acknowledges the inherent right of creators, rather than they ‘granting’ them the ‘right’ to their own intellectual property.
Not in the US, at any rate, which does not recognize any such thing as common-law copyright (or other forms of so-called intellectual property). These are strictly statutory rights, created, not merely recognized, by legislation. Other philosophies prevail elsewhere, unfortunately.

And Enoch, it's worth noting that had current copyright law been in effect in the 16th century, many of Shakespeare's greatest plays would have been suppressed by lawsuits brought by Holinshed's estate...

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When you think of the long and gloomy history of man, you will find more hideous crimes have been committed in the name of obedience than have ever been committed in the name of rebellion.
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lilBuddha
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quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:

And Enoch, it's worth noting that had current copyright law been in effect in the 16th century, many of Shakespeare's greatest plays would have been suppressed by lawsuits brought by Holinshed's estate...

Bit of an overstatement that, yeah? History is a record of what happened. Quoting directly is an issue with any published work, but historical events as copyrightable ideas?

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Dafyd
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quote:
Originally posted by Timothy the Obscure:

And Enoch, it's worth noting that had current copyright law been in effect in the 16th century, many of Shakespeare's greatest plays would have been suppressed by lawsuits brought by Holinshed's estate...

Or the King's Men would have had to pay Holinshed's estate for the theatre rights, as Hollywood does these days.

quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:

Bit of an overstatement that, yeah? History is a record of what happened. Quoting directly is an issue with any published work, but historical events as copyrightable ideas?

I think Holinshed's estate, if so minded, could argue that where Holinshed's version of historical events and the historical events themselves diverged, Shakespeare is frequently following the former.

Mind you, that's nothing on what Thomas North would have had on Shakespeare. One of the most famous speeches in Anthony and Cleopatra is lifted almost directly from North's translation of Plutarch, with just enough alteration to turn it into iambic pentameters.

[ 25. February 2014, 06:40: Message edited by: Dafyd ]

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Jane R
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And most of his other plots were lifted from Boccaccio...
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lilBuddha
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Who in turn lifted most of his plots.
What made Boccaccio was his style, not the originality of his plots. Same with Willie.

[ 25. February 2014, 11:23: Message edited by: lilBuddha ]

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orfeo

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Well, some people would argue that what makes a great remix DJ is his killer bass lines.

I wouldn't be one of those people, mind you.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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lilBuddha
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I would think most of those truly mean, "I'm happy 'cause I can dance to it."

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Russ
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Three wrong ways to think about copyright etc:

1) Seems to me that whether a particular action (such as copying music) is morally wrong has very little to do with how easy technology makes it - better technology can't make a right act into a wrong act or vice versa. So I've no sympathy with the end-justifies the-means mindset that says that the greater the technological threat to a particular business model, the more repressive the laws that are justified.

2) Seems to me that whether a particular action (such as copying music) is morally permissable has very little to do with the level of sympathy we feel for those involved. Whether the victims are large corporations that we envy for their wealth, or struggling artists starving in a garret doesn't turn a right act into a wrong act or vice versa. People should be equal under the law.

3) Seems to me that theft of intellectual property is the wrong way to look at this. It's trying to treat information as matter, to force the issue into a well-understood mould that it doesn't fit. If I steal your property I deprive you of it - a zero-sum game where your loss is my gain. If I copy your work, I create value.

The moral principle here is one of fair shares. If I'm down Camden Market selling pirated videos, I'm depriving the creative people and financial people and organisational people who collaborated to make the movies in the first place of their fair share of the proceeds. Under a just law, they should be able to take me to court to recover their share.

But if I' lend a video to a friend, that's no moral crime. If I copy it onto a more portable electronic device to watch it more conveniently, there's no harm. If I accidentally or deliberately do both, thus enabling both of us to simultaneously and separately watch a movie that only one of us has paid for, well two rights don't make a wrong....

(seeing your fifty cents and raising.. )

Best wishes,

Russ

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Wish everyone well; the enemy is not people, the enemy is wrong ideas

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orfeo

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quote:
Originally posted by Russ:
3) Seems to me that theft of intellectual property is the wrong way to look at this. It's trying to treat information as matter, to force the issue into a well-understood mould that it doesn't fit. If I steal your property I deprive you of it - a zero-sum game where your loss is my gain. If I copy your work, I create value.

Indeed, it has been pointed out here in Australia a number of times that the Australian Federation Against Copyright Theft is (probably quite deliberately) misnamed. Theft is a crime. Breach of copyright is a civil wrong that's compensable. But describing people as stealing is catchier.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

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orfeo

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Also, in relation to the subject of straight-up copying without alteration, this quite good article appeared yesterday. And it's worth following the link about Game of Thrones for a little more commentary on that particular illustration.

There is certainly a high level of frustration on my part with the fact that companies ignore the existence of a global market. On the internet I talk to people from all over the world, but when it comes to release and availability of content, the entertainment world only sometimes gets to grip with that fact.

To take a mild example, I couldn't participate in the Heaven thread on Sherlock because the show aired here several weeks later. I coped with that, but it's annoying.

The more serious example is the stuff that's NEVER released. Why is it that I'm free to read about the latest critically acclaimed American TV show, but might not be able to watch it for several years unless I download it nefariously or use technology to trick a computer somewhere into thinking I'm in the USA?

Why the bloody hell are free classical podcasts from the BBC only playable in the UK? Free ones! Never mind all the examples of music that I'm perfectly willing to pay for but not allowed to buy because someone at my address wouldn't be interested. It makes no sense whatsoever that I can buy a CD or paperback from another country far more easily than an mp3 or e-book. Not while the industry is lamenting loudly about electronic 'theft'.

I'm sure some people breach copyright just because they don't care about copyright, but I'm sure a lot more people breach copyright because content delivery just hasn't kept up with the information delivery that creates the interest in the content.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18173 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
orfeo

Ship's Musical Counterpoint
# 13878

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ADDENDUM: The situation with DVDs, at least, is slightly improved in Australia by a court decision that region coding is a fundamentally unfair restraint on people's right to buy perfectly legal discs from overseas, and that people are entitled to bypass it.

A lot of DVD players sold in Australia no longer have a region code on them.

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Technology has brought us all closer together. Turns out a lot of the people you meet as a result are complete idiots.

Posts: 18173 | From: Under | Registered: Jul 2008  |  IP: Logged
no prophet's flag is set so...

Proceed to see sea
# 15560

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quote:
Originally posted by lilBuddha:
quote:
Originally posted by no prophet:

Change and innovation are expensive,

And if no one pays, where does the money come from?
I think you're missing the point. Copyright and intellectual property are about freezing things so that creativity is stopped and money is made on the artificially frozen reality. That's why the MPAA decided that downloading media was worth suing about. They refused to innovate and move forward.

The same thing with software. People complained that MS Windows 8 lacked features. Finally, the owner of the operating system apparently decided to make some of the features people wanted available, like a start button. Contrast this with open source. When the Gnome desktop for Linux went in a Windows like direction, removing familiar features, people who wanted the features simply modified the source code and made them available.

We also have things that are somewhere in the middle, like Google's Android operating system which is open source in part and closed for other parts. I downloaded it and installed into a desktop (within an emulator) and it is allowed to mess with it as much as you want, sort of running a phone operating system on your computer. I think the idea of open source operating systems is pretty cool because you can do what ever you want with it. That's innovation. It reminds me of playing with car motors in the past, modifying them as we wished. With an intellectual property approach to car motors, would we be allowed to do this?

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Out of this nettle, danger, we pluck this flower, safety.
\_(ツ)_/

Posts: 11498 | From: Treaty 6 territory in the nonexistant Province of Buffalo, Canada ↄ⃝' | Registered: Mar 2010  |  IP: Logged
Gee D
Shipmate
# 13815

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Nothing at all wrong with that, but had you started to sell your modification to others - or perhaps even give it away - there could well be an infringement. To say nothing about the risk you would have been taking should your modification have been defective.

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Not every Anglican in Sydney is Sydney Anglican

Posts: 7028 | From: Warrawee NSW Australia | Registered: Jun 2008  |  IP: Logged



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