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+ - Well, if it's a war they want...

Submitted by cpt kangarooski
cpt kangarooski (3773) writes "Information has come to light, thanks to the recent Sony hack, in which MPAA and major studios are colluding as to what legal actions are available to them to compel an entity referred to as 'Goliath,' most likely Google, into taking aggressive anti-piracy action on behalf of the entertainment industry. MPAA and member studios Universal, Sony, Fox, Paramount, Warner Bros., and Disney have had lengthy email discussions concerning how to block pirate sites at the ISP level, and how to take action at the state level to work around the failure of SOPA in 2012. Emails also indicate that they are working with Comcast (which owns Universal) on some form of inspection of traffic to find copyright infringements as they happen. More information at The Verge."

Comment: Re:Creators wishing to control their creations... (Score 1) 268

Copying was a difficult and expensive enough proposition that a natural exclusivity existed even without copyright.

No it didn't. Pirates have never had a technological edge over legitimate publishers. At best there's parity, but usually publishers have an edge over pirates.

If you wanted to pirate a book before the invention of movable type, you could copy it longhand -- just like you'd have to do if you wanted to make an authorized copy.

And people did this all the time. In fact, the only reason that any books (other than those written on clay, stone, or metal) survive from antiquity is because they were copied, the copies were copied, and the copies spread far and wide. Often only one copy survived long enough for more to be made. Paper of various kinds has been in use for a long time, but the oldest paper book is only about 1700 years old.

There was no exclusivity. Some places, like the city of Alexandria, in Egypt, had an official policy that all books that entered the city had to be made available for copying.

The very idea that authors should have exclusive rights in their works is only a few centuries old.

Comment: Re:Creators wishing to control their creations... (Score 1) 268

How many people would publish if no option to have a copyright existed at all?

Well, all the people who published works before 1710 had no copyrights. All the people who published after that, but not in England had no copyrights until various countries slowly adopted copyright (the US picked it up in 1790, the French after that, and most of Europe in the 19th century -- and they only exported it to the rest of the world by means of colonialism, not on its own actual merits).

Plus there were various limits, e.g. the US only granted copyrights to Americans until almost the end of the 19th century; British authors had no option to get an American copyright at all... unless they became American citizens.

More recently, various classes of work were ineligible. For example, architectural works (in practice, buildings) were uncopyrightable in the US until 1990. Were no buildings designed and built in this country until architects were given copyrights?

What I think you're missing here is that there are a plethora of incentives for an author to create and publish a work. Money gained by exploiting a copyright on the work is but one of those incentives, and often is not the most important one, and also often is not an essential one.

I certainly agree that it can be useful, but that doesn't mean that we ought to go hog wild with it; as with many other things, a little might be beneficial, but too much can be harmful.

And what is the point of having a copyright in the first place if the creator isn't supposed to be permitted to try and exercise control over who may copy their works?

The point is to grant authors copyrights as an additional incentive in order to entice them into creating and publishing works which they would not have created and published, but for copyright. If they would've done it anyway, the copyright is superfluous, and granting it would be wasteful. If they require more copyright than is healthy for society, all things considered, we're literally better off not granting it even though it means we'll be bereft of the work in question.

It's not intended to give authors control over works for their own sake. That's just the means by which it functions. It's intended to produce a public benefit. And while the public does benefit from having works created and published, it also benefits from not having anyone controlling works.

Comment: Re:Creators wishing to control their creations... (Score 1) 268

Care to take a guess how many people would willfully publish their stuff if everything that they published had to become public domain?

Well, that's how it operated in the US from 1790 through to the end of 1977. Turns out that relatively few published works were copyrighted. Further, since there was a renewal term (that is, the copyright would be good for an additional number of years if you re-upped in a timely fashion) we also know that most authors of copyrighted works didn't bother to get a renewal, and let their works enter the public domain sooner than they had to.

It worked fine. We got great literature and the golden age of Hollywood on both film and tv, as well as tons of great music.

And frankly, a system of strict formalities to get copyrights is a more important thing to change in the law than shortening the term length.

Comment: Re:Creators wishing to control their creations... (Score 1) 268

Why should the creator not be able to impose any restrictions they damn please?

Why should the rest of us aid them in doing so? E.g. by conferring upon them some sort of legal rights that pertain to how the work is used by others.

While I think it could potentially be beneficial for the public to grant rights to authors, it's surely not always beneficial under every circumstance, and every permutation of works and rights.

And if the author doesn't like the terms under which the public might deign to give them rights, they're free to not create the work.

Comment: India... (Score 5, Interesting) 438

by djupedal (#48352441) Attached to: The Students Who Feel They Have the Right To Cheat
Where less than 20% of the MBAs are employable. They'll do anything to get that skin, and then do nothing with it but weedle. I had to interview over 5k of them just to come up with 150 that were anywhere near hiring, and 10% of those didn't make the first six months. That figure fell to 50% after two years, as they were constantly looking for lateral moves inside the country. The country? China.

Comment: Re:And people who write software (Score 3, Informative) 152

by cpt kangarooski (#48264411) Attached to: Stan Lee Media and Disney Battle For Ownership of Marvel Characters

It seems obvious to me that the person who came up with the idea and directed it's creation is the copyright holder.

It's really a matter of directing its creation. Mere ideas aren't copyrightable, and merely coming up with one doesn't matter. If you use someone else's idea but are the only creative participant, they won't get rights in tor work.

And if you direct creation, you don't have to be the person who literally brings it about, either. But this is more than just paying someone a commission, or giving them the basic idea. It means that the other active participant isn't contributing anything creative.

So for example, if you tell a photographer that you want a photo of some subject, the photographer will end up being the author. If you tell him exactly what camera settings to use, what lighting, choose the subject, pose the subject, etc., then you're engaging in authorship.

. Likewise, if I hire someone to take wedding photos, then the photo copyrights are mine, as I commissioned the person to take them.

No, they're not. Being the author means having sole artistic control. Being a joint author would involve two parties having artistic control, and an intent to produce a joint work. And a work for hire, in which authorship is attributed to an employer requires more than merely commissioning a work. It requires actual employment, with all the relevant indicia (tax forms, insurance, providing the tools and work area, etc.) or in a handful of cases, contractual language.

You might be interested in Burrow-Giles Lithographic Co. v. Sarony and Community for Creative Non-Violence v. Reid.

Does Keanu Reeves own the copyright for Edward Scissorhands? No.

I think you mean Johnny Depp.

Comment: Re:Fewer candidates to draw from... (Score 1) 580

by cpt kangarooski (#48164523) Attached to: FBI Says It Will Hire No One Who Lies About Illegal Downloading

And you showed nothing that describes dowloading. The owner of the server controls whether a copy is made or a file is transfered and is responsablty for the distribution.

Nope!

ReDigi was a company that claimed to sell used music files, just as a used bookstore sells books. It argued that it was protected under the 17 USC 109, the first sale exception, by claiming that copying then deleting files was a transfer. (Even they were not so stupid as to believe that it's possible to transfer a file over a network without copying in the process, even if this is not apparent to the user)

The court that heard the case shut them down:

Courts have consistently held that the unauthorized duplication of digital music files over the Internet infringes a copyright owner's exclusive right to reproduce. However, courts have not previously addressed whether the unauthorized transfer of a digital music file over the Internet -- where only one file exists before and after the transfer -- constitutes reproduction within the meaning of the Copyright Act. The Court holds that it does.

You should read the whole thing: http://www.documentcloud.org/d...

It even points out, as I have, that this is unavoidable:

This understanding is, of course, confirmed by the laws of physics. It is simply impossible that the same "material object" can be transferred over the Internet. Thus, logically, the court in London-Sire noted that the Internet transfer of a file results in a material object being "created elsewhere at its finish." Because the reproduction right is necessarily implicated when a copyrighted work is embodied in a new material object, and because digital music files must be embodied in a new material object following their transfer over the Internet, the Court determines that the embodiment of a digital music file on a new hard disk is a reproduction within the meaning of the Copyright Act.

Case law is not law either.

It is in the US.

Judges have been wrong before and they will be wrong in the future.

What does that have to do with anything? You think that legislators are never wrong?

What is now proved was once only imagin'd. -- William Blake

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