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Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 148 148

No, when the Steamboat Willy copyright expires, there is no longer a copyright which prohibits people from making or distributing additional copies of the work, from publicly performing or displaying the work, or from preparing new derivative works based on it (such as a new Mickey Mouse short in which he commands a homemade submarine powered by barnyard animals or something)

Categorically false. Someone could make a derivative work of the Disney short and call the title character something other than Mickey Mouse, but if they tried to call him Mickey Mouse, Disney could take action against them for using their trademark without permission. In fact, if Disney did *NOT* pursue the matter within a certain period of time, then they *WOULD* risk losing trademark protection (as far as I am aware, the law is not definite on the exact period of time allowed, but it is clear that it is not very long, and the matter would be up to a judge to determine if they had responded with due haste to the matter). It is also worth noting that trademark, like copyright, can be satired within the allowances of intellectual property law, although slightly different metrics are used on trademarks than with copyrights to determine if something that may be construed as an unauthorized copy of a trademarked image or character is actually a satire. A titular character that was called "Mickey Moose", for example, would probably be recognized as being satirical on the Mickey Mouse character because the Mickey Mouse character is extremely well known, which is one of the factors that governs satiring or parodying in the case of trademarks (but is not an issue in the case of determining satire or parody for copyrights).

Ultimately, copyright and Trademark are two wholly different pieces of intellectual property that govern entirely different things, handled almost entirely orthogonally to eachother, and in practically all cases, one has absolutely no effect on the other. Trademark infringement comes into play when ownership of the trademark itself is somehow challenged, which is not caused by distributing a copy of a work, because it is copyright that governs the copying of such works, and not trademark. *IF* Disney were to have trademarked the entire cartoon, then it would continue to be illegal to copy it, but such things are not eligible for trademark protection.

The only way that trademark could possibly be affected by Steamboat Willie falling into public domain is if that would or might cause the public to not realize who Mickey Mouse belongs to, but since the copied work is still a *COPY* of the work, and so would still be clear who owns the intellectual property that is still very much alive.

Be aware that the copyright status on the short has already expired in several countries that do not practice the copyright durations the US currently has in place, and the cartoon can be freely distributed or copied in said jurisdictions, while the trademark status has remained entirely unaffected.

I am not directly familiar with the Shredded Wheat case you mentioned, but I would imagine that the reason the term Shredded Wheat was allowed to be freely used after the patent expired is because the terminology accurately described the product in the first place, and so once the patent expired, the trademark status on the term that referred to it became superfluous. As a counter-example, while Lego's last standing patent on Lego bricks expired in 1989, nobody else that makes so-called compatible building blocks is allowed to call their product Lego, nor are they allowed to even explicitly say they are compatible with Lego (even if they are) without first getting permission from Lego to do so (and they would be extremely unlikely to receive such permission, since they would be a direct competitor), because Lego still holds trademark status on the term in the context of a toy (and also as a company name).

Of course, if Disney had trademarked the title "Steamboat Willie", they would lose certainly lose trademark protection on that title once the work with that fell into public domain.

Comment Re:"True" atificial intelligence is... (Score 1) 195 195

In other words, very dangerous

Potentially, yes... but no sane person attempts to discourage other people from breeding just because the intelligence they may produce as offspring might turn out to be a psychopathic killer. Suggesting that AI is somehow particularly likely to pose any similar such threat is a similar irrational rant.

Comment Re:"True" atificial intelligence is... (Score 1) 195 195

Natural intelligence has ethical constraints developed by millions of years of evolution

This notion is routinely spouted by people who express fears about AI, but it irrationally elevates the concept of so-called "ethical constraints" to being some mystical property of natural intelligence that is apparently somehow actually separate from it, and somehow unlikely to exist in artificial intelligence when there isn't any reason to think that it should be, or that it is likely to be.

We will have much more to fear from humans who might use AI to further their own agendas than we would from AI itself.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 148 148

You are mistaken. If the copyright on "Steamboat Willie" expired, anyone could copy the work or create derivative works from it featuring a similar character, but they could not call the character in derivative works Mickey Mouse, nor use Mickey Mouse's image in such works. They would, however, be able to still freely copy the original work even though it featured said character that is still under trademark because the copy of the work is not considered a new work, it is considered a *COPY*.... If somebody copies "Steamboat Willie", they are just copying "Steamboat Willie", they are not misappropriating the Mickey Mouse character into a new work because a copy of a work is not actually considered a new work in the first place, and the work uses the trademark with permission in the first place.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 148 148

Trademark can *DEFINITELY* keep other people from being legally free to use the character in their own works, particularly for commercial purposes. As you said, however, it cannot actually substitute for copyright, and so would not be able to prevent someone from legally copying a work that happens to utilize the trademark if the copyright on the work has expired, as long as the trademark itself is respected (ie, the proper ownership of the trademarked character is not challenged in any way, which may sometimes require explicit acknowledgement of who owns the trademark).

Comment "True" atificial intelligence is... (Score 4, Insightful) 195 195

...no more dangerous to our existence than natural intelligence is.

And no less, for that matter.

There is nothing inherent to being "artificial" that should cause intelligence to be necessarily more hostile to mankind than a natural intelligence is, so while the idea might make for intriguing science fiction, I am of the opinion that many people who express serious concerns that there may be any real danger caused by it are allowing their imaginations to overrule rational and coherent thoughts on the matter.

Comment Re:Mickey Mouse copyirght extenstions... (Score 1) 148 148

Why do creators of copyrighted work owe free stuff to the public?

Because in the course of the long haul, society benefits from a continually diverse influx of creative works. Certainly there is a valid argument (and one that I very strongly support) that the creator or agents authorized by the creator should be allowed a monopoly on controlling content that they distribute for a limited time, but if that content is not ultimately allowed to be freely copied by the society that it was provided for, then the content creator is disincentivized (is that a word?) from actually providing or creating other works. Given that almost the entire point of copyright in the first place was to give the creator some kind of assurance that their works could not be freely copied by other people even if they published, thereby providing an incentive to publish and so have the potential to enrich society by an influx of creative works, not ultimately releasing the work into public domain after some set period (where, if society is so inclined, the public can then further transmogrify it or build upon it to create even more diverse works in the future to the extent that other intellectual property whose ownership may survive the copyright expiration, such as trademarks, are properly respected), is wholly counterproductive to the real benefit of copyright.

Disney holds a trademark on Mickey Mouse, and can retain said ownership into perpetuity. That aspect alone can rightfully keep anyone else from utilizing the character in their own works, forever, if Disney so desires, but the works themselves are copyrighted, and the duration on copyright should necessarily be limited to maximize any potential benefit it can offer to society. IMO, no copyright should last more than 30 or so years after the date of first publication, and probably less for certain types of works that are continually deprecated by newer works such as computer software.

Comment Re:Why can only humans read and write? (Score 1) 168 168

Children are incapable of deception until they are about 3 years old.

That assertion is incorrect, as another commenter has posted. Although anecdotal, my youngest grandaughter is not even 2 and has been recently caught a couple of times trying to manipulate her mom or dad into giving her attention at a moment's notice by sometimes pretending to be hurt when she was not. Being only a year and a half old, she's not particularly adept at such deception (so bad at it. in fact, that it's almost funny), but it's still quite definitely a form of lying, even if it is mostly non-verbal.

On the subject of apes, I've suggested that somebody should really try teaching an ape to read beyond the scope of a parlor trick where it is simply doing it to satisfy some immediate physiological need or desire, and hopes that by performing said stunt, it will induce its owner or keeper into giving it such a reward. The ultimate test of reading comprehension would be when it can learn entirely new skills by reading about how to perform them instead of being trained by somebody else. The new skills do not necessarily have to be complex, nor do they necessarily have to be performed expertly, but if they were able to read, they should at least know the mechanical and cognitive steps involved in the task, and be able to make what are readily observable attempts at performing them, and also be able to realize when they are not following such steps. For example, could an ape learn to play a simple count-and-capture game such as Mancala by reading the rules, even if the ape had never been taught the game by a human? A six-year old child can learn to play such a game by reading the rules (not necessarily very well, but the child will still know the rules of the game and competently demonstrate an ability to follow them even without having been instructed how to play by anyone else). If chimpanzees or other similar apes are so cognitively similar to humans, it seems to me that this should be possible.

Also... arguing that some humans can't read or write is drawing on exceptions rather than the rule when a person has been raised in an environment where that education is actually provided.

Comment Re:Why can only humans read and write? (Score 1) 168 168

Whole societies have existed without writing, true, but you could take almost child who was born in that society and provide them with a proper education, and statistically speaking, have a fairly good chance of being able to teach that child to read and write by age 6 or 7, barring any developmental disabilities that might impede it (which are the exception and not the rule anyways). How poor the family might be, or how many generations back the family has been illiterate is entirely irrelevant to how quickly the child might be able to learn the skill.

My point being that the human mind, at least generally speaking, is sophisticated enough to be able to learn something like this by a relatively young age. Why, if some primates are so cognitively similar to humans, can they not be trained to do likewise? And if they are not so cognitively similar, then why is that being presented as an argument that animals should be treated like persons in the first place?

Comment Re:Why can only humans read and write? (Score 1) 168 168

Such developmental disability is the exception and not the rule.. p. Also, where did I say anything about sign language? I asked about reading and writing.... and in particular, using such skills to meaningfully communicate original thoughts and ideas as well as learn how to do things they didn't used to know how to do.

Comment Why can only humans read and write? (Score 2) 168 168

Can someone explain to me why none of the great apes that supposedly share so much with humans in terms of cognitive ability can be taught how to read and to write, not merely as a parlor trick that the creature utilizes so that it will receive some reward that might satisfy an immediate physiological craving such as hunger, but as a technique that the animal might use to communicate its own thoughts and ideas to others (can an ape write a creative story with a beginning, middle, and end, for example?), and in particular, be able to teach this ability to successive generations of apes who may then even surpass the ability of their own instructor? An ape that could read could then teach itself how to do many more things than what it currently knows simply by reading about them, rather than having to be explicitly instructed by someone else... it could learn the rules to a game like chess, for example.

Practically any human being can typically be taught how to read and to write by the time they are six or seven if the education is available to them. Can somebody tell me what, if anything, is so unique about the human mind that no other creature on the planet can be taught this?

Never appeal to a man's "better nature." He may not have one. Invoking his self-interest gives you more leverage. -- Lazarus Long

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