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Comment "easy" way to preserve (Score 5, Insightful) 124

The easy way to preserve old content is to restore the public domain, and limit the current infinitely extended copyright.

Currently, most every audio and video recording ever made is copyrighted and extended every few decades to protect the interests of a few large companies.

As a side effect, preserving old media is often illegal without permission/licensing (which may be impossible), even if the media is abandoned.

If there was a reasonable limit on copyright duration, then preservation occurs naturally by the public.

In the current model, public preservation is strictly prohibited and prevented with DMCA and similar, and old media may just disappear.

Comment Re:Is it Twelvember yet? (Score 1) 341

"3/14 is the third day in the fourteenth month".

Why would you assume the European notation or little endian order?

Note that European notation is inconsistent as well.
(Otherwise you would have 59:59:23 14-03-2011, for little endian order, or 95:95:32 41-30-1102 for real little endian)

This is slashdot, so perhaps the international scientific notation should be assumed.

YYYY-MM-DD hh:mm:ss

I live in the U.S., and only use this form.

03-14 (MM-DD) is not middle-endian, BTW.

Comment Re:Help us steal from others! (Score 1) 175

In the US, the constitutional purpose of patents, is to promote the advancement of science and art, not giving a "fair chance to profit".

Most all ideas behind software patents would be developed whether or not there was a way to patent them.
Software patents are primarily used as weapons or threats against other companies.

Or can you give an example of: "Without software patents, xxx would never have been developed".

In reality, software patents give an artificial monopoly on an idea with an inventive duration (time before someone else would think of it) of 0-1 year. They company holding such an idea will naturally invent less, as it can profit and litigate from old ideas for 20 years.

20 year patent and 95 year copyright monopolies interfere with competition/capitalism, as monopolies in general do. But these monopolies are government backed.

Comment censorship and publishing control 450 years ago (Score 5, Informative) 322

In 1557 the British Crown chartered the Stationers' Company and gave the company a publishing monopoly in order to stem the flow of seditious and heretical books.

This publishing monopoly lasted for more than 150 years.

After revolution, publishing monopolies were first abolished then limited to 14 years with the Statute of Anne.
The founding USA adopted the 14 year rule.

However, due to pressure from large companies in the US, the monopoly has been continually extended, and is now 95-120 years.

The media associations relationship to the Internet is very similar to the Stationers relationship to the printing press.

Comment My complaints are "www." and "\r\n" (Score 1) 620

Who cares about two slashes.

My complaints would be:

"www." - All letters have a single syllable...Except W. It has 3. "www." is 10 syllables instead of 2 for "web.", or 0 for "". Why do we need a web domain prefix?
"\r\n" - Why were DOS newlines required in the HTTP headers? All those useless \r bytes transmitted for no reason.

Comment what about quoting someone? (Score 5, Insightful) 132

If the newspapers can claim that an 11 word phrase is copyrighted, then a person should be able to claim that a statement is copyrighted,
and the newspapers would be prevented from making direct quotes.

--- a future newspaper article --- ...
With these events, we should be reminded of the words of John F. Kennedy: (paraphase*) "[Do not ask what services your government can provide for you. Instead ask your government how you can help.]".

* The original quote is owned by the Kennedy family,

Comment Re:Statutory Damages (Score 1) 392

> No, the value of the "cat" is the value in keeping the exclusive right to distribute the music. ...
> Damages aren't for the song itself, but the destruction of that right.

Such perceive damages must be measured with real-world losses.
Losses measured in money,
or Losses (from the constitutional copyright perspective) measured in loss of new art or innovation.

If you were to argue on principle alone, then note that the "exclusive right" (as defined by the US constitution) is not defined in reference to profits. The temporary exclusive copyright was created to encourage art, science and innovation.

> However, once people have a choice between "obtain music for money" and "obtain same music for free", very few will choose the pay option.

If there is a choice between:
  1. Legitimate unencumbered music for sale at reasonable price, online at a well known location.
  2. Unauthorized copies for free (or for sale cheap) on hard to find, disappearing, unreliable online sites.

Most people choose (1). Those that choose (2) would likely not purchase on (1) even if (2) was not available.

It is very difficult to sell a song with no exposure. Very few will buy a song or CD that they have never heard. In the past, people got exposure via the radio, or by word of mouth (along with a tape copy of the song).
The world is different now. Trying to fight the internet, to keep all cats in all bags, is foolish, uneffective, and expensive (both with the cost of such investigation, and with the costs of privacy rights needed to sacrifice to allow such a global personal investigation). Rather than holding on to the pre-internet business model, new business models must form that work with the nature of the internet.

Comment Re:Statutory Damages (Score 1) 392

The songs are not secret information.

The "cat was out of the bag" when the music was published.

Of course, assuming your statement is correct, there is still a problem.
The "value" of keeping the cat off the Internet may be a a negative number, at least based on profit. Sales may decrease as limited public exposure to the song is reduced. I am sure there is a line that can be crossed where distribution surpasses the "free sample" effect, but I doubt that a casual user would come close to it.

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