[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Stefan's headers [was:Names and identifiers]

On Sat, 09 Jun 2018 03:54:25 +1000, Chris Angelico wrote:

> Right. Imagine if I write a poem, just like you say, and then I have the
> words posted on a gigantic billboard. In small print in the bottom
> corner of the billboard, I say "Copyright 2018 Chris Angelico. Taking
> photographs of this billboard is forbidden.". Do I still own copyright
> in the poem? Definitely. Can I stop people from (or sue people for)
> taking photos of the billboard? Probably not, although that's one for
> the lawyers to argue.

If it were you? Probably not.

If it were a building owned by a major company with deep pockets and 
powerful friends, or one with a "special relationship" to the government, 
especially if they can make a buck from it? Then yes, taking photos of 
publicly visible buildings and even natural features can be copyright 


> (Whether linking to a third-party Youtube video is itself a violation of
> the original author's copyright is even more complicated. IANAL and I am
> not going to even think about how messy that situation could get.)

Describing a link to a Youtube video as copyright infringement is an 
incredibly egregious example of copyright creep. Such a link in no way 
copies the copyrighted work, nor does it distribute the work.

(The video itself may or may not infringe, but that's another question.)

It might be argued that it *facilitates copyright infringement*, in the 
same way telling people that they can buy a crowbar from Bunnings 
facilitates breaking and entering. But it does not and should not be 
considered copyright infringement under any circumstances.

The fact that people even fear that it might is a good example of how the 
necessary and useful monopoly of copyright has grown to be a monster.

> Why should I have to pay money for the right to own my own creations?

Because such a right is no right at all, but a privilege granted to you 
by the government for specific purposes. Copyright is not a natural right.

Because such a privilege infringes on other people's natural rights to 
copy what they see and hear. If somebody tells you a story, it is the 
most natural thing in the world to repeat it if you liked it.

> And who would you pay that to anyway? The one world government?

No, your national government of course, which would then have treaties 
with other trading blocks or countries that effectively say "you respect 
and enforce our copyrights and we'll respect and enforce yours".

But how quickly we forget the past. In my lifetime, copyright was not 
automatic. You had to officially register a work, or else it was in the 
public domain. If it wasn't worth it to you to fill out a registration 
form and post it, why should you be given a monopoly on the work?

For decades the US government charged a fee to register copyright, and 
the vast bulk of copyrighted works were not renewed after the first 13 
year term expired. Which is perfectly normal: the vast bulk of copyright 
works have no real value to the creator and no reasonable prospect of 
earning them income after a decade or two. And yet we impoverish our 
cultural commons by keeping works locked up under monopolistic laws for a 
lifetime past the death the author.

I think that the monopolization of so-called "intellectual property" 
rights has grown to a harmful extent. Economists who study this have 
found that copyright hurts the economy more than it helps (it discourages 
creators more than encourages) but if we could roll it back somewhat, I 
think it would be a good and useful tool:

- automatic, free copyright for an initial term of, let's say, 20 years;

- followed by one more free term of ten years requiring registration;

- followed by additional ten-year copyright terms, paid for at (say)
  $100 a term;

- up to a maximum length of sixty years, or the author's life plus
  30 years, whichever comes first;

- and a real commitment to recognising the public domain and free
  culture it as an asset to be protected and encouraged, not just
  a commons to be looted, monetized and locked up.

Steven D'Aprano
"Ever since I learned about confirmation bias, I've been seeing
it everywhere." -- Jon Ronson