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

RE: [dvd-discuss] Must Copyright terms be uniform?

It was never guaranteed that authors and inventors would make a profit;
the deal that society made was that they were just given the first
opportunity to do so before it reverted back to the public.  If they
don't like the deal, then keep it a trade secret and use it until
someone figures out how they did it or discovers for themselves.  Notice
that I said 'back', they never 'owned' the idea, they just had a limited
lease on its use.  They of necessity built upon the ideas of others. Sir
Isaac Newton said it best "If I have seen farther than others, it is
because I was standing on the shoulders of giants".  Not that I would
characterize Disney productions as works of a giant (maybe a dwarf), but
the reasoning holds true.

I don't begrudge authors and inventors their right to make a living of
their work; I do object to the reasoning that they have a right to it
for 5 generations.

Your first statement would almost support either the same or shorter
terms for copyright than for patents.  I remember reading that the
founders (I looking for the references now) never intended for an idea
to be held in a monopoly. They never intended for someone to be able to
secure a patent or copyright on an idea; only the unique expression of
the idea such as an invention or a book.  A least not until recently,
that had held true.  How allowing a patent on a business process or on a
naturally occurring gene sequence (I realize that really started in the
'70s) promotes the arts and sciences requires such twisted thinking that
I have a hard time getting my mind around it.  I'm an engineer; I had a
easier time with string theory than following the reasoning behind this
decision (and many others).  Maybe I need to go to law school to learn
how to string together irrational and illogical ideas ;-)

Please pardon the intended and unintended puns - I realize that they are
the lowest form of humor and a sign of a sick mind but I just can't seem
to stop myself.

-----Original Message-----
From: Michael A Rolenz [mailto:Michael.A.Rolenz@aero.org]
Sent: Monday, November 12, 2001 7:04 PM
To: dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
Subject: Re: [dvd-discuss] Must Copyright terms be uniform?

The only argument for a longer term over patents is that copyright
things closer to ideas than patent does. It's easier to get people to 
accept a new widget than an new idea. A Copyright covered literary or 
musical works-absent a monopoly, one has some choices about it. The
of many music composers are accepted late in their lifetimes and often 
only after their deaths. Another reason is the one yout point out. THere

is a utilitarian aspect to patent PREVIOUSLY absent in copyright.Throw
software, computer chip masks and  those things change things. We now
very utilitarian things thrown into copyright....this morning I noticed 
the license on a piece of HP (opps Agilent) test gear "I promise never 
ever to decompile or disassemble this software and if I want to I have
call and beg pretty please"....BTW documentation on it stinks. We've got

screens that pop up that aren't in the manual and I want to know how
get a loop bandwidth to tenths of a millihertz.

"John Zulauf" <johnzu@ia.nsc.com>
Sent by: owner-dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
11/12/01 01:54 PM
Please respond to dvd-discuss

        To:     dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu
        Subject:        Re: [dvd-discuss] Must Copyright terms be

Michael A Rolenz wrote:
> While I tend to agree with your reasoning per se and the goals-50 is
> upper bound. 28 is probably a lower bound. Regardless of what's a good
> term, your arguments demonstrate the fallacy of the current 
> ad absurdum.

I'm not sure (other than a "that's what the founders wrote" as law
argument) given that 20 seems to be perfect good enough for the patent
marketplace.  As much as the MPA wring their hand over how much money
produce that cultural treasure "Lethal Weapon IV" cost them -- Tylenol
cost at least 100 times as much -- with all the uncertainties of FDA
approval as fit for human use (something Titanic certainly would have
failed) -- and yeilded a mere 20 years of monopoly.  From the existance
proof of the patent system one can provably claim a minimum of 20 years
as sufficient incentive to create.  I've never, ever seen an argument
for why copyright works need more.  Again a "founders" arguement could
be made, but I counter that the founders wanted a 14 year (lesser) term
for works allow the 28 year exception to the enduring value of emerging

Not that our congress is listen to anyone but the copyright industry
dominated treaty organizations and lobbyists on the subject.

> As for Disneyization...the "Hunchback" has been in the public domain
> decades( translations are available too. My copy was published in teh 
> century. ) except the French has a law regarding defamation of
> heritage and that was certainly that.  While I think the French Law
> a bit extreme, I hope they banned the Disney Hunchback there.   I
> to watch any Disney film past the original "jungle book" and that's my
> lower bound for Disney works.

Thankful Hunchback is in the P.D. thus Disney has only harmed them
selves.  With > 28 year terms the highest bidder gets to define the work
with none being able to rescue it from their artless, sanitized,
pre-digested destiny of being repackaged pablum suitable for mass
marketing and (to quote Spaceballs -- "moichendizing! moichendizing! --
Spaceballs the Lunchbox..." ).

How can a work have an enduring value if for more than a generation it's
image and derivative works are controlled by the highest bidder?