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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. 

The point of the original posting was that there are differences between 
patents and copyright works. That was recognized 200+ yrs ago and they 
were treated differently. Of interest is that the original term for 
copyright was less than that of patent but it was quickly changed. One 
other difference, as you point out, is that I CAN keep an invention secret 
and still gain something from that. Keeping copyright material secret is 
impossible - or was until changes to the copyright code in the last few 
decades. But the intention was to promote publication.

While true that it is never guaranteed that authors and inventors would 
make a profit, that argument belies the fact that both patent and 
copyright are a balancing act between the personal gain of the 
inventor/author/creator and the benefit to society. 

>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.

5 generations = 100yrs, that's what we have now and that is ridiculous for 
ANYTHING! (As I posted earlier, I don't even know if most PAPER lasts that 
long) and nobody is arguing that point (except if Jack Valenti or Mary 
Bono are lurking about?) But, the excluded middle is also a fallacy. John 
Z.s argument is that the work enters into the public domain sometime in 
the next generation which puts the term somewhere larger than 28 and less 
than 50yrs.

>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. 

You noticed that too! Not only can one hold the monopoly, one doesn't even 
have to expose it under copyright, trade secret, or even patent law (e.g., 
software patents-Analytical Graphics Inc's software patents). By clever 
obfuscation, they can claim control over an idea (e.g, Bracewell's patent 
for the Hartley transform, or some of Karmacker's patents in linear 
programming). Intellectual property theory and practice is a total mess 
right now.

> 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. 

Twisted is right. A gene sequence is not even an idea. It is a FACT. 
Promoting science by patenting facts is a perversion of the foundations of 
intellectual property by the greedy and self serving.

> 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 ;-)

They call it rhetoric. BTW - for a great comparison and contrast of those 
two, read the Lincoln Douglas debates. Lincoln's logic continually 
assailed Douglas's irrational rhetoric

>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.

No problem?I'm prone to them myself. As the lowest form of humor, only 
those with a quick wit and large vocabulary seem to be able to understand 
them one of my favorite puns I've ever made is when I told a woman I know 
who had just had her cat neutered "Oh you made him a catstratii"   ;-)

>-----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
>        cc: 
>        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?