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Re: [dvd-discuss] Copyright Renewal Amendment

On 17 Oct 2002 at 9:42, John Zulauf wrote:

Date sent:      	Thu, 17 Oct 2002 09:42:22 -0600
From:           	"John Zulauf" <johnzu@ia.nsc.com>
To:             	"DVD Discuss" <dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu>
Subject:        	[dvd-discuss] Copyright Renewal Amendment
Send reply to:  	dvd-discuss@eon.law.harvard.edu

> Maybe the answer is to end the temptation of Congress to meddle with
> copyright is a Constitutional Amendment to "renew" the original intent
> of the founders.  
> The Copyright Renewal Amendment
> "(I) The 'limited times'  for 'exclusive rights' granted to authors and
> inventors shall not exceed 20 years. 

14->28 in the first few decades of the 19th century...Not gonna argue this one again after a few years rest but
 28 is reasonable. 42 is a bribe and 50 years total should have ended the 
argument but for corporations owning copyrights from estates. 
It seems asinine that an estate can have copyright longer than an author. Think about this....the term under the CTEA
is barelymore than the mean lifetime expentency! What statistical nonsense!

As I've stated before. 42-50 yrs (after publication...this life plus n is an administrative nightmare) is one hellava bribe to authors...if that's not enough then..
OK they did their work. They got compensated. They invested... IF they produced nothing more...OK we are all enriched.
But..That's the end.

> (II) The 'exclusive rights' granted shall not include more rights than
> exclusive rights of commercial making, commercial use, or commercial
> distribution of the writings or inventions. Technical, legal, or
> contractual control over personal or noncommercial making, use, or
> distribution shall be prohibited by law.

A private individual who maintains a website of FREE distribution to anyone is 
commercial in nature. The definition of commercial vs private must be more 
explicit. When I send a work to someone I know that is private. when I give it 
to anyone I do not that is commercial. Is the right to anonymity a requirement 
for commercial sale? <IANAL>

> (III) Publishers shall not be granted, or allowed to hold or control
> these exclusive rights, unless the publisher is the actual author of the
> work and a natural, human person.

Interferes with contracts. Why publish if someone else can undercut you later when the author decides to cut the price... 
Take A.A.Milne...he gave away Winnie the Pooh pretty much. Bad bargain. 
The question is not that the owners of the copyright have NO rights
 but that they want rights in perpetuity. 
NOw if you want to put a time limit on the duration a publisher may keep a copyright..
that may not be a bad idea. Every 10 yrs it comes up for auction again and is forced to do so... 
and cannot be negociated away or given until the life of the copyright (excercise for the alert reader..
how does copyright extension affect this contractual right?). The problem with copyright is that it's gotten to the
point where one has a monopoly on a good copyright and can laze off it. Maybe the law should be changed that you can't take the money and
run unless you want to vacate the copyright at somepoint and put it into thepublic domain...not that that should be a concern.,

> (IV) 'exclusive rights' shall be granted to unpublished works only if
> such writings or inventions are deposited with the Librarian of
> Congress. 'exclusive rights' shall be granted to unpublished writings or
>ntell inventions not longer than 'limited times' from its creation.

Isn't the more modern copyright trying to get away from that requirement ;-)
In some ways this idea of modelling the copyright laws upon the UCC is totally 
stupid. It's not CONTRACTS being negotiated but monopolies...NO I think it 
necessary that the government register copyright. Monopoly is odious and a 
competitor to a sovereign. The sovereign need to register it's competition.

> (V) Copyright shall be granted to mechanically derivative works such as
> computer programs, phonorecords, films or other or works based on source
> material, only if the source material is deposited with the Librarian of
> Congress."
> Comments:
> (I) Let's all be clear on limited times, shall we?

From an admistrative POV, copyright term must be obvious - quickly and simply. 
Life plus N years fails that miserably. Copyright XXXX after the title page and 
copyright = N years is so simple..why not try it...or re try it...

> (II) Let's all be clear on the limits of the "exclusive rights".  This
> solves huge problems with both educational use of copyright material and
> "humanitarian" use of patents.  This would also cover "free (as in
> speech or beer) software" -- it's non-commercial -- i.e. Mozilla
> wouldn't have to pay for patents, but AOL/Netscape would.  If a drug is
> patented, but made and distributed only for charitable use, then there
> is no claim.  Post first sale restrictions on use *prohited* -- the
> "death of post-first-sale DRM/TPM" clause

It doesn't. The problem is when a non-commercial use begins to overtake the commercial use it "appropriated"...
<see Ayn Rand "Atlas Shrugged" and Rearden metal>. While not a great believer in Ayn Rand after my 19th year,
 the copyright holder has been granted a monopoly by the government. Educational uses...
humanitarian uses are irrelevant <unfortunatly>. This is one issue where public opinion and pressure should be brought to bear rather than law.

> (III) this is essentially an "author keeps the rights to their work"
> clause.  It also implies that publishers and rights holders must be
> distinct -- yielding a in effect a mandatory license scheme.  One
> exception, the natural human author can publish their own works
> exclusively.  Not I specifically left out patents here.  Most patents
> are the collaboration of a large group within a commercial entity. 
> Perhaps with a shortened term this isn't an issue... I dunno.

Mandatory licensing....why even bother with copyright? How can one have a copyright?
The monopoly of the copyright holders cannot be changed by forcing the copyright creators to 
license without a bargain....intellectual socialism is not the answer.

> (IV) unpublished works copyrights are a mess today.  This makes things
> clearer.  If you want to protect a work and not publish it, it still
> will become part of the public domain.  If an unpublished work is
> discovered, it term is limited based on it's creation date.   Thus
> "found works" are not granted longer terms than published ones.

Agreed. THe Intellectual property community has not figured out that creating a system for 
published works that protects unpublished works in the same manner has the tail wagging the dog. 
Juvenalia of a great author is interesting but should not be given protection well beyond lifetime. 
Publication + N years solves one problem and lifetime + M years solves another. Using one to solve the
other problem is a big mistake that WIPO and Congress has done. 

> (V) The last section is to ensure that the source code, master
> multitrack tapes, computer animation data files and the like are
> preserved.  I know for a fact the that the unpublished models of classic
> early computer animation are rotting ( the tape has only a 10 year life
> ) in the file cabinets of places like Lucas and Disney.  In 95 years,
> the Tron database will be lost forever.  In 95 years, the DOS code base
> will be lost forever.  Finally, the "mechanically derivative" works
> clause is an honesty clause... software that in 20 years old can't just
> be commingled with new code and gain new protection.

Agreed...LOC and COngress hasn't addressed the preservation issue...OTOH...if in 20 yrs the estate of George Lucas
can't reconstruct the lates Star Wars epic....it's also their loss....(somebody may have a VHS tape around...but then they own the copyright
even if they can't produce a copy....<If one cannot produce a copy, can one own a copyright? IANAL>
> Thought, comments.