1709 Blog: for all the copyright community

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

"Yes, yes, yes ...": the UK Government responds to Hargreaves

Today's proposals: more
'ups' than 'downs'?
I've not yet had a chance to read carefully through today's UK government's response to the Hargreaves Review, Digital Opportunity, which was published this May.  The response is the subject of a themed web page on the UK's Intellectual Property Office website, which also gives details of a separate proposal for improving the government's so-far inadequate approach to dealing with IP crime. The response document is 24 pages in length, covering areas of IP as well as copyright.  A short summary of its copyright proposals is contained in this morning's press release:
"Sweeping intellectual property reforms to boost growth and add billions to the UK economy
The Government today announced plans to support economic growth by modernising UK intellectual property laws. Ministers have accepted the recommendations made in an independent review which estimate a potential benefit to the UK economy of up to £7.9 billion.

The recommendations were made in May 2011 by Professor Ian Hargreaves in his report, - ‘Digital Opportunity: A review of intellectual property and growth’. Modernising intellectual property law is a key action from the Government’s Plan for Growth, published in March alongside the Budget, which will help create the right conditions for businesses to invest, grow and create jobs. ...

Among the recommendations that have been accepted are:
  • The UK should have a Digital Copyright Exchange; a digital market place where licences in copyright content can be readily bought and sold. The review predicted that a Digital Copyright Exchange could add up as much as £2 billion a year to the UK economy by 2020. A feasibility study will now begin to establish how such an exchange will look and work. The Government will announce arrangements for how this work will be driven forward later in the year. 
  • Copyright exceptions covering limited private copying should be introduced to realise growth opportunities. Thousands of people copy legitimately purchased content, such as a CD to a computer or portable device such as an IPod, assuming it is legal. This move will bring copyright law into line with the real world, and with consumers’ reasonable expectations. 
A copyright exception may allow this parody,
but it's not much comfort if there's still
a risk of trade mark or design infringement
 
  • Copyright exceptions to allow parody should also be introduced to benefit UK production companies and make it legal for performing artists, such as comedians, to parody someone else's work without seeking permission from the copyright holder. It would enable UK production companies to create programmes that could play to their creative strengths, and create a range of content for broadcasters. 
  • The introduction of an exception to copyright for search and analysis techniques known as 'text and data mining'. Currently research scientists such as medical researchers are being hampered from working on data because it is illegal under copyright law to do this without permission of copyright owners. The Wellcome Trust have said that 87 per cent of the material housed in the UK's main medical research database is unavailable for legal text and data mining, that is despite the fact that the technology exists to carry out this analytical work. 
  • Establishing licensing and clearance procedures for orphan works (material with unknown copyright owners). This would open up a range of works that are currently locked away in libraries and museums and unavailable for consumer or research purposes. 
  • That evidence should drive future policy - The Government has strengthened the Intellectual Property Office's economics team and has begun a programme of research to highlight growth opportunities. One report has already shown that investments made by businesses in products and services that are protected by intellectual property rights (IPRs) are worth £65 billion a year. ..".
The 1709 Blog expects that it won't be long before readers' comments will be arriving. A follow-up post is planned, bringing news of some reactions from interested parties on all sides of the continuing copyright debate.

37 comments:

Crosbie Fitch said...

"This move will bring copyright law into line with the real world, and with consumers’ reasonable expectations."

How strange to admit this as grounds for relaxing copyright law, and yet not admit it as grounds for abolition - that people (not the pejorative 'consumers') are already sharing and building upon their own culture irrespective of 18th century privilege, so its repeal would bring the law into line with the real world.

Maybe next year eh?

Anonymous said...

@Crosbie,

If you honestly think that Copyright should be abolished you should move to a country that doesn't recognize Intellectual Property. Somalia and North Korea are two that come to mind. Obviously both highly advanced countries who understand that things like Copyright and Patents would only hurt them. I'm sure you'll be very happy there.

- David M.

David said...

I have a modest proposal for Crosbie Fitch. If he wants people to 'share and build upon their own culture', he and other like-minded people can set up a club, with a website, etc, where they can literally share their own culture.

But here's the rub. By 'their own culture' I literally mean *their own* culture: things that they have created themselves, whether it be music, literature, films, games or any other form of creative activity. I do *not* mean things that have been created by other people, often involving years of work and large expenditure.

If Crosbie mean what he says, he couldn't possibly have any objection, could he?

David M said...

@The other David,

Couldn't agree more! And current Copyright law gives him that right. If he truly believes that all creative works should be freely distributed without credit or compensation to the creator then he should create some artistic works and set up a Web site to distribute them.

Of course I'm sure he'll come back with some argument why it's preferable to take away the rights of creative people instead. After all, I doubt he has the ability to create anything on his own considering that even his arguments against Copyright are regurgitated rhetoric.

Crosbie Fitch said...

Copyright annuls the law's recognition of people's natural right to copy.

Naturally, people still have this right and are asserting it - some call such people 'pirates'.

If there are artists who would not have the public at liberty to share and build upon works delivered to them (I think 'published' is the word for this) then obviously, such anally retentive artists have a right not to deliver their work to the public - a natural right to exclude others from their work (aka the author's exclusive right to their writings).

The law of 1709 really cannot go on much longer. Hargreaves simply concedes lines in the sand that were trampled over years ago. Pirates are trampling over the last line and you still refuse to concede that it is as trampled as a volleyball pitch. We just have to wait a few more years for Hargreaves or another to concede it.

David M. said...

@Crosbie,

A "natural right" to copy? I honestly don't know how to respond to such a ridiculous statement. You might as well say you have a natural right to fill up your tank at the gas station and drive away without paying ... simply because it's possible to do so. It's exactly the same logic.

BTW, I live in a major city where theft is sometimes a problem. Amazingly, we don't have anyone around here campaigning for the repeal of laws against breaking and entering. Perhaps you'd like to campaign for that as well?

The fact that you think the ability to commit a crime makes the crime a, "natural right" is simply sad and more than a little childish.

Crosbie Fitch said...

David M,

It is Queen Anne's statute of 1709 that annulled the people's right to copy, to leave it by exclusion in the hands of a few - hence why copyright holders are called holders*.

Prior to 1709 you could print copies of works published by Daniel Defoe and no privilege was infringed. So it is the 18th century privilege that makes the act of copying a 'crime' in your book.

So really, it is copyright that is the crime, and copying that is the natural act.

Copying your CD's into MP3 files to put on your MP3 player is about to be exempted as a copyright infringement. Isn't it strange that such a 'crime' is soon to cease being a 'crime'? On the same basis, when copyright is repealed entirely, then sharing your mp3 files with your friends will also cease to be a 'crime'.

Indeed, as any child instinctively knows, to learn is to copy, and so to copy is natural. Copyright infringement may well be childish, but it is a pity children can be indoctrinated to believe that copying is wrong so that upon reaching adulthood they have their cultural liberty drummed out of them simply to maximise the monopoly profits of the publishing corporations.

* http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rights_of_Man#Arguments

David M. said...

@Crosbie

LOL! It's a shame you can't go back in time and live in a more advanced age. If you actually understood the concept of Intellectual Property you would know that the world we live in right now would not be possible without the protection that Copyright provides. Personally, I have no intention of living the way people did in 1708.

Crosbie Fitch said...

David M.,

For those who do prefer liberty to its sacrifice for the benefit of a few, Thomas Paine's Rights of Man provides a clue as to why the individual's cultural liberty is natural and its suspension to provide a monopoly for publishers (& control over press for state) is unnatural.

That copyright is being dissolved by the natural law of the people, their assertion of their natural right to copy, will certainly result in the repeal of this unethical 18th century law, but it doesn't follow that our information age and the people's 'piracy' enabled by its instantaneous diffusion technology must necessitate a return to the living conditions of the 18th century.

A return to liberty from privilege is not a return to squalor from subjugation.

As to when this return to liberty will occur, it's in the hands of the publishing cartel. The more harshly their privilege is enforced, the more severe their subjugation of the people who would enjoy their cultural liberty, the more rapidly copyright's abolition is advanced.

This doesn't mean there will be no law concerning intellectual work. It just means there will no longer be a state granted reproduction monopoly with which to enrich a consequently beholden press.

The market for copies at monopoly protected prices has ended.

The market for intellectual work continues unabated.

DavidB said...

Why does Crosbie Fitch persistently spout such historical nonsense?

He knows perfectly well (if only because I have told him) that for most of the time between the invention of printing and the Statute of Anne there was no 'freedom to copy'. For much of this time (in England) only members of the Stationers Company were allowed to print books. Naturally they did not allow their members to poach each others' titles. The Stationers' monopoly expired in the late 17th century, and for a relatively brief period there was indeed unrestrained piracy. It is interesting that Crosbie Fitch mentions Daniel Defoe, because Defoe himself bitterly complained about piracy, and helped popularise this term in the pubishing context. This situation could not persist indefinitely, and Parliament introduced the Statute of Anne in response. The Statute did not give any 'privilege' to publishers, it gave protection to *authors* - which could be anyone. (Incidentally, as a technical detail, it only protected against copying by means of *printing* - if anyone wanted to copy something out by hand they were free to do so. If Crosbie Fitch wants the freedom to do the same, or to sing other people's songs on the street corner, I would not stand in his way.)

I won't comment on Crosbie Fitch's preposterous reasoning, because anyone can see its absurdity, but it is worth correcting his historical errors, because on matters of historical fact people may conceivably assume that he knows what he is talking about.

DavidB said...

Just to support what I said about Defoe, here are some quotes from his writings on piracy:

"a certain sort of Thieving which is now in full practice in England, and which no law extends to punish, viz. some Printers and Booksellers printing Copies none of their own".

This, he argued, was "every jot as unjust [to authors] as lying with their wives, and breaking up their Houses".

It was "down-right robbing on the High-way, or cutting a Purse, ... is a Ruin to the Trade, a Discouragement to Learning, and the Shame of a well mannag'd Government".

They didn't mince their words in those days!

Crosbie Fitch said...

DavidB,

It is indeed worth correcting historical errors. Perhaps you'd point out precisely where in my comments above I have made historical errors?

As for Defoe's complaints about piracy, beware of mistaking them as complaints against others infringing a monopoly that had not yet been granted (pre 1709) instead of complaints against errors and omissions (qv moral rights) typical of the nascent free press.

"As to Answers, Banters, True-English Billinsgate, I expect them till no body will buy, and then the Shop will be shut. Had I wrote it for the Gain of the Press, I should have been concern’d at its being Printed again and again, by Pyrates, as they call them, and Paragraph-Men: But would they but do it Justice, and print it True, according to the Copy, they are welcome to sell it for a Penny, if they please."

As I pointed out earlier, not having a state granted reproduction monopoly doesn't mean there are no natural rights that pertain to intellectual works - aka moral rights.

DavidB said...

Crosbie Fitch's (main) historical errors are to claim that:

a) until 1709 (the Statute of Anne) there was a 'freedom to copy', and:

b) that the Statute of Anne conferred a 'privilege' or 'monopoly' on anyone.

As I pointed out in my previous comments, the 'freedom to copy' (or as I would prefer to say the absence of legal protection for authors and publishers) in England prevailed only for a brief period: to be precise, from 1695, when the Stationers' monopoly expired, to 1709. If Crosbie Fitch were to confine his claim of a 'freedom to copy' explicitly to this period, I would have no objection, but then it would hardly square with his rhetoric about the 'right to copy' as a natural right.

Crosbie Fitch keeps referring to 'privilege', or 'monopoly'. Many of his previous comments (in earlier discussions here and elsewhere) seemed to imply that he believed the Stationers' Company enjoyed such a privilege under the 1709 Act. He now seems to have stopped making such a claim, but he still refers to an unspecified state granted 'monopoly'. I can only suppose that he is referring to the basic right of copyright itself, that is, the exclusive right of authors (or their assigns, i.e. publishers) to reproduce *their own works*. But to describe this as a 'monopoly' or 'privilege' is an abuse of language, verging on childishness. It is a right granted to absolutely everyone, and a right granted to everyone is not a privilege.

As for Defoe, there is an analysis of his views on copyright and piracy here:

http://www.copyrighthistory.org/htdocs/data/commentary/uk_1704/uk_1704_com_972007143337.html

from which it is crystal clear that he did indeed object to piracy on financial as well as moral grounds. I do not know the context of the quote used by Crosbie Fitch, but Defoe did of course write many pamphlets for political and controversial purposes, and he may well have said that he was willing for these to be 'pirated' provided it were done accurately.

AeliusBlythe said...

@David M
"You might as well say you have a natural right to fill up your tank at the gas station and drive away without paying ... simply because it's possible to do so. It's exactly the same logic."


You've found a way to copy gas?

You would be so rich if only you didn't keep your idea to yourself... :(

Crosbie Fitch said...

DavidB,

In which comments above do I make claims 'a' and/or 'b'?

As to whether copyright should be described as a monopoly or privilege, it should be pretty clear from my link re Thomas Paine's Rights of Man that copyright is the right to copy, annulled in the majority of the inhabitants, to be left, by exclusion, in the hands of a few, i.e. a privilege.

Thomas Jefferson wasn't shy of using the term 'monopoly':

"I like it, as far as it goes; but I should have been for going further. For instance, the following alterations and additions would have pleased me:...Article 9. Monopolies may be allowed to persons for their own productions in literature, and their own inventions in the arts, for a term not exceeding ___ years, but for no longer term, and no other purpose."
From Jefferson's suggestion to Madison to provide Congress with power to grant a privilege of copyright in the Bill of Rights (via THE UNCONSTITUTIONALITY OF THE COPYRIGHT TERM EXTENSION ACT OF 1998 by Timothy R. Phillips).

Also see Are patents monopolies? for comparison.

Again, concerning Defoe, it is only from our 300 year perspective of copyright that we perceive Defoe's pre-1709 complaints against pirates as complaints against copyright infringers - who infringed a privilege that hadn't yet been granted.

The desire for a monopoly, the desire for power to prevent competition and the lucrative rewards that result, may well be human, but it is not a right. Such unnatural power, such an instrument of injustice that derogates from the people's liberty, can only be granted by a corrupt state - because individuals do not naturally possess the power to constrain others from making copies of a work they give them and gag them from speaking or otherwise communicating it.

As Defoe recognises, as long as those who produce copies are honest, people should be at liberty to make and sell copies of each other's published work.

Unless, of course, you hope to get rich through exploiting a state granted monopoly, in which case you will do anything to argue how right and proper such monopolies are - indeed that they aren't state granted monopolies at all, nor privileges, but human rights!

See Chris Castle's valiant article: Artists’ Rights are Human Rights.

John R walker said...

Aelius

Is close to the problem that has developed.

Theft (usually) involves moving some 'thing' from one place to another 'place'.

If somebody was to walk into my garage , duplicate my classic Aero and drive off in that 'new' duplicate car,leaving the original car 'unharmed' in my garage, would many in the public perceive that as theft?

David M. said...

AeliusBlythe said...

"You've found a way to copy gas?"

If it makes you feel better to avoid the point by arguing semantics so be it. Copyright says you are not allowed to distribute artistic works without the creator's permission. If you own a computer connected to the Internet that you have filled with artists works (whether it be books, music, photographs, whatever) and deliberately configured it in such a way that people can connect and download that work it should be obvious that you are violating Copyright.

It's exactly the same thing as if you used your own money (you paid money for that computer and Internet connection didn't you?) to print off thousands of copies of Erik Larson's latest book, then stood out in front of a bookstore and handed them to people who were there to buy it. No, you have not stolen any physical property from him, but you'd be hard pressed to deny that doing so would hurt Erik Larson's sales and make it harder for him to make a living at his craft. It's exactly the same thing.

This is really not a complicated subject. I don't understand why people seem to have so much trouble understanding it.

David M. said...

@John R walker

That only works if the value of the artistic work is entirely determined by the medium. It is not. Musicians don't make MP3 files and authors don't make PDF's. Musicians make songs and authors make stories. The value is the creative work itself.

Additionally, see my earlier example of why setting up a file server is exactly the same as creating copies of the work using your own money and giving them away for free. It doesn't matter if you're using a computer and an Internet connection (which you pay for) or a bunch of CD-R discs you bought in bulk. The artistic work itself is not yours to give away.

AeliusBlythe said...

@ David M
"If it makes you feel better to avoid the point by arguing semantics so be it."

Do you seriously think ignoring the blatant ignorance underlying the entire argument is unimportant?

"Copyright says you are not allowed to distribute artistic works without the creator's permission. If you own a computer connected to the Internet that you have filled with artists works (whether it be books, music, photographs, whatever) and deliberately configured it in such a way that people can connect and download that work it should be obvious that you are violating Copyright."

Yeah, it sure is a violation of copyright, but copyright is a violation of the natural right of people to share and build on cultural material--without taking ANYTHING from the original owner of that material. So, yeah, it is a violation of copyright. It is, however, not stealing. It is, however, not taking something that belongs to something else (it is not actually taking anything at all,) as you previously suggested.

And we are back to the same misconception underlying this argument. And you think that is just semantics? If you don't care to clarify what exactly you are arguing about (which is rights to SHARE not steal) then don't bother arguing.


"It's exactly the same thing as if you used your own money (you paid money for that computer and Internet connection didn't you?) to print off thousands of copies of Erik Larson's latest book, then stood out in front of a bookstore and handed them to people who were there to buy it. No, you have not stolen any physical property from him, but you'd be hard pressed to deny that doing so would hurt Erik Larson's sales and make it harder for him to make a living at his craft. It's exactly the same thing."

Seriously? When was the last time you bought a book? What makes you think that people who get a bootleg copy aren't going to buy it? People who download books also buy books. Just like people who download music also buy music. And people who download movies also buy movies.

"This is really not a complicated subject. I don't understand why people seem to have so much trouble understanding it. "

You're right. It's not complicated. It should not be so hard to understand. Can you explain to me why you're having difficulty with it?

David M. said...

@AeliusBlythe

"Yeah, it sure is a violation of copyright, but copyright is a violation of the natural right of people to share and build on cultural material ..."

Hmmm ... I wonder if you's still think that if you were an artist?

"Seriously? When was the last time you bought a book? What makes you think that people who get a bootleg copy aren't going to buy it? People who download books also buy books. Just like people who download music also buy music. And people who download movies also buy movies."

If you're honestly stupid enough to believe that people who are getting something for free are going to turn around and then buy that very same thing than you're right ... there's no point in us trying to discuss the issue.

Crosbie Fitch said...

David M.,

If you want an author to write a sequel to a novel of theirs that you like, pay them to write a sequel.

If you want to buy a copy of that sequel in hardback form pay a printer to print a copy for you.

Both the intellectual work and the copy of it are exchanged for money.

Moreover, in this forthcoming world without an 18th century privilege of copyright, in which authors are paid for their writing and printers are paid for their copies, the people are at liberty to make their own copies, sell or give them away, read the work in public, and produce their translations or abridgements, or even their own sequels. There are no lawyers prosecuting copyright infringements, collection societies demanding license fees, or publishers keeping 99% of the revenue. The authors and their readers are happy, but lawyers, collection societies, and publishers reliant on copyright for their revenue are going to have to find another business.

Yes, unknown authors are going to have to start off by giving their work away or getting paid very little for it until they build up a readership interested and enthusiastic to commission more. Fortunately, digital copies being extremely cheap to 'print' and 'distribute' together with no privilege restricting redistribution by recipients, means that an undiscovered author's costs of self-promotion are also pretty low - perhaps inversely proportional to the popularity of their work.

This is happening, and it's not me that's making it happen. It's the nature of human beings, information and its communication.

There's no point arguing that it's better if people don't assert their liberty to share and build upon their own culture, in order that an anachronistic monopoly can continue to generate massive profits for publishing corporations (and their lawyers) so that they can dish out advances to promising authors (who look forward to the lottery chance of recoupment and a tiny fraction of profits amounting to significant royalties). Such an argument may persuade King Canute, but it doesn't help him hold back the tide. You can lobby and ultimately fail, or you can adapt to a world without copyright and learn to exchange work for money (instead of copies at monopoly protected prices).

David M. said...

@Crosbie

"If you want an author to write a sequel to a novel of theirs that you like, pay them to write a sequel."

I do ... by buying the novel ... which I can preview for free by reading a sample online or by browsing a book store. Since I'm not wealthy, I can't afford to pay someone to write a book. Unless of course you're suggesting that the only art which should exist is that which wealthy people choose to finance because they personally like it.

Then you go on with a bunch of the same regurgitated rhetoric which I've already responded to. Copyright is not a privilege, it's a right. I'm not going to continue going back and forth with someone who is campaigning to abolish something they clearly don't understand.

Crosbie Fitch said...

David M.,

Yesterday: the publisher buys the novel from the author, and readers buy the book from the publisher (via printer->distributor->retailer).

Today: we are in the midst of a turbulent transition from copyright to piracy (or as we'll see it tomorrow, from privilege to liberty).

Tomorrow: the readers buy the novel direct from the author, and the hardback books from the printer/retailer, and the eBook is given away.

When I say 'readers' I don't mean 'wealthy readers', I mean 'interested readers' as in 'readers interested in paying an author to write a sequel'.

A thousand readers offering $10 each for a sequel may not be as appealing as $1m from Bill Gates, but it's an offer that might interest some authors.

David M. said...

@Crosbie,

First, the publisher does not "buy" the book from the author. They sign a distribution deal and pay the author royalties every time the book sells. No sales = no money to the author. Music publishing between songwriters and artists or record labels works in a very similar way. Whether you like the current system or not, that fact alone is good reason to buy books and music rather than taking them without permission.

You could at least Google, "how does book publishing work" before making statements like that.

Second, the scenario you propose only works if Copyright exists. Without Copyright if someone writes a great book and puts it up for download all I have to do is change their name to mine and put it up for download. With the way the Internet works, you would have 1,000 people all claiming they wrote that book and asking for money for the sequel. Without Copyright, there's absolutely nothing the author can do about it.

And you know as well as I do that's exactly what would happen. Just look at China's problem with fake goods.

Not to mention that you're saying a thousand random people are each going to pay $10 for a book that doesn't even exist yet. Every single thing I've learned about human nature says that's not going to happen. An nobody's going to pay for a book they already got for free. That's just the cold hard facts.

Then there's the fact that $10,000 isn't enough money to live on. Maybe the writer's landlord could contribute free rent to the project? Maybe Kroger could donate groceries so the writer doesn't starve to death? Sorry, I'm not buying your fantasy.

David M. said...

@Crosbie,

A further point ... you seem to think that Copyright has to be abolished in order for people to self publish. Either you are completely clueless, or you are knowingly trying to deceive people. Authors are already self-publishing, people are already buying directly from them, and people are in fact setting up "donate to my unwritten book" projects all over the Internet on sites like Kickstarter.com ... with very little success.

Copyright gives the AUTHOR the right to distribute their work any way they want automatically at the instant of creation. No one is at any time required to work with publishers or middle-men.

Crosbie Fitch said...

David M.,

I did say "the publisher buys the novel from the author", and that's 'buy' as in "publisher exchanges money for the author's work". Of course, the details are subject to whatever contract author/agent/publisher arrive at.

Copyright is a reproduction monopoly, nothing to do with the truth of authorship and remedies against plagiarism.

There's nothing intrinsically wrong with cheap Chinese imitations. It's passing off that's deceitful.

That a thousand fans will offer $10 each in exchange for a sequel I suggest is quite likely indeed. There are examples of such exchanges happening already. See Kickstarter.com.

As to whether "nobody's going to pay for a book they already got for free" I'm inclined to agree with you, though there are some people who believe that charity shouldn't be ruled out as a revenue source. This is why I posit that exchanges between writers and readers represent the future of commerce in intellectual work - not charitable donations.

As to whether a thousand fans paying $10 each for a sequel is enough to live on, it may well not be. I guess the author will have to offer to write another sequel in view of that. Of course, given no copyright, it's likely that the previous novel and sequel being freely shared will build the number of fans to 10,000 to bring in $100k for the next one. Perhaps the author can find another means of earning enough to live on, augmenting such meagre returns from writing?

"Either you are completely clueless, or you are knowingly trying to deceive people"

Paradigm shifts aren't easy. If I knew how to make them easier I'd not hesitate to pass on that knowledge to you, but I've only done it once myself and all I know is that it took quite some time.

AeliusBlythe said...

@David M.

" @AeliusBlythe
"Yeah, it sure is a violation of copyright, but copyright is a violation of the natural right of people to share and build on cultural material ..."

Hmmm ... I wonder if you's still think that if you were an artist?"



I'm a writer, jackass.

www.cheapassfiction.com

www.cheapassfictionfiction.wordpress.com

www.thisisalegalsite.com

AeliusBlythe said...

@David M

"Authors are already self-publishing, people are already buying directly from them, and people are in fact setting up "donate to my unwritten book" projects all over the Internet on sites like Kickstarter.com ... with very little success.

Copyright gives the AUTHOR the right to distribute their work any way they want automatically at the instant of creation. No one is at any time required to work with publishers or middle-men. "


Self publishing authors are at a severe disadvantage in the literary world at this time. Selling publishing rights--which are only possible because of copyright--is still one of the only viable ways for MOST authors to have a chance at success in the industry. Sure, you have a few exceptions like Amanda Hocking who do their own thing and make it work, but this is extremely rare. For most authors the dream of a "real" publishing contract is still a huge motivator. It is unfortunate that they do not realize that they are giving up one of their most valuable marketing tools--the right to make, distribute, and price their book as they want.

And again, publishing rights are only possible because of copyright. In a world where we could freely share cultural material--commercially and non-commercially, the pressure to sell publishing rights would disappear, or at least be much less powerful than it is today.

AeliusBlythe said...

"If you're honestly stupid enough to believe that people who are getting something for free are going to turn around and then buy that very same thing than you're right ... there's no point in us trying to discuss the issue. "

Yeah, I'm stupid because I believe research instead of the industry fear-mongers.

http://www.forbes.com/sites/oreillymedia/2011/01/14/data-needs-to-drive-the-ebook-piracy-debate/

David M. said...

@AeliusBlythe,

Yeah, I went to your Web site. Where was the creative writing? All I saw were a bunch of blog posts about how writers should give away their work ...

So you're an anti-Copyright guy who calls himself a writer to try and justify his position? I'm not impressed.

AeliusBlythe said...

@David M

"Yeah, I went to your Web site. Where was the creative writing? All I saw were a bunch of blog posts about how writers should give away their work ...

So you're an anti-Copyright guy who calls himself a writer to try and justify his position? I'm not impressed. "



Wow.
You apparently can't read, so I'm not really sure what the point is in pointing this out but:

The second site is ALL fiction.

The first is about being a writer.

The third is about being a writer and not being a slave to copyright.


But apparently you missed all that so I'm sure that this will go unread too.

David M. said...

"The second site is ALL fiction."

I honestly apologize for missing that.

"The third is about being a writer and not being a slave to copyright."

I also apologize for attempting to help you understand the fact that Copyright benefits you. If you would prefer to embrace false rhetoric and think of yourself as a, "slave" than so be it.

I really do wish you good luck with your creative writing.

Crosbie Fitch said...

If we're going to discuss liberty vs slavery, then we need to recognise as Newspeak the proposition that copyright's abrogation of our cultural liberty sets artists free (as opposed to enriches publishers).

Whereas slavery suspends all liberties from a few, copyright suspends a few liberties from all.

AeliusBlythe said...

@Crosbie
" If we're going to discuss liberty vs slavery, then we need to recognise as Newspeak the proposition that copyright's abrogation of our cultural liberty sets artists free (as opposed to enriches publishers). "

That's sort of the crux of the matter isn't it? The notion that copyright sets artists free is the illusion publishers have sustained to keep artists afraid of the alternative. But in reality, it is really more restrictive.

@David M
Related to what I was saying before: copyright allows publishing/distribution/production rights to exist and be taken OUT of the hands of the artists. Without copyright they are meaningless, thus the artist has more freedom over his/her work.

And the ability to "steal" art only exists because of copyright. By steal, I mean take someone's work in its entirety, put your name on it and then PREVENT the original artist from creating (which is really stealing because it takes something away from the original artist.)
This is what artists fear. It is one thing to have an idea "stolen," which really doesn't happen much because ideas are common. However, what copyright allows someone to do is take a work and copyright it, thereby preventing the original artist from claiming it or making any further work based on it. The original artist would have to prove they made it first, but if there is not proof, then too bad for them.
Without copyright, there would be competition, but no one would have the ability to prevent someone else from creating or distributing their own work.


@Crosbie again
"Whereas slavery suspends all liberties from a few, copyright suspends a few liberties from all. "

Good point. Slavery is definitely a hyperbole. What is a less extreme word to describe this?

David M. said...

@Crosbie,

You're obviously accustomed to having these discussions with people who don't know anything about Copyright. I am not one of those people and I have no more patience for your lies.

Copyright is not a mysterious black box that only big corporate lawyers can understand. It's a very simple and clear series of rights granted to creators which empower us. Let me say that again - Copyright EMPOWERS me by giving me complete control over any and all financial gain which comes from my work. Copyright is what enables me to say "no" if a publisher offers me a bad deal and it's what enables me to go after them in court if they publish my work without permission. Copyright is the only reason I am able to pay my rent and enjoy the wonderful life I have.

I feel truly sorry for any creative person who allows someone like you to take those rights away from them through lies and manipulation. All they have to do is visit the Copyright web site for their country to learn the truth. In the United States:

http://www.copyright.gov/

AeliusBlythe said...

@David M

"Copyright EMPOWERS me by giving me complete control over any and all financial gain which comes from my work. Copyright is what enables me to say "no" if a publisher offers me a bad deal and it's what enables me to go after them in court if they publish my work without permission. Copyright is the only reason I am able to pay my rent and enjoy the wonderful life I have."

Copyright is not the only thing that protects you. Without copyright, there can be many distributors but no one to take away the distribution rights of another. You still have the right to distribute and market your own work no matter what. No one is taking that away from you. Why would you go after the publisher anyway? Because they are making your work available to people? Sell your own stuff and compete. More and more people are moving towards buying from (or contributing to) artists directly. In that kind of world, you have the advantage.


I live in a country where there are bootleg book/DVD/music/clothes/art/everything stores on every corner. But artists do not complain (only the foreigners do, mostly) they still sell their own work, but they know the bootlegers are making it available to people. If a company is selling your work without your permission (but not PREVENTING you from selling it also) then they are just giving you free distribution.


And for each piece of artwork, copyright gives cultural rights to one person, the creator, at the expense of everyone else. Why are your rights more important than everyone else's?

Crosbie Fitch said...

David M.,

Copyright does indeed empower you, giving you power to dictate what others may or may not do with their own possessions. Such power is seductive, so seductive you will insinuate such power over your fellow man to be yours by right.

In a free market there are no state granted monopolies. We exchange our possessions, our goods, our creative works for those of others, voluntarily.

A state granted monopoly does not magically force people to buy your work, it simply enriches those printers who find popular works to sell copies of.

Try selling your work to your audience who want it instead of to monopolists who just want your monopoly (assuming you can produce art people want).

Rights cannot be taken away from anyone. They can be annulled though, by privileges such as copyright. So, I would agree that the people's right to copy, to share and build upon mankind's culture should be restored, by abolishing the privilege of copyright.

Here's the creation of the unethical privilege: Statute of Anne.

Here's a paper documenting James Madison's rubber stamping of it: The Adventures of the Statute of Anne in the Land of Unlimited Possibilities: The Life of a Legal Transplant.

The truth is out there.

The question is, what truth are you prepared to countenance?

I strongly recommend you Question Copyright.