Copyleft and the 110th

It's probably best to warn you now that I have a lot of ideas stored up about the way things oughta be. And that I'll be unloading them on you over the next few weekends until I get them out of my system. Sorry about that. Next up is copyright.

The problem with the current copyright debate is that the argument for tight restrictions on the creative content is so easy to make. It's on the model of "you wouldn't walk into Tower Records and steal a CD, now would you? Hmm?" That's a story that's compelling in its simplicity and moral clarity. And the Motion Picture Association (MPAA) and the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) -- with their very big footprint on Capitol Hill -- have the chance to repeat that basic story again and again. Soon, there's not much room in the heads of legislators and staff for other ways of thinking about copyright.

But the challenge of dealing with the licensing of creative content isn't all that black and white, of course. Consider this, if you might. Documentary films are one of my favorite things in the whole world. I'm intrigued by the idea that non-fiction film has a power to show, rather than tell, why progressive ideas are the way to go. What docs are so great at is telling rich, compelling stories. And there's much power in that because, of course, it's through stories that we learn much of what we know about the world. With that in mind, yesterday morning I started pulling together a list of docs that I might be able to propose as a sort of a progressive non-fiction film "watch list" somewhere down the road.

A natural candidate for the list is Eyes on the Prize, a 14-part series on the American civil rights years from 1954 to 1965, from the early resistance to segregation through Martin Luther King's last years.

Well, to be honest, I'm going on faith that Eyes is a natural fit. I've never seen it. That's because when the filmmakers were assembling the doc, they were so struggling to just get by that they forwent the ideal but expensive "worldwide rights in perpetuity" and paid instead for cheaper but more restrictive terms -- limited-time use, and restrictions on via what formats the finished series could be distributed. As some of those terms have expired since its first-run in the late eighties and early nineties, it's quite tough to even see Eyes today. This prized piece of American cultural history can't legally be shown on TV or sold new. You can't get it on DVD through Netflix or anywhere else. Used non-bootlegged VHS tapes go for about $1300 online.

Eyes on the Prize is a good example of what's tough about making documentaries. There's a real problem now with non-fiction filmmakers having to license the pop-culture that shows up while they're shooting. For example, go here for what "Mad Hot Ballroom" had to go through to clear the music in the film, including the "Rocky" ring tone that plays on a woman's cell phone for six seconds. And then there's the Smithsonian's deal with Showtime that GAO says is stymying the efforts of some independent filmmakers to use footage from their archives.

As they say, history is written by the keepers of creative content rights. Okay, I just made that up. But what's true is that our current regime of content-control is structured to benefit centralized authority, and not the rest of us in the trenches. That won't do. The good news on this is that we do have champions on the Hill on these issues. Should copyright and the control of creative content come up in the 110th Congress, look to Rep. Rick Boucher of southwest Virginia and Rep. Zoe Lofgren of northern California to take the lead. Boucher in particular will likely reintroduce his Digital Media Consumers' Rights Act -- in Boucher's words, an attempt to "restore the historical balance in copyright law."

Update [2006-12-23 15:7:20 by Nancy Scola]: Through a grant from the Ford Foundation and the Gilder Foundation, Eyes on the Prize was re-run and issued on DVD by PBS is fall. See more in the comments.

Tags: 110th congress, copyright, technology policy, the control of creative content (all tags)

Comments

42 Comments

Re: Copyleft and the 110th

The copyright for Eyes on the Prize has been renewed. At least I think it has, because WNET just rebroadcast it in its entirety on Channel Thirteen. I Tivo'ed it, just in case.

You might want to double-check this, but I don't see how PBS could rebroadcast w/o a copyright renewal. Looks like someome ponied up.

by Tod Westlake 2006-12-23 08:25AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th
Thanks. There isn't much out there on this, but it looks like the Ford Foundation and the Gilder Foundation paid about $850,000 to get rights to restricted footage and PBS was able to run the series (or part of it, not sure) in October.
by Nancy Scola 2006-12-23 08:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

Yeah, it may not have been the full series.

Still, some is better than none.

by Tod Westlake 2006-12-23 08:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

I read the 'Mad Hot Ballroom' interview.  It's interesting but par for the course in terms of copyright.  Ironically one of our allies here is the telecom industry, which doesn't want to have to deal with copyright violations in the context of delivering content.  Verizon was critical to defeating the INDUCE Act for instance.

by Matt Stoller 2006-12-23 08:28AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

Okay, first, copyright law is not the same as licensing. The first is an intellectual property right (or depending on your view a property right), and the second concerns contractual rights for the intellectual property. Your disagreement is with the way in which works are licensed, and not necessarily with the underlying copyright. It's important to make it clear what you are really doing here. You are suggesting there needs to be changes in underlying copyright law when what you could just as easily do is carve out a specific exception to address noncommercial use conserns that is maybe broader than the fair use doctrine.  But, that's not people really want is is?

Second, the reason why the arguments for copyright law are easy is because they are correct. They reflect economic reality in the sense that a lack of ownership in one's work doesn't produce an incentive to create in market based economy.  Should there be reform? Sure, but I am not sure if the average anti copyright law argument is the correct reform. If anything the reform is the same as the reform for any other area of government: take big corporate interest out of the picture so that the decision is based on what is best for all creators of work and the spead of creative works.  In my equation, unlike the copyright abolitionist moment (which I am not saying you are a part of), there is still a balancing of forces between creator and audience, but that balance isn't based on who has the most money to pay off Congress through lobbying.

Third, what is the alternative to copyright law? The alternative as history showed was not more creative work or for that matter more artists.  The alternative was previous to copyright law a system of patronage where artists were more dependent not less on the will of the moneyed class. With all the abuse of the present structure that may need to discusssed, and figured out, the harm to creative workers without copyright law would be huge. Concepts such as work for hire, etc would be thrown out of the window, and I haven't seen any real arguments for why that would not be the case. This is all if one is talking about 'why copyright law exists at all" rather than "what tweaks need to be made to the laws governing how people use their copyright law rights."

It's interesting you talk about film. I wonder if the people you are talking about- the filmmakers- would want after they had spent so much time putting their documentary together, likely tens or hundreds of thousand of dollars- would they want their work to be used by anyone for whatever reason they want. The control is also there to help the artist with control who has access to their work. For filmmakers for example who are not big studio filmmaker this adds to a structure that allows them creative control. Film is, by the way, a very expensive enterprise even when one doesn't do the big studio tent pole release.

By film, I do mean, film. Not video. I personally have been deciding whether to do my next project on HD or film.  If you don't know, I am trying to transition from practicing law to being a filmmaker. The reality is that HD is nice, but it doesn't have the creative versatility of film. But, let's say one does a project in HD.  It can be a hugely expensive project- paying crew a living wage rather than expecting them to work for free, the cost to one's self in the money one losses or invest, and time commitment, etc. The physical cost of production. The enormous cost of post production. Unless you are doing as one friend did- a dv feature set in one location for 30k and even then everyone taking three weeks of their time to work for free, then you are looking at budgets of hundreds of thousands of dollars.  It's certainly not milions, but this is the reality: even if its not millions the recoupment of cost and enough to make living at film  would not be possible at all if not for copyright law because the alternative is being paid zero for one's work.

I could go on in more depth, but I do want to make it clear that these things are complicated, and I have only covered a small fragment of issues that I have seen.

by bruh21 2006-12-23 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th
Very useful stuff. But the idea is not to draw the distinction between how we license content and copyright law -- which are as you say are two different things -- but instead to begin to tell the story about how we can think about the control of creative content beyond a system where it is thought of as a property right in the same way we think of land or a car, what have you.

As for how we return balance to that system, on this I listen to the intent of the founding fathers -- from the Constitution, "To promote the progress of science and useful arts, by securing for limited times to authors and inventors the exclusive right to their respective writings and discoveries." I'm in no way a copyright abolitionist -- thought abolitionist has a nice ring to it -- but think that we need to approach policy in this area with a consensus that the goal is to reward creativity because it encourages more creativity.

How exactly you return balance to that system is of course difficult, but what's lucky here is that the system is so skewed toward producing unlimited profit (copyright held for 70 years after death for individual authors, 95 years for "work-for-hire" copyrights, right?) that we can just argue for restoring balance -- though that can get you called an extremist. Creative Commons is a start, which is a system by which content creators can easily express just which rights they're attaching to their creative works.

I'm not going to make the case for proceeding ignorantly (and I really hope this causes you no offense), but at some point I think there's a danger of thinking about this too much from the perspective of a lawyer. There's a need to argue the nuances of the law, and you're better qualified to do that than I am, but there's also room for us to work towards a culture shift on how we understand the control of creative content apart from the particulars of how exactly we express and enforce that understanding.
by Nancy Scola 2006-12-23 09:31AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

I don't understand what you mean. How can you have a discussion about copyright law by referring to culture? How exactly do you think culture has flourished for so long without a clear understanding of the law? How do you think you are going going to avoid legal, economic and historical analysis?  What culture are you referring to? The culture of something for nothing that is pervasive online where people think content is free? Or where on the A trian which I take home everyday someone is selling pirated works?  We are afterall talking about copyright law- right? And how exactly is culture except in narrow circumstances being hurt by requiring copyright protection of works? This makes about as much sense to me as when I talk to Christians who want to quote scripture when I am discussing equal protection analysis as has been applied in the US. It maybe very important for you to discuss culture, but copyright law is broader than that. It's about dissemnination fo ideas- are you saying ideas aren't being disseminated? If so- pt to wide scale examples of how culture so held up by copyright law that the benefits to increasing cutlural influences are not increased rather than decreased by copyright law. What is the alternative? Please provide one that is viable for the artist to survive on because that's the question as well to me.

For the record, I am not just a lawyer, which you quickly seem to one to reduce me to. As I have said, I am also a filmmaker. I have had my stuff screened in a few festival at this point so the idea that I am only approach this as a lawyer is false. I am approaching this as someone who is in the trenches of making my films. I am approaching this as somone who knows how much it costs me to make my projects. I am approaching this as someone who talks to other filmmakers, and what they face. So answer the questions I am asking, not just about narrow examples that we all can agree are problematic, but in broader terms about why anything other than narrow changes are needed here?

by bruh21 2006-12-23 10:32AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

You seem to say that there does (or can) be some better balance. What do you think can or should be changed in our law? What is the argument for extending rights beyond the creators life? Does this really promote the arts? Is that needed in today's economy?

I think (although, I sure don't want to presume) that part of what Nancy is getting at is that our current culture views intellectual property the same as personal property. It is the law, in this instance that likely effected culture. If you could not pass on your copyright to your children, as you can your estate, would the culture (or understanding of copyright) be the same?  If we talked about copyright as law giving artists certain protections, as opposed to copyright equaling intellectual property, would that make a difference on people's perceptions?

I would argue that our fair use doctrine ought to be broadened, or perhaps better defined so artists won't be overly cautious in fear of a lawsuit. I am sure there is lots to be said about how fair use can be expanded...but one thing I will say is that it should not be for solely noncommercial purposes. If a documantarian is shooting their film, and the cell phone of one of the subjects rings, and the ring tone is a copyrighted song...that clip should not be prohibited. (honestly...I don't know why that use does not already fall under fair use doctrine...anyone know? Or was it the makers of Mad Hot Ballroom were just too scared of a lawsuit?)

by andersej 2006-12-23 05:23PM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

a) prove that most artist are in fact afraid as you say rather than end users simply wanting to get something for free. In other words, prove your point with data and actual evidence beyond the rare documentary that has a problem. Explain how this affects fictional works to be required to pay writers, directors, DPs and a multitude of others for their creative input.

b) IP is property. Copyright law is a property right. This isn't theory. That's what it is. That's what the founders intended. if you read just the constituton you may not get that. But thats like reading the constitution on equal protection without reading all of the history and analysis and approach behind it. It's only as good as you have context. The context here is that copyright laws have been considered property for al ong time. It's worked extraodintarily well as that. We have created great works of literature, music, film and softwared. Do you dispute this? If you do, show me how this present structure has not produced those results. This all seems to be theory on most of your parts rather than any substantive proof of the matter. Even her example, she had to recant as to the nature of the problem. Once they were able to pay for the cost, there was no problem with the information from the copyright work being desimenated. It's this rent on a property right that the founders intended to be the basis of copyright law. For that matter, let's be clear- you need to understand what property law is. It's no more or less than like copyright law a series of rights. How does one own land for example? It's a series of rights that is vested in one because of the state says you have those rights in the land.  It seems that is your real problem.  That you don't like through your theorectical contruction of the world the capitalistic reality. That you want to argue about whether its property or not has nothing to do with whether because it is property it is causing a harm of significant enough nature to justify all this bs about needing to fundamentally change copyright law.  Your job isn't to argue whether it's property. Your job is to prove that the present structure cause harm. You aren't doing that. Instead, you skirt the issue to go on about things you do want to talk bout. It's a nice trick, but it's not really the point.

By the way, this sort of discussion is why I will always remain a moderate. Not because on most values I dont fundamentally agree with the left about where the burden lies, but because ultimately like the right, you are a lot of theory, and not a whole lot of actual proof of the matter. When challenged, you do as she, the diarist does, try to avoid the pesky questions that you don't want to have to answer.

c) As for fair use, and other concepts, such as how long the copyright lasts, the reason, and this is my theory, why you haven't seen it is as following: a) there are two extremes arguing positions, and any sensible discussions is moved to the way side because instead people end up with silly arguments about how we shouldn't consider copyrights as property or by the corporatists who are only interested in maximazing their rents to crazy levels. If the corporatists were here, I would be arguing with them. but, I feel this is a discussion with people who are on the side of the copyright as not property side of the divide so we waste a lot of time not getting sensible changes, but instead, discussing whether copyright law is property law or whether we need to "change the culture" whatever that means (because even you admit you have no idea what she means by all this vague discussion).

It's not like there are not other areas in which there aren't clear regulations which could be set up to allow for some carved out exceptions. ie, the FCC has rules curved out for non commercial programming that appears on TV. Likewise, even under copyright laws there are some automatic mechanical licenses (I believe thats it- music isn't my area of expertise) that give a statutory rate for music. I could see such an exception being carved out for non commercial documentaries or non fiction works with some criteria being created for that.

Are we having that kind of discussion? No. Instead we are having vague discussions about culture, or specific discussions meant to eliminate copyright as we know it.

so long as we waste time on irrelevancies, we are at odds not only with corporate interest, but I suspect with a large number of artists who are out in the trenches. The corp interests will always find a way to make money, but for small artist such as myself, the real ability to make money is through control of my property. The ability to sell it, own it, license it, etc are all things that are necessary so that I can recoup money on what I have invested, and make  a good living at it. I didn't take a vow of poverty because I decided to make films recently. I am sorry that may offend some here to hear that, but I don't plan on going poor to prove to you that somehow your theories versus the actual reality are correct. Especially since I know enough of the history prior to the advent of copyright law to know that the world then was feudal and based on patronages.

d) As for the specifics regarding Mad Hot ballroom, I don't know the specifics of that case. A lot of times, the reason why I advise people to get release for documentaries from people is fear of a lawsuit rather than the fact that I think that they couldn't really go with out. The theory is- why take the risk. Ask Borat and its makers if they are not glad they got the releases from those racists fraternity boys? And yes, the fair use doctrine should only be for non commercial use- which has a specific meaning- at least in non commericial tv parlance. it means something similar to non profit. Ie, It's meant to reflect that a documentary by say a Michael Moore which grossed several hundred million dollars should not be treated the same as the Boys of barack or jesus camp or other such documentary. No law here will be perfect, but not taking economic reality into consideration is a license to make a worse rather than better situation.

by bruh21 2006-12-23 06:03PM | 0 recs
"Intellectual Property"

IP is property. Copyright law is a property right. This isn't theory. That's what it is. That's what the founders intended.

No, I can't see how you can say that the founders intended to equate copyright and patent with a property right. The founders wanted people with new ideas or new expressions of ideas a limited amount of time to hold a monopoly on those ideas.  That's not "property." One of the reasons we've lost the founders intent is specifically because copyright and patent holders have succeeded in claiming that these are "property" rights.

The "intellectual property" frame is a powerful one, and it has succeeded, in copyright law at least, in essentially ending the possibility of copyrighted work entering the public domain.  Encouraging the creation of work that would eventually enter the public domain was the express intent of the founders.

by jayackroyd 2006-12-24 01:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

bruh,

I love your comments.  I have to say that in this case I think you are letting your emotions get the better of you and are arguing against straw men.  No one is saying that copyright law should be abolished.  No one.  Yet your arguments are insistently assuming as much.  Stop it.

by Matt Stoller 2006-12-24 03:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

I suppose its the title copyleft that turns me off- because I see all this as a prelude, and as I have said the people mostly arguing these points legally has been of the variant who are arguing against copyright law all together such as the Electronic Frontiers FOundation.

by bruh21 2006-12-24 08:03AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

That's just not true.  The EFF doesn't argue for abolishing copyright.

by Matt Stoller 2006-12-24 04:15PM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

riiiight

by bruh21 2006-12-24 08:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

Point to an EFF document that argues for the abolition of copyright.  

Otherwise you are simply lying.

by Matt Stoller 2006-12-25 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

Here is a link:

http://docket.medill.northwestern.edu/ar chives/002050.php

In the Grokster  case, the issue was broader than whether one felt there should be exceptions to allow for greater fair use, and it was certainly larger than time period for copyright ownership- it goes directly to the ability of the property owner to control the right by being able to enforce protection of their copright ownership in a court of law.

You can call me whatever you want, but this case was pretty clear more than about limiting terms, or for that matter, creative or carving out some fair use exceptions as per the claims of this diarist's concern. it was about changing the fundamental nature of copyright law.

Beyond this case- around the same time, a prominent law professor out of (I think- because I couldn't find his name on googling it) California who was on Nightline either last year or the previous year (sorry I can t be more specific, but the fact is that if you really wanted to know you could google too). On the program, the law professor who filed several amicus briefs and was labeled as a 'leader' in the cases on copyright law and the net stated that he felt that copyright law needed to be ended as we know it. Now, he may not have been a leader, but frankly things he were saying were not that much different from the arguments by EFF.

I say this is hide the ball because I am a lawyer enough to know that's what this language is about. When challenged here, the diarist said this isn't about the law, it's about the culture of how we look at copyright. What does that mean? When another poster responded he or she said it means that it's about how we view copyright law as property.

When challenged to provide you proof that this is a dominate position- I have now included a case in and there are others- in which one of the primary groups out there- who you say I misunderstanding- is indeed supporting cases that would change copyright law as we know it by endorsing the notion that someone can knowing allow copyright infringers to infringe without any means for the copyright owner to take any legal action against them.

Finally, the idea that there aren't other solutions is where we differ. I do believe the copyright length is too long. I also do agree there should be more exceptions under fair use.

I do not, however, feel that means we need to fundamentally change copyright law. The ability to enforce a property right is fundamental to having a right under the law.

the idea that most business can survive as they do business now without creativing more consumer friendly models is also false. The music industry will have to change regardless of copyright law being changed as we know it to reflect these new public sentiments. It may not be happening as fast as people want, but it is happening.

The same is definitely true of film- which i follow more- where there are huge efforts to provide platforms for people to download and have movies on demand. Is it perfect? No. Do I like the MPAA? No- I met the director who recently  released a documentary on the MPAA, and their behavior with copyright protection isn't the only reason I dislike them.

However, there is a middle ground, but I am suspicious when people tell me that the EFF isn't extreme whether I can expect to hear that from here.

by bruh21 2006-12-25 11:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

ps- the party most likely to benefit from such fundamental changes in copyright as property are the large corporations, not individuals. the reason being is that in reality most workers are paid higher incomes for their IP input into an organization on a work for hire basis. change the nature of what is happening here, and you change the nature of a lot of workers property ownership on their jobs.

by bruh21 2006-12-23 06:10PM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

The main reform I want is to make stuff go into the public domain in a limited amount of time.  Stuff like <u>The Wizard of Oz</u> and <u>Gone With the Wind</u> should probably be in the public domain by now--the creators are mostly dead, and it's pretty much collectively owned these days.

It's silly that someone claims the rights to "Happy Birthday," and that a TV show can get sued for playing the song on air during someone's birthday.

by Valatan 2006-12-23 10:29AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

that's tweaking the period of time of copyright law- thats a fairly limited discussion which is fine. The problem is that people go from this conversation- which you won't get a necessary disagreement with me (although I would make it specific to user type-ie, a large corp to corp transation versus a small or non commerical enterprise) to - to the conversation of how copyright law shouldn't exist or as she is doing above talking about ambiguous "cultural" discussions of copyright law without as she said referring to the law.  The problem is that the discussion for the most part that I often see is set forth by two extremes rather than sensible arguments like okay 50 years rather than 70 etc.

by bruh21 2006-12-23 10:36AM | 0 recs
Tweaking

You're setting up a straw man.  Nobody here, at least, has suggested the abolition of copyright law.   Hell, I don't think you could show "radical" folks like Eric Raynmond advocate the abolition of copyright law. That would be obviously stupid. The problem is that the law gets "tweaked" by the congress just in time to keep anything from entering the public domain that was published right about the time or after Disney created Mickey.  

No, the "tweaks" don't say "We hereby abolish the public domain" but the effect is that the Congress has done so.

Now you can argue that Mickey is central to Disney's bottom line and that they should own it in perpetuity, but that is certainly not what the founders intended.   The idea was not to create a property right. The idea was to create a limited period of monopoly rights.

by jayackroyd 2006-12-24 01:20AM | 0 recs
Re: Tweaking

I agree - bruh21 is setting up a strawman.  I've been in a number of online debates about copyright in various fora, but copyright abolitionists are few and far between.

My take on it is, why should copyright holders' monopoly rights extend for longer than patent holders' rights?  Especially in an era where software has blurred the line of what's what.

I'd personally revise the copyright time limits so that a copyright would hold for 40 years, but with gradually diminishing levels of control by the copyright holder, going maybe something like this:

First 10 years after copyright: complete monopoly rights for copyright holder.
Second 10 years: copyright holder has complete rights over mass distribution, but person-to-person copying legal.
Third 10 years: copyright holder has complete rights over commercial use, but no longer has any control over noncommercial use.
Fourth 10 years: copyright holder has control over substantial use, but not over relatively minor use of his content as part of someone else's much larger work.  (Yeah, I know, all this would have to be defined.  It's do-able.)
After 40 years: public domain, baby!

by RT 2006-12-24 06:39AM | 0 recs
Re: Tweaking

uhm, it's a strawman if this weren't the argument up to this point by most on the left such as the guy who filed amicus briefs, the electronic frontiers foundation among others. it's also curious when people start arguing copyright isn't property or we need change the culture of how people view copyrights. that gets my radar up that the conversation isn't as you claim, about tweaking at the length of copyright ownership, but changing the nature of copyrights in general. if the diarists point was a) length she could have just said that rather than "changing the culture" and b) if the person who sought to talk for her though the same, he or she wouldn't have gone into some discussion of not considering copyright as property, which gets my radar up that the discussion isn't about length of copyright law or about fair use doctrine, but instead a step to something more.  if you think its a strawman to argue against the extremes you may want to take a look at some of the cases that people have defended.

by bruh21 2006-12-24 08:11AM | 0 recs
You need to post some links

it's a strawman if this weren't the argument up to this point by most on the left

Could you please post some links in support of the claim that "most on the left" argue for abolition of copyright?

As I said, that would be stupid.  It is true that Lessig and others have introduced novel ideas of managing copyright in a digital era, but you'd be hard pressed to find anyone who says that as soon as JK Rowling ships a book, it should be in the public domain.

However, you will also find that there is no shortage of people who argue that her books should, at some point, enter the public domain.  Just like Plato, Dickens, and Twain.

by jayackroyd 2006-12-24 06:12PM | 0 recs
Re: You need to post some links

I am responding to this diary- which talks about changing the culture of copyright law, and anotehr person saying that we need to stop thinking of copyrights as property rights altogether. I don't need links when i am responding to specific arguments being made in this very diary.

by bruh21 2006-12-24 09:01PM | 0 recs
You talkin' to ME??

Then if you're responding to me, surely you can respond to my specific proposals, rather than getting overwrought about what some people somewhere else say they want.

by RT 2006-12-25 02:10AM | 0 recs
Re: You talkin' to ME??

I already did that in my posts about the general ideas, and dont feel the need to re-explain my position with each post.

by bruh21 2006-12-25 10:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Tweaking

what do you think the cases involving such orgs as napster were about?>

by bruh21 2006-12-24 08:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Tweaking

They were about copyright violations.  Nobody here is defending Napster.

I could go on at some length about the corporate music industry's short-sidedness on this issue, and the attendant failure to address the best interests of most artists in the short-term pursuits of high margins on their best selling products.

But there is no need. What's really going is that their business model is broken. Their control was tied to control of distribution channels, and that control is gone.  They'll find that they should have paid more attention to the movie business.

But that has nothing to do with copyright law. No, people should not pirate copyrighted material.  

by jayackroyd 2006-12-24 06:17PM | 0 recs
Re: Tweaking

Yet what are the loudest voices on our side of the debate when you see them in public? That artists can sell t shirts if they want to make money, etc, rather than need copyright law.

by bruh21 2006-12-24 09:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Tweaking

Yet what are the loudest voices on our side of the debate when you see them in public?

Point to one of these voices.

by Matt Stoller 2006-12-25 08:55AM | 0 recs
Re: Tweaking

Here is just one link about EFF, which has consistently argued to limit liability, regardless of how it would in a practical sense affect the copyright ownership by allowing people to infringe on copyrights regardless of length of copyright term:

http://docket.medill.northwestern.edu/ar chives/002050.php

This is the Grokster case to name just one. As Souter writes- it's not just time shifting that goes on with peer to peer networks vesus what one found with Betamax.  To have allowed Grokster to have continue to openly allow its users to violate copyright protections at its very core meaning is to me effectively to say that one doesn't care about the property interests of the copyright owner. I am not sure how you, or elseone else here, can read this any other way. Limiting liability is one of those little tricks in law which can kill a right- because a right is only as valuable as your ability to enforce it. I doubt EFF doesn't know that.

by bruh21 2006-12-25 11:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th
Suggested Google Search
Left Gatekeepers
by Lasthorseman 2006-12-23 08:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

One other pt, there are the government subsidized approaches in Europe for filmmaking, but that doesn't negate the fact that they have intellectual property protection or that such governmnt approaches limits the voices in as many ways as the market forces can. There isn't like I said any easy solution to this.

By the way, if you want to talk about how to help filmmakers- there is a tax break that is designed to prevent runaway production abroad, that I wish people would talk about more. Under the tax break it gives incentives for people to invest in filmmakers projects under a certain amount, 15 mil, or below. Its up for revewal either this year or next I believe.

by bruh21 2006-12-23 08:55AM | 0 recs
You can buy it on DVD

If you just Google "Eyes on the prize" and follow a couple of links, you end up here.

It's $375 for 7 DVDs.

by kvenlander 2006-12-23 09:41AM | 0 recs
Yeah, you're right
DVDs became available this fall when the Ford and Gilder Foundation money came through.
by Nancy Scola 2006-12-23 09:51AM | 0 recs
Re: Yeah, you're right

I would buy it for half that price...

by kvenlander 2006-12-23 11:11AM | 0 recs
Eyes on the Prize and Free Culture

So Eyes on the Prize has had all the copyrights renewed, and the entire series did re-air last month on PBS.

You can go here for more information.

Downhill Battle ran a great program to raise awareness about this a year ago, called Eyes on the Screen, where they encouraged people to bittorrent the film and hold screening across the country.

You can watch a YouTube video about Eyes on teh Prize and copyright issues here.  The video was featured in last years Media that Matters film festival.

And hands down the best book to read on this topic is Free Culture by Lawrence Lessig.

Appropriately, you can download the entire book as a free PDF off of his website.

by Mike Connery 2006-12-23 09:53AM | 0 recs
Re: Eyes on the Prize and Free Culture

to the diarist- this person post is my concern- that after the artists hard work- one can simply take the work and do what one wants without regard to the money, time and effort put into it.

by bruh21 2006-12-23 10:38AM | 0 recs
Constitution subverted

Matt Yglesias wrote about this some time ago, and I'm stealing some these ideas from him.

The purpose of patent and copyright provisions in the Constitution are designed to encourage innovation in products and creativity in writing and music (no other media then).  They're designed to protect the innovator for a limited period of time, more than sufficient to compensate the innovator for a successful idea or expression of an idea, before opening the innovation to the public domain.

The Constitution's intent is expressly not to cause creative works to vanish, or to be permanently owned by their creators. The intent is to encourage innovation for the public good.

The notion of the public domain has vanished.  The public domain now is before Mickey.  After Mickey, nothing else will reach the public domain.

This is a terrible abrogation of the constitution.

by jayackroyd 2006-12-23 09:58AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

i believe this group's mission is all about finding a middle ground in these debates:  http://www.futureofmusic.org/ .  

where else would you see Chuck D and Orrin Hatch sharing a stage?  
http://www.futureofmusic.org/events/summ it0101/panelists.cfm

by chiefscribe 2006-12-23 10:21PM | 0 recs
&quot;Eyes&quot; shows copyright works well

If you were using the documentary "Eyes on the Prize" as a example of "damaging" effects of current copyright laws, it seems to demonstrate the opposite since the movie is freely available.

Based the "Eyes" example, we could say current copyright law works OK.  Also copyright and patent laws needs some solid background work on a complex topic before discussing it...which the topic did generate...so it worked that way.

Patent law is probably where we need more work to match current technology.  Speeding up the process so we don't see more Blackberry situations where it takes decades for technology patent disuptes to be resolved.

by BrionLutz 2006-12-24 07:22AM | 0 recs
Re: Copyleft and the 110th

The argument to use against current and proposed copyright laws is this:

1) Applied properly they make libraries illegal.
2) You bought it, why shouldn't you be able to use it.

by Ian Welsh 2006-12-24 10:59AM | 0 recs

Diaries

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