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No Legal Advice

The information on Groklaw is not intended to constitute legal advice. While Mark is a lawyer and he has asked other lawyers and law students to contribute articles, all of these articles are offered to help educate, not to provide specific legal advice. They are not your lawyers.

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Yeah | 397 comments | Create New Account
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Yeah
Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 19 2012 @ 02:03 AM EST
The main problem we have, is that companies like Disney have lobbied for
ever-longer copyright terms to protect Mickey Mouse et al.

But commercial works of that sort (the ones that still have commercial value
after so many years) probably make up less than 0.01% of all copyrighted works.
Heck, they probably make up less than 0.0001% of all copyrighted works!

These powerful lobbies have been forcing their IP-maximalist ways on the 99.99%
of all other works for literally decades, and the situation is so out-of-balance
now that something really needs to be done! Even the vast majority of
commercial works, make most of their money in the first few months or years.
Many of them are not commercially viable at all after 20 years, but we still
reserve exclusivity to the copyright owner for a lifetime after that (even if
they have no commercial incentive at all to even make the work available
anymore).

Millions of culturally important works, entire _decades_ of cultural output, are
currently under copyrights which will probably last longer than any physical
copies of the work itself will. (For example, many original movies from the
1930's and on, are rotting away in a copyright owner's vault, somewhere.. if
they survive another hundred years, it will only be because of collectors
_ignoring the daft laws_ and preserving illegal copies of them).

What we need is massive copyright reform that brings copyright terms for _most_
works down to a sensible term like 15 years, and allows sampling and remixing,
and allows blanket licensing of almost any work. We need to solve the
orphaned-works problem! But I'm fine with having stronger protections for any
"comercially valuable" works, as long as the owners are willing to pay
something for those protections (in exchange for additional decades of depriving
society of the freedom to use these cultural artifacts).

The problem is, the IP-maximalists like Disney and the RIAA won't accept any
such reform. They like to control and restrict the channels of information
distribution, and anything that makes it easier for everyone to remix
public-domain works just makes it easier for everyone to compete with Disney and
RIAA label-signed artists. Its not enough to let them keep their cash cows,
they will not be satisfied until they have strangled all of the free sources of
entertainment that compete with them.

Which is why we will continue to see ever-more-ridiculous copyright and IP laws
in general, which will continue to be ignored by almost everyone (at least until
they get sued by the RIAA for file-sharing, and have to go to court and fight
back.. and this will only happen to a miniscule percentage of unlucky pirates,
because almost everybody pirates and the RIAA can't possibly sue them all).

[ Reply to This | Parent | # ]

  • Blanket licencing - Authored by: Wol on Monday, November 19 2012 @ 12:23 PM EST
    • Preservation - Authored by: Wol on Monday, November 19 2012 @ 01:04 PM EST
    • hmm - Authored by: Anonymous on Monday, November 19 2012 @ 02:19 PM EST
      • hmm - Authored by: Wol on Tuesday, November 20 2012 @ 07:14 AM EST
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