This is getting quite interesting! (for the three people left of course :D) Great fun, besides personally useful!
Now I start understanding what you come from, and especially something you write above, namely
It's an interesting paper but I'd argue that it makes a common mistake in thinking that the purpose of copyright is to remunerate the creator - that's the mechanism not the purpose.
brings me a question. We're moving a little in the ethereal realm of philosophy of law here, but the idea that a law has a (possibly benign) purpose is only one of the possible ways of thinking of it - the "utilitarian" one. Are you aware that that there are others? In one, for example, law just is
- does not need any particular justification (or even intent); in the aristotelian one, law has a specific moral intent; the Kantian view is that law is there to protect inherent rights, and so forth (there's quite a few); the deontological view is that duty and obligation (and meta-obligation, such as following the law) trump a more consequence-evaluation behavior (and that's why Jean Valjean ends in prison, popular one that one).
So that copy right has a purpose, or that purpose is the justification/reason of its existence, is not necessarily so clear cut. It may have some historical roots (and even then, history is often made by who's left, so it's a tough one to call), but it does not have the axiomatic qualities that you seem to attribute it. A law does not become so because of an historical process, but only because it receives sufficient votes in whatever parlamentarian system you happen to have at hand (if you do have one, that is - otherwise, there's China or Saudi Arabia).
All these views can quite happily coexist, so long we all agree that a) existing law needs to be followed so long is valid but b) we use a common mechanism for changing them (i.e. the political process that brings legislation to life). Then of course there's civil disobedience, but with copyright it would be, I feel, a little out of place. :-)
Just as an example, my own appreciation of law is more like a balance among conflicting fundamental principles that we have (somewhat arbitrarily) chosen as fundaments of our society and I could not care less on how historically things have evolved. I am not - never been - particularly deontologic. In my hyperbolic examples a couple of days ago, for example, I noted how certain historical behaviors (especially on treatment of women and physically weaker parties) are no longer tolerated even if, for the majority of human history, the trend was different: thru a course of happy accidents we collectively decided
that we wanted a society with certain principles, whose consequence was to obliterate thousands of years of agreed behavior.
Nobody gives a rat's ass of course (and rightly so :)) of what I think and of why
I abide to the law, so long I do. But these fundamental ideas, if unspoken, can kinda ensure that we talk across each other without knowing why. My starting point is, for example, the right to ownership and entitlement to one's inventions; from a "overall benefit" point of view, a case can be made (and a certain Karl&friends did make it) that individual ownership is not, really, a good thing at all.
After this hyper long premise (weee, it's the lounge!) a bit more specifics to see if I get you right:
blinddrew wrote:As I said above, for me the two biggest things would be reduce the duration and stick to the principles of fair use (rather than the 91/94 decisions).
The 91 and 94 cases being about , if I read you well, Biz Markie not being allowed to use Gilbert O'Sullivan without asking or licensing, and the Funkaedelik sampling.
Now why exactly do you think these should have been fair use?
Biz use either was truly transformative, or it was not. If it was, it should be allowed; if it wasn't, it shouldn't. Now Gilbert was a singer and songwriter; Biz as well, I suppose. They worked in the same area, catered for the same type of public and a similar at form . So the area - to an non-expert panel - was similar. That leaves the nature of the work: surely rap aint the same as early 70s, but also goes on the radio and is purchased in terms of cds, cassette tapes and vinyl. So it's a grey area. How do you solve the grey area? You put it down to the an non-expert evaluation. Note I am not saying it's the right decision: I'm saying that most probably there aren't clear cut decisions and, more importantly, there probably cannot be (so long we want to preserve an element of judgement). I'm fully aware that the decision probably pissed BIz off and in 91 rap was an innovative an new form etc etc, but the crux of the issue is exactly how much innovative
to the (untrained) ears of someone that doesn't really care that much about music. Grey areas are gray. What was wrong in asking Gilbert's estate permission?
Similarly for 94: as I asked earlier. if the bit was not recognizable, how in the world a suit arose in the first place? And if it was, it's just as above: it can be recognized, so the question is - is it transformative enough? Does it belong to a very different market/area?
It's a real question: I'd like to understand why you feel these decisions should have been different (and I may end up agreeing with you :)) - but not in general terms, but specifically on why that bit of lifted music/lyrics should be considered an exception when my grandmother, upon hearing it, would have recognized it.
Also a standardisation of rules across different territories.
That would be great, and I think few would disagree. Unfortunately there is no central world government which allows this in practice. One of point of uniting is exactly so people has less complications to deal with.
Also a hard reset, based on new durations, of what's in and out of copyright.
I agree that current definition feels somewhat random. Life + 70 years in the US, innit? Why 70? Why not 100? It seems to be a bit tailored to life + expect life of direct children but I really have no idea. The challenge is, a bit as above, that any number would feel somewhat random. "Never" or "Forever" would be definitely more clear cut - but then again a consideration is probably to balance different principles - private property vs. shared benefit of future members of society.
Currently we have stuff that has been in, our and now back in copyright.
Is this because of remastering?
Also get rid of the anti-circumvention passages in the DMCA - they're out of date, have never been effective, and actually have nothing to do with copyright.
Also, while we're at it, a blanket permission to take a back-up copy for personal use and the permission for format shifting of a legitimate purchase (i.e. ripping a CD).
This I find it odd. Now of course as a private consumer I'd like it and I can see why I would - say making backup of a CD would allow me not to have to re-buy the CD if it breaks.
But for a lot if not all physical products, part of the what you buy is the vessel itself. You are not sold the functionality in perpetuity, but a specific object which gives you the functionality, generally for a finite, if unforeseeable, period of time. If you buy a phone, you can make phone calls only so long it works - and electronics being what they are - you know that one sad day it will
not work anymore and you'll need another one. There's a certain very large US company which bases a large part of its business model and earnings on exactly that idea.
The only difference is, for example, that content is information
? But why should information be treated so different? Say who? It could of course, but it's not a given. As we all know after sweating and paying in a studio, information is not cheap to produce - just as a phone. It is
obviously far more easy to duplicate, but why that property should make it ok to duplicate (so that while I have to buy a new phone in case it breaks, I don't have to buy another copy of the same CD)?
Other than, of course, that I'd like to have both
a new instance of my phone and CD for free and never have to pay again after buying the first one :)
If we were shortening the durations as I proposed above, I'd also bring forward the reversion limit to 28 years as well.
As above: why 28 should be particularly better? Why not 25? Or 32? I aint taking the piss here, but I would guess these number descend from some kind of reasoning and it's the reasoning that should be discussed, not the numbers. From all I know, the 70 years may come, as I was saying above, from the idea that a successful invention provides for you and your first generation - which is quite strong incentive to us biologicals. Or it may have come out of a hat :D
Finally (for now!), and not directly relevant to copyright but very relevant to what else is going on in legislatures around the world, is I'd reinstate the technical advisory body for Congress and create something similar for the UK / EU. At the moment we have far too many laws being made on bandwagon politics by people who have no understanding of what they're regulating. We won't get rid of the knee-jerk reaction but at least we'd have a small chance of some sensible opposition and debate.
None of the above will happen of course (in fact things will keep going the other way) because most of the lobbying is being done by the existing, copyright-dependent industries and the proposals above are all about shifting a balance back to the public. :(
Totally agree it would be great, but I think you attribute more intentionality than there is. While lobbies lobby, a big evil coordinated plan seems a bit too much: it's much simpler, every nation has its own sovereignty, many nations have recently taken a nostalgic view of it and we're still in a phase of history where large, world-encompassing rules are seen with suspicions. Interests that benefit from the situation do, obviously, push to keep it and even ride the tiger (like a certain recent political process which shall not be named in the thread :) ), and the generel citizens at times end up fooling themselves supporting them. Less than it once happened, more than it will (hopefully).
Phew! The reason I wrote all this is that my National Day gig is saved since I found a great drummer to replace mine, who that day is with the family. So night's job was done early.
Have a great one! :D