Announcing: Slashdot Deals - Explore geek apps, games, gadgets and more. (what is this?)

Thank you!

We are sorry to see you leave - Beta is different and we value the time you took to try it out. Before you decide to go, please take a look at some value-adds for Beta and learn more about it. Thank you for reading Slashdot, and for making the site better!

Former GOP Staffer Derek Khanna Speaks On Intellectual Property

samzenpus posted about 2 years ago | from the toe-the-line dept.

Politics 147

cervesaebraciator writes "Tim Lee over at Ars Technica recently interviewed Derek Khanna, a former staffer for the Republican Study Committee. As reported on Slashdot, Khanna wrote a brief suggesting the current copyright law might not constitute free market thinking. He was rewarded for his efforts with permanent time off of work. Khanna continues to speak out about the need for copyright reform as well as its potential as a winning electoral issue and, according to Lee, he's actually beginning to receive some positive attention for his efforts. 'I encourage Hill staffers to bring forth new ideas. Don't be discouraged by the potential consequences,' Khanna told Ars. 'You work for the American people. It's your job, your obligation to be challenging existing paradigms and put forward novel solutions to existing problems.' Would that more in both major parties thought like this."

Sorry! There are no comments related to the filter you selected.

Anyone else read that as... (5, Funny)

bythescruff (522831) | about 2 years ago | (#42543471)

Did anyone else read that as "Former GOP sufferer"?

Re:Anyone else read that as... (1)

boundary (1226600) | about 2 years ago | (#42543851)

No but now you mention it...

Re:Anyone else read that as... (0)

Threni (635302) | about 2 years ago | (#42543927)

I was too busy attempting to parse "Would that more in both major parties thought like this.".

Re:Anyone else read that as... (4, Insightful)

Phreakiture (547094) | about 2 years ago | (#42544259)

It is an old-style syntax, but valid. A more modern expression might be "It is too bad that there aren't more in both major parties who think like this."

Re:Anyone else read that as... (3, Insightful)

flyneye (84093) | about 2 years ago | (#42544347)

That really is the problem isn't it? There is only ONE major party, the Repubmocrats.
In spite of having simple philosophical differences, they always manage to agree to fuck anything up that involves their Constitutional job and the people.
This is what we get for letting them set their own level of power and sell us out to corporate interests.
Quit damn voting for Repubmocrats!

Re:Anyone else read that as... (1)

riboch (1551783) | about 2 years ago | (#42545457)

The accepted terminology is republicrat or one of the many others listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Republicrat [wikipedia.org] .

Re:Anyone else read that as... (1)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#42545545)

I just call them all rats.

The Problem (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42543489)

Would that more in both major parties thought like this.

Isn't that sort of problem? People who do think like that get kicked out of their parties. Serving their constituents isn't the purpose of the modern political machine, that's just something they need to do enough of to retain power.

Re:The Problem (2)

TheRaven64 (641858) | about 2 years ago | (#42543553)

That's part of the problem. The other part is that the members of the parties that do the firing don't see any censure from their employers (i.e. constituents). How many of Sen. Scott Brown's constituents wrote to him to say that he'd lost their vote over this? How many will actually vote against him next time because of this?

Re:The Problem (4, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42543575)

The problem is, you can't vote against someone. You have to vote for someone. For your vote to be meaningful, there has to be someone worth voting for. Those people are culled before they get in a position to be included on a ballot.

Re:The Problem (3, Insightful)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | about 2 years ago | (#42543733)

That would be an interesting way to increase voter turnout. Let me cast -1 votes for a candidate instead of voting for the other guy that I don't really care for. Treat them as -1 votes for the actual result, but publish them separately to show the difference between a broad mandate for the winning candidate and "we're only supporting you because your opponent is a total fucking nutbag".

Might even make a nice dent in the two-party system. Making up numbers for a moment, suppose a quarter of Democratic voters in 2012 were really sending a message of "holy fuck Republicans are crazy" and voted Democrat because they were afraid of whatever Republican candidate winning. That's a quarter of the votes for the Democratic candidate gone. Almost gives the Greens a fighting chance without necessarily gaining a lot of supporters on their own. Same goes for the various Libertarian-leaning parties on the right.

Re:The Problem (5, Informative)

sjwt (161428) | about 2 years ago | (#42543979)

The other way to make a dent in the two party system, offer one of number of alternative voting systems..

Try Preferential voting [wikipedia.org] and Cardinal voting [wikipedia.org] as examples

Re:The Problem (1)

loneDreamer (1502073) | about 2 years ago | (#42544299)

Maybe, but no as funny as seeing candidates compete for the "least negative tally" ;-)

Re:The Problem (2)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 years ago | (#42545123)

"And with -50,000 votes, Candidate WillTaxYouMore has beaten his opponent Candidate DrownsKittensAndBabies."

Of course, this then leads to an interesting quandary.

"Candidate WillTaxYouMore has -50,000 votes and Candidate DrownsKittensAndBabies has -75,000. So the winner, who didn't run any campaign at all, is Candidate Whatever. Nobody voted for or against him so he wins with zero votes."

Re:The Problem (2)

cbhacking (979169) | about 2 years ago | (#42544445)

Arguably, this *is* an alternative voting system. There's a few ways it could be implemented, too.

1) In each race, you may cast one positive vote for a candidate, or one negative vote.
2) In each race, you may cast one each positive and negative vote.
3) In each race, you may cast two votes, in any combination of positive or negative, but they must be for different candidates.
4) As #3, but without the restriction against voting for (or against) a candidate twice.
5) In each race, you may cast a positive vote, and half of a negative vote (positive votes have twice the impact of negative ones).
variations on all of the above are possible......

#1 is simple, and addresses the problem of "You all suck, nobody deserves this vote" well enough... but also risks some serious instability if there are so many negative votes that even a relative handful of positive ones (for a candidate nobody bothered to vote against) is enough to put them on top.
#2 addresses that problem somewhat, although it's an interesting question whether the possible outcome (in a close race) of "both major parties were hammered by negative votes, to the extent that they came out at approximately zero and a third party who got 2% of the positive vote won it" is really proper.
#3 allows for "Fuck the two-party system!!" or for "I'm going to vote for the candidate who should win, and the candidate who has a chance" (in which case the latter candidate may actually win, if they don't garner large numbers of negative votes).
#4 allows those who feel strongly in favor or opposition toward a given candidate to express that preference... but "the most beloved by a subset of the population" as opposed to "the widest support of the population as a whole" isn't necessarily an outcome we want to make too easily achievable.
#5 is my favorite, personally. Elections are meant to indicate a preference, not a rejection. Under this system, I could still say "candidate X is a nutcase, but candidate Y isn't much better, I'm voting third-party" while nonetheless impacting the two-party system. The odds of a given candidate going negative are very low, but it's a reasonable expectation that the two major parties would garner almost all the negative votes, bringing their pedestals over all the third parties a lot lower.

Numerous variations on #5 are also possible. Negative vote is -.75 instead of -.5, to bring the major parties lower still. Apply the weighting of negative votes, then use any of #1-#4 or a variant thereupon.

Re:The Problem (1)

mjr167 (2477430) | about 2 years ago | (#42544539)

I like your plan! In order to win an election you have to not only attract voters, but scare them enough to spend their negative votes elsewhere! There is something to be said for the party who pissed off the least number of people winning.

In all honesty though, a system where you rank the candidates or everyone has say 3 votes to cast however they want would probably be better. Game theory has a lot to say about voting methods and almost any other system is better than the one we use as Americans.

Re:The Problem (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#42545197)

I would like to make this proposal.

Every citizen gets 10 votes pieces in a race...

Those 10 vote pieces in each race are divided into tokens:

1x 5 vote piece
2x 2 vote pieces
1x 1 vote pieces

You may abstain from casting any part of your "vote" but you cannot use more than one part on a single candidate. If there are fewer than 4 candidates in a race you will be forced to abstain from casting one or more of the four tokens. The candidate with the most votes wins.

Re:The Problem (1)

AlecC (512609) | about 2 years ago | (#42544979)

Russia used to have a simple system: a "None of the Above" box. If it wins, the election is rerun with a fresh slate.

Re:The Problem (1)

ynp7 (1786468) | about 2 years ago | (#42543991)

Only problem with a -1 system is that it would require two, and only two, candidates in each race. What we really need is instant runoff voting. Let's you vote for the person you want without forcing you to sacrifice that vote just because your candidate of choice doesn't have a shot in hell of winning.

Range Voting is better (1)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | about 2 years ago | (#42544247)

IRV is a step in the right direction, but there is math which shows that it tends towards the same two party system we have now. There is also empirical evidence to back this up. I am for voting reform, but I think IRV would essentially be shooting ourselves in the foot. If it were successful, we wouldn't see the kind of change we want (i.e. better representation) and the two party system would be strengthened. After all, we would have IRV and they would still be winning (to the chagrin of many of their "constituients"...)

Re:The Problem (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 2 years ago | (#42544453)

Eh? Not at all. Negative votes impact a candidate's total, and the candidate with the highest total still wins. Of course, that could be the only candidate left positive, or even the candidate who is least negative... but it's all still a valid approach.

Re:The Problem (1)

silentcoder (1241496) | about 2 years ago | (#42544985)

Not really. What if there was ONLY -1 votes ? And the winner is whoever got the least of them.

The psychological impact of "point out who is the worst candidate on the list and well keep whoever is the least insane/hated" would seriously put politicians back in their proper place.

Instead of a popularity contest, make it a "not hated" contest.
A knock-on effect would be this: right now name recognition is a politician's best ally, being remembered gets you elected. So elections are all about having the biggest marketing budgets. In such a system - that would be the LAST thing you want, the less memorable you are the less likely you would be to be voted out. So your politicians are motivated NOT to piss anybody off, not to do things that people will be riled up against, the only way you may want to be memorable is for passing a groundbreaking piece of legislation people really love. If you can't do THAT you're better off thinking about two-thousand times before you sign a law, you're better off staying firmly INSIDE the box (because thinking outside the box is for SMART people and let's face it - smart people rarely go into politics).
We WANT politicians to be afraid of voters - all the time. We want the vast majority of them to be too afraid to sign or introduce any legislation - ever, so the only ones who do are the rare few who come up with a genuinely GOOD idea.

Re:The Problem (1)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#42545083)

Interesting but what would mean for society if say the winning candidate did so with a negative vote total? We will never know what percentage of votes Obama got because many folks in the middle found the prospect of Romney frightening, due to a handful of more extreme positions the GOP has taken which are deal breakers for them. I know LOTS of people that don't like Obama, enough to refuse a drink with the man, but they still voted for him because they did not want to see Romney in office.

I doubt the winning presidential candidate would actually go negative based on approval rates, and the general tendancy to give the president some beneficent of doubt. Truman was wrong when he said "the buck stops here"; its really the hill that gets the blame heaped on them (rightly so for the most part, I would like to add). Congress folks might very well land a seat with negative ratings, and I think that would be really tough for our society to take.


Re:The Problem (1)

WrecklessSandwich (1000139) | about 2 years ago | (#42545623)

Well theoretically that's already happening and we just don't have the data to make us face the facts, so that's an existential crisis I would welcome with open arms. Ideally it would be somewhat self-correcting in that a negative "winner" would encourage others to get into politics, maybe even before hitting the actual negative point. Or we can start down the road to a bloody revolution, I'm OK with either.

Re:The Problem (1)

sjwt (161428) | about 2 years ago | (#42543959)

Sure you can, they are called protest votes, and unfortunately it can lead to ppl who shouldn't be voted in [wikipedia.org] , getting in..

Re:The Problem (1)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42543989)

Actually, I'd consider One Nation to be a success story. They drew attention to a relatively large portion of the voting public that was not being heard. They forced the major parties to react to them. Then, when the issues that required attention had been resolved, they burnt out and died. They never really got that close to having any effective power, but their rapid rise caused a re-evaluation in the incumbents.

Re:The Problem (2)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#42544165)

You do know you can vote for ANYONE. In 12 years vote Khanna for President. For those in MA write him in has a Rep or Senator next time you vote.
And people need to stop voting for one party or the other, vote for one of the other dozen parties.

Voting Systems (4, Interesting)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | about 2 years ago | (#42544273)

Read the Wikipedia article on voting systems. It is very fascinating. There are a variety of better systems out there than what we have. My personal favorite is Range Voting. Range Voting allows you to score each candidate (e.g. from 0 to 10). The candidate with the highest average wins. There is a caveat to keep someone with one vote of a perfect score from winning (or similar). It is a great system. It allows you to vote your conscience without giving the advantage to the "other team" by "throwing away" your vote. I believe this system would incubate viable "third" parties and shift our political discourse away from the "them vs us" nonsense we have now (e.g. voting against a candidate).

Re:Voting Systems (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 years ago | (#42545183)

My personal favorite is Instant Runoff. You select your first choice, second choice, and so on. All the first choices are tallied. If nobody gets above 50%, then the bottom candidate is eliminated and all of his votes revert to the next choice on their list. Repeat until a candidate gets over 50% and wins.

Using this system, you could vote for a Third Party Candidate (e.g. Green Party) as your first choice, a Major Party Candidate (e.g. Democrat) as your second choice, and even put in a few more Third Party Candidates (e.g. Libertarian) as your third, fourth, etc choices. Voting third party wouldn't be "throwing your vote away" because you'd be ranking the candidates in the order that you prefer them.

Re:The Problem (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544471)

That's not entirely true. There are many independents worth voting for on the ballot. (At least, nothing prevents this from happening.)

Unfortunately, the first-past-the-post system encourages strategic voting, which is, in essence, voting against a candidate by voting for their strongest competitor (i.e., the "anyone but..." campaign). The result is that Democrats receive a lot of support from those who are simply opposed to the Republicans and vice versa. With 2 parties, both parties have more to gain through demonizing the opposition than they do by promoting themselves. Hence, the strongly partisan politics that are crippling the US.

If there was a move to instant runoff voting or, ideally, the Schulze method, things would change. We could vote for who we want without splitting the vote to the benefit of those we oppose.

I believe that we would see a lot of benefit in this as more nuanced political parties would be viable and have a presence. E.g., a fiscally conservative social liberal is not well served by Washington at the moment.

Re:The Problem (1)

usuallylost (2468686) | about 2 years ago | (#42545227)

The problem is, you can't vote against someone. You have to vote for someone. For your vote to be meaningful, there has to be someone worth voting for. Those people are culled before they get in a position to be included on a ballot.

This is a huge problem in my view. A big part of it is because so few people vote in the primaries. To few American's realize that we have a two vote system in this country. First there is the primary which is where the parties really decide who will run and what their platforms will be and then there is the general election. If we really want to change politics in the US we should seriously think about getting organized for primary elections. One thing both Moveon.org and the Teaparty have shown is that a motivated core of people can bring down even powerful politicians by beating them in the much smaller, and thus easier to influence, primary elections. Potentially if we got organized enough we could drive some of these people out of office with a few thousand votes. As it stands now basically the real decisions have mostly been made before the vast majority of people ever even hear who is running.

Re:The Problem (1)

IndustrialComplex (975015) | about 2 years ago | (#42545651)

It's a big problem with parties. I can't vote against a party. I can't even vote against a particular issue. Even worse, if I do vote for one issue, it is implied that I support the other issues that candidate/party supports as well.

And let me tell you, being conservative, liberal, pro-ACLU, pro-NRA, pro-EFF, anti-drugwar...

Well let's just say I don't get to vote on any of my issues without voting against my issues at the same time, and it sucks.

Re:The Problem (1)

coma_bug (830669) | about 2 years ago | (#42543687)

Isn't that sort of problem?

No, the problem is that you don't have proportional representation [wikipedia.org] .

Re:The Problem (5, Insightful)

LordLucless (582312) | about 2 years ago | (#42543731)

Actually, I do, because I'm not American. Even proportional representation does't solve the problem created by a few, large parties dominating the political landscape. Parties with few seats are generally irrelevant unless the difference between the major parties is small enough for their votes to become decisive, and then they get power out of all proportion to their position.

That's not to say PR isn't better than first-past-the-post - it is - but a governmental duopoly is problematic regardless.

Re:The Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543783)

I maintain that PR should only get you so far...there has to be a limit. No single political party should have a majority in a legislative body of government, whether it's called Congress, House, Parliament, State Legislature....whatever, any of those. There must always be a debate to consider all points of view and political leanings.

I think it's not impossible to get some consensus on what would be best for all and not just the majority, because we gots the votez.

Re:The Problem (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544269)

That's not to say PR isn't better than first-past-the-post - it is - but a governmental duopoly is problematic regardless.

While PR doesn't solve everything, it does allow for more parties. Here in Finland, the biggest parties pull less than a quarter of the vote, the coalition government is composed of six parties with three parties in the opposition.

I've always been able to vote my conscience (Greens, the Left). I've never felt my vote didn't count.

In the U.S., though, I recommend approval voting because you get most of the benefits of PR with the smallest incremental change to the status quo.

Re:The Problem (1)

postermmxvicom (1130737) | about 2 years ago | (#42544293)

The trade off with PR, as I understand it, is that since you vote for a party instead of a candidate there is less accountability for the individual politician. So we either choose more accountability (better individual candidates) or better overall representation (more proportional). Is there a PR system where people still vote for candidates instead of parties? I don't want a party choosing my representative (that is what we have now anyways with two party....) Also, since the party chooses the candidate list there is even more incentive for party loyalty (which is bad for voters but good for the party).

Re:The Problem (1)

mathew42 (2475458) | about 2 years ago | (#42544757)

Your understanding is wrong.

In Australia we vote for candidates who represent parties. In the lower house (Representatives) the Member represents a seat (geographical area) and if the Member leaves parliament, then a by-election [wikipedia.org] is held and candidates need to (re-)nominate. In the upper house (Senate) the member represents the state (twelve per state) and is elected based on obtaining a quota (1/6 of formal vote + 1) [aec.gov.au] . If a senator leaves parliament then their party nominates the candidate which is approved by the State Government. This is fair as a the preferential system means that a senate election for 1 candidate would be unfair.

This might sound a little confusing, but the Australian Electoral Commission [aec.gov.au] has some excellent resources that explain this in more detail.

The big advantage is protest votes. For example, lets say I have libertarian leanings. In my electorate a libertarian could stand as a candidate and I could then vote for them as my first preference and use my second (or third) preference for a candidate from the major parties. This has two effects:
- The libertarian candidate can win compromises from a major candidate in return for directing preferences
- The major parties have clear evidence of how much support exists for the libertarian view
In a first past the post system, my vote is likely to be wasted unless I vote for one of the two major party candidates.

It's worse than that. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544021)

"Serving their constituents isn't the purpose of the modern political machine, that's just something they need to do enough of to retain power."

They don't have to serve their constituents, they only have to do it *very slightly better* than the other party.

And then anyone not viting for them because there's bugger all usefull difference are lambasted for "You're letting the other ones in!!!!".

Re:It's worse than that. (1)

Raumkraut (518382) | about 2 years ago | (#42544523)

They don't have to serve their constituents, they only have to do it *very slightly better* than the other party.

Not even that; they just have to say they will.
How many campaign "promises" are actually implemented, by any politician, in any country? Generally very few, from what I can tell.

Personally, I think that, at the end of an elected representative's term, they should be held to account in a court of law for every campaign "promise" they didn't fulfil; each such incident bringing a charge of fraud and/or treason.

Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (5, Insightful)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#42543527)

I've thought long and hard about copyright law, what the problems are, and I've come up with some solutions.

The problems with copyright are obvious. We now have a system where copyrights almost never expire anymore. There are two extremes, the protect copyright until the end of time crowd and the lose it right after you publish crowd. I think there's a reasonable medium.

First of all lets deal with copyright terms.

I think ten years of protection after the initial publishing is a great start. Many people think this is good enough, however I don't begrudge an author profit because something was written too long ago. Stephen King is making all kinds of money off of 30 year old books and I think he deserves it. There's a difference between his 30 year old books and say the 30 year old books by many other authors. He's actually still selling his.

Use it or lose it.

To protect people who actually still are selling their works I propose production based protection. For physical media at least 5,000 copies must be produced during the two years preceding the expiration of the 10 year term. This prevents the company from making five copies in a "production run" and giving them away to contest winners or putting them on eBay. It makes them actually produce a volume they will want to sell. If they don't then it's public domain. I really hate "hard" numbers like 5,000. That's nothing to a big guy but huge to a small publisher, I just can't think of a reasonable alternative. Every time a production run of at least 5,000 units is made the copyright is automatically extended for five years, assuming of course that run was made before the copyright expired.

Upon the death of the author the estate has 1 year from the time of the authors death to make a last production run to secure five more years of copyright protection. This allows widows and children to receive some going away royalties. If the author dies 10 years to the day after the only production run of his work this give the family a free 11th year to do something about it. Barring a new production run the copyrights expire naturally or 1 year to the day after the authors death should they expire within that year.

As for electronic distribution not only must it remain for sale it must remain for sale in formats supported by technology that can still be purchase. It had better work a Kindle, PC, Nook, iProduct or something being produced. Selling a game on Nintendo's virtual console can protect the original. This may even motivate Nintendo to make or officially license other companies to make classic hardware like Sega and Atari do just to cover all the bases as selling cartridges for an Atari 7800 today benefits next to no one. Selling a "digital copy" of Pong for $25,000 is out of the question as well. Digital copies cannot exceed the original MSRP adjusted for inflation by more than 10%.

This would do away with lost works, like Marble Madness 2 where only two copies were ever actually known to exist. Under my rules the game would be public domain now (it would just be up to the rest of us to persuade one of the two people who own copies to upload them). It would also allow fans to scan in copies of Omni Magazine and the like to be shared with the rest of the world. Heck, you could look forward to a monthly release cycle of expired magazines.

Corporations have a maximum of 50 years copyright on any production since they are theoretically immortal entities. If a corporation chooses they may designate a director, actor, writer or someone as the possessor of the copyright and they can maintain exclusive publishing rights from the individual. This may pay off in the case of a child actor, but it's a gamble for the company itself and it leaves room for a disgruntled copyright holder to take his movie elsewhere. Copyrights transferred from a corporation to an individual (except by lawsuit which involves infringement) shall still be subject to the 50 year limitation to prevent a company from transferring a 49 year old movie to an executives infant son or some shenanigan.

I think it's perfectly reasonable. Some may argue that lots of old stuff is being revived after the expiration date. On that note make trademarks lifetime and transferable. Micky can handle it the same way Bugs did. You can download public domain Bugs Bunny cartoons and do whatever you want with them, but you still can't take control of the character which is the property of Warner Brothers. Trademarks are valid as long as they're used plus twenty years even if media that uses them is public domain.

Reasonable is my goal, and content creators should profit, but not 100 years after they die.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

ltrand (933535) | about 2 years ago | (#42543625)

I couldn't agree more. A "use-it-or-loose-it" model is desperately needed for copyright. I also agree with the sentiment about arbitrary number requirements. I've seen proposals that get around this by making is a variable factor of the original run to help cover indie releases. I would also like to see public performances addressed as well. I think the death of single screen theaters has a lot to do with the fact that they can't compete on price for blockbusters and have little other choices to bring in an audience. But let us not forget patents. I really think that the only real borked up part of the process is that prior-art, obviousness, and novelty requirements are just too damned low. How many different shapes are there to make a computing device? Not many, and any engineer should auto-deny a patent on a shape of a device. Trademark, on a stretch maybe; patent, no.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

Tim99 (984437) | about 2 years ago | (#42543715)

A "use-it-or-loose-it" model is desperately needed for copyright.

It's "lose", not loose. The OP got it right - You only needed to copy it. Unless, of course, you meant "Use it, or set it free"...

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (4, Insightful)

blahplusplus (757119) | about 2 years ago | (#42543693)

"There are two extremes, the protect copyright until the end of time crowd and the lose it right after you publish crowd. I think there's a reasonable medium."

The opposite is true, moderates like yourself in the past said the same thing every time copyright legislation came up for debate over history. See below:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Copyright_Term_Extension_Act [wikipedia.org]

The moderates have been defeated and absolutely ROUTED repeatedly. With such defeats the moderates at this point have no credibility.

The beginning of copyright began as a moderate thing and as always when you give an inch of power to ANYONE they will never give it back and will seek to increase their privileges as we've seen. If you give ANY privilege at all it will be expanded on, this is the historical norm. The moderates have no historical evidence that moderation is even possible because corporations have the money, time and lobbyists on their side to undo any moderation if it ever was enacted as the evidence of history attests.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543949)

You missed the 'false dichotomy' and 'straw man' crowd.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544883)

"corporations have the money, time, and lobbyists"
    but as SOPA demonstrated, we have the Internet

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42545163)

Wrong. SOPA demonstrated that larger corporations with more money, time and lobbyists who didn't like it won out over the smaller ones who did.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (2)

DarkOx (621550) | about 2 years ago | (#42545509)

I say we let the market deal with. You get 14 years on Copyrights and Patents. After which you have a choice you can release the IP into the public domain your start being assessed taxes on the value of the asset. The rate would start a %2 and be increased by %2 each year, that is year 15 the rate is %2, year 16 the rate is %4. Until the rate reaches 100% or the owner releases the work to the public domain.

How does the assets get valued? The owner must set a buyout price each year and this would be a matter of public record. The owner would be obligated to accept payment of this stated price from ANY entity and upon payment release the IP to the public domain.

This way creators still get compensated for their creations, unencumbered for a time. If they are still extracting great value from them they can keep them protect but society will gain as well ( gets to collect taxes ) or the owner will be compensated for the residual value of the work and society as a whole will than get benefit from its unencumbered use.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (-1)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#42543799)

I don't think you have thought through this matter hard enough.

If the problems with copyright are "obvious", then, well, you have utterly failed to prove that you recognize these "obvious" problems.

You start with a discussion of copyright terms. You basically arbitrarily decide that the term should be less. Why? You don't say. You simply state that it should be less. For you to make a credible argument, you'd need to show that the solution you propose is more beneficial than the current situation. I think it's fairly obvious that a 10 year term is ridiculously short and would discourage much of the for-profit development of content that so drives the world now.

Next, you come up with an idiotic "use it or lose it" rule. First, this rule is impossible to enforce as it would be possible to symbolically sell anything indefinitely. Here's five bucks - I just bought 10,000 copies. Your solution is completely unworkable, and also limits copyright to a commercial activity.

Your "it had better work on a kindle" argument is BS. So, picasso needs to digitize his paintings and sell posters of it or they lose protection? Bollocks.

Your argument about "corporations" is also utter tripe. THe ability for individuals to be able to assign (sell) copyrights to companies is one of the most powerful forces for innovation out there. That you would water this down suggests deep, deep cluelessness.

so, start again:

do actual research on the effects of copyright on innovation. not some biased study by some boldrine and levine fraud, but something real - for example, something that looks on the effect of IP protction in, say, japan vs taiwan or something accrtoss different industries where the IP regulation varies in practice. you will see that copyright and strong IP regulations are actually drivers of economic progress.


Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (-1, Flamebait)

mumblestheclown (569987) | about 2 years ago | (#42543871)

That my post has been modded down is indicative of the pathetic group think that permeates slashdot. Disgraceful. I posted a counter-argument to this guy's "insightful"points and promptly got modded down.


Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#42543965)

Sounds like an argument from a mumbling clown to me. Use your brain and apply context. Yes, I did arbitrarily chose shorter, which is still longer than the original terms of original US copyright. Of course original US copyright tapped out at 14 years, this one goes for as long as the author is still alive if they want it to. It's a middle ground alright, one that is significantly long for a flop, or even a newspaper. Should it bother anyone if I scan a newspaper article about me from December 2002 and put it in the back pages of a book I publish about my life? It was over 10 years ago, the newspaper isn't selling that article anymore, and a newspaper article about me from 2002 has no significance to anyone besides me or anyone involved with the events being described. It won't impact that newspaper in the least if I do it, it may even count as advertising for them - if that dinosaur still operates that is.

My post was not written in legalese. Had it been I would have accounted for the clown segment of the population and come up with something along the lines of "published in a format compatible with common commercially available rendering devices manufactured and sold during the year of question or in such a way that no additional rendering device is needed". Of course somewhere else in the document I would define common.

There is NOTHING preventing an individual from selling his rights exclusive rights to publish, rights to characters, or right to make new stories based on the authors old ones ANYWHERE in my proposal which was written to be thought provoking, not an actual draft for a new law. The copyright still dies with the author even if he does effectively sell his works to someone else. I however seen no problem transfer the rights to a corporation, in which case the copyright will expire on date of original publication +50. The author might still be alive when that date passes, the author may be dead for 49 years when that date passes. Instead of screaming BULLSHIT BULLSHIT BOLLOCKS! Why don't you make a helpful suggestion like I did to my own thought provoking draft?

You are very obviously a nitpicking asshole. Do you yell and scream at your own mother when she puts the wrong number of sugar cubes in your tea?

Re: Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (2)

JWW (79176) | about 2 years ago | (#42544803)

Khanna got fired for proposing a change less drastic then you are supporting. The big media companies are outrageously evil with respect to copyright law. They will not stop until they get the surveillance state needed to get us to pay them what they think they're entitled to.

Re: Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#42545079)

I agree in the fullest.

Then again I'm no longer a member of the GOP in any capacity nor does my employment depend on keeping the assclown division of the big media companies happy.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543801)

You only think in terms of corporations mass producing copyrightable stuff. What about a painter who produces just one copy of a painting? Shouldn't that retain copyright protection for a while? What if that painting hasn't been sold yet after 15 years (not unusual with artists, and it doesn't mean it won't be sold), do you want copyright to expire even before the artist has sold the work? Not everything works with the volumes and the time scales of mass produced works.

Long copyright terms aren't new. The 1886 Berne Convention agreed on a minimum of the author's life plus 50 years for most works. Photography and cinematography got shorter minimum terms. Apparently they recognised that for faster media less protection is appropriate.

Those long terms are a bad fit for the fast pace of a large part of modern society. But not for all of it. I think it's quite reasonable that a human working for him/herself gets lifetime copyright protection. If you see your work getting succesful while someone else benefits in stead of you that hurts in a way very similar to the motivation of the "you can have it if you share too" logic in the GPL. I'm less sure about the period after the author's death, but what to think of cases like the wildly succesful Millennium trilogy, where the author died before it was published?

If (or as soon as) the copyright holder is a corporation, this doesn't apply as far as I'm concerned. Corporations aren't humans, and they don't have the emotional attachment to what they created that humans have. A limited copyright period that has nothing to do with life times but instead matches the pace of the business would be appropriate there.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#42544025)

A single painting is not published so there is no original publishing date to consider. Legal matters having to do with an unpublished painting go back to other laws. A painting that has sold prints on the other hand would fall into the published category.

My main reason for the "use it or lose it" approach is "abondonware", I don't think The Adventures of Bayou Billy for the NES really deserves much copyright protection right now. Nothing to do with it has been published since 91, I don't care if every author to contribute to the game is still alive Konami hasn't "used it" so I see no reason why it shouldn't freely available on emulators. As for the Millennium trilogy - I know nothing of its back story - who submitted it to be published? See, one of the things that happens in our current system is derivative works get new protection. If it was one of the authors kids they wrote a forward saying "my dad died, here's what he wrote before then" Bam! Additional data, new copyright. Sam Clemens actually had the idea of doing George Lucas style revisits and expansions to old stories to keep the copyright alive, since in his time the copyright expired using it or not, my version allows the same basic idea without actually having to create new work.

He's not creating copies, only original. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544059)

If, however, he made copies of the work or derived works that were copied commercially, then THOSE copied works would become free market if they stopped.


Made a statue. Full size. Of a Fisherman.


There is a copy of it. That photo. It's even a "derived work". Should I get the chance to tell you you CANNOT do so without paying me? No.

I've even made small resin copies which I sold in small numbers as souveneirs of Milford. It isn't making enough money to be worth doing it any more and I've stopped. I have NO PROBLEM WHATSOEVER with others making a resin copy.and selling it if they want to. As long as they

a) mention the original
b) say it is not officially endorsed by me

Just like if they'd taken a photo.

But I've never made copies of the full size bronze statue. It is covered by authors rights entirely acceptably. Copyright on it is not protecting it.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 2 years ago | (#42545293)

What about a painter who produces just one copy of a painting? Shouldn't that retain copyright protection for a while? What if that painting hasn't been sold yet after 15 years (not unusual with artists, and it doesn't mean it won't be sold), do you want copyright to expire even before the artist has sold the work? Not everything works with the volumes and the time scales of mass produced works.

True, but in the world of the fine arts, provenance, which cannot be copied, is usually more valuable than the copyright.

For example, the Mona Lisa is worth more than a perfect copy of the Mona Lisa. A Van Gogh painting of sunflowers sells for way way more than a nice poster of the same thing.

So long as there are laws against counterfeiting -- which is a type of fraud and not related to copyright at all -- fine artists will usually get along okay. They don't rely much on copyrights, which really do exist for mass-produced works, and which don't protect the value of selling original copies. Many of the greatest works of art are in the public domain but can still command a fortune when put up for sale. No one in that market cares about the t shirts and picture postcards.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (5, Insightful)

VortexCortex (1117377) | about 2 years ago | (#42543813)

Use it or lose it is already a farce. Authors make deals with publishers requiring publishing runs or the author regains control of the work. As you've alluded to the publisher will produce 5 copies in a run and claim they're still being published so they can retain the rights. If you require 50 trillion copies per run minimum then they'll simply spin off a shell company who buys the books with the money the parent company gifted them. Require physical copies and they'll just make 10 copies and run the fake customer gambit 10 trillion times.

Look, copyright laws were enacted for the benefit of society as a whole. We have no proof that they're needed. How will authors and artists get paid? The same way a car mechanic does. They simply don't do the work unless they have a contract to get paid for the work. Instead of selling a piece of software I can simply say: Look, here's my idea, I'll make this for $X, that'll cover dev costs and a bit of profit. People like the idea, they agree to pay, I make the software, I get paid, everyone gets the software for free afterwards (since the work has been done and paid for). No more piracy at all; That's because there's no more artificial scarcity.

The only difference between that and the current system is Publishers. If I make software working under a Publisher, I still get the same $X to do so. The only difference is that after I'm done a Publisher uses legally enforced artificial scarcity to try and get lots more money without actually adding anything of value to the product. They're leaches, they don't need to exist.

This is the Information age, everyone is a publisher and distributor now. That's why the original strict copyright laws are obsolete. These laws were created to protect authors from greedy Publishers, and in a time when copy machines were few and expensive. The founders thought that 14 years would be plenty of time back then, when making duplicates was tough. Now there are digital copy machines in nearly every household item -- Even some magazines themselves! Thus making EVERYONE subject to the strict laws that were meant to apply only to the professional Publishing houses. Now that copying is easy copyright terms span 3 to 4 generations of humans?! You & your life, then 70 years: Have kids @ 30, they die 30 years after you die, and your grand kids 30 years after that... Ten years after your grand kids are dead THEN the work MIGHT enter the public domain -- providing there is a readable copy somewhere... No, this isn't what the founders meant by "a limited time".

You give the publishing creeps an inch and they'll take that inch an infinity number of times, then claim they're only taking an inch! They have teams of lawyers just to find loop holes. Meanwhile they've managed to turn copyright laws on its ear, they figured out ways to ensure the Authors never reclaim their rights after publishing, and they've applied the laws meant to restrict them to everyone, even teenagers!

I'm sorry pal. There is no proof that Copyright is doing it's job, providing benefit for society as a whole and promoting the arts an sciences. We need a new approach to laws: Stop operating under unproven hypotheses. It's unscientific. ASININE. No engineer or scientist would allow themselves to be ruled in such a way. Until you come back with PROOF that in this day and age copyright law is beneficial to society, I'm sorry, get bent. Laws based purely on speculation with no proof they're beneficial should be abandoned as unfit theories until they're tested.

Don't you believe in the scientific method? We must abolish them to even see if they're beneficial. WE HAVE TO DO THE EXPERIMENT.

Note: If you come to the bargaining table with your best offer out of the gate, then you'll get talked into a deal you didn't want. Aim for the price better than you want, and you'll strike a deal much closer to what you wanted. The way to get reform is to point out how ridiculous it is and insist on scientific proof of merit before re-enacting the laws. THEN we might see some loosening of the laws. I'm not a fool for overshooting my aims, you're the fool for asking for what you actually want to happen!

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (2)

wannabgeek (323414) | about 2 years ago | (#42544115)

I have one issue with this argument. Replication - a mechanic or a doctor can keep repeating their act all their lives (on different people/machines) and get paid every time. And each act of theirs takes a few hours, or a few days at most. A programmer, an author, a research scientist have to do something new every time to get paid and each act of theirs takes weeks, months or in some cases years, to complete. And paying once irrespective how useful it is and how many people use it seems illogical.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543881)

I think there are a lot of good ideas here. There's one thing that I don't think it covers though:

How does this deal with the issue we have with music, whereby each album, collection, etc. is also copyrighted. For example, let's say I release an album of songs in 2020 but it only ever gets one run of a few hundred CD released. However, at some point it ends up on a Best of 2020 album released in 2030, around the time copyright of the original album would have expired. and this compilation includes 1 song from the original album (amongst others). This compliation is now also copyrighted, so I could be sued still for distributing this 1 song as it is part of this new compilation which is still under copyright for another 10 years.

That's not meant as a critique - I'm genuinely interested in continuing this topic and I don't have an answer to this particular case.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#42544035)

Interesting question.

How about we count the album as a whole and count exerts as selling the album? After all a song is just an exert when you count it as a whole.

I would be willing to say selling license to play could count as selling digital copies, that doesn't work well under our current radio licensing setup but it wouldn't be much of a stretch. If there's going to be a "best of" it's bound to get radio play, and the compilation itself could count as a published exert. I'm on the side of the copyright holder here, as long as the holder is still alive.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 2 years ago | (#42545359)

Even under the current rules, copyrights are only granted to the original portions of works.

Thus, if you write, copyright, and publish a short story in 1950, no matter how many times you reprint it, the key date for the copyright is 1950; nothing you can do (other than lobbying Congress) changes anything. If you expand the short story, only the new material is covered by the new copyright; the portions that are from the previous work only ever fall under the earlier copyright.

And if you create a new compilation of works including the story, the new copyright covers the compilation, i.e. the choice of those works and the arrangement in that order, but not the pre existing works themselves, which still fall under their own, older copyrights.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543971)

...King is making all kinds of money off of 30 year old books and I think he deserves it.

You've missed the point completely.

If Copyright lasted 2 weeks, he could still be making all kinds of money off of his books.
You hidden assumption that Copyright == right to sell and that no Copyright means loss of ability to sell is false .

This is what the R1AA (, etc.) wants people to believe. What (the current) Copyright deprives us is the amazing
spin-off products that could be possible but are stopped.

Copyright was retroactively applied, illegally I might add, to many works that had already passed into the Public Domain (in the U.S.).
But consider if Copyright had existed in it's current form back in 1925 (I don't know the exact "Mickey Mouse" year),
does anyone really believe we, as consumers, would have the choices that we have today? Steve Jobs did NOT come up with the
idea of rounded corners, he simply applied it to the iThings. Look back through any old magazines, and you see so much conceptional
prior art on that design - you can't believe how clever your grandparents really were.

Too, for example, much of the music from the 70's was built on music from the 60's built from the 50's, and so on. Each and every
interview I have ever seen with a musician has always asked the question who/what influenced your/their style. No one has ever
responded that they pulled it out of thin air. Ever! That 1-4-5 progression - their would be only one song that actually had it, all of
the others would be an infringement no matter what lyrics or tempo applied.

So, you call BS - you don't hear of that now with the "new and improved" Copyright system and there is a lot of music that "sounds"
alike already - what are you talking about? People seem to forget that there's only a few houses that hold Copyright on music now,
BMI, Sony, and others amounting to a small handful (relative to the amount of works produced). Remember too, that Copyright
protects the PUBLISHER, not the original author. So, getting back, Sony's not going to sue itself for infringement, etc. And the
big publishing houses "work" with each other in this regard. That's why things "appear" to work.

Consider The Lord of the Rings - pretty original, right? Well, maybe. I'm sure trolls were mentioned in other prior works - so that
would be infringement, wizards too. Let's face it, Gandalf was pretty standard as far as the "wizard" template goes. He performed
magic, cast spells, and was great with the pyrotechnics. Not, it's not silly - double dare you to produce a book/movie about a man
who was bitten by a spider and has the attributes of that spider - let's call him Webman - let's see how far you get with today's Copyright laws...

The founding fathers (of the U.S.) understood a lot more than we give them credit for -- which is why Ex Post Facto was added
(sadly, this is being largely ignored by our current group of elected officials) to the U.S. constitution.

CAPTCHA = certify

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544031)

"Stephen King is making all kinds of money off of 30 year old books and I think he deserves it."

But why does he deserve the right to tell anyone else they can't get paid for THEIR work creating new copies or derived works from those books?

The copyright bollocks is made worse by people who think "No copyright == no possible way to make money". COMPLETE AND UTTER SHITE.

There are those who ALSO maintain "copyright limits == criminal activity". I.e. if you say copyrights don't last beyond death, companies will kill off authors. COMPLETE AND UTTER SHITE.

Charles Dickens is out of copyright. Still making money out of it.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

cbhacking (979169) | about 2 years ago | (#42544615)

Charles Dickens is out of copyright. Still making money out of it.

Citation and/or clarification needed. Sure, *somebody* is making money... but unless it's Dickens' estate, then it doesn't benefit the creator of the work (at least, not monetarily) and therefore "no possible way to make money" is, hyperbole aside, correct. I suspect you'll find that the only people making money are those who take the works of long-dead authors and re-publish them, pricing the result below new publications because they don't have to pay royalties to anybody or secure the rights, they only need to avoid making the books so expensive that another publisher doesn't undercut them.

Now, that doesn't mean that it isn't, in fact, perfectly reasonable for there to be companies doing this (re-publishing public domain works and profiting off of them). However, the central tenet of your argument is "authors still make money without copyright" and yet you've presented absolutely no evidence in support of this. If copyright expired quickly, slightly-older works would be substantially less expensive, and the bulk of the money being made would go to the publishers (or public domain content) rather than the authors (who only receive payment when they sell something that's more expensive than the older stuff).

There's probably a reasonable middle ground - could be anything from a hard limit (anywhere from the US's original 14 years to something like a century is justifiable to one degree or another) to a wildly sliding scale based on something like the number of copies being published annually by the creator (note: not by re-sellers), or the value of those sold copies (but that gets tricky with open source... which, you should note, is usually not successfully sold for money because it's just so easy to undercut the price).

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544067)

Don't tie ANYTHING to the lifespan of the originating entity (individual, corporation, whatever). There's no reason to do so.

A magicificent work produced by an artist who is going to die of terminal cancer next month is not worthy of less protection than something produced by a young, healthy artist who will probably live another 60 years.

This can make a material difference if the originator wants to sell the rights. "Hey! We hear you want to sell the film rights for your book! That's great, but since you're 95, we've decided to save the money and just wait for you to die."

Just give a fixed (reasonably short) term.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (2)

Kartu (1490911) | about 2 years ago | (#42544175)

Except constitution stays nothing about "deserves". From the original memo from the guy from subject:

Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it

It’s a common misperception that the Constitution enables our current legal regime of copyright protection – in fact, it does not. The Constitution’s clause on Copyright and patents states:
“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;” (Article I, Section 8, Clause 8)
Thus, according to the Constitution, the overriding purpose of the copyright system is to “promote the progress of science and useful arts.” In today’s terminology we may say that the purpose is to lead to maximum productivity and innovation.
This is a major distinction, because most legislative discussions on this topic, particularly during the extension of the copyright term, are not premised upon what is in the public good or what will promote the most productivity and innovation, but rather what the content creators “deserve” or are “entitled to” by virtue of their creation. This lexicon is appropriate in the realm of taxation and sometimes in the realm of trade protection, but it is inappropriate in the realm of patents and copyrights.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

chrismcb (983081) | about 2 years ago | (#42544177)

The problems with copyright are obvious. We now have a system where copyrights almost never expire anymore.

As far as I'm concerned, copyrights are unlimited. A copyright will NOT expire within your lifetime, they currently barely expire within TWO lifetimes. I can't believe this is what the "for a limited time" means. A limited time should be within a lifetime. I don't know the exact time, 14 years? 28 years? I don't know. But something less than 75 years.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544199)

You should probably have taken a moment, before you wrote your post to consider the purpose of copyright: what is the basis of "reasonableness" on which you judge possible copyright terms? You've gone into a lot of detail about your proposed copyright scheme, but all you've done to justify it is to assert that it's "perfectly reasonable", without any explanation as to why this should be so. Why, exactly, is your proposed solution better than one in which copyright lasts for a century, or for a week?

My own feeling on this is the same as that specified in the US constitution: that the purpose of copyright is to encourage the production of new work. None of your "he deserves it" arguments: the term of copyright should be set as a compromise between failing to incentivise new works by being too short, and failing to allow new works to become available to the public by being too long. And, possibly, it shouldn't apply to pure entertainment at all: it's meant to apply to the "Useful Arts".

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

pecosdave (536896) | about 2 years ago | (#42544535)

You've actually outlined a lot of my reasoning.

"He deserves it"

Pick that apart for a moment. Does he deserve it for writing good books? Debatable, I like his work, literary snobs hate him so deserves needs to have a different meaning. He deserves it because he's still selling books and people are paying for them, that's why he deserves it. It's perfectly reasonable to make money off of your work as long as you are selling it and people are buying it.

If he is getting paid for his work it absolutely is my "he deserves it" argument, he deserves to get paid for his work to encourage him to write more. Well gosh, I'm still making money on my old book, but the income is tapering off a little each year, why not write a new one! I don't care if the new work is another Castle Rock series book or an almanac, deserves and motivation go hand in hand.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 2 years ago | (#42544915)

And, possibly, it shouldn't apply to pure entertainment at all: it's meant to apply to the "Useful Arts".

No, that's a common mistake. Copyright is meant to promote the progress of science, while patents are supposed to promote the progress of useful arts.

In the late 18th century english in which the constitution is written, science means learning or knowledge, while arts refers to skills and applied technology. Since then the two words have come to be more associated with other things, such that they get confused easily as has happened in your post. Some vestiges remain, though: patents are meant to deal with state of the art technology, and are required to be written so as to be instructive to a person having ordinary skill in the art, but cannot be issued if previously invented or obvious after looking at pre-existing technology known as prior art.

Plus inventions usually have utility patents and must be useful for something; if they don't work, they can't be patented. This is why perpetual motion machines never get issued patents. Copyrights OTOH are sometimes not granted if the work is useful, because they're not supposed to overlap with parents. (A similar doctrine exists for trademarks)

The meanings are also clear if you look at the structure of the copyright and patent clause, which goes in order, copyrights then patents: authors, writings, science; inventors, discoveries, useful arts.

So ultimately, no, mere entertainment still contributes to human learning and knowledge and should be copyrightable if we're to have copyrights.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

fnj (64210) | about 2 years ago | (#42545961)

So ultimately, ... mere entertainment still contributes to human learning and knowledge and should be copyrightable if we're to have copyrights.

Uh ... why? You left out the why. You said "so", but nothing you said before that led logically to your conclusion. I don't claim it is possible to define "mere entertainment" and treat it differently from other work. I just don't think the above thought has any place in rationalizing the system.

You also lost me with "Copyrights OTOH are sometimes not granted if the work is useful". Copyrights are not "granted" through any process. By the Berne Convention, copyright is AUTOMATIC on creation of the copyrightable work in physical form, and requires no registration or copyright notice.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544271)

I think ten years of protection after the initial publishing is a great start. Many people think this is good enough, however I don't begrudge an author profit because something was written too long ago. Stephen King is making all kinds of money off of 30 year old books and I think he deserves it. There's a difference between his 30 year old books and say the 30 year old books by many other authors. He's actually still selling his.

Use it or lose it.

No, that's bad.
There is not a single good reason to justify extending a copyright on some work. Use it or loose it could be added to make the work enter public domain faster, not to delay it.
The reasoning behind copyright is twofold:
1) The first and foremost reason is to create more works and to grow the available arts.
2) another reason as you describe, to allow the author to profit. Which is only meant to further encourage 1, not to stand on its own.
If an author can profit indefinitely from some work, he has little to no incentive to create new works.
This also explains what we should do when the author dies: put it all in public domain. Now I can agree to a limited transfer of copyright as part of inheritance, because the earning happens after the working. But the original expiration date should never be extended, like with inheritance tax, the copyright should be shortened.

When dealing with corporations, the same rules can apply. Never allow any kind of extension, they are forced to keep creating content, which is the point.

Transferring copyright should be possible, for example to give an author quicker cash on his invested time. However, the transfered work still retains his original expiration date which again can not be extended in any way.
When transferring copyright between two entities not including the original author, a tax should be added that further reduces the copyrights lifetime. This will prevent copyright trolls and complicated legal tricks with transferring copyrights to various entities.

I am not suggesting a specific term (10 years or so), because I don't have any data that would lend to any date given. I do suggest that the term should be variable depending on the type of work.
I would also say that the shorter the term the better, the authors are encouraged to continuously create with shorter terms.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544281)

I prefer to get rid of copyright altogether, but incremental changes are usually prudent. Thus, my proposal is as follows:

In the year 2100, all works fall in the Public Domain.

That's it. If, towards the end of the century, we start experiencing adverse economic effects of the impending expiry, the legislators can modify it accordingly.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

Jason Levine (196982) | about 2 years ago | (#42545319)

My idea would be to revert copyright back to the original 14 years. If the copyright holder wanted to, they could renew for an additional 14 years. Maybe you could allow a second 14 year extension, but that would be it. Total copyright time: 42 years. (Cue "Answer To Life, The Universe, and Everything" joke.) Plenty of time to draw a profit off of your works.

The advantage to this would be that it would naturally move abandoned works or works that are no longer bringing in a profit into the public domain. Star Wars? Profitable and would be renewed. (Until 2019 when it would be forced into Public Domain.) Death Bed: The Bed That Eats? (Yes, that was a movie released in 1977.) Probably not renewed and in the public domain.

Of course, corporations would complain about existing works being forced into the public domain immediately so we could provide a "transition extension plan" for any works already released. Every two years a decade's worth of material (starting from the 1930's) enters the public domain. So the 1930's would enter in 2015, the 1940's in 2017, the 1950's in 2019, etc. By 2033, we would be all caught up.

Re:Big copyright idea from me. Shred up folks. (1)

usuallylost (2468686) | about 2 years ago | (#42545407)

Personally I think something along these lines is perfectly reasonable. Also lets not forget that just because something goes out of copyright doesn't mean that the original author, or his heirs, can't continue to exploit it. They just can't exclusively exploit it. So somebody else could come along and say do a reprint or something. Doesn't mean the original creator couldn't also come along and re-release it. Though it may require him put in some sort of value add to compete vs. other people publishing the same work. Something like additional material, background material or something to set his version apart.

The real problem is that there are many rights holders, among them many very rich people and corporations, who have literally billions of dollars a year at stake in the current system. These people will fight to the death to keep their gravy train running. Most elected officials realize this. They realize that if they pander to these people they can get a lot of money. If they challenge them they can crushed when they spend vast sums supporting their opponent in the next election. Under circumstances like that the general welfare just becomes secondary to the political survival of the politician. I just don't see a reasonable way to change this.

Intellectual Property (2)

Boltronics (180064) | about 2 years ago | (#42543557)

Didn't RMS just tell everyone off the other day for using that term? :)

Re:Intellectual Property (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543583)

Yes, and rightly so. Thankfully the part that looks like a quote from Khanna says copyright law and does not use the-phrase-that-shall-not-be-uttered.

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

evorster (2664141) | about 2 years ago | (#42543773)

To expand a little on this.
A product of the intellect can never be property, in the sense that it is not a tangible thing.

At most, information can be hidden or restricted in some sense, but eventually it will either be completely lost, or be completely free.
Think of it like water in the wilderness, always flowing to the sea.
We humans can pick it up, bottle it, sell it, etc. etc, but eventually it will return to nature, and water is a lot more tangible than some idea someone thought up, or some arrangement of bits in a computer.

So, as long as people are trying to restrict the free flow of knowledge/ideas, other people will pirate and copy and do whatever they can get away with.
This is how it is.

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

bWareiWare.co.uk (660144) | about 2 years ago | (#42543887)

And GOP staff are know for strictly adhering to most things RMS says?

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

Boltronics (180064) | about 2 years ago | (#42543933)

TFA says Copyright. The issue is with the Slashdot heading.

Re:Intellectual Property (1)

dbIII (701233) | about 2 years ago | (#42545001)

Just like he went off at everyone over "free" and every time someone mentioned linux he used to say "never hurd of it, ha ha" (even 3 times in a fucking row when the question was repeated). It's his style. He twists meanings to make points stick with all the subtlety of a sledgehammer, but it works and you know exactly what he's talking about even if the words mean something else coming from anyone else's mouth in any other context. It doesn't mean that the rest of us can't use the words with their accepted meanings elsewhere when it doesn't have much to do with his point and he's not party to the conversation.
That said, it's truly a weasel of a term just like "human resources".

No Your Place (0, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543603)

'You work for the American people. It's your job, your obligation to be challenging existing paradigms and put forward novel solutions to existing problems.'

No, you work for the people who give you your paycheck, and they work for the people who finance their political campaign that gets them their job. I will give you a hint: this is not communist China; nobody in America "works for the people" except prostitutes.

As for "challenging existing paradigms"; you can tell that to the Occupy Wall Street crowd while they are sitting in the unemployment line.

As a senior Hiring Manager for Save Mart, I'll tell you that we need people who can take orders. And as somebody who is on the committee that advises the CEO of what politicians to fund, I'll tell you that if there is any civil servant going around stirring things up and trying to make people think, then I can assure you we will tell his boss to fire him.

Like I told one socialist who somehow managed to get a job with us:
"You need to take another look at your place on the food chain. These aren't your customers, these are Save Mart's customers."

The same with these guys in political office: those aren't their voters whom you are working for. Those are Save Marts voters. We paid for them, we own them.

If you are one of these idealists straight out of college who wants to feel important and valued, then instead of taking the initiative to embarrass your boss and his corporate advisers, you should instead think about getting a dog. Feed them and pet them occasionally and they will love you and give your life meaning. Don't look for meaning in government, save that for your bitch.

Re:No Your Place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543701)

nobody in America "works for the people" except prostitutes

Poor choice of comparison, surely that one allows all current politicians to claim to work for the people.

Re:No Your Place (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543729)

No Your Place?

Is that a negative answer to a question with an additional modifier? "No, your place" would have been the way to do it. I suspect it was supposed to have been "Know Your Place". Obviously being a senior Hiring Manager for Save Mart doesn't require proficient English skills, but I suppose it's possible that many hires are not native English speakers anyway.

Re: No Your Place (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543821)

Im a hurrr mcdurrr grammar nazi

All bow down to my intellect

Please don't let your bias get in the way... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42543847)

Correlation is not causation.

Re:Please don't let your bias get in the way... (1)

boundary (1226600) | about 2 years ago | (#42543873)

Maybe not in your universe, but to everyone else this is Teh Internetz.

History repeating (1)

boundary (1226600) | about 2 years ago | (#42543863)

So when is he going to post his epistle on the door of the cathedral? Is he going to suffer the diet of worms?

Interesting (1)

DaMattster (977781) | about 2 years ago | (#42544037)

To be honest, I'm not really surprised that Derek Khanna lost his job. Some rather large GOP supporters are rather pro copyright law and staunchly so. You can no longer pin down the goals and objectives of either pary because they both do the opposite of what they preach, or worse, don't follow through at all.

IP is not property (1)

Jesrad (716567) | about 2 years ago | (#42544143)

Khanna wrote a brief suggesting the current copyright law might not constitute free market thinking.

Damn right it ain't. Free market applied to intellectual works is trade-secret protection. If you want your information non-disclosed, you only communicate it to people prealably bound by non-disclosure agreements. If there is a breach, the discloser owes you the indemnity that you had agreed upon initially, which represents the added value of creating the works in the first place. That's the whole of it.

That's how it works within the prestidigitation business. That's pretty much the model that the education world applies: teaching essentially IS a business of distributing non-copyrighted intellectual works. Even certification courses that teach things that the teachers do not want disclosed around, aptly have non-disclosure agreement requirements upfront.

Intellectual property only makes sense in auniverse where someone has to redo the work of (re)inventing the intellectual work over and over in order to sell it over and over - a universe where ideas are rival [wikipedia.org] . That's not the universe we live in.

Re:IP is not property (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42545259)

Damn right it ain't. Free market applied to intellectual works is trade-secret protection. If you want your information non-disclosed, you only communicate it to people prealably bound by non-disclosure agreements. If there is a breach, the discloser owes you the indemnity that you had agreed upon initially, which represents the added value of creating the works in the first place. That's the whole of it.

This. Software I write commands five figures per copy. We do not rely on copyright to protect our Imaginary Property. Rather we rely on contract law.

Not to be cynical or anything.... (1)

macraig (621737) | about 2 years ago | (#42544429)

It's entirely possible that Khanna doesn't actually have any personal investment at all in what he proposes, and is simply using his "novel solutions" as a means to stand out and make his mark within his chosen (Republican) tribe. And stand out he certainly has. If Khanna actually felt that strongly about current IP law being unethical, he's chosen the wrong tribe to give a larger voice to it and he would know that. It's already well established that the sort of people most strongly drawn to corporate boardrooms and government are sociopaths, so if Khanna eagerly chose the path he's on then he's likely more interested in furthering himself than IP reform.

Re:Not to be cynical or anything.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42545807)

Yeah, Republicans are evil therefore any Republican who expresses a reasonable view on something must be only doing it as a part of some diabolical plan.

Likewise, despite being heavily financed by Hollywood the Democrats are the most likely place for IP reform to happen. An argument based on free markets and reducing government intervention would never resonate with Republicans.

Wrong (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544611)

Copyright is wrong when you have greater investments in dead celebrities than in ones that that are alive and creating.

Start with Campaign Finance (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42544687)

To have our representatives actually want to represent the people, we need to stop all money going to them that isn't from the people they represent. PERIOD.

We need to force a Constitutional amendment that says:
* No money, gifts or services may be provided to any seated representative OR any candidate for office from any person who cannot legally vote in the election of that representative.
* A maximum amount of $5000 per year may be contributed to each race with cost of living increases based on annual CBO estimates.

This would prevent corporate moneies.
This would prevent money from non-local people.
This would prevent PAK money.

If you cannot vote in the specific election that the candidate is running, then you cannot give him/her money.

Seems simple. We should do it.

Re:Start with Campaign Finance (1)

cpt kangarooski (3773) | about 2 years ago | (#42545471)

You haven't addressed sinecures after retirement from public office, which seems to be popular these days. (Especially since the party providing it doesn't have to do so unless the recipient has performed)

You also didn't address corruption of non elected persons, but it happens with military officers, bureaucrats, staffers, appointed officials, etc.

You insensitiv[e clod!? (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 years ago | (#42545139)

Whatever path is I ever did. It Way. It used to be Ofeended some bloodfarts. FreeBSD be a lot slower [klerck.org]? Do, and with any

Only works should be copyrightable (1)

jader3rd (2222716) | about 2 years ago | (#42545869)

One major issue I have with current copyright laws is that it seems that characters can be copyrighted. It's common knowledge that Congress keeps extending the copyright age so that Disney can retain the right to Mickey Mouse. It seems the idea is that once Steamboat Willie passes a certain mark, anyone and everyone can create new and original works for Mickey Mouse. So why don't we separate copyright from authorship rights? Change copyright back to 7 years. But create the idea of authorship. Disney creates Steamboat Willie, he has 7 years to control how copies of the actual work of art are distributed. He also has 7 years over any new work over any new noun that was created in the show (ie Mickey Mouse). Any time Disney creates a new work of art which extends the story of any character, place or thing, from Steamboat Willie, the authorship rights of that character, place or thing, gets extended. But once 7 years pass, any publisher/distributer can create and distribute infinite copies of Steamboat Willie, but only in it's original form (No "Steamboat Willie DreamWorks Edition"). I think this way works of art will enter the public domain, and authors will still have something valuable they can work on, so long as they keep working on it.
Load More Comments
Slashdot Login

Need an Account?

Forgot your password?