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Lessig - Public Domain Dead in 35 Years 469

Posted by Zonk
from the rest-in-peace dept.
tcd004 writes "Lawrence Lessig, in an article on the Foreign Policy site, predicts that the public domain will die a slow death at the hands of anti-piracy efforts. From the article: 'The danger remains invisible to most, hidden by the zeal of a war on piracy. And that is how the public domain may die a quiet death, extinguished by self-righteous extremism, long before many even recognize it is gone.'"
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Lessig - Public Domain Dead in 35 Years

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  • Going to die? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by sqlrob (173498) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:36AM (#13463068)
    Nothing has fallen into the public domain for almost a half century before I was born.

    It's dead Jim.
    • Re:Going to die? (Score:4, Interesting)

      by joshdick (619079) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:42AM (#13463110) Homepage
      Yeah, and the concept of open source copylefts won't help this matter. Open source software written nowadays won't be in the public domain for about a century.

      I think Dr. Lessig overlooked copylefts as a viable alternative to public domain.
      • Re:Going to die? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by sqlrob (173498) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:45AM (#13463135)
        There's still the idea that *EVERYTHING* ends up in the public domain. That's what's dying.

        An author can easily purposely put something in the public domain, or use a copyleft that is almost as good. That doesn't solve the original problem.
        • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Informative)

          by Craig Ringer (302899)
          Copyleft really isn't "almost as good". It's darn handy, and it often serves the purpose of the copyright owner and others well. However, for sheer freedom to do what you want with the work you can't beat the public domain - though the BSD license is very close.
        • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Informative)

          by cortana (588495)
          This isn't true as I understand it. An author can't do anything to prevent his heirs from relicensing his work. An author may also use his 35-year termination right to relicense a work.
        • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by Nikker (749551)
          Just remember one thing as you listen to this guy. In 35years hes going to be retired we are the ones passing laws and contesting them. If any generation is more pasionate to this cause it is this one. And these are the same people who will be behind the wheel when it happens.

          I think he's just going through a bitter mid life crisis.
      • I think Dr. Lessig overlooked copylefts as a viable alternative to public domain.

        Yeah, especially when he helped create the CC:SA license. :P

        Actually, this was a very short and broadly termed article that I think was hardly newsworthy. You can generally learn more just reading his blog entries.

      • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by cpt kangarooski (3773)
        Copylefts are interesting, but in the end they're really not a substitute for having material that is utterly unencumbered by restrictions.
        • Re:Going to die? (Score:4, Interesting)

          by SWroclawski (95770) <serge.wroclawski@org> on Friday September 02, 2005 @09:16AM (#13463317) Homepage
          Agreed. Copyleft serves two major purposes, and one of them is not addressed by Public Domain.

          The first, of course, is to make work available to the public.

          The second is to protect the author from others using thier work against them (ie share and share alike).

          But even with copyrights, if a work is not published, but is something internal (say, the code to Google servers), then 50, 75, 100 years can pass, and even though it may (may!) end up technically in the public domain, it's still a trade secret, and if it never gets published externally, it's not public domain.

          Copyleft and CC address this issue by getting more works out, but Copyleft and CC only cover works that are specifically placed under those licenses, which are not the majority of works. Both are essentially workarounds for a system that is fundamentally broken and has lost its balance of profit vs public good.
          • But even with copyrights, if a work is not published, but is something internal (say, the code to Google servers), then 50, 75, 100 years can pass, and even though it may (may!) end up technically in the public domain, it's still a trade secret, and if it never gets published externally, it's not public domain.

            Yes, this is a serious problem. To avoid it, all human beings should be forcibly compelled to document every thought they ever have, and to publish them through a centralised public database that

      • Re:Going to die? (Score:2, Interesting)

        by Jamesday (794888)
        Copyleft licenses are far worse than the public domain. The typical type blocks all reuse except by something with exactly the same license, making each license a walled garden, only compatible with things having exactly the same license. Public domain or even a license like BSD lets just about any person producing FOSS use the work, without dividing the OSS world.
        • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Insightful)

          by legirons (809082)
          "Copyleft licenses are far worse than the public domain."

          Of course. Copyleft means that the author still retains some power to specify how it's used (although they have to declare such intentions upfront, typically that they don't want it incorporated into non-free projects)

          Declaring something public-domain makes it "more free" than declaring it copyleft.

          However, the big point of the public domain is that it applies to everything (after a certain grace period) even if the author or his publisher is a parani
      • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by saforrest (184929)
        I think Dr. Lessig overlooked copylefts as a viable alternative to public domain.

        Lawrence Lessig overlooked copylefts?? Lawrence Lessig, the founder of Creative Commons, author of Free Culture [wikisource.org], and director on the FSF board??

        I rather doubt it.

        The issue is that a large part of our culture is copyrighted and owned by people who are going to milk this copyright for all it's worth, as long as they can. Creative Commons/GPL/GFDL are only useful if you already own the copyright, and it's not practical to repl
    • Re:Going to die? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by DigitumDei (578031) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:53AM (#13463185) Homepage Journal
      People seem to forget that the pop culture that various industries churn out is not the only creative output in the world; it's just the most visible. And yes "it" will probably never get into the public domain.

      There is however a huge, and admittedly 99% crap, amount of work that is released with creative commons style licenses, or released into the public domain immediately.

      I hope that over the years -- as popular culture becomes more and more formula driven -- that a new and burgeoning culture arises that sees the various sharing licenses as well as public domain as the best option. Where anyone can release their creative works into the world, and their merits, not their marketing budget, determines whether it is successful or not.
      • And as technology enables that, it also kills it.

        Look at the requirement that everything on the next gen players be DRM'ed and licensed. There's no "Region 0"
        • I never understood that...

          I do like to buy DVD's of movies that I enjoy, and the industry's insistence that they don't release movies in certain regions just gives me one less reason to give them my money.

          Of course, I'm sure most future players will be hackable/flashable.
          • Re:Going to die? (Score:5, Insightful)

            by ultranova (717540) on Friday September 02, 2005 @10:03AM (#13463588)

            I never understood that...

            I do like to buy DVD's of movies that I enjoy, and the industry's insistence that they don't release movies in certain regions just gives me one less reason to give them my money.

            There's three reasons I can think for this.

            The first reason is simply that while digital content may cost a lot to produce originally, making copies is basically free. This means that every sale is profitable, no matter how low the cost. This, in turn, means that there is no market where selling the product wouldn't be profitable, no matter how low a price you must set in order to sell it. So, you sell the same product for a high price in rich western countries, and for a low price in poorer countries, maximizing the profits in each particular area. However, this model breaks down if someone buys the product in areas of low price and sells it in areas of high price.

            In other words, companies want the benefits of globalization for themselves but not for their customers.

            The second reason is that companies like to sell the same product several times. First you buy a ticket to see a movie in a theater, then you buy it in a DVD. If theater and DVD versions were available at the same time, they would compete with each other - you might decide to simply rent the DVD and skip the theater completely. Because of this, the DVD version only appears after the movie has disappeared from the theater.

            Now, movies are shown at different times at different countries. This means that a movie that debuted in the US is already released as a DVD there when it is shown in theaters here in Europe. Againt, the companies don't want their customers to get the benefits of globalization, but want them reserved for themselves.

            The third reason is the simple fact that company executives are human beings (as hard as that might be to believe sometimes), and human beings like power; telling others what they can and cannot do gives them kicks, so why not do so ?

            Of course, I'm sure most future players will be hackable/flashable.

            Isn't circumventing access control a crime nowadays in the US ?

        • Re:Going to die? (Score:4, Informative)

          by afree87 (102803) on Friday September 02, 2005 @10:05AM (#13463596) Homepage Journal
          Here's the end result of the industry's plan-- use software controls to make copyright last forever. DRM is quicker and easier than lobbying Congress for another extension.
      • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Insightful)

        by Brunellus (875635)

        ...and now let's go back to reality. Marketing budgets cut through the babel of thousands--millions !--of other products competing for attention in the marketplace. The only "merit" that ensures survival in the marketplace is marketability.

        That's a hard truth, but it's what it is. Great work is seldom popular work.

    • Re:Going to die? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by EzInKy (115248) on Friday September 02, 2005 @09:01AM (#13463231)

      Nothing has fallen into the public domain for almost a half century before I was born.


      That is amazing isn't it? Back in the days when it took years to publish and distribute a work artists were given fourteen years of protection. Today, despite near instantaneous communication, they are protected for a hundred years or better. It's no wonder that so many people don't give a damn about sharing copyrighted works.
      • Re:Going to die? (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Microlith (54737) on Friday September 02, 2005 @10:20AM (#13463702)
        It's no wonder that so many people don't give a damn about sharing copyrighted works.
        *cough*

        You mistake the freeloader attitude for an understanding and rejection of the issue.

        Most people don't give a damn cause they get it for free, not because of some political opinion.
        • Re:Going to die? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by 99BottlesOfBeerInMyF (813746) on Friday September 02, 2005 @10:38AM (#13463850)

          You're mostly right, but the mess that is copyright law today certainly contributes to people's attitudes about violating those copyrights. People don't feel bad about downloading songs without paying for them because they don't see it having a meaningful effect upon the artists. If, however, musicians were actually paid the money for those songs a lot of people might feel guilty about "ripping off" their favorite bands. As it is now most musicians survive on touring and merchandising.

          • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Insightful)

            by Peter La Casse (3992)
            One small quibble...
            As it is now most musicians survive on touring and merchandising.

            As it is now most musicians survive on a day job.

          • Re:Going to die? (Score:3, Interesting)

            by BackInIraq (862952)
            Not to mention the fact that when I spend $14.99 on an old Beatles or Hendrix album that might otherwise have entered the public domain by now, that's $14.99 I -don't- have to spend on newer music. That certainly doesn't help the downloading situation, now does it?
        • Re:Going to die? (Score:4, Insightful)

          by antiMStroll (664213) on Friday September 02, 2005 @11:54AM (#13464303)
          Freeloaders? You mean people who pay the taxes, go to war, police the streets, put in all the gruntwork to maintain the safe and stable society in which 'creative types' flourish? Or did you mean the freeloaders who create the folklores, myths, legends and stories others rework and repackage as their personal IP? I'll venture the framers of the Constituition would have used the term citizenry instead, whether they cared about the politics or not, but the country's changed a great deal from those heady and idealistic days.
    • by krysith (648105) on Friday September 02, 2005 @10:05AM (#13463594) Journal
      That's strange, I thought that when I didn't pay the maintenance fee on my last patent that it went into the public domain. I'd be glad to hear it's still in force.

      Patents may have their problems, but at least the length of time and the requirement of maintenence fees to keep them in force are appropriate.

      As an intellectual property owner, I worry when Congress goes overboard in an attempt to "protect intellectual property holders' rights". Yes, I like that what I create can benefit me. However, when other people use IP as a cudgel to abuse people, it makes me worry about the stability of the whole system. If you were an aristocrat in France in 1780, wouldn't you be a little concerned about the other aristocrats who beat and starve the peasants? They might just have a revolution.
  • Lessig? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by dsginter (104154) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:38AM (#13463075)
    Is this really Lessig writing or is he just regurgitating Ray Bradbury?

    In any event, people simply don't care. As long as they have a cool ringtone, that is.
    • Re:Lessig? (Score:3, Insightful)

      by limber (545551)
      Is this really Lessig writing or is he just regurgitating Ray Bradbury?

      I'm not sure I fully understand this comment. Are you referencing Ray Bradbury's remarks about how Michael Moore "stole" the title for Fahrenheit 911?

      "He stole my title and changed the numbers without ever asking me for permission."

  • Over my dead body.
  • People forget (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Peaker (72084) <gnupeakerNO@SPAMyahoo.com> on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:39AM (#13463086) Homepage
    that the main purpose of copyright, was to enhance the public domain.
    • Re:People forget (Score:5, Insightful)

      by squiggleslash (241428) on Friday September 02, 2005 @09:10AM (#13463276) Homepage Journal
      The main purpose of copyright was to ensure that artists would have an incentive to create new content. Period.

      Now, the US constitution (which is one of many documents the world over that calls for copyrights, etc) calls for "limited times" which implies that part of that mechanism is ensuring content falls into the public domain.

      But that's not the reason for the copyright, indeed it could be argued that putting stuff in the public domain is a part of the incentive (ie you're putting the cart before the horse): by ensuring stuff eventually gets put in the public domain, artists can build upon the works of others and, in the past when copyrights lasted a few decades, artists had an incentive to continue creating rather than relying upon a back-catalog of stuff they did in their 20s to keep them fed in their 50s and 60s.

      We want content, we want it in general circulation and accessable to everyone. Whether it's public domain or not is more a matter of practicalities, not of some greater goal.

      Disclaimer: this doesn't not mean I don't like the public domain, or am in favour of current copyright limits and evil absurdities like the DMCA's ACMs/CCMs.

  • by Cronopios (313338) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:39AM (#13463088) Homepage Journal
    Does it mean that Disney will have to actually come up with new stories instead of ripping off Grimm brothers et al?
  • Try one or two. Or zero. In my opinion is it's dead already.
  • Fight back! (Score:5, Insightful)

    by alexwcovington (855979) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:42AM (#13463111) Journal
    This is why everything I write on Wikipedia is still released into the public domain.
    • Re:Fight back! (Score:5, Insightful)

      by FooAtWFU (699187) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:53AM (#13463182) Homepage
      Please-kindly-note that while YOU may release anything you write on Wikipedia into the public domain, Wikipedia itself IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN, it's available under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL), thankyou-verymuch.
      • Re:Fight back! (Score:3, Interesting)

        Please-kindly-note that while YOU may release anything you write on Wikipedia into the public domain, Wikipedia itself IS NOT PUBLIC DOMAIN

        Wikinews is, but some people are trying to change that. If you want to see Wikinews stay in the public domain, create an account and vote here [wikimedia.org].

    • Re:Fight back! (Score:3, Interesting)

      by defile39 (592628)
      As to my understanding, it is not possible to "release things" into the public domain. If an author publishes a statement that a given work is being made "public" or something to that effect, and you use that work, or distribute it, or copy it, or whatever, you might still be infringing. If the origional author decides to take you to court over it, we don't know what the outcome of the case would be. I don't think that there is a legal way to say "this work can be used/copied/distributed by anyone, anywh
  • Will it be dead? (Score:4, Insightful)

    by 3CRanch (804861) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:43AM (#13463117)
    What a stupid thing to suggest.

    As long as people are out there sharing ideas freely, it'll survive. It may not get as much attention as it does right now (i.e. all the attention open source gets right now), but as a concept, it cannot die.

    There, I had a thought and shared it. PD was just reborn ;)
  • I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

    by marcantonio (895721) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:43AM (#13463123)
    In a free society the public domain will never die. It's part of our culture. There will come a point when things get so bad that people will just stop caring about the lawyers and self-righteous extremism. Look at what a joke patents are becoming. If it's get ridiculous enough and enough people care about, it will change.

    Although, things aren't so great right now, and will probably get worse before they get better.
    • Re:I disagree (Score:5, Insightful)

      by bersl2 (689221) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:51AM (#13463172) Journal
      Well, then this will be a great test of our "free society." Does it still exist to the extent that this problem can be corrected?
    • ``In a free society the public domain will never die. It's part of our culture.''

      I much more feel that society and culture are the root of the problem. Let me explain.

      One problem is the political system. Winner-take-all is a way of counting votes that basically admits only 2 parties (a 3rd party will take away votes from the party closest to it, increasing the likelihood that the less-favored party wins).

      Because there are only 2 parties, and it's hard to start up a 3rd party with a fighting chance, it's har
    • In a free society

      No such thing. This planet has never seen one, and never will.


      There will come a point when things get so bad that people will just stop caring

      Agreed, and I think we've already gotten right to the threshold of that in the US. Personally, I try to do the "right" thing, but could care less about what "the law" says I should do (largely because I've learned that "law" and "right" only rarely overlap, and then only for purely accidental reasons).

      And looking at the next generation -
  • Anti-piracy? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by bedroll (806612) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:44AM (#13463125) Journal
    Lessig himself teaches that, since the failing of Eldred, public domain will die due to lobbying and retroactive term extensions. That's not an anti-piracy measure, it's just big companies controlling congress.
  • by mikeboone (163222) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:49AM (#13463152) Homepage Journal
    Public domain is just on hold for a while. Hey, we only have to wait until 2019 [wikipedia.org] to get our hands on that hot 1923 copyrighted material.

    Congress wouldn't extend copyright again, would they?

    Of course, new stuff locked down by DRM won't know when it's supposed to expire, so 90+ years when it's supposed to expire, no one will know what to do with the scrambled bits. :(
  • by Enlarged to Show Tex (911413) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:49AM (#13463155)
    Few people on this site dispute that the ability to automatically have your work copyrighted by default helps Sam Slashdot by making it easier to cover his stuff. However, it also means that more and more areas end up having its entire body of work covered under copyright. With the practically indefinite term of copyright being bought^W lobbied for by Disney and others, it's no wonder that Lessig talks in this kind of language...

    I think the only way to save the public domain is for serious reform - be it soapbox, ballot box, or revolution - to take place sooner rather than later.
     
  • When I first read the article title, I thought this was going to be a story about how everything would be public domain in 35 years. You'd think a guy like Lessig would be more optimistic about things.

    Anyway, I predict that in 35 years the pendulum will have swung. The zeal of the war on piracy will have gone too far for too long, and people will fight back. Sure, the fight will start with copyleft, as it already has begun to do so, but once copyleft has won the establishment will be forced to move in t

    • Refreshing (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Infonaut (96956)
      Anyway, I predict that in 35 years the pendulum will have swung. The zeal of the war on piracy will have gone too far for too long, and people will fight back. Sure, the fight will start with copyleft, as it already has begun to do so, but once copyleft has won the establishment will be forced to move in the opposite direction, and lessen the stranglehold of copyright laws.

      I agree. It's not in fashion here on Slashdot to actually be optimistic about the mechanisms of change in a representative government

      • Re:Refreshing (Score:3, Insightful)

        by miu (626917)
        It's not in fashion here on Slashdot to actually be optimistic about the mechanisms of change in a representative government.

        Imagine that the country wakes up and eventually stops voting for the current crop of dung beetles, how do you take back property rights that have already been granted. Even if you believe that representative governments reflect the desire of the population and that the population is smart enough to vote in their own interest, how do we take back property rights granted world wide

  • You know he's mostly right, except I think M. Jackson's going to buy half of the entire public domain for $73 billion in 10 years. Another 25 after that, he'll get sued by the financial firm he never paid back for the loan and only half of the public domain will be lost ;)
  • Culture of Greed (Score:5, Insightful)

    by digitaldc (879047) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:56AM (#13463196)
    This is what happens when the motivating factor is to maximize profits. If someone can make a profit from it, it gets patented and copyrighted.
    What is the incentive for people to give away things when the trend is to become wealthy as quickly as possible?
    People who already are wealthy are the ones with the greatest means and free time to create more wealth...it is a mindset.
    • Re:Culture of Greed (Score:3, Interesting)

      by multimed (189254)
      The thing that really sucks is that for the overwhelming majority of protected IP, the profits are long since gone decades before it enters the public domain--if in fact it ever does which is a very much in question based on the "limited terms that are renewable forever are still limited terms" doctrine. What's so sad isn't that no one will be able to freely copy Mickey Mouse cartoons, it's everything else that never makes it to the public domain. I still think the best fix for copyright is an initial 20
  • by G4from128k (686170) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:57AM (#13463200)
    Within every DRM system there will always be a way for the author to set the copy rights to allow freely made copies. There are always people who want their stuff copied or who don't care or who don't want the recipient encumbered by any restrictions.

    That said, PHBs and paternalist OSes from Redmond may decide the implement restrictive DRM settings for their own idiotic reasons. I noticed more than one company annual report that uses a password protected PDF to prevent copy-past operations for who knows what reason. Yet the first time a small content creator's use of DRM causes problems for their big client, the small company will "turn off" DRM.

    As long as there are people that want to be heard as far and wide as possible, there will be a public domain.
  • by dpbsmith (263124) on Friday September 02, 2005 @08:57AM (#13463202) Homepage
    It's very likely that Lessig is right. Meanwhile, personal casual copying will continue--on a reduced level. Average consumers will have DRMed gear.

    Only about one in twenty or one in a hundred will go to the effort of buying the illegally chipped merchandise that will become available in flea markets, on the Internet, and via other black-market channels. This gear will be sold like the pressed-grape-concentrate bricks of the Prohibition era, which came with detailed instructions explaining that it was totally illegal to use them to make wine and giving careful step-by-step directions on what you must not do to stay legal.

    It will create more social unrest, injustice, and disrespect for the law. As with prohibition, and with current marijuana laws, a huge fraction of the population will be felons according to the law. Enforcement will be inconsistent and selective. Most people breaking the law will not be deterred because they will feel that getting caught is unlikely and totally a matter of bad luck.

    My analog cassette player died last year. My old CD player is starting to become unreliable. I'm not sure what the useful life of a solid-state laser is, but I'm beginning to suspect it's less than ten years. The next one I buy will probably have DRM.

    Prohibition eventually ended, the "war on drugs" will eventually end, and the war on the public domain will eventually end. Probably not in my lifetime, though, and not until a lot of damage and misery has occurred.

  • While I see the guys point he probably couldn't be more wrong if he tried. I never used to release anything I wrote or developed into the public domain. As restrictions increase though I am more and more inclined to release my material, in part, as a protest. Most of it is not really worth anything to anyone but me but there are a few gems in amongst it that potentially have value.

    While I don't imagine everyone will follow my course I imagine that there are suficient like minded people that will do the sa

  • by RAMMS+EIN (578166) on Friday September 02, 2005 @09:00AM (#13463224) Homepage Journal
    While it sounds catchy, it's not really as if public domain is _really_ going to die. What's going to happen is that copyright becomes stronger and lasts longer, and eventually copyrighted material might never enter the public domain again.

    But plenty of people love to share their work and ideas. Some of these people are going to be putting stuff in the public domain. Also, with copyleft and similar policies, a lot of copyrighted material is going to provide similar benefits to public material (reusability).

    All is not lost, and all won't be lost as long as enough people behave socially rather than trying to grab as much money and power as they can.
  • 35 years (Score:5, Informative)

    by 1u3hr (530656) on Friday September 02, 2005 @09:06AM (#13463260)
    I RTFA, and nowhere was the term "35 years" used. However, poking around the site I see this article was one of a batch on the themes of thngs happeneng over the last 35 years (since Foreign Policy magazine began), and the next 35. So Lessig didn't choose that figure for any real reason.
  • More than anywhere there is a generational gap in the copyright universe. There are those, currently at the top, who want to protect the things they grew up with (Mickey Mouse, we love you - I wanted to be member of the Mickey Mouse club - haha, wasn't Mickey so cute.) And there is the current generation who, for better or worse, have no attachment to anything - everything is just play-doh to make something else. At some point there will be a changing of the guard and the public domain will rise like a phoe
  • Seriously...

    Shit like this happens based on pure greed, and they expect us to sit there and blindly follow the law? Hah.

    Even people on slashdot that are always siding with the RIAA on those piracy stories.. how can you justify this?

    The law is only good for so much, people. You CAN ignore it without consequence, you know..
  • A2K (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Elektroschock (659467) on Friday September 02, 2005 @09:29AM (#13463389)
    Lawrence Lessig raises awareness, he is a good communicator. I wonder why he does not actually act.

    There is the A2k treaty project, we will get a development agenda for WIPo soon. Is Lessig accredited to WIPO? No, sure he isn't. You can make a dent there. Lawrence Lessig does not expect it to last 35 years...

    Public domain -- it might be an US-only problem. Of course the works of Kafka and others are public domain in my legal system.
  • In 35 years... (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Sun Rider (623563) on Friday September 02, 2005 @10:18AM (#13463692)
    You're assuming that in 35 years the western countries will still rule the world.
    • Re:In 35 years... (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Dhaos (697924)
      I assume you're hinting at future Chinese dominance and China's current attitude toward Intellectual Property?

      There are two reasons to expect these protectionist IP trends to continue, even if the Western world loses its position in the front seat of global policy.

      For one, countries will tend to use loose intellectual property standards to get the leg up on other countries if they feel they are "behind." The United States stole a good amount of British IP after divorcing themselves from the crown, but afte
  • by nurb432 (527695) on Friday September 02, 2005 @10:23AM (#13463724) Homepage Journal
    The day that the HSD declares it 'a national security risk' and mandates the use of 'approved software' ( and hardware ).

    Sure, you can still run your C64 at home, but dont expect to get online. And if you try, expect to be visited by the bit police.
  • by rjnagle (122374) on Friday September 02, 2005 @10:30AM (#13463772) Homepage
    http://www.pdinfo.com/record.htm [pdinfo.com]
    I quote:
            Records, cassettes, CD's, and other music recordings come under a general category called Sound Recordings or Phonorecords. Before 1972, sound recordings were not protected by copyright law, but by a hodge-podge tangle of state laws. This problem was fixed with the 1972 copyright act and extended by the 1998 twenty year copyright extension. Different copyright experts have offered very different complicated explanations, but all agree that all sound recordings essentially are under copyright protection until the year 2067. So here is the one sentence you need to remember:

            Sound Recording Rule of Thumb:
            There are NO sound recordings in the Public Domain.

            There are, of course, exceptions to everything, and there really are some PD sound recordings. However, the federal and state laws are so tangled and complicated, it is extremely difficult to do confident sound recording PD research. There are several U.S. web sites claiming that sound recordings made in the United States prior to February 15, 1972, are in the public domain, and there are links to U.S. Copyright Office publications stating: "Sound recordings fixed before February 15, 1972, are not eligible for Federal copyright protection." We have had this reviewed independently by several attorneys across the U.S. Each has confidently and independently told us that between federal and state copyright protection, virtually all sound recordings are protected until the year 2067.

It seems that more and more mathematicians are using a new, high level language named "research student".

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