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GOP Brief Attacks Current Copyright Law 296

cervesaebraciator writes "Regardless of how one feels about the GOP generally, it is always heartening to see current copyright and IP law questioned on a national stage. A Republican study committee, chaired by Ohio Representative Jim Jordan released a brief today titled Three Myths about Copyright Law and Where to Start to Fix it. Among other things, the brief attacks current copyright law as hampering scientific inquiry, penalizing journalism, and retarding the potential of the internet to allow the dispersion of knowledge through e-readers. In the briefs words, 'Current copyright law does not merely distort some markets – rather it destroys entire markets.' Four potential policy solutions are proposed: statutory damage reform, expansion of fair use, punishing false copyright claims, and limiting copyright terms. There may yet be hope for a national debate on the current oppressive copyright system, if just a fool's hope."
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GOP Brief Attacks Current Copyright Law

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  • Read the article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by Drishmung ( 458368 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @08:24PM (#42008329)
    Yeah, I know this is slashdot, but really, read the article. Try to see past "this is GOP so it must be either wonderful or the work of the devil depending on your bigotry". It's a good paper, worthy of debate.

    I've got mod points at the moment, but rather than oblivionate the current pathetic trolls, flamebait and fr1st p0st crap, I'd rather encourage some thought.

  • by Chemisor ( 97276 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @08:50PM (#42008583)

    I think the most useful reform would be to stop granting copyright owners any control over their work except for the purpose of getting paid. The owner should not have the right to restrict distribution or use of his work in any way as long as it was legally purchased. Likewise, he should not have any control over derived works except for getting a cut of their sale equal to the current market value of the work multiplied by the fraction of the original work used in the derivation. So anybody should have the right to write a Harry Potter novel as long as Rowling gets a cut for whatever fraction of the book's value is assigned to characters.

  • Re:Read the article (Score:5, Interesting)

    by cdogg4ya ( 198266 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @08:59PM (#42008691) Homepage

    Agreed. I read GOP and immediately thought the worst but what I found was a well thought out article that actually acknowledges the problems and lays out some very interesting reforms that could actually make the system better.

  • by Overzeetop ( 214511 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:27PM (#42008905) Journal

    Do you see the world of music collapsing due to statutory mechanical licensing rights? Of course not. And you're always free to negotiate a lower rate if you have a big project. A basic set of statutory amounts for previously published works is a good idea. It prevents artificial scarcity, such as the Disney Vault, and plain scarcity where it's impossible to get a copy of what would otherwise be an unremarkable product due to limited publishing runs.

  • by QuasiSteve ( 2042606 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @09:43PM (#42009035)

    I've seen this argument before - making the copyright terms shorter - and I agree with it.

    Yet that aspect of copyright is rarely actually railed against by the masses. If anything it tends to only be cited - usually with a sneer at Disney and its copyright on Mickey Mouse - as a general attack on copyright without actually being related to their concerns.

    I.e. it is not that the author of a comment has had this long-lived dream of making a Mickey Mouse work and is only prevented from carrying out this task due to the life+dozens of years+etc. of copyright resting on the character. They have no direct interest in this.

    They may argue that because of that copyright term, however, others are unable to produce such works, which deprives society-aka-them of such works, which they would want to have made.

    Unfortunately, however, if such a work were eventually made, the main reason for railing against copyright tends to be encountered. The work - let's say it's a new Mickey Mouse movie - is released into theaters, gets out on DVD a few months later, immediately gets ripped by 'pirates' to a nice MK4 and released to the rest of the world.

    It is this latter activity - the file sharing of a work, regardless of age - that most comment authors feel should not draw the (legal) ire of copyright holders, citing a multitude of arguments.

    So in essence, to most of these comment authors, a reduction in the copyright term is really just symbolic - a way to let others, producers, editors, publishers, etc. who would be easy copyright infringement targets to no longer be a valid target - as to their own purposes the copyright term is essentially deemed moot.

    Note that it is rarely 5+ year old material that is 'pirated', and rarely such older material for which 'pirates' are targeted for legal action; it tends to be more recent material, from 'only released on DVD a few months ago' to 'not even playing in theaters yet - leaked workprints'.

    Making the copyright term shorter would do nothing for this group, except reduce the number of times it would be brought up as an argument that does not actually speak against or in favor of their actual sentiment.

  • by Mashiki ( 184564 ) <mashikiNO@SPAMgmail.com> on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:13PM (#42009221) Homepage

    Considering that hollywood gets massive taxbreaks and have since the 1950's? Sounds fine to me, for all the cries from the left of the rich "needing to pay their fair share" the hollywood elite don't, and neither do movie, or TV production companies.

  • by genkernel ( 1761338 ) on Friday November 16, 2012 @10:34PM (#42009311)

    Actually, I haven't seen any evidence recently that the democrats aren't just as supportive of the military front as the republicans.

  • by 0111 1110 ( 518466 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @01:25AM (#42010111)

    In that case I'm guessing that you have never actually met a Libertarian. I am a Libertarian myself and I don't believe in any taxes at all. So I guess I'm an existence proof. Libertiarians object to taxes, not for practical reasons, but for philosophical ones. We believe that collecting taxes, any taxes, is a form of protection money, a form of legalized thievery and is morally repugnant. I think you will find that 99% of actual Libertarians agree with me too. I wouldn't really consider a Libertarian who believes in taxes to be a Libertarian at all. Keeping relationships voluntary (voluntarism) is at the very core of the philosophy.

    The biggest difference between Libertarians is how we feel that a "government" should raise money.

    Limited government Libertarians mostly believe that the government should raise money via some form of voluntary contribution.

    Anarcho-Libertarians mostly believe that the essential government functions can be funded via payment for services rendered. Either after the services have been rendered or in advance, or as a form of insurance. Free riders are simply ignored or forced to pay on the rare occasion that they may personally need such a service.

    I have been both types at various times and I think either method is fine. Whatever works. As long as you aren't sticking the barrel of a gun in someone's face to fund your projects it's all good. Most people will claim that funding a government without the use of force is impossible. Libertarians simply disagree.

  • by Kjella ( 173770 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @01:31AM (#42010123) Homepage

    Note that it is rarely 5+ year old material that is 'pirated'

    Perhaps people don't want to fund a system they don't think is fair? I buy both BluRays and DVDs sometimes, not because I needed to but because it's good stuff that I like and that I want them to produce more of but I hate that I'm funding DRM. I hate that I'm funding the lobbying groups who want copyright to be infinity minus a day. I hate that I'm funding the people strong-arming ISPs to become their private enforcement branch. I hate that I'm funding the people pushing for copyright enforcement outside the justice system, with no real oversight or due process. I'm a pirate if I download it today, in 5 years or in 50 years. Might as well get it over with...

  • by RabidReindeer ( 2625839 ) on Saturday November 17, 2012 @07:34AM (#42011227)

    We believe that collecting taxes, any taxes, is a form of protection money, a form of legalized thievery and is morally repugnant. I think you will find that 99% of actual Libertarians agree with me too. I wouldn't really consider a Libertarian who believes in taxes to be a Libertarian at all. Keeping relationships voluntary (voluntarism) is at the very core of the philosophy.

    The "protection" racket works because you're buying "protection" against the very people you're paying off. The "civilization" racket works because you're buying protection against other people.

    Communism failed because people aren't sufficiently virtuous to work their hardest without material incentives. Capitalism fails because people aren't sufficiently virtuous not to damage their customers and employees. A government-free system fails because even at the neighborhood level there are people who'd rather bypass the whole farce and take directly from you unless you combine with or delegate people to defend you from them. Once you do that, you've gotten into the government business. Even a volunteer fire department requires more than just a bunch of people with buckets. It requires capital equipment investment, ongoing maintenance, and the assurance that everyone won't not show up when needed.

    Most of us cannot spare the time from our primary pursuits to fulfill the daily needs of a peacekeeping force. Few of us can afford upwards of $250000 for our very own personal fire engines, for that matter. So in lieu of other means, we pay money. Since people are also not virtuous enough to contribute freely for the common good, we levy an assessment and call it "taxes".

    If you live in an area where such amenities exist and don't contribute in some way, you may call yourself a Libertarian, but other people will call you a Parasite.

    If you don't want to pay, move somewhere where these benefits aren't available. Do be aware, however, that no matter where you go, someone is almost certainly claiming prior ownership of the place you arrive and is almost certainly investing in the ongoing privilege of keeping people like you from just waltzing in and taking it.

I use technology in order to hate it more properly. -- Nam June Paik