Economists call for patent and copyright abolition

Discuss

57 Responses to “Economists call for patent and copyright abolition”

  1. Nina Paley says:

    Fortunately we don’t need to “abolish copyright.”

    We need only stop using it. For now, given the existing copyright system, that means releasing our work under a Share Alike or GNU GPL or similar open license.

    Open-licensed work has a tremendous competitive advantage over restricted work. That should be an incentive for creators to free their work. It’s certainly working for me!

  2. Purly says:

    I think it would be an interesting experiment/economy booster to do this for a short time. You could abolish all current patents and copyrights and prevent new ones for a year, then let things begin anew.

  3. The Raven says:

    Yawn, economists.

    Seriously, now that it’s plain that the profession sold out its intellectual integrity, why is anyone listening? There are some economists who are the real thing, but it’s going to be at least a generation before the discipline is honest again.

  4. BillGlover says:

    #2 Elfedalex Remember how you got into music. You heard it for free at friends houses, on the radio and in mix tapes. You eventually bought everything you could find by the people you liked.

    I think the picture is brighter than it sounds. The money you make off of music is the leavings after paying off considerable expense in record company overhead. The record company isn’t giving you anything except some marketing and distribution. The “protection” they provide by enforcing your copyright is mostly an imaginary good. People who want to take your music for free will do it regardless of the law.

    Why not turn that around and make it work for you? Give digital recordings away for free, MP3s, even FLAC. Or even post sheet music and lyrics and let people record your stuff for free as long as they attribute it to you. Engage your fans and musicians through blogs and twitter and live appearances. Replace expensive and dying broadcast marketing with effective targeted personal marketing. Get your name and your music out there. Then this is the hard part. Trust your fans. Offer your real fans a chance to buy the music they love, not because you’ll sue them otherwise, but because it supports you. Your real fans will understand you have to eat to play. Sell them t-shirts and photos and maybe Lulu book of road stories and album notes. Some people will take your free samples and never pay you a dime. Others will buy everything you sell. In the end you’ll make more than you would have otherwise. It works and there are people working just that business model successfully. Look at Johnathan Coulton. He wouldn’t be where he is if he hadn’t given his music away and let people remix and make videos for him. He’ll be the first to tell you that.

    Besides, you don’t have a choice, what are your chances of making a living with the record company system? What do your royalties look like right now? Do you really see them getting better?

    Try it yourself. Get together with some musician friends and put something out there for free downloads. Promote it on youtube with some live videos. Let your fans buy stuff on a paypal website. Be interesting. See what happens.

    And if you happen to be Jim Steinman just tell me where to send the check.

  5. Trace says:

    The question of how artists make enough money to survive in a world without copyright implies that IP laws exist to assure that people acquire wealth. These laws don’t, or rather, they shouldn’t. They explicitly exist “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” (US Constitution, Article I, Section 8, Clause 8).

    It’s not too hard to think of many processes or patterns that might be copyrighted but which aren’t: game rules, recipes, clothing fashions, building designs, typography. Could artists benefit from being granted exclusive reproduction rights for these? Yes. Would the rest of us lose our liberties if these rights were granted? Yes.

    Copyright by its definition takes away rights–the right of the people to make whatever use they want of the words, music, ideas, and other culture that make up their intellectual landscape. This right was assumed through most of human history, and thank god it was, or we would have no access to any works that predated mass production and which only survive because generation after generation assumed there was nothing wrong about reproducing them. Copying was the way any artist learned their trade and was the basis for new work. Art was produced, a lot of it, some of it the best any has ever done, all before copyright existed.

    So the answer to “how will artists survive without copyright?” is–and I say this as someone who makes his living as a graphic designer and an illustrator–that would be up to them to figure out. Sale of original work? Patronage? Performance? Maybe art would no longer be the way they made a living wage? Maybe some of them would have to lead complex lives and make hard decisions about what was important to them?

    (I’m playing devil’s advocate. Personally, I advocate much shorter copyright terms with simpler laws, compulsory licensing, and more fairness when it comes to what constitutes infringement, and I’m optimistic enough to think that such reforms would benefit both artists and consumers. But if my only choice was between the current set of laws and no copyright, I think I’d go without.)

  6. kattw says:

    I tend to support patents for the drug industry (and other research intensive creative endeavors), which is not surprisingly singled out even in the short blurb on BB. That being said, they’d probably still qualify for patents given the criterion listed. IE: “Hey, we spent 8 billion over 3 years developing this pill, and given the number of patients and what it actually costs to make the pill from raw material, if we can’t sell at a high price, we’ll never make the money back and be able to make new, better drugs again.”

    That being said, I’d love to see copyright lowered to the same timeframe as patent. 7 years is good enough for people who make drugs, hammers, chairs, SUVs, etc. Why isn’t 7 years good enough for people who make books, songs, movies, etc? They can keep selling those books, movies and songs after the copyright expires. They just need to add enough value that people will buy a new copy, rather than a used or copied or ‘generic’ one. Just like a hammer. Or a drug. Or a car.

  7. TroofSeeker says:

    Bill Burger-
    Unfortunately, a Perpetual Motion Machine is the one thing the USPTO won’t even discuss, just because they think it’s impossible. Don’t give up, tho, and neither shall I.

    Most inventions come out of garages and basements, rather than corporate think tanks. I have friends that make their living licensing intellectual property. When we approach investors with a concept or prototype, one of their first questions is always about legal protection.

    I am currently seeking financial backing for a series of products and a manufacturing firm designed to produce at a rate $100M/Yr. (Good timing, eh?) I wouldn’t even dare show it if I didn’t have protection.

    American Engenuity is suffering as it is. Eliminating our protection would be a death nell for this prestigious cottage industry.

    Levine and Boldin can lift my tail and kiss my fuzzy ass.

  8. hegemonicon says:

    Economists seem to be alot like philosophers, in that “There is nothing so absurd that some philosopher has not already said it.”

    Not that copyright abolition is absurd. But for almost any conceivable position to take on an issue, you can find an economist that supports it.

  9. AnjaFlower says:

    I’m all for copyright and patent reform, but as an artist, I find the idea of copyright being abolished absolutely terrifying. What, so now I publish a comic book with my photocopier, it takes off – and some big company grabs it up and sells it without my consent or benefit for big bucks?
    What about artists who make part of their living off stock imagery?

    I’ve got mixed feelings about this stuff, as mixed as anyone. I enjoy downloading music, and most of it is very obscure stuff – Mexican deathrock, anyone? Ever heard of the band Desechables? – that I would be unable or at least find it very difficult to get otherwise. I enjoy and appreciate the fact that file sharing loosens the slack of the record industry, which is a tyranny above all. Does that make me a hypocrite?

    I wish there were some way to protect struggling artists – even promote our interests, as we are after all the producers of many of the most enjoyable things in life, the ones who make your buildings look more beautiful and your music groovy – without also giving a free ride to giant corporations.

    And as for the gov’t determining “cultural value” – you mean like they do in obscenity cases? Yeeeaaah, look how well that’s fared for creators and publishers of erotica and controversial or sacreligious materials. There goes free thought – poof!

  10. reginald says:

    what is with these diatribes?
    get on the streets

  11. TarlSS says:

    Alot of people are delusional about what copyright protection is going to do for them. It’s not going to make you rich, it’s not going to substitute for your lack of talent, and it CERTAINLY isn’t going to prevent China from stealing and replicating your invention, which it will do now with impunity.

    Artists were starving before copyright, artists are still starving with copyright laws. Frankly protectionist concerns from artists is laughable..and rather ignorant.

    Do you really think the 100 or 200 dollars you’ll scrape in from piracy savings is really worth the creative barriers you’ll encounter if someone sues YOU for copyright infringement? You are the people who have to navigate the legal minefield.

    The only ones that profit from this sort of law are the Disney and MS monopolies that stifle innovation. Independant, upcoming and experimental artists and inventors are faced with a ceiling when coming up with new material- once they reach a certain threshhold of success, they’ll need an army of lawyers or get sued into oblivion by a bunch of patent/industry trolls.

    Copyright/patent laws should be removed, or at least have some kind of ‘profitability’ clause. Once someone makes profit equal to twice the investment, or something, copy protections ought to be removed. That way the law would work as intended, to protect UPCOMING and new artists/inventions and not entrenched establishments.

  12. Anonymous says:

    “That being said, I’d love to see copyright lowered to the same timeframe as patent. 7 years is good enough for people who make drugs, hammers, chairs, SUVs, etc.”

    Don’t patents last 20 years?

    I think that for copyright one term is not a good idea. I would like to see it broken up into a handful of classes of covered materials with different terms. Daily news, for example, should probably have a copyright of about 1 month.

  13. GuidoDavid says:

    Arduino seems to be doing really well being copied by the Chinese:

    http://www.wired.com/techbiz/startups/magazine/16-11/ff_openmanufacturing?currentPage=all

    You might need special provisions to avoid abuse by big players, but still, PEOPLE are important, not things, not ideas. You can screw an artist and get him pissed, he won’t play with you again, he will let others know you are ripping him off and make sure others boycott you if you appreciate his art. Same with an engineer, when you abuse him, you will lose his good will and he will work for your rival companies.

    With the current system, on the other hand, if you have enough money you can just buy new companies and gut their IP, restrict it and make sure it never gets used. Or do like Bill Gates with DOS.

    Have you ever set up a new company? I am trying now, and it is a pain in the ass to check IP in case you are infringing something. And knowing that sooner or later you will be sued by some shark company or by a big player threatened by a new emerging tech, even if you are sure that your methods are new and do not infringe anybody’s IP.

  14. dainel says:

    Who was that guy who has been saying this for close to 40 years already? The one who wears sandals and looks a bit like Jesus … :)

    #2 elfedalex, I don’t know how to put this kindly, so I’ll just go for the direct, brutal approach. Even if the world were to lose all it’s professional song writers tomorrow, and no more new song is written, our quality of life would not suffer all that much. But that would not happen. There may be fewer professionally created new songs, but it would not drop to zero. The few professionals that remain would have to compete for commissioned works, and the few permanent salaried positions that remains. People who create non-professionally would continue to do so. Remixing, and derivative works will increase.

    Did we learn nothing from the Blackberry episode? Trolls are gaming the system. Even if you could eliminate the trolls, the mountain of patents make the whole thing unworkable. 30 years ago, you couldn’t patent software and business processes. Now you can. We can blame the USPTO for this. Once they started the gold-rush, all other countries had to join.

    Software patents. Big fat fail. As a songwriter, imagine that before you start on any work, you must run a patent search to check that no portion of your song resembles any previously registered song. Even if you didn’t copy it, if it so happen that a couple of bars resembles another song too closely, you’re infringing. If there were a few hundred songs registered, then maybe it’ll be workable. But when you have millions of patents, registered in 100+ different countries, all written by lawyers, who deliberately write the documents in such a way as to be as obscure and hard to understand as possible …

    The premiss of the whole patent system is you disclose your invention; and in return the government grants you a monopoly for a very limited time; after which other people can build on top of your invention. But patent lawyers have a better idea. Make the patent document as hard to understand as possible, disclose as little as possible, while retaining the ability to sue as many people as possible. This way, your competitors learn as little as possible about your invention, giving you the edge; which you retain, even after the patent expires. This also undermines the basic objective of the patent system – to allow other people to build more things on top of your invention.

    The deluge of patents being granted means that the non-obviousness test had gone out the window long ago. Patents are issued first, then you can challenge them later. The problem with this is that doesn’t work. You can still get blackmailed. Even though the USPTO said that the NTP’s patent would likely be invalidated, the judge would hear none of it. RIM was forced to pay over US$600+ to NTP, none of which it would get back, even when/if the patents are finally invalidated.

    NTP is described as a patent holding company. What is it’s main business? Develop new technology for which it could draw license fees later? You wish.

    Copyright for software is bad enough. Patents makes it impossible to create new software.

  15. Alessandro Cima says:

    Academic qualifications? You mean like a school thing? A degree? Lectures? Tuition? Tweed jackets?

    Oh man get me out I can’t breath.

    Meme? Meme? Meme? A fancy word for me me?

  16. Takchess says:

    a very interesting book on the subject
    The Gridlock Economy:
    Author Heller speaks about it at length on this google talk.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9n89Ec3DFtk

  17. HollywoodBob says:

    Elfedalex: I take it your earnings come from royalty payments on your works that you hold the copyrights on? If you didn’t hold a copyright to those works, you would have to trust that the people that used your works would pay you appropriately. Or you could simply forego back end payment and sell your work upfront like many screenwriters, such as myself, do. What happens with my work after it’s purchased by a production company is no longer my concern, I’m not yet in demand enough to be able to request backend payments.

    Without my copyrights, I’d make just as much money as I do now. You’d have to modify your income system, but chances are you’d make just as much also.

    As for the comic artist asking about how to maintain their profits if a corp stole their work. Well that’s what community is about. Like the bands that rely on concerts and merch sales for the majority of their income, you’d have to hope that your works developed enough of a core fanbase that they came to you for it. I’d wager that given the nature of comic fans, if your work was good enough to be reproduced by some big publisher, the fanboys would seek you out and purchase your merch, and in the long run you’d be happy for them giving you the exposure that your photocopier couldn’t provide you.

  18. dainel says:

    That should be US$600+ million, not $600

  19. Anonymous says:

    If there is no money in your idea without copyrighting it, then it is not an economically viable endeavor and so you should pursue something else.

    It must be arguable, at best, whether the amount of headway gained outstrips the amount lost in the positive advancement of humanity vis-a-vis copyright laws.

    Maybe the removal of a fiscal incentive to create, guarded by the protectionist law, will actually bolster future invention for a higher cause.

  20. billtheburger says:

    Hello @ 15 GuidoDavid, i did not mean to create the straw man argument, this was actually where my mind had travelled post-coitious, then I found this article today as the first thing i saw on the internet and thought my little journey last night was and would be amusing to others. I did not mean to anger you.

    i thought it is a little selfish for an individual or company to profit for 50 years and put the development of humankind back 100 years.

    Please note i got a E grade for my GCSE Economics with my alternative view of the obsession with the money drug so i know shit about this particular subject, at least according to the traditionalists.

  21. Anonymous says:

    #54 The use of Creative Commons or GPL licences only work because of copyright. To stop using copyright would be to put your work in the public domain. However, this doesn’t provide any protection for your work at all.

  22. Takuan says:

    patents are a racket. Go ahead, spend the million it costs to get one. Then you can find out defending a patent costs even more. If you are closer to the bottom of the money/power pile than than the top, the only defense your new, good idea has is you being quicker and smarter than the other guy in terms of continuing innovation, adaptive marketing and sheer bloody-minded persistence. That lawyer selling you peace of mind in a patent is like a priest selling you pie in the sky heaven.

  23. Anonymous says:

    I think other conditions to abolish patent is the individual ownership of patent is a menace or danger to survival of population.For example if high prices of drugs condemns great proportion of poor people to die for lack of money

  24. Anonymous says:

    Yay! Go the Economy!

    The Economy is the system which rewards those whose only input is “capital” with an increase in their “capital”, right?

    *captcha tells me “We’ve enriched” he he…

  25. cstudies says:

    Just to plug an event at Simon Fraser University’s Vancouver campus — David Levine will be speaking on this at a free public lecture in Vancouver on March 20. More info here.

    (Cory, it’s where you spoke last year!)

  26. Anonymous says:

    I’m a musician, writer, painter and I’d prefer to see copyright loosedned if not removed. I’m worried that someone will take a liking to something I do and steal it, then sell it and sue me for infringement. Without copyright they can steal whatever they want, I won’t have a problem, everything I make i give away for whatever the person commisioning wants it for. I make these things because they nourish me and make me happy, I work to feed that ability. If my job was to make these things I think it might suffer for it. I don’t create to make money, I create to enrichen lives.

  27. eclectro says:

    I’d settle for rolling back the Copyright Term Extension Act CTEA/Sonny Bono and let all the old stuff enter the public domain. I’m not holding my breath.

  28. elfedalex says:

    Not a comment as such. Just some open questions.

    How, as a songwriter. Do I make enough money to live when people just take what i create?

    I have already seen my income drop dramatically and friends of mine have had to take second jobs.

    Is this not going to undermine the creative community?

    Just interested…

  29. elharley says:

    I would like to abolish economists.

  30. ScruffyNerfHerder says:

    For economists, these lads don’t seem very quantitative…

  31. ScruffyNerfHerder says:

    Also, where is the initial link on /.? Its not on the frontpage and no one on IRC knows about it.

  32. ScruffyNerfHerder says:

    nevermind.

  33. Shanghai Slim says:

    Hmm, I dunno. I live in a place where there is close to zero copyright protection – China – and the net effect on creativity and innovation seems to be pretty devastating. Why bother creating something when someone else will immediately copy it and undercut you on price?

    Maybe those two Washington University economists should spend a little time over here in China and then re-think this one.

  34. evawes says:

    Economic analysis is nearly always about trade offs. Someone is always paying, and someone is always receiving.

    With a patent and copyright system, the consumer loses out by paying higher prices. The producer gains from these high prices – typically over the patent’s life before it becomes freely available to competitors. This is about a product, like medicine. Music is a bit different I know.

    But its clearly not a really easy decision to make. We all seem to have a bias towards the producer, the inventor, even though as consumers we’re all paying higher prices for it. The links provided by the authors are trying to show that the costs are about equal to the benefits… hard to make a choice about it then.

    The other thing the study of economics is all about are incentives. Everything in the world is run by the incentives of people. What about the incentives for people to actually innovate and be productive if they don’t have any security that what they make will make money?

    Like scruffynerfherder (great name), I wanna see some hard quant analysis about where all these profits are coming from. Just because its possible for some people to make money w/o patents, doesn’t mean everyone can, who should…

    Then again, theres also the devil’s advocate, that its possible to make money from your work and from products, and patent/copyrights just make it really easy. You will notice that ALL patent/copyright products are much more expensive than competitive ones.

  35. teh_chris says:

    for all of you that worry that your stuff will be stolen by a big corporation, the fact is that it happens right now.

    if you worry about china stealing your ideas, they are doing that now with impunity, how can it get any worse?

    even if you manage to get a product to market, once you turn a profit you will be sued by a patent troll or some other IP shark and lose everything anyway.

    the due diligence you need to do to keep a new product free of ip violations makes creating something new an exercise in futility.

    with not copyright and patent laws to abuse, the cost of creating a product and bringing it to market are greatly reduced.

    the thing that you all miss is the fact that you can make way more stuff without copyright. if someone steals your idea and undercuts you on the price, then you spent too much time and money on creating it. better to reveal something early on so others can steal it and you can steal right back from them once they have added some research or creativity to it.

    the thing that all the copyright apologists cry about is that their ideas will be stolen, without regard for the value in stealing other people’s ideas as well.

    if you want to write a song, write it and give it away. when everyone steals it and sees how good your songs are, and sees that you made it first, you can use that reputation to get commissions for new projects.

    being the creator of something is a way to distinguish yourself from the competition that steals your stuff and undercuts you on price. there are a great many ways to compete that have nothing to do with price. which do you think is of better quality, the creator’s version or a chinese knockoff? who can provide better service, the creator or an imposter?

    the way to capitalize on theft is to publish your works early so others can steal your design before you have spent too much on it, then steal their improvements and put them back into your design. if no one improves on your design, then use that as a selling point when you sell your newly improved product.

    don’t take too long or spend too much when you develop something and the impact of theft is greatly reduced.

    in the case of drug trials, the FDA approval process should be changed so the cost of bringing a drug to market can be reduced.

  36. Baldhead says:

    Copyright has very little reason to extend much beyond the death of the creator- Robert E. Howard had no children, no heirs. People with no family connection to him and no creative talent make money from the fact that creators make use of the character, which is insane. Same thing with MIckey Mouse- does any relative of Walt get the money from this, or just the corporation?

    patents- well medical patents simple need to exist, although it’s clear that some companies have a major ethics gap. The amount of money charged is sometimes a bit on the higher side of extortionate. But without the chance to do it, many companies would close up their R&D departments completely. Sad but true. The scientists might still want to do it, but private funding stops altogether.

  37. reginald says:

    Copyright has value once it achieves legitimacy, by then it is too late.
    Dead artists anyone?

  38. Alessandro Cima says:

    The idea these two have of required patent seekers to prove that ‘their invention has social value’ is one of the most dangerous fascist ideas I have ever heard come out of an economist’s mouth.

    And how on earth would any human on the face of the planet be able to show that a patent would not be likely to block even more valuable innovations? Preposterous and foolish.

    I pretty sick and tired of ‘open source attention-getting.’ I would not invent a new paperclip without a patent on it.

  39. Anonymous says:

    The problem is to maximize creativity (which requires minimizing inhibition) and at the same time providing adequately reliable means of sustenance. To the extent that these goals are inherently conflicting, we need a healthy balance, and wherever we possibly can, we should aim for win-win rather than compromise.

    The answer will be some form of non-authoritarian socialism.

    Stop fighting it. Don’t be knee-jerk, think about it for a good long time, use your creativity, and research to find inspiration from others who have done the same.

  40. pra says:

    There is a double standard about monopolies…they are supposedly one natural objective of all businesses and yet when eg Microsoft achieves this position, even capitalist governments demand their punishment.

    Copyright is at least free. The patents system is a major obstacle to creative businesses because the excessive legal fees and the danger of being accused of infringement far outweigh any potential incentive.

    What sort of person will cease to share their creative output just because they aren’t guaranteed a protectionist beanfeast? http://iotd.patrickandrews.com

  41. Brother Provisional says:

    @ #2 That’s a difficult question. Songs don’t write themselves, and recording studios don’t exactly grow on trees. The easy answer to your income question is to play as many live shows as you can and always, always have merchandise to hawk. You can’t download records and t-shirts, and listening to music on crappy desktop speakers is no substitute for the experience of seeing a good live performance.

  42. Anonymous says:

    The current patent system also makes it pretty much impossible for industrial collaboration to run well, as the parties involved have to have an eye on possible IPR issues etc.

    I’m certain that many potentially useful (and profitable) innovations have not happened just because working together is too difficult.

  43. billtheburger says:

    For me this is one of those strange syncronisities.

    Last night, as i was working on my perpetual motion machine, i realised that if i gave to the world for free, which has always been my intention, some greedy idiot would just patent the idea and close down everybody who wanted to make one or charge them money.

    Then i decided that all patents should become null and void and maybe we could turn the world around without elitist ownership of ideas especially of medicines or in my case free energy.

  44. reginald says:

    billtheburger realises why everything if askew.
    the greater good my friend.

    that is why we invented RPGs

  45. SamSam says:

    @billtheburger: That’s why, in this world while we still have copyright, copyleft licenses such as Creative Commons exist. They allow you to give your perpetual motion to the world for free, while ensuring that no one else can patent your work.

  46. Rider says:

    @#10 He said songwriter not performer, not every songwriter performs.

  47. AnjaFlower says:

    #28 TARLSS – The concern I have, though is that it’s really not just a little bit of money that the little guys are liable to lose from piracy. But as I said, I’m as agnostic as anyone on this issue.

    But yeah, a copyright “success cap” sounds like the right idea. Good luck getting that passed into legislation in the USA, though!

  48. GuidoDavid says:

    The patent system has a lot of costs that are hidden, that is what they argue against in a sound way. You may agree or may not agree with them, but the arguments are far beyond silly straw men involving perpetual motion machines. They argue that patents are the heirs of Mercantilism and a form of protectionism that stifles innovation. Seeing how many shark companies use bogus

    They have a book that you can download for free:
    http://levine.sscnet.ucla.edu/general/intellectual/againstfinal.htm

    There is this article, on the Ludwig von Mises Institute’s blog (some radical left progressives, right?) that offers a bit more of insight on Boldrin and Levine’s work:

    http://blog.mises.org/archives/009391.asp

  49. Agies says:

    Assholes like this don’t know what it’s like for people in the real world. I’m not saying that some people can’t survive if they essentially give their work away for free (I’ve seen several promotions that give away free PDF copies of books) but even then they like to retain a modicum of control over their work. Atribution without modification isn’t a lot to ask but it only exists in a system that recognizes copyright.

    On the other hand we could look forward to another Stephen Foster.

  50. Bemopolis says:

    Having just watched (and thoroughly enjoyed) “Sita Sings The Blues” last night, the anti-copyright bug up my ass is squirming. While I still do not support the complete abolition of copyright argued for here (yet), I must say that I have complete contempt of them, thanks to the ridiculous extent to which they have been expanded.

    Fuck Disney and the mouse they rode in on.

  51. AnjaFlower says:

    Yes, fuck Disney and the mouse they rode in on indeed.

    I’m the first to say that copyright reform that favors small-time, new artists and takes the monopoly away from companies like Disney is exactly what film (esp. animation) needs. We have so many great animators – and even more potential animators – who are unable to produce and distribute effectively, unable to get attention, and end up having to work for companies like Disney instead. This goes for live-action indie film, as well.

    Abolishing copyright as a whole, though? Not such a good idea.

  52. hartboy says:

    @#16 –
    “Atribution without modification isn’t a lot to ask but it only exists in a system that recognizes copyright.”

    Except in the US, where attribution is not an exclusive right granted to the author of a work :)

    It’s a thought-provoking article. However, one part jumped out to me:

    granting patents only to those capable of proving that:

    • their invention has social value

    EEP! Do we really want government bureaucrats determining what inventions have “social value”?

  53. manicbassman says:

    copyright, should be a maximum period of 15 years plus one 15 year extension for a fee. If you can’t make money with it in that period then you ain’t trying hard enough.

    Software, business and what are effectively idea patents should be completely disallowed. Produce a working model of the patented item… none of that legalese rubbish, something an engineer can reproduce.

  54. escowles says:

    @ #2: the main ways performing artists make money without copyright are commissions and paid performance. So to make money as a songwriter (as opposed to a performer), you’d need people to commission you to write songs.

  55. Auto Parts for Brains says:

    Fail. This will bring in more problems than solutions. If this were to be enforced, the economy will fall. Why? Because the Chinese will replicate in a heartbeat what researchers and innovators and developers worked so hard for in years.

    I think copyright should always be there, but that the control over it be continuously evaluated. Attribution should always be respected to the people who took time to create something of worth.

  56. Gutierrez says:

    Copyright and patent reform is an important issue, but it’s just so disheartening to see the issue turned into some sort of black and white knee-jerk reaction. Corporations like Disney fighting for ridiculously long copyright terms, and conceptual patents like Worlds.com “System and method for enabling users to interact in a virtual space” mess need to be examined, but don’t kill the system. I like the idea that if I come up with something I think is useful or worth protecting that I can keep the idea from being stolen without having to be told whether someone else feels it’s worthwhile of not.

  57. bshock says:

    I’m pleased that someone with academic qualifications has actually said this in public. Now, if we could get someone with actual authority to say it, we might be getting somewhere.

    The longer it takes us to nullify the “intellectual property” meme, the more damage we will all suffer.

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