Copyrights & Copirates

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raniE

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I do not accept the argument that the children of artists and writers deserve a legal privilege that none of the rest of us get. When I see my doctor I pay him on the spot and that's that: he gets rich and his children flourish without my having to pay repeatedly for decades. The bricklayers who built my house got paid in 1965, and it was up to them to save for their retirements and to endow their children if they wanted to. I don't go on paying rent to the children of the builder even though my house still produces accommodation services.

Writers, composers, and recording artists need a term of copyright to capture the value of their creation because we do not pay them a lump sum on publication. The term cannot be limited to their life because if it were elderly and ailing artists could not get paid. But their children, or in Tolkien's case great-gandchildren, don't have anything to do with it.



I consider my concern to be pragmatic too. Pragmatically, the current excessive term of copyright makes works unavailable to the audiences without producing royalties for the artists' children, wages for the printers, interest for the owners of the presses, or anything for anyone. Works from the 1880s are more likely to be in print than works from the 1980s. (Citations: HOW COPYRIGHT KEEPS WORKS DISAPPEARED, The Hole in Our Collective Memory: How Copyright Made Mid-Century Books Vanish).

It seems to me that the pragmatic thing to do would be to commission a study of the way that royalties income for a work tends in fact to vary over time, and then to set a term of copyright that allowed writers and artists (in general, not case-by-case) to capture 90% or 95% of the net present value (at time of publication) of expected future royalties.

While I have my ranting hat on, and before everybody realises that this is getting political, I will note Eldred v. Ashcroft is a garbage decision: an extension of the term of copyright after the work is published is too late to provide an incentive to the writer to produce the work already produced, and therefore does not promote the progress of arts and science. Congress has the power to create copyright and patent protections only to promote the progress etc.
I don’t think it’s a special privilege compared to a doctor or a bricklayer, the difference is that a creator has an entirely different income scheme than a bricklayer or a doctor. They’re paid constantly, a novelist or a painter almost certainly isn’t.
 

Agemegos

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Thy could still license them the same as if they were not "ailing"

How does that differ from a sale or other transfer?

If I can grant an exclusive, non-revocable licence for the whole term of the copyright of a work, wht difference does it make that I can't sell it?
lol, what?

"do you have any intangible assets Mr. Bildenrung?"
"well, I have this great idea for a superhero lawyer named Justin Case"

Copyright does not subsist in ideas, but in works.

"Do you have any assets, M. Bildenrung?"

"I have seven books in print, with terms of 14 to 19 years to run on their copyright. In the last financial year they brought in royalties of…."

Such an asset can be used as security just as easily as it can be sold.

The only reason the property would have value to be used as security for borrowing is if they had already generated income. An ailing an elderly "creator" who is coming up with idea that they are 1) not doing anything with or 2) not licensing out, has nothing of value.

An elderly or ailing creator who has a manuscript read to go the editor can get an advance if their rights will survive their death and can be transferred before their death, but not otherwise. An elderly or ailing creator who has works in print can get cash for immediate needs if they can transfer those rights to another person — a publisher, say — who gets to exercise them after the creator's death.

If the rights can only be exercised by the creator in person and cannot be sold, transferred, or bequeathed, then they become worthless on the creator's death and a worth less if the death is likely imminent.

So the properties don't just end up abandoned but unuseable - y'know like a HUGE percentage of copyrights over the last century

It's not renewability that would prevent that, but a short term.

Besides, under you suggestion, if I wrote a book and licensed publication to a publisher, then died, the rights to adapt the work to a comic, RPG, and movie would be unusable for twenty years because I couldn't transfer residual rights by bequest or intestate succession.

If I wrote a book and died before I signed the licence it would be unusable for twenty years because my rights would not be transferrable to my heir or heirs either by bequest or intestate succession.

But apart from that, I would be able to create all the real effects of a sale by issuing an exclusive, non-revokable licence for the term of the copyright in exchange for a lump sum.

So what would non-transferrabliity of copyright achieve that you want?

The original copyright terms were 14 years. And then these got extended to 14 years plus renewable once - I think my proposition is much more generous than that.
14 years plus renewal for 14 goes back to the Statute of Anne in 1710, which as far as I know was the original copyright law.
 
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raniE

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How does that differ from a sale or other transfer?


Copyright does not subsist in ideas, but in works.

"Do you have any assets, M. Bildenrung?"

"I have seven books in print, with terms of 14 to 19 years to run on their copyright. In the last financial year that brought in royalties of…."

Such an asset can be used as security just as easily as it can be sold.



An elderly or ailing creator who has a manuscript read to go the editor can get an advance if their rights will survive their death and can be transferred before their death, but not otherwise. An elderly or ailing creator who has works in print can get cash for immediate needs if they can transfer those rights to another person — a publisher, say — who gets to exercise them after the creator's death.

If the rights can only be exercised by the creator in person and cannot be sold, transferred, or bequeathed then they become worthless on the creator's death and a worth less if the death is likely imminent.



It's not renewability that would prevent that, but a short term.


14 years plus renewal for 14 goes back to the Statute of Anne in 1710, which as far as I know was the original copyright law.
I think copyright should always be tied to a person, never a corporation, and only transferable in the case of the death of the author, and then still only to actual humans, not to corporations or trusts or any other organizations.
 

Zebraman

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The original point of Copyright laws from the 18th century was to encourage creativity not stifle it by allowing authors to profit from their work and thereby make it worthwhile to produce the work in the first place. However that doesn't mean the laws were or should be designed to maximise and ring out every last pound or dollar or create monopolies that last in perpetuity. I think about 15 years is sufficient to encourage an artist to create a work and make a decent profit from it.
 

Voros

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The original point of Copyright laws from the 18th century was to encourage creativity not stifle it by allowing authors to profit from their work and thereby make it worthwhile to produce the work in the first place. However that doesn't mean the laws were or should be designed to maximise and ring out every last pound or dollar or create monopolies that last in perpetuity. I think about 15 years is sufficient to encourage an artist to create a work and make a decent profit from it.

I think that timeline is too stingy, under those terms Tolkien wouldn't have made a dime when LotR had its big boom in the 60s.
 

Agemegos

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I think copyright should always be tied to a person, never a corporation, and only transferable in the case of the death of the author, and then still only to actual humans, not to corporations or trusts or any other organizations.
Okay. May I ask why?

The effect of your suggestion would be that an author would not be able in any way to get cash now in exchange for royalties to come. And elderly or ailing author would not be able to get cash during his or her lifetime instead of having royalties paid to his or her heir. Why do you want that?
 

Zebraman

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I think that timeline is too stingy, under those terms Tolkien wouldn't have made a dime when LotR had its big boom in the 60s.

Its a fair point but playing Devils Advocate, Tolkien is the exception that proves the rule because he would have written the LoTR anyway as it wasn't a commercial venture in the first place.
 
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Agemegos

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I think that timeline is too stingy, under those terms Tolkien wouldn't have made a dime when LotR had its big boom in the 60s.
No other writer of 1954 got a windfall in the Seventies and quarter of a billion in 2020 either. That was totally unexpected. And as Zebraman points out, the returns (financial and otherwise) that Tolkien and his publishers expected in 1953 were adequate to get The Lord of the Rings published. A twenty-year or twenty-five-year term of copyright would have been enough to do the job.
 
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Zebraman

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Another thought occurs to me and this is just spit balling but it would be perfectly possible to separate artistic works and mass produced merchandise in terms of copyright. For example artistic works may have a copyright of 15 years to encourage new work while also allowing some profit. Mass produced merchandise from the original work could have a much longer IP protection. That way new artists can produce new stories but George Lucas or Tolkien or whoever could still profit from the toys and tat that surrounds it.
 

TristramEvans

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Copyright does not subsist in ideas, but in works.

"Do you have any assets, M. Bildenrung?"

"I have seven books in print, with terms of 14 to 19 years to run on their copyright. In the last financial year they brought in royalties of…."

Such an asset can be used as security just as easily as it can be sold.

So yeah...exactly my point.


An elderly or ailing creator who has a manuscript read to go the editor can get an advance if their rights will survive their death and can be transferred before their death, but not otherwise. An elderly or ailing creator who has works in print can get cash for immediate needs if they can transfer those rights to another person — a publisher, say — who gets to exercise them after the creator's death.

Yes, and this would do away with that. However, an elderly or ailing creator can sell their manuscript to an editor who then publishes it before they pass and gets the advantage of first to market and exclusive publishing rights until the creator passes.


If the rights can only be exercised by the creator in person and cannot be sold, transferred, or bequeathed, then they become worthless on the creator's death and a worth less if the death is likely imminent.

Yes. In which case, the person "whose death is imminent" can't spend the money anyways, so this example is both an absurd edge case and pointless.




It's not renewability that would prevent that, but a short term.

Let's look to the example of Siegal and Shuster. Their unscrupulous publisher (what would eventually become DC, and later a subsidiary of Warner Brothers) convinces them, before heading off to serve in WW2, t sell the rights to Superman in order to allow the comics to continue to be published and the character licensed in the meantime, with the agreement that the rights would be returned to them after they returned from the war. They return from the war, their editor reneges on the promise, and in court it's found that the terms of the sale don't preclude this clause, so they are SOL.

Now, instead with non-transferrable rights, they instead give a license to "DC". Even if the license is in perpetuity up to the expiry of the copyright, when the copyright runs out in 20 years time from Superman's first published appearance, "DC" is not able to renew the copyright - the license is automatically expired, and if S&S renew the copyright, all rights return to them and DC has to solicit a new license from the original creators.

Besides, under you suggestion, if I write a book and license publication to a publisher, then die, the rights to adapt the work to a comic, RPG, and movie are unusable for fourteen years because I can't transfer residual rights by bequest or intestate succession.

Um, no, not under my suggestion, which is stipulated as "during the creator's lifetime". So, upon the creator's death, it would enter into the public domain.
 

urbwar

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Wait, is Holmes not public domain in the US yet? It has been here since 2000. (And that was with a controversial 20 year extension).
All but the last stories are. However, the rights holders are quick to litigate. They did so a few times, and lost a few times. The last time they went after someone, it was Netflix over the first Enola Holmes movie (because Sherlock showed emotion, something he supposedly doesn't do in most of the original fiction)
 

TristramEvans

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All but the last stories are. However, the rights holders are quick to litigate. They did so a few times, and lost a few times. The last time they went after someone, it was Netflix over the first Enola Holmes movie (because Sherlock showed emotion, something he supposedly doesn't do in most of the original fiction)

Yeah, I remember their argument too, which was based on the premise that "the later stories are essential to developing the character of Holmes, so since they are still under copyright, Holmes as a character should be considered , in total, under copyright"

If I'd been a judge in that case I would have laughed them out of court for that bullshit.
 

urbwar

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I think most countries are life + 70 years but the US is life + 95.

I was just looking into Conan and it seems, as far I can tell, to be public domain everywhere except the US.
No, it's life +70 for most works. Work for hire and pseudonymous works is 95 years from first publication (or 120 from creation)

Due to the Bono act, Conan is not PD in the US yet. The first story came out in 1932 in Weird Tales. At this point in time, works through 1926 are Public Domain in the US, and works from 1927 will become public domain on January 1t of 2023. The first Conan story will become public domain in 2028, the next 5 in 2029, and so on.
 

TJS

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No, it's life +70 for most works. Work for hire and pseudonymous works is 95 years from first publication (or 120 from creation)

Due to the Bono act, Conan is not PD in the US yet. The first story came out in 1932 in Weird Tales. At this point in time, works through 1926 are Public Domain in the US, and works from 1927 will become public domain on January 1t of 2023. The first Conan story will become public domain in 2028, the next 5 in 2029, and so on.
So is Conan work for hire or pseudonymous?
 

urbwar

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So if somebody wrote a Conan story in Australia, for instance, they could do so but not actually promote the fact that they wrote a Conan story because the trademark is held by someone else?
A French company has been doing comic adaptations of the Conan stories. Ablaze in the US got the translation rights. They call the comic "The Cimmerian" to avoid violating any trademarks. I also don't recall him being called Conan in the translations (I've read the first 2 or 3 stories before Comixology went to crap)
 

raniE

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Okay. May I ask why?

The effect of your suggestion would be that an author would not be able in any way to get cash now in exchange for royalties to come. And elderly or ailing author would not be able to get cash during his or her lifetime instead of having royalties paid to his or her heir. Why do you want that?
Sure, but it might get political.

First, I believe you have a duty toward your heirs. Incidentally, the laws of my country agree with me on this, you cannot disinherit your children or their direct descendants regardless of what your will says, direct descendants are always legally entitled to at least 50% of your assets when you die (except children you have with your current spouse, if you have no will in that case, the inheritance goes through the other parent first).

Secondly, I believe that this would simply become standard practice for corporations, not just with elderly creators, and I don’t want corporations to be able to hold any copyrights.
 

Agemegos

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So yeah...exactly my point.

No. The opposite of your point.

The owner of a transferrable right to future revenue can sell that right or borrow against it, even if the revenue will accrue after their deaths. If the right isn't transferrable they can't.

Yes, and this would do away with that. However, an elderly or ailing creator can sell their manuscript to an editor who then publishes it before they pass and gets the advantage of first to market and exclusive publishing rights until the creator passes.

That is a transferral of the copyright from the author to the publisher.

You proposed that copyright not be transferrable.

Let's look to the example of Siegal and Shuster. Their unscrupulous publisher (what would eventually become DC, and later a subsidiary of Warner Brothers) convinces them, before heading off to serve in WW2, t sell the rights to Superman in order to allow the comics to continue to be published and the character licensed in the meantime, with the agreement that the rights would be returned to them after they returned from the war. They return from the war, their editor reneges on the promise, and in court it's found that the terms of the sale don't preclude this clause, so they are SOL.

Yes. And if the unscruplous agent had proferred a licence with a restrictive revocation clause instead the effect would have been the same.

Now, instead with non-transferrable rights, they instead give a license to "DC". Even if the license is in perpetuity up to the expiry of the copyright, when the copyright runs out in 20 years time from Superman's first published appearance, "DC" is not able to renew the copyright - the license is automatically expired, and if S&S renew the copyright, all rights return to them and DC has to solicit a new license from the original creators.
So is the purpose of this to provide that creators can only get screwed out of the first twenty years of their royalties?

For almost all writers, that's all there is.

Um, no, not under my suggestion, which is stipulated as "during the creator's lifetime". So, upon the creator's death, it would enter into the public domain.
So if I were a writer with cancer no publisher would give me a plugged nickel for my latest manuscript?
 

TJS

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The thing about corporations not holding copyright (which I'm sympathetic to) is that it would create all sorts of problems.

Who holds the copyright to a movie? Is it held jointly by all the people who worked on it? Just the director and the screenwriter? Just the director? How does it get funded?
 

urbwar

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So is Conan work for hire or pseudonymous?
That I could not say with any certainty. I know from researching renewals on stories by other authors in Weird Tales, that some authors renewed the copyrights themselves. Clark Ashton Smith and Robert Bloch did, which is why those works are not public domain. Others did not. Some clam those stories fell into the public domain already, but there is a company that holds trademark and copyright claims on his work. It gets worse because each time stories get printed in a book, it creates a new copyright for that version of the story. So the versions Lin Carter edited are under a different copyright than the original Weird Tales versions, etc. Not being a legal expert, that's the extent of what I know
 

urbwar

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The original point of Copyright laws from the 18th century was to encourage creativity not stifle it by allowing authors to profit from their work and thereby make it worthwhile to produce the work in the first place. However that doesn't mean the laws were or should be designed to maximise and ring out every last pound or dollar or create monopolies that last in perpetuity. I think about 15 years is sufficient to encourage an artist to create a work and make a decent profit from it.
It was 28 years back in the early 20th century (which isn't that long). A lot of the early Weird Tales stories were due for renewal in the mid-50's.

There was also the fact that if you didn't include a proper copyright notice, a work would immediately fall into the public domain. This is how all the Charlton comics characters now owned by DC became PD. None of those comics had a proper copyright notice in them, so people could legally make comics that feature Captain Atom, Blue Beetle, Peacemaker, Nightshade and The Question in them. Trademark prevents people from using the names on the cover or in advertising, and Warner could (and likely would) send a C&D or sue (because they have money and most people who would use the characters don't), but legally, the Charlton versions are in the public domain.
 

raniE

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The thing about corporations not holding copyright (which I'm sympathetic to) is that it would create all sorts of problems.

Who holds the copyright to a movie? Is it held jointly by all the people who worked on it? Just the director and the screenwriter? Just the director? How does it get funded?
The screenwriter(s) should have copyright over the script. Original music copyright to the composer(s), costume design copyright to the costume designer, etc. For the finished product, probably the director, but I’m not adamant on that. How it gets funded? Probably by a company (studio) that will distribute it for a cut of the grosses and a time-limited exclusive distribution contract.

This might completely upend the current film and television production system. Good.
 

Agemegos

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There was also the fact that if you didn't include a proper copyright notice, a work would immediately fall into the public domain.
In the USA, between 1802 and 1989.
 

TristramEvans

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No. The opposite of your point.

No, that was exactly my point - there is no elderly ailing "creator" who is creating a copyright on their deathbed that has value to be used as security against a loan. They'd have to have already produced a product, before they were about to die and thus already made the money off of bringing that to market.


The owner of a transferrable right to future revenue can sell that right or borrow against it, even if the revenue will accrue after their deaths. If the right isn't transferrable they can't.

Darn, guess this imaginary extreme edge case wouldn't work out for them. They'll have to come up with another plan to get some cash while dying.


That is a transferral of the copyright from the author to the publisher.

You proposed that copyright not be transferrable.

Disney owns Spider-man.
Hasbro got a license through Disney to produce, sell and prmote Spider-man toys.
Hasbro does not have legal ownership of the Spider-man IP.

"licensing" really isn't this difficult a concept.



Yes. And if the unscruplous agent had proferred a licence with a restrictive revocation clause instead the effect would have been the same.

No.


So is the purpose of this to provide that creators can only get screwed out of the first twenty years of their royalties?

For almost all writers, that's all there is.

How much money do you think Superman has made for DC after 1961?


So if I were a writer with cancer no publisher would give me a plugged nickel for my latest manuscript?

Only if they wanted to publish it. Do you think , for some reason, the work falling into the public domain would somehow curtail the original sales of the book or remove the advantage of being first to market?
 

Agemegos

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No, that was exactly my point - there is no elderly ailing "creator" who is creating a copyright on their deathbed that has value to be used as security against a loan. They'd have to have already produced a product, before they were about to die and thus already made the money off of bringing that to market.

Under your proposal, the money that a creator would make from bringing a work to market would trickle over twenty or forty years. A creator who expected to live for forty years more would expect to get it all in due course, but a creator who expects to die in, say, five years would not. A young healthy writer with an expectancy of future life amounting to more than forty years would receive more royalties for the same work (over time) than an octogenarian or a writer with cancer.

When the copyright term persists for a significant time after or regardless of the author's death, the rights remain valuable even if the author is expected to die within a few years, because they allow the person who owns the rights to monopolise sales of copies of the work and charge a premium over the costs of reproduction and distribution. But if the rights are limited to the life of the author or to a short term after that, they are expected to expire soon, and therefore not last for long, and therefore to afford less opportunity to accumulate royalties. Under such arrangements the rights of any author whose life expectancy is less than the copyright term are worth less than those of a young healthy author. No buyer or licensee would pay as much for a copyright expected to continue for four years as for one expected to continue for forty.

If copyright is transferrable then an author can either wait to collect royalties, or can sell the copyright, exchanging future royalties that might accrue after their death for cash now that they can spend in their lifetime.

So, if copyright is transferrable and if its term is either long or regardless of the life of the author, an author with a short life expectancy can sell it for a considerable sum, and thus continue to make decent money out of writing. But if copyright is not transferrable, or is limited to the lifetime of the author, then as the writer's expectancy of further life falls below the term of copyright (or average life expectancy for a young adult, if that is longer) so the amount of money that he or she can make by continuing to write falls in proportion. Someone who on account of age or illness expects to live only another five of six years cannot get as much either as royalties or by sale of copyright if his or her copyright will expire on death or if he or she cannot sell it. This would create hardship for an aging or ailing writer, unless they were independently wealthy.

I'm not very clear about your proposal. You want to make copyright persist after the death of the author, but be non-transferrable, so that after the author's death the exclusive right to make copies and derivative works still existed, but was only exercisable under a licence that had been granted before the writer's death, unless they hadn't been licensed to anyone in which case they would lapse. So that the licensee of the original work had to pay licence fees to the heirs of the author, but creators of a derivative work did not.

You seem to want to prevent authors from selling, donating, bequeathing, or granting their copyright, but you want them to be able to license it on terms that are equivalent to sale for all practical purposes.

And then these is something about a publisher being able to establish copyright in the works of a dead author, which you haven't explained.


How much money do you think Superman has made for DC after 1961?

Far too much. I think the copyright in Superman ought to have lapsed in about then.

Only if they wanted to publish it.
If they want to publish it they will pay me only for the present value of the price premium that they will get while my rights persist. After my rights lapse they'll have to compete with Dover and the spiritual heirs of David Wollheim: that's not an opportunity worth paying for.
 

TristramEvans

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Under your proposal, the money that a creator would make from bringing a work to market would trickle over twenty or forty years.

Yes, under my proposal, there would not be an (exclusive) continuing trickle of money after the creator's death to be accumulated by people other than the creator.

People would have to add unique value to something that is in the public domain to profit of it, in the same way , for example, publishers now continue to make a profit off of works that are in the public domain, generally through added quality distinguishing them from (I think you mentioned Dover at one point). There is a reason, for example, I was willing to shell out $150 for a copy of Tristram Shandy from the Franklin Mint when I could have paid $2.99 for the Dover paperback or just printed it off of a pdf from the Guttenberg project.

You seem to want to prevent authors from selling, donating, bequeathing, or granting their copyright, but you want them to be able to license it on terms that are equivalent to sale for all practical purposes.

Yes. That's what I want.


And then these is something about a publisher being able to establish copyright in the works of a dead author, which you haven't explained.

I don't know what you're referencing.



Far too much. I think the copyright in Superman ought to have lapsed in about then.

So you want copyright to end in 20 years, no renewels. OK. That's obviously harsher than my position, that would allow creators to continue to benefit over the course of their life (assuming that it's longer than 20 years), but as copyright is a relatively modern invention, I place no ethical weight on it as a concept, so if someone said "abolish copyright completely", I'd be like "sure" (while being somewhat suspicious of it's practicality)

If they want to publish it they will pay me only for the present value of the price premium that they will get while my rights persist. After my rights lapse they'll have to compete with Dover and the spiritual heirs of David Wollheim: that's not an opportunity worth paying for.

I'm not sure that's necessarily true, the first to market advantage is significant, especially in those industries where profits are front-loaded, but even in the cases where it wasn't...OK. So someone on their deathbed or near death can't, at that point in their life, leverage a creation for an advance. I'm fine with that as a consequence of a system that will, 99.9% of the time, disallow the majority of copyright abuses against creators over the last century.
 
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TJS

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...So it turns out that the motive for George Lucas's murder was a fan who really really wanted to publish his handdrawn comic book sequel to the Christmas special.
 
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TristramEvans

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...So it turns out that the motive George Lucas's murder was a fan who really really wanted to publish his handdrawn comic book sequel to the Christmas special.

The Further Adventures of Lumpy ?
 

raniE

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Yes, under my proposal, there would not be an (exclusive) continuing trickle of money after the creator's death to be accumulated by people other than the creator.
I think that is not ok, simply because a creator may make something that becomes immensely popular, die almost immediately after creating it and thus their children are screwed out of being taken care of from the profit of this work. A strictly time limited copyright term disconnected from the life of the author but only transferable on death will ensure that a creator’s children can be taken care of by then even after their death, but will note the creator rest on their laurels after one work. This to me seems like a good way to encourage creation as “will my kids be taken care of” is typically a big motivation for why people do the work they do.
 

TristramEvans

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I think that is not ok, simply because a creator may make something that becomes immensely popular, die almost immediately after creating it and thus their children are screwed out of being taken care of from the profit of this work.

Well, you say the children are "screwed out f", but I don't believe that is something the children are owed. As I stated earlier, copyright is not a concept I attach any ethical value to - human civilization went thousands of years without the concept of copyright. So the idea that anyone is entitled to benefit from it, or are "getting screwed" by not being able to take advantage of it simply doesn't map to my perspective.
 

raniE

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Well, you say the children are "screwed out f", but I don't believe that is something the children are owed. As I stated earlier, copyright is not a concept I attach any ethical value to - human civilization went thousands of years without the concept of copyright. So the idea that anyone is entitled to benefit from it, or are "getting screwed" by not being able to take advantage of it simply doesn't map to my perspective.
I do, because I believe parents have a responsibility to their children, as they chose to create them. Any income or similar benefit that would come to a parent, regardless of input, should therefore go to their children if the parent is dead. Does the author have to do anything to keep those royalty checks flowing while alive? No? Then the kids should benefit just as if the author had been alive.
 

Zebraman

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Well, you say the children are "screwed out f", but I don't believe that is something the children are owed. As I stated earlier, copyright is not a concept I attach any ethical value to - human civilization went thousands of years without the concept of copyright. So the idea that anyone is entitled to benefit from it, or are "getting screwed" by not being able to take advantage of it simply doesn't map to my perspective.

I basically agree with your position regarding the family of artists/authors with the caveat that from a practical point of view if it encourages new work to be created it should be taken into account by legislators

From a more theoretical point of view and this is a slightly tangential quibble but I don't entirely agree with the idea that because copyright is a relatively new thing it has less or no ethical component. Only because for thousands of years it was essentially impossible to breach copyright in a way a modern person would understand; Before the printing press there was neither the tools to do this to any great extent or the literary tradition to assign characters or works to individual authors. For the most part stories were retellings of already known tales.

More or less as soon as works did start being assigned to individual authors, and mass produced copying was possible then copyright laws and ethics started being discussed.
 

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I don't know what you're referencing.
Post #50: "Yes, and this would do away with that. However, an elderly or ailing creator can sell their manuscript to an editor who then publishes it before they pass and gets the advantage of first to market and exclusive publishing rights until the creator passes."

So you want copyright to end in 20 years, no renewels.

About that. I'd have to do some research into how common long tails are and how long they tend to be in practice, such as I described in post #14.

OK. That's obviously harsher than my position, that would allow creators to continue to benefit over the course of their life (assuming that it's longer than 20 years),

The fundamental difference is, I suppose, that I think the law ought to be made to benefit the community, not to benefit creators (short, that is, of screwing the creators). Copyright restrictions on our freedoms for expression are a price that we pay in order to have creators make fresh content for us and enrich the public domain, and I don't think that we ought to pay more for it than is necessary to achieve our goal and keep hard-working creators in decent comfort.

but as copyright is a relatively modern invention, I place no ethical weight on it as a concept, so if someone said "abolish copyright completely", I'd be like "sure" (while being somewhat suspicious of it's practicality)

Right. Copyright is the creation of the law, and the law ought to be made for the common good of all. Not to create a small class of super-rich lottery winners.

I'm not sure that's necessarily true, the first to market advantage is significant, especially in those industries where profits are front-loaded, but even in the cases where it wasn't...OK.

We know that in a time before copyright Shakespeare and Beethoven could not make a living by licensing publication of their works despite first-mover advantage, that Jules Verne and George Méliès got screwed by copyright pirates who moved first into the most lucrative market. The absolute butcher's job that the American translators did on the works of Verne in trying to get first-mover advantage screwed both Verne and generations of English-speaking science fiction readers.

So someone on their deathbed or near death can't, at that point in their life, leverage a creation for an advance. I'm fine with that as a consequence of a system that will, 99.9% of the time, disallow the majority of copyright abuses against creators over the last century.
The shadow of the future is longer than you allow for, and a great many creators have left work all but finished when they died. Mozart was not effectually protected by copyright at all — he composed his Requiem on demeaning terms of patronage. If he had depended on royalties-during-life he could not have composed it at all. He'd have starved as soon as he became too ill to perform.
 
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Agemegos

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I do, because I believe parents have a responsibility to their children, as they chose to create them. Any income or similar benefit that would come to a parent, regardless of input, should therefore go to their children if the parent is dead. Does the author have to do anything to keep those royalty checks flowing while alive? No? Then the kids should benefit just as if the author had been alive.
Do you believe that landowners ought to be unable to sell their land, and obliged to retain it as a patrimony for their children?
 

TristramEvans

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I do, because I believe parents have a responsibility to their children, as they chose to create them. Any income or similar benefit that would come to a parent, regardless of input, should therefore go to their children if the parent is dead.

OK, I would suggest that it is possible to simultaneously hold this view and at the same time recognize that copyright, or control over an IP, is not, in and of itself a form of income, and unrelated to the legacy one leaves to one's children, rather that any inheritance would be of the manner of income generated by the work during the creator's lifetime. But otherwise, we can simply disagree on the notion.
 

raniE

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Do you believe that landowners ought to be unable to sell their land, and obliged to retain it as a patrimony for their children?
I wouldn’t be opposed to that idea on the face of it, no. Adult children should probably get a say in the matter, if they agree to sell, go for it.
 

TristramEvans

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Post #50: "Yes, and this would do away with that. However, an elderly or ailing creator can sell their manuscript to an editor who then publishes it before they pass and gets the advantage of first to market and exclusive publishing rights until the creator passes."

Hmm, I'm not seeing any relation there to the notion ""something about a publisher being able to establish copyright in the works of a dead author"
 

raniE

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Yeah, it’s basically impossible to discuss what people think should happen to copyright without getting very political, because it is intrinsically tied to the ideas you have about different economic and political systems.
 
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