Is it Time to Reform Copyright?
I'm mainly referring to American copyright laws, but I'm still interested in input from non-Americans
There's been a flurry of recent postings of material calling for reforming copyright laws recently by libertarian organizations like the CATO Institute and Reason Magazine. I'd like the opinions of fellow open source enthusiasts. Here's some articles that discuss the issue:
Here's the lead essay that the previous link mentions. I recommend reading it.
In case anyone is unaware, the Cato Institute has made legal briefs to both the Appellate Courts and the Supreme Court against both patent and copyright abuses. They have also stood up for open source in their scholarly works.
I think will be good a reform, don't only on what is possible made patent and copyright, but even for reduce their period of validity and add the impossibility to add legal action after a long time a certain product is used without complain.
Basically I am referring to situations in which the producers of certain technologies, do nothing for a sufficient period on certain their solution, until their will spread, and subsequently proceedings with lawsuits.
Should be obvious to anyone that the current laws hinder the innovation and are intended only for the benefit of the big oligopolies.
The same political representatives given the pressure taken from lobbies and some elements corrupted do nothing.
For me the only difference between USA and Europe is that on the USA is made more clear that the lobby are present, and is said clearly about the funding that they give at the parties while on Europe will pretend that does not exist.
And if we want speak even about the antitrust about the many improper behavior from the oligopolists, the European antitrust have proved be several times to be more efficient than the equivalent American to punish wrong doing but if the problem is not solved at the root, such interventions, are not very effective and always late.
Also often the fines are much lower amount of the gains improperly made.
Last edited by alelinuxbsd; 01-10-2013 at 04:16 AM.
Yes. Yes, it is.
Copyright protection should be scaled back to at most 20 years from publication. Berne convention should be repealed. The patent system should be abolished entirely, or at the very least patent protection should be scaled down to about 5 years and software patents banned altogether. Noncommercial file sharing should be legalized entirely.
All this needs to happen globally. As soon as possible, please.
Well, for anyone who didn't read the articles, copyright is declared a construct of regulation, not a part of a free market. It also says that modern patent law should be unconstitutional because it is no longer used only to the extent that it improves the public good.
The proposed compromise that everyone should agree upon (including special interests) is no longer recognizing orphan works because no one benefits from the recognition of orphan works' copyrights.
The former RSC committeeman's proposed relatively perfect solution would be to dramatically cut the maximum duration of copyright back down to 14 years with the possibility of another 14 year extension if the copyright is actively in use (as opposed to no longer marketed video games). They copyright would immediately expire upon the death of the copyright holder. If there's ever a time that the copyright is no longer in use, it would expire. Also, only works that are intentionally copyrighted would be copyrighted. That is not to say there wouldn't be protections to people stealing other people's work. Fraud laws could be used to protect against that. He calls for the disentanglement of the USA from intellectual property rights treaties. He also, and perhaps most beneficial to LInux, calls for the repeal of laws against DRM and encryption circumvention. He even adds that many of the things that copyrights are used for should no longer be allowed to be copyrighted because it doesn't encourage innovation or if it does, it's less than the opportunity cost of allowing copyrights there (Linux and the software market might be an excellent example and yes I know the GPL part of it complicates it, but you know what I mean).
Last edited by Prescience500; 01-10-2013 at 06:51 PM.
Interestingly, America's original patent's only lasted a 7 years at most. At the time, Americans were outraged at the infringement on the free market and personal liberty that it caused. It's amazing how things have changed when the people who claim to support free markets support such interventions as 20 year patents and 100+ year copyrights.
Originally Posted by dee.
Well, I may not know much not living there but from where I'm sitting America's political landscape looks like a mess. The entire system is so tangled with the two-party system that any opposing viewpoints that deviate from the mono-party-masquerading-as-dual's party line is political suicide. You need tons of money to get elected. To get tons of money you need to get deals with corporations. To get those deals you need to sign up to either of the two parties. And so on... it doesn't help all the mainstream media is totally controlled by either of the mainstream parties. There's simply no way for any third party to get a foothold. And what this amounts to is increased populism, polarization of views and patriotism on steroids. Everything can be justified when it's about "protecting" something or other, possibly from terrorists.
Originally Posted by Prescience500
So now, the copyright mafia has all the weapons they need to control the political landscape to their benefit. It's not like they have a choice, because they represent companies whose business models are non-sustainable in a free market, they need the regulatory advantage and government subsidies to even survive. And luckily for them the game is easy for them - they have experience of manipulating people by appealing to emotions. After all that's what the entertainment industry is all about. Children are in danger! Pedophiles! The internet needs more censorship. People are sharing files! On the internet! Well, label them as thieves and appeal to all the poor artists who lose money. It's all about putting a spin on it, and doing it in sufficiently small steps that people won't notice or care - every step seems like a reasonable "compromise" at the time, as long as it's justified with fearmongering and lies.
It's not much better here in Europe, though. We may have repealed ACTA but then we dropped the ball on the unitary patent... and increasingly, the same kind of politics that are used in the US seem to be spreading over here. Corporate lobbying, secret deals and trade agreements with no transparency or public input... on the bright side, we have the Pirate Party.
Polarized? Many people say that, but if you ask me, it's just a lot of posturing. The Republican Party wants EXACTLY the same things the Democrats want and visa versa. There are some myths in what you said though...People do not need mega dollars to win office or support of politicians or corporations. Those are only necessary if you're trying to leap frog from non-political to senator or run for president. That's not a requirement if you work your way up though. The two parties are not left and right as many like to think, but are really closer to the European style coalitions. The Republican Party, before Bush, was a coalition of libertarians, conservatives, and centrists. Now, it's a coalition of conservatives, statists, and centrists, with libertarians recently regaining a foothold. The Democratic Party has been a coalition of statists, liberals, and centrists for most of the 1900's and onward. The power is determined by who is active and who shows up to party meetings and who participates. The problem is that the people participating are the people who have a vested interest, people with special interests or who simply crave power. There's been some progress recently with the Republican Party because people are just so pissed that they are becoming more active. I suspect that the same will happen in the Democratic Party will start doing the same at some point. It would certainly help if the mainstream media would actually do their job and not for the Party establishments, just so that they can get prime interviews and what not.