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Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 17:49 UTC (Wed) by tjc (guest, #137)
In reply to: Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture by bangert
Parent article: Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

> You must remember that copyright is a right on your works given to you by society. Society can always decide to revoke that right...

Don't stop there. If copyright is revoked, many creators stop creating, and society is made poorer. Copyright directly enriches creators, and indirectly enriches society.


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Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 18:21 UTC (Wed) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Don't count on it. History shows that even if government explicitly tries to stop creation of certain types of works they are still being created and distribute.

Now, I'm not saying that government should not help, but I'm not entirely convinced that "society is made poorer" in exchange: more then half of intellectual creations are not accessible to public right now (works which unexpired copyrights but where copyright owner is unclear. This means that if abandonment of copyright will reduce number of new works created by half it'll still be a net win long-term (and of course it'll be huge boon short-term).

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 18:53 UTC (Wed) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

The single historical instance you cite shows that some creators will continue creating under adverse circumstances, but others will pack it in at the next adverse event. Even if 90% continue, the 10% who don't will have a negative effect on society.

Where copyright comes from

Posted Jan 30, 2013 23:22 UTC (Wed) by Max.Hyre (guest, #1054) [Link]

The single historical instance you cite shows that some creators will continue creating under adverse circumstances[....]
In addition to that historical instance, consider those instances occurring from the invention of speech until 1662, when the English Parliament passed the Licensing Act, which put control of copying in the hands of the Worshipful Company of Stationers and Newspaper Makers (basically a printers' guild). In 1710 the government horned in on the deal with the Statute of Anne, generally recognized as the first copyright law.

Every work of art¹ created before 1662 was created without the monopoly of copyright. Shakespeare, Marlowe, Geoffrey Chaucer, the Venerable Bede, Julius Caesar, Strabo, Homer, Ogg the caveman—none of them restrained their creativity due to the lack of copyright.

The question is, would the “negative effect on society” of losing “the 10% who don't” [continue to create] outweigh the positive effect on society of freeing use of the arts to other creators, and freeing the citizenry from the fear of draconian punishment for innocent infringement?

Don't mistake me—copyright has its place, and I support it as originally conceived, but recent excesses lead me to question whether no copyright is better than the régime we have now.


¹ Western art, anyway. I remain in ignorance of Chinese and other practices.

Where copyright comes from

Posted Jan 31, 2013 21:36 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Don't mistake me—copyright has its place, and I support it as originally conceived, but recent excesses lead me to question whether no copyright is better than the régime we have now.

That's not even a contest. Copyright as it exist today excludes privacy rights totally. Every mail, every phone call, every interaction between two persons which involves technical means (including things like video baby monitors) must be processed by state-controlled "copyright checker". Only then can you enforce copyright as it exist today: any such venue left unchecked will make it possible to create "copyright-volator's network" and thus obviously needs to be prosecuted.

Any and all benefits from such copyright are dwarfed by the downside. How long do you think government will keep this perfect "remote silencer" used only to enforce copyright when it can be used perfectly well to silence dissident more efficiently then Great Firewall of China?

Sorry, but it's not even a contest: copyright as it exist today (when non-commercial private exchange is forbidden) does more hard then good. If any copyright is better then no copyright - that's the question. The answer is probably "yes", but we should probably cut it out from out homes, at least. Leave it where it belongs: control commercial transactions (which must be controlled anyway for tax purposes) and leave private lives alone.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 31, 2013 21:19 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Even if 90% continue, the 10% who don't will have a negative effect on society.

Not even close. Society does not benefit from e.g. books which were created once but then made unavailable. And over half if books ever created (by some estimates 70%) fall into this category (because they are not old enough to be in public domain but old enough for the question of who owns the copyright to be unanswerable). This percentage is much higher with software (see abandonware).

This means that if only 10% stop producing the negative effect will be more then compensated by access to that abandonware.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 18:54 UTC (Wed) by nybble41 (subscriber, #55106) [Link]

> If copyright is revoked, many creators stop creating, and society is made poorer. Copyright directly enriches creators, and indirectly enriches society.

You are assuming that copyright does significantly increase the number of new works created, and that the labor employed to create these extra works would not be more valuably spent on other pursuits--a common problem with subsidies. You are also ignoring the cost of copyright to society, including the cost of enforcement, the undermining of respect for the law, the impact to the government's claims of legitimacy, the loss of potential derivative works, and the loss of works whose copyright holders wish to suppress or simply fail to consider valuable enough to preserve. The cost in liberty alone is enough to render the whole enterprise a net loss.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 23:28 UTC (Wed) by tjc (guest, #137) [Link]

> You are also ignoring the cost of copyright to society, including the cost of enforcement, the undermining of respect for the law, the impact to the government's claims of legitimacy, the loss of potential derivative works, and the loss of works whose copyright holders wish to suppress or simply fail to consider valuable enough to preserve. The cost in liberty alone is enough to render the whole enterprise a net loss.

You're assuming that the "cost in liberty alone is enough to render the whole enterprise a net loss." I'm assuming that copyright is a net gain to society. Since neither one of us can gather enough data to come to a rational conclusion, we can't prove which position is right. The best we can do is compare societies that enforce copyright to those that don't, and see what kind of results that are getting, assuming that all other factors are equal (and they're not).

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 20:01 UTC (Wed) by dakas (guest, #88146) [Link]

> If copyright is revoked, many creators stop creating

Hardly. But since this would shut down an industry that has specialized on acting on behalf of the creators, ultimately the creators would spend more time, work, and worries on securing a living.

In the history of culture, copyright is a rather recent idea. It involves a transfer of rights and responsibilities, with results that are far from beneficial: hundreds of millions don't make a single popular artist more prolific or able to eat better. But they could benefit thousands of other artists. And a diverse and rich artistic background is necessary for actually growing inventive new material and expanding and developing culture.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 31, 2013 21:42 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Hardly. But since this would shut down an industry that has specialized on acting on behalf of the creators, ultimately the creators would spend more time, work, and worries on securing a living.

Somehow it works in the opposite direction with music: MP3 proliferations hit CD sales hard, but in the end "the creators" (you know, people who actually create music) have gotten bigger piece of a pie.

I'm not saying it's a sure thing, but the fact that at least in one case the result is that "creators now spend less time, work, and worries on securing a living" is telling.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 30, 2013 21:15 UTC (Wed) by jubal (subscriber, #67202) [Link]

Copyright is a relatively new idea, you know.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 31, 2013 17:01 UTC (Thu) by hummassa (subscriber, #307) [Link]

The current copyright system enriches the middlemen (content distributors) much more than the content creators.

Villa: Pushing back against licensing and the permission culture

Posted Jan 31, 2013 21:43 UTC (Thu) by khim (subscriber, #9252) [Link]

Current? It was always the case. Copyright system was created by middlemen for middlemen, after all. Authors are used as fig leaf.


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