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Professor Wins $240K In Fair Use Dispute

kdawson posted more than 4 years ago | from the happy-bloomsday dept.

Books 150

pickens writes "In a victory for Fair Use, Stanford Law School's Fair Use Project has announced that the estate of 20th century literary giant James Joyce, author of the landmark novel Ulysses, has agreed to pay $240,000 in attorneys' fees to Stanford University Consulting Professor Carol Shloss and her counsel in connection with Shloss's lawsuit to establish her right to use copyrighted material in her scholarship on the literary work of James Joyce. When Shloss used copyrighted materials in her biography of Joyce's daughter Lucia, titled Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake, she had to excise a substantial amount of source material from the book in response to threats from the Joyce Estate. However following publication of the book, Shloss sued the Estate to establish her right to publish the excised material. The parties reached a settlement regarding the issue in 2007, permitting the publication of the copyrighted material in the US. Following the settlement, Shloss asked the Court to order the Estate to pay attorneys' fees of more than $400,000. She has now agreed to accept an immediate payment of $240,000 in return for the dismissal of the Estate's appeal. 'This case shows there are solutions to the problem Carol Shloss faced other than simple capitulation,' says Fair Use Project Executive Director Anthony Falzone, who led the litigation team."

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First. (1, Offtopic)

Luke727 (547923) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584323)

First. Deal with it.

Re:First. (0, Offtopic)

interkin3tic (1469267) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584609)

Was that "stream of consciousness" or just trolling?

Let's see... off-topic, pointless, annoying, mind-numbingly stupid, a waste of time, pretentious, and made me want to kill. Yup: must be stream of consciousness.

Re:First. (-1, Offtopic)

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More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (5, Informative)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584355)

When Shloss used copyrighted materials in her biography of Joyce's daughter Lucia, titled Lucia Joyce: To Dance in the Wake, she had to excise a substantial amount of source material from the book in response to threats from the Joyce Estate.

Copyright was used to get the material out of the book but was that the motive? I know little of Lucia Joyce despite being a big fan of James Joyce. And a lot of what was in the New Yorker's well written lengthy article was news to me. At the bottom of the second page they state that Carol Shloss believes Lucia's insanity and mental instability was mishandled or even cruelly worsened by many actions. And that as Joyce worked tirelessly to finish Finnegan's Wake, he had to rely on others and institutions to take care of his delicate daughter. Shloss concludes that Lucia was a price paid for one of the greatest books written. And then the interesting part:

But, as Shloss tells it, the silencing of Lucia went further than that. Her story was erased. After Joyce's death, many of his friends and relatives, in order to cover over this sad (and reputation-beclouding) episode, destroyed Lucia's letters, together with Joyce's letters to and about her. Shloss says that Giorgio's son, Stephen Joyce, actually removed letters from a public collection in the National Library of Ireland. When Brenda Maddox's biography of Nora was in galleys, Maddox was required to delete her epilogue on Lucia in return for permission to quote various Joyce materials.

Shloss claims go so far as to state that Lucia was a pioneering artist squashed and erased from history by her relatives. The New Yorker sounds dubious to Shloss' claims and she has little evidence. It's possible that the Joyce Estate would rather keep Lucia under wraps and un-speculated about ... and the only route they had to suppress this work was copyright. I do not think censorship is copyright's intended use and that may very well be why this case failed. Although it's often misused like this, this in no way seems to have any motivation to protect the original copyright holder and their designated livelihood from their art.

Would you think less of Joyce if you agreed that he sacrificed the mental stability and well being of his daughter to complete a novel? Would you think less of him if it was confirmed that he had contracted syphilis or that that is what caused him to go blind? Or that he wrote dirty letters to his wife? All these things may or may not be true. James Joyce was very human and I think this may be a case of his estate attempting to keep private matters about his daughter Lucia private.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (5, Insightful)

AliasMarlowe (1042386) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584439)

These allegations, if true, might well change my opinion of James Joyce. They would change my opinions of Finnegan's Wake and Ulysses not one whit.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29586513)

Don't repeat famous Charles Kinbote's error: it's Finnegans Wake.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (2, Informative)

Rogerborg (306625) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586713)

There's (famously) no apostrophe in "Finnegans Wake". Go to the back of the nerd bus.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (1, Funny)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584565)

Would you think less of Joyce if you agreed that he sacrificed the mental stability and well being of his daughter to complete a novel?

Heck, I sacrifice the mental stability and well being of my own daughter all the time, merely for my own amusement... We even gave her mental blocks for Xmas!

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (0, Flamebait)

Maximum Prophet (716608) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584575)

Would you think less of him if it was confirmed that he had contracted syphilis

nor avoice from afire bellowsed mishe mishe to tauftauf thuartpeatrick: not yet, though venissoon after, had a kidscad buttended a bland old isaac.

Hard to think less of him... He couldn't even type. His friends transcribed what he wrote by hand, and there isn't even agreement among scholars about exactly what he wrote, much less what the basic plot of the book is. That he had syphilis is entirely believable.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (1)

kalirion (728907) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584695)

He obviously wrote in code, since his ideas were too powerful to reveal to the human race until it has the 1024 qubit processor necessary to decrypt it.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29585749)

He obviously wrote in code, since his ideas were too powerful to reveal to the human race until it has the 1024 qubit professor necessary to decrypt it.

Fixed that for you.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29584891)

Can't think any less of Joyce than I always have. His works may be great to many people, but I would rather stick a hot poker in my eye than read his dull dribble. The details of Lucia only add to his strange and bizarre personal life.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (2, Interesting)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584659)

As noted in a post below, the estate is really Joyce's grandson. Guessing, he may have used the copyright law to try to keep some embarrassing family "issues" out of the spot light.

I don't know about you guys, but I'd be a bit hesitant to have my family's issues put in the spot light - even if the perpetrators are long dead: J. Joyce died 68 years ago. Yeah, Joyce is dead, but his grandson has got to live with these things now.

Just a guess as to his motives.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (2, Insightful)

Dragonslicer (991472) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584877)

I would think much less of someone that judged a person by the actions of a grandparent that's been dead for the better part of a century. I can understand the grandson's concern, since there are such ridiculous people out there, but it's still a sad thought to have.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (4, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584683)

Would you think less of Joyce if you agreed that he sacrificed the mental stability and well being of his daughter to complete a novel? Would you think less of him if it was confirmed that he had contracted syphilis or that that is what caused him to go blind? Or that he wrote dirty letters to his wife? All these things may or may not be true.

None of them would in anyway cause me to think less of James Joyce, but then there is very little that could. I remember in 7th or 8th grade my English teacher went over the elements that made for a good novel. My English teacher the following year told me what a great writer James Joyce was because he didn't include any of those elements. I've never understood why he is considered a great writer.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (4, Insightful)

Jeremy Erwin (2054) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584771)

None of them would in anyway cause me to think less of James Joyce, but then there is very little that could. I remember in 7th or 8th grade my English teacher went over the elements that made for a good novel. My English teacher the following year told me what a great writer James Joyce was because he didn't include any of those elements. I've never understood why he is considered a great writer.

Have you tried reading his books?

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (4, Insightful)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584889)

Have you tried reading his books?

Yes, the key word being 'tried.' Had to read Portrait for 12th grade English. It was such a heavy work, full of minutia and details, that it was very hard to pick up.

12th grade English class was fun: Portrait, Heart of Darkness, The Sound and the Fury, Wuthering Heights. I haven't slept that well prior or since.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (2, Funny)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586995)

Try reading the Silmarillion - whenever I have trouble sleeping, I try to get through 20 pages of that stuff: out like a light.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (2, Insightful)

Attila Dimedici (1036002) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585037)

Yes, I have read at some of his books. I couldn't see any reason to continue them. I read for one of two reasons: pleasure or knowledge (of course, I also get pleasure from acquiring knowledge). James Joyce wrote fiction so that leaves out knowledge. I got no pleasure from his book.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (3, Insightful)

pjt33 (739471) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585325)

How many people who start reading Ulysses actually finish? And of those who finish, how many manage to persevere only because it was a set text for some English course?

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (3, Insightful)

uncqual (836337) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586589)

I did finish it.

I made the mistake of taking an entire course which was entirely reading and (endlessly) analyzing Ulysses. To this day, I wonder why I thought that was a good idea.

The professor had, of course, done his PhD dissertation on Ulysses and knew the frigging page numbers of every damned (ir)relevant detail. It was truly scary.

Mu - copyright and censorship are the same thing. (2, Insightful)

schon (31600) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585271)

Copyright is the government-backed enforcement of "you're not allowed to say that, because I said it first."

By definition, copyright is the antithesis of free speech. There is no either/or here - copyright *is* censorship.

Re:Mu - copyright and censorship are the same thin (2, Interesting)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585909)

Copyright is the government-backed enforcement of "you're not allowed to say that, because I said it first."

How does such retarded tripe get modded up? Did you RTFS? She copy/pasted a large portion of the book, and copycatting is very different from "saying it first/second".

By definition, copyright is the antithesis of free speech. There is no either/or here - copyright *is* censorship.

More blatantly false rubbish. Free speech does not give one a blanket right to abuse/use other people's property for personal benefit without permission or payment. These authors spend several years of their lives creating these novels and many decades mastering the art and craft of writing. And just like doctors or lawyers, they want a fair return on that investment. Copyright ensures that people who can write good books get paid so they don't have to find a real job working in a supermarket or other manual labor.

Re:Mu - copyright and censorship are the same thin (3, Interesting)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586131)

> How does such retarded tripe get modded up?

Well, at least yours hasn't been, yet.

> ... other people's property ...

And since when does does other people's "property" rights expire after a certain time after they die? You play the "property" card badly. There is property, and then there is property [blogspot.com] .

You should read the entirety of that blog. Not just the post I linked to.

> Copyright ensures that people who can write good books get paid so
> they don't have to find a real job working in a supermarket or other
> manual labor.

In theory. But that doesn't mean that their work cannot be used within the boundaries of law; the case in question being one of them, it seems.

And your use of the word "ensures" makes me think of another point made in that blog: just because something is under copyright doesn't magically imbue it with commercial value. The converse of that is true, also.

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (1)

Clovis42 (1229086) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585419)

Or that he wrote dirty letters to his wife?

What, what, what?? Dirty letters? Surely you don't mean the James Joyce that wrote Ulysses, right? I couldn't imagine such an updstanding author as Joyce sullying his reputation with dirty letters.

Hmm... that reminds me, I really should finish Ulysses. I just got to the last chapter!

Re:More An Issue of Censorship Than Copyright (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585601)

Interesting post.

Copyright used to censor information? I'm sure that was Not the original intent ("to promote useful arts"). That's using copyright to Demote the arts via silencing the mouth of the author as if she/he was a slave. I also find the Fair Use Project's claims dubious. Did not capitulate? That's exactly what she did when she excised major pieces of her book.

If I was accused of copyright infringement, I'd try to work with the owners and satisfy their request, but I would not censor my main thesis, or remove the one or two sentences that were borrowed from Joyce and crucial for my readers' understanding. I'd go ahead and publish anyway - and if they pulled my books off the shelf, then I'd release the book for free on my website or bittorrent. I won't back down in the face of Censors or tyrants. They can take their cease-and-desist letter and shove it down their throat.

Strange (1, Insightful)

digsbo (1292334) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584371)

That the first college professor I studied under in college who appeared on /. was from the lit program rather than CS.

Re:Strange (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29584657)

Maybe you should have paid more attention in class.

The Good Fight (5, Insightful)

whisper_jeff (680366) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584403)

This case shows there are solutions to the problem Carol Shloss faced other than simple capitulation

Yes - the solution is to be lucky enough to find a lawyer that's willing allow their bill to get up to $400,000 but settle for $240,000 just so they can fight a legal battle that shouldn't be in front of the courts anyways. Almost half a million to fight a battle in which she was obviously right? It's wrong that that fight occurred at all... Thank goodness her lawyer was willing to go the distance.

Re:The Good Fight (2, Funny)

value_added (719364) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584617)

Yes - the solution is to be lucky enough to find a lawyer that's willing allow their bill to get up to $400,000 but settle for $240,000

Or instead of a lawyer, hire this guy [yahoo.com] .

Re:The Good Fight (1)

Nethemas the Great (909900) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584653)

Lucky? Who needs luck? It's a rare person indeed that can't afford to go out on a half-million dollar limb to sue for the right to fair use of a dead person's work...

James Joyce confounds me (3, Funny)

BadAnalogyGuy (945258) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584421)

I understand how hard it was for him to write his books. After all, it's not every author who decides to chuck the whole language and invent his own (I'm looking at you, Tolkien).

Anyway, here's some background for anyone unfamiliar with Joyce's works.
Wikipedia [wikia.com]

Re:James Joyce confounds me (1)

smellsofbikes (890263) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586383)

I understand how hard it was for him to write his books. After all, it's not every author who decides to chuck the whole language and invent his own (I'm looking at you, Tolkien).

Anyway, here's some background for anyone unfamiliar with Joyce's works. Wikipedia [wikia.com]

First off, Tolkien didn't chuck the language and invent his own. He invented at least six.

Secondly, I didn't find his linguistic games to intrude on the story. They made it feel more realistic, if anything, because they gave you a sense of the difference. I've read plenty of scifi where the invented languages hurt the story's flow, or sometimes nearly halted it entirely. (There was an early CJ Cherryh novel where she'd sometimes manage to include two nouns and one verb in a made-up language in a single sentence, and it was nearly unreadable. I seem to remember Robert Jordan going down a similar path, but I might be wrong since I'm trying hard to forget I ever read him.)

I think that invented languages, like writing in dialect, can give a story a lot more depth. "Trainspotting", as a book, wouldn't be half the book if it were written in the same language that The New Yorker uses. It's more difficult for me to be in favor of Joyce's unusual use of English. But, hey, Shakespeare invented words in nearly every play he wrote, sometimes dozens of them, and many of them have become mainstream words. Hard to argue with that kind of success.

I was curious about the estate. (5, Informative)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584433)

A lo and behold, the "estate" is really Joyce's grandson [wikipedia.org] .

Not everyone is eager to expand upon academic study of Joyce, however; Stephen Joyce, James' grandson and sole beneficiary owner of the estate, has been alleged to have destroyed some of the writer's correspondence,[49] threatened to sue if public readings were held during Bloomsday,[50] and blocked adaptations he felt were 'inappropriate'.[51] On 12 June 2006, Carol Schloss, a Stanford University professor, sued the estate and prevailed for refusing to give permission to use material about Joyce and his daughter on the professor's website.

I have no public comment other than I guess this is what the current copyright laws have brought us and I'm not sure if this is what the founders had in mind.

Re:I was curious about the estate. (2, Informative)

Tyler Eaves (344284) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584661)

So how exactly do you think these things normally work? That there are magic estate management companies or something?

Re:I was curious about the estate. (1)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584783)

I've heard of estates being managed by attorneys or trustees, who then did what they needed to do for the beneficiaries of the estate on their behalf. I've even heard of folks who had no control over the estate but it was in the control of the managing attorney, who then would run up fees and in the process spend the estate down. I maybe confusing legal terms: "estate" - "trust" - ???

In this particular case, it looks like Joyce's grandson is running the show.

Re:I was curious about the estate. (1)

Fujisawa Sensei (207127) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584963)

A lo and behold, the "estate" is really Joyce's grandson [wikipedia.org] .

Not everyone is eager to expand upon academic study of Joyce, however; Stephen Joyce, James' grandson and sole beneficiary owner of the estate, has been alleged to have destroyed some of the writer's correspondence,[49] threatened to sue if public readings were held during Bloomsday,[50] and blocked adaptations he felt were 'inappropriate'.[51] On 12 June 2006, Carol Schloss, a Stanford University professor, sued the estate and prevailed for refusing to give permission to use material about Joyce and his daughter on the professor's website.

I have no public comment other than I guess this is what the current copyright laws have brought us and I'm not sure if this is what the founders had in mind.

How about stop buying Joyce's books?

There are plenty of other books to read and study.

Re:I was curious about the estate. (2, Funny)

denobug (753200) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585935)

How about stop buying Joyce's books?

There are plenty of other books to read and study.

Please tell that to the English teachers!

Some solution (4, Insightful)

residieu (577863) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584495)

'This case shows there are solutions to the problem Carol Shloss faced other than simple capitulation,' says Fair Use Project Executive Director Anthony Falzone, who led the litigation team

Yes, there are solutions. If you can afford to put out $400k in lawyers fees upfront, and then only receive $240k of that back for a $160k loss.

Re:Some solution (1)

schwit1 (797399) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584563)

Not to mention the time and effort.

Re:Some solution (3, Informative)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584593)

Yes, there are solutions. If you can afford to put out $400k in lawyers fees upfront, and then only receive $240k of that back for a $160k loss.

I doubt she actually paid out that much; I wouldn't be surprised if she didn't pay a cent. You can get attorneys fees even for pro bono cases.

from the article (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584551)

Under the settlement, Shloss's lawyers will split the fees and Shloss will be allowed to keep a portion for a research fund.

Sounds like impermissible fee sharing to me; generally attorneys are not allowed to share fees with a non-lawyer.

Re:from the article (1)

Imrik (148191) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584641)

If the fees were awarded by the court you'd be right, but this is them settling out of court so it can be whatever deal makes the suit go away.

Re:from the article (0)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584801)

That's not how it works, any money that is coming in specifically as attorneys' fees cannot be shared with non-attorneys. The court itself doesn't have to be involved.

Re:from the article (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585343)

That's not how it works, any money that is coming in specifically as attorneys' fees cannot be shared with non-attorneys. The court itself doesn't have to be involved.

yuo fail It! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29584571)

= 1440 NetBSD become like they or a public club, outstrips many of us are channel #GNAA on told reporters, according Tothis gave the BSD fate. Let's not be

Yeah, you'd have to pay me to read Joyce too! (3, Funny)

NotQuiteReal (608241) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584589)

I mean, seriously. My regular rates.

Oh, and, of course there's this [xkcd.com] to back me up.

Re:Yeah, you'd have to pay me to read Joyce too! (2, Informative)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584769)

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man is really good and mostly readable (you might want to skip over the 20 page Miltonian sermon in the middle). I tried to read Ulysses and gave up about a third of the way through. I occasionally come across a copy of Finnegan's Wake flip through it and read a few random passages - bizarre is the only word I can use to describe it.

Re:Yeah, you'd have to pay me to read Joyce too! (3, Interesting)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584811)

aside:
At the bottom of wikipedia's Portrait page is this link [randomhouse.com] ...

The reader's list makes me want to bash my skull against a wall.

Re:Yeah, you'd have to pay me to read Joyce too! (1)

Volante3192 (953645) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584967)

That's hilarious.

Pretty obvious someone(s) stuffed the box on that one. Probably a good thing moot's never written a book (or had one ghostwritten, et cetera).

Re:Yeah, you'd have to pay me to read Joyce too! (1)

Molochi (555357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585439)

Looks like Anonymous went up against the Hubbardites

Re:Yeah, you'd have to pay me to read Joyce too! (1)

hansamurai (907719) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585201)

Yeah, The Fountainhead really should be number 1, and Ender's Game 2.

Re:Yeah, you'd have to pay me to read Joyce too! (4, Funny)

The Archon V2.0 (782634) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585847)

The reader's list makes me want to bash my skull against a wall.

Probably exactly what you'd need to do to become an Objectivist Scientologist.

Ulysses is hard work but brilliant (4, Interesting)

Kupfernigk (1190345) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585323)

I'm amazed at the people who will read about fantasy or imaginary worlds and yet balk at Ulysses.
For the ignorant, Ulysses is about a day in the life of Dublin as seen through the eyes of a Jewish advertising salesman (Leopold Bloom) and the young James Joyce (Stephen Dedalus). It covers everything from the red light area through to the literary and medical world around Trinity College. You have to learn a bit about Ireland in the early 20th Century to understand it. It helps to have a copy of Harry Blamires' Bloomsday Book if you aren't up on Irish history and the geography of Dublin. Ulysses is written in perfectly good English without made up words, in different literary styles (part of it is a play) loosely organised on the return of Ulysses from the Trojan War. Bloom is Ulysses, Dedalus is Telemachus, Molly Bloom is Penelope and the IRA doesn't get a very good Press. Real people walk in and out of the plot. And that's as much of a spoiler as I'm prepared to divulge.

As I say, people will read Tolkien or fiction set in Ancient Rome and yet can't be bothered to spend the time - in bits, if necessary - to get to know Ulysses. But it's one of the greatest works in English of the 20th century, and if you don't try, it's your loss. Finnegans Wake (note no apostrophe) is another matter. Personally I believe the syphilis story, but also I suspect that Joyce was schizophrenic and as he got older it got more out of control. I think it's a failed experiment.

Re:Ulysses is hard work but brilliant (4, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585859)

You're surprised that people will read a fantasy book set in a fantasy world for enjoyment but wont read another fictional novel set in the "real world" that you need to have a campanion book to read or have knowledge of Dublin Ireland in the 1900's? (Something that the Irish probably don't even have).

If you did not know, people read for enjoyment. Having to do research to understand a book does not equal enjoyment for a good majority of people as well and not getting the joke or refference.

Make the Lawyers Rich (4, Insightful)

hardburn (141468) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584607)

'This case shows there are solutions to the problem Carol Shloss faced other than simple capitulation,' says Fair Use Project Executive Director Anthony Falzone, who led the litigation team."

Yes, a solution that takes years to go through and costs hundreds of thousands of dollars. That's a great solution, if you're a lawyer.

Proves my point (4, Interesting)

Locke2005 (849178) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584611)

I've always insisted that copyright should end with the death of the original author. This pretty much proves my point. He's DEAD... at this point, no amount of protection of his work is going to encourage him to produce more! His heirs should go out and get a real job instead of trying to live off his reputation.

Re:Proves my point (2, Informative)

NoYob (1630681) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584805)

I'd agree except for the guy who dies and leaves a window with children.

But yeah, Joyce died 68 years ago and this is his grandson who's doing all this.

Re:Proves my point (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29585455)

Why can't authors have savings and/or life insurance like every other working stiff?

Re:Proves my point (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585663)

Disregarding for a second that a window with children should not be in control of the assets of a dead process - No. If you're a successful author, you leave an estate that consists of the money you made. If you weren't a successful author, you still leave what you earned.

This idea that somehow creative works should sustain the livelihood of someone who didn't create them astounds and befuddles me.

Yes, I know, I've made this comment a number of times. But the implications of this idea are too nauseating for me just let them slide.

Re:Proves my point (2, Insightful)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585885)

OF course, you have the situation where the Author writes a fantastic novel that would have made him million over the span of his long life, but is tragically killed by a bus before collecting on all that he should have. Not having had a chance to make money off of his works, he leaves nothing to his family and others go on to reap the rewards of his art.

What was the original system, 20 years? Shounds good to me. No need to worry about situations like the one above and the creater of said work (or their estate) has ample time to profit from their works.

Re:Proves my point (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586411)

Shit happens. Not to mention that I disdain extrapolating what the future should be, and then write laws to make sure that the future matches what a completely unfounded assumption of the future looked like. These hypothetical scenarios, while heart-tugging, are ridiculous and should in no way be used to create laws that apply to everybody.

I like fixed, limited copyright terms. I proposed 14 years elsewhere, I can live 20. I find the current system an abomination, and a destruction of cultural works. Disney has profited from public works to the tune of billions, and refused to put anything back. I call that piracy. Off with their heads!

Re:Proves my point (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586769)

Precisely. It's just like when I die my employer will pay my wife and kids my salary!

Wait, I just talked to my HR rep. Apparently when I die, they'll stop paying out my salary.

Re:Proves my point (1)

maxwells_deamon (221474) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585683)

I can also see some cases where you might want to provide copyright protection for ten years or so after the death of the author if the work is less than five years after the date of publication. Or similar numbers.

This would prevent publishers from having to take out life insurance on the author and would "allow" the publication of works that are published after death. "John Doe's Cancer Journal", "Diary of Anne Frank", perhaps even "Bob's Translation of the Magna Carta"

That said, current law is way too long.

Re:Proves my point (2, Interesting)

bzipitidoo (647217) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586115)

Replace "provide copyright protection" with "provide" as in some sort of stipend, and I could perhaps support that. I can't see any reason to lock up an author's works in any way whatever, for any reason, certainly not the thinking that copyright must be the only way to earn a living from writing.

The US demonstrates why doctors shouldn't earn their living under a fee for services system. We have such outrageous medical bills, and much waste with unnecessary or even harmful tests and procedures. Move them to salary. It could be similar for authors. Relieve them of the burden of constantly trying to protect their copyrights. Very sad to see authors and musicians trotted out by the publishing industry to be the poor starving poster children for stronger copyright law that will help the publishers and not help them. Even sadder when the artists (Metallica for instance) have been brainwashed into believing the industry line. This particular insanity of an author's descendants exerting any control whatever, let alone the unreasonable control we see here, should be a bad memory from the past. If an author's descendants have an issue with libel, slander or privacy, then they should take it up under those laws, and not abuse copyright or have copyright available to abuse for such ends.

Re:Proves my point (4, Interesting)

agrippa_cash (590103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584809)

This case illustrates the value of having copyright extend beyond the life of the author, since it was his daughter who seemed to suffer for Joyce's art. A better example is US Grant, who was near penniless and diagnosed with cancer and wrote his well regarded memoir hoping to providing for his wife and daughter.

Re:Proves my point (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29585131)

easy response there. Let Grant list his daughter and wife as authors...

Re:Proves my point (1)

agrippa_cash (590103) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585693)

You are trading one fiction for another. Offhand I'd say that this obscures the value of the work, and more importantly deprives the public free access to the work for a longer time because we'd have to wait for both Mrs. and Miss Grant to die.

Re:Proves my point (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585269)

This case illustrates the value of having copyright extend beyond the life of the author, since it was his daughter who seemed to suffer for Joyce's art.

Isn't that what an inheritance is for? Don't all kids suffer because of what their parents tried to provide for them? I remember not being able to purchase all the latest toys because my dad always wanted a computer this or that.... but those got me way further than any gi joe would have done. In the case of work released right before death, there should be a minimum time limit, such as 14 years.

Re:Proves my point (1)

steelfood (895457) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585879)

And exactly how would royalties from copyrighted works benefit his daughter? That the rest of his "estate" was able to so effectively wipe her off the face of history using the copyright cudgel seems to invalidate your point entirely.

Re:Proves my point (1)

Tweenk (1274968) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586285)

Copyright should be tied to publication date, not the author's death date. This avoid both the issue of somebody dying prematurely and the issue of not being able to determine whether a work is copyrighted (because the dates of death of its authors are not known).

Re:Proves my point (2, Interesting)

coldmist (154493) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584867)

And, what about murder? Oh, Tom Clancy wrote a great book, that I want to publish? Pay the mob to knock him off, and it's free game.

14 years + a single 14 year renewal (if the original author is still alive and interested in it) is just fine, thank you.

Imagine, the original Star Wars would be in the Public Domain. The early Star Trek. Battlestar Galactica. How much fun would that be to have the freedom to pit a cylon army against storm troopers in a full movie?

Re:Proves my point (2, Funny)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585165)

on the flip side, if Lucas wasn't still making money from the original trilogy, what other horrors do you think he'd have bestowed upon us?

Re:Proves my point (1)

Rary (566291) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585347)

on the flip side, if Lucas wasn't still making money from the original trilogy, what other horrors do you think he'd have bestowed upon us?

He would most likely be trying to create something new and original, rather than milking his old, no longer profitable, work. In other words, there'd be no prequels.

I, for one, would be a happier Star Wars nerd.

Re:Proves my point (1)

AndersOSU (873247) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585443)

Are you sure we're talking about the same George Lucas? The guy who's last original thought was, "hey I bet I can make some money through licensing..." Aren't we also talking about the guy who decided he could write better dialog than a proper screenwriter...

Re:Proves my point (2, Interesting)

aztektum (170569) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585435)

Better solution: Copyright shouldn't run the life of the author. They shouldn't last more than 10yrs and are NOT RENEWABLE.

Yes, I'm a bit bitter over all the bullshit coming out of the MAFIAA's corner, however... Fuck that shit. I have to have a job and can't ride on one accomplishment forever. Get over yourselves you lazy, greedy dicks.

Re:Proves my point (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585919)

I have to have a job and can't ride on one accomplishment forever.

That's a horrible arguement. Copyright should not exsist for more than 10 years because you're a loser and have to work for a living?

Re:Proves my point (1)

locallyunscene (1000523) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585485)

How much fun would that be to have the freedom to pit a cylon army against storm troopers in a full movie?

I don't think I'd want to watch a full movie of two armies that constantly and consistently miss each other.

Re:Proves my point (2, Insightful)

Molochi (555357) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585523)

Last I checked, murder was still illegal and had worse penalties than copyright infringement. Not that it couldn't happen, just that it isn't a justification.

Re:Proves my point (1)

Fulcrum of Evil (560260) | more than 4 years ago | (#29587039)

If you stand to make 20M by offing some guy, that's pretty good incentive to hire a professional; most people would prefer not to have a price on their head. Additionally, setting expiry as death + N years means that it's easier to plan for expiry. You have that large buffer of time to make money and adjust your finances instead of one day finding that the books in your warehouse are no longer in copyright.

Re:Proves my point (1)

NeutronCowboy (896098) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585691)

Or alternatively, a static set of time starting with the creation of the work. Tom Clancy wrote a book and the mob tossed him to the fishes a day later? It's still under copyright for 14 years. His heirs get that copyright as part of the general assets.

Tom Clancy wrote a book and the mob tosses him to the fishes 14 years later? His heirs get his money and other real assets. But not the copyright.

Re:Proves my point (3, Interesting)

meerling (1487879) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585029)

Copyright was originally for 14 years. That way the authors had plenty of time to make money on their creations, but not so much that they could sit on their laurels.
The current length of copyright is utterly insane! How does 90 years in any way encourage someone to write more? Especially after death!

Stupid Mickey Mouse laws... (Or should that be Disney lobbied laws...)

Re:Proves my point (1)

iamhigh (1252742) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585215)

I know... let's use all the numbers so everyone is happy. You have copyright until you are 90, unless you die before that point at which time you can only continue benefits if it was less than 14 years ago... and you only get it for 14 years from that date.

Re:Proves my point (1)

LandDolphin (1202876) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585993)

Because if they can make money off of the one work that income should free them up to make additional works?

Re:Proves my point (1)

AvitarX (172628) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585283)

that's hardly fair for a few reasons.

1) people have been killed for less than someone will be paid in royalties for a successful production.

2) if an author takes 5 years writing a book, then dies, shouldn't the heirs be able to make some money (think of the children!)

it makes much more sense to say you get x amount of time to exploit your work, after that give us something new, or hope your work was good enough.

x needs to be far lower than it is currently though.

Re:Proves my point (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29585849)

I think copyright should be a fixed amount of years, death or not, but I am sick and tired of hearing about how heirs that may not have even been born when the work was being published demand to get lifetime benefits. Sure transfer of ownership is reasonable but not that 95 years after the death of the author. Explicitly adding time posthumously is a betrayal of the original spirit of copyright. Copyright is about culture not money. Money is just the carrot on the stick to get creative people off their asses and gives them an answer for "what's in it for me?".

Re:Proves my point (1)

gnupun (752725) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586113)

...no amount of protection of his work is going to encourage him to produce more!

So? Maybe you've heard of this concept called freedom. The author is free to stop producing more books -- he's not a slave to you or the government.

His heirs should go out and get a real job instead of trying to live off his reputation.

Why is that? People have the right to take care and provide for their heirs via real-estate, business, money etc. Why not through copyright as well? Besides, most of these so-called real jobs are mostly a waste of time in return for the meager salary they provide, and are for talentless people with no skills or inherited money who want to drag other people down to their level. How many people would show up for these real jobs if they were independently wealthy? Almost nobody.

Re:Proves my point (1)

Chosen Reject (842143) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586893)

If copyright is going to be considered property that is inheritable, then it needs to be taxed just like any other inheritance. Let's assume the inheritance tax rate is 10%. That means you lop off 10% of the time left on the copyright, and you also tax any income from copyright royalties at 10% as well. Note that as far as Inheritance taxes go, 10% is really low.

This a victory for fair use or a defeat? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29584703)

So it's a valid use of fair use? And actually upheld as such? Awesome, a victo- wait.

Assuming her initial demands of $400,000 were actual legal costs to justify fair use, and she settled for 240k because the foundation was intending to draw her legal costs out even more with delays/appeals/etc....

In the end it only cost her $160,000 dollars to probably defend her use of the material as fair use.

No matter how I look at it, it's still an absolute failure.

Hang on a second... (2, Interesting)

popo (107611) | more than 4 years ago | (#29584719)

The author spent $400k in attorney's fees defending her right to quote Joyce in a book about Joyce's daughter?

Is there a bigger market than I'm aware of in scholarly (slash: arcane?) books about Lucia Joyce??

Who the hell would spend this much on this issue??

Re:Hang on a second... (1)

gclef (96311) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585005)

Someone trying to prove a point.

As has been mentioned above, it's most likely the lawyer took the case pro-bono or on a percentage-of-final-settlement agreement. The author likely spent nothing, but racked up many hours of lawyer costs.

Re:Hang on a second... (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29585363)

Someone with the right to fair use--something you clearly don't have if you're willing to give it up because someone challenges you. The difference between her and you is she's established she has the right. You think you have it, but have demonstrated you will relinquish it in the face of a challenge.

Good choice, bad choice--she did the right thing and should be celebrated for it.

Sometimes you've got to take on the little fights with a big sword--just so people understand what it means to have a right.

RTFA, or not (2, Funny)

517714 (762276) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585117)

Personally, if it has anything to do with James Joyce; I'll wait for the Cliff Notes.

Wow! (1)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585335)

From TFS:

Shloss asked the Court to order the Estate to pay attorneys' fees of more than $400,000. She has now agreed to accept an immediate payment of $240,000 in return for the dismissal of the Estate's appeal. 'This case shows there are solutions to the problem Carol Shloss faced other than simple capitulation,' says Fair Use Project Executive Director Anthony Falzone, who led the litigation team."

Wow, so it only cost $150,000 (+) in attorneys fees so that she could establish her right to do something she should have been able to do all along? Man, our system ROCKS. Color me jaded to find irony that the head of the litigation team is the one so thrilled...

Re:Wow! (1)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585955)

Wow, so it only cost $150,000 (+) in attorneys fees so that she could establish her right to do something she should have been able to do all along? Man, our system ROCKS. Color me jaded to find irony that the head of the litigation team is the one so thrilled...

Huh?? You can say that about almost any case; at the end one party is going to have been found not to been in the wrong, and they will have been out legal fees.

Yay! Fair use victory! (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#29585597)

Hooray for a fair use victory!

But sorry, fellow Geeks, this does not mean that you can misinterpret it as permission for you to acquire movies and music without paying for them.

Hope that clears it all up.

Where is the call for Free Legal Care in the US? (1)

olddoc (152678) | more than 4 years ago | (#29585725)

Sheesh! She could get a heart bypass and a bone marrow transplant for that much! Why don't people call for a single government payer for legal care? Isn't legal care a right? Why do people get bent out of shape when health care costs out of pocket but not legal care?

Joyce estate owner an antagonistic control freak. (2, Informative)

CoughDropAddict (40792) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586027)

The stuff in the linked articles is nothing, read this: The Injustice Collector: Is James Joyce's grandson suppressing scholarship? [newyorker.com]

Stephen Joyce to a James Joyce scholar he disagreed with: "You should consider a new career as a garbage collector in New York City, because you'll never quote a Joyce text again."

Falzone is on drugs? (1)

Mathinker (909784) | more than 4 years ago | (#29586187)

his case shows there are solutions to the problem Carol Shloss faced other than simple capitulation,' says Fair Use Project Executive Director Anthony Falzone, who led the litigation team."

Right, every guy on the street can easily afford to take a big gamble that he might have to spend $400K to defend his fair use rights. Sure...

Well I suppose it would be a bit much for someone from the "Fair Use Project" to admit that "fair use" is fairly useless to most of us, when the heat is on.

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