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Uncle Sam Finally Wants To Hear From Us On Digital Copyright Law?

Unknown Lamer posted about a year ago | from the but-not-you dept.

Your Rights Online 183

NewYorkCountryLawyer writes "Can it be true? The US government claims it really wants to hear from us on the subject of how copyright law needs to be modified to accommodate the developing technology of the digital age? I don't know, but the US Patent & Trademark Office (which btw has nothing to do with administering copyright) says 'we really want to hear from you' and the Department of Commerce Internet Policy Task Force wrote a 122-page paper (PDF) on the subject, so they must really mean it, right? But I couldn't find the address to which to send my comments, so maybe that was an oversight on their part."

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183 comments

Anyone else.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44615873)

Anyone else think this is a scam just to root out the criminals?

"Hey I love pirating lolz" - Arrest [x] Alienate [ ] Bribe [ ]

Re:Anyone else.. (1)

smitty_one_each (243267) | about a year ago | (#44616025)

Why root out? Feed the lat/long to a drone.
That bureaucrat will totally bury the target in regulations.

Re:Anyone else.. (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | about a year ago | (#44617373)

Why root out? Feed the lat/long to a drone.

That bureaucrat will totally bury the target in regulations.

Wait, are you talking about a bureaucratic drone or the flying-shooting-missiles kind of drone?

It reminds me of when I was a kid and I read about the Japanese "token bombing of the west coast". Why would they drop subway/bus tokens on us?
For that matter, why bother with the "Do Little Raid" on Japan?

Re:Anyone else.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44617653)

Excellent. You detected the pun.

Don't do it! (5, Insightful)

Ol Olsoc (1175323) | about a year ago | (#44615877)

It's a trap!

Re:Don't do it! (5, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44615953)

So I went and said something anyway. All I got was:

Your comment was marked as spam and will not be displayed.

It apparently was too wordy. Their attention span doesn't last past 1000 characters, when the question is 122 pages to start with.

Re:Don't do it! (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44616411)

tl;dr I guess (for them). They don't care what we think or pot would be legal. They just want us to believe they do.

Re:Don't do it! (1)

somersault (912633) | about a year ago | (#44616535)

Pot is becoming legal in parts of the US. It's legal in some other countries. It just takes a while for a country to react to its people's wishes.

Re:Don't do it! (2)

Mashdar (876825) | about a year ago | (#44616747)

Marijuanna is still illegal everywhere in the USA by federal law, and the DEA (federal agency) performs raids and busts on otherwise licensed, tax paying, and law abiding operations.

Calling marijuanna a Schedule I drug in the first place is a joke. Funny, since it was in the pharmicopia prior to prohibition (Schedule I drugs are supposed to have no recognized medical value), and is impossible to overdose... For reference, heroin is classified Schedule I, but cocaine and meth are only Schedule II.

DOJ/DEA way off base without even getting into states' rights arguements.

Re:Don't do it! (1)

erikkemperman (252014) | about a year ago | (#44617177)

Yeah, I remember reading about how the paper industry was, among others, instrumental in getting maryjane prohibited in the US. Because the same plant is such an excellent alternative to dead wood, presumably.

In pharma, I think it is fair to say that cocaine might have medicinal uses -- but the industry would much prefer we use their expensive synthesized surrogates. For heroin/morphine though, I don't think anyone actually has an alternative which even comes close to being a serious substitute. So, are you sure that you haven't got your classifications the wrong way around? If schedule-1 is *not* supposed to have medicinal uses, then why did you put opiates there?

Just asking, I do not know. I am in the Netherlands where we have another classification method for such things.

Re:Don't do it! (1)

Mashdar (876825) | about a year ago | (#44617767)

I pulled from the USA Department of Justice website:
http://www.justice.gov/dea/druginfo/ds.shtml [justice.gov]

It's a strange system set more for political reasons than science or fact. Helps keep our racial minorities in jail...

Re:Don't do it! (1)

Joce640k (829181) | about a year ago | (#44617131)

They're just trying to distract us from the NSA thing...

Re:Don't do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616045)

100% Agree. It's just a way to find how to control or limit copyleft or freedom of innovation outside capitalists lobbies.

They genuinely want to hear from us ... (3, Insightful)

DavidClarkeHR (2769805) | about a year ago | (#44616163)

Absolutely! I trust the government to put my best interests first. They genuinely want to hear from people on this issue.

In completely unrelated, totally not relevant news, the NSA just found out about the hundred flowers campaign [wikipedia.org] , which I support. I mean, hundreds of flowers? That can't be bad in ANY way.

The government believes, and I quote, that "The policy of letting a hundred flowers bloom and a hundred schools of thought contend is designed to promote the flourishing of the arts and the progress of science".

Re:They genuinely want to hear from us ... (2)

TWiTfan (2887093) | about a year ago | (#44616657)

They do want to hear from "the people." They just happen to define "the people" are corporations, wealthy individuals, and big campaign donors.

Re:They genuinely want to hear from us ... (1)

jc42 (318812) | about a year ago | (#44617253)

... the NSA just found out about the hundred flowers campaign, ...

We now have well over 100 flowers blooming in our (average-size, suburban) yard. Should be be worried that the NSA are monitoring our gardening?

But the daylilies are nearly done; I've started to cut down the not-very-attractive stems that they've left behind. I wonder if the NSA has recorded this behavior. We were also wishing we'd kept records of when our various perennials bloomed, so we could see what effect the climate change has had on our yard. Maybe we should ask the NSA for that information.

(And firefox doesn't recognize "daylilies" as an English word. I did a quick google check, and even when I asked for "day-lily", most of the hits had it as one word with no space or hyphen. Most of the technical botanical pages spell it as one word. I guess we still have a long way to go before our vaunted natural-language software can even handle something as simple as dictionary lookup. ;-)

Re:They genuinely want to hear from us ... (1)

DNS-and-BIND (461968) | about a year ago | (#44617781)

Eh, keep your panties in a knot. The 100 flowers campaign was designed to smoke out closet right-wingers. It succeeded wonderfully, and those neocon pricks spent the next 20 years in jail, unable to harm society with their poisonous ideas.

Re:Don't do it! (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616171)

its a Tarp - there fixed that for you.

Re:Don't do it! (2)

ibwolf (126465) | about a year ago | (#44616293)

It's a trap!

Indeed. I suspect that what they really want is to be able to say that they consulted the public without it being a bald-faced lie. That fact the only public input they may use is one they already agreed with will not be mentioned.

Re:Don't do it! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616869)

or a diversion...
Throw out a copyright bone to stop people feasting on the NSA.

Re:Don't do it! (1)

Seumas (6865) | about a year ago | (#44617017)

Uncle Sam doesn't want to hear from you.
Uncle Sam wants you to feel like you've been heard.

Yeah, right. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44615885)

Why would the government want to put time, energy and money into changing this law? The entertainment industry and the law firms are making crazy money, they won't allow this to happen. Sure, people get screwed but no government ever has cared about people.

Also, people passionate about internet freedom (people who will take the time to come up with suggestions) are also more likely to actually download copyrighted material. This is just asking for the looking glass to be pointed at you.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616039)

Why would the government want to put time, energy and money into changing this law?

Because if people have easy access to $TRENDYTVSHOW, they'll give fuck all about the tyranny being bestowed upon them.

And the tech industry completely dwarfs the entertainment industry in actual worth. And is an industry that would happily spread its own cheeks and invite the NSA to stick it in their poopers if they could have the very destiny of content handed to them on a silver platter.

Bread and circuses; unlimited surveillance, all for the cost of making a bunch of coke-snorting has-been middlemen sad. Sounds like a bargain.

Re:Yeah, right. (1)

number6x (626555) | about a year ago | (#44616561)

If the government changes the laws away from what the entertainment industry wants, industry lobbyists will have to, once again, pump millions of dollars into campaign coffers, ughh I mean engage in free speech, to get the laws back the way that the industry wants them.

Lather, rinse repeat. Government is a shakedown. Remember how Microsoft, Apple and a lot of the early micro computer companies never used to spend much money lobbying? Well a few investigations by the justice department fixed that. Those companies are all regular contributors to our wonderful ruling parties nowdays. I wonder if one of the DOJ lawyers ever joked to a MS exec: "Nice Windows you got here, be a shame if something happened to them..."

Its the Chicago way

Of course they want your input (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44615903)

Just like in the recent Obama said in his speech about NSA operations, the government is really concerned about public opinion and very much wants to know the best way to make you comfortable getting screwed. After all, people being uncomfortable with getting screwed is the biggest impediment in a democracy for advancing to the next level of screwing them over. So your feedback is important to them.

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year ago | (#44615939)

Democracy is all about choosing who, and how, screws you over, so that the country can function, and the politicians can get rich.

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#44616117)

The system isn't made to make rich the politicians, but their masters. The politicians are just the executive arm of the very rich and get paid for obeying.

Re:Of course they want your input (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44615957)

How many Obama lies from Obama speeches must I point to get you to see the truth?

One?

Two?

A hundred?

“The sequester is not something that I’ve proposed. It is something that Congress has proposed.”

“Mitt Romney raised nursing home fees eight times.”

“Mitt Romney called the Arizona law a model for the nation.”

“Planned Parenthood provides mammograms”

“We got back every dime we used to rescue the financial system”

Benghazi violence was caused by an internet video & demonstrations

“Mitt Romney Plans to fire Big Bird”

“Under Gov. Romney’s definition Donald Trump is a small business.”

Because of Obamacare, “over the last two years, health care premiums have gone up — it’s true — but they’ve gone up slower than any time in the last 50 years.”

“I think it’s important for us to understand that the Fast and Furious program was a field-initiated program begun under the previous administration”

Romney and Ryan will gut pell grants for low-income college students.

My budget will cut the deficit by $4 Trillion over 10 years.

  “I am told that Governor Romney’s new running mate, Paul Ryan, might be around Iowa the next few days,” he said while in Council Bluffs, Iowa. “He is one of the leaders of Congress standing in the way. So if you happen to see Congressman Ryan, tell him how important this farm bill is to Iowa and our rural communities.”

The American automobile industry has come roaring backSo now I want to say what we did with the auto industry, we can do it in manufacturing across America. Let’s make sure advanced, high-tech manufacturing jobs take root here, not in China. And that means supporting investment here. Governor Romney invested in companies that were called ‘pioneers’ of outsourcing. I don’t want to outsource. I want to insource.

“You Didn’t Build that”

Fucking drone idjits.

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616255)

Here is your pill, now sit down and continue to enjoy FoxNews until the rest of your brain is toast.

Re:Of course they want your input (0)

interval1066 (668936) | about a year ago | (#44617157)

OK CNN drone.

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

PolygamousRanchKid (1290638) | about a year ago | (#44615961)

Maybe they should just ask Kim Dotcom for input . . . ?

The government has outsourced copyright law policy making to Hollywood.

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44616317)

The government has outsourced copyright law policy making to Hollywood.

Clueless as usual; this instead of keeping jobs in US and outsource law making to China and India.

Re:Of course they want your input (4, Insightful)

AmiMoJo (196126) | about a year ago | (#44616075)

We need to start hacking the political system. Politicians already do it with their spin doctors, but we can do the same to fight back.

It's about controlling the narrative. We need to find ways of making it almost impossible to argue against our point of view. Making a convincing case is not enough, we need to make it impossible for anyone else to oppose it.

Think about the way terrorism and children are exploited to this end. No-one can be against safety from evil terrorists. You are either with us or against us, nonsense like that. No-one can be against child safety either, or for greater sexualization of children, or on the side of child molesters.

We need something along those lines, and we need to make it the narrative, the frame for every debate.

Re:Of course they want your input (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616177)

You'd think the millions we blow on this crap while not even providing proper universal healthcare would be enough, we fight boogymen while people die right now due to lack of medical treatment.

Re:Of course they want your input (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616229)

There's only one problem: It takes a psychopath to pull it off, and those are either politicians or in the business of exploiting the system for their own benefit. Honest people can't spin.

Re:Of course they want your input (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616235)

"The disproportionate penalties associated with violating a copyright for non-commercial use punishes the vulnerable from our society the most, our children and grandparents. They can't afford the high priced lawyers necessary to get away with violating copyright as the RIAA and their global affiliates do and have their lives ruined as they are essentially placed into debt slavery to repay their court judgements and legal bills.
According to the RIAA piracy costs them about 12.5 billion dollars a year, that money goes to large scale commercial copyright violators; some of these violators have terrorist ties. By creating artificial scarcity of our IPs and using overly harsh punishments to get their way the RIAA and affiliates are indirectly funding terrorism."

There, I tossed in a "think of the children" and "funds terrorism" all in a nice little soundbite.
I'm sure it's a flawed argument and can be improved but to be fair all the arguments coming from the other side have been massively flawed as well. "fight fire with fire" and all that.

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44616351)

We need to start hacking the political system.

Careful with that axe, Eugene.
(hint: when dealing with psychopaths, any other kind of hacking will fail. Can't reason with them, their empathy buttons are jammed, they only hear what's justifying them in their own eyes... but will listen to fear).

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44616431)

Only one problem: They control the mainstream media. There's no way to out shout them.

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | about a year ago | (#44616549)

We need to find ways of making it almost impossible to argue against our point of view.

Great. When you figure out how to control the media, get back to us.

In fact, it will eventually become impossible to argue against our point of view. Everyone dies eventually.

We need something along those lines, and we need to make it the narrative, the frame for every debate.

You cannot do that without controlling the media. So now we're back at the top of the flowchart.

You're not going to win using their tactics on their battlefield. Sorry.

Re:Of course they want your input (1)

StripedCow (776465) | about a year ago | (#44617713)

Perhaps you can start a counter-lobbying kickstarter project :)

Or start your own counter-lobbying initiative.

Re:Of course they want your input (2)

c0lo (1497653) | about a year ago | (#44616295)

Just like in the recent Obama said in his speech about NSA operations, the government is really concerned about public opinion and very much wants to know the best way to make you comfortable getting screwed. After all, people being uncomfortable with getting screwed is the biggest impediment in a democracy for advancing to the next level of screwing them over. So your feedback is important to them.

Nothing new [whitehouse.gov] . Nothing to indicate the results will be different either.

Is this... (2)

gigaherz (2653757) | about a year ago | (#44615933)

Another one of those articles with question-titles that can be answered with a simple "No."?

Re:Is this... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616109)

"Yes"

No. (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616323)

That, however, is because there should not have been a question mark at the end, since it wasn't a question.

YOUR post, WAS a question.

So it can be answered with a "No".

Oddly enough, the rule states it CAN be answered with "No", however, it is treated as if it MUST be answered with a "No". Why is that?

(Note again, a question that cannot be answered with a "No", showing how dumb the attribution of that "law" is...)

Re:Is this... (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44616441)

Betteridge broke his own law, but in this case I think it holds.

us fat-ass policy makers (1)

meflo (1546007) | about a year ago | (#44615937)

I'm glad your men in charge are starting to see how much ground the us has lost in the last decade. But isn't it too late now?

Re:us fat-ass policy makers (1)

Thanshin (1188877) | about a year ago | (#44616121)

It was too late a while ago.

The new generation (20) won't ever un-learn that things being free (by the classical, "pay up front" definition) doesn't stop them from existing.

weve had answers for a decade. (2)

nimbius (983462) | about a year ago | (#44615979)

Is the government so up-to-its-tits in lobbyists it cant complete a single google search without a campaign contribution? Here are a few license models that might work for some, hell in fact all, digital media in the 21st century.
BSD
GPL
copyleft
LGPL3
MIT
Creative Commons
the list goes on but at no point does it include the whistling clown-car that is DMCA or the iron boot of DRM. copyright in the 21st century is premised on the idea that expiration encourages innovation and that on some level, we all benefit and advance greatly from sharing as opposed to consolidating the knowledge and power amongst a cloistered few. yeah, its a radical departure for some but discourages cashcowing a product or franchising something to death (the Matrix series anyone?)

Re:weve had answers for a decade. (3, Insightful)

JaredOfEuropa (526365) | about a year ago | (#44616135)

This is about copyright, i.e. ownership of a work, not the licensing models. The main issues seem to be the duration of that ownership (which is pretty much defined as being as long as necessary for keeping Mickey Mouse out of the public domain), and the penalties for violating copyright law. Changing copyright law would affect those Open licenses as well: if we reduce the duration of intellectual ownership to a term of 20 years, then works released under BSD, GPL, CC etc would revert to the public domain after 20 years as well (free them up for commercial use and removing the requirement of attribution, for instance)

Re:weve had answers for a decade. (1)

ciderbrew (1860166) | about a year ago | (#44616167)

Put all the laws back to what they were (28years) and grant Disney an indefinite heritage copyright for their top three things for every year they don't lobby.

Re:weve had answers for a decade. (3, Insightful)

ibwolf (126465) | about a year ago | (#44616331)

if we reduce the duration of intellectual ownership to a term of 20 years, then works released under BSD, GPL, CC etc would revert to the public domain after 20 years as well (free them up for commercial use and removing the requirement of attribution, for instance)

And this would be bad how exactly?

If some company wants to take 20 year old FOSS code and build something on top of it that they can sell, more power to them. Note that they wont be able to incorporate ANY updates made to that code base in the last 20 years, so it is not as if any software project that began more than 20 years will become public domain, just he oldest versions.

After all, the 20 year old code will still be public domain, so others can use the same codebase to build a (possibly free) alternative. And if there really is a market for something built on top of the old code, someone was dropping the ball during the 20 year copyright period.

Re:weve had answers for a decade. (1)

mcgrew (92797) | about a year ago | (#44616455)

Copyright isn't supposed to be ownership, but a limited time monopoly. I'm fine with my copyrights expiring in 28 years, long copyrights stifle artistic innovation. Imagine how tech would have suffered if patents lasted as long as copyright?

Re:weve had answers for a decade. (2)

pipedwho (1174327) | about a year ago | (#44617061)

yeah, its a radical departure for some but discourages cashcowing a product or franchising something to death (the Matrix series anyone?)

It's a pity they never made sequels to that movie. Maybe they will one day, as that setting is ripe for some brilliant story telling.

Re:weve had answers for a decade. (1)

Somebody Is Using My (985418) | about a year ago | (#44617407)

Yeah, but that applies to so many movies.

I mean, Highlander deserved a sequel. I always thought they could have done more with that Riddick character from Pitch Black. I don't recall any movies from the New Generation era of Star Trek (wait, there might have been one). And one day I wish they'd show how the Star Wars universe came to be before Luke Skywalker was born.

But I guess we can't always get the movies we want and anyway, this lack surely allows the studios to focus on creating new and original content. Anyway, could you imagine how awful if would have been if they DID make sequels and they sucked? ;-)

found the address (5, Funny)

wbr1 (2538558) | about a year ago | (#44615995)

Dev.null@uspto.gov

Simpsons did it! (4, Funny)

RenHoek (101570) | about a year ago | (#44616007)

Homer: “Don't worry, baby, the tube'll know what to do.”

He takes her form, puts it into a canister, and sends it through the pneumatic tube system. The canister takes a wild ride through the tube system, eventually being deposited... outside, where a nearby beaver collects it and adds it to a dam built entirely of message canisters.

Suggestion List (4, Insightful)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#44616035)

Yes we recognize artists have the right to be paid for their work, but....

1) Please reduce the absurd duration of copyright. We can argue about exactly how long, but anything above 30 years is definitely absurd. Also copyright would be better if anything above 20 years required a substantial payment.

2) Copyright should be non-transferable and belong to the artist producing the work.

3) Please ensure that all private copying from media to media for personal use only is regarded as Fair Use.

4) Commercial Piracy should attract large fines, however small personal acts of piracy should be penalized in the region of a few thousand dollars TOTAL, not several tens of thousands for each work. As an example, Jammie Thomas was definitely guilty, but a maximum fine of about $5,000 would be seen as far more reasonable especially as she made no significant financial gain from the act.

Anything else?

Re:Suggestion List (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616073)

1. Yes. Also duration should having nothing to do with if and when the creator dies.

2. No. It doesn't make sense for copyright to be "non-transferable". In any case, in practice it would be very difficult to stop people from using a contract to do something that for practical purposes is the same as transferring copyright.

3. Such copying should be allowed, but I'm not sure it should be referred to as "Fair Use".

4. Your use of the word "fine" shows how the problem is much more fundamental than just copyright. Are we talking about criminal prosecutions or civil actions here? Damages should never exceed the loss suffered by the plaintiff. You need to get rid of "punitive damages", "statutory damages" and all that crap that has nothing to do with losses suffered by the plaintiff.

Re:Suggestion List (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616275)

1. Yes. Also duration should having nothing to do with if and when the creator dies.

I disagree. I think copyright should end when the person dies, if it is otherwise still under copyright. If it was copyrighted yesterday, and the person dies today, who is there to profit from it tomorrow?

Re:Suggestion List (1)

pipedwho (1174327) | about a year ago | (#44616969)

I disagree. I think copyright should end when the person dies, if it is otherwise still under copyright. If it was copyrighted yesterday, and the person dies today, who is there to profit from it tomorrow?

The people that commissioned the work, and/or purchased the rights to it?

A big studio that didn't want to pay for the right to produce 'derivative' works?

Re:Suggestion List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44617113)

"A big studio that didn't want to pay for the right to produce 'derivative' works?"

But WILL pay the price for a hitman AND risk jail term for the executive board all so that EVERYONE gets free rights to produce "derivative" works?

Tell me, in what alternate universe are corporations both so psychopathic yet so willing to "take one for the team" to benefit competitors?

Re:Suggestion List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44617459)

Companies never die.

Re:Suggestion List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44617633)

Two examples, among many:

  1. Disney corporation - With Walt Disney long gone, are you saying that all the copyrights should have disappeared so now Mickey and crew are in the public domain?
  2. Lord of the Rings - J.R.R Tolkein is gone, and was certainly dead before the movies and the whole resurgance of the I.P. Without the copyright, there likely would have not been any movies by Jackson. There would, however, probably have been plenty of cheaper knockoffs and assorted Rule #34s.

While I agree in principle, copyrights/trademarks should die or have steep fees to continue to be valid. I'd add another, it MUST be actively used in creation of new products. If it hasn't been used in over 5 years (maybe 10), I'd say it's time to invalidate the copyright and release to the public domain. See Sega and Streets of Rage [destructoid.com] . The last game was for the Genesis and was released in 1994, yet when some die-hard fans come togethor to remake their favorite game and release it, for free, with all statements saying "we aren't sega, this is their copyright", Sega comes down with the iron boot.

Re:Suggestion List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616081)

s/artist/author/

Re:Suggestion List (2, Insightful)

Yaotzin (827566) | about a year ago | (#44616091)

I agree on all points and this is really all that is necessary to fix copyright. The original intent was to protect the creators of artistic works and at the same time give them incentive to keep creating. It was never this monstrosity that we call copyright today. Instead, the ridiculous time periods granted is hardly an incentive to continue creating but rather to create one or two smash-hits and then retire. I won't even go into the corporate mess that has arisen.

A comparison I've been thinking about is comparing with pharmaceutical patents. The pharmaceutical industry is super-high risk as the average pharmaceutical costs around $1b to bring to the market and yet 9/10 candidate drugs fails to get there. Even getting a drug out on the market is no guarantee for success. The patent right is only twenty years because pharmaceuticals are seen as essential to the general well-being of society, but it works. So why the hell should an artist (and then a corporation after the death of the artist) should have 70 years to collect profit when the risk is nowhere near as high? Not to mention that the artist is unlikely to be alive for that entire period of time, or as in the States be dead for 70 years.

Re:Suggestion List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616281)

Because a patent claims rights to an invention which very well may have been thought of independently, had it not been for the filer's claim, especially given the passage of time. Not so with copyright, although one could argue with the melodies of popular songs (that is an edge case).

Re:Suggestion List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616141)

Value Added

Grossly underutilized works can compulsorily licensed like fair and reasonable, or free if non profit.
Like music, a riff or a chord. as is ridiculous.

Oh, and decriminalize.

Re:Suggestion List (1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616199)

Not a bad list, but I would say 60 years, which is roughly 2 and a half generations. In general, novels and works of printed literature require longer protection than recorded music, which in turn requires longer protection than film. A serious novel (not talking about the pulp/airport variety) takes years to write and the financial payback is very slow, even if it's successful.

Re:Suggestion List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616245)

Yes we recognize artists have the right to be paid for their work, but....

That's where the problem remains. Artists should be employees of the publishers, and Hollywood accounting should be made illegal.

Re:Suggestion List (2)

ibwolf (126465) | about a year ago | (#44616403)

2) Copyright should be non-transferable and belong to the artist producing the work.

This would make collaborative works (e.g. film and tv) pretty much impossible. After all, who is the 'artist' behind a movie like From Russia With Love?

Is it the original author Ian Flemming? (Hardly, although the story is mostly lifted from the book)
Is it the screenwriter Richard Maibaum? (Again, hardly, he based is work on Flemmings, and Johanna Harwood and Berkely Mather both contributed to the work).
Is it the director Terence Young? (Directors often get the 'Film by' credit and are hugely important, but they aren't the sole 'artist' involved)
What about the actors? (Surely they are artist and make direct contributions to the eventual production)
Then there is the musical score.
Set design.
Etc.

Without the ability to have these artists producing work-for-hire, it would be next to impossible to produce either movies or tv. The idea that you would have to go to ALL of these people every time you wanted to license the film for a new market/format etc. is ludicrous.

Re:Suggestion List (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | about a year ago | (#44616451)

I think you need to do that now. I remember WKRP not being able to be re-broadcast because the music wasn't licenced. If you see it now, some of the music is different.

Re:Suggestion List (0)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#44616569)

2) Copyright should be non-transferable and belong to the artist producing the work.

This would make collaborative works (e.g. film and tv) pretty much impossible. After all, who is the 'artist' behind a movie like From Russia With Love?

I am not opposing licensing, simply the ownership of the actual copyright. Also I am not opposing a joint company producing an original work together. Fleming would hold the copyright to the book, $movieCo would license from Fleming and hold copyright on the movie which would be an original work. $movieCo would have the right to extend its copyright from 20 to 30 years since "owning" the rights to "From Russia With Love" is undeniably profitable (Hollywood accounting permitting). However said movie is over 30 years old and would be out of copyright by now....

Re:Suggestion List (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44616427)

Copyrights should be transferable.

If you create a body of work, you have a right to sell the copyright to someone else. I mean its like saying if you personally build a house then nobody else can ever own it which is absurd.

Realize there is a whole market of artists who create works for commercial purposes. They write music for shows, commercials, movies, etc and are not considered "mainstream" artists that would otherwise have songs on the radio or perform in concerts. Their only source of income is to get licences and royalties from selling their music commercially, and often this also includes selling the copyright so the buyer can use the body of work as they see fit.

Also for duration of copyright. If I wrote a hit in my 20's I think I deserve to still profit off that body of work in my 70's And then I think that I have a right to "will" my body of work to my children or grandchildren. Again if I build a house I don't think it should be destroyed after 30 years, or someone can walk in and take it over just because its old.

Re:Suggestion List (1)

maroberts (15852) | about a year ago | (#44616603)

No, copyrights should be licensable, not transferable (exception perhaps made on death). Copyright is a period of protection to allow you to profit, and the time limit on that should be 20-30 years, not too different from that of a patent.

If you build any other product, you don't get revenue from it 70+ years down the line, and this should not be true for books. movies either. The system should incentivise you to produce new works, not sit on your ass from the revenue of old ones.

Re:Suggestion List (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616447)

3 - Add a provision that would invalidate copyrights for any entity which would attempt to impair Fair Use. This should be retroactive; CSS, Macrovision, etc all grounds for copyright termination. This should be paired with real (prison) consequences for filing fraudulent DMCA takedown notices.

Re:Suggestion List (1)

silas_moeckel (234313) | about a year ago | (#44616749)

2 Needs a work for hire exception. If I pay for something to be done by default I should own the copyright. In some ways this needs to be stricter the majority of wedding photographers love to try and keep copyright took forever to find a good one that understood this.

Re:Suggestion List (1, Insightful)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#44617097)

I agree. My only compromise would be that companies would be against decades' worth of content suddenly reverting to public domain (and we would be against allowing items from the 1970's remain copyrighted for nearly 100 years while items produced today went public domain in 30 years). Therefore, there should be a phase in period to allow companies to adjust. Let's start at the earliest decade affected (the 1930's if memory serves) and move forward freeing up a decade's worth of material every 5 years. In 45 years we would have caught up to present day which should be plenty of time for companies to adjust. About the oldest popularly licensed work I can think of is Star Wars - toys, etc produced - and that would remain copyrighted for 25 years. If you can't adjust to a new copyright schema in 25 years, you deserve to go out of business.

Re:Suggestion List (0)

umundane (1490741) | about a year ago | (#44617101)

Oops, accidentally modded this comment down instead of up. Is there a way to undo a mod besides posting?

Hmm... No? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616051)

Sounds like cover your ass we're getting ready to fuck you so hard...

Oh but we took suggestions! People wanted the anal probe every time they download anything ever!

IMHO... (0)

SwampChicken (1383905) | about a year ago | (#44616061)

Ideas shouldn't be patentable.

No contact mail? Don't worry... (3, Funny)

Bearhouse (1034238) | about a year ago | (#44616087)

The NSA will forward it for you...without you needing to even send it!

summary is not true (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616107)

copyright.gov asked for input 13 years ago...

The best way? (4, Insightful)

wertigon (1204486) | about a year ago | (#44616155)

1. Stop trying to control the non-commercial filesharing. The damages to creators are, at worst, about as big as trespassing on private property that isn't near a house or is actively exploited - like say, a forest. The positive effects, meanwhile, are huge and not to be neglected. Instead focus on the commercial filesharing efforts and the people making money on protected works without sharing those profits.

2. Lots of works can no longer be used because their right holders cannot be found (orphan works). In order to solve this problem, copyrighted works should be registered or face a very short copyright term on e.g. five years after publication. An extension of this idea is that economic copyright should only be allowed as long as the copyrighted works do have a substantial value, therefore we have a yearly fee of 2^x where x is the number of years a copyrighted work has been published. This ensures orphaned works become public domain, but it also ensures that copyrighted works that no longer have any commercial value also falls into public domain.

3. Copyright terms either need to be severely reduced, or there needs to be an exception clause for archivists, museums, libraries and the like to let them complete and create as complete collections of works as possible, lest our entire culture from the fifties and onward disappear.

Just a couple of ideas to get started...

Re:The best way? (1, Interesting)

Jason Levine (196982) | about a year ago | (#44617233)

I completely agree except for a little bit with #1. I wouldn't propose to eliminate fines for unauthorized sharing, but noncommercial unauthorized sharing should have fines limited to a small multiple of the retail value of the works. For example, if you share out a thousand songs, you can currently be sued for $750,000 - $150,000,000. That's enough to permanently bankrupt you for life. If you limited it to ten times the retail value of a digital song ($0.99), then your fine would be $9,900. That's still a penalty that will hurt, but not one that will bankrupt the average person for life. (Just make it difficult financially for a bit.) It would serve as an incentive NOT to engage in unauthorized file sharing (the purpose of the fines) without ruining people financially (NOT the purpose) or giving companies a huge weapon to threaten you with if you don't settle on THEIR terms. You can keep the $750 - $150,000 fines for commercial infringement (e.g. companies selling bootleg DVDs of movies).

Why would they need an address? (1)

kevin lyda (4803) | about a year ago | (#44616243)

Just email your thoughts on copyright to someone who sounds foreign. The NSA will forward it to them.

ySou insensitive clod! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616327)

Thank you for your input .... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about a year ago | (#44616337)

Government - I can see the public in general has some good ideas (ok no laughing)
Public - yes we do and we would like them put into action
Government - But you don't pay for my lunches, holidays and general expenses that lets me have a lifestyle beyond my means
Public - But you're a government official who does it for the interest of the country
Government - We'll leave as it is (lest not open the can of worms regarding private influence)

You can send them your comment (4, Informative)

jones_supa (887896) | about a year ago | (#44616371)

But I couldn't find the address to which to send my comments, so maybe that was an oversight on their part.

You can find the comment form in the We Want to Hear from You [uspto.gov] article.

Use it.

Simple solution (2)

TheSkepticalOptimist (898384) | about a year ago | (#44616501)

I don't see why digital content is not treated in the same way as the physical media it replaced.

I think I have a right to play my digital content on ANY device I see fit. Realize that this means all these "walled gardens" should be illegal. If you equate what is happening today with digital content vs physical media, it would be like Walmart creating their own version of DVD and then Best Buy creates their own version of DVDs. A Walmart DVD would not be playable and a Best Buy DVD player, and vice versa. NOBODY would have tolerated that bullshit so why are people happy with buying iTunes content that is not playable on an Android device?

Also with physical media I always had the right to lend the content to a friend or family member. But realize that while it is lended out that I no longer have access to it. I think it should be perfectly acceptable to share my digital content with a friend or family member. However realize that NOBODY has 1 million friends so that does not apply to sharing it digitally to the whole world.

The only thing different about digital content that I feel should not be analogous to physical content is that I should not have to rebuy the content in a different resolution and there is NO REASON why an HD version of a digital movie is more expensive than an SD movie. The reason why Blu-ray's are more expensive the DVDs comes to the cost to author/produce a Blu-ray disk, but even then that coast hast diminished greatly over the last 5 years. I should be buying access to a movie and then have a choice to view it in whatever resolution suits the device I am playing it on, whether its SD, HD or 4k or 8k in the future. Unless the movie had to be remastered to get it to look better at a higher resolution I should never have to buy a movie twice.

Of course the US government is taking a page out of Canada's government handbook. Before making an absurd and unpopular law, get the citizens opinion to make it look like you give a rat's ass about the common person before making sure to protect an industry right to maintain a monopoly and charge high prices for products and services, just like what Canada's CRTC does.

USPTO cannot change law (2)

mschaffer (97223) | about a year ago | (#44616565)

The USPTO cannot change the law of the land. That's what Congress is for.
This will amount to nothing.

NSA (1)

arthurpaliden (939626) | about a year ago | (#44616621)

Just as the NSA for all the emails and forum postings related to copyright. The information you seek is all there.

it's not an oversight (1)

milkmage (795746) | about a year ago | (#44616871)

they're not ready yet

" But I couldn't find the address to which to send my comments, so maybe that was an oversight on their part."

[W]e will soon be reaching out to the public for views on a variety of topics. Please stay tuned for announcements about how to share your thoughts, insights, and recommendations. ..new low for /. the OP doesn't even RT fucking A

contact address (1)

Arancaytar (966377) | about a year ago | (#44616959)

But I couldn't find the address to which to send my comments, so maybe that was an oversight on their part.

Does it matter? Just send them anywhere, the NSA will forward them.

Fix the abandonware issues as well older software (1)

Joe_Dragon (2206452) | about a year ago | (#44617015)

Fix the abandonware issues as well older software vers that are no longer sold not 100% of old software but in some cases there may be stuff for older hardware / os that is no longer sold but they sell newer vers that don't work on the old systems.

There is a lot of old games that are abandonware right now that you can't really buy any more. GOG does have some of the older games that used to be abandonware.

The Case for Copyright Reform (1)

De Lemming (227104) | about a year ago | (#44617037)

They should just read The Case for Copyright Reform [copyrightreform.eu] by Christian Engström (Member of the European Parliament for the Pirate Party) & Rick Falkvinge (founder of the original Pirate Party), and implement it. You can, of course, download the book for free on that website. I highly recommend reading it.

Too late (1)

PopeRatzo (965947) | about a year ago | (#44617087)

Sorry, Mr Uncle Sam The Kenyan Superman, but it's too late. I don't believe shit that you say or do any more.

You come out all like, "Oh, I'm really really glad that this information about the NSA has become public because now we can have this awesome discussion about how best to make the surveillance state more transparent and accountable and so I'm going to put in charge of the new NSA transparency commission the guy who's been lying his ass off to congress and everyone about the NSA".

Fuck off, unk. I read today that Groklaw closed down because you can't really have a bit of freedom if the government is watching and listening. Lavabit. Silent Circle. At least a few people with principles. The Internet is over. Long live the internet.

Ways to improve copyright laws (2)

jonwil (467024) | about a year ago | (#44617485)

1.Change DMCA s512 to impose penalties on anyone who sends a take-down notice for content for content they do not own. This stops take-down notices being sent when the entity doing the sending doesn't actually own the content they are claiming to own.

2.Change the DMCA and other laws to state clearly that any search engine or aggregator that uses automatic content collection systems (like Google or Bing or similar) gets 100% legal immunity for the content aggregated by their sites (i.e. takes away the ability for copyright holders to target or go after search engines because of content their spiders pick up)

3.Change DMCA s103 to state that it is NOT a DMCA violation if you are breaking protection for the purpose of using content if you have permission from the copyright holder to make or use copies of the content.

This means that it would be legal to break protection on phones, games consoles and other things in order to run "homebrew" or "side-load" software where the copyright holder has given permission for such uses.

It also means that for example its legal to crack protection on proprietary camera RAW formats so you can access the photos you took without buying the proprietary tools to access it.

4.Do something to handle "orphan works" (that is, works where the copyright holder cant be located). Plenty of old works (e.g. old computer games) cant be enjoyed again because no-one can identify who actually owns the rights.

5.Pass laws to once and for all declare that APIs are not copyrightable (and end the Oracle v Google fight over API copyright for good)

So, what are you prepared to give away for no pay? (1)

Texmaize (2823935) | about a year ago | (#44617705)

The group think about digital rights on slashdot always makes me scratch my head. As near as I can tell, people on these forums are upset that authors of content wish to profit from their content, and not just give it away. Anyone who comes up with a way to secure content or use it, is considered to be something close to the anti-christ, or worse. IE, you feel you should have movies, music, and books for free.

Take the other slashdot groupthink darling, Serenity. On these forums it is considered to be one of the culminations of human story telling. To make this grand work of art, it took hundreds of people and cost $40,000,000 to make. Now, on slashdot we take it as an article of faith this was sci fi at its best. There are 3.5 million monthly readers on slashdot, and we know from these forums every poster has a girlfriend/significant other. At $10 a ticket this means that Serenity should have made $70,000,000 from zealous slash dotters alone. However, it only grossed $25.5 million.

WTF

This masterpiece of fiction, this creme de la creme actually lost money.

So, less than 1/3 of all slash dotters went to the theatre and paid money? Yet, from the posts here we KNOW more than 1/3 have seen it. Which is sadly funny considering that these forums are against content providers actually charging for their content. In effect, we can conclude that most slashdot readers are selfish bastards who want other people to donate their time to you for your benefit.

So, my question to the community is, how much of your professional time and life do you donate for free?
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