I propose the "Alice in Wonderland" metric for copyright discussions. Should we be allowed to freely share and make adaptations of Diney's 1951 Alice in Wonderland?

Alice in Wonderland is:

(1) Based on a book written in 1865 which is in the public domain

(2) Of major cultural importance on its own merits

(3) Four generations old

(4) Copyrighted until (at least) 2036

(5) Trapped in the "Disney Vault" and not available by legal means

Bonus: my mother is generally supportive of copyright, but she's also obsessed with Alice in Wonderland and owns all kinds of unlicensed merchandise, so maybe this argument will convince her 😉

@sir I don't even think we need a metric. There's no evidence copyright actually helps creators anymore. It's just parasites living off someone's creations pretending to be indispensable.

@isagalaev I agree with you entirely, but it's good to have arguments to gradually bring someone entirely opposed to this gradually around to our viewpoint

@isagalaev @sir The invitation to prove that things like copyright and patents aren't necessary has a proper name: proof burden reversal.

@amiloradovsky @isagalaev oh man, you are entirely right but the problem of making your point widely accepted is so much bigger than the copyright debate

@isagalaev @sir However, it's important to remember there is evidence toward the opposite, from institutions that want little more than eternal copyright protection:

"In 2013, the European Commission ordered a €360,000 ($430,000) study on how piracy affects sales of music, books, movies and games in the EU. However, it never ended up showing it to the public except for one cherry-picked section. That's possibly because the study concluded that there was no evidence that piracy affects copyrighted sales, and in the case of video games, might actually help them."

@kick @sir I heard about this one a while ago, yes :-) Was nice to have an empirical validation to my already held conviction.

@isagalaev @sir I'm not so sure about that.

Copyright does also help "the little guy" to a certain extent by providing a means of defence against large corps taking their work and using it without recognizing/paying the artist.

However, I completely agree that the way it works right now is totally broken and, unless you have lots of money, it's hard to fight a case.

This video by Tom Scott is great at explaining many of the aspects of copyright, if you're interested:

Was looking if someone had linked that video already. I think it's great

@isagalaev @sir

@sir Bonus fact: was a complete commercial failure until psychonauts re-discovered it and fell in love with it, which allowed Disney to re-release it and finally make it profitable after _two decades_ of existence. It wasn't even considered *a good movie* until then.

None of its success by any measure can be tied to any of the usual defenses of intellectual property law.

@sir why not "authors lifespan + 20 years"?

It gives creators the rights to their work for their entire lives.
It gives their children access to that in their estate for at least their childhood years.
It ties specific creations to specific people: you cannot have a corporation continuously churn the copyright over and over.
It's sufficiently long and easily explainable that it should be an easy sell to people (though maybe not the industry and its lobby).

Downsides: probably a bit more expensive to track. Who is responsible for informing the copyright office when an author dies?
Someone will probably argue that it's not fair that your work is only yours to benefit from for 20 years if you die the day it's published, compared to about 80 if you write it young.

@kline why should an author have ownership over intellectual works for their entire lives? Why should their children be entitled to it at all? Argue your point from first principles.

@sir I believe that intellectual works are no less valuable than physical works. In the same way that no one should be able to take your rightfully owned, self-crafted chair while you live, no one should take your intellectual work and force it into the public domain while you live. Of course, you always retain the right to do so yourself if you think that is right and just.

Similarly, in the same way that you can hand down property, you should be able to hand down your intellectual output. If your parents were highly reliant on the income that comes from copyright and licensing, you should be able to inherit that such that your parents efforts can support you until you are your own adult.

This, of course, hinges on authors not being coerced into signing away their copyright to abusive corporations. It's more about making "intellectual property" (a poisoned phrase) more like physical property, but also maintaining a mechanism that allows the value from it to fall into the public domain in a fairly reasonable time in the grand scheme of things. It's not about rent-seeking by building IP franchises that can be milked in perpetuity.

>I believe that intellectual works are no less valuable than physical works. In the same way that no one should be able to take your rightfully owned, self-crafted chair while you live, no one should take your intellectual work and force it into the public domain while you live.

This is demonstrably false. The chair required wood and time to produce. Copying the blueprint requires 25c for the copy machine at the gas station down the street.

@sir I'm not arguing that the chair requires more materials.

It's a bit like the whole "why should I pay you for fixing my PC, it only taken you 30 seconds to <install patch/remove broken stuff/etc>".

There's intangible value in knowledge, creativity, and expression. I happily pay for books. If I could pay authors directly for their work (and it really is work to write a book), I'd be happier.

I reject that their lives work should be anything less than their life's work.

@kline @sir My biggest gripes here:

1) I do not buy that people have a right to an inheritance, unless it's for nostalgia's sake.

2) I think artists can retain a moral/social claim to their work without legal enforcement, or at least with significantly reduced legal enforcement.

And you didn't go here, but:
3) I really don't like "anti-circumvention laws" for enforcement, they conflict with our ownership over our computers.

@alcinnz @sir wrt:

1) without inheritance, if at 7 years old my parents die early, how am I to be financially supported throughout my feeding, schooling, etc. vs a much more predatory financial market that wants to sell me a larger student loan to compensate?

2) I disagree, see my post here on why:

3) I agree wholeheartedly - anticircumvention laws are wrong and completely out of scope of this discussion. What should be against the law is the violation of an artists right to earn from their work. People should be absolutely free to rip CDs to whatever format, region, make backups as they please. There should be no need for anticircumvention tech as the courts should back artists who have been wronged.

In the same way, you should be backed by the courts against someone who robbed your house even if you don't have locks on your door. DRM and locks are methods to protect you from crime happening, but really they shouldn't be necessary as the legal protections should be robust.

Yes, there's a gap between the realities of locking your door and putting DRM on a CD, but the principle is the same: the victim should not be penalised for not fighting harder to prevent a crime.

@kline @sir

1) I'd say something's seriously wrong with your society if you're relying on inheritance to get you out of that situation. Not everyone would be so lucky.

2) A decade after publishing, say, should be plenty of time for you to establish your authorship over a creative work and get a decent income. Though ideally you'd get paid before hand so there's less need for those capitalists to lend you money.

3) O.K., I'll lay off that. Had to get it off my chest again.


1) the state should support you. Ideally, it would need to give you less if you were lucky enough to inherit. Certainly, you waste less by taking it all away, tumbling it inefficiently into cash, and giving it back.

2) in the grand scheme of things, I don't think the difference between 10 years and lifetime+20 is all that much. They're both practically deterministic and instant compared to the current triple digit, ever lengthening rules. I could be talked both up and down from where I stand - but I do think there should be a robustly defined and immutable, equal limit.

3) entirely understandable, the modern state of things is horseshit and I get that it's good to vent about it.

@kline @sir
>It's more about making "intellectual property" (a poisoned phrase) more like physical property

Couldn't disagree more.
Property makes sense for things that are naturally scarce. Information isn't scarce.

If I take away your chair, you can't use it anymore.
If I copy your ideas, blueprints, written text, etc., you still have them and can use them as much as you could before.

Copyright wasn't established out of first principles. It was established pragmatically to reward authors.

@kline @sir
So the question shouldn't be "does the author have a natural right to control how the output of their creative work is used".

Instead it should be
"do we, as a society, want to reward authors for publishing works which end up being popular, and if so, how do we want to do it?"

@sir @kline Seeing comments like these from people I respect makes me optimistic that inheritance as a whole will eventually be abolished, which is an exciting thought. It seems impossible that inheritance on intellectual 'property' won't be destroyed before I die, at least, which is a nice thought.

@kick from a more general point of view, because the idea of inheritance being abolished is a bit more radical than that I've been exposed to previously, how does this work if I'm 7 years old, have a middle class parent, and they die?

My childhood self has nothing and I'd lose the financial support that my parents would give me to support me through college (vs. increased dependence on a highly predatory student loan system), etc.

@kline Why should Bruce Wayne get a better societal standing than a girl from Compton whose mother got caught in a drive-by? The solution to these sorts of problems is not "Make the lucky few keep their luck," it's "Make sure the bottom 90% isn't doomed."

The proposal is 'out there', yes. A society without inheritance is a society that's already accepted that life shouldn't be miserable for the bottom 90%.

@kick I think that the fundamentals in your life: your parents day to day wealth, your home, your basic possessions be they sentimental or practical, should be entirely inheritable. In this way, you keep the roof over your head, you don't go broke, and you can carry on your fathers trade. You lose your parents but not your family situation. You're no worse off than before, other than not having your parents uninheritable guidance and wisdom.

Luxuries? Tax them.
Corporate empires and wealth beyond what can be considered part of someones day to day life? Tax it very, very deeply.

@kline What you're describing is a world with deep and incredibly-cruel inequities, so I personally can't support it. Why consider a better future if there's a class of humans entirely shielded from all suffering while the rest is getting harmed?

@kick I didn't say it outright, but what this really means is that Bruce and Bernice both keep the essentials that stop them slipping (further) into welfare crisis. Bernice keeps everything she could. Bruce's luxuries and luck are taxed.

@kick (and ideally that tax is used to help pull Bernice up out of poverty and into a place where she can go to whatever college she's suited to)

@kline @sir Why should there be a copyright office in the first place?
Also the part that truly sucks about copyright: In some parts of Europe you can't assign to the public domain, you have to use the CC0 or similar.
At least we get the interoperability exception so basically in EU any non-portable software can be reversed easily.

@lanodan @sir it's mostly just administrivia. If there are rules, someone has to manage, regulate, and apply them.

@kline @sir Which to me sounds like a way to bottleneck/tax/control/… on your rights.

@lanodan @sir the copyright office should do none of these things, they should be an impartial expert who can be called upon by creators to ensure that their work is theirs to do with as they please.

It should not be a revenue generating govt office, nor should it be a benchmark and decision maker on "what is worthy art", etc, beyond that set out by the rules.

@kline @lanodan do you believe that the law should make every effort to ensure that any business model which might be viable without law is viable with law?

@sir @lanodan I think that the modern information age means that you require some of these protections, and that being an artist is no longer viable without the law.

In the past, it was the case that if you wanted to have music, you hired musicians to perform. Their income wasn't based on the sale of reproductions of their creation, it came from their performance - something that lasts as long as you can work. This is reasonable.

These days, almost everything comes from the fact that it's incredibly cheap to mass reproduce creations. It's much less viable to live like this if you don't have protection from being undercut by redistributors who buy one copy of your work and redistribute it with the economies of scale such that you cannot compete, paying nothing back to you.

That said, I'm not calling for the continuance of the status quo. Artists should have a much stronger position to retain control of their work and their copyright and *license* reproduction, compared to now where you essentially work to a contract where they pay you to produce music as an employee, where they take the copyright and you live on meager salaries or commissions per piece.

@kline @sir Artists are still quite payed for their performances, you can't really "reproduce" concerts for example, each one is unique by definition. And I don't think there is any more ways to cheat at producing value, copyright is an economy hack to effectively multiply the value of labour, but now copying is uncontrolled and dirt cheap.

Oh and while we're at it, fuck stuff like the SACEM or MPAA, they don't help artists, they only reproduce the very bad economy of the rest of the world (tax the poor, pay the richs) and they tend to kill your copyright as you're basically burned, same thing goes for bars/festivals/radios and other places to reproduce music.

@lanodan @kline no, copyright is a system which was originally designed to incentivize authors to keep producing works *to enrich the public domain*. The original term was just 20 years!

Also, anyone who has been to a concert, and seen it recorded, can tell you a lot about the reproducability of the concertgoing experience

@lanodan @kline now all copyright is used for is the preservation of media oligarchies

@sir @lanodan if we're reforming this, let's reform it and keep the good and advantageous elements, rather than scrap the whole thing.

@kline @lanodan I would rather have no copyright than broken copyright. And I want to see how the world gets on without it

@sir @lanodan like I said early on: copyright should belong to the artists for them to license. It shouldn't belong to the company you create work in employment for. You shouldn't be coerced to hand it over to make any deal at all.

@kline @sir Almost any TOS ever on the internet : You grant ___ a non-exclusive, worldwide irrevocable, sub licensable license to use, reproduce, adapt, publish, translate and distribute it in any and all media.

@lanodan (for real, removing copyright law wouldn't make this go away. The corporations have had their taste and what we need now is to take a stronger bargaining position. Make software that doesn't require you to do this. Make it a competitor. Have ethical software push exploitative software out and make not asking the norm and have users take a stronger stance in managing their own rights.)

Theory: No website should ever use cookies but rely on stuff like HTTP Basic Auth instead (and browsers to provide a way to effectively store a token for Authentication Bearer in a better way).
Practice: They basically all do and in very nasty ways.

And so many time later most $bigcorps still aren't actually GDPR-compliant.

@lanodan this kind of goes to what I was saying to someone else in a different branch of this.

We need to stop talking about methods, and talk about outcomes. No one gives a shit about cookies. They're useful tech for a bunch of stuff.

Make it illegal for companies to violate the GDPR in any fashion, be it cookies, for fingerprinting HTML5 Canvas elements, etc.

But most importantly, once you do that, hold them to it. Give blistering fines on the order of all quarterly revenues. Make (non-)compliance an existential threat, as it should be, not simply a cost of doing business.

@kline I think it's time to just get real and realise that fines do not work, GDPR has quite huge fines compared to the others (5% of their revenue or a typical large number, that's less than tax but still quite significant).
Meanwhile AFK shops or bars can see their license be revoked or be legally closed down for benign things, I have yet to see this for bigcorps, the microsoft antitrust case is one that is close to this but is very rare and it's a court case, not basic law enforcement.

@lanodan so lets fine more heavily. Fines don't work when they money you make by breaking the law is more than the risk*cost you pay when caught.

If you make $10m a year by ignoring the law, and there's only a 50% chance you get caught for each given year, the fine needs to be $20m before it stops being worthwhile to break it.

@lanodan re. performace: yes and no. Yes, some artists are well paid. No, most aren't, and for each artist who is making a comfortable living performing, there are many more who will never manage to make it work and live in poverty, or never get to selfactualise the full extent of their expression and take joy in that, as they have to do this as a side gig to their day jobs. Most money remains in the reproduction, and increasingly, not even that. Streaming I guess is a little like a bit of a shift back to the performance aspect where they are paid per-rendition, but the deal is the worst it's ever been.

Re. MPAA etc. Absolutely yes. They are lobbies of middlemen who seek to gain via owning the reproduction and distribution. They don't represent artists except as far as that they are the representatives of those who give them the few pennies they do get.

Any artist who sticks up for the MPAA etc sticks up to them because it's better to be abused and make a living than your employer firing you and not having anything at all.

@sir @kline I'd think more like authors lifespan or a minimum of 20 years: this way the author's work is likely to be remunerated even if they die a premature death, but on the other extreme there is really no reason to keep copyright on something written by somebody in their 20s after they have died in their 80s.

Company-owned copyright limited to 20 years, of course, since the people who did the work already received their wages no matter what happens to the company.

@sir Definitely. Works should be automatically placed in the public domain after a set, consistent amount of time (no "life of the author" shenanigans).

Something like a decade seems like enough time for an artist to create something, make money off of their creation, and then the public can have their go with making adaptations/using it.

Much like the way patents currently work—though there are some serious flaws with that system right now too. Fair use also needs to be way less restrictive.

@sir How about 14 years, renewable by the original author. There is no way to encourage a creator to create more works after they pass on. Wasn't that the original purpose of copyright? "To promote the useful arts and science" Subsequently to get those created works into the public domain, so a short monopoly to get the works created, and then released back to the public? (That's how I understood it anyway)

@sir I also think that works should be protected by copyright OR drm. If you want the protection of law, you can't lock the works up so that they cannot be liberated after copyright term, or used for fair use. One or the other. If you use DRM, and it gets copied, tough. DRM works may go out of copyright eventually, but then they are protected by locks that cannot be opened. (equipment no longer available, activation servers long since shut down)

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