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The Wrongs of copyright (also patents and intellectual property)


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#1 MadmanRB

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Posted 11 March 2016 - 01:30 PM

The recent youtube copyright strikes and the effort of the wheres the fair use movement to fight this trend is a big hot button issue for some.

For me its just the latest nail in the coffin for my respect for the copyright system.

Basically now internet reviewers who use only brief clips of the movie, use it for parody purposes are all under fire by youtubes broken copyright system which is an extension of the broken normal copyright system.

Right now the system favors big companies, hedge funds and multi millionaires.

The age of old analog style copyright laws really have lost themselves in the digital age, the DMCA only acts as a band aid on a broken leg.

Right now as far as I am concerned as long as companies clamp down on fair use I rally behind the pirates who make their lives miserable.

Yes I actually value pirates more then the companies as they abuse the system for their own goals.

The abusers in my opinion deserve the abuse.

Its not the only thing broken though, what about patents?

Especially ones used by big pharmaceuticals who lord over patents like the richest princes in Saudi Arabia who piggy back off the suffering of others dying from diseases they could help treat.

And its not like each drug is a brand new drug, some are just re brands and reformulations of old ones yet cost the public millions while the company owners ride around in Ferrari's.

And lets not get started on how frivolous IP is these days, its like a 4 year old child crying "its mine!"

Actually the whole system is like that anymore, I may sound a little Marxist but I am jaded on how much the system is lorded by big businesses.


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#2 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 14 March 2016 - 07:42 AM

Patent and copyright are not the same things. Yes they are both involved with IP and giving the producer some protection but with differing approaches.

Copyright exists and belongs to the creator of any artistic - under a very wide interpretation of artistic - work automatically. Because, for example, I take a photo - and I take a lot of photos - copyright in these photos belongs to me. I may give permission for these photos to be used by others but at the least I want a credit for them. Passing them off as the work of someone else or, in digital format, stripping the meta-data off them is tantamount to theft. The same of course applies to song writers, musicians, film makers. The list goes on.

Patent has to be applied for and, theoretically at least, will only be given for 'new' inventions or developments and has existed since, I think, sometime in the 18th century. The principle behind it is to give an inventor an exclusive right for a limited period to the exploitation of his invention so as to enable him or her to recover the costs of development. And these costs can be significant. Ten years R&D is by no means unusual for modern pharmaceuticals.

Agreed, both systems are in a mess. Copyright primarily because in this digital age it is all too easy just to copy something, almost anything, without any thought for the creator of the work. The patent system is in a mess partly because of the inefficiencies of most patent offices and a legal system that makes it too easy to punitively exploit patents. It is easy to point out weaknesses in the two systems, fixing them is a different problem.

I am not sure that copyright can be fixed. Given that anyone with an internet connection, a DVD drive and a scanner can rip virtually anything it is almost impossible to prevent copying and the costs of legal action are such that this is prohibitive for any individual or small organisation. Yes, DCMA is available, or its equivalent in other jurisdictions, but this only comes into effect after something has been copied and then you are into the old game of 'whack-a-mole'. My wife and I are amateur photographers and there are a lot of our photos on the net. We are not in it for the money but we do like the honour of a credit which mostly we get but if we don't there is virtually nothing we can do about it.

Patents are a different matter because they are almost entirely commercial in their nature  and to at least some extent the holding or owning organisations can afford to defend them - you only have to look at the on-going saga of Apple v Samsung. But it is broken in a different way. The original idea behind patents was that Inventor A came up with a new way of doing something and Manufacturers B, C and D were entitled to the use of his invention on payment of a reasonable fee. The system was never intended to allow non-manufacturing entities to gather patents and then sue for punitive damages for alleged breach of patent. Much of the cure for the defects in the patent system lies with the legislature in the respective countries. They could reform and better fund their patent offices so that patents are issued more promptly and create clearer definitions of 'prior art' so that, for example, just because an IC is mounted in a different position in an otherwise identical circuit board it cannot be claimed as 'new'. The respective legal systems also carry some of the blame. Civil law almost everywhere is a slow and expensive business and courts vary markedly in their approach to patent problems. I frequently read of patent cases in the US being brought in a particular Federal district in Texas because, for some reason, the judiciary in that district look more kindly - or at least leniently - on the plaintiffs in patent cases.

Copyright and patent are both there as protection for the creators of new works of their different types. Why shouldn't the creator of a work be rewarded for their work ?  As most of us are wage slaves of one form or other I am sure we would all take a dim view if at the end of the week or month the boss said "Thanks for your efforts  this last week or month, but I am just not paying you for them !".

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#3 ScathEnfys

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Posted 24 April 2016 - 07:54 PM

Chris Cosgrove said:
quote: "
Why shouldn't the creator of a work be rewarded for their work ? As most of us are wage slaves of one form or other I am sure we would all take a dim view if at the end of the week or month the boss said "Thanks for your efforts this last week or month, but I am just not paying you for them !".
" : unquote.

This exactly. The current system may be flawed but it is a h--l of a lot better than no system at all.
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#4 HolyCowz

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 06:08 AM

To me this topic has many sides. In this type of society with the way it is structured around money to help  businesses survive you need copyright as a forum of protection. Saying that the world if not based around money and all was free and made for recognition you wouldn't need it as your payment being the best or part of a team that's the best would be enough knowing you done a good thing.

As for pirating dvd, music, games ect I don't blame people you only have to look at the rubbish they churn out and then the huge price they charge and that is justification enough. Just look at the price of a new title blue ray or playstation game


Edited by HolyCowz, 28 January 2017 - 06:09 AM.


#5 britechguy

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 09:53 AM

HolyCowz wrote: "As for pirating dvd, music, games ect I don't blame people you only have to look at the rubbish they churn out and then the huge price they charge and that is justification enough. Just look at the price of a new title blue ray or playstation game"

 

 

 

So?   These are products like any number of others.  No one is forcing anyone to buy something as frivolous as a movie/TV Show or Playstation game the moment they appear on the shelf.  If you wait a very short period of time these begin to appear in thrift shops and secondhand stores once the "I have to have it now!!" crowd bores of them.

 

I just don't understand how people can justify theft because it's easy.  You'd never (or I presume you'd never) say the same thing if you could clone a brand new car or refrigerator or . . . or would you say the same thing?  I'd hope not.  If you would then you're essentially saying theft is OK because it's easy, and that's an awfully slippery slope.


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     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

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#6 HolyCowz

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 01:09 PM

@britech lol you misunderstand me I am merely looking at it through the eyes of some people. I always wait till a film is on tv and watch it for free.

I'm not a watch it must have it now person never have been.  I have never stolen anything as i believe you should do and treat others the way you would like to be treated. I like to look at things through not only my own eyes it helps me have clarity and understand others.

I don't see a homeless starving man that has stolen a pie from a major supermarket as a bad man but some would. 

I see a thief in many guises you don't have to be on the wrong side of the law to be a thief in this day and age.


Edited by HolyCowz, 28 January 2017 - 01:13 PM.


#7 britechguy

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Posted 28 January 2017 - 06:42 PM

HolyCowz:   I appreciate the clarification regarding your personal standpoint and practices.  I am very much like you in that I have never been a "must have it now" sort of person.

 

All of that being said, I stand behind what I wrote earlier with regard to the position you expressed, even though you don't agree with it.  It was the position that I was arguing against and, without any other indication, it's not unreasonable to presume that someone seemingly espousing a given position is not playing devil's advocate unless they clearly state that they are.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#8 Just_One_Question

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Posted 01 April 2017 - 09:49 AM

It's all good, I agree and all, but I just didn't understand from the whole topic... What the hell do hedge funds have to do with it, lol? :lmao:

"Right now the system favors big companies, hedge funds and multi millionaires."

#9 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 03:06 PM

A report published in 'The Register' today suggests that copyright is not yet quite dead and buried. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled in favour of a German photographer one of whose photos was used in a child's project which was later published on the schools public facing web-site. The photographer sued Land Nordrhein-Westfalen as the owners/administrators of the school for damages of €400. Among other things the Court said -

 

"The European Court of Justice has determined that a website must get permission from the copyright owner of an image before it can use the picture itself – even if that photo or illustration is readily available elsewhere."

 

The full story, and three pages of comments. is available here -

 

https://www.theregister.co.uk/2018/08/08/europe_supreme_court_copyrighted_images/

 

What I found really interesting is that the vast majority of the commentards agreed with the verdict of the Court.

 

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#10 britechguy

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Posted 08 August 2018 - 04:50 PM

I have a very hard time with the issue of copyright of images because of the internet in particular.

 

There are instances where an image is on a website that were placed there via a commercial agreement and where the potential for additional sale to other venues exists.  One should not be able to just snag those images and use them online for commercial purposes (which to my mind requires monetary gain or an attempt at monetary gain).   Using same for something like a school project, which is utterly non-commercial, and a school picking random projects by students to feature on their websites, also non-commercial, should not be subject to the same copyright restrictions.

 

The whole digital world has made a lot of copyright law functionally obsolete even though various copyright laws are still on the books and enforced.  I don't know how one can claim that a photo that an individual posts on something like Facebook, to which they definitely hold copyright, should be subject to any penalties if someone else lifts it and uses it.  The creator posted to a website known to be entirely accessible to the public where those accessing the content incur no cost and the creator accrues no financial gain.  They really can't claim they've "lost something" if someone else republishes a photo under the same conditions.

 

There's an awful lot of latitude for using various copyrighted works as a small part of derivative works without formal arrangement.  It seems to me that use in a school project is a derivative work and that the original photographer would be very hard pressed to demonstrate any financial loss, actual or probable, from this use.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#11 mjd420nova

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 10:17 AM

That's the whole matter in a nutshell.  The use of anothers  pictures, text or images for COMMERCIAL use is illegal and a violation of copyright.  The same applies to hardware or other inventions that may be copied and used in like devices is a violation of patent rights.  Using anothers ideas in a new way or expanding upon the usage of a device can be patented by others but fees must be paid to the original inventors, subject to negotiation and agreement by both parties.  It's all about the money.  The perception that ones ideas or inventions are free to be exploited by the public without any regard for the rules of law has made it difficult for those individuals to continue their ground breaking work.



#12 britechguy

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Posted 09 August 2018 - 11:04 AM

mjd420nova wrote, in part:  It's all about the money.  The perception that ones ideas or inventions are free to be exploited by the public without any regard for the rules of law has made it difficult for those individuals to continue their ground breaking work.

 

And it has always been all about the money.  Control of ideas, art works, etc., except for a few idiosyncratic cranks, isn't about the control, but the ability to limit who can use their work, without their permission, to line their pockets.

 

That's actually one of the reasons I have so much ambivalence about material published on the web that is not being published by any entity that has a traditional non-web presence or is web-only but of a commercial nature as far as buying content before publishing it.

 

The nature of the web is that anything placed on it, whether one wishes this or not, becomes de facto public property except under the most constrained set of circumstances.  You've elected to place material openly on a medium where exact duplication is easily possible in places where you were not making any money on it to begin with.  If someone else appropriates something there for another non-commercial purpose, like a school report, that should not be a copyright violation.  Even if they appropriate it from say, a newspaper's website where the newspaper paid for it, but are using it for a non-commercial purpose I don't think that should be a copyright violation, either.   You have to be losing something other than control, which you already ceded by using a medium that does not support any meaningful control, for what I consider a "legitimate" copyright violation to occur.

 

Of course, I also think that current law on how long "The Estate of [fill in long dead celebrity here]" can maintain control over images used untold numbers of times and the world over is ridiculous, too.  One example being Marilyn Monroe's estate.   She's been dead longer than I've been alive, in excess of 50 years, and they still maintain control over a great deal of her images (if one wishes to use them legally, and I'm presuming one does).  These, and other, items that were subject to copyright for commercial use need to be passing into the public domain much more rapidly than they might have been when books, magazines, and newspapers were the primary method of reuse of images.  I don't think that people who've been paid, and often generously paid, for the creation of a work that is as easily reproducible as a digital image should have the right to control it "semi-perpetually" after it's been published for non-commercial uses.

 

But, with the advent of the computer age, a very great deal of law has fallen farther and farther and farther behind in regulating the things that actually need to be regulated and much of the regulation is based on paradigms that ceased to exist in any meaningful sense decades ago.  That's no way to have functioning law in any arena.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#13 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 07:02 PM

Let me start from the position that I have considerable sympthy for the stance taken by this professional German photographer, ie he makes his living from it. As a fairly enthusiastic amateur photographer quite a few of my photos have now been published, both on line and on paper, and all I ask is a credit --'Photo by Chris Cosgrove' - or similar.

 

It is explained in the report in 'The Register' that it would have been trivial for the school's administrators to have contacted Herr Renckhoff and if they had he would almost certainly have said 'Yes, so long as I get a credit'. He had no problem with the child using it as part of a project, this would surely have come under fair use for education in any case, but it was the fact that the school published it on their public facing web-site without even doing him the courtesy of asking that upset him.

 

Over and above that, the amount he sought in damages was trivial. €400 equals $US 465 at today's rates (as per Google). And he didn't take the case straight to the European Court of Justice. The ECJ is equivalent to the Supreme Court in the USA, and nobody wanders in there and says 'Do you think you could hear my case, please ?'. I have no proof of this, it isn't covered in the article, but it is believed that he started with a routine lawyer's letter to which apparently Land Nordrhin-Westfalen said 'On bike, offsky' or words to that effect.

 

Yes, I agree, it is exceedingly easy to copy almost anything off the web, but that fact does not necessarily make the act right or indeed legal. The provisions of the Berne Convention exist and are still valid and enforceable if you are willing to make the effort. It is time that more creators of artistic works (very widely defined) stood up and argued for this position.

 

It may be that various jusrisdictions have tried to extend the period of copyright to ridiculous lengths. My own opinion is that the lifetime of the creator would be sufficient, or say 50 years in the case of a company that claims the copyright.

 

Chris Cosgrove


Edited by Chris Cosgrove, 13 August 2018 - 07:03 PM.

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#14 britechguy

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Posted 13 August 2018 - 08:09 PM

Chris,

 

           Take the following as a statement coming from my personal perspective as someone who has worked in the public school system, not as an attack on what you've said, which was, in part, "it would have been trivial for the school's administrators to have contacted Herr Renckhoff and if they had he would almost certainly have said 'Yes, so long as I get a credit'."

 

            Perhaps it's different in Europe (and I mean that, it's not snark), but here in the USA the idea that school teachers or administrators have the time or the expertise to try to do provenance research on the images used in school projects is something that borders on ludicrous, all the more so when a given image could be from any one of hundreds to thousands of websites and by any one of myriad known or completely unknown photographers.  It just simply doesn't happen and won't happen.  There's not enough time in the day to deal with just what one has to do to try to educate the kids.

 

             I have little doubt that the attitude would be to at least try to get permission for an image obviously "commercial" in nature, but not for something like this.  If I take the word of the article you gave the link to, there is a photo they use with the caption:  "A photo of Spanish city of Córdoba, used under license, that is basically the same as the copyrighted image ... You'll just have to take our word for it."   Looking at that photo it could very well be a snapshot taken by anyone with widely available digital camera technology.  Doing a tineye.com search, on the exact image the article uses, produces the following results page:  https://tineye.com/search/18c78e061aae679d9804930c61b1db5baa989257/

There are 15 results, in different crops, where we know the original and its source.   Try doing a tineye search for any number of images you find on the internet and you can get the extremes, one found [which makes trying to contact the owner easy], through the more typical thousands [making the work to track down the copyright holder well-nigh impossible].

 

              There will never be a day that I can foresee where teachers or administrators in the USA will ever be doing copyright searches for digital images submitted as part of a young student's coursework not related to photography or journalism.  Putting something up on a local school district's website is the rough equivalent of pinning projects up on the school's main bulletin board in my days in elementary school.   I personally find the idea of suing a local school, even for what I will admit is a trivial amount, for featuring a student project on their webpages [and probably for a very short time period] to be as obnoxious, if not more so, than posting a digital image, widely available, that the student "stole" where not a scintilla of damage, financial or otherwise, to its creator is in evidence.  It's petty, which is what makes it even worse, in my eyes.


Brian  AKA  Bri the Tech Guy (website in my user profile) - Windows 10 Home, 64-Bit, Version 1803, Build 17134 

     . . . the presumption of innocence, while essential in the legal realm, does not mean the elimination of common sense outside it.  The willing suspension of disbelief has its limits, or should.

    ~ Ruth Marcus,  November 10, 2017, in Washington Post article, Bannon is right: It’s no coincidence The Post broke the Moore story


 

 

 

              

 


#15 Chris Cosgrove

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Posted 15 August 2018 - 06:04 PM

In an earlier post I asked "Why shouldn't the creator of an original work be rewarded for it?"

 

The Berne Convention exists and all its signatories have produced legislation to bring it into effect. This legislation exists and is what the owners of coyright rely on. Also, the internet exists and this has made the copying of material trivial and virtually unprovable. A circle demanding to be squared. The present law, as it stands, is weak and difficult to use effectively, never mind expensive.

 

It is the duty of a legislature to make laws fit for their times, or at least not - hopefully - more than 10 years behind the times. Even the making of law can go slowly !  And, with the exception of surveillance legislation, the internet is an area which has been largely ignored  by the various legislatures around the World. And if 'The Register' will allow me another quote from the same article, Kieren McCarthy - who works out of their San Francisco office - said in his closing remarks -

 

"It will also mean that every website – even school websites – will have to make sure that they only post images that they have permission to post. And pretty much everyone is going to have to reeducate themselves about what is and is not allowable online.

 

It is going to be messy, yet the decision also represents a gradual clawing back of previous norms in the internet era. It never made sense that people should be able to take other people's hard work – whether that's music, or video, or articles, or photographs – and do whatever they want with it just because it was possible to do so quickly and easily."

 

Of course rulings of the ECJ only directly affect those within Europe, just as decisions of the Supreme Court only directly affect those within the USA but the opinions expressed by these final appeal courts do tend to influence the thinking of other courts.

 

Chris Cosgrove


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