What is copyright for?

Discuss Pirate Party policy

What is copyright for?

Postby VJ » Fri Sep 03, 2010 3:50 pm

Following on from this discussion: viewtopic.php?f=37&t=2503 I've come to realise that although it's a central plank of our party, we have no consensus on what copyright should be for. Surely something this basic should be in our constitution!
Personally I've always thought the American phrase "to promote the useful arts and sciences" was a good description, in the previous thread Duke said it should be about financial return to the author & the original (nominal) meaning from the Statute of Anne was "for the Encouragement of Learning, by vesting the Copies of Printed Books in the Authors or purchasers of such Copies".
As a party we really need to discuss this because coherent policy around the issue can only flow from our ideology.
~share & enjoy~
User avatar
VJ
Boatswain's Mate
 
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:35 pm

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby azrael » Fri Sep 03, 2010 5:00 pm

I suspect there will be a lot of disagreement over exactly what copyright is for, or whether it even needs to exist. While I look forward to the debate, we shouldn't expect to come to a single opinion ... just so long as we end up with a single policy on it that we can all grudgingly accept ;)
Governor of the Board 2010-present
Former South-East Regional Administrative Officer (2010-2011)
User avatar
azrael
Party Governor
 
Posts: 1766
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:05 am
Location: Canterbury, Kent, UK

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby samgower » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:15 pm

Firstly, I think that for the purposes of this topic, the phrase "copyright is" should be read as "in an ideal world, copyright would be". And now, my opinion:

Copyright is a distortion of the free market for the purposes of rewarding and promoting creativity.
samgower
Terror of the High Seas
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:56 pm
Location: Newport, UK

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby scuzzmonkey » Fri Sep 03, 2010 7:36 pm

to reward the creator with a limited time period of exclusivity over the product.

personally i don't see attribution to be part of copyright, but something that would continue ad infinitum.
- Will Mac (@Scuzzmonkey)
- Governor (July 2010 - March 2012), PPUK
---
- "One of the most important things you learn from the internet is that there is no ‘them’ out there. It’s just an awful lot of ‘us’." - Douglas Adams
User avatar
scuzzmonkey
Space Pirate
 
Posts: 1338
Joined: Sun Nov 22, 2009 4:38 pm
Location: Newcastle-upon-Tyne, UK

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby robharris » Fri Sep 03, 2010 8:10 pm

scuzzmonkey wrote:to reward the creator with a limited time period of exclusivity over the product.

personally i don't see attribution to be part of copyright, but something that would continue ad infinitum.


I would say "commercial exclusivity".
robharris
Swabbie
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 1:21 pm

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby VJ » Fri Sep 03, 2010 9:58 pm

robharris wrote:I would say "commercial exclusivity".

So you wouldn't protect someone who released their work CC-BY-NC with copyright then?
I personally don't believe that copyright should be tied to commerce. Personally, I'm an amateur author, I've never released anything I've writer, because frankly, it's rubbish. But should I one day wish to release my work, I would do it for the reward of having my name tied to it, not for the money. IMO copyright states that this is my work to do with as I please - not yours. Of course it will become yours once it enters the public domain.
~share & enjoy~
User avatar
VJ
Boatswain's Mate
 
Posts: 187
Joined: Sun Aug 16, 2009 3:35 pm

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby AndrewTindall » Fri Sep 03, 2010 10:50 pm

herein lies the problem. Almost everyone agrees with the "moral" aspect of attribution. But it's all tied in with that pesky control/exclusivity/commercial stuff that causes all the fuss.
Pirate turned Green.
User avatar
AndrewTindall
Space Pirate
 
Posts: 1127
Joined: Mon Jun 08, 2009 1:25 am
Location: Aberystwyth

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby robharris » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:05 pm

VJ wrote:
robharris wrote:I would say "commercial exclusivity".

So you wouldn't protect someone who released their work CC-BY-NC with copyright then?
I personally don't believe that copyright should be tied to commerce. Personally, I'm an amateur author, I've never released anything I've writer, because frankly, it's rubbish. But should I one day wish to release my work, I would do it for the reward of having my name tied to it, not for the money. IMO copyright states that this is my work to do with as I please - not yours. Of course it will become yours once it enters the public domain.


By "commercial exclusivity" I mean that the copyright holder is the only person allowed to make money, so no selling of copies. It never really occured to me that people would try and take credit for reproducing copyrighted work, bit of rookie error in terms of pirating. I agree that people should have their name tied to work, to some extent I think that should an limitless rule, would be wrong to try and pass someone elses work off as your own regardless of the length of time its been out. Thats why I think copyright is really about the money, because even now once books are out of copyright, still have original names attached to them, you don't see copies of "Pride and Prejudice by Rupert Murdoch".

The reason I think it is important to focus on the commercial aspect, is so people who distribute work for free (aka File sharing) should not be punished for "taking" the work, in that aspect it is not the copyright holders to do with as they please. Although still just common decency to attach the artists/authors name.
robharris
Swabbie
 
Posts: 20
Joined: Sat May 08, 2010 1:21 pm

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby samgower » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:21 pm

I feel that we should define a superset of "creative rights", that include the right of attribution and so on. Part of these creative rights could be the specific economic right of copyright.
samgower
Terror of the High Seas
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:56 pm
Location: Newport, UK

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby Finlay_A » Fri Sep 03, 2010 11:30 pm

Or that we differentiate between "rights" (e.g. attribution), and "privaleges" (e.g. commercial monopoly), that copyright law grants.
Stood for Westminster, Holyrood and Council elections in Glasgow
"Don't mind the potatoes, but the soup is good!"
User avatar
Finlay_A
PPUK Candidate
 
Posts: 625
Joined: Sat Jan 02, 2010 1:07 pm
Location: Aberdeen

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby M2Ys4U » Sat Sep 04, 2010 12:12 am

It'd sound better if we created a superset of rights - who would complain about creating extra rights for artists?
Jack Allnutt - Deputy Campaigns Officer, Member of the Board of Governors and former RAO for North-West England
Tweet E-Mail
M2Ys4U
Deputy Campaigns Officer
 
Posts: 616
Joined: Fri Aug 21, 2009 5:12 am
Location: Manchester

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby DavidXanatos » Sat Sep 04, 2010 6:01 pm

In the not English speaking parts of the world, wel actualy at leat in teh german speaking realm,
there is no copyright as such but a 2 separated rights the "creators right" (translation of "Urheberrecht") and "utilisation right" (translation of "Verwertungsrecht")
The first one is tight to the auto and in contrary to the lather and the English Copyright can not be legal transferred to an other person or institution.
The right handles stuff like authorship, plagiarism, etc... all things irrelevant for pirates and users.
The lather the "utilisation right" handles the right to distribute and use, etc...

From my pirate standpoint the problem lays only with this law, it should be completely inapplicable on private people.

A similar separation in the legislation I think would be very useful in UK & Co Laws as it alows to targest the pirate problems directly without going into problematic areas like plagiarism, etc.
Copyright is not right!
User avatar
DavidXanatos
International Pirate
 
Posts: 66
Joined: Wed Aug 12, 2009 8:20 am
Location: Vienna

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby Infomage » Mon Sep 06, 2010 2:51 am

I like that idea... Also, as the precedent is set in Germany, there may be some mileage in holding the German system up as a working example... Assuming it does actually work, of course.

Oh, and before you ask, no, I am not really up at stupid o'clock - I am in Canberra. :)
Infomage
Deckhand
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Wed Aug 19, 2009 11:51 am

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby Aradiel » Mon Sep 06, 2010 9:40 am

Since we brought CC into this earlier on, I'd say copyright should be distribution rights (as, to distribute it, you'd need the right to make copies of it)

However, perhaps we should focus on the commercial aspect - if someone releases something for free but with copyright attached, what should we do when someone who has not been allowed to produce copies does so? Any punishment beyond shaking our heads in disapproval might seem too much.
Aradiel
Deckhand
 
Posts: 99
Joined: Sat Mar 13, 2010 12:51 pm

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby philward » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:36 pm

I'd like to take this back to the initial question. Copyright is a feature of law. In a democratic society we are governed through our consent. Those who govern us are elected by us to serve us and our interests.
Therefore the purpose of copyright law is to serve the public interest.
The public interest is to have a broad spectrum of artistic and scientific works available to them, ideally in the public domain. Therefore copyright law should provide an incentive for those who would create such works, while also making sure that the works go into the public domain as quickly as possible. The length of copyright should be the shortest amount of time that still provides a good incentive to those who create.

Any notion of rewarding the creator is a side effect of copyright law, and is not the main purpose. The notion of rewarding creators has been the driving force behind copyright extensions in the past. These extensions completely ignore the main reasons for any law; the public interest.
philward
Cabin Kid
 
Posts: 60
Joined: Mon Jun 15, 2009 12:01 pm
Location: Clackmannanshire

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby cabalamat » Mon Sep 06, 2010 12:53 pm

philward wrote:Therefore the purpose of copyright law is to serve the public interest.


That is -- or ought to be -- the purpose of any law.

Any notion of rewarding the creator is a side effect of copyright law, and is not the main purpose.


Indeed.
Philip Hunt, <p.hunt@pirateparty.org.uk>.
User avatar
cabalamat
Party Governor
 
Posts: 1155
Joined: Sat May 30, 2009 7:35 pm
Location: Edinburgh

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby samgower » Mon Sep 06, 2010 5:20 pm

philward wrote:I'd like to take this back to the initial question. Copyright is a feature of law. In a democratic society we are governed through our consent. Those who govern us are elected by us to serve us and our interests.
Therefore the purpose of copyright law is to serve the public interest.

You're assuming that democracy is highly representative (when it barely is it all in this country) -- and that there is no corruption!

philward wrote:Any notion of rewarding the creator is a side effect of copyright law, and is not the main purpose. The notion of rewarding creators has been the driving force behind copyright extensions in the past. These extensions completely ignore the main reasons for any law; the public interest.

I disagree that rewarding the creator is a side effect -- rather there is a dual purpose. It's about striking a balance between the right for someone to be rewarded for their work and the right for the rest of the world to benefit from their work. Both of these things are equally valid reasons for copyright to exist.

Normally, the balance is struck naturally by the laws of economics. But because creative works are public goods, copyright is needed to enforce a balance. The problem with this is that while the free market reaches a natural balance that shifts according to a whole range of factors, when the balance is prescribed by law, it is set and stuck, unable to shift.

And when it does shift, it is shifted by an unrepresentative and corrupt government. No wonder it's been moving in the wrong direction! I think that, ultimately, capital-p-Piracy is all about moving the balance back towards the greater good (and, in fact, getting a better deal for creators too, since copyright stopped serving the vast majority of them a long time ago).
samgower
Terror of the High Seas
 
Posts: 925
Joined: Sat Aug 15, 2009 2:56 pm
Location: Newport, UK

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby glambert » Wed Sep 08, 2010 9:03 am

I believe copyright should provide a temporary monopoly for a creative artist to distribute their work and earn a decent living from their work. Copyright durations should be, IMO, no longer than 20 years for each individual work and should thereafter be in the public domain to be used as people see fit, whilst retaining the original artist's attribution.
User avatar
glambert
Terror of the High Seas
 
Posts: 999
Joined: Thu Aug 13, 2009 4:09 pm
Location: Bury

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby nekomata » Tue Oct 05, 2010 3:02 am

samgower wrote:I disagree that rewarding the creator is a side effect -- rather there is a dual purpose. It's about striking a balance between the right for someone to be rewarded for their work and the right for the rest of the world to benefit from their work. Both of these things are equally valid reasons for copyright to exist.

I disagree that there is a right to be rewarded for creating something. I also disagree that there is a right for the rest of the world to benefit from someone else's work. Naturally, there are freedoms to accept rewards or to benefit from others.

As far as natural freedoms go, you are free to do as you wish with what you know. You can keep it in your head or shout it out to the world. As such, all publicly accessible information is effectively in the public domain. As it is in the best interests of society to have a rich public domain, society offers an incentive to people to add to the public domain. The current mechanism for this is copyright.

Ultimately, enriching the public domain is the purpose, and the creator's reward (copyright) is merely a means to an end.

Now, copyright works by temporarily stripping away people's natural freedom to do as this wish with what's inside their head. For this reason alone copyright is a flawed means of incentive, and we should keep our minds open for if a better alternative becomes apparent. For the time being however, copyright appears to be the best available compromise, so lets stick with it for the moment.
For what I would hope are obvious reasons, we want to keep the stripping of our citizen's freedoms to a minimum, but the bigger the incentive that we offer, the more artworks will be released into the public domain. A balance must be made between these 2 concerns, and if I recall correctly, studies have shown that balance to be about 25 years.

My main concerns at present:
- The fact that copyright relies on stripping natural freedoms is being masked, therefore giving the impresson that longer copyrights are better. I believe that public concern over abusive copyright lengths would be a lot higher if they realised that their freedoms are being stripped.
- Various factions with money to throw at the lawmakers are getting effectively perpetual copyright. In effect, destroying the very reason of copyright as nothing goes into public domain.
- DRM as is stops the protected work from usably falling into public domain. Creators should have the freedom to use DRM if they so wish, but unless they also provide a guarantee that the DRM free work will fall in to the public domain, they are effectively not contributing to the public domain, and should not gain copyright protects which are the reward for contributing to the public domain.
"None are more hopelessly enslaved than those who falsely believe they are free." - Johann Wolfgang von Goethe
User avatar
nekomata
Swabbie
 
Posts: 12
Joined: Tue Sep 01, 2009 11:51 pm
Location: Reading

Re: What is copyright for?

Postby azrael » Tue Oct 05, 2010 8:01 am

Hi Nekomata, I like some of the things you say, but I have a counter position to offer.

If copyright is stripping away our freedoms, shouldn't the moral approach be to preserve our freedoms and abolish copyright? Business models will be damaged, yes, but I truly do not believe that 'creators creating things' will stop. Rather instead they'll get more imaginative with how they get paid.

It is a truly difficult to hold that (1) copyrights remove one of our natural freedoms, (2) commercial exploitation makes removing a natural freedom acceptable (might as well reintroduce slavery - just so long as it is for commercial benefit), (3) but we want a full exemption for anyone non-commercially 'infringing' copyrights.
Governor of the Board 2010-present
Former South-East Regional Administrative Officer (2010-2011)
User avatar
azrael
Party Governor
 
Posts: 1766
Joined: Fri Aug 14, 2009 12:05 am
Location: Canterbury, Kent, UK

Next

Return to Policy Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 0 guests

X
We use cookies to provide you the best possible experience on our website. If you continue without changing your settings, we will assume that you are happy to receive all cookies on this website. If you would like to, you can change how your browser controls cookies at any time.
You can also view our Privacy Policy
I understand. Don't show me this message again.