• three blind mice

    It is arguable that copyright law has proven to be a poor mechanism for providing a living wage for authors and other creative artists.

    what is arguable is that WRITING has proven to be a poor mechanism for providing a living wage for authors. with some notable exceptions authors generally earn less per hour than a newly hired walmart associate. many earn far less than that.

    blaming author’s poverty on copyright – instead of recognizing that writing is simply a tough business – displays a complete misunderstanding of the basic problems facing the artistic community and further dulls the debate over copyright.

  • Anonymous

    That’s not a discussion, it’s just 5 people’s opinions

    It’s a discussion when there’s like
    you know
    people talking
    an exchange of ideas?

  • Matthew Rimmer

    Three Blind Mice gets the paper muddled up. The argument is not that copyright law is the cause of authorial poverty; rather that copyright law has not been very good in redressing the tough situation of authors in the marketplace.

    The notion that “Writing is a tough business” certainly deserves some examination. The complaint of Les Murray is that the benefits derived from the tough business of writing are shared unequally – the publishers, the editors, the proof-readers, and the bookbinders seem to earn a living wage, but not the producers of the text, the writers.

    Copyright law has long been justified in romantic terms of defending authors’ rights – whether they be economic interests, or moral concerns about honour and reputation. The regime has had pretensions to bettering the life of authors.

    In social practice, though, copyright law has not done a very good job at defending authors’ rights; but it has been a good means of protecting publishers’ investments. Authors have difficulties retaining ownership of their work – because of notions such as the ‘work made for hire’ doctrine. Even if they do retain economic rights, authors have not been rewarded adequately for their work. Furthermore, in the US, there is little protection for the moral rights of artists.

    Perhaps it is time to think about the plight of authors from a range of perspectives. There is a need to consider not just copyright law, but also the role of contract law, taxation law, social welfare, and public subsidies.

    Surely writers should earn more than a walmart associate.

  • ACS

    I agree with three blind mice that many authors earn less than a newly hired walmart associate. However, I also believe that the general approach to the question “Why do many authors earn less than a newly hired walmart associate?” in discussion here is far too general.

    Most writers do have “second jobs” which often involve a writing component. The problem is that this copyright is often reserved to the employer (with the notable exception of journalists and “Contract for Sevice” employees).

    The proposition that authors must give up thier copyright if they are employed greatly interferes with the commercial success of many authors.

    Perhaps it is not the mechanism of copyright generally but rather the specific application of ownership of copyright which holds many authors back from professional writing as a full time career. Of course there is nothing wrong with a person holding themselves out as being a contractor for service but lets face it most authors arent that legally aware of thier own situation.

    Christmas Cheers to Everyone

  • three blind mice

    The argument is not that copyright law is the cause of authorial poverty; rather that copyright law has not been very good in redressing the tough situation of authors in the marketplace.

    we not muddled at all Matthew Rimmer. poverty is the fate of most artists. the fact that current copyright protection is only meaningful to authors when assigned to a publisher – and that this association keeps authors down – would appear to be an argument for stronger copyright that gives authors even greater control over their work.

    allowing google book swipe to use the work of authors for google’s own profit without any obligation to compensate writers, or even ask for permission, is not the way to advance the interests of authors. all it does is make the beast richer.

    as a natural right, authors should have the right to control how their work is presented and marketed – not corporate giants like google.

    google should negotiate commercial terms with content providers and not try to change the law to allow them to steal food from the mouths of starving writers just so they can increase their corporate profits. the philistines that support google have no respect for art or for the rights of the artist.


  • three blind mice

    can’t argue with that.

  • http://www.ashleybowers.com Ashley Bowers

    Yea your right mice there is no aurging with that I just dont see why Google can put up copywritten information but the rest of the web can not without fear of being sued! But I am sure copywrite attorneys will have a job till the end of time!

  • Vadim Lebedev

    Hello I have an (i hope) an original and extremely simple idea to reform copyright and
    patent legislation.

    It is based on assumtption that large majority of people are honest and MOST
    people will prefer to deal with honest individuals

    It works as following:
    1) Primary author or inventor publishes his work

    2) Distributors can re-distribute the original or modified work WITHOUT compensation to the original author, however they MUST give credit to the original author

    3) Distributor who negotiated some form of compensation with the author have a right to add FL (Formally Licensed) label to their product.

    4) End user/consumer now have a following choice:
    a) Buy a product with FL label and know that the author is compensated
    b) Get a cheaper product without FL label and directly compensate the original author
    c) Get a cheaper product and do not compensate the original

    (If my assumption is correct most people will choose a or b)

    5) Distributing a product without credits to original authors or with false FL label is a crime punished by law

    Comments please