• http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Either make it permanent or abolish it, but whatever you do, don’t farce about putting off until tomorrow the decision that should be made today.

    Who owns public works? The public or the publisher?

    If the latter, then we need to create a new word that means what publication used to mean.

    And then the public can decide whether to purchase art that it won’t own versus art that it will.

  • three blind mice

    Who owns public works? The public or the publisher?

    the public works? when “the public” produces a work on a par with Harry Potter, give us a call. until then, give credit where credit is due. the new and original creations of authors and artists belong to those who create them.

    the public has no other “right” to these creations than the right to choose to pay the price of admission to enjoy them.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Well, theoretically, the public does own them. Copyright simply grants the publisher a limited monopoly on their reproduction/derivation.

    The problem is, the ‘limited’ bit is steadily being corrupted into ‘unlimited’.

    Creations belong to the artist until they decide (if ever) to publish them – and then they belong to the public.

    Naturally, the public is interested to encourage such publication.

    If the public can no longer guarantee a monopoly on reproduction there’s not much point in offering one eh?

    For that matter, there’s not much point in extending the period of such a purely notional monopoly.

    If we can’t offer a monopoly (even an infinite one), then perhaps we should start offering money? Or is that a little naive of me?

  • anonymous

    Dear Crosbie Fitch,

    The “limited monopoly” is granted to the creator, not to the publisher. The creator is then free to dispose of these rights in any way he or she chooses — and that includes witholding the right to publish. Typically, a rightsholder/creator grants reproduction rights, for a mutually agreeable fee, to a publisher to publish the work according to specified criteria governing the number of copies or print run, geographical distribution, types of media, markets, etc.

    Please explain to me how you embrace the notion, or justify, that the personally created property of an artist belongs to you? Or should belong to you?

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    To publish is to deliver to the public – to transform private intellectual property into public intellectual property.

    Copyright is a privilege (not a right) that suspends the right (to freedom of expression) of the public to reproduce or build upon this art for a ‘limited’ time in order to incentivise this act of delivering art to the public.

    Published art is owned by the public – it is public property. The public’s liberty is briefly (and unethically) suspended as an incentive for artists to deliver their art to the public.

    It would be better if the public’s liberty was not suspended at all, that artists published their art in exchange for money from their audiences.

  • David BC

    French law separates “moral” rights from “patrimonial” rights.
    An author will never be stripped from the fact he created art : his name will be associated with the creation for instance.
    But after a while, the public has also the right to gain access to what was published and derive new art or culture from it.
    Or enjoy for free it once a “reasonnable” lenght of time has passed.

    How long should it last ?
    Lifetime of the author? Of the 2nd, 3rd or Nth generation ?
    Once you know that now corporations own most of the information and art, and that they are basically immortal, the question gets even more interesting.

    @”Three blind mices” : How about paying royalties from your nickname to the person Who originaly used the term in a story ?

    See what I mean ?

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Good points David.

    ‘Patrimonial rights’ or droits patrimoniaux simply demonstrate that the French are no more angelic than anyone else when it comes to tweaking language in favour of commercial interests. They couldn’t exactly say Les privilèges patrimoniaux avec un peu moins de liberté, d’égalité, de fraternité. You can’t abrogate the people’s rights unless you can kid people they’ve a right to the commercial privilege that replaces them, e.g. the ‘right’ to keep slaves.

    As to ‘moral rights’, well, these arise from the rights to privacy and truth, so these are an explanation of existing rights rather than an introduction of new ones.

    It’s astonishing how many people think that copyright abolitionists such as me are arguing for the destruction of artists’ rights, rather than their reinforcement and restoration.

  • http://www.robmyers.org/ Rob Myers

    the new and original creations of authors and artists belong to those who create them

    OK, but you’ll need a better example than Tolkien-meets-Enid-Blyton if you want to make the new and original argument. And you’ll need to explain how my copying a copy takes the original possession of the author or artist away, because the last time I bought a Harry Potter book for my kids I didn’t see anything in the news about the manuscript disappearing. ;-)

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Somehow Rob’s point reminds me to observe that whilst publication is a transfer of ownership from private to public, it should be noted that it is an inclusive transfer.

    The artist is a member of a the public, so whatever the artist gives to the public they also give to themselves.

    This is why the GPL is so powerful, because it actually restores rights to the author that would otherwise be suspended by copyright.

    By requiring that derivatives of their work must be free of restraint, the GPL removes restraints that copyright would otherwise re-apply even against the original author. Thus the author suspends copyright’s restraints for the entire pyramid of work deriving from their own.

    In restoring the public’s rights, the author restores their own (because they are also a member of the public).

  • Justin Call

    Hello Crosbie,

    I am having difficulty following your last arguments. I do not understand what you mean when you state that copyright law imposes restraints on the originial author. Could you please elaborate?

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Copyright ‘briefly’ suspends an author’s freedom of expression to reproduce or build upon another author’s published work.

    Copyright automatically applies these restraints to the public on all ‘original’ elements of published works.

    So, if author A simply relinquishes copyright and dedicates their work to the ‘public domain’, author B can modify that work and enjoy copyright’s privilege that even restrains author A’s ability to reproduce or build upon B’s work.

    However, if A retains copyright, but licenses the nullification of copyright (undoes its restraints, restores the freedoms that copyright otherwise suspends), and requires that all licenses of any published derivatives also nullify copyright’s restraints, then these freedoms are also enjoyed by A.

    In this way A nullifies copyright in everyone’s derivative of his work. Moreover, only similarly nullified works may be combined.

    And there are indeed plenty of Bs, Cs, Ds, and even Zs out there.

    The GPL corpus is growing and helps demonstrate that the sky won’t fall in should copyright be abolished – or should a reproduction monopoly no longer be achievable, whether it is granted or not.

  • ACS

    TO Crosbie Fitch

    Sure, yeah right, whatever.

    To all

    I would like to point out yet again that the modern economy is based upon the proposition that creation of new works would be stifled without some measure of reward. IE Did Leonardo Da Vinci publish his inventions? Were his notes correct? THe answer is no – why? well the answer is simple, if Leonardo had published correct works in the age without intellectual property then every man and his dog, including his patrons, would take advantage of those works without one iota of credit (or money) being given to Leonardo.

    If you do not believe that intellectual property is a pillar of the modern economy then visit a country without intellectual property rights (IE Cambodia, Somalia, etc) and see how much technological innovation is taking hold there.

    Intellectual Property is not public property as argued above. Intellectual property is an inducement to those among us with creative minds to produce thier efforts into the public domain. We pay for that priviledge through the assignment of a monopoly.

    I know there are some out there that wish the soviet had taken control and we would all live in a communist wonder land – but that didnt happen.

    I only note that software ip should be shorter to justify the policy – 3 to 5 years.

    Apart from that it is all good.

    ACS

  • Joshua Stratton

    ACS–
    You seem to have a pretty inflated view of the value of these rights systems. The reality is that while they have some economic value, they’re far from the foundation of the global economy. For example, let’s look at Taiwan, which until pretty recently (having been bullied by other nations), really didn’t bother with copyrights or patents, and had its economy thrive as a consequence. America did pretty much the same thing when we were a developing country, and it helped us develop. Cambodia’s problems hardly stemmed from a lack of copyright. Frankly, it’s nothing less than idiotic to imagine that Pol Pot would’ve been stopped in his tracks if only Cambodia had strong copyright laws. Besides, trademarks and trade secrets are far more economically valuable than mere copyrights and patents, if you look at the actual numbers.

    In any event, copyright needs to be treated as a purely utilitarian system, since that’s the only sensible way of doing so. As a result, we need to look at how we can achieve the greatest net public benefit where we have three equal goals: having the most original works created, having the most derivative works created, and having minimal or no copyrights. We should remember that the default state of copyright is that there is no copyright, and that one of the goals of copyright is to not have copyright. Having no copyright is a valid option, if that best serves the public, and having any copyright is intolerable unless it somehow produces a benefit for the public that is greater than its inherent detriment. This is because creative works are not property, and any property-like rights we create with respect to them, out of whole cloth, had damn well better be justified.

    Retroactive term extensions don’t cause more original works to be created (since they were already created), cause fewer derivative works to be created (since the term will bar most derivative authors for longer), and increases the length of copyright. There is simply no justification for it at all, and it is inescapably bad.

    We could legitimately argue about prospective term length (or the actual scope of copyright, which many in the pro-reform camp seem to neglect, unfortunately), but not this.

  • ACS

    Josh

    Re Taiwan – I note that little island also didnt develop much technology either as most people were indentured into labour. As late as 1989 there were only four universities to service the population of 20 million. Taiwan was, until recently, a pirate economy – much as the US was in the ninteenth century.

    While a pirate economy can thrive it is very difficult for artists to profit in those economies and even more difficult for private entities to bring heightened technological applications into the market.

    It is well accepted that intellectual property has played a key role in the birth of the age of plenty upon which the West is still living large. (Note – When did China enter the Paris and Madrid Treaties?).

    we need to look at how we can achieve the greatest net public benefit where we have three equal goals: having the most original works created, having the most derivative works created, and having minimal or no copyrights.

    Having minimal or no copyrights should be the basis for determining a copyright policy? Also, how does this counterpose with having “the most original works” counter pose with “having the most derivative works”. I agree with the theory you espouse, up until the point “having minimal or no copyrights was included” but only because this formulation leans to heavily on the side of the derivative works. Surely a proper balance would determine the amount of copyrights available in relation to the first two as factors – solely. I think that first factor is clearly a collateral attack on ip theory rather than the terms of copyright and would not be a proper basis to justify developing ip policy. Throwing that into the mix is misleading and policital.

    This is because creative works are not property, and any property-like rights we create with respect to them, out of whole cloth, had damn well better be justified.

    See the last post. After all that is the justification for intellectual property.

    Retroactive term extensions don’t cause more original works to be created (since they were already created), cause fewer derivative works to be created (since the term will bar most derivative authors for longer), and increases the length of copyright. There is simply no justification for it at all, and it is inescapably bad.

    Agreed, in particular with software in mind.

  • http://lucychili.blogspot.com Janet Hawtin

    Hi folks

    The following is regarding patents, but I feel the trends with regard to copyright make it pretty close to on topic.
    I don’t usually find gems here but this one was a ripper.

    The following is from
    http://www.pff.org/issues-pubs/pops/pop13.31jvdpatent.pdf

    For many firms, rapid technological change, combined with difficulties in patent doctrine and practice, is causing distress. They echo the complaint heard in 1882:

    [A]n indiscriminate creation of exclusive privileges tends rather to obstruct than to stimulate invention. It creates a class of speculative schemers who make it their business to watch the advancing wave of improvement, and gather its foam in the form of patented monopolies, which enable them to lay a heavy tax upon the industry of the country, without contributing anything to the real advancement of the arts. It embarrasses the honest
    pursuit of business with fears and apprehensions of concealed liens and unknown liabilities to lawsuits and vexatious accountings for profits made in good faith. Atlantic Works v. Brady, 107 U.S. 192, 200 (1882) (Bradley, J.).

    In this view, there has arisen to infest this land a class of patent
    holders called “trolls.”

    On a panel a couple of years ago, a participant from an invention shop commented that his business was to figure out where the technology was going and then get there ahead of it and stake out a claim to the ground. My silent reaction was,

    “No – this is precisely what should be avoided. The purpose of the patent is to encourage an inventor to solve a problem and then let him share in the benefits that the solution brings to society. Fencing off the intellectual commons of general advances in
    knowledge is most emphatically not the purpose.”

  • Joshua Stratton

    ACS–
    Having minimal or no copyrights should be the basis for determining a copyright policy?

    Copyright is meant to serve the public interest; this is one of the three interests at issue. All else being equal, the public benefits the most when there is no copyright. Without copyright, the public is free to use and enjoy works without restriction and for marginal cost (which may be zero). People can copy, modify, distribute, perform, and display at will. Creative works become as widespread as possible, limited only by their popularity, really, without artificial constraints imposed by a monopolist copyright holder. Certainly I can think of nothing I’d enjoy more than my own personal Library of Congress. There are other useful effects as well. For example, not only does this ensure the maximum spread of information so that everyone who wants it can get it without paying artificially inflated costs for it, but it also helps preserve information by avoiding single points of failure. As great as the libraries of antiquity were, they ultimately got burned. Spreading things around increases their chances for survival. We’ve seen this more recently too (e.g. the BBC destroyed a lot of their old footage and ended up having to beg for tapes people had made on their own, probably illegally; much was lost permanently).

    And of course there is also a public interest in having minimal infringements into our liberties, such as the freedom to reprint or change what another has created.

    The trick is that ‘all else being equal’ part. It’s fair to say that without copyright — at least under the right conditions, and for the right amount of copyright — there is less incentive to create original works. So we have to consider whether the harm to the public by having copyright at all is outweighed by the benefit to the public from the original works that are incentivized as a result.

    For example, a 20-year copyright probably would provide 90% of the same amount of incentive as a 1000-year copyright, assuming the same scope of rights otherwise. But it seems likely that the extra 10% of incentive provides less public benefit than the public harm that comes from the extra 980 years of the term. Since that 10% comes at too high a cost, the 20-year term is better, even allowing for the fact that 20-years would be less of an incentive.

    Remember, we’re interested in the public benefit as a whole, and there is more to it than merely creating works, important as that is. You have to consider what gets done with the works once they’re created. All the books in the world are worthless if you’re not allowed to use them.

    What we shouldn’t be interested in is balance. It’s okay to increase the net public benefit by diminishing one interest to pay for a greater increase in another. But we should be looking for whatever scheme produces the greatest public benefit, and to hell whether, or how much, anyone else benefits. If they do benefit from the ideal copyright system, then good for them. But I don’t care if there is an alternative that would help them more, unless it helps the public more.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    And what, Joshua, would you do if the monopoly offered could not actually be achieved?

    Would you instead offer the publisher the economic privilege of being able to sue a random member of the public as fast as the courts could process them?

    This would only incentivise the largest publishers geared up for this litigation.

    What kind of authors would submit their work to such publishers in exchange for royalties?

    More importantly, would the public consider the kind of art likely to be published an equitable exchange for such a reverse lottery?

  • Joshua Stratton

    Crosbie–
    The monopoly is already limited. We can always alter its bounds. I’ve long proposed having an exception for any noncommercial act by a natural person. While this would make the monopoly smaller, and less of an incentive, it also reduces the scope of copyright in a way that is good for much of the public, while continuing to allow authors to sue commercial and corporate infringers who have deeper pockets anyway, and are more likely to obey the law rather than ignore it when it clashes with their norms. Plus there are fewer of them, and they tend to stand out more, making suits more effective.

    In any event, I don’t see much in the way of alternatives to enforcing copyrights with civil litigation. Are you suggesting that we abandon copyrights altogether? Or that they be enforced through some other means, in which case I still don’t see you avoiding the reverse lottery effect. The best I can manage, since I think that some degree of copyright is still likely worthwhile, is to remove a large, but not too large, number of parties from the equation.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Yup, abandon copyrights altogether.

    Abolish copyright law (initially at least in the digital domain).

    Restore and embrace an artist’s human rights to privacy, truth and freedom of expression. (qv ‘droits moraux’)

    My only alternative is a reluctantly pragmatic one that splits copyright into two: liberal and draconian forms. Liberal by default, draconian upon registration fee.
    See Good Copyright, Bad Copyright.
    This is with a hunch that draconian copyright would quickly fall into disuse, but initially prove so irresistable to incumbents they’d unwittingly sow the seeds of their own enlightenment.

  • Justin Call

    Crosby,

    If we abolish copyright law, how will the GPL work?

  • Joshua Stratton

    Crosbie–
    Well, I have to say that I think yours is a terrible proposal, both in that it abandons utilitarian copyright and in that it supports moral rights. I could tolerate the former, though I think that some degree of copyright would provide a greater public benefit. But the latter are simply awful; moral rights are a bad idea with no upside whatsoever, are very harmful to civil liberties, and when implemented are so half-assed by their own standards that even the supporters of the idea are pretty hypocritical. The sooner we can eliminate the idea from serious discussion about copyright, the better.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Justine, the GPL nullifies copyright. In the absence of copyright the GPL is redundant as all the liberties it restores are no longer suspended by copyright, and consequently restored by default.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Joshua,

    I’d agree that the French may overreach themselves in their version of moral rights, but the essential spirit is valid.

    An individual has a human right to privacy and to truth in attribution and representation.

    An individual’s liberty is not unethically constrained in encountering another individual’s right to privacy.

    An individual’s freedom of expression is not unethically constrained in being prevented from misattributing one person’s work or speech as that of another’s.

    I’d agree that it would be too great a burden to require unnecessarily explicit attribution, but a prohibition against wilful or careless misattribution wouldn’t be so bad surely?

    It is certainly too onerous to enable an artist to recall or suspend all their voluntarily published works from public circulation.

  • ACS

    Josh

    Remember, we’re interested in the public benefit as a whole, and there is more to it than merely creating works, important as that is. You have to consider what gets done with the works once they’re created. All the books in the world are worthless if you’re not allowed to use them.

    Huh? Are you saying you have to copy a book to use it? Surely, reading the book is sufficient to constitute use of that article. There is nothing in preventing the copying of a work that prevents its equally important aspect of inspiration to its readers. I need not copy Shakespeare to be inspired by him, do I? (Albeit probably not the best example seeing as his works are no longer protected by copyright and therefore exist within in the public domain).

    some degree of copyright would provide a greater public benefit.

    Agreed.

    But the latter are simply awful; moral rights are a bad idea with no upside whatsoever, are very harmful to civil liberties, and when implemented are so half-assed by their own standards that even the supporters of the idea are pretty hypocritical. The sooner we can eliminate the idea from serious discussion about copyright, the better.

    Well yes and no. Les Droix Morale are good in theory – and it is all very nice and well to have attribution and non-attribution dealt with in a manner that shows respect to the author but in practice – which I do – the use of moral rights are (1) for the purpose of getting back at another person or (2) for the purpose of getting money from another person.

    Of course some times it can be a valid exercise. Take the architect that draws a set of award winning plans only to have another take the credit. Shouldnt the architect have some recourse given the claiming of credit does not necesarily involve copyright infringement? Well he does in the form of passing off and other torts of unfair competition and in relatity when augmented with the British system of law this is what the droit moral become.

    Crosbie

    My only alternative is a reluctantly pragmatic one that splits copyright into two: liberal and draconian forms. Liberal by default, draconian upon registration fee.
    See Good Copyright, Bad Copyright.
    This is with a hunch that draconian copyright would quickly fall into disuse, but initially prove so irresistable to incumbents they’d unwittingly sow the seeds of their own enlightenment.

    Uh huh – sounds great – artists can claim thier name but no other economic rights. Sounds like a good way to continue an economy that requires innovation and expression to continue.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    ACS, it’s not some of my more approachable writing, but if you persisted in reading my linked article you might notice that it actually provides a far more restrictive and punitive copyright regime than we have at present – just what the IP maximalists are hankering for.

  • Justin Call

    Crosbie, I am responding to your following comment: “Justin, the GPL nullifies copyright. In the absence of copyright the GPL is redundant as all the liberties it restores are no longer suspended by copyright, and consequently restored by default.”

    In a sense, you are right, the GPL does “nullify” by granting the same rights as the original copyright holder. But is this the real power of the GPL? Corporations shudder when the GPL is discussed for only one reason: reciprocity. Without reciprocity, the GPL would not have any teeth. See the effect of BSD and other academic licenses.

    The same would be true if copyright were abolished. In fact open source could not exist. Coprporations could go into sourceforge, grab code, put it into proprietary systems, close up the code and then patent the results (and then license it).

    I would suggest that Copyright Law is not the enemy of free expression. It is how copyright is licensed.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Nooo. There is no reciprocity in the GPLv2 except the granting of liberty.

    There are people certainly who’d like to create licenses that obliged reciprocity – gift economy licenses – “You can use this software, but only if you publish your modifications” (which some would require to be surrendered free of charge).
    Check out AFL/HPL and the EUPL which are going in this direction.

    Remember it’s the FREE software foundation, and not the RECIPROCAL software foundation.

    The GPL is about liberty. It grants you liberty on condition you preserve that liberty.

    The GPL does not say “You may not commercially exploit this software unless you publish your modifications”. There are certainly many people that would like this to be observed and get irritated when it doesn’t happen, but that’s because they want a reciprocity contract rather than an assurance of liberty.

    Remember: “Free as in freedom, not as in beer”.

    Copyright suspends your liberty.
    The GPL restores it.

    That’s all that’s going on here.

    If you want reciprocation of more than liberty, you’ll need a different license.

  • Justin Call

    If I incorporate GPL code into my code, then the GPL becomes the license of my code = reciprocity. If the GPL were exclusively about freedom, then it would be written like the BSD. Are we talking about the same definition of reciprocity? I do not understand yours.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    The BSD abdicates from a decision to assure the public’s liberty, and leaves this ethical decision to the licensee.

    Defining the BSD as a freer license than the GPL relies on a warped notion that the author’s freedom of choice (as to whether or not to suspend the public’s liberty) is superior to the public’s liberty.

    Copyright suspends the public’s liberty. It is copyright that is unethical. The GPL embraces this ethical standpoint by nullifying copyright’s suspension of the public’s liberty to enjoy public works.

    If you wish to wield copyright in order to enjoy the suspension of the public’s liberty, then this is less free than nullifying it.

    GPL grants freedom on condition that this same conditional freedom is granted to any other person to whom you sell or give the software to.

    That the GPL does not grant you freedom to suspend this freedom does not make the GPL less free than the BSD.

    The GPL requires no reciprocity from a recipient except the preservation of the liberty they’ve been granted.

    Find me any aspect of the GPL that obliges a licensee to reciprocate in any respect other than to preserve the liberty of licensees.

  • Justin Call

    The GPL clearly gives the same rights to the licensee as the licensor enjoys, and as you have pointed out, “nullifies” copyright. Your arguments that copyright is somehow an oppressor, I think, have merit, but I do not think you would like the result if copyright were eliminated. Your arguments remind me of the Bolsheviks who thought: if we just remove all the vestiges of Capitalism then Communism would magically appear.

    You have painted a picture that there would somehow be universal sharing of ideas and expression if copyright were eliminated and the public good would be maximized. I posit a different result: what would prevent a corporation from profiting from the works of others?

    The reciprocity provision may in fact preserve “liberty” but only because it prevents nefarious activities. It is the license and not the fact that copyright is eliminated.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    One of the fundamental benefits of the public domain, being the commonwealth of human knowledge, is that mankind may profit from it – and have no guilt from doing so.

    If you would deny the public the opportunity to profit from your private work (which inescapably builds upon your use, experience or incorporation of public works), then obviously, you should keep your work private – which is fine. Many GPL authors only permit their private modifications to be published once they’ve been assured of equitable payment.

    The GPL makes no restraint against anyone from commercially exploiting published GPL software. The GPL GRANTS the PUBLIC LIBERTY.

    If you’re not into liberty, but would rather create a non-commercial, money-free zone where software is free as in ‘free beer’ then you should seek a gift economy license that prohibits commercial exploitation of licensed works.

  • Justin Call

    Your admission: “If you would deny the public the opportunity to profit from your private work (which inescapably builds upon your use, experience or incorporation of public works), then obviously, you should keep your work private – which is fine. Many GPL authors only permit their private modifications to be published once they’ve been assured of equitable payment,” goes far to prove my point. I fear that we may unleash a worse evil by eliminating copyright precisely because of this phenomenon you have described above. That is, (without copyright) persons keeping private their works instead of releasing the works into the public domain. I agree with you that copyright has many issues but I must admit that copyright does promote the publication of works.

    To clairfy my position, copyright terms should end within the same term as a patent (20 years give or take) and we should focus on creating domains of public works through changing the licensing paradigms.

  • http://www.digitalproductions.co.uk Crosbie Fitch

    Hindsight and ethics may not have informed those who thought it would be a good idea to suspend the public’s liberty in order to control the press on a pretext of incentivising publication, but I’d suggest money voluntarily offered was a more ethically wholesome incentive to persuade an artist to publish their work, than tieing the hands of all other artists (no matter how short the time).

    Remember, we can no longer offer publishers a monopoly, we can only offer them a pretext upon which to sue random members of the public.

    So, if we went back in time, you may well find a lot of support for your 20 year term. However, things have changed. Publishers no longer represent a tiny fraction of the public. The printing press is no longer an expensive device possed by a few.

    The GPL is a defense only against companies who believe in copyright – it is no defense against those who don’t.

    The GPL demonstrates survival is possible without copyright – to those who still believe that they would suffocate without it.

    If you want private works published then team up with like minded fellows, pool your funds and make an offer to the owner of the private work.

    You should not be denied your liberty for his benefit.
    He should not be denied his privacy for your benefit.
    Make an agreeable bargain: art for money, money for art.