Comments on: The Value of the Public Domain http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/ Blog, news, books Thu, 12 Oct 2017 08:56:00 +0000 hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.8.2 By: Matt C http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16171 Sat, 11 Nov 2006 16:16:24 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16171 The argument for copyright extension, the response, and the rebuttal

]]>
By: Chris_B http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16170 Fri, 10 Nov 2006 00:20:22 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16170 Joshua Stratton:

I think that using Mark Twain is borrowing 3BM’s strawman. My point isnt about works in the public domain (yes I’m aware of its value and do not disagree with the prof’s theseses in this area). Crosbie Fitch correctly pointed out that the law was established with publishers in mind.

]]>
By: Crosbie Fitch http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16169 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 19:42:23 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16169 Well, we shall see.

]]>
By: Joshua Stratton http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16168 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 19:16:49 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16168 Crosbie–
You’re simply describing the Street Performer Protocol. I think it’s a fine idea, but part of it requires that the paying audience make sure that the work is in the public domain. Other than ensuring that it’s not difficult to use, and is possible, I don’t see that the government or copyright policy generally would have much to do with it. It’s simply a natural incentive, the same one behind works made for hire, in that the author can make money from his labor rather than from exploiting a copyright. The stronger natural incentives are, the less need there is for the artificial incentive of copyright, but I don’t think that this one alone would be strong enough to let us avoid having copyright altogether.

]]>
By: Crosbie Fitch http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16167 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 18:41:52 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16167 If there was a mechanism that enabled the most interested portion of an artist’s audience, the portion so interested they’d offer good money, to purchase publication of the artist’s work, would you consider that such a mechanism might, just, possibly, potentially, obviate the need for the current economic incentive of a practically ineffective digital reproduction monopoly?

]]>
By: Joshua Stratton http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16166 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 17:56:38 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16166 Crosbie–
By ‘dangerous to copyright’ I mean that they are dangerous in that they may cause a backlash against the entire concept, which would be bad if there is any merit in it at all, and dangerous to proper implementations of copyright, which seek to serve the public, rather than mere authors or publishers. I suppose that they’d both be forms of dangers to the public, though.

Do you really feel a government has a mandate to suspend the liberty of the citizens it represents for some commercial incentivisation?

Not a mandate, and not merely for that purpose. But if done carefully and for better purposes, then I think it’s an option. This isn’t unusual. You can’t form a working society without accepting some tolerable limits on freedom in order to make it actually function. The trick is to to only as far as you need to, and no further. Otherwise we end up stuck in a might-makes-right sort of anarchy. However nice you might think that is ideologically, I doubt it’s actually pleasant to live in.

The ludicrous assumption is that there was the emergency of a market failure, that without monopoly artist/publisher and audience would stare at each other refusing to offer or exchange art for money.

I certainly don’t believe in that, and history proves otherwise in any event. But it is reasonable to believe that many artists and perhaps even publishers would go work in other industries, and fewer works would be created. This isn’t necessarily bad, since some works come at too high a price; but not all works do.

Are you anywhere near being persuaded that copyright is inherently unethical?

No, not so long as the government that creates copyright laws is legitimately acting on behalf of, and as instructed by, the people it represents. If a copyright law is passed entirely at the behest of and to favor a specific industry, then yes, that’s a bad law. But if the people themselves are willing to shoulder the burden that’ll be on them, which they would only do if it was to their net benefit, then it’s not unethical. That the current system has deep flaws doesn’t make the ideal bad.

]]>
By: Crosbie Fitch http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16165 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 15:26:50 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16165 There can be a danger to copyright?

What a strange concept.

Copyright is currently a danger to the public (it was only ever intended to be a danger to commercial publishers who were quite amenable to the idea of exclusive privileges granted by copyright – along with the penalties available to assert them).

What do you think of the ethical dimension?

Do you really feel a government has a mandate to suspend the liberty of the citizens it represents for some commercial incentivisation? The ludicrous assumption is that there was the emergency of a market failure, that without monopoly artist/publisher and audience would stare at each other refusing to offer or exchange art for money. Think of the collective payment mechanisms that would have evolved in the absence of copyright. This is a failure of the imagination combined with commercial expediency (not forgetting control of the press).

If we imagined instead that we were arguing as to how best to balance the interests of the public in being able to enjoy the commercial advantage of compulsory national service of youths in labour camps vs the interests of the youths in their liberty and having the choice of entering the free labour market or bumming around on welfare, there would be a similar spectrum of argument for extension of the indenture to 10 years, vs reduction to 5 years max, vs complete abolition.

Are you anywhere near being persuaded that copyright is inherently unethical?

Would you ever countenance making the following declaration?

I will not accept the enslavement of my fellow man, nor any imposition upon his liberty, as reward for the publication of my art.

]]>
By: Joshua Stratton http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16164 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 14:12:00 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16164 Mice–
Well, Prof. Lessig is being charitable, is all.

The only legitimate argument for any kind of copyright is that it serves the public interest more than an alternative, with the best copyright being the one that has no better alternative. If someone argued that retroactive extensions served the public, then they would be wrong, but they would be trying to make a legitimate argument. It would be important to point out why their argument didn’t work, but their heart would be in the right place, and that’s important. Whereas if someone argued that retroactive extensions should be implemented regardless of whether it was good for the public, then they are making an unacceptable argument and simply need to be shut down because they are dangerous to copyright and the public. I for one won’t tolerate it.

]]>
By: three blind mice http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16163 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 03:06:23 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16163 So this straw man, do you grow your own straw or do you buy it from somewhere?

the straw was obtained from the commons under a CC license, Rob Meyers:

“And so why not have them to extend the term of an existing copyright? BECAUSE THIS IS A TAX THAT CANNOT “INCREASE THE BOUNTY.” The work is already produced. No matter what we do today, Elvis is not going to produce any more recordings in 1957. So it is a tax that benefits some plainly (those who get almost twice the term they originally bargained for), but benefits society not at all. I.e., a very bad tax.”

nothing done today will have any impact on time past. the professor seems to be making the argument that those who support an extension of the copyright term on existing works are arguing that this incentive will result in more existing works.

when you burn this kind of straw, it doesn’t leave any smoke.

]]>
By: Joshua Stratton http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16162 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 01:18:59 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16162 Chris_B–
No, the liberties thing is correct. Freedom of speech and of the press both encompass both the right to speak what you have created and the right to copy verbatim what others have created.

If Mark Twain can rely on free speech to write his works, then surely I can rely on it just as much to reprint his works. If I don’t have a free speech right to copy his works, then you are necessarily arguing that the government can censor anyone who reprints ‘Tom Sawyer.’ Alternatively, if you are arguing that I don’t have a free speech right until the work enters the public domain, then you are saying that free speech is not an inherent right, but a government-granted right, which is contrary to the structure of the Constitution and general thought about civil liberties generally.

So the fact is that copyright is a temporary infringement on this liberty, and as such is only tolerable under certain limited circumstances. The said circumstance is when it leaves the public better off with it, than without it, and then only to that extent, and preferably when it leaves the public the most well off.

This is pretty standard fare for civil liberties law. You’ll find that the government is permitted to limit our liberties somewhat, but often only when it has a sufficiently important reason for doing so, when the restriction will actually help with that reason, and when there is not a less harmful way of doing the same thing.

While there is a sort of quid pro quo in copyright, it’s really not contract law in any respect.

]]>
By: Chris_B http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16161 Thu, 09 Nov 2006 00:41:40 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16161 OK, maybe I’m just unfashionable or ignorant, but it seems to me that both the words “tax” and “liberty” are not appropriate in this context. Seems to me that going all the way back to the Statue of Anne, copyright law is government regulated contract law. IANAL, disclaimer.h and all that, but seriously folks, taxes are forced upon us, no one forces us to transact in copyrighted works. If we go by the dictionary meanings of liberty, it might apply in that one could (childishly) claim a liberty to copy whatever they wanted to whatever ends. This is of course weapons grade balonium. And as for 3BM’s claim of “civil liberties” in this area, perhaps a tad more explanation is required less I feel compelled to denounce 3BM as charlitains of the first water.

Prof: thanks for the links, they look worth reading.

]]>
By: Rob Myers http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16160 Wed, 08 Nov 2006 18:32:44 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16160 it is obvious that post facto changes to an author’s copyright do not result in retroactive incentives. time is causal.

So this straw man, do you grow your own straw or do you buy it from somewhere?

What do you mean I’m taking your argument too literall?. ;-)

]]>
By: Joan http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16159 Wed, 08 Nov 2006 14:01:08 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16159 Great job explaining about how the tax cannot increase the bounty.

]]>
By: Andreas http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16158 Wed, 08 Nov 2006 06:02:56 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16158 For some reason, the domain name has changed from ippr.org.uk to ippr.org. The correct link is http://www.ippr.org/publicationsandreports/publication.asp?id=482

]]>
By: three blind mice http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16157 Mon, 06 Nov 2006 12:23:45 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16157 Me too. Absolutely. Taxes are awful, but necessary. Let’s have them where necessary, but only when necessary. And so why not have them to extend the term of an existing copyright? BECAUSE THIS IS A TAX THAT CANNOT “INCREASE THE BOUNTY.” The work is already produced. No matter what we do today, Elvis is not going to produce any more recordings in 1957.

*mice grab torches and hemp rope, sting up and set fire to stawman*

please, show us one person who says that extending the term of copyright will result in elvis producing more recordings from 1957 and we’ll show you someone watches too much star trek and believes in time travel.

it is obvious that post facto changes to an author’s copyright do not result in retroactive incentives. time is causal. work that is already produced is already produced. no one would argue that shortening the term of copyright would result in elvis producing LESS recordings in 1957.

copyright is not a tax: it is a restriction on civil liberties. the main argument against extending the term of copyright is the impact on individual liberty: the longer a work is known to the public, the more intrusive the government’s enforcement becomes.

the tolerable limits of johnny law’s intrusion into the business of john q. public is what should define the temporal limits of copyright – not facile economic estimates.

]]>
By: dr. stupid http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16156 Mon, 06 Nov 2006 11:26:45 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16156 Here is a nice piece about “Disney trap” and copyright trap. It’s Molly Blum speaking..:-D

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MqySp7Nq5j0

]]>
By: Crosbie Fitch http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16155 Sat, 04 Nov 2006 06:56:05 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16155 Putting punctuation after URLs is extremely easy, and I’d only just spotted this on someone else’s URL in a comment the other day.

Very frustrating! :-(

QuidMusic is at http://www.quidmusic.com

(Feel free to delete this comment in exchange for removing the full-stop at the end of the URL in my previous comment) :)

]]>
By: Crosbie Fitch http://www.lessig.org/2006/11/the-value-of-the-public-domain/#comment-16154 Fri, 03 Nov 2006 12:51:14 +0000 http://lessig.org/blog/2006/11/the_value_of_the_public_domain.html#comment-16154 Copyright is not a tax, but a suspension of the public’s liberty – affording the copyright beneficiary a commercially advantageous monopoly – provided as an incentive to publish.

Extending copyright cannot retrospectively increase the incentive. It is also unlikely to affect the incentive for new publications.

The value of a published work can be equated to the royalty it obtains its author in its lifetime (minus tax). This is because one assumes the author would be happy to receive the total royalty to place the work immediately into the public domain. Perhaps a bit more to finance promotional costs otherwise borne by publishers.

Enabling an author to invite their readers to offer this royalty upfront (or a significant proportion of it) in exchange for publishing their work copyleft, is the reasoning behind sites such as http://www.digitalartauction.com and http://www.quidmusic.com.

The alternative approach is to have a central committee appraise the value of each book, count the number of copies in circulation, and reward the author accordingly – sourcing the funds from taxation.

So let’s make sure we don’t get confused by tax and liberty eh?

1) Copyright is an imposition on liberty in exchange for incentivised publication.
2) Taxation is a compulsory commission on prosperity in exchange for security.
3) A free market enables artists and audiences to exchange art and money.

Let’s be very careful before we start including art in the list of things citizens should be taxed for. And let’s not kid anyone that we’re already being taxed for art, in order to sanction taxation.

]]>