The Copyright Debate -

Do copyright laws stifle creativity and innovation?

  • Yes

    Votes: 13 50.0%
  • No

    Votes: 3 11.5%
  • Maybe

    Votes: 10 38.5%

  • Total voters
    26

Cosmos

Soldier of Love and Bitching on the Internet
Local Moderator
True & Honest Fan
In the digital age, copyright laws are being debated like never before. There are several things to consider...

Copyright pros:
  • Copyright protects the owners of intellectual property by preventing people from making money off their work or plagiarizing from them.
  • It encourages creativity because it allows people to actually turn their creativity into a career.
  • It encourages people to share their works and innovations. Before copyright laws, individuals were very secretive and sometimes chose not to share their work for fear of their ideas being stolen. Now, they are protected.
Copyright cons:
  • Copyright stifles creativity and innovation by making people afraid to make new things lest they’re deemed copyright infringement.
  • Derivative works define human culture. All works can be deemed derivative in some fashion because there are only so many stories that can be told.
  • Copyright can be used as an instrument of censorship.
  • Abuse of the DMCA system is rampant, with Google itself reporting that 57% of the takedown notices it has received under the DMCA were sent by business targeting competitors, and 37% of notices were not valid copyright claims.
  • Do the laws actually benefit creators? Or do they benefit companies?
So where do you guys stand on this? I personally think that the copyright system needs a revamp. I'm so tired of corporations' draconian and ultimately futile attempts to police the internet.
 

autisticdragonkin

Eric Borsheim
True & Honest Fan
What I think should happen is that copyright should only be able to be used to take something down for a period of at most 5 years (probably more like 2 years) and afterwards one should be able to sue for a portion of the profit but not stop anyone from doing anything with the intellectual property (this applies to patents also)
 

Marvin

Christorical Figure
True & Honest Fan
Copyright enforcement of most mass media is untenable in an age of fast internet, fast computers and strong encryption.

Content creators/media groups that saw the writing on the wall have been working to make it easier to give them money instead of desperately trying to snatch money from people via the legal system. Thus netflix, et al.
 

Cosmos

Soldier of Love and Bitching on the Internet
Local Moderator
True & Honest Fan
Copyright enforcement of most mass media is untenable in an age of fast internet, fast computers and strong encryption.

Content creators/media groups that saw the writing on the wall have been working to make it easier to give them money instead of desperately trying to snatch money from people via the legal system. Thus netflix, et al.

I can't help but get the feeling that a lot of these companies that obsessively police the internet are run by old people who don't understand the internet. They seem to think that we're all suddenly going to go back to waiting for things to air on TV instead of sticking with the instant gratification that is online streaming.
 

Splendid

> Moderating KF for free
True & Honest Fan
Retired Staff
Patents are the real problem. In the US at least, you can get patents on devices that simply are not new inventions.
 
Last edited:

RepQuest

Unfunny
Copyright laws are essential protections for business and there needs to be more (international) enforcement. :powerlevel: I come from a manufacturing family, and Chinese counterfeiters have made billions of American dollars off of my father's product. :powerlevel: The main problem is that most of the focus on punishing copyright infringement is on media, which has run into many problems because media is so easily disseminated electronically. The ways that many companies want to go about with punishing copyright infringement mostly place burdens on consumers instead of producers, making their experience with media much more troublesome, less enjoyable, and oftentimes downright scary (e.g., the TPP).

Copyright laws regarding media need serious reform. Media copyrights shouldn't be able to be renewed for nearly as long as they are, as well.
 

Hanamura

Darkness, endless, despair, fear no more
Copyrights only benefit big corporations and punish small-time creators.

People shouldn't be able to do what they want willy-nilly but corporations shouldn't be allowed to misuse shit like DMCA takedowns.

On YouTube you can't even counter any wrongful copyright strikes if you're someone who doesn't have connections to the upper tier people on YouTube.

You make an anime review and use a small ~30 second clip from the series to show a point you're making on the series? Taken the fuck down. You can't fight it because Jap companies don't give a shit about fair use.

:powerlevel: I make UTAU/Vocaloid song covers often on Youtube. I'm on edge always about the songs being taken down. I keep track of all the songs that get blocked by companies and/or their audios muted just so I can make a note to avoid covering the songs. I don't even monetize my videos, but companies get pissy when I cover their songs and monetize it for themselves.:powerlevel:
 

Cosmos

Soldier of Love and Bitching on the Internet
Local Moderator
True & Honest Fan
One of my favorite YouTube channels, H3H3 Productions, is currently being sued by some butthurt idiot they made a video about.


Here is the video that started the whole thing off (the original was yanked but it's been mirrored countless times, thanks Streisand Effect)


Here are the court documents, full of the unreasonable demands listed in the video.

This all really highlights just how messed up the copyright system is as of now.
 

Jewelsmakerguy

Domo Arigato
Copyrights only benefit big corporations and punish small-time creators.

People shouldn't be able to do what they want willy-nilly but corporations shouldn't be allowed to misuse shit like DMCA takedowns.

On YouTube you can't even counter any wrongful copyright strikes if you're someone who doesn't have connections to the upper tier people on YouTube.

You make an anime review and use a small ~30 second clip from the series to show a point you're making on the series? Taken the fuck down. You can't fight it because Jap companies don't give a shit about fair use.

:powerlevel: I make UTAU/Vocaloid song covers often on Youtube. I'm on edge always about the songs being taken down. I keep track of all the songs that get blocked by companies and/or their audios muted just so I can make a note to avoid covering the songs. I don't even monetize my videos, but companies get pissy when I cover their songs and monetize it for themselves.:powerlevel:
Though even that too is a crapshoot, as we've seen before. YouTube likes to screw over literally everyone they like between the copyright laws and moronic layout changes. While I personally never got a video takedown notice, I know people who have, and they don't like it.

That said, there's somethings copyright can be justified for (like say, a movie just released in theaters being posted on YouTube). The problem is when you get to what should be unjustifiable, like transformative works (such as YTP, reviews/commentaries/rants, abridged series, what have you) or things that otherwise have no viewing platform for (Like old, obscure movies that no one should give about besides the viewer, for instance). Yeah, copyright's still technically in play with these sorts of things. But at the same time, a lot of it's because an outside party is asshurt because it exists.

With YouTube takedowns, there's a difference between a video getting taken down by a major company like Warner or Universal (as they're big names in the entertainment business). It's another when it's some lesser/unknown moron taking offense because it exists. With the former, as annoying and unfair it may be, they've got a right to be protecting their IP (That, and they're billion dollar companies). With the latter, their thought process is more "RARGH, THIS THING SUCKS/HAS SOMETHING I TAKE OFFENSE TOO! I'MMA TAKE IT DOWN!" and then poof, video is taken down. And YouTube let's it slide because their reporting system is automated and fucked to high heaven.

And that's before having videos be blocked in your country/autoblocked in all countries, or just simply being "unavailable" for unexplained reasons. I'd go on, but it's getting tl;dr as it is.
 

Cosmos

Soldier of Love and Bitching on the Internet
Local Moderator
True & Honest Fan
That said, there's somethings copyright can be justified for (like say, a movie just released in theaters being posted on YouTube). The problem is when you get to what should be unjustifiable, like transformative works (such as YTP, reviews/commentaries/rants, abridged series, what have you) or things that otherwise have no viewing platform for (Like old, obscure movies that no one should give about besides the viewer, for instance). Yeah, copyright's still technically in play with these sorts of things. But at the same time, a lot of it's because an outside party is asshurt because it exists.

Yes. To elaborate on some of these points...
  • On the "things that otherwise have no viewing platform for" front, fans of the show Unsolved Mysteries (which includes myself) are incredibly angry at the show's copyright holders because they've scrubbed every trace of Unsolved Mysteries off the web (YouTube used to have nearly every UM episode before they all got pulled). However, this leaves no other alternative to watching the show, as not only is it off the air, the DVD sets are extremely expensive and out of print, and it has not been made available on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service. Moreover, the DVDs they did make were only of the later episodes; the vast majority of segments on YouTube were ripped straight from old VHS tapes and have never been officially released or made available for consumption in any fashion. And yet the copyright holders are hellbent on making sure that people cannot watch Unsolved Mysteries on the internet. What makes things worse is that a lot of the mysteries on the show (unsolved deaths, missing persons, etc) have yet to be solved and they could be solved if people were actually able to watch the show.
  • Here's a case I found that's pretty interesting: "Mr. Hoffman, the filmmaker, gave a presentation where he confided how challenging current copyright laws are for artists. As an example, he gave us detailed insights into the challenges he had creating his critically acclaimed Sputnik documentary. He explained that half his budget was spent on copyright fees alone. Most unfairly, he had to pay exorbitant copyright fees to a network for old news footage they did not even have but which David himself had spent time to ferret out. David openly concluded that, "it was better to open the floodgates" and let anyone use his content than constrain its distribution. When asked how he would make money, he said very practically, "I'll find other ways to make money," which he does by using YouTube to promote his videos."
  • Disney can be blamed copyright extensions, as this article explains. Basically, whenever the copyright for Mickey Mouse is about to run out, Disney lobbies Congress to extend copyright laws. Of course, Disney isn't single-handedly responsible, but they do play a huge role. It's pretty fucked up when you think about it; Disney made its name by creating adaptations of works in the public domain (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, etc) and now they're actively working to shrink the public domain.
 

Jewelsmakerguy

Domo Arigato
Yes. To elaborate on some of these points...
  • On the "things that otherwise have no viewing platform for" front, fans of the show Unsolved Mysteries (which includes myself) are incredibly angry at the show's copyright holders because they've scrubbed every trace of Unsolved Mysteries off the web (YouTube used to have nearly every UM episode before they all got pulled). However, this leaves no other alternative to watching the show, as not only is it off the air, the DVD sets are extremely expensive and out of print, and it has not been made available on Netflix, Hulu, or any other streaming service. Moreover, the DVDs they did make were only of the later episodes; the vast majority of segments on YouTube were ripped straight from old VHS tapes and have never been officially released or made available for consumption in any fashion. And yet the copyright holders are hellbent on making sure that people cannot watch Unsolved Mysteries on the internet. What makes things worse is that a lot of the mysteries on the show (unsolved deaths, missing persons, etc) have yet to be solved and they could be solved if people were actually able to watch the show.
  • Here's a case I found that's pretty interesting: "Mr. Hoffman, the filmmaker, gave a presentation where he confided how challenging current copyright laws are for artists. As an example, he gave us detailed insights into the challenges he had creating his critically acclaimed Sputnik documentary. He explained that half his budget was spent on copyright fees alone. Most unfairly, he had to pay exorbitant copyright fees to a network for old news footage they did not even have but which David himself had spent time to ferret out. David openly concluded that, "it was better to open the floodgates" and let anyone use his content than constrain its distribution. When asked how he would make money, he said very practically, "I'll find other ways to make money," which he does by using YouTube to promote his videos."
  • Disney can be blamed copyright extensions, as this article explains. Basically, whenever the copyright for Mickey Mouse is about to run out, Disney lobbies Congress to extend copyright laws. Of course, Disney isn't single-handedly responsible, but they do play a huge role. It's pretty fucked up when you think about it; Disney made its name by creating adaptations of works in the public domain (Snow White and the Seven Dwarves, Cinderella, Pinocchio, The Little Mermaid, etc) and now they're actively working to shrink the public domain.
1. Unsolved Mysteries is probably one the the greatest examples of lost media given the copyright holders being total dicks. I sympathize with their plight (the fans, not the holders, they suck).
2. That's the unfortunate reality of the business, I suppose. But if the network doesn't own it, why do they need to be concerned about the damn thing to begin with? If it's to line their pockets, then whatever. If not, then that kinda feels like it's YouTube, just with footage that should be public domain at this point.
3. This one I can see being partially justified (as they created Mickey and all). But this is a misfire on Disney's part. Especially since most of the people they'd be suing against would have next to nothing they'd want (especially if it's a monetary payment). Though this and the news incident makes me wonder why there's even a "Public Domain" to begin with at this point.
 

Cosmos

Soldier of Love and Bitching on the Internet
Local Moderator
True & Honest Fan
3. This one I can see being partially justified (as they created Mickey and all). But this is a misfire on Disney's part. Especially since most of the people they'd be suing against would have next to nothing they'd want (especially if it's a monetary payment). Though this and the news incident makes me wonder why there's even a "Public Domain" to begin with at this point.

I agree that Disney has a right to defend the character that is the face of their company. I don't have a problem with Mickey Mouse being copyrighted. But the problem is that, by protecting their copyright, they're fucking over literally everyone else (well, aside from other companies). Copyright is unreasonably long now: life of author plus 70 years. Why do we need copyrights for media whose authors have been dead for 70 years? I fully believe that authors deserve to benefit from their creations, but how are they benefiting from them 70 years after they're dead?

I found another article explaining Disney's excessive lobbying to increase copyright extensions whenever their copyright on Mickey's about to run out. At the rate things are going, the public domain isn't going to get any larger.
 

autisticdragonkin

Eric Borsheim
True & Honest Fan
I agree that Disney has a right to defend the character that is the face of their company. I don't have a problem with Mickey Mouse being copyrighted. But the problem is that, by protecting their copyright, they're fucking over literally everyone else (well, aside from other companies). Copyright is unreasonably long now: life of author plus 70 years. Why do we need copyrights for media whose authors have been dead for 70 years? I fully believe that authors deserve to benefit from their creations, but how are they benefiting from them 70 years after they're dead?

I found another article explaining Disney's excessive lobbying to increase copyright extensions whenever their copyright on Mickey's about to run out. At the rate things are going, the public domain isn't going to get any larger.
Wouldn't trademark cover mickey mouse?
 

Marvin

Christorical Figure
True & Honest Fan
I agree that Disney has a right to defend the character that is the face of their company. I don't have a problem with Mickey Mouse being copyrighted.
Wouldn't trademark cover mickey mouse?
Yeah, this. Old Mickey Mouse media still being under copyright is completely shitty. People conflate trademark and copyright, but the distinctions are very important.
 

DuskEngine

watermelon seller
True & Honest Fan
I think this thread could be productively expanded to be a general IP discussion thread.

The main point I have about copyright is that the reason it wasn't particularly harmful by itself in the past is precisely because it was difficult to enforce. For most of history, copyright was relatively unenforceable in an everyday context.

From that point, I'd say that copyright itself isn't really the main problem (issues surrounding copyright lengths and all that notwithstanding). The problem is that so many works are now accessed through architectures that allow for near-ubiquitous monitoring of the user and by default see the user as an adversary.

The worst part of that whole trend, imo, are anti-DRM circumvention laws, which are risible nonsense that turn the whole concept of fair use on its head.

The main problem is that most of the focus on punishing copyright infringement is on media, which has run into many problems because media is so easily disseminated electronically.

I thought copyright only protected creative or intellectual works. Wouldn't the physical design of a mass-manufactured object be protected by a patent? I mean I know sculpture is protected by copyright so I have no idea how that works tbh

People shouldn't be able to do what they want willy-nilly but corporations shouldn't be allowed to misuse shit like DMCA takedowns.

The entire structure of the notice-and-takedown systems that online intermediaries use is kinda borked. Handling legal disputes for a site that has as much content as Youtube is a task for an entire company by itself, more or less. Then there's shit like Youtube's "contractual obligations" where certain copyright holders can just run roughshod over fair use and you can get fucked.
 

autisticdragonkin

Eric Borsheim
True & Honest Fan
I thought copyright only protected creative or intellectual works. Wouldn't the physical design of a mass-manufactured object be protected by a patent? I mean I know sculpture is protected by copyright so I have no idea how that works tbh
Copyright for the design and patent for a specific innovation in design
 

AnOminous

there ain't no turning back
True & Honest Fan
Retired Staff
I think this thread could be productively expanded to be a general IP discussion thread.

The main point I have about copyright is that the reason it wasn't particularly harmful by itself in the past is precisely because it was difficult to enforce. For most of history, copyright was relatively unenforceable in an everyday context.

It was actually quite enforceable. Very few people had printing presses, and stopping them from infringing was as simple as smashing it. Or not selling them to anyone who couldn't be trusted in the first place. States generally issued a very few licenses to such operations and often prohibited importing printed material at all. The business of printing was effectively a monopoly, and in England, that was even what it was called before the term "copyright" was made statutory in around 1710.

Copyright was for most of this time almost self-enforcing, as nobody had the means to infringe. Those who did had wealth to lose. The same applies to patents. The only people who could effectively violate patents were manufacturers, i.e. people with manufacturing facilities to seize should they use them illegally.

It is only very recently that copyright has become basically unenforceable, as almost every person has what amounts to an unlimited copying machine that costs nothing to use.
 

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