On "RIAA Behaving Badly; Let's Cut Their Copyright Privileges - Wolfe's Den Blog - InformationWeek"


Wolfe Den on copyright and the RIAA in InformationWeek

To further argue the point, which Mr. Den does pretty well already, I add these points:

  1. Providing copyright protection which extends beyond the life of the initial holder is unfair to anybody who earns money by working for it. My heirs will only inherit the savings that I have built up, and they are not entitled to “royalties” for 125 years from the work that I do for my company. So why should a copyright holder’s heirs be entitled to royalties from the creator’s work? At best, the heirs should be entitled only to the royalties earned by the creator during the creator’s lifetime, just like my heirs are only entitled to what I earned during my lifetime. (Or what’s left of it, anyway.)

  2. Copyrights which are handed down from generation to generation completely skip all forms of taxation, as best I can tell, thereby increasing the tax burden on the rest of us. If a copyright were held by someone who is deceased, let’s make the heirs apply for an assignment of copyright to them, and it should cost money to do so. Real money. Like several hundred bucks. Or a percentage of the earnings associated with that copyright. In any case, it wouldn’t last for 125 years. That’s just obscene.

  3. Copyrights should not be instant, or if they are, they should be severely restricted in their lifetimes. I propose that two forms of copyright exist: a 17-year copyright, which you could receive after application for copyright, and an instant copyright of five years, which you could receive just by creating the work. The 17-year copyright would cost money. Real money. Like several hundred bucks. If you haven’t milked everything out of your copyright by the end of the 17-year period, you could apply for an extension of 17 years, which would also cost real money. (This is how the patent system works right now, except there’s no such thing as an instant 5-year patent.)

  4. Speaking of patents, why is it that patents are so very different from copyrights? Both are designed to protect their creators/authors, and yet it costs significantly more to obtain a patent; copyrights are free for the taking. Both are protected by law, and yet (according to the “FBI ANTI-PIRACY NOTICE” at the beginning of each and every DVD I’ve seen in the past several years) the FBI/Government investigates and prosecutes copyright infringement, but not patent infringement; patent holders bear the burden of proof and must prosecute their own patent defense. Let’s get the government out of the business of investigating copyright infringement entirely and let them concentrate on investigating far more serious crimes, such as kidnapping, murder, drug distribution, spammers, etc. Let the copyright holders defend themselves—the ones who have the most to lose can certainly afford to do their own work.

With that being said, I think I will now go sing Happy Birthday.

In public.

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