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Author Topic: Babble Poll: Copyright Laws
Martha (but not Stewart)
Babbler # 12335

posted 11 December 2007 06:23 AM      Profile for Martha (but not Stewart)     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
Should there be any copyright laws at all?

[ ] Yes
[ ] No

(Feel free to comment on what the laws should look like, etc.)

From: Toronto | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
The Wizard of Socialism
Babbler # 2912

posted 11 December 2007 06:27 AM      Profile for The Wizard of Socialism   Author's Homepage        Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
This question reminds me of the classic Bill Cosby comedy routine: "Why is there air?"
From: A Proud Canadian! | Registered: Jul 2002  |  IP: Logged
Martha (but not Stewart)
Babbler # 12335

posted 11 December 2007 06:40 AM      Profile for Martha (but not Stewart)     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
I think that the polling question makes perfect sense.

Some people quite seriously argue that there should be no copyright laws: anything published, printed, or recorded, should be republishable, reprintable, and re-recordable, at will, for any purpose. In other words, everything should be in the public domain. The argument is that copyright laws inhibit the free flow of information and ideas.

OK ... now I'll answer my own polling question:

[x] Yes. (tentatively)

But I think that copyrights should not last nearly as long as they currently last: books, musical works, etc., should enter the public domain after -- oh, say -- 20 years. That should be long enough to allow people to make a living off of their hard work writing novels, etc.

From: Toronto | Registered: Mar 2006  |  IP: Logged
Babbler # 4019

posted 11 December 2007 06:51 AM      Profile for Catchfire   Author's Homepage     Send New Private Message      Edit/Delete Post  Reply With Quote 
The idea that culture can be property—intellectual property—is used to justify everything from attempts to force the Girl Scouts to pay royalties for singing songs around campfires to the infringement suit brought by the estate of Margaret Mitchell against the publishers of Alice Randall's The Wind Done Gone. Corporations like Celera Genomics have filed for patents for human genes, while the Recording Industry Association of America has sued music downloaders for copyright infringement, reaching out-of-court settlements for thousands of dollars with defendants as young as twelve. ASCAP bleeds fees from shop owners who play background music in their stores; students and scholars are shamed from placing texts facedown on photocopy machines. At the same time, copyright is revered by most established writers and artists as a birthright and bulwark, the source of nurture for their infinitely fragile practices in a rapacious world. Plagiarism and piracy, after all, are the monsters we working artists are taught to dread, as they roam the woods surrounding our tiny preserves of regard and remuneration.

A time is marked not so much by ideas that are argued about as by ideas that are taken for granted. The character of an era hangs upon what needs no defense. In this regard, few of us question the contemporary construction of copyright. It is taken as a law, both in the sense of a universally recognizable moral absolute, like the law against murder, and as naturally inherent in our world, like the law of gravity. In fact, it is neither. Rather, copyright is an ongoing social negotiation, tenuously forged, endlessly revised, and imperfect in its every incarnation.

Thomas Jefferson, for one, considered copyright a necessary evil: he favored providing just enough incentive to create, nothing more, and thereafter allowing ideas to flow freely, as nature intended. His conception of copyright was enshrined in the Constitution, which gives Congress the authority to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts, by securing for limited Times to Authors and Inventors the exclusive Right to their respective Writings and Discoveries.” This was a balancing act between creators and society as a whole; second comers might do a much better job than the originator with the original idea.

The ecstasy of influence:
A plagiarism

A wonderful essay by Jonathan Lethem on the subject in question.

From: On the heather | Registered: Apr 2003  |  IP: Logged

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