mfioretti: copyright duration*

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  1. the Supreme Court itself has repeatedly said that fair use is the "safety valve" that makes copyright law compatible with the First Amendment. Without it, copyright law would be illegal. Many of us, of course, believe that the valve is screwed way too tightly, and that it needs to be loosened, since free expression is regularly stymied by abusing current copyright law. But, either way, it should be clear that fair use is, without a doubt, a key element in any copyright regime. Without it, you have undermined free expression and enabled out and out censorship.

    If the US is really trying to export its ideals in agreements like the TPP (and yes, the answer here may be that we are not), then it must include a mandate for fair use if it is going to include a mandate for copyright. The two have to go hand in hand, or you are advocating for out and out censorship.
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  2. the $5 record, which is far cheaper than anything else being offered. It is a public domain record released by Stargrove Entertainment featuring 11 songs, virtually all written by Lennon and McCartney. The composers are paid royalties for their work. What distinguishes this record is that it is a non-Universal record offered at a much lower price.

    As the Gowers review predicted, public domain recordings encourage competition between release companies and drive down the price for consumers. The songwriters are paid either way, but the consumers win with more choice and lower priced music. Increased competition is good for consumers and for the creators of the songs, yet the government’s decision to extend the term of copyright for sound recordings effectively reduces choice and eliminates competitors. Given the outcome that generates profit for record companies decades after their investment at the expense of consumers, it should come as little surprise to find that Music Canada, the lead record company lobby group, engaged in extensive lobbying with the Director of Policy at the Minister of Canadian Heritage in the months leading up to the budget. More on their lobbying campaign in an upcoming post.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2015-04-27)
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  3. McIntyre told the Telegraph: "It took me a long time to get into publishing and I've only started earning royalties. It's very hard to make a living this job, hardly anyone gets rich at it. JK Rowling and Julia Donaldson are the exceptions, most writers and illustrators earn below minimum wage. I think if work hard enough, I might just be able to scrape by.

    "It scares me when it looks like someone wants to take away yet another source of income. It sounds like the Greens want us to rely on the Arts Council for funding instead of earning money directly from our work, and that would involve writing endless complicated grant proposals. I'd rather let my readers decide whether my work is worth their money than a handful of people in a government office."

    "Though our long-term vision includes a proposed copyright length of 14 years, we have no plans to implement this in the near future.”

    The spokesman later added: "It would be 14 years after publishing, as recommended by Cambridge University researcher Rufus Pollock."

    BTW, if it's taking you 12 years to earn a royalty, then either
    a) you've been screwed by your publisher, and no change in copyright term will alter that., or
    b) your book just wasn't very good anyway, in which case, changing copyright terms won't mean much there either.

    Almost every copyrighted work makes the majority of its earnings within the first 5 years. We're talking one in a million or rarer that actually make significant amounts after 14 years.

    Think of it like a business, if your business is taking more than 14 years to see a profit, then it's not a business, it's a hobby (as far as the tax man is concerned) and you've probably gone bankrupt.

    The extension of copyright terms is painted as benefitting artists (who, lets face it won't see a significant change in royalties between 14 years and 140 years) but the reality is keeping the few works which ARE valuable long term (and mostly owned by conglomerates) under copyright.

    If you can't make a 'living' at one work per 10-12 years, then you should probably find another line of work.

    And what about books that continue to sell strongly after 14 years? Do I suddenly lose all financial profit from them, but the publisher may still sell them without paying royalties? How is this fair? Also, many authors are now republishing their backlist, books that went out of print 15 or more years ago, and are able to finally make a living from them. You would deny them this right?


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    ktetch lamaha • 15 hours ago

    ok, so you're one of the INCREDIBLY RARE percentage of writers that's got a book still selling after 14 years, then... yes, sorry, perhaps you should maybe go back and do some more work.
    Or maybe if it's such a big seller, you could ooh, sell the book yourself. since it's clearly selling well enough to be financially viable.

    What an entitlement complex. You think that you should just be able to do something once, and be set for life, while everyone else has to work each and every day.
    Tags: , by M. Fioretti (2015-04-26)
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  4. In 1998, if Congress hadn’t extended copyrights by 20 years, George Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue, Hemingway’s The Sun Also Rises and Margaret Mitchell’s Gone with the Wind would all be in the public domain. This year, the comic book characters Superman and Batman would be free to use by anyone. Meanwhile, movies from 1940 – like Charlie Chaplin’s The Great Dictator and John Ford’s The Grapes of Wrath – would have been slated to enter the public domain at the end of 2015.

    Instead, all of these works – and tens of thousands more – remain firmly under copyright at least until 2019. Surely, we’ll see another effort by those in the copyright extension camp to lengthen the term yet again.

    Why does this matter? Well, how would you feel if you needed to obtain a license from a copyright owner in order to read a passage from the Bible to your church group? Or if before you could ride your bicycle you needed a license from descendants of the inventor of the wheel?

    We all take for granted the right to use certain pieces of our cultural heritage, like the Bible.
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  5. The average life of a Web page is about a hundred days. Strelkov’s “We just downed a plane” post lasted barely two hours. It might seem, and it often feels, as though stuff on the Web lasts forever, for better and frequently for worse: the embarrassing photograph, the regretted blog (more usually regrettable not in the way the slaughter of civilians is regrettable but in the way that bad hair is regrettable). No one believes any longer, if anyone ever did, that “if it’s on the Web it must be true,” but a lot of people do believe that if it’s on the Web it will stay on the Web. Chances are, though, that it actually won’t. In 2006, David Cameron gave a speech in which he said that Google was democratizing the world, because “making more information available to more people” was providing “the power for anyone to hold to account those who in the past might have had a monopoly of power.” Seven years later, Britain’s Conservative Party scrubbed from its Web site ten years’ worth of Tory speeches, including that one. Last year, BuzzFeed deleted more than four thousand of its staff writers’ early posts, apparently because, as time passed, they looked stupider and stupider. Social media, public records, junk: in the end, everything goes.

    Web pages don’t have to be deliberately deleted to disappear. Sites hosted by corporations tend to die with their hosts. When MySpace, GeoCities, and Friendster were reconfigured or sold, millions of accounts vanished.
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  6. Among the most powerful moments of Selma, the new film about the march Martin Luther King, Jr. led in 1965 in support of voting rights for African Americans, are the speeches, sermons, and eulogies King delivered during that tumultuous period. However, the speeches performed by actor David Oyelowo in the film do not contain the actual words spoken by King. This is because the King estate would not license the copyright in the speeches to filmmaker Ava DuVernay. Thus, the King estate's aggressive stance on copyright has literally forced the re-writing of history.
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  7. What amazes me is that this giant set of missing works isn't seen as a bigger deal by policy makers (outside of Reda). This is a massive loss for society and the public based on copyright today -- and could be easily avoided with a few basic changes to the law, including things like requiring registration of copyrights and, if not shortening the term length of copyright significantly, at the very least, requiring the copyright holder to re-register the work over time. As we've pointed out in the past, prior to the 1976 Act, copyright law required registrations and renewals (at the 26-year mark) and the vast majority of works were simply not renewed at that point, because there was no economic incentive to do so.
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  8. 21 Fox owns the rights to The Simpsons until 2082.
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  9. La diagnosi sembrava allora terrificante: “riduzione della vita media del libro a non più di 3/4 mesi, invasività di un mass-market di bassa lega appiattito sulle mode, rarefazione dei librai ‘indipendenti’ e nascita di catene oligopolistiche di librerie, marginalità delle esigenze espresse dal mondo universitario e di ricerca, sbarramento degli spazi concessi agli autori esordienti”. L’urlo emerso in quel lontano convegno annunciava la morte dell’editoria di cultura e una omologazione culturale senza precedenti.

    Oggi l’Aie continua, viceversa, a colpi di caviale sul nulla e con tante reciproche pacche sulla spalla, a far festa a un modello editoriale e distributivo ormai in evidente stato di decomposizione. Autori importanti del secondo Novecento italiano risultano scomparsi dai cataloghi degli editori che li avevano dapprima vampirizzati con tirature da best seller (Giorgio Saviane, Mario Pomilio…), per poi cinicamente dimenticarli, senza neppure trasformarli in ebook. Fossa comune destinata a incrementare i famosi ‘libri orfani’ che saranno il boccone più appetito dei nuovi operatori internazionali.

    Abbiamo voluto tentare un esperimento con una collana di riproposte di romanzi importanti abbinati ad autori contemporanei, come segnale della necessità di distinguere, nel tritacarne editoriale complessivo, il buono dal marciume.
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  10. “During the First World War Centenary commemorations, many organisations want to make original unpublished works such as diaries and letters accessible to the public. Because they are still under copyright protection, they cannot do so without seeking permission from the rights holder. This is even more problematic if the rights holders are untraceable.

    We are asking everyone who cares about our history, everyone who cares about telling our collective story without restrictions, to join the campaign.”

    Up to 50% of archival records in the UK are ‘orphan works’. This is when the rights holder cannot be identified and/or traced. The Imperial War Museum has an estimated 1.75 million documents that are orphan works, approximately 20-25% of the 7.9 million documents in their collections.

    The campaign is calling on the UK Government to reduce the term of copyright protection in certain unpublished works from the end of the year 2039 to the author’s lifetime plus 70 years, as per provisions laid out in the Enterprise and Regulatory Reform Act (ERRA) 2013.
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