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EU: Time For a New Approach on Copyright

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Thursday March 10, 2011
European Commissioner Neelie Kroes has called for a change in approach on copyright and orphan works to foster bringing more cultural content online.  In a speech today, she stated "we must move away from the current playing field for specialists in copyright law. It is high time to understand that, while the US is looking for solutions through complex judicial means, Europe should move forward and find innovative practical solutions for tapping the huge treasures of our culture for citizens and businesses alike."
Comments (10)add comment

Napalm said:

...
Easy. Start shortening copyright protection terms. Taking into account the speed that information moves these days, 2 weeks for news articles and 3 years for everything else is plenty enough time for the publisher to capitalize on being "first to market".

Then you suddenly will be able to put online everything that was created until 3 years ago.

"Artists would not be encouraged to create if they don't get protection for their work". On the contrary. They would be compelled to come up with something new every 3 years at least. How did 99 years term "encourage" the Beatles to keep "creating"?

Nap.
March 10, 2011

Eric L. said:

...
Very correct Napalm. High extrinsic motivators like royalties from 90 year copyrights simply do no create motivation.
March 11, 2011

Dohn Joe said:

You Don't Need to Define Copyright "Terms"
If the Government would get smart and start treating their metaphorically-magical Intellectual "Property" like they do Real "Property" and start taxing it then you wouldn't need to define "Terms" for copyright...once the taxes exceed the revenue on a piece of IP then the owner would voluntarily give it up into the public domain. Perfect market-driven balance with cost recovery for the Government's IP-related bureaucracies ;- )
March 14, 2011

oldguy said:

...
@Joe.. "once the taxes exceed the revenue on a piece of IP then the owner would voluntarily give it up into the public domain"

Quite right.. But there is the problem of determining "value" of any particular piece of "IP". In the case of real property, there is an assessment that is based on sales of other property in the "neighborhood" to use for comparison. This is much more difficult in the "IP" world.

A while ago, I proposed something similar that included an annual "IP" value assessment process. Start with an assumption that all taxes from "IP" taxation will be placed in a pool. That pool is to be used to "acquire/appropriate" IP at it's assessed rate, which is then placed in the public domain. Let the IP owners place their own assessment on the "property". Value it too low, and you pay low taxes but run the risk that it will "acquired" by the pool. Value it too high and you pay higher "taxes" that go into the pool.

This works for both copyright and patent forms of "IP".

One of the questions that comes up when this idea is reviewed, is "what do I get for those IP taxes"? Fair question, but turn it around. Compare with property taxes. I have my own well for water, my own septic field, bury or recycle my garbage, and walk everywhere. Exactly what are my property taxes getting me? This puts the "IP taxes" question on equal footing with "real property taxes". The resulting answers generally apply to both.

March 14, 2011

Napalm said:

...
@Eric: "Very correct Napalm. High extrinsic motivators like royalties from 90 year copyrights simply do no create motivation. "

Heh. They are a powerful motivator for "hit and run" stints. Not for a continuous flow of work, as preached by the copyright laws proponents.

nap.
March 14, 2011

Dohn Joe said:

Bytes - The Measurement of Data
@oldguy:
Maybe IP could be valued based on it's "size"? With real property the lot size is a major determining factor so maybe the number of bytes the IP (book, picture, song, video) requires could be a determining factor?

As for value for taxes I don't think the argument needs to be made, that's why they're taxes and they're taken by force...just like with your real property ;- )
March 14, 2011

oldguy said:

...
@Joe.. Ask any real estate agent, the major pricing factors in order are: Location, Location, and Location. The rest are secondary considerations. :-)

Size is a consideration, as well as age, style, quality, and demand. All of these secondary considerations also affect copyrighted items. Since we don't have a ready made mechanism for equitably "valuing" copyrighted items, anything we use as a yardstick will be arbitrary, and the subject of lots of debate.

That's why I came up with the above idea and process. If Disney wants to keep Mickey locked up for the next 100 years they can do so, but they will be funding the public domain for many other copyrighted works. If it's worth spending all that money on lobbying efforts, then it should worth a fair amount in "pool" tax dollars as well. If they wish to treat IP as though it was real property, tax it like real property. Let the "property owner" define the assessment value, but bring an element of risk into the picture if they value it too low.

But monetary return isn't the only reason for a copyright, look at Creative Commons licenses and open source licenses for examples. Using "tax dollars" to bring works into the public domain may not always be appropriate. So a simple system like I have stated above may not always be appropriate. Maybe what we do with the "pool money" is simply used to acquire a "public licence" along the same lines as what CC licences already do. Or allow a "tax offset" for copies given away (EG: give away 50% of copies per year and you don't pay tax).

In any event, if you start with the premise of taxing "Intellectual Property" along a similar vein as "real property", you open up a whole new aspect, and options, on the issues. Hammering out the details still won't be simple.

March 14, 2011

Darryl said:

...
Old Guy,
But there is the problem of determining "value" of any particular piece of "IP". In the case of real property, there is an assessment that is based on sales of other property in the "neighborhood" to use for comparison. This is much more difficult in the "IP" world.



Why is this a problem? They resell the same IP every year. Base it on that. Well, not the IP, but copies and licences and such, which have a direct relationship to the value of the IP. No problem!


-------------------

"One of the questions that comes up when this idea is reviewed, is "what do I get for those IP taxes"? "

THat's easy. You get to keep the IP. One of the problems with the term "Intellectual Property" is that when the copyright term is up it seems so much like theft to be taking away these poor peoples' property just to cast it upon the public domain heap. Rebrand "Intellectual Property" as an "Intellectual Monopoly" and the idea that they have to pay every single year so as to keep these exclusive rights hardly seems unreasonable.

There is no such thing as Intellectual Property! It's a monopoly. Get it right!
March 14, 2011

Napalm said:

...
An old mistake has more friends than a new truth.

http://arstechnica.com/tech-po...eaming.ars

Nap.
March 15, 2011

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