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Supreme Court of Canada Emphasizes Balance in Determining Copyright Scope of Protection

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Monday December 23, 2013
The Supreme Court of Canada issued another copyright decision this morning, ruling in favour of Claude Robinson in a longstanding copyright infringement battle over a children's television series. Robinson was vindicated in the decision with an award of millions of dollars. The case is an important one for determining whether a substantial part of a work has been copied and for how to assess copyright damages. The case also notably emphasizes the importance of copyright balance, this time within the context of the scope of protection afforded by the Copyright Act. In assessing the scope of the protection, the court states:

"The need to strike an appropriate balance between giving protection to the skill and judgment exercised by authors in the expression of their ideas, on the one hand, and leaving ideas and elements from the public domain free for all to draw upon, on the other, forms the background against which the arguments of the parties must be considered."

The Court's obvious awareness of how balance touches on all aspects of copyright analysis - whether user rights or scope of protection - continues to provide the foundation for copyright law in Canada.
Comments (46)add comment

Chronoss said:

if it was balanced
if it was balanced they would not need 80 year copyright terms....no really
December 23, 2013

Annie O' said:

Chronoss is right...
The balancing operation is being performed on the day that a work enters the public domain. Fair dealing itself is not the balance, it makes copyright fair, but at 80 years, is almost as far from being balanced as can be imagined. What was called for in a faster time, in a market that is thousands of times bigger and thousands of times cheaper to enter, is that copyright should have been shortened. Instead, greed and shortsightedness has won out...for now. But copyright enfringement will continue to grow in scale and scope and the absurdity of copyright will continue to reveal itself to everyone, until even the lawyers see it.
December 23, 2013

Bob said:

Chronos and Annie O'
So, how long should an artist have before others are entitled to use his work without permission or payment? In this case, he didn't even get to first base.
December 24, 2013

Annie O' said:

@Bob
Somewhere between six months, or six weeks, and six years, might be a compromise. But the whole life of the artist plus the better of a century more is just theft of public property.
December 24, 2013

Chronoss said:

@above
1-2 years for written work should suffice....i often say if you cant make money when it comes out its not worth nickel and diming the odd small bit you will get inthat fact no one might find a new way to derrive your work to do so.

say 3-5 for movies/tv due to fact you can rewatch....

games get out a date quick but may spawn version 2 etc so say 3-4 years again....
How many games are you playing that are 4 or more years old....

ONE might think that you could pay the public to get one term extension period....that allows block busters to ring it in for a while.
and buy a payment to the public for the extension you can say give that back in grants to colleges and unniversities for people in the arts to lesson tuitions and such....

What i see is artists doing stuff and then selling it to a corporate entity that should be disallowed or that fee above is tripled and they get the one term time. THIS would stop the large "houses" from just buying and hording everything and growing some quality in there stores.

A creation inhouse by a corporate entity would still enjoy the same rights as a individual. I think most can attest that in last decade as copyright has gone out of control and terms up the quality has made a nose dive.
December 24, 2013

Michael said:

Copyright too long..
I hold the copyright on a piece of software I wrote back in high school. I'll be damned if I can remember where the source code is. But I still hold the copyright on it.

Personally I think the purpose of the "life of the artist" has been lost. To my understanding it was so the artist can get their idea into play. If they need a life time to do it and make their profit, their doing it wrong.

Personally I think we should graduate the copyright and patent terms a bit. Maybe complete control for 5 years after production or some other landmark. Then they hold trade marks but the ideas become more accessible to the public domain. Maybe even base it on percentage of activity/sales. If the product drops 50% in the market it becomes public domain.

Personally I like the open software concept. Then anyone can contribute and the profits are more driven on a desire to support rather than mandatory costs. Doesn't work for every market (like pay what you want restaurants) but the idea does work in some areas.
December 24, 2013

Bob said:

...
So much nonsense here. If I write a book (Annie O') I have 6 weeks copyright? After which anyone else can try and sell it? Why would I even bother? Remember, we're talking about people who write for a living, not well-paid professors whose salaries allow them the luxury of writing without further payment. How can a longer term possibly be "theft of public property"? And even a year or two (Chronos) isn't going to give any incentive to writers or publishers. You are looking at the demand side - I want it now, free - not the supply side. Or will it be theft to refuse to write, because that would be preventing the public from being able to steal your property.
December 25, 2013

Harold said:

Bob, you don't get it
As it stands right now, the target copyright term is until the creator dies plus 80 years.
In some cases that can be over 150 years.

How is THAT not nonsense?

We want REALISTIC copyright terms.

If you can't make the money back from your content in your lifetime, why should you get 80 years AFTER YOU'RE DEAD to keep trying?

That's the problem we have with terms right now.
December 26, 2013

dan said:

Happiest of holidays Mr. Robinson
This judgement was (although not unexpected) a wonderful gift for many; and set an important precedent.

"The Court's obvious awareness" is in fact present throughout the decision (7-0 in favor!), something your reading audience could use more of Geist; they just don't seem to get it.




December 26, 2013

Bob said:

I do get it
But what I'm not seeing are credible suggestions for a copyright term. Canada still uses life + 50, so it's never going to be 150 years total, Harold. Why the hysteria, though? If, instead of writing a book, I build a house, it belongs to me and my heirs for ever. Right? So other than that I used my brain rather than my hands, what really is the difference? And remember, writers can always choose to publish on terms that effectively place their work in the public domain, usually through Creative Commons licences. Whether they get published is another matter, of course.
December 26, 2013

Chronoss said:

bob doesnt get it
Canada's new law increased it form 50 to 80 and what idiot needs 50 years in first place to make money off a book written ..are you that damn lazy?

when i make a car for GM do i get paid for the next 30 years life of the car..NO....

if your marketing is good and your product is good you can sell it..people want signed copies , makes em more valuable for history...you are not creating art..you are selling products churned out like garbage over and over again....and using price fixing monopolies.

as i said above if your book cant make you enough money in a few years with 2.5 billion people on the net..your not worth giving copyright too...same for movies tv and games etc.
December 27, 2013

Annie O' said:

if I build a house...
The analogy between so called intellectual "property" (which it's not) and physical property which Bob advances above should be made this way:

If I build a house with the chimney over there and two bedrooms up there, then no one in the world should be allowed to build one that way for the next 150 years.

Do you wee this yet? Why is it any wonder that no one is following this law (except the lawyers for self-serving reasons)?
December 27, 2013

Bob said:

Annie O'
Where we part ways is that even most of the anti-copyright lobby accept that copyright is a form of property. My point is very simple. I created it. I do get some rights in what happens next. If I don't, why bother? Unless you think that it's actually theft to refuse to create, that's always an option for writers. In practice, of course, most of what is written/published has exhausted its commercial potential quite quickly. But that isn't really the point.
December 27, 2013

Annie O' said:

Property
Hi Bob,
Thanks for having this discussion with me.
It is not disputed that copyright makes intellectual creations into something akin to property, it grants them property rights.
Many anti-copyright adherants, ex. Stallman, ask us to not use the word "Intellectual Property", precisely because it prejudices us into thinking that it is natural for ideas to have these property rights.

I have to agree with them in that property rights cannot reasonably be enforced in a borderless, anonymous, open Internet. It may be possible to force the big American sites to honour takedown requests, but anybody can mirror The Pirate Bay from a cellphone anywhere in the world.

Furthermore, as you point out, since commercial potential is quickly exhausted, there is little point in fighting this a war on piracy which is costly, both in terms of enforcement and in terms of the rights and opportunities that have to be removed from us, to privacy, to anonymity, and maybe eventually even the right to create your own personal websites.

Why bother you ask? Well, for one, notice that you're not getting paid to write here. So, if someone has something important to say, they will. That's what art is all about. It's not really about getting paid.

Furthermore, art production has not really been diminished by the Internet, despite this obvious threat that one's work will inevitably become available free online.

So, thanks again for this discussion, but I'm still not convinced that you're right.
December 27, 2013

dan said:

Property
Annie - first off Intellectual Property is legally considered property not merely "akin" to it. It really isn't that difficult to understand. And whether you yourself get-it or not is completely unimportant the right people do and have enacted laws and bills to protect the property rights of others regardless of your obvious lack of respect for them.

"ideas" are not what's at issue, you made that same fatal error in your last post RE: the building of a home. Your logic is flawed Annie and because of that your argument is nonsensical. It's odd you would even go there when considering the SCC decision you're commenting on.
(unless you didn't read the decision but saw a headline that peaked your interest and jumped in face first?)

The Internet is not this "borderless, anonymous, open Internet" people like you tell themselves it is, the opposite is closer to the truth; the NSA scandal clarified that for everyone (did you miss something?)

Bob if you are looking for insightful intelligent discussion this may not the place to be.
WIPO has a great site, factual informative and useful.
Terry Hart has one of the best legal blogs on the net Copyhype.
December 28, 2013

Bob said:

...
Don't worry, Dan. This isn't really about insightful discussion, just trying to deflate some balloons. I can see where Annie (and others) are coming from; and in an abstract and ideal world, perhaps copyright would be unnecessary. But the fact that I'm not getting paid for my comments here doesn't mean that I don't expect to be paid if I publish commercially. Art doesn't flourish in an economic vacuum. Artists need to earn a living. Some - professors, for example - earn salaries that enable them to write without need for further reward. Most, though, write for money. If there isn't any, they'll find other work. I think there's an interesting discussion to be had around educational and scholarly content, but for most writers (and their publishers) the business model has to involve getting paid. Copyright is part of how that happens. It may not be perfect, but whether it's observed or not, it isn't going away anytime soon.
December 28, 2013

Bob said:

...
And although I can just see the socio-political argument that leads Annie to saying that copyright is theft of public property, it assumes you accept that at the moment of publication, a writer's material becomes public property. Absent some other way of compensating writers, I don't think that one will fly.
December 28, 2013

Gregg said:

Annie makes Some Great Points
Why are you all so quick to dismiss her?
December 28, 2013

Chronoss said:

rebuttle to annie
NO it sif i build you the house every time you enter or use it you have ot pay me money, and each time it resold i have ot get a massive cut...

think if you had to pay for each use of the hammer or pencil or every time you spoke cause all things knowledge based are then owned....by someone or something....

we'd need 1930's germany style wheel barrels and a thing called hyper inflation would totally destroy the economy....this is what long terms do....they remove my money and your money from the local economy to get a wee bit of entertainment in a world gone mad with spying and militaries....
December 28, 2013

Ray said:

...
Dealing with copyright matters is difficult enough without people making up their own facts. Saying that recent changes to our copyright term extended it to life + 80 is pure fiction. Even the TPP proposals would only make it life + 70.

Robinson's case was not about the length of copyright terms. It was a person submitting his writings for financial and production support, having his unpublished proposals rejected, and finding some years later that those from whom he sought help were producing those works commercially without giving him credit. Many people who otherwise are extremely critical of copyright law would agree that these producers acted unfairly.

December 30, 2013

SortaKinda said:

@Bob
"I created it. I do get some rights in what happens next. If I don't, why bother?"

We're not talking about a thing, we're talking about the very form or likeness of a thing... To impose upon that is not the same as "owning" physical thing. Apples are not oranges and the ownership of one orange should not, at least in any rational world, prevent anyone from growing or buying or painting a picture of an orange-colored apple. Physical things can be held and exclusively controlled. Ideas are only controlled by limiting uses where no limit would naturally exist (unlike an apple or an orange), and I think gets immoral pretty darn quickly (we are talking about global intellectual starvation here).

"In practice, of course, most of what is written/published has exhausted its commercial potential quite quickly. But that isn't really the point."

It is quite the point since copyright is supposed to strike a balance that increases the net good produced both by an original author and by any derivative authors (it's based on a utilitarian argument). Calling people consumers or thinking of them as passive fans is a source of confusion since that is only one facet of this relationship, but seem to dominate the discussion because some people re-watch their favorite movies on their computer. Even the so-called original artist wasn't inspired in a vacuum any more than Shakespeare (who has inspired more films, books and music than probably any other individual), Chaucer (who collected a bunch of tall tales and spun them differently), or Pablo Picasso ("great artists steal").

This is not by any means a one-sided relationship that could ever be distilled into a simple exchange of "ownership" over an inspiration or authorized se, and treating it as such does more harm than good (destroying the utilitarian argument). I'd personally rather have no copyright at all than live with false ideas about uses being like property. A hammer can be property, "the hammering of a nail" cannot - at least not if expect to live in houses held together with nails. I don't need an industry if it is based on impoverishing everyone for purely made-up reasons.
January 01, 2014

dan said:

@SortaKinda
Perhaps if you (and Annie) read the claim filed, the defense, the court minutes or even the SCC decision you would both stop making such obvious and serious errors?

Taking into consideration that the Robinson case did last 20 years (and that's a whole lot of reading) perhaps a less labor intense case may be Rains vs Molea?

RE: "Apples are not oranges and the ownership of one orange should not, at least in any rational world, prevent anyone from growing or buying or painting a picture of an orange-colored apple."

Rains vs Molea - comments of Toronto IP lawyer John Simpson.
“In this case, the plaintiff and the defendant had both produced a series of paintings of randomly crumpled paper depicted in a realistic way, using the same colours and techniques such that gallery goers thought they were by the same artist. The court had to look at each painting carefully and decide whether the artists were merely expressing the same idea or whether their expressions of that idea were substantially the same.”

In her decision, Chiappetta notes that the artists’ ideas were “not unique,” – but Simpson says in the end, the originality of an idea will not greatly affect a case like this.

“All that should matter is whether the plaintiff’s expression of that idea was sufficiently original for copyright to exist in the work (which is a very low bar),” he says. “The judge did consider evidence that artists have been painting crumpled paper for hundreds of years – that the idea was therefore old. But I think that evidence was helpful in drawing the line between idea and expression in this case, between what the plaintiff could claim as his own expression of the idea and the idea itself. An old, and often tried idea, will be harder to express in an original and protectable way.”

SortaKinda you wrote "I don't need an industry if it is based on impoverishing everyone for purely made-up reasons." but, in actuality it's not the industry spewing out "made-up", it's people like you.
January 01, 2014

Chronoss said:

@dan
and that judge was paid to here the case and thus makes money form keeping this style fo copyright alive....by affirming it they prolong and enhance there own abilities to make money ...its a bias and its immoral and unethical....and i totally agree with SortaKinda....

just because you post a law and decision does not make it right either....we in the world no longer need distribution...if you want copyright and the way it is , then the artist and former distro person should pay me what they used ot make for it.

ya know how a cdr in a music store was 29.99 when an artist gets 50 cents at most and the rest is for a 10 cent stomped cdr and 10 more cents for packaging etc, all of which a so called file sharer now pays ....

YET do we see 50 cent albums no cause the big boys stuffed barriers and laws to prevent it , they bought off bribed or otherwise politicians of all the top 3 parties and then you have as i described how a judge or lawyer is biased on making money form it all...

its just a big waste of all our resources now one no one can afford.

I have said it if using a pencil/pen or hammer had to require everyone to have a license of hollywood proportions nothing would ever get built ...or penned it would be too expensive...
January 01, 2014

Gothenem said:

...
Copyright term is far too long where it is now. That said, I also think that 6 years is too short a copyright term. Honestly, I think a 10 year term works, with an option to expand it for another 10 (20 years total). If you cannot make your money in 20 years, then you're doing it wrong.

But life+50 years (or 80 years) is far too long.
January 02, 2014

some_name said:

...
@Gothenem

"But life+50 years (or 80 years) is far too long."

Works for all kinds of leeches hiding behind "fairness" mask, doesn't it? However, lately it's simply getting too hard to fool people into leaches' necessity of buying another boat, Porshe or Patek Phillipe otherwise they can not create their talentless template-based overused crap anymore.
January 02, 2014

Chronoss said:

copyright term discussion
perhaps a better whay of giving copyright might be in the investment to produce an art or work....with differant terms for differant items as well.

6 years on any software is tons of time considering that if we went back 6 years operating systems and games are nearly out of date....
written work ten years might suffice....

tv takes money to invest in hardware and either streaming software if online or to your home....so say 15 years....

whats the reason to get into say collectibles if a 150 year term means its still in circulation? See how that kinda harms value of the really old? THEN there is withholding knowledge and culture to profit....shakes head....

I would argue that if the riaa and its members actually setup that 1.5 per internet connection and then used torrent sites in each country with a block to non national ips....you get how to pay distribute. If its done world wide ... far more artists get compensated and they get a small cut too and might just keep a hand albeit smaller percentage but far bigger audience ....and if you pay the levy you might then try stuff and then give an artist a buck...those that fight against a cheap 1.5 per net connection are pirates that will never pay , and have a stake in keeping free and most likely are the ones to watch for trying to profit on it.

movies are a bigger affair 20 is fine....this would open tons of previous works many can draw on...have fun with and get at creation.

remember folks if your into creation its the act of creation that should be what your really about not the money....if what you do people find is worth tossing money at then so be it....

If you start off about money ....it's a bad sign, you don't care about art or creating you just want easy money....
January 02, 2014

dan said:

@Gothenem
Based on principles (in order to be just) is it unreasonable that creative copyright last for at least the lifetime of the creator? It does allow the creator to prevent any unwanted and non-consensual exploitation of the Works.
It also seems reasonable that copyright protections last for at least some portion of the life of the creator’s immediate heirs.
January 03, 2014

Ray said:

@ Dan
You make a reasonable point. I would think that one's lifetime or 25 years, whichever is longer would be reasonable (or just 25 years for corporate authors). This accounts for the reality that some people live longer than others, and one who dies young should be able to provide for his own children.
January 03, 2014

SortaKinda said:

@dan
"It also seems reasonable that copyright protections last for at least some portion of the life of the creator’s immediate heirs."

I don't actually think that's reasonable, even if I'm alone in my opinions.

As the offspring of well-respected parents, I would not expect to inherit any of my parents' credibility - as though it could be passed down tangibly. Rather, I would expect to develop my own. I would also expect to obtain my reputation by doing good work - and tangible work at that. In other words, for the time I spend and what that time is deemed worth in trade, not the ideas I assert control of.

What I'm getting at is that the reward associated with having and sharing an idea is mostly the effect it may have on the value of my tangible work. It is enough incentive to create and share in order to 1) increase the demand for my time and my corresponding ability to charge a premium for it, and 2) the social rewards of seeing good ideas put to use, which I see in the ideas and acts produced by others by building on mine. The words "mine" and "my" are only attributive in nature when they are applied to ideas, not possessive as in the case of physical work. While it can be hard to think clearly about it, that's where copyright went off the tracks.
January 04, 2014

dan said:

@SortaKinda
You say "not the ideas I assert control of." which is the fatal error in your thought process when talking about copyright / intellectual property. "Ideas" are not what's at issue. If you can't get your head around that perhaps you should reconsider involving yourself in a conversation that you're clearly not educated or even well versed in.
And better not to engage in a copyright conversation with me, this area of law I understand well.

"that's where copyright went off the tracks." wow!! that's a very strong statement from someone as under qualified as yourself to be making.

I have no doubt that you read (maybe) parts of the bills/acts/treaties that pertain to copyright and intellectual property that are *freely* available, but your lack of comprehension is blatantly obvious.

Not to be rude but I have no interest in your 'personal' opinions; if you can't keep your comments directed at me within the legal framework that exists I won't waste my time replying.
January 05, 2014

SortaKinda said:

@dan
I'm sorry to hear that you won't consider more than the our current laws.

Irrespective of your motivations, your ad hominems, and your resolute disinterest in the opinions of others, I wish you well.
January 06, 2014

dan said:

@SortaKinda
You say: "I'm sorry to hear that you won't consider more than the our current laws", and that's complete BS! I've been pointing out nothing more than the current laws, it's you that keeps you repeating the same mistake even after being proved wrong, not by me, but by what's on the law books. Read what you posted with regards to copyright/IP laws it's inaccurate, factually and legally wrong,(is there a delusional disorder that you kept private?)
RE: "your ad hominems" mine!? that would be much better directed at you,(how pathetic by the way.)

Another blanket statement by you: "and your resolute disinterest in the opinions of others" this is the internet, for all I know you could be a spoiled bitchy little 12 year old girl.
So *personal* opinions, I never bother unless I know the person.
What I wrote was: "Not to be rude but I have no interest in your 'personal' opinions; if you can't keep your comments directed at me within the legal framework that exists I won't waste my time replying." Interesting spin attempt SortaKinda, but another epic failure.
So until the next time
January 06, 2014

tunda said:

through the rabbit hole
It seems like this topic got way derailed? wasn't this decision exactly to clarify the differences between ideas/concepts etc and how those are protected under our copyright laws? How we are discussing the length of copyright (if it should even exist at all) seems absurd in this context. On that note tho, @sortakinda, how would you feel if your folks' estate (whether its worth a dime or not) was just put up for grabs to whoever got there first when they passed away? you wouldn't be bummed out that that toy your dad built you got picked up by some jerk who decided to sell the whole lot on ebay? im sure you'd be upset. A creator has a right to exercise ownership as they see fit, its not and really shouldn't be up to the community at large to decide this. If you wanted to be part of this discussion, there were town halls held across the country to get input, did you go? they were very informative and really interesting
January 06, 2014

dan said:

@tunda
You say: "It seems like this topic got way derailed? wasn't this decision exactly to clarify the differences between ideas/concepts etc and how those are protected under our copyright laws?", yes, and that's exactly what was posted by Geist:

"The need to strike an appropriate balance between giving protection to the skill and judgment exercised by authors in the expression of their ideas, on the one hand, and leaving ideas and elements from the public domain free for all to draw upon, on the other, forms the background against which the arguments of the parties must be considered."

And yet somehow people here keep posting that it's simply "ideas" that are covered by copyright, and that, if you put something into the public, it's public domain; it's completely absurd!
Obviously no one has read anything pertaining to the bloody topic (laws) their commenting on. It's the blind leading the blind and tripping all over the place.

How it ever got to length of copyright remains a mystery, but since that was brought up have you looked at the comments? 6 weeks was mentioned; it sometimes takes 6 years just to get the final product and someone says a 6 week copyright term is reasonable.

RE: The town halls, brilliant, and much needed for public involvement.
I've asked a few people that post here if they went, the response I got, "What town halls?"
January 06, 2014

@dan said:

copyright ideas?
if people missed the town halls or werent even aware of them im not sure they are informed enough to be having a discussion about this, i saw you quoted the rains case, its a perfect example of how the court says you can't OWN an idea, this case was very different though, an artist got totally ripped off by big business and somehow this decision is bad according to some folks here?? i dont get it
January 06, 2014

SortaKinda said:

@tunda
"you wouldn't be bummed out that that toy your dad built you got picked up by some jerk who decided to sell the whole lot on ebay? im sure you'd be upset."

Oh yes, I would, but because it is physical property.

It is precisely the analogy between physical property and "intellectual property" (or as I think more accurate and descriptive: imaginary property) that I am against though. I just don't buy it.

It's OK to disagree with me of course, but I certainly think it's worth talking about and worth imagining what the future would be like if there weren't what seems like an increasing legal bias towards assuming that analogy to be valid. For example, at this point in history I would rather prioritize my freedom to share and reuse over my possibility to sue (over ideas at least). Perhaps at other times in history I would see things differently, but today we are highly connected and the barriers to creating are very low (and I believe would be lower if not for copyright). In this context there is less need for protection of incentives through burdensome laws because the incentives are already high - and increasing - relative to the barriers to entry, which are decreasing; copyright should be reduced proportionately.

I argue that today there is more abundance (net benefit) when ideas are readily copiable and usable, without seeking permission, than not. So, if the goal of copyright is actually to promote the creation of new works (ignoring the idea of creator's "moral right," which one either believes in or not), I would substantially reduce if not eliminate copyright in order to maximize new and useful works.

There is an argument that "quality" of work will decrease without copyright, but I see no evidence of it and an influx of work as a result of lowering barriers should not detract from highly-skilled and talented creators. It's actually a good thing because it means people are more empowered.

About the only thing I would want today as a creator would be the right to honest and accurate attribution (which I mentioned above) - though many people are willing to waive even that (because they don't care, or want to conceal their authorship). That is my line in the sand: honesty. But honesty doesn't need the rest of copyright (unless you believe in a creator's "moral right" to tell other people they can't imitate them, which I don't; that is something children do before they learn to walk away). Even if all the criteria for considering similarity and likeness of works are retained, I do not see a need for them to be applied to decide arbitrary licensing (copyright) - only to enforce a single right of attribution.

The reason I support attribution even while advocating against copyright is because of the potential for defamation and damages that have physical consequences. This is what I am referring to when I say copyright "went off the tracks." It has that basis in reality, which is easy for me to like, but I see the rest of the concepts being used simply to create opportunistic hegemonies with global publishing cartels subsisting at or near the top.
January 06, 2014

@sortakinda said:

...
i would totally disagree with you on the qualitative vs quantitative argument. When an artist can actually dedicate the majority of their life to their craft, the materials they output would absolutely be of a higher, more masterful quality. could you imagine if davinci or michaelangelo had to "give his stuff away" and then sell tshirts to make money? we wouldnt have any of that awesome stuff that took incredible skill developed over years to achieve.

so youre saying that if you made an album, sold it on bandcamp for pay whatever you want (even 0) youd be ok with your songs being used on the radio, by warner bros for their new big blockbuster movie, and even by someone like rockstar in their new blow out title. if you noticed that those ventures made millions, you wouldnt feel like you got the shaft somewhere along the line? If you wouldnt you are much more generous than I.

Whether the "thing" is tactile or not, its still a consumer product, be it a song, book, article, or whatever it happens to be. The author/creator should be able to decide when where and how. Why would we even want to deny this from them, it doesn't make sense to me.

just an aside, moral right have nothing to do with imitation, they are there to prevent exactly what you are suggesting should happen
January 06, 2014

@tunda said:

woops..was @sortakinda
im sure you figured that out
January 06, 2014

dan said:

...
RE: copyright ideas?
"i saw you quoted the rains case, its a perfect example of how the court says you can't OWN an idea"
now jump up to the comments, how fucked up is that?
One person even wrote the judge was bribed.
It's a circle-jerk here, nothing more.

The absolute worst (for me anyway) is the hypocrisy, it's beyond nauseating, an ex:
tunda - "you wouldn't be bummed out that that toy your dad built you got picked up by some jerk who decided to sell the whole lot on ebay? im sure you'd be upset."
SortaKinda - Oh yes, I would, but because it is physical property.
January 06, 2014

SortaKinda said:

@tunda
"so youre saying that if you made an album, sold it on bandcamp for pay whatever you want (even 0) youd be ok with your songs being used on the radio, by warner bros for their new big blockbuster movie, and even by someone like rockstar in their new blow out title."

Yup.

Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't work for free either; I'm not holding a gun to anyone's head, be they da Vinci or Michelangelo.

But I am specifically not worried about the Warner Bros (or rockstar) example you give because there would be no reason for Warner Bros to act as a distributor since there would be nothing stopping theaters from showing a movie or me simply downloading (I have a dream...), so WB wouldn't be raking in anything in that I felt entitled to. I believe the incentives of that context would be such that people, and WB, would create things because they want to see them exist - in order to say something worth saying - and I would be quite pleased to hear my riffs being used to say things - as long as I'm in the credits too and people can know the truth of my role. That's exactly the kind of world I want.
January 06, 2014

SortaKinda said:

@tunda
"When an artist can actually dedicate the majority of their life to their craft, the materials they output would absolutely be of a higher, more masterful quality."

That may be so, but is such an artist more or less grounded in reality, saying what is important or meaningful about life - or are they getting really good at writing popular music with repetitive and diluted messages because they appear to the broadest audience? I don't think either is necessarily a better result, so I haven't picked a side, but I'm open to a change because I don't like the current copyright system.
January 06, 2014

SortaKinda said:

@tunda
"appear" should have been "appeal"
January 06, 2014

Chronoss said:

@dan @ray
i love that right after mine you talk about exploitation well its we the people that determine your right to have any rights....for your works and your life time want to sit on your butt and do nothing is well astounding....

ALSO you make no argument why you must have copyright for your entire life other then in fact to exploit the public's money and again be seen and become lazy do nothings. WHY should your kid be entitled to work, does my dads gm pension become mine when he dies NO...and thus that is and should never be allowed like i said....lowering terms means others can take parts of works and inventions in ways YOU CANT for-see later and do new and wonderful things and AID HUMANKIND , instead a buying cheap hookers and islands and yachts and paying billions for lawyers to sue lil kids.

AND then you insult another poster here because they gave opinions ...i wonder mike does the new canadian harassment law fall onto dan here...sounds like a personal attack on a persons view...a conservative attack form that when they cannot attack the idea or message they try and attack a person....

oh if people missed the town halls , what town halls the one you called the movie director , his lawyer and the movie house and the laziest musician you can find and never got everyone in Canada to have any chance of going too? THOSE TOWN HALLS.I bet you had them in winter too didn't ya?...ya right propaganda all the way nice try pal.

@ray why 25 years or life? ARE you involve din any way that allows you to sit on your butt that long while the rest of society actually has to do stuff? NO really what entitles you to be this lazy? Are you that uncreative that you can't continue say after 5 or so years a revenue? Are you poor at investing your money and wasting it on booze , drugs and hookers?

so again no answer to the questions i pose and no real talk aobut the topic its all aobut a few people and there devotion to trying ot be as lazy and rich at same time as they can.
January 07, 2014

Ray said:

@Chronoss
If I remember correctly the Town Halls, and opportunities to comment were in the middle of the summer, when people are too busy with vacations and the like to pay attention to politics. They hoped that do this would limit the level of participation.

The serious exploitation of copyright is not done by individuals but by corporate entities, who will as readily exploit the artists whom they publish as they do the general public.

25 years or life allows for an author who has small children to provide for the costs of raising and educating them. Your scheme would require five-year-old children to go to workhouses.

The discussion isn't about laziness, booze, drugs or hookers. There are people who own copyrights for perfectly legitimate reasons; they did the work and deserve the rewards. Finding the balance is indeed the important challenge for copyright legislation. In large measure "we the people" doesn't give a damn about copyright. To get anywhere with improving that legal environment requires understanding what it is, and finding coherent common ground.
January 08, 2014

Tunda said:

@chronoss Thank you!!
That's the funniest shit I've read in a long time, thanks for the laugh.
As far as the town halls go guys, this might quash your paranoia.
http://www.ic.gc.ca/eic/site/008.nsf/eng/h_04036.html
January 08, 2014

dan said:

@Tunda
RE: chronoss
Laughing at the less fortunate isn't exactly fair Tunda.
Agreed, he sets himself up for ridicule, but, English is obviously not his first (2nd or even 3rd language) and when one reads his posts it's clear he's a young one that's way overzealous.
He's more a parrot than a individual mature person with an opinion; everything he's posted has been posted by countless others, it's nothing more than cut n paste. Old and tired sentences that everyone has heard 1000's of times. People on the hill just roll their eyes and turn the page now.

"well its we the people that determine your right to have any rights"
delusions of grandeur; rampant throughout every post by him.
If you can't ignore him, then at the very least find some understanding (and a little pity) he's trying.
January 08, 2014

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