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Old 05-02-2004, 11:54 AM   #1
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Copyright or "Copywrong"?

Lessig says that legal protection is becoming much too broad, especially for intellectual property, because existing companies are interested in stifling any innovation that might threaten them. Lessig, a professor of law at Stanford University (, notes that the Founding Fathers tried to encourage innovation by initially limiting copyrights to maps, charts, and books and, even with those, restricting the initial term of a copyright to 14 years. Now, he says, copyrights automatically attach to almost anything that anyone writes and last practically forever.

He says protection is so broad that anyone making a movie has to hire teams of lawyers to check whether a copyright will be violated if, say, a poster shows up in the background. He writes: “The film Twelve Monkeys was stopped by a court 28 days after its release because an artist claimed a chair in the movie resembled a sketch of a piece of furniture he had designed. The movie Batman Forever was threatened because the Batmobile drove through an allegedly copyrighted courtyard, and the original architect demanded money before the film could be released.”
I must agree with Lessig. Patents are important, yes, but they have gone too far to the point that patents are no longer about reasonable protection, but to ensure monopolies, much like how Lessig writes about AT&T in the above article. Unfortunately, this is something that is neither in the public consciousness nor is it something that Congress is concerned with. On the contrary, Congress always talks about "toughening" standards, but when you only have contact with business lobbyists, who only have their own interests at heart, what can you do?

I believe that it would be in our best interests to relax patent legislation down to traditional standards. The way it is now, it is nothing short of maddening.


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Old 05-02-2004, 01:15 PM   #2
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notes that the Founding Fathers tried to encourage innovation by initially limiting copyrights to maps, charts, and books and, even with those, restricting the initial term of a copyright to 14 years.

Lawyers, capitalism and greed.

Some songs and books are in the "public domain".

Anymore it seems like nothing new will ever be.

Why should a creator / inventor / composer (or their descendants) be paid in perpetuity?

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Old 05-03-2004, 04:17 AM   #3
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Copyright is a serious problem today for inovations.
While it was intended to help people that intelectual investments pay off it has perverted today.
Small companies don't have the money to pay the lawyers and patents are given for a incredible long time for "ideas" wich weren't costly and some even aren't worth the paper they are written on.

Every year you can laugh at some of the greatest perversion, a australian journalist got a patent on a "circular motion device" (he patented the weel) to show that patents today aren't working

And don't build a swing, you could violate US Patents
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Old 05-05-2004, 09:28 PM   #4
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i just finished lessig's latest, 'free culture'.

it is excellent. lessig provides even more insight into the mangling of the original intent of the founding fathers in regards to copyright law. a good read. a little more industry-oriented than 'code' or 'the future of ideas', but this is done with purpose.
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Old 05-06-2004, 05:57 AM   #5
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I have a question for melon or anyone who can answer it. Is there really such a thing as 'classical reference' or 'creative liscense' where a writer can mention a song or movie quote in his book without having to pay the people? I know if you play the song or clip from a movie in a movie you have to pay but can't you just mention it, or make a joke about a song or movie reference in a book you write? The reason I ask is because I am interested in writing, but also because I heard once that Stephen King said those things and that it was okay.

I mean something like it becoming public domain, that once a song or a certain movie quote becomes so well known by so many millions of people it becomes part of the culture and belongs to all of us in some way. So you can have one of your characters mention it without having to pay anyone for it? Also does anybody own or still complain about stuff that is really old, like Shakespeare? Or fairy tales? I heard Disney gets very nasty over mentioning Snow White or Cinderella, even though they were written hundreds of years ago by somebody else and other (and better IMO!) versions of these classic stories exist.

Oh, and one more, if something was in a movie, but was also part of history, can somebody still claim it was their story?
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Old 05-07-2004, 10:54 AM   #6
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