Bloody copyright

Enter the Honourable Judge's favourite tavern for a dram of Tittle Tattle. There's an ancient bandit in the corner, but I forget his name...
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operator bell
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Bloody copyright

Post by operator bell »

Has anyone tried clicking on the "Calculate Price" button for any of the Getty images Mr Pennymachines recently posted? I did. What a bunch of shysters. After tracing a long and devious path by trial and error, I finally arrived at a menu where I could click an option that I just wanted a picture to hang on the wall. I was then informed this was an "unacceptable use", and I could not have a copy for that purpose for any price. I could only have one if I intended to print it in a newspaper, or put it on a web site for a limited period, or about 450 other uses they approved of, NONE of which was to look at for my own pleasure.

What has me particularly disgruntled is that the picture in question is 63 years old. It was taken before I was born. WTF is it still subject to copyright? If I thought there was some centenarian somewhere depending on the income so he wouldn't have to live on cat food, or some wrinkly old pop singer still paying his butler's salary with the royalties from Living Doll, perhaps I might be less pissed about it. But copyright is not a natural right. It's a temporary monopoly, granted on behalf of society to encourage people to take photos or sing songs, on condition that these photos, songs etc become the property of the public one day. It's a goddam contract. The problem is, the terms of that contract keep getting altered by one side so they continue to receive the benefits indefinitely while the other side never gets anything. I call that fraud. Not one single work entered the public domain in America this year, nor last year. Stuff is going out of print and being lost forever because the copyright holders can't make any money by keeping it going, and everyone else is legally prevented from stepping in to save it. There's a massive hole in our cultural heritage, with more works still in print from the 19th century than since 1923. With Disney's copyright on Mickey Mouse coming up for expiration again, pretty soon the US Congress will extend it yet again, and force the world to follow suit with some slimy secret agreement like ACTA without the knowledge or consent of the public. Let's not even open the can of worms that is monitoring and regulation of your private communications on the Internet in support of these vampires.

The only bright spot on the horizon that I can see is that the continual overreach is having an effect on the young. Already I think you would not find a jury of under-30s willing to find someone guilty of copyright infringement. They won't come to love copyright any better as they grow older and eventually, though probably not in my lifetime, the concept will fall into disuse because of the impossibility of enforcement. Too bad by then we'll have lost most of the 20th and 21st centuries' historical and cultural treasures.

I thank you all for listening.
<gets off soapbox>
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badpenny
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Re: Bloody copyright

Post by badpenny »

As you say it has become more about how do we keep making money from this and nothing to do with protecting it.
Back in the early 80's I ran the pub I was talking about a few weeks ago that Ian Dury used to perform at.

Just around the corner was the office of PRS (Performing Rights Society) a cheery bunch of people who collect the fees due to artistes for having had their creativity played in public. They mainly did this by travelling the country and popping into barber shops or tyre/exhaust workshops and then hitting the owner with threats of imprisonment or massive fines if they had a radio playing. All jolly dee and perfectly legal of course. Anyhoo one of the lads told me that Englebump Hurtisdik and Tom Jones owned a company that fitted muzak systems in lifts, shops etc. and supplied the background music tapes. Later on The PRS on behalf of Messrs Englebert & Tom succesfully sued their company for not registering with them and therefore depriving the two singers of royalties for their own music !PUZZLED!

Nearer to home my paternal grandfather and his partner Clapham & Dwyer were contracted to The BBC for a period. I am proud to say that they achieved the magnificent result of being the first ever to be banned by the BBC. My grandfather wrote a joke that offended Lord Reith, described as the fiercely moral founder of the British Broadcasting Corporation.
Anyhow enough of that old twaddle the point I'm making is, guess who owns the copyright to all of Granddaddy's recordings, material, scripts, films and wants to charge me a bloody fortune to have access but of course not copy!!!!!

However if you did follow the link above you'll find my grandfather appears to have released a CD nearly fifty years after his death, so they're still making money out of him. :o
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pennymachines
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Re: Bloody copyright

Post by pennymachines »

BP, I always knew your sense of humour was in your 'jeans'. ;-)

OB, I enjoyed your heartfelt submission. You express my feelings on the subject better than I could myself. Technological advances are making it increasingly tricky not to infringe copyright law, much of which, as you say, is offensive anyway.

Twenty four year old student Richard O'Dwyer from Sheffield Hallam University is facing extradition to the USA and up to ten years in prison, for creating a website (TVShak.net) which linked to online movies and TV. Why would US corporate and political vested interests pursue this UK student (accused of no crime in his own country), while ignoring US-based Larry Page, whose Google not only links to, but hosts copyright infringing movies plus lots of material of a more serious criminal nature? Clearly it's an attempt to terrorize the general public into accepting ever more draconian enforcements.

Tell Home Secretary Theresa May this is not acceptable by signing this petition (launched by Wikipedia founder, Jimmy Walters).
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operator bell
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Re: Bloody copyright

Post by operator bell »

The interesting thing is, Mr PM, what he did is not even a crime in the United States. Nobody in the USA has ever been successfully prosecuted for linking. I don't believe any prosecutor has even tried. If he is eventually extradited, the most likely course of action is he will be held in some grim jail and badgered on a daily basis to accept some plea bargain, ie plead guilty to some lesser charge in exchange for the promise of a light sentence and being allowed to go home. If he does this, the US Government will hold him up as a self-confessed criminal that totally justifies their position. If he refuses, they will drag out the process of preparing the case for many years before bringing him to trial or, more likely, dropping charges and letting him go after he served more time on remand that he would have got if he was found guilty. I believe this case will never go to trial because if it does and he is convicted, the appeals process will eventually end up at the Supreme Court. The copyright industry would try to avoid that at all costs, as they would have no chance of winning.

I'm reminded of the case of Dmitri Sklyarov. Sklyarov, a Russian citizen visiting the US, gave a lecture at a software convention in which he outlined some of the shortcomings in Adobe's encryption. Adobe complained to the authorities and Sklyarov was arrested at the convention by the FBI and charged with violating the DMCA, a law which makes it a criminal offense to circumvent encryption. The outcry was so great that Adobe immediately sought to withdraw and drop the case, but the authorities wouldn't allow it, and Sklyarov spent about a year on remand awaiting trial before the charges were dropped in exchange for his agreement to testify against his employer. When that case came to trial, the company was found not guilty on all charges. If they had prosecuted Sklyarov, eventually it would have arrived at the Supreme Court as a free speech First Amendment issue and in all probability a large part of the DMCA would have been found unconstitutional.

When you can't win fairly, there's always intimidation. "Nice business you've got there. Be a pity if anything happened to it."
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