The Well-Pilfered Clavier

Does copyright protection prevent creators from making stuff and selling it?

He has been called the “immortal god of harmony,” “the beginning and end of all music,” “the supreme genius of music…who knows everything and feels everything,” and “a benevolent god to which all musicians should offer a prayer to defend themselves against mediocrity.” Yet he behaved like any unauthorized music sampler, mash-up artist, or file-sharing college student. He recirculated other people’s music—sometimes with attribution, sometimes not—with often minor changes. He cribbed material, borrowed music to plug gaps in his work, and reused his own creations with an abandon that would shame a freelancer for Demand Media.

This punkish intellectual property scofflaw was Johann Sebastian Bach, master of the baroque style, spiritual father of modern Western music, literal father of a family of musicians, and inspiration to working creators everywhere. He was also —maybe not coincidentally—a serial user of other people’s work. According to one legend, as a child Bach would jailbreak and copy music his family had locked away. Later, he came into his own as a composer in part by taking a large body of work by Antonio Vivaldi and transposing it for the keyboard. 

He was even more aggressive in cannibalizing his own output. Music for the funeral of Prince Leopold of Anhalt-Köthen turns up later in The St. Matthew Passion. All six parts of the The Christmas Oratorio are retreads from a secular work Bach had written on commission for the Saxon court. Bach’s Mass in B Minor, described by one 19th-century musician as “The Greatest Artwork of All Times and All People,” is almost entirely recycled. “Almost movement by movement you can trace the Mass in B Minor to earlier work,” says Daniel R. Melamed, professor of music at the University of Indiana. “Bach was not captive to his own material.”

How was he making money on this output? How can a creative work have value in an environment without any intellectual property protection?

A new study by a German economic historian hints at an answer. In his two-volume History and Nature of Copyright, Eckhard Höffner compares and contrasts the industrial-age economic histories of Britain (which provided copyright protection beginning with the 1710 Statute of Anne) and the 39 German states (where a uniform copyright code was impossible to enforce across a loose federation).

Höffner’s discovery: German writers produced more books and made more money than their English counterparts. Through the middle of the 19th century, the German book market produced and sold roughly five times as many books as the British. The advantage was interrupted only by the Napoleonic occupation, and it did not end permanently until after 1848, when Germany began to enforce consistent copyright rules.

Höffner received a cool-to-negative American reception for his claim that Germany’s piratical publishing free-for-all contributed to faster GDP growth during the period. But his numbers on the book business remain compelling. In Britain, books cost about a week’s pay for a working person. In copyright-free Germany, the price was about half a day’s pay. 

Yet payments to authors were more generous in Germany than in Britain, with British authors typically surrendering all rights to a publishing house and seeing little in commissions, sales of rights, or profit sharing. German writers got much higher up-front payouts and earned enough to live in middle-class comfort. Self-publishing, which existed only in subscription form in Britain, thrived in Germany. A system that pleased both creators and consumers: How was it possible?

It helps to be happy in your work. Bach was not as entrepreneurial as his friend Georg Philipp Telemann—a publisher of his own music and precursor of the independent musician/composer—but he augmented his late-feudal stipends with moonlighting, teaching jobs, freelance performing, and similar small-time hustles. “Most of the music Bach writes he composes for various duties,” Melamed says. “Often writing a piece is the easiest way to get exactly what he needs.”

Bach had an incentive to keep producing new crowd pleasers. Maybe he suffered from a lack of intellectual property protection. One of the challenges in building the Bach catalog was sorting out all the copycats, transposers, and claimants to his throne. But in his own career, he seemed to see himself as a beneficiary of the freedom to appropriate. The result was infinitely adaptable music. Spend 10 minutes on YouTube, and you will find synth-popsters still working in the Switched on Bach genre that began in the early days of electronica, Celtic singers doing airy covers of “Jesu, Joy of Man’s Desiring,” sub-Malmsteens turning Invention No. 13 or Toccata & Fugue in D Minor into speed metal, “Air on the G String” played on a saw.

Genius is always an outlier, but the long half-life of baroque oldies suggests something else about the life-giving powers of the public domain. America’s culture is dotted with gems like It’s a Wonderful Life and Night of the Living Dead, works that grew famous when they fell out of I.P. protection and became free fodder to distributors. Maybe these movies were so great they’d have risen to the top in any market. (I’m inclined to believe it about Night of the Living Dead.) Maybe Bach would be with us under any circumstances. But history suggests otherwise. 

Bach was considered rustic and backward at the time of his death, and only his keyboard works remained in wide circulation, for their instructional value. His widow and sons, however, worked hard to disseminate his music, occasionally selling manuscripts but mainly trying to keep the work in front of an audience. Building the father’s reputation was good for the family business. It remained good business long after Bach’s 19th-century rediscovery, even after Bach’s line of direct heirs went cold. Leipzig merchants still do solid business on Bach tourism.

It’s worth remembering in our own time of blessed disunion, as copyright protection legally extends nearly a century after an author’s death but the interwebs make copyright difficult to protect. A creator—musical god or Blingee artist—needs fans. But fans lose interest if the barriers to entry are too high. In an interview with Heise magazine, Höffner explains that reduced-price back issues sold well in all the markets he looked at—“but only if there was still someone who moved the book. For most books, readers’ interest had waned.” 

Tim Cavanaugh (tcavanaugh@reason.com) is a senior editor at reason.

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Suki||

    Good morning reason!
    Happy Second Spitter Day!

  • Chris||

    I think I speak for a lot of people when I say 'Good morning Suki!'

  • -||

    Copyright 2010, Reason Magazine

  • Alpheus||

    Unfortunately, according to law, anything we write is automatically copyrighted. Even this comment.

    And I hate copyright!

    Fortunately, you could copy--and abuse--this comment to your heart's content, because it will be short enough that you could quote the entire thing under fair use.

  • -||

    Arguing against the concept of intellectual property while copyrighting one's work is the pinnacle of hypocrisy.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    This is confused for two reasons. First, copyright is automatic; no one copyrights anything. It's not my fault the state gives me a copyright anymore than it's my fault it gives me a right to collect social security or the right to sue employers for discrimating against me because I'm a Cajun-American.

    SEcond, it's not hypocritical to use the state system that one finds oneself in. Given the system companies are compelled to apply for patents, say, to use them defensively if another company sues them for patent infringement.

  • -||

    Nobody is forcing reason.com to place a copyright notice at the bottom of this page. But they do it anyway. Why? To claim their rights to their own property? Of course. So it is hypocritical to claim intellectual property rights while arguing against the concept.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    placing a notice changes nothing. they are just telling the truth: the state gives a copyright. It exists whether they put the notice or not. It's not hypocritical.

  • -||

    The state did not place the copyright notice at the bottom of this page. Reason.com does not have to display this notice of the state's sanction of their property, but they choose to. It's a willful act. It's there intentionally. They want it to be there. Somebody put it there. By placing it there, they are telling the world that the words on this site belong to reason.com, that reason.com owns this intellectual property. If that isn't hypocritical, then the word has no meaning.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    You have a lot of assumptions about why they would put the notice there and what legal import it has. There are any number of reasons to put it there, but in the end it's irrelevant, since whether or not the notice is there, Reason has a copyright in its works. The state grants it one, and it's almost impossible to get rid of. Given this it's a fact that Reason has a copyright. It's not hypocritical to state this, any more than it's hypocritical for you to state that you have a legal right to sue for sexual harassment.

  • Duh?||

    It is hypocritical because they could say "This article is Public Domain" instead, and then it would be.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    What makes you think your comment is "original" enough to qualify for copyright? Self-referential sardonicism is sooooo 19th century, dontchaknow. :)

  • Mango Punch||

    I'm a little dissapointed that the first thing I saw on Reason this morning wasn't about the TSA. I was really looking forward to an article that goes:

    Liberal blogger/newspaper ________ says people are upset about new pat down procedures but don't understand that the procedures are necessary.

    This is clearly an affront to our freedom: look at all these videos of kids and old people being felt up!!!!!! The internet made this protest against the state possible!!!!!
  • Chong||

    Come on man where's the shit for stoners?

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Mouse over pop-up ads? How gauche.

    And worse, Cavanaugh chose to ignore the entire period of Bach's career where he moved to Canada and fronted for Skid Row.

  • ||

    Maybe if YOU had donated more we wouldn't have to suffer under the advertiser's yoke.

  • steve||

    yeah, yeah, enough about NPR

  • ||

    Maybe if YOU had donated more ad blocker plus™ we wouldn't have to suffer under the advertiser's yoke yer bitching.

  • robc||

    How are there people still on the internet without ad blocker?

  • ||

    They use NoScript instead?

  • Meh||

    NoScript is nice, but until idiots stop requiring javascript for every aspect of their site, it'll never be an effective ad blocker.

    "Javascript required to use this site" is the new "best viewed in IE 4.0."

  • Not Tony||

    Umm, no it's not.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    An ad blocker? Advertising is what made this country great.

  • Mango Punch||

    Bach wrote Bohemian Rhapsody?

  • LeSigh||

    No, he wrote Ice Ice Baby.

  • JOhnny MAckson||

    I like to listen to Bach while I'm blasting fools on Black Ops. LOL

    Jess
    www.anonz.com

  • ||

    While I understand the advantages music can play as a cognitive stimulus, I seriously doubt you are "blasting fools on Black Ops." Playing as cannon fodder? Maybe.

  • ||

  • Johnny Longtorso||

    Ah....., Bach.

    And that's your random M*A*S*H reference for the day.

  • dunkel||

    That's highly significant.

  • Fluffy||

    This might be a good place for my SPAM POST of the day.

    I have a new release available today at Amazon and Barnes and Noble title The Most Extreme Crueltie and Revenge of Shylock of Venice.

    …BECAUSE SHAKESPEARE GOT THE ENDING WRONG THE FIRST TIME.

    Stripped of his fortune, his daughter, his religion, and even his name, Shylock of Venice (now baptized “Christoforo”, under duress) broods over his injuries alone. A mysterious traveler, dressed in black, offers him the chance to avenge himself upon those who have wronged him, and to seize back all that they have taken. When Shylock agrees, they embark on a journey that takes them across Renaissance Italy and through the history of post-Humanist philosophy – and what they find is not what either of them expects.

    Amazon: http://www.amazon.com/Extreme-.....amp;sr=1-4

    B&N: http://search.barnesandnoble.c.....354/?itm=3

    Sorry, no paperback for another 7-10 days or so.

    It's a composite work, drawing on Shakespeare [of course], Marlowe, Boccaccio, Castiglione, Corsi, Goethe, Nietzsche, etc.

    If Bach "...cribbed material, borrowed music to plug gaps in his work, and reused his own creations with an abandon that would shame a freelancer for Demand Media", then in that he anticipated what Kevin Kelly over at Wired has described as the future of ebooks:

    ...in the universal library, no book will be an island....Turning inked letters into electronic dots that can be read on a screen is simply the first essential step in creating this new library. The real magic will come in the second act, as each word in each book is cross-linked, clustered, cited, extracted, indexed, analyzed, annotated, remixed, reassembled and woven deeper into the culture than ever before. In the new world of books, every bit informs another; every page reads all the other pages.

    A play in five acts in early modern English, it "extracts" and repurposes text from a large number of sources, and as a result is very heavily annotated and "cross-linked". It's not quite the Kelly book of the future because the technology isn't there yet, but I took a few baby steps in that direction.

  • robc||

    I prefer my reading to not being heavily annotated and cross-linked. That is for the scholars to figure out later, IMO.

  • Fluffy||

    We're quite different in that regard.

    I realized one day that the reason I like Penguin Classics so much is because of the footnotes and the front matter.

  • robc||

    If done right, the annotations are unobtrusive and would allow the straight reader to ignore them. Best of both worlds. But with current technology that is rarely the case.

    Wikipedia comes close, as Ive mostly learned to ignore links while reading, but some sites make their links much more intrustive. Plus, wikipedia is all about following links, which makes it odd that I have learned to ignore them except when needed.

  • Fluffy||

    I also realized that I liked Quentin Tarantino movies more the more I learned about all the sources he stole from.

    I'd like to see an "annotated" Kill Bill, maybe on a touch screen, where you could tap on a frame of the film and have it bring up the source referent. Maybe even kick out to another film, or do a screen-within-a-screen. That would be cool.

  • robc||

    On a related issue, if no DVD is every released with director's commentary again, it wouldnt bother me in the least. I have watched a bunch of them, and some are amusing or interesting, but its very rare.

    Spinal Tap, with the guys doing the commentary in character, as if they were rewatching the documentary 25 years later, may be the best. And it is pretty meh.

  • ||

    They do a similar thing with the Reno:911 movie--I liked the commentary better than the movie.

  • ||

    That is the deeper layers to any good art form. And it makes it more satisfying to know what they are. I liked Manet's Luncheon on the Grass a lot better after it was explained to me how the picture was a redo of a Titian and broke every artistic convention known to man at the time. It was essentially a giant F-You to the older artists of the day. You see it and your like "so what it is a nude". But after someone explains it to you and you understand the things the public and certainly the artists of the time would have understood about it, you realize how amazingly and crudely subversive it is. That makes it a more interesting painting.

  • ||

    In fact, with Tarantino you can see what it must have been like in those days. Very, very precious few come out on top in a vacuum.

    We all build from something else.

  • ||

    Comparing Back to the typical file sharer is just silly. We're talking about people who copy other people's music because it is easy to do so.

    There have been plenty of instance where artists sell their works for as little as a penny, and people *still* download it for free. And not because they don't feel is has no value, but because it's just really easy to do.

    That is nowhere near Bach taking a piece of someone else's work and jumping off from it. File sharing makes it easy to steal someone's effort, is all.

  • robc||

    The positives of public domain come with the negatives of public domain. Trying to split the two is futile.

    And the positives outweight the negatives.

  • ||

    wrong. Stealing is stealing.

    Even if the percieved benefits is larger.

    For example, if I steal your cash to give money to hungry orphans. Does that make the theft right?

    I mean I fed some orpahs with your hard earned money. That's good right?

  • Alpheus||

    But how can you steal an idea? If you get a song stuck in your head, and you sing it out loud, are you stealing the work?

    If you came up with the idea independently, are you "stealing" it? (This is less of a problem with copyrighted work, but when you're a mathematician or an engineer, you can easily independently come up with an idea that has been thought of months--or even years--before.)

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    If you sneak into my house and copy all my CD's then you haven't stolen anything. Analogy fail.

  • R||

    Although, you would be Breaking and Entering...

  • Fiscal Meth||

    What if while you're waiting for the CDs to burn, you jot down my bank account information and social security number from my file cabinet? Make sure you bring your own paper to write it down on. I wouldn't want you stealing my paper.

  • ||

    Yes, I have. I've stolen from the makers and potential sellers of those CDs.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Exactly

  • Almanian||

    Although my mom turned me on to JS when I was in elem school (she was a music major), I also liked his later work with Skid Row.

    "Monkey Business" is good driving music...

  • Almanian||

    "Prelude and Fugue" - not so great for driving, but excellent middle-school band music.

  • Fluffy||

    I like his even later work with Hep Alien.

  • ||

    Copyright is going to kill our culture. I read the other day were the old PBS documentary "Eyes on the Prize" is no longer available for sale and exists only in a few worn library owned VHS tapes. It is virtually impossible to get or to view. Why? Because no on can afford to pay to re up the use rights for the copyrighted material in the program.

    Eyes on the Prize is one of those gold standard PBS documentaries. Moreover, it covers a really important event in US history, the Civil Rights Movement, and was made within living memory of the event. In a couple of decades or so most of the people interviewed in that program will be dead and the entire civil rights era will pass from living memory. And this irreplaceable historical record is going to die because a few corporations purchased the Congress.

    Culture feeds on itself. It has to recycle and reinvent itself to stay alive. Snow White goes from the Brothers' Grim in the 19th Century to Disney in the 20th Century to something else in the 21st. Gone With the Wind becomes Wind Done Gone. Except that the last parts can't happen because of our insane culture destroying copyright laws. When taken to the extreme of perpetual ownership, copyright law freezes culture in time and in doing so kills it.

  • robc||

    WKRP* cant be released on DVD in its proper form, because the cost of licensing the music is too expensive. Weird that it was easily affordable for a shot deal in the 70s, but not for late syndication or DVD. Early syndication was fine, but the law changed.

    *as of the last time I checked, I know they are working on it.

  • robc||

    "one shot deal"

  • robc||

    In spite of the previous paragraph, I was surprised to discover that a company called Raredvd.tv is offering the complete series with original music on a 12-DVD set. I ordered one only to discover that the DVD quality was so poor as to be unwatchable. There is so much digital graininess that in many close-ups it's hard to recognize the characters. Worse still, many of the episodes have almost constant digital dropouts and frame freezes. I tried playing several episodes from the collection on different DVD machines and they were all equally terrible. These were by far the worst DVDs I've ever tried to watch.

  • ||

    So basically you can't create a piece of theater (which is what a sitcom is) that incorporates copyrighted music as part of the plot. Yeah, that is great for the future of art and culture. Thank you Warner Brothers.

  • Fluffy||

    I think in this case the particular problem is that, even among copyright fanatics, songwriters are notable for their ferocity.

    Copyright is supposed to protect the creator against others selling their work and costing them sales. But you can't quote a line from a Springsteen song in print - ONE LINE - without violating copyright. There is virtually no fair use for songs, not even just incidental references to lyric fragments.

    Bring the protections afforded songwriters back into line with the level of protection everybody else gets, and situations like you describe above would not arise.

  • robc||

    Weirdly, the performance protections are much, much stronger than the protections the writer gets.

    I can cover a song pretty freely, the writer gets his kickback, but not a big deal. Sample the song instead though and BOOM!, your Vanilla Iced.

  • ||

    But Vanilla Ice has that extra little "ttsit" in there.

  • ||

    Last I heard they were trying to sue the wiki lyrics sites. The sites were free and just hosted user created files of song lyrics. And the fucking record companies were suing them because they owned that material.

  • cynical||

    You don't even have to be a mad-eyed Techdirt copyright anarchist to agree that copyright needs to be diminished in at least its duration. It should also be restricted to a general royalty scheme rather than letting authors dictate the terms under which a work will be used (which is more useful for enemies of free speech than people trying to live off their art). Anyone that wants to pay the royalty should be able to print a copy of the work.

  • robc||

    Despite being anti-copyright, Ive mentioned before that it wouldnt be on my top 1000 things to fix.

    However, getting it back in line, as you mention, would be near the top. First thing that needs to happen is the Supremes need to say "sure, you cant legally make copyright as long as you want as long as its a non-infinite number of years, but all works get the length of time they were released under. No extensions. Suck it disney, the mouse is public domain. But your new stuff gets the 90 years."

  • robc||

    can, not cant. Ugh, typing hard this morning.

  • ||

    Wouldn't "getting it back in line" pretty much be the same thing as fixing copyright laws?

  • robc||

    No, eliminating it would be fixing it.

    Getting it back in line just gets it to an acceptable nuisance.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Seconded. Retroactively fix the retroactivity. That was just plain BS. It flies in the face of even the utilitarian nonsense that is used to justify the theft that is known as "copyright".

  • The Runnies||

    John|11.23.10 @ 9:08AM|#
    "Copyright is going to kill our culture."

    It's still early, but we're awarding today's Runny Award for Outstanding Hyperbole to John. Congratulations to all the nominees.

  • ||

    Try some caopectate. I hear it works well to solve your problem.

  • The Runnies||

    Projection bias has no effect on The Academy.

  • ||

    You are the one solving your bowl movement problems on the web. I just tried to help.

  • The Runnies||

    Says the narcissist who comments 200 times a day.

  • ||

    Don't like it don't read it. I certainly seem to command your attention.

  • The Runnies||

    Like a train wreck or a retarded grocery-bagger "commands" my attention.

  • Barry Loberfeld||

    And there’s an IP piece on today’s Mises.org.

  • Fatty Bolger||

    Spider Robinson wrote a short story back in the 80's, "Melancholy Elephants," about what would happen if copyrights were extended forever. It was kind of silly, but still made essentially the same point Tim is making here.

  • EscapedWestOfTheBigMuddy||

    Short, poignant, and powerful. It sicks in the mind.

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    Just read it. Found it kind of weak. Typical scientism.

  • ||

    I also realized that I liked Quentin Tarantino movies more the more I learned about all the sources he stole from.

    I, on the other hand, felt as if I had been released from an oppressive obligation when I embraced my own analysis, contrary to what people had been trying to get me to believe, which is that Tarantino sucks donkey balls.

  • robc||

    I have a friend who is a bid Tarantino fan. He hates Forrest Gump because it beat out Pulp Fiction for best picture (why anyone cares about the Oscars is an entirely other question). Every time he starts on this rant, I respond with "You mean the year Shawshank Redemption should have won?"

    Pisses him off.

  • Fluffy||

    Gotta go with Shawshank there too.

    It's a tough call. Pulp Fiction is such a signature piece, and Shawshank is much more traditional - but it's great traditional.

  • robc||

    I dont "get" Pulp Fiction.

    Really not a tough call.

  • robc||

    On a related note (Travolta), I havent seen a John Woo movie since Face/Off. On principle.

  • ||

    Agreed. I never saw the huge appeal that Pulp Fiction apparently has.

    Most of All of Tarantino's movies are pretty full of themselves, and I'm not really a fan of that over the top blood letting that he seems to be so fond of. I enjoyed Kill Bill, but I definitely don't think of it as the end-all-be-all of action movies.

  • ||

    People love Shawshank. They will watch it over and over again. It is a part of our culture. If attracting the love of millions of people over almost two decades now doesn't make something at least good art, nothing does.

  • ||

    agreed

  • robc||

    Hmmm...interesting idea, someone should do an Academy Awards redo, but with a 25 year delay. So this year, give the awards for movies released in 1985.

  • robc||

    Witness beats Out of Africa.

    Don Ameche doesnt even get nominated for best supporting actor in Cocoon, much less win.

  • robc||

    Heck, Back to the Future might win it.

  • robc||

    or Brazil.

  • -||

    Or, instead of complaining about somebody else's private, subjective awards orgy, create your own subjective awards orgy that somebody, 25 years from now, will criticize, based on his contemporary and subjective standards.

  • ||

    On topic: I'll steal a good idea from anybody.

  • -||

    You can't "steal" an idea, of course, but you can steal the implementation (the concrete, tangible application) of it. Even anarchists recognize the concept of property; they just substitute state protection of property for a pie-in-the-sky communal, "voluntary" protection. Just like the hippies that "libertarians" despise.

  • ||

    Uh, hello? Did you not see Inception? It's called "dream extraction" and it is very real.

  • -||

    As real as a H&R thread? Frightening indeed.

  • Juice||

    Can an idea be considered someone's "property"?

  • Juice||

    I guess I should have said, can the implementation of an idea be considered the violation of property rights?

  • ||

    IP is not a topic to which I devote a lot of thought, but it seems to be largely composed of protections of "creative content" (books, music, whatever).

    If IP was aggressively pursued (which is happening) in the realm of mechanics and processes, we would all suffer greatly. Most of what we used to build this country evolved as different people made incremental improvements on machinery they either used regularly, or saw. Imagine if John Deere had had an ironclad patent on their 1933 model farm tractor. I think it's safe to say development would have been greatly reduced.

  • robc||

    This is the problem I see with software patents.

    Fortunately, it is rarely pursued aggressively, mostly done for defensive purposes.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    +1000

    Software patents are some of the stupidest things that have come around in the last decade or so.

    Look at the silliness of Apple suing Nokia who then countersues for basic crap on a phone.

  • ||

    Look at the silliness of Apple suing Nokia who then countersues for basic crap on a phone.

    FIFY. And this is from an Mac-user. I love my laptop, but I can't stand Apple and their God-awful iTunes coded shit.

  • -||

    But you buy their products anyway.

  • ||

    That's because they have a monopoly on digital video (I wanted to buy Entourage seasons) overseas. The problem was a friend and I went in on the purchase together, but the goal was to allow me to keep the episodes when we were done. However iTunes fucked us because we purchased through his account, and couldn't certify that I could legally retain the copies after watching, even though we downloaded them to MY computer.

  • European||

    The Pirate Bay is a lot better than iTunes.

  • ||

    Maybe I should have said, "the discussion seems primarily to revolve around 'creative content'."

  • BakedPenguin||

    Toccata & Fugue in D Minor

    I believe recent scholarship has shown that this piece was incorrectly attributed to Bach. (Or has at least challenged it) It certainly doesn't sounds anything like the vast majority of the rest of his music.

  • Johann Sebastian Bach||

    Dude, I was TOTALLY tripping when I wrote that! So, yeah, it's a little more "experimental" than some of my other stuff.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I figured you were stoked on caffeine.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Also: Air.

  • Jay||

    Hot Air - wasn't that founded by someone advocating internment of Arabs and defending the concentration camps that the Japanese-Americans were thrown in during WWII?

    /Jay

  • Jay||

    wrong post

  • Fiscal Meth||

    So, an individual's intellectual property should be made public domain because...

    A.It contributes to "The Public Good".

    B.What if Beethoven's mom had had an abort...oops I mean what if Bach had not found fame because he had been prevented from selling the work of other composers as his own.

    Am I missing anything?

  • robc||

    C. Intellectual "property" is a myth

    If I think it, its my idea, even if you thought it first.

  • BakedPenguin||

    Intellectual property protects the expression of an idea, not the idea itself. That's why if you play a song that has a chord structure C-F-G-F-C, you will not necessarily be sued, even though there are plenty of rock, blues and country songs with that chord progression.

  • robc||

    It prevents me from expressing MY idea.

    Like this idea for a widget that I got by taking your widget apart.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    So there's no difference between following a procedure and innovating a process? Think along the lines of vaccines.

  • CrackertyAssCracker||

    Bullshit. It prohibits me from doing what I want with my property. Even though I'm fully compliant with NAP.

  • Old Mexican||

    Re: Fiscal Meth,

    So, an individual's intellectual property[???] should be made public domain because...

    Because ideas cannot be property.

  • robc||

    I would argue it differently. Yes, ideas can be property. They belong to whoever thinks them. Not whoever thinks them first. My idea is my property, even if my idea is exactly something that you wrote down and registered with an office somewhere and I only thought because I read/saw/heard your version.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Then if you were to innovate some new technology and I were to put a gun to your head and make you explain how it works, I'm guilty of assaulting you but no theft has occurred?

  • robc||

    Correct. As long as you dont erase my brain, nothing has been stolen from me.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    What if you download and copy all the files from my computer and sell them? You didn't erase them from my computer so you didn't steal anything, right? Or do you have to open new documents and re-enter all the data first so that it becomes the fruit of your labor?

    Just like anything else, I may have saved you the trouble and sold you my information for a price or I could have lowered my price drastically if you agreed not to reproduce them and sell them to anyone else without my permission, which is what you promise by buying something with patents or copyrights pending.

  • Juice||

    Obviously the criminal act here is using the person's computer and connecting equipment to it (even wirelessly) without permission.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    And taking information which doesn't belong to you. I could have sold it to you but you stole it.

  • ||

    Whether or not some artists might make more in a copyright free world misses the point.

    As they creator of a work, you OWN the work. You should have the right to decide who and how people get to enjoy it. If you want to give it away for free that's your right. If you only want to sell copies for a million dollars that's your right too.

    I thought a big libertarian position was the right to control/enjoy the fruits of your labor.

    Oh I see that just doesn't apply to artists.

    Fucking hypocrits.

  • The Runnies||

    Yep. Here's a challenge to the anarcho-libertarian culture parasites: Explain, in one or two sentences, the concept that gives you the inherent right to possess something that I created. I'll wait here.

  • Fluffy||

    Actually, that's not necessary in this context.

    The story is about Bach using elements of other peoples' work to create new works.

    Even under existing copyright law, you're allowed to do that if your work is sufficiently "transformative".

    I think all that's really needed here to square the two points of view is for the courts to take a more liberal view of the amount of change required for a new work to be considered "transformative", and also to strictly protect trademarks only where the possibility of deception is involved.

  • ||

    Deciding the gray areas of copyright law I'm ok with.

    For example what consitutes fair use, or how long a copyright should run (200 years probably too long, 2 years, way to short).

    After all, most works of art are in one way or another dirivative of what came before. First we copy, then we create.

    But I'm totally against the idea of well we can copy, it so we have the right to copy it mentallity.

  • robc||

    Unless you are claiming the right to control my brain, you cant prevent me from copying it mentally.

  • ||

    As long as you dont' express it in an unapproved form I think that consitutues fair use.

  • robc||

    Fuck fair use. Once I think it, anything I do with it is fair use.

  • Rock Action ||

    Two cents: I love the idea of broadening what is "transformative," and have for a while. Especially when it comes to sampling and any type of collage art. But that's not how they're doing it, especially with music.

  • Rock Action ||

    I was responding to Fluffy, by the way. Just by way of giving a thumbs-up and a +5.

  • cynical||

    The word "possess" is being abused here, I think. Take it up with Jesus, buddy, he's the original fish and bread pirate.

  • The Runnies||

    Try answering the question. What gives you or anyone else the inherent right to own something I created?

  • robc||

    Nothing. Unless you sell it to me.

    And that is what patents, for example, prevent. I create something and the patent holder claims that I dont own it.

  • The Runnies||

    The Runnies|11.23.10 @ 2:18PM|#
    What gives you or anyone else the inherent right to own something I created?

    robc|11.23.10 @ 2:24PM|#
    "Nothing. Unless you sell it to me.

    Fixed it for you. Even if I choose to sell it to you, you don't have the inherent right to own it. And that's my point. The taking of a property, absent a mutually agreed-upon transaction, is theft.

  • robc||

    Bullshit. ALL ideas in my brain are my ideas and I own them. Regardless of any patents or copyrights. You do not own my brain.

  • robc||

    Even if I choose to sell it to you, you don't have the inherent right to own it.

    How the fuck is that not a mutually agreed upon transaction?

  • Alpheus||

    You mean the copyright law that prevented Walt Disney from using his rabbit character? That prevents bands from playing their own music--because the copyright is owned by the record company? Or prevents the author who can't publish his book in foreign markets, because the publisher owns all rights to the book?

    I agree, you SHOULD have the right to decide how people get to enjoy it, which is why I am against copyright law.

    When copyright is "life of the author, plus 75 years", though, your argument falls short.

    When you can LEGALLY copy portions of the work, or satirize it, or check it out of the library, sell your book to a friend, or even lend your book to a friend, you have no control over how people get it to enjoy it.

    And don't get me started on patents--which are even worse, because you can independently come up with an idea that someone else had, but be forbidden from using the fruits of your labor because someone thought it up first, and patented it.

    As for possessing the thing that I created--if I learn a song, read a book, or design a machine, shouldn't I get to keep that knowledge? If I carve a statue out of my employer's granite, I don't get to keep that statue--but if I go home, and duplicate it in a piece of wood, shouldn't the statue be mine?

    Yet, under copyright law, that wooden statue should be my employer's, because he's the one that owns the copyright.

  • ||

    "That prevents bands from playing their own music--because the copyright is owned by the record company? "

    If I own a car and sell it to you, you can prevent me from using it right?

    Same thing with intellectual property.

    As for keeping the knowledge sure, we won't erase your brain. But using the knowledge in an unapproved way will get you in trouble.

    Going back to the car example, you can remember driving the car all you want, if you go for a job ride that's now stealing.

  • Alpheus||

    But if it's in my mind, I should have the right to use it.

    You claim it's "stealing" to play a song I wrote, because I signed a draconian contract, but consider this: if I were a fan who sang that song out loud because it got stuck in my head and I liked it, would you call it "stealing"? If I checked it out from the library, and listened to it--even played it in my home--would that be "stealing"? If my friends and I played that song in our garage, would that be "stealing"?

    How does the band, playing its song live before a live audience, "steal" the song? How does it prevent the original record company from making money?

    Or should we revoke all those "fair use" exceptions, and charge money for every item, every time it's accessed? After all, the artist--or rather, the record company--has rights to the fruits of their labor!

  • robc||

    I agree. Once you sell it to me, however, it is mine. Not yours.

    And if I want to copy MY music and give it to MY friends, I will fucking do so with MY property.

  • The Runnies||

    You have a problem with consensual transactions, contracts and licenses, then?

  • robc||

    None at all.

    I dont sign any contracts when I buy albums however.

  • robc||

    The nice thing about a contract is that congress cant arbitrarily extend the terms.

  • ||

    When you purchase a CD you aren't buying the music. It doesn't give you unlimited rights to do whatever you want with it.

    Just like when you purchase a piece of software you don't own the program.

    Sorry to bust your bubble.

  • -||

    Nice.

  • robc||

    When I buy a CD I am getting a series of 1s and 0s to do with as I see fit.

  • ||

    wrong, you are getting a limited use license.

    Still it's an understandable mistake.

  • robc||

    Bullshit, my CDs came with no license.

    I own them now.

  • ||

    but you don't own the music on them.

  • robc||

    Yes I do. I own the literal music that is on them. The series of encoded 1s and 0s.

    If you buy also buy a copy of the CD, you own the literal music that is on that CD.

  • Alpheus||

    If robc doesn't have any inkling of owning them, then why can he excerpt them? Keep in mind, if it's a sufficiently small pattern of ones and zeros, he can--according to fair use guidelines--excerpt the entire thing.

    If copyright is such a great thing, why are there so many fair use exceptions?

  • DesigNate||

    Do you see the inherent idiocy of my ability to go to the Sony store in the Galleria, buy a dvd of Last Action Hero, a stack of 100 blanks and a dvd burner. But God Forbid I use those blank dvd's to make copies of the movie to give to my friends.
    I'm not saying that it makes it okay, but it's fucking intellectually dishonesty on the parts of these companies to simultaneously sell everything you need to pirate their shit and then get upset that you do it.

  • The Runnies||

    You could say the same thing about the sale of pencils, microphones and printer paper. Here's a novel idea: why not take those blank DVDs and make copies of something that you yourself created?

  • DesigNate||

    I'm an Architect. Do you have any idea how hard it is to "own" the idea of a house that I designed? Copyright law is supposed to protect me, but first I have to prove that somebody else stole my design. Even then, my design was probably (read definitely) influenced by architecture that I have seen or experienced in the past.

  • ||

    "But God Forbid I use those blank dvd's to make copies of the movie to give to my friends.
    "

    Those blank DVD's are so you can make a copy for yourself for backup purposes. Just cause you choose to do other illegal acitivities with them

    That's like holding aluminum foil makers resposnible because you can free base off it.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    "it's fucking intellectually dishonesty on the parts of these companies to simultaneously sell everything you need to pirate their shit and then get upset that you do it."

    No, it's intellectual dishonesty and fraud to pirate their shit. Is it intellectual dishonesty for a store to sell guns and ammo and get upset when you start shooting up the place? No, it's your job not to be a piece of shit.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Ben Franklin wouldn't allow his stove to be patented. He let the design go into the public domain.


    Franklin placed the design in the public domain, as he did with all of his other inventions, and refused offers by others to obtain patents for him. He clearly indicated in his Autobiography his preference in such matters: "As we enjoy great advantages from the inventions of others, we should be glad of an opportunity to serve others by any invention of ours; and this we should do freely and generously"
  • The Runnies||

    Franklin's dubious appeal to altruism notwithstanding, no sensible person here is arguing that an individual hasn't the right to give away his property if he wants to. But the most sensible amongst us is arguing that an individual has the right to dispose of his property as he sees fit, regardless of whether the rest of the world agrees to his terms. You don't want it? Don't buy it! But you haven't the right to steal it.

  • ||

    +1

  • Alpheus||

    Well, suppose Ben Franklin patented his stove, but someone else had created a similar stove two years after he did, without any knowledge of Ben's stove.

    Would it have been just for Ben Franklin to come down hard on this inventor, and require him to pay royalties?

    Alternatively, suppose that a man had recently re-married, after losing his first wife to burns, having gotten her dress caught in the firepit. When in Philadelphia, he saw a stove like that, so when he came home, he asked the local blacksmith to make him one.

    What should we do to that "thief"? Should we string him up? Put him in the stocks? Put him in jail for thirty days?

    Or should we let him have his quiet evenings by the stove, with his wife, who is now far less likely to die by fire?

  • ||

    The other guy could have either paided royalties, or stopped using/creating stoves.

    After all, if it was patented, they guy would/should have known so right? with a quick check to the patent office.

    So if he didn't do so, why is that Franklins fault.

  • robc||

    Why should he pay royalties? That is taking his labor. If he built the stove (or paid for the blacksmith to do it), it is the product of his mind (or the blacksmiths).

  • Alpheus||

    That's assuming that he was able to look up the patent. If he just saw the device in passing, across the room somewhere, and thought "Hey, I could use that!", then why shouldn't he do so?

  • robc||

    No one is in favor of stealing.

    NO ONE HAS SUPPORTED THAT!

    It is not stealing for me to do with my property as I see fit. And anything I think is my property. And if you sell me a CD of your music, it is now my property and I can do with it as I see fit. Including giving copies away to everyone on the internet.

  • ||

    wrong (see my comment above) a CD is a limited use license. You don't OWN the rights to the song. When you buy the CD you don't buy the rights to the song. Just like when you buy land, you normally don't get unlimited mineral or air rights.

    If YOU try to use the intellectual property in a manner that has not been agreed to, then YOU are stealing the right to profit from the creator/owner of the copy right.

    I'm not sure why you hate people that create intellectual property so much. The world is a much better place because of their hard work.

    Stop trying to steal it because you are too cheap to pay for it (or your friends are).

  • robc||

    Wrong, I entered no such deal when buying the CD.

  • robc||

    Next your going to tell me I entered into a social contract too.

    Fuck that shit.

  • Not Tony||

    Yes, fuck the United States of America and their copyright and patent laws.

    And fuck the bill of rights too. In fact, fuck any law I don't agree with.

    Dude, keep fucking that chicken. You'll go far.

  • robc||

    Stop trying to steal it because you are too cheap to pay for it

    Stop assuming things about me, it makes you look like a moron.

    I'm not sure why you hate people that create intellectual property so much.

    See above.

  • ||

    "I'm not sure why you hate people that create intellectual property so much.

    See above.
    "

    Well, you seem to have little respect for IP, so I don't know how else to take it.

    I've put quite a lot of effort into my musical creations. I'm not a big fan of theft, or those who advocate it.

    You using, or giving away my creations without permission is theft.

  • robc||

    I dont respect IP. I have no problem with the people who create it.

    You using, or giving away my creations without permission is theft.

    Bullshit. Hell, even the law distinguishes between copyright infringement and theft. I dont need your permission, I own the 1s and 0s.

  • Not Tony||

    robc,

    Just curious, but I would have to assume by your logic that you have no problem with DRM?

  • European||

    I like DRM because it is a nuisance to legitimate buyers, who might turn to piracy as a result. We pirates get to enjoy cracked, DRM-free content, even if it takes a few more days of waiting.

  • Juice||

    The buyer of a CD has not made en explicit agreement with the seller to recognize any licensing scheme.

    Both parties have to agree in a contract, and it's a good idea to have signatures and a document as evidence of that agreement.

    If I sell you an item, then see you on the street using it in a way that I don't approve, I can't rightfully attempt to prevent you from using the item in that way unless you made an explicit agreement with me. I can't tell you, "Well, I thought you would only use it for xyz, not lmnop!"

    Also, when I sell it to you, I can't just tell you "Only use it for xyz, ok?" and expect you do so unless you agree. If I sell you the item, and I tell you that, and you make no statement in agreement, that's it. I still sold it to you. You didn't agree to use it in the way that I wanted, but I still sold it to you. If you go ahead and use in the way that I don't approve, that's tough titties for me.

  • ||

    I guarantee that the CD has a copyright notice on it.

    you've been notified.

  • robc||

    Notification is not an agreement.

  • robc||

    For those who support intellectual "property" -- why do patents expire?

    If its truly property, it should last forever (I would ask the same question about copyrights, but AFAICT they do last forever). My backyard doesnt expire.

    Clearly IP is an exception to natural law. Some might find it a useful exception, and it isnt the worst thing ever, but IP is clearly not property in any sense I understand.

  • Fluffy||

    IP is clearly not property in any sense I understand.

    Well, your answer to fiscal meth shows why.

    If I throw someone in chains and force them to chop wood for me, I have both assaulted them and stolen from them. Their own labor is their property, and I am taking that property from them on terms other than those they would accept in the absence of my violence against them.

    Surely even you can see that in such a case I would be stealing from the victim.

    I also steal from you if I promise to pay you for chopping wood for me, but after you chop my wood I stiff you and don't pay you. And it would be stupid for me to say, "What? You still have your arms and legs! I didn't take anything from you!"

    It seems eminently sensible, to the point of being obvious, to me that this concept applies just as much to the person who thinks something up as it does to the person who chopped up some wood.

    If anything, your backyard being property is what makes no sense. What did you do to bring that land into being? Nothing. Blah blah blah I mixed labor with it, Signed, Adam Smith. That's a lot more intangible than actually thinking something up and contributing 100% of the value of it.

  • Alpheus||

    The promise to pay, and then not pay, is "stealing" because it's a violation of a contract that you made with the person chopping wood.

    If I come up with a mathematical theorem, and you use that theorem--or even the technique I used to prove it--to prove another theorem, you DO NOT steal it from me.

    Even if I thought it up first.

  • Alpheus||

    For that matter, ideas exist independent of implementation. Thus, two people can come up with the same idea independently without even being aware of it, because they are working on similar problems.

    If I came up with a new design for a machine, and start producing it, I could inadvertently be infringing on a patent that was filed a couple of years ago.

    Now, suppose that, after a couple of years of doing this, I get a "cease and desist" letter from the holder of the patent. Why should I pay royalties to this person? Why should he have power to shut me down? Why should he keep me from implementing my idea?

    Before you say "Because he thought of it first", consider where we would be if Newton--or Liebnitz, for that matter--could have patented calculus!

  • robc||

    Because clearly you dont own your own mind. I thought owning your own mind and thoughts was one of the fundamental principles of libertarianism but apparently not.

    Lots of people are willing to claim that my thoughts arent mine unless I think them first and fill out some paperwork.

  • robc||

    In one example, my response you refer to was wrong. You are stealing from me, in that Im teaching you something, and that time and teaching skill has value.

    But for the sake of the argument, its an instantaneous download. I still have the knowledge -- nothing stolen.

  • Alpheus||

    Even if efforts are made to make copyright perpetual, it's not in the sense of "fair use". You can take a snippet here, you can check it out from a library there, you could even lend or sell a copy you have.

    The very fact that we have to recognize "fair use" is yet another bit of evidence that we're working with something that's not naturally a property right.

  • ||

    So you don't believe that people have the right to their own labor? Or is it just artists and inventors you think should work for free?

    Taking someone else labor (or the product of that labor) without asking IS stealing.

    So whether you enslave the person and make them chop wood, or just take the wood, that's stealing. Somethign that all people that respect liberty, and people owning their own labor and the fruists thereof should be against.

  • Ayn Rand||

    "Since man has to sustain his life by his own effort, the man who has no right to the product of his effort has no means to sustain his life. The man who produces while others dispose of his product, is a slave."

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Launching personal attack against Ayn Rand while completely avoiding all ideas contained quote in 3-2-1

  • ||

    +1

    Although creepy to have a ghost posting.

  • robc||

    Who is taking anyones labor?

    If you paint a painting, I cant steal it, but I can buy it. And then it is mine. And I can resell it or copy it or destory it or whatever the fuck I want to do with it. You were paid for your labor.

  • The Runnies||

    The Academy hereby bestows upon "robc" the Lifetime Achievement Award for Not Getting It. Congratulations to all the nominees!

  • robc||

    You are a moron. I get it entirely.

    IP != property. The fact that no one here is even arguing for infinite patent and copyright proves it (although on these threads in the past some have).

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Nope.
    I can offer to sell you a painting of mine for a certain price with a condition that you don't distribute copies of it without my permission. I would hold out for a great deal more money, or not sell it to you at all, if you rejected my contract. If you instead buy it at my conditional price and later pretend you didn't agree to the conditions and copy and sell or give away the copies, you have defrauded me.

  • robc||

    That is true. But this doesnt happen. If I agree to that deal, I would abide by it.

  • Not Tony||

    By virtue of living in the United States of America, you agree to copyright and patent law. Period.

    There is no "contract" on the tin for your CD because the "contract" is called Copyright Law and applies to everything.

    Sorry, dude, that's the way it is.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    It happens several billion times a day. That's all copyright/patent law is. It has serious practical flaws but the principle is right.

  • robc||

    While its a public domain example, it still holds.

    I have a painting that is an obvious rip off of Van Gogh's Irises. Not a print, a painting done by an artist who makes money ripping off masters. Its not a counterfeit attempt, its clearly made by someone less talented than Van Gogh (but still good).

    My owning this reduces the value of Irises by none at all.

  • Juice||

    I think Fiscal Meth might be getting the point.

    Just because you buy something doesn't mean there is some contract automatically attached to that product. The purchaser has to agree to the terms. If they don't agree to the terms or no terms were presented at the point of sale, but the item is still sold to them, well...

  • ||

    Except of course that since we live in America, the copyright agreements are already in force.

    So their is a prexisiting legal strucutre that protects IP.

    That why buying a CD doesn't give you ownership of a song, you have to specifically buy the rights to the song.

  • robc||

    I dont accept laws as just because they exist. The supreme court often makes mistakes too.

    The law is often an ass. Of course the legal structure exists. The structure is wrong.

  • Not Tony||

    And the rest of us who do follow the law think you're an ass for violating Copyright Law, and feel not the least bit pity in hauling your ass to court.

    P.s. Good luck with the defense; I'm sure the Supreme Court will *love* your "the supreme court often [snicker] make mistakes" defense.

  • Not Tony||

    And the rest of us who do follow the law think you're an ass for violating Copyright Law, and feel not the least bit pity in hauling your ass to court.

    P.s. Good luck with the defense; I'm sure the Supreme Court will *love* your "the supreme court often [snicker] make mistakes" defense.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Yes the structure is wrong but no one should be able to stop people from buying and selling limited use contracts. This is the essence of IP.

  • Leonardo da Vinci||

    Taking a photo of my beloved painting of Mona Lisa in the Louvre is theft! I demand that each person taking a photo with the fruit of my labor give me 1EUR, otherwise I will sue them for copyright infringement!

  • Alpheus||

    Granting patents and copyrights does not mean I will be given a profit. It just means I get to sue someone who copies the idea I came up with...which is a dubious right, at best, which is why expiration dates are put on it.

    And, in the case of "fair use", I could very well lose that suit.

    People have the right to labor. I can chop wood all day long, but no one is obligated to pay me for doing so.

    On the other hand, I could contract with someone to write software, or to chop wood--and the terms of that contract aren't fulfilled, then the other party is guilty of theft.

    Or are you going to tell me now that checking a book out from the library, and reading it without paying the author, is stealing? Or quoting--verbatim, even--from said book is stealing?

  • Stephan Kinsella||

    There is no property right in labor. You have a property right in scarce resources you homestead or acquire from a previous owners. Labor is just what you do, action you take, with resources that you own.

  • Fiscal Meth||

    Launching personal attack against Ayn Rand while completely avoiding all ideas contained quote in 3-2-1-

  • Ayn Rand Encore||

    "In a free society, men are not forced to deal with one another. They do so only by voluntary agreement and, when a time element is involved, by contract. If a contract is broken by the arbitrary decision of one man, it may cause a disastrous financial injury to the other . . . . This leads to one of the most important and most complex functions of the government: to the function of an arbiter who settles disputes among men according to objective laws.

    A unilateral breach of contract involves an indirect use of physical force: it consists, in essence, of one man receiving the material values, goods or services of another, then refusing to pay for them and thus keeping them by force (by mere physical possession), not by right—i.e., keeping them without the consent of the owner."

  • robc||

    If I build a widget, it is the property of MY mind. Thus, you taking it from my by force because you have a patent, is theft.

    This includes my mind learning how to make it from reading your patent application.

  • Not Tony||

    Dude, you're not getting it. All of your comments *assume* that as a society, we haven't done a group contract negotiation about copyright and patents. But we have. Sorry you don't like it; better luck next time.

    All of your blathering is meaningless, because you already agree that contract law would bind you, DOES bind you, and as a nation, we've done a contract that applies to everyone, including you. You're welcome to try and get the contract changed, but breaking it in the meantime will result in fines and possibly jail time. Your choice.

  • robc||

    See above, where I called bullshit on social contract theory.

    Im well aware of the law and the consequences of breaking it.

    BTW, who the fuck says I break it? I obey plenty of bullshit laws, why would this one be any different?

    There seems to be lots of projection in the responses. This is a purely theoretical issue for me. But those are the important ones.

    as a nation, we've done a contract that applies to everyone, including you

    Oh, and one more thing, havent got to use this recently:

    FUCK OFF SLAVER.

    No one can bind me to a contract but myself.

  • robc||

    There is one piece of IP I support and it happens to be the one that doesnt have a time limit -- trademarks.

    Trademark violation is a fraud issue, so no problem enforcing them.

    On the same account, while I might make as many copies of The Last Days of Jericho as I want, it would be wrong to put my name on the cover of the copies instead of Thomas Brookside. Once again, an issue of fraud to claim the authorship.

  • Juice||

    But the claimant for damages in that case would be the customer.

  • robc||

    True. I didnt say it was currently enforced correctly. :)

  • robc||

    Actually, both ends have a claim.

    The customer didnt get the product they thought they were buying and the manufacturer didnt get the revenue from them.

  • Juice||

    Yeah, that's true.

  • BWM||

    In the article and the comments, I don't really see alot of discussion about the original intention of copyrights, which was to protect against people who, for little money and time, copy entire books or musical performances that took alot of time and effort and money to make, and sell them in competition to your own copies. Is it that people here generally accept that, and don't like it's extended abuses, or what?

    Except robc, it seems; to you, I ask, are you actually in opposition to IP per se, or simply to our copyright law? Because it seems like you've endorsed the view that I made a CD, and then explicitely required you to sign a contract before you puchased it that prohibited copying or selling, you'd be okay with that.

  • Alpheus||

    While that's the intention of copyrights, the effects are often the opposite: writers and composers are often shut out of profiting from their own work, and patent holders are often shut out from using their own ideas.

    Copyrights and patents are too often used by the big--RCA, IBM, Microsoft, etc--to push the little guys out of competition.

  • Ayn Rand||

    “Nothing is given to man on earth. Everything he needs has to be produced. And here man faces his basic alternative: he can survive in only one of two ways — by the independent work of his own mind or as a parasite fed by the minds of others. The creator originates. The parasite borrows. The creator faces nature alone. The parasite faces nature through an intermediary.

    “The creator’s concern is the conquest of nature. The parasite’s concern is the conquest of men.

    “The creator lives for his work. He needs no other men. His primary goal is within himself. The parasite lives second-hand. He needs others. Others become his prime motive."

  • Parasite Isaac Newton||

    "If I have seen a little further it is by standing on the shoulders of Giants."

  • ||

    RE: Tim Cavanaugh’s December 2010’s “The Well-Pilfered Clavier.” Bach did not “pilfer” Das Wohltemperierte Klavier (The Well-Tempered Clavier). This work is generally regarded as one of the most influential works in the history of Western classical music. And, as regards what one assumes is the subject of this too-clever-by-far piece by the severely musically “challenged” (retarded?) Mr. Cavanaugh, he does no service to Mr. Eckhard Hoeffner’s work, “History and Nature of Copyright.” Remember, Mr. Cavanaugh, most of your readers are apparently better educated than you. K. Kinchen

  • Jack Johnson||

    Here's the bottom line. I asked an artist acquaintance of mine about this. His reply, "There are no more creators. Only leeches. Why should leeches benefit and reap the rewards. I spent over 100k educating myself, experimenting and perfecting my art,yes even I had many influences but I developed my own style over the course of a decade. And in the process giving up many other things that I could have done instead. Remember you can always gauge the state a society is in by what they consider mainstream art. And what I see here in the US ain't looking good at all. When total corruption has reached the arts, it is over."

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