Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry


Vector: sgnp

MP3s are Not the Devil, by Orson Scott Card.

Card talks about how copyright used to work in the US with the notion that it worked, for the most part, pretty well, except...

But there were loopholes. If you wrote something as an employee of a company that paid you a salary for creating it, then your writing was a "work made for hire" and the copyright belonged to the company. You had no rights.

Here's where the ugly stuff begins. A lot of publishers began routinely requiring writers to sign contracts that declared that what they wrote was a "work for hire," so that the authors wouldn't own any part of their own work. Of course the companies didn't actually hire the writers and give them benefits, like real employees. It was basically highway robbery -- the companies demanded that either the writers sign their names to a lie and give up all their rights, or the company wouldn't publish it.

Only a few of us were stubborn enough to refuse to sign work for hire contracts. It was an expensive moral quibble, but I have real objections to perjuring myself and pretending that I was hired by a company when in fact I never was. If I took all the risks and wrote something on spec, then the copyright should belong to me. I'd license them to do whatever was needed, but I wouldn't, in effect, declare them to be the author of my work.

Who Are the Thieves in This House?

So it's pretty hilarious to hear record company executives and movie studio executives get all righteous about copyright. They've been manipulating copyright laws for years, and all the manipulations were designed to steal everything they could from the actual creators of the work.

For more on this topic in audio form (remember, I'm all into podcasts now) check out Cory Doctorow's presentation at the Stanford Singularity Summit.


( 1 comment — Leave a comment )
Sep. 25th, 2006 10:17 pm (UTC)
Copyright must end
Simply put, the "Game" is too stacked in favor of the monied and special interests. Often they just openly steal things (intermittant windshield wipers) and go "So sue us" since they know how little it will actually cost them.

On the other hand, if there were no patents, no copyrights, no 'intellectual property' there would be no way they could get any work done without exorbidant up front salaries. Furthermore, the lack of any ban to reproducing said works, be it music or a washing machine, would keep the prices quite low. In addition, the ones who pushed hardest to break "Tariffs" and "Trade barriers" would now work hardest to erect them again.

Copyright hurts intellectual development. It hurts culture.

Just as there was an era of the "Penny Dreadful" that mostly disappeared due to the crumbling of cheap newsprint, now we have the "Pulp" era about to die. The reason is copyright. While Howard, Lovecraft, Smith are popular enough to keep in print, many obscure writers, artists and cultural opinion articles are not popular enough to reprint for a profit, but nebulous but serious copyright forbids any reasonable attempt to archive them. Anyone trying to archive and distribute them faces some snake that maybe owns the copyright, buying it from a surviving relative who spit on the original author when he was alive, coming out and suing.

Remember JibJab's "This land" video? Some similar parasite who claimed ownership to Woody Gutherie's songs extorted them for royalties. They would have likely lost in court, but they could have done enough financial damage to close JibJab. Woody Gutherie himself had stated that his songs were for the people, not some company.

Thanks to these laws, there are now companies who literally produce nothing but copyright extortion. They buy up ancient, obscure patents, usually at very low rates from uncaring or desperate people, then look for some way they can be applied to modern technology and use it as blackmail. MP3's nearly got banned because of a 1970's machine that transmitted recording company quality music over the phone that the record companies declined to buy.

Copyright must end. I'd love to see the music industry, among others, collapse. And it would be only fair, for as recording technology nearly wiped out professional musicians, that the companies who made so much money for so long must themselves fall to technology.
( 1 comment — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

August 2017


Page Summary

Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Ideacodes