Re[2]: Public Domain Doomed (Mouse != World)
Wed, 15 Jan 2003 18:55:34 -0500

EH> So, is the mouse a copyright, trademark, or service mark issue?   Maybe all 
EH> three.

THe mouse is copyright.  Steamboat Willie was the literal reason for
the copyright extension act.  Period.  There were some side issues
sure, but it was a disney lobbying force like you wouldn't believe.

EH> I'm as much against copyright law as any anarchist, but I find myself 
EH> flinching at all the knee-jerk copyright phobia here.

There's a difference between 'knee-jerk' and legitimate argument.
Copyright, originally set for a term of 14 years, was meant to be a
limited right of monopoly for a fixed term.   People don't gripe about
copyright's existence (Even the creative commons folks understand
_why_), but rather for the gross extension of term.  70+life of the
author ceases to be an "exclusive right" secured for "limited times"
(Art. 1, Sec. 8)

EH> In actuality having a copyright or trademark that has value means that an 
EH> entity has done considerable work to promote it and defend it.   There are 
EH> many dead trademarks littering the landscape to prove this.

Considerable work my ass.  AT least wrt to a copyright, under the 1976
(I THINK) copyright act, you don't even need to register your
copyright any longer.  THis very text is now a copyrighted work.  I
don't think there's much here that says considerable work.
Trademarks, while a bit hairier, aren't much better.   They just take
a bit more money and time.

EH> I guess I'm trying to say that I don't particularly mind DisneyCorp trying 
EH> to protect the mouse.   Having that put all writings out of the reach of 
EH> Project Gutenberg for generations is another thing.  Even under the old 
EH> system "Author's Lifetime" meant that anything technical or scientific was 
EH> certainly useless for work in the field--historically valuable, but not 
EH> useful for advancing the art.

Just because its copyrighted, doesn't mean its inaccessible.   It does
however, mean that its accessible for a fee.  The problem comes
mostly, in that the balance between the rights of the public to be
able to access said public works is hindered when the fee-requiring
services (and their lawyers) make it incredibly costly to access.
You -should- have a problem with Disneycorp trying to protect the
mouse.  They'll keep trying.  They vie for your apathy, they openly
encourage folks not to care.  They'll keep getting these fucking
extensions until we start getting the clue and getting smart about it.
  And unfortunately, as copyright counts to =all= things not willed
  into the public domain, it forces everyone and everything to lose.

Copyright isn't bad;  Lack of balance is.

EH> According to me, Disney can have their big guns defending the mouse. (I 
EH> could care less about the mouse.)

But its not just the mouse.  Its never just the mouse, it can't be.

EH> How do we recapture the "public good" of intellectual work that was, after 
EH> all, built "on the shoulders of giants" before it is totally obsolete?   
EH> This would have to come down to a system that amortizes the value/control 
EH> of intellectual property to the creator....I think...   I dunno how this 
EH> applies to the arts.  Perhaps it should not.

It won't apply, unless artists and the public writ large get the clue.
 The reason intellectual property brings a bad taste in the mouth is
 not that it exists.  IP in and of itself is a good thing.  Patents
 are good. Trademarks are good, and copyright is good.  Its that its
 no longer a single-user system.  Its owned by corporations and
 conglomerates, who buy up the rights of authors and creators.
 Corporations don't die, and IP certainly can be carried on, or passed
 down.  Corporations, like DisneyCo have time, money and lobbists.
 Their actions therefore directly affect the system, and we lose.  The
 creative control ceases to return to the commons that it sprung from,
 and instaed lives on in some vault for the rest of the life of

 Point being:  You should care.


Best regards,