Jimquisition: Piracy Episode One - Copyright

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man, when this series started i thought it would just be some sarcastic dude talking himself and his beliefs up, but over time jim has proved to me that he has a really firm grasp on the important issues of gaming today. i really think what he has to say is valuable and we should pay attention.

Sober Thal:

newdarkcloud:

Sober Thal:

Creators have a choice to sign these contracts. Are we implying that these people who make games don't know how to read?

Publishers won't even look at a developer if the developer wants to keep the majority share of the rights to the IP. The only exception is when the developer has already become well known enough to have publishers compete for them.

What's wrong with that? Are publishers just supposed to gamble away money on possible crap product?

Isn't that the inherit risk of the medium? Games can be successes, flops, or somewhere in between. I'm not saying they don't deserve a share of the prophets and some control over the project. I'm saying they shouldn't have absolute power. It's there right to revoke their future funding if the game isn't panning out or if the developer is being lazy. It's their right to contract developers to make certain games. That's business, I've got no problem at all with that.

But instead of forcefully trying to acquire the rights with the current "sell us the IP or fuck off" style, it would be better to engender positive relationships to convince developers that they are getting the best deal possible by signing on with that publisher. It's the classic carrot or stick conundrum.

meganmeave:
The reason I think it is still stealing to pirate a game like Metal Arms, is because the publisher that rightfully paid the creator for the rights to that game entered a contract saying, "I promise to give you money now, on the hopes that I can make a profit off of this thing in the future."

Activision own the rights to Metal Arms now despite the fact that they didn't put a cent into the development,publishing or marketing of the game.That's why Jim is saying he couldn't condemn anyone who pirated it now

Fully in agreement with Jim on this one. And it applies to the 'music industry' too. Never before has so much new music been available to so many, and sales to gigs and concerts (as well as digital downloads) are increasing. Artists on average have more opportunities for success than they ever had before the advent of the internet, consumers are more knowledgeable, and business is booming.

So why all the doom and gloom in the media?

Because the 'music industry' (read: 'CD-manufacturers and general middle-men') is being cut out of the loop and they're kicking up a fuss. It's the raging against the dying of the light, and not because they can't profit from these new technologies, but because they won't. They're too old and fat and lazy too adapt, and in this Darwinian world if you don't adapt: you die.

New media ftw.

Also, how good to see someone reconsidering their opinions on anything without being slammed as a 'hypocrite' who does 'U-turns' on issues.

Sometimes maybe it's just a case that someone has done some thought and processed new information and come to a new conclusion. If only the papers and news corps could quit it, sometimes even politicians will admit they were wrong about something, and instead of the opinion, the critics are just obsessed that he's 'gone back on his word', when it wasn't his word, it was an opinion, opinions change.

Also, the whole industry has evolved, a friend and I were discussing out school years, and the case that you could buy a game on tape for 1.99 and it'd have an actual home address on the label, showing that it'd been created by some kid holed up in a bedroom somewhere.

Now it seems you need a good $100k just to get something to pass the criteria needed for XBLA, tho at least there's still Steam, not sure how hard it is to get something listed there.

I guess all we can hope for is that in 20 years or so the big companies are actually forced into either evolving or dying out as the irrelevant dinosaurs that they are.

Also, I've been banging on about how SOPA etc are not su much about money, but about the entertainment industry and their realisation and fear of losing control, which they slowly are.

As I've said, they could easily rake in millions just placing things online for worldwide release on the release day, with no DRM, priced fairly, and then who's rushing to a torrent when buying is easier? At present I've got DVDs I own that I've got rips of, because the rips are easier to watch, and don't inflict BS on me for 5 minutes before I can watch them.

The Metal Arms debacle is one more sign of this. It does Activision no good at all to hold the license, but if it was given back, and the artist and creator got a small team together to crack out an indie sequel to the license, Activision would have 'lost' the control of that game. Yet they don't want to risk investing in it either.

Is there really a reason for anyone's copyright to last more than 10 years? I may be persuaded to extend this for inventions, but art, if you've not squeezed some sales out of it in 10 years, then it's either not gonna sell, or some creepy art dealer's going to use your death to up the price.

Robert B. Marks:
1. Copyright IS about protecting creator's rights. However, 95% of it is not about protecting creator's rights from consumers. Most of copyright is a legal framework governing the interaction between those who create and those who distribute the creations, mainly during the contract negotiations. An example of the protection provided is to prevent a distributor from taking a creator's work, declining to publish that work, and then adding a new name to it and publishing it anyway. That goes both ways - another protection is to prevent a creator from selling exclusive rights to a work to one publisher, and then going behind that publisher's back and selling the same exclusive rights to another.

You are copypasting a definiton of the term "copyright". Is that necessary? We are well aware of it. Yes, part of it serves to govern the relationship between artist and publisher. Only part of it though.

Robert B. Marks:

2. Copyright IS built so that the creative artist owns the copyright to his/her work upon completion of the work. In order for the creative artist to lose those rights, s/he has to sign them away. One of the reasons that there are literary agents is to protect authors from contracts that strip them of their rights to their own work. That the equivalent in the music industry often do not do the same is scandalous, to say the least.

It may be so for books, but, as you said, that's not as usual in the music industry and extremely unusual in the gaming industry, especially if we're talking about a new intellectual property that does not have a massive established fanbase, which means the artists are, in practice, stripped of most of their negotiative power.

Robert B. Marks:

3. There are nasty companies out there with highly predatory practices interested only in their bottom line, 'tis true. The music industry is one of the worst out there in that. But that's a problem with industry practices, not copyright law. To say that it's a problem with copyright is like saying that a security company failing to call the police on time during a burglary is a problem with anti-theft laws. Requiring creative artists to sign their entire copyright to a work away in the music, film, and software industries is a nasty industry practice, but it is an INDUSTRY practice.

And this industry is seeking to shape the copyright laws to utterly fit their agenda, in a disgusting, unethical, invasive, totalitarian fashion. To further your analogy, when the burglar becomes rich and influential enough to shape anti-theft laws in a manner that allows him to work together with the police and also to be allowed to shoot innocent pedestrians on his way to the crime scene, then it's clearly time to go after the burglar and the people who are empowering him.

Robert B. Marks:

4. If anybody wants to say that game companies are not injured by computer game piracy, I would ask them to take a moment and count the number of PC game companies that hopped ship to the smaller console market over the last 10 years. Compared to 2002, the computer game world is considerably sparser than it used to be.

Hmm... Nope, getting nothing. Do tell. Which PC game companies jumped ship? I can't think of a single one that abandoned the PC market and devoted themselves exclusively to consoles. Many of them realized the market expansion in consoles and turned their releases multiplatform, sure, some of them may even have decided to not release some of their titles on the PC due to specific logistics of those particular titles, but can't think of a single one that has written the PC off. Example of the above: Rockstar. Yes, they did not release Red Dead Redemption for the PC, but they did release LA Noire and will release Max Payne 3. I can however think of a multitude of examples of studios that were bought by behemoth publishers over the last 10 years, who agreed to fund and promote their projects, but instead cannibalized them and their intellectual property. How ironic...

Robert B. Marks:

5. Publishers are important, and when doing their jobs properly can provide a level of quality control, distribution support, and marketing that a creative artist alone cannot. To say that in the past the need for distributors was an illusion is ludicrous, particularly considering that the internet has only been available to the general public for the last 20 years or so. It may be easier to self-publish now, but it wasn't in the past, and many of the functions of publishers and distributors are still done better by distributors than by the creative artist alone, if for no other reason than the distributor generally has more resources.

Anyway, that corrects the more grievous misconceptions. I really wish that people would do their research sometimes.

What's your point? Yes, publishers are awesome when they are doing their jobs correctly. Not so much when they devour artists and try to establish a worldwide police-state of complete censorship through corruption and lobbying. We're not taking a history lesson here, we're in the present, and we should react and criticize accordingly.

Sober Thal:

Louzerman102:

Sober Thal:

Hobson's choice, eh? Damn right! It's their money! You want their money, you agree to what they offer. If Valve is such an evil entity (publisher) why do people bend over backwards to praise them?

The 'artists' need to wise up if this is as bad for them as people seem to be saying.

You're confusing what steam does. Microsoft owns the halo IP. EA owns the dead space IP. Tell me how Steam owns Space Pirates and Zombies, Solar 2, Dungeons of Dredmor, or any other indie Game. Jim's statements were never against valve.

Valve is a publisher too. I realize they don't publish every game on STEAM. Jim makes it sound as if EVERY publisher is evil, and devs have no choice in the matter. Devs need to wise up. Look at Notch and Minecraft. It isn't easy to get your name out their, nor should it be. You pay these big named companies for work they do. No money? Sell the rights, or do the work yourself (if every publisher is soooo evil).

Valve self-publish their own games but that doesn't make them a publisher, I mean, Mojang did the same with Minecraft.

Technically Valve is a very very large indie developer.

You can see this sometimes on abandonware sites that list an old DOS game for reference (not download) and link a company's official site who still owns the copyright to the IP but is doing fuck all with it. Fucking kills me, the fact that if you tried to find a pirated version of that ancient 8-bit CGA DOS game elsewhere that you could potentially get slapped with a fine if caught.

If we the gaming community ever needed an official mouthpiece to speak for us in a serious matter to any of the powers that be, I wouldn't mind Jim Sterling being that man.

FelixG:

Sober Thal:

Jimothy Sterling:

That's what happens when the rights-buyers have rigged the game in their favor before the artists create their art. Duh.

Creators have a choice to sign these contracts. Are we implying that these people who make games don't know how to read?

Yeah they have a massive choice don't they? "Oh you don't sign the contract? You get no funding, you don't get distribution, you don't get advertisement. Have fun making your game jackoff."

OT: Thank god for jim, at least someone can admit when they are wrong instead of acting like the publishers need little white knights to defend them from the big bad pirates

Because no independent company has ever made a name for themselves in games without the help of a big monied publisher. Not Infocom, not Sierra On-Line, not Bioware. Not even Activision. All just figments of our imagination folks. None of these companies actually exist today because they didn't get big funding from other publishers, and according to Felix, that makes them impossible.

If the original developers still get a cut out of the sale, I think it's wrong to pirate. However, I have no qualms with it if the game is old and the developers are long gone or are in such a position that they won't see a penny from the sale of their game.

For example, I don't think Smilebit gets hurt if someone pirates Jet Set Radio. That game has been out of print for ages, they have long since been gobbled up by Sega and are now charged with nothing but churning out Mario and Sonic at the Olympics games, and it's virtually impossible to buy the game in such a manner where any of the profit would go back to them anyway. If Jet Set Radio got a digital/HD remake, my stance would be quite different since at least purchases would tell Sega that there's interest in the series.

lol "Do what you want 'cause a pirate is free!" It's funny, yet at the same time wrong... but not too wrong...

Hitchmeister:
On the other hand, these big publishers didn't seize the rights away from creators at gunpoint. They walked up and waved a bag of cash in front of them. It seemed like a good deal at the time, and I have a hard time feeling sympathy for anyone who sold their soul, or IP, to EA.*

Then on the third hand, you get stuff like a band posting videos they created themselves of their own music on Youtube and getting takedown orders from their record company because they don't have the rights to promote themselves in any way that might interfere with the company's profits. Yeah, screw that.

*I know EA wasn't actually involved in the example in the video, but I wanted to draw a selling your soul to the devil analogy, and EA just fit so well.

I was informed by a professor today that he couldn't just give us the lecture notes for the course. Because the course is heavily, heavily based on a textbook that he wrote, he's been informed that distributing the notes would be a breach of copyright.

Looking forward to the next episode.

The idea of Copyright is a good one, but it has turned into an uncontrollable beast doing the opposite of what it was intended for.

Well said sir, well fucking said.

As a likely future game developer this has been very enlightening. Copyright legislation is indeed bullshit and needs to be thrown out and rewritten.

I applaud your efforts and your sterling message.

image

I agree with Jim 100%, which is a scary prospect in itself. It is illegal, but I get tired of people using the whole "developers deserved to get paid for their work" thing. That is true, they do deserve credit and profits from their work. But when Bungie made Halo, they were forced to sell the rights to Microsoft in order to see that work realized. And there it is. The standard contract for any publishing company seems to be that the studio gets exclusive rights to the contents of your work. That is why this age of information technology is amazing. You are constantly seeing fantastic games come out on their own without the use of a large publisher. Hell, look at what Mojang has done without the use of outside publishers.

It's the same across the board as far as artistic endeavors are concerned. All the music that is heard on the radio is owned by the record label, and not the artist (with rare exception). Furthermore, as Jim states, people who have no right to any creative work what so ever own rights to different properties. Michael Jackson owned the rights to the Beatles albums, Bill Cosby owns the rights to The little Rascals and EA owns Battlefield despite never having put a single creative impulse towards the work.

I do not condone piracy at all, but I don't condemn people as horrible human beings if they participate in it. They are not good clean pure souls, but the aren't the 8 headed monster people make them out to be either. And it's not the fault of pirates if game companies treat their customers like shit. Just like I don't go to jail if my best friend robs a McDonalds and gets caught with that DNA security system. :p

I think about the most important franchise to me, the Xeno- series.

I have to really feel sorry for Monolith Soft. Despite creating Xenogears, SE owns the rights to that. What have they done with it? Just dropped it on PSN and that's the end of that franchise. Despite creating Xenosaga, Namco owns the rights to it. What has Namco done with that copyright? Diddly squat, at best we'll get a digital download for that too someday at best.

Monolith Soft created those worlds from scratch, yet they can't even touch them. SE and Namco can either profit endlessly from Monolith Soft's work or just leave it to rot, which is exactly what they're doing. It's depressing to no end. If I worked that hard to create a world and characters like that, I would be more than heartbroken to not even be legally able to goddamn talk about them ever again.

That's what makes the SOPA bull**** all the more vile. This has nothing to do with the creative culture, it's all about the greed and business culture, and congress thinks that's more important.

On the other end of the spectrum. I have not "pirated" a game in over ten years, and those were NES roms that you absolutely could not ever get anywhere else at the time. I absolutely despise people who pirate brand new games on release, I think they are despicable, self-entitled bastards. If you don't like the corporation, don't even play the damn game. You're only convincing them that you actually do want their products, and that they need to crack down even harder on piracy when they see the torrent download number.

Support the companies that you love and love you back. Ignore the ones that only see dollar signs and shareholders.

J03bot:
I was informed by a professor today that he couldn't just give us the lecture notes for the course. Because the course is heavily, heavily based on a textbook that he wrote, he's been informed that distributing the notes would be a breach of copyright.

Yet another example of why you should be extremely careful when signing away your copyright for money/distribution. Not an example of a problem with copyright.

Here's the thing folks, the contracts made to give copyright away are just contracts. They can be modified by either party before signing. So if a small indie game developer doesn't want to see their IP languish, make that a non-negotiable part of the agreement: "The copyright purchaser or designate agrees that if no product is released using this IP within 5 years of the date of this contract, copyright reverts to the original owner."

Start with that as your base, and negotiate it down to, ".. 5 years of the date of this contract, the purchaser agrees to return the IP to the original owner upon repayment to the copyright purchaser of the sum agreed to in this contract."

If a professor wants to be able to continue distributing his lecture notes to students taking his class? He needs to include that in the contract. Otherwise, he needs to do what most professors do anyway: simply put the textbook on the required materials and get a cut from the students purchasing it. If he feels really badly about that, I'm sure the class wouldn't mind him giving him his share of the royalties he received back to them.

Jim, I'm sorry your good twin brother got busted.
image

Also, Welcome to the dark side
image

I completely agree. Half the world sees piracy as akin to murder. Piracy is not all bad. This site has some of the worst offenders. I've gotten paragraphs saying that I had bad morals for not thinking that piracy was bad. Christ, you'd think pirates killed their families the way these people talked.

J03bot:

I was informed by a professor today that he couldn't just give us the lecture notes for the course. Because the course is heavily, heavily based on a textbook that he wrote, he's been informed that distributing the notes would be a breach of copyright.

There was a Harvard professor that wouldn't allow his students from various classes compare notes on an online forum because he copyrights his lectures (he would record both by video and audio all his lectures). He has copyrighted his knowledge and it's not allowed to be discusses among his students in a forum where it's easiest for them to discuss and understand the material. Since no one would ever knowingly make a law that inhibits students from learning, I'm relatively sure he is gaming the system. Only, the students are smarter than the professors. When you attend a college or university, you are not paying for knowledge (contrary to popular belief), you are paying for a degree and nothing else. Especially since that knowledge is already pretty much everywhere. The way I see it, if you are charging $200 for a text book, the people who bought it have purchased a right to go through whatever means necessary to understand said book, including discussion among friends.

Also, as the copyright holder he could distribute notes to his class. He only needs to seek his own permission. Guy sounds like a huge dick who lies because he doesn't know what he is talking about. He isn't infringing on his copyright. And furthermore, anyone could distribute notes based on his work provided he was cited for it.

Sober Thal:

Jimothy Sterling:

Sober Thal:
Fun fact. The artists and developers own 100% of their IP. They then decide to sell the rights away for money and more resources. Duh.

That's what happens when the rights-buyers have rigged the game in their favor before the artists create their art. Duh.

Creators have a choice to sign these contracts. Are we implying that these people who make games don't know how to read?

Oh, come on. So the fact they have a "choice" makes them exempt from any right to complain? The reason they sell the rights to these people is to exchange a portion of the profit for attention and support, and that's the way it should be.

A choice between "selling the rights to someone who can make your game huge" and "toiling over a game which you're not sure you can finish and which probably won't get the attention it needs to make a profit anyway" isn't really a choice at all.

Jim Sterling:
Piracy Episode One - Copyright

Piracy is one of those issues that will absolutely never die, like the secrets of the Bermuda Triangle of the truth of the Zelda Timeline. Jim Sterling has always had a set view on piracy -- it's not the worst crime in the world, but it's selfish theft nonetheless. However, in the wake of corporate attempts to buy our legal system, he has reexamined the piracy issue and come away with a rather altered stance.

This is the first episode in a miniature series looking at the problem of videogame piracy.

Watch Video

Regarding copyright:

You're oversimplifying things a bit, and you're attacking this from the wrong angle.

Publishers exist because the average Joe once had a problem getting his goods to market. A composer would spend his time and energy writing the music... but then he'd need to find someone with the equipment to print, copy, and sell that music. That would take time and energy (and money) the composer didn't have.

So instead, the composer would sell the copyright to a Publisher -- basically, an investor whose entire job it was to have the print/copy/market equipment and know-how. This was mutually beneficial to the artist and publisher.

The artist wouldn't have to worry about the logistics or expense of publication. And in exchange, he would give over distribution rights (and occasionally agree to produce a certain number of other works within a given time period, to present a more long-term investment). Over time, artists could even rely on the strength of a publisher's name to give more weight to a new product -- I might not know your music, but I know your publisher is pretty good at spotting good music, so I'm more inclined to look your way...

The publisher wouldn't have to worry about the creation process. And in exchange, they would promote and distribute the composer's work. Of course, the publisher would own the rights, to ensure the long-term viability of the arrangement -- you wouldn't want a composer to use your resources to get well-known, and then yank back his entire catalog to sell on his own, leaving you with no return on investment.

FAST FORWARD:

In this age, getting your goods to market isn't as big a problem. On the internet, David can be every bit as big as Goliath in the right circumstances. So there is less need for a publisher, overall. It hasn't evaporated completely, however.

And, given the ease of digital distribution and internet marketing, publishers have had to add little caveats and addenda to the contracts to make the investment "safer." They might oblige you for a few deadline-heavy sequels, or they might require that you sell the entire IP to them. And if things go sour, they're likely not going to give it all back so that you can then go make money under some other publisher -- It's not about you, though, but rather about not feeding competing publishers.

IF YOU WANT TO FIX IT:

Publishers are going to do what publishers do. Until creators stop letting them. Creators are who you need to target.

1. Encourage creators to forego publishers in favor of cheap, effective distribution methods. Why pay to have a CD made when you can just sell the .mp3's on your own site?

2. Encourage creators that want publishers to be more forward-thinking in the terms to which they agree. Don't sign contracts in desperation or naivete. "Hey, if there is a period of X months in which you do not move on this IP, we get back the name/characters/etc. You keep the rights to previous installments, but we're then allowed to go forward with the IP in other venues."

You touch on this in the video, but really it's the main point. Make publishers obsolete, and the problem is solved. The law isn't the problem, as much as the contracts under the law are. Go after the creators, get them to "kick the habit" -- no demand, no supply.

One aspect that Jim misses is that outfits like MegaUpload are making money from piracy. It's one thing to share a copy of a game with your friends, it's quite another to run a racket where you are profiting from piracy.

In fact, the for-profit piracy sites are doing exactly what Jim condemns the big publishers of doing - making money off other people's work. Only in their case, they aren't even paying the creators a single penny, and they certainly aren't investing large sums of money and risk in having new games created.

Do publishers act shittily towards artists and customers? Hell yes. But the commercial pirates are far worse in their contempt for everything. Some of them even try to play the "fighting for the little people" card at the same time as turning a quick buck via shady means.

MetalDooley:

meganmeave:
The reason I think it is still stealing to pirate a game like Metal Arms, is because the publisher that rightfully paid the creator for the rights to that game entered a contract saying, "I promise to give you money now, on the hopes that I can make a profit off of this thing in the future."

Activision own the rights to Metal Arms now despite the fact that they didn't put a cent into the development,publishing or marketing of the game.That's why Jim is saying he couldn't condemn anyone who pirated it now

They still paid for it. Whether or not they shelled out for the production of it in anyway, they paid money for it.

Does that mean you don't really own the video games you purchase because you didn't pay anything to produce them? That we shouldn't have the right to sell them once we are done?

Does that mean anyone who owns a used house or car, I can take it without any claim of moral wrongdoing? Because the people who bought that used home or car didn't pay anything toward the original creation of it.

Transfer of property is transfer of property. You can own something without having created it. We do it all the time, every day.

Yes, we'll show those publishers what for by pirating all our games! Oh, all the publishers have gone out of business? There are barely any games any more because no one can afford to make them? Whoops!

Yeah I couldn't get through this video. I hope you turned it around at the end, but if I'd believed that I would have kept on watching.

I think maybe you've got some problems with dealing with authority? I'll say this, last time I commented on your video it's because you were being a fake conformingly non-conformist hipster without adding any real thought or value to your video, and at least it seems like here you had a general thought out opinion, even if it's not one I can agree with in any respect. I guess you were maybe still a bit 'Occupy Wall Street' the only thing wrong with the world is people being richer than me etc but you sounded quite genuine

I, for one, will destroy all those who prohibited the creation of the Metal Arms sequels. That game was actually awesome.

Sober Thal:

FelixG:

Sober Thal:

Creators have a choice to sign these contracts. Are we implying that these people who make games don't know how to read?

Yeah they have a massive choice don't they? "Oh you don't sign the contract? You get no funding, you don't get distribution, you don't get advertisement. Have fun making your game jackoff."

OT: Thank god for jim, at least someone can admit when they are wrong instead of acting like the publishers need little white knights to defend them from the big bad pirates

Notch is such a jackoff, isn't he...

And if the publishers had had their way, the things that made Notch's success possible (word of mouth through social media such as facebook, twitter, and this very site right here) would all be gone. One more victim in the corporate crusade to stop people on the internet from doing anything that doesn't make the publishers money.

Dammit, Jim, I thought your line about being right about everything was just blustery bullshit, but you keep proving me wrong. Thank God for you.

Your view isn't going to be popular around these parts (mainly because you get banned if you don't call pirates baby-eating scum around here), but you're completely right.

Anyone want to time how long it takes for the Escapist to shut that video town? I'm guessing less than a week.

Duol:

Stealing a loaf of bread from a rich person is the same as stealing it from a hobo.

No.

I think 'no' really sums it up pretty well, but I need to add more to avoid a 'low content post', so I'll add that this logic is morally bankrupt. Stealing is never 'good', but stealing a Whopper from a starving man and stealing a Whopper from Jabba the Hutt are two completely different things ethically.

Mahha:
Did you know that copyright law was not meant to create huge profits?
The original law was meant as a protection of intellectual property for a period of max 28 years, as to prevent stealing of new ideas and after that period ANYONE was permitted to change alter and publish new stories based on the works without permission. It's a pretty awesome idea at the core, smart and creative people get incentive to make new shit and after 28 year (lets face it if you haven't been working on new ip or updated your old ip it's very unlikely that a sudden bolt of creativity will hit your brain and you'll start expanding on your 28 old year book or whatever) fans can start tangents and new stories based on you work. This was so that no one person could live a whole life with just one contribution to society.
Now for sake of an example let's look at the creations of Walt Disney. Do you even remember when was the last time a good Mickey Mouse cartoon, book etc. came out? Well I don't and I fucking love Mickey Mouse. The thing is that by extending copyright ad infinitum you prevent eager and capable people bringing new life to old creations.

here's a nice video that explains it:

I don't know how this would relate to more modern problems such as piracy, but I'm sure if the 28 years rule was still in effect things would be a lot different.

Yep, furthermore the owner of said copyright had to PAY the government for the privilege but if you were still making a ton of money after 28 years you could pay to get another 28 year extension. But that was it.

Robert B. Marks:
I managed to get about six minutes in before I had to stop watching - just too many misconceptions about copyright and the industry. My background is as an author and the owner of a small publishing company, so I deal with copyright on a regular basis. So, to correct some of the misconceptions in the first six minutes:

1. Copyright IS about protecting creator's rights. However, 95% of it is not about protecting creator's rights from consumers. Most of copyright is a legal framework governing the interaction between those who create and those who distribute the creations, mainly during the contract negotiations. An example of the protection provided is to prevent a distributor from taking a creator's work, declining to publish that work, and then adding a new name to it and publishing it anyway. That goes both ways - another protection is to prevent a creator from selling exclusive rights to a work to one publisher, and then going behind that publisher's back and selling the same exclusive rights to another.

2. Copyright IS built so that the creative artist owns the copyright to his/her work upon completion of the work. In order for the creative artist to lose those rights, s/he has to sign them away. One of the reasons that there are literary agents is to protect authors from contracts that strip them of their rights to their own work. That the equivalent in the music industry often do not do the same is scandalous, to say the least.

3. There are nasty companies out there with highly predatory practices interested only in their bottom line, 'tis true. The music industry is one of the worst out there in that. But that's a problem with industry practices, not copyright law. To say that it's a problem with copyright is like saying that a security company failing to call the police on time during a burglary is a problem with anti-theft laws. Requiring creative artists to sign their entire copyright to a work away in the music, film, and software industries is a nasty industry practice, but it is an INDUSTRY practice.

4. If anybody wants to say that game companies are not injured by computer game piracy, I would ask them to take a moment and count the number of PC game companies that hopped ship to the smaller console market over the last 10 years. Compared to 2002, the computer game world is considerably sparser than it used to be.

5. Publishers are important, and when doing their jobs properly can provide a level of quality control, distribution support, and marketing that a creative artist alone cannot. To say that in the past the need for distributors was an illusion is ludicrous, particularly considering that the internet has only been available to the general public for the last 20 years or so. It may be easier to self-publish now, but it wasn't in the past, and many of the functions of publishers and distributors are still done better by distributors than by the creative artist alone, if for no other reason than the distributor generally has more resources.

Anyway, that corrects the more grievous misconceptions. I really wish that people would do their research sometimes.

i was gonna post this stuff, but you nailed it before i could.

might i add that(im not americna, im european) copyright law is not ENTIRELY passable. copyright law is divided into patrimonial and moral right. the creator of IP is always, ALWAYS, ALWAYS, owner, forever, even after his death, of the moral rights. these include the rights to unallowing the damaging, changing, and titularity of the IP. this means that without his consent, the IP can never be damaged, changed or taken his signature from it. patrimonial right is what is sold. this includes the rights to make money out of it basically, the right to distribute it and such.

Three pages into a discussion of copyright and corporate abuses.

Repeated insistence that content creators always have the rights to the works they make, until they sell them.

Not a single mention of the concept of a work for hire.

Huh.

While I disagree with some of his message, I do agree that I hate big companies hoarding licenses.

Surprise, surprise. I have an EA example of them using it to squash the competition.

Back in 2005 there were two main competitors in sports games: EA and 2K. 2K had cleverly gotten the license to use ESPN for a couple of years while making some great games. What does EA do to compete?

They purchased the ESPN license for a ludicrous sum of money, and then squashed it. They wanted the association of ESPN and 2K games to vanish while people still thought 2K and ESPN were one entity. Only in 2009 did games start showing up with the ESPN presentation.

I also don't think that Jim was correct about the rights being time limited and then reverting back to the creator.

There should be a stagnation or good will clause in there somewhere though. Basically that if there is no progress towards using the license, then it can go back to the artist (if alive)

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