Post by Anim8rFSK
Why should I be able to use your characters without your permission, or
Why should you continue to get paid for work you did decades ago? Or
even worse, why should your great-grandson get paid for work he didn't
even do, just because he's distantly related to you? Or even worse than
that, the attitude of the entertainment industry that I should have to
pay them over and over for the same thing, every time I move content
I've already paid for once onto another medium.
I don't get to do that any of that. When I go to work, I get paid *once*
for what I do. (As do the vast majority of people in society.) I don't
get royalties for the eight hours I put in back on March 12, 1997, nor
do I get to control what people do with the product I produce once they
buy it. Nor do my heirs get to demand a continuing stream of revenue off
that work long after I'm gone. Yet the entertainment community seems to
think they're entitled as a matter of natural right to get paid forever
for work they did once, and to control what everyone else does with it
until the end of time.
A few weeks back, composer Jason Robert Brown had a debate with a young
fan of his that went viral, concerning the reasonableness of sharing
digital copies of his sheet music online. One of things he said to her
"I've got bills to pay and I don't pay them by working at a
hedge fund. If I were to die tomorrow, the lifestyle that
I have built up for my family would be severely endangered,
but at least the continuing royalties from the performances
of my shows might pay for my childrens' college educations."
This statement made me chuckle, because if he *did* work at a hedge
fund, well, then his family wouldn't continue to get his salary if he
died suddenly. Brown (and others in the entertainment industry) totally
ignore this fact with an incredible sense of entitlement. They think
that for some reason, because this is how they feed their families, it
has to continue and the government has to make sure that it does through
force of law. Yet no one else has that kind of legal protection for
their livelihoods. Just them.
If you want to read the full exchange, it can found here. It's actually
a pretty good read with good points on both sides.
Post by Anim8rFSK
I grant you I don't understand the mindset of "let's just sit on this
and ask for so much money nobody can afford it" either, but that doesn't
mean I think we should take it away from them.
No one's taking anything away from anyone. IP is an infinite good, not a
Post by Anim8rFSK
Being stupid or short sighted or incompetent or just plain onery
shouldn't be grounds for losing your property rights.
But copyright is not a property right (although I'll grant that the
modern courts have bastardized the concept so much that it currently
resembles one). Copyright is an artificial monopoly granted for limited
period of time as a trade off in order to "promote the progress of
science and the useful arts", per the Constitution.
It is not your right to get every possible penny from your work. That's
the European copyright system. Rather, our system is designed that you
get enough to create, which promotes progress. But money that does not
go toward promoting progress is not an entitlement.
As Alex Feerst (professor of IP Law at Stanford Law School) argues, one
thing that needs to happen is that the copyright system needs to stop
conflating two issues payment and ownership/control of copies. These
should be conceptually separated. They are connected under our current
system, but they are not naturally or necessarily connected. If we could
imagine other ways for an artist, e.g., a songwriter, for example, to
get paid for his work (maybe we can't, but assume for argument's sake we
can), then whether or not people "take" the song is beside the point.
The artist only wants to stop people from taking things because he needs
to get paid. If he got an acceptable income from his work, he would
probably not care about who plays or doesn't play his song. This is
because, unlike a screwdriver or other tangible good, it is not bound by
physical world zero-sumness. In fact, he'd probably prefer such a system
because he'd get paid and at the same time a greater number of people
would hear his song.