Copyright Law

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Copyright Law

Postby walt_scrivens » Sun Jul 19, 2015 8:17 am

My wife (an artist, although she denies it!) sent me this link:

It’s a 1 1/2 hour long video podcast about pending changes in copyright laws that are before congress right now. The podcast relates to the rights of visual artists, but I’m sure it would extend to software authors too. The scary part to me is that the principal author of the proposed law is the same guy who drafted the DMCA, which in my opinion is one of the worst pieces of legislation ever.

In essence the new law would require every work to be registered (with a fee) by one of a group of private corporations to be set up for the purpose. Past, present and future works would all need to be individually registered, and the definitions of derivative works are at this point very vague. (How many lines of code in a program do I have to change to claim ownership of the derivative work?)

I pass this on not with the expectation that you all would watch the video, but that you would alert any of your colleagues who may be impacted.

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Re: Copyright Law

Postby Mac_Fife » Sun Jul 19, 2015 12:23 pm

From your brief description (and I haven't watched the podcast - as a non-US person it doesn't worry me too much) that sounds unworkable as it it'd put the US at distinct variance with most of the rest of the world, and put US based creators potentially at a disadvantage unless they're prepared to shell out. That seems to go against "natural law" and against the "moral right" of the creator to have control over their own creations - c.f,: ... rimer.html
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Re: Copyright Law

Postby Magic88889 » Sun Jul 19, 2015 1:39 pm

I'm not going to watch the video. I looked up the guy, and he's an activist with a clearly biased opinion. Of the articles he linked to about this issue, two were written by hm, and two others were at least 5 years old. And they were all from the same site too.
I'll get my information form more balanced sources.
Which is what I went out to do. And there are a TON on proposed changes to copyright law, which are sorely needed. Copyright law in the US is horribly outdated, and I think most artists will agree with that. Most of the changes had to do with the music industry and streaming, however, there was talk with what you are talking about.

I tried looking for information about the registration and private corporations you mentioned, and I couldn't find anything. There is talk of overhauling the existing registration system so it actually works properly. Most of the articles I read were more focused on the idea of separating the Copyright Office from the Library of Congress, and make it an independent entity. It would still be a government organization, just one that is able to manage itself without interference from the LoC.

I also saw zero mention of any kind of mandatory registration of any kind. There was not even a hint of it.

And while the registration does cost some money (I saw $35 for each individual work or for photographers $55 for up to 750 photos provided they were taken within the same year). However, this is how the CO gets all of it's funding, and it offers a lot of protection and assistance in the case of copyright violations.

So I'm having a hard time figuring out where this guy is coming from. Unless you can find me information from reputable sources, I'm not terrible worried about this. All of the changes I saw proposed (and they're just that at this point, Congress still has to debate the issue) seemed genuine attempts at real reform, that are beneficial to copyright owners, distributors, and individual consumers. Are they going to get everything right? Of course not. But that's the great thing about laws: they can be changed.

I looked at several articles, but one of the best articles I saw was this one:
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Re: Copyright Law

Postby belford » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:18 am

I haven't watched the video either, but from a look around they're worried about "orphan works" changes. There's an official page about this:

That has a link to "Orphan Works and Mass Digitization: A Report of the Register of Copyrights", just released... hilariously that link gives an "access denied" error. Correct link: ... ks2015.pdf

100 pages plus appendices. Have fun. :/
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Re: Copyright Law

Postby Ainia » Mon Jul 20, 2015 5:59 pm

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Re: Copyright Law

Postby Magic88889 » Mon Jul 20, 2015 11:40 pm

Well I DID read that 100 page proposal. Or at least the relevant parts. There was (as Ainia's article points out) ZERO mention of the issues the OP brings up.
in fact, from what I saw, most of the proposal was spending time addressing the issues walt brings up, like derivative works and the lack of definition.

Again this is a PROPOSAL written up by the Copyright Office of changes they think would help some very big issues. NO legislation is being made at this point. NOTHING is being debated before congress.

If you wanted to talk about issues that ARE being discussed in congress right now, look up Net Neutrality and the huge threat it is currently facing. ... ions-bill#
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