Discussion: On Copyright

738 Responses

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 30 Newer→ Last

  • Joe Wylie,

    . . . there are plenty of jobs that involve pouring your heart and sweat into creating material which you subsequently have no control over the use of - so I can see why some people are asking what's so special about artists and authors.

    Do you have any examples of these jobs then, Sacha? Presumably they're all performed in the service of another's vision, whether by direct employees or by contracted freelancers. There's an enormous difference between selling your skills and having the courage to speculate on your own creative vision. I wonder if these shadowy 'some people' who you appear to half-heartedly champion feel a similar level of resentment towards those who benefit from speculating on their own business acumen?

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Kumara Republic,

    Stop press on copyright law amendment:

    DomPost: Copyright backdown ruled out by Tizard

    The southernmost capital … • Since Nov 2006 • 5441 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Got me wrong, Rob. I believe copyright and related business models in their current form don't work well enough. Creators deserve a better vehicle for reflecting their value to society in ways that count to them - whether that's control over usage, income, recognition or otherwise.

    I think Creative Commons is one response to addressing usage and recognition, but not really income. Be interesting to hear if Lessig talks about that at the LIANZA conference next month.

    Joe, I was thinking of people who innovate in other areas like IT, farming, public policy, social entrepreneurship, etc - and wondering why current practice treats them differently from cultural creators. I include people whose core role or source of reward is not about "creating". By "some" I meant earlier on these threads, I just couldn't be arsed looking up who said what.

    I don't like assumptions that only artists do not have a fair market to operate in, or that it is perfectly OK for any creators to have their return abrogated because they are employed or volunteering or in some other arrangement at the time of creation, not necessarily at the time when their innovation pays off. If that were set up as a choice, then fine. I'm not buying the line about folks envying the courageous entrepreneurs. Working arrangements will only continue to become more flexible, so industrial-age arrangements are silly.

    Often there's a time lag between the creation of an idea or utterance and when it becomes popular and/or lucrative to implement, publish or exploit it. Surely that's one reason copyright and similar protections were set up in the first place.

    Here's my solution: set up a state-run Intellectual Property bank drawing on private sector expertise. It could afford to enforce breaches locally and globally under what will no doubt remain unfair protection laws where minnows could never bankroll a fight. This organisation would also actively build the understanding of New Zealanders about the opportunities available to us as innovators in a range of fields.

    It would market and make easily available our innovations over time, help negotiate implementation arrangements as they arise - and provide some transparent and long-term certainty that each creator's contribution will be both rewarded and be as widely available for use and return as possible. It could include some sort of futures market like iPredict to give early guidance about value and opportunities for exploitation.

    Might cost about $400m per year?, with offsetting income streams from enforcement successes and a cut of licensing and other profit (providing a variety of levels of risk/return in the partnerhips with individual creators).

    I don't see the "free" market providing that at present (except perhaps the record companies who have kept most of the returns for themselves and are reaping goodwill accordingly).

    I reckon it would be a better investment in this country's future than I'm hearing from any politicians right now. Do those who know more than me about the current state of intellectual capital arrangements think my idea could work?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    I'm not buying the line about folks envying the courageous entrepreneurs.

    That's nice. Just to make things absolutely clear, it's not a line I'm avocating. All I'm saying is that creators should enjoy a similar level of security to that of entrepreneurial shareholders.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Totally agree, Joe.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Mark Harris "And the only person who has to esteem it to give it value is you, mmkay?"

    And that feeds me & mine, right?

    Sacha, pretty well every bureaucrat I've ever had dealings with - and an Intellectual Property Bank would be a bureaucrat's wet dream - is earning more than I am - with way fewer expenses. Sorry, cant see how your idea helps us at t'coalface-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    @Islander
    I'm going to say this once and once only: No one owes you a living.

    If you choose to take on a legendarily low paying profession and expect it to make you a living when your local catchment is a minority percentage of 4m people, on your own head be it.

    For every JK Rowling, there are 10000 others writing in their off hours, hoping to make some pocket money. Sorry to disillusion you, but I live in the real world with real expectations.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Mark Harris - one of my books has brought in many *thousands* ofpaying tourists who come here because of it (and I dont mean just to the Coast.) And -while the area gains benefit from their presence - I dont.

    No one owes me a living? Right - but my *work* provides a *lot* of other people with - at least- enhancement for *their* living - and I get very little recompense for that.

    I think you know diddlysquat about the literary game-

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Um, Mark, if Islander is who I think she is -- I'm thinking a tower and magic realism? -- you may possibly have just made the most hilarious fuck up I've ever seen happen on the internet.

    Although I do think Islander should possibly have come clean a bit earlier -- but that's up to her.

    And if I'm wrong, I've made an even worse one than you have.

    Substantively, this:

    For every JK Rowling, there are 10000 others writing in their off hours, hoping to make some pocket money.

    is the is/ought fallacy.

    And I'd support proper state funding in place of copyright -- but you'd be looking at big $$$, and a godawful fight over administration. I think Charlie Stross has a nicer version of it floating around somewhere.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Islander, imagine if tourism promoters had to pay you a cut for every mention of your work? I'm talking about a mechanism for allowing that type of thing.

    Despite your distrust of bureaucrats, I don't see the private sector rushing to help you - other that the well-established mechanisms of the book publishing industry where I suspect a fair chunk of the profits go into pockets other than yours.

    I'm offering an alternative to giving up. Feel free to share yours.

    Off-topic, what's the real story in your area about the whitebait numbers this year?

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    Keir - um sorry, I use the name Islander on the net a lot (it's the literal translation of my surname which, yeah, is holm/ hulme/home.) I would totally go along with state funding for established people-who-create-art. There is the Irish option - you dont pay tax on royalties. There is the Scandanavian option - you recieve a stipend up until your yearly earnings reach a certain threshold. Either would - I think - benefit people who are serious about what they do. And I rarely meet creative people who a) arnt serious about what they do and b)havent already given up a hell of a lot of normal expectations for what they could expect to receive for their works.

    But - we're then looking at increased bureacracy & administration costs...

    Sacha - your suggestion was creative and original- but I truly cant see better - for the moment - suggestions that I offer here. (And my 'curl-up&die' post of yestereve was part tongue in cheek, and part arthritis kicking me around - sorry!)

    For the record, I earn 10% - or less - for any copy of any of my books that are sold here, or overseas.

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Islander,

    O, and really important Sacha-

    best catch to date here was nearly 10kg for the tide - and that was two big fit 'baiters plying nets on the north bank, and a 10yrold looking after the sock net, and - not least - a cleaner-sorter making sure the catch was ready for me to cook (being currently unable to 'bait.)

    = still not running - yet!

    Big O, Mahitahi, Te Wahi … • Since Feb 2007 • 5643 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Keri, thank you for the overseas examples.

    I can totally relate to the stormy arthritis grumpiness (and probably only a day behind you as those southerly fronts sweep over). I found the last few years much worse, and I'm not sure if it's actually climate change, me getting older, or both. It doesn't bring out the best in me, that's fer sure.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Ta - was curious. Saw a tv news story suggesting the East coast was having a hard time of it.

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    Keir - um sorry,

    Oh, it's just the idea of Mark telling you that the catchment area for your work was a small part of 4 million was too -- I dunno -- bizarre? -- to pass. (That and I was kind of curious if I was right or not.)

    And in fact I think we do as a society owe you a living.

    And I thought your novel was really powerful. I had to read it for English at school; hated English that year, hated the teacher, hated the daft hoops we had to jump through to get credits, but really liked your book.

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Keir Leslie,

    And, er, sorry if you'd rather I hadn't mentioned it. I wasn't sure if it was an indiscretion error or not, and (rather selfishly) thought why not?

    Since Jul 2008 • 1452 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Keir, I came to the same conclusion while you were typing your post (hence the whitebait question as I knew I'd get a decent answer) - so I doubt we were alone. The whisky conversations were a giveaway, too.. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Sacha,

    Maybe Mark meant 4 billion.. :)

    Ak • Since May 2008 • 19740 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Islander's identity doesn't invalidate my point, Keir. The exception never does. The problem with arts in this country is that we're too blody small. But you can requite yourself with a wee 'omigawd' on my part ;-)

    Keri, when you were writing it, did you imagine it would win the prize and go around the world? Or were you writing it for you, your whanau and friends and maybe a few other Kiwis who might read it if you managed the miracle of getting it published?

    I appreciate that your book has had an impact on tourism, but so have a lot of books like Beak of the Moon and Mantle of the Gods. (Funny, all South Island books). Even more impact has been felt from all the films and TV series made here - not just LOTR, but Narnia, River Queen, Hercules etc. Should the DOP or the director expect a cut of the tourism benefits that their work generates? It's a little unrealistic to expect it, after all you're in the writing (and whitebait) business, not the tourism business.

    I do know something of the publishing game (I have reject letters for Africa) although more from the performance writing end. If my work is used, I get paid. If not, then not. That's the way it is. I accept that's the way the game gets played. I don't like it, but I accept it.

    As you said earlier, control of the copyright is far more important than the royalty long tail, but it's worthless in the end unless you do something with it. The Internet allows greater reach for lower cost, if you can reuse the work you've done.

    But, if you're at all like me as a writer, the work is built in a particular way using just the right characters scenes and words to get across exactly the message you want to impart, and 'repurposing' them feels sort of wrong.

    Example: I have a play that would make a really good novel, but I don't yet know how to write a compelling novel. But the play's got too many characters to be feasible to put on stage. What to do?

    One possibility is to redirect it as a radio play, or series, and put it on the Internet under a Creative Commons licence. I can muster enough people who can do the voice work - I'd still control the copyright. Finding a revenue stream out of it is the hard bit.

    But the play was the important thing to me to write the play and get it done. I didn't write it for the money (ha!) but to get it out of my system (1981 Springbok tour). If it *ever* makes me a dime, it'll be a bonus.

    It's late. I'm off to bed. Night all

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Joe Wylie,

    Keir, I came to the same conclusion while you were typing your post (hence the whitebait question as I knew I'd get a decent answer) - so I doubt we were alone. The whisky conversations were a giveaway, too.. :)

    Nobody else does the Aue thang quite like . . . actually, come to think of it, nobody else does the Aue thang.

    flat earth • Since Jan 2007 • 4593 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    For every JK Rowling, there are 10000 others writing in their off hours, hoping to make some pocket money. Sorry to disillusion you, but I live in the real world with real expectations.

    And, Mark, groups like the Society of Authors and the Writers Guild of America (which has at least two Kiwi members) have real expectations too -- that contracts, copyright and intellectual property law are, at least, marginally better than indentured servitude. While the Rowlings, Kings and Grishams of this world might be in a position to take a foreign object in their nethers (yet, ironically, be in the best position to not have it shoved there in the first place), there are others for whom "pocket money" is a little more than the occasional splurge on a decent bottle of gin and a carton of cigarettes.

    I don't mean to come across as an ungrateful cuss, but I know I' never going to retire on my radio money. You don't "owe me a living". But I sure don't owe anyone a passive acceptance of getting screwed either.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    I have never advocated that, Craig. I actually believe copyright is a good thing. But for every right there has to be an obligation, which is to release the work to society to benefit society. I favour fixed terms, from the date of publishing, myself - as Matthew (I think) said earlier, you don't want people shooting creators in order to get ahold of their material.

    I'd *love* to have some more pocket money for my work, but it's not likely at present. I just don't think anyone owes me anything because my efforts may have had a (marginal, in my own opinion) effect on increasing radio listening in the 80's or theatre-going in Wellington.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

  • Craig Ranapia,

    But for every right there has to be an obligation, which is to release the work to society to benefit society.

    And that's where I keep getting stuck, though to be fair I'm just the kind of person for whom the words "benefit society" tend to get my scepticism gland a'twitching. I actually think it benefits society when we have a culture -- and a legislative framework -- that takes intellectual property seriously. If nothing else, I have a sneaking suspicion that Joanne Rowling pays a fair chunk of tax on her royalties and ancillary incomes. So do the Fleming, Tolkien and Christie Estates for that matter.

    North Shore, Auckland • Since Nov 2006 • 12370 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    But for every right there has to be an obligation, which is to release the work to society to benefit society.

    But if we are to put Islander's work in the spotlight for a few seconds, where would the benefit to society be if it was out of copyright now (lets say copyright runs for 20 years from date of publication)?

    The book is available in shops, libraries. It's not difficult to get, indeed to get for the price of a trip to the public library. It's not difficult to buy for a not-unreasonable price, a part of which goes to the author.

    It could be made more available if it was put on the internet, but only 'more' available, it's already available for anyone that wants it.

    If it was unavailable and wasn't going to be reprinted, I could see the argument.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Mark Harris,

    Being part of the culture is one way of enriching it, but having material available for redevelopment is another. Personally, I think 50 years is a sufficient copyright period, rather than 20.

    It's not so much the making available of an existing work in new formats that enhances the culture - it's the availability of it for redevelopment e.g. taking a character that interests the reader and writing a new story about them, or envisioning an existing story from a minor character's perspective.

    Islanders already expressed the idea that (to paraphrase) we can only pry her characters from her cold dead hands, so there's no possibility of doing that sort of deal while copyright governs (in this instance). However, that leaves the work as a static item rather than a part of living culture. By the time it's available for rework, most people who read the original have passed on and there's no desire to make something new out of what has gone before. It's a pebble dropped into a pond and even the ripples have vanished.

    None of us create in a vacuum. There is always something that has gone before. The current view of copyright as property prevents this re-nourishment of the culture.

    Waikanae • Since Jul 2008 • 1343 posts Report Reply

First ←Older Page 1 2 3 4 5 6 30 Newer→ Last

Post your response…

Please sign in using your Public Address credentials…

Login

You may also create an account or retrieve your password.