Author Topic: "no reason" and no rights  (Read 11352 times)

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #40 on: October 13, 2012, 01:26:31 AM »
It's realizations like that that lead to the development of things like the wayback machine. The losses are tragic, but independent efforts by those who DO value such things will go much, much further than attempts to force something on those who do not.

Aquashock

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #41 on: October 13, 2012, 01:29:58 AM »
It's realizations like that that lead to the development of things like the wayback machine. The losses are tragic, but independent efforts by those who DO value such things will go much, much further than attempts to force something on those who do not.

Well, yes, but a paradigm shift in thought will hopefully start to occur as things start to settle more. Right now, this sort of culture is seen as "lesser" in a way. It's written off as "not as important" so preservation is not taking place on a wider scale. Over time, this absolutely can change.

TimtheEnchanter

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #42 on: October 13, 2012, 02:53:26 AM »
I wish there was more ethical thought put into the preservation of human culture and effort behind decisions like NC's. To them, this might be another purely business decision but to me it's another sign that we don't have a safety net here for digital culture. Our culture has embraced the abilities of the internet but we haven't really considered how to -preserve- our efforts and the control wielded by corporate entities is overwhelming.

Without projects like the Wayback Machine, our records would be gone. So many of them already are. There needs to be a realization that our history is important and should be maintained. The digital aspects of our culture should be preserved. Every time this happens, another hole is created in our record. If the MMO as a concept dies, what will be left of it to remember?

Interesting way of looking at it. With the stroke of a pen, the amount of information that was contained in the Library of Alexandria possibly gets destroyed every month or so. Yet while one is considered one of the greatest tragedies ever dealt to the recording of human history, nobody things twice about the digital equivalent.

Codewalker

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #43 on: October 13, 2012, 03:35:30 AM »
It's not really helpful to the overall movement, but what Aquashock alluded to is something that is a pet peeve of mine.

I wish there was more ethical thought put into the preservation of human culture and effort behind decisions like NC's. To them, this might be another purely business decision but to me it's another sign that we don't have a safety net here for digital culture. Our culture has embraced the abilities of the internet but we haven't really considered how to -preserve- our efforts and the control wielded by corporate entities is overwhelming.

<soapbox>

It's exactly because of this that I think copyright has gotten out of hand in general.

Its original intent was to provide temporary protection of ideas, in order to encourage artists, authors, musicians, etc. to create works. The idea was to grant them a temporary monopoly, even though those ideas could be mechanically copied. Once enough time had passed and the artist was compensated, the work became part of the public domain -- free to use, archive, and enrich the community as a whole. It was a tradeoff, a bargain, and both sides benefited. While I don't remember the exact original term, I'm fairly certain that it was considerably less than the artist's lifetime.

However, it's been twisted, perverted into something different. It was supposed to encourage the creation of ideas, not let corporations and individuals 'own' ideas and keep a stranglehold on them forever. Greed has corrupted it and turned it into a tool that's used to silence the public rather than enrich it.

That's why the term 'intellectual property' gets under my skin so much. It goes completely contrary to the natural order of things (if you can see it, you can copy it). This artificial construct was supposed be a mutually beneficial arrangement, but it's now almost completely dominated by one side. Even authors, the people who it was supposed to help, can easily get screwed by unscrupulous publishers who abuse the very concept that was supposed to benefit those authors.

Another way to look at it: Pharmaceutical companies spend millions of dollars in R&D to produce a product that gets patent protection on the formula for at most 7-12 years. After the patent expires, everyone and their dog can make generic knockoffs using the same formula. They have to capitalize on it and make their money during that window before it expires.

If 7 years is good enough for a company that makes something as important as medicine, why do video games get 80+ years protection? What makes them more special?

</soapbox>

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #44 on: October 13, 2012, 03:50:20 AM »
The "no reason" covers them in case of shit happening that they can't tell people about. It's unlikely, and AFAIK aside from CoH there has never been an actual use of the 'no reason' clause. TECHNICALLY, there was a reason given with CoH even- a BS reason maybe, but a reason.

I see the 'no reason' clause to be similar to the 'acts of god' wording in contracts. It gives them an out should something come up that they could not possibly have thought of at the time they opened the game. Of course, it also gives them a reason to shut the game down any time they like but, we were supposed to have read all of that before giving them our money.
 
 
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TimtheEnchanter

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #45 on: October 13, 2012, 05:00:51 AM »
Codewalker, the Entertainment Industry has somehow always gotten away with more. Everyone from the individual artists with perpetual get-out-of-jail-free cards, to the corporations who are actually trying to rewrite laws to get more money (the current big move since the piracy wars is to make ALL media licensed to a specific individual, and have that license non-transferable, which means we can no longer resell CD's, movies, etc)

And then there's Disney's cute little trademark application that's going through the process right now, in attempt to make the name, "Snow White" a trademark, effectively making it illegal for anyone else to use the name, which has been in public domain for... how long?

Codewalker

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #46 on: October 13, 2012, 05:06:33 AM »
Don't forget the fact that the copyright term magically seem to always get extended right when Mickey is about to pass into public domain...

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #47 on: October 13, 2012, 05:32:10 AM »
I actually understand why Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny should remain protected properties of their respective companies; the companies are still actively using them and, particularly in Mickey's case, they're incredibly iconic. The harm that could be done to public confidence in Disney as a company if public domain use of Mickey Mouse were to start having him "endorse" the wrong sorts of things or have him become a logo on products NOT sanctioned by Disney could be horrific.

"Active use" should be a consideration, I think, in copyright law. Whether it is or not, I don't know. And really, it's academic to debate here. But it's late, so my two cents get thrown in rather than filtered. ^^;

cptbarcode

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #48 on: October 13, 2012, 05:45:27 AM »
I actually understand why Mickey Mouse and Bugs Bunny should remain protected properties of their respective companies; the companies are still actively using them and, particularly in Mickey's case, they're incredibly iconic. The harm that could be done to public confidence in Disney as a company if public domain use of Mickey Mouse were to start having him "endorse" the wrong sorts of things or have him become a logo on products NOT sanctioned by Disney could be horrific.

"Active use" should be a consideration, I think, in copyright law. Whether it is or not, I don't know. And really, it's academic to debate here. But it's late, so my two cents get thrown in rather than filtered. ^^;

Mickey Mouse is also a trademark, not merely a character in copyrighted properties. Whether or not the copyright on "Steamboat Willie", Mickey's first appearance, ever passes into the public domain, "Mickey Mouse" and the distinctive likeness of the character remain trademarks of Disney for as long as they maintain them. Trademark and copyright are separate.


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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #49 on: October 13, 2012, 06:16:37 AM »
Litigious society or not, I don't have to sign a disclaimer every time I order a beefy burrito from Taco Bell.
Although, in that case you probably should have to sign a waiver.   ;D
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #50 on: October 13, 2012, 07:35:26 AM »
Stuff like this is why I'm a proponent of open source software. The philosophy of open source to me is no less than anthropological environmentalism. Archaic copyright laws and short-sighted commercial practices are obliterating a growing human subculture. 500 years from now, if humanity is still around then, it will in all likelihood understand less of 2012 than we do of 1512.

With the amount of digital information in the world, most of it is consigned to oblivion before it has a shot at permanence. What good is copyright doing when everyone is reinventing a square wheel behind close doors, and it won't even fit on any modern cart anymore by the time a tenth of the copyright term has passed? Never mind that most of the blueprints are permanently lost, so the likelihood of them enriching the public domain is nil. Digital culture -- by which I include software, video games, and all sorts of multimedia -- is ephemeral, and future humanity is going to regret that.

Copyright was supposed to provide incentive to creators, but who really is benefiting from it? Publishers, distributors, and companies hiring creators get disproportionate amounts of the profits. Arguments are made that those paying the money get to call the shots, but what about customers? Aren't they the ones who ultimately provide returns for the investment? It seems that users should by the same logic have as much claim to ownership as the companies. Setting aside what copyright laws actually say for now, if NCsoft's buying CoX warranted transfer of moral ownership, then the players who invested in the game should likewise have a similar claim.

With respect to meatspace analogies, renters and even squatters have (or used to have) more rights than users of digital culture.
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Colette

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #51 on: October 13, 2012, 08:53:05 AM »
"...copyright has gotten out of hand in general... It was supposed to encourage the creation of ideas, not let corporations and individuals 'own' ideas and keep a stranglehold on them forever. Greed has corrupted it and turned it into a tool that's used to silence the public rather than enrich it."

"Archaic copyright laws and short-sighted commercial practices are obliterating a growing human subculture."

Oh hoo hoo! Y'all just stepped into my favorite arena.

Corporations like the ones that own the major studios act to prevent even innocent infringement, like preschools using the Disney characters without authorization. Yet they prey upon individual artists' work without shame. Let me unveil some of the most grievous examples.

Disney, The Lion King. Such a blatant ripoff of Kimba the White Lion that some scenes are shot-for-shot matchups. "Fang" is renamed "Scar," "Kimba" is renamed "Simba." This is the work of perhaps Japan's most revered artist of the twentieth century, Osamu Tezuki. Stolen and not credited.

"Oh, but that happened almost two decades ago. Things have changed, right?" Wrong! Koushun Takami, Battle Royale. Published as a novel, made into a movie. Stolen outright and released this year as The Hunger Games.

"Ah, but those are foreigners. They wouldn't steal from an American." Wrong again. Jack Kirby, veteran, patriot, and revered American comics creator, publishes The New Gods. The adventures of Mark Moonrider, armed only with his connection with The Source, and his struggles against Darkseid, black-helmeted ruler of the urbanized planetoid Apokolips. Stolen and retitled Star Wars.

Corporations guard their copyrights like junkyard dogs while stealing whatever catches their fancy from every other artist on the planet with impunity. And they preach to us homilies about burning illegal DvDs and try to push the SOPA and PIPA bills through congress.

Provided the 'net reaches its fullest potential, we will inevitably enter the post-copyright era, wherein the moment something is published, it enters the public domain.

But if we allow greed and ruthlessness to strangle that potential, well... as a wiser man than me wrote, "free flow of information is the only safeguard against tyranny. The once-chained people whose leaders at last lose their grip on information flow will soon burst with freedom and vitality, but the free nation gradually constricting its grip on public discourse has begun its rapid slide into despotism. Beware of he who would deny you access to information, for in his heart he dreams himself your master."
« Last Edit: October 13, 2012, 07:22:58 PM by Colette »

Zolgar

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #52 on: October 13, 2012, 09:17:19 AM »

Provided the 'net reaches its fullest potential, we will inevitably enter the post-copyright era, wherein the moment something is published, it enters the public domain.


Yes.. because.. artists should not be able to make any money off their works.
If this is the case, and copyright ceases to be.. all works are public domain..

An author releases a book, tries to sell it.. they sell a few copies.
Someone buys the ebook format for $10, and distributes it for $2/copy claiming it as their own... they've just stolen credit AND undercut the person who put the time and effort in to writing, editing, formatting etc. their work.
Same goes for everything, if all art is public domain.. then the only art that remains as more than just a hobby is live in person performance art.

Copyright is NEEDED, and any artist with any remote desire to make a living off their work will tell you that.
Copyright in it's modern form though, is kinda stupid. Life of creator+70 years? Ideal would be something like 20 years, plus renewable every 5.

DrakeGrimm

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #53 on: October 13, 2012, 09:43:01 AM »
Yes.. because.. artists should not be able to make any money off their works.
If this is the case, and copyright ceases to be.. all works are public domain..

An author releases a book, tries to sell it.. they sell a few copies.
Someone buys the ebook format for $10, and distributes it for $2/copy claiming it as their own... they've just stolen credit AND undercut the person who put the time and effort in to writing, editing, formatting etc. their work.
Same goes for everything, if all art is public domain.. then the only art that remains as more than just a hobby is live in person performance art.

Copyright is NEEDED, and any artist with any remote desire to make a living off their work will tell you that.
Copyright in it's modern form though, is kinda stupid. Life of creator+70 years? Ideal would be something like 20 years, plus renewable every 5.

As an aspiring author, yes, I'd like to keep the ability to make money off of it. Thanks. >.>;
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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #54 on: October 13, 2012, 12:25:50 PM »
I'm a little taken aback at how civil this thread still is given the nature of the debates going on. Then again, another reason why this community rocks. There is some great thought provoking content in here.

Clave Dark 5

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #55 on: October 13, 2012, 12:29:13 PM »
...in Mickey's case, they're incredibly iconic.

Indeed, he's become so much a part of our culture that our culture should "own" him, not a business interest (imho).  Many examples around to think about: Batman, Rudolf The Red-Nosed Reindeer, Star Trek, War Of The Worlds, Sherlock Holmes... all originally created for commercial reasons, but ended up speaking to us in special ways and were allowed to become cultural touchstones.  When should they legally become part of the culture at large and not just property?  Because they already have become a part of it a long time ago (in a galaxy far, far away...).
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Turjan

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #56 on: October 13, 2012, 12:56:54 PM »
Lot of good sparky brains at work here - I like :)

I think the heart of the modern copyright protection v exploitation issue centres on time and scale. When the concept of copyright was first solidly drafted into law, the world was a much slower and (in terms of information flow) smaller place. The rules of the day protected artists at a time when anyone wanting to rip off their work would be involved in a long term venture of physical copying and distribution.

The digital world is a different place entirely though. It's quite common to see musicians at places like Myspace directly selling homeburned copies of their work on CD. No record companies, no managers, no logistic involvement at all, just straight from the artist to the customer. And a lot of folk like that personal element and are happy to buy CDs that way.

Such artists are effectively outside the system though, because they're small scale in an almost retro way. If such an artist became incredibly popular overnight, there's no way they could burn a gazillion CDs without sacrificing time they'd much rather be spending creating new music. So they'd have to employ someone, and have infrastructure...yada yada...and voila, you've crossed the scale line from small and friendly to large and ever more impersonal. And once such a system gets large enough, it becomes instead concerned with maintaining its own existence (because without it, the artist couldn't be the icon they've become), so it has to protect the golden goose that's laying its eggs...even if it means locking them away in a barn.

That's when protection slips over that line into exploitation. And the digital world makes that process happen much faster than it ever did before. And, like gravity, the bigger the coroporation, the more pull it has.

Like the JK Rowling corporate machine. For years she's been under a huge cloud of accusations of plagiarism, but is always more than ready to have her legal crew slap "cease and desist" orders on anyone she feels may be using her work without permission. No such protection for the people she's accused of exploiting, and her legal machine is now large enough to crush anything that comes her way now, no matter how valid.

I don't believe copyright in its current form can persist much longer tbh - it's got so twisted and introspective that it's become not just a minefield, but a minefield in 3 dimensions. With inverted gravity and signposts written in an alien language. And the mines are invisible.

Segev

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #57 on: October 13, 2012, 01:58:52 PM »
It's funny how two examples given in this thread of "big corporate powers stealing from innocent artists" are J. K. Rowling and Star Wars.

Before Star Wars, George Lucas was a nobody. He was not a corporate power capable of trivially stealing credit from little guys. In fact, if that "New Gods" did come out in the hands of a revered comic creator before Star Wars was ever published, Mr. Kirby would represent a significantly greater corporate power than Mr. Lucas at the time.

(Side note: "Apokalips" and "Darkseid" should sound very familiar to fans of Superman...a comic series for which Jack Kirby wrote extensively.)

Before Harry Potter, Rowling was likewise a nobody. She wrote her manuscripts with pencil and paper in local coffee shops and was not exactly rolling in the dough. If she truly plagiarized people, they could have hit her for it the moment her first book hit the shelves, and her publisher would have dropped her like a bad habit before she ever became the superstar she is now. No publisher wants to take up a court case on an untried author whose first works are under accusations of that most heinous of literary crimes.


I can't really comment on The Hunger Games, because I've seen the movie only once and never read the book(s). I've also never seen Kimba, the White Lion. I have heard the accusation regarding The Lion King before, though. One of these days, I'll seek out Kimba to compare it, myself.

Does copyright law get abused? Heavens yes. But utopian visions of a copyright-less future or of "cultural ownership" of icons because, um, well, we don't want the heirs of their creators who still use them as trademarks to make money on them...they're begging for disaster. Check out the origins and meaning of the word "Utopia." It's not flattering to utopian ideals.

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #58 on: October 13, 2012, 03:53:58 PM »
It's funny how two examples given in this thread of "big corporate powers stealing from innocent artists" are J. K. Rowling and Star Wars.

Before Star Wars, George Lucas was a nobody. He was not a corporate power capable of trivially stealing credit from little guys. In fact, if that "New Gods" did come out in the hands of a revered comic creator before Star Wars was ever published, Mr. Kirby would represent a significantly greater corporate power than Mr. Lucas at the time.

(Side note: "Apokalips" and "Darkseid" should sound very familiar to fans of Superman...a comic series for which Jack Kirby wrote extensively.)

Before Harry Potter, Rowling was likewise a nobody. She wrote her manuscripts with pencil and paper in local coffee shops and was not exactly rolling in the dough. If she truly plagiarized people, they could have hit her for it the moment her first book hit the shelves, and her publisher would have dropped her like a bad habit before she ever became the superstar she is now. No publisher wants to take up a court case on an untried author whose first works are under accusations of that most heinous of literary crimes.


I can't really comment on The Hunger Games, because I've seen the movie only once and never read the book(s). I've also never seen Kimba, the White Lion. I have heard the accusation regarding The Lion King before, though. One of these days, I'll seek out Kimba to compare it, myself.

Does copyright law get abused? Heavens yes. But utopian visions of a copyright-less future or of "cultural ownership" of icons because, um, well, we don't want the heirs of their creators who still use them as trademarks to make money on them...they're begging for disaster. Check out the origins and meaning of the word "Utopia." It's not flattering to utopian ideals.

It's even funnier when you go back and read a little bit of the mythology...The dark-helmeted/masked/hooded evil power was NOT invented by Jack Kirby. It predates him by, oh, a couple thousand years or so. :) You might want to check up on Joseph Campbell's collected works, especially "Hero With A Thousand Faces". (Which is largely cited by Lucas as one of his inspirations for Star Wars, and has been since the movie came out. And was published a few years before Darkseid. (Volume 1 came out in 1962, volume 4 came out in 1968, Darkseid's first appearance was 1970.) It'll be a lot easier than me trying to cite all of the assorted myths in that vein. :)
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TimtheEnchanter

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Re: "no reason" and no rights
« Reply #59 on: October 13, 2012, 04:46:55 PM »
Before Harry Potter, Rowling was likewise a nobody. She wrote her manuscripts with pencil and paper in local coffee shops and was not exactly rolling in the dough. If she truly plagiarized people, they could have hit her for it the moment her first book hit the shelves, and her publisher would have dropped her like a bad habit before she ever became the superstar she is now. No publisher wants to take up a court case on an untried author whose first works are under accusations of that most heinous of literary crimes.

I'm starting to have serious doubts about whether or not plagiarism even exists these days. 50 Shades of Grey has all but made me give up on writing. There's a story that actually ADMITTED to being a Twilight story. So much so that when the book was originally written, it featured Twilight characters. Then, after the story had already developed a cult following of fanfic readers, the author said, "Hey, you know what, I'm going to change the character names and sell it as a standalone piece."

And now the book, which is actually written WORSE than Twilight, and has a plot 1/10th as good, is an NYT bestseller. Now, where the heck is the lawsuit for that one? I'm not even suggesting a lawsuit for stealing material from Twilight. Writers are inspired by other works all the time and there's nothing wrong with that. But how in the world do you legally start something as a free fanfic to draw in your audience, and then once you have them hooked, sell them a different product? That's illegally using someone else's trademarks for promotional purposes, and Twilight is one of the biggest IP's in the world (though probably waning now). Yet somehow, that book is still being sold.