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Poster: Dr Feel Rotten Date: Jan 8, 2011 12:06pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: What's all the hoopla?

Well..maybe someone, maybe the people here as a whole should lobby congress at least in the US to change copyright laws to reflect the realities of the world as it is instead of how someone who MIGHT have been a long lost relative of a creator who MIGHT want to capitalize on something that MIGHT have fallen into PD.
A lot of old classics remain under copyright for far to long and end up getting handed down forever to families who get to 'sue' anyone who so much as breathes on great, great grampa's work, but I 'guess' that's supposed to be the American way, huh?
These are the same reasons we had estate laws so that no one group or family could hold onto wealth forever and ever by mere blood relations, but even those were watered down to death by wealthy groups to keep them wealthy forever and ever..
Personally I don't feel so obligated to observe their so called rights as some do. After a few billion people have seen a movie a billion times and their grand children have seen it and their great, great, great grandchildren have seen it and know nearly every word by heart then it's time to pry the copyright away for the public good and stop giving these wealthy bastards the right to permanently cripple someones finances for life.
Let's face it. if the first person to ever speak the word "it" were to have copy-written it a gazillion years ago there would undoubtedly be some greedy bastard to this day trying to sue every person whoever used the word "it" on a printed page or movie or anywhere else and the stupid laws would allow them to do it forever as long as they remember to renew the copyright to "it". by now that person would be so fabulously wealthy that money would become utterly worthless to everyone else.
of course that's taking it to the extreme, but many copyright laws are taken to the extreme for the sole purpose of keeping wealth consolidated in the hands of a precious few.
Give it time and someone will someday try to tell us his great, great, great, great ,great grandfather discovered oxygen there therefore should be paid every time one of us uses it.
There has to be a point where copyrights and "intellectual property" become property of the public for the public good instead of the wealthy few.

Enough of my soap box.. go ahead and throw your rocks at me now.

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Poster: Video-Cellar Date: Jan 8, 2011 3:51pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: What's all the hoopla?

America were kind of on their own in the world with their short copyright terms. The price for protection of American works internationally was joining international copyright agreements and adopting the minimum copyright terms these treaties had been based on for the 100 years before the USA joined (which was the life + a certain period calculation).

In my opinion, the advantage of the "life +" (post mortem) calculation is that there is no room for debate. Joe Author died in 1940 his work entered the public domain last Saturday. No one can bring up copyright notices, registrations and renewals that prove otherwise and, until someone changes the law to retrospecively re-copyright his work, I'm free to use it however I want.

The disadvantage of the old US system is that it is so messy. You have to look for a notice, then a registration, a renewal, then a notice again, find out if and when it was "published". It seem to be public domain so now you have to look for underlying rights. Were they separately registered? Before or after the main work? Is it a foreign work? Did its copyright get restored? and so on....

This post was modified by Video-Cellar on 2011-01-08 23:51:52

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Poster: billbarstad Date: Jan 8, 2011 1:37pm
Forum: feature_films Subject: Re: What's all the hoopla?

Personal, but mostly corporate greed, is responsible for what is a ridiculously long copyright term. Fresh out school, a director, cinematographer, or screenwriter in her/his 20s can easily live another 50 years, making their work last 50+70=120 years in copyright. Up until 1978, copyright length was only a maximum of 56 years. That's 28 years of protection after registering the film, plus another 28 years if the copyright was renewed. That's a reasonable copyright term in my opinion.

The Center for the Study of the Public Domain has more on the erosion of the public domain.