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March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights" 
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Post March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
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Tue Mar 05, 2013 5:18 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
I don't have the information on hand to verify at the moment, but I read elsewhere that the North Korea thing is a cover and that The Pirate Bay is actually running out of Cambodia now.

Nevertheless, this ReelThoughts raises important doubts regarding the current state of copyright law. One aspect that I think gets less airtime is how copyright affects things at the front end. I believe JB's suggested revision of copyright law is more in the spirit of why copyright exists in the first place: to give content creators a temporary opportunity to exclusively benefit from their creations, while still allowing the creations to enter into the marketplace of ideas.

In practice, copyright seems to be a protection racket. You either toil in obscurity, or you have the opportunity to create content on the terms of enormous conglomerates that will own your creations in perpetuity. (There is a time limit, but corporate lobbying has extended it over and over again, engendering a state of de facto perpetuity.) The more this situation tries to change--e.g. the decreasing cost and increasing democratization of publishing technology--the harder the conglomerates try to clamp down. It's a farce.

And to be honest, I think we're stuck. Regular people don't have the money or influence necessary to compete with wealthy copyright owners, although ironically it is mostly regular people who generated that wealth for copyright owners in the first place. There is no Batman without Bill Finger, but Bill Finger dies anonymous and penniless while Batman pays college tuition for the children of Warner Bros. bosses. I think the biggest disincentive for creativity in the world isn't the lack of a paycheck, but the knowledge that you'll be completely fucked if you sign on the dotted line with any of these big companies.

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Tue Mar 05, 2013 6:56 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
I'm surprised James didn't mention that new Six Strikes law that went into effect a few weeks ago. Basically the major ISPs give you warnings if they detect you downloading on torrent sites(but not cyberlocker sites) with increasing punishments, Verizon slows down your speed greatly for a few days after the sixth warning, Time Warner blocks access to popular sites until you complete a course in copyright and so on, and you have to pay 35$ if you want to contest a warning, which is total BS.


Tue Mar 05, 2013 7:35 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
Personally, I think that copyright law should be 40 years or the life of the creator in the case of a personal work, or just a flat 40 years in the case of a corporate work. But that's not going to happen. When's Mickey Mouse going to fall into the public domain? Look around then for our copyright laws to change.

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Tue Mar 05, 2013 8:12 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
The Pirate Bay/North Korea story has been confirmed a hoax.
http://www.latimes.com/business/technol ... 0021.story

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Wed Mar 06, 2013 1:02 am
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
Copyright was easy in the past when production and distribution was completely in control of publishers and movie studios and distribution companies but digital technology has allowed us to reproduce sound and video like we were factories. It was interesting to watch corporations use the same strategy with each new innovation(VCR,digital audio tape,MP3 players and online filesharing) which is use the US Congress to kill it. The MPAA's Jack Valenti famously testified before Congress that "the VCR is to the American film producer and the American public as the Boston strangler is to the woman home alone."

What we get is anti democratic and anti consumer legislation and censorship where our government unilaterally blocks or seizes websites without any legal defense allowed to the owner. I am not sure what the answer is but I know the MPAA doesn't have one as they rely on crushing draconian laws to make everyone a criminal.Probably the answer may be in the Netflix and Hulu model for movie and the Itune system for books. The key component will be price and where to set it to discourage file sharing but still make a profit.

I have one question about writing a fantasy novel which is an impressive achievement to write one that long at 1500 pages. Why do fantasy novels have to be that long? Can they not be just a self contained 400 pages with a sequel when needed or a series of short stories like Robert E Howard with Conan the Barbarian/Solomon Kane or Issac Asimov with the Foundation.


Wed Mar 06, 2013 8:22 am
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
Ken wrote:
In practice, copyright seems to be a protection racket. You either toil in obscurity, or you have the opportunity to create content on the terms of enormous conglomerates that will own your creations in perpetuity. (There is a time limit, but corporate lobbying has extended it over and over again, engendering a state of de facto perpetuity.) The more this situation tries to change--e.g. the decreasing cost and increasing democratization of publishing technology--the harder the conglomerates try to clamp down. It's a farce.

And to be honest, I think we're stuck. Regular people don't have the money or influence necessary to compete with wealthy copyright owners, although ironically it is mostly regular people who generated that wealth for copyright owners in the first place. There is no Batman without Bill Finger, but Bill Finger dies anonymous and penniless while Batman pays college tuition for the children of Warner Bros. bosses. I think the biggest disincentive for creativity in the world isn't the lack of a paycheck, but the knowledge that you'll be completely fucked if you sign on the dotted line with any of these big companies.


Sexual Chocolate wrote:
Personally, I think that copyright law should be 40 years or the life of the creator in the case of a personal work, or just a flat 40 years in the case of a corporate work. But that's not going to happen. When's Mickey Mouse going to fall into the public domain? Look around then for our copyright laws to change.


Re: Mickey Mouse. That'll be a while. Due to changes to copyright laws that occured in 1998 (not sure what the specifics are) MM would have been in the public domain by now. But he isn't because of those changes. The pimpweasels up top at Disney are free to hold on to him and Donald for who knows how long even though they seem to have zero interest in them, having relegated them to being nothing more than company mascots.

Echoing what Ken said it seems that the people who tend to be the most draconian about copyright are not the artists, writers, musicians, filmmakers who produce the work. But the record companies, studios etc.

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Wed Mar 06, 2013 12:30 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
oakenshield32 wrote:
I have one question about writing a fantasy novel which is an impressive achievement to write one that long at 1500 pages. Why do fantasy novels have to be that long? Can they not be just a self contained 400 pages with a sequel when needed or a series of short stories like Robert E Howard with Conan the Barbarian/Solomon Kane or Issac Asimov with the Foundation.


It's a trilogy. Each book is about 500 pages long. That's how it was conceived; I let the content determine the length. It really takes that long to tell the entire story, but it's not like some of the seemingly unending series currently in progress. It's possible that once the editor gets done with it, each book could lose as much as 100 pages.


Wed Mar 06, 2013 2:29 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
Jeff Wilder wrote:

Re: Mickey Mouse. That'll be a while. Due to changes to copyright laws that occured in 1998 (not sure what the specifics are) MM would have been in the public domain by now. But he isn't because of those changes. The pimpweasels up top at Disney are free to hold on to him and Donald for who knows how long even though they seem to have zero interest in them, having relegated them to being nothing more than company mascots.


I mentioned Mickey because it was the possibility of Steamboat Willie (nd by extension Mickey Mouse) going into the public domain that caused the latest changes to copyright law. In my opinion, Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks are dead. Mickey Mouse should be PD.

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Wed Mar 06, 2013 5:36 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
Mildly off-topic, but I cannot wait to read your trilogy, James. Perhaps one day, your name will enter the pantheon of J.R.R. Tolkien. J.K. Rowling, and George R.R. Martin. Perhaps abbreviating one's name would be helpful.

Copyright laws are entirely ineffective in the 21st century, especially given that this is the digital age. I have always been of the opinion that piracy does not constitute a crime, simply because nothing has been stolen. After all, an unlimited number of digital copies are still available, regardless of the quantity of downloads. I believe that film studios should strive to produce quality pictures that will can only be appreciated when one visits their local movie theater. After all, who really would want to see Iron Man 3 or Man of Steel on their computer for free, when it such films will probably end up being much more when seen on the big screen? IMAX technology, as well as correct use of 3D technology, will hopefully pave the way for such changes. Furthermore, I have always thought of movie-going as a communal experience that is only truly effective when one views a greatly-anticipated film with an audience of like-minded individuals. Ironically enough, I despise seeing independent releases and Oscar contenders with such groups. However, being able to see something such as Marvel's The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises with a theater full of fans made the experience that much more enjoyable.


Wed Mar 06, 2013 9:14 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
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It's time to write laws that protect the rights of an artist without subsidizing corporate greed.


Has this EVER actually been the case?


Thu Mar 07, 2013 11:11 am
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
Quote:
It's a trilogy. Each book is about 500 pages long. That's how it was conceived; I let the content determine the length. It really takes that long to tell the entire story, but it's not like some of the seemingly unending series currently in progress. It's possible that once the editor gets done with it, each book could lose as much as 100 pages.


I would read more in the fantasy genre but the extreme length is daunting to jump in and commonly the stories are mainly Tolkien clones with the same overfamiliar contents but none of the academic brilliance that Tolkien brought to a invented mythology. The neverending serialization of other writers is really a turn off to beginning. Some examples that have stood out as being different is the trilogy of The Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen and Damiano series by R.A. MacAvoy set in medieval Italy. They felt like new and interesting places not the same Middle Earth.

How does an editor change your book? Does he give exact things he wants changed for flow and comprehension(or if your Tarantino spellcheck) and you submit them till he is happy or is it a team effort with some back and forth haggling.Do some characters get enhanced or disappeared entirely like movie outtakes on a cutting room floor.


Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:17 pm
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Post Congratulations on your novels! What an achievement!
I am in envy of you. Knowing that you have a regular job, family, baby and Reelviews, it's incredible that you have been able to find time to write not one but about to finish three novels. As an artist(illustrator) myself, I know how hard it must be for you not to publish the first novel when it was finished. Truly amazed. With such hard work and dedication, I know you'll succeed.


Thu Mar 07, 2013 7:46 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
The length of copyright protection has gotten out of hand, what about life of the author + 25 years? That way, the author's kids should have finished college when the copyright term ends.

Other than that and a host of implementation/enforcement related issues, I think the current situation is actually pretty good, and I don't see how we can make things better.

On the one hand, we want creators to have copyrights that they can monetize, because, as James mentioned, without that many streams of content are going to dry up.

On the other hand, we want/need some wiggle room. Without that, less popular content would disappear as creators can't be bothered to make it available, and prices/restrictions for the popular stuff would get out of hand without the pressure of piracy to release it quickly at reasonable prices.


Fri Mar 08, 2013 8:08 am
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
oakenshield32 wrote:
I would read more in the fantasy genre but the extreme length is daunting to jump in and commonly the stories are mainly Tolkien clones with the same overfamiliar contents but none of the academic brilliance that Tolkien brought to a invented mythology. The neverending serialization of other writers is really a turn off to beginning. Some examples that have stood out as being different is the trilogy of The Book of Swords by Fred Saberhagen and Damiano series by R.A. MacAvoy set in medieval Italy. They felt like new and interesting places not the same Middle Earth.

How does an editor change your book? Does he give exact things he wants changed for flow and comprehension(or if your Tarantino spellcheck) and you submit them till he is happy or is it a team effort with some back and forth haggling.Do some characters get enhanced or disappeared entirely like movie outtakes on a cutting room floor.


An editor suggests changes to improve flow and clarity. I have removed whole sections because, though I loved them dearly, they slowed things down too much. Sometimes a scene doesn't quite work as written. The editor may suggest changes to it. I ended up re-writing the entirety of the final chapter of Book 2 because it didn't work as the concluding chapter to a novel. (Actually, one scene was subsequently reworked for the opening chapter of Book 3.) Ultimately, everything in the book was written by me. The editor never steps in and attempts to write something. And, in the end, if the writer is uncomfortable with a suggestion, he can reject it.

Like you, I have had problems with series that start strong then begin to drag on and on and on. There are two problems with this: (1) the storylines become messy and increasingly less interesting, and (2) the time in between installments invariably increases because the author loses interest and has to force himself to continue. I've never met George R.R. Martin but, based on second-hand talk, he has so many outside interests that the actual writing of his Song of Ice & Fire novels has become secondary. Plus, he's perfectionist. Writing requires discipline to meet deadlines. If Martin devoted himself to his books as he did for the first few installments, he could deliver a novel every other year (or sooner). But that's not how things happen.

I just finished a year in which I wrote about 800 pages. Admittedly, some of it was still ragged. But I'm not a full-time author; if I was, I could have easily doubled that page count. The key is setting goals and meeting them. If you just write when you feel like it, you're not going to get anywhere.

This series will not extend beyond three books. It has a clearly defined beginning and ending. The beginning is derivative by intent. The ending is not. My goal is start the reader in familiar territory and evolve things from there. It's not very Tolkien-esque. There's no Sauron. There are wizards and a few randomly-spaced "monsters," but the Tolkien influence is limited. I'd cite Katherine Kurtz and "I, Claudius" as inspirations.


Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:53 am
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
mrguinness wrote:
Quote:
It's time to write laws that protect the rights of an artist without subsidizing corporate greed.


Has this EVER actually been the case?


Once, yes. Not for a long time, though. The intent of "copyright" is a lot different for how it is currently being manipulated and used. In order to effectively re-write the copyright laws, those doing so need to go back to scratch with that intent and figure out how to apply it to the current world. No one seemingly has the will or desire to do so. I agree it's not easy. If it was, someone would have come up with a solution by now.


Sun Mar 10, 2013 11:06 am
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
Quote:
The editor never steps in and attempts to write something. And, in the end, if the writer is uncomfortable with a suggestion, he can reject it.


Thanks for the explanation as I never realize how indispensable the editor is in the process. Sometime I wish there was a movie version of a book editor for screenplays.

Quote:
There are wizards and a few randomly-spaced "monsters," but the Tolkien influence is limited. I'd cite Katherine Kurtz and "I, Claudius" as inspirations.


Wow that is a high bar. If similar to I,Claudius then it definitely should stand out from the other fantasy novels. Will wait for it at Chapters. Just finished Robert Graves' Count Belisarius and that would make great movie or mini series.


Quote:
I've never met George R.R. Martin but, based on second-hand talk, he has so many outside interests that the actual writing of his Song of Ice & Fire novels has become secondary.


I am not sure if his books have become secondary as the tv series has put him in a quandary. Here is his quote.

I am aware of the TV series moving along behind me like a giant locomotive, and I know I need to lay the track more quickly, perhaps, because the locomotive is soon going to be bearing down on me. The last thing I want is for the TV series to catch up with me. I’ve got a considerable head start, but production is moving faster than I can write. I’m hoping that we’ll finish the story at about the same time…we’ll see.


Sun Mar 10, 2013 10:52 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
oakenshield32 wrote:
I am not sure if his books have become secondary as the tv series has put him in a quandary. Here is his quote.

I am aware of the TV series moving along behind me like a giant locomotive, and I know I need to lay the track more quickly, perhaps, because the locomotive is soon going to be bearing down on me. The last thing I want is for the TV series to catch up with me. I’ve got a considerable head start, but production is moving faster than I can write. I’m hoping that we’ll finish the story at about the same time…we’ll see.


He'd better get busy then. The TV producers are hopeful of an eight or nine season run. Eight is probably more likely. That means five years from now the final season will begin airing. Scripts will have to be written and pre-production started in four years and change. That means Martin will have to get two books out in four years, which doesn't seem likely given his current pace.

The thing that concerns me is that we'll end up getting a rush-job on the final novel.

Then again, at four hours per day five days per week, he should be able to complete a 1000-page novel in a little over a year.


Tue Mar 12, 2013 4:32 pm
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
oakenshield32 wrote:
Thanks for the explanation as I never realize how indispensable the editor is in the process. Sometime I wish there was a movie version of a book editor for screenplays.


Wanna hear how important an editor is? Check out the band King's X, and their sound/songwriting before and after their 4th album.

:-)


Wed Mar 13, 2013 9:29 am
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Post Re: March 5, 2013: "21st Century Copyrights"
For me, downloading has a few uses.

1. A way to test a film or music. If I like it, I'll buy it. Downloading has not become a alternative to buying for me.(youtube has also become a great way to "sample" music)

2. My impatience. If I like something I will view a downloaded version to hold me over until the official release comes along. For example Dredd came and left before I had a chance to see it a second time in theaters. I watched a downloaded version until the bluray release.


Tue Mar 26, 2013 7:28 pm
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