[Cdn-DMCA] Derivative works: "Moral rights" and "Monopoly
russell at flora.ca
Thu Apr 4 19:16:01 EST 2002
On 4 Apr 2002, Ian Goldberg wrote:
> But will authors write if publishers won't pay?
It totally depends on the nature of what is being written, who the
audience is, etc.
This is one of the reasons why I argue that the moral and monopoly
rights need to be separated in their length, and that the length of
monopoly privilege be tied to the nature of the information and not
anything in relation to the creator.
Some authors donate the royalties of books to the cause that they wrote
about. Other books are purely entertainment value and thus need different
In the case of software, it is either private (customer specific - the
vast majority of software development - which is not distributed/copied so
Copyright doesn't apply - we need stronger privacy laws!!) or
distributable. We all know there are better alternatives to monopolies to
fund distributed/shared software.
> In particular, the author may be willing to publish for fame rather than
> fortune, but they won't *get* fame unless they can get a big publisher
> to put their work out there and hawk it.
In a better connected digital world, who cares about the "big
publisher"? I think the days of big-publishers is numbered, and we should
be doing anything we can to speed up this economic transition.
This whole "Super-star" mentality is extremely economically dangerous.
Having a few "Super-stars" receive a majority of the rewards means that the
average artist/crafts-person is less able to make a living. The more
centralized the economy, the less entrepreneurial innovation is possible.
This is one of the things I keep suggesting to those looking at the
software world. People should stop looking for the "next Microsoft" as if
the replacement to one "Super-star" is a new super-star. I believe (and
hope!) there will not be a "next Microsoft" in the software world, but
that we will be able to create a stable/decentralized software economy.
> I think it'd be harder than you think to separate the "fame" and
> "fortune" rights (i.e. Moral vs. Monopoly).
I spent a fair bit of time with Peter Hum on the article that appeared
in the Citizen -- a few lunch meetings, a few phone calls, and many
While he received monetary compensation for his time, and the Citizen
made money on this, my rewards are non-monetary. I feel bad/selfish to
admit that "fame" did play a large roll, but my main interest in being
involved in this communication was to get a specific message out.
Not only did I not expect to get paid, but I was extremely glad that I
didn't have to pay to get this size of audience. Advertisers pay big
bucks for their advertisements -- Microsoft (who had a .NET advertisement
on the same page at my article - an interesting irony!) paid for the space
they received, while I received my space free!!
Who received the most benefit from the inside 2 pages (F6, F7) of the
Ottawa Citizen Tech Weekly this week? I believe I (we) did!
Who benefits from communication is often very vague, and thus
legislators need to be careful when trying to codify things in law. This
goes back to the argument made by Roger Ebert when he warns the recording
industry, "Don't Confuse Fans With Pirates". There is considerable
evidence to suggest that private copying is advertising for other
products, including those which are mass-copied.
As an example, I just went to a bookstore today to buy a copy of Adam
Smith's "The Wealth of Nations" (also ordered Lawrence Lessig and Jessica
Litman's latest books). Obviously the original text to Adam Smith's
books are not under copyright (1723-1790 - long expired even at todays
outrageous one-size-fits-all monopoly length), but getting the book in
convenient paper-format to read away from "digital devices" was well-worth
$34.95 (+TAX, but don't get me started on taxation ;-)!
The whole discussion of e-books, TPM, and other attacks on Private
Copying is all about the publishers (the outdated middle-men) wanting to
offer us something that we as consumers don't want, at an inappropriate
price, and remove our freedom of choice in alternatives!
Russell McOrmond, Internet Consultant: <http://www.flora.ca/>
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