1) If you're not making any more art 10 years after that 1 hit wonder you don't deserve the 1 hit wonder's money because you squandered it

2) Your kids don't deserve your copyright money, they've not earned it

3) Short copyright terms break up massive monopolies and encourage artists to continue creating.

4) (3.5 but whatever) imagine how much higher your chances of success would be if companies couldn't monopolise art.

5) When your work becomes public domain you *don't have to stop selling it*.

You can market yourself as the original. Sure, loads of people will get the bootleg book, but a chunk will still want the OG hardback

@hiscursedness Patents give inventors a monopoly for 20 years, but they have to pay a fee every year or it lapses. I like the 10 year limit - I can't live off the work I did in my twenties for the rest of my life, so why should artists?


6) you, as an author, gain access to more public-domain works; copyright holders cannot censor your expression, you can use established tropes, characters, stories to build on them, parody them, and translate them for new generations without the fear of legal retribution.

All creative work is derivative:

@hiscursedness I feel this argument is extremely important, and often missed, with most of the debate focused on convincing authors "it's not that bad if the copyright term is shorter", effectively creating the narrative where shorter copyright terms seem always to be at the expense of the authors.

I think it makes a lot of sense to instead focus on what authors and creators can *gain* from shorter copyright terms. They can tap into vast *current* culture and remix it freely.


7) short copyright terms solve the "orphaned works" problem; there are countless works of art (first movies!) where the author is unknown or where it is unclear when the author had died. Which makes it hard or even impossible to make sure the work is in public domain:

Especially with a delicate medium like the celluloid film, this creates a heartbreaking dilemma: copy the original work to preserve it (risking infringement), or not (risking destruction).

@rysiek Fuck I never thought how bad this must fuck with archivists and historical preservation

@hiscursedness importantly, we need to be clear that the copyright term needs to be set from *publishing date* not (as currently) from the death of the author (ha!).

Otherwise we end up in the same legal uncertainty, just for a bit shorter time.

@hiscursedness in this context, consider this: Disney's want for making a profit off of Mickey Mouse a century after its creation makes preserving many first talkies for future generations illegal.

I will go out on a limb here and say that preserving early cinema is more important than protecting Disney's bottom line.

@rysiek @hiscursedness

This component of the recent past is actually very significant today.

Any creative work posted to the "cloud" is potentially at risk of being lost through site close-downs.

There is probably no published physical "thing".

@Algot @hiscursedness yes!

And thus we inevitably end up with the debacle -- tools like that allow us to make "hard copies" that are not beholden to a particular walled garden and its whims.

They are *essential* for preserving our culture.

@rysiek @hiscursedness I'm pretty against long or indefinite copyright, but ten years seems awfully short.

Some works, like series fiction, aren't even complete in ten years. I think about this a lot, as someone who's working on a series -- I first had the idea ten years ago, and if I'd been publishing the entire time, copyright would be up before I'd even finished. That seems problematic.

I don't think it should be framed as "If you're not successful 10 years later, you never deserved success" or "your kids don't deserve your success". That seems weirdly punitive. I don't even plan to sell some of my works for profit. But what would stop people from changing one thing, and continuing "my" story for profit without my consent, before I was even done with the body of work?

I'm not super obsessed with protecting my claim to characters or ideas. I'd be over the moon if people created fan works someday of something I made, or remixed the concepts. But ten years seems to put this pressureful time limit on exploring the ideas of an ongoing project or body of work.

Not to mention the sort of "cultivate your land or lose it" mentality, which seems frankly regressive.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness agreed on the "sounds punitive" bit. :blobcatcoffee:

But, your kids will get the money you make from the copyright. A bricklayer does not get to pass on to their kids a part of every building they've built, either.

It makes total sense to have a conversation on how long the term should be, but one thing I will insist on is: the term runs from the publication date.

@rysiek @hiscursedness If the bricklayer worked on a collaborative project for someone else, yeah, he couldn't keep it. But if he made it essentially by himself, for himself, wouldn't it be his? It would be weird to tell people they could only own a home they'd built, for ten years.

I know that's just a metaphor, though. And that things get really different, between arts that are mainly solitary, and projects that are collaborative or financed.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness yeah, makes sense.

The way I look at it: once a work gets published, it becomes part of this huge collaborative project called "culture". If it's prolific, it gets into the language, it becomes a reference point, and a source of well-understood tropes.

Copyright is this compromise: "you, the author, made it, so for a while cultural rights of everyone else shall be somewhat curtailed with regards to your work".

Getting it balanced is hard. It is not balanced now.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness regarding "people will copy the characters": anyone can copy Wikipedia and yet Wikimedia still gets donations.

After 10 years your fanbase will know your style well, and I don't think there is a serious threat somebody will swoop in and suddenly steal your audience just like that.

That being said, if independent authors could work freely on the Harry Potter franchise to (say) add more trans characters, I feel that would be a *good* thing.

@rysiek @hiscursedness Oh hell yeah, re: your last point. The whole "can't even say H**** P***er online" thing is just bullshit.

And I do see just awful effects of copyright and its weird rules, like how "Queen of the Damned" was a thrown-together piece-of-shit movie (fight me), that only got made because the license on the film rights was about to expire, and they hadn't made a profit yet.

But just think how much worse "Game Of Thrones" would have been, if the TV showrunners hadn't had to listen to GRRM at all.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness well, there's plenty of examples where copyright *did not* save a work from being mangled by a film adaptation. This is not a problem copyright can (or should!) solve.

Copyright does not preclude regular contracts. GRRM could have a clear contract, that extends *longer* than the copyright, giving him creative control over the show.

On the other hand, imagine how many *awesome adaptations* of the Game of Thrones would there be if it were already in public domain.

@rysiek @hiscursedness I'm agreeing with a lot of your points, just wanted to make that clear. I know the nature of the internet can make things sound like arguing, when I don't always mean it that way.

Yeah, I'd love to see "fixed" fan versions of things like GOT, and the fuckin latest Star Wars trilogy, oh my gods.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness oh yes, jeebus, that thing. Still better than the Phantom Menace and the rest of episodes 1-3.

@rysiek @hiscursedness I'm gonna be bitter about Disney's suppression of the queer energy around "The Force Awakens" until that mouse is dead and buried.

@rysiek My conspiracy theory is:

Disney is a huge, not-stupid company.

They cater (generalization incoming) to the Great Semi-Conservative Center of America, and to foreign media markets that are even more conservative than America is.

Disney can't *symbolize* gay themes, because only villains can be queer-coded in their works, not the goddamn heroes. Conservatives would stop giving them money.

They are also aware that gay people and young people, the most likely SJWs, boycott the shit out of things too, and would crucify open homophobia from their company in this era.

So when 59,000 slash fics were written about TFA characters, and the movie basically became a 2016 queer touchstone ("Gays In Space!"), Disney pulled a sleight-of-hand.


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@rysiek @hiscursedness As far as somebody swooping in and stealing an audience...why wouldn't Disney abuse a short copyright term to do just that, for instance? Find a no-name creator, wait for expiration, and just take their ideas and make a billion?

I ain't saying that's likely to happen to me. But it is likely to happen.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness oh sure. But big studios have a tendency to... fsck things up. And with a short copyright term, at least they don't have the monopoly and can't stop anyone else from providing a better adaptation.

Plus, in short copyright world, I don't think we would have behemoths like Disney. The playing field would have been more level.

@rysiek @hiscursedness Very good points. I'd take the mental stress of completing ten books in ten years, if it was under a system that helped bust Disney up.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness I think my general point is that we are so accustomed to the current oppressive copyright regime, in which we found the crooks and crevices to kinda sorta survive, that we feel uncomfortable thinking of an overhaul fearing that would remove these crooks and crevices.

Which makes us miss the point that we might not need them in a more reasonable copyright environment.

@rysiek @hiscursedness I think I'm speaking from a relatively unique place, as someone attempting to plan and create a piece of serial fiction.

I already struggle with the idea that I have to have everything "perfectly plotted" before I write -- the idea that I had to have the entire thing planned, because a clock would start ticking the moment I hit "publish" on the first installment, would drive me nuts. I'm sure I'm not the only writer who'd feel that way.

I'm not sure what the solution is, to be honest. Only that those who want to control their long-term art from start to finish need space too, not just people whose art is one item at a time.

@erosdiscordia @rysiek @hiscursedness They could, but in 10 years everyone could take their billion-dollar property and, at the very least, piggyback on its popularity and marketing.

This wouldn't fix the huge, absurd gap between megacorps and normal people. But I think it's obvious that Disney would have a lot more to lose than to win, and a lot more compared to no-name creators.

@erosdiscordia @rysiek @hiscursedness And another point, I don't think copyright really discourages the big players. Having to pay a creator for a finished idea is nothing compared to the benefit of having the author's copyright as a tool to guarantee their monopoly.

And long copyright isn't that much of a protection against not being screwed by big studios, especially for people that don't have much leverage (i.e., not famous enough yet).

@rysiek @cjd @eldaking @erosdiscordia @hiscursedness why do people have problems with this? just delete the repo online, then at your local end do rm -rf .git git init git add . git commit -m "dick" git push

Speaking of, big players really don't give a damn about copyrights they don't own. Proof of that is the MPAA using pirated IP for their antipiracy commercials. When they're big, the worst that can happen is a small lawsuit.

@erosdiscordia @rysiek @hiscursedness

@yuki @eldaking @erosdiscordia @rysiek @hiscursedness Also: Sony once put a Windows rootkit on their music CDs. That rootkit/DRM infringed on the LGPL for some audio decoding library...

This is by no means the worst thing about that fiasco, but it is illustrative of your point!

@yuki Yep, they can just risk it and if a lawsuit happens they can deal with it.

Disney was involved in plagiarism controversies regarding The Lion King and Atlantis, but managed to avoid lawsuits - in the Atlantis case, allegedly because the Japanese companies were too afraid of a legal battle with Disney.

And also the Superman creators taking literal decades in court to get paid royalties, Alan Moore and Watchmen, even as recently as Thanos in the MCU (almost) not crediting the creator...

@yuki It's particularly bad with comic books, because a lot of people signed contracts when it was seen as worthless and then it became huge.

Eventually companies mostly addressed those very obvious cases, but it is still a very exploitative industry for artists and writers.

> a lot of people signed contracts when it was seen as worthless and then it became huge.

Reminds me of the USD 25,000 Bill Gates paid to Tim Paterson for 86-DOS before licensing it to IBM.

He made millions out of it.

Copyright is legalized theft. 🤬

@yuki Precisely - copyright isn't what forces the rich to pay creators for their work, it's what allows them to take control over it.

@rysiek @hiscursedness I would personally be amenable to a completion date as the time limit, for long-term projects. I think of people like those who publish web comics or serials, or even podcast fiction. That's already pretty small-time, and they'd be the ones under the most pressure by copyright limits that short. If they had something like ten years from the date of completion, that would seem more fair.

But things like movies and albums, I can see publication date as being a fair beginning. Those are so collaborative in the first place, and so much more useful for remixing and adaptation anyway.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness the problem with "completion date" is the same as with "death of the author": it creates legal uncertainty, including for other authors, educators, etc.

It would also get abused immediately. Disneys of this world would just claim nothing they published is ever complete. Effectively, we would end up with perpetual copyright.

@rysiek @hiscursedness Well, it was never going to be cut and dry, anyhow. Axing it at 10 years just seems like it would hurt the little creators more severely. I agree it's a mess.

@erosdiscordia @hiscursedness as I said, I am not beholden to the 10 years term. And I think small creators are underrepresented in the general discussion about copyright, which goes on between politicians and major studios.

@rysiek @erosdiscordia @hiscursedness

the bricklayer doesn't, but the architect does in some places

as in in france you can get sued for publishing a picture of a recent building, because it's infringing on the architect's copyright 🙃

a few years ago I got yelled at by a store clerk at a second-hand furniture store because I took a picture of a bookcase I just bought, he accused me of wanting to put it online and then they'd be in trouble with the furniture maker

(it was nonsense of course)

@erosdiscordia @rysiek 10yr is super short. For films, many cult classics made money only years after original release.

30 or even 40yr seems much closer to something realistic, albeit without the 'after the death of author' part.

I don't think Left4Dead, Half-Life or Starcraft 2 belong in the public domain yet, but maybe Doom and early versions of Windows do.

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