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Cosmologist
2012-Jul-26, 04:57 AM
Can I build a Dalek shell and sell it or is the design wholly the intellectual property of the BBC? when I was a little kid I saw one in a hospital and climbed in the back of it. I must have been very young because I can't remember what hospital it was or even why I was there. I don't think it would be very hard to make one. Since Dr Who is the oldest running scifi show on tv wouldn't the patent have expired by now? Would it apply internationally. Is there a patents attorney in the house?

I was thinking of making them out of wood and painting them with metallic looking car paint. Watched the accompanying behind the scenes guide following the David Tennant vs Davros and the Reality Bomb episode the other day. reminded me of how simple the construction of a Dalek is. I don't think it would be hard finding buyers.

pzkpfw
2012-Jul-26, 05:21 AM
The Daleks are copyright © by The BBC and Terry Nation.

I doubt you'd get away with it. They fight.

Solfe
2012-Jul-26, 09:44 AM
The name is apparently copyrighted but the image may be trademarked. I don't know if it is, but trademarks are forever while copyright expires after a set time. Patients are for ideas and methodology and are much shorter in duration. All of this is from a US perspective, all countries have different rules. Peter Pan to my understanding is copyrighted forever in the UK.

You may wish to consider licensing the image.

Cosmologist
2012-Jul-26, 12:18 PM
You can trademark a rubbish bin with a pipe sticking out of its head? That's a blow to my plans. I'll ask at the Dr Who site and see what they say but you are probably right. Hmmmm... maybe if I change the design just enough... ;)

swampyankee
2012-Jul-26, 01:01 PM
You can trademark a rubbish bin with a pipe sticking out of its head? That's a blow to my plans. I'll ask at the Dr Who site and see what they say but you are probably right. Hmmmm... maybe if I change the design just enough... ;)

Since one can get sued for placing the capital city of Britain and the current year in close proximity in a sentence, especially if the word "Olympics" is involved, you can trademark a rubbish bin with a pipe sticking out. You can surely change the design enough, but "enough" gets defined by their lawyers and the courts. On the other hand, I really doubt they sue everbody who dresses up as a Dalek at a con...

HenrikOlsen
2012-Jul-26, 01:05 PM
But if someone tries to sell the Dalek costumes it's a near certainty the courts will get involved.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-26, 01:06 PM
Hmmmm... maybe if I change the design just enough... ;)

...Then you'll have R2D2. ; )

Cosmologist
2012-Jul-26, 01:42 PM
R2D2 is no fun. Only children and midgets can climb inside. I'll make one for fun but I won't sell it. I have no wish to incur the wrath of the BBC!

ToSeek
2012-Jul-26, 03:47 PM
Peter Pan to my understanding is copyrighted forever in the UK.

According to Wikipedia, current British copyright law specifically states that royalties must continue to be paid to the hospital that Barrie left the rights to. However, the hospital has no creative control over the use of Peter Pan, so it's not a full copyright.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-26, 04:27 PM
But if someone tries to sell the Dalek costumes it's a near certainty the courts will get involved.

Understatement. The Terry Nation estate would crucify anyone who tried.

Solfe
2012-Jul-26, 04:39 PM
According to Wikipedia, current British copyright law specifically states that royalties must continue to be paid to the hospital that Barrie left the rights to. However, the hospital has no creative control over the use of Peter Pan, so it's not a full copyright.

That is interesting, I did not know that.

Ara Pacis
2012-Jul-26, 05:33 PM
Perhaps you can dress up as a Kaled and see if anyone is Übergeek enough to get it.

captain swoop
2012-Jul-27, 11:12 AM
If you want a Dalek, Tardis, K9, Cyberman or WeepingAngewl, go to http://www.thisplanetearth.co.uk/main/

Fully Licensed and they will do any version of Dalek from TV or the old Dr Who Films.

publiusr
2012-Jul-28, 06:05 PM
Or you can go old school and dress up as Sputnik III, whick may have influenced the Dalek design
http://www.nationmaster.com/encyclopedia/Sputnik-III
http://www.zarya.info/Diaries/Sputnik/Sputnik3.php

The Sontaran craft were likely fashioned after Vostok.

PetersCreek
2012-Jul-28, 06:31 PM
Hmmmm... maybe if I change the design just enough... ;)

Few things are more helpful to plaintiffs in future litigation than a direct statement that you intended to benefit from their intellectual property by changing it "just enough". ;)

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-28, 07:36 PM
You can trademark a rubbish bin with a pipe sticking out of its head? That's a blow to my plans. I'll ask at the Dr Who site and see what they say but you are probably right. Hmmmm... maybe if I change the design just enough... ;)

This post has really bothered me for the last two days.

The Dalek is one of the most distinctive, memorable, iconic designs of the twentieth century. And it was good enough for you when you thought you could make some money from someone else's creativity. Now you know you can't, you speak disparagingly of it.

So why don't you simply come up with your own world-class design? Can't be that difficult, surely?

Cosmologist
2012-Jul-29, 06:36 AM
This post has really bothered me for the last two days.

Sounds like you need to get out more.


The Dalek is one of the most distinctive, memorable, iconic designs of the twentieth century. And it was good enough for you when you thought you could make some money from someone else's creativity. Now you know you can't, you speak disparagingly of it.

It looks like a dustbin with a pipe sticking out of its head and two siren alarms for ears. Don't blame me. I didn't design it. I love Daleks. They genuinely terrified me as a kid but they look like something thrown together in a garage from odds and ends.


So why don't you simply come up with your own world-class design? Can't be that difficult, surely?

Because the Dalek is one of the most distinctive, memorable, iconic designs of the twentieth century.

I am a freethinker. I consider the whole notion of patents, trademarks and copyright as ridiculous. One day aliens will visit this world and we will ask them:
"How did you become so technologially advanced?"

"Easy" they'll reply. "We abolished all the copyright and patent laws."

Nothing is slowing science down more than these laws. Right now filthy rich international conglomerates are swallowing up every conceivable thing that can be remotely patented. They aren't planning to use them for anything. They just want to be able to say they own the idea/concept/DNA/chemical/name when some hard working scientist discovers a practical application for them.

Imagine how much improvement might be made in technology if anybody could experiment with existing tech without getting sued.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-29, 06:58 AM
I am a freethinker. I consider the whole notion of patents, trademarks and copyright as ridiculous.

You're not the first person here to say something like that. It translates to, "Why can't I make money from someone else's idea?"

Gillianren
2012-Jul-29, 07:25 AM
As a writer, why would I bother to let anyone see my work if they were allowed to just pass it off as their own and I had no recourse? What would be my interest in seeing it published if I couldn't be compensated for my time and creativity? And have you considered that all the people who do make a living on their work would do less creative work because they would have to come up with some way of paying their bills? "Freethinker" indeed.

PetersCreek
2012-Jul-29, 07:47 AM
"Freethinker" as in thinking you can make money of someone's IP for free?

geonuc
2012-Jul-29, 07:51 AM
I am a freethinker. I consider the whole notion of patents, trademarks and copyright as ridiculous.

A freethinker? Meaning that someone who thinks patent, copyright and trademark laws serve useful purposes towards advancing ideas and inventions are what, close-minded? I have no problem with people holding the opinion you expressed in the latter statement quoted above, but the preceding statement is problematic.

I learned much about intellectual property law while in law school and I think if you are trying to profit from the use of another person's creation, you should compensate them.

Cosmologist
2012-Jul-29, 08:00 AM
You're not the first person here to say something like that. It translates to, "Why can't I make money from someone else's idea?"

Absolutely. Patenting an idea is absurd. How can you own an abstract concept? Look at China. They are churning out knock off Nokia phones at a fraction of the price and more power to them.


As a writer, why would I bother to let anyone see my work if they were allowed to just pass it off as their own and I had no recourse? What would be my interest in seeing it published if I couldn't be compensated for my time and creativity?

Few writers make any money anyway. Everybody plagiarises. They just don't admit it. Plagiarising one story is criminal but plagiarising hundreds is called research. Writing is the lowest paid work around. Another example is song writing. Its almost impossible to write an original song nowadays because all the best sequences of notes have been taken. The top hit Men at Work song "I come from the land downunder" was recently sued because it had a few notes from the childrens song "Kookaburra sits in the old gumtree". All the best music has been written now.


And have you considered that all the people who do make a living on their work would do less creative work because they would have to come up with some way of paying their bills? "Freethinker" indeed.

Ofcourse. You writers would have to do real work and write as a hobby. We take sport too seriously too. All these athletes getting paid millions to run and jump about like idiots.

So what are we going to do if we discover some alien race invented everything thousands of years before we did? Pay them to use "their" intellectual property?

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-29, 08:18 AM
For "freethinker" read "freeloader".

Cosmologist
2012-Jul-29, 08:37 AM
A freethinker? Meaning that someone who thinks patent, copyright and trademark laws serve useful purposes towards advancing ideas and inventions are what, close-minded?

Freethinker: One who forms his opinions based on logic and reason. Independantly of authority and tradition. All freethinkers for example are agnostic or atheist as there is no evidence to support the existence of supernatural deities. However freethinkers do not agree on every topic. It is not a political ideology. Freethought today embraces adherents of virtually all political persuasions, including capitalists, libertarians, socialists, communists, republicans, democrats, liberals and conservatives.


I have no problem with people holding the opinion you expressed in the latter statement quoted above, but the preceding statement is problematic.

I learned much about intellectual property law while in law school and I think if you are trying to profit from the use of another person's creation, you should compensate them.

Why? Because you thought of it first? The telephone was independantly invented by Bell and others. Bell was simply the first to patent it(by a few minutes). Charles Darwin was almost beaten to the punch when he published his theory of evolution. He did so early after another naturalist with the same idea contacted him about it. There are no unique ideas. Anything you can think of has either been thought of before or would have been thought up by someone else.

Its no coincidence Einstein worked at a patent office before coming up with Relativity, Brownian Motion and all his other "original" ideas.

Patents and copyright are slowing down human progress.


For "freethinker" read "freeloader".

The wheel wasn't patented. The spear wasn't patented. The technology was copied and improved upon by any and all. Nowadays new discoveries are owned by greedy money grubbing capitalists who want to lie back and count their millions rather than do any actual work.

slang
2012-Jul-29, 08:58 AM
Few writers make any money anyway. Everybody plagiarises.

Cosmologist, please refrain from insulting. If you haven't read the forum rules yet, please do so now.

Cosmologist
2012-Jul-29, 09:15 AM
Cosmologist, please refrain from insulting. If you haven't read the forum rules yet, please do so now.

I haven't insulted anyone. Writers get a few cents per word. I'm a published author myself. Everybody plagiarises. Where else would they get material? Except for travel and fiction writers text is constructed out of other text. That is a fact. Where do you think the Universe Today stories come from? Do you think frazer makes all those discoveries himself with his own telescope. They are largely taken from the NASA news page and rewritten right?

Are you going to give a warranted warning to Paul Beardsley for calling freethinkers "freeloaders"? Interesting that you completely ignored a genuine insult and instead criticised factual comments.

slang
2012-Jul-29, 09:26 AM
I haven't insulted anyone. Writers get a few cents per word. I'm a published author myself. Everybody plagiarises. Where else would they get material? Except for travel and fiction writers text is constructed out of other text. That is a fact.

Are you going to give a warranted warning to Paul Beardsley for calling freethinkers "freeloaders"? Interesting that you completely ignored a genuine insult and instead criticised factual comments.

Arguing moderation in-thread is not allowed. If you have a problem with any post, including a moderator's, use the report button so every mod and admin wil see it, a PM, or open a thread in Feedback. This will earn you an infraction.

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-29, 09:28 AM
I haven't insulted anyone. Writers get a few cents per word. I'm a published author myself. Everybody plagiarises.

I'm a writer and I don't plagiarise.


Are you going to give a warranted warning to Paul Beardsley for calling freethinkers "freeloaders"? Interesting that you completely ignored a genuine insult and instead criticised factual comments.

Someone who expects to make money from someone else's efforts is a freeloader.

I have nothing more to say on this thread.

Cosmologist
2012-Jul-29, 09:47 AM
I'm a writer and I don't plagiarise.

Where do you get your material from then? Every story is a mixture of other stories heard previously. Every narrative is taken from life or other peoples research. Nothing comes out of a vacuum. Everything in your mind came from the world around you.



Someone who expects to make money from someone else's efforts is a freeloader.

Idea's are not effort. They are nothing but thoughts.


Arguing moderation in-thread is not allowed. If you have a problem with any post, including a moderator's, use the report button so every mod and admin wil see it, a PM, or open a thread in Feedback. This will earn you an infraction.

So you are giving me an infraction for questioning your false accusation. What do you do outside of the forum? Pick the wings off butterflies? I don't believe in secrecy when its unnecessary. If you are too frightened to debate your mistake openly then I have nothing more to say to you or this forum.

Goodbye everyone.

captain swoop
2012-Jul-29, 08:55 PM
Cosmologist. You were just warned and infracted for arguing moderation in thread and in your next post you do the same and insult a Mod.

Read the rules for posting.

Another infraction given

Jens
2012-Jul-30, 04:09 AM
Imagine how much improvement might be made in technology if anybody could experiment with existing tech without getting sued.

I think maybe Cosmologist got into trouble with others by writing this after expressing an intent to try to profit from an idea created by somebody else. In truth, though, I agree with this. I think we can all agree that people invented things and produced works of art even before copyrights existed. I really think that it is a serious issue. A lot of energy is being devoted to litigation and ways to avoid litigation, which instead could be devoted to creative efforts. And I don't think it's necessarily true that artists will be hurt by the elimination of copyrights. There are many people who (through reputation) know that this book was really written by this person, and will be happy to compensate that person out of respect or admiration or a sense of justice.

Jens
2012-Jul-30, 04:12 AM
Since Dr Who is the oldest running scifi show on tv wouldn't the patent have expired by now? Would it apply internationally. Is there a patents attorney in the house?

Because you are arguing about patents, I think it might be worthwhile to learn that terminology properly. A patent is for a mechanical device that actually does something, so for example is the daleks were controlled by a new remote control device you could patent that. But in reality they are just stage props, so it would be an artistic work, hence a copyright.

Jens
2012-Jul-30, 04:17 AM
Another example is song writing. Its almost impossible to write an original song nowadays because all the best sequences of notes have been taken. All the best music has been written now.


There are actually many variations that can be made, and also, many beautiful note sequences have been taken by songs that are not copyrighted, so you can't be sued. You can cut and paste from traditional songs and from a lot of classical music. But I do agree with you that our creative ideas are not original. They are the works of others modified by our own experiences.

Solfe
2012-Jul-30, 05:08 AM
Absolutely. Patenting an idea is absurd. How can you own an abstract concept? Look at China. They are churning out knock off Nokia phones at a fraction of the price and more power to them.

So by your standard, when you invent a product and bring it to my facility for mass production, I can just cut you out and not pay you, right? Maybe I will name the product "Cosmologist's Greatest Product Idea!" just for spite. With your name on it, I can cut corners too. It isn't my name on it, what do I care?

IP protection is there for a reason. It might not make much sense sometimes, but there are reasons to protect other people's ideas.

SkepticJ
2012-Jul-30, 05:33 AM
I think maybe Cosmologist got into trouble with others by writing this after expressing an intent to try to profit from an idea created by somebody else. In truth, though, I agree with this. I think we can all agree that people invented things and produced works of art even before copyrights existed. I really think that it is a serious issue. A lot of energy is being devoted to litigation and ways to avoid litigation, which instead could be devoted to creative efforts. And I don't think it's necessarily true that artists will be hurt by the elimination of copyrights. There are many people who (through reputation) know that this book was really written by this person, and will be happy to compensate that person out of respect or admiration or a sense of justice.

Without copyrights, what protects the little guy?

Say I created a graphic novel, and Disney comes along and appropriates it, excises bits to make it "family friendly", and inserts their trademarked comedic-injuries-to-male-groins, and churns out a series of movies, TV shows, and lots and lots of merchandise.

My work has been cheapened, and there's nothing I can do about it.

Or they could just take my work and not ruin it, but print it at an economical rate that there is no way on Venus I could match. They sell it for far less than I can manage, and I can't turn a profit on my own work. I might get some pity dollars trickling in, which might be enough to cover the grain alcohol and the therapist bills.

How is this different from a world without patents? If I came up with a useful widget, what would keep anyone from making (potentially making it more cheaply than I could), and selling it? I can't make money from my idea, because Multinational Widget Inc. churns my idea out in sweatshops in Southeast Asia for 1/10th the cost that I can manage. Charity doesn't work in the widget business, customers will buy from whoever gives them the largest bottomline.

I think copyrights do last far too long, but the world is very different than it was before intellectual property laws were enacted. We live in a world of mass production.

Perikles
2012-Jul-30, 06:26 AM
There are no unique ideas. Anything you can think of has either been thought of before or would have been thought up by someone else.......Patents and copyright are slowing down human progress. I've been pondering this, and decided it makes no sense, on the grounds that without unique ideas there can be no human progress. I suppose he means that, say, a work of art is not created in a vacuum but ideas are taken from everywhere. To me, there is a huge difference between plagiarism and inventiveness which @Cosmologist fails to recognize. Anybody who claims that, say, Mozart was not doing something original but merely plagiarising must have his definitions seriously confused. That or musically challenged.

Strange
2012-Jul-30, 07:19 AM
Because you are arguing about patents, I think it might be worthwhile to learn that terminology properly. A patent is for a mechanical device that actually does something, so for example is the daleks were controlled by a new remote control device you could patent that. But in reality they are just stage props, so it would be an artistic work, hence a copyright.

Actually, in many jurisdictions (including the US) there are different types of patents, including "design patents" which are used to protect the "surface" design of everything from cuddly toys to kitchen utensils.

But in this case, it will probably be protected as a trademark (and possibly other common law rights).

Jens
2012-Jul-30, 07:55 AM
Say I created a graphic novel, and Disney comes along and appropriates it, excises bits to make it "family friendly", and inserts their trademarked comedic-injuries-to-male-groins, and churns out a series of movies, TV shows, and lots and lots of merchandise. My work has been cheapened, and there's nothing I can do about it.

It would mean that you would have to make the effort to demonstrate that yours is the real one. You could complain and there's probably a good chance that a company like Disney would be sensitive to the effect on its image. Pressure isn't a panacea, but many companies today do have things like child labor guidelines and stuff because they are sensitive to the effect that this has on their image.



How is this different from a world without patents? If I came up with a useful widget, what would keep anyone from making (potentially making it more cheaply than I could), and selling it? I can't make money from my idea, because Multinational Widget Inc. churns my idea out in sweatshops in Southeast Asia for 1/10th the cost that I can manage. Charity doesn't work in the widget business, customers will buy from whoever gives them the largest bottomline.

I think here that as the discoverer, you have a lead time where you start doing something before everybody else gets involved. You just have to find investors and get things going and try to hide things as long as you can. Like people used to do. You'd have to be innovative and try to keep ahead of competitors. Companies still sell vitamins and generic drugs, and they may not have the profit margins that the big pharmas have, but they still do make a profit, and in fact can be profitable even if they are not so large by being innovative.

Tog
2012-Jul-30, 08:29 AM
I think maybe Cosmologist got into trouble with others by writing this after expressing an intent to try to profit from an idea created by somebody else. In truth, though, I agree with this. I think we can all agree that people invented things and produced works of art even before copyrights existed. I really think that it is a serious issue. A lot of energy is being devoted to litigation and ways to avoid litigation, which instead could be devoted to creative efforts. And I don't think it's necessarily true that artists will be hurt by the elimination of copyrights. There are many people who (through reputation) know that this book was really written by this person, and will be happy to compensate that person out of respect or admiration or a sense of justice.

There's quite a few E book authors that would disagree with this. The problem isn't that someone is going to re-write Lord of the Rings and claim it's their own. The problem is that a current author with a small following will release a book on Tuesday and a search on the title of that book on Thursday will show it for sale in a dozen places. of those, eight will be sites that lifted the text and art, and put them up on their own site. The author still gets credit, but none of the money. All sales go to the person that lifted the text and posted it for sale at 1/2 the price. I've got some specific authors in mind, but their blogs tend to be filled with language that would be problematic here.

There have also been a few cases where people self publish under pseudonyms that seem intended to mislead. There is no legal reason I couldn't self publish a book called The Lost Letters and list my author name sign it J.R.R.Tolkein. Sure, the last name is different. That should be a clue it's not the same person, right? Yes, people have done this.

Tog
2012-Jul-30, 08:58 AM
I actually have a great example of what Cosmologist was calling plagiarism. But first, plagiarism isn't lifting an idea from someone else, it's lifting the actual work and claiming it for your own.

Writers do take ideas from others. Maybe not all the time, but the fact is, there are a finite number of basic plots. It's the creation of the characters and the details of the story that make them unique. Identify this character:

An eccentric man lives in London where he solves crimes. He is often brought in when the Scotland Yard Inspector is stumped. The stories are told to us by the man's assistant, who is often baffled by the man's methods, and who returned to England after being injured in the war, where he served as an officer.

Is this Sherlock Holmes, or Hercule Poirot?

It could be either. Fundamentally, they were the same character. The details made them different. For that matter, Nero Wolfe and Archie Goodwin fit this pattern, though not quite as well. All three solved murders by thinking about aspects of the case and all three were told in first person by the assistant. But, they are all different enough from each other that there is no way any charge of plagiarism could stick.

Gillianren
2012-Jul-30, 09:02 AM
I think maybe Cosmologist got into trouble with others by writing this after expressing an intent to try to profit from an idea created by somebody else. In truth, though, I agree with this. I think we can all agree that people invented things and produced works of art even before copyrights existed. I really think that it is a serious issue. A lot of energy is being devoted to litigation and ways to avoid litigation, which instead could be devoted to creative efforts. And I don't think it's necessarily true that artists will be hurt by the elimination of copyrights. There are many people who (through reputation) know that this book was really written by this person, and will be happy to compensate that person out of respect or admiration or a sense of justice.

But how do you develop that reputation? Especially when you're first starting out? And why would the publishing companies, studios, and so forth be willing to invest any large sums of money in work that would be pretty much guaranteed not to return a profit?

captain swoop
2012-Jul-30, 09:09 AM
There is nothing to stop someone building a patented device to see how it works, improve it or reverse engineer it. Building it to sell is what isn't allowed.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-30, 11:05 AM
But how do you develop that reputation? Especially when you're first starting out? And why would the publishing companies, studios, and so forth be willing to invest any large sums of money in work that would be pretty much guaranteed not to return a profit?


I don't know about studios, but publishing companies publish first-time authors all the time -- almost all best-selling writers had started as unknowns. For example, J K Rowling submitted an unsolicited manuscript which ended up being published as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. She may have been unusually successful, but she is not unique. If you want to design props, you'll have to get a job with a theatrical company, a film production group, or one of the specialist companies that makes props. You will get a reputation if you try copying and selling licensed goods, like the Daleks, but it won't be a positive reputation.

Solfe
2012-Jul-30, 01:53 PM
See Bully Hill wines. The owner's family sold a winery to a major company. When the son of the winery owner opened his own winery he was legally prevented from using his own name on the product.

He counter with a "goat" wine. As in "they'll never get my goat."

swampyankee
2012-Jul-30, 02:24 PM
Some companies are rabidly protective of their names, some less so. I suspect that, if my surname were "Disney," I'd get a cease-and-desist letter very quickly were I to open any business using that name, even if the chance of confusion was nil. Some others, not so much. Pratt & Whitney (http://www.pw.utc.com/), the company that makes airplane engines, is not, in any way, related to Pratt & Whitney (http://www.prattandwhitney.com/default.asp), the company that makes high-precision measurement systems. (Do note that their headquarters are within a few miles of each other, and there are probably people who have worked at both companies).

Paul Beardsley
2012-Jul-30, 02:47 PM
I've been pondering this, and decided it makes no sense, on the grounds that without unique ideas there can be no human progress. I suppose he means that, say, a work of art is not created in a vacuum but ideas are taken from everywhere. To me, there is a huge difference between plagiarism and inventiveness which @Cosmologist fails to recognize. Anybody who claims that, say, Mozart was not doing something original but merely plagiarising must have his definitions seriously confused. That or musically challenged.

Yes, this one hits the nail on the head. There is a world of difference between drawing inspiration from something and plagiarising. When someone does the former, they make it their own.

Quite honestly, I don't believe anybody fails to make that distinction, though they might choose to ignore it.

Solfe
2012-Jul-30, 02:51 PM
Some companies are rabidly protective of their names, some less so. I suspect that, if my surname were "Disney," I'd get a cease-and-desist letter very quickly were I to open any business using that name, even if the chance of confusion was nil. Some others, not so much. Pratt & Whitney (http://www.pw.utc.com/), the company that makes airplane engines, is not, in any way, related to Pratt & Whitney (http://www.prattandwhitney.com/default.asp), the company that makes high-precision measurement systems. (Do note that their headquarters are within a few miles of each other, and there are probably people who have worked at both companies).

Apple's Sosumi (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sosumi) sound.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-30, 03:37 PM
Copyright and patent protection are very complicated areas. Frequently, I think that it has been demonstrated that claims of both copyright and patent infringement have been used to stifle innovation and competition: the Wrights were notorious for suing any competitor for any method of lateral control (Wright's method is no longer used; ailerons are much better. They sued the person who invented ailerons for violating wing-warping patents). While this did not work in the long run, it certainly stifled competition, regardless of the merits of the suit. More recently, software patents have done the same thing (partly because of examiners who were inadequately knowledgeable about prior art). There have also been a couple of software copyright horror stories (there was a person who took public domain -- iirc, it was under copyleft -- source code, copied it, and then started suing the original authors! And he won in US Federal District Court, although he did lose on appeal. Bluntly, he should also have been charged and convicted of criminal fraud.)

Right now, I think that the worst enemies of sensible copyright protection are the recording industry, in that they pretty much want to go to the "our accusation is total proof of guilt" and then be entitled to vigilantism. If I claim my car is stolen, I can't go to a judge and have a local scrap yard shut down because I say they've got a green 1993 Volvo 940 in the lot; I have to provide a bit of proof. I'm also subject to sanctions if I make a false accusation.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Jul-30, 04:31 PM
Right now, I think that the worst enemies of sensible copyright protection are the recording industry, in that they pretty much want to go to the "our accusation is total proof of guilt" and then be entitled to vigilantism. If I claim my car is stolen, I can't go to a judge and have a local scrap yard shut down because I say they've got a green 1993 Volvo 940 in the lot; I have to provide a bit of proof. I'm also subject to sanctions if I make a false accusation.
They're unfortunately creating the exact mindset exhibited by Cosmologist and are likely to do more to kill publishing long term than any amount of piracy does in the short term.

Perikles
2012-Jul-30, 04:32 PM
Copyright and patent protection are very complicated areas. Frequently, I think that it has been demonstrated that claims of both copyright and patent infringement have been used to stifle innovation and competition: .I think patents might be a two-edged sword, stifling sometimes and encouraging inventiveness in elsewhere. My son is a patent examiner in the European Patent Office, dealing with applications for patents on inventions in physics (his field is highly specific). Conversations with him lead me to conclude that almost all modern patents are from scientific companies wanting to protect some very subtle invention or new way of tacking a problem. The task of the examiner is to demonstrate there is nothing new in the patent application, and this seems to be demonstrable in almost all applications (I don't have figures). These patent applications are of course entirely profit-driven, but certainly do encourage inventiveness even, as some might argue, for the wrong reasons.

Gillianren
2012-Jul-30, 04:54 PM
I don't know about studios, but publishing companies publish first-time authors all the time -- almost all best-selling writers had started as unknowns. For example, J K Rowling submitted an unsolicited manuscript which ended up being published as Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. She may have been unusually successful, but she is not unique. If you want to design props, you'll have to get a job with a theatrical company, a film production group, or one of the specialist companies that makes props. You will get a reputation if you try copying and selling licensed goods, like the Daleks, but it won't be a positive reputation.

Well, yes, but the publishing company under current law knows that, if an unknown becomes wildly successful, their investment will pay off. If you abolish copyright, it won't. To give you an example from film, every time Disney releases a version of a fairy tale, really lousy animated versions of that story appear in the bins at our local dollar store. It isn't Disney's work, which is under copyright, but it is the same story, which is public domain. (Which is why Pixar isn't subject to the same thing; Pixar stories aren't public domain.) Now, of course, you know and I know that the dollar-store version is probably not going to be very good, but they sell enough copies to make it worth their while. Now, those self-same companies, freed from copyright, could just sell their own version of the Disney version. I mean, heck, the reason we don't really know that we have the right text for Shakespeare's plays is that there basically was no copyright in Elizabethan England, so the only way to ensure that his own company kept exclusive rights to his plays was to just not publish the text. What we have now is pretty much what the actors copied down.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-30, 05:53 PM
Well, yes, but the publishing company under current law knows that, if an unknown becomes wildly successful, their investment will pay off. If you abolish copyright, it won't. To give you an example from film, every time Disney releases a version of a fairy tale, really lousy animated versions of that story appear in the bins at our local dollar store. It isn't Disney's work, which is under copyright, but it is the same story, which is public domain. (Which is why Pixar isn't subject to the same thing; Pixar stories aren't public domain.) Now, of course, you know and I know that the dollar-store version is probably not going to be very good, but they sell enough copies to make it worth their while. Now, those self-same companies, freed from copyright, could just sell their own version of the Disney version. I mean, heck, the reason we don't really know that we have the right text for Shakespeare's plays is that there basically was no copyright in Elizabethan England, so the only way to ensure that his own company kept exclusive rights to his plays was to just not publish the text. What we have now is pretty much what the actors copied down.

Some people may be arguing to abolish copyright; I'm not. I'm also quite sure that no two performances of any Shakespeare play performed by his company, in his presence, were the same, so it's quite likely that searching for a definitive text of any of his plays is a fool's errand. More recently, and in the post-copyright world, there are 19th and 20t Century authors whose works are frequently re-issued with texts amended to the latest scholarship. Clearly, there was a "final" published version, but that hasn't kept people from emending text in fairly significant ways, not just fixing a few spelling errors and typos. There are also copyright violations committed by publishing companies against 20th Century authors (I believe that there were "pirated" editions of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings issued by a US publishing house in the 1950s: they were not copyrighted in the US as they were not registered for copyright in the US. Indeed, it's possible that they could not be.)

What I was trying to say in my post that you quoted is that copyright is no bar to establishing a reputation as a creative person. It may be a bar to establishing a reputation as a costume (although clothing designs cannot be copyrighted), props, or tchotchke producer, which I think may have been the OP's intent.

Gillianren
2012-Jul-30, 06:47 PM
I think an absence of copyright is assuredly a bar to establishing a reputation as a creative person, because I think it is in many ways a bar to being able to create. J. K. Rowling didn't have a job while she wrote the first Harry Potter, but she was willing to take that risk in the hopes of making money (though I don't think she expected quite as much money!) as a writer. However, there are very few people who establish reputations to the extent of being able to make a living on their work without some serious financial sacrifices.

Noclevername
2012-Jul-30, 07:02 PM
Having been involved in the art world, I can tell you that it's fairly competetive, and that it's hard enough to make money even when you can prove that your work is yours.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-30, 08:53 PM
I think an absence of copyright is assuredly a bar to establishing a reputation as a creative person, because I think it is in many ways a bar to being able to create. J. K. Rowling didn't have a job while she wrote the first Harry Potter, but she was willing to take that risk in the hopes of making money (though I don't think she expected quite as much money!) as a writer. However, there are very few people who establish reputations to the extent of being able to make a living on their work without some serious financial sacrifices.

This may be so currently, but not historically. On the other hand, it may be a bar to making a living by writing reproducible works; most of the "classical" music composers, it least up to the late 19th Century, were primarily performers, so lack of copyright is clearly not a bar to making a living by creating either ephemeral or other irreproducible works, such as performances, sculpture, or painting. After all, the Dead were quite cheerful to let people record their live shows. Since no two shows were alike, there was still an incentive to attend. On the other hand, a group which made sure every show was identical could never do that, nor could businesses which rely on the mass sale of identical, easily reproducible goods.

So, do I think copyright hurts or encourages creativity? Probably helps more than hinders. What the current interpretation of copyright does do, demonstrably so, is hinder academic investigation of software, especially for defects which could endanger the public (security holes in voting machine software). Less demonstrable is hindrance of criticism, academic study, and parody. Do note, too, that for some forms of copyrighted material, the courts (not necessarily the letter of the law) have held there is no fair use.

Jens
2012-Jul-31, 01:13 AM
After all, the Dead were quite cheerful to let people record their live shows.

How can the dead have live shows? :)

Seriously, though, I doubt that letting people record live shows would be a disincentive to attend, because you don't really attend concerts to get the live sound. I think it's more than bootlegged recordings are a disincentive for fans to buy official live albums. I don't think even for very tight bands that the live recordings were ever much of a disincentive to anything, though, because the sound was always better on official live albums (I think they might have even overdubbed tracks at times) and for the most part, the only people who go out and buy bootlegged recordings are hard-core fans who already own all the official albums anyway, or at least I think that's probably the case.

Charlie in Dayton
2012-Jul-31, 01:18 AM
RE copyrights...we had this brilliant idea for our radio communications van, which had a Petty blue paint job, and all the crew members wore blue jumpsuits. We consulted an attorney, and the rule was, if you changed a copyrighted image more than X % (I think it was 20%, but check anyway), the copyright didn't apply any more. So our comm van had pseudoSmurfs painted on the front fenders (said pseudoSmurfs chatting on handheld radios, wearing the aforementioned blue jumpsuits and radio club ball caps). Never heard a peep out of Hanna-Barbera. Use caution -- YMMV...

Jens
2012-Jul-31, 01:20 AM
But how do you develop that reputation? Especially when you're first starting out? And why would the publishing companies, studios, and so forth be willing to invest any large sums of money in work that would be pretty much guaranteed not to return a profit?

I don't really agree that it would be pretty much guaranteed not to return a profit. There are lots of publishers that make profits on books that are not copyrighted, because people trust those companies and are willing to choose them over other operations that don't seem as reputable. I think for example that when you buy a book in the Penguin Classics series, there's an implicit guarantee that you are getting something that has some quality. The specific example could be wrong, but as a principle I just mean to say that there is a premium that will come with a reputable publisher, and if a new author is published by a good publisher, my assumption (and the assumption of many others, even if not always accurate) is that it must be of quality because it was selected by the editors there. In a world without copyrights, that is likely the way that things would work. An author would send a manuscript to a reputable publisher, the publisher would pay the author for the work (they would be willing to pay, of course, because they would want other authors to work with them), and people would buy from a publisher they found reputable. Of course, imitators would exist, and authors would lose out from people copying. But that doesn't necessarily mean it wouldn't be profitable. I'm still willing to spend a few dollars to buy a paperback by Penguin when I could actually go out and download the Iliad for free, just because it's convenient and looks better on the bookshelf.

Solfe
2012-Jul-31, 04:42 AM
How can the dead have live shows? :)

Seriously, though, I doubt that letting people record live shows would be a disincentive to attend, because you don't really attend concerts to get the live sound. I think it's more than bootlegged recordings are a disincentive for fans to buy official live albums. I don't think even for very tight bands that the live recordings were ever much of a disincentive to anything, though, because the sound was always better on official live albums (I think they might have even overdubbed tracks at times) and for the most part, the only people who go out and buy bootlegged recordings are hard-core fans who already own all the official albums anyway, or at least I think that's probably the case.

I don't think it would deter people from attending, but now there are bootlegs floating around that the band has no control over. That isn't really a problem for the artist due to quality issues. Where it becomes tricky is that once you have protection (brand and trademark, only I think) you are obligated to protect it or lose it. It is call Trademark or brand genericide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trademark) when you don't.

What I see on concert tickets is a statement "No professional equipment" basically meaning if you have a cheap camera or cell phone, feel free to use them, but don't try to plug in to the mixing board or use a 500mm lens for pictures. I was at a concert where a performer objected to being filmed with a cell phone. He said "Oh, its point stuff at people day" and pointed his mike stand at the person until they put the phone away. A few weeks ago, my wife had Boyd Tinsley take her camera from her and snap a bunch of pictures of her (and just her). I guess you have to have a sense of humor to survive being famous.

I have heard urban legends about musical acts that allowed fans to plug in to the mixing board (as the Dead did) and then ran the risk of losing ownership of the song recorded. I am sure that they would loose ownership of that particular recording, but the urban legend part is "lose the right to own x,y,z, song(s)".

Gillianren
2012-Jul-31, 05:19 AM
. . . Most of the "classical" music composers, it least up to the late 19th Century, were primarily performers . . . .

Or had patrons, who picked up the tab. Or worked for a church or taught lessons or something. But most of the historical artists we know of had patrons.

Tog
2012-Jul-31, 09:40 AM
I don't really agree that it would be pretty much guaranteed not to return a profit.

It depends on what you mean by profit. The normal procedure for print books is for an unknown to submit the book, and possibly get a advance once it's accepted. Sales are about 20% to the author with the rest going to the publisher to cover costs of production and editing. By the second book, the author might get an advance to live on before writing it.

In either case, the 20% from sales goes into paying back that advance before the author sees any more. There was a woman who posted the details of her third book to hit the NY Times best seller list. She was given an advance of $50,000, meaning the publisher expected the book to sell roughly $250,000 worth of copies. In the end, her cut came to about $47,000, for total sales of about $235,000. She didn't have to pay back the extra, so the publisher really made about $232,000 from that book. Depending on how the editors and artists are paid (flat rate vs. percentage), it's likely they still made some profit on it, but this was the third book from an established author.

Most won't see anywhere near that amount of return. "Good" sales from a reputable e-publisher might be on the order of a few hundred books a month. That's spanning all authors in the house.

The short story I sold last year to an E publisher has sold (as far as I know) about 20 copies. I get 40% of the sales, but since Amazon also gets a cut of the gross, My share probably won't be over 10 bucks after 6 months. if I'd sold that same story to a print magazine, I would have gotten $0.05 per word, or about $350. I had two editors and a cover artist who had to pay for 2 images on the cover.


There are lots of publishers that make profits on books that are not copyrighted, because people trust those companies and are willing to choose them over other operations that don't seem as reputable. I think for example that when you buy a book in the Penguin Classics series, there's an implicit guarantee that you are getting something that has some quality. The specific example could be wrong, but as a principle I just mean to say that there is a premium that will come with a reputable publisher, and if a new author is published by a good publisher, my assumption (and the assumption of many others, even if not always accurate) is that it must be of quality because it was selected by the editors there. In a world without copyrights, that is likely the way that things would work. An author would send a manuscript to a reputable publisher, the publisher would pay the author for the work (they would be willing to pay, of course, because they would want other authors to work with them), and people would buy from a publisher they found reputable.

The difference there is that Homer already has his reputation. It wouldn't matter if the books came from Some Dude's Trunk Publishing and Discount Watch Sales. You know the author and the work. If penguin were to publish my book, you might feel better about the quality since it's coming from a reliable house, but if it's also available as an E-book, the chances of pirated copies being available goes up with the success of the book. There could be 500,000 people reading that book, but if 400,000 bought it from Some Dude's Trunk, Penguin Publishing only gets credit for 100,000 copies. Since I only get paid based on Penguin's sales, I'm losing out on quite a bit of money.


Of course, imitators would exist, and authors would lose out from people copying. But that doesn't necessarily mean it wouldn't be profitable. I'm still willing to spend a few dollars to buy a paperback by Penguin when I could actually go out and download the Iliad for free, just because it's convenient and looks better on the bookshelf.

The volume of piracy out there puts you in the minority there I'm afraid. People want cheap. If they can get it from a torrent for free, that's better than paying a pirate 50%. Paying a pirate is better than paying the artist because it's cheaper. These same people then complain when the artists have to stop doing what they do and get a real job.

Australian singer Kate Miller-Heidke gave an interview this summer (http://www.theglobalmail.org/feature/unchained-melodies/272/) where she said that she makes about 20% of her money from album sales. What she's counting on is the downloads sparking enough interest that people will come to the concerts.

Five years ago, her income was comprised solely from live performances and her publishing advance from Sony; nowadays, Miller-Heidke gives a rough estimate that 70 per cent of her income comes from live shows, 20 per cent from publishing, and the remaining 10 per cent from merchandise sales and recording royalties.
As far as people bringing professional equipment to the shows, she's got one superfan/creepy stalker that has permission to film, and she linked to a site that had one entire concert available for free download. The audio was a little quiet, but otherwise fine. Since she linked to it, I'm assuming she okay with it.

HenrikOlsen
2012-Jul-31, 12:14 PM
In either case, the 20% from sales goes into paying back that advance before the author sees any more. There was a woman who posted the details of her third book to hit the NY Times best seller list. She was given an advance of $50,000, meaning the publisher expected the book to sell roughly $250,000 worth of copies. In the end, her cut came to about $47,000, for total sales of about $235,000. She didn't have to pay back the extra, so the publisher really made about $232,000 from that book. Depending on how the editors and artists are paid (flat rate vs. percentage), it's likely they still made some profit on it, but this was the third book from an established author.
Erhm, no.
The publisher made about $185,000 (before printing and other costs). They were still out the $50,000 for the advance.

If they hadn't paid an advance they'd have made $187,000 (before printing and other costs) because the royalty would have been $47,000 instead.

Tog
2012-Jul-31, 12:22 PM
Erhm, no.
The publisher made about $185,000 (before printing and other costs). They were still out the $50,000 for the advance.

If they hadn't paid an advance they'd have made $187,000 (before printing and other costs) because the royalty would have been $47,000 instead.
Ah, right. I mean the total would have come to $237,000, not the publisher's cut.
Nice catch.

swampyankee
2012-Jul-31, 12:29 PM
I don't think it would deter people from attending, but now there are bootlegs floating around that the band has no control over. That isn't really a problem for the artist due to quality issues. Where it becomes tricky is that once you have protection (brand and trademark, only I think) you are obligated to protect it or lose it. It is call Trademark or brand genericide (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generic_trademark) when you don't.

What I see on concert tickets is a statement "No professional equipment" basically meaning if you have a cheap camera or cell phone, feel free to use them, but don't try to plug in to the mixing board or use a 500mm lens for pictures. I was at a concert where a performer objected to being filmed with a cell phone. He said "Oh, its point stuff at people day" and pointed his mike stand at the person until they put the phone away. A few weeks ago, my wife had Boyd Tinsley take her camera from her and snap a bunch of pictures of her (and just her). I guess you have to have a sense of humor to survive being famous.

I have heard urban legends about musical acts that allowed fans to plug in to the mixing board (as the Dead did) and then ran the risk of losing ownership of the song recorded. I am sure that they would loose ownership of that particular recording, but the urban legend part is "lose the right to own x,y,z, song(s)".

All of the concert tickets I've seen specify "no recording devices, cell phones, or cameras." They don't specify quality; they ban everything. I'm not sure whether this is a specification from the artist or something the venue does as a matter of course.

Perikles
2012-Jul-31, 12:38 PM
The difference there is that Homer already has his reputation. It wouldn't matter if the books came from Some Dude's Trunk Publishing and Discount Watch Sales. You know the author and the work. If penguin were to publish my book, ....I think you are right in principle, but the example is rather unfortunate. The translation of the Iliad in the Penguin edition is a particularly bad one, and I have read several. You simply cannot beat the Lattimore version (Chicago press) and is available online as dual English/Greek. Only my opinion, of course. And @Jens might want to read it in Japanese. <grin>

HenrikOlsen
2012-Jul-31, 01:19 PM
You forgot the link (http://digital.library.northwestern.edu/homer/), as some might want to see for ourselves.

Gillianren
2012-Jul-31, 06:35 PM
I have a friend with an album out. Okay, she's doing most of the selling herself, and what selling she isn't is being done by other friends in the music business on the ren faire circuit. (Both at least one other musician and a friend who makes musical instruments.) Her album was extremely successful for a first-time album by an unknown on the ren faire circuit. She has still just had a second Kickstarter to raise money for the second album, and she has a day job. I don't know if this is attributable to the losses from piracy; I suspect it is rather more that she was using some of that money to, you know, live on. But it's very difficult to make a living as a musician, and she has a day job as well. I don't know what her losses from piracy are, but I suspect that, as she gets better known, her losses will go up. And the faire used some of her music in a promotional video without asking permission, much less paying her!

Cosmologist
2012-Dec-11, 01:33 AM
Moderators are such <redacted>.

Swift
2012-Dec-11, 02:42 AM
Moderators are such <redacted>.
You revived a five month old thread for that?

You are free to criticize moderation, but you will do it in Feedback, as our rules state, and you will not use inappropriate language. This will earn you an infraction and a suspension.